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Messages - Dincrest

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General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: December 28, 2018, 06:20:06 AM »
Oh no!  I am NOT fooled by that cuddly ball of floof.  Badgers can be highly aggressive and downright ferocious beasts. 

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: December 26, 2018, 05:41:30 PM »
I just finished reading Masters of Deception by JC Kang.  In the Dragon Songs Saga quartet, there is a two year gap between book 1 (Songs of Insurrection) and book 2 (Orchestra of Treacheries.) Masters of Deception is the beginning of that "between books" adventure that some characters refer to in Orchestra of Treacheries and even the third book (Dances of Deception) but keep somewhat tight-lipped about.

Masters of Deception is a tightly focused, exciting, and action packed adventure where an unlikely ragtag group of misfits and miscreants (which includes audience-favorite character Jie) in a wholly foreign land somehow band together and save the day without killing each other in the process. I still have more questions than answers and want to read more of this sub-series, but Masters of Deception blooms the Dragon Songs Saga mythos in much the same way that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did for Star Wars.

Sameer was one of my favorite characters in The Dragon Songs Saga, so it was great to see him getting additional character development. Given his looks and attitude (hot-headed, impetuous, "strike first and ask questions later") he could very well be a young version of one of my cousins, albeit with a more altruistic leaning.

My only issues with the book are that some spellings of place names were inconsistent (e.g. the main setting is called Tokahia, but the map page says Tohakia in big letters; the Bovyan capitol is called Tilesite in Dragon Songs Saga but is spelled Telesite here). Late in the novel, one major event happened in a jarringly sudden manner. It needed to happen, but its occurrence didn't feel organically built up and its resolution felt rushed. And given the creative nomenclature used in the other books, I would have liked to see the organized crime syndicate given a more original and creative name than "mafia."

Despite its flaws, I'm still totally invested in JC Kang's world of TIvaralan, and look forward to reading more adventures.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: December 10, 2018, 08:49:59 PM »
I've heard of people physically cheating on their partners, I've heard of people emotionally cheating on their partners, but I've not heard of people culinarily (is that even a real word?) cheating on their partners.  Real life is so much more interesting than any anime or manga.  And this is from a guy who's lived equivalencies of Yowamushi Pedal and possibly Detroit Metal City. 

As for my haps, nothing beyond the usual: work, fitness, RPGFan, reading, housekeeping, voice over stuff, music, and working on that public speaking side hustle.

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: December 10, 2018, 08:31:13 PM »
I just finished Symphony of Fates, the final book in the the 4-book Dragon Songs Saga series by J.C. Kang.  Whew, that book was a barnburner!  I'm glad I stumbled upon this series, because I'd spent so much time "dating" various books to find my next read, and this series (despite its flaws) gave me my reading spark back, left me wanting more, and sets itself up for further adventures that I would happily read since the ending may have answered a lot but it also left some old and new questions.  My favorite book of the series was probably book 2 (Orchestra of Treacheries). 

I'll be the first to say that this series sorely needed a more careful editor to not only smooth out various syntax errors throughout the books, but to also iron out a few noticeable plot (and occasionally character) inconsistencies.  I also felt that sometimes big events happened too quickly with characters becoming slaves to the plot.  Still, the vibrant worldbuilding, visceral action scenes, wonderfully paced storytelling, and some cool characters (e.g. Jie, Sameer, Ming) transported me to another world and made me want to keep reading.  I said it before and I'll say it again, I think these books would adapt incredibly well into movies.       

I know the author is working on companion books that chronicle various side characters' adventures between the main books, the first of these being Masters of Deception that takes place between book 1 (Songs of Insurrection) and book 2 (Orchestra of Treacheries).  Masters of Deception just came out this year and is next on my "to read" list.  In Orchestra, some characters (including Jie) referred to their "adventure from two years ago" but remained mostly tight-lipped about it, making me (and Princess Kaiya) all the more intrigued as to what happened in that between-book span.  But now, unlike Princess Kaiya, I can sate my curiosity.   

There is also an adventure between book 2 (Orchestra of Treacheries) and book 3 (Dances of Deception) that some side characters reference in both Dances (book 3) and Symphony (book 4), so I hope that's chronicled next.  My favorite part in Symphony was the banter between Jie and Ming, so I want to know more about their crazy adventure between Orchestra and Dances.       

The Soundroom / Favorite albums of 2018
« on: December 08, 2018, 09:35:42 AM »
I know 2018 isn't over just yet, but it's been such an incredible year for music (at least for me) that I'm ready to jump the gun a little on this "let's share our favorite music of 2018" thread. 

Before I get into my favorite albums, let's get some side stuff out of the way: 

A) My Favorite music video of 2018: Dream State "New Waves"
It's a simple, yet powerful video.  I love how the band is in a bright room with all the positive affirmations and it occasionally cuts to CJ in a dark room fighting with all her negative thoughts. 

B) Most notable music news (to me) of 2018: Rush deciding to disband back in January and call it a night.  Rush was one of the best bands to ever walk the Earth.  Geddy Lee was a bass god, Neil Peart was a drum god, Alex Lifeson was one of the finest guitarists out there, and their music was always evolving.  I'm sad that I never got to see these masters live.

Now, my favorite albums of 2018:
1) Graveshadow "Ambition's Price" (metal)
I can't stop listening to this album.  I haven't been thrilled with Graveshadow's past work, despite being a fan of Heather's incredible vocals.  However, I'm all about second chances and am glad I gave Ambition's Price a listen.  This album straight up crushes like it's spent 3 years at the gym and gained several kilograms of Hulk muscle.   

2) Dream State "Recovery" (rock)
Not only can I not stop listening to this album, I wish I had the magic to have every student in the high school I teach at listen to this.  Dream State has poppy hooks, raw heaviness, heartfelt lyrics that send sincerely positive messages, and the palpable heart and soul in CJ's voice is a gut punch.  I also like that she doesn't wear ridiculous "sex kitten" outfits.  She's a jeans and t-shirt gal who lets her music do the talking.  Definitely one of the coolest new bands I've come across. 

3) Skeletonwitch "Devouring Radiant Light" (metal)
I respect 2007's Beyond the Permafrost as a modern metal classic, but I vastly prefer listening to this album as it's more my style of metal.  I love the direction Skeletonwitch is going in with their new vocalist. 

4) Raymond Strife "Go For The Gusto" (hip-hop)
I've known Ray for years and he's always been a unique voice in hip-hop.  This accidental concept album that sees Ray at his most ambitiously creative is simply unreal.

5) Rivers of Nihil "Where Owls Know My Name" (metal)
This album was less an album and more of an esoteric spiritual journey

6) Bangladeafy! "Ribboncutter" (genre= a deaf bassist and a south-Asian drummer playing whatever they damn well please)
Bangladeafy!'s already mind-melting music is taken up several notches with this crazy-nuts album that will liquefy your brains into soup. 

7) TIE: Dysmorphic "An Illusive Progress" and Apophys "Devoratis" (metal)
I haven't been a fan of 2010's era technical death metal.  A lot of it was just soundalike technical-wankery-riff-salad.  However, Dysmorphic and Apophys both showcase intriguing and well thought-out songwriting chops here along with musical complexity.  Both albums are pretty much on equal footing, though I prefer Dysmorphic's bass and Apophys' vocals.   

8) KR Arguelles "Seeker" (solo guitar in the vein of Joe Satriani)
I love guitar.  I love video games.  I love guitar music inspired by video games.  This guy needs to be on a legit video game soundtrack.

9) Damian Coccio "Inner Ponds" (jazz/new wave)
These solo bass guitar compositions are the kind of music you just want to let wash over you  and inspire deeper thoughts while you're sitting in a parlor contemplating. 

10) Diamante "Coming in Hot" (power pop/rock)
This was my biggest surprise of the year.  Somehow, the song "Bulletproof" caught my ear and said, "give this artist a chance."  I'm glad I did.  I thought it would be a decent power-pop album I could jam with every once in a while, but it turned out to be a totally rocking record!  I feel like Diamante occupies that limbo where it's too heavy for the radio/top-40 pop crowd but not heavy enough for the "rawk!" crowd. 

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.

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