Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 55: The Ninja Turtles Are ZOMBIES!!!1!!1!

So my wife is in this play. It's a stage version of this one movie. Maybe you've heard of it? It's called Night of the Living Dead. It's about zombies and maybe Communism.

Three years ago while we were at breakfast with some friends she was flipping through our local free art publication and saw an ad for open auditions for a stage production of Night of the Living Dead. My wife is kind of a big drama nerd and she did a lot of theater in high school. She hasn't done any since then, but she decided that if she was going to get back into it this play would be the way to do it.

She went to auditions and she said it went pretty well, but she was still nervous waiting to hear back. Eventually she did get an e-mail offering here the part, except that it had someone else's name on the top. Being the perfectly normal person that she is my wife called me in a panic worrying about what this meant until I finally convinced her to e-mail the director back. Turns out the name was a mistake and she did get the part after all. Three years later we're both still a part of the theater company (me in a much less official and non-creative capacity) and my wife even designed their logo.

Halloween is always a big time for the theater company. They started with Night of the Living Dead in their first season, followed by Nosferatu the next year and then Servant Girl Annihilator, an original show based on the first recorded serial killer in America. Now they're taking it back to where it all started with a revised version of Night.

So it looks like I'll be having a few nights alone a week while rehearsals are on. It's time for some serious video-gaming, people.

In honor of the play starting up again I drew the Ninja Turtles after being caught in the zombie apocalypse. Donatello is the last one alive in his underground shelter. Being caught underground isn't really the best place in a zombie apocalypse, but at least it's secure for now and he's free to work on finding a cure. My zombie turtles are kind of messed up looking, but I guess that works for them being zombies. Michelangelo's dead with his head blown apart. Leonardo's missing his bottom jaw and spitting blood, and holding Raphael's severed arm. Raphael I actually kind of like. He's such a worried looking zombie, I feel bad that I chopped his arm off.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 53: The Ninja Turtles Meet Dr. Who

Let me start off this post by saying I have never seen an episode of Dr. Who. I have some friends who really love Dr. Who and have been trying to convince me and the Mrs. to watch it for a while. I have nothing against Dr. Who and am actually quite interested in watching the series, especially since it's on Netflix streaming now, but I haven't made the time to do it yet.

Apparently a new season (or half-season or something) just started over here in America so I thought, "I wonder what a TMNT/Dr. Who crossover would be like?" Well, since I know a lot about the Ninja Turtles and I know several things about Dr. Who from talking to friends and following nerds on twitter I feel that I am adequately well informed enough to write just such a crossover. Are you ready? I think you are.



The TURTLES sit around their table eating a pizza covered in gross toppings. MICHELANGELO is telling a story.

So then this dude says to me, "Hey! What are you doing? That's not a tuba! That's my mother!"

All the TURTLES laugh.

Wow. How embarrassing for that guy, huh?

And his mom!

Suddenly a bright flash blinds the turtles and there is a loud crack as the space-time continuum is split, probably.

Woah! What was that?

The TURTLES notice a blue phone booth or Police Box depending on who you ask standing in the middle of the room.

Umm... guys, did someone redecorate and forget to tell me?

What is that thing?

The Police Box opens and out jumps DR. WHO and his CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION!

Oi! What's this place, then?

(holding her nose)
I'm not sure, but it doesn't smell very good does it?

Excuse me? This is our home, lady.

Oh, hello! Didn't see you there. Would you mind telling us where we are? Our time circuits seem to have malfunctioned and sent us to a random point in space/time.

You're in New York. In our home in the sewer.

Time circuits? Space/time? What are you talking about? Who are you?

(extending his hand)
Right, sorry. My name is Dr. Who. I'm an alien and I travel through time in the T.A.R.D.I.S. with attractive but strictly platonic companions. We go to various points in the time stream and muck about with events as I see fit.

Umm... OK. So... why?

Because I can! What better reason do you need?

But can't that mess up the time line, or something?

Meh. Probably. Who cares? I can just jump to any time and place I want so I don't really see how this affects me.

You're kind of a jerk.

CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION nods in agreement.

What did you call that thing?

The T.A.R.D.I.S. It stands for Totally Awesome Receptacle for Doing Insane Stuff.

Alright then. So, how does this thing work exactly?

Oh, you know, wormholes and time currents and flux capicitors and all that.


OK, look, I don't know how it works, it just does. Except now it's broken and we're stuck here in this smelly sewer and---OH MY GOD!


Behind you! There's a Weeping Angel! They've found us!

CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION shrieks with fright

Dude, a what?

(indicating an angel statue that mysteriously appeared behind the TURTLES)
A Weeping Angel. They're beings that can only attack when no one is looking at them.

Oh, like Boo from Mario Bros?

Yes, yes, like Boo, but these are really scary!

So they don't move if someone's looking at them?

(voice quivering)

OK, then.

RAPHAEL walks behind the Weeping Angel statue while everyone watches. He picks up a sledge hammer that was leaning against the wall and smashes the statue to pieces.

Problem solved!

The TURTLES high five each other in a congratulatory manner.
CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION gives another scream of fright and points to a doorway on the left side of the room. A DALEK waits in the doorway.

What is that thing? A trash can?

It's a Dalek. One of my most feared enemies. They're bent on only one thing: destruction of all life! It must have followed us here through the rip we left in the space/time continuum!

What, like that movie Jumper?

Who do you think stole the idea then went back in time and wrote the book?

DR. WHO indicates himself with two thumbs pointed at his chest. While DR. WHO is talking MICHELANGELO sneaks up behind the DALEK and throws a sheet over it.

Beep boop bop beep!

MICHELANGELO tips the DALEK onto it's side.


The DALEK begins sparking and smoke floats up from under the sheet as it makes a powering down noise.

Oh, well... that was easy.

It kinda looked like he'd have trouble getting up if I put him on his back. I know a thing or two about that being a turtle and all.

Yes, well, thanks.

CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION pokes DR. WHO in his side to get his attention then hands him a small cylindrical tool with a glowing light at the end.

Of course! Why didn't I think of this sooner!

What's that?

It's my Sonic Screwdriver!

Your what?

Sonic Screwdriver. It's an amazing tool that can fix just about anything. Works great on plot hol--I mean technical time-travel stuff.

DR. WHO waves the Sonic Screwdriver like a magic wand at the T.A.R.D.I.S. and it glows slightly and hums or something.

Well, that's fixed then. Thank you, turtles. We'll just be off now.

Wait! Can you tell us anything about the future?

I could, but what does it matter? I'm just going to go mess it up anyway. So long!

DR. WHO and CUTE RED-HEADED COMPANION climb back into the T.A.R.D.I.S. It begins to vibrate and maybe hum a little before it implodes in a flash of light, most likely.

So... anybody want some more pizza?

All the TURTLES laugh and agree as they head back into the kitchen.



There it is. I hope you enjoyed my script. I'll be starting a Kickstarter campaign to get production on this episode started real soon.

*I like to give credit where credit is due. This post was partly (but not entirely) inspired by this comic by Kate Beaton.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 52: The Turtles Go Rock Climbing

Almost four years ago to the day some of my friends took me to a rock gym in Tempe, AZ for my bachelor party. Some of you might be thinking, "That's lame! It's a bachelor party! Where are the strippers and the coke and the guns?!" Well, you're wrong. I don't like strippers, I don't do drugs and I don't trust my friends with a gun. It was actually really awesome. I guess they figured since I'm such a Spider-Man fan I would enjoy pretending I could climb walls by letting me... really climb some walls.

I've been wanting to do it again, but never seemed to find the time and my wife was, let's just say, less than enthusiastic about the idea. In an effort to do more active things outside the house she suggested that we go check out a rock gym in Austin today. Shaun came along to relive the fun of my bachelor party.

The rock gym here is a little smaller than the one we went to in Tempe and about half of it is for bouldering. The training course we took on how to properly set-up, climb and belay was much more in depth than what I remember of the one in Tempe, but I felt pretty confident about being able to both climb and belay safely afterward, so I guess that's what counts.

I would say I enjoy climbing more than my wife or Shaun, but I think we all had a pretty good time. My wife was very nervous going into it and wasn't sure how much she would enjoy it. She doesn't have much upper-body strength (which is not unusual in women), but once I convinced her she wouldn't fall if she slipped and she got more comfortable using her leg strength to push herself up instead of only relying on her arm strength to pull she made it to the top of several sections of wall. I think she surprised herself with how well she did.

I really enjoy it a lot and maybe it's something we can do more often in the future; we'll just have to see. I'll definitely have to get some better shorts if we do. That harness is really good at accentuating your crotch and gym shorts aren't the best idea if you're looking for discretion.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 51: Allie Brosh Plays Ninja Turtles with a Real Ninja Turtle

So there's this blog. No wait, not this blog, I mean this other blog. It's called Hyperbole and a Half and it's written by Allie Brosh. Maybe you've heard of it? No. I'm not surprised. It's pretty underground. Go ahead and click that link and read all of the posts. I'm gonna single-handidly make that blog famous.

I found this blog, through twitter or something, maybe 6 months ago. Then roughly 2 months ago I had a little free time at work and thought, "Hey! I should just read everything on Hyperbole and a Half because it's pretty funny." So I did.

I don't really read many blogs that aren't written by people I know because I don't spend a lot of time just surfing the web, but I do love Hyperbole and a Half. I think at least most of the reason I find it so entertaining is because Allie reminds me a lot of my wife at times. Here's an example of exactly how my wife reacts to snow. The main difference being instead of almost dying from hypothermia my wife ran out the backdoor in an excited frenzy and slipped on the iced-over stairs bruising her back pretty seriously in the process. Or how about this story about being scared of, well, everything? My wife's not scared of Orcs specifically, but the same principle applies. Maybe you remember a recent post where I had to read to her from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy before bed because she freaked herself out after watching old X-Files episodes? As a matter of fact the Hyperbole and a Half entry that directly inspired this picture is another good example of the similarities between Allie Brosh and my wife.

The picture was inspired by this post in which Allie briefly mentions playing Ninja Turtles with a friend where she was forced to be April because she's a girl while her friend got to be all the turtles simultaneously. That's not exactly the focus of her post, but it did remind me of stories my wife told me of playing Ninja Turtles at recess. She said she always had to be April and sit on the monkey bars and wait for the turtles to save her. That's bullshit. Girls can be turtles. I can't imagine a human boy's DNA is any closer to a Ninja Turtle's than a human girl's DNA. Anyway, I drew this picture of Allie playing Ninja Turtles with a real Ninja Turtle. I made her Michelangelo because she seems closer to his personality. And because he doesn't have sharp weapons, which is probably safer.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 50: The Ninja Turtles are Down with the Clown

Today is the day I reveal something shocking about my past. Some of you may already know this, but I feel like most of you only think you know and don't really have a clear idea of what I'm about to discuss.

I used to be a juggalo. Like, a hardcore juggalo.

**Disclaimer: This post is long. Really long. Probably my longest yet. I don't intended to ridicule or mock ICP or their fans, just give my account of what being a juggalo was like for me.**

This isn't really a fact that I keep hidden away out of shame. I'm totally open about it, but it's not really something that comes up a lot. Until the release of ICP's "Miracles" video most people either didn't know what a juggalo was or didn't really care. Most of my friends know that I used to listen to all those Psychopathic Records artists, but for the ones who didn't meet me until later it's probably not something they can accurately visualize. Well in today's post I intend to shed some light on my personal experience as a juggalo.

First off, let me explain the picture. I drew Raphael as Violent J and Donatello as Shaggy holding microphones and spraying Faygo. Mike and Leo are behind them as Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child from Twiztid.

Now, let's start at the beginning.

ICP formed in the early 90's as Inner City Posse, a gang/hip hop group going under the names Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope and John Kickjazz. Eventually they decided to change styles and dropped the "gangsta rap" for a more "horror-core" themed style of hip hop. They kept the ICP initials but changed the name to Insane Clown Posse and started wearing clown face paint to differentiate themselves from the rest of the scene. Sometime before the release of their first LP John Kickjazz left the group creating the Insane Clown Posse you know and love today.

Fast forward a few years to 1998 and that's where I come into this story. About a year after ICP's fourth full length album, The Great Milenko, came out to huge controversy a radio mix began getting heavy rotation on Party Radio in the Phoenix area. I was in 8th grade at the time. I remember I had heard of ICP before this, but didn't really know anything about them or their music. The radio mix was pretty funny and I think I borrowed the CD from someone or someone copied it onto a cassette or something. That Christmas I got my first ICP CD as a gift. Thanks, mom!

I can definitely say at first it was all about the comedy factor for me. A lot of the songs are very ridiculous and intentionally funny. Plus I was still a kid and still figuring out my own taste in music. Late in 1998 ICP came to Phoenix and played a radio festival put on by Party Radio. I was excited about seeing a local band called the Phunk Junkeez, but me and my two best friends also wanted to go and see what ICP was all about live. We got to the show late, maybe about half-way through the Phunk Junkeez set. Shaun tells me that Twiztid--newcomers at the time--played before the Phunk Junkeez and this was the first time we would miss out on seeing them live. Once ICP hit the stage it was literally like no show I'd ever seen before and really haven't seen since. Their set pieces are massive and intricate, they never stop going from the beginning of the show to the closing lines of the last song and they usually have at least a few other people on stage with them to keep up the chaos.

One of the more unusual hallmarks of an ICP show is the Faygo. Faygo is a cheap brand of soda found mostly in the midwest and based out of Detroit. I guess because it's so cheap all the members of ICP grew up drinking it and it kind of became their thing. The story goes that during a show early in ICP's career Violent J threw an open bottle at a row of hecklers and people loved it so they've continued the practice ever since. Bottom line, if you are anywhere near the front of the crowd at an ICP show you will come out drenched in Faygo. It might sound gross, but I can't explain what a relief it is to be stuck in a hot sweaty crowd at an ICP show and catch a nice, cold, half-full bottle of Faygo freshly kicked off the stage. It's like catching a health potion. I heard they use mostly diet flavors because it's less sticky, but it really doesn't matter. Dry soda is always sticky.

Over the years I lost count of how many ICP shows I went to. If I had to guess I'd say I probably saw them somewhere between 10 and 15 times. The first show was eye-opening for sure. We weren't quite as into them yet, but after that first concert I remember painting my face up for every single one.

I remember one show, in the summer of '99 I believe, Shaun, Ricky and I were getting ready for a show at Ricky's house. We were all dressed in our finest XXL ICP shirts (I seem to remember the shirts only being available in XXL and above at the shows) and painting our faces in the bathroom downstairs. We were waiting for Ricky's Dad to show up because he was supposed to be the one taking us to the show. When he finally got there we were all ready to leave and trying to rush out the door and he told us there was no way he was going to take us to the show if our faces were painted and his wasn't. He literally wouldn't leave until we painted his face. So the four of use crammed into the bathroom to paint Ricky's Dad's face.

On the way to that same show we ran into a bit of trouble; we got a flat tire on the freeway. The four of us climbed out of the car to change the tire (well, Ricky's Dad changed the tire; we waved at traffic) on the side of the US-60 in the middle of a summer day in Phoenix. Oddly enough this is a fond memory for me.

Even though we got there late we saw most of the show, including Snoop Dogg who was a surprise opening act. That's right. I saw Snoop Dogg open for ICP. We missed Twiztid again, this time because Jamie Madrox was incarcerated at the time for drug possession or assault or something. This was the second, but not the last time we would miss out on a Twiztid show.

Another show, later in the year, this time at the Nile, we were forced to wait four hours for ICP to show. No one really knew what happened, but people were getting restless. At some point Soul Man from the Phunk Junkeez showed up and started DJing onstage. I thought it was cool of him to try to help out and he was even wearing a Psychopathic Records hockey jersey. Unfortunately juggalos are fickle people and they started throwing stuff onstage. Eventually he left and we were forced to continue waiting in silence. When they finally showed up it was so late that Twiztid didn't perform and ICP went straight on stage instead. We found out later that one of the members had weed in his bag at the airport and was detained for several hours.

I moved from Gilbert, AZ to Cedar Park, TX in the summer of 2000, between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Coincidentally the summer of 2000 also happened to be the first annual Gathering of the Juggalos. Somehow Shaun and I convinced our parents to let us fly to Novi, MI (with Shaun's mom chaperoning) to attend the event. I'm still not entirely sure why they let us go at 15 years old, but I'm glad they did. We flew to Detroit and stayed at the Double Tree directly across the freeway from the Novi Expo Center where the Gathering was being held. It was two days of concerts, wrestling, signings, seminars and pretty much any other Psychopathic Records related insanity you could think of. Shaun's mom stayed at the hotel while Shaun and I walked over to the Expo Center. We hadn't even made it inside yet and I saw a kid volunteer to be crucifix power-bombed off a two foot high retaining wall into an empty dumpster. I also remember seeing a guy walking down the line asking the girls to flash his disposable camera. You'd be surprised how easily you can get a female ICP fan to flash you just by asking nicely. OK, maybe you wouldn't be that surprised.

After we got in there was a lot going on. I don't remember everything that happened in those two days so I'll just try to hit some highlights.

There was a museum of sorts constructed of portable fabric walls hung on PVC (like most convention booth dividers) chronicling the different eras of ICP's career. There was another area where you could walk through all of the different stage sets they'd used throughout the years. There were a few actual booths with "celebrities." The only person I actually remember meeting was "Missy" from their movie Big Money Hu$tla's (who I have just learned was a porn star). There was an area allocated for signings. I think the only signing we went to was the Kottonmouth Kings/Corporate Avenger/Too Rude signing.

There was a room for "seminars." I honestly don't remember any of the seminars except the one Shaun and I attended, the "Secret Seminar." All they told us was that there would be a prize for the people that made it through the seminar and then there were a series of eliminations. If I remember correctly it started with you pulling an envelope from under your chair. Inside was a ridiculously difficult test, but when you flip to the end it says something like "Who could answer these questions? This test is ridiculous. Just sit there and don't move," or something along those lines. The people that actually started the test were kicked out, while the people that didn't got to stay. Next they held up a box of 64 crayons. They said the next task was for everyone to get a crayon and then they throw them out into the crowd. Shaun and I both found crayons relatively close to us (mine was "Tickled Pink") so we sat and concealed them just in case it was another trick. It was and we stealthily hid the crayons in our backpacks. The guys running the seminar knew a bunch of people were lying about not having crayons, but instead of forcing the issue they complimented us on our resourcefulness. Next they told us there were five bingo cards hidden somewhere in the room and to find those. This time Shaun and I just sat there. This turned out to be a mistake. Only the people who found the cards got to stay and get the prize. To this day neither of us has ever been able to find out what that prize was, but I still wonder some times.

Later during the Gathering I became the first person to complete the ICP trivia challenge and I won Shaggy's solo EP entitled Fuck Off!. I almost got run over by Shaggy on a mini-bike and we saw Jamie Madrox from Twiztid almost get into a fight when a security guard tried to kick him out for cutting in line at his own merch booth. It was a crazy two days and at the end of it all we were treated to a massive ICP show to close things down. Near the end of the set ICP called the crowd on stage. I happened to be pinned up against the barrier at that point and I've never been one to shrink from the chance to jump on stage so I hopped the fence and climbed up there. I was one of the first few people to make it so I started pulling other people up behind me. It was pretty crazy and according to wikipedia over 300 audience members ended up on stage and ICP performed for another 30 minutes with everyone up there. It's all a blur to me, but I was happy to find out afterward that somehow Shaun got a picture of me on stage from his spot in the crowd. It was one of the most insane and fun two days of my young life.

After I started school in Cedar Park I didn't really make new friends and thanks to the internet and instant messaging I didn't have to. I wasn't a total loner; I floated among several groups and was on friendly terms with a lot of people at my school, but I didn't really have any close friends besides the ones I left behind in Arizona. I did make friends with a kid a couple of years younger than me who was also big into Psychopathic Records. My mom and a friend drove us down to Houston for a show once. It was on the second floor of a tiny club and I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if that thing had collapsed under the weight of all the people packed into it. My mom told me later that she got hit on by another woman while she was waiting for us downstairs.

During my later years in high school is when my fandom started to wane. There wasn't really one big thing that started it, but a combination of little things. For one I always listened to music other than just Psychopathic Records artists. That may not sound like a big deal, but a lot of juggalos don't stray very far from their main collection of Psychopathic Records groups. I always liked alternative, punk, ska and whatever else caught my attention even if I did listen to mostly ICP and affiliated groups.

One thing that always bothered me was that ICP was constantly feuding with other musical acts. They were good friends with the Kottonmouth Kings, but probably three of four times when I was listening to them there would be some feud started for no reason and all of a sudden juggalos weren't supposed to be fans of the Kottonmouth Kings anymore. They started a feud with Eminem that I still don't think has been resolved so juggalos can't listen to Eminem. Same thing with a rapper named Marz that they toured with and I happened to really like. Maybe that's just the hip-hop world, but it got a little old and I don't like basing my musical choices on who's mad at whom.

The thing that really did it for me in the end, though, was that I just didn't really feel like part of the "family." I had a lot of fun at shows and the Gathering was a blast, but I didn't ever really fit in with the juggalos. Don't get me wrong, juggalos can be great people and I never had a problem with any one in particular; it was just another group that I was on good terms with, but I was still hanging out on the fringes. For me it was always more about the idea of being juggalos with my friends. It had very little to with wanting to be a part of the family in general. To be perfectly honest the juggalo family is a big part of the listening experience with ICP. If you don't feel connected to the group you kind of lose the point of being a fan.

So over the course of my last years in high school my interest faded. One night I just decided to take down all of my posters (my room was literally covered floor to ceiling) and I gave them to my friend who was still a fan. I started selling off my t-shirts, jerseys and hoodies. I made a killing on eBay, but not even close to what I spent originally. Sometime later I sold off most of my trade goods (comics, toys, etc...) and finally, a few years ago I gave away or sold all of my CDs (after ripping them to iTunes of course). The only hold-over I have from my time as a juggalo is a set of Psychopathic Records Beenie Boyz.

I do still occasionally listen to some Psychopathic Records music, every few months or so I might get the urge. Usually I listen to Twiztid or Psychopathic Rydas. Twiztid has always been my favorite Psychopathic Records artist because I feel like they're much better rappers than ICP in general. Psychopathic Rydas is just so ridiculously over-the-top gangsta rap that it's funny as a bit of a parody, but there's still so much talent in the group that it's actually good hip-hop if you like that style.

It seems like being a juggalo is a lot like being a member of a secret society in that most people don't want to join, but they're all curious as to what actually goes on. The desire to write this post originally started when Shaun, Ricky and I were all reminiscing about our good ol' juggalo days a few months ago. Since then I've been thinking about it and wanting to sort through those times with a new perspective. While I was writing this I started listening to all of ICP's main discography (Joker's Cards and EPs) in chronological order to get some inspiration. What I also discovered is that even though I rarely ever listen to them anymore I still enjoy ICP's music. Part of it is nostalgia, I'm sure, but none of it is ironic. I don't believe in liking things ironically. I think that's a stupid concept and I don't see what's wrong with having a genuine interest in something, even if that something is thought to be pretty ridiculous by most other people. I don't know that I'll ever see ICP live again, and I can't say for sure if I'll ever paint my face like a clown again, but I do feel that deep down after all this time I'm still a juggalo and that may not ever change.

One last thing. I'd like to thank Shaun for helping me remember some of the finer details and helping me fact check this post a bit. I'd also like to thank our parents for not freaking out when we wanted to listen to songs about blood and death and paint our faces like clowns to go to concerts. A lot of parents would have forbidden it, but ours knew we were smart enough to make our own choices and didn't make it more appealing by telling us no.


I know this post is probably already way too long, but I thought I'd take a second to answer some quick questions and misconceptions that come up a lot. If you have any questions post them in the comments and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

About a year or two ago some news story broke about ICP being Christian and evangelical and their music is christian music or something and everyone was all over it. This was a shock to everyone except their fans. Then, 6 months later the story somehow broke again and everyone was all over it. Again. I remember hearing a local morning radio show here cover it twice somehow without realizing it. Well, let me set things straight. Those statements aren't entirely true. As far as I can tell they never claimed to be Christian or evangelical about any religion. Some article once phrased it that way and everyone took the story and ran with it becaues it's the most shocking thing you could say about ICP. ICP has said they believe in God, and this isn't really news to anyone who's ever been a fan. Their more serious songs and the over-arching mythology of their music is a bunch of parables and morality tales in which, essentially, good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. That's it.

What is the appeal of ICP? Well, like I said, at first for me it was just the entertainment value in the novelty of it. They're clowns and they talk about murder and blood and guts and gore. I used to tell people it's the musical equivalent of watching a B-horror film. Beyond that, though, is the sense of community ICP built around their music. It attracts people who feel like they don't fit in anywhere else. If you're going to be an outsider you might as well do it on your terms with other people like you. One of the cool things about being a juggalo is you have instant friends wherever you go and I don't feel like other communities are that way necessarily. I had a small silver hatchet man charm on a chain that I bought at the Gathering. I wore it every day and one day while my wife and I were still dating long distance I gave it to her (sort of a juggalo promise ring). She told me that people would randomly start talking to her and being friendly when she wore it and she never knew why until she noticed they were wearing an ICP shirt or something similar.

What is the mythology surrounding ICP and the Dark Carnival/Joker's Cards? You might have heard the term Dark Carnival or Joker's Cards mentioned in relation to ICP before. The basis of the story that they created and have been fleshing out through their music is pretty simple. The Dark Carnival is sort of a precursor to the apocalypse, similar to the four horseman, and it is manifested through the forms of the six Joker's Cards: The Carnival of Carnage, The Ringmaster, Riddle Box, The Great Milenko, The Amazing Jeckel Brothers (Jack & Jake Jeckel) and The Wraith (Shangri-la & Hell's Pit). Each of these Joker's Cards are meant to pass judgement on souls and have their own way of doing so. For example The Amazing Jeckel Brothers are a juggling duo. For every sin you commit Jack Jeckel adds a ball to the routine, and for every good act Jake drops one. If too many balls get added and they can't keep up the act then you are condemned. ICP themselves act as heralds to the coming of the Dark Carnival. Each Joker's Card had an ICP album associated with it (except The Wraith which had two). Originally the story was that once the 6th card dropped the Dark Carnival would sweep the land. Obviously that didn't happen and I've read that ICP has since started a new "deck" with Bang! Pow! Boom! and the forthcoming The Mighty Death Pop! but I stopped listening to them before the Wraith was released.

Day 49: Donatello Reads a Book

 I was busy today, so here's another quick post. It's a picture of Donatello reading a book, which is something I wish I had more time to do. I'm not really sure why he's wearing glasses. I guess it's an indication that he's a nerdy guy who reads too much which damages his eyesight even though I'm pretty sure that's bullshit and can't really happen. Whatever. And in case you're wondering he's reading an instructional manual on how to build a time machine, probably.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 48: The Turtles Make Some Pizza

Tonight the wife and I made some pizza for dinner and I mean really made some pizza. We bought crusts and pizza sauce and then chopped up our own toppings. It was pretty delicious so I decided to draw the turtles making some pizza for themselves.

Donatello's got his finished product ready to go. Raphael is tossing the dough. Leonardo is taking a finished pizza out of the oven. Michelangelo is prepping his favorite toppings: jelly beans and whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 47: Just Hangin' Around

I know, I know, it's another sort of cop-out drawing, but I swear I'm working on a pretty lengthy post in which I shed some light on my dark past. I think (hope) you will find very interesting and maybe a little informative. Look for it sometime later this week.

Day 46: Tired Ninja Turtle is Tired

This is a self portrait of me when I from when I drew this picture.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 45: Donatello and Wilfred

FX is an interesting channel. They'll show some random action movie during the day followed by 4 hours of Two and a half Men and then some very entertaining original series. So far FX is home to some of my favorite current TV shows including Archer and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. My newest favorite show on FX is Wilfred.

If you've never heard of it Wilfred is about a man named Ryan who befriends his neighbor's dog, named Wilfred. The catch is that while everyone else sees a dog Ryan sees Wilfred as a man in a dog costume. Hilarity ensues. Wilfred stars Elijah Wood as Ryan and Jason Gann as Wilfred. The show is often vulgar, crude and is not above suggesting that Wilfred is capable of things like theft, drug use and even murder. It is truly a dark comedy.

We had a couple of episodes from last week that we caught up on today so I drew this picture of Donatello confronted with a man in a dog costume. He's just kind of staring, because, really, what would you do in this situation?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 44: The Ninja Turtles Have No Use For Streets

Watching silhouettes jump and flip from roof to roof in the moonlight has always been one of my favorite images of the Ninja Turtles. A lot of heroes use this method to get around major metropolitan areas. Aside from just looking sweet it makes sense. If you're on the ground your options are extremely limited when trying to decide the best way to pursue a criminal. If you're on top of the skyline you can head in any direction at any time. Not to mention it's the first rule of strategy to control the high ground. You get a bird's eye view and it's much easier to attack from above than below.

One thing I don't really understand as an adult, though, is how are they getting up there? Are they taking the elevator? Fire escapes? I mean, the turtles live in the sewer so they have to start out below street level. Plus they're turtles. Turtles in general aren't known for their ability to run, jump or climb. In the end I guess imagining them climbing buildings and then jumping from rooftop to rooftop is the least ridiculous thing that happens in a world where human-sized ninjitsu-master mutant turtles exist.

Day 43: The Turles Visit Barton Springs

There are a lot of things to love about living in Austin. I've discussed a few in some of my previous posts. Well here's another one to add to the list. We have Barton Springs Pool.

Barton Springs is a pool located in the middle of Zilker Park near downtown Austin. The pool is man-made but it was built in the Barton Channel and fed by Main Barton Spring so it maintains a year-round temperature between 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this it's a very popular site for residents, especially during the summer months. I've only been there once a few years ago on the 4th of July, but the wife and I are going back today. It should make for a good time since it's been so hot and dry here this summer.

I imagine the turtles would enjoy the spring as much as any human. I'm assuming this to be the case because they're Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and most turtles live in or near water for their entire lives. For more evidence that they might enjoy the occasional swim just take a look at the intro to the 1988 cartoon series. Before they got dropped down that sewer grate they were living in a fishbowl full of water (not exactly he best habitat for a turtle, I'll admit).


I didn't get this in before we actually went to Barton Springs Pool, so here's an update.

We went there. I jumped in, but it took some coaxing to get my wife to do it. A friendly woman even offered to push her in, but eventually she did it on her own. The water was pretty chilly when we got in, but we became acclimated pretty quickly. We swam some laps and talked about how we were living an X-Files episode because there was likely a monster living in a cave below the pool. Unfortunately the Barton Springs Monster never showed itself and we left feeling tired, but refreshed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 42: Raphael Fights a Bear!

There are a couple of things that led me to draw this.

1) Bears are awesomely powerful and could probably kill you without even realizing you were there, yet somehow they trick people into thinking they're adorable and cuddly like a big dog.

2) Ethan Nicolle (co-creator and artist of Axe Cop fame) recently started a new web-comic called Bearmageddon. It's seriously awesome and I love his art style. It's not Axe Cop so don't come in expecting poop jokes and people dressed as babies (though it's only 5 pages in, so who knows what the future holds?), but it's already just as entertaining in a different way. In one of the recent pages one of the characters posed the question, "Can a man kill a bear with one punch?" And that brings me to number three.

3) I have an ancestor who used to hunt bears using only a knife with some accounts crediting him killing more than 80 bears in close combat.

I've known about this ancestor for a while. He was pretty famous back in the days of the good 'ol Civil War and a few family member have been named after him. What I didn't know until fairly recently was that he could have been a serious contender for Bad Ass of the Century.

His name was General Wade Hampton III and here are a few highlights of his pretty awesome life.*

He was born in Charleston, South Carolina to one of the wealthiest planters in the South. They also happened to own the largest number of slaves (not really a ringing endorsement for a bad-ass, but it was the South in the early 1800's). He came from a line of military bad-asses that served in the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812.

As previously mentioned he was quite an outdoorsman and enjoyed horseback riding and hunting. Specifically hunting American Black Bears. With a knife. And nothing else.

He studied law, but never practiced it, presumably because he only needed to understand the law enough to become a powerful vigilante in the Southern United States.

At the start of the Civil War he opposed the division of the U.S., but being an honorable man he stayed loyal to his home state of South Carolina and resigned his post in the U.S. Senate (oh yeah, he was a Senator, did I mention that?) He then enlisted as a private in the SC Militia, but the Governor insisted he take a Colonel's commision even though he had absolutely no military experience. He formed his own legion, because there were no other legions bad ass enough to back him up and he personally financed all of their weaponry.

After numerous battles and promotions he led what became known as the "Beefsteak Raid" in which he and his troops captured over 2400 heads of cattle and 300 prisoners behind enemy lines.

He was injured five times during the war. Once was a severe injury to the foot, but who needs a foot when you have a horse? He stayed mounted while the wound was treated even though he was still under heavy fire. Another time he received a saber cut to the back of the head while rushing a soldier from 200 yards who was pointing a rifle at him the entire time. He received two more cuts to the front of his head and was only taken out of the battle when he received shrapnel to his hip.

After the war he was offered a nomination for governor and was a strong favorite to win, except that, oh yeah, he didn't want to be governor; he was afraid people in the North would be a suspicious of a Confederate general seeking office only months after the war ended. Regardless he was so popular he had to campaign to tell people not to vote for him.

Later when he did decide to run his supporters were called "Red Shirts" and were known for their violent tactics, much like soccer hooligans I would imagine. In order to secure absolute privacy he used a local brothel as a campaign headquarters and to hold meetings. That election was thought to be the bloodiest gubernatorial election in the history of the state and both sides claimed victory. In fact for six months there were two governments until the South Carolina Supreme Court declared Hampton as the winner.

Afterward he was known as the "Savior of South Carolina" and was reelected. He broke his leg shortly into his second term and it eventually had to be amputated. It's OK, though, because on the day his leg was amputated he was also elected to the Senate even though he refused to announce his intention to run. If you're keeping count that's two--almost three--positions of power he was given without even asking.

If you're ever near the South Carolina State House, or the U.S. Capitol you can see a couple of statues of him erected after his death in 1902.

He's also been used in several works of historical fiction. If you watch Gone With the Wind you can see it's his name that signed the letter to Scarlet telling her that her first husband has died in the war. The other works are just books, so you won't be reading those anyway.

That's probably enough about my ancestors for one post. I hope I enlightened you as to how awesome my genes are.

*I got all of my facts from the Wikipedia article on General Wade Hampton III, so take that for what you will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 41: The Ninja Turtles Love Old School Nickelodeon

Last night we attended TV Dinner at the Highball. If you don't know what these two things are, let me explain.

The Highball is a swanky night club type place complete with a full bar, dining area, ballroom, vintage bowling alleys and private karaoke rooms. Plus it's owned and operated by the Alamo Drafthouse folks and you know how much I love that place.

TV Dinner is a weekly event hosted by my good friend John Smith and my now good friend James Pound. Every Monday they show 4 episodes of some rerun TV goodness. They started with Saved by the Bell and moved on to Fresh Prince, TGIF and for the past few weeks have done a selection of old 90's Nickelodeon shows. We've missed out for one reason or another recently, but last night marked our triumphant return!

While we watched some excellent episodes of Clarrisa Explains It All and Ren & Stimpy I got to chatting with John and shared with him one of my favorite life experiences that he later asked me to share with the rest of the crowd.

When I was in 6th grade Nickelodeon took over my school.

Seeing as how this was 15 years ago my memories are a bit fuzzy, but here are some highlights of that magical day.

I remember walking to school with my brother (who was in 1st grade at the time) and some friends. We didn't usually walk to school, but since it was a special day we got there early. A bunch of kids were waiting out in front for the 4th grader that actually won the contest to show up in a magical bus full of Nick stars and fueled by green slime.

When they finally arrived we were treated to a bunch of people in costumes dressed as some of the more popular Nick Toons. The only ones I remember specifically were Arnold from Hey! Arnold and Tommy and Chucky from Rugrats. For some reason I remember the crowd pushing forward causing me to stumble off the curb. I reached out and grabbed onto Arnold's ear for balance and nearly pulled over the person in that ridiculous football-shaped top heavy costume.

Most of the day was pretty normal as far as classes were concerned except that our class had P.E. that day. This turned out to be one of the best parts of the day because we got to play dodgeball with a couple of special guests: Michelle Trachtenberg and Amanda Bynes. I took some extra pleasure in knocking both of them out. I mean I was a fan of both of them (Amanda Bynes more because she was on All That of course), but who wouldn't want to be able to tell their friends that they knocked out two celebrities in a dodgeball match? After the game but before we went back to class Larisa Oleyneck (Alex Mack) and Darris Love (her friend Ray) from The Secret World of Alex Mack came and played basketball with us for a few minutes.

Later in the day I remember meeting Lori Beth Denberg from All That which was cool, I guess. Really I was hoping to meet Keenan and Kel like everyone else at my school, but we were saddened to hear that they wouldn't be showing up because they were busy filming Good Burger. Of course when I finally saw Good Burger I was happy that they didn't show up because that movie was more than worth not getting to meet them. I vaguely remember meeting a few other Nick stars, but I couldn't say who they were. I believe I still have my "Nick Takes Over Your School" shirt somewhere that I had covered with autographs. I could probably figure out a few more names from that if I ever got really curious.

Nickelodeon set up a Global Guts obstacle course on the basketball court near the playground and they were taking classes out individually to run through the course. Unfortunately my class didn't get to do it for some reason, but when I was at recess I did manage to talk one of the attendants into letting me go through my favorite part of the course, the Elastic Jungle. I dove straight into it like every kid you see run the course on the show. It was pretty fun and I feel like I could have been a contender on that show based solely on my ability to navigate the Elastic Jungle.

During recess we also had a bunch of news crews roaming around interviewing kids and filming station bumps. Somehow I got in with a group of kids doing a bump for Telemundo or maybe Univision. I don't remember specifically I just know it was a Spanish language channel. I also don't remember what they had us yell into the camera or if it was in English or Spanish, but I do remember we had to do it over and over like 15 times.

At the end of the day they put on a concert. I remember the ads for the contest saying they would have a concert featuring any band the winner wanted and thinking how cool that would be. Well, I seriously doubt this 4th grader chose No Mercy, but who knows, maybe he really liked them and their terrible music. Of course I realize now as an adult he couldn't have chosen any band. Nickelodeon probably had very strict guidelines on content, musical style and budget available, but still, No Mercy? Really? Anyway, the concert sucked and I just hung out with my friends until it was time to leave anyway.

It was all a pretty awesome day and it's one of those stories I like to pull out to blow people's minds because seriously, who gets a party day at school thrown by Nickelodeon? One of the funnier things about this whole experience was who didn't get to participate. The elementary that won--Sonoma Ranch--was a brand new school. The year before this happened I went to a different school where I met the guy who is still my best friend to this day, but they redrew the boundary lines keeping him at our old school and sending me to the new one. It still brings me great pleasure to remind him of how close he was to meeting all those famous Nick stars.

Years later I also found at that my future brother-in-law was there that day as well. He was in the same grade, but in a different class, than my brother. My wife, on the other hand, is a year older than me. She missed out on this magical experience by one year and I never let her forget it.

Day 40: Teenage Mutant Ninja Stick-Turtles

I tried to change up my "I didn't have time to do a creative post" post with this simple drawing. When I was in school I used to draw massive stickman wars in the margins of my paper. This one isn't so big, but it's my first attempt at a stick-turtle war. They're fighting the Foot Clan and you can tell that they're the robot version from the cartoons by the electricity coming from the one that Raphael is stabbing. I have no idea what got on my paper before I got to scan it.

I promise to have a better post for Day 41.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 39: The Turtles Watch a Meteor Shower

Check out yesterday's post for my Casey Jones review. Now on with our regularly scheduled post.

Last weekend there was a meteor shower. Supposedly people were supposed to be able to see it pretty well in the northern hemisphere. That is unless of course you are contending with street lights, trees, clouds and a blindingly bright full moon.

My wife, our friend, Shaun, and I were all geared up to go check out this meteor shower in the early hours of the morning on Saturday. We set our alarms, got up at 3:15 am and headed North on the interstate to try to get away from the city lights. We pulled off the freeway after a few miles and drove further into the country. Unfortunately we weren't that far into "the country" because everywhere we looked there were street lights. And if there weren't lights there were trees lining the road. To top it off it was pretty goddamn cloudy as well.

We eventually settled on a section of road facing a field which afforded a decent view of the sky. The only drawback was a ridiculously bright street light directly behind us that would shine for about 30 seconds and then go out for a few minutes. It repeated this cycle for the entire night.

We waited outside my car in the chilly early morning air for a little over an hour and only saw a few shooting stars, but the ones we did see were the brightest I've ever seen. We were also hoping to glimpse the ISS shooting across the sky low on the horizon, but it was too cloudy so around 5 am we packed it up and went home to get some more sleep.

I've drawn what would have been the ideal setting to watch the meteor shower: clear sky, no lights, no moon and Ninja Turtles pointing out constellations and shooting stars. To close out this post I'll leave you with a very informational song about shooting stars.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 38: Introducing... Casey Jones *Updated*

Tonight is the screening of the Casey Jones movie I mentioned a few posts ago. I'm not really sure what to expect, I just hope that it's fun. I'm not really a purist when it comes to any kind of adaptations or reinventions so I won't be looking to pick apart this movie. I'd rather just enjoy watching someone else's vision of these characters.

The wife and I are going in costume because it just so happens that we dressed as Casey Jones and April O'Neil for Halloween last year. She's actually fixing her hair for her costume right now and I'll be putting on my sweatpants and cut-off jean jacket in just a little bit to head down the to the theater.

Here's a pic of what we looked like on Halloween. I made the mask out of corrugated plastic, covered it with white paper, used a sharpie to make the lines then added elastic to hold it on. It's not super comfortable, but it was cheap and gets the point across.

In honor of the character I drew Casey Jones and Raph in the style of how they looked when they met in the original live action movie. I always loved that a giant anthropomorphic turtle becomes totally inconspicuous in New York City as long as he's wearing a trench coat and a fedora. Seems reasonable. Also Casey Jones has one of the more bum-like super hero costumes of any comic book character I've ever seen.

I'll probably update this post later with my review of the show, but for now I'll just leave you with the trailer again.


 The Casey Jones movie. Where to begin? First of all the wife and I went in costume and we got there waaaaay early. No one was even at the theater yet so we killed some time at Half Price Books. In costume.

We headed back to the theater about an hour before the show and the lobby started filling up pretty quickly. We get some compliments on our costumes and met another Casey Jones. We took some pictures with people which was cool but soon enough it was time to head into the theater.

The movie itself wasn't very long. I believe the run time was somewhere around 30-40 minutes. I wasn't quite sure what to expect at first. The trailer makes it look pretty gritty, but there was some obvious comedy to the film. I liked Hilarion Banks' Casey Jones a lot. He did an excellent job portraying Casey as a somewhat cocky hot-head who just gets tired of getting pushed around and decides to stand up for himself and make a difference for those who can't.

Things did take a surprisingly (and enjoyably) dark turn after he suits up for the first time. This Casey Jones is not about mercy. He has no qualms about killing some street thugs--including a kid who looks an awful lot like Danny from the original film (though he would be much older now)--to make his point.

Michelangelo shows up part of the way through Casey's night of vengeance and they sort of parody/reenact the introduction scene between Raph and Casey in the original film. It was a lot of fun and one of the coolest things was that they got the original voice of Michelangelo (from the 1990 film) to reprise his role.

Although none of the other turtles are ever seen (except for a pair of hands) you do hear voices and I thought they did a really great job with the Turtles' dialog and voice work. There were a lot of "in-jokes" ("That's just Raph. You'll have to excuse him. He's cool, but rude"). One voice in particular I want to mention was Polaris Banks--who also wrote and directed the film--as Donatello. Corey Feldman has a very distinct Donatello voice (at least to me) and I was convinced they either somehow got him to read for the film, or cobbled together lines taken from the other films because his voice was so spot-on.

I could go on with a spoiler-filled rant about all the things I loved about this film, but instead I'll just hit a few highlights.

The stunt guys and fight choreographers did an excellent job. I liked the use of both the Purple Dragons and the Foot Clan. The fights were lengthy, entertaining and at times pretty brutal.

During one of the fight scenes we were treated to the biggest WTF moment in the movie. I won't spoil it except to say a character I would have thought extremely unlikely to make the jump to live-action makes an appearance.

We were also treated to a bright-yellow-suited April O'Neil giving news-story-narration, some amazing art pieces for the credits, the original film's theme reused during this movie (to great nostalgic effect) as well as a great new single by Johnny October called "Goongala!" during the credits.

The film premieres on the internet September 17th at so go check it out. Seriously. It's fuckin awesome.

Day 37: The Day I Almost Forgot... Again

Man, I totally had a picture all thought up early this morning, but then we got up and started doing things and I got a little side tracked. We spent most of the afternoon with my mom hanging out at the apartment and then at the movies. Afterward our friend Shaun came over and he and I reminisced with a movie you've probably never heard of and would probably avoid if you had. I promise this isn't an underground hipster thing, and I'll post more on it later. Maybe this week sometime.

Anyway, I just basically forgot about doing my drawing until 11:58pm so I hastily sketched this out before bed. Whew. That was a close one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 36: Ninja Turtles, Shaken Not Stirred

When I got home from work today my wife was sitting on the couch watching GoldenEye. Why? Because she's awesome, that's why. More than that she listened to me quote the movie, discuss the finer points of Pierce Brosnan's James Bond and reminisce about playing the classic N64 game.

It's been years since I've seen GoldenEye so it inspired me to draw this picture. Michelangelo is Bond because, hey, why not? Donatello is Q for obvious reasons. Leonardo is M (not the Judy Dench version). Raphael is playing the part of the Russian military officer. I was going to have him as Bond, but he's already got red on so it seemed a perfect fit. Plus he's kind of an ass.

I've been a James Bond fan for a long time. When I was younger I used to love to rent old Bond movies from Blockbuster and I never passed up a chance to watch a Bond marathon over the holidays. I'm a fan of Sean Connery's Bond, but I also had an attachment to Roger Moore. The more that I think about it now I wonder if that wasn't just because he did Moonraker which was about space and featured one of my favorite villains, Jaws.

I also loved Pierce Brosnan's James Bond. If you watch him in GoldenEye he is everything a good James Bond should be. Smooth, in control, stylish and extremely capable of handling himself in a firefight. Brosnan gets a bad wrap from a lot of Bond fans, but I feel it's unjustified. He was a great Bond saddled with some bad scripts. GoldenEye, to me was a great Bond film, but it was all downhill after that. It also didn't help that he started to get a little old and jowl-y in the later films.

People seem to be split on Daniel Craig's Bond, partly because of the radically changed scripts and partly because he plays it so differently than any of the past Bonds. Personally I am a fan of "gritty reboots" in general and I loved Casino Royale. I really like Daniel Craig's quiet, calculating Bond. He's not as suave as the past James Bonds, but he seems much more physically capable and there's a feeling of real danger present in the last two movies that was never really in any of the other Bond movies. My only concern so far with the latest incarnation of James Bond is the rumors I've heard of the Olsen twins being the next "Bond Girls." No one wants to see that.


After GoldenEye was over Die Another Day started. Right off the bat this movie is veering from cool spy movie to cartoon territory with a Surf Ninjas-like intro and a satellite contained within a knife handle. A little while into the movie they show a North Korean military officer working over a punching bag...

Em: I like how from 1995 to 2002 the standard bad guys go from being Russian to being North Korean.

Me: Yeah, a lot changed in that time period I guess.

*After beating on the punching bag vigorously for a few minutes he asks another officer to open the bag and a soldier falls out.*

Em: Hey! That's a good idea!

Me: What?! Seriously?

Em: Yeah, you can teach somebody a lesson and get a workout at the same time. It's a good idea.

Me: Whatever you say.

Who said Bond movies are just for guys?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 35: The Many Faces of the Great American Vampire

Supernatural creatures have had a wide range of incarnations in American media, but none has had a wider range of portrayals or been more popular than the vampire. What I've tried to capture in today's picture is a sampling of some of the different versions of vampires I've seen throughout the years. Leonardo is a classic Dracula style vampire. Donatello is a sort of goth-kid 90's era vampire. Raphael is more of a monstrous style of vampire. Michelangelo, unfortunately, got the short end of the stick today and is the Twilight-esque super hot (and shirtless) sparkly vampire. What brought upon my sudden desire to draw vampire turtles? Well, my friends and dear readers, tonight we saw a promotional early showing of the remake of Fright Night.

Before I get to my review (which will be brief and spoiler free, I promise) I have to address a subculture of people not well known, but which my wife and I have come in contact with only briefly. There are, it seems, a group of people who's sole entertainment in life is to camp out for early promo movie screenings. These aren't movie buffs, mind you. They are mostly elderly, often overweight and usually seem to have a tenuous grasp at best of what movie they're waiting for or what it might be about.

We first encountered these people while waiting for a screening of Juno. I showed up several hours early figuring on there being a line for a free screening and because I didn't want to drive all the way home and then all the way back down to the theater after work. When I got to the theater there were several people already there and they were well equipped. The mostly older patrons had set up camp early with their fold-away chairs, cushions, blankets and books. "Interesting crowd for this movie," I thought to myself, but then I started to notice that most of them already knew each other and I heard one lady ask what movie it was they were waiting for and the other woman responded that she didn't know. I thought that was pretty weird, but whatever, a free movie is a free movie, right?

Over the next couple of weeks we happened to attend a few more free screenings; one for The Fantastic Mr. Fox and another for Sweeney Todd. At both of these screenings I saw most of the same people and again they didn't seem to know or care what they were waiting to see. I also sensed a bit of a cool attitude towards my being there when I clearly wasn't part of the group. It's a bizarre subculture to be sure. I'd like to think if I had that kind of time on my hands I would do something more constructive than wait in line for a movie I'd never heard of, but then again I do Ninja Turtle drawings and then write about them on the internet.

Now, on to my review of Fright Night. To be honest I expected to not like this movie at all. I expected the film makers to take themselves way too seriously and for it to feel like I was watching Transformers 3 all over again. Approximately 10 minutes into the movie my worries were allayed. This movie is a straight-forward and unapologetic 80's vampire movie. There is never any back and forth on is he a vampire or isn't he. They make it pretty clear who the good guys are, who the vampire is and what's going to happen. Also Collin Farrel as a vampire? He's not fucking around.

At one point my wife leaned over to me and said, "This is like Zombieland for vampires." That is true in a sense, but I think she was more correct on the ride home when she said it was more like The Lost Boys. I thought the exact same thing when the main character's friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is trying to convince him that his neighbor is a vampire. McLovin is Corey Feldman and Chekov is Corey Haim. Another high point of the movie was David Tennant. I've only ever seen him act as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter but I'm well aware of his role as Dr. Who #10. Seeing him in this movie really makes me want to start watching Dr. Who. We'll see what happens. To cap it all off the credits roll to an excellent cover of Jay Z's hit "99 Problems" performed by Hugo. All-in-all I would recommend this as a breather from horror movies that are too clever for their own good and too many vampire movies that feel the need to rewrite the rules. In Fright Night you know his weaknesses and he's still a bad ass.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 34: The Turtles Hitchhike

Yesterday my wife and I watched 3 or 4 episodes of the X-Files. We're still in season 2 so they're pretty serious the whole time and some of them were kind of scary to some of us (my wife, specifically). By the time we went to bed I was pretty tired so I decided not to read. My wife finished her book yesterday and hadn't decided what to start on next, so long story short we laid down, turned the lights off and I was more than ready to go to sleep. Unfortunately the string of X-Files episodes left my wife mentally unable to sleep.

She has the problem of a run-away imagination when she gets scared. All of a sudden she was convinced that the tree outside our window was going to smash through the glass and try to grab her. Then, she said, the apartment pool was going to fill with bodies and there was going to be a ghost man in a hat standing over the bed and probably something scary under our bed waiting to grab her (besides our cat). Pretty much what it boils down to is I wasn't going to be going to sleep any time soon unless I did something.

So I did what any nice husband would do. I went out to our bookshelf and picked out a book to calm her down: The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy. I own the complete collection in one big paperback book and she's been talking about reading it for a while so I thought this would be the perfect thing to get her mind off of the scary stuff.

In the end I wound up reading it out loud to her until she was tired enough to fall asleep. I offered to do it in a British accent, but she declined which was probably smart on her part. So today with that on my mind I drew a picture of the Ninja Turtles trying to hitch a ride on a space ship. Michelangelo and Leonardo are consulting their copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide, Raph is getting ready to snap Michelangelo with his towel and Donatello is gazing wonderingly up into the sky. Notice they all have their own color-coordinated towels because those are important when hitchhiking.


Now I have some very important news to discuss that is not directly related to today's post, but is extremely related to this blog as a whole. It has recently come to my attention that someone made a feature-length live-action movie based on Casey Jones. This is strictly a fan film and not affiliated with the TMNT copyright holders at all so it'll never see a wide release, but I just found out that the film makers are doing a free screening this Sunday August 14th in Austin. I'm super fuckin excited about this movie and the wife and I plan to go in costume to the viewing. Last year for Halloween we dressed as Casey Jones and April O'neil so we've already got costumes ready to go, but I'll post more about that later.

For now here is the trailer and a few links for your information. If you can't make it to the viewing they plan on putting the movie up on the website afterward, so check it out. 

One of the things I love about this trailer is that they used the score from the original live action TMNT movie. Did I already mention how excited I am for this movie? Cause I'm super excited. I'll let you know how it is on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 33: Raphael Gives Blood

Today I gave blood. I've done this every 8 weeks at my work for the last two and a half years or so. I don't particularly enjoy the experience and I don't do it because I have a giant ego and want to feel good about myself for being so selfless. No, mostly I do it because it's a guaranteed 30-45 minute break from work complete with complementary snacks. I'd like to think that if my company stopped doing blood drives every eighth Tuesday I would take myself down to a clinic and donate on my own time, but I'm not ready to swear to that just yet.

My experience today was especially fun because I had a trainee sticking me. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against trainees. Everyone has to start somewhere. But today I learned what it feels like when someone can't find your vein and has to move the needle around in your arm. *Spoiler alert!* It's not pleasant. I'm a little worried that I'm going to have a massive bruise there tomorrow, but to be perfectly frank I don't really care. What I do care about is the bandage. They had several color wraps, but the lady fixing me up didn't even ask what color I wanted! I prefer purple because having a purple medical wrap around my elbow puts me just a little bit closer to being Donatello. Blue wold have been my second choice, but no, she just slapped a red one on me like it was no big deal, like it didn't even matter!

Well, that informed my decision of who I was going to put in the chair for today's drawing. I don't hate the red bandage and I actually do like Raphael, it's just that he's not my first choice, you know? At least Don's in there as the doctor. I figure out of all of them he's the most likely candidate for a medical license.

Did you know that Ninja Turtle blood is only good for two things? Number one: replenishing lost blood in another Ninja Turtle, and number two: inducing a beserker-like rage when ingested by dwarves. Don't believe me? Try it next time you find a vial of Ninja Turtle blood in your D&D campaign.

While doing some research for this post I learned some other interesting things about human blood types.
  • Type A+ is the blood type most sought after by alien abduction groups. If you have type A+ blood you are 3% more likely to be abducted by an alien (human or extraterrestrial).
  • Type A- (my type) is prominent in powerful wizards. Though people with other blood types may also be wizards, those with type A- display an average of 30% more magical power when compared to wizards of other blood types using similar spells.
  • Type B+ is less dense than other blood types making it more buoyant. If you have type B+ blood it's like having +5 to your swimming skill.
  • Type B- is sought after above all other types by vampires. If you have type B- blood you are 45% more likely to be attacked by a vampire, 55% if you work nights and 85% if you live in Eastern Europe. If you have type B- blood and you work nights anywhere in Eastern Europe it's more likely that you are a vampire than not.
  • Type AB+ is the closest thing to elf blood human beings can have. It's believed by many prominent scientists that the AB+ blood type is only found in people with some elfin ancestry.
  • Type AB- is resistant to Lycanthropy. People with type AB- blood are 13% less likely to turn into a werewolf if bitten by one according to recent studies.
  • Type O+ is commonly found in people with a genetic predisposition to write fan fiction. Even if the desire is never expressed it is still likely hidden deep within the heart and soul of a person with Type O+ blood.
  • Type O- is genetically linked to Solanum, the "zombie virus." In 100% of the recorded zombie outbreaks "patient zero" had type O- blood. It hasn't been established what the extent of the link is yet, but if you have type O- blood you may well be the epicenter of the next outbreak.
I hope I've enlightened you with my bit of trivia. So do your part to keep America safe from vampire attacks, go out and donate blood willingly so they don't have to come and take it, especially if you're type B-.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Day 32: Leonardo: Principito

    I've had the song "Principito" by Andrew Jackson Jihad stuck in my head all day. I'm a big fan of AJJ and I love this song. I also love the book the song is a reference to--The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

    I read the book in my junior year high school English class and enjoyed it so much I bought a copy for my wife (then girlfriend). She liked it so much she got a drawing from the book as her first tattoo.

    The song and the book may have different meanings depending on how you interpret each, but I love the imagery presented in both. I don't really have a good reason for picking Leonardo for this picture. I guess I feel I'm over-using Donatello and Raph and Mikey didn't really fit the feel of this drawing.

    The specific line I drew today was from the song's chorus and a main plot point of the novella.

    I'd like to take advantage of a flock of wild birds to make,
    To make my escape from this planet.

    P.S. Also somewhat related to this post, but not entirely, is the fact that Andrew Jackson Jihad has a new album coming out in September. It's called Knife Man and the two songs I've heard from it sound fucking fantastic ("Hate, Rain on Me" is my summer jam)! The wife and I will be seeing them at Emo's in Austin in October as well. Exciting!

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Day 31: The Ninja Turtles Get Abducted by Aliens

    Ugh. I feel like drifting off into a food coma after eating way too much at a little get together with our friends. This will be a short update.

    The wife and I decided a few years ago after watching the second (and pretty terrible) X-Files movie that we would like to go back and watch the series from beginning to end. 9 seasons makes for a long series and we only made it through the first season on Netflix before moving on. Now that they put X-Files on Netflix streaming we started up again a couple days ago. We're about 6 episodes into season 2 and it's pretty hilarious seeing David Duchovny from 17 years ago running around with a shoulder-padded-jacket-wearing Scully looking for aliens and other crazy creatures.

    While we were watching an episode today about alien abduction I drew this. The way I figure it if the Ninja Turtles were abducted the aliens would have found them way too awesome to experiment on and instead would op to party with them on their ship. Leonardo is hanging out in their tractor beam ray and Michelangelo has a lamp shade on his head. I don't know why the lamp shade on the head became one of the international signs for a party in the 80's but I remember him doing it in one of the movies and thought it was funny.

    Now it's back to another episode of the X-Files (this one's about vampires) before Breaking Bad starts.

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Day 30: Donatello Builds a Time Machine

    **WARNING: This blog may contain spoilers for a movie that came out in 1985. If you haven't seen Back to the Future you have bigger problems than spoilers.**

    We're starting to get our "stupid" movies from Netflix. The other night we watched BrĂ¼no and Hot Tub Time Machine. If I'm being totally honest I liked Hot Tub Time Machine, because they knew exactly what kind of movie they were making when they decided to call it Hot Tub Time Machine. The movie was summed up perfectly with Craig Robinson's epic delivery of the titular line, "It must be some kind of... hot tub time machine," complete with a deadpan look straight into the camera to punctuate this ridiculous sentence. The message is pretty clear: This movie is as stupid as it sounds and we all know it; don't think too hard about it.

    "Essentially," I told my wife, "this is a newer, dirtier retelling of Back to the Future." Even though I really only said it because Back to the Future is one of her favorite movies I feel it's a pretty accurate assessment. The only problem is I had to convince myself not to take it as seriously as I take Back to the Future. Which brings me to one of my favorite plot lines (or miracle plot devices) to discuss and endlessly tear apart: time travel.

    Time travel is an interesting concept to consider, even if some scientists are more convinced than ever that it's not possible. Or maybe more interesting is the idea of the consequences of time travel. In Back to the Future Marty comes back to good ol' 1985 to discover his family is rich and successful and that the bully/attempted rapist, Biff, is now little more than a man servant to the McFly's. That sounds great, but to me it's not a happy ending. Marty is now stuck in a different world than the one he left with a different family he has no memories of. My wife says that he will eventual begin to gain those memories as if he lived those experiences, but I think she's wrong and has obviously never traveled back in time. At least I have the support of a article to back me up. What does she have? Female intuition? Yeah, see if that saves you when you're being chased by future-thugs through 2015 on a hoverboard and you decide to take a shortcut across a pond. Cause it won't. You'll be stuck. Dumb.

    I won't go into a full philosophical discussion about time travel and it's repercussions on this blog because I could go on for hours and what does that have to do with Ninja Turtles anyway? The point of all this is: Look! I drew Donatello making a time machine, because if anyone can do it he can! In the picture he's working on the Flux Capicitor and getting it ready to install in the vehicle, because that's what makes time travel possible.

    I put a lot of thought into what kind of time machine he might build, or more specifically what he might turn into a time machine. Evidence shows that for some reason phone booth-shaped objects are a popular choice for morons (Bill & Ted) and the British (Dr. Who), but I like the vehicle-as-time-machine idea. Traveling through time is a crazy risky business so mobility is smart, but versatility is key. Doc Brown was displaying hubris when he decided to build a time machine out of a DeLorean. While it may look cool it didn't last five minutes in the old west forced to drive on rough terrain and feathered with Native American arrows. Let's face it, today's time traveler can't be bothered with a time machine fueled by cocaine and 80's nostalgia. We need something more practical.

    Deciding on a proper time travel vehicle is actually a lot like deciding the best means of transportation in a zombie apocalypse. I had two main thoughts when deciding on a vehicle. My choice was dependent on deciding whether a human (or man-turtle) could travel through time without protection, or whether it was necessary for them to be contained inside something in order to withstand the forces present in a wormhole. If protection from the wormhole elements isn't needed I would have gone with some sort of motocross bike. They're light (compared to cars), extremely versatile and can easily be tuned to quickly reach speeds of 88 miles per hour (just in case). But in the more likely event that we will need some buffer between us and a passage in the space/time continuum I decided the best (and most fun) decision is a Bowler Nemesis. My only real reason for picking this over the long list of other off road vehicles is because I saw Richard Hammond drive a previous generation Bowler off road racing vehicle on an episode of Top Gear and it looked like this thing could handle just about anything. Of course it had to be repainted with an appropriate Donatello color-scheme.

    I'm aware that it would be dangerous traveling into the past where fuel may not be readily available and conditions still may not allow for easy movement which is why I would suggest the first trip through time be to the year 2015 where Donatello can have a flight kit upgrade and Mr. Fusion installed.