Monday, August 28, 2006

The Underground

Another illustration from a vintage children's book.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Attack of the Dodos

In image from the "Porky In Wackyland" short that features the Dodos, the inhabitants of Wackyland that creeped me out to no end as a child.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Have You Ever Seen a Quimp?

"Ten Names of Things You Didn't Know Had Names," at least according to the third volume of The Book of Lists.
  • "columella nasi," or the little flap of skin between the nostrils
  • "dragĂ©es," or the hard little candies you use for decorating cakes
  • "fuerrule," or the metal part of the pencil that hold the eraser
  • "keeper," or the band on a belt that holds the end in place after you've buckled it
  • "rowel," the pointed, round thing on the back of a cowboy's spurs
  • "saddle," for the rounded part on a matchbook where you strike the match
And, finally, four different words for the gibberish symbols used in place of swear words. And for God's sake, these were hard dealybobs to find images of.

These symbols, which look like a modified at sign and number sign, are apparently called "jarns."

These, which look like explosive little hatchmarks, apparently are called "nittles."

This sort of pseudo-cursive scrawl is referred to as "grawlix." Good to know. This is what I thought actual handwriting was for my childhood preceding third grade.

And, finally, we have the "quimp." It looks like a crudely drawn man in a sombrero, but I think it's actually supposed to be a planet or something. Like Saturn, with the rings. In any case, I'm fairly certain I've never seen these before in any comic strip I've ever read. But that's what the Book of Lists says, anyway.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Puppy in the Corner

Aww. Puppy likes corners. Of poster racks. Posted on Flickr sometime back. Can't remember by whom.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Okey-Dokey Doki Doki

The below image compares concept art for Super Mario Bros. 2 and Doki Doki Panic, the Japanese game that the former was based on. And when I say “based on,” I mean “hacked from,” if by a more legitimate crew than is normally responsible for hacking. I wish I could find the Doki Doki Panic image in higher resolution, but so far this is all the internet has yielded. What’s especially curious about these two images is that they’re both hand-drawn art, but for whatever reason the artist who drew the left panel, which depicts the American version of the game, decided to preserve the design of the right one almost perfectly.

Whoever drew the Super Mario Bros. art posed all the characters almost exactly as they appeared in the Doki Doki Panic art, just with a thicker line style. Mario, for example, is about to throw a turnip in the same way that Imajin, the turbaned fellow who starred in the Japanese game, is about to throw a mask — an African tribal mask, no less. You know, like you throw at people. Same with the rest of the cast.

What strikes me as even odder about these pieces is that the artist could have easily traced everything on the right side of the river for the Super Mario Bros. 2 art, as those characters did not change. Or if not trace, than they could easily have just pieced in the new art using whatever people in the 80s used before Photoshop. They didn’t. They re-drew it all, sometimes in poses that are almost jus barely different. Look at Birdo, for example. She’s just slightly in a different pose, her snout is shaped differently and her bow is a different color.

Another note: For whatever reason, the American art doesn’t change the sound effect of the bomb exploding from the Japanese “BOM” to how it appears in the American game, “BOMB.” Even the hills in the background appear similarly, just with different swirls on them.

Odd. To me, anyway.

EDIT: Long after this went up, I stumbled across this absolutely beautiful promo artwork that kind of makes me want to see a Doki Doki Panic realized in such a gloriously colorful fashion.

doki doki panic official art super mario bros. 2

Or at least a hint that Nintendo hasn’t completely forgotten these characters.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tiny World Destroyer

An indulgence: As a kid, I loved "Tiny Toons" and mentally catalogued the various kiddie mutations of the "Looney Tunes" cast. One of the rarest of these characters — alongside the tater tot version of Witch Hazel — was Marcia the Martian. She's the daughter of Marvin the Martian, who I always liked. Marcia the Martian only appeared once in the series, in a take-off on "Duck Dodgers." This, it seems, is the only image of her available on the internet, though it can now be found in quite a few places.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Like Leopold and Loeb, Only Meaner

A touching image of "Home Movies" characters Walter and Perry that I found at Brendon Small's website. Isn't it just touching? I feel like it's touching.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Revenge of the Gaucho

This amuses me greatly, if for no other reason than that it shows my loser of a college mascot, the Gaucho, in all his cheesy glory.

In case anyone ever thinks otherwise, Argentinean cowboys strike fear into the heart of no one.

Making Us Look Better by Comparison

Things I know about my downstairs neighbors:
  • They have a healthy sex life.
  • They have sex in the living room in such a manner that the sound channels up from their window and into various parts of my apartment.
  • She’s a talker during sex.
  • He, curiously, is a sneezer and is sometimes prone to burst of nasal activity sometimes five or six sneezes long.
  • I heard her once say “Don’t stop” during the sneezing.
  • They watch really intense movies
  • Just tonight, in fact, they are watching something that has screams and gun shots being played against some foreign-language lullaby-sounding song.
  • Another time the movie involved what I imagine to be a mother screaming about a dead child, then, curiously, what sounded like a car crash.
  • Sometimes they have sex during the movies and it is difficult to differentiate their moans from those of the characters in the intense movies they watch.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Yes. Like that.
  • I’m gonna fucking blow your head off.
  • My baby! My baby!
  • Don’t stop.
  • Ah-choo.
  • Despite the fact that they drive reasonably nice cars, they have “no money,” if I’m to believe the telephone conversations I hear.
  • They have various money accounts.
  • All of them have “no money.”
  • No money in this account.
  • No money in that account.
  • Seriously, dude, I got no money. I’m fucking broke. You can come see the paperwork if you want.
  • Also, if you don’t want the responsibility, come over and take your name off the account.
  • Oh, so you don’t want to take your name off the account, but you don’t want any of the responsibility. Why don’t you call your dad and tell him that.
  • They’re willing to go to court.
  • They have a son.
  • He is a bit of a tattletale and the dad doesn’t like that.
  • If it’s not your business, stay out of it.
  • If people here you talking about other people, what do you think they’re going to do to you?
  • That’s right — they’re going to tell everyone else what a bad person you are.
  • Is that what you want?
  • Seriously no money.
  • She looks like she might have recently started having a hard life.
  • He looks like a primary factor in those problems.
  • If you’re not going to come over here and see the proof, you have to take my word for it.
  • Fine, don’t sign it.
  • She wishes they had more money to do nice thing.
  • Like move.
  • Allegedly, she’s pissing all the money away.
  • Don’t stop.
  • Yes.
  • Yes.
  • Yes.
  • I don’t know which wire to cut.
  • No money in this account. No money in that account.
  • If it smells bad then don’t eat it.
  • Yes, it’s clean.
  • I just cleaned it.
  • Ah-choo. Ah-choo. Ah-choo.
  • She talks to her sister about being “not not happy.”
  • If I’m to believe what I hear, various members of the family “need to grow up.”
  • Who is that?! Who is that?!
  • It’s the killer! He’s behind you!
  • Don’t stop.
The moral: even a healthy sex life won’t cure all your problems.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What Would Have Rocked My World Fifteen Years Ago

Promotional art for Nintendo's new virtual console. The new Nintendo console, the Wii, is purported to grant online access to a virtual library of games that appeared on the previous systems. Video game blog Kotaku posted this a week or so ago and I think it does a good job illustrating the idea, in the zany way that the Japanese often illustrate ideas. This also closely approximates how I like to imagine things like my iPod, with the potential line-up of stars mixing and mingling before they get chosen to perform next.

Because I'm nerdy about these things, I'd like to point out some of the various bygone video game heroes and villains appearing.

Starting at the top-left corner:
  • Kirby, perplexingly dressed like a gladiator and holding a whip
  • King Hippo from Punch-Out!!
  • One of the little baddies from Balloon Fight
  • Spike McFang (I think)
  • The re-styled Donkey Kong
  • The Golden Pyramid from Wario Land 4
  • Firebrand the Gargoyle
  • Pit, the hero of the Kid Icarus games
  • Pokey, the generic cactus enemy from the Mario games
  • Popo and Nana, the Ice Climbers
  • The Windfish's egg, from Link's Awakening
  • Birdo, sitting on top of the egg
  • ProtoMan, from MegaMan
  • Princess Peach, being apparently kidnapped by ProtoMan
  • Pac-Man Jr. and Blinky, standing behind a gate or something
  • Some weird version of Pac-Man with a hat, a phallic nose, Mario's flying raccoon tail and a cluster of Boos chasing him
  • Bonk, flying a fighter jet
  • A trail of Bloobers
  • Mappy, the mouse cop
  • The Kiwi hero from New Zealand Story
  • The doctor character from Legend of the Mystical Ninja, which I don't think I ever actually played
  • A Cheep-Cheep
  • Princess Tomato
  • Wart, the bad guy from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Professtor Hector from Gyromite
  • Dr. Wily
  • R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy
  • Some guy that looks like Fox McCloud but probably isn't
  • Mog the Moogle
  • Gannon (pig-version)
  • Master Higgins from the Adventure Island games
  • Triclyde, the three-headed snake from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Nack the Weasel (a.k.a. Fang the Sniper)
  • The dog that laughs at you when you fail to shoot accurately in Duck Hunt
  • A Bob-Omb (in the hand of some unfamiliar blue bird)
  • Lakitu
  • Luigi, holding a stack of "blocks" from Puyo Puyo
  • The red convertible from Out Run
  • Arthur from Ghouls and Ghosts
  • Kaepora Gaebora
  • Mr. Game and Watch
  • Lolo and Lala
  • Diskun (a.k.a. Mr. Disk)
  • Bub from Bubble Bobble
  • Mouser from Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Bomberman
  • A Bullet Bill
  • A Piranha Plant
  • A Goomba, for some reason encased in a bubble
  • One of those Mega Man hard hat-wearing things, the name of which escapes me at the moment
  • Cut Man, from the first Mega Man
  • On Cut Man's fist, a Flicky from the Sonic games
  • Clyde, the yellow Pac-Man ghost
  • Two Dragon Quest slimes, emerging from the red Super Mario Bros. 2 door
  • The Angry Sun from Super Mario Bros. 3
  • The Hammer Bros.
  • The Snow Bros.
  • Morton Koopa Jr., weilding a sword for some reason
  • Beat, the little robot bird carrying the red orb thing
And with that, I'm effectively geeked out.

EDIT: I did a little bit of further research and found out the image is actually not official. It's by a British artist named Keith Webb. Cool, anyway.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Owls Go

Vintage, whereabouts unknown. Cool though.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Panic Sonata

Here's one that Flickr user Life as Art posted. I found it by searching Flickr with the tag "awkward" and viewing the results in order of interestingness.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

As Sovereign as England or Ireland

Rounding out this little blogasm, I figured I might as well mention that at as a sequel to Knapp’s Castle, the four of us drove to the Firestone Brewery and stopped on the way at Ostrich Land. I been there once before — almost a year ago, according to the corresponding blog post — and loved the place, if only to gawk at the weird, rude birds that lived there.

Nothing has changed.

Please note the giant drool string hanging from the beak of the below emu.

I can't help but recall the three flapper ostriches from Chuck E. Cheese's. And, of course, the MySpace menagerie has once again been updated.

Good time had by all, especially the ostriches.
[ link: so many ostrich pictures ]


The other bit of Indiana Jonesing that I did recently — and that I alluded to it the last post — was taking a hike up to Knapp’s Castle, the remains of a mansion that overlook the Santa Ynez valley. Since Betsy is planning on leaving Santa Barbara in the near future, she’s doing all those little touristy things that she didn’t get around to doing when she was a full-time resident here. That means I get to do fun things too. It’s only a short drive up to Camino Cielo and then an easy hike — half-mile at the most.

Apparently the Knapp in question is George Knapp, a business man who retired in Santa Barbara and built a large mansion. The place would have been a palace in its day — five bedrooms, a guest house, a private waterfall and even a sound system to pipe in the noise of the roaring water into the house. However, the place burned in 1940. Currently on private property, the ruins are fair game for tourists and hikers. The trip was well worth it. Besty, Danny, Spencer and I sunk a good hour or so into just wandering around the skeleton of this once-great house and taking pictures.

But what really sticks out in my mind from this little trip is the discovery of a small tupperware box filled with various visitors' mementos of the place. The box, which was inscribed with an apparently non-functional URL — — dated back to only spring of 2006, but was nonetheless filled with various strange notes.

I won't say what I left, but hopefully it will still be there when someone reading this now decided they should make the hike themselves.
[ link: the rest of my Knapp's Castle photos ]

That Drew, He’s a Modern Day Hardy Boy

Twice in the past month I have taken my life into my own hands and gone to explore some part of the world that once was inhabited happily by humans but has since been rendered unlivable by natural disaster. All in a very small way, I’ll admit, but the statement is irrefutably true.

A few weeks ago, I headed home to Hollister and while there went waterskiing at the O’Neil Forebay, an artificial body of water important enough to California history that the great Joan Didion even once mentioned it in a book. (This, really, doesn’t speak all that highly of the forebay, as Joan Didion mentions everything about California.) Nonetheless, I was there. After a few hours of soaking in the famous Los Banos heat, we headed home, the duration of which I slept, save one key point: The Don Pacheco Y. This happy spot of California asphalt marks the intersection of Highways 152 and 156. Anyone who’s been through the area and passed the strange Casa de Fruta complex on the side of the road has probably crossed this very intersection. It’s also near what used to be the Sugar Plum Farm, a restaurant that I loved as a kid and was owned by the family of my sophomore year roommate, oddly enough. To the frustration — and, often, danger — of many travelers, these two highways meet each other in an especially awkward way that results in one line of cars, sailing towards Hollister with fairly little traffic back-up, jutting into a second, that is very often stalled as it inches away. We’d often been stopped there, crawling on a road that should rightfully permit normal highway speeds, and as a child I always marveled at what looked the ruins to some local castle, where surely presents and candy awaited me, if only my parents would stop the car.

Not so.

The place, in fact, was a Mexican restaurant — the Don Pacheco — that burned to the ground in the 1970s. For whatever reason, the owners chose not to rebuilt. A baffling decision — considering how many cars slow to a stop there, it would be an easy place to pull over for food. Nonetheless, the ruins have sat there my entire life, slowly decaying and filling with thistles.

Realizing how much the place appealed to me and cleverly noting that I am now technically an adult and can do what I want, I drove back out to the Don Pacheco later that day. No surprises. No murderous vagrants either, presumably because the homeless and mean-spirited hate merciless sun and thistles as much as anybody. The whole experience gave me the creeps, though, and I was constantly worried that anyone I might bump into would have less noble motivation to be there than I did.

I’m not sure the pictures really do the place justice, but they — and this text — represent the limit of what I could convey.

This above is technically the front entrance, though you can honestly walk in any way that you'd like, since most of the walls burned down.

Oh look! A lovely fountain! Ful of... weeds! And a snake! And — ooh! — a condom!

As if to really date these ruins — at least in the span of my life — the sign advertising that the restaurant accepts credits cards still stands. To me knowledge, Master Charge became MasterCard years ago.

Also, someone felt the need to paint pro-America graffiti on the walls of a place that probably only gets a dozen or so visitors a year. Mission accomplished.

Quite overgrown with weeds, as you can see. Sad to think this was probably once a nice place to pull over, eat a taco and watch other motorists get in accidents. You can view the rest of the photos of the Don Pacheco restaurant on my Flickr account.
[ link: more of the same — but possibly even better! ]
I'm a little shocked this wreckage has remained here longer than I've been alive. You'd think someone would do something with a plot of land in such a heavily trafficked area. Then again, this is Hollister, so one day my grandkids might see it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Of Skunks, Horny and French

I arrived at my computer and found the following image on my computer’s desktop background with this, all stretched out and pixelated.

Apparently, someone was demonstrating how Wikipedia works and ended up on the Wikipedia page for Fifi Le Fume, the Tiny Toons character. That page led to the page for Miss Mam’selle Hepzibah, a character from Walt Kelly’s Pogo. She apparently is also a horny female skunk. This strikes me as odd. Why should there be more than one amorous French skunk in the universe of animated characters? Logically, one could assume that one ripped off the other, though Wikipedia is unhelpful in determining whether Hepzibah or Pepe Le Pew — Fifi’s Looney Toons analogue — came about first. Rather, I think the trend of making skunks French and horny merely comes from the fact that Americans like to regard the French as gonad-driven and drenched in body odor. Which, I assume, sucks for the French.

The tipper here is that Hepzibah struck another obscure pop culture note with me. The very last graph of her Wikipedia entry explains that in the X-Men universe, there’s actually a character also named Hepzibah. Initially a skunk-girl, the series directors eventually changed her into a cat-girl. Either version of this Hepzibah is a member of Corsair’s Starjammers, and I actually remember her from the cartoons.

Strange, that. But I like that some guy drawing X-Men characters would be familiar enough with Pogo to name a character after that series’ sole female.

Mr. Octopus

Charles Harper illustration of an octopus attacking a whale from the 1968 book From the Animal Kingdom. I found this on Flickr some time ago and should probably go back and cite the original source. Nonetheless, you must admit that it is pretty cool.

Original scan here. Click the image for a considerably bigger version.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Three Paulines

Pauline is the damsel in the Donkey Kong games. You know — the one running in place at the top of the construction site. Her in-game appearance doesn't look anything like how she's depicted in the official art. Here is how she originally looked:

Shortly thereafter, Nintendo introduced Princess Toadstool as Mario's main squeeze and Pauline vanished. They updated the old Donkey Kong game engine, though, in 1994 and re-introduced Pauline, though she looked different in order to further differentiate her from the princess. This is a widely available image of that version of Pauline:

Quite washed out. In my lameness, I decided to reconstruct her face on Photoshop. I also gave her skin tone. For both these jobs, I borrowed on what the original version of Pauline looked like. This is the result:

Hopefully, this will be the version that gets passed around. It's currently the image for her on her Wikipedia profile, so it should be widely accessible.