Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby, Baby, Baby, Ewww

Who doesn't like a good origin story? It's human nature to want to know how an actress got her big break, how a band formed or how a superhero got his powers. But how far back do we need to go to feel satisfied? I, personally, am fine with jumping into the story of Spider-Man when he's a teenager and living with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. I don't really need to know what happened to his parents, although I'm told we're going to find that out in the upcoming reboot.

Now, let's go farther (further?) back in someone's history.

Bruce Wayne. We have to go back to his late childhood in order to get the whole story. But we don't really need to see what happened before his parents were killed, because Bruce becoming an orphan is where the story of Batman begins (Hey! That's where they got the name for that movie!).

Now let's go further (farther?) back.

Kal-El. For you non-nerds out there, Kal-El is Superman's name before he was even known as Clark Kent. Knowing that Superman was a baby on the planet Krypton before he came to earth is vital in understanding who he is. Knowing that Kal-El's real father's name is Jor-El just makes you look more like a geek, especially when you bring it up at every party you attend.

But do we really need to go back farther (forther?) in time than that?

Alexandre Nicolas thinks so. This French artist decided that the world needed to see the true origins of superheroes -- in fetal form! Why? Well, probably because he's a French artist.


Holy epidural, Batman!

"Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?"

All of Peter Parker's wall-crawling abilities are useless in the womb.

"Lois Lane could never have Superman's baby. . .only someone like Wonder Woman has a strong enough uterus to carry his kid."

It's slobbering time!

All of that hair is going to give her Amazonian mom some serious heartburn!

Don't make him fussy. You wouldn't like him when he's fussy.

And don't worry, super villains, you haven't been left out of the disturbing artwork gallery:

This may be odd, but it makes more sense than the Catwoman movie.

Why so Caesarean?

And Monsieur Nicolas hasn't just limited himself to the comic book realm, he's also done movies:

"There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can't explain what happened."

Video games:

So before you guys go objectifying Ms. Croft, remember that she is somebody's baby.

I always thought Mario and Luigi were twins. I guess not.

And, of course, Hitler?
He may be a horrible, despicable, poor excuse for human being, but I have to give him props for being able to grow a stache so early.

If you'd like to place some blame on being thoroughly disturbed for the day, you can thank alert reader, Mitch for sending this article in. You can also head over to Alexandre Nicolas' website to see the rest of his. . .um. . .artwork.

Sweet dreams!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Millions of Voices Suddenly Cried Out in Terror

As a kid, it was hard for me to leave projects alone. I'd keep tinkering and tinkering, fixing this and adjusting that because I kept thinking I could do something to make the project better. Then I had a bit of a paradigm shift one day while I was cooking with my dad. I love garlic (which isn't the paradigm shift, but it PROVES I'm not a vampire) and I wanted to add a bunch of garlic powder to the soup we were making. My father told me something I've never forgotten. He said, "Son, you're adopted and I hate you."

I'm kidding. He said, "Well, you can put all the garlic powder you want into the soup. . .but you can't take any back out." I was just about to argue that I if accidentally dumped too much garlic powder in the soup, I could spoon it off the top before I stirred it in, but then the point of what he said sunk in (much like garlic powder in to a pot of boiling soup): There's a point of no return when you keep tinkering with something. Eventually you can screw things up so royally that you can't fix it.

George Lucas has dumped too much garlic powder in the soup.

We all thought George Lucas had learned his lesson after creating that Bantha fodder of a variety show, The Star Wars Holiday Special. But then he also managed to give us a spunky little Anakin, Jar Jar Binks, a new ending to Return of the Jedi and "Nooooooooooooooo!" But still, Lucas' Star Wars soup was still somewhat palatable. Sure, we might not like the soup as much as we used to, but at least it evoked fond memories of our childhood, and if you added enough crackers and cheese, you could choke down the parts that were harder to swallow. Until now. . .

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda
You'd think I'd be excited about a new Star Wars game. However, I must warn you, faithful readers, what you're about to see cannot be unseen. The video below, sent in by alert reader, Ted, will forever alter your perspective on some of the coolest characters in the Star Wars universe. Watch at your own peril and mental distress:

No, this isn't a parody. Kinect Star Wars is an officially licensed product from LucasArts and it makes my heart cry. Sure, there are other aspects of the game (including a lightsaber duel, which is appealing), but the Galactic Dance-Off, if you'll pardon my language, is a half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!

And if the sight of Han Solo doing the "trash compactor" wasn't bad enough, the game also features a song called "Princess in a Battle" (to the tune of "Princess in a Bottle"), "Hologram Girl" (which is, admittedly, better than "Hollaback Girl") and "Empire Today" ("YMCA").

Now what can we do about this? The sad fact is we can't do anything. We just have to deal with merchandising trash like this. Because, protest as we might, it seems that every time we shoot Lucas' ideas down, he becomes more crazy than we could possibly imagine.

Hold on tight, faithful readers. This crazy Star Wars roller coaster ain't over yet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Savory and Sweet Pies, As You'll See

Faithful readers, may I have your attention please? Are your nostrils aquiver and tingling as well at that delicate, luscious, ambrosial smell?

Mine, too. This post must be about delicious food.

If there has been a common theme on this blog -- aside from my undying love of zombies and underlying hatred of Twilight -- it's food. Food, and food-like substances are a driving force in my life -- and not just because I need them to survive, I love tasting delicious foods. In fact, I'd venture to say that taste is my favorite of my five senses, right after sight, hearing, smell and touch.

Nevertheless, I've never had much of a sweet tooth. Don't get me wrong, I like my desserts just as much as the next guy, but I prefer sweets as a complement to savory foods, rather than the main event. I remember as a kid the question of "If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?" was thrown around quite often. And while other kids would answer such things as "ice cream" and "cake," my answer would almost always be "pizza," which is, of course, the best answer. I mean, think about it, you can change the toppings on a pizza (regular, BBQ, dessert) according to your mood, so that would give you the widest variety. Yeah, I was a pretty smart kid.

Luckily for both the sweet and savory groups, innovative minds have made it even easier to get your treats at any hour of the day.

Let's say that you have a sudden craving for a steak, but all of the butcher shops are closed. No problem, I present to you Smart Butcher, the first meat vending machine:

Impressive, no? I'll admit that I would be more impressed if it actually cooked your steak before dispensing it, so you could eat it on the drive home. I once encountered a vending machine in a hospital that dispensed freshly cooked pizza and I may have been more excited about that than I was the birth of my son. But don't worry, the pizza ended up being somewhat of a disappointment so my son ended up winning that battle for my affection.

Now, let's say after you've eaten your vending machine steak you want some dessert ("after you've eaten your vending machine steak you want some dessert"), not a problem. Sprinkles Cupcakes Beverly Hills has invented a cupcake ATM for your convenience:

Looks tasty! And it already comes pre-cooked, so you don't have to worry about the batter sloshing about on your drive home.

Now, the truth is that the Smart Butcher is only in Odenville, Alabama and Sprinkles Cupcakes Beverly Hills ATM is in. . .well. . .Beverly Hills, so in order to get this completely automated meal, you'd end up driving 1 day and 9 hours, or biking for 7 days and 17 hours or walking for 28 days and 9 hours (Google Maps is fun, isn't it?), so hopefully this technology will continue to thrive and spread.

But I must ask you, faithful readers, which vending machine you would choose if only one was to be installed in your neighborhood?

The savory?

Or the sweet?


Or cupcakes?

Or, I guess, you could just combine the two.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Keeping Things in Perspective

Most of my schooling days are a blur of taking copious notes and teachers telling me, "you're going to need to know this when you're older." I don't remember much else besides that. I do have many of those notebooks in a box in our crawlspace, maybe one day I'll read them.

However, there are a few teaching moments of elementary, junior high and high school that stick out to me. I remember Mr. Whitehead teaching us how to multiply numbers with his big multiplication chart. We reenacted the trial of Joe Hill in Mr. Puzey's class. I remember Coach Harris shattering a banana that had been dipped in liquid nitrogen. And I remember half-watching a live birth on The Miracle of Life video in Mrs. Fomby's science class. *shudder*

I also remember an old 70s video I watched in one of my science classes, although I can't remember which teacher or class it was. All I remember is that it blew my mind. It's called Powers of Ten, and the video starts by showing a man on a blanket and then zooms out to the farthest reaches of space - then it zooms back in to the man and continues to zoom in down to the sub-molecular level. It put things in perspective for me. I suddenly realized how much more there was out there beyond myself and my needs.

As the years went by, things would occasionally remind me of that video I saw in school. The ending to Men in Black did it. Watching a video on dust mites did it. And this interactive website sent in by, alert reader, Ted did it once again. It's called The Scale of the Universe 2 and it was created by Cary and Michael Huang. Check it out:

Make sure to zoom both out AND in as far as you can. And if you don't know what something is (like Uluru or a Quark), click on it to get more information.

Take your time.

I'll wait.

. . . .

Now, how do you feel? I felt small and insignificant on the grand scale of things, but then I also felt wonder and amazement about how much works goes into making me what I am. It's an odd mix of emotions, and it's the same feeling I got while watching Powers of Ten years ago.

Also, if you zoom in or out really fast and stick your arm forward, it feels like you're flying like Superman. Not that I've done that or anything. . .

Monday, April 2, 2012

This Looks Like a Job For. . .TACOCOPTER!

I'm a fan of food delivery. Having someone bring food to my house means that I don't have to waste gas, time or shower water in order to eat food from a restaurant. However, what am I supposed to do when I want restaurant-quality food when I'm not at home? What do I do when I'm hiking a mountain or in some other remote location where I don't know the address? The answer, faithful readers, is the Tacocopter.

For those of you who don't know what the Tacocopter is, let me take a moment and separate the word out for easier reading: Ta-coco-pter. There, I hope that helps.

The premise is simple, you use your smartphone to make the order and let the Tacocopter come to you. This unmanned drone flies your way and lays the food right at your feet - no matter where you are.

Now, this idea may bring a couple of questions to mind, such as: How do I pay for the tacos? What if someone else gets my tacos? How long will it take to get my tacos? What if someone abducts the Tacocopter? What if I get the wrong order? How much would the company be willing to pay to get their Tacocopter back?

Well, truth be told, the Tacocopter isn't a reality yet. It's as fictional as cow tipping or The Twilight Saga's Academy Award nominations. It's just an idea created by Star Simpson, Dustin Boyer and Scott Torborg. Some people have called the Tacocopter a hoax, but I call it wishful thinking. What a wonderful world it would be if you could get food delivered to you no matter where you were. It would be a delicious, food-filled utopia! Although I can forsee some problems with a Tacocopter future. For example, let's pretend I was lost in the woods and I only had a few minutes of battery life left. I would then have to make the heart-wrenching decision of whether I should use those minutes to call for help or use them to order a couple of chicken tacos.

Wait, I just came up with a solution for that. I would order the tacos and then, in the notes section of the order I would simply write, "Please help me, I'm lost in the woods and I need a rescue team to be sent here. Also, no onions on the tacos, please. Thanks!"

Let the Tacocopter dream continue!