Taco Beelzebub

Taco Beelzebub 
By James P.W. Martin
You think you know tough?
Think you’ve been through hell?
Have you ever been stuck on a toilet inside Taco Bell?

Your crunchy quesadilla thought out of its bun
Turned to fire liquid, uncontrollably runs
Cements you to your seat, now a porcelain gun
My God, there’s no more tissue, your hell hath begun
You wriggle in your turmoil, you writhe and you squeal,
You beg for it to end, Jesus take the wheel
The thought makes you stop, and it all becomes real
What kind of God would make you miss fourth meal?
Third meal now feels a century ago,
It was just a soft taco and quesarito 
Sauced with a packet marked Diablo
From you, like a river, it continues to flow
At the time, it was delish, completely gourmet
Describing taste like a modern Hemmingway
Melted cheese dancing through a spicy ballet
Now someone’s knocking, “Sir, are you okay?”
You’d beg for a roll, you’d practically yell
Until you did catch that sulfuric smell
What you then saw, you could never dispel
Red cloven hooves, from his shoes they did swell
Demonic horns, made of Doritos, rise
The Devil transforms in front of your eyes
The friendly employee, just a disguise
You might never leave this taco franchise
“What must I give for you to spare a roll?”
You manage to ask, shaking on the bowl
Wet hot flatulence losing self control
He only says, “Yo quiero your soul”
Could this be real, or is it just a dream?
Did someone poison your crunch wrap supreme?
Your ungodly squirts become more extreme
Clogged now the toilet, your soul must redeem
Maybe a slogan you could get across
Like wake up and live, but you just Shit Más
Cure for the common meal seems at a loss
Since you can now feel the taste of hot sauce
You beg for your soul, you try to debate
“My life to tacos, I will consecrate
Every single meal, the bell on my plate
What have I done to deserve this damn fate?”
“Your most callous sin you made on a whim”
He says, as the water breaches the brim
In the brown water, your poor testies swim
“And from here your fate only gets more grim

“You have proven to be most improper
Last fortnight you were a fast food stopper
Could have come here for Cinnabon poppers
But you went next door and bought a Whopper
“Taco Beelzebub has come for you
With revenge so sweet, I call it fondue
It kicks your ass, so you don’t misconstrue
The power of the Devil’s poojitsu”
Nothing left to say, you feel you could cry
Upon this throne, your surrender is nigh
Since no amount of bleach could purify
The wreckage your rectum must rectify
Your nine layer dip has reached denouement
You pull up your pants to meet your fate’s dawn
Opening the stall, as to not drag on
You realize that the Devil is gone
Was it imagined or maybe a prank?
Despite the fact that you really do stank
And you just spewed like a broke septic tank
To the employee, you decide to thank
As you emerge from your stalled bungalow
The lesson you learn: you reap what you sow
Your soggy brown pants, a gift to bestow
Devoted, you call, “See you tomorrow”

Thoughts on Joining a Writers Group

Find yourself a writers group. If you can’t find one, start one. Surround yourself with supportive writers who are trying to achieve the same goals as you. It’s hard as a writer being the only one who believes in you.

True love is a group of writers giving you honest feedback on your work. People who want to see you grow, and who want to grow from your knowledge and perspective. That’s special.

You will learn just as much about writing by critiquing the work of others as you will by having your work critiqued. If you can help others improve their work, you can do the same for yourself.

In our group, the author isn’t allowed to talk during critique. You aren’t there to debate or explain what you meant; we all read your work – you’re here to listen.

Of course, you can’t always listen to everyone’s critiques because you might edit your piece into oblivion. But when there is a consensus among the group that something should change, they’re usually right.

When someone’s critique on your work resonates with you as true – that’s powerful. That’s you becoming a better writer.

Believe me, you want to hear the honest criticism from a writers group before you hear it from reviewers or readers.

No lie, I bake pastries for my writers group every week. They call me the Muffin Man. They expect it now, I’m almost scared what might happen if I show up muffinless.

In the 5 years I’ve been attending this writers group, I’ve met some of the best, most supportive friends I’ve ever had. We socialize, have a group chat, go on writing retreats. My life and writing are better because of them. I wish the same for every writer out there.

The Story Behind Eggplant Emoji

Eggplant Emoji is a new anthology series, which features the finest comedic fiction from some of the funniest authors. The first volume in the series is available in paperback and Ebook now!

The origins of Eggplant Emoji can be traced back to 2019, affectionately dubbed, “Year of the Raw Dog,” by core members of the Bucks County Writers Group. At the time, I had been attending the writing group for two years, submitting chapters of my urban fantasy novel for review, which admittedly I was struggling with. I needed to take my mind off of it and focus on something else. Thus, in March 2019, I wrote a 22-page short story, “The Cockroach,” about a man whose girlfriend befriends a cockroach and he secretly kills it, but it keeps coming back, to the point that it fucks with his libido.

In an attempt to escape the serious tone I was developing in my novel, my goal was to write a story that was Looney Tunes but for adults; it’s essentially Bugs Bunny fucking with the opera singer, except instead of a rabbit, it’s a cockroach that puts the “cock” in “cockroach.” The end result is a comedy of embarrassment and toxic masculinity, watching the sanity of this man wither as a cockroach raw-dogs his girlfriend (hence, Year of the Raw Dog(what a year)).

Reason #1456 to join a writers group, is as follows. The comedic tone of “The Cockroach” became infectious; more members of the group wrote their own comedy pieces and even more comedy writers joined the group. By the time I decided to create Eggplant Emoji and make the call for submissions, I knew the Bucks County Writers Group would be more than capable of providing all the hilarious content I needed.

What really pushed me to that point was when I was trying to get “The Cockroach” published in a literary journal or magazine. It quickly dawned on me that very few (if any) publications focused on comedy geared toward an adult audience. I received rejection letter after rejection letter, many of them noting the potential of the work; but alas, when writers and editors start taking themselves too seriously, they tend to shy away from a story featuring a cockroach with an uncut cock.

The story is shocking, outrageous, surreal, sexual, and undoubtedly hilarious – and yet there are so few contemporaries. R-rated comedies make popular movies and shows, so why not have R-rated comedy in literature? I was shocked that no one had already created a publication for such work. Search ‘comedy anthology book’ into Google and like 2 books come up, both with terrible cover art; sorry Andy Borowitz, but there’s no comparison here.

Not only did I feel confident that the content was very high quality and that there was a market for it, I knew it was possible because of the brave authors around me publishing their work. Author Augusta Blythe attended the Bucks County Writers Group for a period of time and showed us how it was possible to self-publish for a living on Amazon. Fierce leader of the group, Adam Newton, created Creaky Stairs: A Book of Dark Truths, leading by example and allowing emerging authors to have their stories published. Dandelion Revolution Press (DRP) blossomed soon after, from members of the writers group who had their own vision for an anthology of fiction featuring strong female leads. From all of these different authors and publications, I found my footing and confidence as a publisher. On April 12, 2021, I made the call for submissions for stories that would stand alongside “The Cockroach” in an anthology of comedic fiction, and Eggplant Emoji was born.

I followed what I learned from DRP, in terms of advertising the call for submissions on social media, and after the two-and-a-half month submission period, I had a total of 39 short stories to review. Matthew Pale attended the Bucks County Writing Group for the first time the day before the submission deadline and he had a story ready to submit, which made it into the anthology – quite a serendipitous timing of events.

In the end, I boiled 39 stories down to 12 stories from 10 authors. Every author in Volume 1 of Eggplant Emoji is a member of the Bucks County Writers Group – which I’d like to claim is just coincidence, but truly I cannot. It’s not that I had preferential treatment when reviewing pieces (I tried to read as blind as possible), but the writers in the group have read “The Cockroach” and my other work, they know my sense of humor, they understand the outrageous level of comedy I’m aspiring for; so they had an advantage. When the call for submissions happens for Volume 2, I think more people outside the group will have a better understanding of what this publication is and what I’m looking for.

Making it into Eggplant Emoji Volume 1 is Marv Jackson, who may or may not be a clone of the BCW group leader. As well as Will McCreavy, who is one of just a few authors who chose not to use a fake name. I’ve known Heather Twerking since I was a babe, she never stops twerking. Florence Eden is a DRP literary goddess in disguise. Jack McBiggs doesn’t want the first result in a Google search of his real name to be about impotence, since it’s already the second and third result. Jack McBiggs should also be his porn name. Unstoppable Buffalo is quite metaphorically stampeding into first place for most ridiculous name and most absurdly outrageous humor. Prudence Paganini is female in real life and she wanted her author name to be ‘Peter Paganini,’ but I was like, “I don’t want it to be a sausage fest,” so she changed her name. What a team player. Prudence is a better name anyway.

And last, but not least, is Scarlet Wyvern, who writes dark, witty horror poetry, her book, Massacre My Heart, is available on Amazon. She stepped outside of her typical genre with Eggplant Emoji and yet stayed true to her roots, flipping the script on the usual horror tropes.

From the beginning, an eye-catching cover was an integral aspect of Eggplant Emoji. Like Mad Magazine, the cover had to be as culturally and comedically striking as the content within. I began making designs, the whole time resigned to the idea that I would have to contract the work out. I’m not a total noob to photoshop, so I searched images for inspiration, devised a color palette, and started making test images; so many of my Eggplant files have the word “test” in the name (the manuscript was called “manuscript test” for the longest time). It was in talking to the writers in the group, showing them what I had, relaying what I wanted, that the idea struck me: to see the shocked reflection of the person holding the eggplant in the eggplant.

From there, it was just time put in; with my pen and drawing tablet, I toiled away for hours. The whole time I knew I could contract the work out, but wanted to give it my best try first.

Around the time that I began painting the eggplant, my cat got very sick. He had gotten ill a year earlier, but got through it, this time I could tell it was worse. His name was Gricy (pronounced Greasy), he would have been 20 years old in January 2022. My sister named him, she was taking Spanish and gric is grey in Spanish, so essentially his name translates to Grey-y. I made the tough decision to end Gricy’s suffering and I buried him near blueberry bushes in my yard, topped with a big piece of limestone.

I poured all of my grief into this anthology, that sounds weird for a comedy anthology, but it’s true. Instead of burying myself under the covers, I buried myself in photoshop, losing myself in the meticulous physical details of something I could control. As I worked through my emotions, I worked out the lines on the hand holding the eggplant. When I was crying one minute and then laughing at the stories in the book a minute later, I knew I was on the right track. Laughter is medicine and the world needs more of it.

In the more-than-a-month it took to create the full cover, I emerged from my grief stronger than I was, though I still miss Gricy every day. My heart and soul are on and within the pages of this book.

Eggplant Emoji was created for the sole purpose of making people laugh. I hope that it brightens up others in their darkest days, as it has for me, and elevates all those who open its pages. Life is sad, we don’t have to be reading sad books all the time. Publishers seem to only take it seriously if it’s serious.

Does it make you laugh? That’s Eggplant Emoji.

There are a couple opportunities to meet the authors:

Eggplant Emoji Vol. 1 Release Party, Sunday, October 24, 4-7pm @ Hop/Scotch (22 S. Main St., Doylestown, PA)

Eggplant Emoji Vol. 1 Author Reading, Thursday, November 4, 6-8pm @ Great Barn Taphouse (1500 N. Main St., Warrington, PA)

Purchase Eggplant Emoji Volume 1 here.

Open Call for Hilarious Short Fiction – Eggplant Emoji Lit

Eggplant Emoji: Volume One is a new comedy publication that I will be editing and publishing.  The submission period to be considered for this anthology is between now and Thursday, July 1, 2021. 

Eggplant Emoji: Volume One will be a print and eBook collection of hilarious short stories, that are character-driven and culturally striking.  Stories selected for this collection will define pop culture with unforgettable characters and riotous humor. We’re looking for gut-busting, knee-slapping, life-changing, tear-jerking comedy.

This is going to be the best anthology of comedic writing of the year, with a provoking cover that will attract people from across the room and the highest quality comedic prose available.  Eggplant Emoji is destined to be a cult classic among the culturally refined, with a new volume published annually.  If you are funny and you can write, this is the anthology you want to submit to. 

For more information, visit Eggplant Emoji Lit.

Review: 2945 VR

2945 VR, by developer, Pineapple, is essentially an evolution of the Xortex mini-game from Valve production, The Lab.  Anyone who played Xortex will find that 2945 VR feels very familiar and adds upon the core concept introduced by Valve.  Both games have you maneuver a spaceship with your hand to dodge bullets and fire your own, by pointing at enemies.  The controls are exactly the same, with trigger initiating your special ability.

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Maneuvering through a field of projectiles.

The gameplay is very recognizable; I was a big fan of Xortex, which is why 2945 VR grabbed my attention.  No artificial locomotion is required, which is a big plus for those who get motion sickness.  The way you can shift your hand across the room to perform impossible flight maneuvers almost feels like cheating – and exemplifies what can be achieved in VR that a joystick could never accomplish.  The space that you can move around in is bigger than Xortex – and you’re going to need it.  Seated and standing play is possible, but a larger play space will give you more of an advantage in gameplay.

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The ability to move around your play space makes dodging bullets easier.

There are many comparisons to Xortex and that is just unavoidable.  Many of the enemies are similar in how they function, however the models of the spaceships and enemies in Valve’s iteration are more visually appealing and varied — but effective character design is just Valve’s thing and it’s hard to compete with.  The pace of Pineapple’s iteration starts out slower, whereas Xortex introduces more varied enemies sooner; however 2945 VR evolves into far more complex gameplay.

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The spaceship model you hold in Valve’s Xortex feels more responsive in how its engines move with you.

Getting into the more advanced stages is where 2945 VR sets itself apart from the competition, requiring you to take full advantage of your play space to dodge massive barrages of bullets, while doing your best to keep aim.  The gameplay becomes incredibly frantic with the addition of heat-seeking missiles and varied patterns of bullets.  The laser enemy in Pineapple’s iteration is far more aggressive in how it whips across the arena — an example of how 2945 VR heightens the gameplay.  In general, the gameplay is more intense than Xortex and more rewarding.  There is also a Hard Mode that skips the easy levels and gets right to the challenge.

The bosses that you fight between waves are another area where 2945 VR excels beyond the competition.  The boss fights are varied and offer different challenges from the waves of enemies.  In my experience, the waves are harder than the boss fights, simply because there are more enemies firing more varied bullets your way.

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Dipping low in the play space to dodge an onslaught of bullets coming from a boss.

The gameplay reminds me of Geometry Wars, in which you have to navigate through different-acting projectiles, while also shooting back.  Except the level of control you have in 2945 VR is completely impossible to achieve with a standard joystick controller.  Moving your hand over your play space or stepping out of your play area to dodge a wall of bullets almost feels like cheating, but really is an example of the expanded possibilities in gaming, unbounded by the limits of a 2D screen.

There were also instances in which I died and I couldn’t tell what killed me and even felt as if the game registered a hit on my craft when there wasn’t one.  Perhaps that is the ultimate downside of VR, that a flaw in the motion tracking could result in an untimely death.

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The screen you see after death, amid leftover bullets.

There are three ships to chose from, which all play differently but feel powerful in their own respects.  That power may not be apparent at first, as you will have to level up the power of their abilities with the currency you collect by killing enemies.  I found the nuclear bomb weapon to be too bright and it would block my vision of other things happening.  As I was playing, I ran into a bug which wouldn’t let me purchase certain enhancements, when I clearly had enough points to buy them — a re-installation of the game did not fix this problem.

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I have enough points but can’t buy the upgrade.

I also have to mention the vibration of the controller.  Every time you shoot at an enemy, the controller vibrates, but not in a way that is responsive to your weapon or in a way that feels impactful.  It almost feels like I’m holding a vibrator in my hand and the whole time I’m playing, I can hear it buzzing.  Especially with the level of vibrant vibrations exhibited as possible on the Valve Knuckles in Half Life: Alyx, improving the vibration to be responsive and varied between the different ships, could really enhance the experience.

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The nuclear bomb weapon, blocking my vision of the top of the screen.

In Xortex, the motivating factor to keep playing was to beat high scores on the leader board; in 2945 VR the motivation to keep playing is to get more currency to upgrade your weapons.  However, I imagine that at some point, you upgrade every weapon to max and beat the last boss and then there is nothing to progress towards as you play.  It would be nice to see the implementation of a leader board system, though there is a natural hindrance there, as a result of it being a new game with few players.

As of now, there is only one location to fight enemies in — it looks like some kind of spaceship hangar that enemies appear in.  The textures are nice and shiny, but it leaves me wanting more.  I think 2945 VR could benefit from more creative or visually striking backgrounds to play in.  When fighting a barrage of spaceships, it really makes sense to be out in the vacuum of space, or maybe surrounded by alien planets, as opposed to inside the hangar of a spaceship.  The uniform location causes me to crave visual variety as I play.

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Go fight in someone else’s spaceship hangar.

The Steam update page notes 8 new weapon add-ons being added to the game.  It would be nice to see more future updates that provide more content, like more locations, enemies, or playable ships.  I wish I had a better understanding of how the development will progress over time – if I did, it would be much easier to recommend 2945 VR at full price.

If you loved Xortex and want to play a more sporadic, challenging version with multiple ships that can be leveled up, the full asking price of $16 for 2945 VR is pretty reasonable.  However, considering a very close competitor is available for free, you might want to pick this one up on sale, if more challenging levels and bosses aren’t enticing enough for you.

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The laser ship upgraded with more lasers.

 

Reviewed on Valve Index.

Review: Blueplanet VR

Blueplanet VR has no relation to the BBC production, Blue Planet, however it does feature some pretty astounding sights.  Though most scenes struggle from bouts of low resolution textures and ugly shrubbery, each scene has at least one convincing view that justifies the scene.

The most stunning scene is of Antelope Canyon, which exhibits some of the finest modeling and texture work in the whole game.  Looking up through the walls of the cavern, it appears so photorealistic, I feel like I can reach out and touch the rocks.  Gentle music, sound effects and particle effects add a nice touch to the experience.

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Beautiful modeling and texturing bring this scene to life.

Blueplanet VR’s biggest strength is its ability to completely immerse you in stunning detail, giving the feeling of actually being there.

There are also fly-over scenes that give you the reins to soar over recreated landscapes.  One that stands out in particular is that of a glacier.  The texturing and modeling of the cracked landscape is so precise, flying over it feels astounding.

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Incredible detail in the model and texture of this glacier.

Most scenes give you at least one view that is worth your time, like here in a cave scene, the textures and lighting work together to create a single view that is pretty incredible.

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A very realistic recreation of the inside of a cave.

However, if you turn around, the immersion in the scene is broken by sloppy textures and jagged edges.

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Flat textures kill the immersion.

There is a degree to how bad some of the textures are, but some of them are really bad, irreparably breaking the immersion.

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An ugly patch of flat textures can usually be found.

Pockmarks of flat textures, as well as some incomplete geometry, kill the immersion that is so meticulously created throughout other parts of the scene.  For example, this path along the ruins has clear geometry errors as a result of how the photogeometry is captured.

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The geometry of the stairs is jagged and missing the supports that should be connected to the concrete block.

In general, the textures are not a high enough resolution to closely inspect.  Blueplanet VR looks its best when viewed from a distance.  For example, in this stunning scene against a watery backdrop, the textures and modeling look immaculate.  However, upon closer inspection, the textures become pixelated and start to blur.

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A very pretty sight from far away.

Using the depth of this shot, you can see how the textures in the foreground are blotchy and indistinct, while the more distant textures are vivid and have a photorealistic look.

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Throughout the game, closer textures will blur and pixelate.

These lower resolution textures are typically not a big deal, as you get a sense of where your attention should be focused based on how focused the textures are.  Avoid looking too closely.

Here’s one more example to make my point, notice how from a distance, the bricks look defined and photorealistic; but once I get too close, the illusion is dampened.

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That’s real, right?

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Nevermind.

However, there are some areas where the lower resolution quality is definitely an immersion-killer.  For example, this following scene presents a beautiful tree, meticulously modeled and detailed:

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But if you happen to look down at the ground, you see this:

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I’m not even that close to those textures and they are blotchy, pixelated, and undefined.  It’s really hard to feel immersed in a scene when there is such a variation in texture quality.

Enough poor-quality textures make some of the scenes really underwhelming; for example, this scene with a bell.  The texture of the bell looks flat, the letters aren’t three-dimensional, and the colors look patchy and blurred.  It doesn’t actually feel like I’m looking at the real bell, even at more of a distance.

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The centerpiece of the scene is flat and underwhelming.

It also doesn’t help that the surrounding pillars have errors in their geometry.

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Some basic clean-up is required on some of the geometry.

Too many immersion-killers puts the bell scene on the list of scenes that I will never visit again — and there are a few.  For instance, there are panoramic shots of abandoned warehouses, power plants, and other industrial buildings, which have far less appeal than the natural wonders, and are generally uninteresting.

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I would never go on a vacation to this location.

There is also an abandoned shed that can be explored, but again, why would you want to?

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My next vacation spot, for sure.

One of the biggest immersion-killers for me personally was the shrubbery and vegetation, which, as a result of how the image is captured, appear blocky, with jagged edges, blotchy textures, and a lack of transparency.

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Such a beautiful view, blocked by a green abomination of jagged geometry.

For a moment I actually felt like I was going to fall into the Grand Canyon, but then I saw these plants and the illusion was destroyed.

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A lot of work has to be done to make these plants look real.

Pretty much anytime shrubbery or vegetation is too close to the camera, it’s going to be a problem.

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The foreground shrubbery has non-transparent geometry and textures that block other parts of the scene.

There is something about looking out to a beautiful waterfront view and realizing that none of the trees are blowing in the wind, the clouds aren’t moving, and there are no waves in the water.

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Everything is eerily still.

Many of the scenes really leave a craving for something more, perhaps that is the desire to actually visit some of these locations; but more so, it is a vision for where this technology could move in the future.  If video VR technology could add wind to the branches and leaves and rippling waves to the water, the immersion would easily be doubled in certain scenes.

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The waterfall effects don’t even come close to looking real.

Pretty much every scene with water struggles to look realistic.  They add some steam effects to this waterfall to make it look like it’s moving, but you’re going to have to use your imagination to imagine the water is moving.  Water and vegetation are the two biggest immersion-killers throughout the experience.

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Despite its flaws, Blueplanet VR is still worth your time, granted the spectacular views it has to offer.  However, the price point does seem a bit steep.  For the $30 asking price, I would expect some of the geometry to be cleaned up, especially in regards to vegetation.  For instance, the above scene uses image data from Google Earth to create the scene.

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These blobs of green are supposed to be trees.

Especially when it comes to vegetation, the Google Earth data does not always translate so well and certainly could use some clean up.  This exact same location within Google Earth VR has sharper textures and more defined geometry for the surrounding vegetation — and Google Earth VR is completely free.

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The same location in Google Earth VR.

It just seems that with a $30 price point, details like that could be cleaned up, especially when the image data is coming directly from Google Earth.

For the content available, $20 seems like a more appropriate asking price, and even then, I would probably recommend buying Blueplanet VR on sale.

Luckily, the developers have more content packages planned for the future, so you can expect more scenes to be added over time.  The ability to snap-turn within scenes is also still being added in, as of review, so there is potential for additional features to be added in the future.

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The current selection of scenes available in BlueplanetVR, with room for more volumes.

It would be easier to recommend at it’s current price point if I had a better understanding of where the development was going over time and how many more scenes would be added.  I would also be very pleased if currently-released scenes had more work done to them to sharpen their textures and geometry.

Ultimately, Blueplanet VR is a staple for any VR library, especially given the competition.  I used to keep The Lab installed, specifically so I could introduce new VR users to the experience of being atop a mountain range, to see themselves in a beautiful environment.  Now, I’ve uninstalled The Lab and I keep Blueplanet VR installed and I show them some of my favorite scenes, and there are plenty to choose from.

I may even come back here by myself just to relax and enjoy the view.

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An incredible scene to witness in VR.

Reviewed on Valve Index.

10-Minute Audiobook Preview for Creaky Stairs: A Book of Dark Truths Vol. 1

Here is an exclusive 10-minute clip from the audiobook for Creaky Stairs: A Book of Dark Truths.  It is the first ten minutes of Chapter 21, which I wrote, titled: A Losing Game.  There is also another short preview on the Amazon page for the audiobook.

You can get the audiobook for free with a trial of audible; audible bucks can go towards the purchase as well!

I hope you enjoy this clip of my story, narrated by me.  And if you like what you hear, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the full audiobook, available now for your listening pleasure.

Keep it creaky!

I Narrated an Audiobook! Available Now!

I’m very excited to finally share with everyone the completed audiobook for Creaky Stairs: A Book of Dark Truths Vol. 1.  I have poured a huge amount of work into this project and I sincerely think it is worth your while to pick it up and give it a listen.

I genuinely think some of the best acting I’ve done to date is within this audiobook.  Since the book is comprised of short stories by different authors, I tried to read every story with a different tone or inflection.  I also use different voices for different characters to make them sound distinct so that dialogue flows well.  I really enjoyed breathing life into these stories as well as narrating my own work; it was challenging and incredibly time-consuming, but the end result made it worth all the effort.

Usually an audiobook is made by a team of people, but I made this entirely by myself (aside from all the stories, of course).  I recorded, narrated, directed, edited, produced; all in all, I put in 120 hours of work to complete this audiobook.

Beyond my performance, Creaky Stairs really is a great collection of scary stories (and I’m not just saying that because I’m published in it).  These are some incredibly talented authors that put this together and I highly recommend reading it.  Each story can be read independently, but there is also a thread that ties them all together as a larger piece.  Or if you don’t have time to read it, you can now enjoy it as an audiobook!

With the click of a button, you can take my smooth and sultry, karaoke-winning voice anywhere you like, to whisk you away into a series of spooky mysteries, thrillers, and adventures.  It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but most of all, these creaky stories will chill you to the bone.

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Creaky Stairs is now an Audiobook of Dark Truths

Karaokegate Turns Out To Be Baseless Conspiracy Theory, Or Is It?

2019-03-11-putinSo, I know that I told everyone that the Russian government was responsible for rigging the karaoke competition of 2018 at Finny’s Pub in Doylestown, PA, and I was super convinced it was true, but it turned out to be a bunch of phony-bologna, you guys.  I have now won two karaoke competitions in a row, since my loss on that fateful day.  Which leads me to the conclusion that Russia was not involved in karaoke collusion, because why would they rig it in my favor?

Unless they knew I was onto their trail, here at THE BOUNDARY-BENDING BLOG, the only fucking news source covering this, now re-emerging, critically-important story.  The Russians knew I was reporting on their karaoke deception, so now they have rigged the process in my favor in hopes of shutting me up.  Well folks, I’m here to tell you that my integrity can’t be bought.  Well, I mean, at first I was here to tell you that it was all just gas because I won, but as soon as I typed the words, “Russia was not responsible,” I knew that couldn’t be true and there was a hidden angle to grasp at.  I just figured it out in real-time.

At first, the realization that Russia wasn’t responsible for rigging the 2016 competition made me somberly reflect that my loss was due to my own merits as a karaoke singer, which was too painful to address as a possibility.  But now, the prospect that I never truly won either of those karaoke competitions and that Russia was fixing it in my favor, makes me feel even worse.  It’s like, even when I win, I can never truly win.  All because of the discord sown by Russia, America’s most democratic process of karaoke competitions will never be safe.  Russia’s malice will not be satiated until we’re all karaoke communists!  I can’t believe I didn’t figure out their plan to buy my silence earlier.

Again, I did win a karaoke competition, this time I won a bike, and no this awesome bribe will not make me shill for the CIA’s #1 foreign adversary, so forget it, Vlady-boy.  I’ll gladly live through another full-blown Cold War for truth, democracy and most importantly, for karaoke!

Who Will Bail-Out Banks After The Next Crash? Their Depositors

Capitalism is an unstable system, evident by the economic down-turns that happen every four to seven years.  Most Americans are still recovering from the last economic recession in 2008-09.  Meanwhile, the next crash is right around the corner.  JPMorgan’s own internal documents have the company predicting the next crash will happen in 2020.  Certainly, anyone paying attention can see the signs that the crash is already in progress.  The U.S. federal government started by giving unknown banks $75 billion per day, which has grown to $100 billion a day, because the banks are coming up short on cash – every – single – day.

The crash is happening right now and the government is already bailing banks out; however only to the extent that they get Mr. Trump re-elected.  Once the 2020 election is over, whether Trump wins or another candidate, the economy will go into free-fall, as the government will stop funneling money into these failing banks and the banks will need to find a new way to reimburse their losses.  In a true “free-market economy” as these Capitalists claim to aspire for, the investors of these banks would themselves have to pool the money to cover their own losses, but they don’t want to do that.  So they have another idea on how to get bailed out: not from the taxpayer, but directly from their depositors.

New laws were implemented in 2014 to help governments deal with failing banks, allowing for, what is called, a “bail-in.”  What this means is that the bank can take funds directly from their depositors to make up for their own losses.  They have no obligation to ever pay this money back to their depositors.  The U.S. government does still claim to insure amounts up to $250,000 in a bank account, but after the next crash, they may not have the resources to keep that promise, allowing the banks to take what they please.

This is, of course, not without precedent.  After the 2008 mortgage crisis, 5.2 million families lost their homes, taken by the banks and then resold by the banks; the banks got paid twice for the same house, while regular people were kicked to the curb.  The banks paid Obama very well to protect them from the wrath of their victims.  In preparation for the next crash, the finance industry is again paying Trump and corporate Democrats, like Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, to ensure whoever is elected will be on their side after the crash.  Obama received $1.2 million from the financial sector for his 2008 campaign; below are the top recipients of the financial sector for the 2020 election.

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The fact that these laws were passed is proof that this is their plan after the next crash.  I’m trying to warn people about this because this will affect anyone with money in a bank account, which is all of us.  Cyprus has already implemented these policies of austerity in the face of financial crisis, allowing banks to steal money directly from their depositors.  This is yet another example of how the fear-mongering Capitalists do of Socialism ‘stealing what you’ve earned,’ is actually true of what Capitalism does.  Aside from stealing the output of their workers’ labor to make a profit, they then fine, tax, and steal from working people to reimburse their own financial failures.

If there is any lesson of emphasis to take from this warning, it is that it does not matter who is in office after the next economic crash; whether the President is a Republican or a Democrat, the only thing that matters is how much money they took from the financial industry, because that is a direct reflection of who they will serve.  Trump and the Democrats I listed are obvious puppets of the banks, but even Elizabeth Warren, who spouts vague progressive rhetoric in the primary campaign, vows to take corporate money in the general election.  But as Bernie Sanders says, “You can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money.”  You may have noticed the corporate media covers Warren favorably while they still smear Bernie; it’s because they know Warren isn’t a real threat to the corporate establishment and Bernie is.  While I’m certain the DNC will once again cheat him out of being the Democratic nominee, he is the only candidate who is unpaid by and will have the guts to stand up to the banks in the face of their crimes against humanity and a crash with the potential to be more severe than the Great Depression.