Tags: 19th century

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The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 5 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


A lo, there came a chapter 5.

This chapter is a personal favourite of mine, in that - towards the end - we see Reginald's father, Reginald Sr, showing the first signs of the unimaginably terrible behaviour which will come to dominate his every waking moment later on in the story. I think I can honestly say that I have never written a character as completely and hilariously obnoxious as Reginald Sr, and no relationship between any two characters I have ever written has been AS funny as that between the two Reginald Kingsleys. It all begins here, as far as that goes, and only becomes more magnificently train-wrecky as the story progresses.



Chapter 5







Download Chapter 5 directly here


Download Chapter 4 directly here


Download Chapter 3 directly here


Download Chapter 2 directly here

Download Chapter 1 directly here



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The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 4 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


Part two of our prologue begins as Reginald finds himself unwittingly and unwillingly inducted into a savage rite of combat by primitive Pacific islanders. Can he possibly survive long enough to have already appeared in the first two chapters which we've already read? It seems unlikely!







Download Chapter 4 directly here

Download Chapter 3 directly here

Download Chapter 2 directly here

Download Chapter 1 directly here



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The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 3 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


Chapter Three begins a brief prologue, of sorts. One might argue that a prologue more properly belongs before the beginning of chapter 1. Such a one fails to grasp the avant-garde nature of what I'm doing here.

Even if you haven't checked out chapters 1 or 2, I would strongly recommend you give this one a whirl. Not only do I consider it the funniest chapter so far, it's also the most technically challenging to have created in Audio-Rama Format. Moreover, it's more purely representative of what the story is like from here on out; where I think I really hit my stride writing it.

And, as always, let me know what you think of the end result.

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Sukiyaki Western Django is not a good movie.

A while ago, my friend Ray brought over a DVD of a movie entitles “Sukiyaki Western Django.” I had never heard of it, and Ray seemed oddly hesitant about sharing it. It was plain that he wanted to do so, not only in that he wished to watch it himself, but I think, wisely, he did not wish to watch it alone.

This was very wise of him.

Sukiyaki Western Django, you see, is not a good movie. Moreover, it’s the sort of movie which is so spectacularly ill-conceived that it is honestly difficult to imagine why anyone would think it could ever be a good idea. The fact that it could go all the way through the production process without anyone ever stopping said production and saying “Hold on, wait. Are we really sure this is a good idea?” is genuinely mystifying to me. Don’t get me wrong: As I’ve quite recently demonstrated, (and indeed less-recently demonstrated), I understand the appeal of coming up with outlandishly bad ideas for cinematic productions. The difference is, I would not then go about putting these ideas into practice. Herein lies one of various differences between myself and the creative minds behind this unimaginable train-wreck of a film.

Let’s start with the basics. The movie is set in some sort of bizarre version of mid-1800s Nevada. It’s plainly an old west town, in some sense, because of the set dressing and general atmosphere. The populace of the town, however, is less equivocal in this respect. For you see, they’re all Japanese. All of them. And not only are they all Japanese, they’re obviously native Japanese speakers. You can tell this because they speak English with extremely, and indeed sometimes incomprehensibly, thick Japanese accents. The reason for this is obscure. Are they meant to be first-generation Japanese immigrants? If so, why – when there does not appear to be a single native English speaker in town – do they not speak their native Japanese in their own company? This question is not addressed at any point during the movie.

From a production standpoint, a conceit such as this is fairly eyebrow-raising: What audience did they think they were serving by this approach? An English-speaking audience isn’t going to benefit from an entire cast of actors who not only don’t speak English very well, they seem in some cases not to be able to speak the language at all; it appears that at least a few of them are pronouncing lines which they had memorized phonetically, with no knowledge of what they were actually saying. To say that this limited the amount of pathos they could bring to the roll is an understatement. A Japanese audience, likewise, would seem to be better-served by a cast who actually speaks Japanese; even an audience who craves the authenticity involved with having cowboys speaking English is likely to balk at one which does so in such an obviously inauthentic manner.

Although to call them “cowboys” might be a little bit of a stretch: They dress in a manner which seems more closely in line with modern Japanese street gangs, while simultaneously apparently being members of mediaeval Japanese Samurai clans. This bizarre mish-mash of elements blend together remarkably poorly, even as a sort of alternate-universe type of setting.

It also bears pointing out that there is one single exception to the above casting decisions, in the person of one Mr, Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino’s role is probably the single most baffling element of the entire film. Not only is he the only native english speaker in the film, this point is never brought up by any of the characters involved. He stands out like a sore thumb who is speaking perfect english in a sack full of Japanese-speaking sore thumbs. Moreover, his role makes not one lick of sense. He appears at the beginning of the film as a young man, and after a brief introductory segment, he begins to tell a story from long ago, which turns out to be the rest of the movie. Incomprehensibly, however, he also appears later on as an elderly version of the same character. Allow me to stress this point by means of the ancient art of “all caps” thus: DURING THE COURSE OF THE STORY HE IS TELLING AS A YOUNG MAN, HE APPEARS AS A VERY OLD MAN IN A BIZARRE MECHANICAL WHEELCHAIR. He concludes his appearance as an old man by remarking to the man he’s speaking to “I suppose I shall always remain an Anime Otaku.”

It was at this point that I turned to Ray and said to him “This movie is crazy.” And it was understood between he and I that I wasn’t speaking in a kindly or jolly manner. I meant it made no fucking sense. No explanation for any of the many baffling parts of this are ever offered.

And you know, if they had decided to run with this sort of “LOL, Random!” humour, it could have redeemed the movie and made it bearable. It really could have. Ray and I began to speculate: If the cowboys are all Japanese, then maybe the “Indians” could all be blonde-haired Russians, who play their ancient and traditional player pianos out in the desert. Perhaps the Mexicans could be Irishmen. If they went that way, it could have become genuinely fun and enjoyable. But no. Aside from Tarantino’s bizarre and inexplicable appearance, everyone, cowboy and Indian alike, are poorly-spoken and badly-acted Japanese people.

This movie is so spectacularly bad that it probably-unintentionally succeeds in being sort-of-kind-of good in the sense that, while I didn’t enjoy the movie itself, I enjoy COMPLAINING about it. And to that extent, it might be worthwhile to watch with a group of friends who go into the experience with the intention of mocking it during the course of the viewing.

There is certainly nothing else redeeming about this overwhelming clusterfuck of a production, which honestly places alongside Battlefield Earth in terms of ill-conceived abominations of film-making.




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More pulp adventures from the deepest wilds of Friendster


Since a number of people expressed an interest and/or appreciation of my pulp adventures from a couple of posts back, I've dug up two more. I wish there were more, but they seem to have been lost to the mists of time, as the accounts which they were posted on have since been deleted. And mores the pity;  I have fond memories of one of them. But then, perhaps there's a silver lining to this; if I were to do any more of these absurd little things, it means I can re-use the ideas from it guilt-free! 
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In retrospect from my perspective some five years later, there are a couple of elements here which I view as slightly embarassing and which I certainly would't have included today, but at the time, I wasn't precisely aiming at high literature. These were, after all, no more than comments on some friends' profiles. Nevertheless, they do put a smile on my lips even now.
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A buried gem from years gone by


Years and years ago, when Friendster was first starting up and people cared about it, I had and briefly used a profile there. Nothing about this is exceptional or noteworthy. However, during that time, a bunch of friends and acquaintances of mine also made use of it, and Friendster had a feature called "Testimonials and Comments", which allowed you to write a blurb about a friend and have it displayed prominently on their profile page. 

Somehow, I got the idea into my head that I would write these in the style of weird, 19th-century-esque pulp adventures which had no relation whatsoever to the person I was writing about, save for the use of their name somewhere in the story being told. What's more, they were all written in such a way that they were all set in the same ridiculous world, and had a consistent mythology behind them. I took considerable pleasure in seeing these multi-paragraph, sprawling tales dominate my friends' pages with their nonsensical stories of daring-do.

While looking through some of my old files, I discovered one I had entirely forgotten, written for a passing acquaintance who went by the name "Pipkin". It made me laugh out loud, and so I share it here.

***
 

I first met Pipkin during one of my periodic lunar getaways about ten years ago. I’d arrived on Luna aboard my rocket-ship, The Nuclear Stallion, and set up base camp in the sea of Tranquility; a quiet spot which has come to have sentimental value to me, as it is there that I had – years earlier – thwarted the evil Dr. Six in his scheme to enslave the canine population of earth with his Orbital Lust Inducer; a devilish device meant to play upon the will of dogs everywhere to howl at the moon. A nefarious scheme, but one which bears repeating elsewhere, as I digress. I had set out to dig for ice below the surface of the moon in order to re-supply my stores of water, when I came upon a most startling discovery: the remnants of what looked like some long-lost moon civilization!

Straight away, I set about excavating the find, unearthing as I did so the remains of a set of intricately-carved stone pillars (which now adorn my front parlour back on good old Terra Firma), all encrusted in thick lunar ice, and then – most startlingly of all – a full-grown woman, naked, and encased in the ice! Remarkable! Quickly excavating the ice she was encased in, I brought her back to the Nuclear Stallion, and thawed her out at once. To my considerable relief and surprise, she near-instantly regained consciousness, and began to speak to me in some ancient and long-forgotten moon-tongue. Clearly, I would have none of that, and set about teaching her the Queen’s tongue, after clothing her in some of my excess attire (a concept which she seemed to find both novel and delightful. Oh, how she capered about in her new clothes!). When at last, a week later, the launch window for our return to Earth came, I decided to take her with me, not trusting the airless void of space to be overly kind to my foundling. Though neither Earth’s gravity nor her blue sky agreed with her, Pipkin (as I’d come to understand was her moon-name) adapted marvelously to this new world, and ingratiated herself into human society with an ease and alacrity which stunned even me. She spoke often of the lost civilizations of the moon, and how she loathed each and every one of them. Such panache and eloquence did she speak of her hatred that soon all the peoples of the world came to view the once-treasured satellite with loathing and contempt which I found slightly unsettling to behold.

Nevertheless, when she ran for high public office on a "Let us rid ourselves of the moon" platform, I could not find it in my heart to refuse her; she was, after all, the last survivor of the moon’s people, which made her it’s sovereign, so far as I was concerned, and thus entitled to do with the silly old ball of rock as she pleased (no matter how much I might miss my occasional vacations there). She won, of course, and soon applied the industries of the Earth about the task of destroying the moon outright. The night it was destroyed is one which I will never forget. I stood upon the balcony of my family home; Uncanny Manor, my family and entourage at my side. As at last Pipkin threw the switch which caused the Moon to explode into particulate dust, there was not a dry eye to be seen. "Father, how shall we live in a world with no moon", my eldest daughter, Cleopatra (named after my legendary custom-built triple-barreled hunting rifle of the same name) asked me. "One day at a time, my little isotope", I responded. "One day at a time".

***

I really liked the tone of these little stories. Maybe I'll see if I can locate some more of them. Maybe I'll write some more some day.
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Les Liaisons: An Adventre in Bourgeois Excess


 
I recently became aware of this splendid little gem of a game. The creators don't seem to have a homepage or any sort of web presence that I'm able to discern, or else I would link it here. I have no idea how they intended to see this distributed, which is baffling, given the amount of work that plainly went into this opus.

At any event, it's brief - it will only take about 25 minutes to play through in its entirety - and can only be called a "game" in the loosest possible sense of the words, but is entirely delightful; it's a sort of gentle subversion of Final Fantasy-esque RPGS, which possitively takes to early 19th century foppery in the same way that a pig takes to its own filth. I found myself positively prostrate with ejaculations of jocularity within moments of partaking in this comedic romp, and I can reccommend it to anyone fond of bourgeois excess and adventures therein with the utmost of confidence.

http://officialincorporated.com/storage/les%20liasons.rar
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A Kentucky Barmaid in the Court of King Louis XIII - The latest offering from NewDog15

After far, far too long a delay, my latest opus is at long last complete and ready for consumption by a public no doubt shuddering with need and quivering with barely-contained anticipation.

Read and enjoy, dear friends. And do remember: This work, as with anything I ever have or ever shall present within the NewDog15 body of work, is quite spectacularly not safe for work.




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Ah, the 19th century

Those who are aware of my particular tastes and fancies know well my peculiar fascination with the 19th century. The aesthetics, the crisp diction of the time, and the enterprising spirit which characterizes the time all speak to some peculiar element of my person. In this taste, I have been well-served, of late. With first my receipt of Matthew Fraction’s Five Fists of Science, and now, more recently, my viewing on one Mr. Michael Mignola’s ‘The Amazing Screw-On Head’, I must confess, it does not seem unlike that there are those in the entertainment industry whose intent it is to see to it that my interests, in particular, should be seen to. With the upcoming release of the third volume of Mr. Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, this impression is only bolstered.

For those who, like myself, brisk adventure in the science-fiction vein, who are not averse to a good hearty laugh or two along the way, I would most vigorously endorse the aforementioned Amazing Screw-On Head, which can, at present, be viewed free of charge here. All that the proprietors ask in return for this service is that, on a purely voulentary basis, mind, you should do the courtesy of filling out a brief survey as pertains to your thoughts on the preceding programme.

I will note here, that my room-mate, Aaron, being an absolute boor and ungrateful lout, could not see his way to filling out the review form even after watching and enjoying the programme. If an act does not immediately benefit him, then even the least of efforts towards that act is inconceivable for him. Gratitude, even in the spirit of enlightened self-interest, is quite foreign to him. He is honestly something of an oaf.

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A question as pertains to sportsmanship and dignity

A question which has weighed heavily upon my mind of late:

In the event that you should be challenged, in whatever arena, in a manner which is petty, small-minded, and picayune, what, truly, is the gentlemanly response?

It could be argued that the gentlemanly response is to turn one's nose up at the affront, refusing to "sink to the level" of your adversary, and maintain a dignified comportment, rather than answering the challenge in the vein in which it was received.

I, however, have been lately of the mind that another approach may bear merit: That perhaps to do so is anything but gentlemanly; it is rather snobbish and contemptuous. Indeed, it would seem to me, upon contemplation, that it may be possible to maintain one's sportsmanly dignity by engaging your opponent on precisely the same level as his petty and infantile attack, and in so doing, accept his challenge in a most gracious manner.

If, for example, a man were to throw a handful of horse dung from the street into your face, it could be fairly argued that this man has challenged you to a horse dung duel. In this event, if you were to refuse to answer in kind, would it not be a sign that you forfeit the challenge? That you are willing to grant him his victory, rather than accept the challenge and RISE to it?

It is not a question, so much, of judging a small and petty response on objective grounds, as it is of judging your acts within the narrow context of the scheme of events which they are an element of. In the preceding example, it seems to me that the act of throwing another mound of horse dung into the face of your challenger would be precisely the appropriate act, as it signals all and sundry that, rather than being unwilling to accept a challenge, sincerely and openly offered, you are gracious enough to accept his terms, as given, and act honourably within them.

I would welcome a vigorous debate on this issue.