Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Keyboard Intro to "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight"

A quick update of what's what: I'm typing in a hotel room in San Luis Obispo. The soundtrack of a wedding mix is playing — the best of hard rock love ballads from the 80s, 90s and today — and by six o'clock this evening I will have a sister-in-law. Technically, I'm on vacation, which of course means that I've been somehow busier in the last twenty-four hours than I was in the preceding week. The wedding party has been hampered by the sad fact that this weekend marks Cal Poly's first back in session. That should prove to be no problem tonight: I'm told the bar is open, and vast in its selection. What may yet prove problematic: the tux I've been asked to wear, which is chocolate brown and makes me look a little like a zoot suiter. And no, it's not a swing-themed wedding.

Oh, and Maya Rudolph decided at last that she will, in fact, be returning to SNL, despite some reports to the contrary. I'll have better plans tonight, but please watch and give me reports.

I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Famous Super Mario Bros. 2 Tomato

A random thought:

Has anyone else ever noticed that while the pluckable vegetables in Super Mario Bros. 2 vary from level to level, tomatoes only appear in the game’s final level? In the big bad’s room? With Wart and the so-called Bad Dream Machine?

Am I the only one who’s ever noticed this?

Why would Nintendo bother to design a tomato and use it only in one room in the entire game?

And better yet: Why would Wart leave a machine in his hideout that produces the one thing that kills him?

And why is the one thing that kills him fresh produce?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Girls With the Cellophane Chests

Bri has posted a list of children's names she's encountered while substitute teaching. Given my love of names, I asked permission to post it here. She responded with some pretty inappropriate things, so I just went ahead and posted it anyway.
  • Nallely (pron: "Nye-el-ey")
  • Xiomara (I've heard this before, but only on Top Model)
  • Rennwick (as a first name)
  • Marvel (accent on the "el")
  • CeMone (pron: "Si-mone")
  • Champayne
  • TaKia
  • Daylon
  • Noe (pron: "No-way" As in: "No-way would your parents do that to you!")
  • Atibere (pron: "At-ah-berry")
  • Justyce
  • Lexus (Again, seen it before, but only on strippers)
  • D'zha (pron: "Dee-zhay" As in: How a particularly snotty Frenchman would pronounce "DJ")
  • Shayland
  • Deaze (pron: "Dee-ah-zhay" No relation to D'zha)
  • Estefany (As in: parents were big Gloria fans in the early 90s)
  • D'Andre (pron: "Dee-ahn-dre" Heard it before, but never seen it spelt this way)
  • Shaquille (As in: "You poor, poor boy.")
  • Tashara
  • Jecci (pron: "Jess-ey" As in: "Your parents thought they were super clever, huh?")
  • Brittonya (As in: Brittany + Tonya = A Travesty)
  • Lindsretha (As in: Lindsay + Aretha = A Greater Travesty)
The parenthetical explanations are Bri's, not mine.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Terrible, especially in light of my recent Maya Rudolph binge here on this blog. Contrary to recent reports that Maya Rudolph would, in fact, be returning for an eight season of Saturday Night Live, this update at says she won't.


Not only was she funny, she was the ultimate utilitary player, being able to be any virtually any black, Hispanic or Asian woman and also Scott Joplin.

A desperate grab at a good effect of this: Maybe now she'll appear on 30 Rock?

Clown Fight

A few weeks back, I mentioned Charli Coffee. Now, I can present her to you. Again, here today, gone tomorrow, as it the cast with most illegal YouTube posts. Watch it while you can.

Old Hickory (Or, "Orudo Hikori")

I'm doing a long version and a short version — the former for anyone who'd actually like to hear me reminisce about arcade games and the latter for those who could give a shit and would rather I just spill the weird bit of pop culture what-the-fuck. For you short attention-spanners, here you go:

There's a video game. It has fighting samurais. It's called Samurai Shodown. (I know, I know, no "w.") I liked it when I was a kid. It takes place in the late 1700s. Apparently, it's now in its sixth incarnation. This newest version features an American character named Andrew, who is based off Mr. Twenty Dollar Bill himself, noted dead American president Andrew Jackson. He fights with a bayonet. I find this hilarious.

Andrew (the Samurai Shodown fighter, not the presidential corpse) looks like this:

You may be more familiar with him looking like this.

That is all.

And now, the version in which I take forever to get to my point.

A good chunk of my elementary school pizza parlor birthday days experienced a renaissance a few months back with the arrival of Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii. Metal Slug is a hand-drawn shoot-'em-up that came from Japan but more than likely appeared in any given American pizzeria in the mid- to late-90s. It's also an absolutely brutal game that will probably wipe out all three of your little army men before you have time to blink. (In that sense, it's an ideal arcade moneymaker.) When it came to my home console, however, the seven Metal Slug games became a much more affordable proposition, and I beat them without having to spend my lifesavings in quarters. (Another plus: non-greasy joysticks.) Total surprise ending, too. When you kill the aliens, the earth is saved and you see the credits!

Today, I read that SNK — the company that made Metal Slug and the Neo Geo arcade system, the ones where you could scroll through three or four different titles in a single cabinet — has announced at the Tokyo Game Show that it will also be bringing another beloved childhood series to the Wii: Samurai Shodown. As I mentioned just a few days ago, this game — which even today makes me instinctually spell "showdown" without the "w" — rocked my prepubescent brain back in the day. Whereas Metal Slug was one of those run, jump and shoot numbers, Samurai Shodown was a two-dimensional one-on-one fighter in the style of Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat. What set Samurai Shodown apart, however, was its style: hand-painted backgrounds that look gorgeous even today, music that played like the soundtrack to some lost Akira Kurosawa epic, and combatants who spoke — spoke! — full sentences. Sure, this speech was in Japanese, even for characters who didn't come from Japan, but the overall effect was nonetheless stunning on an eleven-year-old who had been weaned in then-cutting edge 16-bit home systems.

Research into the series later in life taught me an additional virtue: I found that a good handful of the characters in the game were based on actual, historical personages. Hanzo Hattori — whose name might seem familiar from Kill Bill — also appears in Samurai Shodown, as does a valiant samurai named Jubei Yagyu. The game's villain — an effeminate, demonic priest named Amakusa Shiro Tokisada — is based on a historical Amakusa Shiro Tokisada, who was once touted by leaders of the Shimbara Uprising as being destined to Christianize Japan. (He failed, of course. You know what they say about who gets to write history books? Well, those same people apparently hold grudges and make video games.) Sure a lot of historical timelines were fudged to get these various sword-wielders to duel — blue-eyed, blond-haired ninja Galford, for example, hails from a portside metropolis San Francisco long before the city actually existed in that state — but the sense of history always appealed to me.

Now in its sixth incarnation, the game now boasts an additional American: Andrew, a bayonet-toting solider modeled after Andrew Jackson. How a bunch of Japanese game designers ever chose Jackson, of all dead presidents, to take on sword-wielding samurai is beyond me, but it amuses the hell out of me that I will soon be able to play as a reasonable facsimile of Andrew Jackson the next time I return to the some video games re-imagining of late 18th-century Japan.

I can only hope that the below political cartoon — which features Jackson battling a dragon representing the banking industry and which acually looks like it could have been printed on some old piece of currency — played some role in inspiring Andrew's inclusion.

It's a close call, but this has to be a weirder convergence between pop culture, American history and Japanese video games than when I found out that the "Zelda" in Legend of Zelda is a reference to Zelda Fitzgerald.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't Let Dr. Mario Touch You

Random signage warning against Dr. Mario.

[ Source: TechEBlog ]

Or the Ramrods We Watched

An amazing Maya Rudolph sketch. It's on YouTube now, but it may be pulled by tomorrow. Watch it pronto, I say.

My Summer Love

Confirmed as of eight-o'-clock tonight: Spider-Pig lives. That answers that question.

The Sound of a Potato Hitting the Floor

Given how mainstream YouTube has grown and how many people now submit content to it, I suppose it was only a matter of time before somebody I know ended up being featured in some kind of YouTube meme. There's a new Kelly video out — the third, as far as I know. Like "Text Message Breakup," the second video, this new one features Megan — Nate's Cousin Megan, not Megan H., London Megan, Meg Ryan, Nexus Meghan or Old Roommate Meghan, damn our generation anyway — although her role this time is more of a blink-and-miss-it cameo than anything.

For some reason, the thought that Megan — or any Megan, for that matter — has appeared in a Kelly video weirds me out, possibly as a result of the sheer number of people who can see her for free on their personal computer, or possibly because I haven't ever decided whether Kelly amused me or creeps me out. They are funny, I guess, but there's this darkness to them that gets to me, especially toward the end of a given video. Perhaps is the oddness of having someone I know make a "cameo" — or, appear as a background extra, if you want to get technical — and then have a full-on celebrity like Margaret Cho also show up. Why that's weird, I don't know, but its is.

In any case, Megan blogged about being in "Let Me Borrow That Top," which also features Jill Ritchie, unless I'm mistaken. She's in the yellow shirt, yelling at a football player.

she's not the one with the trumpet, in case you're confused

And here's "Text Message Break-Up," where you can see Megan carousing with Star Wars Storm Troopers.

Asshole Mario

Known variously as Kaizo Mario or Asshole Mario in the English-speaking world, this complication of Super Mario World makes me cringe just watching it, perhaps even more so than that insane Super Mario Bros. hack that made the rounds a few weeks back. Here's level 1-1.

And here's the Yellow Switch Palace, which has never been quite so frustrating.

And the third stage.

And just when you think you've had enough, this diabolical hacker adds auto-scrolling.

The game continues all the way to a castle level, which sadly concludes with a battle against a Bowser statue and not Bowser himself. However, there is Super Mario Bros.-style bridge key at the end.

But don't fret that only one mind-bendingly difficult version of Super Mario World exists — there's always the sequel, Asshole Mario 2.

The lastest stage posted by YouTube user sibladeko is the ninth stage of Asshole Mario 2, though I don't think it's the concluding stage.

Seriously, deviousness is a form of creativity. Tempted? You can actually download Asshole Mario and give it a try yourself. But beware: You may well be rendered loony by the end.

[ Source: Nintendo Gal ]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Princess Hat for Monkey

Last week, I found an old email that I believe I sent to Kristen as advice on what she should wear to a tennis date. The email reads as follows:
you may have heard us restraining laughter outside your window last night. this happened because spencer and i thought it would be funny to tell you that since you will be playing tennis at a resort, you should dress in formal tennis attire. you know: white sweater, white skirt and such. this quickly escalated into the following list:
  • old fashioned hoop skirt
  • bonnet
  • hobnail boots
  • bloomers
  • thong outside of bloomers
  • gloves
  • jangly bracelets
  • Puritan punishment stocks
  • ski mask
  • goggles
  • funny mustache disguise glasses
  • princess hat
  • Carmen Miranda hat with fruit
  • monkey to play inside hat
  • princess hat for monkey
  • kneepads
  • buckles, buckles, buckles!
  • pilgrim hat for formal occasions
  • lady in waiting
  • lots of tule
keep in mind, this was funny to us at 2 a.m.

hope the weekend goes at least this well.
It made me laugh then, it makes me laugh now.

Less at "Malice," More at "Marshmallow"

From, another headscratcher of a word-of-the-day: malacia.
malacia (mu-LA-shuh, -shee-uh)

noun 1. An abnormal craving for spiced food. 2. Softening of the organ or tissue.

[From Greek malakia (softness), ultimately from the Indo-European root mel- (soft) which also gave us "malacology" (study of mollusks), "malt," "melt," and "mulch."]
Stop. You're both right. Great that I can't tell which definition is being used. "What's that doctor? You say I love Indian cuisine? Oh, I see. You're telling me my internal organs are liquefying. That's much worse."

Alright Already

From J. Erskine's Written English, as quoted in Robert Palfrey Utter's Every-day Words and Their Uses: A Guide to Correct Diction: "Remember, however, that alright is one of illiteracy's most legible autographs." And please note appropriateness of a man with the surname "Utter" writing a guide to diction.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Better Than You've Seen in the Commercial

Feist is great.

And I'm very proud that she's so recently become a big deal. Tired of the iPod commercial though you may be, please watch the entire video for "One Two Three Four." It's colorful and beautiful and excellent. And it's especially great in the parts you don't see in the commercial. Yes, she dances only slightly better than Britney Spears at the most recent VMAs. But that doesn't detract from the overall goodness of this video.

By the way, that's a first; Britney Spears has now been mentioned on Back of the Cereal Box.

Beware the Tintorera

Best synopsis of a movie ever:
Two playboys in the coast of Mexico — Steven, an American millionaire and Miguel, a local swimming instructor — are competing to win the heart of beautiful Patricia. After they fight, Patricia gets eaten by the Tintorera. To cheer themselves up, they become friends and go to a brothel, having fun with two girls. They bring Gabriella, a British girl, with them, and go fishing for sharks and mantas, where Miguel gets eaten by the Tintorera. Gabriella, being shocked, returns to England. Steven, saddened by losing his friend, decides to cheer himself up by going to a brothel again. He throws a party with friends, and invites them to come to his yacht by swimming. Alas, they get eaten by the Tintorera. Steven, being fed up of this predator who goes eating all his friends, decides to eliminate it. He sets up a dragnet and destroys the shark with an explosive capsule.
From the Wikipedia page for Tintorera, a 1977 Jaws rip-off.

EDIT: Damn it, you'd think I would have spelled the name of the movie right the first time: Tintorera, not Tintotera.

Doing Google's Work for Them

Hey there, Google Image Labeler — you've managed to pass time between loads of work and make Google Image Search run better.

And I like that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rattle on Like a Vagabond

Four bizarre tales of animals, told through images and very short sentences.

Tale One: Li'l ducky has bizarre third leg.

Tale Two: Japanese people buy into new trend of wasp cookies.

Tale Three: Phil Coiinetnetau tells us how to prepare a kiwi.

Tale four: The little monkey loves la paloma blanca.

A Fistful of Rupees

Princess empowerment, Robot Chicken-style.

Monday, September 17, 2007

In Jungle Lands With Cold Cola Cans

A small note, which I realize is now the second violation of the proclamation I put forth in the birthday mouse post early today.

This weekend I happened to attend the Aloha Beach Festival in Ventura. Despite the dewy Hawaiianness proposed by the event's title, it actually had little to interest me aside from two features: dogs and snow cones. The dogs rocked my world, especially during the Wham-O-sponsored Frisbee competition, in which all manner of border collies leapt, spun, flipped and vaulted towards flying discs in ways that delight me on a primal level.

The snow cones, however, were extra fancy in that they came in flavors I've never before seen gooped onto shaved ice: hochata, jalapeno, something called Tiger's Milk, cinnamon apple, Red Hot, something called Silver Fox, and finally cake Batter.

The last is the only one I dared to try.

Cake batter, reduced to a snow cone syrup, apparently means bright asparagus pee yellow color and a taste somewhere between pure sugar and melted butter. So, in short, it actually reminded me of cake batter — only, I guess, if said batter was painfully cold and instantly dissolved the moment it touched my tongue. You might be surprised to know that the seven-year-old in me absolutely loved it, though I knew while eating it that the sugar high would eventually leave me in an inconsolably crashed state. (It did. I pouted.) I don't know how confectionary geniuses reduce sugary, unhealthy things down to flavors which can then be injected into other foods — snow cones for one, jellybeans for another — but I'm glad they do. If you happen to come across something that's purported to taste like cake batter but isn't, know one of two things: (1) that whoever is offering it to you is playing a mean, mean prank and you'll soon be wretching over a toilet; or (2) that science has managed to capture the essence of cake better without exposing us to the danger of raw eggs, and, providing that your diabetes doesn't reduce such wonders to the equivalent of a shotgun blast to the pancreas, you should indulge.

That's all I'm saying. Well, that and the fact that this all goes out the window once I try the Red Velvet Cake snow cone flavor promised on this website by the good people at SnoWizard Inc.

My day will come.

A Fistful of Quarters

Ultimately, when it comes to video games, the people who play them trump any pixel or electronic blip in terms of importance. A few recent examples notwithstanding, any video game is just a looped attract mode until a body bothers to step up and take the controls. It makes sense, then, that The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters focuses more on the two nuts who've devoted large chunks of their life to chasing to all-time top score of the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong than the game itself.

That's a good thing.

After all, anyone who's played Donkey Kong knows that the game doesn't waste a lot of time on exposition. Donkey Kong (the inexplicably named titular ape) steals a girl (known to the Japanese as "Lady" and to Americans as "Pauline) and waits atop a construction site for the hero (originally the carpenter "Jumpman," later retconned to be the plumber Mario.) Mario leaps over barrels and rescues Pauline, and then D.K. nabs her again. Much like the attract mode of an unplayed arcade game, the whole ordeal loops again and again. (Though not, as we learn in King of Kong, to infinity. More on that later.)

In a sense, that cycle could represent the trials of Steve Wiebe, who essentially serves as the documentary's hero. Arguably, director Seth Gordon does a fair job letting the real-life events play out without too much interference, and, thus, Wiebe's earnestness shines through during his struggles. Much like the little man hopping over the barrels, he repeatedly strives for a goal, we learn — being an athlete, being a musician, and finally becoming the world champion of Donkey Kong — only to have victory snatched away at the last minute. Ubergamer Billy Mitchell — who at the film's start holds the top score and who, at the time I'm writing this review, has reclaimed it once again — festers with creepiness as the film's antagonist, whose seeming reluctance to spar with Wiebe one-on-one lends him a certain sadness. The film practically begs the viewer to ask why, if Mitchell is truly the greatest player of this bygone video game, he won't prove himself in live competition with Wiebe.

I have to wonder if Mitchell really is the creepfest the film makes him to be. It makes sense to set the story up that way. Selling a documentary about gaming at all, much less about such a gamer niche culture, is tough, but putting an likable face like Wiebe's in the story helps. Like many of the people who are watching this film, Wiebe likes video games but doesn't seem like the retrogaming nerd-insider that virtually all of the other champions do. On that note, it seems plausible that Gordon could have just manipulated story to frame Mitchell as a villain, but I still can't discount the fact that Mitchell compared the controversial rivalry to the abortion issue. Yikes.

For those who don't know Donkey Kong from Q*Bert — and yes, Q*Bert comes up — King of Kong almost works as an anthropological study into a fringe society that puts video game mastery up there with feats of strength and academic excellence. These people are devoted more than most religious people I know. The utter amazement on these people's faces as Wiebe reaches the Donkey Kong kill screen — the glitch that prohibits a player from venturing more than five seconds into the twenty-second screen — makes me simultaneously proud and ashamed to love video games. Fortunately, the film offers a character who seems to share most of the world's bafflement with the game-crazed: Steve's Kristen Wiig-esque wife, who doles out well-intentioned but backhanded compliments as she attempts to understand her husband's obsession with Donkey Kong. (Also, as if to mirror the contrast between Steve and Billy, their respective wives could not be more dissimilar. If Mrs. Wiebe is Betty Hapschatt, then Mrs. Mitchell is Elvira. It's amazing.)

If you're like me, then you respect Donkey Kong for being a game that helped put Nintendo on the map and that gave a certain Italian plumber his break into video game history. It's a tough game, but beautiful in its simplicity. A certain geek endorphin kicked in when I saw those pixels projected onto the silver screen in a scale I haven't seen since The Wizard. It's great to see something that the rest of pop culture barely remembers being brought into the mainstream in such a creative way. And, for me, it was good to know that no matter how deep into geekdom my love for video games may take me, there's always someone geekier, at least as long as the guys from King of Kong are around.

That being said, I want to close with a random pop culture footnote that I find too hilarious to pass up. Mrs. Mitchell amuses me not only by virtue of being Mrs. Wiebe's polar opposite, but also in her resemblance to Pauline, the girl whom Donkey Kong kidnaps. In the 1981, when the game first came out, Pauline looked like this:

However, as time passed, the Princess usurped Pauline's place as Mario's main gal. She looked very similar, being skinny, blonde, Barbie-like and every bit the kind of damsel most men would want to rescue. As a result, Nintendo gave Pauline a makeover so people could tell the two characters apart.

First this:

Then this:

Finally, in the most recent Donkey Kong game — one released for the Nintendo DS last year — Pauline looked like this:

Everything, it seems, is not so easy for Pauline. And if Mrs. Mitchell were to be translated into video game form, the above woman would be her: the hair, the make-up, the very un-Nintendo-like giant boobs. Whether this was the result of careful selection on Billy Mitchell's part or mere coincidence, I find the resemblance eerie. And hilarious.

Tomas, the Birthday Mouse

This will be all for today.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gifuto Shoppu

Played Scrabble for the first time tonight. A tragedy: I missed out on my chance to use "queafed" during the first game. A triumph: In the second game, I got to use "Nunavut," the name of the newest Canadian province.

Nintendo Questions Your Sexuality

And perhaps most bafflingly, there's a rumor going around online about hidden messages in the box art for Super Mario Galaxy: specifically ones speculating about your sexuality. That's right — you.

U R Mr. Gay?

ThunderboltGames postulates that the letters in the title logo that have stars beneath them spell out "U R MR GAY." Which begs the question: Are you Mr. Gay? The whole thing is coincidental, surely, but strange nonetheless.

You Game, You Watch

There's a cool post over at DS Fanboy about Game & Watch Multi-Screen system and the games for it, which included a form of Donkey Kong. Best of all, the post includes an amazing back-in-the-day commercial for the system.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Courtroom Sketches

Yesterday, I sat in on the News-Press/NLRB hearing. Given that it's a legal procedure focusing on the one event that has been the focus of the Santa Barbara journalism world for the last year, you'd think it would be riveting. It's not. This dull write-up being proof, it's actually more boring than a water district meeting, and I've been to more than my fair share of those. Seriously, it would have been more interesting to write an article on the linty contents of my belly button.

Nonetheless, I went and reported, in a fashion my editing duties do not often allow. While I was there, the legal happenings frequently paused so the lawyers involved could chat about their strategy or ensure that the document they had was the same version as that the other side had. This happened a lot. Eventually, I made a game for myself: draw a picture, and think if I could finish the picture in the same the break would provide. Below are the results.

A happy ostrich!

A demonic umbrella!

An unfortunate woman with a beehive, apparently falling. (I'm calling her "Inez." Also, this was done in the longest break, hence the detail.)

Adolphus Zantziger

While trying in vain to Google the correct spelling of Soul Coughing's "Adolpha Zantziger," I was redirected to the personal blog of Venture Bros. creator and god-among-men Jackson Publick. In a January 2006 post in which Publick showed off some background and character art for the then-upcoming second season of Venture, he listed the song he was currently listening to as "Adolphus Zantziger." These means one of three things: (1) Publick has a mislabeled Soul Coughing track, which, given the song's relative obscurity seems likely; (2) Soul Coughing did a special take off on my beloved "Adolpha Zantziger" and signified it with a slightly different name; or (3) the late Mrs. Adolpha Zantziger had a brother.

Either way, the intersection of Soul Coughing with Jackson Publick is utterly delightful.

[ go team zantziger! ]

Snug as a Tamandua in a Mop Bucket

It wouldn't matter even if I didn't like anteaters. The little dears just won't leave me alone.

Some of you might remember "Belated Christmas Present from Sanam," in which I discussed the differences between anteaters and the horrible look-alike species, aardvarks (tardvarks). The post drew the attention of one commenter, TamanduaGirl, who seemed to share my love for the tube-nosers. She even keeps a blog, It's all About the Animals, on which she posts photos of many animals — including Pua and Stewie, two tamanduas who frequently do entertaining things.


Anyway, I thought my awareness of TamanduaGirl and her pets was well behind me on Wednesday when I was at work and posting Starshine's new column. One of the steps in putting up a column is finding an image that can be posted at the top. This often necessitates a Google image search. And for whatever reason, looking for image to accompany Starshine's pieces often results in more porn than not. It's strange, really: Even when the column doesn't even mention sex, I still end up polluting my computer with Google image search pages filled with smut. This week was no different: as the column's subject was Starshine's discomfort with allowing her cleaning lady to toil away while she types at a computer all day, I looked for a picture of a maid.

Big mistake. Turns out hardly anyone posts plain old photos of maids nowadays. No dusting, no scrubing, no wearing a saucy French uniform. Just naked ladies taking it from all sides and angles. Next, I went for "cleaning lady." Nope. Nothing good, and a lot of porn thumbnails labeled "horny cleaning lady takes two at a time." (Still, these searches were less dirty than the ones I had to find for the column on having sex in the back seat of her car. And even then, I was only Googling "back seat.")

In an act of desperation, I ended up searching Flickr just for "mop bucket" to see if anything PG-rated could be found. As I scrolled down the first page, one image in particular caught my eye:

Unless I'm mistaken, that's little Pua, "snug as a tamandua in a mop bucket," as the photo's title says. And yes, it's posted by TamanduaGirl.

I'm not saying it's destiny that I ended up encountering the same person's anteater-loving online identity twice in one week. I'm not saying it results from some grand convergence of celestial bodies. I'm just saying it's a pretty damn remarkable coincidence.

Plus, there were anteaters, too.

And I liked that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bad Gutless Purse

Tooling around on MySpace today, I realized that it has a feature that allows you to see who has asked to subscribe to your blog. In the most basic sense, I have a MySpace blog, but it serves only to alert people I know of important goings-on — for example, "Hey, I need to sell my Coachella tickets!" — or to direct them here. Nothing extensive, but I decided to see who might be following along nonetheless.

The below image represents the entire kidicarus222 MySpace blog community.

For those unfamiliar with MySpace, that's a guy who hasn't uploaded a photo for himself, some chick named Niolani who has chosen to represent herself as one of the she-gremlins from Gremlins, and some preteen who has named herself "DATE LIKE A VATO SO YOU WONT GET PLAYED LIKE A BITCH." I understand that, given the relative infrequency with which I post on the MySpace blog that this this group is in no way representative of my general blog readership, but I still have to admit: That is the saddest motherfucking fanclub I've ever seen.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Follow That Christ!

For some reason, this Jehova's Witness flier reminds me of Follow That Bird more than anything else.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Notes From a Meeting Today

I was tired. Everybody else was long-winded.

Marion Barfs

It hurts, but at some point a guy has to look at at his entire digital music collection on iTunes and tell the songs at the bottom of the most played list that their time has come.

"Songs," I say, "I know my iPod has room for, like, two thousand more of you, but you guys at the bottom have to go. I'm tired of you coming on in random mixes and causing me to question my taste in music, and I'm even more annoyed when you decide to play yourself at the office, causing my co-workers to question my taste in music as well. I understand that some of you are really, really famous songs, but you have to see it my way: You're so overplayed that I'm sick to death of hearing you and can probably cruise through the next few decades without missing you. I hear you enough at the Gap and in commercials and sometimes in commercials for the Gap. As such, there's no room for you here. Others of you I have no memory of ever downloading. I either blame alcohol, which sometimes drives me to make poor choices, or mixes and samplers which I accidentally loaded in full when I should have only admitted one or two tracks. To all of you departed songs, I say goodbye today. Good luck on the iPods of less discerning people."

The following songs are among the roughly two hundred that, as of tonight, have been deleted from my iTunes, my iPod, my hard drive and hopefully my life. When possible, I explain how the song came into my life or why it had to go.
  • The entire collection of songs by Aphex Twin
  • The Beatles, "Michelle" (a girl I used to work with named Michelle hummed it incessantly)
  • Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start the Fire"
  • Bjork, "Declare Independence" (Coachella sampler)
  • Beck, "Nausea"
  • Billy Idol, "Dancing With Myself" (80s dance party at the Pasado House, junior year)
  • Bloodhound Gang, "I Hope You Die" (I once burned a "hate mix" for a roommate)
  • Cher, "Bang Bang" (wanted to hear how much worse it was than the Nancy Sinatra cover)
  • Cab Calloway, "Minnie the Moocher" (Amy Sedaris recommended it in an interview)
  • Damien Rice, "The Blower's Daughter"
  • The entire collection of songs by The Darkness
  • Donovan, "Riki Tiki Tavi" (my previous iPod loved it and played it constantly in reckless defiance of the rules of the "shuffle" function)
  • Echo and the Bunnymen, "Bring on the Dancing Horses" (associate it with a bad subleaser)
  • The Eagles, "Hotel California"
  • The Eurythmics, "Sweet Dreams" (recently began associating it with a bad Tori Spelling TV movie)
  • The entire collection of songs by The Faint (shrooms at Coachella ruined the band for me)
  • The Flaming Lips, "She Don't Use Jelly"
  • Filter, "Hey Man Nice Shot"
  • Fuel, "Sunburn" (was in Scream 3 and I downloaded it before I realized how much Fuel sucks)
  • The Guess Who, "American Woman" (Lenny Kravitz ruined it)
  • Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit" (tired of hearing it literally every documentary, movie or commercial involving the 60s)
  • Kronos Quartet, "Marion Barfs"
  • Lords of Acid, "Am I Sexy?"
  • The entire collection of songs by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
  • Michael Jackson, "Ben" (too creepy)
  • Michelle Branch, "Everywhere"
  • Moby, "We Are All Made of Stars" (a bad phase)
  • The entire collection of songs by The Offspring
  • Oingo Boingo, "Weird Science"
  • Prince, "When Doves Cry"
  • Queen, "Another One Bits the Dust" (will here it from a bar jukebox often enough)
  • The entire collection of songs by Saint Germain
  • Scissor Sisters, "Filthy/Gorgeous" (I overplayed it)
  • Soul Coughing, "Super Bon Bon"
  • Talking Heads, "Same As It Ever Was" (I legitimately detest this song and don't know why I have it)
  • The theme to Speed Racer
  • Nearly all of the songs by Weezer, save for a few from The Blue Album ("Beverly Hills" cause a rift between Weezer and me, and we never got past that)
  • And all but the Kate Moss cover of "Some Velvet Morning"
Kiss them goodbye.

Buubuu Kitty-Chan

There's nothing exceptionally hilarious about the below sketch — "Rabun to Shuri," in which Maya Rudolph and Kate Hudson star in a Japanese language version of Laverne and Shirley — but I love it. And not just for the intersection of Maya Rudolph into something vaguely Japanese.

Maybe it's the "Karumine!"?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Vagina Dentata in the Mushroom Kingdom

It's late, but I'm seized by the urge to write. When this mood strikes me hard enough to pull my mind away from sleep, strange things that I haven't fully processed fly to the front in ways that make me think something may be a good idea when, in fact, it's actually not worth committing to type or even worth wasting mental energies on. Regardless, I'm awake now, and this is being written. So there.

As I mentioned before in the admittedly strange post on the faux-Greek goddess from a bygone video game, I've been following the progress of an upcoming Nintendo title — tragically saddled with the very Japanese title Super Smash Bros. Brawl — that, for all intents and purposes, will exist to delight me and solely me. It's a Drew fantasy — a culmination of pop culture crossovers the likes of which haven't been seen since Battle of the Network Stars blessed airwaves. In short — for those of you who don't remember or were so turned off by the depths of my geekdom that you simply refused to read either of the two Palutena posts — there will soon be a game which, upon insertion into my Wii, will pit the various Nintendo mascots, famous and little-known alike, against each other in battle, making for a kind of fanboy dream match in the grand tradition of the Flash-versus-Superman footrace debate. Masahiro Sakurai, the game's design director, has been giving daily glimpses of its progress on a blog — a brilliant marketing ploy that the brains behind TV shows, movies, music albums might want to consider — and I, like the entertainment-addled sheep drone I am, have been happily reading each post.

A little more than a week ago, Sakurai posted images from the game's story mode, which I imagine will attempt to make some sense of why these disparate characters — each with different body types and rendered in different artistic styles — would be interacting with and then beating the stuffing out of each other. (Example: Why would Donkey Kong have any reason to fight Link from Legend of Zelda? And if the fight has to happen, why wouldn't Link just stab the ape and be over with it?) The snippet of the story mode that Sakurai provided focused on the first boss character revealed so far, a giant, eyeless, lumbering, anthropomorphic plant monster named Petey Piranha.

Meet Petey.

braah! i should make you feel weird for so many reasons!

(A quick break: God, I love the Japanese. If it weren't for them, I would have never had a need to type out the phrase "giant, eyeless, lumbering, anthropomorphic plant monster.")

A relatively newer video game character who hails specifically from the Super Mario Bros. games, Petey is actually a hyped-up version of a minor monster that may be familiar to anyone who played the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Remember those strange Pac-Man-esque plants who hide in pipes, only to nip Mario's behind, cause him to die and drive many an inept seven-year-old to throw down their controller in frustration?


Yes, those things. The age of video games has advanced quite a bit since 1985, at least graphically.

Anyway, Sakurai's post details that Petey has somehow grabbed a hold of Peach and Zelda — Nintendo's two leading ladies and arguably the two most famous damsels-in-distress in the history of video games. Not only does this herbofreak nab them both, mind you, but he also has trapped them inside two princess-sized birdcages, with one each held in one of his leafy "hands." The heroes then fight him, which you might think would be easy, given Petey's lack of eyes. Aside from lunging with his toothy mouth, Petey's main form of attack is swinging the cages — at you, at the ground, or directly into each other.

That last sentence forms the essential "what" of this post — the moment when mere pop culture nothing goes to strange levels and, at least in my head, demands examination. I've always said that there's something to video games. There has to be. People make them. Those people come from cultures with perspectives on life, death, sex and overall existence and something — something, I'm arguing — must filter into the final product and, thus, into the brains of the children and twenty-five-year-olds who play them. Personally, I think the scene Nintendo is offering with this bizarre fight is so laden with blatant, Freud-ready sexual metaphors that I laughed out loud when I first read of it.

First off, let's look at this wasabi-induced nightmare they're calling Petey Piranha. I'm initially drawn to his "head," which consists of big, rounded lips and a fringe of colorful petals. And let's not forget the very human pink insides. Despite that his name is "Petey," this plant monster, to me, is a passable example of the vagina dentata or "toothed vagina" motif. Observable in art and folklore to the point that it calls up quite a few results on a Google image search — one that is not exactly safe for work — from various world cultures, the idea of a ladyparts that can violently snap off a misterpart is, as far as I remember from Prof. Waid's class, a representation of a man's fear of sex, at least on its most basic level. Add to this gynecological symbolism the fact that Petey is, on his most basic level, a flower and the fact that he wears bikini bottoms and you get something spawned in the depths of a repressed gardener who's mother didn't love him enough. (Hide the shears.)

Now that we're on the same page as to what Petey is, let's look at what he's doing. First off, he's not being friendly. That fearsome roar clearly comes from a guy who has showed up specifically to cause trouble. He has also somehow imprisoned the two princess — demure, pretty, dress-wearing ladies who, especially in the early age of video games, took the passive "save me" role — and locked them up, effectively separating them from the male characters. (In the clip, Mario even gets cannonballed into the distance, leaving only the asexual, pink puffball Kirby to fight it out. Whatever happens at the end of this mess, nobody will be getting laid.) Then, as if to hammer the point in, Petey uses the imprisoned feminine characters as weapons, creating a situation where his opponent has a choice between being seized on by his toothy vagina mouth or being beaten silly by the imprisoned epitomes of video game femininity. And that's not even touching on the literalization of the porn premise "banging chicks in cages."

Fuck. They make this stuff for kids?

Screw Grand Theft Auto. At least that game is blatant in its attempt to corrupt the youth. This game is taking beloved, trusted video game icons and placing them in some of the most subversive, psychosexually suggestive situations I could dare to think of.

And I love it.

I just can't believe it happened, is happening, and will happen. Is Nintendo just trying to mindfuck their loyal customers? Or are the game's developers merely trying condemn the practice of passive femininity by literally knocking two princesses senseless? I suppose I should also mention the small bit of video game trivia I've picked up over my years of playing that might further help someone interested in trying to explain exactly what is going on with all this: In other countries, the character of Petey Piranha is known as "Mutant Tyranha" and is female. Does that make this all better? Or worse?

And seriously, if Banging Chicks in Cages isn't already the title of a porno, then it should be.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mole Playing Rough

Vintage Japanese commercial for Mother, a.k.a. Earthbound Zero.

Multiple Masturbatory Mario Levels

From Siliconera (with the masturbatory notion coming from the original Destructoid post).

The games! They play themselves!

My Sweet Sun Bear

It makes me happy.

I first saw this image on a comment from Lela on Sanam's MySpace profile, then saw it again moments afterward when Dina sent me a link to a page on the World's Weirdest Animals that also included this very image of a sun bear. I suppose it makes sense, seeing as how sun bears aren't the most-photographed animal in the world. Plus there's the fact that if you wanted to use an image of a sun bear, the above one if, like, the best one ever.

Regarding the list of strange animals Dina forwarded to me, she did so with the note that a few of them haven't even showed up on my blog yet. That's true. Specifically, the following purportedly weird animals have already been fawned over here: the red panda, the sloth, the axolotl, the alpaca, the narwhal, the blobfish, the platypus, and, now, the sun bear. That means the World's Weirdest Animals page offers a few new ones worth mentioning.

Read all about...

The flapjack octopus, a.k.a. the far-less cute-sounding Opisthoteuthis.

The Leafy Seadragon, a.k.a. the Australian seahorse.

The Yeti crab, a.k.a. kiwa hirsuta.

And the Aye-Aye, a.k.a. Omigod-Keep-That-Thing-Away-From-Me.

The most noteworthy of this new batch of freaks, at least according to my opinion? It's the guy who graces this t-shirt from McSweeney's.

Busy, Indeed

Busy Philipps, of Freaks and Geeks and Dawson's Creek, wrote the story for Blades of Glory?

(The rhyming, I assure you, was unintentional.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mister Peach, Sir

Is it weird that the biggest problem I have with this Peach cosplay below is that the brooch is too big?

Three Times a Karen

Rashida Jones, actress and spawn of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, has for some reason portrayed a character named "Karen" three times during her relatively short TV career: Karen Filippeli on The Office, a surname-less Karen on Stella, and as Karen Scarfolli on Freaks and Geeks. Does she simply look like a Karen? Has the hipster comic mafia simply decided to stick her with the name as a running joke? Or do casting agents simply read about a character named Karen on some subtle, offbeat comedy and think, "Hey! What about Rashida Jones?"


Belated Christmas Present From Sanam

I realized this never made it to the Back of the Cereal Box. Near the end of last year, Sanam posted on her Archivolt blog something titled "FOR DREW." The posts consists on just one image, which I've posted below.

Of course, it's not one of my beloved anteaters. It's an aardvark, or "dirt pig." Confusing the two is like calling a Kiwifruit an Aussiefruit, but I'll forgive Sanam. I'm assuming this aardvark is a pup, though if he's actually an albino midget aardvark who's been denuded through some terrible turn of events, that's the saddest thing ever. Why do so much things that I associate with Sanam make me feel happy and sad at the same time?

Here's a quick lesson that should help everybody tell the difference between the lovable anteater and the lowly aardvark, so no one makes the same mistake Sanam did.

Here's an anteater, being adorable and politely extending its paw upon meeting a new person in accordance with the ingrained anteater sense of manners.

And here's an aardvark, slyly trotting away after having mauled a toddler. He's eyeing the cameraman only because he doesn't want to leave any witnesses and he's therefore memorizing the camerman's face. Note the obvious "criminal" posture with which this slovenly creature carries itself.

Here are two anteaters re-enacting a scene of the Holy Mother and Jesus Baby. Anteaters are devout Christians with a flair for the visual arts.

And here's an aardvark. Thought it might look like it's in a zoo, but it's actually in prison. This aardvark stole money from war widows. The spots on its forehead are actually gang demarcations.

Here's a saintly baby anteater, resting up after having cured several blind children. Performing such miracles drains even the considerable will of the noble anteater. To certain indigenous South American peoples, the anteater is known as the "jungle doctor" in recognition of its well-documented medical miracles.

And here's an aardvark. The picture doesn't properly convey it, but this aardvark is shouting a horrible racial slur that I won't taint my blog by printing here.

Now let's see if we can keep these two animals straight from now on.