Monday, July 31, 2006

Grotesque Fashion

While KrisDina and I were in New Zealand, we repeatedly saw advertisements for Icebreaker, a particular brand of wool-based clothing. There were advertisements in most New Zealand magazines and posters in the windows of clothes shops. These ads, to say the least, were eye-catching.

Here's an example:

As you can see, the brand hypes the pure Merino wool aspect of their clothes by dressing up two models — a wispy, fair woman and a brawny, tan guy — is some kind of strange sheep drag. The end result is something out of Greek mythology, though it more realistically came from Photoshop. (Honestly, I like that there’s such a great potential for overlap between the two.) But I can't help feel a little wrong to look at something that clearly exhibits sheep characteristics and then thinking sexy thoughts. Maybe that’s the point. These grotesque forms do nothing to dispel the notion that New Zealanders — famed shepherds — bugger their flock like it's going out of style. The two depicted, however model-pretty they may be, look to be the offspring of such matings.

Finally, the above image is, to me, frightening on a primal level. Not only does the sheep-man seem to be springing from the very soil, wool and all, but his lady friend is holding those shears in a dangerous place. I worry for him, my friend the sheep-man.

I managed to find a second ad picturing the same to models, though the image is of substantially lower quality. It also doesn't compel me to cross my legs in a protective fashion.

We get a better shot at the woman — who, it turns out, looks a little bit like Allison Goldfrapp — and her apparent leotard of wool. We also see that the man does in fact have feet. Now he's holding the shearing scissors and I'm a little worried for Mrs. Man-Sheep.

Strange people, those New Zealanders.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It Should Not Have Been

Alvin, of "Alvin and the Chipmunks" fame, shown befriending a vaguely anthropomorphic female hot dog, possibly in promotion of a brand of hot dogs. Origin unknown.

Sheep Race

Some stranger sent left a message for me — on Flickr of all places — that led me to a YouTube video of a sheep race in a town called Shropshire. I have no idea where Shropshire is, and knowing those British types there could very well be multiple Shropshires throughout the world. Nonetheless, this particular Shropshire is well-known as being the home to a daily sheep race, the documentation of which you can find below this text.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Can't Believe It's Not Melodrama

It was witnessed last night with awed stupefaction while watching a rerun of the Kirsten Dunst-hosted "SNL" on E! It was, as best as I can describe, a promotional gimmick for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter featuring a Flash-animated murder mystery centered around a personified bottle of said faux butter substance. Named "Spraychel," the feminine protagonist is apparently trying to prove her innocence in the untimely death of "Buttricia," a personified stick of butter.
[ link: ]
"Things really heat up when the refrigerator lights go down." The mystery will unravel through a series of webisodes in the series "The Sprays of Her Life," which sounds like golden shower porn. (And would a golden shower joke really be out of place in universe centering around spray butter?) Supporting characters include Nurse Lardis, a gay strip of bacon named Kevin, and Dr. Brock, who looks suspiciously like David Cross.

I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry. The dialogue is surprisingly salacious, full of double entendres like this one, spoken by Spraychel about Buttricia: "I don't mean to squeeze my own tube, but I taste just like her." Whoever came up with the idea of marketing a soap opera heroine with the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter pump sticking out of her head deserves a raise, then to be fired — in whatever order best suits the people at Unilever. In short, not nearly as good as that talking tub of Parkay, but infinitely better than Fabio. (The latter, by the way, is referenced in the Spraychel universe by the heroine's lawyer, a talking corn cob named "Cobbio.")

Note: If I had seen this commercial on E rather than on E!, I probably would have liked it a lot more.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vandalism — From the World of Tomorrow!

Dr. Zoidberg hangs out in men's restrooms. Or did you already know?

Photo courtesy of Nate.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Those Owls, They're Still Not What They Seem

Literally just hours before I complained to Spencer about my desire to watch "Twin Peaks" through again, I stumble upon this post on Stale Popcorn, this Australian guy's movie blog that I've been frequenting lately. The post, titled "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" details news about the second season of "Twin Peaks" finally being released on DVD at the end of the year.

The first season box set came out three years ago. And for a set that only included seven episodes — and that's not even including the two-hour pilot, which was left off for legal reasons — they did the best job they could do with it. But the catch here is that I can't bother to share this with anybody because episode seven ends with a major cliffhanger, namely Coop being shot by a masked assailant in his hotel room at the Great Northern. That's not to mention the fact that it also drops off with Shelley being trapped a burning barn, Katherine being apparently incinerated by said fire, Nadine going suicidal and overdosing and all other manner of badness. Without the concluding episodes to follow up with, all us DVD-happy "Twin Peaks" fans were left with only a blue balls-inducing non-ending. And I was not about to make the trek back to Emerald Video to re-rent the VHS copies of it again. No, I remember what happened to my life the last time I did that.

Anyway, this is very good news. I suspect a "Twin Peaks" revival to soon come about. If not world-wide, then surely in my life.

Este Quelpo Es Delicioso

Life in Santa Barbara has become about as arduous as it can get. Our normally temperate weather has devolved into something hot, sticky and altogether foul. It’s as if we’ve taken up residence inside one of the Hilton girls. Beyond that, I’m broke and the city is repaving all the streets, so we have no choice but to take pleasure in the small things.

For example, Otter Pops.

At someone’s suggestion — Mike’s? Aly’s? — I dropped by the store and picked up a box of 200 of these little puppies. Ah yes, now I remember. I had been listening to the Talking Heads’ “Popsicle,” which I don’t think is actually about frozen treats so much as something more sexual. Regardless, I have them and they’re currently transforming from plastic slips of colored sugar water into the icy sticks of punch-flavored happiness that we remember from our childhood. I remember them, anyway. Even though the good people at Jel-Sert make no claims about the healthiness of their product, I always preferred these popsicles to all others — even the Minute Maid or Welch’s varieties, which actually taste like the fruit they’re supposed to represent.

Admittedly, I still like the taste, even if I recognize now that Otter Pops are little more than sugar, water and artificial coloring. But I think what actually drew me to them would have to be the packaging. Still the same as I remember it, the Otter Pops box is decorated with an iconic red and blue strip design. And standing before the background are the Otters themselves. Yes, for the unfamiliar, the six flavors of Otter Pops each have their own character — a cartoon otter complete with punny name and a personality.

So you know:

Orange is Little Orphan Orange, an “Annie” parody that now goes by “Lil,” I’m guessing because the target audience wouldn’t know “Annie” from one of the Katzenjammer kids. Like her namesake, Lil keeps a pet dog, which strikes me as especially odd since in my mind otters are basically dogs with fins. Funny swim dog!

The purple otter is Alexander the Grape. One of the better puns, if an obvious one. No one seems to care that he wears a toga and looks particularly anachronistic.

You can only differentiate Strawberry Short Kook, the red otter, from Little Orphan Orange because she’s red. And she doesn’t have a dog. And she’s less cute. And there’s nothing especially kooky about her. So, basically, Strawberry Short Kook is the worst character.

Louie-Bloo Raspberry, according to the official description, is a jazz-loving beatnik from New Orleans. He wears a beret and has French facial hair — or what I’ve come to recognize as French facial hair.

Then there’s Sir Isaac Lime. See, now the puns go into the shitter. This green otter is the nerdy old man inventor type. You know this because he has glasses and a white moustache. I seriously think the people who created this character could have found a better pun for “lime” than “Sir Isaac Newton.” I mean, they might as well have called him Alexander Graham Lime or Franken-Lime or something. Piss poor. Good flavor, though.

And finally we have Poncho Punch. I don’t really mind his name, though there’s really nothing Mexican about the corresponding flavor, which tastes like mashed up cherry Sweet Tarts mixed with water. Which I like. Also, he’s basically the same color as Strawberry Short Kook, which I find awkward.

Notably, Wikipedia tells me that Poncho Punch was subbed in for a different character, Rip Van Lemon, in the mid-70s, shortly after the brand’s debut. I think “Rip Van Lemon” is probably a worse pun than “Sir Isaac Lime,” but I’d bet that I’d like the flavor better than I like Poncho Mutherfucking Punch. (In retrospect, I note that Poncho Punch seems out of place in the Otter Pop line-up because he is the only otter without a three-word name, which Rip Van Lemon did have.) Here’s the only image of R.V.L. I could find. Looks like a barrel of fun, eh?

In spite of their lameness, I love these characters. I even don’t mind their design, though they look kind of like finger puppets now. Here’s what the Otter Pops used to look like, back when they were designed by artist S. Britt:

Groovy stuff. Exactly the kind of mod children’s illustrations I grew up on and continue to dig. And also apparently why I am still drawn to these sugary desert sticks. In researching the Otter Pops, I eventually stumbled onto the group's oficial website, Otter*Popstars. And I say group in the way that Spinal Tap or Josie and the Pussycats were groups. The six color-coded otters have apparently started their own band, which plays hits like “Save the Day,” which features the following chorus:
The sun is shining away
And just as I’m about to melt
You come and save the day
Get it? “Melt”? Because she’s not actually an otter — just condensed sugar water molecules in some kid’s freezer. They’ve really gone to some effort to make the Otter Pops seem like quite a deal.

See what I mean? It’s actually more cute than obnoxious, so I’ll allow it. Somehow, I don’t think these items could ever fall on my bad side. In fact, why am I blogging when I could have one right now?

Finally, the website really hits a home run with the fun little side projects that each of the characters present. For example, Lil offers tips on raising your dog, while Louie has a poem. Ever the brainiac, Sir Isaac Lime explains the difference between fruits and vegetables… for some reason. I actually can’t imagine why. Here’s an excerpt, with the especially worthwhile part in bold:
Fruits are usually sweet because they contain a simple sugar called fructose, while most vegetables are less sweet because they have much less fructose. It's quite simple and makes perfect sense. In fact, the sweetness of a fruit can be very enticing to many animals, causing animals to eat it and thereby spread the seeds when they poop. It's called distribution.
The fuck?! Did the green otter professor just say “poop”? (And did I just ask that question?) I realize it is a essential part of the explanation about why fruit has seeds, but I don’t want the cartoon image representing the thing I put in my mouth to say “poop.” Ever. That’s just how I feel. Seriously, if there really was no way around that, they could have had good ol’ Isaac explain something else.

I’m going to close this meandering essay on all things Otter Pops with some quotes from Poncho Punch’s section of the site, “Useful Spanish Phrases for Otters.”
Soy una nutria de la agua salada,” or “I am a salt water otter.”

Esas rocas son deslizadizas,” or “Those rocks are slippery.”

Su almizcle huele encantador,” or “Your musk smells lovely.”

Este quelpo es delicioso,” or “This kelp is delicious.”
Sorry, it just had to be documented.

  • I also found the official site of S. Britt, who’s quite talented indeed. Not only that, but he links to Naho and Monsterism, two other sites whose similarly-styled art I really enjoy.
  • Apparently there's a SoCal ska band called King Otterpop and the Slushtones. There’s also a Sacramento-based punk band called the OtterPops.
  • And the name of Little Orphan Orange’s dog? Melon Collie. Suck on that, Billy Corgan.

  • Pop culture catalogue: Paris Hilton’s vagina, the Talking Heads, Annie, the Katzenjammer Kids, Alexander the Great, Sir Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell, Frankenstein, Rip Van Winkle, S. Britt, Spinal Tap, Josie and the Pussycats, Billy Corgan. Maybe I’m having a good day after all.

Paint the World Blue

The sprite of a character from a beloved video game I playted when I was a kid. A Happy-Happyist, this guy dedicated his life to finding happiness through painting everything blue. Even cows.

He looks a bit like a Ku Klux Klan member, doesn't he?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Just Happy to Be Here

A promo photo of Petra Massey, an actress KrisDina and I saw in the play Cooped at the Sydney Opera House. It was a good play. Oh, and we saw her completely naked.

I'm four times in love.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Alligator in the Sewer

This is an illustration that appeared in The Big Book of Urbal Legends, a Paradox Press release that tells urban legends in comic book form. It's great. I used the illustration in "To Quote Wally Exactly," my post-of-posts on the Back of the Cereal Box, although I colored the illustration in on Microsoft Paint for that. So, then, to my knowledge, this is the only colored version of this illustration that exists.

One Big Magenta Sheep

A Robert J. Lee illustration from an old children’s book, Music Across Our Country. Sheep have never looked better.

purple sheep music across our country robert j. lee

Ultimately via this scan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Abduction of DogBaby

Polaroids taken during the first DogBaby incident.

The top one is Amber, former housemate here. The bottom one is Betsy, current roommate. They wore Kristen's clothes a staged a ransom for the return of the precious DogBaby. You can read more about the DogBaby saga on his MySpace page.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Encyclopedia Drew and the Mystery of the Rabbit-Eared Woman

While going back through my files to scan old newspaper articles for clips, I came across a lot of stuff I hadn’t seen in a while. The photos of me and Jill in Solvang, for example. However, I also thumbed through an odds-and-ends collection that I had hurriedly labeled “artsy shit” when I set up my filing system last year in an effort to organize my life. (The files, by the way, have not been added to since and everything keep-worthy from the preceding year is sitting in one big pile, next to the file box.) Included in the artsy shit file is a lot of stuff that I did in art studio classes at UCSB — none of it worth putting on the wall, really, but also none of it being anything I felt like throwing away.

One of the things I apparently decided to keep is the following image:

It’s a woman. She has rabbit ears. Her name, apparently, is Dorothy. It’s drawn in black marker on an otherwise blank index card. There’s nothing written on the back. I found a few other index cards in the folder that look like they might have been part of the same assignment, but for what class and for what purpose I can’t remember. Most of the images on the other cards look like something I had copied down from somewhere else. Maybe that was the assignment. Maybe I’m a plagiarist.

In any case, this image in particular has intrigued me a great deal. You’d think I’d remember a woman with rabbit ears, especially one who looked rather down about it. If anybody can fill me in on who Dorothy is and where I may have encountered her, I’d appreciate it. I'm half-temped to xerox some copies and post them around the neighborhood with the words "Have you seen this woman?" written on it, if only to see what kind of response it might get.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Straight From the Dog's Mouth

A quick note: This eventually does get interesting in the fun way that esoteric pop-culture looping back in on itself can be. You just have to stick with the story through a brief dive into the sewers of geekdom.

Off and on — and on various Nintendo systems for the past few years — I’ve played the Animal Crossing series. It’s a neat little simulation game where you live in a town populated by animals. That’s it. There’s no real challenge, no danger, no turtle dragon throwing hammers that you have to trick into eating bombs in order to save the planet. The enjoyment factor hinges entirely on the way your character interacts with his critter-neighbors and the environment they all live in. Sounds lame, yes, but it works. Anyway, one of the various personalities who from time to time strolls through town is K.K. Slider, a guitar playing dog known in Japan as “Totakeke.” He looks like this:

When you speak to this dog, he will play a song for you that, in a purposefully crude manor, mimics the sound of various pop music genres. “K.K. Western,” for example, sounds like “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” while “K.K. Rockin’” sounds like “Johnny B Goode.” Regardless of the genre, any song K.K. Slider performs consists of strummy guitar synth and a funny electronic-sounding voice sample. It’s quite distinctive. Then, adorably, he slips your character a bootleg of the performance, claiming he doesn’t want to appease the music industry fat cats. (And in this game, they probably really are cats, too.)

Anyway, this little guy has enjoyed a certain cult popularity among people who like video games. He’s not the game’s main character, and if you don’t know where and when he appears, you could easily enjoy your copy of Animal Crossing” without ever interacting with him. However, his innate novelty and the fact that he is a subtle reference to a rather prolific video game music composer named Kazumi Totaka have given him a following dedicated enough to know him if they heard him.

And then they did hear him. And they weren’t playing video games.

An article titled “Are the Pet Shop Boys Secret Nintendo Fans?” ran this week on the Discopop Directory website. The article notes that “Minimal,” the next single from the Pet Shop Boys’ album Fundamental, contains some sound effects that sound a lot like this little singing dog.
[ link: the Discopop Directory article ]
Check it out. The page offers sound samples that are pretty hard to argue with. I just like the thought of the Pet Shop Boys being found out and being surprised that anybody would both play this game and listen to their music.

Oh wait — that never got un-dorky, did it?

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Drew's Accidental Managerie

So a short while back, this white girl Kat — Kat! — drops an image comment on one of my MySpace photos. She complimented the image of me with the frog on my arm, then noted that she enjoyed my animal series in particular. I had no idea what she meant by animal series, so I looked at what I have up on MySpace. To my surprise, I’ve inadvertently made my last six photos animal related. Total accident.

Starting at the back and moving forward, we have Cowboy Drew, the most tangential of animal associations, I know, but still.

Then we have “Prance Closer,” my elk throwing up cubes painting.

Then Kristen and I in front of a bear skin rug at Cold Springs Tavern.

Then me riding the big ram statue outside the National Geographic building in D.C.

Me jumping with a stuffed gorilla at Kami’s house. You know, like you do.

Me and KangaDrew

And finally the lovely tree frog photo that got Kat’s attention in the first place.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that my newest photo, which I uploaded yesterday, also prominently features an animal. May I present Drewraffe?