Thursday, February 22, 2007

"God, Inc" Merchandise

The shirts and assorted household objects that proudly display your allegience to the ineffectual bureaucratic institution in the sky have been selling well - we even sold one Miracles Department thong!

I still haven't received any of the merchandise myself, so if you bought any of our stuff, please email me and let me know what you think. Especially if you had a problem with a particular product - I only know how it looks on the website, and I can't afford to order every item in the store. Also let me know if there's something you wish we offered, but aren't. Anyway, I hope you're all very happy with the merchandise - they seem to be quality products.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

RSS Feed!

Finally. I've gotten several requests, and I apologize for the delay - it took all of ten minutes to set up, of course. One of those things like changing a light bulb or correcting the fact that you're getting two issues of the New Yorker each week (something else I've gotta take care of) that you procrastinate for so long that the accumulated time of thinking "Gotta do that... I'll just write myself a post-it..." adds up to far more exerted energy than the actual task did. Just click under "Subscribe" on the right sidebar.

Been working on a new slate of web projects that I'm about to start pitching to web content buyers, so I'll have some new series to report on here shortly. Meanwhile, I got interviewed for an Austrian paper this morning, so if someone feels like translating these episodes into German, let me know. The first two episodes have been translated into Spanish and I'm working on creating a subtitled version.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Just posted a new entry in my recently-very-neglected environmental blog, Sludgie. If you haven't checked it out, check it out. The planet depends on you clicking on that link. If you don't, I can't be blamed when Antarctica melts and your beach house becomes an underwater hideaway. But if you do click over, then you can blame me, of course.

The other day I did a Yahoo search on my name ("ego-surfing") and now, as result of my recent notoriety, the top entry reads:

Filmmaker, writer, and environmental guru in the San Fernando Valley. Creator of God, Inc., a popular series on YouTube.

Which was actually meant to be a bit of ironic exaggeration, like Sludgie's tagline: "Saving the planet for the rest of you chumps." I mean, it's not like I'm living in the branches of a redwood tree threatened by logging. I don't have followers coming to my bucolic solar-powered commune to bask in the glory of my wisdom. I write a blog. It makes me think if I run into Ed Begley, Jr. he'll kick me in the shins. So, if you write a blog and there's a chance you could attain sudden web-recognition, I wouldn't recommend having the description be an example of your offbeat, self-deprecating sense of humor, like "Musings of a Complete Douchebag." Unless you want Yahoo to forever list you as "Blog writer and complete douchebag living in..."

While no angry gurus have emailed me demanding credentials, I did get one bit of environmental heckling from J. Neil Schulman, science fiction writer and apparent smartass, that was too good not to share. He wrote:

Mr. Stokes,

Recently a bunch of astronomers decided that Pluto is too small to be considered a planet. They're saying it's just a dwarf planet.

Let's be honest. There are really only four bodies orbiting the star we call our sun large enough to call a planet: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth, and Pluto are all, by comparison, dwarf planets.

So why should I knock myself out to save the environment on something that isn't even big enough to qualify as a real planet, anyway? You have some need to save a planet? Go save Uranus.

I replied:

Haha! Interesting logic. But those are the four gas giants, which I find a bit difficult to walk on, or breathe. (Although Jupiter's moon Europa is looking pretty good these days...)

Dwarfish or not, I live on Earth, and I'd rather save my ass than Uranus.

Monday, February 12, 2007

a cartoon I drew while waiting for the video to upload

God, Inc - Episode 6

Keep The Car Running

Somebody slipped me a bootleg (shh...) of the forthcoming album from The Arcade Fire, which is my current musical obsession. The stand-out track for me, like on "Funeral," is the first one - the hypnotic, mandolin-fueled "Keep The Car Running."

Episode 6 is uploading now. I've been thinking a lot this weekend about what's in store for Francis Stokes dot com. A year ago it was a place where I housed sketches, unfinished ideas and ruminations (basically, a normal blog,) before all my blogging energies went to writing about rising sea levels on Sludgie. Since then, I've treated this more like an online business card, a portal to whatever else I'm doing on the web.

Many of you have emailed or posted comments with questions that I haven't had time to consider, and I've posted nothing this past month other news about "God, Inc." Now that the last episode of "God Inc" is posting, what do I do next?

I'm planning to revive this site as a regular blog - something I've wanted to do for a long time. Several people on here, through emails and comments, have asked to know more about the actors and the history of the project. I'm thinking of making a second youtube account so I can post "Francis Stokes Dot Com" exclusives - the first being a behind-the-scenes compilation from "God, Inc." Feel free to post or email any questions you'd like answered. I'm also busy writing my new web series, and starting to pitch "God, Inc" as a TV show, so I'll keep you informed with news, updates and sneak peaks. And I will throw in some old video projects, other writing, artwork, journal entries and thoughts as well. No poems. Probably.

(And yes, to the many people who have asked, I'm planning to finally upgrade the website itself...)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cafe Press

After many requests, I finally put together a page on Cafe Press to sell "God, Inc" related merchandise. If you've never used Cafe Press, it's a pretty cool service for people who have a popular website, or a movie to promote, or maybe just feel like selling t-shirts with their face on them. It's very easy and painless to set up, and a lot of fun. To check out our site, click here:

Cafe Press Link

I designed all the merchandise, although I want to give credit to a MySpace fan, Trey (or as he calls himself, Treyster™) for creating the page header for us.

Episode 6 should be up very shortly - thanks for your patience!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Video Playlist - "God, Inc" Etc.

Click on the image on the side to view the next episode. There are six total.

WaPo, Fan Fic

"God, Inc" made it into an article in the Washington Post today, declaring a new breed of videos on Youtube: "Rules For Youtube: Make Art, Not Bore." What's interesting is that the article doesn't go into much detail about our show, instead assuming you've already seen it:

I know what you're thinking: "God, Inc.," "Learn to Speak Body" and "Le Grand Content"? I love those films, too!

That's what you're thinking. Washington Post says so. It's hard to describe what a weird feeling it is to read that - here I'm being treated like an established entity, and I was totally obscure when I was opening Christmas presents. While I haven't seen those other two videos, I have seen "Yacht Rock," a strange dramatization of the lives of soft rock superstars, which is mentioned in the article, and it's hilarious.

Also, we got our first example of fan fiction - a viewer who goes by Super Dachshund emailed me his thoughts on what Episode 6. "Deus Ex Machina," has in store. So here, courtesy of Super Dachshund, is "God, Inc, Episode 6:"

Austin is heading towards Piper's office. He's thinking, Shit! This is it. Time to go to the boss's office and get canned just like Charlie. Fuckin' company! The Big Guy's got no plan at all. Doesn't know what he's doing. He enters her office and politely closes the door behind him.

Austin: I uh, got your message.

Piper sits with her arms folded and scowling (as usual). Very long pause. They stare at each other. Finally. . .

Piper: Austin, we have a problem.

Austin: Well, y'know, I've been thinking

Piper: There's a war going on as you might know. The Pakistanis have invaded Canada. Now, normally this wouldn't be a problem but as it turns out it's a huge one. When I find out who's responsible . . .It seems no one bothered to pass this "great idea" through Population Control or Approvals

Austin: Oh shit.

Piper: You're damn right 'Oh shit!' We've got a war going on that is in no way part of His plan. The Big Guy is not too happy about this. He's approved a time shift. We're going to roll back to a week ago and replay all events leading up to this war. We need to prevent the war before it happens but we're stuck. We can't make the past events flow seamlessly to side step the invasion. We need an event that disrupts the current time line leading to the invasion. And that is where you come in. (Long pause) Austin, we need a miracle. Have it on my desk before 11 tomorrow.

Austin usually with eyes at half staff shows signs of life. His eyes pop. A miracle! Not some sappy, huggy, squeezy Hallmark moment but a no shit, 1777 Revolutionary War Fergusson/Washington miracle! He leaves her office with the first hint of a smile we've seen in the series. He's a man on a mission.


Austin has papers strewn about his office. Crumpled papers overflow his trash can. He finally has his opportunity but can't seem to get the proper inspiration. He's stuck. And then. . .it hits him. He's working furiously tapping out proposals, running simulations, and testing scenarios on his computer. Campy inspirational music in the background.

Gavin: Hey Austin, you coming? It's 8 o'clock.

Austin: No, sorry. Can't. I got a deadline tomorrow.

Gavin: Okay man. See ya tomorrow.

Austin continues to pound away on his computer eyes burning two holes in the monitor.

"MVP Award" is on the white board in blue marker with Piper looking moderately happy and everyone sitting in a rough circle. Austin has never looked more confident and at ease.

Piper: This week's MVP award goes to. . .Product Development for their new tundra mosquito!

Everyone except Austin claps. Keaton goes up to accept the trophy.

Austin: What the—

Piper: Your new tundra mosquito believe it or not, infected a Pakistani diplomat in Canada with encephalitis right before he was to announce the war. He was hospitalized and called away. In the meantime through secret channels Canada and Pakistan worked out their differences. Your mosquito averted a war!

Sarah: It's a miracle!

Austin (under his breath): You're damn right it's a miracle. It's MY miracle. Fuckin' unbelievable!

Piper: Oh and of course this changes the outcome of last week's Publicity figures. Amid, you win again.

Amid grins like a smart ass and Esther slams her notebook down.

Esther: Damn it!