Happy International Cute Witch Day

Okay, I confess: I intended to have a JAKE AND THE DYNAMO short story ready to go for Halloween, but I have been so busy, I didn’t get it done. Perhaps it will appear later in the week, and you can enjoy it while eating the candy corn you picked up for fifty percent off out of the discount bin while you contemplate stuffing a rotten pumpkin into Mrs. Shushley’s mailbox because she gave you a toothbrush for Halloween instead of candy.

Halloween is, as you might expect, the most important day in the liturgical calendar of Urbanopolis, more important even than Walpurgisnacht (April 30) or the birthday of the Moon Princess (June 30). On Halloween, at midnight, it is the Witching Hour, when the girls’ power is at its greatest. At that hour, they customarily renew their oaths to their familiars and sign with fresh blood the contracts by which they have sold their souls.

It’s also a good time to pick up free junk food. Halloween is the one day of the year on which it is socially acceptable for children to take candy from strangers. Just don’t eat the apples; they contain razor blades. At least, that’s what my mom always said.

It’s also a good time to engage in disgustingly unhygienic pastimes like bobbing for apples. Do you realize you’ve indirectly kissed, like, the whole town when you play that game? That’s gross, dude. And you should’t be trying to catch apples in your mouth anyway—they contain razor blades.

Although I’d make an exception if the other players were ponies. It’s my lifelong dream to indirectly kiss a pony, though that’s not the kind of thing I’d admit to complete strangers on the Internet.

Hey, baby.

Um, where was I? Anyway, in honor of Halloween, have some images of cute witches:

Sailor Moon’s Prime Directives

 I always get a kick out of this.

In the animated version of Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury gets a miniaturized supercomputer that fits in a compact, a device that doesn’t appear in the manga—and which seems kind of superfluous, since she also has a computer with a heads-up display built into her sailor suit.

The creators of the show apparently wanted some computery-looking English text to flash across her compact’s screen … so they simply stole it from RoboCop, except with a typo.

From this, we know that the sailor scouts follow the same Prime Directives as Officer Murphy. No word on whether there’s a secret, fourth directive that prevents them from arresting OCP employees.

IT DOES EXIST!

Pictured here is the Wenger 16999 Swiss Army Knife Giant, an actual product. Last time I checked, it was going for $3,999, but someone has now put one up for sale for $400, a steal.

I always carry a Swiss Army knife on my hip. I use it quite often, and I’ve been thinking about replacing my current one with a larger one with more features, especially since I’ve lost the toothpick and tweezers (I hate when that happens). If I didn’t have a still-intact toothpick and tweezers on my Swiss Army knife keychain, I probably would have replaced it already.

Right now, I’m thinking it would be great to have the Wenger 16999 on my hip, though I’d have to have a custom-made holster for it. Still, it’d be worth it just to haul it out when someone asks for a screwdriver.

Unfortunately, this is apparently a “display only” piece. According to the one Amazon review that isn’t a joke, some of the implements can’t even fold in all the way.

To find the serious reviews, though, you have to wade through dozens like this one:

Received this knife as a gift for my 18th birthday. Wish I’d have known what it was because as soon as I touched it, I grew a mustache and became a Navy Seal. Mom fainted and my dad laughed and handed me a beer. I was born a girl.

Minus 2 stars because my breasts were really nice.

Happy White Day

Art taken from the Anime Art Museum.

We can’t go full weeb unless we mention White Day. Japan has retooled the Christian holiday of St. Valentine’s Day into a day on which women give chocolate to men instead of the other way around. In 1978, Japan’s National Confectionary Industry Association created White Day as a day for men to reciprocate.

It is a tradition that you’re supposed to give three times as much on White Day as you got on Valentine’s Day. So be sure to do something nice for your magical girl today.

I might have a story about Jake giving candy to Dana … but I’m doing my taxes instead.

So, anyway, happy White Day. This holiday, I should note, is not only celebrated in Japan, but also in South Korea, though their tradition is different. Instead of having boys give girls candy, they lock students in a school and make them fight monsters and kill one another.

Jake and the Dynamo on the Periodic Table

I’m working on the next chapter of Jake and the Dynamo, which I promise will be a beach episode, and I thought I ought to give the story as it presently stands a check to make sure it’s on track.

By which I mean, on track to include every element in the Periodic Table of Awesoments, which is the goal for this, and indeed every, story.

Let’s see how we’re doing.

1. Bacon: Jake has it for breakfast most every morning.
4. Explosion: Obviously.
6. Beer: Jake’s parents allow him one beer when they order out for pizza.
10. Sniper: Briefly mentioned when Jake and Dynamo meet some military personnel.
13. Boobs: This is … well, this is a magical girl story.
15. Coffee: Mentioned repeatedly.
17. Zombies: Not only zombies, but zombies who appear during an invasion of robot dinosaurs from space, and I’d like to think that putting those together even makes sense, kind of.
24. Minigun: Appears in the very first chapter.
26. Kung Fu: Or at least cartoon-fu.
28. Helicopter: Mentioned several times.
31. Space: Tesla the lightning bug is a former space pilot.
36. Vampires: Briefly mentioned, and at least one magical girl is a vampire huntress as well as a metal idol.
39. Sword: As wielded by Lady Paladin Andalusia.
41. Nunchucks: This might be a stretch since she hasn’t appeared on the page yet, but Nunchuk Nun wields nunchuks.
45. Moon Jumps: Assuming this means making huge leaps rather than literally jumping on the moon, this is the preferred mode of travel for the ground-bound magical girls.
46. Mecha: Possibly a stretch, but I believe the Robosaurs count.
47. Internet: Matilda the witch-seer hacks into Magical Girl Grease Pencil Marionette using this.
48. Hyperspace: The villains travel to and from the city in something called “the stream.” Also, alien civilizations clearly have FTL.
49. Lightning: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolt attack is “lightning in a can.”
50. Fire: Not just fire, but the very fire of hell, which the city has weaponized thanks to a spacetime-ripping portal gun.
53. Robots: A magical girl robot, even.
57. Dinosaurs: Robot dinosaurs from space, even.
59. Dragon: Briefly mentioned.
74. Battle Axe: The preferred weapon of Chai Square, the tea-sipping statistical troll.
76. Rayguns: Sukeban Tsubasa includes them in her formidable arsenal. In fact, she will later probably fill out a lot of the weapon categories.
77. Video Games: I think we got that covered in the more recent chapters.
78. Teleport: The villains’ preferred method of travel.
78. Computers: Including a magical gynoid. Also, there are two element 78s, probably because the computer teleported. Or something.
80. Time Travel: They have faster-than-light travel, which necessarily means time travel.
83. Storms: In addition to opening portals to hell, creating zombies, and talking smack about your mom, the demoniac conjures a thunderstorm.
85. Aliens: Many of the familiars, including Tesla, are aliens.
89. Mustache: Jake shaves the fuzz off his upper lip in the morning, so he briefly has a mustache of sorts.
92. Skulls: Even better, Voodoo Queen Natasha wears skulls for a bra.
93. Scars: Jake is unreasonably concerned about Dana getting one of these.
99. Holograms:
 Including Marionette’s simulated familiar.
107. Fortress: The Dark Queen’s castle counts. Arguably, so does all of Urbanopolis.
114. Metal: Assuming this means the music, both Dana and Ralph are fans of monster metal, especially Lady/Killer and Magical Girl Metal Huntress Van Halensing.
115. Magnets: Pretty Dynamo’s Thunder Bolts, being supercharged, are powerfully magnetic.
116. My Money: What Jake has, briefly, until he pays to feed Pretty Dynamo.

Hm. Well, that’s thirty-nine elements. Pretty good so far, I think, though it’s rather shocking that we’ve had no tanks, grenades, or proximity mines. This should be easy to rectify. And I believe we’re on track to include (82) black holes, (51) liquor, (15) chocolate, (18) assassin, (25) sonic booms, (98) guitar solo, and of course (9) pirates. Magical girls’ familiars will likely fill out several of the animal-related elements.

The How Not to Write a Novel Quiz

Featured image: “Magical Girl Art” by Chrysolith.

I recently stumbled upon this, a quiz designed, supposedly, to see if you have any clue how to write a novel. It was designed by the writers of How Not to Write a Novel, which I have not had the pleasure of reading, but which purports to show by example how to avoid the mistakes of book-writing.

I got a perfect score, I guess. If I may say so, the score doesn’t surprise me: I have no pretensions of being the next Shakespeare, but I can at least turn out a workmanlike product when I’m halfway sober. However, I think a few of the questions are unfair.

For example, when asking what is a good sentence, it first gives the final line from The Great Gatsby as the “correct” answer, and then gives sentences with obvious typos, and then gives this:

Ever back, to the chthonic quagmire of yesterdays that ate yesterdays in monarchic succession, like crocodiles held vassal to a Pharaoh of loss.

That’s purple, but not horrific. I would accept it, depending on the context. It would be at home in a story by Lovecraft. After all, not everything is The Great Gatsby, nor should it be.

Happy International Cute Witch Day

Featured Image: “Magical ‘Witch’ Girl Neil” by Layer Industries. Sources for the rest of the art in the post are unknown.

Life is crazy, and I find myself behind on both reviews and story chapters, but so it goes.

Today, however, we must all pause in our labors to celebrate that second-most important of all magical girl holidays, Halloween, the one night in the year when cute witches can fly on their broomsticks without worrying about being observed, because they are simply mistaken for trick-or-treaters.

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This is also an excellent night for magical girl warriors to use their transformative powers to acquire free candy, usually while being scolded comically by their familiars.

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The first-most important magical girl holiday, incidentally, is Walpurgisnacht, which I believe you’re supposed to celebrate by destroying Tokyo or something. But that’s not until April 30th.

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In any case, happy Halloween to one and all.  To all cute witches who will be seeking candy tonight, stay safe and don’t stay out too late.

Um … so, candy corn. Does anyone really eat that stuff? It tastes like wax. It’s like something that nobody likes, but that they keep bringing out year after year anyway because it’s become inextricably linked to the holiday. Like Peeps at Easter.

Myself, I hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste samples at Halloween. That keeps the little scamps away. That way, I can watch the Halloween episode of Ouran High School Host Club in peace.

"Candycorn-chan" by celesse.
Candycorn-chan” by celesse.

MIT Student Creates Magical Girl Transformation in the Lab … Sort Of

There is a class at MIT called “Indistinguishable from …” in which students are invited to create technology inspired in some fashion by magic from fantasy stories. Project descriptions from the class are posted online.

Back in 2015, one Kyrie Caldwell, social science graduate student, decided to base her project on magical girls. Continue reading “MIT Student Creates Magical Girl Transformation in the Lab … Sort Of”