Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Questions, Questions I Can't Answer

Maybe you can help me with these. I'm at a loss.

What is that spice you find every once in a while in certain brands of pepperoni that tastes like licorice?

Hey, Colin Meloy - what is Decemberism, anyway?

What would happen if, instead of anesthetic, you were given a synesthetic before surgery?

Who else has the irresistible urge to pronounce the frequently asked questions page (FAQ) as 'fuck you'?

Is Husker Du considered heavy metal? I can't tell just from listening.

Whenever I watch one of the new Star Trek movies, why do I keep wanting to call Lieutenant Uhura 'Princess Uhura'?

How come every time I say something crazy, people take it to mean I'm normal? (Or, by what standard do they judge such outbursts?)

Why does my job give me heartburn? (It's not like I'm eating it. [Oh, wait, I know the answer to this one.])

Thursday, April 2, 2015

He Says "What You Want This Time?"

Whiskey is liquid sunshine.
-George Bernard Shaw

I like to get hammered on Friday night
Sometimes I can't wait so Monday's all right

'Mixologist' is a stupidly unnecessary word. 'Bartender' got along just fine for decades without any help, thank you very much - excepting the bouncer, of course.

...the solution doesn't involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold...this is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can:

I've waited too long to have you hide in the back of me
I've cheated so much I wonder how you keep track of me

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
-Sir Winston Churchill

Maj. Strasser: What is your nationality?
Rick: I'm a drunkard.
Capt. Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world...
-from Casablanca

Alcohol is no different from a guitar amplifier - it just makes the music in your head louder.

I ain't seen my baby since I don't know when
I been drinking bourbon whiskey, scotch and gin

I drank to drown my sorrows, but the damned things learned how to swim.
-Frida Kahlo

There is nothing dangerous about the merely mundane. It is just a kind of emptiness...

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
-from Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

I've been sittin' here drinkin'
I'm just as lonesome as a man can be

Lord Hinjo: Nothing says 'Condolences on the loss of your uncle' like a ninja death squad in the night.

You pour six jiggers of gin into a glass and then you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth.
-'Hawkeye' Pierce

All good drinkers write. 

She's whiskey in a teacup
She gives blondes a lousy name

Thanks to Whiskey & Misanthropy for the inspiration.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Boys Are Back In Town

This sounds like a joke. To most comics readers, the premise of Archie Andrews and Frank Castle sharing space in the same comic - the same story! - sounds like a complete farce. One of the most violent anti-heroes in comics' history with the most wholesome teenager ever? Get real. Besides, Punisher's a Marvel character, and Archie has his own eponymous publisher. They'd never come to an agreement that would let this be printed, right?

It exists.

As the editor's pages clearly state, it began as a joke, but by the summer of 1994, Batton Lash, Jon Buscema, and Stan Goldberg had created the world's most bizarre comics crossover. The plot followed the Punisher, hot on the heels of an East Coast drug dealer known as 'Red'. The kicker is that 'Red's description is a match for everyone's favorite average teenager Archie Andrews - and the trail leads straight to Riverdale. (Hijinks ensue.)

If you still think I'm making this up, I can assure you I'm not.

Look out behind you, Frank! It's a teenager!
I own the damn thing. I ended up getting the Archie-printed cover, and until recently I didn't even know that there was a second, Marvel variant cover.

Apparently, this led to a minor trope of Archie crossovers, including meeting the Predator, KISS, the cast of Glee (which does make some sense), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Archie Comics now owns the license to the current TMNT comics), and Jason of the Friday The 13th film franchise (under the title Archie at Crystal Lake). Better yet, while doing some reading, I found reference to other crossovers such as The Punisher Meets Eminem, an issue of The Avengers where the eponymous team appears on The Late Show with David Letterman, Superman Vs. Popeye, Groo The Wanderer Vs. Conan, and of all things, Superman and the Nesquik Bunny.

And I thought Archie Meets The Punisher was a spoof.

Turned Upon Me, Took Me By The Hair

I noticed that an old, and very good, post of mine has been getting some attention recently. It concerned the TV bumpers Cartoon Network used to use for the Adult Swim block back in 2007-08. They were fairly creative, in my opinion. Most of them used a tilt-shift photography technique in order to make the subject of the photo appear to be a model. I actually stayed up with my old point-and-shoot camera to record this intriguing bit of TV ephemera. Since there seems to be a bit of interest in the idea, I decided to post the entire series just for the heck of it.

And here's a random scene from Inuyasha just for the hell of it. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

This Is My Life In The Crazy Robot Man Reservation

Something that I stumbled upon while browsing the Contemptible Cover article on TV Tropes. I was reading about Boris Vallejo doing art for FASA's Battletech sci-fi wargaming franchise's tie-in novels. And one link, mentioning how Vallejo's approach to the 'Battlemechs' of the series wasn't exactly detailed... or realistic... Well, the below cover caught my eye, but for no reason that involves Battletech whatsoever. 

The 'mech' on the left, I have no idea what the fuck it is. (Realism, Vallejo, realism!) But the 'mech' on the right... it's a dead ringer for the Glaug Officers' Battlepod of Robotech/Macross fame. What the fuck is a Macross mecha doing on the cover of a Battletech novel?

It's actually quite simple. When Battletech was being developed, the designers 'borrowed' giant robot and mecha designs from various anime series including Super Dimension Fortress Macross, which had not been licensed in America at the time. Speculation abounds (though I can find no hard reference) that there was a lawsuit brought or threatened by Harmony Gold, owners of the Robotech franchise (which included the original Macross series) which prompted FASA to abandon the 'borrowed' material. A later owner of the game property claimed that they had secured the rights to all of the so-called 'Unseen' mechs, except for the Macross properties. Harmony Gold put paid to that.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sometimes I Go Whole Days Listening Bored, Half Asleep

So the 'Lion Series' of mix CDs gets another addition. The basics for this one were coming to me randomly at work over the past few weeks.

Roi, I hope you don't mind another disc spinning your way next I see you.

The Lion Series, Vol. 3: Entertainingly Difficult
  1. It's Nice To Know You Work Alone - Silversun Pickups
  2. Don't Pretend You Didn't Know - Dinosaur Jr. 
  3. Lost At Home - The Sun
  4. Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger
  5. Song 2 - Blur
  6. Hang Wire - The Pixies
  7. That's When I Reach For My Revolver - Mission Of Burma
  8. We Real Cool - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  9. Voodoo - Godsmack
  10. Half Asleep - School Of Seven Bells
  11. The Mountain Range In My Living Room - The Early November
  12. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt - We Are Scientists
  13. Believe - The Chemical Brothers
  14. At 1 A.M. - The Subways
  15. Only To Haunt You - The Von Bondies
  16. Sad And Lonely - Secret Machines
  17. Allergic (To Thoughts Of Mother Earth) - Placebo
  18. Mountain Side - The Flaming Lips
  19. Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Climbing Up The Topsails, I Lost My Leg

This is why my favorite drinking holiday is Wednesday. Not this coming Wednesday, mind you, but Wednesdays in general. Mondays, too. Not many people out on those days. I don't have to worry about competing for a parking place or a spot at the bar, waiting long for post-drinks food, or squeezing through unruly, inebriated crowds while on my sober-up walk.

Of course, let the calendar plop a drinking holiday on a Tuesday and I'm sober for two weeks. Or would be, if I had thought this one through. I'm sitting at Dee's Cafe, listening to Rick Astley - of all people, Rick Fucking Astley* - and watching buzz-cut-headed bros sit on the covered pool tables in complete defiance of the notices placed by management. Amateur drunkards tend to clog the streets starting with the weekend before the holiday, and every night thereafter until the actual day after. That's what happened to me last Halloween - I decided to hit the bar on November 1st (unlike the previous Halloween, when I went down on the actual holiday, which was a clusterfuck in its own right) and was still greeted with dozens of goofballs in costume and having trouble holding their liquor.

Better yet, the ridiculous patronage means that the glassware Dee's is using has temporarily turned disposable and therefore contra-aesthetic, and I was hoping for a nice photo of my first drinks to head up a post I'm working on.

I consider myself one of those who approach their time hitting the bar with at least a little bit of reverence - ironically not unlike how the faithful among us seem to approach going to church on Sunday. I might even go so far as to say that going to the bar on a drinking holiday reminds me of my hometown church being bombarded with worshipers at Christmas and Easter services. I imagine that most Christians are glad to have so many willing to come worship (and simultaneously wondering how to persuade them to stick around the other 50 Sundays in the year); but for a reverent drunk a la Bogart's Richard Blaine, the swell of boisterous, Lite-swilling goofballs on drinking holidays can be vexing, to say the least. And they take up the pews - uh, I mean stools, that us regulars always, always claim when we arrive on normal visits.

It's rough watching amateur night at my favorite bars; if only 'amateur' still meant someone who does something out of the love of doing so. Perhaps they'd have learned something about drinking if they approached it that way. Inexperienced drinkers can be distracting at best and dangerous at worst - from their loss of spatial sense, indoor voice and personal boundaries to disregarding all the advice about getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

For those who want to enjoy drinking - who want to truly get good at it (as good as really is possible - I mean, seriously - drinking as a skill? Who could take the idea seriously, besides me and a few I know?), I would actually recommend drinking at home. If you want to drink on a holiday renowned for alcohol consumption, throw a party at your place and make sure you have enough room for people to crash. You're in a familiar place, with people you know, and if you or your guests aren't certain of their tolerance, spending the night there is your best option. It's safer. Besides, if you don't drive, more time to drink!

I also should lay out a few of my own ground rules for going to the bar. Proper reverence for a night out drinking and being merry starts with having a good idea of your tolerance. You do not want to blaspheme at the feet of the porcelain gods, as it were; or end up arrested for a DUI; or acquire the legit nickname of Duncan Drisorderly (I think there's a punk rocker who already goes by that anyway). Sure it rhymes, but it's no less true - beer before liquor, ever sicker; liquor before beer, never fear. If you arrived operating any motor vehicle with a steering apparatus (how you'd drive a GP30 to the bar**, I have no idea), you may even wish to avoid harder spirits altogether.

Once you start to feel it, stay calm. This might seem like a counterintuitive rule, but I grew up in a Presbyterian church and we're pretty placid in general, really. The last thing you want to do is get kicked out for being a drunken oaf, or piss off your fellow drinkers and the bartender. Just stay relaxed.

The last key rule is to tip well. You can tip every drink (i.e. 'keep the change') or wait until you head out, but never give a bartender a small tip. Be generous. You actually get better service when you tip well and regularly. Even better, thank the bartender as well. Sure, AC/DC says that money talks, but it's not really everything. A little human contact is always appreciated; bartenders are people first, not just alcohol dispensers.

I do have to admit that in the particular case of St. Patrick's Day, one detail that most people overlook, and does irk me, is some ignorance of the reason for wearing green. The symbolism of green does represent Irish republicanism, but all you have to do is look at the flag and learn why one-third is orange. Protestant followers of William III, King of England (who actually invaded England, deposed King James II, and won the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland), took his heraldic color of orange as one of their symbols in the religious conflicts of the time. In the flag itself, green can be taken to symbolize Catholics, and as stated the orange represents the Protestant minority; with the white being an appeal for peace between the two factions. As for myself, I'm pretty sure there's no Irish ancestry in me, so if you ever spot a guy wearing a t-shirt with either the Scottish or Welsh flag, it's probably me.

I should probably get out of here before it gets any crazier, but I sure wish some of my fellow bar patrons would read this and take a few pointers with them. Maybe I'd be more inclined to hang out with them on the weekend, instead of having to be the only guy at the bar at the beginning of the week.

* The reaction is more aimed at 1) the blatant violation of Rules 1 and 2, 2) the fact that Astley is British rather than Irish - specifically a Lancashire lad, and 3) that there does in fact exist the possibility that someone here tonight may be a legit fan.

** In the UK, this becomes 'driving a Black 5 down to the pub'.