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of lesser ideas and concepts

9/18/08 12:02 am - you gotta choose your sides

to say that life is busy would be a hilarious understatement.

there's a huge advertising thing in development at Nerve that i helped conceptualize. Charles is giving 100% of his time to developing it, so pretty much all of the editorial content has fallen to me. plus, things are never that simple, so everybody keeps thinking they can slip other "minor" projects to me, and everything is "priority" so it just gets confusing and disorienting. sometimes its infuriating, but i'm also really happy to be busy and actually pulling this shit off well. today was so intense that i decided "I deserve a fucking prize for surviving today. I'm going to go buy an iPod Touch." but when i went to the apple store they were completely sold out, with more coming in tomorrow. i'll drop in on my way to the office and see what's up. i do deserve one, and its totally a work-related expense for both Pitchfork (watching music videos and other content) and Nerve (iPod Touch is now being marketed as a gaming device, gotta write about that).

also Stephanie and I have started hanging out again, which is really nice since this time last year we referred to each other as "best friend". i've always said that i can't bring myself to hate stephanie for being such a heinous bitch because whenever we actually do hang out everything just clicks so well. what with the utter dissolution of the MoCCA crew, I feel the need to rebuild my circle of friends. I literally spent months earlier this year without hanging out with anyone and it was not fun.

since the beginning of the year i've lost 30 pounds. i look pretty good, almost as slim as mid-college. my pants are all a good bit looser, though my shirts seem tighter in all the best ways, woo!

been so busy at Nerve i haven't been able to write on the game blog much, which is a shame because i've had a lot of ideas for things to write up and even half written three or four. we're starting to get more recognition from developers in the forms of advance copies of games and possible interviews, which is radtastic. also, i keep going back and forth on the topic of actively enabling a dating life. its another part of my quest to rebuild a circle of friends, really. i feel like my life is getting itself together and i need people around to celebrate with.

8/30/08 11:00 am - takin' care

if you have a Nintendo DS and somewhat intelligent/amusing friends who also have DSes, I hereby implore you to purchase a copy of LOL from Route 24/skip ltd.
Route 24 is the new studio founded and run by Kenichi Nishi, who worked back in the day at Square on games like Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger before forming a series of smaller studios where he made the games Moon, Giftpia and Chibi-Robo, among others. He's a genius and I luff him.
LOL is a strictly multiplayer game. Turn it on with no one else around to play with and all you'll get is the main menu and nothing to do. Up to four players can take turns posing questions to each other and then writing or drawing their own responses, then voting on who had the best idea. That's the whole game, but its AMAZING if you're in good company. Yesterday, at Nerve, we sat around in the lounge area and played a big group session for two and a half hours after the office closed, often doubled over laughing at the obscenely hilarious nonsense we were each writing. Here's an example:
John poses the question "What is Sean Connery wearing right now?" A couple of minutes pass with taunts and muffled chuckles as we each scribble on our respective DS screens. Time to reveal the answers! John has done an extremely indecipherable drawing with the text "A Live Moose As A Hat!" Will has drawn a crude stick figure lying down in tighty-whiteys, clearly mimicking a nearby American Apparel billboard. I have filled the screen with black and erased out the words "The skin of Shia LaBeouf". Much belly-filled laughter follows, along with enthusiastic conversation about each of the replies.
We did this for TWO AND A HALF HOURS before realizing we should all go home. It totally felt like ten minutes.
You only need one copy of the game to enjoy it with up to four players. We have noticed one or two things we are not fond of in the game, but its still the most damn fun any of us have had in a multiplayer game in several years and it managed to get a number of non-gamers in the office engaged in the experience, which was great. Because its such a niche game, its only available online. I ordered mine from the official Agetec website (the North American publisher) and it cost me $19.99 with free shipping and handling. Seems a bit steep a price for such an amazingly simple game, but its SO worth it for the experience and replay value if you have the right friends to play with.

Really exciting things on the horizon at both Nerve and Pitchfork, but I'm not at liberty to talk about any of it just yet. I'm having a lot of fun and really looking forward to the next couple months.

I'm also rather enjoying having the house to myself right now, though not taking advantage of it like I would a few years ago. While in the past I would have invited twenty to fifty people over and partied, the fun I've had this week has involved leaving Folding@Home running on my PS3 all day, exercising more in the morning (so close to my WiiFit goal!), singing often, and eating meals that require a bit more preparation. Mmmm, banana waffles with cherry jam and apple chicken sausage with a glass of pomegranate green iced tea! Tortellini with mini meatballs, mushroom tomato sauce and freshly chopped spinach! Still totally pedestrian meals, nothing of any particular culinary attempt, but much more involved than I usually do. When I make food most of the time I have to either make enough of it for everyone and simple enough to please everyone or make it for myself quickly enough so that I'm already eating it before anyone notices and asks if I've made enough for two. It's a pleasant reminder that I can take care of myself.

7/18/08 07:11 am - i wonder how you say "dancing" in spanish...

i admit, i was somewhat disappointed by the fact that this is a fan-made parody, simply because its SO AWESOME. Danzig and Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie":


"Burrito, Doritos, Fiesta, Antipasta..."

7/13/08 10:11 pm - surrender

This is something i usually do every year and started thinking about in mid-june but kept wavering on. I'm going to just do it now so I have a reference to look back on later on and think that I was being damn stupid at this point in time.

My most-listened-to new albums of the first half of 2008 (albums must have been released after December 31st, 2007, and before July 1st, 2008. As such, both Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago" and Ratatat's "LP3", among others, are disqualified):

1 - Cut Copy's "In Ghost Colours"

After rocking their "So Cosmic" mixtape for several months, I was totally pumped for the new full-length from Cut Copy, and it got some massive play on the iPod once it came out. Almost immediately, the album became the unofficial soundtrack of the P4K office, being played all the freaking time, with various office jokes swirling around the entire thing. Once that finally wore down, the album started getting play on the satellite radio station played in the Nerve office. And then, once a new batch of interns filled the P4K office, they started playing "In Ghost Colours" all over again. After about five seconds of protest from the more long-term P4K staffers, we found our toes tapping, shoulders swaying and halds clapping to the beat again. An album that actually gets better with repeated listens over several months. Extraordinary.

2 - Man Man's "Rabbit Habits"

Seeing Man Man perform live for the first time was a revelation for me. "Six Demon Bag" was an astounding slap to the face of everything else I was listening to in 2006. "Rabbit Habits" is nowhere near as off-kilter or menacing as the previous album, but it maintains the voice and style of Man Man as a band and sounds a whole lot prettier. "Doo Wop" is a coffee shop heart-breaker, "Harpoon Fever" is a dance party set in the middle of Joe versus the Volcano, and "Whalebones" brings it all home with a depression-era blues ballad of lost love. How is this not everybody's favorite album of the year?

3 - The Magnetic Fields' "Distortion"

Its hard to remember that "Distortion" was the first new album of 2008 in my collection, mostly because it leaked back in 2007 and I enjoyed it a lot back then. Nonetheless, I still listened to it regularly well into March, so it demands a place on this list. Certainly not the most consistent album from the fabulous Mr. Merritt (unless you count the titular fuzzy noise) but when it's on, it's really fucking on. Though its been played to death in the past six months, tracks like "California Girls," "The Nun's Litany," and "Courtesans" are among the most perfectly crafted pop songs Stephin has ever crafted.

4. The Mae Shi's "Hlllyh"

This is the album that was playing my very first day working in the P4K office. It was catchy yet completely foreign. We listened to it many times. Once I got around to procuring my own copy and listening, it was still catchy and distant, but the repeated religious allusions made me uncomfortable, which only added to how unusual the whole thing was. What the hell are these guys? Post-punk? New wave? Gospel crunk? I can't make heads or tails of this madness, but damn if it isn't fun to listen to. I'll even forgive them that "Divine Harvest" is almost a note-for-note recreation of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" when there are other nuggets of brilliance in "The Melody," "Run To Your Graves," "Young Marks," and, of course, "Pwnd."

5. Semifinalists' "2"

This one's cutting it close, as it only came out in Europe at the very end of June, but the new album from Semifinalists was easily my most anticipated album of the year and I was not let down. The 80's new wave styling of "Last Pretending," the prog-vamping of "Odd Situation," the aggressive electro persuasions of "The Manuscript," its clear that the boys of Semifinalists have taken all of their proclivity to multi-instrument dissonance demonstrated on their 2006 debut and crafted it into twelve of the most fully realized pop songs I've heard in my life. This album will certainly not make Semifinalists a household name, but it should easily make a fan of anyone willing to listen to just a couple of tracks with an open mind.


There we go. Only half a year, so only half of a top-ten style list. I'm curious to see which of these remain in my favorites for the end of the year...

7/9/08 10:29 pm - my male Starley's name is Harvey (bird-man)

Upon completing another long day of work, John and I engaged in our first ever Pokémon battle (we're both new to playing Pokémon in only the past week or so and at the exact same point in the game). After thoroughly kicking his ass (knocked out all six of his monsters without tiring out a single one of mine), the following exchange took place:

Me: Well, now I understand why eight-year-olds all over the world are addicted to this game.
John: For real. Man, can you imagine what it must have been like to play this as a teenager? You'd be addicted!
Me: I probably never would have talked to a girl ever. Not even thought about it.
John: Oh yeah, definitely! Pokémon would just dominate the mind at that crucial age in development.
Me: Come to think of it, I had friends who played Pokémon Red & Blue in middle school and I don't think any of them had girlfriends throughout... well... ever. I was going to say school, but I don't think any of them have even since then!

Its sad because its true. Its also sad that i'm REALLY enjoying Pokémon Diamond right now. It started off horribly slow, and hardly anything has happened yet, but I have enough of the little creatures and they're starting to evolve and its just delightful.

7/6/08 12:13 pm - Mixtape Vol. 18: Summer 2008



Had the tracklist ready by early June, burned and printed a bunch of copies on the summer solstice for some friends, now I've gone and set it up as a streaming audio player on my website.

Just click this link to listen to it at your leisure. Keep it open in the background while you're working or something.

Enjoy!

6/29/08 10:26 pm - i'll call you when i'm rich and famous

so last saturday's New York Times Metro Section included an article on college graduates who found their way into the workplace. one of the kids they interviewed for the piece was my friend Eavvon at P4K. the NYTimes reporter and photographer happened to come by the office for a follow up with him while i was in the office, and the back of my head inadvertently found its way into print:

you can read the article here, but really, who cares? you just saw the best part right there. :p

also in the world of employment, i'm starting to feel like a real member of the team at Nerve, as last week i was asked for advice on video production, actionscripting, animation, and rss coding. oh yeah, and i make pretty pictures and write about video games. plus, last week a kind of awesome publisher asked for my resumé. probably nothing will come of it, but still, neat-o.

after the Guns N Roses leak came out a week and a half ago followed by the new Girl Talk album i felt the sudden urge to listen to Nirvana, so i ripped Bleach, Nevermind, and In Utero to my iTunes and have been rocking them steadily. sadly, i then stumbled across the new debut LP from Natalie Portman's Shaved Head and listened to it about a bajillion times. "Beard Lust" is just about the wackiest song of the year.

i've been thinking about coming up with my annual list of best albums of the half-year. i have favorites, but a number of them actually haven't come out yet, as i've been listening to a lot of advances all year. hands down, the most-listened-to album released so far in '08 is Cut Copy's "In Ghost Colours," a dance album that actually gets better with each listen, even several months later. my second most-listened-to is almost certainly Semifinalists' "2", which finally came out this past month. so glorious, that album is.

6/20/08 10:41 pm - KORG DS-10

i've been anticipating this piece of software for months. good to see it still looks so freaking awesome:

6/19/08 11:42 pm - though i may try five times a night...

two bits of musical awesomeness for you lovely peeps.

ripped the newish Chin Chin cd last week. I absolutely fell in love with this track when it popped on my iPod a few days later:


Stereogum is hosting a remix album by RAC and its fantastic. I listened to it at least five times through today. Much love:



ah, that's some classy tunes right there...

6/18/08 11:27 pm - so let's be nice to them

Eavvon and I were watching a whole mess of Kangaroo Alliance videos last week in the P4K office when we came across this one for The Buddy System's "Return to Horse Mountain":

obviously, he then was able to acquire it for the site.

i love kangaroo alliance. the only video podcast i ever subscribed to was theirs, though i did watch the channel frederator podcast and the liam lynch podcast on other people's computers (my old comp was not video-happy). kangaroo alliance's of Montreal video ("Wraith Pinned to the Mists") was of course a huge success as far as indie rock videos go on the internet, but i also flipped my shit for their video for the Salteens' "Animals Are Friends" on Yo! Gabba Gabba.

here's another great one they did, again for The Buddy System (which, conveniently enough, Kangaroo Alliance happen to be members of). this one's called "Clap Paws":
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