May 2003

Unh! Oof! Argh! Owie, owie, owie!

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2003

Photo: Comic book panel of guy getting kneed in the groin and yelling 'UNGH!'.

After this incident, Frank never took Joe’s cake-decorating tube without asking permission first.

The beauty of the Internet is that it allows anyone with the will, knowledge and obsessiveness to catalog the most obscure information and make it available to the world.

Case in point: The Unh! Project is an online collection of gutteral moans from comics. It features one of my all-time favourite noises, blurrrgh!, a noise I often used in my own comics back at Queen’s — it’s the sound of someone paying the price for having a few too many Moscow Mules.

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Canadian Idolatry, part 1

by Joey deVilla on May 30, 2003

On Monday at noon, I took a little time off work to visit and offer moral support to my friend Liz, who joined 10,000 other hopefuls at the Canadian Idol audition. The auditions were being held somewhere near the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, a quick bike ride from Big Trouble in Little China, a.k.a. my house. With the accordion slung on my back and a bag of pop and snacks for Liz, I biked around the north side of the Convention Centre looking for any sign of the audition without any success. The news stories predicted that thousands would show up — where were they?

Luckily Liz had brought her cell phone.

“We’re on the other side of the building, past the train station,” she said. Ah. The south side. I keep forgetting that the Convention Centre has a south building, located in the green space that is also home to the SkyDome and the former railround roundhouse which became the Steam Whistle Brewery.

When I arrived, I saw a ridiculous scene: instead of some kind of queue, the Idol hopefuls were corralled into a parking lot normally reserved for service vehicles. The lot wasn’t paved and was surrounded by a chain link fence. The north side of the lot had a row of porta-johnnies and a small grassy slope where a number of people lay motionless. The people inside were milling about listlessly, a good number of them with that sleep-deprived look that those of us who worked at Internet start-ups should find eerily familiar. A quartet of scowling people in red gold shirts with the word SECURITY emblazoned on the chest and back stood guard at the fence’s gate. That’s where Liz met me.

“Oh my God, Liz,” I said, “it looks like…like some kind of concentration camp for pop stars!”

“Let’s get you inside,” she said.

She had a word with the security guy at the gate with the most leader-like demeanor. At first, he said that he’d let me in if I left my bike outside. However, as I chained my bike to the nearest rack, he saw the accordion and decided that I was a straggler trying to sneak into the auditions and decided not to let me in.

“Hey, I’m not trying to audition. I have a real –” I caught myself about to say “real job”, which might’ve been impolitic, considering that dozens of sleep-deprived, grouchy aspiring pop singers were within earshot. “Um, I’m a computer programmer here to offer a friend some moral support and snacks. The accordion thing’s just a hobby.”

The security guard shook his head, looking resolute behind his Dirty Harry sunglasses.

I handed Liz the bag of snacks over the fence. “I feel as if I’m visiting you in prison!” I said. We both extended our thumbs and pinkies, pantomiming the act of talking on the phone through Plexiglas, the way they do in the movies.

“D’you think I should’ve put a file in the Doritos?” I asked.

“Some wire cutters would work well on the fence,” she replied.

“How long have you been here?”

“Since three in the morning. There was a line-up down the block, and then they corralled us into this lot.”

She went on to tell me how the transition from a line along the sidewalk to amorphous blob in a parking lot upset some people. Suddenly, camping out early — some people have been waiting here since Friday — was pointless. They might as well have spent a rainy weekend indoors and shown up in the wee hours of Monday morning.

No wonder some of them looked really miserable; they’d just been punished for showing some initiative.

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Ah, MacGyver.

The thinking man’s hero, solving problems with his flair for cobbling together hastily improvised feats of engineering. Give the man a ten-speed bicycle, two bottles of Polish vodka, a tube of toothpast and an eggbeater, and he’ll whip up a particle accelerator. This favourite ’80′s television show of every tinkerer, hacker, engineer and evil chain-smoking twin sister had a dedicated legion of fans, including my friend Herb, who went so far as to get the license plate MCGYVER (unfortunately, the 7-character limit on Ontario custom plates meant that he could only get an approximation of the great impromptu inventor’s name).

Would you believe that there’s a Web site that houses every MacGyver episode? You’ll need my friend Bram Cohen’s great P2P software, BitTorrent, to download the files (they’re in .AVI format, as in the dreaded Windows Media Player). If need help deciding which episode you’d like to see, you might want to consult this episode guide.

I’m going to have to download the series finale, which I missed. From what I hear, it involves time travel and supposedly they reveal MacGyver’s first name. Now that’s must-see TV!

(This entry’s title isn’t a MacGyver quote that was ever used in the real show — it was from a MacGyver episode that the Simpsons were watching.)

An aside

Second-string TV shows seem to be a recurring theme this week. Last night at the Thirsty People of Toronto Meeting, one NTN Trivia game that had me completely stumped was one centred entirely around the Naval legal action series JAG. I’ve seen only three episodes, and one was at Kansai International Airport, and it was dubbed into Japanese. The only two things I know about the show are:

  • The main character, the JAG, is a Judge Advocate General.
  • His co-star, Catherine Bell, as my housemate Paul would say, is hawwwwwwwwwt.

[Mucho thanks to skimpIzu from the #infoanarchy IRC channel on freenode.net!]

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New Girl: Reloaded

by Joey deVilla on May 29, 2003

I still get email about the New Girl story. I got one today, and that prompted me to look at the comments for the entry and see if there were any new ones since I last looked.

There turned out to be twenty comments that are new to me (for a grand total of 193), the funniest being this one from Chuck:

I met my wife on-line. She told me she was 14. I told her I was rich. Boy were we surprised when we first met.

Now that’s comedy.

While I’m making Matrix references, here’s a shout-out for New Girl, courtesy of Morpheus:

Photo: Laurence Fishburne giving the finger.

It’s “Laurence Fishburne flips the bird day” on AccordionGuy! “Isn’t it…worth overusing a picture for?”

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The best "Matrix: Reloaded" review ever

by Joey deVilla on May 29, 2003

A LiveJourno named hipstomp has a pretty funny review of The Matrix: Reloaded, which includes this observation about Morpheus:

Morpheus got fat. Holy hell did he put some poundage on. I’m thinking Morpheus ate the red pill, and it was so good he decided to wash it down with another 5,000. Either that or they opened a Burger King in Zion right by his place.

Word up Morpheus needs to get off the Nebuchadnezzer and onto a fucking stairmaster. That scene where he’s fighting the Twins, I kept expecting jelly donuts to fall out of his pockets. Like every time he hits the ground there’s a squishhh noise and all this jelly squirts out. Getting punched with powdered sugar on his face. By the end of the movie I thought he was going to eat one of the Sentinels.

Fishburne ain’t gonna like this, and he’s been getting pretty huffy with Matrix critics already.

Photo: Laurence 'Morpheus' Fishburne gives the camera the finger.

He took the Fat Pill. “I believe…that tonight…I can devour…a Fat Kreme. Isn’t that…worth driving to the mall for? Isn’t that…worth skipping the gym for?”

[Thanks to Tyler "praytothemachine" Weir for the pointer.]

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One hour of tasty beats

by Joey deVilla on May 29, 2003

My friend and synth-and-accordion partner in crime, Karl Mohr, recently made a pretty nice one-hour mix of funk, big beat, dance and lounge-y music. If you’ve got good bandwidth and 43 megabytes of hard drive space, you can download the .mp3 file from his site [the link leads straight to the .mp3 file].

It’s pretty good music for working to; I’m doing some PHP and ASP coding as I’m listening to it. I’m sure it’s a pretty nice for driving, biking or walking as well.

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Hands up everyone who saw this coming

by Joey deVilla on May 28, 2003

The four words that should stick a dagger of icy fear into your heart:

Sk8r Boi: The Movie.

Now I really have to make sure it’s in the accordion repertoire.

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