I get it. I should have kept the ’71 Impala I got from my grandfather. I’m not all that mechanically inclined, but I could fix anything on that car short of an engine rebuild or the automatic transmission. Even with a small-block V8, there was almost enough room under the hood to set up folding chairs and work on the engine sitting down! (Yes, that is an exaggeration, but not as much of one as you might think!)

Yeah, the milage was pretty bad. 10-12 mpg. But before you get all up in arms about carbon emissions, consider how much coal was burned to make the five cars I’ve had since giving up the Impala. I imagine the gas emissions would be SINGIFICANTLY less than the emissions to forge some six or seven tons of steel, aluminium, plastic, and rubber into a drivable vehicle.

These new cars? There’s barely room to get a wrench in, much less a hand. Had one car I had to have the fender removed to replace the battery!

I understand where you’re coming from, but: It is now a fifty year old car. The survival rate of fifty-year-old cars suggest yours would be quite an outlier.

In addition, parts last longer now–like those PITA-to-reach spark plugs.

And if you are talking about environmental impact, don’t forget leaded gas.

I once read that the average car lasts about 10 years. That was a couple of decades ago and I’ve have owned several cars that broke 200k with ease so It’s probably longer now. I wonder if we haven’t seen a peak and how many of today’s cars will still be on the road twenty years from now. This presumes that there wont be a technology breakthrough equivalent to the introduction of the internal combustion engine. People talk about how old cars are gas guzzlers and to some degree this is true (my Sprite gets 36 mpg) but old cars and even new exotic cars are such a small percentage of total cars on the road as to be insignificant. There are always exceptions but these cars are usually much more pampered pets than daily drivers. Depending on teh degree to which you are willing to embrace newer technology it is possible to bring even an old chevy small block close to modern standards both in terms of emissions and mileage.
In terms of environmental cost of modern cars I’ll leave this example. My wife hit a deer with her late model Ford Edge. The damage was mostly confined to the front valence and the drivers side front fender. She had full coverage and the insurance company totaled the car. The reason for totaling the car is that there was a small dent in the underlying body structure. This dent didn’t really impact the structural integrity of the car but to “fix”
the car would have required replacing an entire chassis leg of unibody. Se an essentially drivable and still useful car got totaled. One outcome is that this car went to the salvage yard where it was soon crushed and energy spent on melting it down and or disposal of non-recyclable parts. Fortunately and more likely, it has been repaired and is sitting in somebody’s driveway in Mexico. I live near a major north-south corridor and often see whole fleets of wrecked cars headed south.

Yea, that sounds about right. That kind of damage will usually get a car totaled pretty much instantly as that work could very easily exceed the value of the car at the time of the accident.

That or no one wants to pay to have the entire unibody swapped out. Regardless it’s very much possible with some insurance companies to take the total loss payout but somewhat reduced to retain the car. Sure you’ll have a salvage title and murder the value, but if you can put the work in, you can get that scrubbed… At least in some states. Good luck though.

unibody construction has pretty much taken over the car market unless you drive a truck or suv. older cars are not as fuel efficient or safe but honestly I’d rather have an old one than a new one. by the time you add up all the costs of maintenance, insurance, etc… what ever money you saved by buying a newer car vs maintaining an older car is gone. it doesn’t help that the car market is ludicrously expensive now. they could easily make newer cars that are easy to work on but they don’t. what’s worse is that as more government regulations come out, the more complicated the cars will get. my car is twenty years old and it’s of the generation that still was somewhat easy to work on but safe and pretty fuel efficient. would I prefer it was as simple to work on as say an 68 mustang? absolutely. the closest I ever came to that for a relatively modern car was an 06 v6 mustang. granted it didn’t have abs or traction control but that was part of the charm of that car. it was a modern take on a classic. my only real complaint was it needed more horse power.

Had an 85 Dodge pickup with the slant 6 engine. Alternator was overcharging badly, and I told my nephew I needed a new voltage regulator.He was like,” Oh, nah. I got one sitting on the shelf.” We put it in , and I set off for home that night. 40 miles later at the next big town, I thought I was going blind. I couldn’t see anything by the headlights. Realized the voltage regulator wasn’t working, so started back to that town cause I saw a sign at Autozone that said ,” open till 7pm -but apparently not on a Sunday. I knew the truck would never start if I killed it, so I climbed into the engine compartment (slant 6, remember?) with it running and swapped my old overcharging regulator back in-in the dark, on the side of the road, about 30 degrees. Nephew was a low man on my totem pole for a while. Mile or two from home, my dash lights were brighter than my headlights had been near that other town. Was expecting them to just start popping one by one.

I’ve owned older cars that I could do a lot of the work on. The downside was, I had to do a LOT of work on them. OTOH, my current car, the first I ever bought new, has only been in the shop for anything other than scheduled maintenance one time in four years.

My first was a 67 chevy belair. Small block 283. Pop the hood and climb in with all your tools! Now you have to damn near disassemble the engine to change the spark plugs.

See this is why I like these two together, having an intelligent and nuanced conversation without obvious judgement. Just differing opinions. They’re good for each other.

Eh. You know, after 20 years working with the general public, I don’t find them that bad overall. 99% of the customers come and go without a problem, but that means they don’t leave an impact, so you forget about them, while that one Karen dominates your memory of the entire week. But worse than that is the corporate policy that rewards Karen and punishes workers for being reasonable. The worst is when corporate lays down ironclad rules, you get yelled at by customers for those rules (although most of them understand when you just blame the corporate suits or lawyers), and then when they complain to corporate, you get yelled at and told to break the rules to appease this particular customer. If I can make exceptions to the rules when it saves a sale, just tell me and I will! But when I’ve worked at small businesses or had store managers with balls, and they told bad customers to go away and never come back, I generally enjoyed going to work.

Of course you wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire. Through stupidity or entitlement, they probably earned being on fire.

Though given present company, that bit is likely preaching to the choir…

I see the title Firewoman as they are talking bout a car. All I can think of is the speeding tickets I got while the song Fire Woman by The Cult was playing

Meanwhile, I finished up Questionable Content up to strip 4658, pretty close to the current end. This is the last one, I promise.

After my previous review, the story resumes with an arc when Faye starts drinking and gets fired for drinking on the job. From there follows a fairly interesting arc of setting up a robot repair business. I can’t remember how her major morphed from sculptural arts to robot mechanic, but I’ll let it slide because it works well. After that, QC started coasting and has kept coasting for several years now. There are too many sugary, self-indulgent, drawn-out meet-cutes and immediate blissful acceptance of any and all ‘mental health issues’, though the threat of the outside world not being immediately and enthusiastically accepting always looms. For instance, at one point a robot is called a ‘freak’ which makes her sad, in response to which Faye righteously calls those people ‘assholes’. Well, it gets a bit parodical at times. The series by now also focuses on the more uninteresting members of the cast, which actually has made me skip a bit here and there.

You can also see that the cool parent has started sidling into the series. Perhaps because Jeph has told the readers he turned 40 a while ago?

More importantly, I think much of QC’s continued success is because he keeps close contact with his forum and friends elsewhere and resolutely tries out new trends as they appear. A couple of the QC characters have become rich influencers by now (“OMG! I feel so worthless about my piles of gold”), including one cool parent. As another example, there has been a too long arc about getting the robocriminal a fresh new body, with various jabs at the ‘carceral state’ and ‘free health care’.

I think this is a pretty good approach to take, since as the writer you can comment on and joke about these phenomena. If they fizzle, you write them out after a while. Smart. On the downside, the characters who embody these themes can be paper thin.

Overall, QC has by now become a bit staid and boring. There are few functioning jokes but a lot of didactic finger wagging. And, strangely, the art has changed for the worse — the characters now all look alike, or cut from 2-3 templates, and mainly differ in coloring scheme. The art of the previous epoch really seemed a lot better (but this is still a lot better than the first strips). On the other hand, Jeph seldom complains about being late with the next strip anymore.

Looking at the business side, QC has certainly been a very successful project. It would be interesting to see how his patreon has grown over time. Right now, it’s at more than 12500 patrons, meaning at least $12500 gross per month, which is good money. (He makes more than I do, that’s for sure.) I wonder if there was anything specific that fueled this growth? If I had to guess, it was the whole inclusion/trans/etc push which may have been perfectly timed. But I don’t have the historical data so it’s hard to say. Alternately, it could just have been a long slow grind of adding subscribers. Being in tune with readers old and new and being willing to experiment probably helps if that’s the case.

He also does periodic kickstarters for side stuff. The first one, from several years ago, seems to have been a roaring success at least. He had a very active T-shirt business for a while but it seems it has fallen by the wayside now. Not sure how important this is anymore.

So, in conclusion, while I certainly don’t align with Jeph’s various views, themes, mental state and all that, you still have to respect his very successful hustle. I think I have now understood how it’s done at least a bit better, and I hope the reader who makes it to the end here does so too.

I have no idea why you’re writing this…but since you did, I’ll give my two cents.

You are mostly correct, except that when Jeph includes comments about “universal health care” or a social cause, it’s not a jab; Jeph is so left-wing he fled the US under Obama, describing it as though New England is only one step above the Taliban in terms of conservative dystopia, to live in Canada. And that’s fine, I’m not criticizing him, but he fervently believes all he says, it’s not a cynical ploy.

I read him for many years running and I’d say his reader base grew because he consistently uploaded, had decent art, and did give us interesting characters without any kind of overarching story (I liked the personal AI bots before he started really trying to flesh them out, since functional AI like that should obviously be revolutionizing the entire world and not just make fancy robot pets). He’s also had side comics he managed to keep up with too. It was a fun read. But like you say, he tends to just disappear characters after a while, like Raven or Penelope or Sven, as soon as he finishes “using” them or runs out of jokes for them, and towards the end of my time reading (which was not long after the section you’re discussing) it just seemed like “gay” was the only theme any more; she’s gay now, and she’s gay now, and they’re gay, and this person is almost completely pointless except to exist as a trans person, etc. I didn’t mind it at first, the trans redhead girl for example, but it just wound up dominating the comic. Some of the other new characters were too gimmicky as well, weird for the sake of weird. I doubt Jeph is trying to pander, or to preach; he’s just sort of run out of steam and started emphasizing shallow or even silly character traits instead of giving us relatable people, like jangling keys in front of us. I think Bubbles had a good story, and her whole initial arc, but once that wrapped up, there was just nothing of any substance left. He kinda ruined Hanners too…

Lol, the reason is, every now and then I feel I must annoy Jackie by various forms of business talk to give him ideas so he can make a living from this comic, or at least something close to that. QC is presumably the most successful web comics around, so I thought it interesting to try to figure out what was going on there.

Previous instalments:

But I see that I have commented on QC here before, so the annoyance might run a bit deeper than that. For example in 2016 (strip 1501 in BFails) I commented “Used to read QC but it seems so self indulgent nowadays. I’m just waiting for Marten (and the author?) to come out of the closet, then I will have lost all interest in it.” And voila now Marten is in a blissful accepting relationship with a tranny (which as an aside may be the least realistic transsexual or even transvestite outside of science fiction).

I’m probably more on your side of the room than Jephs when it comes to world view, btw, so I recall a couple of smirkable moments, especially in the box underneath the comic. But I don’t want to getting into being too mean here.

The transformation of Hanners was less than convincing. It felt like he basically gave up on the old character, took her out of the story for a while, then recast her with a hugging normie, all of which just felt wrong. Too bad, I kind of liked the original version, including the original original smoking version too.

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