Category Archives: Paraphernalia

and we call upon the author to explain

I like letter grades, letter grades are easy and fun, but I think it’s time for a switch. See, I grew up reading the finest, Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), meaning I’ve been reading reviews my whole life. EGM used to run a numeric system, three reviewers per article, on a .1-increment sliding scale from 0 to 10.0. Now, I’m not that ambitious (some are) – and frankly the difference between an 8.5 and an 8.6 feels negligible to me. Nevertheless, as one reader (I have readers! I love you all!) brought up, the connection between letter grades and academic life, of which I’m a recent escapee, feels a little too intimate. I get that. Nobody wants to feel like their essay was a Guilty Pleasure, or that their arts project was definitely a solid $0$, but no Paul’s Boutique. Keeping that in mind, Transylvanilla will be switching over to a numerical sliding scale of assessment, running in .5-increments from 0.0 to 10.0, respectively. Will this be a permanent shift? I doubt it – it’s an experiment and an homage. I won’t be retroactively editing previous reviews either – writers have to stand by what they’ve written in this swift and changeable literary landscape, so letter-grades they remain.

Feel free to contact me and throw in your two cents! Feel free to set up a Paypal account for me and literally throw in your two cents! For the next little while we’ll be doing things in style of the classic video-game magazines of my youth.

(Don’t worry, I’ll still be brutally abusing my right to italics.)

Ps. My pre-New-Year’s Resolution is to balance my genre allotment a wee bit. Nerfing Hip-Hop, upping everything else. Or maybe the other genres could, you know, try harder. Do you know a rock band that is, you know, trying harder? @Ryeburg does, hence the following review. #FF and all that.

~ T. out.


Friends of the Show Update!

Quick one here (I’ll be back to work soon, promise!): the ‘Friends of the Show’ page has been updated, complete with two friends of mine. Both of them are on the internet. They are good men. Here goes:

Giovanni Zenone writes Broken Ideas, a blog of thoughts, which so far contains but one high-quality essay on New West legend Devin Townsend! Here’s hoping for more, the guy can write.

J. Gillingham brings us The Power of Hands, historical fiction that is totally accurate, except for when it isn’t (for awesome reasons).

That’s all for now! Let me know if you want to be featured. I can, and will, feature you – for we are the internet, and we ought to be friends.


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Stuff We Like: SATAN IS REAL

Once upon a time, Charlie and Ira Loudermilk ditched their hilarious last name, took up the ‘Louvin’ mantle and produced one of the most bizarre, ironic and successful Christian Country albums of all time. Ira Louvin/Loudermilk had an aesthetic vision: two car-salesman lookalikes in powder white suits manically flourishing their jazz hands under the watchful eyes of a 12-foot plywood Satan, heaps of tires blazing just out of sight nearby – the ultimate simulation of Hell. This, friends, is 1959’s Satan Is Real.

Charlie and Ira wrote twelve evangelical songs ranging in title from “Are You Afraid to Die?” to “Satan’s Jeweled Crown”, beating Metal to the satanic album-title punch by a cool two decades. Ira, for one, lived every minute of it: from his reputation for alcoholism to that one time he was shot three times (in the back!) for abusing one of his (many!) wives, he ensured that the irony flows pretty thick in Satan Is Real. This is evangelical country at its most effective, iconic and hilariously ironic. Johnny Cash was a big fan.

We like Satan Is Real because it is astounding – seriously, look at that cover.

Originally published in The Peak, February 2011. 

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