The Tunnel

Think you’ve read a weird book? You aint seen nothing yet. When I found out that William H. Gass had passed away last year, I took it upon myself to become familiar with his fiction, I picked up his last book “Eyes” and read 3 of the stories out of that, I may finish it later on if I can find a copy, and to be honist I wasn’t too impressed with his writing style (more on that later), but I saw that one of his books “The Tunnel” was available as an audio book, at not a bad price on amazon, so I picked it up, expecting a short 5 hour book. I’m not sure why I thought it was so short. Inevitably I was wrong, the audio book came on 3 MP3-CD’s and stood at 45 hours long. The Tunnel is the magnum opus of the esteemed and highly regarded postmodern and metafictionalist. His second (of only three) novels, and close to 700 pages which took him close to 20 years to write.

The strangeness of this book exists on three levels: the concept, the writing style, and the text.

The concept – how someone would come up with this idea I don’t have a clue. The book jacket explains it all. Bill Kohler has just finished his personal magnum opus, a non-fiction work called “Guilt and Innocence in Hitler’s Germany” and all he needs to do is write the introduction, however as he tries to write this introduction what he ends up writing is a long, bizarre, highly self-deprecating autobiography. Meanwhile he tries to hide the ever accumulating pages of this text and starts digging a tunnel out of his basement office.

The writing style of Gass is unusual. poetic sentences, profound sentences, playful sentences, and sentences that seem to be written from a pre-teen using all the bad words he has on hand, all of which are often used within the same paragraph. As a writer I frequently try to avoid internal rhymes in my sentences or alliteration. Gass on the other hand seems to go out of his way to use them as often as possible. I can’t honestly say that I “like” his particular written voice, however I found that I was quickly able to at least get used to it.

Finally, the text itself is worth looking at, whether or not you plan to read the book. I listened to the audio book, read by the author, but that takes something away from the book. There are about a dozen different fonts used throughout the book, some words are in different colors. One of the limericks uses word art, i.e. using the letters of the words to make a shape, one page is a photocopy of a crumbled dirt covered page, there are illustrations, diagrams, bold words, etc. etc. if you listen to the book, do yourself a favor and pick up a paper copy just to skim through so you get the full effect.

So, yeah, strange book, but once you get passed all that, there are some interesting things within.

How fictional or autobiographical this book is is questionable: the main character has the same first name as the author, the main character is a college professor like the author (although Gass was a philosophy professor, where as Kolher’s subject is history), the main character’s father is an abusive racist and his mother is a meek alcoholic (as how the author described his actual parents). Now I don’t know a whole lot about Gass myself, and I don’t know if a whole lot of autobiographical information exists on him, but it certainly makes you wonder just how fictional this book is.

Besides the concept and autobiographical fodder which helps construct this book, there are probably a hundred or so limericks within each one starting with the line: “I once went to bed with a nun.” A friend and college of the main character, Culp (my favorite character in the book) had been writing 2 limerick cycles throughout the story, the first was a cycle on the history of the world written in limericks (he got up to the point of Hannibal crossing the alps, before he gave up), and the other was an endless cycle of limericks all starting with the line mentioned above, my favorite of these being: “I once went to bed with a nun / who served every nation but one / I don’t mean to Russia / but your pole feels like Prussia / to Chile to Finnish the Pun.” It’s unclear, most of the time (for me anyways) who exactly is writing these limericks, are they Culp’s or Kohler’s? There are other limericks that start with different lines, there are some that follow slightly different patters (the typical limerick is AABBA (like the one listed above), others are AABBCCDDA, and so on.). Culp explains the first line of all his limericks as: “a limerick is supposed to be blasphemous, and dirty, like the toilet seat in a public park. The line I chose takes care of all that with the first line, and then I have four more lines to do whatever I want” (that’s not an exact quote, but close enough).

Once you understand how to read this kind of book, you’ll find that the story (told out of order) is about the Kohler, his unappy childhood, unhappy marrage, and current unhappy existence. This is not a feel good book, but the limericks help lighten the mood a bit. That and the character of Culp, and I do mean character, he makes the tome worth getting through.

How would I rate it? Do you have to ask? 5 stars all day, I finished the book in March, not long after starting it in February, and even though it was so long, It never felt like it was dragging (once you get used to the voice). I don’t expect any other book this year to be better then it… but there’s time left for that to change.


Half Way Point

It’s July 1st again, which means it is time for the half way point update as to what’s been going on this year. So let’s get right to this.

Books – I’ve read 13 books so far this year, 9 new ones and 4 repeats. About the same mark as this point last year, however 3 of the books have been quite large, two of them were over 40 hours long each, and the third is difficulty to measure because it’s was technically an app (the Ultimate NES Guide). But if I had to guess I would say it was close to 240,000 words (roughtly 24 hours if an audiobook). Also, including that app, I’ve actually read 3 of those books (as apposed to listening to them. I’ve also read a lot of stories this year, both new and old. The best book i’ve read so far (and I doubt it will be surpassed this year) was “The Tunnel” by William H. Gass, who passed away at the end of last year. I will have a post forthcoming on that.

Writing – I started out the year with a series of different goals, and the goals keep changing, but regardless I’ve done a lot of work, 263 hours in fact, well more then an hour a day. I would like to clear 500 hours this year, and I am easily on track to do so. As far as product goes, I’ve written 7 new stories, that are slated to soon be published, or at least submitted. As far as publishing goes, so far I’ve had 3 published, and 2 more acceptances that won’t be published for a little while yet. I know I’m not going to hit the same numbers I did last year unless something highly unexpected happens, last year was highly unexpected as it is. I did want to post a blog each week this year, but sadly that has not happened, largely do to my own laziness, I apologize. So far this year I’ve posted 8, I’ll do some more this year, I promises.

Movies – so far this year I’ve watched 31 movies, well on track of my one movie a week goal. Of those movies, 16 are ones I haven’t seen before. The best of the new to me movies would probably be Bladerunner, but I didn’t like it very much until the second time I watched it. More on that later I think as well.

Video Games Played – the vast majority of video game played this year has been Breath of the Wild. It’s a little early to tell, but this might be my favorite game of all time. I’ve beaten it already, but I plan to beat all the shrines as well and get the official green outfit. I currently have 6 shrines left. No other game has had any significant time put into it yet this year, and I don’t know if any other game will.

Video Games Collected – unfortunately this category is small. Dedicated readers of this blog will undoubtedly remember that my favorite game store closed two years ago. Since then I’ve had to use a different store, which is where I got just about all my retro games last year. Sadly that store has closed too, in May. There is another not too too far away, but I haven’t gotten there yet. So far this year I’ve picked up 8 games, all of them retro/cartridge based, 2 for the Genesis, 1 for the SNES and 5 for the NES. The best of these so far is A Boy and His Blob (the last one I got at Jay Street) and I’ve put a little bit of time into it so far.

Wake up songs – yes I’ve been continuing to keep track of the songs stuck in my head when I wake up. There was even one today, “I Want My Shit” by ICP, not sure where that came from. So far there have been 83 wake up songs this year.

The Hours – I’ll keep this simple. Reading: 253 hours. Writing: 263 hours. Music: 0 hours (though I will start composing again rather soon). Video Editing: 21 hours. Movies: 42 hours. Video Games: 218 hours (over 100 of which were spent on Breath of the Wild). So that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you?

Hitching a Ride on Flying Colors

Happy first day of summer. I have my newest piece of fiction here for your enjoyment. If your interested in numbers, this is the third piece published this year, my sixth piece published in the Ginger Collect (I’ve been in every issue since it’s inception), and the 46th piece published over all. This story is one of the 14 for 14 that I have mentioned before, now only 4 of those pieces remain unpublished… however, I’ve received an acceptance for one of those, more to come on that later this year, hopefully.

The first segment of this story is more or less non-fictional about a hospitalization I had in 2013, that particular story however ends (obviously) differently then the published one. I hope you enjoy, but be forewarned, it is a bit heavier, dark and beautiful (if I do say so myself.)

Hitching a Ride on Flying Colors” | The Ginger Collect | Issue Six 

Mega DVD Marathon Episode 4 – The C’s

Cartoon Crazy: Fairytales – a very very old DVD in my collection, I purchased it during the winter after receiving my (our family’s) first DVD player, for 5$ (which was very cheep at that time considering DVDs were still a fairly new technology. The others purchased right around this time were: my first Marx Brothers box set, Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries, and the next DVD listed here. This is not one of my favorites however. It’s a bargain basement DVD, chalk full of PD cartoons, some are fairly good but not all. This DVD didn’t work great on my original DVD player, it would freeze and repeat a few of the toons at the end, but for some reason it seemed to work fine on my PS2 (go figure), however you can’t fast forward the DVD. There is another reason why this one isn’t that good, but will get into that in the next DVD.

Cartoon Crazy: Sci-fi – this is the much better of the two Cartoon Crazy DVDs, several of the good toons from the fairytale edition are on this one as well, plus it also contains some very good toons that everyone should be familiar with like: All’s Fair at the Fair, Cupid Gets His Man (which has an animated W.C. Fields), a couple original superman cartoons, The Cobweb Hotel, the Sunshine Makers (also on the Fairy tale DVD), Presto Changeo (featuring a prototype Bugs Bunny), and more. The only downside to this DVD is it has “There’s Good Boos Tonight” the very first Casper short, which I never watch.

Case closed: the secret life of Jimmy Kudo – the first of only a hand full of what are my wife’s DVD’s. She has a lot more of course but they don’t interest me all that much, Vietnamese Operas and Kung-fu movie that are only in Vietnamese, so I wouldn’t be able to follow them. There are actually 4 case closed DVDs on the shelf, one or two of them I got for her at some point and the others she got for herself, it was one of her favorite manga’s growing up, I don’t know if she watched the show back then or not, I’ll have to ask. Personally I really got into this show myself just before I started college, but unfortunately it was on too late at night (at a time before my night owl habits really kicked in). It was on Adult swim, and the show following it back then was Lupin III which was even better, but I’ve never seen that on DVD. anyway Case Closed follows Jimmy Kudo, a hot shot soccer playing 17 year old detective, who on one case is caught by someone he’s pursuing and given a poison, however, instead of dying he actually turns into an 8 year old boy and helps his girlfriends dad solve mysteries. This is all covered in the first two episodes, while the rest just focus on individual cases. I particularly like the last episode because it’s focuses on Jimmy (or Conan as he calls himself in the young body) and his other elementary school Friends solving a mystery, it reminds me a lot of Shin-Chan (the strange adult swim Americanized version) though the humor is not so crude and topical. I’m not a fan of mystery in general but this show blends youthfulness, an irreverent Japaneses humor, and heavy complex characters into a nice neo-noir anime. I would strongly suggest checking out the show. I won’t go into detail on the other 3 DVD’s in the series, because its just more of the same.

Chappelle’s Show the lost season – Interesting story about how I got this one, but I won’t be going into it. This is the infamous 3 episode season that occurred after Dave Chappelle was renewed for two more seasons and then had a personality crisis and has hardly been heard from since. It is really funny, I love the new 2pac song, the petty revenge sketch, the Howard Dean Sketch, and of course the infamous Pixie Sketch. The last deserves some comment. I don’t find it as overtly controversial as others do, it’s about broad stereotypes, and I can easily imagine what it’s like to be the people in those scenarios where they self consciously attempt to not act their race. There are two white pixie sketches, but both of them are a little bland, I don’t find them as funny as the others but neither do I find them offensive (not that I identify that much with the whites anyway). Maybe if he portrayed white trash to act thusly, it would have worked a little better.

Cheers season 1 – Well I have a little problem with this show… I like it too much. I can’t really leave it on in the background and write, I tried, it was useless, video games were less of a problem, especially if I’m not very into the game, so it looks like that’s what I’ll be doing while watching. Furthermore I’ll also be drinking while watching, though that wouldn’t typically conflict with the normal procedure. I’m thinking I have to recalculate my top 10 TV shows to include cheers. Sure it’s not as good as Seinfeld, there are some more serious moments, it’s less about nothing, and not every situation applies to my personal life, but all of this doesn’t deter too much, it should easily fit in the top ten somewhere. I used to watch this show when I was a kid, and I remember I used to take baths and would line my bath toys up on the edge of the tub like glasses and “play” cheers, while singing the them song. Granted a lot of the jokes I didn’t get back then, even now with the pseudo-intellectual character of Diane there are still a few I don’t get, but I get a lot more these days and it’s surprising some of the references they make: Schopenhauer, Updike, even the seafood restaurant above the bar is called Melville’s. It’s a show that your sports fan jock meathead can enjoy as much as the intellectual, no wonder it ran for 11 seasons. Anyway the first season is quite good. One of the three coach seasons, Norm and Cliff are there (cliff I identified with the most since we are both avid collectors of random facts), and so are Carla and Sam. But Woody and Fraiser are missing and will be for some time. I got season one back when I was 17 and watched it several times back then, less so later on. There is one particularly good episode called “One for the Books” about a WWI vet who plans on meeting all the other men of his platoon at cheers only to find out that he is the last of them, funny sad and heart warming all at once. That’s probably the best episode of the season, but they’re all good.

Cheers season 2 – unlike the first season, this one takes a different sort of arch throwing in occasional melodrama. In the previous season there were only a few somewhat heavy moments in the show, which worked to set up a good punchline. This season has some harder episodes to watch, such as “No Help Wanted” where Sam hires Norm to do his taxes, but then stays with his old accountant because Norm gets him a refund that seems too good to be true, it looks like Norm and Sam are going to duke it out in the end of the episode but instead Norm cries hysterically, I wouldn’t call that funny. Another episode “Cliff’s Rocky Moment” has Cliff involved with a guy who really dosen’t like him, but his “friends” at the bar don’t stand up for him. The season ends on a fairly serious note too when Diane says she is leaving and never coming back, but that episode does have Christopher Lloyd playing a very eccentric artist, and proving my point that Doc Brown was the most normal and down to earth character that Lloyd ever played.

Cheers season 9 – more a return to normality at least w/r/t the previous season mentioned, the few serious notes play off of Rebecca who is not really an emphatic character, so they can be laughable. Coach is long gone at this point as is Diane, though both are referenced. While watching this season I had to take a quick break to watch my 1988 Xmas DVD for Xmas in July, and also during this time i got Cheers seasons 1-6 on a big DVD box set, I won’t be watching seasons 3-6 until I get to the leftovers, no back tracking in this project. I gave seasons 1 and 2 to a friend of mine who I know will appreciate them, and hopefully will enjoy them as much as I have over the years. Now I’m only missing seasons 7 8 and 10. If I’m not mistaking season 7 has 2 of my favorite episodes.

Cheers season 11 – I wasn’t alive during the first two seasons of cheers, but season 11, the final season I definitely remember watching as a kid. For some reason though I had it in my mind that the first episode of the season was the last. The first episode “Little Match Girl” is kind of heavy, with the bar burning down and Sam harshly firing Rebecca, it would have made a good finale itself. There are other great episodes in this season several of which I remember in their first airings. Norm gets a job at a brewery tasting beer. Lilith and Frasier have sever marital problems which leads into the spin off of Frasier itself, but there is a continuity error. In “Don’t Forsake Me Oh My Postman” a man is hired to write a jingle for the bar, and that man is played by John Mahoney (RIP) who also plays Martin Crane, Frasier’s father in the spin off. In probably my favorite episode (other then the jeopardy one which is not currently in my collection) called “Woody Gets an Election” Peri Gilpin who played Roz on Fraiser shows up as a news reporter (she’s also in a Seinfeld episode as Jerry’s masseuse girlfriend who hates George), This episode btw is one of the few I remember from its original showing, I clearly remember the scene where woody is struggling with the oath of office for president. Another classic “The King of Beers” (mentioned supra) is one I remember as well. There is one glaring continuity error though (regardless of recycled actors) and that is the episode “The Last Picture Show” in which Gus O’Mally visits cheers, Gus is mentioned in the first season as a previous owner of the bar, but several owners back, in this episode it is stated that Sam baught the bar directly from Gus. Furthermore it is mentioned in the original episode “Coach Returns to Action” from the first season that Gus was dead. Of course after 11 seasons some mistakes will be made. As for the 3 part final episode, what can I say, it’s quite good, almost every story line is wrapped up, and there is even a very brief homage to coach when Sam touched his (Coaches) portrait of sitting bull. Not the heaviest, saddest or even best of all the episodes but it did well, I’ve seen much worse series finales, and there was a lot to end after 11 seasons and they did a very admirable job. I particularly liked the ending sequence when the door is locked and an unknown person knocks on the door to which Sam reply’s fittingly “Sorry, we’re closed” a nearly perfect way to end the show. Side note, while watching this season I picked up a copy of Fraiser seasons 1-6, which will be coming up in only a few letters, but I got a lot of great stuff to get through before that, and probably a few not so great, we’ll see. The best advantage to finishing cheers is that most of the remaining DVD’s won’t eat up so much of my time and I’ll actually be able to write with some of them on (of course I’ve still been fairly productive with writing during this chapter of DVDs, perhaps that’s why it took me so long to get through the 4 seasons)

Chip n’ Dales Rescue Rangers Vol. 1 – the first of the Disney cartoon DVDs, there will be more to come, the first Disney movie is still a ways away. I picked this one up at a comic store when I was in college and remembered it more fondly the perhaps it deserved. It’s not a bad show of course, but compared to a number of other Disney animated TV shows it’s easily the weakest. There was one episode that features Humphrey Bear, who is an obscure character created in response to Hanna-Barbara’s Yogi Bear but ultimately only had two shorts to his name (both of which are fantastic), he’s appeared here and there as a side character and I was glad to see him in Rescue Rangers. The best episode on the DVD is easily “The Cola Cult” it has a very catchy song and a healthy message about cults for kids to take in, the message being that cults are full of shit. If not already evident enough, I am not a fan of cults, so seeing them mocked here does my heart good. I can’t help drawing similarities between this episode and the cult leaders scene in the Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (two very different cartoons of course).

A Christmas Story – I picked up this DVD because we were going to watch it for the film club. I watched it once, hated it, and skipped it here.

Christmas Vacation – strange watching this movie in mid September, but what can you do. I’ve watched this movie more times then I can count, and I still watch it every year during Christmas season, and sometimes in the summer for Christmas in July. I have all three of the vacation movies on DVD, but this one is by far the best. I could go on, but it’s pretty well remembered, so I don’t have to.

City Hunter – easily my favorite Jacky Chan movie (though not all agree). This one is a little more obscure then some of his others and hard to find with English subtitles (and unfortunately I don’t have an English dubbed one either). The basic premise is that a cruse ship gets hijacked and a stowaway privet eye Ryu Sabbot (Chan) is their only hope. There are several great fighting sequences the best of which is when Chan is thrown into a Street Fighter arcade machine and hallucinates himself fighting as the various characters (I should have been playing street fighter while watching, oh well live and learn). The other great sequence is the dance number on the boat. I don’t have any proof but I believe that this song was used as the base for the Teen Titan them song (unfortunately there are no YouTube links to compare).

Classic Mystery Collection (13 films) – And now we get to our first bargain bin multi-movie DVD pack, and the rules change a little bit. I like to savor the movies in these collections, and I have to give them full attention because I’ve never seen them before (for the most part), so here’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of this project. I watch the next one the list that I haven’t seen, and then move on to the next DVD. Then when I get to the left overs episode, I’ll watch the next. Then when I’m done this whole project I’ll start watching them and one day 10 years from now or so watch all of the movies in these collections. The first movie to come up on this collection that I haven’t watched is “Dick Tracy: Detective” a 1945 film noir. Its a good one, it follows Tracy on the trail of a maniac murderer called “Splitface.” I should have been playing dick Tracy in the NES while watching this movie, but that game is pretty horrendous. I have 2 dick Tracy action figures as well, one of them is missing a leg and was the first action figure I ever bought with my own money (the story behind that has been turned into a hardboiled semi-fiction that I will be looking for a publisher for soon), and the other more recent acquisition is “Steve the Tramp” still in the package. Should have had the two action figures watch the movie with me. I should think these things out a little more too, or at least lie and say I did play Dick Tracy and hade the action figures watch it with me.

A Clockwork Orange & 2001 – This is a Kurbick double feature, featuring not only 2 of Kubricks best movies but 2 of the best movies ever made ever. I picked it up for 3 reasons: A – it was only 10$, B – I’d wanted to see 2001 for some time, C – I loaned my old copy of A Clockwork orange to a friend of mine years ago and never got it back.

A Clockwork Orange – at one point (early college) this was my favorite movie, and I’ve watched it many many times, and I’ve read the book too which is almost as good as the movie. It’s only been superseded by a few other films so it’s still high on my list. It features a bizarre postmodern science fiction dystopia with a unique vernacular, and told through simply incredible cinematography. The opening scene in the Korva Milk Bar with its naked erotic mannequins, the next shot with the four droogs walking down the tunnel with their shadows, etc, etc. it’s going to be a hard movie for some people to get through, it’s very violent, very unusual, and apparently the colors disturbing people as well, so keep that in mind if you plan to check it out. If you think you can handle it though, it is 100% a film you should “viddy well little droogie, it’s real horror show.”

2001 – Kubrick is in my mind without a doubt, the greatest directed of all time, and he is tied in my mind with Zemeckis as my personal favorite director. However he is not a narrative director. Most people see film as a vehicle for narrative, which it can be, but it is an art form to itself. 2001: A Space Odyssey is just that, a motion picture at its highest form. Saying it’s difficult to understand is putting it mildly, so just strap in and enjoy the ride. I actually knew all the songs played in it, sure everyone knows the Blue Danube and Also Sprack Zarathustra (if you don’t know it by it’s name check out the link), but I knew the more unusual stuff and already had it on my iPod, like Atmospheres by Sergio Ligeti. This is definitely not a movie for everyone, and I’m utterly surprised at how well received it ultimately was and still is. It also has one of the strangest and best endings to a movie I’ve ever seen. Open the video feed of this one please Hal.

Clue – with this movie we movie into a new shelf, also interesting to note, this is one of my most recent pick ups, I saw it at the grocery store for a few bucks. I had seen part of it before, but never all the way through. I used to love the board game as a kid, and if I find it for the Genesis I’ll be sure to pick it up. As for the movie: Christopher Lloyd and Tim Curry, how could you go wrong? Turns out you can’t, not with this movie anyways. I remembered it being funnier the first time i saw part of it, but it was still pretty good, funny and high energy. A good comedy to watch on a dark and stormy night, come to think of it, I may throw it into my October Marathon Cycle, just because.

Conan the Complete Saga – this was a gift given to me last Christmas by my good friend over at Oblivion’s Realm, among several other DVDs which will all be gotten to eventually. The DVD, a single disk with two sides has a Conan movie on each. My friend qualified it as “a true metal movie” and he is right, I’d even say it’s a power metal movie in that it embodies the spirit of that genre. It would take to long to explain exactly what that means here, I may do another post on that later, so just take my word for it for now. As you may know (or may not, I didn’t before seeing the movie) Conan was a character from a number of pulp adventure short stories written by Robert E. Howard in the 1930’s. Several of these stories were adapted into the two films that make up the complete saga. I’ve read several of them at this point, all of them good, my highest recommendation is “The Tower of the Elephant” (which you can listen to, in a nice dramatization, here).

Conan the Barbarian – this movie is quite violent and I think that will put a lot of people off, but it really is a good movie. Very well done, stellar performances by superstars Arnold Shwartzenagger and James Earl Jones as pro and antagonist respectively. There is a spectacular scene where Conan is crucified to the “tree of woe” that is simply outstandingly filmed, something like that may seem gratuitous, but it’s really not. I’d also like to point out Theology/Civilization them and cross reference it to the power metal band Aquaria and their song “Firewings“, check the two links out for yourself and tell me what you hear. This movie is a little on the rough side, but if you don’t mind the violence, it’s well worth watching. This is the second time I’ve watched it this year, and I will probably watch it may more times to come.

Conan the Destroyer – Also damn good movie. After seeing the first one twice, I’ll give it a full 5 stars, this one is 4 stars, not quite as good, the plot is slightly less creative, the character of Subotai is replaced with Malak who’s considerably more annoying, and the warrior woman Valeria is replaced with Zula who is considerably more savage in nature. What it’s lacking though is made up (somewhat) by the use of magic and special effects. The plot focuses on Conan aiding a princess in a sort of spirit journey, the end of which will require her to be sacrificed (though she doesn’t know this) ironically Wilt Chamberlain is charged with protecting her and her virginity. The other downside to this movie is it doesn’t concluded the Conan tale, which is promised in the next installment, unfortunately that film was never made. Hollywood did make a new Conan, but of course they restarted the story instead of continuing it (as they are won’t to do… assholes, do you know how many times they restarted Spider-Man in my life time?) you could watch this movie without having seen the first and follow it easily (though they are loosely connected) however missing the first movie would be a great injustice.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – it’s been years since I watched this one, and I’ve forgotten how powerful it is. The best Kung Foo movie ever, and one of the best movies regardless of genre. Funny, romantic, sad, deep, and highly highly entertaining. There is only one flaw, and that’s more with the DVD, but some of the dialogue is extremely quiet, I had to crank up the volume to 50 to listen to parts of it (normally the tv is set at 20 to give you an idea) but the fight sequences are loud, so your constantly fiddling with the volume. During this viewing I kind of had it on in the background, I think I’ll have to watch it again with my full attention soon. Interesting personal sidebar, this is also the first foreign language film I ever saw in theaters, and if I’m not mistaken, still the only one.

Cruel Intentions – to be honest I got this movie because of its sexuality, as a teenager this was hot stuff, it’s since been overshadowed, so now we have to account for the value of the movie itself. But that value is high, very high, 5 stars. It’s deep complex funny and yes still sexual, filled with complex themes and a level of backstabbing and plotting eclipsed only by Game of Thrones, stunning performances by the cast, and one of the best uses of music (w/r/t the final scene) seen in cinema. Though to be honest (again) Bittersweet Symphony is one of my favorite songs and you could splice it with almost anything and make it great (that might be a meme worth making). There’s a lot of good bonus features on the DVD too which I’ve watched in the past, but not this time around. The audio commentary is pretty funny. Guys, be sure to check out this movie, it’s not a chick flick and the time put in will be paid off exponentially. I find it strange that this isn’t a more widely touted film 20 years later.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 1 – it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Curb, and after this watching, too long. Unlike the first Season of Seinfeld (comments coming much much later) every episode is great with lol moments even after having watched the show dozens of times before. I should point out that curb DVDs have the most unusual cases. You pull down on one end and both DVDs slide out, hard to describe so here’s a video. After watching the disks several times the boxes deteriorate and don’t work quite as well, so be forewarned. My favorite episode in this season for me is… oh they’re all so good, but probably the pants tent, yes the first one, but I really sets up exactly what the show will be.

Curb season 2 – with the exception of Season 1 all the seasons of Curb have a season-wide story arch. This particular story arch is about Larry trying to pitch a new TV show, first with Jason Alexander then with Julia Lois-Dreyfus. The second season is not as good as the first. The arguments are too abundant and too unrealistic and the show begins to wear on the viewer. David is smart in the way he does seasons separately, and doesn’t overstay his welcome. Now given that I should point out that it’s still funny, still a good show, and plenty of funny lines throughout, just not as good as the first season, then again not much is better than that first season anyway. The best episode here is probably “Shaq” where Larry accidentally trips Shaquille O’Neal at a Lakers game, and suddenly the world doesn’t want anything to do with him (which he is more than happy about). The episode also has the brilliant line, when Larry asks a doctor to give a quick look at something on his back the doctor replies: “next time you’re in a hurry why don’t you write me a bunch of shit for free.” Then ultimately karma kicks the doctor in the ass, which is atypical for the show, usually David is on the karmic receiving end.

Curb season 5 – I’ve only watched this DVD once in the past, you can tell because the case still works perfectly. The first time I watched it I didn’t enjoy it all that much, it must have had more to do with the time I watched it (I was very depressed that winter) which makes sense because this time it was a riot, much better than the second season, very funny, and it has Funkhouser, who is absent in the first two seasons. This is one I should go back to. Of the ten it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’d probably go with “the Ski Lift” or maybe “The Bowtie” because of Funkhouser the season wide arc is about Larry finding out that he might be adopted and that Richard Lewis needs a Kidney. The last episode has a nice montage of various clips from past curb episodes (not all of which I have seen). It could have been a good end to the series, but as we all know it was not. However it is the end to my exposure of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and, finally, the end of the C’s.

Virtual Jehovah

Dear friends and readers,

I woke up this morning with an unexpected acceptance/publication, and I am passing the piece onto you.

This story is in a publication I have not been featured in before called “The Library of Rejected Beauty” which publishes stories that have been rejected by other places. This particular story has been rejected 4 times before and I had almost given up on it. Glad I didn’t, perhaps you will be glad to after you read it… or maybe not.

This is a particularly anti-religious story, ironically published the day before Easter, and thus has a more limited reading demographic. But for those limited readers, I hope you enjoy.

“Virtual Jehovah” | Library of Rejected Beauty | 3/31/2018

Brittle Lung Syndrome

I have for your enjoyment on this first day of spring (not that you’d know it if you live around here with the Nor’easter and all) my first story published this year. Now perhaps some of you might remember earlier this year I had sent out a post with a new publication (Schiesskopf 88)… but, that story was actually published at the tail end of last year and I didn’t notice until a few weeks later. So this story is officially the first of 2018… and what a story it is.

This one is a little heavier, I’ll warn you of that, but it plays to one of the best punch line endings I’ve done yet. I came up with the unusual premise of this story way back in I think 1995, and then wrote it in 2011, and it’s been rejected 8 times since then. also by odd coincidence this story is 4,444 words long and it is my 44th story published. Naturally, I am very glad to see it in its digital print medium after all these years.

I hope you all enjoy:

“Brittle Lung Syndrome or a Healthy Interest in Tobacco” | The Ginger Collect| Issue Five

David and the Secrets of the Gnomes

So here’s something a little more in line with the obscurity symposium, something more obscure for your enjoyment. The Secrets of the Gnomes by Rein Poortvliet and Wil Huygen. It’s written in the form of a travel-log, technically a self-inject fantasy, although the background information on the two writers is scant to non-existent, in fact their names are never actually used in the book, though their image is. The book is full of beautiful warm paintings of gnomes, gnome technology, gnome culture, and landscapes.

The book takes place in Lapland and Siberia in the late winter, which I love anyway. I keep telling my wife we should move there, I’ve actually done a lot of google earthing the Lapland area recently, and to me it seems it’s a cold paradise.

This book is generally plugged as a children’s book, but I don’t think it really is. There are a few images of bear chested Gnome women and at least two images alluding to gnome intercourse. Clearly this is a European children’s book, they really are much more progressive.

There is a whole lot I’d like to say about this book, but it really is something you should experience for yourself, I wouldn’t want to spoil the book, and given the vast amount of paintings, within the book, I really can’t do it justice with words. The book does get stranger the further on you go, and that’s always a good thing.

How much do I like this book? Well, I read it for the first time in the summer of 2016 (a library copy), my wife got me the book for Christmas that year, and since then I’ve read it every winters, and it’s not all that short (though there are a lot of pictures), every time I read it (three times now), there are things that I didn’t notice the last time. In this last reading, the sandman and the arms of morphious, seemed to stand out more than they have in readings past.

You may be wondering how or where I stumbled on this book. When I was a kid there was a barely remembered TV show in nickelodeon called “David the Gnome” or properly “The Adventures of David the Gnome” I only had a minute sliver of memory of this show, but I did remember that I liked it. A few years ago I got a friend of mine to order me the complete series off Amazon, 2 seasons, 26 episodes, on 4 discs.

The only episode I remembered specifically involved David’s niece getting caught in a melting lake, but as it turns out I don’t think this was actually an episode from this series (though I’m not sure what else it could have been from). After watching the series again, many years later, a few of them started to come back, but not that many.

One thing that this show is (or could be) memorable for, is the fact that Tom Bosley does the voice of David, he played Charley (from Charley’s Angles) and also the father from Happy Days. His voice is instantly recognizable. I should point out that the show was actually originally made for Spanish TV (i.e. television in Spain proper), and in the English translated version which I have, there are a lot of instances of characters talking over one another. I thought that it was just a strange anomaly at first, but then when I realized that English was not the show’s native language, perhaps it has to do with the dubbing. I can’t find any confirmation or denial as to whether or not Bosley did the voice in both the English and Spanish versions or just the English, though it appears that the narrator, Christopher Plumber (from “The Sound of Music”), did not narrate the Spanish version.

What I definitely didn’t remember about the show was the general theme, and had I remembered I may have forgone getting the DVD, though that would have ultimately been a mistake. The titular David is and animal doctor, which means that the vast majority of the episodes involve, to one degree or another, an animal suffering. Granted there is only one episode where one of the animals dies, and said death is only briefly metioned, it is still difficult to watch. I am an animal lover and I hate seeing them suffering, even if David cures what ails them. Incidences such as the two bucks getting their horns tangle when they fight over the same doe is light and funny enough, but most of the time the various medical cases are much more serious.

How much do I like this TV show? Well I watch it every year, usually two or three times a year. I would probably put it as my 4th favorite show of all time, and favorite cartoon of all time.

I have not seen the last episode. The first episode opens with David explaining that he and his wife are 399 years old, and that Gnomes live to the age of 400. In the last episode they reach this age, I can’t even make it through the teaser that comes at the end of the next to last episode. Even that episode (the next to last) is difficult to watch, as David give’s his most prized possession to a human doctor friend of his. Given all this maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t “officially” end other kid’s shows with a farewell episode. Even though the typical procedure of pulling the cord on a show when it is no longer “big” may leave the dedicated viewers at the time confused or pissed off, it works to an advantage in later years , by makingthe show seem like it’s gone on forever. As for this two fold review, I think it’s gone one long enough.


Mega DVD Marathon Episode 3 “The B’s”

Back to the Future Trilogy: a very well presented box set with all three movies and a number of special features. Unfortunately one of those special features is a featurette about the making of the movie hosted by Kurt Cameron, so its unwatchable. Unfortunately still none of the features are episodes of the cartoon TV show. But more unfortunate then any of this is that it doesn’t work in the PS2, so I didn’t get to watch it this time around. Too bad, I was looking forward to it, I’ll have to save it for when I get a new DVD player. I did watch the movies 2 years ago on and shortly after Back to the Future day, and I even posted a very long article on the movies on the same day, you can read it here.

Beetle Bailey: the Complete Collection – I don’t know if this is the entire series since it does not say “complete series” so if there are more Beetle Bailey cartoons I don’t know. I think it might be though, because there are some off color jokes that would not fly these days (such as a the man who runs the Chinese restaurant) as you know from the last episode, I already have one side of a DVD full of beetle Bailey cartoons, from my “Animated All Stars” DVD. Most of these episodes are included on the first disk in this set. The second disk is more of the same, a low middle rang cartoon that I won’t likely be going back to all that often, it still good for my collection being a somewhat obscure cartoon. There is a bonus episode that seems to be made a little later on, loaded with references that most kids wouldn’t get (a departure from the normal format), that bonus episode is probably better then the rest of them by a good amount.

Beetlejuice – I must have seen this movie when I was a kid but I don’t quite remember either way. I definitely had a few of the toys, and I still have one of the backers to one, and an unopened action figure hanging on my wall. I remember watching it again in or around 1998 on Comedy Central late at night, spending the night in the office (which I frequently did on the weekends, a very long story that I’m not going to get into here and probably not ever). I watched it again in 2013, and then finally picked it up in probably 2014-15 when I began to collect DVDs heavily again. At this point it is one of my yearly October movies. Needless to say, I like it a lot. It’s not scary but creepy, strange, sad, and funny. It has a great cast: a very young Alec Baldwin, a young Winona Ryder, Jeffery Jones (Who’s is a great actor despite is considerable personal problems, and has been great in all the other films I e seen him is) Glenn Shadix (who was on a very yearly episode of Seinfeld), and the show stopping Michael Keeton as the titular Beetlejuice. I love the scene at the very end where Beetlejuice is waiting in the afterlife next to a headshrinker and his victim (the victim is action figure I have in the box, and from what I can tell it looks to be the most valuable toy in my collection). I don’t usually watch the special features, but here I have to, because it has 3 episodes from the Beetlejuice cartoon, which I’d like to get the complete sears of at some time, but we’ll see when that will happen. A must watch movie in every way.

Big Money Hustlas – Back in high school I was a big ICP fan, this was their first movie, years later there was a western spoof prequel called Big Money Rustlers but I haven’t seen it and likely won’t as I am not a fan of their music anymore, I could go into why, but that’s an article for another time… maybe. Despite this however, this movie remains quite funny, a guilty pleasure in every sense, I laughed many times despite having seen this movie an awful lot (a long time ago), and with every laugh I questioned why I found it funny and told myself I shouldn’t. With all that being said, it’s not a movie I’d recommend to a whole lot of people, there’s a lot of f-words in it, cellulose quality is bad and some of the acting is stiff, outside of a Juggalo not many people will enjoy this one. But I’m not and I still do.

The Birdcage – Like Beetlejuice once said about the exorcist, this movie gets funnier every single time. This is the third time I watched it, the first time watching my own copy which I picked up very recently at a library sale. I made the mistake of turning it on at 1:15 in the morning, thinking I would give it an hour and go to bed, but the movie is damn near impossible to stop watching, and damn near impossible to have on in the background and do something else. The last time I watched it movie was in 2014 shortly after Robin Williams died and the film club (at my behest) scrapped our slated movie to do one of his instead. For years I’ve been saying that “What Dreams May Come” is my favorite Williams movie (not counting Aladdin), but I may have to change that to the Birdcage. My only problem with the movie is they open and close with the same song “We Are Family” which is one of my least favorite songs from the disco era (an era I already have mixed feelings about at best), it makes sense at the end but they should have picked something else for the beginning. Why do I have a feeling that’s going to be the wake up song tomorrow? I should watch this movie every year during pride week along with the other gay movies in my collection. However I only have 2 or 3 others in my collection: rocky (the original and the remake) and Short Shorts which will get to in quite a while.

Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance – for anyone unfamiliar this is a very good very weird movie. 2014 happened to be a really good year in film and this movie took top prize winning best picture at the 87th Academy Awards. I already did a blog post on it so I won’t go into it too much here. This is the second time I’ve watched it, and even though I was playing video games while watching, I got even more out of it. This is a movie that should be watched multiple times to be understood.

The Blare Witch Project – I baught this movie off a friend of mine a long time ago, probably within the first year of owning a DVD player, but I don’t watch it too often, and now it’s not at all. A lot of people give this movie crap, but in all Honesty it is terrifying. Also noted as one of the first “found footage” movies. It’s too scary for me to watch, so I skipped it.

The Bob Cummings Show – This is a dollar store slim case DVD that my dad got me for Christmas a long time ago. He got it for me because (if I remember right) there were a handful of episodes where the titular character would fly/drive his hybrid airplane car (a 1960 Aerocar). Believe it or not I’ve actually seen this car in person at a strange museum in the middle of nowhere. There was a belief at the time that, like the car, aircraft would be commonplace to the American household. This never happened of course and will likely not happen, but the reasons for this are for another time. Unfortunately the Aerocar is featured in the opening segments of “The New Bob Cummings Show” and this DVD is the original. I don’t think that I ever watched this DVD before, but it was open so maybe I had. The show is about a professional photographer who is also a air force pilot (the duality of which didn’t make a whole lot of sense) then again I know virtually nothing about the millitery. The first episode was pretty good. My only complain this is that audio was very bad and difficult to make out what they were saying. This does happen somewhat frequently on these Bargain basement DVDs. Maybe I’ll watch it again when the AC isn’t running to get a better idea of it. From the selection here it seems like Beetle Bailey in live action. Again, the military is not my thing.

Bulworth – this is only the second time I’ve watched this movie, the first time was back in the late 90’s at a friends home theater (the same friend that I bought the Blade Witch Project from). Very political and slightly arty comedy from the mid 90’s. Back when I watched it the first time I enjoyed rap music a lot more, less so nowadays, but this movie does show it as a interesting art form. It’s interesting to see this movie now in the current political climate. The movie also has a small role from Christine Baranski, who’s acting I enjoy an awful lot and I find very attractive and always have. She was also in the Birdcage. I should watch this movie more often, maybe after an election on a yearly or quadrennial basis.

The Brak Show Vol. 1 – This is a very funny show, and the humor has grown on me since I last watched it (which was quite a while ago I’m guessing). The pairing of a 50’s era family sitcom with the intense bombast of the titular character and setting it on some alien plant with myriad alien life forms and robots make for a brilliant show in every way. If you don’t get quickly annoyed with Brak’s voice, there are many golden nuggets of comedy in this show. I really should get the other two volumes and finish off the series. Thinking about it more, after watching the DVD a few days ago, I can’t seem to get a lot of the lines and various Brak songs out of my head, it’s that funny. I’ve always put this show bellow a lot of the other adult swim staples, obvious it’s going to be ranked bellow Sealab 2021 (almost anything is, it’s my fourth favorite show of all time, and don’t worry the others on that list will all be discussed eventually) but I might have to put it higher then Aqua Teen, Robot Chicken and Harvey Birdman.

Burns & Allen Vol 2 – Just like the Bob Cummings show this was a dollar store DVD Xmas gift. Again I don’t know if I ever watched it before. The show was pretty funny, with a lot of jokes based on linguistic inaccuracies (think of the “don’t call me Sheryl” joke from airplane). Despite this show being over 65 years old the jokes are fresh and the situations somewhat relateable. And that’s the end of the B’s. Thanks for sticking with it, if any of you have.

100 Best NES Games – Episode 2

Intro – in episode one I went over the contents of the multicart in question. In this episode we will finally get to some game play. But first let me explain the system. There a lot of games to get through, as I’ve already explained the title is misleading, and unlike other multicarts it is actually under-advertised (in name) as there are 143 games on the cart, all of them original and unique. The plan is to play each game for 15 minutes. Going in that system it will take me just under 36 hours to get through them all. Most of the RPG’s I’m not likely to invest much time in (and I’ll explain why when we get to that), and some other games I may punk out of before the 15 minutes are up. The first batch of 10 in this review are not the alphabetical firsts like the rest will be, but the 10 I am most interested in, and for these games I’ll be spending an hour on each. So without further adu, here they are.

Little Samson – to be completely honest, this is the one and only reason I was interested in getting this multicart. As far as I’m concerned this is a little Samson game with 142 bonus games thrown in. I was actually in the market for a little Samson repro when I stumbled across this cartridge. For those of you that don’t know, this is one of the most valuable licensed games for the NES (clocking in at >1k$ loose), maybe the most valuable next to Stadium Events, and it’s also one of the best on the system. Don’t let the name fool you, this is not a color dreams bible game, it’s a 100% perfect action platformer, you have 4 characters to choose from at any point in the game each with different abilities: the title character who can shoot and climb walls, a dragon who can shoot and fly for a lengthy (though limited) time, a rock monster with a very powerful punch ample health and the ability to walk on spikes without taking damage, and a little mouse that can climb walls and drop bombs. You need certain characters to get through certain spots and the mouse is almost useless because of his 2 bar health meter (at least for me at this point, I’m sure there are savants that can beat the game using primarily the mouse, but I’m not one of them). Anyway in an hour of play (which was hard to put down at that point) I made it all the way to level 4, you got to love unlimited continues (the lack of which is my main problem with video games of this era), plus it has a simple 4 character password save, and if you want to see where I left off after the hour run, plug in 5JSQ. If you don’t want to spend a grand for the game on eBay or Amazon, and don’t want to pick up a multicart, then you can play it on vizzed board. That’s where I first played it.

Kickle cubicle – Really fun puzzle game, which is in my opinion what the NES was best at. I first came across this game on a surprisingly sad Pat the NES Punk video which was inevitably pulled off YouTube because he used a song he didn’t have the rights too. After watching said video I played it on vizzed board and put it high on my wish list (I’ll still pick it up if I find it). The premise is to freeze the bad guys and kick them to make ice bridges to collect all the fruit on the level. In an hour of play I made it to level 4 of Fruit World, which is the second of 6 or 8 worlds. Oddly enough the first boss battle acts as a sort of gate keeper and is at the beginning of the second world and not the end of the first world. I think this is the first time I’ve come across this. If you want to pick up where I left off the Password is: KKKb dKCF have fun.

Contra – Well what can be said about Contra? Widely considered one of the best games on the NES, a prime example of good controls, the archetype for all “good” run and gun shooters. What I think is the most convincing evidence for why it’s so good is the price. The game is very common yet commands a 40$ price tag if you can find it, that’s because it’s the game everyone wants and few are willing to part with (supply and demand). It may be the first game I’ve ever played ever, back in the 80’s in Indonesia, where my friend had mistakenly called it “Rambo” and really this should have been the Rambo game, but what can you do. I played this game a fair amount (before I got this semi-physical copy) on vizzed board when I first got really into retro games in 2014, but never got all that far. This time though, I beat the game in about 40 minutes. Yes of course I was using the 30 lives code. Apparently according to the Ultimate NES Guide Book there is another code for unlimited lives but I could never make it work, but I guess I didn’t need too. The game is very hard (without the code) but I think that if I kept playing it enough I could probably get through it. I also plan on picking it up if I see it anywhere, because the price tag is not too unreasonable and it’s fairly important in my personal video game history. This is one to come back to many many times.

Zombie nation – A very strange game, very strange, probably the weirdest game on the cart, and maybe even the system itself. At heart it’s a bullet hell horizontal shooter, your craft (if you will) is a disembodied head that shoots projectiles from his eyes and mouth. Blowing everything up with in his path. I was getting this game confused with the homoerotic shooter Cho Aniki, but I later realized that they are not related, other than that they are both very strange shooters. Even after playing for an hour I didn’t do very good as it is quite hard: I Almost beat round 1 (level’s are called “rounds”), about half way through round 2 and 3, and barely anything in round 4. It is a good pick up and play if you only have a few minutes to game. But if you play it for a while you’re thumbs will hurt. You better belive I was listening to Kernkraft 400 while I was playing it too.

Ducktales – perhaps it was because my head was filled with scattered thoughts after watching a depressing (but very good) movie, and I seemed to be in kind of a funk, but I did not enjoy this game. In fact I only played this and the following game for 15 minutes each. It almost seems sacrilegious to give this game a negative review, Ian Ferguson (co-host of the CU Podcast along with Pat the NES Punk) rates this as his all-time favorite game, while many others have rated it quite high as well. Given all that it might be fair to give the game another shot at some point with a more focused mind and better overall attitude. I have the remastered version on the Wii U and I like that game an awful lot, but this game, with the limited lives and the goofy controls (press A then down then hold B to do the pogo) really started to piss me off after the third or fourth game over. Maybe, after giving this game an hour or two I can get a handle on it (I remember some frustration in the remastered version, even though those controls are simplified). I will probably still give this game another shot and do a comparative analysis between it and the remastered version at some point, but tonight just simply was not the night to do it.

Skate or die – this game is a little more mixed in opinion than Ducktales, and only receives 3 stars in the Ultimate NES Guide, I personally gave it 2. It suffers from the same problem as World Games. The method of playing all 5 of the different Mini games is not remotely fun or intuitive. I’d have to look up instructions on how to play, but I don’t particularly want to and really shouldn’t have to, this is one of the advantages of modern games over retro games (one of only a few I might add), they will explain how to generally play the game in the first level or two. Being a skateboarder almost 20 years ago, I can easily say that some of things you do in the game are easier to do in real life, this is especially true with the downhill race and the goofy steering controls. I wasn’t expecting Tony Hawk here of course, but it still should have been something better than this.

Casltevania – I never really played these games before, but I’ve heard much about them. A good friend of mine from college was a big fan of the series. This experience I got to say was pretty good. The whip makes for an interesting weapon and there is a variety of secondary weapons to pick up along the way. One down side though is you can’t use other acquired secondary weapons, you’re stuck with whatever until you get a new one or die, and if you’re like me you’ll probably be dyeing a lot. In one hour I was able to make it to level 3. The game is somewhat hard but the (seemingly) unlimited continues make it worth grinding away and learning the patterns to complete. If I gave this game some serious time I think I could probably get through it. The bigger down side is that there is no password save so I would have to play it a lot. Not too soon though, I have too much stuff to get through at this juncture.

Flintstones 2 – It’s a little deceiving, it’s listed on the menu as Flintstones 2, but it’s actually called “The Flintstones: the Surprise at Dinosaur Peak.” Just like Samson (a line form really good song btw) this is one of the Holy Grails of NES collecting, going for close to 900$ loose. It is believed that this game was a Blockbuster exclusive and never available for general perches. Also like Little Samson it’s an outstanding game and single handedly worth the 50$ price tag of this multicart. The game uses Barney and Fred interchangeably with the select button. Barney can climb wires and shoot a week slingshot, Fred has a club and can climb up edges of walls, and they both can duck (kind of) by putting their heads under there collars a la the show. You will need to switch often in order to progress. The game isn’t particularly difficult with unlimited continues. If I gave myself a couple sessions at a couple hours a piece I think I could beat it, and that’s something I may want to try at some point. In this one hour play through I made it to (and almost beat) level 4 (out of 6 or 8 I’m not sure).

Bubble Bobble – I’ve heard good things about this game, and while playing it I did enjoy it, a simple puzzle plat former with a somewhat simple design and cute background music. The one problem I had with the game was that it was very glitchy with partial sprites flickering across the screen especially as the action on the screen became busier. I don’t know why this is, I get the feeling that this has something to do with the cart and not so much the game itself, or maybe even the consul (remember these are all being played on the Retron 2). This is the first game I’ve played where glitches have been noticed and are to the point of making the game significantly more difficult. Truth be told, i’ve sampled other games on this cart besides the 8 listed above, and all of them have worked more or less fine. As for the game itself, as a dragon you go around blowing bubbles, at enemies, then you stomp them so they turn into candy or fruit which you pick up, there’s around 60 stages I believe, each laid out with different platform patterns. I made it to level 17 (by using some king of warp mechanism), and the password obtained is: AABBI. It’s a fun game and my type of game, and if I see it loose I might pick it up if I can figure out the glitch problem.

Tiny Toon Adventure 1 – many years ago I had a Tiny Toon game for the Genesis, and I was hopping that this might be a slimmed down NES version of that game. It is not. this is a mislabeled title, it is not the first Tiny Toon Adventure, it is Tiny Toon Adventure: Cartoon Workshop. The game is not really a game at all but an animation program, and not a great one, it’s asking too much of the system, and it’s a bit hard to understand (though there are certainly harder games to figure out). In the 15 minutes I played this one I made a suggestive video with Babs and Buster.

Scheisskopf 88

Well, evidently I was wrong, I did not have 14 stories published last year, I actually had 15, one I did not know about. I knew it was coming just not that it had already come and went. In fact it was published on the day I sent my last new published piece post saying that I didn’t expect to have any more published in the year (go figure).

This Story “Scheisskopf 88” is my dad’s favorite story of all the ones I’ve written, and I’m sure you’ll understand why after reading it. Enjoy.

“Scheisskopf 88” | Independent Noise | Issue 1.3