July 13, 2006 (test entry #2!) :
  So I've recently become enamored with a certain author of Japanese horror manga, one Junji Ito, who's indescribable imagination would turn the bones of Lovecraft green with envy (and some sort of lichen, but mostly envy). If you're wondering what the hell is going on in these images (all from his popular "Uzumaki" series), I'm afraid the answers would only boggle your mind further...but if you've ever suffered fever-induced delirium, you probably have a fairly keen grasp on the kind of non-logic this man puts to paper. Still, these are hardly the strangest visuals you'll burn to memory should you happen upon one of his anthologies.
  It's difficult to generalize the writings of an authentic wacko, but certain themes - such as grotesque physical transformation and mental deterioration - are prevalent throughout Ito's tales, and his tendancy to find horror in unexpected, even ludicrous places is what makes him truly memorable. In Uzumaki, for instance, a town is inexplicably overrun with bizarre phenomena all pertaining to the shape of a spiral (mathematically, the very shape of nature itself). Including a washing machine suicide and dreams of a coiling centipede-man, to name a few.
  Another of his key series, Gyo, has dead, rotting sea-life clambering onto land atop mechanical spider-legs, leaking a blue gas that smells torturously foul...and though we never learn where they're coming from, we do know they just won't stop coming.

   In his stand-alone shorts, the horror is considerably less epic but no less surreal...and in many cases, far more frightening. Accompanying Gyo, for example, is a little number called "The Enigma of Amigara Fault", which single-handedly
gave me claustrophobia, and has quite possibly the strangest premise for a story I have ever encountered.

   So what are you waiting for?! Find yourself some ito, curl up in a comfy chair, and lose your mind...today!
July 13, 2006:
  Yep, that's right. I'm doing a stupid-ass journal sort of thing now...why? Because I spend too much time posting on forums when I should be adding content to Bogleech, so I might as well kill two birds with one stone. I never liked the term "blog", and never wanted one on my site, but if I called it something else (like, you know, "weblog", which is the appropriate term) today's interneteers wouldn't know what it was and skip over it. Whenever I decide this page is "full", I'll add it to the articles archive and start up a new one. Eventually I'll also come up with a nicer look for it, and maybe stop creating it through geocities pagebuilder.

   And if you're worried that a "log" is going to eat up the site AND be completely useless to you, never fear, for these Ramblings shall also be utilized as my official dumping ground for the thousands of strange image files that have rotted away in my harddrive for years, like these!
It's like looking into a mirror!!!
A "Bug and Tar Remover" packet from the local autoshop
A lovely "Ghosts & Goblins" enemy scan from the recent japanese installment.
I've had this damn thing since second grade. It was nothing but a glorified lottery for kids, but 1,000,000 points for style.
"Franzin" vinyl figure card-back by Hideshi Hino
Scanned from a Halloween greeting card
An image of sheer terror from one of my favorite children's films.
July 22:
  You've probably seen this in a grocery store somewhere, but I just think it's really funny.

   Anyhow, I sold a few excess toys on ebay a few months back (whatever I had double or triple of), and I threw in some horrible magic-marker comics with each lot. They are not funny. Enjoy!
Comic for "Aaahhh! Real Monsters!" toy lot
Comic for vintage rubber bug/finger puppet lot
Comic for "Z-bots" figure lot
August 6: Otakon!
  So every year I go to this big anime convention in nearby Baltimore, which is perhaps peculiar because of all the things I'm a "fan" of, Anime is pretty low on the list. I sort of just don't think of it as a world all its own, and tend to judge them on an individual basis like any other movie or television series. Regardless, it's always an interesting weekend with strange things to purchase and even stranger things to see.

   And with that, I give you this site's first-ever convention photo gallery....with an amazing FIFTEEN photos! That's right....not thirteen, not sixteen, but FIFTEEN! Now, technically I'm supposed to have these people's permission to be putting up their photos, but this issue is rarely called to attention; people who do this stuff already expect to end up on the internet. If anyone here does object to their inclusion, let me know via email (linked on every page of this site) and, I don't know, I'll send you out a gift basket.
Morrigan and Lilith from the "Darkstalkers" videogames.
This little "shadow" from Kingdom Hearts was too cute not to photograph.
A bad-ass group of Silent Hill costumoids.
This makes three different Pyramid-heads I actually photographed.
Let them see the wrath of the Monarch!
Probably my favorite costume of the weekend.
Heck, I wish I'd thought of it.
The red-shyguy girls were wearing vampire fangs under their masks, for reasons that couldn't be more OBVIOUS.
  Click the thumbnails for a closer look, and learn the details on mouse-over (I really wish it worked right in Firefox). Much to the chagrin of purists, there's a lot more diversity than just "anime"...but if you're a purist about that sort of thing, it's probably time for you to stop and re-evaluate your life. I didn't get to chat much with a lot of the cosplayers, but all of them were polite and funny people. The red shyguys (Super Mario Brothers 2) taught me that shyguys are actually baby-eating vampires, which makes perfect sense when you get right down to it. There were actually several dozen shyguys in various colors throughout the convention, but I'm not quite sure what their affiliation was all about...hopefully one of them will find this and tell me the story.
  Now, when most normal people think of an anime fan, they think of an overweight, unshaven teenaged male with social skills as poor as his hygiene, but the truth of the matter is that anime geeks are completely indistinguishable from everyday people and if anybody "owns" the subculture, it would appear to be women.

   The succubi and bee girl (Q-bee) from Capcom's "Darkstalkers", Baroness from "G.I. Joe" and Catwoman here aren't all that unusual-looking for congoers, though Catwoman generated a constant, concentrated uproar wherever she went. Thankfully, the shirtless ninja guys are -not- a common occurance, but it's funny how this photo turned out when I didn't even realize they were there.
  Very interesting to me this year was the amount of "Silent Hill" cosplay with more than eight "Red Pyramids" running around and too many zombie nurses to even keep track of, a big step up from the 0-2 Silent Hill characters of previous years, which I suppose we have the movie to thank. Standing out from the masses, however, was a single "orifice" or "lying figure" monster (from the film and the second game), who walked around with just the right twitch...a real crowd pleaser.

   My personal favorite pyramid-head was one I didn't even photograph. While the others may have been a little more "picture-perfect", one guy's helmet had been painstakingly constructed from what craft stores call "fantastic plastic". This high-priced modeling plastic can only be molded for a few seconds before it has to be re-softened in boiling hot water, and this guy's pyramid was easily 50% larger than anyone else's. He attended the convention with what I assume to be his adorable girlfriend, who also made the best looking of the zombie nurses I saw and had constructed her mask the same pain-in-the-ass method. Sadly, I didn't meet these two until very late Saturday night, and they had been so hounded by the paparazzi that I chose not to bug them for a picture. I did, however, make you all this artistic vision that is 100% true to life and should satisfy you utterly:
Morrigan and Lilith from the "Darkstalkers" videogames.
Death from "Guitar Hero" managed to assemble what appear to be store-bought halloween props into a FANTASTIC likeness of his character!
These guys were friends of the Baroness, and had intricately built helmets complete with technological components.
A nice looking person in a nice looking costume of my favorite fighting-game character....and her wings worked!
Having been to her myspace account, I can say with certainly that the lady playing Baroness is one thousand times cooler than whoever you are.
August 12: Otakon toys
  And now for something I forgot to add/almost didn't because it will only interest four (4) people (three of which probably come here), these are the whosits I purchased from the Otakon Dealer's room that weren't cheap (and ultimately uninteresting) DVD's:
  Next is this sweet-ass collection of small GAMERA monsters, which came disassembled in mysterious surprise-boxes. You never knew which figure you were going to get, but I lucked out big time with these three.

This was not, however, the only set of gamera gambling-toys available....
  A completely different-looking box offered mostly figures of Gamera himself, but enticed me with a small picture of the ultra-obscure GUILALA, or "X From Outer Space"...a silly, chickenlike space-fungus who starred in his own movie.

   Lo and behold, my box contained exactly what I wanted, and Guilala is clearly this year's Otakon trophy. He knows it, too. Just look at him.
  First up are a couple of "Heartless" from the "Kingdom Hearts" videogames. These two came packed with Disney's Peter Pan and Beast, but I really just wanted the Heartless. For the usual $10 per set it just wouldn't have been worth it, but for the $5 pricetag at Otakon? Hell yes. The games may be too popular for their own good, but Heartless are boss as all get-out and don't you forget it.
  There's more as you can see, but nothing to really write home about. Absolutely everything else I purchased came in various other "mystery boxes", so I guess I have an addiction to the things. It probably goes all the way back to my utter failure with the "Trash Bag Bunch" toy line of the early 90's, which absolutely refused to yield anything I wanted off the back of the package.

   Looking at it now, this is actually my smallest Otakon haul ever, especially compared to last year's:
  I can't even tell what the "big" prize of 2005 was....could it have been the stuffed Baltan-seijin? Gamera's knife-headed nemesis Guiron? Or the little plastic Major Dr. Ghastly (from Cartoon Network's short-lived and forgotten "Evil Con Carne") I got out of a vending machine at the neighboring Fuddrucker's? Previous years also yielded some Gegege no Kitarou merchandise, godzilla swag out the wazoo, and even a tiny plastic "Toxic Seahorse" from Mega Man X.

   None of them, however, can hold much of a candle to the
X from outer Space. Yes, I think this year was a good year for Otakon. A good year indeed.
August 14: One more Otakon update...
  Thanks to the official Otakon.com message boards, I have actually heard from the very same person who's nurse-monster outfit I so skillfully illustrated, and she has some pretty boss stuff on the interscape for your perusal. Firstly, she is a fantastic ARTISTE, and second, she has a whole mess of Otakon photos much better than mine; especially all the Silent Hill antics and pictures of her and her friend. As you can see, my illustration was absolutely true to life. Look at that happy sun up there and everything.

   My dead nurse friend is the best. Me and my dead nurse friend, we play Otakon stickball!!!
August 26: The Mystery of "Chicles"
  If you pay a lot of attention to vending machines, and I'm sure that you do, you've probably already seen the "wacky tabs" machine dozens of times in your life and never really stopped to think about "Chicles" here, or all the gruesome goblins who are so excited to be feeding him wacky tabs:
  I double-dog dare someone to call that service number and ask them what the deal is with Chicles. They probably won't have any idea what you're talking about, and even if they do, they aren't going to have any answers but at the very least you may break up the monotony of their lives. I mean, come one...these people are being paid to wait for vending-machine maintenance calls. How busy can they be?