I’d like to encourage all of you read NCD—both of you (and that includes you too, Mom)—to trot over to Chris Wright’s Help Desk site and check out these two news posts. Long story short: For various reasons, Chris is rapidly running out of money and is in danger of shutting down Help Desk, Eviscerati, and his other sites, as well as having trouble supporting his family (including their newborn daughter). He’s had a recent swelling of support, but he’s already stated that this initial influx will only help him through mid-December.
I, of course, have a mild bit of self-interest here; I consider the “Ubersoft v. GPF Software” crossover to be an essential part of the GPF archives and I don’t particularly want to lose archive integrity. (If it comes down to shutting down Ubersoft.net, I may ask Chris if I can reproduce his comics inline into the GPF archive at least until the site can come back up, but I’d much rather send traffic—and thus ad revenue—his way instead.) But what I think is much, much more important is what Help Desk represents to webcomics as a whole.
Help Desk may not have numbers rivaling PVP or Penny Arcade (while at Keenspot, I was privy to most Keenspotters’ raw traffic numbers) and by his own admission Chris’ art isn’t going to rival anything like Sarah Ellerton’s. But I consider Chris to be a master humorist, especially in the realm of technology and the tech industry. What he lacked in measurable art skills he more than made up for in wit and wisdom, sticking it to Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and just about everyone else in tech that more than deserved it. In my mind, he pioneered the webcomics “genres” of both “clip art comic” (Chris routinely “assembles” his comics from pre-rendered vector art he designed himself) and “writing so good you forget about the bad art”. Before there was GPF, before there was User Friendly, there was Help Desk (it was hosted with OS/2 eZine in 1996). To lose Help Desk would be a great loss to webcomics, especially when so many of us have celebrated decade-plus anniversaries recently. Chris is on year #12; I’d much rather see him reach year #20 or 30.
Whether it’s a donation, a purchase through his store, or just words of encouragement, I ask everyone to swing by and give Chris as much of a hand as you can. If you’ve enjoyed Help Desk over the years, let Chris know just how much you appreciate his humor and art. If you’ve never checked it out, make sure to rectify that situation immediately. You’ll be gald you did.
If you’ve never heard me talk about politics, there’s a good reason for it. I hate politics, with a passion that cannot be quantified. I often see elections as a choice between the lesser of n evils, which is never a good thing. This year’s presidential election in the United States exemplifies this frustration. I don’t think I’ve ever been less sure what I’ll do at the ballot box than this year, and that includes my first time to vote years ago when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I feel neither love nor malice toward any particular candidate, and I can’t see either one of the Big Two doing significantly better than the other. It’s a choice between one mixed bag ideologies that I half agree with and a second, polar opposite mixed bag of ideologies. I am disgusted with certain aspects of the past administration, but I can’t see any way the opposing party will make things any better. I swear, once this election is over, I’m probably switching my political affiliation and going independent. I’d secede and go somewhere else if I honestly thought it would help my frustration.
That said, I will be voting today, and I sincerely urge my fellow Americas to vote as well. I may not like the choices I’ve been given, nor do I think my vote will make much of a difference. That said, it is both my right and my duty as a citizen to try and make an informed, conscientious decision, and I’ll do my best to try. If I vote and my candidate of choice loses, then I have a right to be frustrated when things go south in four years or less (and it probably will). If I don’t vote, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself.
As for the rest of the world… I say pray. Whether we all like it or not, the United States has tremendous sway in international politics. Pray to whatever god you serve that Americans will make the “right” choice today, whatever that means. Despite what my estimeemed colleague might hint at, today’s choice may indeed affect history as we know it. It may not, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t. We don’t know. And that’s what makes the choice all that more important.
On the off-chance you haven’t read today’s GPF, you might want to. In it, Nick discovers that he has absent-mindedly forgotten that it’s his ten year service anniversary. The topic, if you hadn’t guessed, isn’t coincidental.
Yesterday, November 2nd, was the tenth anniversary of GPF. I would have posted something about it, but yesterday was a pretty busy day that kept me away from the computer most of the day. I also meant to have a GPF News item up for today but, well… you get the idea.
I… don’t know what to say about it. If you had asked me ten years ago if I expected to be doing GPF a decade later, I honestly don’t know what I would have said. I probably would have been so heavily distracted by work, a fledgling marriage, and similar things that I wouldn’t have guessed that my little comic had that much staying power. I did know it had the potential to last; I’ve long told the tale that I had over a year’s worth of material written up before the comic went online, and that after expansion and further development that initial year was stretched out to two and a half years. I had honestly thought—although I definitely hoped it wouldn’t be so and never publicly admitted this—that I would completely run out of material by the end of Surreptitious Machinations. That obviously wasn’t the case. I thought the same thing about To Thine Own Self… and the comic just kept on going. Whether it’s because GPF is so flexible and well written that it endures change, or I’m so stubborn and hard-headed that inherently refuse to give up, I’ll let you decide.
I suppose that if I sat and gazed into my navel long enough, I could come up with all sorts of philosophical musings and misty-eyed nostalgia. I’m, um, a little too busy for that, I’m afraid. So for now there’s just a slightly fancier title graphic on the main page, and that’s about it. If I can come up with anything more celebratory, I’ll make sure to post about it, either here or in the News. If you’d like to post something celebratory or nostalgic, there’s already an anniversary thread on the GPF forum and, of course, comments attached to this post.