Episode I: The Shortpants Menace

So last month I had the pleasure of being able to write a story for a contest by John Scalzi. Basically you had to come up with a short story based upon this picture:

yeah, kinda wierd eh? Well, it was alot of fun trying to come up with some kind of fitting explanation as to how these two vastly unique characters came together, and why Wil Wheaton is riding the craziest looking creature ever seen outside of Monty Python. So, I dug deep, and came up with this story…enjoy!

The Day The Skies Rained….Kittens?

Sir Wil had never been one to play with the fair and just. After all, when you are the leader of a group of warriors and mercenaries who look up to a rather hideous demonic clown, people tend to look at you with a bit of disgust. This did not bother Wil though, for he was very assured of himself, almost self-centered in a way. Basically, he was a rather arrogant fellow.

Now, just because the Demonic Klown Order took their orders from, well, a demonic clown, did not necessarily make them evil. Quite to the contrary, they are considered among the grandest of citizens and the guardians of the capital city of Gothgeelia in the land of Wheatonia. And on this fateful day, Sir Wil and his gallant guard shall be put to the test. For it is today, that the Orcs invade.

Orcs. Vile, hideous deformed creatures from the deepest and darkest nightmares. They lived deep in the volcanic Ignilian mountains far south of Gothgeelia. Long have they been a bane to the townspeople, due in no part to a deep hated of all humans for having captured many orcs and put them into slavery. On this day, the Orcs were preparing to rise up and conquer the humans.

Its was two months prior that Sir Wil, at the request of the people and the ruling council, had asked for a cease fire with the orcs and to speak with their leader, Scalz. Its was in the forest of Exteia that this fateful encounter was to happen.

The orcs arrived at the agreed upon meeting location mere moments before spotting the humans approaching on horseback from the the west. Sir Wil, however, was not among them. He rode high above on the great creature known as the unifelphon, a rather drollish looking creature. Best described as a gryphon with a unicorn horn and the head of a delightfully cute kitten, its purpose in life was simply to ferry commanders into battle, whilst distracting the enemy with its blatant odd cuteness. Then of course it gouges your eyes out.

“Come down here and face me man to man, pink skin!” Scalz shouted into the sky. The unifelphon swooped down with a fierce speed and landed mere paces from the feet of the enemy orcs. Sir Wil slowly dismounted, his chainmail armor brightly adorned with the colors of their order, which curiously took the shape of a clown. He stood tall, not only in reality but in self-assuredness. A smug, wily grin came across his youthful bearded face.

“You, sir, are no man. Matter of fact it is not even clear if calling you a man is even proper. And how dare you call me a pink skin.” He said, his eyes looking up, as if searching for answers. Or words. “I shall have you know that we humans are not in any way pink, and we would ask that you and all orcs cease from calling us that. It is rather insulting.”

“Hah, I bet you turn pink when we boil ya in a steaming cauldron!!” A voice shouted from within the crowd, followed by a burst of laughter from the orc legion.

“Enough!” Sir Wil shouted. “Lets just get this started and over with as quick as possible. Now, in exchange for you not attacking any human villages from here on out, we are willing to give orcs work in the farms and in the villages helping out with menial tasks. Your pay will be rations and better rags to cloth yourselves in. Agreed?”

“That is slavery!” Scalz replied with much hatred. “We orcs shall not, and will never be, slaves to you or to any humans ever. We live free!!” The cheers and chants from the orc legion echoed through the forest.

“No? Very well then, we are done here” Wil proclaimed, as he turned and walked back to his mount.

“Wait, that’s it? No negotiating at all?” Scalz asked of Wil.

“Negotiate? The mere fact that you even know of the word is hilarious in itself..” he replied. “And besides, those frilly shortpants of yours are hurting my eyes. Men, we are….”

“What!” Scalz interrupted. “How dare you insult my grand gimcrack. You shall pay for this insult with the death of every pink skin in Gothgeelia! Rest assured Wil. In two hours time, I shall return with the largest army of orcs you have seen. We will tear down the walls of your precious city and feast in the halls of the Demonic Klown!”

Back in the present, as the orc legions hammered and clawed at the main door into the city, Sir Wil took to the skies. He knew that the only way to stop the legions once and for all was to kill Scalz and tear down their morale. However, did he have it in him to take another life, no matter how twisted? As he soared the sky, he spotted Scalz’s encampment planted onto an outcropping on the tallest of the volcanic peaks.

Orc scouts signaled to Scalz that Wil was approaching. His gaze fixed on the smoke filled skies, and he drew his mighty battle axe in preparation for what could be a final battle. As Sir Wil swooped in upon his mighty unifelphon, its from claws gleaming and ready for striking, he took his spear in hand. With a mighty throw, it found its mark with deadly precision…….in Scalz’s foot.

Sir Wil, assured of victory, leapt from the sky and his mount. As he found his footing, he drew his sword from the sheath on his back, its sharp slightly curved blade glinting in the light. He walked over to his adversary, who desperately tugged at the heavy spear that pinned his foot the the mountain rock.

“Surrender. You have lost the battle.”

“Never, pink skin, not as long as I still hold my axe!”

As he raised his axe to strike, Wil sliced the air with his sword. The razor sharp blade found its mark, separating Scalz’s axe, and hand, from him.

“No!” he shouted in agony. “Thats my good hand you demon! The battle can not end like this!”

“Call off your army now, Scalz, and I shall let you leave with your life.”

“Very well, Sir Wil, but mark my words. The orcs shall return in much stronger numbers and conquer your people.” Scalz said as he tore the spear, finally, from his foot.

“Please,” Sir Wil said to him with a slight chuckle. “Don’t be a ninny.”

The orcs began retreating into the dark valleys of the Ignilian mountains. And as the smoke cleared and the fires put out, life in Gothgeelia began to return to normal. Children played in the streets, men drank ales in the taverns, women did womanly things, and Sir Wil stood proud in the halls of the Demonic Klown, having saved the day once again.

However, carried in the breeze, was a distant echo. An echo of a maniacal cackle. Somewhere, beyond the great sea, a demon plotted……..

The End?

The Curious Case Of A Human Centipede

So last week I had the dubious pleasure (or displeasure?) of watching a little independent film called “The Human Centipede”. Now, knowing virtually nothing about this film save for the little bit of information I shaved from the net before going over to a friend’s house to view it introduced an interesting experience to say the least. Because of work schedules and other influences, it is rare that I get to view a film with others for the first time. This was a case when no one in the viewing party had seen this film prior, so we were going in with something of unbiased eyes.

Now, before I proceed further, I should note a few things. One, I am not a hardcore horror and terror fan. I’ve always been more of a science fiction and fantasy film fan myself. Horror and me have flirted a little bit in the past, but it wasn’t until I got to go to a little show in Baltimore called Horrorfind that I really started an appreciation for horror. Most of my likes tend to be of the classics (Dracula, Frankenstein), the staples (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street), and the low budget/indie/exploitation (Evil Dead, Chainsaw Sally). The staples are ones I really dislike because they start out great but get so watered down in sequel after sequel and even now remakes and reboots. Indies are a favorite though mainly because of my being able to meet some of the creators in person and learn about their passion for the genre.

That brings me to the ‘indie’ Human Centipede. I give it quotes because to me, indie films need no major studio backing, and tend to focus more on the gore and terror. If the director of Centipede really wanted to do go he should have talked to the master of schlock, Lloyd Kaufman. Lloyd has given us such rich and sick films as Toxic Avenger and the “I want to see if for the title alone” masterpiece Poultrygeist. I’m really not gonna get into too much detail about the plot of Centipede, other than its just the typical evil scientist tries to mess with human nature formula that has been around for nearly a century in films but has really been lightly touched upon in the last few years. Frankenstein, Island of Dr. Moreau, and Re-Animator are but a few examples.

You are wondering…just what is this film about? Well, basically you got a mad scientist who wants to create. So, he kidnaps three people, and through some admittedly cleverly concealed explicit surgery, he stitched them mouth to…well…rear. His point is to have food go in the front person, through the middle person, and out the end one. Sounds pretty grotesque eh? Well, that’s pretty much the film. Very little blood is seen save for some scenes where the stitched together prisoners try to escape and of course the inevitable final confrontation.

Did I like it? Not really. The first viewing I think I was more disgusted with the idea I was borderline watching scatporn (don’t ask). Plus not having watched anything remotely scary in a while had the effect of not really numbing my senses to the film. Upon a second viewing and comparing it to other films of its, basically, exploitation genre, I just came to the conclusion that this was a film that tried to take itself too seriously and had some horrible acting to accompany it. Most exploitation tends to NOT have messages in it and just assaults your senses. This film is trying to make the viewer feel bad for being human or something, not really sure.

Recommended? Sure.

Wait, why?

Go watch this, then go watch Frankenstein. Only difference is Frankenstein lacks like line, “Swallow, swallow it!!”

Oh, and no ass to mouth. I prefer that in my Kevin Smith films.

A trip down memory lane….

You ever have one of those moments in your life that just triggers a childhood memory so vivid and so wonderful that it brings a smile to your face and perhaps even a tear to your eye? And no I don’t mean the “oh, I just got a spec of dust in there” kinda tear, but the one that shows a thought or feeling of true joy and happiness. Well, I had one of those moments the other morning and let me tell you it was just a wonderful trip back down the road of my geeky past. I was heading into town to do a few errands. It was a nice sunny day. A beautiful blue sky, gentle breeze, and of course the…..wait for it…..frustration and dislike of sitting in traffic. Factor in that my truck has no working a/c at the moment and it was just really kinda miserable. Course all wasn’t so bad. I had some good music playing (i think mc chris but I cannot remember), and I was just off in my own little world.

As I approached a railroad crossing I noticed the gates lowering, a sure sign that a train was coming down the tracks. I was behind the first car in line, so I just popped it in neutral and waited. I don’t really know why I did what I did next, but I reached over to pause my ipod and rolled down both windows. I sat there, listening for that all familiar warning horn signalling the approach. Suddenly, there it was. The low shriek of the train’s main horn, and the dull clack clack of the rails as the large metallic beast lumbered across. Now, what happened next was only a matter of seconds, but what a jolt. I noticed the big diesel engine was pulling the load in reverse. As I glanced out of my driver side window, I caught the eye of the conductor as he sat in his area, arm draped out of the window. In that moment, he looked over toward me, and waved……

It was a nice spring morning in the early 1980’s. The exact year and month escape me, but I’m sure it was a weekend day since I was not in school that day. I ran out of my parents house, grabbed my bike, and rode up to my grandfather’s garage. He was a town mechanic, back when Wilmington was much, MUCH smaller and less populous than it is now. I always like going up there to just play around, watch him work on old cars, and every now and then watch the freight trains go by. I walked up to him and asked, “Grandad, when is the train coming by?” He looked down at me and simply said, “In a few, but today I got a surprise for you.”

Now, normally I just sat in front of the garage and watched the trains pass, counting how many cars were being pulled and writing down the name on the engine. Today was special though. We soon heard the horn sound in the distance. My grandfather took my hand, and walked me up to the road. We looked both ways and crossed the two lane highway. As we walked up to a small dirt road that crossed the tracks, I could see the engine. I was a gray engine, Seaboard Systems Railroad like I had seen numerous times. As the engine approached, I remember looking up and seeing the conductor leaning out of the window, watching ahead. He glanced down at me as he passed us, and waved. “Morning young man!”, he shouted over the loud engine. That was such an awe inspiring sight and it made my whole day……

Back to the morning in my truck. Seeing the conductor waving at me, I waved back. I thought back on that day when I was young. My grandfather has long since passed. The road is now much larger, a sprawling five lane highway. The tracks are long gone, replaced by shopping centers and businesses. The spot where my grandfather and I stood is now a oil change shop. His garage now a vacant lot. Before all the Star Wars and Tranformers, before teenage years and responsibility, I was simply a boy who loved trains, and that was the high point of my life that day.

So to all my friends and to all who read this, remember something and take this with you. If you have children, or ever have then…..have one of those moments. And remember your own moments. We live in an age of computers and ipods and 3D high definition false realities. However, we are geeks, and even geeks have that one simple moment from the past that makes them smile.

Nerdcore…what the hell is it?

Well, I have had quite a few people give me some funny looks with some recent music discoveries in a wild and unique genre called “nerdcore”. So what is nerdcore? Well, here is a snippet from Wikipedia’s page on nerdcore:

Nerdcore hip hop, or simply nerdcore, is a sub-genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds, though it can appeal to others as well. Self-described nerdcore musician MC Frontalot coined the term in 2000 in the song “Nerdcore Hiphop”. Frontalot, like most nerdcore artists, self-publishes his work and has released much of it for free online. As a niche genre, nerdcore generally holds to the DIY ethic, and has a history of self-publishing and self-production.
Wikipedia’s page on nerdcore…yes seriously

And here are a few examples of some of the front runners of the genre

MC Frontalot

MC Chris

Optimus Rhyme

Interesting eh? Now you gotta remember most nerdcore artists are self published, are not affiliated with a major label, or have had any huge mainstream success. So though the roots of nerdcore can go back to acts like They Might Be Giants and Wierd Al Yankovic, the official start of the nerdcore movement would be around 2000 with MC Frontalot coined the term. If you peruse the wiki of the genre you can see that its got a major following especially among the gaming and pc crowd. Frontalot and others regularly attend the Penny Arcade Expo PAX shows, there has been several movies about the genre, and even the gathering in Orlando called….Nerdapalooza 🙂

So please my fellow geeks, listen to these artists and support them if you like them. You gotta remember if you go to one of their sites and buy a CD, its going to help them, not some big record label executive. Here are some sites of interest for you.

MC Frontalot
MC Chris
Optimus Rhyme
Nerdcore Rising

And remember my friends, if you don’t call yourself a geek, you’re in denial and you need to consult the internetz

Stay geeky!!

The Master

This is….A NEW POST!!!!

Holy freaking hell…..I’m back folks!!!

Uhhh, well, the few who are here and reading this at least :). Whats happened to the master since the last post? Just the unfortunate thing called life. However, we’ll save that for another time, lets just get down to business shall we? Whats going on? For starters, despite some numerous odds, I am gonna go to the mecca for all things Star Wars!! No not the Skywalker Ranch (though a Fanboys style trip would rock), I’m heading down to Orlando Florida for Star Wars Celebration 5. Gonna be a great time to go to a show that is so large yet so centered around a fandom and mythology that has gone on for over 30 years. I’ll even remember to take a camera and perhaps a video recorder for some nice images from this expansive 4 day outing.

What else? Well, I’m somewhat poking along with creating my first ever podcast, trying to really sink my mind back into the land of geekdom, getting back into some reading, playing WOW, and lots of other things. Also gonna get to work soon on some stuff for a local comic shop called Memory Lane Comics. The new owner is making a big presence on the web and I’m hoping to help any way I can.

Thats it for now, just wanted to throw something up and get the ball rolling again. Till next time, stay geeky!!

A long time ago, at a con far, far away….

Conventions. Those gatherings viewed by outsiders as gathering places for sweaty, smelly, pimply faced nerds. To us, they are gathering places of fun among other sweaty geeks. Wait….not all are sweaty…I do shower at the shows if I’m in a hotel room 🙂

My first? HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. It was 1992 i think, and my dad drove me there. I took a whopping $100 cash and my favorite issue of WildC.A.T.S to get signed by Jim Lee. Went back for two consecutive years, each one spending more money and having more fun. After my run with Heroes I didnt really do much for a long while until I decided to go with a friend to a little show in Baltimore called Horrorfind. Wow. First show I ever attended with film and Tv stars and it was an absolute blast. We only stayed one day but went back the next year for the weekend and had even more fun. Then, the big one. DragonCon. Me and two friends went for the first time three years ago, and it was wild and almost overwhelming. Four hotels, over 500 guests, 25,000 attendees, and four days of geekdom. Been attending annually ever since.

Now, this year is kind of an off year for me. No DragonCon (unless I scrap up a lil bit of cash), and nothing else really planned. Nothing major cept for wanting to kinda wanting to prepare for what is to come. 2010 will be a kick ass year. First off, gonna go home in a way back to HeroesCon. The annual tradition of DragonCon will resume. Gonna finally go to an anime con with either Animazement or Otakon. As a Star Wars fan I cannot miss the finally confirmed Celebration 5. And, since I am a World Of Warcraft player, gonna try and take my first trip (and airline flight!!) to BlizzCon in California.

There has been so much to come out of show. Met my childhood idol Adam West, the creator and stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the man behind the mask of my alltime favorite Star Wars charater Boba Fett, some of the incredible stars of the TV show Firefly, the best Jason Vorhees Kane Hodder, Aspen comics artist Talent Caldwell, and of course I can never forget meeting the voice behind my favorite Aqua Teen charater and the inspiration for my own screenname, Dana “Master Shake” Snyder.

What am I looking forward to? Finally getting to meet the cast of the great web series The Guild including the geek goddess herself, Felicia Day, Udon comics artist Omar Dogan (check out his deviantart page, he did an awesome rendering of KOS-MOS from Xenosaga for me a year ago and I look forward to getting another piece from him in the future!!), more of the stars of Firefly and MST3K, hmm, and too many others to really list 🙂

MasterC, What is best in life?

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Ever notice how hard it is to remember the years that particular things happened after u get much older?  Not that I’m ancient or something, but still.  I remember when I was very very young (maybe 5 or 6), my father took me to a place called Memory Lane Comics.  Never even heard of a comic shop or anything like that before.  It wasn’t really a store like most people think, it was actually someone’s house they used as the store!!  Seriously, the shop was in the living room!!.  It was owned by this old man named Henry, and though its got different owners today its still going strong.  Anyways, I remember the one comic I wanted there was the new Marvel Comics G.I. Joe #1.  I’m pretty sure it was new because it was hanging on the wall behind the counter in plastic.  However, my dad didn’t get it cause it was too much money (no idea how much).

Perhaps a few years later, I got into the toys.  First toy I can remember getting was the Skystriker jet for christmas.  Got a few scattered figures here and there, but the biggest christmas I remember was when I got what was probably every current figure and toy from that year, including the Defiant Space Vehicle Launch Complex.  That thing was freaking huge!!.  My parents we never ones to assemble toys for me so I had the fun of playing all day putting stuff together and having cool adventures of Joe vs. Cobra.  A year later a friend of mine sold me his U.S.S. Flagg carrier, so by then I had two of the biggest toys of my life 🙂

Of course, like all toys of those times, most were sold or given away.  I guess for a while my interest wained, or my parents decided to get rid of em.  Never really got back into Joe till about two years ago when the new vintage style reissues started coming out.  I remember when I first seen em in stores it was like a flashback to youth, digging through looking for my favorites and keeping track of what I had and what I needed.  Of course now those figures are still sealed on their cards and are safely among the collection.  Also getting most of the comics that come out now, just started with the new live action movie figures, and hope to continue with the vintage reissues.

Know what though, throughout all the years, I still never got that G.I. Joe #1 from Marvel….next year, I WILL get it. 🙂