29Jul2009 1735: Sploding
Splosion Man is hella good times. Made by the same geniuses behind The Maw, Splosion Man probably started as a doodle in the margin of a developer's notebook. The synopsis reads like the most awesome cartoon you've ever heard of: a guy made entirely of explosions tries to escape an underground lab made entirely of deathtraps and along the way he explodes the cringing scientists into meats. There's an acheivement for seeing 5000 steak filets. There's an acheivement for changing your controls, which are four buttons in total, all of them marked "SPLODE".
The Maw was a humorous but calmer game. The analogy that I can't shake is that Maw was a Pixar movie, while Splosion Man is an ep of Freakazoid. And the ending! Oh! I know I'm probably not convincing anybody out there to buy the game, so if you don't care about spoilers you should definitely watch the last boss. You'll miss the catharsis of seeing it after sploding your way through some incredibly hard goddamn levels...this game starts teabagging you around level 10 of 50. You will *earn* every goal and hidden cake.
[Billy Boy on Poison - On My Way] wants to join the lofi blues-rock revolution. Somebody should tell them that the revolution started like ten years ago, the war is over, and the White Stripes are el presidente for life. They're not bad, but their guitar sound seems to be hampered by the slick production.
[Hill Country Revue - You Can Make It] has "country" right in their name. There's not too much twang -- they tend towards southern rock like a Kansas or Lynyrd Skynyrd -- but overall it sounds like this is for some off-Broadway show about small-town Alabama. Weird and displeasing.
[Cage - I Never Knew You] is normalized really low and... is that Henry Rollins in the back seat? And does it really take five guys to put together a synth-backed slow rap? It's also an absurd stalker song, but all the chicks in the video seem to dig it so that's okay then?
[Aid - Boogie Vigo] wants to put some boogie in your vigo. The funk is pretty good, but it sounds an awful lot like Aid is singing about how hard they are. Without extensive Spanish lessons I can't get into this.
22Jul2009 1800: Dreamscapes
You know what I don't recommend? Watching Moon and then Mulholland Drive and then immediately trying to go to sleep. You've already seen four straight hours of movies that might be dreams, and it's suddenly skewed sharply into nightmare territory...and then you want to lay still in a dark room and try to sleep? That's a bad plan.
Individually they're fine movies. Moon is The Sam Rockwell Show (all Sam Rockwell all the time) and has this late-70s scifi vibe going on. By which I mean that the plot advances in tiny steps, the cast is minor and encased in one or two sets, and the end goes out with a whimper. See also: Silent Running, Dark Star, 2001.
Mulholland Drive is by David Lynch, which to everybody but me is sufficient warning. If I had stopped watching when I wanted to -- just before midnight, during the best scene -- it wouldn't have affected me nearly as bad. But I stuck with it thanks to the urging of my cousin, and I sorely regretted it. No spoilers, but watch this on a bright Sunday afternoon and follow it with Bambi or something.
[Gossip - Heavy Cross] is from The Gossip, with their second free iTunes single. The album cover is a dude and the album title is "Music for Men", but a woman jumps in with some mid-80s pop and starts complaining about how life is hard. That's not music for men. This is music for men. Despite that, the song is solid enough; I'll just have to ignore the album image when this comes around.
[Comic Book Heroes - Catch Me If You Can] looks like a bunch of scruffy high schoolers and sounds like any number of generic rock bands out there. Sadly, that does describe quite a lot of comic book heroes out there.
[Carlos y Alejandra - Explicame] is medium tempo Latin pop that is probably about love. There is absolutely nothing to recommend it. This slightly negative tepid review is pefectly balanced by the slightly positive review to follow.
[White Rabbits - Percussion Gun] is the only video this week. They're not kidding about the percussion part; they have a 1:1 drummer-to-drum ratio, and the guitarists stay the hell out of the way. It's a minimalist radio rock song that doesn't overstay its welcome or really do anything distasteful. I'll keep it around for a while.
15Jul2009 1830: Cars and Dragons and Cars
Yo dawg I heard you like Metroids. I wouldn't call my experiment a triumph; it's mostly inoperative after three days. I definitely need something more durable than cardboard and painter's tape to pull this off. Fortunately, a forumite turned up another source of cheap(ish) recordables, so I may experiment with a button-based device. The problem is that I want it to trigger when the doors swing open, but each device closes the circuit when something is pressed. The sliding tab on the greeting card actually pulls a piece of flimsy paper aside so that the switch can snap closed. Some parts of the car hinge are swinging closer together, but they're obviously hardy pieces of steel that weren't designed for optimal placement of a thin circuit board.
If there was anything that could rouse our gaming group from a life of shooting zombies, it's the news that Dungeons & Dragons Online is multiclassing to "free". The free version locks up the Monk class and the Warforged (robot) race, handily dashing my hopes of playing a Warforged Bard-Monk. For the record, my name was going to be "Threeseventy SingOMaticXJ". I fooled around in the 10-day free trial a bit and I think it'll serve well enough as a free MMO. The quests are a bit slower than Guild Wars, but I hear they're balanced for parties of around six and four hours didn't get me anywhere close to level 2. I also hope my free-trial character carries over to the really-free game; I don't want to reroll my Elven Bard "Kakapo Cloaca" for fear they update the banned word list.
But soft! What light upon yonder island breaks? It is the East, and my Tigre Sport is the sun. Jump, fair sun, and kill the envious hoon who is already sick and pale with grief that thou her maid didst ram her into a bus.
There are an unheard-of five songs this week, two of them videos. [Natalia LaFourcade - Ella Es Bonita] is the Spanish-language tr-- is that a fucking lynx hat? Sold. Five stars. The song itself is one of those 60s numbers that mixed pop and orchestral/horn backing like the...whadya call 'em...the Beatles! Yeah, remember those guys? Well this song isn't as good, but it has a similar feel and she's wearing a lynx hat.
[Charm City Devils - Let's Rock n' Roll (Endless Road)] is the first video. They wish for you to stand upon your feet, for if you are sitting down they will be unable to rock your butt with their butt rock. The lead singer -- and indeed the entire chorus -- is quite close to AC/DC. If you're looking for more AC/DC without any actual AC/DC, I guess this is your week.
[Jaimee Paul - Cry Me a River] is a slow jazzy torch song. Too slow, in fact. Jaimee's voice just doesn't do it for me, but we're meant to linger over it for five and a half minutes.
[Owl City - Fireflies] starts out great, with some synthy videogame beeps going on. Hey...wait a minute. Is this The Postal Service in disguise? Wiki says no, but it might as well be. For once vocoding isn't bothering me. Maybe it's all about context?
[Brooke White - Radio Radio] is the other video. It's utterly forgettable pop. And what's all this about waiting for the radio to play a good song? This is the digital age, lady, tell your iPod to play the song already.
08Jul2009 2000: Dead Gods
I finally played my first game of train dominoes. Three years here and I had never joined the summer games, perhaps the most athletic activity in the entire complex. But I noticed that there was only a trio of ladies playing regularly and I almost joined in last week; finally got talked into it when I got back from work today. I don't know what kind of dark bone gods rule the "bones", but they were smiling their ragged smile upon me and now three neighbors don't want to play dominoes with me anymore.
Yes yes yes sweet my copy of Buffy Season 8 Vol 4 is here. I just knocked off the Sandman over the holiday weekend in between Mythbusters marathons, now I have something to read for a little while. I also got with a book about the language of a small Amazonian tribe but I suppose that wouldn't interest you.
Morgion is threatening us all with Twilight. Quick poll: would a jury convict me y/n?
I've been sharing this around and it's probably a fascinating anthropological study: this is what my Pandora station has become. I hear other people like to separate their stations based on "genre" and "criteria". Fie upon that. The Internet gave me unprecendented creative control over a radio station and I went for the full iPod Shuffle experience. Hope you like your Ted Nugent juxtaposed with your Billie Holiday!
[Los Amigos Invisibles - Vivire Para Ti] is interesting. A kind of easy-listening synth funk? In Spanish. You'd hear something like this in a Mexican dentist's office and catch yourself bobbing your head along with the beat. Which is a bad thing to do when the dentist is trying to check your teeth.
[Meese - Next in Line] makes me doubt my own taste. I like it despite its fuzzy radio rock leanings -- I'm pretty sure it's not an objectively good song, and this isn't going to blow your mind. But it might be the perfect song to hear once every two weeks and then immediately forget.
[Audrye Sessions - Turn Me Off] woooooo blurry close-ups of an average rock band! Good thing I was preparing dinner while this played or it might have put me to sleep.
01Jul2009 1905: Titanic
Hahahaha I am watching Clash of the Titans over Netflix streaming right now and it is still bitching after 28 years. After this post I'm going to kick back with some gin and relive my childhood Sunday afternoons -- only this time with gin. And then I'll jump on the Prototype and play into the wee hours. I sat down around 1400 on Friday and accidentally played until 130 Saturday morning. This is starting to reach Burnout Paradise levels of obsession.
I can't remember the last time I had so much fun doing the same task in different ways. For example, you get plot cutscenes by eating the brains of people who know the plot. For a while I was just rushing in as my default form and gobbling them up -- they would generally spook because, as they are privy to the plot, they are privy to what a badass I am. Then I started sneaking up in a civilian form, grabbing them, carrying them to a rooftop, and whispering "you will KNOW ME" as I transformed back to normal. Then the military presence got a little hairy, so I started sneaking up and stealth-consuming them, snapping their backs and/or necks without raising an alarm. Then I started over in the calm Manhattan of post-game, and have taken to stalking them from the rooftops, at last using my extendo-arm to silently pluck them off the street. And mark you well, all these techniques end with them screaming in my belly.
Tomorrow my last paycheck from Multiband shows up, groaning under the weight of 130 hours of cashed-out PTO. I've already started celebrating by cleaning up some of my Amazon wishlist, but there is going to be hella beer for July 4th.
[Roba - Laberinto] is like some sort of geographically-inverted Bryan Adams. Play-by-numbers guitar rock in the traditional denim and t-shirt vein. And hey, that's what he's wearing on the album cover! So I guess if you know Spanish it's the perfect time of year to crank this kind of thing way up on your deck and grill some burgers. What's Spanish for "burger"?
[The Grouch & Eligh - All In] is the video this week, and despite being a group rap based on the apparently-still-current fad of texas hold 'em it's not that bad. They run out of verses about two minutes before the song finally wraps, but it's otherwise a very upbeat song about how their lives are really pretty sweet.
[Leslie Mendelson - Hit the Spot] runs away with first prize this week. Leslie swings through a quiet jazzy love song and skirts around the innuendo of "the spot" like a pro. A little less tempo and a little breathier voice would put this squarely into a smoky Vegas lounge, but as it is it's a great song for skipping through the park and then going home to bang your honey.
[Ace Hood & Schife - Loco Wit the Cake] is strictly inferior to Like a Boss, and that's one of the most annoying songs Lonely Island has. Oh, also this is the radio edit.