Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Blog!

I made a new blog!

So my hard drive crashed some time last October and I had not opened blogger since then. To be fair, I was not really posting here anyways. The new blog has a direction and a release schedule, so hopefully I will be able to keep content flowing. Check it out!

I think I have learned my lesson.

Travis T

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Am I Doing This Right?

I've been thinking about making a proper post for a while, but here's something in the meantime. Some of you may be familiar with the images to this effect:

Having seen it a few times, I decided try one of my own:

How did I do?

Anyways, a proper post might be forthcoming in the next few days. We'll see.

It's not that I like you or anything,
Travis T

Thursday, May 26, 2011


OK, so my last post was in July. Turns out that my inner monologue is not, in fact, posted directly here.

So what do I have to talk about today? Well, a large part of it is in response to Rose's post. I know that a list of songs may seem innocuous enough but I must ask, why songs?

Now, I'm not talking about the differences across disciplines. I could care less to compare songs with stories or paintings. What I'm asking here is why the song is considered the base unit almost every time when it comes to music. Literature has novels, short stories and poetry, drama has plays, skits and screen plays and there are piles of options when it comes to visual arts. Why is the song such a monolithic entity in music?

To me it comes down to the idea of the single. Since the beginnings of recorded music, the single was what grabbed the attention of the listening public. You could move a lot of product, sell a lot of concert tickets on a good single. Even as longer formats emerged, the single remained the star. Optimally, a record would contain hit after hit and keep money rolling in for a long time. Seldom was the supremacy of the individual song questioned.

So what are the alternatives? Well, the idea of the concept album is not new. It has been around at least since the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. David Bowie's personas are well documented and reflected in his album's coherence. The tradition of the concept album has even run strong to this day. Yet even so, most of these albums can be divided into singles and not singles and are often taken in this way. Simply put, much of the artistry in these albums is lost because people are all too willing to chop out what they consider "the good stuff" while leaving the rest behind.

Of course, remedying this is quite simple. There are plenty of coherent musical experiences for those willing to check them out. I'm personally fond of Our Lady Peace's Spiritual Machines. Interspersed between tracks are quotes from Raymond Kurzweil's the Age of Spiritual Machines. These quotes seem extremely out of place in an environment of one single after another but they fit the album very well. If you're not quite sure you want to sit and listen to an entire album, there are plenty songs that connect with each other out there. Recently, I've been enjoying the Decmberists' Crane Wife 1-3. Even MC Frontalot has a number of small tie-ins on his Zero Hour album that would be completely useless if the album was taken as a collection of unconnected track.

Now for those feeling adventurous (and you should be because this is GREAT music), I put forward the Dear Hunter. Beyond just a single concept album, the band has three albums that are all interconnected. I'd suggest you get them all, listen to them in order and anxiously await the fourth. I listen to them all (in order) frequently and I still find the experience enthralling. I repeat, you should download and listen to their discography as soon as possible.

Anyways, so that's all I have to say for now. You are now free to completely disregard everything I have said here.

Still talking about things you don't care about,
Travis T

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Scry Some More!

Imagine the TF2 Heavy said that. Or don't. You may not even know who he is.

So Bayfest happened at some point in the past. I grabbed a rock weekend pass but skipped out on the Scorpions because the weather sucked and I was not terribly excited to an entire set of songs that are just variations on "Rock You Like a Hurricane".

Rush was on the Friday. I was late getting there so I missed out on some of their first set. The first one being the one they played before the second one. There were no openers apparently, just Rush for about four hours. So I caught a bunch of songs from their first and then they took a little break. The sun set, I stood around wondering if Geddy Lee was my real father and, eventually, Rush made it back to the stage. The show was fantastic, the highlight for me being Neil Peart's drum solo. The man has a beautiful kit and know how to put it to good use. His reputation as one of the best drummers in the world is well earned. Another thing that interested me was that vocalist Geddy Lee is also their bassist. Huh. Rhythm and melody. That's pretty cool.

The Saturday show was headlined by Weezer and opened by Crash Karma and Sam Roberts. Crash Karma put on a good show, pulling from the members' other bands as well as their own originals. Hearing them go into songs from Our Lady Peace and the Tea Party was neat and Edwin belting out "One Last Astronaut", a song from his days in I Mother Earth was fantastic.

Sam Roberts was... Sam Roberts. I am not a big fan but he put on an alright set.

Weezer's set was exactly as expected, which is to say excellent. When comparing it to Rush, it is difficult to say which was better. Rush is something like a very good and profound movie; you just find a spot and passively let the experience wash over you. Weezer, on the other hand, encourages interaction. The 60's style poppy hooks and aggressive play style makes you want to get into the fray and get moving (the crowd actually acts as a safety mechanism, preventing you from falling over as you flail about). I am very fond of this kind of concert environment. Of special note was the first encore in which they played covers of MGMT's Kids and Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

In between the two shows was Magic 2011's Prerelease. I have played a few events with the new set and in addition to telling you my that I have generally done terrible in the new Limited environment I can also tell you that Scry is a fun mechanic.

In my first draft experience, I built something just blew through my deck with planned card draw and then recyced everything with Elixir of Immortality. I went 0-3. Perhaps I could have used some kind of finisher?

I did have some success with a red deck that ran on Goblin Balloon Brigade and Volcanic Strength. Several copies of each helped with that. The idea was to be quick out of the gate and to use the optional flying to get past blockers when I needed to.

That is all. You are dismissed.
Travis T.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Head Full of Steam

It's summertime, a time when the outside world becomes a hellish furnace and we are assailed by such dangers as bees, open water and even attacked by our light giver, the sun. But how are we to avoid the outside world?

Well, Steam's big summer sales are over, so the rest of you are probably screwed. I, however, had the foresight to capitalize on this so have eliminated most reasons to dare venture into the perilous exterior of my house. And by not letting myself buy anything that cost me over $5, I've managed not to bankrupt myself. Here is a sample of what I've gotten around to playing.


This game is a riot. Summoning up a veritable horde of minions and laying waste to all that oppose me was an appealing premise from the start. And the minions are quite the characters themselves. The game does an excellent job of conveying the absolute chaos of the horde and their squeals of delight make me feel good inside. The ability to crush friendly villager to increase your dark power is also nice. The elves are definitely going to die. Haughty buggers.

King's Bounty

I enjoy a good turn based strategy. Hexagonal tiles only seem to increase my fondness. I also like all the options the game gives you. There are a lot of quests that give you multiple means for completion hitting both the moral high and low grounds. The vast array of troops is also cool.

Beat Hazard

It's Asteroids meets Audiosurf. This concept was an instant hit. As much as I liked the way Audiosurf generated maps based on your music, I wasn't too taken with the gameplay. Incorporating it into a top down shooter somehow made sense to me. It's so easy to play this game for hours without realizing it.

That's all I've gotten to so far. Check out these games if you wish. They're not particularly mainstream so they still might be reasonably priced. The beauty of Steam is that you won't have to leave home to get them. Screw you bees!

Magic 2011 Prerelease is on the weekend so I may do a bit of a report on that. Or not. Depend how I feel.

Capriciously yours,
Travis T

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Faster, Save Me

Picking up nails while listening to the Dear Hunter is quite pleasant. Not that I did that today, I burned through their discography a couple of days ago.

I am still jobless so I have been assigned a few tasks to keep me busy. One of those tasks has been cleaning up the nails left over from burning the irreparably damaged roof that has been sitting in our field all these years. It is actually quite pleasant and gives me an excuse to listen to my mp3 player for extended periods. Which now gives me an excuse to gush about the Dear Hunter. Lucky me.

I must say, I do quite enjoy their music. The juxtaposition of business and propriety against deep conflicting emotions is quite appealing. I suppose that may be common to any work about falling in love with a prostitute. It very theatrical. Kind of like Moulin Rouge. Except that I like it even better than Moulin Rouge.

I had a delightful time camping on the May 2-4 weekend. Highlights included some excellent games of Magic, absconding with 50 cent Pokemon figures from the flea market and some awfully bizarre negotiations for better gear in a D&D campaign that never got played. The figures look quite handsome on my desk. I think the Ivysaur is my favourite. Oh yes, and oatmeal.

Delicious, delicious oatmeal.

And now for some heavy handed exposition. I dislike alcohol. Now, I could leave at that and we could all go on our merry way. To each his own, right? Well I shall take it one step further.

I dislike other people drinking alcohol. Herein lies a problem as I cannot simply bask in a glow of smug superiority as my friends stumble around in a drunken stupor. This used to be the case but experience has brought that to an end. I am not amused by most drunken antics; I am far more likely to be disgusted, annoyed or uncomfortable. Getting smashed is not my idea of a good time, nor is hanging around with those who are. Being of age only exacerbates this problem as my peers do not even have to try to hide their consumption. I certainly does not help that the concept of moderation seems entirely lost on most people I have seen drink. I am sure somebody (probably Trish) will make a joke about me being a pansy for this or something. I assure you, I will not find it funny.

Hmm, that was awfully serious. Perhaps some comic relief is in order. Here is part of a log from when I was playing Crawl.

Ever so classy,
Travis T

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Cruellest Month

Was Eliot in university when he wrote the Wasteland? It all makes too much sense.

Exams and final projects are done. I think I did alright. Should pass every thing, I think.

Recent events:

Rise of the Eldrazi is out for Magic the Gathering. I hit the prerelease and it seems to be a delightful set limited. I snagged two of those shiny Eldrazi promos and the FNM Bloodbraid Elf. It was a delightful event, much like all my other prereleases. Actually, much like most Magic events in general.

As I have said before, Pokemon is great. I still need to take out Red but otherwise main game is pretty much done. It has to be the game that I get the most hours per dollar on. Except free games, of course. Pokemon has a special place in my heart. I'm finally getting around to Portal too. It's a neat little piece of work.
EDIT: Red is down. Hello endgame!

As we approach the end of the blog, I'd like to draw attention to MC Frontalot's new release. Zero Day is a fantastic album. It's everything nerdcore should be. He even managed to clean up Better at Rapping so that I don't hate it anymore. Here's a sample:

Your charismatic leader,
Travis T