How to Unify Newtonian Physics and Quantum Mechanics

I find physics to be a fascinating topic. I have, at times, wondered if I would find it even more interesting if I really understood it.

I did once have a job where one of my superiors would drive his car in occasionally, and would have me move his car every hour and a half so that he wouldn’t get a ticket. It was a bit menial, and I didn’t feel good about helping a much wealthier man avoid paying for parking, but on the plus side, I would get several chances a day to pass gas in my boss’s car! That, my friends, is priceless. Crass, but priceless!



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How to Demonstrate Your Enthusiasm for a Movie

I still say that if they’d only had the will to make it, that product would have sold.

Rereading this comic, I got to thinking about the rubber Hulk fists. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I prefer the Thing over the Hulk. Just to see if they were available, I did a quick google search for “rubber thing fist.” Looking at the results, I had to laugh, and ask myself what I actually expected when I punched those words into a search engine in the first place.

Note from Missy: I love the sneaky “you could use a second t-shirt” in the second panel. Classic dis!



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How to Handle a Know-It-All

I did have an argument with someone who stated, as if it were an incontrovertible fact, that WALL-E was just a rip-off of Short Circuit. The person with whom I was arguing had not yet seen WALL-E, and had never seen Short Circuit. I had seen both movies, and explained that as near as I could tell, the only thing they had in common is that they both starred robots that had tank treads, and two cameras for eyes.

The other person’s rebuttal was to look at me like I was equal parts naïve and crazy, and say, “Yeah, but still.”

You might say that I won the argument. I’ve certainly said that more than once, but sitting here just now it occurred to me that I’m still irritated about the argument, while the other person has probably forgotten that I even exist. I ask you, is that “winning”?



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How to Make a Good Impression At a Job Interview

I did once try the “My only flaw as an employee is that I care too much about the quality of my work” gambit. I didn’t get the job. At first I assumed it was because the interviewer figured I was lying, but later I realized that he probably checked with my supervisors (the interview was for a transfer to a new location within the company I worked for at the time) and was likely told that I had recently gotten into a dispute with a coworker about how the poor quality of their work made us all look like idiots.

I’m probably the only person in the history of the “My flaw is that I care too much” gambit to lose out on a job because the statement was provably true.


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How to Win at Monopoly Without Losing a Friend

I’m good at Monopoly, or at least I used to be. People stopped playing with me after a while.

It’s not like I’d rub it in when I won. I pride myself on not gloating. It’s just that the game of Monopoly sort of has rubbing it in built into the game. It’s rare to lose quickly at Monopoly. Usually, getting beaten takes about an hour. It’s a well-known feature of the game, so much so that on the rare occasion that someone does get decimated in one or two turns, it’s all the more embarrassing for them.


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How to Drive a Long Distance

I always say that I was a professional comedian for twelve years, but because I was clinging to the bottom few rungs of the showbiz ladder, and I was doing so in the American Northwest, really, I was more of a professional driver than an entertainer.

If someone offered me a job driving my own car, paying for my own fuel, going eight to twelve hours a day, four or five days in a row, usually with some obnoxious person I didn’t enjoy sitting in the passenger seat for $100 or so dollars a day, there’s no way I’d take it. But when I was in my twenties, if they added me doing my act in a bar when I arrived at my destination every night, I took the job and thanked them for the opportunity.

I was, in short, a moron.

On an unrelated note, The last panel was done as a favor for a reader who worked for a trucking company and hoped my comic would be good for the drivers’ morale. I don’t know if it worked, but they sent me a nice hat with the company logo on it, which I still have.


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How to Compete to the Utmost

Battleship was a great game. It was fun, simple, portable, and inexpensive. Then they improved it.

I remember the first time I saw “Electronic Battleship.” The game board was a big, bulky, and heavy, and programming it to play a game was more challenging than the game itself.

On a more positive note, to this day, when trying to psyche myself up for things, I will still mutter “Eye of the tiger. Hungry like the wolf. Walk like an Egyptian.”


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How to Learn the Error of Your Ways from Three Ghosts That Visit You on Christmas Eve

When Ric and I first met, we were both comedians. He was much farther along in his career than I was. Still, “mentor” is too strong a term for his place in my career. I’d describe his role as being somewhere between “occasional advisor” and “cautionary example.”

We knew a guy who taught a stand-up comedy class. He would occasionally ask comedians to speak at his classes. He never asked me or Ric to speak. We once spent a large portion of a drive to a gig thinking about what we would say if he did. Here are the few things we came up with that I remember:

“Fear can keep you alive.”

“A wish to be famous is a terrible reason to go into comedy. A wish to pay your bills is an even worse reason.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned traveling the country doing comedy, it’s this: ‘People hate comedians.’”


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How to Lie for Recreational Purposes

In this comic, I refer to the coworker who is not Jenkins as “Smitty.” In later comics, I call him Graham. Many readers have pointed this out as being a mistake on my part. I would suggest that Smitty could be his first name and Graham his last name. Or, it could be the other way around. Or I could just be calling him Smitty as a kind of nick name. All of these are perfectly plausible explanations.

Of course, anyone who knows me will tell you that it’s far more plausible that I just forgot that I’d named the character Smitty, but that’s not the point. The point is that the other explanations I just made up are plausible as well!

Note from Missy: It’s probably for the best (and by “best” I mean “easiest to remember”) that Scott finally settled into just using the character models’ actual names for their characters. Except for Jenkins, who I haven’t seen in person for so long, it’d be very hard to call him Mike if I ran into him.

Also: Graham here was only 18 or 19 when these reference photos were taken. 10 year later, he hasn’t aged a day to my eye. Except he now has a beard even fuller and more lush than Jenkins has.


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How to Remember a Good Idea

The very act of pulling out a notebook and jotting something down makes people nervous. I once wrote down an idea for a comic and had someone who just happened to be nearby accuse me of keeping tabs on what they were doing. I asked what they were doing that they thought I’d want to make a note of it. They didn’t want to answer.

These days, I use a notebook app on my phone. People think I’m writing an e-mail, and it doesn’t faze them. It’s odd, because I could just as easily be emailing someone to report about their activities.


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How to Talk a Friend Through a Problem

This comic reinforces my opinion that I was, in fact, the villain of Basic Instructions. Look at this thing! That poor guy came to me to commiserate about his problems, and I accuse both him and his teenage daughter of having body odor.

 Yeah, Mullet Boss and the angry customer weren’t great either, but for the most part, Basic Instructions was a comic about me behaving selfishly and heaping smug verbal abuse on anyone who stumbled into range. That may be why it always amazed me when a reader would express an interest in actually meeting me.

Note from Missy: On the other hand, having been a teenage girl, I wish all the other teenage girls had been given the gift of a light blue container. :D


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How to Use Your Words

In the fourth panel, I refer to his hair as being “Architectural” because it’s erect and ridged, but in retrospect, the hair, as I’ve drawn it (I.E. “poorly”), does sort of resemble they Sydney Opera House, so that’s something.

Note from Missy: Lest you think Scott’s exaggerating about his words, one time he injured himself and, instead of shouting “ouch” or some profanity, said, “that’s unfortunate.” The man truly is a human protocol droid.


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How to Go to Your Mental Happy Place

When this comic first ran, I received numerous complaints. Nobody complained that I was objectifying women. Rather, they (men and women both) took issue with the specific characters I chose. I got a lot of “Kaylee, not Inara?” and some “Boomer, not Six?”

I always answered that one with “That isn’t Boomer, it’s Athena,” which solved nothing, but made me smile.

The third character shown confused many people. Some thought it was Daphne the Speedster from Heroes, but it was, in fact, Chiana from Farscape. I’m sure you’ll sleep better knowing that.

Note from Missy: How weird that I watched the full runs of both Farscape and Heroes, and while I remember Chiana very well, I have absolutely no memory of Daphne.


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How to Reveal the Killer's Identity

If you know who the murderer is, why not just tell the cops and be done with it? Why invite the murderer to hang out in a room with lots of other people while you publicly accuse them of being the murderer? You may be thinking that it’s so that there will be witnesses, but I say that all those so-called witnesses are gathered together in one room for convenient kill-ability.

Furthermore, if you’re the murderer, and some detective invites you to a gathering where he or she promises to unmask the killer, why show up? Does every murderer walk into the room thinking, “If I don’t show up, it’ll be a dead giveaway?” Does it not occur to them that attending the gathering and having the detective point at them and say, “That’s the killer, right there,” will be a dead giveaway as well?

I suspect if a detective tried the old “You’re wondering why I’ve called you all here” gambit in real life, either nobody would show up, or the detective would find themselves alone in a room with the murderer, because none of the other suspects would want to attend a gathering where they know there will be at least one murderer.


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How to Properly Use a Factoid

As a child, I loved seaplanes, that is, planes where the fuselage was shaped like a boat, enabling the plane to take off and land on water. I think it comes from watching the show Tales of the Gold Monkey as a child (it was one of the spate of knock-offs that came out the year after Raiders of the Lost Ark was a hit.)

I still like seaplanes. The Grumman Goose, the Grumman Albatros, the Catalina PBY. I have little or no interest in floatplanes, which are regular planes with pontoons for landing gear. For many years, any time someone referred to a floatplane as a seaplane, I would correct them. I only recently let that go.

Why do I bring that up? No reason. Hey, on an unrelated note, I suspect Missy might have something to say about this comic.

Note from Missy: BLAAARRHGHLEBARGLE! Dang “factoid”! Coined in 1973 by Norman Mailer, it originally meant “invented facts that are believed to be true because of repeated use,” but as the years rolled on, and people used it incorrectly to mean “a brief and often trivial fact,” the wrong has become the right, and now both definitions are deemed acceptable by dictionaries. I know that language has to evolve, but when words take a complete 180 (like how “literally” is now defined as “figuratively” in some dictionaries), you’ll still find me over in the corner, cringing.


On the plus side, a discussion about factoid caused Scott to make me LOL: “Actually, it's only a factoid while it's still in space. Once it hits the ground it's a factite.”


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How to Repel the Inevitable Invasion of the Moon-Men

Here it is! The very first appearance of Rocket Hat and the Emperor of the Moon, and the Moon Men! I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty proud of what I did with my motley crew of useless superheroes and villains, and this is where it all started.

A couple of interesting notes. The name “Rocket Hat” doesn’t appear anywhere in this particular comic. Also, I dropped the running joke of having the Emperor shout “the details are unimportant” after this comic, but readers continued quoting it to me in e-mails for years.

Note from Missy: I do like how the Moon-Minion’s outfit is more fat-Elvis here, as opposed to the adult-sized Onesie it evolved into.


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How to Deal with People Who Stand Too Close When They Talk to You

I once had a job that involved standing in a prominent, but non-specific spot for an extended period of time. As long as I was easily visible and could see a specific area well, I could stand anywhere I wanted. It was not a job with a demanding list of qualifications.

Anyway, I had one coworker who insisted on standing right next to me, within my personal space. They often stood so close that we were touching. Again, bear in mind, they could stand anywhere in a thirty square yard space, and they chose to stand on top of me.

I did the only think I could do. I made a game out of it. I would slowly move away, forcing the other person to follow me. Once, when I got tired of just doing laps of the area, I got them to follow me in a figure eight pattern.


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