if everyone was really looking forward to a severe breakdown of a Rosie O’Donnell blog post, dreams are about to come true

one of these days, i’m going to do an “updates i am most proud of” listicle in order to crank out an update without having to do NEW work: it’s going to be a cheap clip show of a move, but it’ll also probably be dominated by the really random updates that have come out of nowhere: as a teaser, i would probably throw Frank Vincent: possibly a vampire?, here’s a gem, here’s a dragon, now the dragon’s dead, now your iron deficiency’s cured, OKAY, and kanye west’s best production, volume two: now with 100% more over-the-top emotion on the list, for various reasons, all of them crazy.

and that brings us to today’s update: the one about the time where i read a Rosie O’Donnell blog post (for some reason) about her helping an enormous woman and then having a heart attack (you may be finding large portions of this unsurprising) and then just started riffing and be-bopping and scatting (not to mention losing it) all over it. let us begin!

Rosie O'Donnell
is this Rosie O’Donnell, celebrity comedienne, or “an enormous woman struggling to get out of her car?” YOU DECIDE

Rosie O’Donnell unsurprisingly suffers a heart attack

now, let me be fair: i don’t mean that in the most mean-spirited way possible, even though, to be perfectly frank, when i think back upon all the kindness that i have attempted, i recall always being punished for them. anyway, anyway, let’s focus: what i’m saying is that if Rosie O’Donnell WAS going to die and/or suffer an ailment, doesn’t “heart attack” seem pretty likely? there you. now., the thing is, to get into this, we have to suffer through the ABSURD way she writes on her blog. and really, who writes on a fucking blog anymore? compose yourself dear readers/reader/absent space representative only of my enduring disappointment in humanity, here we go:

“my heart attack
August 20, 2012

its a semi-sunny monday
the light bouncing off the flat hudson
mish is sitting next to me
i am happy to be alive”

COMPOSE YOURSELVES! WE CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS IF EVERYONE WILL FUCKING FOCUS AND NO ONE PANICS.
(also, if it makes this work better, picture me as General Woundwort screaming to come back, you fools, dogs aren’t dangerous, come back and fight!)

“last week i had a heart attack
here is what happened
on tuesday morning
while walking in a parking lot in nyack”

so far there’s absolutely nothing surprising about this, but let’s be honest, i’ve driving this “Rosie O’Donnell is heavy and thus prone to be victimized by a heart attack” thing into the ground already, and we’ve barely gotten started. CONTINUING.

“i heard a loud commanding voice
“can u help me”
more of a demand than request
a challenge – a plea”

we’re all over the map on this one, Rosie. i SUPPOSE we’re trying to convey the mixture of the ‘demand’ and the ‘plea’ at the same time, and in absolute fairness, “can you help me” reads as thoroughly plaintive, but could obviously sound a little different. but look, i can only work with what she gives me and i find it ridiculous to try and smash together that plea with that description. i just won’t do it!

“i turned and saw an enormous woman
struggling to get out of her car”

i am absolutely TORN here between a) pointing out the unmitigated gall of Rosie O’Donnell to call any other woman enormous, b) acknowledging that given Rosie’s size, this may be a fair description of a truly titan-sized woman struggling to get out of a car, and c) making the easy joke about this part of the story being a misunderstanding where Rosie caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror of some sort. the last is the most childish, and so it’s what i would normally prefer.

in fact, we could use it to go into a whole fictionalized scenario where Rosie sees this “enormous woman” is ALSO eating a giant ham sandwich, and even though she herself is eating her own giant ham sandwich, she insists on attempting to also have the giant ham sandwich belonging to the “enormous woman,” causing both sandwiches to be lost forever in the water somehow. and see, even though i was being very childish, we have all learned a valuable lesson not borrowed from Aesop at all!

“she was stuck”

this… this is a thing that happens to enormous people and it’s always shamefully funny. and that’s a sincere acknowledgment that i will ALWAYS feel guilty about laughing at an enormous person stuck somewhere (say, in their car) and i will still always fail to not laugh about it. to quote Malice back when he was Malice and not this current No Malice situation, that’s how i, janklow, know that i ain’t shit. i’ve never sold drugs in Virginia, so i have to find my own situations to apply his lyrics to, you see.

“”can u help me? she asked again
as i walked toward her
“oh u r rosie odonnell”
yes i am”

i suppose one of the nice things about being as distinctive a celebrity as Rosie O’Donnell is that you never, NEVER get mistaken for another celebrity and have that awkward moment where you’re trying to explain who you actually are: you’re a little offended that you’ve been mistaken for someone else, possibly more so if that celebrity is worse at what they do than you are; you don’t want to come off as egotistical by pointing out and inadvertently praising your own work, yet have no better way to clarify your identity; and you’re forced to explain something to someone whose existence is SO close to meaningless and thus waste your precious time. it’s just a mess all around!

…and to be frank, that’s not heavy sarcasm, i am actually arguing that the average dude’s life is essentially meaningless compared to even low-grade flash-in-the-pan C-list celebrities. let me use myself as an example: i’ve certainly done little things that were good or meaningful or constructive in my small scale way, or at least, i’d like to think i have. and soon, i will die and no one will give a shit about me or anything i have ever done. EVER. meanwhile, Rebecca Black will always have a slight footnote somewhere for all that “Friday.” i’m not bitter; this is how it goes.

“the ghost of christmas future
me – if i did not wake
there r no accidents i thought
as i braced myself and lifted her”

i just have no idea what’s supposed to be going on here up until the part about her bracing herself and SUPPOSEDLY lifting this enormous woman. maybe it’s late and i’m tired; maybe i’m being deliberately obtuse: either way, i don’t understand this nonsense at all.

“it was not easy
but together we did it
she was up and on her way
with gratitude”

oh, so we go from Rosie lifting this enormous woman to teamwork? i sense some flaws in this narrative. picture my reaction to this remark in the following manner: it’s Sopranos season two, episode thirteen, “Funhouse.” we’re on the ‘new boat,” in this scenario, i’m Tony and Rosie is Big Pussy (this where i digress and scream “DON’T LAUGH” in your face in the manner of Jack Nicholson in the Departed; we’re not really going for that joke); Rosie’s “lifting this enormous woman” story is Big Pussy’s “giving this hot Puerto Rican girl cunnilingus” story. we all laugh along, supposed good times… and then i turn cold. “this enormous woman, Rosie … did she even fucking exist?”

ah… such an unnecessary level of unoriginal imagery!

“a few hours later my body hurt
i had an ache in my chest
both my arms were sore
everything felt bruised”

to be honest, i bet i would feel that way myself if i helped an enormous woman get unstuck from a car, and i’m not even a 50-year-old comedienne in poor physical shape. so nothing about this really seems odd, you know?

“muscular – i thought
strained or pulled tissue
i went about my day
the pain persisted”

…and Rosie agrees with me! WE BRIEFLY ACHIEVE MOTHERFUCKING SYNCHRONICITY. wait, no we don’t, that’s a completely unrelated philosophical concept! but doesn’t it sound like it’s the right term? would anyone know it wasn’t if i hadn’t pointed this out? well, okay, for that to happen, someone would have to be reading this, which seems unlikely, i admit. let’s just keep it moving.

“i became nauseous
my skin was clammy
i was very very hot
i threw up”

cheap joke alert: this is, word for word, a description of how i felt when i was picturing a sweaty Rosie O’Donnell struggling mightily with unsticking an enormous woman from her car. okay, not really, but i just have a need to get every piece of low-hanging comedy fruit today.

“maybe this is a heart attack
i googled womens heart attack symptoms
i had many of them
but really? – i thought – naaaa”

see, and here’s the thing: most anyone can have a heart attack, even if you’re young, even if you’re in shape. but if you’re fifty and overweight? and financially secure enough and with flexible enough time that a trip to the doctor, even if it results in somewhat expensive testing, wouldn’t really be an imposition? come the fuck on, Rosie, this was just ridiculous.

“i took some bayer aspirin
thank god
saved by a tv commercial
literally”

i know what she means when she says “literally,” i really, really do: that the ONLY reason she took the aspirin was that she’d seen the ad, and she wouldn’t have taken the aspirin if it wasn’t for the ad, so the ad saved her. i get it! but the aspirin is what literally saved you, Rosie, THE BAYER ASPIRIN! even if it makes me an asshole to argue this point –and we can just go ahead and assume that it does, because there is absolutely no reason not to do so– i don’t fucking care. i don’t care! what’s the percentage in not being an asshole about this? can’t you let me go to hell the way i want to?

“i did not call 911
50% of women having heart attacks never call 911
200,000 women die of heart attacks
every year in the US”

well, those statistics are certainly something… but then people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Rosie. 14% of all people know that.

“by some miracle i was not one of them
the next day i went to a cardiologist
the dr did an EKG and sent me to the hospital
where a stent was put in
my LAD was 99% blocked
they call this type of heart attack
the Widow maker
i am lucky to be here”

…which further proves my point about this whole “Rosie O’Donnell pops into the doctor’s office not being a big fucking deal for her” thing that i was talking about earlier, especially since she gives us no indication as to WHY she suddenly decided to go to said doctor.

“know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911
save urself”

honestly, i think this ham-fisted closing kind of kills the serious, sincere vibe we had going on. that said, i think i’ve decided to try and turn “know the symptoms, ladies” into my new catchphrase somehow. i mean, i have no idea how i’m going to do this, but let’s see if we can make it happen, okay? okay. and that will do it for this week.

“BOBA FETT APPEARS; NERDS EJACULATE WORLDWIDE WITHOUT KNOWING WHY OR EVEN HOW”

so some time back i had vowed to replicate a RIDICULOUS post i made YEARS ago involving some He-Man figures; it’s one of those “look back and witness how half-assed this house of hate thing used to be” moments of time that i figured would take up some space, what the hell… i mean, be a comedic and meaningful look at our distant past. on the thing is, i seemed to have lost track of two things:

01. the photos i used to make this ridiculous mess;
02. the actual text, which i believed to have been saved as an HTML file somewhere.

HOWEVER… it turns out that i was overlooking the folder storing #01 this entire time, and even more pathetic, #02 was discovered to have been saved as some INCREDIBLY half-assed text file with a name that had nothing to do with the content. i can actually thank the Windows 7 search for this, because it repeatedly hinted to me that said text file contained the content i wanted while simultaneously showing me NOTHING of the sort during the search process. so, without further build-up, because it’s not like this is going to prove to be funny years later, here we go! actually, though, i should explain some things to make sense out of this all:

01. there might be some characters appearing in this (dabassi, fistofury) that won’t make sense without some mild understanding of why exactly this site is named “house of hate”; the reason is NOT actually my unending hate for everything. i don’t really think this is necessary for the lame jokes to function, so i won’t go into some massively boring explanation here. suffice to say that’s what all that’s about;

02. i legitimately cannot recall why this is a retelling of myself and dabassi smashing up a modem. i mean, okay, i can figure out VAGUELY what’s going on, but i don’t remember the specific events that led to this ridiculous post;

03. i gussied up some of the language here, but this MAY mean that some bits seem very dated and some bits seem oddly current. DEAL WITH IT. also, there may be a commentary track of italicized observations? who knows!

JANKLOW’S RE-POSTING OF AN ANCIENT ARTICLE INVOLVING ANCIENT PICTURES JANKLOW TOOK AT SOME POINT IN THE DISTANT PAST

okay, here’s the thing: i have a large amount of toys from the 1980s because i don’t throw anything out, ever, a hoarding trait i learned from my father. however, i can’t FIND any of these toys on command because they were just thrown into random boxes when i packed them away over time. or, in other words, as i found them randomly wedged in places and then jammed them into “temporary” boxes. here’s an example of what i mean: somewhere in space and time, probably in my parents house, i have that original Megatron toy that’s like a P-38 that turns into a sniper rifle. but i could NEVER find it in a pinch because, well, see the preceding part of this paragraph.

…with one major exception: my ridiculous collection of He-Man figures, including two copies of that most awesome of He-Man toys, Stinkor. they’re all in one central location, where they have been kept for years, with the exception of He-Man himself: i once had (and maybe still have) a Battle Damage He-Man, and yet, he is nowhere to be found. this is no great loss if you consider the fact that He-Man fucking sucks.

so, without further ado… the He-Man Re-Creation of Janklow and Dabassi Smashin’ Up a Modem.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Skeletor, in the role of janklow
in the role of “janklow” … Skeletor
(because janklow is a horrible monster and all)

Hordak, in the role of dabassi
in the role of “dabassi” … Hordak
(because dabassi is also a horrible monster, etc, etc)

Fisto, in the role of fistofury
in the role of “fistofury” … Fisto
(see, that’s a joke based on Fisto’s name. yes, i know, puns are INCREDIBLY beneath me and the average reader, but come on, when else am i going to reference this action figure?)

(also, i will admit that the original version of this SORT OF defended the use of puns, which is mainly weird because i sincerely despise the use of puns. perhaps there was a weird “narrator persona” at work back in the day?)

and now, on with the show.

dabassi and janklow meet; THE STAGE IS SET FOR ADVENTURE

dabassi: hey, janklow, what’s going down?

janklow: same old, same old. my rock monsters suck total ass and it’s one thing after another until i just wish He-Man was dead. what’s up with you?

THE STAGE CONTINUES TO WAIT FOR SOON-TO-ARRIVE ADVENTURE

dabassi: well, i got this new cable modem that looks a hell of a lot like a big-ass combination lock. but really, it’s a cable modem.

janklow: cool, high-speed internet access!

(i’ll be honest: even to this day, 2012, i STILL couldn’t get cable internet at my home if i wanted to, so i still kind of have the “cool, high-speed internet access” reaction to them. that said, it’s not like i wrote this piece PRIOR to the introduction of such things. however, i was (and still sort of am) known for my half-assed internet connection at the time)

ANY SECOND NOW, THERE WILL MOST ASSUREDLY BE ADVENTURING

dabassi: well, except this damn thing doesn’t even work at all and it even went into my PC and wrecked all those photos of She-Ra i drew mustaches on! i hate it!

janklow: that fucking sucks! doesn’t anyone believe in quality control anymore? let’s smash it!

(did i remove a reference to TPS reports from this part? i think i did)

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK HAMMER = ADVENTURE, I THINK

dabassi: take that, you modem bastard!

janklow: i’m gonna smash it with this glow-in-the-dark hammer i have for some reason!

(that glow-in-the-dark hammer comes from some INCREDIBLY lame third-rate knock-off of He-Man, or at least just a lame third-rate action figure. but as a child, i would save the weapons for He-Man and dispense with the garbage figures)

CATS ENTER AS THE PLOT THICKENS IMPERCEPTIBLY

BATTLE CAT (and battle cat’s purple velour friend) COME OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE

(Battle Cat’s purple friend being, of course, Panthor, an answer i confirmed with a heated Google search for “skeletor panther”; this methodology seemed about right AND revealed the following Yahoo! Answers exchange, which sincerely cracked me up, which sincerely may indicate that i have some problems:

-What was Skeletor’s panther name ??
-Top answer: panthor was its name

why was the guy asking the question so excited about this? also, i don’t know why Battle Cat looks clean and Panthor filthy, beyond to say, “eh, it’s the velour”)

EMOTIONAL EMBRACE OF ADVENTURE EMOTIONS

dabassi: oh, shit, Battle Cat! and friend!

janklow: they say these hills are filled with ghost cars. oh, and Battle Cats. oh, and the friends of Battle Cat who are not so much green and striped as purple and velour-covered and not striped at all.

dabassi: i’m scared, hold me!

janklow: only if you hold me!

(do we all get the Simpsons reference there? because sneaking that kind of thing in makes the comedy seem like something the common man can relate to. WE’RE ALL IN ON THIS TOGETHER)

LEGITIMATE ADVENTURE OCCURRING IN THIS PICTURE; ALERT ALL THE MEDIA

dabassi: ah! we’re done for!

janklow: i never thought i’d be killed by a large purple cat. in a car accident? yes. by a bear? god willing. but by a large purple cat? NO!

(as you can see, i’ve been shouting out the awesomeness of bears and their attacks for YEARS now)

POSSIBLE DRAMATIC TWIST? UNLIKELY, ACTUALLY

dabassi: hey… the cats are gone… we’re saved!

janklow: but… how?

(yes, this is all taking place on top of an ancient, soiled notebook on top of what appears to be a CD rack. i… i have no explanation for any of this. also, what the fuck is WRITTEN on that soiled notebook?)

BOBA FETT APPEARS; NERDS EJACULATE WORLDWIDE WITHOUT KNOWING WHY OR EVEN HOW

Boba Fett: hey, guys, i saw those cats trying to maul you or take your wallets and candy or something else not good, and i thought i better chase them off using my bounty hunting skills.

dabassi: wow, thanks.

janklow: didn’t i tell you that the Fett Man doesn’t even remotely suck?

dabassi: yeah, i think i heard that someplace hilarious.

(so there’s two dated things going on here. for one, i know nerds have ruined the whole Boba Fett thing, but fuck it, i was four when Return Of The Jedi came out, and i have ALWAYS thought Boba Fett was cool. he’s one of my long-owned and much-treasured action figures, and he was purchased because i was little, not for nerd cred. also, yes, we’re making a Family Guy reference there, but note: a) this was before cancellation/return/slow descent into repetitive tedium and b) fuck it, that shit about “no matter how sure i am, i never risk the Fett Man” remains funny to this day)

THE AUTUMN WIND IS A RAIDER

Boba Fett: so, now that they’re gone, what do you guys wanna do?

dabassi: well, we could catch the Oakland-Baltimore game. Ray Lewis is like defensive poetry in motion on the field.

janklow: good plan. LET’S GO OAKLAND!

dabassi: man, they SUCK this year.

Boba Fett: yeah, i mean, they’re BAD.

janklow: man, fuck you guys. your favorite teams all suck too.

(yeah, this was right after the Oakland Raiders took that SEVERE post-Super Bowl tumble into a world of crushing all my dreams. let’s move on)

FIN

so was that ridiculous enough for you? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? probably not. maybe next time you will be!

here’s a gem, here’s a dragon, now the dragon’s dead, now your iron deficiency’s cured, OKAY

and now, to address the question that literally no one is asking: what exactly did our hero janklow mean when he wrote “perhaps, ever so slightly, foreshadows the upcoming update?” well, a combination of “angry magician” and “Patton Oswalt” might lead you to realize that this week’s update is about this incredibly random and ridiculous role-playing module purchased for yours truly by the Irishman: ANGRY WIZARD. brace yourself, because this week’s update is about to get about as insane AND nerdy as one update can possibly get without involving that tentacle pornography Japanese people seem to like. there’s no way i can top that.

the back story: the Irishman spotted this module on the internet (of course) and picked it up for me solely because of the “ANGRY WIZARD” title and basically nothing else, which led to a string of discoveries about this module that i, because i am sometimes easily amused, find to be incredibly hilarious. so here we go!

JANKLOW’S 13 FAVORITE RIDICULOUS THINGS ABOUT THE ANGRY WIZARD MODULE, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

and by “chronological,” i mean “starting with the front cover, and then i flip through the book to the back cover,” just in case that wasn’t clear. was that actually very clear? eh, well, that’s what i get for trying to be helpful.

ANGRY WIZARD
clearly the only thing more powerful than this wizard (and his anger) is THIS INTENSE FONT

01. the title of this module: ANGRY WIZARD
so let’s just take a look at the above image and start with the screamingly-obvious bright red title bursting out from the cover of this thing: ANGRY WIZARD. technically, when you get to the introduction part of this module, you learn that it is actually called FEZ III, The Angry Wizard, being as it’s the “third in a series of adventures” featuring this Fez character… although whoever designed the cover clearly wanted to give us the wrong impression, since ANGRY WIZARD is printed in letters about about three feet tall, with FEZ III hiding in the shadow of the D in WIZARD.

also, there’s still some deranged grammar at work if the wizard’s name is Fez, because then shouldn’t the title be Fez III, not FEZ III. clearly, someone at the Role Aids corporation is of the mindset that role-playing modules DEMAND TITLES PRINTED SOLELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS, THE LETTERS OF MAGIC AND DRAGONS… and i cannot say that i truly disagree.

02. the “suitable for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” declaration
okay, okay, i swear that we’re done with the above cover once we get through this. anyway, if you’ll note, this product, which was clearly NOT made by the company that brought us D&D (TSR), has a little yellow corner that declares ANGRY WIZARD to be “suitable for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons*.” now, i have to admit, i found this shameless hilarious, and THEN i noticed that on the back cover (we’ll cheat and skip ahead this one time), the full claim is “suitable for use with all popular roleplaying systems including Advanced Dungeons and Dragons*.” thus i am forced to ask: well, what about the not-so-popular role-playing systems? is this module not suitable for use with them because they’re not the proverbial cool kids in school, or is it just that we’re not willing to guarantee they’ll be up to the task of allowing you the full pleasure of ANGRY WIZARD?

and yes, there’s an asterisk in each case, because there’s a tiny notation on the back stating that “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of TSR Hobbies, Inc. Use of this trademark is NOT sanctioned by the holder.” this surprises me (although i think the internet told me TSR and Mayfair Games had a weird arrangement for some time), because i didn’t think you could use someone’s trademark and then just say, “they’re not okay with this” in very small letters… especially when you consider that on page 2, it’s angrily declared who FEZ is the trademark of, and that you’d BETTER NOT USE IT WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF LEONARD BLAND.

FEZ III
just pretend that the effect from the flash is the ANGRY WIZARD magic bursting out of the module

03. the cover image itself, in all its ANGRY WIZARD glory
okay, keep looking at that above cover. as stated, the Irishman saw a scowling wizard on the cover of a role-playing module, thought to himself, “well, janklow is king of the nerds in this state AND angry wizards are funny, OKAY,” and bought this thing for me on a whim. that in and of itself is fairly insane as is… but then when he actually received the module, he learned that the ANGRY WIZARD is sitting in what appears to be a reasonably-appointed but ill-kept modern kitchen drinking a can of beer. i’ve examined this image closely, and as best as i can tell, he appears to be drinking a generic Budweiser, which may be popular, but seems to lack the magic you expect in a beer that can be described as “the choice of angry wizards everywhere.” the copyright on this module also leads me to believe that we’re talking about a “modern kitchen” circa 1984.

other questions raised by this cover image include the following: “is it possible the wizard is mainly angry because the kitchen is simply FILTHY?” and “is it counter-productive if i engage in a fantasy role-playing game to escape the misery of my mundane life only to find myself adventuring in an early-1980s kitchen filled with dirty dishes and trash?”

04. the “Role Aids” name and logo
so you might notice that, in the lower right-hand corner of the cover, you’ll find name and logo of the company behind this masterpiece: ROLE AIDS. while i suppose what they were going for is apparent (if a bit clunky; does this aid my role? or more my adventures?), it still seems like a tactical error to have your company’s name sound exactly like a brand of antacid meant to alleviate “muscle soreness and stomach aches relating to constipation” that also has more than 60 years of existence on your company? yes, i know that Role Aids is a brand pushed by an actual company (Mayfair Games) because i researched this module on the internet because i have nothing better to do with my life, but it’s still incredibly lame.

also, let’s note the logo they chose to use: an angry unicorn. not a unicorn, which is maybe a little feminine but still an iconic fantasy image, and not something classic and angry, like a dragon breathing fire (or even an ANGRY WIZARD)… but an angry unicorn. i’m picturing a board room full of nerds fighting over the logo, with half demanding “something beauteous and magical” and the other half demanding “something fearsome and mythological.” that’s the story of how you get a ridiculous angry unicorn as your logo.

05. the somewhat awkward names of the adventurers in the adventures of ANGRY WIZARD
as i skipped over the part of this module where they gloss over FEZ I and FEZ II (which also feature our ANGRY WIZARD, but are not titled ANGRY WIZARD because life doesn’t make any sense sometimes), i got to the part where they assign the players characters, as it’s one of those kinds of modules (many provide this option, but in less demanding terms), and they’ve got fairly generic names. some are appropriate: Stoutarm, dwarf fighter; Nightstar, female elf illusionist; Fern, female human druid. some are generic: Roshan, human ranger; Moman, human cleric. one confuses me: why is Ramble the human magic user? shouldn’t the ranger be named Ramble, since that would kind of keep with the theme that Fern has established regarding “the outdoorsy types of characters.”

and then we have Ughblow, human fighter. Ughblow? Ughblow? what kind of twelve-year-old nerd wants to play someone named UGHBLOW? it’s bad enough that the kids playing this are being forced to stomach a second-rate knock-off version of a D&D module; now one of them has to throw himself on the proverbial sword of being the one to bear the name Ughblow? maybe i’m just being incredibly immature about this (most likely true), but i find it to be just plain cruel.

also, on the last page of this module, FEZ violates the naming we have already established to address this character as “UghBlow,” which essentially confirms my theory that this is all a cruel joke.

SPECIAL UNDERWATER CONDITIONS
“#8: Please remember that you cannot breathe water in real life, nerds!”

06. the “special underwater conditions”
so shortly after we learn our players awful names, there’s a box that helpfully tells us that “even though the characters have been given the permanent ability to breathe underwater, there are still a lot of differences between adventuring on dry land and adventuring underwater.” now, okay, some of the upcoming rules are clearly in the need-to-know category: movement in water, decompression sickness, speech under water, and so on. but then we have a couple things that don’t really seem to need to be spelled out:

–“Wooden objects in water: Care must be taken with wooden objects as they tend to float in water.” now this section ultimately ends up telling us some specific rule for the rate at which they float… but listen, if your elven illusionist needs to be told by the guy running the game that WOOD TENDS TO FLOAT IN WATER, then you probably need to get out of your house more.
–“Paper in water.” it turns out that if you leave a scroll unsealed after reading it UNDERWATER, it gets ruined. SHOCKING.

07. the part about “how the character sheets are used”
now, those who have played role-playing games generally understand the part where you get a character sheet (or at least some paper) and draw up the character you play on it; even in the case of those aforementioned modules that provide characters (like this one), you tend to still need a sheet for the same reasons. what does ANGRY WIZARD direct us to do with the sheet that explains the characters?

“This page should be torn out of the booklet, photocopied, and cut into sections for each character.”

for one, i reject any product that immediately tells me to start tearing it apart. i probably paid good money for this in 1984! for another, this module lays flat: could i not just photocopy the page and cut the photocopy into sections WITHOUT tearing anything out of the module? like, oddly enough, almost every single other role-playing book would recommend? i am willing to bet that i can. oh Role Aids, please don’t think i’m going to be tricked into purchasing extra copies of ANGRY WIZARD.

LEPRECHAUN PROSTITUTE
hopefully this has killed off anyone’s remaining desire to play this module… and if it hasn’t, then we’ve discovered their fetish

08. the picture of what can only be described as “a leprechaun prostitute”
yeah, it’s an awkward picture. now, it’s not ENTIRELY random: when i examined this module closely, it turns out that one of the characters (not Ughblow) gets turned into a leprechaun by FEZ for some reason, because we all know that when an ANGRY WIZARD wants you to fetch a gem for him (this is the general plot of the module), it’s incredibly helpful for him to turn the cast of heroes into random monsters, and for those random monsters to include a leprechaun. anyway, it also turns out that this leprechaun might be helpful in obtaining a “reptile-control staff” and this is all very important to this adventure that even i, a guy who played first edition D&D at age five, find grotesquely nerdy.

none of this, however, explains why the leprechaun is shooting the reader a come-hither stare while posing with the “reptile-control staff” in front of what appears to be a leg made out of smoke. clearly whoever is responsible for this art (and the credits tell me that one “Susanna Griffin” is responsible for the “interior illustrations”) has done a wonderful job… of making me incredibly distressed by their art.

09. “the Dwarf is indestructible”
i pointed this line out to the Irishman, and he about lost it, but yes, there’s a part in this module where the characters are confronted by an old Dwarf who teaches them a valuable lesson about greed, which boils down to “if you choose what appears to be a better option that you’re told that you can have for free, and continue to choose apparently better and better options that appear in sequence, all still for free, you will ultimately be punished by fighting a lot of kobolds and always getting the same thing: dwarf-size armor.” reading through it, i’ve learned nothing about greed, but i HAVE learned that i might want to kill a dwarf.

however, as the module takes the time to explain to us, possibly for reasons like “they saw this need to murder said dwarf coming,” the players won’t be able to live out their dream, as “the Dwarf is indestructible. On any attempt to attack him, he will vanish and reappear.” let me just say this: FUCK THAT. if i was running this module –which would never happen– i can assure you that i would promptly violate its rules on the grounds of not recognizing the powers of dwarves that fail to teach us reasonable lessons.

RUST MONSTER
this image of the least-threatening monster EVER also features a bonus mention of UghBlow

10. the “rust monster”
so i may have mentioned the thing where our ANGRY WIZARD turns the cast of heroes into random monsters? well, one of those (Nightstar, our elf illusionist) gets turned into a rust monster. however, it seems that Role Aids didn’t want to stop with making your precious character one of the most random and lame of all the D&D monsters; no, Nightstar is described as looking “like a teddy bear,” but with “an insatiable appetite for metals (chiefly brass and iron).” now, my understanding of rust monsters was that they at least didn’t look THAT fucking pathetic, and that while they loved to eat metal, it wasn’t some kind of insatiable hunger.

but to make matters worse, of all the characters the aforementioned Susanna Griffin illustrated for the module, she chose not just the courtesan leprechaun Moman, but ALSO the pathetic “rust monster” Nightstar… and yes, that means this module features a crude sketch of a teddy bear tossing a handful of nails into its mouth from a pot marked “BRASS NAILS.” brass nails?

this also confirms my theory that if i was standing in a store debating whether or not to purchase this module and flipped through it, seeing these pictures… well, i would put this shit back on the rack.

11. the closing rewards found in FEZ’s castle
so you’ve finally beaten the “adventures” contained within the module and brought the ANGRY WIZARD some mysterious “Queen’s Gem” that he needs to defeat a wizard, which sounds like a much more exciting adventure that you’ve missed out on because you were busy dicking around in leprechaun form. FEZ rattles off this list of rewards for all the characters, which make sense if you’re aware that early in this module, on the sheet we were supposed to TEAR OUT FOREVER, your characters learned what their adventurer motivation was. i found this to be weird, but not funny, so i skipped over it.

so some of the rewards make a little sense: Stoutarm got some dwarf armor, Stealthwidow gets a small but sustainable amount of money. some are weird, considering that these are throwaway characters you didn’t create and will never play again, but that i guess are still reasonable: Roshan gains “an important clue to [his] wife’s recovery”; Moman gets a staff that controls reptiles (remember that?) because his village is plagued by snake attacks; Fern gets a cure for a plague afflicting her forests; Ughblow gets to be a two-headed ogre forever, which is apparently a good thing, for some reason. but two are a little more off, if you ask me:

–Nightstar gets a cure for her iron deficiency. while i am sure this is important to ACTUAL PEOPLE, doesn’t it seem beyond lame for a role-playing game? “i’m setting off on a noble quest TO CURE MY IRON DEFICIENCY!”
–then there’s Ramble, a human magic user whose motivation is to become a fighter. i’m not sure why you wouldn’t have just made a level one fighter if that’s what you wanted, but there it is. so what’s his reward? well, you can become a warrior… but you have to maintain your charcoal-skinned warrior physique that was your MONSTER FORM for the entire adventure. luckily, since you cannot be attached to this lame character, i guess you just say “fuck it” and go charcoal.

…and then FEZ “will invite them all into his castle for dinner.” now THAT is what i call an absurd conclusion.

ANGRY WIZARD REDUX
please enjoy an additional dose of ANGRY WIZARD (and stern ANGRY WIZARD gaze) with your terrible, terrible grammar

12. the punctuation of “time traveling Wizard”
finally, we find ourselves on the back cover of this module, where we’re told that “at the beck of Fez, a time traveling Wizard-” woah, stop right there, whoever the hell is writing this thing: where’s my hyphen? (and i suspect they think i forgot that “roleplaying” spelling from earlier.) why is Wizard capitalized? sure this is some nitpicking, which IS one of the things i love to do, but i find it hilarious. also, i should note this: this kind of grammar runs rampant throughout the ENTIRE module in question. commas are all over the place, capitalization is consistently weird (nouns are randomly capitalized all the time, and then there’s that whole UghBlow thing); the whole thing is just a mess.

it also goes on to this “claw your way through opponents and hazards on a mission” thing, but for some reason, after that last preceding ridiculous moment of non-grammar, my brain reads this sentence as “claw your eyes out.” make of that what you will.

HEROES AS WELL AS CONJURERS
Role Aids gets in one last stab at those poor conjurers

13. the subtle insult directed at conjurers
so after you’re told to claw your eyes out on a mission for ANGRY WIZARD — and really, the disparity in the text makes the way i wrote that insufficient; it should be more like “you’re told to claw your eyes out on a mission for ANGRY WIZARD” and then a massive explosion of EXCLAMATION POINTS– we get to the second part of the description:

“He has guaranteed each hero or conjurer the time of their lives, soon you realize that it may be the time of your death instead.”

yes, to start, we AGAIN have atrocious writing. ignore that, however, and focus on “hero or conjurer.” now, i am pretty sure that every nerd playing a wizard throwing LIGHTNING BOLTS around sees themselves as an adventuring hero even if they’re not a strapping warrior (or even Ughblow), so this just seems like an unnecessary insult aimed directly at your target audience: “he has guaranteed each hero the time of their life, and even you stupid guys playing wizards can come along!” plus, to really nerd this up, doesn’t the average conjurer (for the non-nerds, think… uh… Gandalf, i guess) come off as more heroic than the average thief or rogue or whatever you want to call the class?

plus, remember this: the game that ASSIGNS you seven characters to play… and FOUR of them are arguably conjurers (Moman, cleric; Nightstar, elf illusionist; Fern, druid; Ramble, magic user). granted, one of them has the motivation to not be a magic user, and i GUESS you could argue that “we didn’t mean the cleric and the druid when we said that,” but you’re still alienating one or two of the people playing the game after FORCING them to play those conjurers.

so, all in all, it’s a pretty ridiculous module. i need to hang it on the wall somehow next to my autographed picture of Steven Seagal.

something something atomic robots?

I. IN WHICH WE AGAIN EXPLAIN AWAY OUR DELAYS AND POOR WORK

so some of you may remember that, last week –or whenever it was that the update dropped, because these delays seem to stack exponentially– i mentioned something about doing a Road Warrior-related update. now, this was a sincere plan; i could probably even produce a witness in REAL LIFE who could confirm this, as i mentioned the concept and kicked around an idea or two for it. i know some people out there are thinking there’s about 13 minutes of thought going into these updates, and while sometimes that might be correct (or even generous), other times i plan these things out. i come up with some ideas on the drive to work, i make little notes for myself throughout the day; it’s like SERIOUS EFFORT is going on. and actually, one good update might be “discuss update ideas that never materialized for whatever reason” … and by “good update,” i mostly just mean “an update that might happen.” literally no one will care or enjoy it.

but i digress! what basically happened is that our hero (that would be me) spent his key “committing to getting this update down on paper” time visiting with some medical health professionals, an adventure that involved some mild suffering, some mild fluid investigations and a semi-awkward rub-down from a doctor. maybe this will be the update topic for the week? doubtful, as i a) hate going to the doctor, b) HATE GOING TO THE DOCTOR and c) don’t much want to discuss it beyond trying for some sympathy here. there was SUFFERING. it excuses my LAZINESS. but… an update still needs to be produced…

II. IN WHICH THE GERM OF AN IDEA IS PLANTED

Atomic Robo?
still not sure what the hell this is, but it’s clearly relevant to the discussion

so i’ve essentially decided to devote this week’s update (or “update,” even, which is probably appropriate at this point) to sort of a rambling discussion of a half-conversation i had (and the above trolling for sympathy). it basically goes like this: the Irishman and i are hanging out, being incredible nerds (this usually involves some time with a PS3 and maybe some beers), and he mentions this “Atomic Robo” comic series he’s picked up on his phone (ridiculous, but fucking 2011 is a ridiculous year) for his current reading. i am not familiar with it, and can add nothing to this discussion. robots are cool? yeah, robots are cool. i can add that.

so later, he hits me with the following text message: “so the first volume of the Atomic Robo series is called ‘Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientist of Tesladyne’ … this sounds like something YOU made up.” to which i respond “i guess i really missed my calling,” because, let’s be honest, there’s only so many times that you can point out that companies like Dunkin’ Donuts have been stealing your ideas before people just stop caring. even if it’s true! (and yes, the actual title has “Scientists,” plural, but that’s just me striving for journalistic accuracy there.)

but the thing is, i am sure what i would make up based on that title isn’t really what’s going on in the comic. and i don’t want to read it, because what i really want to do is come up with some concept art for what MY version of a robot that’s apparently atomic and interacting with aggressive scientists would be like.

III. IN WHICH … HONESTLY, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THIS IS GOING AT THIS POINT

the catch is, i am not sure if this atomic robot is allied with or opposed to the fighting scientists. so i have envisioned this in two ways:

ATOMIC ROBOT

assuming that our atomic robot is allied with or possibly a sidekick to one of these fighting scientists, i would probably pattern them much like myself and my Irish sidekick: i am tiny, clad in a somewhat awkward-looking lab coat (which proves that i am a scientist, and unfortunately cannot be black for that reason) and sensible pants and shoes. hey, bear in mind that i have to be fighting at any given moment; it’s hard to unleash a barrage of devastating kicks when you dress for fashion. oh, and i have my goggles for doing science.

my Atomic Irish Robot is, much like the Irishman is: quite a bit taller than me and powered by atoms of some sort. yes, he looks very similar to all my other robots, but i figure, hey, why knock a good thing? plus, he DOES get an atomic cannon, i guess. i like my Atomic Shamrock logo, but the coloring gives it a weird heart-like shape. not pleased with that.

ATOMIC ROBOT

on the other hand, maybe the atomic robot is our hero? and he’s fighting all these scientists? that’s also possible. so here we have a less-Irish atomic robot, clearly rocking a more traditional atomic logo and choking the life out of this ill-equipped fighting scientist (who brought a wrench to an atomic robot fight for whatever reason) with the power of his mighty claw. the other scientist and his cooler purple-for-some-reason ray-gun are about the meet the business end of that atomic cannon, i guess. and TTR is here enjoying himself because, hey, i love that vulgar little robot. the random yellow coloration is just me being a shitty artist.

it’s also important, i will note, to have these scientists clad in different clothes (slightly, anyway) and rocking different hairstyles, as they’re no longer based on me so directly. i don’t really need the hit to my self-esteem that comes with drawing cartoons of atomic robots beating up thinly-veiled versions of oneself.

IV. IN WHICH WE WRAP THIS UPDATE UP. HUH. THAT’S SORT OF REDUNDANT

so i’m not really sure what we learned here today. it’s clearly not good when i don’t have an update to go with… and it’s probably not good to tell me about atomic robot comics… no, no, let’s say that the lesson for the week is “janklow is going to get weird as hell if he’s sick.” yes, THAT is the appropriate lesson.