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Every year Winter makes its dynamic entry; lights and decorations, snow, joy, everything is the same as before only fifty degrees colder. One of the biggest events of Winter is the holiday season, and to me personally that means Christmas! It's a fantastic holiday as well as a great opportunity to rest for students. And every year I come back to a select soundtrack of songs that remind me of the great event, today I will list those for you. They are in no particular order and also be aware many of them aren't even actual Christmas songs but songs that remind me of Christmas and Winter.
1. "White Reflection" by Two-Mix
Folks I gotta tell you, you'll be hard pressed to hear me say that I don't like my 90's anime laced J-pop. Even as someone that doesn't speak Japanese or even watch anime anymore really, Two-Mix has always had a special place in my heart because they did the music to my favorite anime of all time, Gundam Wing. In addition for doing really good work on other projects, such as Detective Conan, their success seems to be comfortable sat in the 90's not really doing much today. But I love going back to their anime themes, especially the Gundam ones. And this song in particular comes from the movie/OVA Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, the 96 minute finale to the 49 episode mecha classic. I'll save the synopsis for another time, but there are some sick robot fights in there. And in it, we begin and end -- if memory serves me well -- with the Two-Mix song "White Reflection". Fantastic track that really does remind me of Christmas only marginally because Christmas is in the movie but I'll count it. It's a very peaceful to energizing song.
I used to rewatch Endless Waltz every year on the Cartoon Network's Toonami block and then on my own after I got the dvd set. It has been a very long time since I've participated in the tradition but maybe next year I'll watch the whole series again and then cap it off with the movie on New Year's -- when I usually watched it myself, it was actually on New Year's not Christmas. Which still makes sense because that holiday is featured in the movie too.
2. "Let Me Freeze" by ABSRDST
This is actually a new one for me but around this time last year the chiptunes collective Chiptunes = Win released a fantastic album called "chipWINter" (God these people get all of my pun love) which can be found over at bandcamp. And which I strongly recommend you don't just dl for free, but that option is there too.
Anyway this song, just one of the many varyingly Winter related songs by varying artists on the album, is amazing and it reminds me of Winter but also Christmas and makes my top list of songs to get me in the mood for Christmas. It's a tad different from what I normally listened to over the years, which is cool too, but now that I listen to a lot of Chiptunes it's kind of right up my alley.
I will just close out by saying that I have many fond memories of being too drunk and listening to this song, and plan to continue the tradition this year. Also, the new chipWINter album is out, you can find that here. Keep up the great work guys!
3. "Another Winter" by Anamanaguchi
Oh what could I possibly say about Anamanaguchi that hasn't already been said? THEY ARE THE BEST. No seriously, they're so good they beat out my favorite band to see live -- Sorry Motorhead! They're the type of show I go out of my way to see. But anyway, in case you didn't know, they did the OST for the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World game and oh my god you guys, the first time I heard it it ripped my balls off it was so good. I regularly just listen to it for fun or when I'm doing other things. But Listening to "Another Winter" really gets me in that Christmas spirit. The song really resonates with that wonder and magic of snow at night and punching people in the face! Yeah the game was a beat 'em up so a lot of that happens.
That's it really. The only other thing I can say about it is that the song does remind me a little more of Winter in general than Christmas, but oh well that just makes it better and it's still a great addition to this list!
4. "Wizards in Winter" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
It should be no surprise to reveal that I'm into metal, from song #3 if nothing else, and I'm sure you've heard me mention that I like TSO somewhere, like on my podcast, but I like TSO. They blend Christmas music and orchestral/symphonic metal. It's like the celebration of Jesus' birth and Blind Guardian came together. Oh what a combination! And this one is a no brainer for me for yet another reason, to me the injection of classical music into modern metal has always been fascinating. Yngwie did it. Bodom did it. Friedman and Becker did it. After all, what is more metal than a time when plagues killed half of the world's population and you had to go in a pot kept under your bed?
But this post is getting too morbid. And so thus, TSO makes the cut for being Christmas in a way that was not previously imagined and introducing me to the concept of Neo-Classical metal. I just want to see like a Mosh pit full of guys dressed as Santa, I hope this is a thing that happens at their shows.
5. "Red Water" by Type-O Negative
I had to debate putting this one on here, but screw it. "Red Water" makes my list of favorite Christmas songs. Life has two modes, Up and Down. We are joyous but we are also depressed, it's a balance and to ignore either side would be ignorant. It actually is related to Christmas though, just read the lyrics -- of which my favorite is the hilarious line The stockings are hung but who cares IT'S SO APATHETIC
Wake up, it's Christmas mourn
Those loved have long since gone
The stockings are hung but who cares
Preserved for those no longer there
Six feet beneath me sleep
Black lights hang from the tree
Accents of dead holly
(It's growing cold)
I'm seeing ghosts
(I'm drinking old)
Red water chase them away
My table's been set for but seven
Just last year I dined with eleven
God damn yeah, merry gentlemen
(It's growing cold)
I'm seeing ghosts
(I'm drinking old)
Red water chase them away
(Chase them away)
(Chase them away)
It's a song about being lonely on Christmas, I believe. I can personally relate because years back I remember some melancholy Christmas's particularly when I discovered this album and was going through some rough times so this entry is to acknowledge that. Thankfully now I've discovered a way to stay positive and good spirited during Christmas and listening to Red Water now has a sort of bleak nostalgia yet it is appreciative. It's hard to describe so just go listen to the song for yourself and see what you think.
That ends off my top five. There are probably a whole slew of other songs that could've made this list but who has time for that? I love listening to the soundtrack that came with Catherine around Christmas time for some reason. Again that's probably the whole classical music thing. Also yeah, there's one more cool example of Classical music reimagined. I also like regular Christmas music too -- the kind that only gets played during the season.
But I'd like to hear what you think about the list or your favorite songs to listen to around this time in the comments below. Oh and Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all of you!!!
It's funny to me how the Games stop with Gamestop!
Ok that was lame, but it's an already lame and tired topic that I want to talk about today so why not be appropriate about it: Gamestop sucks.
Well I just noticed ok! Not really of course. Gamestop is a store that I have been a patron of for quite some time. Initially it was new when I was younger and only some magical place that would get a visit from the family on birthdays or what have you. But then I grew up and became an adult with finance thingies and a mysterious green slip of paper with a rather repulsive man's face on it. I heard he never smiles because of his horrible teeth! From this point I thought to myself, as an adult gamer my expenses primarily fall in that category, video games and/or electronic goods, so I need to find a good place that provides me with the good I want and with a service that would make the first McDonald's employees look like they were serving you while playing fight club.
blah blah blah, Gamestop isn't so great turns out. So here is the chronology of my loss of interest in Gamestop - and equally so, Gamestop's loss of interest in me, more or less:
1. Gamestop doesn't hire me
That was straw one really. In case you didn't know, now you know that I aspired to be the overworked/underpaid angsty nobody behind a Gamestop counter! My dreams were utterly crushed because they would never hire me.
I get that it's a tough economy to be employed right now but how much does the brand make that they can't afford to hire one extra dude? Even though I had heard horror stories about working for them - though admittedly a few of my friends were ok with the experience - I still wanted to do it. It would be cool I thought to have a job at a game store and get paid for it. Plus you get a discount! Well year after year I would apply and never hear back. Even had a friend who was a manager "put in a good word for me" and still nada. This leads me to believe that Gamestop doesn't want to hire qualified people because I couldn't think of anyone more qualified than me: I was pretty motivated back then I'll have you know!
For real, we could've been a real good match, why'd you have to say no? Now you're just somebody that I used to know~
2. Gamestop introduced POWER UP REWARDS™
Yeah, no thanks. I know the whole John Pinette deal, trust me, if I could give extra money to every Gamestop employee employed today I would because my sympathy lies with the worker. But I don't have that kinda cash because I'm not rich so I don't need to hear about PowerUp Rewards from the little Jehovah's Witnesses that Gamestop has made its employees into. I mean, sometimes you get that one guy that can be downright aggressive about it, Gamestop are you trying to make your customers feel uncomfortable? This is what you are cultivating by forcing them to do it every single time - and the over the phone mantras too.
So to that well dressed and in shape guy that was cool in my eyes for letting me cut ahead, opening a new register for me up until the moment a crusty phrase passed through his lip. POWERUP REWARDS MEMBER Sorry dude, I'm just here to buy a shitty game from a shitty company and I don't know who to feel more sorry for, honestly.
3. Gamestop seemingly 86'd half of it's workforce
Does anyone work at a Gamestop anymore? Fuck if I should know, does not seem like it being that every single time I've gone there in recent memory there have been 30 minute waits.
On a normal day too, I'm waiting upwards of 30 minutes to buy a psn code or something minor like that. Can we get a speedy pay fast lane checkout line Gamestop? No, we just get really long lines. Which is also bad in other ways too, now you have stressed and irritable employees too so the experience is ruined for everyone. Not only are the customers mad but now the employees are too because they're the only ones working and no one is helping them with the fifteen customers. It destroys the mood for witty banter or actually trying to enjoy communicating. Hire some more workers Gamestop, jeez..
4. Disapointing Black Friday Deals
Oh god, are you kidding me Gamestop. $50 Destiny for black friday? Well then I guess it's my destiny to not shop there.
5. Introducing: Geoff Keighley
This actually happened way before but at some point they decided that Geoff 'Doritos Pope' Keighley would be just a fantastic spokesperson for the brand and have since plastered him on every monitor they can fit his fat nonsense brand line spewing head onto. It's like nails scratching a chalkboard when you walk into one of their locations and the first thing you hear is his voice. But I have to say, each time the Pope graces us with his infinite knowledge of the new AAA title and when I can pay for it, preferably with a side order of dew and doritos, I think to myself "Man I wonder how many times the employees heard this tired hype mongering today? 50? 100 times?" Real sympathy for them because I can just leave. And you know what, I usually do.
So yes Gamestop, Keighley is a perfect spokesperson for you. But hey, he's probably a good spokesperson for me too seeing as he makes me not want to set foot in a Gamestop.
6. Ipads at Gamestop:
Yeah I realized that I had some of those special extra plus plus points saved up and wanted to redeem something, a free $20 game would be nice, might even alleviate some of the bull poop aforementioned. Well the mathematicians at Gamestop have deducted that a nice high number like "11,000" translates to 10 dollars USD.... hmm Guess Gamestop-land is in some rough inflation? Yeah the one falling back aspect to Gamestop, you can get free shit is lackluster at best. It would take a few console purchases to net you the equivalent of a $10 item on the house, which we all know if it's $10 already then it's probably not good anymore anyway.
Well obviously the system is rigged for you to spend a lot and get back much less. Unfortunately it takes closer examination to realize precisely how much less you get back. They always tout those customers who win the "Epic" tier rewards as some sort of Gary Powers to aspire to become in hopes of winning the great lottery so we can go get "the full experience".
So what's the point, I thought, of ever going to another Gamestop anymore? They've stopped caring, and now so have I. I wanted to go take my remaining points (there's some extra that are thus not redeemable because there isn't any reward under 1000points) and take out a $10 freebie and as a joke use it to redeem Farming Simulator 2014 on Vita. BUT Good 'Ol Gamestop really didn't come through on this one, yet again: Farm Simulator 2014 is $10 for vita downloadable code only. Sorry but those redeemable points don't work for online purchases apparently. Aka, you can only use it on stuff inside of the store and farming simulator is $17 with tax in store. So that was the end of that, Gamestop, can't even go out with a bang, or a whimper only nothing. Good riddance.
Until next time, why not share your horrid Gamestop experience/complaints in the comments below? I feel even the numerous friends of mine that work for the company and hate it will soon be able to speak up about it as Gamestop could be headed out very very soon.
Initially I had scrapped an entirely different Giving Thanks post because I got to the point when there had to be a decision made about what could be included and what could not and instead the post got junked. Which sucked because I wanted to participate this year. Then I went to visit relatives for Thanksgiving and got a jar full of inspiration to write a whole new blog!
So to provide a little background first, I get anxiety sometimes, though more recently it's been like a lot rather than sometimes unfortunately. I've written about this subject before but the anxiety in that story was meager compared to what traps me these days. Funny too because the theme of the post was basically victory, like I had conquered my social anxiety and it was a big step in my life when only month after I pulled a total 180 and my anxiety got really harsh.
That's just to say this is still something that happens to me.
And we come back to thanksgiving 2014; I was going to meet with family one state over and had to take a train to get there, about a 2 hour train ride. So basically my nightmare, because when I get anxious I can't sit still. Which is a shame because trains are awesome imo.
Arriving a bit short of missing the train, I found a seat and, as expected, got all fidgety. Well it was going to be a long two hours if I was just to sit there and squirm in my seat like the doomed sheep I was, and instead my vita came to the rescue. Specifically, the PSP classic The Sega Genesis Collection. And we have arrived at the game part of this blog!
One of my absolute favorite consoles of all time, for it's kickass music, great games and just the nostalgia of it, is the Genesis. Never had one personally, well, one that worked, but a friend whose house I stayed over at a lot growing up had one and we played video games a lot.
So naturally, putting the best games from that console onto one game collection has my money. As far as I know there are two versions of the game, the aforementioned PSP version, and a PS3 collection. Both with a different list of games to boot. (Side-note: Sega why didn't you put Sonic 3 onto the PSP ver.) The PS3 version I played the hell out of and went back to 100% the trophies available. It's one of the few pre-2007 or 2006 PS3 games that I regularly pop back in to play. Hell it might be the only one now that I think about it.
Cut to me an hour in to the would-be dreadful train ride to my relatives for the holiday and I am just relaxed. I got my noise canceling headphones on and I'm playing Sonic 2 on my vita, sitting still. I was even doing really well, up until I used up every continue on Metropolis Stage 3, because you know, only two Metropolis stages would've been too easy. Actually it is possible that I jinxed myself because I was counting on this being a victorious post, still it has been a long time since I got to Metropolis and at the end of the day, the Sega Genesis Collection had a very positive effect on me during this time.
In fact, it would've been my first time beating Sonic 2, and that would've been fitting as this scenario basically already happened to me once before. When this whole anxiety amping up for me thing started for me I was attending a summer class and riding the train to my college was becoming annoying too. I get into these "moments of clarity" (I use quotes in case it's a misuse of the word) where my mind says Why am I in this moving metal box? I have to get out of here! and so it begins. The exact details escape me, but I had a really good day at a horrible class for some reason, but when it came time to commute the fidgeting was crawling back upon me. Again I resorted to play my vita as I rarely get to on commutes to and from school. I couldn't decide on a game to play and settled on the Sega Genesis Collection and to play Virtua Fighter 2 one of my favorite fighting games of all time. And before I knew it, I had reached that higher level of relaxed and it was awesome. Even at the moment when our train stopped while on the bridge, which I hate because that is the worst place to stop a train, I couldn't care less, I was too busy kicking Dural's ass as I won Virtua for the first time.
In sumation, I am thankful for the Sega Genesis Collection (both versions) because they're awesome collections of some of the best games out there. And for whatever reason they get me super relaxed in my time of need which gave me these personal stories to share with you all. FYI I will definltely be revisiting this game, specifically to try and beat Sonic 2, the collection and in general retro games have been on my mind lately especially since dtoider TheDustinThomas joined my podcast for an episode, which you can see here once it goes live. I am interested in sharing more about my experiences, talking about Sega Genesis games or hearing about your Thanksgiving day in the comments. So thanks for reading through this and happy holidays everyone!
You know what's fun? Cryptic analogies. As such:
My neighbors won't stop playing loud music, like seriously really loud music when I'm trying to focus on other things, just live my life or even when I'm sleeping. This has gotten to the point they need to get evicted. But that isn't happening. Landlord is turning the blind eye for some reason and the whole nauseating earful continues.
My only option is to leave and just go somewhere else. But I say to hell with that, I'm staying. If I leave, they win. So I'll put up with the nonstop loud ass music, trash as it may be. In fact I might just "answer back" with a little music of my own. Until next time, this is me not going anywhere.
Enjoy the metal.
As some of you might know, I stream every Friday on the dtoid community channel Streamtoid roundabout 2pm eastern. Right now I am early into my playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas, the well documented almost my favorite game ever... it is believed. And as promised to the viewers of the twitch channel, I have finally got around to installing some radio mods for the game to really expand on the relatively meager base soundtrack. Not to mention the curiosity of what radio stations are out there -- everything went well in case you're wondering except I am not sure if the GNR -> New Vegas mod installed correctly and for some reason Radio New Vegas breaks some times (oh well).
In the search to get new radio stations I realized that some of the modders that made custom stations with new music for the game used their own voice over for the "hosts" to give it a more authentic feel. Well let me tell you that that is just swell. So swell in fact, that I am now interested in making my own radio station mod, using my own voice work.
Here are a few ideas I came up for segments or other things that could go into this sort of project:
[ ] - This is a great opp. for essentially Fallout fanfic. I can definitely make up some sort of backstory -- ideas include: a new group of outcasts that commandeered a radio station and are using it to update the people of the Mojave wastes on their struggle
[ ] - OR alternatively this series is full of so much backstory that the options are mind boggling. Maybe I could create a host that was involved in the takeover of Hoover Dam by the NCR? Perhaps a follower of the Megaton Church? Or maybe a radio station based more around one of the DLC packs... which brings me to another idea that I got from one of my installed mods.
[ ] - New Vegas has a ton of DLC content, some of which got their own radio stations but others didn't. And even for the ones that did, touching on the DLC stories/locations/characters is a great idea.
[ ] - One idea I came up jokingly is to do a segment where I fake a fireside chat type political talk show radio but with the thematics from the game, only it is done entirely in my native language! My people love talk show radio and arguing and for some reason I have fond memories listening to these things when I was younger, which gives me a lot of cool minor details that I can include into it. Honestly this would be half joking but I'd like to go full ham on this sub-bullet.
[ ] - And of course, MUSIC! There is a ton of free music available online and especially that old Public domain stuff. Not to mention there isn't anything wrong with using some songs from other stations. But again, there should be a lot out there as is.
I'll try to come back to blog post as it is more of a scrap of ideas and add anything as I go along. As I'm pretty busy anyway this isn't going to be a heavily invested project just something fun to do that gets my creative organs off. Tell me what you think of this. Include a suggestion if you have any. Or just say what's up with you and what your favorite Fallout radio station is!
AH, that was a fun week back on dtoid. I had a free week to just go nuts, in this time I dicked around in the forums, recorded and released a new episode of PStoid and even got around to reading a couple of blogs!
Well all good things must come to an end right? WRONG! I'm still going to vanish like a positive world outlook at a Hardy's during buy 1 get 1 free day. But I'm doing a giveaway because why not. That's right, you could win a shiny thing for yourself to cuddle and enjoy. Here's how:
It's no secret that I love indie games. And that I love music, so naturally, Indie game Soundtrack's are like catnip for me, provided that I'm a four legged whisker-having house cat. So leave a comment with your FAVORITE Indie Game OST and why it's better than all others and you will have an entry into the raffle. Feel free to include videos, images or other links.
Here is an example - My favorite Indie Game OST is from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Which honestly isn't fair because the soundtrack is composed by one of my favorite chiptunes acts, Anamanaguchi.
It represents well the different emotions the story and characters, based on the comic of the same name, go through in addition to just being fucking awesome and a great listen all year round. You have songs like "Another Winter" that makes me wish it was Winter already (and I HATE winter) and "Party Stronger" which makes me wish I was at a rave (don't like those either). And a ton of other great tracks that defy category.
Above all else, I love the soundtrack because it reminds me of the game, and I love the game in part because of the awesome soundtrack. It's like the perfect duo of good music and good game. This was also probably one of the first indie games I played as well as being one of the first games that I went out and purchased the soundtrack.
Though to be fair, my favorite changes a lot, because there are really a lot of great Indie Game OSTs that are seriously a challenge to rank amongst them all. Some strong runners up, and legit picks that may as well have been #1, include: Terraria, for it's euphoric ambience, Hotline Miami for insanity electronica and Lone Survivor because it's the best blend of psychological Horror in a soundtrack I've ever heard.
Winner gets gifted a Steam game by me. I will PM him/or her with the instructions, GOOD LUCK!