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...

COTM: Humane Societies

by on Jul.01, 2010, under COTM

“I can has grammar lessons?”

This kitten’s name is Lorenzo. A couple of weeks ago, my dad and I found Lorenzo and his brother Max by the side of State Route 608 in Ohio. No shelter, no food—just two little kittens huddling next to each other and mewling in fear every time a car went zooming past. When we pulled over and tried to gather them up, they were understandably terrified, and it took Dad and me about five minutes of very careful pursuit in the ditch between a country highway and an electric fence to nab them both. Once we got them gathered up, we asked the local neighbors if the kittens belonged to any of them. No luck.

So Dad and I drove home with two frightened, hungry kittens wrapped up in a blanket from the back of my car. They were very light, as though they hadn’t eaten for some time. Lorenzo stayed huddled into the blanket, shivering, while Max kept trying to get out and explore the car’s interior. He mewed at me a lot.

We got the kittens home and almost immediately ran into more problems. Dad’s allergic to cats, you see, so we knew we couldn’t keep them. For the time being, we let the two of them settle on the back deck with a can of tuna and a little dish of cream. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw they way they fairly attacked their food. The kittens spent the night in a cardboard box on the deck, curled up in that same blanket.

The next day, I took them to the local Humane Society shelter, Rescue Village. The Village already had a lot of cats to take care of, but the workers were still willing to take care of Lorenzo and Max until someone could adopt them and give them a better life than the one they’d known.

So this month’s charity is your local Humane Society or other animal shelter (like the Puffy Paws Kitty Haven). You’ll probably have to do a quick online search to find the nearest one, but donations will help abused, neglected, or abandoned animals find new homes where they can have better lives.

And because I know you’re all curious, here’s Max:

“You pulled me away from the cream for this?”

2 Comments :, , , more...

Shenanigan: Dog Days

by on Jun.28, 2010, under Review

This past week, I’ve been house-sitting and dog-sitting for my sister. Some portions of this have been quite pleasant; I’ve cooked several meals that tasted fine and didn’t damage any major appliances in the process. And there’s something to be said about keeping entirely to one’s own schedule (other than the neighbor’s rooster insisting on everyone waking up with the sun).

And then there’s the dog.

Don’t get me wrong: I like dogs. I would love to own one myself someday, if I ever find myself living in a place that can tolerate them. I generally prefer bigger dogs, considering that most of the smaller dogs I’ve seen have been yippity little balls of neurosis wrapped in fluff coats.* Granted, big dogs take a lot of energy, and by the end of the day I’m usually about as energetic as a lump of putty. And that’s where Buddy comes in.

You see, Buddy is a Labradoodle. Aside from sounding like a certain toy from my childhood**, the Labradoodle is a cross-breed resulting from one man’s attempt to create a hypo-allergenic guide dog, mixing the strength and low-shedding coat of the poodle with the thick-as-a-brick idiocy of the yellow lab. Or at least that’s the impression I’m left with after spending a week taking care of a dog who shows his affection mainly through a series of swift headbutts.

Issues of personality and excitability aside, there’s also the matter of the Labradoodle’s fur. It grows thick and long enough on the dog’s muzzle to make it look like it has a permanently ratty beard, plus it grows right up in front of their eyes and rather thickly in their ears. You essentially wind up with a dog who, unless you keep trimming it every couple of weeks or so, goes functionally blind and deaf. I’m not entirely complaining, mind you—this throws his aim off enough that I can at least dodge most of the jumps and tackles. And in spite of being advertised as hypo-allergenic, the dog still sets off my dad’s asthma.

I’m comparing all of this, of course, to the little Welsh corgi I encountered a few days ago on my lunch break. For those of you unfamiliar with corgwn, they’re small dogs bred to herd cattle, sheep, and children by nipping at their heels and being short enough to dodge any resulting kicks. This particular corgi was cheerful and calm, happily accepting any pets or tidbits that happened along its way. I don’t think it would have headbutted me even if it could reach.

So what’s the moral of this story? Probably something along the lines of making sure you study up on a breed of dog before buying, adopting, or agreeing to take care of one. Also making sure that your hybrid creatures don’t wind up with a name that would put most creatures in therapy. But above all else, if you read an article comparing the jumpy lug that just ripped out its own tether line . . . to Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite pups . . . you may want to check for bias on the part of the author.

* My ire is particularly saved for beagles, who are small, threatened by everything, and loud. A beagle doesn’t show affection, so much as tolerate your presence whilst growling under its breath.
** I suppose it’s a better combo name than, say, “poo retriever”, “golden dude”, or “Brangelina”, but that really doesn’t say much.

Comments Off on Shenanigan: Dog Days more...

Review: Pilli Adventure

by on Jun.23, 2010, under Review

There’s something about mythology that just invites writers to make it their own. The ability to delve into collective stories and make references to characters or ideas that resonate easily with an audience is a strong temptation for people who want to save a little energy establishing plot, setting, or characters. Hence, the Greco-Roman pantheon shows up in works like the Percy Jackson series, while Norse mythology gets used in works as diverse as Baldur’s Gate, Oh! My Goddess, and Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. If there’s a treasure trove of folkloric wisdom to be found, rest assured that there is a storyteller or game designer just itching to plunder that mythological booty.*

Filling in the niche for Mesoamerican folklore is cartoonist Gustavo Duarte Yza Algeya, whose comic Pilli Adventure pits its hapless title character against the contents of the Popol Vuh, all because she bound the soul of her dead boyfriend into a calavera doll. Or at least, the About page insists that these actions are connected, and I’m willing to believe what it says. Along the way, Pilli also deals with high school, magical girls, and medusa.

Algeya is a native Mexican, and his English tends to be unpredictable. Punctuation often takes a backseat to excitement, and online slang and abbreviations crop up on a regular basis. As a result, the comic sometimes feels like the illustrated logs from a chat-room role playing game—a feeling that gets compounded by how quickly story arcs tend to veer off toward relationship issues and almost-but-not-quite fanservice.

Speaking of fanservice, the art style owes a lot to various manga and anime (although with characters like Jinx the magical girl, the line between inspiration, homage, and parody gets blurry). It sort of says something when a cursed water pot looks vaguely similar to a Dogu. And I’m not entirely sure how to feel about the depiction of all Americans as either frat boys or alien spies for NASA (although with how green Pilli’s skin has become over the last couple of arcs, I’m left to wonder what she is, exactly).

The thing I find most interesting about Pilli Adventure is how many of the mythological baddies have surprisingly harmless motives. Some of the monsters may be out to destroy all humanity or wipe out the Spaniards, but the majority of the monsters Pilli dispatches are following a spectacularly daft personal goal that just happens to cause major collateral damage. Several of them even mention that they’re only in it for the fun. And in the end, that’s what Pilli Adventure seems to be about: having fun**.

Comic Rating: Four heaps of inadvertent nudity.

* Whilst saying things like “arrrrr” and “avast,” natch.
** Let’s hope the casualty count stays low.

3 Comments :, , , , 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...

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!