The Death and Rebirth of The Points Between

Submitted by C B Wright on

Once upon a time I was happily writing a serial called The Points Between. It was a story I was incredibly passionate about telling -- a story that was viscerally important to me, even though it was way out of my comfort zone and far, far above my level of expertise -- and I'd actually finished an entire arc, and had started on the second arc, when a bunch of inconvenient things happened. The result of these inconvenient things was that the story has remained dormant for years: not dead, because it's never a story I've given up on, but dormant. I needed to make some decisions, and I didn't know what decisions I wanted to make.

I've made those decisions, and am in the process of moving forward. This is the story of that interminable process, and what came out of it.

The Points Between is, in my head, a story with three arcs. The first arc, where Matthew discovered he was a magician, was finished. The second arc, where he had to discover what that meant, was getting started. The third arc, where he had to choose how to use what he knew, was being set up. I was generally pleased with most of what I'd written, but there were a few things I'd done that had bothered me:

Help Desk Turns 18

Submitted by C B Wright on

18 years ago today Help Desk appeared for the first time on a web site devoted to news about an operating system some of you may not even remember these days. Each complete comic had to be under 12-15k in size in order for it to load in a reasonable amount of time on a 28.8 modem—15k was pushing it. The first comic was 12.8k in size, and my artistic ability was even worse than it is today. I know that's hard to believe, so here's proof:

That was the very first comic I ever published. It's... not even particularly funny, to be honest.

When I started this I didn't really think it'd keep going for 18 years. I know there will be people who will point out that in terms of raw output, whether or not I “deserve” to claim 18 years of comics is debatable—certainly there are comics who have been around for less time but who have vastly greater archives (just browse over to the Schlock Mercenary archives for the best example of that). Help Desk has had plenty of production lapses which make it eligible for any number of asterisks you like next to the phrase “18 years,” from 1997 (only two comics published) to the pretty regular “weeks and months without updates” my long-term readers have become resigned to. Even so, if you take the total number of comics I've published and you spread them out over 18 years, you get about two and a half comics a week, which is better than the one comic week schedule I started with. And if you add on top of that the occasional Kernel Panic, the even more occasional Old School Webcomic, the amazingly infrequent PCtown (surprise guys!) and—since 2010—my forays into fiction... I'm pretty pleased with my output. Even on its own, even taking into account the irregular updates, 18 years requires a certain amount of endurance, especially when you've got a comic that's not just self-published, it's also mostly self-financed.

So yeah, Help Desk is an adult now. That's a pretty interesting feeling. And like many people who find that they've suddenly come of age, Help Desk finds itself at a crossroads—it doesn't really know what it wants to do with its life. Most of the options it sees are kind of depressing, and it can't really afford college. Hey, maybe it should start a band.

I was 24 when I started the comic, and I'm 42 now. I'm not really sure how to process that.

The Eviscerati Coffee Consumption Scale

Submitted by C B Wright on

In keeping with the kind of week I've been having, I present to you the Eviscerati Coffee Consumption Scale, or ECCS. ECCS is designed to measure critical levels of coffee consumption, which in turn is used to evaluate other environmental conditions which may be influencing said levels of coffee consumption.

ECCS Levels are described below. Check with your employer to determine if your company is adequately prepared to respond to these scenarios:

ECCS Level 1

ECCS Level 1

Minor coffee event.

Top Seven Characters of Middle Earth who Resisted the Corruption of the One Ring Rather Well

Submitted by C B Wright on

Last week I had to go on a business trip to Richmond. It's an 11-13 hour drive each way, and part of that journey gave me enough time to listen to about 5% of the audiobook recording of The Lord of the Rings (seriously--that's a ridiculously long audiobook, even if you skip over all the appendices at the end). As I was listening to this audiobook, I noted two things:

1. Listening to someone read about Hobbits makes me hungry.

2. For all the talk about how absolutely fatal the One True Ring was when it started tempting you, there were people who did rather well when the time came to face it down.

There's not much to tell about #1--it's pretty self-explanatory--but #2 distracted me for a while, because while the One Ring is described throughout the book as an Irresistable Force there are actually quite a few characters in the book that... well... resist it. Some resist more than others, but there are at least seven characters who resist it to an extent that must have pissed Sauron off but good.

So... without further ado, the Top Seven Characters of Middle Earth who Resisted the Corruption of the One Ring Rather Well:

#7: SARUMAN

Let the Record Show

Submitted by C B Wright on

Last night on Twitter I found myself in a state of what might best be termed "in high dudgeon."1 The dudgeon relates to a particular theory concerning writers and their priorities, and the dudgeon was high enough that I felt it appropriate to declaim, in 140 character snippets, the following:

(more after the more-thingy)

  • 1. a feeling of intense indignation (now used only in the phrase `in high dudgeon') - WordNetWeb

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