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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dollar Comic Review: Olive Us Birthday Issue

So here's the three worst things I've seen and heard today.

1. Guy calls up to the store and talks to Matt. He wants to sell us some comics, and brother, as he says: "I've got somethin' even more valuable than a #1, man. I've got a #0!"

2. So I'm in the gas station this morning to get some Red Bull because I had one two days ago and didn't get to sleep until four in the morning last night, and I see it. A pair of official camouflage Larry the Cable Guy panties with "Git-R-Done" emblazoned on the crotch in huge white letters.

The package was laying on the floor, so I can only assume some curious bastard picked them up and then dropped them when the sheer Lovecraftian horror of what he saw overwhelmed his fragile mind.

3. Olive Us Birthday Issue. Quite possibly the worst comic book I've ever seen.



Click to Wretched-Size it! Posted by Hello


"Olive Us: Birthday Issue"
February, 2004
Writer: Cary Michael Lucier
Pencils and Cover: Monte Scott

I've worked back issues at the shop for almost three years now, and I've seen a lot of bad comics. But this one might just be the worst thing I've ever read, and that includes a run of Evil Ernie. But out of all that, it's the only one so godawful that I feel bad for making fun of it. I mean, I've been a guy who gets together with a pal to make a crappy mini-comic, so I can really identify with these guys.

Unfortunately, it's still the most wretched thing to be printed in four colors, and I have a duty to the truth.

I feel it's important to mention that this one isn't just a crappy comic book, it's also got a crappy gimmick attatched to it. It's actually a greeting card! The idea is that you buy it and give it to some unsuspecting cretin who reads through 26 pages to get to a page that says: "Happy Birthday from Olive Us!" Yes. It's also a pun. That's what we call "strike three."

And like so many of the fine products reviewed here on the ISB, it's Canadian.

The Cover: Just to prove that I'm not a complete bastard, I will say this: I actually do like the logo. The rest of it.. Sheesh. Just look at it and tell me it looks like it's from 2004 and not 1993.

The Plot: Olive Us, an allegedly attractive young woman with freckles that look more like those things Brainiac 5 used to have on his forehead, is woken up by her pet alien (?) Oggy, who tells her to go fight some renegade birthday clowns. So she puts on a suit of "intelligent liquid metal" that lets her turn her finger into a knife and her legs into a weird, sub-jetsons hovercraft she calls a "light-rider."

Oggy, a genuinely creepy little bastard, drools for a little while over Olive's ass--which is framed with "wiggle lines"--then sends her out into the terrifying world of the future. You can tell it's the future because there are lasers, and the moon has a big crack in it. So Olive runs and jumps and arches her back in a nigh-Liefeldian attempt at sexuality.

Then she fights some clowns.

For like sixteen pages.

But it all works out okay when Oggy appears to use an energy pulse to give her an orgasm to kill the head clown. Somehow. I think. Then she finds a gold future-suitcase that contains a birthday cake. Then you sign it and give it to someone you never want to be friends with again.

Defining Moment: The defining moment of this one doesn't actually come in the issue, but in the material packaged with it. There's a flyer in there to advertise it (we got this monstrosity as a promo) that's just a joy to read. The front is a full-color photo of the Olive Us display box surrounded by word balloons from off panel that say:

"Comic book greeting cards are awesome!"

"They take the place of 'Greeting Cards' and 'Gifts' all by themselves!"

"And I can sell this BIRTHDAY ISSUE on my checkout counter in it's [sic] cool display stand for an entire year!"

And my personal favorite: "A brand 'New' Comic Book Format that is sure to 'Increase Sales' and create a "buzzzzz!"

Sure to "Increase Sales" indeed. The back of the flyer is all text, and has--I swear to God--instructions on how to use the comic. Here are some gems:

"Our line of 'COMIC BOOK GREETING CARDS'™ uses our female superhero's name, 'Olive Us'™, to mimic the words 'All of Us'."

Yes. They explain it. Because mere mortals such as we couldn't be expected to grasp the concept. But it gets better:

"We also set aside a specific area of the final page for the signatures of the group of people intending to present the item. The word 'Signatures' has been added so that everyone knows where they should sign the item."

My emphasis there. Pretty self-explanatory, which is a word I'm fairly sure these cats have never heard. And it goes on like this for the entire page, talking about how this issue's sure to be a collector's item.

Somehow, they forget to mention that this might be the stupidest idea I've ever heard. I think I speak for the entire comic book reading public when I say that we'd much rather just get a regular comic with a character we like. Heck, you can even bag it up and sign the board. Just not on the shiny side.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Why I Hate Saturn

Crisis averted, folks. My sister is now out of my six hundred-mile radius "safety zone," and I can resume my Invincible Super-Schedule of updates. But first, I feel like I should do some explaining.

I've mentioned my sister before on the ISB, but I've put off giving a full explanation. As a consequence, I'm often asked by my readers (or at least Tug asked me at lunch today), "Why don't you like your sister?"

The first thing you need to know about me is that I have what most people would call a "problem" with forgiveness. The problem being that I don't do it. I hold a grudge like I think I'll win something if I have the most. I mean, if I won't forgive my own flesh and blood, there's no way Judd Winnick's getting a pass for Green Arrow.

We're actually a lot alike, Sarah and I. We enjoy the same kinds of TV shows, we have the same sense of humor, and we both fancy ourselves as writers. She's clever, sarcastic, and she doesn't like people.

That's the problem.

She's everything I hate about myself, every single bad trait that I have, magnified into a living funhouse mirror that shows me what I can't stand about my own personality.

Let's face it, I'm not the best person in the world. But when I'm mean, she's cruel. I'm arrogant, she's almost a solipsist. And while I can be hard to get along with, she's a raging hell-bitch.

Take, for example, a bit of dialogue we exchanged at breakfast the other day. She reported it over on her online journal (another eerie parallel that makes my skin crawl), but she didn't get the quotes quite right.

She doesn't like my mom's boyfriend, so as he's walking towards the IHOP, she rolls her eyes and goes: "Who invited him?"

"We all have to deal with guests we don't like."

"Well if you don't like it you can just move out! Not everyone can live with their mommy when they're 23 years old!"

I didn't respond. Not because of the alleged awesomeness of her comeback or the unfiltered spite in her voice, but because, as always, what passes for logic in her little mind is pure fucking madness. She was sitting in a restaurant where my mother was going to pay for her food (and her husband's, and her children's), on a vacation that my mother paid for, having just gotten back from a trip to the beach where mom footed the bill, and she's calling me a freeloader.

You can't argue with that. Nobody can. Because it's insane.

And that's not even getting INTO the part where she tells me to move out of MY HOUSE!

And it's not like this was an isolated incident.

There was the time that she told me I should be paying her rent on my father's house after he died. Which she lived in. While I lived six hundred miles away. The "logic" there being that I owned half of the house, but I wasn't paying for any of the upkeep while she lived there.

Or the time she slapped me in the ear while I had an ear infection. I would've hit her back, but she was pregnant, an excuse that allowed her to engage in Elizabeth Bathory-esque levels of bitchiness for nine months.

Also, she almost drowned me when I was eight, but I'm 75% sure that was an accident.

And she's never once given me an apology. Hell, after the Ear-Slap, she called and said she was sorry I made her so mad that she hit me. You see what I have to deal with here?

But what really gets to me, the most infuriating thing about our whole relationship, is that I've tried to live up to my end. And she has the nerve, the gall, to criticize the lifestyle of a guy who gave her money so that her kids wouldn't have to sleep on the street. Money that she promised to pay back. Which she didn't. Which she then lied about. Which my mother asked me not to bring up because it would hurt her feelings.

And before you think I'm an even worse person than I actually am, it's not the money that concerns me, it's the weeks of lying about it. To me, having a family means taking care of each other, and I'll always do my best to live up to that. But it doesn't mean that I have to like you, especially if you happen to be a liar who owes me a truly phenomenal amount of money.

And for God's sake, she writes fan-fics where Spike and Xander have sex.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Special Guest Update: The Saddest Thing Ever

Due to the continued presence of my sister and her brood, I haven't been able to update the ISB with my own unique brand of sentence fragments and anger. Fortunately for my erstwhile readers (all six of you), I have a knack for getting my friends to generate content. It's part of my svengali-esque charm.

So with that in mind, I give you a Special Guest Update from none other than Tug Himself, recounting a harrowing story of customer interaction. And believe me, I was sitting ten feet away and I have a hard time believing it happened.


Click to Terror-Size it! Posted by Hello


Gather ‘round the campfire, children, and hear the most blood-curdling tales of macabre that your young minds can withstand… This tale is so spooky that it might make you stick your pocketknife into a nearby tree… I call this delicious dish of disgust: The Saddest Thing Ever.

So this kid comes into the store on Wednesday. I say "kid," but he was old enough to grow some bits of facial hair that looked like they belonged on Bizarro Shaggy. He looks down at the Yu-Gi-Oh cards and asks us if it’s alright if he "scales" them. This gets my usual response when asked a gaming question. I turn around and go, "Uh… Ben?"

Turns out Ben didn’t know what the kid meant either. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ insane. The young man explains. "Is it OK if I can weigh them on my scale to try and get the packs with foils in them?" Get it? Scaling. Ben cautiously says "O-Kay..."

The kid then pulls out a tiny digital scale about the size of a Gameboy Advance. You know… like the ones that drug dealers use. According to Josh, these are the scales that they have to keep locked up in Staples because drug dealers steal them all the time. I’ve always thought that weighing drugs was the only practical use for them, but now I know better.

So the guy starts weighing each pack. And he’s handling them like they were old dynamite sticks left out in the sun (you all saw the season finale of Lost, right?). While I am now content to sit back and watch this guy be pathetic, a customer comes up, seeing this guy as he weighs packs of cards made for little children, and asks the guy what he’s doing. The kid explains, and then says that he has to do this because he’s "tight on cash" and wants to "build up a good collection." I looked these miniature digital scales up, and the average cost is about fifty bucks. So was he really saving that much money?

So the guy finishes. Puts up his scale and gets the eight or so packs that he picked out. Then he goes and... wait for it... gets his mom to come and pay for them (!). That’s right. The "money" that he so desperately wants to save? Nonexistent. A falsification. A myth. Hogwash. Baloney. His mommy is buying them for him.

And that is The Saddest Thing Ever.

--Tug Baker

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Watch Your Ass, Sarah

While I was driving home today, I passed a headstone dealership (which I'm almost positive is not the correct term for that type of business, but I don't think "postmortem haberdashery" quite covers it), and there was a flashing red police light set on one of the headstones.

If my sister changes my web browser settings again, she might just end up with one of those.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

LOCKDOWN!

ATTENTION: The ISB is being put on Ultra-High-Security Lockdown! The malevolent force known only as my sister is making her way steadily to my home. This was news that Mom dropped on me rather unceremoniously earlier today. So much like Ka-Zar, I have to deal with an evil sibling.

Unlike Ka-Zar, I'll also being with said sibling's husband and two small children while I try to knock out seven hundred words a day on why comic shop customers should at least have GEDs.

I also don't plan on punching out Thanos.

So this news was the dark spot on an otherwise fun day that involved me hanging out with Brandon. We watched Harlem Nights ("You'll be the nine-toedest, limpinest bitch in Harlem!") and played the Marvel Trivia Game I got a few years ago, and thanks to knowing Ghost Rider's first appearance by heart, I kicked his ass.

It got us talking about a bunch of Marvel characters, and I told him about the time I ran across a fan-fic called "Spider-Gwen." What I was doing finding fan-fics is my own damn business and I'll thank you to stay out of my affairs. Anyway, I--like many, I'm sure--figured it was probably a What If? about Gwen Stacy getting bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. But no.

It was about Gwen Stefani getting spider-powers.

I told the story to Brandon on the way back to his house, and he just turned and looked at me.

"Chris," he said, "That shit's bananas."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dollar Comic Review: Ka-Zar Volume 2

A little more than a year ago, the shop had a hellacious sale on dollar books, and I went frigg'n crazy. I mean, the employee cost for an entire long box worked out to something like 7.5 cents per issue, and there was no way I was going to pass up a deal like that. So, in the parlance of our times, I went buck wild.

That's where I got my runs of Justice League and Suicide Squad, but those only take up so much space, and I had an entire box to fill. So I pretty much just threw in anything that caught my eye. A complete set of Ghost Rider Rides Again? Sure! Thirty issues of Dreadstar? Why the hell not? Eighteen issues of Deathstroke the Terminator? Throw those bad boys in there! Heck, there's even a run of Strikeforce: Morituri and about twelve attempts at understanding why Tug loves Moon Knight so much.

But then there's the run of Ka-Zar.

The run of Ka-Zar that I've kept hidden away for the past year in hopes that one day I'll wake up and it will have been a terrible dream. But with no such luck, and with my homey Brandon yelling at me to be a man and get it over with, I finally read it tonight.

Fourteen issues of it.

And now I share my pain with you.

Out of the Savage Land... and onto eBay.(Click to Zabu-Size it!)


Ka-Zar volume 2, #1-13, Annual 1
May 1997-May 1998
Script: Mark Waid (with Brian K. Vaughan on the Annual)
Pencils: Andy Kubert (with fill-ins by Rinaldi, Small, and Lopresti)

Okay, here's how it shapes up to start: Kevin loves Shanna. Shanna loves Kevin. Kevin and Shanna both love Matthew, their kid. They all love living in the Savage Land. Parnival (?!) hates Kevin, even though they're brothers, so he sends the guy who trained Kraven the Hunter to kill him. Kevin also loves CDs and his gameboy, but Shanna hates technology. Conflict!

They beat the holy hell out of Gregor, Kraven's old pal, and then drag him through Antarctica with no clothes on while Shanna gives Ka-Zar dirty looks about how his secret CD collection is tainting the purity of the Savage Land. Then they go to New York.

Meanwhile, in that very same New York, Parnival recieves some orders from his Mysterious, Shadowed Master (hint: it's Thanos) and engages in annoying banter with Ka-Zar when he shows up. He also talks about an amulet that they each have half of which is actually a key, which is actually a map to an extradimensional maze that'll show up ten issues later.

Ka-Zar has a few more arguments with Shanna the She-Devil and then fights the Rhino for what I like to call "no reason at all." But hey, he's the Rhino. That happens. Shanna then faces her doubts about whether or not she still loves Ka-Zar, and decides she does.

Clearly, she's not Canadian.

Anyway, as soon as this happens, Ka-Zar realizes that the reason he's been so crunk for technology has been that he's nervous about being a father, and he's not sure he's ready. There's a tearful reconciliation with Shanna about this a few issues later. But first, Thanos has to put the third-stupidest Supervillain Plot I've ever seen into action.

Using the vast extradimensional energies at his command, Thanos turns New York into the Savage Land. Fortunately for him, this was during Heroes Reborn, so the Avengers aren't around to show up and fix everything in twenty minutes. Unfortunately for us, it takes Ka-Zar and Co. four issues--or roughly eighty years of reading time--to do just that.

Defining Moment: During the climax of Urban Renewal, after luring Thanos out of the maze within the terraformer (?) and into the Savage Land, Ka-Zar punches out Thanos.

I'll let that sink in.

Ka-Zar knocks out Thanos, the Mad Titan with a punch.

Moving on.

So S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up (that's the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, true believer) and blows up the terraformer, and Shanna the She-Devil gets godlike power over all creation, represented here by planets in her eyes.

So then Ka-Zar has to have a talk with the High Evolutionary, who makes some incredibly creepy sexual innuendos about Zabu and then proceeds to fall in love with Shanna. He tries to get her to come with him to Counter-Earth (Sweet Christmas! Counter-frigg'n-Earth!), and Ka-Zar punches him in the face.

Fortunately, that's all the issues I have, or else I would've gotten into the Punisher appearance in issue 15, which might have killed me. Maybe it's just because I read it all in one sitting, but this whole run pretty much amounts to some of the most talented people in comics contributing to a massive train-wreck. It's rough.

So, uh... Want to buy it from me on eBay?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Quick Question


Click to Jungle-Size it! Posted by Hello


Why the hell do I have a run of Ka-Zar?

Seriously. Any explanation at all.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Yowza!

So I'm sitting in a convenience store bathroom staring at a vending machine on the wall. It advertises itself as "Health Mart," but seems to specialize in rubber-studded and spearmint-flavored condoms, which I guess could be considered healthy, but only in a tangent sort of way. And I'm wondering how I got there.

The answer to that is actually pretty simple: I walked. It was only two blocks from the Public House, where I'd been served by Cute Waitress Version 2. So it was really a question of why I was there, which in turn was answered by the profound nausea I'd been feeling as I left the bar.

Maybe it was the two-hour discussion of Star Wars from MG3 and Co., or maybe a delayed reaction from the shere awesomeness of seeing a church called "Sho'nuff Annointed Ministries" on the way to lunch, but this was the second time this week I've felt sick like this.

If I'm honest with myself, it's probably the sheer amount of bar food I've been shoving into my body, but I prefer to blame Star Wars. That was irrelevant at the time, though. I felt like I might actually die, and there wasn't anything in the Health Mart that would make me feel better. Those studs are for her pleasure, after all.

I was in there for like ten minutes, the last portion of which I was leaning on the wall above the sink, wondering if this is where my sandwich and I were going to painfully part ways. Then the clerk knocked on the door.

"I was, ah, just heading out," I said as I opened the door, flashing her a winning grin that I'm sure she'll be telling her children about one day. Children she'll be having with someone who wasn't wearing a Ghost Rider t-shirt when she met him.

Five miles down the road I was in another bathroom in another gas station, staring at the same Health Mart machine featuring the same four flavors. It just seemed to get worse every time I got back on the road, and I found myself thinking how funny it would be if I could end an ISB update with "And then I threw up, crapped my pants, and wrecked my car at the same time." Downright hilarious, but probably not worth the trouble. Another five miles and I was in a similar situation, but this time I'd actually gotten gas for the trip home.

Fast forward ten minutes, an I'm screaming down the highway past what looks like a three-car drug deal at a graveyard on the median, blasting the all-Japanese cover band show on WUSC as loud as I can take it with my windows down. I'm drawing chi-power from a drum-and-zither cover of "You Really Got Me" and all I can think about is Jack T. Chance--the baddest Green Lantern of 'em all.

And that's when I knew everything was going to be okay.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Woodrow Wilson was a Racist!

So in case you're wondering why there wasn't an ISB update last night, here's your answer: I was out with a lady.

I do feel like I should clarify this for my nonexistant legion of female fans: we're Just Friends™. Still, it's a step in the right direction. Her name's Sarah, I've known her since high school, and she is goofy as hell.

In a fun way, I mean. We met up in high school drama, which is the place to meet flaky nerds if you don't happen to have a convenient comic book store, and started to hang out. That was around the time that she came to my birthday party and got lost in my hallway.

My hallway, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting the Invincible Super-Casa, is a small room with five doors that lead to the bedrooms, bathroom, and back to the living room. She got lost on her way back from the bathroom.

Goofy. As. Hell.

But still, a lot of fun to be around, which is why I ended up taking her to the Prom my senior year of high school.

I've been meaning to give her a call to catch up ever since I ran into her unexpectedly a couple months ago at one of Rob's Art Bar gigs, but didn't have a chance until last week. So we met up, with her sporting freshly dyed red hair, and went out to dinner.

It was not unlike going out with Scott, except the danger of being in a knife fight was significantly lower. As such, we ended up talking about Quantum Leap for an inordinate amount of time, and then she recounted an epic story that I will, in turn, relate to you.

She had been hanging out with a guy she liked, but ended up taking a walk around Five Points with the guy's best friend. This was the first time she'd ever met this dude. Anyway, while they're walking, a panhandler comes up and asks for some cash. The guy declines, but according to sarah, this is where a voice in her head (!) tells her to go ahead and give him some cash.

The smallest bill she has is a five, so she hands it over, and to compensate, the bum offers to sing her a song. The guy again declines, but Sarah decides she wants to hear it. So the bum, assuming that they're a couple, tells her to remember that while he's singing the song, he's doing it as the guy she's with, whom she has only just met. So the bum starts up what sounded to me like an especially emotional power ballad about, quote, "my thighs and stuff," end quote, while constantly stopping every few lines to remind her that he's singing in character as her presumed boyfriend.

So as the song ends, it builds to a crescendo of "I love you, I love you, I love you!" and the bum demands that the guy now profess his love for Sarah. So he does. Then he commands that they--Sarah and the guy, not Sarah and the Singing Panhandler--"embrace." So they do.

"Wow," I said as she finished the story. "Are you sure you should be out with me? I'm pretty sure that a bum serenade is legally binding in this state."

She'd later call up the guy she actually did have a crush on, while drunk, and say: "I'm going to say two things and then hang up. First: Woodrow Wilson was a racist. And second: I have a crush on you."

See what I mean?

We were supposed to go out again tonight and hit the Art Bar for WUSC's iPop night Star Wars party, but when I called her, there was no response. So I went over to the mall and ended up hanging out with Rob and buying ten dollars worth of chewing gum from WaldenBooks, which I think is a story in and of itself.

Four more calls later, I just went over to MG3's and told him I was throwing in the towell. I was being stood up, man! And after I paid for dinner last night and everything. It was, to quote MG3, "ruthless."

On the way home, I got a call from Sarah. She'd fallen asleep and missed my calls.

Redheads, man. They always break my heart.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Re: Star Wars

I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Godspeed, My Vikings!

Like I mentioned yesterday, The Adventures of Pete & Pete is now out on DVD, and believe me when I say this, I had to tromp all over Creation to find it.

I even went down to Harbison, and by the end of the night I'd checked Manifest, Best Buy, Circuit City, Suncoast, and Barnes & Noble, and they all told me the same thing: Yeah, it came out today, but we didn't order any.

Quick Memo to Suncoast Motion Picture Company: When you're looking at the upcoming DVD releases you need to order, and you have a chance to order The Adventures of Pete & Pete, do it. Don't order three frigg'n copies of Clarissa Explains it All Season 1 instead. That's just fucking ludacris.

A normal man might've given up at this point, but in matters of DVD acquisition, I'm even more determined than the US Postal Service. Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night will sway me until I've indulged my rampant consumerism.

So I turned to my last resort: The Super Wal-Mart that makes up a full third of the SMT. Say what you will about Sam Walton's evil empire, they come through for you in a pinch. And six bucks cheaper than it would've been elsewhere.

So why did I go through all the trouble? Simple. The Adventures of Pete and Pete is unquestionably one of the best children's television shows ever made. Fact.

For those of you who haven't seen it, allow me to sum it up. The show is about two brothers, both named Pete, and they have adventures. Big Pete narrates the stories and has a best friend named Ellen and a nemesis with one of the best names in television history: Endless Mike Hellstrom. Little Pete, who was far more bitter and subversive, had a mysterious tattoo named Petunia, a personal superhero called Artie: The Strongest Man in the World (who was weakened by the power of the Whammy Bar); and, in the later seasons, a girlfriend played by a young Michelle Trachtenberg, whose father was played by Iggy Pop.

Yes. Iggy Pop.

Aside from the fact that it was phenomenally well-written and well-acted, the guest stars were one of the best things about the show. Aside from Iggy, who was a regular in the third season, the show had appearances from Michael Stipe, LL Cool J, Bebe Neuwirth, Chris Elliot, Selma Blair, Janeane Garofolo, Patty Hearst, and Adam West. And if that's not enough for you, maybe you should check out the New Year's special, which features an appearance from some newspaperman called Hunter S. Thompson.

That oughtta be sufficient enough to silence those of you that claim to be buying the Gilmore Girls Season 1 for the Norman Mailer appearance.

I was eleven when the show premiered as a series of one-minute shorts between shows on Nickelodeon, and I was immediately enamored with it. It was the kind of children's show that not only didn't talk down to the viewer, but applied a kid's sense of logic to the world at large. It was a great influence on the way I thought and the way I'd eventually write, and any description would fall far short of what it actually is. Take, for instance, the episode descriptions on the DVD box:

Valentine's Day Massacre: Big Pete's got love on his mind... and the guilt of having just accidentally killed the school mascot, Edna the Squid.

The Nightcrawlers: Little Pete protests his early bedtime by vowing to stay up for eleven straight days!

Don't Tread on Pete: Big Pete has exactly 18 minutes to cram for a test he forgot about on the Revolutionary War. In the meantime, Little Pete wages his own war against his gym teacher.

Even the majesty of the English Language fails to capture even a fraction of how mind-blowingly awesome that show is. So I'll just give you a bit of dialogue from one of the shorts:

BIG PETE: Ever play Stocking Head Freeze Tag? It's pretty much like regular freeze tag, except everybody wears stockings on their heads. Once when we were playing, we forgot to unfreeze my brother Pete, and he stayed out all night. He looked so majestic, I didn't know what to do. So I invited Ellen over for pudding.

ELLEN: Hm. Maybe you should use him as a human sundial. That's what they do in Africa.

See? You need to own this. And you need it now.

Monday, May 16, 2005

This Job Would Be Great, If...

Holy Crap, The Adventures of Pete & Pete Season 1 is coming out on DVD! Your tiny human minds cannot possibly fathom how excited I am by this. But more on that tomorrow.

Longtime readers of the ISB will recall that I have what some might call a love-hate relationship with the customers who come into the store. That is to say, I'm quite fond of Phil, Mike Autry, and a couple others (including that scrappy li'l pirate Porto), and think of the rest as some sort of hellspawned plague sent to punish me for my transgressions.

No offense.

Point being, I try to keep an open mind with my particular brand of angry, bitter customer service, but some people are just asking to be removed from continuity.

Take, for instance, a gentleman that some of you might know, who rolled in tonight. I'm not going to lay out his name, but let's just say that he's the most phenomenally unsuccessful gigolo I've ever known. Yes, this guy sells his body to the night, a difficult task considering that he's about five-two, legally blind, and almost deaf. The fact that he's not very attractive (not by my standards, anyway) only exacerbates the problem. So here's the conversation we have today.

"Hey, Gigolo Sam"--that's the name I'll be using for legal purposes--"what's new?"

"Y'all given Matt the day off?"

"No, man, Matt doesn't work on Mondays."

"THAT'S WHAT I SAID! He's OFF!"

Well actually, bro, that's NOT what you said. But I'll concede this round. "Whatever."

So this continues as he gets a few comics and has some difficulty paying for them--being a Midnight Cowboy's rough these days--and finally gets ready to leave. Also, I'm almost sure that during this time he licked an issue of Wonder Woman while I back was turned. He decides to special order an issue of Superman, completely ignoring that he refused to buy the issue of Nightwing we special ordered for him last week, and doesn't move until I write it down. Then he looks at me and goes:

"You tell Matt I said hi."

"Sure, Gigolo Sam."

"I mean it. He workin' tomorrow?"

"Yeah."

"Well you tell him I said hi."

"Okay."

"You work tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I'll be here."

"Well don't forget to tell him I said hi."

"Okay, man."

"He gonna be in on Wednesday?"

"Yeah, he works Wednesdays."

"Well I'll come by and say hi then."

Cripes!

Now the craziest thing about this is that that's not NEARLY the weirdest customer encounter I had today. The other one's a two-parter that goes back to Saturday when a guy calls up.

"Wizards and Villains." This is the shop name I'll be using to avoid lawsuits.

"Is this Wizards and Villains?!"

"Uh, yeah."

"Where y'all at?"

"In the Boozer shopping center, corner of Broad River and Bush."

"In the Dutch Square Mall?!"

"No, sir, the Boozer shopping center."

"Dutch Square center?!"

"... No, man, we're next to that."

"Oh. Y'all ain't in Dutch Square?"

"... No."

So ten minutes later the guy walks in, sporting what some fashion afficionados might term "a Goddamn trainwreck." He was wearing a button-down shirt, but left it completely open, with nothing underneath. To his credit, he did have a tan, but the term "revolting" sprang to mind. Anyway, I get a call from him today. After answering, we go back and forth with "Hello?" for a few minutes, then finally settle down to brass tacks.

"Look, man, when I was in there y'all said you could tell me the price of a comic?"

I hate doing this, by the way. People are invariably upset by how much their comics are worth. I actually had to explain the principles of supply and demand to a woman who wanted to know why her 12-cent issue of Hulk wasn't going for more than five bucks. "Yeah, if you can give me the title and the issue number, I can look it up."

"You need the title and a number?"

"Yeah."

"Um, okay, man... Where's the title at?"

...

...

SWEET MOTHER OF MYSTERY! Did he just ask me where the title is?! On a comic book?! I mean, I've had people call me claiming their mid-80s Marvel comics didn't have numbers on the cover, but that's ridiculous! I mean, you've all seen comics. You can find the title pretty easily, right? It's mind-boggling.

"It's, uh, on the cover."

"The cover?!"

"Yeah. Top center."

There was a prolonged silence. "Man, I'm gonna have to call you back."

I was stunned. Not only did he not know where the title was, but he needed utter concentration to find it. So he hangs up.

Half an hour later--and I can only assume he used all of that time locating the title--he calls back.

"Man, I got that title and number for you."

"All right, man, what'cha got?"

"It's Huckleberry Hound, and in the corner it says Gold Key."

"Okay, cool. What's the number?"

"One-zero-zero-five-six-dash-four-zero-three-two."

I'm not even sure what that number could possibly represent, but I know this: No comic has a nine-digit issue number. So I decide to just check the 'Street and give him the average price. So I put him on hold, look it up, and pick the reciever back up, only to find out that he hung up.

All that trouble, and he didn't even stick around. Maybe he decided to go buy a shirt.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

'Til All Are One!

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but between the car wash and the end of work, this girl came into the store who was surprisingly attractive. She had the kind of punk look to her that I find alluring, but is usually attatched to girls who are the diametric opposite of what I'd call "my type."

Still, she was nice to look at. She was tall, with platinum blonde hair with pink streaks. And so I'm standing there doing my best to check her out unobtrusively when her boyfriend walks up to her. Now I don't mean any disrespect to the guy, but he was a troll. I swear, he looked like he should be under a bridge somewhere. A bridge that leads to a discount urban fashion emporium, judging by the dude's outfit.

So I'm standing there watching 'em, and all I can think is: "Hey. Well done, pal. I don't know how you did it, but good job."

Not too long after, they walk up to the counter and just stand there for a second. Now they'd been in and out for the past half hour or so, so after half-heartedly checking to see if they were both gone, I'd made a few... let's call them disparaging comments about their attractiveness ratio. So I'm thinking that while he's standing there fiddling with his cell phone, he's mentally preparing himself for Mortal Kombat against me.

Then, without any solicitation on my part, and hardly a word on his, he slides his cell across the counter.

"Check this out," he says, "I spraypainted this on m'wall."

I took a look down at his cell phone's screen, and who did I see?


Click to Transform and Roll Out! Posted by Hello


Optimus Prime.

I stared down at the leader of the Autobots on the screen.

"Wow," I said, "That's pretty awesome." And it was, especially for being spraypainted freehand on a wall in somebody's house.

He looked over to his girlfriend. "Baby, you got any pics of it on yours?"

"Yeah, I think so." She pulled out her own cell and brought up a few pictures. And that's when it hit me.

All the time they'd been standing there, I'd been thinking "Man, what's this guy got that I don't?" And now I know. He's got Optimus Frigg'n Prime on his wall. What can I say? Chicks dig Energon.

The ISB Singles Club Pub Crawl

Prepare your face for a good solid rocking as I bring you an update live, drunk, and on location from MG3's floor! Ever since last week'sdisastrous night on the town, I've been planning my return to Columbia's nightlife. And brother, did I get it tonight.

My day began with the announcement that the Hooters down the street from the shop was hosting a bikini car wash today. Considering that I spent a good portion of my twelfth year of life trying to discern scenes of Bikini Car Wash 2 from static by constantly changing the channel to Pay-Per View, I had to check it out. It's a nice bit of closure that I told Shaka about while we sat in my car, engine off and windows up with the temperature well into the thousands (millions Centigrade), hoping to get a moderately attractive girl to brush up against my sweet Corolla.

As far as how that all worked out, I'll just say this: The washing, not so great. But they had breasts down pat.

That, of course, was merely prelude to what came after work, as I left my car at MG3's palatial estate, and we hit the streets for Singles Club Pub Crawl with Scott and our token non-single, Tug.

The first stop was the Publick House, where we got the same waitress as last week with the same curly blonde hair and the same blue top. And I'll tell it to you straight: She's really, really cute, but after four whiskey sours, she became gorgeous, or as I was heard to say, "like unto a Greek statue come alive." It was a good time.

After we'd settled our tab with Cute Waitress, we decided a walk down to five points to catch the closing crowd at Bar None was in order. But as we settled into our corner booth, I noticed that there was a girl next to Shuffleboard table who was not only visibly fucked up, but was also making out with her dog.

I don't mean that metaphorically: She had a small dog with her, and it was nestled into her arms while she showered it in kisses, her head occasionally bobhing up to scan the bar with her glazed, unfocused eyes. It was both hilarious and faintly disturbing, and she captured our attention for the entire time that she was there. The situation was only made funnier when her boyfriend would walk over to make out with her, the poor forlorn dog between them.

"I think they're going for a three-way," said Tug.

"I don't that girl's ever been naked," I shot back, "She's always wearing that dog."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Phoning it In

Look, everybody!



French fries! Discuss.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I Am Not A Sex Object

So today for lunch I went to the Flying Saucer with Ben. Now for those of you not "in the know," the Saucer is a bar known for two things: The vast, impressive selection of beers they stock, and the fact that their waitresses are all hot girls in schoolgirl outfits.

And suddenly, paying ten bucks for two brautwursts and some fries starts to make sense.

Anyway, I'm sitting there watching our waitress's plaid miniskirt wiggle away with my order and the thought hits me: I wonder what it's like to work in a place where you're routinely hit on as a matter of course. Being that in the most recent photo of me, I'm wearing a paper Star Wars crown and a Batman shirt, I'll probably never know what that's like.

Yeah, I'm sorry to report that the shop, despite our best efforts, is not the hotbed of innuendo that we'd like it to be. But it's probably for the best. I mean, it'd probably be a bunch of gals lewdly whispering about their Nightwing fanfics, and even at best, it'd probably be like:

A LADY: So, I see you're reading the Invisibles.

ME: Yeah, I'm a big Grant Morrison fan. Just got Anarchy for the Masses, so I'm re-reading.

A LADY: Sounds like a good time. How about when you get off work, you come over to my place and I'll show you a hyperviral meme sigil you'll never forget?

ME: ... What?

A LADY: You know you want a piece of my BARBELiTH.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Check It Out

I got a new hat.


Man, that pose is sweet. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Naked Ladies!

For the first time ever, I bought a copy of Playboy today. It's by no means the first one I've ever seen (the February '92 issue took care of that. Thanks for ending my childhood, Hef!), but it's the first porno mag that I've ever actually bought.

Now I'm no stranger to Mature Content, as evidenced by my mild crush on Colleen Coover, creator of Small Favors (the second-best porn comic ever made) and the upcoming all-ages Banana Sunday. In fact, you might even say I'm a fan. But brother, it's a whole different story when you walk into a retail establishment for the express purpose of buying pornography. Especially when said establishment is staffed by two lady-types that you were just talking about Harry Potter with the day before.

I've seen the people who come into MY store for the express purpose of buying pornography, and it's not a pretty sight. They're a uniquely disturbing breed, always way too quiet or way too loud, with odd facial hair and their squinty, soulless eyes sizing up the latest issue of Milk or, God forbid, Genus.

It's a sight I'll take to the grave, believe you me.

Fortunately, my main man Rob Lindsey was on hand to make the experience as painless as possible, or so I thought. See, the reason I wanted this particular skin mag in the first place is that it's the Star Wars issue.

Yes. The Star Wars issue.


Click to Jedi-size it! Posted by Hello


You can understand my twin layers of embarrassment on the subject. I actually went into a public place and said: "I want the Star Wars issue of Playboy, please." But I digress.

It first caught my eye on Sunday when I was out shopping with Mom for Mother's Day. I saw it behind the counter at the SMT Waldenbooks, and as we were walking out, I mentioned it.

"Huh. The Star Wars issue of Playboy. I want to get that."

"Oh," said Mom, "go ahead! I'll wait here."

I turned to her, eyebrows cocked. "Ma, there's no way I'm going to go buy porn when I'm out with my mother. On Mother's Day."

Mom shrugged. "Suit yourself." And that was that.

I thought about getting it yesterday when I went to the bookstore by the shop to order an Eberron novel, but the idea of completing the Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Porn trifecta was way too much for me. So I went back to day when Rob was working to bug him about it.

It was pretty involved. Before I could even ask about it, I had to get Rob out of the back room, which involved more people in my plan. I explained the sensitive nature of my request, which Rob repeated in the loud, sonorous tones he usually reserves for when he's playing a room with no mic. He grabbed me a copy and rang it up while Stephanie (who was wearing this awesome Gryffindor jersey when we'd talked the day previous) looked on. As I was paying, she walked over and said "You know, I can ring those up, too."

"Yeah," I said, "But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know how to ask for it." Rob handed the mag back in a thin plastic bag. "Don't you have anything... browner? Like a plain paper wrapper?"

As far as the mag itself goes, it's pretty much standard fare. As a fan of naked girls, I've got to say it delivered on that front. It featured a Playmate of the Month, a Playmate of the Year, and Bai Ling, whom I've wanted to see naked since I caught her on a VH1 clip show. The 40 Most Awesomely Tiny Pants, or something.

Still, I actually find myself more interested in the articles--and with a ratio of 200 frigg'n pages of text pieces to like twelve of the ladies, I think that's bound to happen. I mean, there's the Star Wars article of course, but it's also got a Q&A with Paul Giamatti, an interview with tenacious bastard Lance Armstrong, and a profile of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda mastermind who looks like TV's Horatio Sanz.

Fortunately, I can read sideways.

Monday, May 09, 2005

How the Magic Happens

This is my 111th post for the ISB, and to celebrate my near-anniversary, I thought it might be fun to rip off Homestar Runner and go behind the scenes to show you the process of how the ISB is created. A series of ones and zeroes? Ha-ha, no! Fairy-dust and unicorns? What are you, a little girl? Read on, and experience the process!

Essentially, what happens is that I go to work and wait for Tug, Scott, or MG3 to say something funny. Then, I come home and transcribe it. Of course, those guys can't always be relied upon, and I'm left to my own devices.

That's where the hard work comes in. If nothing unusual happens--like, say, someone coming in and explaining how X-Men 2 was a direct ripoff of their fanfiction they published on Prodigy 12 years ago--I end up staring at a blank text box trying to come up with an idea.

Eventually, I'll settle on something like The Five Most Awesome Hats in Comics, and pull myself away from internet pornography (like NeverDoneThatBefore.com, which has the best and most vaguely sinister title of any porn site I've ever seen) long enough to bang out seven hundred words on the subject.

A whole new style!This usually starts with me firing up the Google search engine and doing a few searches. Unfortunately, "hats+awesome comics" doesn't provide much except for--oddly enough--a picture of President Bush, so I've got to refine the search.


Classic!If that doesn't pan out within the first couple of pages, I'll generally give up and play Bejeweled for half an hour, muttering about my self-imposed daily update schedule. Then it's off to the Grand Comics Database for cover scans.


Protect ya neck!If I want to do anything semi-tricky with the HTML that I don't know how to do (like the nifty mouseovers you've seen recently), I'll shoot an email to Scott and demand he render web services unto me free of charge. We'll go back and forth like that for a while, with him going "Why don't you try some Javascript?" and me going: "It's not working! Fix it!" until everything has the high-quality sheen you've come to expect from the ISB brand.


WASSSS ONCE A MAN!!!Once the groundwork is laid, it's time to actually take a crack at the comedy. This pretty much involves me staring into space until I think of enough jokes about the Punisher to fill up a respectable amount of column-inches. This is where a lesser writer might also engage in "proofreading," "editing," or "trying not to suck," but I feel such things are beneath me. It's a quick once-over to make sure none of the links are broken, and then it's sent via secure Satellite uplink to Blogger HQ, located inside a volcano shaped like Google founder Larry Page's head, where it gets the A-Okay from a mysterious man in an egg-shaped chair. Then it's available for perusal and commentary from my legion of loyal readers, now over eight strong!


Holy Crap, it's an eyeball!Of course, by that point it's well past midnight, and I'm only just then realizing that this idea isn't nearly as funny as it was Saturday when I made the note on my tape recorder.


Oh well.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Let's Talk About Moms

Roll your mouse over for the inside of the card!


My mom is awesome


Happy Mother's Day!

Personal Space

This has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the column, but I have to put it out there: Listening to the radio at work today, I heard an ad for a new kind of ladies' razor that vibrates. Part of the ad is this girl going: "Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?!" It might be the best thing I've ever heard. Moving on.

It's an oddly comforting feeling you get when you walk through a room full of beautiful young girls who have just graduated from college, and you know deep in your heart that none of them will ever have sex with you.

The reason for my absolute certainty on this fact was that my main man MG3 convinced me to go bar-hopping with him tonight while I was wearing my Free Comic Book Day t-shirt. And as we all know, the ladies can't get enough of that.

I mean, there was this girl there who was a midget, and even SHE had someone with her. If I would've tried to strike up a conversation, the fact that my shirt actually said the words "COMIC BOOK" in big white letters would've pretty much sealed my fate.

Being that I'm the kind of guy who spends eight hours bagging his own comic books, then goes and writes about it on the internet, where I also make fake trading cards for National Public Radio, I'm not exactly the catch that my mother has always assured me that I am. A few months ago, I was sitting in the Waffle House with MG3 and we were joking about making personal ads, but now that I'm single again and with prospects dwindling to numbers that can't even be graphed, the joke's gotten a lot less funny.

So, using the Fark.com Personals template, I'm going to create my own detailed, honest ad in a bid to snag me some high-quality trim. But rather than post it over there where it'd be mocked ceaselessly by people like me--come on, it's like they're asking to be made fun of--I'm going to put it here so that I can be mocked instead by people I know.

Chris Sims


Me:
I am a: Man.
Looking for a: woman, or John Cassaday.
Age: 22
Location: The SMT
Occupation: Comic book store clerk and amateur humorist.
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 265

You:
A woman far more attractive than me.

Last great book I read: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, a hilarious book about corpse disection, and Assassination Vacation, a lighthearted and witty history of the murders of Presidents Lincon, Garfield, and McKinley.

Favorite on-screen sex scene: Mulholland Drive, but only because I interpret it differently from everyone else. Barring that, I've seen so much internet pornography that it would have to be represented as a percentage of the whole.

Celebrity I resemble most: Sean Astin. Not the thin, young, out-for-adventure-and-pirate-treasure kid from The Goonies, but the older, chubby, kinda-gay one from Lord of the Rings.

That's right, I just dropped the 'Rings in my personal ad. It's officially hopeless.

Best or worst lie I've ever told: For the past several years, I've been attempting to convince my sister that she used to eat paste. This is completely untrue, but I'm sure that if I bring it up enough that it'll eventually create doubt in her mind and replace the truth in her reality.

That is completely true.

If I could be anywhere at the moment: I'd be on a mysterious island known only as The Village, where I'd engage a series of ever-changing nemeses in a battle of wits and determination, with the very concept of freedom as the stakes. No man is just a number!

Song or album that puts me in the mood: Okay, this one I actually have a good answer for. The first CD I ever bought was Barry White's Greatest Hits. So I've got that working for me. However, and I feel it's important to say this: I love Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson, and you can all freakin' eat me.

Fill in the blanks:
Naming a dozen Teen Titans is sexy.
Naming twelve members of the Legion of Super-Heroes is sexier.

In my bedroom, you'll find: Exactly zero reasons to go out with me. Decor includes eleven long boxes of comics, a Powerpuff Girls poster, examples of my embarassing high school newspaper column thumbtacked into the bright green walls, a three-foot long lacquered wooden clock (that's C-L-O-C-K) featuring a Frank Miller Daredevil, and a statue of Harley Quinn.

Fortunately, I keep the Dungeons and Dragons manuals in the living room.

Why you should get to know me: After writing all that, I've pretty much got nothin'. Did I mention I live with my mother?

More on what I'm looking for: Well, for starters I'd appreciate it if you were far more attractive than I am, smart enough to be familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche but not pretentious enough to reference him constantly, and it wouldn't hurt if you could name every member of the Doom Patrol--Arcudi run included.

All right, ladies. The line for make-outs forms to the left.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Holy Cats, It's WHAT-Thirty?!

You know, when you pop in King of the Hill Season 3 and start re-bagging all twelve long boxes of your comics, time can fly by.

Time in the form of eight hours. Which is almost enough time to make you forget the irony that bagging comics for eight hours is my job, and here I am doing it on my day off.

Ergo, go elsewhere for your humor today. I'm busy stumbling around half-asleep with a fresh case of carpal tunnel from taping mylar shut.

Friday, May 06, 2005

In Case You Were Wondering

The picture I mentioned can be seen here.

Backstory: I recently signed up for the D&D Message Boards (under the name "Mister Six," which I really expected to be taken) because Tug and Ben were both on there, and I crave the affection of my peer group. Anyway, one of the threads that caught my eye was this guy's insane ranting about a magic item from the Forgotten Realms that he didn't want to use in his Eberron campaign.

To make a long story that you probably wouldn't understand unless you're intimately familiar with the 20-sided die short, the guy was upset because for a relatively low price, you can pretty much eliminate the dangers of starvation, which were apparently very important in how he plays his game.

"Well," said another guy, "If you put so much emphasis on starving to death, doesn't that run counter to the heroic fantasy aspect of the game?"

That's a point I agree on. Nobody wants to hear the story of the Knight who dies of hunger on his way to fight the dragon. He'd be the worst hero ever, except Ultimate Spider-Man.

Dude responds like this: "Were not Bilbo's troops saddled with thirst when they almost fell to the spiders? Wasn't food and drink a central concern of Frodo's journey?"

So that's when I decided that fruit pies were in order. Becaue really, once you begin a sentence with "Were not Bilbo's troops saddled," you deserve whatever mockery you get.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I Need To Stop Reading

Seriously, it's frigg'n killing me over here.

Allow me to explain. The comics usually arrive at work at about 10:30-11:00 in the morning on Wednesdays, so we're always there by ten (or earlier). Last week, they didn't show up until past noon, so we had to scramble pretty hard to get them out quick.

This week, they show up at nine fifty-five. That's an estimate, because when they arrived, we were all over at Chick-Fil-A getting breakfast, leaving the boss to unload the truck. So I make it a two-biscuit day, thinking we'll have a long stretch before lunch, only to knock out the work by 12:30, at which time it's off to lunch.

Now neither my lunch nor my breakfast was that big, but they were consumed pretty close together, and followed up by dinner at the BK Lounge, so I'm pretty fulll. Add to the equation that I'm currently reading (via audiobook) Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and that it just happens to be playing the chapter on decomposition and decay for the entire hour-long drive home, and my stomach, she's a churnin'.

But maybe that's just the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lies in the Form of In-Jokes

So I was interviewed by Billy-Bob Thorton on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday.

I was stuck up in the Cola due to car trouble, and brother, lemme tell ya: Car trouble ain't no joke. I've wished a lot of bad things on people--many in this very blog--but one thing I'll never advocate is a problem with the automobile.

It's one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you. It's always way more expensive than you think it's going to be, and it never happens gradually. You just wake up one morning and hey, the engine block is on the verge of exploding.

But, a hundred bucks later, a guy with a mullet fixed my car and I'm sure there's a moral in that somewhere.

So between my groundbreaking interview and a conversation about Dungeons and Dragons with Scott that lasted four hours and led me to create a parody of both the D&D and Hostess Fruit Pie ads that four people will think is funny, I'm tapped out.

Besides, I'm busy trying to decide which columns are going to make it into the ISB Chapbook, and what to call it. Why don't you go discuss? Especially if you're a lady!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

NPR Trading Cards

Roll your mouse over for the back of each card!


Ira Glass



David Sedaris



Neil Conan


And my personal favorite:


Sarah Vowell


Look out for Series 2 featuring Tavis Smiley, Garrison Keillor, Terri Gross, and the Journalistic Heroes of the '90s chase card set!

The Invincible Super-Tapes, Volume 1

One of the things I found in my grandmother's hall closet was a brand new, unopened microcasette recorder. I've wanted one of these things since I was a kid, and since I watched Twin Peaks, that desire has only deepened.

So now I find myself carrying it around like a far less surreal Agent Dale Cooper, recording quick ideas when I can't find my notebook. And today I thought it might be fun to record myself at various points in the day, and then transcribe it for the ISB. What follows are those recordings, unedited in any way, transcribed directly from my tape.

----------

Do you ever see somebody on the street, walking around or driving, and think, "Man, I wonder what that guy's deal is"? I get that like every day, because I pass by this corner, uh, Blossom and Huger, and every now and then there'll be this guy, with this, like, trailer? That looks like... like a circus wagon, like you'd see in an old movie, like a Gypsy circus wagon. And he's got painted on the sides, "The Funky Chicken." The words, I mean, not an actual chicken, but he's got it painted on the sides.

And this guy sets up shop in this abandoned lot on the corner, and he sells paintings, and... he, like, today's painting that he had on display was a poster-sized oil-on-canvas reproduction of an issue of YM with Usher on it. Down to the "YM" Logo. I've seen these--and they're bad, they're rough--and I've seen him do pictures of, uh, Stevie Wonder, once he had one of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, a painting version of the Bad Boys II movie poster...

And it's like... what is that guy's deal? You know? You want to find out. But... I never have time to stop. So, maybe one day.

----------

ME: I'm standing here with Matt P., and it's two o'clock, and I'm just going to inform Matt that today's mission with the tape recorder is to catch Cockeye McGee in all his glory... on tape. What do you think of that, Matt?

MATT: I think that's a great idea.

ME: Let's do it.

----------

No Cockeye McGee voice just yet, but a guy did just come up here and look at the cover to Wizard, where they've got this article on Wonder Woman, and they say, or he says [And here I affect a gruff, rednecky voice] "Catherine Bell should play her.. From JAG! She's got the hooters for it!"

----------

So it's nine o'clock PM, and I just left the store, and I'm on my way to Chad's Man-Thing Party for the Sci-Fi Channel premier of the Man-Thing Movie. And I did not get, I did not fulfill today's mission of getting Cockeye McGee's melifluous voice on tape so I can transcribe it in all of its glory. But on the plus side of that is that I didn't have to talk to him at all today. So I guess if I just keep trying to get him to, waiting for him to talk to me, maybe that will keep him from talking to me. So it's just some weird, Schrodinger's Cat sort of thing. Will he talk to me today? I don't know, am I going to try to get him to talk to me? The very act of observing changes it.

On the plus side, I did, while driving out of the parking lot, see a girl who looked like Tug's girlfriend Carrie, or at least how she'd look if she weighed three hundred pounds. And that's weird, because you know, occasionally you'll see somebody, and you'll be like: "Hey, is that, is that Jim?" And then you'll be like "Well, no, Jim's got both of his eyes," or something. 'Cause you'll see somebody that looks like someone you know, with just this one weird glaring defect (in this girl's case, her morbid obesity).

So... there was that. But anyway, it's on to Man-Thing party here, Saturday Night, April 30th, 2005.

----------

It's 12:04 AM right now, it's officially Sunday morning, and I'm on my way home. I just left Chad's, where we watched Man-Thing and ate some Pizzas. And--yeah--Man-Thing was bad. Although it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be for it being, you know, an Australian-made, $10,000 picture about a swamp monster. Um, the weirdest thing was, you know, the whole deal with Man-Thing is that those who know fear burn at his touch. That's his deal. Um, but, that did not happen... on the Man-Thing movie.

Basically, Man-Thing was, was, as Chad said, an asshole in this movie. He killed anybody who goes out into the woods, and, uh, and that's pretty much that. But it looked better.

The, the main character, uh, who is actually not Man-Thing, he... could not act, at all? He, he... he was just terrible. He was like: [And here I affect a vaguely Keanu-esque voice] "I'm a cop! I can't believe in Indian Mysticism!"

Pretty much to be expected with the old Man-Thing movie.

----------

It's about 12:15 AM now, and I'm driving through Columbia on my way home... and traffic is ridiculous. It's heavier than it was, you know, twelve hours ago, when I was on my way TO work, and now I'm going home and it's even worse. So what I'm thinking is, it's Saturday night, it's... past midnight, it's, you know, exams just ended, so...

I'm thinking that if I wanted to get laid tonight, I probably should have gone out to a bar instead of watching a shitty Sci-Fi Channel original movie about a guy named Man-Thing.

But them's the breaks.