04 February, 2008

Journal 009

Might as well right now get over the 'fear' of posting two Journal entries (or more?) in a row.

Today was the Superbowl. I actually feel kind of guilty mentioning it, because on the scale of football fandom (or fandom of sports of any kind), I'm located on the extreme with the people who could miss the Superbowl without realizing it - or caring. And I feel like acknowledging it automatically puts me in the group of casual fans who do care a little bit about the game. Well, there are two factors which brought the game to my attention this year. First of all, my dad's a huge football fan; he had no big Superbowl party to go to this year; and kickoff was during dinner - so there was no way I could have not been exposed. And secondly, Tom Petty was playing the half-time show, and I wanted to see that. So, since it was there, I decided to watch for the commercials, too, like any other non-fan would do. Nothing too mind-blowing, but you can tell that the stakes are higher - I know it wouldn't make sense financially and all that, but why can't advertisers be at the top of their game for regular commercials? Maybe then, people wouldn't hate commercial breaks so much...

Anyway, Petty's performance was, I'd say, par for the course. Pretty much what you'd expect from Petty playin' the Superbowl. I think I enjoyed the Stones' gig more, a couple years ago, but for a mainstream gig like this, they could do a lot worse than Petty (and truth be told, most of the years it *is* not even worth watching). The amount of sparkle throughout the stadium was pretty impressive. The songs Petty played were American Girl, I Won't Back Down, Free Fallin', and Runnin' Down A Dream. It's not surprising he'd play well-known songs - I mean, you might as well take advantage of that huge audience, and play songs they're gonna be able to sing along with. And besides, Petty doesn't seem like the type to pull out "artist's choice" on an important gig like playing at the Superbowl. I do like the spirit of adventurism in an artist, though, and I hope the rumours about Petty being looser with his setlists on the upcoming tour are true. I've seen him twice already, in 2005 and 2006, with 60% of his playlist repeated. Actually 60% sounds like a lot less than I was expecting.

It's 3 days into February, and I've already managed to slack off one day on my RPM Challenge efforts. But, having played guitar 2 out of 3 days is already a much better average than I've been pulling. I've been playing with both Meddle and Jabberwock, seeing what kind of sounds I can coax out of them - very preliminary stuff. Before a couple days ago, I actually hadn't played Jabberwock in a while, since I've been doing this madness stuff on Meddle. Picking Jabberwock up again, I was immediately reminded of - and impressed by - its bite. Meddle is still better with controlling the feedback, and for sensual tones, but Jabberwock's got the crunch. I'd have to say that Meddle is my blues guitar while Jabberwock is my rock guitar (I'd even say metal, except that I don't play metal). Still though, the bow effect only really works on Jabberwock. So it's looking like I'll definitely be using both guitars in this project. I might have to break and switch, but I think I might try to work out a system where I have both plugged in, and I can sit one down and let it humbuzz while I pick up the other one, turn the volume up, and continue on. Still lots of work to be done.

I was thinking about my project - what the idea behind it will be, what to name the pieces of the composition (because this sort of thing is a lot easier, and at least as fun as, the actual playing and composing) - and I thought that, since the name of my project is already Eight of Swords, I could break it into eight pieces, each named after a famous sword! So then I thought about what famous legendary swords I knew about, and I immediately came up with Excalibur and Masamune. But then I got stuck. What other famous, named swords are there? I thought about picking out swords from Final Fantasy games, but I definitely wanted my project to have a more 'myths and legends' than 'gamer geek' feel. Then I questioned whether I wanted to use supposed real historical swords of legend, or ones from fictional stories as well. But then, there are so many swords, and they each have their own place, how can I extract them like that, for my purposes? I'll obviously be biased toward the swords I've been exposed to.

There's something very appealing to me about the way that the Final Fantasy games have consolidated so much mythology from many different cultures and adopted it for their own purposes. It's a learning tool - a springboard for research. But something about taking those ideas and restructuring them to fit into a new framework... Okay, I'm bordering on ideas and feelings that I really can't explain in words, here. I believe I have mentioned that I've been working on devising my own RPG - dragonfaith (in my To Do List entry). Well, I think about these kinds of things. Consolidating ideas, and creating my own. And when it comes to naming things, even the coolest names from past mythologies often turn out to be pretty straightforward - oh, it's just "fire-sword" in Latin! So, if you call something Firesword now, it might sound pretty stupid, but it could be awesome in a thousand years when everybody's speaking Esperanto! Anyway, I guess the point is, I start thinking about whether there would be more worth in stealing other people's swords, or creating my own. Although, the benefit of stealing other swords is that people know them already. And that was the original point.

I searched Wikipedia for a list of swords. If you've ever surfed Wikipedia, you know how easy it is to get off on tangents. I ended up reading about lightsaber combat and Sith lords...

Yesterday was Groundhog Day. I have no idea what the groundhog did. But I watched Groundhog Day. Very profound movie. A lot more serious than the other two Bill Murray flicks I watched the day before - Stripes, and Ghostbusters. The 80's is an interesting beast. I have an inescapable connection to it, since I was born in the 80's, although I'm probably more a 90's kid, then again those early years were the formative years, weren't they? Anyhow, although the 80's is incredibly lame in almost every aspect, there's a weird appeal to it. It has nothing to do with the music - I think the music is crap. And I don't really respect the fashion, but the fashion has a lot to do with this feeling. Like, when I watch an 80's movie - for example, there were some good slashers in the 80's - there's just something about the whole aura of it that seems so innocent, and so upbeat. Even when talking about slashers. I don't know, it's really weird. There was a movie on TV months ago that I ended up seeing, starring Madonna. It was Desperately Seeking Susan. I'd be hard-pressed to call it a great movie, yet I had fun watching it. I'm tempted to say that there are some unconscious feelings going on relating to that "total 80's chick" (if you remember my Girls entry) that babysat me and my older brother during the 80's. That wouldn't surprise me.

But honestly, don't expect me to be caught dead going to an 80's themed party or going to see an 80's cover band. I think it's stupid how much people glorify the 80's. I think Satanic is definitely on to something with his philosophy about Sting, The Police, and Hip To Be Square.

Went to Wal-Mart last night. I looked through the "outdoors section", just scouting out possible camping-related items for Burning Man. I've been meaning to make up a shopping list, even just a preliminary one to start with. I also saw some bikes at the mart, but I dunno if they were kid's bikes or what. I definitely feel good about getting a bike. Even if it wasn't for Burning Man, I haven't ridden a bike in probably ten years, but everytime I think about it, I feel like it would be a lot of fun. And an excuse to get exercise, too. Like walking, but a little bit more exhilarating, and you could go a lot farther in the same amount of time, see different sights. I dunno if there's a trick to getting a bike, I just want one that's cheap, and comfortable (and that doesn't break down).

Bought myself a giant Reese's chocolate peanut butter heart from the Valentine's Day aisles. Nearly overdosed on that thing. I came to the realization that, although Valentine's Day is kind of depressing when you're alone, the major advantage is that you're free from the stress of having to impress your girlfriend. And boy is that a relief. I mean, I guess the effort is worth it if you get to reap the rewards, but from the other side of the fence, at least you can look forward to not having to make any effort at all.


  1. I like the sword theme... I'd definitely go with Excalibur, Masamune, Vorpal Sword (guess which song I'd pick for this!), Sting, Glamdring, Caladbolg, Rhindon... uh... I guess I'm one short.

    As for the bikes... if you fit on it, then it works. Being in Japan has changed my tastes when it comes to bikes...

    I'd go for a single-speed bike (less to break) with a light on the wheel (for night driving) and a basket in front (for carrying your random items). Multiple speeds are nice, but honestly, on a crowded, flat playa, I don't think you'll get many opportunities to shift up a few gears.

    A more cost-effective solution for this trip is that you could borrow a bike from a relative or something.

    Don't forget to check the tires and fill them up before you take it out on your trip, though.

    I enjoy the Japanese version of Valentine's Day... it's a lot more stress-free (for guys, at least). The girls that like you give you chocolate, so you can figure out who you should give chocolate to... a month later.

    By the way, I forgot to tell you last night, but at the ALT meeting yesterday, I met one of the newer ALTs that I hadn't seen before, and he said he was from Chicago. I asked him if he'd ever eaten at Uno's, and he said "Of course!"

    I was curious, so I asked if he had ever eaten at the original one, and his face completely changed to an expression of bliss.

    That's probably a can't-miss experience for sure.

  2. As a side note, riding a bike is a huge thrill after walking everywhere, as long as the terrain is relatively flat. Some of it is the realization that you can now travel 3, 4 times as far as you could before, on foot.

    That might be somewhat unique to my situation, though, having been forced to walk everywhere for a month before being able to use a bike...

  3. I seem to recall that one of the major discouraging factors for riding a bike for me in younger days, was the sheer effort required in climbing all those hills. I guess there's always the option of walking the bike up the hill (surely, the hills don't prove as much a problem when I'm walking), but that always gives me the feeling of being defeated, and not wanting other people to see me and think "look, he couldn't make it up the hill on his bike!"