Comical Musings


Shenanigan: Belated Patriotic Wishes

by on Jul.05, 2010, under Shenanigan

Happy 4th of July! Remember your earplugs.
A day or so late, but I hope you’ll forgive.

Comments Off on Shenanigan: Belated Patriotic Wishes more...

Metapost: Best-Laid Plans

by on Jun.17, 2010, under Metapost, Shenanigan

Wow. I’ve been neglecting this place, haven’t I? Life, unfortunately, has gotten a bit more demanding (I’m currently helping out with a local church musical, among other things), and it’s getting a bit tricky to write up a new review each week. I’ll try to at least put something up each week, especially given that I don’t want to go inactive just after starting the Charity of the Month.

For now, let me at least post this shenanigan:

I don’t generally believe in circles of Hell for all the minor sins and annoyances to be found out there. To be honest, I’m not even sure about half the circles Dante created (or, for that matter, the rungs of Purgatory or some of the planets in his Heaven), but that’s honestly okay because Dante wrote his Divine Comedy more as a satire than as a direct theological treatise. So I guess I’m safe in that regard.

I do, however, occasionally dream of a realm of poetic justice, in which some of these minor infractions are punished for the span of a nightmare or so. A place where the inventors and perpetrators of Lolspeak are forced to do linguistic studies on their Frankenstein creation*, where the people who ask English majors if they’re planning to be a teacher wind up fielding their own obnoxious career questions, where postmodern authors have to spend a few hours listening to regular readers complaining about their books.

All of this is a roundabout way for me to say that somewhere in this little land of poetic justice, there is a special place for the people who ride my bumper with their high-beam headlights on when I’m already flirting with the wrong side of the speed limit. And it is full of Klieg lights.

* Just try setting out a full conjugation for the verb can has some time.

1 Comment :, , , more...

Shenanigan: The Third Dimension

by on May.11, 2010, under Shenanigan

Justin Pierce raised an interesting thought about the use of 3-D projection in a recent Wonderella comic strip. At the time, I got a bit of a chuckle out of it and went on my lachrymose way. After all, Cracked has been poking fun at 3-D television since at least January, and the Muppets were making 3-D jokes back in the 70s or 80s (I wish I could track down a video of the scene; it involved the Swedish chef working the concession stand at a movie theater and flinging popcorn everywhere).

Well, now the latest review at The Editing Room is making the same commentary. So is one of the comics over at Dean’s Comic Booth. It seems only appropriate, then, that I jump on the bandwagon and offer an opinion of my own.

My big complaint with 3D television and film is that, decades after the 3D concept was introduced, the technology is still in its “wow” phase. Those of you who are my age, do you remember how aggressively Sega marketed its Game Gear as the first handheld video game device with a color screen? Think how few years (or months) it took for a color screen on a handheld to become commonplace, nothing to get excited over. The same thing goes for sending photos and video from a mobile phone, the touch screen on the Nintendo DS, or whatever deep-fried lunacy the fast food corporations are wrapping in waxed paper and flinging out the drive-thru window this week. A certain amount of hype is generated, people voice their respective admiration or distaste, and within months it’s no big deal. And yet more than half a century after people started wearing funky glasses to the movie house*, we’re still expected to sit up and be amazed that such and such a movie has excellent depth** . . . while the producers trot out the same tricks as ever.

Personally, I’ve gotten jaded enough that a character’s arm sticking out of the screen like he or she is going to grab my face no longer impresses me. The same goes for the plethora of projectiles that various shows have flung out of the screen with the intent to make me flinch***. The problem is, that’s about the only way you get people to notice that your movie is in 3-D, because most people won’t care that the background now sits behind the characters. And if no one notices the 3-D effects, then why bother funneling the extra cash into a 3-D movie in the first place? But the mark of any well-done cinematic craft is the fact that people don’t notice it; if it stands out too much, if Jake Sully goes running through a bunch of roots and pebbles or the Cheshire Cat drifts too far out of the screen and makes the viewer flinch, then it breaks the illusion that the rest of the film is trying to weave.

And that, right there, is the problem with 3-D cinema. As it stands, it takes too much extra effort for not enough pay-off. The extra immersion granted by the addition of depth perception is ruined by the producers having to make absolutely certain that we’re aware of the depth perception. If it ever gets past this Catch-22 phase of perpetual novelty and settles into the background with all the other tricks of the trade, it might actually be worthwhile. But until then, I’ll file it with Shaky-Cam under “That’s nice, but will you please STOP?”

* If Wikipedia is to be believed, 3-D films have existed in one form or another since the 1890s. Chew on that for a while.
** At least, depth in the binocular sense. Hollywood remains as vapid as ever, even when it tries to wax pseudo-philosophical.
*** I recall an episode of Family Matters done in 3-D, wherein a cannonball was fired through the fourth wall, followed by Steve Urkel leaning out through the hole to try and grab it back. I remember this mostly because I didn’t have a pair of colored glasses, so I had to make do with tinted clear Lego pieces taped to my regular frames.

4 Comments :, , more...

Shenanigan: Took a Trip

by on Apr.05, 2010, under Shenanigan

For those of you wondering why this post is several hours late and has nothing to do with comics*, here’s what I did the past week:

What I did over my spring vacation.

My parents, two of their friends, and I went down to North Carolina to spend a week on the Outer Banks.** While I scarfed down the Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts and admired the Nancyware pots . . . I was without a computer – thus, spending a lot of time reading and doing other things that didn’t require an internet connection.***

But don’t despair, readers! I’ll be back to my usual reviewing shenanigans next week, which I’m sure will be a relief to both of you.

* Well, with other people’s comics, at any rate.
** Presumably, this was to decompress from winter and enjoy the warmer weather. In a cruel fit of irony, Kill Devil Hills wound up being colder than Ohio by the end of the week.
*** Perhaps the new computer should’ve been a laptop after all. Ah, well.

Comments Off on Shenanigan: Took a Trip :, , , , , more...

Shenanigan: Out – Cold

by on Feb.01, 2010, under Shenanigan

The trouble with cold-and-flu season is more than just the fact that you can’t hear anything at parties or events, due to the sniffling and horking noises surrounding you. It’s more than the bottles of grody hand sanitizer becoming even more ubiquitous than ever. It’s more than those pesky Airborne tablets mucking up every other glass of water you drink.

No, the real trouble with cold-and-flu season is that at some point or another, you may actually come down with something yourself—which is about where I am right now. My sinuses are taking turns with which one wants to be stuffed up this time and which one merely feels like being dehydrated and triggering sneezes . . . and all the sneezing has my ribs aching (or rather, my intercostal muscles are, but that’s a bit of a nitpick). It’s not exactly the best state to be giving a fair review to any comics*, so I hope you’ll pardon the lack of a review post.

In the mean time, let me say that echinacea is a truly terrifying herb. Sure, it’s supposed to be useful for bolstering the immune system and all, but the warning text is tremendously off-putting:

Recommended for adults only. If you are taking prescription medication, or are pregnant or nursing, consult your health care provider prior to using this product. Persons with allergies to the daisy family may be sensitive to echinacea. For maximum benefit, do not use for more than 6-8 weeks consecutively. Take only when needed. Echinacea should not be used by persons with autoimmune diseases, AIDS, HIV, collagen diseases, leukocytosis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus or tuberculosis. Persons with gallstones should avoid eucalyptus products.

I personally think that “Echinacea will murder your family if you so much as look at it crosswise” would be nearly accurate and much more succinct. Maybe it works, not as a supplement, but as a threat.

Ah, well. At least it’s not a scorching case of lycanthropy.

* “Like that was ever a concern,” I hear you say. To which I reply, “Oh, hush.”

Comments Off on Shenanigan: Out – Cold :, , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!