Author Archive for Kaine Andrews



02
Sep
20

The Conspiracy Alphabet

A is for Aliens, streaking through the sky.

B is for Bilderberg, dividing the pie.

C is for Chemtrails, poisoning us all.

D is for Digitization, Mark of the Beast at the mall.

E is for Evolution, the lie of our birth.

F is for Flat, just like the Earth.

G is for Genetics, science twisting our brains.

H is for HAARP, bringing acid rain.

I is for Illuminati, pulling the strings.

J is for JFK, lacking his brains.

K is for Kidnapping, the government to blame.

L is for Lindbergh, an exile in shame.

M is for Majestic, twelve liars in kind.

N is for the New World Order, reading your mind.

O is for OJ, racial tensions created.

P is for Patriarchy, the man falsely inflated.

Q is for Questions, our innocence deflowered.

R is for Reptillians, ruling from towers.

S is for Surveillance, Big Brother in action.

T is for Terrorists, still gaining traction.

U is for UFOs, not weather balloons.

V is for Vaccinations, sealing our doom.

W is for the Warren Commission, spreading the lie.

X is for Xenu, coming down from on high.

Y is for Yog-Sothoth, the Great Old Ones arrive.

Z is for Zombies, when the dead come alive.

01
Sep
20

Can’t We Just Have Fun?

It feels like entertainment always has to “mean something,” anymore. There has to be some sociopolitical message behind it, there has to bee deep and lasting consequences for the characters, we have to walk away having learned something.

Gaming is no exception; it seems like it’s just how things are going right now. It’s unfortunate, to me. I play games to have fun, and all too often that fun is toned back or even outright killed by the grim, dark, meaningful things that get jammed in there.

That’s why, after The Last of Us II’s discs proved faulty – or my PS4 just decided to reject it – I ended up scrolling through my backlog and playing something just for the fun of it.

Saint’s Row IV is about as far from a meaning-laden social commentary as you can get. It’s utter batshit insanity and mindless amusement crafted with laser precision. I never once was made sad by it, never was pushed into thinking of the troubled situation we live in, was never punished for making a choice because it was funny or contrarian. I was allowed to just have some bloody fun, and I feel a whole lot better than before I started.

So why can’t we have more like this? Why can’t we just turn off our brains for a little bit and have some good mindless fun? Why is that such a crime? Games are about fun and escapism… why can’t we embrace that more often?

Anything I say about games can easily extend to books and movies as well; we could do with a simple laugh once in a while, instead of just high-brow drama and the few comedic offerings drenched in political commentary and symbolism.

So I ask again… can’t we just have some fun?

31
Aug
20

I Hate Doctors

Doctors. I have like five of them. I’m actually fairly neutral to two of them, and like one of them, but the last two are quickly overshadowing that with a seething irritation that’s bordering on rage.

You see, I had to change insurance. That’s because my work insurance was finally cancelled. This was a few months ago. My new insurance doesn’t cover my old GP, so I had to get a new one. That’s all fine and well; I dislike the situation, but there isn’t really anything I can do about it, so I accept it. But my new GP apparently can’t be bothered to even schedule a new patient until at least October.

That means, from the period of November last year until at least October this year, I am without a GP. Prescriptions ran out? Too bad; wait it out. Feeling dodgy and think it’s a little worse than just a cold or mild case of the flu or bronchitis? Tough it out or hit the Urgent Care and rack up another bill you can’t afford. Keep in mind that October date was pre-plague, as well, so who knows if it’s still valid; calls to his office have yielded no results.

Then there’s the pulmonology department. My old pulmonologist was great. She was helpful, sympathetic, and was willing to try throwing everything at my problems, hoping to help me. She just retired, though, and her replacement is… less than stellar.

He asks me to describe my symptoms, and tells me “Well, anyone carrying your weight is going to be short of breath, anyone can make themselves cough, and needing naps isn’t a valid problem.”

Excuse me? So, your first gambit is to tell me “You’re fat, you’re lying, and I don’t care?” Then he decided to cancel my steroid prescription. He says I’m overmedicated for my problems, which he isn’t sure I have. Then he dismissed me.

That was the ten minutes I got to spend with my new doctor. After I showed up early, filled out all the new patient forms, was still early for my appointment, and then had to wait half an hour past my appointment time to actually see him.

Then I get a call two days later from a clinic wanting to schedule my “procedure.” “What procedure,” says I, not having been made aware of any such thing. “Your sleep study, ordered by Dr. Blahblah.”

Fuck what? So now he’s just scheduling shit and not bothering to tell me? Cool, doc, cool.

Then I get an e-mail from GSK – those guys who make a fortune selling corticosteroids and bronchial dilators to folks like me – telling me I’ve been enrolled in their new test program. Again, at the behest of the doc who didn’t tell me he was going to do that.

I’m fine with taking whatever tests they want, trying whatever drugs they want to try – I’d like to get better and go back to work or be officially declared a lost cause, one or the other – but typically shouldn’t you let the patient know what you’re doing or what you expect of them? Maybe I just live in a different universe.

So, yeah. I’m beginning to hate doctors, and I’m sick of having to swap them around and having to go through the same shit every time with each and every one of them.

What’s everyone else’s experience with doctors? Had one you really hated? Any particular reason? Let us know down below!

28
Aug
20

Trophy Hunt – 8/28

It hasn’t been a productive week as I write this. I find myself picking listlessly at the pile, snatching a bronze here, a silver there. Currently working on Vikings, a little Diablo clone drenched in Norse warpaint, but it doesn’t really satisfy. The gameplay is very slow, progression slower still, plot minimal, and trophies few and far between. Unsatisfying on all fronts.

I did finally put Kawaii Deathu Desu to bed, after some 600 playthroughs, 90 of them in one day, and I am very glad I no longer have to look at the game. It was quite amusing at first, but after staring at it for twenty hours or so, what charm it had has worn off. I was quite happy to move it to the “hidden content items” section of the PS4 library.

Unsure of what I want to do now. GameFly tells me The Last of Us 2 is due to arrive in my mailbox any day now. I’m not excited about it. I couldn’t stand the first one, and don’t see any reason to be excited for the sequel, but I’ve had enough of people claiming I can’t say I dislike it unless I play it, so I’m going to slap it on my trophy list so people can see I did play it and probably will still hate it. Still, given the minimal effort it looks like the trophies will take in that one, I don’t expect it’s going to keep me interested for long, and will probably need to be taken in small bites.

Right now I think I’m just killing time until I can dive into Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I’m hoping it will scratch the itch of something action-y and grind-y yet relatively quick. The knowledge that I’ll be able to play with friends, even though they all opted for the Switch version, is nice… we’ll see if the game still holds up all these years later.

What’s on your blotter, folks? What games are you working on, what do you wish you were working on, what games do you hate and wish you weren’t playing but are bullying your way through anyway? Have you tried Crystal Chronicles yet? What do you think? Let us know down below!

27
Aug
20

Stop the PS5 Hype Train

I’m a Sony fanboy.

There, I said it.

Now, I’m not one of those fanboys who automatically thinks Sony can do no wrong, nor am I one who thinks everything the other console makers do is stupid or worthless. I own an Xbox One and a Switch. I had a 360 and a Wii. I had an original Xbox and a GameCube. I’ve always been relatively cosmopolitan in my gaming life, but since the PS1, my heart lies with Sony.

This generation is no different. But, seriously, they need to quit it.

“Why?” you ask. “Why, if you are such a fanboy, do you say they need to quit it, whatever ‘it’ is?”

Simple. Because they keep layering on more stuff, more hype, more flash and sizzle without giving us the important thing: a price and a date. They’re building hype up to unrealistic proportions, and what it feels like is that by the time they finally say “Okay, you can go to Amazon and buy it now” I’m going to be too exhausted and worn out to care.

Contrast with Nintendo, who is just plugging along doing their own thing, or Microsoft, who keeps tripping over their feet. The hype train is huge, and a lot of that hype seems well placed, but one can still overload on it, and I think it’s a real danger.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is “Quit hyping it up, give me a date, shut up and take my money, damnit!”

I’m looking forward to grabbing Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I’ll be happy to play Yakuza 7 and Marvel’s Avengers on the console. I’ll probably snap up Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and will probably enjoy it, at least a little bit. I’m very pleased to see Far Cry 6, Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad are on the way, and though they can’t seem to make up their minds on what they’re doing, I’ll be glad to welcome Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 when it finally arrives. But at this point, I’m sick of hearing about it.

Anyone else with me? Anyone else getting tired of all the sizzle and just wants the damn thing in their hands? What games are you looking forward to, or which ones do you think are duds waiting to happen? Let us know down below!

26
Aug
20

Take a Breath

Take a deep breath. Hold it in. Let it out nice and slow. Now do it again. Once more.

Feels good, doesn’t it? I hope so, but I wouldn’t know for sure. I can’t do that anymore and haven’t been able to for nearly three years.

I have severe asthma, bordering on COPD, and my condition has been degrading steadily over the last few years. It’s gotten to the point where nearly any exertion, even something as simple as brewing a pot of coffee or taking a shower, leaves me heaving and struggling for breath. I frequently have to use a nebulizer just to attend a doctor’s appointment and generally am so exhausted and weakened afterwards that I end up having to sleep the rest of the day.

I miss being able to step outside just after the rain and breathe deep, feeling that beautiful, damp air slide through my body. I miss being able to stop by the game shop and have a chat about what’s coming up. I miss going to my job, helping people, training others, and socializing with the great friends I had there.

There’s something that may help; it’s called a bronchoplasty. Essentially, they want to shove tiny laser beams down my throat and burn away the parts of my lungs that aren’t working right. Very sci-fi. They tell me this may help, that while it may not remove all my symptoms, it will at least hopefully lessen them to the point where I can take a deep breath once in a while, or go back to work.

Problem is, it’s not cheap and the insurance I have won’t cover it. Being away from my job for almost three years has murdered what credit rating I used to have, cancelled the semi-decent insurance that my work provided, and left me clinging to a state health plan that barely covers my meds, let alone something like major surgery.

I do what I can, trying to bring in some income. I don’t just sleep all day. I write, I blog, I try to stream when I’m feeling well enough and can manage to talk for more than five minutes without a severe coughing fit or fainting spell hitting me. None of them pay the bills, let alone build up enough of a nest egg to get what I need, but at least they pass the time and sometimes can buy a sandwich.

That’s where this comes in. I’m throwing myself on the mercy of the masses. For those of you who have the fortunate position of being able to take a deep breath without pain or fear, just think about what it would feel like to have that taken away… and consider if that is worth your mercy. If not, I understand. Times are crazy and tough for everyone these days. But it’d sure help.

The amount listed for the campaign covers the approximately $15,000 worth of surgery and includes a $5,000 buffer for aftercare and living expenses while I recover. I know it’s a lot. I wish it was less, and that I didn’t have to ask. But it is what it is.

That’s all there is to say, I guess.

Take a deep breath. Be thankful you can. Consider helping someone else do the same. Thank you for your time.

The campaign can be found here.

25
Aug
20

Untitled Snippet

“Hey, Benny.”

The voice was a deep rumble, the sound of a diesel on idle that had somehow spoken actual words. Benny’s bladder let go at the sound of it, the crotch of his department-issued khakis going from a dry tan to a sopping brown.

“Look at me, Benny.”

Benny didn’t want to. He knew what he’d see looming over him if he turned around. He knew it was probably the same thing the others had seen, the last thing the others had seen. It would be him, that giant with the rocky face, the one they’d thought they were done with but somehow kept coming back to haunt them.

“You can look at me, or you can look down and see what your guts look like coming out the front. It’ll be easier if you turn around.”

Benny, trembling, tried to do as he was asked. His legs didn’t seem to think it was a great idea and opted to stop supporting him, turning a simple turn into a sideways sprawl on the dirty concrete of the alley he’d been scanning for vags a moment before.

A hand that felt made out of concrete caught him by the shoulder, biting deep and grinding against the socket. Benny screamed, but if that bothered the giant there was no sign.

The thing holding him up, apparently effortlessly, was nearly eight feet tall. The face was the one Benny had expected, but he hadn’t thought the man would be so big. He hadn’t seemed that tall the other day, lying in the gutter with eight rounds in his back. Nor as wide. He’d been big, sure, but not this big.

The giant grinned, the thick muscles of his jaw tightening and exposing teeth that were brilliantly white in his dark face. The eyes weren’t smiling, however. They were like brown marbles, glassy and dead, that just happened to reside in eyesockets.

“Justified shooting,” the giant said.

Benny shrieked again as the giant dug his thumb into Benny’s shoulder and shook him, as if for emphasis.

“Justified,” it growled.

Benny was shaken again, this time slammed against the back wall of the electronics store that always had a piece of questionable inventory or two displayed in the window. The same building where all this had started two weeks ago, Benny realized.

24
Aug
20

Why I’m a Nazi

I am not a Nazi. At least, last I checked. I have no love for Hitler, his ideology, his crimes. My only interest in the Thule Society is the ripe fruit one can pluck from nearly any secret occult society. I have no urge to lay waste to large groups of people based on genetics, religious belief or sexual preference.

But according to the internet I’m a Nazi. An alt-right, bootlicking, neckbeard, homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, incel Nazi, nonetheless.

I’m called that because I was against the vape flavor ban. I’m called that because I find the behavior of individuals like Alinity or InvaderVie to be reprehensible, and find it infuriating that they keep doing it and getting away with it. I’m called that because I think Ocarina of Time isn’t a good game, and that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was too bloody long. I’m called that because I streamed Ghost of Tsushima, which is a “racist, nationalist murder simulator.” I’m called that because my bookshelf is primarily research books on serial killers and Stephen King novels. I’m called that because I have “the audacity to try selling a book and keeping down others with better books and fewer opportunities.” I’m called that because I need surgery and asked for help. I’m called that because I think making heroin legal and handing it out at dispensaries is kind of a bad idea. I’m called that because my religious beliefs are best expressed as LaVeyan Satanist, and we all know Nazis are Satanists. I’m a Nazi because I believe pedophiles shouldn’t be normalized and appropriating characters like Isabelle or the Babadook to claim MAP positivity is a necessary thing is kind of disgusting.

They usually follow up the insults with an order to kill myself.

Being mentally ill with extremely low self-esteem and suicidal ideation under the best of circumstances, this kind of abuse is dangerously close to pushing me to do that very thing. Of course, they’d celebrate. I’m problematic, after all, because I enjoy bits of fluff like Hyperdimension Neptunia, which is just kiddie porn with a coat of paint.

It’s exhausting. But most of all, it’s stupid. Do you not understand that, at the end of the day, if you’ve reached a point where you call everyone Nazi, alt-right, racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist or whatever other thing you lob at them, then it means nothing at all anymore, and no one cares? The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a thing, you know. Scream it often enough and when you find the real one, no one cares or believes anymore.

There’s nothing else to say, I guess.

21
Aug
20

Trophy Hunting – 8/21

The hunt continues. It’s endless, really. A constant war against the unachieved, the uncounted, the rare beasties hiding in the already-too-long list of games I’ve played.

I’ve been told it’s pointless, that I should give up… but I can’t. It may be unhealthy, but a significant portion of my pride and joy is wrapped up in earning these little meaningless shinies, and damnit, I’m going to keep doing it.

This last week has been slow, but somewhat fruitful. Persona 5 will fall before my blade. I’d already done the Royal reissue, and had come back to clean up the regular version, but for a while it was touch and go. One trophy, “Passionate Listener” required me to hear 250 lines of dialogue from one particular party member. The problem is, a lot of those lines basically come from getting your ass kicked, and given that I’ve played and finished all the Personas – and a few other Shin Megami Tensei games as well – I kind of already know how it works. My experience with Royal only taught me more about this specific entry.

I had reached the last boss, the final chance to earn Passionate Listener, and did not yet have it. Most enemies had been steamrolled, and by the time I realized I needed to lose a bit more, to suffer from ailments, to deliberately cast ineffective spells, I was already so overpowered that most enemies ran from me and those that were left died too quickly.

Then it happened. The final boss hit me with a status effect. Then another. And another. The whole party was incapacitated. The talkative one went nuts, reeling off line after line of how so-and-so was out of it, their defense was lowered, they couldn’t hit anything. Grinning, I swapped out some members, and let it happen again. And again.

The ding as the trophy popped just as my last member recovered automatically from the bad status was more satisfying than unloading all the skills I’d been holding back on his stupid face and blowing a Godzilla sized hole in his skull. If you’ve finished either version of Persona 5, you know.

So the plat is going to happen. I just have to start New Game+, work my way through the first month of the game, fuse the ultimate Persona and kick the hell out of the optional boss. I’m not stressing any of that. Just dreading the three hours it’ll take to get there (which is funny, since between the two versions I’ve already put 200+ hours into Persona 5. Another 3 is really just a drop in the pool.) After that, a fresh shiny platinum will be mine.

Other games being worked on are Death Mark, which is a breeze that I just need to sit down and do; I’ve already beaten it on Vita, and am only playing the PS4 version for the additional case. It’s realistically just an hour of two of fast forward, followed by another hour or so to solve the bonus case, but between Persona, the heat, and general malaise I just haven’t done it yet.

Also on the blotter is Assassin’s Creed III, in my quest to finish all of the extant games before Valhalla drops. Haven’t gotten far, but it’s nothing special. There’s also Kawaii Deathu Desu, which is a very bizarre little offering. Basically, Death and several other monsters have decided they want to be Japanese idols. The problem? Legions of rabid fans trying to interrupt their concerts! The solution? Slay them and collect their souls, of course! It’s fast, it’s mindless, and it’s fun. The trophies are a little glitchy, but rebooting seems to fix it every time, so no worries there… and it makes for a nice palate cleanser after the slog and seriousness of most of my library the last couple of weeks.

What about all of you? What are you playing, what trophies have you earned that give you pride and fulfillment, which ones are torturing you to no end? Let us know down below!

20
Aug
20

Collecting Strings and Shiny Things

“Shiny things,” in this instance meaning stories.

I have a pile of short stories sitting around. Some of them are good. Others are bad. Some I can’t decide how I feel about them. But there’s still plenty of them.

I’m thinking of doing another collection, similar to Insomniac Nightmares, with some of those who were bypassed for that book – whether because they needed some more love, were forgotten in a corner of the hard drive I didn’t go, or were written after it was already at the editor’s – as well as another handful that are currently being written.

It isn’t easy picking through them, deciding who stays and who goes, who’s good enough and who still needs to pick up their grades, and who is destined for the remedial class for eternity. It’s like picking a favorite child, in some ways.

I feel bad for the castaways, moldering in their drawers or distant folders, never to see the light of day. But I also feel it’s a mercy. To unleash them on the public, expose them to the light of day, so they can just be burned to cinders like a movie vampire, seems crueler still.

What about those of you out there? Are there stories you’ve written that you can’t bear to share for whatever reason? That you try your best not to think of? Why? What do you do with them, and how do you deal with the guilt – if there is any – of leaving them in that state? Let us know down below!




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