Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#9 -- Non-Sequitur Of The Estate (Etcetera)

"The audience just took their massive erections home and did stuff that would still be sung about in the halls of Valhalla come Ragnarok. Stuff that would make you and your partner experience the full repercussions of the Coriolis Effect."

We need to talk about stylistic consistency. As a framing device, we'll begin by describing why The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a piece of shit. 

In 1998, the Greatest Video Game of All Time was released, and it was better than good. This was, and is, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (* * * * out of 4), the game that made all the other games ache with envy. It was a new flavor of ice cream, and while you ate it, somebody played a fun snare drum beat to keep you in rhythm. It stunned with its setting, its latitude, and its focused minimalism. Seeing it today is like watching a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 drive by, windows down, radio playing a familiar tune, and you suddenly get thirsty. From beginning to end, it knew what it was doing, quietly going about its business, tightening screws, adding spice, and cracking its knuckles at all the right moments. It even stopped for smoking breaks once in a while, because you suddenly realized you wanted to smoke cigarette, if only one time. The best smoke of your life -- why ruin it? It was restrained and had a keen edge, making its precise blade strokes when it needed to, and then returning without a drop of blood back into its sheath. The game was a 5-movement orchestra, and every piece of that orchestra complimented the man (or woman) in the chair next to them while the concert was in progress. And then they complimented each other again later, with words, at the after party. 

In short, it didn't dance like one person's choreography. Instead, it crushed the whole goddamn scene like dance troupe, team name: "The Democratic People's Republic Of Infinite Christmas Banana Pancakes." It did its thing and it stunned people so hard that they could barely applaud. The audience just took their massive erections home and did stuff that would still be sung about in the halls of Valhalla come Ragnarok. Stuff that would make you and your partner experience the full repercussions of the Coriolis Effect.

In Zelda: Ocarina, and to an even greater extent in its sexy-cousin/sequel, Majora's Mask, everything had a place and every character had a Dickensian purpose. The center of the world had a vast Persian rug that smelt good and well-traveled, and every corner contained an etched statue with a story, or a piece of family memorabilia, or music box that played a familiar snare drum beat. If you looked closely at these things, it dawns on you that this world was actually made of other worlds, and when viewed from afar, you realized it had been made by a thousand tiny gods. All thinking the same thing. All hoping for the same thing. And all for you. You'll never want to smoke another cigarette again. 

Like so much pink insulation, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was made by a million tiny bits of lint and wooden splinters coalescing behind your dryer. It sort of collected back there, got stuck to your sock, and then somehow ended up in your coffee cup on, like, what was up until that point, a pretty good day. Well, it dissolved pretty quickly in your coffee, and it looks the same, and (wait, what's that, does somebody have their headphones turned up way loud? We can hear a song that. . . never mind, probably nothing), how bad can it be? You sip it and it barely tastes different. Then you get home and you have woodchips stuck in your gums and your lips are all sliced-up. Fuck.

See, the issue with Twilight Princess was that it was created by a dozen-hundred people that exclusively read romance novels. They have, however, never themselves been in love before. They might have convinced themselves, and anybody else that will listen, that they have. The fatal flaw keeps coming back though. Crabby, frustrated, but focused, these people moved their pieces around the checkerboard in a perverse, wrong simulation of what they've come to understand is the emotion people most want to feel -- slamming pieces down after each turn, assuring themselves they'd done right. After a few rounds of checkers, and realizing they can't figure out any ways between the six of them how to improve the game, they decide that's enough, they've sufficiently simulated the feeling of being in love, and package the thing. Each package comes with 15 boards, 15 red pieces and 15 black pieces.

Thing is, they all had different opinions on what the game was actually about. Was it supposed to resemble something old? Was it meant to be familiar? What are all these empty squares about? What were they thinking exactly when they made the game? No instructions were included, so the dearth of components resembling a familiar game just became puzzling to people that bought it. This begat harsh feelings. Twinges of dishonesty and betrayal. It made your gums bleed again just thinking about it.

Knowing what it should feel like -- that buzz of affection, effects not to be mistaken or faked -- it was all the more apparent that Twilight Princess was a cardboard cut-out in the background of a 3D movie. 

Its style wanted to be everything, which is not a style (just like how jamming on the START button to make your Mario Kart opponent lose rhythm is not a style and not a move). It was dreamed up as a flat world for all of your (and all of your friends) favorite old memories and fantasies to live in, but like Narnia, it had to die. Memories aren't flat, they can't exist like that. They're made of thicker stuff. They can't be dipped in fudge and thrown in a corner. You can try to do that, and point to what you've done, but that still doesn't help the fact that you dunked your friend's old classic rock mix-tape in Hershey's Genuine Chocolate-Flavored Syrup and flung it in their fucking face!

That's not what they want, and it's not like you to do that. Baby, you took something that might not have ever really existed in the first place and gilded it. Then you sold it, after slapping a badly-drawn plastic dust jacket and called it something unmistakably retromingent like Twilight Princess. In an effort to make something that can appeal to everybody, so was an inferior product created. One that nobody can relate to.

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-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#8 -- Non-Sequitur Of The Estate

"Post-modernism is mouse on stilts offering you the chance to buy a used World War I tank. When you buy it and climb inside it for the first time, you realize it's made of bread."

We wonder sometimes if it would make sense to write this blog on anything but an actual computer keyboard. It's the lexical equivalent of using something other than a hammer and chisel to kill a vampire. Altering your state alters your perspective. What if we typed just on a BlackBerry (which we don't have)? What if we just wrote and drew everything on an iPad touchscreen (which, again, we don't have). Modern humans fight the self-canceling advantage of rapid typing on a daily basis. We create, inhabit, and interpret what we're hammering out in tandem, and that's going to eventually be an issue. The QWERTY keyboard was invented on typewriters to slow down typing speed so the hammers wouldn't jam. What are we missing when our fingers start moving faster than our brains and our words move faster than human logic?

Paradise Lost by John Milton is the greatest fucking thing ever written down on paper. The guy was blind and he had to dictate it to somebody (his daughter? I don't recall right at this second, but that sounds right). The words -- lyrics, really -- were hypnotically recited by a man without vision, spoken, seen in the mind's eye of the scribe, and put to the page. Imagine the trust and the confidence required on both sides for this to work. Every line inhabited the mind, the spoken voice, and page at the same time while it was being written. And it came out slowly. It came out slowly because it had to be imagined up first. The very process of writing this epic poem was art. How could it not be?

There will never be anything like it ever again. A blind man reciting his interpretation of the Fall of Eden in verse to another person of the course of many years. Count the variables in that sentence. Most importantly of all, is the question of "For whom?" Milton answers this plainly: to justify the ways of God to men. This is a thing that could never exist in our current modern age. It would be clouded, laughed off, ignored, degraded, and escaped. The identity of its writer would be questioned. Its purpose would be questioned. Art can't stand on one leg.

Correct art has to exist in obscurity. It's not a required to be a mystery. It's best when it possesses ambiguity. It needn't be deliberately complex, but it wins points if it makes somebody over-think. Conscious deliberation is difficult to capture at 125 words per minute.

What if a writer existed as a living myth? What if the lines between what was written and created became blurred with what was lived in reality? What if the stories of non-fiction were as deliberately planned as those on the page? What if the method wasn't really madness? It's no longer a story that you inhabit, it then begins to inhabit you. Always a step ahead. Would anybody even bother to examine the truth? Would the writer, the artist care? Is that part of the plan?

Post-modernism is retarded. Post-modernism is mouse on stilts offering you the chance to buy a used World War I tank. When you buy it and climb inside it for the first time, you realize it's made of bread. There's no reason. It exists so the artist can collect enough money so he or she can buy a telescope. The telescope can be pointed in any direction and the artist gets the lulz every time they look through it. That's not art. That's sticking your dick in tube of your roommates toothpaste.

The purpose of art is to incite spirited conversation that eventually matriculates into luminous thoughts. Count the variables in that sentence. Imagine you stare at a Monet for days or years. You never tell anybody that you stared at that painting for as long as you did, that's something you keep inside. Decades later, you still don't get it, but you take a nap in the sun, call your grandson, and drink a bottle of local beer. Monet doesn't win, but he's very glad that you have.

We'll never tell you where we're going.

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-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

#7 -- Do They, You Know... Of Electric Sheep?

"People talk about the distribution of wealth in modern times. Imagine that, except a double-kujillion times worse, plus religious control, times XFINITY! The bosses of religion were the equivalent of Isaac Hayes in Escape From New York."

I recently read a report that a nail -- roughly 3.5 inches long and pretty intimidating as far as nails go (overcompensating, Trent Reznor? (I kid, you fucking rock (I fucking hate Kid Rock))) -- was discovered during a dig on a tiny island off the coast of Madeira. Madeira is a decent-sized island that's technically part of Portugal, and is actually located in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco. Now, the tiny island had a fort on it, and inside that fort was a box, and in that box was where they found the 3.5 inch nail. What's interesting about the nail is that it's not all that rust, and is in fact quite smooth and well-preserved. And do you know who once held that fort? The Knights Templar! Really? The same Knights that occupied Jerusalem during the first Crusade in the 12th century? Of course. Does that mean... oh, holy (!) shit!! This nail is significant! It may, or may not, but it just might, have been used to crucify somebody. Know anybody important in history not named Brian that was crucified

The immediate conclusion to jump to is that this ancient nail is in such fine condition centuries later is because Christ bled on it, and his blood has the qualities of silver polish, natch. Now, that's a pretty keen superpower, but it's also really highly fucking unlikely! And anybody that that theory can stand on that evidence is asking a whole lot. 

Chances are, this nail was used to attach Jesus to The Cross. A Cross? A cross. I mean, that cross wasn't significant. It was? Oh, well, I'm not capitalizing it, just like I don't have to clarify who Jesus was. 

During their occupation of Jerusalem from 1099 to 1147, the Knights Templar, who we all know as the iron right hand of the might Pope Urban II (the ghetto Pope), seized many divine artifacts from the Holy Land. One of which was most definitely a certain nail. And they hid it, because shit that Jesus touched couldn't just be on display for people to see. It had to be hidden. In a box in a fort on an island off the coast of Morocco under Portuguese control. Nobody expects The Man From Lisbon! Bwahahahaaa! 

It's pretty plain to see that Pop Urban II had a great deal of foresight. He knew, using his God-future-vision-infallibility, that Jesus would be pissed if he didn't hide the very nail that the Romans had used to hang him on the cross (a cross? (across from what? (hah! Thanks, Mitch Hurwitz!))), an act through which he absolved all the sins of humanity up until that point. And seriously, it's a special 'effing nail. It's super-smooth and mad-tasty, like drinking a blended cashmere sweater. Hello, son-of-God blood! That's why all these artifacts keep popping up in great condition. Because it's stuff Jesus bled on. 

If it's so well-preserved, how come they even bother digging it up? They're just going to throw it in a closet somewhere. Tangentially, you cannot be fucking serious! Do you know how stupid people were during the Crusades / Middle Ages / Medieval / Dark Ages. There is not a single person on earth that looks back on an era of fiefdoms and feudal lords, and says, "gosh, things were at their best back then. What progressive, humane, honest, caring people that lived in those centuries that have literally be labeled the Dark Ages. I mean, they must've been both wise and smart." Pope Urban II probably had leprosy and slapped  a beard of leeches on his face if he caught a cold. He was some old Italian motherfucker that most likely ordered thousands of knights to go die for God and... well, God, again, countries hadn't really been invented yet, and that all their sins would be re-missed. Like he's some kind of claims collector. In his wisdom and divine, loving soul, he told people to go and die for his lecherous ass. 

Is it at all possible that he planned this? That he could engineer a conspiracy of this level? Think of people like Copernicus or Newton, some of the smartest men in history, and they were still probably dumber than the dumbest stoner at Brown University. 

But, BUT! That was all a FRONT set up by the Pope! No, honestly, look at all the evidence! The Pope had to do that because he was informed by the doctrine of Un'skenth Grah (made up just now to prove a point, not real), which was what Jesus secretly passed on to the 13th Unknown Apostle, that all physical evidence of Jesus has to be hidden from humanity's sight. It was all a power-grab! That's where the Knights Templare came in. They were Urban II's personal guard, his SS, if you will, and they followed his orders blindly. They were like the terminators from Terminator Salvation, and they were sworn to protect all Jesus merch for a thousand years to conceal the fact that they were really... well, clueless, mostly. 

I know, right? Intense. It was basically to conceal the fact that the Knights Templar, the Pope, the Catholic Church, fuck, anybody in power at that time, were a clueless band of lazy, incestuous, boy-rapist, shit-wreathed lords that liked getting blumpkins from anybody (anybody!). People talk about the distribution of wealth in modern times. Imagine that, except a double-kujillion times worse, plus religious control, times XFINITY! The bosses of religion were the equivalent of Isaac Hayes in Escape From New York. They were leaders of the world's biggest street gang. Think of all the awful stories you've heard about the shit that nasty gangs, whether in movies, or in real life, or in Baltimore, have done over the years. Now think of all the worst stories you've read about in your fucking history books about genocide and holy wars and burning cities to the ground rather than letting your enemy hold it for a moment. 

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-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#6 -- Up For Debate

"I'm a fucking transcendental spirit of an intangible nirvana. My soul is carved out of Italian marble. I don't have issues, I eat lions! Why don't you realize that? You don't realize that because I'm a fucking trans-dimensional whale-god among plankton! Paul Atriedes ain't got shit on me!"

Know what's weird? We feed on the misery of others. Idolatry is no more. We are too aware. Knowledge of everybody can be found anywhere (Hi, pop culture! Hi, Wikileaks!).

A space occupied half a century ago in America by baseball heroes, war heroes, and The Splendid Splinter -- who was both! -- our admiration of the famous, skillful, and merit-worthy has become an obsessed dependence. Heroes are too much like us, flaws enhanced because we asked them to be magnified mortals, we have unwittingly bestowed the kiss of death on our former aspirations -- because our own dreams were killed years ago. Our heroes disgust us now. We share their pain and co-opt their drama, nodding assuredly at one another at their unenviable lives. We quite literally pay them to dance and then mock them for being self-indulgent twats.

The pedestal remains vacant. Anybody that attempts to ascend to it, to embrace heroics, to crown themselves, willfully or not, is dragged over a comically over-sized cheese grater. Their positive traits are warped. Their triumph is temporary. They age and wilt. They are skinned and spun. They are entirely visible, becoming more icons to be loathed for their over-exposure rather than for why they are there. There are questions we ask them:
  • "Why don't you talk to the press more?"
  • "Why aren't you more humble?"
  • "Why do you adopt brash cliches from eras past? We're in modern times now, you know."
  • "Why aren't you human?"
  • "What is the statement you're trying to make?"
  • "Why don't you want to be a hero -- or do you actually want that title?"
  • "What is your background, and who do you think you are?"
  • "Why don't you need us?"
Let's pretend for a second that we're heroes of our modern epoch being asked these questions. Here's a sample Q&A session (this is how it's done, Derek Anderson, you bearded crybaby):

Q: "It seems like you're abrasive when your facial cues are put under a microscope -- why don't you talk to us more often about them?"
A: "Well, I don't talk about them because I'm dealing with some shit that you bog-dwellers can't comprehend. Do you know how complex my fucking life is? My skills are needed in five different places today and my look-alike has to make fifteen different appearances to keep up the charade that I care what you think. You want to know what's been irking me? I'm low on caffeine right now and I'm tired. Psyche! I'm a fucking transcendental spirit of an intangible nirvana. My soul is carved out of Italian marble. I don't have issues, I eat lions! Why don't you realize that? You don't realize that because I'm a fucking trans-dimensional whale-god among plankton! Paul Atriedes ain't got shit on me! Your 'experts' have got their analysis wrong. I'm a doctor of psychology-wielding devourer of bullshit. Stop wasting my time inundating me with whatever falls out of that sphincter god sewed onto your face. Next question."

Q: "We live in an era of transparency and connectivity -- why do you stand for the golden archetypes of ages past that our fathers and grandfathers once admired, obviously trite cliches that they are? I guess what I'm asking is; what are you hiding? What about you have we not found out?"
A: "There's nothing to find, and you should swallow an ice-pick for thinking your life would personally be better without my greatness in it. You think you're at the top of the ego food chain because you pick apart the revered -- the heroes. I'm above you, and most people are. If I were a quivering mass of Facebook like the rest of you, nobody would be making any decisions around here. Heroics are more human than you've ever given them credit for. They're as universal as they are legendary. I keep my thoughts guarded. I keep my intentions distant. Understand this, when you need to find north on a compass, you can stare uphill at me. I am the right thing. I am boundless. Heroes operate outside of the rules that my enemies wish were set in stone. Smashing written laws was good enough for Moses, so it's good enough for me. Twenty-first century heroes are impotent, sexless demi-gods brewed to the lowest-common denominator. Fuck Taylor Swift. I'm not complex? I'm a trite cliche? I've forgotten better than your best. If I puked in a fountain pen and mailed it to the monkey house, I'd get better work than what you're scribbling down right now. The life I lead is so great that centuries in the future, kids will still want to be me when they grow up."

Q: "You're a little rough on the exterior -- why aren't you more humble?"
A: "Listen, I was raised on the back of a giant turtle in the middle of an ocean on a planet you've never heard of. My heroics will be lauded in hallowed halls over raised glasses of ambrosia come Ragnarok. I was genetically engineered from birth to be perfect in every way. I got dunked head first into the River Styx. It's not my fault that I look this good but it's definitely your fault that you aren't more humbled to be in my presence. I'm a role-model for all good things in the world, and I'm about to teach a lesson here: Don't tolerate whiny sacks of shit that exist only to leach and smear. You can't touch me, don't even try, you dickless human stain. Why am I not more humble? Because then I'd be you. Nobody would benefit. Because my existence would redundant without the golden wall made of guitar-shredding T-Rexes between us. Do as I say, not as I do. Muppet. Now get the fuck out of my sight before I order your sister off of Craigslist."

Q: "What is your background, who do you think you are, and what gives you the right to be a credible voice on the subjects of goodness and badness."
A: "What's my credibility? Here's my credibility: a person, me, without credibility has visibly rattled somebody, you, that thinks very highly of themselves. Get fucked, old man. Listen, if I wanted information about how shitty McCarthyism was or what public racism really looked like, I'd go to you. The issue here is that young people of this modern generation are either spineless or chained by tradition. They are told they have no credibility because their elders still live. Heroes don't wait their turn. Heroes don't wait for their certificate of credibility to arrive in the fucking mail! Heroes are dissatisfied with the inefficiency of 'that's the way it is.' What, clout is a limited commodity and I can't have any until you're done with it? No! Not in a million shitting years! The cagiest parts of our status quo must be rejected if it's to the benefit of the greater good. Do you agree? The best prove their credibility inadvertently."

Or, on the flipside, you can stop being an arrogant prick and just enjoy Pixar movies.

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-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#5 -- That Coveted Demographic

"When asked to think of something, we usually can't think of anything. If you're told that you're trapped in a room with haunted, spiked wraithwalls closing in on you, you'd MacGuyver the situation faster with a pincushion, a ream of paper, two 9mm bullets, and a hairbrush. . ."

OK, we withheld posting strip over Thanksgiving because it was just way too fucking dark for the occasion. Five days have come and gone, and the joke's been hanging in the smokehouse, letting flavor microbes affix themselves to it's aging hull. Mmmm. . . delicious, smokey dark comedy.

(Tangentially, why don't we have foods that contain vapor or smoke or something? Bite into a tangerine scone, inhale, shoot some flavored smoke out of your nose. It'd be a one-shot thing -- how hard could it be?)

Yes, there was Thanksgiving travel, and massive turkey / stuffing / gravy / sweet potato sandwich on Friday. We recommend it. Microwave the stuff that goes into the sandwich but toast the bread, it'll make you believe in God. It requires some creativity, forcing you to work within the confines of Thanksgiving leftovers, and it yields stunning results.

Working within constraints is important when it comes to creativity. You need limits to keep you sane. When asked to think of something, we usually can't think of anything. If you're told that you're trapped in a room with haunted, spiked wraithwalls closing in on you, you'd MacGuyver the situation faster with a pincushion, a ream of paper, two 9mm bullets, and a hairbrush than you would with "anything you can imagine. . . before the walls drain your immortal lifeforce and encrushen your corporeal body."

Constraints are what separate Neil Blomkamp and George Lucas. Living inside your imagination gradually kills you. Your narrative suffers, you get what you want, not what you need. Outsmarting yourself shouldn't bring much satisfaction, and that's all you're doing if you continue to CGI characters into "existence." Real walls confining a limitless imagination provides tangible obstacles and WD-40 for the clockwork cognition apparatus between your ears. If it does the same thing ad nausea, it will forget it's not a machine. It's a mind, and a human mind at that. Work around obstacles, don't attack them with brute force.

For example, we suck at drawing. We haven't done it very much. So hide it as best as you can until it improves. Do things in black and white. Do it as an homage to old school daily comic strips. Sharpen your abilities. Lean on the written word, but not too heavily, because you're working within a frozen, but still visual, medium. You don't get to decide how long a person looks at something. Or can you? Can you? Give it a shot.

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-- Doberman
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#4 -- A Working Pinch

". . .you want your next actions to be recalled using the following words: 'I realized there was an attraction when. . .' "

Doberman and I try to keep each other honest. The understanding is that we've had a lot of influences on our style, comedically and dramatically, and that we need to own up if we're borrowing materials. Therefore, we should address these influences here and now so people don't shout "hey, motherfucker, you stole that from _____!" No shit, Sherlock. The Simpsons already did it. But, as Chef points out, this was already a riff on an old Twilight Zone episode, so everything is stolen, and people that go out of their way to be 'original' usually do it more for the sake of desiring an identity, not because it's a meaningful piece of work. Therefore, we give you:


We started reading Penny Arcade right when it was hitting its stride artistically. You can see Gabe's style jag off into different directions stylistically over the years, and Tycho's writing is infinitely quotable. If you can spot his influence in our text, it's usually in the insults. The whole Penny Arcade production was spiky, immediate, consistent, and agile. It still is. And obviously, since you're reading our work right now, and you see text, and you see a comic, you'll do math and realize some similarities. This is obvious, and we want to get it out of the way, but what we love about Penny Arcade is that there's deliberate (and vocal) mimicry that inevitably morphs away from its influences into something different. And that's what art is. It's a macro-photograph of a fractal image -- ever expanding and different from every perspective, and that's why Penny Arcade was such an influence on us. I expect this will resemble Penny Arcade less with every post.

On to the actual post!

Right here, we'll begin by explaining a simple litmus test. It takes a bit of imagination, but not an inconvenient amount, and it can save you a great deal of self-loathing down the road if you do it correctly. Let's start by saying, for instance, you're at a party, talking with a group of people, and one of them is an attractive girl (or guy, we guess? We decided it could work from either perspective, but in this instance, we'll be using the feminine singular) that you know on a limited basis but have had only some flirtation with. You're trying to make a move, but you're a bit of an indecisive weirdo and you seriously think Creep is a song about you (it's not, it's about Thom Yorke stalking a girl (who is a genius)), so you so you attempt some humor with the girl instead. Hey, you can always laugh it off as a joke if it crashes and burns.

Now is the time for you to stop, think, and do a bit of self-assessment. This is the test. Whatever you're about to say or do will generate a lasting feeling -- which is what you want, right? Right, well, you want your next actions to be recalled using the following words: "I realized there was an attraction when. . ." Obviously you want to get with this girl in some capacity. Obviously you want to make a good impression. Somewhere down the line, you're thinking that what you're about to do is going to be one of those moments that's remembered as you at your very best. That's why you're doing it, right? Why you're marketing yourself, why you're making that joke, or that statement, or that quote? It's why you're wearing that shirt. It's why you're picking that song, why you're drinking that drink, why you're embellishing your job, and why you're taking that stand.

So, ask yourself, will she say it? Will she remember it and say: "I realized there was an attraction when..."

Put yourself in her shoes, tick time forward a few minutes, hours, or days, to a moment later on when she's describing you to somebody else (which is a good thing to an extent, because at least you were memorable). Sitting at lunch with her friend, hopefully talking about a pretty cool guy (you, dummy), she'll say, in as many words, "I realized there was an attraction when..." It'll sound like that. 

"He was really (funny (sexy (smart))) when..."

What did you do? What will you do? What will you not do? What do you regret?

It works a couple of ways. If you can definitely see her not saying: "I realized there was an attraction when he asked if there was a lot of skin cancer in Texas," then you should probably not ask it. (That's an actual quote, and we know the guy that said it, he's also kind of a genius, but in a different way from Thom Yorke.) Of course, it's hard to predict this sort of thing, but before you ask if her dad had big feet too ("because your dad had big feet, and, you know, it's a genetic thing"), just... think, dude.

Think hard before you dance, for example. You could count on one hand how many times a man's dance moves at a house party specifically got him laid. Don't bust a move. Don't try to breakdance, or do the robot, or the shopping cart, or the Gaga. It's a bad fucking idea. Singular motions with some movement in your feet will do the job. Don't be a fucking freak. You're better off going to Meringue class, which is a great conversation piece, and good life skill (plus, it's a fun word to say when your drunk). Don't flail like a muppet, don't seriously ask if she likes your moves, in fact, the more distance you can put between yourself and bad dancers, the better.

"I realized there was an attraction when we stepped aside for some fresh air and started making fun of all the bad dancers."

There's a time and place for everything.

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Peace out, cub scout.

-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Thursday, November 18, 2010

#3 -- Bonesaws & Lambchops

". . .but right now, in this Shaw's organic food aisle, one of them -- could be either the man or the woman -- hates their existence right now."

A lot of grad students live near Doberman and I, and they are fairly funny people to observe, actually. To preface this story, there's a shopping plaza near the house, with a bookstore and an Ace Hardware and a (fucking. . .) Radio Shack and a Dunkin Donuts (with chairs inside! (so you know it's classy)). And most relevant, there's a Shaw's in there, and that Shaw's charges painfully high prices, ostensibly forcing you to pay Whole Foods prices for Star Market merch, which is like being bludgeoned with an Alaskan King Crab while trying to shop at a Star Market. Fuck, whatever, we get the student discount at Ace Hardware because we show them a student ID from ages ago. The photo on the ID is just a little scary, because it looks like it's of an moonlighting EMT that only took the job because of an unhealthy desire to steal people's organs and store them in jars. It's an emphatically bad photograph. But we digress.

That Shaw's is the brick and mortar embodiment of submission. Basically, if there was a TV show about your life, this Shaw's would be where a lot of your 'Season 2' would take place. Your 'Hatch,' if you will. Imagine the scenario. Season 1, boy works job. Girl meets boy. They identify one another as "better than terrible and occasionally bearable." Then job fucks boy over. Girl plays mother, tries to fix boy -- and for the record, either of these things could be reversed, there are no gender roles in this hypothetical. Boy wants money, girl wants boy to get his shit together and get money. Boy applies to grad schools around the area, couple moves to this particular neighborhood that caters to the grad student lifestyle.

(But Ghost Little, you've written yourself into a corner, there is no 'grad-student lifestyle!' Very astute. Come in here boy, have a cigar, you're gonna go far!)

The couple is running out of money. They need food. They go to the Shaw's.

Oh, let the games begin!

Now, above all else, this couple is happy that they're with somebody, but right now, in this Shaw's organic food aisle, one of them -- could be either the man or the woman -- hates their existence right now. Dragging their aching feet down the organic food aisle, they've clearly just finished a run that only the other person wanted to go on, and picking a flavor of Annie's Mac & Cheese (which they really do like) is the last thing they want to be doing right now. They spite their significant other so much that it's funny, then sad, then funny again, like a cosine curve. And the chipper one, who wanted to go on a run and then go to the store and maybe hit up the RedBox, recognizes the contempt, compounding this congealed hilarity. S/he has to be doubly-peppy because his or her G/BF has given the fuck up. They're the walking dead. Their autopilot capabilities blur away from reality and now border science-fiction. If anybody ever came up to us and asked "what do you hate about modern relationships?" we could just point to one of those couples and say "well, pretty much that."

People that hate being at the store and fight every step of the way are missing the point. You're there on a covert mission to get in, buy your shit, and get out before Liquid Snake knows what the fuck happened. You know that it sucks, it always does, so why agonize over it? You'll just make trouble for your very existence.

(click to embiggen)

-- Ghost Little
on Twitter  |  @GhostLittle_WTF

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#2 -- Skip-And-Go

". . .fuck the Greek System with its first-rites and birth-rites and. . . night. . . lights(?) The Internet is the congealed collective unconscious, and for all its inane stupidity, it can spot the creative and the original, and a frat brother is neither of those things!"

We want to start a new feature. It's called sponsorship!

Today's entry (which we'll get to in just a sec) is brought to you by something the Internet loves and something the Internet hates. It's fairly self-explanatory.

The Internet Loves: [Nikolai Tesla]

The Internet Hates: [The Greek System]

Nikolai Tesla:

In short, Nikolai Tesla is a living manifestation of all that is fucking badass about science, most notably the madder sectors. He basically was the template for Steampunk, the second greatest of the ‘Punks, just below ‘Cyber- (think Ghost in the Shell) and just above ‘Desert- (Think Lawrence of Arabia, if Peter O'Toole rode a camel made of riveted steel powered by depleted Uranium). The Internet loves that kind of shit. Tesla was a rebel, a wizard, and a psycho that experimented with the type of scorching electricity you envision when you air guitar, or pretend you’re the Olympian king Zeus in one of his less bestiality-charged moments. Fucking LIGHTNING, not... electricity. Seriously though, fuck Thomas Edison, the constipated old prig. David Bowie hates you, Thomas Edison, and the Internet loves Nikolai Tesla. God bless the magnifying transmitter!

The Greek System:

And the Greek System! The Internet hates the Greek System. Frats, sorors, whatever -- if the Internet owned a battery of space lasers, the remains of every Kappa Delta Rape-Cave chapter would make Human Centipede look reasonable and sane by comparison -- pastel collars and Land Rover keychains fluttering back to earth amidst red mist and shell necklaces. Fraternities are the summation of a lot of things the Internet loathes: bros, backwards hats, entitlement, unrestricted human abuse, and elitism. Fuck exclusive, unattainable joy that’s given to some and withheld from others, and fuck the Greek System with its first-rites and birth-rites and. . . night. . . lights(?) The Internet is the congealed collective unconscious, and for all its inane stupidity, it can spot the creative and the original, and a frat brother is neither of those things!

Now, our regularly-scheduled programming. We liked the "Brought to you by..." feature, so we'll probably use it again. If you have any suggestions, ummm... suggest them.

How awesome would a completely empty town be? For personal use, we mean. You pay a small fee. You get all the beer you can drink. And you are set loose into an empty town. Don't think it would be awesome? It fucking would be! You can throw rocks at cars. You can take a shit on the sidewalk. You can reach over the bar and drink out of the beer tap like it's a water fountain. You can upend a mailbox, read some unsent letters, and then jaywalk. You could take a nap in the middle of the street! How would you feel? You'd feel like a goddamn badass, that's how! You could bring in some friends and hit golf balls out of the back of a moving pickup at passing buildings. You could have a really loud party inside a library and play King of the Hill on top of a big pile of books. You could eat cheeseburgers while playing a church organ. You could push a station wagon into a gorge. You could play with the meat slicer at the super market. You could burn every copy of Twilight in a bookstore. You could make really strong coffee at the abandoned Starbucks. At the laundromat, you could fill every machine with soap, turn them all on, and leave the lids open, running out into the street while foam chases you like the blob, from that movie The Blob. You could run a rally race around the town square, out to the high school baseball diamond, through the lumber mill, and straight out the front window of the McDonald's.

Chaos, and fun, would ensue.

(click to embiggen)

-- Ghost Little

on Twitter  |  @GhostLitte_WTF

Monday, November 15, 2010

#1 -- A Grecian $5

"You'll go in for a bite and it has the texture of a tomato but it tastes like re-barfed worms that a mother bird evacuates into its baby's mouth. Suddenly the skin on this plant you're eating will puncture and a carcass of seeds and whatnot will flop onto your tongue."

I had a conversation with Doberman earlier today about how much soup can weird me out. It's tasty and all, but it's also a mystery. A grisly murder mystery made of parts of things. It's an underwater cave that heroes of Greek myth can only swim to when the tides are right. And who the fuck knows what you're going to find in there! Your local soup vendor may warn you of the soup's contents. Tortellini and cheese. Well, OK, that sounds good. We'll order it and instantly regret not asking the standard follow-up question: Are there going to be any cave monsters or minotaurs in there once we dive in, searching for tortellini? Wait, the water is what color? The plants in there look like what? We get the soup, look into its depths, and we start imagining the self-sustaining eco-systems that live inside the mouth of a whale, with microscopic worlds and their amber waves of strange, vag-shaped plants. We hope for the best, we inject a tiny bit of optimism.

Pretty soon, you're in the cave and you're jabbing at the advertised contents that you can actually see and identify, maybe wading into the deeper, darker end of the broth. Something's in there. But you're not quite sure. It's dark. And it's heavy. And it doesn't stay on your spoon very well. Something's making it slippery. Pretty soon, you're digging chunks of stuff out of the broth. It just sits there, dripping off of your spoon like a fat kid too scared to jump off a diving board. Do you trust it? Can you even identify it? A plant? You'll go in for a bite and it has the texture of a tomato but it tastes like re-barfed worms that a mother bird evacuates into its baby's mouth. Suddenly the skin on this plant you're eating will puncture and a carcass of seeds and whatnot will flop onto your tongue. Well, fuck, you don't want to look like a pussy, afraid of soup, so dive in deeper! Pretty soon, you're IN the soup, spooning up these fear-vaggies. C'mon, optimism, optimism! Oh, but we can't even keep that facad going! It's terrible, weird, and digestion is the only thing that can kill these dick-weeds. When this happens, we'll occasionally start avoiding the parts of the soup we like. We'll go after the weird, spotted, seed-encrusted, 3-shade pepper ball. It looks like a testicle. Fuck it, we're going in. We'll at least have that one good bit of tortellini when we get through all of these. We paid $5 for soup, we've gotta get our money's worth!

What if the restaurant just loads the soup up with this shit, lets the customer get one look at it, and dumps your half-eaten bowl back into the pot? We've never worked in the food-prep world, and we have no friends, so we can't confirm these kinds of theories. We think of this kind of stuff and we feel like damn geniuses -- that we've stumbled upon their skeevy fucking scam. What? Soup? Yes, it's 8 types of ancient Greek cave-vegetables and local pastas. They never mention that the broth is made from 69% human backwash and it tastes like burned soap.

(click to embiggen)

-- Ghost Little (and Doberman)
on Twitter  |  @GhostLitte_WTF

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What's That From? #0 -- Negative Zero

“What’s That From?” is a 3-panel comic that tries its damnedest to contain it’s two main characters, Ghost Little and Doberman, who live their lives as a series of interconnected non-sequiturs. Ghost writes and draws the strip and Doberman is a robot. The title “What’s That From?” is derived from the two of them attempting to recall where exactly all their banter and references come from, or, on a good day, if their ramblings and shenanigans are actually original. It’s also funny that the acronym for it is "WTF?" And finally, if somebody were to quote it in real life, and somebody else asks what they’re quoting, it’d turn into an Abbot and Costello routine, which the kids go bum-over-noggin' for.

As the days go by, Ghost Little and Doberman dissect the human condition, frequently touching on people’s relationship with modern technology, and they also make horribly off-color jokes directed at people that deserve ridicule. Their adventures are most certainly not for those with weak stomachs. But Ghost is getting worried. He keeps wondering where his ideas come from -- are they ever his, or are they always from somewhere else? Is there any originality, any substance, any color, any progress, or any definition in this crazy, ‘effed-up world? How can we exist in the present if we can’t first understand where we’ve come from?

There are rumblings in the east, maybe or maybe not near Mordor, we’re not really sure. The suspicion that all that has ever been perceived by mankind is starting to coalesce into a vivid sentience is beginning to come true. Legends call it the Singularity or the Monomyth. Ghost Little calls it his worst nightmare, and he has the worst feeling that he’s been there before!


-- Ghost Little