Monday, March 31, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Footsteps of Coins

A handful of nature snapshots I took while home for Easter. In general, they're self-explanatory, but I've added notes to the last two.

mustard flowers

so much grass

spiderweb trab

house behind the hill

lamb on the hill

bluejays in the tree

pink blossoms

giant's footprint

This above picture looks to me like a giant's footprint on the hillside. It's just a grown-over mudslide, of course. It's continued to look more and more like a footprint with heavy rain.

petals

And this photo was the best result of my attempts to photograph some white flower petals that were blowing out of the tree that overlooks the back lawn. Those white dots? Petals. It's a thing for me.

Nan Winters Rodriguez

The blog and how they've found it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bert Ain't the Only Evil Muppet

The Independent ran a story today about a drug bust by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department that yielded a ton of cash and 1.2 pounds of cocaine. The Sheriff's Department was kind enough to send over pictures of this bounty — Exhibit A and Exhibit B, if you will. Below is the baggy of coke, which I've never seen in such quantities before and which looks reminds me of the giant ziplock back my apartment uses to store powdered laundry detergent.


But that's not all the photo depicts. See in the bottom right corner? Graduated intern Adrian pointed out what would appear to be a badly coiffed doll of Sesame Street's Count von Count, leering ominously from beneath the bed.

A color-corrected close-up:


This may not prove that Bert is evil, but it certainly casts a shadow on the entire Muppet clan.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Climb Up! And Get the Last Chance!

A photo that I don't remember being taken, though I was apparently conscious and at work at the time. P-Well discovered it. It has been submitted for your perusal.

Drews in the Hall

I look shy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chest-Thumping

There's a good post up a Jezebel about the controversy over the Lebron James Vogue cover and its apparent similarities to the poster for the 1933 King Kong. In the former, an African-American male is posed to look rather beastly and is standing next to a pretty blonde lady. In the latter, a dark, male beast manhandling a blonde lady. The side-by-side should be enough to make everybody uncomfortable.

The Vogue:



The Konginator:



Some oddly similar political propaganda, unless I'm mistaken:



And also this old standard:



Considering the King of Kong review and the single best piece of video game-derived art I've ever seen, Pauline has gotten more play on this blog than I would have expected.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Death of Peter Cottontail

For the second year in a row, my family celebrated Easter with my father killing a rabbit.


Don’t think we’re revisionist Christians, attempting to wrestle the holiday out of the pink fuzzy hands of the Easter Bunny. We’re not. (Hell, we don’t even eat lamb on Easter Sunday anymore. We eat pork. “Ham of God, you take away the sins of the world.) No, the Slaughter of the Lagomorphs resulted more from the fact that my folks live in an area rural enough that their backyard vegetables often fall victim to hungry, toothy things. Upon getting home Friday night, I heard stories of the terror this rabbit has wreaked upon all things green: Mom’s flowers, Dad’s radishes, probably even the weeds — and you’d better believe that my parents don’t take kindly to others killing their weeds. With the rabbit attacking from above and gophers from below, anything green didn’t stand a chance, the way my parents tell it.

On Saturday, I walked into the yard and saw the dog. (He’d reportedly been obsessed with the rabbit since its two pointy ears showed up a few weeks ago.) Sure enough, I caught the dog staring at a bush with an intensity that most inanimate objects usually don’t merit. Looking a little more closely, I realized that he had cornered the very rabbit my parents had been trying to chase off. I could see him — small, young, brown with white spots — beneath the leaves, sitting utterly still in that strange way that rodents do when their instincts tell them to freeze up, even if doing so results in them being all the more conspicuous. I understood my parents’ frustration with the rabbit, but I figured I’d give him a second chance anyway. After all, it was the day before Easter. Rebirth. Redemption. All of that. I pulled the dog back by has collar and tossed a handful of dirt into the bush, figuring it would jar the rabbit into motion.

It did, but as he bounded out, I noticed that his back leg swung wildly behind him, tethered to his tiny little body with some tendon that should have been supported by body parts more substantial. He was hurt, and for an animal whose principal God-given survival skills involve running and digging, it was probably a mortal wound. As the rabbit slowed to a stop only a few yards away, the dog himself began to spin wildly. He slipped out of my hands, snatched the rabbit up and disappeared to another part of the yard. I imagine that he’d gotten wise to the fact that I wasn’t supporting his role in this particular Jack Hannah’s Animal Kingdom vignette. Some searching followed, and I eventually found both rabbit and dog on the side lawn. He would let the rabbit go and then scoop it up again, making the rabbit let out with that kind of scream that animals who don’t make noise do when they’re scared to death. In a way, that rabbit-scream strikes me as the most pitiful part. It’s a last resort for a critter whose natural defenses couldn’t get him far enough — a sort of “I’m not even supposed to make noise, but I am now. That’s how bad this is. Can you believe this?” When I decided I couldn’t listen to little rabbit screams any longer, I went and asked my dad if he’d mind killing it. Even at twenty-five years old, I’m still not big enough to mercy kill anything larger than a mouse. Besides, Dad was working in the garden and had a shovel.

Last I heard, Dad buried it. Last year’s Easter casualty got a less ceremonial ending: He was picked off with a shotgun. (In my dad’s defense, the 2007 model had been causing problems and eating greens for months longer than this year’s did.) I feel this tradition is a strange one for my family to implement, though I have to admit that I’m anxious to see how Rabbit No. Three will meet his demise next year.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter Egg of Easter Eggs

On this day of miracles both Christian and chocolate, I feel I should say something Easter-related. But, being feeble-minded and increasingly secular, I think I’ll stick to old reliable: pointless pop culture nothings, especially those not yet well-documented elsewhere online. I know, I know. “Way to celebrate a holiday with more of the same,” you say. (Jerk.) Well, allow me to set you up for an even greater disappointment: This post is Lost-related, too. However, if you wait it out to the end, you might just get to experience something that’s entirely Easter-appropriate, not to mention an example of the kind of punny wordplay that generally only smartypants know-it-alls waste their time with.

Here we go.

Remember Juliet? Juliet Burke? Maybe you don’t. I’m actually not sure that I’ve ever mentioned her on this blog before, but she’s been a major player on Lost since last season, when she figuratively jumped ship and left those sinister Others and joined up with the main castaways — the main Lost cast, whom I think should be referred to as the “Losers.” It should surprise nobody — whether island-bound or couch-bound — that Juliet eventually had to pay for her misdeeds. The Others are as powerful as they are mysterious, and they don’t take kindly to being dumped for the sexier new group of Four Toe Island inhabitants. Juliet was put on trial by the others, in a public ceremony officiated by the imperious Isabel — a never-explained authority figure played by Diana Scarwid, of Mommie Dearest and Wonderfalls fame. Others bigwig Ben commutes the initial death sentence that Juliet gets for her betrayal, the trade-off being that Juliet must be permanently marked. The Others brand Juliet. We eventually see it. It looks like this:


Like a lot of things on Lost, the symbol itself has yet to be explained. I somehow don’t think it ever will be, for two reasons. First, the fact that Juliet was branded means more than the symbol that was branded on her. Second, I don’t think the symbol means anything. (And here’s where the Easter part comes in.) Anyone who’s wandered through a grocery store or pharmacy in the last few weeks has no doubt seen the displays for Cadbury’s Creme Eggs — the chocolate-on-the-outside, sweetened-lard-on-the-inside annual wonders that we Americans get Lent, when we should theoretically be denying ourselves such pleasures. (God, you bastard.) Peel back the foil from a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, and you’ll notice that the side of the egg is emblazoned with a mark. It looks like this:


Get it? Like so many other allusion, off-topic asides, hidden bits of trivia and inside jokes, it would appear that Juliet’s mark is merely an Easter egg, in the non-holiday sense, that references an Easter egg, in the holiday-related sense. It’s a pun, a small practical joke on the people that try to read meaning into every stray comment and bit of set dressing on Lost. Other theories abound, of course. The Lostapedia page on which I found the Cadbury’s explanation also posits that Juliet’s mark could be the Five-Fingered Hand of Eris, the sign for the zodiac sign Pisces, the alchemy symbol for ammonium salt, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo. However, none of these look as much like Juliet’s actual mark as the Cadbury’s symbol, so I’m inclined to think that this is the correct answer.

And then meaning ate itself.

And then I ate another Cadbury’s Creme Egg.

And then I wondered whether the casting of Diana Scarwid in an episode involving ritual scarification was coincidental.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Prosperity Ham Hock

More of the Google Reader link dump.
And finally TODAY IS THE DAY, a one-entry blog post comprised entirely of a series of photos that constitute one of the creepier, cooler, more artfully done units of interest I've stumbled across in a long while. If you click only one of the links in this post, let this be the one.

Wrath of Whacka

Doodles done during downtime.


I'm most pleased with the rather disturbed ladybug. With the cat, I think I was subconsciously remembering Alexandre from Home Movies.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Legend of Cloudbush

After years of following video game blogs — sometimes diligently, sometimes hardly at all — I decided to check out for myself the oft-referenced NegGAF, a site from which much breaking game news gets leaked. While there, I found a message board thread dedicated to strange factoids that would “blow your mind.” It’s essentially a list of random bits of information that, had they been posted on Back of the Cereal Box, would have fallen under the “pop culture minutia” post tag, some of them gaming related, some not. What I’m reporting below represents the most interesting of them.

First off, the bushes that appear in the backgrounds in the original Super Mario Bros. are just recolored clouds. I literally played through these game at least a hundred times when I was a kid and never noticed.


In the FedEx logo, there's a perfect right-pointing arrow in the negative space between the "e" and the "x." Never noticed it before. Now I can't not notice it.


In addition of looking like a baseball mitt, the Milwaukee Brewers logo also contains an "m" and a "b."


In the original Legend of Zelda, the eight dungeons fit together in a sort of interlocking puzzle piece- or quilt-like fashion, save for a few blank spots, though this apparently results more from memory constraints than any desire on the part of the programmers to hide something neat.


As explained in this non-embeddable YouTube video, Michael Jackson was allegedly employed by Sega to write music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but that eventually fell through. Nonetheless, a lot of the tracks in the game bear strong resemblance to "Jam," "Stranger in Moscow" and "Who Is It?" It's even more remarkable when you consider that Jackson had previously collaborated with Sega for the video game Moonwalker, which itself featured blippy, video game versions of his actual music.

On that subject, someone also pointed out that the beginning too the music from the Elec Man stage in Mega Man sounds suspiciously like the beginning to Journey's "Faithfully." Evidence:



In concept and basic aesthetic, at least, Nintendo's Animal Crossing games are reminiscent of the Lego offshoot Fabuland, sets of which I actually owned as a kid and which I'd entirely forgotten until stumbling onto this thread.



The logo for the 2012 London Olympics, as a few people have already noted, kind of looks like an abstracted, pink Lisa Simpson giving a similar pink and abstracted gentleman a sexual favor. What was passed over in favor of this atrocity was a rather cool ambigram logo shown below.

the bad, chosen logo

what could have been

That’s it, more or less. The rest seems to revolve around bickering over whether the Star Fox character Krystal implies Nintendo’s endorsement of furryism. Alls I know is that foxes shouldn’t sit like that. It’s improper.

Ladysmash: Gender Roles in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

As have legions of other pre-ordering Nintendo nuts, I’ve now had the new Smash Bros. for a week and have been enjoying it not only as a pretty good (if not outright great) video game but also as a microcosm of video games themselves. Super Smash Bros. Brawl may be a Nintendo-specific tour of video game history — the presence of Sonic the Hedgehog and Metal Gear Solid’s Snake notwithstanding — but by virtue of the fact that it mines the this prolific company’s past, it gives an overview of the medium from damn near its beginning to its current state.

For example: If we’re to accept what this game suggests, video games have not produced a great many mascot characters lately. Or at least Nintendo hasn’t. The newest series represented in this Battle of the Nintendo All-Stars is Pikmin, whose main man Olimar is playable. All the other series represented by playable characters are older, which is especially notable given that Pikmin, having debuted in 2001, is not particularly young. Newer series only offer characters that make non-playable cameos, and I hope some of these faces will return as full-fledged fighters — most particularly Daigasso! Band Brothers’s Barbara the Bat, a Nintendo leading lady the likes of which we don’t see often enough. But all in all, the game boasts a host of old-timers.

more cleavage and more attitude than your typical nintendo lady
Barbara the Bat makes as good a segue as any for the meat of this post, which concerns some notes about female characters in Brawl that, given the game’s status as a de facto gaming retrospective, offers an interesting statement about women in games in general.

The first Smash Bros. game offered only one female character: Metroid heroine Samus Aran, whose suit of space armor completely hides her gender. (Technically, there was this one Pokémon — Jigglypuff, a wiggly-bajiggly sentient balloon who attacks by singing and falling asleep — but I’m not sure it has gender one way or the other. We’ll stick a pin in this one, so to speak.) The sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, evened the gender ratio out a bit with the addition of Nintendo’s two highest-profile princesses, Peach from the Super Mario games and Zelda from the Legend of Zelda games, as well as the Ice Climbers, a two-member team from back in Nintendo’s eight-bit days that includes a boy, Popo, and a girl, Nana. Counting Jigglypuff as female, Nana as a separate character and Zelda as a separate character from her alter-ego, Melee offered six female characters out of a total of twenty-six. It was a step in the right direction, but some decisions on the programmers’ parts presented the female characters in an odd light.

Photobucket

For example, Princess Zelda functioned as a sort of time-share, at least if the person playing as her wanted to take full advantage of her abilities: She could transform into her alter-ego, Sheik, to use an entirely new moveset. Whereas Zelda was physically frail and attacked with her Sparkle Princess Magic, Sheik moved quickly and ninja-like. That’s a plus, as far as making Zelda a character that players would want to pick, but the fact that Sheik is apparently male (or at least male-looking) put an unexpected spin on things. Because Zelda and Sheik are the same person much in the same way that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person, Sheik probably isn’t actually male. But the character certainly seems male, if not just androgynous: a deep voice, unfeminine musculature, and an apparently shrink-wrapped bosom. I’m probably reading too much into the character’s duality, but it nonetheless seemed to suggest that Zelda — on her own, with her long hair, in her princess gown, with her sparkle magic — wasn’t strong enough to duke it out with the other Nintendo mascots.

Then there was little Nana. Though players could choose to control her and make Popo her computer-directed partner in battle, the default setting was Popo in the lead and Nana trailing faithfully behind her — with him wearing blue and her pink. Putting Nana in the lead gave the pair different color schemes, as if to suggest that doing so was a departure from the traditional order — and the traditional blue-as-masculine, pink-as-feminine setup. Which it was.

Melee brought back Jigglypuff and Samus — the former still essentially asexual and the latter still encased in her space armor — but Peach served as the game’s shining beacon of pure femininity. And this might have been a good thing if Peach wasn’t a total idiot. (In one of her victory poses — post-battle, after she’s kicked the tar out of her opponents — she waves like a beauty queen on a parade float and stupidly asks “Oh, did I win?” Yes, Peach, you did, but every time you open your mouth, you set the women’s movement back a few years.) I would be way off base to infer that Peach was a worthless character, however. In fact, she was one of the best in the bunch. She draws several certain skills from Super Mario Bros. 2, such as hovering in the air for an extended period of time or pulling turnips from the ground and using them as projectiles. Peach also fought with a whole arsenal that she could pluck out of hammerspace, though most of it serving to remind players that Peach was, in fact, a girl: parasol, frying pan, golf club and tennis racquet. In the end, I’m not really sure what to make of Peach, who basically endorses a whole host of female stereotypes but who, despite this, manages to kick ass, take names and do it all when wearing heels.

Following all the hype leading up to Smash Bros. Brawl, I at least thought Nintendo might have thrown a new female character or two into the mix. Nope. The roster of thirty-six apparently couldn’t include even one new ladyfighter. (At least the previous ones all returned — even stupid Jigglypuff.) What Brawl did add into the mix, however, was the Final Smash — a last-ditch super move designed to knock enemies senseless with a special amount of visual flair. Zelda’s, Jiggypuff’s, and the Ice Climbers’ are fairly unimpressive, both visually and as far as they relate to gender roles. Samus’s and Peach’s, however, merit a few words.

Samus got one of the most powerful moves in the game: the Zero Laser, which wipes out one side of the screen with a superpowered shot from her arm cannon. But aside from blasting her enemies into crispy bits, the move also strips her of her armor, revealing her human form for the first time ever in the Smash Bros. series. The Freudian-minded among us would have a hard time not reading some symbolism, what with the apparent robot man ejaculating one huge destructo-beam before revealing himself to be a sexy whip-wielding lady in a cat suit.

from spaceman to sexy lady through the magic of undressing
Sort of in the way Zelda and Sheik complement each other, Samus’s alternate form — she is known as Zero Suit Samus, which could be taken literally to mean “naked Samus” — allows her to hop about nimbly and hold her own against enemies she couldn’t before. Still, it’s curious that she essentially performs a striptease to make the switch.

look for the great white blast around 1:40

As far as the Final Smash as a means of characterization, Peach took a turn for the worse. Her Peach Blossom, as with everything else about Peach, seems to underscore the fact that she is, in fact, the girliest girl who ever engaged famous video game characters in physical combat.


snooze, gobble, thwomp

That’s it. As she does a little dance that puts everybody else to sleep and litters the stage with peaches. She can chose to either give her opponents a solid knock while they sleep or eat the peaches to restore her health. I’ll admit there’s a certain amount of strategy in this — bash heads or eat fruit, and in what combination? — but I just can’t help feeling that the whole move is just lame. Why stick the most feminine character with the only super move that restores health? For comparison’s sake, Mario gets a souped-up fireball, and Link gets a flurry of sword slashes. Even Donkey Kong gets to go to town on a pair of bongos and trap foes in his island rhythms. Peach gets dancing, napping and fresh produce. Given how Nintendo normally treats her, I’m not sure it would have made much sense to allow her anything more, but it sucks nonetheless that she gets the “nice” move.

As I said before, it also sucks that Nintendo bother with any new female characters for this latest outing. Some might say that the roster presented in Brawl is accurate, for better or worse. The fact is that female characters only recently started playing significant, active roles in most Nintendo games, so it follows that a project offering an overview of video game history should reflect that. While this is true, I feel like Nintendo could have acted as agents of social change, so to speak, and simply bumped up a few ladies up to all-star status. Those who designed the previous games did so when they promoted the likes of Ness (from Earthbound, which was next-to-unknown at the time the first Smash Bros. hit shelves), the Ice Climbers (whom even frothing Nintendo fans had forgotten about), and Marth and Roy (who hail from games in the Fire Emblem series that either hadn’t ever been released in the United States or simply hadn’t been released yet).

It’s a moot point now, but in case anyone doubts that Nintendo overlooked a few worthy contenders who just happen to be female, here’s a short list of them and their qualifications.


In order: Midna, who happens to have done more than Zelda herself in the most recent Zelda outing and who also happens to be the title character in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Lip, the main character from the Nintendo game Panel de Pon, who manages to rule despite the fact that she is a fairy wielding a flower wand. Dixie Kong, first-ever female Donkey Kong protagonist and technically the first ever Marioverse character to lead her own game. Krystal, the ladyfox from Starfox, who manages to make everyone feel uncomfortable about anthropomorphic animals. Marina Lightyears, protagonist of the Treasure-produced Nintendo 64 title Mischief Makers, which was a Nintendo exclusive and which rocked considerably. Kumatora, the only remarkable female character from Mother 3, who manages to prove that princesses need not necessarily rely on sparkle magic. This one kicks ridiculous amounts of ass. And finally Bubbles, the Clu Clu Land heroine who defies description and logic.


And that’s not to mention the four female Nintendo characters who just appear as cameos in Brawl: the aforementioned Barbara the Bat — who, once again, rocks — as well as Fire Emblem swordswoman Lady Lyndis, WarioWare ninja twins Kat and Ana, and Drill Dozer maniac Jill, who seems like an unlikely Smash Bros. fighter but who could have easily ruled in the style of Tron Bonne in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

In conclusion, I guess, Brawl had a lot of potential for the advancement for the advancement of in-game gender politics but failed to deliver. Perhaps the next Smash will right this wrong?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wrinkle A. Eaten-By-Moths

Does it bother anyone else that the name of the person who sent me the email pictured below consists of two words for things that can happen to improperly cared for clothes?


She or he has emailed me previously, which leads me to believe that "Fray" isn't a typo for "Fay." "Fay Crease," however, would only be marginally better.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deputy Dewdrop

I had to sit in on a meeting at Santa Barbara City College on Thursday. The woman who wants me to write an article on the matter hooked me up with a parking pass. It was only today that I noticed that they misspelled my name in a way that makes me question the parking department's familiarity with first names, English, and logic in general.

dew_mackie

Dew Mxxxxx. Because there's an abundance of people with first names based on the word "dew" outside of Faulkner novels. I suppose, however, that if they think this is an acceptable first name, it's at least better that they chose this spelling and not the alternative.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Taxonomy and Ursula the Sea Witch

In what can only be the spiritual follow-up to the post expressing my marvelation at Wikipedia's logic in centaur classification, I'm writing this to note that the official term for a half-human, half octopus creature — an entity most would just term "octo-mermaid," I'd imagine — is "Cecaelia." Sucks for girls named "Cecilia," I suppose, but good to know that the term exists, in case I ever need to identify one for a news article. Thankfully, Wikipedia as of now lacks the page "List of notable Cecaelia," but rest assured someone, somewhere is working on it.


Remember: It's not "octo-mermaid." It's "Cecaelia." Even when it's a boy, apparently. "Cecil"?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bitten by Barbara the Bat

Via the Smash Bros Dojo blog, Nintendo has offered me a new character that I find immensely appealing, if for no other reason than the fact that she looks nothing like the rest of the skirts, sexpots and sissies Nintendo puts in its games. Meet Barbara the Bat.


She’s anthropomorphized, though she’s clearly leaning more toward the “anthro” side of the equation that the batty one. I can’t decide if she looks more like an extra from Fritz the Cat or something tattooed on the bicep of a guy who would beat the crap out of me. In any case, she presents more attitude than I’d expect from a family friendly company that has justifiably earned its reputation as the Disney of video games. Barbara hails from the “DJ-style music game” Daigasso! Band Brothers, which Wikipedia claims would have been called Jam With the Band had it ever been released in the United States. It hasn’t and neither has its sequel, so I can’t necessarily say that Barbara isn’t some horrible shrew. I’m hoping her series does eventually get ported over to at least one of the lands of English-speakers, perhaps so Barbara can get a chance of being a full-fledged playable fighter in the next Smash Bros.. According to Babs’s backstory, she resides in the new Nintendo location of Waru Waru Town, where she operates the store GB Music — the initials in which stands for “Great Barbara” but which also happen to offer a nod to Nintendo’s bygone portable system the Game Boy. The game offers her two sidekicks: the little brother bat Ting Tin and a strange Grim Reaper-looking thing called Pockin the Death.

Which is great. I believe they may be the whats-its appearing alongside Barbara in the below art.


Bizarre sidekicks notwithstanding, the whole package works for me in a major way.

Two more examples of Barbara the Bat artwork:



And here is the Nintendo DS version of the game in action. No, I don’t really get it either.



Barbara, may we soon see you again?

Pajama Hero

Heroes always arrive late… to bed.

Looking back through old bookmarks, I stumbled across a Destructoid review of an old Nintendo game, Little Nemo: The Dream Master, loosely based on the spectacularly surreal comic strip. Designed by Capcom, the same company which had released the Mega Man sidescrollers, the game actually owes a debt to Super Mario Bros. 3, as the title character bounces through stages while borrowing the powers and costumes of various animals — frogs, mice, moles, lizards, and, in an instance that would be echoed eighteen years later with Super Mario Galaxy, bees. Aside from reigniting my passions for both this game and the original Nemo strip, the Destructoid post imparted a little jewel of trivia: In Japan, where Windsor McCay’s work would have probably been even less known among the gaming tot crowd than in America, the game is simply known as Pajama Hero, which, of course, is the best possible name for anything ever.

I’m not clear if the Little Nemo game has any official connection to the Little Nemo animated film, which even my child brain could pick out as utter rubbish and which was released in Japan in 1989 and in the U.S. in 1992. Without that pop culture reference link in the middle, I’d like to think that Nemo’s adventures took him from the below image, which I scanned from the bound volume retrospective I bought in high school…

a little nemo thanksgiving. (see here for larger version. )
… to this, a video clip showing the game’s first level.


Not a lot carried over from the original strip to the game. The reconfigured version even casts Flip is a helpful character instead of a cigar-chomping miscreant. A nice touch on Capcom’s part, however, would have to be the fact that every stage begins with Nemo hopping into bed and ends with pleas from Nemo’s parents to adjust his sleeping habits.

“Pajama Hero,” though. Can’t get over what a perfect pairing of words that is.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is Baby Pretty Now, Mommy?

I've only become recently acquainted, through PopSucker, with Maria Bamford and her funny voices. She's like Jerri Blank with a better vocal range. The setup: Formerly successful comedian Maria has had a mental meltdown and moved back to her parents' home in Duluth. She plays all the parts. Your eyes fill with delight. In all, it kind of reminds me of a more pleasant version of a BBC adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper I once had to sit through.

Watch, watch.



Then watch some more. Quite a few videos are up at Super Deluxe. (And by the way, is Super Deluxe actually part of Adult Swim, or is it just, like, Adult Swim's best friend?)

Don't Tell the Mermaids Where I'm Going

Three photos of the dining room in late-afternoon light.

308 028

308 038

308 043

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Evil Is an Inkblot

If you have a spare few minutes.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Peaches on My Eyes

Part of the long-delayed Google Reader link dump. Go nuts. More to come later.
As always, you can see my Google Shared clips or even subscribe to the feed if you so desire.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Man Powered by Nitro Energy, Duh

Proof that my roommates and I lack the wherewithal to complete a full game of Scrabble while following the rules: My last big move tonight was adding five letters to "man" to form the word "NitroMan."

The King of Sea Cows

I caved. Laziness times busy schedule equals one useless gym membership. The thoroughly awkward atmosphere at 24 Hour Fitness certainly didn't help, but I'm ultimately putting the blame for this failure on myself.

Money in my pocket, fat on my belly, I suppose.

In order to actually end my ill-fated fling with fitness, however, I had to provide the gym with a reason. As you can see below, "irreconcilable differences" was not one of the options provided.



I have the real gripe with the first highlighted one, "No longer interested in fitness," but I'll get to that in a moment. I'll quickly note that the second choice, "No longer able to work out" amused me from the standpoint that, had a freak tractor accident detached my arms and legs from my body, I'd have no choice but to tell my helper monkey to select that one. The third choice, "Out of towels/hot water" struck me as funny because, in my head, it includes an invisible appendix of "and I'm a little bitch who'd let a momentary inconvenience such as this spin me into a terminal case of the pouts." Also, this one doesn't specify the gym as being the entity that lacked towels and hot water, so I naturally picture some naïve quitter reading this and thinking "Shit, we were supposed to bring our own?"

That first highlighted reason, though, was the one that really bothered me. "No longer interested in fitness." I can actually hear the words coming from the mouth 24 Hour Fitness rep I created in my imagining of how this would have gone down in real life. "Oh, I take it you're no longer interested in fitness?" he'd scoff, casting a long glance at my Eddie Spaghetti arms. "Yes," I'd reply. "I no longer have any regard for my physical well-being. I have, in fact, lost any interest in fitness. I'm also smoking a pack a day, chewing on fiberglass instead of gum, and driving to the bad part of town so I can flip off gang members." In case you're wondering, I did pick this option, in the end, regardless of how it made me feel.

Some more reasons for quitting that I feel 24 Hour Fitness should have included:
  • Think you're too good for us.
  • Are too stupid to realize overall benefits of gym use.
  • Enjoy giving up.
  • Have realized you're not "our kind of people."
  • Under notion that you are too attractive and would like to fix that.
  • Believe old age might might be unpleasant.
  • Would like to pursue Guinness and/or other world record for fattest person.
  • Already have clothes and would rather not have to purchase wardrobe for slimmer self.
  • Spend every waking moment saving orphan babies from crazed orphan baby-eating monster, because that's literally the only good reason to forsake your physical welfare.
  • Already feel bad enough and would rather leave it at that.
Like all bad relationships, this one is totally dunzo, at least until a rise in my available funds coincides with a fall in self-esteem.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Goleta Glamorous

This below image is in reference to a joke between Spencer and me, but I think the punchline is fairly obvious.


I really feel this should be made into a t-shirt.

Don't... Read This Post

Thing I saw, meet thing that made you. First, the old.



And then how I first encountered it. (Excuse the bootleg shaky cam. No proper online version yet exists. Blame Grindhouse ticket sales.)



Don't, by the way, comes from Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. Even better: The narrator is Will Arnett, who was recently screwed out of voicing KITT in the Knight Rider remake.

EDIT 1.19.07: Just found a better version. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Homicidal Maniacs in the Econo-Saver Suite

One more story about last weekend. Less star-gazey than the last and more paranoid in the way one gets when he’s watched too many horror movies.

Knowing that the purpose behind the San Francisco trip was to cover Noise Pop — Aly’s article went in Thursday’s paper, by the way — I brought along a camera. My regular camera, however, does not lend itself to easy travel. If most people’s digitals are the size of newer model cell phones, my Minolta is vintage 1989-era Game Boy with a VHS cassette taped to the side. Like I said, not immediately portable. So instead I brought the pocket-sized cheapie I got for Christmas. Apparently, camera quality traces camera size, or at least I'll pretend that's the case, and this mini-Olympus proved adequate for daylight snapshots, as this photo of Aly and her sister at Nepenthe in Big Sur proves…

nepenthe4

… and not-so-hot for photographing poorly-lit, gyrating rock stars, as the below photo of Tilly and the Wall’s Neely Jenkins and Jamie Presnall.

tilly and the wall

As you can see, I might as well have just applied the Photoshop filter labeled “cruddy.”

Teeny tiny photbox did prove useful on a particular non-rockstar-related venture. For the two nights we spent in San Francisco, we stayed the Mosser, a hotel on Fourth Street. (In a word: hipster-friendly. IKEA-style furniture, bold retro patterns on every conceivable surface, and tall and skinny, like so many pairs of scenester pants.) I suspect that this hotel has fairly recently been redone. Things looked new, you see, but these things’ older counterparts were not all that well-hidden. For example, when I opened the window above the bathtub, I found another window. And another wall. Not even three feet away.

creepy window 8
innocent enough, no?

creepy window 6
but what's this?

creepy window3
close enough to touch.

creepy window2
and close enough for someone else to touch me?


Way creepy. I never saw another light on in whatever room existed on the other side of this window, but I had to shudder at the thought of cracking the window open during my shower in hopes of getting some extra ventilation and then having the next one silently slide open as well, a hand reaching out from the darkened mystery room and into my naked soapy time.

I wondered if this second window truly did open up into someone else’s hotel room, or if, for some reason, it was a vestige of the hotel’s previous incarnation, when the wall was for some reason farther out than it stands now. (Seems unlikely that designers would want to make a hotel room already the size of a lunchbox even smaller, but what do I know?) For what it’s worth, I turned on the flash and shot up and down, to see what there is to see.

creepy window4
the view looking down

creepy window 5
the view looking up

Empty darkness, cement and a condom wrapper. Lovely. The wall opposite the edge of my room seemed to remain three feet away, up or down. This lead to me envisioning some maniac shimmying up the gap like some evil Spider-man — no doubt from some abandoned basement decorated with body parts.

Rest assured, following the photo shoot, I locked the window.