Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The CWA of Dr. Z Smith: Episode #112: It's a 207

Von TipRău and Mr. Monoid held the boy high, he wouldn't escape. 
He sure was struggling, though. 
A brilliant flash of light, a noise like a giant metal contrapion landing heavily, and the words “So, Where are we now?”
The words came from the lips of Capt. James Brown, the noise from Dr. Smith's time machine. 

-=fig. 687: the time machine=-

  “We're exactly where we started from James,” Said Dr. Zachary Smith “Just fifteen years in the past.”
  “Well, what are we doing here?”
  “We're rescuing me.”
The duo lept from the contraption, which looked to be a cross between a rowboat and a glasblowers nightmare.  Also, there were spinning bits.
  “Unhand that…Child!” Cried Dr. Smith. He gave Capt. Brown a hand signal. 
  Capt. Brown became armed. 
 Von TipRău laughed.  “Guns? Really? After our last encounter, Capt. Brown, I took the precaution of inventing this brilliant little doohickey, Mr. Monoid?”
  Before Capt. Brown had had time to react, Mr. Monoid had a device in his hand, a small device, and he had pressed the only button. 
  “Amazingly delicate thing, a firing mechanism.” Von TipRău said as Capt. Brown clicked the trigger repeatedly. 
  “Looks like we'll have to settle this the old-fashioned way.” Dr. Smith said, drawing his sword. 
  “Indeed? Vell, as I always say, the old vays are usually the best vays. Don't  you agree, Mr. Monoid?”
  “Indeed, Boss.” As one man they drew their weapons. 
  “Ah, Both of you then?” Dr. Smith asked, eyeing the razor sharp blades being handled with the practised hands of experience. 
  The sort of experience where your enemies don't live very long.
  They answered his question with their weapons. 
  Dr. Smith was good, very very good, but this new development was worrying him. 
 Not that he had much chance to properly think about it as he dodged the blades of death. 
Capt. Brown watched the spectacle. 
So did the boy. 
After awhile, Capt. Brown watched the boy. 
The boy was sitting cross legged on the ground, right where he had been dropped, watching the fighters very carefully, as if trying to work out where the wires were.
Dr. Smith knocked Von TipRău's hat off, and Von TipRău feinted left, which Dr. Smith didn't fall for, there was a flash of steel and Mr. Monoid fell. 
 Von TipRău saw him fall.  For a moment, nothing else mattered. 
 Then all that mattered was driving Dr. Smith back. 
Dr. Smith was surprised by this new effort, he took a step back, then another, and another. 
  “Time to go,” Capt. Brown said to the boy. 
   “No.” Said the boy, “I Don't know you people. You could be…terrible people…for all I know.”
   “We're not, I'm Capt. Brown, Capt. James Brown.”
   “Could you tell my friend that I was right about it being a very common name?” 
   “ I AM Your Friend! Tall kid? Goofy grin? Long brown coat that suits him well? This is the same long brown coat! We're from the future! It'll make more sense in a minute, but now is the time to leave, before you get killed by that madman.” 
   “But I'm not even over there.”
   “Yes you are. Now Come on, we need to get out of here.”
They ran to the time machine, Capt. Brown grabbed the back of Dr. Smith's shirt as he ran past, holding him a foot above the ground, one handed. 
   Von TipRău chased them he watched them leap to the boat part of the time machine, he watched as the lights came, he saw them disappear. 
He walked back and checked Mr. Monoid's vitals. 
The man was dead. 

-=fig. 688: yorrick=-

He stood up, devastated. Monoid had always been there for him, thick and thin, he'd saved him a couple of times, helped him when the madness came, and now he was gone. 
Von TipRău realised the wind was whipping through his hair. 
He reached down and picked up the hat at his feet. 
It was monoid's. 
He felt a little stronger, and he swore Dr. Smith would pay for what he had done. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Then & Now

The CWA of Dr. Z Smith: Episode #111: Yesterdays

  “I'm Coming, I'm coming.” Replied Mrs. Lisa Smith. 
 She opened the door.

-=fig. 682: the cat=-

  “Zachary?” She asked. “What's this?”
  “It's not a ‘what’ ” Zachary replied, “It's a ‘Who’. His name's James, I found him on the street. Can we come in?”
  “Zachary, What have I told you about pets?”
  “He's not a pet he's a–”
  “This isn't one of your…Projects…Is it?”
  “Projects? No, He's a real person, His name's James. James…?”
  “Brown. James Brown, Ma’am.”  James Didn't mind standing on the porch as these huge swaths of dialogue flew past, but he wished the porch was a bit more interesting.
  “Brown?” Zachary asked incredulously, “Really?  James Brown? That's one step removed from John Smith.”
  “Oh yeah?” Replied James, “So what's your last name?”
James laughed.  He had an nice, deep laugh. Completely incongruous with his kind of squeaky child voice.
  “Well…I guess you can come in. But wipe your feet.”  Lisa could see that this street person had ‘Dirt’ Written all over him. In Grime.
  “Thank you very much, Ma’am.” James replied, as he conscientiously wiped his boots on the mat.  It took some doing, but he managed to get most of the dirt off.
  “C’mon, James,” Zachary said “I want to show you my room.”
  “What did…”
  “Mrs. Smith.”
  “…Mrs. Smith mean when she called me ‘One of your Projects?”
  “I make stuff.”
  “What sort of stuff?”
  “Everything.  Mostly electrical things, but also some chemical engineering, monsters, robots–”
  “You mean…she thought I was a monster? That you made?”
  “Yeah, I was getting pretty good at making them right up until, um, I stopped. ”
 James decided to let that particular subject lie. “So, robots, huh?”

-=fig. 683: mk1=-

  “I call him–” Dramatic pause “Jeeves!”
  “Kinda small, innie?”
  “You would say that. You're huge, But watch this.”  Zachary ran to the control panel that took up the majority of the back wall, yanked a lever, turned a dial, and set a valve. The robot started humming.
  It jittered.
  It shook.
  It beeped.
  James stepped back. This looked…kind of dangerous.
  Jeeves took a jerky 90° turn, and raised one arm to his fore-brow.
  “BEEP” He said.
  “Is that all he can do?” James asked. It was sort of an anti-climax.
 “Well, yeah.” Dr. Smith replied “It's actually surprisingly hard to program him to do things. That–thing–he just did? Took me an hour and a half.”
  “You mean he doesn't just do stuff by himself?”
  “Autonomy?” Zachary scoffed, “That's the dream, the dream of every robotic engineer ever!  I can't program in autonomy! Robot language is hard enough as it is!”
  “You mean it's in a whole ’nother language?  What's wrong with Legopolian?”
  “You can't program a robot in Legopolian.”
  “Why not?”
  “Because…um…you just…don't. They only understand ones and zeroes, you would have to translate Legopolian letters into…that wouldn't be too hard, actually. Hold on.”
  He typed something into a nearby computer monitor.
   “Done, but I'm going to need something with more keys–” He spotted an old typewriter. “Perfect.”
     BEEEEEP            BEEP
              BEEP,                        BEEP."
  “Oh legopolis, Legahhhhp-o-lis,” James muttered absentmindedly.
  “AH HA HA!” Cheered Dr. Smith.  “By typing in the notes, I got him to sing the national anthem! Yay! This new robotic language will revolutionise the world! No more binary! At least, not on top.”
  “So is he Autonanana…can he think for himself, now?”
  “No. But it's only a matter of time.”
  “What if you did, say, this:”  James reached over to the terminal and typed:

  “How do you spell that?”
  “A-U-T-O-N-O-M-Y. But it won't work, James, because you're referencing a script that doesn't exist.”
  “Is that important?”
  “Alright, humour me, then.” And he kept typing.  He had figured out how to write the language from watching Dr. Smith invent it.

  “Okay, We need a complex thing for him to figure out with his autananamy.”
  “This won't work, but um, here. Put in…let me.”
 “There.” Zachary pressed the Carriage Return key, and the code was uploaded into Jeeves.
 “That dosen't seem all that difficult of a task, retrieve a teacup?”
 “Trust me, it is.”
They watched Jeeves.
At first, nothing happened.
Then, something did.
Jeeves lifted his stubby robot legs and stomped across the room.
He reached out both his arms, for he didn't have fingers {or even claws,} and gently grasped the teacup.
He then stomped his way across the room, until he was standing in front of Dr. Smith.
Then he dropped the cup and it smashed on the concrete floor.
Zachary was dumbfounded.
He had worked for months learning binary, teaching his robot simple things, terribly difficult simple things, and this…stranger comes in, not even a genius stranger, and in an afternoon they had a completely autonomous robot.
But what really got him was that they did so by referencing a file that does not exist. 
  “Are you a genius? A Savant?”  Zachary Smith asked, staring disbelievingly into James’ eyes.
  “I…Don't think so. I would know if I were, wouldn't I?”
  “It's just, to get that sort of behaviour, I usually have to start with some sort of organic brain or something.  But I've abandoned that method ever since we had to leave Quagmireland because of it. Organic brains are finicky, too randomized. So I made another robot, a new one, a completely mechanical one. But all these things understand is binary, so I learned binary, and it's hard! Really hard! And then you come in, no experience, and all of a sudden we have a new language, a simple one, and my completely mechanical robot is thinking for itself!”
  “You sound, are you angry?” James asked.
  “No.” Zachary replied, “Just don't ever leave!”
James looked at the completely insane child sitting next to him, and said “Well, I have to. I don't live here.”
  “You know what I mean.”
dingdongdingdong dingdongdingdong 
  “No, Don't get up.” Mrs. Smith grumbled, “I'll just get it then, shall I? It's not like we have servants anymore. Oh no, Wait, I forgot. You have me.” She was in a bad mood. 
  She opened the door. 
  “We don't want any.” She said. 

-=fig. 684: Sunt vânzarea acestor clone amendă piele=-

  “Oh, no! You misunderstand me, madam, I am here for Zachary Smith.” The stranger had a Romanian accent. 
  “Which one?”
  “There are more zan von?” 
  “Yes, there is a big one, who I'm married to, and a little one, who's my son.”
  “Oh, I am Looking for ze little von. He's a…friend…of mine.”
  “Figures. ZACHARY!” She shouted over her shoulder, “ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR WIERD FRIENDS IS HERE, Please, come in Mr.…?”
  “Von TipRău. But pleese, Call me Villiam.” 
  “Well William if you'll just–”
  “Villiam. Vith a ‘V’.” 
  “Oh, Okay, Villiam. Please Sit?”
  “Zank you.” He sat at the table. 
Zachary Morton Smith, Zachary Smith's father, came into the room carrying some boring papers. “Hi honey.” He said. “What do you make of this?  I say they're all exactly the same machine, But I need a second opinion because–”  He saw the guest. “Who's this?” 
  “Dear,” Said Lisa, “This is Mr. Villiam Von TipRău, He's here to see Zachary.”
  “Oh,” Said Morton “Nice to meet you Villiam, Names Zachary, Zachary Smith. But you can call me Morton, Everybody does.”
   “It's a pleasure, Morton.”
    “Ah, Romanian!” Morton said excitedly, “You don't happen to know Ludwig Aufenstien the brilliant scientist, would you?”
    “I am he. Von TipRău is the name zat I travel under, to avoid ze crowds, you know. Don't tell anyone I'm here.” He gave a smile like the last part was a joke. 
   Morton was overjoyed. He couldn't believe it. “You're really Ludwig? Or should I say Mr. Aufenstein? EEE! I have every paper you've ever written! Your study in the journal of scientific research on the hyperactivity of subcutaneous psychoanalysim? GENIUS! Wait right here, I'lll get it for you to sign OH MY GOSH!” He ran out of the room. 
  Mrs. Smith sighed. “Sorry about that, my husband gets a bit…excited about stuff sometimes. Which is weird considering the line of work he went into.”
   “Patent clerk.” She said in reply to Von Aufenstien's inquiring look. “Probably the world's most boring job.”


-=fig. 685: dinner party=-
“Ah, Zere you are my boy!” Said Von TipRău with a huge smile, “So nice to be seeing you…again.”
“I don–
“And Who's your friend?”
“This is James, In fact, we were just going outside to test this robot's–
“Just what I Vanted to talk to you about, You see, I'm having trouble with a robot of my own I vas vondering If you could help me.”
“Really?” No one had ever asked Zachary for help before, this was new.
“Yeah, he's just out back–Zat, is, if you'r mother say is alright?”
Lisa gave a brushing hand motion, as if to say ‘Off with you.’
They exited out the back door.
“So,” Zachary said, “Where's the robot?”
“About that, ” Von TipRău said, “I lied. Mr. Monoid?”
“Right Boss.” said Mr. monoid, as he grabbed Zachary.
“What, hey! Hel–”
“No you don't.”
-=fig. 686: kidnap=-

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seth & Jemma

SHOT ON: Canon T3i
MUSIC: ‘Bill Bailey’ Toni Carroll
‘Scene From Tchaicovsky's Symphony No. 1’ Performed LIVE By Jemma Riedel.

Last sunday Seth and Jemma came over.
I filmed it.
They're my friends, they used to live here in Alaska, until they lived in washington, and they visited us for a bit.

Last sunday.

I also took these pictures:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the CWA of Dr. Z Smith Episode #110: Backstory

-=fifteen years ago=-

-=fig. 678: the smith apartments=-

The woman watched as the city burned.
     “Your father and I,” She said, “Leave you alone for three hours! ONE Society dinner and this…!” She gestured at the city below “How…Did you even build a 50 foot robot with out me noticing?  We live in an apartment!”
     “I have skills.” Replied the boy. “I Didn't mean for him to escape, He just–”
     “Never mind that now, can you stop it?”
     “Not remotely.  No, ah, I mean, I can't stop him from here. If I were to get closer…?”
     “He's not dangerous, really–”
A giant ball of flame engulfed another house.
   The man stepped forward and adjusted his thick glasses “Is that the Miller’s house? I hope they weren't home.”
  Both the boy and the woman stared at the man. “Honey,” Said the woman, “Don't you hate the millers?”
   “Oh I do, Lisa, But they owe me $37.50. The Squirrels won.”
   Lisa Smith, {Née O'Callaghan} Millionairess to the vast O'Callaghan fortune, Took charge as she often had.  “Morton,” She said, “Tell the servants we'll have to make a hasty exit.”
“And I was just getting to like Quagmireland.”


A door appeared in the middle of the smith apartment. 
It was blue, art deco, and did not match the wallpaper at all. 
It didn't need to, It wasn't connected to the wall.
It opened. 
A man stepped out.

-=fig. 679: an unauthorised visit from the DEM Co.=-

He examined the room.
It was empty.
He examined it again, more carefully.
Still empty.
He swore.
A servant hurried through the room. He saw the blue door. Then he saw the man in black.
Ludwig Aufenstein smiled. “Good Afternoon sir.” He said. 
  “No it isn't.” The Servant said. “There's a bloody great robot outside, destroying things! I have to get home, I don't care how you got a door in here, I need to leave. Take anything you want.” 
  “Do you have a family sir?“
  “Yes. Which is why I need to–”
  “–Leave. Yes. Well, If you ever want to see them again, you will tell me where Zachary Smith went.”
  “Zachary…You mean Morton? He went with his family. They didn't say where, it was all “PACK THE THINGS NOW!” And “DAMMIT!” And panicking.”
  “Any idea about what?”
  “Not my job, sir. May I go? I know you don't have my family anywhere, this isn't about me, Is it?”
  “No, It isn't.” 
  “They left most of the fancy silverware, And I think I might have missed some, you're welcome to whatever you can find. Good day.” 
Another man walked out of the blue door. 
Short, stocky. Stout is the word.   
  “You're just going to let him get away, boss?”
  “No, Mr. Monoid, I'll keep looking. Always. He cannot escape.”
  “I meant the servant guy, He know who we're looking for, and he knows where they are. He'll squeal.”
  “But he said–”
  “I don't care what he said.”
  “In That case, Mr. Monoid, I think that man needs to be brought in for…Questioning.”


It still wouldn't budge. 
Zachary Smith looked at the thing, it was the piece that he needed.  He knew he wasn't the strongest of kids, But come on, it didn't look all that heavy. 
Zachary Smith walked home down the alley. 
He would have to…steal a tractor, something.
Footsteps behind him, 
A glint of metal.

-=fig. 680 the fateful mugging=-
  “Yer money or your life.” Said the mugger.
Zachary Smith sighed, “I Keep telling you guys–” He reached over his left shoulder and, grasping the man's wrist firmly, tossed him to the ground. “Not to use the over-hand stab, it's too easy to counter. My you're heavy…Because you're huge. ”
  “Ow.” Said the attacker.  “That hurt. Your money…please?”
Zachary Smith gave a little laugh, “You're voice is all high and squeaky, like you're a girl or…a…kid.”
   “You're not going to hand over your money, are you?”
   “Alright, just don't tell Big Eddy I was beaten by little runt like you, I'd lose all of my street cred.”
Zachary Smith looked the attacker over.  He was huge, and muscular. “You are just a kid, Aren't you?”  A plan was forming.
   “Yeah, What's it to ya, midget?”

-=fig. 681: james=-
  “The name's Zachary.”

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The CWA of Dr. Z Smith: Episode #109: BANG

“Really?” Capt. Brown said. “Really? Come on, Karl, I'm twelve feet in front of you and you miss? This is why you'll always be number three.”
Karl fired again and missed again.
“Have you seen this room?” Capt. Brown accused, “It is covered in wood panelling. Do you know how hard it is to fill in bullet holes through wood? And it never looks right. Tell you what,” He stood real still and spread out his arms “If you are going to keep shooting, please, hit me. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is wood putty.”
Karl took aim, Finally, his chance to be the mayor…forever!

-=fig. 674: karl the marksman=-
And the bullet bounced off.
  “You forgot your training.” Capt. Brown said, “ ‘Rule 14: Always shoot them in the head. Not the Torso.’ Come on, It's on the first page.”
  “But…How?” Was all Karl could manage.
  “I forget what it's called, Dr. Smith isn't very good at names,” He undid his top two buttons and reached into his shirt, pulling out a shimmery white fabric “But it's this super thin fabric that repels bullets and breathes. I had him make me an undershirt out of it. They're going to be standard issue next year and you would know this if you came to the staff meetings.”
By now Capt. Brown was really quite close to Karl, close enough, in fact, to disarm him and beat him about the head.
  “That's what you get for messing with the mayor.  I am in a hurry today, But If I weren't…”
  “Where've you been?” Dr. Smith asked.
  “I told you. Doin’ Stuff.” Capt. Brown replied cagily. 
  “Hey, James, I need to tell you something,—”
  “PLACES” Shouted Otto. 
Dr. Smith loked over the edge of the balcony. “You sure this is safe?” He said.
  “Of course.” Replied Otto. 
  “Shouldn't we have…Safety harnesses or—”

-=fig. 675: film=-

    “C’mon Zachary before Von–”
    “But I am already here!” said Von TipRău, waving a black, hooded-gun thing.
    “Psst, Zachary, what is that?” 
     “It's a specialised tool I made, ” He said “For when you want a hammer with a bit more…kick. But how did he–”
     “Enough Vhispering, so you thought zat you could get avay? Hmm? Vell you caunt! Take ziss!”

-=fig. 676: fallen hat=-
  “ZACHARY!” Capt. Brown yelled. Dr. Smith had fallen a story onto tile, Capt. Brown Slid down the rope he was supposed to be escaping on, running to his friend’s side. “Are you okay?” He asked. 
  “Of course I am.” Dr. Smith answered.  “Takes a bit more than that to kill or even seriously injure me. Just give me a minute. But what I wanted to tell you is that that–” He pointed at Von TipRău, who was hamming it up with a dramatic laugh. “Is either the real Von TipRău or a clone, either way he's dangerous. Kill it.” 
  “But he said his name was Ludwig–and he was lying. Got it.” 
 Capt. Brown disregarded the rope and climbed the wall. It was way more intimidating, besides, he was quite tall so the wall wasn't actually too much of a hurdle. 
  “CUT!” Said Otto, “That's good. Looked good? Good. That's all for today–WHY ARE YOU SHOOTING!” 
 Capt. Brown missed Von TipRău again. “STOP YELLING!” He said. 
Von TipRău was proving to be quicker than he looked. He ducked back inside, Capt. Brown followed. 
 “STOP SHOOTING AT ME I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING!”  He swung around the staircase and ran up it. 
Capt. Brown knew where that staircase got out. He smiled.  
Ludwig Aufenstein leaned against the door to the roof. 
  His heart felt like it was going to give out.  He had no idea why the madman was trying to kill him and he wasn't going to stick around to find out. This trip to the future had not been working out like he hoped,  first, the future turns out to be a lot like the present, not one flying car, then a tramp steals all his money and clothes leaving him with only this cheesy dollar-store dinner outfit, then a vampire traps him in a boxcar for a week, promising paying work, then Dr. Smith and his madman shoot at him, he never gets paid and it's all the fault of that Dr. Smith! Who by the way keeps calling him the name of his character, and accusing him of terrible things. And then he sicks his mad henchman on Ludwig just because he followed the vampires orders? No.  It's all Dr. Smith's fault. He wouldn't be here if Dr. Smith hadn’t…wasn’t…wait. If he went back in time and killed Dr. Smith…none of this would have happened.  He would be free! Free! He reached into the cheesy jacket and pulled out a tiny machine.  
  It lit up.
Capt. Brown kicked down the door. BANG BANG BANG! “Die, Von TipRău! DIE!” 
But Von TipRău was missing. 
 He couldn't possibly have gone anywhere else,  there hadn't been time. 

-=fifteen years ago=-

Ludwig Aufenstein cheered. They would make him a count for this. 
He had discovered a space between spaces! 
This was a huge scientific discovery!

-=fig. 677: rlbs=-

And the perfect spot from which to make that Dr. Smith pay dearly for what he had done. The time machine would never work again, but that didn't matter, now.
  “Say, Boss,” Said Ludwig Aufenstein's assistant. ¹
  “Yes Mr. Monoid?” 
  “This door, that you made, Could it transport you between two points in this world?”
  “Yes. Easily.”
  “Beats the bus.”
  “I have already filed the incorporation papers for a company that does just that, Just think Mr. Monoid, one of these in every home, on every street corner. We'll make a fortune.”
  “Sounds great, boss, but what will we call this company?”
  “I named it after a favourite greek phrase of mine, ‘Dues ex Machina’ It means ‘God out of a Machine’ And that's what we'll be, gods. Because of this machine. Speaking of the machine, have this one decommissioned. It appears and disappears far too randomly.”
  “Of course, Boss.”
  “I mean, you just close the door and–It's gone. Ah, well, forget about it. In the mean time Monoid, find me a man, actually, he's probably a boy, by the name of Smith. Zachary Smith.”

¹In romanian.

Monday, July 04, 2011


This is what I go through every week.
It's about procrastination and how the CWA gets written: stcroiss.blogspot.com/​search/​label/​Zachary%27s%20Story
MUSIC: 3 Gymnopédies–Pascal Rogé  Bumble Boogie–Hal Kemp his Orchestra and Chorus.
SHOT ON: Canon T3i