The XYZZY Awards were yesterday. Let me tell you something....no one throws an on-line awards ceremony like IF fans and writers. That was drama, passion, jokes, and at least one "costume malfunction." It was great fun.
I don't see how the Oscars can possibly compare.
I am proud, delighted, and giddy to announce that Slouching Towards Bedlam took home four awards yesterday:
- Best Individual NPC (Non-Player Character): Triage
- Best Setting
- Best Story
- Best Game
Many thanks to those who organized the event, nominated, voted (and mostly) played the games. And congratulations to all the very worthy nominees and winners.
But I just can't seem to like Lucy. She gives me the willies. - [MF]
Google is now
available in href="http://www.thespeciousreport.com/2004/04040105google.html"
I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or get myself a set.
Pop Culture Boy just told me to open Slashdot, where I learned the interview was part of a nine-part article Magic Words: Interactive Fiction in the 21st Century. The article features interviews with several prominent personalities in the IF community: Emily Short, Stephen Granade, Andrew Plotkin and Adam Cadre. It's humbling to be included with such company.
Being interviewed by a game magazine alongside game writers you respect: Cool.
It's good to see an in-depth look at the current world of Interactive Fiction. It's a phenomenal art form, full of creative possibilities, and that allows an truly intimate exchange between the writer and the player. Too often these games are shadowed by their graphic-rich cousins; many of which can't be bothered with intricate details like plot, pacing, and story. Interactive Fiction is more than just another kind of game. It's another kind of literature.
Seeing IF get some mainstream attention: Cooler.
Our interview appears on page 8 (for those of you too impatient to read all the other interviews and observations). Also on page 8, you can see Peccable and I as cartoon characters, surrounded by cartoon renderings of elements from our game.
Being a imortalized in pen and ink: Coolest.
...changes are afoot!
Not to go all Martha Stewart on y'all, but promoting reading (and libraries!) is a good thing.
Therefore it is with great pleasure that I am sharing with you their newest contest:
1st Annual Ben Franklin Xtreme Library Challenge!
The contest: Come up with the most creative, practical, and eco-friendly uses of all those boxes of old "National Geographics" in our parents' garages.
The purpose: To call attention to the recycling of used books and magazines, putting them into hands that want and need them instead of landfills.
The good people at the National Geographic Society have donated a prize - a copy of their newest and biggest photography book, "Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs."
My favorite suggestion from the website?:
In addition, I would suggest the following:
- Create the new National Geographic diet. Encourage all rabid fad dieters to eat the back issues of National Geographic.
- Shred them to create the most luxurious bedding for all the hamsters in the world (educational color photos included).
- Build a giant National Geographic magazine fort. Then live there. Forever.
You're a creative bunch. What can you come up with?
reporting that menu mastermind, sexy
culinary cutie Alton
Brown will be joining the cast of Iron Chef America, taking the
important role of play-by-play analyst (a position held by "Doc Hattori" in
the Japanese Iron Chef series).
Only time will tell.
you that I know several women who would rip each other's intelligent,
well-mannered throats out to get to him, should he ever become
Too bad for them though, as AB's href="http://www.altonbrown.com/pages/rants.html" target="_blank">rant
of February 15th clearly shows he is meant for me. When asked what food he
would choose if could only have one food for the rest of his life, he said
No, not the infamous Bill Cosby Picture Pages. Although that was a childhood disappoint to me in and of itself. SarcasMom ordered Picture Pages for me twice. Twice! And they never showed up. So I had to sit and watch Bill and Mortimer Icabod and know in my heart I was getting all the answers right even though I couldn't record them for posterity. Stupid Billy Cosby.
In all fairness to Messrs. Cosby and Icabod, however, I'm pretty sure I was convinced my Picture Pages would also come with a sentient marker with whom I could have adventures, so it is likely I would have been disappointed anyway.
The Picture Pages I am talking about are just some image based diversions to get your through your Wednesday. The trauma
some of them invoked is all mine...although it can be yours for the asking. Enjoy!
- Hey! Who Are You Calling Dummy, Dummy?: Dolls give me the heeby jeebies. Not all dolls, of course, but the ones that strive to capture true human emotion. They sit calmly and stare at you with earnest impassioned faces and flat souless eyes.
Pop Culture Boy's grandmother is a dollmaker. I had opportunity to be in her shop once; I think it scarred me for life. If you agree that lifeless dolls can be creepy, imagine sitting in a small, closed room surrounded by sundry, child-sized body parts; a stack of limbs here, a pile of glistening eyeballs there, twisted mouths pursued as if to speak and ask for other facial features. It was all I could do not to bolt out the door or jump out of my skin (or both) as I sipped weak tea.
This being so, it came as some surprise to me that I was so drawn by this display of Window Dummies. Although still a wee bit disturbing, they also struck me as haunting, and strangely beautiful. This one most of all. - [JW]
- Can Posters Make Us Happy?: The Happy Poster Project thinks so. Download one of their posters and post it at home, work, or in your neighborhood. You are even invited to submit one of your own. I plan to put The Universe is Infinite up in my cubicle at work. (One co-worker calls it my "office". I love her.)
- Don't Bother, They're Here: Some beautiful and frightening work at Worth 1000 as they present Celebrity Clowns. The Keifer Sutherland one disturbs me because it reminds me of a clown a friend of mine hired for her son's third birthday party. He came to the party a wee bit drunk and with a small stack of adult magazines in the back of his car (this, thankfully, was not part of his act). The children didn't seem at all bothered by him, but every adult in the room squirmed as he artlessly applied face paint on the children, and wanted to sanitize everything in the room after he left. (Did she get a refund? You better believe she did!) - [JW]
- Need a Date?: Check out Something Awful take on Yahoo! Personals. That Westley sure is a cutie.
- I Can't Imagine the Size of Their Lego Bucket: Nigh disturbingly detailed Lego dioramas inspired by Star Wars and other things. - [LM]
In response to W.'s most recent href="http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp?type=worldNews&locale=e
n_IN&storyID=4427384" target="_blank">anti-American act, I was going to
write asking all my American readers to write, call, e-mail, semiphore,
morse code or otherwise contact their local, state and federal
representatives and stand up for their rights.
For those of you not who don't click through, I wanted to repeat the href="http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/"
target="_blank">resource Mac links to which allows you to enter you
zipcode and learn the names of your state representatives. It also provides
you with a way to contact them.
I understand that not all of you out there feel the way I do about the
issues. That's fine. Being able to say so is what makes this America. Not
saying so to the people who matter may be the least American thing one
Don't let them take your America away from you.
Guy (via an idea on href="http://www.happyrobot.net/words/pony.asp?backid=4220&m=2&y=2004"
target="_blank">Pony) has composed a folk song, in which href="http://accordionguy.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2004/2/24/22595.html"
target="_blank">he is the hero. He then challenged his readers to do
Sarcasmo's cool, dilly dilly,
When the time comes, dilly dilly,
She shall be Queen
Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
A magic 8 ball, dilly dilly,
Said it will be so
Call up your friends, dilly, dilly
Tell them to beware
Some can be minions, dilly dilly,
Help Her to prepare
Some to spread the word, dilly dilly,
Some to fan the flames
Whilst Sarcasmo in Her wisdom, dilly dilly,
Plays video games
Sarcasmo's cool, dilly dilly,
When the time is ripe, dilly, dilly
She shall be Queen
Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
A magic 8 ball, dilly dilly,
Said it will be so
What's your folk song? (Too shy to sing about yourself? No fear.
My ego is big enough for all of us: write one for me!)
BBC News says I'm not
100% cynical. Clearly I'm not trying hard enough.
You're really only a second-rate cynic. Actually, you aren't as cynical
as much as world weary, and sometimes you have a point. One thing though -
laughing at children isn't nice.
How cynical are you? You can sit and brood about it, or take the
quiz and find out. - [PS]
If an adult individual wearing both suspenders and a belt
still exposes three-quarters of his buttocks upon standing, he is a most
- Monday Morning Quiz: You know you want it.
- Hee Hee Hee: Qveere Eye for thye Mediaeval Man - A Parody. Even in tapestry form, Ted is my favorite. - [MF]
- Soon to be Searching for Gozer: Are you psychic? - [JWB] Yeah. Me neither. I scored 7..two points too low to be statistically interesting.
However, a creepy shopkeeper with a cloudy eye once told me as a child that I am empathic. Surely that must count for something.
- It May be Crap, but I Like It: CrapRadio: "Playing the very best in computer and video game soundtracks and remixes." And I do so dig on video game music.- [JWB]
- Battle Royale: Trekkies (and Trekkers) take heart...the age old argument can finally be settled. Challenge the infidel in your life to Trek Wars! Kirk vs. Spock - [RD]
that I want one of these, with "SARCAMO" across the front?
Yeah, I thought so. But I want one anyway.
This eBay auction is brillant. The item up for bid...a cup of tea made in the home of an American or Candian bidder by a real-life subject of the British Empire! - [BH]
The catch..you need to fly them to your location.
I am desperately trying to come up with something decidedly American I can teach the Brits so I can make an auction of my own....
- Superheros: It's was a good week for Superheros in the blogsphere this week. J-Walk Blog invited readers to take the What Marvel Superhero Are You? quiz and The Frustrated Writer waxed poetic about the sexiest caped crusader ever. - [LPWN]
- What is Sexy?: David from small.to (AKA Gidget Pizzabrain) asks ponders the age old question:Small.to and help him out? I've given my vote. (Even if you don't have the answer, small.to is well worth the visit)
- Good for a Smile(y): (1) Product Warning Signs for Physicists - [MM] (2) Al-Gebra (3) The difference between Western Smileys(Emoticons) and Japanese ones (chutt! (kiss!) is too cute) - [CGSRM]
- Bookmark This One for Your Clueless Friends and Relatives, and Idiot Co-Workers: BreakTheChain.Org gives the lo-down on currently circulating chain letters. - [TM]
- 404-a-Rama: Area 404 is an index of some of the most interesting and entertaining 404 error pages out there. This site makes losing your way on the Information Superhighway a truly pleasant experience.
If I were in LA, I wouldn't miss this:
Square Enix announced that it will present the first symphony concert featuring music from its Final Fantasy video game series in the United States on May 10 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles..
I love the music in Final Fantasy. It's one of the best parts of playing the games.
Debbie noticed that there is now a new designation next to the comments field for each post, which I am currently calling, "Echoes." I am experimenting with the new Trackback feature now availble from Haloscan, who provides the technology that keeps your comments rolling in.
What exactly is a Trackback?, you ask. Good question.
Truth be told, I am not entirely sure.
The way I understand it, if another blogger should choose to link to a Sarcasmo's Corner post, they can let me (and you, dear readers) know by pinging the trackback URL for the particular entry. This can be a useful and interesting way to generate varied and thougthful discussion on a wide variety of topics.
How they do that, exactly, is generally where I get lost.
Apparently Moveable Type has this feature built-in for their users. Haloscan users can use the new Haloscan Trackback ping form. Everyone else might want to take a look at Trackback.org.
Can somewhere out there explain this better than me? Better yet...can they explain it to me?
My neck is sore from sleeping in an awkward position (so deep, in fact, Pop Culture Boy felt the need to poke at me until I said "Mruh" just to be sure I was still alive) all night.
I'm still tired.
I forgot my glasses.
This makes me grumpy.
Woe betide my co-workers.
Pop Culture Boy and I had a great time at last night's Canuck cuties concert. To be fair, it was less than a concert and more of a variety show. There were video segments staring Red Vs. Blue, a blue grass version of One Week (think Soggy Bottom Boys), a game of "Beat the Crew" (in which one audience member was given the chance to challenge a crew member in BareNaked Ladies trivia. When faced with the question the young girl, so excited her friend had to hug her to stop her from shaking, turned to the microphone and said "Shit," very matter-of-factly to a stadium of screaming BNL fans), and a song-and-dance extravaganza during Shopping that could easily have put Esther Williams and the boy bands to shame.
The band them selves were full of fun and moxie; Steve (whose voice is much more impressive than I would have ever imagined) jumped around so much I was sure he had flubber in his shoes; Tyler was a wise-cracking drum machine; Jim played a bass solo (stand-up, thankyouverymuch) that rocked the house, and his bowing threatened to set the bass on fire; Kevin (
from Philly, woo-hoo! UPDATE: Cheryl, wise cousin and BNL fan extraordinare has informed me that Kevin is not from Philly, and that when he does his guitar solo at the shows Ed always says "[Name of City]'s Own Kevin Hearn!" However, she also pointed me to this picture of the BNL guys wearing Flyers jerseys, so they are still a bit Philly to me.) proved himself a most accomplished musician playing keyboards, guitar, accordion, mandolin, and vo-coder (sadly, not simultaneously); and Ed sang his heart out, with his built-up arms and rocking hips I found myself thinking he'd be really good at...well, never mind all that.
I think my favorite aspect of the show was the fact that the band really seemed to enjoy one another. They laughed a lot, showed a sincere appreciation of their audience, and rocked out hardcore (they are better live musicians than you might imagine).
It's amazing to step away from a show that is so full of pop-culture references, lively banter and general frivolity only to find the lyrics and songs that stick with you are those that are more insightful and and melancholy (something at which BNL excels). Despite the audience sing-a-long of If I Had a Million Dollars that ended their first encore, I found myself walking home singing Call and Answer, and PCB and I discussed War on Drugs and Celebrity.
I liked BareNaked Ladies before this show. Now they can consider me a bona fide fan.
A co-workers beaming babe (too young to sell candy) is ill, which means Pop Culture Boy and I inherit their Superbox seats to tonight's BareNaked Ladies concert.
Remember folks. It's very, very wrong to celebrate the pain and suffering of a child.
But (nearly) free tickets to see BareNaked Ladies? Woo-hoo!
It's late night here at the corner, and I'm feeling a wee bit saucy. (Also, I've stumbled across a few concerning adult links lately, and I am a firm believer in sharing the pain).
For your ribald pleasure:
- It's Good to Be the King: Meet my friend Phil, King of Porn. If you've seen all the porn the Internet has to offer, he's apparently the one to turn to. (I would add that if you've seen all the porn on the Internet, you need to turn off your computer and go outside. Try talking to some real boys and girls. Some of them might even get naked for you (mileage may vary).)
- Adventures in Really Bad Pornography: Offering EXACTLY what is advertised. I mean, I'm all for amateur photography...but let's try and been a wee-bit artful!
- Exactly WHERE Did April Have that Camera?: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Porn. [MF]. I hope never to see it's like again (and yet...I couldn't look away).
- End of an Era?: The infamous Whitehouse.com is soon to be no more. [UT]What is the Internet coming to when established porn sites vanish in the name of responsibility and family values. What's next? The de-evolution of on-line gaming? Is the World Wide Web doomed to revert back to its original form: emergency communication?
Fear not, fellow surfers. There's porn aplenty for all of us.
- And of Course I'd Be Remiss if I Left Out: Clown Porn, because those who smile on the outside and weep on the inside need some kinky lovin' too.
If you'd rather avoid this sort of thing and dabble in erotica, I recommend Scarlet Letters. It can be hit or miss...but oh, when it hits!
Enjoy. (But if you do, don't feel obliged to tell me about it.)
Overslept? Dragging your feet all the way to the office? No time for coffee? How will you make it through the day?
Fear not, Citizen. A good morning dose of paranoia will wake you just like a cup of bad office java (and taste twice as bitter)!
Today Sarcasmo's Corner is happy to offer the following paranoia inducing items to get you through your otherwise conspiracy-free day:
- And Next, Your Honor, I'd Like a Computer to Read the Defendant's Tea Leaves: Alex-the-Girl (formerly of Guest Blog fame) sent me a BBC News article this morning on brain fingerprinting. This practice, which monitors the brains initial response to certain external stimuli (a picture of a room the subject should be familiar with, a password, etc), supposedly offers proof of what information is stored in the subject's brain, without the filter of emotion.
Currently it is being used in law enforcement. The situation described in the article suggests that the technology is being used to exonerate falsely accused suspects; inarguably a good thing. But this also means this technology may eventually be used to convict suspects, based soley on the brain's reaction to stimuli. (According to the article, "Brain fingerprinting is admissible in court for use in identifying or exonerating individuals in the US.")
It was just a year ago researchers demonstrated how easy it is to fool the brain into having false memories; can we really rely on this non-specific information when making decisions about the freedom and life of human beings?
Further, how difficult would it be for them to assign meaning to innocuous reactions? I'm sure a very convincing argument could be made for testing all people once they determine what reactions are particular to specific subversive societal elements; then we could all be scanned, certified, & categorized for our own safety. And if your brain reacts to seeing a certain toy well-beloved in your youth but long since forgotten to you, and that happens to be the trigger they use to identify pedophiles...well, it's for the betterment of society. Surely you'll understand.
In fact, we could identify potential criminals early, and lock them up as soon as they leave the womb. Brilliant!
And on a more personal level: I detest the idea of anyone poking around my grey matter for information while I am alive and well. It seems to be the worst sort of violation...the interference of science and government into our secret selves. Of course, you may argue that if I'm not a criminal, I have nothing to fear; right now this is only being used on criminals by the police. But it's a short leap from the police to the Thought Police, and I am most certainly a Thought Criminal.
- America: The World's Most Depressing Book Club: Several times during the President W.'s administration I have recommended Americans read 1984. Alas, I was largely ignored. Well, don't skip the next recommendation on Sarcasmo's Reading List: The Handmaid's Tale. by Margaret Atwood. Why? For starters, Bush nominated and installed Dr. David Hager as a member of the FDA panel on reproductive drugs; a doctor who suggests women read scripture to cure medical ills, and who has been rumored to refuse to provide contraceptives to women who are not married.[GF]
In addition, women's privacy is being threatened as Ashcroft is Subpoening the medical records of women who have had abortions.
(You need to pay attention here too, men. If they take away *our* patient rights to privacy, yours won't be far behind.)
- Speak No Evil. Hear No Evil. Close-Caption No Evil: In one of the most surprising and mind-numbing moves in government sanitation of pop-culture, the US Department of Education is choosing not to close-caption certain TV shows for secret reasons.
Because everyone knows the hard of hearing should be protected from the likes of The Fairly Odd Parents and Scooby Doo .
Too much conspiracy theory for you? That's ok. It's too much for me too. I suppose we can get ourselves fitted with our cyborg names now, and sit blissfully by while They wiggle Their way into our brains like that earwig in Wrath of Khan. We can amuse ourselves with pop-culture hilarity while they keep fighting for world domination. [PCB] We can sit around our homes, feeling secretly superior because we know We are smarter than They are. After all, Knowledge is Power.
Isn't it about time we used it?
Read. Watch. Learn. Act. Vote.
And hope that that's enough.
This Post Brought to You by Insufficient Sleep, Fear of Our Overlords, and Reading Fahrenheit 451 Before Bed.
Both CRIMSON ROOM and Grow are making the rounds, and though I find them both entrancing, I can't seem to get anywhere with them.
Well, that's not entirely true. Whereas I am still a prisoner of the Crimson Room (it seems I am one object short of escape), I keep "Leveling Up" in Grow, but I have no idea why.
If you, like me, are working this President's Day, here's a few work day distractions for you:
- Monday Morning Quiz: This week's quiz is in honor of President's Day, and world leaders everywhere.
- Bling, Bling, Little Star, How I Wonder What Cut You Are: Space. The Final Financial Frontier. SarcasMom informs me that real estate mogul hopefuls are eagerly snatching up interstellar real estate, which will likely not be worth anything when "owners" try to stake their claim. Clearly the real money is to be made in buy dying stars. Consider, for example, star BPM 37093, a white dwarf now believed to be a 10 billion trillion trillion carat diamond. Jewelers the world over are salivating. - [K5]
- I Always Knew That Paul Revere Was Trouble: Something Awful offers a funny, enlightening, and tragically disturbing look at history as though our media and government's current terroism-mania had existed throughout the ages. - [DT via Soup Senior]
- The Most Morbid Children's Song Ever: Which is probably why I've always liked it. The Old Lady and the Fly; now in Flash for your amusement. - [PS]
- Sometimes a Cigar is Something Else Entirely: Freud/Jung Slash Fiction. - [BB]
Whether romantic, platonic, familial or otherwise, may your Valentine's Day be filled with love.
(I'm a girl who has her priorities straight.)
I know...one shouldn't have to toot their own horn on Valentine's Day, but what the hey. Since Debbie was kind enough to post the news in the Guest Blog, I thought I might as well make an official announcement:
Slouching Towards Bedlam, my and Peccable's entry in the 2003 Interactive Fiction Competition, has been nominated in 8 of 10 categories for the XYZZY Awards. We were nominated for the following:
- Best game
- Best writing
- Best story
- Best setting
- Best NPCs (non-player characters
- Best individual NPC
- Best individual PC (player character)
- Best medium
So, if you've played the nominated games this year, please vote.
And many, many thanks to Peccable, who did a lion's share of the hard work.
With the Friday Fun list looming, and two holidays offering themselves for themes, Sarcasmo just couldn't decide. I scratched my little head for a while, then figured, "Heck, it's MY website. Why not have them all?" Therefore, dear readers, this Friday Fun list of distractions offers you the following themes: Classic (for non-celebrators), Cursed (for Friday the 13th enthusiasts), Valentine's Day (both against and for), and, of course Monkey, because I like monkeys.
Traditional Friday Fun (Goofy!)
- D'oh!: Who would you kill on The Simpsons? I had a hard time trying to make the choice...especially since voters are given a chance to write the characters final scene, and I'd want it to be the Best. Death Scene. Ever. - [JWB]. Other news from Springfield: there may be a movie in the works.
- Liberace Now!: And other Incredibly Strange Albums. - [TM]
- The Bayeux Tapestry Was Never Meant to Be Like This: Something Awful has had some fun with history- [ML]
- Signs of Life: "Photographs of signs that transcend their objectivity to reveal our humanity." - [JWB]
Cursed Friday Fun (13-y!)
- Origins: Why fear Friday the 13th? UrbanLegends.com will tell you.
- In Case You Need to Fix It: How Friday the 13th Works.
- And Bad Luck to You Too!: Friday the 13th greeting cards, for the paraskevidekatriaphobic in your life.
- See. It IS a Red-Letter Day: Here's how to celebrate. You can even have a party.
- For Vorhees Fans:A timeline of the films.
Let's Cancel Valentines Friday Fun (Anti !)
Your score was 87. Very quirkyalone:- [AQL] Not sure my romantic life is the reason relatives give me funny looks (although with my relationship..it's possible!), but there are days I do romance the world. (When oh when will it notice me?)
Relatives may give you quizzical looks, and so may friends, but you know in your heart of hearts that you are following your inner voice. Though you may not be romancing a single person, you are romancing the world.
Valentines Friday Fun (Squishy)
- Wallpaper: A romantic desktop decoration.
- Young Vegetables in Love: Cute flash fun with the
Valentine Carrots- [B]
- Romantic...Yet Creepy: So was the love of a Frenchwoman for her dead fiance that she married him anyway. Terribly touching..although I assume they left out the "till death do us part" portion? - [GF]
- How To Say "I Love You": In many languages.
- How to Love a Geek Girl: Excellent advice.
Monkeys Friday Fun (Monkey!)
- I'm Surprised Gleek and Blip Don't Count as One (Aren't They the Same Monkey?): Revel in the 50 Coolest Apes of All Time. -[UT]
- Well, There Goes My Job: Computer programming is finally so simple, even a higher primate can do it. -[PS]
- Better Known Than Me: Famous Monkeys Throughout History.
- Hey, Hey!: Laugh if you want to, but their reunion tour was the first concert I saw live!
- It's Mad, I Tell You!: Monkey Madness. It's all about monkeys.
Have a great weekend, no matter what you celebrate.
So, I've just gotten the sad news from YRPoppyBean: beautiful couple Barbie and Ken are
splitsville after 43 years of high-profile romance.
I suspect it has something to do with Barbie getting sick of Ken mooching off her all the time. While Barbie has spent the past 43 years working hard. She started as a teen model, but undaunted by tradition (or the number of hours in a day), she trained to become a McDonald's employee, a teacher, a stewardess, an OB/GYN and even an astronaut.
Now, let's consider Ken's incarnations:
- Beach Blast Ken: How Frankie and Annette!
- Beach Fun Ken: Because a mere "blast" was no longer enough.
- Busy Ken: he watches TV! Talks on the phone! Drinks soda! Listens to records! And carries a travel case that Barbie clearly packed! Gosh! How does he keep up?
- Club California Ken: Such a snappy dresser!
- Great Shape Ken: He...err...wears shorts!
- Sport and Shave Ken: He plays tennis and he shaves. Can you expect him to do anything else?
For further consideration, all the real estate and assets the couple had was Barbie's: The Dream House, The Town House, the Corvette. Ken brought nothing to the picture but a (debateably) pretty face. I suspect Barbie was exhausted by being Ken's sole provider for some 40 odd-years and told him to get off his duff or get out.
Or, conversely, perhaps Ken was flat broke again and ended the romance himself so he wouldn't have to buy a Valentine's Gift. Callus? Maybe. But I think he's the kind of plastic man to do it.
After all, any girl who ever had a Barbie knows Ken doesn't have any balls.
If you are at all geeky, nerdy, or otherwise socially impaired, you have no doubt heard the exciting news: Lucas has finally bowed down to his fans and agreed to release the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD.
Well, sort of. It's the original three movies. Not the original versions.
And I won't buy them.
In 1996, Pop Culture Boy and I (yes, we have been together that long) attended the geekfest that is Dragon*Con with some friends. It was a weekend resplendent with LAN gaming, celebrity stalking, and big piles of money spent in the dealers' room.
I don't know why we don't do it more often.
1996 was a particularly Star Wars heavy year guest-wise. We got autographs from David Prowse ("David Prowse IS Darth Vader") and Jeremy Bulloch, and attended Mark Hamill's talk about..well...being Mark Hamill..
The event for Star Wars fans that year, however, was the appearance of Steve Sansweet, infamous Star Wars memorabilia collector, and, that year, the man who was going to show us a sneak preview of the Star Wars: Special Edition. The small conference room of the hotel was so packed with sweaty, eager twenty-somethings that one couldn't fall over if they tried.
After some silly small talk, Sansweet bent to the crowds rabid will and started the screening. We watched with interest as the first X-wing scene filled the pull-down film screen, framed above by a feed Lucas (from Skywalker Ranch) and beneath with a feed of the programmers, as they argued over the timing of the X-wings opening. "I want them to go boom, boom, boom." said Lucas.
"When George Lucas asks for boom, boom, boom, George Lucas gets boom, boom, boom," Sansweet told the audience, who was already wondering, "Is this it? Is this what the new technology will do for the film? Boom, boom, boom?"
Next we were treated to the re-inserted Jabba the Hut scene as it was filmed (with an Declan Mulholland as Jabba the Hutt, dressed inexplicably as an extra from Henry the V), and then with the new CGI Jabba.
Then..the unthinkable. Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. Cantina. Hoots and catcalls from the audience for Han Solo. Greedo shoots first.
Greedo shoots first?!?
Sansweet turned and smiled at the audience. His smile slowly slipped as he realized no one was smiling back. After the initial buzz of indignation a terrible silence had fallen over the room.
We were waiting for the punchline. Sansweet (if memory serves correctly) actually took a step or two backward. There was real fear in his eye. And rightfully so. He thought he came to us a hero...but instead he incensed a room of rabid fans.
And let us not forget, Fan is short for fantatic. We are not reasonable people. If we were, Fan would be short for Fantastic.
Amazingly, the event ended without violence (thanks, I believe, to a hasty exit on Sansweet's part). I don't blame him of course. I'm not the type to shoot the messenger.
Or, in this case, the bounty hunter.
I will, however, present my own.
When Han shoots Greedo first, we understand that this character is not a good man. He is a rogue, a scoundrel, a pirate; a man of opportunity who values his own skin above all else.
When Greedo shoots first, Han is defending himself. What else would anyone do? He is busted down from scoundrel to down-on-his-luck shipping pilot who occasionally smuggles illegal items. (The kind of character I favor when playing Space Trader). This is not a bad man, or a ruthless man. This is a man who is willing, sometimes, to bend the law.
When the Scoundrel Solo comes back to help fight the Empire, he is a Man Redeemed. He has learned, through the camaraderie and love of the heroes of the story that there is a hero inside him as well, and that sometimes it is best to use our talents for the good of everyone rather than the good of our own skins.
When Down On His Luck Solo returns to fight the Empire, who is really surprised? Where else wil he go? There is no fundamental change to his character. No redemption.
My long-held belief was that Lucas wanted all his heroes to be heroic - leaving no gray area in the myth's morality. Speaking with PCB about this last night I wondered aloud if maybe Lucas had become more cynical about life in general. Maybe he has ceased to believe that people have the capacity for change. That heroes and villains are born and not made. That our Destiny is ordained, not decided by our actions (think about it...the addition of midichlorians to the myth in the newer films...making control of the Force a matter of birthright rather than training and faith, supports this theory).
Sorry Mr. Lucas. I like Pirate Solo the way he is. I know you depend on nostalgia-laden Gen X-ers to purchase every Star Wars emblazoned item you put forth. I and my wallet have been there for you many times.
But not this time.
If you want me to buy the DVDs, release the original versions
Boom, boom, boom
I am currently re-reading Lolita, which is quite possibly my favorite book of all time.
And it disturbs me.
In strangely wonderful ways.
I've been devouring it in bed at night, and on my daily bus commute. This is dangerous because it is so compelling a read that I find myself putting off sleep until even my glasses can't keep my eyes focused, and during the day I come dangerously close to missing my stop and ending up in another city entirely. Yesterday I even tried to navigate crowded city streets and dangerous intersections on foot with my nose still buried in the book. (Incidentally, this is not recommended for amateurs. Some pedestrians resent it when you step on their feet or jostle them.)
I love Lolita because the writing is almost unbearably beautiful and lyrical; it is transcendent. If I were the type to write in and/or highlight passages of books (I'm not. It breaks my heart to mar them that way.), my paperback pages would be resplendent with margin notes and thick swatches of fluorescent yellow. It seems in each paragraph, each glorious passage, there is a phrase I want to remember. When Nabakov told us to "caress the divine details," it was clearly advice from his heart. Sometimes I find I am holding my breath while reading; I am that overwhelmed.
And yet, while the beauty of the writing makes me want to weep openly, the story itself works a different insidious magic on me. My skin, immune to the music of words my brain is prone to instead takes the story to heart and starts to shiver. Faced with Humberts devices for touching Lolita's still-boyish frame, it tries to crawl from my flesh and bones and hide in the bus wheel wells; as his plans to ingratiate himself as her guardian become clear, it cowers for comfort beneath the bed.
I detest so much of what he stands for, and yet....his humor, his charm, his wit, his words! Making time with Humbert is like spending time with a Harlequinn scoundrel; you know he's the worst kind of trouble, but you simply can not stay away.
Ah, the delicious torture of reading.
For those of you trying to woo the Sarcasmo in your life, take heart. I am here to offer you some advice. Sure, I would love to come home and find my bathroom remodeled in swish piratey style - [BB]; I'd delight in a Pin Clock, especially if you could push your face in it - [TM]; and what girl wouldn't love her very own Space Station to while away the hours in?
But these are but objects; mere tokens and trinkets that might sway the affections of a lesser woman, but not mine. If you want to win my heart, you'll have to rock my world. Literally. Here's a few things you can try:
- Oh Brave New World: Arrange the immediate election of a new President. Natch.
- Because Lounging Pajamas Should Be Considered Appropriate Office Wear: A writing contract. A book deal would be lovely, of course, but I'm not a greedy girl; I'd be happy to land a job as a humor columnist. Remember Dave's World, in which Harry Anderson portrayed humor columnist Dave Barry as an individual who (a) worked from home (b) in his own private office (c) in his pajamas (d) had wacky adventures (e) and got paid for it? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
- Return of The "Real" World: They say there is no word for the concept of Schadenfreude in the English Language. I disagree. One need only look at the overwhelming offerings of Reality TV. These shows create "real" situations from unrealistic circumstances in order to make participants (willing and non-willing) suffer for our enjoyment. It's barbaric
**, and a terrible statement on the dehumanization of our culture. What kind of record are we leaving for future generations?
Make this TV trend go away
***, and I'll be a happier gal. Not only won't I have to hear about this crap around the water cooler, but I also won't, from time to time, get sucked in by it's hypnotic hideousness. (I've gotten pulled into The Apprentice show twice this month. TWICE! My brain feels dirty).
- Super Powers:: Of the non-toxic, non-lethal kind, please. Also, I'll need suggestions for what to call myself after the transformation, as DC and Marvel apparently own the rights to the phrase "Super Hero" and don't like to share. - [ML]
- World Travel: No, not an all-expense paid vacation anywhere in the world for me (mind you, I wouldn't say No to it). What I'm talking about here is some kind of program that encourages all Americans to travel not only outside their own state, but outside the country as well. (Honestly, I think this should be mandatory, but I am hesitant to use the word "forced" or "required" as that smacks of exactly the kind of dictatorship I lie in bed fearing at night). I feel that so many of our social ills (both domestic and foreign) could be allayed we got our collective head out of our collective American ass, recognized that other cultures and practice exist in the world, and although sometimes alien to us they are not inferior or bad.
Sorry to be the one to tell you this, America, but sometimes Their Way is better.
And, although one would have thought this should go without saying, the travel experience should be prejudice free, for the host city and travelers alike. - [AAGTFC]
(What? I can have a generous thought for mankind once in a while. Geeze.)
- More of a Gift For You, Really: Something interesting to blog about every day so I don't have to keep resorting to lists.
I'm Beginning to Think He Gets a Kickback Every Time He Says "War" and "Terror" or "Terrorists" in the Same Sentence
Here's a fun little game from McSweeney's:
This would be amusing if it weren't so depressing.
For more deep insight and thoughtful discourse from the C-I-C, be sure to peruse the transcript from his recent appearance on Meet the Press. If you're too tired to make it through the whole thing, let me give you a rundown:
- We are at war against terror.
- Terror. Terror. Terror.
- That's justification enough for everything.
- Because I'm the President and I say so. That's why.
This is why voting is SO IMPORTANT.
Not sure why the links I've harvested for today's distractions are all tinged with shadows. I think it must have something to do with having to go back to work.
- Monday Morning Quiz: For the literary nerd in you.
- And They Said That My Catalog of Obscure Horror Knowledge Would Be Useless. Fools!: Attention graduates of Miskatonic U and other Lovecraft aficionados: The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society wants you to help write and illustrate The Necronomicon. And what do you get for helping to summon the Old Ones from their slumber, opening trans-dimensional portals, and enslaving mankind? No, not a part in world domination...not even a boom-stick. But you could win a hand-crafted leather copy of the Necronomicon, which is pretty darn cool in and of itself. Via BoingBoing
- War is Peace: The Students for Orwell Society are preaching what I've been saying all along. Sometimes it's not very comforting to be right. - Via BoingBoing
- Was Poor Taste Ever So Much Fun?: Dead Baby Dress Up is no stranger to Sarcasmo's Corner. But did you know This Is a Cry for Help also offers Dead Baby Super Hero Dress Up, a Puzzle Baby AND a dead baby version of Where the Wild Things Are? I don't know how we got by without these for so long.
- Warning: Monsters Under Bed Are Hungry: And other Children Safety Signs.
What with the missing WMDs and the Hutton Report Controversy capturing the public imagination, it's good to know that the British Parliment can settle down and work on something really important.
*Ironically, Everything I Do, I Do It For You was playing on the radio while I was writing this post.
My big Friday night plans? Staying in with friends to play Dark Tower.
And I couldn't be more excited.
- Nobody uses the holodeck for a week: And other Things We'll Never See on Star Trek. - Via Metafilter
- Age Maps: A creepy, yet beautiful photographic exploration of how we age.- Found on J-Walk Blog
- All the Good Kinds of Noise: - My friend Brian pointed me towards #noisier.net, an ever updating website that pulls interesting links from the #noisier IRC channel.
- Good to Know In Case You're In a Psychoanalytic Pinch: How to Pass The Rorschach Test. Judging by the expected responses, I wouldn't pass. Most of these look like countries on some strange planetory map to me. How silly of me not to see vaginas everywhere I look.
- found on Kid Icarus and the Gang
- If Quentin Tarantino Directed Mel Gibson's Passion: - The trailer might look something like this. And I might be more inclined to see it. Via Incoming Signals
Philly Future.org is a great way to find what other Philadelphians are blogging about.
I realize this the argument here is about whether or not it's appropriate (or desirable) to give robots the appearance of humans; it's a sociological issue that is likely to be debated by anthropoligists, sociologists, designers and AI specialists for sometime.
But that's not what caught my attention about this story. My concern is this:
(1) ``Sculptor roboticist'' David Hanson was a robotics developer for Walt Disney Imagineering.
(2) He has designed robots that look like his girlfriend.
Anyone else getting Stepford shivers?
UPDATE: See photos of him with his
Someone in Kent is surreptitiously planting trees in peoples gardens.
Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors, offers readers (all readers, not just his) a daunting challenge:
List your 10 favorite novels, and, in great detail, outline their plots, then renew your acquaintance with these to find out how you have scarred, beautified, or mutilated those incredible books. What a pastime for all of us in the near future.
I'll admit, I'm intrigued by this. But the books I love are more than just their stories, they are the language used to tell them. The rhythmic insights of Shakespeare; Nabokov's heart-wrenching turn of an English phrase that makes my own, native grasp of the language seem inferior; Bradbury's innocent wonder and dark imaginings; how could my just retelling these tales ever HOPE to come close to what makes them magical? Memorable?
Isn't a great book more than its story?
When your partner makes Valentine's Day reservations for a candlelight dinner at White Castle.
The AI 20 Questions is back up and running.
And still eerily accurate.
Michael's trial. Janet's boob. Tito's...well, Titoness.
There are a lot of celebrities out there America. If we're going to ignore real news (poison in Frist's office, Democratic primaries, Billy Jack running against Bush for the Republican nomination), can we at least have some variety? If I have to hear the pastie vs. piercing argument one more time (it's a PIERCING, dammit) I may cry.
I am tired of hearing about the Jacksons. And talking about the Jacksons. And wondering about the Jacksons. And watching the VH1 behind the scenes retrospective on the Jacksons. Can't we pick on some other over-exploited music family for a while?
I mean, what's Hanson up to these days? Where are THEIR breasts?
As a public service, I offer the following alternative celebrity families to gossip about around the water cooler, in blogspace, and to be the focus of general media brouhaha:
- The Bee Gees
- Wilson Philips
- The Partridge Family
- The Brady Kids
- The Judds
- Ravi Shankar/Nora Jones
- The Osmonds
- The Family Stone
- The Smothers Brothers
For those of you still not satisfied: Neverland Ranch, lewd acts with children, King of Pop, Janet's boobie, "costume malfunction", nipple shield, Tito, Tito, Tito.
Can we move on now?
Don't you just hate it when your body has a mind of its own?
Earlier this week, I stumbled upon Once Upon A Blog's
- Fornicating plastic animals are inherently funny. Duh.
- It reminded me of Pop Culture Boy's and my wedding.
Now, before you get your minds too entrenched in the gutter, let me assure you that I'm not referring to any bestiality that may or may not have occurred on our wedding night. (Sorry. You'll just have to continue to wonder.) I'm referring instead to what happens when you give a room full of giddy grown-ups alcohol and action figures.
I made the centerpieces for our reception, which were fake wedding cakes with famous pop culture couples (real and imagined) as the toppers. Included were
On the table of more stoic guests:
- Z and Princess Bala from Antz
- Sheriden and Delenn from Babylon 5
- Batman and Catwoman of DC Comics fame
- Spiderman and Mary Jane from Marvel Comics
- Rogue and Gambit from the X-Men
- Lala and Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies
- Mulder and Scully from the X-Files
- Xena and Autolycus from Xena Warrior Princess
- Wolverine and Jean Grey from X-Men
And then we got these photos back from the more...shall we say festive?...tables:
- 86 and 99 from Get Smart: As you can see, they Started their honeymoon early
- Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth of wrestling fame: Getting it on outside the ring
I'd like to add here that on tables at which children were seated, the toys were not touched at all. Figures.
I recently read an essay in Chuck Klosterman's engaging collection, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto about Paradise City, a Guns N' Roses tribute band.
Being a dedicated fan of pre-Use Your Illusion G N' R, I was all at once moved and troubled by the story. It felt good to know that classic Guns N' Roses rock is still being played (especially since Axl Rose's infamous performance at the MTV VMAs proved to me that he's no longer up to the task), and that there was still an audience for it. Paradise City's lead singer's dedication to the band's mission (if not his fellow memebers) was nigh inspirational. And the band's willingness to completely adopt the G N' R party boy lifestyle--well--it's good to see a tribute band willing to go all the way. Good, and a little bit sad.
I have mixed feelings about tribute bands. I can enjoy it as a kind of theater, but I would never think of seeing a tribute band as a andedote for not being able to see the real deal.
I also wonder what its like for the musician, earning applause for pretending to be someone other than themselves. Of course, these shows are paying gigs, and being married to a muscian I totally respect that as a motivating factor. And one hopes that the band they are playing tribute too, and the music they play means something to them personally. At least I do. It's not much of a tribute of it's just a job.
Which is why I don't know what to make of Li'l G n'R, the "first ever Guns N' Roses Kids Tribute Band" that played the legendary CBGBs in January. Too young to need the money, too young to remember the band, and much too young to dance with Mr. Brownstone.
I can only imagine how their parents must beam from the audience when their children belt out "I used to love her, but I had to kill her."
My biggest fear, though, is that they're doing a Kid Bop style Guns N' Roses, with sanitized lyrics appropriate to the performers age. I shudder to imagine the altered songs:
- You Could be Mine: You could be mine / But you're way out of line / With your post cookie nappin' / and your Pokemon / You get nothing done/ I said you could be mine"
- Used to Love Her: I loved my hamster / But my kitty killed her /I loved my hamster, Mm, yeah / But my kitty killed her / I had to put her, Oo, six feet under/ Maybe Mom will let me get a snake"
- Welcome to the Jungle:Welcome to the jungle-gym / we come here to play / sometimes we pretend to be animals / On the jungle-gym where we play / If you got a hunger for milk and cookies / Teacher will bring them eventually / You can have any kind you want / But you better not take it from me."
Why, for the love of Monkeys, why?
Lil G'N' R found on Love and the Happy Cynic
- What fun it will be to avenge you.": Dick and Jane, the adorable, milquetoast duo of children's literacy takes on Hamlet and Pride and Predjudice. - Go, Boynton, Go
- Visions of a Wireless Future?: Remember those old Looney Tune cartoons that showed the House of Tomorrow, resplendent with nifty time-saving gadgets that seemed designed to terrorize stray dogs? Well, meet the modern version: Vodafone offers a sexy little flash featurette showcasing the future wonders of wireless. Most of it is quite cool...but the only thing I really want is the robotic cleaner. - Found on The Shifted Librarian.
- Lord of the Rings, The Dating Manual: Who knew that nestled between the action, adventure, and tales of friendship, Tolkein was really giving hopeless book nerds everyone insightful dating advice. Some examples:
Had I realized these important themes when I read the books, my dating life may well have been better.- Via Mirabilis.Ca
- if you're the only girl among 100 guys you'll still fall for the only one who has a girlfriend;
- Don't blame your friends just because they can see right through your creepy little partner;
- When overused, terms of endearment such as "precious" lose their meaning;
- Gorgeously Insincere: Oil paintings of sock puppets. Man, these things creep me out. - Found by the fine folks at Boingboing.
- Misery Loves Company: The Rejection Collection: a place for writers and artists to share their rejection slips woes. Perhaps this will get me to submit my work more, since it will at least give me something constructive to do with the rejection slips. - From Making Light
The Monday Morning Quiz is up for your quiz-taking pleasure. More linkey-goodness to come.
What a disappointing run of Superbowl Commercials.
I know it's petty, but I wish MyDoom would go ahead an do its thing already. I'm sick and tired of the flood of spam.