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Tycho / 3 days ago

I had the weird-ass Brown And Green Zune, so I am not really in a position to defend myself; I made tremendous use of the device.  I think it’s my job to act as a halfway house for orphaned, exiled things; I have always had a fear that a preconception or the preconception of another will foreclose realities in some way.  I thought it was solid.  IP wrangling being what it is, some of its cool tricks couldn’t manifest.  It was a pretty fucked up time - you’ll recall that you couldn’t buy MP3s directly, yet.  Microsoft has a strange, almost preternaturally doomed habit of releasing things at exactly the wrong time.

It occurred to me yesterday - right before we wrote the strip, which was good timing - that working there has to be a really complicated emotional scenario.  For a long time, it would have been like working for Hydra.  Hydra later, when everybody knows it’s Hydra.  Not the secret Hydra.  Like, you park your car and you pass the Hydra logo like ten times before you get to your desk.  The implication that one is a tentacle reaching out from a skull.  I know a lot of people who work there because I live here.  They’re not literal tentacles.  Well, Fernando is a tentacle.  But that’s just one guy.

No, it’s about how you get perceived; how you get homogenized into a shelf-stable, uniform grey liquid by comments of forums and articles like the one I am writing now, even if I’m only describing the process second hand.  Everyone I know there is smarter than I am and works harder than I do.

So if you did end up on Hololens, which is like a reverse Kinect in some ways, and you were receiving feedback which is of the form “doesn’t seem like a Microsoft product” or “is actually cool,” they are compliments but these compliments have a weird shape.  There is negative space at play; the information is married to its opposite in a single, coherent package.  My suspicion, based on nothing really, is that a complement of this kind might be difficult to metabolize.


Tycho / 5 days ago

I should have understood at some level that Silent Hills was too beautiful to live.  If P.T. was any indication, we’d be talking about a psychological piece in the horror furnace of that damned place, executed by two unconventional, unquenchable, functionally speaking invulnerable fucking weirdos.  I have let the part of my brain which has no contact with linear time run free on what it all means, though what it means in truth is that reality is a kind of sieve that retains horror and lets noble potential run straight through.

I didn’t even have an opportunity to generate an ambiguous position on Paid Mods For Skyrim On Steam before the entire thing was over.  I don’t really know how to put this, but I don’t play Skyrim anymore.  Never let it be said that I bear this particular Rim any ill-will - it’s clearly a premium Rim.  I guess other games just came out, and I played those instead?  It’s been said that there are those who hit it and subsequently quit it, while others stay and play (Mix-a-Lot, 1992).  Maybe I’m in the former group.

For my part, and presumably this conversation exists somewhere and I simply haven’t seen it, because the Internet is vasty - I’ve always found Valve’s relationship with community content a little odd.  Their history is, functionally speaking, a systematic harvesting of community content and creators.  The mod community was always their farm team; this merely formalized the process.  Maybe they’ll hire one or two people from a team.  Who owns the nascent “Intellectual Property”?  I suspect that most people who play “Counter-Strike” actually just play “Dust.”  Does that matter?  It’s never been super clear to me how ownership of Defense of the Ancients devolved to Valve, it just… did?  Presumably there’s an unassailable document somewhere.  But modding is an unconventional means of creation, with a different gear ratio than the industry proper.

As someone who pays their rent with ostensibly “creative” work, I know a lot of people who supplement their income with creative endeavor, and so hearing that mod creators were being paid twenty-five percent of the purchase price for this content wasn’t as shocking to me as it must have been for others.  That’s every day for many creators: in truth, most would be paid a single sum as many as three months after they made the work, and would not be remunerated for subsequent sales at all.  I’m not saying that’s awesome, or anything.  People have this very strange thing they do where you will make a statement of fact, and then they will imagine that you are advocating for that fact, when you are actually making an observation.  But, knowing the state of play may help reveal some of the decision making.  Sometimes, when you’re trying to make a new version of something, the bugs get ported too.

Steam in general is going to get more “flat,” with less gatekeeping on their part, and a mod marketplace is of a piece with the overall initiative.  But much of the value of a mod is the community, its trust, which they do not and cannot own.  This is a thing they learned very quickly.


Tycho / 1 week ago

I wouldn’t mind playing around with an Apple Watch, and I don’t doubt that it represents a very specific fork of our wearable future, but I don’t sense a hole in my life the device would fill.  I also think the pricing is outta fucking control.  What’s funny is that I would not find a traditional timepiece in that range offensive; such a device represents a graphable point in life, is Property, is functionally a phylactery which will communicate my cold will to future generations.  I am trying to imagine how one would “inherit” a piece of notoriously transient first generation hardware.  My daughter’s daughter would have to hit up Future Etsy for an artisanally made cable just to update the firmware.

I’m a believer in this class of device - if you’ve ever been to a convention with and without a Pebble, let’s say, you know that one of these scenarios is a substantial improvement over the other.  At this specific chronojuncture, Pebble Time represents something lower to the ground and closer to what I want, or think I want, but who knows.  A youth spent at the end of a bully’s lash means that in any confrontation, I choose David over Goliath.  Then again, I typically follow up a block of reasoning like this by going and doing precisely the opposite of what I just said.  At PAX Prime, pay close attention to my wrist.

It may be that there is some “must” The Orple Wurtch will be able to do that my phone can’t, some profundity I’m not able to conceive of.  When I look at that app space right now it reminds me of when console manufacturers invent some new, more complicated way of doing some normal Goddamn thing, and now Nathan Drake has to throw his grenades with the Sixaxis or some shit.

I resent it when a new piece of culturally relevant technology comes along and we go with the first fucking term, like Blog or Teledildonics, and we’ll no doubt need to endure a sharp rise in the latter with the advent of the haptic fuck watch.  What needs to happen is that when something gets invented - some cool thing, don’t come around here with your stupid shit - they need to bring that thing to writers and let them take a crack at it before you start in with the Latin Roots Fridge Poetry.  You may wonder what the writers get out of it.  The compensation for these writers is that they won’t have to wince when they order their teledildos from Amazon, because they will actually be called Cydonian Dick Engines.


Monday Sketchdump!

I have a bunch of digital sketches for you this week.

I’m still working on the Noah’s Lighthouse kids book.

I just recently started reading the Dresden Files books. I’m only on the second one but I’m really enjoying the series. I had to do a little Harry Dresden doodle:

Oh shit it’s Rex Ready!

A goofy Daughter of the Eyrewood

This is the sketch for the drawing I did of my older son Gabe as a Lookout:

and in case you missed it last week, this was the finished version:

-Gabe out


Tycho is off getting his first tattoo today and I’m really excited for him. I like the design he chose which is more than I can say for my first tattoo. In fact I know a lot of people who aren’t thrilled with their first tattoo. I got my first one about twenty years ago when Tycho was considering his Gargoyles homage. We were living together at the time and I was looking through some of his RPG books. I found this illustration of a heart with a crown of thorns around it and decided that would be my first tattoo. It’s still sitting there on the back of my calf. If nothing else it reminds me of that time in my life and who I was back then, even if I’m not thrilled with the design itself anymore. 

All the tattoos I’ve gotten since then have been much more meaningful. Right after that I got the Pac-Man tattoo that Gabe has in the comic strip. He has it on his right arm and I have it on my left but otherwise it’s the same. After that I started on my right arm sleeve. It started with a Snake and a Monkey since I was born in the year of the snake and my first son Gabe was born in the year of the Monkey. Then when Noah was born I had a Tiger added. The piece has some other stuff in it as well, all relating to fatherhood and my boys.

Just last week I got another tattoo this time on my left forearm. I’ve been hesitant to get any of my own work tattooed on me. I finally decided that I love the Daughters of the Eyrewood so much I was ready to get one permanently inked on me. I still wasn’t ready to draw it myself though so I went to a local artist named Scott Falbo and asked him to read the Eyrewood stuff and give me his take on a Daughter.  I really love his work and I was super happy with his finished design. In fact I like it so much I think I may ask him to expand on it and turn my left arm into a sleeve dedicated to the Eyrewood.

Speaking of the Eyrewood and my kids, my son Gabe asked if he could be a Lookout. I’ve been drawing Noah a lot since I’m still kicking around ideas for a children’s book with him in it. I figured it was only fair to draw Gabe as well. Here’s the piece I did for him last night.

(click for super big)

Tycho’s tattoo starts at around noon. I’m guessing I’ll get the first “this fucking hurts!” text by 12:15.

-Gabe out

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