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Shaenon: Behold! Today's strip is the work of Ryan Estrada, who set himself the frankly baffling task of drawing guest strips for 100 webcomics in a single day. Although he prefers to operate under a veil of secrecy, I strongly suggest you visit his site and check out the rest of the roster.

As if all those shenanigans weren't enough, Ryan also drew this:


That's right: it's another installment of Leo the lion's webcomic, previously seen here and here. RYAN DREW A GUEST STRIP FOR LEO'S WEBCOMIC.

And, yes, Jeffrey and I did produce a Skin Horse strip for today. Here it is...


Whew! Thanks, Ryan!

87 comments:
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: "u r a pwn" would be a grammatical nightmare even by l33tspeak standards.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

Ok, ever since Alanis Morissette, I don't know what the damn word means, so someone confirm for me:

Is this a perfect definition of Ironic, or not?

Harris Bias (polychrome) says: Is that an Elebit in front of the NERV poster in the second panel?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ok, this is NOT GOOD.

P.S: Prime says '...and believe me, I am still alive...'
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: NigaiAmai - when you defeat someone soundly in any game, you "own" them.  Somewhere, someone misspelled "own" as "pwn", and it stuck.  So, if you're helpless against someone much stronger, you are "pwned".
Robin Zimmermann (packbat) says: NigaiAmai Yume: 'Fraid this one is Morissette-ironic. (Depressingly enough, I really like that song.)
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

To figure out if something is actually "ironic" or not, use this simple little rhyme:

If there isn't any expected outcome of a sequence of events or characteristics, there is no possibility for this to be violated and thus, no irony -- at least by one definition of the term -- is possible.

See?  Just get that stuck in your head and you'll never go wrong.  It helps if you make up a little song to go with it.

K C (spotweld) says: I wonder if this is all a flashback to Tip before he advanced to the 8th rank...
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: I work at two different colleges, and i really wish I could treat panel 3 as a joke instead of a spot-on accurate detail.  I really, really, wish this thing.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says: After the test, you will be... missed!
K C (spotweld) says:

I am compelled!!

 

Shut UR Mouth.  

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It's all clear now! He's getting text messages from an UR-gerbil.

Apparently one named "Bub". 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: U CN HAZ INTERNETS RETINAZ!
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

Continuing yesterday's "ironic" discussion:

I am aware of the owned/pwned, ed. Hence, I was wondering if Nick was thinking pawn was pwn misspelled - ignoring that it is itself misspelled - was ironic.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: "This thing is full of shit."
DEFINE SHIT
"Shit.  Excrement.  Number two."
YES I M NUMBER TWO
"Well, who the f*ck is Number One?"
U R NUMBER SIX
"I'm not a number, motherf*cker, I'm an elite gamer!"
DERISIVE LAUGHTER
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

I am strangely reminded of "The Truman Show."

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: Okay, I'm now thoroughly desensitized to the swearing in this context. It must be like the Atkin's diet, where there's an induction phase while you adjust. (Swearing doesn't normally bother me in webcomics, incidentally. It just seemed so out of place in this one.)
Rob (rrreed) says:

IM IN UR COMPUTER
GIVIN U COGNITIVE DISXONANCE
Dan (selcouth14) says:

Love the expression in the third panel!

 

/Not a newcomer so much as a previous non-commenter harking back to the Narbonic days.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Cussing constantly is probably better for weight loss than Atkins. It works for me!

(Sadly, Nick is the probably the SH character whose speech patterns most closely resemble my own. Nick and Unity. I'm sorry, I wasn't raised right.)
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: If this turns out to be a Matrix ripoff I'm going to be very annoyed.
James Rice (jhrice) says:

Oh, OH.  Oh Please...  Is it...

 This, almost certianly won't be revealed until next week when I'm out of town, can't see Skin Horse, and obviously can't reply.   Damn you two.  You do this to torture me.   *grin*  I will get even. 

 

Rob (rrreed) says: Remember, in the Matrix trilogy a green tint to everything indicated that you were in the matrix. So pay no attention to the Wachowski brothers behind the curtain…

Hmm… That'd be a twist—Nick's messy room/VR development lab actually being the virtual reality.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hmmmm. This will be v-e-r-r-r-ry interesting...
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: I still can't help thinking that Nick is about to receive a free upgrade...
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Aha!  Time for a tin-foil hat!  The thing hacking him is none other than the lovely lovelace!
Rob (rrreed) says: Nah, my money's on Asherah.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Blue pill, Nick! Blue pill!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

For my money, "gold bug" is probably a descendant of archy the cockroach.  Remeber, we're dealing with non-human sapients here.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: P.S. today's band name is "Fear Not The Fedora"
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Gold Bug...reformatted Autobot, or Edgar Allan Poe fan?
Joe Charneskie (mutant-sentry) says: This is what Mustachio does when he goes off-line.  He's used his phone connection to free his mind, copying his consiouness to the net.   By day he works as a immobile built in receptionist clank, by night he surfs the web and messes with geek minds.  A post-modern 21st Century Rampage...
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Are those Dave and Helen having a picnic?  I knew that scruffy face looked familiar!
Steve Ford (fordsfords) says: Gold Bug can also be from Richard Scarry, although I pity the poor parent who knows what I'm talking about...
Dan (selcouth14) says:

@Rockphed: I believe you're correct, though I don't think Dave and Helen would have a problem with a talking/thieving panda…well maybe the thievery part.

 

Down the rabbit hole we go!
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: This looks to be my favorite arc so far. I'm so excited!
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Steve Ford says: "Gold Bug can also be from Richard Scarry, although I pity the poor parent who knows what I'm talking about..."

 

What? No pity for the kids who grew up with him? (As if I actually *NEED* your pity... *goes back to drowning sorrows created by Scarry-induced depression* </snark>) 

Mark H- (eyeharvester) says: No...I think it's most likely a Poe reference. Remember, "The Gold-Bug" was all about cryptography... BUM! BUM! BUM!
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Hmm. I'm concentrating more on the Oz refferences- I read the whole series repeatedly as a kid, so I'm on my terms here.

Professor H.M. Wogglebug T.E., perhapse, for the Gold bug? (Highly Magnified  Thoughtfully Educated)

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says: Okay. Shaenon and Jeffrey win the internets.
Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says: Terrifying.
D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

Thanks for providing me with enough nightmare fuel to last a while...

Michael Martin (mcmartin) says: I had to go randomly read a bunch of YouTube pages to restore my grounding in reality.
Rob (rrreed) says: Don't make me come over there and invoke Godwin's Law
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eegad!!!!!
Marleen de Kramer (malabarista) says: Eeep! Failing the Turing Test right there.
Rob (rrreed) says: A better question would be, who's taking the test?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: I need new glasses.  I read Gold Bug's line in the 2nd panel as "ppl dont shave right".  (I'm sure there's some sort of joke involving "fallacy" and "follicle", but I haven't had coffee yet.)
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Blue Pill! Blue Pill! The internet is full of asshats out here. They're jerks. You'd be bet....uhh...wait...uhh...  Red Pill! Red Pill!
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

My god... it's full of stars!

You realize what this means, right?

They're making a world where peoples on the interweb get along! It's a madhouse! A mad house!

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: That is wose than not real. It is unthinkable.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

Wait, an internet full of convincable people...

Can I get IN there? That would make my day. ^-^

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Jeffrey wrote this entire two-week run of strips. I contributed the phrase, "Christ on a cracker." I call that a fair division of labor.
Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says: This must be the first Matrix, the paradise one that eventually no one accepted.
Dan (selcouth14) says:

I'm a rabid HHGTTG fan so I'm going to humbly take a page out of Leon Arnott's ongoing counting of Narbonic references with this:

The Answer Count: 1

Also, I quite agree with Yume, where is this bizzaro-internet and how can I join?

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says: ..... AIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!! Maake it go away!
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
The Answer Count: 1

Heh...the username with "42" at the end is Norb42, which was my online handle for a long time.
Camille Dumas (camidumas) says: And the moldy soda?  Is that a lie?
Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: Even the cake is a lie.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Darn, you beat me to it!

See, this is the real difference between this and The Matrix. Neo got off his @$$ and did something about it. This guy, however...
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

In a VR world, the cake may be a lie, but the spam is real.

In the last panel, there's a copy of the computer game, "Only You Can Save Mankind" ... from the book of the same name by (all genuflect) Terry Pratchett (all rise) ... in which book, a young man finds himself inside a computer game.  Do I win today's "spot the obscure reference" prize?

Rob (rrreed) says: This is the thing about VR that gives me the creeps. Once a system exceeds the threshold of human perception and eliminates those pesky glitches that troubled the Matrix, detecting that you've actually left VR becomes problematic. I was really hoping that Matrix Revolutions would address this, i.e., the "Real World" was actually a higher-level simulation that neither humans nor machines were (initially) aware of.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Here's the real question...what's his real species? After all, online nobody knows you're a dog.
eNoob (boonead) says: He's human. If he wasn't, he would've noticed the switch.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Who's to say he wasn't something else put in a human body at some point before the VR switch? Or that he's self-aware enough to realize that his VR body is the wrong species? ;)
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Oh...and his entire life as a human could have been VR, and he's really a gerbil with electrodes implanted in his brain. The switch happened at birth. :)
eNoob (boonead) says: I yield to your superior imagination.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

If he'd spent his entire life in VR, he wouldn't know that an Internet where people are reasonable, polite, and can be swayed by logic is wrong.

Of course, that doesn't rule out him being a gerbil who has spent his entire life in a VR simulation where he believes he's a human who spends all his time on a rude Internet, and who, in that simulation, has been placed in a simulated simulation where the Internet is polite. It's turtles all the way down.

Dan (selcouth14) says:

So a gerbil, playing a human (in VR w/ rude internet), playing a human (also in VR w/o rude internet)?

That I can believe, but I think the turtles are a lie...

Rob (rrreed) says: Who says Nick has a body at all? Or had one in the first place?
James Kehl (shykta) says:

Just to comment on the colour of the curtains: why does Nick think he's in a virtual world? Because a computer game is telling him so, and the internet is full of NPCs? Both those things are virtual worlds already!

 Me, I say he's in the real world - just because Dr Lee knows what vegetables are. Would anyone in VR really consider them a food?

 

Dave Corbett (mr_dave) says:

James Kehl (shykta) says:

Me, I say he's in the real world - just because Dr Lee knows what vegetables are. Would anyone in VR really consider them a food?

Of course, if real Dr. Lee is the same age as virtual Dr. Lee, he predates teh Intarwebs and so would almost certainly have encountered vegetables at some point in the past. 

 Rob Reed (rrreed) says: This is the thing about VR that gives me the creeps. Once a system exceeds the threshold of human perception and eliminates those pesky glitches that troubled the Matrix, detecting that you've actually left VR becomes problematic. I was really hoping that Matrix Revolutions would address this, i.e., the "Real World" was actually a higher-level simulation that neither humans nor machines were (initially) aware of.

Has anyone (besides me) seen The Thirteenth Floor which came out just about the same time as The Matrix?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: So, what KIND of homonculus is he? ;)
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: My guess? He's an AI.
James Rice (jhrice) says: Or She is.
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: You think a return of Lovelace, James?
James Rice (jhrice) says: Sooner or later, maybe.  The latest possible clue was the Wizard of Oz quote a few days ago being very similar to the Alice in Wonderland quote Lovelace displayed when Dave went mad.   But that's just my speculation.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Uh-ohhhh.....
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Dave:  Saw "13th Floor", enjoyed it.  It resonated with another story idea I had some time ago but never produced.
Rob (rrreed) says: "Ah! I see you have a machine that goes ping!"
Mud Mudd (ceramic) says: Well, once he gets into the real world, he'll have to adjust, and for that he needs help. Summon Skin Horse. Coincidentally, it would be his first exposure to girls, albeit one canine, one post-vitalist and one aesthetic.
Honora O\'Toole (jinjur) says: I see Nick is still mostly human. I guess that explains his more "Chopfyt" personality.....
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile