Posts categorized “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.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

“Of the Month” December 2015

Link of the Month:
Amazon Wishlist
My Amazon Wish List!

That’s right! You think in this, the most wonderful time of the year, that I’d waste my one-and-only link of the month on something selfless? EFF THAT! I want you to click on this link and buy crap for me! Crass commercialism EFF-TEE-DUBYA, baby! Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!

Album of the Month:
TPXMAS
Cut Down the World’s Last Tree: A Trevor Peach Christmas

Trevor Peach, the world’s most depressed musician, made a Christmas album many years ago, but it was only just finally released online earlier this year! Hooray! It is mostly original songs, like “For Christmas,” which is about how Trevor’s only Christmas wish is not to have Christmas. It includes the lyrics:
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle go away.

Trevor Peach also does a cover of the classic “I Saw Three Ships,” though of course he modifies the lyrics a little bit:
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas Day,
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.
They ran into a pier and sank,
And all were drowned, and all were drowned.
It seems a cruel and bitter fate,
But their lives were worse than their deaths were.

It’s glorious stuff.

Christmas Special of the Month:
tvx
Molly Lewis’s “Thanksgiving vs Christmas”

Seattle’s own nerdy chanteuse Molly Lewis invented a Christmas/Thanksgiving special last year and (with the help of gobs of other awesome musicians and funny folk) performed it live. This is the audio recording of that show. It’s kind of a throwback to those weird old radio variety show specials, with random people and musical acts coming in and out and doing their schtick. The songs are of a humorous bent, and many are only tenuously related to the theme of the special, especially the Vix & Tony song “Song that is definitely just about Doctor Who and not about Christmas at all.”

Categories: Of the Month.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

“Of the Month” November 2015

TV Show of the Month:
BandInSeattle
Band in Seattle

An extremely well-produced show that airs Saturday nights on CW11/KSTW that showcases performances and interviews with an incredible variety of Seattle bands (hence the name of the show). I’ve been in the live studio audience for a couple of the tapings. And many of my friends have been fortunate enough to perform on the show! It’s fun, and the interspersed interviews give great insight into these Seattle bands that (as the hipsters might say) you’ve probably never heard of.

Video Game of the Month:
SuperMarioMaker
Super Mario Maker

This is a dream come true. I was about seven or eight years old when Super Mario Bros. was released into arcades (and shortly afterwards into the original NES). Ever since then there has been a fantasy way in the back of my mind about what kinds of levels I would design if I could. Well, now I can. And it is gloriously fun. One of the reasons why I have posted so few updates on this website in the past month is because almost all of my free time (that I’m not spending with my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter) is spent making levels and playing levels that other people have made.


I’m actually shocked at how few of my friends also have this game. I personally believe that every person in the whole entire world should have this game. This isn’t just the game of the month. This is the game of the year. The game of the decade. The game of the century. Heck, the game of the millennium. So of you have Super Mario Maker, please play my levels (you can see the level code for one of them in the tweet above). And send me your level codes so I can play yours!

Tweeter of the Month:
vancityreynolds
Ryan Reynolds @vancityreynolds

Hey, Chris, what are you doing? Ryan Reynolds is a huge movie star; he doesn’t need you to promote him! Well, that’s true, but he also just happens to be frikkin’ hilarious, and it’s very obvious that no manager/handler/PR ever gets anywhere near his tweets:

It’s always appreciated when a celebrity gets to have honest fun with the rest of us plebes without any filters in between.

Categories: Of the Month.