September 2004 Archives

Calling all Mouseketeers

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Next weekend, the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I are once again going to Disneyland's gay days at the park. I'm determined that we will get hats this time. The Girlfriend wants a Peter Pan-style hat with a really long feather, or else a Davy Crockett hat. I suppose the weather will be a deciding factor, since fake racoon skin could be oppressive if the ninety degree weather keeps up. I'm thinking of getting a pirate hat for myself, or perhaps pooh ears.

If you're going and would like to meet up for a pineapple spear outside the Tiki Room or something similar, please e-mail. And let me know if you like roller coasters, because I need someone to go on Space Mountain with the Girlfriend. I'm a big 'fraidy-cat and won't go. I'll wait and hold the balloons.

Seen in the Wild

This past Sunday, the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I went out for coffee and buttermilk donuts at the Farmer's Market on Fairfax. Afterwords, we walked over to the Grove so I could visit the Apple Store, on the chance that the new iMac would be on display. The store hadn't opened yet, but a small crowd was visible outside the store from a distance. I guessed that they were staring at the new model in the window. As it came closer to opening time, the crowd swelled noticebly.

When I first saw the new iMac online, I was a bit disappointed. I'm not a big fan of the all-white aesthetic, and the design seemed kind of predictable. Plus, over the last few years I've found my Mac addiction waning. Migration problems, forced hardware upgrades and high prices have all eroded my loyalty to Macs. That being said, once in the store, I found the iMac was a beautiful beast to behold.

I'm having a comics emergency

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There are a range of different buying patterns for comics. I've noticed a lot of comics bloggers go to get theirs weekly. Although I've occasionally fallen into a weekly pattern, for the most part, I follow an every-two-weeks or "paycheck day" pattern. I like to reward myself for my labors with comics, and since I've just been paid, I don't feel guilty about how much I spend.

Lately, my buying pattern has been disrupted by my reading of comics blogs. It's not because of specific recommendations or reviews, but because of conversations between bloggers. I'll get involved reading about a specific title that's discussed on several blogs and then suddenly I have to go to the comics store and check it out. I find myself dropping whatever I'm doing and then I'm running out the door.

Sometimes I buy the comic in question, and sometimes I don't. An example of "don't" would be Identity Crisis, which everyone was talking about for awhile. This post brought on my actual comics emergency. I became so curious I just had to see it. I'm really enjoying the urgency I feel about going to the comics shop as a result of other bloggers.

My Night At Kaiju Big Battel

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Prompted by a post at Boing-Boing, I decided to check out the L.A. appearance of Kaiju Big Battel at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. What is kaiju? you may be asking. Xeni Jardin provides a much better explanation than I ever could in her article on Wired, but in brief, it's a performance piece featuring Japanese monster wrestling.

I enlisted the Sister to attend with me, since her inveterate gaming habit has brought her great familiarity with the Japanese monster species. We dressed down for the occasion, since we had read that there was some risk of getting slimed by a monster.

The main event began with a short film describing the origins of the kaiju, monsters from outer space whose destructive force is kept in check through periodic wrestling bouts organized by a mysterious group known as the Kaiju Regulatory Commission.

In general, there are two types of kaiju, heroes and anti-heroes. However, within the anti-hero group there are two major factions, those who follow the incredibly evil Dr. Cube, kingpin of the kaiju dark side, and independents, rogue monsters acting on their own behalf.

I was hoping to see the kaiju anti-hero Sky Deviler, whose "Hello, Kaiju" bio describes him as "ravenous dimwit space bug." Although Sky Deviler did not appear in the wrestling cage last night, I did enjoy seeing the anti-hero Super Dimensional Slug One (SDS-1), a 6-foot long slug bearing a large model tank on its back. It perched precariously at the top of the wrestling cage before flopping its slimy body to the mat.

The Sister and I were very impressed with the performance of agile hero Dusto Bunny ("unclean home result hero") and the fan favorites Los Plantanos. Though he was a poor fighter, we were especially thrilled by the introduction of new kaiju hero Superwrong!, who made his entrance dancing his own special dance and tossing psychedelic teddy bears into the crowd.

The final match-up turned into something of a free-for-all, with multiple anti-heroes turning out to take a swipe at the sinister Dr. Cube. The most impressive was Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle, whose graceful maneuvers and distinctive theme music put all other contenders to shame.

But it was the spiky Unibouzu who succeeded in pulling off Dr. Cube's boxy, tofu-like headpiece, revealing the scarred, misshapen form beneath. Even the announcer recoiled from his distorted visage, shouting, "DR. CUBE IS A HIDEOUS FREAK! DR. CUBE IS A HIDEOUS FREAK!" as the audience watched in fascinated horror. Yet Dr. Cube proved triumphant and won the match.

There are many resources available on the kaiju.com web site, including manga about the various monsters and video that gives you a sense of what a kaiju wrestling match is like. The most descriptive thing I can think of to say about it is: while watching the show last night, I was suddenly reminded of the Banana Splits. It was just that good.

Animist Gaming

In a relatively short period of time, I've become hooked on the game Colorcell. Or at least I think it's a game. It's hard to know what to call it. Colorcell encourages you to come to the site every day and vote on your favorite four-cell color sequence. Based on daily voting, some cells are promoted and survive to another round of voting. Others are retired from the game. You can view a range of stats about the cells and even contribute your own four-cell combination for voting.

What freaks me out about this endeavor is how quickly I have become attached to the cells I like. I believe the site encourages this by describing the cells in anthropomorphic language as "weaker" and "stronger." When a cell is deemed too unpopular, it gets sent to the "cemetary."

It just breaks my heart when I go to vote for my chosen cells and I click the button that says "Yes, I want to help those cells"!

Political Art Wave in NYC

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It's been a great week for graphics activism with the Republican National Convention going on in New York. I watched coverage of the Sunday demonstrations on CSPAN2 and felt consistently entertained reading and viewing the various anti-Bush signs people were carrying. Although it was pretty low-rent in terms of graphics, I liked today's pink slip demonstration, designed to call attention to rising unemployment rates.

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