Funny, eh? I did tell you guys I wasn’t going to be writing RETROGRADING anymore, didn’t I?
Widro tapped me to be the leadoff guy for the week here at InsidePulse.com, and although it means putting on my pet project for a few months, how could I say no to those big puppy dog eyes?
For those of you that don’t read our GAMES SECTION, my blog, or old folklore journals and magazines and related materials from the late 1990’s, I’m Alexander Lucard. Yes, that’s my real name. YES, I have heard every dyslexic Dracula joke in the world. YES, it’s true I have a bit of a Pokemon obsession. But hey, I’m a subcultural icon beloved by a large audience that has little crossover with those that generally read InsidePulse.com, or my old RETROGRADING home at 411Mania.com. So let’s see what I can do here.
Now, when Widro said, “Lucard, I need a column that touches on each of the specific pop culture subjects we cover here at InsidePulse.com. Can you do something like that?” I said, “Probably not?” Then Widro said, “Hey, you want me to make you have to play Beyond Good and Evil again. I have a sealed copy of it here for the Game Cube.” I said, “Definitely not!” So I was given a choice. Playing my least favorite game of 2003. Or finding a way to talk about things I don’t normally watch like Sports or Wrestling. But that’ll be half the fun.
Games that Alex has played this week
Each week, I’ll give a run down of the games I have played. And give you a one sentence review of each so you know if they are worth your time and money. This is something we talked about over in Games, but hasn’t happened yet so here’s my bit of it.
1. Echo Night Beyond. Read my review of it!
2. Champions of Norrath. How a game can use the Dark Alliance 2 engine, which is a contender for RPG of the year and yet be so bad is beyond me.
3. Disgaea. It was the Games section choice for best game of the year in 2004, so what more needs to be said?
And that’s it. I don’t play video games as much as one might think. Sorry to ruin the illusion.
People in GAMES worth reading this week:
Bebito Jackson , aka the Big Daddy Cool to my ShowStoppa talks about the upcoming port of the Sonic Mega Collection to the PS2. I wonder if he knows that it’s also now coming to the Xbox as well? And remember kids, if you can buy it on any system other than the PS2, do so. Because Sony doesn’t love you. It just loves your money.
Cory Laflin reviews a football game showing that we in the GAMES section are not elitist snobs who buck mainstream gaming every chance we get. Really!
This Thursday I attended the Curiosa festival in Tinley Park, Illinois. It was rainy. It was cold. And your Sub-Cultural Icon was considered almost as big an attraction as the opening bands. People pointed, molested, prodded and asked to take pictures of me. What can I say? Even when everyone else around me in draped in a monochromatic wardrobe, I still stand out like a sore thumb. Sure it’s flattering at times, but I came to listen to music, NOT to be a boy toy for thousands of gawkers.
Curiosa is similar to other festivals like Lalapalooza and Lilith Fair, except the music here was a little more Goth/New Romantic/Dark Wave/ compared to the others. Of course, I’ve never been to a Lilith Fair, and I only went to a Lalapalooza to see Siouxsie and the Banshees.
There were two stages: The A stage and the B stage. Out of the B stage acts, I only got to catch one of them: Melissa Auf Der Maur, who was good for what I heard. But I only heard 1-2 songs. Otherwise, I was…distracted.
The A stage however was of course where all the cool kids were and we managed to procure some excellent seats right smack in the middle of the Tweeter Center.
A quick rundown of the A Stage Bands:
Mogwai: Never have I been to a concert where the band’s music was totally droned out by their feedback. They were by far the loudest of the groups playing ears and the only ones that left my ears ringing. But as for what they were playing and how good they were I can’t say. Like I said, there was so much feedback you couldn’t hear Jack or Shit. I have to say I don’t care to hear them again live if they don’t care enough to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The Rapture: Man do these guys remind me of Tones on Tail or what? And for those of you wondering, Tones of Tail was in between stage from Bauhaus becoming Love And Rockets after Peter Murphy decided to go solo. The Rapture had the best performance of the evening, save the headliners. Incredible mix of music, excellent vocals, all around fabulous act to see Live. I suggest picking up their CD if you get a chance.
Interpol: Good. Not outstanding though. But good. Oddly they looked like Goths that wandered into The Gap and were forced to buy and wear clothing from that clothing chain of evil. It was a hard visual to get used to. Again, I suggest buying their CD, but there was something missing from their performance. Maybe I was just waiting for the Main Event?
THE CURE: Hey, I’m supposedly Goth as Fuck. And my love for this band probably doesn’t help any argument against that point.
My problem here is that the only original member of the group is of course Robert Smith. Sure Simon Gallup was there and he’s been a member of the Cure for a long f*cking time, but the fact remains it was pretty much Robert Smith and a Cure cover band not having to use the phrase “cover band.”
But who cares? They were amazing! Sure the bassist looked like he didn’t belong with the band at all, but the performance was amazing, and thankfully, unlike prior reports, there was an equal mix of new and old songs. And on further investigation I learned that they never play the same set twice. Talking to my Toronto and Miami friends, I learned song songs played there (like the Forest) weren’t played in IL, and vice versa. Thankfully we got “Boys Don’t Cry.”
A great concert, although I felt sorry for the people who were in the general admission section sitting on the wet grass without any covering. If you still have a chance, go to it, as it’s THE concert event of the summer. And if you miss it, then you suck and no one will ever love you. I mean, do you really want to be that guy?
People in Music worth checking out this week:
Jeff Fernandez who chickened out to going clubbing with me after the Cure concert leaving me to have to spend the night in a hotel room with a pair of scantily clad dominatrixi,is my new best friend. What can I say, even when I lose, I still win. Giggidygiggidygiggidy.
Hey, is the pural of Dominatrix, Dominatrixi, or Dominatrixes? I say the latter but the former seems like the correct vernacular. I have been told Dominatrices is correct, so we’ll go with that from now on.
Gloomchen, who can tell you I have a larger female audience than all of the other InsidePulse writers combines talks about robots in her column, and also reviews some CD’s.
Friday, I attended the Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago as it was a few miles from the Curiosa event I attended the night before.
Now, I’m not a comics fan. I stopped reading comics when I was a teenager. I was a HUGE fan of Justice League International, Transformers, Captain America, Excalibur, Lobo, and Sandman. But I haven’t read in a long time.
Now I’m sorry if this offends some of you, but oh my bloody god name Cthulhu sleeping in R’yleth waiting for the stars to be right, was that creepy as hell. Not only was it one of the most peculiar smells ever, but I learned never, EEEEEEVER to cybergoth up at one of these places. I stood out like a sore thumb even though there were people dressed as chicks from Hogwarts, Galactus, a touchy feeling Doctor Doom, an incredible spot on Captain Jack Sparrow, and Hellboy. I stopped counting after the hundredth time someone stopped me to look at my clothes and compliment me on them. Again, like Curiosa, flattering but creepy.
The best thing that came out of it was being molested by comic fans over at the Mattel booth, including the staff themselves. Why? The Model playing She-Ra. She was like, “OMGWTF! I’m being molested by perverts and geeks.” I was like, “OMGWTF, I’m being molested by perverts and geeks.” And in that brief moment we found each other, mutual empathy towards parallel situations at Wizard World. Plus she thought I was hot, and hey,she was the Princess of Power. How could I not be flattered by that. Still, it is too bad I had to leave Chicago that night otherwise the two of us would have had a nice evening together comparing who got poked the most.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting down comic fans. After all, we all have our passions. Our own comic staff like Daron and Ben are amazing writers that have worked hard to earn the respect of fans and comic professionals alike. I just found a lot of the people there really creepy. But then I also find most people that attend BotCon to be creepy as well. In fact, both conventions had the same smell. Ew. I figure between those two events and GenCon, soap should be an automatic inclusion with admission there. Sure I know. Most of the attendees will think it’s some time of food or a Klingon Phaser type dealie, but some will have vague recollections of what its true use is.
Again, I kid. But I just didn’t relate. It’s not my bag. It would be like Daron or PK attending E3 and being asked to talk about SNK games.
I did get some cool Ryo-ohki stuff from Funimation and bought my first comic in years. I picked up the Trade Paperback of “Formerly Known as the Justice League.” It’s written by Geffen and Dematteis, and they even got Kevin Maguire and Robert Lappin back! All they needed was Andy Helfer. A wonderful comic, and it reminded me of why I stopped reading comics in the first place, because no one does it as well as these guys. No one does a more realistic Batman or Martian Manhunter than this team. The only downside is that it won’t appeal to anyone but fans of their Justice League International run, which was hands down the best incarnation of any Justice League ever.
Plus I got to see Virgil and get him to tell me he was still nWo 4 Life and see Lou Ferrigno and the guy who played Otho in Beetlejuice. Ah C-Level stars, how I love them so.
All in all, not a place I would like to go back to. But then, it’s not my scene and really, I’m at least glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new.
Comic Guys worth reading this week:
See The Dark Overlord himself relay his version of Wizard World from the point of view of a person who can actually appreciate the event. And also see him lust after a woman that wanted a little action with yours truly instead. But I showed him naked boobies of one of my many harem members, so it’s all good between us.
Oscar Ferguson reviews JLE #2. Word of advice Oscar: It may have Wally West, but if Captain Atom, Blue Jay, Metamorpho and Rocket Red aren’t on the team, it’s a second rate JLE.
Okay. Wake up call time. I rarely if ever watch wrestling. I love Kurt Angle and well, Shawn Michaels, but with the latter I am considered a bit biased considering we share a common nickname. But really, I’m not a fan of the current American product.
Here: These are my five favorite wrestlers.
1. Masahiro Chono
2. Ultimo Dragon
3. Great Muta
4. Kendo Ka Shin
5. Jushin Liger
My five favorite non Asiatic superstars?
1. Don Frye
2. Stan Hansen
3. Terry Gordy
4. Steve Williams
5. Mike “PS” Hayes
Decidely not what the IWC loves. But who cares? Maybe that is what you guys need. You need a guy that says “Damn it, Stan Hansen vs Rick Martel for the AWA title was an AMAZING match.” Or “I loved the UWF. DEAL WITH IT.”
Anyway, the only thing of importance that happened this week was Summerslam. So I suppose I’ll talk about the results there.
The Dudleys (Spike/D-Von/Buh Buh Ray) defeated Kidman/Mysterio/London
Okay. I still don’t care about the Dudleys. Maybe, MAYBE if Vince reached into his pockets and got Joel “So big he’s hurtin’ her” Gertner, I’ll care. I understand the Shooting Stars and Rey-Rey losing here though, even though I don’t like it. After all, new heel threesome needs their push, right?
Kane beat Matt Hardy
Lita didn’t go heel? That was a shocker. But she still has to marry Kane. Maybe when she gets a little sweet Big Red Retard loving, she get filled with dark loving. Personally I think it would be hilarious to play up some comedy aspects of this. Maybe have Sara and the Undertaker throw her a bridal shower. Or have Paul Bearer in a full body cast welcoming her to the family. Or instead of trading rings, they get his and her masks. Oh wait. Kane lost his mask. Still, if they could do some black comedy with this, it would be great. Does baby Kane have pyrokentic powers as well? Poor Lita if it does,
John Cena beat Booker T in the first of a “Best of 5” series
A year to the day since I received a concussion from Cena at the Target Center when he F-U’d me through a table. Sorry. Very inside commentary there.
Regardless, Booker T damn well better win the series. Cena doesn’t need the belt and honestly, I liked him better as the Prototype than PN News 2.0. It’s a damn shame Booker T hasn’t been a WWE champion, and I’d rather have seen him win the belt from Eddie than JBL. At least let him keep the US title. Case in point though, John Cena is no Chris Benoit, and this series will fall short of the WCW classic best of 7 between those two for the TV title. Of course, Booker T and Benoit are no Magnum T and Nikita Koloff and that is the best “Best of” series ever.
Edge beat Batista and Jericho to retain the IC title
Good. I like Edge. I like heel Edge. I REALLY like heel Edge when teamed with heel Christian. Bring that back. Batista needs to be renamed as he’s not with D-Von anymore. I mean, COME ON! LEVIATHAN! How can anyone prefer Batista to that? Oh and Jericho? Meh. Heel Edge ties perfectly in with the ended prematurely angle he had with Trish and Christian. I say let him continue to be fodder for them.
Kurt Angle beat Eddie Guerrero
Good. Kurt rules over all. Kurt is a real Athlete. All hail Kurt.
The bad side is this is the second Summerslam where the WM World title match is redone, planted firmly in the midcard and where the opposite guy wins. I mean like Brock and Angle last year, watching these two go at it is great, but I remember when WM title matches were dream matches. I don’t remember Angle or Eddie hooking up before WM 20. And so it was kind of a shame to see it again so soon. At least it was at the #2 PPV of the year. I’m old fashioned, what can I say?
HHH beats Eugene
Big f*cking shocker. Next
Bradshaw beats Undertaker by DQ to retain the WWE title
Hey, I buy Bradshaw as a champ. People bought him as one of the toughest guys in the fed when he was an Acolyte. Why not now? I’m glad Undertaker killed him though, as that’s his gimmick and Bradshaw is a Honkey Tonk Man meets Ted Dibiase style heel. I’m also glad JBL retained so he can drop it to someone who can perform weekly or who is a majorly over superstar. Personaly, I think it’ll either be Cena that beats JBL for the gold as it’s the next logical step for him, or Smackdown will continue to be the fed where they give you some surprise champions. Imagine if Rey Mysterio won the belt. Not only does it allow Bradshaw to continue his anti-immigration and anti-mexican crapola he was doing with Eddie, but it also vindicates the age old belief that the face always eventually triumphs over the heel. It also gives a very over superstar a chance to shine in main event form, create some new fueds we haven’t seen before, and gives the entire wrestling fan base something to talk about. It won’t happen of course, but imagine if the WWE pulled a surprise champion like that on us again. After all, it worked with Bradshaw.
But then what do I know. I don’t watch wrestling all that much.
Randy Orton beat Chris Benoit to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Meh. We all saw it coming. I don’t like Orton and I think Benoit is good, but over-rated. I didn’t care about this match at all. I think Randy got the push too soon and lacks both the mike and in ring skills to be the standard bearer for the RAW brand. The thought of him keeping the belt until WMXXI just makes me glad I’m a casual wrestling fan at best.
Wrestling writers worth your time
Chris Hyatte, although not a Sub-Cultural Icon like yours truly, is still one of the best known names in the entire IWC, and the two of us appearing on Monday’s together is the best way to start off your week.
Eric Szulczewski once made the foolish mistake of asking if I used a pen name when writing. But since that faux pas, I’m learned to love him and his spyware and George Bush hating ways.
Umm…Ã‚Â¦I don’t watch sports. I don’t. Sorry. I will say though that, Daniels is kicking ass with his Olympic coverage, and Cory Laflin is over there now as well, and how can I not push a member of the Kliq at the expense of everyone else?
Allright Let’s end this with three things.
INSIDE PULSE STAFF MEMBER OF THE WEEK
Each week, I’ll present this to a staff member who has done something pretty kick ass to make Inside Pulse a web site that is not only fun to read, but to write for as well.
Week 1 Winner: CHRIS PANKONIN
He’s the mysterious and often invisible leader of Inside Pulse games. I know, I know. You all thought I was the leader. No, I’m merely the main event. Chris does a lot of organizing, puts up with a lot of shit, and generally gets the short end of the stick. But he is appreciated, even if we do tease him a lot for being a mainstream corporate sellout.
INSIDE PULSE FORUM MEMBER OF THE WEEK
Yeah, this’ll get you guys on the forum happy. Same thing. This award goes to a former each week who did something I thought was cool. Start brown nosing and giving me 5 stars now buddy-boys!
Week I Winner: Iain_Burnside
Why? Because of this thread. He loves G’nort. I love Gnort. I’m a JLI whore. He talked about JLI. And he has Megatron for an Avatar. Go Iain! Be proud of your accomplishment.
I damn well better see a “I love Pikachu” thread going up this week…Ã‚Â¦
Lucard’s book of the week
Simply Ming: by Ming Tsai.
It’s a cook book. What can I say? Cooking is my stress relief. My evenings after work are hitting the gym and cooking. And Ming Tsai is my second favorite chef of all time, only behind Iron Chef Sakai. Ming’s restaurant, BLUE GINGER, up in Massachusetts is a place I have yet to go, but salivate over the thought of. He is an expert fusion cuisine chef, mixing Eastern and Western style foods into one succulent dish. He’s also an amazing wine expert.
Let’s go with an easy dish even a newbie cook can make with a little effort and concentration
Green Curry Chicken Noodles
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, cut into 1 inch dice
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Canola oil
2 Medium Onions
1 Cup Green Curry Paste
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into fine strips
1 lb rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained
juice of 3 limes, plus 1 lime quartered for Garnish.
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a wok or heavy saute pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until brown on all sides. Transfer to a bowl (The chicken will continue cooking from the heat)
2. Heat the wok over high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions and stir-fry until soft; about two minutes. Add the curry paste and stir. Add the bell peppers, rice noodles, and chicken and heat through for about five minutes to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the lime juice, stir, and garnish with the lime wedges. Serve IMMEDIATELY.
Trust me people. It’s easy to make. The whole thing is MAYBE an hour of your time and yet it’s a gourmet meal. And women LOVE a man who can cook. Trust me on this.
Although I may be going Fraser Crane on the current InsidePulse.com demographic by doing this, I may in future editions of the Heartbreak Hotel, be separating this into two categories, giving you an book and recipe each week. Let me know if you’d like that.
That’s it. I’m done. I’ve gone from being one of the most respected folklorists in the world and a scary living encyclopedia of video game info to a shill for the entire InsidePulse.com site. Hopefully there wasn’t too much ring rust here. And just remember, it’ll only get better from here.