Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pay Me Baby, One More Time


My latest pay stub contains an advertisement for Britney Spears' new perfume. That pretty much says it all, really.

In other news...

So the big movie release this week was The Pacifier with Vin Diesel. Now is it just me, or is this the exact same movie that every action star ends his career with? How do the executives keep managing to regurgitate this idea over and over again? "Hey, I've got an idea: why don't take someone who usually appears in explosion-laden summer blockbusters, and put him in a cheesy family comedy? I bet nobody's thought of that one before! Hyuck, hyuck!"

Hell, Schwarzenegger's been in, like, a metric pentabafrilllion of these movies, and now he's stuck having to be governor of California for attention.

Of course, the worst part of all will be when they start re-releasing this movie in a new special edition every three months. "Director's cut!", "Special extended edition!", "2-disc double bonus edition!", "Ultimate edition!", "No, wait, that last one was only the penultimate edition, this is really the ultimate edition!", "Best Boy's cut!", "Silent film version!", etc, etc, etc...

At least Japan is stuck in a rut that has robotic catgirls.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I just realized that this was the only blog left on the Internet that hasn't made fun of Phil Spector's hair yet. I shall now remedy this situation.
(AP Photo)

So for the last few days, the Scranton area has been undergoing an inexplicable influx of British people. It started with a few on Wednesday night, then by Thursday every other customer at work was rattling on about tills and kippers and whatnot. It eventually got to the point where even the other customers (who are usually about as cognizant of their surroundings as Terri Schiavo) noticed it, and began speaking in bad fake British accents in their usual "dumb-customer-who-thinks-he's-a-witty-smartass" fashion.

I have absolutely no idea why this is happening. I mean, why the hell would you travel all the way to America, just to go to Scranton? Are we suddenly some kind of international tourist destination? Do people really want to see the Electric City sign that badly? Are they actually taking Old Forge's talk of being the "Pizza Capitol of the World" seriously? Are the Iron Furnaces a happening place now? What's the draw here?

"I gotta tell you, folks, I gotta tell you, when I woke up this morning, I was having a bad hair day. This was a bad hair day for Ed Robertson. But, all was not lost, for I simply turned on my TV and the answer was before me! The answer was before me! I mortgaged my house, sold my car, sold my parents and some of my siblings, and I bought a tiny spray. And I sprayed it on top of my head, until I got this Glorious Poof of Wonderment!"
Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, at a concert in Massey Hall in Toronto, May 1993

George W. Spector
Karl W. Spector
G. Gordon Spector
George W. Spector again

"Creepy hovering Electric City sign" wallpaper: 1280x960 1024x768 800x600

Soramimi This!

For those of you who use Unix/Linux/BSD/OS X/Sushix/whatever and who are bummed about the FuzzyFlakes hack in xscreensaver dropping the Azumanga Daioh colors (I'm sure that's millions of you), here's a little patch I made to cheer you up.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Warm-ish Late Night Snack of Champions(TM)

With the scribbly minimalist comic trend sweeping the Internet by storm these days, the fine folks who make Pop Tarts have apparently decided to jump on the bandwagon. So now the foil wrappers are lovingly festooned with various hastily-drawn illustrations of anthropomorphic Pop Tarts being chased down by snack-craving doodles. I had no problem with that, until I saw this one:

Thank you. Thank you. Here's a little number that was popular back in the Mesozoic era...
"Girl Being Seranaded at Her Window by a Very Tiny, Sleepy Dinosaur in a Bow Tie"
Kellogg's, Inc.
Blue ink on cheap foil, 2005

'Da hell does that have to do with Pop Tarts?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Well, that was quite possibly the single most funnest semester that I've had ever! It was, in fact, so great that I haven't even had the energy to write anything about it until now. That's how wonderful it was. Tremendous! Fabulous! Spectacular even! Please hold on while I go over here and shoot myself.


Okay, that aside, let me just sum up my entire spring semester in one word: "Whuh?". That's pretty much how it went. I ended up stuck with an instructor who graded her course pretty much entirely on a single project, that had to be accompanied by many, many "short" pieces which were then changed to 5-page papers at the last minute. Did I forget to mention that she gave us absolutely no clue whatsoever as to what these papers were supposed to be about? Nope, no explanation at all. She just gave us a vague title for each paper and we had to guess from there what she meant by it. Also, I never got a single one of them back, so I never even knew whether or not I was writing these things correctly. This, of course, kept me from ever being able to do any decent work on my actual project, which ended up being a steaming pile of crap. Despite all this, I managed to get by with a B. I don't know how, since I don't think I handed in several of the things on her list, but again, I can't be sure, since that list seemed to change with every class. Yes, folks, this is why I'm only going to school part-time. If I had to deal with four or five of these people at once, I probably would have shot myself by now. Or at least died of sleep depravation.

Anyway, now that that's over, I can finally turn my attention to that horrendous pile of DVD's and CD's that I've been gathering over the past several months but haven't had time to watch/listen to. At least in theory, anyway. So far, it doesn't seem to be working out that well.

Carrot Top's Last Stand
"Carrot Top's Last Stand"
(Image taken from

Latest Update from Retail Hell

So last week, a woman waddled on over to the electronics department and racked up an order of over $500. When she got to my register, she proceded to pay this down with gift cards until it was under the limit at which I would have had to automatically call for a check approval. She then handed me the most blatantly obvious counterfeit check that I have ever seen in my life. I mean, this thing was just horrible. It was like she wasn't even trying. There were no security features whatsoever, most of the numbers were missing, the box for the dollar amount was just a very tiny line, and to top it all off, the whole thing had that "inkjet printer running low on ink" blur to it.

So I call the supervisor over, show her the check, she tries not to burst into laughter in front of the "customer". When she informs the worthless crook that we're not going to take her check, she, as expected, starts throwing a fit. So she calls somebody from the accounting office over to look at the check. At this point, the woman realizes that the gig is up, and tries to get her gift cards back and hightail it out of there. She eventually made off with a $250 item on the gift cards, which we later found out were purchased only minutes earlier. That's right, three of our illustrious front-register cashiers actually accepted those pathetically bad fake checks.

I really need to find a job where I won't be associated with these people.

Sakura takes on the Sw!ms
Sakura Kinomoto and a small contingent of Mokonas are confronted on their travels by the nefarious Sw!ms footsoldier.

And now, a play-by-play recap of CLAMP No Kiseki Volume 1

  • Cover: Good Lord, this has to be the single pinkest thing that I have ever had the courage to walk into a store and buy. Somehow, I don't think their target audience for this is 25-year-old ponytailed dorks. Just a hunch there. I also bought an Atom & His Package CD along with this, so if you can picture the contrast of those two sitting on the register counter together, you can imagine that I'm probably on every mental health watch list in America right now.
  • Page 1: You know, one of these days the Blue's Clues people are going to send a platoon of lawyers into Tsubaki Nekoi's place and banish her off to wherever it is they exiled Steve to. Although it would be fun if Nickelodeon replaced Blue with Ioryogi for an episode or two. You just know those kids are gonna have problems.

    Also, Mokona is drawn with a very serene appearance here, which is probably a boon for all those people who believe the "Mokona Is Dead" rumors, but I'm still not buying it. And yes, I have listened to Raison D'être backwards. Several times. I don't hear it. Besides, I don't think William Campbell would be that great of a manga artist, anyway.
  • Pages 2-3: I am thoroughly convinced that there was never, at any time, tea spilled on this illustration, and that CLAMP wrote this just to trick their fans into poring over it for hours in a vain attempt to locate the stain. Well, I, for one, won't fall for it!

  • Page 4: I wish I had a bathroom that looked like that. Although it leaves me wondering what the rest of the fixtures would look like. Would the toilet have wings, too? Because it would be kind of weird doing one's business while sitting on a physical manifestation of a screensaver from the waning days of the After Dark era.
  • Page 5: So in case you haven't guessed yet, this volume happens to be entirely about Cardcaptor Sakura, which is a bit strange. It's sort of like making a Beatles retrospective, and starting it off with an in-depth look at Sgt. Pepper's. Sure, it's probably more well-known than the earlier stuff, but it pretty much kills all sense of context when they arrange it like this.
  • Page 6: I do not, however, wish I had an outfit that looked like that. Poor Li looks as though he had a run-in with an irreputable lederhosen dealer. Granted, he's practically guaranteed not to have a "wardrobe malfunction" with all those straps, but I don't think that's really a concern of his.

    Also, I never would have pegged Sakura as a Grateful Dead fan. But there you go. I'll be willing to accept this so long as we never see Watanuki in posession of a Phish T-shirt.
  • Page 7: And by "atypical", they mean that CCS actually doesn't consist primarily of long, drawn-out transformation sequences and gratuitious upskirt shots. It's amazing the level of quality that you can achieve when you leave those out.
  • Pages 8-13 And now, for those of you tuning in late, a recap of Cardcaptor Sakura, complete with all of your favorite moments!
    • The awakening of Sakura's powers!
    • The appearance of Syaoran!
    • Rika and Terada: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?
    • Sakura is kidnapped by the Empire!
    • Syaoran finds out that Darth Vader is his father!
    • Tomoyo is frozen in carbonite and taken prisoner by Boba Fett!
    • Ewoks! Ewoks! Ewoks!
  • Pages 14-15: I am astonished that the character pages contain no mention whatsoever of those two girls in the top panel of the eleventh page of chapter 10. This is clearly a glaring omission, and I will be demanding a refund.


    Yeah, yeah. I know it's a dumb joke. But I just spent a half hour scouring through my copies of CCS trying to find some suitable nameless extras (there aren't that many, amazingly), and I'll be damned if I let that time go to waste.
  • Page 16: Ah, it's good to see a reminder of what a great company Piffle Princess was before they were acquired by an American big-box retailer a few years ago. Now there are always fat people blocking the aisles in smelly motorized carts, the register lines are about three hours long, you need to take out an extra life insurance policy just to venture into the parking lot, and don't even think of entering an angel you bought there into a tournament, unless you want to be laughed clear out of Tokyo when it inexplicably falls apart right in the middle of fall-in. It's a crying shame, really.
  • Page 17: The essay manages to do a perfect job of describing what appears to be a favorite CLAMP storytelling strategy: Lull the readers into thinking that it's just a mindless fluff story, and then when they're least expecting it, sneak up behind them and whack them across the head with a very large cinderblock. It's like a top-40 station that suddently cuts into an entire Captain Beefheart album accompanied by an old, scratchy LP of Tuvan throat singers played at 45. Jarring at first, but way more addictive than it should be. Miyuki-chan In Wonderland is actually listed as a controlled substance in many European countries because of this effect.
  • Pages 18-19: This outfit is a lot better than the strap polka motif, although I probably would have gone with an off-whie sport coat and a grey shirt with those pants. Then again, everybody knows that striped pants are a violation of the Geneva convention, anyway, so it's all a moot point.
  • Pages 20-21: So here we have a look at all of the original Japanese cover art for pretty much every CCS-related thing that ever existed in Japan, most of which we never even got to see because we're stuck having to get these things through &#@%ing Tokyopop. And now that I've seen the original DVD artwork, I'm just a bit peeved about that, too. But only a little bit. It could be worse. We could still be stuck with nothing but the dub.
  • Pages 22-23: Something I noticed in all these illustrations is that they're all covered in these little white dots, as though they've been lightly sprinkled with bleach or white-out or whatnot. I'm waiting to see how long it takes until Pete starts using a technique like this with his photos. He'll probably work it in somewhere between "burning the negative" and "soaking the print in Kool-Aid and letting it sit under a rock in the neighbor's backyard for six weeks".
  • Pages 24-25: Yoshiki Tanaka is a man who has a fedora, and knows how to wear it. 'Nuff said.
  • Pages 26-31: See, this is what I meant by that cinderblock comment earlier. Just when you thought you were reading a nice, sane retrospective: *WHAM!* Six pages of fighting cat-fairy-things. You will now be left wondering where the hell that came from for several weeks. That, I think, is the sadistic beauty of Kiseki thus far. You pick this up, thinking that you might finally get some answers as to where some of these f**ked up ideas came from, and not only do you not get any of these answers, but you end up being left even more confused than you were before!

    Poor Kakyo. She's so misunderstood. *sniff*
  • And finally, the chess pieces: I'm kind of torn over this. On one hand, there's the coolness factor of having a full CLAMP chess set. On the other hand, everybody knows that it can't be a true novelty chess set unless it's made out of pewter at the Franklin Mint. Not only are these things made in China, but they've also committed the blasphemous act of making them out of plastic! And not even the good kind of plastic, either! I'm talking the really weak, bendy stuff here. Where's the fun in it if you can't throw a pawn at your opponent in an angry rage and leave a nice Mokona-shaped bruise on his/her forehead for the next several weeks? Feh! Feh, I say!

Anyway, that's it for this edition. Be sure to tune in next time, when we'll have with us special guest Roger Moltewicz. We don't know who he is yet, but we're sure it will be interesting. Goodnight, everybody!

Cardcaptor Will
Relive the magic of Cardcaptor Will