Web StuffThe Spirit of the Season
entry, Sunday, November 27th, 2005
Once upon a time, Chalain worked at Wal-Mart. This is the same Chalain who works as King Coder for Agile Studios, and moonlights as webmonkey for Schlock Mercenary. But back in the day when he and I were roommates, he spent a holiday season learning about consumerism right there at the feet of the laughing, Consumer Buddha.
Consumer Buddha is laughing all the way to the bank.
Anyway, Chalain regaled us with story after story of the Black Friday event at the local Wal-Mart, and ever since then I've been convinced that no matter how low the prices are, it's just not worth it. Sure, I can get 75% off on that gadget, but I may have to commit aggravated assault in order to close the deal. So I stay home.
I suppose I should be pleased to learn that this year's Black Friday was a commercial success, and that the retail pulse of our nation's economy has quickened. Another part of me worries, though, that we have become a nation of consumers rather than producers. I'm sure more educated and eloquent writers than myself can decry consumerism more effectively, and perhaps even put forth alternatives. Me, I'll just quietly worry about it. But remember, when you buy something at 40% off, you're not saving money. You're SPENDING money. Saving money is what happens when you put the money into a bank.
I probably need to quit throwing stones. As a purveyor of light entertainment whose income is directly tied to selling advertising space to retailers and merchandise to consumers, I live in a great, big glass house. With windows.
I mentioned Chalain... he and I have been planning changes, fixes, and new features here at schlockmercenary.com for quite some time. I get email from you folks regularly about this kind of stuff, so here's a quick run-down:
- The storyline drop-down broke. We plan to fix it, and put it back on every archive page.
- We plan to put strip transcripts on every archive page, such that the text of all one thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-five (as of this writing) strips will be searchable by any public search engine. Much of the transcription has already been done by the folks at Mercenary Strip Search.
- Languishing site features like my SF library will eventually get a face-lift, and then will be allowed to languish with a bit more style, and fewer 404 errors.
- An archive of my blogging (the "entrys") will go back up at some point. There's five years worth of stuff in that pile, and some of it is pretty good.
- "entry" is a dumb title for a cartoonist's blog. It overburdens the term, rendering it less useful for when one WANTS to write an actual "OPEN" letter to a public figure. Not that I ever do, but still... I plan to stop using the term. In its place I will not be using "Schlock-Blog," "Mercenary Blog," or "Schblog."
I've been careful not to give any of you a timeline on this. I keep the schedule a secret from everyone, including Chalain. The GANNT chart detailing work remaining, requisite and prerequisite tasks, and available resources is kept in an encrypted file on write-only media in a lead box that we've buried at an undisclosed location in the desert west of Salt Lake City, and I've forgotten where it is. I used to be a software product manager. I know how this is done, folks.
Finally, in case any of you missed it, Brad Guigar has launched a new enterprise rife with corporate politics, women in skin-tight outfits, and dastardly evil-doers. If you took the Superfriends, Dilbert, and Doonesbury and rolled them all together into one you'd have... well, you'd have a lazy, mutant, cynical super-boomer with a funny nose and stupid necktie. Go read Evil, Inc., instead.