July 26, 2006
I'm back. I've escaped my imprisonment (and believe me, it was a harrowing experience for all of us). But until I get around to explaining all that (probably in my next post) I'll entertain you with these amazing photos. Where is it? What is it? I don't really know except that it's somewhere deep under the ground in Russia, it looks very old and battered and I'm very sure we're all dying to explore it!
In the meantime, here's some more photos (click to enlarge)...
Thanks Road Runner!
July 11, 2006
Report From the Field 3
Report from: Emanuel, Lead Designer of M.O.D.S.
Hi darlings! Well, as you know, we're working our fingers to the bone trying to design a little something for the Republic of Tinselman battling... and oh, it sounds so delightful. And I think we've come up with the most delicious little outfits. You're going to just love them. Of course nothing is actually finished yet; we've only mocked up an idea or two... I like to call them "sketches." But some of them give me goosebumbs... they're just so original. So "out there," if you know what I mean.
Those first little outfits up above were inspired by our hero, Super Gopher-Boy Wilmey. And he sounds like such a man! The red hair... everything, darling. We just went crazy with it. We think it completely works for your little fighter-people, men, women... and it is simply wow!
Oh, and look at this delightful little morsel. I could munch it down whole! We call it the Roller Coaster. And who knows... it may work as camouflage!
This precious thing I did myself. Yum! It's called Albino Faun. I can see all of you dashing and dancing around in these... oh it will be just scrumptious (you know that don't you)?
Ah... I'm in ecstasy! Enraptured! Bliss, bliss, bliss! And I'm sure the wheel will end up being functional in some way or another. But you must admit, it's simply delicious!
This is one of our camouflage attempts. Need I say more?
And finally, we end on one of my favorite, most extraordinary designs. From the headpiece, a flowing sheer cloth drapes the body – a cloth which can change colors according to mood! What's more, eating utensils can be hung around the rim of the cloth. It's smashing, darling, simply smashing.
They're all so mouthwatering; I simply can't choose. I want to dig my teeth into all of them! Then spit them out and eat them again! Oh, I just can't wait for you to choose so we can start the manufactoring process for the Republic of Tinselman Army!
Report From the Field 2
Report from: Mark
I was at home, sweeping the fireplace, on the night of the 3rd Annual Tinselgala Costume Party. Suddenly I heard a deafening sucking-noise coming from outside, and rushed to the window. Out in the streets, everything from citizens to trees to Wienermobiles was being uprooted and sucked up into the sky. Meanwhile, travelling in the opposite direction, enormous green (and seemingly performance-enhanced) monsters were falling down from the sky.
I was just wondering if one of them would collide with a Weinermobile, when there was a knock on the door. A kind old lady with 'M.O.D.S.' hand-embroidered on her blazer stood at my doorstep, carrying a bundle of clothes.
"Are you my fairy godmother?" I asked.
"Hurry, put these on!" she urged, shoving the bundle into my arms before she too was suddenly sucked skywards.
Unfortunately I never got to see, let alone try on, my new uniform. . . . the suction had temporarily stopped, and with a loud thud one of the green monsters landed right in my front garden. When I saw the stars-and-stripes insignia on his chest, my first thought was NSK - but no! It was the US!!
"This is a raid!" came the loudspeaker. The flag on the monster's chest opened up, and legions of soldiers poured out onto the lawn. I closed the door, just as it was being blasted off its hinges, and ran upstairs.
"Megophias, Megophias, we know you're in there!" shouted one of the soldiers, first in American English, then in Arabic.
I peered round the corner at the top of the stairs, and the scene before me sent a shiver of familiarity down my spine. Where had I seen all this before? And then I realised - they were re-enacting, down to the last detail, page three hundred and sixty-six of the 2003 novel 'Absolute Friends' by British author John LeCarre.
I'm writing this from my attic. Those folks downstairs are still on the rampage. The worst part is, I never got to see the Official Uniform of the Republic of Tinselman. Can anyone help?
Report From the Field
Report from: Super Gopher-Boy Wilmey,
During the Republic of Tinselman battle, I was able to follow the lead U.S. Saucer to its refueling depot, where it was undergoing ad-hoc repairs from some of the damage it had taken... needless to say, I was able to make a shocking discovery.
The US is constructing a doomsday weapon. Apparently they are currently building an eleventeen (what?) and a half foot tall robotic Gillian Anderson (or the "Mecha Gi-An" as I call it), each of which are capable of atomic death rays from her eyeballs.
The Mecha Gi-An is also capable of flight, with its awesome turbo booster booty, super cold freeze blasters and ultra stealthy stigium cloaking device.
Three RoT who had traveled with me were stomped to death by one of the Mecha Gi-An, simply because they were so awestruck by her awesome power... that, and the fact that the US seems to have dressed the robotic Gillian Anderson in
tight leather spandex and matching thong somber and uncomfortably modest Victorian garb!
This Mecha Gi-An is truly a fully armed and operational battle station. We're all screwed!
July 10, 2006
Read All About It!
Loyal citizens of the Republic of Tinselman, I regret to inform you that the Republic has been invaded. By the United States of America!
They struck last night, during the 3rd Annual Tinselgala Costume Party. And I've got to say... wow! What an event! All the citizens together in their most colorful and imaginative ensembles – I've rarely seen anything like it. Everyone who's anyone was there. I (the Khan) came dressed as one of our greatest celebrity-enemies, The Snake (otherwise known as that swine who played Kirk on Star Trek). Oozing glamor and excitement, our celebrity co-mayors Brad and Angelina stopped by, dressed as a couple of machine-gun toting spies from some flick they starred in. Bryan William Jones shocked everyone by arriving as an entire heard of Water Buffulo! But of course the prize for Best Costume was awarded to Dr. Anthonid Oudemans for his life-sized, working model of the great sea-serpent Megophias Megophias (and you should have seen that thing krumping!).
But I think the real hit of the evening was Wilmey. His costume was subtle but brilliant! Apparently he'd had his two front teeth surgically widened and extended to the bottom of his chin and underneath his torn clothes we could plainly see thick hair (or fur) growing from his skin. But whenever we asked him what he was dressed as, his only reply was to laugh bitterly and say, "The experiment, damit! Everything's been lost! All these years living with those gophers... and for what?! Nothing, I tell you, nothing!" And if any of us happened to mention his "fur," he'd react by pulling his collar tightly around his neck, biting rapidly with his two front teeth and glancing suspiciously from person to person. Of course Wilmey played this part perfectly, never letting up, not for one instant, so that by the end of the night he had us all rolling on the ground.
Our newest minster, Rupert Murdoch showed up (as himself), for a bit of heavy duty RoT politicking. And this guy isn't as stiff as he looks! You wouldn't believe the things he told me! Most of them are Republic Secrets but I can tell you this: he does a surprisingly good Sinatra imatation. And in the middle of his chest he has a tattoo of all three Bee Gees, bare-chested and dressed in gleaming white slacks. Below them dances a strapping young John Travolta. Kinda weird. Anyway, far better than that, he's a huge fan of the Republic of Tinselman! He and I got along famously. In fact, he offered to pay for the entire night's event. How could I refuse?
Rupey and I were having a power talk when IT happened. Wilmey went bizzerk. He stood on the nearest table, looked toward the sky and screamed, "They're coming!" We all looked up and saw an empty night sky. When we looked back down, we saw Wilmey's clothes lying around Wilmey's feet. Except it wasn't quite Wilmey anymore. It was this:
One person said, "It's a rodent!"
Another: "It's a warrior!"
But it was Rupey who stood up and declared, "It's Super Gopher-Boy Wilmey!"
And everyone errupted into cheers. That is, everyone but Brad and Angelina. They split (dropping their guns on the way out). Because they had just spotted the flying saucers hoovering down out of the darkness above.
We all looked up again. I set my laser to stun, Bryan William Jones prodded the herd to readiness, Oudemans revved up his sea-serpent for attack, Rupey was already foaming at the mouth and Super Gopher-Boy Wilmey seemed more prepared than the rest of us combined.
"Attention Citizens of the Republic of Tinselman," came the voice over the loudspeaker, "we are the Outer Space Invading Armies of the United States and we are here to destroy you!"
The citizens shook with fear. But their Khan was there to clear things up for them. I stepped forward and said, "I don't quite get it!"
"Uh, what don't you get?" said the voice.
"Well," I continued, "are you aliens or are you the U.S. military? I mean... what's with the flying saucers?"
"Well," said the voice, "you have to admit, it is bit frightening, don't you think? At least it worked on our test subjects. And there's that retro thing – it's popular these days. And wait until you see our new scary costumes! You'll be peeing in your pants! Ha, ha, ha!"
"Okay, okay fine." I said, "So why us? We're nothing, insignifigant, a mere trifling."
"That's not what our latest intelligence clearly says."
Oh, I knew all about their so called "latest intelligence" and I almost winked knowingly at Rupey until I suddenly remembered about his tattoo.
Before we knew it, hordes of green monsters began descending down out of the sky. And the first battle of Operation Tinsel-Freedom commenced.
It wasn't pretty. We were totally out numbered. And these guys were huge! It must be steroids or something – it totally freaked us out. That is, everyone but Wilmey... he fought like a firey-hot demon. A bulldozer! But even he wasn't enough to stop their ferocity.
If only Brad and Angelina hadn't left us... I'm sure we would've won that first battle. Typical hollywood crap! So I guess we see who's really committed to the Republic now, eh? What fakes! How could they do this to us? After we gave them our hearts! There will be no forgiveness for Brad and Angelina! The Tinsel Tribunal declares that, from now on, they will be known only as the Roach and the Ant and that they will be forever banished from the Republic.
Oh well. I guess we should start looking for other celebrities to use for publicity sake.
Though a great number of citizens were unwittingly sucked up into big dark holes in the bottom of the flying saucers, we are still a strong and proud nation. If anything, this attack has hardened our resolve! We will continue to fight, as long as it takes! And we will win this great battle. We win it for liberty, for justice, for Wow-Magical and for our Tinsadelic way of life! Got that?
Oh, and a couple more things... Rupey has decided fund this little skirmish of ours! He's dumping tons into it; very kind of him! Of course that means larger weapons, fancy meals and resort hotels from now on!
Also, as we're all well aware, there was a bit of confusion at the battle scene when a crowd of onlookers gathered around to watch the bloody spectacle. In no time at all they were confused with members of the Republic and many of them were also innocently sucked up by the U.S. In order to help remedy this problem, M.O.D.S. (Mothers of Dress & Safety), an all-volunteer organization, is working fast and furiously on the hand-made Official Uniform of the Republic of Tinselman. They are calling it, "vibrant, with a dash of brilliant summer color yet comfortable for those long nights on the field of battle." I, for one, can't wait to don mine.
July 03, 2006
As a fan of Osamu Tezuka's Astroboy, I couldn't help but love these photos by Hiroshi Araki. It's not Tezuka's artwork or even Astroboy's personality that makes the manga so fascinating. It's the fact that Tezuka managed to create an empathy for entire society of self-aware robotic beings... beings enslaved by humans.
Though Tezuka's inspiration was Disney, his children's stories were usually more forcefully provoking than his American counterpart. Though it was Walt Disney who said "don't ever talk down to a child," it was Osamu Tezuka who lived up to this statement by never shying away from topics like war, death, loss and then even some of the greater questions. What are we? Who are we? What is consciousness?
A few years back a film adaptation was made of Tezuka's Metropolis manga. It actually share very little in common with the manga but it is great looking. And it does display Tezuka's enslaved society of robots. I recommend it, especially as an introduction to Astroboy.