It’s this topic that is going around, you see. Technically it’s “albums that influenced me” but I don’t really know what influenced means so I just approached it like if I had to make a Spotify playlist of my life, this is what would be on it. At first I thought there was no way I’d be able to come up with 15 songs, but it was surprisingly easy.
Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual was the first album I ever bought, or more precisely that I asked my parents to buy. It was on cassette. I’m old now, but this album is still really good.
I owned Led Zeppelin IV and it’s of course a classic album, but this entry is just for Stairway to Heaven. It was the closing song for every school dance through middle school and high school, and hearing even the first few notes brings back this rush of memories of those years. Sometimes I sat alone and sad during this song and sometimes I was breathless with wonder that the cute guy in Science class asked me to dance and oh it’s a slow song which means touching a boy and oh my god! I wouldn’t be a teenager again for all the money in the world but hearing this song is a nice reminder of those years.
In Grade 8 this new fellow transferred to our tiny rural high school from boarding school in England. In short order we became best friends, inseparable for over a decade and the soundtrack to our friendship was always Pet Shop Boys. We live on opposite sides of the world now but still see each other a couple of times a year, and we will be (spiritual) family for the rest of our lives. Being Boring is one of my favorite PSB tracks. It just gets better the older I get, and it never fails to make me tear up.
Okay okay, enough sappy stuff — time to rock! As mentioned techno pop was big with my friends, but one day I stumbled on Faith No More’s The Real Thing and suddenly I felt a kinship with music like never before. This was angry music! And oh man, much to the chagrin of everyone else in my life, I really liked it! This set my musical tastes for adulthood.
Because I was young and living in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s.
Courtney Love changed my life. I’m not saying she was ever a perfect or possibly even good human being, nor that Hole was the pinnacle of riotgirl music (there were many better bands). But she showed me that girls with a little punk rock in their hearts didn’t have to just be the Nancy to someone’s Sid, a adjunct to art and fame who eventually dies for it. We could be Sid. Post-Kurt, Courtney was poor dumb, flawed, vicious, amazing Sid for all of us young women out there, and I loved her for it.
And so followed a series of amazing songs and albums by women that in my late teens and early 20s shaped the person I am today:
Of course all good things must come to an end, and by the mid to late 90s my interest in grunge and GenX was fading, only to be replaced by Cool Britannia. I was always on the Blur side of the Blur vs. Oasis fanwars, by the way.
Different Class came out in 2006. I think I probably bought this album because I liked their track on the Trainspotting soundtrack, and it remains my favourite album of all time. The music is super catchy, the lyrics are super clever (oh, Jarvis), and I just can’t resist a good commentary on class struggle. It’s socialist pop, and it’s glorious.
Unsurprisingly, given that previous stuff, I also got super into Rage Against the Machine. Tire Me is my favorite song of theirs, but mad props also to Without a Face for rhyming “DDT” and “bourgeoisie”.
Okay, we’re running out of space so let’s skip ahead to the mid 2000′s. I don’t know how I found Louis XIV — probably Spin Magazine? — but their debut album The Best Little Secrets Are Kept is my second-most beloved album. It’s .. jangly indie sorta-ironic cock rock. I listened to a ton of jangly indie rock after discovering Louis XIV, but nothing was ever as good.
(Warning, the lyrics for this one can be pretty offensive.) That ironic hypersexualized rock trend has continued over the years in different ways. I few years ago I was introduced to MSI by a friend and I can’t even say they’re on my favorite album list because I just love eeeeverything they do. Seriously. Everything. I saw them live last year in Seattle and they were every damn bit as good as they are in the studio.
Die Antwoord is also part of that trend. Yolandi Visser is amazing.
My most recent musical obsession has been K-Pop (and Korean TV and movies along with it). While the title of favorite K-Pop group belongs to Block B, Fantastic Baby by Big Bang was the song that got me into it all. I think I was searching for for bizarre videos to scare people with last year on Plug.DJ Fridays and I saw this and immediately wanted to know more. It’s been kind of my bag ever since. Who knows what will be next?
Oh, Internet. You're why daddy drinks.
— Scott Hartsman (@hartsman) September 14, 2014
Poor Trion Worlds and ArcheAge, victims of their own success. Any experienced MMO player knows that launch week of a new game is usually fraught with technical problems and population issues, but admittedly the ArcheAge queue times can be pretty extreme. Last night I joined the queue as a free player at 7pm and finally got in the game at 11:30pm. Daaaaaang.
The standard MMO launch philosophy seems to be to set up a ton of servers so there are few or no queues for players, and then merge them later. This merge usually involves a bit of “X Game is dying!” bad press and some management of duplicate character names, but otherwise seems pretty straight-forward.
ArcheAge though is a whole different beastie, thanks to the open world housing. Trying to merge servers would be an organizational nightmare, as far as I can tell. Who gets priority over a spot of land? And even if the land is available, imagine logging off in your guild’s secure village and waking up to find that strangers lived in your midst now.
Trion would be causing themselves a whole world of problems if they launch with too many servers. I’m pretty sure much like Scott Hartsman everyone on the team is gnashing their teeth right now, and heavens knows the internet is angry, so very very angry, about the queues, but I suspect that dealing with queues for a couple of weeks is going to be a lot less painful for Trion and for players than having to deal with empty servers and duplicate land claims.
Extra Life is a month away and we’ve already raised almost 50% of our fundraising goal! That’s amazing! Don’t forget that donators will be entered to win a free copy of Guild Wars 2 Digital Deluxe version. Donations are tax deductible and even $5 will help this great cause.
I am currently dealing with a surprise event in my life that while not the worst thing ever does require in the short term a great deal of time and physical labour and a pinch of emotional fortitude. The result is that for now my limited leisure activity occurs at about 11pm, when I’m tired and just a wee bit wound up.
Until recently this has pushed games off my agenda almost entirely, except for the odd round of Dragon Coins while in line at the store. (Yes mobile games okay don’t judge me.) I don’t want to start anything involved because I don’t have much time before going to sleep. And I don’t want to do anything that will stress me out or get an adrenaline reaction going, because I’m already a little high strung at that time and again, bedtime looms.
I was just watching crappy reality television, but then on Tuesday ArcheAge opened up to the general public and it slots unbelievably well into this niche in my schedule.
The game has huge queues at the moment for launch week, but by the time I can play things have mostly settled down into merely “high” population. My little sorceror, Friday on the Naima server, has a few quests to do to get to an adequate level, but then I can just focus on farming.
Farming in ArcheAge is so peaceful, and I loved it so much when I was in game’s alpha. Nice soothing music plays while I plant cotton and trees. Sometimes I harvest beans, and eventually I will add some chickens and geese who need feeding and plucking. If I have a lot of something in my bag, I can ride over to the auction house, or do a bit of my own crafting, or offer to deliver it to a guildie in need.
(This is also the niche that space trucking in EvE filled for me, interestingly enough.)
I’ve often written in favor of challenge, and that will always be my primary motivation to play games. But I forgot that one of the things MMOs are great at is virtual puttering — there’s no important goal or objective, just a cold drink in one hand, some soothing music, and digging in the dirt.
The Crew recently let PC players have a first crack at the game, and all three of us had the opportunity to try it out! We all agreed it was beautiful to look at, but are a little less certain about the game’s long term plans and it’s “MMO” factor. But hey, you get to play Gordon Freeman in Fast and the Furious, so we can’t really complain.
Meanwhile there was finally time to talk about P.T., the Silent Hills teaser, which is a great excuse for Aro to talk about how much she loves the franchise. We’re also impressed with their take on the horror genre, and stealth marketing tactics that are actually stealthy and not just hype.
Also more phone games, much to our eternal shame! Elly is feeling positive about Destiny! We got listener mail!
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Hey I’m giving away a code for 400 gems for Guild Wars 2 TOMORROW to a random donator to my Extra Life efforts! Even $5 will help kids and could earn you sweet hats and dyes!
I FINISHED TROPICO 4.
Yes, after 67 hours (according to Steam) I finally finished all 20 of the missions in Tropico 4. My plan was to buy Tropico 5, but after reading some reviews the general consensus seems to be that it doesn’t really contribute anything new, so instead I just installed the Modern Times DLC and now I can play even mooooore Tropico 4! Somehow Tropico just hits the sweet spot for me between micromanagement and just muckin’ around, and I’m looking forward to having some new buildings to try in Modern Times.
I also started up another playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins, and this time I am really super going to finish it. A few years ago I played it about halfway and just kind of stopped, even though it’s quite good. At first I was kind of taken aback by how bad the graphics look now, so I looked it up and DA:O came out in 2009. 2009! That’s forever in game years.
I’ve been kind of wibbling (that’s a word now) on the whole MMO thing. I haven’t logged into WildStar in weeks, although I’m still subbed. I kind of want to play ArcheAge because it was soooo good in the Alpha but I think it’s a game that will require a fair bit of time and definitely a group of people to play it with and I’m just not sure I want to commit to either. I’ve been nostalgic for RIFT (have I mentioned lately how much I loved Vanilla RIFT huh have I) and its second expansion is just around the corner but then I remember how all of the good hats are on the store now and then I just kind of stare at my Trion World Glyph launcher and make faces.
(Dear MMO companies, stop making custom launchers please.)
So there’s been this little drama going on in the gaming enthusiast community lately. I’ve already said my bit(s) on that, but here are a bunch of good posts that were directly or indirectly inspired by it all:
Where All the Hate Comes From
Events and Opinions of Gamergate
[Problem Players] Guild culture, game culture, gamer culture (with notes on GamerGate)
The War on Terrible
Your Voice Matters
Be Awesome Human Beings
“I Don’t Read ‘x’ Because of ‘y’” Gets It Wrong
“I Am Gamer.”
Meanwhile, I tested a recipe for local dessert favorite, Nanaimo Bars. They were delicious.
I’m about 4 episodes into The Leftovers, and it’s pretty good so far. It reminds me of the first (and best) season of Lost: vague hints at something supernatural, and very in-depth character studies. The show is currently in the middle of its first season on HBO.
My favorite K-Pop group, Block B, put out another song you guys! It was released in July apparently but I just noticed it.
The channel trailer for Cooking With Dog.
I saw this graffiti in Vancouver:
Meanwhile on Twitter I was happy to see Catching Fire appear on Canadian Netflix:
Katniss let's hang out and braid each other's hair and talk about revolution. <3
— Jessica Cook (@Liores) September 7, 2014