I’m only one dude. I essentially have four jobs. I have no idea when I find the time to listen to enough music to come up with 100 favorite tracks. My 2013 playlist contains more than 7 days worth of music. And that doesn’t even count all the stuff I check out on Spotify and dismiss. But even with all that listening, it’s blind, dumb, stupid luck when a certain song catches my fancy. On some occasions, a song is thrust in my face with the force of the 800 lb. mainstream music machine and those songs must endure hundreds of listens. Staying power, m’f’ers. See: Arcade Fire, Daft Punk. Other times I fall instantly in love with a record. The songs grab me immediately. Those are the easy ones. The bands and the songs I control. See: Frightened Rabbit, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Polica. And then there’s that final category. Hearing a song, being in the right frame of mind to accept its advances. You might hear a song a dozen times before it catches you at just the right moment. See: half the songs on this list. For every great song on this list, there are hundreds of equally worthy songs that I just didn’t hear or didn’t hear at the right time in the right place. And to those songs, my apologies. Try harder next time. Everyone else, enjoy the list. Find some new music. Support great artists and music worth listening to and so on and so forth. And keep in mind that the ranking system is just for fun. Any of these songs could movie ten spots in either direction given my mood…
Over the years I’ve accumulated a few CDs. And while I once proudly stored my collection in a classy little case with glass doors and chrome handles, those days of modest numbers and persistent caretaking have fallen by the wayside. And while I do still curate my DVD/BD collection #LikeABoss, the CDs have long been relegated to massive storage bins. They’re in no order. I can never find anything. And when I do try to find something I inevitably get crabby, scrap the whole idea and put the iPod on random.
Thus, I bring you the life and times of 30Hz: The Great CD Organization of 2013
The closet/storage area that houses the CD bins has become a touchy marital subject. While I see it as out-of-sight, out-of-mind storage, my wife (and her x-ray cluttervision) sees a reservoir of unused garbage. While I’d never admit to her face that she’s more right than wrong in this debate, she is, actually, on the side of reason here. I don’t use most of that stuff in there, but I’m a nostalgia junkie and, like any self-respecting alcoholic who keeps some Bombay Sapphire in the toilet tank, I’ve got to stash the goods somewhere. Continue reading The Great 30Hz CD Organization of 2013
My grand NANOWRIMO plans were derailed by the usual suspects. The 4yo brought home a head cold that channels snot from another dimension, and the wife’s work beckoned more bonus time than most other months. Also, and I don’t count this because I’m the one to blame, the PS4 arrived at my doorstep. Thus the illness that would have normally just invaded my work schedule also invaded my digital downtime. I continued to work and instead of taking some leisurely time with the new game console I went to bed and fell asleep with The Shining on my face. Creepy. Don’t fall asleep with The Shining on your face. Osmosis is real. But like the siren’s call, eventually the PS4 wooed me into its trap. That I lasted four days without so much as opening the box should be considered medal-worthy.
After being mesmerized for days by a simple Galaga-esque free download called Resogun (brilliant nostalgia-inducing gaming) I tried my hand at NBA2K14. I’ve been fan of the franchise, if not necessarily the NBA. I can’t remember the last time I sat through more than one whole quarter of NBA basketball. But I digress. Seeing as how I only play the 2K franchise every other year at best, I had to dust off the cobwebs and learn the new tricks. Seeing as how I’m 35 now, I take longer to process the dust off the cobwebs and even longer to learn the new tricks. I’m just not the same unstoppable gaming force that once beat Ghosts ‘n Goblins on the NES. If you’re not familiar with the legendary difficulty of Ghosts ‘n Goblins, this website has a nice writeup on the series, explaining why so many people have taken sledgehammers to this game.
Now, regarding my NBA2K futility. I knew full well that when I begin to tinker around in an NBA2K I was going to stink. I always stink. And I rarely stick with it long enough to achieve any measure of success. My career-mode character gets derailed after two or three seasons of pine-riding and lack of defensive skills. I eventually get cut and end up selling t-shirts outside arenas, trading on my status as a failed NBA prospect to feed my various addictions.
In my third or fourth game, I missed a layup. I always specialize as a three-point shooter so the opportunity to drive the basket felt revolutionary. After missing the layup I hustled back in a rage and molested Stephen Curry in order to get the ball back. Well, as they do, the refs called a foul for throwing the other team’s star player into the third row. I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was likely derived from my standard playbook of choice phrases. We’ll go with “Oh, fuck off…” which would have been followed by me dropping my controller (controller destruction prevention) while the opposing team sinks their free throws. Instead, the ref called a technical foul on me. I knew it was on me because the in-game camera showed my character shaking his head in disgust. In the top right corner flashed the icon that appears when the PS4’s microphone is in-use. I presumed this indicated that I’d been slapped on the wrist for my colorful reaction to the ref.
My in-game character had been given a technical fowl because I told the game to “fuck off”?
I refused to believe it. I assumed it was just a coincidence… a random event triggered in the simulation by my otherwise flagrant foul. Clearly my character had been aggravated. That couldn’t be what happened. Except, during the next game, I tested my theory. After the ref called a fowl on me, I clearly and deliberately called the ref a “shit-smoking hippie from the planet Uranus.” I got another technical foul… and I didn’t even get bonus points for the elaborate slur.
Myth proven: the microphone on the PS4 camera reacts to what we say while we’re playing, even in off-line games.
While that is wicked cool, I must take offense. One of our inalienable rights as gamers is the right to swear at your game when it does you wrong. When you miss that jump in the last castle in World 8 in Super Mario Bros. 3 for the seventh time in a row you have the absolute right to call that smirking fireball a “cunt-sucking flaming twatterball.” In fact, you should get bonus points for really good rage-fueled slurs. An extra life perhaps. It’s a necessary moment of relief. If video games start penalizing us for colorful language even during off-line games, you’re going to have a rash of in-home destruction the likes of which you haven’t seen since the bike race in Battletoads.
This guy gives it a nice go before he loses his shit:
This game has reduced me to swearing like my middle school basketball couch, who in the three years I knew him never said anything more profane than “cheese and rice” or “sugar.” And I won’t stand for it. But I might disconnect the camera from the PS4 because when I need to bitch out the digital representation of a referee, goddammit, I’m going to let those motherflipping expletives fly. We must defend our right to swear at video games that deserve it.
This is going to be one of those self-help nonsense posts that sometimes pop up on here. I shouldn’t regret self-help. It’s really self-help for me, reminders and gentle nudges to change the way I look at each day. It’s important to consider each day a limited resource. There are 24 hours in each day. How are you going to use them?
During my depression a few years ago, my therapist told me that I’d stopped doing things for myself. I had work and writing and taking care of my kids as a part-time stay-at-home dad. Sometime along the way, I’d stopped watching movies, listening to music and writing for pleasure. In fact, I’d gone so far down the pit that I couldn’t even bring myself to watch movies because the pains of nostalgia I experienced while watching them had become too great. I couldn’t watch Star Wars, for example, because I couldn’t feel the same thrill of being young and in awe. I’d lost much of what had made me, well… me. I just wasn’t taking care of myself because I’d decided that taking care of everybody else was going to be enough.
And it’s easy to get into this habit. Life will consume you if you let it. Kids, relationships, work. There’s no time on Monday. Monday becomes Wednesday. And Wednesday becomes 2017. Take stock of the ways in which you waste small moments of your day. Needlessly checking your email or idly scrolling twitter or reading depressing-as-fuck news on CNN as some kind of masochistic torture porn. My point is, there’s always time. 15. 20. 30 minutes. Make time for yourself. Be selfish and not mindlessly complacent with that time.
You have a movie you’ve been wanting to watch? Put it in, if only for a little while. Give yourself a moment to listen to some music, without distraction. Pick your poison…
…there’s always time.
I woke up last Wednesday and felt the need to watch Ghostbusters and despite having plenty of opportunities I still haven’t watched Ghostbusters. One thing just led to another… you know how it goes. I’m sharing these thoughts to remind myself to stop wasting that time. Seize that idle, wasted fruitless time. Watch Ghostbusters. Read a book. Play a video game. Whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do. Do it. Be selfish.
It’s November. For some it’s #Noirvember (watch as many Film Noirs as possible). For others it’s NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words or die trying).
I’ve been “participating” on and off in NaNoWriMo for five or six years. The first year I was just out of my MFA program, and gung f’ing ho to write that first m’f’ing goddam novel! YEEAAAAAHHHH.
By the time Thanksgiving hit, I was something like 30,000 words in and hating. every. single. sentence.
I wasn’t into the book I was writing and I’d hit a stone cold wall of self doubt. There’s nothing… and I mean nothing that kills a writer’s mojo more than self doubt. 99.9% of all cases of so-called “writer’s block” I’d guess have something to do with self doubt. That’s how much it cripples me. And it doesn’t happen all at once. It starts with 0ne discordant sentence that grows into a paragraph, a page, a chapter… and then, finally, consumes the entire project. With only a week left, I threw in the towel, scrapped the project and never returned. Continue reading Commence NaNoWriMo