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Messages - Dincrest

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Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: Yesterday at 07:53:18 PM »
I had some time to read more Lord of the Rings.  I'm in the middle of the chapter "Treebeard" in The Two Towers.  I must say, this and the preceding chapter "The Uruk-Hai" have been two of my favorites because they're Merry and Pippin chapters.  Merry and Pippin actually have personalities, unlike everyone else (particularly the folks in the Fellowship) who are all just boring slabs of exposition.  Like, when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli talk, I have trouble telling who's who since none of them have distinctive personalities and have all just been interchangeable mouthpieces for exposition.  Aside from Merry and Pippin, only Treebeard has shown a personality.  Tolkien's worldbuilding is incredible, but his characters leave much to be desired. 

One thing is bugging me from the Uruk-Hai chapter, though.  When Grishnakh
Spoiler: show
frisks Merry and Pippin for the McGuffin in order to stage a mutiny against Ugluk, Pippin teases him by saying, "Gollum, gollum" and referring to the ring as "my precious."  HOW?!?!?!?!  There is NO WAY that Pippin had any prior knowledge of Gollum to even know to do that.  And no amount of logic-leaping rigmarole is making this make sense to me. 

The Soundroom / Re: Holiday music thread (tis the season)
« on: Yesterday at 06:26:53 PM »
My favorite Charlie Brown holiday song by Vince Guaraldi is "Little Birdie" from Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. 

And here's another fun one: Deck the Halls by Kasio Kristmas (it's instrumental)

The Soundroom / Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« on: December 11, 2017, 06:16:56 PM »
Oh.  (I have no idea who Kendrick Lamar is, so that's all I can say.  I live under a rock and mostly listen to obscure metal and punk.)

EDIT: On another note, my biggest disappointment for 2017 is the self-titled debut album from Prophets of Rage, a supergroup featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill.  Now, Public Enemy is my favorite rap group and Rage Against the Machine is one of my favorite bands (songs like RATM's "Bulls on Parade" and Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get to Arizona" still sound dangerous to this day.)  However, Prophets of Rage sounds rather... toothless.  Chuck D is a rap legend who's not afraid to "go there" and drop intense knowledge and RATM was such an explosive and innovative band... but none of that is present in Prophets of Rage.  It all sounds very superficial, very surface-level, too safe and too sanitized to the point of being almost politically correct.  I mean, these are times that demand explosively powerful music that can inspire a revolution and Prophets of Rage says they want to do that, but this album is too shallow to really do that.  It lacks danger.  The lyrics are hollow and the riffs lack creativity.  I should NOT be saying those things about Chuck D and RATM, since Chuck D is known for his incredible lyricism and RATM is known for their unbridled creativity.  Chuck D was able to rap strong with Anthrax, but is woefully overpowered by the guys in RATM.  And B-Real's performances feel phoned in.  I wanted to like this album, but came away feeling like I completely wasted my time listening to it.  They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and this was a terrible album founded on good intentions.

Sons of Apollo is a supergroup done right.  Prophets of Rage, on the other hand, is a supergroup gone wrong, where the whole is far less than the sum of its parts.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: December 09, 2017, 02:32:15 PM »
Been jamming a lot on my bass during this snowy Saturday and in less than a day, I've already made more progress on my new musical project than I have in weeks.  Okay, it helps that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel regarding a ton of things happening in my life and I actually had some time to sit down and play. 

Being a bassist has been a part of my identity for most of my life and I simply love playing bass.  And most people I meet perceive me as someone who'd be a bass player.  However, a few years ago when I was rehearsing with Pool of Thorns for a gig, someone in the band told me I'd make a better guitar player than a bass player.  This struck me totally out of left field and I can't figure out why.  I've never played guitar before, the few times I picked one up just felt strange to me (guitars feel like fragile little twigs that make my fingers feel all smushed up) and I've never once perceived myself as a guitar player.  Even in my musical history, I was primarily a bass clef instrumentalist: baritone horn in the school band and then took bass lessons privately.  Sure, I'd kinda like to be able to play keyboards so I can compose music better (and my bass teacher did teach me to read both bass and treble clef) but in my heart and soul I am a bassist and the other instrument I'd most want to learn to play is the drums. 

The Soundroom / Holiday music thread (tis the season)
« on: December 09, 2017, 11:46:20 AM »
Xmas/Holiday music.  Some people love it.  Some people hate it.  So let's spread some holiday musical cheer with our favorite yule-time music. 

I was one of the Xmas music haters until my friend Ray did a "Punk Rock Xmas" compilation of wild, weird, wacky, and out there Xmas music.  Here are some of the piece from his compilation that I really like:

"Christmas in Las Vegas" by Richard Cheese

"The Season's Upon Us" by Dropkick Murphys (lyrics kinda NSFW)

"Christmas Party" by Dead Milkmen

"Happy New Year" by Spike Jones and the City Slickers

"Winter Wonderland" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

"The Night Santa Went Crazy" by Weird Al

"Oi to the World" by The Vandals

"My Mother Gave Me a Gun for Christmas" by The Pork Dukes (That song amuses me, because the bridge where he sings about a Coca Cola ICBM reminds me of the Pepsi missiles in Project A-Ko)

"Xmas has been X'd" by NOFX

"Credit Crunch Christmas" by Toy Dolls

"Homo Christmas" by Pansy Division (This one is a VERY NSFW song, but hilarious):

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" by Bad Religion

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: December 05, 2017, 07:57:44 PM »
I have no problem with the oversized letters and welcome them.  My biggest complaint in, like, all my recent game reviews is fonts that are too small and that there are no menu options to increase font sizes.  It's also why I favor my e-reader over real books, because with the touch of a button I can make the fonts bigger and read my fantasy tomes without straining my eyes. 

So this ornery old man is anything but ornery about this development and will probably complain more if these young whippersnappers take away the large print. 

For some reason, the theme song for the Heathcliff cartoon from the 1980s has been stuck in my head all weekend.  What's interesting is that, thanks to the Internet, I found the actual lyrics of the song and some of them are very different from what I thought they were as a kid.  Gotta love misheard lyrics.  So I'll be posting the lyrics along with the ones I misheard (and I actually kinda like some of mine better.  They'll be in orange)  The most notable of my mishearings is "Johnny Never-there" which my kid brain thought was a euphamism for someone who's really out of the loop and misses out on stuff.  Either that, or someone who's lost a competition so badly it's as if they were never there.

Heathcliff, Heathcliff, no one should
Terrify their neighborhood
But Heathcliff just won't be outdone (But Heathcliff just won't be undone)
Playing pranks on everyone

There's a race to be on top
The competition doesn't stop
Mixing with the ladies fair (Mixing with the ladies there)
Being charming, debonair (Beating "Johnny Never-there")

The gang will reign supreme
And no one can deny
They'll make some history (To make 'em history?!?)
And always have an alibi (They'll always have another bite)

So join in the jubilee
The cats are great, they'll all agree
You'll find in each calamity (Fighting each calamity)
The cat's superiority (With cat superiority)

Heathcliff, Heathcliff, no one should
Terrify the neighborhood
But Heathcliff just won't be outdone (But Heathcliff just won't be undone)
You should realize, he can win it WITH YOU!

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: December 04, 2017, 05:06:49 PM »
One of the guys I dormed with in college said it best after a squirrel got into our suite: "Squirrels are cute when they're outside.  When they're inside, they're little monsters."

Two songs of the moment:

One is "Revolving Door" by Jordan Rudess.  I was driving my mom somewhere and this album came up randomly on my iPod and after we got home, my mom was humming some of this.  It was like modern classical to her and to me it's like the orgy love child of all my favorite video game soundtracks.  Even though Derek Sherinian is my favorite keyboardist, Rudess is a keyboard god.

My other song of the moment is "Desert Song" by Def Leppard.  For some reason, that song just popped into my head when I was taking a shower.  I must say, this is one of the best, if not the best, Def Leppard song and easily one of my top 3 favorite songs by them.  I used to be a huge Def Leppard fan.  In fact, the first concert I ever went to was Def Leppard.  And the album cover art for Retro-Active is absolutely sick!

The Soundroom / Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« on: November 23, 2017, 06:50:59 AM »

Is that a reaction to the album I linked to, the fact that we found so much killer music this year, something else, or all of the above? 

For me, It's definitely a "whoa!" that I found so much amazing music this year.  Maybe because music re-entered my life in a poignant way, I'm in the mindset where I'm more attuned to finding what's out there. 

The Soundroom / Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« on: November 22, 2017, 07:41:37 PM »
So far...

5) Darkest Hour- "Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora"

4) Efe Tozan- "The Last Birdling soundtrack" (The Last Birdling was a VN I reviewed for the site and gave an Editor's Choice to.)

3) DragonForce- "Reaching Into Infinity"

2) Burial Mound- "Relics of a New Age"

1) Sons of Apollo- "Psychotic Symphony"

With the exception of The Last Birdling, I've spoken at length about them in the Song of the Moment thread.

As I mentioned in the Song of the Moment thread, it looks like I have another album to put on my ever-growing list.  "Qualia" by Analyzed Consequences.  I just discovered this band today.  They're from Bangalore, India (I have family from there) and they're an instrumental prog-metal band.  I love how the music so effortlessly incorporates ragas from Indian classical music.  I always felt that Indian classical music lends itself really well to metal.  "Colour" and "Nerves" are probably my two favorite songs on this EP, though all of them are good.

That i built the sky song was pretty darn cool.  Speaking of instrumental prog metal, I just discovered this band today.  They're called Analyzed Consequences and they're from India (specifically Bangalore.  I have a lot of family from there.)  I might have to put the Qualia EP among my picks for favorite album of 2017, it's so good.  I love how the music so effortlessly incorporates ragas from Indian classical music.  I always felt that Indian classical music lends itself really well to metal.  "Colour" and "Nerves" are probably my two favorite songs on this EP, though all of them are good.

EDIT: My other song of the moment is "Little Birdie" by Vince Guaraldi.  It's my song of the moment because I must have seen Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 3 or 4 times this week.  I can never get enough Charlie Brown and Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite Peanuts holiday special.  And that song is so good and happily stuck in my head.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:42:35 AM »
And if I am to look at things like the credit crunch crisis, the subprime mortgage fallout, and all that good stuff, I'd venture to guess that a significant percentage of the parent generation wasn't very good at that "business/consumer math" thing either and it's blind leading the blind at best, if there's any teaching being done at all. 

And I look at my late father.  Genius chemical engineer, probably the most brilliant man I'll ever know.  But his financial savvy left much to be desired.  He grew up in a very wealthy family, but through a Murphy's Law domino effect of bad business deals with shady people, the family lost everything.  All of a sudden, he had nothing and he had never been acclimated to being without.  That's why he totally fell victim to the "buy now, pay later" paradigm of the credit crisis, because he could never come to grips with having caviar tastes on a grilled cheese budget. 

I have a naturally common sense financial savvy, but the system is complicated.  Financing a car, mortgaging a home, interest rates on credit cards, making heads/tails of the most sensible insurances to get, financing your higher education... it's challenging stuff for anybody, whether you have a PhD or a GED.  Yeah, we expect "normal" people to get it or be taught that, but how many really are taught it well, if at all?  For every one of me with excellent credit, there are tens of thousands who have piss poor credit and could not get approved for diddly squat.  They were never taught properly if at all.  So having one yearlong business/consumer math class isn't going to hurt anything.  It will actually help. 

Plus, again, special needs students NEED to be taught business/consumer math, especially so that they can advocate for themselves regarding how their SSI is utilized.  Things that come naturally to us neurotypicals do not come naturally to those with developmental delays or whatnot.  So it's more important to teach them financial acumen over y=mx +b.  Mom and dad won't be around forever, so it's important to make sure they have the tools to be independent.  And an important tool is business/consumer math. 

I'm fine with school math requirements having theoretical components like an algebra class and a geometry class, but the third year math requirement should be applied business/consumer math so you don't fail at life.

Three cheers for civics and business/consumer math!

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: November 18, 2017, 10:42:38 PM »
When I was taking theoretical math classes in high school, my question was always, "When the hell am I ever going to use this in life?"  I would have benefited more from a Business/Consumer math class that taught me about balancing checkbooks, financing the purchase of a car, applying for a mortgage, credit cards/the importance of maintaining good credit, basically applied mathematics that I can apply to the real world.  I wish I had more of that.  Business/Consumer Math is considered a special-ed math course, yet it's something I think all students would benefit from. 

I never had intentions of being an engineer (which is where calculus would have been useful in real life).  Math was always my poorest subject.  I tended to get Cs and Ds in math despite working twice as hard as the other kids (I may have had an undiagnosed learning disability) whereas I could get As in Language Arts and World Language like it was nothing.  Yet, if I was learning math in a way that made more concrete sense to me, that I could apply to the real world and truly hang my hat on, it would have clicked with me.  The only time I ever used a polar equation was in Precalc class and I've never multiplied cosine times theta since then. 

I'm not a big fan of the blanket "one size fits all" curricula.  To say that "ALL children will learn geometry" like many of these blanket initiatives proclaim is ludicrous.  When you have students with traumatic brain injuries who can barely write their own names without tracing them, do you expect them to learn and comprehend 10th grade geometry at a 10th grade pace?  No.  Those students need life skills, and math is practical- a lot of it is going over counting money so they don't get taken advantage of.  And because of their brain trauma, you sometimes have to go over the same lessons 1000 times over because they have limited powers of retention due to their injuries. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: November 18, 2017, 06:29:02 AM »

@Electricb7 The kicker is that "Business and Consumer Math" and other living-skills type math classes are reserved for students with some sort of special needs IEP or something.  I think a Business and Consumer Math class should be mandatory over more theoretical math courses.  Pythagorean Theorems don't do you much good when you're trying to navigate getting a mortgage for your first home or something.

Ive always preached that code/programming, engineering, credit and finances should be mandatory classes in schools. Tech me how to do any of these things over History, or some unorthodox math class and you will most likely have increased my chances off success.

I would respectfully disagree with you on history/social studies.  I think it's important to learn that because history often repeats itself (look at how much we compare Trumps rise to power to that of past demagogues) and learning where we've come from and why things are how they are is important.  What's the point of living in a country if we never learn that country's constitution?  However, I do think civics (practical aspects of citizenship, how the government works, more pertinent "social studies" stuff) needs to make a big return to the social studies curriculum (which, to this day, most people just think of as "dates and wars.")  I had to pass a civics test as part of my US citizenship process and it's said that 1 in 3 Americans would flunk it. 

I love history and am fascinated by it, but I learned more on my own as an adult than I did in school.  But the stuff that stuck with me was the civics stuff I learned in the 4th grade, like the 3 branches of government. 

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