Only the Fridge hears my Sighs

Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

Fulmen Grancolline closed the fridge again. Another ice cream. The how many on this day? He had lost count. It didn’t matter. Everything didn’t matter. He was frustrated. Things didn’t go as planned. Poor Antonia. She had been quite busy by Yefimov. She hadn’t imagined it that way either. But what happened?

The anniversary day should be special. The old space station VERI’S BASTION should go into operation. again. There was a hyperspace radio relay on it. Through this radio relay the transmissions of the ASTROCOHORS CLUB were to be sent through the ether and distributed all over the world. Actually not a big deal. Super easy. Barely an inconvenience. In fact, the relay also worked with all the sub-divisions of the CLUB. Only with the transmissions, which went through the headquarters in Iceland, something went wrong. Antonia Bagliarotto, Yefimov’s assistant, was forced to transmit each and every one of these broadcasts by hand. This was not what they had imagined.

Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash
Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

Fulmen had a suspicion. The shipments of the departments were processed via an external system. The system belonged to the CUYEL group. The relay also belonged to a corporation. With the troubling events taking place on Earth and in the solar system, the solar division of ASTROCOHORS had now begun to take over systems themselves. They even bought the land on which the various bases stood, such as the ATLANTIS. That guaranteed they were in control. Of course, the corporations didn’t like that. Fulmen suspected that automation via the relay was being slowed down on purpose in the hope that ASTROCOHORS would then continue to use the services of the corporations. But that shouldn’t be the case!
The corporations continued to siphon off profits that ASTROCOHORS made. The independence of the head office was bought at a high price. Fulmen hoped Antonia would persevere. These were bad times, ASTROCOHORS had to remain stable.
While he was pondering these dark thoughts, Fulmen had returned to his office from the kitchen. He also had work to do. Then he saw the text on the screen: “Warning, transmission from headquarters”.
Oh dear, he thought, Antonia is still working too.

REPORT: The Stories so far… more or less

We begin this report at the very beginning… what happened so far? First there was nothing, then there was something. Space. Time. Things. Objects. Places. Life. Movement. Or to put in another way:

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YouTube

And then, there was YouTube. YouTube is today an American online video sharing and social media platform owned by Google. It was launched on February 14, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. It is the second most visited website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day. As of May 2019, videos were being uploaded at a rate of more than 500 hours of content per minute. This was the first video on YouTube:

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In October 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion. Google’s ownership of YouTube has also changed its business model; it no longer generates revenue from advertisements alone, YouTube now offers paid content such as movies and exclusive content produced by YouTube. It also offers a paid subscription option for watching content without ads, YouTube Premium. YouTube and approved creators participate in Google’s AdSense program, which seeks to generate more revenue for both parties. YouTube’s reported revenue for 2020 was $19.8 billion.

Since its purchase by Google, YouTube has expanded beyond the core website into mobile apps, network television, and the ability to link with other platforms. Video categories on YouTube include music videos, video clips, news, short films, feature films, documentaries, audio recordings, movie trailers, teasers, live streams, vlogs, and more. Most content is generated by individuals. This includes collaborations between YouTubers and corporate sponsors. Established media corporations such as Disney, Paramount, and WarnerMedia have also created and expanded their corporate YouTube channels to advertise to a larger audience.

On YouTube and its competitors a new culture of film making grew. And this is where the next chapter of the story begins.

The Angry Video Game Nerd and Cinemassacre

The Angry Video Game Nerd (abbreviated as AVGN) is an American retrogaming review comedy web series created by and starring James Rolfe. The series centers on Rolfe’s titular skit character, often simply shortened to “the Nerd”, a short-tempered and foul-mouthed gamer who delivers commentary on retro games of poor quality. While the series began with Rolfe simply playing games while delivering a running commentary, the show would eventually grow in scope to encompass sketches featuring guest characters, reviews of gaming consoles and peripherals, and short lectures about video game history and culture. This is his story:

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Vlogs and the first “YouTubers”

The existence of YouTube created a new environment for people becoming succesful:

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The Knockoffs

If something is succesful, then there are knockoffs. So it happened with the AVGN and others:

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Awesome Channels and Guys with Glasses

Also following the AVGN was some Guy with Glasses, from where some great talents came from. But the story didn’t go so well…

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And there was a moment in time, when things were falling down:

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The Aftermath:

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Not so Awesome – Change the Channel

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The Logan Paul Controversy

Logan Paul was a guy who went way too far in his videos. After his demise the so-called “Quality Programme” of YouTube, which restricted most YouTuber’s ad revenue.

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Nostalgia Critic hits The Wall

And then there was a new low point…

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Epilogue

With this beginning, let’s go on…

Times change and we change with them

Ostap Yefimov, the head of the ASTROCOHORS CLUB, looked concerned. He sat behind his desk and kept looking at the graphics that appeared on the computer monitor in front of him. There was no doubt. Of course it had happened. The enemy had really spoiled the organization’s day. The crystal sphere had been put into operation. Who knew those old devices were still in place, out in the Oort cloud? As a result, the solar system was now finally cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Everything would become more difficult now. As if it wasn’t difficult enough already.

Yefimov called for his assistant. Antonia Bagliarotto came to her superior’s office very quickly.
“This is maybe an evening,” said Yefimov. “Did you hear it?”
“Who hasn’t noticed?” the young woman replied. “So it’s true?”
“We’re completely cut off – forever, if you will.”
“And what now?”
“I’ve already spoken to Admiral McCloud,” Yefimov explained. “We’ll keep going. Until we run out of ideas. Unfortunately, that will mean you have to work harder than we initially thought.”
“What? How so?”
“The Crystal Sphere is disrupting our communications. You will have to hand-curate the members of the club. At least until we have a new communications facility installed on VERIS BASTION.”
“But… how long will that last?”
“Unfortunately nobody can tell you that. I hope not for too long.”
“Then I shall have to do it.”
Yefimov nodded. “What irony. We wanted to celebrate today. It even had a motto: Tempora muntantur, nos et mutamur in ilis.
“That… is Latin, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Times are changing and we are changing with them. Seems we have to prove how well we can change. How well we adapt to changed conditions.”
Antonia shrugged. “Then we will. What alternative is there?”
“None, exactly.”
Bagliarotto gazed into the distance, out the window of Yefimov’s office, at the vast landscape of Iceland. “I… feel like I’m standing on a beach holding the Book of Sanity while a storm comes over the sea.”
“It’s a powerful image,” Yefimov confirmed. “Keep that for motivation. No one knows what will happen next. More trouble spots have opened up. Pestilence, wars and uprisings. We have to keep morale high and carry common sense.”
“Yes, sir.”

ASTROCOHORS CLUB: MANIFOLD TO INFINITY

These are strange times. With wars, rumors of wars and a pandemic, it’s time for ASTROCOHORS CLUB to regroup. In Iceland, Jarmo Dorak meets his contact Jeff Holland to discuss the way forward and the future of the club. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis1

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1 = “Times are changing and we are changing with them”, that is a hexameter that has been used as a proverb since the 16th century. It goes back to the verse tempora labuntur tacitisque senescimus annis… (“Times pass and in quiet years we age…”) from Ovid’s Fasti.

Yet another “Hello World!”

URGENT ++++ URGENT ++++ POWER GENERATOR 2287 STOPPED WORKING ++++ EMERGENCY FOR ALL DEPARTMENTS OF ASTROCOHORS CLUB ++++ INVESTIGATION STARTED ++++ 

Professor Ostap Yefimov activated the screen.
“What happened?” he wanted to know.
“An explosion,” replied the officer who appeared on the screen. “It looks like the power generator has been malfunctioning for at least four days. Now it’s blown up.”
“What about the security mechanisms? Didn’t they work?”
“No. We suspect sabotage. All departments are dead at the moment. We have no idea when that will change. But we’re working on it.”
“Work faster!”
“Yes, sir!”

By your own hair

“Believe me, we at Cuyel are your friends!”
Professor Yefimov didn’t move. It looked like he had become a statue of himself. The expression on his face was unreadable. But there was a rumbling behind his forehead. What was that stupid sentence he just had to hear? “Friends”? Cuyel, a multi-million dollar corporation, is anyone’s friend? The man who said this sentence sat across from Yefimov. A suit wearer. That was what Yefimov had called him in his mind. His name was… something… The professor hadn’t remembered it. Wasn’t important anyway. All the giant companies had people working, but somehow it was a faceless crowd to him. Nobody who stood out from the crowd. And certainly not the suit who had just said Cuyel was his friend.
“Oh yeah?” Yefimov struggled to answer. “Then please explain to me again why our friends are so unfriendly?”
“Yeah… uh… you know… the situation… the pandemic… the blockade… the armada out there in space… all that doesn’t make the transport routes easy,” the suit stuttered . “After all, we have to get our money’s worth. And after all, we’re not increasing the rent or anything. We’re just restricting the services a bit.”
Yefimov gritted his teeth. “Well, firstly,” he snapped, “the limitation of the data line deprives us of vital information channels. And secondly, I read just about five minutes ago that your company reported 2.5 billion Solari in profits at the end of last year. I don’t believe that you have to starve. And yet you give us these restrictions?”
“Well… the pandemic… the blockade… the armada…”
“…out there in space,” Yefimov finished the half-hearted explanation of his counterpart. He realized there was no point. Not anyway, since this suit was just a small light in the company.
“If that was all…” the professor began.
“Oh uh yes!” said the suit.
“Then you may go. I understand that our services will be drastically reduced.”
The suit murmured some goodbye, then disappeared from the room. Almost like a ghost.
Yefimov scratched his chin. And what now? He activated the terminal on his desk. “Computer, contact Commander Jung on BASE ATLANTIS.”
Commander Jung’s image appeared on Yefimov’s screen shortly after. “What can I do for you, Professor?” she asked.
“Calm my nerves if you can,” Yefimov said. “One of Cuyel’s pencil-wielders, one of those ink-pissers, was visiting here. And he brought a message.”
“And it was so bad that you need to calm your nerves?”
“Cuyel restricts our data transfers.”
You could see how Natascha Jung slid forward in her seat. Her eyes widened. “What?” she blurted out.
“You heard me right. Cuyel will throttle the data lines. That’s what we get from being dependent on these stupid ‘private partnerships’. At least they won’t increase the price for the services. But we have to reckon with the fact that the The speed of the data line is reduced by a third.”
“But… that’s completely unacceptable! It makes our work immensely difficult!”
“I know that,” said Yefimov. “But we have no alternative at the moment.”
“What if we take matters into our own hands?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It will certainly not be easy, but what if we set up a department. ASTROCOHORS SOLAR is still in the start-up phase anyway. What if we set up our own technical department for this?”
Yefimov scratched his chin again. A sign that he was thinking hard.
“That sounds tempting. But keep in mind that this means investing a lot of money in the first place. We have to take over Cuyel’s entire infrastructure or rebuild it.”
“But then we would be independent.”
“Hm. Can that be done?”
“I have to ask around. But maybe I can find someone.”
“Then give it a try. I have a bad feeling this won’t be the last time we’ll have to accept either restrictions or price increases.”
“I’m afraid so too.”
The professor thought back to the moment when he was offered the leadership of the ASTROCOHORS CLUB. That had been a beautiful moment. But slowly he felt like he was stuck in the mud and couldn’t make any progress. Maybe it was time to pull yourself out of the swamp by your own hair.

Arrival

The taxi stopped in front of the building. Jarmo Dorak got out.
So that was it … the new place. Although he had never been here before, Jarmo found this place incredibly familiar. He went in …

Museum Hotel Kronasar.

Having to wait is a kind invitation to a little meditation

What was it all about? Jarmo Dorak paced up and down his room again. They had been very kind. They had gradually given him access to the Internet and other information. But not more. He still couldn’t get in touch with the outside world. Yes, he no longer had a family, but there were sure to be friends who were worried about him. He had found it was six years since he disappeared. He had to catch up these six years first. And he couldn’t believe what had happened on earth. One of the biggest countries on the planet on the brink of a civil war that was forced by fanatical gun enthusiasts. The climate change. The pandemic. And it was precisely this moment that the curator had chosen to let Jarmo fall back into this reality from the “between space”.

The people at ASTROCOHORS had said they would need to consult. Then they would make a decision. Oh yes, he had completely forgotten that with the other catastrophes: The blockade of the solar system by an unknown force that called itself the HIGH HAND. The solar system was thus cut off from the rest of the galaxy. And as before, the earth was on its own. With all these crazy people …
Jarmo’s mind whirled back and forth again. They wanted to make a decision. But about what? Okay about him. But what exactly should this decision concern? Would you finally let him go? Or should he stay here in the ATLANTIS base, locked up in this room? Just what he’s the last …
He counted in his mind. August September October November December. Five months! It’s been five months. He had tried to distract himself like they had said. He had done research about six missed years and penned a few reports, just as he had done in the “between space.”
“Computer!” He called into the room.
The ATLANTIS base computer was specially configured for him. He couldn’t address the system directly. Everything he asked for was checked beforehand by a monitor program. That’s why he couldn’t address artificial intelligence by its real name – ARNOLD.
The computer beeped in response. “Play me a song,” ordered Dorak. “The Song of the Language of Shakespeare …”
The computer beeped again and shortly afterwards a strange song could be heard, parts of which Jarmo sang softly along.

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“Hello, you bloody anglophonians, from London to L.A…. Among you are very few who speak a foreign language, but we do… The language of Shakespeare you can smoke in the pipe…”

He sat down again. Wasn’t it New Year’s Eve today? Would they at least wish him a happy new year? As far as he understood, the fireworks were off this year anyway.
But then he heard a noise. Was there someone coming?

Who has just entered the room where Jarmo Dorak has been waiting so patiently for months? The answer is here…

ASTROCOHORS CLUB No. 048: Comic Magazines in Europe: Spirou – Tintin – Pilote – Pif

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Many careers of famous franco-belgian comic artists started when they were working at a comic magazine. Theses magazines were the foundations of European comic culture. In this episode, Jarmo Dorak takes a look at four of them who were very famous – and one of them is even published until today…

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ASTROCOHORS CLUB is part of the collaboration of ASTROCOHORS COMMAND and PHAN.PRO:
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ASTROCOHORS CLUB No. 047: The Adventures of Father and Son by E.O. Plauen – A tragic (Hi)Story

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Even in dark times there can be light… the artist Erich Ohser, known under his pen name E.O. Plauen lived in the darkest times but was still able to bring a bit of light. His short cartoon stories of “The Adventures of Father and Son” show a critical view at the time he lived in. And they are still beloved until today. So Jarmo Dorak takes a closer look at some of Ohser’s work.

The book of the Adventures of “Father and Son” can be ordered on AMAZON right here (sponsored link):

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ASTROCOHORS CLUB is part of the collaboration of ASTROCOHORS COMMAND and PHAN.PRO:
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► PHAN.PRO (German only): https://phan.pro

If you want, you can support our project right here:
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