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

Thursday, 4 January 2018

“Of the Month” January 2018

Video Game of the Month:

Super Mario Odyssey

Yes, it is very, very good. No, it isn’t nearly as revolutionary as Breath of the Wild, but it is exceedingly clever in how it gets you to just keep playing it. Instead of scattering a handful of goals across its dozen levels (or “Kingdoms” as they’re called in this game), Odyssey has a veritable bounty of goals, almost over-saturating each area (and later in the game you can unlock even more). After you collect a “Power Moon,” you’re almost certainly likely to see something that will make you think, “I bet if I do this I’ll get another one…” and so on and so on, organically getting you to explore every single nook and cranny of this rather large game. Also, it harkens back to the Galaxy-style of play rather than the more recent 3D-World series of games, and as such it feels much broader and more open. The new “possession” mechanic is a lot of fun, and opens up even more possibilities. Much like Breath of the Wild, this is a Mario game where it seems like you can do just about anything, and almost all of it is a lot of fun.

Book of the Month:

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Many years ago, there was an excellent television show called Veronica Mars about a teenage sleuth. It was cancelled after its fourth season, but then many years later most of the people involved got together and did a Kickstarter to make a movie that took place after the series. Well, now we have a novel that takes place after the movie, continuing the adventures of the now all-grown-up titular private detective. Do you like Veronica Mars and wish that you could experience more of her adventures? Here you go! Oh, and if you want to know what happens after this novel, don’t worry; Rob Thomas has already written another one.

Tabletop Game of the Month:


A fun bidding/collection game: The entire game consists of cards with monsters on them, numbered one through five. A card is turned face-up in the center of the players and then everyone secretly chooses a card in their hand and puts it face-down in front of them. Everyone reveals their bidding cards at the same time, and whoever played the highest number wins the center card and gets to add it and the card they bid with into their collection (then they draw a new card). If you manage to collect three of the same cards, you win that round. Also, some cards have diamond icons on them, and if you get five of those diamond icons in your collection then you win the round. The trick is, if two or more players bid with the same number, they have to put their bidding card back into their hand and whichever of the remaining players has bid with the highest number wins the center card. What I really like about this game is that it scales very well. You could play an epic game that lasts until a singer player wins seven rounds, or you could play a single round in just a couple of minutes. Also, the fact that if you win a bid you place the bidding card into your collection and then have to draw a random card to replace it means that you can’t rely on having any particular number in your hand at any given time. In fact, you could end up with a hand full of twos and threes for example. It’s fun and fast-paced.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Sammus & Open Mike Eagle Collaborations

Mike Eagle and Sammus are friends! They also guest on each other’s musics!

First off is the absolutely hilarious video for Mike’s “Hymnal (feat. Sammus),” which features an amazing verse from Sammus that only has one vowel-sound in its rhyming scheme. You’ll see:

Next up is Sammus’s “Qualified (feat. Open Mike Eagle and Arch Thompson).” In case you were wondering, yes, Sammus did name herself in honor of Samus Aran, the heroine of the Metroid series of video games. Some of her albums have names like M’other Brain, Prime, and Another M (which is a concept album that “takes listeners on a journey from Samus’ lonely childhood with the Chozo race to her epic battle against the evil Mother Brain”). Pretty amazingly nerdy stuff, though that isn’t so upfront in this song. But just take a listen to the jazz flute in it!


Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Harpy Nawr Yaar 2018!

Cute Girl and a New Kitten. #2017best9

Cute Girl and a New Kitten. #2017best9

Categories: Holiday, Pictures.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

“Of the Year” 2017

Album of the Year:

Brick Body Kids Still Daydream by Open Mike Eagle

There were so very many great albums released this year, and I must apologize to all my other friends who came out with some really amazing work in 2017. But this album just eclipses them all.

A few years ago Mike released Dark Comedy, an hilarious album tinged with anger and darkness. Well, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream is kind of the opposite; it’s a dark and angry album tinged with hilarity. And it is SO SO GOOD. A concept album about the now-destroyed Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago where Mike (and earlier, Mr. T) spent some of his youth, BBKSD is a stark exploration of some very big injustices. It’s also at times extraordinarily beautiful. Just listen to “Daydreaming in the Projects” here:

Also listen to the sun-drenched, wistful nostalgia that gushes out of the just lovely “95 Radios” here:

I don’t want to make this album sound like a complete drag; Mike is still as geeky as ever, and there is some genuine hilarity like in “No Selling (Uncle Butch Pretending it Don’t Hurt),” in which very funny braggadocio serves to illustrate both the toxic environment that induces men to act tough and unfeeling as well as the toxicity of such behavior itself.

Man, this album is smart. The best album of 2017 by leaps and bounds. Also, very funny:

Movie of the Year:

Wonder Woman

I saw shockingly few movies in 2017, far fewer than I actually wanted to see, and almost all of those were somehow under the Disney banner. All except for Wonder Woman. We’ve been getting big-budget Superman movies since the 1970s. Batman movies since the 1980s. X-Men and Spider-Man movies since the early 2000s. But it took until 2017 for Wonder Woman to finally get her own movie. And, oh my, is it goooooooood. I don’t know if I can honestly say it was worth the wait, but thank goodness this production fell into the hands of people who did right by it. Gal Gadot is endlessly entertaining as the main character, and even though the third-act climax kinda devolves into a big CGI power-vs-power mess, Wonder Woman at its heart is a story about being a decent, loving human being (or goddess, as the case may be) in an indecent, hateful world.

TV Show of the Year:

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wins by being one of only two TV shows that I actually watch anymore (even though I stream it later on Hulu), and the only one that actually airs on a regular schedule and has, y’know, actual seasons. In the shadows of the Marvel movies, this TV show has been churning out some of the most entertaining and comic-booky live-action adventures out there. The show went really gung-ho in its 4th season, with a trio of interconnected story arcs that delved into Ghost Rider and the Darkhold, Life Model Decoy androids, and a stint in a Matrix-style alternate computer reality. And now in the 5th season the cast has been flung into space… and the future! It’s great seeing these characters whom we’ve come to know and love get thrown into all manner of insanity and still keep their wits about them (upon learning that they’d been transported to outer space one character simply grunts, “Space, huh? Makes sense; we’ve done everything else”).

Streaming Show of the Year:

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2 is to Stranger Things as Aliens is to Alien. Sometimes in some very direct ways. It takes the original concept and expands upon it mightily without losing the fan-frikkin-tastic characterizations that you came to love in the first season. Plus, Paul Reiser is in it as a very sketchy and somewhat smarmy individual! A loving tribute to both Steven King and Stephen Spielberg, with plenty of callbacks and references to them both. Also Aliens.

Video Game of the Year:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I mean, come on. This is the game of the year. It’s so good. Just take a look at this:



Categories: Articles, Of the Month, Round-up.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

For Your Wednesday Listening (and Dancing) Pleasure: It’s Over, Isn’t It?

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up:

Ballerina Juliet Doherty teamed up with Cartoon Network to transform herself into a “living Pearl” and dance to this song from Steven Universe. Yes, this song is from a “children’s” cartoon.

You can watch the original version from the episode (highly recommended) right here. Now go dry your eyes.

Categories: Cartoons, Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Great Ideas on the Internet: Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force


When the President’s mistress is kidnapped by ninjas, there’s only one team you can trust… Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force!

My good pal, comic book author (and former Green Fool of Fools Play Improv) Michael Tanner (of Junior Braves of the Apocalypse fame), has a new project and he needs SPECIFICALLY YOUR help to get it out into the world! It is, as the kids say, absolutely awexome:

Strike Team: Code Name: Diamond Force is a one-shot comic book homage to action exploitation films from the end of the grindhouse era. It is full of brutal martial arts action, explosions and an awesome robot who gets faxes from the president.

But DO NOT take MY word for it! Here is the man, the legend, Mr. Michael Tanner hisself to explain it all to you in a 100% fact-filled and not at all bullshitted video:

See? 100% REAL.

So I definitely backed this project AND SO CAN YOU, RIGHT HERE:

I can’t wait to get my copy and dirty it up with my filthy fingers… or will IT dirty ME up???

Categories: Comics, Great Ideas on the Internet, Kickstarter.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Christmastime is Wunnerful

‘Nuff said:

Thanks, Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick!

Categories: Christmas, Music, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.