Monday, April 30, 2007

Sweet Caroline's

I went back to work today. Everybody wanted to know what I've been doing during my furlough: I almost finished False Idols. (Just a few more scenes to go!) I had fun playing with Jen, Joe & Mandy. I went to movies & Elementary School dance festivals. I came this close (holds fingers six inches apart) to writing every day & finishing at least one of my damned novels. Sigh. Someday I'll have all my eggs sailing in the same direction (or whatever the phrase is.) I should really take part in French Toast Girl's May Madness.

I saw two old friends tonight. (I'm writing this at 10:30 pm as I ride the fabled F-Train home, the Jack Daniels in my system combined with the lack of suspension on the subways making it very difficult.) Fellow Ridge High School Choir-fag alumni Gilbert Brady (once Gil "the Thrill" Hagovsky for you purists) did a hysterical stand-up routine at Caroline's in Manhattan. This guy is so dedicated to his art that he managed to draw blood from a self-inflicted microphone wound. I finally got to meet his hottie of a girlfriend Rhyn as well. Also on the scene was the lovely Sue Ryder, another former choir-ite. I love seeing good people doing well.

Speaking of good people, a fact of life that was reinforced over the past seven weeks at home is how lucky I am. I have the most loving, caring wife (& kids) in the world. Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you for being my best friend.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Cotton-Eyed Joe!

Joe & his friends have a ho-down!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thinking Outside the Shell, or: Tony the TV Critic

Time to be a critic on two of my favorite shows. Let's start with Saturday night's Doctor Who episode, "Daleks in Manhattan." In a word, "Meh." Dalek creator Terry Nation once said that the evil little cyborgs were born from his childhood terror of Nazis during World War II. They are supposed to be creatures of hate and genetic purity, (ironic, since they are mutants of a once human-like race who can only survive in a metal case,) that want to destroy anything that is not like themselves. So having Daleks want to mix with humans so they can have "a life outside the shell," brings back painful memories of how Star Trek TNG completely destroyed everything cool about the Borg with the introduction of Hugh- the kinder & gentler Borg. (Kids, ask your parents to explain.) Also, WTF is up with the pig-people? Why in hell would Daleks want their human servants to be genetically spiced with pigs? After 2005's two-parter "Bad Wolf" & "The Parting of the Ways,"- possibly the best Doctor Who episodes ever- the producers should have realized that unless they could top themselves, they should just give the whole Dalek thing a break. (And what ever happened to Davros anyway?)

I've finally realized what annoys me about The Sopranos: Their subplots go NOWHERE. They set something up, (current offender, Sunday night's episode about the FBI digging up the twenty-year old remains of Tony's first hit,) and then end it quickly. The same thing happened when Tony got shot, when Anthony tried to kill Uncle Junior, when Tony & Carmella got separated... sadly, the last subplot that lasted a whole season was last year's "Johnnycakes." (Trust me- if you don't know, you don't want to.)


Monday, April 23, 2007

When Snail-Mail Learns from Spam...

I received a collection notice in the mail today. I'm sorry- I THOUGHT it was a collection notice, because it was certainly made up to look like one. It was one of those backed with black lines (so you can't see inside,) perforated envelopes, (the kind you have to fold along the dotted line and rip to open,) from- in bold black letters- the "ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT." It even had a sort of eagle seal on it to look official. When I opened it, thinking, "What the hell is THIS about?" it turned out to be an ad from Empire Auto Mall in Queens. I'm so glad that the lessons of Spam, (use the subject line to make the recipient think it's a real letter,) are seeping into the junk mail world.

Actually, I can think of something that tops this: a few years ago a friend received a junk mail for a weight-loss pill that came in a hand-written envelope. Inside was a clipped newspaper ad for the product, with the words, "I don't want to upset you, but care about you- a friend." scribbled on in ball-point pen. She was devastated until she looked online and saw that it was just an advertising campaign- one that had generated a few hundred Better Business Bureau complaints. People can be such assholes.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Polish guy walks into a blog & says...

Illustration Friday: Polar

Note THIS IS NOT THE ILLUSTRATION! My illustration for "Polar" is a brand new Webby episode & can be found HERE! (If you want to read the whole saga, click the main page here. I don't know how to link to a frame- I think it involves some sort of javascript or something.)

The beautiful & multitalented Rayne has requested that I explain what Nethack is. Nethack is the third evolution of Rogue- a very old IBM game (a little too old, when compared to the other versions.) Personally, I prefer the second evolution, Hack (now available for Windows as Revived Hack.) Nethack has many more monsters, potions, spells, ect- but is almost impossible to win.

Load up Nethack or Revived hack & you'll see... AWESOME 286 MS-DOS ASCII GRAPHICS! Yes, back in them days, we didn't need fancy graphics to play games- not when there are 26 letters of the alphabet- 52 if you include capital & lower-case, & numbers & punctuation marks as well!

Turn off that num-lock key & start hacking! You're going into the depths of the Dungeons of Doom to seek the Amulet of Yendor. But this isn't a simple up-down-left-right game- Almost every letter on your keyboard- upper & lowercase- is a command! you can drink potions, read scrolls, engrave the floor, throw, wield weapons, change your armor, cast spells, loot treasure, kick doors, dip items in holy water, eat (& eating different monsters will give you different immunities) & when all else fails, pray. (Just be sure you haven't pissed off your personal god or goddess...) So what's so hard about all this, you ask? Only that while you can save & load, you can't re-load! Once you die (or quit) you have to start all over again. Bwahahahahaa.

So go back to the days of the 80s- when computer games were interesting & fun to play, & best of all, FREE!


Monday, April 16, 2007

Tony's Ultimate Nerd Quotient Quiz

This quiz for testing your old-school nerd quotient is very simple pass/fail. Either you understand what I'm talking about or you don't (and subsequently have a life.) - NO CHEATING.

I was playing Nethack this morning. I had a magic marker, but not-cursed blank paper was few and far between- especially once I'd found the spell for genocide. Suddenly, it hit me what I had to do. I took a scroll of cursed blank paper & wrote a scroll of genocide- which was cursed. I then tried to un-genocide (surround myself with) Paper Golems so I could slay them & use their bodies for paper, when a voice boomed from the heavens, "No mortal, THAT shall not be done!" DAMN IT! TDTTOE!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Minor Kvetchings

1) FOX: STOP PREEMPTING MY SUNDAY NIGHT "ANIMATION DOMINATION" LINEUP EVERY DAMN TIME A NEW SERIES COMES OUT. I will make voodoo dolls of all of you and slowly roast your genitals over a fire. I will put a curse upon you so everything you touch turns to marmalade. I WANT MY SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY, & AMERICAN DAD (& to a lesser extent, King of the Hill) SO STOP IT!

2) Dear Big Finish Productions: I listened to your latest Doctor Who audio adventure, Renaissance of the Daleks. The story was very good and original (I could have done without the "Evil American Military" shtick, but it's your story, your politics are your own. If you can't be more creative than that, c'est la vie.) But what really drives me up the wall for all of your Doctor Who audio adventures is your horrible, horrible, American accents. I don't think ANY American Generals in all of history have sounded like an over-the-top hybrid of John Wayne & Gen. Buck Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove, but you seem to think they all do. Watch the news sometime, and you'll see that they actually sound like (gasp) human beings. The same thing goes for the character Alice: Actress Regina Regan is to be commended for her ability to mash every stereotypical American dialect- from Mid-western to Brooklyn to Texan to Valley Girl- all into one, with a bit of Ethel Merman thrown in besides. For God's sake, if you want an American voice that sounds like a human being, call me. Come to think of it, since you can't seem to write less hackneyed, stereotypical lines for American officers than "I'm a major & you'll respect my rank by God- I go by the book!" -give me a call & I'll do some writing for you too.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Agents of Fortune (which was a great album by Blue Oyster Cult, BTW...)

Illustration Friday: Fortune

It's been so long since I ranted about the world today... so much bullshit passed by...

Let's start with the whole Don Imus thing. (The guy who got fired from morning radio for offhandedly referring to black female basketball players as "nappy haired hos") I don't really care if he was fired or not- Imus hasn't been funny since the 80s when he was on coke. But God in heaven, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? The governor of NJ was in a car accident last night... while he was on his way to attend Imus' apology to the Rutgers team- AT THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION. That's right: a stupid single remark made by a geriatric has-been on talk radio is of such tremendous importance that a state governor has to get involved. I'm sure that while this has been front page news here in NY for the past week, somewhere, buried on page twenty, were actual violent acts of racism. But what the hell are actions compared to what a celebrity says? Personal note to Al Sharpton (who led the witch hunt that caused Imus's firing): If calling black women "hos" is so degrading, why don't you go after rap artists who use the word every third beat? Just kidding, we all know why...

Here's a good one for you dream analysts: The other night I dreamed that a friend of mine had to take a drug test and asked me for help, so I added my urine to his. (In a dream, this made sense.) Afterwards, I looked at our combined cocktail through a microscope & saw that there were about twenty bony little worms swimming in there. His parasites started fighting my parasites, and they all destroyed each other, until the sample was one big bloody mess. Come on, someone tell me what this means...


P.S. RIP, Kurt Vonnegut- one of the last great science fiction writers- & his fictional alter-ego, Kilgore Trout. I've read every word, from Player Piano to Timequake. Thanks for Slaughterhouse V, Slapstick, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, Hocus-Pocus, Breakfast of Champions... the list goes on & on. You will sorely be missed.

Monday, April 09, 2007

False Idols Trailer!

As I'm finally rendering the final scenes of False Idols & entering the editing phase, I've put together a trailer for your viewing enjoyment. I haven't composed the background music yet, so I cheated & used a drum-loop program. A few more weeks of rendering, then it's time to edit, add music & sound effects, and then it's off to the festivals! (Stay tuned!)

For those new to all of this, here's the original artwork for "Ancient" and "Travel" that the film is based on.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

...And Speaking of Overrated Star Power...

Alright, I'm glad that one of my favorite movies of all time, the fantastic original (1967) Bedazzled is finally out on DVD, especially since the crappy remake has been on the shelves for years now. But WTF is up with the cover? Sorry, I don't think Raquel Welch's three-minute cameo is worth that much. (No, she is NOT the Devil, as Liz Hurley was in the remake. The Devil is played by the late great Peter Cook, who co-wrote the story & the screenplay, btw...)


Warning: Ranting Geek at 12:30 am

It's official- apparently, Frank Welker will NOT be reprising his role as Megatron, in the new Transformers movie; the role has gone to Hugo Weaving. Now, I like Elrond as much as the next nerd, but seriously- who is going to see this movie based on weather Hugo Weaving is in it or not? Ok, it's great that that worthless piece of sputum Michael Bay deigned to let Peter Cullen return as Optimus Prime, but would it have been that hard to throw us thirty-somethings (the real crowd they're depending on) an extra bone & had Frank Welker return? The guy has some 550 voice-credits to his name! Think about it: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie still floundered at the box office, despite Alan Rickman's "star power"performing a bad Stephen Moore imitation (as Marvin, the Paranoid Android) instead of hiring Moore himsef. THE TRICK DOESN'T WORK! I know, I know, the new Transformers will still suck, it's just that Frank Welker could have helped it suck a little less.

OK, I know you all have lives & don't care. Off to bed.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

We're really starting to reach for I.F. subjects...

Illustration Friday: Snap

Mini-rant (since DigitalScott noticed I was rantless this week) It's amazing how the internet has improved my social life. For example, every day, at least 5 porn stars on MySpace tell me they want to be my friend...