Newsflash: I’m a Scaredy Cat

Newsflash: I’m a Scaredy Cat

This October my grown-up brain re-learned something it had long since forgotten: darkness is fucking scary. One day I went into the garage and flipped on the light, only to be greeted by a popping noise and a hideous smell like burned rubber. Somehow the big fancy tube light out there had blown something or other. It wasn’t just the bulbs, there’s something wrong with the wiring (the wiring in this house is messed up, thanks to the former homeowners who had lots of weird shit done. There are three separate light switches in two rooms that turn on the living room light, for example). So we turned off the breaker to the basement/garage to avoid burning the joint down. That was several days ago and we are still waiting on an electrician. The cat’s food bowl is in the basement, and I feed her every night before we go to bed. Going down into the pitch-black basement, toting a flashlight, gives me some serious willies. Everything from the couch to the game table to the laundry room door looks terrifying in the dim glow of a flashlight. I dump food in Mei’s bowl and skitter back upstairs as fast as I can, and I am not ashamed to admit it. So this entire post is not just about my inane life, here’s a short film where the only villain is the darkness- and it’s creepy as hell. Happy Halloween month, friends....
The Devil Came Down To Richmond

The Devil Came Down To Richmond

“Have you guys heard the D-Devils?” It was 2006 and the voice belonged to my good friend Rachael. The question was addressed to my wife and I. The answer was that no, we had not heard the D-Devils. So we did and there we were, all three of us squished in Rachael’s tiny car, zipping around the streets of Richmond, laughing until we cried. Rachael, a frenetic ball of laughter, turquoise hair, tattoos, and piercing, knew every word. She shouted the lyrics, such as they were, exulting in the goofiness, punctuating each line with effortless, raucous laughter. This went on for a few hours, before and after meals out, on and on, beat out by the steady metronome of that song. Here’s what we know: the D-Devils are Belgian. Very Belgian. They have two full albums out, “Dance With the Devil” and “No Future Without Us”, from 2001 and 2003, respectfully. This meant that, by 2006, they were already well into past due status in the quickly moving world of electronic subgenres. Today, they’re ancient, with a website which hasn’t been updated since 2010 (I’ve no idea why it was updated for even that long). The D-Devils are about schtick and, oh my, what schtick it is. They dress like devils, prosthetic horns and all, go on stage, and play what discogs.com refers to as trance, but is really closer to The KLF’s stadium house, albeit updated with newer bleeps and bloops (it should be noted that The KLF was dedicated to schtick, as well, and that the D-Devils’ sound is shockingly close to those other inheritors of The...
(Not so) Free RPG Day

(Not so) Free RPG Day

As some of you may be aware, I had a rather unpleasant experience at one of my local game stores this weekend. I shall not name the store in question – I have already done so elsewhere, and the point of this piece is not to make life hard for a game store owner (who undoubtedly has hardships of his own) but rather to call attention to what I see as a baseless, craven attempt to placate the forces of mediocrity which unceasingly seek to meddle with Art and Creativity. The focus of this incident was, unsurprisingly, Better Than Any Man – an adventure offering from Lamentations of the Flame Princess by James Raggi which was offered as part of the 2013 Free RPG Day kit. James has spoken himself on the matter here (and added a positive coda here). I’m not in this to defend Poor Old James – dude’s capable of doing that himself, and frankly I think gleefully raising the ire of small-minded fools is part of his modus operandi. In short: when I showed up to support James, the store, and Free RPG Day in particular, I was told by the store owner that he was boycotting James and his products -and, by extension, Free RPG Day. The reasons given were twofold: a fear that LOTFP’s product would re-ignite the ‘Satanic Panic’ witch-hunts of the 1980’s and a fear that some underage patron would get their hands on BTAM, sparking a phone call from an angry parent…or worse. Both of these claims are easily dismissed with a modicum of forethought. In the case of potential ‘witch-hunts’...
AnaKhouri Presents: The Top 10 Mullets of Anime

AnaKhouri Presents: The Top 10 Mullets of Anime

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> So the other day I was in your typical big box store, when I saw something not so typical- not around here at least. A mullet. And not just any mullet. It was an Asian guy with the most splendid, flowing, fantastic mullet I have ever laid my eyes upon. It was shiny and fell to his waist like a silky black hair waterfall. I was transfixed by this sight, as was everyone else in the Garden Center. We gaped as he passed among us like a wraith, casting his eyes neither left or right, but with his gaze fixed upon some magnificent mullet-y vision that was invisible to our mortal eyes. This encounter got me thinking. Back in the olden times (the 1980’s-early ’90’s), mullets were as common as fleas on a dog that doesn’t have one of those special flea-killing collars. These days, I hardly see them anywhere- not even in the place you’d expect to see them, like the eastern part of my home state. Mullets are old and busted. Except in one special place. Mullets have survived- no, thrived- in anime long past their expiration date in American barber shops. In light of this realization, I present to you the Top Ten Anime Characters Who Are Business in the Front and Party in the Back. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Keith (Voltron) Apparently having a mullet makes chicks swoon unconscious into your arms.   <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Kyala (Highlander: The Search for Vengeance)   <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> Look,...
Weird History: Kowloon Walled City

Weird History: Kowloon Walled City

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> After seeing a lifetime’s worth of Hong Kong films, I decided I never wanted to live there; when I thought about it, even the idea of a visit made me shudder. Part of it was the certainty that I would be caught in the middle of a cop/criminal gun battle on a bus or in the street or at a bar or a convenience store. The other part is that Hong Kong is really, really crowded. It’s an island, after all, one that’s packed to the brim with people. People who sometimes even live in cages because there isn’t room for them all (and they’re poor). And I just don’t like crowds. Or cities. Or people, for that matter. So Kowloon Walled City would have been my worst nightmare. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> The rundown: Kowloon Walled City (hereafter known as KWC) was originally a Chinese fort, but in the late 1800’s is became a sort of enclave and people just moved in. After World War II the population increased (basically, a bunch of squatters moved in and the ruling British government gave up trying to throw them out), and by 1987 there were 33,000 people living in this 6.5 acre area. Got that? Thirty-three thousand people. My father-in-law owns a couple hundred acres, and I can’t imagine fitting 33,000 people in that space, let alone a measly 6 ½ acres. As usually happens when there are too many people and not enough space, KWC expanded up. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> The government didn’t want much...
Fried Chicken Will Make You Strong

Fried Chicken Will Make You Strong

We all know the Japanese love some fried chicken. I’m sure everyone reading this has seen pictures of Japanese KFCs, complete with statues of Colonel Sanders dressed up in charming outfits. It seems that even anime characters have come to love all those secret herbs and spices too, since Dragonball Z‘s Goku is now pitching fried chicken to the Japanese public. The Colonel is now cosplaying as Goku, and the restaurants are offering light-up DBZ bottle and games. All this is to promote the upcoming movie Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods. To be honest, I think those promotional items are pretty sweet. If only I lived in Japan, I might actually go and eat at a KFC again, something I probably haven’t done in over a decade.    ...