1:14 AM

Kelsey

We took our dog, Kelsey, to the vet for the last time today. I still keep expecting him to be there, fast asleep on the floor, out like a rock, or eating the cat food the minute I set it down. But he isn't, and he didn't, and I'm not sure how long it's going to take for me to get used to this.

This was a long time in coming, but it doesn't make it easier, and it never will. At least we got two more years than we expected. He had a good, long life, and there's not much more you can ask from a junkyard dog.

RIP, friend.



The Rainbow Bridge

inspired by a Norse legend


By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.


© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved.

6:26 PM

"O Hawkman! Yeah!"

If you haven't been following Stephen DeStefano on Twitter, and you're a Venture Brothers fan, you're missing out! Mr. DeStefano is (or was when it was in production) a story board artist for The Venture Brothers and has a great style and a real gift for story boarding. Equally compelling, he's a cat person, so what's not to love?

Anyway, yesterday, Mr. DeStefano posted a rather humorous Venture Brothers sketch announcing a long past crew party as his holiday greeting. In the picture, Brock is singing karaoke, stating he will be singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" with his own lyrics about Hawkman.

Naturally, I had to know the lyrics. No, scratch that, I NEEDED TO WRITE THOSE LYRICS. So I did, and am now posting it here for all of you to enjoy. Along with a picture of H.E.L.P.E.R. Consider it my happy holidays to you all!

And be sure you put "O Little Town of Bethlehem" on before you look.

Merry Christmas!

(WARNING: Some language ahead! Ok, not just some, a good amount.)

6:48 AM

George Carlin the Wise

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." - George Carlin

11:06 AM

A Jaded Person's Guide to Christmas Songs: Part One

The holidays have been coming since the beginning of October for department stores, and the rest of us normal denizens of Earth have begun to enjoy hearing bells/reindeer/music in the air. Now, a few weeks into December with the local radio stations that plays holiday music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I find that my drive to work has resulted in hearing the same eight songs over and over.

I wouldn't normally call myself jaded, because I love the holidays. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and favorite holiday of them all (though Leif Ericson day is a close second). But the vast array of holiday songs out there is never proportionate to the ones they play on the radio; in fact, I often hear the same five songs twice in one hour. Sometimes three times. And hearing the same songs, over and over again, is annoying.

So here are those Christmas songs that I have started to use the grand old coping mechanism of sarcasm in order to stay sane on the commute to work. Hopefully my holiday music selection will be limited to only hearing "The Christmas Shoes" once this season.

While I'd originally planned to do a whole list, the one creepiest and one of the most overplayed songs happens to be the one below. And considering I have other things I need to be doing right now, we're going to do this one song in detail.

Promise, it's extra cynical.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - any version

I haven't figured out who is the culprit here, but the man is either getting the woman drunk enough to have sex with him, while she says no, or the woman is just a slut. Either way, the guy is certainly pressuring the girl in this song, and it gets creepy after the 20th listen.

Not seeing what I mean? Let's go in-depth. My comments are in bold for your enjoyment.

(Lyrics courtesy of stlyrics.com)

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
Ok, we can understand the hesitation here - you're lovers, you've got to leave, you're sad because you probably live in the Northeast and it's cold enough to freeze ducks to the pond. Starts out innocently enough.

This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
Wait, been hoping you'd drop in? Why wouldn't you know? Were you waiting by the door this whole time for her to come by?

So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
My question: how old are you girl? I mean, your parents are up? I smell underage...

So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour
Ok, so the girl is doing a lot of talking here instead of going. It sounds like she's putting up a fight or making a long soliloquy to avoid actually doing anything else. And what music is in the juke box, Barry White?

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
We've officially stepped over into creepy. There's something different with the drink and while the girl stares at her glass the guy is at the window making sure no witnesses are lurking in the form of obnoxious cabbies.

I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight
To break the spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Spell? Using the last few lines, we can begin to suspect that the girl is actually drugged. AND THE HAT IS COMING OFF.

I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move closer
Yes, male narrator, we do mind.

At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
Ok, maybe the girl isn't drugged. But she sure isn't trying anymore.

I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
It is cold, but you're not at home, so deal with it.

C'mon baby
I'm only reminded of the high school jock stereotype in all the bad 1950s horror movies: "Everyone else is doing it!"

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh darling, it's cold outside
So finally the girl is stepping up again. About time.

This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
Drugs have that effect.

My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look delicious
Well, we know the guy has one thing on his mind...

My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
Probably at the door with a shot gun at this rate.

My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips are delicious
Like everyone else's mind isn't?

Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
Seriously, chick, go home. Nothing good happens past 2am...or when trapped inside.

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
JUST LEND HER THE COAT ALREADY. Why haven't you walked her out, man?

You've really been grand - I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
How can she do this? Easily, though at this rate, she's moving slower than an Oliver Stone movie.

There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
She won't die if you just got in your car and drove her home, pansy.

I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Baby it's cold outside
Screw you both.

Either way, while this song is cute when in a 1940s mind set, if you stop to think about what's going on, it sounds an awful lot like a sinister back plot is moving underneath. It IS cold outside after all...

5:43 PM

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: Teefury

If you missed the first post in this series, this is my new blog series where I highlight absolutely awesome, weird, touching, disturbing, etc. ideas, people, places, or things that you need to know about in order to have a better life. Or a more fulfilled life. Whichever gets you to continue scrolling down .

Anyway, I realized it was about time for another update in this series, so I bring you:

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: TeeFury
a.k.a. I swear I'm not getting paid to advertise this

What Is It: TeeFury is this awesome website where artists can submit their illustrations for consideration to be printed on a t-shirt. The website prints the t-shirts by demand for a low price and the artist gets paid a part of each sale. Each print it sells is only available for 24 hours, however, so once it's gone, it's gone forever!

T-shirt subject matter ranges from artistic designs to Lost references to pop culture. Nerds and artists gather here and TeeFury is actually really great about communicating with it's community (as its fans are called). They'll often post up t-shirt ideas to see what they're fans think of it.

Why Should I Visit It: It's a great place to not only support independent artists but you also get awesome t-shirts. They're comfortable (100% ringspun cotton - I'm not sure what the ringspun means, but I can attest they are nice to wear) and they're relatively cheap. They also make great presents that you don't have to leave the house to get.

When you visit, you not only see the day's shirt print and what it will look like on a t-shirt (men and women sizes and styles available) but the site will also usually feature side art by the day's featured artist. You can comment about the t-shirt and can request side art to be printed (which the site may or may not do, there are a lot of ideas after all) as well as leave positive or constructive criticism for the artist.

Also, sometimes the artists have contests that TeeFury will announce, so you can not only buy the t-shirt but win stickers, a print, or even another t-shirt just by becoming a fan or following the artist. Who doesn't love free stuff?

TeeFury also offers forums for artists to talk about ideas and get feedback on current sketches they are working on.

How Much?: T-shirts are $9 plus a $2 shipping fee, but if you buy multiples you only have to pay for shipping once. Artists get paid $1 per sale, and as the site states, artists have made between $150 and $2,500; that's enough for a lot of Chipotle burritos.

What Do I Need to Know: The design changes everyday at 12am EST, so be sure you get it before it goes! The site occasionally has grab bag days. Grab bags are $5 t-shirts that can be any of the designs that have been offered since the last grab bag. If you're desperate for a certain design that you missed, this is your best bet, or try the forums on their website.

If you're still having questions, visit the FAQ area on the website!

Clothe Me In Awesomeness!: Visit the website that I have generously hyperlinked throughout this blog post, or if you're lazy, just click TeeFury.com.

Final Thoughts: Be adorned in epicness, and look out because this upcoming week is Art Week!

Additional Resources:

8:40 PM

Coffee vs. Me

Today I realized that I got my ass kicked by a cup of coffee. And not just any coffee. Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Frappe, small-sized (I still don't remember what they call their portions).

It started out innocently enough. I woke up late. I took too long in the shower. I got dressed slowly. I thought for sure I would be fifteen minutes later to work than normal.

But what do you know it, Mr. Friday was looking down on me and I found myself ahead of schedule while driving to work. So, being the typical, early twenties, late-night creature that seem to have broke into this world in the late 1980s, I went in search of the only substance that is acceptable at 7:15 am: coffee.

I eventually found a Starbucks and purchased my favorite (and really, only enjoyable drink) coffee/dessert/insulin beverage from the institution: a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.

Needless to say, it was so good I scraped the front of my car parking at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts for a last minute gift for Boss' Day AND parked crooked I was in such a hurry to get back to frozen heaven. And the coffee continued to be good for the hour and a half I managed to make it last. I would have licked the insides of the cup if I didn't sit right in front of my boss' door.

I didn't know at the time, however, but the minute the last of the coffee disappeared down my esophagus, the trouble began. You see, coffee has this bad habit of sticking around in my blood system, joyriding your brain into thinking that I've either ingested speed or am a bastard child of the Flash. And I fall for it every time.

Naturally, this state never announces when it's done. At noon, I found myself falling asleep over the keyboard. I stretched, sat up, sat on my foot, pumped up the music, eat more food, and went outside, all in the span of a few minutes in an attempt to stay awake. But it was no use. It was either drink more coffee or tough it out.

There's no getting around it. You drink the coffee and remember how good it tastes, and crave it when you don't have it. But when you do have it, you always run into that midday wall and then either have to suffer in a seemingly never-ending battle with your eyelids or you get more coffee. Only to hit another wall later on.

It's a vicious cycle that gets me every time, yet I still drink coffee. And it's still delicious. And I know I'll be returning to embrace coffee once more on Monday morning. I didn't know whether to feel like a true hero for going forward or like an addict. And as I walked out of the office today, still feeling like I was going to drop dead and die on the asphalt before walking the fifty feet to my car, I realized something:

Coffee always makes you its bitch.

6:20 PM

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

This post starts a new series entitled: Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't. It highlights people, places, things, and ideas you probably don't know about but should because they are super disturbing, super thrilling, or super awesome. Or just plain weird.

But you get the idea.

And what better way to start off the series than with my current television obsession, The Venture Brothers?

Things You Should Know About But Probably Don't: The Venture Brothers

What Is It: The Venture Brothers is an animated comedy show created by Jackson Publick (aka Christopher McCulloch). Produced by Astrobase Go! and World Leaders Entertainment, the show so chock full of pop culture references, comic book references, and adult humor that it practically needs it's own Internet to cover it all.

The show is currently in it's fourth season and centers (mostly) around the lives of Hank and Dean Venture. Well-meaning but idiots, Hank and Dean are living the life of boy adventurers just like their father, bitter and failed scientist Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture.

The boys are joined by Brock Samson, their body guard - voiced by the wonderful and instantly recognizable Patrick Warburton - and a cast of archvillains, archenemies, and random characters that we only wish actually existed in comics. I mean, any series that has a character called "Ghost Robot" has already elevated itself to the shining pedestal of nerdtastic awesome that the likes of Chuck and The Big Bang Theory can only dream of.

Why Should I Watch It: It's the funniest damn thing on television. And one of the best written. I personally started in season three, and while I had the advantage of my sister explaining who was who to me, that's where I come in for you. Do I recommend this approach? Not really. Especially when the DVDs are available here and here and here.

But seriously, if you're not watching it and you're a fan of comics and superheroes, get out from under the rock you're under and get on it. Seriously.

What Do I Need to Know: The show is animated, so if you're a hater, don't bother. But for the rest of us who are merely worried about adding another addictive TV show that could impede with Glee, worry no further. The show is only a half-hour and is on at 11:30 PM (PST) on Sundays. So you have an excuse to stay up. (Be sure to thank Adult Swim for that one.)

The show is for adults and teens, but quite frankly, it's about time we had an animated show for us. The storyline is linear, so unlike House, you will miss information in each missed episode that could come back to be the plot kicker four episodes down the line (or even next season).

Who Are the Main Players?: I'm so glad you asked!

Hank and Dean Venture: Hank (the Fred look-a-like) is the "brawn" (or so he thinks) or the two brothers. Stubborn, persistent, slightly ADD, but always sure of himself, Hank is the one who is more likely to get the two into trouble or to annoy whoever he is being held prisoner by at the moment. He regularly fights and bickers over pop culture and everyday occurrences with his booky and brainy titular twin, Dean (red hair). Dean has your required girly scream and romantic ideals that you would expect in Hank's opposite. Being pushed towards a career in science by his father, Dean is meek but is also kind and means well, even if his best defense in battle is blowing a rape whistle.

Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture: The father of the dynamic duo above, Rusty is a former child adventurer himself, though was so reluctantly. Pushed into science by his father, and still failing marvelously at it years later, Rusty is bitter, callous, and exactly the kind of father you can guess he is. Rusty usually manages to say or do the wrong thing, but hey, you have to forgive him. Who else manages to get eclipsed in their science career by a parasitic twin and continue living?



Brock Samson
: Bodyguard to Rusty and father figure to the boys, Brock is one of those people that punches first and asks questions after. If you got to know Brock off glance alone, you would think Rambo, Tarzan, Conan, and Crocodile Dundee got together, had a baby, then let it run wild with wolves. A government agent, Brock only has to appear and henchmen flee. Despite his taciturn personality and anger management issues, Brock has the patient of a saint when it comes to dealing with Hank and Dean, and you could say he's the most accomplished of the show's characters. And that's saying something for a character with a mullet.

The Monarch: Dr. Venture's sworn archenemy and member of the archenemy guild called The Guild of Calamitous Intent, The Monarch is ridiculous, hysterical, and, at times, successful. And yes, he dresses like a butterfly. Commanding an army of henchmen all dressed in butterfly wings as well and king of his home base called The Cocoon, The Monarch has hated Dr. Venture since college and still does well past their prime years. A regular in the series who has kidnapped every member of the Venture family at least once, The Monarch himself manages to get into almost as much trouble with the Guild or the regular law enforcement. The latter mostly for peeing in public.

Dr. Girlfriend: Sexy, smart, and a doctor of...something, Dr. Girlfriend is currently the arm candy of The Monarch and at times the only thing that makes his elaborate plans work. Dr. Girlfriend's charm is not only in her body, personality, and impeccable fashion sense, but also in the fact that she is voiced by a man. That's right. Doc Hammer is one of the series' most loved writers and voice actors (and editor, and graphics artist, and...) and he manages to make Dr. Girlfriend incredibly unforgettable and a rival to Jessica Rabbit herself.

Henchmen 21 and 24: And finally, last but never least, Henchmen 21 and 24, the comic relief and hysterical, head henchmen of The Monarch. The Laurel (24) and Hardy (21) duo of the show, Henchmen 21 and 24 are those henchmen who just never seem to die. In fact, they and The Monarch himself have recognized their uncanny ability to live through just about everything. These two are fan favorites and are best known for their numerous arguments about the finer things in life: such as whether Smurfs breed or lay eggs to produce offspring.

So What's the Show About, Overall?: The show, as said early, mostly focuses on the exploits of Hank and Dean, following them through their young, confusing lives and moronic mistakes. The series is good about dealing with character development and having a story in each episode, so you're not left with one sacrificed over the other. It's also good about not bringing in something randomly then abandoning it (*cough*GLEE*cough*).

I'm Philosophical and Won't Watch Unless There's More To It: You need more of a reason? If I had to say an overall theme for the show, pure and simple (and right out of an interview quoted on Wikipedia), failure. The beauty and ordinary nature of failure and how we still keep going, trying to do something good.

And that is partly why this television series is the first thing featured on my new blog posts. How many shows are that well-written, still funny, reference everything I love, and still manage to question the real universe? The show is entertaining with it's action, complex characters, and intricate story lines, and in the end, it's well-written and often brings a sentiment to the show's episode that makes you pause and think later on that night. Or keeps you up.

What are the Fans Called?: I believe the official unofficial term is Venturoos. Don't believe anything else you hear.

You've Convinced Me! When Can I Watch It?: The show airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 11:30 PM (PST).

Final Thoughts: Go Team Venture!

Additional Resources:
  • Jackson Publick has his own journal here, where you can hear news from the Sovereign himself.
  • The Mantis-Eye Experiment has been around for five years and has capsules for each episode with a recap and, my favorite feature, explanations of each reference/throw-back in the episode.
  • Venture Brothers Blog is a terrific fan site and offers episode recaps, reviews, and an awesome collection of Venture Brother awesomeness.
  • The People's Republic of Venture is a fan run wiki and forum site where the newly awoken Venturoo in you can run free.
  • And don't forget the Very Venture Vodcast, featuring episode reviews by two fabulous female Venturoos.
  • Adult Swim's official site for the show is here, check it out for episodes (new ones posted Monday night) and contests.
  • Wikipedia is always good. Most of the time.