Posts categorized “Of the Month”

Friday, 1 July 2016

“Of the Month” July 2016

Video Game of the Month:
yoshisWoollyWorld
Yoshi’s Woolly World

This game is frikkin’ adorable, and it’s actually a good bit of fun to play. It’s got a good balance of puzzle-solving and platforming action, and in fact it can be played either way (you can storm the levels and just go for the goal, or you can methodically choose to pry out every last secret from each level). The graphics are 👍👍👌. It keeps surprising me in delightful ways, like how rivers of lava are represented by knitted red-and-orange scarves being dragged across the ground. I also enjoy when the yarn aesthetic becomes important to play, like when you create a Chain Chomp by wrapping yarn around an empty wireframe. GOOD GAMES.

Movie of the Month:
deadpool
Deadpool

IT’S FUNNY, ALRIGHT!? F**K OFF! Seriously, I don’t know when I’ve laughed this hard in a movie theater. It holds up pretty well on repeat viewings; though the initial shock-value laughs are much diminished, the movie has an infectious energy and surprising charm. Ryan Reynolds nails the character. Just flawless. My only very-minor quibble is that I wish there had been more of a personality difference between the (presumably sane) pre-transformation Wade Wilson and the absolutely-nutty, post-transformation Deadpool. But that is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent piece of entertainment.

Tweeter of the Month:
Devlen_Goaway
@Devlen_Goaway

Devlen_Goaway is a very funny and occasionally bitter tweeter who styles himself “Moon Mayor” and frequently ruminates on how he would run things on the Moon were he to be made Moon Mayor:


He is currently creating series of excellent tweets from Ronald Reagan and George Washington, wherein they yell nonsense at their wives:


Plus he tweets just generally funny stuffs:


Oh, and he also makes some truly bizarre Star Trek videos at his Youtube channel, Head Injury Productions:

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 3 June 2016

“Of the Month” June 2016

Book of the Month:
alif-the-unseen
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

My second “Of the Month” in a row for G. Willow Wilson! I think that might be a first. Anyway, yes, apart from writing amazing comic books, Ms. Wilson also wrote this novel, an urban sci-fi/fantasy mashup that takes computer programming and djinn and wraps them up in a fascinating yarn that is ultimately about the importance and power of language. It’s rather fast-paced and its unnamed middle-eastern city setting is exceedingly well-drawn. Ms. Wilson certainly has a gift for descriptive prose. It’s like a cross between William Gibson and Neil Gaiman (particularly in one thrilling sequence where coding a program becomes an hallucinogenic vision trip). I wish the protagonist were just a bit more likeable, though; he tends to get pissy and mean when he’s under stress, and he’s under stress pretty much the whole entire book. Overall an excellent read.

Musicians of the Month:
aivisurasshu
Aivi & Surasshu

An amazing duo made up of two composers: an organic girl named Aivi and a machine boy named Surasshu. They make beautiful, lush compositions with classical instruments and chiptunes interwoven. They’ve written an album, but also music for video games as well as music (and songs) for Steven Universe! Yes, much of the mind-blowingly-awesome compositions from Steven Universe came from Aivi and Surasshu. So give them a listen, fo’ realsz.

TV Show of the Month:
puffin rock
Puffin Rock

When you have a toddler, you end up watching a bunch of TV aimed for the toddler market. A bunch of it is, let’s face it, crap. So when you find a great show, it’s like finding a diamond in the rough. Puffin Rock is an Irish-made cartoon about a small island off the coast of Ireland populated by shrews, seagulls, seals, crabs, and (of course) puffins. And it’s frikkin’ gorgeous. Seriously, this series has some of the best artwork I’ve seen in a cartoon. It’s like Little Golden Book come to life. And the characters are rather charming (their little Irish lilts do help quite a bit), especially main character Oona and her little brother Baba, who is undeniably one of the cutest cartoon characters in existence. The stories are light and breezy and never hit you too hard over the head with a moral or message. It’s fun. And oh-so-pretty.

Plus it’s narrated by Roy (Chris O’Dowd) from BBC’s The IT Crowd. Seriously. So that’s just a hoot. He gets flustered and tongue-tied sometimes, and sometimes even tries to interact with the characters and influence them in spite of the fact that they clearly cannot hear him. It’s some of the more enjoyable narration I can think of.

Puffin Rock is only available on Netflix in the states, but it’s worth it to seek it out if you have wee ones.

Categories: Of the Month.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

“Of the Month” May 2016

Album of the Month:
tacocat_lost-time
Lost Time by Tacocat

It’s no real secret that one of my favorite genres of music is mid-late 90s female-led power pop/rock. One of my favorite all-time musicians and songwriters is Kay Hanley (of Letters to Cleo fame). Veruca Salt’s “Eight Arms to Hold You” is one of my favorite albums. So it should be really no surprise that I’m totally digging on local Seattle band Tacocat right now, seeing as how they’re basically the heir to this sound infused with a healthy dose of 90s Olympia Riot Grrrl. Their songs are catchy, catchy, catchy, with lots of interesting influences from the 60s, punk of the 70s, and of course the grunge of the 90s. Also, they’re big nerds. “Lost Time” is a reference to UFO abductions, and the first song on the album is called “Dana Katherine Skully” after the main character of The X-Files. Also, they wrote the new theme song to the Powerpuff Girls revival that’s currently airing on Cartoon Network. Nerds. Here:

Movie of the Month:
star-wars_the-force-awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Spectacular.
Wait, I didn’t do that right.

SPECTACULAR!

There, that’s better. I mean, come on. It’s so, so, so much fun.

Comic Book of the Month:
msmarvel
Ms. Marvel

G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel is a great comic book about the fun and angst of being a superhero (not to mention being a teenager, a girl, a muslim-American, and a nerd to boot). What’s so great about it is that it never gets bogged down by any one thing. It’s zippy and funny and genuine, but also really weird and cartoony and embraces all of its weirdness in a charming matter-of-fact way. The Marvel universe is full of almost-constant bizarre happenings. A Norse god disrupting your school dance isn’t really that out of the ordinary (and certainly nothing to get freaked out about). Protagonist Kamala is a refreshing bit of brightness in an all-too-often-gloomy genre. She doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing; she only knows she wants to help people. Ms. Marvel is the best comic book to come out in the last five years. This omnibus collection doesn’t come out until this Autumn, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

Categories: Of the Month.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

“Of the Month” April 2016

Album of the Month:
hella_personal_film_festival
Open Mike Eagle & Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival

This album is ungodly catchy. Paul white’s production is astonishingly eclectic, bouncing from full-on, straight-up jazz to darker, juicy electronic beats. Mike’s vocals are as on-point as ever, full of dark comedy and wry, biting humor, liberally sprinkled with nerdy references and self-deprecation. All at once familiar and comforting (it is Mike being Mike after all) and delightfully surprising. This is BY FAR the best album of 2016, and lemme tell you: it’s gonna be a jaw-dropping shocker if anything tops it.

Here, watch this video for “Check 2 Check”

Video Game of the Month:
miitomo
Miitomo

Nintendo’s first foray into mobile gaming is almost a parody of social media. You play as your Mii (a self-designed cartoony avatar), and you answer questions it asks of you and then you get to listen to the answers your friends gave. You can comment on answers. But also by doing so you get virtual moneys that you can use to buy outfits for your Mii, and there are some minigames you can play (of the drop-your-Mii-in-a-pachinko-machine variety) for various prizes. It’s all rather charming and silly, though you can learn a surprising amount of insight into your friends based on how they answer questions!

And if you have the app, you can look at this QR code and be my frieeeeeeend!

It's me Mii!

It’s me Mii!

Movie of the Month:
Pee-wees-Big-Holiday_poster_goldposter_com_2
Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

A new Pee-Wee movie after (almost) 30 years? Don’t go into this movie expecting a rip-roaring, laugh-a-minute redefinition of comedy. That ain’t this movie’s bag. Big Holiday is a surprisingly gentle and pleasant ride, with gentle touches of comedy that make you smile more than laugh. Everything is restrained and, well, just so darned pleasant. It just breezes by. There are some great gags, like a balloon gag towards the back third that is funny not for what is happening but for just how long it keeps happening. The greatest bits, though, are about the incredibly intense bromance that Pee-Wee strikes up with actor Joe Manganiello (playing himself), and several slow-motion dream sequences that sometimes are inexplicably in Spanish. Big Holiday is a very childlike—but not childish—movie. I enjoyed it.

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 4 March 2016

“Of the Month” March 2016

Stage Show of the Month:
Fools Play presents: Improv & Dragons
Fools Play Presents: Improv & Dragons

I’m in a new show this month; it’s very excite! In this new show, the Fools (including me) create improvised comedy inspired by transcripts of real Dungeons & Dragons sessions! Every fantasy trope available is skewered by the Fools. Even better, the rivalries and dynamics between players of D&D are also fodder for improvised hijinks. Fools Play Improv & Dragons performs four nights in March! Please roll a twenty-sided die and consult the following table:
• Thursday March 10 at 7:00 pm
• Thursday March 17 at 7:00 pm
• Thursday March 24 at 7:00 pm
• Thursday March 31 at 7:00 pm
Catch the show at the at Tacoma Actors Repertory Theatre (TART) In the Tacoma Armory (enter on the backside of the building, through the chain link fence) at 715 S. 11th Street Tacoma, WA 98405.

Tweeter of the Month:
kids write jokes
Kids Write Jokes

One of my favorite things in all the world is the masterful alternate logic used by very young kids when they write jokes. This twitter account compiles the best un-used kid jokes that are submitted to a joke website. They’re all real, and they’re all by kids. Some samples:

Tabletop Game of the Month:
patchwork
Patchwork

Patchwork is a two-person-only board game wherein both players are trying to create their own quilt from a communal supply of differently-shaped quilt pieces. It’s kind of like Tetris in that you have to figure out how best to build your quilt so that future pieces will fit. But since you’re both working from the same pool, there is a surprising depth of strategy. One of the few games I know where it’s not uncommon to end with negative points, but still win!

Categories: Fools Play, Of the Month.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

“Of the Month” February 2016

Musicians of the Month:
cbfLogo
The Crazy Boy Floyds

Full disclosure: The Crazy Boy Floyds is my band. I compose music and (rarely) lyrics for it. Therefore I think it’s completely awesome. We’re steadily releasing content for four albums simultaneously:

I’ve posted much about The Crazy Boy Floyds and will continue to do so. Check it all out at The Crazy Boy Floyds Tag on this here blog on the computer website.

YouTuber of the Month:
dashiegames
DashieGames

“Dashie” is a guy who films himself playing video games and uploads it to YouTube. So what? Thousands upon thousands of people do that. Well, none of them have quite the… enthusiasm that Dashie does. Dashie is so over-the-top energetic and excited that I find him to be incredibly, infectiously entertaining. His shouting, screaming, and swearing might seem like it’d be annoying, but it comes across as charming. It’s fun to watch someone do something so damned enthusiastically. His facial expressions and reactions when things don’t go his way are priceless. I have exclusively watched his Super Mario Maker series, wherein people make insanely-difficult levels for Dashie to beat and he does his damned best. I made a level for him but he never ended up playing it. But you should still watch these Mario Maker videos. Watch out, though: he uses the cuss words quite a bit! Not safe for work and all that.

Link of the Month:
liartownusa
LiarTownUSA

LiarTownUSA is the excellent Photoshop work of Sean Tejaratchi, wherein he makes phony images of phony things, and they’re all frikkin’ hilarious. He’s perhaps best known as the creator of the insane supermarket “Apple Cabin” (which now has a calendar available of all its bizarre advertisements)

Who wouldn't want to shop at Apple Cabin?

Who wouldn’t want to shop at Apple Cabin?

But LiarTownUSA is also chock full of phony book covers, magazines, albums, View-Masters, commemorative plates, calendars, rock show posters, as well as things like phony screenshots of fake YouTube videos and Netflix movies. Like Ghost Prawn:

Ghost Prawn
2000 R 1hr 45min
A routine hunt for microscopic bits of food lures Ghost Prawn into a web of seduction and deceit.

Recurring gags abound, such as a series of tributes to a seagull named Glenn that died in 1974:

Glennspirations

Glennspirations

Be warned, though, there is much that is NSFW in these images (such as fake porno mags and video covers).

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 1 January 2016

“Of the Month” January 2016

Tabletop Game of the Month:
machi_koro
Machi Koro

Machi Koro is a fun card game from Japan in which each player is the mayor of a town. You win by being the first to build four major “Attractions” in your town. But those cost money! You generate money by building industries, restaurants, etc. in your town. When its your turn you roll the dice, and if the number matches a number on a card in your town then you gain (or sometimes lose) the amount of money that the card tells you to. There are different varieties of cards, like ones that get you money whenever anybody rolls their number and cards that let you directly steal money from other players. The dice are a very nice bit of randomization injected into a resource-building game. Once you get the hang of it (very easy) games go pretty quickly, usually in under 20-30 minutes, so you can play it over and over.

Video Game of the Month:
splatoon
Splatoon

Yes, this came out quite a while ago, but I was distracted by Super Mario Maker for so long that I finally just got it for Christmas. And you know what? it’s EXCELLENT. A third-person shooter where the goal is to cover more territory with your color of ink than your opponent’s team is a frikkin’ brilliant play mechanic. Splatting your opponents is just a secondary goal that gets them out of the way so you can keep spraying your ink on everything. The online play (you play in teams of 4) is seamless, and I love the fact that you can’t actually communicate with your teammates or opponents; you have to be able to quickly judge the situations and figure out how best to help your team. A variety of weapons and ability-enhancing outfits makes every team completely different every time you play. I’m partial to the sloshing buckets right now myself. If you’ve got Splatoon let me know and we can exchange friend codes and maybe meet up online somewhen!

Artist of the Month:
justin_hillgrove
Justin Hillgrove

My favorite artist that I saw at Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle in 2015. He has a detailed and lush-yet-whimsical style inspired by the likes of Maurice Sendak and Hayao Miyazaki, whose characters are often mashed-up in amusing ways in his paintings:

"We'll Eat You Up" by Justin Hillgrove

“We’ll Eat You Up” by Justin Hillgrove

He does other fun, pop-culture-inspired works like the Video Game Heroes & Villains seen above, as well as some Doctor Who and Walking Dead and Peanuts. He also has a YouTube channel where he uploads timelapse videos of him creating his paintings. It’s very cool to see an artist at work like this:

He has prints and original art for sale, and has also done a couple of comic books. Go check ’em out.

Categories: Of the Month.