Monthly Archives: August 2011

Frank Herbert’s DUNE: The Drinking Game!

Sandworms Love it, Fremen Approve!

Around a year and a half ago, I was out at a local pub with a few friends of mine (Editor’s Note: Just say the writing staff of Nonstop Karate. -Ed.) when we all began reminiscing about the books and movies that truly inspired our childhoods.  Most had been adequately represented in today’s culture by reboots, sequels, prequels, and gritty reimaginings; that is to say, the traditional way to honor anything that was remotely successful or “good” in the past.

One franchise that we realized hadn’t really gotten much attention lately (aside from a tepidly received SyFy channel mini-series) was Frank Herbert’s wildly popular 1965 science fiction series, “Dune”.

So we did the only thing we could think of to rectify the situation. We turned it into a drinking game.

The game you are about to learn about can be quite fun, although to be honest it has only been played once amongst my circle of friends, and even then in a very prototypical form (as in we were inventing it as it was played.) If nothing else, you will get drunk pretending to be an alien worm-riding space baron.

Be aware that this is isn’t one of those terrible “games” where you watch the film adaptation and take a shot every time someone says “spice”.  This is a true gentlemen’s sport with real, complex rules. A game of strategy and nuance. And beers.  Lots of beers.

If you’ve never heard of “Dune” or you don’t like getting wasted with a group of idiots, you should probably just stop reading now.

If you like one or both of those things, read on! Read the rest of this entry

Sexy Sexism in Comics; Also, Sex. Part One!

I love comic books. And I love women.  In fact, I’d say that they are my two favorite things to look at and spend money on.

Just kidding. Who buys comics anymore AMIRITE?!!

There’s been a lot of rumbling lately about the problem of sexism in comics.  I’ll be the first to admit it’s an issue, but it’s kind of unfair to single-out comics when it comes to sexism. (refer to Dolce and Gabbana ad, above)

“But Ryan”, you may say, “Just look at the way women are drawn! And what about the fact that women are always given the defensive powers, rather than offensive?  Also its sort of hard to to believe you after you referred to women as “things” in the first line?”  And to you I would say:  THAT WAS A TEST.  You passed. Now claim your prize by reading on, as we look at  what’s wrong, what’s right, and what we (read: everyone but me. I’M writing a BLOG) can do about it.  Buckle up, true believer-ettes, it’s gonna be a sexy, bumpy, sex-bumpy ride.

Today’s installment: COMICS ARE SEXIST

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A Breakdown of Hidden Meanings in Penny Arcade’s New Webcomic, “The Trenches”

Approximately three weeks ago, the creators of the popular video game webcomic Penny Arcade announced they were forming a partnership with Scott Kurtz, the rival creator of another popular video game webcomic called PvP.

Together, they would be collaborating on an exciting new online project.  This experiment promised to break boundaries, rewrite narrative tradition and usher audiences into a new age of art and illustration.

After countless speculation, this undertaking was soon revealed to be… another video game webcomic.

A webcomic called The Trenches.

Thus far, a total of five entries have been released under the Trenches’ relatively young banner.  In the following essay, it is my aim to examine and illuminate the profound metadata woven throughout these few digital pages and show the astonishing complexity that this webcomic already challenges us with.

Some of you may balk at this article. You might claim it is too early to provide any formal analysis of a work that’s still in its relative infancy, let alone this one. I respectfully disagree.

I will demonstrate not only that The Trenches stands apart from its predecessors, but that by sheer richness of content, it surpasses all others in the pantheon of webcomics and, I daresay, can stand proudly amongst the grand output of all contemporary human culture.

Let us begin.

Comic #1: “Isaac” (8/9/11)

In “Isaac”, we are given a brief (but telling) first glimpse of our protagonist, Isaac Cox.  At a glance, this might appear to be a simple (if somewhat unmemorable) character introduction and nothing more. Man drives up. Man faxes resume. Man gives blithe joke to fulfill requirements of 3-panel structure.

I implore you to look again. Read the rest of this entry

Senator Claims He isn’t Gay; Supports Small Business

State Senator Paul Habig

(transcribed from a press conference earlier today)

Ladies and gentlemen of the press.

Fellow representatives.

My loyal constituents.

I’m sure by now, you’ve all heard the rumors that have been circulating the news stations about some of my recent activities.  Some are saying that I may have paid a young, hairless man to spend an evening with me at a small hotel just outside of our state capital.  Some are saying that the nature of our rendezvous was sexual in nature.  Some have even had the audacity to imply that I may be a homosexual.  I’ve come here today, to set the record straight.  My policy has always been one of transparency and honesty when it came to the actions I take both inside and outside of my office.  And I think that now more than ever, it’s important that I be upfront with the people who voted me into this position.  Because, ultimately, they’re the only people who I must answer to.

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The First Ever Bathroom Review on Yelp

Dear Mobil Gas Station on Santa Monica and Highland

I wish I was writing this review for the quality of your fuel, be it gasoline or whatever lukewarm hot dogs you sell. Do you sell hot dogs? I recall an orange glow coming from next to your soda machine. It is likely those were hot dogs. Much like a mugging victim, I can only recall the immediate details of the travesty that occurred to me.

After partaking in a rousing game of dodgeball at the local rec center (because I am a 23-year old trying to hold onto his youth and this is the only way I get a chance to talk to girls), I needed to use your facilities. I had to stop by the local comic book shop before the night was over (again, big winner here) and the girl running the counter there and I have been playing a flirty game of Doctor Who conversations. I needed to freshen up before.

I filled up my tank with your unleaded gasoline, sealing the bond between merchant and customer: I buy some of your gas, you are indebted to give me change for a dollar and/or promise I will use your restrooms unmolested. Those seventy dollars worth of gas was a contract guaranteeing I wouldn’t get The AIDS from your business. Read the rest of this entry

Where Art Thou, Kaiju Monsters of Yesteryear?

You still have a place in the wellspring of my heart, old friends.

In 1954, a Japanese stuntman by the name of Haruo Nakajima wriggled into a suit made of 270 lbs. of stiff vulcanized rubber.  The limbs were inflexible and painful to wear, the body unventilated and stifling, and the tail pulled his spine into an unnatural curve.  Under the haze of dozens of halogen studio lamps in a cramped Tokyo soundstage, he paused until the instant he heard the director shout the repeated phrase “Haimemashou!” (“Begin the action!”)

With that, Nakajima began a dangerous game of filmmaking chicken — pushing himself to stay conscious in the extreme discomfort of the poorly-constructed costume and searing film lights… just long enough to destroy as many papier-mâché skyscrapers, cars, tanks, trains and villagers as possible before the overwhelming pain and exhaustion of the scene pushed him into heat stroke.

Several weeks later, in a separate soundstage, an actor by the name of Jiro Mitsuaki turned his gaze to the empty ceiling overhead as the cameras rolled on him,  awaiting him to summon every ounce of his strength to shout one, very strange word at the top of his lungs. He was to yell as loud as the condenser microphones could register. One word out of fear for his life. At the time, it was a nonsense word. But a terrifying one.

“GOJIRA!” he screamed. “GOJIRA! GOJIRA!” he shouted again and again.  Gojira. Literally translated, “Gorilla-Whale”. Nonsense.

Gojira. Read the rest of this entry

This is Your Childhood: “Space Jam”

A few days ago I caught one of my favorite movies from my childhood on of all places, the NBA TV Network (that exists).  It was, of course, the mid-90’s Michael Jordan/Looney Tunes collaboration entitled “Space Jam.”  Do you remember “Space Jam?” If you grew up in the 90’s there’s a damn good chance you do. And that you loved it unconditionally.  Why? In case the trailer above didn’t make it clear, it combined everything that you loved as a child into one package:

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