Friday, December 5, 2008

It Won't Long Be Long, Yeah! (Yeah!) 'Til I Buh-log to You

Disappointed by the recent absence of blogging up in herre? Fear not - a new blogging challenge is now in the works. No real details yet, but it will be heavily inspired by Chris Semp's Everyone Gets a Hamburger at the End: A Blog Challenge, which is to say that it will likely run for a similar length of time (I think it was something like six months), and completion of the challenge will require all competitors to blog something - anything - every single day, allowing only a single mulligan.

Interested? Leave a comment. I'm going to tentatively schedule the beginning of the thing for January 15. If that's not going to work for you, let me know as soon as possible. Worried you'll forget about all of this before then? Sign up now and I'll be sure to remind you to begin blogging as we approach the starting date. I'll continue accepting new contestants until the day we begin.

By the way, I'll be spending Christmas with the family, so this blog will be even more dead than usual over the next month. That doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to hopefully refresh this page every hour, and don't forget that it's always a good time to re-read the JakeyPen archives.

So that I might properly prepare for the sort of impersonal, detached blogging that comes as a result of doing this every day for a half a year, here's a link to something funny that someone else wrote [thanks, Dubious Quality!].

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Always a Ring Bearer, Never a Flower Girl

My Aunt Kathy is getting married! Congratulations Kathy and Erik!

Hi, Holden, hi!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You are the lucky visitor!

I saw the above phrase on a flashy banner ad, and I like it. I like that there's no number. I'm not the 50,000 visitor to the page where I saw this ad. I'm just lucky. So lucky that I can click to claim a fabulous prize.

I have no prizes for you, dear readers, but I think the message holds true. You have the opportunity to read my blog. Indeed, a lucky visitor is you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

If you are seeing this, come back later. I want to get a better picture.

Also, my li'l sister's costume is amazing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Blog About a Table

Yes, today I'm writing about a table. Now, I'll admit that great stories are often born from dull subjects, but, no, there's really not much of a story here at all. Just a table. A really, very large conference table, but, come on, does that matter? Nah. A table's a table, regardless of size.

First of all, remember this guy?

My hero, gamemaker-extraordinaire Shigeru Miyamoto? Well today, I saw... his signature! Yeah! His signature! In real life! You'll never guess where it was. Unless you read the title of today's post, or maybe skimmed the first paragraph, that is. Yep, it was on a table. Nearly two weeks since I've blogged anything, and this is the big, life-changing event that rocked me out of hiatus. Some dude wrote on a table. Whoooooooooooooo!

In all seriousness, though, it was totally awesome. The man has an nice signature.

Above: Not a table.

Not only did Miyamoto leave his name, he also wrote the date and doodled a little Super Mario face. The man draws a nice Mario.

Above: A table. Sike! No, this is still not a table.

Each of the table's corners had a signature, though I didn't have time to see who else was there. One person had drawn a Pokemon trainer with a Pikachu, which I would've thought would be the mark of Satoshi Tajiri. Like I said, I didn't get much of a chance to check it out, and I couldn't quite make out the handwriting. I think it was something that started with an S, but it didn't look like "Satoshi" to me.

Even if I didn't know who these people were, I would've found the table interesting (interesting as tables go, at least) because the autographs were sealed off in frames. I'm not sure how to describe this, exactly. They were like picture frames that clamped around the corners of the table. Bizarre. I wonder if they were custom made. I can't imagine the table-corner frame business being a big money-maker.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Inside Jokes Make the Best Blog Posts

Suitable for framing. Makes a charming desktop image.

Improv Update: Tonight was the night of the second meeting. Of the seven people who showed up last time, one e-mailed me in advance to tell me she was sick and one came forty minutes late to tell me he and his friend would be missing the meeting. All the others were no-shows. I did have four new kids show up, two of whom have actual, real-life improv experience. They also have loads of advice, which, really, is very nice, but most of it is along the lines of, "Hey, Jake, you should run this club in a completely different way." It doesn't bother me, but I do wonder what would compel a person to walk into a club and immediately start trying to change everything about it. Odd. Even more odd was that both of them were fully aware of what they were doing.

It was said that the drop in attendance may have been related to this being midterm week. Fair enough. Still, I don't want to battle each week just to get people to show up, but I do want the improv club to succeed. I'm going to try this thing one more time before calling it quits.

Oh, and it's been brought to my attention that there aren't any pictures of "naked chicks" on my blog. Consider this problem solved.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't Be Turkeys; Rather KISS the Comedian

Alright, let's talk about this improv thing. In case you haven't heard, I recently started an improvisational comedy club at my school. It's sort of an odd experiment - starting a club that requires confidence and gusto at a school populated almost exclusively with computer nerds - and the results were mixed. I was quite impressed with what I saw, but, as I'd suspected, not many people showed up. Eight people, myself included. School rules require clubs to have at least ten members, and I wouldn't want a troupe of any fewer than twelve, excluding me. In fact, I nearly cancelled the whole thing before we even began playing any games, but I'm glad I didn't. I've since talked to a few people who missed the meeting due to scheduling conflicts, and I now have a small, but enthusiastic groupof wannabe improv-ers seeking out new recruits. Next week I should find out whether improv at DigiPen lives or dies. I'm hoping for life.

Troubling pattern: I have heard two (2) separate people this week say (and repeat) that KISS is important, which is stupid enough, but then they had the gall to explain the acronym. Are we really still doing this? I didn't think it was funny or clever ten years ago, and it hasn't improved with age. What really gets me is the palpable sense of smugness that always accompanies these obnoxious phrases.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just Press the A Button

Two posts in two days? Can this be?

Don't get too excited. I'm not sure that video posts really count, anyway. Knowing that I'm a "blogger" makes me feel creepy enough, and making the switch to "vlogger" is something I can't bring myself to do. The thought makes my flesh feel like it's made of a trillion tiny Bumble Balls. Maybe not exactly like that. But I still don't want to be the guy who slaps a couple of videos on a page and wonders why no one visits his site.

I may be back with a bit of real news tomorrow, as I just recently returned from the first meeting of my new improv comedy club. I'd love to talk about it now, but I have loads of homework, and I'd much rather spend an hour explaining that I'm too busy to blog than spend ten minutes just writing about the club.

Right! Now on to a video!

Not just any video. I'm quite certain that what you're about to see means nothing to you, but it had me bouncing up and down, flailing and screaming like an eight-year-old girl at a Hannah Montana concert. Like an eight-year-old Olive Oyl.

The original No More Heroes may be the best game on Wii. (If not, then Metroid Prime 3 is the best, but MP3 doesn't let me perform Lucha Libre suplexes on homicidal baseball players, then cut them in half while shouting obscenities.) No More Heroes is only the best-or-second-best Wii game, it's one of the best games of all time on any system. And now there's going to be another one.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Don't Truck Wit' No Devil!

By request of the mom, here is a bit more of that voodoo that I do so amateurishly.

Surprisingly fitting music stolen from The Elegant Too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball

Blah, blah, I'm the world's worst blogger, insincere apology, false promises, la, la, la. Great, now that that stuff's out of the way, let's look at some terrible videos.

Animation is one of those spooky, mystical things that's always amazed me. Throughout most of my life, I've lived with the assumption that drawing moving pictures was that sort of thing that either required the sale of one's soul/first born/voice to the devil/mafia/Sea Witch, or involved direct exposure to a high volume of luminescent radioactive material. I had heard tales of ordinary mortals acquiring the power to draw a set of sequential images, but I never thought it would happen to me.

I'm now three weeks into an animation course and I've learned that animating is actually quite easy. Animating anything that isn't completely awful, on the other hand, would cost me the ability to play Hey You, Pikachu! And I love Hey You, Pikachu!*

So I'm a lousy animator for now. At the same time, being able to make stuff move around on a screen is pretty neat. Here's some garbage I threw together over the last week:

* Hey You, Pikachu! requires possession of a soul. It might also be a good idea to have a young child around if you're the sort of person who feels funny about yelling at a Nintendo 64 controller.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Have Always Liked "Cowabunga!"

After all my yakking about this new thing I'm writing, it looks like I'll be putting off that subject until tomorrow. There's bigger news afoot today.

Edit: On second look, this is actually old news, but if you haven't heard it, it's new to you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Games and Stories: An Introduction

If you've read the title of today's post, it's likely you're bored already, and that bit at the end about this being the first in a series means you're anticipating boredom yet to come. I started this blog as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family, people generally not much interested in topics like video game analysis. That said, the purpose of this blog is to keep you informed on what's happening in my world. The relationship of games and stories has always held a strong draw for me, and as I advance through school and come closer to professional gamemaking, I find it becoming more and more significant to my life.

So, yeah, this somewhat indulgent (it is a blog, after all). This is for me more than anyone else. I'm sorting my thoughts because it will benefit me to have a concrete guide to games and stories as opposed to the free-floating thoughts that have been bouncing through my head for so long. It's also, believe it or not, for those of you without interest in the video game world. Many agree that we are nearing the point of video games becoming an accepted artistic medium. Movies weren't always given the reverence they enjoy today. Rock 'n' roll was long feared. You're on the Internet right now. You likely log on daily - ten years ago, did you honestly believe the Web would become a routine part of your life?

I'm writing this as a beginner's guide. An introduction. Most of my readers (I have readers, right?) are completely unfamiliar with the link between games and stories. I'm keeping you in mind as I write this, but even if I was writing for the current masters of gamemaking, this would still be a begginer's introduction. No one knows what they're doing yet.

This will be an ongoing series. I may drop the discussion for weeks or months at a time. This is a field that's still in its infancy, so I doubt there will be a definitive end.

If you're still bored now... I can't blame you. If I might break the fourth wall, I feel this is coming across as a bit dry and dull. I think that has more to do with me than with the subject. I'm just a dull person at the moment. Sorry. But seriously, this is gonna rock! Let's get excited! I'm going to list some thesis-y questions! That's awesome, right? How can you not be psyched?

What is a story?
What is a game?
How does story add to/detract from gameplay?
Why tell stories in games?
Are these all the big question I can think of for now?
Then I guess I'll wrap this up?
You do that?
Okay, I will?
Is this going to be boring?
Man, I hope not?
But, yeah, maybe?
Seriously, you guys, just give me a shot with this?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Schoooooooooool's! In! For! Autumn!

Nooooooo mooooore summmmmmer, waaaaaaaaaay mooooooooore bloggggggggggging. Maybe. I mean, definitely no more summer; probably more blogging. We'll see how it goes. I'm not ready to commit to another contest just yet, but I'm trying to give it a bit of effort. Not too much. As you've likely surmised. I'm keeping it boring tonight. Which is fine. You filthy, starving dogs will happily scarf down whatever scraps I throw to you.

I had a thought recently about the word "blog." It's tough for me to take any Internet-age term seriously: blog, vlog, lol, rofl, roflcopter... ugh. The list goes on and on, but that's about as much as I can stand. Yes, we're all aware that "google" is a dictionary-approved word, but that doesn't mean I have to like it (or that you have to keep reminding me).

At the same time, all of these things have become a mostly-accepted part of my life. This may surprise you, but I blogged this mini-rant. Does it bother anyone else that we've been so inundated with stupid terms? Website - no problem. Personal Website - a little irksome, but I suppose it's a fair distinction. Blog - I want to stab a koala in the eye. A baby a koala. A cute one.

So here's the thought - was there ever a point in the past where people raised an objection to the word "novel?" What's wrong with "book?" "Narrative book?" Are we too good for books? Personally, I find the word "novel" a little pretentious.

Alright, that wasn't very insightful or thought-provoking. Pretty forced, really. Gimmie a break. I'm settling back into my groove. Let me try again...

Oh, here's sort of an announcement, though word's already leaked to quite a few people: I'm starting an improv comedy club at DigiPen. That should make the school year a bit more interesting, assuming there's enough time and enthusiasm to keep the club afloat. We will see how this goes. If anyone out there in the blogosphere has ever founded or joined an improv/comedy start-up and has any stories or advice to share, please do!

Monday, September 1, 2008


You know in "Pocahontas" when Mel Gibson tells Thomas to keep both eyes open when he shoots because he'll see "twice as well"? That's really stupid. I'm pretty sure it's been at least five years since I last saw that movie, and I'm still upset by just how dumb that is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back From Outer Space

The first ten days of a month don't count, right?

I'll fill you in on my month-plus hiatus later. I'm a bit busy tonight, but I know there's a lot of talk about me being dead, so I'd like to squash that myth and quell your fears before you spiral too far down into the void of hopeless, bleak despair that's no doubt imprisoned you during my absence.

Monday, June 30, 2008

End of Side A

This is the end, my only friend, of the end of the Hamburger Challenge, but not the end of JakeyPen. I will be taking some time, though, to sufficiently enjoy not eating my burger. I've enjoyed writing here daily, but it has made the whole thing a bit routine. The number of "I'm blogging be cause I have to, not because I want to" posts has increased lately, and that's not much fun for me. At the same time, the contest has encouraged me to write things I wouldn't have otherwise. So here's the plan: for the next month, no matter what happens, I will not be updating. I won't even open this site. What will you do 'til then? You could chase your tail. You could count your nose goblins. After that, I'll come back, but without any schedules or obligations. At some point, I will set another daily challenge for myself, so if anyone out there is interested in joining a future blogging contest, speak.

This concludes Season One of JakeyPen. M-I-C, see ya real soon, and thanks for reading.

Congratulations Dave+Lily, Marisa, Nicole, and Nora!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Very Quiet Jake

Tonight is a good night I think for listening to Sean Lennon.

And that's pretty much all you're gonna get out of me tonight, 'cause I just packed all my stuff and I am not too chatty and the moment. Also, it's hot. Insane hot. I drank an entire pitcher of iced tea, several cups of water, and some quantity of soymilk, and I'm still thirsty. I'm the Very Hungry Caterpillar of thirst.

As long as I'm linking Sean's MySpace page, I should link this.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pepperoni and Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Olive, Chives

Advertising's got me on the run. If you'd like to read something that should make you sick, check out this study which found that "82% of Consumers React Positively to Receiving Contextual In-Game Ads During Game Play." Bad, yes, but this was a survey designed to prove the effectiveness of desecrating video games for money. There was a certain bias, and there are so many factors in "research" like this that may skew the results. No, what got me was the way people have responded to these findings. People, ordinary people, people who spend huge amounts of time and money on video games agree that an increase of in-game advertising is okay. I've seen Websites where people have, of their own will, commented that they don't mind buying interactive commercials. How can this be?

This bothers me enough from the perspective of someone who plays games, but as someone who wants to make games, I must say that I do not like the idea of selling out becoming the norm. Then again, this isn't a matter of my industry. Auctioning off our integrity is apparently such a fundamental part of human existence that we're advertising it to the stars.

The aliens won't need death-rays or shape-shifting when they come to conquer Earth. We'll happily take them to our leaders for a couple bucks.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The News From Your Bed

I should be moving out any day now, but as much as I like the new apartment and the new roommates, there is one aspect of leaving my current pad that disappoints me. For months I've been planning to do a follow up to the bed post, but with only days until my lease expires, it appears the bed shall outlast me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crazy Week

That's what you get when spend all day working and all night looking for an apartment, but I've finally submitted a rental application. Pending approval of said application, I'm expecting a crazy weekend.

Current question: How does one move without a vehicle? I could rent a truck from a moving company or quickly make friends with a car-owner, but you know me; I like to make things difficult. If I steal a shopping cart, will I be able to fit my futon in it? Hmmm...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering the Carlin

I've spent the night watching, reading, and listening to George Carlin. Now that I think about it, I've spent lots of nights this way. I don't think there's any reason to get too sentimental about George's death, but everyone should at least look up a few of his bits on YouTube, and everyone should keep questioning authority.

Carlin was one of the best.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

While Silly Thoughts Go Through My Head

Dreams I want to record before I forget them: Last night I dreamed that we were living in future times. We lived a future where food could be multiplied. Make a meal for one person, multiply it to serve your whole family. There were still homeless people begging in streets, and people still wouldn't help them. It's not my fault their food isn't motivated enough to multiply.

When I woke up, I reasoned that if we could multiply food, we would never get a rotten apple. Someone would discover a great apple and multiply it until we had specific pieces of celebrity fruit. Maybe we would have a rotten apple, but we would trust that it was good because everyone else liked it and we didn't know any better. I thought, we already do this with people and media. Television is our cloning machine. Make a friend for everyone.

I dreamed I was reading a newspaper with a YouTube video embedded on the cover. When I woke up, I reasoned that this is technology we might develop, but why? There are events which can't be expressed by mere words on a page, but the real answer has nothing to do with news. I pictured myself walking through a store while every pack of toilet paper shouted to me at once, images flashing across the label.

I do not want this future.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picture Book

Remember that month when I had nothing to do except draw six pictures? Remember that time when I got a full-time job? I have 800 drawings due at the beginning of the semester!

Speaking of insane numbers, Ray Davies is coming to town next month. The price of a ticket? $107!! I mean, my congratulations to anyone who can still charge that much after all these years, but honestly! I can't even imagine what it would cost to see a full Kinks reunion.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Same As It Ever Was

I don't care too much for money, but there is one thing I've always wanted, the sort of thing that's sure to set you back a pretty penny. More than any other physical possession, I want a house that's full of secret passages. Is there anyone who hasn't? Rooms, tunnels, rotating bookshelves - heck, I'd be tickled to discover a crawlspace, so long as there aren't too many corpses rotting in it. From crouching on white blocks to secret baseball shirts, I've always been all about amazing secrets, and when secrets are combined with houses, that's the coolest magic of all.

So imagine my delight upon finding that after nearly a year in this apartment, there's been a hidden attic right above my head all along.From the start, I was curious about this indentation, but yesterday was the first time I really inspected it.
I pryed open the door, but it wouldn't go very far, and bits of fluffy puff rained down on me. I would have to let my camera do the exploring.
Oh, secret attic, what mysteries do you hold?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Capital M

And then "arshie!"

Sorry! I ran out of time before finishing today's post! I don't want to lose that Hamburger when I'm so, so close.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lunchtime Conversations

As mentioned several thousand times before, I'm not allowed to talk about my job. Obviously revealing details about unreleased games on a publicly viewable blog would not be good, but in order to protect all secrets, I'm not even allowed to discuss the games I test with my coworkers unless we are safely secluded inside of our office. This means all lunchtime conversation must be about anything other than what we do together all day long. The following is a list of all lunchtime conversation subjects:

1. The weather.

2. What everyone is eating.

3. What everyone is wearing.

4. Foods eaten during previous lunch breaks.

5. Foods to be eaten during future lunch breaks.

6. The size of the cafeteria tables.

7. The weather of other places where we have lived.

8. "Oh, that's right, we're not allowed to talk about the game. I'll tell you after lunch."

9. Previous jobs.

10. "Anyone see any movies lately?" (No)

11. Anime (I think. I have several vague memories of one person or another saying something about watching something with a Japanese-sounding name. By the time I regain consciousness, half my food is gone.)

12. "The cake is a lie." (If you don't know what this means, don't bother looking it up. It's a once-funny nerd joke that has been over-quoted to oblivion. You couldn't spend five minutes in the DigiPen computer labs last year without hearing someone say this, followed by raucous giggling.)

13. The last two make me sound like I'm really down on my coworkers. (Seriously, though, we get along pretty well.)

14. I'm not adding much to the conversation, myself. (So I'm in no position to complain.)

15. Silence.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spore, Spore, Spore! How Do You Like It?

I love Spore! Spore is so great! I haven't even played Spore yet!

Spore is the latest game from genius Will Wright, creator of the Sim series. Spore won't be released for a few more months, but a small piece of the game is available now as a free download. It is loads of fun. It's somewhat similar to the Sim creator from The Sims 2, except instead of being limited to making humans, you can make anything from a spider to a whale to an abstract alien to a human. I haven't spent enough time with it to master all of the nuances, but even after just a few minutes I was making all sorts of crazy creeps.

Download the Spore Creature Creator! Do it! Now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How High Can You Get?

I could've saved so many clicks if somebody would've just told me that my acceptance letter would come in the mail.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Remembering the Automobile

Dark, whimsical questions: Is our way of life sustainable? Realistically, how much longer will we have a car in every garage? Will the world last?

Are cars on the way out? It will be a slow process. We may run out of fuel. We may become environmentally conscious to the point where we're no longer comfortable using fuels, or we can't afford them. We may develop hoverboards and teleportation devices that bend time and space. Will we be driving cars at the end of the century? What about twenty years from now? Disease, famine, flooding, pollution, nuclear war, asteroids, supernovae, zombies - will there be anyone left to fill our driver's seats?

Setting aside the overwhelming possibility of a return of the living dead or a Return of the Living Dead Part II, I have my doubts that the automobile, at least as we know it, will survive to the end of humanity. Sure, it will exist in some way, but think about what cars mean to us now. Most obviously, they are our most convenient, efficient means of everyday transportation. In many ways, they provide the core to society's physical place in the world. Where we live and how we arrange our homes and business - all a result of the road. Streets dominate the our landscapes. Our first toys are tiny cars, and soon we build our own Hot Wheels tracks, and before that, after we've left the hospital, before we even enter our home for the first time, we are strapped into our car seats and buckled tightly.

And it's all brand new. The Ford Model T was first produced one hundred years ago. There are people older than the commercially available car. Will they live to see the end?

Cars will not disappear in an instant. There are simply too many, and they mean too much to us, but are they timeless? There will be car enthusiasts in the future. The vinyl record upended our culture overnight. Now, it too has enthusiasts. They love the retro feel of dropping the needle into a groove and boast of the medium's superior quality. Meanwhile, the masses slip their iPods in their pockets and shuffle until the battery dies.

Horses. Bikes. Camels. Rickshaws. Sleds. Boats. Buggies. Trains. Feet.

How will you remember the automobile?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not Pictured: Spandex

Bug testing a game is not the same as playing it, and I've found that my job does not significantly cut into my desire to play video games for recreation. The logical part of my brain, however, feels that a minimum of eight hours per day is more than enough. Why, then, do I feel that is acceptable to watch TV or browse the Internet?

Maybe it's because the Internet provides me with very old pictures of experimental transportation:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Behind the Scenes

I try not to write about the process of blogging too often. I like to think that there are more interesting things in my life than the activity that's taking place this very second. Imagine a conversation in which someone describes to you the way that move their mouth, lungs, and vocal chords in concert in order to express the thoughts which form in the brain. Dull.

Here's how it works, though. Some days, something so thrilling happens that I race to the computer and start typing. Most days, I sit down and wait for inspiration to strike. This is can take plenty of time. Often, I have other things I'd rather do than blog about how there are things I'd rather do than blog.

I have a rough mental list of things I'd like to eventually write about, but I also have the bad habit of waiting until fairly to late to begin writing, so rather than wasting one of my good ideas when I'm afraid I won't have time to fully explore it, I begin brainstorming new topics, but if I do come up with something good, I usually dump it on the list and wait for something shallower to enter my mind. Occasionally, I don't even get that far, and I have to wake up early tomorrow for work so I throw something stupid on this site press the submit button brush my teeth and go to bed goodnight.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Beautiful Day In the Neverhood

My friends, I am a dude who has played lots of computer and video games, but there is one game that has always eluded me.

I remember going to stores when this game came out over a decade ago and just staring at that box. Even now, it's completely unlike any other game I've ever seen. I didn't know a thing about the game, but I was quite certain that I would love it.

I've still never played it, but my sentiment hasn't changed, and every detail I learn convinces me further that it is surely something special. First of all, the graphics are rendered entirely from clay, a technique that's exceedingly rare in the world of video games.

The ClayFighter series also featured Claymation graphics

The game was created by Doug TenNapel, which means we can safely put another tally in the "pro" column. TenNapel is likely best known as the creator of Earthworm Jim, pictured above in his guest role in ClayFighter 63 1/3. TenNapel is a pretty talented animator, and in the few clips I've seen of The Neverhood, his skill shows. He's mostly focusing on his career as a comic/cartoon artist these days and, amazingly enough, is currently working on feature-length movie adaptations of both Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood. Speaking of movies, various unreliable Websites tell me that Steven Spielberg was in some way involved with this game, which would make sense, since it was published by Dreamworks in the company's early days. Speaking of Spielberg and games, I've heard Boom Blox is fun, but I haven't played it. Speaking of games I haven't played, The Neverhood. The Neverhood.

The above is nothing more than a drawn-out introduction for today's post, the topic of which is "Here's some music I like." The music in question comes from The Neverhood. It's wacky.

The Neverhood Theme

Operator Plays A Little Pingpong

Everybody Way Oh!

If you like what you hear here, here, hear more. A full soundtrack for the game has been released and re-released, but even Amazon is sold-out. You could also try playing the game, but I don't think it's going to be any easier to find. I've been looking for years.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Always a Bridesmaid... Wait, No I'm Not

I think most JakeyPen readers are members of my family, which means the majority of my audience won't be visiting the site this weekend since everyone except me is attending my cousin Mark's wedding. Sorry I'm missing everyone.

Congratulations, Mark and Susanna!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hail to the Leaf

Weird: I was waiting for a bus earlier tonight and saw a "McKinney for President 2008" bumper sticker. Have any of you ever even heard of Cynthia McKinney? Jaime, you don't have to answer that. Am I alone ignorant, or is this candidate's publicity coming primarily from bumper stickers?

I looked McKinney up, likely making this the first time in history that a political bumper sticker has had even the slightest effect on anyone. The biggest surprise? I mostly agree with her, even if she says things like "walking the talk." I'm still not going to vote for her, mostly because she doesn't wear a flag pin, but at least she's probably not a secret Muslim.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eye, Eye, Cap'n!

Dudes, what is up with my eye? Did I scratch it, or is this what happens when you spend all day playing video games?

This is about as close as I can come to talking about the job I'll be doing for eight or more hours a day for the rest of the summer, assuming my eye doesn't fall out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries

A transcription of the day's thoughts: "This is unbelievable. I'm in Nintendo. I can't believe this. I work here. This is amazing. I work at Nintendo. Incredible. This Nintendo. I can't believe I'm here. I'm here, and this is where I work. Amazing. Incredibly amazing. I don't believe this."

Rinse and repeat.

I don't think there's much more I'm allowed to say. It's even better than I imagined.

More news: I've found new roommates. I'm moving out!

More news: DiCaprio to Play Nolan Bushnell in Atari

But mostly, I'm so excited about my job! Woo hoo!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pow-Pow-Power Wheels

Two things that are likely to happen tomorrow: I'll be less interested in spending my free-time playing computer and video games, and I'll be unable to write about the games I am playing. As my last hurrah, here are two recommendations. Both of these games are available for free, but you'll first have to download and register Steam. Obnoxious, but hey! Free games!

The first is called Audiosurf. I downloaded the demo a few months ago, which let me play the game three times, then told me I'd have to pay for the full version to play more. I opened the game again the other day and was surprised to find that I was able continue playing. I'm not sure if this was some sort of glitch or if the game's creators have decided to be generous. The game's site gives the option to download the demo or pay $10 for the full game. I say get the demo - if you're lucky, you'll get the whole thing for free. If not, no loss, and you might find that the game is worth the low price.

Judged solely by the gameplay mechanics, Audiosurf is fairly lame. You guide a rocket ship-like thing down a highway and collect or avoid different blocks. You move left and right through the lanes in the road, with no control over the rocket's speed. There are several game-modes, but I only like one (Mono). So why can't I stop playing it? Audio surf is less of a game and more of an interactive way to experience music. Just pick any song and the game will use some algorithm (algorhythm?) to generate a roller coaster-y level that follows the sound of the music, complete with trippy bursts of visual flourish. It's the rare type of game that puts me into a hypnotic trance.

Of course, the amount of fun you'll have depends entirely on the music you choose. The game comes with the "Orange Box" soundtrack, but you'll have be much better off if you have a decent collection of tunes on your computer. So far I've found the most success with the Beatles and System of a Down. Fast, punky rock and mellow psychedelic music have provided some awesome results. Oh, and be sure to crank some Ace of Base. Rhythm games were made for dance music. Funk seems like it would be good, but is the beat is too erratic, it can be irritating. Disco is another mixed genre - "Don't Leave Me This Way"? Groovy. "Stayin' Alive", on the other hand, made me so sea-sick I had to quit playing.

The game was made to be played with a mouse or keyboard (do not use the keyboard; it's horrible), but I've rigged a more interesting control scheme.Playing Trackmania Nations with a steering wheel makes a bit more sense. That's right, this a car racing game. Yippee!
Ordinarily, I'm not a big fan of driving games. What makes this such a rad racer? Well, for starters, you have the option of playing......IN 3-D!!
But even if you don't have a pair of the ol' red & cyans, this game is pretty unique. The level-design is positively insane. You dodge obstacles, speed through loop-de-loops, and catch more air than them Duke boys. It's a racing game, but coming in first place is often less of a concern than making it to the finish line.

The controls are fantastically simple (if you're using a keyboard, you'll only need the arrow keys), but the challenge many tracks can be daunting. The game comes with dozens of tracks of increasing difficulty. There's also an tool that allows you to build your own course, which is one of the best editors I've ever seen in any game. Anyone can build a track, and if you play online, you'll be on user made levels. It's cool, because you'll find a whole collection of brand new courses every time you play, but it comes at a price. The only rule for a track to be eligible for online play is that is has to be possible to reach the finish line. Most players are apparently most interested in pushing the limits of "possible." I manage to finish about one in four races online. Trackmania is fun, but it's crazy-hard.

Both of these games, by the way, are very pretty. If you happen to have purchased a new computer in the last week, downloading these games would be an excellent way to see what your fancy-pants machine can do.

Did you make it all the way through that? I know most, if not all, of you don't have the slightest desire to read about computer games. Thanks for indulging me. And if you skipped ahead, what is wrong with you? I take one day to write about something that interests me and you scroll through it. Wow, real polite. Hey, you don't know - I might have snuck some clever jokes in there that you would have enjoyed, but you see "computer games" and start spinning that little clicky wheel in the middle of your mouse. I made a Dukes of Hazard reference, I'll have you know, and I don't think that's ever going to happen again. But forget it. Who needs you anyway? Jerk.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Don't Want To Bang On the Drum All Day

Two days until the job officially begins, which means two days of freedom. So how am I spending my last unburdened weekend? Playing video games. I should be out taking long bike rides or going to the movies or something (Alright! Kung Fu Panda, anyone? No, I kid, it looks so terrible.), but, honestly, I can't wait for Monday; I'm simply waiting for time to pass.

It's so cool to get a job you actually want.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day Number One

I'd love to talk about my first day at Nintendo, but there's really nothing to report. Today was the usual new job business - signing stacks of forms, taking a drug test - no different than any other company. My real first day of work is Monday, but don't expect too much then, either. I'm sure there's a pile of Non-Disclosure Agreements waiting for me. At least I got to pee in a cup today.

Before the cup o' pee (this is the best pee in a cup ever!), I, of course, got to spend lots of time in a waiting room. After thumbing through a few worn-out magazines my gaze drifted toward a TV tuned to the Curious George show. Wow. Second funniest thing I've ever seen.

I didn't start watching until a few minutes into the show, so I missed a few plot points, but it seems some lady had asked to George to work at her candy shop while she went out to do other things. Let me remind you now that George is an ordinary monkey. He may be unusually curious, but he he's still a monkey in a human world. So some guy comes in and asks for mint candy. George doesn't know which candy is mint, so he picks up a piece, bites it in half, and shows the filling to guy. The guy looks at the monkey and tells him that it doesn't look like mint, so George bites another one. Again, it doesn't look like mint. At this point, the customer is yelling at George, and the poor monkey is trying his hardest, but the man finally gives up. "I don't have time for this! I'll come back later, and you better have the mint candy by then."

As soon as this guy leaves, a woman walks in and gives George this complicated order. She wants six pieces of pink candy and four divided into two boxes, or something, so George sticks a bunch of candy in a couple of boxes and hands it to her. Now this woman is yelling. Now an old dude walks in and asks for a single piece of candy, but the crazy woman is still yelling, so George begins rearranging the boxes, but the old dude wants another piece of candy, so George helps him, but the woman is yelling. The old man asks for another piece of candy and George accidentally gives him one of the pieces he had bitten earlier. The man takess at the monkey pox-ridden chocolate and says very seriously, "This is only half a piece of candy. I better only have to pay half price."

More people enter the store. George is overwhelmed, so he starts flinging handfuls of candy on the counter. A man begins to flail his hands like a fourteen year-old girl and screams: "Ooooo, free samples!" Everyone in the store, by the way, is an adult; out of the ten or so people who showed up while I was watching, there was one kid. George continues to throw everything within reach and make Frank Welker sounds.

At about this time, the store's owner returns and sees the bustling crowd. "Wow, George, you've brought in so many customers!" She helps with all the orders, and then takes inventory. "Oh, no, George. You gave away more than you sold. Now I can't afford any more ingredients. I'm out of business." Perhaps leaving a business in the hands of monkeys isn't the best way to go.

It reminded me of how glad I am that I won't be returning to retail work this summer.

And if you were curious, the number one funniest thing:

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I'm a Nintendo game tester!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pushing Little Children With Their Fully Automatics

I got a call today from Staples.

They don't start hiring for summer positions until the beginning of next month.

While copying the above videos, I happened upon a short called Close Personal Friend, written and co-directed by Douglas Coupland, so it's obviously brilliant. Almost every line spoken was taken straight from Microserfs, but since Microserfs is the best book ever written, that's a good thing. If you like this movie, you should read the book.

I will warn you that it's about twenty-four minutes long.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Will Work For Hourly Wage

I'm applying for jobs!

I went back to Nintendo to see if any new jobs had opened, and ya know what? I was directed to a kiosk with a grimy keyboard and an outdated computer. That's right - Nintendo uses the sort of standard, online application I mocked just days ago. I'm so disillusioned!

At the same, it's Nintendo. It will take a lot more than a stupid application process to turn me against Nintendo. Unfortunately, none of the positions listed appear to be summer jobs, but it's Nintendo. I'll happily apply for anything if it means getting my foot in the door. Let me playtest games, stick me in the warehouse, make me scrub toilets for minimum wage - whatever.

I did, however, just find another site that does appear to list summer-type jobs at Nintendo, so if you'll excuse me, I have to answer a few dozen questions about where I live.

On another note:
That thing I said I was going to write? I'm putting it on indefinite hold. Believe me, it's not anything you want to read. It seems to me that if I've put it off this long, I might as well just wait until I'm feeling inspired enough to write it well. It will appear here eventually, but I'm not going to make a big deal of it. You probably won't even know that you've read it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Fingers Were Crossed

Sike, again! You know the drill by now - job, apartment, e-mail - blah, blah, blah. Anyway, whoops, I lost track of time, so I'm putting off the piece I mentioned yesterday for a bit longer.

I don't even have a good video today, so how about a music recommendation? You know what band is good? Like, mondo-good? Bishop Allen. Bishop Allen is great. They put on a fantastic live show, too. Part of one of their songs was played in Saved!, which was a pretty decent movie. Listen to them. Love them. Catch them with your butterfly nets. Take another picture of them with your click click click click camera. Invite them over for a cup of tea. If you feel like dancing, dance with them.

This is the band's official site, complete with free mp3s.

This is not the band's official site. This is the Daytrotter site, but it has a bunch of live recordings of Bishop Allen songs that you should download right away.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happiness is a Can of Spray Paint

There's something I've wanted to write about for a few days now, but between looking for work, new roommates, and checking my e-mail, blogging has been a low priority lately. I've been pre-writing it in my head (mind-bloggling), but it's a little more thoughtful than most of the drivel I slop into the trough for you, my dear, hoggish readers. I know you filthy swine will gladly gobble anything I toss your way, but this one's for me. I'd like to give it a bit more time.

So here's the deal: I'm gonna slack a bit today, but I'll work ten times harder tomorrow.

As countless teachers have taught me through the years, there's no better way to slack than to show a video. Fortunately, this is an amazing one.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Speak & Spell

Somehow, through some accidental combination of keystrokes, I inadvertently opened Windows Narrator. Narrator can be an obnoxious little beast. It could be argued that Narrator can't not be an obnoxious beast. Today, I'm going to see if it can be something more.

This is highly experimental, and tonight's blog entry is due in about fifteen minutes, so keep your expectations low. What I'll be attempting is avant garde, real-time, musical blogging. Let's see how this goes...

1na2na3na4 ggagggadggagggadmmmemnmnmmmmmnmmggggu pplpplppplpplgfplgplfplgpplguuigugiiiggpluplopluploiihjhijiihjhihjjok

Huh, weird. Okay, really weird. I don't normally make this many typos.

I have a few minutes left. I'll try laying down another sick beat.


What a racist beat. Not cool, narrator.

So, what have we learned through all of this? Number one, we now know that it's really hard to type while someone is reading every letter you type. Two, we've found that Blogger won't let me upload audio files, so it look like I'll have to turn these into videos.

While I'm at it, here's a very rough demo of something you'll hopefully find on this blog one day:

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Business, It's Business Time

Now that my portfolio is out of the way my attention has turned to three new goals.

1. Find a job.
2. Find a new place to live.
3. Compulsively check my e-mail to see if I've been accepted into the design major.

Seriously, I freak out every time I go to the bathroom it guarantees I'll be away from my inbox for at least a minute. If I had a laptop, it would be in there with me. Moving on!

The job hunt... I suspect this is subconsciously why I started stalling on my portfolio so much after it began to look like Nintendo wouldn't be calling me back. I can think of nothing worse than looking for a job (though that's probably just because I've repressed all my memories of working at Target). I haven't seen many help-wanted signs around town, so I've turned to the Internet to aid my search. Added perk: I can keep checking my e-mail while I seek employment. This is exactly the sort of statement you should never make on a blog that's accessible to potential employers.

I hoped that in a techie part of the world like this I might still have a shot at getting a game-testing gig, but looking for that kind of work on the Internet is like taking unsolicited financial advice from African royalty.

It looks like it will be back to retail for me. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeking a retail job in the Internet age, let me break it down for you. Every major store uses the same electronic survey to determine one's hireability. As anyone who has ever asked for assistance while shopping knows, the process of hiring only the best candidates has been made flawless with this system.

Honestly, it's like playing Guess Who? with a drunken chimp.
What is your address?
Do you live in California?
Do you live in Maine?
Have you been charged with any crime in the past six months?
Do you live in Wyoming?
Have you been charged with a felony within the last year?
Do you live in one of the following states: California, Maine, or Wyoming?

I swear I'm not exaggerating. It would be almost forgivable if this was a paper form, but it's electronic and it loads a new page after every question. Still, it's not as bad as the 100 question personality test. You could get a better understanding of a person's character by grabbing a Cosmo and and asking Are You a Good Flirt? That's not a joke; this quiz really is more insightful.

Stealing things from work is wrong - agree or disagree?
I don't like to have close friends because they'll only hurt me - agree or disagree?
I get angry for no reason and swear at people - agree or disagree?
I enjoy taking orders - agree or disagree?

Thank you for spending the last forty-five minutes completing this application. Unfortunately, there are no jobs available at this time.









Thursday, May 29, 2008

Look at the Footage!

I was on my school's Website today and I happened to find a link to a ridiculously cheesy video tour of Redmond (though, sadly, it's not lame enough to be ironically funny). I'm not linking the video because it's in any way entertaining, but because it reminded me that although I've lived here for more than a full school year, none of my friends or family have ever been here. Yes, this is going to be one of those serious, relentlessly boring posts.

Non-family members, you are dismissed for now; you'll find nothing of interest here today. Family members, if you thought reading blogs was bad on an ordinary day, let's see how you like it when I demand that you read my admittedly dull musings. Aunts, my mom tells me that you've been secretly lurking on my blog for some time. This is your punishment for never leaving comments, not even when I specifically request them. I blog so hard for you, and I never even get one emoticon in return... Wait, what I talking about? Oh, right, Redmond.

Yeah, so, that video - it reminded me of early days of JakeyPen, before the hamburger contests and the drugs, back when this was a simple, never-updated corner of the Web full of pixelated plant pictures and Tiny Toons references. I have a few pictures I never uploaded from those days, and I've discovered some other cool locations since then, but my updates were so sporadic back then that I never got around to finishing my photo-tour of the town. I think I'm going to make a bigger effort in the next few days to carry my camera. If nothing else, a few pictures of flowers and mountains will be a refreshing break from YouTube videos. Maybe not refreshing. But a break. Plus, the flowers and mountains will match the symbols by the focus switch on the side of my camera. Whoa - I just blew my own mind.

By the way, check out all those bike lunatics in that video. They are so crazy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nearly Done

Time until today's blog is due: 1 hour.

Time until I'll be finished with my final drawing: 1-2 hours.

I'll be back with a real entry in just a bit.

Update: About an hour-and-a-half later...

Done! I'm finally done! Why did it take me a month to draw six stupid pictures?! Who cares?! Done!

Now I can go get a job.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stick an Oreo in My Portfolio

The school closes in about five minutes, so it doesn't look like I'll turning in my portfolio today. Of course, it doesn't matter when the school closes since I'm not done with my last picture yet. I'm taking a dinner break right now, but I'm not entirely sure I'll be returning to this picture. I hate how it's turning out. I just threw my pencil in frustration, which is not like me at all.

The title of this post comes from the song "No Head" by Atom & His Package. I wasn't entirely certain that "stick" was the right word, so I tried to look it up. Surprisingly, I was unable to find the lyrics anywhere online. Fortunately,'s short sample of the song included the phrase in question, so a crisis was avoided this time, but if you know the lyrics to any Atom & His Packages songs, please, share your knowledge with the Internet. The Internet gives you so much. Isn't time you gave something back?

Here's a very sweaty Atom singing an unrelated song to a crowd drugged-up robots:

Speaking of music, guess what I was supposed to do tonight that didn't involve store-bought sandwich cookies or frustrated pencil-throwing.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Regarding Yesterday's Post


Nah, seriously though, that stupid paper took forever.

Not for real forever, but it took a long time. My point is, it's done. Hooray.

But the last picture is not. Poop.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sorry, Fans

You're gettin' nothing today; not even a link to a YouTube video or a funny article. No, today you'll have to entertain yourself without me. After astonishing even myself with record-breaking levels of laziness, I'm ready to be a model, upstanding young citizen once more. Rather than squandering away my time on silly blogs, I'll be spending the night with my final written portfolio paper. Then, after a pleasant night's rest, I'll rise early to begin my last drawing. Yes, dear friends, I will sacrifice tonight's entry , but only in the hope that tomorrow I may return at long last to writing about Wii games and making references to They Might Be Giants.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shigeru Miyamoto

As you may have heard, I'd quite like to make video games one day. I've had countless sources of inspiration that have led me toward this goal, but one stands unchallenged above all else.

This dude:
There's a pretty decent article about Shigeru Miyamoto on the New York Times Website. It's fairly shallow and brief, but it touches on most of the major points. Miyamoto will likely go down in history as one of the most significant figures in any form of art or entertainment. Please take a few minutes to become acquainted with Shigeru Miyamoto.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Don't tell nobody! Mates of State will be performing a show at some record store next week. Unlike some stupid concerts, this will be open to youngsters like myself. Even better, it's totally free!

To be honest, I'm kind of a loser Mates of State fan. In fact, this is the only song I know:

In my defense, I like this song a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Plus, I have a few days to catch up on their music, and it's a record store show, not a real show, so it's not as if I'll be the only loser-fan there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Semi-Disposable Swedish Furniture

Generally when my life gets either too exciting or too dull, my blog suffers. As you've likely noticed, JakeyPen has been pretty dull this week, and as much as I'd like to blame it on the thrilling life I lead, the truth is that I've been bumming it up big-time. I'm still not done with this increasingly tiresome portfolio, but I resolve to finish one paper before I go to bed tonight. I keep telling myself that I don't have much left to do, which is true, but trying to force myself to finish it all in a day hasn't been working as well as I'd hoped, so I'm back to taking baby steps.

To fill the gap during my hopefully brief boring streak, please be entertained by the story of the IKEA Fancy Dress Dinner Party, brought to you by

Actually, this reminds of a none-too-interesting anecdote. Very shortly after I first moved to Washington, in the days before I had furniture, I went to the local IKEA. As I entered, I heard someone make reference to "Semi-Disposable Swedish Furniture," a quote from Douglas Coupland's Generation X, a book I incidentally just finished re-reading (I'm currently working on The Second City Almanac of Improvisation and Noam Chomsky's Interventions, as long as I'm sharing unremarkable mundanities from my life). Anyway, I think it was the moment when I heard strangers at the furniture store laughing over Douglas Coupland references that made me feel as though I had finally escaped the dirty, dirty south.

Edit: I just looked up "dirty south" on Urban Dictionary. Apparently it is a term of endearment for the region. Let it be clear that I have no positive feelings toward the south.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My Internet connection keeps going out, so I'm keeping it short today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When I learned how to type I was taught that a period or any other ending punctuation should always be followed by two spaces. One day when I was in sixth grade, my English teacher announced that it had been decided that sentences should be separated by only a single space.

Imagine: the sudden overturning of a fundamental rule.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Problem With Monday Is the Problem With Tuesday

I spent all day thinking it was Sunday, but, alas, is Monday. When you're out of school and out of work, it rarely matters what day of the week it is, but I've been telling myself all weekend that I would turn in my request for a transfer of major on Monday. It does not appear that will be happening. I just finished Star Fox Adventures earlier today (yuck), so I'm expecting my papers to write themselves any minute now. That will leave me with one picture to draw, which I should be able to do tomorrow morning.

I also meant to call Nintendo and harass someone about giving me a job already. It's been nearly two months since I applied for a game-testing position. I assume that rational people would move on at this point, but we're talking about a job that I've wanted since I was six or seven. I'm willing to be obnoxiously persistent. I called Nintendo about two weeks ago to ask if I still had a shot at the job and the person on the phone made it sound like I did. She said I would probably hear back in a week or two. That was just over two weeks ago. Which is why I was going to call today. But I didn't. Poop.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mechanical Hands Are the Ruler of Everything

Not cool. Not cool at all.

Tally Hall is coming to town this week to play a show for people who are 21 or older. I am not mature enough to watch a band that takes fashion tips from the Ninja Turtles sing about bananas.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I spent the day at a typical tie-dye-and-fried-food sort of street fair at the University of Washington, studying the traffic patterns of people for one of my portfolio pieces. I got plenty of good research out of it, saw a cool reggae band, and even had a few vegan donuts (and now I'm ready to go another six years without eating a donut), so it was a pretty decent day. Unfortunately, it was also the sunniest, hottest day in recorded history according to my imaginary records. Appropriately, I am thoroughly sunburned. Now I'm left with the choice of writing a few pages about the writing a few pages about my day or playing... ugh... Star Fox Adventures.

Strangest part of the day: I heard a guy - a real-life guy; not someone on TV or in a movie - whistle at a girl and call her "toots."

Friday, May 16, 2008

This Is Horrible

As part of my portfolio, I have to write a short critique of a bad game. I took it a step further and purchased Star Fox Adventures. I'm in for a rough night.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Takes Bicycling Too Seriously.

Whoa! Calm down!

Seriously, people, let's all just chill. I have a bike. I enjoy riding it. A lot. It's a convenient way to get around and going out for a ride can be quite enjoyable. Just the other day I even drew a picture of my bike.

But you know what I've never done? I've never worn special bike riding clothes. Oh, sure, I've put on a helmet, but Spandex? Bright Spandex covered in the brand names of companies that are not, in fact, sponsoring you? You're pedaling down the sidewalks of suburbia, not tearing down the roads of France.

If you are in the road, please get out. I know you're just dying to get the respect you deserve as a hardcore bicycling enthusiast, but there's a reason we have sidewalks and roads. There are these big mechanical monsters we modern folk refer to as "cars" or "automatons." And if, by chance, the grizzly patriot in the yellow Hummer was too busy ranting into his cell phone about how much he supports our troops to notice that darling, DayGlo orange crossing-guard vest with blinking LEDs (worn over your Lance Armstrong jersey and size -1 shorts, of course, becayse you want to be aerodynamic enough to shave that last second off of your lap around the block), and he happens to come barreling into you at mach 2, chances are the mangled hunk of flesh and bent metal lying in the gutter won't belong to the guy with the "W: The President" bumper sticker.

As I said, I ride a bike. Given the choice, I'd rather ride a bike that drive a car, and, hey, we're saving the environment, and I know how much you enjoy feeling smug, but listen - contemporary cars are powered by engines; not feet (my sympathies to Mr. Flintstone). Motor-vehicles are capable of traveling at much higher speeds than you. You know that grumpy, self-righteous grimace that covers your face when you reach the red light and have to stand behind the exhaust pipe of smelly SUV? That's the same way drivers feel when they're left behind a pack of you: stationary and frustrated.

For those of you do ride on the sidewalk, please know that others may choose to make use of this space, as well. Pedestrians, for example. "Walk" - it's right there in the word. In the event that you do encounter someone not riding a bike (or, heaven forbid, someone riding a bike more slowly than yourself) do not panic. You may be attempted to shout, "Left!" to indicate that you are approaching from the other person's left. Or that the person should stay to the left because you are to their right. Or something. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: you will not make any sound until you are within mere inches of the subject. Do not be surprised if the sudden sound of your quiet, alarmed, unclear sound of your voice causes the person to stop, turn around, or ask for you to repeat your statement, because honestly, people who take bicycling too seriously, I can never tell what you're saying until after you've passed me and you're tossing well-enunciated swears over your shoulder.

Would you like to know what I do when riding a bike and someone is in front of me? I slow down. I cut into the grass and pass around them, smiling and saying, "Excuse me."

And I do it all while wearing normal-frigging-clothes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

People I Am Not

John George
Steven Philip Markgraf

If you are one of the above, please contact me immediately. I have your mail.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008


I don't post my drawings here because I think they're of much interest to you; I do it because putting one up here each day keeps me motivated. Fortunately, I only have a picture-and-a-half left until this part of my portfolio is complete. Of course, If I do make it into my new major, I'll have to do something in the realm of twelve thousand drawings in the next year, but that's different. Less pressure.

Anyway, my point is that I'm not quite sure that I'll be done with today's drawing tonight. On the other hand, I still have an hour. Go, me! I can do it!