Thursday, January 31, 2008

Choose Your Own Mouse-Venture

One of the most appealing qualities of the Mouse Guard comic is the level of detail author David Petersen gives his medieval mouse society. The lush and intricate world of the Guard is a perfect setting for adventuring, and a board game and RPG are already in the works. Petersen recently posted one of his sketching exercises for different playable mice characters on his website - each one of these little guys is packed with character, and seeing them all together in one page is a bit overwhelming. After the jump I've picked out a select few, in an attempt to guess which caste they might fit into...


Mouse in Shining Armor


Cartographer Mouse


Chef Mouse

Fashion Forward Mouse


Emperor's Royal Guard Mouse



Rice Paddy Mouse


Pan Mouse


Falstaff Mouse

Archbishop Mouse with Alter Bee


Gaston Mouse


Lil' Jon Mouse

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Geekanerd Goes Idiotaroddin'


Over the weekend, over three hundred teams of five participated in New York's infamous shopping cart race, The Idiotarod. A few of the G'nerd editors raced for the first time this year, and I don't think we did too terribly if I do say so myself. The race is completely unlicensed by any civic organization, and the general mood is indeed of uninhibited idiocy, in the form of garish costumes, sabotage, and lots of thrown food. Some noteworthy geek-themed carts included a Mario Kart, an Oregon Trail wagon, the Indiana Jones crew with Giant Bolder, and the DeLorean (on spotting the team finally making their way to the finish line - G'nerd: "Why didn't you use time-travel to win the race?" Doc:"We did, but we went the wrong way".)

A crapload of photos after the jump...
The race began in Chinatown near the FDR highway and ended in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, coming in at just over six miles. This meant the first leg of the race was a test of endurance as the teams funneled into the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge, for a long uninterrupted drag, broken up only occasionally by flying food substances and Ben Hur style jockeying for position.
Geekanerd went with a New York coffee cart theme, featuring a coffee proprietor (that's AHR in the red apron and hat, having obviously suffered some sort of injury that caused her to fall behind) and various NYC workers. Not pictured is Albo, who went as a doctor and is too fast to even stay in the picture.
C'mon, they look exactly the same! Our cart featured actual hot coffee and donuts, which were used to bribe judges with little effect. This is our team losing a tug-of-war, because we're a bunch of weakanerds. There were a bunch of clever teams, including:
The Mushroom Kingdom!
Lego Men!
With stackable heads! Just like real life!
Teen Wolf!
Q-Tips!
A Clockwork Orange!
Wrestlemania!
Indiana Jones! (With Juno close behind.)
Staten Island Ninjas!
Danger Zone! (These guys won Best in Show.)
The Hair Cult for Men! (These guys were slinging hairy Vaseline at people... Very gross.)
Scooby Doo!
Double Dare!
Cobra! (The hosts of this year's Idiotarod.)
Oregon Trail! (Probly my fave.)
Internet Memes! (I'm ashamed to say I can only identify 2.5 of these references.)
Kool Aid!If one word could describe this event, it would be MESSY. Just look at that wake of goo. There was some serious fury from Red Hook residents on the official Carts of Brooklyn messageboard, although in fairness to the organizers (if not the hedonistic participants), the Cobra organizers did make an honest attempt to clean up in the days that followed, even hiring salvage company to take away the abandoned carts (though according to this post, the salvagers turned down the job on-site, though the picture below certainly proves some sort of take-away effort)
Most photos were taken from the Idiotarod 2008 Flickr Pool.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Be Kind Rewind Marketing Goes Meta

As most of you probably know, Be Kind Rewind is the new movie from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). It's about two video store clerks that accidentally erase all the tapes in their store and shoot homemade versions of the lost films. Apparently the process is called "sweding," and we've previously reported on it here. Here's the trailer for the film:

Got it?

Now get ready for the twist.

Michel Gondry has personally gone and sweded the trailer. Yes, he's sweded the film about sweding. Fantastic.

Delicious.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

"Nothing Says Writer's Strike More Than Guitar Hero On A Show"

Now that most live talk shows are back on the air, every show host from NY to LA must be roaming the vacant room that used to house their staff writers, looking for ghosts of inspiration. But all they find is a big empty table and a video game console gathering dust. And they've got come up with a segment about something, and they did the table yesterday.

We've seen Conan O'Brien's overbearing Rock Band showmanship, now here's Ellen simply playing two minutes of Guitar Hero to the delight(?) of her studio audience, as seen on her show last week (via, appropriately, Lesbian Gamer). Analysis after the jump.


Obviously this doesn't compare to the made for YouTube brilliance of Conan's sketch, and I think we all know how much fun it is to watch someone play Guitar Hero on easy, but I'm inclined to give Ellen a break. Her performance style is endearingly familiar, featuring what I like to call the "rocker's lean". This is where you slowly lean back, letting the music flow through you, and you use your leg as a counter weight. Anyone? Maybe it's just me and Ellen.

Also notable is that in her intro Ellen says, of game's addictive qualities, "You lie in bed awake and see the notes and lines." Aha, the Tetris Effect! This is the phenomenon of video game imagery occurring in gamer's dreams and coloring their real life cognition. I think we've all been there. For me, the worst was back at the height of my Myst fixation back in '94, when I went to bed and my thoughts played out in still, sequential images. That was not good. Or when I played Galaxies for a summer and started looking around in real life for columns of lights indicating where my next destination was. That was also a little scary. Though it's kind of interesting to flirt with the experience of being insane.

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Panel Discussion: Scans from Amazing Spider-Man, Damage Control, and Hellblazer

Every week we at Geekanerd rip panels from our comics and put them on display here, recognizing the best, worst, and weirdest moments of the week. Click the pics for high res goodness, and beware SPOILERS.

Aunt May is a GMILF - Amazing Spider-Man #548
Looks like Spidey's deal with the devil not only saved his auntie's life but also took 30 years off her age and injected her with some sex magic. I guess the devil felt bad for taking away his hot model wife. Seriously, look at the coy smile she's giving that well-dressed suitor. For comparison's sake, here is the toothless old hag she used to be:
Hit the jump for impressive feats of magic, awkwardness and product placement...

Product Placement Double Trouble - Amazing Spider-Man #548
It's no World War Old Spice, but I'm still impressed with Marvel that they were able to cram TWO ADS into ONE COMIC PANEL. Find815.com is a LOST viral marketing site/ARG thingy, which is actually pretty cool and worth a visit if you're a fan of the show. And before some ninnies come around and start talking about product placement adding to the realism of the world, tell me why the hell a cabbie would have a bumper sticker advertising a TV show's website and why he's driving a Chevy when every other cabbie in New York is driving a Ford. Oh, and that's not even to mention why he'd have a vanity plate glorifying the recent superhero schism that destroyed sections of the city and led to Captain America's death.

Celebrity Cameo Alert - Damage Control #1
There's our man, floppy red hair and beady eyes and all.

The Ultimate Secret of Magic - John Constantine: Hellblazer #240
Ooh ooh ooh, now imagine Keanu Reeves saying it!

Awkwaaaaaard - Damage Control #1

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Geekanerd Feature:
The War Against Scientology

Welcome to Project Chanology. For those of you who don't know, it's a guerrilla cyber-war that is currently taking place against Scientology and has been going on for about a week. The following video is the official declaration of war that was released on January 21, 2008:



After the jump, you will be confronted with a more in-depth analysis of "Anonymous" and the war that they're fighting.

The Anatomy of a Cyber-War

Project Chanology
Project Chanology was commenced in retaliation to the internal Scientology video that was leaked over the internet on January 15th only to be stripped off of most websites due to copyright violation claims of the Church of Scientology. On January 16th, "Anonymous" (the group in the video), was successful in momentarily taking down Scientology.org via denial-of-service attacks (DoS's for short). After a series of ensuing attacks, many unsuccessful, but some successful nonetheless, "Anonymous" issued its second public statement on January 25th, 2008:



So, who are these people who call themselves "Anonymous"? While the press is describing them as a group of vigilante activists, that definition is only partially true.

Anonymous
"We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget."

Logistically, the group that calls themselves "Anonymous" is an online community, its namesake being the "chan" forums (4chan, 711chan, etc.) they congregate at, which require them to post anonymously. To say the worst, it is an online gathering of a bunch of kids who are "hackers on steroids" (quoted from FOX 11 News, Los Angeles). While both interpretations are technically correct, I'm willing to bet that anyone who is part of "Anonymous" would tell you that those definitions are completely wrong. So, as none of those explanations suffice, I will make an attempt to give the best explanation I can give for the group that calls itself "Anonymous."

Think of the internet as a single organism where all of its content, as a collective whole, is its consciousness -- a mind so to speak. When applying Freud's three principles of psychoanalysis to this collective whole, the group that calls themselves "Anonymous" would invariably be classified as its inner desires, more commonly known as the id. The forums they post on are completely random and nearly devoid of rules; the only restrictions being illegal content. Thus, the "humor" of the majority of the posts is centered around black comedy in the form of amorality that is [more often than not] offensive, misogynistic, aggressive, racist, homophobic, instinctual and xenophobic in nature. No racial group is spared, no villain is overlooked for praise, no fetish is unrecognized and no taboo or obscenity is too great... and that's the point. Language on the forums is intentionally destroyed and reinvented in the form of abbreviations that are nearly nonsensical to the average person. "We are the face of chaos... We laugh in the face of tragedy. We mock people who are in pain. We ruin peoples' lives simply because we can... We are the embodiment of humanity with no remorse, no caring, no love and no sense of morality. We only have a desire for more and more" speaks their video manifesto to FOX News in response to their report on them.

Hacking
Hacking is their trademark, as many affiliated sites boast that "Anonymous" is responsible for about 90% of all the hacking that occurs on the internet. Their targets are wide, and often times indiscriminate. They are responsible for the attacks on Ebaum's World and Hal Turner's website. If you or anyone you know has had their Myspace account hacked into, that is most likely the work of "Anonymous." A successful hack that causes misery to the receiving party is called "lulz", a play on internet semantics that is a corrupted LOL. If the scope of a "lulz" is huge, it is termed "epic lulz" and depending on the severity of a failed hack, it can be termed "fail" or "epic fail".

Hacktivism?
Is the war against Scientology the work of activism? Well that's the $60,000 dollar question. Internally, there are huge arguments about the actual intents if this war.

Click on the image to be linked to the YTMND.

Given the id-ridden nature of "Anonymous", many of its members are asking questions like, "Since when did we start doing this hacking bullshit for the greater good of mankind?" If you listen to the declaration of war video, you'll notice that it says, "Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own amusement." Given that the movement has been growing substantially in both support and press over the last week, there are implications that the group's true intents might still be nihilistic in nature, only bringing morality into the picture in order to enlist more manpower to aid their gigantic undertaking.

The Projected Winners?
It's impossible to tell at this point. As of right now things look grim for "Anonymous". They are taking on an organization with more political & media influence and more money than they have. Many of their most recent raids have been trumped due to Scientology.org moving it's site to a more secure server. Additionally, some of their own sites have seemingly come under attack. 711chan and partyvan (partyvan being the site that hosted Project Chanology's website) are out of commission. However, I wouldn't count on believing any of this and most of these "defeats" could very well be red herrings. The support for "Anonymous" is growing by the day and that is something that is not to be discounted. This movement is startlingly similar in style to V for Vendetta and "Project Mayhem" from Fight Club where everything and anything is more than what it seems. Only time will tell. While I am merely an observer of this happening and personally do not endorse either side, I do have to say that it would be pretty damn funny seeing Tom Cruise pwned.

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Weekanerd NYC: Comics Sell, Hulk Smashes, Lou Reed Waffles, and So It Goes

Monday, January 28

Usually comic shop sales stall out at 20-25%, so take notice of this 30% off sale for "customer appreciation month." It's a better deal than you may ever get again, so get to JHU and stock up on all those sexy hardcovers you can't afford. The sale runs through Tuesday, and it also applies to their Staten Island location, if you are so... inclined.

Hit the jump for a sitdown with Greg Pak, a meditation with Lou Reed, and a stage adaptation of some book you read in high school...


Tuesday, January 29
The boys that host this show are getting more press attention everyday, so go see 'em while their still in a cramped room for five bucks. This week's show features Greg Pak, mastermind of the recent World War Hulk saga, which was brilliant in concept but fell apart in execution. Ask him about that. Also on the extremely saggy couch is Fred Van Lente, founder of Evil Twin Comics.

Wednesday, January 30
"Lou Reed introduces his latest meditation compositions and discusses them with mind science scholar Rob Hogendoorn." I think that if you attended this talk and thought of Lou Reed as a Jedi Master coaching you in the ways of the Force (transcending the body and all that), you will come away with a greater understanding of yourself and the energy that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.

Thursday, January 31
Kurt Vonnegut's time traveling anti-war opus has been brought to the stage by Godlight Theater Company, the same folks that brought you stage adaptations of Fahrenheit 451 and A Clockwork Orange. Get some tickets and prepare yourself for what The New York Times calls "a pressure-cooker production, an intense, kaleidoscopic 90-minute tour without intermission through Vonnegut’s nonlinear narrative." Runs through February 17.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gone Idiotarodin'

No Weekanerd till Monday, cause Geekanerd is out racing a shopping cart down the streets of New York in the 2008 Idiotarod. That picture is not of us; it's a team in a past race that must have had some sort of time-looker forward machine because they stole our great idea. We came up with something else, but you'll have to wait for our coverage of the race to find out what.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Heath Ledger

Please excuse our lack of updates this week. I couldn't think of writing anything before addressing the obvious news of Heath Ledger's death, but seeing as how I didn't have anything other than wild speculation to add to the public discourse I couldn't get any post of the sort off the ground. Heath was one of my favorite living actors and seemed destined for legendary status.

In the Sandman comic series, Dream has a library full of unwritten masterpieces. If Dream has a video collection, I like to think it includes a career's worth of Heath Ledger films you and I will never see.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Panel Discussion: Scans from Robin, Shadowpact, Umbrella Academy and More

Every week we at Geekanerd rip panels from our comics and put them on display here, recognizing the best, worst, and weirdest moments of the week. Click the pics for high res goodness, and beware SPOILERS.

Earth Prime Cameo - Dan DiDio, Robin #170
In the grand tradition of comic creators appearing in ink, a man bearing the distinctive goatee and bald pate of DC Editor Dan DiDio showed up as a thug in the latest issue of Robin. The in-jokeiness is pushed a step further given that in the first few pages DiDio gets beaten up and robbed by a new vigilante who we're meant to believe may be ex-Robin Stephanie Brown, who's torturous death and subsequent lack of respect is an injustice many place on DiDio's shoulders. Given the perceived jab at Stephanie's fans earlier this year, perhaps this cameo amounts to a sort of mea culpa. I don't expect this girl to actually be Stephanie Brown (we can't have all the personifications of Batman's failures come back to life, what's next, his parents?), but hopefully this new arc by Chuck Dixon will bring a more emotionally satisfying climax to Stephanie's story. And for the sake of comparison, here's how DiDio was previously drawn in the 2006 DC Editorial Christmas greeting.


Some weird, kinky shit after the jump...

Best Reason Not To Date Online - Shadowpact #21
Detective Chimp, what you are doing is wrong. So very wrong. You are not a furry! You are an animal! Furries are people! People who's strange lifestyle choices do not necessarily mean they're into bestiality, and whether they go there or not is certainly not up to you!

In other, even more traumatizing monkey comic panels...

Banana Randomizer Award For Achievement in WTF - The Umbrella Academy #5
Not since Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man have we seen such a horrifying depiction of animal testing. The problem is it comes of absolutely no where. I love this series, and up to this point didn't mind it's challengingly complex storyline, but no matter how many times I re-read this issue, I couldn't figure out how this flash-back fits in to anything that precedes or comes after it. The setup of this scene has another character about to launch into his own life story, when suddenly this nightmare is splashed across the page, apparently psychically broadcast by the monkey character in the lower left hand corner. Why? How? To what end? The monkey doesn't seem to actually be DOING anything to make this happen, there's no universally accepted symbol of psychic transmittal like closing ones eyes or holding up their hand. I can accept some mysteries left open in an on-going storyline, but leaving a provocative image like this completely unresolved is unacceptably confusing.

Finally, a bonus panel I forgot to include last week...

How They Like It - Green Arrow Black Canary #4

Wonder Woman, are you suggesting you plan on individually tying up every person who happened to be in the hospital hallway? I wonder what Golden Age Wonder Woman would think about that idea?

Oh. Well. I'll just leave you to it, then.

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