Grfld

typed for your pleasure on 21 May 2008, at 1.00 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Skunk’ by The Jon Spencer Blues explosion

What exactly is it about Garfield™® that engenders so much contempt amongst upright-walking, thinking beings? I think the reason goes beyond its feeble and saccharine attempts at humour; in fact, for me, it’s precisely because it tries to be as inoffensive as possible is the reason I wish to see Jim Davis’ head on a pike outside the city gates. I can understand wanting to create comics that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, but as a wise Mancunian once remarked, ‘If you pander to the public, art can never exist’.

Luckily, it seems of late that more and more people are realising that there actually are trace elements of humour to be found in Garfield™®, if you have a powerful enough viewing device to see it. Recently, I discovered three separate sites that have a reductionist approach to putting the ‘comic’ back into that ‘comic strip’. First, I give you Arbuckle:

In 1978, Jim Davis began a newspaper comic strip called “Garfield”. For almost thirty years, this strip has endured, primarily because its inoffensive, storyless humour is immediately accessible. It is, if not quite the Lowest Common Denominator of the comic world, at least as close to it as one can get without being obviously mediocre.

The comic changes dramatically when one removes the thought bubbles.

“Garfield” changes from being a comic about a sassy, corpulent feline, and becomes a compelling picture of a lonely, pathetic, delusional man who talks to his pets. Consider that Jon, according to Garfield canon, cannot hear his cat’s thoughts. This is the world as he sees it. This is his story.

They’re accepting submissions, so if you’re feelin’ mischievous and want to redo a strip yourself, contact the site owner to check to see someone else hasn’t done the one you want first.
Then you’ve got Garfield minus Garfield:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?
Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Yes, Jon is that much more unsettling when he’s the only person in the room. I love the ones where they redo the extended Sunday versions, and the first panel that usually has the title ‘Garfield’ in it, is completely blank.

Finally, there’s Lasagna Cat, which is not so much ‘reductionist’, as ‘singularly disturbing’. But that description really fits when you’re dealing with live-action reenactments of various Garfield™® strips, with rimshots and canned laughter and the actors holding still in lieu of a freeze-frame. Yeah. After viewing a couple of these, you can announce to the world that you have indeed seen everything it has to offer, and you can now return to your Maker with no regrets. My particular favourite?

Hallucinatory. But funny! And when’s the last time you could honestly say that about an unadulterated Garfield™® comic?

And with this post, I hereby announce the new category, G******d (which has actually been there for a bit of a while, but nevertheless). Come, share the Hate with me

ta very much to aneamo for the ‘Garfield minus Garfield’ link

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Machines 4, Fleshlings 0

typed for your pleasure on 23 February 2008, at 12.30 am

Sdtrk: ‘We are coming back to dance with you’ by The focus group

Fuck me rigid. I have been asleep for literally twelve hours straight. Why? I’ve got another flu! FUCKING AWESOME.

I swear to christ, I am sick of being sick. As I’ve been lamenting to my friends anyone who will listen, I’ve been ill off and on with supercolds and the occasional flu consistently since late last September. If the climate isn’t bitterly cold, I’m either getting it from friends, or from my godforsaken coworkers. Remember how I mentioned how Tsukihime had it? I managed to either avoid it directly, or it was just building up inside me, as while I was at work last night, I was getting the occasional shiver. When I woke up Friday morning, I felt as if someone had taken me by the shoulders and shaken me for an hour. Needless to say, I called in.
It’s definitely a flu, as I’ve got the symptoms: the slow-motion walk, muscle fatigue, being simultaneously too cold and too hot, dizziness, everything tasting like iron filings. But y’know the thing about this timing that really gets on my wick? A cluster of us Michigan-area iDollators are supposed to have another Congress this week-end! Goddamnit.

If you want me, I’ll be in my coffin. This is ridiculous

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More like ‘Nightmare cruise’

typed for your pleasure on 17 August 2007, at 2.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Ashes to ashes’ by David Bowie

Apart from the heat and humidity, there’s one more really good reason why I despise August: the fucking Woodward Dream Cruise. Ugh.
Since it’s that time of year again, I will now trot out the post I wrote back in 2005, concerning this seasonal atrocity. As SafeTinspector says, if you haven’t read it before, it’s new to you.

Jeeves, fetch me my rocket launcher

The Woodward Dream cruise, if you’re lucky enough to not be familiar with it, is basically an excuse for all the gearheads and nostalgia freaks in the state (as well as a couple from neighbouring states) to cruise up and down Woodward, which is the main drag of the Tri-county area, as well as the dividing line between the west side and the east side. It’s ostensibly a sad reenactment of the ‘good ol’ days’ of the Fifties and Sixties, when Detroit had both a functioning auto industry and places worth visiting, and young people would drive aimlessly up and down Woodward in their oversized automobiles. Now, once a year for the past.. however many years.. all those individuals who grew up during those years that have reconditioned ‘classic’ cars spend an entire week-end, driving aimlessly up and down Woodward, slowing traffic down, and being a general nuisance.


Superior!

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Colour me Davecat

typed for your pleasure on 3 August 2007, at 2.23 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cruel when complete’ by Dome

Heh. Everyone wants to be me, yet no-one wants to be me.
It seems I have a MySpace page! Apparently, I’ve not only taken leave of my senses and made one (it’s on public record that I despise everything about MySpace), but now Sidore-chan and I live in Australia. Also, I’ve changed my birthday, and am now a Cancer, too!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but frankly, this is just stupid. At least they didn’t try to imitate my style of writing; they just wholesale copied and pasted my details and picture into that page. Fucking brilliant.
In summation, if you see a MySpace profile named ‘Davecat’ and the URL doesn’t read ‘www.myspace.com/artificialist’, it’s not me, it’s an impostor.

So my quandary is: do I make an actual MySpace profile, or do I just kick Tom Anderson in the bollocks over and over until he deletes that account? Or both? I’ll mull it over at work this eve

EDIT (1.57 am): 50% rectified. It’s a travesty that this sort of thing is even occurring.
I honestly don’t understand the mentality of people who create MySpace profiles for individuals who are either long dead, or without the permission of those that are still living. If I’m not mistaken, one of the musicians I like — either William Bennett or Boyd Rice — had to make a profile because some tosser already made claiming to be him. And I’m entirely sure Friedrich Nietzsche would use MySpace. You could totally be one of his Top Ten Friends, dude! I can completely picture the man who declared that God is dead leaving a message on someone’s MySpace page: ‘yo sup fag lol u goin 2 see the vans warped tour?’ Yeah, best fucking buds with Nietzsche. As I’m fond of saying, I really don’t understand people.

Anyway, like I said on the profile itself, you can request an add if you so desire, but it might take some time, as I’m sure you’ve sussed that maintaining that page isn’t going to be a high priority for me. I can promise you, however, that there won’t be a surplus of flashing .gifs, but there might just be an audio ambush. You’ve been warned!
Now to see about that errant Doppelgänger of mine… *loads Mauser*

EDIT (11.34 pm, 05 Aug): Now the Missus has an official one, too. We thought it would be a good idea to circumvent any further chicanery

EDIT (1.27 am, 07 Aug): Ohhh, so sad, too bad for the impostor. Let that be a lesson.
Remember kids; when enquiring about Davecat, be sure to ask for the genuine article

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Yet another death-knell for Mistress English

typed for your pleasure on 6 June 2007, at 1.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Albion Festival report’ by The focus group

I have absolutely nothing polite to say about this. Nothing whatsoever.

Mobile texts harm written language?
Reuters | Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:28 AM ET

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The rising popularity of text messaging on mobile phones poses a threat to writing standards among Irish schoolchildren, an education commission says.

The frequency of errors in grammar and punctuation has become a serious concern, the State Examination Commission said in a report after reviewing last year’s exam performance by 15-year-olds.

“The emergence of the mobile phone and the rise of text messaging as a popular means of communication would appear to have impacted on standards of writing as evidenced in the responses of candidates,” the report said, according to Wednesday’s Irish Times.

“Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing.”

The report laments that, in many cases, candidates seemed “unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary.”

In 2003, Irish 15-year-olds were among the top 10 performers in an international league table of literacy standards compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Call me old-fashioned, or call me anal-retentive, but honestly, I think people in this day and age not having proper writing skills is embarrassing and shameful. Yes, I realise that language evolves through time for ‘better’ usage — arguably what comprises contemporary English is much less brain-destroying than say, Middle English — but these days I’m inclined to think that ‘better’ in the context of 21st Century society really means ‘lazier’.

My friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios once argued that if the person who receives your message can parse what you’re essentially saying, despite any misspellings or grammar explosions, then that’s really the most important thing. Sure, I’ll grant him that, but I firmly believe that proper spelling should be encouraged. There are many people out there, myself included, who will almost entirely disregard an article, a blog entry, a post, or what have you if it’s typed ham-handedly. There may be an important message cleverly hidden within, but it’s as if the reader is being given a diamond ring cleverly hidden within a handful of shit. Frankly, if a person can’t be arsed to take the time to spell properly, why should anyone take the time to read it?
For a lot of people (and note, that’s ‘a lot’ — ‘alot’ isn’t a word), it’s a case of they’re typing so fast, that they don’t go over what they’ve written for errors before they submit it or hit the Send button; that’s how the Interbutt standards ‘zOMG’ and ‘teh’ began, for instance. There’s absolutely no sane reason why a person can’t give what they’ve said a quick check. And ‘that takes too long’ is hardly an excuse — if your spelling and grammar is up to snuff, it won’t take more than a couple of seconds, at any rate.

And as far as limited vocabulary, that rankles me just as much, if not more. Could you imagine if writers such as Wilde, or Burgess, or Machen, or Plath, didn’t have the benefit of an expansive vocabulary? Could you picture how incredibly dull their writing would be, or any writing, speech, or dialogue, for that matter? Language should be more than just a vehicle for basic communication; at its best, it should also paint pictures. Obviously, not everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth should sound like something by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (‘Yes, my good maiden; I would desire to place an order for a burger of ham, bedecked with intertwining spirals of tomato catsup and yellowed mustard, denuded of pickles, and accompanying that I wouldst like a singular order of French fries — crisp, golden-brown shards of deeply-fried potato — in the largest size a man can request. To quench my thirst which threatens even now to vanquish me, I will also require a chilled Coca’d-Cola, in a size that lay betwixt Diminutive and Titanic’) but a larger vocabulary is, at the very least, a sign that you’re trying to elevate yourself above the grunts and snorts that pass for common language.

In summation? Read more books, I suppose

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Telephone or megaphone?

typed for your pleasure on 26 February 2007, at 2.35 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Alice in Boogie Wonderland’ by Noise/Girl

Recently, I’ve discovered something about myself: unlike 90% of cellphone owners, I don’t really like being on my phone when out in public. Errm, correction: I don’t like being on my cellphone when out in public around people.

Every single one of us has come across some self-important gobshite on their cell, loudly speaking about nothing at all, at great length. It’s almost as bad as being at someplace such as the optometrists, or an auto repair place, where a television is constantly blaring crap that you can’t really get away from. There’s a solution for that, if you’re so inclined, but unfortunately, you can’t do the same thing to Loud Cellphone Fuckwit. And believe me, I’ve tried! But unfortunately, it seems you can’t bring a hammer with you everywhere you go, which is really a shame.

My thing is, I get self-conscious — well, moreso than usual — when engaged in telephonic conversation, and it’s due to two reasons: one, like pretty much everyone else, I really can’t perceive how loud I sound to the surrounding area, so even if I’m not intentionally being loud, in my mind, I’m bellowing like Brian Blessed; two, whether I’m genuinely being loud or speaking at a normal volume, there’s always gonna be someone eavesdropping nearby — it’s unavoidable. People don’t need to be listening to my feckin’ business. Although there have been a few times when Penda and I were enjoying our semi-monthly dinner, and being perfectly aware of our conversation being within another diner’s earshot, we’d deliberately say things to take the piss — usually centred round babies, and the proper way to prepare one for dinner. But that’s talking shite deliberately, as opposed to an actual conversation.

If I’m out and about, it’s not unusual at all for me to be on my phone — I should probably mention at this point that I always use my headset, so I have use of both hands, plus I don’t get facial schmutz on my screen that way — but usually I’ll end the call before I get out of my car. I suppose I’m simply not a typical cellphone user, as I like to keep my private conversations exactly that — private

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Brotherhood

typed for your pleasure on 25 January 2007, at 6.37 pm

Sdtrk: ‘As it is when it was’ by New order

On my way to work this morning, I had to make a stop at a service station — most people have coffee to get them going, whereas I’d much rather have a Dr pepper. I pulled in, left the warmth of my car for the 15ºF weather, and walked briskly inside. After paying for a 20oz bottle of said beverage, not five seconds after stepping back out, I heard ‘hey mon, you got any spare change on you?’ yelled in my direction. I glanced up, and spotted some individual standing at the bus stop gesturing at me lazily. As I was in a hurry to get going; plus human interaction in near-freezing conditions with some spurious person I didn’t know is fifty times worse than in any other situation, I shook my head and gave a cursory shrug in response, before I scrambled back into my car and locked the door.

As I was pulling off the premises, I had to peer left, in order to look for a break in the oncoming traffic, and the tosser was standing in my line of sight about ten feet away. He held his joint aloft — at least, I assumed it was a joint, by the way he was holding it — with a big smile, as if to say ‘hey mon, it’s all good,’ but all that really served to do was make me feel more alienated

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