Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Look Out Coily, it's....


Startling new information has surfaced that greatly increases our knowledge about that bipedal, pyramid-jumping nose-without-a-face, Q*bert. The following was gleaned from a recently unearthed
instruction manual:

1. He is given to bouts of foul language.

"When the red ball starts rolling, get Q*bert out of its path or it will squash him! If this happens, the swear bubble lights up..."

#%*@" swear bubble?! Does Q*bert have an anger management problem? Could it be his lack of arms? Or perhaps it's due to the company he keeps:

2. He shares the pyramid with a character named Sam.


"Even though Sam can't catch Q*bert, he's still a very crafty fellow.
He changes the cubes' colors back again so Q*bert's got to
retrace his steps."

How counterproductive! Sam needs to get on-task and assist his fellow pod-hopper in pushing the margins of pyramidical dividend returns.

3. Coily is dangerous.


"He's the snake with the perilous pounce!"

(We already knew that, but the alliteration was irresistible)

Despite these findings, Q*bert is still a rather mystifying fellow.
What drives him, for instance, to compulsively hop all over
pyramids? Maybe he was an Egyptian Pharaoh in a past life.


Fakie Agents have managed to secure rare photos of Q*Bert's
feeding behaviour. Here he appears to be raiding the pantry
of the Burgertime chef:


While previous studies have shown that he reproduces via parthenogenesis, it appears that Boz Schnoz may be actively
courting Strawberry Shortcake.


And here we have irrefutable evidence of Q*bert's assisting
NORAD in helping defend the Earth from the encroachment
of hostile Beings from Space:


But then there is this chilling photo of the Bitmap Biped
apparently using his prodigious proboscis against the
hapless citizens of the freedom loving world:


Could Q*bert have turned to evil, or is this some kind of plot
on the part of Coily to sully his arch-foe's reputation?

Fakie Agents are working on the story and will report back with
any further findings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I washed my wheels in the sluice of Bloor St., hydroplaning across intersections, coming closer to true surfing than is normally possible on a skateboard. Water gathered in the convex top of my deck, and I knew that my bearings would be nearly seized up the next day, when everything dried out.

A skateboard is like a record needle. It follows the well-worn grooves of the urban infrastructure, translating pavement and concrete into vibrations that broadcast through the rider's body, through the air and ether, echoing off cars, buildings and pedestrians, and creating a music of stylized motion that is said to be most pleasing to the gods. When it rains, the skateboard song is both muted and deepened--as all sounds are made more intimate--accompanied by the percussive static of the falling rain.

The great, grey clouds covered the city like a second skin, like the very concrete and brick transmuted into a new, mobile element. I weaved past pedestrians with unusual stealth, the jet engine rumble of my wheels muted by the watery film covering the streets. The sidewalk traffic registered my presence only when I was past, less alarmed for their own safety as at the fact that someone would actually be out skateboarding in such a downpour.

Urban traffic is oceanic. The floodgates are lifted at rush hour, and the roadways fill with souls in armor, each participant of the mad scramble united with his neighbour in the desire to be elsewhere. But the rainboarder has no such agenda. His cloths are heavy and wet. His sodden shoes grip the board with increased tenacity as the snakeskin path threatens to slip out from under him. Already drenched, the only thing he wishes to avoid is falling off the magic plank that carries him over the abyss.

Crossing intersections is fun. You can pump down the slight gradient where the sidewalk ends, and use the momentum to carry you out onto the generally smoother pavement of the roadway proper. Re-mounting the sidewalk on the other side can be tricky. Maybe there are pedestrians taking up all of the ramp, or maybe a particular constelation of cracks and lips in the concrete complicates the transition. It helps to slide your front foot back on the board some; and get ready to shift your weight around a little, so the bumps won't jostle you off your board.

His waterlogged equipment will never forgive the transgression of employing sensitive technology out of its native element. But the soaked skater is just where he wants to be: meandering through the city like a rivulet of grace. Dirty rain anoints his head like precious oil, and the minutiae of terrain--crack, curb, pebble--celebrate his passing through the shimmering, reflective twilight.

When I was yonger, I was skating down a gentle slope in the rain. There was a pile of leaves by the curb, and I thought it might be fun to try a four-wheel slide through the mass of wet organic refuse. The road beneath the pile, of course, was quite slippery from all the decomposing leaves, and my board went flying out from under me. I might have pulled it off, if I had compensated for the increased slickness of the street, but after the wipe-out I didn't feel like attempting a second run.

His mode of transport is also his destination, and the miracle of static motion unites him in secret knowledge with the flickering streetlight reflections, which, though seemingly married to the flat grey dimension of the road, shine with the knowledge of their being on high.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ode to Maskatron


One of my first and favorite toys, I could draw his face circuitry by heart in gradeschool. I don't know where all my Crayola portraits have gone to, so I composed this poem in honour of the debonaire killer robot.

Maskatron is seldom seen
His ancient android eyes are green

His gaze can pierce despite the fact
His brain was made by Compu-vac

He dances on bionic legs
For breakfast he has Teflon eggs

He brandishes bionic arms
And means to do Steve Austen harm

So if you see him, leave the scene!
His ancient android eyes are green


Tell me who
doesn't love
shape poetry

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Action Figure Theatre

A deserted street at high noon. Two Jedi face an unknown foe.

Could it be?...

The Endtime Adjuster!



What's this? Armed only with a fishing rod?!

Roused from slumber by the sound of the frey...

something watches from an abandoned building...

...and attacks!

"Yes, yes my pretty...Jedi are most succulent!"


The aftermath...

...isn't pretty.

Tired from his recent meal, the beast reclines in an alley...

...only to have his curiosity piqued yet again!

"Hey! what's that racket?"


"Cut it out, will ya? That tickles!"

"And I thought my trash can smelt bad!"


"Ha Ha! We were just kidding around!"

Canada to be Fiddy Free?

Curtis Jackson, aka "50 Cents", aka "Fiddy" may not be allowed to cross the border into Canada for an upcoming tour, if Toronto MP Dan McTeague has anything to do with it. He wants Immigration minister Joe Volpe to prevent the rapper from entering Canada, claiming that his music promotes gun violence and drug use.

"Word! I can use these for taget practice."

Fakiegrind is all for freedom of expression, but we've had to give up the whole gangsta lifestyle due to an allergy to bling (gold chains give me hives). Before drawing any hasty conclusions about Fiddy, you might want to read Dr. Flavour's report.

Hey Diddle Diddle...


First Snow

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gleaming the Cube

My researches into the dark side of the Cube are taking their toll on my soul. I used to be a good person, but looking over the last posting it seems I have made fun of religion in the very first paragraph, not to mention sending that old couple from the future to the Video Mines of Central Ohio, there to dig for old Betamax format cassettes (which, it turns out, can be melted down to form a sort of hallucinogenic lotion that bestows cinematic visions on the user).

On the plus side, the heightened mental powers I've gained from spending hours unlocking Rubic's mysteries have given me new insight into an oddly named skateboard movie from 1989, Gleaming the Cube.

Slater stand-in busts a one-wheeler

I remember there was quite a bit of speculation when the film came out as to the meaning of the title--it seemed to bear no relation to the plot of the movie whatsoever. I now know that Christian Slater's character gains his seemingly miraculous skateboarding abilities through clandestine manipulations of the Rubic's Cube.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Secret Weapon

The Endtime Adjuster is really getting on my nerves! I've been to the future, and while it may not be to everyone's liking, I can tell you that the world definitely does not end any time soon. Jesus does not return to judge the living and the dead (though He does show up, quite unexpectedly, to watch the Great Solar Derbys of 2702), nor does Vishnu retract the entire universe back into the cosmic extension cord sprouting from his least not within the next fifteen hundred years or so.

For all the skeptics out there I have brought back a trophy from my visit to the future. I know, I know--you're not supposed to do that; you can mess up the whole temporal fabric of reality yadda yadda. We've seen the Star Trek and Dr. Who re-runs and we know all about the perils and paradoxes of time travel. But I just couldn't resist sneaking this one little item.

When a problem has been rankling your brain for the better part of twenty years, and all of a sudden the solution is right there in front of you, and the only thing preventing you from settling the matter is the ghost of a scruple in your conscience saying that your actions could change the entire past/future timestream of humanity in an unpredictable and possibly disastrous manner, what's one to do? I couldn't resist. And I think you're going to be glad that I didn't.

The coffee staining this cover doesn't
even exist for another 1 562 years!

That's right folks--fifteen hundred years hence, the solution book to that persistent little flash-fad of the eighties, the Rubic's Cube, is not only widely available, it's mandatory reading for each and every citizen of the United Gyrobian Earth Colonies (how the entire population of Earth comes to share the name of Gyrobo the robot is another story, for another time). In fact, the nice old couple from whom I filched this well-thumbed copy will likely be arrested and sent to the Video Mines of Central Ohio for having lost their manual, but it's all for a good cause.

You have no idea how much more free time humans have in the future, once the solution to the Cube is finally discovered and mapped out in book form. Just imagine: no more late, fruitless nights with that infernal cube; and no more calling in sick because you think you might finally have the solution, only to be thwarted by an inverted orange/green middle piece. It's a veritable paradise on Earth!

What's more--and this is where we come to my plot to banish the Adjuster to the Negative/Neutral Zone--it turns out that the Cube, when manipulated in certain permutations, actually acts to unlock the hidden creative energies of the Dark Matter--that mysterious stuff with which the universe is thought to be largely composed.

In short, people in the year 3567 don't work; they simply manipulate their Rubic's Cubes to manifest whatever it is they need or desire in the way of material items. Need a new four-dimensional holovision to watch the World Skateboarding Championships? No problem: just consult the Manual, perform the necessary twists of the Cube and voila! the technology is yours, no money down and don't pay a cent--ever!

Now, I've been reading between the lines, if you know what I mean. It's not explicitly stated, but obvious to a keen student of the Manual, that the Cube can be used not only to transform dark matter into the trappings of this world, it can also be used in reverse so as to translate portions of reality back into dark matter. I think that practicing these procedures is know in the future as the Dark Side of the Cube. The people who learn these arts are few, and largely shunned and feared by their fellow citizens.

However, given the threat that the Endtime Adjuster poses to the sanity of the nations (and the return reader rating of this blog) I'm willing to risk possible Dark Side Contamination in an attempt to banish the Adjuster forever to the negative/neutral zone, there to spin apocalyptic diatribes to his toy heart's content without disturbing the sanity of well-meaning Fakiegrind readers.

That little red doll doesn't stand a chance.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Cooking with Rock-steady

With the Holiday season approaching, I wanted to share a recipe with all of you known as Jedi Beer Bread. It is quite easy and it will not only satisfy your taste buds but will also wow your guests.

(1) 12 oz bottle of beer of your choice
(3) Cups of self-rising flour
(1) Stick of butter
(1/2) Cup of white sugar

Mix beer, flour and sugar into a bowl. Mix it until you have dough then transfer dough into a baking pan. Make sure to use some none-stick spray prior to placing dough into the pan.

Set some Jedi to guard the dough while the oven heats.

Bake the beer bread dough at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Pour a melted stick of butter over the Jedi Beer Bread and bake for another 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let the Jedi Beer Bread sit for 10 minutes and it is ready to serve. May the Force be with You and Your oven!

Fishback to the Future

None of the previous versions of the Fakiegrind time machine that Dr. Flavour has sent me have worked, so I was quite surprised when, after setting the chrono-counter to an arbitrary future date and flipping the "temporal disengagement drive" into action, I heard an ominous sucking noise--much like a toilet flushing--and found myself transported some fifteen hundred years into the future.

In less than an eyeblink everything changed. I found myself, for instance, no longer in the comfort of the Fakie Central kitchen, but rather adrift at sea. Clutching the time machine to me like a life preserver (it was, like so many of Dr. Flavour's ingenious inventions, made of styrofoam and two-by-fours), I bobbed up and down for a time, admiring the purplish hue of the sky and the irregularly-shaped extra moon that appeared to be suspended in the heavens.

Eventually I was rescued by a large tour boat. It seems that in the distant future, with so many of the Earth's previous coastal regions submerged in water, a new industry of archaeological fishing and snorkeling tours has arisen. Tourists fish for artifacts in the shallow waters above former urban centres, and take their trophies--yogurt containers, lawn chairs, pieces of vinyl siding--back to decorate their crowded mountaintop condos.

I was lucky enough to meet up with a kind elderly couple (people in the future can live up to 300 years, thanks to vast improvements in bionic technology), who were nice enough to fill me in on some of the details of future life. The oddly shaped "moon" I had seen, for instance, was actually an enormous communications satellite, no longer in use, but still circling the planet until the day when it will come crashing to earth in a blazing fireball of death.

It seems that many technological advances have been abandoned or forgotten, the majority of people living a vastly simplified lifestyle, with the exception of an elite cadre of Bionic Priests who are the keepers of the cybernetic techno-virus allowing for the considerable extension of the human life-span. War and international discord has been abolished, ever since the World Government was taken over by a race of intelligent heat-vent sponges that had been cultivating their enlightened line of Philosopher Sponge Kings somewhere on the Pacific ocean floor for thousands of years. Even now, I have learned, they are there, subtly shaping the course of human civilization to bring circumstances to the point where the Sponges will be able to leave their ocean homes and be installed as benevolent Global Depots.

Under the expert guidance of the Sponges human civilization finally flourishes, largely liberated from the shackles of ignorance, fear and intolerance that had held us back for so long. Given the Sponge's great sensitivity to rhythmic stimulation, old school rap music sees a renaissance, and the sultry sentimentality of new country is all but abolished. Once the gasoline runs out, skateboarding is adopted as the locomotive form of choice for Earthlings, the emphasis being no longer on where one is going to, so much as how artfully one can get there. Dungeons and Dragons, the fantasy adventure role-playing game, is the global pass-time in the future (video games have been eclipsed due to electricity shortages, and the orginized sports teams remain on strike for so many centuries that people give up on them), and Gary Gygax, the college drop-out inventor of the game is revered as one of the great benefactors of humanity.

Oh, and another strange cultural phenomena, Seinfield re-enactment societies, are ubiquitous. The problem is, nobody wants to play George, so there is a whole sub-industry of George robot production. The most popular model is the Costanza 5000 (with realistic hair loss capabilities). A brief period of global chaos ensues in the 33rd century when, due to an erroneous "Napoleon circuit" the entire fleet of Costanza 5000s goes haywire and attempts to take over the world under the chilling battle cry of "The Millennia of George". Fortunately for humanity and sentient sponges alike, the entire robot empire crumbles under the weight a lame plot development involving a Hawaiian shirt that gets misplaced at the dry cleaner.

Well, even though I said I was going to lay off the blog for a while, I couldn't help but report back about my strange adventure. I almost didn't make it back to the present--there were all kinds of "temporal butterfly effect" insurance forms and paperwork to fill out. I would have liked to have stayed longer in the future, it being quite agreeable to someone of the Flatlander temperament, but it turns out that I had library fines of about 10 billion dollars for an overdue book, so I had to come back. It seems strange that, according to the blogger clocks, less than seven hours have elapsed since my last post, but such are the paradoxes of temporal tourism. Stay old!

The End of the Blog as We Know It

I heard on the radio today that we could be entering the sixth great extinction period that the planet has known--the last one since the end of the age of the dinosaurs. The difference between this moment in history and the five extinctions that have proceeded it is that, as the dominant form of life on Earth, we humans could make a difference and possibly help reverse the process of devolution.

In light of these possibilities, Fakiegrind will take some time off to reconsider its mandate, meditate on the best way to proceed with whatever time is left, and turn off lights in an effort to conserve energy. The Danceark project will need to be completed; we're still looking for living practitioners of the Pee-Wee Herman, The Charlston Slouch, The Astro-Twist and the Twisted Sister. Also, the Mix Tape Time Capsule project still needs a few vintage homemade music mixes before we bury the titanium box for posterity.

What else? Oh yes; we're all immortal. I learned this from a wandering shaman the other day. We've all been here for ever and ever and we always will be. At least that's what this fellow told me before asking to borrow five dollars. Also, people will tell you that action figures are worth more if you keep them in their packages--but the market is actually flooded, and at the end of the world you're going to wish you opened those toys, and played with them a little, instead of hanging them all on your wall like some kind of hardcore collector geek.

Well, I guess that's it. 5400 "Thank You"s to everyone who dropped by. A special thanks to all the Fakie Agents for their comments and contributions. I'd also like to thank the Academy of Unemployed Bloggers for giving me the opportunity to spout my mad ravings to the masses. And thanks to my parents for reading each morning, even before they opened the newspaper.

Well then, as Stan (The Man) Lee said,

'Nuf Said

(oh yeah, and stay old!)


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fakie Agent Recieves Honours

The ingenious, ever-intrepid, sometimes enigmatic, researcher of the infinite; Fakiegrind's own Dr. Flavour has been honoured in the Frozen Lower Blogosphere this week by none less than the High Executioner, Lord Gyrobo himself.

Accolades were bestowed upon the good Doctor for his invention of a time-particle venting device to stave off the impending implosion of the fabled blog.

Chromoton Particle Ventilator
(and Radio-Toaster)

After failing to appear at the awards ceremony, Dr. Flavour cited the well-demonstrated illusory and highly relativistic nature of space/time, and claimed to have slept in by accident.

Sergio Aragones

...the guy who drew the little slapsticks in the margins of MAD magazine is one of my favourite cartoonists. These pannels are from 1978, which, the lady at the thrift shop I frequent pointed out, was 27 years ago. Twenty-seven years?! I must be getting old.




Friday, November 18, 2005

Fiddy Face-Off

Flatlander's inestimable knowledge of rap history is made even more remarkable when considered against his extensive familiarity with classical literature - a rare combination but precisely the mix needed to assess the type of comment I recently overheard on the radio. 50 Cents' publicist, while talking-up Fiddy's newly released bio-pic "Get Rich or Die Tryin'", enthused that the movie had artistic depth and was comparable to a "Greek tragedy". Well, who could doubt it? But just to make sure, I used Fakiegrind's Virtual Similarity Discryptograph and ran a Level 3 Parallelism Matrix comparing 50 Cent with the great bard of ancient Greece, Homer. The results are published below.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


click twice on the record to hear a snippet

In 1979, before being singed on to Sylvia Robinson's Sugarhill label, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released their first single, "Supperappin", with Enjoy! records. The version I've managed to track down is about eight minutes, with Flash spinning a perpetual disco loop in the background and the five rapping members of the band doing a kind of tag-team style discourse.

I listen to this song allot because it's on the CD compilation that almost always works to put my housemate's three-year old son to sleep. It harkens from the days when rap music was still fun and upbeat, when it had clever, carnival-barker style lyrics, and when it made you want to get up and dance rather than go out and rob a liquor store.

The five rapping members of the band all take turns extolling their sexual prowess and lyrical skill, but the song really takes off when Melle Mel grabs the mic. Something about the tenor of his voice, the smoothness and speed of his delivery, and the complexity of his lyrics sets him apart, I believe, from the rest of the group:

Get up off your seats and get ready to clap
Because Melle Mel's just about ready to rap
I had an image of fame at my very first party
I felt I could make myself somebody
It was something in my heart from the very start
I could see myself at the top of the chart
Rapping on the mike and making cold cold cash
Rocking with the man they call DJ Flash
Signing autographs for the young and old
Wearing pure silver and the solid gold
My name in all the magazines
My picture on the TV screen
It ain't like that now but, huh, you'll see
So eliminate the possibility.....

Unabashedly egotistical, for certain, but his vision turned out to be true. The band became enormously popular and has the distinction of introducing socially conscious themes into what had been up to that time exclusively dance-oriented music. Melle Mel had a prophetic gift, writing such songs such as "The Message", "New York, New York", "White Lines", "The Beat Street Theme" and "World War III"--a recording that I think is one of the great anti-war songs of the twentieth century (akin to Dylan's "Masters of War" or "Universal Soldier" by Buffy St. Marie).

The band was plagued by the usual destructively egotistical squabbling, with Melle Mel wanting to have the title "Grandmaster" alongside Flash (they broke up for a time, and Melle Mel assembled his own Furious Five). Flash was a technical genius--though he didn't invent scratching as some people assume. He did perfect most of the staple DJ techniques upon which hip-hop is based, and he developed one of the first mixing boards for cutting quickly between two turntables. I think he also had a good sense for business and promotion. His incredible ear for beats and cuts is evident on the now-classic, "Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel", the first record to be made entirely from other recordings reassembled, via two turntables, into a rhythmic hip-hop collage.

This band certainly had an impact on me growing up; it was the first music that really made me stop and listen. Grandmaster Flash was a legendary figure with my friends and I, inhabiting a mythical abode in our imaginations alongside ninjas and Jedi knights. We searched high and low to find hip-hop recordings, which was a difficult feat in southern Ontario in the early eighties. What we did find we would reproduce onto mixed tapes by putting a boom box or tape recorder up to the speaker of my friend's dad's stereo. I still appreciate Flash's technical expertise and rhythmic ingenuity, but now that I'm older it seems to me that Melle Mel was the humanistic element that gave the band its staying power. Without him the outfit would have been just another souped-up disco team, likely relegated to the footnotes of musical history (how many people, for instance, remember the Fearless Four, or Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three?).

When "Supperrappin" is playing on the sound system, and Melle Mel is just about ready to rap, my ears perk up and a caffeinated thrill travels down my spinal chord: his voice is like rich coffee, and the lyrics of his more visionary songs have the power to wake the soul from its complacent slumber. Melle Mel is, in my mind, the Dylan of hip-hop, and he's still rocking the mic with his man Scorpio, though whether his recent output lives up to the earlier material is a mystery to me, because I haven't heard the albums.


I'm a stray dog flipping through the catalogue
At the end of days trying to change my ways
And failing, Newborn babies wailing
Life goes on, running in a marathon
I stand aside, doors of thought open wide
Step and glide, surfing on the eventide
Suckers scrounge titles
In the twilight of idols
Freestyle emcees suicidal
With nothing to say, take the stage anyway
Abusing the mic like a rogue satellite
With orbits astray, empty thoughts to betray
Just cut to the quick and get out of my way

I'm sick, toxic waste builds in my blood
Words stick; all else is lost in the flood
Crooked path graphed, Grace traces a spiral
Wisdom just laughs and effaces the idol
Journey to the centre of nowhere special
Pacing the waste and facing the devil
Pre-empted and tempted to throw yourself down
Look within, dead to sin, wonders abound
Witness each miracle, walking the Earth
Mounting the spherical road of rebirth
Fools plague the nations with false salvation
Saints cut adrift roam beyond calculation

Emcee Typo rocking it steady
Crowds go psycho, better get ready
in the new millennium, like a laser gun
rock the stadium, watch the suckers run!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Caveat Emptor

I picked this album up a little late for Hallowe'en, but was enthralled by the playlist, which includes:

Curse of the Zombies
Victims of the Guillotine
Be Buried Alive
Terror From Outer Space
Nightmare of Lost Souls
Attack of the Incredible Crab
Death Struggle of the Prehistoric Monsters
Count Dracula and the Vampires of Death

In short, all the essentials!


The back reads, in part:




How could I resist? Of course, when I got home I found that the record inside the sleeve was something else entirely: sappy love songs and such (perhaps even more spine-chilling than the original record). Still, for fifty cents, I got a pretty cool sleeve to hang in the dungeon.
Upsidedown lazy cat. How do you sleep like that?