Monday, October 31, 2011

The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 3: The Sacrifice

Well, after watching the end of this episode I understand the significance of the title!

There was a lot going on this week, especially after last week's "breather" episode. So far they don't seem to be dragging things out too awfully much. If this was LOST, Carl would be laying on that bed with a bullet in his gut for the next twenty episodes, so kudos to moving the story along. By the way, AMC just announced they're renewing TWD for a third season! Huzzah!


• OK, they need to resolve the Sophia storyline soon. One way or another. It's only been two and a half episodes since she disappeared, but it seems like they've been searching for her for months. Maybe now that Carl is out of the woods they'll find her.

Darryl is now officially my favorite character. In fact I'll go so far as to say he needs his own show. Just Darryl and maybe a dog, wandering the decimated countryside each week, righting wrongs and shooting zombies in the head.

Darryl finally lets his guard down a little this week and has a nice bonding moment with Andrea. I love how all the other characters sit around wringing their hands over the state of the world, but Darryl seems to view the zombie apocalypse as just another annoyance in his life, like getting laid off or having his car repossessed.

• I don't think it would be a spoiler to say that Glen and Maggie are going to hook up.

• Take a good look at the photos of the family members that Maggie has lost, that are taped up on the refrigerator. I have a feeling we'll be seeing them again soon.

• Andrea needs to cut Dale a break. How long can you beat up a guy for caring enough about you to save your life?

• Still not liking TV Lori. What kind of mom thinks her son would be better off dead? Especially in a world where the living are in the minority?

• Is there some sort of Zombie Force Field around Herschel's farm? The doors and windows are always open and unlocked, people relax on the exposed porch day and night and there's never any mention of guard duty. In the comic Herschel explained that they'd built a fence around the farm that kept the zombies out (with the exception of a lone straggler every now and then). Methinks they need such a line in the TV show as well.

• I was just starting to like Otis, but I knew he wasn't going to make it. As for Shane? Dang! He was just starting to win me back over after last season, and then he turns back into the vicious bastard that he is, throwing poor Otis under the bus and going all Taxi Driver on us. Shocking!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, Everyone!
I thought I'd celebrate the day by posting one of my favorite photos. I took this shot a few years back in an old Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of my city. No Photoshoppery here, it's a real tombstone!

In all these years I never realized the Monster's name was "Lester."*

Frankenstein was first published in 1811, well before Lester & Bertha here were born, so I'm sure they must have had to put up with a lot of jokes about their last name. Hopefully they didn't get chased by villagers with torches very often.

*Yes, I know the Monster's name was not Frankenstein, but I've called him that for too many years to change now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frankenstein 014: Frankenborg

Just in time for Halloween, here's another entry for my ongoing 100 Frankensteins Project: Frankenborg!

With an indestructible metallic skeleton covered by the skin of a dozen fresh corpses, Frankenborg can be found terrorizing the countryside and Radio Shacks from coast to coast.

I'm not totally sold on the green shirt, but I tried just about every color there is and couldn't find anything I liked better. The problem was that all the other colors tended to draw your eye right to the shirt, to the exclusion of everything else. The green doesn't seem to call much attention to itself, so I guess it'll have to do.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.
I first drew Frankenborg wayyy back in 1994 and decided to dust him off and update him a bit. As you can see I was firmly entrenched in my "cross hatching" phase back then. Thank God I grew out of that! By the way, this was drawn with a ball point pen on very thin paper that I cross hatched to within an inch of its life. I certainly knew how to shovel on the detail back then; too bad I didn't know anything about anatomy. Look at those stubby little legs! I have no idea why I drew him so wildly out of proportion. I'm almost embarrassed to post it.

You can definitely tell he's a product of the 1990s, what with his black shorts and Doc Martens (a look I used to sport back then as well, sorry to say).

Here's the digital sketch I did for the new drawing. The proportions are much better this time. The gap at the waist is there because I didn't feel like drawing the fiddly extension cord belt on the sketch.

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This...

After what seems like eons, the Farrelly Brothers (the There's Something About Mary guys) finally revealed an official cast photo from their upcoming Three Stooges movie, due in theaters next year.

As a life-long Stooges fan, I've been following the progress of this movie with a mixture of fascination and outright horror for years. It's been in development for a good decade, no exaggeration. A veritable truckload of actors have been attached to the project at some point or another. At one time the cast was going to be Benecio Del Torro as Moe, Sean Penn (!) as Larry, and Jim Carrey as Curly, who reportedly was willing to gain fifty pounds for the role.

Finally the official cast has been nailed down and filming is finally underway: Will Sasso (MadTV) as Curly, Chris Diamantopoulos (whoever that is) as Moe, and Sean Hays (Will & Grace) as Larry.

I'll give credit where credit is due: they certainly have the look of the Stooges down, although Larry looks disturbingly like a close relative of freakish prop-comic Carrot Top in the photo above. Looks aside though, I just don't see how this can possibly work.

The movie will reportedly be broken up into three half hour shorts, similar to the Stooge films of yore. But— and here's the part that worries me they're updating it to the present day. That means plenty of drug, sex and fart jokes will no doubt abound, something that, in my opinion, doesn't belong in the Stooge Universe (Stoogiverse?).

Also troubling are reports of cameo appearances by the cast of Jersey Shore, which dates the movie before it even comes out. I would rather watch a continuous loop of Nazis burning puppies alive than watch even ten seconds of even one of the Jersey Shore cretins.

Who knows, though? Maybe the Stooge movie will surprise me and it'll actually turn out well. The Stooges first became popular way back at the height of the Great Depression. The country's deep in the crapper of another Depression again, so maybe the Stooges are just what we need.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"The Tenth Planet" Cyberman

It's another Cyberman drawing. I guess October must be Cyberman Month.

This version of the Cybermen is from their very first appearance on Doctor Who, in the 1966 episode The Tenth Planet.

These early Cybermen looked for all the world as if the TV crew raided an auto junk yard and hot glued various car parts to the costumes. Despite their rather ramshackle appearance, these Cybermen were genuinely disturbing. Maybe it's due to the fact that unlike later versions whose heads are encased in metal helmets, these have faces are covered in what appear to be gauze bandages, implying that there's some kind of grotesquely altered human underneath. They also had bare human hands, which was a bit unsettling as well.

The most nightmarish thing about them though were their voices. When these Cybermen spoke, their mouths simply gaped open and stayed motionless while a horrifying electronic voice issued forth, resulting in a truly pants-crapping effect.

This episode also marked William Hartnell's final appearance as the First Doctor. Hartnell was in poor health and decided to leave the show, so Patrick Troughton was brought in to play the second iteration of the Doctor. In the episode, the First Doctor is weakened after his battle with the Cybermen, and regenerates into the Second Doctor, a storytelling technique that's allowed the show to remain on the air for decades. Lucky us! Otherwise the series would have ended with this episode!

This is a vector drawing, done entirely in InDesign.

Zoo Trip

Last weekend I went with my sister's family to visit the Indianapolis Zoo. I've been to Indy hundreds of times, but I don't think I've ever been to their zoo before. I took hundreds of photos, two or three of which actually came out OK.

Here's my nephew Alphonse on the trip there fiddling with the Child Pacification Device, otherwise known as the iPad.

That's a sea lion swimming around. It's tough to get them to hold still long enough to take a good photo.

That's the sea lion there being shy, peeking up just over the edge of the pool.

Alphonse and his dad Marceau walking through the dolphin tank observation area bubble thing.

Marceau and my sister Adelle gazing at the wonders of the deep.

Another shot inside the dolphin tank. I think that lady's trying to warn everyone of an approaching shark. These shots came out much better than I expected, especially since I turned off the flash.

A question for any zookeepers out there: the water in the dolphin tank was clear, blue and obviously chlorinated. Isn't that bad for the dolphins? I get why it has to be chlorinated, but surely living in bleach water 24 hours a day can't be good for them. Is there a special milder type of zoo chlorine?

The dolphin show pics didn't turn out so well, but I did what I could with them in Photoshop.

The trainers were using various hand signals to communicate with the dolphins and tell them what tricks to perform. After the show I went up to the tank (where the dolphins were still swimming around) and tried some of the hand signals on them. Unfortunately they just ignored me. Stupid dolphins! It's probably just as well. The last thing I need is to have to buy the zoo a new dolphin because I caused one to break its back doing an unauthorized trick.

Here we are on the Island of Ring-Tailed Lemurs. They look cool, but I have a feeling if you tried having even one for a pet your house would smell like you had fifty cats.

Marceau and Alphonse observe the lemurs.

Alphonse and me. This is a prime example of why our family doesn't take a lot of photos of ourselves.

Alphonse has this deal where even if he's having a good time, he can't bring himself to show it in a photo. I suspect he's part Vulcan.

Hey, I've got some of these in my back yard...

I think this was an iguana of some type. No doubt just waiting for a dose of radiation to come by so it can mutate into Godzilla and wreck the city.

The Meerkat exhibit. These animals owe a debt of gratitude to The Lion King, because nobody in America ever heard of them before that movie came out.

More meerkats chillin.'

A diamondback rattler, looking really annoyed.

The reason he looks so pissed is because the snake exhibit was almost pitch black and I accidentally took this photo with the flash on. No doubt he died from shock a second later.

Some snake with a weird skull-like marking on its scary head.

 A family of giraffes.

These rhinos need some more color in their lives. They almost look like they were shot on black and white film (ask your parents what that was, kids).

Alphonse gazes wistfully into the distance as he watches a rhino take a huge dump.

Personally I think if you need a sign to tell you not to climb into the lion cage, then you get what you deserve.

Not dingos, but wild dogs. Not sure what difference there is, but it probably matters to them.

The baboon exhibit. They were cute, except for their mouths full of six inch long razor sharp canines.

Again, these zebras need some color. Even their enclosure is gray and monochromatic.

Probably as close as I'll ever get to a real, live cheetah.

Hopefully cheetahs aren't good jumpers. I got enough problems in my life without having my head bitten off by a cheetah in downtown Indianapolis.

It's hard to see here, but there's a baby elephant tagging along just behind the mother's front legs. Sorry, best picture I could get without jumping the fence, swimming the moat and running a hundred yards over to them.

By the way, according to one of the zoo volunteers, the only thing elephants are afraid of is bees. African farmers use real beehives or even recordings of bees to keep them away from their crops. So if you're ever being attacked by an elephant, try making a "buzzing" sound with your mouth. You're going to get trampled anyway, so why not try it?

I think God just wasn't into his job the day he made the warthog.

So cuddly. And so deadly.

You know when you think about it, pretty much every animal we saw there could kill a human without breaking a sweat. Maybe that's the appeal of a zoo; not to see animals, but to see murderous, deadly animals and live to tell about it. It's not a zoo, it's a MurderDeathKill Park.

Just a coupla' bats hangin' out. They were pretty big; well over a foot long. You definitely won't be catching this kind in your hat!

Hard to see, but there's a ton of coins at the bottom of this pool. I'm thinking about installing one of these in my front yard and living off the pennies. I may need to do that soon.

You know what poem I've always hated? If you answered "all of them" you'd be technically correct, but specifically I've always hated the "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright" poem. Why? Because it goes like this:

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Really? You're really going to try to rhyme "eye" with "symmetry?" Am I supposed to pronounce it "sim-et-TRY?" Screw you, William Blake, and the prose you rode in on!

Did you know the white spots on the back of a tiger's ears are supposed to look like eyes, so other predators will think it's looking at them and not sneak up on it? Was that really ever enough of a problem for tigers that they felt the need to evolve this trait? What moron of an animal needs fake ear eyes to stop it from sneaking up on a freakin' tiger?

"Aw, who's the cutest little 1,700 pound murder death machine with razor sharp claws? You are, that's who!"

Alphonse posing with the polar bear, who appears to be whispering a secret to him. I think it's saying, "I could bat your head off your neck with one swipe of my paw."

The walrus in this tank either really liked swimming upside down or he had an inner ear infection.

It's tough to get manta rays to pose for a good photo.


Manta rays are one of the happier of underwater species.

I know, it's a horrible photo with the flash in the middle, but it did manage to capture some cool looking fish.

I always thought moray eels came in drab brown or dark green. I had no idea they came in fluorescent dishwashing-glove yellow like this.

Again, so beautiful and so deadly. These shots came out way better than I thought they would.

Another sea lion swimming, just before if bit off Buster's hand (that's for you Arrested Development fans).

Ya can't go to the zoo without seeing the penguins. It's the law.

This is what most of my dreams look like.

Heading back home.

Alphonse and I amused ourselves on the ride home with Mad Libs. I gave him the weirdest and most non sequitur words I could think of, which really cracked him up. I was happy yet surprised to see that a child of the digital age could still be entertained by something as low tech as Mad Libs.

Again, this is why we don't take our photos more often. What the hell is going on with my neck? Does it look like that all the time? Why didn't anyone tell me?
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