Some Comic Book Pickups

Random, but… I wish people would stop abandoning dogs. Especially near my house. Today a golden lab and (what I think is) a basset hound appeared in my yard. The lab was very affectionate and clearly owned by someone, even understanding some commands. But I can’t keep dogs.

Those who remember me from my TV Tropes days remember I wasn’t a huge fan of American comics.

So you might be wondering then, what possessed me to buy a bunch of trades yesterday when I went to a bargain outlet store called Ollie’s (it’s like Big Lots, basically selling hand-me-downs from other stores). Well, thing is some comics–particularly older ones–do fascinate me a bit. It’s also possible that I’ve just been reading the wrong comics–most of my experiences have been with Marvel, who kinda suck. I bring this up because most of Ollie’s selection was DC Comics–the only Marvel representation was hardbacks of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower comic (and this makes me wonder if I’m right about the “hand-me-down” nature of their offerings because they tended to have multiples of the same volumes, not just for that but basically everything in their stock would have an exact dupe somewhere. Some of my own selections came off a stack, in fact).

So here’s what I got:

Green Lantern Chronicles, Vol. 4 – DC’s “Chronicles” line being an attempt to cover every story in a given character’s existence. In practice, none of the Chronicles wound up lasting long, but I do love them. If you’re wondering, this is Silver Age Green Lantern–Hal Jordan.

Flash Chronicles, Vol. 3 – This was in a stack. Also, this is Barry Allen. One of the stories contained herein is “The Day Flash Weighed 1000 Pounds!”

JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told – No volume number so I’m guessing first in a line.

Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Volume 2

And finally Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger, Volume 1. Now this I picked up because it sounded interesting and I had never heard of Phantom Stranger before. Ollie’s had two other Showcase volumes, one for JLA and one for some war comic (I think called Metal Men or something like that? But the cover showed soldiers and tanks and stuff so I may have the title wrong). The War comic was one of the few cases where they seemed to only have the one copy. I normally don’t pick up DC’s Showcase (or its Marvel equivalent, Essentials) because well these comics were intended to be read in color so I’d prefer to read them that way, but one deciding factor in this case was that NONE of these books costed more than $3.99 (most of them were a dollar less than that) so I could afford an exception.

So far… well, the book I’ve explored the most is the JLA Best-Of volume, and… holy crap, that title ain’t no lie, because some of these have actually been damn good.

I think one reason I like the Golden and Silver Ages is because this was back when comics didn’t have their heads up their asses, and could follow any silly idea to its logical conclusion, often with just totally awesome results. To put this as spoiler-free as possible… one of the JLA stories mentions that Superman’s cape is indestructible. Aquaman takes advantage of this to trap an explosive being following the Flash, by setting the Cape up like a net, having Flash phase through it (because he can just DO that) and then the cape holds in the explosion of the trapped chaser (said explosion makes the cape inflate up something fierce in a panel).

You had me at “indestructible cape,” comic!

Seriously, why can’t we have more like THIS?

One of my regrets about the Marvel Method is that it put an additional emphasis on “character,” which sounds neat in theory, but in practice amounts to “everyone is a dick and whines endlessly about problems which in some cases they could easily solve and are usually bringing on themselves.” Whiners aren’t fun in real life, why would I want them in fiction? It’s the same deal as in Console RPGs–I’d rather have the blank-slate Light Warriors than the brooding narcisist Squall or the endless waifus trying way too hard to be kawaii and instead coming off as annoying.

Don’t get me wrong, characterization is normally a good idea, its just that modern writers seem to not understand human beings at all and seem to think any character who isn’t miserable all the time is just a plank of wood (when in practice being defined solely by misery makes a character literally one-dimensional).


The first Phantom Stranger volume so far is interesting, though I’ve only gotten past his and Dr. Thirteen’s introduction story. The Superman volume opens with the first appearance of Mr. Mxyptlk (not sure I spelled that right), which is where The Animated Series got the “McGurk” bit from. Kinda genius that they somehow realized “McGurk” is inherently a funny name.

Like I said, the book I’ve spent the most time is the JLA volume, followed by the Green Lantern, which opens with a story about Sinestro trapping GL on a yellow planet where “even the very air is yellow.” Ummm…. okay? One thing I never noticed before is that Sinestro’s head is… elongated. Like seriously I could see using it as a baseball bat or a club. Not complaining, because at least its distinct.

I have not yet read the Flash volume beyond glancing at the table of contents. The first story–featuring some dude named the Trickster–just didn’t grab me. Still, happy to keep around the adventures of the Original Red Ranger (a name I’ll be shocked if nobody else has used it before now).

I’m also trying seriously to draw comics of my own, but no ETA on that as well, I tend to be chronically lazy. Hopefully I’ll get somewhere soon.

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The Problem With Franchises

In the late 1990s, there was a 101 Dalmations animated series.

It wasn’t particularly good, but I watched it because I was bored and those puppies (particularly Cadpig) were kinda adorable. But there happened to be one episode that I find I keep remembering, because it turned out to be prophetic and unexpectedly brilliant.

I don’t know its title, but its description is this: The pups are watching an episode of their favorite show, Thunderbolt (sort of a canine cop), when the power goes out. The pups are eager to know how the episode ends, and end up coming up with their own conclusions–essentially making up their own endings for the episode.

Then the power comes back on and they see the episode’s actual ending… and it sucks. Their unanimous reaction is “our stories were better.”

I keep thinking about this because this precisely matches how I feel about most franchises (sometimes even single stories, but its more common with franchises). Fans are always asking for canon explanations and details, but very often, their theories and speculation are more interesting than the actual answers we get.

To use a recent example: Five Nights at Freddy’s. I… don’t know how to spoiler mark on this blog, so I’ll keep my statements vague: The focus of the series stops being about a restaurant with a history and more about some dumbass family, and that’s boring.

For a classic example, I always hated how Metal Gear turned out, especially stuff like who the Patriots are and what the ultimate endgame of the series was. Unsurprisingly, Hideo Kojima didn’t even want to answer the questions Sons of Liberty raised and its my theory he deliberately gave underwhelming answers to punish people for asking.

And it just goes on like this. Chances are, the more (continuous) installments a canon has, the more likely its gone completely freaking stupid. This is also why I can’t get into comic books, because for a lot of them the damage was done years ago and modern writers don’t want to “disrespect tradition” by making major overhauls.

But sometimes, traditions suck and SHOULD be thrown aside.

So, word of advice for all aspiring writers out there: Unless you reeeeaaaally know what you’re doing (or just don’t care), never let your epic saga have more than three canon installments (three books for a novel series, three seasons for a TV show, three video games, etc.) Three tends to work. There were only three Back to the Future movies and none of them were bad, there were only three Lord of the Rings books (technically one big book printed in three volumes) and it’s one of the best books ever written, and so on and so forth. Of course there are times where more installments works, but they tend to be special cases (like Final Fantasy, where none of the games even have any connection).

tl;dr always stop at three.

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VLOG: Brief Thoughts on Mega Man’s Canon

Story canon, not the kind that shoots.

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Well damn (farewell to the Spoony Forums)

If there’s a theme that can sum up 2017 (and now the beginning of 2018) it’s “loss.” First one of my favorite stores–Hastings–shut down (on a corporate level, too, so its not like they just moved somewhere else–they’re gone). Then the whole thing about my cat disappearing and my gallbladder, and now the Spoony Experiment Forums are gone.

Okay that last one isn’t quite as big as the other three. Truth is I only became an active member in like the summer of last year. Admittedly at first I enjoyed it–one of my first topics was a confession about how I don’t like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and, unlike places like TV Tropes where you’re not allowed to hate popular comics, on the TSE forums it actually resulted in an intelligent discussion that actually raised my respect for the comic a little (thankfully I actually snapshotted the first page of that and thus can revisit it any time).

The thing continued to be decent even though I soon ran into idiot members, though I will admit I was on the verge of leaving when it finally shut down, largely because the place was starting to remind me of TV Tropes in all the worst ways.

A confession, I recently discovered and have been lurking at the KiwiFarms forums, and one of their most active topics is about the Spoony One. I bring this up because they mentioned the forum shutdown, but… this being primarily a site about accentuating the negative, they of course have… skewed views. Some are outright wrong: there is a repeated claim from several KiwiFarmers that the TSE forums were full of Spoony White Knights and people who were mindlessly devoted to him. In actual fact, most any discussion that was actually about Spoony mirrored what the KiwiFarm users themselves were saying–the two forums were basically indistinguishable on that front. I was told, several times, even by higher-ups, that “nobody here really cares about Spoony anymore, we’re just here for the community.”

On that note, I used to be a fan of Spoony himself, but these days… well, I still like his older videos, but its very hard to go back and watch them knowing what he’s become. I’ve made the decision to just not read gossip and not think about him for awhile, and hopefully when memories fade I can see him in the same light as someone like RinryGameGame–“Ah, I remember this person’s videos!” and wistful nostalgia of when the world of online video was an exciting brand new thing. That’s not a criticism of change or anything, just familiarity… when you go to Hastings or Blockbuster once a year, its exciting, but when you go there every weekend, it becomes routine and normal. That’s all I’m saying.

Still, here’s to exciting adventures in the future!

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November was a rollercoaster

Once again, apologies for not immediately posting about this video on this here blog. There’s just so much to keep track of and to be honest, I’m feeling low on enthusiasm. Like, sometimes I don’t see why things are worth doing.

I had a Twitter account, but I honestly don’t see the point of that–how is it any better than this wordpress blog? Maybe someday it’ll turn out to be useful though.

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Just one more reason I’m not interested in Marvel Cinema

The thoughts below were the exact feelings going through my head after my very first viewing, literally written down as soon as the credits began to roll. After everyone saying it was good and it getting a much-hyped sequel, I finally borrowed a DVD and gave the first Guardians of the Galaxy a watch and… well… you’ll see.

Original Thoughts Begin… NOW

Now more than ever I’m convinced I live in a time where humanity’s intellect as a whole has forever trapped most of humanity in the mental state of being teenagers, if not children. Only such a state could explain how Guardians of the Galaxy became some sort of surprise smash hit.

Where do I even start? I knew there’d be problems almost from the opening credits, where Starlord is doing some Tomb Raider shenanigans while doing a stupid dance to horribly out of place 70s music. It really does set the tone: Like a lot of modern western fiction, Guardians of the Galaxy likes to make up for its own lack of wit or originality by instead making tons of pop culture references in supposedly “clever” contexts (see, for example, the part where he describes the 80s movie Footloose as an “ancient Earth legend”). I can believe this was directed by the guy who won razzies for the live-action Scooby Doo movies, because this crap seems like his style.

And gee, aliens who are overly literal and don’t understand terms like “sticks up their butt” and “flying over your head.” Never seen that before. What, was this screenplay written by a twelve year old?

In fact, the lack of originality is a huge part of why this movie bored me to tears. Guardians of the Galaxy was so formulaic that it could give pointers to a Roger Moore-era James Bond film! Look here, the story is essentially that some evil bad warlord wants a magic doohickey of great power. Meanwhile, five “misfit” heroes of diverse backgrounds who initially seem to hate each other but come to bond over… something, wind up discovering their inner nobility and becoming “unlikely” heroes. We even have that scene all these movies seem to have where the lead talks about how the odds are incredible and they’re all likely to die but he’s making a rousing friendship speech that inspires everyone to join him in that tired display where they all give him their support one at a time until even the last holdout (in this case, Rocket Raccoon) reluctantly chimes in.

For ***** sake, this is a freaking children’s movie!

I could go on about how Nebula has absolutely no motivation and is an antagonist just for the sake of having someone for Gamorra to have a kung-fu showdown with (because women can only fight other women, natch) or how Groot just pulls new powers out of his ass, or how the joke just before the end credits where Groot stops dancing when Drax is looking makes no freaking sense because Groot would have no reason to hide his movement from his friend, and these are all symptomatic of the terribleness of this movie, but those are all secondary to how just utterly utterly BORED I was the whole way through and how much I just wished the stupid thing would hurry up and end.

And I know people are gonna be like, “but but lasers! and explosions! and lots of spaceships!” I can’t imagine what kind of stunted mental state people must have where just having a lot of flash on screen is all it takes to thrill them. All I know is I’ve never been that type of person. I mean I don’t mind a good action movie, but good action movies tend to have a sense of rhyme or flow to their action scenes (see the original Die Hard), not just have a bunch of eyecatching motions and explosions for the sake of having movement and color.

Speaking of which, I don’t read Marvel Comics much but my understanding was that each of the Infinity Gems mapped to a particular aspect of the cosmos–Soul, Time, Space, Reality, Mind, and Power (I had to look that up). Meaning each gem had governance over its aspect, such as the Time gem letting you rewind or fast-forward time or change history and such.

Naturally, this movie goes the most utterly dull route and just gives you this one nondescript Gem of Purple Energy Beams of Destructiveness, because why would we want to explore interesting concepts, amirite? And yes, I know that there being six is still acknowledged. My problem is that they’re reduced to just jewels that shoot laser beams and make purple explosions.

God this movie is terrible, and it was the third time I gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe a chance. Three strikes and your out, Marvel.

Yeah… suffice to say, I’m not gonna be seeing the sequel.

I mean, I was tempted to give these thoughts a rewrite to make them cleaner and more “professional” and “objective” but in this case it felt best to let my original raw seething antipathy stand as it was.

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The “Divorced Installment” Trope and How It Went Wrong

As most of you probably know, I used to be a troper. In fact, I’ve submitted like five articles to the wiki itself. Not much, but… whatever.

One of those five was this trope, the “Divorced Installment.” And reading its page again, it’s probably one of my first experiences with creator’s remorse, where I regret making something.

Or at least the form it came out in.

Just look at how the trope is defined. For clarity I decide to instead define it by what it isn’t, because back then I didn’t know how to word things and was concerned with people understanding it (which, on TV Tropes, is a legitimate problem), but reality I could probably have just said “This is when a work was part of a series originally but is rewritten to have all evidence of its original franchise removed. Often done for the sake of turning a continuation or even a fanfic into an original story, though there are rare cases where the work is divorced from one franchise in order to become a Dolled-Up Installment of another!”

Nevertheless, the way its written gets the point across… at least, the first two bullet points do. Then you get to the third one:

* With some exceptions, this trope is not about an idea changing into a completely different idea during the creative process. The only exception is if an idea started out as an installment of a franchise and turned into either something original, or an installment of a completely different franchise. If an author starts out writing a story about cats but it ends up being about cyborgs, it’s not this trope. But if an author starts out writing a Sherlock Holmes book and winds up turning it into something original, it is this trope. If he starts out writing Sherlock Holmes and then turns it into a James Bond book, it is also this trope. Yes, this trope can overlap with Dolled-Up Installment, and often does—see the examples.

If I could travel back to see my younger self when I was writing this, I would point out how absolutely balls ridiculous this reads. Why is this even here?

Well, being the author, I know exactly why: It’s because I felt pressured to pander to the tropers. See, when you submit a new trope, it goes through a “discussion” phase (at least it did back then, I don’t know about now) where people basically give it a trial run and see if they’ll be able to come up with examples and make something out of it.

During the discussion phase, a lot of examples were things such as “Van Damme’s Cyborg was originally going to be a Masters of the Universe sequel” (which you’ll notice actually made it to the trope page), which aren’t really what I thought the trope should be about. I was more looking for instances where a Ranma 1/2 game that was released in Japan gets turned into a no-name brawler when its released in the USA, because I thought that kind of stuff was interesting.

And I made that clear during the discussion phase.

But the response I got was basically them whining that “It’s too hard to think of examples if you limit it like that!”

Since thi was when I still thought of Tropers as “my friends,” I gave in, and added that third bit.

And now the trope is basically broken in half, with some examples being genuine divorcees (IE works of fiction that were actually published and released originally as part of an established franchise in one location but were turned into unrelated works in another region) but the majority of them basically amount to “During the drafting phase, some creator considered making this an installment of Franchise X before deciding not to,” which I feel should have its own category (in fact, it basically does–that kind of thing is called “Serial Numbers Filed Off” or something like that). But if course if I were to suggest that, I’d probably get all sorts of bawwing and crying over change (just like how a lot of tropers still use those annoying Japanese terms that don’t make sense or insist on using dead terms like “Spikeification”).

Thus, I gave the world a broken trope. And I really wish I could undo it.

Live and learn.

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Sick-ond Hand Thoughts

It’s not often I type a blog post anymore. These days I’ve become a cam whore and prefer to speak into the lens and upload my stream-of-conscious blatherings to youtube. But these past few days I’ve been sick and upon recovering, well, I found myself just wanting to type. The written word is in some ways better than a spoken message. For one thing its much easier to write and edit a post than to record and edit a video, and it takes seconds–even my vlogs take at least an hour. In fact, I may go back to doing blog posts predominantly and using my youtube channel only for videos with actual content.

One thing to mention, I’m bad about not advertising videos on this blog. I know I really should do that, but there’s a reason I don’t: Laziness. More precisely, often I’m impatient and in a hurry when I upload videos (my internet situation is in general kinda screwed up) and so I need things to be as convenient as possible. WordPress though sometimes deletes the cookie that holds my auto-login data, which means I have to look up my password (I use a different password for each site and my WP one is particularly hard to remember) and input it and log in successfully and, well, that’s sometimes more than I have time to or even want to do. Not to mention how I have to preview each post to make sure it’s not gonna look all skewered or anything like that. So its actually just easier for me to not update the blog.

It really does just come down to me being lazy, I guess.

So, here’s some thoughts that went through my head during days while I was sick.

Thought The First – I’ve noticed this weird phenomenon when reading books. The phenom is thus: Sometimes I’ll swear that the spaces between words are forming a picture or a letter. Then I try to look more closely and it both clears up in some respects but then becomes more vague in others–“I can definitely see the top of an ‘A’ here but the lower right corner is a blur to me”–that kind of deal. Am I the only person this happens to? This also sometimes happens to me with the grain textures of walls and ceilings.

Thought the Second – There’s actually a reason I came to be a camwhore: see, the comp I use for the internet is actually kind of a bitch to type on. The keyboard is uncomfortable and thanks to a kid spilling her drink on it, some of the keys have become unresponsive (in particular the A key sometimes won’t register that it’s been pressed even when I press it several times in a row. This gets very annoying). So I prefer writing on Mazinkaiser, which is a desktop… and is also a Windows 98SE machine built for older games. My laptop runs Windows 7. For awhile this wasn’t much of a problem because I would just use rewritable CDs to transfer documents over, but then the built-in drive on my laptop failed and it happens to be a brand that’s tough to replace. I have an external drive, but its the kind that requires an AC Adapter rather than just plugging straight into the USB, so its a case where what should be a simple activity is really inconvenient. (Sometimes I skip the CD-ROM crap entirely and load an old version of Linux up on Mazinkaiser, enabling me to just put files on a USB thumbdrive. Weirdly, I had heard that Windows 98 is supposed to support USB devices but in my experience, it doesn’t). When I record a video I’m recording to the laptop directly, thus a huge middleman is skipped.

Thought the Third – I’ve been watching a lot of HBomberguy videos. Now, I have mixed feelings about the guy (particularly after his terribly misinformed episode on Pewdiepie) but in general I agree with at least one thing: Video game feminism is ultimately a force for good. Except, my reasons for saying that have nothing to do with gender equality or representation. It has to do with, simply speaking, that gender used to seemingly not matter in games.

Seriously, did anyone ever say “I refuse to play King’s Quest IV because it stars a girl?” I’ve never heard any cases or accounts of the game being received poorly or selling low numbers in connection to the gender of its protagonist. Likewise though I never hear Rosella’s starring role being raised on the pillar of female representation either, at least not from publications of the time. Its almost like a girl being the star was so normal it wasn’t even worth commenting on. The same goes for the Laura Bow mysteries, Plundered Hearts, the first Phantasy Star, Ms. Pac-Man or any other game of the era which starred (or at least featured) a female protagonist. It’s only nowadays that the issue of gender has become worth commenting on. Also note that NONE of the examples I just name wore sexualized clothing, they actually dressed realistically with regards to their individual settings or roles: Rosella is a princess but she puts on a more rugged dress for her journey, Laura Bow dresses in fashion 1920s southern girls would actually wear, and Alis Landale sports boots, thick pants and a thick coat–which is actually practical attire for an adventure across three planets (one of which is an ice world)! That’s a far cry from Lara “wearing a bathing suit in below-zero temperatures” Croft, wouldn’t you say?

So gaming… what HAPPENED? Actually, I know what happened…

Thought the Fourth – I’ve come to realize that the true source of all evil is Politics. Think about the above: Games starring girls used to be normal (if still uncommon), but then it became a political issue and that caused it to polarize.

Politics does that. It takes things that should be normal, or at least comprehensible among standard moral and logic compasses, and makes them “issues”–then confuses things further by making your decision cast you in a specific lot. Like okay, I’m sure I’m gonna be called a liberal cuck bastard virtue signaller for being in favor of more Alis Landales instead of Lara Crofts (who, personally, I never thought was all that sexy–even at sixteen I had higher standards than just “big boobies”).

I’m not giving the opposing team a free pass either though: I’ve several times been accused of being a rape apologist or “reinforcing the patriarchy” or “defending male privilege” simply for (and this is a true story) not understanding some girl’s thesis that anime like Sailor Moon somehow promote the oppression of women. I mean, Sailor Moon does? I could see that argument for Demon Beast Invasion or maybe even Dragon Ball Z, but Sailor Moon? To be honest, I think that person just hated Japan and was using feminism as a shield to justify her irrational hate.

But that’s what I mean right there. If there were no politics involved, then we would all see logic and quickly come to some sort of an agreement.

But the problem then is, how do we get rid of politics? I mean, you really can’t, because all governments (even anarchy will basically result in hundreds of mini-governments) are run by humans and politics is the oil that makes governments work. So we’re stuck with it.

Maybe next time I’m sick I’ll divine a solution to this whole thing….

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The Dom’s Mistakes re: Goldfinger – Lost in Adaptation

Oh look, Jispy is reviewing a reviewer again… but this time it’s actually a good reviewer!

The Dom hosts an excellent series called “Lost in Adaptation” which compares books to their movie counterparts and talks about what was changed. The only reason this particular episode deserved a response was because for some reason, he wound up saying things about the book that were wrong or at least misunderstandings.

The Dom’s original video can be found right here.


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Moe Dantes is BACK! And He’s Jispylicious!

For those who can’t or won’t watch/listen to the video, here’s the lowdown:

I have a sort of seasonal mood thing. During Spring and Fall is when I’m the most creative and inspired, but Summer and Winter absolutely murder my will to do much of anything. This past summer was especially bad due to constant power outages, like one every other week. Since I basically depend on electricity (even for things besides air conditioning) this summer was very depressing.

However, now Fall is coming and things are turning around. I’m hoping to start heading towards more creative pursuits. You see in the video’s thumbnail a self-image I drew of my cartoon avatar, Jispy Moe Dantes, and I hope to do more drawing, possibly even do some webcomics I’ve had ideas for.

So what’s the deal with returning to the abandoned blog “Jispylicious” when I had “EDM’s world?” Well, to make a long story short, I came to hate the name “Edmond Dantes” and also my contraction for it, “EDM.” In both cases it was because the name was not unique to me, and in the case of “EDM,” I didn’t know at the time that EDM was the name of a band and that people were mistakening me for something related to them. I always try to have a name that’s as unique as possible so that it can’t be mixed up with other things. “Jispylicious” and “Jispy Moe Dantes” are both unique. “Edmond Dantes” is not. Also, the original reason I had started Jispylicious was to be my publishing name for if I ever did books or webcomics, and since I’m returning to that focus it only makes sense to return to that name.

Don’t take that to mean that I’m done reviewing games or posting vlogs or rants or cat videos, however–my Youtube channel will be whatever I want it to be. About the only thing I won’t use my channel for is stuff I know Youtube itself will strike down if uploaded, and for anything at risk of that I’m looking into alternative upload sites. Zippcast no longer exists but there are still options.

So the word “Jispy.” My real initials are JSP, and the J stands for Jimmy.

Take Jimmy.
Cut off the mmy,
replace those with SP.
You get JiSP.

So what does “Jispy” mean? Since I invented the term, I’ll also invent the meaning, and what it means is bringing your A-game to everything. Now, due to my thing about seasonal mood disorder and other problems, I might not be able to keep a consistent schedule, but still I’m gonna stay Jispy and give it my best.

You guys stay Jispy too now, ya hear?

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