Once Upon a Time…

Do you know the muffin man? I do. Guess who is homies with the three little pigs. Me. Do you have  a beauty of a girlfriend who is  always sleeping? Obviously not. But I do. Where am I? I’m in the magical world of Shrek, where anything is possible.

I probably wouldn’t want to be Shrek himself, but then again who would? He’s a fat green bastard whose best friend is a donkey. But hey, what about that Puss in Boots guy? He’s seems to get a lot of women. Kind of a badass, too. Dude even got his own spinoff movie where he gets to bro out with Kitty Softpaws. And he’s voiced by Antonio Banderas, who is of course, dreamy.

That’s the beauty of Shrek. Even a supporting character can become a hero. Because anything is possible.

Basically, Shrek’s world is awesome.  Imagine a place where Gingerbread Men are alive and Cameron Diaz is not old and plastic looking. A world where Eddie Murphy actually doesn’t suck, and where Mike Meyers can pretend he’s still famous. It’s all fantasy, but that doesn’t make it seem any less real to those involved.

Anything is possible, and not just pretending you’re still famous. The original Shrek is a true David v. Goliath story–if David was a flat-nosed ogre and Goliath was a midget king voiced by the Trinity Killer. Seriously though, seeing someone who inspires disgust in every living (or fantasy) creature save a princess and a kingdom at the same time…well that just makes me all tingly inside. Makes me believe that anything is possible. I guess there’s a Shrek in all of us.

Actually, screw that. Fiona might be an even better representation of the potential for upward mobility in Shrek. I’m a Fiona type myself. Everyone thinks I’m all beautiful and every prince wants a piece of me. Then, I get saved by an ogre. Jeez, I’d rather have been saved by the Gingerbread Man. At least he would taste good. Then I have to reveal my secret. I turn into an ogre. No one likes me. I no longer look like a princess.  On the outside. Of course, I’m still a princess at heart. But the chips are down. Yet there I am, still riding through the country side with my prince, saving the magical kingdom. Besides, that ‘beneath the surface’ revelation makes me tear up every time. It’s deep. Anything is possible, man.

Also: dragons.Dude, are you kidding me? The dirty, disgusting things I’d do to slay a dragon in real life. I mean, I’ve slayed dragons in my dreams before. I’ve made out with girls with fire breath. But can you imagine taking down the real thing, putting a sword through the heart of that massive, fire-breathing bird? My sword is ready just thinking about it.




Leave the reading to me

Sharp Dracula fangs in coordination with a patented Bruce Banner shirt rip is enough to give any little kid nightmares for weeks. The eruption of Edward Hyde onto the seen made me pee my bed for three nights straight. The monstrous ape figure, who is suspending a legendary detective with the might of his grip, not only shocks the reader but also horrifies them. The wide open mouth and the cap-locked spelling of “Edward” makes the reader’s eardrums ring as they quickly go to the next panel to try and leave the massive beast they just saw.

All of us have had that moment. When the door is closed, the lights are off, and the room is silent except for the shuffling of feet. Your eyes dilate and your hearts starts beating outside of your chest for fear of the unknown that lurks behind closed doors. You count up to three in your head then with a deep breath you throw the door open and examine the contents of the room. Alan Moore feeds off of this anticipation with this monstrous exposition of the horrific possibility that it is indeed a monster behind the door.

The finely detailed panels make every movement fraught with life as we have to piece together what happens in between pictures. We do not see Mr. Hyde walking to the door before destroying it but we can easily imagine the sequence of events previous to this panel. Graphic novels are interesting because it leaves most of the work to the reader to use their imagination to fill in the gaps between panels. However, the details that play on various emotions and senses such as this picture makes it possible and fun to do so.



Billy Mitchell. The man, the myth, the legend. I have never been more inspired by a single person in a movie like I was by Billy in King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters. He is at the top of his game in all endeavors of his life. His refusal to settle for second place and his quest for perfection in everything he participates in is intoxicating.
It’s not every day that you get named the video game player of the CENTURY. Not only did Billy record the first perfect Pac-Man game ever but he was also named one of the top 10 most influential gamers of all-time by MTV. The man even has his own Topps trading card. Who cares if he only holds one current world record, one that he shares with five other players. The fact that he never backs down from a challenge makes him a true role model for all young people.
Billy didn’t just settle for the top spot in the video gaming arena, he also took his talents to the hot sauce game, producing the world famous “Rickey’s World Famous Sauces”. He also owns a very exclusive, invite-only restaurant creatively named “Rickey’s World Famous Restaurant,” only open to winners like him, which is exactly why Steve Wiebe was not welcome there in the documentary.
Billy does not take no for an answer, and he’s not afraid to cheat with fake video tapes to get what he wants. He also is a man of his word, practicing what he preaches by always setting his records in public arcades. Kids and adults alike look up to him, and he never lets them down. He even helps an elderly woman achieve her dream by sponsoring her trip to set a world record at Funspot.
He’s also at the pinnacle of fashion, wearing ties that radiate nothing but freedom and courage. His love for America is ever-present in his use of USA as his high-score initials. He loves his country more than anything. And have you seen his hair? Flawless. The man has beautiful locks, it’s as simple as that. And his wife? Actually I won’t go there.
Bottom line, Billy Mitchell is the man.



Welcome to the creed

I have always had an interest in history. I often dream of a time portal which would take me back to various eras to explore them and to see in person that which i have read in my textbooks. Unfortunately, i have not found this portal…yet. But this has not impeded me from continuing to explore the past. My favorite time period has always been the  medieval ages because of the legendary stories of King Arthur and of other noble knights. When i first saw a commercial for Assassins Creed my heart skipped with excitement for this was my first opportunity to experience this era through the medium of a video game. The game was everything i desired and more. I traveled ancient lands in search of evil templars who i would eventually slay with my hidden pocket blade. Before I would sneak up on the villains i would scale buildings and would explore the old cities which used to be epicenters in our real world. the graphics were unbelievable and the progressive dialogue made my quests to defeat the nefarious templars all the more important in my daily schedule.

What I also liked about this game was the aspect of the story line that the main character’s mind was traveling back in time whereas his body stayed put in the year 2012. This part of the narrative intrigued me because it reminded me of my own search for a portal to travel time which, again unfortunately, has been largely unsuccessful. The idea was very innovative and no matter how many people i slaughtered the game never seemed to be repetitive large in part due to the other aspects of the game that kept it entertaining. In the game, the main character completes other tasks such as pickpocketing, and discovering hidden objects scattered throughout the land. In  Assassins Creed 2 the game takes place in ancient Italy where the character has frequent interactions with Leonardo Da Vinci and members of the Medici family. This historical fiction made the gameplay so much more enjoyable because I actually had a sense of communication with very prominent members of our human civilization.

I owe Assassins Creed for its fantastic gameplay and even better story. This game allowed me to explore history and kept alive my hope that one day we might be able to explore these eras with our own eyes.


Ignorance is bliss

I have been playing video games all my life. I have slaughtered animated birds in Duck Hunter, jumped through paintings in Super Mario 64, and have destroyed cities as a monster in Rampage. Yet, despite all my gaming, I always saw playing video games as a mindless task to pass the time with family and friends as an opportunity to do something together that we would all enjoy. I would find myself restless and red-eyed after an hour and would often abandon the game to go do something else. My friends and brothers always poked fun at me for my inability to sit still and would make ADD jokes to further hammer home the point. Was I a loser for wanting to actually play sports rather than manipulate a two-dimensional athlete with a joystick? For years I perceived gamers as dweebs who could only be themselves through fictional characters on the television screen. This was my perception until one unfortunate day in November of 2001.

My brother returned home with a copy of this new game that everyone was raving about called Halo. I brushed it off figuring that it was just another average shooter which i would grow tired of quickly. Little did I know that this game would consume my life for the next 6 months. I started playing with my brother online and somehow this game felt different. I truly cared about master chief and his missions to preserve his planet from intruding aliens. I would find myself lost in the progressive story of the campaign mode; beating the game then immediately restarting on a higher level. The burn in my eyes no longer caused me to stop playing and i soon found myself cutting away from my other activities. Had i become a gamer? Was I spending my time the same way as those that I labeled losers? It took me months to come to the realization that I was addicted and to come to an ever deeper realization about gamers. Gamers are passionate about games just like athletes are passionate about sports and one is not better than the other. After 6 months of intense gaming, I realized I needed a break. I stopped playing Halo cold turkey and resumed my old life but with a new mindset. I had a new appreciation for gaming and a new respect for others even if their interests differed from mine.