Category Archives: Funny

The Guild


While listening to Wil Wheaton’s podcast a few months ago, he played an interview he did with Felicia Day, creator, writer, and star of The Guild, a web comedy series (a TV show but only available on the web). I had never heard of The Guild, but Wil did a number of guest appearances on it and kept talking about how great it was, so I thought I’d give it a try. The Guild is undoubtedly one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, on or off TV. The writing is brilliant, the characters are hilarious, and there are even shocking plot twists and cliffhanger moments that make you look forward to Tuesdays. Each episode is only 6-8 minutes long, and a new episode is released every Tuesday. A “season” lasts for about 12 weeks and season four just finished last week. I started watching The Guild when I was off work, so I managed to catch up with all of seasons 1 through 3 in a couple of days, and during season 4 I tried to watch it every Tuesday night.

The Guild is about a group of six people who play some kind of online game, similar to World of Warcraft (which I’ve never played). Note that you don’t need to know anything about gaming (I don’t) to enjoy the show. The game has taken over their lives and they even use each other’s game character names when talking in real life. In fact, of the six of them, I only know the real name of one of them – Clara, because her character name is also Clara. Oh wait, Bladezz’s name is Simon but even his sister calls him Bladezz. The other characters (except Tink, I believe) have had their real names mentioned, but only a couple of times. The main six characters are part of a guild known as The Knights of Good, meaning that they play together as a group and fight against other guilds. The guild members are:

  • Codex is the main character, played by Felicia Day. She’s a single woman who’s very insecure and always concerned with what the other guild members think of her.
  • Zaboo is a young man of Indian descent who is good with computers but has no social skills whatsoever. (When he moves in with Vork, Vork tells him, “Men only shower together when there’s more than one shower.”) He lived with his very controlling mother until season 3 when he moved in with Vork.
  • Vork is a 40-something balding guy who is extremely cheap and follows rules to the letter. He’s the leader of the guild.
  • Tinkerballa (known as Tink) is a bit of a mystery. I believe she’s a med or pre-med student, though her personal life is pretty much off-limits to the other guild members. I don’t think they even know her real name. Tink is beautiful and not only is she well aware of this, she uses it to her advantage whenever possible.
  • Clara is a stay-at-home mother of three (or two, depending on the season – one seems to have vanished) very young children, who she routinely ignores while playing the game. Her husband, George aka Mr. Wiggly (named after…. um, never mind) once joined the guild temporarily but was completely inept at the game.
  • Bladezz is a high school student who works at a local burger joint, “Cheesybeards”. Bladezz is always making off-colour sexual comments and was described in a recent episode as “skeevey”. Good word.

The Axis of Anarchy is another guild that the Knights of Good are constantly battling with. Their leader is Fawkes, who has a strange love/hate relationship with Codex. Fawkes always has this little “I’m smarter than you but I suppose I can bring myself down to your level” smirk on his face when he’s talking to someone. Fawkes is played by Wil Wheaton, who does a great job of playing an evil yet oddly charming douchebag.

When I first started watching it, I assumed that it was done as a web series because it wasn’t good enough to be picked up by one of the big networks. Because you know, the sitcoms that are shown on the big networks are all really good. cough $#*! My Dad Says cough But it looks as “professional” as any network sitcom, the actors are all really good, and as I said before it’s very funny. If it were a network show, they’d have to expand it to 22 minutes per episode, and tripling the length of each episode would likely water it down too much. Having a “live studio audience” watching the taping of each episode would not make the show any better, and God help Felicia Day if she were to add a laugh-track.

Being an internet-based show aimed at geeks, it is a little surprising that the website for The Guild is so confusing. If I were to design it, I’d have a page for each season and links to each episode in that season all in one place, so it’s easy to find episodes. There is a blog that has a page for each episode, but that bumps you off to Bing where the episodes are hosted. Once you’re there it’s not easy to find other episodes – the “related videos” on the right seems to be a random assortment of episodes from all the seasons. One page I went to (season 4 episode 10) had a link to season 4 episode 5 instead so I had to start poking around until I found the right episode. From the time I started looking to the time I was actually watching the right episode was at least five minutes – should be a matter of seconds.

But being an internet-based show aimed at geeks, it is not particularly surprising that there is a fan podcast for The Guild. It’s called Knights of the Guild and features a guy named Kenny who is a member of the crew, though he hasn’t mentioned (in the few podcasts I’ve listened to) exactly what he does. After every episode, he does a “companioncast” during which he interviews many cast and crew members and talks about that episode. This is recorded right after the episode was filmed, which is months before it actually airs. Most of these interviews are pretty interesting, though some are kind of Chris Farley-esque. “Remember when happened? That was soooooo funny” isn’t much of an interview question. It does seem a little weird to have a 90+ minute podcast about a 7-minute episode, but whatever, it’s fun.

I suppose The Guild is not for everybody, but I think a lot of internet geeks like myself (I have a blog, I use twitter, and I use terms like “epic FAIL”) would love it. As I said, you don’t need to be a gamer (or even a geek) to like the show, but if you’re a gamer or a geek, give it a try at watchtheguild.com.

And the winner for best soap box dispenser is…


While driving around town the other day, I spotted a local business sporting a new sign: “Your community’s award-winning laundromat”. I’m curious as to exactly what awards they won. I guess I’ve been remiss in my attention to the local laundromat awards.

When they “Your community”, do they mean Waterdown, or is this Hamilton-wide? When and where was the ceremony? Is this a rent-the-Legion kind of event, or were they down at the Hamilton Convention Centre? Or Copps Coliseum? We get both the Hamilton and local Flamborough papers, and I don’t remember mention of it, but maybe I just missed it. Must have happened while I was in hospital. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.

I’m sure that Hamilton’s A-list celebrities were all there – that would be star of stage and screen Martin Short, hoser Dave Thomas, Ti-Cats owner Bob Young, and sports journalist Stephen Brunt. And the bands Junkhouse and Teenage Head. Waterdown’s A list might also have been there, consisting of… ummmm…. well, the guy that played Harold on the Red Green show used to live here, does that count? And I once saw the coach (at the time) of the Tiger-Cats in the local grocery store, but then he got fired and moved back to London.

Anyway, congratulations to Cedars Laundromat on their victory, and I look forward to seeing if they can make it two in a row at next year’s Soapie Awards. Probably on pay-per-view.

Top Ten Funny Song Lyrics


Not necessarily brilliant or insightful, just lyrics that always make me laugh. I left out comedy musicians like Weird Al or Jonathan Coulton (though I always laugh at “one bad-ass fucking fractal“). These are in no particular order.

 

  1. Paul McCartney, “Sally”
    When you’re away there are grey skies
    And when I’m away there are even more grey skies than the grey skies I told you about before
  2. Gin Blossoms, “Cheatin'”
    You can’t call it cheatin’, cause she reminds me of you
  3. ZZ Top, “TV Dinners”
    I like the enchiladas and the teriyaki too
    I even like the chicken if the sauce is not too blue
  4. A few self-referential songs, grouped together because they’re similar:
    1. Def Leppard, “Me and My Wine”
      You know I’d like to get to know you
      but I ain’t got the time, and I’m
      I’m finding it harder and harder
      to make this damn thing rhyme
    2. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”
      Well we got no class
      and we got no principles
      [principals?]
      and we got no innocence
      we can’t even think of a word that rhymes
    3. Primus, “Mr. Know-it-all”
      They call me Mr. Know-it-all
      I am so eloquent
      Perfection is my middle name
      and whatever rhymes with eloquent
  5. Led Zeppelin, “Travelling Riverside Blues”
    Squeeze my lemon til the juice runs down my leg
    Squeeze it so hard I’m gonna fall right outta bed…
    I wonder if you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout

    The same lyrics are in “The Lemon Song” as well, but the funny part is Robert Plant wondering if we know what he’s talkin’ ’bout. Right Robert, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure I can see through the layers of complicated symbolism there.
  6. Tom Petty, “A Mind With A Heart Of Its Own”
    I’ve been over to your house
    And you’ve been sometimes to my house
    I’ve slept in your treehouse
    My middle name is Earl
    (Important note: Tom Petty’s middle name is indeed Earl)
  7. Autograph, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”
    Don’t remember any lyrics, I just like the title of this forgettable song from a forgettable band from the mid-80’s.
  8. Matchbox 20, “Long Day”
    I’m sorry ’bout the attitude I need to give when I’m with you
    But no one else would take this shit from me
  9. Dire Straits, “Industrial Disease”
    Two men say they’re Jesus
    One of them must be wrong
  10. Cake, “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”
    The whole song makes me laugh. It starts off with a guy singing about what kind of girl he wants. He wants “a girl with a mind like a diamond“, “is fast and thorough and sharp as a tack“, “with a voice that is dark like tinted glass“, that kind of thing. Of course, he also wants a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket. Then it gets a little weird. Now he wants a girl “with uninterrupted prosperity, who uses a machete to cut through red tape” and someone who’s “touring the facility and picking up slack“. And who wouldn’t want a girl with “a smooth liquidation” and “good dividends“? Finally he gets really specific:
    At Citibank we will meet accidentally [“Meet accidentally!” yell the backup singers]
    We’ll start to talk when she borrows my pen…
    She’s changing her name from Kitty to Karen
    She’s trading her MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron

Ryan tells it like it is


Nicky is in a summer camp this week called Fossil Hunters, run by a private school up on Hamilton Mountain. On the way home today, I asked him what they had done today, and he said that they made a fossil. Being the amusing father that I am, I asked him “Did you find a dinosaur, bury him in sand, then wait a hundred million years and dig him up again?” Nicky said that this is not, in fact, what they did but laughed at the idea, while telling me that they couldn’t do it that way because we’d be dead in a hundred million years. Thanks for that bit of insight, Captain Obvious.

Anyway, as my children often do, they took the idea of burying a dinosaur and ran with it. The conversation went something like this:

Nicky: Maybe we could bury something…
Ryan: Yeah! And then we’d tell our kids where it is, and they’d tell their kids…
Nicky: Yeah! And after a hundred million years, they could dig it up and have a fossil!
Ryan: Yeah! That’d be cool.
Me: What happens if one of our descendants doesn’t have kids?

Ryan: Then we’re screwed.

Professor Nicky teaches Fluid Dynamics 101


We bought a rain barrel about a month ago, and my father-in-law installed it for us. There’s a short hose that comes out of the bottom of the barrel so that you can use it to water the garden, but I was never able to get the hose to work. I’d take the nozzle end out of the clamp and open it, but no water came out. I’ve done this at least four or five times over the last month before I told Gail the other day that there was something wrong with the barrel.

This morning I was talking to my father-in-law on the phone, and mentioned this hose problem to him. He suggested that maybe there was some kind of cap that should have been removed before the hose was attached, so I might have to remove the hose and see what’s there. Nicky happened to be playing Wii in the next room while I was on the phone, and heard the conversation (well, my end of it, anyway). Once I was off the phone, he told me that he’s been able to get the hose to work, but he had to hold the nozzle end of the hose lower than the level of the water in the barrel, otherwise the water would have to travel upwards.

I quite literally smacked myself in the head. Of course the water won’t go upwards unless something’s pushing it, and there’s no pump inside the barrel to push it. Thank goodness I had an eight-year-old around to help me with this, or I’d have been out there pulling the barrel apart.

Define "fun"


We took the boys to see Toy Story 3 tonight (mini review: lots of fun! Shrek people take notice: this is how you make a really good sequel), and on the way to the theatre, for no particular reason, Gail and I decided to keep our destination secret. Nicky kept asking where we were going and when we wouldn’t tell him, he finally asked “are we going somewhere fun?” In my best “I-can’t-believe-you-asked-that” voice, I said “Fun? Of course it’s somewhere fun! We always go to fun places! When have we ever taken you anywhere that wasn’t fun?” With almost no hesitation, he said “The hospital?”

I had to give him that one. Nicky 1, Daddy 0.

Top Ten Musical Ironies


  1. U2, “Pop” – Pop is, of course, short for “popular”, yet this was U2’s worst-selling and most critically disappointing album ever.
  2. The Beatles, With A Little Help From My Friends. The song is sung by Ringo Starr, who is a fine drummer but a crappy singer. (Actually, he’s not even that great a drummer – John Lennon was once asked if he thought Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world. John replied “He’s not even the best drummer in the band“, referring to Paul McCartney. But I digress.) He would never have been famous without a lot of help from his friends John, Paul, and George. The real irony is the first line of the song: Ringo sings “What would you think if I sang out of tune?”.
  3. Alanis Morrisette – Ironic – A song called Ironic containing no irony is itself ironic.
  4. Nirvana, Come As You Are – Kurt Cobain singing “I swear that I don’t have a gun” was the inspiration for this list.
  5. Various, Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. They use the word “Rock” in the title, but they are not rock. Not even close. As I’ve said once before, if Rrrrrandy Travis can sing Jingle Bell Rock without changing either his style or the song’s style, it’s not rock.
  6. Five for Fighting. The band name implies strength and toughness (dare I say truculence?), but all of their songs (that I’ve heard) can only be described as “soft rock” – in other words, wimpy and lame. More like two for unsportsmanlike diving.
  7. Yoko Ono. She doesn’t play any instrument – I’ve seen video of her pretending to play the keyboard (finger-syncing?) at a John Lennon concert as well as playing an electric keyboard that was not plugged in. Her singing makes Ringo Starr sound like Freddie Mercury. Yet she was married to one of the most talented musicians and songwriters of the rock era. And he thought she was supremely talented.
  8. John Mellencamp, Pop Singer. Apparently John “never wanted to be no pop singer, never wanted to write no pop song” but he is and he has. Several of them. Incidentally, if you ever get the chance to see Mellencamp live, do it. I’ve seen him a few times (and missed another concert a couple of years ago), and he always puts on a great show.
  9. Extreme, More Than Words. Sounds like a slow romantic ballad about true love (performed by a hair metal band, although that’s not the ironic part). This was even a popular wedding song in the early-mid 90’s. The irony is that is you listen to the lyrics, the idea of the song is not “I love you so much that I don’t have to say the words“, but “If you love me, you’d show me by having sex with me instead of saying the words.” Songwriters Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone (aside: as soon as this article, containing that name, is posted to the internet, long-time Van Halen fans around the world will shudder and not know why) have admitted that the song is about sex. Likely not the kind of message you’d want to give at your wedding.
  10. Linda Ronstadt. She has certainly been successful for a long time, with Grammys and gold records and such, but at one point in the early 70’s, her backing band consisted of four guys named Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon. They went on to form The Eagles, who became far more popular than Ronstadt ever was.

Meaningful statistic FAIL


I looked up my 2009 running stats on the Nike+ website this morning and saw this:

RunningStatsFail

The comparison under the total is technically true, but is off by two orders of magnitude. Even if the Leaning Tower of Pisa was 6 kilometers high, this would still be true. It’s like saying “With $1 million, you could buy at least forty iPods!”