Moving.

February 26, 2015

So, hi.., uh, been busy. You know.

Moving right now. Just one floor up.

And here’s the thing:

Yes, I get all the thought about minimal ownership. Of decluttering. Of letting material goods go.

And yes, life would be easier with that.

But screw that to a sane degree.

Ya need some stuff. You have collections. You have shit you can’t figure out to keep or toss,and sometimes, it’s not as simple as favoring to toss it all.

Give some clutter, even if that gives me complicated moves and too much time shredding.

Ta!

Still Wouldn’t Want To Be Her Brother

November 30, 2014

I previously blogged about Lily Allen and just a short time later, Sheezus came out. Since I simply love to drive the GrandTour in a moebius loop falling in on in itself, I’m jumping a couple steps back to cover it..

NOW.

First off, with “Sheezus” Lily continued to piss people off, mixing feminism with vulgarity and loaded imagery. Let’s take “Hard Out Here.” Twerking, commercialism, cultural appropriation and sexism in one catchy auto tuned jingle.

All the same, in the midst of the usual pop snark, is one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever heard Lily sing. She covered Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” for the bonus disc. Now, the original is one of my favorite songs. And while no one could fault Lily for lack of emotional investment in her songs, one would seldom site them for simple, pure unadulterated sweetness. Her cover gets the perfect mix of heartbreak and hope. The video… with it’s mix of animation and making of, uses alienation to get a similar effect. Seeing the animators working so hard so brief moments of animation is a perfect analogy for both Allen and the song. So hard, for so little, and it’s worth it.

So if you haven’t gotten this album yet, get it. Try to get the bonus disc as well. “Sheezus” may not hit the five stars her earlier albums did, but it’s a fine line. Lily Allen continues to have fun with touchy subjects, writing catchy tunes with brains and soul. And if she pisses people off, well, that’s gravy.

Artist: Lily Allen
Album: Sheezus
Year: 2014
Date Listened in Tour: 5/19/14
Rating: ****
Best Songs: “Somewhere Only We Know”, “Hard Out Here”

My Music Blog Is A Golden God

November 30, 2014

So, if I haven’t said it already, or, if this is your first look at my blogs noting my Grand Tour- the moderately alpha/chronological tour of my music collection, I am a complete soundtrack (Original Soundtrack or OST) whore. Good soundtrack cd’s.. including or exclusive of the Original Musical Score… are the stuff of music geek life. You get either a great capsule of hits, or better, b-sides to fill out your own mixes. You get introduced to the next big bands that will soon take over the world, or once ruled. Some times, OST’s become series or entities in their own right.

Wait till we get to the ‘Mortal Kombat’ OST’s. JUST WAIT!!!!!!

Now, if you talk soundtracks, one film maker stands out as much as a OST maker as a film maker. And this is not an insult. Except for ‘Elizabethtown.’

Cameron Crowe.

From the start, music has been a part and process of his films. From writing to rehearsing to scoring , specific songs are the key to his films. And his soundtracks, another layer to themselves. I was really tempted to organize key sound track masters- like Crowe and Alan Silvestri- as artists themselves, as opposed to the individual movies. But in the end, I’d rather each OST stand out. Why miss an opportunity to blather?

Crowe is a very auto-biographical film maker. All his films reflect either his point in life, or experiences from a similar point in his life to the characters. ‘Almost Famous’ was very much rooted in his real life. During his time as a teen writer for Rolling Stone, the young Crowe toured with some great (and not so great) bands of the 70’s. The film… both in it’s release version, and directors cut, was a career peak. After ‘Jerry Maguire’s’ commercial success, and some would argue artistic sell out, Crowe came back with a movie that perfectly caught the analog wonders of 70’s rock. Multiple complex characters, all flawed and perfect in their flaws.

Yeah, I loved the fuck out of this movie. And the OST, equally amazing. The only reason it doesn’t get the whole five stars is that it a little too on the nose. These are mostly the hits, the big songs… not the obscurities or unknown gems. And the obligatory Nancy Wilson song.. but you marry a member of Heart, you user her in your movies.

This is a must watch, must listen, must own. I wouldn’t fault anyone giving it the highest of their ratings. And I would encourage anyone to buy both at the soonest convenience. We’ll see more of Cameron Crowe in the Grand Tour.. but this is a good way to start with him.

Artist: Various

Album: Almost Famous
Year: 2000
Date Listened in Tour: 7/29/08
Rating: ****
Best Songs: ‘Simple Man’ – Lynrd Skynrd, ‘Slip Away’ –Clarence Carter, ‘Something In The Air’ – Thunderclap Carter

Hey GamerGaters, do you even lift?

November 30, 2014

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

No, weightifting in Grand Theft Auto doesn't count. No, weightifting in Grand Theft Auto doesn’t count.

Before he decided to attach himself to the #GamerGate “movement,” Breitbart writer and all-around douchebag Milo Yiannopoulos took a certain pleasure in baiting gamer “nerds,” a demographic he once described as a bunch of “pungent beta-male bollock-scratchers and twelve-year olds.”

He’s not the only self-appointed #GamerGate savior who doesn’t seem to have much respect for the group he’s ostensibly championing. Over on Reaxxion — the atrociously written pro-GamerGate game site run by pickup guru and non-gamer Roosh — one writer implores fellow gamers to quite literally put down their controllers and pick up weights.

View original 262 more words

Day 1 of Dragon Age: Inquisition – I Have No Comy Chair

November 19, 2014

So, DA:I.

OH GOD SO GOOD SO GOOD.

Basically, take all that was good from everything from the last gen of gaming, especially Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Elder Scrolls, and mix it up.

While the environment isn’t the least bit destructive, you got fun characters, and huge world to play with, and so much to do. SO MUCH TO DO!

Quick Thoughts:

1) This is not an easy game. I may break down and go casual, but I can tell you, slow down, think your way through fights. It’s harder.

2) Talk to Varric as soon as you can. He’s your clue as to whether your update from Dragon Age Keep worked our not. Pretty much your only one.

3) Save, save and save often.

4) What is really impressive… this game flows ridiculously will. There are relatively few cut scenes and black outs to cut the action.

So, yeah. This is looking good. I may restart one more time.. the bow is pretty tempting.

Ta for now,

James

Dragon Age A Dawning, I Won’t Leave Home Soon…

November 18, 2014

So.. DRAGON AGE: INQUISTION!!!! (DA:I)

ERMAGERD! Actually, ERMA-MERKER!!!

I’ve been pondering posting about my replay’s through Origins and DA2 ( not quite Electic Boogaloo, but better then many say,) but with the DragonAge Keep up –  a website that allows you to build up the games back story to match your game play.. and, well, IT LAUNCHES TOMORROW!!!!!…. well, well..

Screw that. Quick thoughts.

1) Background: DragonAge: Origins-Awakening, and Dragon Age 2 were the fantasy counterpart of BioWare’s ‘Mass Effect'(ME) series.. great, but with some rougher patches than the ME series.. yes, including the outrage over ME’s ending.. which didn’t really bother me, and was even better after BioWare’s mea culpa DLC. Basically, it’s a multicultural, multispecies vaguely European smorgasbord where everybody kind of hates everybody else, when not hating demons and the Darkspawn.. a race of subterranean killing machines who make Orcs look down right diplomatic.

On top of that, you have war between Mages and the Templars- the religious knights tasked with controlling them.

2) The series started strong with Origins. DA2 was criticized, both fairly and unfairly. Fairly, for too much recycling of locations, arguably for simplifying some of the mechanics, unfairly regarding the over all story. Characters you grow to care for, suffer. In the end of DA2, a party member does something horrible, with or without your character’s involvement, that not only breaks the world, but breaks expectations of the player/creator contract.

Players expect to the center of the world. They expect everything to be under their control. And well, somethings aren’t. Some big freaking things aren’t. And I respect BioWare for reminding us that/

3) The Dragon Age Keep concept was brilliant. Since there were too many technical difficulties in porting games from differing generations, it was all brought to a website. And, like in ME, things were calculated to effect the world you start playing in. I’m irritated about one small detail.. it seems that the number of achievements unlocked may have lead to points gained and lost. In ME3, there was a Galactic Readiness score. I expect something similar in DA:I.

If so, a little forewarning could have lead to more frantic replaying to get more points. Perhaps I’m misreading this, perhaps they don’t want to encourage the point scrounging you know will happen, and they kinda want, but we will see.

4) As you can guess, I’M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS GAME! It’s been a bit note in the #GamerGate idiocy… the assholes who want games to about straight white dudes and the busty women who are dominated by them… have picked EA/Bioware as the companies they want to boycott. And, the game is absolutely everything they have… story as important as mechanics, diverse characters, and the effort to make it more than just really white people saving the world.

And trust me.. I’m a really, really white guy. You may have noticed that. I like saving the world.. but I don’t always need the character to be ME doing it.

I look forward to BioWare doing it right. I look forward to the scope. I look forward to the exploring, and the save scumming, and my wife trying to get me to go to sleep, GODDAMMIT!!!, and the uproar as they take characters we love, and show the affect of time and apocalypse on them.

5) I will be really interested to see how much I want to replay it. DA itself was very replayable– the fact that you could play the game as so many different characters, you would at least play the origins. Me, not counting the replay I did to prep for DA:I, I played through DA three times.

DA2, was less replayable, if only because the character choices were limited to ‘gender’ and ‘class.’

And, to compare Dragon Age to BioWare’s other trilogy = Mass Effect, by the time I finished ME, I was finished with the story. I had followed a single character through a quest, a through line, and his end was a good one. Dragon Age has been three distinct chapters, with three different leads.. will that make me want to play through it more?

We will see.

‘Gone Girl’ Go Ahead Get Gone (Spoilery)

November 16, 2014

So I’ve seen and read ‘Gone Girl’… Just wanted to jot some quick thoughts. And, yeah, this is Spoilery.

1) Why is this so huge? It’s a good supermarket pot boiler, but nothing in it quite rises to the level of greatness of OMFG!!

2) The only concern I have is that Amy fakes victimhood for personal gain. As you may have noticed, the net is filling over the brim with men wanting to deny any one but other men are real victims.

3) ‘Gone Girl’ is basically a rom com mated with ‘The Talented Mister Ripley.’ The more you see it as a comedy, the more fun it is, the easier it goes down.

4) This was just the palate cleanser Fincher needed ‘Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘House of Cards.’ Something frothy to get him ready for his next BIG THING.

Like ‘The Game.’

5) Trent Reznor’s soundtrack was barely noticeable. If you want proof he can be quiet.. Here ya go.

Thoughts?

With #GamerGate floundering, the Internet Douchebag Squad whips up a #Shirtstorm

November 16, 2014

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

Graph tracking the decline of #GamerGate, and the sudden surge of #Shirtstorm Graph tracking the decline of #GamerGate, and the surge of #Shirtstorm, posted by GGer @Eggkin “thanking #shirtstorm & the femloons for keeping the spark alive.”

By all rights, the furor over rocket scientist Matt Taylor’s cheesecake shirt should have died down by now. After being chided earlier this week for marring the celebration over the landing of a space probe ON A GODDAMNED COMET by doing interviews in a tacky shirt covered with half-naked ladies, Taylor offered a brief but heartfelt apology. You would have thought we’d all be able to move on.

Not so fast. Because these days apparently no controversy can ever be over as long as it serves someone’s interest to keep it going. And so a loose but very familiar coalition of reactionaries and antifeminists and angry techies have started flogging an amorphous cause they call #Shirtgate or, more popularly, #Shirtstorm, purporting to be…

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#GamerGate Manifesto Translated into English

October 19, 2014

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

Courtesy of somewhat_brave Courtesy of somewhat_brave

This graphic by somewhat_brave on Reddit pretty much nails it. (Click here to see a larger version.) When #GamerGaters talk about “ethics” in journalism, this is pretty much code for “journalists shouldn’t be allowed to say anything critical of us!”

And in case you missed the all-Cat version of the manifesto, here it is again:

View original

The threats that shut down Anita Sarkeesian’s talk come from someone who seems to be deeply steeped in the misogynstic Men’s Rights subculture

October 15, 2014

Originally posted on we hunted the mammoth:

The threats directed at Anita Sarkeesian are intended to silence women's voices The threats directed at Anita Sarkeesian are intended to silence women’s voices

Reading through the luridly threatening email that forced Anita Sarkeesian to cancel her talk at Utah State University, originally scheduled for today, I found myself wondering, a bit dumbfounded: just where does this kind of hate come from?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself again and again in recent days as I contemplate the ongoing fiasco that is GamerGate. How on earth have all these people gotten so angry, so worked up, so willing to dox and harass and threaten women (and some of their male allies) over video games?

How exactly does someone reach a point where it makes sense to them to threaten – and perhaps even to seriously plan – a “Montreal-style Massacre” because they don’t like a few videos pointing out sexism in video games?

Even after years spent tracking and trying…

View original 1,559 more words


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