Tag Archives: hairs

Space Ace: All The Fun, Less Quarters


I decided to drop money into iTunes last night in a fit of shop therapy (read: post-Disney depression) and discovered that Don Bluth’s Space Ace was available for download! Actually it came out in May but I’ve been avoiding money-draining endeavors.


Does my hair look ok to you?

For you younger readers, Space Ace is the second laserdisk game from Bluth Studios as follow up to Dragons Lair, but this time set in space! It’s the story of a dashing blond couple named Kimberly and Ace, unexplainedly menaced by a blue and leather clad, space overlord called Borf  (oh Don! You scamp!) . It’s over the top cornball campy with it’s characters but it’s Ace’s “random” ability to flip back between a muscle bound hero to weed thin child due to exposure to The Infanto Ray, that makes it fun. The beginning of the game lets you choose the difficulty level and in turn, lets you see more of the game the harder you go. It was pretty innovative stuff.

All hunky...

Ace shows an uncanny ability...

...all skinny

...to change. Almost childlike, I'd say

The game play can get tedious (you watch the same video over and over, remembering which way to guide Ace to avoid obstacles to advance the story), and at $0.50 a pop when it came out, your cash would drain out of your pocket fast. The game also tries to mess you up by mirroring or flipping the video so that you don’t become complacent with Ace’s directions. A simple trick in a simpler game era. The animation was top notch and fast paced, often too fast to enjoy the artistry and fluidity Bluth put into his characters.


Ace learns the loud way that Kimberly is a bit of a princess...

I’m glad to report that there are “HEY! I FUCKING CLICKED THAT!” bugs in the game. These are either due to processor speeds of video on the iPhone or they were just there to begin with and were never cleaned out. Even the false “hints” in the way of onscreen flashes are present, resulting in no action on Ace’s part or his ultimate death, tug familiarly on my memory of originally being there, and subsequently aren’t that much of a frustration. Relax and enjoy the visuals!

Borf's been to the gun show

Borf shows us that in space, no one can straighten your teeth.

I’m so caught up in nostalgia I don’t mind repeating it a few times.

$4.99 from the iTunes store. I give it 5 out of 5 for anyone who was old enough to play this originally in a smelly arcade. Anyone else will have been de-sensitized by high brow graphical games and won’t find this amusing at all (some user comments in the app are pretty funny!).

The Lesson: From Root To Twit

Personal Bits

It’s 1996 and I’m working in a quiet cafe just inside the doors of a fading gay favorite gym called The Bloor Valley Club. All the members had to cut through my dining area to get to the change rooms or the cardio area, giving me a great vantage point for people watching. In the spring of that year a regular to the gym started to slowly, shyly, order snacks and cappuccinos from me and in doing so, started friendly small talk.

He was a nice guy. We started to talk about books and books into movies and theatre. We talked about music and pop culture and various gossip. We would make comments at the day time TV playing over the bar and confess our secret shames in the love of soap operas. We would shout out answers to quiz shows and try to outsmart each other. He was sharply funny and subtly witty and could smile easily. You can guess where this is leading: after several weeks of chatting, when he inevitably asked me out on date, I turned him down.

Why? Because he had long hair.

He had a slight goatee, stunning blue eyes and was over 6’2″. Because he was a regular to the gym, I noted that he had tree trunk legs and I could get glimpses of chest hair through his workout clothes. But I couldn’t get past the shoulder-blade length hair! His mane wasn’t ratty or look pre-Tyra makeover or anything, it was just long. At the time I was trying to pigeon hole my tastes into a well defined scheme: skinheads and ubermacho tattooed motorcycle freaks. I was so hell bent on self conditioning I couldn’t see myself being with any other type of guy.

I let him down rather inelegantly too. I did let him know I only dated smoothed headed dudes because of a “shaving” fetish I claimed to have at the time. I don’t recall his reaction but I do remember there was an awkward silence after my shot through his heart. I remember him walking away in disappointment.

A week or so passed and I was doing waitressy things, as one does when they work in a small restaurant. The front door opened and down the hallway towards the cafe came a tall, goatee’d man with the slightest 5 o’clock shadow adorning his genetically perfect cranium. Of course, my whoremoans went into overload as time slowed down as he walked towards me like a hot chick in a Michael Bay movie. Yes, it was my “friend”. He had cut all his hair off and had gone skinhead. He. Looked. Amazing.

I know my eyes said “HELLO!” and I think I said, “Hello!” and he leaned in close and said: “This is what you’re missing.”

And never said another word to me ever again.

England Pre-Memory – Punch In The Gut

Art, England, Personal Bits

Like George Lucas I’m going to jump back to a time before my move to England with a couple stories that inspired me to travel across the pond. Enjoy!

I’m 18 years old and I’m sitting in line with other hopefuls at OCAD (then The Ontario College of Art). I’ve not decided entirely what I want to do with my life and my father is getting nervous that he’s going to have a live-in son until he shuffles off this mortal coil. I do know I want to stay in the art field but I had not decided exactly where I was going to take my talents. My portfolio, chock full of wildly coloured pastels of muscular torsos I had been drawing for months, sits on my bouncing knee. Compared to the rest of the hopefuls, my manner of dress is utterly “Sears” to their “Queen Street West”: one small girl is decked out entirely in leather in her shock Rough Trade look, her hair teased higher than my hopes. This is 1983, remember. I’m there to sign up for their Fine Arts program and let that take me wherever I wanted to go.

I enter the room and here is where my memory shatters up to a point: The room is narrow, almost another hallway. It’s dark, or I sort of recall that it was dark. There are three people at a desk and two look through my portfolio. I was so nervous that I didn’t catch who everyone behind that desk was. Only now, in my 40s, someone told me that one of the people looking at my work was a student and I assume the one not looking at my portfolio was a teacher or admissions officer. I do remember they asked all the questions.

What were my interests, favorite art period, method, incentives, history, my personal history, more personal history? Suddenly it was over. Fast. They breezed through my work and shut the portfolio. Not a good sign.

Then one of them laid it on the line (and I’m paraphrasing here): I was a privileged middle class white kid who had not experienced anything in life, certainly not enough to create any kind of meaningful art and that I should get out of Ontario and see real art. It was like a punch in the gut. The fact that I was living in my Dad’s basement and working nights at a hotel and had never travelled further than , made the OCAD’s assessment of me sting a little more.

They were right. If I wanted to be a serious artist I had to go see the real thing. Including all life’s little roadbumps that came up getting to those galleries. Of course, for weeks I was utterly crushed and moped around like my life was over.

Then my sister called. She asked how I was and offered words of encouragement and then suggested that I move to England under the Student Work Abroad Program. I can remember vividly how a light came on over my head. This is exactly what I needed to do.

(Head)Phoning It In


Oh Apple. How I love and hate you simultaneously. Your iPhone is a thing of beauty. Sublime. Utterly life changing. But your accessories leave me thirsty for more, like some post-Survivor participant thirsts for their sixteenth minute of fame.

We all know the ear buds suck. No big surprise. I want to talk about how Apple knows they suck, made an equally maddening improvement that sucks even more so. And just as you’re about to play the boiling mad consumer when you return them, they soothe your pain with treacle and excellent customer service.

Yes. I bought the $90 In-Ear buds that may or may not work for iPhones and they were glorious. The sound was so rich I could hear the lead singer from Underworld fart during one track, I swear. But soon after the cons started.

Logically, headphones with a microphone suggests they made these buds for the iPhone, since voice recording isn’t all that much of a big need (or a huge selling app) on an iPod Touch. So I’m assuming it’s primarily made for the iPhone but on the iPhone, the volume controls don’t work – they only work correctly for the iPods. So why add a microphone if it’s an iPod accessory? Maddening.

Secondly, as I paid for them, the woman pointed out that I have 3 weeks to return them for a full refund. Not a store credit, or exchange. Full. Refund. Uh oh. Not a good sign but at least she pointed that out verbally and on the bill.

Another con is that the wire used for the buds have a habit of transmitting any vibration directly into your inner ear. So any footstep, any brush up against the wires, any silent burp, telegraphs to your ear bones like a tin cup and yarn telephone. It’s utterly distracting from the rich, beautiful music.

And finally, I don’t have the ears that keep the buds in place. I tried all three sizes but found I was reinserting them every block or so. I plucked my ear hairs, cleaned the wax out and yet still no grip. They constantly slipped out, reducing the aural impact.

I took them back last night to a very crowded Apple store, where they’ve banished the long wait for the cash by having floating remote cash points on the back pocket of the hip, young(ish) things that man the isles (tiny voice: Brilliant!). After a short exchange with the most popular and sexy Panda Bear that works there…

Panda Bear: (flashing his pay point machine) Paying with credit card?
Me: Returning, actually.
PB: Really? Didn’t like them?
Me: My greasy Italian ears can’t keep them in my ear holes.
PB: You said it, not me.

…I got to the counter and was out of the store with not an ounce of hassle. In fact there was only one question asked:

Clerk: Can I ask why are you returning them?
Me: (Offering my list of complaints, said nicely and with a smile).
Clerk: I am sorry to hear that these didn’t work for you.

Yeah. She took ownership of the problem. I was so shocked by that one sentence that I told her at the end of the transaction that her service was excellent. It was like getting a good night blow job when you only expected a kiss. I didn’t add that part.

Unfortunately when I got home, the 3rd party brand I bought were such utter shite I tore them from my head and cursed the day this nameless company was created. The jack wasn’t sitting correctly in the iPhone, producing a crackling noise, the microphone produced such poor quality playback over the phone that I sounded like I was in an empty bucket at the back end of a concert hall while trying to removing chicken feathers from my throat. The buds themselves leaked so much noise SharkBoy was holding his own ears. Yeah that bad.

I’ll recount my second return later. Wish me luck!