Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hello, I’m still alive, but…

Hallo there, Bloggy. I’m ALIVE! Well, kind of.

I only say kind of because I feel like I’m missing something essential to my life. Honestly, I don’t know what the hell I’m missing because it makes no sense to me.

I came back to blogging because I have more free time since I graduated on the 14th. But I’ve also been playing Final Fantasy XIII (on top of some of other games I’m still trying to get through), which is an amazing by the way. But even through that, I still feel like something’s missing.

Last night, at my friend’s place we started off talking about relationships (mainly what we did and didn’t like about them, plus problems we’ve all had in common during them), but the subject drifted towards sexuality. We don’t even know how the conversation got there, because we had a discussion after the sexuality discussion about how we even got on the topic of sexuality.

Anyway, we talked about whether there was such a thing as bisexual, with one gay man believing there is no such thing, and that there is only gay and straight. It’s his opinion of course, so I’m not judging him. Another guy, whom is also gay, thought I was gay the whole night until I joined in on the discussion and mentioned that I was bi and continued on about whatever the hell I felt needed to be contributed to the conversation. He said that he still thinks I’m gay and will continue to think of me as gay because of what I said in the conversation. I don’t mind that, really. I’ll admit that there are just some days where I feel gayer than normal.

I don’t like putting anyone’s business out there, which is way I’m leaving out names, but one female friend has been in a relationship with two girls and one guy and the first guy I mentioned in this post called her a lesbian, but more in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. That also leads to a nice double standard. I’ve never been in an actual relationship with a guy, just girls. Wouldn’t that qualify me as straight?

But it made me wonder about myself. I can honestly say that I’ve truly and completely fallen for three people. They were actually all back in high school now that I think about it: two girls and one guy whom I actually confessed my feelings to near the end of senior year in the middle of the school’s hallway. Let’s just say that telling him my feelings was possibly the single most embarrassing moment in my life. Not only did I get rejected by him, but I also sat across the table from him in art class, so we basically had to make eye contact every day and have that awkward aversion of gaze every few minutes.

We talk now because we got over the awkwardness, and the three years since high school have been good. And as I typed this entire post, I figured out what I’m missing. I just miss having actual discussions from middle school (in the “Sacred Circle”) and high school with friends that included @notlilo, not just small tales of Chicago and one-lining quips. Looks like I’m going to have to round up the old crew so we could all feel old together.

Well, that’s where the mind of Mico is at the moment. Now that I got my lady issues out of the way (shit, someone is bound to find that offensive), it’s time to talk blog business.

I had a whole week planned out, but alas, Mico failed at his own schedule. See, the original plan for the week was:

•    Monday: We lost a few good shows this year.
•    Tuesday: CTA, step it up, pl0x.
•    Wednesday: –
•    Thursday: Thank you, Hum. I’d prefer an astronaut.
•    Friday: The First 3-Part Blog Story, Part III: Friday, April 23, 2010
•    Saturday: My name is Michael and I have a problem: The Squeakquel

But you know why that didn’t pan out? Reason the first: I can’t work when I’m hot. Chicago was unbearably hot this week and all our fans are missing. Cause deux (French): I have Final Fantasy XIII now. JRPGs (Japanese Role-playing games) require lots of time and are a bit slower passed than their western counterparts. Oh God, this game is so good. I can’t stop. I’m already on disc 3 of 3! When I’m done, I’ll give you a rundown of all the things I love about the game. I’ll search for the fans so I can work on my brand new posts for the week, which plan to be:

•    Sunday: [Possible special contribution by my friend @notlilo.]
•    Monday: We lost a few good shows this year.
•    Tuesday: CTA, step it up, pl0x.
•    Wednesday: Crater Face, meet Cat Face.
•    Thursday: Dark, perfectly.
•    Friday: The First 3-Part Blog Story, Part III: Friday, April 23, 2010
•    Saturday: My name is Michael and I have a problem: The Squeakquel

I know there isn’t much of a difference between the two lists, just Wednesday and Thursday, but still. I also plan on implementing the Facebook “Like” button on my blog somewhere, simplifying the name of the blog to “Mind of Mico,” going back to the last four or five posts to add all the missing tags, and… there was something else that I can’t quite remember at the moment. Unless, of course, the Chicago heat kills me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thank you, Hum. I will be an astronaut.

You’d Prefer an Astronaut was originally released in 1995, and I was only seven years old for most of that year. Sometime between ’95 and ’06, I’d heard the song and it was eternally tucked away in my head. It was one of those small memories that you have no recollection of until someone triggers it.

One day in 2006 I heard “Stars” on the radio and I instantly recognized the song, but I still don’t know why to this day. All I know is that I’ve been obsessed with listening to “Stars” and the album it came from since then. I’d heard Space rock before, but it was Hum that captured me and held me hostage. I believe that it has something for everyone, vocally and through guitars and drums.

Here I am a few years later and I’m still an avid Hum fan. They broke up around the year 2000, but they’ve gotten back together a few times every now and then to perform shows. I’m actually going to see them perform this coming Monday at Millennium Park here in Chicago. After all the shows I’ve missed, this one is a no brainer. In a true throwback sense, I’m going to give you a simple rundown of why I love this album so much without giving too much away so you can experience the music for yourself.

“Little Dipper” – An amazing opening, giving a taste of what the next 40+ minutes of the album will sound like. “We won’t let them take you, we won’t let you die.”

“The Pod” – I simply love the drumming, guitars, and vocals in this song. There is really no other for me to say it.

“Stars” –
My favorite song on one my favorite albums by my favorite band. The solo is to die for. For emphasis, THE SOLO IS TO DIE FOR.

“Suicide Machine” – “I’m lonelier than God.” That’s one of the few lyrics of the word that actually gives me the chills along with a line in “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden. Also, there’s mention of the zebra that’s on the album cover.

“The Very Old Man” – A guitar, the non-electric kind, and vocals. Very soothing, very summer night.

“Why I Like the Robins” –
This feels very green and earthy to me. I always think of trees and how they can see more in their lifetimes than we possibly will.

“I’d Like Your Hair Long” – This is the track that the album get its title from, and I don’t at all think that this is “a waste of a song.”

“I Hate it Too” – Starting of slowly, “tidal waves of love” are sent your way after about two peaceful minutes.

“Songs of Farewell and Departure” – I’m just going to say “holy shit” still, after all these years. There’s one line in the song that simply blew me away. I’m definitely not going to spoil it, but you’d have to listen to the entire album for it to have the same effect on you that it did on me.

You don’t have to be an astronaut, you just need an open ear or two and Hum does the work when it comes to taking you to space. Give the album a chance. You won’t regret it any time soon, I promise.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rock Band 3 Watch, 002: Swapping Vocalists, Freezepop, Queen, Joe Cocker

Rock Band is an amazing game. I love it, but there are small things I notice while playing the game that I shouldn’t see while I’m trying to hit notes. Something I’ve noticed from the transition to Rock Band 1 to Rock Band 2 is how weird it is to see a male avatar singing female lead vocals. When I played Rock Band 1’s vocal tour, I would just start at my avatar jump around as he lip-synced to Flyleaf and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and wince ever so slightly. I notice little things like that. In Rock Band 2, my vocalist is a girl, but I still have those moments where I stare at her when she’s jamming out to Disturbed and Metallica. I’ve been wondering how cool it would be for band members (just the avatars, not the players) to have the ability to swap instruments mid-setlist to get rid of this awkwardness, and that way my female singer can switch positions with my male drummer.

On the music front, since nothing has been confirmed (that I know of), I think that it’s time to start compiling my “dream setlist” that I mentioned in the first Rock Band 3 Watch post.

First (and I feel this HAS to be first) is Freezepop. Harmonix has had Freezepop as a featured artist in all of their main games, excluding the Karaoke Revolution games, since as far back as Frequency in 2001. I was actually somewhat shocked that there was no Freezepop in Rock Band 2 on disc or as one off the 20 bonus tracks available later, but I accepted Freezepop always be hogging the spotlight from other artists. But still, a part of me really wants “Frontload” from Future Future Future Perfect, the band’s 2007 album that also has “Less Talk More Rokk,” one of the five Freezepop songs available in Rock Band. The song wouldn’t exactly be rolling in the vocal harmonies that we could hope for, but it would still be nice to have nonetheless. Also, we’d get a kickass keytar solo at the end of the song. Everyone loves kickass keytar solos.

Next would be “With a Little Help from My Friends,” but Joe Cocker’s version. I know it would be blasphemy to have this version considering the original is in The Beatles: Rock Band, but this version would work wonders with vocal harmonies. Also, the song is from the 1960s, meaning that if Rock Band 3 is still planning to range from the classics of the 1960s to contemporary music from the 2000s and 2010s, this Joe Cocker track is almost a shoo-in considering the small percentage of songs from the 1960s available for the game. I tried to resist mentioning it but WONDER YEARS. WONDER YEARS. There. It's out of my system.

Last is actually the more obvious one: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Back in October of last year, we got 10 tracks by Queen as DLC for Rock Band 1 + 2, plus “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champion” in Lego Rock Band, which could be exported into Rock Band 1 + 2. The most notable song missing was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and I’m pretty damn sure this song will be included in Rock Band 3. How can Rock Band 3 be big without one of the biggest rock anthems of time?
Rock Band 3 tracks:
•    Stone Temple Pilots – [track(s) not known]

New Features:
•    Harmonies

My “Dream Setlist”:
•    Joe Cocker – With a Little Help from My Friends
•    Freezepop – Frontload
•    Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Dream features:
•    The ability for two Rock Band characters (male and female specifically) to change instruments (from vocals to something else) mid-setlist.