the underground review

anonymous asked:

Number 17, The Underground...Aaaaaaand GO!

Short opinion: My hat is off to K.A. Applegate for being maybe the only author on the planet capable of taking a story about teenage superheroes fighting aliens with the power of oatmeal… and making it into a surprisingly serious debate about the morality of chemical warfare.

Long opinion:

As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of what I love about this book is the fact that it refuses to be simple comedy even though it has a nearly-perfect comedy setup.  The idea of super-powerful aliens being taken down by otherwise harmless Earth substances is oftentimes played for laughs in other works of sci fi, and the fact that these are teenagers debating about oatmeal adds a whole other layer of ridiculousness to it… But although Applegate acknowledges the humor of the premise in several moments (Jake bemoaning the fact that this battle was destined to end in silliness, Rachel repeating “it’s oatmeal!” six or seven times in a row, etc.) the implications of the premise are distinctly not funny for large parts of this book.

Because this is one of those moments where the Animorphs have a crystal-clear decision between two choices, one of which is probably the right thing to do and the other of which is definitely the easy thing to do.  The easy decision would be simply to dump oatmeal in their town’s water main or otherwise ensure that most of the humans would end up eating it, and then pick the partially-freed controllers from the people who just had some weird-tasting water and start getting information from them.  Easy would be starting out by poisoning Tom with the oatmeal (since Jake has access to his food supply) and then using whatever advice he can give them to figure out how to poison as many other controllers as possible.  Probably the right thing but honestly we’re not sure is spending A FREAKING WEEK tunneling slowly down to the yeerk pool in order to try and poison the yeerks directly, and even then only doing it as a last resort.  Probably the right thing is doing everything in the Animorphs’ power to avoid harming the hosts, even when doing so nearly gets them killed.  Probably the right thing means continuing to fight back with a minimal possible number of casualties.

Part of what’s so great about the way that the Animorphs reach the decision to go through the huge pain in the butt (and screaming terror, for that matter) of delivering the oatmeal to the yeerk pool in person is the understanding that, no matter how many times Rachel repeats “It’s just oatmeal,” it’s not just oatmeal (#17).  According to Marco, “We have green kryptonite here… They’re yeerks. They’re the enemy.” and therefore the oatmeal is destined to be their super-weapon.  The way Tobias sees it, “A drug is in the eye of the beholder… If you get addicted to the oatmeal and it messes you up…” and they’d be taking away the autonomy of the yeerks through fighting dirty with chemical warfare.  Ax, meanwhile, asks my favorite question: “What about the hosts?”

This debate has a very existential kind of cynicism to it, asking multiple times: if we take oatmeal out of its original context, what does it actually mean?  If we choose to interpret it as a chemical weapon (the way Marco and Ax clearly do) then does that make our decision to use it immoral by default?  If we choose to see it as a drug (the way Tobias does) then what does that make us if we force people to become addicted?  If it is just oatmeal, the way Rachel wants to see it, then does that make using it automatically okay?

Largely unrelated aside: it also fascinates me how much Jake and Cassie aren’t involved in this book.  They both largely abstain from the debate about how and whether to use the oatmeal, which Rachel notes is uncharacteristic for them both, and although everyone respects Jake’s right to make the final call on Tom, the issue of whether to use the oatmeal at all gets made largely without his input.  We also know why they both seem to be largely along for the ride in this book, because #17 repeatedly harkens back to the events of #16.  When they’re all running around as roaches nearly getting squashed after they break out of their banana crate, Jake freaks out more than anyone else and also brings up having been squashed as a fly and mostly-killed in #16.  During the earlier debate about how to get into the mental hospital, they discuss the fact that this should be a piece of cake compared to the disastrophe at Joe Bob Finestre’s house (#16), and they only see poor George Edelman try to kill himself because everyone convinces Jake that after last mission they really really need a vacation.  Cassie pretty much explicitly says that the reason she’s abstaining from the oatmeal-morality discussion is that she’s really not sure what’s right or wrong anymore, given that she not only tried to commit murder in (relatively) cold blood last book, but also tried to use Jake as her means of doing so.  We can see the impact that this war is having on the kids, because both Jake and Cassie have this attitude of not even knowing who they are anymore, much less being able to trust themselves.

Speaking of the impact of war on identity, one of the more fascinating motifs in this story is just how much time Rachel spends interrogating her own roles.  She’s not really one for self-reflection, at least not compared to Tobias or Jake, and so it’s striking that she does stop and take a moment to reflect on her place within her team and within her family at several points in this book.  Just before they’re about to go into the yeerk pool, she thinks “Everyone in a group has a role to play. At least that’s how it always works out. My role was to say, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s go. That’s what we came here for.’  But I was tired. And I’d had a really, really bad few days digging down to this stupid cave…  So I said, «Let’s do it. That’s what we came here for.»”  Rachel understands that in many ways the team needs her to be brave and gung-ho, because she’s the force dragging them forward, toward danger and also toward victory.  When none of them want to be the first to tunnel down as moles, she volunteers without (outward) hesitation.  When they reach the cave filled with bats and end up forced to demorph down there, she emphasizes that this is a good thing.  When everyone is exhausted and cornered in the yeerk pool, she becomes the one to get them off their butts and toward an exit plan.  When everyone else is too wiped out and traumatized from the battle to worry about tying up loose ends, she becomes the one to go make sure George Edelman’s still going to be okay.  

Because it’s what she does.  Because she’s Xena.  Because she has to be, even though this book opens up with her looking down at Lucy Lawless and realizing that they’re both just acting as Xena, because there’s no such thing as Xena, because when people look at her and see Xena they’re inevitably projecting something that’s not real.  However, as Rachel says, “sometimes it’s hard to get out of a role once you’ve started playing the part” (#17).  She’s genuinely not sure who she is, if not Xena.

Although that’s not the only role she plays.  This book also has several moments with Rachel at home, where we see her in a different role entirely.  Rachel is not, perhaps, doing as well as Marco or Jake at playing the role of an ordinary civilian.  It’s not often that we see PTSD come out in the form of hypervigilance or impulsivity in fiction, but we do see it a lot in this particular series with Rachel.  She yells at Jordan for throwing out her rotting leftovers, snaps at her mom for expecting her to be an ordinary teenager, and generally behaves as though she doesn’t have time for her family at all.  We as the reader understand why Rachel’s on such a hair-trigger, given the kind of week (month, year) she’s had at the time, but Naomi still has every right to be worried and Jordan still has every right to be annoyed.  They’re not seeing Rachel’s internal justification for her willingness to blow up at anyone who so much as looks at her wrong; they’re just seeing the explosions.  And Rachel understands on some level that she’s failing in the role of sister-and-daughter.  That she should have priorities outside of the war, but that she’s dropping the ball on most of them.

The series seems to have another mini-motif in this cycle of books, given how much role interrogation the other four do in the surrounding novels.  If the early 30’s are all about the Animorphs alone, the late teens are about role-reflection and the realization that the role of Child Whom Parents Care For is now officially out of reach.  #16, as I mentioned, is all about Jake trying to figure out who a leader is, what a leader does, and how he can play the part of The Great Man From History while also being a good friend; the entire book goes back and forth between that idea and the domestic scenes where his family treats him like the baby (since he is) as he comes to the realization that, not only can they not protect him anymore, but he might not be able to protect them.  Before that, #15 gets into Marco’s conflict between being a good son to his dad and being a good son to his mom, which (thanks to Visser One) are mutually oppositional roles and leave him with the conclusion that if he can only save one it’ll have to be his dad.  #18 once again shows an Animorph fleeing into the arms of home and family, only to realize that those aren’t sources of comfort or safety anymore, only in this case it’s Ax coming to realize that he won’t just be going home and rejoining the andalites anytime soon, so he might as well get used to looking to Jake as his prince.  Although #19 ends up focusing on Cassie alone in the woods with Karen and Aftran, a lot of what drives her out there is the scene where she looks at her parents and does the math that she is older and more hardened than they will ever be, and that she has already infected their innocence and goodness with her darkness.

This book and its surrounding fellows are a lot about settling into the war for the long haul.  And that leads to (and from) the question: What are we really doing in this war?  How are we going to fight it?  What compromises are we willing to make, and what ones are we unwilling to touch?  If it’s not “just oatmeal,” then what are we going to do about it?

Run Run Run
The Velvet Underground
Run Run Run

Track 5, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)


You could say that The Velvet Underground was anti-rock in the same way that Warhol was anti-art – neither of them really were, but you couldn’t shake the fact that that was the air they gave off. This was 1967; San Fran’s summer of love, the Beatles in motion with Sgt. Pepper while Pink Floyd was still embryonic and Led Zeppelin was getting into its stride: that was the scene.

Separate to it all, here came Lou Reed & co. with The Velvet Underground & Nico, the closest thing to garage rock the ’60s ever had. From a 21st century perspective it’s roots. But the heart of it lies in informality – strip it back to amp and classic kit and this is what you get. Unprocessed art rock, heavy on feedback and about as raw as it got.

And Nico – especially under Lou Reed’s treatment – is almost elegaic. With a drone sort of quality that’s as beautiful as it is strange, she conjures up some sort of regal sorrow. All Tomorrow’s Parties takes a leap into the hearts of introverts anonymous – myself included. In particular:

What costume shall the poor girl wear,
To all tomorrow’s parties?

No, this is more than just Warhol’s little lab experiment. It’s unlikely genius pressed in 12-inch, cut rough. And imperfection’s never been as flawless.

Golden Age Gals: Mavis Doriel Hay

Murder Underground Review:

This book is an interesting one. The book begins with a very staccato sort of pace - with a good deal of confusion as each member of the story learns of the death of Miss Pongleton on the steps of the tube station. I became annoyed as I read because after their initial congregation to discuss the ghastly demise of a universally disliked old spinster, each member of the Frampton boarding house (where the old lady lived and each sleuth has some connection to) blundered about on their own parallel - yet not intersecting investigations.

There was no one person in the story who knew the whole, no singular sleuth with whom the information flowed the in order to facilitate the solving of the crime. Each member of the Frampton had their own thread to pull on to try and untangle the whole mess and didn’t really discuss their knot with another. The only investigators you don’t read about at any length is the police. So I continued to slog my way thru the book, which while I found annoying, the mystery did have me interested, until it dawned on me.

(near the scene of the crime) (source of the image here)

The person with whom all the information flowed thru was the reader! Me! This book is the ultimate in fair play. You are the sleuth (though the fourth wall in the book isn’t broken - that would have been really weird, but anyways) sifting through statements, evidence and alibis to figure out who did it. Nothing is hidden from the reader until the last chapter, which I suspect the author did in order to give her characters their big reveal in front of the fire with everyone gathered together again in the sitting room.

I don’t think I have ever read anything written quite like this and by the end I was really invested in discovering who did it! My early annoyance evaporated completely. Which is why I am giving you a heads up about Hay’s style here - to perhaps mitigate any frustration you might feel when reading this mystery. Plus if you are a fan of golden age mysteries Murder Underground incorporates a number of staples of the style - set in England, with a universally disliked victim, off stage violence, a smallish closed cast of characters/suspects and a traditional sitting room which bookended the mystery.

Plus the people which populated the narrative make this book worth checking out. In fact it has one of my new favorite characters in it - Mr. Blend who like a nice “tidy” murder…But you have to read the book to fully appreciate him - but it is more than worth it.

Overall I think this book is worth the time it takes to read it. Just keep in mind that you are the detective and you’ll be fine!

My 52 Weeks With Christie: A.Miner©2017


Aion 4.8 - Idian Depth [Underground Katalam]

Idian Depths remains in Aion 4.8. There are some interesting things, like you can drop some “Scale” looking item that can be sold for lots of Kinah. This probably will help the economy or destroy it even more???? 


@azsurance said:  It becomes a private PVE ground (asmos and elyos have their own zones), the portal to it opens for a few hours per day each time. You can access it via Kaldor, Levinshor, 엔샤르 and 시그니아.

It’s not the same ID per se since they did some rather drastic changes to it, in terms of what you can do there. Basically it’s just a mindless farming ground with decent drops (they removed all the named mobs though). The portal to the new ID spawns randomly too so there’s no set location.

Thank you Azsurance!

“I gotta believe!” A  PaRappa Party Mix album review Part 1:

So a couple days ago I received this in the mail:

This is really something amazing that I didn’t even know existed until I was on Ebay one day. I was looking at PaRappa the Rapper collectibles and such when I came across this odd little gem, an official PaRappa  the Rapper Party Mix compilation album released by Tommy Boy Records.

 According to Wiki, it was only released in Japan to promote the PaRappa the Rapper sequel in 2001, which if I remember correctly, the Rap and Hip-Hop aspect of the series was seriously pumped up and heavily promoted in the games marketing, despite it not being a huge element in the actual games.

Just look at this American ad of the game:

Anyway on to the album, there is so much about this that I’m amazed this ever got made and printed for the public, and I got it for a steal! The seller on Ebay only wanted about $2.99 for this incredibly rare item and I was really excited! I sat down, popped this in my CD player, and plugged my headphones in and….wow where do I even begin to talk about this beautiful mess?

Well a little about me, I am actually a big fan of Rap music especially from the 90’s to the early 2000’s and that’s exactly what this album is comprised of. With that said it also features the songs from the game such as “Romantic Love”, “Hair Scare”, “BIG” and so on, as well as De La Soul’s little addition “Say ‘I gotta believe!’”. Sounds pretty harmless, right? Well here’s where it gets interesting,

Along with the songs from the game, you get to hear them mixed with songs like “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground and “Everything’s gonna be alright (Ghetto Bastard)” by Naughty By Nature and many other songs that are great on their own but questionable as to who thought it would be a good idea to associate them with a kid-friendly video game. But that’s not all, here’s the real kicker:

All of these songs are uncensored.

Yes, you get to hear remixed songs of rappers talking about their never-ending hunt for booty, selling drugs on the street, and even one song being completely and blatantly about sex (Packet Man by Digital Underground) along with all of your favorite squeaky-clean songs from the game.

 Yeah as you can probably imagine, I had no idea what to make of this. Personally, I like some of these songs like “Mama gave Birth to the Soul Children” by Queen Latifah and “All Good” by De La Soul, I just wish they picked more songs like them, the silly and novelty rap songs of the early 90’s, instead of the more ‘gangsta’ angry rap that they decided to go with. It’s just such a clashing juxtaposition.  

I can see why the CD never made it outside of Japan and I’m guessing that’s the reason they decided to leave most of these songs unedited because hey, its Japan and not a ton of English-speakers means not having to worry about offending anyone.

Join me in the next review (Part 2) where I’ll give my two cents on all the songs on the album!

I just realized, Alphys and Mettaton were the only members of the human fan club. Mettaton isn’t interested in anime. Undyne only watches anime because she thinks it’s human history, and is only interested in the fighting action packed ones and ones about humans with powers, and obviously watches them with Alphys so she wouldn’t be interested in this one. We don’t know anyone that watches anime other than them. Frisk can watch anime based on your choices, but Alphys doesn’t remember she put you on undernet at this point.

All anime comes collected from the dump by Alphys. Alphys is the only one with Mew Mew Kissy Cutie 2 or whatever it is called. You can find a dvd covered in desperate claw marks in the dump, but we don’t know why Alphys left it or threw it out again.

This means when Alphys writes the review on that anime on the Undernet, she is reviewing something that she is the only person in the underground that would ever think to watch, and she either has kept for herself or just threw out and ruined the only known copy in the underground. She reviews something only she will care about and she is the only person that will review it or ever watch it in the underground. They don’t have human Internet.

Since she made the Undernet, chances are she made the ability to post reviews just so she could make a negative review on something only she will care about or experience.

Toby really made a spot on imitation of people on the Internet, didn’t he?

erikmfsosa  asked:

Do you ever think about doing reviews for artists who aren't going mainstream or aren't popular? Just curious.

No, I only review the most mainstream of mainstream releases. What’s the point in reviewing something underground? If it were good, wouldn’t it be popular already? Check mate.

RJD2 - Ghostwriter
RJD2 - Ghostwriter

RJD2 - Ghostwriter

I’ve been a fan of RJD2 ever since I first started getting into underground hip-hop. He’s been in the game for a long time, and remains as one of the best. His instrumental specialty is in the brass department. The pronounced horns in this song are really gripping and sexy and speak for themselves. In terms of longstanding artistic quality, Ghostwriter blows the competition out of the water. I believe it will always remain a definitive classic of its genre. This song is off of RJD2’s 2002 debut album Deadringer.


My Song Rating: 10 out of 10


This week’s Throwback Thursday Clip, is a game review for Tony Hawk: Underground

Shout out to the Hulk

Fairy Tail Chapter 427: “Fierce Underground Battle” Review


Max Cover: (Max x Broom are canon?)

Natsu wants to barge in:

Lucy stops them:

Virgo’s New Torture Fetish:

Virgo Star Dress:

They Infiltrate: (Small NaLu moment too~)

Natsu… Why…:

That Whole Moment with Natsu and Virgo:

Enter Abel:

He has a Mr. Cursey/Noro-san:

Natsu fodderizes Abel and 2 other members:

Natsu vs. Gray Incoming:

Chapter 428 - “If Our Paths Are Different”: