Friday, August 01, 2008

Mystery Science Monday Friday: Catalina Caper (Celebrating "Beach Party Week"!)

I'm ready to surf!

Sure, I'm on vacation, but what better way to spend a sunny balmy summer day than to laze about on the beach with plenty of other doughy white people? So throw your ham sammiches, Coppertone, and AM transistor radio into the pic-a-nic basket and let's head down to the sand to celebrate Beach Party Week, PostmodernBarney's in-depth survey and celebration of the classic films that we all grew up with: Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, and of course the ultimate beach movie, Where Eagles Dare. I don't have anything to post on the movies that star Annette and Frankie and Cubby and Moondoggie and Jughead and the gang, but here's a segment of one of my favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, the classic Catalina Caper, a beach movie starring Tommy Kirk, Little Richard, Lyle Waggoner, and introducing the ethereal Creepy Girl. Let's watch, shall we?

Segment from Catalina Caper (1967), this MSTed version from Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode #204 (1990), starring Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy

Can't get enough of that wonderful Tommy Kirk? Check out, through the magic of YouTube, the whole episode. Or, if you don't want to take morsels of food out of the mouths of the children of Joel, Trace, Kevin and the rest, you can buy the whole episode (plus 3 more) legally:

Trust me. It's the way Frankie and Annette woulda wanted it. Right, Frankie and Annette?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Zooropa: Be All That You Can Be

Is there anyone in any doubt about where we're going?

You can't properly visit San Diego without having a lovely day out at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, so it's into the rental car bright and early, following Linda Neverlost's spoken GPS instructions to San Diego's beuatiful Balboa Park, heading for the elephants, the zebras, the pandas (pandi?), the octopusses, the giant sharks, the Godzillas, the space monkeys, the Daleks, the...wait a minute, I've got my brochures mixed up. There we go. Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my!

We're all goin' to the zoo! We can stay all day!

Even before you walk through the front gates ($34 a pop, but free for little stuffed bulls and otters), the zoo-ey goodness starts. Here's Viney the Elephant, homegrown from a Chia Pet:

I went to the animal fair/The beasts made of trees were there

My pal Shelly the Little Otter Puppet and i study out complimentary color fold-out map to see where to go first. Let's check out the T-Rex first, Shelly! If we miss feeding time he'll be all logy and sleepy!

Shelly and I study the map to see where to go first

If you don't wanna walk all around the park...say, if you're a little stuffed bull who has done a trade show all week long and your hooves are hurtin'...there's plenty of options to tour the zoo:

Ding ding! Everybody aboard the zoo tram!
A train just my size

But for my money, the best trip and the finest view is from the mile-high gondola ride aptly named the Skyfari. It goes way high up and reminds me of being in On Her Majesty's Secret Service! Except no Blofeld goons are shooting at me. Still, Shelly insists on rocking the gondola, and I don't much like that. Have some mercy on a little stuffed bull with a tender tummy, won't you please, Shelly?

From high aboard the Skyfari aerial tram

From the top of the Skyfari ride it's only a hop, skip, and a zoo-jump to Conrad Poos and His Dancing Polar Bears:

Conrad Poos and his Dancing Polar Bears

The polar bears are beating the heat by eating carrots. Hey, dude, can I get you a frosty cold Coca-Cola to go with that? It's the (heh heh heh) paws that refreshes!

Hey, guy, can I get a Coca Cola over here?

Zebra are plentiful at the San Diego Zoo. Say, are these guys black with white stripes or white with black stripes? The world may never know.

So, are they white with black stripes or black with white stripes?

If you pay attention and read the informative signs, you can learn a lot at the zoo as well. Here I have just learned that you can swipe zebra bottoms across supermarket scanners and see how much they cost. Tee said "rump"!

Tee hee! It said 'rump.'

Hee hee hee...rump. Ah, okay. Let's see what this sign says...huh...BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Dik dik? (giggle)

After much hilarity, it's time to see the pandas. The San Diego pandas are the star attractions of the Zoo and are allowed many special privileges the other animals don't get. For example, the pandas here are let out every night to work on their colorful graffiti and expressive street art:

At night the pandas create colorful graffiti

They may be up all night at work with their tiny panda spraypaints, but luckily there are signs to remind you to let them rest after their nights of artistry:

This way to the pandas!

This is either the queue to see the popular pandas or else the line for the bathroom:

Either this is the line for the pandas or for the bathroom

But never fear, Fanda, I mean Panda fans...the line moves quickly and in no time at all you can gaze in wonder at the bamboo-chompin' cute monochromatic fuzzballs:


Is it exciting seeing them? Why, folks, it's pandamonium!

What's black and white and taking a nap all over?

After that visit I just had to have a panda pal of my very own.

My new pandapal

I chose him out of thousands!

I chose him out of thousands

There are of course many other animals to see at the zoo. Hakuna matata, huh, guys?:

Hakuna matata, okay, guys?
Rooting about

Here's an animal who'd be really good for opening cans:

That horn is good for opening cans.


EXTREME closeup: Rhino!

Before venturing on, I take a brief rest at the Tomb of the Unknown Koala...

The Tomb of the Unknown Koala

...before becoming reacquainted with an old pal. I met this guy two years ago, and he's never forgotten me!

I saw him two years ago, and he never forgot me!

You know, I wish I had one of these elephants to ride around Brooklyn. He'd be faster than the F train and he'd work for peanuts. What's more:plenty of trunk space!

Plenty of trunk space in the front

Sometimes you build up such a thirst in the zoo, you need a couple of longnecks:

Jeff and Steve the giraffes

Here's a rare two-headed giraffe. He doesn't know if he's coming or going! That's just a little giraffe humor.

The rare two-headed giraffe

Shelly is happy to find the otter bedrooms:

Shelly discovers the otter beds

And I go to check out some more of the pigs they have here. I'm this far away because frankly, he's pretty stinky:

I'm this far away because frankly, he's pretty stinky

And so, to the squawks of a Norwegian blue (beautiful plumage!)...

"Beautiful PLUmage!"

...we end our day at the zoo with a peaceful visits to its small but tranquil Japanese gardens. Here, my bestest pals Randi and Shelly contemplate their lovely day:

Randi and Shelly at the Japanese bridge
...although I think Shelly is actually more interested in the fish!

A coy koi

And so, with one last giggle at the Inappropriate Hippo-Touching Sign...

Inappropriate hippo touch

...our day at the zoo comes to an end. Just remember, to stay safe, take heed of all the signs!

Actually, I just use sarcasm on the internet

I don't actually bite. I just post sarcastic comments on the internet. So long from the Zoo, everybody!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con, Day 4: You don't have to go home but you can't stay here

Like the end of Christmas vacation or the new season of Doctor Who, Comic-Con comes to an end all too quickly, but like both of those things, they'll be back, although you're not guaranteed to see Billie Piper at every one, I'm afraid. This is Day 4 of Comic-Con and while the aisles are busy and frantic, there's a sense of finality about it all, a shadow of the oncoming closing, a last chance to buy $600 Buffy the Vampire Slayer maquettes and to pose for photos with cadres of stormtroopers. Yes, today is the last day, but you c couldn't tell it from the crowds.

I realize I haven't gone into one of the most important aspects of the Con: keeping yourself from getting too hungry on the floor. Eating on a budget is always a challenge in San Diego, but luckily there are heroes who help out when your tummy's a-rumbling. I always recommend the superheroics of Captain Ralph, the iconic mascot of Ralphs Pretty Good Grocery at G Street and First in downtown San Diego. Captain Ralph will battle supervillains to bring you a healthy lunch in a handy cooler case for a mere ten bucks. Best value of the con!:

Ralph's Grocery superhero meal deal

And when there's snackin' to be had, my good pal JustJenn was always ready for little stuffed bull-sized treats and goodies. Here's one of her justly famous and absolutely delicious mini Burger Bites:

JustJenn made me a delicious Burger Bite!

Thanks, Miss JustJenn! That's good burger eatin'!:


She also made my otter pal Shelly some yummy vegan cookies!:

And Shelly got yummy vegan cookies!

So now you know why I'm always so cheerful and enthusiastic on the show floor: I'm hopped up on delicious, delicious treats.

The fun never stops on the final day of the show, and it's business as usual: busy, busy, busy, busy. I've been coming here for three years and the show gets bigger all the time. They keep saying it can't get any bigger, but how are you gonna stop it? Rumors float around the floor about moving the show to Las Vegas (too hot!), but I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, San Diego is here to stay, baby! Why, just ask all these people:

A busy last day at Comic-Con

That's a typical crowd—sometimes it's even more hectic—for the final day, and I'm kept busy at the Norton booth cheerfully telling people about our Will Eisner and Annotated and art books and selling Norton title to our fine, fine customers...thank you each and every one for stopping by to see our books! Sorry, lady who didn't pick up Beowulf: The Illustrated Edition in time before we sold out...after all, the motto of Comic-Con is "You snooze, you lose." Or is it "Of all the souls I've encountered in my travels, his was the most...human."? No, come to think of it, it was definitely that snoozing or losing thing.

Busy at is was, I did have time for one last quick spin around the convention hall. Randi and John had brought a bag of stuffed bears to donate to an appeal Stan Sakai's daughter was doing: the bears were donated to a local fire department for use with traumatized young kids following a fire or disaster. An excellent cause and Stan was very friendly and happy that we'd brought some bears. He even did a wonderful sketch for me of a ronin Bully which I'll post on the ol' blog soon. Thanks, Stan!

Of course there was time to drop in on the cow people:

Hangin' out with the cow people

And at the Paramount booth, you could line up at Starfleet computer terminals to help construct the brand-new Enterprise! It was pretty tricky swinging those antimatter engines into place. Mister Scott said I did just fine and those scratches'll buff right out, nae problem!

Why, what a handsome guy on this Starfleet monitor

But y'know what I love best about Comic-Con? It's truly a place for all of us fans to fit in. Why, even if you feel like you don't fit in, you can bring a few friends to help you piece things together:

Tetris costumes

And all too soon, the lights go down, the tables are folded up, and it's all over except for the Clonetrooper masks.

I'm a Clonetrooper bobblehead

Whew! That was a busy week of work at Comic-Con. The best way to unwind is to head out for a delicious meal of heart Mexican food at one of my favorite new resturants, the cheerful and colorful Casa Guadalajara in Old Town, a delightful deep-fried, frosty-salty fiesta of a restaurant. They are famous not only for their Mexican food...

Yummy cheesy enchiladay goodness

...but also for their yummy margaritas, and who am I to argue?:

Yummy strawberry margarita

Oh, don't worry, folks. I only took a tiny teeny weeny sip. It doesn't affect me at all. If anything, a little fruity tropical drink only makes you dive more fully into your dinner...

Dive into dinner!

...and it's a great way to meet and find new friends. Well, hello there, good-looking! Do you come here often? Also, are you by any chance filled with candy?

Why, hello there, Miss. Do you come here often? Also, are you perhaps filled with candy?

Yesh...thasha one good marguritaaaaaaa

Boy thash a good margaritaaa


Welcome to Comic-Con! (Thanks so much for readin' my Comic-Con reports, folks!)