Monday, March 31, 2008

Another Mickey Mouse drawing, except of a robot

The idea of doing a quick five minute sketch on a post-it note like I did for Mickey Mouse seemed like a lot of fun so I tried it again with a different subject. Then I started feeling self conscious about what I was doing, mostly thoughts like, "Oh no! You are too old to be drawing robots on post-it notes". I'm good at not letting that kind of thinking stop me from trying, but it's there in the back of my mind.

Then I started thinking, "What is this, really?" Was I really doing fanart, or was it something different? At the very basest level, was this fanart or a five minute memory drawing exercise? The subject matter seemed to define the action. If I drew a rock would that mean I am a fan of rocks? Was this fanart, or an exploration of how my mind stores, files and recalls imagery? What was this thing looking back at me from the post-it note? And now that I've done this drawing, what would happen if I tried to do a drawing of this drawing from memory?

Today when I am talking to people they will think I am totally engaged in conversation with them, but my mind will really be obsessing over a five minute post-it note sketch of a cartoon robot I did last night.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I don't know what Mickey Mouse looks like but I can point him out in a bar OR: Sculpting philosophy from neither a sculptor nor a philosophizer

My latest hobby project is making multiple little spaceships out of plastic resin. For the first step I needed to track down good references. For the next step I am making the prototype out of Sculpey clay. Sculpey is probably used most by little kids in kindergarten, whose skill and mastery of the medium far exceeds my own. When I'm not burning the clay in the oven or accidentally cutting off important pieces, I'm usually spending hours carving the clay into the wrong shape and having to start over. Some people call this process sculpting, I guess when I do it it's best described as clay molesting.

I've used this clay prototype method a couple of times before but that doesn't mean it's the best way to go about a project like this. In fact, even after doing this resin casting stuff a tryptzillion times I don't have any set procedure and I kind of make up everything as I go along depending on what the project demands. So as I share with you my thoughts on sculpting, keep in mind that not only am I not a professional, but I don't even know what I'm doing half the time.

A couple of things occurred to me once I became a somewhat competent Sculpey molester. I've learned it helps to be able to draw what you want to make first, and also that drawing is hard. Good reference materials make for good prototypes. The problem is I suck at drawing. Yet I've still been able to knock out reasonably decent versions of whatever I wanted out of clay. How is this possible? More importantly, is there any other subject that could possibly be more mind numbingly boring than this crap to blog about?

I have discovered that sculpting is easier than drawing. I am going to explain this in the most complicated and verbose way I know how. It has to do with how our brains recognize objects. I don't think we record every last little detail when we see something, all that gets remembered is a kind of shorthand representation of an object's main features. This is why all dogs pretty much look the same and they're impossible to tell apart.

Have you ever tried to draw Mickey Mouse from memory? I have. It's not pretty. Here's an example to illustrate what I mean about why with my current brain, drawing is hard. I know he has two big round ears, but after that it's the wild wild west. Does he really have sharp little teeth? I couldn't remember. What's that bulbous growth on the right side of his head? A third ear? After seeing this how could anyone believe that I know what Mickey Mouse looks like? And yet, I've been able to recognize the guy every time I see him in the cartoons. AND THAT IS WHY DRAWING IS HARD AND SCULPTING IS EASY

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The references of good importance OR: For those with Roboplasti-Bergers Syndrome, 208 pages of alien robot Volkswagen drawings is never enough

Back in late 2002 I picked up a hobby called resin casting where I learned how to make little robots and spaceships out of plastic. Making homemade robots from plastic isn't just fannish behavior, it's full blown roboplasti-bergers syndrome diagnosis. It was pretty cool because not only could I bring to life anything I imagined, but I wasn't limited by the fun crushing restraints a real toy company would have like worrying about what would sell or adhering to child safety laws. Over the next four years I made a lot of Transformers related figures that I shared with friends and strangers and I had fun with it. Resin casting required an enormous amount of time and dedication, though, so when my son was born last year I decided I'd retire from that hobby. I thought my roboplasti-bergers had gone into remission. But damnit, I'm having flareups again because lately I've been wanting to get back into making those wacky robot figures and spaceships I used to do.

The very first things I tried to make from plastic were replicas of the triangle shaped spaceships that Skywarp and Thundercracker turned into during the first episode of Transformers. In Transformer fan circles they call those things "tetrajets". These were somewhat obscure, only appearing in two episodes throughout the series and even then only for a couple of short scenes. At first I thought it would be easy but I discovered that the toughest part of making a model based on a cartoon spaceship that only existed onscreen for a few seconds is finding good visual references.

Back then I had no access to the official model sheets that the animators used as definitive reference for what these things looked like. I watched those brief moments the tetrajets appeared in about a tryptzillion times and I used a Transformers trading card I had as references for my sculpt. I did the best I could and I thought I captured the look of the ships well enough. I was satisfied with what I'd come up with and I went on to make a buttload of those things. Heck, if you do a google image search for "Tetrajet" you'll find one of the orange ones I did. Those orange ones were the very first resin castings I gave away during the 2003 Transformer convention/roboplasti-bergers party.

In January 2003 I was able to establish correspondence with fellow roboplasti-bergers sufferer Floro Dery, the design supervisor for the 80's Transformers cartoon. Floro was responsible for much of the visual look of the Transformers cartoon. I was pretty excited about the tetrajets I made and I emailed him some pictures of them, to which he responded-

"Hello Steve! Your sculptures are good, but it needs to be bit more stylized and stretched to make it more dynamic."

I was very excited to get feedback from the guy. However, the "stylized and stretched" comment confused me a little, especially since I thought I nailed it. I would have loved if Mr. Dery could have supplied me with the actual character models for the tetrajets, but he wrote that although he did have many versions of the design, he couldn't find them at the time. I was a little confused, like if I wrote a wacky outer space movie script and George Lucas critiqued it by telling me, "Well I'm just the guy who came up with this stuff, but I think you need more incestuous kissings between your characters," and I'd be thinking, "Okay, but someone please explain to me WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?"

Then last year IDW publishing published The Ark, a book with tons of original Transformers animation models including the tetrajet reference designs I wished I had back in '02. Finally I had the definitive vision, the clearest possible rendering of what these things were supposed to look like. The Ark is the ultimate reference, like a Chilton's manual for cartoon robot spaceships. For once I totally understood what Floro Dery was trying to tell me and I saw how off I was with my original sculpt. It was as if a giant spaceship of shape changing alien robots crashed into the volcano of my mind.

It always bothered me that I never got that tetrajet sculpt right. This year would be the fifth anniversary of when I started making and giving away little plastic spaceships at robot conventions. Plus I finally have the definitive reference materials I always wanted thanks to The Ark book. More importantly, the baby sleeps for 12 hours solid each night and I have enough time to myself to work on a project. If I could manage it right I think I have just enough time to do a small run of new improved 5th anniversary CrazySteveFigure tetrajets. I can't believe I'm excited about the remanifestation of the nerdiest side effects of my roboplasti-bergers syndrome. It's like herpes people being happy about the return of their cold sores.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am intrigued by your ability to draw deericorns

There's really legendary and accomplished sci-fi/fantasy artist named Darrell Sweet coming to the art gallery here and I would like to go see him. I'm always complaining about how Rapid City really sucks when it comes to stuff I'm interested in but this guy sounds pretty cool so I wonder why he's coming through here. His body of work is interesting and spans many genres. He's done like a tryptzillion book covers and he has a trading cards set and he even did the 1982 Lord of the Rings calendar plus he illustrated an edition of The Last Unicorn. I wish I was more of a fan so I could get all hardcore on the guy, but I'm not. I don't have anything he's done. I recognize and appreciate his talent but I secretly wish he had done something I was more familiar with like maybe an Iron Maiden album cover or at least one Transformers comic book.

We went to the gallery last weekend to check out his works on display and despite my lack of exposure to Sweet stuff I even recognized one cover of a book I read in grade school, but I think I checked it out from the library so I don't have it. My wife noticed she's read a couple of books he did the covers for. But while we were remotely familiar with one or two of the over 3,000 things he's done, we were nowhere near the league of fan that the girl behind the desk at the art gallery was. Holy crap was she hardcore. All of a sudden I found myself feeling inadequate as she went on and on about her collection of this guy's beautiful paintings of winged dogs wearing magician robes and I was hoping with every fiber of my being that the conversation would somehow turn from dragons and unicorns to goddamned Dinobots. Just something I knew more about.

So I went home and I started internetting for information on this guy that could maybe give me a Cliff's notes understanding of his work so I could maybe say something halfway relevant if I were to meet him when he comes here. But about the most interesting thing I found was a message board post where somebody said his interpretation of The Last Unicorn was more deerlike instead of typical unicorns that are drawn more horselike. Deericorns? How is that going to come up in casual conversation?

I did really like the cover to one book he did called "Inherit the Stars" where these two astronauts are burying a skeleton astronaut on the moon or somewhere out in space. But I keep looking at the cover and my eyes jump around, reading the letters out of sequence so instead of "Inherit the Stars" I read "In her ars", which sounds funny to me. I wonder if Darrell Sweet ever noticed that. I also wonder if he was related to Michael Sweet, the lead singer of Stryper. I wonder if he did any Stryper album covers. So far all I have is ars, Stryper and 'deericorns'. Maybe it's best if I stay home, but damnit, he's doing a class for kids on how to draw dragons. If there's ever something I wanted to check out was a class on how to draw dragons by someone who has drawn an assload of dragons.

I am excited about what will happen April 5th. Will I go to the art gallery and see Darrell Sweet? Will a situation come up where I mention deericorns? Will I attend his dragon drawing class with a bunch of five year olds? FIND OUT IN THE NEXT EXCITING EPISODE!

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Oh no, I don't bother with frets...It's supposed to look like a guitar but it's not really supposed to look like a real guitar."

That quote may sound like something the designer of guitar controllers for Rock Band or Guitar Hero might say, but it was said 27 years ago back in 1981 by Rob "Loonhouse" Yeatman, the man many consider the world's greatest celebrity headbanger. Back in the late 70's/early 80's he'd show up to hard rock clubs in the UK with his legendary homemade "hardboard" (aka cardboard) guitars and he'd engage in massive headbanging onslaughts, out-headbanging everybody in a hundred mile radius. Why did he build cardboard guitars? The interviewer says it was "in response to a challenge to decide the headbanger of the year". ROB LOONHOUSE IS MY GODDAMN HERO.

I found a 3 minute clip from a documentary on heavy metal at YouTube and I'm putting it here so that all Macrocranians may share in the genius that was Rob Loonhouse. If you want to see the entire documentary it's on Iron Maiden's "The Early Years" DVD. Rob is actually a part of Iron Maiden history as he's the guy who took the photograph that was made into the cover of their very first released recording, The Soundhouse Tapes. And of course there's this picture of him rocking out with his cardboard guitar onstage with Iron Maiden, cementing his legend in the minds of headbangers everywhere:

Rob has since disappeared from the limelight and where he is now is anyone's guess. But his legendary example of how to be a fan is something we can all learn from, whether we worship heavy metal or little plastic robots. The guy was a brilliant satirist, showing the world that there's a fine line between being a guitar hero and being a heavy metal cardboard air guitar making maniac psychopath. Video gamers, you are only one crappy nightclub away from being the next Rob Loonhouse.

I leave you now with a quote from Rob, something you can hear him say at the end of this video. When asked if he saw headbanging as a lifelong thing, he answered, "Yeah. I'm gonna make a business at being a headbanger, 'cos that's what I'm good at, basically." I'd like to think that instead of continuing with his day job as a wedding photographer, Rob went on to become the world's first CEO of headbanging. Rock on, Rob, wherever you are.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

MEGABUMMED by the shirtanasia

It's not just with toy robots that I repeatedly buy the same crap just with different packaging. Back in the 90's I used to collect CDs with the same megaidiotic collector mentality. Back in '94 Megadeth came out with their Youthanasia record and I got it on release day, then I bought it again when I saw they made a super special box set version packaged with a limited edition t-shirt. The box cost $24.99 but I justified the expense by thinking the shirt would be awesome and exclusive, but then it turned out that it was extra large and I was lucky if I broke 119 pounds back then. I was megadisappointed, but mostly megadetested by my blind megadedication. They got me to buy the same CD twice, plus a shirt that didn't fit me anyways. I felt so megamanipulated by the Megadeth megamarketing machine that I stopped buying their CDs that year, and after opening the Youthanasia box that one time I put everything back and forgot about it...

...until last week when I bought a new Megadeth CD for the first time in forever and it got me wondering if the Youthanasia shirt fit me 14 years and 30 pounds later. I opened it up and to my horror the Youthanasia CD got stuck to the shirt! After 14 years of being megamushed together, the silkscreening began adhering to the CD case. I carefully pried them apart but there's a lot of megasticky junk on the back of the CD case now. It megasucks! The shirt seems okay and the design isn't noticeably damaged but I still feel dumb for not averting this disaster earlier. I still don't fit in the shirt but maybe in another 14 years I will. This time before I put everything back I'm leaving the CD out. Had I waited longer the CD would probably have been permanently stuck to the shirt. Then in 2021 by the time I'm finally big enough I'd be wearing a gigantic black shirt with a CD stuck to the front of it, plus I'd be bald. I would look like some sort of megaretarded Darth Vader.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Heroic Ultra Magnus didn't have a birthday because Jesus never went to Cybertron (this is also why heroic Ultra Magnus is going to burn in hell)

When I was a kid I used to count down the 100 days until Christmas. Every year from around '86-'89 I would make a big calendar from 22 by 28 inch posterboard and tape it to my wall above my bed. Whenever I got a toy or a comic book during that period I would write it in on my calendar. That third of the year was special to me more than any other time because it held the beginning of the new Saturday morning cartoon season, Halloween and Christmas. If somebody put 12 year old me in charge of calendaring the world, there would only be 100 days in a year and New Year's Day would be September 15th. I guess to my childhood self the passage of time was only worth noting if it involved cartoons, candy and toy robots.

I think my intention was to track on my calendar the 'birthdays' of my toys and comics as I got them. I never actually had birthday parties for my Transformers but for some reason it was important to me to mark the exact day that they entered my life. I may have been influenced by an episode of the Transformers from 1986 where the little kid tries to figure out the birthday of one of the Autobots, the heroic Ultra Mangus. After nearly getting killed when he goes searching for the robot birthday computer, he ends up looking stupid at the end of the episode when the Autobots tell him they don't keep track of that stuff. And I think everybody starts laughing at him.

This being leap year I hear a lot of those heartwarming human interest stories about people born on February 29. I am a little confused about whether or not these 40 year old people are laughing about how they're really only ten years old or if they're crying because they got fucked out of 36 birthdays.

Having a birthday at all is a luxury. I remember hearing of a Bosnian guy who didn't know his birthday. At first I thought it was shocking but when you think about it there are lots of parts in the world where buying a new Hooters calendar ranks far below other priorities like surviving long enough to see tomorrow. Instead of being a manic depressive birthdate obsessed leap year weirdo, lots of birthdayless people are just happy to be alive. Some sperms never even hit the egg! Imagine how they feel, whiny leap year baby bastards!

I think birthdays should be totally abolished and forgotten, just as they are on Cybertron. No cakes, no reminiscing, no reflecting on the past or getting presents or any of that. All that stuff should be done every single minute of every day. I was thinking about how any given specific day from the calendar-any birthday-happens over and over throughout eternity regardless of whether or not we are still alive. Think of the calendar month and day you were born-your birthday. There will be infinite repetitions of that day well after you are dead. In fact, there will be more repeated occurrences of your birthday throughout infinity than the total number of days you were actually alive on earth!

I think just celebrating life on that one day and living out the other 364 days in a zombie trance is forgetting that our real purpose while we're alive is to get down to the business of being the best heroic Ultra Magnus we can be constantly all the time. To some that means working hard to help improve the human condition, for others it means watching cartoons and buying assloads of toy robots. For me it meant redirecting the misplaced sentimentality I wasted observing birthdays or the 100 days until Christmas or Halloween or Christmas and focusing instead on the true purpose of my life-preparing for the coming of Galvatron.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Mexicanned DVD covers

I move a lot and back in 2003 I got tired of the movers breaking all my stuff. They would rip my magazine covers and they'd be so rough with my DVDs that they'd break the cases. So I decided to put all my DVDs in spare CD cases that I could afford to have destroyed. Then I made some really quick Sharpie marker cover art for each CD case so that I knew what DVD was inside. I found a couple of my home made DVD covers when I was going through my stuff the other day and boy are they retarded.

Although I only took a few minutes to do each one, some of them are pretty good. I think the first one I did was for Transformers and it features a Megatron with two right hands pointing down at a smoking Optimus Prime. Megatron's "It's the end of the world, punk! You're going to die!" was such a great quote that I used it on all the other DVD covers I did even if it didn't make sense in the context of the movie. My absolute favorite was for the first disc of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That cover has all sorts of great stuff going on from a shoddily corrected misspelling of the title to art featuring UFOs dropping atomic bombs on Devil's Tower.

Nowadays the cool thing is to do "sweded" versions of movies ala the film "Be Kind Rewind". Calling stuff sweded is cool and all, but whatever happened to the term "Do It Yourself"? I guess I could call my DVD covers "Mexicanned" by that logic. Heck, using those rules I could call 95% of all automobile paint jobs "Mexicanned", too. I was thinking about how back when I was a kid, Marvel UK released Transformers comics in the UK that had stories written and drawn by British people. At Botcon I will refer to these comics as the "Britted" versions. Yes please I am looking for the Britted Transformers comic books.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Playing Tetris and watching the little bricks falling down has become a metaphor for the problems life throws at me and how I handle them, also poop

I have this thing where I go to the bathroom a lot if I'm feeling stressed or anxious. It's really embarrassing and even the slightest little worry will set it off. Instead of developing more effective life coping mechanisms so that I won't spend ridiculous amounts of time in the bathroom, I decided to make crapping time fun so I take my GameBoy with me. I play Tetris on the toilet a lot. Now I look forward to losing my job or deaths in the family because I can almost smell my high score records breaking once that nervous anxiety kicks in.

What I hadn't noticed is I've developed little sayings that I use to cheer myself on as I'm playing Tetris and stacking up the little blocks. Aside from the usual "OH YEAH!" and "UNNHHH!", I have come up with other phrases that I usually keep in my head as I'm playing. Like if I get a double (completing two lines at once) I'll think "There's a double for my trouble!" and with triples I have the nonsensical "Here's a triple for my nipple!"

Well the other night on the toilet I was doing really well and I was close to breaking my high score record. I hadn't noticed that I was actually saying my dumb little moans and phrases out loud. I was piling up triples and doubles and Tetrises all over the place. This must have been going on for around twenty minutes. There were at least ten instances of me shouting "TRIPLE FOR MY NIPPLE! TRIPLE FOR MY NIPPLE!" When I messed up on the very last line I let out a loud, "UUUUUGHHH!" Then I noticed my wife was pounding at the door because she had to pee and when I opened it she was all, "ARE YOU MASTURBATING!?!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008


The last time I went to Botcon I wore my shirt that just says "Star Wars" and some asshole stopped me and said, "Hey dude, I think you're at the wrong convention." The only snappy retort I could come up with was "Fuck you! How about if I punch you in the neck!" It worked good! I guess he forgot he wasn't typing behind a keyboard in his mom's basement. Some people just need to be reminded that in real life it is totally possible to get your ass kicked by a guy in a Star Wars shirt.

So I was wondering what I was going to wear this year when I came across an article that Paul from Toybender wrote about hot chicks that wear costumes at conventions. Just as I had settled on a Slave Leia motif I liked I found the most fuckin' awesome outfit I've ever seen a guy wear ever. It's some sort of Teletubby rock star. It's like he's a survivor of post-apocalyptic Care Bear Land. It's fantastic. Unfortunately my wife says the hair dyeing process would require that I bleach my hair first and it'd probably take over a year to all grow back in, during which time I'd have a black/purple fade that would render me unemployable at any company except Hot Topic. IT IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY TO BE THE HUMAN SHOCKWAVE.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Change-Bots not dead!

Here's an excerpt from the latest Incredible Change-Bots Fanclub newsletter:

"There's a few projects in the works for the Change-Bots. First up, there's a short animated trailer being made for the book. I don't know when it'll be finished, but it looks good so far. Second, I'm working on designing my website - - and plan on having a gallery of some of the Change-Bots fan club drawings at some point. I also plan on printing up some of my favorites in an upcoming issue of my Sulk series, sometime next year. That issue will also have some new Change-Bots stories in it. And finally, I'm working on designing some Change-Bots vinyl figures. You can read more about that and see my design for the first toy - Balls -HERE ."

So it looks like there'll be a line of vinyl Change-Bots. I'm excited about that. I'm also excited about the further stories and an animated trailer. I am a teeny bit disappointed because I wanted to make my own Balls figure and have it be the only one in the world, but I guess there's still room for a blue repaint named Nemesis Balls.

For this one you have to know that in spanish, "chair" is spelled "silla" and pronounced "see-ya"

I always thought it would be a good idea to have a robot who turns into an electric chair. It wouldn't be human sized, but around 30 feet tall so the other robots could sit in it. He could be the guy all of his friends use to charge up. Then in battle he could turn into a chair in the middle of the battlefield and wait around for some robot from the opposing side to sit in him so he could electrocute the guy. Here are my top ten name ideas for transforming electric chair guy:

10 Headblaster

9 Pantsstreaker

8 Barbecue Prime

7 Ultra Crispy

6 Sparkytron

5 Chargy Maximus

4 Chairfire

3 The Shocky

2 R2-BBQ

1 El Silla-lator

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

ZOID RAGE-surviving the intensely suckstalgic onslaught when memories attack

I was nine during Christmas of 1983 was when I got my first Zoids. They were a big deal for me that year because Star Wars got old and Transformers wasn't out yet. I was inbetween serious toylationships and looking for a good time and here they were-motorized robot dinosaur models. They were fantastic. I had two of them-the Tyrannosaurus looking one and the elephant looking one. My parents also got my younger sister the duck one. I don't think the first wave models had names but at nine years old it didn't matter. Mr. Tyrannosaurus, Mr. Elephant and Mr. Duck all worked good for me. I thought they were awesome with their little gold driver pilots. I guess they were the very first robot toys I ever loved. All that changed though and when I think about those Zoids now I feel like smashing my skull in with a sledgehammer. Nostalgia isn't just the warm fuzzy feelings I get from old toy robots-sometimes it cuts the other way, too.

I remember a couple days after Christmas I was playing with all three Zoids when my sister came in the room and noticed her duck Zoid was broken. I don't remember breaking it but a very important plastic piece was snapped off and he couldn't walk anymore. Then she started crying and she said, "Why do you always break my things! You always break my things!" I felt horrible and that memory has lived with me to this day. For some reason it didn't bother me much when I destroyed my own toys but seeing her all upset made me feel like I was some sort of robot duck killing monster.

Well 23 years later in 2006 those same three Zoids got rereleased in Japan in a big box set along with two other Zoids from 1983 and at first I was excited but I couldn't bring myself to order them. Every time I looked at Mr. Duck Zoid on that reissue box I just kept remembering my sister crying. Later in 1983 when commercials for the Omega Supreme of Zoids-the Giant Zrk-played on television constantly, I really wanted it but I knew I didn't deserve it after the assassination of Mr. Duck Zoid. Later on in life I used the martyrdom of Mr. Duck Zoid to convince myself that I didn't deserve nice things like lobster thermidor and hookers. It's been over twenty years! You'd think I could get over it and order something decent at Red Lobster, but it's like my brain likes to fuck me over constantly by bringing up Mr. Duck Zoid at the most inappropriate times.

Stuck living life with my Zoid albatross, I began wondering if I was the only one for whom nostalgia is a sort of rabid brain attacking chupacabra. Everyone else is always describing nostalgia as fond recollections of good old days. Why then does Mr. Duck Zoid set off an avalanche of disastrously sucky childhood memories? Why do others get nostalgia and I get some sort of suckstalgia? Well I've been reading an old article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology titled Nostalgia: Content, Triggers, Functions and it turns out I'm not so alone. In fact, the paper kicks off by explaining that nostalgia the word is derived from two greek words , nostos (return) and algos (suck) and it literally means the suck you feel from wanting to go back. Nostalgia was regarded by people in the 17th and 18th centuries as a neurological fuckuppedness. Back then if you were nostalgic the doctors thought it meant something was wrong with your brain! And although doctors don't think that anymore, I think it still applies.

Glidoler? I never even knew her!
The paper explores what exactly nostalgia is and how it works. It finds that nostalgia is often triggered by a shitty mood. It's a response that's activated when a person is feeling down so that their brain can look back on happier times and try to feel good again. Nostalgia then is the refuge of a lonely and depressed mind. But why would my brain try to take me back to crappy times when I see or think about Mr. Duck Zoid? Why do old Zoids give me sudden urge to claw my eyes out with my thumbs? Maybe this isn't nostalgia I'm feeling at all but a new phenomenon that psychologists have yet to diagnose-Zoid Rage. I'm only up through the ninth page of the nineteen page paper so I don't have definite answers about Zoid Rage but it's starting to look like there are reasons for negative nostalgia. Maybe my mind needs an extremely negative experience from the past so that things now won't seem so bad by comparison. Maybe I don't really like hookers and lobster thermidor. Maybe my mind doesn't want to spend 90 bucks on a reissued box of five Zoids. Maybe I'm supposed to go to weddings and teach random guests that we must love all Zoids that JesusBabyJesus made, both great and small. But I doubt it.


Once again the time has come
for IronRoboHellaCon
And no matter where I've been
I've been to every one

Every year for the past thirty four
IronRoboHellaCon's the same as before
Same party, same music, but I'm happy to go
Because one day it won't be held anymore

It's an ancient tradition as old as me
IronRoboHellacon's got some crazy history
It started in Texas, gone over the sea
And the thirteenth one was on Friday the thirteenth

Old memories and metal and ghosts and good times
with guests Bruce Dickinson and Optimus Prime
I listen to Iron Maiden and eat cherry pies
And watch robot cartoons of cartoon robots in disguise

The years and the people they come and go
but I'll always love my metal and plastic robos
Not everyone would like IronRoboHellaCon I know
But I hope they've all had as much fun with their own

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The crisis of immortality is attracting the right fans who know how to write you a solid wikipedia article and not make you look dumb

I was going through all my boxes of crap in the garage when I found a picture of myself from 1986 when I was in 6th grade. I'm standing with my teacher while two other kids (both boys) seem to be humping each other in the corner. But the greatest thing about the picture is that I'm 12 years old and wearing a Soundwave t-shirt! I should also have a picture of me wearing one of those glittery shirts with Luke on a Tauntaun. Geeking in the 80's was tough but I had the wardrobe to do it right.

Seeing myself so young and full of youthful optimism got me depressed because now 22 years later I know how sucky life turned out. Too bad I never did anything great. I started thinking about all the things that went wrong, like how George Lucas beat me to making Star Wars. Like how I never got bit by a radioactive spider. Like how I never found the fourth dimension.

Even though I amounted to nothing I figure I can still do a Hail Mary for posterity and do something historically worthwhile by helping someone else be famous. I have been thinking a lot about Shakespeare and trying to figure out how he got famous without YouTube. I think his enduring legacy is due to a rabid fanbase of intensely devoted people that kept his works alive even after he died. It is not enough to be great, I think the trick to immortality is having batshit crazy fans. It is not enough to have just passive casual fans, they must be die hard fans. People who would write Wikipedia articles about you. Jesus knew this so that's why he picked those certain twelve guys. They were intense guys. The new testament is kind of a bunch of wikipedia articles before the internet. You don't hear about the thirteenth disciple because there was nobody else dedicated enough in the kind of drop-all-your-shit-and-follow-me-and-write-me-gospels kind of way that Jesus needed. He had possibly the first hardcore fandom and look how famous he is now. It's quality fans that get you fame, not quantity.

So since somebody else already got to be Jesus and his fans, where can I fit in? What winning team can I be a part of? It's a little late at my age to jump on somebody's bandwagon and be a quality fan, so in retrospect, looking back at my life, whose gospel have I been writing? Whose legacy am I the steward of? Have I been hardcore enough about anything to help ensure 1/12th of something's immortality? Unfortunately the answer is no. I have loved nothing very intensely. I do really like Glen Campbell's song Rhinestone Cowboy, but there's probably already 12 guys in on the ground floor of that bandwagon because that came out in '75.

Although I'm still sort of mad at him, I thought maybe I could be considered a disciple of George Lucas. I can't in a million years be one of the fans that counts as contributing to the success of Star Wars, though. Yesterday I saw a new Darth Vader figure at the store but I didn't buy it because it looked all weird and I couldn't figure out what it was and you need to be a lot more involved than that. I think Lucas could use some stronger core fans, though, because right now that only legacy I see him leaving is a lot of unsold Darth Vaders and DVDs of the Phantom Menace. Is he really that great anyways? What kind of legacy is it anyways if the only lasting mark he made was in the Wal-Mart toy aisle and maybe electronics? Donald Duck has toys and movies and orange juice. Only now does it occur to me that I may have been worshiping the wrong deity.

The problem in the case of large scale popularity is that the more popular something gets, the less of a grasp its audience has on the source material to the point where the fringe fans really have no idea what its about but they buy it anyway because its cool. You gets stuff like people who call Soundwave a boombox when in fact he was a microcassette recorder. Now I realize how enormous a responsibility it is to be a true fan of something and preserve its immortality for generations. Fandomming is tough-it takes a lot of knowledge, dedication and glittery shirts to do it right. Unfortunately I have none of those things. That leaves me with only one last resort to attain my fame/infamy, and that last resort is assassination. WHO KNOWS WHERE DONALD DUCK LIVES?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Max Steel is a douchebag!

Mattel did a press release stating they've developed a partnership with some media company to breathe some life into their old dead brands. Of course the obvious move is to make movies and video games of their most recognizable properties nobody likes like He-Man, but I noticed the press release also mentioned something called Max Steel! Could it be that they misspelled it and they really meant "Maxx Steele" as in Maxx Steele's RoboForce, which was the totally awful line of tubby toy robots with suction cup butts "gripper bases" released in the early 80's? I was thinking, holy crap a new RoboForce toyline with those unreleased robots would be awesome! And then I crapped my pants when I went to Wikipedia and found out that "Max Steel" is actually a CGI cartoon from 2002 that sounds like a retarded mash up of Tony Hawk and Austin Powers. I can't believe Mattel came up with something dumber than suction cup butt robots.

I became slightly nostalgic for Maxx Steele and his friends during the brief moment when I thought I might be getting a RoboForce video game or Michael Bay movie or whatever. In the early 80's the concept of robot didn't just mean mechanical bipedal humanoid like it does today. Robot designs were all over the place. There were weird floaty balls like B.O.B. and V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from Disney's The Black Hole, Battlestar Galactica had that furry bear robot Daggit and the first ZOIDS I had as a kid looked like abstractions of prehistoric monsters. Roboforce robots looked like militant jukeboxes but it was funny because it's hard to keep that stubby domed shape and not look cute no matter how many spikes and laser guns you put on them. I guess they could seem menacing if you're the kind of guy that gets intimidated by mailboxes. Most internet articles say they look like customized Daleks, but I say Roboforce robots are what you'd get if a bunch of astromech droids from Star Wars got together to make a heavy metal band called GWAR2-D2.

Although I thought they were a goofy idea back then, now I miss the inventiveness and originality of the RoboForce design. Thanks to their "gripper bases" they were the only robots I owned that sucked on purpose. Plus their names kind of sounded like sex toys. So to celebrate my memories, here's America's favorite game show-Robo Force Robot or Vibrator? (Click on the names for the answers!)

Robo Force RobotVibrator 
S.O.T.A (State Of The Art)
Beyond 2000 GX4
Thunder Cloud
Purple Titan
Maxx Steele
Lexington Steele
Vibro Penetrator
Wrecker - The Demolisher

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I have spent the last two weeks being the sickest I have ever been in my life outside of hospitalization, also the most sexy. Now that I'm getting better my doctor still isn't sure what it was I came down with, but that's because he's a moron. He figured I was somewhere between a mild sore throat and full blown meningitis and apparently his years of doctor training dictate that anything in that range can be cured with Robitussin. After my first visit the Robitussin wasn't working at all so I went back and all he did was prescribe me Robitussin with codeine. It became obvious that I wasn't going to doctor appointments, I was going to Robitussin commercials. When the stronger stuff didn't work I just stopped going back to him since I didn't want to go through the whole Robitussin product line. So I disregarded conventional medicine and I prescribed myself an alternative therapy regiment of Ninja Warrior marathons and reading Fight Club all night. It may not have directly contributed to my wellness, but it got me feeling so manly I felt like I could fuck a Gundam.

Being so thoroughly sick for such a long time was total hell. The intense soreness turned my throat into raw bloody hamburger and the constant violent coughing kept me up all night. I am positive that during all of last week I slept a total of five hours but I'm not sure. After each cough my abs felt sore like I had just done 1,000 consecutive push ups and the coughs just kept coming. It felt like karmic punishment was being reigned upon me for some incredibly evil past life I lived. If that's the case I must have been worse than Darth Vader and Gargamel all combined because I felt like I was being punished for the deaths of everyone on Alderran and for eating all the Smurfs. It is also possible that I only had a slight sore throat and all this suffering was actually side effects from the Robitussin. Regardless, the pain and dehydration was somewhat worth it because in one week I lost eight pounds and the definition in my abdominal area was getting fantastic. Now I'm 5'9" and 149 lbs and I haven't looked this good since high school.

I know I was reading Fight Club too much because I suspected that my stronger abs and sudden vast knowledge of Japanese fishing vessels was the result of a secret double life I was leading during the ten or fifteen minutes I would black out. Was I dreaming that I was Makoto Nagano, captain of the 28th Konpira Maru and winner of Ninja Warrior, OR WAS MAKOTO NAGANO MY TYLER DURDEN? I decided to call this "Naganosis"-the condition where I'm so delirious I'm unsure if I'm Makoto Nagano. I was so high on Robitussin that my mind considered the possibility that during the few hours I was sleeping last week I was really entering Ninja Warrior tournaments in Japan and spending 350 days out at sea. I was worried for a second but then I realized that it's impossible for me to be Makoto Nagano because he's 5'3". I don't usually have daydreams where I lose six inches-it's always the other way around (if you know what I mean).

I'm just glad it's all over so that I can get back to bloggering, which is pretty pointless now that all my audience is gone because I haven't written anything in two weeks. Actually one good thing that came from my sickness is that my attitude about my lack of success in life is more positive. I accept that I'll never be as famous as that guy who wrote Fight Club and my writing will never inspire disenfranchised people to form a large underground network of independently operating terror cells, but that's okay. I am totally accepting of the fact that bloggering is a complete waste of my time and I am destined to wallow in anonymity and obscurity. It also makes it easier knowing that I've stockpiled all that unused Robitussin just in case I need to escape back into a heavily sedated state of Naganosis.

Minibox 3 Column Blogger Template by James William at 2600 Degrees

Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.