Archive for April, 2012

House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 23, 2012 by Griff

so,  sometimes I like to highlight strange,  interesting and under the radar books and I’ve really outdid myself this time, House of Holes is easily the strangest novel I’ve ever read (rivaled only by the similarly titled House of Leaves)

I mean jeez, where do I even begin? I’m a little embarrassed to even be reviewing this book given the subject matter, but I’ve got to get my thoughts on this strange book off my chest

I guess the easiest way to describe this book is imagine if Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) made a porno with Caligula’s budget, yes I said porno, this novel falls into the category of “erotica” a genre I’ve always been curious about but until now never experienced and I picked a hell of a book to start with

House of Holes is surreal tale of a place called the House of Holes (obviously), it’s some kind of sex theme park for adults, except that it doesn’t follow the laws of reality, it’s kind of like a sexual Twilight Zone, a place where anything can happen and all your sexual fantasies can come true, guests are transported to the House of Holes Alice In Wonderland Style through literal holes, be they golf holes, cocktail straws, dryers or someone’s vagina, where they can experience such attractions as “the masturboats” and “pussysurfing the white lake”

if it sounds silly, that’s because it’s supposed to be, the novel is very funny, there’s a constant sense of humor throughout, most of it relating to the constant creative terms that Nicholson Baker comes up with for “penis” and “vagina” (some of which are laugh out loud funny) and other colorful sexual phrases like “jizm covered princess”, but if you’re expecting this book to make logical sense then you’ll be disappointed, that’s not really the point, it’s just a surreal sexual fantasyland, none of the characters seem to be surprised to find themselves transported to the House of Holes or any of the bizarre things that go on (and trust me some really, really bizarre stuff happens) and it’s never explained what exactly the House of Holes’ deal is, everyone just kind of goes with the flow

what can I say? this novel absolutely blew my mind, I have never read anything even close to this in my life, did it turn me on? yes, yes it did, in fact I was a little shocked at how sexy a book could actually be, I know that the “erotica” genre is generally seen as a feminine thing, the stereotype goes that men are supposed to like to actually see things and women are the ones that like to use their imagination, but there’s something to be said for using your imagination every now and then

it is beyond refreshing to read a book where sex is not depicted in any negative way, this is not some Bret Easton Ellis style tale of sexual immorality, it’s a world where sexual desire and pleasure is not supposed to be “shallow” or the characters “soulless” or anything, this is a world where all the pretensions come off, a world where the sexual nature of life that is always there below the surface comes to the forefront  and men and women are blunt and frank with each other about their true natures, the sex in this novel is graphic, but not grotesque

man, I almost found the book depressing because I wish the House of Holes was a real place, some people read the Harry Potter books and wish they could visit Hogwarts for real or whatever, me I wish I could visit the House of Holes

I find it ironic that the media has been paying so much attention to that “Fifty Shades of Grey” book, which from the sound of it is a bog standard BDSM tale that was once Twilight fanfiction of all things and has somehow become a best seller and largely ignoring this book, I guess the sexually liberated attitude of the book is a little too controversial or whatever, all I know is all those lonely housewives that read Fifty Shades of Grey don’t know what they’re missing

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a special announcement: the anime reviews…are returning!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2012 by Griff

yeah, remember anime? remember the original idea behind this blog was to review almost nothing but anime? I fell off the wagon on that one didn’t I? what can I say, due to some personal things (nothing real serious) I had less free time than I normally do last year and see I’m a gamer first and foremost, video games take up the lion’s share of my free time and video games are a time consuming hobby, last year I hit rock bottom, I realized that I didn’t watch any  anime at all last year and much to my surprise that was actually the first time a whole year went by with me watching no anime at all in forever, even during a few years where I thought (incorrectly) that I didn’t

well it’s time for that to change, I’ve realized that I’m now at a crossroads here, it’s time to either shit or get off the pot (if you’ll pardon the expression) on this whole anime business, either it’s time to get serious with it or just throw in the towel for good, to just say “ok, anime is just not for me anymore”

but I don’t want to do that! which is why I’m pleased to announce that it’s coming back, in either late May or early June expect to see anime reviews popping up on here again for the first time since 2010

see I’ve thought about it and I’ve come up with a  strategy on how to tackle it, if this sounds a little ridiculous keep in mind there is a TON, I mean a TON of anime that I want to watch, the list goes on and on (and on), but basically it’s broken up into 5 categories, 1: anime from the early to mid 2000’s that I’ve wanting to see for years, 2: anime from the last several years that I’ve been wanting to see, 3: anime that I want to re-watch that I haven’t seen in years (for example Cowboy Bebop), 4: more classic anime from the 80’s and 90’s that I want to see just to see how things have evolved and 5: recent or brand new anime that I want to see (which is unfortunately, not all that much)

I think one of the problems is that I would try to watch too much in too little time, I would overload myself, now I’m going to try to spread it out a little more, ideally kind of reach a balance of watching anime in between doing other things instead of this “once in a blue moon marathon” thing I’ve been doing for years

lastly I’m going to change my review style, I’ve gone back and re-read my old reviews and while some of them I quite like, I think the problem is that I’m too vague or brief with reviewing a lot of them, see I’m really sensitive about spoilers and I hate the idea of spoiling something for other people, however if you’re so worried about spoilers it hinders your writing, so I’m going to loosen up with that and basically talk more about what actually happens in each anime, I’ll try not to give anything major away, but if I’m reviewing an anime that you want to remain completely unspoiled on, then beware, just a head’s up, I’ll also be revisiting a few anime I’ve already reviewed and try to write more detailed and hopefully improved reviews of them

so there you have it, the goal that I’ve been working to for years now, the goal of making watching anime a regular thing I do instead of an occasional thing AND the goal of actually getting “caught up” and watching new anime as it comes out seems to be close at hand, so for whoever’s out there reading, thanks for the patience

Adult Swim brings back Toonami for one night on April Fools

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 3, 2012 by Griff

http://www.japanator.com/toonami-returned-if-only-for-april-fool-s-day-22735.phtml

I don’t normally cover news on this blog (with rare exceptions) but I read this story and just had to post my thoughts on it

ok so for a long time now (maybe since the beginning? I’m not sure) Adult Swim has made it a tradition to have April Fools pranks, some of these I’ve witnessed myself (like when they added fart sound effects to their shows) and some of them I’ve only heard about (like their repeated airings of The Room), but this year they brought back Toonami, for one night only, they brought back T.O.M and played nothing but anime, not just episodes from series that they previously played on Adult Swim, but mostly shows they played on Toonami! talk about a blast from the past…

reading that story absolutely warmed the cockles of my heart, seriously I almost teared up, tragically I missed it myself, I just totally forgot about  Adult Swim and their April Fools, I wish I had remembered, but no matter, just the fact that they did this is beyond awesome

Adult Swim used to be my bread and butter for anime back in the day, I didn’t watch every anime they played, but I did watch a good majority, I remember every Saturday night I would take a break from the video games and sit down for the anime, I never missed an episode, even when I was on vacation I would make sure to still watch it, even once on a trip to Universal Studios in 2007 late at night, after a long day of theme parking I was sleepy as hell, but I made damn sure to stay up to watch my Adult Swim anime (even though I was so tired I didn’t remember much of it the next day)

and man, they played some great stuff over the years, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex, Paranoia Agent, Samurai Champloo, Case Closed,  s-CRY-ed (ok that one was a bit lame, but still watchable), Bleach, Eureka 7, Blood +, Death Note and it was also where I first saw both the Read or Die OVA and Neon Genesis Evangelion for crying out loud! and that’s just the anime that I actually watched, there’s even more series that they played that I didn’t watch

but then….things changed, in 2008 I started watching Code Geass on there, but they kept messing with it’s time slot, eventually putting new episodes ridiculously late at night and in frustration I stopped watching, plus that was when Bleach entered it’s first filler arc and I had to bail on that too, so for the first time in years I was no longer there every Saturday night, it’s not that they haven’t seen played interesting anime, but once you fall out of certain grooves it’s hard to get back in

afterwards was when they started playing significantly less anime on Adult Swim, anime used to be half of Adult Swim’s appeal, I mean they used to play a TON of it and they used play it on the weekdays too, but all that changed, it pretty much became an afterthought, constricted to just a handful of series only on Saturday nights, in it’s place came constant reruns of Family Guy and King of The Hill (not that reruns haven’t been on Adult Swim since the beginning, but still, do you really have to play so much Family Guy?)

I think a big part of what contributed to anime on Adult Swim’s downfall was not only what was going on in the industry itself at the time, but also Adult Swim’s stubborn insistence on only playing action oriented shows (with very rare exceptions, like Super Milk Chan), for example I think they missed a HUGE opportunity by never playing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on there while it was still a hot property, people did ask them about it, but they’re response was always “it’s not an action show”, but “action anime” kind of dried up there for the most part, it’s not really where the industry has gone for the last couple of years, it seems like they did later realize their mistake and tried giving comedy anime a chance, but their choice of series was……Crayon Shin Chan? really? another problem was it seemed like they (perhaps understandably given censorship) strayed away from any anime that had any amount of fanservice (aka T&A) in it at all, hence why shows that otherwise would have fit like a glove, shows like Mai Hime or Burst Angel, never made it onto Adult Swim due to the fact that they featured sexy ladies

so it seems like at the end of the day Adult Swim read the writing on the wall, that anime’s day in the sun in America was coming to a close and decided to make it an afterthought and put their focus on the comedy shows, I can’t say it was a bad business decision really, but still….

but then they go and pull this stunt and all I can say is “Adult Swim you magnificent bastards!”, this really seems like Adult Swim is intentionally sending out the message “we haven’t totally forgotten or given up on anime guys, we still love you”,  after a few years now of me just basically assuming anime was all but dead on Adult Swim, it’s great to see some signs of life…

ok now technically this all related to Toonami, not Adult Swim and Toonami is what I credit as really getting me into anime (like a lot of anime fans my age), Pokemon may have been the precursor, but it was anime on Toonami like Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Big O, Outlaw Star and Tenchi Muyo that really got the ball rolling

sadly Toonami ended in 2008, a year after I stopped watching it (the last show I watched on there was Naruto, I stopped because I gradually learned that Naruto sucks, filler or no filler, sorry Naruto fans) and this is “testing the waters” for a possible Toonami resurrection, not necessarily that they’re going to show more anime on Adult Swim, but still, it’s Cartoon Network, it’s all the same umbrella, it just really warms my heart to see Adult Swim do this

now, would I actually watch a resurrected Toonami? welllllllll that’s hard to say, it really depends on what they play (and what they would play I have no idea, other than Naruto again maybe?), but at 22 years old I can’t say I have a whole lot of interest in watching heavily edited anime intercut with commercials for toys and breakfast cereals, as much nostalgia as I do have for Toonami, I’d be much more interested in Adult Swim taking a more serious approach to anime again, that I would tune in for I guess, but either way, it’s just cool to see Adult Swim throw anime a freakin’ bone, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it