March 30, 2013

If you live in the Portland area, please go out and get yourself a copy of the newest (#4) issue of BANG when it comes out April 2ndish. It’s free! They were really nice and approached me about running part of my Simpsons episode guide, and I did some new doodles for it.

Here’s a list of locations where you can get it. You can buy a digital PDF version too.

If all goes according to plan, will be print-only by 2016.

March 22, 2013

doug’s chubby buddyI’ve been meaning to post this for a while… I heard there was an episode of the Disney version of Doug that tackled the subject of eating disorders with Patti as the main character. Since I already liveblogged the anti-tobacco episode I figured I should review this one too. It’s called “Doug’s Chubby Buddy” (even though the whole point is that Patti isn’t chubby…?) and it’s on YouTube (part two), though probably not for long.

Here’s some observations, adapted from my Twitter liveblog of it:

  • It’s so weird that Doug was tackling big social issues when the most vexing issue of the day was once “a frisbee landed on someone’s roof.”
  • The theme song is less… fun I suppose? One underappreciated thing about Doug (and Rugrats) was that the music was somewhat experimental. The Disney version essentially ironed out all the quirks that made Doug “Doug”.
  • I like this guy’s head when he’s interviewing the nerd:

    triangle head

    It kinda reminds me of a Paper Rad character. I was Googling for an example but found this instead:

    doug by ben jones, possibly
  • I get it… “Waist Away”… good satire,,,
  • I forgot that for most of the series Skeeter was saddled with a dumb story arc about searching for the Lucky Duck Monster that would segue into the movie. This episode has a dumb subplot about Doug & Skeeter creating a mate for the monster that pretty much exists solely so boys won’t change the channel.
  • Patti mistakes Doug’s clearly sarcastic “Yeah, you’re huge!” comment as sincere. The real lesson of the episode is the importance of understanding irony.
  • I didn’t really notice it until later but this episode does a fairly good job shifting the focus to Patti in a rather seamless way. I’m pretty positive this is the first episode with zero Doug fantasies, wow
  • Now there’s a Gone with the Wind homage all the kids in the audience will surely appreciate
  • The girls decide to lose weight. Beebe Bluff decides to rely on technology (which has never helped anyone in any story ever), Patti decides to eat less and exercise more (hmm…), and Connie – who used to be “chubby” but is said to have gone to a fat camp over the summer – is clearly positioned as the smart one with modest goals who eats healthy and stays fit but doesn’t overdo it.
  • Bebee has a computer thing that she stuffs food in and it tells her how many calories it has and if it’s healthy to eat. Judging from the way it says “gorgeous!” it’s clearly supposed to be gay. Possibly the first gay Disney character…? Making some real progress here.

    calorie analyzer
  • Guy (the editor of the school newspaper) got a whole pizza at school, somehow.
  • It turns out the gay computer was programmed wrong so it was giving Beebe bad advice. Beebe is so distraught that she says she’s going to depress eat (“Now I’m all depressed. Get me a sandwich.”). This is presented as a joke. In an eating disorder episode.
  • I can’t believe a student as upstanding as Chalky Studebaker would forget his Buddy Badge. C’mon, man.
  • The show was doing a pretty good job keeping things light and funny despite the subject matter until Patti started yelling at people with schmaltzy after-school special music playing in the background and it got all dramatic. Reminder: there was a whole episode where Doug freaked out over the prospect of buying new shoes.
  • Doug finally realizes something’s wrong with the girl he’s been creepily obsessed with for the past few years. Skeeter, on the other hand, doesn’t care one iota about Patti’s well-being. He just wants to see a monster make out with garbage (seriously). Also, Roger Klotz wants a construction guy to build him a sexy girl. This whole subplot is weird as hell.
  • Mr. Dink has one line and it’s about being aroused by a fake monster lady rolling through town.

    mr. dink is aroused
  • Patti collapsed in front of everyone and gets lectured about eating disorders by some youngish teacher who I guess replaced Mrs. Wingo, while spectators stare motionlessly in the background.
  • I thought the message was essentially “yeah, it’s rad to stay fit, but don’t overdo it.” But then Patti, on a non-date with Doug, decides to order an entire pizza for herself. Hella mixed messages in this episode.
  • Speaking of which, Connie basically disappeared halfway through. What was the point of all that setup, then?
  • DATEDNESS ALERT: Patti urges the audience to learn more about eating disorders by going to
March 14, 2013

Why must all my favorite web services leave me? I’m still peeved about yesterday’s announcement that Google Reader, the very best RSS reader out there, is being shut down. The move is ostensibly so the company can “better focus” on other things, like making products no sane person could ever want, even though Reader used very few resources – there were zero developers working on it in the past year, according to a former member of the team.

There have been death knells ever since Google+ came out, and probably before that, but I didn’t think it would actually go away for a few reasons:

  1. They spent millions of dollars in RSS technology as well as blogging software.

  2. As of 2010, the number of users was steadily increasing and RSS seemed healthy.
  3. The founders and most of the company itself used it:

    “Everyone from Google used Reader, from Larry and Sergey to the newest engineers. It’s such a beloved project.”

  4. It is the market leader, albeit in a niche field. With most everything else – search, maps, e-mail, mobile operating systems, cloud services, browsers – Google has a strong competitor or two, but Reader stood alone.

I think part of Reader’s lack of success was due to Google never really giving it a big push. There was very little marketing for it at all; a new user checking it out for the first time is greeted with example feeds from typical nerd sites like xkcd, which reinforces the “RSS is for nerds” mentality. Maybe they should have put it in Gmail, like they did with Google Buzz, strengthening the “it’s like e-mail for websites” metaphor. Google Chrome has no built-in RSS detection (there’s extensions you could download), which is completely inexplicable for a modern web browser, particularly one made by a company with a vested interest in feeds.

There’s already a number of alternatives out there but so far the ones I’ve seen lack some of the functionality, are slow, and/or have unpleasant designs. Still, here’s hoping a great one will come out soon.

March 10, 2013
the jumble has been getting mighty self-referential lately

meta jumble

March 6, 2013
Spam: Anti-Aging Tips for

So, how ’bout it, gang? Are you up for some ANTI-AGING TIPS? The secrets of IMMORTALITY? The whereabouts of the legendary FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH? Well, TOO BAD, because I’m keeping this exclusive knowledge all for myself.

March 3, 2013

Yahoo! Avatars is shutting down, so please take this opportunity to gaze one last time upon the marvel that is JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR:

james cameron avatar