Pop Culture

Lord? of the Rings

Still offering my lead-dispensation services (special discount: pay for two hole-ridden raiders, get a third one free!), I ran across a makeshift training hall, where one of the town’s Rangers was passing some knowledge on to some… well, let’s say “challenging” pupils. At first, nothing seemed out of place. Well, aside from the slightly sad attempts made at correct answers, that is (it’s quite comical, to be honest, though obviously it starts repeating itself after a while. If you’re around the FARM, I recommend stopping by and listening to Stayput and the gang take a lesson or two). But then something Stayput said caught my eye:

FARM Life, lesson one: Stating the obvious

Immediately images of a bearded Viggo Mortensen lopping off bit of Uruk-Hai came to mind, and I started looking for a cranky old dwarf and assorted hobbits, but no such luck: all I could see were a gaggle of Chota (I have decided that the plural for Chota is the same as that for geese), and one FARM Ranger named Aura Gorn who was teaching them the basics of FARM life.

"You must be this short to enter the Fellowship"

Oh well. Maybe the next town over will have Laygo Lass teaching the finer points of crossbow use or Jim Lee giving melee axe training.

The Musical Fruit

Times being what they are, peas and carrots are not the only thing that comes in a can. Plenty of other things come packaged in those tin cylinders; some moderately tasty, some strange (brown bread? Really?), and some… well, let’s just say that they cater to the four-legged Wastelanders more than they do to those of the upright variety (I’m looking at you, dog food) One such can is the Old Can of Beans which, if you examine it, will let you know in no uncertain terms (and with a slightly rhyming beat, that beans are, in fact, good for your heart.


For those of you who did not spend your childhood (which judging by several of my friends, consists of years 5-30) in the US, UK, or any other country in which it is known, the above phrase is one verse or variation of the famous bean song, known and loved by kids far and wide, to the dismay of their parents (though I dare say the parents are also laughing inside).

The song has many versions and alternate verses. The one mentioned in the game is, as I know it:

Beans, beans, they’re good for the heart.
The more you eat, the more you fart.
The  more you fart, the better you feel,
so eat your beans at every meal!

For those of you who are really interested, several more versions of this masterpiece of prepubescent poetry can be found here. What can I say, beans are magical. All 54 billion types of them (I still don’t know what fava beans are). Apparently they really are good for you, but they do… encourage, the movement of certain gasses (though apparently there are ways around that). They even have an entire website devoted to them.

Happy Halloween!

Life is Like a Box of (Radioactive) Chocolates

Wandering around the Wasteland, a guy finds a lot of stuff. Poker chips, resources, food and drink. And some of it is pretty run-of-the-mill. But some items… some items are special. Now, on a normal FE site, a “special” item would most likely mean a good item, or at least a rare item. You know, one that would give the finder some bragging rights. However, it’s been quite some time since anyone has accused me of normalcy, and considering the theme of this site, I think we all know what I count as “special” items… That’s right, more FLUFF!

So yeah, besides NPCs and mission titles, I’ve also come across some items that include references in their descriptions. And the first item that comes to mind is the can of peas and carrots.

Observe the tube-iness of it. See the faded label stuck to its curvy side, with bits of it missing. So many bits, in fact, that you’d be hard pressed to give an honest answer if asked what lies within. Watch as a knife cuts into the dented, flat top, and rips through it, following the contours of the rim, revealing the green and orange chunks floating forlornly within the now rancid liquid. Take a moment to consider whether orange and green are in fact the intended colors of the bits of what you rather whimsically refer to as “food,” before you realize that, no, the gunk inside is not discolored; it is just nasty. Dip your spoon (or spoon-equivalent – this is the Wasteland, after all) into the can and scoop out a spoonful. Raise it to your nose and sniff it; take a tentative taste…. yes. Yes, those are indeed peas. And carrots. Together. In a can. Why?

better than fish and chips, bubble and squeak, or even bacon and eggs

To be honest, I’ve no idea if peas and carrots are commonly eaten together. When I was a kid, peas usually came coupled with other veggies instead. Though now that I think about it, there was a song I knew growing up, about a pea and a carrot sitting together in a refrigerator… but even if they are the most common pairing of vegetables to share a can, since 1994 “peas and carrots” immediately brings to mind Tom Hanks narrating his own character’s childhood “Me and Jenny were just like peas and carrots!” in Forrest Gump. And yeah, I know it was a book before it was a movie, but in this case I didn’t happen to read the book, so I’m hearing the movie narration in my mind’s eye. Err… ear? Yeah, I kinda killed that saying, didn’t I?

As an aside, apparently the spellchecker doesn’t know the word “movie.” Or the word “spellchecker,” for that matter, but I can’t really blame it for that.

At Least They’re Not on a Plane

Having found no more medical references in Clinton FARM, I decided to let it be and actually get on with some adventuring. Quite a few of the missions in town are handed out by the Bramby and the Clinton families, and I’d spent most of my time in town looking at the Clintons. Eventually, however, I started doing odd jobs for members of the Bramby family, too. One of them, a lass with the unlikely name of Garren Bramby, sent me off on a mission to find her husband, who had gone off to nearby Slaughterville in search of supplies. I went to track him down and when I finally did, he had a mission of his own to give me:

A poignant question

This immediately put me in mind of everyone’s favourite(Yanks: that British for “favorite” – again, my spellchecker insists) intrepid, fedora-favouring archaeologist.  Well, at least until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out – everyone seemed so disappointed after that.

Sadly though, I couldn’t manage to find any other similarities. No punny name like “Delaware Johnson,” no brown bomber jacket and most importantly: no fedora.

So once again, maybe I’m just reading too much into things, but hey, why not 🙂 .

Is There (Another) Doctor in the House?

When I started Fallen Fluff, it was after I’d already noticed some pop culture references in the game. Some of them I had already taken screenshots of when I saw them, but some I had to go and find again (and created a third character whose sole purpose was to wander through the starting towns looking for fluff that I missed the first two times around). After starting the site, I got into the habit of randomly screenshotting (I’m still waiting for that verb to make it into Oxford dictionary) NPC and mission names that seemed familiar, even if I had no idea why.

While looking for the screenshots of the good Drs. House for the previous post, I ran across another interesting thing, this time a mission:

Grey's Anatomy?

I might be reaching here (actually, I’s almost certainly reaching), but since Clinton FARM is all doctory in nature, and I’d already found one reference to a medical TV show, I figured this might be a little nod towards Grey’s Anatomy. I can’t really back that up, since aside from knowing that it has Patrick Dempsey (I hope I spelled that right) and Katherine Heigl, and the supporting actresses from Under the Tuscan Sun and Old School, I really don’t know much about the show.

So yeah, this “find” is slightly dubious. If anyone has actually seen the show or knows the cast, and has spotted something else related to it, let me know in the comments. Come to think of it, there is no shortage of medical shows to choose from, but except for House, I’ve never really watched them, so if you’ve spotted anything from Chicago Hope, E.R., scrubs, or anything like that, that’s great, too.

It’s Never Lupus…

Having finally left Midway and its warring Traveler families, I made my way up north to the… town? of Clinton FARM, passing a lovely little PvP town on the way, which yielded some nice stacks of resources. Having found some fluff in Midway, I was looking forward to the next town but I must admit that simply because of the name of the place, I merely expected some references to the Clinton family, or perhaps some farm jokes (don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to accept a mission line from Old McDonald). So when I strolled into town I was initially disappointed: no Bills, Hillaries, Monicas or Quack Quacks in sight.

But when I started to take on missions, I did notice something; an NPC’s name. See, one of the mission givers in Clinton FARM is called Dr. Hugh Clinton. Now that in and of itself does not necessarily mean much, but it does bear some resemblance to a certain person who is somewhat related to medicine. Know who I’m talking about? If not, bear with me. I’d given up the thought of writing a post on the topic until, a few missions later in the line, I was sent downstairs to meet the next mission giver, a bespectacled lady named Dr. Laurie Clinton. If you watch a certain medical drama series, you might recognize the name(s) now. Actually, just being an old Black Adder fan would cut it.

So without further ado, allow me to present you with the British actor with the most convincing American accent, best known (in recent years, at least) for his portrayal of the misanthropic Sherlock Holmes-esque medical wonderboy, Dr. Greg House: Hugh Laurie!

Funny, I could've sworn he was older. And just one person.

Dealing With Fools

Sometimes, when you’re looking at stuff while in a certain mindset, your brain automatically starts linking stuff to it. I’m assuming the same will happen to me at those times when I actively search for fluff, resulting in claims at references that are a bit more… far-fetched, or vague, I guess. This is just such a case, as even if it is a reference, it is such a commonly used one that it can hardly be considered. But, since I did see it, what the hell.

I was still doing odd jobs for the good citizens of Midway—specifically for the Burns family—working towards that nice AP reward at the end of the mission line. In one of these, the young Mr. Burns (and yes, the Burns family might be a nod towards the wealthy yellow-skinned curmudgeon of Springfield fame, but since Burns is not that uncommon a name, and I saw nothing else to support this idea, I’ll pass on that one… for now) tasked me with getting a small supply of crossbow bolts up to his woman on the rooftops. The mission name?

This put me in mind of two things: The first one, as some might guess by the title, is the hit song by The Alan Parsons Project (quick! 5 chips if you can guess who was a core member of that band!)

From right to left: Alan Parsons and, by inference, "The Project"

The song itself, by the way, was likely a tribute to something else. Eric Woolfson (come on, you didn’t really think he was named “The Project”) was said to have been fascinated by the security cameras in casinos, also known as “Eyes in the Sky,” and did the song about them. Listening to the song, I can sort of see how this could be true.

The second thing I was reminded of is an old SciFi novel by Philip K. Dick (hey, I was an 80s kid – anything from before that is “old” in my book), in which the eponymous Eye in the Sky was a perception of God (at least according to Wikipedia. I haven’t read the book; I’ve only seen it as a result when googling Philip K. Dick one day). It may be interesting to note that this book might also have been an inspiration for the aforementioned song, as quite of few songs and albums by The Alan Parsons Project were named after and inspired by works of literature: Their debut album was titled Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and was comprised of retellings of works by Edgar Allan Poe. Their second album was titled I Robot and was supposed to be about Asimov’s works, but ended up being just about robots since the rights to that property had already been sold. You can see where I’m going with this.

The reason for that wordy lead-in to the post is that the term “eye in the sky” is so common these days, that it can’t really be called a “nod” towards anything. For one thing, I’m not entirely sure how many people are still aware of the song/album and the book; obviously many people know them, but far fewer than, oh, 10 years ago, and I’m sure many people use the term without knowing of its previous famous incarnations. And for another, I’m not even sure that the uses I mentioned are the original ones.

Anyway, that’s the end of this post, and it looks like it’s also the end of Midway, as I have not stumbled onto more little things. If you’ve found some yourself, feel free to let me know. I’ll have a submission form up soon, but until then, feel free to use the comments for that.

Just Say Yes! …Wait, what?

Still wandering through the streets (and the occasional rooftop) of Midway, I came across this delightful medical practitioner:

Not pictured: scruples

Dr. Cremaster was happy to teach me the basics of medicine (though truth be told, the good folks over at South Burb had already educated me upon the subject), and all he wanted was a couple of spleens and pancreas (and one medula oblongada) in return for getting me started on the path to being a real doctor. It’s when I provided these to him that things started to get more… familiar. See, after we concluded our business concerning the bits of Blade Dancers, the good doctor had the following mission for me:

Now I don’t live in the US, but I did spend some years there – specifically, the end of the 80s. And let me tell you, Nancy Reagan would not be pleased with Cremaster’s choice of words. For those of you not familiar with it, “Just Say No!” was the name of the decade-spanning anti-drug campaign spearheaded by then-First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 80s and early 90s (possibly after that, too, but by then I was half a world away). The campaign eventually branched out to battle violence and premarital sex in addition to drugs and its effectiveness is a matter of some debate but I, for one, failed to get past my initial bafflement by the campaign managers’ choice of a color scheme.

Because really, teenagers these days aren't quite confused enough

Fight Club; Midway Chapter

During my happy exploration of the Wasteland in search of AP, my path lead me to the starter town of Midway, where getting from point A to point B is a simple matter of going to point C, climbing up to point D, jumping across to points E, F and Q. As I tend to do, I went AFK in the middle of the wasteland around the town, and when I came back to the computer I was revived at the local LifeNet pod – yes, even low level Found can kill you if you stand around long enough. I was making my way to the nearest garage which, unlike some businesses in the city, was at ground level, when I came upon a building sporting the following fine examples of post-Fall signcraft:

One house over from the Midway Knitting Club

Look familiar? I thought so, too. I talked to the mission giver standing by this building (Fallen Earth: the only place where you are encouraged to talk to people with biohazard signs over their heads) and she had the following mission to give me:

So yeah, it looks like I found Fight Club. But you know, I can’t really talk about it. I’m also sorry to say that none of the resident GBH afficiandos bear any resemblance in name or appearance to Tyler and the gang. Then again, maybe I just need to watch the movie again. Or read the book.