Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018

Another year is about to leave us, and I can frankly rank this one as "okay." I’ve had a few losses, not many gains (but some), and the week after Christmas is always weird.
In lieu of any end of the year wrap up nonsense, let me just tell you all what’s happened since the last time I posted.

Went to Wintercon and met Sean Astin! He was awesome. I’m to his right. My friend Mike is to my right, while my other friend Danny is to Sean’s left.

While the room was a bit small (the casino its held in cut the room in half before last year’s con), I had a great time. You can always feel the vibe of any convention or event like this, and I’ve always enjoyed Wintercon’s vibe.

I managed to find one of the comics on my bucket list: Avengers 239, the issue where the team goes on Late Night with David Letterman. I’m also trying to find Marvel Team-Up 74, where Spider-Man teams up with the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

It’s not an expensive comic, so it’s pretty doable. I managed to get a bunch of my Bucket List comics this year, like a copy of Archie Meets The Punisher, and an intact copy of Life With Arche #78. I'll consider myself done when I get a copy of this one. As you can see, I love the delightfully weird comics, especially crossovers.

I had to take a picture of this one because I’m 12.

This is me with Tsugutoshi Komada, the suit actor for Jet Jaguar. Jet Jaguar was Toho’s answer to Ultraman, and most notably appeared in Godzilla vs Megalon, made famous on MST3K. Again, totally nice guy.

And here’s me with Colin Cantwell, who is responsible for creating the concept art & models for what wood become THE aesthetic for Star Wars. We’re posing with a print of his original design for the X-Wing, and it all started from there. He would follow it with the Y-Wing, the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, and the TIE Fighter. Amazingly cool to see, and cool to talk to the man himself.

Smash Bros Ultimate is here and man, was it worth the hype. Some might find the adventure mode a bit repetitive (platforming elements are replaced by Spirit Battles, where hundreds of characters from Nintendo’s vast history are fought in battles themed to them), and there’s not many new stages (but lots of returning ones; most of the 3DS stages are here, plus several not seen since Melee!), but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I’ll be playing this for the foreseeable future.

Finally got to try McDonald’s Szechuan sauce! I bought a pack of it back in June at Eternal Con and I figured this past week was the special occasion I was saving it for.

Well, it was certainly tangy and brown.

I used dinosaur chicken nuggets as my test subjects because I’m an adult. My friend Steve described it as a combo of bbq sauce and sweet & sour and I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a fan of either teriyaki or sweet & sour sauce, so I thought that this was okay at best. I’m glad I tried it, but it’s nothing worth freaking out over.

And last bit not least: Christmas! I had a pretty low key holiday this year, nothing big. The cat definitely had a good day.

I got lots of gift cards this year! A good chunk of the eShop card went to Smash Bros DLC.

My scratch off ticket advent calendar netted me twelve bucks this year.

My favorite barbecue sauce, cleverly hidden in a wine box.

I mostly got clothes this Christmas since I’m now in my thirties and I was due for a new pair of everything. These are my new pair of regular shoes and work boots.

The Thirteenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver to go with the others I have.

And a new portfolio book to keep my bigger prints.

My internet friend Goobian snagged this for me off my amazon wishlist. It replaces the VHS I’ve held on to for years since WB took its sweet time releasing it on a format relevant in the past ten years.

And finally, my Reddit Secret Santa came through this year! Prime Wars Punch/Counterpunch was an Amazon exclusive (and nets big bucks after it sold out), while the Doom Patrol collection came from taking about how I love weird, silly silver age DC. I got paired with a comic reader this time, and it really showed.

I hope you folks had a good 2018, and I hope to see you in 2019!

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Thankful 2018!

Well folks, Thanksgiving has come and gone yet again. I'm still here, and you're still here, and that's what should be important, right?

I still have my life, a house, a job, friends. It's the same things I'm thankful for every year, but I'm thankful for all of those. They're constants, and don't take them for granted, because I sure don't.

I'm thankful for the brief pauses in life that allow me to escape stress for a few hours. Going to conventions, playing stuff on my Switch (Smash Bros Ultimate drops in one week!), meeting up with friends, listening to podcasts on long drives, watching stuff like The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers and The Good Place, writing these blog entries. I'm thankful for those, too.

Let's be thankful for this giant cow (actually a steer):

Cows are pretty big to begin with, then THIS one comes along. I did an entry about Absolute Units a few months back, and this cow more than earned a spot on that list.

It looks photoshopped, but that thing is real, and it is a BEAST. Here's another shot of it:

Maybe it's because I live on Long Island and I have to drive an hour out of my way to see any, but I still get really excited when I see real, living cows just standing around. "Cows!" I say. I do the same thing with horses (and don't laugh, so do you).

I'm thankful for the people I still talk to, and used to talk to, and hopefully will start talking to again.

I'm thankful for you. Thank you for reading, and continuing to read this little slice of the internet I've carved out for myself just a little over ten years ago. It's still crazy to think about.

Christmas is next month, and that's something to look forward to. See you folks then.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Homestarloween Costumes volume 2

Halloween is upon us once again, and that means Homestar Runner has updated with its annual Halloween cartoon!

I'd say that "Mr. Poofers Must Die" is one of the better entries in the series. Kind of an anti-climax at the end, but I'd say that this was a massive improvement over the last/first time they tried telling a scary story. They got pretty creative with the costumes this year. Pom Pom and Coach Z were combined for a Missy Elliot costume. While it's an inspired choice, it just tells me that they're running out of costume ideas for Coach Z. There's not many identifiable rappers left for him to dress up as.

Way, way back when this blog was in its infancy, I posted a ranking of my favorite costumes worn by each character over the years. Since that entry was posted ten(!) years ago, I figured it was time to update my rankings.

Well, my only criteria this time around are that they were from cartoons made after that first entry was made. The latest cartoon back then was "Most in The Graveyard" (one of my all time favorites), and since then there's only been six more Halloween toons made. Hell, there was a five year gap between "Doomy Tales of The Macabre" and "I Killed Pom Pom." (not counting a cartoon in between them where characters dressed up for Decemberween instead)

Once again, I stuck to one costume per character (but there's always honorable mentions).

Homestar - Mr. B Natural

I had to go for the MST3K costume. No surprise he managed to creep everyone out in it. Mr. B has that kind of talent. I pretty much flipped a coin between this and when he dressed as Tobias when he auditioned for the Blue Man Group from Arrested Development and Mr. B won. Fun fact, in that cartoon, you can see blue handprints everywhere (just like in the show), despite Homestar's notorious lack of arms.

Honorable Mentions: Dirk The Daring (Mr. Poofers Must Die), Tobias Fünke (I Killed Pom Pom)

Marzipan - Tom Servo (I Killed Pom Pom)

Again, the MST3K costume was an obvious choice. I found the costume as a whole really impressive, and it was one of the few costumes where she wasn't some kind of musician. Servo even has arms! I'm sure they're just as functional as the real thing.

HM: Captain EO (The House That Gave Sucky Tricks), Margot Tennenbaum (Later That Night), Joanna from Chotchkie's from Office Space (Haunted Photo Booth)

Pom Pom - King Size Homer (I Killed Pom Pom)

Pom Pom had a bunch of great costumes and it was pretty tough to choose one. He tends to go with costumes of round characters, and he got pretty creative, like a Pooka from Dig Dug, Orange Bird's head, and Wilson the volleyball from Cast Away. But the Simpsons reference was a no brainer. That muumuu outfit is pretty iconic.

HM: Pooka (Doomy Tales of The Macabre), Orange Bird (Later That Night...), Wilson (The House That Gave Sucky Tricks), Violet Beauregard (Haunted Photo Booth)

Bubs - Grunkle Stan (Haunted Photo Booth)

Bubs tends to go for really shady, huckster characters, and there's no costume that fit his personality better than Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls. I wish there was a cut of Gravity Falls where Bubs IS playing Grunkle Stan.

HM: Chuck Barris (The House That Gave Sucky Tricks), MCA from the Sabotage video (I Killed Pom Pom)

Coach Z - MC Skat Kat (Doomy Tales of The Macabre)

MC Skat Kat, known for appearing in Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" video, is by far my favorite of Coach Z's costumes. He's had to go pretty deep in the hip hop well for costumes, as other years he dressed as Parappa The Rapper, the So So Def Recordings logo, a mascot on the cover of A Tribe Called Quest's albums, and someone named Kwamé. Maybe Childish Gambino next year?

HM: Parappa The Rapper (Haunted Photo Booth)

The Cheat - Spaceman Spiff

It was pretty hard to decide which of The Cheat's costumes were my favorite, I loved all of them, but I have to give it to a Calvin and Hobbes reference. I was almost going to go with the Fudgie The Whale costume, as I've been on a kick of watching old Carvel commercials lately.

God, talking like Tom Carvel is addicting. I love his voice.

HM: Fudgie The Whale (The House That Gave Sucky Tricks), A Korok (Mr. Poofers Must Die), The Lorax (Doomy Tales of The Macabre)

Strong Sad - Tummi Gummi (Mr. Poofers Must Die)

I'll admit, I haven't been really impressed by many of Strong Sad's costumes, but Tummi Gummi from Disney's The Gummi Bears was a clear winner. He was famously voiced by Lorenzo Music, who also voiced Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters (and that fact is referenced in Mr. Poofers Must Die).

HM: No Face (I Killed Pom Pom)

Strong Mad - Sal (Doomy Tales of The Macabre)

I've been loving the choices they've been making for Strong Mad's costumes like Powdered Toast Man and Goro, but his costume as the guy from The Dire Strait's Money For Nothing video is one of the most inspired choices I've ever seen.

Looks just like him. And just for fun, here's Weird Al's version of that video, where Sal is played by Jed Clampett:

HM: Powdered Toast Man (Haunted Photo Booth), Goro (I Killed Pom Pom)

Strong Bad - Mac Tonight (I Killed Pom Pom)

And here I thought Strong Bad's costumes couldn't get any better than Jambi The Genie, and here comes Mac Tonight. I've gone on before how he's my favorite fast food mascot, so how could I not love this? I knew this was going to be his peak costume because I haven't really been impressed by any of his costumes since then, although Viewtiful Joe from this year's toon might be signaling an uptick, though.

HM: Skull Kid (Doomy Tales of The Macabre), Viewtiful Joe (Mr. Poofers Must Die)

King of Town - Devil's Tower Mashed Potatoes (The House That Gave Sucky Tricks)

It's been well established that King of Town likes to dress as food mascots, or something resembling a mascot (like the time he dressed as Hello Kitty), and an actual mashed potato mountain seemed right up his alley. Since he had that bobbing for turduckens in mashed potatoes booth in Halloween Fairstival, it was only inevitable that he'd one day just cover himself in mashed potatoes.

In case you were wondering, he's dressed as the Devil's Tower made out of mashed potatoes that Richard Dreyfuss builds in from Close Encounters of The Third Kind.

HM: Scrubbing Bubbles (Later That Night...), Ram Man (I Killed Pom Pom)

Poopsmith - Flaming Globes of Sigmund (Later That Night...)

This is probably one of the deepest cuts of any costume they ever did. This was a character played by Larry David in one episode of Seinfeld (The Heart Attack), who has a total of maybe twenty seconds of screentime at the most.

We don't even see anything below his waist, Poopsmith had to improvise. That's dedication. He's had loads of great costumes over the years, but obscurity points win it for me this time.

HM: Sea Monkey (Mr. Poofers Must Die), Instant Martian (Haunted Photo Booth), King Darunia (Doomy Tales of The Macabre)

Homsar - Greg (Haunted Photo Booth)

I'm honestly shocked when Homestar Runner references anything made in the past five years, and Over The Garden Wall is perfect for Halloween costumes, especially Homsar. "It's a rock fact" seems like something he'd say.

It's only ten episodes but I strongly urge you to see it if you haven't already. It's a fantastic miniseries that gets you right in the Halloween/fall mood.

HM: Dungeonmaster (I Killed Pom Pom)

And that's everyone. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! I'll see you guys next month.

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Pikachu turns 20!

This past week saw the 20th anniversary of the release of Pokémon Red & Blue here in the states!

Like all the cool kids, I had Pokémon Red. But not cool enough to have met someone not only with a Blue but owning a link cable until the following summer at camp. Those were primitive days, my friend. It all started with a combination of watching a preview of the anime on a VHS Nintendo Power sent me, plus an early strategy guide also sent to my house by Nintendo Power. "These things look kinda cool," I thought. I bought the game day one and I've been obsessed ever since (give or take the few years between generations two and four).

But this also means that my pet snake also turns 20!

His name is Pikachu, he’s an albino corn snake and he’s happy to meet all of you. I’ll be honest here, if I wasn’t so gung-ho into Pokémon at the time, I would’ve named him something else. But I really can’t imagine him with any other name, really. He was born in July of 1998 and I got him the weekend before the games dropped. I was 11, I was into snakes and got excited to finally own one. My family’s been against it from day one, and that still hadn’t changed. Hell, pet stores won’t take him off my hands because of how old he is.

I’m honestly shocked that he’s still alive. From what I’ve read, 20 years in captivity is considered a long lifespan for a corn snake. Google tells me that ten years or "into its teens" is what’s nornal. Low stress and low maintenance lifestyles will do that, I guess. He’s an old man, but he’s still kicking. He doesn’t really do much these days, but I haven’t seen him this active in years.

It’s weird being able to tell college kids that he’s older than they are. He’s been in like two thirds of my life, it’d be weird to imagine my life without him. I love him, as much as a guy can love a pet snake.

There may be some more I could post in addition to this guy, but it hasn't been a good couple of days for me mentally and thinking about him has put me back into a good place.

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Friday, August 31, 2018


This past month, my twitter buddy Sommerjam along with David Pietandrea set up a daily drawing challenge called AuGHOST.

Obviously it’s centered around ghosts, with a different prompt every day. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at drawing, even though I’m not all that good at it. I figured ghosts were easy to draw, and I’m happy to say that I made it through the whole month and completed 31 different drawings!
Here now are each of those drawings, in one blog entry purely for posterity. Crude evidence of eraser marks and all.

1. Massive

My first serious attempt at drawing something! And also my first serious attempt to draw a really beefy arm and a fist.

I ended up loving that little ghost that’s just says "Wow." You’ll be seeing more of him later.

2. Cheap

For this one, I was thinking "a Funko Pop on clearance is pretty cheap, right?"

I based it off of the Funko Pop of the Blue Ghost from PAC-Man.

It’s ironically the most valuable of that set.

3. Jar

When is a ghost’s door not a ghost’s door? When it’s ajar!

...let’s move on.

4. Hold

One of my early favorites. Also features my Very Serious Attempt at drawing the classic Garfield phone from everyone’s childhood.

I wanted one so badly but never did. For the best, I never had anyone to talk to anyway.

5. Voracious

This looked better in my head. A giant ghost that was pretty much a mouth with teeth sucking up the PAC-Man fruit was definitely one of my more unique looking ghosts. It ended up looking like a frog without its hind legs. And with teeth.

The fruit next to the key is supposed to be an apple, but it was originally grapes until I realized there were no grapes in any of those games.

6. Delete

This is more "erase" than "delete" but you get the idea. This was also like the third attempt at taking a picture of it, and the eraser dust changed every time.

7. Clover

This was one of the first drawings I sketched out, it seemed so obvious. Could’ve been better, but I like it.

8. Crime

Hey, who took the cookies?! Was it YOU?

At the last minute, I gave the ghost eyes where it was originally just eyes and I don’t like how it came out.

9. Guilty

A little political commentary for this one. When I sketched it out, Day 9 Ghost hadn’t blatantly admitted to it on twitter yet...

10. Cook

This ghost just wanted to stay in on a Friday night and microwave some popcorn. Not a fan of how I drew the popcorn bag, but loving the tongue.

11. Inject

Wait a that the ghost from Day 1? What’s it injecting?! Is that how its arm got so beefy?

12. Screw

A little old school cartoon throwback for this one. I really like how this one came out.

13. Familiar

"Oh my god, this ghost is my exact double!"

I really regret giving Fancy Ghost a mouth, his mustache did all the heavy lifting by itself.

14. Flippant

"Why do your ghosts look like condoms?"

This was based on an actual Instagram comment left on one of the earlier pictures. I couldn’t un-see it and it really put me in a bad mood for the next few days. It’s why almost every ghost from this point forward look much different. Don’t read the comments, folks.

15. Clingy

You feed a stray dog one of your Scooby Snax and it follows you around forever. Literally.

Normally you’d be happy to have a dog with you for all eternity, but this was during my sad phase, so this ghost was sad, too.

16. Blush

"Me? Surely you mean the ghost behind me, right?"

That ghost is me whenever someone talks to me. Nobody talks to me, so I assume they’re talking to someone else.

This was also the only picture I started over from scratch since I didn’t like how the original version came out after I inked it.

17. Scandal

"The Fake Boo York Times is being unfair to my good friend, the Day 1 Ghost. GHOST WITCH HUNT!" The Day 9 Ghost tweeted earlier this morning.

Totally one of my favorites, even if I couldn’t draw a newspaper as well as I thought I could. I think at this point I just started inserting the "Bystander Ghost"  (or the Wow Ghost) anywhere I could. This is probably my favorite usage of him.

18. Damp

Your dustpan, I mean umbrella turning inside out during a rainstorm is the worst, isn’t it?

19. Three

"Ghost...Ghost...aww, lemon!"

I saw "three" and my mind immediately jumped to a slot machine. Did you know that you could just watch people playing slot machines on YouTube?

You’d think this was stupidest thing ever, but it’s not! I got mesmerized by these videos for a couple of days, and it’s much cheaper than playing these things yourself.

20. Spot

Here is my Very Serious Attempt at drawing the classic Charlie Brown Ghost from memory.

Obviously I’m no Charles Schulz. Speaking of which, I drew this entry on Snoopy’s birthday:

I think Charlie Brown Ghost is just upset that he looks like one of those old school Playskool Little People Toys.

21. Fire

I don’t know what Day 1 Ghost is being fired from, but obviously that news report from Day 17 made the Day 9 Ghost look bad. Let’s say he was the Secretary or Agriculture.

22. Lick

This demon fish ghost thing is imitating its favorite scene from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

My headcanon says that this drawing is a closeup of the Day 9 Ghost.

23. Check

Ghost Santa is making his list and checking it twice!

It dawned on me too late to add famous pop culture ghosts to his list, so I just fit as many as I could. Did I miss any? And how do you get on Ghost Santa’s nice list?

In any case, I like how Ghost Santa came out. I don’t know whether to be proud or frightened that he comes off as a bit creepy.

24. Parcel

Abu (A-Boo?) Dhabi is not just a place you send annoyingly cute kittens, but also disgraced ghosts that took steroids.

25. Plain

I saw this prompt and thought "what’s more plain than a bagel?"

This Ghost is NOT a doughnut, and he’ll give you such a haunting if you accuse him of being one.

26. Spark

Pictured is me getting inspiration for ideas for these prompts. Again, I thought I knew how to draw lightbulbs, but I obviously need more practice.

27. Slide

This ghost just wants to have a fun time.

28. Early

They say to draw your feelings, and this is my sincere self portrait of myself every morning. I don’t even drink coffee, but this ghost needed a mug with a funny saying on it.

29. Shallow

This ghost has something to say to you.

30. Bucket

I don’t know whether it’s the bucket that’s haunted or it just fell on this ghost’s head, but either way the ghost crudely drew a face on it to compensate.

I really like how this came out, but I thought maybe I should’ve drawn the bucket as one of those McBoo pails Mcdonald's used to give out every year.

I thought a regular bucket gets the job done. It’s also the only drawing that I used a marker on, and it bled out through to the next page, so I had to start the next one over from scratch.

31. Victory

And finally we come to the end, with Victory! You’re almost there, Ghost! You can do it! He’s even being cheered on by the recurring ghost characters, too. In retrospect I should’ve drawn the 31 on the ghost and not the finish line, but I still like this one.

Yeah, Bucket’s drawing bleeding out turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since the original idea was for the ghost to fall flat on its face just before crossing the finish line. Luckily I decided to make the final product more positive. That, and I couldn’t figure out how to draw the ghost falling on its face well anyway.

Before I go, I need to show this picture drawn my friend Ryan Mead for today’s entry.

I tagged him way at the beginning of the month and he’d been drawing along with me ever since. For the Victory entry, he decided to add the Wow Ghost to it, and I’m honestly touched by it. Seems I’m not the only one who loves him.

I hope you all enjoyed my attempts at art this month, I had a lot of fun with it. I truly envy anyone who could draw well, especially if they do it for a living. I’ll keep it to a hobby for now, but I finally gave myself some discipline and managed to get around to doing something I’ve been putting off for ages.

Check out the #AuGHOST tag on Twitter and Instagram for entries by other find folks more talented than I.

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