I’m letting the monkeys loose!!!

For the Look, Listen, Analyze assignment I chose Kids in the Hall’s The Monkeys. The video in the playlist was disabled, so here’s a version from the Nerdist. I love Kids in the Hall and wish it was still on Netflix, so I’m really excited to look at/listen to/analyze a skit.

Looking

The scene opens to a dimly lit, hazy room. Two columns of light pour through what looks like a crack in the front door. In one long take, the camera pans back from the door until it meets Dave, who had just been looking at the door and then turns to face the camera.  The camera is at eye-level with Dave. The setting is established by this long, panning shot. The take continues, uncut, with Dave in the dark, sitting just left of center. The only light source is a fireplace in the background and a natural light that illuminates his right hand.

 

The camera cuts away to Dave and Mark (tall dude on the right) standing with their backs to a window, its curtains pulled closed. Two lamps are lit behind them as well. Despite the light sources, the men seem to be in the dark.

Cut back to Dave at the front door, even darker than before. He opens the door a crack, letting bright natural light pour into the house, then slams the door shut. Back in darkness, he speaks to the camera as it slowly zooms toward him.

Cut again to Dave and Mark, still in front of the window, and still poorly lit.

Another cut back to Dave in the dark. Again, he is slightly left of center, but now facing right of frame and speaking into the telephone. The only light in this shot is what is reflected off the glass of a framed picture hanging on the wall.

Now some change! We cut to the three men seated in a car – the man up front driving, with Mark behind the driver’s seat and Dave next to Mark. It almost seems like the camera itself is mounted on the hood of the car. It bounces along with the movement of the car. The driver in the foreground, but he doesn’t block Mark or Dave. There is a long take of the car ride as Dave continues speaking from the back seat. The inside of the car still seems dark and desaturated.

The camera then cuts to a side shot of the car. We see it pull up and come to a stop, and through the passenger side window we can see the driver turn to his left to say something to the guys in the back. The window is closed, and makes the shot look really dark.

Then a cut back to just Dave, still seated in the back seat. It looks like we’re seeing him through the windshield and against the back windshield, creating another effect of darkness. A person walks by in the background, but Dave is totally still.

Next up are multiple quick cuts between Dave and the driver, who end up laughing about something. Then an outside shot that looks in through the back passenger side window at Dave and Mark, and as Dave opens the back door, the scene changes immediately to a low angle shot of Dave back home in the dark. The two columns of light from the crack in the door are visible in the background. His face is in shadow, but again, his hand is illuminated by natural light. This time, he is seated just right of center.

There is another cut back to Dave and Mark in front of the window. It is identical to their first appearance. Creepy!

Finally, it cuts to Dave in the chair. Once again the camera is eye level with him. He is still in the dark, with the fireplace in the background, and with only his hand illuminated by natural light. Dave looks over his shoulder at the door, and the camera follows his eyeline and zooms toward the door.

 

Listening

First off, there’s some seriously weird noise at the beginning! Like something rattling a chest of drawers that’s 2 rooms over. Then there are shrieks, followed by Dave sighing and saying gruffly that the monkeys are loose. The way he says it makes it sound like it happens all the time. There’s also a laugh track in the video! This doesn’t seem like a skit that was done in front of a studio audience, so the laugh track is interesting.

In the background you can hear air moving, like howling wind, and the crackle of a fireplace. And of course, the monkeys – growling and shrieking!!! They just keep getting crazier the longer the skit goes on. Any scene with Dave monologuing, you can hear the monkeys absolutely losing it in the background. When he opens the door to show the viewer where he keeps them, the monkey sound effect intensifies until he shuts the door again. The door slamming shut has a reverberating echo that makes it seem really heavy, or makes the house seem huge.

Dave’s dialogue is delivered in a gravelly voice and between exaggerated inhales and exhales. He’s smoking throughout the skit, but having a bunch of evil monkeys is probably pretty exhausting too. Neither is very good healthwise.

What’s kind of funny is that when the other person starts talking, the monkey sounds disappear. Where are he and Dave standing? Are they even in the same room anymore? I’m thinking maybe they were being interviewed by the camera person. That’s probably why they were standing in the exact same spot the second time they showed up.

It’s not obvious when Dave is on the phone – this is going to make me sound like a total dingdong, but when he was threatening to let the monkeys loose if he didn’t get a pizza delivered in 15 minutes, I was confused about what was going on. There was a metallic ringing noise when he slammed the receiver down, but I had to listen a few times to hear it.

The car trip is weird. The hum of the engine and bumps in the road are easy enough to recognize, but it’s the seemingly irrelevant conversation and tone of Dave’s voice that’s so off-putting. He shouldn’t have those monkeys.

 

Analyze

He wouldn’t wish those monkeys on his worst enemy because he likes having the monkeys. Obviously.

Anyway, there are a couple of things I wanted to look at using Ebert’s How to Read a Movie article. The first is kind of simple and deals with what he calls a two-shot. I’m assuming based on context that it means a shot where there are two people, and I hope I’m right.

This is just the weirdest looking still. Dave is looking right into the camera with that Kubrick stare, but the overall picture has this American Gothic vibe. According to Ebert, in a two-shot frame, the person to the right of center will seem more “positive,” or have dominance over the person that is to the left of center. Here, it’s Mark that’s on the right. I think the contrast with Dave’s creepy stare is what makes Mark’s character seem like the “positive,” while “loose-the-monkeys” Dave is the negative, standing to the left of center. Mark’s dialogue and manner of speech is much different from Dave’s as well – kinda doofy, but not scary. Putting him on the right highlights both his positivity and Dave’s negativity.

Back to this low angle shot toward the end of the skit. This comes after Dave threatens to release the monkeys on the driver (as a joke! haha! so funny!), and here he’s explaining exactly how the monkeys give him “power.” Shooting from below eye level makes him look bigger, and as Ebert writes, “low angles make [people] into gods.” Being able to loose some evil monkeys on a hapless pizza delivery person who arrives 1 minute late probably gives you some sense of importance. All the angles that Dave had been shot at before had been eye level, but this one is quite low.

Another thing that’s interesting about this particular shot is that Dave is positioned just right of center. In the other scenes he’s been in, he’s either been on the left (in the first monologue, paired with Mark, on the phone, or in the car) or if he wasn’t on the left, he was facing left (opening and closing the monkey door). Here, however, he’s facing right and the majority of the space he takes up is in the right side of the screen. The only thing to the left is the monkey door, its light creeping into the room. The true evil! Dun dun dunnnnnnnn!!!

The ONE time it’s okay to keep pausing the movie.

A few years ago I took an international film class at UMW. We talked about film techniques, movements, themes, all that stuff.  It was just a summer class, but I thought I was so smart because I got to watch and analyze a buttload of classic movies. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t actually have a more refined cinematic palate. I had just turned into Statler and Waldorf.

Reading Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” brought back some of that shame for me. Oops! It was, however, a nice refresher for the things I learned in that film class. For example, in Ebert’s explanation of scene composition, he notes that diagonal tilts or lines imply a world out of balance. One of the first films we watched in the class was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which used strange and extreme angles in its set design to impart a sense of unrest, chaos, or insanity. Below are two stills of street scenes from the film. They look like M.C. Escher pieces!

What struck me the most was Ebert’s technique for reading films along with other people. Instead of standing at the front of the room and directing a conversation, he joins the audience. When someone says to pause the film at a particular moment, he pauses it so they can talk about it. For people who want to pick apart a movie and see how every piece works together, I think this is a really great idea. (If someone is there because they just want to watch a movie, they’d probably lose their mind after pausing every few minutes to talk about framing or sound bridges or whatever.) This “democracy in the dark” sounds to me like one of the best ways to teach people how to analyze and think about film. It’s not just “this is why it’s done this way, it says so in the book,” but more of a socratic discussion where more than one person can provide insight.

Regarding intrinsic weighting, it did frustrate me to read that Ebert had “never heard of a director or cinematographer who ever consciously applied [the “laws” of visual space].” It makes filmmaking sound innate and very exclusive, like if you don’t get it, you won’t get it. Maybe I could be able to read a film well enough, but could I ever compose one with an aesthetic that was on par with a Kubrick, a Tarantino, a Hitchcock or an Anderson without working to the point where my brain turns to soup? I’d have to be thinking about all the techniques that Ebert describes these directors as doing by what seems like second nature. What a pain.

It reminds me of the joke you hear about high school english classes, where the teacher asks you what the author was trying to communicate when they said the curtains were blue. Maybe the main character is depressed. They couldn’t go on with their life. The blue of the curtains represented the turmoil within them. “No,” you imagine the author saying, “I meant the curtains were freaking blue.” But according to Ebert, if this were film… could the director unconsciously choose blue for the curtains of a depressed character? I want to be in the secret club of born filmmakers, darnit.

The video that I thought was hilarious was the one where Hitchcock is explaining the Kuleshov effect. It seems like such a simple way to influence how the viewer feels about a certain character or event, and it’s all in how the individual pieces are stitched together. With editing, you could make anyone look good or bad – Hitchcock even shows us that you can make a person look kind or you can make them look like a “dirty old man.” I wouldn’t be surprised if they used this technique in reality TV to up the drama factor by 1000.

The match cut (also present in this video as a “form cut” and here as “cut”) is a really cool way to connect two separate shots. In 2001, Kubrick uses the similar shapes and movements of the bone and the space station and has them act as a kind of bridge between the two scenes. The scenes are distinct from each other – they aren’t sequential in time, but they are connected. The bone is thrown upward, and as it begins to fall back to earth, the shot cuts to a space station that looks like it’s following the same downward trajectory.

The most informative video by far was the video on Camera Angles and Techniques. I knew how to do the “climb up the side of the building” illusion already, but I would have totally skipped over providing establishing shots. I probably would have made one continuous unedited shot and called it a day. For the climb scene to be effective, there needs to be more of a visual narrative – a shot of the tension in the rope, additional angles, and shots of things that dangle to provide a sense of gravity.  Pictures like this…

work because they’re pictures. It’s a single shot that doesn’t need a whole lot more work. If it were a scene in a movie though, they’d need to edit in some more stuff to establish the sideways world they’re in. Maybe a shoe falls and goes flying into the window. Maybe a shot of a bunch of locker doors falling open. Lots of possibilities!

The greatest speech never given

Right off the bat, Moon Graffiti forces you into panic mode alongside the engineers at mission control. It begins with a reenactment of the worst case scenario – a “moon disaster.” There is a rapid beeping, signalling critical error, and the static message from the astronaut giving mission control a program code that they aren’t familiar with – “What’s a 12-02?” “I don’t know.” and that’s only within the first 25 seconds of the recording. As landing draws near, things begin to sound like they’re looking up. The alarm goes away and communications are clear. But then static grows louder and the alarm returns. The astronaut never sends another transmission. Mission control panics – and you hear a metallic crash, then silence. You know something terrible had just happened. It culminates with a snippet of Nixon’s prepared speech, In Event of Moon Disaster, being read over droning, echoing tones. You can feel the dread.

The audio switched once between narration and reenactment, but one thing that was constant in the first half of the clip was the droning, dread-inducing background music. At times, like around 5 minutes 10 seconds when the astronauts were looking around at the surface of the moon, the music would build. “Magnificent desolation,” Aldrin described it as the music droned and echoed, reflecting the hopelessness of the situation and the loneliness of the moon.

In the story, Aldrin kicked the surface of the moon twice, resulting in a rippling effect, something like water. There was a muffled echo noise that played after the actor indicated that Aldrin had kicked the moon dust and it really did “look” like a ripple in my mind’s eye. It was a really neat effect I think!

There was a point when Aldrin told Armstrong that he “had to see this” (the fuel cell) and the music changed to a higher tempo and the notes started to ascend. Something was building, but what? When the music dropped out as the two astronauts realized they would be stuck on the moon, I could almost feel my heart sink into my stomach.

The rest of their time on the moon is spent in silence. No music. The only sound effects were the attempt at planting the flag. I think if they had added that dreary music from the first half back in, the sense of hopelessness would be lost. They truly were alone, hundreds of thousands of miles from any other person, and they would die alone. The sense of loneliness, vastness, emptiness – can only really be expressed by silence.

When Aldrin begins have an issue with breathing while listening to Armstrong’s story, a series of sound effects play. The ticking of a clock (a reminder that they only had 2 hours of air left), a constantly rising tone (signalling that something is coming), and Armstrong’s story starts echoing as Aldrin’s breathing accelerates. I’d interpret it as a panic attack. When Aldrin shakes him out of it, the effects stop suddenly.

The delivery of the Moon Disaster speech was incredible. (I’ll admit that it always kinda makes me tear up when I read it). It comes after a few moments of silence from the astronauts, who had accepted their fate, and was accompanied by a single droning tone. The speech concludes, and a simple stringed tune plays in minor key, followed by the credits.

The use (and non-use) of background music in this clip was what really set the tone for the story, I think. Like I mentioned above, the music chosen in the first half was dead on for instilling a feeling of dread, like “oh god, we’re screwed, we’ve crashed on the moon and our stuff’s all borked and this is the moon.” As the listener and already knowing Aldrin and Armstrong’s fates in this story, the background music gives another sense of “I already know that you will die here, but you don’t know yet, and I don’t want to be here when you find out.” It’s scary and it’s uncomfortable.

We DO have to be there when they find out that they will die on the moon, and the revelation is presented by having the background music completely drop out when they realize that there is no hope for a return trip, and that the radio is dead. The overall silence, with only the two astronauts communicating through staticky transmissions to each other, creates a sense of isolation on the grandest scale.

The complete silence before Nixon’s full speech is tough to hear. At the end of the Moon Disaster document, there is a small list of protocols that should be followed, and one includes NASA ceasing communications with the doomed astronauts and having a clergyman say a prayer. The clip’s moments of silence between the two astronauts after an existential conversation reminds me of that final protocol.

Part 2: Paro, Scottlo, radio

Wow, that was a lot of listening!!! I really enjoyed the Dissecting Joanne Rosser, Papermaker piece. The format of “here’s what to look for/here’s the story/here’s the analysis” was a HUGE help for me in understanding how audio shapes the way we understand stories. The way the sounds are edited in really help tell the story, and when it’s done right, it’s almost like you can’t tell how it’s been edited at all. I guess it’s like calling back to Vignelli, saying that when something is designed properly, the design disappears to the eyes of the reader (84). In this case, if I’m not being too bold, if a story is edited properly, the sounds seem to flow naturally and create a progression that goes alongside the anecdote.

In the TED Radio Hour clip, sound is used to great effect in leading the listener to a particular conclusion before yanking that rug out from under us! Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor who had believed that the virtual world could absolutely be used to better our lives in the “real” world, describes the moment she watched an old woman’s interactions with Paro, a robotic seal designed to act as a comforting companion for the elderly. A minute into the clip, as Sherry describes Paro’s purpose, gentle and uplifting music starts to play. Layered with the music, you can hear the woman interacting with the squeaking and chirping Paro. Sherry continues describing the scene. This is one of the three types of recordings that is described in the Joanne Rosser interview: active tape (the sound of someone doing something) with someone talking. The sounds of Paro with the old woman are combined with Sherry’s narration, then imposed over a steadily building musical score that seems to be leading to some kind of revelation. Sherry’s narration is interspersed with quick cuts to the host’s voice, then back to Sherry, then back to the host, then Sherry again. It creates a sensation of urgency, like something is definitely, surely, ABSOLUTELY about to happen.

The expected revelation never comes. Like I mentioned above, the rug is yanked out from under us, and the music abruptly stops to emphasize Sherry’s discontent with Paro. It is an extremely uncomfortable moment, in sharp contrast to the image that we’ve already created of Paro in our heads. When Sherry acknowledges that she has concerns about the implications of developments like this, the music changes again to something that sounds a little more sinister. It’s like a song that would play in a movie when they show you the workings of the bad guy’s secret lab. Poor Paro. Maybe he needs a comfort friend.

Scottlo’s clips were great – he often wondered if he was going on for too long, but I think the length was just right. I really liked how he played the Sound Effect Stories that other DS106ers had made and gave constructive criticism. It honestly made the whole idea of doing my own audio posts seem a lot less overwhelming to have someone show me another person’s work and give a quick breakdown of what they used (like freesound, findsounds, or any other resource we have at our fingertips). Before I saw how much was available to me, I was scared I’d have to come up with sound effects all on my own, which sounds kind of silly now.

He had a lot of suggestions for what programs to use as well – I downloaded Audacity in the first week of class, but for a different reason. I was actually using it to try and create a glitch image using this technique. I wasn’t able to get it to work, otherwise I’d be posting glitch art every darn day. In episode 13, he opens with a remixed version of the Twilight Zone theme that someone had made in Garageband! I thought that was really cool, but some googling revealed that Garageband is mac exclusive unless you’re willing to jump through some hoops. I might try it on my iphone though.

I think one of the big takeaways from Scottlo’s recordings is something that’s more implicit. It doesn’t really feel like he’s talking at us, but more like he’s talking to us. That’s what makes them so easy to listen to and what makes the information so easy to take in. If he had spoken like Corn-and-Sorghum era Ira Glass, that would be a whole other story!!! His tone is conversational and amiable. It’s just pleasant.

As an aside, I really loved hearing the kids playing in the park and shouting at each other over the bike in episode 11. Storytelling as it happens.

You’re not an old-timey newscaster, ya nerd.

A few weeks ago, my dad and I drove from Spotsylvania all the way south to Orlando. It was a 13 or 14 hour drive, and we listened to radio dramas most of the way down. We make this drive every year or so to visit family – I’m the only one left who isn’t in the “airplane or bust” party. I like the road trip, and I like the radio shows! I always loved the cadence of their speech… the transatlantic accent that made people sound so sophisticated, or the quick and uniform “get-the-message-out-like-it’s-a-telegraph” way that men or women would read as newscasters. I thought that this week, if I was going to record something, I’d want to try to sound like one of those fancy radio people! But Ira Glass told me it’s probably not the best idea.

Ira’s advice is great – he lays down the do’s and don’ts of how to be the best storyteller you can be, and one of the most important points I think he makes is to sound like yourself. This issue comes up in the third video, in which he discusses good taste. He plays a recording of a story he told in his eighth year in radio, and even if someone wasn’t watching the video itself but only listening, they’d know he was embarrassed! He pauses the audio a few times and chuckles at himself, then gives explanations for what young Ira had been doing wrong. In this case, not only was the story poorly told, but Ira was not speaking with his own voice. It didn’t sound like the personal, amicable conversation we expect from an NPR show now, but more like a stilted newscast that the reporter was reading for the first time. “Like, what am I talking about? I don’t even understand… like, I wrote this; I don’t even understand what it is!” he laughs after listening to himself for about 10 seconds. Then he gives criticism – for example, “you don’t underline every third word for emphasis because it sounds really unnatural.” The comments he made throughout the recording of himself were done in his own natural speaking voice, and the natural speaking voice is one that people are more inclined to follow. He sounds more personable, and, well… like a person.

The importance of the cadence of a person’s voice and the content of their storytelling is even more evident by Jad Abumrad. In radio, all you have is sound. Telling a good story, therefore, requires some cooperation between the storyteller and the listener. The storyteller can provide the framework, saying that the sun cast a peachy color like a fox’s belly, but it’s the listener that decides what that picture looks like. He gave the description, but I’m the one that painted the picture. Thinking back to Ira’s conversation about the way we speak – would this co-authoring even be possible if Jad’s style of speaking was stilted, confrontational, boring, or hard to follow?

“The power of this medium is rooted in the human voice,” he notes. I think that it’s more than the co-authoring of the story that creates empathy, but it’s the relatability and overall humanness of the person’s voice that lets that empathy be created and recreated in the first place. If I heard Ira’s old story about the corn and sorghum I’d definitely space out, even though there is a good reason to tell it. It was just plain old hard to listen to. When he retells it in his own natural cadence, it becomes more compelling.

Ira’s storytelling improved with the more stories he told. As a storyteller, I’ll probably end up telling a lot of corn and sorghum stories, and then after a while I’ll figure out how to tell some really good ones. For me, it’s important that I get over the fear that my abilities will never reach my tastes and embracing that fearful gut churning feeling and instead looking at it as a way to tell me that I’m going in the right direction.

Intent is everything: the Vignelli Canon

The first thing I noticed in the Vignelli Canon is how uniquely the book itself is designed. It’s not just a book about design, but the book itself is a design and it has been designed. The pages aren’t just leaves of paper that exist for words and pictures to be slapped onto like the 22nd edition of a textbook that has only been in print for 8 years. Take page 40 for example – it is both informative and illustrative. It was purposefully designed this way to illustrate how useful the structure of the grid is for design.

I think that’s just straight-up clever.

Another section that stood out to me was what Vignelli had to say about sequence. I guess it’s easiest to explain my interest in this in two personal anecdotes. First, I grew up on the internet, from web 1.0 with basic HTML, marquee text, the dancing baby, wiggling divider gifs, webrings and guestbooks, and I’ve made my fair share of pages with images slapped on there with no particular flow. There was nothing to guide the eye or create a “simultaneously static experience […] and the cinematic experience of a sequence of pages,” as Vignelli writes (88). It was plain old ugly. (But I’ll say right now that finding those old websites again gives me that stinging nostalgia!!!)

Second, my mom worked for decades as editor-in-chief of a magazine that’s still pretty popular with military types in NoVA. For a while, she had to do every single design job – putting together the layout for the articles, designing the covers, cobbling the advertisement page together in a way that didn’t look cluttered. And that’s all on top of editing articles that were basically Greek to her. Vignelli writes that “if you can see the layout, it is probably a bad layout” – meaning, the structure of the page (in this case, the magazine articles) should feel and flow naturally. Not to brag on my mom, but hers kicked butt.

The short page about text alignment made me chuckle a little, especially the part about justified text. I remembered watching Karen Kavett’s Intro to Typography video and she talked about the “rivers” of white space that run through justified text. I can remember zoning out in high school staring at the rivers in my textbooks instead of reading.

What I found to be most salient in the book is waaay back on page 14. Vignelli emphasizes the importance of intent in your design. If someone doesn’t understand the end product, then the design phase was faulty. This is still something that I’m struggling with in the things that I’ve been making – either I make something and I feel like it speaks for itself (and it absolutely doesn’t) or I make something that kind of… doesn’t really say anything at all. “Whatever we do, if not understood, fails to communicate and is wasted effort,” Vignelli writes (14). If too little of my effort is going into the communicative design portion of what I make and more is going into little details, then I’ve definitely been wasting effort on those details.

Reflection on a photoblitz

I think that of all the things this week, the photoblitz is what I was most nervous about doing. The time limit made me anxious, and rightly so. I didn’t finish in time! I began at 11:13am and went three minutes over the limit. I think I’d blame that on my location choice (way too large) and the story that I tried to tell using the pictures. For some photos, perfectionism got in the way of just getting the picture and wasted a lot of my time.

I chose to do the safari in and around my house (including outside), starting in the basement. The story I wanted to tell was that the Pikachu plush woke up late, slowly and groggily started getting ready (looking out the window and being shocked by how bright it was, putting on a shoe that didn’t belong to it) and then headed outside. It was on the front porch that the day was supposed to pick up for Pikachu. There I played with the lines of the wooden floor (converging lines photo) and the plastic slats of the railing (repeating patterns) before heading to the backyard where Pikachu was to do his “work” as an electrician at the meter before playing around again.

The photos of the fence-climbing (make an inanimate object look alive) and particularly the falling off photo (illusion of motion) were the biggest time wasters. Here’s a dud picture of the fence fall.

fence fall bad

It looks like I pushed him. I did, but I don’t want that on my permanent record. There were about five other photos where I dropped him in front of the camera but I wasn’t able to take the picture in time, so all I have is a picture of a fence.

Additionally, the photo overlooking the creek through the plush’s ears was particularly difficult to take. I didn’t know if I wanted both the ears and the creek to be in focus, or just one or the other. I ended up choosing the creek, but here are a few outtakes.

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My favorite pictures are probably the ones I took on our front porch. I just wish I’d swept the floor and hosed off the railings first. Yikes!

For the converging lines photo, I wish I had lined my camera up better so that the planks of wood were at least coming from each corner of the photo. That was one of the earlier photos that I took and I was feeling rushed, so it got sloppy. The photo of Pikachu peeking out from the slats is just cute. Too bad they’re so grimy! Don’t zoom in!!!

I’m really happy with the way my clock photos turned out. I was originally going to take them with the lights on, but the clock’s face was so bright and I think it lent to the “blech” feeling of waking up late, feeling dazed, and having the day staring you down.

Someone woke up late.

It’s obvious there’s one photo in the safari that doesn’t go with my theme – the “two things that don’t belong together” photo. Meta, right? I didn’t mean for that to happen, I just saw it along the way and snapped a picture of it. The Killer Bunny and the Black Knight have nothing to do with Pokemon, but they made a guest appearance doing what they do best: not going together. They didn’t go together with this safari either.

Overall, I’d say it was a pretty big mistake to make a safari plan that involved running around the house and having to double back on a lot of places. I’d say that I’m satisfied with how my safari “story” unfolded, though. Pikachu got up late, played around, did his work, got in some trouble, saw his buddies, and went right back to bed. Living the dream (except for the trouble).