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Messages - Goblin Shark

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Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: November 10, 2018, 07:39:34 AM »
I finished Dances of Deception a couple of days ago and now look forward to reading Symphony of Fates to see how Kaiya's harrowing saga ends before heading into Masters of Deception (which takes place between books 1 and 2 and stars a couple of the cooler side characters in Kaiya's story).  Man, those last few chapters of Dances of Deception were INTENSE!  Whew!  And it looks like book 4 will be an absolute barnburner.  I'm not even sure how I randomly stumbled onto this series, but I am so glad I did.

A couple of days ago, I saw the film Bohemian Rhapsody in my local recliner theater.  I had a great time watching it.  Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury was out of this world.  I also loved that the film was not a heavy-handed documentary but rather a rollicking rock opera.  It took some creative liberties, to be sure, but what movie doesn't?  This was meant to be a rock opera film, not a heavy handed thesis level documentary.  Basically, the reason I liked it is the reason many critics hated it.  I often felt that exhilaration I felt either seeing live bands or performing on stage myself, and that feeling is not easy to replicate in a movie (which is a more passive experience to me.)  And learning that Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara (a Parsi whose parents were from Gujarat, India) makes him even cooler!  One of the greatest rock stars to ever walk this Earth was essentially my ethnicity.  Boss!

Queen is simply one of the greatest bands to ever walk this Earth.  Forget about Freddie's multi-octave vocal range for a second.  Brian May is easily one of the finest guitarists alive.  Roger Taylor is an incredibly dynamic drummer.  And John Deacon is one of the most underrated bassists out there.  If you take the bass out of any Queen song, it's trash.  Dude has the groove, the pocket, and the chops. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 27, 2018, 06:04:17 PM »
Nothing wrong at all with the forum, beyond the fact that only a few of us still hang out here.  Heck, even I only pop my head in occasionally these days.  It's still like the Cheers bar, ya know?

EDIT: Anyway, my weekend haps: Halloween Comic Fest on Saturday was a bust, but today's (Sunday) music studio recording session was fantastic.  Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: October 21, 2018, 08:23:54 AM »
Although I'm 26-ish chapters into Dances of Deception and am absolutely loving it, I'm reporting about something else I read yesterday: Archie vol. 4 by Mark Waid and my reaction to it is OMGWTF?!?!?!?!  in a good way.  That cliffhanger at the end... whew!  I simply cannot get over how good this series is.  Here's the crazy part- this series is making me question life itself.  I know that's hyperbole, but I've always been firmly "Team Betty" my entire life, but this series is making me rethink that.  Veronica is totally growing on me.

Last Wednesday, I got the comic I preordered: The Source #1.  It's a new series from Scout Comics.  I felt like a lot of whirlwind events happened with no time to explain what the hell is going on (much like how the protagonist is feeling), so I'm left with more questions and no answers.  Despite some shaky storytelling and what seem to be a couple of mistakes that weren't caught in the editing/proofreading phase, I'm interested enough to both see what happens next and hopefully get some exposition.  So, yeah, I preordered the next two issues at my local comic book store, because I think this series will get its sea-legs over time.

This Bollywood hit was my jam back in 1994 and I still love it:

There is a new/modern cover/redux of the song that came out last year, but it's trash compared to the original. 

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: October 06, 2018, 08:07:54 PM »
12 chapters into Dances of Deception (book 3 in The Dragon Songs Saga) and I'm loving it.  The first book was good, the second book was even better since the scope widened a bit and the characters matured.  And now the third book is opening up even more and getting into more globalized Game of Thrones style political intrigues. 

Oh, and I just finished Mark Waid's Archie vol. 3.  I enjoyed it, though I can see why many fans wouldn't, since it focused a lot on Cheryl Blossom's catfight with Veronica and didn't flesh out the Sayid/Betty arc, though it's easy enough to fill in the blanks.  Still, it had some good Archie/Jughead moments, gave some spotlight to Moose and Dilton, and it deepened Veronica's character. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 05, 2018, 07:24:15 PM »
Haps... I attended the funeral of a dear uncle today.  He was my mom's cousin who was not only tight with my mom and her father (my grandfather who passed away in 2001), but he was incredibly tight with my late father.  This uncle was easily my dad's favorite drinking buddy.  I remember during holidays and big family gatherings, the two of them would talk for hours about their jet-setting world travels over bottles of scotch.  Well, now uncle, my father, and my maternal grandpa are three-musketeering it in the afterlife, going on wild adventures and enjoying plenty of cognac, scotch and beer.  (My grandfather loved cognac, my uncle loved scotch, my dad loved good beer.)

And in thinking about current media lightning rod Brett Kavanaugh, I'm not a fan of him at all.  If he sexually assaulted women with no compunction, then I think his questionable moral compass makes him unfit to be a judge.  If he did not sexually assault women, I think his petulant, defensive, thin-skinned, yelling-and-screaming comportment throughout this ordeal makes him emotionally and behaviorally unfit to be a judge.  I don't want a judge who lacks decent morals and has a volatile and immature temperament. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 03, 2018, 05:26:48 PM »
Take the coffee and mustard and dump em both in the toilet.

Best use of both those things.

When it comes to mustard, I  don't like yellow mustard.  I prefer brown mustard and wasabi. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 01, 2018, 05:24:20 PM »
Japanese mayonnaise in coffee was a thing in the game Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. 

As for haps... not much beyond bicycles, bass guitar, books, and my non-B's: my day job and RPGFan. 

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: September 29, 2018, 06:47:55 PM »
I just finished Orchestra of Treacheries and am looking forward to the third Dragon Songs Saga book.  It feels like I'm now in the part of the JRPG where the party gets split up and you play through their quests before they meet up again.  It also seems the author just released a book that takes place during the 2-year gap between books 1 and 2.  I may read that one eventually.  What can I say?  I'm invested in this series and the intriguing world it's created... warts and all.  I say that because the writing does have some noticeable flaws, some of which have made me shelve books in the past.  I could nitpick those flaws till I'm purple, but none of that matters because these books make me happily want to keep reading.

Ever Forthright's self-titled album is still my absolute favorite album of this decade, but I only recently spent the 3 bucks on Bandcamp to buy the instrumental version of the album, and it is absolutely mind-melting.  I love Chris Baretto's dynamic vocals with the throaty growls and soaring clean singing, but hearing the songs instrumentally really allowed me to pick out interesting nuances.  I always heard something new whenever I listened to the regular album, but the instrumental version of the album gives me even more cool new things to pick out.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 11, 2018, 07:10:40 AM »
Arguments over "objective" vs "subjective" are seldom productive.  I'm of the belief that art can have objective qualities, but that it's pointless to claim that those qualities mean you must appreciate it.  The subjective aspect is simply more important.

I like this.  Great way of putting it. 

I also started tangentially thinking of why and how we each approach reading the way we do.  For example, my aunt is a retired geriatric psychiatrist (who still does some consulting at her hospital).  Because her job was so mentally taxing and draining, she never wanted to read anything too cerebral.  She just wanted to let her brain decompress.  Hence why her bookshelf has lots of trashy novels that you wouldn't expect a learned person to have.  I don't claim that my job is as mentally taxing as that, but working in special education is psychologically draining in its own right.  So that's probably why I sometimes enjoy the more schlocky/pulpy and less cerebral comics, manga, novels, games, anime, etc.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 10, 2018, 09:27:17 PM »
And I'll admit, after learning about some of Frank Miller's militantly prejudiced sociopolitical views, I sold my copy of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  Despite it being an iconic graphic novel, my visceral gut feeling was that I didn't want a book in my house created by someone who would probably not welcome brown people into his. 

Speaking of books, I've recently had people try to convince me that there are objectively "good" and "bad" books.  I think that's rubbish.  Not everything can be measured with a ruler and beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.  One person's pulp is another person's literature.  If the purpose of "art" (and I consider books to be the art of writing) is to inspire, it's important to realize that not everyone takes inspiration from the same sources. 

There are books hailed as masterpieces that I found insufferably painful to read and books regarded as pulp or trash that thoroughly engrossed me.  If you were to make me choose between a literary masterwork like The Scarlet Letter and a pulp novel like one of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, I would pick James Bond because that's closer to what I'd enjoy reading.  I love to read, but don't get all that much time to read for pleasure, so I prefer to use my precious free time to read what I like.  I read for my own satisfaction, not to impress snooty literati. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 10, 2018, 10:51:30 AM »
@Arvis - No, it was actually stemmed from a discussion I was having with some studio musicians I was working with the weekend before.  I was more thinking about this:;topicseen#msg374566 (tl;dr- I liked a band when I was younger, I met the frontman at a festival, he was a complete tool, now I can't listen to his music any more without gagging.) 

I was also thinking about Jaco Pastorius from Weather Report, since our recording engineer is also an accomplished bassist and Jaco came up in our discussion.  Jaco is a god among bassists.  Bassists to this day are still trying to cop his licks and failing miserably.  Jaco was a revolutionary and I probably wouldn't be a bass player if Jaco hadn't revolutionized bass guitar playing. However, he was a raging asshole narcissist.  Sure "it ain't bragging if you can back it up" and he always backed it up, but I can't hero-worship a musician who's a dickhead.  Before Jaco played bass in Weather Report, their bassist was Alphonso Johnson.  Not only is Alphonso one of the finest bass players alive right now, but he is a warm and humble person despite being such an accomplished innovator himself.  My bass teacher introduced me to him when I was 15 and just barely starting out.  That Alphonso was willing to take the time out to chat with a wet-behind-the-ears kid like me about life and music inspired me to both be a better musician and be a better person.  I swore from that day on that if I ever got to his kind of level, I would want to make any kid who met me feel the same way he made me feel.  I'll never forget this one night after a Kryovax show when a kid came up to me all excited and said, "You were awesome!  I always wanted to learn guitar and start a band, but after seeing you, I want to play bass!" 

Regarding Sugiyama specifically, while I do think he's the worst kind of Old Man (being a war crime denying right-wingnut history revisionist and all) I never liked his music in the first place.  Ergo, I don't feel that emotionally shattering "my idol's fall from grace" type thing at all regarding him.  Sugiyama is like those bands I've seen or played shows with who are incredibly skilled at their instruments, play complex patterns effortlessly, and perform with studio level tightness... but I can't remember any of their songs.  In terms of music alone, I do think Sugiyama is overrated but I don't think he's a hack the way I think Motoi Sakuraba is nor an overrated hack the way I think Hitoshi Sakimoto is. 

Truth be told, I've never gotten on with the Dragon Quest series, period.  Dragon Quest is a series I should theoretically adore, but try as I might I could never get into it.  I've played a handful of games including the famed VIII, and though I agree that VIII is one of the finest JRPGs out there, I simply did not vibe with it at all.  It was like being on a date with a great girl but the chemistry wasn't there.  The only Dragon Quest game I enjoyed was Rocket Slime.  That game was super fun!

I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today.  I enjoyed it as a popcorn flick.  I was more interested in seeing it, because I want to see the sequel Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindenwold.  I think Jude Law is pretty cool and I want to see his portrayal as young Dumbledore.   

Anyway, the plot of Where to Find Them  was pretty cliche and progression felt patchy at times, but the visual design was creative (particularly
Spoiler: show
Newt's pocket dimension
).  It stoked my imagination the way the Harry Potter films do and I liked that it was more about adult wizards on an adventure rather than kid wizards.  However, some of the "romantic" interactions came off as adults acting like awkward teens.  I also think that some thematic elements that were barely a blip on the radar and heavily glossed over could be expanded upon to create more grown-up lore for J.K. Rowling's wizarding world.  For example, in examining the way Arthur Weasley and Queenie view muggles/no-majs... both are clearly fascinated by them/us, but how much of their muggle/no-maj enthusiasm is fetishism?

Speaking of expanding J.K. Rowling's world, I hope that Rowling realizes that America is a BIG country (at least 10 states are bigger than the UK) and every region is wildly unique. I hope that the America based magical school Queenie briefly mentions in the film is not the only school of its kind in America.  America is vast and a veritable mosaic of cultures, so it would make sense to me that there would/should be more than just one magical school in this country. 

If you look at Native American mysticism, different tribes have their own unique views, lore, practices, mythologies, traditions, etc. because of their varied and widespread geography.  We typically associate peyote and going on "vision quests" after taking it as something Native American tribes did, but that's limited to tribes who lived in the more southwestern desert regions where peyote grows, since peyote is a cactus.  And then when looking at the influences brought over from abroad, you get unique regional mysticisms like Louisiana voodoo that's an amalgamation of several traditions from the African diaspora.  Leaving the mainland, there are the Inuit traditions in Alaska and the Polynesian ones in Hawaii.  There's also magical creatures.  Folks who grew up in New Jersey would probably be familiar with the Jersey Devil and the Red Lion.  However, those who grew up in the southwest or Puerto Rico would be more familiar with chupacabras. 

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