Friday, February 11, 2011

Bored This Way

Lady Gaga released her new song today. Ooh boy how everyone has been DIRE to hear this song. Well, it's out now, and I have my thoughts about it.

I won't lie. It's pop, it's fun, it's got a great beat to it. I expect I will be listening to it a bunch; as music, it's thoroughly entertaining. So props for that.

However, it isn't clever. It isn't groundbreaking. If you listen to it, it sounds like a mash up of Waterfalls by TLC and Express Yourself by Madonna. So once again, we have Lady Gaga apeing the previous successes of other female artists and repackaging it as "new and exciting".

What bothers me the most is that it reads as such a blatant cashing in on the current media coverage of bullying and torment of gays across North America. In our tired and desperate times, we sad homos need someone to stand up and tell us "you're ok, homos. Sparkle on disco babies." and god bless her, Gaga swoops in with our pride anthem. Hear that sound? It's my sarcasm roaring.

As enjoyable as the song is, I feel so pandered to, so manipulated. Is it savvy that Lady Gaga recorded and released such a blatantly pro-gay disco smash or is it classless?

I can just imagine her thoughts: "my gays are sad. I will write them their next anthem and they will be happy and they will love me and I will call them Squishy and they shall be mine". GAG.

I know she supports her gay fans. I know that the media is making a huge deal about the plight of teenaged gays in North America (moreso in the states than here). Clearly I am not bashing anything to do with the progression of gay equality, or hell, even bringing a smile to a sad homos face. I am not some self-loathing gay who is quick to attack anything that seems pro-gay. HELLO, I have my Kylie Minogue tickets and I've sent my gold lame hot pants to the cleaners in time for her show! (to clarify: not really. They're pink.)

I'm just saying that I get a massively sour taste in my mouth regarding the hullaballoo over Born This Way. What some people are proclaiming to be THE GREATEST THING EVARRRRRRR, I instead see as a dirty ploy at dovetailing off the tragedy and struggles of a whole lot of people, and not even a particularily unique one at that.

**end rant

Friday, December 17, 2010

Favourite Albums of 2010 (that I can think of)

Hellooooooo. Me again.

Thanks for coming back!

So I was listening to my iPod today (quel surprise). And considering how much I love writing lists, I decided to write up what I think are my favourite albums this year. However, due to some technical difficulties (aka Joel got ahold of the pc and mucked it up and now I can't look over iTunes and see what albums I've purchased this year) this is going to be very scattershot and likely leaning more towards current albums. Please send your angry e-mails towards Joel :p

Oh, and I should add a caveat: this list may (aka will) include an album or two not necessarily released this year. Sometimes you re-discover an album from previous years that jumps out at you and says "I'M AWESOMESAUCE" and ya just hafta recognize it.

Yah, I've had wine.

OVERALL FAVE ALBUM OF 2010

My Chemical Romance- Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys

Ok. Calm your knee-jerk reactionism down. It's very easy to dismiss MCR as 'emo' or 'whiny' or any other such adjectives usually tossed about by people who haven't really listened to them. Frankly, when it comes down to it, they consistently release some of the best, most enjoyable rock music of recent years. I would be tempted to add their last album, The Black Parade, to this list, but I need to restrain my fanboy gushing.

Danger Days discards the experimental, concept-album approach of Black Parade for something much simpler and accessible: rock out with your cock out. I can dig it. Apparently it IS a concept album of sorts and it has something to do with them living out some punky alter-egos in a dystopian future society, but screw that, the music is THE SHIT. In this album they return to their punk-influenced rock roots and for about 40 minutes or so they grab your ears and fuck them with shredded guitars, thunderous drums, spaced out synths and throat wrecking singing.

This is not to say that this album is one-dimensional, uninteresting or merely noise for the sake of noise. Not only can these boys rock, but they can genuinely make 'music'. I would say that every single song has more technique and skill behind it than about 95% of what gets released and embraced by pop culture. I wish I had a better understanding and vocabulary of musical terms so that I could properly explain what makes this album so varied and interesting, but trust me when I say that these are some of the most talented musicians working today.

The ONLY complaint I have about the album is that there are three 'songs' of merely talking as the 'narrator' of the album interjects with some random strangeness. They're all very short snippets but they're still shuffle-busters nevertheless.

Man. This album is ridiculous. Fave album without a doubt.

FAVE POP/GAY ALBUM OF 2010

Kylie Minogue- Aphrodite/ Scissor Sisters- Night Work

Ok, this is cheating. Two albums for one distinction. To that I say 'shut up! my list!' and I drink some more wine. I have a very good reason for this however.

I believe I will forever link these two albums in my mind. Firstly, they were both released around the same time. I got their lead singles on the same day. Scissor Sisters produced one of the songs on Aphrodite. Kylie sang with SS at Glastonbury on their song Any Which Way. They all love penis. It just makes sense people!!

That said, they're both legitimately fantastic albums. Kylie came through with one of her best releases in years, probably her best since Fever. Scissor Sisters ditched a lot of the weirdness that always held them back as something of a novelty band without losing any of their uniqueness. Most importantly, the two albums complement each other so well that it makes sense to link them together.

I see these albums as such: you put Aphrodite on during the day. You dance about your apartment, preferably in your adorable but not too skanky underwear, celebrating life and happiness being a strong, sassy woman/gay. You embrace and celebrate your inner power animal or some such malarky (with the occasional song or two to get a little sentimental and thoughtful). Generally speaking, you love life and you're gonna live it up.

Soon,however, night falls, and it's time to put on Night Work. Now's the time to take all that self-loving, joyful, carefree energy from before and translate that into 'I'm going out with my gays and I'm gonna get DRUUUUUUNK and fuck a stranger"

Umm, thumbs up to that my friends.

Sample lyric from Aphrodite: i'm fierce, i'm feeling mighty, don't you mess with me I'm the aphrodite

Sample lyric from Night Work: we can talk about relationships but there's better things to fill your head with.

...

Y'know. Mama's getting sleepy. I'ma come back to this. I still have yet to discuss Janelle Monae, Matt Duke or Bran Van 3000.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Top 20 Favourite Games Of All Time (#16-20)

I was inspired to come up with this list by a co-worker of mine (see: Finchy!). And by 'inspired' I clearly mean "I wasn't clever enough to think of doing this myself, but now that he's done it, I'ma gonna do it too".

Much like he does, I should stress that these are my 20 favourite games of all time. I'm not saying that these are the best. I can pretty much guarantee that you will see some and vigorously disagree with me. That's fine though. At least you're reading this (see: SUCKAAAA!). I should also point out that as I am an old man with a severely debilitating brain disease (I drink a lot), my memories of specific points about some of these games may be a bit off.

Without any further ado, I present #16-20.
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20. Maniac Mansion (NES)

A bloody classic, in my books. Any game that can poke fun at while simultaneously cherish old comic-horror movies of the 50's is a winner with me!


Basic plot is as such: Titular mansion is inhabited by mad scientist and his crazed family. They kidnap comely teenage girl. Comely teenage girl's boyfriend and friends unite to try and rescue her. Hilarity ensues.


Maniac Mansion was of the point-and-click genre, wherein your cursor could be used to highlight various objects on the screen along with actions such as Talk To, Walk To, Push, Pull, Give, yadda yadda. I bloody loved these kinda of games growing up. Something about the freedom of having all these actions available to you made you feel like you were really IN the mansion. Ok, not really, but it was damned fun to try and give a hamster to a giant purple tentacle. (that is, if you don't attempt to "dry" the hamster in the microwave. Yep.)


The game also had a large cast of characters, all with their own skills, personalities and weaknesses. You played as any combination of 3, and you had to choose wisely so that all your skills complimented each other (funny enough, the nerdy one that looks a bit like me was the most skilled. YEEEH BITCHES!). They could die, get kidnapped, or suffer various odd fates, and it was this variety of characters and outcomes which really makes this game memorable for me. It was a videogame equivalent of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and frankly, any videogame that allows you to blow up a hamster in a microwave (and then witness the mortified reaction of the kid who owned it) is guaranteed a spot on this list!


19. Arcade Side Scrollers (Arcade)
Ok, this is a bit of an 'umbrella' entry, because it covers a couple games that, in my mind, all deserve a place on this list. Specifically, I give props to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and Golden Axe).


What these games all had in common was that you could get together with a couple friends at an arcade (or play by yourself, if you were me and had no friends...hence this list), and blow a whole months allowance worth of quarters, all in the name of moving from left to right and unleashing all holy hell on animated sprite-villains of your choice.


Back in my day, we had one joystick to move your characters, and two buttons: a punch/kick and a special attack button. If you were lucky, you could combine these in a handful of ways and perform some KRAYZEE moves (usually the screen would flash and a few enemies that used to be there would now be lying dead on the ground)


What made these games so special was that they were so fun and so vibrant that they were basically giant quarter-vacuums. If you died it was always a life or death scramble to fish another fistful of quarters out of your corduroy shorts (don't judge me) before the Continue? screen went away. But you kept plugging away, thrashing your way through wave after wave of enemies, fighting the occasional outlandish, screen-filling boss, cheering on your friends (or yourself, silently in your head...) as they whooped ass. It was great fun.


Not great fun: being stuck playing as Dazzler in X-Men. Seriously. Ooh, watch out. I'll sparkle at you. Weak sauce.


18. Uncharted 2 (Ps3)



This game is pretty straightforward. Thrills-a-minute action adventure game, starring gruff but charismatic loner on a voyage to uncover ancient treasure. Simple stuff really.


The reason this game ranks on my list is because it's so motherloving entertaining, it's almost a sin. If Moses could hike himself back up that mountain and find a new set of commandments, he would find "Thou Shalt Not Play Uncharted 2", because anything this much fun must be a sin.


The game itself is gorgeous. Playing it on my big-ass, fancy tv all in hi-def glory is basically one giant orgasm of my eyes. The amount of detail put into this game is ludicrous. I'm not just talking about the areas in which you play, but if you stop and look around, every facet of the world around you is so painstakingly realized, you'd swear it was real life. I remember the first time I played it, and in the opening chapter I stopped at one point simply to pan the camera around and take in the surroundings. Places that you will never actually visit in the game, just far off vistas. Nearly photorealistic. Eyegasm.


All the characters in the game have so much individual personality, so much charm (or lack thereof, with the villains), it's as if this game was starring major name actors. One of my favourite moments comes early on, when you're scaling a wall to climb atop a building. Suddenly your partner shouts out something like "bad guy! above you, above you!". You grab said baddie by the ankles, yank him off the building where he plummets to his doom...and your partner says, deadpan "bad guy! below you, below you!". I damned near wet myself. It's a 3 second blast of cleverness you don't often see in games, and it's something that carries through the whole game.


In terms of actual gameplay, this game never lets up. From the first moments, you are constantly on the go, shooting and jumping and exploring and puzzle solving and ducking and punching and trading witty bon-mots and dying (A LOT) staring at your partner's ass and dodging and smelling yak ass and kicking a ball away from children...it's exhausting how much there is to do in this game! You are constantly being engaged and entertained. One of the most heart-stopping, unbelievable moments in the game is when you are in a building, shooting baddies, when a helicopter blasts the building with rockets. Suddenly the building is collapsing WITH YOU IN IT, and you keep on playing, running and gunning as the floor you are standing on tilts and drops and desks and books are flying around you... words cannot express how insane this scene is. It only lasts about 10 seconds, and when it was over I physically had to re-start breathing, because I'd stopped. No other game has done that to me!


17. Mortal Kombat 2 (SNES)


Fatalities. Babalities. Friendships. Acid pits. Spike pits.


I enjoyed Mortal Kombat 1, I did. Unfortunately for me, I had a SNES, therefore my version of MK1 was so sanitzed and de-awesomed, the characters didn't bleed, they sweated. You can just imagine what kind of neutered fun that game was.


MK2 roared back with a bloody vengeance, and for the first time, I felt like I was playing a 'grown up' game. It was so violent (for it's time), so bloody (ditto), I was shocked, appalled, and couldn't stop playing.


MK2 had such a wide ranging roster of kombatants, you could hardly ever get bored playing it. True, this is where the MK series really began it's palette-swapping instead of creating truly new characters (Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile...we get it! Lin Kuei clan! Oy!), but at the time it was original and awesome. I always loved that it was real people playing the kombatants too. It made it so much more icky when they died their various deaths.


Perhaps it was morbid that I was so fascinated with this game. Things like Kung Lao sawing his enemy in half with his razor hat or Baraka hacking up so-and-so in an armblade frenzy was just so unexpected to see back then. People could still be shocked by something in a videogame, and I loved it for that reason. Sure, the fighting mechanics were a bit wooden and it was never much about the combos as it was "trade hits until someone dies", but it was simple and it was efficient and unpretentious. And maybe, just maybe, you would spare your foe and turn him into a baby instead of eating his head. (although I can bet that I wasn't the only one who desperately wished that you could perform a Fatality on a recently babied Babality!)


16. Super Castlevania 4 (SNES)

I played this game for hours upon hours upon hours. I barely remember the story (a Belmont of some sorts off to whip the shit out of Dracula). I only know that it was fun beyond all reason and that's good enough for me.


I'd always liked the earlier Castlevania games, but they always felt very limited, very stiff. What this one did was it seemed to free the series up and make it truly feel like an action game. Leaping and whipping and hurling boomerangs never felt so immediate in the series.

Man oh man, what I remember most was possibly the most useless move ever put into a videogame. Normally Mr. Belmont would snap out his whip to kill the various ghouls and nasties. However, if you held onto the attack button, he would continue to hold him hand out with the now limp whip dangling there. You could push the arrows on the directional pad and he would gently flail about the whip in a spinning, jerking manner. It was basically like an arthritic grandmother wafting her hankerchief in the air. It was weak. You had to allow enemies to essentially walk into you (and since it was so weak, it would never kill them). It served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Yet there it was, available to me to do. So I did what any kid would do: I flailed. I died SO MANY TIMES because I wanted to see if I could successfully complete, well, anything by wafting about my whip. No surprise here; I never did.

Something about the fact that the game presented you with such a flagrantly useless ability always struck me as being oddly amazing. Sure, the game was fun and it had killer graphics (for it's time. OOOOH SHIT! THE ROOM IS ROTATING!!), but what I will always remember is me/Belmont, standing in front of a crushing wall of undead deathmonsters, whip determinedly fluttering about in front of me, convinced I would beat the game like this.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What's Scary And Gross In Ottawa

I came upon this the other day and it floored me. Flat out PETRIFIED me. I felt it necessary to take a picture and share it with the world.



You're welcome, Marie!

*grumblessomethingaboutspiders*

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts on Evolution. No, seriously!

Have you ever wondered if humans have stopped evolving? I think we've forced ourselves onto some evolutionary plateau and we're not going anywhere anymore. My dreams of a superpowered mutant future are quashed :(

My thinking goes back to one of the basic tenets of evolution: survival of the fittest. I just think that all of our advances in technology and science mean that the genetic "winners" who by all rights should be dominating are stuck with hanging out with genetic "losers" who should really have been bred out of existence.

Take me for example :p I am in no way an example of an overall healthy human being. Just a small sampling of the illnesses passed through my family genes are: heart failure, mental disorder, cancer, glaucoma, lupus, alcoholism. I myself suffer from a whole slew of various minor & major health conditions.

If we (aka humans) didn't have things like medicine, machines, etc, my genetic line would have died off a long time ago, no doubt about it. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy being alive and all! I'm just saying that under the rules of survival of the fittest, I wouldn't even get so much as a Participant ribbon in this human race.

Imagine a world where everyone with a flawed genetic line was wiped out. What/who would be left? Those genetically dominant humans would be the ones to grow and evolve and become whatever humans turn into next (superpowered mutants!!). But here's all us genetic losers and sickys muddying up the genetic pool, bringing everyone else down.

Ok, yes, this is some weird thinking and it makes me look like I'm espousing offing anyone who isn't "perfect", but I can't help but wonder if all our technological and medical advances actually hinder our development as humans. Hmmm... I dunno. Maybe I'm just weird. (maybe?!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guilty, Shameful, Inexplicable Pleasure

So there's this blog that I, for ungodly reason, love the peruse:
http://www.houseofvader.com/

Let me be clear: this is some NSFW shit. I'm mighty mighty gay and a lot of this I'm like "YIKES!". If you click and browse you do so under fair warning. (now you just knooooooow you wanna check it out)

Fun fact: it's the guy better known as Manicorn, David Mason. So...hot... See: http://www.exterface.com/unicorn/

Basically he's this sex crazed, over-muscled, fetish-tastic homo who posts random comments on life interspersed with some raunchy as hell posts. Let me be clearer: I am not into fetish. I'm not into whacked out kink. I'm not some oversexed muscle mary (like he is). There should really be very little that draws me into his blog.

But then he'll go and post something as hysterically funny as this:
http://www.houseofvader.com/2008/10/visual-representation-of-my-unconcious.html

...and I'm like, yep, there it is. Never before have I seen so much love for Grace Jones, Samantha Fox, Liza Minelli, Cher, and everything kitschy gay.

Most of my reactions to the blog are "eek!" and "oh no, more penis!" but then every now and then I find myself laughing like a hyena at what he's now proclaiming to be another Creature Fiercer Than You., and it's some crazy praying mantis that pretends to be an orchid and then *NOM!* eats the bug. Or he'll make a post about having CRAZY sex with some random guy (eek) which afterwards makes him want to sit around all day and eat boxes of Froot Loops (HAA!).

If you can wade through the raunch and the weirdness, you will find a surprisingly hilarious blog, and that's good enough for me. You might have the sudden impulse to minimize your browser whenever you hear someone coming, for fear that they see you and throw you some mad shade (also, the blog will increase your gay vocabulary by at least 32%) but ignore it. They may get a laugh too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Attempts At Baking And Other Such Oven Usage

In the oven right now I have what should hopefully become a lovely tray baked meringue, upon which I have created some whipped cream, toasted nuts and fruit topping. However, it should be noted that since I do not have an electric mixer I was forced to whip the egg white mixture by hand.

Firstly, that is tiring as FUCK and I am pretty sure that I have egg/sugar goob in my eyebrow that I'm hesitant to remove for fear that it will take part of my eyebrow with it. .

Secondly, I am 100% certain it wasn't beaten enough and therefore this monstrosity will become some warped, sweetened, baked egg goob. With whipped cream, toasted nuts and fruit topping.

Also, let me point out a detail to y'all. Toasting almonds: no problem. Toasting walnuts: no problem. Toasting coconut shavings: akin to asking someone to set your house on fire. After about 3 minutes of having them in the oven this awful, burnt, suntan-lotiony smell began emanating from the oven. I opened the oven door only to find that what was once a smattering of lovely little white coconut flakeys was now a charred, angry bed of black death. That smelled of the tropics.

Scratch the toasted coconut. Walnuts are a go though!

FIRST UPDATE: holy shit, it's the size of a house. Ok maybe not that big but it has spread to encompass the entire baking sheet. I don't know whether to eat it or to ride it across the Mushroom Kingdom.

SECOND UPDATE: HEY HEY NOW! It's nearing the end of it's bake time and it actually looks like a meringue!! A little golden baked :D

FINAL UPDATE: it's fucking delicious. A little darker on the bottom than I would've liked, but I blame that on my stupid oven and it's propensity to be irregularly warm. Small problem though: I now have a meringue the size of a fortress...and only myself to eat it. Mama's getting fat tonight!

FINAL FINAL UPDATE: ok, no. The darkened bottom ended up giving it an overtoasted marshmallow taste, and I put too much liquidy stuff on top and it was a large gooey mess. HOLY SWEETNESS BATMAN I got the diabetes from it. Still, a valiant effort and I will certainly try again, at a lower heat.