Umam’s Sea: An Original Short Story

One of my greatest memories was when Umam Nikan took me out to find the sea. It was a long trek, longer than any we had ever taken outside of our city. We lived in the south so we would not have to go around mountains to see it. Lots of flat land and good hunting to be had since it was so close to the great sea. It would have been nice to live closer to the mountains so we would not have to walk so far to get our water. But it is as Umam said, usually when chewing her foul smelling blackleaf and when no one else was listening, ‘the chief said to make their home there and his great boar-head is carried on the people’s back’. I knew even then that there was much wisdom in Umam’s words, but I could not help but think that much of it came from gut-hate.

We did not see too much as we were traveling to the sea, but we saw more as we got closer. At the start it was all sand and dust, sometimes a great cat looking over the dunes or a pack of laughing dogs tearing at a kill. But as we got closer we could smell the great land-surrounded sea. We could see the fringes of green life, like the mane of the great cat that we had seen. Trees sprouted from the dirt and the sharp triangular leaves scraped the sky like claws, chirping smallbirds huddling within them as they called to their brothers and sisters. I remembered turning to my Umam and asking her so much about the smallbirds. Why the smallbirds are so small when so many of their cousins are so much bigger? Why do the smallbirds sing so marvelously in the sun? Why do the smallbirds fly away when one gets close to listen to their song?

Umam sat back in the low scrub, the light of our campfire brighting up her wrinkled skin, showing of the age that comes with wisdom. ‘You ask many questions, Kiki. This is good. Never stop. It is when we stop asking questions that we forget why we must ask them.’ she said with a wry, black-toothed smile. ‘But I can answer your questions. The first is that they are like you, like all the animals living on the dirt, but in their way. They are small like prairie mice as the divebirds are big like lesser cats, so they may hide in the ground from bigger things. They have their own reasons, ones we do not know for sure. Maybe it is to peek into places too small for their bigger cousins. Maybe it is just so they do not have to eat as much food. In any case, they are as big as they are because our Earth Umam wants it that way. You ask why they why they sing in the sun? Why shouldn’t they? The sun is a glorious thing, Kiki. It gives us life when there was none before. It helps feed our crops and lights our way. Why shouldn’t the smallbirds sing when it comes over from yonder? But as for why the smallbirds flit away when we come close, it may because they are more like us than we realize. Whenever another comes close, a little one might be nervous. It is the constant fear of the small. If you are small, you might get eaten by something bigger than you. It is why we tell you to run from great cats. But you will one day grow big enough to help fight any great cats that threaten our small ones. Smallbirds will never get to be big and so they must fly away from everything.’

I remember this knowledge well. It made me sad to think about and little tears of not understanding dripped from my eyes. ‘That sounds not fair.’

‘There is much that is not fair in this world. But that is our lot in life.’ her Umam said. ‘It is all we can do to make fair the things we can.’

Back then, I did not understand again what Umam said. I thought It must be one of those things I will understand when I am older.

Days passed as we kept walking, the sun watching our passage through the scrub. A glowing eye of a god high in the sky. It hurt to look at for too long, so I did not stare back. But soon we passed through a place where the sun could not stare, the once thick and stocky trees and brush coming together into a jungle. It was so much cooler there, so much more full of life as well. Umam said many places this close to the oceans are. But there was much life I did not like. The blood bugs and little crawly things that scuttled and stung when they could. Umam showed me how to keep them at bay. She took her big knife, the kind made of metal from the earth by our tribe’s shaman, and split the skin of one of the trees. She drew out its ichors, slathering it on her skin before doing the same to mine. My nose wrinkled at the smell and Umam clicked her tongue at me.

‘This sap smells bad, yes. But it smells worse to those little biters. While you wear this on your skin they will not come near, see?’

To prove her point Umam swung her knife, splattering the sap on the ground, covering one with stingers and claws. It writhed and scuttled like a thing taken by ghosts before vanishing into the scrub. I was impressed.

‘Is that magic? Did you use magic Umam?’ I had asked.

Umam just chuckled. ‘No, child. Magic is creation. I just used something everyone has. Creativity. Now come here. You need some of this sap to keep the blood bugs off.’

I finally relented, allowing Umam to wipe the sticky green sap onto my skin. It prickled my skin and the inside of my nose. But it would be better than scratching and disease from the blood bugs.

But finally we arrived. The sea. It was so beautiful, the small waves lapping against the stone shores. We made our way down and the rocks turned to coarse powder, tiny creatures of shell and scale flitting in the water and on the sand. I cupped my hands and pulled some water from the sea and drank. But it did not act like normal water should. It clawed for purchase and made its taste foul before making me feel sick for drinking it.

‘Ah, it seems you learned a lesson yourself, child.’ Umam laughed. ‘It is good. Learning yourself is sometimes better than hearing it from others. You should not drink straight from the sea. The sea’s water is beautiful, but in its jealousy it has made its water undrinkable.’

‘Then where does the water we drink come from?’ I asked before trying to wipe the taste from my mouth.

‘The shamans dig around below the dirt, even below the dark rock. There, below even that, they may find caves full of water untouched by the sea’s jealousy. That is the water we drink.’

There I played, dancing with the tide and watching the little creatures in the sand. When it got dark Umam cut coconuts from the jungle and split them open with her knife. We shared them by the campfire, looking out to the sea as it turned glassy with colour.

‘Umam? What is this place called?’ I asked. ‘I want to know so I can come here again.’

‘Ah, a question with a future! Very wise.’ she chuckled. ‘Let me think… Ithemba Bay. Yes, that’s what it was called.’

‘And what does Ithemba mean?’

Umam smiled. ‘Good Hope. It’s part of the reason I brought you here.’

Umam looked up at the stars. How beautiful they all were that night. Gleaming like thousands of sparks from our campfire. The night sky was without clouds, leaving only the stars to shine through.

‘I have great hopes for you, Kiki. Great good hopes. When your father passes, you will become the chief of the Atlanteans. I hope that you have more wisdom than he has.’

‘But why do you say these things, Umam? Why do you hate the chief so much?’

Umam took a deep breath through her nose. ‘Because he ignores you, child. He ignores so much you cannot bring yourself to call him father. I cannot stand for that. No one should. But you will do better. This I know.’

I looked up to the stars again. I did not know why Umam had such faith in me.

Perhaps it is something I will understand when I am older.


Tiny Tales #6: Zombie

Something a little different from my usual Tiny Tales, this short story was not inspired by any previous image or anything like that. But still, it is interesting. I hope you enjoy!


I awoke to the sound of groaning and the rattling of metal against rusted metal. The room I had found myself in was barely lit by a single bare light globe hanging from a wire above, casting its glow onto the grubby once-white tiles of the room. A poorly kept radiator -probably broken- was bolted to the wall opposite me and handcuffed to that was the source of the room’s god awful stink. Rotting eyes lolled in a broken skull as a zombified corpse strained against the handcuffs that kept it chained. Seeing it and smelling it, I bolted upright with a scream. Its fervent hunger intensified at this as it tried to grasp at me with a claw of broken nails and mouldy flesh.

I looked around the room, scanning it for anything that could be useful in an escape. The door was solid steel, its hinges rusted. Not only that, but it was well within the reach of the carrion-hungering cadaver. On the other side of the room was a small bundle of hessian cloth with some heavy shapes silhouetted by the fabric. It took only a single step to move over to it and throw back the fabric.

It was a handgun. Or at least, it might make one. Its metal parts lay in a carelessly dumped pile on the cloth along with a single bullet, its brass casing in stark contrast to the steel and chrome of the disassembled weapon. It became clear that however I got here, the person who was responsible wanted to give me a fighting chance. Meaning they wanted entertainment.

I knelt down by the gun, a nervous sweat beginning to wet my skin and hands. As I tried to pick out the pieces I could recognise I recalled the frustration I’d experienced in my childhood when my friend gave me a Rubik’s cube. Somehow I always knew that puzzles would be the death of me.

It took me some time but I eventually began to figure out the weapon’s construction. I slowly began to assemble it, stumbling at most stages of its assembly. It was as I had just assembled the grip itself that I heard a loud snap from behind me. I whirled around and saw that the zombie, in straining as hard as its atrophied muscles would allow against the handcuffs, had begun to break the ligaments, tendons and bones in its hand as it slowly came apart from the arm. Cold sweat gushed from my pores as I looked back to the weapon and hastened my hands. Another crack told me the wrist had been dislocated. One more that another decayed tendon had gone. Only strands of flesh remained between me and it.

The last piece was within my reach as I quickly attached the slide to the handgun and jammed the single shot I had into the magazine. The flesh finally broke as the zombie lunged at me with a single hand and slavering mouth. I turned. My weapon wasn’t loaded. My foot came up, uninvited by my intention, and slammed into the zombie’s chest and me against the wall.

The zombie hit the floor as I hit the wall but was back up in less than a second. I had only just gotten the magazine in the weapon. I took aim right as it lunged again and squeezed the trigger. The shot was deafening in the enclosed space, the bullet smashing into the zombie’s head and the reverberation bursting inside my ears. It took a moment for the world to stop spinning as I saw the undead monster laying dead on the floor. Tentatively, I moved over to the door and tried the handle.



bLog Date: 18th September, 2017

So… Hi.

It’s been a while, huh? I wish I had some real reason I’ve not been active here. I could blame anything from university to my own work, personal laziness or just about anything else. I think the reason is that I’ve not had any reason to post for a while.

When posting on this blog I’ve generally not seen much beyond the occasional like. In all of my posts I’ve only had two comments. Not exactly encouraging, let me tell you.

I suppose it also has to do with the fact that I have no idea what you guys reading my blog actually want. So I’d like to make a little poll just to gauge reader interest. Hopefully with this I can actually make some content that people want to read. Otherwise I do have some work that I can upload for your reading pleasure.

Here’s the strawpoll. I’ll be checking the results this time next week, so be sure to get your vote in. Thanks for reading and, if you’re still here after the big gap in time, thank you sticking with this.

bLog Date: 29 March, 2017

Hey people! It’s me! And I have an announcement to make.

There will be no post today because I will be attempting something a little bit different.

I will be trying to make another YouTube video! A little playthrough and review of Bendy and the Ink Machine created by theMeatly Games, a free indie horror puzzle game that I found online. It interested me and I am thoroughly dreading playing it since I usually suck with horror. But I might as well give it a go since it just looks so cool! I love the aesthetic that the game has and it’s made me willing to push through my usual horror bias to check it out. Aparrently it’s quite good.

If you want to check it out and play it for yourself, I’d recommend downloading it and donating to support the creator! Also check out theMeatly’s website where he does a webcomic, just like everyone and their dog these days.

So yeah, look forward to me getting angry at the inevitable jumpscares. I’ll be back with more plot next time!

Crap Fanfiction Time! M.S.I

Hey everyone! So for one of my classes in university we were required to write a very short fanfiction piece that we would later discuss. I think since this blog is supposed to be about me writing I may as well show you what I’ve written, so enjoy! This is just going to be an extra little piece along with my regular (ha.) uploads. It’s only around 350 words so you can read it, hopefully enjoy it, and then go back to doing whatever all you miserable people do with your time.

The polished brass bell rocked back and forth, its tolling loud and repetitive. It wasn’t long before a hand grasped it, silencing its chiming. The hand placed the floating bell down back on the bedside table before its owner groaned and sat up, bedsheets bundling up around their legs. He rubbed his aching head. How much did he have to drink last night? He remembered going to the Winchester with a few of his mates after work, but that was about it. Maybe he’d flirted with Suzy? He’d have to try charming his memory so he could remember. But first he’d have to test his hangover cure.

Throwing himself out of his bed, he made his way downstairs to fetch those new tablets from the supermarket. Muggle science seemed to be catching up with wizarding magic almost to the point where it might surpass it, and the Ministry had taken notice. So it was his job to test these things and see how they worked. Then again blacking out last night probably wasn’t in the job description. He really hoped he hadn’t said anything too embarrassing to Suzy.

Now in his unassuming kitchen, he set down a notepad and a quill before he prepared this ‘muggle potion’. There was a familiar sense of ritual with a lot of these products of muggle science. The way the dry little orange tablet fizzed and blended with the water amused him. If only potion-making was this convenient for wizards. He looked over to his quill, diligently jotting down everything that happened with the tablet. He downed the glass, as per its instructions, as the quill noted the flavour.

‘Flavour: pleasant; orange. Effects: to be determined.’

Sighing as he set the glass down, he looked around the kitchen before hearing something. Footsteps. Suzy was in the open doorframe, wearing nothing but a dishevelled button-up shirt. Her blue eyes widened with surprise.

“Allan! I didn’t think you’d be up yet.” She said, her eyes flicking between him and the table. “What… is that?”

The ‘that’ in question was the quill, still writing diligently.

“Oh dear.” Allan gulped.

Campaign Diary #1: Tower Hunters

And now for something completely different.

As of late I’ve been running D&D for a couple of friends in the accommodation that I’ve been sharing and writing a campaign diary inspired by Matt Colville’s videos that detailed his own campaign. You can go to the full playlist by clicking here. Since I thought they were very enjoyable to listen to I thought I might as well share my experiences as well and see how you guys enjoy it. I might do more, I might not. I suppose it really depends on the audience reaction to them.

Not too long ago I started a spontaneous D&D campaign with my tower mates Tammy and Troy and decided that it might be a good practice to start a campaign diary like Matt Colville’s video series on YouTube. I’ll write entries after each session in the book I have but I think I’ll upload them a week or two later just so my players can avoid spoilers. Hopefully through writing these I can reflect on what I learned or what I think could be improved.

So who are our characters? Troy is playing a high elf rogue by the name of Tyrone and Tyrone is from the untamed wilderness of the Outlands to the south beyond the great wall that encircles the country. He’s not good with words but he’s basically straight out of cirque du soleil.

Tammy meanwhile is playing the gnomish druid Ecks and is seeking out the answer to a question she has been able to figure out in her long years of solitude in the Outlands. What that question is exactly hasn’t exactly been discussed but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Before I get deeper into this I also wanted to mention that I was making pretty much all of this stuff up on the fly. Troy had literally just finished making his character and wanted to play immediately which is probably a very good sign.

The two characters meet up on a dirt road leading north and, seeing as they’re travelling the same way, decide to group up. Wandering down the path they find an ornate scabbard inscribed with an elven name, Sildar Goblin-Bane. I had intended for them to find some random trinket that might play into some story later so I rolled on the trinket table on the player’s handbook. Around the scabbard were a lot of footprints that seem to lead off into the forest. The pair tracks the footprints and the tracks lead them to a camp of goblins! But not just any marauding goblins as these ones seem to be carrying a prisoner with them in a sack. Ecks and Tyrone both briefly debate on what to do before deciding to try and free the prisoner.

They have the advantage of stealth and surprise so the goblins outnumbering them aren’t too much of a problem. Ecks cast entangle on the goblins to keep them from moving around and Tyrone took shots at them with his shortbow, getting a few sneak attacks off and killing their leader instantly. Ecks slays the rest with his poison spray and the goblins are no more.

Untying the sack they find the high elf noble that had been kidnapped, Sildar. I stole the name pretty much directly from the adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver. Sorry, I mean Palandelhoogi. Sildar his happy that he was rescued and decides to buy the party drinks back at the tavern in the nearby town, Hoerest. They also looted the goblins and Ecks found a small crystal of bloodstained quartz which seemed to contain some magical power within it, so he kept it.

But people in town don’t seem that happy to see Sildar and aren’t keen on having adventurers meddle in their affairs, specifically a man named Bodric, an ex-guard farmer and de facto leader of the town. One of his daughters was wounded in a recent goblin raid for food and supplies and so he’s a little on edge.

Sildar ignores Bodric’s jeering and sits at a table with Ecks and Tyrone. He pays them a reward in gold for rescuing him and also gives them a magic dagger that gives a +3 bonus to damage against goblinoid creatures. It’s not exactly a very powerful magic item but it still has its uses. After that Sildar explains his quest to the others and offers to hire them for their assistance in the matter. He wants to clear out the goblins that have been bothering this town in order to truly earn his family name. The party agrees and a party is formed.

Later that night Tyrone decides to head out and explore the town a little as, being a high elf he only needs to meditate for four hours instead of sleeping for a whole night. He had a close encounter with the local night watchman named Tom and an unrelated cat, but otherwise didn’t find anything interesting in town.

The next day the party goes about trying to convince Bodric to let them help out with the goblins. The night before when he was about to go to bed Tyrone had a chat with the local bartender and Bodric’s niece named Ashe. Ashe was sympathetic with them and instructed them to go talk to Bodric’s son Nodric whom she had made sure was in a different field to his father during the harvest. Nodric was willing to help the party out with the goblin problem but as they were talking to him they were interrupted by Bodric. One of his younger sons had seen the party talking to Nodric and told their father.

Tyrone, in an attempt to defuse the situation, tries to argue that they only want to help out with the harvest. I have Troy roll for persuasion and, wouldn’t you know it? He rolls a natural 20!

Boric is genuinely surprised by this. Adventurers to him never seemed to want to do any kind of honest work and this has turned around his perception of the party at least. So he hands them all some tools and they spend the rest of the day pulling up turnips, carrots and potatoes.

That night at the inn Bodric chats with the party. He knows that they’re still planning on dealing with the goblins and refuses to let his son go with them. Why? Because he’s going with them instead. This was a pretty big surprise to the party and a very cool moment. Everyone’s happy and so they decide to go rest for the night. Unfortunately nobody is quite sure where the goblins have made their base, but there are a few possibilities like an old caved-in mineshaft a little while outside of town or a giant hollow oak tree.

After his meditation, Tyrone gets bored and decides to patrol the town with Tom. And it’s a good thing he did too because a group of goblin scouts appear and attack! Tom hollers out and alarm, alerting the townsfolk as the fight begins. At the end of it there are two dead goblins and Tom has the third in a chokehold. He and Bodric decide to keep this one alive to question (read: beat up and interrogate) this goblin and the others decide to go back to bed, even if Ecks isn’t terribly okay with the implied torture.

Tyrone however decides to make some small talk with Ashe and gets roped into a drinking contest with her. Despite his low charisma they seem to have really hit it off. Against all odds Tyrone actually manages to hold his liquor and wins the contest which ends with Tyrone walking Ashe home. After he gets back to the tavern Sildar taunts him a little as he overheard basically everything through the floorboards and Tyrone retreats back to his room.

Morning comes and the party rides out into the forest. Bodric has identified the location of the hideout, which was the old mineshaft. They take with them a barrel of oil with the intent to smoke the goblins out.

After dealing with the sentries outside and the goblins inside, the party see something surprising; an orc standing over the corpse of a slain and mutilated bugbear, the actual boss of the goblins. Nobody has any idea how this orc got in here, but they know he’s angry and about to attack them. Ecks also noticed that the bloodstained quartz seemed to react with the altar in the corner of the room, which was dedicated to the goblin god Maglubiyet.

Battle began and the party were absolutely terrified of this orc! Rightly so because as a boss monster I gave him a hit point boost and a few legendary actions, so he was tougher than a normal orc but could even act on the players’ turns which really threw them for a loop! Ecks managed to bait him out to the front of the mine where he cast entangle once more and the party peppered the orc with arrows until he fell.

That was where we stopped playing for that session but it was still a good few hours of play and extremely fun for everyone involved.


So what did I learn that session? Well, flying by the seat of your pants is a little difficult but a lot of fun when done right! I imagine that it’d get harder as things go on so I’ll probably have to make more notes so it doesn’t become a jumbled snarl of loose threads.
But as for other things I feel I could change or improve, I need to remember what stuff the party has at their disposal. For instance I completely forgot about the bloodstained quartz until Tammy mentioned it again. That and I should get better with managing the party NPCs as I ran Sildar basically without a statblock. But then again maybe I didn’t really need to as Sildar still served his purpose and didn’t get in the way of the players having fun. But it did feel a little weird not having any concrete stats for him, so that might change in the future.
Speaking of the future, what are my plans for next session? Well, that orc got into that mine somehow without getting noticed by all those goblins and managed to assassinate their leader. Maybe it could be something as petty as warring tribes, but it could be a part of something bigger like a rivalry between Gruumsh and Maglubiyet. I’ll have to think a bit more about this in my own time.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this! If you guys wanted to hear more about all of this be sure to say so! I’d be happy to share more of my campaign with you guys!

bLog Date: 23 February, 2017

Uh… Hey guys. So you haven’t heard from me for a while. Don’t worry, I’m totally fine. I’ve just been very busy moving back into my new dorms at UNIVERSITY!!!

*Party blower noises*

I think I should have everything under control for what I’m doing this year. I even managed to score some pretty cool roomies this time around.

roomie_and_lt_watching_xena_by_batlesbo-d9h6yb2(Yeah, not quite.)

That’s where I stand right now. Hopefully I’d be able to keep supplying you guys with whatever it is you guys visit my blog for. One day I’ll have to do a poll or something to see what people want to see more of for my blog. Maybe a strawpoll or something. Or you could just tell me in the comments. That might be easier.

Hang tight guys! I’ll get something out to you guys next week!

Retroactive Reviews: The Pink Panther (1964)

Hey everybody, sorry about the missed update last week. University is coming back for me later this month so last week was a bit of a rush week sorting everything out. And because I feel the need to explain it, the opening paragraph to this review is a joke. That aside, on with the review!

Weren’t the nineteen sixties great? The Beatles invaded America, America invaded Vietnam, then the moon, JFK got shot in the face (presumably by moon-men as a result of the aforementioned moon landing), Martin Luther King made a speech that got made into a poster that I saw in my high school once and then everyone went to a big thumpin’ party, got high and forgot about it just in time for the seventies.

But what we also got in the mid sixties was a movie starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and Capucine called The Pink Panther, a classic comedy of jewel thefts, uncoordinated inspectors and mildly chauvinistic dialogue. But does it hold up a whole fifty three years later?, dadun, dadun-dadun-dadun-dadun daduuuuuuun)

The plot is fairly simple. A jewel thief known only as The Phantom is going around… well, thiefing jewels and hot on his heels is the spectacularly incompetent Inspector Clouseau as he attempt to catch the thief, who is in actuality his often-encountered acquaintance Sir Charles. But this isn’t a movie known for its complex mystery. The Pink Panther has some great physical and verbal comedy that absolutely holds up today, not relying on references that might anchor it to that specific time period. And that’s another thing that helps elevate the movie from being a pretty good comedy with a mystery bend to a real classic, the timeless feel of the movie. Aside from the cars and phones people use it’s a timeless looking movie with some very well done set design.

Of course not everything about this movie is perfect. The nephew of Sir Charles has some pretty grating acting earlier on in the film when he’s at the ski resort. It could be argued that it’s intentional since he’s putting on a ruse but he could at least do it without sounding like he’s channelling his inner Shatner, which is actually kind of fitting because at one point he wears a jumper/turtleneck combo that makes him look a lot like Captain Kirk. He’s also kind of a dick to Clouseau’s wife who he later on starts working with. Also this movie includes a bewildering and fourth-wall breaking musical number performed by Claudia Cardinale which, while it is a very good performance and quite sexy, just kind of comes out of nowhere, pads out the movie for a good few minutes and disappears without mention. Not exactly a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, but close.

Small complaints aside it can’t be stated just how good the comedy in the movie is. From the inspector’s constant clumsiness, the witty and charming dialogue from most of the characters and the sheer lunacy of the third act, The Pink Panther offers enough that it’s bound to get a laugh out of anyone. The absolute crowning moment has to be the entire extended scene in Clouseau’s hotel room. Nothing else in the movie has such a good sense of continuity or inventiveness as to how the set is used. It’s fantastic.

So yes, The Pink Panther continues to shine quite brightly in my mind and is an absolute classic comedy. Now I have some more plot he- Wait, what’s this white glove doing here? Damn, looks like I’ll have to go out and find some more plot for you all next time.

Retroactive Review: Kung Fury

Happy Australia Day everybody! Now I know not everyone celebrates or enjoys our nationalistic holiday of choice, but I do know what everyone enjoys! Making fun of the 80s!

Kung Fury.jpg(Are you a bad enough dude to watch this movie?)

Kung Fury is a thirty minute short movie that is absolutely saturated in everything 80s and ridiculous that you can possibly think of. Made by violent helmeted madmen in Sweden, the movie follows the baddest kung fu cop in Miami as he goes back in time to fight the worst criminal ever, ever. Adolf Hitler. Also Thor shows up for some reason.

First of all, absolutely everything in this movie is a pastiche of the 80s, its popular culture and action movies of the time. Not only that but a lot of stuff in this is pretty insane as well. I won’t spoil any of it, mostly because you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. But what I can spoil is my opinion on the movie.

It’s… okay. Nothing really too special but it’s not insultingly bad or boring. The jokes were usually good for a chuckle but there was nothing too hysterical, most likely because I’m not old enough to understand all the references and I’m not pretentious enough to pretend like I do.

I admire the lengths this movie goes with its brand of comedy and the intentionally wonky continuity of the movie, but there was something about it that just didn’t appeal to me. Maybe it was because of how short the movie was or just the fact that it lacked much else other than constant jokes about the 80s. It’s not bad for an independant movie on a shoestring budget of $600,000, but it’s really not my cup of tea. It’s free on YouTube if you want to check it out and roll in synthwave-drenched nostalgia and it won’t take up too much of your time, but for me it didn’t take up too much of my memory either.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go travel across California to save the President by winning a video game contest at Chuck E. Cheese. After I get back I should have more plot for you next time!

Erotica or Erotic-Nah? Erotica in Modern Media

It just only now occurs to me that I could’ve saved this for a Valentine’s Day special. Oh well, can’t pussyfoot around the issue now. Time to take the plunge and go balls deep (okay, that’s enough).

Folks, today I’m going to talk about porn. There’s no sense dancing around this fact. But this isn’t your average everyday porn. So things might get not safe for work so if you’re at work or there are small people in the room as you read this, you might want to save it for later. Although why you’d be reading my blog at work is an entirely different matter unto itself.

NSFW.jpg(You have been warned.)

In Australia, our culture is mostly that of Western and specifically American, English and Christian sensibilities, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality. Sex is seen as a taboo thing all on its own, so its presence in the world of fiction and cinema is pretty sparse. Of course there are sex scenes in movies but nothing explicit is really permitted or able to be implemented without people saying “Oh. So it’s only just porn.”

Let me be clear about this right now so it’s not something I have to explain over and over again throughout this piece. Just because something contains pornographic material that does not mean that the sex stuff is the be all and end all of the story.

See, erotica is different from regular ol’ porn. For example take the cliche filled “Pool guy cleans out milf’s skimmer box” story line. In porn that’s just a thin excuse for the two unreasonably hot people to start a-bangin’, but you really don’t care because you get to watch. In erotica it’ll probably be following said pool guy as he realises just what he did and has to deal with the consequences of his actions, maybe how he only did so because his lack of finances are leaving his life in shambles. It’s a story you genuinely care about since, if it’s done well the erotic section of the story can also carry with it a sense of tension and foreboding since that said milf might just have had a husband that the poor pool guy might know. Or if they’re really unlucky, they might have to work with him.
There is a difference between the two, but neither of the two are inherently more valuable than the other. Sometimes you just want the action and not the story, and that’s the function porn fits perfectly. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something romantic, but a fluffy romance novel is just too tame, so you might reach for a good bit of erotica.

It’s easy to giggle and snigger about sex and porn (hell, I did it at the start of this article) but I think that has to do with the fact that most of us don’t really talk about it all that much or make an effort to learn about it, so it’s treated childishly and awkwardly since we don’t have much experience taking sex seriously. There are some people who can talk about sex frankly, but they tend to be the people who have already give The Talk to their own kids. Although it is perfectly reasonable to discuss sex in a non-serious way, just like almost anything else in human life. That being said, it’s a topic that really doesn’t get much exploration in literature and other media.

Historically, there isn’t much erotica in the mainstream of Western media, the most notable example in recent years being the undeniable popularity of E.L. James’ poorly written fanfiction book series Fifty Shades of Grey. However there are a few places where erotica thrives, most notably in Eastern culture. For the longest time before the end of World War II erotica had its own place among other genres of literature and was considered another facet of humanity that the writers felt should be explored. However, after World War II heavy censorship laws were enforced inspired by Western sensibilities, removing them from the public eye. These days erotica still exists in countless visual novels, manga and doujinshi, although they all generally include censorship enforced by the Japanese government.

But there is one aspect of Western culture that does have a notable presence of erotica. Webcomics! The internet is quite possibly the perfect platform for freedom of expression and many artists have taken it as an opportunity to explore the world of erotica, so much so that I wouldn’t be able to list every one even if I was given a year to hunt them all down. So instead I’ve decided to list a few notable ones that have caught my interest and attention and will hopefully capture yours.

oglafFucking Hilarious

dick-to-sconce(Don’t you hate it when that happens?)

Originally starting off with a story but quickly abandoning it for mostly one-off jokes, oglaf is absolutely hilarious, especially if you happen to play Dungeons & Dragons or have much interest in the fantasy genre. It’s a fun read and also includes some safe for work material, although most of it is NSFW. With some clever writing and a constant level of humor, oglaf is a good comic to turn to if you’re in the mood for more than just a laugh.

Go Get A Roomie!Strange and Uplifting

Richard.png(He has that effect on people.)

This comic is a bit weird. The main character known only as Roomie starts off in much the same way the comic does. A bit sketchy and one-dimensional but after learning more about her personality, friends and the world she lives in the art style begins to soften and change, giving it almost an ethereal quality, especially when it delves into the more abstract realm of dreams as supplied by the secondary protagonist and love interest for Roomie, Lillian (affectionately referred to as Lazy Tyke by most). It deals more with very alternative themes and characters which may not be for everyone but I found it was worth reading. I also felt surprisingly calm after reading, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Go Get A Roomie! is great if you want to just sit back with a pot of nice tea and let a little colour into your life, although Roomie might be a little grating to some people in the early pages.

Sunstone – Kinky and Kind

sunstone(Everybody hurts. But some like it)

Hoo boy, now we’re getting into the big ones. Sunstone is quite possibly the best romance story that I’ve ever read with some great comedy to boot, and it incidentally involves a lesbian couple in a Dom and sub relationship. Sunstone is a heartfelt story with well-rounded characters, a genuinely deep romance with some really nice artwork, but it is also grounded firmly in reality and shows the dangers that can come from what they do. Sunstone might turn off some people due to its more deviant content, but it is wonderfully informative and human about it. Sunstone has actually managed to get a print release thanks to Image comics, so it might not technically count as a webcomic even though a great deal of it is available for free on DeviantArt. While it does focus on a decent sample size of BDSM activities it never becomes too confronting or explicit, remaining accessible for people who curious about this surprisingly large and diverse subculture. Give it a read. You might surprise yourself.

Oh Joy, Sex Toy – Honourable Mention

Untitled.png(Just as well these things don’t go up to eleven…)

While Oh Joy, Sex Toy might not really be erotica for the most part, I can’t say I feel right mentioning all these other comics and not putting it on this list. Oh Joy, Sex Toy is a wonderful comic made by husband and wife team Erika and  Matthew Moen. While mostly providing reviews on sex toys, literature and much more, the comic also does a great job of providing sexual education, how to properly use certain sex toys, details about sexual health and how certain diseases function, explanations on parts of modern sexual culture that some may be confused about and plenty more from guest artists. There are also interviews from people who are in the sex industry such as pole dancers and porn directors. The characters drawn in the comic are also wonderfully diverse, coming in a wide range of body shapes and sizes, even including those with prosthetic limbs which I can honestly say I’ve never seen before. It’s a joy to read and very informative. I can’t recommend it enough.

Hopefully through reading this you might have come to a bit more of an understanding that not only is erotica not just porn, but it is still alive and well in literature even if it is out of the mainstream. Besides, if you get caught with it you really can say that you’re reading it for the plot!

for the plot.gif(And now you know where I got my name from)

Well, that’s all from me this week. But I’ll be back with more safe for work plot next time!