Ask Natalie/other bullshizzzz05/29/08


Q: So, Natalie, what do you think about this recent EXPLOSION in CGI films? As an aspiring comic artist, I find it a bit annoying (and sad) that now the "quick fix" is CGI, y'know? Like why can't things be old fashioned drawn like Hayao Miyazaki? Like I understand that its less expensive, but if the company specializes in animation wouldn't they do what ever they can to animate? It is in their field!

Oh, and just for fun, what do you think about the Hannah Montana obsession? I love how she's referred to as a rock star but all she does is lame bubble slut pop.

A: Well, first off, it was my understanding that making CGI films actually took a really long time. Looking it up, the numbers bandied about suggest that it takes at least 2-3 hours per frame (if not waaay longer), so I don't know how the "quick fix" thing is working out for them... I usually expect my quick fixes to be quick, you know? And, even though Princess Mononoke was the most expensive anime film ever made, it was CHEAPER to make than a lot of the CGI movies I looked up. You have to have the most up-to-date computer systems to do CGI, and employees who are experienced in the programs used to do computer animation.

That being said, why can't everything be old-fashioned? That is a pretty stupid question. If someone devoted their lives to animation, why WOULDN'T they want to try out all the new available technology? If you draw animation cells all day long, wouldn't you really like to try something different, and take advantage of some of the benefits of improved technology? In fact, your ol' pal Hayao Miyazaki used some computer animation in his more recent movies, so your example of old fashionedness is erroneous anyway.

Look at it this way-- when I was a young kid, and I took graphic design classes, everything was done by hand, and instead of giant font banks where you could just pull up anything and start typing away, we had sheets of rub-off letters and burnishers. Has anyone suffered by the availability of Photoshop or Illustrator? No. Does it destroy any aesthetics previously established by designers 20, 30, 40 years ago? No, because you can still make things look old fashioned, you just gained the ability to go beyond what has already been done.

Saying you don't like computer animation, and you want everything old fashioned, is like saying WAH, I WISH PEOPLE WOULDN'T MAKE ROCK MUSIC, I LIKE LAWRENCE WELK!! If you don't like it, don't watch it. Easy! Frankly, your question just sounds like sour grapes from someone who wishes everything was anime.

(NOTE TO READERS: Don't email me about anime, I actually think it is epically boring! I had to do a bunch of reading to make any kind of argument for this dude, I don't know shit about anime, I haven't even seen any anime at all since some dude I dated in high school wanted me to watch Lodoss War with him, and I almost killed myself. Sobbing tears of boredom. I don't care to watch movies, and watch animated movies even less. So I practice what I preach when I say, "If you don't like it, don't watch it!")

Regarding Hannah Montana, it takes a special kind of person to call a 15 year old girl a slut. Good luck getting any props from chicks having that attitude. Although, your statements about her kinda back up my theory that you're one of those cats who thinks that, if you don't like something, it's not legitimate. If she is making millions and millions of dollars making music and performing concerts, and is backed by a rock band, she's a rock star, sorry. She's not waiting for you to buy an album to declare her career a success.

(Write to Ask Natalie at


So, I've been trying my hand at that amigurumi business lately. I KNOW, I am only the last person to jump on this trend, but I found myself with a little extra crafting time lately, so I thought I would at least give it a swing. IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW, OK?

Once I got the hang of that magic ring shit, it was pretty easy. HINT: Make sure you are doing single crochet right! I kept fucking up for an hour, until I backed my ass up and got my stitchtionary out, and baby-stepped my way through that shit. I just hadn't single crocheted much, okay?

Also, you gotta kinda pay attention to the pattern and stuff, and count your rows and use a stitch counter, so it is not as blank-out-in-front-of-the-TV as previous knitting/crochet projects. But it moved pretty fast, so that's good. I HATE projects that you can work on for days and days and days and still not be done. Ugh.

Anyway, these are my first two guys I made:
Hamster and Octopus

I used patterns from books for both. The hamster guy was my first one ever, and I fucked up and forgot to give him a mouth until I was 99% finished, so the mouth is a little jacked. The octopus mouth is looking pretty righteous, though. At least the hamster has that wicked little beret. Oui, oui!! My goal is to do a few of these pattern dudes and get the hang out the increases and decreases you need to do in order to make different shapes, then make my own patterns up. We'll see how that goes.

I also recently made some homemade (NO JIFFY MIX) banana-nut-coconut bread, but we ate the hell out of that before I was able to take a picture. Tonight I am having my friend over, and I am going to make some homemade (NO WHOLE FOOD MIX) falafel. If I remember I will take a picture of that. HEAVY METAL MARTHA STEWART, ACTIVATE!

I've been getting down on this housewifey bullshit lately, mainly cause the pollen outside and a heavy workload has left me pretty much housebound. It is real nice outside, but one good walk around the block leaves me wheezing like a mug.


Speaking of housewifery, a couple weeks ago I went to my pal Jessica's to check out her garage sale, and she generously gave me a big ol' yellow plastic box containing The Betty Crocker Recipe Library, from 1971. Apparently, in 1971, people ate some fucked up stuff!!

I realize that old recipe cards are a comedic device that has been utilized before on the internet, so no need for links, guys. I thought I would share some gems with you, though, cause there were some real fucking gems!!

I think people would be really sad if you invited them to a dinner party and served scrambled eggs! Maybe if you are thinking about serving scrambled eggs at a dinner party, you should take that scrambled egg money and just buy an extra case of Southpaw, and have a cheap ass non-dinner party.

Cubed bologna casserole with bologna-infused biscuits. Mmmm :(

Sliced hot dogs with peanuts and celery and mayonaisse. Also, don't let the name fool you, this is served cold. It is just the bun that is hot.

I had no idea anyone had ever actually published a recipe for Weiner Wings. It is truly a recipe that spans generations. Since the dawn of weiners, they've had wings.

OK, this blog is too long. I'm out!!

Let the games begin/Secret Sale05/05/08

The Myspace bulletin with the SECRET LINK to the SECRET SALE I was telling y'all about has been POSTED.

Please check your bulletins and click the link to the Secret Sale! Note that everything is EXTREMELY LIMITED, so do not let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in on SERIOUS DISCOUNTS and SERIOUS RARE STUFF pass you by!

If, for some reason, you are having problems viewing the bulletin, the web address to the Secret Sale is also posted in a friends-only blog entry on my Myspace page.

Game on!!
Secret Sale04/22/08

Oh hey, ramblers...

I forgot to mention when I was blogging and blogging til I was blue in the face that y'all should add yourselves, if you haven't already, to my ol' MySpace.

What is in it for you? Well, we will be sending out a bulletin sometime later this month to people who are our MySpace friends with a link to a top-secret sale. We are doing this to clear out older, out of print stuff that is taking up space to make room for some hot newness... WHO KNOWS what will be for sale! It is a mystery, and only our friends (AKA imaginary friends) will be invited to the exciting conclusion. If you don't wanna be MySpace friends, well, I don't know what to tell you. This is the only way we could figure out how to offer crazy, different stuff without it all selling out immediately.

Store revamp/MEGA ASK NATALIE POST04/21/08

You may have noticed from the fancy banner ads, but we have a bunch of changes to the Natalie Dee/Toothpaste for Dinner/Married to the Sea/Sharing Machine stores coming up, and we are flushing out a lot of shirts to prepare for it. The changes are all top-secret for now, but the shirts we are getting rid of are not! If you are interested in getting any of the current incarnations of ND/TFD/MTTS shirts, please do so now! I can't stress to you enough the importance of this... very few shirts will remain as they are, everything else is getting overhauled and/or discontinued forever.

FYI: "Discontinued Forever" means that once the shirts are gone, they are totally gone. We don't reprint, and we don't hold on to any extras, so when we say something is gone, it is because that is the truth. I don't even have a single previously discontinued shirt in my possession, and I made 'em WITH THESE HANDS (ok, maybe I did not make them with my own hands, but I did do design work on 'em, had the printing handled by someone else, and shipped 'em WITH THESE HANDS. Same difference.)



Q: Is there any way to say something completely sarcastic and mean without getting an angry look from someone who doesn't understand your sense of humor? (I have several friends who caught on by the first few minutes from when we met.)

A: Perhaps I am showing my age here, but I don't really find anything redeeming about being mean to other people. It is never funny, and it always makes the person acting out look bad/insecure/etc.

I think that, unless you have mastered the art of self-deprecation rather than solely deprecating others (and I can tell from your email that you definitely have not), sarcasm is not an especially attractive quality. It is a good tool when you are trying to be humorous, but if your goal is to be mean, then you aren't being funny. You are being a bitch.

I know I haven mentioned this before on my site, but there is nothing that angers me more than people who think that, in order to be "cool", they have to be shitty to other people. Nobody is ever going to be won over by your ideas if you are just mean to them... In fact, having a bad attitude will usually make people dismiss your ideas, because they would not want to espouse something that is being bandied about by someone with an ugly personality.

I'm not sure why people think I act like this, saying shitty things to people's faces and thinking I am the cat's ass for doing so... I reject comics for my site if they are mean spirited, and when I do joke about things other people do, they are jokes about people's misguided actions, not making fun of particular people. I NEVER make comics about particular people, and I only make jokes about trends in attitude I see in large numbers of people. In my everyday life, I always go out of my way to be kind to everyone I see-- the UPS guy, the garbage man, the person who makes my lunch, people who work in the same office building as me. Goodwill towards other people will never reflect poorly on you, but being mean just for shits and giggles might make you look like an inconsiderate, antisocial person, even if you are just trying to be cute. Having people make those kinds of assumptions about you will never work in your favor, because nobody likes being around people who are snarky and mean.

There is nobody cooler than someone who is true to themselves, but still respects the way other people live, even if it is 100% different than they way they would run their life. Nobody is better than anyone else, and being mean to people for fun, rather than getting to know as many different kinds of people as possible and learning about different ways to be, is doing yourself a disservice.

Q: I'm a 20 year-old college student, and I'm having a bit of boy trouble. My first problem is that gay men don't seem to want anything to do with me. It's the straight guys who have a couple beers, and try to get me in bed. What's that about? I wouldn't be so concerned about it, except that there is this one "straight" guy in particular that has caught my attention.

We'll call him Chad. Chad is the same age as me, attractive, and very smart. Our mutual friend, Noreen, is very interested in him, and he seems to be -at least- mildly interested in her. However, Chad and I got tanked one night, and had a hard-to-the-core make out session, during which, he whispered things in my ear that I could not conceive of coming out of the mouth of a so-called straight boy.

Since then, he's been hanging with me a lot, wanting to watch movies, nudging noticeably close to me, feigning a relationship with me to piss off Noreen, and even asking to cuddle from time to time.

I've found myself starting to crush on this kid. Normally, I would try to pursue this, see what Chad was comfortable with, blah blah blah. The problem here is Noreen. If Chad and I got together, or if she found out that Chad and I have been intimate, she'd flip shit. What should I do? I really like Chad, but I don't even know if there's a future there. If there is, we'll both loose Noreen.

A: Interesting...

Here's the thing that stands out to me, as an impartial third party: Dudes don't typically flirt/have "hard-to-the-core" makeouts with dudes unless they are pretty gay themselves. I mean, guys might experiment, but not nearly as much as chicks. Just about every girl I know has tried out messing around with other chicks, but the dudes I know, not so much. Maybe there is a double standard, maybe making out with another chick is more abstract since they are not poking you with their boner, but that is just my observation.

That being said, most girls, no matter how much they like a guy, will be immediately uninterested in him should she find out that he plays for the other team. There is just not much you can work with, when you have a vagina and the boy you like prefers not-vaginas. It is 100% a deal breaker, unless you are a psycho chick, in which case you have bigger problems than trying to ungay a gay guy.

If I was crushing on some dude, even if I had his name written all over my notebook and I had all our babies named, I would drop the subject if I found out he was gay (or gayish.) Nothing against gay guys, they just make bad boyfriends for girls like me.

I think this Chad cat probably likes dudes... I'm not saying that guys can't experiment with other guys, but wanting to "cuddle" with other guys is probably farther than most freewheeling, experimental guys would be comfortable with, since it implies a certain level of intimacy. It implies that you find pleasure in being affectionate with men, not just that you like getting off (everyone likes getting off.)

OK, so what do I think you should do? I think you should talk to Chad and let him know that he is leading you on a little, and tell him you like him and would be interested in pursuing something further if he would be comfortable with that. If he isn't, fine. No harm done. He's just not ready to admit he is gay (which I think he is.) If he likes you too, and wants to bring it up a notch, then talk to your friend Noreen. If she is a half-reasonable person, she will see immediately that there was never any chance of things working out between her and Chad, and will probably be happy for you guys, since you have had problems finding boyfriends, and Chad is finally comfortable admitting what his bag is... She's not going to feel rejected or that you went behind her back because, the fact of the matter is, she never had a part in the sex lives of two gay guys, no matter how infatuated she was with Chad. You can't change a zebra's stripes, you know what I'm saying? It's not her failure to win him over, or you interfering, it's her wanting something that just wasn't gonna happen, any way you slice it.

Q: What's your beef with Cincinnati? It's not that bad.

A: Well, first off, I don't particularly love Cincinnati, but I wouldn't go as far as to say I "have beef" with it. There is a difference between not being particularly fond of somewhere/something, and "having beef." If I had beef, I think I would be more active in my dislike, but frankly, I never really think about it much.

ANYWAY, the things I don't like about Cincinnati?

First off, Columbus is twice as populated as Cincinnati, yet Cincinnati is spread out all over kingdom come, so if you want to go anywhere that is not in the immediate vicinity, it takes 45 minutes. If you are in Columbus, and you start driving, and you drive for 45 minutes, you will be in Delaware or Marion or some other city that is not part of Columbus at all. In Cincinnati, you can try to go to Jungle Jim's, and it takes 2 hours round trip. I just don't like driving around on the highway that much. I prefer doing stuff.

Second, everyone who lives in Cincinnati apparently also hates having to drive on the highway all day, so when they are, they are mean and aggressive and try to run you off the road. The last time I was in Cincinnati, it was storming pretty badly, and i had people riding my ass and flashing their lights at me when I was doing 15 miles over the speed limit (not in the left lane, mind you.) Then, the person flashing me would pass (like one would expect BEFORE acting like a rude child) and someone else would take their place, flashing and dicking off. Also, once you are out of your car, and in, say, the mall, people also ride your ass and cut you off and have generally bad pedestrian traffic manners. I AM NOT SAYING EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT, just the people I've come across.

Also, all the extra driving in Cincinnati makes it seem dirtier, from the exhaust and whatnot. Columbus just seems fresher for whatever reason.

Thirdly, Cincinnati is a lot more conservative than I would like. I enjoy living in a place where there are a lot of other people who feel the same way, civically and politically, that I do. I like living in the inky navy blue center of Ohio, and I like that Barry Obama took my county by 13%. It makes me happy. I don't think I would like living somewhere as conservative as Cincinnati, and you can really feel the differences in ideals between the two cities.

There are other observations I have made about Cincinnati, regarding the infrastructure and racism and whatnot, that are really too negative to ignore. Some things are just never cool, you know? No matter how many cool bands play at Southgate House, it really doesn't make up for the race riots. If nearly half the city's residents are black, you would really think that the black community would be treated a little better, rather than being subjected to such police brutality and whatnot. Not to mention that the racism seems geographically influenced. All the minorities live in the city, where there is not as much organization/infrastructure as the outlying areas where all the white people live. All the roads in the middle of the city were laid out in the 17-1800s, along old cow paths, and they have to make do with that. It's not a nice or pretty place to be, and it doesn't take a genius to notice that's not where the white folk are.

Not to mention that the cost of living is higher in Cincinnati than in other cities in Ohio, so you are paying a premium to live there in particular. OH, and Jerry Springer was installed as mayor by the city council AFTER the city council got rid of him for hiring prostitutes. And he certainly wasn't the first corrupt politician from there.

Now, I can't say that my opinion of Cincinnati isn't colored by my heartbreaking love of Columbus. There is obviously some partiality going on. However, I was not born in Columbus, I moved here because I wanted to, so it's not an issue of me not knowing better. I have thought about moving, but whenever I do, I check out other options, and I realize I like Columbus too much to go somewhere that is not as nice. When I met my husband, he lived in Cincinnati, and theoretically, I could have moved down there instead of vice versa. But, he seemed all too eager to get out, and in years since he moved here, I have watched him mellow out considerably, and his anxiety ebb to near-nonexistent levels. When we go back to Cincinnati, he gets all stressed out again for a day or two. Coincidence? Maybe, but I really don't think so.

Do I hate Cincinnati or have "beef" with Cincinnati? No. It's just a different city, and it is a lot different than any place I would want to live. But it takes all kinds, you know? It's not bad, it's just not for me. Do I think that the regular people who live in Cincinnati are bad? No, people are the same everywhere.

Anyway, that is way longer than I wanted... But you get the drift.

Kool Keith03/23/08

Life imitates a Kool Keith song.

"That's not my horse," the patient said...
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