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In the immortal words of Strong Bad – “IT’S OVER!” Time for a brief look back at what made 2019 interesting.

Best meme: Jonathan Frakes asking questions:

Best word added to Oxford English Dictionary:
clabbydoo, n.: “A large dark mussel; esp. the northern horse mussel, Modiolus modiolus.”

Best newly discovered species: janolus flavoanulatus, a yellow ringed seaslug of the Philippines. 

Best source of ancient hunter-gatherer DNA: 5700 year old birch pitch “chewing gum” in Lolland, Denmark

Best case of poetic justice: Rhino poacher eaten by lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Best Movie Monster: The All-paca from Richard Stanley’s The Color Out of Space

Best Magic: The Gathering card: Bake Into A Pie (Throne of Eldraine set)

Best animated series I haven’t watched yet: Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal.

Best Star Trek release: Short Trek “The Trouble with Edward”

Best zombie film with a ‘oner’: One Cut of the Dead

Best new podcast: Toren’s Guide to Everything (plug! plug!)

The Incomplete History of the Saturday Morning Cartoon Party

Around 1998, a couple years after I moved to Vancouver, once I lived in a place with a living space big enough to accommodate guests, I organized what would become a sometimes annual tradition. The first few didn’t have themes but on or before 2001 I came up with themes and printed out the schedules. Here they are!

2001 (Fourth Annual) Theme: Robots and Automatons

2002 theme: Origin Stories

2003 (Sixth) Theme: The Supernatural

2004 (Seventh) Theme: Double Trouble

2005 (Eighth) Theme: Outer Space

2006 (Ninth) Theme: Jokes!

2007 (Tenth) Theme: Mind Games

2008 (Eleventh) theme: Time!

2009 – SMCP Goes Public

For a year or two we did weekly screenings at venues like the Rio Theater and VIVO. Then we got burned out and quit. Until….

2017 Theme: Cats (in Memoriam, Kodos)

Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 9:55 AM. Back to private functions in Toren’s living room.

I did not craft a printed schedule but here’s the itinerary:

Schoolhouse Rock: Conjunction Junction
Star Trek Animated: Mudd’s Passion
Superfriends: Attack of the Cats
Looney Tunes: Mouse Wreckers
Swat Kats: A Bright and Shiny Future
Thundercats: The Unholy Alliance
Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Who Let the Cats Out of the Old Bag’s House?
Adventure Time: Fiona and Cake
The Amazing World of Gumball: The World
Powerpuff Girls: Cat Man Do
Steven Universe: Cat Fingers
Mighty Mouse New Adventures: Catastrophe Cat
Samurai Jack: Imakandi
Simpsons: Citizen Kang
Ren & Stimpy: Rubber Nipple Salesmen
Thundarr: Treasure of the Moks

2018 Theme: Dreams and Nightmares

2019 Theme: Dungeons and Dragons

2020 Theme: TBD!

Maybe dinosaurs?

How to Watch Classic Doctor Who

This is your guide to what episodes to watch during the first 26 seasons from 1963 to 1989, featuring the first seven Doctors.

(In Progress)

For the first two seasons of Doctor Who and most of the third (1963–1966), each episode carries its own title. At story #26 “The Savages” episodes are simply listed as Part 1, Part 2…etc.

Episodes are about 25 minutes.

Due to the BBC’s 1970s junking policy, 97 episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s are no longer known to exist. As a result, 26 serials are currently incomplete, with one or more episodes represented only by audio and, in many cases, clips or still frames. For commercial release, some episodes have been reconstructed using off-air audio recordings, paired to surviving visuals or newly commissioned animation.

FIRST DOCTOR: Crotchety curmudgeon William Hartnell

Years: 1963-1966
Number of Seasons: 3ish
Theme: A lot of visiting Earth history
Best companions: Susan, Barbara and Ian
What to watch:

Story #1 “An Unearthly Child.” Four episodes
Story #2 “The Daleks.” Seven episodes. First appearance of the Daleks.:

Story #9 “Planet of Giants.” Three episodes

Story # 29 “The 10th Planet.” Four episodes. First appearance of the Cybermen. Final appearance of the first Doctor

SECOND DOCTOR: “Space hobo” Patrick Troughton

Years: 1966-1969
Number of Seasons: 3
Theme: more space, more action
Best companion: Jamie
What to watch:

Story #30 “The Power of the Daleks.” The originals are lost, there is an animated version (more like a motion comic). The Doctor regenerates for the first time.

Yeti

Story #38 “The Abominable Snowmen.” Six episodes.
Story #41 “The Web of Fear” Six episodes. Introduces Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart

Story #46 “The Invasion.” Eight episodes. Introduces U.N.I.T.

THIRD DOCTOR: Aristocratic secret agent John Pertwee – IN COLOR!

Years: 1970-1974
Number of Seasons: 5
Theme: Earthbound James Bond vs Aliens
Best companion: Sarah Jane Smith
What to watch:

Story #51 “Spearhead from Space.” Get to know the new Doctor. (4 eps)

The Master

Story #55 “Terror of the Autons.” The first appearance of The Master (4 eps)

Story #65 “The Three Doctors.” The three incarnations of the Doctor (so far) reunite to thwart the revenge-seeking Omega. (4 eps)

Story #70 “The Time Warrior” Introduces Sarah Jane Smith and the Sontaran race (4 eps)

FOURTH DOCTOR: Whimsical and warm Tom Baker

Years: 1974-1981
Number of Seasons: 7
Theme: Gothic horror
Best companion: Romana
What to watch:

Story #76 “The Ark in Space.” (4 eps) – Alien before the movie Alien.
Story #78 “Genesis of the Daleks”

…TO BE CONTINUED!

The Best of 2019

In the immortal words of Strong Bad – “IT’S OVER!” Time for a brief look back at what made 2019 interesting.

Best meme: Jonathan Frakes asking questions:

Best word added to Oxford English Dictionary:
clabbydoo, n.: “A large dark mussel; esp. the northern horse mussel, Modiolus modiolus.”

Best newly discovered species: janolus flavoanulatus, a yellow ringed seaslug of the Philippines. 

Best source of ancient hunter-gatherer DNA: 5700 year old birch pitch “chewing gum” in Lolland, Denmark

Best case of poetic justice: Rhino poacher eaten by lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Best Movie Monster: The All-paca from Richard Stanley’s The Color Out of Space

Best Magic: The Gathering card: Bake Into A Pie (Throne of Eldraine set)

Best animated series I haven’t watched yet: Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal.

Best Star Trek release: Short Trek “The Trouble with Edward”

Best zombie film with a ‘oner’: One Cut of the Dead

Best new podcast: Toren’s Guide to Everything (plug! plug!)

Finding Ghibli Merchandise in Tokyo and Kyoto Japan

Let me start with this link to all the Donguri official shops in Japan and then move on to my personal experiences and other shops
https://www.kanpai-japan.com/travel-guide/donguri-official-ghibli-shops

In Tokyo

Tokyo Station’s Character Street, two minutes away from Tokyo Station’s Yaesu exit, inside First Avenue Tokyo Station, you can find the shop named Donguri Kyōwakoku.
Find more info at the link, including detailed instructions on finding the shop:
https://matcha-jp.com/en/2039

In the Akihabara shopping hub of Tokyo there is a shop called Kotobukiya that has many of the same items that you would find in the other Ghibli stores listed here, you can find them on the first floor in the back corner
http://en.kotobukiya.co.jp/kotobukiya-akihabara-store-floor-guide/

In Tokyo Shibuya area the Mega Don Quijote has a decent selection of stuff on the second floor toy area.
28-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 154-0042
03-5428-4086
https://g.co/kgs/oyPDNv

In Kamakura Komachi Dori Shopping Area, the Ghibli shop technically has two floors but they are two side-by-side boutiques. Here there are a few items that I didn’t see elsewhere
どんぐり共和国 鎌倉店
〒248-0006 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Komachi, 1 Chome−5−6 松秀ビル
0467-24-7705
https://g.co/kgs/baHm32

In Nakano Broadway
And of course if you are at Nakano Broadway you wont need to go far to find some truly outstanding stuff both new and vintage. Start on the second and third floor. I saw a large, extremely rare hebikera (flying centipede) toy/model from Nausicaa and Laputa: Castle in the Sky robot stackable game

In Kyoto

Google “Ghibli shop Kyoto.” Two locations will pop up in Gion neighborhood. They both have unassuming store fronts but are surprisingly large on the inside, especially the one with the cafe (the Northernmost of the two). They have many wonderful items at various price points that puts the Tokyo Ghibli Museum gift shop to shame. It is a short walk between the two shops and I found unique items in each so visit both if you can! And if you’re not interested in Ghibli then disregard. Happy to answer any questions

Donguri Address: 363-22-2 Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0826, Japan

Ghibli Studios Shop Kyoto Address:  〒605-0862 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 清水2ー224

2019 Saturday Morning Cartoon Party: Dungeons and Dragons edition

This year the theme for my annual Saturday Morning Cartoon Party was… Dungeons and Dragons! I included cartoons in which the characters played D&D (in some version or another) but also some cartoons that were set in a fantasy world similar to D&D (Visionaries, Gummi Bears, Korgoth of Barbaria). It’s a long list and there were actually some cartoons on theme that I didn’t include due to time constraints (Voltron “Monsters and Mana”; My Little Pony “Dungeons & Discord”

Here’s the final schedule:

  • Here’s the cereal buffet!

At about the halfway point I did trivia. Here are the questions – how did you do???

  1. In the Dexter’s Laboratory episode “D&DD”, Dexter’s character is Hodo the Furry Footed Burrower. To what D&D race is this a reference?

2. In the Futurama episode “How Hermes Requisitioned his Groove Back” which iconic D&D monster guarded a corridor in the Central Bureaucracy Headquarters?

3. In the episode “Mazes & Mutants” the ninja turtles LARP in the sewer tunnels, perhaps an homage to which 1982 movie starring Tom Hanks?

4. The classes of the children in the D&D cartoon are: ranger, barbarian, magician, thief, cavalier and acrobat. Only one of these is a class that’s available to play in the Basic Set of D&D (1977). Name that class.

5. IN the D&D cartoon, Venger has a sycophantic servant. The type of creature and the name it goes by are the same two words. What are they?

6. In the Adventure Time episode “Dungeon” Finn comes across an ooze that resembles which classic 6-sided monster from D&D?

7. In the Simpsons episode “Home Goes to College” Homer plays D&D with his new geek friends. His character was slain by what creature/race?

VOICE ACTOR SECTION:

8. In the 2012 TMNT series, Raphael is voiced by an actor who famously played a hobbit on the silver screen. a) Who is the actor? AND b) What is the name of the hobbit?

9. In Futurama episode #216 “anthology of interest 1” which creator of D&D guest starred?

10. Zummi Gummi is voiced by Paul Winchell, He is better known for voicing which cartoon tiger?

HAPPY DAYS, Donny Most, 1974-84

11. Eric the Cavalier was voiced by Donny Most, who is best known for playing “Ralph Malf” on which live action TV sitcom?

12. Brendan Small co-created Home Movies. he went on to create and provide voice and music for which cartoon series featuring the heavy metal band “Dethklok”?

Dethklok

13. Name the comedian who guested on the premiere of Harmonquest who also voiced Mr Peanutbutter on Bojack Horseman, Deputy mayor Cunningham on Bob’s Burgers, and Gladstone Gander on the new Ducktales.

14. This actor voiced Uni and Tiamat in the D&D cartoon, but also voiced Elminster and Korax in the Baldur’s Gate video game. Who dis?
Hint: he is probably the most prolific voice actor in cartoon history – his most recent imdb role is in the 2020 film Scoob

TIE BREAKERS…

Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game that went on to become a short-lived saturday morning cartoon. What is the name?

In Stranger Things season 1, what is the name they give the monster which they borrow from the D&D game they’re playing

ANSWERS BELOW!

  1. HALFLING
  2. BEHOLDER
  3. 3MAZES AND MONSTERS
  4. THIEF
  5. SHADOW DEMON
  6. GELATINOUS CUBE
  7. ELF
  8. A: SEAN ASTIN; B: SAMWISE GAMGEE
  9. GARY GYGAX
  10. TIGGER
  11. HAPPY DAYS
  12. METALOCALYPSE
  13. PAUL F TOMPKINS
  14. FRANK WELKER
  15. TIE BREAKERS Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game DRAGON’S LAIR
  16. In Stranger Things season 1, the monster name which they borrow from D&D: DEMOGORGON

Top Five D&D-Themed Cartoons

Now that the 2019 Atomic D&D Tournament has concluded (Congratulations Kim, Ren, Carolina and Kieran!) I thought it might be fun to look at some of the best cartoons that feature Dungeons & Dragons!


1983: Dungeons and Dragons (Marvel/TSR) – The series featured six everyday 80s kids who rode a D&D carnival ride into another dimension, are given the coveted (by Venger, voiced by Peter “Megatron” Cullen) Weapons of Power by the enigmatic Dungeon Master, and joined by Uni the unicorn. Lots of great eps but “The Dragon’s Graveyard” in which the kids stop running and face Venger (with the aid of Tiamat the 5-headed dragon) is intense!

1994 : Reboot “Wizards, Warriors and a Word From Our Sponsor” (Mainframe) – Bob, Dot, Enzo and Mike the TV must learn to work together to overcome traps, giant spiders, and battle carrots in a game called “A Dungeon Deep.”

Dexter’s Laboratory “D&DD”

1997: Dexter’s Laboratory “D&DD” (Cartoon Network) – As Game Master for the game “Mazes & Monsters,” Dexter cheats dice rolls and is obsessed with killing his friends’ characters. When his sister Dee Dee takes over the game the kids have a lot more fun, except Dexter who is forced to play the role of Hodo the furry-footed burrower.

2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Mazes & Mutants” (Nickelodeon) Paul Ruebens (Pee-Wee Herman) plays a nerdy mutant who makes the heroes’ LARP (Live Action Role-Play) into reality…or does he?!?

2016 Teen Titans Go “Riding The Dragon” (DC/Warner) – Robin’s adherence to the rules of “Dragon’s Fire” sucks the joy out of the game for the rest of the team. An important lesson for all Dungeon Masters out there!

SPECIAL MENTION:

Superfriends “Lord of Middle Earth” 1979

1979 “Lord of Middle Earth” – Superfriends Season 4. Not good, but definitely notable as a very blatant “homage” to Tolkien, as the heroes quest for a magic ring so they can defeat the evil wizard who has turned them into ‘trolls’ (hobbits).

Other notable shows:
Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh “Lords and Lasers”
Spongebob Squarepants “Dunces and Dragons”
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic “Dungeons and Discords”
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power “Roll With It”
Voltron Legendary Defender “Monsters and Mana”
Gravity Falls “Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons”
Regular Show “But I Have A Receipt”
Amazing World of Gumball “The Master”
Harmonquest (any episode)