Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jeff Mangum Live

The A.V. Club asks, "Why don't you like this?" about the Milwaukee live show.

BTW - I hope I didn't Jeff up any of your plans - I do believe this is post #1000. Is it worthy? PARTYTIMeZ

;) ;) B)

visions of frank

were you aware that there was a limited series of animations based on Woodring's 'Frank' comics? were you aware that you can watch sum more of them on this youtube channel here? did ya reckon i would get my mittens on a copy of 'Weathercraft' so quickly and enjoy it so thoroughly? well, i did and i did. and i also read me som 'Pim and Francie' (pictured below) and it's totally all that. anyway, i thought this was the 1,000th post? or maybe it'll be the next one. or the one after that too. yay!

Learning to Play Magic:The Gathering

The last time we spoke, I was getting interested in Magic: The Gathering -- since then I've gone all in.

Thinking about some of the reasons I like it:

1) It appeals to my OCD tendencies in a few ways,

a) My collecting gene
b) The stats (mainly on the cards -- using them to predict optimal strategies)
c) The time spent not playing the game but thinking about the game (deck building, deck tweaking, thinking about the synergies between cards, thinking about the strategies behind different decks / cards, etc)

2) The challenge of game play and the challenge of the learning curve

3) The Flavor of the world of Magic and the art of the cards (c'mon, how can you not love a Zombie called "Farbog Boneflinger")

I've been playing online exclusively through two different products:

1) MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers -- This is the first product I bought. It's available for $9.95 for XBOX live, PS, and Steam for PC (my choice). This is a slick-shiny interfaced, arcade style version of Magic. I used this product to learn the basics of game play (playing against computer AI). I'm glad I started with this product to learn (for reasons I'll explain below), but ultimately, it's pretty limited in my opinion for one main reason; the lack of deck building. Although you do unlock some additional cards through game-play giving some ability for deck modification, you can't build a card collection and participate in ground-up deck creation with this game. It wasn't more than a week before I moved on to...

2) Magic:The Gathering Online (MTGO) -- This is where all the action is. For $9.99 you get an account and can download the client. You also get about 300 playable cards (common and uncommon) two "event tickets" (the currency of the game, each ticket is essentially the equivalent of $1), one booster pack, and some Planeswalker cards / decks.)
MTGO hosts all kinds of tournaments and casual game play formats. There is a marketplace where you can buy and sell individual cards. There is a store to buy more event tickets and boosters, and more. Coming from the Planeswalkers game, the interface seems really clunky and non-intuitive (especially when you play your first game), but it isn't long before you settle into it.
I've only played casual "constructed format" games thus far. I was pretty nervous playing the first time (especially since I didn't really understand the game play mechanics of the MTGO interface) and was promptly blown out. I didn't fare any better in game two. After getting killed the second time, I took a lot of care to really build a deck where the cards worked together synergistically. I went to the marketplace and started buying single cards (quite inexpensive online; you can get about 100 commons for 1 event ticket, 50 uncommons for 1 ticket, or a half-dozens rares). Long story short, my mono-black Zombie / Vampire deck went on to win 7 of the next 10 games.
Ultimately, I feel that I'll gravitate to the "Limited" format (ex: Booster Draft) once I gain a little more experience and knowledge. For now though, I'm having fun building and tweaking decks (without spending much money on the high-dollar cards).

Anyway, let me know if you guys feel like dropping ten bucks and geeking out with me (both of the products above let you play against your friends). I'll give you more details and will show you the basics. FUNz!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

brand new love

lou barlow reissues some of my favorite music ever.

Jim Woodring's 'Weathercraft'

I just read Jim Woodring's Weathercraft - one of those books that I actually see myself going back to revisit multiple times. In Woodring's words, "One of the themes in Weathercraft is that art is like drugs—it will show you places but it won’t get you there."

When I hear people say that a story or movie is something 'that I get something new from whenever I read it or see it again,' I suspect often that they are referring to the phenomenon of one being able to re-measure themselves against a particular baseline (given story or movie) as they themselves move (change?) through time (speaking maybe Heraclitian-ly). I suspect that Weathercraft will be a tailored and highly-calibrated yardstick for taking my measurements in the future.

Some things I like about the story are it's unsettled and uncertain meaning; mythological meaning, perhaps, and it's elastic relationship to space-time. I like the faint nausea (motion sickness?) that I felt while reading this story -- literally. I like seeing realistic sources of fear shown in a (superficially) unrealistic universe.

The Comics Journal has a great interview with Woodring that touches on Weathercraft and his other works, but also broaches upon such topics as transmogrification, horror as a sacred thing, and the overtly Vedantic tone of Weathercraft.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Old89ers Podcast: FOURTEEN

- It's a special episode with Billy from "Billy and the Barn Owls" calling in from Bangladesh to speak to Brandon and Steve about:

- Writing Songs, Putting music into the world and watching it take on a life of its own

- Copywriting and Licencing Music

- Song Royalties

- More

Intro Music = Whiskery Pants by Posthumous Hits

Opening Track = It's a Bad Idea by Brandon Bueling

Closing Track = It's a Bad Idea by Billy and the Barn Owls

Check out more from Billy at

Listen or Download, HERE

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012