28.2.10

The Olympics

I've always had a strange relationship with the Olympics. Despite my step-brother being in the business, I have never seemed to manage a huge amount of excitement about the Olympics, summer or winter. I am certainly very pleased and impressed at Canada's showing this year. Go national pride and such. Record setting amount of golds, I believe, and always good for something to talk about when all else fails.

But really, it's sports. And I've never been one to get too excited about sports in general. Rugby is a notable exception, but even then I don't really seek it out. I have always been far more interested and impressed by general physical feats and skills. I like the summer olympics better than the witner for this reason(gymnastics, weight lifting, shot put, etc). I also greatly enjoy strong man competitions and highland games and such.

When it comes to games and direct player competitions, I prefer more cerebral and strateic games. The kind played on a board, with cards or with words. I can appreciate the planning and staffing aspects of soccer, hockey, rugby and such, because they're akin to the sort of math I studied.

But really, I just can't get too excited about sports. I'll watch them if others are watching them, I'll cheer if something cool happens, but I don't actively seek them out.

Except Rugby. Rugby is always awesome.

24.2.10

Final Fantasy

While I've never been a huge gamer, I do play my fair share of video games. Among my favourites are those form the Final Fantasy series. Playing them is akin to reading a fantastic book and seeing it all unfold before your eyes. After almost 13 iterations on the main series alone, though, there have been some wide variations in quality and style. Here are some of my favourites.

Best Music: FInal Fantasy 9

The last one where Nobuo Uematsu composed everything, this one had the best music out of all the series. The whole game had lots of little homages to the previous games, but the music sold it perfectly. From the jazzy tones of the town music, to the creepy organ music of the dungeons, to the epic music of the bosses, the music is always fun to listen to.

Best Characters: FInal Fantasy 6

Very few games can pull off having 14 characters and have them all be meaningful and 3-dimensional. Very few games can pull that off with 4. The sixth game in the franchise had some outstanding characters with very distinct arcs and rewarding progression. From the kingdom retainer so tortured with grief over the loss of his wife and son that his dreams actually become a dangerous dungeon to navigate, to the sasquatch who joins up with you because a little puff ball says so, to the girl with a secret magical heritage that she can't control and the thief who manages to save his girlfriend only long enough for her to say thank you and goodbye.

Best Story: FInal Fantasy Tactics

Though not a true member of the series, the story for this game is just outstanding. Intrigue, mystery, betrayal, redemption, princesses, giants, true love, everything a good fantasy story needs.

Best Side Game: FInal Fantasy 10

Each Final Fantasy has its own little side game that you can play when you need a break form the main plot, and they often have specific rewards in the game of their own. THey're often little card or racing games, but none come close to Blitzball. Like a mix of underwater rugby and soccer, this minigame was so addicitive.

Most Challenging: Final Fantasy 12

While you could be lazy and just grind a lot, playing through the main game of 12 was very challenging. The enemies were tough, you're short on money and gear, lots of enemies get fought at once, everything happens pretty fast. Some of the bosses and hunts especially are very hard.

15.2.10

d'Archangel breaks onto the scene!

As you may or may not be aware, I am part of the exciting new musical sensation d'Archangel that is sweeping the greater KW area!

Well, okay, maybe not sweeping yet...

But we are definitely well on our way. Starting with our first show this Friday(the 19th) at The Hive in downtown Kitchener, we aim to rock hard and always be cool.

I realise that not everyone is into heavy metal, and that is perfectly understandable. However, I might tantalise you a bit to get fence-sitters coming to the show anyway:

For ONE NIGHT ONLY!!! I will have a mohwak, complete with hair dye. Are you really going to pass up the opportunity to see something like that on my head?

You can check out the link above or this one to check out our freshly minted single Situations, and many more will come.

Hope to see you all out on Friday.

10.2.10

Just the Bassics

Bass players are generally the mellower counterpart to the guitarist in a band. Mellower in attitude, anyway. Guitarists tend to be very loud in both their sound and their manner, whereas bass players are more relaxed. This does not mean that the bass guitar cannot be awesome and punch out out, which it can and totally does, but even when it does the players still tend to be fairly groovy and relaxed while it happens.

Here are my favourite 3 bass players that really stand out no matter how they play:

Jaco Pastorius

He was among the many artists who died early, but while he was around(and even now) he was considered the greatest bassist to ever live. This guy is the Jimi Hendrix of the bass guitar. Don't believe me? Check these:
The Chicken, with his big band
Havona, as part of Weather Report

Marcus Miller

Words cannot describe how funky this guy is. He knows exactly when to embellish, he knows exactly when to keep the groove, he knows when to just stay quiet. Plus the dude totally rocks that hat:
Frankenstein
Bruce Lee

John Paul Jones

It may be cliche to speak of Zeppelin as influential to music, but JPJ is often overlooked, even by the band itself. After getting inducted into the hall of fame, John remarked that the band had "finally remembered my phone number". Take a listen into the fat bass in these two classic Zeppelin tunes. The man is rock solid:
Black Dog
Bring it on Home

This is by no means the extent of awesome bass players out there, they just deserve special mention.

8.2.10

Third time is the charm

There are a few things I find become more true about myself as time goes on:

1. I keep meaning to write more but always managing to get committed elsewhere
2. I have mini-encyclopaedic knowledge of random stuff
3. Life keeps happening all the time, and I don't need to wait until something big happens to do something about it.
4. I like pie. Also cookies.
5. Despite all efforts, people somehow think I'm cool.

As a result, this is now blog attempt number 3. I tried to set one up related to mathematics but I ended up running out of things to talk about. I did one for a while relating to my travels, but then I stopped travelling.

SO! Here is the new one. You may thank d'Archangel's drummer, Matt, for the title.

Prepare yourself for the following:

-lists of cool & not-so cool stuff.
-random musings and rants
-general life stuff
-thought experiments
-blatant self-promotion
-declarations of awesome
-miscellaneous bits of etcetera

I aim to update this once or twice a week, so heads up!