Guilty Pleasures: Van Life

Image from The Indie Projects YouTube Channel

It’s been a while since I did a Guilty Pleasures article because a lot of the cool stuff I’ve found lately hasn’t given me that mix of pleasure and shame from watching it. Lately, however, I’ve found a group of individuals that appeals to my respect of survivalists, practical engineers, and independent spirit, yet also shames me because most time it is found in some of the hippiest folks you will find in this great country of ours. (Yeah, the fake hippie dudes of the 70’s that just wanted to grift and get laid ruined the image of the hippie for me.) What is this Guilty Pleasure, you ask? it is the the lifestyle known as Van Life.

Van Life is a phenomenon that is sweeping the country due to the high cost of living and a reaction to the other complications of capitalism gone rampant in this country. People seeking a more minimalist and less alienated lifestyle are modifying vans, buses, trucks, and RVs to make them true mobile homes. Many of these vehicles are equipped with fully functional kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces with Wi-Fi, computers, and televisions.

Image from FLORB YouTube Channel

If I had to guess, I would say that Van Life is the hybrid love child of tiny house enthusiasm and nomadic/hobo lifestyle, which are also two crazes that hit YouTube and television a few years ago. Marrying the need to live off grid, and free of bills, with the ingenuity and desire to maximise living and quality of life with meager living space, Van Life is attractive in the promise of both freedom and the challenge of survival.

One thing that I did find surprising about Van Life was that it is a booming lifestyle amongst women of all ages. While some publications will tell you that it is a phenomenon with Millenials, I see no evidence that it is limited to generation.

Image of Steve Wallis from his YouTube Channel

There are many YouTube channels out there, but my gateway channel was that of Steve Wallis. I don’t know too much about the man. I know from his videos that he was married at one point, and actually traveled with his wife in many of his videos. I think that he chose Van Life for a time to cut costs from his life. Oh, he loves his beer and whiskey. In fact, he uses beer as the unit of currency that you can support him, and he uses whiskey as a personal reward when he completes tasks on his videos. I find Steve Wallis very typical in his love of Van Life, but not so in his set ups.

The Set Up

As mentioned before, a big part of Van Life is the modification of regular vehicles into functional RVs and modification of RVs into true mobile homes with all of the amenities of the modern home. However, this also includes the upgrading of tents, sheds, and shacks that Van Lifers camp out in, sometimes. This includes portable wood-burning stoves, propane stoves, cots, and computers and video game systems with
power supplies.

(When I referred to Steve Wallis and his set ups, what I meant was that he tends to have very simple vehicle setups with little or no hard modifications done to his vehicles. He does go all out in pimping his tent and shack setups.)

 

Image from Eamon & Bec YouTube Channel

The Activities

It should come as no surprise that many Van Lifers enjoy nature, and living within a stone’s throw from it. However, it is what some of them consider more “adventurous” that might surprise you.

Boondocking is camping out in modified vehicles, not in the wild, but in private properties like department store or hotel parking lots. Many Van Lifers consider boondocking a big thrill to see how long they can camp out in a private parking lot before they get “the knock” telling them to leave.

Stealth Parking is basically boondocking, but not limited to private parking lots. Stealth Parking can be done in neighbourhoods, side streets, and abandoned properties. I guess the added danger in stealth parking over boondocking is that it is more likely that police will give “the knock” rather than an employee of the private property.

(Steve Wallis loves boondocking and stealth parking. In fact, Steve loves all of the nomadic aspects of the lifestyle, sometimes even camping in abandoned towns, subdivisions, hobo sites.)

Image from Susi Cruz YouTube Channel

Yeah, I know. This doesn’t sound like a cool enough thrill for me to try, either, but at least nobody gets hurt, and it doesn’t cost anything except maybe a parking ticket? I think that we all have that part of us that wants to go out and see the country while leaving our ties to civilisation to the wind, and this lifestyle is the embodiment of that. Perhaps this is the way that many people will be able to taste this lifestyle. How bad can it be if you have Wi-Fi, a stove, and a flat screen?

What’s Cool Now: 2/3/20

Okay.  Way back in November of 2019, when I was revamping the site and didn’t know what direction I would be going in, I decided this new article series be bi-weekly, but I’m going to publish it somewhere between when I can and whenever I want.  ‘Don’t like it?  Tough.’  Anyway, enough of that.  Let’s get on with the goodies, shall we?

Rico Nasty

I came across Rico Nasty looking at Doja Cat videos.  She was featured in a song with her called “Tia Tamara.”  I didn’t really like the song, and video was just odd;not even cool odd.  I guess I didn’t think their styles mixed well.

Anyway, from what I gleaned about her, her mother is Puerto Rican and her father a Black rapper from the mainland USA.  Rico Nasty has been a maverick from an early age, getting kicked out of boarding school for possession of marijuana and developing her own style of rap based on listening to her father.

What I enjoy about Rico Nasty is that her songs are filled with energy, personality, and varying styles.  I don’t get bored with her songs, and there is no gimmick to them.  Where it is the rule of female MCs to use their sexuality in some way and in varying degrees, Rico Nasty could be a man and her flows, beats, and rhymes lose no cleverness.  They also lose none from her being a woman.  I think she might be one of the best MCs in the business.

Poppy

I’m sure that most of you have heard about Poppy, but I never really wrote anything about her, and I thought it would be a good time to.  For those of you that don’t know, Poppy (originally “That Poppy) is a living meme girl that originally spread on YouTube.  She is the joint project of Moriah Rose Pereira, the person who performs as Poppy, and Titanic Sinclair (Corey Michael Mixter), and YouTube personality.

Apparently Titanic Sinclair had some falling out with a past partner, Mars Argo (Brittany Alexandria Sheets), took her image, changed it a little, and used it for Poppy’s originally template.

Looking at what Poppy’s channel has been putting out, I think that Poppy has something planned.  Her videos have seemed a little “Illuminated” lately, and forbode almost planned cryptic symbols in them.  Yeah…don’t mind me.  Sometimes I just say weird shit, but this time it’s because I saw weird shit.

***When I originally wrote this article, it was in November 2019.  Don’t ask me why, but rather than rewriting something when I find out new information, I like showing the process of thought and production, and favour amendments to articles…

 

Anyway, it appears that Titanic Sinclair has repeated past behaviours and has fallen out with Poppy as well.  Poppy has stated that Titanic Sinclair used mind games and strange tactics to get what he wanted not only in the studio and project vision, but with Poppy’s heart as well.   ‘What kind of tricks?  How about threatening suicide when he couldn’t get his way and even physical, mental, and emotional abuse? (The physical abuse is supposedly public record as he was actually arrested for it with at least Mars Argo.) 

Dr. Diablo and the Rodent Show

At first I thought Dr. Diablo and the Rodent Show might have been something cool, but the more I look and listen, it seems like a case of a famous couple that built some sort of media empire, broke up, and one of them tried to keep it up with a new partner. 

I’m not sure who Dr. Diablo is.   He’s out there for looking up. (Who am I kidding.  I’m going to look him and provide a link somewhere in all of this.  It’s what I do.) The most important part of this duo is “the Rodent,” aka Ratfink of Alien Sex Fiend, whom’s last project was something called “Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show.” (‘Seem familiar?)

Dr. Diablo almost seems forced into his position of replacement.  In promo ads and pictures, it looks like his best attempt at looking fiendish and evil is looking constipated or being fucked by a gorilla with a giant corkscrew dick.

In the end I think the imagery is pretty cool, a throwback to the great rock shows of old.

***Yeah, I looked for info on Dr. Diablo, but I couldn’t find diddley.  Who knows.  Maybe he’s the money behind this act.

Duckie L’Orange

Duckie L’Orange is a fucking weirdo, but like most weirdos, she’s also a genius.  Duckie L’Orange is a performer that not only specialises in entertaining children, but adults in adult fashion.  Hailing from Germany, she is known for her strange and unorthodox style of comedy

Recently, she gained a little attention because of a television appearance on Germany’s equivalent to “America’s Got Talent,” and her “Bumhound” skit.  There was a time when comedic geniuses like Duckie L’Orange received their due.  Now they get cult status from the few that get their humour, like Tim and Eric.

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope she performs here in The States.

Bonsai Pop

Bonsai Pop is a group of guys (Grant, Mike, Tyler, and Ryan) that write retrospectives on anime and their influences on pop culture.  Their pieces are very insightful, and the a part of the reason that I watch YouTube more than actual television and cable.

Bonsai Pop does a great job at disassembling their subject matter not only by plot, language, or other aspects of literary storytelling, but by explaining other intangible feelings that most of us felt watching these anime, as well as what the creators might have been trying to express.

Another part of their appeal is that they do not just pander to new anime, but anime from the turn of the century and before. (I find many new anime lacking in many areas.)

Other than that, I wanted to also share some new media. (Well, it was a lot newer in November, but I’m sure some of this is new to some of you.)

Midnight Pulp

Midnight Pulp is a streaming service for “All Things Strange.” Right off the bat, I gotta tell you that this reminds me a lot of the vibe I used to get from watching Night Flight late at night and being introduced to Indie films as well as the strange in Hollywood.

Well, while I don’t think that Midnight Pulp is as big on the Indie tip as Night Flight was in the day, they showcase some great gems from all cult corners of cinema, including sci-fi and kung-fu. 

Their collections are even grouped by innovators in acting, writing, and directing.

Tubi

If you do not know what Tubi is, then you are missing out.  Tubi is a streaming service that shows great movies, television series, documentaries, and mockumentaries for free.

Their video selection reminds me a lot of when Netflix was new, not featuring new movies from the last couple of years, but they do have some great ones from 3 or more years.  Tubi has a lot of horror and great B movies from the 70’s-10’s.

Tubi features movies and television from Filmrise and Full Moon Features, as well as many other film and television groups.  

I cannot stress how great a service Tubi is.  It was a huge factor in my canceling of Netflix after so many years.

Genius

Genius is s site that explores the meaning behind the lyrics of popular songs.  Sometimes they even have the artists explain the meanings of songs.  

That’s it.  I dunno.  Sometimes the idea is pretty cool.  Check Genius out to see what I mean.

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2011

This was our first convention we had ever been to, vended at, and sponsored! We went as Otaku no Baka.
We went primarily as a cosplay vendor with a lot of Bleach cosplays.
We learned a lot about running our private retail company and met a lot of great people.
Road/Vending Crew of HERETICPRIME, Jennifer Rossiter Strength, Jeffrey Wade, and Nicholas Bray.

We got so many great pictures at this con! The sad thing is that the pictures are low res, as it was 2011 and most low to mid range priced phones did not have great high res cameras, yet. If you want to see more pics, check out our Gallery. We have lots of awesome pics from different conventions and events.

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2012

All Cool Things™ vended at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2012 as Otaku no Baka, the name of our LLC.
It was our busiest time as vendors at Anime Weekend Atlanta.
Road/Vending Crew of HERETICPRIME, Jennifer Rossiter Strength, Stewart Strength Jr, Kelly Lorraine, Rei Ling, Trayce Blake, and Tara.

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HBO Presents Game of Thrones Season Four Premiere Festival

In May of 2014, All Cool Things™ attended a private screening of HBO’s Game of Thrones at the Plaza Atlanta Theatre.
After the screening certain guests were shuttled away to attend a festival in honour of the season four premiere with live performances by belly dancers, musicians, actors, as well as displays of puppetry arts.
Merchandise was also on hand for purchase as well as sneak previews of things to come in the Game of Thrones Universe.
Road Crew of HERETICPRIME

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014

‘All Cool Things at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014. ‘Pretty much it. ‘Nuff said.
Road Crew of HERETICPRIME

Geek Trivia Night at Battle & Brew June 2015

On June 24, 2015, All Cool Things™ donated a NECA 18 inch LED T-800 Terminator model to the winners of the Battle & Brew’s Geek Trivia night.J Cosplay came in full cosplay as the Terminatrix Model T-X to present the collectible to the winners, as well as pose for pictures with guests and diners.
J Cosplay is also a business partner and friend of the site.
Road Crew of HERETICPRIME and J Cosplay

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015

All Cool Things™ had an awesome time at the Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015 and it was the first time I went to a convention in cosplay!  On Friday I went as Darth V, a mashup of Darth Vader and V from V for Vendetta.  On Saturday I went as Popo Mr. Popo, a mashup of Mr. Popo from Dragon Ball Z and a cop. (Get it?) I got to hang out with the Swaggin’ Ball Z crew as a Mr. Popo from an alternate dimension. (We had Mr. Popo’s from both sides of the law!)

This was the BEST time I ever had at an Anime Weekend Atlanta!  There always seemed to be something going on and we got to hang with our business partners at True Total Empire Inc.

Road Crew of HERETICPRIME