“Rose City Comic Con 2019” by Richard F. Yates

This year’s Rose City Comic Con ran from Friday, Sept. 13th to Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Several months ago, my wife (Mariah) and I bought tickets for Sunday the 15th for us, our older daughter (Frankie), and her husband (Alec). (We bought the tickets for Frank and Alec because THEY had bought Mariah and I tickets to go see Adam Savage a few months ago, which was a great time, and we wanted to pay them back. We bought SUNDAY tickets because we’re cheap—even though Sunday has reduced hours (it was only open until 5:00 P.M.) and there are fewer folks in costume, fewer celebs in the house, fewer panels to choose from, and people’s energy levels are generally lower—but there are also less people to bump into, which is essential if you’re rather neurotic and not comfortable having people touch you… (I admit, a lot of the time we spent looking at the various booths was just me running from crowded areas into less crowded areas. We window shopped at a LOT of the less busy spots just because there were fewer people at them for me to avoid!

So early Sunday morning we got ourselves all dolled up (Mariah wore her kitty-themed Supernatural shirt, and I put on my Mr. Flibble Red Dwarf tee and my Bigfoot short-sleeve button up—stylin’!), and waited for Frankie and Alec to arrive and grab us. (They also brought baby Felicity—it was her first con—who was wearing a Star Wars themed onesie…) Once they arrived, we piled in the vehicle and headed south towards Portland (stopping only once, to get coffee—of course…)

Traffic on that rainy Sunday morning was light, until we got to Portland, where traffic is ALWAYS bad. (Not Las Vegas or L.A. bad, but pretty bad.) Parking is also always an issue in P-Town, but I thought, MAYBE, since it was Sunday, we’d be able to park at the Convention Center…but no. That lot was sold out—and the one across the street, which was charging $25.00 to park!!!!, was ALSO full! We drove around for a bit, and finally found a lot a few blocks away that was “only” $20.00 for the day—which is still insane JUST FOR PARKING! (We spent more money to PARK than we did buying things at the con!) Once we’d got ourselves parked, we hoofed it, in the rain, with the baby (although newer strollers have things, like a ROOF, that the strollers that we had when our kids were little didn’t!) the couple of blocks to the convention center, AND, because we were with a baby in a stroller, we got ushered into a side door instead of having to walk through the whole line like the normal folks! (It pays to know the baby!) (By this time, we were all very wet, and neither Mariah nor I have fancy shoes with things like water-proof-soles, so our feet were wet for the rest of the day…)

BUT WE’D ARRIVED AT RCCC!!!

We hit the restrooms, Alec grabbed some programs, and we got to work figuring out what we wanted to do first. Mariah and I are big Harry Potter fans, and we noticed that a panel, “15 Potter Topics in 50 Minutes,” was going to start soon, so we basically ran (I don’t really run—I shamble somewhat quickly) through the main exhibition hall—INSTANTLY becoming overloaded by all the sights and costumes and foot-traffic and booths and merchandise—to get to the other side of the convention center, where the panels were being held. We got seats just as the talking began, and we sat back and enjoyed being NOT-the-most-nerdy-people-in-the-room (for once) for a little while. About five minutes into the panel, which was about how wizards are basically crazy and the Harry Potter universe makes no sense—but in a good way—the baby decided she was offended by all the negativity directed against Hogwarts and got grumpy. Frankie and Alec tried to quietly slip out of the room (not entirely successfully), and Mariah and I were mostly on our own for the rest of the day. (Frank did send us notes and pictures, every once in a while. She went to a panel with Wil Wheaton and was excited that she got to ask him a question, and she sent some photos from a Star Wars photo-op where she and Alec and the baby were in a trash compacter. Those were pretty funny!)

After the Potter talk, Mariah and I decided to just wander for a bit. Honestly, these conventions are so big and there is so much to look at and do, it can be completely overwhelming. We looked at a bunch of booths, wandered for a long time, and saw a million things that we wished we’d had enough money to buy—but we were REALLY good and only spent THREE BUCKS all day! (We found some vintage looking Halloween postcards! We love Halloween.)

We were also quite entertained by what looked like a DROID PETTING ZOO!

In fact, there were several places that were set up as photo-op spots, with clever backdrops and even character actors, like Thor or Captain America or various Star Wars characters, who you could have pose with you. We saw one area that had a Ghostbusters theme… (I love Ghostbusters…)

We kept wandering—looking at artist booths, occasionally writing down names of folks in my little notebook (I always carry a notebook) or grabbing business cards… When we’re rich (which should be pretty soon), we’re going to order a bunch of artwork and prints from various folks that we saw and add to our (somewhat small) art collection. We don’t collect art for INVESTMENT purposes—we buy stuff that we LOVE and want to SEE on our walls! It makes us feel good to have stuff we like around us, AND buying from independent folks, artists who are just trying to make a living, also makes us feel like we’re helping THEM. Mutually beneficial. Mariah saw one lady who paints with various TEAS, Melissa Pagluica, and we wrote her name down to look her up online later. Maybe order something from her, once we get paid again… And, I always stop to talk with artist, Jimmy Mahfood, whenever I see him at a convention. I always love his art style!

As we made our way across the universe, my shitty back started to hurt, so we went to look for a place to sit down, maybe eat some crackers that we’d brought with us, and take some pain pills! (Always plan ahead and bring what you’re gonna need!) What we FOUND was the Portland Retro Gaming Expo room where they had a bunch of old console machines hooked up to television sets that people could just sit at and play. I eyeballed an old Genesis machine and took a crack at Sonic the Hedgehod 3—which was released in 1994 and MUCH harder than I remember it being! We sat and rested and snacked, and Mariah and I each had some ibuprofen, and chilled out for a bit, while I banged my head against Sonic for a few minutes. It was pretty fun. There were quite a few people in this area, lots of kids playing old games, which was cool to see.

Just outside the door of this console gaming area was the Ground Kontrol retro arcade room, with all the games set to “FREE PLAY,” and while Mariah went off to find a restroom, I played a little Battle Zone. I WANTED to play Donkey Kong, but the machine was always busy… Then—I found LADYBUG!

I destroyed the previous high score, more than doubling it! (Are you impressed by my skills on this weird Pac-Man knock-off that almost nobody remembers?) And I always use “DAD” as my initials when I get a high score—but that’s only because I can’t figure out how to make GRANDPA in three letters. I’d use “GPA,” but then everyone would just think I was super proud of my grade point average. (I DID graduate magna cum laude when I got my degree, by the way, but who really cares about THAT stuff… {cough}.)

Once we were done saving the digital universe (I only played one game of Ladybug, and although Mariah wanted to play some pinball, all the machines were constantly busy,) we headed back towards the main exhibition hall—but bumped into Frankie and Alec on the way and talked for a few minutes. They seemed to be having a good time, and the baby was doing well. Then we went our separate ways again, and it was back into the CRUSH for us! We moseyed around the killing floor, looking at more fun stuff, spotted the Art Horse / Bonemill booth (run by a couple of friends of ours—they comped me a copy of their new penny-dreadful / pulp style BOOK, which I’ll be reviewing in the near future), and we eventually made our way back towards the side of the building for the next panel discussion. (It was time for another Harry Potter talk…) We spotted a few great costumes on the way.

The second panel we attended was called “DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?!?,” and it was a discussion of the differences between the Harry Potter BOOKS and the FILMS. There are a LOT of differences. One of the interesting things about these fans, though, is the arguments they get into over which version was BETTER! Fun talk. Very spirited!

Directly after that panel was one, called “Pop Art, High Art, and Comics,” about how famous artists, particularly Roy Lichtenstein and sometimes Andy Warhol, would “borrow” comic art for their work—and how these artists would make MILLIONS off their paintings, but the original artists who created the original images often remained completely poor and, even worse, entirely uncredited for their creations! Interesting topic. Sad, but interesting…

By this point in the day, almost 4:00 P.M., Mariah and I were getting tired. We half-heartedly headed back into the main exhibition hall, then tried to get in touch with Frank to see where her group was. We decided to meet them by the video game area and call it a day. While waiting for the kids to arrive at the Ground Kontrol room, I snapped this image of a cool dragon boat hanging from the ceiling, although to be fair, I THINK this is ALWAYS at the Oregon Convention Center, so it wasn’t really, “officially,” part of the con…

And that was our trip to RCCC! We slowly hobbled our way back to the street, walked to the parking garage, and then fought traffic until we got out of the city. As we were all hungry, we swung by a Mod Pizza in Vancouver on the way home and munched, then headed north on I-5 until we landed back in our town. (Did you ever read that play, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder? It a good one. I’ll have to review it one of these days!)

Mariah and I had a great (but tiring) time, and we decided that the next comic convention we go to we’re going to be SURE that we have extra spending money with us. We both saw a great many pieces of art that we would have loved to buy—but we just didn’t prepare for it! I, personally, was looking for more old school trading card packs to buy (like the ones that I got at the Cowlitz Gaming Expo—and then DESTROYED for a post!) However, the only trading cards that I saw were Magic the Gathering, and that wasn’t really what I had in mind. (I was thinking more like Mork & Mindy or Goonies or Weird Wheels, but none of the booths that I looked at had anything even CLOSE!) To be honest, there weren’t even THAT many booths selling comics at this comic convention. Lots of folks selling t-shirts and cell phone cases, Funkos and prints or original artwork—but the conventions these days just aren’t like the ones that I used to go to back in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, which were mostly comic shops and vendors who brought a bunch of books in and sold them at a slight discount, with maybe one or two big time celebrities or well known creators who you could get autographs from, but mostly they were just folks buying and selling comics!

Still, we DID have a great time—but that’s easy to do when you’re with funny people who you enjoy being around, whatever the occasion! (It’s why Mariah and I get along! We’re both laid back and chill, most of the time, enjoy a good laugh, and we’re both super-nerds, who will go to not just ONE, but TWO Harry Potter fan discussions! Mariah is even thinking about going to a Harry Potter themed Yule Ball being held in Portland this December… I’m not 100 percent sure about that one, personally, but if she thinks it will be fun, I’ll go with her!)

[A rare image of me and Mariah. I’m not very photogenic, so I usually just POINT the camera at other far-more-interesting stuff, instead of making people look at my ugly, gray-bearded mug!]

Not sure what our next big adventure is going to be—maybe a trip to a pumpkin patch?!? Whatever it is, I’ll try to get some exciting action photos and then tell you folks all about it! Deal? Okay. We’ll see you later!!!

[P.S. – This post originally appeared on my Steemit blog on 16 Sept. 2019!]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Read a Damn Book – 155: Bleach Volume 4”

Read a DAMN book! We’re back, baby! After a more than two week hiatus, and writing that post about going to the library book sale where I talked about how valuable reading is, I realized that I needed to shift my focus (mostly away from Minecraft), and get back to sharing the printed word! For this review, I thought I’d look at another volume of Tite Kubo’s Bleach, the series about a teenage boy who can see ghosts and eventually learns to fight monsters, but it’s been so long since my last look at this story, I thought I needed to revisit the series starting with book one. (I have already reviewed the first three volumes: #1 on 24 July 2018#2 on 5 Dec. 2018, and #3 on 15 Feb. 2019—the latter of which was SEVEN MONTHS AGO! Time certainly flies!) Thankfully, the books are fun enough that I didn’t mind rereading them, and easy enough to get through that it only took me a few days (even though I read VERY slowly, and I haven’t been putting as much time into reading lately as I should—except at night, when I read stuff on my Kindle because of my severe insomnia. I woke up at 4:30 this morning, after going to bed around 11:00 P.M. last night and reading for a while before falling asleep! BUT that’s not what you’re here to read about!) Sooooo, let’s get to the review!!!

[This is a photograph that I took of the actual book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]

Tite Kubo – Bleach Volume 4 (2004) [Translated by Joe Yamazaki]

Like the other books that I’ve read in this series, Volume 4 continues the minimalist cover concept—white background, logo, and a character—this time including an image of a fellow who we assume MUST be important (important enough to be on the cover), but who isn’t even introduced until the last few pages of this book. Because his story isn’t really what this book is about, let’s just get him out of the way quickly. His name is Uryu Ishida, and like the main character of this series (Ichigo), Ishida fights and kills Hollows (which are monstrous evil spirits that eat souls, both human and ghost.) For some reason, Ishida hates Soul Reapers—the folks who USUALLY fight Hollows. (We find out why he hates Soul Repears in the next book—although I can’t remember the reason… It’s been nearly ten years since I last read this series, and my memory ain’t that great!) So, we meet the guy on the cover in the last few pages of the book, but we don’t really learn much about him in this volume…

What we DO get in these pages, however, are two pretty good stories. The last volume was very dark and gloomy, and ended with Ichigo experiencing his first real failure as a Reaper, so THIS book starts with a humorous story focused on Kon, the walking talking teddy-bear. It’s a quick little tale, but it’s pretty funny and serves as a tension breaker and breathing spot before we jump into the next adventure. (Although I should say, this story is a bit cringy, both because of some scatological humor and for a bit of creeper-esque sexism…)

The second story, which makes up the bulk of this book, is about a popular television psychic, Don Kanonji, who comes to town to film an episode of his show. Ichigo, who can see ghosts himself, isn’t impressed by what he figures is a fake spiritualist and publicity hound, but most of his friends and family LOVE the guy. In fact, a majority of the people that Ichigo knows end up going to the abandoned hospital where the psychic’s television show is supposed to be filmed, and they drag Ichigo along… However, Ichigo quickly realizes that a REAL ghost is inside the building, and the spirit isn’t happy. In fact, it’s right on the verge of turning into an evil, destructive Hollow—and Don Kanonji’s filming is only making it worse.

This entire episode is fun and funny, with the over-the-top antics of Don Kanonji making up most of the humor. He does seem to have some ability to see ghosts, but he is completely unaware of the existence of Hollows, and so his “performance” threatens to erupt into real violence and death, if the creature that he’s about to unleash makes its way into the crowd of people who have come to watch the filming. It’s a nice mix of humor and tension, and Kubo’s black and white line drawings do a great job of conveying the frantic nature of the scene. Kubo uses action lines, irregular panel shapes (not just traditional squares or rectangles), and scribbly / squiggly exaggeration on both the characters and the lettering in this section, which throws the reader off balance and adds to the tension of the story. Both visually and story-wise, this is an exciting story-arc.

One thing I do want to talk about, and I realize this might just be a cultural thing, is the concept of “courage,” as it’s discussed in this story—and unfortunately, it’s a bit…sexist…although that seems a bit too strong of a descriptor. In a number of places (throughout the Bleach series) Ichigo says he wants to PROTECT his sisters. He wanted to PROTECT his mother, as well. Ichigo’s father, who tries to shield his daughters from a shower of glass caused by an explosion, says (on page 112), “If Daddy can give his life for his darlings…he’ll die happy.” Right before he passes out. Men (and boys) protect—women and girls need protection. This happens over and over again in this series.

Even Rukia, the Soul Reaper who teaches Ichago about Hollows, and is MUCH older than the teenage body she’s inhabiting would suggest, NEEDED Ichago’s help in the first volume of the series to defeat a nasty monster, which is why he is now a Soul Reaper, too. In this volume, as Ichago and Rukia are trying to get into the hospital to stop Don Kanonji from disturbing the angry spirit, they are tackled by a bunch of security guards, and Ichigo yells for Rukia to “shake off” the guards holding her back and come help him. She says, “Why don’t YOU shake them off! You’re a guy, aren’t you!?” (page 75.)

In other words, guys are strong—women aren’t. Even though Rukia, herself, is much older and a far more experienced Soul Reaper than Ichigo is. In terms of tactics and experience, she SHOULD be his superior, but she still thinks—because he’s a guy—HE has to be the STRONG one.

I realize this is just a silly, action comic about fighting monsters, but it’s still frustrating to see comments like this being so prevalent throughout the series. And it’s why seeing characters like Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer are positives, in my opinion. Brute strength isn’t the same thing as courage, and males sometimes need PROTECTING, too.

So, with that bit of nastiness out of the way, I’m going to say that most everything else about the book is pretty good. It’s funny, the art is good, and the action sequences are well done. In addition, this book is rated “T” for “Teen,” which means there isn’t any cussing or splatter-gore or overt sexual content (so if those are what you’re looking for, I’d recommend From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell…) But if what you want is an entertaining, somewhat silly, book about fighting monsters, Bleach is pretty dang good…and (if you stick with it) the story develops in some really weird directions over the next SEVENTY volumes!!! (I have not read them all…)

Okay! Later skaters!!!

[P.S. – This review was originally posted on my Steemit blog: HERE!]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“I’m Seeing Rabbits!!!” by Richard F. Yates

A few nights ago, during my closing shift as a delivery driver, I was traveling down an ill lit stretch of road when I, momentarily, thought I saw a large (like golden retriever large) RABBIT run across the road in front of my car…

Perhaps I was experiencing a bit of MICROSLEEP… It was almost 11:00 P.M., and I was getting pretty damn tired. I THINK what happened was a beam from a dim streetlight hit my dirty windscreen (I never wash the damn car, though I probably should), and the pale, orange light slid across the semi-foggy window surface, just as I was half-drifting into a microsleep state, and my mind interpreted the light as a giant rabbit running across the road in front of the car…

I jumped in my seat, half applied the breaks, then realized that there was nothing ACTUALLY THERE, (or perhaps it WAS a giant ghostly or interdimensional bunny that I was only able to perceive for a few seconds), and—breathing a bit quicker than seconds before—I continued my drive back to the pizza shop…

But now, definitely more awake, I was LOOKING for rabbits. Every bush, every shadow in every alley I passed, every ruffled curtain in every darkened window was another bunny. I was PRIMED to experience the mysterious…

And when I reached the next stop light, I grabbed my pocket notebook from the passenger seat and wrote, “I’m seeing rabbits!!!” in big scrawly letters on the page. (It was my only entry for that particular day.)

So, in a few years, when I end up in the courts pleading for my right to walk the streets as a free man, and not spend the rest of my life in an institution, and the STATE enters my pocket notebook as evidence for my mental instability, specifically the note written on 22 Aug. ’19, when I claimed, “I’m seeing rabbits!!!”, maybe one of you can testify in my defense and explain that I KNOW it was just an hypnogogic hallucination and not the onset of a mental breakdown… If you could do that for me, it would be great!

(And let’s just hope they don’t find the note I’ve carried around in my wallet for the last several years that reads, “The squirrels are gathering!” That one’s a bit harder to explain…)

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

[P.S. – The image is colored Sharpie and silver paint pen on reclaimed cardboard with digital embellishments and color manipulation. 2019.]

Gracias!

This piece was originally posted to my Steemit blog, 24 Aug. 2019, using Partiko Android

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“51 Tons…I Mean TUNES…” (Music Playlist) by Richard F. Yates

Wow… It’s been THREE MONTHS since my last playlist. Time seriously flies once you get to a “certain age.” (I don’t know if I’m even having that much FUN! I mean, I AM, for certain, enjoying being a grandpa and making art and writing stories and listening to music—but literally, as I type this, I’m sitting with an icepack on my back. I threw my spine out of whack yesterday—get this—opening the dishwasher! Not fighting a crocodile or lifting a flipped car off a trapped driver or hurling a nuclear warhead at an asteroid threatening to pulverize the Earth… Just opening the freakin’ dishwasher!!! “What does this have to do with MUSIC?” you might be asking. And I’ll answer, “Screw you! It’s my blog, and I want to write about my hurt back! The fact that this is the only post I’m going to have time to write today, and it happens to be a MUSIC PLAYLIST, just means you get a little EXTRA with your tunes! So shaddup!!”)

So, it’s been three months since my last playlist. That’s too long. I’ve been LISTENING to lots of music, but I’ve spent so much time writing and arting (and working on webby stuff) that I’ve neglected my music lovin’ followers. Sorry! Let’s remedy that right now.

Lately, I’ve been watching this fellow on YouToob, Todd in the Shadows, who does these great music reviews, including a recurring segment that he calls, “One Hit Wonderland.” What I LIKE BEST about these videos is his wide ranging, non-genre specific tastes. He covers ‘80s new wave, he covers ‘90s pop, he covers ‘60s psychedelic tunes, he covers’ ‘70s soul singers…along with some modern reviews of current hits. I appreciate that eclectic, open selection, and additionally, he’s funny—which goes a long way in my book. Some of the “one hit wonder” bands that he covers are also some of my favorite performers (Butthole Surfers, Wall of Voodoo, Thomas Dolby, Dexys Midnight Runners, Dead or Alive, Falco…), and even though those bands mean a LOT more to me than their single Top 40 hit, it’s pretty cool that he’s keeping their memories alive (even if he doesn’t always “like” the band! Come on Todd! Wall of Voodoo are AWESOME!!! They just take a bit of getting used to…) But give his channel a look if you want some nice, extensive dives into some great and (regrettably) sometimes forgotten or overlooked GEMS!

Meanwhile, inspired by Mr. In-the-Shadow’s OPEN selection process, and IGNORING genre restrictions and eras completely, I’ve put together a list of 51 great freakin’ songs that are mostly upbeat and fun, and a bit ALL OVER THE PLACE. I’ve got country and techno-country, lounge and punk and pop and dance and industrial and goth and yacht rock and indie-pop and hip-hop and nu-rave and ska and goofy novelty cuts—and lest we forget that it exists, that one time where an upcoming rap band and a famous but flagging rock group got together (thanks to producer, Rick Rubin) and created a weird, super-fun, RAP-ROCK cross-over hit! (Remember that? When Run-DMC and Aerosmith made a remake of “Walk This Way” together? That was great stuff!)

I love all of these songs…

Hopefully, there will be a couple tracks in here that are new to you, and maybe a few that you’ll actually enjoy. (I’ll try not to let three months slide by before doing my next playlist!) But, in the meantime, give this mix a try… (Oh, by the way, the first cut in this mix is the album version of “Wot” by Captain Sensible—who started his career as the bass player for first-wave British punk band, The Damned, before going wonderfully insane—and there is about a minute of noodling and talking before the music actually starts. To ME, this intro is funny. Hopefully, it doesn’t turn too many people off. And, even if you DON’T make it the full THREE AND A HALF HOURS through the playlist, I recommend looking up “Yoda” and giving it a listen. It’s a weird, lounge-punk novelty song by The Punk Group, a Portland, Oregon, synth-punk comedy band who I’ve seen live a few times. They’re brilliant and offensive and weird, and this cut is HILARIOUS!!!)

Another interesting note… I have been looking for the song “Got to Keep On” by Cookie Crew since 1990, when I first heard this weird mix called “The Brit’s 1990 Dance Medley,” which played on a local radio rebroadcast of a show called Rock Over London. I eventually found the 12” single for the medley, which is AWESOME and I love it, but there is, at best a 30 or 40 second snippet of Cookie Crew in that mix… Finally, just a few weeks ago, TWENTY NINE YEARS after I started looking for this song, I got my hands on a USED copy of Cookie Crew’s album, Born This Way, on CD. The rest of the album is pretty fun (if you like things in the L’Trimm or Edelweiss or Mel & Kim sort of vein—which I do!), but “Got to Keep On” is THE SHIT! Nearly three decades of searching, and it was worth EVERY PENNY I spent to get that one track. (Good luck trying to find your own copy!)

Okay, let me get out of the way already and LET THE MUSIC PLAY! (Dang… I wish I’d put THAT on here… Remember “Let the Music Play” by Shannon? It was a funky, electro, r&b breakdance hit back in the ‘80s… Shit… I’m doing it again… Quit reading my ramblings and just go listen to the music already!!!)

[To hear this mix, for free, in its entirety, (if for some reason you can access the PLAYER that’s supposed to be right about this paragraph) you can visit the 8tracks playlist on the site itself. You don’t even have to download anything. Just hit “play.”]

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“51 Tons…I Mean Tunes…” (Playlist) selected by Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)
Approx. 3 hours, 38 minutes

  1. Captain Sensible – “Wot”
  2. Fishbone – “Everyday Sunshine”
  3. Phantoms – “Be Just Fine”
  4. The Neon Judgement – “TV Treated (DJ Hell Remix)”
  5. Jan & Dean – “Sidewalk Surfing”
  6. Praga Khan – “The Power of the Flower”
  7. Wolfsheim – “Find You’re Here”
  8. Clan of Xymox – “Jasmine and Rose”
  9. The Strangeloves – “I Want Candy”
  10. The Associates – “Green Tambourine”
  11. A3 – “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”
  12. Tennessee Ernie Ford – “Sixteen Tons”
  13. Me First and The Gimme Gimmes – “One Tin Soldier”
  14. Hepcat – “No Worries”
  15. Blues Image – “Ride Captain Ride”
  16. The Slits – “Ping Pong Affair”
  17. Freezepop – “Less Talk More Rokk (Guitar Hero 2 Mix)”
  18. Moonlight Matters – “Come for Me (feat. Gustaph) (Punks Jump Up Freestyle Remix)”
  19. Le Castle Vania – “Tigertron (feat. Factory Aire)”
  20. Alphaville – “Forever Young (Hamel Album Mix)”
  21. The Crytal Method – “Keep Hope Alive (MSTRKRFT Remix)”
  22. Depth Charge – “Shaolin Buddha Finger”
  23. Alex Chilton – “With a Girl Like You”
  24. The Clash – “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”
  25. New Order – “Face Up”
  26. The Presets – “My People”
  27. Atari Teenage Riot – “Midijunkies”
  28. Cookie Crew – “Got to Keep On”
  29. Eurythmics – “Beethoven (I Love to Listen)”
  30. Bloc Party – “Flux (JFK Remix)”
  31. The Cribs – “Men’s Needs (CSS Remix)”
  32. Echo & The Bunnymen – “People are Strange”
  33. Dexys Midnight Runners – “Show Me”
  34. Fake Blood – “Mars”
  35. Esquival – “Latin-Esque”
  36. Yello – “Electrified II”
  37. They Might Be Giants – “Purple Toupee”
  38. Nitzer Ebb – “Murderous”
  39. The Prodigy – “Need Some1 (Jim Pavloff Remix)”
  40. Fugazi – “Waiting Room”
  41. The Magnetic Fields – “Long-Forgotten Fairytale”
  42. Nena – “Just a Dream”
  43. Killing Joke – “Follow the Leaders”
  44. Crimpshrine – “Summertime”
  45. Ministry – “Over the Shoulder (12” Version)”
  46. Blur – “Under the Westway”
  47. Grant Lee Buffalo – “Mockingbirds (Original 4-Track Demo)”
  48. The Virgins – “Love is Colder Than Death”
  49. Basslovers United – “Basket Case (DJs from Mars Remix)”
  50. Run-DMC – “Walk This Way (feat. Aerosmith)”
  51. The Punk Group – “Yoda”

Yeah—that’s a FUN playlist. I lean pretty heavy on the “alternative” quadrant of music, but I’m happy with the mixture. It’s a nice, upbeat, energetic selection (some songs heavier than others, a few dip a bit into more moody territory, but even those cuts are cool—and I think they work with the other selections.) I’m a fan of the “train-wreck” transition, too. Gotta keep the folks guessing!!!

Alright, that’s me for today. The artwork, as always, was mine—a digital drawing made in the free “Paint” program that came with my laptop. Thanks for visiting!

Later, skaters…

[This playlist was originally posted, 22 Aug. 2019, on my Steemit blog!]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Why am I Playing MINECRAFT???” by Richard F. Yates

So—as an artist and a writer, it’s important to know how to manage your time properly, right? Am I right???

And, knowing that I have half a dozen projects in the works, I probably spent this weekend working on new paintings or editing one of the books I’m trying to complete or finalizing the rules for the R.P.G. I’m creating or reading a new novel or comic for my next review (which is what most folks REALLY like from me—sorry they take so long to finish! I’m a slow reader!!!) or doing something equally productive and useful—right? Surely, I didn’t just fritter away my weekend… (Yeah, yeah, I know, “Don’t call me ‘Shirley.'”)

Nope. I played Minecraft… For HOURS!

The weird thing is that I never really played the game much before. Maybe a few times a couple of years ago (mostly on Xbox 360), but the younger daughter and I have been watching a few well known YooToob personalities who have been playing Minecraft lately, and it looked like fun (again.)

As it turns out, the game IS fun!

But WHY is it so entertaining? What is it about the game that makes it so enjoyable? I’ve thought about it for quite some time, and I’ve come to a tentative conclusion, (partially to explain to my wife why I’ve had my nose buried in a laptop screen for two full days!)

When I was a kid, my favorite toys (besides books and records, which I’ve always loved) were the ones where you MADE stuff: Legos and Lite Brite and Robotix and Capsela and Spirograph and Micronauts and even Lincoln Logs and Tyco race tracks (you could combine several different sets and make these weird, looping, tracks…) I liked using the toys to CREATE…

And in Minecraft, you can BUILD to your heart’s content!

Sure, there’s adventuring, and taming animals, and growing crops, and robbing nearby villages, and fighting monsters, and blah, blah, blah—but those aren’t the parts of the game I like. I go mining, but only to quarry enough cobblestone (one of the most common materials in the game) to make my weird, castle-like structures. I don’t care about conquest or getting rich or defeating the big monsters, I enjoy the building!

I started by making just enough of a hut to survive through the night, and then I started expanding—adding rooms, building UP, making staircases and oddly shaped balustrades and connecting various structures with bridges. Then—and this is where I really started to have fun—I started adding torches and trying to create creepy lighting effects.

For those who have never played the game, Minecraft has an accelerated TIME frame (one full day/night cycle lasts about 20 minutes!) During the day, your character is relatively safe and can move around the landscape harvesting resources, interacting with animals and villages, and building in peace. At NIGHT, however, the MONSTERS come out.

At first, this is frustrating because if you haven’t crafted any weapons, or a house (or some kind of shelter), then the monsters WILL KILL YOU! Makes it hard to build stuff if you’re dead. However, once you’ve got a nice, safe house and some protective items (armor, weapons, a shield, etc.), walking around at night isn’t so scary—AND it’s when all the torches and campfires and landscape lighting that I’ve built look the coolest…

Here are just a couple photos of what I’ve built, so far. (I don’t know how to take a screenshot, yet, so I took these images of my laptop screen with my phone. Sorry about the glare from the window behind me!)

[Ha! I just realized you can see my Greatest American Hero t-shirt in these photos!]

I don’t know how to do anything FANCY, yet, but I’m having fun building my own, personal amusement park. I love the look of the torches glowing on the ground… And there’s even a moon that comes up and glows behind the buildings sometimes… It all looks very cool (to me) and especially odd with all the wild animals wandering around the grounds!

I THINK I can even learn (eventually) how to tint glass different colors in the game, then I can create a GIANT Lite Brite building and make some truly crazy designs… (I’ll do an update when I get something cool, like that, built.)

It’s maybe not REALLY art, to some folks, but it LOOKS like art to me! (It’s VIRTUALLY art, right? And in a digital world, virtual art becomes JUST ART! Right?) I think, and other folks will undoubtedly know if this is possible, I can send invites to folks to visit my Minecraft “world,” once it’s fancy enough for me to want to share it, and they can come run around in my amusement park—I could even call it a VIRTUAL GALLERY SPACE—and see all the stuff I’ve made…eventually…if I can figure out how to do it…once I’m ready…

And THAT’S why I spent the last two days playing Minecraft. It was fun, and I got to create a little virtual world! My creations aren’t as fancy as some of the Minecraft worlds I’ve seen—but I’m just getting started. Learning, experimenting, seeing what I can do with this toy, and so far, it looks like I’ll be able to do a LOT!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—and Old-School Gamer!)

Originally posted to my Steemit blog, 26 Aug. 2019, using Partiko Android

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“Read a Damn Book – 154: The Final Programme”

I’ve been sort of dreading this review, and the main reason for my apprehension is that I’m going to have to admit something that I rarely enjoy admitting: I don’t think I GET this book. It’s a novel, which is great, and it’s a science-fiction novel, which is also great. I love science fiction. Great times two, so far. And it’s a very WEIRD book—which should be fantastic. I LOVE weird books. I’m a fan of Philip K. Dick, Robert Sheckley, Jorge Borges, Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, H.P. Lovecraft, Rod Serling, and Robert Anton Wilson… I’m certainly no stranger to the WEIRD STUFF. Heck, I’ve even reviewed the Principia Discordia, a “bible” for a religion that worships Eris, the goddess of Chaos. I feel very at home, when it comes to weird… But THIS book, by Michael Moorcock… I didn’t really get it… Come with me now, on a strange journey, to see why I THINK I didn’t love The Final Programme

[This is a photograph that I took of the actual digital book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]

Michael Moorcock – The Final Programme (1968 / 2016)

First off, I want to mention that I’d heard of Michael Moorcock before reading this book—he’s a well respected British author who is often associated with the “New Wave” science fiction movement of the 1960s, primarily because he was the editor of New Worlds magazine, the semi-official HUB of ‘60’s British “New Wave” sci-fi, and he used his position to publish some interesting stuff by folks like J.G. Ballard (who became a pretty damn big deal, eventually, especially to future punk and new wave musicians! Check out the definitive look at post-punk and new wave music, Simon Reynold’s Rip It Up and Start Again, for more information on THAT tangent…) Moorcock is also incredibly well known for his high fantasy novels starring the character, Elric—but I don’t read much fantasy, and I’ve never read any of his Elric books.

So, why did I pick this up in the first place? Quick answer: I saw a humorous review of the film version of the book and thought it looked like it might be fun. One of my favorite YouToob reviewers is Brandon Tenold, who looks mainly at weird, cult films—and a few years back he did a review of this 1973 British psychedelic, sci-fi, spy film, based on The Final Programme, and he said the movie was pretty bad—but really weird. I laughed quite a lot at his review, and the movie seemed strange enough that I thought, “I should read the BOOK this movie is based on. I love strange stuff, so it should be right up my alley!” Then I forgot about it… BUT, a few months ago, I got a gift card from somebody for something, and I was looking around for some new digital books to buy (I read stuff on my Kindle at night, so I don’t have to turn a light on and wake my wife up when I have insomnia—which is pretty frequently… I get a LOT of reading done at night.) For whatever reason, maybe I’d rewatched Tenold’s review of the movie, I can’t remember for sure, I looked up Moorcock’s novel, and sure enough, there was a digital version available.

What I didn’t know is that the book is only part one of a FOUR PART series, and (after reading the introduction to this book—but before reading the novel itself) I discovered that the books in the series can be read in any order because the stories are only RELATED to each other, like alternate universe retellings of the same story or something. And I thought that might be pretty cool, like when Samuel Beckett (another wonderful purveyor of the WEIRD) told basically the same story TWICE in his books Molloy and Malone Dies. And so, excited because of Brandon Tenold’s humorous review of the movie version, and thanks to Moorcock’s reputation as an avant-garde writer, AND prompted by the possibility that I might be about to discover a science fiction version of Samuel Beckett…I READ The Final Programme… And I went, “Huh?”

There have been several books that I’ve read more than once before writing my reviews. In the case of a book like JMR Higgs’ KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money, that second reading was a real delight—I’ve read THAT book four times now, and I’ve enjoyed reading it every time. Some books, however, like The Final Programme, I read more than once just so I could figure out what was going on. (Another example of this type of re-reading would be Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy—which, once I got a handle on what they were doing, I absolutely LOVED.) But having read Moorcock’s book twice, I’m still not sure, exactly, what I’m supposed to GET out of it… So let’s stop beating around the book and dive in.

The novel was published in 1968, right in midst of the Swinging London Psychedelic movement, and as such this book is FULL of sex and drugs and rock and roll—and I’m fine with all that. I don’t mind bad language, the violence was often senseless, which was great, the primary character was morally ambiguous, often leaning towards the downright evil, and I’m fine with that too… So far, we’re firing on all pistons. Aaaaand so, let’s meet the star of the show: Jerry Cornelius.

Jerry Cornelius is your typical pulp hero. He’s a physicist, rock-star, fashion-model, billionaire assassin, who had an incestuous love affair with his sister, and is ALSO a psychic vampire—LITERALLY. The narrator mentions this at the beginning of the book—Cornelius FEEDS on the people around him, and this even becomes a major plot-point later in the book. Jerry (you don’t mind if I call him, Jerry, I hope…) Jerry, early in the book, is contacted by a Miss Brunner and her gang of scientist / social engineers, to help them break into Jerry’s deceased father’s heavily guarded fortress and steal some scientific information (in microfilm form) that Miss Brunner hopes to use to complete some strange project that she’s working on. A project that, she says, will save the world. The problem is that Jerry’s father’s property has fallen into the hands of Jerry’s psychotic, drug-addicted brother, Frank, who is also keeping Jerry’s sister, Catherine (with whom Jerry had the affair), hostage. What Jerry very quickly deduces, however, is that Miss Brunner isn’t exactly human—but he agrees to help her and her cronies storm the castle, primarily (we assume) so that he can rescue his sister…

Honestly, there are some very entertaining moments in this book, and some seriously thrilling action sequences, which are comparable to some of the most exciting scenes in that one James Bond book that I read. The novel is also pretty funny in spots… There’s one scene in which Jerry throws a party to let off some steam, (and presumable to syphon off some psychic energy), and his raging party ends up lasting for SEVERAL MONTHS, with people dying and the caterers demanding more money because they are having trouble keeping up with the insatiable appetites of Jerry’s guests—that’s all great stuff!

So my problem with this book isn’t with the humor, or the action, or with the drugs and violence and sex, or even with the twisted morality of the entire book… The problem that I have with the book is this weird MALAISE that saturates the whole thing. This sense that, regardless of what’s happening in the plot, NOTHING SEEMS TO MATTER… It was all of little to no consequence, to the reader, perhaps, but for Jerry Cornelius, for certain. It’s all nothing… A complete emotional wash…

During the attempt to save his sister from his drug addled brother, Frank, Jerry ends up KILLING Catherine when one of his “needle gun” shots misses his brother and goes through his sister’s heart, instead. (She’s lying in a bed, while Frank is trying to run away, so how Jerry’s shot “missed” by so much, we can only speculate.) But, even though we’ve been led to believe that Jerry loves his sister, he doesn’t really seem to care that much that he’s just killed her. People die at his party, and he’s just upset that they’re ruining the atmosphere. He has a brief affair with a scientist, Dr. Hira, early in the book, but seems uninterested in him when they meet later in the novel. He has a bandmate that he performs with in a bar early in the book, and he later kills that same bandmate, but doesn’t seem too broken up over it. Jerry just seems…BORED…no matter how weird the story gets, no matter how horrible what he is doing becomes—Jerry is just there… The only thing that seems to affect him, like honestly BOTHER him, is when he is isolated for several months working on “The Final Progamme” with Miss Brunner in a cave. He becomes so despondent that Miss Brunner eventually sends him away, telling him to go interact with some people for a while—because, as a psychic vampire, Jerry needs to feed—and after hitchhiking a ride with a couple of college students, and having seduced them both, he basically leaves them bone dry of psychic energy by the side of the road and steals their car! After doing this, Jerry starts to feel much better—and heads off looking for his next sexual adventure in his stolen ride…

All of that said, it’s the ENDING of the book where things really fall apart for me—and I’m not going to say what happens because somebody MIGHT still want to read this depraved, drug-soaked, psychedelic, goofy, amoral, sci-fi, spy-thriller, sex comedy, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for them, but let me say this: I didn’t GET IT. I read the damn book TWICE, and I still don’t get it. Now, there are THREE MORE BOOKS in the series, and if I were to read those, then MAYBE the ending to this book would make more sense—The Illuminatus! Trilogy is like that; reading the first two books I was mostly just confused, (DEEPLY entertained, but confused), but the third book in the series tied things up REALLY well, so that all of the books work together to tell a COMPLETE story. I’m glad I didn’t give up, but it was easy to keep reading because the books were so fun, even if they didn’t seem to make sense. However, I didn’t actually enjoy The Final Programmeenough to want to read three more books just to (hopefully) get some resolution… (Does that make me lazy?)

So that’s The Final Programme, a weird book by a well-respected author written right in the middle of the psychedelic awakening in Britain. It has some good action sequences, some funny scenes, and lots of odd and interesting concepts to chew on (like one scene where Jerry is attacked by “The Crowd,” which seems to be an amalgam creature made up of a great many normal folks who have somehow become psychically glommed together into a single, evil, hive mind that is housed in all those people’s separate bodies… It’s odd, but a genuinely creepy encounter.) The dialog, which is full of witty banter, often comes across as rather clunky to me—sometimes hard to follow, as I frequently had trouble understanding how the characters’ emotions suddenly changed from ironic playfulness and snark to genuine anger. The TONE was either inconsistent or I just had trouble following it. But my main gripes are with Jerry Cornelius’s apathy and with the conclusion to the novel, which we, as readers, have been pushed towards since Jerry was first recruited by Miss Brunner’s group at the beginning of the book. “The Final Programme!” All that build up…

And thus, if you want to read something weird, and you have a soft spot for morally ambiguous characters, I seriously recommend that you read… Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy, which is freaking hilarious and bizarre and trippy. And then, if you want to read something else, I guess you could try The Final Programme and see if you like it any better than I did. (Or just go watch Brandon Tenold’s review of the film version…although the ending of the film that he mentions in the review is NOT the same as the ending in the book.) Maybe, if you get to the end of the novel and it makes complete sense TO YOU, you can give me a comment and let me know what I missed… I mean, I understand the PLOT. I can picture in my head what is happening—I just don’t know WHY Moorcock imagined THAT ending to the story was going to be emotionally or intellectually satisfying… What am I supposed to have LEARNED or FELT when the story was over???

Anyway, that’s enough complaining from me… I’m gonna go enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life—and play some Asteroids…

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“What Does ‘CRYPTO-ART’ Mean to Me?” by Richard F. Yates [Really long ass post…]

I’ve made “BAD” digital art for a long time…in fact, since I got my first Apple IIc back in 1983 or 1984. (Back then, it was all VECTOR graphics, and I used Basic or Pro-Basic to write programs that would make these little “lines” move around the screen. It was exciting and new (although some of that old “computer art” looks a bit primitive today… Just a bit…) I had fun playing around with computers for a few years, but by 1986, I had discovered skateboarding and music (and girls), and I didn’t really mess with that old computer anymore…although I remember we did get some fancy stuff, like a Commodore 64, and then a 128, when I was in high school—but my younger brothers used those machines more than I did. I was busy skating around town and writing my thoughts in little notebooks, and drawing terrible ink sketches. (I still have these notebooks. They are BAD…) By 1993, my girlfriend (now wife) and I had a kid…and maybe a year later, my Grandma and Grandpa cosigned for us so that we could buy a Radio Shack Tandy 486sx with a CD-ROM drive and a dial-up phone modem! (So fuckin’ fancy!!!) For the very first time, we were ONLINE!!!

Fast forward a few more years, and Mariah and I acquired a digital camera, and I started taking photos and manipulating them in various freeware art programs. (I was playing catch-up, as graphics had come a LONG way since the Apple II days. For instance, there was more than one color now!) Around this time, I was also making zines, doing collages, experimenting with acrylic painting and oil pastels, and diving deep into the POSTAL ART scene… I loved all that stuff, especially mail art, because of the reciprocal nature of that scene. You make a piece, you send it to someone (could be anywhere around the globe), and then (if they liked what you sent) they would send something back to you! Mariah and I accumulated quite a collection of postal art over the years… Eventually, however, postage costs got to be too much, and I switched to blogging. This would have been somewhere around 2009 or 2010, although the transition was slow and fuzzy and bled a lot… I still receive the occasional postal art piece in the mail, but I haven’t SENT OUT anything in a few years…

I went back to school to finally get my B.A. in 2003, and I took a class in 2004 called, “Interactive Fiction.” In that class, we had to start a BLOG. I’d never heard of a blog before that, (the word SOUNDS awful to me—like somebody getting sick…), but I liked the freedom that blogging allowed—being able to write about WHATEVER I WANTED… And, with the blogging, I started posting my art online—and since that time, I (no exaggeration) have posted THOUSANDS of pieces (modified photos, digital drawings, and weird hybrid things, even a few animated gifs…) online. I love it. I share a piece of artwork (or a story or rant or music playlist or review) EVER SINGLE DAY. Always. And it’s been great! Keeps me up and moving and creating! And, strangely, even though I draw in a very rough, very PUNK, very NON-COMMERCIAL style, through a couple of my blogs, (primarily the Primitive Entertainment Workshop), I started to develop a bit of buzz, although I obviously never got enough momentum to make the transition from 9 to 5 work to full time creating… It could be argued that I’m not GOOD enough to be a “REAL” artist, but I’m not going to try to defend my artistic ability. I’m going to mention three names, and folks can ignore me or laugh or nod or think I’m full of shit:

Jean Dubuffet, Jean Michel-Basquiat, Cy Twombly.

THEN, around September of last year (2018), I got a note from a guy who said he’d seen some of my artwork on Ello, and he wondered if I’d like to make CRYPTO-ART for this new platform that was set to launch soon called MakersPlace. Naturally, I thought it was a SCAM. I’d never heard of CRYPTO-ART. I’d never heard of CRYPTOCURRENCY or ETHEREUM. I’d never heard the term “BLOCKCHAIN.” And what kind of LUNATIC would actually allow me to publish on their platform??? I’m thinking, “This guy thinks I’m a sucker! It’s probably some vanity site that wants me to PAY so that they can ‘PROMOTE’ my work through their webpage…” But I decided to look into it a bit—because sometimes I AM a sucker!

Turns out, there really was this thing called CRYPTO that people had started doing some interesting stuff with—smart contracts, and tokenization, and indelible record keeping… (Which, unfortunately, I still don’t REALLY get. I’m hopeless when it comes to the math. I read the Bitcoin white paper, and most of it was over my head—like “flying in a jet through the clouds while I’m sitting in a cave telling scary stories about monsters” over my head…) If I spent a few months LEARNING this new language, I might have a better chance of “getting it,” but I’m more interested in drawing pictures of funny ghosts and telling weird stories… I’ll let the folks who know what they’re doing handle the back end.

To try to get some kind of handle on this stuff, I looked online. (Magazines used to be the best source of NEW information, but print magazines seem tired and nearly obsolete now-o-days. This new thing, the “INTERNET” is what the kids are calling it, is where the FRESHEST info now lies.) In my searches, I found a video by Digitally Rare, called “What is Crypto Art?” and I learned about CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks, and I discovered the Dank Rares Blockchain Art Podcast… And I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this whole CRYPTO-ART thing!” I got back in touch with the guy from MakersPlace, signed up for a Beta account, and started uploading images… Eventually, these images became my MakersPlace store, (which one artist on MakersPlace prefers to call her “GALLERY.” And I really like that. The store IS an online gallery!)

And, believe it or not, some of my artwork has actually SOLD! I was genuinely shocked the first few times it happened! (Art collectors who buy from MakersPlace can pay with ETH or they can use a credit card…)

So what makes CRYPTO-ART different from all those other types of art?

Well, first there’s guaranteed attribution for a work of CRYPTO-ART. When you publish on blogs and other social media sites, an artist runs the risk of their work being “borrowed” by other folks and used in ways that were not intended… One band on Facebook stole an image that I drew and used it as their main image on their band page! (No credit given to me.) Another site I found was giving away a whole BUNCH of my digital drawings as “cellphone wallpapers,” although this time there was some credit (accidentally) given to me because the thieves were too lazy to change the names of the files they’d stolen, and I usually put my name into the titles for my art files… This kind of stuff, where people just take and share and use without the original creator getting any compensation, or even a credit, is rampant. With CRYPTO-ART, a work is “TOKENIZED” (through some kind of magical process that I don’t understand) and certain information about the work (who? what? when? that kind of stuff) is recorded on whichever blockchain the work is tokenized with (in the case of MakersPlace, it’s the Ethereum blockchain,) so the original artist will forever be associated with that work—for as long as the blockchain lasts, at least. (Oddly, I think I remember hearing that the actual IMAGE is—so far—NOT recorded by the blockchain, meaning that someone could buy a rare digital artwork, own the CONCEPT of it—the TOKEN—but the actual image can potentially still disappear into the abyss of time. They would still own the TOKEN, even if they can’t see the picture anymore! These are the types of things that are discussed in detail on the Dark Rares podcast. Definitely check it out if you find this stuff as fascinating as I do!)

In addition to attribution, with the tokenization process, the artist can decide HOW MANY of the image there will be. If the artist wants there to be 50 of a specific image, they can publish just 50! If they want a million, they can publish a million, if they want there to be only ONE, they can make it a UNIQUE object. (Although then they run the risk of the Kurgan showing up for a sword fight… [Nerd reference!]) It’s up to the artist. They control the supply, and there can be verifiable scarcity, even with a digital work (which could be copied ad infinitum previous to the advent of tokenization.) Now, the artworks have become official and verifiable on the blockchain, and no other objects or images are the REAL or TRUE versions but these tokens.

And there are also “smart contracts,” which can do some interesting things. In a traditional art market, a painter makes a painting and sells it to a collector for a stack of cash. (Granted, it might be a SMALL stack if the artist isn’t well known, like when I sold a little acrylic painting for $10.00, USD, to a buyer at our lawn art sale a few weeks ago.) Now let’s say the artist catches fire and their work suddenly becomes much more valuable. The original buyer can take that painting to an auction house and sell it for ten times what they originally paid for it—and the artist won’t get a penny of that second, or any subsequent, sale. It’s sad, really. Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans sold for $300 bucks each at the Ferus Gallery when he had his first solo show there, (they all sold to one specific buyer—but that’s another story), but those paintings are now worth MILLIONS of dollars… If Warhol had made his paintings as CRYPTO-ART, he could have included a smart contract in with the tokenization process that said HE, as the creator, was entitled to a small percentage of any secondary sale of the work after the initial sale. Sure he pocketed some cash when the works originally sold, but that secondary sale (for millions) would have paid MORE than the original sale, since his works’ economic value grew so much over the decades. Smart contracts ensure that the artist gets a kickback if their works sells down the line, which I think is a great step in helping artists make a living, especially newer, non-established artists or folks who work outside of the traditional commercial marketplace!

But who in their right mind would buy a DIGITAL artwork?

This one might take some convincing, but if you’ll follow me on this for a bit, I think I can make a convincing case… COLLECTING is an urge that many people have. Some people collect comics, or baseball cards, or Pez dispensers, or vinyl records, or movies, or shoes, or buttons, or cats, or guns, or metal lunch boxes, or recipes, or art, or snow globes, or coins, or spores molds and fungus… People like to collect—or they USED TO, at least. I’ve noticed this weird shift lately where everything is going digital…

Friends of mine have sold all their CDs and records, and they now use Pandora or Spotify or Apple Music or just listen to their music from some cloud storage thing… The physical media is gone… And people don’t buy as many movies as they used to; instead, they pay for Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime and HBO Go, and they watch shows on their phones or tablets or their Xbox or PlayStation… People read comics through Comixology or the DC Universe service. They buy (some) books on Kindle (although I’ve read that paper is still the most popular way for folks to enjoy their novels…) But in many cases, people are ditching the physical media for the versatility (and lightness—or perhaps “portability” is a better word) of digital services.

PEOPLE DON’T EVEN PRINT THEIR FAMILY PHOTOS ANYMORE!!! They keep them on their phones or computers on in Facebook albums, so that they can share them with ease… People don’t write and send letters anymore—they text or send an email…

It’s all going digital…

So, with all this shifting to DIGITAL media, how weird is it for ART to be collected and viewed digitally now, too? People can look at their galleries on their various devices, just like they do with their vacation photos… Or, if the collector still wants their artwork to provide atmosphere in their homes, they can get one of those fancy digital picture frames and make a slide show of all their favorite works… (I even saw a digital picture frame that had “facial recognition” software… Why the FUCK would you want that??? So that the frame will know who’s looking at the art and only show that person’s favorite shit??? The old codger in me thinks some of this stuff has gone a BIT too far…) With CRYPTO-ART, you can OWN your favorite digital art, in a way that a stolen gif or meme can never capture, or in a way that your Monet or Salvador Dali poster just can’t match. Those paintings aren’t YOURS, but that CRYPTO-ART flashing on your wall…it doesn’t just look cool, it ABSOLUTELY belongs to YOU! For people who still have that COLLECTING URGE, this is an exciting time to be alive!

Plus, along with being able to collect and view your favorite artwork with your standard digital devices (which you ALWAYS have with you anyway), a collector will ALSO know that the original ARTIST is getting their fair cut from their purchase—which will undoubtedly inspired the artists to make MORE cool artwork. It’s a system that feeds itself. The artists are happy to share and get compensated for their work, and the collectors have cool pieces AND they know that they are directly supporting the artists and helping to make more art come to life! Symbiosis!

At this point, CRYPTO-ART is a YOUNG MEDIUM. There are a number of different sites that are peddling their own brands (with their own superstars and rules of engagement), and the field is quickly expanding. Some of the sites that I know of where artists can share their work and collectors can browse for pieces that strike their fancy include MakersPlaceDADA.nycSuperRareKnownOriginpixEOS…and there are a bunch more… The space is moving fairly quickly, and I struggle to keep up with every trick, but hopefully these few examples will give you a nice starting place as well as an idea of some of the variety out there in the CRYPTO-ART world.

SO!!! What does “CRYPTO-ART” mean to me?

It means finally having a good chance of seeing my artwork actually attributed to me! It means sharing my creations with a global audience, primarily made up of folks who are ALSO interested in this new wrinkle in the art-world canvas. It means participating in a cutting edge experiment that could fundamentally change how folks THINK about art, and HAS ALREADY changed the way that contemporary artists are compensated for their efforts! It means (for the first time in over THIRTY YEARS) that I’m doing something HIP and exciting again. (Vector art WAS pretty spiffy in the early ‘80s, you know…) I haven’t felt this kind of rush since I discovered zine making in the late ‘80s or postal art in the early 2000s! It’s nice to be excited and energized and OPTIMISTIC about ART again…

Technology may be a young person’s game—and I certainly don’t understand the science or the math of what’s going on now… HELL! I can’t hardly figure out how to use the stupid CRYPTO-WALLETS, which you need to make all this stuff MOVE—but DAMMIT (and by gum!) I sure am having a good time! And, especially in darker times (and these ARE dark times), FUN is what makes the world go ‘round!!! (Or, at the very least, it’s what makes you not want to fall off the merry-go-round…)

So that’s my current take on CRYPTO-ART. If you’re intrigued, go check out the sites I mentioned above, or watch the video, or listen to the podcast—OR (and I highly recommend this one) go check out my MakersPlace gallery and see what STRANGE PLEASURES await you there!!! And, if you’re flush with cash, feel free to drop a couple of bucks on a rare digital crypto collectible! Early adopters get STYLE bonus points, which (I think) are good for an extra ice-cream-cone in the afterlife! Okay? Good! Now GO explore this new territory!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Very Very Very Short Stories (A Rehash)” by Richard F. Yates

About 150 years ago, I had something akin to writer’s block. It wasn’t your standard writer’s block, though, where I couldn’t get anything down on paper. This was a weird case in which I was CONSTANTLY writing, starting story after story, coming up with great characters, crazy plots, bizarre mysteries, horrifying monsters…but I’d never FINISH anything. I have notebook after notebook after notebook just FULL of scenarios and characters and twists of fate, but (other than one 17,000 word novella) I kept getting bored with what I was writing, and I would give it up—moving on to the NEXT freaky idea or tantalizing character without ever writing “THE END.”

I wanted to FINISH something.

Just to feel what it was like to COMPLETE a story… ANY STORY. I decided I was going to write a short story. A very short story. A VERY VERY VERY SHORT STORY! And so I did… Here’s what I came up with:

Tom” by Richard F. Yates

Tom ate several things he found in a drawer at Kimble’s house. No one suspected that this was Tom’s plan from the beginning. Now Tom is dead.

I started a new blog, called it “VERY VERY VERY SHORT STORIES,” and published “Tom” on November 14th, 2011. I showed it to a few friends of mine, and they all said, “That’s just stupid. I could do better than that!” And they DID. By November 28th, we had NINETY NINE of these little stories, written by about 20 different people (several published under aliases)—and we even decided to release the stories as a BOOK! (Which I made 7 inches by 7 inches, so that it looked a bit like a 45 rpm record, because these little stories reminded me, just of bit, of a bunch of novelty songs…) Over time, a few of us kept going back to the V.V.V.S.S. whenever we felt like we needed to write some weird little thing—just to FINISH something again, maybe, or perhaps because we’d started to really ENJOY these freaky, tiny, often absurd little bits of fiction. (Not FLASHY fiction, of course… There wasn’t anything FLASHY about what we were doing. It was just very very short… No flash…)

So—what does any of this have to do with YOU fine folks? I’ll tell you what! This is REALLY about me still enjoying some of these older stories, as weird and ephemeral as they are, and not wanting them to disappear into the garbage disposal that is TIME AND SPACE, so I’m going to REPRINT a couple of them below in the hopes that SOMEBODY might read them again… These are just a few of my favorite weird little bits, and if you enjoy these, there is an entire website just FULL of this junk, by a bunch of different authors (somewhere between 25 and 30 humans in total, I think, although I can’t quite remember which pseudonym belongs to who anymore…) Without further ado, here are six VERY VERY VERY SHORT STORIES that I quite like, even though most of them are very weird and disposable and easily forgotten. I still laugh when I read most of these… Hopefully, you’ll enjoy them, too! (The couple of aliases listed below are also me… So… Yeah…)

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Love Song” by Charlie Centipede

“…crickle crack, crickle crack! Now I want my husband back!” she sang. And the dirt began to move…

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The Floating Cow” by Dr. Ugg (The Educated Caveman)

The cow floated approximately six feet off the ground, chewing absently and apparently unconcerned as it progressed down Henson Street.

“Damn it, Bessie! Get your ass back to the barn,” Jed yelled, then spit a gooey mass of brown liquid into the gutter.

The cow rolled its huge eyes toward the farmer, gave a low mewling grunt, then continued floating toward the edge of town.

Three weeks later, Jed received a postcard of the world’s largest ball of twine that was signed, cryptically, with the word: “Moo.”

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Harold and Abigale” by Richard F. Yates

Harold rolled over in the night and discovered that Abigale was gone. A note pinned to her pillow read, “Harold, I’m leaving you to pursue my dream of becoming a wig maker for Eastern European goth kids. I put a stew in the crock-pot for you. Have a good life.”

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One Day” by Richard F. Yates

One day, the night came early, and everyone went home confused.

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Party!!!!!” by Richard F. Yates

It was a party like no other! Nobody came. There was no music or snacks, and when Jerry went to clean up afterwards, he was stabbed to death by an empty pizza box. Everyone agreed it was a great success!

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Echoes” by Richard F. Yates

In the beginning there was nothing, or perhaps one very small thing, which was, in fact, everything. In the end there will be nothing but echoes.

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—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Monday is Upon Us (And We are Skeptical)” by Richard F. Yates

[Posted yesterday, 19 Aug. 2019, on my Steemit blog, but I think it’s still relevant, if for no other reason than I still like the drawing! —RFY]

Greetings folks, it’s Monday again… (Seems like this happens every damn week.) And it was a busy weekend…

Saturday, Mariah (the “Wife”) and Frankie (the “Older Daughter”) and Felicity (the “Baby”) and I drove to I Like Comics (a comic shop in Vancouver, Washington), and bought tickets to the upcoming Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon. We got Sunday, Sept. 15th passes…because Frankie’s husband works on Saturday. Plus, Sunday is the last day of the con, so maybe dealers will have some good DEALS that day! And, yes, while we were at I Like Comics…I was bad and bought more books!

After we finished shopping (and Frankie and Mariah took a bunch of photos of the baby in the store—it was her first visit to a comic shop!), we walked towards Mon Ami, the crepe / coffee shop, hoping to get some crepes…but the streets were all filled with fancy, vintage cars for some kind of car show. For reasons I don’t understand, the crepe shop was closed… I don’t know why they didn’t want to try to cash in on all the automobile fans being in the area, but…whatever…

Next, famished because we couldn’t get crepes, we went back to the car and drove to the Vancouver Saturday market, down by the waterfront. Mariah found some corn on the cob and some jam, and she bought a couple of cool, vintage-looking, cat themed Christmas decorations from a vendor lady who we met last year at the Camas Street Fair. (This year’s Camas Street Fair is next weekend. We are CONSIDERING going again. It was a lot of fun last time.)

Also present at this Saturday market was a street performer who had these cool, L.E.D. lighted speakers hanging from his body who was singing along to classic Soul and R&B songs in a loud falsetto voice. He roamed around the market, and eventually stopped for a long stretch of time to sing just a few feet from the table we sat at to eat our street vendor food. (My favorite food of the day: “homemade” cinnamon cake donuts!!!)

Eventually, with the baby hungry, (and me overstimulated) we headed for the car (so the kid could eat in private), then home!

Sunday!!! Mariah and I worked on laundry forever, until, in the early afternoon, Frankie brought baby Felicity over for us to babysit while she and her husband worked on their yard, which might have gotten a bit overgrown in the last few months…for some reason…

Babysitting was pretty fun, even though there were some fussy times. (She’s only two months old, ya know…) Then, when we were tired of being active grandparents, we called Frank and had her come get the Little Kid, and we sent her home!

Then we watched a Harry Potter movie. (We rewatch the movies every year or so. We’re up to Order of the Phoenix on this watch-through.)

In some sad news (I’m sure you folks appreciate all this personal shit, right?), Elise’s (she’s the younger daughter) fiance, Gabe, left this morning for New York for school. He got into a Ph.D. program for Physical Therapy, so it will be great once he’s done, but we live in Washington State, so NY is on the complete opposite side of the country… These two “kids” (they are 21 and 25—are they still “kids”???) won’t get to see each other again until Christmas. Luckily, with modern communication technology, they’ll be able to do video calls and talk to each other over their headsets while shooting people in Apex and Call of Duty and such.

Still, Elise will probably be a bit morose for a few days—and I get it.

What else??? Well…I’ve been doing a bunch of work on my NON-COM-ARTS site, adding my long reviews list to the main menu, and I started a crypto-art gallery there, as well. Speaking of crypto-art, I’m also working on an article ABOUT crypto-art: what I think it is, how I learned about it, and where folks who are interested can learn more… That will HOPEFULLY go up tomorrow, although I have to close at work tonight, so I might not be awake enough to finish until tomorrow afternoon, instead of in the morning…

AND I need to get back on my Spook Show 2019 movie reviews (if I’m going to finish 31 reviews before Halloween), AND AND I haven’t posted a new music playlist in about a hundred years… I really need to quit slacking!!! (Until I FINALLY review The Book of the SubGenius, then I’ll have to slack for a FEW days, at least, to pay tribute to Bob!!!)

Okay…that’s it fur now! Gonna be a BUSY week!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

[P.S. – The drawing at the top of this post was originally created while waiting in line for the George Clinton show. It was made with a big, fat, green Sharpie on reclaimed cardboard, with digital embellishments and color. 2019.]

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“The DUCK Speaks” by Richard F. Yates

A few weeks ago, Mariah and I went to a Korean barbecue joint for a birthday party, and I spotted this stained glass duck image in one of the restaurant’s windows. To ME (maybe not to everyone) there seemed to be a look in the duck’s eye that might be anger or even disgust… Thus, I pulled my phone from my pocket, captured the image in digital code, and let the picture sit in my phone’s gallery until I could figure out what to do with it…

This morning, the WORDS came to me, as if the DUCK’s message had been sent from 2-D Window Land to Longview, Washington, via Mega-Slow-Snail-Slime Psychic Telegram, and then got lost along the way… But it arrived today! And the DUCK says to be good, OR ELSE…

I’d listen to him… That look in his eye… Pretty sure he means business!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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