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.

Nerds in Love: What nerdy activities do you share?

valentine nerds

It’s Valentine’s Day, the biggest pile of shit holiday ever conceived by a greeting card company. Still, one can’t help but think of their ‘significant other’ on a day like this. I’m pretty lucky to have a wife that not only tolerates most of my habits, but also partakes in them with me. The first fight my wife and I ever had was over a game of Mario Kart 64, we had a whole racket going on to scam Tom Nook out of Bells and we were introduced at our wedding reception to the X-Files theme music.

So if you’re currently spoken for, what kind of geeky activities bring you both to mutual nerdgasm? Give us some feedback…

Capsule Toys from Japan

Remember when you used to go to the grocery store with your parents, and after checkout you would beg them to let you buy a little toy from those 25 cent machines? Yeah, those capsule machines were really cool when you didn’t know any better. However, once you hit a certain age, you realized that the toy inside sucked. It sucked big time.

When I went to Japan a few weeks ago, I discovered that feeling as a kid all over again. Capsule toys are huge in Japan, and some of those capsule toys are really cool. There are literally thousands of different machines to choose from, so the chances are you’ll find a machine you like and pump a couple hundred yen into one.

Honestly, before I went to Japan, I think I finally managed to squash my need for wanting toys. I had told myself that they are a waste of money, and that I simply don’t have the room for them anymore. The truth is, they are a waste of money and garbage, but when garbage is as cool as this stuff, it’s hard to resist.

In Japan, capsule toys can range in quality and price. The machine range is usually between 100 – 300 yen per toy. The 100 yen machines will net you something smaller, while the 400 yen machines spit out miniature action figures that actually require some assembly.

Capsule Toys

A tiny Tom Nook for 100 Yen, and Noriko from the anime Gunbuster for 400 Yen

These machines are littered everywhere throughout Tokyo, almost as many capsule machines as there are vending machines. Certain areas, like Akihabara and Ueno, have a ridiculously huge amount of these machines. Some stores even devote full sections to the machines, offering up all sorts of licesned character goodies.

It’s easy to become highly addicted to collecting these little figures. Heck, even Ryo “Do you know where sailors normally hang out?” Hazuki ends up buying a bazillion of them on his quest to find out who killed his father. My wife and I ended up leaving Japan with more then we probably should have, but at least they are priced decent.

DVD Releases for February 13th

Its time for another edition of Tuesday DVD Releases. Lets cut all the jibber jabber and get right down to the nitty gritty. Below I have listed the cover art for some of the major releases coming out today. See for yourself….

The DepartedMarie Antoinette
The QuietSchool For ScoundrelsZoom: Academy for Superheroes

Additional releases are Infamous which is the same movie as Capote with different actors, Half Nelson which I hear includes a stellar performance by Ryan Gosling, Man About Town with Ben Affleck and Rebbeca Romijn-NoMoreStamos/Katsopolis, a couple documentaries like The U.S. vs. John Lennon about the Beatle and his involvement in politics and F**K about the naughty word we all love to use. Some seasons coming out are Golden Girls Season 7, Picket Fences Season 1, and All in the Family Season 6. And a show I just started getting into, Reno 911: Reno’s Most Wanted. A nice bulk of media to satisfy the masses this week.

If I had to choose one movie to buy it would, without a doubt, be The Departed. Its one of Martin Scorsese’s finest films in years and has a all star cast of great performances. It may have been my favorite movie of 2006 but I can never decide on stuff like that. Marie Antoinette looked like horse crap, I have no further comment on that movie. I don’t know enough about the Quiet to comment on but I heard it has some sexy action with Kim Bauer herself, Elisha Cuthbert. I saw School For Scoundrels and it was pretty funny. Billy Bob and Napoleon worked well together. And Zoom… Tim Allen… Superheroes… Enough said (which means it had to be AWESOME).

And thats it. Party On.