Friday Notes

By Shamus Posted Friday Dec 19, 2008

Filed under: Personal 47 comments

I didn’t have time to finish up the final post in the Fallout series, so we’ll have to wait until Monday to have that conversation. Actually, it’s not that it’s not “done” as much as I realized I was beating a long-dead horse and it would have made for a laborious read.

In other news, today’s Stolen Pixels launched, and promptly landed again with a dull, wet thud. A sound not unlike that of a body striking the ground in the desert, right beside a freshly-dug hole. I’ve been excited about this one for a while and I think it’s thought is was my best work so far. And it’s garnered what might be generously referred to as a halfhearted “meh”. At first this stunned me like a blow to the forehead. I was prepared for rejection. Or confusion. But apathy?

Then I looked at my logs here on this site, and realized the internet (or at least my corner of it) is a ghost town today. It’s the Friday before Christmas. I think school is out, college kids are home, and people just aren’t around right now. Still, 2 comments? Merry Christmas Shamus! Santa has brought you a box of FAIL.

At the risk of ruining a joke by explaining it, Travis Taylor is just a character I’ve added to the comic. I don’t know how often he’ll show up, but it will be handy to have an ongoing personality aside from the EA Guy. I like the EA Guy, but I’m just about out of usable pictures of him. I’m explaining this because people keep telling me this new guy isn’t as funny as I am, which is either a very polite insult or a painful compliment. It’s a bit like someone sharing an ice cream cone with you by launching it at your head with a baseball pitcher. Delicious and painful.

Also, in response to about a thousand (give or take 995) requests, I started one of those twitter things. I expect to amuse myself with it for a few days and then lose interest, as most people do. But there it is, while it lasts.

Right. Back to work.


From The Archives:

47 thoughts on “Friday Notes

  1. Shinjin says:

    I'm explaining this because people keep telling me this new guy isn't as funny as I am

    Which I thought was hilarious since it seemed obvious that “that Travis guy” was just a persona for the strip. I considered explaining it, but

    a – I thought you might want to continue that joke within the thread

    b – I have yet to feel the urge to create yet another forum account

    c – I couldn’t think of a way to post the persona spoiler without coming off like an asshat.

  2. Factoid says:

    If it makes you feel better I think it was one of your better ones, but honestly it took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t actually a guest strip. Then I thought you were making fun of a real guy. Then I finally had the “I see what you did there” moment.

    The strip was funny all along, it just took a minute to understand the subtext of what was going on.

    And I’m with Shinjin…I’m not a fan of the forum account posting system. Tell the escapist they’d have better luck with a standard comment thread.

  3. Groboclown says:

    You are not alone, Shamus.

    We’re here. We’re just turning into Zombies in preparation for overtaking the world on Christmas day.

    I just ask that you don’t move this over to Twitter. I have a feeling you’ll lose some of us.

  4. ydant says:

    I had a suspicion that Travis was really you, but I skimmed over the comic (and didn’t really pay attention) precisely because you announced it as a guest strip. I abhor guest strips in the comics I read – I’d rather just see the original person’s work and endure a missed strip or two instead. Sorry for treating yours in the same way – it’s reflex at this point.

    In this day of RSS I don’t know why people feel a compulsion to fill dead space with a guest strip or an pretty much empty blog post. I have so many feeds that I’m not concerned if I miss a day of some person’s blog/comic. I do miss your ramblings, but I’m not going to dump you over not seeing them.

  5. Rhykker says:

    I thought it was a guest strip. I don’t know anything about the Escapist other than this Escapist person hosts your webcomic (I’m being deliberately obtuse), so I figured he was some geek-celebrity from the site.

    I actually found it really funny. In fact, I liked it so much, I felt guilty – you should *never* like a guest strip as much as the regular comic.

    Sorry I don’t comment on the Escapist – I visit your site from several different computers, be they at home, work, or school, and having to log on every time to comment is a turnoff.

  6. Mike says:

    Well, obviously, everyone is busy watching the recount!


  7. MintSkittle says:

    I gotta kick out of the MGS4 mustache award, because I just watched Screwattack’s Top Ten Beards:

  8. July says:

    I have to admit, you had me fooled… Maybe if I’d caught the “travesty” joke sooner, I would have gotten it.

  9. elias says:

    I didn’t get it til it was explained in the comments thread. I think people often do automatically think something’s worse if it’s not what they’re expecting (discounting guest strips out of hand being the example here), so you shouldn’t take the “meh” and the “not as funny” comments too seriously. The joke was just too subtle. (shrug)

    As far as the registering for the forums thing goes, I think The Escapist does have a pretty nifty forum system going which I haven’t seen anywhere else, with the badges and stuff. I don’t mind that it’s not a regular comments thread.

  10. Joe Cool says:

    This Stolen Pixels really didn’t catch my attention the way you usually do, Shamus. I think it’s because I was expecting you to go in another direction from what you did. When I figured out that Travis T. was an invented persona, I really expected you to dig into the gaming media, and rip into them for the Gamespot/Gertsmann and Eidos/Tomb Raider reviews issues, the way you use EA guy for really biting satire against EA. The first panel sorta followed that line, but from there, you went with gentler, more general satire about game journalism, MGS4, and Mirror’s Edge.

    Which is not to say it wasn’t funny. It just threw me for such a loop, I was too taken aback to remember to laugh. My thoughts were something like “Oh, dude! Shamus is going to rip into the gaming media! This will be hilar- wait, what? Mirror’s Edge? Oh, yeah, I guess that’s funny too.”

    In short, how dare you not follow the expectations of some random stranger you’ve never met, and has only trolled a couple times previously on your site.

  11. Shamus says:

    JoeCool: Pistols at dawn, then.

  12. Josh says:

    I don’t comment on The Escapist, but I saw the comic and I think it’s one of the best so far. Great work!

    I don’t get why people are calling the joke too subtle. I got that Travis was you two lines into the comic.

  13. Hal says:

    I’m curious, Shamus, did you come up with the t-shirt on your own, or did you see it somewhere?

    Not that it’s your audience, but I’m sure there’s a pack of ravenous Halo fanboys out there who will pay a mint for them.

  14. Shamus says:

    Hal: I came up with it on my own, although I’d be shocked if someone else hasn’t beaten me to it.

  15. Ingvar says:

    Actually a comment on a passage in the Stolen Pixels annouce post:

    Edit: And please don't be shy about leaving comments. I don't know what the deal is. There have been less comments than ever, even as traffic for the comic has grown. What the heck?

    I can tell you why I generally do not comment on Stolen Pixels. It’s another registration, another name to remember and another password. So, while I’d be happy to comment on it here (or via private email, if you’d prefer), but, no, not there.

    FWIW, I kinda liked it, but was half wondering if it was a real game reviewer or not.

  16. Iain Coleman says:

    As an almost-award-winning blog commenter, I thought it was bloody funny.

  17. illiterate says:

    i have to admit, this one sailed right over my head too, shamus. i don’t know the escapist staff well enough to have caught it.

    the name “travis” should have clued me in, and my eyes were spinning at your whole “this man is a hack” thing. it really didn’t sound like you to say that about someone who had done a guest strip for you (even if you’d hated it, i didn’t think you’d handle it that way)

    The guest strip theory got some credence from the popular misconception (or mine anyways) that you can’t draw. Your work is much nicer than mine, at least.

    if no-one else has sold that shirt, you should.

    on an off-topic note, shamus, i just had a moment where i truly envied your work-from-home model. i have the rare occasion of having to work from home today, as there is ice on all the roads and my car simply isn’t equipped to cope with it. just a bit ago, my 4-year old came bursting in (I was between calls, so i didn’t shoo him away), and we got to spend some time playing before his mother dragged him away so I could work.

    do your kids have rules about when they are and aren’t allowed to talk to you? i would expect it to be different, as your job doesn’t require you to be on the phone (mine does part of the time), but i would also expect the kids to be a productivity killer if unchecked.

  18. TehShrike says:

    I had to Google Travis’ name – I wasn’t sure if Shamus was making fun of a real reviewer who was some sort of a travesty.

    Also, yay for the Twitter!

  19. Shamus says:

    illiterate: My working from home is pretty much what makes this site possible. If I had a commute, and if I needed that wind up / decompress thing that goes with coming and going from an office, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with this place.

    The kids aren’t allowed into my home office during “work hours” which is usually 8-5 but is now 6am-5pm while I’m on The Big Project. Like all kids, they blunder in talking once in a while, but mostly I work in peace.

    I’m actually on the phone quite a bit as well, although we’ve started using IM for those little “hey can you do X for me real quick?” type requests. It’s really nice, and I wish we’d started it years ago.

  20. Kobyov says:

    Yeah I thought it was good, though it took me a little to get it. Interestingly enough, MGS4 also caused me to grow a pornstar mo. My wife, however, has asked me not to shave it – apparently she likes it as much as I do.

    And the reason I dont post on the escapist would be that their website doesn’t work at all on my new ISP (TelstraClear of New Zealand). I consider myself lucky if after 5-6 refreshes I can view the comic at all, and decide not to push my luck

  21. krellen says:

    I didn’t get it either. I’m not particularly tied into the gaming media culture, but a reviewer that went by “Travisty” Taylor wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    I don’t comment on the Escapist for reasons noted otherwise: yours is the only part of the site I really follow, and commenting there requires a registration that really isn’t worth doing for a single (albeit entertaining) column.

  22. Viktor says:

    I didn’t get that it was you, but then, I mostly ignore guest strips and am running on no sleep, so it says nothing about your humor. As for why I don’t post:it’s not important enough. I’ve got a dozen forum accounts, 4 emails, 3 IMs, I don’t need one more. If it was an open comment thread like it is here, I would, but otherwise, registering isn’t worth it. Sorry.

  23. Shinjin says:

    do your kids have rules about when they are and aren't allowed to talk to you?

    Ground rule are a requirement for kids when working from home, as are ‘regular’ office hours. In our house I’ll let them in a time or two during the day.

    Usually they are just asking me to print out coloring page (plenty of free ones easily found online) and that’s that.

    While it’s irritating sometimes, I dread the day I have to give up my telecommuting arrangement for an in-office job. When that day happens I’ll only see my kids for an hour or two in the evening.

  24. illiterate says:

    the “drunken misanthrope” character is pretty common for pundits to maintain professionally. just didn’t seem that out of place.

    @Shamus, Shinjin..

    Maintaining the understanding of office hours with my son will be easier once he gets a bit older. Last time I was on weekend support, he busted into the office asking if he could take a turn speaking with the customer.

    I’d love to work from home and lose that 45 minute each way commute. don’t know that my boss would go for it, and i’m not sure i could maintain my work ethic.

    also would require a much more elaborate desk setup. a bit cramped right now, don’t have an arm rest under the keyboard and i’m really feeling it.

  25. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    I loved this one. Mustache!

    I want to see more of this reviewer, by the way.

  26. Primogenitor says:

    Was I the only one who put Travis Taylor into google/wikipedia? And then tried to work out if either of those were the right one?

  27. Magnus says:

    @Shinjin: Surely you don’t have to worry, because in the future we’ll all be working from home in the paperless office… (though not me, I’m a scientist.)

    I’d like to add my name to the folks who don’t post on the escapist, I’d much rather post here… although I can appreciate why you don’t want two seperate comment threads for the same article.

    off-topic: your fallout articles are making quite the impression over at NMA, mostly agreeing with your arguements. (I’m just a lurker there though!)

    P.S. Boo to twitter!

  28. krellen says:

    I do like your Fallout articles, Shamus. They’ve finally convinced a friend of mine that Bethesda did not make a real Fallout game. :D

  29. Al Shiney says:

    Put me down for another one who doesn’t comment at The Escapist because I don’t want to register. SP is all I follow there anyway. Besides, although I’m a regular here, I’m more of a lurker. If you make the transition into the 9th level of Hell and get a 360 though, we’ll talk. 8)

    Oh, and I definitely laughed at Travis. Maybe not a bellybuster, but certainly a solid guffaw.

  30. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well,not many stolen pixels readers read your blog,so travis from silent hill wasnt that obvious to them as it was to me.I loved the comic,and its little details(teabagging noobs,for example).

  31. Tarous Zars says:

    I was actually a little surprised everyone thought it was a real guest post. I guess that put’s me as a C under Shinjin’s list.

    I did register for the Escapist, I just rarely post comments.

  32. Jock says:

    Honestly, I was one of those who took it seriously. I thought you were talking about THIS GUY , whose name is also T Taylor, who makes a living (from what I can tell) from being good at playing Halo. So it seemed perfectly in character, especially with the shirt.

  33. Heather says:

    I have to admit, I got to read it the day before and knew it was Shamus and it STILL threw me for a loop. I think it will be better down the road when others come to expect it, then they can register the funny without having to think about it.

    And I don’t comment on the forums either–I HATE forums.

    @illiterate When the kids were smaller it was HARD to keep them out of the office during work hours and meant I also had to stay out of the office during work hours. Now they are older and know the drill though the weekends still mess them up. A baby gate in the door made a huge difference (a good reminder not to wander in) as did a lock (with a key hanging on the door up high so I could get in.:) It was much more stressful as mom and wife to keep them out since they knew he was there and they wanted to be with him but it was VERY worth it.

  34. JMcNeely says:

    *sighs* Oh for the day of working at home. No way it would work right now though. But maybe someday…

    I actually registered and commented on the forum thread today… and then promptly lost around a couple hours of productivity watching Zero Punctuation reviews.

    In other, more relevant news… great drawing skills. I must confess that I was surprised by the quality of the coloring and shading. Were you an artist in another life?

  35. Namfoodle says:

    I thought it was a “fake” guest strip by Travis from Silent Hill…

  36. Avaz says:

    Although I have nothing of real value to add regarding either the blog or Stolen Pixels (aside from the “me2” comment of loving/wanting that I teabag noobs shirt), I wanted to comment on your twitter comment:
    “Man, this whole twitter thing is completely against my nature. I know people love it, but I’m all about verbosity and there just isn’t enou”

    This made me splurt and laugh out loud. :D

  37. Clark says:

    I wish I could work from home, but the patients refuse to wheel themselves over.

  38. Felblood says:

    I rather like forums, but you’ll never catch me posting at the Escapist.

    It’s forum is haunted by zombie searching for brains to rot, having long since lost their own.

    I’m sure that somewhere in there is an intelligent post that an intelligent man could enjoy reading. Who is going to go and dig it up from the morass?

  39. Murphy says:

    I second krellen’s love of your Fallout posts. My friend Mike and I, when we talk about FO3, and your writing comes up, we look at each other, and one of us says,” Heavens, Mike, he’s done it again! Precisely summarized the salient points of what we’ve been saying all along, in a clear and concise manner, no less! And he does it without swearing profusely!”

    And then the other will say,” But Mike (we are both named Mike), but Mike, what is the point without the vulgarity?”

    And the other replies,” To actually convince people of his position on Fallout 3, of course!”

    And then we look at each other, and cue the laugh track.

  40. Luke Maciak says:

    Shamus, that T-Shirt needs to go on Caffepress or another site like that like yesterday. They will sell like hotcakes!

  41. Noumenon says:

    I liked the first panel, because I was like “he’s going to put premium whiskey through college?” and then I got to the other part. I still don’t get the “Travesty” part of the joke because he reviews games the same way you do, so he’s an alter ego, not a joke in himself.

  42. Kevin says:

    It was a funny strip, and the Travis character was not too obtuse as a device. You do little character shticks all the time and this one was similar enough not cause me any confusion.

    I did do some comments when Stolen Pixels started up, but I didn’t last too long. I never liked their interface and it bugged me to have to sign on for it. I comment in a lot of places every morning and when I needed to pare back I picked the ones that were the biggest pains first. That’s no reflection on you, since your comment area obviously works much more easily for me.

    That said, I do read Stolen Pixels regularly, and have been subscribed to the RSS since number one. If I could comment on it here, I likely would. (Though I understand why that isn’t really a good idea.)

  43. R4byde says:

    As far as reading Stolen Pixels, I love and haven’t missed a single one, keep ’em coming! But I don’t post on the Escapist because their site takes an age to load on my 56k. In order to actually read more than the top 1/4 inch of the comic I have to copy its location and download it. I’m not about to risk setting virtual foot in their forum. :)

  44. Shawn says:

    Shamus, that T-Shirt needs to go on Caffepress or another site like that like yesterday. They will sell like hotcakes!

    Shamus, check your email.

    *whistles innocently*

  45. Lev Bronstein says:

    I want to point out that I, too, don’t comment at the Escapist, although it’s more for the lack of hard-core pornography than anything else.

  46. Nathan says:

    I fell for your “this guy is filling in” line (yes, I’m that gullible), and then chuckled out loud at the strip, which made me feel guilty, because I usually don’t have an audible response to SP (even though I usually find them humorous).

  47. Simplex says:

    Shamus, have fun with Xbox 360.

    Oh, and Merry Christmas too ;)

    On an unrelated matter – I’d love to read your opinion on recent steam’s epic fail, namely selling games in Europe with an exchange rate of 1$=1€

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