Friday, August 22, 2014

Buffy the Dolphin

Proof that Nintendo has a sense of humor: this sprite for the minor enemy Buffy the Dolphin from Wario: Master of Disguise.

Of course, it goes without saying that for someone somewhere, this marked the realization of a long-suppressed fantasy. You know who you are.

Well, now you do.

Original pixels via Spriter’s Resource.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Actually Fold a Fitted Sheet

1. Go to

2. Type in “how to fold a fitted sheet.”

3. Watch Jill Cooper demonstrate the process for you and, when you’re done, think to yourself, “Yeah, that doesn’t seem so hard.”

4. Stand up and hold the sheet lengthwise, with your hands in opposite corners, as if you’re putting on an abstract puppet show.

5. Tuck all the corners into each other like Jill says.

6. Notice how your folded sheet thing looks like shit — nothing like the origami flower that has bloomed in Jill Cooper’s hands.

7. Unfold the sheet and start over again from the top, figuring that this time you’ll catch whatever wrong move you made.

8. Get to the point where you look upon your tucked-in corner thing and see that it still looks like shit.

9. Wondering if you maybe missed a step, watch the video again.

10. Note when watching it this time how fucking smug Jill Cooper seems. And why does she have a Christmas wreath in the background? Didn’t she figure that people would be watching this year-round?

11. Try again. Fail.

12. Throw the partially folded sheet on the ground and yell “Fuck!” and then “Fuck my shit!”

13. “Why the fuck am I even trying to fold a fucking folded goddamn sheet? Who the hell cares? Who needs a fitted sheet anyway if it’s not already on the stupid bed? Is this what I thought I’d be doing when I was an adult living on my own — spending time trying to fold the sheet like that smug bitch Jill Cooper who thinks she’s so great? Not me. Not this cool adult.”

14. Leave the sheet on the ground. Go pour yourself a drink. Who cares if it’s only 2 p.m.? You’re your own boss.

15. Head out for the afternoon. Go buy an ice cream. Maybe look for a new pair of jeans. What, is Jill Fucking Cooper going to stop you? Is she going to ride her fucking sleigh out from Christmas Town, U.S.A., and tell you again that you’re not doing it right? Let her try.

16. Return home after misnavigating the bus route back to your neighborhood and take a nap. You did not find jeans.

17. Leave the sheet on the ground for at least a week.

18. Finally, when company comes, stuff it in a drawer. Location unimportant.

19. Later, when you need a fresh fitted sheet and are unable to find the old one, just head out to Bed Bath & Beyond and purchase a new, crisply folded one.

20. Maybe stop for ice cream.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

“Those Little Movies”

What follows is a short story about a place I no longer work at.

About a year ago, I was approached by a coworker who I’d estimate to be between forty and fifty years old. “Hey, you work for social media, right?” she asked me. In this case, she happened to be correct: I did, in fact, do social media. But I’m going to say this was just luck on her part, because that’s how anyone in her age bracket approached anyone in my age bracket, even if only three or four people in the entire company had social media-doing as part of their job description.

Me: Yes. What’s up?

Her: Where online can I find those little movies?

(I waited for her to expand. She did not.)

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t know what movies you’re talking about.

Her: Those little movies you see everywhere.

Me: I… Are you talking about YouTube?

Her: No, not YouTubes. They’re smaller than YouTubes.

Me: Vines?

Her: Oh, maybe. Where are Vines?

Me: Go to, and they’re all there.

(She checks on her computer for a few moments.)

Her: No, not these, I don’t think. What I’m looking for is even smaller. They’re, like, these tiny, little films.

Me: Are you talking about actual short films? Like, student films that are short?

Her: No, you watch them online.

Me: Where online?

Her: Everywhere.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What Philip Morris Can Teach Us About Basic Shopkeeping



If you follow my Tumblr, you may have seen Philip Morris’s awesomely atrocious instructional video from 1987, which features a space lady singing alternate, cigarette-centric lyrics to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump.”

Just try and get it out of your head.

Sample lyrics: “Yes, I know how you do / Want to make more profits than you do / So I’m gonna show you / It’s that never-ending story / About moving inventory / To push your cigarette dollars higher! / I’ll show you how, I’ll show you how / to make your sales and profits soar! / Yes, you’ll sell more, more more!”

On one hand, this woman is truly giving it her all. She’s sporting Marlboro colors like a trooper. She’s a decent dancer. And you can’t say she’s not trying to convince you that she truly is a space traveler who landed on earth to impart valuable cigarette-selling information. In a way, this little production fits in line with a long-standing tradition of industrial musicals, which for decades had professional singers and songwriters selling out in an effort to sell products.

On the other, more honest hand, no. Just no. “Jump” was four years old when this video was made, and it hardly seems worth the trouble of ripping off an aging hit if the big take-away is that you should keep in stock the things your customers like to buy. (“Stock! To match demand / Stock up! All the top brands / You keep your loyal customers happy! / Stock, stock, stock on up!”) Doesn’t that seem like a fairly straightforward shopkeeping principle? To sell people what they want? Isn’t that a foundational aspect of capitalism?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dreaming of Pixelated Summers

It’s the simplest of gifs, really: just four frames. But I can’t stop watching it, can’t stop letting it make me think of jaunty little ocean adventures from one port to another on little pixel ships.

That or magic eye puzzles. Oceanside magic eye puzzles.

(Original screengrabs via Luminous Arc, via Spriter’s Resource.)

Beautiful pixels, previously:

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Birdo

I have purchased a Birdo.

birdo plushie

I can’t explain why. It seemed like a sensible use of my Amazon Prime account at the time, but I’m aware that it is so very pink and also so very strange to people who did not grow up spending more time with the Mario Bros. than, say, actual humans.

Here is a list of possible things I can tell people when they ask what the hell this thing is.

“This is something completely normal for a 32-year-old, unmarried man to own.”

“This is, like, the only pink thing I own.”

“This is just where I store my big, red bow.”

“This is an exhibit I’m lobbying for inclusion in the Museum of Intelligent Design.”

“This is a sex toy. I think it’s pretty obvious how it’s used.”

“This is to gay video game-players what those saint candles are to Catholic grandmas.”

“This is a plush version of the most popular transsexual character in video game history.”

“This is something that I would not have let myself own before I stopped caring.”

“This is a thing that shoots non-fertile eggs out of its mouth, and what kind of God would let that happen?”

“This is known in Japan as Catherine. No, really.”

“This is an object that my will shall assign to someone like you, who does not know what it is. And I will give it solely so that the recipient also has to wonder what it is. Now let us never speak of it again.”

“This just showed up one day. I’m actually unclear what it is myself. But isn’t it soft?”

“Cocksuckasaur. COCKSUCKASAUR!”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Left-Handed Ghosts and Familiar Music

Short version: the right idea, but the wrong video game franchise.

More than two years ago, I posted here on this blog about a Japanese disco track that sounded to me like something I’d heard in a video game — specifically something dire and commanding and urgent, like you might hear during a boss battle. It’s the 1978 song “Southpaw” by Japanese band Pink Lady, and the part I’m referring to happens just in the first few seconds.

Did you hear it? It’s the part that starts around the nine-second mark. I always heard it, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why it sounded familiar. And then just this week, someone pointed out to me why: Ghosts ’N Goblins.

Again, did you hear it? Just right at the beginning.

“Southpaw” predates Ghosts ’N Goblins by seven years, so if anything, the composer of the game’s score would have been paying tribute to the Pink Lady track. I’m not sure it’s any more than a coincidence, but at least this settles why a Japanese pop song from before I was born sounded like something I should already know.

To end your day on a highest of possible notes, here is Pink Lady performing their 1977 hit “UFO” in a video that seems to have been filmed on their apartment complex stairs.

And here’s a talented sight reader playing the Ghosts ’N Goblins theme in a ragtime style so naturally that you’ll have a hard time believing he’d never laid eyes on the sheet music before.

Video game music, previously:

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Donkey Kong and the Damsel in No Distress Whatsoever

It doesn’t seem terribly productive to read anything into old arcade cabinet art, but that’s not exactly a look of horror on Pauline’s face as she’s being kidnapped, is it?

Also, based on her tongue, she may be ill. Also, based on this take on Donkey Kong, I’m wondering if he could be a blood relation to John C. Reilly.

The various Kongs, previously: