Part Of The Job Description

So I was asked to blow up a baseball.  Well, I can do that.


I dunno.  It will probably turn out to have too much flame or something.  Still, there ya go.  Exploding baseball.  If nothing else, it was an interesting challenge, given that baseballs are notoriously durable.

As I recall, baseballs used to be cork, wrapped with a tight layer of cord, surrounded by the stitched leather cover.  Examining the remains of this baseball (part of a bucket of eight Rawlings “Official League” baseballs) showed that it was primarily cork, covered with a thin shell of what appeared to be fiber-impregnated resin, with the traditional stitched (synthetic) leather cover.  There may be a more professional-grade baseball available and I’d be happy to destroy one of them if required, but this seemed sufficient as a proof of concept.  The important thing is: Exploding Baseball.

Speaking of entertaining mayhem: my son John and I went off to see Fast and Furious 6. The plot was mainly an excuse to drive fast cars, smash things, and set things on fire, so of course I had no problem with it. John, however, is currently working Quality Control at a video post-production facility where his actual job is to find errors in movies.  Technically, his job is to find digital/editing glitches or places where the dialogue is out of sync, that sort of thing; but that kind of nitpicky awareness tends to bleed over into your general consciousness and does get hard to turn off when you are just trying to relax and enjoy yourself. So he found the movie, with its ever-increasing impossibilities, somewhat tough to buy into.

It’s one of the drawbacks of actually working in entertainment. My wife, as a storyboard artist, finds herself extremely bothered by badly-staged shots.  Also, she knows instinctively that if someone is in a scene where there is a lot of blank space to one side, it is because someone is either going to walk into that space (in the boring relationship crap she likes to watch) or (if she’s watching one of my preferred Cool Shows) the wall behind that character is about to either explode or have a car come through it. Possibly both, if it’s a really good show.

I actually have less trouble than they do because I’ve held so many jobs in the production chain that I tend to make allowances for omissions and/or errors. I may spot a flaw but I’ll also generally forgive it because I’ll have some idea of what budget/time/safety considerations they were dealing with. In fact I’ll often enjoy a problematic movie not for what it is but what it could have been.

As long as it has good explosions.

— Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  I just want to take a second to say how cool it is that people actually seem to be reading this comic (and the notes!) and enjoying it- which we weren’t actually quite certain of until we turned the comments on, since, for all we knew, all the webtraffic to date was from googlebots or netcrawlers or mindless automatons.  Even if all the traffic thus far were real people (which seemed unlikely, as there was a lot of it) we had no way to gauge their opinions of it.  And most of my friends dont read this comic regularly:  “Hey Max, whatever happened to that webcomic of yours?” “Uh, we’ve been online for months now.” “Oh.  I’ll have to check it out sometime.”  To hell with them.

So thank you, kind commenters, for the very-much-needed pat on the back.