Changes coming to the channel and a new podcast in the works

This isn’t going to be easy. Ever since I first came out as trans, then walked it back to gender queer, I have been feeling an overwhelming urge to be more open on my channel. I created a character, the Retro Witch, to give me an opportunity to speak my mind as Stephanie without transitioning publicly fully at this time.

In the spirit of keeping my sanity I have turned the YouTube channel over to Stephanie. She will handle it from here on out. We will continue to operate as separate voices in that she will get the YouTube channel and I will, as the rat, continue to operate the Dark Web Podcast, for the time being. At some point in the near future I do plan on starting up a new podcast for the Retro Witch but it will be completely different from what I do currently. I don’t want to spoil what is coming just yet.

I haven’t actually sat down and had the hard conversations with everyone in my family yet. What I have done is admitted I was addicted to cross dressing and that I was looking into ways to find balance in my life. As such I decided to make some major changes in the way I do content.

I already wrote a post from the perspective of the Retro Witch. I created that separate account as a way to speak my mind as Stephanie while keeping generic content under my main account, THE RAT, because frankly more people know me as the rat than as Stephanie. But I am building a brand. The Retro Witch will eventually replace the rat as Stephanie takes over my life.

Because I cannot keep doing forever fighting who I really am I decided the best balance is to give the entire channel over to Stephanie. What that means is I will be returning to doing the same 5 day a week content as before, 5 for 5 on Monday and Tuesday, This or That on Wednesday, What’s Streaming on Thursdays and a weekly vlog on Fridays. The difference is I am not doing everything as Stephanie dressed as the retro witch. In time as I become her fully this old voice will slowly fade into a distant memory.

However, as my public life does necessitate I maintain a public image for the time being The Rat will live on in some form for a while longer.

I can’t say for sure that I will ever fully transition into Stephanie. What I have said all along as I will be her when I get to be and I will be THE RAT when I need to be. I have learned I need to be Stephanie more than I ever realized before. IN fact, if I could change my name and be her full time tomorrow I probably would. There is nothing keeping me tied to this old life other than a few loose ends I can’t shake due to a comfortable life I am not ready to turn upside down quite yet.

Stephanie will do the main videos for the site. She will host the above mentioned shows as well as a possible revival of the Dark Web TV rebranded as the Retro With Show or something similar. I am still working out the details. I hate having to exist as two separate persons fighting for control of the same life. Maybe someday I will find peace. Or I will let this crazy war wage on until it tears us in two. Either way this is my current outlet and nothing is going to stop me from being true to who I have always been regardless of how honest I was about it in the past.

 

I’m back and better than ever~

When I first started recording YouTube videos I had this plan in the back of my mind. To use the platform to slowly start being the real me. I dabbled in cosplay. I did some Halloween stuff. But I finally decide Stephanie is free and here to stay. So what does that mean?

First and foremost it means THE RAT is no longer hosting the channel. The Retro Witch has taken over all of the main shows. What that means is from now on the only content you will see on a regular basis will be the real me, Stephanie is out and she is not going to hide anymore. The haters can get over it. Everyone else, Hi!

Here is what you can expect. I am bringing back the format of doing 5 videos a week. There will be a different video every single day. As before the format will be very similar to what it was a year ago. Monday and Tuesday I will do Five for Five as the Retro Witch. On Mondays the fist video will be the five things I like in whatever topic it happens to be. Then on Tuesdays you can expect the five things I dislike in the same topic. This week I did fast food restaurants.

Then on Wednesdays I will bring back This or That. It is a simple show where I will pick to things that are similar and compare them to decide which one I think is better.

Thursdays will see the return of What’s Streaming. As before I will pick a single YouTube video, channel, show or some other streaming content that I find interesting at the time.

On Friday’s Stephanie will have her voice heard as she hosts the weekly vlog. These will be short 5-15 minute videos recapping the biggest stories of the week. These will be things I feel are worth bringing attention to.

On Weekends I will let THE RAT do his little podcast. We’re discussing the possibility of doing a Retro Witch Show that will bring back some of the previous ideas from the old Dark Web TV but with the Stephanie hosting instead of THE RAT.

For the time being I think THE RAT will still share toy and video game pickups but I can’t promise Stephanie as the Retro Witch won’t get to start doing her take on these at some point down the road.

For now I just want to say I am happy to finally be free to be me.

Best retro anime, Fantastic Four MCU, Win10 Tablet, John Hancock drama and more!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-m25ek-d400f2

I this episode of the Dark Web Podcast THERAT tries to decide what are the five best retro anime movies and retro anime TV shows for introducing a newcomer to the genre.

What should the Fantastic Four entry into the MCU look like and how can Marvel/Disney use them to build up to the next big universe spanning cross over?

There is a Windows 10 tablet coming out that looks like a Nintendo Switch is there a reason for it to exist or is it a waste of time?

YouTuber The Immortal John Hancock drummed up some controversy what does it matter?

Other topics include a Creator Show Case, end of The Good Place, Super Bowl Chiefs victor thoughts, and something about fair use. Stay Cool.

Why it isn’t that easy to define non binary folks in binary terms

Reach down your pants and see what you have, that is all it takes to decide if you are a boy or a girl.

How many times have you heard a similar line thrown your way? If you are trans gender, bi sexual, pan sexual or gender queer chances are you have heard someone in your life make a similar statement.

Last night I was watching an episode of That 70s Show. It was season 1, Eric’s Buddy. This was always one of my favorite episodes as it helped illustrate how confusing it can be to have non-standard non-binary feelings.

In the episode the main character, Eric Foreman, befriends a rich kid named Buddy who is is lab partner for a science class. During the course of the episode it is revealed Buddy is actually gay and interested in Eric romantically. Following a moment involving a kiss Eric clearly rejected, the two friends have a slightly awkward conversation about why he chose Eric and it quickly moves back into comedy territory. The moment was brief and the episode certainly wasn’t ground breaking by any stretch. It presented being gay as somewhat normal behavior but in the context of the decade it was taking place there was an obvious treatment of it being abnormal. Later in the episode the character Steven Hyde even uses the phrase “love that dare not speak its name” when referring to homosexual tendencies. It was one of those episodes when I was younger I thought oh cool they normalized this is a way I can relate but also stayed true to the time period.

Looking back on it I think episodes like this had a positive impact on my experiences where as someone who was more out in the open during that time might not have seen it the same as I had. I remained firmly in the closet until less than a year ago. It opened up slightly to some extent to a very small group of people over the years but it wasn’t until attending a pride event I decide to tackle my own issues head on. Up to that point I had shrugged it off as something inside of me I could never act upon.

The more I am confronted with figuring out what my trued self is the more I wish I could just tell people I don’t know and I don’t want to figure it out. Maybe part of that falls on me. It could be that I struggle to find where I fit in the binary world while accepting I am not quite fully binary in nature. I know from a Christian perspective this is difficult to consider. However, I found that what works best for me is saying I consider myself gender fluid these days. Some days I wake up more feminine feeling than others. Some days I wake up fully masculine. Other days I want to be some where in the middle.

This has come up as I began to develop the Retro Witch character. A part of me wants to present her as female. A small part of me wants to present her as more of a shemale, the old stereotypical transvestite. In other words, male presenting as female but not fully female. I think trans women face the same cultural pressures as cis women to be sexually appealing to society. Because women have to place so much of their identity on their outward sexuality it makes it hard for a tranny to say I want to wear panties and dresses but not shave my beard.

I want to be a woman internally but I don’t need to do so in a way that satisfies your sexual fantasies about me. The first time a guy commented on a YouTube video of mine, presenting as female, about my sexual desireability I felt very akward. I didn’t put on a dress, wig and makeup for men to find me attractive. I do it because it feels right. It makes me feel right. That is, when the mood strikes. There are times when jeans and a t-shirt feels right. I would rather not be defined by the clothes I wear, the way I do my hair or even the music I listen to. I would rather be defined by my personality and my value as a person.

I think this is a big part of why I have such a hard time making friends. I have so little self esteem because I see myself as invaluable to the human condition. I am no binary which means I am also not a breeder. I don’t express my sexuality in a way conducive to procreation, something quite contrary to my Catholic faith.

I cling to the word transgender, internally calling myself tranny for short or queer girl in my mind. I do this not in a self loathing or deprecating way but as a way to define myself in the context of the societal norm. I read a story about how this new super hero movie celebrates its bisexual character and the comments are all negatively attacking the so-called Hollywood agenda to push the gays onto the world. I get sick of being told we are pushing outselves onto the world when it is quite literally the other way around. All I want, I don’t speak for all non binary queer folks, but all *I* want is to live my life and not be told I am doing it wrong. Let me decide what works for me and you do what works for you. I get there are people who hate change. There are people who hate for the sake of hating. There are those who use their religion to justify hating. As for me, I just wish those people would leave me alone and let me figure it out for myself. What is it hurting YOU if I decide to be gay, bi or whatever else?

THE RAT’s top 50 Transformers toys to get updated 2-9-2020

UPDATE 1: G1 Doublecross and G2 Rapido.

UPDATE 2: RID Spychangers (assorted) Crosswise and W.A.R.S and Micromaster Storm Cloud.

UPDATE 3: Goldbug.

UPDATE 4:Silverbolt (Superion 1/5)

UPDATE 5: G1 Astrotrain

I will update this as I add toys from this list to my collection.

I have been an avid Transformers collector my entire life. It began as a youngling when my parents got me a mix of Go Bots and Hasbro Transformers one Christmas. The obsession only grew from there. When I was a young adult I took a trip down memory lane and started buying all the toys from my childhood. Due to some life events beyond my control, I had to sell everything off.

Now that I am in a position to begin collecting again, which I have been doing ever so slightly these past few months, I have started to define the direction I want to take my collection. This is the top 50 Transformers action figures I would like to add to my collection in the near future.

Note this is not a comprehensive list nor is it ranked in any way. These are just the ones that are top priority for me so they are the ones I wanted to identify first. I already have begun buying some G1 toys so I will be leaving those I already own off this list for obvious reasons. Here you are.

1. G1 Power Master Optimus Prime

This was not only the very first Optimus Prime I ever owned as a kid, it was one of the earliest toys my parents bought me. I received this guy on the Christmas of my sixth year on this earth. The toy is amazing and there are a couple different variants. I am not looking for Japanese reissues or Apex Armor stuff just the original 1980’s release.

2. RID Optimus Prime

This fire truck version is by far my favorite post-G1 Optimus Prime even to this day. While I respect the decision to stay true to his roots in subsequent incarnations, I really love the bold statement this version made when it appeared on toy shelves across the world. Robots in Disguise, also known as Car Robots in Japan, is my second favorite toy line next to the originals.

3. G1 Pretender Skullgrin

This was one of those Christmas presents I received that went from joy to scratching my head rather quickly. I always loved the Pretenders and this was probably the best one I owned as a kid, but they always felt a little over simplified in many ways. True story, when I was in 5th grade I had long forgotten his name and when I saw an episode of the G2 cartoon with purple Galvatron I mistakenly convinced myself that was who this guy was. It was many years later I learned my mistake but hey what did I know?

4. Armada Unicron

I know there is supposedly a reissue or retool or something coming in the near future. I want the original Armada Unicron and nothing else will do for me. I love everything about that release from the colors to integration with minicons.

5. Beast Wars Rattrap

I must admit I am not really a fan of the Beast Wars product line. I somewhat enjoyed the cartoon for the most part but I wasn’t as enamored about it as others. However as someone who goes by the name THE RAT, this guy was always one I was rather fond of. I would be open to various incarnations but I mostly want the very original one that was the basis of the model used in the animated show.

6. Studio Series Bumble Bee VW

Truth be told I want both Cameros and the VW bug but the one that is begging me to put it on my toy shelf is the Slug Bug from the most recent live action movie. I was a tremendous fan of that film and I would love to get my hands on any version of that toy.

7. G1 Metroplex

I don’t have a ton of money in my toy budget but I fully intend to make room for this guy at some point in the future. I always remembered him just as Autobot City as a kid. I was fortunate enough my parents got me a Power Master Prime so I could at least pretend I had a Metroplex even though I was far off. I recently rekindled my desire to have this guy back in my private collection upon discovering the Six Gun in the new War for Cybertron Siege series.

8. War for Cybertron Siege Jetfire/Skyfire

I don’t want anything to do with the Robotech crap from the 80s. But I would like to get a Siege Jetfire figure as it replicates the look of the Skyfire character as represented in the G1 cartoon which I am a fan. I had previously had an Armada Starscream stand in for Jetfire once as his mold was similar enough. I also do have a Cyberverse Jetfire but it’s not that great.

9. G2 Hero Megatron

This was the first version of Megatron I ever owned. While I have had other ones over the years this one still holds a special place in my heart. I always loved this toy and I even had the RID Bludgeon that reused the mold. It’s not the best Megatron ever but it’s one I can’t live without.

10. G1 Goldbug

This was the earliest Transform I have memories of. Technically I got it the same Christmas as Power Master Prime but I opened this one up first and fell instantly in love. I was young enough I didn’t realize it wasn’t named Bumble Bee, to me this was Bumble Bee and it was the one I played with as a kid the most.

11. RID Skybite

I never had this Trans metal inspired Shark but I was quite fond of his character in the animated program. Okay I mostly want it because it looks cool but whatever sharks are cool.

12. G2 Rapido

This was the first original Generation 2 Transformer I got after a few recolored reissues from the first wave. While some might consider it a fairly basic toy I was happy enough with it as it was similar enough to the designs of some of the later G1 toys it felt retro enough while being modern, for the time.

13. G1 Doublecross

Truth be told this is probably top priority for me. Not only was it one of my favorite toys as a kid but it was one of the first ones I bought as an adult collector the first time around. Therefore it will have a double dose of nostalgia for me in that regards. This was another one I got when I was too young to really pay attention to names so I always thought it was one of the Dinobots that wasn’t shown on the cartoon.

I never realized actual dinosaurs probably didn’t have two heads. But I always held it in high regards and used it as a stand in for whichever Dinobot I needed at the time. The cool thing about his design is it could be used as pretty much any of the Dinobots if you used your imagination a little. It was also that hard plastic, thick design of the later years I always enjoyed that some fans despise.

14. RID Ultra Magnus

Much like his Optimus Prime counterpart I love this toy. I was much better, in my opinion, than the G1 original and it was really neat how it combined with the other toy to make a super Optimus Prime. Pretty cool stuff.

15. G1 Scourge

One of the few movie based toys I actually owned and really liked. I never had this one as a kid but when I picked it up all those years later I fell in love. I kind of get the criticism as it is called a “Shellformer” but that seems like a lazy way to dismiss what is still a decent toy. I thought it worked well and again it’s that late era plastic I love so much compared to that flimsier stuff from the Takara Diaclone days.

16. Beast Wars Waspinator

This was one of the few Beast era toys I had that I actually thought was pretty cool. I wasn’t a big fan of these toys when they were new and I the cartoon didn’t impress me as much as others but I gotta admit this is one of the better figures in the line and I miss owning one.

17. Armada Minicons

I won’t list them by name or team. I will just try to buy as many random minicons as I can come across that are reasonably priced. I won’t have a clear cut map of this yet but in my mind I have an idea what I want.

18. G1 Ultra Pretender Skyhammer

This was another one of those amazing Christmas morning discoveries that really made my day. It was a very basic toy at its core but with all the accessories and gun ships it came with this thing worked as a Transformer but it was also a good Star Wars, Star Trek or even Terminator toy as needed. Then when Exosquad came along guess which toy I dusted out to keep my parents from having to buy me more toys. You guessed it. This was just an amazing Transformer vehicle set even if the robot itself was not that great.

19. RID Construction Team

I don’t know their exact names but I do remember the green one was Grimlock. This was one of the best combiner teams as it was one of the first to break away from the “Scramble City” gestalt mold of the original series. Oh sure I love me some interchangeable Aerialbots, Combaticons, etc., but this was a really cool diversion from the formula and one of the things I loved so much about that short lived filler series.

20. G2 Optimus Prime

I will keep my G1 reissue cab only for now but I absolutely must get my hands on the G2 reissue Optimus Prime complete with trailer and sound box. This was the toy I received for one of the best Christmas’s I ever experienced. It was one of the last years I got exactly what I asked for and nothing else. It was a fantastic toy and a pretty solid improvement upon the original. I am kind of disappointed Hasbro doesn’t dig more into the G2 era with their reissues but whatever.

21. G1 Six Shot

Part Ninja, part Transformer, all awesome. While some of his “alt modes” require stretching the imagination, this massive Decepticon was one of the greatest toys of its time. I didn’t care much for his Autobot counterpart but this thing was slick and cool.

22. G1 StarScream

One of the few Diaclone era toys I actually like and a high priority for me in my collecting. I was always a fan of this character and I devised my own fanfictions where he was successful in overthrowing Megatron and leading the Decepticons on a reign of terror he always deserved. I wouldn’t mind getting the G2 recolor but I would really love to get my hands on an actual G1 original at some point in time. This is one a reissue won’t suffice as far as I am concerned. Only because it won’t scale properly with all the other jets that haven’t been reissued so for conformity sake I will stick to the originals for the seeker jets.

23. Beast Wars Dinobot

This is the other Beast era toy I actually think is kind of cool. All the others my interest is purely based on their cartoon characters or my insane need to collection everything. Fortunately this is one I can see myself buying and actually being proud to own.

24. G1 Pretender Grimlock

Don’t give me that lip. This was a toy I had as a kid and it gets top priority as far as collecting goes. In terms of the figure itself it’s not bad. The shell clearly makes up for any area it might be lacking as I love the Pretender concept so much. Sure it’s tiny compared to the earlier G1 Dinobot king but hey it’s still gets the job done and is seeping with nostalgia, which is what I am going for here.

25. G1 Superion

Silverbolt

Of all the original combiner teams this is the one I feel the need to get the most. Partially because Silverbolt actually was my very first Transformers memory, got him for my 5th birthday, but also because this complete set is so much more interesting to me than the other sets including that over-rated (year I said it) construction set everyone fawns over.

26. G1 Abominus

While we are on the subject of combiners I had three toys growing up that if this category. The above mentioned and fairly awesome Silverbolt, the less awesome but still interesting Bonecrusher from the Constructicon set and Blot, a weird, um thing, from the Terrorcon set. No, I quickly renamed it “Robocop 2” and it was a fairly decent stand in for that toy from a movie I am sure I enjoyed more than most kids my age. I don’t want to just get Blot by himself so I figure I might as well get the whole family to make it worth it.

27. G1 Fangry

One of the few Headmasters I had as a kid this toy again wasn’t the greatest but it is one from my past that served double duty as needed. I always loved this guy when I thought of him as a robotic werewolf.

28. RID Predacon three pack

I won’t even pretend to remember their names. I had this three pack back in the day and I am certain I will enjoy picking it up again as much as I did then. I am not likely to buy one complete in box for financial reasons so I will have to rely on finding a complete set somewhere on most likely eBay it would seem.

29. G2 Gobots/RID Spychangers

Much like Minicons, there are too many to list individually. The main goal is to basically get one of each “mold” and supplement those with random variants depending on personal preference.The most important one to obtain is the “cow” aesthetic of the Iron Hide pickup truck mold.

30. G1 Reflector

This was one of those figures I had some of the pieces as a kid which I obtained through trading with other kids at school. I don’t remember what I traded for them but I was very glad to have them despite it being incomplete. It was one of the first ones I did complete when I got back into collecting as an adult. I also recently added Refraktor from War for Cybertron Siege so this item is of moderate priority.

31. RID Autobot Prowl

I’ve often told the story how walking into GameStop and finding RID Prowl on the shelf was what got me back into collecting in 2001. Obviously this one is a top priority for similar reasons. Of course there are variations of this figure like his brothers. Ideally I would like to obtain the original Car Robots molds not the later recolors.

32.RID Megatron

I don’t want to have too many duplicates, nor do I want an entire collection of Megatron Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee figures as those are some of the most common figures appearing. However this is easily one of my favorite versions of the character for very similar reasons to the Optimus Prime from this same toy line. Despite it being a Predacon that later creates new Decepticons, it still serves the purpose as Decepticon leader as well as of the Predacon faction. It’s also a pretty cool looking, heavy duty action figure.

33. G1 Blaster

I’ve often heard a story my mom tells about how the first Transformer she ever got me was that boom box that I left in California when we moved to Kansas. I don’t have early childhood memories of owning this toy but I did get one in a trade in middle school so I certainly had one in my youth. Beyond that he was one of those in the middle between the earlier Diaclone based die cast metal molds of the first year and the hard plastic toys from later years.

34. RID X-Brawn

Like Prowl above this was one of the first toys I grabbed once I got back into collecting the first time. I was just getting back into the toys at the time and somehow I thought these were the actual original toys reissued with new colors similar to how G2 had been a few years prior so I convinced myself this was “Iron Hide” at the time. It quickly became a favorite of mine from the toy line however.

35. G1 Pretender Starscream

What can I saw, I love the Pretenders line. This was one I got in place of a G1 Diaclone original but I still enjoyed it. Much like the little Grimlock it was the complete set shell and all that made it worth collecting for me.

36. G1 Pretender Jazz

I am pretty sure you saw this coming by now. If not well, you should have. This was my first version of Jazz I ever owned and while not nearly as cool as the original, it fit my expectation as a pretender toy just fine.

37. G1 Blitzwing

My first, but not favorite, of the Decepticon Triple Changers. This was another one my dad got me used from a yard sale so it was missing pieces but I was just happy to have one more Transformer figure in my army of alien robots. It was a fairly decent toy in my opinion and well worth tracking down again.

38. G1 Trypticon

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty. While I am certainly interested in branching out beyond G1, the vast majority of the toys I desire to purchase will inevitably be from the original line that started it all. How can I talk myself into getting a Metroplex without his Decepticon counterpart? Also, he scales quite nicely with my original Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers DinoZord Megazord set so I kind of need something for him to fight anyways.

39. RID Scourge

Okay confession time. I never owned Scourge in his RID mold or the G2 Laser Rod Optimus Prime. Of course I could go for the G2 Autobot version, in this case I would rather get the RID Decepticon and work towards completing that set. It’s more fun that way.

40. RID Sideburn

While he is not the most desirable of the Car Robots Autobot brothers, he is still a figure I would like to get into my collection sooner rather than later. I mostly want the original colors of the first two but this one I am torn between getting the red one with the flames or both. I don’t like having multiple versions of the exact same figure so this will be tough to decide.

41. G2 Color Changer Drench

I love the G2 toy line almost as much as the original line. It’s in my top three favorite toy lines bearing the Transformers branding. The color changers were absolutely one of the neatest gimmick based toys ever. Of course there are a lot of fans that despise the gimmicky figures but I actually happen to like many of them. This was another one that I had previously that I am sure to get back at some point in the near future.

42. G1 Astrotrain

I couldn’t get Blitzwing without getting his partner in crime. Astrotrain served another purpose as I had an affinity for model trains and he fit nicely into that scale too. Or I could just say I like trains and my favorite color is purple so it’s a win-win.
43. G1 Ransack

Ransack was the first figure I bought from the original G1 toy line when I first got back into collecting. It was also the very first Insecticon I ever owned, Deluxe or otherwise. I don’t exactly want to follow the same path I did before, however, I do suspect it will be very similar in many ways.

44. G1 Megatron

I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to add this to my collection. It won’t likely be my first purchase but it is high on my priority list. Keep in mind this list is not ranked so it doesn’t mean I will buy this after any of the above others it just means this was the list I went down.

45. G2 Bumblebee

Despite not being a fan of reissues, recolors or owning duplicates of action figures I already own, I will in fact try to purchase a G2 version of the original Bumble Bee toy even though I do currently already own an original G1 version. The main reason is in fact because I had him as a kid and while I did have Goldbug, this was my first true Bumble Bee figure and it has special meaning to me.

46. G1 Grimlock

Not the pretender, the original. I had the G2 and G1 toy previously but this time around I just want an original and that should do it. King Grimlock absolutely deserves a top spot in my action figure collection.

47. RID Bludgeon

Yes I know it’s technically just a recolor of G2 Hero Megatron but I had it before and I loved it then, I will have to get it again. Nuff said.

48. G1 Micromaster Countdown

This the only Micromaster I know by name. It is also the only one I played with as a kid. I didn’t own it, but my cousin did so I spent many hours playing with this toy. I know it’s fairly expensive online but I still have a strong desire to get it.

49. G1 Roadbuster

It’s another one of those obscure, later release Headmasters that most don’t care for but I actually like. It’s a giant figure in robot mode and a pretty menacing looking vehicle in its alt mode.

50. Heroes of Cybertron

Like the Nintendo Amiibo I don’t want to have a list of those I want nor do I want a complete or even large collection. I had a ton of these guys back in the day and I imagine I will grab a few just for nostalgia sake much like so much else on this list.

There you have it THE RAT’s top 50 Transformers figures to look for. Hopefully as I begin shopping I can come across some good deals. I am not expecting to get all of these right away nor am I going to use this list as a ranking system of priority. Instead consider it my wish list more than anything.

I limited this to mostly ones I have owned in the past but I think I let a few slip in that I discovered over the years. I also cheated a little with a few like Minicons and Gobots/Spychangers. Still, this is a pretty good place to get started on getting my Transformers collection back to what it once was. Stay Cool.

Antenna Man, Wii U developer interview, Royal Rumble recap Biggie Smalls and more

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bry5w-d277c0

In this episode THE RAT interviews two special guests. First up is YouTuberer Tyler the Antenna Man. He helps people cut the cord. He also talked about his experience at CES and what the future of OTA television looks like with the upcoming ATSC 3.0.

 

Later in the episode THE RAT interviews the head of Diplodocus Games, developer of a recent indie title released to the Nintendo Wii U eshop. The game is called Regina and Mac.

Fighting off a old the host of the show goes through the topics quickly to get to the interviews.

Be sure to find out what is up with late rapper Biggie Smalls getting into the Hall of fame!

THE RAT remembers NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and my good friend Dominic Hall who idolized the superstar

I don’t normally talk about sports related stuff. However this is a topic I felt like I couldn’t avoid. I felt like with the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant I needed to air my own feelings as they are certainly complicated.

Let’s start with the obvious. I was born in 1982. I started watching NBA basketball during the Michael Jordan era. I am only a few years younger than Bryant was so I was smack dab in the middle of my teenage angst when his career was kicking off. He was becoming a rising star right around the time I was getting beginning to use basketball as a bonding experience with my dad. Dad and I never talked much growing up. But when we sat and watched an NBA game we could find things to say.

I distinctly remember watching those funny puppet commercials when Kobe was competing with the new kid on the block, Lebron James. I never got to experience an NBA game live in person, but my dad and I never missed a game whenever we had the chance.

To be fair neither my dad nor myself were L.A. Laker fans. It’s not to say we were anti-Lakers entirely, well dad more so than I, but we certainly took pleasure in watching them lose to certain teams. I tended to root for them on rare occasions whereas dad was adamant in his disdain. Still, despite all that we still took time to appreciate the victories the man achieved as he smashed one record after another. Watching him surpass my beloved Jordan was one of those moments where I gave the man his dues yet under my breath wished he would tear an ACL or something to put an end to that streak.

In the summer of 2007 I ended up moving into an apartment with who was at the time my best friend. The type of guy that would not only give you the shirt off his back, he was the guy that didn’t have a drivers license but he still owned a car so he could lend it to anyone in need. Dominic was by far my best friend for the longest period of my life. Unfortunately I moved around a lot so it was always hard for me to make friends. Fortunately Dom, as we called him, was the only one I ever met who would never turn me away when I needed him. If I knocked on his door in the middle of the night, even if he had company he would invite me in and ask his lady friend to hang tight. He would always answer his the phone no matter what. If he couldn’t talk he would say so and offer a better time to call back. And he was the only friend I had who always called me back.

Dom was one of the biggest Kobe Bryant fans I ever met. He was African American himself and had a slight resemblance to his idol. I mean to say he went out of his way to dress and look like the man he worshiped. Dom wore nothing, and I mean nothing but Kone Bryant jersey’s and shorts. He had literally every single different jersey Kobe wore, including his different All Start and Olympic ones. He went all in.

Dom fell ill with a disease known as Huntington’s. Needless to say the man we all loved deteriorated rather quickly. Despite the hand life dealt him, he never lost his good sense of humor. Even when he was suffering he put on a smile and kept going. He had the distinction of getting to meet his idol at a basketball game mere months before Kobe retired.

As life would have it, however, Dom ultimately passed away days after the encounter. He also left behind a daughter that he never got to know due to the affects his disease had on his life. On the one hand I am somewhat relieved Dominic never got to see his idol die in a fiery helicopter crash the rest of us had to hear about. Instead he got to pass away peacefully knowing the man he looked up to retired on the top of his game. On the other hand, I miss Dom more and more as time goes on, even more so now knowing the man that was such a big part of his life is now gone.

Dom loved basketball. I distinctly remember playing street ball with Dom and friends at the memorial basketball court my school student council installed in memory of one of our own who passed away upon graduation. That’s another story for a different day but it’s worth mentioned as Dominic and I were both on that student council.

I didn’t really take the time to properly mourn Dom when he passed. I buried myself in my work. I reached out to his brother and a few friends from high school but I had put that town, that part of my life in the past. Despite the pain it caused, at the time, I moved on. Now, there remains lingering traces of a painful funeral I never attended, brought to the surface by the sting of seeing someone that was such a huge part of his life now gone.

I remember that summer I lived with Dom he didn’t even charge me rent. I needed a place to stay after getting into a fight with my parents. He offered me not a couch, but his spare bedroom he always had on hand for a friend in need. He was that guy too, the one who rented a 2 bedroom apartment even though he lived alone. I wasn’t the only stray he took in, hell I wasn’t even the only one who stayed during that summer. He was such a big hearted, giving person he stocked his cupboards with extra food and snacks for the neighborhood kids. Anyone needed a peanut butter sandwich or Oreo cookie , he mad damn sure they got it. He never locked his door. You could come and go freely and if you needed something, just ask and it was yours.

Dom wasn’t without his skeletons. Nor was Bryant to be sure. But those aren’t worth digging into here. What is worth knowing is he loved Jesus, and he made sure everyone knew it too. He lived the life. The Christian life as best he could. He stumbled, sure, so do we all. But he was the first to tell you he sinned and would always ask for forgiveness when he wronged someone. He was also the type of person that would throw an impromptu birthday part for the stranger passing by who lost all his money at the casino. Needless to say someone as giving as Dom was a target for people who didn’t share his respect for others. Fortunately when he did fall prey to scammers, the community was quick to rally around him, restoring any losses he incurred while swiftly seeking to shame anyone who took advantage.

I suppose I have passed beyond memorial  into rambling. It’s hard not to say good things about this guy. I know I’ve had different opportunities to remember Dom over the years. I guess hearing about the passing of Kobe Bryant hit me harder than I expected because it reminded me of how much I miss Dominic Hall. I don’t talk about my friends enough. I don’t have many and the ones I had are leaving me to face this life alone but I feel the need to remember the good ones and Dominic was one of the best friends I ever had.

The seedy, juicy confession you all want~

It’s time for Stephanie to come clean. This is the inner woman that the rat has to face every single day. Today I am here to share the deeply personal exploration of my ever evolving understanding of human sexuality. This all comes from the perspective of a Christian who has struggled to find their place in life. A person, a human being that is male on the outside, sometimes female on the inside and completely void of human touch completely throughout. Here is the article you all been waiting for, especially those with dirty intentions.

First the background.

Yes, I am a virgin. No not because I am a “nerd” or whatever. I chose a life of abstinence. I remain celibate as long as I remain unmarried. That is to say, I have been engaged and I have been in situations where sex was most certainly on the table. I was the one to turn it down. But, not because I wasn’t interested or even driven. Of course my parents propose a different theory, a lack of sexual attraction either altogether or of the hetero nature.

As someone who has been confused by  gender and sexuality the first thought that comes to mind is sexual abuse. I can absolutely say with confidence I have never been abused. I have had one unannounced sexual advance that resulted in some pretty heavy petting, but it was a friend whom I was interested in, she was expressing her interest in me and, well my dad was in the hospital so I was kind of vulnerable so it began with her saying “hi” and after my initial shock of wait a second, I responded in kind by returning the favor.

This was my only explicit sexual experience with a member of the opposite sex, or to be more accurate, any human being entirely. In fact, aside from the two other girls I did some exploratory petting in my early puberty years, that’s about the extent of my sexual exploration. The truth is, I find myself aroused by the idea of women and I certainly would enjoy getting intimate with the right woman, should that opportunity arise, as in we’ve exchanged vows before God and it is our honey moon. Before that, I will remain steadfast in my resolve.

Does that mean I never, explore things on my own. Right, a virgin sure, a prude, fuck no. Now I don’t intend to dig into my personal preferences as that would be odd, even for a tranny in training, so to speak. But, let’s be frank here, I have done my share of exploring, experimenting and discovering. That includes imaginations and fantasies.

This brings me to sexual attraction.

I was too young to remember the first time in my head I used she to refer to my inner voice. I remember playing with my sisters dolls often over my own action figures quite regularly. My parents pushed me into these are boys toys those are girls toys but they also forced me to share my toys so I forced them to make my sisters share theirs and not wanting to be hypocrites, they complied. So if I had to let my sister play with Optimus Prime, she had to share her Rainbow Brite. It was that simple.

I knew inside I wanted to be female. Dress female. Do make up. Go shopping at the mall and gossip with the girls. I did my best to do as much of this as Midwestern society in the late 80s would allow a young “boy” to do so. I was often mistaken for a girl for my longer hair and hanging with so many other girls, which used to offend me publicly but secretly I would go home and smile at the prospect of being mistaken as it meant I could pass for a girl and that tickled me.

The truth is I had the same interests and desires as my sisters, female cousins and their respective girl friends. I liked most of the same things. Oh sure I also liked some stereotypical boy things but I still felt more drawn to feminine stuff and once I began cross dressing regularly, at age 11, I internalized myself as a lesbian because I was a girl, who was attracted to girls.

This goes deeper than that though. You know the girl I said I shared a mutual hand job with earlier? Well she and I actually dated for a while. A brief while but we did. The thing is, she was dating me at the same time she was dating one of my sisters. I won’t share their personal stuff but I know they all introduced me to bi sexual friends over the years. I can say there was some level of curiosity. Not to the point of, throwing caution to the wind and going further than visualizing things, well until the internet feed me a different outlet.

This is where it gets tricky. My first time seeking photographic material on the internet to assist in the stimulation process led me to a site that showed a particular fetish, “chicks with dicks” as it was branded or more specifically trannys. I was wearing women’s underwear during the ordeal so needless to say I wanted to see if there were other “shemales” that were guys like me who were secretly trying to be female. Sure, I discovered actual pornographic material that included the whole spectrum of dirty things a Christian virgin is supposed to avoid.

This is where I get honest. I dug deep into porn for a brief period, no longer than a couple of years before I shook it off. It was not easy. I purposefully chose to stave off an addiction before it started so I took measures to prevent myself from being tempted. That is, I took up a number of hobbies that kept me off the internet.

Do I maintain self control to this day? Actually, and honestly, yes for the most part. I dabble on rare occasions. How rare? I googled pussy one time last year in a moment of weakness. Before that it had been two or more years. I would say total I’ve viewed no more than 3 hours consecutive of pornographic material in my entire life. That’s not to say I didn’t do the things porn is used to do, it just means I trained myself to get by without it. I reduced the need. I practiced self control.

I failed.

I don’t view the graphic material but that doesn’t stop me from visualizing things on my own accord nor does it stop me from acting things out in my privacy when I find the time. Sometimes it’s him, the rat, doing what guys do. Most of the time its Stephanie being more eloquent as a woman would. Yes that means taking the time to explore and enjoy things with music and the like. It takes a tremendous amount of time to get there but like cis gender or biological women for a scientific approach, Stephanie likes to take her time.

But does she, her, or me, us? Do we think about men? Or specifically sexually is there an attraction to the male species?

 

You want the truth. Yes and no. I mean Stephanie is a lesbian but she is also a woman. She has sexual desires that does, stemming from curiosity, involve exploring the male physic as an option. Again without getting into the details, there is a sexual attraction felt on occasions when we, I, am in full girl mode. In fact it’s not our preference but it is, well there. In other words, yes I can picture a scenario where a sexual encounter with a genetic male, trans gender female, or any combination of the different expressions, would be appealing.

Sexual attraction to cis females, absolutely. Trans women, yes. Cis, and that means gay or bi males, not so much.

So yes, as Stephanie the idea is I could be in a sexual relationship with a cis male, cis lesbian female, or a bi sexual cis male but only in Stephanie mode, as in full female, HRT, etc. This is where it gets complicated. You see, even if I could explore these feelings, that Christian thing about being celibate applies to non hetero expressions as well. In other words, even if I could see myself enjoying an encounter with all of the above, I refuse to break that promise of celibacy. I would open the door, and other things, wide to a sexual partner once the marriage ceremony is final and the honey moon commences.

However, as the Catholic church does not allow for gay, bi, or transgender marriages, that leaves me with the reality of seeking a Catholic sexual partner that is okay with the fact I have been or had female desires in the past but knows where I stand going forward. In other words, as long as I remain Christian, which will be for all eternity as I will never denounce my faith, it doesn’t matter, at all, who I may, or may not, fantasize about rubbing genitals with, as it is basically a moot point.

Am I gay. Depends. Stephanie is bisexual for sure. But, I am not always Stephanie. I am not, do not have multiple personalities that I know of, but I do know I, we, are not one person. We are two natures that live, in constant conflict, in the same body.

The mere fact I am self aware of Stephanie and THERAT existing kind of supports my theory we’re not totally on solid ground mentally speaking. That being said. If the Church proclaimed sex was no longer constrained to marriage and or opened the door to exploring other possibilities, I’d be hitting the gym tomorrow and the sports bar right afterwards to find a suitable partner first chance I could. Suitable is still negotiable.

Top ten gaming myths that need to die

There are a lot of false statements floating around the internet regarding video games and gaming myths are the stuff of legend. Some are sensational but true, such as the infamous Atari landfill. Others are flat out misleading, like the complicated history of the SNES to PS1 entanglement. Here are The Spiders Lairs top ten gaming myths that need to die.

1. The Super Nintendo was more powerful than Sega Genesis

This is flat false entirely. It’s not even debatable. They had nearly identical specs. SNES ran at a slower frame rate, clock rate and lower resolution but had slightly better sound chip and more colors. Graphically they were equal number of sprites and sprite complexity. Mode seven is a marketing tool used to trick gamers same as blast processing. Technically mode 7 is scaling and rotation trick. Genesis did this too. It didn’t brag about it like Nintendo and it’s not used as much but could be done. They both relied on chips in the carts to expand the stock capabilities. Sega also relied on add ons such as Sega CD and 32X to extend the life. When you get down to it, they are technically equals in terms of power. They each have advantages and disavantages over the other but they are, for all intents and purposes, equal.

2. Nintendo 64 is more powerful than the PS1

This is misleading. The N64 does use a 74 bit processor and it does have a graphics chip that can render higher polygon counts. However, the PS1 has a much better sound chip, better texture mapping capabilities and with the CD Rom can do pre-rendered graphics (backgrounds and CGI) allowing for impressive visuals not capable on the N64. Technically in a 1:1 comparison they are nearly identical in terms of real world metrics.

If you compare games that were released on both consoles they tend to either be comparable or superior in some ways on the PS1 despite it supposedly being the inferior system. Fanboys chalk this up to difficult development or whatever but that excuse is always thrown out whenever a system doesn’t meet the fan boys expectations. In reality the N64 has some advantages that appear to make it look better but in other ways it is vastly inferior to the PSX. The pros and cons tend to balance them selves out, like above, making these two essentially equals in terms of raw power and real world results.

3. NES saved the games industry from collapse

No. That is over exaggerated. The reality is in 1983 there was an over saturated home console market in North America that caused several retailers to stop selling video games due to the massive mounts of money lost in what has become known as the great crash. Except no contemporary news reports from the time talk about a video game crash. Instead they talk about the decline of home consoles while the PC games industry and arcades were booming. The reality is Atari did lose its parent company massive amounts of money and was sold off, into two separate companies, as a result of a weak market.

It was an isolated crash that narrowly affected just the North American home console market. Admittedly this was the market Nintendo entered however it is somewhat misleading to say they saved the entire games industry single handedly when that is not accurate. Not to belittle what they actually did accomplish but this myth is relatively recent and somewhat exaggerated by certain individuals who profited off its propagation. It happened, the crash, but it was not world wide and it was not all video games everywhere. Yes there were some side effects of the companies that made consoles and arcades going out of business but don’t over state the importance of the NES by exaggerating a fabricated doomsday it certainly did not over come. The console industry was still booming, not just thriving in their home land of Japan.

4. Nintendo was the reason the CD-i existed

It is true Nintendo released a handful of games for the Philips CD-i. It is also true that Nintendo backed out of a deal with Sony to release the Play Station as a CD-Rom add on to the SNES. It is NOT True that the CD-i was a by product of that deal. The CD-i was released BEFORE the SNES in some markets. The SNES was released in the US in 1991. The CD-i was released in the US also in 1991 and world wide in 1992. However, Sony had a hand in the development of the CD-i, a partnership with Philips and they even implemented technology from it in the Playstation and future DVD technology that they were also involved in.

The true story is in the middle. Nintendo did have a deal with Sony to produce a CD Rom upgrade known as Play Station, in 1993, after the CD-i was already on the market. Philips never intended CD-i, or Compact Disc Interactive, to be a game console. However what happened was Nintendo signed a deal to make some educational games and spin offs using their characters on the CD-i (and Apple computers but nobody every brings that up!) in an attempt to show the company wasn’t entertainment only as they were fighting the Federal Government over the soon to be created ESRB.

Nintendo was trying to show they were more than a toy company by making edutainment games and they wanted some games on CD-i to help that image and Philips wanted them to bolster the games sie of things. None of this was related at all to Sony and that deal. CD-i was developed jointly with Sony, and Sony made components for it and even helped design the Video CD format that was USED by Philips for CD-i. Now it is true that Sony executives were upset that Nintendo broke the deal with them but that still had nothing to do with Cd-i. It was a separate deal that just happened around the same time as CD-i so people conflated the two.

5. Atari Jaguar is a true 64 bit console

This needs to die. It has been disproved by countless articles. The Jaguar is a hot mess, that much is true. It does feature 64 bit components but, here is the deal, regardless of bus speed or GPU, it is NOT capable of processing 64 bit code.

Now related to this, the Xbox is a 32 Bit console and it is more powerful than the true 64 bit Nintendo Game Cube. Bits were a marketing tool that confused consumers and retailers. The Jaguar was on par with the Sega 32X in terms of raw power and real world performance. The bits aren’t important. Still, it is NOT a true 64 bit console but you can call it 64 bit if you like.

6. Sega CD was a flop

This is misleading. Technically Sega CD was not viewed by Sega as a console. It was not intended to replace the Genesis. It was an accessory. It was an expansion. It sold a fair number of units, made Sega a decent profit and was fully supported during the time span Sega intended. The console’s life was, in fact, cut short but like 32X, Genesis and even Game Gear this was NOT because they were failures in the market. On the contrary each were quite successful at the time of their demise.

Due to some complicated accounting mistakes the Sega Saturn was bleeding money and Sega needed to get that under control. As a technology company they could not save face and discontinue their newer, more powerful system to keep its more profitable consoles on the market. They made the, very well publicized mistake of discontinuing all products that weren’t Saturn in an attempt to prop up a sinking ship.

There are countless accounts of this being the reason they were desperate to get into Dreamcast so quickly. It was their debt that cost them their console market, not their machines being failures. If you look at the sales figures and profit margins Saturn was their only true failure in the console market. Of course failure is a relative term but here it doesn’t mean losing the made up console war only nerds care about, it refers to success by the companies metric and by the metrics Sega used, Sega CD was a resounding success at the time. It failed to save the company, so I suppose it could be deemed a failure in that regard.

7. DVD would have saved the Game Cube

This is a complicated variation of the PS2 was only successful because it played DVDs. The actual facts are very hard to get into. A lot of reasons went into the Game Cube being a failure. And this was a failure by Nintendo’s standard they’ve said as much at the time and since then. It failed to meet expectations, it failed to stop a challenger from coming into the market and over taking them, it even failed to turn a profit despite what fanboys will say. The company was hurting during the Game Cube years. They became desperate and turned into an ultra conservative company in terms of technology.

The Game Cube was not as powerful as some claim but it did have some advantages, some slightly exaggerated, over the PS2. However, even if it had been capable of playing DVD’s, it would have ended up costing more money and there was still no guarantee it would have sold better. The Game Cube had strong third party support up front and it had solid 1st party titles at first but a series of missteps by Nintendo turned their core audience away and they lost a lot of momentum early on. In hindsight it is remembered fondly but at the time owning a Game Cube subjected one to ridicule in the gaming community. DVD’s wouldn’t have saved it, in fact it might have introduced a whole bunch of additional issues too complicated for this article.

8. The Wii won the XX console generation!

This is so utterly stupid it’s not worth getting into. First the concept of console generations is ridiculous to say the least. However let’s unpack it. The Wii was released in 2006, days after the PS3. However, it was not competing on the same hardware level nor was it targeting the same customers. Saying the Wii beat the PS3 is like saying the VCR beat 8 track because? Technically they were both game consoles but they were competing for different customers in different markets and offered totally different experiences. The system sold a respectable 100 million consoles, but it did not win that generation. It competed against itself for a market it claimed all to itself. The PS3 and Xbox 360 competed for an entirely separate market and nobody “won” that generation it was basically a draw.

9. Wii U failed because of the name

This is a relatively new and utterly nonsense claim.

The Wii U was a fantastic system with a handful, very small mind you, selection of great games. The vast majority of games, however, were garbage. There were a ton of indie games, digital only, that were of varying degrees of quality, except none, or very, very few were true exclusives. The system was running out dated ports of older games lacking features their contemporary counterparts touted. It failed because of that, being over priced for what it was (a last-gen console dressed in next gen clothes) and featured and expensive, clunky and mostly useless tablet style controller that most gamers hated. Die hard Nintendo loyalists praised it but most rejected it and thus the console failed.

The name was a joke but it didn’t cost it the sales. It has been suggested the blue ocean grandmas that made the Wii such a house hold success were confused by the name and thus didn’t buy it. This is misleading. Those customers bought the Wii for 1 game, Wii Sports, and treated it like a DVD player or similar appliance, in other words they never had any intention of upgrading. Fewer Nintendo gamers and traditional gamers bought the Wii U than the failed Game Cube and that name was not confusing to most. Well, except my dad who confused it for an Xbox but that rarely yielded any real world troubles outside occasional corrections in public.

10. Sega stopped making hardware and only makes Sonic games

This is flat false. Sega still makes hardware, in fact more so than even Nintendo in a way. They have always been the undisputed king of arcades and they do still make slot machines and casino games. However, they are pretty much it besides a handful of other companies. They still make plenty of games for other home consoles, usually under different brands they acquired over the years. The truth is they have not stopped making games, in fact they are making more games now than in a long time, and very few are Sonic, no more than in the decades since his introduction anyways. The reality is the did stop making home consoles, technically, although this is not entirely accurate either as they do still license their Genesis and Master System technology to other firms to produce in countries outside the United States. The reality is they still make games, they still make arcade machines and they still make hardware, just not in the same way they did in the 90s. Does that mean a Dreamcast 2 is a possibility? No and it shouldn’t. But they could re-enter the home console space but they’d have to make it a budget console that relied on selling digital copies of their catalog and that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

There you have it ten gaming myths that need to die. While some of these are based on ones perspective, the undeniable facts are basically each of these perceived ideas differ wildly from the actual reality.