May 2nd, 2020

#7127: Blasts from the past

I think everyone tries his hand at cartooning when younger. I had friends who were into comics, so I was perhaps more heavily influenced than most to do so. And to this day I still draw things, doodles mostly--but sometimes a doodle gets some legs and turns into a page or so.

Sometime in the last eighteen to twenty-four months I was doodling at work because I had nothing else to do, and the old characters emerged: Mr. Mini Midget, Atom Man, and Hot Dog Man. (Such inventive names, I know.) Mr. Mini Midget was basically a pudgy, short stick man. Atom Man was a dot. Hot Dog Man, however, was a hot dog with arms, legs, and a face--not anything artistic, mind you, as the arms and legs belonged to a stick figure, but the face let him show expression.

Later I invented martians, who--despite being stick figures--nonetheless had a surprisingly large range of expression. I could (and still can) make a martian look angry, disgusted, worried, embarassed, happy, skeptical, cheerful--whatever I needed, because they had visible eyes and eyebrows. So the other characters fell by the wayside, and were replaced with stick-men. Smoker, distinguished by the lit cigarette, and his NoSmoke lighter (which is basically just a mini flamethrower that burns your lips off when you try to use it, helping you to quit smoking); Kano, the immortal hero of the universe and his midget sidekick Tino; and several unnamed stick guys. (And gals, distinguished usually by long hair and boobs.) Kano and Tino and their various nemeses pretty much ended their run after high school. And there were the twin space explorers, Pastor and Collux, who traveled the universe in the Astro, a Lunar Lander knock-off.

Any-dang-way: while doodling at work I remembered the old characters and dragged them out for a little reunion, and to my surprise, I was able to draw Hot Dog Man better than I ever did before. I realized that because of my foray into drawing manga, my skills have improved, and it's actually harder for me to draw Hot Dog Man the way I always used to, which was primarily in profile. And not only that, but the poses and such were more dynamic. In this new incarnation, though, he's treated like a clueless pest by the new cast. When he shows up, everyone groans inwardly.

Drew a picture of him running and saying, "Better hurry! I don't RELISH being late!" He then stops and looks from side to side, grinning, "Ha? Ha?" And not getting the reaction he wants, he says angrily, "Oh, c'mon! That's COMEDY GOLD!" Then a heckler throws relish on him and he says, "Real mature! You guys are DICKS!"

I did not say it was art for the ages. recurring joke in the latest notebooks is a cloud of dust labeled "Extreme Violence". It's meant to evoke the scenes in some comics where there is a brief fight between two characters...except in this case it's an actual character. Extreme Violence's first appearance was when two characters were arguing over something, and the next panel showed Extreme Violence hanging there, only to have the other two characters (in the panel after that) tell him to go away and decide to go get a beer.

Somehow, Extreme Violence turned out to be a communist, and every time he popped up they'd tell him to leave--until the most recent one, where he appeared and the two arguing characters just glared at him until he left.

But it turns out that Extreme Violence has a family--at least, Normal Violence, his father, who works very hard to send Extreme Violence to college and is disappointed by his foray into radical politics. All this came out because two martians were fighting ("That's disgusting!" "YOU'RE disgusting!") over, it turns out, hentai Pokemon doujins.

A: That's not canon!

B: It is in my HEART!

...and between exchanges they fight--"Actual Violence"--and AV argues with his son EV in those panels (well, until the martians tell him to handle his family drama on his own time).

This kind of thing is why I started to number my notebooks, or date them one way or another, 'way back in high school: the doodles end up being serial. What was originally intended to be a one-off gag turns into a running joke, then gets a backstory, and a complex narrative emerges.

All of this happens on lined notebook paper which does not scan at all well--I've tried--and my handwriting is so bad it's practically a one-way cipher, so to present any of it on-line would require extensive rework. What I do want to do, though, is to get one of those fancy Aura book scanners and scan all my notebooks.

You know: that has been a desire of mine since the early 1990s. My original idea was to scan the notebooks and save the images to Bernoulli Drive disks. As time went on it went from that to Zip disks to CD-Rs; now I could probably fit the entire collection onto a single DVD-R.

But once I have that digital archive, then I could pull out the comic elements and paste them into a collection; furthermore, given the right tools I could replace the text with something legible. I'd still have to be careful of copyright concerns but as long as I wasn't making any money off the thing it all would fall under "fair use".

So just add that last bit to the list of stuff I want to do, I suppose.

#7128: I guess it was pretty effective, then

I'm not sure what's going on here, exactly, but Michael Moore is involved with a documentary that exposes the fraud behind the green movement.

I referred to that the other day, with a link to a AoSHQ post which talked about the net energy ROI of solar panels approximating unity.

Arse Technica, the global warming resource, pans it mercilessly. Of course. It's kind of fun to read that article because they are so clearly enraged by the existence of this movie.
Demonstrably false claims come fast and furious. It's said multiple times that fossil fuel plants have to "idle" all day to ramp up when solar or wind dips and that this is worse than simply running the fossil fuel plant all day instead. We're similarly told that using grid storage batteries to smooth out supply from increased renewables makes things worse rather than better (because of battery manufacturing). And hydrogen? That can only be produced from petroleum, we learn, as if splitting water wasn't the main argument for expanding hydrogen use.
So, if these claims are "demonstrably false", where is your demonstration? Let me explain to you why they're not false claims.

Fossil fuel plants are designed to run most efficiently at a certain speed. That means they produce the maximum amount of electricity for a minimum amount of fuel. If you turn them down to "idle", though, you need to keep everything ready to ramp up at a moment's notice, but at idle they're not running efficiently--which means they burn more fuel and emit more gunk into the air per unit of heat output than they do at speed.

Remember this bit from the energy crisis? "Your MPG at idle is zero."

Unless you plan to have the grid storage batteries be brought down from on high by an archangel, then yes they are going to have to be manufactured, and it takes energy to make them, and that energy is likely to be generated by burning fossil fuels. Not to mention that the kinds of batteries you need will be made using dirty processes, using lots of cobalt and rare earth metals. And that means an energy investment and an environmental impact which dwarf the costs of just using fossil fuels.

The thing about producing hydrogen from water--making hydrogen from fossil fuel is essentially a "downhill" reaction--it doesn't take much energy to do it. But electrolyzing water is an uphill reaction, meaning you have to put a lot of energy into it. And because of the Laws of Thermodynamcs, you will put in more energy than you will get back out. Hydrogen from water is an energy storage medium and it's a pretty inefficient one to boot.

Basically, the renewable energy economy only works if you get something for free from somewhere. Otherwise, solar-wind-biomass cost as much energy as they produce. As I said above, if you can somehow enlist the help of angels to handle one aspect or another of the transaction--but if you can't do that, and if you can't otherwise produce a thermodynamic miracle, then all you're doing is raising the price of electricity for no real benefit.

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The communists are really going after the landlords because "property is theft".

If you've signed a lease that says you will pay $X per month, then it's your legal obligation to do so--and if you fail to pay your rent, then your landlord has every right to evict you.

* * *

Chest congestion that won't quit--talked to doc on the phone and I now have to go pick up a pair of prescriptions. That means getting dressed and putting on a mask and waiting in line at the store to get in, like this was fucking Soviet Russia or something.

Hey, comrade, how long will it be before I can't complain about it in public? Or are we already there?