Sunday, August 31

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 31

I can't think of a more fitting way to wrap up this Calvin and Hobbes retrospective than with the final strip ever published. This appeared in newspapers on December 31, 1995, and while it has that "new year" vibe, as the finale, it's a great "looking ahead" ending. It's certainly not the funniest strip in the series, but Calvin and Hobbes doesn't always need to be funny to be on top of its game. This one captures the essence of childhood really well, and I think the spirit of the strip as a whole, too.

And again, I always marvel at how much snow Calvin's neighborhood gets. Just absolutely perfect for exploring. Let's keep life magical.

Saturday, August 30

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 30

I feel like this all the time. I can rattle off all kinds of nonsense, but rarely is it actually what someone is looking for. Oh well. Calvin will make a great architect someday.

Friday, August 29

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 29

There are a number of great conversations Calvin has on the phone. Usually it involves him trying to buy things from a hardware store (often with limited success). I like this because it's so ridiculous, and yet slightly genius. Calvin knows exactly what he's doing, and he's just messing with whoever is on the other line. He figures the call isn't for him, so why not have a little fun? I like that way of living.

Q&A With Marni Kinrys, Creator of the WINGGIRL Method

Best known as the "Wing Girl," expert relationship coach Marni Kinrys is revolutionizing the dating world by giving men the tools and skill set to attract, date and get any girl they want through her unique curriculum, the WINGGIRL Method. This one-of-a-kind self-help program takes a woman's perspective to give men a behind-the-scenes look into a woman's mind and helps them build a strong masculine character in an attempt to bridge the gap in communication between the sexes. Marni dishes advice on her podcast "Ask Women" and her upcoming book, That's Not How Men Work, is expected for release in September 2014. Marni took some time to chat with A Hot Cup Of Joey.

A Hot Cup Of Joey: How did the WINGGIRL Method come about?
Marni Kinrys: It was actually completely random, by accident. 11 years ago, I was at a singles mixer at a rabbi's house. I was with a friend who had recently gotten out of a relationship, and I was mainly there to support her. And I noticed that no one was talking. It was men on one side, women on the other. So, I just started pulling guys over to my friend, telling them what to say, what she liked, and so on. Then when my girlfriend was taken care of, I did it with other people in the room. I joked to my roommate that night and said, what if I was their wing girl? He said, okay that's never going to happen. Guys don't need help with women. I said, I don't think you're right. I posted an ad on Craigslist and had 75 responses by the next morning. Originally, it was me and my best friend. It started in L.A. but we wanted to reach people all over, so we started the WINGGIRL Method website.

AHCJ: How do you think your background in improv and acting translates to a romantic setting?
MK: It makes you fearless and able to open up any conversation. Improv teaches you how to read other people's cues. You're not trying to win the scene, just like you're not trying to win a conversation. It's about intention, and working together. It's about both people thriving. Improv and acting have also helped me hone in on my wit, and allowed me to use my imagination more.

AHCJ: What are some methods to approaching groups of women?
MK: We always make excuses in our minds as to why not to approach people. The method I use can be used for anything--it's called the OSA Method. It stands for Observation, Share and Ask.

First, make an observation about the world around you. It can be anything. It's like talking to the universe and she just happens to be there. Then, you share--give up a little of yourself. Then you open it up by asking a question. A lot of people are so worried about how they're going to sound or what they look like as they're walking over. But remember, you're not the only one being evaluated.

AHCJ: Name a mistake people make in online dating.
MK: Not using it correctly. A lot of people half-ass it with setting up a profile, and then thinking that everyone will flock to you. It's the same thing as real life: you get what you put out there. A lot of guys take what they can get rather than going after what they want. And learning how to present yourself, how to send emails.

AHCJ: How can someone move from being "just friends" to a more romantic relationship?
MK: Okay, let's go with a guy who's been friends with a girl, and then suddenly realizes he wants something more. Being honest and communicating from a confident place. You can literally just turn to your girlfriend and say, you know what, this is something I've been thinking about. I don't know if it would work, but it's something that's been on my mind. Saying I don't know what's going to happen, but we have a great friendship, and I have feelings for you. Let's try it out.

And then the other side is with people that you've been pining for since you met them. The way to get out of the friendship is to really stop being a friend, and stop acting like a friend. You want to change the way that you present yourself. You're taking on the seductor role while around your "friend". The best thing to do is to say something confidently about what you want. Tell a woman what you think, rather than showing her how you feel. It comes across as clear as confident. If you're not comfortable saying it out loud, just start changing your behavior. You're there every once in awhile, and when you are available, you're there for everything that is more exciting and fun, and can be seen in a more sexual level, so she can see you in that light.

AHCJ: You have a new book coming out, That's Not How Men Work.
MK: Over the past 10 years, I have learned a ridiculous amount of information about men that I never thought I would know. Men open up to me, and I hear from their point of view, the things that women do that confuse them. That's helped me in my own relationship, especially with communication.

Now, I've written the book called That's Not How Men Work because I find myself saying that to my girlfriends all the time. I explain to them how men actually work, and it helps them a lot more than my comforting did initially. Now I want to share this other information with other women who are single or in relationships. Just to hear from me, because I get all this insider information, how men actually do work, not how we want them to work.

ACHJ: What is the worst date you've ever been on?
MK: It was my first date from J-Date that I went on. He just lied about everything. He was a nice guy, but I couldn't tell if he was gay or straight, to be honest. He lied about his height, he lied about his job. He said he was a lawyer, and then when we met in person he said, "Oh, well I'm considering going to law school but I really want to be a writer." The lies were no good, but we happened to get along really well. We went out, and he flossed his teeth. It wasn't anything horrible, but it was a huge turnoff to online dating. I didn't want to go back to it after that.

Thursday, August 28

Jennifer Anniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow Reunite For Friends Sketch

It's been an interesting time for fans of the show Friends. First, Jennifer Anniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow met for lunch last month, then news of a pop-up version of the Central Perk coffee shop would be coming to NYC. Finally, Jimmy Kimmel Live brought the trio of female stars together for a sketch, in a set that looks shockingly like the apartment from the show. That's gotta mean something in advance of the 20th anniversary of the first episode, right?

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 28

I don't know why I think this is so funny. It's actually kind of sad--the world is so polluted that the scariest thing a child can think of is a barrel of toxic waste. Maybe I just like the face Hobbes make when he's being fierce.

LeVar Burton Introduces Tweeting Rainbow

Nostalgia went wild this past year, when LeVar Burton Kickstarted his way to bringing back Reading Rainbow. Pretty awesome stuff, though of course there are some skeptics. I'm not sure if this segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live, called "Tweeting Rainbow," answers those skeptics, but, hey, it was pretty funny. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 27

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 27

Another Calvin character is Tracer Bullet. I think I like him more than Spaceman Spiff, though he makes far fewer appearances. It's Calvin imagining himself in a film noir setting as a private eye. I love his line when he first introduces the character: "I keep two magnums in my desk. One's a gun, and I keep it loaded. The other's a bottle and it keeps me loaded." Just fantastic.

I like this strip because usually when Calvin jumps back to reality, he's still just standing around, "investigating". This is a rare action shot for Tracer Bullet, though I'm sure it's not going to end well for Calvin.

Ranking the Pokemon: #9- Snorlax

Snorlax is the laziest Pokemon around. In the first two generations, the only way to catch it is via awakening it with a PokeFlute and then engaging it in battle. It's so lethargic it's actually FALLEN ASLEEP in the middle of a sidewalk. It can't even move like six feet in one direction to allow you to pass by. What a sack of crap. Snorlax also weighs 1,014 pounds. OVER A THOUSAND.

That morbid obesity does help, though: Snorlax's HP is among the highest in the game, and its Attack is pretty grand, too. Of course, it's slower than a teenager whose pants are sagging below his waist, but hey, that's a given. Special is a bit below average, and Defense is pretty subpar for a fatty.

Snorlax's "signature" move is Rest, as it's always sleeping. I actually prefer not to put the move on my 'lax, though, whether I'm going the special or physical sweeper route. It has poor Special, but it learns Amnesia, which raises the stat by two notches. Couple Amnesia with Thunderbolt and Blizzard, and you've got a decent special sweeper. Throw Psychic or Surf on to complete the special shenanigans.

If you go for a physical sweeping Snorlax instead, you really won't need any Attack boost, since it's already so high. Earthquake is never a bad call, and one of the Body Slam/Double-Edge/Hyper Beam trio will let you take advantage of STAB. Rock Slide allows you to deal with any of those annoying Flying-types. For the final move, you can either go with Selfdestruct as a "go out in a blaze of glory" desperation thang, or you can try and beef up that Defense a little bit with Reflect. The sheer number of options you have with the giant teddy bear put it this high on the list.

As a bonus, here's your random Snorlax trivia: If you make it faint in Pokemon Stadium, its eyes will open. That's the only time you'll see Snorlax's eyes. They're black. 

Battling Grade: A-

Tuesday, August 26

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 26

In addition to his transporting/transmogrifying adventures, Calvin has also created a number of aliases for himself. One of these is Spaceman Spiff. Usually, the intergalactic narrative has Calvin navigating the perilous skies, with lots of vivid backgrounds on the strip. The color of the Sunday strips really help in these instances.

Often, Spaceman Spiff is about to crash land when Calvin snaps back to reality. Usually he's about to get into trouble, but occasionally he ends up answering his teacher's or parent's question correctly. I like those more than when he's goofing off, mainly because I enjoy when Calvin celebrates, as in the final panel.

Jimmy Fallon Has NBC Anchors Deliver "Good" News

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is all about making people's lives better, or at least more entertaining. And Mr. Fallon has a nice little featurette called "I've Got Good News and Good News," in which he enlists the help of some local NBC affiliates to only deliver made up, positive news. As the world has been super depressing lately, it's a nice, albeit fictional, diversion.

Ranking the Pokemon: #10- Jolteon

Jolteon is the second of three possible Generation I Eeveelutions (nowadays there are like 79 of them), but it is far and away the best of the trio. It's also the favorite Pokemon of Will Pacarro, aka Yellow Paco, aka the fan favorite on Internet Icon Season 2. And that's gotta count for something. Plus it's friggin' adorable. Just look at that poonum! Finally, its Japanese name is "Thunders," which is very cute.

Even with subpar HP, Attack and Defense, Jolteon excels in Special, and is one fast lil dog/fox/whatever the hell it actually is. Outside of Electrode, it's the second fastest Poke in the game (tied with Mewtwo and Aerodactyl). Not too shabby. It's also only weak against Ground types. One weakness? Sign me up!

You could also outfit Jolteon with the rare "four different type naturally learned" moveset by going Thunder/Pin Missile/Double Kick/Agility. But, come on. We're playing to win battles, not going for creativity. So ditch ALL of those moves, and listen to the right way to construct your Jolteon:

Thunderbolt. It's way more accurate than Thunder, and the slight decrease in power isn't enough of a deterrent to shy away. Just whatever you do, don't use Thundershock. Ew.

Thunder Wave. Jolteon is already going to be faster than just about you face, so in this case, you're using the move almost exclusively for the paralysis. But hey, if my opponent has a 30% chance of not attacking and I have a 0% chance of not attacking, those are QUALITY ODDS.

Reflect. Jolteon's Defense is one of its lesser skills, so being able to up that stat is a good thing. You won't ever be the top of the class in D, but at least you won't be James Harden level of bad.

The last move is up to you. Double Team is always enjoyable with Thunder Wave because it'll frustrate your opponent to no end. Toxic, which has become pretty terrible in the modern days, is another option for annoying your opponent. Being poisoned and potentially not able to attack is a...well, an annoying combo. The only physical attack I'd put on Jolteon is Body Slam--HP is too fragile to take recoil damage back from Double-Edge or Take Down, and Hyper Beam's two-turn M.O. just leaves you open to an unnecessary extra hit. Why anyone would want to hit this adorable afghan-wearing Afghan Hound is beyond me. 

Battling Grade: A-

Monday, August 25

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 25

Some people get haircuts every couple of weeks, while others might go a year in between appointments. Whatever the frequency, it's something we have to do, and oftentimes the look isn't perfect, but it's good enough. I forget exactly why Calvin gets this idea that he needs to cut his hair, but there's a series of panels where Hobbes tries to help him out.

Predictably, things go wrong, and Calvin is left with a pretty wacky haircut. He also attempts to just cut it all off, then uses a yellow marker to try and make up for his lack of hair. Of course, that washes out during his next bath, and he's forced to just wait for his hair to grow back. At least his new 'do makes for good banter at recess.

Sunday, August 24

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 24

It's interesting to see what foods kids are drawn to, especially in retrospect. As a child, I was a huge fan of things like Cocoa Pebbles, and would put ketchup on litchrally anything, whether it was spaghetti or pancakes. Nowadays, I enjoy things like brussels sprouts, broccoli and plums, whereas back then you couldn't have made me try those even by force-feeding them to me through a tube.

Thus, as a parent, I'm sure a last resort is to say you're eating something gross. Kids might be grossed out by rice soup, but if that rice is maggots instead? They're all for it.

The Manning Brothers At Back At The Rap Game, And It's Delightful

Peyton and Eli Manning, when not quarterbacking in the NFL (the former much more successfully than the latter, lately), enjoy singing bad rap songs to help promote various products. In this case, the brothers are rapping "Fantasy Football Fantasy" to unveil DIRECTV's new, exclusive Fantasy Zone Channel. Fantasy advice 24/7? Not too shabby.

Saturday, August 23

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 23

Before other kids started providing smart answers on tests, Calvin was finding his own loopholes. I always enjoyed using the "Guess and Check" strategy on math exams, and would do what I could to game the system if I didn't know the answer outright. Sadly, though, as I'm sure Calvin will soon realize, this will not result in a correct answer. Unless your teacher is awesome.

Friday, August 22

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 22

This is so true it's almost scary. I think it's only human to be in a bad mood every once in a while (those people who are too cheery may actually be robots). In this example, Calvin is mad because he has to go to school. I believe it's the start of another year, and he's absolutely not pumped about it.

Luckily, little Susie Derkins lives on his block and takes his bus. He can imprint his bad mood onto her. His evil face in the last panel is perfect. If you're feeling crummy, nothing beats bringing someone else down with you.

Thursday, August 21

Ranking the Pokemon: #11- Articuno

Our second legendary bird is all the way up at #11. So clearly, if you're legendary, you're doing something right. Articuno's tail reminds me of the train on a bride's wedding gown. Not sure how it doesn't trip all over it while it's waking. But, as you can see, those majestic wings are pretty huge, so maybe 'cuno just flies everywhere. Who knows? It's a fictional creature.

Of course, as a legendary, Articuno has pretty admirable stats. Special is outta control, tied for fourth-highest in the game. Defense is very good, too, and HP, Attack and Speed are all above-average. You could go the tank route with Articuno, although with only five moves it learns naturally (and a fairly limited movepool of TMs available), your options aren't the best.

Blizzard is obviously a must-have, and while BubbleBeam is pretty low accuracy, it's very helpful against Rock-types. That's Articuno's biggest weakness, so takin' 'em out early (like Liam Neeson) is a sound strategy. Since Articulate is a Flying-type, Sky Attack/Fly can be useful. Neither one of them are very good, but hey, STAB is nice. The last move can either be defensive, like Reflect, Rest, Agility or Double Team, or you can throw a Normal-type attack on there. I'd recommend Body Slam or Double-Edge, simply because if you already have Sky Attack or Fly, you already have a move that takes two turns. And I'm impatient, so I don't want more than one of those.

Your fun fact about Articuno: It's visible through binoculars at a spot near Fuchsia City. If you catch or defeat Articuno in the Seafoam Islands (there's only one ice bird in the game), it's still visible through those binoculars. Silly.

Battling Grade: A-

Simply Genius Shower Thoughts With Nick Offerman

At this point, I'm convinced Nick Offerman could read the menu of any restaurant and it would sound good. Thanks, Mashable, for setting this up.

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 21

People rarely use cameras that require film nowadays, but I think this concept still applies. Anytime I'm trying to take a selfie with ma girls, it seems like at least one of us makes a face or isn't looking. Or is making a face WHILE not looking. There's all kinds of nonsensical glory going around.

Calvin is being a typical disobedient child here, while simultaneously trying to find a loophole in taking a nice picture for the family. I also really just like Calvin's face in the third panel. If I can ever figure out how to make my mouth look like that...well, watch out, world.

Dance Like Justin Bieber From The Man Who Choreographed His Moves

Have you ever wanted to dance with the pros? Well, baby steps: now you can dance like them. Nick deMoura, who choreographed the moves from Justin Bieber's Believe Tour, just released his Believe Tour Dance Experience DVD.

As someone who's not really a fan of Justin Bieber's music, I still thought this was an entertaining DVD. It's a good workout, for sure, and guess what: dancing is a blast. Even if you have two left feet, things are broken down in an easy to understand way. Dance Experience is also chock full of never-before-seen behind the scenes footage, so Beliebers will really enjoy things, too. And who knows? If you work hard enough at it, you might be joining a pop star onstage in 2015.

You can purchase the DVD right here, and be sure to keep watching Nick on episodes of So You Think You Can Dance?, airing Wednesday nights.

Wednesday, August 20

Ranking the Pokemon: #12- Dragonite

For being a behemoth, Dragonite sure is cute. Look at it--it's WAVING. How can something like this have the highest Attack in all of Generation I? Those wacky Game Freak designers.

Despite from having a pair of spaghetti coming out from its head and wings that look way too small for its disproportionately big body, Dragonite has a ton of solid stats. That Attack, as I said, is the highest ever, and Special and Defense are both very good, too. HP ain't bad, and Speed is right around average. That's a fantabulous five out of five of positive stats. Couple it with the cuteness and correct colors (orange and green, just like The U, baby!), and Dragonite is one big ball of...well, something.

For tha moves, Thunder Wave is always a good option, and I like having Blizzard there to deal with other Draggies. The biggest problem I have with Dragonite is that its Attack almost goes to waste because of all the poor physical attacks it learns. You might even be better off just Special-sweeping with Thunder Wave/Thunderbolt/Blizzard/Surf. But alternative moves to use include Agility and Hyper Beam/Double-Edge/Body Slam, again based on if you want to only attack every two turns but have it do massive damage/receive recoil damage from your attack/don't want to get said recoil damage but want to hurt your opponent slightly less. Don't bother learning the ONE Dragon-type move in the game (seriously? Why even bother making a type if you just gon' have one static move?). Dragon Rage does 40 damage, regardless if you're level 1 or level 100, or if your name is Dragonite or Betty White. Pathetic.

Being a Dragon and Flying type means Dragonite has a ton of resistances, too. Fighting? Grass? Water? Fire? LAUGH IN THEIR FACES, because they're doing minimal damage to your Dragonracer. Bug also does half damage, but I just presume you'd already be laughing in your opponent's face if they whipped out a Bug-type move. The only thing that really does a ton of damage is Ice; even Ice Beam can take out a Dragonite, so be wary of that. Otherwise, rage on.

Battling Grade: A

Barely Legal Pawn Featuring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are back in business, this time running a pawn shop that borders on legality. Then Julia Louis-Dreyfus comes in, hoping to sell her Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. As you may expect, things get INTENSE.

Watch the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards live Monday, August 25, 8pm EST/5pm PDT.

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 20

Anyone who currently has a kid probably will hate this, but having only been one myself, I love it. I'm sure I woke my mom up a number of times with silly questions like this. In my (and Calvin's) defense, we didn't have easily accessible internet--Googling something was just a pipe dream.

I especially like how Calvin isn't deterred by his mother getting angry at him. That's the real sign of a persistent kid.

Tuesday, August 19

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 19

I've always been envious of the people who can so easily adopt the "ignorance is bliss" mindset so easily. Contrary to what Hobbes says, I think that can be a wonderful way to live.

Want a Gatorade? Peyton Manning and Cam Newton Want You To Sweat First

I wish I knew what was going on here. But sometimes that ignorance makes things better. Peyton Manning and Cam Newton have shot a series of Gatorade commercials, where they prank "random" shoppers and tell them they can't buy a Gatorade unless they're sweating. Not gonna lie, I agree with the NFLers. Gatorade is not that much fun to drink if you aren't already tired and/or sweating. Gotta replenish those electrolytes, ya know?

Check out some other commercials featuring Cam and Peyton here.

Monday, August 18

Ranking the Pokemon: #13- Kangaskhan

Kangaskhan's got some cool trivia attached to it. I've already delved into the theory about it and Cubone/Marowak, but here are some other things you may not have known about the kangaroo/Gengis Khan mashup: 
  • Even Baby Kangaskhan's are born with the little baby in their pouch in subsequent generations (after breeding was introduced), 
  • The M'00 Pokemon you'll sometimes see thanks to the MissingNo. glitch will evolve into a Kangaskhan.
  • Kangaskhan can theoretically learn four HMs because of the aforementioned glitch. M'00 learns Cut and Fly, while an actual Kanga learns Surf and Strength. The original HM slave!
Anyway, onto the battling ability: Ol' Mr(s). Khan is not too shabby in a number of categories. HP is crazy high, Attack and Speed are both very good, Defense is above average, and Special...well, four out of five ain't bad.

Kangaskhan also learns a buttload of moves, but of course, that dumb Special prevents many of them from being useful. I still think tossing Blizzard or Thunder on is worthwhile just to be able to deal with a few other types. It's one of the rare instances where Thunder is a better call that Thunderbolt. You'll need that extra power, so you can sacrifice a lil accuracy. Earthquake is a fantastic choice, as well, and if you don't go for Blizzard/Thunder you should absolutely have Rock Slide involved. Take your pic of Body Slam/Double-Edge/Hyper Beam for the Normal-type move, throw Submission on there to get rid of fellow Normals, and you should be good to go. And when you good to go, then the going is good.

Battling Grade: B+

I Hope Charlie Sheen Ends These ALS Ice Challenge Videos

Look, I completely understand that the ice bucket challenge has been a great way to raise awareness and money for ALS, a disease that needed a lot more awareness shed on it. But I can promise you 90% of these videos are simply done to get some social media attention, and OH MY GOODNESS if one more person shoots a vertical video on their iPhone I'm going to lose it.

Charlie Sheen took things to a new level--he...well, I don't want to spoil it. Just watch the above video. And then unfriend everyone on your timeline who's posting their own.

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 18

As someone who gets caught up in telling stories (often with lots of tangents and whatnot) as well as someone who seems to be on the receiving end of a lot of snoozefests, I sympathize with both Calvin and his dad here. Also, escalators were so much cooler as a kid.

Sunday, August 17

Kevin Hart, Dave Franco Star In New Madden 15 Commercial

If only EA Sports put this much effort into actually improving Madden each year...

Kevin Hart and Dave Franco star in a way over-the-top commercial for Madden 15, the 26th installment in the series. The last really good Madden I've played is Madden 2006, which, as you may recognize, is nearly ten years old. That's a problem for a series that routinely underdelivers. And why would they bother? They've got a monopoly on professional football games, and suckers will keep buying them every year, even when the only new addition is more realism added to the grass on the field (that was actually highlighted on the box of a previous Madden game as a new feature to look for).

But anyway, this commercial is ridiculous enough that people should love it. Keep an eye out for a number of NFL cameos, including Von Miller, Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick, Eddie Lacy, LeSean McCoy, Dez Bryant, and inexplicably Damian Lillard, despite the fact he plays in the NBA. I guess all the other footballers were busy. Enjoy!

31 Days of Calvin and Hobbes: Day 17

Comic strips rarely deal with death. Let's face it: there are more humorous topics out there. But Calvin and Hobbes doesn't need to be funny to work.

This strip is part of a series that happened pretty early on in the lifespan of the comic. Calvin finds a raccoon that's already pretty badly injured, and rushes to get his mom and dad to try and save its life. Of course, as neither one of them are veterinarians with emergency life-saving skills, the raccoon dies during the night. Calvin doesn't take it very well, and this is the strip that wraps things up. I don't think it could be said more eloquently.