Apropos of nothing, she looks good in my green turtleneck.



(From Narbonic! Click on the thumbnail for full sized... well, you know.)

I am in Ottawa, Canada. It is very nice. I have met Frank Cormier and Meaghan Quinn in the flesh. They are both awesome.

Before that, we were in Ithaca. I showed Wednesday many places significant to Gossamer Commons.

In both places, I had alcohol.

I will tell you of these things in more detail another time. I have little time now. All I can say is this.

There was water in the swimming pool.

Was this the time? Does he need to <em>re</em>fill it? I dunno. But there was water in the pool today.

God, I love Narbonic.

Back later. I have to go tear my arm off.


I think he already filled it. I HOPE he already filled it. Everything else got messed up already... :/

Oh wait, you mean you went and got a life now? No! I demand that you spend your entire days reading webcomics and dissecting them eruditely for my entertainment!

Hmm, sorry, don't know what came over me there.

Two little things that make me laugh: the swimming pool related Goooooogle ads, and the fact that this is apparently the seventh snark entitled "Apropos of nothing..."

Why are you tearing your arm off?

We don't yet know why future Dave suggested filling the pool. In fact, we have no proof that future Dave didn't fill the pool in the first place.

Heh heh heh.

He filled the pool. Man...

I knew that things weren't going to proceed according to plan, er... maybe. I have every confidence that Ms. Garrity has plenty of twistings and turnings in store for us before the end of all things.

Hey, I'm in Ottawa as well! It is a very nice city, isn't it?

Part of me says that in original timeline Helen falls into unfilled swimming pool, and injures herself such that she winds up as brain-in-a-jar, and that Dave has changed that by filling the swimming pool.

Of course, part of me also notes that he says refill the swimming pool, not fill the swimming pool, that Artie was going to be there to break the fall and would likely have died from that rather than nuclear explosion should there have been no water there.

We will have to see if Shaenon lets us know if Dave had to do anything actively for this pool to have water in it. If that is the case then we have affected change, I call that refilling and this talk could be decisive. If he didn't, then the pool has a future role to play in this, and this conversation may be important but not represent a turning point.

I saw today's Narbonic and wondered, will this be enough to get Eric off his 2-week hiatus? I guess so, although I'm guessing this is all we'll see for a while longer.

And quiller, good point. There's no evidence that Dave REfilled the swimming pool, the swimming pool is just full. Dave may have to drain it to get Artie (or Artie's body?) out of the pool, and remember to refill it later.

Also-I'm surprised no one has brought this up- it's possible that future Dave doesn't want to save Helen at all. Filling the swimming pool could finish Helen off as Dave had originally planned, rather than leaving her in a brain-only state as would have happened otherwise. How could breaking her fall kill her, though? I don't know, but that giant flying island crashing into Madblood's base- possibly destroying everything on the surface- may provide a clue.

On the other hand, Future Dave does tell Dave, "Try not to lose it at Helen- She's evil, she can't help it." This seems to suggest he wants her alive and whole. But I'm guessing that Shaenon's going to... uh... keep us guessing.

All this shows - if even this, as Stephen G points out above - is that history can be changed. We already knew that, because Dave used to smoke but never did any more.

All I know for sure is, when it ends (happily or not), it'll be in a manner that'll make us all go, "Huh. I could have known it was going to come out that way."

These last two months of Narbonic have been so cool. And its bound to get even cooler. I read through a lot of the archives recently, and it's amazing the amount of forshadowing she packed in there. That whole sequence in the future was just dripping with cryptic statements that take on a different light now that the endgame has begun.

I give Shannon a candy bar. It's just like a biscuit, but it not trademark infringing!

See this was done so casually that we are all at ease now. So I'm waiting for something horrible to happen to someone. The worst tragedy would be Dave deciding to take his future self's advice and try to save Helen and Artie but being unable to.

Interestingly enough, there's a series of fantasy books entitled, Sir Appropos of Nothing. Comedy about a typical flighty bard who somehow becomes a Noble and ruins about thirty nations in the process. (And in the second book, prophecied to ruin the whole universe.)

As for Narbonic, I just marvel how tightly written is the plotline. That's really hard to do.

Everywhere I turn ... people talking about filling swimming pools. I can't escape. There IS no escape.

Hahahahaaaaa, I'm free now, so free .... hahhahahahahahahaaaaaa

Hey Eric,

Ottawa is indeed a nice place. I just came back here myself, this afternoon. Good, crisp air.

You didn't say if Weds. was in Ottawa with you, but if she is, ask her if she remembers driving from Kingston to Ottawa, about a decade ago. Just asking, is all.

I will be the first to say that when I saw this particular Narbonic I had to restrain myself from jumping out of my chair and shouting something vaguely like "Woo!"

As I was in the Radcliff Camera at the time, I may have been frowned at if I had succumbed to such a desire.

Well, part of the problem is that we don't know what would have happened if the pool was left empty. Maybe the empty pool would have resulted in Helen's body being mangled beyond hope, thereby making her a brain in a jar. So maybe the entire pool thing was future Dave's attempt to change the past.

You know, I'm honestly curious as to what Hell thinks of Dave's current state of being. His physical body is most certainly dead. His soul and the like are clearly not attached to it in any way. But yet, he's anchored to the mortal plane. There has to be some sort of debate going on in the afterlife as to what action to take in this situation.

I suspect Hell just filed him under "vengeful ghost" for now.

There's a little nagging part of my brain that says that from the height she fell, Helen's body would have been liquified as surely by hitting the full pool as the empty one. But hell, Dave's a hologram standing on the surface of the water. I'm willing to go with it.

Maybe he used the forcefield to slow her descent at a rate that wouldn't prove fatal. That might explain where Artie went as well.

(But not where he's going!)

Something that just came to me...

Remember how, once Dave finally went mad, his glasses went from opaque to clear, and you could see his pupils? As a sign of his madness, he could see everything clearly?

I just realized, over the last several weeks, starting with Dave's appearance as a holographic projection, that only one lens (specifically, his right one) is clear. The other is opaque... cracked, but opaque.

Maybe it's just a stylistic choice. But maybe, just maybe, a part of Dave's sanity is still in there somewhere, and the climax will ultimately be between Dave's nascient madness and his residual sanity.

Or maybe hamsters will blow everything up; I'm not terribly picky.

I had been assuming that the point of (re)filling the swimming pool was more about saving Artie.

Looking back through the link to the original comic, it is right next to comments on helping Helen. And it was future President Mell(in blowing up the universe to send a message back in time) who wanted to save Artie. And then Artie also did the sudden dive to rescue Helen midfall, causing potential off-screen death.

Either my brain is getting its plot wires crossed, or I'm assuming things about where the plot will go. Once we see the condition of Artie, things should become more clear.

About 2 months ago, Eric wrote about how comics seem to be shifting into a "new fall season" mentality, trying out new things and beginning new twists. At the time, Helen was just teleporting over to help Madblood deal with Dave. In S*P, Kharisma began to change color, PvP began a storyline that ended with Brent proposing to Jade, Penny Arcade was beginning its Armadeaddon 'storyline,' aka three straight weeks of pure fan service, The Order of the Stick was beginning its second encounter with the Linear Guild, and those are just a few of the strips I read that had major plot developments occur within a week or two.
Nearly two months later, Artie's status is unknown, S*P has had three major developments within the week, Kurtz is beginning the Jade storyline he promised two months ago, PA is putting forth another strip entitled "Part One," the first one since Armadeaddon, and OoTS is... finishing its conflict with the Linear Guild (Dang, OoTS moves slow. Slow but funny, so I forgive it).
It's either a conspiracy or a moment in webcomics where everything is hitting at maximum velocity at the exact same time, to the point where we will all be sitting waist deep in sticky Webcomics goodness by the end of the year. Although as far as S*P is concerned, I can barely wait until Thanksgiving.

Following 32 Footsteps's comment, in the strips linked in the snark, you have the hologram Old Dave and the visiting Young Dave in Old Dave's body:

The hologram's glasses are clear, but Young-Dave-in-Old-Dave's glasses are opaque. I never noticed it till now. It was set up far in advance, so it's got to mean something.

(Incidentally, Lupin's glasses are opaque. Where they clear before he went mad, or is he ultimately a fraud?)

Just to point out, the cracked glass comes from just before he uploaded himself:


Not that that invalidates any thematic points it may have. :)

Oh, one other thing no-one's mentioned: What's up with Dave's clone right now? He's still at Narbonic base. I wouldn't be surprized if he suddenly appeared.


I've been rereading the whole of Narbonic for the last few days (ah, god bless free archives), and I found a little note under one of the strips. "Admit it, Eric - that was cool."

And this time I know what it means. Heheheheheheh.



I've been rereading the whole of Narbonic for the last few days (ah, god bless free archives), and I found a little note under one of the strips. "Admit it, Eric - that was cool."

And this time I know what it means. Heheheheheheh.


Actually, if you look, Madblood and both Narbons have opaque glasses (Helen B. has those small lenses, but they're colored in). In fact, going over the other mad scientists that have appeared that wear glasses, almost all have opaque glasses (there's a bevy to scan in "Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair"). I found one with clear glasses congratulating Helen after the Tinasky panel, and another handing out the Von Boom awards (Professor Vivisectus). But for the most part, the mads about have opaque glasses.

On the flip side, most of the people who aren't mad scientists have clear ones - Lupin's mother and her friends have opaque ones, but that's about it. Dave (and Helen when she had Dave's genes) is the most notable exception.

Though here's something interesting to ponder: we've got a climactic showdown between all the various parties involved, sure to result in massive catastrophe and possible world domination. Who gets the Von Boom for this entire thing? Madblood, for creating all the materials (androids, the super computer) being used for this feat? Dana, posthumously, for creating the hamsters precipitating the threat? Artie, for creating Dana and thus precipitating the event? Dave, for being in a position to take out two mads and their creations? Helen, for driving Dave mad, creating Artie, and possibly foiling a mad scientist's future takeover via irresponsible time travel (after all, the pool was filled)? Or Helen's mom, because it was her creation that precipitated all this (plus, her paper on Helen did inspire Madblood)?

Or how about we just see who survives and give them the Von Boom.

Yeah, I'd say the Von Boom goes to whoever comes out on top. And the glasses thing... I don't know. I think it's just a visual metaphor for Dave finally seeing everything the way it is. But in the storyline where Helen turned into Dave, she switched to the opaque glasses because her perscription wasn't strong enough, which seems to suggest it has more to do with lens thickness than madness. But I really like the suggestion (Bequita's, I believe) that when Dave traveled to the future, he could be in non-mad Dave's body and talking to the real him, who is disguised as a hologram. This could cast future Dave's advice to refill the swimming pool in a whole new light. On the other hand, wouldn't future Mell have said something? But on the other other hand, she's not that attentive, especially when it comes to Dave. I guess all this rambling shows that Garrity is going to be able to keep us all guessing until the end. Well played.

It still depends on 1) what future-Dave's expectation was in telling present-Dave to refill the pool, and 2) whether he was right.

I wasn't really suggesting that the swapping of glasses had any large and secret significance to the story. I was just commenting on their use in the art to help tell the story. It's a small detail, but one that Garrity has obviously had in mind for a while, at least since the 'unstuck in time' storyline.

In Unstuck, the only time Dave has opaque glasses is when he's in the future. Teen-Dave and Child-Dave both have clear glasses. But the hologram Old-Dave has clear glasses and Real-Dave has opaque ones. And when Lovelace quotes Alice and Wonderland, his glasses go from opaque to clear. Then they fall off and one lens gets cracked when he's uploading himself.

I don't know what it means or if it means anything. I just thought it was a nifty art device.

If Madblood was deemed responsible for the actions of his androids then I think Helen would be the one getting the Von Boom award. Plus, she did develop the cure and push Dave into madness.

Although... it was originally Dave's idea to use the intelligence serum on the gerbils...

Indeed. Undone by their own karma... such is the fate of all who trangress against the laws of God and man.

It's all very tragical. ;)

Do ethics and guilt/responsibility allow recursion?

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