Being Uncle Yo On And Off The Web continuation
Moving on to other parts of the site, if one continues to click through the navigation bar, aka the menu, one may encounter a section called “Heed the Words of Yo.” In it, it states that “Ideally, one’s life should be a scavenger hunt, collecting the pieces of one’s greater dream, forming the puzzle of their desire, which can be traded for 100 gil at the local inn, where one may upgrade one’s Limit Breaker.” I asked Custer if this is a metaphor for life? He said:
“RPG's were modeled after life and put into a game mechanism. You face a new challenge and use your skill set to conquer that challenge or maybe learn some new tricks along the way. The statement about life being a scavenger hunt can be taken literally or indirectly. You start out with a rough idea of what you want your life to be. Then you learn from your experiences, then piece together what you want from life until you can achieve your goal (which is abstracted metaphorically as a 'limit breaker') a reference to Final Fantasy VII.”Following that statement towards the bottom of the page is “Uncle Yo’s 10 Commandments for Watching New Anime.” The seventh commandment is quite humorous. “Thou shall not steal new anime from the Internet….unless thou intends to share with thine anime club.” However, it relates to the current issues that the industry is facing. According to Custer:
“Downloading illegally has become a strange double-sided sword in every industry. It fights against it, but knows that everything will be leaked. Yet in many cases (such as the book "shut the $%#@ up and go to sleep" sold 1 million copies before it was released on Amazon.) illegal downloads offer ACCESS and awareness of a product. I do not encourage downloading of anime because there are so many now free venues for it. It is always worth buying a series you love and showing it to a friend, but it's also important to buy the kind of shows you want to see more of.”Putting all seriousness aside, let’s talk about something a bit more fun and tasty. How many of you have heard of the “Delicious Happy Fluffy Pink Cupcake of Redundant Happiness?” Honestly, I never heard of it until I went into the site’s about page. Plus, I did not even notice that he walks around with a cupcake! So, yes, it is real. Well, sort of. “I developed the manga-moticons originally because I couldn't make an hour of jokes, so I brought in props and visual humor to buy myself time.” With the frequent appearances of the cupcake, fans became fond of the manga-moticons and began to create real life renditions of it, including an edible cupcake! This reinforces the recognizable imagery of his character. The “giant green 20-sided dice, the silver tie, the cupcake, these are all images that make up Uncle Yo in people's heads. Until I can gather enough quotes to launch some T-shirts, I've got to use the palpable iconography.”
Custer started getting into comedy, so that he can attend conventions. With his adventures as Uncle Yo, Custer has traveled across the country, made new friends and his fans continue to demand his presence.
As stated by Custer, “but now I have such a demand the travel gets tiresome, not to mention doing maybe 5 hours of straight programming in a day stops me from...enjoying the con and going to it in a sense. I'm grateful for every moment, though. It's taught me everything about marketing and confidence. It's the highest point in my life, being appreciated for being a nerdy guy who learned an entire generation liked the same crazy cartoons I did. I couldn't trade it for anything, and I wouldn't.”
© 2011 Linda Thai
Photography by Linda Thai
Thank you Karl Custer for participating in the interview! Thank you for reading!
For more information, check out the Uncle Yo website