Category Archives: Check this out

In which Evan discovers a Cryptid at Rice University

Bigfoot. Ogopogo. Chupacabra. Legends to some, beasts yet to be discovered for others. Societies around the world tell myths about the creatures that live just outside humanity’s knowledge. They are called Cryptids: creatures or plants whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely.

And I discovered one.

It was a bright, sunny day in June, and the bells had just struck four. I was walking back to the library from a late lunch, enjoying the flora and fauna of the semi-urban Rice University campus before returning to my Barbri video. Despite being located in the middle of a city, the university and the nearby Hermann Park, are home to some more unusual animals. There are the nutria in the Hermann Park pond. The occasional coyote sightings. And of course, the terrifying hives of graduate students.

Not to mention the adorable bunnies!

Just a bunny!

But yesterday I spied an animal beyond categorization.

I heard some rustling in the bushes, and went over to see if it was just another squirrel, or maybe a slightly more rare bunny. Among returning feelings of playing Pokemon and looking for a rare Jigglypuff among hoards of Pidgeys, I spied a tuft of brown fur rustling through the underbrush. I crept up slowly as to not scare away the creature, but unlike the rabbits, or even the most friendly squirrels that constantly approach people in search of snacks, this little beast did not run away. No. It hopped closer. Raised back in its haunches, it hopped out of the brush and towards the sidewalk where I was standing. This was no ordinary creature. With smooth swiftness, desperate to not scare away the beast, I grabbed my iPhone and fumbled with the touchpad until I was able to snap a picture. As I looked over the edge of the camera, the animal looked back, and at that point it struck me that this was not an ordinary animal.

It had ears somewhat like a rabbit, but shorter than most other ones on campus. It had a large snout, and giant rear haunches. And instead of front paws, what looked like hooves. This was no rabbit.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

What is this fantastic beast that I have found?!

What is this thing?! Heading back into the library, I scoured the only reliable source for information on odd and mythical animals: wikipedia’s list of cryptids. Perhaps one of these would fit.

Considering the location, maybe it was an Elmendorf Beast, which is indigenous to Texas. Weighing around 20 pounds, the beasts are responsible for attacking and killing livestock around Elmendorf, but a few hour drive away.

Is this what I saw?

However, unlike the Elmendorf Beast, the animal I saw had fur. And there have not been any recent reports about attacks on Rice’s livestock.

Given the creature’s fur and large haunches, maybe it was a Phantom Kangaroo. While technically not a cryptid, because kangaroos are real, there is a special category for kangaroos and wallabies showing up in areas where one would not expect them. This very well may have been a Phantom Wallaby.

This wallaby looks an awful lot like the creature I found

What was a wallaby doing in Houston, Texas? Who knows! These are the mysteries of the world. Cyptids live among us.

However, the hooves in the picture certainly do not seem to match the normal little paws of a wallaby. Maybe it was a Jackalope, but with hooves instead of horns. If so, then I would like to declare this a new sort of cyptid: Evan’s Hare.

Evan’s Hare is like a Jackalope, but instead of expressing its antelope characteristics via horns, it does so via hooves.

So, given the conclusive evidence that this animal was some sort of cyptid, possibly a Elmendorf Beast, possibly a Phantom Wallaby, possibly an Evan’s Hare subsection of the Jackalope species, I submit this discovery to the io9 Cryptid Summer contest.

If I win, then I will donate the money to the cause of hunting and capturing this Evan’s Hare. Or pay down student loans, whatever.

Did Regular Show have a secret marijuana joke?

There are two hidden gems on Cartoon Network’s regular, non-Adult Swim lineup: Regular Show and Adventure Time with Finn and Jake.

Upon first glimpse, they seem like the usual high-action, attention deficit comedy that has been born from the soggy corpse of SpongeBob SquarePants. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But both these shows seem to operate on a level above that of the usual SpongeBob clones. I guess the best comparison of both these shows would be something like Dexter’s Lab or Powderpuff Girls.

For example, Adventure Time is about a boy and his dog. However, the dialogue and dry humor give it the feel of an Adult Swim younger brother. But for the cherry on top, the whole show takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where characters refer to the “Mushroom War.”

Adventure Time makes jokes about nuclear war

As for Regular Show, if the lines were read by human actors, it would be one of College Humor’s funnier shows, or perhaps a very popular YouTube channel. But despite the fact that the show is extremely well written and largely devoid of the silliness that appeals to kids (and instead filled with the silliness that appeals to 20-somethings) the show is on Cartoon Network and aimed towards the younger set. Which is why I was surprised to find what I suspect is a hidden pot joke in the most recent episode, “Do Me a Solid” (ep #30).

In that episode, Rigby the raccoon gets his friend Mordecai the blue jay to do him ten solids in exchange for the one solid of going with him on a double date. However, Mordecai refuses to do the final solid, resulting in their house nearly being torn asunder by the power of the unfulfilled solid in a scene highly reminiscent of the penultimate scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

To stop them all from dying, Mordecai performs an apparently extremely embarrassing act that is kept off screen the whole time. You never really learn what it is, only compounding the humor. The writers know there is nothing they could do that would live up to expectations, so they simply do not show it. However, Rigby records the Mordecai’s mystery act, and then he and their various amigos watch it on a VCR. I could not help but notice the time on the humorously cliche VCR clock.

Notice the time, dude

Maybe this was just a coincidence.

Now, maybe the time was just a coincidence. After all, 4:20 pm is an actual time that normally occurs once per day, and for most people that doesn’t necessarily mean drugs.

However, as the show cuts back to the VCR, the time is suddenly different. Rather than 4:20 pm, it is 9:25 pm.

It suddenly jumped 5 hours and 5 minutes into the future!

Or maybe the VCR is just broken and randomly changes time?

Now, I’ll just pass this off as a normal discontinuity in a children’s cartoon show. I mean, what, are we to believe that this is some sort of a magic VCR or something?

However, in the next cutback to the VCR, the time is at 4:20 pm again. Furthermore, it is apparent that the 4:20 pm time was pasted over the original animation for the rest of the scene!

Clocks don't work like that!

So did they just add the 4:20 pm after the fact?

Why would they paste the time like that?

As this scene indicates, the 4:20 pm time was pasted over the original animation. But why would they do that? Perhaps the Korean animators messed up?

Or maybe they originally made the time 9:25 pm, only to be later corrected that it would be preposterous for Mordecai to announce that he was going to the arcade that late at night, and so the show’s creators pasted the arcade-appropriate 4:20 pm time at the last minute, but didn’t quite get every scene.

Or maybe the show just snuck in a pot joke.

But nah, that’s preposterous. Why would a show about two 23-year-olds who work lame jobs, have girl problems, love to play at the arcade, and have a friend named “High-Five Ghost” have any relation to marijuana whatsoever?

Now, you may dismiss this whole thing as an “Area Stoner Convinced Everyone On TV Also Stoned” sort of situation. After all, it is not as if Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel once made an animated short about two guys who talk about pot and acid, and then hallucinate while on acid, seeing themselves as characters who would later star in Regular Show.

Oh wait he totally did that.

Quintel’s “2 in the AM PM” featured mockups of a giant blue jay and a talking gumball machine, who would later become Mordecai and Benson in Regular Show.

I guess Mordecai was originally an acid-induced hallucination

Apparently, Benson was also originally an acid-included hallucination

Given Quintel’s artistic history, this little momentary 4:20 seems like it may be more than a simple mistake. Is Quintel throwing his own shout-outs into what otherwise is a kids’ show? Maybe Regular Show really does belong on Adult Swim. As the commercials say, “Regular Show: It is anything but.”

But secret pot jokes? Come on. I’m sure that Cartoon Network’s standards and practices would have caught this. I’ll just conclude the whole thing was a big animation mistake. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder!

The middle one is me writing this blog entry.

Is actor James Franco going to the University of Houston for creative writing???

Ah, thats better.

Uh, going around right now on the Facebooks is a rumor that James Franco, aka Spider-Man’s best friend who then chopped off his arm after being friends with Lindsay Weir, is going to be attending the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston for his Ph.D.

Just check out the CWP newsletter.

Maybe it is another James Franco? After all, it does seem a bit odd that he would be getting his Ph.D far out of the way from his normal stomping grounds in the north east. And he is already attending Yale for a Ph.D in English.

However, James Franco did get his degrees from those schools listed, and does have a habit of attending multiple institutions:

Dissatisfied with his career’s direction, Franco reenrolled at UCLA in the fall of 2006 as an English major with a creative writing concentration. Having received permission to take as many as 62 course credits per quarter compared to the normal limit of 19 while continuing to act, he received his undergraduate degree in June 2008 with a GPA over 3.5. For his degree, Franco prepared his departmental honors thesis as a novel under the supervision of Mona Simpson. He moved to New York to simultaneously attend graduate school at Columbia University’s MFA writing program, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for filmmaking, and Brooklyn College for fiction writing,while occasionally commuting to North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College for poetry. He received his MFA from Columbia in 2010. Franco is a Ph.D. student in English at Yale University[90] and will also attend the Rhode Island School of Design.

Upon reflection, this doesn’t seem too big of a stretch. If this modern Renaissance Man wanted to get an excellent education in creative writing, one would be hard pressed to find a better program than the University of Houston.

However, given his proclivity towards characters that, say, would celebrate today’s 4/20 date in appropriate fashion, not to mention his performance at the Academy Awards, perhaps one would assume that Franco may be more at place getting his Ph.D. in Weedsmokology.

Admittedly, one shouldn’t doubt Franco’s academic aspirations. While he may seem to be reaching a bit in this manic degree-getting process, I would rather see celebrities trying to better themselves and set out on a path of Eudaimonic aspiration, attempting to be the best at what they do, rather than descend into pits of unproductive rehashing desperate to maintain some semblance of celebrity on reality television. (assume that this sentence linked to, oh, I dunno, Britney Spears? Flava Flav? Whatever)

But if Franco is going to be himself, or at least the public perception of him, then I recommend he spend some time hanging around the Moody Towers, which I’m convinced is not named after Shearn Moody or William Moody, Jr., but rather the Moody Blues. Which one would joke they listen to a lot in the Moody Towers. Because you listen to them while getting high from smoking pot. And the Moody Towers is known for being a place where lots of people smoke pot. So James Franco should go hang out there while he’s getting his Ph.D.

In conclusion, I hope that James Franco hangs around Houston and we can become best friends.

Edit: People currently getting their Ph.Ds in the Creative Writing Program say that while he accepted, he also accepted to several other schools and probably won’t attend the University of Houston.

Or maybe they’re just saying this so they can hang out with Franco and keep him all to themselves and not share him. Jerks.

Vicktor Thesis

As she wraps-up her semester long thesis, my sister Ally shared with us a little bit of what she’s been doing. Behold, The Vicktor de la Panda ben Joseph h’Cohen Thesis: English Bull Dogs in Art.

Michael Cera is coming to Rice University

Attention all mumbling, awkward, beta-dogs: Michael Cera is coming to Rice University. Apparently, Cera plays bass for Mister Heavenly, which will be performing at the 20th annual KTRU Outdoor Show.

You should go. I imagine it’ll look something like this:

However, this is not the first Rice-Cera interaction. In 2008, Michael Cera was the Backpage write-in candidate for RTV5 station manager. (pdf: Michael Cera Rice Thresher Backpage)


Julie said that he wasn’t coming. But it was just one of her tricks, which is something that a whore does for money. Or candy.

Anyways, KTRU set the record straight.

So check it out as he bass-battles against Double Dragon DJs, or an Albino vegan, or Will Fischer for station manager, or whatever.

Steve Holt!!!!!!!

Have a Bonertastic Weekend

Words can mean different things sometimes and its funny.

Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane Watson

This was the main Wikipedia picture for Mary Jane. Its an update of the original appearance of Mary Jane.

The is the main picture for the Pepper Potts Wikipedia article. She's like a thinner, more mature Mary Jane.

Comic nerds have many attractive women to fulfill various fantasies. Looking at the costumes of many members of the X-Men, one would think that they were specifically designed for the sake of titillating young wangs and egos. However, one fetish seems to rise about the rest: Mary Jane Watson. The literal Little Red-Haired Girl Next Door serves as a promise to high school nerds that even the Peter Parkerest among us can attract a pretty girl. Furthermore, given the ubiquity of the Spider-Man mythos in comics, movies, and cartoons, cartoons,  cartoons that looked good at the time but now suck, weird cartoons that sucked at the time, cartoons where Neil Patrick Harris voiced Spier-Man, and great cartoons that will probably be cancelled before their time, and Mary Jane’s central role in the overarching Spider-Man plot, it is no question that for the Marvel Universe, this red-headed spitfire is girl number one.

However, with the rise of Iron Man and the release of Iron Man 2, another sprite challenges Mary Jane’s throne: Pepper Potts. So, given the question of Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane, who wins? I asked the question on Facebook, and it resulted in a much more heated discussion than I intended:

Rey Valdez

Mary Jane Watson just chases power; the captain of the football team, the richest boy in town, Spiderman. That’s why she loses.

Evan Mintz

But the richest boy in town chased her. Plus, she chased Peter Parker before she knew he was Spider-Man. Then again, she could have been chasing the smartest guy.
And Pepper isn’t chancing power?

Rey Valdez

Yeah, but while she wouldn’t look at the rich kid in school (where he was a nerd) she notices him after graduation. She is also in love with Spiderman after he saves her from Green Goblin (who knocks Harry unconscious, thus he cannot save her). Then, when she finds out who Spiderman is she says, “Somehow I always knew” indicating that she knew that Peter was not only her emotional savior, but also her physical savior Spiderman.

Also, Pepper stayed by Tony even after the embarrassing thing with the kiss and the dance and even unto his lowest point. I give her high marks for that.

Evan Mintz

Pfsh, you’re going by the movies. And yeah, but that is Pepper all the way. But if you take comics into account, or even cartoons, MJ is a much more redeemable character. And way hotter.

Rey Valdez

Eh, I thought I would go through the more publicly known medium. I agree, MJ is way hotter in the comics.

Robert Camaj

I can’t believe this is even a contest. I like strong, intelligent women at the top of their field. Pepper Potts is smart, sexy, witty, and confident. All MJ has going for her is that it takes you quite a long time to figure out that you’re whipped.

Reasons why Pepper Potts is the bees knees:

1) Pepper Potts is a whiz at accounting.

2) The cybernetics in her chest will prevent her from ever losing her figure.

3) Pepper Potts is not offended by sexual harassment (which is definitely a sign of confidence).

4) Pepper Potts is feisty and self-assured. She a woman to be conquered, not manipulated. She’s a woman who realizes that 49 “No’s” and a “Yes” equals a “Yes.” Pepper Potts leaves trails of worthy men dead in her wake. And she understands that being fucked raw against the wall is way more sexy than gentle love-making on the bed.

Rey Valdez

Also, never read Iron Man comics.

Robert Camaj

Men who like Mary Jane are merely poor romantics who search for “good girls,” those petite, salad-eating, shy bitches who men assume don’t have baggage and will play fair and will not cheat. It’s assumed that the girl next door requires little confidence to ensnare and little effort to keep. All men learn the frightening truth eventually:

As a great woman once said, “There are no good girls, only bad girls found out.

Mary Jane Watson is a flighty harpy who took that whole women’s lib thing too seriously. Her fear of commitment caused her to turn down Petey’s first proposal, which would be fine in itself, except that, after giving him the runaround, finally did marry him. After they get married she gets a psych degree (A PSYCH DEGREE!!–just farce clothed in substance) and forces Peter to quit vigilantism, only to move to Los Angeles and be a whore.

Mary Jane is the sort of woman who would talk about a relationship as if it were a third person, begging for commitment while fearing monogamy–projecting her insecurities onto those pitiful boys who happily take her abuse because they believe they don’t deserve her.

Evan Mintz

Mr. Camaj makes a convincing argument.

Robert Camaj

Yeah, I got on a roll.

Evan Mintz

No MJ defenders? I’m in Rey’s camp, I don’t know enough about Pepper to take her down, and the Spider-Man comic plots are so entangled and confusing, especially when considering Mary Jane.
However, I can give MJ a defense using her character from the cartoon, Spectacular Spiderman.
That universe focuses on early Spider-Man while he is still in high school. MJ enters the plot late, as almost an outside character. She has little interest in Spider-Man, but focuses more on her personal acting career and in Peter Parker, whose outsized self-confidence and wit intrigues her. However, despite the waves of high school social drama, she is slave to no drama nor man. She is an individual, knows what she wants, and will go after it without concern. Like Peter, she has an outsized self-confidence, yet does not develop a big head or high expectations over it. And unlike Peter, she does not have radioactive spider blood to justify it, only her talent (and I supposed good looks).
While Pepper tolerates her boss’ insulting and even harmful shenanigans (possibly out of a money-driven hope of inheriting the company, which eventually comes to fruition) MJ does not take such abuse. Pepper sits and follows orders like a spoiled child, waiting for her father’s inheritance. MJ makes it on her own.

Robert Camaj

Hating Pepper Potts because she comes from money? C’mon now. MJ ain’t no prole princess.

Robert Camaj

Furthermore, Pepper Potts emphatically does NOT take Stark’s abuse. She gives as good as she gets, without question.

Evan Mintz

I’m not hating her because she comes from money, I’m hating her because she didn’t go earn her money, even if she supposedly had the talent. Like her boss, she stands on daddy’s shoulders and thinks she’s tall. But at least Tony made something himself. What does Pepper have to show besides the ability to sit and wait?

Robert Camaj


Evan Mintz

There may be equal footing there.
Pepper is definitely thinner, but MJ has more curves. Subjective test?

Robert Camaj

I come from working class folk, so naturally I prefer aristocratic girls.

As for body type, I defer to your judgment. It’s been a while since I’ve read either comic.

Evan Mintz

A quick google images answers all
I come from Jewish sit-com folk, so I prefer a woman who will constantly inform me when I’m wrong and remind me that she could be with someone else.
A Google Images search, indeed!

This is the first appearance of Mary Jane's face in the Spider-Man comics. It may just be me, but whenever a girl says "You hit the jackpot, Tiger," instant orgasm.

Pepper! I'd like to thank all the people on DeviantART for making slightly pervy pictures of comic book characters. So thanks shibamura-prime for this one!

All this, and she's a CEO!

If I remember my nerd history, this collectors statue of Mary Jane washing a Spider Suit created a bit of scandal because it was overly objectifying. Because comics don't objectify women, or anyone, ever.

Oh how pervy! Is there some sort of odd cross-dressing fetish here of a girl wearing her guy's clothes. I guess its only really cross-dressing if a guy wears women's clothes, because third wave feminism dictates that women can do whatever they want. Its all about choice. Guy's don't have this option. But that's a discussion for later after I've had a lot to drink. I mean, I don't want to wear women's clothes, I just want to know that I had the option. If I wanted. Which I don't....

Kirstin Dunst was possibly the worst choice ever for Mary Jane. MJ was supposed to be the party girl who consoles Peter Parker after his first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, dies in his arms/web. Rather, she played her as an annoying wanna-be actress.

This is probably a way better casting job. Though both of their faces look like they spent too much time sucking on lemons.

In conclusion, there is a veritable debate here. Thoughts, concerns, commentary? Does anyone actually read this far. I mean, I assume most people will get caught up on the pictures. Admittedly, there were a lot more Mary Jane pictures than Pepper Potts. But like I said, Spider-Man is a lot more popular and Mary Jane has a lot more exposure. Give it a bit more time, and maybe a better Iron Man cartoon than the crappy CGI one on Nickelodeon, and maybe she’ll have the same impact on the developing sexual identity of a bunch of pre-teen and teen boys who watch cartoons.