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Smithson Thus Far... ·


For this week of strips, I put out an open call for pictures of Daves. Unfortunately, since I'm very bad at drawing individual faces, most of the Daves are probably unrecognizable, except for the one in the Transformers T-shirt, who is definitely Dave Van Domelen.

The "Impeach Nixon" button on Dave's backpack is a vintage button I had on my backpack for a long time.

Obviously, the best idea in this entire storyline, and possibly in all of Narbonic, is having all the conventioneers wear identical "Hi My Name Is Dave" badges.

The Rose Parlor is a room in Main Building at Vassar.

I had a weird obsession with the Knights Templar in college and wrote them into a bunch of stories. They might even show up in Smithson if I ever write more of it.

No, you don't get to see the room with the bellydancers. Because that would require me to draw things other than guys named Dave, and that's not the way I roll.

Dave and Helen are in Room 23, a number I picked as a nod to Illuminatus!

I really, really hate onions.

Look! It's a crossover! All the male characters in my college strip, "The Ratio," were named Dave, and therefore must be members of the Dave Conspiracy. Wiry-haired Dave has acquired some extra piercings since college but is otherwise the same.

This strip isn't very funny. It really only exists so I could draw old "Ratio" characters.

The Dave with the ponytail is another "Ratio" character. He's gay, hence the exchange in the first panel.

This storyline actually has a fairly complex plot, by my admittedly limited standards of the time. Go figure.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And in case anyone's curious...yes, I own the original art of this strip. :) A friend pointed this out to me a while back, insisting it was me. I didn't remember my brief acquaintance with Shaenon back in Columbus, and didn't think it could possibly be me, so I emailed Shaenon to ask (which took some doing, her email wasn't exactly easy to find at the time), found out the truth, and became a regular reader.
David Shaw (trazoi) says:

You know, one of the Daves at the back looks a bit like me. It's the one in the centre right, behind the smiling Dave with the glasses and the one looking curiously at Helen and Dave Davenport, to the left of the one with the hat and moustache and beard. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: (jaw drops)
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm in a giant conspiracy."
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

... you know, I don't *get* a conspiracy.

The 'Luc's are a small, unassumig bunch... destened for starship captain jobs.

kicking_ k (kicking_k) says: Yup. My sister's ex is third from the left in the back row, looking shifty.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

"Dave's not here, man..."


Now we know where he is. 

David Shaw (trazoi) says: I have such a hard time remembering people's names at conferences and conventions. It would be brilliant if they were all just focused around people called Dave.
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"It's simple... except that it requires me to draw those name tags into every single strip for the next five weeks (at least), and when I forget I have to go back, white out the shirt of the Dave in question, and draw the darn thing in.

This, of course, is one of my favorite forms of humor: the joke that requires a massive amount of effort for a very tiny payoff. So I'm happy.
-Shaenon K. Garrity, 9 March 2002.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: What, the Knights Templar are still around? I thought they'd all perished in that incident with the big guy who looks like he has a squid on his head. You know-- name begins with a C.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

... the big guy who looks like he has a squid on his head. You know-- name begins with a C.


Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Dalek Caan?
Michael Duggan (md5i) says:

Apparently still around, yes:

Knights Templar heirs in legal battle with the Pope

The heirs of the Knights Templar have launched a legal battle in Spain to force the Pope to restore the reputation of the disgraced order which was accused of heresy and dissolved seven centuries ago.

Jon the Mighty! (jonskerr) says:

In a highly suspect coincidence, they also just sued the Pope.

Jon the Mighty! (jonskerr) says: Curses! Double posted. Oh well, mine was a different link. :D
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: No, Cthulhu!

Yes, I realize my mythology is all screwed up.
Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says: For some reason the word "spokesDave" always makes me giggle wildly.
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars. -- Umberto Ecco, Foucault's Pendulum. Seriously, rock on with the occult history. Even if the Knights Templar strike me more as Olive Garden people.
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says: hehe. I had heard that saying about how lunatics always bring them up. But really, I know nothing of them, and never found them interesting. I am still not sure what the deal is with them. :)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Any room with bellydancers and high-speed Internet counts as a "smokin'" room by my standards.

On the other hand, if you've got the bellydancers, why do you need the Internet.  Oh, right, Warcraft.

On the other other hand, Dave never smoked, right?

Joe Charneskie (mutant-sentry) says: Dave should be glad it is non-smoking, never know what your inhailing in an Illuminatus! room...
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: He-Helen's smile in the last panel is great - such anticipation of the bellydancers.
Jaye Brown (illogicalv) says: Oh, the "Hello, my name is Dave" gag always makes me laugh my ass off.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says: That's the problem- the presence of belly dancers negates Ethernet, and Ethernet negates belly dancers. It;s the male equivalent of a logic loop...
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: :blink: :blink:
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I seem to recall that this is not the only time that Helen's hatred of onion in her springroll comes up.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

The most interesting aspect of this storyline's premise, it seems, is that Helen has become the outsider, the voice of reason, and Dave is the Wonderlander. Futhermore, it inverts their relationship in a manner which doesn't harm the basic premise of Narbonic - Helen is a evil, wondrous scientist, Dave is in an evil, wondrous conspiracy, and neither of those facts bring either to each other's level. Mad Science and Ancient Conspiracies are worlds of their own.

And the message that comes across is this: not even the normal is normal. In the Narboniverse, even the plainest of everymen, and the mundanest of Muggles, is a knowing participant in covert governmental, scientific, magical, superheroic or paranormal organisations, conspiracies, fellowships, guilds or escapades. It's... quite humanistic.
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"I am currently addicted to spring rolls, especially Vietnamese or Thai-style. This is what comes of living in a city with a large Asian population and many fine, cheap restaurants. From now on, whenever you see me you must offer me a spring roll.

But no onion particles.

I have spoken.
--Shaenon K. Garrity, 8 March 2002.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Oh, make a spring roll with some
Cabbage, some cabbage, some cabbage,
It comes out very fine!

And you can add a little
carrot, a carrot, a carrot,
That makes it taste divine!

Then you can serve it with
A parsnip, a turnip, a beef tip,
The finest in the world!

But never never with an
Onion, an onion, an onion,
'Cause then I'm gonna hurl!

(sung to the tune of "Never On Sunday")


David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Chinese food without onions?  A hopeless crusade!  :-)

(Of course, I've got at least 5 different members of the family in my fridge, so I might be biased....)

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Are your family Eskimos, or are they just waiting for you to fix the air conditioner?
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Onion's distinctive enough that even a little bit can be detected. But I don't mind a little onion in something (and like onion rings on their own). It's peppers I can't stand. Even a single pepper particle accidentally scooped into a dish makes the whole thing taste like peppers. Bleh.

Makes ordering cheesesteaks during the lunch rush tricky...even if I ask for no onions or peppers, odds are a little will get in there anyway.

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says: Onions only bug me in big chunks, or if they're undercooked. Onion juice, however, makes me ill- I once bought some substandard vegtable juice, and they had *loaded* it with onion juice. Blech.
Pete (westrider) says: Wow, I don't get it. I think onions are so delicious I've even put them on chocolate cake. Seriously. I couldn't get anybody else to try it for some reason but it was delicious. They were really sweet Walla Walla Whites, and so they just added this nice little edge to the cake. Sooooo good.
Bill Livingston (billfl) says: This sounds very much like my dad.  He hated onions with a passion, wouldn't touch a dish if he thought it had any.  Every time mom cut some up, he'd always walk through the kitchen convinced there was a little chunk of it ("Live Onion", he said) that she'd dropped and missed somewhere.
Daniel Barkalow (iabervon) says: (belatedly) The bellydancers aren't guys named Dave? Wouldn't that compromise the security of the con? On second thought, I'm glad we didn't get to see the bellydancers.
Joe Charneskie (mutant-sentry) says:

I'll eat onions for anyone who doesn't want them.  I love onions...

 I've been known to take bites of raw Vidallias...


John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Pete (westrider) says: Wow, I don't get it. I think onions are so delicious I've even put them on chocolate cake.

Okay, personally, I've got nothing against onions, but... on chocolate cake? That's just Wrong.

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: The recipe archive contains a recipe for chocolate and garlic cake.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

He's got enough hardware in those ears to pick up satellite TV.

So, if I hit control-S for "save", do I hit control-D for "Dave"?  Try it on your computer, see what happens.

David Given (dg) says:

@Pete: I made it once. I still have nightmares.

 (Okay, that recipe is for a flourless whipped-egg cake, which I suck at and can never make rise, but even assuming that the dog-food-like texture was my fault, the taste itself was still utterly loathesome.)

(However, if you're interested in Dangerous Food, I can recommend Zarf's Chocolate Balls of Doom --- aka cayenne chocolate truffles. They're disturbingly nice.)

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: It may not be "very funny", but it shows Helen and Dave that they share a common coping mechanism for their unusual environments. I think it's a touching bonding moment.
Sor Cyress (sorcyress) says:

When I hit crtl-d, it just tries to bookmark the page. 

...which may be exactly what Shaenon wants... 

Rachel S. (masamage) says: I think it's funny. ^_^ It's fun to see Dave and Helen bond over their insecurities.
Pete (westrider) says: I'm going to try chocolate and garlic at some point, but the one I really want to do is a chocolate and bacon cake. Full of WIN!
Matt Katinas (nidoking) says: A Dave calling a Dave by his last name? Seems like a one-off thing, but more of a missed opportunity. Having several instances of a Dave calling a Dave "Dave" in a row would bring to mind the Monty Python philosophers sketch with all the Bruces calling each other Bruce. "You mean your name's not Bruce? Mind if we just call you Bruce to keep things simple?"
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

"You don't work because you have a degree in fine art."

An old joke from my college days:  The engineering major asks "How does it work?"  The science major asks "Why does it work?"  The business major asks, "How much will it cost to make it work?"  The fine arts major asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

I always wished that Ponytail Dave would come back- I guess now I know where to find him.

I'm the Liturature guy- we ask 'Venti or Grande?'

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Aaron Shades says: "I'm the Liturature guy(.)"


And it shows... (</snarkasm>)

Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says: Well, Dave's last name is Dave-nport. Okay, I'm reaching here...
Alec Penfield (theauthorman) says:

Onions are icky. Except, oddly enough, in french onion soup. But it's soup, so you don't have to chew the onions which is the worst part of eating onions.

 I also don't like onions. Figured I might as well say that.

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says: @Edwin: You've missed the obvious.  He's a 'liturature' guy, not a literature guy like me.  We're not the same, you know.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile