Cake Bake Betty

Lindsay Powell amazes as Cake Bake Betty. Follow the link to better understand greatness.



6.30.2006 - [Stuff, Things And Junk - Various Randomness] Hide

This entry brings the 10th anniversary of [Junk Magnet] online to an end. For those who didn't get around to enjoying all it had to offer, feel free to explore the many entries in this month's junk.log.

To follow up my Digging from a few nights ago, I was able to reach my initial goal of one entry on the "homepage" - $5 bill to be redesigned soon due to new scam? - with 499 diggs and counting. Actually, I would have achieved a similar feat with another article, but someone duplicated it a few hours after I posted it, and that one got all of the attention. Both the owner and I marked it as a duplicate, and left comments to use mine, but those comments were suppressed and ignored. Not that it really matters in the long run, since I'll get my next popular stories soon enough.

Finally, I liked [Superman Returns], but it's more romantic and contemplative then you'd expect for a "comic book movie". Don't listen to the critics - it's a good time, particularly in the first 2/3.


6.29.2006 - [Almost Timely Reviews Of Great Japanese Music] Hide

I just received my latest shipment of music from Japan yesterday, and I was quite impressed by the latest from Puffy, Hikaru Utada, Tommy heavenly6, and particularly Thmlues. What follows are some first impressions of each.

Thlmues latest single is perhaps their most rockin' affair yet. [Lost in Uchu] is appropriately spacy in between the power chords, and exhibits more quirky sounds that I'm used to from the quartet. It's the kind of song that grabs you by the shoulders and performs major chiropractic dance movements. [Annui Chokyori Telephone Girl] is in many ways even better, and I couldn't help but smile the first time I heard its advanced pop stylings, not to mention the touch tone telephone melody. It kind of reminds me of Weezer meets The Pixies. The CD also has a live track that's 1/3 a message to the audience, but the rest is pure magic. Finally, there's [OUT of SAVE], a semi-remix of earlier stuff that has that Dragon Ash rap-rock thing going on. Overall, a big surprise hit for me this week.

Careful readers should know that Tommy heavenly6 is is one of my favorites, and [I'm Gonna SCREAM+] is perhaps her best single so far. That is to say that all three tracks are awesome in their own way, with the title song an interesting mix between poppy heavy metal, poppy modern rock, and that special Tommy vocalization which made the brilliant green really work. However, the other two tracks are equally great, with [GOING 2 MY WAY!] continuing the buzzy rock sound like [Eight Arms To Hold You] by Veruca Salt, with a clear evolution from [Tommy heavenly6], her first album. I particularly appreciate the final song, an acoustic version of [+gothic Pink+] (one of my favorite songs) in a sparse version that I actually now prefer to the original. Again, Tommy heavenly6 is never a bad choice.

I love Puffy. [Tokyo I'm On My Way] is a nice song from their 10th anniversary album, [Splurge], which came out on 6.28.2006 (I won't get my copy for a few weeks. This song in particular has a great, fragmented collage of a video, featuring scores of views of Tokyo in a quite impressive presentation. [Seikai Hajikko] is actually a better song than the single, with amazing production by Andy Sturmer, "Godfather of Puffy". Finally, there's a fun remix mashup sort of thing, of [Friends Forever], that's pleasantly catchy.

Finally, Hikki has a new album. I was a big fan of [Exodus], her English only release, but I always seem to enjoy her work in Japan better. [Ultra Blue] is great, but of a very different feeling than her earlier albums. The singles that it collects are time-tested, partially quiet and ballad-like, partially peppy and dancy affairs - the sort of sound that we're used to, with the usual stretches of perfection. Still, on first listen, I found the album to be more mature and introspective than I expected from her, and while I'm sure it's going to grow on me quickly, I was struck by the overall evolution in her sound. Definitely a wonderful work, but I'll have more detailed comments later.


6.28.2006 - [RanPic - The Semi-Secret Underbelly Of Ginza] Hide

Part 12 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Ginza Underground

Ginza, Tokyo, 4.2004. Ornate pillars underneath the rich streets of Ginza.



6.27.2006 - [The New Is Horribly Addictive] Hide

For the past year or so, I've been using Digg almost daily to accentuate my search for the latest news and opinion. The basic idea is that users submit "stories" (links to web pages, along with a brief description) and then other users vote on them, by "digging". Those that are popular enough (perhaps as low as 40 votes) get to visit the "homepage", where they receive lots of attention by casual surfers. The site has become so big, that even Netscape/AOL is copying it, and Slashdot (a clear inspiration) seems to have quieted down a bit.

Up until a few days ago, the primary focus was Technology, but occasionally some other stories would sneak in, like weird news or YouTube movies or whatnot. Now, with revision 3.0 of the site, all of those other categories are now officially active, so you don't have to be into tech to enjoy Digg. Personally, I'm a big fan of Offbeat News, and I find that new section a real boon for my usual search for the quirk in us all.

Just using Digg as a visitor is fun enough, especially if you can learn to avoid the duplicate entries, or the things that don't quite interest you. The real action, however, is for registered users, who can not only vote on articles, but can post their own. Furthermore, a complete history of everyone's Diggs and articles can be seen by all, and the site has a Top Digg Users section where you can see every user's rankings for popularity, articles posted, etc.

When I first signed up a few days ago, after months of thinking about it, my first desire was to promote my website a bit. So, I liked to a story that I thought was interesting (the Japanese Webcams one) and after getting 9 diggs (which isn't that shabby) I realized that while it's not in their current database, it probably was a duplication of stories from 2005, where the trick in question was first discovered by others. So, I decided to report that Digg as a duplicate, but not before getting 150 hits in a few hours. That's a tiny version of the "Digg Effect", where one prominent article can bring tens of thousands of hits to a website.

Since it was clear that my current website content isn't that interesting to Diggers, I instead started to aim higher, posting articles from elsewhere that I found interesting, in hopes of making the "homepage" with one of them. So far I've posted 12 articles in the past 24 hours, and while I'm still looking for the right mix of quirk and wow, it's still quite fun to hound the news sites, looking for the absolute latest news that's not already on Digg. I'm sure there's a slang term for that, something cute like Digg Dash, but it's nevertheless something that's an informative way to spend an hour or so.

Eventually, I want to be in the top 1000 Diggers, but that will take not just lots of posts, but finding things that people enjoy, and finding articles I want to comment on. In any case, make sure to check it out if you haven't already, and if you get hooked, make sure to get a free account so you too can Digg Dash your way to micro fame.


6.26.2006 - [RanPic - Umbrellas Out In Harajuku Rain] Hide

Part 11 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Harajuku Rain

Harajuku, Tokyo, 4.2004. Even the rain is cute in fashionable Harajuku.



6.23.2006 - ["KatieBird" Is Certifiably Impressive Horror] Hide

Part 1 in a Series: Selected Reviews From Netflix Rentals

I'm a Netflix whore, in the cheap sense. I have the 3 movie at a time plan, and end up seeing 6 movies a week, due to advanced postal positioning. I'm slowing transitioning from seeing any and all possible films at the theater, to waiting a few months for DVD releases, to take in the ones that probably will suck. That way, I save money, gain the ability to fast forward with subtitles, and basically use my time better.

I also use the opportunity to watch lots of imports and strait to video titles, particularly horror, of which I'm a big fan. One recent horror film that impressed me a lot was [KatieBird: Certifiable Crazy Person] a masterwork of the low budget serial killer story, by Justin Paul Ritter, a young director who has talent (and confidence) to spare.

Realize that I hate to retell plots, because that always manages to spoil something. That said, KatieBird is followed in three segments of her life, played by fine actresses, including the stellar Taylor M. Dooley during her teenage years. It's clear from the title that she's supposed to be insane, and the meat of story is finding out exactly what that entails, a tale that comes out in an intense "session" with her therapist. The specifics are what drive the movie to a satisfying conclusion, because things really are not what seem, and she's definitely not your typical hockey mask threat.

Most of the story is told in flashback, and while there is massive amounts of implied gore and sex, you don't actually see any cuts or flesh where you'd usually expect it. Furthermore, the writer/director takes a lot from the [24] school of editing and framing, where the screen is split into multiple sub windows in all sorts of shapes, just about all the time. At first, I feared this would be distracting, but it actually makes the movie really work, adding additional rhythms, insights and the tension that such a film needs.

The acting is surprisingly good for such an affair, and at times the visuals are remarkably beautiful, or much more horrific than would seem possible. It's not a perfect construction, but it actually surpasses the majority of the "Hollywood horror" that actually makes it to theaters. If he can achieve this, along with a small but dedicated crew, for such a low budget, then I can only look forward to what he can give birth to when he invariably makes it big.

I'm also really looking forward to what Taylor M. Dooley involves herself with in the future, because in her first role she exhibits the triple threat of brains, beauty and braun that's really impossible to find, especially with younger actresses.


6.22.2006 - [RanPic - Shibuya Wears Sunglasses At Night] Hide

Part 10 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Shibuya At Night

Shibuya, Tokyo, 4.2004. Day or night, Shibuya bustles.



6.21.2006 - [All Hail Team Fujisan, Bringer of Manga] Hide

When I first visited Tokyo in 2004, I was elated to find a copy of [Comic Beam] magazine, the monthly home of Kaneko Atsushi of [BAMBi] fame. It was inexpensive (under 500 yen) and chock full of high quality manga, somewhat above the usual juvenile fare.

Once I got back to Berkeley, I looked fairly intensely for a store that could provide it to me. Kinokuniya couldn't, and neither could most of my usual online haunts. So, I resigned myself to be [Comic Beam] free, until one fateful day 2 months ago, when I finally found the perfect supplier -

Ironically, the head office of Fujisan is a few blocks away in Berkeley, so my worldwide search was ridiculous. Turns out that Fujisan is quite the supplier of periodicals; they claim to be "the Earth's Greatest Selection of Japanese Magazines on the internet". Now, I don't know if that's true, but they're definitely able to provide more obscure titles like my [Comic Beam]. Out of a year-long subscription, I received the first issue in early May, and the second one today - quite soon after their release.

Pricing is decent per issue - $5.53 for a 490 yen item, and $6.95 for shipping (which is quite fair for imports) - and the condition of the almost 300 page issues has been excellent. Obviously the price will vary for your favorite title, but you get the idea.

They also offer music, movies, and so such, but I can't speak to that, since I'm only enjoying the subscription. That said, I definitely recommend checking them out for your Japanese import needs, particularly if there's a magazine you're yearning for.


6.20.2006 - [RanPic - The Ultimate Density of Akihabara] Hide

Part 9 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection


Akihabara, Tokyo, 4.2004. Stores, sidewalks and streets reach maximum otaku-ness.



6.19.2006 - [The Loud Family Are Shouting Yet Again] Hide

Since 1993 or so, I've adored Scott Miller and The Loud Family. Ever since [Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things], one of the most brilliant recordings ever, I've intensely followed this group of artists, who happen to live only a few miles from me, but are simply world class.

Made out of the ashes of the fabled Game Theory (who I love in retrospect), Scott and crew always seem to make the most astonishing songs, both lyrically and sonically. Smart, cryptic yet simple, and always flirting with the purest of pop, their body of work was little heard, yet second to none.

I resigned myself to live with the fact that their last album was to be [Attractive Nuisance] (out in 2000), but recently I was delighted by the news that a new Loud Family album was soon to grace my ears. This time, Anton Barbeau is in the forefront; not an usual member of the band (although he guested on the magnificent [Interbabe Concern] in 1996), he now works with Scott to bridge the gap between Sacramento and the East Bay, with [What If It Works?].

Released last week from 125 Records out of Albany, CA (next to Berkeley), this is a fine collection of new work and a few choice covers that I'm enjoying more with each listen. It's more of a straight forward pop-rock recording that some earlier Loud Family work, with less studio tweaks and that "Scott sound" than one would suspect. It doesn't grab you by the shoulders and shake the brilliance in, and instead takes the more subtle Good Cop approach that needs a few listens to settle in. Still, anything from Mr. Miller and friends is something to celebrate, and if it takes 6 years for them to release more grand songs like [Mavis Of Maybelline Towers] or [Don't Bother Me While I'm Living Forever], then I'll happily wait.



6.16.2006 - [RanPic - Yayoi Of Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re Rocks] Hide

Part 8 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection


Studio Z, San Francisco, 3.2005. Once again, Yayoi and the rest of Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re rock the house completely.



6.16.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: "International Japanese"] Hide

If you haven't already guessed, I have a thing for the Japanese language. That attraction started when I was about 12 years old, but really didn't come to the fore until my university days. I took two and a half years of Japanese classes, adoring it so much that I always chose the 8AM class, to make sure it fit my Rhetoric schedule (and perhaps to prove how hardcore I was).

I even found ways to fit it into my major, as this paper on International Japanese: The Past, Present, and Future of a Hybrid Language attests to. That was a final project in my last year of school, and I feel that it's not just a decent history of the language, but also a good look into why I love it so.

Also, right after I wrote this, I started up my first Japanese-themed zine ([Kana Series], each one focused on a kana character), which lead right into [Junk Magnet]. Therefore, I think you'll excuse this reminder of my studies, and hopefully a few people will find items of interest inside. Have fun.



6.15.2006 - [RanPic - Price Of Gas In Iowa, 2001] Hide

Part 7 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Price Of Gas In Iowa, 2001

Somewhere In Iowa, Summer 2001. On the way to Chicago via Amtrak, this was the price of gas. Bring back memories?



6.15.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: 100 Word Music Reviews] Hide

Back in the day, say 1996, I was even more music-happy than I am now. I knew the day records hit the stores, and visited ASAP each week, picking up loads of vinyl (which was cheaper than CDs) and the occasional shiny disc. I also used to frequent the $1 bins of various stores around Berkeley, and found out about masses of great, smaller bands that way.

To justify (and inspire) such purchases, I published hundreds of reviews in [Junk Magnet], in print and on line. The web-based reviews were exactly 100 words long, and largely free-form surrealist prose inspired by the music, and occasionally even accurately describing it. Those reviews can be found at my 1996 website, accessible here. To get you all excited, here are three of the scores of reviews:

Beck, [Odelay], DGC

A little toy carrot, torn apart by a VCR wild pack - all blinking "12:00". Cats take over the world, make the skyscrapers into scratching posts, and this record plays whenever you're put on hold. Tiny inscriptions on the back of fingernail clippings tell of lost samples found, twisted, and enchanted by the rhythms of the universe. AOL sign-up floppies become a new form of currency, exchangeable for cellophane-wrapped saltines and soiled pillowcases. Designer jean rap becomes a new radio format, goateed renta-punks take up acoustic folk spontaneous combustible Con Edison, and everyone gets a big dessert.

John's Black Dirt, [Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier], Grass

Well, so they say. Truthfully, there are space aliens living under sandboxes, coming out at night to slide, swing, and strap on multiple electric noisemaker technologies, all skinny arms twitching and big eyes closed in sonic bliss concentrate. When you peek through midnight curtains drawn, they turn into spring-footed park animals, which you used to spraypaint the bottoms of on slow July mornings. The secret blatantly hidden, you go back to the pillow-covered walkman, press play, and float off into a stretched, repeating guitar trance. You sleep through morning alarms, miss school, flunk Geometry and eventually manage Wendy's.

Sincola, [What the Nothinghead Said], Caroline

Sweat band caught in bicycle spokes, washing machine bust down doors music, with a difference. Drawing with a crayon broom, spinning frisbees on top of flag poles, making one piece of gum last all winter. The best record I heard a year too late, and the sole reason that's one word pal. Or, the first time is the best time, written in rest stop toilet stalls, supernaturally clean with endless paper towels, and glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. Rotary phones are better than fax machines, and Sincola is Smurf Village on ice, plus a punk puppet show.

I always though these reviews contained some of my best writing; let me know if I'm full of crap-like substances.



6.14.2006 - [RanPic - Cast Of "Serenity" At WonderCon] Hide

Part 6 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Cast Of [Serenity] At WonderCon

WonderCon, San Francisco, 2005. Joss Whedon leads the crew of [Serenity] in a spirited conversation.



6.14.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: Fibulator Interview] Hide

As mentioned earlier, antizine was one reason that I started the [Junk Magnet] zine in 1994. The other was Fibulator, one of my top 5 favorite bands, then and now. Hailing from West Oakland, I saw them live a few times, and knew I just had to interview them. Since my other zine didn't focus on music, I made JM initially to print the long, detailed conversation I had with them.

Here is that Fibulator interview from Volume 1, Issue 1 of [Junk Magnet]. It will tell you much you need to know about Ken (bass), Jerry (guitar), Heco (reeds), Sarah (vocals), Kris (vocals) and Geoff (drums), fine people who made some of the best damn music ever. Seriously. If at all possible, track down [Drank From The Asphalt] on vinyl or tape, which was a zine-inspiring album if there ever was. Their last album, [Unhammerlike], only saw CD, and might be more locatable (understanding that their biggest release only saw a few thousand copies in print). Either way, prepare to be amazed.



6.13.2006 - [RanPic - Polite Fan Mania In Akihabara] Hide

Part 5 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Polite Fan Mania At Anime Gamers, Tokyo

Akihabara, Anime Gamers store, Tokyo, 4.2004. Looking at manga, I was overwhelmed by fans of female musicians. This photo was forbidden, yet it entered my camera anyway.



6.12.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: Antizine Text Game] Hide
antizine game

As mentioned earlier, antizine is my long-neglected baby. That wasn't always the case; back in the late 90s, I even partially constructed a text-based game, based on antizine 10: Our American Heritage. Basically, I constructed the environment and essential characters, but never fully got the story engine going.

For those not in the know, in the late 70s and early 80s, Interactive Fiction was all the rage, especially that from Infocom. Most every computer platform had a wide selection of text-based entertainment, where the environments and characters were described by words (and later by some still pictures), and you were the "first person typist", doing all sorts of amazing things. I'm not about to give you a full reminiscence of my fairly large experience with such games - sufficed to say that they were the first computer games I ever bought, and always produced a warm feeling in my heart.

So, flash forward to the late 90s, where there was a renaissance of people interested in the form, not just to play old games, but to make new ones. There were a few yearly contests, and I was inspired to try to make my own game, and perhaps enter it upon completion. After a few months of learning Inform, I managed to come up with some somewhat adequate "Z-code", the instructions that when interpreted, made a game where you typed in commands.

Now, since there's very little chance I'll ever finish this project (in its current form), I'm going to share not only the Z-code, but the actual Inform instructions used to make it (the source code of the game). That way, you can marvel at my awkwardness, and also perhaps get a bit of inspiration, or at least a good template to cheat by.

There are Z-machines (interpreters of the game file) for almost every platform, and I'll focus on Windows and the Mac.

Here is the story file:

It contains the "antizine.z5" file, that you will open up with your interpreter of choice.

Here is the source code (for Inform): antizineinform.txt (just a text file, you can click on it to view in your browser).

Mac OS X Player: Zoom (free).

Windows Player: Windows Frotz (free).

Then, follow the instructions for that player, giving it the "antizine.z5" file, and off you go.

If you're a novice for this sort of game, use compass directions to move ("north" or "n" to go north), and things like "inventory" or "i" to see what you're carrying, and "look" or "l" to look around. "Look at Shiny" does what you'd think it would - the game engine gives you the appropriate response. "Ask Shiny about x" would also be useful, "x" being virtually any game object. You can ask the crowd of rioters things, too. One crucial hint - in this game, try "insert" instead of "pour", when the time comes.

I don't have any particular tips, except look around the dumpster first. Ask Shiny and others about things, and take whatever you're allowed to. If there's any game to the game, it's to find a way to unlock doors, and get power to the mall (or something in it). Not that anything happens if you do, but if the game had continued, that would lead directly to the introduction of A-Bell (see the story it's based on).

If there's a groundswell of people wanting me to finish the project (unlikely, but theoretically possible), then I will. More likely, a few of you will fuss around with it for a few minutes, then forget about it forever, and that's fine by me. Better a half-finished project seen by some, then a half-finished project seen by none.


6.9.2006 - [RanPic - Starpower Live in Portland, OR] Hide

Part 4 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Starpower Live in Portland, OR

La Luna, Portland, OR, 12.1994. Starpower, at a show with Quasi, Heatmiser, Pond, and more. Amazing. I still enjoy their sole album.



6.9.2006 - [RanPic - The Pillows Live in San Francisco] Hide

Part 3 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Pillows Live in SF

Studio Z, San Francisco, 3.2005. The Pillows destroy all comers, and soon with have a JM page.



6.8.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: Antizine Fragment] Hide

Before there was [Junk Magnet], there was [antizine]. From 1992 to 1998, I was obsessed with writing a massive collection of interrelated stories, ideally in 21 parts. I had published the first few stories in another zine of mine, and then decided to get more serious about it all by starting [Junk Magnet], and publishing chapters therein. So, without [antizine], there would not be a Junk Magnet.

Which raises the point - just what is antizine, anyway? Well, it's a fictional zine written by two young girls, and it's the tale of their many adventures, both ultra-realistic and quite fanciful. It's a meditation on the mythic, and the union between the "West" and "East", and it also has heaping handfuls of science fiction and biblical intregue. Lots of punk and electrons, and I was having a real grand time working on it, with visions of a elaborate movie series when done.

Half of the work was done by 1996, but then reality started slowly catching up with my fiction. Some of the seemingly impossible things I wrote about became commonplace, like being able to listen to any song ever made wirelessly, through some sort of portable network node. This was pre-cellphone as we know it, and also well before the blossoming of the internet, so many of the revolutionary concepts quickly became quaint. This of course stimied future additions to the larger story, which I had mapped out a decade ago. The only real solution would be a complete rewrite, so this fictional "future" world wouldn't be so out of date.

In any case, the 13 stories I finished have their fans, and tonight I'm going to share an alternative take on the second to last, part 10 This will mostly likely only interest those who are already familiar with the story, but that can't be helped. Hopefully, when I have a bit more free time, I'll start the rewriting process, turning it all into a novel or three. Until then, have at it.

A few pieces of information that might help. Most characters are "e-punks" (abbreviated "e"), who have electrified tattoos that actually are invisible circuits etched into their skin. They wear clothes that add software to this hardware, and augmented reality is par for the course. This technology is underground. The progatonists are a collective of many e-punk women, including "San" (Susanna), Phone's ex girlfriend, and Isabel (the other ex). Before they were e-punks, they were actually "punk" musicians. The Treehouse was one club, and many former bands are mentioned (Suspender, etc.). Phone is the narrator, and Circle X is an evil, Walmart type store. That said...

[Kill the Kewl-Aid] (Circa 1997)

Rainbow refrigerator magnet letters, welcoming me to soy milk and love lost.

A glow-in-the-dark e still snuggled under my sheets that morning, sweaty from the rising, falling and twisting of our backs in what I thought was a limited perfection. The night before she tried to sell me junk obs under Circle X neon, and the buzzing red, red, red made her translucent hair that much more alluring. I cultivated the desperation etched in her brow, and wiped away the shadow with promises of a warm meal and shower, no strings attached.

All strings attach. San told me that long ago, but I was too busy looking over her shoulder at the next girl to heed the truth, and the warning.

When we got back to my place, the e threw her overstuffed backpack down on the couch and made a beeline for the kitchen. She wanted meat but settled for fried tofu, and over salad without forks we stared at each other silently. Her oversized blouse was one big flexible LCD, then broadcasting cumulonimbus rumbling across a muddled green plain, and her shoulder length hair occasionally provided lightning. Washed her own dishes, drank straight from the hot side of the fawcet, and showed herself to the bathroom. I was starstruck, and she knew it.

After a half an hour she came back to the living room, wearing a white, short sleeved bodysuit just like San's, and plopped down on the couch between me and her bag. Her fuzzy-bald head was still damp, her skin newly phosphorescent, and before I had a chance to comment on the changes she smiled and led me to the bedroom, as if it was hers all along.

Was it ever mine? Or is it just a pit-stop for that week's attraction, allowing for temporary arousal and release, but never fully losing the dent from Susanna's side of the bed?

"Kill the Kewl-Aid." I still don't know what she meant, why she took the extra time to fuck with my head before leaving for good, but that morning when I stared at the multicolored message - untouched since she placed it months ago - something snapped and I forgot about the shiny e waiting for me to return with breakfast. All I could think about was finding San, and winning her back or ending it once and for all, as long as the ambiguity would be erased, the meaning decrypted.

So I left the glow-in-the-dark girl a nice note on the table, quickly packed my satchel full of food, and walked out into the foggy morning. I haven't been back since, but I can only assume she locked the door behind herself.


"No, you can't come in."

Betty never liked me, especially not knocking on her door at 3 AM. But I was desperately lost and fashionably rude, as usual, so it didn't take more than 5 minutes of a whisper-plea to find myself lounging on her green beanbag, watching a Netboy infomercial. You know, the one where good old Julius - geeky Not Ian from the chaotic Treehouse days, looking exactly the same only 10 years older and $5 billion richer - whips the paid studio audience in a furor with his technological tour de force. Seems he's a techie big brain alpha geek nowadays, but no one really seems to care as long as they're wired and lost in prox bliss.

"Get on with it." Ever since the whole Isabel affair Betty has always been on my case, and I was lucky that Doug was working nights when I crashed, or I would have totally got my ass kicked.

"Susanna." She frowned, killed the TV, and picked up Frosty off of a huge pile of fashion magazines strewn around the couch. His purr was audible even after she started in on me.

"You're a shit, you know that? There's no way in hell that you're getting at her through me." I remember when Frosty was a teeny ball of furr, left in the dumpster in the back of the Treehouse way back when. He was a small pack of cotton balls poked with pipe cleaners, and Isabel and Betty fought over exclusive mothering rights. It was no surprise who won.

"I'm not here to argue with you." I looked far more pathetic than I sounded, to no avail.

"Well, I'm not here for you. Period. You can stay the night but if Doug trips over you in the morning, I'm handing him the baseball bat personally." And with that she hoisted Frosty to her chest, and they both shot me the coldest of looks before storming out of the room.

To be honest, I can't remember a more uncomfortable night. I had been traveling non-stop for days, and every "friend" that I managed to track down slammed the door in my face as soon as they recognized me. Not that I blame them, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for myself as I picked off the little black Draculas that the cat left behind, and watched the night crawl by over glossy photos of this months model and a muted TV stuck on scan. Most of the magazines had Izzy all over them, flouncing about menacingly like I always dreamed she would with me, and if nothing else she looked positively world-shattering, what with her silver hair and pitch black contacted eyes. To be honest, I never thought she had it in her, but after the big band explosion she was the first to rise from the flames triumphant.


It's already been two years but I still can't get over it. I had a hard enough time adjusting to Sasha's absence, but I didn't expect everything to fall apart so quickly and completely. At first, the changes were subtle: Suspender broke up as Jo and Caroline went underground, and everyone in the Slide Rule School quickly followed, killing bands and dropping their instruments where they stood. Laura and John settled down and then moved to Japan to raise their baby, and I don't even know what happened to Annabelle after everything crashed, but I'm sure she's up to something. And Susanna..... well, I tried to hang on to her as long as I could, but she had an agenda to follow, one that I ultimately couldn't be a part of. Not that I could accept that then, losing sleep in Betty's living room as I jerked off to pictures of Isabel running through Hong Kong streets in the latest designs, all the while wanting not just San back and everything the way it was, but to actually turn into a decent person, if only long enough to tie up all the loose ends.

Looking back, I really can't pin down where things went wrong with me, but I guess I started to notice how much of a jerk I was becoming back when Masking Tape was starting up......(1)


(1) This is about where things end, before the rewrite that turned into "Our American Heritage". I really liked the first scene, and planned to use something similar later. I'll refrain from talking about each character and concept further, because they are covered in this and other stories. If you're at all interested, then you know where to go.


6.7.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: Lost Zine Covers] Hide
Junk Magnet 1996

Seems I'm going to suck all I can out of the 10th anniversary of this website, with some nostalgia that hopefully someone out there cares about. Note the old school JM logo hanging out in the corner until July, as a celebration of the zine that once was.

To make things more clear, [Junk Magnet] the zine started publishing in 4.1994, so the 10th anniversary already passed. My first website started 10 years ago this month, thus the fuss. That doesn't mean my print work is not important; tonight I'm going to share a few never before seen or rare covers. Imagine them folded in half - the right side is the front cover. Click on them to see a larger version.

Unused JM 2.5 Cover (Issue Never Printed)

This is the cover to the "lost" [Junk Magnet] Vol. 2 No. 5. I never finished the issue.

StarFrosting Issue 2

This is the cover to [Star Frosting] No. 2, done as a gift to Olivia, the zinestress. Yeah, all the little photos were taken by me. That issue was released, and if you're interested in a copy, contact me.

If I find a working scanner, I'll share a lot more.



6.7.2006 - [RanPic - Assault At Kiddy Land] Hide

Part 2 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Assault At Kiddy Land

Harajuku Kiddy Land Store, Tokyo, 4.2004. Big red bunnies accost everyone.



6.6.2006 - [10th Anniversary Special: Junk Magnet 1996] Hide
Junk Magnet 1996

I'm always talking about how [Junk Magnet] has been on the web on and off since 1996, but I've never shown this website, until now. It was up in 1996, for about 6 months, and it had tons of content, both new and from my print work. Want one of the first interviews with comic artist Adrian Tomine from 1995, before Drawn And Quarterly? Here you go. How about extremely strange music reviews? Go crazy.

There's so much junk here from 10 years ago, even I will have to go over it. Who can find the most embarrassing stuff first? Some of the links will be dead (like to antizine), and the design will be really Netscape 2.0, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Here are the various portal pages, that represent the short life of the site:

jm4.html - The first, classic site, 6.28.1996.

jm2.html - Adds an AOL counter that no longer works.

jm5.html - Adds support for tables.

jmo.html - Repeating grey background.

jmtable.html - Here is the fancy table.

3jm.html - Frames! The ultimate JM 1.0.

2jm.html - I decide to stop, before things are even half done.

Please Note: This site from 1996 has no links to the current website, so once you're in, you'll have to use the back arrow to get out. Or, use the extra escape page I just snuck in - click on the Junk Magnet logo graphic, to the bright green "Lost already?" page, then choose the [Yes!] link. Also - hasn't been me for almost a decade, so I don't advise using it.

I recommend you check them all out, but if you're impatient, use 3jm.html, last updated 11.16.1996. In any case, they all basically have the same content, just different presentation. By all means, let me know what you think. I'll be data mining stuff from here for the next few months, to share.


6.6.2006 - [be your own PET Ready For Adoption] Hide
be you own PET's first album

be your own PET are one of my true, new faves. Out of Nashville, TN, they have stellar vocal-growls by Jemina Pearl, and solidly crunchy sounds by Jonas Stein (Guitar), Nathan Vasquez (Bass), and Jamin Orrall (Drums). They're punky pop with rough edges and in your face, simple storytelling. I've been eagerly awaiting their first album, and after almost a dozen singles in the US and the UK, that moment has finally arrived.

[be your own PET] has ran away from their Infinity Cat home (the indie label run by members of the band) and now are on Ecstatic Peace (Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth's label) with the big pockets of Universal also involved. Thus, there is a great chance that they will finally receive the attention and success they deserve, thanks in no small part to their 15 explosive new songs.

I've heard a few of them in the recent past, from various singles, and I'm oh so excited by [Adventure] and [Ouch], which I've already enjoyed via import. The rest of the tracks will no doubt be swell, and why don't you find out this instant, since it should be in a store near you as of today.


6.5.2006 - [RanPic - Guarding Agent Smith] Hide

Part 1 in a Series: Random Pictures From My Collection

Guarding Agent Smith

Ikebukuro JR Station, Tokyo, 4.2004. Promotion for [Matrix Revolutions].



6.5.2006 - [Tommy february6 / heavenly6 Page Exists] Hide
Tommy february6 / Tommy heavenly6

Tommy heavenly 6, OK? If you haven't already been indoctrinated, Tomoko Kawase was an amazingly talented and beautiful part of the brilliant green, who were quite popular around the turn of the millennium.

When that band eventually ended, she tried on the alternative persona of Tommy february6, named after her birthday. Her new (alter)ego was visually brilliant, cheerleader-enhanced and ultra-kawaii, yet sonically a bit too synth-peppy-pop for me. A bit later, she splintered even further, creating Tommy heavenly6, which was much closer to the brilliant green sonically, and also "darker" in presentation.

Thus, there are now two Tommy's, each for a slightly different audience. I'm much more of a heavenly6 fan for aesthetic reasons, both in how she vamps a bit more, and how the music sounds. That said, there are stand out songs for either persona, and the overall package is quite wonderful (albeit not terribly deep).

So, if you need your music enriched with Little Twin Stars or Blythe, then Tommy is exactly the songstress for you. Check out my new Tommy february 6 / Tommy heavenly 6, focused particularly on her darker twin.

Please note that there will be two new heavenly 6 singles soon, [I'm Gonna SCREAM+] on 6.7.2006, and [Pray] on 7.5.2006. Fans of purely mainstream J-Pop rock really can't go wrong.



6.5.2006 - [Junk Magnet Search Is Now Active] Hide
Junk Magnet Search Is Now Active

Simply put, Junk Magnet now has a search box. You can use it to find any word or phrase on the site, and there will be links to the appropriate pages. Now, instead of frantically searching for something you think might be here, use the search to track it down.

Some recommendations: 1) When you're looking for the release date of any album covered in the Japanese Pop section, just type in part of the title, and you're bound to find it. 2) Want to find out home many times I've mentioned the movie [Hana & Alice] - go for it. 3) Want to quickly move to any part of the site without manipulating the URL - type in the name of that page.

Let me know if this works for you. It's a service provided by my server host, so it's not like I'm invested in it. I just think it might be useful.


6.2.2006 - [Things From Japan: Can They Be Stopped?] Hide
[Always Sanchome no Yuhi]

As always, I have some CDs and DVDs on preorder from Japan. This time of year, the tree that is popular culture is ripe with audio and video fruits, suitable for the picking.

Please note the 10th anniversary album from Puffy, which is enough to make this summer special. Also, the latest from Jude will really starch my socks, and Yoshimi and OOIOO never disappoint.

01) [Always Sanchome no Yuhi (Sunset on the Third Street)], 6.09.06, VPBT-15326, 8,800 yen (DVD, English Subtitles)

02) [Blue Bird], Ayumi Hamasaki, 6.21.06, AVCD-31051, 1,800 yen

03) [Okuda Tamio Cheap Trip 2006], Tamio Okuda, 6.21.06, SEBL-62, 4,800 yen (DVD)

04) [Electric Surfin' Go Go], Polysics, 6.21.06, KSCL-1014, 1,429 yen

05) [Rose], ANNA inspi' NANA (BLACK STONES), Anna Tsuchiya, 6.28.06, CTCR-40239, 1,600 yen

06) [Shocking Black], Jude, 6.28.06, BVCR-18070, 4,000 yen (limited, with DVD)

07) [Splurge], Puffy, 6.28.06, KSCL-1010, 2,913 yen

08) [Taiga], OOIOO, 7.04.06, MTCD-1068, 2,667 yen

09) [Pray], Tommy heavenly6, 7.05.06, DFCL-1285, 1,500 yen

10) [Complete Best Of Bonnie Pink], Bonnie Pink, 7.26.06, WPZL-30044, 3,333 yen (limited, with DVD)

I'm also waiting on Kaela Kimura's first album, along with some orders from a few months ago - I bunch them all together for easier shipping.

If you're wondering, [Always Sanchome no Yuhi] is a nostalgic affair by the director of [Returner] and [Juvenile], Takashi Yamazaki. It was quite the thing in 2005, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.


6.1.2006 - [Junk Magnet 2.0 Is Not That Web 2.0] Hide

After a few months of dilly-dally-dances, I finally got around to updating this site during May. The goals were many-fold, and for the sake of the historical record, they shall be discussed below:

Kaneko Atsushi

One: Bigger Stuff For Bigger Screens: When Junk Magnet was first launched around the turn of the millennium, I already had a few websites of that name, but none were that impressive. At that point, most monitors were still 640 by 480, with 800 by 600 pixels being a real luxury. Also, 56k modems were all the rage, and basically no one had broadband at home.

Therefore, JM 1.0 was small and skinny, with tiny graphics, to suit that time. JM 1.5 took into account larger displays and faster connections, but not really. So, this new design is made for the latest screens, with a sweet spot between 800 by 600, and 1024 by 768 pixels. Smaller won't kill it, and larger doesn't look too stupid. Fonts size is up, and the overall layout is all stretchy and suitable for resizing.

Two: Updates Have To Be Easier: The first version of had CSS embedded into each page, to control simple styles, for fonts, colors, and the like. Back in the day, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, a way to separate design from content) was all the rage, and I had used it for other projects, but didn't see the need for this one. Eventually, I wanted to control all aspects of design and layout from one document, instead of changing each and every page.

Thus, JM 2.0 is all CSS, all the time. All tables are gone, and everything flows from one simple document. I can change the layout in minutes, rather than days. This makes me quite happy, but even now I'm only using a few percent of this capability. That means that you'll see more extravagant web design soon - not showy, just more functional and modern.

Three: It's OK Not To Only Use HTML 2.0: I started coding for the web in 1994, right when Netscape 1.0 hit. Thus, it's very simple for me to put together a site with just a text editor, and over the years I flirted with web design software, but it always seems to get in the way of me and the code. Not that I'm amazing in this area, but I get by. I was aware of all the new technologies, up to XML, RSS, JavaScript, etc., but I didn't really take advantage of them. I was ignorant and a bit afraid.

Now, you'll start to see all the more modern web technologies in action. Already, there's some JavaScript sparkly stuff going on - you can show and hide almost any element of these pages. For example, look at the "article view" controls in the right hand bar - they can show and hide articles. Or, press the pink square that's to the right of most titles - that will hide that section. To show, click on the title of that section. Sounds boring, perhaps, but if you use it a bit, you'll see it's quite useful. Try it out now if you like: Hide. There will be lots more showing and hiding and floating and such soon, to make things more dynamic. From there, the sky's the limit, after I bone up on my scripting.

Tech Note: every browser can handle this show/hide code, except for Internet Explorer for Windows. It works in every other section of the site, except for junk.log, due to some strange bug (JavaScript in IE not liking IDs with numbers and periods, my internal date naming structure for junk.log, like 6.1.2006.1). IE for the Mac is fine. So if you're using IE for Windows, oh well. Have you heard of Firefox?

JM Messages

Four: The Message Board Can't Suck Anymore: Simply put, the old message board never worked. I threw it together using a Miva template, a language that my old web server supported. Now I have a new, modern server, and I can play with PHP and other neato stuff.

So, I redid the Message Board (Forum in today-speak), using open-source PHP. I haven't really updated the template yet, but I will, and I intend on leveraging such technologies in the short-term. Click on the graphic to the right to check out the many sections, waiting to be populated. And, at the end of ever junk.log story, you can use the link to comment.

There are all sorts of other small changes going on, but if you want to get the general idea, look at the graphics below. The first is JM 1.5 (a slight update from a few years go), and the next is 2.0 (now).Salyu Page in JM 1.5

Salyu Page in JM 2.0

I invite you to just browse around the site, seeing how things work for you. Let me know what you think of the (re)design. I do know that the site has a long way to go, but I'll be putting in more time to try to reach the full potential.


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