Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Top 25 Cartoon Characters.

This is a list of 25 of my favorite animated characters of all time. Enjoy.
Feel free to make your own if you feel like I missed out on someone important.

1. Carl Brutananadilewski (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

I know what you're thinking. Really, H? Really? Number ONE is CARL?! Yes. Yes he is. I can comfortably say Carl is my favorite cartoon character of ALL time. Carl is your average middle-aged male from New Jersey (his accent is HILARIOUS), shrewdly placed in the ATHF universe. As a neighbor to the most unforgiving and appalling neighbors ever, Carl is subjected to everything that the ATHF gang has to deal with. Carl is a simple man with no goals (or a future) who is stuck in the 1980's hair band wave amongst other old-school traditions. Cheap and easily pleased with sports and internet porn, Carl somehow always manages to get caught in the mix with whats going on with the Aqua Teens (which usually ends up in his demise). Crude, rude and obnoxious all around - Carl is the perfect man's man...and my favorite cartoon character.

2. Stewie Griffin (Family Guy)

Everyone's favorite diabolical and maniacal baby has secured the #2 spot on my list. Why? Simply put - you have NEVER met a baby like Stewie before. Stewie combines all of the innocence and joy of being a baby with the cynical and stereotypical judgments of an adult, making for a hilarious and classic cartoon character. I honestly didn't like Stewie when I first started watching Family Guy, because I thought his character was monotonous and bland - however, when they brought back the show from cancellation - it was if a new Stewie had emerged. A Stewie with more attitude who was in the spotlight more often - and that made me grow to love him.

3. Goku (DragonBall Z)

Goku is EVERYONE'S favorite hero. He's your favorite hero's favorite hero. As honorable and as noble as they come, Goku's story is as unique as it is impressive. One can say that part of the joy of believing in a cartoon character is knowing that character is fictional in nature - however, Goku is one of those rare characters you could believe actually exists. Goku (aka Kakarot) is the epitome of everything pure and valiant in a hero, while remaining as human and as above-human as possible. Goku has a knack of overcoming unfathomable odds all the while remaining cool and calm under pressure. Passive in nature, Goku is not one to look for conflict - but would rather scoff at it in hopes of a joke. Willing to put anything on the line (including his life - on several occasions) to protect his family and friends, Goku is that selfless and determined hero you can always depend on.

4. Eric Cartman (South Park)

Eric Cartman is that kid you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Offensive in all forms of the word, overtly racist and sexist - Cartman has evolved from a mere troublesome child to a flat-out terrorist on everything sacred. His mother is a hermaphrodite who has been around the block a few times and his father is unknown to him - causing him to be bitter. Spoiled and a glutton, Cartman prides himself in getting what he wants and will often be greedy - taking more than he deserves. Obsessed with money, snacks and authority - Cartman's only weakness is that he still longs for the innocence of being a child. Besides that, Eric Cartman is the All-American Nightmare.

5. Bart Simpson (The Simpsons)

As a boy growing up in the 90's, I needed a child-like animated character to identify with and the first one I can remember is Bart. Bart was your typical bad-boy with no respect for the rules, who was always one step ahead of the game by being so cool and smooth. Being the popular daredevil (me all the way) who has a nerd (Milhouse) as a best friend, Bart cant as much as step out of the bed without doing it in a cool way. Even when he has to look the part of an angel, one can still see the devil in him itching to escape - ready to mark the streets with an "El Barto" tag and a skateboard.

6. Peter Griffin (Family Guy)

This was a hard one because I was torn between Peter and Homer Simpson for this slot, but after analyzing all of the pros and cons - Peter was declared the winner. (that and the fact that I have a plethora of Simpsons characters throughout this list) Peter Griffin is quite possibly the dumbest, rudest, and most thoughtless character you could ever come across - but it's those very factors that makes him lovable. The thing you can always appreciate about Peter is that he keeps it real. Maybe a little TOO real at times, but the REALEST.

7. Master Shake (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)

If you haven't watched ATHF (for whatever dumb reason you haven't) you are missing out on one of the best characters ever created in cartoon history. Master Shake is no regular cup with a face. No way. Shake will take something perfect and beautiful and find complete fault and distaste in it. He destroys almost everything he comes in contact with and demands to be respected at all times - even when he's wrong, which is almost all if not all of the time. If you can deal with someone who has no regard for your feelings and will most likely get you into trouble without knowing (then refusing to admit it was he that got you in said trouble) you might be able to handle Shake.

8. Coach McGuirk (Home Movies)

Never has a cartoon character been so unforgiving and unapologetic as John McGuirk. As the coach of a 4th Grade soccer team, McGuirk is a smart-mouthed oaf who couldn't take his job any less seriously. Apathetic in nature and a belligerent drunk who's had a number of run-ins with the law, McGuirk is the bad-boy of Home Movies with very few friends - forcing himself to impose upon parties where he's not welcome. Even though he can't score a date (or a friend for that matter) he still finds a way to be helpful and beneficial to the kids in their films and adventures.

9. Wolverine (X-Men: The Animated Series)

Wolverine by himself makes up for a good 90% of the cool factor for the X-Men, and he knows it. He's the main reason I watched X-Men growing up as a kid and was my favorite X-Man. (it's kind of been tied between him and Gambit, actually) Loaded with an adamantium skeleton and claws, a bad-ass attitude that could only be compared to the toughness of a wolverine and a dark past that only the best of the best could soldier through - Wolverine is easily one of the most complex and inspiring heroes of all time.

10. Zorak (Space Ghost / Space Ghost: Coast To Coast)

Another one of my favorite villians, Zorak is slept on by most. Not only is Zorak a hilarious co-host to the dimwitted Space Ghost and the most rigid of the Cartoon Planet gang, he is a dutiful father and a clever foe. He has an AWESOME evil laugh too, BTW.

11. Daria (Daria / Beavis & Butthead)

Making her first appearance in B&B, Daria is that girl that everybody knows (or is) who just doesn't care about you, what you have to say, or much of anything for that matter. Smart and considered to most as a "nerd", Daria prides herself in her knowledge as well as her ability to cut down her peers with her witty remarks. Her family is dysfunctional, causing her to seek refuge with her equally nonchalant friend Jane - who is the sister of her crush, Trent. I love Daria and I'm glad that it was her character MTV chose to spin-off into a series with. (AND I'm glad they've finally released all of the seasons on DVD!)

12. Iago (Aladdin)

This dude. Funniest parrot character EVER. Many parrots have tried and failed, but Iago owns the crown for best animated parrot. Voiced by Gilbert Gottfried, (who is for some reason HILARIOUS to me) this lil' dude had me laughing for hours on end. I used to run back Aladdin all the time and when the series came out, it was so dope that Gilbert Gottfried kept doing his voice! Iago could be a bit of a sneak and could be grimey when the situation involved jewels or gold - but he had a good heart at the end and always remained loyal to his friends.

13. Moe Szyslak (The Simpsons)

If anybody's got it bad, it's Moe. (i was gonna put Gil Gunderson instead, but Moe is more amusing of a character) Moe is unattractive, crude and about two steps away from a suicidal meltdown, but his established position as the guy who who doesn't take any crap keeps him alive and stable. From his short-tempered cheapskate manners to his hilarious phone hi-jinks with Bart, Moe makes up a decent percentage of the comic relief The Simpsons has to offer.

14. Bender (Futurama)

Bender is a man robot with very little morals and even less respect. He will leave you stranded on a planet of murderous robots and as soon as you are confronted, will turn on you. Why? Because he is a ROBOT with no obligation towards your feelings! Besides being outright rude and abrasive, Bender is hilariously smart and saves the ass of his fellow colleagues when he occasionally feels up to it.

15. Piccolo (DragonBall Z)

I had a hard time picking Goku over Piccolo, only because Piccolo was the first character from DBZ I really liked. Cooler than the other side of the pillow, Piccolo was actually a villain who reformed over time to become one of the good guys. (same with Vegeta - which was why I liked DBZ) Piccolo had originally been training to defeat Goku and winded up joining forces with him and his friends to protect the earth from the Saiyans. After Goku's death, (the first one) Piccolo became a mentor to Goku's son Gohan, helping to toughen him up and raise him in a true warrior's fashion. After fusing with Kame, Piccolo calmed in nature and took position as the owner of Kame's Tower - eventually leaving the fighting to the younger DBZ warriors.

16. Toxie (The Toxic Crusaders)

I don't remember too much about The Toxic Crusaders, but I do remember Toxie and how cool he was. Toxie was the coolest mutant on the block - actually cleaning up the bad guys and doing it with style. Early 90's cartoons were big on pollution control, and this was another great example at artists lending their hands to a good cause. I would later meet a friend of mine who worked for Troma (the people who produced the Toxie movies) and I got to meet Toxie when I was a teenager! Thanks, Guillermo!

17. Nelson Muntz (The Simpsons)

If there was such a thing as a good bully, Nelson is the best bully there could be. Equipped with a hilarious catchphrase (it's hard not to be a Simpsons character and NOT have a catchphrase) Nelson is the result of your typical American broken home, but he doesn't let that get him down. Nelson is an astute learner, a wonderful singer and actually has a heart of gold when captivated by pure emotion. Count on Nelson to get you out of a jam if he likes you, or to get you in one if he doesn't.

18. Spike (Cowboy Bebop)

Being a "bad-ass" takes a lot of work, but the main thing about being a bad-ass is making all that work look EFFORTLESS. Spike is a PERFECT example of this kind of character, in which he operates carefree and effortlessly. If his laid back semi-drunken fighting style isn't enough to catch you off guard, he's nonchalant approach towards life and the safety of those around him certainly will. Spike makes it look cool to be a bad-ass, succeeding in an area where most heroes fail.

19. Dexter (Dexter's Laboratory)

Dexter, Boy GENIUS! C'mon, dude...you ALWAYS wanted your own lab. You wanted to build all of the cool things Dexter built, and in secrecy you envied his knack for inventing cool things. While Dexter may appear small in stature and tends to look the part of your average "nerd", Dexter is the coolest of the cool. With a suave attitude as well as a solution for almost every situation, Dexter always comes out of any conflict the victor.

20. Buttercup (The Powerpuff Girls)

I'm kind of mad at myself for putting cute little Buttercup so low on the list, but she is the ONLY Powerpuff Girl who made it on this list - so, oh well. Buttercup is the most level-headed and tough superhero you would want to have on your team...and she's a GIRL who KICKS ASS!!

21. Aisha Clanclan (Outlaw Star)

If I could have an anime crush (and I can - don't judge me, I know some of you have them!), it would be Aisha Clanclan. Cute as a kitty (LOL - she's from a race of CATS), strong as an OX and courageous with a Double D rack to boot (the kind that would make that chick from Slayers blush), Aisha stole my heart and made Outlaw Star worth watching for me.

22. Beavis & Butthead (Beavis & Butthead)

Aahhh...Beavis & Butthead. Many a night has been spent watching back-to-back episodes of B&B - back in the days when MTV actually offered quality television programming (and videos). B&B was the brainchild of a simple animator who struck gold with the misadventures of two misguided adolescents. Coupled with hilarious music video commentary, B&B quickly became a hit amongst American teens - so much so, it was banned. B&B was brought back, but forced to air at a later time on the network because of the result of a few teens in reality trying to mimic what they saw on the show. Butthead is my fave, BTW.

23. T-Bone (SWAT Kats)

When I used to watch SWAT Kats, I would always wait until T-Bone showed up to start getting amped. The other dude was cool, but he didn't have the "bad-assery" that T-Bone had. Great show (DOPE animation for it's time) that should have had a longer shelf life than it did.

24. The Red Guy (Cow & Chicken)

This guy is bad and he knows it. Out of all of the "villans" or "bad guys" in cartoon history, nobody else can make being bad look so good. A "jack of all trades", this devilish fella dons various styles and names (usually referring to his butt or lack of pants - ie: Lance Sackless, Ivan Panced) and lives to scam people and make life miserable for others. With his flamboyant, yet aggressive behavior - The Red Guy makes for a lot of laughs and can even be compassionate when the situation permits.

25. Leon Kompowsky (The Simpsons)

Not a lot of people mention this character, but this was quite possibly one of the most classic characters in the history of The Simpsons. Voiced by Michael Jackson (credited as John Jay Jones) - Michael did all of the speaking parts for this character - a mental patient who links up with Homer after he lands in the looney bin. After leaving the hospital and staying with The Simpsons, Leon teams up with Bart to write a beautiful song for Lisa as the perfect birthday present.

Hope you liked my list and I encourage you to make your own!


Escaping Hell

The first time I saw demons, I was about 9 years old. My friend Ian McLeod had invited me over to his house which was a den of everything fun, out of my age range and tempting. We had bought baby mice to feed to his pet snake, ate pizza and watched the movie Friday. I was in HEAVEN. Ian wanted to show me this computer game and I wanted to keep watching Friday, but we were pressed for time. When your a kid on a "playdate" you want to do as much as you possibly can with the 3-4 hrs you are spending with your friend. You have the whole week in school to use your imagination and play with toys - now was the time to go BIG.

Ian booted up his mom's computer and started up Doom 2. The graphics were advanced for me at the time (the only games i had at the time were 8-16 bit console games) and I watched him blow through some of the beginning levels, entering cheats and blowing the monsters away without a scratch. Then it was my turn. I sprinted ahead and killed my first Zombieman with a shotgun blast. I felt ALIVE. I ran through the level, shooting and killing monster after monster - becoming more fulfilled with myself with each kill. I knew nothing of "First-Person Shooters" but I knew as long as the game played like Doom 2 did, I would like it.

I left Ian's house with an obsession to play Doom, not knowing at first that it was a game that I shouldn't have been allowed to play. When I got home I couldn't stop talking about it - and my mom wasn't liking what she was hearing...especially the fact that I wanted to play the game. My obsession to play the game only grew and soon enough, my mom called Ian's mom and requested that I not be allowed to play Doom when I would visit Ian. We ALWAYS broke that rule and I just vowed to keep quiet about it. Ian's mom didn't see the harm in us blowing away these 2d pixel based creatures, but my mom was scared I was becoming a kid more violent in nature.

When we moved to Texas, my best friend Daniel had Doom on his computer as well. His dad would play it all of the time and would let us play when we came home from school. It even got to the point to where my dad actually had a copy in our house, and during the summer when he would sneak to work - I would install a copy of Doom 2 on the computer, play it and then DELETE it before he came home. It wasn't until I moved back to NYC in my teenage years that I was able to score a copy of the game for myself.

The reality of the game hadn't settled in yet until I heard about the Columbine shootings and how the shooters had used Doom as an influence behind their murderous motives. I was puzzled to why this game was coming under fire behind the shootings and soon learned that they had built actual MAPS (Doom levels) that mimicked the school. Placing myself in that world and also being influenced by a lot of gothic, dark and sometimes satanic atmospheric disturbances - I delved into the world of Doom and had been stuck there for years.

Doom had become a reality to me - I turned off the cheat codes and tried my hand at the first level, met with failure because I had set the difficulty too high. The demons and zombies of that world were spilling into my own becoming that much more difficult to destroy. Images of pentagrams and demons filled my head as well as the pages of my junior high school notebook. I felt like the lone warrior faced to fight these hellions around me and became swallowed in this world...a world I wouldn't escape until years later.

I've always had a theory that Hell would be just like Doom. Having to fight my way out of hordes of Imps without dying and taking on unbelievable odds only to have to start all over again on the next level. Well, guess what Hell? I just beat you. It took me damn near 10-12 years to do it, but I finally did it. I completed Doom and Doom 2 this year - and it makes me feel like I accomplished something. Like I could actually fight my way out of hell if forced to. It's bittersweet in a way because now it's over, but I feel like any soldier who's won a war they've been fighting forever...accomplished.

Kudos to Doom 2 for being one of the best (and most difficult) games I've EVER played in my entire life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Origin of Lovechild Zelda

It's about 5:51am now and I just woke up to type this.
First off, I'd like to apologize for being such a neglectful parent to this blog. I feel like I have to blow the dust off of this blog every time I make a new post, but when I do it's usually something crucial to the development of the character known as Halo.

This time, I would like to elaborate my "sudden change" on my moniker as well as who I am musically, artistically and spiritually.

Lovechild Zelda was born through my own personal struggle with identity and how I fit within this world that I populate. As the years have gone by, I've gone from asking myself "How will my music flourish in a world that is so blind?" to "How will I survive in an industry that is being taken over by soulless monsters?" and the sobering truth is, my music wasn't meant for this age. Being "ahead of my time" is an understatement in the fullest respect. I now realize that the goals I wished to achieve as DjH2 can be better understood through the guise of Lovechild Zelda.

In an "last-ditch" effort to preserve my position within the world of instrumental art, I've decided to shelve "AerosolHeart" (a DjH2 project) in order for me to fully focus on releasing the all original, all organic material that is Lovechild Zelda. DjH2 has actually returned to doing what he does best - DJing. I am proud to say that I am now a resident DJ at 999 (or NoCo Bar) spinning every Friday and Saturday. My weekly income isn't substantial enough for me to branch out on my own yet, but I'm saving as much as I can for the much anticipated arrival of my daughter. (LOL - yeah that's right...I have a baby girl on the way due to arrive in March 2011. The last post I made here was in May, so I had to catch yall up.)

999 is a great atmosphere and a wonderful place to work, even more-so when the charismatic Mel is bar-tending. The area itself is full of questionable weirdos, but the regulars have great hearts and personalities and it makes DJing there that much more enjoyable. I honestly couldn't ask for a better job. The management is cool and the vibe is always chill because of the diversity of the crowd there...we get a few rumbles here and there, but what could you expect from a place called 999...I play a lot of hip-hop / Top 40 material for the younger crowds and parties, some Salsa for the Latin folk and some Old-School 80's and 90's for the older heads...it's usually around 3:30 in the morning when I start getting experimental and playing whatever feels right. I'm damn proud of myself for making the effort every week to push my cart with my computer and monitor in it (working on getting a laptop before the year is out - *crosses fingers for Dell XPS M1730 Intel Core Duo Laptop*) so that I can get paid doing what I love. Making others happy through the power of music.

As far as my music is concerned, I don't really drop any of it at 999. Maybe later into the night when things start mellowing out. Lovechild Zelda would be too much for anyone in that crowd to handle, so I'll leave that to the people who seek that sound. Even as I listen to some of the songs from the LP, I wonder to myself who will truly understand the energy and meaning behind this project. People expecting to hear a classic H2 sample chopped over some syncopated drums will be disappointed. This is a venture into sounds that put the heart at ease and makes the soul jump out of your body. I really am excited about this project because it has such value to me. I can feel the joy, excitement and love I have for my daughter all throughout this music. Lovechild Zelda is the perfect aural embodiment of the person I've blossomed into over the past few months.

Spiritually, I would like to say that I am currently "omni-religious". This is to say I find faith in the ideals, tales and beliefs of various religions. After learning the tale of Heru (aka Horus) as well as viewing the theological essay entitled "Zeitgeist", my views on religion as well as our whole establishment as a nation has been flipped upside down. I believe in the energy of the sun as most of our universe revolves around this every entity, however - I also believe that a being of great power created the sun and it is that very being that we call God. We are all god's of our own destiny and will, however a force greater than we can possibly comprehend moves us and aligns us with certain people, experiences and lessons so that we may grow in the manner that God sees fit for us.

Well, I'll explain more in the future. For now...be on the lookout for Lovechild Zelda...a sound that may change the way you look at music as well as everything in general.

Stay tuned...