Mixer Mania #30 – Blowing Bubbles

One of the things that pops into my mind when working with Bubble Gum Soda is the character of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys. That got me thinking of other characters with similar monikers… and there’s more than you would think. Here are some of the more infamous ones:

Trailer Park Boys

The trio of Julian, Ricky and Bubbles is always on the prowl for a get-rich-quick scheme, with Julian the brain, Ricky the muscle and Bubbles the heart of any operation. Bubbles real name has never been divulged, while his nickname certainly stems from his large glasses. The kitty-loving resident of Sunnyvale Trailer Park splits his time between fixing shopping carts, wrestling as the Green Bastard and playing a mean guitar.

Bubbles Kitties

Bubble Bobble

One of my favourite video games as a youngster was Bubble Bobble, featuring the characters of Bub and Bob, two bubble dragons. This classic Taito platformer sees the twins attempt to rescue their girlfriends from the Cave of Monsters. Given the creatures are good at blowing bubbles, I wonder how Bub and Bob were rewarded for their heroic efforts!?

Bubbles the Chimpanzee

Michael Jackson bought this chimp from a Texas research facility in the 1980s and turned him into an international celebrity, with exploits including drinking tea with the mayor of Osaka, Japan. Hopefully this wasn’t an attempt by Jackson to seem more normal! Bubbles is actually still alive, aged 34, and has lived at a Florida-based sanctuary since 2005.

Little Britain

Bubbles DeVere is the worst nightmare of every health spa. She has racked up massive debts at the Hill Grange Health Spa, often roams the facility in the buff, acts like a member of the social elite, and worst of all, she refuses to ever leave the place. As you can imagine, this leads to numerous hilarious situations, which oddly make Ms. DeVere endearing.

Bubbles Little Britain

Lilo & Stitch

Former CIA agent Cobra Bubbles is the social worker overseeing Lilo and her being in the custody of her older sister Nani. Despite some initial problems, by the end of the film, Cobra is a friend to the family, knowing full well that Stitch is not the family dog, but is in fact an alien species. This is thanks to his CIA experience… the truth is out there.

Legend of Zelda

The names of enemies in video games are often quite interesting. Did you know that if you encounter a flying skull (sometimes on fire) in the Legend of Zelda franchise, that these are known as Bubble. When hero Link is hit by a Bubble, he will react in different ways, depending on the type of Bubble. Through the series, players have met Fire, Ice and Cursed Bubbles, thus far.

Detroit Lions

For whatever reason, the NFL’s Detroit Lions logo, featured predominantly on the team’s helmets and various merchandise, is nicknamed Bubbles. This is apparently more of a fan nickname and not an official one, started by radio personality Art Regner, who once opined that the lion looked like he was “batting at bubbles”. Some would argue the Detroit franchise often plays that way, too.

Mixer Mania #30: Blue Bong

Blue Bong.JPG

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Bubble Gum Soda
  • Splash of Blue Raspberry Mixer
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Lollipop

While not a character, the importance of bubble wrap as a packing tool and an entertainment device cannot be underestimated… just wanted to get that out there!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 out of 5 Sips):
I did halve each of the alcohol ingredients to make the cocktail more palatable and it really worked. This beverage is quite tasty, with just the right amount of sweet and sour. I was forced to garnish to cocktail with a Lollipop, as Mrs. Sip recently got rid of all the candy garnishes – including bubble gum pieces – I had lying around. Such is married life!

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August 15 – Time Bomb

Time Transport

I think it’s safe to say that we would all love to have access to a time machine. To be able to go back and fix our wrong turns or relive some of our finest moments would be an amazing ability. Now that we’ve decided we want to go back in time, all we have to choose is the vessel for our travels. Here are some of the greatest we’ve been introduced to:

#5: Phone Booth – Bill & Ted’s

When Bill and Ted desperately need to pass their history presentation (thus leading to the survival of the human race, of course!) a time machine is required to go back through the ages and learn from the legends themselves. The time machine was originally to be a 1969 Chevy van, rather than a phone booth, but that would be too close to Back to the Future. Today, none of this would be possible, given the phone booth is a thing of the past… plus, space would be kind of tight for multiple travellers.

Time Travel Hitler

#4: Toaster – The Simpsons

This is one of my favourite Treehouse of Horror segments, which finds Homer sent back into the time of the dinosaurs, trying not to alter anything from the past, knowing that it could have dire repercussions on his present and future. While he narrowly misses a perfect life, worrying that donuts don’t exist, he settles for an alternate reality that is close to the present he remembers, with the one difference being that the rest of his family eats with extending forked tongues, resembling a lizard.

#3: Hot Tub – Hot Tub Time Machine

I’ve always loved chilling out (or better put, warming up) in a hot tub, with a beer by my side. Had I ever experimented with the Russian energy drink Chernobly – and spilled it all over the hot tub controls – I may have ended up back in the past, reliving a portion of my younger life. At least Chevy Chase was on the case as the mysterious repairman, trying to help the gang get back to their present. I have yet to watch the sequel to this franchise, but it’s high on my ‘to do’ list for more histrionic learning.

time travel kitty

#2: Ocarina – Legend of Zelda

How can one little instrument produce so much beautiful music… and songs that really help our hero Link! The ocarina can change day into night and vice versa, summon a horse, and make it rain (the weather, not the cash at the strip club style… although it would be entertaining to watch Link throw rubies at Princess Zelda!). Perhaps the ocarina’s most important feature is that it helps Link jump throughout time, utilizing the Song of Time. We would all love to skip those awkward puberty years!

#1: DeLorean – Back to the Future

The DeLorean can take people back into the past, as well as years into the future – so long as you can get it up to 88 miles per hour… oh, and also have access to a flux capacitor! Early drafts of the film’s script called for a laser device to induce time travel, but a vehicle was eventually incorporated into later edits, with the DeLorean selected thanks to its unique appearance. Despite the popularity the car enjoyed, following the movie’s release, production of the vehicle had already halted two years prior.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Time Bomb

  • 1 oz Tequila
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Cranberry

Honourable mentions go to the TARDIS (Doctor Who), the WABAC Machine (Mr. Peabody and Sherman), Timmy’s Wheelchair (South Park), and Binary Code (Futurama). Even Superman was able to reverse time by simply flying really fast and spinning the earth in the opposite direction of what gravity dictated. If only it was that easy!

Japan – White Mountain

Gamesmanship

Simply put, without Japan, we wouldn’t have the video games we know and love. Companies like Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Taito, Namco, Capcom, and Konami all originated in the land of the rising sun and gave birth to many of the most popular systems, games, and characters ever. Here are some little known facts about those great gaming corporations:

Nintendo

Nintendo has provided my favourite gaming systems growing up and even into my adult years. Titles starring the likes of Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and others have made me a fan of the company that began operations all the way back in 1889 as a trading card enterprise. Nintendo even ventured into the love hotel business in the 1960’s, as well as a block building product meant to compete with LEGO. One of Nintendo’s first big releases, Donkey Kong, prompted legal action from Universal Studios, as they believed the character was too close to King Kong. Nintendo won the case, claiming the King Kong story and characters were part of the public domain. Finally, the company was a one-time owner of the Seattle Mariners… can you imagine a mascot Mario warming up in the on-deck circle!

Nintendo Raising

Sega

Originally a manufacturer of pinball machines, Sega entered the video game console market with the SG-1000 in 1983. While I never owned a Sega system, it was a treat to occasionally try exclusive games on it while visiting friends who owned them. Sega’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog was originally to have fangs, be in a band, and have a human girlfriend named Madonna, but those features were removed. Unlike Nintendo, Sega chose not to censor the bloodshed in the violent Mortal Kombat game, creating the Videogame Rating Council in response to the controversy that followed. After failed systems including the Saturn and Dremacast, Sega left the console world and became a game developer for other platforms, such as Nintendo, which is exclusively getting Sonic the Hedgehog releases.

Taito

Broski Sip and I loved a number of Taito games, particularly Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. When a collection including these titles was released for PCs and other consoles in 2005, we were quick to snatch it up and spent hours reliving our childhood memories (and frustrations!). As a company, Taito moved from vending machines to jukeboxes, before finally settling on arcade games. In 1978, Taito released Space Invaders, which is one of video game history’s most popular titles and one which launched the ‘Golden Age of Arcade Video Games’. Today, Taito has been incorporated by Square Enix (developers of famous titles such as the Final Fantasy series) and operates a number of arcades throughout Japan, known as Taito Stations. I miss arcades, although I can’t say I ever frequented them.

Sony

Sony entered the video game console market when Nintendo ditched a partnership between the two to distribute a CD-ROM drive that would work with Super Nintendo systems. Sony decided to continue down the path they had already started and in essence, Nintendo created their own competition when Sony released the Playstation to compete with the Nintendo 64. The company’s name comes from ‘sonus,’ the Latin word for sound mixed with the slang term ‘sonny’, which for the Japanese meant smart and presentable young men, an appearance founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka believed they exhibited. Of course, we also recognize Sony’s branding from their Walkman and Discman music delivery devices and in other parts of the world, Sony even has financial institutions under their umbrella.

Sony Box

Namco

Namco originated as operators of children’s rides on the roof of a Yokohama, Japan department store and entered the arcade game business in 1970. In 1985, Namco would bid to purchase the struggling Atari for a whopping $800,000, dwarfing other offers, such as Sega’s $50,000. Namco’s Pac-Man, released in 1980, was one of the industry’s most famous creations, although the game could also be cited as a cause of the 1983 Video Game Crash, as Atari rushed to release the game on their home console and it failed to sell as well as hoped. Namco had plans to compete with the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in the late 80’s and early 90’s and released the SuperGrafx console, which was another failure. In more recent years, the company has entered the amusement park business, as well as merged with Bandai in 2005.

Capcom

Capcom’s biggest title is arguably the Street Fighter series of games, which produced one of the most legendary gaming myths of all-time. In Street Fighter II, when you were defeated by Ryu, his taunt of “If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!” was mistranslated to read “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.” This caused many players to theorize that Sheng Long was a hidden character in the game. Capcom eventually included the character in games years later and background graffiti in Wreck-It Ralph states that “Sheng Long was here!” Other popular series produced by Capcom include Resident Evil, Mega Man, and Devil May Cry. Capcom titles have been cited as some of the worst video game to movie adaptations ever, although the films are commercially successful.

Konami

While they have produced an extensive and memorable video game line-up, their Blades of Steel hockey release will be forever cherished by anyone who had the privilege of strapping on those virtual skates. The company’s name translates to “be creative” and they have certainly followed their own credo. Konami has dabbled in everything from health and fitness clubs around Japan to trading cards, anime, slot machines, and a slew of other products. Konami is also recognized for their Castlevania, Metal Gear, and Silent Hill franchises and even the most popular cheat code of all-time can be attributed to the company. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A was usually good for some bonus power-ups and extra lives, which were usually necessary.

Japan: White Mountain

May 8

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 2 oz Sake
  • Top with Milk and Pina Colada Mix

While I’ve never been the biggest gamer, I definitely have a place in my heart and mind for video games. Last year, I did a two part series on my favourite releases ever and it was a wonderful trip down memory lane. You can check out those articles here and here.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (??? Sips out of 5):
xxx

November 12 – Zelda’s Lullaby

Game Shark

A friend recently wrote to me and pointed out a glaring omission from the Sip Advisor library. While I’ve examined movies, spent a fair bit of time on TV, and even dabbled in the dark arts of travel, I have never done any work in the realm of video games. That is to be corrected in a two-part series on my favourite games and series of all-time. This one is for the nerd in all of us!

Legend of Zelda

The trials and tribulations of our hero Link, as he wages war on Ganondorf in an attempt to save Princess Zelda and keep the Tri-Force out of the hands of evil have been one of the greatest video game epics in history. While there have been many iterations of the franchise, my favourite are A Link to the Past (SNES) and Ocarina of Time (N64), perhaps the greatest video game experience I’ve ever had. Sadly, I started to play Twilight Princess (Wii) a couple years ago, but have found myself too busy to go back to the game.

Ocarina of Time

Blades of Steel

This game is so awesome I can’t even begin to describe what Blades of Steel meant to me as a kid. As a young, aspiring hockey star, this was my first chance to ever take to the ice digitally and guide my team to championship glory. The game had it all: goals, saves, fighting, penalty shots, a shootout if overtime was necessary… you get the picture. When I downloaded a Nintendo emulator onto my computer a number of years back, the first title I searched out was Blades of Steel. This time, though, I got to sub beer in place of chocolate milk!

Peggle

This game takes the Japanese gambling parlour tradition of Pachinko and turns it into something both kids and adults can access and enjoy. One thing the gambling powers can’t provide (although Peggle doesn’t allow you to win money!) is characters who each have their own special power when you use them and access their specific skill. Even after beating the normal game, there were tons of challenges to work through and the fun just kept on going.

Super Mario Kart

The original Mario Kart was awesome, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the Wii entry as well, which required you to actually play with a steering wheel. Once you got the motions down, it was an awesome ride which made you feel more involved in the races. My favourite racer was the Koopa Trooper because I like to have a balance of speed and accurate turning. In the Wii game, I usually used my Mii character and I was awesome behind the wheel!

Mario Kart

7 Wonders of the Ancient World

I’m a certified casual games match-three genius. Seriously, if you could go pro playing these games, I’d be the Wayne Gretzky of the genre. 7 Wonders was one of the first releases I picked up and I’m so glad I did. I find games like these keep your brain sharp, which counteracts all the damage I’ve done to the poor thing with drinking! There were two sequels to the original game, each offering a new gameplay style to switch things up.

Rock Band/Guitar Hero

When Mrs. Sip and I first heard about the Guitar Hero and later Rock Band franchises, it spurred us to go out and buy a Playstation 2 (after not owning a video game system for years) and get these musical games. We spent many nights with Mrs. Sip either rocking the guitar or microphone and me slamming away at the drums, usually downing copious amounts of alcohol, just like all of my drumming idols!

cat-plays-rock-band

Mario Party

While I haven’t played every entry in this series (come on, there’s like 10 of them!) I’ve always enjoyed sitting around with a good group and battling it out in all the mini games to see who will obtain virtual board game glory. My win-loss record might not be great in the Mario Party world, but I always have fun regardless and you never really know who will come out ahead in the end thanks to the games “bonus stars” awarded once all the turns have expired.

Grand Theft Auto

I’m a law-abiding citizen… but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to be a criminal in the fictional world of video games. I played all the GTA games up to San Andreas, with my favourite being the Vice City installment. There was just something so great about stealing cars and performing other underhanded tasks in the Miami beach setting to the greatest (and sometimes lamest) music of the 80’s!

Drink #316: Zelda’s Lullaby

Zelda's Lullaby Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Chambord
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Egg Whites
  • Garnish with a Lemon Twist

Sip Advisor 3:16 (drink #316) says I just got you drunk! Thanks for letting me borrow your famous line Stone Cold! Look out for part two of my favourite games tomorrow, including wrestling titles.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Credit for this recipe goes to The Drunken Moogle, which is a great site for video game-themed drinks and other pop culture offerings. I was itching to make this cocktail for Mrs. Sip and the long wait made her enjoyment of the martini all that more amazing. Chambord is one of her favourite liquor ingredients, but that does not make a guaranteed success. Where the drink really works is that all the other ingredients come to play as well… like the flying-V in the Mighty Ducks movies!