Weirdest Creatures (North America Edition)

Look, the rest of the world has some weird looking animals, but I think the US needs a look. Where’s our self reflection. Where are our weird little creatures right at home? That’s why I’m doing in an investigation–at least four creatures, count ’em–into the strangest of guys right here because they’re not examined close enough.

Coatimundi

So, this guy isn’t from the southeast. He’s from the southwest and most prominently Arizona (if you don’t count the areas outside of the United States.) He yawns big like a dog and has a long snout along with two big black eyes. Why’s he shaped like that? Why’s he snouted like that? They gotta stop making wild animals cuddly with and teeth sharp enough to rip skin and paws that’ll rip you like a bear. That’s not fair.

Star-Nosed Mole

Okay, have you ever thought about how weird moles are? Like genuinely, it’s something I ponder. They’re weird dirt diggers who can’t see and just burrow in the ground, and the only reason they’re normalized is because they’re from north america (specifically the northeast and parts of Canada). But we let this guy get off too easy! His claws? Paws? Deserve a mention on their own I mean look at those things. He’s semi-aquatic? What for! What do you need to be! There’s so many things going on with him, and the further you look, the more is going on with him.

Alligator Gar

(man in photo not identified)

I didn’t think this animal was that strange until I realized he’s a fish. A FISH!!! HE SHOULD NOT BE THAT LONG. HE IS LONG AS A MAN. IT IS 100 MILLION YEARS OLD. Imagine catching one of them and you don’t know what it is. Imagine seeing one of them under your boat. You’ll think you’ve been visited by a cryptid, an honest to God. It should replace the Lochness Monster in all honesty. And the cherry on top? This guy is found in Dallas, Texas. Do not let that thing near me.

Greater Siren

No. No because what is that thing? WHAT IS THAT. nonononono. no no no. that’s it i’m done

tv is weird now (rant)

Look, TV has always been weird but at the HEIGHT of when things should be good, writers are finalizing stories and getting more spotlight, small actors are getting jobs, and hell, just having fun everything is falling apart. Spongebob is on its fourteenth season, Loud House is on its 10th, and Disney+ just keeps making content that’s… Look that’s a blog all on its own. The only thing standing seems to be indie animation, and that can fall through at any time because its indie animation.

Speaking of which, streaming. TV show writing was basically rooted around cable. Your twenty something episodes? Cable. Your twenty-two minute run time? Cable. Now less and less people pay for cable, (and there’s already a video somewhere about how weird cable is now,) and everything’s thrown. Rates writers and actors and basically the entire crew would’ve made from cable views are all transferred to streaming, and the money that was supposed to come from that was barely seen. And THEN there’s the issue of the eight episode season—which again, is a cable issue. Where ads in between thirty minute episodes usually supported productions costs and airing schedules meant 22 episodes to drop over the course of a summer and a spring, now production is entirely supported by the streaming service and you can just drop a chunk of episodes in a day on Disney+ or an entire season on Max.

And there’s password sharing and I don’t wanna even get into that, just know its dumb and Netflix lost 791 million dollars.

Where are you supposed to go for good TV? Where it’s not going to get canned within the first season? Where its not going to get eight episodes? Look, network TV has always been a bit of a scam, and I know nothing about managing markets or whatever—but it had a model. And whatever this new model is, is certainly a dumpster fire and I’m not looking forward to what may come of it—be it another season of NCIS or a ten episode cancellable series.

And if you’ve ever gotten attached to a TV series, I’m pretty sure you feel the same.

sources: https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/zv27gc/why_do_shows_nowadays_only_have_8_to_10_episodes/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.statista.com/statistics/1247176/streaming-services-loss-us-password-sharing/&ved=2ahUKEwi_pL7n8oCGAxXdDkQIHUz-A3wQFnoECA8QAw&usg=AOvVaw2sRmXMDI0Z2DN8RdQhwQZ3

video essayists I (really) like

(bear with me, I’m very bad at promotion. These are good youtubers I swear)

Sarah Z

Super chill youtuber who does niche 2012-2015 internet history as well as musicals. She only has 60+ videos, but most of them are close to an hour long so I don’t think you’re scrapped for content. Her videos have an undeniable charm as her most baffling videos leave you just as surprised as she is. And even with the most inane videos, she comes at with an incredible amount of empathy and maturity as she never forgets there are people pulling the strings behind these internet disputes and weird rabbit holes. So, if you want to sit down with a cup of tea and listen to someone talk about the bad writing of the Mean Girls musical or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I highly recommend.

Sideways

Another musicals guy who specifically dedicates and analyzes music in films, tv, and musicals. His videos are like actual analysis as he takes apart motifs, music structure, and sound in things like the Disney Live-Actions or Cats (2019). He is highly educated in his craft and it leads to some really interesting videos like Why the Music in the Live Action Disney Remakes is Worse than you Thought ← full title while also being very passionate about the work that goes into writing music. I really don’t know how to recommend him, but his thorough analysis, like—exactly hits the right spot of my nerd brain, so if you have any interest in this or you wanna learn something new, I highly recommend. Learn about leitmotifs and Howard Ashman and Disney.

hbomberguy

Highly doubt you have not seen, watched, or been recommended this guy. I feel like I don’t even have to say anything but I will! This guy is one of the best investigative journalists I have ever seen, and this was just randomly brought to light one day when he made a video about the Roblox Oof sound (go watch it, really.) His videos weren’t even investigative journalism before this! If you haven’t seen his newest video about plagiarism and its effects on YouTube, I  suggest you go watch it. He also has a large string of fanworks before this, so if you have an interest in Fallout, Bloodborne, or RWBY—or you could give his measured response series a check. Detailed videos on social justice might pique your interest!

a play about a funeral service

preliminary: People look at funeral services as a vehicle for bitterness and mourning, and it’s true, they are. They can be. But I’ve seen, funerals become a vehicle for celebration, getting to know this person in your life and see what everyone else saw. I think this was meant to be a study of that, but I never got far with it.

This is a funeral for a teenage Boy, Nicholas Todd. Everyone tries their best to speak on him, but everyone has their own perceptions. This story is only in its exposition phase, so it may be a bit boring.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

MR. TODD: Nicholas’s father, just about 53 years of age. He’s known to be very quiet and thoughtful, always something but tonight, he is falling short.

MRS. TODD (not appearing): Nicholas’s mother. Candid, sweet. A couple years younger than her husband, but still loves her kid all the same.

DEVIN (not appearing): Nicholas’s best friend. Last speaker of the day.

 

(at rise) An array of chairs sits in front a single podium as a casket lays diagonally to the audience. Everything is sort of drab as the decorations are simple and hastily put together. Everyone is dressed in black.

(lights up) A preacher steps up to the podium, says a few words, people wipe their eyes, and Nicholas’s father walks up to the podium.

 

MR. TODD

I’m not good with words. I’m sure my son could’ve told you that. I’m pretty sure he did. But I’ll try my best today.

I’ve been trying to come up with a story to tell, because that last thing I’d want to do is embarrass my son at his own funeral—But whenever I tried to come up with a story to tell, my mind just came back to this one. And if here I am, telling you all now, obviously, that means I didn’t kept my word.

The crowd laughs.

MR. TODD

When my son was a boy, about five or six, he was obsessed with the show on TV: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It had just come out the year before—we bought it on DVD, and everytime we put it on, he was ecstatic. It was his favorite show. I never saw the promise in it, but what the hell did I know, I was a man almost in my forties with a five-year-old.

Over the summer, he kept watching and watching it, and eventually just had the—the whole thing down by memory. And around August of that year, we saved up to go to the Zoo, down in—down in Pittsburgh. We saw all sorts of animals, zebras, monkeys, gorillas—But what I’m never going to forget was the tiger exhibit. What he did was he stared for about five seconds and then he stormed off. So downhearted. May tells me to follow him, so I go up to him and ask, “Nicky what’s wrong?” He shakes his head and says, “Daddy, that’s not what a tiger looks like.”

MR. TODD laughs, covering his face
with his hands
.

MR. TODD

That was my boy right there. Never grew out that love of animals. Told me when he was eleven he wanted to get a frog. Bless her heart, Mae nearly fainted.

MRS. TODD is audibly heard,
laughing in the crowd.

I Could Lie to You Right Now

You ever thought about how easy it is to lie to someone?

Look, I’m probably getting eyes right now, but I’m being so honest. It’s so easy to lie to someone! In an age where fact checking is a myth because the closest thing to a real answer was Google and then it wasn’t, and you could use AI to look something up for you, but really do you want to do that?

It’s one big mess. Your social media sites? One big episode of telephone.

Someone said on Tumblr, who got screenshotted to Instagram, who was sent around a bunch of people’s direct messages that you could save someone from an overdose before an ambulance came by pouring them saltwater. And was this correct? No, it was dangerously false, but the post from 2013 where someone read something wrong is now getting posted to Tik Tok and ohh…  You just pray to God no one in this scenario is confronted with an overdose.

That’s a horrifying system! Who profits from this!

Some videos will just serve you wrong information and what? Will your mother check if NewsOutlet.com is serving her a conspiracy theory baked as a health guide? No, she won’t. It’s just the culture of the internet but now she’s involved in buying purified teeth to loop around her neck.

Which brings us back to the question: how easy is it to lie to someone?

I mean, obviously there are boundaries, if you have enough common sense you can tell when I’m lying (but the average American overestimates how easy it is to be manipulated.)

You may think I’m telling the truth, but if I’m confident, persuasive, and pretty enough, I can tell you things you would doubt experts on. Humans love to listen to confidence. And coincidentally, if your peer tells you a statistic with full confidence, what’s your chances of actually fact checking that?

Some of the things you think you know are just another myth. Daylight saving time was started for farmers, putting your phone in rice saves it from dropping in the pool, organic food is more nutritious. And then there’s the even worse ones. MSG is bad for you, vaccines cause autism, a child can’t be reported missing unless 24 hours have passed.

And that’s just the beginning!

But we’re nearing the end of this blog, so let me make the point I was going to make at the beginning. (This one is in bold because it’s the one you’re probably actually gonna read.)

Out of the five of these, four are real crimes. One is a lie. Without looking it up, which one is LEGAL?

  1. spitting at someone

  2. corporal punishment (Physical Punishment)

  3. not having car insurance

  4. Impersonating someone online

  5. downloading someone else’s content

Children’s books I remember reading

(and you probably do too)

AMELIA BEDELIA

I really hope you know Amelia Bedelia. My roommate didn’t and I was very sad. Amelia Bedelia is connotative with gullibility, upon being left in a house with a list of expressions and idioms she takes them all to be literal: she cuts up the towels when she hears “change them [out]”, ruins their furniture and the only reason she doesn’t get fired that day is she makes a delicious lemon meringue pie. I tried not to sound mocking because I truly do love this book, Amelia Bedelia is so witty and goofy.

And then of course came what I’d call “holiday specials” e.g. Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia; Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, etc. etc. It’s just a trend of the medium, you’ve noticed, once people love “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” they’ll love “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” but what I find interesting is Amelia Bedelia didn’t just get picture books she also got chapter books.

An entire franchise of them!

These were published decades after the original book was released—like the Amelia Bedelia books were being published in the 60s, the one I had as a kid was written in 2013.

Also, I love this artstyle, look at her little outfit

(side note I was looking up more books for this blog and let me just say: Harry Potter is NOT a picture book.)

KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE

This one is for ME, okay? and it’s the only non-serialized one on this list. This little girl leaves her stuffed animal at the laundromat and she can’t talk yet so all she can do is babble the words closest to the sounds “Knuffle Bunny.” 🙁

It’s based on the writer’s real life family and did you know this was written by the guy who’s also written, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?” I’m so upset no one remembers Knuffle Bunny. Let’s move on.

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE

What I brought it up and you expected me not to use it? Yeah, you’ve read it I bet. I believe it FAR greater than either of the other ones on this list but have you actually gone back? Because wow, it is cozy. Coziest book alive, as a seven year old shares some food with a mouse who trashes his house (but the book doesn’t rhyme?) Akin to most things on this list, there were obviously more books after it and you know what, I’ll go back on my word. Despite how like. Honestly sweet the original is, I remember the variations more fondly.

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake? If You Take a Mouse to the Movies?

If You Take a Mouse to School?

I’m sorry, If You Take A Mouse to School beats out the original by a MILE, no criticism accepted (I do not remember this book, so this could all be hearsay.)

PETE THE CAT

I loved this cat as a kid and I love the beat his little read-alouds were paired with. Do you remember read-alouds? Those went crazy. This cat went along with everything, his shoes are white, now they’re red, what does he say?

“I love my red shoes,

I love my red shoes,

I love my red shoes.”

Never bothered, never sad, just the coolest cat around. 10/10 Cat I don’t remember much of him but he took down the house in a single picture book.

 

 

 

… hey you know those “I am [historical figure]” books? They made one for ruth bater ginsberg

Adult Animation: Camp Camp

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of Camp Camp—compared to RWBY and Red vs Blue (if you’ve even heard of those two) it’s the less well-known of Rooster Teeth’s production, a now defunct indie production studio. If you have, maybe you saw it on YouTube at some point where it got most of its press (don’t look it up, it’s not there anymore)

The premise of the show is best described as a conman’s summer camp. A thousand years ago, in an attempt to make as much money as possible, Cameron Campbell set up a con where he could maximize profits and turn a regular summer camp into an everything camp. What ends up happening is a bunch of kids whose parents signed them up for entirely different camps (Science Camp, Magic Camp, Behavioral Correction Camp, etc.) all get jammed into a rinky dink summer camp where the only objective out of the day is to get to the end of the summer.

We follow Max, this cynical and jaded kid whose entire thing is making every day at camp as entertaining or as miserable as possible, along with his cheerful camp counselor David who’s never met a day he didn’t love.

A not bad premise for a series and it was critically acclaimed. Especially when it started picking up traction—Fourth season wrapped up with a longer episode lineup than any season before and a finale open for a fifth season. Then dead air. The next  season they were talking about doesn’t air and the company declared a period of “mass hiatus” for a number of its shows. Somewhere in there twenty million dollars is lost and the show is “TBA” for four years. If you were watching the show at the time, you wouldn’t be unrealistic to think the entire thing was canceled and call it good while it lasted.

Behind the scenes, Rooster Teeth would face a lot of controversy, budgeting difficulties, and layoffs. You wouldn’t know that if you were only there for one show but like ehhh semantics. But what’s really weird is despite all this, there WAS news.

Somewhere 2023, Rooster Teeth has its 20th year anniversary and four years after the series went dead, they premiere the closest thing to an actual official finale Camp Camp has had which they leave open-ended and THEN announce a fifth season a few days after.

Fifth season doesn’t air until March and I’ll be honest pessimistically, I’m like “alright yeah fifth season’s not coming.” five days after the first episode of the new season airs—the entire studio announces its shutting down. two days before I wrote this blog the series aired its last episode. the last episode wasn’t grandiose or a big send off and there was no major announcement except for a little card at the end of the last episode thanking you for watching the show.

and that’s the trashiest thing I’ve ever seen happen to an animated show!

FIELD TRIPS

If you’ve ever gone on a field trip, (which is very likely) you remember the joy of the teacher handing out permission slips and announcing the opportunity of a field trip in the coming weeks. And then losing your mind for the next several weeks or maybe that was just me. Is there anything more exciting than a field trip? I think I could get married and still remember my trip to Ship Island better.

You get a permission slip with a little stamp in the corner and enough body text for you to just properly sell your soul or something without noticing, and a dotted line at the bottom for your parents to sign away any chance of death, sickness, or heat exhaustion.

Now at MSA, we just send in money or just sign up to pay the fee, but back then it was a big deal! Especially if you had ADHD and being responsible for your own permission slip was your own personal 7th circle but I’m sure that’s a very niche experience.

Then, they would take you all out of class (except for the kids whose parents didn’t let them go,) and line you up to get situated into separate buses: 50 kids to a bus each. All crammed into a small metal container with leather seats and no proper ventilation. And then you stay like that for an hour and thirty minutes.

Annually, one kid tries to see how fast they can get the bus turned around before their teacher snaps at them. Last 15 minutes of the ride or so, they (the teachers) stand up despite the fact you’re not supposed to do that and mention you’re REPRESENTING THE SCHOOL SO NO FUNNY BUSINESS before they let you loose. Some kid would get lost, some kid would puke up the school lunch because bugs crawled in it, the teachers would force the rest to throw out the school lunches, it was an experience!

Possibly the grimiest experience of your life but an experience!

If you’re lucky, the field trip lasts the entire day, but most of the time you’re back by 1:15 pm (to make time for the bus ride back). One kid will presumably go home with their parents because they live in the area while the rest of you get to finalize the day by sleeping in terrible leather seats until the bus pulls back into the school (or the bus driver runs something over.)

and then no one in the school ever stops talking about it. the end!

Monologue Collection

Earlier in the semester, we had some demo monologues we had to write for an assignment. Here are some leftovers

BASIL GREENE:

And I’ve always been surrounded by… You know. The thing. I think it’s just something ingrained in me, this sludge stuck to my body. Something I was born with until it grew and grew and now it’s just—me. It’s just who I am. Everyone wants to feel sorry for me, but I don’t think I even feel sorry for myself. Maybe I’m not fine with it, but I’m used to it, you know? Is it so bad to get used to it? To not be afraid of it anymore? I’m hanging my feet off the edge of a dock and know the water’s dangerous, but to not be afraid? As if the monster waiting for you at the bottom of the creek is… Friendly, even. I’ve known him my whole life. I see him clawing at the bottom of my feet, but I’d still like to believe he’s friendly. I’m never going to get rid of him, so I’d like to believe he’s friendly.

UNNAMED

It’s just… Terrifying. They’re never gonna see each other again, never gonna know each other’s faces, they were a split moment in each other’s lives. They were twined at the hip, they were inseparable, and their friendship still ended all the same. Their lives still ended all the same. Isn’t that terrifying? Nine seasons of watching something and they don’t even know each other’s names by the end. Nine seasons and it’s like you wasted your whole life.

[x takes a brief pause and turns off the TV]

I hate unhappy endings anyway.

UNNAMED VILLAIN

My name is one with fear. You do not hear it, do not taste it, but you know it. I know you know it well. You fought me many a time, and as we grace this song and dance, I wonder how long you will keep standing. How long before the foundation you’ve built us on collapses and you finally realize with all you’ve given, you still find nothing in this world to matter. I can reap it from the ground and rip the flowers from the weeds and I can tear the world asunder, and you’ll lose. And all this fighting, this pitiful fighting you wish to amount to, will be worth nothing. This work, this pitiful beautiful work you do, with every step and glide, as if you were a dancer, is only placing you like a buck in an open fire. And bucks can run, all they want, but everyone knows man has the gun.

 

Dragon Breath [excerpt]

yeah the undertale food review is taking a little bit don’t sweat it ...

I’m gonna do a part two of taking one of my scrapped pieces and repurposing it. however, I mean it this time, because I don’t think I’ll use this one again?

Ballard shot out of his chair, taking a quick survey around the room. And then he ran. Large animal-like feet stomped behind him, massive by the sounds of it. In the mirrors he could see glimpses of a marred creature, flashes of purple and black. He ran for the safest room in the house.

The creature tackled him to the ground, and Ballard braced for teeth.

A scraggly voice called out, “Who do you—”

Ballard’s voice almost took over itself as he screamed, “∷ᒷ⍊ᒷᔑꖎ ||𝙹⚍∷ᓭᒷꖎ⎓!”

The harsh, garbled sound thunders through the room, almost as if it were a ruptured violin, and despite his rusty incantation, it worked. He opened his eyes to see a visage of a boy his age. And then it morphed—as if it was never there to begin with. Whatever had the figure of a human was gone, replaced by a creature. Clothes shredded and torn cover it head to toe. What wasn’t obstructed was almost entirely scales, purple as mulberries or blacker than midnight, and what might’ve been hands were claws, deep and long. It was entirely animalistic, no part of it to be made human.

All at once, the thing realized it was visible, and Ballard realized in a cold breath what it was, what the scales and pitch black eyes meant. It released his shoulders from his hands and stared at them as if never realizing they were staring at a monster themself.

Before Ballard could speak, it then covered itself as much as possible, almost phasing invisible again as it screamed “Don—”

A large flame erupted from its mouth and nearly hit the ceiling before it could finish the sentence. It ran from the room, moving from all fours to two legs somewhere off into another part of the house. And Ballard couldn’t think; he just muttered the words:

“It’s a dragonborn.”

Dragonborns are dead. Same as elves. Dragonborns are dead.

The words stain the page, but Ballard can’t stop running over them as if to give himself some clarity. Dragonborns are dead, dead, dead. But if they were dead, what was living in his house? He’d been chasing through books for hours now, too afraid to go to the library and face this, forced to resort to his own. Unfortunately, what his mother had in spell books, she lacked in dragons.

Supposedly, from what he learned in school, dragons were fierce creatures from ages long before humans, capable of uprooting forests or burning them to nothing. They would go in between dormancy, leaving the world to its devices, then awaken only to cast it back to ash when the time came. They were hunted to extinction, the only record of them kept by the elves. And elves? Elves are gone.

Phased out of society all together, only existing in shells of existence. Stripped of their cognizance if they’re still alive. Many of them aren’t.

But dragons are not elves. They do not have epics dedicated to them, or what they were.

As he’s about to reach for another possible lead, the shelf to his right is swept clear through, almost as if a tail swung through it. The space stands empty, but the wind sails past him anyway. It clears through the doorway and slams it shut, leaving Ballard in the library.

If he can’t learn about dragonborns through books, he’ll have to do it himself.