By Jimmy N. Soates
Volume 1: Beginnings/Book 1: Mushroom
Chapter 1: A New Beginning
The sun was shining like a lamp that your mom turns on when you’re trying to sleep, which is just what Mario was trying to do.
“Ugh, five more minutes”, you would say, as Mario said. But he couldn’t stay asleep, because there was work to do. He had to clear a floor today, and typically, the guild likes to meet together and say “look…this is what we want to do. I don’t care how we get in the dungeon, I just want to get in there, get it done.”
One eye opened, then the other.
Then both eyes opened.
Big blue eyes, blue like a t-shirt. Look to the left, right, up, down, forward and back, then forward again. He pulled his body upright, his blue overalls crumpling in his lap. Grass was all over him.
“Well, I guess that’s why they say: don’t nap on the grass with your clothes on.” Mario smiled, and then he pulled himself up. First the left knee, then the right. Then he stood completely upright.
He looked to the left and saw Princess Peach laying next to him. She was napping as well. When she first saw Mario napping, she was really angry at him. He got his hand slapped. He got his hand slapped a lot, but he was okay if she slapped his hand, because she was the Princess. Even though he was a solo player, even though he was just at a point in his life where he wanted to just go on his own missions and not have to friend people, she was the Princess. She was his ruler and boss.
“Hey hey. Princess. How are you?”, Mario said, putting his Dark Cloak on, the same one he grabbed after defeating the Night Elk, even though, honestly, the Night Elk drops are junk, so overrated. What they really wanted was a Sun Coat from the Fire Snake. Ahhh…Sun Coats are so good. At least that’s what the information brokers are telling us.
“Ummm…how long was I asleep?”, Princess Peach said, stirring. Mario looked down and could see her sheathed sword attached to her belt. It was okay. One of the Mushroom Blades, which she could use…but what she really needed to do was go out there and get herself Sun Bow, because you want a good quality dependable blade. If you don’t, your guild leaders going to pull you aside and ask you “Are you taking your responsibility as a guild member seriously?”.
Mario leaned in and whispered to her. “Come on, you’re Princess Peach, leader of the Mushroom Guild. If someone wants something done, they have to run it up the food chain to you and you approve it. We’ve got so many dungeons floors coming up, it’s like a tidal wave of dungeon floors and we can’t be picking up gold coins while the wave of dungeon floors is coming, we need to run away from the dungeon floor wave and get this stuff done.”
Princess Peach smiled sleepily, then she picked herself up and dusted off. She thought to herself “I guess that’s why they always say: don’t nap in the grass with your clothes on”. She chuckled to herself.
Mario explained his plan to her. He would explain it several times throughout the day, because it was important that she knew it.
“Look, we’re just gonna go out there, map out the dungeon floor while we’re sitting here, go out there, find an information broker, just go out there, and go to the dungeon floor, get the items we need and say ‘I need teleportation crystal. Boom, teleportation crystal. I need a fire flower. Boom, fire flower.’ I don’t care what items you want, just get the stuff you need. I’m just at a point in my life where all I’m going to use is Sun Blades and feathers. When we get in the dungeon, you’re going to go out there, you’re going to look at that boss and say ‘yes, I know what Mario wants here’, you’re going to do it, then we switch and I come in and say ‘Devil CheepCheep, here is my attack. Boom. You are dead.”
Princess Peach smiled and did that little V thing that all the cute Otaku girls do. “I understand everything you are saying, and think you are attractive and also very handsome, Mario.”
Mario shrugged. “Hey, let’s just get this dungeon stuff done. I’m going to ping this off of Luigi, see what he thinks. I think we’re really going to have to bite the wolf’s teeth on this one.”
To Be Continued…
-Jimmy N. Sloates
Hey, Motor-vators! This is the guy who played Van He’llsing on the show, Van Pires. Since IMDB didn’t see fit to include my name with the rest of the cast, and due to the fact that I suffered a severe concussion on the set when the Journey Escape arcade machine mounted to my character’s trash wall fell off and pinned my head to the concrete floor, I have no recollection of my real name or former personality. Rev-ical!
You know, since my severe head trauma, I’ve been roaming the streets of Columbus, Ohio, looking at cars and waiting for them to transform back into people that can tolerate my company long enough for me to mistake their kindness as genuine friendship. But, in the process, I’ve discovered something else: that car-shaped humans are frustrating the seemingly normal humans when they get inside of them by going slow! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking down the interstate to find some blown tire retreads to cook my damp Red Baron French bread pizza over, and I’ve seen someone inside a car person, slamming on the steering wheel/femur bone of a Van Pire, cursing at full volume about the lack of speed they are currently attaining, while spitting coffee and shaving cream all over the dashboard/lower back. I’ve followed the cars, running as quickly as my filthy Bugle Boys with more patches than denim will allow and tried reasoning with the car as it speeds along, giving it exhortation and encouragement to keep fighting the good fight against the evil Count Truckula, but I’m only met with disgusted glances and typically I forget where I am and start running into oncoming traffic. But those days are over, thanks to this new product that I came up with in my cousin’s garage while he was away on a business trip: Car-A-Bunga!!
Often the driving humans, or as I call them “Pre-Pires”, those who have not realized their potential to morph their fleshly bodies into mid-90’s convertible or sedan, do not realize the fact that they are driving one of their own, and as a result, do not give the car the nourishment and companionship it deserves. Car-A-Bunga changes that by giving them both in one convenient package.
This is how it works: I simply come over to your house/apartment at night, open the gas tank/mouth/anus of the car man/woman, and pour this wonderful solution I call Car Juice into our four-wheeled friend. What’s in the juice, you’re no doubt asking as you reach for your flip Nokia phone? Well, I’m not going to be at the pay phone I’m giving you the number to at the end of this article until this evening when that Chinese place dumps their Lo Mein into the dumpster into a freshly opened Lavender-scented Glad trash bag (us street rockers call that a “General Tso’s Sack of Flacid Elephant Tusks”), so I’m going to tell you what that is for your consideration:
-That Kool-Aid that turns from blue to red.
-Motor oil from my cousin’s garage that he was just keeping in a tray.
-General Tso’s Sack of Flacid Elephant Tusks run-off.
-Glade Rain Storm plug-in replacement oil.
I get that boiling in my retread fire and pour that right into this Nehi Peach bottle and these syringes. But syringes?! You’ve not doubt dropped your $17 Starbucks Triple Pumpkin Caramel Mocha Venti all over your white Chinos before your big investment holders meet and greet. That’s the second part to Car-A-Bunga.
Pre-Pires don’t realize that Van Pires hate closed windows, as much as cats hate being wrapped in a soaking wet child’s blanket and thrown into a Thursday night dumpster fire (behind the Rally’s off of MLK Jr. Dr, is anyone is interested). So, I break the window with my bare fist, climb in, and give your car it’s second dose right in the seat/inner thigh. This ensures even coverage through the cars “swervous system™”, and ensures maximum speeds from your ride. Pretty soon, you’ll be getting top performance from your mancar, and as a result, the two of you will bond on a emotional level you’ve never experienced with a thing you sit in, because really, it’s some 17-year old girl who is in agony because her spleen is now a crankshaft forever.
If you’re interested in purchasing Car-A-Bunga, please call the pay phone below between the time when Maury Povich ends and the sun sets behind the McCoy Building. If I don’t answer, feel free to blow a dog whistle while walking down East Broad St. I’ll come sauntering, casually eating a sack of cornmeal. Carry the money in your left pocket and pull it out with your right. I will lower the cornmeal DO NOT LOOK ME IN THE EYE and you can slide the money into my cornmeal sack. I prefer the currency be in Susan B. Anthony coins, as they provide me the needed heft to maim my blanket cats.
Hey fellow V-Dads (that’s short for Vacay Daddies which, in turn, is short for Vacation Dads). If you’re anything like me, you love a good deal for your family vacation, and if you’re also anything like me, you are always on vacation because, if this great lifestyle of American consumerism has taught us anything, it’s that spending money in another place WILL save your marriage and demand more respect from your children. It’s worked for me, Charles Nitwell in PR, and that Phillip Bromley character who’s always eating his lunch on the toilet. Therefore, without further adieu, I present to you the best DEAL$$$ out there for any aspiring V-Dad. Check these picks out:
Days Inn on the River – Gatlinburg, TN
There’s nothing quite like the smell of the fresh mountain air in the morning as you get everyone up at 6:30 to pile in the ’04 Sequoia (almost paid off, guys!) and head off to eat some of the best pancakes this side of that IHOP back home next to the abandoned steak house where that guy killed those second-graders. This hotel will put you within 10 minutes of Pappy’s Pancake Paradise of Pigeon Forge (-1 point for next sticking with the P’s throughout the name, Tennessee! LOL! jk! ftw!). After that, you can head over to the bumper boats by the Smokey Mountain Snake/Bear Pit and Salt Water Taffy Emporium. Be sure to do that first before you go on with the rest of your day. You’re going to want damp underwear and socks for the rest of your days activities, as it will provide you with a refreshing feeling as you buy all of your loved ones back home t-shirts with airbrushed dolphins on them for some reason. But hey, it’s vacation! ANYTHING GOESLOL!!!
Castaway Bay – Sandusky, OH
The hotel pool has always been a hot spot for the boundless energy of my two children, and for my late night V-dad prowls. So, when they told me they had not only put one indoors, but added onto the classic pool designs with twisty slides and the high-demand Drunk Floating Stream, they had the firstfruits of the third quarter of my V-bucks for the fam vacay. The only downside to this whole deal is the lack of a swim-up bar, but that was quickly remedied by ripping the boogie board from the small, feminine grip of my youngest, and setting up a quick floating EazyBar (I’ve got the patent in my glove box ready for the post) so that I can enjoy a nice adult bev while watching the kids hurl a football near the heads of the elderly and spend the next hour trying to coax my wife into the pool by yelling up at the room door on the 7th floor. But sometimes, even when you’re on a vacation, you need to get away which is why I recommend…
Mountain Creek Cabins – Bruceton Mills, WV
A true V-Dad’s Fortress of Solitude. When my family thinks I’ve done one of my “disappearing acts”, as my wife calls it, I’ve simply trekked down the road about 300 miles to this fine establishment to get some me time. If we learned one thing from that Steak Fest killer, it’s that too much responsibility can make you snap and begin prey on the young. I view this as taking the proactive approach and nipping those dark impulses right in the bud. Once I get in my monogrammed bath robe, complete with silk undercarriage support, I just let the day take me where it will. Sometimes it’s watching 7 straight hours of Chopped with a massive tumbler of Svedka Whipped Cream vodka, others it’s pretending to beat Bonds home run record against a tree in the backyard until my hands bleed. The key is that I’m alone and the voices don’t hurt as much when they don’t have to fight for my attention.
I used to be one hot poppa. And by “hot”, I mean angry. And by “poppa”, I mean guy. I’m caught up in the usual occupations as any one else; work, school, family, church, play, after-work, work-church and cross-fit. The typical ins & outs of the working gentlemen. Reaching for the american dream isn’t easy though. With such a busy schedule, I hardly have time to take care of myself. Showering goes by the wayside. Haircuts never happen. Sleep is a luxury item. But more important then any of these mundanities that I tend to skip every single day, is spending three or four hours preparing a hardy three-course meal. Let me explain.
I’m a product of a rich Italian heritage. My grandparents are Italian immigrants who moved to Long Island in the late 50’s. I have fond memories of my mother and grandmother spending all day with me in the kitchen preparing sumptuous dishes, like Lasagna or handmade pasta or even the occasional pizza-pie or “pizza” for short. They taught me that cooking is an act of love and, like any act of love, it needs to take hours for it to mean anything. In the more rambunctious days of my youth, I would just throw the pepperoni pieces onto the pie haphazardly, like I was playing Roulette at the casino. But my mother would show me that in the matter of food, every detail had to be treated with special care.
But, as I grew older and older, I had less and less entire days to prepare food for myself. Until, today, where I have absolutely no time to do anything aside from making appointments on my iCalender and walking my dog, “Gnarles Barky”. Not cooking and by extension, never eating, has lead toward a number of consequences and health deformities. These include symptoms like starvation, fatigue and anger or as I call it, being a hot poppa.
But some would say: “But, there are tons of great recipes online that don’t take any time at all.” And to these nosy butt-ins, I would respond that as an Italiano, I don’t just “throw together” quick and delicious meals like it’s some sort of pick-up basketball game from the ghetto parts. I have to have time, all DAY, or I can’t do that. When I make food I do it the right way and that’s by taking all day.
So, what’s a cold, hard stud to do under these trying times?
When things really started to take a turn for the worse, a new glorious take on eating emerged like a beacon of hope in a sea of starvation. It’s what a call: “The Not Cooking Way”. What does this mean? It means that I bypass the whole hustle and bustle of preparation and go straight to the good stuff. When I go shopping I only buy foods that I can eat on the go or in a split. I look for prepackaged and ready to crunch sorta eateries. Items I frequent include:
Doritos Nacho Cheese
Doritos Cool Ranch
Doritos Sweet and Spicy Chili
Doritos Sour Splenda
Doritos Hot Sauce
Doritos Pop Corn
Doritos Nighttime Street Taco
Doritos Nighttime Derringer Holster
Doritos Bossa Nova
Doritos Mac N’ Cheese Powder
Doritos Opaque Grim Prince
Doritos Temporal Shifts
Doritos Antonio Banderas Meme
Doritos Bag of Batteries
And I haven’t looked back since!
Neck Brace Man
There are many notable winter locations out there, but none quite like New York City! While many other locations may get much of the glory and attention like Switzerland and Norway, the winters of NYC have an unmistakable hint of something extra special.
The city is making a concentrated effort this winter, with the predictions of matching the snow and temperatures of last year, to draw more tourism during this time. Leading the charge is Amelia Rittenbach, Promotional Manager for the NYC Winter Tourism Board.
“While many towns would bring you in with beautiful sights and the warm, cozy atmosphere in the buildings around you, we want to appeal to a different minority this year. That’s why we send this invitation out to all cross-country skiers, mountain and ice climbers,winter hiking nuts and Russian immigrants. NYC is the place for you.”
Amelia lays out the terrain for the intrepid explorers. “Just because this is a metropolitan area comprised mainly of pedestrians, don’t you think for a second it will be a cinch to get around. You better pack some snowshoes, ice picks and some rope, because over 7 inches and no one knows what to do anymore. You’ll encounter snowdrifts that will require you to travel clear around the block just to cross the street. Prepare yourself for large sections of a city block encased in ice, due to a total lack of concern for public safety on the behalf of business owners.”
Amelia notes that these dangers extend beyond just the terrain but the temperatures as well. “We have wind tunnels that will blow frigid gales of wind in your face at such a velocity, you will lose the ability to breathe. Sure, you can take a right and use that Duane Reade and neighboring Gristedes as a barricade, but you will have to Bob Seger your way against that wind eventually, and the momentum you build early on is going to do nothing but help you. And bare in mind, these wind tunnels are scattered throughout the city, with no rhyme or reason as to why they occur in some areas rather than others. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a Mark A. Danielewski novel as sanity crushing, morality breaking, crippling gusty blows slowly erode desire to just retain some semblance of warmth until you get to that Starbucks on the next block, and trust me, they all smell like cat piss and wet towels here, and we don’t know why.”
Warmth and dryness are two main challenges Amelia presents in their brochure Why Would Anyone Live Here? – A Guide to NYC Winters. “Warmth and dryness are elusive commodities here. You better pack your best waterproof boots, because you’re going to have to wade through 2 and a half feet of black Slush Puppy to leave or get on any sidewalk in the area. That’s just the price of admission. No one has dry feet here. Or ankles. No one. We live a damp leg lifestyle in NYC.”
Amelia says not to think it will be just you on the roads either. “People will still attempt to operate their vehicles in this weather. They do not care if there are dozens of pedestrians around them at all. They are going to drive their car to work, and in the process, kill and cripple everyone around them. Prepare yourself for the ultimate winter experience.”
This last Saturday at the 2014 Game Awards in Las Vegas, Nintendo revealed the first gameplay footage from the highly anticipated Wii U entry into the Legend of Zelda franchise. And to the delight of many, it was very much in harmony with Auonuma’s promises of an open world experience.
The footage showed the series producer traveling to a high peak, marking a spot in the distance and traveling there with the parachute-like sail cloth, as well as riding a horse through grassy fields with no perceivable boundaries that developers often use to restrict players to a small area. It was even mentioned that you could pick apples off of wild apple trees and eat them. It’s very apparent that the Zelda development team is working hard to introduce a more realistic environment to explore. But, according to a special interview with the producer after the footage was released, the final product will go far beyond what was seen on Saturday.
“We want to give players the open world, realistic Zelda experience they have been clamoring for.” said Aonuma. “We put a lot of thought into what life would really be like for Link if he was actually doing this, which got us thinking in a lot of different directions.”
He then gave us an example of something building off of the stamina bar introduced in the last installment, Skyward Sword, which limited Link’s dash ability and the time he can spend hanging from ledges. “For instance, we must assume that, according to the convoluted timeline that we’ve created, that this post-apocalyptic, beginning of times era is crawling with disease and that the medical field is still in its infancy and primarily reliant on blood letting and the application of urine in some fashion, so more than likely, Link has contracted a few illnesses, especially rummaging around into dirty temples, killing animals that have been defecating all around him in very close proximity. And let’s be honest, those potions are probably just beet-colored sugar water with some medicinal flavoring. So, depending on what animal blood or feces you encounter, you can contract dysentery or typhoid fever. This is represented by a status that lowers your stamina meter and eventually, your hearts. Eventually, if typhoid is your disease, your diarrhea-belching anus begins to wear down. You can consult this with anal health readout, which is represented by a small round asterisk gauge in the bottom right corner, that deteriorates each time you evacuate yourself behind a bush. Since you have nothing to wipe with but a coarse burlap sack that you obtained from a shopkeeper in town, which, if you don’t have enough rupees by this point, and let’s face it, you won’t because you live in a house with one room, bunking with your mentally ill uncle who’s trying to break into the castle because he hears ‘voices’, and people aren’t just going to dump their money in the bushes outside your house, you’ve had to do some unspeakable things just to get that burlap, so your sphincter is going to be way beyond sitting on Epona as her gallop causes the hard saddle to slam your butthole into oblivion. You’ll be on your feet for a while, probably laying on your side a lot, enjoying the crisp HD grass that is matted to your sweat soaked face. You can eat apples to refill your health, but eventually, that will increase the amount of diarrhea that you have to battle against. If fact, we’ve built a brand new mini game around you not getting feces on your pants as you rip them off time and time again to let the hot jet of brown water gush from your rear. Really, fighting diarrhea is more of a challenge than any boss battle or tricky puzzle we could come up with.”
One staple of Zelda games has been the way you use weapons and items you obtain. “You won’t be able to use anything when you first get it. You are a teenager, you’re barely standing due to the severe rectal blood loss, and you’ve never handled a bow and arrow before? Nah. You gonna hurt yourself, lose all of your arrows, or break it. The hookshot was designed for a muscle bound warrior of the past, not a vaguely feminine elfin fairy bottler. It will rip your arm clean off first try. You gotta work up to that, but first, you gotta shake that typhoid.”
He also said that the behavior of certain characters would be more accurate. “Go into anyone’s house in this game without being invited and they will kill you. Right on the spot. You won’t even make it to your first jar. Also, really keep your eye out for Tingle. He’s got his own dungeon in this game, but it’s not one you want to visit.”
Without a doubt, the most popular anime series of the last year has been Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan, an anime set in a post-apocalyptic, vaguely European world. With the existing popularity for the manga series and enthusiasm for the anime series reaching a fever pitch, it has ultimately resulted in animated continuations and an upcoming live-action adaptation. While hype may reach our shores, it rarely can saturate American pop culture thoroughly enough to warrant the same treatment here. However, Hollywood is willing to place a bet on Titan and who better to bring this visceral, action-packed tale of humanity’s last stand for survival than the creative team behind 2010’s family comedy Marmaduke.
“It’s not unusual to have entire crews make multiple movies together.”, says director, Tom Dey. “ Just look at what Brian Helgeland did with A Knight’s Tale and The Order. Everyone is still watching those movies and quoting lines from them on a daily basis. When you develop a relationship this solid with people, anything you make will be perfect.”
And it’s not just director Tom Dey, producer John Davis, writers Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio, composer Christopher Lennertz, and literally everyone involved in the Marmaduke production, including caterers and extras, but also the cast, including Owen Wilson, voice of Marmaduke, and George Lopez, who played Carlos, the street smart cat with a corazon of gold.
Dey told us that Owen would be playing 2 roles in the film, as the cast for Marmaduke was far smaller than one necessary for an epic action movie. “Owen will be playing the role of Armin Arlert, one of the supporting characters of the show and best friend to Eren Yeager, the main protagonist. We’ve got Lee Pace cast as Eren, but Owen has proved himself time and time again, from The Big Bounce to You, Me and Dupree, to be a natural leading man. So, the decision was made early on to make Armin the focus of this adaptation. We think the fans will respond well to this change. If Street Fighter:The Movie taught me anything, it’s that fans don’t care which character is the one you see the most in the movie, or if he is even represented correctly in the movie. It’s just that they’re in there.” But it’s not just the focus of the movie that will change, but also character arcs as well. “Because Owen/Armin is the focus, we gave him the ability to turn into a Titan, instead of Eren. Basically, if you want to boil it down, Armin is Eren and Eren is Armin, but we’re going to still call them the same names. Also, instead of being a apprehensive, somewhat cowardly character as he is in the series, Owen insisted he instead he be a pickpocketing beachbum who has a hard time with relationships and is on the run from the mafia for gambling debts, so we just changed the setting to Miami. ”
Dey then went on to tell us George Lopez’s role in the movie would be a “big” one (Editorial note: Tom Dey asked us to say that specifically and to write it as a quote). “George will be one of the main Titans in the movie. The cartoon really focuses on the white characters and we really wanted to broaden the appeal. Plus, George had just had his wisdom teeth removed the day he was available to shoot, so he was able to tap into the big, dumb lumbering Titan frame of mind, and the blood pouring out of his mouth from his fresh wounds was a big plus for our make-up department.”
Dey says we can expect the usual from the Latino funnyman “When George does attain lucidity, expect plenty of wise-cracking classic Lopez moments as he hilariously keeps making reference to his mama, Mexican food, drug cartels and performs entire segments from The George Lopez Show. Since we only had one day with George early in production, we didn’t have much of a script, so we just had him recycle his classic material. Audiences don’t mind if you recycle jokes. If it’s funny once, it’s always funny.”
There’s even a role for Marmaduke in the picture. “We cast the dog who played Marmaduke as General Marmaduke, replacing General Pixis. We figured since this is post-apocalyptic Miami circa 1998, audiences would welcome a talking dog general. Owen will also be voicing the dog, since it’s actually Marmaduke who’s leading the troops. Equally, he’s trying to keep his owner and subordinate, Armin, from pursuing a relationship with the hot new vet Titania, played by Emma Stone, who also voices every cat in the movie, which leads to a lot of humorous situations.”
When it comes to exciting fight and chase scenes with the Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear that sits at the foundation of the show, Dey acknowledges that there were some budgetary constraints they had to acknowledge. “Our budget is the exact same as Marmaduke, and while that worked for that movie with small amounts of visual effects work, it held us back a little on some of our set pieces with this film. So, we made the decision to change the maneuver gear to a corvette that Armin drives around in. But we think that it’s going to be just as fun as the maneuver gear. The test groups love the car chase sequences.”
Dey is confident audiences will be satisfied with his teams interpretation of the series. “When you get right down to it, we’re combining two great franchises, Marmaduke and Attack on Titan, and if Marvel’s success lately is any indication of what the demographic is into, mixing franchises together can mean nothing but success. But Marmaduke fans will be thrilled to see the return of everyone’s favorite Great Dane. In fact, someone who has never seen Attack on Titan will enjoy this movie immensely, as the plot doesn’t necessarily center on the Titans at all. Audiences will just be treated to intermittent moments of a giant naked George Lopez and Owen Wilson telling jokes with a city around them. And really, that might be a good time to take the kids to the bathroom, as we didn’t have any money left to digitally remove or censor anything below the waist. We’re basically making Marmaduke 2 with naked adult men thrown in at various points.”
Marmaduke 2: Attack on Titania is set to release next spring.