Friday, March 30, 2007

Look Ma, I'm Artsy!

Second-year photography assignment, here I come!

Whoa, what the hell happened there? For those of you following at home, I haven’t had a new post since March the… 3rd?! Hell of a way to lead things into our 1st anniversary. Apologies to those of you who have signed up for the IKBIC Premium Club featuring exclusive interviews, music and video clips; my sit-down with J. D. Salinger will be up on Sunday.

You know, running a blog is hard work. Just ask Cameron I-Shut-Down-My-Blogspot-Account McKay. Keeping that thing up to date nearly gave that poor man an ulcer. Oh, sure, he’ll say he had more important things to do, like… I dunno, gank some newbs in Tirisfal Glades, get a Master’s in less than 5 years (just sayin’…) and have a social life, but you and I both know it was his demanding legion of fans, rabid for every last detail of his life that made him quit.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes - running a blog isn’t always fun and games, and sometimes it’s a real goddamn stretch to come up with anything worth mentioning. And since I still got nothing, here’s a lame post filled with photos I took the other day! Enjoy, losers!

This first batch of photos was taken in Sandy Bay right at the end of winter. Photos taken literally the next day would have looked totally different in terms of how much snow is on the ground. This first one shows the actual… bay of Sandy Bay fame.

Next up is our church… oh, psych! It was actually a courthouse that day. What a way to run a railroad, eh? Not to sound like a prick, but there’s something very evocative about this photo. I think it accurately hints at a lot of the issues this community faces.

No, these children didn’t sign a waiver to appear on my blog, but what are you going to do about it? Nah, I kid. In order to avoid legal difficulties, these are actually mannequins I dressed up and pushed around on the swings before taking the photo.

This photo shows off a lot of what this town looks like, if you’re curious.

Oh, you naughty dog! Who’s a bad boy! Who’s the bad doggie that opened up the trash box, took the trash out, ripped it open, spilled my used beer cans on the ground and showed everyone I have alcohol in my home? Is it you? Oooh, you’re so fucking adorable! I hope nobody kills you in the cull and sends you to the Band for the $30 bounty on dogs! Oooh, you good boy, I really hope nobody does that!

(PS: My home is in the basement there)

You’ll notice that most of these next photos revolve around melting snow. Normally such a thing wouldn’t merit a use of film, but up here a melt is really something to behold. It all started last Friday, and literally overnight the landscape and whole atmosphere does a 180. Snow starts to disappear, water starts seeping through on the ice (or something – anyone up here want to tell me what’s going on there?), the dirt road is an actual dirt road for the first time in 5 months… and tons of mud and so on. Obviously the concept of melting snow is no different here than in the GTA, but it’s the way it just starts melting out of nowhere and doesn’t let up for a week that gets to me.

This one here was taken down the Trevors’ street near Flin Flon on a particularly lovely Saturday afternoon last week. I cannot stress how insane it was to see melting snow that day. I mean, Christ, I took a goddamn photo of it.

Poor abandoned truck. Nobody loves you. Handsome-looking shadow down in the left, though.

Here, by the way, is the view the Trevors have across the street.

So that's that, your semi-monthly check-in from Northern Saskatchewan (not to be confused with anywhere on Earth that you'd want to live).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Read This And Weep

(Update at end!)

Continuing my series of exploring things that remind me of Poochie, we take a look at the currently-airing cartoon, Loonatics Unleashed. Now, it seems a bit silly to make Loonatics the focus of what is only my second installment; there is nothing in the history of mass media that is as vapid, insulting, uninspired, cynical and just plain awful as this cartoon show. After this, dreck like “The Batman” is going to seem like frigging Shakespeare. All things considered though, I am compelled to write about it.
"Jump the shark" just doesn't seem to cut it

What more is there to say? These character designs speak for themselves. Focus group-tested and toy company-approved, creativity and originality take a backseat here to unchecked commercialism. Look at those anime-influenced eyes, the hard, inorganic edges that have been carefully measured to ensure maximum profitability. Garbage, pure and simple.

Not having seen it, Loonatics Unleashed seems to be some sort of futuristic cartoon show involving characters that are loosely based on ones from classic Looney Tunes. According to the press release, these characters are descendants of the originals who have banded together to protect Earth after a meteor strike. Like, what… Daffy Duck had kids? The fucking Road Runner had kids? Insane.

You can just picture it, can’t you? The little meeting where they came up with the show, came up with their names. Picture no more, friend, as I have here a transcript from that very same meeting:

Executive 1: Hmmm… we need a cartoon that will appeal to the kids today. Something with skateboards and, possibly, iPods.

Executive 2: Anime is big. Maybe some anime with iPods?

Executive 1: Brilliant! Wait, no no. We don’t own the trademark on the iPod.

Executive 2: Well, what do we own?

Executive 3: What about the Looney Tunes? We definitely own the rights to that. You know, the cherished cartoons of not only our youth, but of our parents and their parents? The series of cartoon shorts with a pedigree extending past the Golden Age of animation, back more than 70 years? One of the few shared cultural experiences that have stretched across gender, age and ethnicity for, literally, generations? Why don’t we just make more of those?
The boardroom in which Loonatics Unleased was created. Incidentally, this is also the place where the outcome of the 2008 presidential election was decided last week.

Executive 2: By Jove, Edwards, I think you’ve got it! Oh, wait, hold on… that’s not anime. It’s a veritable hodge-podge of artistic styles created and refined by peerless animators over the course of four decades. There aren’t any shots of characters placed in static poses in front of dynamic, abstract backgrounds, are there? I don’t remember any, at least. It’ll never fly.

Executive 1: Wait, no… gentlemen, prepare yourselves. What if we were to make the Looney Tunes anime?

Executive 2: Weinstein, are you insane?!

Executive 1: Far from it. Picture this: hard-edged, X-Treme versions of classic Looney Tunes characters fight crime in the – wait for it –

Executive 3: I think we’ve got it! Now, what characters will make it to the show?

Executive 1: Well, Bugs Bunny, of course. We’ll call him “Buzz Bunny”, with two Zs!

Executive 2: Wait, hold on there a minute. “Buzz Bunny” is the name of a vibrator. How about “Ace Bunny” (note: this is true and the name was changed)?

Executive 1: Just as good! Then, Daffy Duck, naturally. We’ll call him “Danger Duck”.

Executive 3: Oooh, sounds dangerous!

Executive 1: That’s the idea!

Executive 2: Right, and we could have Porky Pig, only we’ll call him “Porxy Pigg”, and…

Executive 3: Oh, might want to hold off on Porky there, Dave. According to our focus group research, Porky is among the least marketable characters.

Executive 2: Really? Porky Pig? The very first classical Looney Tune character? The one who, in dozens of shorts, was the only one who could keep his head on? The beloved everyman, Porky Pig?

Exec 3: Yep. Kids don’t like him. Too gay.

Exec 2: Alright, shit. Then howabout the Tasmanian Devil? He’s not remotely gay, and his image is second only to Calvin taking a piss when it comes to the working class and the decals they like to stick on the backs of their trucks. He’ll be called “Slam Tasmanian”. And, heck, before I sold my soul, I vaguely recall as a child being fond of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. The first shall be known as Rev Runner, while the second, I will name Tech E. Coyote.

Exec 3: You sure about that Tech E. Coyote name?

Exec 2: Absolutely. I know what you’re thinking… pretty silly, right? Silly, that is, until you remember that
kids love technology! And “tech” is an abbreviation of “technology”! And people who are adept at using technology – like children – are sometimes called “techies”. Get it – Tech E.?

Exec 3: Good lord, you are a genius. I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that!

Exec 1: Now, I like what I’m hearing, but what about a woman character? Seeing as how our attempts to disenfranchise them fell flat in the 60s, I guess we should maybe start catering to them, albeit very tentatively?

Exec 2: Well, not a bad idea, but I can’t really think of any notable female Looney Tunes. I guess there’s always Granny…

Exec 3: The hell there is! You want this program to succeed? You think featuring a character over the age of 18 is going to do that? Start thinking!

Exec 2: Christ, you’re right. Hey, what about that Lola Bunny we cooked up for Space Jam last decade? I know she’s not really a Looney Tunes character and was only created as a means to placate our female audience, but why not dust her off and call her, shit, I dunno… Lexi Bunny?

Exec 1: Gentlemen, I think we owe ourselves a pat on the back… and a nice, 50-year old bottle of scotch! Any takers?

Exec 2 & 3, in unison: You bet!

Exec 1: Oh, wait, let’s not forget to saddle them with inane powers that will hamstring writers and replace any sense of whimsy with abject predictability.

Your childhood has now been officially ruined. Thanks for reading!

And thus was born Loonatics Unleashed! This show is one of those things that is so bad, you would think I was joking if there wasn’t so much evidence to the contrary. It’s so ridiculous that you would have to look into it yourself before you’d actually believe me. But it exists. It’s real. Someone came up with the idea, it was okayed, developed, and is actually being broadcast across the airwaves. I don’t know how many graves are spinning over this one. Probably a couple. For these reasons and more, Loonatics Unleashed receives an unqualified 5 Poochies!

Update: And for you brave souls, here's a link to the show's intro. Maybe the kids find it cool, I dunno, but it really hammers home to me what a stinking pile of crap this show is.