990 Where Dat Beef Is?

Jess and Jo are of an age just barely able to remember the times that spawned these sort of pop culture references. Since the story kind of works on a sliding time scale they’ll keep getting younger in relation to the shirts they are talking about on this page. Some people can’t understand it, but time is deliberately vague in the comic, and in many works, so that it maintains a timeless quality. Certain elements have taken place over such a long period of time that the wiggle room is vast from a storytelling standpoint. Buying CDs, for example, can be very difficult now. They still exist, but the selection at most places is incredibly limited. Bookstores that failed to adapt, or expand their scope are just gone now. Video rental is practically dead in the form most of us grew up with. In fact, I realized that was the case when I started making this comic 5 years ago. The store that Megatainment is mostly based on was 50% video rentals, but it was obvious that those kinds of stores had numbered days. Around here ALL the rental stores are gone. The entire area is served by 2 red box machines. Let me say that again… TWO RED BOX MACHINES. That may not horrify some of you, but a rental store could easily employ as many as 20 people. That varied by location of course, but the reduction in jobs is staggering. I assume that one person operates those two kiosks. That’s negative 1 job. (depending on how you do the math. XD) It’s certainly no spoiler to say that Between Failures will tell the story of the end, or at least the evolution, of Megatainment. It has to, and I knew that when I started. That’s one of the many layers of meaning the title has.

Anyway, I’ve talked about the time thing before, but new eyes always get me thinking about it. The first two stories are abnormal in that they take place over the span of a very specific period of time. Two days of in comic time. The characters are specific about it. In the first story it’s because that entire tale is basically a an adapted movie script. Acted it times out at around an hour and 45, give or take. It could be made into a film with very little change. (Although I would certainly want to shuffle some things around after 5 years of thinking about it.) The second story could too, but it’s more a function of having the idea and not dapting my storytelling style to suit the medium. I also had to stall. I got to a point where I couldn’t draw the stories I needed to tell for things to advance. I had to keep things going long enough to be able to slowly replace my failing equipment. It’s writing for the archive. I knew that readers coming in to the story would be able to enjoy it in a way that the people who watched it being made day by day couldn’t, and it worked. The return rate for QC refugees proves that. Each story after day 2 happens an unspecified time after, and time passes between parts that isn’t ever set in stone. That drives some people insane. Some people need the world to be black and white, and I understand that. I have those sorts of tendancies myself, but over the years details like that have become much less important to me. The journey is the important thing. Which is not to say that telling a story in a very detailed way is bad. It just doesn’t work as well for every story.

One thing I have noticed is that in Gravity Falls the order of episodes in important. That’s kind of rare for kids shows. Mostly I think it surprises me because the art syle is so cartoony but the stories are more young adult. You are expected to know, and remember, who Gideon is, when they fought the gnomes, and so on, because the story is building on each thing. As near as I can tell each episode happens concurrently. Unless the day changes, IN EPISODE, they appear to happen one after another in many cases. It kind of has to because the series takes place in one summer. so however many days that is is all they have. That said, I bet their count won’t be perfect.

In contrast, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does not require you to watch the episodes in order. Pretty much as long as you see the establishing episodes first you can watch them in whatever order suits you. I came in to the show at a point when they replayed the pilot and then the DVR recorded whatever episode was being rerun. Didn’t matter a bit. Although the stories do flow better in the intended order. Ther problem, however, is that most character development is erased by the next show. No matter how much confidence Fluttershy gains in an episode she will be exactly as shy as her base stats in the next one. That holds true, for the most part, with every character, and is a function of that type of stoytelling. The cast needs to maintain their architypal roles. If they grow too much the mechanics of the narrative will break down, or change to a point that will require cohesive plot to fix. Everything must reset to default by the end.

I could go on about this stuff for quite some time, but I better not. Rather I’ll end with the story of a dream I had this morning. It was pretty brutal, but not in a way you’d expect.

The dream was essentially my life, but I met a girl. She was tall. Taller than me, in fact, with dark brown hair, and dark eyes. She was also willowy. Not my preffered type as it were, but we fell for each other over time. Time that I lived in this dream world. It all seemed very cohesive at the time, but I’m sure my brain had to be glossing over the work bits, because the courtship was very clear. I won’t reveal all the details, we eventually married and were expecting our first child when I woke up. Utterly devastated. It took me the better part of the day to shake it off, but even now it seems more like a memory than a dream. All things considered, I think I prefer the obvious manufactured feeling of a nightmare.


I think it’s kind of funny that Jess is wearing a Jane shirt, considering how much she can look like Jade sometimes.

Hmm, would take mean that Ed is John? That’s a weird mental image.

This is why I think you’d really enjoy the Firefly series. When something happened in an episode, it’s effects were there in the next episode. (Or two episodes later) It tracked better than any series I can think of. The interaction of characters was visibly changed by their previous interactions. Especially liked the episode with Mal’s accidental ex-wife.

Babylon 5 was very good that way, too. It had essentially a five year story arc, with only a few “filler” episodes that were unrelated to the main arc.

I have a weird perspective on the evolution of the world, and media outlets specifically, because of the area I live in. I live in a VERY rural area & it’s only been in the last 5-6 years that we got a “mega” media store (unless you count WalMart. I don’t). It was only in the past year we actually got a GameStop. Although RedBox’s have cropped up at the McDonalds (the nearest one to my house is 45 minutes away), & WalMart (which is about 20 minutes away), they’re still a novelty that very folks use. Even Netflix is just now becoming a common thing in this area. In general, video rentals are still very much alive at the mega-media store I mentioned (Hastings). At least 1/4th of the store is rental videos and I see a lot of people in there renting every time I’m there. It’s strange how some places like ours are in a time warp compared to other places. My Grandparents & best friend live in St. Louis, & my husband’s family is from Denver, so I do get to see an outside perspective as well and get an idea of how things are progressing (and obviously I have the internet, but I mean a firsthand look), and it never ceases to amaze me how we’re consistently in a time bubble behind the rest of the world. Even our radio stations are about 6 months behind on what songs they play as the “latest hits.” It’s very bizarre.

Out here Walmart is as big as it gets. Even the video rental place we had was smaller than any I’d ever seen before, and it couldn’t survive for whatever reason. You have to drive an hour to get to a town wit a GameStop, and the rental place it had closed down too. It’s another couple of hours or so before you get to a town that has any other kinds of stores. I never go so I’m not sure what all is there.

The place I used to live sounds about the same as yours. There’s a time bubble on everything that’s about 5 years behind. By comparison though its practically metropolitan. When I lived there I thought it was balls, but now it seems like the big city. XD

The Jane shirt is a win. Have you read the comic Yu + Me dream? It starts out as an almost boring slice of life comic about a high school girl, but then later it delves into the significance of relationships established in dreams. Apparently the author had a dream like the one you had and that was her inspiration. It’s really good, but it’s a finished comic that no longer updates.
On the multi-media industry changes we actually had a weird development here in the town I live in. The blockbuster went under about two years ago, and we were left with two red boxes (in stores literally right next to each other) and a blockbuster video box, when some people decided to open their own independent video store. It’s doing pretty well I guess. They have “dollar a day” rentals so they can compete with the boxes, then offer discounts if you rent more for longer periods of time. It’s pretty neat, but when more people switch to netflix, downloads, and other forms of online movie viewing I’m afraid they are going to go under as well. It’s really sad.

I’m familiar with it because it used to advertise with me, but I never read it to the end.

Out here they are trying to ban Netflix on our service because they are too lazy to upgrade their machines. The Internet is virtually unusable from 8 to 11 most nights. Basically it shuts down at high traffic times.

If another company came out here they could DESTROY the local net people.

You know my opinion on the death of the retail stores. I look at the Ross now in the old Hasting spot and just feel a little more dead inside. Suncoast bit it forever ago. Even our BestBuy is looking anemic. Our town is behind the times, but, right now, that’s appreciated. We still have a rental place in town (I refuse to touch a redbox) and 2 rental places in the town next to us. We still have a Books a Million and many used book stores. I forget our Vintage Stocks (so forgettable) but they rent things now so I guess we have 3 rental places in town.
I kind of won’t rent at Vintage Stock, either. They rent you the things that they are trying to sell– like they’ll rent you Green Lantern or whatever and then the next day you can return it and someone can buy that same dvd. Not a bad plan except they charge you full retail for some shit people have been renting forever. That’s crap. Their used stuff costs more than you can buy things new for half the time because it doesn’t go on sale. I only buy books there. I don’t feel super bad about not supporting them. Their a local chain that started here and started tiny. Back then they were great. Even after they became Vintage Stock and redid the store they were alright for a while. Then someone started their new uniform price list through all stores and things got ridiculous.
The other choice is Family Video which just squicks me wrong. I kind of hate video stores. They’re so scuzzy. I can handle the local chains alright (the one left in the next town– too far to drive just to rent/return a movie, though) and the multi-stores (like Hastings) but for some reason, chain dedicated rental places are just like hell to me. We rent through Vudu now on the PS3. I feel kind of bad about it but the late fees and the location for the Family Video in town suck. I know I’m helping kill something that I used to enjoy. It makes me sad but, then, everything does. Like hiking up prices on new tv dvd releases (if you want me to buy it, don’t try and tell me Grimm is worth $40 cuz it isn’t), poor selection, unannounced release date changes, 2 day sales instead of 1 week, etc. It makes it very hard to support real media over digital when they keep fucking around on it.

Technically speaking, the only way either of them are old enough to vaguely remember the times of these shirts is if they were in their mid-thirties, as “Where’s the Beef?” is from early 80’s and “Keep on Trucking” was something from the 70’s.

I’m in my mid-twenties, and the only reason I know about either one is from either TV shows or the internet referencing them, otherwise both were way before my time, and I’m sure before their time as well if they’re about my age too.

I’m only 17, but old enough that I absorbed both those phrases through cultural osmosis many years ago. Hence, I’ve never really considered age to be a major factor in the matter.

I don’t rent things, but the retail stores around here do the stupidest things. For example, Orlando is 60 miles from Kennedy Space Center, yet the local Barnes’n’Noble stocks maybe 3 really crap space books. They also bowed to the local jesus nuts and got rid of their manga section as well as most of the biology & science books. There went the interesting stuff, so I went to Amazon.

I had the network card in my work machine crap out, so I went to the Best Buy a block away. The manager and a salesman stood there laughing at me about how they haven’t had that ancient WIRED network stuff since last October! HAHAHA! TOO FUNNY! So now I’m a newegg guy, who just got $1100 from me for a new computer. I notice how big Best Buy’s aisles have gotten…

We have a Home Depot a block away from a Lowe’s. The Home Depot decided to go automated checkout ONLY with no human cashiers whatsoever, except for the “pro builders” counter who wouldn’t serve peons like you or me. Within a week they were a ghost town, while the Lowe’s was packed. Do they not understand it’s impossible to buy 3 bags of assorted fasteners that don’t have barcodes through an automated system? The only thing I’ve bought at Home Depot in the past year is a Wi-Fi thermostat that was an exclusive, and I bought that across town instead of the local store.

I was interested in a Yamaha touring bike, but the local dealers don’t do test drives at all, and I’m not spending $15K on a bike without at least a spin around the block. I visited a friend in Tennessee and the dealer there was like “test drive? SURE! let me get my bike and I’ll show you some of the awesome local roads!” Needless to say, he made the sale. And needless to say, you should have seen the expression on the local dealer’s face when I rode up.

On the other hand, my local broadband network has become awesome, and now I do hit the 10mb/sec limit I’m paying for. I noticed they replaced the local equipment box, which is now filing-cabinet-size instead of car-size. It all became clear when I discovered that both Dish & Comcast have moved into the neighborhood.

One of the oddities of the sliding timescale.

As an example, Thomas was, at a guess, around 24 at the start of the comic.
If it had take place in realtime, he’d be closer to my age now (53) than to 30.

But thanks to comic time, he’s still roughly the same age.

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