Just for fun Nerd

I spent an hour on this dumb D&D joke so by God you’re going to see it

For those of you not deeply steeped in arch geekery, an Illithid is a species in Dungeons and Dragons, colloquially known as a “Mind Flayer.”

They are basically squid-headed jerks that eat brains.

As the long-running campaign I’m part of (12th level Warlock/Paladin, thanks for asking) winds toward a summer break and we get into the final approach for a seasonal Big Bad, our GM asked what Illithid-themed flair would work for us, so I set about creating this monstrosity.

Life in general Nerd

Welcome to Pontypool

The sporadically-updating horror podcast Tear Them Apart did an episode on one of the great sleeper horror movies of all time, Pontypool, last month.

Horror fans that don’t know much about south-eastern Ontario likely don’t know that Pontypool is a real place — in fact, I went to high school one town over, and spent a fair bit of time in Caesarea and Nestleton with friends, a short hop away.

Caesarea is even name-checked in the movie, and is the title of the third of a three-book trilogy by the author of the novel that Pontypool the movie was adapted from.

Visiting my folks last weekend, I thought I’d swing by the town to take some pictures for Evan Dorkin and Paul M Yellovich, the podcast’s hosts.

The Pontypool sign, with a quick best-efforts “Tear Them Apart” podcast call-out. I took it down after. I was really angering all the goats in the weird-ass half-farm next to the sign so I had to make it quick.

“Downtown” Pontypool, facing north. Note the telephone pole “TAKE BACK CANADA” sign. People think Ontario / Canada is pretty progressive, but it’s more like New York State: once you’re out of the cities, you’ll find a lot of the same regressive racist yahoos you find in any rural place. This was the part of the drive to my folks’ place where farms have STAY OFF MY LAND GUBBERMINT signs, and vaccine conspiracy lawn signs sprouted like weeds during COVID.

Grant Mazzy would probably be more at home here as a shock jock than the station staff would like to believe.

Same position, turning south:

That’s it. That’s Pontypool. The streets stretch out about a kilometre in all directions with mostly two-story houses of a mid-19th-century vintage.

The sign on the left of this photo is for the town’s only gas station (with integrated Tim Horton’s naturally; there’s nothing more faux Canadian than this foreign-owned chain that’s somehow convinced people it’s a Canadian icon, and that its coffee doesn’t taste like battery acid that briefly had a coffee bean dipped in it).

Tim Horton’s has grown in my mind in recent years to really represent the rise of the right in Canada: symbols are more important than reality, and being “Canadian” is more important than being Canadian. It’s not a Canadian chain any more, and the coffee and food are terrible, but it’s “Canadian,” so Doug Ford shills for Smile cookies and — okay, I’m getting off-topic. Tim Hortons sucks.

Behind the grocery store across the street you can see a little red sign; that’s the pharmacy on the first floor of a house. Facing the pharmacy, the only grocery/convenience store, and the only restaurant:

That’s it. That’s Pontypool. The streets stretch out about a kilometre in all directions with mostly two-story houses of a mid-20th-century vintage.

Not pictured is the town arena, which if you live in Ontario and I say “small town arena,” you’re already picturing.

The most unrealistic thing about Pontypool (the movie) is that it has a radio station that employs at least three people full-time. The most realistic thing about Pontypool (the movie) is the syndicated news break at the beginning that mentions a major drug bust in Caesarea. That 100% checks out.

The above probably sounds like I’m dunking on Pontypool; I kind of am, because I’m a bit triggered by the TAKE BACK CANADA garbage and have less than fond memories of COVID-area rural lunacy.

I grew up in a town about this size, and I’m sure it’s as much a mixed bag as that town was.

Anyway, that’s Pontypool-the-town, if anyone is watching the movie (it’s really, really good!) and wants to see what the real-deal place looks like.