Regret-A-Day

Exactly what it sounds like. Life's full of regret. And I've made it my mission to post at least one per day. Join me, won't you?


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DAY 1332

I just went on a rant about my comic book fetish yesterday. And what do you know? Here I am back on the horse.

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(That’s not actually me on the horse that’s walking on two legs. It’s Paul Simon. Idiot couldn’t win a race if his life depended on it. Stick to making wuss rock, you monster.)

Anyhoo, I’ll be sprinkling normal stuff in here amongst the geeky shit just so I don’t sound like one of those whatchamacallits.

You know what I’m trying to say, right? A, uhhhhhhhh….

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Ha-HAAAAA! BOOM! Take THAT, butthole!

Okay. Enough Simon bashing. Let’s start with geeky shit & work our way back.

I know a LOT of Tick fans.

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Most of these fans usually side with the cartoon over, say, the live-action series. In fact, I’ve talked to more people who’ve hated the live-action series than liked it.

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Me? I actually prefer the live-action version to the animated one. 

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Oh, are you confused?

Listen, I know I’m in the minority. But I’d stack the Fiery Blaze episode alone against the entire season 2 of the animated Tick.

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And since I’m already gonna come under fire for my opinions, here’s another bomb for you. I actually prefer the comic book to the cartoon.

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To clarify, here’s where I stand:

1) Live-action series
2) Comic book
3) Cartoon series

Although #1 & #2 are pretty much a tie. But hey, that’s me. All this shit’s subjective. 

Well, turns out the old rumor mill’s been churning out the following:

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I’ve seen a few people getting excited about it, but I regret the fact that all the cartoon-lovers will probably shun it if it actually goes from rumor to reality.

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Or maybe I’m just the only one who wants Ben Edlund to be involved in the project that made him a semi-household name.

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No offense, “Supernatural,”

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but as a selfish geek, I kinda want him back.

Alright. Moving on. So, here’s the normal stuff in this regret sandwich I happened to mention.

I’m not sure I regret that Paris Hilton took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in front of her “fans.” 

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I COULD regret that these people attended this at all. But you’ll find out why in a bit.

All told, it’s a good cause. Although at this point, it’s just celebrities jumping on a bandwagon. As much as I don’t give a second thought to this insanely rich scarecrow,

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maybe this did some good for the cause.

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If anything, I regret the fact that all these dolts paid to see her DJ.

Oh, AND the fact that she got paid $2.7 million to do it, of course.

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Yep. She “performed” for four days.

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Which equals $347,000 an hour. 

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Okay, before you think I’m some dick for shitting on a poor, little rich girl, I think we should level set. 

PARIS HILTON

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Heiress, sex tape star, reality show doofus & now DJ = $2.7 million for four sets.

DJ SHADOW

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Music producer, turntable innovator, instrumental hip-hop pioneer, & ALSO a DJ = $3 million altogether.

imageWe’re talking about a guy who unleashed a mind-expanding, breakthrough album into the world.

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One that changed the game & opened a LOT of doors for the genre. And in FOUR FUCKING NIGHTS, this dim bulb 

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made a million dollars short of what this turntable pioneer is worth in total. We’re talking pocket money to her, really. 

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I guess I should be happy it’s not his gross. 

And finally, the geeky bread on this regret hoagie. 

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Look, I was a kid who got bit by the superhero bug early.

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(A trip to my pediatrician actually confirmed that it was chiggers.)

I felt like if there was a form of entertainment which included a cape, cowl, mask, spandex, superhuman powers or all of the above, I was hooked.

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Yeah, I got shanked more times than a Scottish stooly by sticking to this formula.

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And I count THIS SHOW as the cruelest shanking I ever got:

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The premise was pretty cool, I guess. But the wackiness of it REALLY turned me off.

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I was 11 at the time. This should’ve been right up my alley. Just wasn’t.

Fast-forward to 2014. Apparently, the “LEGO Movie” guys are working on a reboot of this turd.

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I regret the shit out of hearing this. I mean, I’m all for striking while the iron’s hot. And these guys most certainly are, but “The Greatest American Hero?” REALLY?

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I mean, you’re rebooting a shitty concept to begin with. I just don’t see any winners here. Not even William Katt,

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who could REALLY use the work.

Personally, I think Warburton is much more worthy.

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BAM! CALLBACK!

Happy Labor Day, people. Celebrate it the way Paul Simon would.

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High as a Phish fan at Bonnaroo. 

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DAY 1331

Took the wife to this joint yesterday.

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And as per usual, I try not to step foot or toe into that place. Because fabric stores freak me the fuck out.

So, I took in the local sights. I decided against the live bait store in the office park.

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Ditto the piano place that’s obviously some kind of Mafia front.

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So, I dropped by a little thrift store I’d hit before.

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KAS & Stuff. You know the one. It’s right next to the unfortunately named Tits ‘N Ass Carpet.

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And lucky me, there was a Labor Day sale going on.

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This place has everything a thrift store should.

Books & records,

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CDs & 8-tracks,

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various outmoded electronics,

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yard equipment,

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porcelain figures,

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Pez dispensers,

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assorted crap,

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fencing outfits,

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you name it.

But the reason I keep coming back is their ragtag comic book collection.

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And since they’re marked $1 each, somebody like me can clean up better than those two hot chics in that clean-up movie.

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Like any non-comic shop that has comics, it was simply a matter of putting in the time to dig through hundreds of shitty ones just to find a few that were worth digging for.

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Especially when they have a semblance of order, but aren’t actually kept up. 

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Which I’m not really bitching about. Again, this ISN’T a comic shop, so I’m not holding it against them. It’s still just a thrift store. They’re focused on higher ticket items.

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Well, I dug for about an hour or so, finding a few great titles. In fact, I found TOO many, so I picked out the ones I actually wanted, did the math & took them to the register.

But before that, I sunk a stack of second choices where I could find them later, just in case I decided to come back some other time.

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As usual, my math was totally off. I figured it’d be a LOT more than it actually was, so I went back & bought the ones I’d hidden.

By the time I got home, I surveyed my purchases.

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They’re laid out all pretty here, but I basically walked out of that place with over 100 comics for less than $50. (They cut me a break.)

And as I was placing them on my spinning comic rack in the basement, 

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I started regretting the fact that I’m turning into my mother.

Wait. Let me rephrase that. I regret that I’ve ALREADY turned into my mother. And to clarify, I love this woman.

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I’ve inherited a love of books from her. But it’s come with a price. 

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We both admit that we already own more books than we’d probably ever read in our lifetimes. It’s a constant topic of conversation. And although I don’t see that as an unhealthy thing,

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but when it comes to comics, I feel like I’ll eventually have enough to build a fucking bunker to hide behind during a zombie apocalypse.

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If I’m lucky.

Jesus. “When does this fucking stop?”

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Yes. Yes, there is. And she’s probably wondering the same thing.

D A Y  1 3 3 0 

Ah, 1989. You were a truly strange time for music. But especially for metal/hard rock in general.

Some interesting stuff happened:

• Don Dokken decides to put an end to his namesake band

• George Lynch sues him over a slapfight they had over hairspray

• Steve Vai leaves David Lee Roth & joins Whitesnake for some reason

• David Lee Roth leaves David Lee Roth & joins Van Halen

• Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” is their best selling & last with Vince

• Their single “Kickstart My Heart” gives somebody the idea to start Kickstarter years before it was possible

• Jethro Tull wins 1st Heavy Metal Grammy over Metallica somehow

• Metallica is driven into therapy for unrelated reasons, according to them

• Slaughter, Marilyn Manson, Damn Yankees & Fear Factory form

• 20-something Jonathan Davis & almost 20-something Fred Durst wait patiently

And some interesting albums came out that year as well:

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
Voivod - Nothingface
Soundgarden - Louder Than Love
Overkill - The Years Of Decay
Skid Row - Skid Row
King Diamond - Conspiracy
Faith No More - The Real Thing
D.R.I. - Thrash Zone
The Cult - Sonic Temple
Cannibal Corpse - Cannibal Corpse demo tape

Then there was a little album by a band out of Minneapolis called Powermad. The first song on their first & only album was called “Slaughterhouse.”

And considering I wasn’t really into thrash &/or speed metal at the time, I never would’ve been aware of it, except that it was prominently featured in David Lynch’s “Wild At Heart.”

A LOT.

In fact, that’s pretty much the only song Sailor & Lula listen to for most of their delinquent journey.

I’ll admit, I dug the shit out of “Slaughterhouse” at the time. That beginning riff? Jesus. It kicks your teeth in.

But I regret having it in my head over the past week. That’s right. For a fucking WEEK it kept creeping in there, like a semi-metal spike.

UGH.

Still in there, too. What I wouldn’t give for some White Lion or Tygers of Pan Tang to get this bottom-of-the-barrel shit out of there. 

DAY 1329

Okay, so the whole Hello Kitty thing.

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I regret the fact that people have been getting so worked up about something so goofy & unimportant. It all started when this sad clown

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(who’s actually a curator for an upcoming Hello Kitty exhibition) stated, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.”

And people shit the bed.

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Because there’s obviously not a war still going on.

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Or, I don’t know, scary shit going down our own Goddamned country.

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So, let’s get worked up about something that has no bearing on reality. 

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Like, say, a multi-million dollar character that started on a coin purse, back when it didn’t even have a name.

But let’s step back a bit. I did a little bullshit research. Here’s what I found on the Hello Kitty Wiki.

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Yep. Pretty much the basics. Got it. What else?

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Uh-huh. Uh-huh. “Species: Cartoon girl.” Checks out. Yeah, I know she’s supposed to be British. Ummmmmm. Yep, the whole apple thing.

Wait a minute.

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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. 

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That’s right. A Japanese bobtail is a fucking CAT.

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I know, right? My balls just dropped. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a brand wanting to build hype around an upcoming event,

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especially if we’re talking about a character’s 40th birthday. Hell, I’m two years older than fucking Atari, so been there.

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But saying a character known as Hello KITTY isn’t a cat is like saying Yogi Bear isn’t a bear just because he wears a hat & tie.*

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Or that El Kabong clearly isn’t Quick Draw McGraw.

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Or Captain Caveman isn’t a real caveman.

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You know why? Because, regardless of how borderline shit their characters are, these two pimps

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WOULDN’T BETRAY CANON.**

Which is where we find ourselves in this whole discussion. 

She has whiskers. She’s got cat ears. She’s got a tail. Hello Kitty IS a cat. 

The.

Fucking.

End.

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And recently, Sanrio actually had their own shit to say, putting this fuckus into perspective.

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Although they were great at back peddling on the issue.

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So, Hello Kitty’s basically anthropomorphic. But I still stand by the fact that she’s an anthropomorphic CAT.

Right? Am I right?

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Fuck my life.

Alright, I’m back where I started. I don’t fucking care. And neither should you. They can say whatever they want about this made-up shitstain.

I just have one thing to say to Sanrio:

If you come out saying that Bad Badtz Maru isn’t a penguin,

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you’re gonna make a powerful enemy.

* And that he isn’t gay with Ranger Smith. C’mon. It’s OBVIOUS.

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** Although I’m sure there a hundreds of examples to refute this. Still, I’m talking about a “Hello-Kitty-isn’t-a-cat” situation here.

D A Y  1 3 2 8

I first became aware of Cyriak’s work when I saw Cows & Cows & Cows in 2010. It reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s Python work during their series. But, you know, more amped up & acid-drenched. 

Then for a while, nothing happened. 

2011 gave us Kitty City, which seemed to be an even more evolved style. And once again, my brain was conjuring images of it while I slept.

Now there’s THIS. 

It’s like the culmination of everything he’s done up to now. There’s that moment during the first pass, where you feel slightly disturbed. Then the second pass, third pass & fourth pass happen. By the fifth & sixth passes, it’s like alternate realities are being cloned in the worst, sickest possible way.

And I regret that I feel more comfort than dread the more I watch it, which is about ten times as of this writing. 

It’s like the more fucked it becomes, the more I feel drawn in. Maybe it’s the 60’s film stock he’s using as a canvas. I don’t know. But I could somehow see myself living in this demented universe in utter peace. 

There’s gotta be some subconscious reason for this, right? Well, I hope I never figure it out. I don’t mind living in ignorance, I guess.

For more Cyriak, visit his website HERE or subscribe to his channel HERE.

DAY 1327

You could probably go back about a year ago & find a similar regret, but I’m throwing down anyway.

We went to the Minnesota State Fair yesterday. So full of optimism, as per every year. 

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See those eyes? That’s hope. Unbridled confidence that we’ll be able to beat the stomach this year.

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Well, this was us after a mere five hours.

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We tried just about everything we set out to try.

Mini donuts,

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poutines, 

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fresh pork products,

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deep-fried pickles,

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farm-fresh alpaca,

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chicken in a waffle cone

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with a complimentary chocolate ball at the bottom &

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Sweet Martha’s cookies.

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It was an all-time low for us. Throw in a milkshake, a few beers & a couple of Pepsis, we were basically down for the count early. 

I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy a Pronto Pup.

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Not even enough intestinal dexterity to do it near THIS guy.

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Because, you know, he fucking RULES.

Ultimately, I regret that I missed out on a LOT of stuff, sticking mostly to everything I normally eat. Although I blame some of that on the continuing shittiness of the Minneapolis State Fair app.

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It’s got search problems. Then again, it had these problems last year, too.

Here’s a “for instance” for you: we were looking for the chicken & waffles, since we’d read that the MN State Fair had them this year. Also, since chicken & waffles are my weakness. 

Let’s see. Just type it in here…

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Okay, here we go. (taps “Search,” while licking lips)

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Great. Fucking great.

I’d complain, but who would listen? AND this app was free, soooo…

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On the other hand, I DON’T regret that my bottomless pit days are behind me. I mean, I’m older, I no longer have a gall bladder & I’m kind of glad I get full quicker.

Because I guess there’s always the unfortunate alternative.

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D A Y  1 3 2 6

I did about a one-year stint in the show, “How To Talk Minnesotan.” It’d been running for 10 years & they were taking it on the road again before packing it all in.*

My entry point into this wacky shack was the fact that I’d played drums in a touring show with Plymouth Playhouse called “A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline” a few months before. And a regular cast member of HTTM (Tim Drake, who’d played a role in the show for years, as well as drummed in it) was taking a little break, so they called on me to take over as Miller Johnson.

I still consider working with these folks the highlight of my career.

Between director Curt Wollan, composer/actor Drew Jansen & the rest of cast, I felt like I fit right in from the very beginning. Never any pressure, never any “listen-kid-I’ve-been-doing-this-a-LOOONNNNG-time” moments. 

As the new guy, I never felt like the new guy. I give a lot of credit to Tim Drake for that.

I think I got about two or three put-in rehearsals before being unleashed on an audience. But once I was on that stage, there was no other place I wanted to be.**

Now, I’m sure a lot of people (especially actors) dismiss this kind of show from the get-go, based on its somewhat regional, down-homey appeal. And I’ll admit that I KINDA felt that way before being immersed in it.

But this isn’t gonna be a regret about the material or even “crowd-pleasing shows” (at least two aspects of this production I wound up falling in love with, BTW).

I regret that my performing-for-a-living days are behind me. I mean, I still perform. I haven’t stopped doing that. But the very idea of having another month-long room at the Holiday Inn in, say, Eau Claire (regardless of how unattractive that sounds to others) fills me with a helluva lot of nostalgia.

I made my living as a jobber once. And I have to say, I miss it.

So, if anybody reading this is making rent by performing, let me be the first to say that I’m jealous. A LOT of us are. Keep on keeping on & godspeed. 

Lastly, I’d like to thank Drew Jansen for the following:

I regret that I’ve had your “Lutefisk Tango" song in my head for this entire morning. Congratulations, you Goddamned beautiful musical genius. One of your songs continues to invade my cerebral jukebox after all these years.

* I could be wrong on BOTH of those timelines. But I’m probably damn close.

** When you sign on to do HTTM, you’re not just memorizing one show. You’re memorizing four or five. There’s a different show for every season on the calendar. And, of course, a Christmas version.

DAY 1325

This weekend’s FXX’s Simpsons marathon got me thinking about my life during those wonderfully heady, go-go 90’s.

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Which caused me to revisit/go through/clean out a few boxes in our basement.

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Yep. That’s a LOTTA shit. Although most of it was stuff I was happy to be reminded of.

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Plays, stand-up material,

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my earliest screenplays,

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year-long, story-a-day writing projects,

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etc. But then I found THIS.

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One of those random boxes, packed with tiny trinkets from my past. Some stood out more than others.

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Like these, for instance.

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Yeah, I found quite a bit of outdated technology. Some I could trace back to unfinished projects,

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while others I was completely clueless about.

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Then I found something I regret coming across, a project I committed a lot of time to, yet never saw through.

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This nondescript folder held a few enjoyable years of sweat & toil from my early 20’s within it. A time when I was having daily intercourse with my very first sexual girlfriend,

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who happened to be working at Morrison’s Cafeteria at the time.

I’d come by to pick her up right around closing time. And since this joint was all about serving droves of slobs, eating their guts out,

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she usually had to devote about an hour to cleaning up. Which left me sitting in a booth, nursing a Coke & working on a pet project my friend Ted Dickerson had.

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Basically, it was a Marvel Comics trivia game we’d come up with.

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Obviously something that other geeks at the time were probably embarking on, too.

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I mean, who else would give a shit about/bother to research Damage Control’s toll-free phone number?

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Or Turner D. Century’s weapons or paraphernalia?

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Or even the real names of Spider-Man’s early foes, the Enforcers?

Well, the two of us, I guess. A couple of guys in their 20’s with every issue of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe at their disposal.

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Sure, it was a daunting task. But we had it all worked out. Specific categories

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& a massive set of rules.

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The worst part was that I knew most of the stuff we were basing this information on would probably be in flux once we got the ball rolling.

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A RED Hulk?!?! No, thank you.

I mean, Marvel’s like any comic book company, constantly changing backstories & adding characters, pretty much leaving previous characters in yesterdayland. 

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So, this little project was honestly doomed from the start.

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Not to mention the fact that we were young & stupid enough to think that MAYBE if we did all the work, Marvel would just right us a check.

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Actually, I don’t think we were THAT naive, but we were churning so many hours into this that we didn’t really think that far ahead. 

Well, from what I can tell, we made a fairly sizable dent in this thing.

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But even after all that, I regret we never followed through with it. I keep finding evidence of it just about everywhere I look.

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And worst of all, I know I’ve seen even more dead technology laying around here somewhere.

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Fuck it. Maybe it’s for the best that we gave up on it.

D A Y  1 3 2 4

If this game had been around this back in the day, I MIGHT’VE played it. Especially if it involved the “Alien” franchise.

That being said, there’s no way in FUCK I would play this thing now, based on these reactions. I mean, I like a good scare as much as the next guy, but THIS?

No.

No, thank you.

Ultimately, this comes down to a fundamental failure of video games from the 90’s-on for me. 

I’ve probably covered this on Regret-A-Day before, but it bears repeating: I regret the fact that stealth games exist. 

I know there are hundreds of thousands of gamers out there who get off on this kind of shit, but it’s REALLY not for me. Believe me, I’ve tried. When I first got a PS2, I bought a game called “Manhunt.” It’s really just an excuse to find creative ways to kill people.

ROCK STAR GAMES - Do it quietly, please.

ME - But this is a video game. I shouldn’t HAVE to do that, right? We’re talking about escapism murder here. Not real murder.

ROCK STAR GAMES - Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Listen, if I were to ever kill somebody in REAL life, I’d be so fucking pumped with adrenaline & rage, I’d be screaming the entire time I did it. ESPECIALLY if I had to do it with my bare hands.

And in “Alien: Isolation,” you’re supposedly in the year 2137, 15 years after “Alien” is set. You’re telling me in a future where you’ve got an “alien tracker” on-hand, there aren’t any 12-gauges hanging around anywhere on that ship? Maybe a prototype of the shit the Space Marines were carrying in “Aliens?”

Sorry, but you’re giving me a pee-shooter & dropping me in Đà Nẵng here.

That’s my take anyway.

DOWN WITH STEALTH!

ROCK STAR GAMES - Will you keep it down! I’m trying to program a game where you murder a hooker in her sleep over here!

ME - But I just told you. I don’t wanna play something like that.

ROCK STAR GAMES - (putting chloroform over my mouth) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

But considering “back in the day” to me means early-mid 80’s, it NEVER would’ve looked this good.

D A Y  1 3 2 3

Listen, I fucking LOVE my job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Seriously.*

But seeing this video makes me regret that I wasn’t a Field Researcher for Atari back in the day. Although this would’ve basically been impossible, since I would’ve been too young to hold a job at the time.

God, I feel like Rob from “High Fidelity” with his Top 5 Dream Jobs:

1. Journalist, Rolling Stone (1976 to 1979)
2. Producer, Atlantic Records (1964 to 1971)
3. Any kind of musician, besides classical or rap
4. Film director, any kind besides German or silent
5. Architect

And ultimately his girl made him change that last one to record store owner, which he already was & which he already loved.

Which is basically me, a guy who absolutely loves his job, but wonders what if.

So, here are my Top 5 things I’d do “if qualification & time & history & salary were no object”:

1. Drummer for Pink Floyd (1965 to present)
2. Writer, Marvel or DC bullpens (1963 to 1987)
3. TV/Film Character Actor (1970 to 1989)
4. Journalist, Creem magazine (1971 to 1985)
5. Game Creator/Field Tester, Atari (1972 to 1984)

* Or WOULD I?

D A Y  1 3 2 2

"Titties plastic,
Ass fantastic.”

Our next poet laureate, ladies & gentlemen. Ludacris!

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WHAT I DON’T REGRET
• The assiness of this un-song. 

•That Ludacris is still around somehow.

• That it apparently took THREE ADDITIONAL PEOPLE to create something this fucking insipid.

 The existence of some butthole, who calls herself (himself?) Cashmere Cat.

• The fact that this video’s budget probably rivals disaster relief money.

• That I heard this thumping from a car today, thereby spawning this post. 

______________________________________________________

WHAT I SORT OF REGRET
• That this song steals a melody from “Barbie Girl" by 1997’s one-shit wonders, Aqua. But not really a lot.

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None of these potential regrets compare to the big kahuna of regrets in this island oasis of fuckness.

WHAT I ACTUALLY REGRET
• That there’s some kid out there who FUCKING LOVES this putrid crap.

• That this same kid probably calls it, “MY JAM!” And that he probably follows it up with “YAY-EE-YAYEEEEEEE!”

• That he wouldn’t know a good song if it fucked him & gave him ear AIDS & a healthy dose of aural chlamydia. 

DAY 1321

Okay, so the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

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I know a LOT of people who’ve done it. Friends of mine, who I respect & love. And just so we’re clear, this is NOT a slam on ANYBODY who’s participated in it.

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I think it’s great that it’s raising money towards this cause.

If it really has, that is. I don’t fucking know. If it hasn’t, this all seems like a waste of time.*

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Oh. And a SHITLOAD of water.

At least I’ve gotten a chance to see Katy Perry getting sloshed in her bikini.

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And it looks like this is the closest I’m EVER gonna get to watching Andy Cohen get waterboarded.

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All in all, every one of us has gotten SOMETHING out of it.

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Anyhoo, I regret the way my mind’s been working lately about this thing. It goes a little something *ahem* like THIS:

Has anybody tried pouring heart-stopping, freezing water on someone with ALS yet?

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Maybe it’d cure them. 

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I mean, the scientific community has gone ALL the conventional routes & come up with bupkis.

Could it be that all ALS needs is a non-rational approach, like the tennis balls in “Awakenings?”

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Oh, too far? 

Well, don’t blame ME. Blame the evil, baseball-playing bastard who unleashed his disease on the world.**

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Damn you, Gehrig. You’re truly the green monkey in all this.

For my money, I’m still waiting for the Lena-Dunham-Eating-Olives-In-Her-Underwear challenge.

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Now THAT’S a cause I can get behind.

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In all seriousness, if you’re as done with this silly, 21st century chain letter as I am, DONATE HERE.***

Hell, Charlie Sheen called psyche on the whole ice bucket thing & was good for $10,000

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And would YOU want to be known as the guy/gal who was outdone by Charlie fucking Sheen?

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I didn’t think so.

* As of 17 hours ago, $22.9 million has been raised thanks to this, so please ignore my bitterness. 

** I’m not serious, you spinach chin.

*** And while you’re at it, READ THIS ARTICLE. It’s got some good info on how to things are progressing & how to successfully donate to a charity in need.

DAY 1320

CAVEAT: I don’t suffer from depression. This isn’t a cry for help. It’s a slump for me just like any other. One of those days. Don’t read into this too much. There are millions out there suffering from ACTUAL depression. And I don’t want this to take away from that.

Okay, done. Read on.

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Never sprinkle any Vince Guaraldi onto your solipsism, my friends.

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I can’t emphasize that enough.

When you’re so far into your own head that the trappings of everyday things have fallen by the wayside, the melancholy moods of this piano-playing genius have the potential to put a serious zap on your head.

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Don’t get me wrong. I fucking LOVE Guaraldi. 

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He was pretty much my introduction to jazz, thanks to every bit of music he contributed to the Charlie Brown specials.

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Which were my introduction to the idea of something being so sad that you’re almost happy at the same time. Bittersweet, I guess would be the closest word to describe it.

Like the ending to “Brazil.”

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It rips you apart that Sam’s gone, but you realize he’s exactly where he always wanted to be.

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Life’s obviously full of that. Moments when you feel like you’re at the bottom of a well, when you’re actually on top of the world. Or, say, the polar opposite.

Well, I was listening to a LOT of Guaraldi yesterday morning. Specifically these two:

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This is off topic, but there needs to be at least 20 volumes of these things. Some are half-songs, semi-cues or what-have-you. But a good portion of these songs are better than what was released.

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Not shitting on what WAS released, of course. I couldn’t live without “The Charlie Brown Suite.” 

Alright. Back to it.

Listening to Guaraldi puts me in that mood I was talking about. Happy, but emotionally fragile, in a way. Again, “Brazil.”

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After a morning of Guaraldi, I took a smoke break & I saw a little bird sitting against a set of stairs. He just sat there, shivering, not flying away.

I felt powerless. Almost like I was that bird. It shook me deep.

I smoked & headed back inside, but couldn’t shake the thought of that bird. It plagued my fucking mind.

A few hours later, I went back out for a smoke. But before I hit the down elevator, I looked down to see if he was still there.

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No. Thank God. 

I headed down, crossed the street, lit a cig & stopped where he’d been.

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Okay, settle down. That’s NOT him all squished. I’m not a sadist.

That’s where he was from before. A pile of feathers & random leaves. 

I walked up the stairs, fairly relieved. “He’d gotten away,” I thought.

When I hit the top of the stairs, I happened to look over & see THIS:

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Yep. There he was, huddled next to the brick, still shivering a little bit, but seemingly okay. 

Had he climbed the stairs? Had someone picked him up & put him there? Either way, I felt a little better about the situation. 

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Still, he was scared. And so was I. 

After seeing this, all I wanted to do was walk into traffic. Or wish that a meteorite would come hurtling down from the sky & take me out.

It was more than a horrible feeling. And no amount of Vince Guaraldi’s “Happiness Is" could soften the blow. In fact, it’d probably make it worse.

I just had to put on some Weekend Nachos to grudgefuck the pain away.

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DAY 1319

So, I was at a friend’s birthday party on Sunday.

This gal, right here.

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Sometime during the celebration, we were trying to explain to a mutual friend who Matthew McConaughey was.

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Long story short, it took longer than it should’ve. We named off every McConaughey film we could think of. 

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Nothing. Lights on, nobody home. I’d say we lasted about 10 minutes before giving up completely. 

But that’s not really the point. If that’s all you’re latching onto, just stop reading. I’m not going into the fact that there’s somebody on this Earth who can’t identify McConaughey. 

Again, not the point. 

Thanks to the power of zeitgeist & just a sprinkle of synchronicity,

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McConaughey was taking in a Red Sox game at Fenway at the exact same time that day.

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And somehow the switchboards lit up because the dude was wearing a fanny pack.

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Here’s why this is “news.” Because McConaughey said THIS:

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Look, I don’t care where you stand on fanny packs. Doesn’t really matter. I live in a state where rollerblades never died out.

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I blame “The Mighty Ducks” for being shot here.

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AND the fact that rollerblades basically STARTED here.

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So, I’m cutting that bullshit a little slack. VERY little.

But FANNY PACKS?!!?

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Sorry, but I can’t abide by the “it’s-so-uncool-it’s-cool” rule on this one. There’s too much of that shit going on these days. We need to start putting a fucking limit on this shit.

Okay, so here’s the litmus test:

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"If you see somebody at Coachella rocking a trying-to-be-retro look, just consider it played out. It’s dead as disco."

But the worst part about this McConaughey fiasco? I regret that this’ll probably become the new “That’s what SHE said.”

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Another piece of pop cultural detritus that died long ago, but was revived to show how clueless & vapid a character was.

And now it won’t go the fuck away because it’s embraced by dimwits who can’t see it for what it is.

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Okay, okay. So, let’s say you’re actually one of those people who never let fanny packs wane.

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You don’t wear them ironically or because they’re trendy with celebs.

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You just NEVER FUCKING STOPPED.

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Well, I hate to say it, but kudos. YOU, my friend, are a brave, brave holdout. And I have to respect that.

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Okay, not respect necessarily, but you’re off the hook. 

Conversely, if you’re a dillhole who’s scrounging for fanny packs at your local thrift store,

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let’s remember that I started this rant using Matthew McConaughey as the national fanny pack champion. 

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THAT Matthew McConaughey. A dude who could pull of THIS look

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& still probably got wall-to-wall ass/BJs/HJs/FJs from women AND men wherever he went. 

So, just consider that before you drop any money.

The gorgeous people of the world can pretty much pull off ANYTHING. The rest of us, however, will wind up looking like THIS, no matter what we wear.

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DAY 1318

I’ve been a G.I. Joe fan from WAY back. You know, back when he was just one guy.

Owned the action figure,

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a complete cache of accessories (which I quickly lost),

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all four book-and-records,

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etc.

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Then the the 80’s rolled around. And THIS glorious thing hit the comic racks:

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I was naturally confused from the get-go.

12-YEAR-OLD ME - So, wait. First G.I. Joe was one dude. Now you’re wanting me to believe that it’s the name of a team of specialized Army guys?

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12-YEAR-OLD ME - SOLD!

Man, that first issue really pulled me in.

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Could’ve been that everybody had code names. Or the high-tech training center they had.

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I don’t know. But I DO know that I was infatuated with one Joe in particular. One that would keep my interest well beyond 50 issues.

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Nope. Not the reasons you’d think. Although that’s a good guess.

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It was all about good, old Snake Eyes for this guy.

I mean, c’mon. A stealthy badass who never spoke, but let the music do the talking?

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And a mute ninja with this kind of background to boot? 

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There’s NOTHING about this that turns off a pre-teen boy. ESPECIALLY when this pre-teen boy hasn’t discovered girls yet. Which (I hope) clears up why I wasn’t completely smitten with this comic for the obvious reasons.

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Needless to say, I was hooked. And I’m sure it was obvious to Marvel that millions of other boys were hooked on this dude, too. 

Which is why when THIS issue came out,

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all of the Snake Eyes fanboys in the world collectively jizzed.

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Well, this was the first story I’d ever read that was done completely without ANY dialogue. And since the emphasis was on Snake Eyes - a character who never spoke - it kind of made sense in my mind.

Here’s writer/artist Larry Hama’s take on it:

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It was pretty kickass, reading it for the first time in ‘82.

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And as if comics aren’t already a quick read, this particular one took all of 30-45 seconds to zip through.

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A minute tops if you studied each panel close enough.

But this was also an interesting comic when it came to G.I. Joe canon (Christ, I actually TYPED that), since it was the very first appearance of THIS dude:

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Yep. Storm Shadow. And the first time we would make a connection between him & Snake Eyes.

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It was like Marvel was giving me two Boba Fetts for the price of one. 

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So much mystery, so much they weren’t telling me in this story. Which might’ve been why I’ve been infatuated with this kind of minimalist storytelling all these years. 

And yet, people my age who read the same comic at the time felt differently, I guess.

There was a “Letters To The Editor” section I read a few issue later, where wave after wave of readers bitched about how they felt cheated by this issue.

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Most complained that if they were shelling out a whopping 75¢ (?) for a comic, there’d better damn well be at least a five-to-ten minute reading experience involved. Or at least sound effects.

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Yeah, I know. Sounds stupid now. But read the comments under your favorite YouTube video sometime. A GI Joe letter section is nothing.

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All this amounts to the fact that Marvel has released a 30th anniversary edition of this Snake Eyes adventure.

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Now, when I initially found out about this, it linked to the Amazon page, where I found THIS price tag:

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Goddamn. Really? I mean, it seems to have some interesting extras, but…

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Mostly, I regret that people buying this may have the same gripes as some of the dunderheads from “Letters To The Editor” back in the day.

And why shell out so much for a story that you might not get much out of (regardless of the fact that I think it’s an undisputed work of genius)?

I mean, why not just buy the individual issue at some comic shop? Or, I don’t know, off Amazon?

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Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

After a little snooping, I found that THAT was a pretty good price for it.

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Jesus, save your money, people.

The “Classic GI JOE” is out in trades. I highly recommend starting with volume 1, but if you REALLY wanna read “Silent Interlude,” it starts in volume 3.

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