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Avril Lavigne Suddenly Remembers Japan Exists, Forgets How To Music.

22 Apr

If you’re like me, when you hear that a song is a collaboration project between Avril Lavigne and the songwriters from Nickelback and Evanescence, you think “wow that sounds like something too awful to actually exist”. Except, alas, it totally does.

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Yep, that’s Avril Lavigne standing in what appears to be the stock room of a Party City with four Japanese pallette-switched Oompa Loompas. But why tho? From every angle you can approach it, the song and video for Hello Kitty is just awful. It dives into some awful strip-club version of a dubstep break at exactly the places you’d expect the songwriter for Nickelback to have a song break down into an awful strip-club version of a dubstep break. It even has an extended break while Avril literally loses her mind over having sushi prepared for her.

avriljapan3C’mon, girl. It’s just sushi. Please get a grip.

At least when Gwen Stephani was approaching 30 and had a sudden annoying weaboo phase a decade ago, she name-dropped Harajuku and brought attention to performers and fashion designers. She even did the “me photo-opping with 4 identically dressed Japanese women that look positively bored with my white Asian-fetishizing bullshit” thing better.

avriljapan4I’m not even joking.

All this video/song seem to express is HOLY SHIT GUYS HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THIS THING CALLED JAPAN THAT JUST CAME OUT. Except that it’s not even really about Japan, just washed out shots of them awkwardly dancing in that generic cupcake room-

avriljapan5but why tho

-and washed out shots of her walking through some generic candy shop

avriljapan6but why tho

and washed out shots of her on some generic street in Japan(?) waving off camera like a harvest festival queen in the loneliest parade ever-

avriljapan7but why tho

The video debuted today and has already been pulled from Youtube, presumably because of the collective groan it recieved from everyone with the slightest bit of taste. I know it’s sort of trite and pointless at this point to refer to a piece of pop music as bland or generic or soul-less, or to have any sort of social expectation for said pop music entities, but this is just bad.

Gender Abolitionist Crotchless Pantsuit Mandate.

19 Apr

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(PLEASE NOTE: All photos in this article will be black and white, because bright colors could be considered feminine and thus a form of patriarchy somehow. Only a stoic, masculine, black and white palette is allowed, much like our rhetoric)

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Congratulations everyone. We’ve abolished gender. Lord even knows how we did it, considering how logically inconsistent the social platform of our movement is. Apparently it involved socially marginalizing every gender-non-conforming person with a penis until they conformed to masculine presentation or died, because that seems like damn near the only thing we agree on. Hell, most of the time that seems to be literally the only thing we care about. So I guess that’s what happened.

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Now that gender is over, the next task is to assign a wide swath of social expectations, roles, and personality traits onto individuals based on their genitalia. This is something completely different and better than gender because we say so. Everything will be genderless, and by genderless, we obviously mean masculine. Because after all, masculine isn’t a gender, it’s a social default. Somehow this enshrining and universalizing of masculinity is totally different from masculinism, because we say so.

genderpants3(I didn’t even photoshop this. This is what gender-crits actually believe.)

In this gender-free utopia we need a garment that is gender-neutral (meaning masculine), utilitarian, tasteful, and uniform. However, in lieu of our genital-essentialist basis for social class distinction, we need the ability to gauge at a glance where people stand. Obviously, the answer is crotchless pantsuits. These pantsuits are adorned with a chromosome-referencing label based entirely on genitalia and nothing else (not even chromosomes). Replacement garments can be claimed at the front office of every gender deprogramming center, where regular mandatory classes take place to re-educate away from concerns of gender and instead concerns based on assigning social expectations, roles, and assumed personality traits onto individuals based on their genitalia. This is different and better than gender because we say so.

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23 Words I’ve Had To Add To My Phone’s Dictionary.

28 Mar

dictboners dictboobs dictbuh dictcuddly dictebay dictestro dictfolx dicthella dicthetero dictkinda dictlabrys dictmeow dictmono dictoof dictorchi  dictphotoshop dictrani dictsexierdicttatts dictransfemdictransitdictphobiadictwelp

Creepy-Ass Scrapbook Is Creepy.

12 Mar

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Found this odd little thing over at All Things Beautiful. The $25 asking price was pretty steep, but it definitely caught my eye. It was about 100 pages long, and nothing but near-contextless cut out magazine photos of babies and toddlers. But why tho?

To be honest, it kind of reminded me of the “Memory Lane” scrapbook from Misery. Creepy.

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#retrogaming Famicom Camera Is Pretty Dope.

3 Mar

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Been playing around with 8-bit camera apps lately, and my favorite free one so far is Famicom Camera. It’s pretty straightforward, with only options to change between 27 and 64 colors (most of the pics on here were taken with lower color rate), some retro borders, and the thickness of scanlines.

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I’ve had a chance to play with it with multiple subjects, and it works great for creating dramatic chiaroscuro but loses a *lot* of detail, even for 8-bit art. Still, it lends a very distinct look to photos, resembling more the graphics of, say, a PC-99 graphic adventure game. Really cool stuff.

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So Like What The Fuck Is Ookla The Mok’s Face Actually?

2 Mar

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This burning question has been haunting me since I was a child. The character above is called Ookla the Mok, and he’s one of the main characters of the old Ruby Spears sci-fi fantasy cartoon Thundarr The Barbarian . Although most of the characters on the show were designed by Jack Kirby, Thundarr, Ariel and Ookla here were designed by Alex Toth. Apparently his name comes from a nickname for UCLA. He’s like some sort of lion-gorilla-man-thing in a speedo (three years before the first Thundercats episode), speaks in grunts like Chewbacca (though voiced by one of Fred Flinstone’s voice actors) and was an all around badass but can we seriously talk about his face?

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I mean, what exactly is going on there? It’s kind of feline but kind of simian with this whole blue steel thing going on (the metal, not Zoolander). It’s completely mismatched to the rest of his body. I was pretty sure it was some sort of robot face when I was a kid but apparently all the Moks have this face-

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Even the awkwardly sexy lady-Moks have it-

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Considering the Moks are a sort of indigenous tribal, um, people, I’ve wondered if it was some sort of face-paint or a mask.

ooklathemok5Kinda like the hyena people from Buffy The Vampire Slayer I’ve been compared to.

I mean, I’m probably expecting a bit too much logical consistency from a cartoon about magical post-apocalyptic barbarian tribes, but this has stuck in my craw my whole life. I feel surprised and betrayed not only that the internet hasn’t clarified this for me by now, but also that I appear to be alone in having such concerns.

12 Infamous Sci-Fi Drugs (Rated By Likeliness I’d Have Taken Them As A Teenager).

2 Mar

This is a kind of old piece of writing of mine that somehow hadn’t seen the light of day, so I’m fixing that.

Three years or so ago, a bunch of prolific freelance writers that had worked together in the Cracked forums got together to form a publishing company called Wordplague. For some reason they let me play along. A book for charity was published (that I illustrated rather than wrote for, still worth checking out), with plans for several others. Then shit went sour in a ton of irreconcilable ways and the whole thing crumbled to pieces.

Old news, bummer news, anyway this is one of my unpublished pieces from that project:

12 Infamous Sci-Fi Drugs (Rated By Likeliness I’d Have Consumed Them As A Teenager).

Part of the fun of losing yourself in a good sci-fi narrative is reading fantastic accounts of what people of the future do to entertain themselves. Invariably in the realms of cyberpunk and dystopia, this will include descriptions of drugs of the future. Sometimes these descriptions are embarrassing, some are kind of hamfisted attempts at social commentary, and some are just completely out there. With that in mind, I propose this list, presented in order of increasing desirability, of the sci-fi drugs I would have likely experimented with had they been available.

12) Substance D – A Scanner Darkly

I came of age in the mid-to-late 1990s during the time of heroin chic. Interestingly enough, A Scanner Darkly takes place in roughly the same time period. It’s not entirely unreasonable to think, had I lived in that universe, that I’d have seen Ewan McGregor and John Travolta on the big screen dropping a couple of caps of Slow Death before looking at trains or accidentally shooting that guy who played the twitchy UPS guy on MadTV in the face, respectively. It’s also not unreasonable to think that I would have probably tried Substance D once as a poorly-conceived romantic notion.

That said, it’s disconcerting that the book hardly mentions the effects in a pleasurable context, and speaks mostly of the horrible, debilitating side effects. Makes it kind of a hard sell. Also, it seems a prohibitively expensive habit. Not to mention the negative effects on your sex drive. Can’t imagine making a habit of it, but I’d have tried to see what the fuss was about.

11) Glitterstim – Star Wars

Though never mentioned in the movie; this drug was part of the infamous shipment Han Solo was smuggling for Jabba The Hut that he had to jettison; thus getting himself on the gangster’s shit list. Who wouldn’t try this? I mean, with celebrity endorsements like Han Solo himself and that weird dome-headed hyper-clarinet player at Mos Eisley, as well as rumors of telepathic enhancement… sounds like a fun party drug around the right crowd. However, the fact that I’d have to make a conscious effort to not think about the fact that it’s produced by a species of giant, cave-dwelling spiders is a large reason this appears so low on this list. Because seriously, fuck spiders. Especially giant, cave-dwelling ones. That and, again, the price.

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NOPE

You could say I’m a cheap bastard when it comes to drugs, but my concerns are more pragmatic. Basically, the more expensive the drug, the higher likelihood you have to deal with serious criminals to get it. There’s a huge difference between dealing with a misdemeanor drug dealer and a felony drug dealer, if you get my drift. And the less chance I have to make deals with, say, Jabba The Hut to have a good time, the better time I’m gonna have. Also, fuck spiders.

10) Droud – Death By Ecstacy

 Okay, first of all there’s this:

A small black cylinder protruded from the top of his head. An electric cord trailed from the top of the cylinder and ran to a wall socket.”- Death By Ecstacy, Larry Niven

We’ve got to stop right there. The plug’s at the top of the head? Yeah, not happening. Maybe augmented with a cute wig, having an actual braided extension cord in the mix could look pretty sweet. But otherwise, it’d just be an expensive operation that would seriously limit your fashion options.

To be fair, I’m sure concerns about never getting to wear a dapper hat or having to shape a chic post-punk hairdo around a metal implant on your head would probably take a back seat as you starve to death, sustained only on electrically stimulated bliss. All I’m saying is I’d have probably held out for the wireless Tasp model, if at all.

9) Vraxoin – Dr. Who

There’s a wide array of narcotics available in the land of the Tardis, including marvels like Spectrox, which actually extends your life. However, this essay isn’t about practicality, it’s about me being a teenager and wanting to get fucked up. So I’m going with Vraxoin: the ketamine of the Dr. Who universe. Getting wobbly and spaced out for an evening only to get right surely and pissed off as I’m forced to return to reality wouldn’t be much different from the way I spent much of my late teens and 20s anyway.

8/7) Can-D and Chew – ZThe Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch

Approaching the middle of the list, these two hallucinogens are interchangeable, depending on mood. Can-D allows you any friends you decide to invite along to join in a shared hallucination, augmented by dolls and dollhouses you’ve collected and meticulously arranged. While you’re under the influence you live out what amounts to a real-life version of The SIMS. On drugs. Of course were I to do so, besides Perky Pat, her boyfriend and their late-60s chic wardrobe, I’d be tempted to include Optimus Prime and a couple of Thundercats. Because awesome.

Chew-Z, on the other hand, sends you to someplace else, able to travel as you wish across both time and space. You could spend personal eternities in this other place before being deposited in the real world, minutes after you embarked. You’re allowed to revisit your past, to relive your best moments and correct your worst regrets, all at the expense of widening the rift that allows Palmer Eldritch to manifest in this universe. So, it really depends on how much you give a shit about that. I’d have to say as a snotty teenager, I might wind up making some pretty shady rationalizations about the latter to experience the former. To tell the truth, at an age where I’ve accumulated even more regrets and glories, I can’t say I wouldn’t still take the risk now.

6) Soma – Brave New World

Despite being an opiate, Soma ranks high on the list for one reason and one reason only: it’s guaranteed hangover-free. You can’t really beat that. Also, it’s the first on this list that not only does not depress your sexual function, but by most accounts augments it. So, you know, bonus. Never really been much of an orgy person, but having Soma available when I was a teenager might have changed that. Plus, you have the option of consuming it with coffee or ice cream, and who doesn’t want a little extra kick in their latte? I’d have gladly brave a manipulative, corrupt society in order to get the chance at taking a couple of tabs; especially considering the manipulative, corrupt society I deal with here everyday anyway, sober.

5) Red Eye/Bloody Eye – Cowboy Bebop
This is the last entry on the list that is neither a hallucinogen or type of booze. And yes, this one comes from an anime universe. Shut up.

In any case, Red Eye is a compound applied directly to the eyes that speeds up reception. It causes the user to perceive that everything them is going in slow motion, giving you more than ample time to react to anything coming your way. Considering I was in my 20s by the time The Matrix came out, it would have been kinda funny to watch it and be able to say to myself “I’ve done that,” based on my teenage adventures on Bloody Eye. I mean, I probably wouldn’t be weaving in and out of a hail of bullets or something, but damn you could rock at skateboarding, or video games. Totally shred at guitar. The possibilities for fun would be endless.

4) AUM – Illuminatus! Trilogy

At different times in the series AUM is used as a weapon, a prank, an experiment, and as a tool for enlightenment, so I could definitely see myself using this. Given my propensity to take virtual vacations, immersing myself in reality-tunnels different than my own and attempting to understand the subsequent motivations; I doubt people would be able to tell the difference between the way I act normally and me enjoying the benefits of this drug.

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3) Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster – Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Series

“Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V
Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it (in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia).
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Sprinkle Zamphour.
Add an olive.
Drink…but very carefully.”

This, of course, would have been more for bragging rights than anything else. Never was able to back down from a booze-based challenge and you have to admit, that’s one hell of a recipe.

2) Merge – Wetware

A high powered hallucinogen that allowed sexual partners to merge together pleasurably into a single entity for the duration? Yes, please.

1) Melange – Dune

C’mon now. Did anyone not expect this to be number one? Okay sure, there’s the whole “withdrawal = death” thing. There’s the whole “I huffed too much of the aerosol form and now I’m some sort of giant tadpole in a David Lynch movie, and not even one of the good ones” thing. Also, I’m rather partial to having hazel eyes and the blue on blue look isn’t really going to work for me.

But still, this is one very impressive drug. One, it’s tasty. Two, it extends your lifespan and tosses in greater vitality as a free gift. Three, it ramps up your cognitive functions. Four, telepathy. Know of any other drug that guarantees you’ll be able to eavesdrop on other peoples’ thoughts? Didn’t think so. Five, you can predict the future. Six, you wind up riding giant sandworms. Seven, your name is a killing word. All that on top of getting you fucked up. Do I need to go on?

I mean, when your choice of drug has a side effect of messiah, it’s gonna be hard to Just Say No. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my sponsor.

Flappy Bird Versus E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Which Is Worse?

5 Feb

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On Superbowl Sunday, I was at a chili cookoff at a sports bar, because why the fuck not. Thing is tho, I… can’t even try to get into the sports. Not even a gender thing (maybe) it just never did anything for me. So despite stuffing my face with near-limitless delicious spicy free food and understanding the team I was supposed to be rooting for was *annihilating* their opponent, my attention span was drifting. So, like the glutton for punishment I am, I decided to take on this game that goddamn near everyone is wailing about.

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This unholy affront to God and nature is Flappy Bird, a game that’s exploded into popularity so fast even the developer is baffled and terrified by it’s success. It’s an excruciatingly repetitive afterthought of a game where you have to give a bug-eyed bird constant screen-tapping reassurance or it falls into lethal despair.

ETflap3Um, bro, you seem to have forgotten how to bird.

Combine that with the actual worst collision detection I’ve seen since Master Chu And The Drunkard Hu, and you get the picture. It combines all the fun of Balloon Fight with… oh wait, Balloon Fight sucked and was the opposite of fun. Twenty years ago, a game like this would have been stuffed on a cartridge with at least 40 other abortions and had a cheetah on the cover. In this first post-Luigi year, a game like this is considered an effective standalone. How times have changed.

ETflap4Come the fuck on. Are these pipes solid or not?

I’m pretty sure high scores on this game could be used as a measurement for masochism on a fetish dating site.

“Oh, does this riding crop scare you? But you reported a high score of 150 on Flappy Bird, so you obviously enjoy pain more than you’re willing to admit. Bend over.”

Aaaaaanyway…

It makes me think of the downright elusive fickleness of what counts as a “good”, or at least successful, game. Speaking of poor collision detection, repetition, and brutal, unforgiving gameplay, I found myself rethinking the Atari 2600 game E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, widely regarded as the worst game ever made. Like, millions of copies buried in a New Mexico landfill-level awful. It’s a reputation that’s never sat well with me because I always loved it since I was little. It was one of the first “quest” style cartridge games, and one of a handful of Atari games one could actually “beat”. Remember, this game was created by the badass that designed Yar’s Revenge, for fucks sake.

ETflap5It was basically Zelda 4 years before the first Legend Of Zelda.

It had it’s flaws (some of which people more devoted to it than I have worked on fixing), but it really wasn’t all that confusing, especially once you’re familiar with Legend Of Zelda type games. Pre-Zelda, I was addicted to the Apple ][ version of Rogue, which is pretty much the same thing.

In any case, to be a bit more forgiving to Flappy Bird than the Action 52 comparison, it definitely resembles titles from the Atari 2600 in terms of gameplay/difficulty/replay value. I stuck with it long enough to get a personal high score I can live with, and have already deleted it. I guess my masochism has limits.

ETflap6Oh my fuck I hate this game so much. Bye.

 

Let’s Talk About Negativland’s “TRUE/FALSE” tour; Spring 2000

26 Jan

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THESE GUYS ARE FROM ENGLAND AND WHO GIVES A SHIT

Lemme tell you about one of the most important formative experiences of my adult life. It was May 16, 2000, at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, Texas, where I was to finally experience the band Negativland for the first time. I was almost 23,  living in Copperas Cove, putting together the 7th issue of my comic Why I’m Not An Artist, and working as a flow solder operator. It was also about a year into my first attempt at living full time as a woman. It was a pretty exciting time period in my life, all things considered.

Before then I’d had sporadic attempts at doing live music with a short, chaotic noise music project called DEVIANCE that I performed in with my brother and a high school friend. That’s an entirely different story that may get explored next time I get nostalgic. At this point, I was satisfying my urge to do performance art by being a drag queen, and rarely recorded, much less performed, music. Little did I know this show would change damn near everything I thought I wanted to do with myself as an artist.

Keep in mind, I’d never had a chance to actually hear their music before. I’d only heard of them a couple years before from a review of their album Dispepsi, a concept album about advertising oversaturation, which simultaneously sounded like the stupidest and most brilliant thing ever.  I was only aware of their reputation: booted from Black Flag’s SST label, nearly sued to oblivion by U2, etc. I visited their website regularly, however, and found out about the show there.

The show itself was amazing on a level I still have trouble describing. From the moment they started, they got a couple hundred people to sit the fuck down in the dirt and shut up for two hours straight, with a short puppet show intermission in the middle. There was simply no choice, the whole experience was so overwhelming it was impossible to concentrate on anything else. The entire stage was draped with white sheets where dozens of videos played at once behind, in front of, and on top of the band.  Most of the songs they performed were from Dispepsi, but there was also stuff that wasn’t released until “No Business” and a few tracks that were never released in any format I can track down (such as the “Loop That Goes On Forever” song, as well as “Breathe In, Breathe Out”).

I was completely stunned. I’d never seen anything like it. I recall thinking “I don’t know what the fuck that was, but that’s what I want to do with my life.”

I stayed in contact with them through email and at one point even exchanged letters with them-

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Their whole aesthetic of seeming chaos and indifference covering such heavily-calculated intricacy redefined my approach to, well, damn near everything.

8-Bit App Review: 8-Bit Command Window

25 Jan

So one of the (many) things I wanted to start getting into on this blog was writing reviews of 8-bit retro-themed phone apps, so here we go on that. For our first shot at this, I wanna chat up the 8-Bit Command Window, a handy-ish $1.26 app I’ve been using on my phone for about a month now. It’s a set of menus that interacts with your other apps and is designed to resemble the command screen for the NES RPG series Dragon Warrior. It’s actually a package of several different size widgets (I’m currently using 2 of the 7 total).

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Most of it is pretty customizable, with some limitations put in place that are theme related (four-letter names like in the original Dragon Warrior being one of them).

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Functionally, it’s pretty straight-forward. “Talk” pulls up the phone, “Party” pulls up your contacts, “Status” shows battery charge, used/remaining memory and OS version, “Take” is your camera, and of course “Tweet”-

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The rest of the functions require “equipping” or “learning” your other apps like weapons or spells.

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It’s pretty fun, and if you’re bored to death with your phone’s normal OS it makes a clever shell, though I couldn’t imagine using it all the time. Definitely worth the buck and a quarter to pick it up.