Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On "Random" Humor

I don't know. I think I'm starting to get tired of it.

Well, really, I've been tired of it for a long time. It's been a while since I considered LOL-internet comedy like Animutations and "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" to be the highest form of the medium. Now it's just faddish and annoying. I mean, what is there to "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" anyway? It's zany and whappa-de-doo crazy! That's all it is. And then they add it the words "with a baseball bat" to make it even zanier and MORE RANDOM. OH BOY! SQUIRRELS AND MONKEYS!!!

Yeah... it just gets to a point where people glorify crappy humor like that until it achieves godlike status for no good reason, and you just totally forget about what actually made it funny in the first place. Maybe it's fun when you discover something unusual and "random" when you're with friends, laughing together with a "What in the blue fuck is THAT?!" But it doesn't last long. After joking about it for a few weeks and turning it into some silly inside joke, you begin to realize that it's not all that substantial.

Oddly enough this reminds me of a quote from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Far from a comedy band, mind you, but a great band nonetheless. In their early 80's days, the Lips were a craaaazy avant-garde band, one more interested in making their music as bizarre as possible than making it as good as possible. Not that they were a terrible band because of this - the weirdness they possessed came from a very real place - but at the same time, they had a tendency to let it overpower the music. Then came "In A Priest Driven Ambulance", a serious Lips album with an unmistakable edge of weirdness. But the "zaniness" had a point - it made the music more poignant, more unique. As Coyne said, they initially were "convinced that to 'shock' or 'teach' listeners was more important than being real. . . . What fools we were."

Of course, the only 'big' hit the Lips had was "She Don't Use Jelly," a quirky novelty song. People liked it because it was weird, not because they thought the Flaming Lips were a great band. (ahem)

BUT I digress. People love to use weirdness and quirkiness nowadays to gain attention. You know, viral videos and the Star Wars kid and the like. Which is a big 'ol reason why quirky, CRAAAZY "cult" television shows - say, like Family Guy - gain so much attention.

I used to love Family Guy. I kind of don't anymore. Do I hate it? Not necessarily. If I sit down and watch an episode, yeah, I'll give out a chuckle here and there. But I'm not 16 anymore, the show's back on the air after a 3 year hiatus, and it's just not working for me. It's the kind of show that's not concerned about decent plots of well-developed characterizations - it's about quotability, randomness, funny references that you wouldn't expect. The show's writers seem to want people to say, "Haha, what a funny reference Peter just made! I'm gonna put it in my AIM profile!!" So they constantly reference 70's and 80's mainstays like Transformers and the A-Team, or whatever, and throw them in the show for no real reason.

This kind of leads to what I consider to be my biggest problem with the show - the flashbacks. OHHH the flashbacks. Trey Parker and Matt Stone called out FG's writers for this, and they pretty much pinpointed my EXACT gripes with this aspect of the show. "It's like the time I..." Like the time you WHAT, Peter? Tried to fish with rollerstakes on? Played sudoku with the Numa Numa Guy? Had an interview with Dan Rather and discovered he was in the X-Men?? OH GOD, THERE IS SUCH HILARITY IN THESE META-REFERENCES, I MUST ALERT MY BUDDY LIST.

I think Seth MacFarlane was miffed after they did that SP episode. I remember he did something where he put on his Stewie voice and said sarcastically - I'm paraphrasing - "How dare Family Guy writers put in those asides and in-jokes that have nothing to do with the episode - they're trying to be FUNNY! That's something South Park is well above." Something snarky like that.

Seth, the characters in your show are ciphers. I remember in some early episodes of the show, there were some decent (albeit sloppy) attempts at expanding Brian's character that I kinda liked. What happened to those? Now you're got him spouting super-edgy diatribes against such "unexpected" targets like the FCC and Wal-Mart that have been done to death for about two decades now. Stewie, I don't even know who the hell he's supposed to be anymore. Everybody hates Meg, which WOULD be funny if you hadn't already made her seem, you know - human - earlier on in the show. And you know what? Those lovely asides and in-jokes that you say make you funnier that South Park - YEEEEHA!! They ain't that funny. More often than not, you're trying to expand on a joke that doesn't need to be expanded upon, and you end up stretching it out for SO LONG that it just gets tired. You know that episode of The Simpsons where Sideshow Bob keeps getting hit with rakes and grumbles each time? For, like, a full minute? And it's absolutely hilarious? Yeah, Family Guy's been co-opting that kind of a joke for pretty much their entire run.

The difference? The Simpsons did it within a conventional - but still very funny - structure. They've got well-developed characters, a compelling storyline, etc. So when you throw in a one-off joke like that, it's totally unexpected and unusual, in turn making it even funnier. When you make this kind of joke all the time - like Family Guy - it just doesn't work as well.

Okay, I'm tired of ripping on Family Guy. Honestly, the show has made me laugh loudly many times in the past. But because the writing is so all over the place, the show lacks any real kind of consistency. And it's starting to get to me.

Maybe I'm just growing up? I don't know. I can't stand novelty anymore. It feels hollow. I love humor when it's used in a powerful, honest way - which I guess is why I've started to love shows like The Simpsons, South Park, and Futurama even more than usual. I'm beginning to notice the subtleties in humor, the consistently intriguing characters and plot elements that make me laugh even harder and keep me watching year after year. It's the same thing with music - I love bands like the Flaming Lips and Ween for their great musical ability, not for their weirdness. It feels good, to have that kind of genuine love.

There's probably a lot more I could say on this subject - railing against the stupidity of other kinds of "random" college humor, some kind of rant about how the Dropkick Murphys ARE a novelty band and Ween ISN'T... oh, lots of stuff. But I'm tired, and I need to play Zelda. And read.

Have a nice night.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oh boy what is this

Note: I was in a totally angry mood when I wrote this. Some people might not be able to take my version of The Legend of Zelda series. Well, you can all shove it up the cakehole! This is my artistic integrity and I can do whatever the fib I want. It's called "art." Deal with it, evangelical Christians! While my PARENTS and my SISTER were at church, I stayed up all night and all morning writing this. In your FACE, Amanda! Didn't wanna see your crappy baptism anyway. And you can't even get pissed at me 'cause you're TWO YEARS OLD!!!!!

Also, just to remind you: there is
totally swearing in this story. That's 'cause it's for us ADULTS. M'kay? If that scares the frig out of you, feel free to go here and enjoy watching "Lilo and Stich 7: Still Totally Friggin' Gay" while the 15+ crowd checks out some grade-A badass entertainment. Have fun you FUCKASS!

R+R plz, this is my first story, but if you don't review it well I won't write any more. Shits.


He never asked the boy about the backyard. Indeed, he had noticed the dead grass, the unusual, rotting smell that certainly wasn't just Chu fertilizer, the soil with an appearance of being shoveled to death from some ill-begotten treasure hunt. But to him, it was a negligible change, not worth thinking about too much in the scheme of things; surely, to be alive, to see his nephew once again - was that not the most important thing? Furthermore, to know that his own nephew had saved the entire land of Hyrule in his month-long absence - that the boy entrusted to him by his dying brother years ago, who he raised all on his own, had swam to the deepest depths of Lake Hylia, ascended beyond the bubbling lava pits of Turtle Rock, ventured into the dark bastardization of common life that was the Dark World, and slayed the traitorous Agahnim AND the dark beast Ganon with the power of the legendary blade, the Master Sword - not to mention spreading peace throughout the land with the power of the sacred Triforce, the blessing of the Gods itself! His own blood, a hero! Yes, all this was certainly more important than his own silly worries. The garden behind their humble shack simply must have been neglected while he was away. Young Link was no gardener, after all.

Yes... everything was at peace. That was all that mattered.

And it was a peaceful day, as it had been every day since beauty returned to the fields of Hyrule months ago. By the early afternoon his nephew was still asleep; he had practiced sword techniques the night before, keeping himself limber and strong, and was exhausted from such a vigorous night. The uncle, having awakened at the earliest Hylian hour, had already set out and completed his daily chores. He cleared the gutters, paneled part of the roof, gave the cuccoos their share of feed, dug wayward rupees out of nearby bushes - heck, he even managed to trim the excess fuzz off of his quickly-bushing thickness of a mustache. To his surprise, he hadn't felt this sprightly since his youth, playing in the fields with his older brother so many years ago; even before his injury, he hadn't been this revitalized by the majestic sunrise climbing the tops of Death Mountain, the calls of the chirping birds inhabiting the Lost Woods, the softness of the plain, damp grass sticking to his toes. So energized was he that he resolved to cut his way through the dangerous forests and make his way to Kakariko Village, to hear the daily news-givings and perhaps fetch the week's necessary bottles of fresh milk. Yes - today would surely be a productive day, the herald of a new beginning.

He entered their modest, cozy one-room shack with his natural aplomb, the dirt and scum sticking to his clothing doing not a thing to dampen his loving determination. As he quickly changed out of his work-clothes and into his sweater vest, he made sure to keep quiet as his nephew, almost cherubic eyes tightly sealed, slept soundly. No doubt he dreams of great new adventures to come, the proud uncle mused, smiling with natural content. Yes, the boy had been sleeping quite late in the day recently, which was not something the uncle would allow of him in the past; he'd be up, bright and early, to help his old uncle with chores. But now, after his valiant adventures, the uncle simply attributed this to having seen so much of the world and having the weight of the entire country on his shoulders - surely, even the world's strongest Goron would be exhausted to carry such a load, let alone a young boy! And surely, he deserved his rest.

Satisfied with this sight, the uncle turned to leave. But halfway out the door, it occurred to him - why, he should not forget his trusted blade! Surely he was not thinking of venturing through the deep Hylian forests without his family sword, tempered by the finest blacksmiths Kakariko had to offer many years ago. Swiftly he moved to the closet to fetch the sword and perhaps his crested shield as well, when he noticed that the door handle appeared to be stained with an odd shade of amber, a strange liquid smearing on his hands as he twisted the door knob. Unusual, yes, but perhaps just the heavy sweat dripping from his own hands - he was a hard worker, after all, and hadn't much time to tend to his own hygienic needs. Not thinking twice, he opened the closet door quickly, only to see a pair of cold, lifeless eyes staring directly into his own.

The sight didn't register at first. All he could do was stand plain and still, palms sweating even moreso, staring through the helmet of a dead Hylian solider, his pale face just barely visible through a thick, green, metallic sheen. Before he could even yelp, he was forced backwards as the soldier fell forward, narrowly missing his body as the deafening "CLANG!" of the soldier's once-majestic Hylian armor came crashing to the ground, rotting carcass and all. The armor's sheen had been scuffed and defamed with markings and stains, and not only that, but now plainly visible was the uncle's sword, wedged deep into the man's spinal column, doused in a deep red blood.

"Farore's WIND!" shouted the uncle, grasping his mouth in order to suppress a rising river of vomit that was getting closer and closer to expelling itself. He wasn't sure of what to do - panic like the old fool he was? Call for help with screams and curses? Run away in cowardice?? Of course in this state of desperation he couldn't even notice his own nephew, awakened no doubt by the damning clang of metal and his uncle's girlish yelp, creeping slowly out of bed to see what was the matter. Groggy from sleep and unable to see clearly, the young, golden-haired boy approached his uncle sheepishly, disheveled and still in his nightly pajamas.

"Uncle? What's going on?" he murmured softly, tapping his mentor tenderly on the shoulder.

"Ah-AHH!" the old man cried, turning around to see his loving nephew, confused and half-awake. "Oh - oh my word, Link! Please, don't sneak up on me in such a way. You know I am too weak for such remarkable surprises, especially when - oh, oh my WORD!!"

"But uncle, what-" Link stammered before he saw it for himself - the body, revealed and in its full bloody glory, lying dead for all to see. "Oh, oh..." he said softly, a hint of recognition in his voice but not as much of a panic.

Of course, his uncle, shocked and frightened, did not notice the exact timbre of his nephew's voice. "Link, what's happened here?!" he squealed, thoroughly upset but not quite angry or damning in his tone. "Do you have any idea? My sword - this is -"

"It must've been a lone assailant," his nephew said simply, keeping an eye on the body and walking backwards, ever so slowly, almost attempting to avoid the situation. "Someone must have snuck in here, uncle."

"Yes, but - this is MY sword!" the uncle exclaimed, unsure of what to think. "And surely an assailant would come after one of us - but this is a Hylian solider, respected and venerated! Who would place someone like this in our humble home?? Oh... oh my WORD!"

"Perhaps someone is trying to frame us, uncle!" Link said with an almost dismissive certainty, watching the blue-haired man fall to the ground, getting a closer look at the fallen body. "Perhaps we have new enemies!"

"But... during a time of peace?" the uncle questioned, shaking his head. "Surely, young Link, the peace that you wished for - is it not whole and universal to this entire kingdom? How - how could this HAPPEN?"

Link breathed deeply. "These things just happen, uncle."

"But you had the sword last night!" the uncle exclaimed, almost in a state of non-control - certainly something he was not used to. "It was safe in your heroic hands... who could have..."

There was no response. Link stood next to his bed, staring blankly at the scene, cracking his knuckles as if to quell his own nervous bones. Unsure of his nephew's feelings, the uncle quickly stood and turned around to examine the boy's features, to put a young, human face on the situation. But Link's usually chipper demeanor did not show in his acidic frown, his empty eyes, his clenched fists. The uncle could almost feel his own throat swallowing blood as he watched the boy walk to the body, grab the still-warm hilt of the sword, and pull the blade out of the poor guard, a steady dripping of red sliding down its polished silver. He shook his head solemnly.

"We need to get this out of here," Link said simply, no remorse cracking through his voice. "All of it, every trace, as quickly as possible. And you will help me, uncle."

"Link?" the uncle inquired softly, almost unable to breathe. "Link, you... what are you-"

"Help me, my good uncle!" Link said this in a deep, demented tone, almost comparable to a slave driver, a man with infinite anger within his soul. "You WILL help me dispose of this man. I know you will."

"But- Link!!" the uncle cried, the taste of blood and vomit burning benath his tongue, his lungs turning against the rest of his body. "What is going on here? What's happened here??"

"Oh, god, will you chill OUT?" Link barked, pounding his foot against the soldier's armored head with another deafening CLONG! "Just shut up and help me, uncle! I don't have time for your... weaknesses."

"But what have you done here, my boy?" the uncle winced. "Who is this man??"

"Damned soliders," the boy cursed. "They'll never leave me alone, uncle. Always watching me as I venture merrily through the fields. Damn them to hell."


"They just won't STOP!" Link shouted, swinging his sword around violently and without sense.

"Even when I was saving Hyrule, they accused me of capturing the princess! Without a trial or even any kind of evidence, uncle! And even now, in a time of peace... they just can't leave me alone, can they? They'll never leave me alone."

"What do you mean, boy??" the uncle cried. "What do these soldiers have to do with our business?"

"Come on, man! You know what I mean!" Link looked to the window, as if addressing some unknown entity outside their door. "All those damned soldiers had to get possessed by that... wizard guy. And they came after ME, uncle! I was a criminal, a stupid little kid to them. That is... until I got the Master Sword in my hand."

The uncle, almost unable to stand on two feet any longer stumbled over clumsily onto his nephew's bed, grasping onto the sheets for dear life as the boy rambled on.

"And I saved the world, uncle!" he shouted with demented glee. "I saved every goddamned life in this country! But then - oh, well, I couldn't have the Master Sword any more, could I? Of course not! I had to put my birthright right back where I found it, while those Hylian goons supervised me - King's orders. To preserve the balance of Hyrule, or some shit. My deserved blade, STOLEN from me by that... fat doucherag!!" He clenched his fists angrily and bared his teeth "Now I'm just a stupid little twelve-year-old again, uncle! Dicking around with wooden swords - the Hero of Light himself! And now those soldier bastards can lord over me with their fancy armor and what-have-you... I can't STAND it."

"But my boy..." the uncle said slowly, shocked into sadness. "Surely... this was not called for..."

"Eh, say what you want," Link said dismissively. "He deserved it. They ALL deserved it. Every one of them."

The uncle barely even caught the meaning of his words. "They ALL?" he said sharply. "All of..."

"You old bastard, you saw them!" Link shouted, pointing his sword damningly at his only kin. "You SMELLED them, I'm sure. I took care of all of them while you recovered from that little stomach stabbing you somehow managed to survive from. Which THEY committed, mind you." He laughed heartily to himself, vainly wiping a blond hair from his smug face. "You should thank me, man! I avenged you."

"No..." The old man thrust his face into his hands, the tears spilling down his cheeks almost audible in his voice. "No... how could you..."

Link casually stepped over the dead soldier's body, getting closer to his uncle. "Eh, don't sound so surprised. All those guys in the backyard - they're all a bunch of fuckers, alright? They followed me around, poked at me, made fun of my tunic... jeez. You know they deserved it, man! And what's better-" he said devilishly, smiling wide as he leaned over to view his uncle face to face "-is that you're not gonna bust me on this one. Right?"


"You're NOT going to bust me." Link said in a haughty tone, clutching the bloody sword tightly. "There's no way you can."

"But- Link! You wished for PEACE!" the uncle shouted, unable to control himself. "The Triforce - surely, you represent peace in this world for all of us!! How could you-"

"Ah yes... peace." Link chuckled a bit to himself, unfazed by his uncle's tone. "Well, peace can mean a whole lot of things, uncle. Peace for the land... or peace for ME."

"Wh-what? What do you mean, boy?"

"Immunity, of course." Link stood up once again, taking the sword in his right hand and tracing squiggles into the still-wet red liquid. "So many damned stupid soldiers I had to kill to save this world - who KNOWS what the castle parliament would think! But no... the Triforce took care of that." He smiled widely, looking his uncle in the eyes once again. "That thing is a MOTHER, old man. People never consider what kind of powerful mind control that thing can exert. Instead, we have idiots like Ganondorf, strong enough to FIND the Triforce but always the first to wish for some idiotic, temporary boost in strength or something. Heh." Link wiped the bloody blade clean with one hand, his digits soaked in it. "Good thing someone as smart and heroic as ME got a hold of it. Now... I can do whatever the hell I want, and the government won't even notice."

"My goddess..." the uncle cried, almost praying to himself. "Din, Farore, Nayru save us..."

"Oh, don't give me that god crap. The gods are GONE, uncle!" Link shouted. "They abandoned this shit-hole of a land immediately after they created it. But at least... I was here to take advantage of their stupidly misguided gift to the masses. Too powerful for these simple people. But now - NOW I can do whatever I want! I can drink, I can steal, I can curse... all I fucking want."

"Please," the uncle pleading, "the excessive cursing - I never raised you to-"

"Anything I FUCK-damn-diddly-dick WANT," Link shouted, emphasizing key words. He stared at his uncle devilishly, drawing his sword forward. "And not only that... but I can KILL whoever I want. Even YOU, uncle!"

"No-NOOOO!" the old man screamed, running for the door and just barely managing to burst out of it, the wood scraping against his outstretched palms. Before he could get very far, however, he felt a strong tugging of his veins, his entire body freezing, his lungs filling with nothing. He fell to the ground, crumpled, old and defeated by fate itself; his eyes hung open, but he could see nothing else. He was gone.

Link walked slowly outside, taking note of his uncle almost in disgust. "Poor bastard," he mumbled to himself, sighing in his boyish way. "He had no idea what we could have been together, in this pathetic limbo of a world. Ah well."

Reaching into his large pockets, he pulled out his trusted flute, which he stole from a little dead boy in the middle of the woods. Playing a random tune, he was approached by a small tweety bird, placing its talons on his outstretched hand.

"Hey, Mr. Bird," Link said with recognition.

"Yeah, hi," Mr. Bird said quickly, huffing with disregard. His voice was low in volume, but smooth as milk chocolate. "You don't have to call me 'mister', you know. Or by my last name. I know you well enough by now."

"Right. Well, I don't really know your first name."

"It's Skip."


"I mean, it's not like you ever asked or anything."

"No, but... well, you're-"

"I know. I'm just a bird." Mr. Skip Bird took a quick look around, noticing the comatose body of the old man lying helpless on the ground, a look of profound pain on his wrinkled face. "Uh... he alright?"

"I don't know. He's probably fine," Link said dismissively. "It's probably just some... I don't know. A technique old men use to hibernate."

"He... looks kinda dead," Skip Bird said simply, fluttering his wings in anticipation.

"Well, whatever, I'm not a doctor," Link said with frustration. "I guess he's dead."

"That's depressing," the bird said with resignation. "That's... wow. That's sad."

"Well, yeah. Now you see why I wanna get the hell outta here."

"We can take him to the desert, I guess, and let the vultures take care of him," Skip Bird suggested. "I mean, if you don't want to have to see his corpse just rotting there all the time."

Link raised his eyebrows. "Really? Can you carry that much weight?"

"Eh, for a little while. It's not like the desert's that far from here anyway. Just over that mountain. I think."

"Oh... well, yeah! Fuck it, let's go."

"Alright then." Mr. Skip Bird began to flutter his wings with gusto, but stopped suddenly. "Oh... might as well ask. Anywhere else you wanna go? I'm free 'till around six tonight... so I've got some time to kill."

"Yeah, yeah," Link answered with enthusiasm. "Now that you mention it... take me to the Master Sword. I wanna see it."

The tiny little bird frowned in its tiny little bird way. "Again? This is the third time this month, man. You've just gotta accept that you can't have that thing anymore. I know it's real shiny, but..."

"I WANNA SEE IT," Link barked. "Just shut up and flap your fucking wings, alright? I think the old man just emptied his bowels."

And so he was lifted, high into the sky, over the plains of Hyrule, and past the heavens, where the Gods kept a safe distance from modern society. As Link and the rotting carcass of his dottering uncle rose higher and higher into the clouds with the assistance of one Mr. Skip Bird, the young hero of the land couldn't help but ponder upon a single question.

"Hey, Skip," he called casually to his airborne best friend. "You think I've gone batshit insane?"

Mr. Skip Bird paused for a moment, pondering the question, moving one of his outstretched wings to stroke his birdly chin. "If I had to make a hypothesis... yeah. You are deep in the shit pool."

"Good, good," the boy murmured, clapping his hands and watching pools of red and purple dream waves bursting forth from his palms. "It's all good."