We're a geek culture podcast and blog covering video games, music, food and more. We are the kinds of people who evangelize whatever we are into - it could be anything - but it's usually pretty geeky. We're casual, conversational, NSFW and hopefully interesting. We hope you enjoy it.
I've been getting requests for this for some time, and they're finally here! We've got a whole batch of Weekly Geek stickers fresh from the printers, ready for your waiting hands. Stick 'em on your computer, on your car, your cat, whatever! Put them all over the place, but be sure to take a photo of where you stuck your sticker and submit said photo to the flickr pool.
How do you get one of these awesome, hand-cut stickers? Just make a donation via Paypal for at least a dollar (to cover postage) and I'll ship a couple out to you. An easy and fun way to support the show, for sure.
Once upon a time, a year prior to a certain bombing of a certain harbor named after the June birthstone and Roosevelt still ruled over our fair republic with an iron fist, a clumsy teenager named Archie Andrews was crapped out on the comics stage as the retarded brainchild of a man with the rather dubious name of "Bob Montana". For over 60 years, the badly written, poorly illustrated and cheaply printed Archie Comics is still churned out monthly. Like buttermilk, nobody knows who consumes it, but somebody's got to, because they sell it.
Well, actually, I take that back. That's my churlish Internets persona talking, the spawn of a 21st century irony, a childhood where Archie's Riverdale was a hopelessly backwards neverland of malt shops, Model T jalopy races and that weird crown-hat-beanie thing that Jughead wears. Truth be told, I have something of a fondness for the absolute brainless mush of Archie and Pals, and I'm known to occasionally pick up a digest. That they're called "digests" is somewhat bizarre, since "digest" implies that somewhere there are individual copies bought and sold on a regular basis.
Still, there's an art to reading Archie Comics. First off, you must know the rules of this strange little continuity:
- Archie as a teenager in school exists concurrently with Little Archie, Paranormal Investigator Archie, and whatever the hell happens over in the "New Dynamic Look" Archie. Time is always subjective, but usually at least 15 years behind the current fads. You know something is no longer cool the second Betty adopts it: they're just now getting in-line skates.
- Archie and friends are basically commedia dell'arte interchangeable characters. In one story, Archie can simultaneously be the most popular kid in school and an utter graceless buffoon. Do not try to rationalize characterization. You will fail.
- Archie exists in a permanent purgatory, which he can never escape, no matter how hard he tries. Jughead is the omniscient overlord of this universe. Betty and Veronica are his tormenting demon-harpies, ripping his flesh off and his heart out daily. Like Phantasm, Archie thinks it will all be over when he dies, but in truth he reincarnates as a hideous troll being named Little Archie and the process starts over again. Actually, the Phantasm motif is pretty constant throughout, only Veronica's father is Angus Scrimm.
- Archie has met The Punisher. And it was played straight without the slightest ounce of irony. Even weirder, Riverdale was The Punisher's first stop on the way to Gotham City. Figure that out.
This month, however, it has been announced that Archie will finally choose between Betty and Veronica, and he has chosen Veronica. This has happened before, although not with rings, with one of the greatest cop-outs in history: Cheryl Blossom. While I won't go into the details of the inane Cheryl Blossom's dunderheaded existence, just suffice it to say that it was bad. 61 years in perpetual adolescence and finally the eternally chaste Archie is going to get some.
I can't help but think he's making an enormous mistake. I guess it's not my Hell to live. Unlike Gilligan, who had the Skipper to fall back on when forced to choose between the down-to-Earth Mary Ann and the sultry (but utterly unlikeable) Ginger, Archie has not only Betty and Veronica to choose, but also had to weed out such non-runners as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats.
However, in these woeful economic times, maybe Archie is making a good choice. Veronica is wealthy and clearly capable of keeping him in chocolate malts and sweater vests for the rest of his unholy and miserable existence. Archie's life is almost Miltonian in agony. Any small bit of comfort he can get is probably more than enough to keep him from staring into the brutal realization that Jughead is the unflinching demi-lich Acererak in his own personal Tomb of Horrors.
I think I have sufficiently pumped more nerd in this opine than has ever been delved. Feel free to print it out and shellac it to a chair for future generations to behold.
Ultimately, I suppose that I have a soft shell for Archie because no matter how hard it tried, it still never changed. It was a solid rock of stasis in a steady stream of cultural devolution. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with Archie Andrews having a sex life (although I suppose... no... premarital sex has clearly never been an option for the poor guy, although I'm sure there are plenty of pics on /y/ about it). I don't think the world is ready for the the sex-howl that shook Riverdale.
Fresh warm bread is one of the treasured exquisite experiences baking has to offer - the melt-in-your-mouth freshness is hard to beat! Luckily baking bread is a simple (yet deep) process that anyone can do. Made simply of flour, water, and a pinch of yeast; bread is an excellent example of a cooking process which produces something far greater than the sum of its parts.
Beating the heat this week, Ryan, Jinny and Ross join me to talk about this week's news in the geek world. The Metroid Prime series gets ported to the Wii, Monkey Island is getting ported to the Xbox 360, V is getting remade for ABC and we rant a bit about the need to remake and repackage all of this media, just to sell it back to us in the end. There's a bit of food talk, a bit of movie talk and a lot of video game talk. You know. It's an episode of The Weekly Geek. Enjoy.
To be sure, Duke Nukem Forever has been in the news more lately than it has been in many, many years. With the shuttering -- or not, depending on who is doing the talking -- of 3D Realms there has been a flood of art and game-play footage release as well as a nifty lawsuit.
Certainly there are those that doubt the sway that 3D Realms's long suffering game holds over the masses, our fearless Editor-in-Chief being one of them, but for those naysayers I offer up this. If this does not prove the power of Duke Nukem Forever, I'm not sure what else will. Birthed from the fetid mind of a true acolyte, this is a glimpse into the abyss; the churning mass of insanity that festers in the depths of the pit. Whether it is a warning or prophecy I am unable to say but I would advise against repeat viewings lest your will be crushed, your irises split in twain, your mind be taken as well; the only sound reaching your ears as you unleash a soundless scream being these terrible words:
"Duke Nukem Forever is coming. Mortal men may not craft him, gods might not live long enough to play him, the very universe itself may fold under his might, but he will come and there will not be a toilet big enough to park his bricks in."
What? an early comic? Yup, I'm heading out to California and I don't know when I'll be back, or if I'll have reliable internet. But you can take the next couple of weeks to come up with some questions for Dr. Helmig! (Seriously, though. Do that.)
Being a success on the internet should be like the equivalent of waking up one morning as Quasimodo: people should be throwing rotten cabbages at you as you are wheeled down the streets, you should be chased into cathedrals with pitchforks and torches, you should be found dead in a Parisian catacomb, clutching the dessicated corpse of your beloved Gypsy woman of choice.
You should never want internet success. This is why the internet sucks, and blogging sucks, and Twitter sucks, and everything sucks and you suck and I suck. Sucky sucky suckaroo Magoo.
First off, the lack of journalistic ethics is somewhat dumbfounding in the blogging community. Do they still call it "blogging" now? It seems like that would be one of those terms that would be outdated 5 days after it's coined, like "Surfing the Information Superhighway" was circa 1994. Blogging requires absolutely no training, no statement of sources, and relies almost solely on gossip and hearsay. If you're a conservative blogger, 99% of your "articles" will be thinly cribbed Free Republic rants. If you're a liberal blogger, 98% of your "articles will be thinly cribbed Huffington Post rants. Yes, you're 1% better than conservatives, libbies. If you're like me, and you are an e/n opine writer, a full 100% of everything you say or do has already been covered by Seanbaby and Matt Carracappa in 1998, or if you're very clever maybe you can slide in some Charlie Brooker and hope nobody notices your source, and you dread the inevitable when Brooker finds your blog and mercilessly reams you on Screenburn.
The agonizingly annoying thing about blogging, from the perspective of reading, is that so many bloggers actively push the idea that they somehow found these sources themselves. Everybody in the show really does think they're that interesting. Even worse, bloggers have a tendency to supply each other with ego boosts. The highest goal of your average low-on-the-totem-pole blogger (sup?) is to get linked on Kotaku or Wonkette or whatever your favorite blog happens to be, which fill their daily crap quotient linking to other blogs. It's a vicious circle, inescapable except by just not caring.
Second, just not caring.
You're not allowed to be seen caring what other people read on your blog, all the while actually caring what everybody thinks about it. There's the tendency toward the Geocities Site Hit Paradox. If you mention you want site hits, they never come. Nobody wants to read the opinions of a shameless hit gigolo. It's sort of a subtle undercurrent of etiquette that sort of reminds me of the various unstated court politics of the Gormenghast novels. We're all a bunch of toadying fops, standing around waving lacy handkerchiefs and hoping, praying that somebody will notice how much we don't care if they notice us.
Food at its finest is simple yet satisfying and few foods can meet these criteria better than Pasta. With more than 4,000 years of refinement and experimentation under it's belt it's no surprise that noodles are a staple for much of the world. The best part about it is how quick and easy fresh egg pasta is to make.
The dried pasta you can buy from grocery stores are simply flour mixed with water. As easy as dumping dried pasta into boiling water is fresh pasta is easy too, taking only a few extra minutes to mix and knead the dough. Since I started cooking I've discovered the true joy that fresh egg based noodles bring, packing more flavor and a richer texture into your meal.
Much of my fascination with pasta stems from its versatility: once pasta dough has been mixed and kneaded, it can be formed into sheets and then cut into spaghetti, linguini, ravioli, or virtually any other form. From there the base pasta can be cooked and served as is with a light drizzle of olive oil or presented with any number of sauces or other accompaniments.
Click through for the noodley details on how to make fresh pasta yourself.
What makes a geek truly a geek? Does the distinction between true and supposedly false geeks even matter? On this week's podcast we focus on geek culture and geek pride - delving into topics such as Star Trek canon (and if canon is even as important as geeks make it out to be), internet celebrities who call themselves geeks but probably aren't, and a small smattering of game news. Then it's on to what we're playing and mailbag as always, but this podcast has a lot of discussion about what makes us geeks at the very core. I think it's a pretty interesting topic, I hope you do too. Here it is. A podcast. For you. Enjoy.
There will be no spoilers in this article. It's the very core of geekery. It's the glue that holds our universe together. It's canon, and it is quite an important part of the myriad mythos we love and cherish. The way a mythos' timeline fits together, the relationships between characters, the locations they are able to explore, everything that makes a world feel fleshed-out and real lies in canon. It's also one of the things that drives us geeks mad, especially when an "official" source seems to get it wrong. But should canon really even matter to you?
For writers on a series or a movie based on a beloved franchise like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Star Trek, the franchise bible is quite important. It facilitates the writing process, helping you remain in the world you set out to tell a story in. For the end-user (reader, viewer, listener, whatever) it is what makes the world feel real. While all fiction requires you suspend disbelief to some extent, canon is the thing we can always go back to and point a finger to when something doesn't seem to make sense. If a story breaks its own rules, it feels disingenuine - like the author maybe isn't taking it as seriously as you want them to.
But then... what about Star Trek canon? The new movie is a reboot of the franchise. All new actors playing old characters meant to refresh the canon. Yet, it's also the first time in Star Trek history where I haven't heard much discussion about where this new bit fits into the canon. Perhaps that's not all bad. This weekend I was checking out the wiki page dealing with Star Trek canon and found this little nugget:
See, people can easily catch us, and say "well, wait a minute, in 'Balance of Terror', they knew that the Romulans had a cloaking device, and then in 'The Enterprise Incident', they don't know anything about cloaking devices, but they're gonna steal this one because it's obviously just been developed, so how the hell do you explain that?" We can't. There are some things we just can't explain, especially when it comes from the third season. So, yes, third season is canon up to the point of contradiction, or where it's just so bad... you know, we kind of cringe when people ask us, "well, what happened in 'Plato's Stepchildren', and 'And the Children Shall Lead', and 'Spock's Brain', and so on -- it's like, please, he wasn't even producing it at that point. But, generally, [canon is] the original series, not really the animated, the first movie to a certain extent, the rest of the films in certain aspects but not in all... I know that it's very difficult to understand. It literally is point by point. I sometimes do not know how he's going to answer a question when I go into his office, I really do not always know, and -- and I know it better probably than anybody, what it is that Gene likes and doesn't like.-- Richard Arnold, 1991
Another thing that makes canon a little confusing. Gene R. himself had a habit of decanonizing things. He didn't like the way the animated series turned out, so he proclaimed that it was not canon. He also didn't like a lot of the movies. So he didn't much consider them canon either. And - okay, I'm really going to scare you with this one - after he got TNG going, he... well... he sort of decided that some of The Original Series wasn't canon either. I had a discussion with him once, where I cited a couple things that were very clearly canon in The Original Series, and he told me he didn't think that way anymore, and that he now thought of TNG as canon wherever there was conflict between the two. He admitted it was revisionist thinking, but so be it.-- Paula Block, 2005
Star Trek's revisionist history dates back to the creator himself, who repeatedly threw things out, brought new things back in, and denounced his own creations as "non-canon". So what's the big deal? Are you annoyed when a series breaks its own canon? Or do you just suspend your disbelief a little while longer?
It's been a few weeks, but I'm back with a brand new slew of completely ridiculous actual search terms people have used to get to our website. It's a constant exercise in "you're doing it wrong" and it's just too good not to share with you fine, fine people. I like to imagine the desperation it takes for someone to enter these words into a search engine, hoping beyond hope that what they're looking for will come up in the results.
i've known a couple of jerks from the local anime club who tried to keep getting a convention off the ground and kept trying to find ways to squeeze extra cash out of people let's just say that convention still hasn't happened
graffiti art of spongebob smoking crack
a game that has you be hot nude females
what can you use to hold corndogs
a fantasy tater tot
picture of a fruit
fiction stories about mutant chocolate bar causes controversy in local grocery store
It's always amazed me how similar horror is to comedy. For example, attempting to present horror on television is an incredibly difficult thing to pass by the network Standards and Practices, since horror is based on shocks, exploiting existing social mores, and imagery that some might consider to be offensive. Horror makes us uncomfortable, because horror shows us what it is we DON'T like. To work successfully, horror needs to be a reaction to what the majority of society rejects.
Vampires, for instance, have ceased to be horrifying to us. Originally, Dracula was a horrifyng example of what people in the 1890s West found scary: backwards and corrupt aristocracy, the liberated woman, the fear of sexually transmitted diseases, and the breakdown of the established post-Enlightenment social order. Dracula was scary because he was all the things the 1890s gentleman might find repellent. Frankenstein's monster, similarly, was a manifestation of early 19th century's worries about the amorality of the inevitable extensions of the Age of Reason's search for progress, and there is a very good reason why it took the wife of the second most prominent British Romantic to write it. The monster represents authority gone wrong, authority that translates into fear, because we have to deal with it.
Like monsters, comedy requires a working knowledge of what it is the majority of the audience finds valuable. Comedians and monsters both rely upon the knowledge of communal truths to operate successfully. The comedian is a living monster, only one we want to know, instead of one we don't. We invite the comedian to make us laugh by pointing out the things we know to be true. Jon Stewart and the kids from South Park are characters that ask questions and speak to authority, questioning it. In the circus, clowns are divided into White Face and Auguste (Red Nose), the two primary characters of the circus clown system. White Face represents the character who makes us laugh because he's smarter than the system, Auguste represents the character who rebels against that system. White Face usually takes the pie to the face, and Auguste usually throws it.
The interesting interplay between Batman and his nemesis, The Joker, reflects this weird dichotomy. Batman is a force of authority outside of the control of mundane confines, and The Joker is a reaction in the opposite extreme, the ultimate avatar of chaos. Horror and comedy meet, and because they are so thinly delineated, they become compelling. The 1960s Batman show was an example of taming the horror... the 1960s culture was no longer afraid of authority, and so Batman became a source of comedy. It wasn't until the Reaganite/Thatcher era that authority became something to be scared of again, and Batman took on new relevance, and The Joker returned to his psychotic roots.
The worst thing in the world is when attempts at comedy don't even try to question authority. Circus clowns have ceased to be funny because they are now a cultural institution, completely unresponsive to the desires of the audience, and have mutated into a common childhood phobia. Whereas generations ago, the clown might have been a visual grotesque, it has now become an uncomfortable form of stasis. The clown hasn't had innovation in nearly a century, and ceases to be amusing.
Comedy Central's Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire is a bit like the circus clown. It's a painfully enormous, overwrought and too desperate exercise in nerd-fan-wankery, of the kind that usually happens in bad sprite comics. I can only assume that Comedy Central assumed they were going to get a Blackadder-esque romp through High Fantasy, but what they got was... something else entirely.
The concept is that Krod Mandoon is the Mary Sue of somebody, and the story is about his team of D&D adventurers of various offensive cultural stereotypes trying to take down the evil and cackling Chancellor Dongolor, played by Matt Lucas, the tedious half-star of Little Britain. Yes, "Krod" is "dork" spelled backwards, and "Dongolor" is a name that basically represents the high-water level of comedy you're going to expect here. Like every good D&D party, there's the dumbfoundingly black wizard, the teenage sex fantasy rogue, a wacky half-human sidekick and, yes, the gay cleric.
Little Britain, by the way, is basically an exercise in which two Oxbridge graduates mock those who need the least mockery: the poor, the gay, and the mentally challenged. The show is utterly puerile trash of the highest order, and yet Krod Mandoon seems to top it. It's really quite amazing if examined from a purely humorless, ironic level. It's basically the Hoover Dam of Unfunny, a gigantic structure built solely to restrain funny from bursting forth.
The whole of Krod Mandoon consists in playing up various high fantasy/D&D tropes, while not doing any of them very well. Krod Mandoon, played by Sean Maguire, is a very well acted source of physical buffoonery, but because Sean Maguire is so damningly attractive, the comedy is short lived. Half the first episode consists of Krod, shirtless to expose the admittedly splendid torso of Mr. Maguire, berating his astoundingly attractive girlfriend for wearing a skimpy costume. If Krod was a little less attractive, and his girlfriend a little less sexy, the conceit would work. Instead, we get an episode of The OC in the middle of what is essentially a parody of Xena:Warrior Princess.
The villain, Dongolor, sits in his palace most of the show and much of his "comedy" revolves around him killing various henchmen non-chalantly as he explains, ad nauseum, how he was more popular than Krod in school. Dongolor would be an interesting character if he wasn't so fucking annoying and plagiaristic. He's basically a word-for-word rip-off of Mike Myers' Doctor Evil, and Matt Lucas' horrendously unlikable sort of comic whinginess is so stupidly painful to watch that it just comes off as agonizing.
The whole show is like this... we're supposed to identify with Krod, who is clearly the Mary Sue character of a fairly interesting, yet unseen, 17 year old nerd. His friends are the characters that a particularly unimaginative group of tabletop gamers would roll up in 20 minutes, and the villains are so ridiculously ugly and sociopathic (yet played for laughs) that they're just as, if not more so, unfunny.
The offensiveness of the supporting cast is at a level unseen. For example, the black wizard is so urban that every word he says is in a Chris Rock impression. The gay character, named Bruce (of fucking course), is mincing and limp-wristed, and so annoying that it becomes even worse when Krod displays obvious homophobic behavior around him. Even Reno 911, which thrives on the consistent mincing behavior of the outrageously funny Lieutenant Dangle, justifies this transgressive comedy by making Dangle the most intelligent and relatable character in the cast. Not so here. Krod seems utterly broken that Bruce is the prison boyfriend of his beloved mentor, and makes repeated pointed remarks about not wanting him around. If these are the characters of unseen D&D players, they're all very young, very shielded, and likely living in Orem, Utah.
The crux of this litany is this: comedy, in the case of Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, has been flipped on its ass and has turned into horror. Authority isn't questioned in this show. The whole show sneers down, as if through the monocle of a 17th century fop, at those who society has mocked for so long and so hard. Racism, homophobia and sexism isn't questioned, it's encouraged by the character of Krod, who has no problem whatsoever engaging in all three at once while the writers try to cast him as a sensitive character. For a network that has some of the most progressive and thought-provoking shows in current rotation, this is just unbelievably painful, not even hitting the level of transgression that it thinks it's aiming for. Staring at this brutally and unrelentingly anti-comedy "comedy" is an instance in staring straight into the face of Hannibal Lector, who is juggling and telling knock-knock jokes, or possibly a jaw-droppingly bizarre re-edit of the Masters of the Universe movie.
Witness the triumphant return of Ask Dr. Helmig! My animation is going to need some more work to be presentable, so stay tuned on that. I'll still do Weekly Film Schools here and there as I come up with worthwhile ideas.
Last week we received an interesting mailbag from WANTED outlining a particular flavor of displeasure I completely relate to. While the origin of my own ire varies, the frothy foam that flies from my gaping maw like so much volcanic ash as I vent primal anger is very likely the same.
That scene in Swordfish with the (wine/dancing!?) coding cube, the magic image enhancement flaunted in so many episodes of CSI, and easily half the shit pulled in Hackers (alright, the rollerblades were super hot). Why does this bother us geeks so much? Lightsabers, photon torpedoes, and time travel are gravy but damn the production that allows our hero's clip to magically hold 500 rounds.
Examples of such deviancy permeate every genre, doubly so if an area you happen to have as a profession is the topic abused. For WANTED it was the impossible image enhancement, for me its just about any military film of late. Hell, seeing characters in BSG with their uniforms all open and disorderly was enough to make me cringe. And they were in the future. Fighting robots. In space.
Just as gross exaggeration fuels frustration, a square hit on a niche topic lends incalculable credibility. One such example is the 7-part HBO mini series Generation Kill.
It actually took me the better part of six months to track down Nester, the mascot for Nintendo Power magazine between 1989 and 1993. The first attempt to contact him, via his agent, ended in disaster when it turned out that the address given me was actually a slaughterhouse in Arizona. After hiring a private detective (at Chris' personal expense no less... whatta guy), we finally tracked down the man that for four years stood as the gateway between the obfuscated world of Nintendo's products and the common man.
Facing Nester is an exercise in suspension of expectation. He is a broad, bespectacled man in his early 30s, the only remnant of his child-star presence being the roundish head that made him famous. I catch up with him at an undisclosed location in Tacoma, Washington.
SECKSCAB: It's been twenty years since you premiered in Nintendo Power, as a sidekick to Howard Philips in the "Howard and Nester" comic. Do you still keep in contact with Howard?
NESTER: Sadly no. I haven't seen him since he left Nintendo in 1991. I heard he was working for Lucasarts.
SECKSCAB: Apparently. Wikipedia agrees.
NESTER: I never got to say goodbye. One day he was polishing the gigantic brass Shigeru Miyamoto statue, and the next day he was gone. His desk was completely atomized, after blinking three times.
SECKSCAB: That's... odd.
NESTER: It was like he never existed. Or if he had, it was like he was killed with the Silver Arrows.
SECKSCAB: Were there any other strange occurrences at Nintendo that you can recall?
NESTER: I don't really want to talk about what they did to Donkey Kong.
SECKSCAB: So, you left Nintendo in 1993. What have you been doing since then?
NESTER: Just trying to keep afloat, I guess. We try to keep things turning here in Nester Headquarters. I did return on a consultancy basis in 1996 for Nester's Funky Bowling on the Virtual Boy.
SECKSCAB: I'm sorry, I was not aware...
NESTER: Not many are, sadly. Michael Jackson was the only one who pre-ordered it.
SECKSCAB: Really? Did he send you a note or anything?
NESTER: I think he was dismayed at the "Virtual Boy" not exactly turning out to be what his imagination assumed it to be.
Nester sips the cup of coffee that I purchased him, and looks somewhat saddened.
SECKSCAB: What was the high point of your stardom?
NESTER: Referring to my genitals as "The Rumble Pak".
NESTER: Feel free to use that. Hasn't worked for me in fifteen years.
SECKSCAB: Do you still play video games?
NESTER: I do, yes. I have a Death Knight on Ethelon named "AwesomeKillz", if anyone wants to hit me up. We have a Tabard now. Now accepting all classes and levels, seeking serious players with no drama.
SECKSCAB: So you like World of Warcraft?
NESTER: Keeps me busy, ever since my wife left me. It's just me and the WoW and the Social Security Administration these days.
SECKSCAB: I'm sorry, I was not aware you were married.
NESTER: Twice. I have a son now, Lester.
SECKSCAB: How old is he?
NESTER: He's four years old, (Amy Schultz; localization editor for HAL) is keeping him hostage for the time being. Apparently I'm a "deadbeat dad". So the judge says.
SECKSCAB: That's... er... what was your favorite game you ever reviewed?
NESTER: What the hell does it matter, man? It's all blown to Hell. It's all over. Nester the man is a broken shell and a failure. A heartbroken supertanker full of misery and regret. My spirit has been crushed, every day is a roaring success if I can find the gin.
SECKSCAB: I had no idea.
NESTER: I'm kind of bleak these days.
NESTER: No need to be snarky, man. I know the score. I know the motherfucking score. There's something fishy going on in Maniac Mansion. Grab the remote control on the third floor to summon Robo-Duck. It's a bad night for a curse. Dodongo dislikes smoke.
Nester is nodding back and forth oddly, as if his whole equilibrium is off.
SECKSCAB: So then, do you have any projects for the future? Anything that the fans of Nester would like to hear about?
NESTER: I am going to lay a gigantic dook in about an hour. Inform the press. I will accept the laudatory praise of the universe with all due humility.
With his fifteen minutes up, Nester returns to the Suncoast Video where I found him lurking.
This week sees the end of Jinny and Ryan's race to 9000 gamerpoints, and they are both exhausted. We talk about how E3 is fast approaching and what games we're looking forward to seeing more about, the new Star Trek reboot and how the movie is awesome, Fallout 3's Broken Steel DLC, a new Weekly Geek editor is introduced, and Jinny and I talk about our recent trip to Disneyland and California Adventure, and the craziness of the new Toy Story ride. Oh yeah, Ross is here too. Fully enjoyable, robust and deep in flavor, this is a podcast you will enjoy.
To some food comes easily, whipping together raw ingredients akin to alchemy, producing culinary gold. For others this combination of pre-food constitutes a mysterious process, wrought with danger and difficulty. Practical Alchemy hopes to help chronicle my personal journey from a terrified food neophyte scared to handle raw chicken to what may someday be an alchemical wizard, bending food to my very whim.
A scant 3 months ago I insisted upon wearing latex gloves to handle raw meat. 3 months ago I moved out of a condo which had an oven I literally hadn't turned on in the 6 years I had lived there. 3 months ago I was challenged by the idea of making even Kraft blue box Mac'n'Cheese. Luckily a stray neutrino hit my brain after the move and activated my magical Betty Crocker gene.
Having 20-plus-plus years of food eating experience under my belt, but for all practical reasons no food cooking experience to rely on has made a crash course into cooking an interesting experience for me. I've seen others perform this mystical art my entire life and have a great basis of what end results and effects I enjoy, however putting the process together from start to finish is proving to be an interesting journey.
Click through for a first (long) peek into that journey with my most favorite of creations so far: cookies.
Sparky turned in enough box tops to get his very own author account (but boxes of what?) He's been teaching himself how to cook and not only will he document this experience for you, but he's going to cover whatever other subjects he's currently geeking out about. We'd like to welcome official #3 Weekly Geek fan Sparky to the site.
Good morning internet, It's Sparky! I'm the newest contributor to the Weekly Geek site and our fearless leader Chris has asked me to write a quick introduction to formally introduce myself to the geeky masses. Introductions always do seem a little awkward, so I thought I'd dive in headfirst and present myself in faux-interview style.
What makes you a geek?
If I had to pin it down to something it would be my mildly obsessive compulsive personality. Once I get into something I geek out on it nearly endlessly.
What thinks do you geek out on?
I love technology, photography, video games, cooking, baking, iPhone apps, and (unfortunately) self-created internet memes. Combining these in different permutations can result is greatness and great tragedy. For instance combining photos and baking results in mouth-watering food photography, while combining baking and video games results in ruined game discs and acrid smoke.
Click through to keep reading more information than you really require about Sparky
It's true. I don't like to play World of Warcraft. I know it's been available for something like 5 years now, but I just finally downloaded the free trial last week, and I played my 10 days, and now I'm done.
Maybe someday I'll come back, but I was somewhat disenchanted early on. I started as an Undead Warlock, which maybe wasn't the best choice. As I kept playing, I quickly discovered that I had to press about 18 buttons all in exact casting order, tell my minion what to do, and make sure that the dude I'm killing dies when I throw off a certain spell so I can make "Soul Shards".
It was sort of bizarre. The most annoying thing is that I spent about fifteen hours traversing Brill and the skeleton infested hills of Doomy Swampy Scary Land, carrying the bassist from Oingo Boingo's skull around, desperately trying to bury it. I had tried every grave I saw, and nobody told me there was a graveyard behind the chapel. By the time I finally buried the fucking skull, I was about Level 8.
I also didn't die until I hit Level 10. I felt that was somewhat odd.
So, growing bored of my Zombie Warlock, I tried an Orc, which was really fucking dull as hell. I was in a neon orange valley that looked like Duckburg 200 years after the nuke dropped.
Eventually, I discovered the only quest I was interested in, which was the seasonal easter egg hunt. Bear in mind that I had already done the exact same thing in Animal Crossing a week earlier, and I did it splendidly. I got a full set of the Easter Egg furniture.
It then became obvious that building a WoW character is a lot like Animal Crossing, in that you're supposed to do a lot of things: killing 20 centaurs, finding a walrus a red snapper, killing 20 gnolls, planting flowers and trying to breed a blue rose, sending a party of 40 characters to kill a dragon, sending a party of 40 characters to kill Krazy Redd. They're very similar games, really.
I think the deal-sealer was that Nintendo sent me an in-game couch for my in-game house, shaped like a Nintendo DSi. The week previous, I got a red Pikmin hat, and before that was a green St. Patricks hat.
You see, I happen to like that Animal Crossing has no levels or ways to kill characters or anything like that. World of Warcraft does appeal to my desire to collect absolutely everything in the game to see what they do, but the problem is that I have to kill 4,000,000 zombies to do it.
If you want to see the future, Winston, it's Tom Nook's foot, smashing into your face, over and over and over again.
It's not that Animal Crossing doesn't have flaws. The Wii version is the same damn game as all the others, with a few annoying tics to make a learning curve inherent. For example, players and animals build trails based on where they walk most. It took me a few weeks until I realized that my entire village was beginning to look like Planet Arrakis. I now have been spending every last Bell on flowers, the only way to reseed your village's brown.
So, despite Animal Crossing being a flawed game, it's still way more fun than World of Warcraft. Of course, I'm deeply disturbed, and Animal Crossing is the video game equivalent of a padded looney bin cell, where absolutely nothing can possibly be a stressor, so it might, just might, not be for you.
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Can you feel that tingle in the air? The excitement turns palpable as Jinny and Ryan's race to 9000 comes to a head - they're both at 8000+ and one of them is going to hit 9000 soon, but who? The super-famous Ross Rosenberg also joins us to talk about some video game news, Myst and Peggle on the iphone, PixelJunk Monsters on the PSP and a super nerdy (and possibly awesome) Lord of the Rings fan movie that definitely bears mentioning. Also this week we have a super special bonus, Mint.com CEO Aaron Patzer joins us for the last bits of the podcast to discuss Mint's new Financial Fitness feature - turning personal finance into a race for arbitrary points, just like achievements! FINALLY, A REASON TO SAVE MONEY.
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