Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vibrating At Multiple Speeds

I'm still here, though you could be forgiven for assuming otherwise. I could do the Megatokyo dance and apologize for delays, but I'd rather do the Penny Arcade dance and have three posts a week like it's my gorram job. Yeah, that's right: I just referred to two webcomics and one beloved canceled sci-fi show, all in one sentence. My hyperlinks are metastasizing.

But I will explain where I've been. See, for two weeks I got to drink and carouse and work and then drink some more. Fourteen days of business lunch, cocktails at 5 and wine with dinner--not usually to the point of drunken obliteration, mind you, but well into lush territory. And apparently I'm no longer an immortal untouchable youth-god, because as soon as I got back and stopped all this indulgence my body tried to shake itself to pieces.

I had seizures frequently as a child, but they'd gone away for 20 years, and now they're mysteriously back. Could it be epilepsy? A tumor? Nah, MRI came up clean. But, hey, it did appear right after I stopped imitating Nic Cage for more than a few days. My neurologist didn't blame alcohol directly, but I imagine there's a reason I'm not allowed to drink it any time soon.

So I'm left with some questions: did I drink myself into a dislocated shoulder and a freaked out roommate? Do I drink that hard often? Above all, since I've never considered myself incapable of controlling my drinking: Why, when told by a serious man in a white coat that I couldn't drink, was I upset? 

I mean, I like drinking, sure, but I've only ever felt a need to drink during my tenure at the worst Starbucks in the world (you know which one you are), and I got the hell out of there before I could lose it and burn the place down.

Perhaps I worry that without the world's favorite social lubricant I'll chafe myself raw. Maybe an indefinite period of sobriety sounds like a hat sized just slightly too small--wearable, never comfortable. Or maybe I'll learn a valuable lesson in self-restraint, eventually get my freedom to indulge back, and never abuse it again.

On the plus side, I stayed sober at a Cubs game and still had a great time, so I'm already doing better than Homer J. Simpson. ...although I'm pretty sure Carlos Beltran wants to find me and kill me.

 Two thoughts:

1) We all know about the Chinese fondness for photoshop in postcards. But we also know that China's full of landscapes so gorgeous even New Zealand feels a little threatened. Which one is this postcard?
2) I now imagine all camels making ka-chunk, ka-chunk sounds while they stand up.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kids These Days

What happened to anime, guys?

I worked Dee Jay Foods through high school and every college summer, just to spend damn near every cent I got on Japanimation dee vee dees. (As a sidenote, specifying how you want your grocery bags packed--"All in two bags, please, but don't make them too heavy!"--is a good way to cultivate sack-boy hatedom.) I once got into an argument with a director when I realized my role in Fiddler on the Roof meant no Anime Club meetings for over a month. Anime marathons regularly overstuffed my Drake dorm room with cheering, sweaty nerds (my roommates still remember the fogged up windows). I still can't plug in my iPod at a party without first ensuring it won't, at random, blare some 90s or 00s theme song by Megumi Hayashibara or The Pillows. Anime

The last new anime I watched is over a year old. I watched it by myself, when no one else was home. I wrote off the rest of that year's crop as fanservice bullshit and endless moe bullshit. It isn't even true, of course; there's diamonds in the rough every year, no matter how many vaguely creepy pantyshotfests Japan produces. But in college, I'd dig through all that crap--enjoying the process--to find the good stuff. Now I can't even be bothered. Forums where they discuss this stuff seem populated by aliens, bizarro fans, obsessing over waifus instead of...

...whatever we called our favorite female characters ten years ago.

The new breed and me, we're not so different in the end. But the culture's changed. If anime is mother's milk, we were scattered pockets of otaku nursing the slowly-dribbling teat of fansub VHSes and official releases. Only the good stuff made it: the FLCLs, the Cowboy Bebops, the Escaflownes.

Now, we're adrift in sea of anime lactate. Much of the milk is rancid, or strawberry-flavored, and often you must dive deep into the muck to find the delicious, cold bottles of Oberweis 2%...

I think that metaphor got away from me. Basically: most anime is terrible now. And I don't watch it with people anymore. And I need a grown-up version of Anime Club that happens more than once a year.

Why does this postcard use the title font from Friends? Was there an episode I missed?

I've actually been to Amsterdam. And the Red Light District. Which would be great--I mean, how many people get to travel internationally even in this day and age--except I was 15, and my mom was there.

Didn't stop one very enterprising individual from offering us drugs, though. Can't keep a good businessman down.

Remember, kids: what happens in Xinjiang stays in Xinjiang. Except phone fraud. So don't commit phone fraud between ordering hookers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Seriously, GamePro is Terrible

Can you manufacture nostalgia?

Look at this place. Dirty little shack, isn't it? But it was our dirty little shack, a north shore hot dog legend for like 25 years. I always ordered the same thing: One jumbo dog, order of fries, coke. And those fries were and are the best fries in the entire world.

When they closed, a part of me died. A small part, but it's dead and gone. You could buy the shack, build a new restaurant, sell the same Vienna beef, but it wouldn't be the same and it wouldn't fill the void.

Can you imbue a new business with that? ...How?

Or, let's say you're running that shack and you want to expand, to open a second shack. You open it in another town, well outside your sphere of influence. No one knows about the original shack. Do you boast about your decades of hot doggery when nobody knows who the hell you are?

Marketing is tricky. Harnessing word of mouth is like herding ghosts.

PROTIP: GamePro is a terrible magazine. EGM is much better. The prevalence of GamePro at every newsstand in America signals a distasteful public or a malicious god or both.
I love infarction with a little soy sauce. Cowboy bones aren't bad, either, but you get funny looks when you order them in small towns.