Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy National Hangover Day tomorrow!

Party responsibly.

And I'll see you in 2008. Have to log off, big storm coming. Rats.

Happy New Year! Party hard, dudes!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope you have your party plans laid out. If you decide to go the Upchuck route and run around the house in your underwear, that's nice too but don't tell anyone about it, please, and make sure no one around you has a camera-phone, or else people at McMurdo Station in Antarctica are going to be laughing at your pictures on the Web.

I am likely to be fairly busy tonight, so if there are no other posts I will make up for it tomorrow if possible. Peace out, my homie g-dogs! (Did I say that right? I heard it on TV once.)

Last Note: Being a former editor, I can't help but draw your attention to the current list of Banned Words for 2008, from Lake Superior State University. (M Man drew my attention to the list first.) I love these people. Bless them, every one, for their perfect storm of organic truthiness and random sweet waterboarding pop that's under the bus. It is what it is.

Meet Mrs. Johanssen (Part 3)

Let's talk medicine.

Mrs. Johanssen has a short monologue on the MTV Daria website in which her condition is spelled out, so there is no mistake that she claims to have hypoglycemia. "So let's get started before my blood sugar drops to dangerous levels," she says, by way of introducing the webpages that follow, then adds, "Where are those damn diabetic macaroons?"

Which brings us to a little problem.

Diabetes is a condition in which a person has too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream because the body is not producing the hormone known as insulin, which converts sugars and other substances into energy. (This information comes from the American Diabetes Association website.) In other words, a diabetic Mrs. Johanssen should have too much sugar in her bloodstream. The most common form of adult diabetes is Type 2, commonly seen in overweight persons who do little exercise and eat too much sugary food. A general overview of that illness can be gained at this link.

An excess of glucose in the bloodstream is called hyperglycemia (that word links to the ADA webpage explaining the condition). That's hyper-glycemia, the prefix hyper- meaning too much. Note that one consequence of hyperglycemia is ketoacidosis, a symptom of which is shortness of breath. Ketoacidosis is dangerous in the extreme; a person's life is at risk when this develops. Did Daria and Jane miss something when Mrs. Johanssen fainted on them?

However, Mrs. Johanssen repeatedly claims she has hypo-glycemia, which means too little sugar is in her bloodstream. How is this possible? Is she mistaken, is she lying, did the script writers get it all wrong, or what?

Maybe she's right. There is actually a situation in which a person can have Type 2 diabetes but still have hypoglycemia, and that is as a result of taking insulin injections to combat the diabetes. If Mrs. Johanssen is giving herself insulin shots, but her insulin level is sometimes too high, then too much of the bloodstream's glucose is metabolized for energy. This condition is not uncommon, as revealed on this webpage from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Examine the list of symptoms of hypoglycemia: hunger, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness, possible loss of consciousness. See also this webpage from the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, about changes in personality (outbursts of temper, mood swings, etc.). That's Mrs. Johanssen, isn't it?

If Mrs. Johanssen is giving herself too much insulin, she could be hypoglycemic. She might be doing this by accident, misreading the instructions, or she might be doing it on purpose because she fears the effects of diabetes or wants to eat more sweets, or the doctor might have prescribed too high a dosage. Since she is aware of the condition, however, it is far more likely that her body is creating a little insulin on its own but unreliably, so her insulin levels fluctuate even with a steady dosage of the same. Remember what she said in "Cafe Disaffecto" about chocolate: "Doctor says I'm not supposed to have too much of it, but he wouldn't mind if it's for a good cause." The second part of that statement is in doubt, but the first part might be true. Eating small amounts of sweets can cure hypoglycemia in the short run. Mrs. Johanssen's problem is that her resistance to sweets and fatty foods is very low, and her blood-sugar issues are screwing with her personality and impulse control. She can't easily stop.

It all makes sense. Daria and Jane did exactly the right thing in not selling Mrs. Johanssen all 24 bars of chocolate, though she could have had one and not been in any serious trouble. If she had eaten too much chocolate, she would have overcome her medication and possibly gone into diabetic shock, or else given herself even more insulin and gone into hypoglycemic shock. She's toast either way.

If anyone knows enough to correct my medical stuff here, feel free to do in the Comments. One last note on Mrs. Johanssen, then on to someone else. UU wants to hear about Ted, so we'll do him after Mrs. J.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shall I read fanfiction tonight, or not?

Here's an update on new fanfics at PPMB to help you decide. I'll update the Big List soon.

The Dark Knight, a segment from an upcoming fic by NightGoblyn
Dial M for Magic, by LSauchelli (Part 2)
Falling Into College 61: Latitudes, by Richard Lobinske (Part 4)
Open Windows 5: A Stab in the Dark, by DJW (completed!)
An Overlooked Flaw, by legendeld (Part 11)
Stacy Rowe, Seeker, by jtranser (Part II)
Stranger, by legendeld (Part 3) *

* Story might contain mature elements. Brace yourself.

DariaWiki has acquired some expanded webpages recently, namely ones on DJW's wild-and-crazy Clovis Lee-Daniels (needs fan art!) and the popular AU tale, "Esteem Roller," by legendeld. Check them out.

Finally, a bit of good news from CNN: Some people are still using libraries! Hooray! More news tomorrow.

There he is! The not-so-blind guy!

So there I am, watching "Mart of Darkness," and who should I spy walking behind Jane and Daria but The Blind Guy! Only he's not so blind now and looks quite cheery walking the aisles of PayDay. Good for him!

This is definitely not the same guy as was in "Esteemsters," making out with the royal family. (Eww.)

The mystery is solved! He does exist! Am I wonderful or what? Happy, happy, joy, joy. . . .

You may send me your additional praise in the Comments section. Thank you.

Meet Mrs. Johanssen (Part 2)

Mumu-clad Mrs. Johanssen first appears in “Café Disaffecto,” when Daria and Jane arrive at her house selling chocolate bars. (Her house and property, by the way, are quite nice looking.) In obvious distress, she comes to the door wheezing, gasping, and sweating, short of breath and about to faint. She claims to have hypoglycemia and be under a doctor’s orders to avoid chocolate, but she is less interested in her health than in getting all of the chocolate that the girls are selling. When frustrated she begins to shout and swear in anger, but Daria and Jane leave and she does not go after them. (You can barely see Daria and Jane standing at her front door in the second picture above. Click on it to enlarge it.)

Mrs. Johanssen reappears at the flea market in “That Was Then, This Is Dumb,” asking Daria and Jane if they are selling snow domes. She doesn’t appear to recognize them from earlier and leaves in disgust when Daria begins a spiel about aliens from space. In “The Old and the Beautiful” the Fashion Club arrive at her home asking for clothing donations, but the Clubbers leave as soon as they catch sight of her, not wishing to have any of her castoffs. “Mart of Darkness” is much the same as above, as Mrs. Johanssen gets into a fight with Mr. DeMartino at a PayDay warehouse store (think Sam’s Club or Costco) over a “Cheez Log.” She also asks for help from Daria and Jane (once again not recognizing them) in reaching chocolate on a high shelf, saying she had a seizure some time ago. The seizure might have been the fainting spell she had in “Café Disaffecto” or something more serious.

It is in “Psycho Therapy” that we learn a little bit about why she is the way she is, when she is in therapy with Dr. Jean-Michel Millepieds and says, “Maybe I do use food for comfort, but at least a chocolate bar never told me I was an accident.” Ouch. Interestingly, Mrs. Johanssen does not seem to recognize Quinn, though Quinn came to her door, too.

One wonders again why Mrs. Johanssen proved to be so popular that four different writers used her in various episodes (Glenn Eichler, Anne D. Bernstein, Neena Berber, and Rachelle Romberg—twice). Whatever works, I guess. More on this character later.

Random Fanfic Idea #15

The Daria Database shows that Daria sends e-mail to acquaintances all over the world, probably people she met online but has never seen in person. She knows a Nicole in Canberra, Australia, who has "criminal ancestry"; a Boris in Minsk, Belarus, who seems to be a university student with a penchant for making potentially dangerous homemade vodka (and is planning to visit the U.S. in the fall); a Cecil who lives on his father's tobacco farm in Zimbabwe; and of course Rhonda the tomahawk murderer, awaiting her appeal in Kinsington Prison. (It's amusing that the first pen pal encountered in the book is from Australia and the last is from Zimbabwe, the literal A-to-Z of world nations.)

Rhonda has appeared in several fanfics in different forms, but to my knowledge none of Daria's other e-mail pals has ever shown so much as the end of his/her nose in any story. (If I am wrong, please set me straight.) That's sort of weird, since here you have several thumbnail character descriptions all ready to go, with names, ripe for development in nearly any direction the author wishes to take, and they're just sitting there. Such a shame. So much story, nothing happening. [sigh] You get the message.

Speaking of Australia, Deref has sent in some interesting photos of a local museum that have begun to acquire rude captions from PPMB readers. You may wish to check that out to liven up your day, and feel free to contribute your own captions. The worst possible one has surely not yet been written. It's all up to you.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A book with a Daria-ish flavor

For Chanukah I received among other delightful things a copy of Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan, which is causing a stir among those who still read books. (I nervously and perhaps myopically imagine this fandom to have a larger number of readers in it than, say, fans of any other fandom except the Harry Potter batch.) As I was starting into this tome, which I confess is very challenging to read and has caused me several times already to go back and reread whole sections to make sure I understand what Mr. Taleb is talking about, I came across an anecdote on pages 6-7 that I thought was relevant here.

Mr. Taleb describes an incident in his youth when he was rebellious (he took part in a riot), and says, "There were some obvious benefits in showing one's ability to act on one's opinions, and not compromising an inch to avoid 'offending' or bothering others. . . . It is one thing to be cosmetically defiant of authority by wearing unconventional clothes—what social scientists and economists call 'cheap signaling'—and another to prove willingness to translate belief into action. . . . I discovered that it is much more effective to act like a nice guy and be 'reasonable' if you prove willing to go beyond just verbiage. You can afford to be compassionate, lax, and courteous if, once in a while, when it is least expected of you, but completely justified, you sue someone, or savage an enemy, just to show you can walk the walk."

Could this be the path of Daria's future? In short, could she turn out to be a relatively pleasant person who still has the strong possibility of chewing someone up if she feels it is justified? I think I can see something like this after IICY?, where she knows she can screw up and takes it easier on herself (and others), but still keeps relatively high internal standards and still has lines that no one was meant to cross. She could realize the value in being a nicer person, only not all the time so that she will not be regarded lightly in any circle.

Anyway, that was just a random thought. The book is fascinating, if difficult, and I have the feeling it is something Daria could have written or at least enjoyed. Anyone else have suggestions for books that Daria would have liked, in your opinion?

Now, there's something you don't see every day. . . .

An eye-scalding dream image from Beavis and Butt-head: Reading Sucks leads us into a selection of odd, vaguely Daria-related links on the Internet, things I discovered while surfing for more Daria websites for the big Directory. Here we go:

Saint Daria. If you're Catholic or Orthodox, you've probably heard of her. Guess October 25th is our special day.

The Church of Daria. This is apparently for a D&D campaign of some kind. Hmmm. Sure, whatever.

How the name "Daria" looks in Japanese calligraphy.

Nerd Girl Buttons: a commercial website making use of a very familiar group of faces. I can't tell if the business is still active. Very . . . interesting, though there might be a little bitty fair-use problem.

Speaking of the Directory, I added about a dozen new links, including some extinct French sites and a few interesting "live" ones. Enjoy, and let me know if any links stop working. I want to keep this up to date!

Want to stay at a real Hotel Daria?

Italy has two Hotel Darias, one in Pietra Ligure and one in Rimini. Poland also has two, in Tychy and Łodź.

How come Europe gets all the good hotel names? If anyone visits one of the these, please tell us how it was!

"You can check out anytime you like. . . ."

Why Is Daria Smiling?

CINCGREEN needs beta-readers for part 3 of "Reclamation"! Go to this link and sign up now!

[This space reserved for later news, if any.]

[Oh, never mind.]

And now for different completely something...

More goodies from Little Red Riding O'Neill!

Completed Stories (Yahoo!)
The Haunting of Lawndale High, by peapodmaster (Patrick Moore), a Daria/Real Ghostbusters/Extreme Ghostbusters/Beavis and Butt-Head crossover, for real!

Continued Works in Progress (Yippee!)
Daria: The Lost Virtual Seasons, Episode 06x01: Chicken Soup for the Stacy, by peapodmaster (Patrick Moore)
Dial M for Magic, by LSauchelli (part 1), a Daria/Dresden Files crossover
Evil Daria Vignettes, by everyone (Go, Roger, go!) *
The Misery Chicks, by NightGoblyn (Part 3) *
An Overlooked Flaw, by legendeld (Parts 7-10)
Stranger, by legendeld (Parts 1-2) *

* Story may contain mature elements. Brace yourself.

And now for something completely different....

Little Red Riding O'Neill is going to share some of his basket of goodies with us, fresh from PPMB. Isn't that disturbing? Anyway, here is part one of my fanfiction catch-up list.

Completed Stories (Hooray!):
Apocalyptic Daria, by Doggieboy (version on SFMB)
Canon Fodder, by Roentgen (The funniest part is who plays Daria in FIC. Poignant ending, too.)

Additions to Works in Progress (Hooray!):
Lane Change, by Ranger Thorne
Stacy Rowe, Seeker (Part II), by jtranser
Falling Into College #61: Latitudes, by Richard Lobinske. This is Richard's version of Is It Fall Yet? with the future Daria crew running around on summer vacation while at college, just before Daria and Michael tie the knot next spring. Michael has already kissed another girl, so that means Daria will go to an art colony and meet Alison, and we can't go into what happens next, can we? Should be fun for all. (Need a smiley face here.)

Other Interesting Threads:
What are you working on for 2008? (more stuff here for next year)
Interesting news from Scissors MacGillicutty regarding "Reclamation," by Roentgen. For more news, go to Roentgen/CINCGREEN's blog, in the list at left. Good luck finding it! (That was mean, I know, but kinda fun, too.)

More to come. I apologize ahead of time if your story wasn't mentioned, but as I said, I am way behind and desperately trying to catch up while also cleaning the house. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, back at the art colony....

I am way behind on reading fanfic on PPMB, my apologies. I don't have time for it during the week and have to play catchup on weekends. However, here are some art-related threads and pictures for you, from PPMB.

Considering the Source, by Bliss Ticks

Daria Alter-Ego Outlines on The-N, Christmas additions by Reese Kaine

Possible x-over Fan Art: Jane as Lulu from Pandora's Box? A very interesting series of screen shots from Scissors MacGillicutty, showing actress Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box, looking extremely Jane Lane-like. I had always thought that Natalie Portman in The Professional looked just like a young Jane Lane, so there must be more Jane Lanes out there. Anne D. Bernstein also looks more than a bit like an adult Jane Lane. There you are. Life is good, isn't it?

Daria FanArt 2007 List - Updated by Richard Lobinske: Tons of artwork for 2007! (same on SFMB)

2007 Booties: Daria FanWorks Awards - Visual Works, by Quiverwing: Get on the stick and nominate, yo! (This includes me, as I have not yet gotten on the stick. So to speak.)

More news later, must clean the house first or something. Fanfiction news and updates coming. This has been a heck of a year for it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Stumbling Down Memory Road

The story of how I first heard about Daria, back in 1997, is a strange one. Once upon a time I worked for a game company that was trying to develop a role-playing game that would appeal to girls as much as other role-playing games appealed to boys. (This effort failed, though oddly enough the company had inadvertently solved its own problem by publishing fantasy novels, which captured the teen female consumer market more effectively than any mere RPG.) Anyway, while visiting the corporate headquarters in 1997, I heard the game-development team was looking at a cartoon called Daria in hopes of seeing some girl-attracting element worth using in the game. (It did not work out, obviously.) It seems to me that I had heard about Daria from some other source as well, but I cannot place it. Anyway, Daria entered my consciousness, but I did nothing more about it until a couple years later when I watched about two-thirds of "Dye! Dye! My Darling" on a hotel TV in St. Louis while on a family vacation. I was impressed as hell. Later on I got to see about one-third of a rerun of "Murder, She Snored" on cable TV at a relative's home, but everyone was there with me and I didn't want to look interested in a cartoon, even if I was becoming quite interested in it. That was all I knew about Daria until I saw a website about it in late 2001 (still not sure which one it was) and read part of that crossover Daria/Predator story. I finally found the rest of the fandom in April 2002, after the show was COMPLETELY FREAKIN' OVER WITH GAH DAMN IT but I am not bitter over missing everything, thank God, or I'D BE PRETTY GAH DAMN MAD ABOUT IT.

Why was I attracted to the show? A lot of people say their love of Daria is based on her high intelligence, the natural appeal of a brainy outcast to everyone who has always imagined being a brainy outcast, and that would certainly be true of me. But there was more, I think. I had burned out completely on any interest in politics, religion, world affairs, current events, MPR, and anything remotely like that in December 2000, after the Supreme Court decided the election. I quit voting (and haven't voted since) and stopped talking about anything but kids or work at family get-togethers. The angst wasn't worth it. But I was still angry and still am, even if being angry is worse than useless. And I don't feel like getting over it.

Then Daria came along. Here's this smart kid who thinks everyone else in the world is a moron or cannot be trusted, usually both, and some part of me said, "She's right! Everything sucks! And she's smart and an outcast, too, like I was!" Except that, to be honest, I was an outcast not because I was too smart to get along with others, but because I was not interested in other people and was a geek, as in a horribly geeky nerdy geek. I would never be a teenager again for all of Bill Gates's money to the zillionth power. Being young and stupid was awful, but I liked Daria anyway.

Somehow, probably because I had spent too long working with fantasy game campaigns built around unique core themes and characters, I began to wonder what lay behind the veil of Lawndale. For a while it was mysterious and fascinating, and I kept asking myself what every little thing meant, what its place was in the Great Scheme of Things. Eventually I found out I was looking for a lot of things that didn't exist, but Lawndale did have its subtle themes: men are ridiculous, screwed up, or untrustworthy; women aren't much better, though in Lawndale they wield considerable power; life is hard if you care, but not if you don't; no one wants to hear the truth; and so on. The themes are there, lurking in the background.

I've theorized before that the name "Lawndale" has some feminine sexual connotations, but we won't go into that here even if it does strike me as relevant (unintentional, maybe, but relevant). Lawndale is the perfect place for someone like Daria to grow up. It is a model of the larger world, a cynical mirror of reality. What Daria and Jane learn here they will take with them into adulthood. Lawndale is childhood's end.

More stupid philosophizing later.

"I love philosophy." Tiffany Blum-Deckler

Meet Mrs. Johanssen (Part 1)

Mrs. Johanssen is a minor background character who shows up more often than one would expect—in five episodes, to be precise (“Café Disaffecto,” “That Was Then, This Is Dumb,” “The Old and the Beautiful,” “Psycho Therapy,” and “Mart of Darkness”). She even has lines to say each time she shows up, putting her on the same show-time level as Andrea. Why she appears so often is unknown, as her character is not on the surface an appealing one. Aside from having a short temper, she is grossly overweight with consequent medical problems, and has bad impulse control when she is confronted with food, particularly fattening food and chocolate. This problem is treated as a running joke in the TV series, though her condition is often implied to be life-threatening.

The spelling of Johanssen here is taken from a webpage on MTV’s Daria website where she has a brief monologue. Two variations on this spelling are also carelessly given at that site with three of the illustrations in the site’s alter-ego flipbook (Johannsen and Johansen). Fanfics and Daria fandom websites spell her name in a variety of other ways. It is rather annoying for a former editor to read.

One of the alter egos on the MTV site shows Mrs. Johanssen wearing a toga on which the astrological symbol for Virgo appears, part of an incomplete series of zodiac-related background characters. This might imply that she is a virgin (because of her weight problem?), but the “Mrs.” indicates she is or was once married. For the heck of it, I assume she was born under the sign of Virgo, between the end of August and the end of September. One makes do with what one has.

More on Mrs. Johanssen later. She certainly gets dumped on a lot, both officially and otherwise, because of her weight.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Kinesha's First Kwanzaa"

While Andrew and Michele Landon do the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers thing for us this Kwanzaa, let us reflect on a story that once upon a time appeared in Daria Fanficland: "Kinesha's First Kwanzaa." I have forgotten the author's name, but he said he had titled the story after the children's book mentioned in "Pinch Sitter," as he could think of no other name for the tale. In a weird kind of way the name was appropriate, though for the life of me I could not say why.

The tale was an alternate-universe creation in which the birth order of Jane and Trent Lane was reversed, so it was Trent Lane who sat behind Daria in Mr. O'Neill's self-esteem class. Daria and Trent became friends but never dated; Jane, being older, had her own life but still looked after her little brother. It was a bittersweet story, very affecting and sad, though in no way tragic. The ending was moving and well handled, and I always considered it one of the best Daria AU stories ever done.

And then the author decided to have all his fanfiction removed from the Internet, and it vanished utterly. I cannot even find the story using the Wayback Machine at

Anyone remember this story? Anyone know where it can be found?

LATE NOTE: I have corrected the spelling of the story's title per the story itself, by Mr. Anonymous. Thanks to Cincgold (CINCGOLD?) for saving the day!

Meet Elsie Sloane

Elsie Sloane appears only in the movie, Is It Fall Yet? She is Tom Sloane's younger sister, apparently a teenager though her exact age is not given. Elsie is sharply sarcastic when speaking about her family and its activities, expressing little enthusiasm for attending social functions. Her brother accuses her of "faux jadedness," perhaps pointing out that, despite her sour remarks about her family's elegant upper-class lifestyle, Elsie secretly enjoys it and is spoiled. (Elsie started the insult war by referring to Tom's "quasi-rebelliousness.") The source of Elsie's disenchantment is unclear, as so little is known about her and she seems to have little to complain about. At no time does she show any sign of friendship to Daria, never even addressing her directly, though she spares Daria her sharp tongue. It is assumed she attends Fielding Preparatory Academy with her brother. It is tempting to compare Elsie to Daria, given their sarcasm, but the vast differences in their social positions and lifestyles, and Elsie's underdevelopment as a character, limit the conclusions one can draw.

In fanfic, Elsie's appearances have usually been brief and offered little development of her character. Only a few notable exceptions exist, most of which are named below. Her roles vary from comic to dramatic, with occasional slices of life with elements of both.
Elsie was also memorable as a very evil little sister in the unfinished fanfic by Sleepless, "Broken Connections." A little more of her in fanfic wouldn't hurt, I think.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Don't Cry for Me, DeMartino!"

I wanted to add something here for the fans in Argentina, but this was all I had to work with. Hey, at least it's not Madonna, right? Oh, fine, be that way.

On PPMB, there's an interesting thread asking fanfic authors, "What are you working on for 2008?" The responses are fascinating. Next year should produce an awesome crop of fic.

Also, in the Totally Useless Thread file, we have this.

And in the Really Really Bad Jokes file (as if this post wasn't enough), we have this.

More news and ramblings on the way, stay tuned.

"Don't cry for me, DeMartino...."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wednesday Is... Boxing Day!

Boxing Day is a special day celebrated across the British Commonwealth when people get boxes and . . . you know, do box-related sorts of things with them. Something like that, I dunno. Whatever floats your boat, that's what I say.

Almost 500 active links now grace the Daria Directory in the left column, your one-stop spot for anything Daria-ish. Discounting duplicated links in different columns, there are still over 450 links. True, most are not active, but some good places keep up with the times.

Speaking of boxes, didn't you think it odd that Daria felt guilty in "Boxing Daria" for tormenting her parents all those years? "What I didn't realize is what a pain I've been when I thought I was just being me," she tells Jane, and Jane's response, naturally, is "Huh?" That was my response, too. I cannot believe Daria didn't know she was being a pain by just being herself, since 99% of "just being herself" consisted of making snarky sarcastic remarks every five seconds and ranting about life and being resentful and so on. Maybe it's just me, but I can't believe she didn't know that she was like that already. Whatever.

Happy Boxing Day with, you know, the boxes and all.

Did You Get Something Today You Really Wanted?

Oh woe, alas, the horror! On PPMB, we have Evil Daria Vignettes III (is Roger alive or dead?)

Also, Andrew Landon finally got his own DariaWiki page, but much material needs to be added. He is a very interesting character, all considered.

[this space to be filled in later if possible]

[or, you know, not]

Upchuck Unbound

Charles “Upchuck” Ruttheimer III is a strange fish, and his following among Daria fans is not large. On one hand, he doesn’t appear to change a single iota between the time he puts the moves on Daria and Jane in “The Invitation” to his final scene with Andrea in Is It College Yet? From start to finish, he’s still the same sleazy sex-obsessed teenager that makes the Fashion Club go “Eww!” in unison.

And yet . . . he’s something more. He doesn’t blackmail Brittany for sex favors in “The Lab Brat,” instead being content to have her be his personal gopher (go for this, go for that, etc.) while he works on the mouse maze. He has the capitalist spirit in spades, being the creator/manager of an Internet website selling exotic candies (“Prize Fighter”). There are little hints dropped along the way (his wide vocabulary, for instance) that he is brighter than most students, and he is certainly clever. His Ultrasuave Universe website in The Daria Diaries speaks of interests in collectible items, Three Stooges movies, Jerry Lewis, Playboy, The X-Files, history, movies, Star Wars, brassieres, comic books, music, and Monty Python trivia. (He also seems to find Daria “feisty.”) And he is a high-ranked contender for a college scholarship (“Prize Fighters”), so dumb, he isn’t.

And . . . he has Stage Presence, actual mass-media charisma, a whopping metric ton of it. How else would he be able to wind up with gigs as an announcer for a bridal show (“I Don’t”), DJ at a school dance (“Daria Dance Party”), announcer for Lawndale High football games (“A Tree Grows in Lawndale” and “Fizz Ed”), operator of his own “float” in the Lawndale High homecoming parade (“I Loathe a Parade”), and amateur magician (“Life in the Past Lane”)? He has drive, for sure.

“Aside from my far-flung reputation as a people person,” he says in “Prize Fighters,” “I’d say my strengths include a daring entrepreneurial bent, coupled with an unquenchable need to succeed.” He could have added that he’s a proven risk-taker, which should have been obvious from his come-on lines. He's the walking poster child for the Myers-Briggs personality type called the ESFP (the Performer), described at the following links. See if Upchuck doesn't spring to mind right away as you read them.

Of all the characters on Daria, could it be that Upchuck has the best potential for a successful future? Could he become rich, famous, and internationally beloved, while his classmates vanish into obscurity? He might not appear to grow as a character, but his repertoire of skills expands greatly, and when he successfully goes out with Andrea in IICY?, one wonders if he's finally on the road to bigger and better things. That would be rrrowrrr, feisty!

Christmas Day Presents for All


Been Here Before (Part 29), by The Sidhe

Evil Daria Vignettes III (Roger Abuse episode)

Unnamed story, Iron Chef: Merry Christmas! by SigDiff

A Yankee Marine in General Lee's Army, by The Sidhe

And a special oddball thread:

Questions for TAG (in case you have any questions)

LATE NOTE: Someone asked for a DariaWiki page on J.B., the talking bulldog from "A Hard Days' Night," and that has been done. Enjoy!

Another Very Special Message from Holiday X

Yo, my homies, this be X talkin' at ya! Be excellent to each other all year long, and don't hog the nog!

Peace out on Earth, and Good Will Hunting!

This has been another Very Special Message from X, the Holiday Formerly Known as Christmas, speaking from the Holiday Island High School Christmas Party at the Holiday Island High School Gym. This greeting is not void even if prohibited by law. Don't Hog the Nog is a trademark of X. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And what will you find under YOUR Christmas tree?

One last surprise bit of classic artwork from Wouter, on PPMB:

Naughty Daria (as good a name for it as any)

Well, okay, it wasn't that naughty, but it fit. Have a great night and a better tomorrow.

The Mystery of the Blind Man

One of the background characters described on Wraith's Sick, Sad World website is a guy called the Blind Man. He is said to have appeared in "Esteemsters" but later reappeared fully sighted. I've watched the SSW appearance of the guy who supposedly made out with the entire British royal family, but he doesn't look like this guy at all.

Has anyone seen this person (the one at left) in a background shot anywhere? Just curious as I've never been able to place him. Thanks.

A few presents to go with your holiday eggnog....

More fanfic on PPMB (busy year, this one):
More to come!

OMG I8n8n8n8n8+++++!!!!111!!!!!11!!oneoneone!!!1!!

[burp] Ooooog.

There was so much food at the family dinner and I ate so much of it, OMG. I need a forklift just to get into my computer chair. The appropriate alter ego for this pre-Christmas message is wannabe-chef Jake as the food-loving Chef Paul Prudhomme, star of grocery-store shelves and TV commercials everywhere. Nice to be with family tonight, except for the part where they woke me up because I was snoring on the couch.

More later after I burp some more. Feel free to share your food excesses for Christmas in the Comments section. Bonus points if your experiences are also Daria-related.

D'OH! [slaps head]

I cannot believe I forgot that the Christmas Mistletoe Daria picture was already drawn out in larger scale by Richard Lobinske almost two years ago. [another head slap] D'OH!

Anyway, the thread in question is "Daria Alter-Ego Outlines on The-N" and it has lots of fun things for you to mess with. Thanks to Richard Lobinske for the pictures and the thread bump (get it? Bump? jeez, it was a joke, c'mon). At right is my attempt to create an image you can turn into wrapping paper if you tile it out in big sheets. Yes, I am a genius, thanks.

Time to head out. Party on most righteously!

Off to Family Dinner, Back Eventually

Time for Christmas Eve dinner with family. Hope everyone out there in Reality Land is having a good time.

New art on PPMB:

Merry Christmas! by Minkychanz

New art on SFMB:

Christmas Stacy/Andreaness!!, by Minkychanz

Christmas Daria/Trentness!, by Minkychanz

New fanfic on PPMB:

Falling Into College 61: Latitudes (Part 2), by Richard Lobinske (told ya it was coming!)

Lambda (Part 12), by SigDiff

With Minds Wide Open, by legendeld (complete!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Checking Up on the Blog Viewers

The company providing the little free stat counter at the bottom of this page offers a few statistics on what sorts of visits have been made here. It doesn't tell who dropped by, but I do know that this blog has been getting about 70 visits a day since December 12th, and an average of 42 different visitors per day. Most of the referrals come from links on DariaWiki's front page, PPMB, and SFMB. The majority of known visitors are American, with a smattering of Canadian, British, and Argentinian folks as well; however, a large number of visitors cannot be distinguished by country, so all the Australians are probably in that group. About 10-15% of all visits per day are probably from me, adding entries and checking up on Comments.

Now if I could only figure out how to use this information. . . . eh, I'm not selling anything, so it doesn't matter. Drop in anytime!

Fanfic Authors Get It Write!

Our friend Charles "Eraserhead" Ruttheimer III has compiled a list of the latest fanfic additions, hot off the Internet at PPMB:

Apocalyptic Daria (Part 42), by DoggieBoy

Civil War, by legendeld (completed!)

Evil Daria Vignettes III, by lots of people

Falling Into College 61: Latitudes (still on part 1, but part 2 is coming soon), by Richard Lobinske

Lambda: A Daria/Half-Life crossover (Part 11), by SigDiff

The Misery Chicks (Part Two), by NightGoblyn

An Overlooked Flaw (part 4), by legendeld

Scenes No Daria Fanfic Should Have: What Have We Created? (great new stuff)

Stacy Rowe, Seeker (Part II, more additions), by jtranser

Unnamed story, Iron Chef: Merry Christmas!, by Demi_Cat (welcome to the club!)


Also, an amusing campaign button was added to Mike Xeno's Sarcasm at 1600 thread. Check it out. It should go with all the "Daria for President" stuff being sold through some Internet stores.

Christmas Coloring Project for Bored Fans

The-N, despite all its issues with cutting up Daria episodes like Sweeney Todd cuts up his barbershop customers, did have an interesting screen saver with a large number of Daria alter egos on it in faint gray outline. I was able to fix up one of them, but it doesn't enlarge well. (It's already blown up 120%, which isn't much, then sharpened and converted to grayscale.) Daria is about to give [fill in the blank with anyone's name but yours] a special smooch under the mistletoe for Christmas. Isn't that great?

Those who are much better at image manipulation than I am can use this pic to decorate their homes and computer screens after enlarging it and coloring it in. If anyone is able to do this and wants to show off the results, feel free to add a link in the comments section. (Sorry in advance for the background dots, which I think is a moiré pattern.)

Have fun. One more shopping day until the Big X, as the teenage holiday formerly known as Christmas would say.

What Is That Picture in Daria's Locker?

We get a brief look inside Daria's school locker in "Quinn the Brain," and in addition to the familiar picture of the Hindenburg crashing and burning there is some kind of surreal landscape taped to the right side of her locker. Can anyone tell what that picture is? I haven't a clue, though I wondered if it was a Dali.

I've been looking at this shot for some time and cannot tell what it is. Thanks for any help here. Just curious.

Interesting Threads That Can Be Found on PPMB

For those in need of a different way of looking at the world....

Happy snaps: wilderness pictures of Terra Australis, by Deref

The completely random post thread, part II - I drank what? (continued)

Bring on some funny! (con't.)

*collapses* (or, The Kara Wild Is Between Law School Semesters Thread) (con't.)

Three Word Story (Part VI) (con't.)

I've been surfing around the other non-PPMB/SFMB message boards and have found very little to report on. Almost all the other boards seem to be stagnant. Alas.

Fifteen More Minutes of Fame

Art-related updates, courtesy of PPMB posters:

Daria FanArt 2007 List - Updated Again by Richard Lobinske!

2007 Booties: Daria FanWorks Awards - Visual Works

New Art: Surprise Kiss (Daria/Trent), by Hershey-chan

New Art: Daria : What's my age again? (PG-13), by Christ Oliver

And for those reading SFMB:

Daria Fan Art 2007 List (Richard Lobinske's updates)

Enjoy! More news soon.

Canon Fire

And here we have Daria and the rock band Garbage standing in Times Square NYC, at the start of the TV showing of Is It College Yet? from January 2002. Moments after this screencap, the band takes off and flies around the scene, enjoying life as cartoon characters.

This is one of those numerous examples of off-canon canon, official Daria material that deliberately violates the internal "realism" of the show. Sometimes OCC breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. Daria cast members are aware that they are two-dimensional cartoons, but also claim they are actors with the same family relationships as shown on the series. Ridiculous situations are taken in stride, nothing is sacred, and Daria calls for her agent when things go wrong. There is also OCC material that doesn't break the fourth wall but still shows cast members as actors in the Daria show, unaware of the presence of viewers but struggling to get through the script and filming of the episodes.

There is some fanfic that works with this OCC element, but not a lot. I'm making up a little list of Daria stories that show the characters as actors; if you know of any, please post them here. I want to touch up the "Off-Canon Canon" page in DariaWiki with a few more tidbits.

And a Merry Yule and/or Solstice as well!

This is as close to a Wiccan Quinn as I can find in my files. Hope it is suitable. I meant to post this earlier but got caught up in Real Life.

I will try to update the fanfic list and note any new stories that have come out in the next couple days. Party on!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just Remember: This Is Scientific Journalism, Nothing More

The intensive scientific analysis of female characters in fictional works is part of a grand tradition in fanservice... um, fandom that goes back to the days of DC and Marvel superheroines. For example, many extremely advanced scientific studies have been made of She-Hulk, who has the largest breasts in the entire Marvel Universe according to Wikipedia (see the section under "Skills"), and the number of extremely advanced scientific studies that have been made of Power Girl is almost beyond counting (here are only four of them, to show you how extremely advanced they are: one, two, three, four).

With this message we take our leave of Amy Barksdale's, um, face and other body-image issues, and move on to different topics, like Amy's better-endowed older sister, Helen. And what happened to Rita? My gosh, talk about coming out on the short end. Anyway, that for later.

Full Frontal Amy, One More Time

Kara Wild suggests that Amy's face looks different from the front in the last season, so we'll take a look. From left to right, we have "I Don't," "Through a Lens Darkly," and "Aunt Nauseam."

And, son of a gun, she does look different in AN. She had a round face before in the earlier two episodes, almost circular in shape, but in season five her face is very oval and thinner horizontally. There is another frontal pic of her face from AN in an earlier message here which confirms the change.

This, my friends, looks like conclusive proof that Amy Barksdale lost a lot of weight between season three and season five, which is probably also why her boobs look smaller and her butt isn't nearly so big. Baggy sweaters can't hide everything. Crash diet or anorexia? Your call.

Amy Barksdale's... Face

The actual reason I started looking at pictures of Amy Barksdale was because of past complaints from Daria fans that Amy's face changes between seasons two and five. Above are screencaps taken from (left to right) "I Don't," "Through a Lens Darkly," and "Aunt Nauseam." Click on the picture to enlarge it, and judge for yourself. (Note: The "Aunt Nauseam" picture is flopped horizontally so she is facing in the same direction as the other shots.)


Amy Barksdale's Boob Job: A Global Perspective

Since the electrifying discovery announced in my last post, I have spent hundreds of hours in close examination of the affected area, looking for clues that might shed light on what happened, when it happened, how it happened, and why. That's the true nature of journalistic inquiry: keep your eyes on the prize.

At left are some of the results of my investigation. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.) We see four photographs of Amy Barksdale at home, wearing a tight, revealing camel-colored blouse that delicately accents the magnificent gifts that generous Mother Nature conferred upon her. As the less sophisticated elements among us would say, she is stacked. This is in the third-season episode, "Stacked Like Me." No, wait, I meant "Through a Lens Darkly." Sorry.

But woe! In the final image from "Aunt Nauseam," we see a different Amy, an Amy whose purse strap doesn't bow out from her chest to get around nature's generous obstructions, an Amy whose sweater lines go straight down. Ye gods, what has happened?

I hasten to point out that there was no urgent medical reason for the breast unenlargement, because if there had been then there would have been a Very Special Episode of Daria about it, and since there wasn't it didn't happen, so there. We must look to non-medical causes, like that rat bastard Joel. I bet it was his idea.

I am overcome and can write no more about this. It is too much to bear. You may talk amongst yourselves until we continue with a new topic, after my recovery.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Great Amy Barksdale Mystery, Exhibits A & B

Those who know me best know I am a sober, thoughtful man, not prone to wild fancies nor paranoid delusions nor rash judgments. They know my word can be trusted. And so if I said to you, Daria fans, that I have discovered a shocking mystery that defies rational explanation, a mystery that quakes the very foundations of logic and reality, then you would know that I had found a mystery indeed.

Alas, as it happens, I have discovered such a staggering anomaly in the otherwise well-structured Dariaverse that for a time I was afraid to reveal this nightmare, for fear of the effects this discovery might have upon the delicate minds of impressionable citizens such as yourself. But I can hold back no longer; the truth must come out.

Yes, my friends, I have incontrovertible evidence, which I present to you now, that Amy Barksdale got a boob reduction.

Cast your gaze upon the first set of two photographs above, which come from "Through a Lens Darkly" and show a rather curvy, well-endowed Amy. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) Next, examine the series of three images immediately following that one, from "Aunt Nauseam," and... well, the proof should be as clear as Dr. Shar's implants. Something is missing. A lot of something is missing. What the heck happened here? Where'd they go? What did Amy do with them? What was she thinking? Were they getting in the way, or what?

Tonight we shall ponder this enigma in our beds and ask ourselves: why? Whose idea was that? Did they think that we wouldn't notice? We deserve answers, and we deserve them now. Thank you for listening, and I'm glad I could bring this to your attention.

Alter-Ego Improvements #2

In this pic lifted from a flipbook on the website, Tiffany Blum-Deckler is Lina Wertmuller, about whom I knew nothing until I Googled her name and discovered she was the Oscar-nominated Italian film director of Seven Beauties and Swept Away, neither of which I have seen. The Daria alter-ego artists are really into some esoteric stuff.

Tiffany's outfit of basic black, with the trademark Wertmuller glasses and flower thingie in her hair, is an improvement over her normal look that can only be measured in light years. Most alter-ego shots make the subject look silly, but not this one. She now has class and style, though we can quibble over the cigarette.

There you have it, another cool fashion ensemble That Should Have Been. Shame she had to wear that other crap for five years.

A Special Message from Holiday X

Yo! Four shopping days left, man! Get on the stick! You wanna get, you gotta give! Move it! The malls ain't open forever!

And, you know, Merry X. Peace out, bro.

Meet Arno

A proud, muscular, crew-cut Dane with pale blonde hair and "world class" ballooning skills, Arno worked for millionaire entrepreneur and part-time daredevil Terry Barry Barlow instead of pursuing his own dream of becoming the first man to balloon around the world. In "Of Human Bonding" (the only show in which he appears), Arno laments his failure to achieve his goal: "I sold my soul to wet-nurse the whiny billionaire and someone else balloons around the world first. Oh, Denmark, how I have failed you." Seizing on Daria's off-the-cuff suggestion, Arno quits working for Barlow and sets off to become the first man to balloon around the world twice. (The first balloonists to circle Earth on a non-stop, non-refuelled flight did so in March 1999, so "Of Human Bonding" occurred after that time.)

Richard Lobinske did the episode's transcript for Outpost Daria and notes that Arno "talks like a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator." The parallels between the two are further emphasized in the episode guide for "Of Human Bonding" on Outpost Daria. Arno later makes an impromptu appearance on the MTV Daria website to talk about Denmark's film industry.

Arno is the daring adventurer that Terry Barlow claims to be but isn't. He looks to be in his 30s or 40s, and in superb health (except for a chipped front tooth). Even if his English isn't perfect, his survival wits are keen and he is a calculating risk-taker with enormous ballooning experience. He tends to be touchy about his nationality and accomplishments, and he doesn't like to be ordered around by those who know less about ballooning than he does, which is almost everyone.

Arno makes a brief commercial appearance in M Man's "His Sister's Keeper," but seems to be otherwise unused in Daria fanfic. Fanfic writers might consider him for further use, such as a future boytoy of Rita or Amy Barksdale (or both), as the leader of a ballooning expedition in which adult and young-adult cast members participate, or as an overseas encounter met while ballooning around the world twice or more.

Thanks to CINCGREEN's Daria Encyclopedia 0.0, Outpost Daria, and Richard Lobinske for the information used here.

Note: According to the Daria Encyclopedia 0.0, Terry Barlow's middle name is pronounced "Barry" on the show, but in the closed captioning for "Of Human Bonding" it is spelled "Perry." It is also spelled "Perry" in Outpost Daria's episode transcript and episode guide. On the MTV website at the bottom of this webpage, his middle name is spelled "Barry." The spelling is used here.