Tuesday, December 28, 2010

X-Mas and X-Menos

Yes, I know Christmas was half a week ago (depending on when you’re reading this) and I don’t care. It’s just the way I work. And as a late Christmas present (Happy belated birthday, Jesus! Sorry my card didn’t make it.) I’m writing a blog post about the holiday itself. I know, that’s quite the turn of events. But enough fiddling around, let’s get our ugly sweaters on and talk ourselves some Christmas.
               
            First of all, let me axe you something. What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever gotten? I’m sure you can probably beat my grandma at buying me gifts, and you don’t even know me that well. For all you know, I’m a typo-making, misogynistic, big-word-using program that was developed to write messily written blog posts. Think an inane President Eden from Fallout 3. But whatever gift you’re thinking is the worst, you’re wrong. The worst gift is socks. No hatred towards anyone who’s given me socks before as a present, but they’re just wrong in every way. Have you ever received a package of socks and not immediately gone “Oh.”? That’s not a noise that should be made on Christmas morning. Thank God it’s never happened to me but can you imagine being a little kid and sneaking a peek at one of your presents on Christmas Eve and the package you pick to look at is socks?

Well Christmas is ruined. Is it Halloween yet?
            Socks are an awful present for several reasons. 1st strike- They’re clothes. Clothes are the touchiest subject in the long and storied history of gift giving. With clothes it’s either hate or grow to hate slowly. Kinda like my relationships… I’m sorry, I’m digressing. And by “digressing” I mean “sobbing.” But socks are the worst kind of clothes. No one likes wearing socks, we just deal with them. And socks are also the least personal thing you can buy to wear on your body. “Merry Christmas! I got you some plain white things to hide underneath your shoes!” Underwear is more personal, even if it’s just boxers.

"I know you like your balls to be comfortable, so I got you boxers."

            2nd strike against socks- they’re useful. They’re a very good thing to have. This doesn’t always translate to a good thing to receive, and people don’t get that. I will take free socks any day but once decorative paper is involved it just loses something. Useful items make for an awkward gift. When’s the last time you got mouthwash as a present and didn’t immediately smell your breath? Well I get mouthwash in my stocking every year, that’s who gets mouthwash as a present. I also got a book about why I’m an awesome son because my mom doesn’t quite get the whole “Santa” concept.

"You are my son, now."

            3rd strike- Socks are just socks. That may sound kind of odd but think about it. How do you spruce up socks? No matter how you present them there’s always that moment the receiver looks the giver in the eyes and the giver says- “It’s socks.” And no matter how the giver may say it out loud, it is always ended with a period. Socks don’t deserve an exclamation point. Ever.
               
           But as we all know, the Christmas season comes to end, and New Year’s is next. One of the most common traditions during this holiday is, of course, resolution making. I think everyone knows the base concept of resolutions, but just in case you don’t, I’ll explain them. Resolutions are like goals, but they’re only made once a year, and broken sometime around March. Many New Year’s resolutions last less time than Lenten promises. Although how many times can we give up touching ourselves caffeine before it actually takes? When I say turning a new leaf, what do you think? People getting hammered?! Yeah me neither. I really wish that New Year’s would just pick a theme and stick with it. Are we celebrating the year that has been, like some sort of open-bar funeral? Or should we be looking forward to the next 52 weeks and trying to make ourselves better? I suppose some would say that puking in more toilets than last year is an accomplishment in its own way. But those people don’t deserve to have a voice. And I don’t mean symbolically or politically, I mean literally. They shouldn’t be allowed to talk.

Now, let's party.

*   *   *
            Because I really don’t know where else to put this, and I can’t see me expanding it into a whole post, I’m putting a bonus observation here. For Christmas, or some such. Democracy is rule by the common people, and a republic is ruled by the elites. However, the United States is a democratic republic. How does Congress solve this paradox? By being really rich people that are just as stupid (if not stupider) than the common American. Woo! U-S-A! U-S-A!

The first person to notice that “reason” and “season” rhymed,

Mick Dickinson

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chicks, man.

Ladies, you and I need to have a little talk. No, this isn’t me trying to get some time alone with you away from prying eyes, although heaven knows I’d be all for it. This is me trying to talk some sense into your heads, for the good of men everywhere. Although they can all go soak their heads, as I’m the only one you need. Excuse me, I’m getting off track.

Today we’ll be discussing three things; fashion, men, and your body image. Why these three? Well, to be frank, those are the three things I could come up with that could hopefully cover some space. And you always need at least three items in any given list. All joking aside, that’s an important lesson. Also, any number under 11 should be expressed in words, not numerals. Write those down. I’ll meet you at the next paragraph after you’re done.

Derp derp derp
Okay, fashion. Now, although I’ve never seen a man eat his own face, I have seen a lot in my day. I once saw a dog pooping through a chain link fence. I’ve also seen UGG boots. I’ve committed this blog to be curse free, and as such, my vocabulary might be a little limited when it comes to this topic. UGG boots might be the stupidest pieces of clothing I’ve ever seen. And it’s not the actual boot, it’s how girls have decided to wear them. I get that they’re very warm and very comfortable. I’ve described one of my furry sweatshirts as resembling an UGG boot. The UGG boot comes up to mid calf, like most boots. Except the boot I’m gonna break off in your butt if you don’t realize what’s wrong with the idea of tucking your sweatpants/jeans into the boot. You look honestly ridiculous. If you saw a man tuck his jeans into a high sock, wouldn’t it be kind of a huge turn off? Or say you see a cute guy, trudging through campus. It’s just recently snowed, and he’s wearing his snow boots. But for some reason, he’s tucked his pants into some flat brown shoes renowned not for their looks, but for durability? The design of these shoes are basically the exact same, why would it be different for women? Stupid things look stupid on both sexes. The only item of clothing you can tuck into UGGs are tights, because obviously tights would look stupider stretched over the boot.

I think I would know
about tights and Shakespeare
         Which brings me to my next point- Where did tights come from?! I graduated last spring, thinking of tights as something to wear in Shakespeare or to wear under mini-skirts, thereby ruining the whole point of the mini-. But I get to UNI and things were different. I pointed out to some people a girl I saw wearing only the tights. Keep in mind, this is in mid-August, and she had flip-flops on her feet. Which, because of the tights, brought the thong total up to three, if ya catch my drift. Anyhoo, I pointed this girl out, and turn the corner, and there’s another one. And another one. I stay on campus to find it’s become quite the trend. And just so we’re clear, tights are the opposite of UGG boots. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to wear tights as an everyday item, but unlike UGGs, I couldn’t be happier. It’s a hilarious mix. Women wear UGGs to impress other women, and they wear tights to impress or otherwise catch the attention of men. Just to be clear, when men dress beyond a t-shirt, they dress for women. No man puts on his nice jeans and thinks about what men are going to say. It’s all about the ladies. You girls should be flattered.

"What's Bruce going to say?"- No straight man

          Men actually aren't hard to figure out. They act for two major reasons- a sense of accomplishment, and getting an “in” with women. For lots of men, these two motivations complete each other. And yes, I know I said always have three items in a list, but honestly, I can’t think of another reason men do things outside of general charity, which is more of an overall human thing. But why do men do things for these reasons? Because, when you get down to it, that about covers everything in life. Why do men get jobs? Well, to buy a bunch of stuff, really. This stuff impresses women. Now, I’m not being sexist. It’s been proven scientifically that women look for material wealth in men. It’s just how their brains are wired. Now, those brains are 10% smaller and this might explain why women suck at math. Now I’m being sexist. If men could get women while living in a tent and riding in a 1996 Chevy Lumina, then that’s what they’d do. Have you ever been in a tent?! It’s awesome. If you can put your legs all the way out and not touch the sides of the tent, I would live there forever. Obviously, it would need to be a spot I can pirate Wi-Fi from, but I think that’s a given. And I know for a fact it is impossible to pick up women while driving a 1996 Chevy Lumina. Three years of experience tell me so.

Awwwww yeah. Pimp-mobile.
          One of the main things girls don’t often get about men is why we spend so much time playing video games. Especially if their man is like me, and often gets extremely angry at the game yet refuses to stop playing. This is because of man’s need to achieve. Successful games have special prizes rewarding players for doing things. Yes, in the time it took me to do a triple back flip in a pink motorcycle in GTA IV I could have earned $60 for donating plasma, but to my mind, they are equally important. My ego even goes as far to be more proud of a square inch of pixels changing on a TV screen that no one but me is going to notice than having money from sitting in a chair having my blood drained from me. Similar confusing things about men can be traced to this, like trying to build something without directions, or refusing to ask for help while lost- men all like to figure things out for themselves because then the sense of achievement is greater upon completion. A man’s confidence is connected to what he thinks he can do on his own merit. We’re the gender version of the American Dream.

          But as for body image- ladies, you’re beautiful. Don’t let people tell you otherwise. The biggest myth about beauty is that men want stick figures. I honestly don’t know where this started. Ask any man about what goes into an attractive woman and I’m sure the word “big” will be used. Now, it probably won’t be followed by “gut” obviously, but all men are looking for is health. Really. If you’re of a healthy weight, it’s fine. Women need to understand that if I can observe you have an extra rib at the beach, then that is just disgusting. I don’t want to think I can break you if I hug you too hard.

Exhibit A. Also a good excuse for "Christina Hendricks"
 to be in my Google Search bar.
           
          
          Also, white people walk like this, but black people walk like this. Am I right, folks? Discuss.

A man's man (but he prefers women a lot more),
Mick Dickinson

Friday, December 17, 2010

The End of the First Half of the First Quarter

Well we’re here. The end of our first first semester. Well, mine at least. I don’t know your life and I’m not much for judging. Anyhoo college is 1/8 over for me, and I have to say I’m very impressed with the institution. Whether it’s my situation, my personality, or just my dashing looks, college is just what I needed. Meeting new people and going through new situations (some good, some bad, all embarrassing) is exactly what I was built for as a person. So how do we cap off an entirely interesting four months like this? Answer- with a multitude of tests. It’s not exactly the best solution. But after the tests comes my favorite part- the Blend concert.

            Now, I try to avoid being a hipster at any cost, but I know it’ll look that way pretty soon. Just to skip the awkward name calling, I’ll start rating myself on level of hipster-ness in accordance with my statements.


 

Level 1. Vampire Weekend listener- I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of the Blend. They’re pretty obscure. You can hear them here.


Level 2. Canvas messenger bag- They’re a small band based out of Minneapolis. Hear them right here.

I hate this stereotype cause I would so wear that shirt.

Level 3. Ironic thrift store T-Shirt- Their style is kind of hard to describe, you might not “get it”. You can hear them here.

He pitched on acid before it was cool

Level 4. Ironic Mustache – I’ve been a big fan ever since their EP, which might be on display here.


Level 5. Fixie Bike- They’re not really “radio friendly” and most people can’t get down with that, but you can test it for yourself if you listen in here.

For trailer parks and trust funds alike

Level 6. PBR- I’m torn because I want everyone to know how awesome they are but I don’t want them to get actually popular because then I’ll considered them sold out.

         Ugh, my fingers feel dirty from just writing that. But unfortunately, that’s how I feel. As you saw, this week I went to a concert of theirs. Now, I’ve been a fan since around my freshman year. I’ve been taunted by shows at local bars being only 18+ while I remained a measly minor in the eyes of the law. But on my 18th birthday I woke up and said “Man. I’m really more ready to hear swear words in a public setting than I was previously. The government DOES know what it’s talking about. Huh.” But alas, I could not find a show near me to attend. Then, suddenly, a gift was bestown upon me. “When are you coming back to Cedar Falls?” read the band's Facebook page. “December 15th,” was the reply. I immediately called my homeboy, and plans were made.

         As the date approached, I started doing my homework. The bar the show would be at was offering “free beer night” to its patrons the 15th. I don’t know about you, but “free beer” in a college town means large crowds. So for the show advertised at 9, I decided 7 45 would be a good time to appear to make sure we got good spots to view from.  Then, just as soon as finals were over, the night was upon us. The best way to tell this story, I think, is to give you a small time line.

8:00 am- My last final begins. Soundscapes, the silliest final I’m destined to have.

8:25 am- I finish my test, and leave, done with the semester. I choose not to pack or do any sort of constructive activities, instead begin mentally preparing myself for this show.

6 pm- I mention we should go out to eat to commemorate the occasion. My homeboy declines, instead insists on eating at the dining center. I begin getting hyper. Four people previously committed to attending the show with us suddenly decline, mostly for alcohol reasons.

7:15- Looking at the clock often, I begin getting inexplicably nervous. This is my first concert of any kind outside of symphonies and high school band. I mention that the game of NCAA football is lame and we should start getting ready to go.

7:30- The game ends, and we prepare to leave. I’m angry at my homeboy Pat, as he is making us late by refusing to end Alabama vs. Boise State early. He won. By quite a bit.

7:45- We get to my car in the C lot.

7: 53- I finish cleaning my car off while Pat sits inside.

8- We arrive at the Hub and pay our $8. Several seconds later, we notice the bar is totally empty. There is one man at the bar, and one behind. The one at the bar looks at us, and then goes back to doing his job. We are the only customers.  Thankfully, the Knicks game is on, a game which Pat forgot to watch.

8:10- The band that we’ve come to see arrives. The lead singer/rapper Toussaint Morrison passes by us. I get excited that I made eye contact before realizing what I look like. I’m one of two customers at a bar on free beer night, and we’re too young to drink. I apologize to Pat.

...Ladies.

8: 17- I promise Pat during soundchecks that if people don’t start showing up by 8 30 I’ll break the table we’re at with my face.

8: 30- It doesn’t break.

8: 35- Toussaint (that’s Mr. Morrison to you folks) passes us by, and grabs a grocery bag full of CDs out of his car and gives them to the doormen taking cover charges. And when I say grocery bag, I’m not kidding. This cat took a bag he got from Target, and put some burned mixtapes in there. That’s why I love this band. To Pat- “How long before he walks away can I go buy a CD without looking absolutely ridiculous?”

8:40- People begin showing up finally. But by people I mean about eight. It is slightly less awkward, as we at least have other people than the bartender and band to look at. Pat is enraged that the Heat score will not run past during the Knicks game. My brother refuses to text the lead singer, whom he knows somehow, to give me a shoutout during the show. Screw off, Matt.

9:00- The lead singer comes and sits at the bar to watch the game with us. Now I’m sitting about 20 feet away from my favorite rapper since freshman year with his first mixtape (that ended up being free). I highly regret not bringing my sharpie like I originally planned. I pass up the chance to engage him in conversation, although he laughs at a joke of mine, which pleases me much more than it should. The Celtics beat the Knicks by a hair. The whole bar celebrates and then mourns as Amare Stoudemire’s game winning shot is reviewed and declared after the buzzer. I consider Toussaint my best friend now for sharing this moment. Pat and I retire to the actual stage portion of the bar since the game is done. We expect the concert to begin at any moment.

9:30- I apologize to Pat for bringing him to this so early.

10:00- Toussaint takes the stage in front of about 50 people to mild applause. I hate Cedar Falls for not capitalizing on Free Beer Night and for not coming out to such a good band.

10:01- Pat turns to me. I can see the amazement in his eyes.

            HE KILLED IT. Holy crap. This cat did a solo set from the mixtape. As they were songs I hadn’t heard despite being a big fan, I was stunned. Then, the actual band came on stage. THEY KILLED IT. A freestyle preformed halfway through the set blew my mind. It had a chorus, for goodness sakes. I can’t even write a halfway coherent rap verse, and this man can perform a song with a chorus off the top of his head. I’ve been listening to this band for four years and I’d never heard the songs so awesome. The first set ended around 11 and a second was promised at midnight. Unfortunately, I had to take Pat home and double unfortunately, I’m too poor to afford paying another $8 to see the second set. But on the band’s departure, I manage to get a bro hug from Toussaint. I say “Dude. So sick.” And he replied “Yeah man you too,” so I’m guessing he didn’t actually hear me. Whatever. Once again I regret not bringing a pen, but nothing can shatter my buzz. Half an hour later, I actually got my car cleaned off while Pat again sat inside, and we drove back to the dorms, Pat astonished and me reacting to my expectations being lowered and then exceeded so fast I’m surprised they didn’t get pulled over for speeding.

         All in all, the night solidified the message college has been sending me the whole semester- If it seems sketchy, stick with it. It'll turn out awesome.

He's not a comic book but he's got a few issues,
Mick Dickinson

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Serbia is For Lovers (or Drago's Blogo)

            Serbians are my favorite nationality. They’re quickly followed by Germans at second and Antarticans at third. Can you blame me? Penguins are so darn cute. Least favorite nationality? Texans. I have such a huge man crush on the country of Serbia that a political map of Serbia crops up as my desktop background twice a day. I never skip over it like I do with the picture of two lobsters having a knife fight.
Also, would Lobster Knife Fight not be an awesome name for a band?!
            I sincerely believe that due to the fact I’ve recently been informed that some people could not point out Europe on a map if asked, I thought it prudent to inform you guys of my favorite Balkan nation, Serbia. The Fightin’ Serbians!

History
The country of Serbia has a long and storied history. Scholars maintain all of it was destroyed by Bosnian buttmunches in 1984 after a ball tipped over the necessary file cabinet during an exhibition football match. Serbia’s recovered history (the pages that did not fall in the mud) begins in 1915 when the Serbian separatist group the Black Hand assassinated pop-punk band Franz Ferdinand, beginning World War One. “The Black Hand” is commonly regarded as the most B.A. separatist group name, edging out “The Tibetan Passive-Aggressors.” Later, a nameless Serbian decided America wasn’t a big enough pimp in the world, and denied a young Adolf Hitler from art school, starting World War Two.
"This guy sucks." - Serbia
           
             Serbians were denied a sovereign homeland by the newly formed United Nations, who were too afraid of the Serbs. Also, Bosnian buttmunches lobbied against Serb independence from Yugoslavia. Historians commonly refer to this action as “cool older brother” syndrome, comparable to when a nerdy little brother refuses to let his jock, sex-machine older brother go to college to slay some poon. That slut Greece wants it so bad. Instead, the U.N. gave the coveted “Free Ethnic State” coupon to the Jews, who promptly plopped down Israel in the middle of then-existing Palestine.  Serbians would have been jealous, but they have no concept of jealousy as they always win in everything they do. In response to Israel getting a home state and not Serbian, its citizens created a word that generally translates to “pity-hate”.
            Serbians had a brief stint during the cold-war experimenting with communism. But in my analogy from earlier, Serbia is in college. Experimentation is what school is all about. Also, the leader of Yugoslavia (Serbia’s band, basically) was named Tito, which is a pretty boss dictator name.
            Serbia finally gained its independence after those buttmunches at the U.N. finally convinced Bosnia to get a divorce. Yes, Bosnia has been a little brother, a band member (probably keys to Serbia’s lead guitar), and now Serbia’s wife in my analogies. Things are freaky in Eastern Europe like that. Serbia was a free man. He went to a few strip clubs and things got a little crazy. Serbia woke up in the gutter, penniless. However, the country of Serbia has learned from his mistakes, and is currently on the rise. Also he totally got Macedonia’s phone number, and is so gonna tap that at Romania’s kegger.

What a slut.
Language
            Serbia has its own language. As Serbs are too busy doing more important things than creativity, the language is called Serbian. Serbian can be written in both Cyrillic and Serb Latin, making it twice as easy for Serbs to insult you on your gravestone.
            Many Serbian names end in ić, pronounced “ich”. Scientists believe this statistic encompasses almost 98% of Serbians. A theory tracks this phenomenon to one unimaginative man that worked at Serbia’s version of Ellis Island, called Ellić Island. All of these ićs running around created an ić-dominated environment in Serbia. One example is the fact that the Serbian World Cup team started all 11 players with this last name suffix. This is an obvious corruption as Drago Ceranic, the best Serbian soccer player to ever grow a beard, was left off of the team, although he could start in every position, including referee. More on Drago later.

Economy
            Serbia is the strong man in the Balkan area. Serbia’s imports include magnum condoms, scented candles, Newsweek magazines, and trophy wives. Their leading exports are Bosnians, tennis athletes, terrific beards, and JV soccer coaches. Serbia’s GDP is an estimated $Texas, based on no research whatsoever.

Culture
            Serbia is an Eastern European country, which means that things are all sorts of crazy. Family is important to Serbians as they can always count on some backup in a gang rumble, which happens often in this Balkan nation. Researchers estimate that a full 46% of motorcycle chains go towards choking out rival families from up the block. Money is a sensitive topic to Serbians, as the Serbian word for money literally means “mother-goat”. Often times, the citizens will take words out of context and go home to get their motorcycle chain.
            The Serbian national animal is the white eagle, but the mascot for Serbs is the bear with sharks for arms, symbolizing the culture’s approval of biting over punching or clawing.
            Some important dos and don’ts for Serbia- Do: know where the country is located while present. Don’t: shake hands with gloves on, as Serbs are distrustful of magicians. Do: always offer to pay for the first round as a guest. Don’t: chew gum or have a toothpick in your mouth while meeting someone new, Serbians consider it being unready for a fight or chugging contest.

Relationships
            Now we come to the meat of the matter. Everyone wants to find that special Serbette or Draga to spend the rest of their life with. Serbian dating is much like American relationships, but with more safewords. In order to attract a Serbian female, grow a beard. Beards for Serbians are like a lobster’s claws or ram’s horns. They symbolize fertility and favorable genes to pass on to adorable Serbian offspring. Dark, full beards are the second most important physical attribute, after flat brows. A common Serbette’s dream man is a man with a beard darker than a Bosnian’s heart and a brow flat enough to have its own irrigation system. The most attractive man in Serbia? Drago Ceranic.

Drago Ceranic
            Drago Ceranic is the Serbian ideal of a perfect specimen. He can tie his shoes with his feet. His beard is like the dark side of the moon. Once, he created a scale model of the Eiffel tower with a cherry stem using only his tongue. Several women present in the room instantly became pregnant with his children. Drago coaches JV soccer and his team, lead by perfectly picked captains, made it to the varsity state final, before being eliminated for starting a brawl due to mistaken identity of the opposing teams coach. My life’s goal was accomplished that day.
            Drago can print money using only a pencil and paper, but refuses to use this talent for criminal means. He only drinks the finest beer made from the tears of orphans. But Drago is a kind man. These tears are from joy, not pain.
            Drago Ceranic can kill two stones with one bird.

Conclusion
            Serbia is a land of opportunity. Whether it be for counterfeit jeans, to find a Serbette to settle down with, or to simply visit the birthplace of the great Drago Ceranic, many things can be accomplished in this great nation. So I hope you learned some things today. And for God’s sake, look at a map every once and awhile.
         
            Some people may argue against this whole post using things like "logic" and "facts". To that I say, "Screw off, Matt."

Te poučavati mene pa JA poučavati te,
Mich Dickinsonić

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plot Twists R Us

Okay, get this. A high school student joins the foreign exchange program. She gets sent to some country like England or perhaps New Zealand, because she doesn’t want to learn a new language and would prefer to avoid most cultural barriers. While there, the country’s military stages a coup, unseating the traditional government and setting up an oppressive rule by military force. Now this girl is caught up in a whirlwind of political upheaval and insurgency outside of her home country. Also, some sort of love triangle develops between a young insurgent and another boy who has become loyal to the new junta. At the end, she is rescued by a team of Navy Seals in the dead of night, leaving behind all of those who housed her and rescued her from dangerous events. Think Red Dawn meets V for Vendetta with an element of teen romance. Plus, with all this uncertainty in the world these days, can we be so sure it wouldn’t happen to us?!
               
 Did your spine just tingle? Cause I’ve got a million ideas like this. Obviously, what with the blog, the whittling, and the being generally handsome, I don’t have time to write that book or shoot that movie. And college I guess. That gets in the way. But others could make it. Honestly, what else does Stephen King have to do? Go out walking? I’d let him insert himself into the crappy ending he would write to cap off the awesome rising action. I know Dean Koontz isn’t busy. Shoot, I’ll take a screenplay by the guys who wrote The Expendables, which is saying something. Just give me like 5% for the idea. I know it’s been done before. Tom Clancy hasn’t written a book in 20 years, but still gets his name sprayed everywhere. My idea would work on multiple levels. Romance for the ladies, a bunch of explosions for the manly men, and maybe even some hilarious fish out of water moments for whoever actually likes that stuff. I’ll write the tagline myself. “This time, New Zealand returns to… something something.” I figure it out later.
Emma Stone stars in Kiwi Dawn!
Zucker needs the help now more
than ever.
  Or, I could get a job writing throwaway gags for David Zucker. The director of such classics as Airplane!, Top Secret!, and several other films which wreak havoc with Microsoft’s grammar check, could use a revival in the wake of the rise in (Blank) Movie movies. Unrelated puns are my specialty, with a minor in sight gags that go unnoticed without my explanation. Get this. A man hands his acquaintance a business card. We see over the acquaintance’s shoulder that the card is a simple note card and written upon it, in crayon, is only the man’s name. No one makes any mention of it for the rest of the movie.  Hilarious. “Oh, I know a little German. He’s standing over there!” THAT COULD BE ME! I COULD MAKE A LIVING OFF OF THAT! I want this future more than Pat Dayton wants a pet polar bear.

 But think about it. People have different talents. Some people are good at details, dialogue, and emotional connections. Others, like me, are good with overall plots and unrelated jokes. Don’t force our two cultures into one! Respect our differences, and hire these people seriously. You could avoid Stephanie Meyer thinking that she is good at descriptive narration, and Quentin Tarantino can take inspiration from obscure Chinese film makers legitimately. Speaking of unrelated jokes, did you know kangaroos taste rubbery? It’s probably because they’re so bouncy. Hey, you’re reading this, don’t blame me.

My brother has pointed out that the title of my blog should be Flancrest Enterprises, instead of the sexier, more modern Flandercrest Enterprises. And to that I say, “Screw off, Matt.”


You teach me and I teach you,
Mick Dickinson

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Choose You

            I want to be the very best. Like no one ever was. To catch them all is my real test. To train them- that’s my cause. Do you feel uplifted? I know I always do. Those words make my heart sing. And it sings the song of Pokémon. I submit to you, reader, that Pokémon is the best video game franchise to ever grace God’s green earth. Whether you judge quality by financial success, reviews, or good ol’ fashion childhood memories, Pokémon’s got them all.

This screams "quality"
            First, Pokémon’s financial success. Now, monetary gain does not strictly mean quality, as evidenced by the fact that Lil’ Wayne is a platinum selling artist and Stephanie Meyer has been on the New York Best Seller’s list multiple times. But a game franchise without any sort of financial pedigree would be mighty suspect. Pokémon is an economic giant in many ways, some quantifiable, other not easily laid to charts.
            There have been five unique Pokémon generations, totaling in 19 separate Pokémon role playing games. Games do not get made, or even greenlit, without some signals of financial success. This success for Pokémon is humongous, totaling in $25 billion. And that is just for the role playing games, the traditional Pokémon experience. As we all know, Nintendo is very open to using a game’s grand name on many different products. Who could forget classics like Pokémon Pinball, Pokémon Snap, the carefree picture taking game, and Pokémon Stadium which cuts to the chase and allowed players to battle their friends face to face.
            But something as great as Pokémon is not relegated to only video games. I haven’t even dropped the biggest bombs on ya’ll yet- the TV shows and the trading cards. Boosh. The cards and show are so tied in with original franchise that when asked which came first, many people, including self-proclaimed Pokémon fans like myself, have trouble answering that question. Were the game and cars exploiting the TV show’s success? Or was a video game simply the best way to express the spirit of the cards? Neither. The game was such a huge success that it not only caused its medium to succeed (Game Boys were considered irrelevant as a gaming system before Pokémon) but it transcended the medium entirely, spreading to trading cards, and both the big and small screen. Hit movies spawned from a TV show which had spawned from a video game. It’s like the Vh1 dating show machine had spread to imaginary monsters. Although I still hope that New York is an imaginary monster and not a real person.
I choose you, Syphilis!

            This financial success did not exist in a vacuum. The games’ quality was the driving force behind this money making giant. People needed a game that could be played anywhere; on the bus, at lunchtime, pooping, maybe even while driving. That last one isn’t recommended but it is doable. Believe me. What? I was in the Elite Four and I had work to go to. I think that’s responsible of me not to be late. But what’s better for a game to be played anywhere in our world, than by creating a unique and exciting world to suck players in? By creating a world, the world of Pokémon as Professor Oak would put it, it revamped sales of the Gameboy and DS to new heights.
            Enough about money. What other ways can we quantify the quality of these magnificent games? Now, despite my protests, it is impossible to deny that Pokémon is marketed towards mainly children. What are some things you think when I say children? Hyperactivity, ADD, and maybe brutal honesty. Also an unwillingness to take baths, but that’s irrelevant. An adult’s attention span is an average twenty minutes. That means that an average adult can focus on one subject for 20 minutes before getting bored and moving onto something else, like reading Facebook instead of finishing the blog post you’re writing. But children have an even shorter attention span. Conservative estimates put it around 15 minutes. So a game marketed towards little buttmunches with attention span of 15 minutes was a major seller. The average length of Pokémon games are around 10 hours when played quickly, and more like 20 hours for a normal person play-through. In order to keep children’s (or college student’s) attentions, Pokémon must be doing something right.
           
            But maybe I’m arguing from the wrong place. Pokémon doesn’t come from the head but from the heart. I’m sure everyone has positive memories of Pokémon whether it is watching the show just after school on weekdays, finally catching that Electobuzz, or trying to figure out just how you play that damn card game. If you don’t have anything like this in your memory, I’m not sure we can be friends. When I think Pokémon, I think adventure. The joy of getting that level 5 Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur is like no other experience in video games. After selecting Squirtle, you strap on your Pokédex and leave your small hometown in yah reahview as you strive to bigger and better things.
Always Squirtle.
            Pokémon, in essence, is a lot like life. Four years times two semester each year equals eight sets of college finals. There are eight gym badges. Coincidence? Most certainly, but that is just the unintentional greatness of Pokémon. The party you build says a lot about yourself too. There’s the scary kid who gets the job done, the under-appreciated greatness, the friend you’ve had from the start but can’t quite let go even though their time as passed, the jock, the famous and popular kid, or your best friend who has always been there, thick and thin.
            Pokémon is better than life in many ways. 1. Who wouldn’t want to ride on the back of a fire-breathing dragon to work? 2. Replayability. Pokémon is great because you can replay it an set a new path for yourself at anytime you’d like. For instance, say you used up your weekend typing a blog post no one is going to read about a children’s game. You can’t undo that, no matter how much you may wish for it. But in Pokémon you can just be glad you didn’t save after you accidentally kill Articuno, and enjoy the battle again.

"Totally named my rival Pooptit"
            Pokémon means a lot. It will probably be the game I play with my nephew. Our generation will be in nursing homes, reminiscing over how hard it was to beat that damned Lance, or possibly just watching over someone’s shoulder as they play through the game again, 80 years after it came out. It’s also important because of the impact it had on American culture. Numerous movie, a TV show, trading card games, and countless knockoff games all contribute to our generation’s identity. What would the 90’s be without cards to trade? And I know I’m not the only one who brought his Gameboy to school to trade. So to sum it all up, Pokémon is the best game franchise ever due not only to its staggering monetary gains  but also thanks to addictive and inventive gameplay, and its ability to create a soft spot in everyone’s heart. So remember. 
Always Squirtle
You teach me and I'll teach you,


Mick Dickinson

Friday, December 3, 2010

Flandercrest Enterprises Grand Opening

Hello, you. You’ve found something I like to call “Flandercrest Enterprises” in case you couldn’t tell from the giant words on the top of the page. I’m willing to bet you either got here from my Facebook page, a direct pleading from me to you, or it’s five years later and my books are flying off the shelves. Any of those ways means you probably know who I am and what I’m about. Livin’ like a champ is what I’m about. “But Mick!” you say, “Why start a blog, a thing you promised yourself you would never do at age 13?” Well, reader who talks to themselves out loud, who hasn’t broken a promise they made to themselves at age 13? 13 year olds are bastards and should not be given any honesty ever.
          
         But as to why I’ve started this blog- people often tell me I’m opinionated. Usually between “Mick, I get that” and “but stop being a buttmunch.” I’m not going to deny these claims, or the ones that suggest I have friends that use playground level insults. I do like to talk about why my things are better than your things, or how come I get to be a buttmunch but you don’t. However, no one ever really listens to me, and instead simply waits till I am done talking to end the argument with “You’re retarded.” That’s why the subtitle of this page is “Mick’s Opinions and Other Irrelevancies”. My opinions are like votes. They are very important on principle, but in the grand scheme of things, I hardly believe mine matters.
               
        What am I going to do with this blog? I don’t know, shoot. What am I, a future telling machine? I’m going to try to write funny things either concerning stupid beliefs I have, comment on some stuff that happens in places (I’m remaining vague on purpose so that I don’t mess up my goals), and maybe even tell some embarrassing stories concerning why my life is poop sometimes. Be forewarned- A staggeringly high ratio of things I write will be concerned about Pokemon and include Simpsons quotes. I’ve already written lots of opinion things thanks to that great class of Oral Comm, and I’m willing to bet that my mind can be angry about a lot of other things, like the fact that cursive is still taught in schools. They should just teach you how to write checks in third grade to save time and effort. But I digress. Don’t expect any sort of regular schedule of updating. Not that you were hanging on the edge of your seat in the first place.
                
        But for now, I’ll be happy with this intro that would be universally panned by teachers the world over.
                
You teach me, and I’ll teach you,

Mick Dickinson