Ruins of the Unmuseum

MJG Canada, Greece, Iraq, World Ruins 1 Comment

The Unmuseum (AKA the Museum of Unnatural Mystery) is like an online Ripley’s Believe It or Not, stuffed full of myth, ruin, and intrepid history ranging from tales of pterosaurs in Texas to mechanical computers built before the birth of Christ. It’s the perfect place for armchair Indian Joneses, or thriller writers seeking the next Dan Brown conspiracy plot. Site curator and author Lee Krystek has been building his unmuseum online for well over 10 years. Back in 2000 it got some great reviews and was listed in a top 50 best sites list by Popular Science, however it’s look …

Orange Injection Candy

MJG Food / Drink, Japan

Drugs designed for kids often taste like candy. I remember getting to love the taste of the cold remedy Sudafed, and looking forward to taking it- lovely goopy syrupy sugar. If I could’ve chugged it freestyle, I very well might have (and actually did once, when my sister and I sat under the kitchen table around 6 years old and sampled the delicacies of the medicine cabinet). Now one Japanese candy company has picked up on this trend, turned the tables, and started marketing candy as a drug. The Japanese says- Syringe Water Candy. I saw this delicacy when I …

Ruins of The Secret World

MJG Apocalypse, Fantasy Ruins, Game Ruins, Ghost Towns, Theme Parks 5 Comments

There is a city on the moon. 11 days are missing. The Earth is hollow. The tower of Babel never fell. These are just a few of the many premises of The Secret World, a stunning new MMORPG game that promises to plunge players deep into a Lovecraftian realm of mythology risen, a secret world the X-files only ever hinted at. MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, a game played online in a shared fantasy world like World of Warcraft. The Secret World, as yet unreleased, looks utterly awesome, with a taste of any and all mythological flavors- …

The Ruins of Nuclear Winter

MJG Apocalypse, Art Ruins, Fantasy Ruins, Nuclear 1 Comment

Nuclear winter slathered down across the world like a rain of torrential lead paint, bowing our cities beneath it. Ceilings and structures collapsed under the deluge, walls crumbled, and humanity was washed away by a tide of toxic white sludge. Gerry Judah sculpts the apocalypse. He builds out minutely detailed architectural models of buildings, then destructs them with a flood of white paint- leaving the canvas pitted, scored, and crusted with ruins. The sculptures are then hung on their sides in galleries, where viewers can peer deep through the blasted roofs and into the hollow bones of his work. A …

Japan’s sexy Coca Cola

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 5 Comments

It’s not often this site gets sexy. Occasionally you’ll get your dabblings in Coppertone bikini girls or your Girls Generation Cheetos, but never explicitly sexy. Here though we’ll get explicit. We’ll get sexy. If you’re a minor, avert your gaze. Everyone else, buckle up and batten down, cos here we go: Phew, somebody get a dehumidifier in here, it is steaming UP. OK, so maybe that picture is a little deceptive. It looks a lot like a regular convenience store shelf, packed with delicious nutritious soft drinks. From right to left we see Coke, CC Lemon, Oolong tea, and Japanese …

The Ruins of Ender’s Game

MJG Book Ruins, Fantasy Ruins, Giant Beasts Leave a Comment

Orson Scott Card’s brilliant novel Ender’s Game is not widely known for its ruins. You’re rather more likely to read it and be blown away by the sheer force of Ender’s personality, by the twisted morality of the story’s central conceit, or by the genius with which Card orchestrates his entire Battle School world. But there are ruins. One of them in particular stands out, and throughout the novel we see its creation, its dessication, and at last its final resting state; transliterated across time and space for the novel’s finale. If you know Ender you’ll probably already know what …

story craft #16 Flash-forward Openings

MJG Story Craft, Writing Leave a Comment

What do you think about stories that open with flash-forwards? Consider the movie Fight Club. Ed Norton brandishes a gun and conducts a bizarre conversation with Brad Pitt. They are in a dimly lit skyscraper looking out over a city’s night skyline. We are totally engaged and intrigued. What the F is going on? Who are these guys, and why are they talking like this? Smash cut- and we’re yanked back to the beginning. If we want answers to our questions, we’ll have to watch the whole movie. push / pull Let’s call this a pull opening, because it pulls …

Why Cars 2 sucked.

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 1 Comment

Recently I saw a photograph of utter Thanksgiving Day excess: a duck stuffed inside a chicken stuffed inside a turkey, slit down through the breast so the meats looked like various layers of sedimentary rock. It was gross, a perversion of the form that you would not want on your dinner table- and it made me think of Cars 2. Cars 2 picks up with the duck; an over-boiled 007 pastiche spy tale forced up the tail-pipe of a hick-in-the-city yarn (sidekick Tow-mater), which is then rammed up the tail-pipe of the original turkey- a sweet kids story about Lightning …

Girl’s Generation Cheetos

MJG Food / Drink, Japan, People / Culture 12 Comments

Girls Generation is a big news 9-member pop group from South Korea. They are currently breaking into Japan and other Asian countries in a major way. This can be seen in their cute same-looking legs gracing the covers of many product ads, from cookies to Cheetos. Girls Generation prep for launch. My favorite is probably, um, the leader? 9 different flavors of same though, really. Girls Generation = sexy, young, vibrant. Cheetos= not. Cheetos – serious taste-having cheese. With 1 collectible card. It’s an odd branding exercise. If they’d carved each individual Cheeto into the shape of one of the …

Pros / Cons of Life in Japan #2 Fighting

MJG Japan, Pro / Con 9 Comments

Fighting in real-life is pretty dumb. You’ve gotta be a drunk or some kind of psycho to go around initiating fights with real people, though there are doubtless plenty of both. I remember being yelled out countless proposals to fight while walking pub-to-club on the night-streets of Bolton, UK, as though they were casual invitations to dance. There was the same pulse-quickening excitement, flushed faces, the same hopeful anticipation. I’m sure it happens every night still. It’s strange, but then some people just like to fight, like Begby in Trainspotting (though more accurately he just liked to glass people in …