This is Chris dot com
Music, Movies, & General Geekery: Life.
by Christopher Grant Harris

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Triumphant Return of Trevor Peach

Trevor Peach

This is the end of rainbows…

Trevor Peach is the world’s best worst emo musician ever. Relentlessly depressing and determinedly low-tech, his music swings around the low end of crappy and comes back as something with some semblance of brilliance. I have a complicated reaction to his music; It’s so overwhelmingly down that it makes me laugh, and so frustratingly perfect that it makes me what to punch holes in walls… in a happy way.

I went so far as to make a peppy, chiptune cover of one of his songs once many years ago. Here is the original:

And here is my cover:

A problem with Trevor Peach is that his music has never been released in any serious way. If you were lucky someone burned you a copy of a copy of a copy of a CD that someone convinced Trevor to burn at one point. But recently my lifelong friend and birthday buddy Geoff moved to Canada, where he has little to do. So he has embarked on an important musical curating project: the collection and releasing of the song stylings of Trevor Peach.

Let Geoff tell you in his own words:

I met someone in 2004. Strangely enough, I met him in a dumpster, but that’s a story for another time.

In the 11 years or so that I’ve known him, he’s been constantly making music on a shoestring budget and sending out mixed tapes to close friends, but never a mass audience. I wouldn’t say it’s my personal cup of tea, but many people seem to enjoy it.

To this end, I’ve been trying literally *for years* to help him promote his stuff. Honestly, it’s been so long in coming because he’s terribly hard to work with; moody, sad, morose, and not at all deadline oriented.

But… I have managed to curate quite a collection, and it’s all going to be shared with the world now, since I have his blessing to do so.
So, without further ado, I give you (my friends of Facebook), the one – the only – Trevor Peach:

https://trevorpeach.bandcamp.com/

So far, the 4 EP’s are up. Next week I hope to have the 2 LP’s newly remastered. After that, well, I have worked out a weekly visitation to see Trevor and get him to record new music that no one has heard yet. If all goes well, I’ll be able to get a song a week from him – heck, maybe I can get some guest artists to work with him, too!!

Anyway, I’m sure the people that love TP’s stuff will be excited, and I’m just happy to help the guy out!!!

So all of Trevor Peach’s (known) recordings are now up on Bandcamp for all to “enjoy.” And yesterday, the first new song since 2011 was released. It has a surprisingly well-produced sound to it (most likely due to Geoff’s influence in mixing and mastering). Partake:

Geoff promises to get one song every week out of Trevor. Let’s see if he can do it!

Also, you can now like Trevor Peach on the Faced Book (Geoff runs his page for him) and it looks like he’s also back to tweeting again!

Categories: Music.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

“Of the Month” August 2015

Tweeter of the Month:
mindflakes
mindflakes

Mindflakes is funny. Take a wook:

Mindflakes is also exceptionally skilled at re-tweeting really funny tweets. I’ve found some of my favorite funny tweeters through mindflakes.

TV Show of the Month:
StevenUniverseLogo200
Steven Universe

Have I never actually done this as an “Of the Month” before? What is wrong with me!? This is the best show on television right now. Period. End of sentence.

At first glance it might seem to be in the same vein as Adventure Time (indeed, the show’s creator Rebecca Sugar (her real name) worked on Adventure Time before starting Steven Universe), but while Adventure Time takes place in a wacky, zany, anything-goes world, Steven Universe takes place in a much more intimate, careful, and unabashedly sentimental world. I’ve never seen a cartoon that hits more emotional buttons with such unnering accuraccy; it earns its sentimentality with incredibly thoughtful and insightful character work. Steven Universe is full of funny, quirky, heroic, and deeply-flawed characters who are all floundering through their world in their own ways, sometimes together and sometimes painfully alone. Heroes are allowed to make mistakes on this show, and it isn’t always wrapped neatly up by the end of the episode. Steven Universe also has some of the most careful and amazing backstory and world-building in any Sci-Fi show I’ve seen, as we view the world through Steven’s 10-year-old eyes and revelations are slowly and surprisingly stumbled upon by him.

Tabletop Game of the Month:
BANG200
BANG!

A game for a minimum of 4 people (or 3 if you get certain expansions) that simulates and old western. Each player is given a role: Sheriff, Deputy, Renegade, Outlaw(s). Each role has its own goal to complete to win the game: all the Outlaws must die for the Sheriff to win the game; the Sheriff must die for the Outlaw(s) to win the game; etc. It’s pretty fast-paced, and gameplay can take anywhere from a few minutes to quite a long time depending on just how good y’all are at killin’ each other.

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fools Play’s Summer Memories

Summer Fun

Summer Fun

This Saturday (tomorrow!!) will be Fools Play Improv’s only show in August. It’ll be at 8:00 PM at Tacoma Youth Theatre in downtown Tacoma. In order to prepare for this event, the Fools shared some of their most treasured summer memories. Here they are:

HILARY’S SUMMER OF 1994

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Young Hilary knew summer camp would be hell, but her mother would have none of it. “You’ll make friends, you’ll get outside, you’ll earn merit badges,” she reassured Hilary as they drove toward Lake Native Word For Boys And Girls’ Camp.

“Mom,” moaned Hilary, “I think you have to be a scout to go to scout camp,” protested Hilary. “Can’t we just go home?”

“Nonsense,” her mother chided. “We’re here.” They pulled into the campsite, boys and girls playing everywhere. Hilary grabbed her backpack and opened the passenger door. “Now let’s get you registered,” her mother cooed. “And remember to smile! That cute counselor boy is looking your way.”

Hilary winced. “Mom, he’s way too old for me!”

Hilary’s mother removed her sunglasses and gave the boy a once-over from behind the windshield. “Oh, he’s sixteen, tops,” she laughed. “When I was your age…”

Hilary ran out of the car and into the crowd, hoping to lose her mom and survive the weeks ahead.

During that time, the campers learned to kayak, tie knots, reveal their feelings with art therapy, sing songs, and make tampons. Hundreds of kids sitting at long wooden tables in a longhouse that only Mr. Jerson who ran the camp had keys to. There, in an assembly line, they were each part of a process.

One group of kids carefully stuffed each tube with fluff. Another sewed them shut using a stitch they had learned for applying merit badges. At another station the children carefully applied the cardboard applicator.

“This is a sweatshop!” Hilary protested.

“No, it’s not,” said the cute counselor boy. “These things would absorb any sweat and cause the company to reject the product. That’s why we have air conditioners in the longhouse.”

And so Hilary, like the rest of the campers, worked grueling hours hand crafting hygiene products destined to line dollar store shelves in days to come.

“I’ve got to strike back,” she told Benny one night in their cabin.Benny was the only girl Hilary had befriended. They had met when another camper offered Hilary five dollars and a merit page in Aeronautics to abandon Benny on the island in the middle of the lake during a canoe outing. Hilary kept the bribe, but spared Benny, who now said “What are you going to do?”

Hilary thought about it. “I’m going to do all the counselors’ drugs,” she replied.

CHRIS & MIKE’S SUMMER OF 1997

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It was the Summer of 1997. Chris was glued to the TV, his hands guiding him through the just-released StarFox 64. As Chris blasted enemy ships, his brother Mike took a walk outside in the sun. But when Mike returned, he had something in his arms. “This poor cat must have gotten run over,” said Mike. Chris looked up from his game. “That’s no cat,” he exclaimed. “That’s Fox McCloud!”

“What?!” gasped Mike. “You mean from your video game? But how is that possible?”

“Quiet,” gestured Chris, “he’s trying to talk.”

The furry animal Mike carried was badly hurt with visible sores and charred clothing. “An…” it muttered, “Andross…”

“Who’s Andross?” Mike stammered. “Is he from your game, Chris?”

“Beats me, ” Chris shrugged. “I only play this for the pleasurable sensation of the rumble pack.”

Mike and Chris squished their injured companion into a cat carrier and sped toward the vet in their mom’s mini van. Bu they weren’t alone. Screaming down the freeway came several of the exciting, deadly enemy ships and characters from the game. Chris dodged and weaved as the invaders blasted the road.

“I thought my life was crazy before,” blinked Mike, “but now this… This is crazy!”

“No,” said Chris prophetically. “Now this is podracing.” He zoomed the mini van under an overpass that all the enemy spacecraft collided with, resulting in their explosive defeat.

At the vet, the doctor merely shook his head. “The wounds are too severe, and bare the tell-tale signs of having been inflicted by a space monkey,” he sighed.

Fox looked up at the brothers who tried to save his life. “You…” he breathed, “you are the true heroes.” With that, his heart stopped.

“Fox! Fox, come on, you’re okay!” Mike cried. “You’ve got extra lives! Or power ups! Or something…”

“This isn’t a video game!” snapped Chris. “He’s gone. He’s…”

Fox’s body calcified and he became a life-sized amiibo.

LARAMIE’S SUMMER OF 2010

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Laramie had everything he needed to enjoy the beach – save one thing: A tan. The kind of even, shimmering tan that would impress the girls and intimidate his rivals. But getting that ultimate, bronzed coating meant lying on display under the sunlight in public where others might get a blinding look at his pale body. Laramie wasn’t willing to do that. Not for anything.

In order to be the tanned, you must be seen untanned. How could he crack this chicken-and-egg puzzle? The tanning salon offered private booths, but cost more than Laramie could afford. “I’ll make my own tanning bed,” he reasoned. “All I’ll need is a really powerful toaster and a genetic resistance to cancer.”

A few days later, Laramie eyed his creation: A sheet of aluminum foil in which he, the subject, would wrap himself. A defective toaster oven. Bottled spray-tan. Bottled Gatorade. A boom box. Cups, lubricants and magazines. Doilies for taste. Laramie climbed into his foil cloak and set the toaster oven to “Bagel”. Heat waves beamed down on him from the exposed coils, making him sweat off the film of suntan-causing-spray that clung to his skin.

“This is how a superhero might accidentally be created,” he mused.

NEXT WEEK: The exciting debut of the Unbelievable Tanman!

JOSH & JAMIE’S PRESENT DAY

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Jamie loved eating fresh Summer strawberries picked right from the vine of Josh’s backyard garden. Josh had tried various pesticides to discourage Jamie, but he seemed able to eat anything, no matter how many slugs or dogs it vaporized.

Finally Josh went out into the yard with a hose to spray Jamie away. Jamie pushed the hose out of Josh’s hands and they began to wrestle over the strawberry plants. The sprinklers went off. They both got real wet and it was clinging to their clothes and everything. Strawberry juice and fresh garden mud coated their bodies. Some of the neighbors were pretending to text at their windows, but they were really Vining it. “This is some good shit,” said an elderly neighbor.

Finally Josh crawled to the perimeter of the garden, panting. He lit a cigarette. Jamie planted himself next to Josh, but didn’t look at him. After several long moments, Jamie finally spoke. “So what was that about?” he asked.


There you have it. Hope to see you in the audience at the show! BE THERE!

Categories: Fools Play.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Computer-Generated Magic Cards

There has been a lot of internet chatter recently about recurrent neural networks. Just do a google search of that term if you don’t know what that is; I ain’t here to educamate you on it.

What I am here to do is talk about one of my favorite recent uses for a recurrent neural network: generating Magic: The Gathering cards!

MTG Salvation forum members led by user Talcos have been using these networks to generate new, novel, insane, and hilarious MTG cards. And for your convenience there’s also a twitter account that posts a card once a day.

I laughed SO HARD when I was reading through them. Here are just a few of my favorites:

(They was kicked.)

This. This spell.

Cat Clerics!

Here, look at this card. You can’t have it!

Hellogoodbye!

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful…

Congratulations: a sorcery

Angelic Sludge

Not ready yet

Go take a look through the entire twitter feed and also the forum thread to see the magic of artificial intelligence hard at work. And also to laugh your ass off.

Categories: Computers, Future Living.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Favorite Comic-Con Moments 2015

So San Diego Comic-Con is over, and there were lots of big announcements and blah-blah-blah Star Wars blah-blah-blah Batman v. Superman blah-blah X-Men Apocalypse blah-blah. You already know all about all of those, so I ain’t gunna get into ’em.

These are the things that happened at Comic-Con that I really enjoyed:

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse

A friend of mine had a comic book signing at Comic-Con. I still can’t get over that!

https://www.facebook.com/foolsplayimprov/posts/10153462928337328

A FOOL DOES SOMETHING AWESOME: Congratulations to Michael Tanner, AKA the retired GREEN FOOL (on the right with the…

Posted by Fools Play Improv on Thursday, July 9, 2015

I mean, comicbookresources.com even did previews of this book. Hooray Michael Tanner! I <3 my famous friends.

Conan Goes to Comic-Con

The opening segment of Conan O’Brien’s week of shows filmed at Comic-Con was undoubtably the best part:

Joss Whedon’s Twist

Now that Joss Whedon is no longer the shepherd of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has time to do projects for himself for a change! First up: an original comic book about an original character:

Joss Whedon's Twist

Joss Whedon’s Twist

Joss Whedon had (unsurprisingly) my favorite single quote of the whole weekend when he described the book:

Basically deals with the most important moral question facing us, which is, why isn’t there a Victorian Female Batman? [1]

Steven Universe Extended Theme Song

There was a Steven Universe panel. And this happened:

I made the mistake of watching that during my lunch break at work last week. Fortunately no one else was around, so I didn’t have to explain that I was crying about a cartoon.

Marceline Sings!

There was an Adventure Time panel, which also contained Rebecca Sugar, the creator of Steven Universe. See, she worked on Adventure Time before starting Steven Universe, and she wrote a bunch of the most memorable songs for them. And she’s written a new song for Marceline. Whose voice actress, Olivia Olson, also just happened to be on the panel. So, y’know, she helped out:

Ash vs Evil Dead

I do believe this speaks for itself. Let me know if you’re confused about anything:

Wrongplayed

And, of course, one of my favorite Instagram accounts: Wrongplayed, that purposefully (and hilariously) misidentifies the various cosplay of the con:

I AM GROOT! #marvel #hookedonafeeling #vindiesel #wrongplay

A photo posted by Greg and Mike (@wrongplayed) on

So that’s what I enjoyed and/or am looking forward to. How about you?

[1] http://io9.com/joss-whedon-just-explained-the-meaning-of-life-to-us-1717277218

Categories: Articles, Cartoons, Celebrities, Comics, Music, My Famous Friends, News, Round-up, TV, Videos.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

“Of the Month” July 2015

Comic Book of the Month:
A brave is brave Junior Braves of the Apocalypse
by Michael Tanner & Greg Smith
A troupe of “Junior Braves” (think Boy Scouts) heads into the mountains for a retreat, only to return to town to discover that a zombie-like apocalypse has happened in their absence. The boys must use their wits and their Junior Brave training to survive and discover if any of their families have made it through the horrors alive. This book, co-written by Fools Play’s own Green Fool Michael Tanner, is like the fun of The Goonies and Monster Squad meets The Walking Dead in one fantastic graphic novel!

Podcast of the Month:
Conversation Parade Conversation Parade with Open Mike Eagle & John Moe
Adventure Time is a cartoon that has attracted a tremendous adult audience. So here is a podcast where two very smart, very nerdy, and very funny people (John Moe and my pal Mike Eagle) discuss undercurrent themes that run through the show and also interview creators and cast members! It’s a lot of fun to listen to, so DO IT. Oh, and the title of the podcast is based on a rather obscure BMO-created video game from the cartoon. You can watch it in “action” in this clip:

Website of the Month:
North Of Reality North of Reality
A delightful series of (almost daily) short prose vignettes of fantastic, surrealist, and unfettered imagination, often with a sinister or threatening air hanging in the background. I’ve written about Uel Aramchek before when I posted his series of tweets about the “Invisible States of America.” These are like those, only a bit longer and more developed, but still with that same sense of mystery and awe.

Categories: Of the Month.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Where Have You Been, Young Man?

Where have I been?

I haven’t written anything for this here website sing I did the “Of the Month” of June (many days late I might add). What gives?

Well, I must confess: I have been writing. Just not here. Instead…

Oni Press Open Submissions!

Oni Press Open Submissions!

I was writing a comic book pitch to submit to Oni Press’s Open Submissions!

Yes, that Oni Press, the comic book company that originally published Scott Pilgrim, and that is currently publishing Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, the comic book co-written by my pal (and retired Green Fool) Michael Tanner:

The Green Fool writes comics. Why not the Purple Fool...?

The Green Fool writes comics. Why not the Purple Fool…?

So we’ll see! If they like it, there might just be two Fools who are writing comics in 2015.

There’s one thing for sure, though: I like it. And I don’t just mean the pitch that I sent. I mean the process of writing something more than a blog post or an article or a movie review (which I haven’t done in over a year now).

I’ve always really enjoyed writing. One of my favorite days in college was when I wrote over 100 pages of a screenplay in one day. Writing little things for this website and doing Fools Play have kinda kept a lid on my creative cravings for the past many years, but now it’s becoming an itch that must be scratched. I feel I have to write something. Something real and substantial.

So I’m going to take the month of July off from doing anything seriously creative (which means you might get some more posts on this here website), but starting in August I’m going to back off from thisischris.com again to concentrate my creative energies in a different direction.

So in conclusion: read and then pre-order Junior Braves of the Apocalypse by Michael Tanner & Greg Smith.

Categories: Fools Play, My Famous Friends, Updates.