Psychotic Ramblings

Finding Hope for Empathy via Kiki’s Delivery Service


Last weekend my boyfriend and I were watching Kiki’s Delivery Service.

If you’ve never seen the film, you should, it’s a lovely story about a young witch who leaves her home at the age of thirteen to train and find her true calling. She eventually stumbles onto the city of her dreams, a large metropolis by the sea, and decides to open up a delivery service, as she figures her flying prowess an ideal trait for express shipments.

But she’s low on funds, has no place to stay, and no business acumen. She’s facing some pretty steep odds against her, but right when all seems lost, a kind woman by the name of Osono offers her room and board while she gets on her feet. She’s saved by the kindness of a stranger. Later on, her first delivery goes awry, and another stranger by the name of Ursula helps to save the day, ensuring that her small business can survive this first setback. And then again, later in the film, additional strangers come to her aid, asking nothing in return, even as she sulks into a depression that threatens to take her livelihood away.

Kiki’s entire existence and eventual triumph comes at the help of those around her, selfless individuals who give what little they can so they can help a stranger.

And that, in this film about a witch in a magical land who delivers packages by broom, was the most unbelievable thing in the film. Continue reading

I Don’t Want To Be Shocked Anymore

For me, Halloween has always meant one thing: scary movies. And not just Halloween proper, but the entire month of October. Back when I lived in America my friends and I would make it a point to watch non-stop horror and gore during the month of October, sometimes going through as many as four horror flicks a week.

Of course, this wasn’t all that different to our regular movie watching schedule. Between our Netflix accounts, the remaining local video stores, and a healthy supply of illegally downloaded rarities, we would routinely awash ourselves in depravity, spending hours on end watching some of the sickest, most violent and deplorable acts of horror ever put on film. Continue reading

Bemusings (Bemoanings) Of A Failed Writer

I was talking to one of my students last weekend (I teach adults English in Japan) and he was telling me that he wanted to set up a blog to make some extra money on the side. Knowing that there is no money in writing but wanting to be nice, I chuckled and asked him how he expected to monetize it.

In broken yet understandable English he explained to me that he was going to set up a free blog, get a Google AdSense account and write about whatever topics were most popular at the time. Having had a Google AdSense account at one point (and never making money from it) I wished him luck.

Yesterday the student came back and I asked him how his blog was doing.

“Oh, not bad” he said without looking up from his notes, “I got a few thousand hits the first few days.” Continue reading

Nostalgia as a Genre: New Wave Revivals and Midlife Crises


The frontman is sporting tight jeans and a New York Mets tank top. His clean cut appearance is accentuated by his musclebound arms and square jawline. He looks like he was the star player on his high school football team, but oozes a boyish charm: if he was the football team captain, he wasn’t the asshole jock type. He sings lyrics pining for a love lost and a simpler time as a soaring keyboard riff plays behind him. He guides the audience into clapping with their hands over their heads. He then screams the city’s name and his bandmate rushes out the stage to deliver an absolutely epic saxophone solo that would make the dude from Lost Boys a very happy man.

It’s a song and a scene straight out of an 80s movie, a moment that feels like it should’ve been lived by Molly Ringwald. But this happened last week, in 2015, at the Summer Sonic music festival in Tokyo. It blew me away, and I’m still trying to figure out why. I think it may be that my midlife crisis is affecting my musical tastes.

I don’t know how to feel about that. Continue reading

Something I Wrote On The Plane

This past month I went to America for the first time since leaving the country for Japan last January.

It was a strange thing, going back. Seeing people and places I haven’t seen in a while. Finding myself surrounded by things that were once familiar and common, now strange and out of place.
This was also my first time seeing most of my friends and family since I came out earlier in the year, and while I didn’t expect any outright hatred or bigotry from any of them, I still didn’t entirely know what I was in for. When you add that onto the usual feelings and emotions one gets from seeing loved ones for the first time in a long time…well, it certainly made for an emotional return home in a lot of ways. Continue reading

Psychotic Ramblings about Emerson Lake & Palmer


Fucking prog rock, man.

Okay, I’m going to get this out of the way right now. This will be less of a review of a product, and more just me babbling incoherently about my confusing and contradictory feelings towards Emerson Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery and the entire genre of progressive rock music. You want a quick take on this new re-issue? It’s pretty good – and the basic 2 CD/DVD combo pack both sounds great and includes a worthwhile collection of bonus cuts and rarities. If you like ELP, then you would probably enjoy this release – and I recommend picking it up.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, fucking prog rock, man. Continue reading