Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Art

Below is an album consisting of all the artworks I completed in the year 2012. Some are titled, some are not. All were done purely for my own entertainment, although a few of them did end up being sold on Etsy. All total there are 39 pieces here, which doesn't include works in progress or failed/abandoned efforts. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Wizard of Oz: A Violent Tale of Prohibition-era Gangsters

The Wizard of Oz is one of the all-time classics of American cinema. It tells the story of a young girl lost in a strange land, who has to use the power of her imagination to find her way home.

Or, at least, that's what they want you to believe. My theory is that The Wizard of Oz is actually a giant metaphor. Now I know what you're thinking, it's a metaphor for the election of 1896 as written by L. Frank Baum way back in the day. Wrong. The Wizard of Oz is actually a metaphor for a violent movie about gangsters and Prohibition in the late 1920s. Consider this:

Dorothy is a small-town gangster who's looking to make her fortune by heading to the big city to run hooch to her hometown in Kansas during the height of the Prohibition era. Kansas, of course, is dry, which is represented by the black and white film, the dust, the tornado, etc. She arrives on the outskirts of Chicago (Oz) and immediately clashes with a local police captain (The wicked witch of the east), who she kills. This ruthless cop-killing earns her the respect and support of the local gangsters, (The Munchkins), who offer her protection in their territory, (Munchkinland).

Dorothy is offered various gangsters' weapons as a thank you. 

 Dorothy wants to meet with the big Chicago mob boss and booze kingpin, The Wizard of Oz (oz=ounces, the wizard of ounces, duh).The Munchkins agree to help her find him and give her instructions on where she needs to go (follow the yellow brick road). She decides she needs a posse if she's going to be safe, so she recruits 3 local gangsters to accompany her: a brainless thug (scarecrow), a heartless ax-wielding enforcer (tin man), and a ruthless killer from the jungles of the Dark Continent (Cowardly Lion).
We ride together, we die together. 
They set out to find the Wizard, but trouble hits them not too long after they begin. They're set upon by local law enforcement, represented by screeching flying monkeys, and narrowly escape capture. The chief of police, represented by the Wicked Witch of the West, has taken a special interest in Dorothy and her gang of murderous thugs, because she's responsible for the death of the police chief's friend and partner during that showdown in Munchkinland. The police chief attempts to use an opium sting operation to cut down Dorothy's rise to power and stop her in her tracks, even putting her on notice that she's wanted by the law (Surrender Dorothy), and it's successful.

It's the fuckin' 5-0! Run!
Dorothy and her gang are captured by law enforcement (flying monkeys) and taken to the police station (the Witch's castle). Although heavily guarded by police officers, Dorothy's gang overcomes their captors and helps Dorothy kill the police chief (wicked witch of the west), escaping captivity and being free once again to continue seeking The Wizard.
I didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose me. 

Finally, she arrives at The Wizard's palace, a mansion painted in green, his signature color. After being allowed in by his bodyguards, Dorothy and her gang are escorted into the company of the Wizard after taking a tour of the mansion.
Getting past the Wizard's bodyguards
Dorothy meets the Wizard and tells him what she wants. There's no place like home- she wants to run booze back to her hometown in Kansas, where there's no booze and thirsty people. The Wizard is intrigued and snide, but continues to play mind games with her and attempts to confuse her. Finally, she makes the Wizard a final offer to accept her deal or suffer the consequences. He eventually obliges and agrees to help her get back to Kansas with booze. Dorothy is visited by the corrupt replacement local police chief, (represented by Glinda the good witch), who offers her protection in exchange for curbing the violence. Dorothy agrees, and begins the process of going back home to Kansas, where she will begin preparations for her rumrunning operation under the protection of the mob boss and the corrupt police.

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Pizza

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means leftovers, and leftovers mean finding creative ways of eating the same stuff for 8 days straight. Here's a good recipe to use some of your Thanksgiving leftovers, or to get a taste of Thanksgiving dinner any other time of the year. The ingredients I used are:

Stuffing/Dressing
Macaroni & Cheese
Mashed/Cooked potatoes
Cranberry sauce
BBQ sauce
Whole wheat pre-made pizza dough
Cheese (I used goat cheese here, but almost any kind will work)
Leftover turkey/chicken/ham
French's French Fried Onions
Optional ingredients:
Green onions/chives
Any other pizza toppings you want
Green beans



Not pictured: leftover chicken.


Roll out the pizza dough on a greased baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and remove from oven.


To make the cranberry bbq sauce, I took about 1.5-2 tbsp of whole berry cranberry sauce and mixed it in a blender with regular BBQ sauce. Cranberry is a pretty strong flavor so you don't need a whole lot.

Spread about 1/2-3/4 cup of cranberry BBQ sauce on the pre-baked pizza crust. Now, add whatever toppings you want from your thanksgiving leftovers. Be creative.


I started with some leftover crock pot chicken from the night before, chopped into small pieces.


I forgot to get pictures of the in-between, but I proceeded to add macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potato chunks, and goat cheese. Mozzarella works fine too. Next time, I'll add some roasted garlic. I'll also probably substitute gorgonzola for goat cheese.


Once your pizza is all toppinged-up, throw it in the oven at 400 for about 6-8 minutes. When it's done, take it out and top it with French's Fried Onion crisps. Serve hot. 

Topped with chopped green onions and sun-dried tomatoes.


Holy crap this pizza is good. Try it for yourself and see.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saved By The Bell episodes that could also be porn titles

I was watching Saved By The Bell on Netflix recently and I realized that the series is full of episode names that could also double as the titles of pornographic films (in several genres, no doubt). I've compiled a list of the episodes of Saved by the Bell that could also be porn titles:




  • Cream for a Day
  • Pinned to the Mat
  • Beauty and the Screech
  • The Friendship Business
  • The Zack Tapes
  • The Babysitters
  • Slater's Friend
  • The Lisa Card
  • Driver's Education
  • House Party
  • Screech's Woman
  • Model Students
  • Aloha Slater
  • Blind Date
  • Rent-A-Pop
  • Jessie's Song
  • 1-900-Crushed
  • From Nurse to Worse
  • The Fabulous Belding Boys
  • The Senior Prom
  • The Wicked Stepbrother (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Miss Bayside
  • Operation Zack
  • The Last Weekend
  • Fake IDs
  • Date Auction
  • Boss Lady
  • All in the Mall
  • Pipe Dreams
  • Hold Me Tight
  • Love Machine
  • The Video Yearbook
  • Snow White and the Seven Dorks
  • Palm Springs Weekend (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Mystery Weekend
  • Zack's Birthday Party
  • Screech's Spaghetti Sauce
  • The New Girl
  • My Boyfriend's Back
  • The Bayside Triangle
  • Day of Detention
  • Teen Line
  • The Masquerade Ball
  • Wrestling with the Future
  • Slater's Sister
  • The Best Summer of my Life
If I told you in 1993 that the guy in the middle would someday put out a sex tape you would never have believed me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healthy homemade ice cream

Here's a great recipe to both satisfy your sweet tooth and not stray from your diet. I use a few ingredients but really the only ingredients you need are frozen fruit and water. If you want to make the deluxe stuff though, I use frozen fruit, zero calorie sweetener, sugar free creamer, and a little bit of almond butter. 

Ingredients:

2-3 cups frozen fruit
2 tbsp sugar-free coffee creamer (optional)
2 tbsp Splenda zero calorie sweetener (optional)
1 tbsp almond milk (optional)
1 tbsp nut butter (optional)

Less than 75 calories per cup.



Start by measuring 2-3 cups of frozen fruit into your blender. For this recipe, you need a decent blender. Your standard shitty $15 Walmart blender might not work. I highly recommend the blender you see pictured, the Vita-Mix. It was expensive but holy shit if it's not the best kitchen appliance I've ever bought, hands down. Worth every penny. Anyway. If you don't have a blender with a tamper included, you'll need to scrape the sides several times while blending. Add in 2 tbsp creamer, 1 tbsp almond milk, 2 tbsp of Splenda, and about a tablespoon of almond butter.




I added an ice cube just to fluff it up just a little. 


Blend all ingredients together on high for a minute or so. The idea is to break the fruit up fast enough that it instantly refreezes. If you have a tamper, tamp the ingredients into the blade as it blends. If it gets too hard or the motor begins to overheat, add a splash of water. If you don't have a tamper, use the ice crush setting on your blender and scrape it after every 2-3 seconds of blending. 

 

When it's ready, it will look exactly like ice cream that you'd buy at Baskin Robbins. 


It should have a thick consistency and should still be frozen. 


Voila. Fresh, homemade, healthy ice cream that's low calorie and easy to prepare. You're welcome.

Upcoming movies in 2012 I'm excited about

Lincoln


I explained in this post why I am looking forward to this. Daniel Day-Lewis is America's greatest immigrant and Steven Spielberg is America's most famous Xbox Live gamer. Not to mention James Spader, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field. My prediction: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor. Release Date: November 9, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


The only thing more exciting than a new movie in the Lord of the Rings canon is THREE new movies in the Lord of the Rings canon. The Hobbit is the first movie of a trilogy that tells the story of Bilbo Baggins back when he was a young thug slinging game on the east side of the Shire, who gets ahold of some baller-ass jewelry and decides he needs to protect that shit. Release date: December 14, 2012

Les Miserables


Not only is Les Miserables the greatest story ever told, the musical is one of the best Broadway masterpieces to ever grace the stage. This movie adaptation of the musical is especially unique because when they filmed it, instead of recording a master track and miming the songs, they actually sang live on each take, which promises to provide an even more intimate and powerful performance. Les Mis is by far my favorite musical and if the movie does it any justice, it may quickly become one of my favorite films as well. Release Date: December 25, 2012

The Master


Another genius film by Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic and enigmatic science fiction writer and Joaquin Phoenix as his increasinly-disconnected-from-reality disciple. My prediction: Best Actor nominee for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Picture nomination, Best Director nomination, Best Supporting Actor winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Best Supporting Actress nominee Amy Adams. Release Date: October 12, 2012

The Frozen Ground


Although this one doesn't have a trailer yet, The Frozen Ground is based on the true story of Robert Hansen, a serial killer in Alaska in the early 1980s who killed between 17 and 21 women. It stars John Cusack as Hansen, who is being hunted by  Alaska state trooper Nicholas Cage with the help of an escaped would-be victim, played by Vanessa Hudgens. I'm looking forward to this mostly because it was filmed last winter here in Anchorage, so there will be plenty of places and things that I recognize, which is always fun in a movie. Not to mention any movie with Nicolas Cage is guaranteed to be a winner (see generally, every nick cage movie ever). Release Date: December 1, 2012

Django Unchained


Quentin Tarantino is back with Django Unchained, which tells the story of Django, a slave played by Jamie Foxx, who is bought by Christoph Waltz's character and turned into a bounty hunter in exchange for his freedom. It promises Tarantino's trademark acerbic dialogue and plenty of gratuitous violence. My prediction: the DVD release will have an hour of unreleased material. Release Date: December 25, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dunder Mifflin: Drug Cartel

Note: This post contains spoilers for both The Office and The Wire

The Office is a popular mockumentary sitcom on NBC that focuses on the employees of a regional branch of Dunder Mifflin, Inc. With the premiere of its 9th season last Thursday, I thought I would share something that I've discovered about the series.

Dunder Mifflin is a publicly traded mid-cap office paper supply and distribution company, with offices in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and most recently, Florida. For most of its run the show focused on a regional branch of the company, ran by a bumbling, inept office manager named Michael Scott. Since Michael Scott's departure from the show, the company has been a subsidiary of Sabre Incorporated, a Korean printer company, headquartered in Tallahassee.

But consider this:

Dunder Mifflin is a front company for a large Northeast regional drug smuggling ring. It uses paper sales to legitimize its earnings and delivery trucks to move and ship the product to its regional distribution centers. Here's how it works.

The Players:

David Wallace

David Wallace is the cartel leader and kingpin, using his Wall Street background and ruthless business skills to procure and market the product worldwide. Dunder Mifflin's paper clients are smaller regional drug buyers and sellers, using Dunder Mifflin's paper product to launder their finances and transport their drugs undetected. He funnels their money through the publicly-traded paper company, and oversees the entire operation from his office in downtown Manhattan. In season 6, he decides he wants out and sells the company to Southwest cartel kingpin Jo Bennett, then later buys the operation back from her at the end of season 8.

Ryan Howard

Ryan is the wunderkind of the drug world, or should I say was. Ryan was hired at the end of season 3 to help manage the paper side of Dunder Mifflin, having just recently completed his MBA. This explains why, in Season 4, Ryan Howard's rise to power in the Dunder Mifflin corporate world led to his addiction to cocaine and eventual fraud charges, bringing unwanted attention to the company and threating the entire organization. Ryan is humiliated and sent to work as a temp in the Scranton office as punishment for his mistakes.

Creed Bratton aka William Charles Schneider 

Creed Bratton is the jack-of-all-trades of the Dunder Mifflin organization. Despite his persona of being a scatter-brained, washed-up guy living out his autumn years in a go-nowhere job, Creed is actually highly intelligent and organized. Creed is responsible for "quality assurance" at Dunder Mifflin, both in the above-board paper company and in the drug organization, making sure that shipments arrive on time, supplies are up to standards, and that problems are handled quickly before they have a chance to get out of hand. His nonsensical ramblings and seeming separation from reality make operating under the radar much easier, as no one expects much from him. Creed's long years in the business have made him the go-to guy for just about anything, and much like Red in Shawshank Penitentiary, he's a man who knows how to get things.

Darryl Philbin

Darryl is the warehouse manager for Dunder Mifflin Scranton. By day, he makes sure that all the paper supplies go out on time and in the right quantities to the right people. By night, he makes sure that all the company's drug shipments go out on time and in the right quantities to the right people. Darryl is one of the most critical members of the operation, because he oversees both the paper shipments and the illegal drug shipments concealed within them. His job also involves hiring and training trustworthy and discreet drivers to make shipments under the radar.

Charles Miner aka Stringer Bell

Charles Miner is a Dunder Mifflin executive working directly under CEO and Kingpin David Wallace. Known for his no-nonsense business acument and ruthlessness in the drug world, Stringer Bell came to Dunder Mifflin after faking his own death in Baltimore to escape the Barksdale drug operation there, changing his name to Charles Miner and inventing a fake management background. He is sent in to help repair the damage after Ryan nearly blows the whole operation when he's convicted of fraud at the height of a cocaine addiction. Stringer Bell disagrees with David Wallace's choice of Michael to run the Scranton branch, and ultimately pushes him out. However, after he realizes that Michael is essential to the operation, he goes to work elsewhere in the operation and Michael returns to the Scranton branch.

Michael Scott

Michael is the hired distraction for the company. His lack of intelligence and social understandings make him a constant thorn in the side of the paper company employees. He is a constant distraction, and his cluelessness about the actual business side of Dunder Mifflin provides both a way to conceal the illicit trade as well as to provide a scapegoat if the conspiracy is ever discovered. Eventually David realizes that Michael's love for Holly could jeopardize the operation, and the two are moved to Colorado.

Holly Flax aka Officer Beadie Russell

After escaping the corrupt Port Authority police in Baltimore, Ofc Russell assumes the name Holly Flax and joins the organization in Season 4, replacing Toby in Human Resources. A former law enforcement officer, her job is to help maintain the front for the organization in order to avoid law enforcement detection. As an HR rep, her job is to keep the company out of the courtroom and out of the public eye. Once she falls in love with Michael, David transfers her to the Nashua office to avoid any potential complications, but when she returns to Scranton and falls in love again, he decides to let them both move to Colorado and leave the organization.

Hidetoshi Hasagawa

Hide (hee-day) comes into the organization in season 6, where he works alongside Darryl in the warehouse. A skilled surgeon from Japan, he arrives at Dunder Mifflin after fleeing Japan for assassinating a Yakuza mob boss during surgery. Hide becomes the company's enforcer in the Northwest region, dealing with stubborn customers or late payments as necessary.

Jolene Bennett aka Jo

Jo Bennett is the leader of the largest drug cartel operation in the Southeast area, Sabre Inc. Sabre is a Korean printer company that is actually a front for a meth distribution network based in Seoul, South Korea. After David Wallace decides to leave the drug game, Jo's company Sabre buys his Dunder Mifflin operation, seeking to expand its market share and production capacity. Jo has a closer hand in managing the Dunder Mifflin operations than David Wallace did, which explains her constant presence in the Scranton branch despite being the CEO of a multinational corporation. She usually travels with at least one bodyguard (Gabe) and 2 large dogs for protection.

Eric Ward aka Gale Boetticher

Eric Ward is a "fact checker" and investment banker. Prior to changing his name to Gale Boetticher and going to work as a cook for Gus Fring's Los Pollos Hermanos Southwest organization, Eric Ward was the top chemist and quality control supervisor for Jo's Sabre drug production network. In Season 6, he is sent to Dunder Mifflin under the guise of being an "investment banker" prior to Jo's buyout to check their inventory, inspect their supplies, assess their operations, and report back to Jo on the stability and potential of the company and its product.

Harry Jarrone aka Frank Sobotka

Harry Jarrone is a sales and distribution associate in the Utica branch of Dunder Mifflin. Jarrone joined the organization after faking his death and escaping the dangerous world of working as a Baltimore stevedores' union leader. Holly Flax aka Ofc Russell convinced him to join the Dunder Mifflin organization, which he accepts ddue to the trust they earned in Baltimore, and he grows to a position of importance in the Utica office. He confronts leader Robert California after he cuts off his supplies from the Binghamton branch in Season 8.

Robert California aka Bob Kazamakis

Robert California is the CEO of Sabre, Inc. after Jo resigns the position. He is responsible for overseeing the operation, and takes several steps to modernize the legitimate side of Dunder Mifflin, including increasing sales and expanding into new markets. He creates tension within the organization when he changes the supply lines without notifying the regional distributors, resulting in Harry Jarrone's angry confrontation. When David Wallace rebuys the organization back from Jo in season 8, California leaves to go work abroad, exploring the possibility of expanding the market internationally.

Watch the series again on Netflix or Hulu and I guarantee you'll see that there is a massive drug smuggling operation being documented right in front of your eyes, and you never would have noticed it if I hadn't said something. You're welcome.