Postcards from Cutty

2013-09-02: Early development sidekick: Kat

Early in development of postcards from cutty, Cutty had a sexy sidekick named Kat. At the time, I was thinking of comics like Calvin and Hobbes or Bloom County...I thought you needed to have at least two characters so they could talk to each other.

But I was never satisfied with any sidekick I came up with. Plotwise, a second character created a big mess of plot questions which distracted from the stuff I really wanted to focus on. It also made panel composition difficult--I wanted to have the freedom to depict Cutty floating in a zero gee environment without worrying about placement of a second character.

postcards from cutty really only began to gel after I realized no second character was necessary at all. Instead, the second "character" could be implicit as the other side of side of her video calls. But due to the extreme light-speed delays, the ping times would be measured in weeks.

This was actually a good thing, because the mode of communications would be novel and futuristic. Even though the time delays harken back to the days before the telegraph, the cost per message would still far lower than oceanic postal mail. As such, Cutty's video transmissions would be about trivial random topics on her whim, rather than carefully composed letters.

This got into all sorts of topics which were really the focus of what I wanted pfc to be about...exploring the differences between this speculative future world and today...contemplating how different future space explorers may be from what we imagine today...experimenting with ways to depict these things without implanting a contrived "everyman" in the picture (Like Philip J Fry or Duncan Idaho.)

Really, it's the idea of purposefully avoiding the "implanted everyman" that really got my creative juices flowing on pfc. I wanted the characters to all be future humans living in a future world, not artificially explaining things to each other that they'd all already know. And I wanted the linguistics to be futuristic...I didn't want them to be speaking modern English to each other. I wanted them to speak to each other the way they'd find natural, and use their futuristic speech as a tool to say things about this future world. At the same time, the humor in pfc is rooted in the comparison with modern day life--so really, it's still about modern life. For example, Cutty's rant about the Golem story trend is really about modern day Vampire and Zombie movie trends...I'm just saying that there's still going to be silly fiction trends, and many will still complain about them, even if the mediums have changed.

2013-02-15: I'm on the job market!

I've been laid off from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, where I've worked for the past 12 years. My team has been downsized, although we don't agree with it since my remaining team members are demanded to do more work with less manpower--really, the opposite should be done. Oh well, it's technically not my problem any more, but it's hard to "turn it off".

Looking forward, if anyone wants to work with a software developer/build master who has a lot of cool ideas about space and technology, here's your chance! Most of my professional experience is in BizTalk/.Net software development and SQL databases, but I'm also an avid Linux/Unix tinkerer who has developed some unusual custom boot processes and I dabble in LAMP web development and iPhone app development. (I hand code this web site, and made a fingerpainting app for my autistic son Logan.)

Honestly, I'm interested in new career possibilities, such as aerospace or robotics. In recent years, I have developed a taste for orbital mechanics and rocket propulsion mathematics and planning. My dream job would be to work at JPL, even if just as an IT guy.

So, if anyone would like to work with me, or has any leads on a job in your town (contract work is okay)--I make for a fun guy to get lunch with and talk space and drawing ballpoint pen artwork. Here's my resume, take a look:

Isaac Kuo's resume

- ijk

2013-02-05: Scanner out of order!

My HP printer/scanner apparently refuses to scan if it's out of black ink, and no one thought to tell me it was out of ink. So, I hooked up an old scanner for today's ep.

Ironically or not, today was supposed to be the first day of me putting a little bit more care into the quality of the artwork in PFC. But this old scanner scans in so differently it somewhat overwhelms the difference.

- ijk

2013-01-01: Happy New Years!

Well, it's a new year and it's been a while since I've posted any rambling update. So here goes...

I'd like to personally thank everyone out there who follows pfc. Heck, I'd like to personally thank everyone out there who is even aware of pfc's existence. I know there's not much to it, and the artwork is at best spotty, and it's kind of odd, and I haven't really progressed the story at all. I promise this year to change that. Cutty will take a pod out for a ride, so you can see the RMS Essex from the outside. She'll finally arrive at the EZE0751 system, and do a bit of planetary exploration. Maybe she'll explain a thing or two about the propulsion system which let a random nobody zoom through deep space at 1200km/s. But I don't want to bore you guys with technical minutiae.

Please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions on what you'd like to see! How much technical detail would you like? I could write reams, so the sky's the limit! Or would you like to see more of her backstory? It's a bit of a downer, as Cutty's mom got in with the wrong sort of fiscal system in order to pursue her dream of spacecraft ownership.

I also have vague ideas that someday Cutty will meet someone, but I really haven't figured out how or when. But for the near future, she's out there all alone. The Oort cloud is incredibly empty and vast, and no one else is out there. Other than a handful of interstellar missions, there aren't any other humans beyond the inner solar system. (The Titan base she and her mom looted had been abandoned due to budget cuts.)

That feeling of solitude is something I'm firm about, which is why Cutty doesn't have any companions. Understand, please, that I welcome suggestions and am very happy for any suggestions at all--I'm just explaining this because I've gotten a few suggestions that she should have some sort of pet or robot companion. I understand, and in fact I initially spent a lot of time trying to come up with a buddy for her to talk with (like Red Dwarf or Silent Running). But I stopped when I realized it worked better with no buddy. The only "character" she will talk to is the reader.

As always, you can contact me via Google+ or e-mail:

- ijk

2012-11-03: Added RSS feed

Someone wanted an RSS feed, so I read about how to do one...and here it is! Please let me know of any issues with the RSS links or feed, as I've never done anything with RSS before and I'm only testing the feed with Firefox.

- ijk

2012-10-26: Welcome!

Welcome to the inauguration of my Postcards from Cutty web page! Cutty is a human exploring the Oort cloud in her spacecraft, the RMS Essex. These postcards are an assortment of transmissions from her.

I don't really have a concrete plan on how I'll tell the story, or really what direction I'll be going in. So, I apologize if the first postcards are random and boring, and really not very comprehensible. But please do consider that Cutty has been all alone for about a decade, so she's not going to be entirely coherent herself.

- ijk


000: Why can't we have a serious conversation about unsprung mass?

001: The Sun is dim, but still brighter than all the rest.

002: What does it smell like on the Essex?

003: I know society considers me a thief

004: I lined hall A with supplemental aeroponics.

005: Why does every other fic have to be about golems?

006: This is my big laser!

007: We never once checked them for fire.

008: Honest, I usually feel too busy rather than lonely

009: My favorite eats? Shoestring speared tots, with spud dip!

010: Did you know that "moonshine" wasn't named after pod fuel?

011: Sometimes I just like to play a game of slow darts.

012: Assuming you survived the 2168 Golem Disastropocalypse

013: New Years Greetings! This is the year I'll finally arrive at EZE0751.

014: My olden timely LAS corn skewers make nice candle holders.

015: Mother's olden "Oxbridges Modern KBO Geology" bookmark is good for a lol.

016: I tried some paper mache. I can't believe they used to print EVERYTHING out of paper!

postcards from cutty is written by Isaac Ji Kuo -

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