Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Fiction Generator

We can’t all be Cherie Priest on the first try. But if the storyline of your latest dystopian/retro-futuristic tour-de-force has got you stumped, insert one thrupenny bit into the Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000, and watch inspiration emerge from the æther. Three early attempts the got me the following tales:

Your title is: “The Blackpunks”
In a leather-clad set from Road Warrior, a young brooding loner stumbles across an exiled angel which spurs him into conflict with computer viruses made real, with the help of a sarcastic female techno-geek and her closet full of assault rifles, culminating in a heroic sacrifice that no one will ever remember.

Your title is: “The Chronotrons”
In a VR-simulated Victorian Britain, a young student of metaphysics stumbles across a magic diadem which spurs him into conflict with a profit-obsessed corporation, with the help of a tomboyish female mechanic and her welding gear, culminating in a philosophical argument punctuated by violence.

Your title is: “The Cybermancers”
In a neo-noir one-way spaceflight, a young farm boy with dreams stumbles across an encrypted data feed which spurs him into conflict with murderous robots, with the help of a shape-shifting female assassin and her wacky pet, culminating in authorial preaching through the mouths of the characters.

If you wish to see the guts of the machine, there’s an attractive diagram – the Wondermark Fiction Generator – on which the above engine is based. Written/designed by the super-talented David Malki, and coded by Liam Cooke.

Gorgeous design (reminds me of the Dollar Dreadful), and a fun way to get the gears turning when it comes to new fiction, despite (or because of?) the obvious critique that’s going on here.  [Via Milly, thanks!]

Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER


Cherie Priest is one seriously inventive fiction/alternate history/sci-fi author who pens books about witches and voodoo and airships and sea monsters and zombies and ghosts and werewolf-hunting nuns. Needless to say, me likes her lots! She has a new novel out today, called Boneshaker, which BoingBoing just aptly described as a “zombie steampunk mad-science dungeon crawl family adventure novel” and which I cannot wait to get my grubby hands on. A brief description from Publisher’s Weekly:

Maternal love faces formidable challenges in this stellar steampunk tale. In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for destroying Civil War–era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue’s son, goes into the walled wreck of a city to clear his father’s name, Zeke’s mother, Briar Wilkes, follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail). When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan.

Go, Cherie, go!

Order Boneshaker and other Priest titles here, or here, or better yet, from your local mom & pop bookstore.

The Broken Movie

Last week, after Coilhouse’s crushing loss to neonatal mush pushers among others, an impromptu battle began, based on the desire to unleash risque and tasteless content, which had theretofore been stifled in the hopes that Those Who Were Judging Us would not be horrified by our dribblings, which they may have been regardless of our self-censorship. I did not participate, for I am above such puerile displays of gross indecency.

Nadya’s wink to Bob Flanagan did, however, serve to bring to mind a formative event in the formation of my alt-culture understanding, which you see embedded above. The rumor of “the Broken movie” came into existence almost simultaneously with the release of the album and it was not long before its legend had grown into dark and monumental proportions. Chief amongst the details of these rumors was that the film was interspersed with scenes from a real, honest-to-god snuff film which, it was further postulated, was from Trent Reznor’s personal collection of snuff films which he most likely kept in a vault of some sort, no doubt situated in the catacombs under the abandoned warehouse in the industrial park that he called home. Or maybe just in a box under his bed in his L.A. mansion. Who knows. What we did know, my friends and I, was that we needed to find this movie.

It would be many years before that would actually come to pass and, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I would get to see The Broken Movie in its entirety, after having already seen most of it on the official release of Closure. Mr. Flanagan, of course, plays a significant role in the film, being as he is the centerpiece of the video for Happiness in Slavery. The Broken Movie did not disappoint and, while it was obvious that there was no way what I was watching was a snuff film, it was still rather shocking at the time. Years later, scarred from my time on the net, I suppose it holds less sway. Some of its imagery has, disturbingly, almost become mundane; but only some. Watching it again there is still plenty here that makes me wince. Time and knowledge have, thankfully, not managed to wash away completely the feeling of watching something, perhaps, taboo.

Author’s Note: Nothing linked in this post is safe for work. Some of it is not safe for life.

BTC, Bonus Edition: I Hate the Bloody Queeeeeeeen!

There are some days when one cup of coffee, can of Jolt, or installment of Better than Coffee just isn’t enough. This Monday was such a day for me, until I stumbled across this lost masterpiece of punk rock. Hot on the heels of this morning’s regular BTC installment (Mer discussing the infectious Hindi rock n’ roll ditty Eena Meena Deeka), here’s an extra shot for all you late risers and morning zombies. Ladies and gentlemen, The Queenhaters!

This punk parody appeared on the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV in 1983, featuring Martin Short as the lead singer, Andrea Martin as the lead guitarist/back-up vocalist, Eugene Levy as the second guitarist, Joe Flaherty on bass, and John Candy on drums. It later received its very own cover by Mudhoney.

Via Milly, who adds that she totally wishes that these guys were real.


BTC: Eena Meena Deeka

Popularized by singer/actor Kishore Kumar, “Eena Meena Deeka” is a highly addictive, nonsensical tune written for the 1957 film Aasha. It is noteworthy for being one of Hindi cinema’s very first rock n’ roll numbers. If something about the lyrics reminds you of the childhood limerick “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe”, it’s with good reason: the words of the song were inspired by kids playing outside composer C. Ramchandra’s music room. Via Wiki:

Ramchandra and his assistant John Gomes were inspired to create first line of the song, “Eena Meena Deeka, De Dai Damanika”. Gomes, a Goan, added the words “Maka naka” (Konkani for “I don’t want”), and they kept on adding more nonsense rhymes till they ended with “Rum pum po!”

I’d never heard this alternate, feminine version until the lovely Mme Darla Teagarden posted it on her Facebook. It’s just as faboo as the Kumar version:

Phonetic lyrics after the jump.

Show us on the doll where the scary mime touched you.

The Compagnie Philippe Genty is widely regarded to be one of the most accomplished and gutsy performing arts troupes currently working on the world stage. Their elaborate productions defy easy categorization, using a mixture of puppetry, mime and dance in conjunction with elaborate costuming and props. The narratives and meanings behind their productions are even more difficult to nail down; usually there’s no coherent, linear plot. Surreal, sometimes nightmarish vignettes play out like Freudian wet dreams:

(Via Whittles, thanks!)

Translating roughly from the French on their website, Philippe Gentry calls their story-building process one of free association.”The company is intent on exploring a visual language that reveals and plays upon conflicting aspects of human nature. When a scene takes place in the subconscious, following neither linear narrative nor the psychology of traditional characters, there are no hard and fast laws of causality. Instead, the performances resonate with our inner landscapes, provoking the emergence of these unspoken and insane hopes, these fears, these shames and desires… these shared, unlimited spaces.”

All that deep and somber explication aside, sometimes the troupe’s output is just downright hilarious:

Several more clips after the jump.

Friday Afternoon Movie: Stalker

It’s been a long week hasn’t it? Busy too. It seems that your inbox is always full no matter how much work you do, like everyone is clearing their desks by simply transporting everything over to you. Shit just doesn’t end. You wonder how you came to be here at this desk, writing this inter-office email, using words like “actionable” and “synergy”. How did this come to pass? No one makes their mark on this world by using “actionable”. No one. What had Murakami done by the time he was your age? Or DaVinci? Or Batman? I bet Batman wasn’t responding to emails, that’s for sure; because he’s the goddamn Batman and he doesn’t need a motherfucking desk job, Jim. His job is kicking ass, period. For real. Of course, he was also rich, which gave him the financial independence required to become the scourge of Gotham’s underworld. It’s an unfair comparison really.

All this brain power being used for introspection would be so much better spent elsewhere, don’t you think? And I don’t mean the email you’re writing. Just wrap it up. That’s it. Now hit “send”. Very good. As I was saying, your mental faculties should be applied to something worthwhile something like the Friday Afternoon Movie. Today’s FAM is Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, based on the novel Roadside Picnic written by brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. Like all Tarkovsky, Stalker is a slow burn. It’s two and a half hours for a reason, partly because Andrei has a whole lot of pretty and haunting things he wants to show you and partly because the characters have Something To Say. Tarkovsky is of the “love him or hate him” variety of director so your mileage may vary, but Stalker is near the top for my favorite films. Just watch the movie and try not to think about what Tarkovsky was doing when he was thirty.

Vikings, Sponge Balls, Pizza, FUN! (But No Fatties.)

Every once in a while, you’ll find a sparkling diamond of truth in the most unexpected of places, like an ’80s dating video montage, for instance:

Via Gala Darling, xox.

Check out the silver fox with a poetic streak at 1:28: “Who so binds to himself a joy, doth its winged life destroy.” Poignant and all-too-often true, no? Love will die if held too tightly, love will fly if held to lightly, and pal, love will most definitely elude you if you insist on bringing up that sponge ball incident EVER AGAIN.

Isabelle Adjani’s Got That Not So Fresh Feeling™

Been savin’ this one for a rainy day:


Director Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 arthouse horror film, Possession, is a fail-safe litmus test. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you’ll drop this movie’s name in casual conversation only to be met with a sunny, uncomprehending stare, or “oh, you mean that Gwyneth Paltrow movie?” Far fewer and further between will be those times when you watch a slow-dawning, complex expression of kinship and mental anguish creep over a person’s face: “oh my god, the subway scene,” they’ll murmur, or “that poor ballerina…” or “remember the squid baby?”

While Zulawski’s vision of hysterical woman-as-monster isn’t quite on par with [edit: or rather, I should clarify, isn’t quite as coherent as] those put forward by Cronenberg, Polanski, or Lynch, some of the scenes are absolutely mind-blowing. This is an experimental film where a young woman’s intense anxiety and hormonal imbalance causes her –literally– to give birth to a Lovecraftian lover (designed by the dude who crafted E.T. ), with dire consequences. Demonizing like that just doesn’t happen every day! (Apparently, the film was inspired by Zulawski’s recent divorce. Go fig.)

Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill

In particular, spooky boho art school chicks really seem to bond over Possession. It’s like our Thelma & Louise. I’m pretty sure our fascination has to something to do with all of the unrestrained freakouts, blood, and tentacle sex. There’s just something strangely comforting about watching a cool, porcelain beauty break through the fourth wall and then break down, howling, in a puddle of bodily excretions. It’s like, no matter how “psycho” I get when I’m “ragging out”, I know I haven’t hit rock bottom.

Rock bottom is Isabelle Adjani in that subway tunnel in Possession.

Supermasochistic Bob has Cystic Fibrosis

Hey guys, remember our big “Vote for Coilhouse” effort from about week ago? Well, the three finalists have been announced, and unfortunately, we weren’t selected,  despite your incredible feat of getting us into the top 10 out of over 4,000 nominees in under 24 hours with your votes.  The finalists are Sacred Wind Communications (a telecom company), Beacon Paint & Hardware (I was excited when I originally misread this as “BACON PAINT”) and Happybaby organic baby foods. We wish them all the best during the remainder of the competition.

Actually, this is a huge relief. For the past week, we’ve all been kind of second-guessing ourselves every time we made a blog post, asking: “is this too risqué? Should we go easy with the gross/weird stuff, just this week, to avoid scaring the judges away from picking us as a finalist?” For some, the pressure was too great: Ross kept writing and deleting draft after draft until he just snapped, covering the walls of his office with writing in feces.

Now that all the suspense is over, it’s a huge relief to feel like we can write about anything we want (which most of us ended up doing last week anyway) without feeling any apprehension or guilt. Anything I personally might’ve felt too cautious to blog about last week, I will blog about in my next few posts, with interest! I kick off this trend with a song by one of our great heroes, Bob Flanagan, from Kirby Dick’s documentary Sick. If you don’t know who Mr. Flanagan was, the song explains it all. Much more about Bob Flanagan at a later date.

In the end, grant or no grant, we’ll make it. It would’ve been easier and faster with that funding, but we learned through this “Vote for Coilhouse” experience that we have something more valuable than any amount money that any large company could bestow upon us: a caring, kind, loyal group of friends & readers that was willing to support us when we asked for help. Also, we got a brief taste of what it’s like to feel beholden to a large company for any kind of support, and we did not like that feeling at all. We don’t need them to make it; we just need you guys. Thank you, all, from the bottom of our hearts.