Sunday, October 31, 2004

Imagineer This

The website of the Save Disney movement has some interesting features ripping on the gradual deterioration of Disneyland under Eisner's watch. Some highlights are the comparison shots of Tomorrowland when it started versus the way it appears after the soul-sucking 1998 overhaul, and a detailed account of the corporate changes that blindly charged ahead without giving creative concerns their due. Especially amusing is the part where they thought California Adventure would be packed every day, and the former Imagineer who declared "I liked it better as a parking lot."

The author holds the old Tomorrowland in high regard. It does gleam beautifully in the shots from the '70s, but it was getting laughably dated by the '90s. Even so, he has a point about the mess they've made in the renovation. I have fond memories of the People Mover and the Skyway.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Get Arrested

...Development on DVD. It's out now, and it's great. Now's your chance, Zack, to incorporate this show into your DVD-based television-viewing lifestyle. If you buy it and don't like it, I promise to say I'm sorry.

Even if you watch broadcast TV, this is the perfect time to show your support for what's arguably the best show currently running, and to abandon your excuse of not knowing what time it's on. The toughest thing about getting into this show was always catching up with the characters without the benefit of introductory episodes, and now even that is a non-issue.

Seriously, go out and buy it. Trust me. This is my Katamari Damacy.

Fox should pay me money for this post.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Hilary Duff vs. Lindsay Lohan: An Objective Look

America is more polarized than ever before, and no issue is more divisive than the Hilary Duff/Lindsay Lohan feud. Therefore, it is imperative to take an impartial look at the issues so fans can decide for themselves who deserves superstardom and who deserves tabloid headlines about how drunk and knocked up she is. Both stars have their strengths. Sure, Hilary Duff can draw on her Lizzie McGuire fanbase, but Lindsay Lohan has a lot going for her too, like the fact that she doesn’t look like Hilary Duff, and tits.

Let’s compare track records. Hilary Duff catapulted from Disney-Channel niche star to inexplicable big-screen sensation with The Lizzie McGuire Movie, in which she switches places with her doppelganger and lives the pop star life. Compare this to Lindsay Lohan’s debut, The Parent Trap, in which she switches places with her doppelganger yet does not live the pop star life, and Freaky Friday, in which Lindsay Lohan switches places with Jamie Lee Curtis (not her doppelganger) and performs rock music, suggesting a possible pop-star life in her future. Note that Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen explores pop star fantasies in further depth without the burden of switching places or bodies (with or without a doppelganger). Here we see that Lohan spreads the required tropes of doppelgangers, switching places, and pop star fantasies over three movies, while Duff packs all three devices into one film.

We can attribute this to the fact that Lohan’s commanding screen presence holds our interest and allows nuanced examinations of these issues one or two at a time, while Duff’s blankness requires that the filmmakers throw in all their gimmicks at once in order to disguise her ineptitude. Also, keep in mind that Lindsay Lohan is a gorgeous princess and Hilary Duff is a disgusting cow. Advantage: Lohan.

How has each star fared in their first forays outside the Disney banner? Duff starred in A Cinderella Story, coasting on the Disney/Cinderella association and appearing in posters wearing a white wedding dress—inappropriate for a high school movie—and pink sneakers. Thumbs up for the pink Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, thumbs down for the thought of Hilary Duff’s awful feet inside them. Pity that guy giving her a piggy back ride. Piggy back, indeed. Oink!

Lohan, on the other hand, headlined the Tina Fey-penned Mean Girls, a complex, edgy comedy satirizing the idiotic behavior of teenage girls. Like anything up to and including a snuff film, Mean Girls is better than A Cinderella Story, ergo, you know the drill. Hilary Duff sucks, but not on any of my appendages, because I would prefer Lindsay Lohan for that, if I were single and Lindsay Lohan wanted to. Advantage: The opposite of Hilary Duff.

Upcoming projects: Lindsay Lohan is working on the Love Bug remake Herbie: Fully Loaded. Herbie the Love Bug kicks ass all over the place, but imagine if Hilary Duff were in the lead: Yuck. Poor Herbie. Good thing it’s Lindsay Lohan. Meanwhile, Hilary Duff is working on some dumb thing that will be crappy.

On the matter of music careers: I cannot name a Lindsay Lohan song, but I have heard the Hilary Duff song “So Yesterday.” Advantage: Lohan.

Hilary Duff’s emergence from the statutory rape zone is currently awaited with an eagerness not seen since the pre-legal Olsen twins, until Mary-Kate spoiled the fantasy by becoming a strung-out anorexic head case. (Anyone who finds either or both of the Olsen twins incredibly sexy should just go ahead and fantasize about Ben Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor, who looks exactly like them except less troll-like and less plural.)

Lindsay Lohan has courteously spared us months of disturbing countdown websites by turning eighteen promptly after becoming a sex symbol. Admittedly, Lindsay Lohan has grown chunkier of late. But would you rather have sex with a voluptuous hot chick or a skinny toxic mutant? Me too (I am assuming you did not choose the mutant). Besides, look at Lindsay Lohan’s tits. They are huge. There is a chance they are even not fake, and that the prominent scars in those paparazzi pictures were merely under-breast redness with a perfectly non-surgical explanation. You can believe what you like, as long as it is this.

To sum up, if you think Hilary Duff is an object of lust you are a pervert. It's fine if you're a young girl and you admire her ordinariness because it makes her a more realistic role model, like those ugly dolls that they tried to sell instead of Barbie to improve girls’ self-esteem. Hilary Duff has no shape, fat ankles and an ugly face and the only possible appeal is that she's jailbait, if you're into that sort of thing. What I am trying to say is that if I were single and having sex with seventeen-year-olds were okay and Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan each asked me to have sex, I would say "Yes" to Lindsay Lohan and "No" to that dog Hilary Duff. If they wanted to have a threesome I would tell Hilary Duff to go away and then tell Lindsay Lohan to get that girl who played her twin in The Parent Trap.

The Loathsome Life of...

What is the point of VH1's The Fabulous Life of... series? Is it just to make me hate celebrities? I just saw The Fabulous Life of Hollywood's It Girls, and the shameful excesses of talentless drones like Paris Hilton, Kelly Osbourne and Hilary Duff, not to mention talented but spoiled/obnoxious starlets like Scarlett Johannsen and Lindsay Lohan... Oh, and the Olsen twins were there too. Where was I?

Right, talking about how the show verged on making me feel physically nauseous. Is the show's fawning tone supposed to be ironic? Is the object to turn us against the obscenely privileged stars we apparently worship?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Comic Strip Review: Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!

I'm not too fond of newcomer Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! I like that the idea for the strip is unconventional and takes a different tone than most strips; unfortunately, the subject and tone chosen can be pretty much summed up as a second-rate imitation of Futurama. It even hits the same notes of meanness, idiocy, and absurdity. And far too much reliance on the word "spleen," even if it is all in the service of the same running gag of Winky getting abused.

However, I do like the joke in today's strip, which works surprisingly well. It also made me realize that there has been a running story arc about the Death-Ship for the past several weeks, which I didn't even notice while reading the strip intermittently. This might be the strip that pushes the strip from "trying and unfunny" to "tolerable and occasionally worthwhile." Sometimes it just takes one to do that.

Already I can go back through the archives and find bits that amuse me more than they used to, thanks to my slightly higher view of the strip. Some, of course, remain unfunny and confusing.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Katamari Update

It took me awhile to warm up to Katamari Damacy, since I had to get past all the hype and evaluate the experience for myself. Was I really having fun? After realizing I’d spent several hours rolling things into a ball and didn’t want to stop, I suppose I can say that I was. Right now I’m on Star 6, but I haven’t played since Tuesday and Wednesday.

I actually like that the people and animals look blocky and fake, since it makes the world more abstract and you don't have any virtual guilt about rolling them into a ball as they scream and flail. I also like the surreal cut-scenes with the creepy kids and their mom, and how even they are drawn in the blocky style to match the human appearances within the gameplay.

The film school at USC has a new Interactive Media division, created three years ago out of a huge grant from EA. I was talking to Doox, an Interactive Media student, at a party on Friday and he was really excited that I knew what Katamari was. Apparently it’s all the rage among the IM students. One guy even bought five copies because he wanted to give it as a gift but feared it would sell out. How is Katamari doing sales-wise, anyway? Is it really in short supply, being a more obscure title?

Doox hasn’t gotten his copy yet, but he has played it and was very enthusiastic. Doox is from Korea, and he’s actually very enthusiastic about pretty much everything, like learning to shotgun a beer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Heuristic Squelch Issue Critique - October 2004

Here's my take on this month's Heuristic Squelch, as addressed to those responsible.

Here we go. I started to read Kevin’s critique first, then decided I wanted to do this fresh.

COVER: Pretty funny. Doesn’t quite take a side but still more overtly political than any cover I can remember. I’m not saying that’s good or bad necessarily. It does make it very timely, which is good.

PAGE 2: Kevin, I think emeriti can be any former editor. I think Allen Haim was in there for awhile. I don’t mind if you drop me for space. All I do is write these critiques and at this point I think I’ve been an Emeritus about as long as I was a real editor. Incidentally, these critiques should stop, as there’s no point in making current staffers constantly feel like second class citizens on the magazine they create. Anyway, onward!

Small text not funny. I remember being a contributor on the Squelch and getting a huge thrill out of seeing my name in the staff box after having contributed exactly one top ten joke that made it in the issue. That should take priority. I’m biased because I read the email exhange already, but the small text is not so funny anyway. Also, don’t forget to have a space before the staff box theme parentheticals. Did you not have space for those either?

I concur with Kevin on the WFTT response to critics. The piece is okay funny-wise, it’s just the principle of the thing.

NEWSFLASHES: Am I ever sick of this format. I’m getting to hate them before I even read them. But we’ll try to be fair. Cellophane is kinda funny, though I have no idea what it means. I’ve always liked the word Cellophane, though, especially in Cole Porter tunes like “You’re the Top.” (I’m not gay.) I don’t think Guinness the record people have anything to do with the beer, which makes the Guinness NF confusing, which makes it not funny. Also not a fan of Brady’s frat party NF. It’s an engineering frat? Is that the joke? The caps of homosexual angst don’t seem to fit the tone.

Pedophile NF is 2nd best of issue. 1st place is Hipsters Rally Around Bush. Hipsters headline should not have left only one word on the second line. I like the last two paragraphs of “Problem Found” but not the first two. Maybe they’re part of the same reference I’m not getting, but the second half was funny anyway, the first half wasn’t.

Wasting Life NF feels like I’ve seen something very similar in The Onion. Could just be a coincidence, as The Onion has coincidentally matched many things I’ve written, not to mention they hit camera phones this week, etc. They have a way of doing that. But it still felt like I’d seen it somewhere.

PAGE 6: BRAIN TEASERS – Funny. Esp. answer to word prob and Now Failure Poverty. It took me a long time to figure out the Lee Majors one, so these are pretty good brain teasers (I’m an English major).

First 3 top tens on this page also very good. Surprised there’s no Song of the South or Tar Baby reference in the Blaxploitation Disney list.

PAGE 7: BERKELEY VS. VISTA – Quite good. Is this true about Brownstein going to Vista?

Lists on this page are just okay. “Fat Bottomed Girls (Are Unacceptable)” was pretty good. The Scientist pick up lines are often cheesy and painful but I love the Schrodinger’s Cat line. Always a fan of Schrodinger’s Cat humor.

PAGE 8: SETI – Still not great but an improvement over the version sent out to the writer’s list.

PAGE 9: FRANKENSTEIN – “Arrgh! Maybe?” my favorite line. Strong piece, but it’s Sean, so… “Hey, nice painting. Who? Da Vinci? Yeah, that painting is all right.” The title layout could have been more elegant. Different font sizes or something?

SPREAD: SPIDER-MAN
Great artwork. Really sells it. Makes the jokes funnier than they would be. The Daredevil joke is a little hard to understand and I’m not quite sure what the premise is—that is, what “emotional spider-sense” does. It doesn’t seem to tell him anything that isn’t immediately apparent in the situation. Like MJ tells him what she’s thinking even as he senses it. Is that the joke? Sorry. Still funny, though. It comes close to the typical college humor magazine tone of comic parodies, which is usually “funny, but hard to follow and makes little sense.” This is better than most, but still comes close to that style. I’m being nice because the art is so dang good.

PAGE 12: I GET ARRESTED…
Very Mark Thomas title. Slow to start (Valero part is crap) but some strong lines in there. I like the part about creating IJT magazine, and “wasn’t so much a premiere as it was embarrassing.” And the premise that kind of contradicts itself. And the “solid dose of awesome” closer.

PAGE 13: PEN PALS
More sad than funny. And sweatshop jokes are nothing new. This could have used shorter letters and more beats to build some escalation into the structure. Also, jokes! Put some of those in, it’ll really spice things up. Seriously, though, I didn’t think the girl using B-ball terms was that funny either. Also, Simon, I fucked your mom and she’s pregnant with your half-brother.

PAGE 14: EXTRA LIVES
The premise sounds promising but ultimately the piece isn’t that funny. The first three are okay, not great. Then it gets boring. And another Ferdinand joke! Kevin, you’re right about the NF being obvious, but I think you disliked it partly because it stepped on your reference.

PAGE 15: STAND AND DELIVER
More clueless white people unintentionally slamming minorities. Oh, white people! When will you learn to be sensitive and PC? Hopefully never, so we won’t have to give up using racial slurs and disguising it as a satire on white ignorance. Okay, that’s only a small part of this. The rest, however, never feels as strong as it should. Baal, the golden calf? Whatever.

TOP TENS – Not embarrassing but no standouts here.

PAGE 17: MAGICAL REALISM
Did you ever read the Magical Realism piece in the Lampoon? It was pretty funny as I recall. This was a few years back but it should be in the office somewhere. This piece is pretty dense and hard to commit to reading. The fat chick joke here might make one too many for this issue. After the NF and the top ten and probably somewhere else too. Well-written and creative but often still feels like a frame for cheap shock humor couched in satire.

PAGE 18: WONDER YEARS
Funny, esp. “In class” and “Gambling.” The boulder stuff is weird but I like the premise of him failing to save someone during his monologue. Overall enjoyable.

However, wildly dated. Obviously no one expects Wonder Years stuff to be timely but is it even old enough to be nostalgia? Maybe so. Maybe I am just old. It’s on Nick at Nite now, probably. Did you know Charles in Charge is on Nick at Nite? Charles in fucking Charge. What a piece of shit show. I used to watch it. I had no idea it was so bad. Oh, but back to the piece. “Hilarity ensued” is not funny any more, and saying it twice is even more not funny any more. Even more not funny anymore.

PAGE 19: CAMERA PHONE
Good concept. I know what the “shocker” is, if only because I saw it on Matt’s collegehumor.com links and then looked it up on urbandictionary (how hip am I??). I can’t tell if Matt’s frequent use of the shocker, here and in his Daily Cal pic, is sincere shocker pride or in the spirit of ironic mockery. If it’s ironic, I approve.

However, if that is the case, the irony doesn’t come across here. The use of the shocker in all these pictures feels too much like people actually thinking it’s cool and funny to do this secret dirty gesture that other people don’t understand. In other words, maybe too much like actual phone-cam poses. What am I trying to say? The juxtaposition is funny but I don’t feel like the idiotic attitudes of phone-cam subjects are being mocked clearly enough. By the way, is that overrepresented at collegehumor.com and its ilk, or do people seriously do the shocker all the time now? Is that for real? That is so dumb.

This month’s critique feels less mean. I guess that means the issue was pretty good. Seriously, guys, just do whatever you want and don’t kill the magazine. Have the freedom to experiment and do what you think is funny without worrying the has-beens will put you down. I don’t know how much attention y’all pay to these things but I feel like if people had been doing this to me I would have enjoyed the detailed feedback but ultimately it might have seemed less fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Babelicious

Referring to attractive women as "babes" seems to have passed out of fashion. Was that just an '80s thing? Remember when people would say things like "What a babe!" and "Look at that babe in the bikini!"? Now, you pretty much only hear it as a term of endearment, where you might substitute "honey" or "sweetheart," as in "Hey babe, your butt looks bitchin'."

"Chicks" still gets use in certain situations, when referring to "hot chicks" or White Chicks, for instance. Granted, it doesn't enjoy the wide usage it did in the '60s and '70s--when did "chick" start, anyway? I could even imagine a '50s guy saying it. That might have been the decade when we transitioned from "bird" to "chick."

"Babe" was always an awkward way to refer to women anyway. I never liked how it was easily confused with references to young children, and how made Babe Ruth seem effeminate by association.

In the very first Archie Comics story, circa 1941 or so, Archie wanted people to call him by his nickname, "Chick," which he believed sounded cooler. That character detail disappeared early on, but in retrospect it's very odd to read.

Things That Need to Stop

Describing one's hate for something with the phrase "the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns." This has officially passed from cleverness to cliche.

Comic strips featuring the main character watching television for two frames, then giving an "I can't believe this shit" look to the reader in the third frame, used as a device to lampoon media or current events. Garfield has fallen into this many times, along with too many other strips to count, including Candorville (aka Lemont Brown in the LA Times), but the worst violator of late is Boondocks. This is lazy, not visual, and generally a poor use of the comic strip medium. Just go ahead and draw a strip about TV shows if you hate using your own characters so damn much.

Friday, October 08, 2004

"Garage Sale": A Short Story

As the second of three children, Michael Abelson realized it was hard to get stuff he really wanted.

First he had to assure Mom and Dad that everyone would want it—that they were not merely placating one child with a toy that would make the others jealous and require further purchases, but rather that they were killing three birds with one stone, wrapping up their major toy purchases for the quarter in one fell swoop.

Convincing Danny and Sally that they would benefit from a new basketball-themed Nintendo game turned out to be a major lobbying effort. Older brother Danny was a budding sixth-grade nerd with no interest in sports or the simulation thereof. His recent discovery of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Monty Python and the Holy Grail had convinced him that he was a great wit, though all signs pointed to the contrary. Sally had once been a reliable tomboy, but as she entered second grade she showed increasingly girly tendencies that Danny found worrisome.

After making concessions to support Danny and Sally’s upcoming requests, Michael won their backing and approached Dad with a unified front.

To Michael’s horror, Dad decided to teach them a lesson about responsibility. “Tell you what, kids. If you really want that new game so bad, why not come up with a way to make your own money?”

“How can we do that?” asked Michael.

“How about a garage sale?” said Dad.

“Don’t be stupid,” said Danny. “No one will buy our garage. How would they fit it in their car?”

“Shut up, Danny,” said Michael. “You are not funny.”

“No, see, like a garage sale means we’re selling—”

“I know. I get it, Danny. Shut up. Jesus.”

“Don’t say Jesus, Michael,” said Sally.

“Wait, a garage sale is a great idea,” said Michael, getting excited. “We’ve got all kinds of old junk in the garage.”

“We don’t even have to stick to what’s in the garage,” Sally chimed in. “We could sell junk from all over the house and just say it’s from our garage.”

Michael’s mind spun with the possibilities. “Or we could have a car wash.”

“What if it’s a garage sale and a car wash?” suggested Sally. She and Michael were on a roll.

“Yes! We’ll have enough money for this game and some left over.”

“And we’ll have a lemonade stand!”

“And a bake sale! Mom can make brownies.”

“We’ll be millionaires!” declared Sally.

“We’ll have a car wash what?” said Danny, derailing everything.

“Huh?”

“You said we’ll have a car wash. What is the car going to wash?”

“What are you talking about?” said Michael.

“It’s a joke,” said Danny.

“Danny, no it isn’t. Stop trying. Nothing you say is funny.”

So began the folly of the Abelson car wash, bake sale, lemonade stand and garage sale—an amalgam of every doomed front-yard enterprise ever conceived. The children, wrapped up in the excitement, threw themselves into preparations. With so much to offer, surely they would be deluged with customers. All three children would have to pitch in.

Sally offered to make the signs, which Michael quickly vetoed. Everyone wanted to make the signs. Something about putting marker to posterboard crackled with the thrill of entrepreneurship. A group design effort was best—each of their distinctive sign-writing styles would appeal to a unique demographic, thus drawing the widest possible clientele.

Picking items to sell was the next step. Though Michael began to suspect the whole idea was a ploy to trick them into cleaning the garage, there was no turning back.

How many customers might they expect? Would the driveway be long enough to accommodate the line of cars? Michael figured he’d better plan for about a hundred people to show up each day.

After a week spent gathering boxes of junk, Saturday arrived. The kids laid out the items on blankets on the lawn. With Mom’s help, they settled on prices for each piece. The 25-cent box, with its lunchbox-shaped Osbournes bubble gum tin and other assorted trinkets, was sure to attract bargain hunters. What young parent wouldn’t jump at the chance to purchase Richard Scarey’s Biggest Word Book Ever for their baby? And the pile of clothes the kids had all outgrown was the biggest goldmine of all.

Michael would man the garage sale and the lemonade/bake sale table. Danny and Sally would wash cars. At ten o’clock sharp, the kids were ready and waiting for the extravaganza to begin.

At eleven, two women walked by and smiled. At twelve, Mom offered five dollars to have her own car washed, and by one o’clock, Dad’s car was clean as well. At three, a neighbor paid a quarter for an old videotape he said he could record over. Michael could feel the momentum building. Indeed, the neighbor went on to buy a cookie, a brownie, and even a glass of lemonade—before lamenting that he had recently had his car washed professionally. Then it was five o’clock, and time to close.

Michael attempted to cheer the troops, but he knew it was hopeless. Another day of the garage sale would be an exercise in disappointment distilled to its very essence. Yet the signs promised another day, so the sale had to go on. On Sunday, Dad offered to help, and set up a chair alongside Michael. Soon, Michael went inside for lunch, and after an hour of reading the newspaper, Dad realized Michael was not coming back. Dad held the fort for the rest of the afternoon, watching three twentysomethings walk by, stop to browse, and leave without buying anything.

Later, Dad went to console Michael in his room. “Sometimes things don’t work out the way we’ve planned,” he explained.

“Since I learned my lesson, can I get that game?” Michael sobbed.

“I’m afraid not,” said Dad. “The other lesson is that money is hard to get.”

Edited 10/10 to reflect Zack's correction.

Loneliness

Stephanie went home for the weekend but I'm too busy to leave town. The silence is deafening. So weird being here all by myself.

I'm really immersed in the editing of my second USC short. It's a fight scene, and I'm really excited about how it's coming along (knock on wood). It's a brisk, visceral, energetic scene that really moves. The flow works well and it cuts together better than I'd expected after shooting. Getting the finer points of the sound mix perfected is the toughest thing, especially trying to keep the sound meter from going into the red zone. That's taking a lot of time. I think I might finish tomorrow in time to output a digital cut to a tape. Hope so, since I'm working at Kaplan on Sunday.

The Cal/USC game is tomorrow, too. I'm hoping to catch some of that on TV. But I'm helping a classmate shoot his film in the morning, and then I'll be editing in the afternoon, so it probably won't happen unless I tape it, and then who cares?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Shades of Gray

A USC pal steered me to these fanboy short films at Comics2Film.com. Especially worth checking out, supposedly, are Grayson and Batman: Dead End. Also World's Finest.

The idea, I think, is that comic fans who happen to be aspiring filmmakers are attempting to do justice to their favorite characters in ways that Hollywood can't seem to manage.

I've actually only seen Grayson so far. Every one of these things seems to download in a different way. Grayson downloads as a zip file, of all things, then you unzip it and watch the Quicktime file. World's Finest is on iFilm but when I tried it some piece of crap music video played instead. Dead End opened some window where a movie never materialized.

Anyway, Grayson is framed as an elaborate movie trailer for a film that will never exist about Dick Grayson resuming the Robin mantle to avenge Batman's death. It's weird to watch because it's such a painfully geeky labor of fanboy love, so much time and effort and resources and talent invested in a project that will not, indeed, cannot ever go anywhere. But someone really wanted to see their vision of this story brought to life in an enticing but incomplete way. Cheesy acting, yes, but DC cameos abound, loyalties and allegiances appear to be tested, and there is certainly plenty for a casual comic fan (is there such a thing?) to be intrigued by, even at a bemused distance.

There are even a couple shots in Grayson that are actually shot at the USC campus library.

Friends in Low Places

I got Karaoke Revolution Vol. 2 for Stephanie a couple weeks ago, though it feels more like one week ago considering how much time we've actually had to play it. The game monitors your voice and rates you based on whether you are on key and saying words at the right time.

It can't tell if you're singing the right word, only whether you're singing it at the right time, but anyone who's actually sung Karaoke will realize what a blessing in disguise this is--half of karaoke is stumbling over half-pronounced words in an effort to keep up with the song you thought you knew.

This brings me to my next point, which is that regardless of the whole "singing on key" that you're required to bring to the table, the key component to doing well is still, unsurprisingly, knowing the song. Being comfortable with the words to a song is key to your ability to sing it in a way that will match an existing version.

The game includes something like 35 songs. The selection is very decent and quite diverse. It's includes plenty that most people will recognize and even a few that you may love--it's got one of my personal karaoke favorites, Steve Miller Band's "The Joker," for instance. On the downside, you will run through the songs pretty quickly. However, it will take a bit more time to familiarize yourself with all the songs well enough to sing them well.

I just now rocked the fucking house with girly standards like "I Will Survive," "...Baby One More Time," and "Lady Marmalade," along with Good Charlotte's obnoxious, whiny teen-angst cash-in "Perfect." Again, sing what you know. I surprised myself with a halfway decent showing on "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," which I barely knew the last time we popped the game in. (Coincidentally, the day after that I heard the song on someone's ringtone. I think that call was for me and destiny was on the line.)

I also had fun with the chorus of some catchy country tune called "Friends in Low Places." The rest of the song was a disaster, but oh, that chorus! At the end the audience starts to join in, and I really felt like I'd delivered a rousing performance. I made an "everybody sing" gesture toward the television, reveling in the adulation. For that song it works better when you sing with a country twang.

Monday, October 04, 2004

They Got a Pepper Bar

What happened to those insane Quiznos ads from early this year? For like a week people were buzzing about how weird and nauseating they were, and then--nothing. Looks like Quiznos gave up on it pretty fast. I, for one, am disappointed. However offputting the juxtaposition of rodentlike creatures and sandwiches, the non-sequitur style of the ads was sublime genius. You will be missed, Quiznos Rats.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

120 Marshmallows

Watching the first disc of the new Mr. Show 4th Season DVD set has bumped up my Bob Odenkirk awareness, which has been waning since the end of my Odenkirk Talent internship. It led me to cruise over to BobandDavid.com, where I found this little piece that reminded me of Matt's "ultimate selfish thought" about not wanting anyone else to live after he dies.