Saturday, November 07, 2009

Yo, Joe! Episode 38

Eau De Cobra

This episode opens with a mummy robbing an Ancient Egyptian tablet from the British Museum. I don't think there's any more I could add to that, really.

I assume the guy inside the wrappings is Firefly, because he then shows up at an Antarctic base and orders a couple of techs to take him to something they've found called the Jackal's Bane root.

One of the techs steps on a silent alarm that alerts Breaker to the, well, break-in. He immediately dials Flint, who is standing around on the roof watching Scarlett and Lady Jaye sunbathe for some reason.

I just... what? Why is he just standing there? I mean, on the one hand you can't tell me they feel threatened by this guy. He's just so lost when it comes to women, he's proved it over and over again. But still, it's kind of weird. What, do they need a spotter? Let's just move on with the episode.

Breaker alerts Snow Job and Frostbite. I think this is Frostbite's first appearance in an episode, if I'm not mistaken. He's not much of a character--I like Snow Job much better--but he does get to drive this:

The Snow Cat. One of my favorite ever G.I. Joe vehicles. It was the coolest toy, with it's missiles-on-skis and it's big treads. I loved that thing.

Anyway, Firefly gets away with some of that Jackal's Bane root in a Cobra sub. Luckily, some radioactive liquid was splashed on his sleeve and they can track him with it. They trace the sub to Madagascar, so Flint, Lady Jaye, Breaker, and Shipwreck head out to try and meet him at a place actually called Pirate's Cove, which Shipwreck is apparently familiar with from his smuggling days.

As I've said a million times: Shipwreck is the Han Solo of G.I. Joe. Meanwhile, look at these two. Palpable sexual tension.

Firefly calls in to Cobra Commander and reports his success. Apparently the tablet has some kind of formula on it that tells them to mix Jackal's Bane with crushed swamp moss. Before we find out what it's for, Geiger counters discover the radioactive tracking paint on Firefly's clothes and the Commander orders an evacuation. But it's too late!

G.I. Joe attacks Cobra with windsurfing!

But Cobra Commander defeats them with his superior explosion!

Still, Flint recovers the tablet, which Lady Jaye can of course translate just by looking at it, because she's so frigging superior to everyone in every aspect. Ugh. This is another one of those episodes where I just find Lady Jaye to be utterly insufferable. How much attention is she desperate for? She's like Lady Gaga without the cheesy music.

Anyway, the tablet contains a recipe for a love potion that will cause a man to fall in love with the owner forever. Around here, we just call that "superior cleavage" or "being Scarlett Johansson," but whatever, let's pretend men are complex and don't already have the exact same chemicals pumping through their body as must be in this "perfume."

Well, Destro's pretty mad at Firefly for losing the tablet, but Cobra Commander does have Eau de Cobra, a perfume which will make the Baroness irresistible to any man. Which, hey, come on, you don't really need any perfume at all for that. But who's the target?

Flint does what G.I. Joe usually does in this situation and just sort of makes up the answer out of thin air, calling Short-Fuse to ask him who the wealthiest bachelor in the world is. It's a Greek shipping magnate called Aristotle Onassis Socrates Airtes, and Flint decides that Cobra's plan is to have the Baroness marry Airtes so that Cobra can control the world's largest shipping fleet.

Lucky for him, he's right. Of course.

The Baroness absolutely looks like she has no need of Eau de Cobra to carry out this plan, but she sprays it on anyway. Oh, and like T-Pain, she's on a boat. There's a yacht party going on, and the Baroness is on board and on the prowl. Flint and Lady Jaye have to sneak aboard.

Cobra Commander and Destro are watching from a nearby boat, and Destro is being a little bitch about the whole thing. He's insanely jealous having to watch the Baroness dance with Airtes, and the Commander is about to call him on it when Destro sees that Flint and Lady Jaye have infiltrated the yacht.

Destro wants to go over and monitor the mission firsthand, but the Commander tells him to calm down and actually makes fun of him, telling him he's afraid that the Baroness will succumb to Flint's charm. Destro won't be trifled with, and even when the Commander orders him to stay where he is, Destro won't listen. He is too super pissed to put up with Cobra Commander anymore.

You can see why he's worried, though--even as he grumbles, Flint and the Baroness are dancing together. He promises to expose her as a Cobra agent, but she sprays him with a good dose of perfume and...

hellooooo, nurse!

Now Flint only has eyes for the Baroness (which I think, given the bikini wrestling in "The Gamesmaster," just gives him a convenient excuse to let it all out), which seems like a nice break from Lady Jaye and her constant need for approval and her daddy issues (probably). The Baroness orders Flint to "dispose of" Lady Jaye, which would make this the best episode ever, except that Destro steps in.

Destro is going to kill Flint instead of letting him take the Baroness, and the two fight. I take back what I said earlier. What would really make this the best episode ever would've been if Flint had killed Lady Jaye and then Destro had killed Flint. Then we could go back to Duke and Scarlett. But whatever. A man can dream.

Airtes has both men thrown off the boat, which has Cobra Commander laughing like a clown who's been sucking down pure nitrus oxide. In the water, Flint's head clears and he tells Destro he can have the Baroness, to which poor Destro replies "I think not. That woman is nothing but trouble." Come on, man, she's working. This is nothing personal. The Baroness overhears this little exchange and gets quite angry.

Lady Jaye takes the Eau de Cobra straight out of the Baroness' purse, douses herself, and then starts dancing with a suddenly enchanted Airtes. But, in a very enlightened move, seemingly every woman on the ship realizes what the perfume actually does and they all start fighting each other for it like it's Cinderella's dress and they don't want her going to that ball.

Woo-hoo, look at them rush for it! Seriously, what year do the writers think this is?

Even Cobra Commander's all like "WTF is this shit?"

The perfume gets knocked into the sea, and it's a race between a Cobra sub and Deep Six in his SHARC to grab the bottle. Meanwhile, Cobra Commander's being a jerk and messing with Destro, telling him he's not going to let him back aboard, until Destro changes his mind with one of those wrist lasers he's got. Killjoy. The Commander welcomes him back warmly. Aw, come on, Destro. Jes' kiddin'.

Meanwhile, the Joes and Cobras are outsmarted by a crab. It seems plausible to me: a crustacean just totally outwits all of these idiots and makes off with the perfume. It's probably his lucky day, too. Maybe he's on the outs with his wife, like he forgot their anniversary or something, and he's stumbled into some rare perfume. Why not, eh? Good for him.

I'mma let Destro take this one: "A fitting end to an absurd scheme!"

So the Baroness escapes by disguising herself as one of the other partygoers (she looks ginchy with this short hair, too), and boats off to fight another day.

"All's fair in love and war! It could have been wonderful, Flint!"


Poor guy.

Socrates Airtes resolves to remain a bachelor. So it all probably works out for the best. (Although it's actually a fun episode. A stupid kind of fun, but fun nonetheless.)


Friday, November 06, 2009

I Can Has Internet Popularity?

A couple of weeks ago I was surfing around online and came across some Jonas screen captures and downloaded them knowing that Becca would enjoy them and probably post some up on her Tumblr blog, Disney Channel Rocks. For some reason, I took this one and put the "clever" caption up on it, and she thought it was hilarious. She posted it, and apparently a couple hundred people agree with her. So, for the hell of it, I did a bunch more for her, and they were also pretty popular. Now there are actually fan Tumblrs devoted to these Nick Jonas pictures with my captions on them. Some people are even making their own now.

So... did I start some kind of limited-interest internet phenomenon? I'm always surprised when anyone thinks anything I do is funny, so I'm both bewildered and amused by the whole thing. It's kind of cool that something I did as a one-off joke to make my wife laugh could hit with hundreds of people. My brief contribution to the internet.

Spy vs. Spy vs. Alien vs. Predator

By Ryan Dunlavey

"I Miss the Cats"

BECCA: What do you mean you miss the cats? What cats?

ME: A lot of the college kids that lived in the complex last year had cats. You used to be able to go out for a walk and see dozens of curious and sleepy cats from window after window, just laying there in the sun or looking out at the squirrels. It always made me feel kind of good. All of the kids who moved in this year are party assholes, and all they have is loud music and alcoholism, and not cats. Assholes.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In My Head, I Was There

Lee forwarded this pic to me. I've seen this before, but I never, ever get tired of it. Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, right before I turned 7. I am not exaggerating when I say that my mom, sister and I saw this movie 15 times in the theater. It was nice being a kid and being able to enjoy this movie without the internet and the whining of fandamentalist internerds about Ewoks and such.

Anyway, this picture takes me right back there, when the biggest sex bombs in the world were Princess Leia, the liquid heaven voice of Debbie Harry, and my babysitters, Mindy and Marnie. Oh, and Tracy Nelson on Square Pegs, but mostly because she reminded me of my babysitters. Those were very formative years, and the fantasy movie boom of the time coupled with high school girls and rock music to make me what they made me.

Just a memory flash. Thanks, Lee!


The Doctor, Luke, and a wedding. I wonder what's going on here?

It's photos like this that really make me feel how long it's been since the last adventure of the Doctor. Of course, waiting is part and parcel of being a Doctor Who fan, and it's not much longer now. But there are moments...

The Adventures of Li'l Cthulhu

More like Cute-thulhu!

Castle LEGOs

Recently, Some Guy put up a post of Space LEGOs he remembered having as a kid, along with a link to Brickset, a site where you can browse every LEGO set ever made. I liked Space LEGOs, too, but I never had too many of them (although I remember using some generic LEGOs to make the bridge of the Enterprise and populated it with Space LEGO minifigs, although we just called them "space guys" when I was a kid.

But my big thing was Castle LEGOs. So I hit the site and started browsing. And wow, I had more Castle LEGOs than I remembered. (And I still have them, although they're in a box and I haven't built them in a decade or so.) Here they are:

Wow, what a nice collection. And for all that, I really wish I could have afforded to keep up with them. It looks like I got LEGOs from about 1983 to about 1994, when I turned 18. They had just started to introduce wizards and dragons, and when I look at them in the store now (and I ALWAYS do), they've had witches and vikings and dark bat-lords and skeleton warriors and demon gods and trolls and ogres... it's just all so cool. It's all what I wanted to see when I was a kid.

I hope some kids out there really appreciate the wonder that is LEGO. They're imaginative models that you can build, rebuild, and turn into whatever you want them to be. Or they're three-dimensional puzzles. Either way, they're the best toy ever.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

40 Years of Sesame Street

Happy Anniversary, CTW. And thanks.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Wallace and Gromit!

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Very cute Halloween movie from the Disney Channel, one which I'm surprised they don't really air anymore during the spooky month (it's another one of those flicks relegated to 2 AM on Saturday showings). A couple of kids (one of whom is Kat Dennings) comes to their grandfather's home for his funeral, and find themselves embroiled in a battle between ghosts (one of whom is Eric Idle, whom I just like in stuff like this). Written by the same writer who wrote the best of the Halloweentown movies, Halloweentown High. *** stars.

Excellent film in the AIP/Price/Corman Poe canon. This may be my favorite of them all. It's not played for amusement, but instead played quite seriously, the story of a sadistic lord (Price in a performance without an ounce of ham, and quite unnerving he is) who worships Satan and tries to cheat death. There's a lot of perverse decadence on display, and all in the name of godlessness, with Price at the head of it, looking on with an almost casual, disaffected air. Great performances from Jane Asher and Hazel Court, but I wish Nigel Green had had more to do; he was so great in Countess Dracula and Jason and the Argonauts. The art direction is especially good here; I love the monochromatic rooms and the blue and green candles. **** stars.

I have to say, having seen many of these movies both this October and last October, I'm disappointed at how they've been sold to me over the year. So often, I've heard that these were cheap movies--in a way where "cheap" means "chintzy." I don't think that's true at all. These are fine, engrossing horror films, and they may be made efficiently and for less money than their glossy counterparts, but the talent involved is undeniable and the films themselves do a lot with less. Those are things to praise a film for, not dismiss it. Transformers may be very expensive indeed, but it can't touch any of the Corman/Price Poe pictures for quality. Not a whit.

OUTRAGE (2009)
Kirby Dick's films are about taking on people who try to hide behind authority. In Twist of Faith, he attacked the Catholic Church's policy of moving around child molesters. In This Film Is Not Yet Rated, he outed members of the MPAA ratings board who try to control the film industry through censorship. In this film, he specifically attacks politicians who are gay (or rumored to be gay) and who vote against gay rights. I don't think it's right to out people who are gay, but I do think it's important to out hypocrites. Dick especially attacks Charlie Crist, but I was most glad to see him go after Mary Cheney, who thinks her admitting she disagrees with Republican policies somehow makes her more genuine and less of a hypocrite. It doesn't. ***1/2 stars.

BRUNO (2009)
I dig Sacha Baron Cohen's shtick, which is basically based on showing up Americans for being fearful, angry, homophobic, and weirdly aggressive when forced to deal with the slightest inconvenience or a different belief. If you've seen Borat, this is the same film with a different character. And while I thought it was hilarious, I didn't think it was as good as Borat. It's just a little too slick, and the celebrity cameos at the end just take away from the power of the film; Cohen doesn't need to go for that kind of gimmickry when he's funnier without it. But there's still a lot that I loved in here, especially a scene of Bruno interviewing stage parents when auditioning babies for a photoshoot. One mother agrees to everything, including liposuction, for her infant. Cohen almost can't contain himself as he watches this woman out herself as casually inhuman. That kind of thing is necessary. ***1/2 stars.

YEAR ONE (2009)
I thought it was fun. Not great, but fun. I think the mistake the studio made here was attempting to sell this movie as an out and out comedy or some kind of spoof (though, really, those commercials were dull) instead of what it really is, which is an adventure movie about two idiots. I think they're going for a sort of Road to feel without really getting how it works. Which is not to say that it's a bad movie--Jack Black and Michael Cera are good, and there are genuine laughs--I just think that Harold Ramis is smarter than this. The guy wrote and/or directed Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, Stripes and Ghostbusters, which are classic comedies where smart people are confronted by idiocy. That was always funny. Year One is a movie where the idiots are in charge, and it's just not as sharp to me. Still, funny movie. *** stars.

Vincent Price in an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant. It tries for the same type of atmosphere as an AIP movie, but it's mostly kind of boring. Price is good, though. ** stars.

This movie reminded me a lot of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste, if not quite as funny (though what could be?). A man returns to his New Zealand farm home after spending years dealing with a massive phobia of sheep. His brother, who has modernized the farm, has been genetically modifying sheep and is about to introduce a new breed. Enter a couple of environmentalists who accidentally set loose a wave of mutation that turns the sheep into killer zombies that attack with a very graphic vengeance. Hilarious stuff which manages to satirize both fears of genetically altered food and hippie New Agery. Loved it. ***1/2 stars.

I'm Just Going to Put This In the Simplest Terms Possible

Maine does not believe in equality.

Maine, a state which has legislation detailing what you can do to make your marriage to your first cousin legal, decided to repeal gay marriage. Because, apparently, enough of a majority does not believe in equality.

But that's okay, because it's not like President Obama or Congress believe in equality, either.

The fact that it's 2009 and we're still even having a debate over whether or not people should be "allowed" to have basic rights is appalling.

Today's the anniversary of Obama's election. I'm reading a lot of stuff online and seeing a lot of stuff on the news about what an incredible moment that was for our country and what an excellent job he's been doing.

I don't see what they see.

I see a moment of promise that's gone unfulfilled. I see a man who perhaps promised to do too much, and who has come through on almost nothing. I see a country that cannot stop debating whether or not poor people should be "allowed" to have basic access to affordable health care and whether or not people who love each other should be "allowed" to get married.

I see a country driven by hate and fear. Driven by bigots and zealots who have a burning hatred for the existence of gay people, and the ignorant who are too scared to stand up to them and simply do what they're told.

A person who votes against equality votes against freedom, and is someone I will not stand to call an American.


No words... should have sent a poet...

(I can say this: Doug Bresler is awesome. He directed this video, and I recently featured his excellent music video for Weird Al's "Trapped in the Drive-Thru" on my Daily Animation Tumblr.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I Only Give Those Out to a Few People

2009: An Anxiety Odyssey - Health Report Update

I haven't talked about my health here for a while because I didn't feel like I could open up anymore. But I wanted to talk a little about what I'm going through, mostly for my own sake, because I'm still working out how I feel about everything.

Right now, I'm at the most weight I've ever had on in my life. Well, actually, that's not true: a couple of weeks ago I went to see the doctor, and then I was at the most weight I've ever had. I've lost about four pounds since then, so I guess I've made the most infinitesimal amount of progress on that. The point is, I weigh 410 pounds. I thought I was still hovering around 370. Turns out I'm wrong.

It's scary to me. I've never weighed more than 400 before. Even just admitting that I weigh that much feels like abject failure to me. We now know for sure that I have a sleep apnea. But at least I still have low cholesterol.

This is on top of problems in my personal life. There are more substitute teachers this year than ever, and it's much, much harder for me to work. I may not be able to go back to school to finish my certification because I may not get the financial aid I need. I've developed a phobia about driving, which makes it that much more stressful for me to go anywhere (if I'm actually willing to leave the apartment, that is). We finally bit the bullet and got rid of the wife's car, so we're down to just one, and I worry a lot about only having the one car for both of us. I worry about confrontation or having to go anywhere or see anyone, about our financial problems and about my car needing new tires that I can't afford to buy. It's a massive weight on top of the 410 pounds I'm already carrying around with me.

I found this picture online last week. This is my life now. This is how I feel almost all the time. This impending sense that the earth is going to open up and swallow me in. That something terrible is lurking around the corner, waiting to spring at me. Sure, a lot of that is just life--we're not always prepared for the things that surprise us. But I have built it up so much in my head and in my heart that it makes it hard to function.

Today, I finally talked to my doctor about my anxiety. I've had anxiety issues all of my life. When I was six years old I was so afraid of aliens that I had to slam open doors in case something was hiding behind them, and I wouldn't leave the house for months without scanning the yard. I was terrified of dogs since before I can remember, until I was about 15 or 16. I'm still a little uncomfortable around animals; it took me a while just to get used to having a rabbit. I'm currently terrified that it'll start snowing soon and I'll be too crippled by panic to leave the home.

But I've never talked to a doctor about my anxiety before today. I rejected the idea of anti-anxiety medication for years. It just somehow felt like a failure. Failure to control my emotions and not let them control me. Maybe that sounds irrational, but that's how I felt.

I was surprised by our talk. I actually started crying almost immediately. I had a terrible bout of depression anxiety last night, to the point where I was considering calling a suicide line again, something I've only done once in my life (just two years ago). I looked up the numbers on the internet, but I just ended up going to bed instead. The doctor was a lot nicer than I expected; I had been worried that, because I didn't want to go on a CPAP breathing machine, he would tell me he wouldn't treat me anymore. (My cardiologist already had refused to see me anymore, back in January, for similar reasons.) He told me "Aaron, I'm still your doctor. I won't give up on you as long as you promise not to give up on yourself."

So we talked about my anxiety and my depression, and how I feel like I get locked inside myself and how in feeling like I have no control over my body or my emotions or my situation, I'm really conceding that control and given into panic. I told him about the time in 2007 when I went to the emergency room with a panic attack that I thought was a heart attack. I think that on some level the anxiety overwhelms me and, unable to deal with it, I become either panicked or depressed, and that leads to this weird sense of... not complacency, really, but this sense that it's much too late to do anything about my health, so I'm just killing time until it finally kills me.

My doctor put me on Lexapro and I'm going to go see a therapist in a couple of weeks. I think there has been a lot bottled up inside of me, and it's affected almost every aspect of my life. If this helps me to regain control over my health, my life, and my sense of self, then it's what I have to do.

Godzilla vs. the Mushroom Kingdom

Drake is right: every game is better with Godzilla. I would play the hell out of this game.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The A-Team

I would much rather see this movie...
Than this movie...
One of these looks like a joke to me, and it ain't the one with the little people.