Scooby Doo: The Diabolical Disc Demon

Not too long ago, I answered a question over at veggiemacabre about how I got into all things horror-related. Following a response from Will/Bill, encouraging me to do this post, I decided to do this post.

While some people are coming at horror from an angle of, “I saw Frankenstein when I was 8 and was scarred for life!” I’m coming at horror, and spooky stuff in general, via Scooby Doo and my dad, who liked horror movies, which he called “spookers”. As in, “Ohhh, we got a spooker! We got a spooker!” if a scary movie was on tv.

Like most little boys, I wanted to be just like my dad. I wanted to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes 24 hours a day, and watch horror movies and westerns. I still want to do that, but I’ve traded the cigarettes for a tobacco pipe and my dad gave up tobacco altogether years ago.

I’ll never forget the day my dad came home and I was so excited to tell him, “I found a new scary show!” The new scary show I had discovered was, of course, Scooby Doo. In my kid mind, there was no difference between the horror movies my dad watched, and a talking Great Dane solving ever-so-slightly spooky mysteries with a gang of twenty-somethings. I have no clue how old the Scooby gang is, but I seriously don’t think they are teenagers. Fred is built like a grown man, Shaggy has facial hair, and they drive around the country, getting into adventures.

I also would like to take this opportunity to state that any lame bits about how Scooby and the Gang were on drugs will not be tolerated. Remember when every idiot thought they were Richard Pryor with that tired old joke? The 1990’s sucked.

The reason I have chosen this episode to break down, is this: I could not watch this episode. It was too scary.

It was too scary for two reasons: 1. His voice. The episode starts out with the Diabolical Disc Demon (DDD) talking angry with someone. His voice is like a typical Scooby Doo villain, except it is amplified and has a sort of robotic, electrical quality to it. It was terrifying to me. So terrifying, in fact, that I would literally run from this episode into the kitchen and have to get my mom to turn it off. The voice was the main reason I could not watch this episode.

2. He looked like KISS. Growing up in the early 80’s, KISS was still a huge deal (I know they are still big, gimme a break). Every time KISS was on tv, I would hide under the couch. And the DDD doesn’t just look like any member of KISS, either. He looks like Gene Simmons, The Demon, the scariest one! And there are tons of extreme close-ups of him, which I will get to later. I’ve mentioned before about how extreme close-ups useta scare the shit outta me, due to a scene in The Wizard of Oz. They still make me uncomfortable.

This is no exaggeration: I never made it through the entire episode until today. 30 or so years later, I’m finally able to watch the entire episode.

Granted, I held the images in my head for years, until I finally thought of the internet, and its ability to search for information. I typed in “Scooby Doo KISS villain” and found the episode I was looking for hidden in Season 3. Although I’m quite sure that, back then, Scooby Doo didn’t have “seasons”, at least not in the way we think of television seasons nowadays.

With all that background information out of the way, here’s the breakdown. As always, you can click on the pics to make them huge:

Yeah, it's one of those episodes.

Yeah, it’s one of those episodes.

I knew, even as a kid, that this beginning meant I had a chance of catching the DDD episode, so as soon as this intro started, I felt a little dread in my belly. It was kind of exciting.

The Scooby-Doo Show!

The Scooby-Doo Show!

I bought this on dvd as Season 3 of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” but here we can clearly see that this particular batch of Scooby episodes was called “The Scooby-Doo Show”. That’s why I said earlier that it seems to me that Scooby Doo didn’t exactly have seasons. The music for this season is good, it’s groovy with a good spooky vibe, and seems much newer than the original Scooby Doo. The original air date for this episode is November 18, 1978, which was my sister’s 1st birthday.

Merlin?

Merlin?

Like most Scooby intros, this one features cameos of some of the villains from this season. None of which are on this dvd set. I guess Scooby and the Gang fight a wizard? I need to see that one, as I don’t remember it. That beard is better than mine.

Scooby Dum

Scooby Dum

In this season I guess there are episodes that feature Scooby’s idiot cousin, Scooby Dum. I’m assuming these dogs were named by their owners, not their mothers. I would wager that both of these dogs were owned by the same person at some point. Would Shaggy name a dog Scooby Dum? Even if he is dumb, that seems kind of harsh.

I already said that when this intro came on, I knew there was a chance that the DDD ep was about to come on, which petrified me. But I also knew that there was a chance for one of my favorite episodes to come on: the one with the Headless Horseman, which was just scary enough to be titillating, but not outright hiding-under-the-couch scary like this one was. Scooby Dum was in that one, and I always loved him for it.

Please not this one again...

Please not this one again…

We also get a preview for this here villain’s episode, called “Watt a Shocking Ghost”, which seemed like it came on at least once a week. I don’t know how Scooby Doo worked where you were, but for me, they would show anything that featured Scooby Doo, from any season, in his time slot. So you would think there was about a one in a hundred chance of getting this stupid “electricity ghost at the ski resort” episode. You would be wrong, as they loved to show this one. It also gets the longest cameo in the theme song. Maybe they were really pleased with their animation work on that thing or something. This episode was the “parking garage Seinfeld” episode of Scooby Doo; it was always on.

Scooby Dooby Doo! Here we go!

Scooby Dooby Doo! Here we go!

Look at that background! Look at Scoob! How could you not love this show? I actually like a lot of the design of the Scooby Doo shows, no matter what the season. I don’t know if Hanna Barbera sank more money into Scooby, knowing they had a hit on their hands, or what, but the animation and design of Scooby Doo always seems of a higher quality than shows like The Flintstones or The Herculoids. Still, people jank the shit out of Scooby’s bad animation all the time, despite my opinion. Not only is it better, in my opinion, than a lot of the HB lineup, but some of the background paintings are genuinely good.

I like those green and blue hexagons on tile, in other words.

"Ah, shit!"

“Ah, shit!”

That is probably what I would have thought if I could read back then. If I could read and realize that my most feared episode of Scooby Doo was titled, “The Diabolical Disc Demon”.

Going back to the art of Scooby Doo, this has a very Haunted Mansion-esque look about it. The haunted plantation in the swamp. I like that blue.

"Bwa ha hah ha!!!"

“Bwa ha hah ha!!!”

It didn’t take long to figure out what episode this was, however, because right off the bat we get hit with that robo-electro-demon voice, yelling at someone, presumably inside Decade Studios. I’m guessing this was a take-off of Decca Records. There’s also another reason it was probably called Decade, but we’ll get to that later.

scooby doo 9The Demon menaces this famous songwriter, Tony Symes, who looks exactly like Jerry Reed. Or at least, the way he was drawn in the Scooby Doo episode where he guest-starred. Tony hides behind the washing machine, it’s his only defense.

scooby doo 10Then we get a look at this bastard. Definitely a mix between Gene Simmons and maybe Ziggy Stardust. This extreme close-up was about as far as I ever made it into the episode. I just could not take that hideous mug.

scooby doo 11Tony runs away, down a hall. Here we see that the Demon is following him. I really like this silhouette right here. It looks nothing like the DDD. Maybe some sort of bird creature? Like a muppet gone all wrong.

scooby doo 12Tony runs into his office and scribbles a few notes onto some blank sheet music.

scooby doo 13Like, seriously, a few. I count six. Now is not the time to be writing songs, Tony! There’s a Triple D after you! If a Triple D was after me, I’m fairly certain that getting that one last hit out there would be about the last thing on my mind.

scooby doo 14Too late! The Demon is upon you! There’s a little Rocky Dennis in this jackal’s DNA daisy chain somewhere.

scooby doo 15

Yikes!

Late 70’s rockers looked so cool. That hair, that shirt, and dat necklace!

scooby doo 16Totally ridiculously scary. Tony has gone and got himself got. Here the DDD is giving us a maniacal laugh of triumph, having vanquished his unarmed enemy.

scooby doo 17Now we cut to the Gang, on their way to Decade Records in the Mystery Machine. I like that our first scene with the Gang starts out with a shot of the hi-fi AM/FM stereo in the Mystery Machine. If there’s one thing the Gang liked, it was good tunes. There are multiple episodes that revolve around music and singers. Not the least of which features them rescuing Mama Cass out of a Haunted Candy Factory, which is hilarious.

scooby doo 18Scooby Doo breaks it down in the back of the van. That Scooby Doo sure can cut a rug! I also find it interesting that there aren’t any seats in the Mystery Machine. The driver seat, the passenger seat, and room for a whole lot of ghostbusting gear… which they don’t need because ghosts aren’t real. At least in this world. Though they do seem fairly ubiquitous, as the Gang can’t seem to go anywhere without some idiot dressed up as a ghost plumber or something.

scooby doo 19The Gang arrives at Decade Records, or Studios, or whatever the animators felt like painting at the moment the frame was finished. They are here to see their friend Jimmy Lewis record his new solid gold hit! It amazes me how many famous people the Gang knows, both real and imagined. Jimmy Lewis is fictional. At least I think he is. Davy Jones was busy this day, because I think that’s how long they spent on each episode.

scooby doo 20Something about the way Fred is standing right here, with his hand halfassed in his pocket, makes me want to punch him in the nose. What a prick, to stand that way.

“Knock on the door, Scoob!”

*poink poink poink*

*poink poink poink*

Suspect #1. The security guard, Joe, who looks like a lot of Scooby antagonists without having to wear a mask.

On that note, I can’t remember if, as a kid, I knew going into each episode that the monster/ghost/whatever was a fake. In other words, I’m not sure that if I would have thought of this guy as a suspect back then, but I definitely would have thought he was a creep.

“You kids can’t come in here, go away!”

scooby doo 22

“Hey, Gang!”

“Jimmy!!!”

Jimmy’s collar is out of control. He looks like the Flying Nun. He tells Joe that these are his friends, and he better move his minimum-wage ass out of the way if he values his employment.

scooby doo 23Jimmy takes the Gang to see the studio, where the magic happens. He tells them that he doesn’t know how this new Tony Symes song is going to sound, because it’s different than some of the others. Daphne says, “I’m sure it’ll sound good if you sing it, Jimmy!”

Daphne is genuinely flirty with Jimmy throughout the entire episode. You never know if she and Fred are an item, but Fred just might be the kind of guy who would whoop someone’s ass if Daphne flirted with another guy in front of him. Probably Shaggy’s.

I also think it is interesting that it’s kind of a given that this pop star doesn’t write his own songs. Tony Symes is the hitmaker. Jimmy  Lewis is just the frontman.

scooby doo 24Here we meet one of the studio musicians.

Suspect #2: Ian Barkin, stereotypical studio musician douchebag.  Look at that hair and that weasely moustachio! What a wanker!

scooby doo 25

“This music’s kinda funny, Jimmy! It’s only got 6 notes!” Actually, he does say something about the music being weird and in a shaky handwriting, which is unlike Tony Symes.

At this point, my adult self is already thinking, “Are they gonna try and pass these 3 bars of music off as a complete song?”

shaky handwriting. almost as though he were in a hurry.

shaky handwriting. almost as though he were in a hurry.

Ok, so it’s nine notes now. I guess he got a few more in before Triple D busted in on him. If you know the notes of the music, look at them really close here and you can turn off the rest of the episode. Mystery solved. At least they got that part right.

scooby doo 27Jimmy introduces the kids to the rest of the staff.

Suspect #3: Ace Decade, nephew of the famous owner of Decade Studios, and obviously capped out on the goofballs here.

scooby doo 28Suspect #4: Brick Tyler, recording engineer. A gruff exterior, but probably the only one who knows what he’s doing in this entire outfit.

Meanwhile, Shag and the Scoob are goofing off in the studio. I’m not going to include a lot of the gags that are in this episode, but rest assured that, like any good episode of Scooby Doo, they are peppered in throughout.

This is one of them. Scooby jumps on a turntable for a ride:

scooby doo 29

“Whooooaaaa!!!!”

Roadkill Scooby.

Roadkill Scooby.

Meanwhile, it’s down to business for the people recording.

“Give us a little of that new Tony Symes joint, Ian!”

scooby doo 31Are they gonna try and pass off those nine notes as a full song? You bet your ass! Ian busts into some boogy-woogie-oogie number here that is, without a doubt, almost the complete opposite of what is on the sheet music.

Is he faking it? Maybe he has been the one writing the songs all along, and Tony Symes gets the credit because Ian doesn’t want to be rich and famous?

Nah. Ian would squash anyone in his path to get to the top of the pops.

Recording.

Recording.

The recording begins and the Gang has mysteriously disappeared. Brick is intent on his work, and Ace is definitely “feeling it”, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

scooby doo 33The good vibes. Broken they are.

The equipment goes haywire as someone has apparently laid a bunch of fireworks under the studio mixing board!

"It must be the Phantom!"

“It must be the Phantom!”

No other way to explain it. No one but a ghost would lace the mixer with Jumping Jacks.

F-F-F-FpHANTOM?!?!?!?1?!

F-F-F-FpHANTOM?!?!?!?1?!

There are always a few moments that you know are going to be in every episode of Scooby Doo. This is one of them. When Shag and the Scoob hear that something supernatural could possibly be afoot, they always freak out. Shaking, holding each other, crying… the whole shabang.

scooby doo 36“It’s the ghost of some old musician who is mad about us ruining his career!”

Pop stars like Jimmy Lewis have no respect for their elders, whom they are probably ripping off, in some way. If I thought, even for a second, that the ghost was real, and was the ghost of some poor ruined musician, I could easily be persuaded to root for the ghost in this episode.

And speaking of the ghost, they call him the Phantom, not the Demon! There are two reasons for this: 1. They just wanted a catchy, alliterative title, and 2. The Demon is Gene Simmons’s stage name for that scary character with the cow tongue.

This next scene is important because it’s one of two scenes in this episode that illustrated Shaggy and Scooby’s relationship dynamic:

Shaggy is scared out of wits.

Shaggy is scared out of wits.

Scooby sees this...

Scooby sees this…

Scooby is also scared out of his wits!

Scooby is also scared out of his wits!

Scooby Doo is the ultimate wingman. Not only do the ladies like dogs, but he’s willing to make himself look like an idiot, just so his buddy doesn’t look like so much of one. If you’ve ever laughed at a friend’s unfunny joke in front of someone he/she was trying to impress, you have a little Scooby Doo in you. Good on ya.

scooby doo 40“But we didn’t ruin his career!” says Daphne.

I’d ruin her career, amirite guys?

It’s weird that this studio ruined this person’s career, but now his ghost is the bad guy? Corporate politics, man. Not only that, but the ghost isn’t even real (belated spoiler alert!). Ya gotta wonder how many musicians Jimmy Lewis and Ace Decade have ruined! I hate those guys. Maybe Ian is one of them. Maybe he’s the Demon! Maybe probably definitely not.

And here, friends, we get another example of Scooby’s wingmanity:

Shag makes a stupid joke that no one but him laughs at. I can relate.

Shag makes a stupid joke that no one but him laughs at. I can relate.

Scooby turns... sees it...

Scooby turns… sees it…

"Hee hee heehehehehehe!!!!"

“Hee hee heehehehehehe!!!!”

Since a lot of the recording equipment is destroyed, the staff must now decide what to do, to try and salvage the session:

scooby doo 44Brick: “I’ll go get some replacement equipment, Mr. Decade!”

Ian: “And I’ll take five!” – typical studio musician. Everyone else works while he sneaks outside for a doobie.

scooby doo 45“While everyone is gone, Scoob, how bout I play a little of the ol’ soft shoe for ya?”
****CRASSSSHHHH****

Something fell down! What was that sound? Shag goes to check it out:

scooby doo 46The Demon comes leaping down the stairs like Riverdance! I have circled it for you here, but shouldn’t the rest of his abnormally-long body be coming across that doorway? Maybe he is a ghost! Or maybe this is a new ghost! The ghost of a leg that the studio ruined!!! EEP!!!

scooby doo 47Is he a giant?

Ya-hahahaha!!!!

Ya-hahahaha!!!!

Shag: “You must be the Phantom!!!!”

Scooby does some sort of calypso dance move and they dive into the piano to hide:

scooby doo 49People hide in pianos all the time in cartoons like this. Whose idea was it originally that pianos made great hiding places? Let me tell you, as a kid who took years of piano lessons, they don’t. There’s no room! They would have broken themselves on hard strings and wood.

So be it. Suspension of disbelief and all.

scooby doo 50It’s the close ups like this, with the Demon headed for the piano, that would have sent me howling to my room. Not that I ever made it this far into the episode anyway. But if I did…

scooby doo 51***BWOOONG*** I used a gong noise instead of a piano noise because gong noises are funnier.

Am I Demon???

Am I Demon???

The buck-toothed baddie runs off the good guys, and makes for something on the floor:

scooby doo 53But what would a Demon Ghost Phantom of a Dead Musician want with sheet music? Is he planning on using Tony Symes’s hit-songwriting to start his comeback? As a ghost? I hafta admit, that’s one helluva gimmick. I’d go see the DDD in concert, for sure.

Bwa ha ha! I have the music, which is what I was after for some reason! With my black eyes!

Bwa ha ha! I have the music, which is what I was after for some reason! With my black eyes!

During these hijinkies, Jimmy has been giving the Gang a tour of the label hq:

scooby doo 55“These ten stacks of records ship tomorrow!” – Jimmy

“There’s only six!” – Velma

“I’ll be damned!” – Jimmy

We saw the Phantom!

We saw the Phantom!

EeeEeEeeAAAAaAAAaaa... grooowwwwlllll...

EeeEeEeeAAAAaAAAaaa… grooowwwwlllll…

Another classic Scooby moment: imitating the bad guy they have just seen, but everyone else hasn’t seen yet. Sometimes this is funny. This time it’s the most disturbing moment in the whole show.

scooby doo 58Back in the studio, it’s looking like tonight’s studio session may not work out. And just for the record, I would have been long gone if I was involved in this whole thing. These guys act like it’s business as usual. Just your everyday, run-of-the-mill, revenge-seeking Demon on the loose, guys! Hakuna Matata!

Brick: “Without the music, which the Demon absconded with, we can’t record!”

Jimmy: “No problem, there’s another copy in my room!”
Shaggy: “I’ll go get it! Me and the Scoob will go get it! It’s better than hanging out in here with you guys, where it’s safe!”
Brick: “Errrr, ummmm, I gotta go pee or something…”

Here we are, Scoob! Jimmy Lewis's dressing room!

Here we are, Scoob! Jimmy Lewis’s dressing room!

Please. Please God blow this picture up and check out that portrait of Jimmy on the wall. I have circled it for your convenience.

I don’t even know what to say about it. I would say that he looks a bit retarded, but the R-word is taboo these days, so I’ll just say that he ’bout a stupid-lookin’ motherfucker. Maybe the artists that drew this don’t like Jimmy either. As artists, they are probably sympathetic to the Demon.

Pop stars are dumb.

The Demon closes the door behind them!

The Demon closes the door behind them!

We get a better look at that terrible portrait as the Demon closes the door behind our heroes. I also fear that the Demon may be suffering from acute scoliosis. That, or those shoulder pads would fit in better on the Golden Girls.

scooby doo 61Shaggy: “Like, thanks for closing the door, Scoob.”

Scoob: “I didn’t close the door!!!!”

scooby doo 62“Give me that music!”, exclaimed the Diabolical Disc Demon, in his Ned-from-South-Park voicebox voice. Maybe the studio made him smoke too many cigarettes in life! Good thing I gave them up for the safe alternative of the tobacco pipe! Scooby whimpers pitifully.

scooby doo 63A dog crying in real life must be one of the most heart-wrenching things in the world, but this is pretty hilarious right here. It’s funny to me that he starts crying because he’s so scared. That should probably not be funny.

scooby doo 64Night of the Attack of the Ghost of the Rocky Dennis!!!! Gimme that music!

The chase!

The chase!

The Demon chases our guys around the desk. He’s so caught up in what he’s doing, that Shag and Scoob decide to pull one out of the Looney Tunes playbook:

scooby doo 66“How bout a game of Cards?”

Exactly what game is Cards? I hear people say that all the time. “We were playing cards when the boss walked in!” I usually assume poker, as that seems to be the Chief of all card games, but I doubt Shag and the Scoob are about to gamble for Scooby Snacks. Maybe a nice game of Rook, but not poker.

scooby doo 67Regardless, the Demon doesn’t give them time to play, as he stops just long enough to strike a vogue and channel some of that Ziggy Stardust side of his personality.

scooby doo 68Shag and Scoob run away. This angers the Demon. I like how he is a little off-center here. That is true art.

It’s even more true art when it zooms in on his fucking eyeball!!!!!

scooby doo 69Holy shitballs, that still makes me a little uncomfortable. I don’t know if Scooby Doo ever did so many extreme close ups in an episode, or even if they did, did they ever get this close? That is ridiculous. This short five seconds of zooming in on the Demon’s fucking eyeball would have been enough to give me nightmares for the rest of my life! Now I’m glad that my survival instincts told me to hide from this wickedly evil episode!

Things are not ok at Decade Records.

Things are not ok at Decade Records.

The guys are being chased by a Demon!!!!

The guys are being chased by a Demon!!!!

Have the other members of the gang even seen the Demon yet? I don’t remember and I can’t be bothered to scroll up. If not, that is strange. This is almost a Shag & Scoob-only episode!

Yet another classic place to hide in Scooby Doo was inside of a hanging coat:

scooby doo 72

“Shag? Scoob? Where are you guys?”

Is that a cow tongue poking out in this shot? Man, that dude is white.

And we know they are in the coat and hat, but where are their legs???

"Phew! We lost 'im Scoob!"

“Phew! We lost ‘im Scoob!”

They return to the studio:

scooby doo 74“While you jackanapes were in here toking on each other’s titties, we’ve been getting chased by a giant, errr really tall, Demon!!! Just for this stupid sheet music!”

They give the music to Jimmy Lewis and Shaggy and Scooby wander off to find food. A common occurrence  in Scooby Doo. This is usually a little respite from the scariness. Like the daytime scenes in a slasher movie. It’s no different here, and it’s also usually a way to work in some gags that have nothing to do with the plot.

I know I said I wasn’t going to show any of the jokes, but I did want to point a couple things out about this next scene:

scooby doo 75#1. A MILKSHAKE VENDING MACHINE. The logistics alone boggle my mind. Not to mention that just a normal Coke machine isn’t in the break room at all, just this thing! If this was anything like any studio I’ve ever been in, there would be a bar where this thing is, and a Coke machine stocked with cola and ginger ale (mixers).

scooby doo 76#2. A vending machine that has sandwiches… and pizza. Same thing. Is it really that hard to come up with a vending machine joke that they have to make the vending machines trade in impossibly-perishable items? No wonder Autovits and Popsipep went out of business!

I hear something behind this door!

I hear something behind this door! Let’s open it!

scooby doo 78

“EeeEeee-yahhhhh!!!!!”

"Ummmm... on second thought..."

“Ummmm… on second thought…”

"Joe! Joe! There's someone locked in the closet!!!"

“Joe! Joe! There’s someone locked in the closet!!!”

"Are you high, son??? C'mere you!"

“Are you high, son??? C’mere you!”

"Dum dee dum dee dum..."

“Dum dee dum dee dum…”

"I can't believe that sumbitch threw us out!"

“I can’t believe that sumbitch threw us out!”

scooby doo 84We finally get to the requisite “How many Scooby snacks would you do this dangerous thing for?” scene. Shaggy suggest three, Scooby negotiates him up to four…

scooby doo 85Shag: “Ummm, I’m fresh out, Scoob. I’ll have to owe ya.”

Scooby: “What kind of chickenshit outfit is this, anyway???”
Shag: “Now, alley-oop into the window!”

Up to the flagpole...

Up to the flagpole…

Across the street...

Across the street…

Onto the awning...

Onto the awning…

Into a Shaggy heap. "Did I do it?"

Into a Shaggy heap. “Did I do it?”

Well, that plan that would have required a platoon of Chinese acrobats to pull off failed. How bout we just go through the window?

scooby doo 90Maybe try the door? Nah, the window…

"Zoinks! Loads of Jimmy Lewis records! In the trash!"

“Zoinks! Loads of Jimmy Lewis records! In the trash!”

Where they belong.

scooby doo 92If you’ve ever seen the Goonies, you know what’s going on here…
Daphne is playing the piano. Talented and beautiful!

scooby doo 93Fred: “Stop playing! You awoke the A/C Vent Demon!!!”
Velma: “Jesus, Fred. Do you ever think before you open your mouth? There’s someone in there!”

scooby doo 94Why, it’s our lovably goofy pals, Shaggy Rogers and Scooby Doo!!! Whatchall doin in there?

scooby doo 95While Shag is explaining that the dickhead rent-a-cop threw them out for no reason, the Demon sneaks in on little cat feet to steal the second copy of the music. That nine-note hit that is destined for pop stardom.

"Got it!"

“Got it!”

"Not for long!" Scooby lassos the music with a mic cord!

“Not for long!” Scooby lassos the music with a mic cord!

"Curses!"

“Curses!”

A chase follows, as the Demon chases the gang around the studio. I should point out that the Demon here is in the same room as Jimmy. Not that Jimmy was ever a suspect, being a friend of the Gang and all, but I felt it was worth noting. I also think this is the first time the rest of the Gang has seen the Demon and it’s at the climax.

scooby doo 99Scooby folds the sheet music into an airplane and flies it around the room. Think on that one for a minute. It’d take a slide-rule to figure out how he did that. Algebra and whatnot.

scooby doo 100Scooby comes in for a Launchpad McQuack patented 3-point landing in a pile of reel-to-reel tape, with the Demon hot on his heels!

"Yarrrrgh!"

“Yarrrrgh!”

"He did it! Scooby did it! And I have a monster monkey arm!!!"

“He did it! Scooby did it! And I have a monster monkey arm!!!”

"Aw man..."

“Aw man…”

Now. Time for the big reveal…

Will it be Ian, the giant douchebag studio musician with the look of a pedophile?

Will it be Brick, the recording engineer who is disgruntled with the idiots he had to work with?
Will it be Ace Decade, the drug-abusing nephew of the studio owner?
Or, will it be Joe, the scary security guard who takes his job too seriously???

"Let's see who's behind this ultra-scary mask that could just as easily have been face paint!"

“Let’s see who’s behind this ultra-scary mask that could just as easily have been face paint!”

Um. It might not be Joe.

scooby doo 105Fred’s look here says, “What the hell? I thought sure it was Red Herring!” Fred is a dolt.

scooby doo 106Velma: “I solved the mystery a long time ago, but I had to wait for Scooby to catch him.”

scooby doo 107Velma again: “See, Tony knew Ace was up to something, like smuggling Jimmy Lewis records through the trash, so he left us this clue in his last moments!”
Jimmy: “Tony’s dead?!?!?!?!”

Velma: “Yep!”
Shaggy: “Then who was in the closet???”
Jimmy: “But Tony’s been out of the closet for years!”

Sorry. Couldn’t resist that one.

scooby doo 108Sure enough, it was Tony/Jerry Reed in the closet. Along with my pause button.

Time to end on a joke…

"Raaawwrrrr! I'm the Triple D-dog!!!"

“Raaawwrrrr! I’m the Triple D-dog!!!”

"Yipes!"

“Yipes!”

"Mmmm, raspberry! Scooby Dooby Doooo!!!"

“Mmmm, raspberry! Scooby Dooby Doooo!!!”

The End.

The End.

Once again with the HB tiles in the background. This screen brings me so many nostalgias.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Veggie Macabre, for giving me the idea.

The Scooby Doo Wiki, for having all the info I didn’t know online. Names, places, dates, and etc.

Thanks for reading, as always. Maybe next time I’ll do the Headless Horseman episode with Scooby Dum-duh-dum-dum-duuummmm.

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Posted in About Me, About Media, General dorky shit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sardine Review: Angelo Parodi Portuguese Sardines

Getting Fit for Dragon*Con is about a lot more than getting up in the JFZ and torturing the Whirly Bird.

It’s about trying to change your life, for the better. Not just a change in activity level, but a change in diet and attitude, as well. Some may say that I haven’t tried, and they may be right, because a lot of the time, I’m not trying. Like last night at Target when I bought that pack of “pumpkin cheesecake sandwich cookies”.

That is not trying.
That is fuck it.

To be honest, I’m roughly the same size I was when I started this blog, despite going through a lot of weight fluctuations that, coincidentally, have coincided with trying… or not.

This morning for breakfast, I had sardines and triscuits. I’ve expressed my love for triscuits on this blog here numerous times, but the main point of triscuits is that they do not screw around.

We’ve discussed, numerous times in past sardine reviews, the benefits of eating fish, and sardines in particular. For one, my wife the Marine Biologist, told me that smaller fish have lower concentrations of Mercury. Mercury bad.

I know that it is kind of a moot point to review something that most people don’t like anyway. I mean, you know whether you like sardines or not, but for those of us who like them, we know that not all sardines are created equal, and that some of them are downright horrible.

This is the kind of sardines I had:

20130920_101606

I’m not even sure where I got these, but they were in our pantry. They could be 50 years old, but they’re canned, so I figured they were fine. When I opened them they smelled like rotten fish, but that is normal for sardines. So for now, I’m awaiting the test results from the lab in my colon.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen “skinless and boneless” sardines before, so I was curious about what that might mean…

20130920_101701

Apparently, it means that this is a can of fish soup. No problem. I like a nice fish soup… when I’m about to make a gumbo. When I’m in the mood for a can of sardines, I want whole little fish that I can fish out with my fork and place on a triscuit.

“Boneless and skinless” may be a good quality for some people. I’m betting the manufacturers of these things figured they would appeal to people who didn’t like sardines because of the skin and bones. Here’s a hint, Angelo Parodi: that demographic does not exist. I refuse to believe that there is anyone out there who is thinking to themselves, “Ya know, sardines wouldn’t be that bad if there wasn’t all that skin and bones in there! In fact, I would eat them for every meal if they did not have those two things that make up about 0.02% of a normal can of sardines!”

Look, you Portuguese sardine canners. Put down your unfiltered cigarette and look:

People either like sardines, or they don’t. Taking the time to skin and filet tiny fish is not going to change anyone’s mind about that. I realize it gives you an excuse to double the price, but “double the meat!” ain’t exactly what’s going on here.

To the untrained eye (mine), it looks like you took a regular can of sardines and scrambled it.

These are not eggs. They are fish. Hard to wrap your mind around that one, I know, but it is the truth. And “scrambled fish” is a dish you’ve never heard of, because it doesn’t exist. Because people don’t want their fish served scrambled.

Nor do they want them tightly packed into a can, but that is besides the point.

Overall, I give these a 6/10 tiny fish skeletons.

From looking at these on amazon, they are definitely not worth the price. You can get a can of nice fish stock for about half the price, and that’s what these remind me of. When I want sardines, I want sardines, not shaken and stirred fish martini.

There has to be a joke in that brand name somewhere. These are certainly a “Parodi” of real sardines.

Now all 6 people who follow this blog can sleep at night when they unfollow me, knowing I deserved it for that one.

Posted in About Fitness, About Me | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Dragon*Con 2013 Experience by fitfordragoncon

9 Days or so since Dragon*Con 2013!!!

I am going to start this wrap-up of my experiences at Dragon*Con this year in the most appropriate way I know how: by having a tall tumbler full of Blanton’s Bodaciously Badass Bourbon.

Therefore, by the end, I should be sufficiently lubricated with truth serum to “let it all hang out”, so to speak.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thursday

I am a sucker for tradition. If I do something twice, it is a tradition. Last year, I picked my Dragon*Con travel buddy up and we had breakfast at Chik fil*a (I think that is how they spell it. It’s stupid). It was terrible. So we did it again this year. I had some sort of bagel with egg and chicken on it. The whole life cycle, right there on a “bagel”. The bagel was a napalm-hot sponge and the eggs were some sort of yellow plastic, like a playtime kitchen set you might have as a kid. I threw the “hashbrowns” in the garbage.
Next year I’m getting something else that will be equally as bad.

This is exciting shit, I know.

On the way up, we stopped for lunch in Auburn, AL, which is where my Dragon*Con Travel Buddy (from here on out, referred to as DCTB) and I went to college, and where I met most of my close friends. We did this last year also. We went to a pizza place that I used to work at and met a couple old friends who still live there for lunch.

It’s always weird going in there, and I honestly would rather go someplace else, but this too has become a tradition and cannot be broken.

Checking in at the Marriott

Checking in at the Marriott

When we got to the Marriott, I immediately knew it was going to be more crowded this year than it was last year, just like last year was more crowded than the year before that. Last year, when getting there early on Thursday we walked right in to pre-reg and got our badges. This year, we waited in line for about 30 minutes. Nothing, I know, compared to some people, but 30 minutes compared to nothing is a lot.

2013 Dragon*Con Badge

2013 Dragon*Con Badge

DCTB and I discussed the situation on this badge. He said it was a sort of Aquaman situation, with the lovely young lady controlling the seabeast. To me, it looks more like two buddies frolicking in the ocean (as opposed to one being controlled by the other). We both agreed that the seabeast was not going to eat Miss Hawaiian Tropic. They both look, to me, like they are smiling. Nevertheless, it is some quality art.

After we got our badges, we went to the room for a nap. What can I say; we are old.

Then we headed downstairs to go to Trader Vic’s and meet some friends, another Dragon*Con tradition. Trader Vic’s is great for two reasons: 1. Werewolves of London 2. It’s in the basement of the Hilton, meaning we can walk to it without even going outside! Thursday nights are still Mai Tai night also, where the normally expensive beverage is knocked down to $6.

Unfortunately, the secret is out and it was butts-to-nuts in there. Last year, they had the outside bar going, but this year they had one poor guy handling like a thousand people. I felt bad for the guy, with his Hawaiian shirt and slicked up hair, he was really trying hard to keep up, but he was drowning in the weeds. Although, the tub of Mai Tais tasted like sour mix with a little TMNT ooze mixed in.

Then we all went up to the Marriott for a little people-watching and costume-spotting.

The best!

The best!

These were the best costumes I saw all weekend, and they popped up on the first night! I’ll take “clever and inventive” over “movie accurate Iron Man” any day. In case you can’t tell what is going on here, a couple people painted up some BDUs (which me and my roommate used to pronounce “bedoos”) to perfectly match the carpet on the mezzanine at the Marriott. The first thing I thought when I saw them was “Someone left their shoes down there!” They were lying on the floor, perfectly still, and I seriously did not see that they were people for about a full minute. I am not kidding in the least. Granted, I had a few Mai Tais and scotches and beers in me, but it was still awesome. In this pic, they are crawling across the floor.

This night ended up in our room with a lot of talking and drinking with old friends, a recurring theme and, in my opinion, the absolute best part of Dragon*Con.

THURSDAY night! Unbelievable.

THURSDAY night! Unbelievable.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Friday

Taken at some point during Dragon*Con.

Taken at some point during Dragon*Con.

Friday my main mission was to find Wendy and Richard Pini, creators of ElfQuest, one of my favorite comics of all time. I knew they were going to be there, but I didn’t know where, and I had promised a friend that I would get their autograph for her.

Finding the Pinis was easier looked at in the program than done, however. I first went to the “Comics & Pop Art Alley” (which is way too small for a Con this size, by the way). They were not there, despite my mind telling me that I saw their name there in the Pocket Program.

"Pocket" Program

“Pocket” Program

I then looked them up on the Dragon*Con app, and when I asked a D*C volunteer where that was, I found out that there was a whole new building this year! All the vendors had been move to a place called “AmericaSmart”. How comic artists are vendors, and not on the Comics Alley, I do not know.

I’ve never seen a place like this. I have no idea what is in this building the other 360 days a year, but last week this place was a 2-or-3-or-4-or-more story maze of vendors. If I was a vendor, I would be pissed that I had been moved into a building that was completely removed from the other Dragon*Con stuff. Meaning that if someone wanted to buy some crap, they had to travel a block or two (outside!). Despite my opinion, the detached Geek Mall didn’t seem to dampen the legendary consumerist spirit of the average Con-goer, as I had to wait in a line just to get into the building!

After a lot of squeezing through crowds, I finally found my heroes:

Wendy & Richard Pini

Wendy & Richard Pini

They were at a tiny booth in the middle of all sorts of philistines! I couldn’t believe it. This just goes to show a good point on geek culture: something that, to you, may be the hugest deal in the world, doesn’t mean shit to anyone else. It’s why we get so excited at Dragon*Con: in our daily lives we’re surrounded by people who think we’re stupid for caring about how The Hobbit movie was different from the book, but at Dragon*Con we are around our own. I know that’s kind of common sense, but seeing the Pinis right there, in real life, was a lot for me to handle.

I patiently waited in line behind a gaggle of giggling beauties dressed up as elves, who each had 30 different things they wanted signed. I had two. My Issue #1 of ElfQuest and an ElfQuest card that I bought for my friend.

20130827_082620

Issue #1

Signed!

Signed!

I was really nervous, but they were very nice people. I was especially nervous about telling them that my wife and I are starting a band called ElfQuest and I’ve been working on a song called “Wolfriders”. Instead of informing me about copyright laws and how they relate to intellectual property, they said, “Cool! What kind of music is it? How can we hear you?” I told them it was metal, which didn’t put them off at all! The truth is, we’ve never even played a show yet, but now I feel like we have to get it done.

On Friday we also attended a Battlestar Galactica panel. Even though we’ve been to numerous BSG panels over the years, Edward James Olmos is always a treat to listen to, and Richard Hatch seems like a very interesting guy. This year’s panel also included Kandyse McClure, who played Sweet Dee on the show. She didn’t talk as much as I would have liked, and EJO and Richard Hatch had a tendency to bogart the mic a little bit and drone about non-BSG topics. This was fine, to me, because I’m interested in sociopolitical issues, but it seemed a lot of the natives started getting restless. All in all, the panel was good, but not as good as BSG panels have been in the past.

The Admiral, The Traitor, & The Tragedy

The Admiral, The Traitor, & The Tragedy

Then we went up to the room for a respite. This year we took many respites. I can’t deal with crowds the way I used to could. I need a break every now and then. It was during this break that I was participating in one of my personal favorite Dragon*Con activities: hanging out on the balcony outside our room, drinking scotch, and people-watching. Then I saw my second favorite costumes of the weekend:

Muppet frackin Stormtroopers

Muppet frackin Stormtroopers

I’m pretty sure I saw these guys last year, or some other time, but I love it.
See, in my mind, I am done with Star Wars. Star Wars, to me, is like that first love who rips your heart out and stomps on it. Years later, you think you’re over it, and you are, but when you see her there’s still some little twinge in the back of your soul.
As much as I hate Star Wars now, part of me will always love it. I can’t help it.
And there is no doubt in my mind that The Muppets are one of my favorite things ever.
These costumes, of the ever-popular “mash-up” variety, hit me right square in the soul. But they didn’t usurp “Marriott Carpet Soldiers” spot as #1 in my mind because I think I’ve seen this before, and being a bit of a contrarian, it’s my job to hate on new trends. Like “mash-up” costumes.
Still, look at those bastards. Muppet stormtroopers. Jaysus.

It was then time to get in line for a Game of Thrones panel, which we anticipated to be a long line for.

Allow me a short rant here: the reason the “Comics & Pop Art Alley” is so small and impotent is because people these days come to these Cons to see celebrities. That is a bummer, to me. That America’s worship of celebrities has infiltrated geek culture to such an extent that we have to get in line an hour early to see Lord Mormont, some other asshole, and Osha (whose name I’ve found funny since I read the books. “Occupational Safety and Health Administration” ha!).

Rant aside, we honestly just didn’t have anything better to do while this panel was going on. Neither one of us are the biggest GoT fans in the world (I think the books are not that well-written, to be honest. They make for some good tv, though).

While in line, we saw this badass She-Ra costume, which I took a picture of for my wife, who loved She-Ra.

Princess of Power

Princess of Power

Once inside the panel, I was glad we came. The panelists were very interesting and Mormont and Osha seemed like genuinely nice and interesting people. DCTB stated that Osha was a lot sexier in real life, and not on the show dressed in rags and covered with shit. I agreed, she was hot. Mormont was charming and regaled the audience with tales of being on other hits (like Braveheart) and on his not-so-great roles: such as in “All the Queen’s Men”, which I have never seen, but kind of want to now. Not really.

I think the other guy was in the show for one episode, and for one purpose: (spoiler alert!) to stab Craster. I think. He was funny and made humorous remarks about his small role in the show.

Game of Thrones panel

Game of Thrones panel

We probably ate after the Game of Thrones panel. Even if we didn’t, I’m going to say we did as a way to talk about eating at Dragon*Con.
Our favorite place is Yami Yami in the food court at the mall. It’s an Asian-but-mostly-Japanese buffet/cafeteria style eatery where you purchase your food by the pound. You go down a line, putting sushi into your tray, and at the end they weigh it and you pay.
To us, it’s not only convenient, but it is consistently tasty, and even when there’s a long line, it doesn’t take very long.
Our second favorite place was High Velocity, which was a sports bar place in the Marriott. There was rarely a wait, and even if there was a wait, it was very short. The food was good enough, and the price was not very high, at least to have a table where we can have a little peace and order a beer.
My least favorite place was in the Hyatt. It was a buffet, but you could order off the menu. I ordered a Cobb salad off the menu and it was fairly terrible.

That night we made sure to attend “An Evening in Bree”, which is a party put on by theonering.net, one of my personal favorite websites. We’ve tried to get into this party before, but it is always capped out.

Of course, being denied entrance before made us want to get in worse than ever, and also contributed to me building this party up in my mind as one of the greatest events I would ever experience in my entire life.

Before the party, I took this pic of some movie dwarves chasing a little kid dressed up as Gollum.

battle!

battle!

All of these people were involved in the costume contest, which was held at the party.
Here is my review of the party, broken down into pros and cons:

The bad news first. The Cons:
– NO ALCOHOL. This is a huge mistake, although the next day we chatted with a fellow at the TORn booth and he said the hotel wouldn’t let them have beer in there. Nevertheless, this made the whole thing suck, in my opinion. It was no longer a party! More like a random gathering of nerds. Granted, in my mind, I had built this party up so that it could never live up to my expectations. I was picturing people in dwarf costumes having drinking contests, wizened old wizards smoking pipes in the corner and quietly discussing world events over a mug of ale, and hobbits dancing on tables and singing drinking songs. Basically, I wanted to spend a night in the Prancing Pony, and Butterbur does not serve water! I had my flask, but I think the party would have been livened up a bit if everyone had been given a mug of beer upon entrance.

– The Atmosphere. The room looks like what it is: a conference room. In my mind I was expecting to magically be transported to Bree. Into a large pub with great wooden tables, with a thatched roof held up by great wooden beams, and a huge wooden keg of ale in the corner, filled with a special brew that was made just for tonight. Instead, it was all metal girders, folding chairs, and fluorescent lights. The first thing I would have done is get rid of the chairs. Then dim the lights a bit. Then have a giant wooden keg of ale, free to all party guests.

If we ever attend this party again (spoiler alert! we won’t), I’ll know what to expect, and won’t be let down when I’m not ushered directly into Middle Earth from the basement of the Hyatt.

Now the good news. The Pros:
– The band was good. I love Irish music and this band played a few Irish tunes, mixed with a few songs from the movies. They were great and I would have loved to gyrate on the floor to them with a mug of ale.

– The costume contest was hosted by real celebrities! Granted, the new Hobbit movie can, in my mind, suck it, but I hafta admit that it was cool of these stars to come host it. I’m sure they did it for free and out of the kindness of their hearts. It was Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) and one of the dwarves. The costume contest was cool, and there were some truly great costumes, but the whole time I was too busy whining about there not being any beer in Bree to properly pay attention.

– Most everyone seemed real nice. I had on a TORn tshirt and got at least one “Mae Govannen!” from a fellow Tolkien fan. Startled by this, as I never encounter anyone in the real world who just suddenly greets me in Elvish, I stammered, “You too”, which is dumb. If I had been on my game, and not half-snookered in Laphroaig, I would have given him a “Suilad, mellon!” I am positive that is the first time anyone has said Mae Govannen to me outside of Lord of the Rings Online. Regardless, it was awesome, and I wish I had responded better.

the TORn booth at Dragon*Con 2013. Usually staffed with friendly people and cute girls.

the TORn booth at Dragon*Con 2013. Usually staffed with friendly people and cute girls.

To be honest, I don’t remember the rest of that night. I think we turned in early, in anticipation of a long day and night on Saturday.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Saturday

We woke up this morning and went to panel that featured one of the devs from Blizzard, who had worked on WoW and Diablo 3. DCTB had been saying all along that he wanted to try and do some gaming at Dragon*Con this year. We never got around to it.
I did take this picture, however:

Pathfinder!

Pathfinder!

The Hilton, in case you don’t know, is where all the gaming stuff goes down. If it’s a video game panel, it is here. If you want to meet up with some random nerds and play Magic, it’s here. I took that picture right outside of where the Blizzard panel was going to be. DCTB and I played a game of Pathfinder not too long ago, and I enjoy the game, but Dragon*Con always seems too hectic to stop and play games. Plus, why would I want to play Pathfinder at Dragon*Con when I can do that at home? Granted, I can drink scotch at home too, but it’s just not the same without hordes of costumed people swarming around you.

A guy from Blizzard.

A guy from Blizzard.

This is some dude from Blizzard. It is sad that I don’t know his name off the top of my head, as I have more respect for him than some idiot who gets paid millions of dollars to “play pretend”. Let me look his name up… he deserves at least that much…

I think this is Alex Mayberry.

He is nice, and I wanted to ask him a few questions, but it was during the Q&A section that almost every Con bad-question stereotype reared its ugly head. No one asked him for a hug, but it was close.

– The rambling for five whole minutes (which is a long time if you sit there and watch the clock for five minutes) and never really asking a question, meanwhile the audience starts mumbling and getting restless, person: CHECK

– The boasting question. This is a person who thinks up a stupid question because they want to boast of their achievements, not because they are genuinely interested in what the panelist has to say. These usually start with, “I’m an artist too, and my work blah blah blah…” I would wager to say that almost everyone at Dragon*Con is an artist of some sort. Either drawing a little bit, or making costumes, I’ll bet you a Coke that Dragon*Con has a lot of creative people in attendance.
This one was, “I’m in the greatest guild of all time on WoW [glances around pridefully], and blah blah blah…”
DOUBLE CHECK. There were several of these.

I still wish I had asked my questions. One of which would have been, “At some point in your life, you must have played a game where you had an epiphany and said ‘This! This is what I want to do with my life!’ What game was that?”

Just curious.

I am pretty sure that was the only panel we went to that day. After this, we wandered around looking at costumes, occasionally stopping for a beer break.
It was during this time that I saw this:

Skeksis!

Skeksis!

mmmMMMMmmmmm...

mmmMMMMmmmmm…

A Skeksis! I’m pretty sure that this person went on to win the whole banana at the costume contest, and here we got to see it up close and personal. I know it looks impressive here, but I promise you, this thing was unbelievable. My personal award for, “Looks like it took the most time and attention to detail” goes to this person. I could have stood there and gazed at it forever. Dark Crystal, man. Wicked.

It was around this time that our friends from out of town started showing up. We all walked to Ted’s Montana Grill and ate buffalo burgers and drank beers.

On the way back to Dragon*Con, I bought cold ones for everyone from a guy on the street who was selling them out of his cooler. Coming from here, that’s no big deal, but he was really nervous. I think drinking on the street is probably a no-no in Atlanta, which is lame.

We got back to our room and drank and drank drank. In fact, I drank straight through the main thing I was excited to see at Dragon*Con: the “Cabal Cut” of Nightbreed. Oh well. I had more fun doing what I was doing anyway.

We all moseyed down to the Marriott floor to mingle, where I shared my flask with a loud woman dressed as a Viper pilot from BSG. I also took these pictures:

The Love Boat party crew!

The Love Boat party crew!

No idea what happened to this one. I think these are the same lady dwarves from the "Evening at Bree" party.

No idea what happened to this one. I think these are the same lady dwarves from the “Evening at Bree” party.

Wolverine and someone else.

Wolverine and someone else.

homina homina homina

homina homina homina

I have a ton of drunken, “Let’s get together and make a picture!!!!” photos, but out of respect for my friends’ privacy, I won’t post them here.

I don’t remember much after we went downstairs. I know one of my friends got a picture with the Road Warriors and I told a Marriott employee who was just trying to do his job to “go fuck yourself”. My bad, dude. Thanks for understanding that I was drunk as hell and not kicking me out. DCTB caught an extra-potent strain of Con Crud this night, also.
Oh, and I tried my best to convince an old friend of mine to move back home to the area by repeatedly telling him, “It calls to you!!!”
I also wound up singing loudly along with some Hank Williams Sr. that was on our radio, as I am wont to do when wasted.

At the end of the night, we said our farewells. Some of us back to our homes in cabs, some of us back to our respective hotels, and me and DCTB back up to our room to pass out. I think.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sunday

Damn you, black-out blinds!
We didn’t wake up until almost 11am, which was when we had planned to go see the Shatner.
We stumbled out of bed, hair all sticking up every whichaways, no shower, still in our clothes from last night, pulled on our shoes, and hit the streets.

The Trek Track is in the Sheraton, which is a few blocks from the Marriott, which meant we had to go outside.

It may have been the worst 3-block walk I have ever been involved in. The sun was merciless.

But we made it! We did it, and I applaud our efforts. We found the line and, even though we were pretty far back, still got in and got decent seats through sheer dumb luck.

Captain the Kirk

Captain the Kirk, via Instagram (fitfordragoncon)

And I am so glad we did, because it was, to me, the best panel we went to all weekend. William Shatner is 82-ish years old and is still full of, as my dad would say, “vim, vinegar, and vitality”. He was engaging, funny, and most important to me, he seemed to genuinely enjoy being there. He told stories, he answered questions, he paced about the stage. It was magic, I tells ya.

After we saw the Shatner, we went back to the room to recuperate and received texts from our friends that none of them were going to make it to Con that day due to hangovers that were tougher than old sailor meat. So we took steps to recover the day: showers and naps.

The only other panel we went to that day was for Muppet Babies. Yes, the cartoon from the 80’s. It featured Michael Frith, a guy who worked with Jim Henson on The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, etc. He even collaborated with Dr. Seuss at some point!
He told us how the Muppet Babies came to be, and showed us some killer clips from the show and a music video for the Muppet Babies song from “Muppets Take Manhattan”. Apparently they made a video for the whole song, of which the portion in “Muppets Take Manhattan” is only a small bit.

One thing I found interesting is his answer to the question, “What do you think of children’s programming today?”
He said out loud that he doesn’t watch it at all, but implied that it is all shit. He also said that they always tried to make their programming as positive as possible and that entertainment these days is too cynical, sarcastic, and jaded, which I completely agree with.

The Man, Michael Frith

The Man, Michael Frith

Then it was off to the vendor rooms. It was this day that I wore one of my favorite shirts. A shirt that is so mighty and intense that I only have the balls to wear it once a year, at Dragon*Con.

It is a shirt with a dragon on it. Scratch that. It is the Dragon Shirt. It is a shirt that I saw on every little dirtbag, DnD-playing, skateboard-riding, metalhead in the 80’s. I picked it up on eBay.
As I told DCTB numerous times, one of the best things about it is that the print covers every single inch of that shirt. It goes all the way around my generous midsection. It goes, literally, all the way to the ends of the sleeves. Its mastery over other dragon shirts cannot be denied.

In fact, the shirt is so good that while I was chatting with Lloyd Kaufman (the Lloyd Kaufman) at the Troma booth, he said, “I have got to get a picture with this shirt.”
He called his booth babe out from the other side of the table and we got a picture together.

And here it is:

IMG_20130901_174553

It was around this time that DCTB finally admitted to me, “I think I’m getting sick. My throat’s on fire.”

We hightailed it back up to the room. He laid in bed and we watched the Masquerade on DCTV. I had gone foraging for more booze and brought back a bottle of Johnny Walker. Not the best, but for the price the corner store was charging, it was all I could afford. And if anyone was counting, we went through 3 bottles of whiskey Saturday night, and not the cheap shit, either. One bottle of Glenlivet, one bottle of Laphroiag, and a bottle of Blanton’s bourbon that our out of town friends brought. I was unfamiliar with Blanton’s, but it was delicious.

That was, more or less, the end of Dragon*Con for us. We went in like lions and slithered out like a couple weasels in the henhouse.

On Monday we just woke up and went home. I wanted DCTB to be able to get home and see a doctor that day (Monday).
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In conclusion:
The theme this year could almost have been “missing the stuff we want to go to”.
We tried to get into the “ElfQuest: 35 Year Anniversary Celebration”, but Dragon*Con had booked it into a room that held about 15 people, so hundreds of us got turned away. We couldn’t even stand in the hallway to see our heroes due to some mess about “fire hazards”.
We tried to get into a Fraggle Meet n Greet, but it was full by the time we got there.
We drank through the Nightbreed: Cabal Cut thing.
We slept through the “Return of the Living Dead” panel, which featured Linnea Quigley.

Despite all this, we had a blast, because as anyone will tell you, Dragon*Con is about much more than the panels. It’s about whatever you want to make of it. To me, that’s hanging out with my friends and being around a bunch of people who don’t want to talk about football or fishing all the damn time. (For the record, I like those things, too)

I was chatting with a friend of mine on facebook recently and I told him about our trip home, and how we stopped at a random gas station, only to find it covered over with rednecks. It was a bit of a culture shock, and I find it amazing how quickly our mind can alter our perception of reality. I was used to being around my fellow kooks, but suddenly coming to the realization of, “Oh yeah, most people in the world suck. I forgot about that.” was an adjustment. One that took a full few seconds, of course, but an adjustment nevertheless.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my adventures at Dragon*Con 2013. I know it wasn’t as exciting as last year, but so be it, Jedi.

See you all at Dragon*Con 2014!

Posted in About Dragon*Con, About Me, About Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Dragon*Con Survival Guide 2013

8 Days Until Dragon*Con 2013!!!!

As a person who does a blog with the name “Dragon*Con” in it, I feel obliged to write some sort of post about “getting ready for Dragon*Con”. I should also mention how thoroughly excited I am and how this is gonna be the best Dragon*Con ever, and add a lot of exclamation points.

But to be honest, I’m not that excited. Yet. Sure, there’s more horror programming this year than there was last year, and sure, I am incredibly stoked to see Wendy & Richard Pini (and possibly get them to autograph my Issue #1 of ElfQuest), but I’m just not feeling it yet.

I’m nervous, for one reason. I’m nervous that I’m going to zonk out and miss something awesome. I’m nervous that I’m not gonna have enough money. I’m nervous that something is gonna go awry with my hotel reservation.

One thing I am not nervous about is forgetting something. Why? Because I have made a packing list. My own personal Survival Guide to Dragon*Con.

Please allow me to impart my veteran Dragon*Conventioneer wisdom onto you, friend and possible Dragon*Con newcomer.

First, as stated above, make a list of things to include in your suitcase and have it handy when packing. Check things off, if it helps.
Here is my list:

1. Dopp Kit These are your toiletries. To aid in speedy travel packing, I have a “travel set” packed up at all times that I just pull out of the bathroom closet and throw into my bag. Included in my kit is: deodorant (the Con body odor situation is infamous and I refuse to contribute to it), beard trimming stuff (razor, shave brush, shave stick), beard grooming stuff (balms and waxes), hair comb. If there is a specific shampoo that you feel you must use, you better bring that too.

2. Clothing Obviously you are going to be bringing clothing. And if you are wearing a costume, which I am not (even though I say I am going to every year), clearly you want to pack that stuff. In fact, I imagine that cosplayers should probably make a separate checklist just for their costume. The clothing I am bringing is just normal stuff. Everyone talks about how much walking there is at Dragon*Con, but I’ve never really noticed there being an inordinate amount of walking and/or standing around. Everybody does things differently, of course, but I usually choose aesthetics over comfort at Dragon*Con. The main thing is: pack extra clean underwear. You never know what could happen.

3. Any alcohol/drugs you feel you need I am not advocating drug use at Dragon*Con here, I’m just saying that you can’t count on finding the things you may feel you need at Dragon*Con. To me, this is booze. Drinks at Dragon*Con are ‘spensive. Just like a night out at the bar, except imagine drinking at the bar for 5 days straight. If you like to drink, do yourself and your wallet a favor: bring a bottle or two and a flask. That way, you have more dough to spend at the vendor tables! Which leads to #4…

scotch! pic stolen from the internet

scotch! pic stolen from the internet

4. $$$$$ Better bring them ends, dog. There is no way you are coming to Dragon*Con and not finding something you want to buy. Whether it’s an autographed photo of William Shatner in his underroos (which I purchased last year), or a bunch of vintage travel posters (bought two years ago), you will find something that you want, nay, need at Dragon*Con. And not everyone takes cards, and the ATMs supposedly run out of cash by Saturday. I have never had this problem because, as this post exemplifies, I plan ahead. Dragon*Con is expensive. The whole experience will find you constantly face-to-face with people who want to separate you from your money. You could probably spend a nice vacation in Singapore for the amount that you will spend on this weekend. But that’s fine, because Dragon*Con is an excellent vacation destination, and you don’t have to worry about getting shanghaied by pirates. Unless you want to be.

4. Radio I need my tunes. A radio that plays your favorite tunes (mine is small but has an ipod dock, which is a necessity for my tune needs) will come in handier than you think. Not only can you listen to Stan Bush while showering, but you can throw on your Dragon*Con playlist when those impromptu room parties just happen to bust out in your pad. It is officially a party then! I find that a little background music helps facilitate conversation amongst strangers and those folks you just met at the bar downstairs and invited up for a toddy.

5. Pre-marked schedule, Dragon*Con App If you are a Type A person, you may want to go ahead and download the pocket schedule (meant for Andre the Giant’s pockets) and highlight the things you want to do and figure out where they are beforehand. It pays to have several things highlighted for each time slot, as you may not be able to get into some panels, or you may just not feel like walking a long way. Having an idea in your head about where you are headed each day helps you get your shit done, and helps other people because you’re not stopping in the middle of a busy thoroughfare and whipping out your map. Ever been to Disney World? Same thing here. And if you do have to pull out your map, pull off to the side of the road, or ask a friendly guard for directions… one that is out of everyone’s way and isn’t busy doing 500 other things.

6. Your ID, Dragon*Con Badge, and Postcard You will need your ID. Whether you are using a credit card to get into the Warhammer 40k business, or you just want to buy a beer at the Sail bar, your ID will be required. I never go anywhere without mine, but there’s always some jackanape who doesn’t have theirs and holds up the process for everyone. You don’t want to be the one standing between a thirsty Con-goer and their gin & tonic (or Mai Tai if I see you at Trader Vic’s Thursday night). It goes without saying that if you don’t have your badge, you won’t get into the panels, no matter how long you waited in line. And starting last year (I think) you may not even be able to get into the host hotel without it!

7. Snacks Sometimes you will be hungry and not have the money or time to break for a full meal. This is when that Clif Bar in your bag comes in handy. It also comes in handy at 4am when you feel like you may vomit if you don’t eat something right now. Some people also carry water bottles. I did this my first year, but found it to be a bit too cumbersome for my freewheelin’ ways. Diff’rent Strokes and whatnot.

8. A healthy dose of “go with the flow” attitude Don’t forget to bring a good attitude with you. Many is the time that I have stood in line for a panel behind some Negative Nancy who apparently had no idea that Battlestar Galactica was this popular, and lets everyone around them know about it. That is life, Negative Nancy, sometimes ya gotta wait. A good attitude will not only help you and your party have fun, but will influence others around you to party down also. You didn’t get into that Star Trek: TNG panel you wanted to go to? No big deal, there is probably something cool going on somewhere else. Scratch that, there is definitely something cool going on elsewhere for you to enjoy, even if it is just downing a few brews and people-watching for a few minutes. And believe you me, Dragon*Con offers the absolute prime people-watching available all year. Any amateur sociologist will find more than enough to pique their interest.

In Closing:
I know a lot of this is common sense, and info that is available anywhere, but I figure there’s someone out there who reads this blog, but may not visit any other Dragon*Con sites. The main thing is to have fun and Hakuna Matata, bitches. You can sleep when you get home.

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5 Movies I can’t believe are on Blu Ray

Friends, I have done it. I have made the jump and purchased a 3D television set.

Why? Because I like 3D. There, I said it.
I mean, I know it has become a symbol of American consumerism, and it’s a gimmick and all, but I still like it. I also know that 3D is an ingenious way to get people to come to the theaters and buy new teevees, even when the whole “HD Flat Screen” hullabaloo is still recent (my current tv is only 2 years old). But, pirating 3D movies is still not foolproof, so it’s also a way to get us to buy discs again.

Don’t care.

I grew up with 3D. It’s in my DNA to like it. My first movie was Star Wars, at a drive-in. I don’t remember it, but my folks say I was enthralled. It was not in 3D, but growing up I loved drive-ins and gimmicky crap that made going to the movies more fun, and more of an experience. Is 3D worth the extra $5 for a movie ticket? Hell no. But if I can have it in my house, anytime I want it, it is worth it, to me.

Because that’s my shit.

Your shit may be collecting comics, or hunting, or fishing, or whatever. But I like movies, and I like video games. Considering what some people spend on boats around here, and the trucks to pull them around with, I feel like my little home theater hobby is pretty economical.

I was late on the whole dvd thing. I watched vhs tapes up until around 2006 or so. I still watch’em. The fact that vhs and cassettes are rapidly becoming the new retro cool thing is a whole different topic, that I’ll probably never address.

I got a dvd player for Christmas from my parents, and at the time, it was the most expensive thing I owned. It came with a “Mr. Deeds” dvd. As a poor chap, I didn’t have money to rent (much less buy) other movies, so I watched Mr. Deeds like a thousand times on my 13″ Magnavox tube tv.

When bluray came out (after the dust had settled between bluray and hddvd), I was unimpressed. It seemed like a stupid gimmick to me. I could see the movies I had on dvd just fine. I waited. After all, only new blockbusters were being released on bluray, anyway, and who wants to watch that shit?

Then, one day, I was in Target. They had “Night of the Creeps” on frackin’ bluray.

See, one thing I kinda had against bluray in the beginning was my feeling that, every time a format changes (film to vhs, cassette to cd, etc.), we lose a few things. It is inevitable. Some things just won’t make it onto the new format.
But when I saw “Night of the Creeps” in Target, and in high def, I knew I needed a bluray player.

I know bluray is old now, but it’s still new to me, and obviously “Evil Dead” or Texas Chainsaw are going to be available, but here are some movies that I am genuinely surprised made it onto this new-ish format:

1. “Snuff” (1976)
Coming out this October, from Blue Underground (gods bless ’em), “Snuff” is a movie that me and my hornball friends rented at the local greasy mom&pop vidya rental store when we were like 13. I still remember it. I’m pretty sure we turned it off halfway through, not getting the boob quantity we expected. That time we also rented “Last Orgy of the Third Reich”. Why the clerk allowed a bunch of kids to rent that stuff is beyond me, but whoever he was, he was/is awesome.

“Deep in South America a Manson-like cult leader named Satan cavorts with his bevy of beautiful biker-chick followers while compelling them to kill in his name. When sexy American actress Terry London arrives with producer Max Marsh to shoot a new movie there the creepy cult targets her and her friends with plans of murder mayhem and the grisly sacrifice of her unborn baby. Is the final bloody massacre only a movie? Or is it the shocking footage of an actual murder committed before the camera?Originally lensed as The Slaughter by notorious filmmakers Michael and Roberta Findlay (Shriek Of The Mutilated Take Me Naked) the movie sat on the shelf for five years until enterprising producer/distributor Allan Shackleton devised a controversial new ending and released it as Snuff.”

2. “Q: The Winged Serpent” (1982)
This one drops out of the sky in about 2 weeks.
Q haunted every trip to the video store I ever went on. As a monster movie fanatic (particularly the giant ones that fucked up cities), Q both intrigued and frightened me. The cover was just so damn scary! But it was also some sort of giant, wing-ed, beast that probably ate people (by far the best part of the classic arcade game “Rampage”).
I didn’t end up actually seeing Q until about 4 years ago, and I loved every minute of it, and my 11-year-old inside voice whooped it up every time Q (short for “Quetzacoatl”) broke some shit. I love it that an ancient Mexican god has a nickname.

3. “Knightriders” (1981)
No talking cars here. Only knights on steel horses. As if you didn’t already know Ed Harris was bad to the bone, along comes George Romero’s(!) “Knightriders”.
Basically a movie that posits, “What if a bunch of bikers held a Renn Faire?”
Yeah, it’s as awesome as it sounds. And Tom Savini’s dickhead ass is in it.

3. “X-Ray/Schizoid” double feature (1982 & 1980)
I’ve never seen either of these, but X-Ray, aka “Hospital Massacre”, has been on my list for forever. I’ll watch anything with Barbi “Codille” Benton in it. Schizoid is just a bonus. A little icing, if you will. But it’s got the Klaus Kinski in it, so at the very least, it’s worth a watch. Plus it has a good name.

4. “TerrorVision/The Video Dead” double feature (1986 & 1987)
I think both of these are also on netflix. I know “The Video Dead” is, because that’s where I saw it.
The main thing here is, in my opinion, “TerrorVision”. This may be the weirdest film in this short list, and it may even be my favorite, because it used to come on Channel 44 late at night when I was around 13 or so.
Here’s the “plot”:
“Life will never be the same for the Putterman family in Terrorvision. Stanley Putterman (Gerrit Graham) installs a state-of-the-art satellite dish in his backyard. Through a cosmic accident, a wayward monster’s energy is beamed across galaxies, into the satellite and onto the Puttermans’ television set. The Puttermans don’t notice any changes, only better reception and a strange monster continually appearing on the screen. But when the monster leaps off the screen and into the Puttermans’ living room, terror erupts, as it needs to feed on humans for its survival! Uh Oh!”

I know you wanna run right out and pick this up this very minute, and you should, because TerrorVision is amazing.

5. “The Boogens” (1981)
Creepshow claims that it’s “the most fun you’ll ever have being scared”, but I would say that The Boogens gives it a good run for its money.
My cousin and I caught this one on cable late one night and were mesmerized by the creatures who seemingly farted when they walked. I mean, it seemed like it to us, anyway.
This movie is about some guys who open up an abandoned mine, only to set loose The Boogens, who possibly have the best name for a group of farting turtle monsters ever.

I was going to do ten movies, but I am tired of typing and I want to play some Lord of the Rings Online before I go to work. Maybe I’ll do five more another time, because there are tons of movies that I am genuinely surprised found their way to HD.

EDIT: I am an idiot. The whole point of this post, which I nearly forgot, was to say that, if these movies can come to bluray, I can’t wait for them, and others like them, to come to 3d bluray. The Boogens in 3d needs to happen.
And if Roger Corman isn’t on top of this shit already, he’s losing his touch for the gimmick.

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