Monthly Archives: July 2003

Majestic #6

Not writing about TV today, so I’ll just plug the latest Majestic, the Crime-Fighting Falcon comic. They’re always fun to make. I’ve got a great deal more freedom with photography than I do with sprite comics.

I can crop and change the size of my images very easily. With TPV, I’m limited because the sprites must stay the same size, or they’ll easily be distorted. Another thing that I can change is perspective. Different camera angles can add a lot. I personally liked the over-the-shoulder shot in my latest Majestic comic. I may be doing Majestic comics more regularly.

Winning the Next Military Space Race

Not too long ago, I mentioned how it looked like the US would lose the next space race. Maybe, there’s still a chance. NASA sure looks bad, but maybe the military doesn’t. I found this news article on

My opinion is that we should aggressively pursue weaponizing space because if the US doesn’t, somebody else will. And if somebody else does, the US is… well, fucked. So, I see a few different possible futures. One: Chinese exploration of space, but US capability to blast it to smithereens. Two: Complete Chinese dominance of space, and hence, on land. Three: Both the US and China with weapons in space, but probably the US with an advantage. There are other possibilities, but none of them very likely.

I’ll be going back to commenting on TV tomorrow.

Random Suing Spree

Remember, back on June 4th, when I mentioned Verizon being forced to give up names? Well, as if this wasn’t expected, now the RIAA is going on a random suing spree to try to scare people into not using file sharing. I bet if the RIAA had a way to figure out if you were letting people copy tapes off of stuff you recorded from the radio (back in the day…), they would’ve been suing people left and right for that.

More people use P2P file-sharing than voted for the president. That’s telling you something. File-sharing isn’t going to go away that easily… I think. I’m going to dig up one of my old Discover Magazine articles, back when the case against Napster was new, and I will inform you on that later.

I would never download movies or computer programs online. It would make me feel like I’m stealing. Lots of people put hard work into making a movie happen. Ever sit through the credits? And, I know first hand how much work programming takes.

The prospect of downloading music, however, would make me feel different. Pop stars and their music are manufactured. Practically none of these so-called “artists” have any talent whatsoever. It’s been proved that CDs are a rip-off, otherwise that class-action lawsuit never would have been successful. (How much of a success, I cannot say.) Also, some music people are interested in are older and harder to find. They aren’t sold anymore, unless you want one of those crap CDs they advertise on TV with a billion songs you don’t care for.

When people buy music CDs, they often don’t know what they are getting. Not all the songs on the album have been played ad nauseam on the radio. All that’s known when bought is the title of song and (maybe) the length of the song. At a bookstore, you can look at the book before buying it. Even if you can’t try out a computer game, at least you can read the box and know what it’s about, or find reviews online. Music is different.

Here’s a useful site from the ever-helpful EFF. If you haven’t already, JOIN!

RIAA, evil… synonyms.

A Look at Television: The Sounds, Themes, and Jingles

Although television earns its reputation as a visual medium, sound still plays a major role. In particular, dialogue can do a lot. Try just listening to a show once. You’ll probably still be able to tell what’s going on. That’s not to say visuals aren’t important, but that sound does play a big role. The synching of sound and sight, the most dominant senses, allows us to immerse ourselves in the television environment. It gives us a sense of being there and experiencing what’s happening. Undoubtedly, one can get just as immersed in books. However, with books, imagination must play a big role. With television, the audio and visuals take over the role of our imagination, allowing us to sit back and enjoy the show. This is one of the appeals of television.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a commercial jingle stuck in your head… yeah, that’s what I thought. Just what is it that makes them persist within our minds? Perhaps that will forever be a mystery. I’m merely noting that at first glance, they may seem insignificant, but they do pervade our lives.

Television show theme songs can do the same thing. Many themes just repeat the title over and over. However, that’s not too different from certain regular songs, if one thinks about it. I’m mentioning this because I have the Lupin III theme song stuck in my head. Television show theme songs can be a big part of the show. Think Twilight Zone music, think Twilight Zone TV show. Zany sitcom like stunts… Come and knock on our door…. The themes are a part of pop culture just as much as the TV shows themselves. I don’t know what to make of that.

This concludes the first day of my musings on television.

Losing the Next Space Race

I know I said I was going to talk about TV, but I’ve got a different subject for today.

Unless something drastic happens, we (Americans, I mean) have already lost the next space race. No huge technological leaps have happened. There have been no trips to the moon in years. No human has ever set foot on Mars. The ISS is just sucking up money. The space shuttle is grounded. Like it or not, NASA is not flourishing right now.

Yet, I said there would be a space race; who is supposed to be our competition? Well, before you know it, the Chinese will have sent manned flights into space. While our program is stagnating, theirs is just beginning.

Don’t believe me? You wait: Years from now, it’ll make headlines. With the short attention span the American public has, it’ll die down quickly and no huge changes will be made in NASA. Call me a cynic, but just wait and see.

Since we won’t kick into gear as we did against the Soviets, eventually, the Chinese will surpass our capabilities in space. They will have colonies on the moon, set foot on Mars.

I wish it could be the USA, but I don’t see it happening. I just don’t.

Last Week of ATDP

It’s the last week of ATDP! Whoo! Not that I hate ATDP, I just feel like ATDP has gone on a little too long. I’ll try to scramble the week after and get things done that I haven’t done yet, mostly stuff.

Will write tomorrow…

New School Schedule, whoo

For anyone going to Moreau, here’s my schedule:
1 – Precalc – Rubio
2 – Hon English – Weltchek
3 – French 3 – Schroeder
4 – AP US History – Wilder
5 – Lunch
6 – Wind Ensemble – Newton
7 – Catholic Social Teaching – Armstrong
7 – Maj. Religions – Steeb
8 – Lunch
9 – Chemistry – Fryman
0 – Jazz Ensemble – Newton

For anyone not in Moreau, that schedule probably has no bearing for you and looks kind of funny.

I have a bad feeling about Junior year. I’ve already got tons of HW, and school hasn’t even started. And just like how school hasn’t started, I haven’t started the dumb HW.

Freshman year, I had Ms. Rubio for a sub. Most boring teacher I’ve ever had for a sub. I can’t imagine next year. Oh well, extra sleeping time. By the way, this is the third year in a row I’ve gotten math first period.

I’ve got to read 4 books for English. I already hate my teacher, and I don’t even know her.

Other factoids: 5 on AP Bio exam, 780 on SAT II Bio. All my slacking off really paid off.

What I Did Yesterday

I didn’t update. But here’s something along the lines of what I was thinking of putting:

Yesterday, I woke up. I ate breakfast. It wasn’t that good, so I didn’t eat a lot. Then, I took BART to ATDP. I read a book on BART, and I wrote out scripts for TPV comics.

When I got to Berkeley, I went to my classroom. I browsed on the internet a little bit because class never starts on time. During breaks, I played cards with people. I got new cards, not too long ago. They are Bicycle cards, and they are really smooth, so good to shuffle. Playing cards is fun.

During class, we tried to make a robot that would climb a stair. No one succeeded. Our robot got off the ground, but fell off the stair.

Then, I took BART home. I played cards with a friend on BART, and then read.

I got home. I watched TV and I ate lunch and dinner (not at the same time). I updated TPV on time, for once. It features Captain Nova. I also started writing Chapter 19 of Return to Dawn, which I haven’t worked on in a long time.

Later, I watched The Transporter. It’s an okay movie. The lady in it is annoying. The fight scenes slightly reminded me of Jackie Chan.

I went to bed and didn’t weblog.

And that’s why I don’t write about what I do. Because it’s all crap. It’s boring; I don’t do anything exciting. And, very often, neither do a lot of people. That’s why I write about what I’m thinking instead, because my mind is more interesting.

One could blame the (intentionally) dry writing style, but I still don’t see any point to what I wrote. It’s worse than reality TV. Now, all I have to do is add in some spelling and grammatical errors, take out most of the periods and paragraph breaks, add a few cryptic in-jokes, and, voila, there’s your average weblogger’s entry.

Reciprocating a link to Lloyd. “I found your dry recitation of yesterday’s events rather interesting, actually…” As always, Lloyd makes a good point. Whenever I find things interesting about what people have done, it nearly always contains something unique that piques my interest. Ironically, it’s the dry style that is what’s unique in my writing. Haha.

Coincidentally, Stevie has something related. “What is WITH people and their “trendy” blog-type sites? It amazes me how many people maintain a blogger, xanga, AND livejournal, filling all three with the same pointless chatter…”

Too Many Characters Spoil the Plot

I just completed a storyline in The Perfect Villain where there was a contest to determine TPV’s second-in-command and various lackeys. I had over 20 contestants. I feel as if I pulled it off okay, but it was still a nightmare having so many characters.

Many comics are like TV shows. They are built around characters. So, I had to try going through character development for 20 different characters. Imagine a TV show where they dump 20 new characters. Not an easy task. Many of them, in TPV, didn’t get much character development, and I used some cheap gimmicks like odd speech. (See Carnage.)

It’s a mistake I made early on, but it affected me for a long time. I started it with comic #33, and I finally finish with #97. Even though there’s Captain Nova comics in between, that’s still a lot of comics.

Having too many characters makes it hard for the readers to get to know them. They’ll be shuttled back and forth too much to remember, or not enough, and they’ll start to forget about the earlier characters. During the obstacle/course maze, I had the problem of going between characters too much. I had to write it down, otherwise I would forget who had died, who had got stuck, and who was with who. During the game shows, I had the problem of going between characters too little. I had to look through my archives to remember everything.

Over twenty characters is also a lot of information to remember, as well as to create. With fingers and toes put together, that’s only 20 digits. Oh sure, teachers can remember students in classes, but they’re seeing them on a constant basis and for longer amounts of time than in a comic strip. Completely different dynamics.

There are two ways to deal with having a large number of characters at the same time: 1) Make some main characters, but the rest minor characters. 2) Split them up into groups. Excellent examples of #2 can be seen in many Star Wars: New Jedi Order novels. I did that to an extent, but it wasn’t eloquently done. #1 is done often in novels where there’s war, so characters die more frequently. I didn’t want to do that because then it wouldn’t really be a contest, and I didn’t want to give away who would win. Yet, I was still a little guilty, giving my favorite characters (the ones who make it) more development. So, you could probably tell Senor Scribbles had a fair chance of winning from the beginning.

Well, now I know never to attempt such a thing again.


[may not get to writing today because I’m going somewhere]

No limit Texas Hold’em is the best card game ever.


I have to say, Harry Potter #5 was not as good as the others. Rowling put a lot of emphasis on the characters, which is good, but hardly enough emphasis on plot. The book really ambled along in the beginning. The course of one day taking up how many pages? At least it begins to pick up a little halfway through the book. Oh wait, but halfway is over 400 pages into it.

Towards the beginning, Rowling talks about how the classes are boring. I get enough of how classes are boring at school. I don’t need chapters on it. You talk about boring things and you’re going to bore your readers.

I still don’t know what a Squib is. I wished Rowling had written a little more backstory, and filled in the readers. Not everyone has the previous books to use as reference. (And some people are just too lazy to look it up.)

Oh, about knowing that someone dies, for a while, I thought for sure it was going to be Hagrid, but it didn’t look like it towards the end. So points for Rowling for not making it obvious.

It wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed it towards the end. Especially the bit with the Weasley twins and the battle at the end. (But can never compare to epic Yoda vs. Dooku.) I just think the book would’ve been much better if Rowling had compressed it to about 400 pages. A tighter book would’ve made a better read.

One final comment: That Umbridge puts me in mind of teachers at school. *shiver*

The Manipulation Game

Some people say that life is a game. I’ve been thinking about a new game, concerning life. Happiness is one of my goals. Happiness often involves having fun. Games are fun. Another goal is power. So, I thought of something to combine the two: The Manipulation Game. The game where the goal is to manipulate people. But what to make people do… How about to make people happy? It’s a hard goal to make people happy. There should be more people in on the game. But to be competitive would defeat the purpose. It should be a cooperative game. Yes, a cooperative game for the best and the brightest to manipulate the rest into happiness.

From one (to some) twisted point of view, this would seem a noble goal. It seems that people value freedom more than happiness. I need to examine the reasons behind it some more.

Anyway, I’m going to explore The Manipulation Game in a story I’m writing, of the same name. (Either will be posted here or on

Tomorrow: Harry Potter 5 review, maybe

Not-So-Intelligent Design

Again, I will refer you back to this from Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log and encourage you to look at the links.

I’m not going to write a lot because this doesn’t actually require a lot of thinking. Look at this definition of theory from Intelligent Design is not a theory. It does not make any predictions. ID also has no direct facts that support it. That alone says that ID is simply pseudoscience. Speciation by natural selection, on the other hand, has been directly observed. One more point: the theory of evolution by natural selection only involves the evolution of species from pre-existing ones; it has nothing to do with abiogenesis. You cannot equate the two.

Tomorrow: The Manipulation Game

No Title Needed

Been reading (finished a Star Wars book the other day, started Harry Potter, and reading some other book) and watching TV… ultimate time-wasters… not that this is a bad thing… will write tomorrow…

Trickle Down Shuffle

Okay, that’s actually the name of a (not very good) jazz chart that rips off Sidewinder, which is a good song.

A little story about hyperlinks… My friend’s cousin has a comic. That comic, named Calmok’s Adventures, I mentioned yesterday that I’m hosting. The reason why I offered to host it was that he was going over his bandwith limit at Angelfire. The sudden jump in bandwith was due to an advertisement on Ctrl+Alt+Del, a fairly popular webcomic. (More than fairly.) Tomorrow, I shall see just how much trickle down I got when my webstats are refreshed tomorrow. I’m certain it’s a good amount. Colin (the one with the comic I’m hosting) informed me that near the bottom of the links page, he had a link to one of his friend’s Angelfire sites. That site is now over its bandwith limit. Must be from his site, no? Now, how much am I going to get, if there’s a link to me (via The Perfect Villain) on the front page, in one of the recent newsposts.

That, my friends, is the value of a hyperlink. (I’ve mentioned this before.) You can go from here to there very easily. One person’s good fortune can mean good fortune for those that he acknowledges.

That’s also the value of targeted advertisement. Webcomics advertising other webcomics will be more likely to get hits than a bank site advertising fireworks.

I have a link to this weblog on the front page of I shall also have to see how much trickle down I get from there.

I must also update TPV. It’s supposed to be updated twice a week. I’m not even close, as of now.

Will be commenting on this entry from Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log, relating to an airing of a show on intelligent design.

Institute For Creating Fictional Persons

But first, there was this fairly large fire right near my house today. I think I see news crews (or someone with cameras) out there right now, 10:44 PM PST. Well, before we figured out there was a fire, there was a big boom. Obviously, fireworks. Obviously, illegal fireworks. Especially since there was a fairly large, prominently displayed sign on the street leading up to our hill that says, “No fireworks east of Mission Blvd.” There’s a lot of dry brush on the hills, and I could see why they weren’t allowed. However, ironically, there was a fireworks stand at the little corner shops, which is next to the huge sign. Oh, if any of you saw it on the news, no I didn’t have to evacuate or anything. Damn news media makes everything out to be bigger than it is. Usually, I light fireworks at someone else’s place, still in the same city, but not this year. Actually, I went to Berkeley. Cold cold place next to the water. And an impressive fireworks show. That’s why I didn’t really post yesterday.

I’m now hosting Calmok’s Adventures via You might want to check that comic out.

The Institute For Creating Fictional Persons was something I made up a while ago. It’s a type of conspiracy organization I made up. It’s job is to create fake people.

Online, it’s practically impossible to tell if who you’re talking to is really that person. Let’s say you talk to me on Instant Messenger, and you’ve never talked to me before. How do you know I am who I say I am? You can’t. Let’s take this one step further: How do you even know that I’m a real person? Say, someone created a sophisticated experimental AI. Similar to SmarterChild, only with more sayings, and random time delays. You could be talking to a robot.

Take it one more step further: Let’s say the people you meet in real life aren’t really people. Maybe holograms. Maybe androids. Could you know?

An organization full of people devoted to creating fake people. Making up histories for them. Making up places for them to go. Making up things for them to say.

I’m not a real person writing this weblog. This was a bunch of people writing this weblog, trying to create the consistent voice of one person writing it. Only you didn’t know it.

Okay, I lied. But how can you tell?


Continuity is a good thing in stories. As funny as randomness can be, continuity is the glue that holds the audiences eyes to the TV screen, or whatever the medium may be. Stories are only stories when they tell a story; that means there needs to be continuity.

Trust Us, We’re Experts

I just got a book titled Trust Us, We’re Experts!, and it’s by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. I’ve barely read anything, but it’s pretty interesting. It’s about how companies manipulate science to spin facts (and falses) to deceive the public. Good read.