Shamoozal website updates

Hey, did you notice that there aren’t many sections up at the top anymore? Yeah, we decided to clean up the site a little bit and even freshen up all of the pages. What you’ll find is a site that finally works as one cohesive whole. As a refresher, here is how everything is laid out.

“What’s New” brings you to the Nerdlog, as does the “Shamoozal” logo in the banner. The ‘Sodes’ are now called ‘Episodes’ and you can find all of your favorites in there with a new handy bar that lets you pick through them no matter which one you’re watching. The Smorg hasn’t change, and the Podcast section now features all of the podcasts to choose from. The “shop” is a bit of a merger between the Cafepress store and the music store. Finally, contact and legal info have been combined into one.

We’re thrilled with the new changes and look for the site, and hopefully everyone else will be too.

Digi Artwork

A buddy of mine sent me a link to some really impressive illustration work by an illustrator named Mathias Verhasselt. From what I can tell, its all done digitally with a tablet in I would guess either Painter or Photoshop. The samples I’m giving here have been scaled down to fit the page, so I highly suggest clicking the link to go to Mathias’ site as they’re highly detailed and exceptionally well done.


If there’s one thing I have to say in criticism of digital painting, it is that all the brush strokes are clearly a replicated pattern that is used to duplicate an actual brush as the stylus is dragged across the tablet. This creates a repetition of the brush strokes across the picture plane and for me has a tendency to flaten the image. While a digital brush does employ pressure sensitivity, it is generally relegated to the tapering of a line and does not take into account the varying opacity or other attributes of an actual brush. The end result is often a series of practically exact shapes that have been massed in by the digital brush. However, this is a minor gripe and the images on Mathias’s page are certainly done by a highly skilled illustrator.

Another thing that is great about his site is that clearly the web design blows, but it doesn’t even matter because everything is just plain awesome. However, do make sure you check out some of his links he has listed as there’s a bunch of really great stuff to be found there, too.

So go check ‘em out and enjoy!


Bridge to Terabithia: Review


In a surprise move, I managed to worm my way out of seeing Ghost Rider tonight. Instead, we opted to see Bridge to Terabithia, which has now come up in three out of the four posts from today.

My post about Disney not marketing this movie correctly was completely on target. This movie is absolutely nothing like the commercials lead you to believe. This is not a Harry Potter or Narnia knock. It’s not a cheap cash in at a fantasy movie. Instead, what they have here is a refreshing breath of fresh air, a children’s movie that takes it audience seriously, and deals with real issues.

The movie is essentially a coming of age story about a young boy, Jess played by Josh Hutcherson. I made a crack earlier about Josh resembling Harry Potter, but at least Josh proves he is a more competent actor. Anyway, Jess is your average troubled boy, who is at a point in his life where he is unsure of the man he should become. He’s picked on, different, has absolutely zero confidence, and doesn’t seem to have the greatest family life either. Instead of facing reality, Jess hides behind his sketch book, drawing out the things he really cares about. Enter Leslie, the quirky new girl at school who quickly befriends poor little Jess with her brilliant way with words. It isn’t before long where the two begin sharing ideas in an effort to cope with reality, hence the birth of Terabithia. What follows is an amazingly imaginative movie that flows at an excellent pace, with strong themes and a fantastic highly emotional finale.

If you haven’t read the story, I don’t want to go into it any further and begin to spoil it. I do encourage people to go see the movie with an open mind as I can assure you it is not what you expect. What we have here is a surprisingly deep movie that doesn’t treat its core audience like a bunch of morons. This is the perfect movie to prove my point that children’s stuff doesn’t need to be brain dead.

On a side note, there weren’t a heck of a lot of people at our show, but the ones who did show were absolutely annoying. Anyway, go see it before it quietly leaves the theaters.

LARP Friday

LARP Header

LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing. It’s where a bunch of people, likely between the ages of 16 – 45, get together and act as if they are warriors, wizards, thieves and elves, among various other types of fantasy species. Together they fight, throw pieces of paper in the air, and ponder over such ethical questions like, “If we don’t kill nature, how will we build our houses?”

Usually one of the elves or wizards has the ability to conjure video cameras from the future and record these battles. That same person also owns a PC and spends an afternoon adding hard rock music to the battles, highlights the various “serious scenes” and might even add in an effect or two.

In one case, I was inspired enough by a particular clip that I felt compelled to add some effects to it. With the help of the soundtrack of the movie “The Last Samurai,” an awesome quote by Sun Tzu I got from the back of the Ikaruga box, and a bit of technical modern day wizardry (After Effects) I was able to take your average lame LARP scene and make it into an above average LARP scene. Kudos if you spot the Grim Reaper from the original Castlevania.

I’m sure you have seen this clip in some form or another. You most likely saw the original clip before, and if you frequent the Smorgas Board often you probably saw this version before as well (no matter, it’s worth watching again, and again).

As you can see, I’m fascinated by LARP. Video clips like this are so amazing I can’t help but watch them over and over. Thanks to the mid 30s balding guy in a kilt, “lightning bolt” was stuck in my head for about a week of my life.

After doing some research, I found that there are many different types of LARPs. Here are some examples.

Children’s LARP
Some adult LARPers spread the love and force their children to take part in LARP activities. If you ever wanted your son to join the military, take him to a LARP event at the age of 10. He will never forgive you. Its okay, it’ll be better that he’s in the military, because he’ll be involved in things such as “real world conflict” and “real time gun fights.” He will be helping the world and his services will be appreciated.

Espionage LARP
Apparently Espionage LARPs were big in the 80s. I didn’t even know LARP existed in the 80s! Since sneaking is the name of the game, these LARPs can be played in what people like to call reality. See the guy across the room from you? He could be a spy. Tell tale signs of an Espionage LARPer consist of the following: bad BO, trench coats on top of a Zelda T-shirt, wearing sun glasses inside buildings. For gun fights, it is said that they would blast each other with various types of Super Soakers.

I would never take part in a game of LARP. However, as long as people keep doing it and putting it on the web, I’ll keep on watching it.

The Bridge to Zero Dollars

The BridgeIf you read John’s movie theater releases for the weekend, then I’m sure you probably know I’m being drug off to Ghost Rider (my wife is a fan of the comic), and also read about the movie “The Bridge to Terabithia.”

If I didn’t read John’s update, I would have absolutely zero idea what Terabithia was about, and that is why this movie is going to flop completely this weekend. It could be getting the best reviews in the world (after a quick glance at Rottentomatoes, it’s doing quite well) but no one knows what the thing is about.

The first time I saw a commercial for Terabithia I wasn’t paying much attention. It just seemed to me that these guys were trying to capitalize on the fantasy genre with a movie that looked like Narnia and a main character that looks like Harry Potter. However, I kind of dig movies with creative looking monsters like something out of Jim Henson’s shop running around, so I decided I’d pay a little more attention to the commercial the next time I saw it.

The commercial comes on, and it tells you absolutely zero about the movie. All we learn is that there is a big creature that is ticklish because a dog runs between its toes and it laughs. Seriously, I’ve seen the commercial roughly 47 times, and each time I try to see if I’m missing something. Nope. All we know is that there is a ticklish monster in it.

The only thing I really know about this movie is that it’s based on a successful children’s book. Whoever was in charge of marketing for this project needs to be fired, because no one knows what the hell it’s about.

I’ll honestly be surprised if this thing cracks the top three movies, let alone top 5 over the weekend. There is no way crappy Norbit is budging from the top 5 that easily. I can also see that crap fest Hue Grant vehicle getting solid returns because it’s the weekend after Valentines Day (especially since many people in America were snowed in that day). Finally, Ghost Rider will probably make a decent amount of dough just because of what it is.

Maybe I can convince my wife not to see Ghost Rider, and maybe we’ll check out Terabithia instead. Right?


Theater Releases for February 16th

I guess I’m the unofficial “movie guy” here at the Shamoozal. Probably because I go to theaters for flicks and watch DVDs more than most people I know. I don’t know if this will be a regular weekly update or not. We’ll see. But anyway, here are the FRIDAY THEATER RELEASES!!!!! YEEEEEEEAH! I wish I had cool sound effects that could go off when you read the title or maybe a little CSI Miami opening David Caruso one-liner sound but oh well. All I get is stinkin text!

Cage Rider
Yeah, I’m good. I feel like my skull is on fire, but I’m good.

GHOST RIDER – Cage + Comic Book Superhero = Recipe for….. DISASTER!!! I gotta admit I love Cage. Nicolas Cage has made some quality movies (of course this is my opinion and not actually held in the majority of the general public). I’m a fan of Con-Air, The Rock, Raising Arizona, The Weather Man, Gone in 60 Seconds, Adaptation, Matchstick Men, Face/Off, Snake Eyes, 8MM, National Treasure, and World Trade Center. But I have to admit this movie looks like absolute GAR-BAGE! Even a diehard Cage fan like me would never see this movie in theaters. I guess it’s going to provide some laughs, not purposely though. Have fun Phil.

Do I Creep You Out?

BREACH – Chris Cooper always looks like a creep. This movie lets him express his creepiness once again. It’s about a traitor to the US who works for the CIA but is feeding info to the Russians. Ryan Philippe has to get evidence to bust him. It could be cool but it could be boring too. Ryan Philippe isn’t exactly my choice for lead of a film but he was decent in Crash. I’d watch it eventually but I’m not rushing out to theaters to see this anytime soon.

Bridge to Terabithia
It’s The Bridge! WHAT?! To Terabithia!

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA – seems like they are trying to capitalize on the same crowd that came out for the Narnia movie or maybe even the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is really similar to Narnia though but it’s just not getting the same buzz. Narnia was a popular book series but the novel that this story comes from I have never heard of. It’s about 2 kids creating a fantasy world where they rule the kingdom, battle the baddie, and meet all kinds of creatures. I’ve loved creatures in movies since the Jim Henson days but I have no desire to see this creature feature.

I guess if I had to choose one movie to see this weekend it would be Breach. It could actually be good and interesting or bad and boring. But I have to admit, I’m really tempted to laugh at Cage as Ghost Rider with a bad toupee but I think it would be much better seeing that on TV one day with friends so we could crack up at the ridiculousness.

Arj and Poopy

The Shamoozal is a site dedicated to delivering the nerdiest attractions on the ‘net. However, our main focus is on the shorts we produce in Flash. We’re deffinately not the only ones out there doing their thing in animation, and I’d like to take a few moments to point out another site featuring some very nice stuff.


“Arj and Poopy” follows the dialy exploits of a guy and his cat…almost sounds like Grey and Jacquo, but hey, they say there’s no such thing as an original story. A third character, “Bouncy the Dog”, has been added to the cast and he’s a hoot. There’s a few episodes up at for your perusal. Some of the earlier ones are a bit too tweeny for my taste. I find excessive tweening gives animation a soft, mushy feel. It doesn’t allow the animation to sit in the frame and robs it of weight.


However, the newest short,”Congo Windfall“, pushes the envelope with more key-framed animation lending it some much needed tooth to the animation. The narrative starts off a bit slow, but picks up when a “music video” of Bouncy doing his thing kicks in. Its got some really nice timing and alot of expressive drawings. The voice acting is very low key, but fits the slacker attitude of Arj. Poopy is silent, but emotes very well through pushed expressions and alot of takes. And of course, Bouncy lives up to his name with an extreamely well done rap routine. I won’t say any more to ruin it, just go watch it. Its a deffinate must watch. Enjoy!


Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Snaggle Tooth

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at The Shamoozal. Above is the official mascot, and I use that term in all seriousness, of the holiday here at the Shamooz. Take her in for all her beauty, and bask in the glory of her stunning snaggle tooth. Happy VD for everyone.