''Is it...silent?'' ''Well, there's a percussion track''
#991; The Chipmunks, and What Came After

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized the Chipmunks (which I had always known as cartoon characters from my childhood) were actually, as pop-cultural entities, much older — dating back to their eponymous novelty Christmas record in 1958 or, arguably, the “Witch Doctor” song all the way back in 1952. There was a short-lived cartoon in 1961, but the Saturday-morning cartoon that I and people of my generation are most familiar with didn’t come around until more than 20 years later (1982-1990).

The audio trick that creator Ross Bagdasarian used to create the sound of the Chipmunks’ voices was so simple, and the resulting songs so popular in the late 50s and early 60s, that I figured they must have spawned some knockoffs. Sure enough — enjoy the squeaky sounds of:

The Nutty Squirrels (singing “Uh Oh”)
The Grasshoppers (singing “Shortnin’ Bread”) (More info)
The Three Happy Crickets (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”)
Woody Woodchuck’s Christmas Sing Song (info only)
Sing Along with the Busy Beavers (album download)
BONUS LINK: The Happy Hamsters sing “Ghostbustin'”, a few decades later. Full album here.





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Audio of “Unusual Obsessions” panel from ECCC!

At the Emerald City Comicon last weekend, I participated in this panel with Wolf Fan Dylan Meconis, Adventure Cartoonist Lucy Bellwood, and Dinosaur Nerd Kory Bing:

The Power Was In You All Along: How to Turn your Weird Talents and Unusual Obsessions into Authentic, Original Art

The creative world is full of copycats and trend-followers. It’s tempting to go with the crowd, but what if the real secret to success is…originality? And what if your best ideas lie hidden in your weirdest skills and most unusual passions?

Lucy was savvy enough to record the panel in its entirety (as she always does) and so here it is, for your listening pleasure!

It’s full of anecdotes from fun people, and I even learned stuff from it too. Thanks to Dylan for putting it together, and to those who attended in person for laughing in all the right places.

[ The Power Was In You All Along: How to Turn your Weird Talents and Unusual Obsessions into Authentic, Original Art ]

UPDATED TO ADD: Dylan has posted the slides too!



THIS WEEKEND: Emerald City Comicon – Panel schedule!

I'M GOING TO wish they had a better promo image

It’s time once again for Seattle’s loveliest comic convention! Come visit me on the skybridge connecting the convention center with the conference center annex across the street.

I will be at the TopatoCo booth (#1102) per usual, all four days, standing DIRECTLY OVER the traffic on Pike Street. HOPE NOTHING HAPPENS LOL

I’ll have a variety of attractive wares for sale, and I will also be doing Roll-a-Sketches!

I am also participating in two panels! One I am TALKING ON and the other I am HOSTING:

THURSDAY 3/2 // 3:00-4:00 pm // Room WSCC 604

The Power Was In You All Along: How to Turn your Weird Talents and Unusual Obsessions into Authentic, Original Art

The creative world is full of copycats and trend-followers. It’s tempting to go with the crowd, but what if the real secret to success is…originality? And what if your best ideas lie hidden in your weirdest skills and most unusual passions?

Join panelists Lucy Bellwood (Baggywrinkles), Kory Bing (Skin Deep), David Malki ! (Wondermark), and Dylan Meconis (Bite Me!, Family Man) as they explain how to turn your passion for underwater basketweaving (…or whatever!) into a creative goldmine.

SATURDAY 3/4 // 5:15-6:15 pm // Room TCC 305

The Lost in Wikipedia Game Show!

Ever fallen down a Wikipedia hole? Clicking from article to article until you forget where you came from? Come watch us trap our panelists deep within the Wiki web and make them race to navigate their way back out to freedom.

Featuring Nika Harper (Wordplay), Kris Straub (Chainsawsuit, 28 Plays Later), Trin Garritano (Friendshipping, Cards Against Humanity), and Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive), and hosted by David Malki ! (Machine of Death, Wondermark).

I hope to see you all there!! ALL. OF. YOU.



Check out: Swedes face the “Ten Meter Tower”

Good observation

The Swedish short film “Ten Meter Tower” is really simple: what do people look like when they’re facing a high dive for the first time?

The film played at Sundance this year in the Documentary Shorts category, and the NY Times is currently featuring it in its rotating collection of “op-ed videos”. The filmmakers describe the project this way:

Our objective in making this film was something of a psychology experiment: We sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt. We’ve all seen actors playing doubt in fiction films, but we have few true images of the feeling in documentaries. To make them, we decided to put people in a situation powerful enough not to need any classic narrative framework. A high dive seemed like the perfect scenario…

It’s fun without being entirely frivolous, and dramatic without being distressing. There’s no politics in it and there’s nothing complicated about it. I think it’s well worth 16 minutes of your time!

[ TEN METER TOWER at the NY Times ]