Remember, it's lazy holiday week. It's a serial today! AND the conclusion to the Faces of Hartford. Hoorah.

Let me bore you with the following: At year's end I have several tasks, and not one of them is finished to my satisfaction. All the year's work has to be assembled into files in three formats - text, Word, and PDF. That ought to future-proof them until I can print them all out. This can be a daunting job - usually there's 120 newspaper columns, 25 magazine columns, assorted essays. The Bleats I assemble into huge pdfs. The work blog is left for last. All the pictures have to be sorted and named. All the video, likewise. It's done in the middle of January, to be honest. Also, it's never done, inasmuch as you can always cull and prune.

All of the folders containing future raw material have to be stored in the proper places, and here I'm really ahead of the game. Want some fascinating behind-the-scenes details? Okay! Previously, each Bleat month had a folder containing the art for that week. Now each week has folders for mp3s and mp4s, which allow me to name everything numerically and do a global search-and-replace when I start a new week. So instead of remembering whether the music cue was CNDcue621 or CNDcue622, I can swap out 0101/mp3 for 0102/mp3 and everything falls into place. Ditto for every other recurring feature. January is already laid out and most of the below-the-fold features are written.

Once everything is done, and backed up to four locations, I wipe the hard drive and reinstall bit by bit. This means passing judgement on all the fonts. This means adding bookmarks to the browser if they earn it. Granted, it means reestablishing the complex network of aliases; everything of consequence lives in the Documents folder, and all my work resides in specific year-dated files, but there's another level on top of that, in a folder called TO FILE. It has aliases that distribute the work where it needs to go eventually, but since it's tied to Dropbox I have access to current projects wherever I may be. I have a program called Clean that scoops up everything on my desktop at 8 PM and deposits it in a folder that bears the day's date. I have an automatic sync program that runs overnight and distributes everything new to a network-attached storage, which backs up the hourly disk mirror on another drive.

It is an astonishingly sophisticated scheme for sorting and cataloging the immense quantity of ephemera and scanned material I have, and I still am gripped with despair when I drill down to 60s > Misc > Unsorted and find a file with 74 things for which I haven't found a permanent home.

Oh! The pdfs are also run through a compressor, as are the pictures. There will always be a version of my work that fits on a 1 TB drive. Eventually there will be 1 TB flash drives. I want to be buried clasping one.

"Was this the one he wanted to be buried with?"

"I don't know, does it matter?"

"Well this could be all the music he felt compelled to collect but never really liked."

"Look, he'll never know. Use it."

And so I rest eternally clasping a thumb drive full of 60s psychedelic music. I forgot: I want to be cremated.



Flying Disk Man from Mars. Flying Mars Disc Man. Disc Mars Man, Flying. Doesn't matter. It's the same old same old: someone from another planet is trying to take over the earth at the behest of some larger jerkwad we haven't met yet.


To recap: an epicine dillweed has come to earth to conquer it for the Surpeme Leader of Mars, and within two minutes of being shot down by our energy beam, he's found a Quisling who wants to help. Unfortunately for us, it's the inventor of the energy beam. But we have an ally:

Yay Kent! But when last we saw Kent, he's been thrown into a furnace. No way out of that one.


But - but that's NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

Well, Boss Mars Man wants Kent's planes destroyed so they can use the uranium to build the bombs. "With that uranium I will be able to build atomic weapons almost as effective as the ones we have on Mars!" So why not BRING YOUR FANCY MARS BOMBS, mister?

Mind you, the Mars Man - the one dude sent to conquer earth - is concentrating his efforts on a rent-a-cop with a few Cessnas. Not the armies of the world, or even the police. Kent decides that since the planes are temporarily out of service, they'll drive around and see if there's anything hinky going on. They sent out . . .


She's out of the office! And promptly kidnapped. The henchmen have her send Kent to another location, to throw him off the trail. But Kent realizes she's sending a message, because she mentions a picnic that never happens. Using DIALS ON RADIOS, they find her location and head off to stop the Martian invasion. Which so far consists of five guys.

They find her, and a hat-fastened fistifcuff session ensues. Hold on - hats are off! In a bed context! This is practically like nude Greco-Roman wrestling:

But at least we learn what Helen is really good for: quick thinking.

She's just killed a man. Eh. No big deal. It's all in a day's work for a security service dispatcher. Well, they chase after the flying saucer, and Kent makes a quick decision.

There is a fistfight in the ship. That's all anyone's done in this one. Punch face.


The Martian Ship has hand-painted signs. In English.

And you know where that's going.

Down. Eh, it'sprobably the mechanic.

See you hither; thither; yon.


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