Category Archives: Fangirling

Counting on Songs like Yours…

So, Icon for Hire released an album out in October. And I’m just now getting to the review.

(Yes, my time management needs work.)

So, yes, Icon for Hire released their second album in October and it is pretty epic, but if you’re looking for an exact copy of their first album “Scripted”, don’t look here.

If “Scripted” was like a newborn baby who was dressed perfectly for studio pictures so their parents could send them out to relatives, then Icon for Hire’s self-titled album is like the toddler who wants to get their own clothes and create their outfits.

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Seeing Icon for Hire’s growth in this second album is a fun ride; they could have stayed safe and produced an album that sounded the same as “Scripted”. They didn’t. The sounds change from song to song — there are hints of a dubstep vibe in “Pop Culture” to an in-your-face screamy verses in “Critics and Cynics” to the subdued “Fix Me”.

The result? A solid, but maybe not 100% cohesive album.

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That being said, it is a really, really awesome album. The lyrics are solid (“Pop culture does nothing for me/ The American dream mainstream just bores me/ And we all act like we see right through it/ When we know we’re addicted to it.”). The passion the band has for their music is real. (If you ever see them in concert –and you really should see them in concert — you will pick up on that very quickly.) And Ariel has some of the best female vocals you’ll hear, period.

Another bonus to the album? It has my absolute favorite song by Icon for Hire, Rock And Roll Thugs. (I am keeping my fingers crossed at 1.) Icon for Hire comes out here on tour again and 2.) they play this song because it really is SO COMPLETELY AWESOME.)

Bottom line, refrain from your Starbucks for a day and go pick up their album for $5 on Amazon. Your ears will thank you.

(And if you haven’t picked up “Scripted”, it’s also five bucks.)

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I adore the Thor

So, my measurement for whether or not a sequel is good is if I can walk away and say that I liked the characters more/the same than I did before I watched the movie.

And that was totally the case with Thor. From Jane to Thor to Loki (believe it or not because I’m not the world’s biggest fangirl of him) to Frigga (dude, Frigga!) to Heimdall (who, I admit, might be my favorite minor Marvel character ever), I grew to love them even more.

It has its differences from the first movie, of course. And there is a noticeable absence of SHIELD, but there was a cleverness in the movie that I loved. And the big ending scene? Brilliant.

Was it better than Thor 1? I’d have to give that a yes. And if I didn’t have such a bias towards Steve Rogers, I might be willing to say that, The Avengers excluded, this is the best Marvel movie yet.

Awesome band is awesome.

In a nutshell: Icon for Hire rocks.

I’ve been fortunate to know about their music since their song “Make a Move” popped up over as the iTunes Discovery free song back in August 2011.  (Let’s just say that the rest of the album was purchased before the song ended.) So, yeah, I’ve listened to their album a million or more times since I DL’d it.

They’ve been recording their second album (yay!) and are out on tour again so guess who snagged tickets to go see them. *points to self*

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It was over at the House of Blues in Anaheim and it was awesome. ❤

We got there a little early and I was able to snag a bracelet before the show started. (I’m pretty sure that it was Josh, their base player, who sold it to me. Part of me was tempted to be like, “Dude, I know you! And you play Halo — you rock!”, but I managed to reign in the fangirl part of me and just gave him the money without coming across like a total oddball. LOL)

The show itself was epically awesome. I’m telling you, those guys are amazing. At one point, Shawn was acting as DJ and was playing his electric guitar, then switching to his acoustic guitar — all in one song. And I don’t know how Ariel didn’t pass out while singing — especially during “Off with Her Head”, but she nailed every line. 😀 😀
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We got to hear some of their new stuff which sounds TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY AWESOME. Their new album comes out in October, but I’m trying to figure out a way to rig up a time machine so that I can have it right now.


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After the show, Babe and I rushed over to their table so that I could pre-order their new album. I am still impressed with how the dude running the table managed to keep everything together despite the fact that there were a hoard of people rushing in. (I don’t want to say it looked reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse, but, if the shoe fits…) Anyway, I pre-ordered the album and turned around and there was Ariel.

Babe encouraged me to actually go up and say something and I’m glad he did. I’m telling you, Ariel is as sweet as can be. I talked to her about her Etsy store which I hope will open again soon. (But, hey, being on tour makes her a busy chick — I totally understand.) And, I got a pic with her — even Babe got a hug from her.  😀 😀

So, bottom line, if Icon for Hire is coming to your town, do yourself a favor and go listen to some totally killer music and support an awesome band. (Or if they aren’t, at least go buy their album.) Your ears will totally thank you.

Writing contests, word limits, and Bungie — oh my!

Recently, Bungie, er, The Black Garden (a group over at bungie.net) ran a contest: write a >300 word story about this image from Destiny. I didn’t win the contest, but I did find it fun to try to write for a world we know practically nothing about.

I wrote two ficlets. I ultimately chose the second one to submit for the contest, but I’ll admit, the first one is far closer to my normal writing style.

“It’s not much further.” The Warlock’s voice echoed off the ruins.

A trio of humans walked down the forgotten hallways. Whispers of humanity’s greatness wisped by them; ruins from a time when their ancestors had dominated the skies.

“I don’t like it here.” The Titan’s grip on his gun was tighter than normal.

“Did someone forget to pack their security cape with them?” The Hunter smirked under her helmet.

“The Cabal are congregating outside and we’re stuck in here because you think we need to find this loot,” he countered.

“I don’t think, I know.”

“Maybe this is one time we should let it go.” The Warlock stepped in the Hunter’s path. Her cape whipped around her as a gust of wind blew past them. “There are more things important than credits.”

“Tell that to me the next time our ship needs an upgrade. Or when Mr. Trigger Happy needs to restock his ammo supply.” She stepped around her. “We’re doing this.”

“It doesn’t mean I have to like it.” The Titan looked around. “We need to take our time or we will be putting ourselves in unnecessary risk.”

“And standing around here does what? Ghost can only so much from this distance.”

“Perhaps if you decided to pool in your hard-earned credits into some software upgrades I could be of more assistance,” the AI said coolly.

“That’s not what I–” The Hunter stopped suddenly and turned slightly.

“What do you hear?”

The question had barely passed through the Warlock’s lips when a duo of Cabal seemed to appear from nowhere. The fireteam’s argument was quickly forgotten as they readied their weapons and take aim at the enemy.

It was time for them to do what they did best.

It was time for them to fight.

/*-/*-/*-/*-/*-/*-/*-

They speak to her, these walls of old.

They testify of humanity’s greatness.

And of its defeat.

Rust-covered sand has blanketed the once-proud building. Time has not been kind to these ruins on Mars.

The rest of her fireteam are several yards ahead of her, scanning the area for any signs of the Cabal. They are at risk here, sifting through the abandoned buildings, but they need to score more loot if they are to get off this forsaken planet.

A glimmer of something on the ground catches her eye. She kneels down; her green cape pools around her feet. She reaches underneath the sand and pulls out the shiny object. It is some kind of metal, shaped like an eagle, holding arrows in its talons.

Not for the first time, she wonders about her ancestors and their ruinous past.

She stands up, clutching the trinket and makes her way back to her teammates.

“Do you think it’s worth anything?” The Hunter gives her a sideways glance.

“Probably not. But, I want to keep it. For myself.”

Her declaration doesn’t surprise either of them. Her curiosity of humanity’s history is no secret.

A familiar rumble beyond the dilapidated walls fills the air. The Cabal are there. She knows they have little time to collect the loot before they are discovered.

She shoves the metal in her pouch. Then, she reaches around and grabs her rifle, ready to fight. Her teammates mirror her movements as they push forward.

She doubts if she’ll ever learn the truth about what happened to her ancestors, but she knows that this time things are different. The Traveler can’t protect them. It is up to her and her fellow Guardians to ensure humanity’s safety.

This is their destiny.

And she would have it no other way.

 

I think that’s all I’m going to manage to write for Destiny right now — at least until more information comes down the pipeline. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop being creative when it comes to Bungie though…

Yes, it's a mini pillow. (Or, a plushie. You decide.)
Yes, it’s a mini pillow. (Or, a plushie. You decide.)

Name the tune!

Like, the one at the end of Monsters University.

Pixar didn’t make it easy because the song isn’t on the soundtrack, but thanks to the internet, I now know that it’s Marchfourth Marching Band’s “Gospel”.

Enjoy listening to it here, but consider buying it over at Amazon or iTunes. (It’s a buck — just don’t buy that dollar soda at McDonald’s for a day and support the band that made an epic song.)

Now, if you’d excuse me, I’ve got a certain song to go listen to.

It was my Destiny…

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So, on Monday, I had the privilege of being one of Bungie’s guest for the Song E3 press conference. (Kudos to DeeJ for answering ALL THE QUESTIONS that I threw his way. Patience, the dude has it.)

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Babe and I arrived at the pre-show event where there were a ton of food trucks waiting for us. (This is LA, after all.) All I have to say is that the gaming press loves their fried chicken because the line to get some tasty fried goodness was ridiculous.

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As it got closer to 6, the group started “lining up” to get inside the arena. It was a stampede of geeks, each eager to get the best seat. But, having a seat at the top of a section –and an aisle seat, no less– I can safely say I got one of them.

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The stage was pretty and so were the games. (I totally zoned out during the part about the movies…I know, bad me.)

Watch Dogs was certainly a crowd favorite. Babe is sold on the idea, but I’m like, “I wouldn’t attempt that game without a walkthrough because, um, SO MANY OPTIONS.”

My heart broke a little for the Assassins Creed team. Every time the game glitched, the audience held its collective breath while wincing.

KINGDOM HEARTS 3!!!1!1!! ‘Nuff said.

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Destiny was the reason why I had been invited to the conference, so I was eager to finally see some gameplay. The graphics were stunning, the crosstalk was endearingly awkward (does it ever sound relaxed? LOL), and those weapons ❤ ❤ ❤

I still have my concerns about the plot which is basically, “What’s the point?” The trailer sort of addressed that, but I am wondering if the game is going to run on all cylinders for single-player folk who don’t have a group of people to play with. I really, really, really, want to know about this world they created…who are the characters in this world? Is there something more pressing than the search for loot during public events to propel the story forward?

(That being said, they did create Halo — the video game that owns my heart– so my trust in them is extremely high.)

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Afterwards, Babe and I went to the Bungie after party. We sat in the background as I mostly gaped like an idiot at all the Bungie people I was seeing. (No, I didn’t go up to them –I was waaay to shy for that madness.)

DeeJ and Jay Weinland did come up to us and were both awesome and friendly, so yay! Bungie folk lived up to my expectation of being awesome ot their fans. :D :D

We had to bail out early because we had to pick up the little ones and Babe had work the next day, but overall, a totally epic experience.

And, DeeJ, just know if y’all roll into town again, my schedule is open the week of E3 next year.

The Man of Steel, er, Iron

Yesterday, Babe, the girls and I went to Disneyland (surprise, surprise) and headed over to the Iron Man exhibit they have at the Innoventions building. For the first time in, well, a really long time, there was actually a line to get into it.

ImageIt wasn’t too bad –maybe ten minutes– but those clever folks at Disney has it set up to where, hey, you want to see Iron Man? You’re gonna have to go around the entire top floor, buddy.

When you made it around all the other geeks, you were greeted with this beauty:

ImageGlorious, isn’t he?  Of course, behind him, the suits of armor stood proudly. Babe did his best to get a panoramic photo but a million nerds + bad lighting = somewhat blurry photo. I still love it though because, um, armors of awesomeness. ❤ ❤

ImageThey also had a simulation area. (We didn’t go on that because we had to eat at some point in the day.) But, if they still have the IM3 display up when we head back there in June, then I’m gonna have to try me on some Iron Man armor, baby!

Video games and their epic music

I’ll confess, I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with music. Forget TV, give me music any day of the week. (And, yes, I’m one of those people who can listen to the same song 57 times in one day.) One of my weaknesses is video game soundtracks. (No surprise, right?)

I love the Crysis soundtracks. It’s the guitar and the piano. It’s the emotion that you can feel come pouring out of the speakers. It’s pretty much perfect. The Crysis 3 soundtrack isn’t available for download yet, (I keep complaining on Twitter. LOL) but when it is, it will be mine, Precious.

Quake 2. I know, most of the young people are like, huh? Quake? Go buy the disc for 10 bucks and pop it into your PC, whippersnapper. Not only is it one of the very few FPS I actually finished, it’s got a memorable soundtrack that make you want to go after some Stroggs.
OK, so it’s not the original version of the song, but it is pretty awesome. Who doesn’t love some gypsy-jazz vibes anyway?
I know I barely scratched the surface, so what say you? What’s your favorite video game music?