Saturday, June 8, 2019

Small Update, New Article on Hubpages and The Future Of This Blog.

Wow, it really has been awhile. I really don't have an excuse, I just suck at keeping up with this blog.  But anyway, what have I been up too? Well, here are some highlights.

I quit making YouTube Videos. I couldn't find an audience, and the advice I was getting to grow my channel was stuff I couldn't financially afford, or I simply was uncomfortable doing. Beyond that, making videos...just stopped being fun.

Finally started working on a proper second draft of my Novel. I don't know when it will be ready. But the way I look at it, any progress is good, and it means I'm one step closer to getting it published.

More recently, I published a nine-part essay on HubPages about the history of the online harassment movement known as  #comicsgate. I'd intended it to be much shorter, maybe two or three pages at most. But when I started to research the topic and saw the level of bat shit crazy I'd be dealing with, It dawned on me that short and sweet would not do. No, I would need to be as detailed, and as well-sourced as possible if I was going to come near what I wanted to do. And even then, it got away from me. If you'd like to read it, here are the links:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

If you all read it, I hope you enjoy it.

As for the future of this Blog?... I don't know. The truth is,  I've been waffling back and forth lately about shutting this blog down and starting fresh over on Wordpress, or Tumbler or somewhere that has more traffic. But I'm afraid that, if I do that, I'll run into the same problems I've always had with any of my content, and I'm really reluctant to put myself through the wringer again. So, If I ever make a decision about this, I'll post it here.

In the meantime, if you actually want to keep up with me and my work, the best places to do so would be here:

Anyway, I have to go. Thank you for reading this. Later.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Story On HubPages.

Hey guys, hows it going?  I just wanted to let you all know that I uploaded an actual piece of fiction over on HubPages. It's called Tales from the Universe Tree: Wolves Of Ice And Fire. I had to divide it up into parts because otherwise, you'd be reading a 66 page wall of text. But anyway, here are the links to the various parts. I hope you all enjoy it. And All constructive criticism is welcome.

Part One: 

Part Two: 

Part Three: 

Part Four: 

Part Five: 

Part Six: 

Part Seven: 

Part Eight: 

Part Nine: 

Part Ten: 

Part Eleven:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Music Talk: Aya. Hard Rock's Missing Princess.

You know I just realized something. In all the years that I've been writing on this blog, not once have I talked about my love for music. So, let's remedy that right now. So yes, I love music. I like a bit of everything but my preferred genres are Rock music (all flavors of it), Metal, and video game music (shocking I know). In middle and high school, I considered myself something of a rock music aficionado. I mean, how could I not? I played the guitar some, I watched the music TV channels all the time (before they started to suck), and I listened to the radio all the time. Oh yeah, I was awesome. But then I went to Japan as an exchange student for a semester and discovered just how much of a dumb, dumb little boy I was. The trip was...well, mind blowing is a phrase that comes to mind. And I mean that in the best way possible. Seriously, Japan, I freaking love you.

Anyway, while I was there, I was exposed to a lot of Japanese Rock music. Of course, I wasn't completely ignorant of Japanese popular music. This was the early 2000's, back when Japanese Anime and Manga was really starting to become mainstream in the west, and a lot of anime that was released here maintained their original Japanese theme songs (which bizarrely was a novel idea at the time). So, as far as exposure goes, that was my first taste. But none of the artists and bands I discovered on the trip had any presence whatsoever in the states that I was aware of, not even in anime. Artist like hide, Glay, X Japan, Luna Sea, J. Malice Mizer, Christ, it was like discovering a whole new universe. Why wasn't this awesomeness popular in America? But anyway, after I got home, I scoured the internet for any Japanese rock music I could. Eventually, I came across an artist that blew my mind even more. Why? Becuase, while a lot of popular Japanese rock music leans towards Glam, this chick was playing pure, unadulterated Grunge. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Hard Rock's missing princess, Aya :

Flowers In the Battlefield
Album cover.
Originally from Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Aya was first inspired to pick up the guitar after attending a concert of the American band, The Ventures. Eventually, she made her way to Tokyo, where her first big break came after she was invited to audition for a band at a Pop Music vocal contest. Although she won, the songwriter they were gonna work with died and their debut never happened. Aya was close to giving on being a musician...and then she discovered that she was damn good at songwriting. So good in fact that, by the time she was discovered and signed to the record label BGM Japan...she already had 30 songs ready to go. Her first single, Hands, was released to the public in 2001. Her first album, A Flower In The Battlefield was released one year later. Later in 2003, Aya released a Seven track Mini-Album called The Forbidden Song. Although a huge critical success, The Forbidden Song's time in the spotlight was short-lived. When in 2004...something a bit more exciting happened. That year, Aya released her best album to date. Baghdad Sky. Why is it her best? Just listen...

Yeah....don't tell me that's not awesome. So where did she go from here? Well, she kinda dropped off the face of the earth. No really. No one knows why, but Aya went radio silent in 2006 and didn't reemerge until 2015 when she announced her new band, Cruel She (or She Cruel, I dunno, I've seen it spelled both ways). Although no new album has been announced, the band has performed at Clubs in Japan and even has a Youtube Channel with some demos, and even one new song, ANGELICA . (among other things).
Aya is everything I LOVE about rock music. Her music is guitar driven, heavy and feels so real that you could reach out and touch it. That last one is hard to explain but think of the feeling you get when you're listening to, say, Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, or The Doors' Break on Through To The Other Side, and you'll see what I mean. As for her style, well, as I said, it's very reminiscent of Grunge, but I don't think that it fits perfectly within that label. Becuase while Aya has plenty of hard songs like Prisoner (see the first video), she has just as many slower, more melodic songs like Shadows on The Road.  Regardless, Her style is one that you don't really see in the American mainstream anymore. Hell, come to think of it, you don't even see it in Japan all that much. But that's what I love about her music, she doesn't care about trends or what's popular, she does what she wants.

If you're wondering where you can get ahold of her music...well, unless you live in Japan, you can't. So far as I've been able to find, all of her CD's are currently out of print and only one of them, Baghdad Sky, is available on Itunes...the British version of Itunes. And its not even the full album. Keep in mind, however, I haven't been able to access the Japanese version of Itunes, so I don't know if her music is on there or not. Your only hope is Ebay or go on to Amazon and hope to god someone is selling her CDs. Also, "Aya" is a very common Japanese name, so unless you know the title of the CD you want, she's gonna be hard to find.

Regardless, if you have the chance to obtain any of her music, do it.

And that's gonna be all for now, Dear Readers. I'll see you next time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Short Book Showcase: Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Before we get started, I just want to let you all know that I do have another editorial up on Now Loading. If anyone wants to read it, you can find it here:

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
As you Dear Readers know, I love Speculative Fiction, especially Fantasy Literature. But that doesn't mean that I read it exclusively. I will occasionally reach into my bookshelf and pull out something by Falkner, T.S. Eliot, Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Izumi Kyoka or whatever. But for whatever reason, I keep going back to is my copy of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa short stories. For those who don't know, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa was a Japanese short story writer from early 20th century. He's one of Japan's most influential writers, pioneering the short story form in that country. During his lifetime he wrote about 150 short stories which range from the beautifully bleak Rashōmon to the tragic yet hysterical Horse Legs.      

I must admit, Akutagawa is one of those authors that's really hard to talk about. Not because I don't understand his work, I do. But he's hard to talk about because, well, because of his relative obscurity in the west. And the fact that his work is so soul-crushingly depressing sometimes that talking to people about it makes them look down at their feet uncomfortably and quickly change the subject. Or to put it another way, it's like explaining Hemingway's The Battler to someone who only reads disposable, factory produced garbage like Fifty Shades of Grey.  They will listen to you for maybe a few sentences before shaking their heads and saying "Sounds boring. I don't want to read that." *sigh* exchanges like that make me fear for the human race.

Joking aside, I adore Akutagawa's work. Sure it's depressing and sometimes more disturbing than anything I've ever read from a western author. But it's dark in that meaningful thought provoking way that stays with you long after you've put the book down. Thankfully, if you want to get into his work, most of it is in the public domain here in the states, but I personally would start with Penguin Classics' Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories (pictured above) which was expertly translated by Jay Rubin. It collects some his most well-known stories such as the aforementioned Rashōmon, In a Bamboo Grove,  Hell Screen, And some lesser known stories like The Story Of A Head That Fell Off, Green Onions, and The Life of A Stupid Man. 

That's all from me today, Dear Readers. I'll see you next time.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Life Update and a new article.

Hey guys, happy Valentine's Day. I'm sorry about the lack of updates. My motivation for doing anything right now is on a roller coaster ride and I'm coming down after the 1 millionth loop da loop. That and I'm in the middle of looking for a job. But, as per-usual, I haven't had anything resembleing success; further proving my theory that corporate America hates my guts and wants nothing to do with me out of principle (kidding). To be fair it's not all bad news, I did manage to write another article for Now Loading (Movie Pilot's video game e-magazine), and this one actually got selected to be on the front page of the site and on their Twitter Feed. Which honestly I wasn't expecting and is the kind of little gold star I need, but rarely get these days. Even if didn't get paid for it, but I can figure that out on my own time. 

That's all I have this week guys. Thank you for reading. I'll see you next time. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Youtube Channels you should check out: PushingUpRoses.

Before we get started, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have another article up on Movie Pilot/Now Loading. You can read it here:   I hope you all enjoy it.

Anyway, When I did the first post showcasing a Youtube Channel, I said that gaming channels on Youtube were a dime a dozen, and that's still true. But what I didn't say was that not all of one of them are hyperactive weirdos shouting oddly hilarious obscenities into a Microphone for 20-30 minutes. No, there's actually a rather ginormous chunk of them dedicated to analyzing and reviewing games as well, and this one, in particular, is one of my absolute favorites. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sarah Wilson, better known to the internet as PushingUpRoses:

Formerly of Channel Awesome (Aka That Guy With the Glasses), I first discovered Roses about a year or two ago after I stumbled upon a small Let's Play of a game I like, an RPG called Wasteland, that she did with another Youtuber, Lazy Game Reviews. When I first saw the video I didn't think much of it, and then some time after that, her Alone in The Dark video (see above) showed up on the sidebar of another video I was watching. I gotta admit, her tattoos, multi-colored hair, and ghostly goth look on the thumbnail drew me in (I always did find the goth look attractive). That and Alone in the Dark is one of those games I'd always been curious about, so I figured why not. I liked what I saw, so I checked out the rest of her Channel and, well, there ya go.

As far as content goes, Roses' videos range from Let's Plays, reviews (obviously), to videos spotlighting such things as where former game developers are now forgotten female game protagonist, and Top Ten Sierra Adventure Game Deaths. The last of which might give you an idea of the kind of humor her videos tend to lean on, which I think is pretty cool. For me, though, what makes Roses stand out from other gaming reviewers on Youtube is both her intelligence and the fact that the bulk of her content covers a genre that's not really given a whole lot of love on Youtube, the Adventure Game. She doesn't need to yell and excessively cuss to get her point across; just a well-written, articulate and sometimes funny review, like her review of Sanitarium, or her uproarious review of Curse of Monkey Island.

If video games aren't really your thing, well recently Roses did begin to branch out and review old and somewhat obscure animated TV shows and films. The most recent video of which covered...David the And here I thought I was the only one who remembered that.

Anyway, to sum it all up, Roses is a great content creator and I feel she deserves more attention. If you all feel the same after reading this, then go take a look at her channel here:   

And that's it for me this week, Dear Readers.
See you again soon.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

May the Force be with you. Always. (Eulogy for Carrie Fisher).

I'm really out of practice here guys, so I apologize if this comes off as sloppy. Anyway, I'm sure everyone knows this by now, but Carrie Fisher died this morning. I don't know what else I could possibly add to this. It feels like I just lost a friend, but I know it's because I'm attached to the character of Princess Leia, not the woman who played her. So who am I really mourning here? An actress I've never met and not all that familiar with outside of one major role? Or a friend that stayed with me all my life, and whose story helped shape the adult I am today? I believe that the answer is both of these. I never knew Carrie Fisher personally, but I know Princess Leia. I know that Leia taught me to fight for what I believe in, to never give up even when the world was at its darkest, that one person doesn't have to be an invincible Jedi to stand up to evil. But you know what else I know? It's that at the end of the day, Princess Leia is just a character dreamed up by George Lucas. But It wasn't Lucas who stood in front of the camera and taught these things to me and millions of others, it was a shy woman from California with Bipolar Disorder, who self-medicated for years with Cocaine and prescription drugs and fought with weight issues all of her life. And yet despite all of that, she still managed to become this character and inspire generations of people. Lucas may have invented Leia...But it was Mrs. Fisher that made Leia an icon. And for myself, my life was richer and happier because of it.  

Carrie Fisher....Thank you.
May the Force be with you.