Sunday, December 16, 2012

I forgot this existed...

I doubt anyone still checks this thing, but I will resurrect this. I have no idea what I'm going to write about. I'm not playing much poker at the moment as nursing school has dominated my life. This is very short, just a re-entry back into the blogging world. Will have new material soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sorry about the lack of updates. My laptop has been laid to rest and I don't have access to another one but a couple of days a week, so please bare with me if you're interested in this blog.

Today, I am talking about gaming, and mainly the lost world of J-RPG's. Nearly abandoned in the modern gaming world, J-RPG's are the games that I grew up on. I was 6 years when I played Final Fantasy I for the NES for the first time, and I immediately fell in love, not to mention got my ass kicked because that was a hard game for a 6 year old. The Final Fantasy series is the most popular RPG series of all time, and for good reason as they produced a lot of the classic games of the genre. But I don't care to talk about Final Fantasy games today. Instead, I am going to go over what some the top classic RPGs that, maybe aren't as well known, were.

Lunar: The Silver Star Story
Lunar; The Silver Star Story was an incredible game that follows the protagonist Alex and his childhood friend Luna as they embark on the journey to become the Dragonmaster. Centered around a Theistic world worshipping the Goddess Althena, Lunar is unique in that it was one of the very first games to feature voice acting both in game and in fully fleshed Anime-style FMV cutscenes. It was originally released on Sega CD, but luckily was ported to the more popular Playstation. The battles consist of up to 5 characters and different attacks are useful for different formations. Many random battles are avoidable because the monster runs into you. I highly suggest you 'acquire' this game if you've never played it.

Star Ocean: The Second Story is a RPG based around Space Travel. Also featuring some voices, this game allows for customizable character names, as well as nearly everything else. You can choose between your main characters Claude and Rena, and depending on different actions, you can acquire different characters. This gives the game a ton of replay value. Random battles are well, random, but the battle sequence is different in that you control your character as he moves around on a field. The best thing about this game is complete customization of your items. Whether combining an old sword with a metal to make a new one, or forging a new medicine, or making food, the item customization is endless. One of my favorites.

Chrono Trigger
Probably the most well-known RPG that isn't a Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger tells the story of Crono and his gang as they travel through time in order to stop the destruction of the world. Chrono Trigger has one of the more memorable casts in any game. You also get a different ending depending on which era of time you destroy the final boss in, allowing for some strong replay value. Since you gain time travel abilities, different actions occur in different eras based on what you do in the past. Random battles are avoidable as you can sneak by a lot of the enemies without getting touched, which engages the battle. The game is also famous for it's illustration and character design, as this was done by Akira Toriyama for Dragon Ball fame (Note the similarity between Crono above and Goku in the face, as well as the blonde girl and someone like Bulma.)

Suikoden II
Easily one of the best RPG's of all time, Suikoden II features the trials and tribulations of two young army recruits in the Highland army as they battle the City States. There are 108 recruitable characters which perform various tasks, with around 70 available for battle which gives you a large selection pool for customizable teams. There are also 3 battle types in Suikoden II. The most common one is the random battle, in which you have up to 6 units at a time in against whatever enemy. The second most common is an army strategy battle, in which you control multiple units with certain powers, defense, and abilities. This is interesting as it allows permanent character death if certain characters die in these battles. The last is a 1 on 1  duel, in which the Hero of the game takes on a character 1v1 and has the option to Attack, Defend, and Super Attack, which is kind of like Rock, Paper, Scissors. There are different endings depending on whether or not you get all 108 characters. Probably my 2nd favorite RPG of all time.

Tactis Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
My favorite game of all time, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is a strategy-based RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics, whose battle system was based on Tactics Ogre. You can take up to 10 units into battle with you, and they move around much like chess pieces on a chess board. Your basic units can change into different classes, each with their own strength and weakness. This allows for complete army customization. Another strong point of this game is that any character can equip anything. Want an axe wielding wizard? Done. Your archer with a staff? Whatever man. Your knight with a dancer's fan? Shit, you go brother. The plot is politically driven as we follow a group of youths whose ethnic group has been the victim of genocide by other groups on the island. This is another game that, depending on your choices, GREATLY alters the plot and how you proceed next, giving this game tons of replay value. The only downfall this game has, and it's a minor one to me, is the occasional poor translation. Everything else, I love.

Also, just to elaborate, all of these games have amazing soundtracks. As a musician and music lover, I have a hard time playing a game unless it has good music.

And there you have it, the 5 greatest RPGs that aren't named Final Fantasy in my opinion. Really, I favor all of these over just about every Final Fantasy except maybe VII.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Martini? Stir your drink?

I wasn't certain which topic to approach today, but then a song comes on MP3 player that decided it. I am writing about the greatest album ever made.

Yep, that's the right. The greatest. Pic related.

Devin Townsend is my favorite musician. He is an incredible guitarist and vocalist, but his strongest trait is his songwriting and production skills. He uses a trademark "Wall of Sound" approach to his albums and this has led to his production of some of the biggest metal acts of the last decade.

Terria is very reflective of Townsend's personality. Devin suffers from an intense bipolar disorder and it shows through his music. Some of the most intense, terrible sounds are immediately followed by a long, serene passages. Let's get to the review.

Track 1: Olives. This is a short little intro with an automated voice asking the listener if they would like a martini. Devin, despite taking his music very seriously, can't help but include humor in anything he does.

Track 2: Mountain. The first real song of the album, this is literally the bipolar disorder in a musical state. The music is chaotic and heavy, yet Devin's voice comes in very soft and melodic singing "You are so beautiful to  me..." The highlight of this entire album is the layered vocals he uses to create harmonies and melodies throughout every song. The middle of the track mellows out and creates a few beautiful melodies before resuming the previous chaos. Devin ends the song with some powerful screams that sum up his views of his disorder: "IT'S JUST ANOTHER MOUNTAIN! JUST ANOTHER MOUNTAIN!"

Lyrical highlights: "I've logged so many hours with medications and the dog."
"It's just another mountain."

Track 3: Earth Day. Jesus Christ. If Mountain was the decline of humanity, Earth Day is  the armageddon. It begins with a powerful guitar line before Devin comes in with an incredible vocal line telling us to "Eat your beets... Recycle!" One can never be sure what Devin is really talking about in his songs, but I think he indicates that he think God is a woman, and that he thinks there's a little gay in every straight person. This song is so chaotically beautiful, and it has become one of the trademark songs of his career. When he was off his meds, Devin said he began to see people as pieces of meat, and he uses this line in the song. It ends with Devin assessing his personality with "Ooooh, man overboard."

Lyrical highlights: "Eat your beets, Recycle."
"So just shut your face, and take a seat, cause after all you're just talking meat."

Track 4: Deep Peace. As the tiitle implies, this song is a much needed break after absorbing the chaos of Mountain and Earth Day. Devin chills with an acoustic guitar for the first minute and a half, with birds chirping in the background. He is telling someone that it's alright to not be perfect, and he'll still be there. Then the song takes a slightly bipolar twist, lyrically, with him in turn telling the person he won't be there with an almost mocking tone in his voice. The middle of the song has a beautiful guitar passage and vocal harmony passage after that. Very impressive dynamically.

Lyrical highlights: "It's alright to cry, it's alright to feed on everyone."
"If you ever need me babe, I will be there."

Track 5: Canada. This is the song that came on my MP3 player. Devin's vocals in this song are the best on the album. This is probably my favorite song because I spend so much time driving and this song is about the lonely road. The vocal harmonies here are incredible, and there's a really good bassline in the middle of it. Devin belts some powerful lines here.

Lyrical highlights: "All that time I needed your approval to be me."
"Wake me, please wake me when it's my turn to drive."
"Only the lonely, and maybe John Denver know the Canadian freeway."

Track 6: Down and Under. This a very nice instrumental with some vocal "Oh's" harmonized over a repetitive guitar line. Really nice, but there's not much to say about it.

Track 7: The Fluke. This song picks the pace up with a very pop friendly guitar hook and verse. "I am a fluke in this world..." At the chorus, this song takes an extreme turn and returns to the chaos that resembles earlier shades of the album. Then it takes yet another turn and goes into one of the best vocal sections of the album, before returning to another verse and another chorus. The vocal section has some harmonized "Oh's" over a melancholic guitar line, before having 3 different vocal lines harmonizing over each other, with each saying something different. I wish I could pick his brain to figure out where he gets this shit from.

Lyrical highlights: "I'll have to wade through the bullshit babe just to find my own vision of pearl."
"And I write and I eat and I shit and I sleep
Yes, I eat leafy greens nearly three times a week.
And I'm not unafraid but no longer afraid of you anymore!"

Track 8: Nobody's Here. Another very mellow track, this track defines solitude. It opens up with Devin offering the listener a beer. The lyrics here are very strong and really connect with people going through a tough time. Once again, I think he is singing about his bipolar disorder.

"Tune in and lock yourself away
Relax, it doesn't matter anyway
'Cause it's all a lie, it's true
I think, I guess, I know, I think, I know
...Fuck off...
Why can't I remember?
I feel, feel like there's nobody here
...Feel like there's no more fear
I wanna feel like this for a year...
...Feel like there's nobody here... "

Lyrical highlights: See above.

Track 9: Tiny Tears. Another softer song, this is the weakest track on the album in my opinion, but it's still just a fantastic song. He illustrates how absurd it is that he,;postID=7072547364679062446 or anyone, being a miniscule human can significantly impact another person in such a way to make them cry. The vocal melody is very nice and the guitar lines are reminiscent of a lullaby almost.

Lyrical highlights: "Baby babe don't say a word
In this life you get all that you deserve
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I can't believe that I'm just an ordinary guy"
 "And I'm 29 years old, and I'm a million miles away."

Track 10: Stagnant. The conclusion of the album, and because you're so mentally exhausted from the rollercoaster he has put you through, he has put a much simpler, pop-friendly track here to end it. Devin urges the listener that if you're tired of how shit is, then learn to let things go cause "You don't know how or when it's gonna go." The final chorus ends with an almost choir like vocal performance with probably 12-16 voices going at once. A great way to end the album.

Lyrical highlights: "Summer's here, the sunlight greets the day
The winters gone, there's no more rain today...
And if I could, I'm sure that I would take your breath away"
"It's beautiful, the way it's meant to be...beautiful, but it 'don't do shit' for me...
So peel away a little skin and choke upon the bone"

I realize this was a lengthy post, but I urge anyone who likes music at all to get this album. Regardless of what you like, you will find a song on here that you like. Youtube some of the songs and just listen. Or else, this man will come and get you.

  Ain't he pretty?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This is the Axis of Awesome.

More importantly, this makes a mockery of the music industry.

This is something I've been trying to point out to people for a few years, but I suppose this is the direction I should've gone in. Oh well.

On another note, I think after reviewing all of my education, I have found out what I really want to be.

James Bond.

Just look at this guy.

He wears a suit. He plays poker. He carries a PPK legally and fucks everything up.

Unfortunately none of the schools around here offer a James Bond major. I'm also not the appropriate height at only 5'9". Pic related.

I suppose I could wear platform shoes and be a groovy Bond, but that seems like a lot of work and a lot less women.

Fuck it, I'm gonna go write a pop hit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What up

Another non-poker post. I have trouble finding time on days I have class.

Speaking of class, I am in RN school right now. I'm in my first semester, and right now we're going over wound and infection control. I can't say I have ever been more disgusted with the human body than I am right now. I saw a picture of a guy with a foley catheter infection, and half of his dick was missing.

Anyways, enough of that shit.

I also have an associates degree in Business administration and was a few classes away from my B.A., and I am 3 classes way from associate degrees in chemical engineering and pre-pharmacy.

I have spent 5 years in college and have 130 hours to show for it. One of my advisors joked that I should be pursuing my doctorate at this point. It's pretty hard to narrow down what you want to do in life and how to go about it.

tl;dr Ole Miss is one of the top party schools in the country, so I partied my ass off.

Anyways, one day I'll actually come up with some interesting shit. Holla.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Took a break from the grind today to reflect more on my classes and then work on my business plan. I am trying to think of a niche to create in the heavily saturated world of body scrubs, bath salts, and body butters. I know it sounds like a weird product line but it is something that I think could make a little money.

But I'll be damned if the marketer in me can't think of a decent name for it. Any ideas out there? Could earn you a net profit in the future... heh, heh.

Not much to say today, hopefully I'll have some shit to say later.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rough day in the grind

Not for poor play. I was playing some Heads Up SnGs (1 on 1 for those who aren't poker savvy) with the $25.00 I loaded today. I had 3 tables going at once, when suddenly, my server began to freeze.

This is a nightmare for the online poker player. By the time that I had connected, I had almost lost all of the games. I was down to 2-300 chips with blinds of 100/200. So I played about 1-2 hands and then, bam, lost.

Money down the drain.

It was most of my bankroll. Now I am reevaluating if I want to deposit onto this site (Merge) again or not. It's a bummer cause my bankroll is very shallow right now, and I can't really afford too many more deposits.

On another note, I have a business venture going with my girlfriend that should result in a little bit of profit. She knows how to make all sorts of bath salts and body scrubs, so I am going to pony up and do the business end for her. Hopefully I can get a site up for these products soon.

Thanks for reading.