A quick Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy Yule to everyone reading this. With that, I’m off to bed.
With the popularity of The Comics Curmudgeon, one thing that people have realized is that the traditional “Funny” comic strips you see in newspapers aren’t really that funny at all. For the real wackiness, you actually have to look at the daily “serial strips” that try to tell an ongoing plot.
It seems counter-intuitive, but actually try following one for a few weeks and you’ll more than likely see what I mean. In the past, I’ve discussed Gil Thorp as one such example, but today I’d like to show you another example: The daily version of “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Let’s take a look at the strips for December 18th and 19th, shall we?
First, the strip for Thursday, December 18th.
Let’s start at the second panel and work backwards on this one. The villain, a man calling himself “Big Time” who has an obsessions with clocks (The concept can work–the Batman: The Animated Series version of The Clock King was actually pretty freakin’ cool), says to his fake-Spider-Man accomplice, a guy named “Lefty”, that it’s time to do things the hard way, pulling out a gun as he does so. And what, you ask, was “the easy way” that his Plan B of “Shooting my enemies” is so much harder than?
Did you guess “Trying to drop a giant clock on my ex-wife, the execution of which involves luring said ex-wife (A woman named Maria Lopez, by the way) to the clock and having her stand directly under said clock for about 25 minutes, not taking so much as one step in any direction?” If so, congrats, have a giant clock-shaped cookie.
Yeah. How shooting her would have been harder than an elaborate plan of which your average 1940s movie villain would be proud is beyond me.
So what about Thursday’s first panel? Well, Spider-Man is stopping the aforementioned giant clock from crashing into a wall. Said giant clock has J. Jonah Jameson, Maria’s current lover (And nemesis to Spider-Man) tied up on the back of it. For sheer insanity factor, this pretty much speaks for itself, but if you really want the whole story, go here and click on the entries from the bottom up, starting with “In Which Jonah Gets Punched in the Face“.
Now for Friday, December 19th.
No “man tied to giant rolling clock” antics this time around, sadly, although you’ll note that Spider-Man is just standing around in a heroic pose despite a complete failure to this point to apprehend Big Time (Or even locate him for that matter) in panel 1. Again, though, panel 2 is really the kicker here. Lefty heroically rams into Big Time, causing his shot to go astray. Why? Because he doesn’t want to be an accessory to murder. This would be fine, if he hadn’t already been very close to being an accessory to murder twice over (1. Dropping giant clock on boss’s ex-wife. 2. I’m guessing Jonah was not supposed to survive the fall either), and stood by and did nothing about it. To be fair, in one of the Sunday strips, Lefty/fake Spider Man thought bubbles about how he’s about to become an accessory to murder, but…suffice to say that even earlier than this, Lefty knows perfectly well what’s going on and goes along with it. Others have theorized that the reason for this is that he knew there was no chance of the giant-clock-on-woman gambit actually working, but now that the guns are out, it’s serious. And really, this is about the only thing that even makes sense.
So there you have it. You have to go to the “serious” strips for the real laughs. Remember this.
- We’re two weeks away from MAGFest, and it’s time for me to start to work on the challenges once again. I had started this, but then got distracted by Rock Band 2. Kareshi has apparently not been practicing as hard as he did last year. While this is good for me in an individual competitor sense, it does somewhat reduce the chance of the total Shizzie domination that we had last year. This goes double in that one of the non-Shizz people who is going to try to take the crown this year is none other than Freddy “Frezyman” Andersson, who is A. coming all the way from Sweden for MAGFest, and B. (And more relevant in terms of staking a claim to the Challenges throne) the author of my favorite speedrun to date, an earlier of which I raved about here. Not that there’s any pressure on me or anything–I’ll only be indirectly representing both The Shizz and SDA, and my girlfriend has already informed me that she won’t let me live it down if I don’t repeat my top 3 performance from last year, that’s all…
- Speaking of distractions, someone on the SDA Forum convinced me to take a chance on a PC game called Space Rangers 2 and its expansion. Mainly, an online store was selling it for something like 90% retail price, or $4 when all was said and done. At that price, taking a flyer on a game you’ve never heard of becomes a lot easier. I quite like it thus far, as it blends all sorts of genres together, from turn-based strategy, to a somewhat simple RTS a la StarCraft, to, apparently, text adventures at some point in the game. Good stuff.
- I’ve recently started playing DDR again, mainly because I had gained back most of the weight I had lost in the first half of 2007. Hopefully I can lose it again.
Yeah, not a lot to say here. Now that my Endless Setlist odyssey is done, it’s time to get back to practicing the MAGFest Challenges. And that’s pretty much it. I may at some point write up a guide for the Endless Setlist to help people (Particularly vocalists) who can’t already gold star everything in the game in their sleep through it. Other than that…just kind of here at the moment.
- My quest to earn myself a shiny platinum vocal icon for Rock Band 2 was a success. My final score was 414 out of 420 stars, which, while obviously not perfect, is pretty darn good. As a bonus, I earned the Bladder of Steel award for not failing or pausing throughout, even if I sort of had to cheat to pull it off (Suffice to say that my bladder is, in reality, made of something far less capable of holding back water than steel. No, I didn’t wet myself, but the challenge, despite its name, doesn’t mention anything about not relieving oneself the entire time; you just can’t pause while you do so.). Now I have to start playing online so I can show off the icon.
- Having had to drink the stuff about 10 times in the past 4 years or so, I’m now convinced that “St. Anger” is a euphemism for “Barium Sulfate Suspension, particularly the line about “You flush it out”. In short, for those of you lucky enough to not need annual CT Scans, Barium Sulfate Suspension is a concoction that you drink 90 minutes to 2 hours before a scan. It basically helps stuff show up easier on the scan, which is good for the people who are trying to read the scans. Problems: It’s about as appetizing as it sounds, and it proceeds to mess with my insides for the next several hours afterward (As the side effects listed in the link may show you). Bleh!
First up is the fact that MAGFest is under a month away. THis will be my fourth time going, and the second time with the Challenges Booth. Truth be told, though, I haven’t been doing a lot of practicing for it, at least lately. That’s because I’ve been playing various Rock Band 2 in preparation for my attempt at The Endless Setlist 2–put short, all 84 songs in the game, beginning with the easiest for a full band and getting gradually harder. The somewhat good thing about this is that I’ll be attempting it on Expert Vocals, which is the one individual instrument whose difficulty doesn’t correlate that well with the full band difficulty. In other words, when the other instruments are drained from hours of playing and still have their hardest trials to go, the Vocals have it a bit easier, since the difficulty tends to jump all over the place given the order of the ESL2; from a familiarity standpoint, my biggest problem is actually going to be songs 40-55 or so. Endurance-wise, I should be okay; I’ve been singing small chunks of the setlist each day and seem to be all right, though ~12 songs a day is very different from 84. I actually plan to record the whole thing (In awful quality) and eventually upload some of the highlights and lowlights, which should be amusing.
Rock Band 2 has a lot of songs. One of those songs is “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, her rather bitter, sarcastic ode to Uncle Joey of Full House (Which is a bit creepy in itself; Dave Coulier is about 15 years older than Morissette is). Given its subject matter, it’s not surprising that someone (Be it Harmonix themselves or someone at the ESRB) saw fit to censor some of the lyrics. Besides the obvious removal of an “F” word, there’s additional censorship that is the subject of this post.
Early in the song is the line “An older version of me/is she perverted like me/would she go down on you in a theatre?”, a not-all-that-veiled reference to oral sex in, um, a theatre (Or “Theater”, if you’re particularly anal about the spelling of your band name). For some reason, it was decided that removing the word “down”, and only the word “down”, was acceptable here. This actually makes the phrase even worse/more hilarious. The reason for this is that it leaves “Would she go (pause) on you in a theatre?”, which makes it sound like the subject of the song has a thing for being urinated on during the movies.
Funny censorship indeed! Can you think of anything else like this? The only other real example I can think of is the Playstation 2 release of In the Groove, where the method of censoring used–turning the words into complete gibberish–tended to make things even worse if you listened hard enough/knew what to listen for.
Just wishing everyone out there in USA-Land a Happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with fun, family, and games where you simulate being in a band.
- I decided that, in my Rock Band 2 playing frenzy, I’m going to attempt the Endless Setlist 2 on Expert Vocals on December 8th, which is a little less than 2 weeks from now. I have that day off, so it’s as good a day as any. For those of you who don’t know, the Endless Setlist (2) is every song in the game, one after another, and doing it all in one sitting (No pausing or failing) gets you a special achievement called the Bladder of Steel Award, in addition to the various achievements you can get for simply completing the thing on various difficulties (Harmonix were at least kind enough to give you any achievements on lower difficulties at the same time. In other words, if I actually pull this off, I’ll not only get the Bladder of Steel and Endless Setlist on Expert awards, I’ll get the awards for doing it on Medium and Hard at the same time). This will involve about 6 hours or so of singing, which isn’t the easiest thing in the world, to say the least. I’ve been going through the setlist in chunks to identify potential trouble spots before I try the whole thing at once.
- Lately I’ve been in a “see friends I haven’t seen in years” phase. Today I saw my friend Kelly whom I hadn’t seen since 2004 or 2005, and about a week ago I got together with my friend Barbara, whom I hadn’t seen since shortly after I graduated high school in 2001. It’s definitely fun to actually get into real-world contact with some of these people again.
- Not long after I update WordPress thanks to an e-mail from my ISP saying I might be vulnerable, they release a new version. Bah.
Yes, after quite awhile, my speedrun on that platforming classic (By which I mean “Game that goes rapidly downhill once you press Start to get beyond the title screen and actually start playing the game”) Chuck Rock has been posted to SDA. Go check it out! And for those of you who found the site via the link in the run’s comments, welcome! Feel free to browse through the blog archive, or check out some of my music. If you’ve got your own site to advertise, consider putting in a bid for the ad-space to your right at Project Wonderful. Thanks, and hopefully you’ll keep checking back!
Oh, and a special shoutout to the people/bots/whatever from Amsterdam who keep trying to spam my Comments. I mention this only because they were the first people since I activated Akismet to actually succeed in getting through it–for about 6 hours, when I blocked any comments coming from their IP block. Hi Amsterdam!