Malex is excited about going to SIGGRAPH, but Snufflefungus has other things on his mind. And you know Linus only wants to cause trouble. Give this episode a listen and let us know what you think!
Ah, the nature of fiction. How else could a house be burned down one week and ‘un-burned’ the next?
Most fictional characters have the benefit of not realizing that they are, in fact, fictional. For them, one might imagine, such knowledge would be unsettling, if not downright disturbing. For Malex and his friends, however, being aware of their own fictional nature is something of a defense mechanism against all the horrifying and bizarre things that happen around them.
In a strange and counter-intuitive sort of way, it might be kind of nice.
As for SIGGRAPH, Peter and I are definitely going. (And we’ll be enjoying every minute of it.)
I downloaded the SIGGRAPH program while writing this episode so I’d have some actual facts about the conference to write about. Little did I know, that PDF is fifty pages long… It took over an hour for Peter and myself to go over just the titles of each event, skipping the descriptions entirely. As much as I’d like to, I don’t see myself reading the whole program any time soon.
This episode has a slightly surreal, stream-of-consciousness feel to it. Possibly even more than usual. This would be due to the fact that I wrote it while desperately exhausted at 2:30 in the morning about two and a half weeks ago.
I don’t remember much about that process, but (tellingly) my draft commit message reads, “I really hope this thing is still funny in the morning.” In my opinion it is still funny. Quite funny. I enjoy it very much, and I hope you do too.
“A note to future me.”
Malex: Hey everybody, welcome to Malex Minute 123!
Linus: Heh, one two three…
Malex: (Mild disdain.) Yes, Linus.
Linus: Just sayin’.
Malex: So you were.
Snufflefungus: (Extremely excited.) Malex! Malex! We have a house!
Linus: (Disdain.) When did you first become aware of this fact?
Snufflefungus: I just checked! I checked the kitchen, the living room, the studio, the garage, the server room, my lab, your room, and my room, and my toys, and my bed, and my blankie–
Malex: I’m going to have to stop ya’ there, Snuffy. I’m glad you know not to take things for granted, but I am trying to do a show here.
Snufflefungus: But how is it that nothing’s burned up? It’s like the Riding Squirrels were never here!
Linus: Oh, that. You’re talking about when Little Red Riding Squirrel burned our house down on the Fourth of July.
Malex: Ah. See, Snuffy, this is a somewhat complicated concept, but– Eh, how do I put this…? Such is the nature of fiction.
Linus: He’s cocking his eyebrow at you.
Malex: It’s like this: The episodes we do are fictional.
Malex: The places we go are generally fictional.
Malex: The characters we meet are generally fictional.
Snufflefungus: (Drawn out.) Right…
Malex: (Uncomfortable.) But, see, this house is fictional too. Even we – the three of us – are fictional.
Snufflefungus: I knew that.
Malex: (Genuinely relieved.) What a relief. I didn’t want to disappoint you or anything.
Snufflefungus: So, back to my original question, the house has a tenuous relationship with reality anyway, so if the writers want to burn it down in one episode, it can still be back to normal next episode?
Malex: Uh, yeah. Exactly correct.
Linus: Do we have any plaster? ’Cause you guys just knocked a hole the size of a beach ball in the fourth wall.
Malex: Yeah… Sorry about the diversion, Ladies and Gentlemen… So anyway, I’m actually quite excited today!
Linus: I’m betting, from your stupid face, that you’re going to tell us why.
Malex: I thought you’d never ask! I’m going to SIGGRAPH again this year!
Snufflefungus: What? How many are you going to this year?!
Malex: Uh, just the one.
Snufflefungus: Then why did you say you were going again this year?
Linus: The sneaky devil, I don’t even remember him going anywhere the past six months.
Malex: I didn’t! At least, not to another SIGGRAPH conference.
Linus: You sly dog, don’t deny it. We all know you like your SIGGRAPH. You couldn’t resist taking a quick sample.
Malex: I haven’t been to a SIGGRAPH conference since 2006!
Linus: And you’ve been all SIGGRAPH’d up, too. I should have known.
Malex: Now you’re just making fun of me.
Snufflefungus: This is more confusing than the fiction thing!
Malex: (Calming breath.) Maybe I should have said, “This year I am going to SIGGRAPH again.” Does that help?
Snufflefungus: Oh! That explains it! See, Linus? Malex doesn’t always lie, sometimes he’s just wrong!
Linus: Wonders never cease.
Malex: As much as I appreciate the positive reinforcement, can I get on with the show?
Linus: You’re a bright lad, you’ll find a way.
Malex: So this year’s SIGGRAPH will be held in Los Angeles, in the heart of the American film industry! The last time I was at SIGGRAPH it was in Boston, which was a lot of fun, but nothing like LA!
Linus: What’s so special about LA?
Malex: Didn’t I just say? It’s at the heart of the American film industry.
Linus: Yeah, but haven’t you been there already?
Malex: Uh, no.
Linus: What?! You spent all that time up in space with Icepunk roaming around, frightening people, and ‘self-defensing’ entire species to death, I just assumed you visited all the interesting places on your own planet first.
Malex: Not really.
Linus: Well that’s humorous.
Malex: I’m glad I amuse you.
Snufflefungus: Malex, why do you like SIGGRAPH?
Malex: Oh, it’s so amazing! It’s all about the cutting edge of computer animation and special effects, as well as all sorts of new ideas about how computers and humans can interact with one another. There’s an art show, a computer animation film festival, a never ending series of talks and lectures about all the latest advances in computer graphics, simulation, and special effects. Every year the conference attracts tens of thousands of attendees, many of whom hail from the most influential corners of every relevant industry! Companies like Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, Disney, Rhythm and Hues, and the list goes on!
Linus: Malex, geeking out is one thing, but seriously, come up for air.
Malex: And besides, one of the featured speakers this year is Ed Catmull!
Malex: (Stops abruptly.) What? Not ‘cat,’ it’s ‘Catmull.’
Snufflefungus: Oh, I thought you said ‘cat mall.’
Malex: Ed Catmull co-founded Pixar Animation Studios and was a pioneer in Computer Graphics before the field existed.
Snufflefungus: Oh. So, he’s not a kitty.
Malex: Not by my reasoning, no. Are you okay Snufflefungus? You seem a bit more giddy than usual today.
Snufflefungus: I’m just happy we got the house back, that’s all.
Malex: Okay, well, I guess that’s all we have time for Ladies and Gentlemen. Thanks so much for listening, and we hope you’ll join us again next week for the next Malex Minute!
Producer and Director: Alex Markley
Writer: Alex Markley
Voices: Markley Brothers
Post-processing director: Gabriel Markley
Illustration: Peter Markley
Release manager: Peter Markley
Recording assistance: Leela
Thanks to everyone for their help and support.