Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Call Waiting of Cthulhu

Okay, so you have stories penned by a paranoid social misfit in the beginning of the 20th century that are weird fiction (or science fiction or horror fiction or science fantasy) and they usually involve some person being driven insane from gathering the merest glimpse of the whole of reality in its 16 dimensional spaces, a situation which makes them an unreliable narrator at best, and they aren't even very good and somehow this becomes the basis for an entire pop-culture of douchebaggery.  That about sums up my thesis here.
This happens in every single game of Arkham Horror.  Just assholes shooting guns at things that are supposed to be nigh invulnerable...and winning.
From Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu to Fantasy Flight Games Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Elder Sign there is something fundamentally wrong with fans of the genre.  By this I mean that I wish to ask fans of Lovecraft if they have ever actually read the man's work.
Case in point: A friend of mine was in a bookstore, which is surprising enough in this day and age, and overheard a young man commenting loudly to his female companion that the bookstore was in error because they put the Lovecraft works in Science Fiction rather than Horror where it belongs.

Oh really.  Is that what you think, sparky?  Well the fact is that Lovecraft wrote Science Fiction.  Or Weird Science Fantasy, if you prefer.  I have a list of reasons why this is but let me break them down to these:
1) The bulk of his work features entities from beyond the stars.
2) It is not in the least bit scary.
3) We weren't calling it Science Fiction when he was writing, but honestly, it is.
4) Okay, it's not all Sci-Fi, but the roots are mostly Sci-Fi.
5) Science Fiction and Horror have always been evil twins anyway.  Where you see the one, the other is usually nearby, probably waiting to kill you.  And wear your skin as a hat.

That wouldn't even bother me.  What bothers me is how much geeks like Cthulhu.  To the point that they act like the thing is their best friend.  He's become some sort of guard dog and badge of geek honor all rolled into one.  On the least offensive side this is a debasement of the source and on the worst side it is the sort of thing people do to show how "unique" they are with overtones of shock and offense.  Like when people pretend to be Satanists to annoy Christians who are not strong in their own beliefs.  It is douchy.  Stop it.
That's METAL that is.
So what we have, shown above, is a thing beyond human comprehension, summoned from the very depths of a man's neurotic nightmares (seriously, the man had issues, go read his bio some time) showing his trepidation and fear of, among other things, the infinite universe (interestingly he uses the sea as a metaphor for this in Call of Cthulhu) being reduced to...
I know these are on somebody's Christmas list somewhere.
Yes, fuzzy slippers.  H.P. would vomit to see this.  I guarantee it.  Like Poe, Lovecraft's writing reveals much of the author's own internal struggles with life and fear.  H.P. believed in the relationship between author and reader (he reportedly did not like adaptations of his work for radio as he felt it destroyed the dramatic tension and personal relationship that made the horror work-paraphrased from the introduction to the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu RPG, 3rd edition, I think).  What then would he think of this:

I think he'd think what you are thinking, "Hey, that guy is fisting Cthulhu".  He would not be happy about that.

Personally I put old Squid-Face in the same group as Freddy Kruger for his pop-culture appeal.  I don't understand a human mind that enjoys misusing the monster.  Hey, I get it, we love our monsters, but they still need to be monsters and if not monsters in the traditional sense, as least still monstrous, dig?  I love The Munsters and would certainly hang out with Herman and his family, so maybe I am off-base with this Cthulhu pop-culture hatred.
I think much of this is aimed at gaming anyway.  When you play a game where a being beyond space and time shows up and you shoot it to death with a tommy gun I think the whole thing has gone horribly wrong.  When we make the Frankenstein Monster into a friendly thing at least it was not designed from the beginning as an unfeeling cosmic horror (again with that's not scary).  We were meant to feel a sense of pity for the monster from the start.
This is the thing that ushers in man's destruction on this planet?  Yeah, probably.
So that's my thing.  Cthulhu for president and plush Cthulhus and all of it.  It's just silly.  Playing an RPG, video game or any Mythos product where you can shoot dead a Cthonian or a Star Spawn is taking away from the very thing you profess to love.
Sad, really.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yes, I did just listen to Josie Cotton

What a day.
I realize that soon I will need to actually post some holiday horrors and such, being that the season is nigh upon us, but today I felt a bit odd.  Off.  Not bad, just not my normal feeling.  This was probably because I knew I had a 4 hour conference call coming up from noon to 4, but then it was over by 1.  That throws everything off.

On the one hand (the right hand) I've been very concerned about wizards of late.  Like all week.
On the other hand (the sinister one) I've been having the weirdest songs running through my head all week.  I can't listen to music at work due to diverse reasons that I shall not reveal.  I have been listening to a novel in my car.

So I got home and thought, "You Tube!" then I listened to "Johnny Are You Queer?", which lightened the mood a bit.  Of course then it is a slippery slope into the 80's innit? (Some of you youngsters might not know what I am talking about; sit down in the rockin' chair and I'll tell you a tale of the gawdam 1980s)

Where does it end?  Am I to end up in some sort of Pat Benatar  binge?
Will I Devo?
Is Oingo Boingo in my near future?
I mustn't Flock.  I mustn't.

Sometimes the metal just leaves me.  I am bereft of Metal.  Sometimes I've no grease and I don't feel like the sounds of twang.  Let's face it, I have to surf the New Wave, no matter how old it is.


(E.G. Daily, by the way.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The infamous Busch Gardens letter

It occurred to me that my posting of BGW's reply would be better in context.  Below is the e-mail I sent to them the reply to which is in the post below.

Dear BGW,

Today my wife and I decided that we would not be renewing our annual
passes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  As Virginia residents, my wife
a native, we are most unhappy with the current trend we see at BGW.  I
have been following the BG official blog via the BG website and I
realize that others, many others, share our feelings.  The current
quality of the park, its rides and shows, has fallen far from the bar
set in previous years and we no longer desire to be associated with
it.  Despite living within 30 minutes of the park, we no longer see
the value in holding passes of any kid.
Our list of complaints are as follows:
1) The change to the Festhaus has not been for the better.  Things
must change, certainly, but the Entwined show is a poor replacement
for the Oktoberfest show.  The costumes are substandard, the singing
is barely adequate and the plot, such as it is, is vapid.  I took a 3
year old to see it and she was bored by the entire show with the
exception of the bears.  Children have their places at BG.  Insipid
children's musical theater belongs in the Sesame area.
2) The Verbolten is a poorly executed ride.  With such a show building
a much better presentation could be done, and yet it leaves much to be
desired.  The worst aspect is that the show building takes away from
the coaster.  Part of the thrill of a coaster is the feeling of
movement produced by rushing wind, the anticipation of the drop you
can see and the visual effect of the world moving past at blurring
speeds.  The show building denies the senses that enhance a coaster,
but then it also fails by providing weak visuals and auditory
stimulation.  The trick of the eye effect of DarKastle is wonderful,
yet the Verbolten does not even produce that and it moves faster.  A
poor, poor replacement for the beloved Big Bad Wolf that you murdered.
3) Howl-O-Scream 2011 was a major disappointment.  The child-friendly
choice to have scare zones rather than the scare everywhere turned the
entire event into a waste of time.  Halloween is supposed to a be a
bit scary, even for children.  That is part of its appeal.  If parents
are concerned about their children then can certainly leave the park
by 6 PM.  Ruining everyone else's good time for the sake of a few
overprotective parents (who aren't going to spend money anyway) is a
foolish and insulting decision.
4) Monster Stomp...gone.  2012 Howl-O-Scream is already off to a bad
start to us.  If you insist on taking away our entertainment, then
removing the appeal of Howl-O-Scream, and subjecting us to enslavement
to a child-worshipping cult, why should we patronize your
5) The trend is toward a kiddie park.  There are plenty of kiddie
parks that parents can go to.  As a park BG was a good mix of
child-friendly and adult entertainment.  It is moving more and more to
a kiddie park.  Sadly this will not succeed.  The Disney parks manage
to be a great place for children and adults and are far more
entertaining, presently, than BG.  If you attempt to be a Disney you
will lose.  They are just too big and have been doing this for too

Thus, if you do not feel we, and those like us, are valued customers
we have chosen to cease to be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Response from Busch Gardens

I sent an e-mail to Busch Gardens Williamsburg some weeks ago explaining my dissatisfaction with the park, the direction toward which I saw the park heading, and explaining that my family would not renew our annual passes upon expiration.
After several weeks' silence I received a reply.  I have printed it below:

September 11, 2012

Dear Mr. Saxon:

Thank you for taking the time to email us regarding your visits to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  We always appreciate hearing from our guests as our goal is to provide the best in family entertainment.  We especially welcome comments that impact our guests' experiences at the park.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg strives to provide the best in family entertainment, and we constantly work on improving our guest service.  However, we do rely on guest feedback to address any issues or concerns our guests raise.  Please know that your comments were immediately shared with our leadership team for their review and follow-up.

We will continue to listen to our guests and act upon opportunities to further enhance the Busch Gardens experience.  We appreciate your help in this process through the feedback you have provided.  Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us. I hope you will visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg again in the future.


Derek Bowie
Director of Park Operations


A form letter?
A sodding form letter!
I detest irresponsible Capitalism.  I am a Capitalist.  I respect the Free Market.  I demand responsible Capitalism.  I receive very poor, concillatory, spin-control.


Keep your pumpkins lit (even if the bastards won't).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at here...oh, yeah, the dirty great monster dominating the center.
I don't care if it says Ur-Draug, Giant Tentacle Face Monster Dragon, or Carl the Wonder Puppy...that's bloody Cthulhu.
Note sexy cowboy for scale
In case you need a checklist...
What is that?  It's not's pure death!
Tentacle face?
Bloody Huge?
Inhabits water?
Rips open dimensional portals?
Oh yeah...check
We didn't win.