You Are Here…ish

I guess they should have stuck with iOS 5th edition. BANG! ZOOM! ETC! And thus I have exhausted my knowledge of Dungeons and/ or Dragons. Wait, one more. Maybe they should have stuck with the GPS… GRAPH PAPER SYST[bursts into flames, explodes forever]

Big thanks to my pal, Joseph Scrimshaw, for inspiring this comic with a tweet. Speaking of ScrimTweets, once on a boat Joseph made me laugh so hard the boat sank.

I am an Apple fanboy, but not an Apple apologist. When they screw up, I am the first to admit it. With their new Google Maps replacement app, Apple certainly screwed the pooch, humped the pumpkin and hosed the Brony in the grandest fashion. I was really looking forward to a turn by turn directions situation that let me yell my desired destination at Siri, but the press has been so bad and the user reactions so negative that I haven’t even opened the Maps app, yet.

For now I am sticking with the Google Maps web App for every day map-looking-both-up-and-at and Navigon for in-car GPS. Navigon is really a fantastic app and the price has been cut by over 50% since it was first offered. If you need a true GPS unit replacement app, you can’t really go wrong for $40. I especially love how they let you download only the states you plan to drive in so you don’t have to keep gb’s of map data on your phone. The interface is easy to read, the voice synth is clear (and often humorous with pronunciations), the maps are up to date and it works offline/sans cell data connection. It has saved my ass at least a dozen times.

COMMENTERS: Give me your GPS, Google Maps, Apple Maps related horror stories. Was the map the cause or the cure of your strife? The first year I went to San Diego Comicon, I stayed in an extended stay motel about 35 minutes away. One night I took a cab back to the motel. About 5 minutes in I told the driver I thought she was going the wrong way. She assured me all was well and she had been there before. 15 minutes in I said, “I’ve never seen any of this before. Are you sure?” Again, she was positive we were A-OK. I pulled out my phone and plotted the Convention Center, the motel and our current location, a tiny blue dot moving increasingly further and further away from and in the opposite direction of the red dot that represented my air mattress and suitcases. She stared at it a bit then finally agreed to turn around. I agreed (without really opening it up for debate) that I would not be paying for all of the time and miles in which she drove me wherever the hell she thought I wanted to go.

Scalzi Comic Dare: All My Sweet Pitches

HijiNKS ENSUE PODCAST Episode 87 “” is live!

Alternate Title: Pitch Slapped
Alternate Alternate Title: Pitch Slapped 2: Pitch Better Have My Money

In the past, only Wil Wheaton has been deemed worthy to wield the power of THE COMIC DARE. This week, however, another was found who possessed the strength of will and the Strength Of Wil (TM) required to harness The Comic Dare’s awesome might and use it for its most righteous purpose: SAYING DUMB STUFF ON TWITTER THEN FORCING ME TO DRAW IT! That person, the Beta Ray Bill to Wheaton’s mighty Thor is noted sci-fi author, Internet opinions haver, and celebrated balding ukester JOHN SCALZI (hold for applause).

Scalzi occasionally finds himself in the precarious position of being asked by TV executives how to put things on our watching boxes that are not overwhelming terrible, reprehensible and offensive. So far they don’t seem to be taking his advice to heart. He had just one such meeting earlier this week at which he pitched original ideas for shows, and clarified via INTERNET SHOUTING that said shows would not involve “goats, vampires or sleuths with mental issues.” As we all know, these are the three cornerstones of modern televised shenanigans. Well, the last two are. The goats… must be an Ohio thing. Subsequently he issued the challenge to bring Sherlock: Vampire Goat to life and I, obliged by my 1000 year curse… uh, obliged.

TV is at an all-time weirdness juncture. It is currently producing fictional dramas and comedies that will certainly go down in history as “the best things humanity was able to accomplish before The Fire Ocean cleansed the Earth of all Mankind” (Breaking Bad, Sherlock, Game Of Thrones, Community). But it is also falling prey to a dangerous trend in which networks do not simply steal genre ideas from each other (“You got a cop show, a medical show and a medical cop show? We got those too! Suck it!”), but they now steal ENTIRE SHOWS from each other and put them on the air AT THE SAME TIME. Sherlock is a modernized version of A.C.D.’s Holmes and it is essentially perfect. CBS saw that show and thought, “Yeah! Let’s do exactly that right now while they’re still doing it try to stop us you can’t HAHAHAHAH!” And now we will soon have Elementary. House M.D. (which was also based on Holmes… so in addition to the remaking current shows epidemic, we also have the “Every show is about Sherlock Holmes” epidemic) was off the air for many 15 minutes before another 3 or 4 “I’m kind of crazy, but also brilliant, but it’s my craziness that lets me see the world in a particular way and catch things others miss and it also makes relationships hard and it also makes me seem like a jerk because I am” shows got the green light. Perception is the only one that comes to mind immediately, but I am almost certain and totally unwilling to further research that there are more. LOTS more. Is Numb3rs still on TV?

At least every network tried their hand at the “fairytales are totally real” genre this year. Vampires? Forget about it. The CW just started making “Twilight: The Horrible Show on TV instead of the HORRIBLE movies in the theater” before Edward even married that werewolf frankenstein or whatever happens in those things. I know that doesn’t fit the premise I’m trying to establish because I don’t think there are any other vampire romance shows besides The Vampire Diaries… oh wait, Trueblood. There you go. I’m still right.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that televised fiction is currently straddling the finest of lines between its crowning achievement and it’s most uninspired dreck.  There’s lots of middle ground, but most of it is so unremarkable it isn’t worth mentioning. By not being quite as bad and the worst stuff on the air, it becomes wholly forgettable. Save us, Scalzi! Save us from the Hollywood Industrial Machine that you are now apparently a part of! Oh, and call me about SH:VG. I’ve got some ideas for Moriarty.

COMMENTERS: Feel free to pitch your own “Current TV Trend Mashup” show idea.  

UPDATE: Scalzi speaks. 

Location, Location, Location

The first mini-story arc is over. There are going to be a couple of stand alone gag comics before the next bit of continuity starts. Read more about the new direction I am taking the comic in and how you can help HERE if you haven’t already.

Gigantic thanks to everyone that has donated last week, especially to the new donation subscribers. If you enjoy HE and would like to see it continue and even flourish, I have added $2, $3, and $4 monthly donation subscription options. If you can spare $2 a month for a bunch of comics, I would consider you to be a pretty awesome type of person.

Who would have known Sean Hannity was decended from the Qartheen

Game Of Thrones basically boils down to matters of real estate. Everyone wants to be their own, as well as everyone else’s, landlord. The desire to collect rent AND not pay it are the only real driving forces behind those seeking power in Westeros. Well, that and sex. Everyone does seem to enjoy a healthy bit of boot-knockery. Everyone except Jon Snow, that is. I bet even Hodor has a romantic trist with a wine barrel or a dresser every now and then. A giant has needs. Hodor (Hodor).

A few notes about Season 2 of Game Of Thrones: A couple of episodes back when Tyrion slapped Joffrey and delivered the line, “And now I have struck a king. Did my hand fall from my wrist?!” I ran out into the street and slapped the shit out of the first privileged blond boy I could find. Stop seducing me, Peter Dinklage! I am a married man (call me)! Is the richest guy in Qarth named Count Duckula Ducksauce? It sure sounds like that’s what he’s saying. Don’t tell me if that isn’t his name. For next season, they either need twice as many episodes or to kill all of the characters twice as fast. As it is, each of the 11 storylines only get a few minutes of screen time a week, which is INCREDIBLY frustrating. I miss Ned.

Now, I’m going to go draw a bath, pour myself a glass of wine and watch a 4 hour loop of Tyrion slapping Joffrey. I’ll probably light some candles.

I am going to be at Dallas Comic Con this weekend with Randy Milholland of Something Positive. I will ONLY BE THERE SATURDAY. Randy will be there Saturday and Sunday. You can find us at table 132. I will have books, prints, stickers and sketch cards, but no shirts. Really testing the waters on this one. If you guys come out and make it a good show, I will probably be back next year in full force.

HijinKS ENSUE at Dallas Comic Con 2012

COMMENTERS: Please make your own “Welcome To…” or other tourism-type slogan for you favorite or least favorite fictional city, village, planet, dimension, etc. 

NOTE TO RSS READERS: Based on all of your feedback I have decided to try just putting a thumbnail image with full blog posts in the RSS feed. Seems like most of you don’t mind clicking through since you are using the RSS just a reminder that there is a new comic. Here’s hoping this doesn’t impair the usability of the site for you, since it has the potential to greatly impact my ad revenue. I am also working on the possibility of a premium RSS feed for donation subscribers.

UPDATE 05/18/12: Donation subscribers of any level will get access to an RSS feed with the full comic in it.

The Itty Bitty Symphony

“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

As last Sunday approached I really did start to get desperate. Without adding HBO to my already bloated television package, how was I going to watch Game of Thrones? I was lucky enough to shotgun all of season one  during a weekend long HBO free preview last June, but no such serendipity presented itself this time around. I assumed that, this being a non-insane world, I would be able to purchase HBO Go on my iPad and hook it up to my TV for the weekly viewings of beheadings and blood fountains and wolf maulings and such. Turns out this is in fact a TOTALLY INSANE WORLD, where HBO only offers it’s mobile service to those that ALREADY pay for HBO through their cable or satellite provider. You would think they would want, let’s say, $6-10 a month from all of the people who want to watch their content but don’t want 275 other channels of bullshit. It is one of those “shut up and take my money!” situations where the other party REFUSES to A) shut up and B) take the aforementioned monies.

I know this frustration is the result of existing deals the premium channels have with the cable companies that stipulate they not offer their content a la carte. The reason for these deals is to keep you paying $100 a month to get the 10 channels you watch instead of paying $2 or $3 a month per channel for those same 10 channels. Cable companies essentially operate under a model of prolonged denial of their own obsolescence enforced via content providers acting against their own best interests out of fear of change. It’s really a great system where everyone wins, only the prize is sadness. The concept of a cable company is broken. They know it and they also know that they are no longer necessary. Channels will be apps in less than 5 years. If you embrace that idea now, you might not end up like the record industry, you stupid dummies.

Luckily, my television provider just so happened to be offering 3 months of free HBO right when Game Of Thrones was about to premiere. I assumed the two events must be connected, but I couldn’t figure out how it benefitted AT&T (the provider in question). The only thing I could think of was that they are hoping to stifle anyone that might leave for another company offering new subscribers a billion free channels (including HBO) for the first 6 months, or that HBO requested the deal to get new users hooked on that sweet, sticky GoT. The first season’s free, as it were.

Speaking of Game Of Thrones, I did finally see the premiere last night and DAMN if it didn’t remind me what I was so excited about 9 months ago. Every single second Peter Dinklage is on screen I am essentially giggling with excitement. He absolutely owns every line and steals every scene. Even those he isn’t in, because I am still thinking about him. He’s like Poochie. Every time he’s off screen the other characters should be saying “Where’s Tyrion?” He puts the “IMP” in PIMP. My only criticism (and this is more George R. R. We There Yet‘s fault) is that with SO MANY new characters, new plot threads and new claims to the throne, it is difficult to see any one plot line or character arch progress during a single hour long episode. Alright, I have to get going. This three-eyed crow isn’t going to have nightmares about itself!

COMMENTERS: What did you think of the GoT premiere? If you are posting SPOILERS, please tag you comments appropriately. What’s the most complicated or expensive thing you’ve ever done to get to watch any one show? When I was a teenager, my home town stopped carrying Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I had a girlfriend that lived out in the sticks and she was able to pick up Houston’s paramount affiliate on her 30 foot tall arial antenna. I would drive a tape to her house, she would record a month or so worth of episodes and I would watch them all in a sitting. DS9 was one of the primary reasons I was not able to break up with her LONG after I realized we had nothing in common.

The Red And Blue Glasses Of Westmarch

The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

Nothing says, “I bought you some stuff from the Internet,” like buying people stuff from the Internet. 

HijiNKS ENSUE At Austin ComicCon - Wizard World Austin

November 11-13 at the Austin Convention Center! Look for me in the artist alley. 

The problem with 3D technology in modern cinema is that is it usually an unnecessary add-on designed to create false buzz and inflate ticket prices. Sure, occasionally a pick-axe or severed appendage will fly out of the screen and into your face, but it doesn’t really add anything to the overall experience. Say what you will about Avatar, but seeing that film in 3D was an experience unto itself. It truly was beautiful and it felt nothing like just “seeing” a movie. It felt like living through an event. I actually read that well-done 3D can trick your brain into storing movies in the place that it would normally store memories of real events. That said, most 3D movies trick your bain into spending money on them, sitting through them then storing the memories in the same place you lock away 4th grade wedgies, 5th grade accidental farts during book reports and 10th grade atomic wedgies.

Avatar showed us what 3D can be in the hands of someone that views it as a story telling medium unto itself, rather than just a gimmick. After watching Peter Jackson’s recent The Hobbit video diary, I feel like we might not be so quick to dismiss 3D as a flash in the pan studio money-grab. The tech he is developing and the techniques they are using to create The Hobbit are truly astounding. First of all they are shooting at 48 FPS (movies are 24FPS and we see around 60FPS) at 5K! That’s nearly 5 times more information than our best HD, being recorded at twice the frame rate. He says in the video that people equate viewing the footage to having the back of the theater cut out, and just watching real event happening on the other side. If that doesn’t get you excited, then your mind has surely been warped and twisted by Sauron. Also, by the last few Final Destination and Saw movies.

Perhaps we should start regulating what movies can and can’t be shot in 3D. Maybe there should be a test, or a review panel consisting of James Cameron, Peter Jackson and “Weird” Al Yankovic.

COMMENTERS: PLEASE WATCH THAT PRODUCTION DIARY! Ok, now are you feeling any sort of increased enthusiasm about 3D? If not, why? Where do you want to see this tech go? Obviously every movie doesn’t need to be in 3D. Where do we draw the line?