27Feb2013 1900: Archaeology
I finally purchased a fire safe; nothing too flashy, but enough to keep my precious tax returns from immediately combusting in the event one of the elderly smokers around here forgets how to operate their cigarette. It's only a matter of the inexorable march of time! But because the precious flame-resisting space can't possibly house my absurd collection of documents, spring cleaning has arrived. That would be Spring Cleaning 2007, juuuust a little late.
It means I'm sorting through all the convenient piles of documents I kept in my office, vital shit like my address-change form from 2006 and the last Qwest bill from 2009. Gotta hold on to that! Qwest might try to keep charging me after I cancel(ed) service (four years ago)! In a breathtaking display of packrattery, I found the original check duplicates from my very first checkbook about half my life ago. Apparently I bought Red Alert on 12Sep1998 from Best Buy. Lot of pizza in there, too. It gets a place on the fireship just for being the most absurd thing to find again in a year.
[Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love] is all vocoder, all the time. There are some realistic violins after every refrain, but I bet that even they are made by machines. Otherwise it is a robot man that, to his credit, does actually sing about robots a little bit. It might be danceable if it didn't keep switching tempo. It might be listenable if its machines didn't have such harsh edges.
[IamSu - Goin' Up (feat. Wiz Khalifa)] had the handicap of a lack of official Youtube videos and the dreaded "featuring" tag. The beat is okay but it's yet more talking about being poor and then not being poor and you live in a city and stuff. Time to "nigger": eight seconds. Quick, guess the genre!
This week really is a nightmare for free music. The last gift horse to get my dental exam is [FaltyDL - Korben Dallas]. This is how you do robot music. Korben Dallas is not only a reference to a paragon of scifi movies, the song is basically the way you remember every Sega Genesis game sounding. This is some final-level, assault-the-base shit right here.
20Feb2013 2030: Sally Forth
Hey guys the fourth Playstation is going to be called the Playstation 4! Aren't you surprised? No. Nobody is surprised. I'm not even 100% sure I'm going to buy it, or any of this next wave of consoles, even with some compelling exclusive games. In the past five years Steam has just become far too impressive. It's the Amazon of video games, even though Amazon sells video games.
And if you'll excuse me, I wasted too much time watching people talk about a game console they didn't even show. I have to pack for a work excursion. Come see me at the NDSTA conference in Bismarck! I'll have nothing to do for up to 90% of the time I'm there!
13Feb2013 1736: Spicy and Hot
I finally made chili that was the right amount of spicy. The chili started out here years ago and now bears almost no resemblance, but time after time I struggled to make it spicy after ten hours simmering in a crockpot. I tried all sorts of chilis on top of the bell pepper base, but I guess I assumed those chilis were stronger than they actually are. The solution turns out to be ten habaneros. Even reheating it days later hasn't killed that perfect slow burn.
So I can finally end Chili Quest, mere months after Sausage Quest. Next up is Hard-Boiled Egg Quest, which I have already failed twice this month with detailed written instructions. I suspect that my concept of "boiling water" may be substantially different from the Internet's.
[Wake Owl - Gold] has very earnest fret squeaking and very earnest dude singing. He goes out of his way to make sure he has rhymes for everything, but the most striking feature of the song is in contrast to the next one. This song right here, with its acoustic guitar and heartfelt lyrics and chorale backing, could very easily have become a country song that even I would recognize. If Mr. Owl's voice broke in a twangy way instead of an indie way this could be country as I remember, a mid-70s classic. Instead, we have nothing but almosts today...
I think [Blue Sky Riders - Dream] is supposed to be country, based on the vocalists. But it's hard to tell, as apparently modern country has caught up to 90s rock. For the first thirty seconds I was expecting something closer to [Dishwalla - Counting Blue Cars], as Dishwalla-guy and Meatloaf-guy took their turns on the verse. Then Paula Cole-lady takes over and the chorus arrives and it sounds just the littlest bit twangy. Is this country? It's not good, whether it's trying to ape the mid-90s soft-rock sound or lead country in a bland new direction.
[Nosaj Thing - Eclipse/Blue (feat. Kazu Makino)] features, but is not the usual rap/reggae collaborative mess. It's an electronic ambient thumb-twiddler, not something you can dance to or sing with or really remember. I'm sure it accomplishes what everybody involved set out to do, "crafting a soundscape" or somesuch, but it doesn't do anything for me. As opposed to doing nothing for me.
06Feb2013 1800: Speed Cube
This week I got to teach an adult a new life skill that I thought everybody knew. We wanted to remove a stubborn label from a plastic brochure holder; he was going at it with his fingernail, which is my usual response as well. But this label was flaking apart and just being a generally inanimate jerk, so we went to plan B: microwave and waterglass. He had never heard of steaming glue to death, but 30 seconds later he was a convert. Does nobody play Maniac Mansion any more? That's where I learned how to steam things open. Once in every decade, adventure game logic can teach you something useful.
Today on Monty's Behind the Curve, I adored Antichamber. Which temporally is not actually behind the curve, but in this game being in front of a curve may also place you behind said curve. It's a first-person puzzle game with a succession of puzzley guns and no fall damage. You may have heard this before. The crucial gimmick here is that the level design is non-Euclidean. Hallways spiral "infinitely" in only one direction, doors disappear when you stop looking at them, and a stacked tower of cubes is also all on one horizontal plane. For some reason this super-worked on me, turning the game into some cubist minimalist nightmare fuel. I like my hallways to stay right where they are, thankyouverymuch. The end of the game introduces ambient noise and a lighting effect that combined to -- at midnight, after hours of playing -- freak me the FLIP out. Then I had to try to sleep. When a game works on me that well, like an Enslaved or a Journey, it's probably a game I'll come back to in five years.
...Never mind. It appears I am behind the curve already. Fhtagn.
Why do I give bands like The Like a pass for wallowing in the 60s when [The Pharmacy - Baby Be] rubs me so wrong? The moog is there, the lo-fi guitars, the shouty vocals. What could the difference be? Oh I dunno, maybe singing on key?
[Dizzy Wright - Flyin High (feat. Nikkiya)] features. By this point I don't know that I can state it any more clearly than that. Plus, do lyrics about getting high score any points when you can just move to Washington?
[Dawn Richard - Riot] is the mildest riot I've ever heard. Dance pop does not incite violence. People on ecstasy don't flip cars. Vocal processing does not solidify a youth movement. The LA Lakers should adopt this as a team theme; playing this after a championship win would cut rioting by 80%.