PODCAST: Flea Circus Genocide, Momterruption, and We’re Back (vaguely)

Your favorite podcast is back, with more swearing, more genocide and more tapping upon the abdomen of your mate to find the reproductive organs to dunk your webbed ball of sperm inside. You’ll get it when you hear the cast.

Also, if anyone has heard from Brendan Johnston, it seems that he may have died in the middle of this comment. “You guys havent stopped the podcast have”. If you have any news, please write us at thisisnotarealemailaddress.forrealitsnot@notreal.com. Thanks.


Animal Feature Blogathon: Arachnoquake

“You dumber than a box of hams.” -Expendable, Nameless Nobody #2

Although this blog is in dire need of actual content (namely “news”), I will perservere through and write about yet another 2-hour Syfy animal-themed Original Movie*. What horrorific gem are you letting me watch for you this time? Arachnoquake. The ever-pervasive ads tell me that this movie involves fire and spiders and a cast of characters I am guaranteed not to give a singular shit about. So, let’s begin.

What is that accent, expendable opening characters? Southern redneck or ebonics? The start of the movie already has me convinced that it’s not about to take itself seriously. In the woods of Louisiana, there’s a tiny spider crawling into a carton of non-spider eggs to be shipped, presumably into Town. Spiders perhaps from the smoking, unwholesome-looking cavern nearby. Don’t get bit by one or your skin will bubble and white pus will ejaculate itself violently at a nearby audience.  But that’s not our problem, fellow Orleaners, cause those cartons are a long way from…oh wait.

J: Does anything bad happen in New Orleans?

That’s dark, J. But a quick cut to a Gambit-esque, bad boy ladies man has me think everything’s going to be just fine. I can trust that our hero, a bartender or tourguide in his father’s swamp hustlin’ business, will lead the bubbly, blonde Unlikely Voice of Reason and the township to victory over eggy spiders. Oh, Neelix Paul’s dad, get your son to get his shit together while the movie rounds up the rest of the fodder, white noise, and spider bait for uninspired cameos.

J: And the plot thickens.

Me: Thinnens.

A family of frustrated mom and two even frustrateder teens (you can’t feed children to Syfy Original spiders) needs a tour guide because no one is at all put off by the fact that the old one practically burst into a hot sticky mess. Paul, the family, and spider nuggets drive until they hit a gassy sinkhole with a spider frightening-looking enough to warrant a closer look. It’s a good thing you teach grade school bio, mom, and you’re a mediocre golf player, senior citizen, or else the team might find themselves in a sinkhole full of trouble. Ah, well, despite everyone having phones and radios, the team somehow drives straight into a city completely devoid of human life due to blind spiders of various size and attitudes.

Driving away is the priority even at the expense of stopping from lack of gas, according to one paranoid rider. But fuck her cause Paul’s getting gas anyway, like a real hero. Real heroes make executive decisions like getting gas and hitting on moms and hiding in a supermarket with glass for walls. At least the market has expired  bugspray. Mister rider guy sir, did you not see the previews of this movie? The spiders are far too big and prone to spouting fire to use that crap.

J: So, he’s going to save them and then the business’ll pick up and he’ll be the hero?

Probably. It seems like the best he can do is give leadership authority to someone else while he unsuccessfully leads a senior citizen-less team outside to the tour trolley. The 2 second ad signifying the end of each commercial break promises fire-breathing spiders but here I am, looking at an empty set of a city, watching the characters beat each other up for control with no freaking spiders whatsoever. If I’m going to properly waste my time watching bad CGI, Syfy, I don’t want to see CGI dust and smoke from the earthquake cause as it stands now, this movie is lacking serious zazz. Spider guts jizzed onto the lens won’t do it either. Dad of the family is driving a bus of bouncy teens somewhere but that’s just to fulfill a minimum requirement of breasts and short shorts for this type of thing and you know it.

Anyway, what are we doing. The mom is having an asthma attack and Paul’s dad is pissed that there are spiders. The team and the dad head over to  the swamp to get an makeshift inhaler (?) and a refund for the tourists. As Blackguy McHood makes a speech about the fucked up nature of the situation, his ass gets ate very much samuel-l-jackson-in-deep-blue-sea-ly. That’s enough to get the crew on a boat and into the bayou. Just like Piranhaconda, this film has two bad guys: the spiders and Mr. Inabilitytomakeagooddecision.The spiders are expert swimmers and, for some reason I’l never understand, caw like hawks and auto-tuned hawks. Thankfully our heroes make it out of the boat in time to learn that the spiders breathe fire. Fire that smokes Paul’s dad but doesn’t seem like a reasonable defense against alligators. Tough break, spiders. I guess making them bullet proof and alligator proof like the piranhacondas would ask the audience to suspend too much disbelief.

Um, if dragons were real, then something like this could happen.

Post-commercial break, we find ourselves at the beginning of this movie, in the forest with idiots with guns (and I notice that we’re only halfway through this shitshow). The mom explains fire breathing spiders with science and frakking in a predictable way. It’s a brainless creature filled with fuck, gas and eggs and fire and ability to alter time itself as a man on fire slow-motion spins to draw out the effect of being alive and on fire. It occurs to me that these would make for piss poor spiders if they’re looking to suck their victims dry – the fire would cook up all the sweet, precious goo inside. Paul and his father share a deliciously tender moment as they wander through a familiar, Hawaiian-y  generic foresty forest right before the father succumbs to fire poison.

Angrily, our hero stomps into a dark cave, ready to catch a case and save his hot sister. Some other characters are there for some reason suddenly and discover the Brain Bug, the ring leader of all the above ground hijinks up to this point. The team hauls it out of the cave and onto another boat which, by the sounds of the buttons, is operated by an R2-D2. I really don’t understand the Brain Bug’s plans to conquer the city. The brainless drones don’t seem to be doing anything in particular outside of growing, breathing fire, and climbing to the tops of things.

Trust me, I can get all of him from here.

Matt: I don’t know what looks faker: the spider or the helicopter?

The smoke, Matt. Spiders kind of look fake anyway and, since I think helicopters run on magic,I guess they do too. Nothing about the smoke is convincing. It’s way too slow and not the right transparency.  J is trying to convince me that a spider making a web on a radio tower is faker but the camera just insists on panning over the “burning” city. As the helicopter approaches the largest spider, who is busy making a helicopter sized web, the soldiers below make desperate attempts to shoot it down before the spider notices. Nah, guys, I’m kidding. It just looks that way.

The hero kills the Brain Bug and the other spiders….die. So, everyone celebrates. The fake helicopter dances jubilantly in the fake smoke while a fake spider explodes in floating cup in the ocean.

Next week, it’s Bigfoot, folks. But I’m not going to do it. Because this is an animal news podcast and Bigfoots aren’t real**.

*Note: A commercial informed me that June is Syfy Original Movies month, assuring our readers of a definitive deadline for these god awful posts.

**I’m never going to watch a Syfy Original Movie again.

Choice Quotes

Teen girl in letter jacket hits toddler-sized spider as it lands and immediately bursts into flames.                                                                   

Coach: And that is why you’re my number one hitter!

Father steps on dead spider triumphantly, despite having not killed it himself.                                                                                                             

“And THAT is how you make jumbalaya!”

I’m going to destabilize if I see another one of those things.”

Watch this trailer and you won’t have missed a single element from this movie.

Arachnoquake Trailer

Hyenas, Spider Balls, and Dinorexyia


Hey! It’s that time again, here comes Animal News: The Podcast.  Special thanks to Julie and Peter for sitting in! Jake is on Assignment in Korea, and we miss him dearly.  COME HOME JAKE! 

Podcast: Spider Snow, Dogs in Snow, and That Was Almost An Hour?

We’re talking about Microraptors, Spider silk that looks like snow, and the Iditarod today.  Listen, won’t you.

At the end, we have Jake’s This Week in Animal History!

It Always Feels Like, Spiders Are Watching Me

This is a Jumping Spider. Enjoy Sleeping!

I was cruising io9 today, and I came across this story.

If you don’t have time to read the story, but want me to summarize this for you, here we go.  Jumping spiders, which are terrifyingly awesome, have a strange problem.  They have eight eyes and use those eyes to judge distance, but we didn’t understand the mechanism that they used to judge those distances.

Eyes are super interesting.  Humans think of eyes as the windows to the world.  We use seeing and understanding interchangeably.  So, when we see things that have compound eyes or multiple eyes, it kind of freaks us out.  Check out that spider up there.  Or go outside with and LED and hold it as close to your eye level as possible.  You’ll see this, if there are spiders about.

We didn’t understand how the jumping spider judged distances until recently.  Apparently, they have four layers of retina.  The retina is where the focused images is projected, where it is translated into nerve cells, and ends up in the brain.  Human beings have three layers in the retina.  Our three layers are rods, cones and nerves.  Rods perceive black and white. Cones perceive color. Nerves take the information from the rods and cones to the brain.  The jumping spider adds a fourth later, which is purposely out of focus, that perceives green.

What this green perceptive layer does is causes the prey to be in sharp relief to the background of green.  The focus allows the jumping spider to accurately judge distances.  By using red and green light and observing the jumping spiders, they found that this green perception gave them their accurate distance perception.

Anyway, you should be interested, because now we’re going to get distance viewfinders based on this principle.  It’s just cool research.