Hello there, Happy Katana fans. This is Logan Ruckman, and today, we’re doing another first for Happy Katana. That’s right, this is Happy Katana’s first interview. Who are we interviewing? The Flyin’ Jew, of course. He’s also known as JEW, FNJ, and his real name, Peter Kowalsky. He is currently one of the writers for Robot Boombox, a great pop culture themed site that you may have noticed in the links. Well, here we go.Logan Ruckman: JEW, I have to ask, are you really Jewish? The Flyin’ Jew: TECHNICALLY I am, though I don’t do a very good job of acting like one. My mother is a Jew, and in the Jewish faith that means the children are Jews as well. My family has always been bad at practicing, though. We still celebrate Christmas and I have never had a Bar Mitzvah, which is a required rite of passage for all Jewish boys. I also totally love bacon. The name “The Flyin’ Jew” was actually my old Backyard Wrestling name. I got that in High School from a guy named Sean Ashe, who dubbed me as such after watching me fly across a table in the cafeteria during some sort of retarded stunt. Back then the Internet didn’t exist in the capacity that it does today, so when my family finally got it, I ended up using “The Flyin’ Jew” as my username on a forum, and it just kind of stuck. “JEW” and “FNJ” are just abbreviations because I’m lazy. Logan: I understand you write for Robot Boombox. How did that come to be? Jew: It’s a funny story, actually. I used to work on other websites, but had kind of “retired on bad terms”. Our fellow SydLexian Josh Woodzy had gotten me interested in doing this kind of thing again and we had started working on building a new website together, but the obligations of being a dad and a husband kind of made it hard for him to put in the hours. Around this time, Frank was using RobotBoombox.com as more of a sandbox to test things that he was learning in school, so he didn’t really have a lot of content up, and I found myself posting content on Facebook due to a lack of a place to call home, but then Soul Calibur 5 was released… Being massive fighting game nerds, Frank and I were both incredibly dissatisfied with our purchases. We were discussing it over Facebook one day, one thing led to another, and we decided to team up to write an article where we would tear it apart. We never actually did that, but I still ended up putting a little review of my own together for the site. After that we just kept going. I wrote more, moved some of my “homeless” works over, and even remastered a few old articles from my former websites. Frank got the creative itch again, and our friends and even some other Sydlexians like Slayer joined the brawl. Also, Woodzy went on to create Retrodome with some other fellows. I hear it’s quite excellent. Logan: Besides Syd Lexia, what websites were Robot Boombox inspired by? Jew: Well, the Boombox is really Frank’s baby, so I can’t speak for him, but he has told me that the websites I used to work on (Teh Internet and E&N) were big influences. He even wrote as a guest on those sites! What I CAN tell you, however, is what inspired ME. Before I discovered Sydlexia.com, I used to do the forum thing over at a place called JasonRivera.com. Much like how many Sydlexians have been branching off and creating their own sites, blogs, and projects like Happy Katana and Robot Boombox, the same happened over there. That’s actually where my first real Internet gig came from when I opened Tehinter.net back around 2004. Besides JasonRivera and Teh Internet, there was also Hoodratz.net, TooManyChairShots.com, MaroonX.com, and a few others. We all kinda fed off of each other and helped each other grow, with things like collaborations, guest articles, and even just general advice. So I guess in a way you could say that without JasonRivera.com, there might not have been a RobotBoombox.com. Logan: You and JoshWoodzy were supposed to do a site called Everything And Nothing, or E&N, but you guys couldn’t due to your personal lives. However, you’re a writer for Robot Boombox and Woodzy is a writer for Retrodrome. Do you think there’s a chance you and Woodzy could ever start E&N, or do you think Robot Boombox and Retrodrome are what E&N would have been like anyways? Jew: I dunno. I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and check out Retrodrome yet, but I think it’s really cool that we’re seeing a surge in sites like this popping up while Syd takes a vacation. Personally I’d like for all of us to work together and see what kind of interesting things come out of it. Like some sort of network or an old school webring. I’d like us to help each other succeed and have some fun doing it. Maybe when RobotBoombox.com gets the ball rolling on mech week, perhaps… Logan: According to your Sydapedia article, you used to have an alter ego by the name of Dr. Imp. Do you still use that as a username/your alter ego, and is there a chance that Dr. Imp will ever return if not? Jew: Dr.Imp was actually another of my Backyard Wrestling personas. Believe it or not. He was this wacky mad scientist kinda guy who had a horribly scarred face and wore a lab coat and bandages. He was a kooky kind of guy who was always scheming, and usually his schemes would backfire in terrible and fantastic ways. My friend Cactus Chris actually came up with the name. And I gave Chris his moniker of “Cactus”. Sort of like an Al Snow/Mick Foley kind of thing. I used the Dr. Imp name for a very short time online before switching over to Jew, but I dunno if there would be a reason to bring him back. Maybe for a special occasion or something, but who knows what the future has in store. Logan: Your Robot Boombox profile states that “Peter has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In the United States alone he has sold 37.5 million records. Rolling Stone Magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time. In addition to his career as a rap artist, he was also an actor. The themes of most of Peter’s songs are the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism, other social problems, and conflicts with other rappers during the East Coast – West Coast hip hop rivalry. Peter began his career as a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground. In September 1996, Peter was shot four times in the Las Vegas metropolitan area of Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center, where he died several days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.” Do you think Tupac ripped off your life story, or was he merely inspired by it? Jew: I’d like to think that Tupac and I simply share a similar life experience. What a strange coincidence, ay? Logan: I know you smoke weed. How long have you been smoking weed and how old were you when you started? Jew: I’ve been smoking since my teens, and have never stopped. I think it’s been almost thirteen years now, actually. I was introduced to it by my sister and her friends back in high school. We would sit in a circle in this guy’s bedroom and just get stoned and shoot the shit. Before that I didn’t really have a social life, so it was cool. I actually didn’t even know if I was stoned or not the first time I smoked, because I was also drinking massive amounts of liquor. Logan: What is your preferred method of smoking? Do you like blunts, bongs, joints, glassies, hookahs, bowls, etc. the best? Jew: I am a firm advocate for hand blown glass pieces, especially bowls. I feel that each one is unique and they all accumulate interesting stories and memories as you carry them throughout your different life experiences.I also feel that you should name all of your pieces as if they were a child, or a house pet. For example, I have a small blue guy I call the Blue Bomber. It was the first piece that I bought on my own, and the primary thing that I would get stoned with during my lunch breaks with co-workers while on breaks at Sam’s club. I had a few good friends who I would get into adventures with on the sales floor to pass time while suffering through the misery of retail. Logan: Did you celebrate 4/20, or did you smoke as much as you normally do? Jew: 420 was kind of a special event this year in my household. I have four other roommates and they’re all like family despite being such radically different people. Through adventures with marijuana we’ve all been able to come out of our shells, defeat the awkward zone, and even collaborate and share our creativity. We’ve been able to overcome a lot of bad times and support each other. Personally it’s helped me meet a lot of different people an explore my own inner self through sharing stories an learning of new experiences while standing in a circle on our porch. So we cooked a giant Italian dinner full of weed butter and invited all of our friends to get stoned with us, and continue what has now become a household tradition. Almost like a social 420 mixer. It was great to see so many different kinds I people all meshing and getting along, to be honest. I would expect no less from a former Internet superstar, comic book artist, metal worker, rock musician, and aspiring psychologist, though. It’s a good group we have Logan: As an anime fan, what’s your favorite anime film? And what’s your favorite series? Jew: When I was a young boy, my older cousins were really into Golgo-13 and Fist of the North Star, and my nerd uncle was a big Guyver fan, so That was my first real exposure. Back then anime had to be ultra violent and full of foul language to attract attention over here in America, and because of that, my overprotective mom wouldn’t let me near the stuff. I loved the shows, though, for the little bit that I had seen. When I was in middle school Tekkaman Blade was repackaged as “Teknoman” and added to UPN9’s Saturday morning block, and I was IMMEDITELY hooked. Gatchaman’s “Battle Of The Planets” repackage on Cartoon Network further piqued my interests. Around this time I received a subscription to GameFan magazine, and learned about Neon Genesis Evangelion back in ’94. It wasn’t until Anime started becoming more mainstream in my high school years that I began actively seeking it out and following it, however. The Sci-Fi channel did this anime week thing when I was in middle school, where they would show a different film every night, with Apollo Smile’s fine self doing the introductions, and the first night they showed a dub of Galaxy Express 999. I knew by the time I saw the closing scene, with Tetsuro running down the track telling “Maetel! Maetel! Maetel!” while the train left the station, I was hooked. The pure emotion of the scene blew me away. After that I was on a mission to see as much anime as I could. Sci-Fi had Saturday anime, and my friends and I would all borrow each other’s VHS tapes and rent movies and make copies for each other. By the end of that summer I had a pretty decent collection. I remember the first time I had gotten my hands on Neon Genesis Evangelion like it was yesterday. My friend Kyle had bought a VHS tape from Suncoast, and we were all watching it during a sleepover. The moron had somehow managed to procure the second to last tape in the series, so we had no idea what was going on. I was confused, but intrigued at the same time. So my favorites would have to be the ones that got me hooked to begin with: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Galaxy Express 999. I also like Gundam’s Universal Century, but that’s a whole other relationship entirely. Logan: Which do you prefer, American animation, or anime? Jew: To be honest, I can’t really answer that question! I’d have to say I’m more of a fan of GOOD animation. A lot of animation tends to take the lazy way out these days to save time and manpower, replacing hand drawn cells with giant CGI robots or even using Adobe Flash. I like a lot of stuff from the old days, where these techniques didn’t really exist. I saw a Japanese animated film called “Redline” recently, and the entire thing was done by hand. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. I am also a giant fan of the Bruce Timm DC animations on the American side. If you compare Barman: The Animated Series to the Fox Kid’s Spiderman cartoon from the same era, you can see what I mean here. Logan: I know you love video games. It also seems you’re a huge Fighting game fan. Are Fighting games your favorite genre of video games? Jew: Contrary to all of my Facebook posts, Survival Horror and Metroid styled games are actually my favorite. I have always had a special place in my heart for fighting games, though. I wasn’t a very social kid when I was young, so while everyone else was out making friends, I was in the house playing Nintendo. My uncle got me into fighting games at a young age with Street Fighter II, and it kinda followed me throughout my life. As I got older and was more able to go out into the world, I discovered that the competitive aspect of fighting games made them a great way to meet people and make friends. Being able to learn from each other and exchange ideas is something that I learned from fighting games, and it’s a big part of who I am today, even outside of gaming. I apply it to my internet work, my social interactions, and just my life in general, and I really owe that to fighting games. Logan: I know this is a cliché question, but what is your all time favorite game? Jew: My favorite game of all time would have to be the first Megaman X. In my opinion it literally has everything. I’ve played and beaten it a million times, and I never get tired of it. I feel like I probably know that game like the back of my hand at this point. What really drew me to the game originally was that “Super Nintendo upgrade factor.” I grew up playing and loving the old NES Megaman games, and seeing everything that I loved about those games upgraded and taking full advantage of everything that the new hardware had to offer, while still retaining what made me a fan of the series to begin with was a fantastic treat for me. Castlevania IV, Super Double Dragon, and Super Metroid are other examples of this. Logan: What about your favorite system? Jew: If you couldn’t already tell, I have a massive hard-on for the SNES. I also really like the Dreamcast. Unfortunately Sega always has this bad habit of being ahead of the times and shooting themselves in the foot, though. Still, it was the only way to play Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 at home for nearly a decade, and that game is dope as fuck. Logan: What’s the one video game more than any other that you think is overrated, and which do you think is underrated? Jew: Thinking back, there are many, MANY games to choose from, but more recently I would have to say Alan Wake is a rather underrated game. The game play is a bit lacking, but it was made by the same guys who made the first two Max Payne games, and if you can say anything about Remedy , it’s that they’re fantastic writers. The pacing, the setting, dialogue, and even most of the collectibles all came together to give an engrossing experience. It’s a game that I sat down and played start to finish, and wanted to immediately replay. It’s a game that most people will pass over or slip under the rug and forget about, and that’s a shame. Obviously my vote for the most overrated game of all time goes to the entire Call of Duty franchise, which singlehandedly ruined video games entirely. More seriously, though, I would say Either Legend of Zelda Ocarana of Time, or Metroid Prime. I know, I know. I’m insane. What the hell is wrong with me? Have I even played the games?!?! I just feel that the SNES games in these series were the true marks of brilliance, yet all I hear about were the follow ups, which fail to properly capture what made Zelda and Metroid so great to begin with. Am I saying that they are bad games? No, but I AM saying that they aren’t the best games ever made like so many people seem to believe. In fact, I feel that they pale in comparison to Link to the Past and Super Metroid. They may be good, or even great games on their own merits, but they aren’t fantastic Zelda and Metroid games. Logan: Is there any game you think gets too much unfair hate? Jew: Herman Munster goes to Brooklyn. It was an open world, sandbox styled gritty reboot of The Munsters. It had Arnold Vosloo voicing Herman, and for it’s time, it wasn’t really that bad of a game. Logan: What genre of music do you listen to the most? Jew: I listen to quite a bit, including some rather embarrassing stuff, but my favorite genre is progressive. This may or may not have something to do with my recreational drug abuse. I’m a big fan of the Bass, too, so bands like “Yes” are high on my list. Logan: What is your all time favorite album? Jew: Act II – The Father Of Death, by The Protomen. Hands down. You didn’t even have to ask that question. It’s an album that tells a meaningful story, and has a little bit of something for everyone. I am yet to meet a person who hasn’t become a fan after being introduced to this album. Logan: Out of any girl in the world, who do you think is the hottest? She doesn’t have to be famous. Jew: Physical attractiveness is fine and dandy, but I’m the kind of guy who’s more drawn to the personality of a girl. That’s where the real beauty is. There’s a shy lady who I’m currently super attracted to, but I have a feeling that if I mentioned her by name she very well may have a panic attack or get mad at me. So I’m gonna go the celebrity route and say Emma Stone. I loved her first, Matt! I don’t care if you’re more Internet famous than I am! There you have it. There’s my interview with JEW. He turned out to be an interesting and great interview subject. I’m glad he let me interview him. If you want to check out his writing, go to RobotBoombox.com and read his shit. Thank you for reading, and have a great day.