Psychotic Ramblings

Boom Boom Satellites Push Eject

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It’s August 31st, 1999, just hours before my 20th birthday and I’m in St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, waiting for Moby to take the stage. Play, his soon-to-be-defining album, had just been released earlier that year, and buzz was starting to build around him.

But before Moby would perform a set that would end up blowing my mind, another group would appear on stage, some weird Japanese act called Boom Boom Satellites, delivering a blistering set of uninterrupted insanity composed of electronic beats, frenetic drumming and a pair of hyper-intense frontmen who obviously knew how to shred on guitar. Continue reading

The Ghostbusters Trailer Is Horrible

Have you seen the trailer for Ghostbusters? It’s exceptionally bad in nearly every way imaginable. The jokes fall flat, the pacing is strange, and it feels like that it spoils large portions of the film all for the sake of fitting as many flashy things as possible into a two minute sizzle reel! It’s a real shitshow.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a look.

 

Yeah, I’m really clever, I know. Continue reading

An S.O.S. from a Portishead fan

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Hey, did you hear there’s a new Portishead track out? It’s for that new flick High Rise and is a cover of Abba’s classic “S.O.S.” I bet you want to hear that, right? I bet you’re curious as to what a Portishead cover of an Abba song is like, considering it’s one of the strangest, most unlikely cover choices since Sonic Youth gave the world their take on The Carpenters. I bet you can’t wait to give it a listen on YouTube or even shell out the 99 cents to $1.29 on your favorite digital music storefront to buy it. Maybe you might even go to a physical location and hand a real person actual money in exchange for a physical good with the song on it either digitally or analog.

Well, too bad. You can’t. Continue reading

Gaming is a Garbage Fire

I’m a regular visitor of the gaming website Giant Bomb, and usually dedicate four plus hours a week of my time listening to their various gaming podcasts. Not only are they frequently some of the funniest podcasts on the internet, but they’re usually a great place to get information on new games. These days they’re more or less my exclusive source for gaming news.

A few weeks ago on the Giant Beastcast (the East Coast crew’s podcast) host Vinny Caravella went on a bit of an uptempo tangent, professing that this was the greatest time to be a gamer. Not only did we have new technology like VR coming down the pike, but the sheer girth of games, from big-budget AAA action spectacles to indie point-and-click adventure games, assured that everyone, no matter what their tastes, could find something they liked.

And to a certain extent, I definitely think he’s right. Games are better than ever! There’s more variety than ever before, and at more price points. Speaking strictly in terms of consumer value and customer choice, it’s the greatest time ever to be into video games.

Speaking from just about every other avenue imaginable though, it’s a complete disaster. From top to down, gaming is screwed. It’s so screwed that, to paraphrase Roseanne, the light from screwed would take a million years to reach it. And no matter where you look, from the fans to the developers to the games themselves, things are bleak. Continue reading

Targets: When Reality Eclipses Fantasy

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When people talk about movies that predict the future, they often turn to sci-fi. Back To the Future II was recently focused in many articles, with it being the year in which the film took place. And many a clickbait has been published showing how a few of the predictions made in Back To The Future II hit the mark, while countless more were off by a mile. Other movies I see mentioned when talking about celluloid-based crystal balls include Escape From New York, Demolition Man, The Terminator and Mad Max. But no sci-fi film has come as close to predicting the dystopic future we find ourselves trapped in now as Targets, a little-known low-budget drama/thriller from 1968.

It foresees the sad future we live in so much that when I recently watched it for the first time it literally gave me chills. Continue reading

Finding Hope for Empathy via Kiki’s Delivery Service

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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

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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

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