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Unsung Heroes: Animal Man

Dr. Humphry Wimbletington takes you on another journey on knowledge to bring you some facts about DC's Animal Man


For the Children.

Well, as much as I hate to admit it (and I REALLY hate to admit it until Thanksgiving is over), the holiday season is coming around.

Regardless of whether you love or hate the Christmas season for all its commercialism and rampant consumerism, you really can't argue with the more wholesome aspects. Well, I guess you can, but its hard to hate the alms giving, drastic increase in charitable donations of food and clothing, and general upswing in philanthropy without coming of as Scrooge's even more douche-y cousin.

  Not all charities require standing out in the cold or buying canned food, however. Anyone who knows the internet is probably at least aware of the the webcomic Penny Arcade. If not, I am disappoint.
And so is this turtle. You monster.

One of the many programs Penny Arcade runs outside of their comic strip is the annual “Child's Play” charity drive. Participants in the drive take donations of either money or games and toys to be donated to children's hospitals all over the country. There are several organizations outside of Penny Arcade that participate in the event, including hilarious internet sketch comedians, and major influence of this site, Loading Ready Run. If you don't know who they are, I am again disappoint.
 But you can make up for this disappointment by tuning in for what is easily the greatest charity event and video game marathon on the internet, “Desert Bus for Hope.” The premise of the drive is fairly simple: the group plays the game Desert Bus on the Penn and Teller: Smoke and Mirrors game for the Sega-CD for literally days. So many of you may be asking, “wait, what is this Desert Bus game, and why does it warrant a gaming marathon?” First off, stop talking to your screen, I haven't worked out how to hear you just yet. Second, Desert Bus is a game in which you play as the driver of an empty bus making its way from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, in real time. This means 8 hours of non-stop gameplay. There is no pause, there is no saving, there are no continues. The road is completely straight, and completely deserted save for your bus. Also, and this is real kick in the teeth, the bus veers slightly to the right, so you can't just leave the console on for eight hours and win. You have to keep tapping the d-pad to keep from going off the road. What happens if you go off the road? You crash, and you are towed back to Tuscon, in real time. If you make it, you get one point, and the option of driving back. As you can probably imagine, this game would drive a lesser mortal insane in roughly two hours, but the people at Loading Ready Run have broken records playing the game, with drivers playing for 24 hours straight. For the children. Of course, watching this sounds almost as boring as playing it. One of the things people should really be tuning in for are the guest celebrities, which in the past have included Zero Punctuation's “Yahtzee”, nerd-idol Wil Wheaton (no, not the evil one) and even Penn and Teller themselves. During that time, viewers of their live stream can make donations, either for challenges (as in, “I will donate $25 to see X person sing X song) or in the prize auctions. I'm not going to lie to you, Loading Ready Run manages to get some really amazing prizes for this drive, including hand-made video game paraphernalia, limited edition or even one of a kind merchandise from major game studios, and more awesome collectible geek stuff than I could shake four dozen fists at. Beyond guest appearances and cool stuff, the general silliness of getting a room full of comedians for days on end, and the highly interactive viewer chat-log make the live stream of the event more than worthy of at least running in the background of your PC. You know, that and the fact that it's for a good cause. Desert Bus for Hope 6 starts tomorrow, so do me a favor, check out Desert Bus at


Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart

People, I need you to sit down for this one. I don't know why you'd be standing up while reading this, but seriously, sit down. I am about to say something so shocking, so unheard of, so unspeakable that I feel slightly sickened with myself for doing it.

Are you ready?

Dark Shadows is....NOT a better love story than Twilight.

I know, I know. Sorry, I had to brush my teeth after letting that come out of my mouth. But I had to say it. This movie is terrible, and the worst part, the absolute, bottom of the barrel worst part in it is the "love story" between Johnny Depp's Barnabas Collins and Victoria. Why?

Say what you will about how vapid the love story in Twilight is. I certainly said it in my rant on the subject (look through the archives for the video) but you know what? As stupid as it was, it at least existed. At least we saw Edward and Bella together, DOING things. Here, you see Victoria near the end of the movie and you're just like, "who is that? Oh yeah, that girl we've seen for a total of about seven minutes of screen time. More like two minutes if you're talking about her with Depp's character.

Sure, Bartholomew talks about loving her once or twice, and asks people how to woo a woman in this new day and age (for those of you who don't know, Barnabas was locked in a coffin for 200 years and was let out in 1972), but we never see him try any methods of getting her attention. He just says he loves her near the end and she just kind of says "Sweet, I love you too."

 In fact, the whole movie's problem is that they just talk about things. We hear about how the young Collins son is considered to be deranged after the death of his mother, but we never see any evidence of it. He dresses as a ghost to try to scare people? He plays with dinosaur toys? Man, this kid must be a real wacko for an eight year old.


The second message of the story is told to you so blatantly that they may as well put up a large neon sign with it: Family is the only real treasure. Again though, we never see any of it. Barnabas likes to talk about how important family is, but we don't really see him interacting with the modern-day Collins family. There's one scene where he tells the young boy's womanizing sleazebag father to shape up or get out of his son's life. So, naturally in the theme of the movie he realizes his mistakes and learns to put family fir-OH WAIT no he just takes a bunch of money and ditches the kid. Real nice.

Huh...may have busted out the spongebob pic too early.

There also this "HUGE" plot twist in the end about how each family member is supernaturally cursed, the daughter is a werewolf, the son communicates with vengeful spirits of the dead, but who cares? There's nothing leading up to the daughter's condition, so we're just left going "...huh. So I guess that's a thing".

Heck, the movie isn't even about the family. It's about Depp's character and the witch who turned him into a vampire because he wouldn't love her. There's this whole dilemma of Barnabas hating her, but he can't resist sleeping with her (or, rather, jumping around the room with all their clothes clearly still on). But even THAT is underdeveloped because it takes time out to try to cram in all the other underdeveloped, for lack of a better phrase, "plot points."

Visually, sure, Depp makes a decent vampire. Sure, the castle is cool looking. It's not enough to save this however. I wouldn't tell you to go watch Twilight instead (unless you have the rifftrax or something), but save your money and rent almost any OTHER vampire movie.

p.s. How did the Collins family survive? We see Bartholomew's parents get killed, and we never see any brothers or sisters. We aren't told he had kids in the 1700's so what the hell?