Monday, May 05, 2014

That Effin' Killing Crate.

For much of the eleven years she was in my life, I was never truly hers.
Jasmine was not the cat that I loved most, no. I never really loved cats to begin with - at heart, I'd call myself a dog lover - and she was as catty in behaviour as they came. It's part of the reason why I loved my orange boy cat Pumpkin so much because he acted very much like a dog. 
He was the one that was smart. The one that I found using the toilet one morning because the door to the basement where his litter box was, was somehow closed and he had to take matters into his own paws. He was the one that I played video games with and revealed my secret love of the USA network to. Why? Because one day, Pumpkin decided he was going to be a lap cat. Whenever I sat down on that couch, Pumpkin would find himself nestled in my lap.
I was Pumpkin's girl. He owned me.
Jazzy was my cat. I owned her.
Pumpkin and Jazzy were my Brother Bunji's cats in the years before he and my sister-in-law, Angelo started a family. Soon after my first nephew, little A-Face was born, we discovered that he had severe allergies to the cats. And so, some tears later at the thought they would be sheltered, I took both of them into my home. I couldn't bear to think of them living in a shelter again after having been a part of our family for so long.
Jazzy had always loved my Angelo. Jazz was aloof and cold towards every single one of us except my sister-in-law. Due to that, my relationship with her was that she was just this pet I had. I tried to be nice to her but was often met by slaps or an evil eye.
It took a few years but things started changing after she moved in with me. I became the hand that fed her. I was the one that pet her daily. I was the one that let her lick my toes and sleep by my feet. I didn't realize it at the time but she started to love me. In fact, she loved me too much.
Her bad behaviour began about four years ago when she began to get very aggressive towards Pumpkin. She began acting out for one reason that was very apparent - she was diagnosed with stomatitis. Her gums were inflamed and she was cranky. Some hundreds of dollars later on medication and pet clinic visits, Jazzy became well again. Except, her naughty behaviour continued. And on the walk from the ice-cream truck to the Tabletop RPG store, Beetchie said something that struck a chord with me. It was the second reason for her behavior that made me terribly sad.
"Hmm, you know...Jazz is very jealous of Pumpkin. She's a one person sort of cat. It's probably why she's acting up and being so aggressive towards him. You're the one she loves now," she said.
It was true. I had caught Jazz giving Pumpkin the evil eye whenever he sat in my lap. She was prone to dishing those out all the time to anyone who would dare look in her direction, but with Beetchie's words in the back of my mind, I began seeing the signs.
The cat that I didn't think shared in all my passions for questionable television programming and fifty plus hour long RPGs, was actually sitting behind my head the entire time and taking it all in too. She just wanted to be close to me.
Last Labor Day when I had to put my little Pumpkin down, I sobbed. When I brought the crate home without the cat, Jazz sniffed it with curiosity. When the days went by and she showed no interest about the cat that never came home, I recalled Beetchie's words.
With no other cat to stand in her way, Jazzy became enamoured with me. She would stalk me around the house, always at my heels. She would wait outside my bedroom door. She even dared to step on my lap a few times, but she was never quite sure how to be a lap cat. She instead would constantly nudge at my hand for me to pet her. All those years of ignoring me, and for my part, all my years of somewhat ignoring her were gone. Jazzy actually became affectionate, something I never thought I would see.
A short time ago, I knew something was wrong again and attributed it to her stomatitis flaring up. Even with her drooling mouth, she followed me around and tried to cuddle. She was sick but she was as trusting and loving as ever.
I knew I had to do right by her - and although I thought about the monetary set back it would be especially having been unemployed for nearly a year - I knew I would just have to suck it up. It was the least I could do for my little cat. 
I packed her up in the crate Saturday morning and took her to the vet. Thinking I would be set back $235 or so with an additional $35 for her steroid medication, I came home instead with the same empty crate and a $368 cremation fee and pick up slip. And tears. Lots and lots of tears.
I am happy to report that my little Jazzy girl left this world as the bitch she was until the end.
When the vet gave her her second to last shot to calm her, she hissed and snapped at him. When I stopped petting her head after the five minute session and took my hand away, she gave me a cut eye as if to say, "Bitch, I didn't tell you to stop petting me."
Someone told me today that I should think about the good times I had with her. And yeah, I'll remember how adept she was at killing moths and assorted bugs. I'll remember her sweet little meow. and how she used to jump on the front door and look out for me. Just last night I went to open the front door and thought I heard a little familiar meow. H1 says she was saying goodbye to me.
I'll definitely remember how close she and I became in past few years.
But the first thing I remember of the good times with her, was that she was a mean little bitch like you wouldn't believe. It was a part of her personality and she had sass. And you know, I can't help but laugh.
Here's to you my little Jazzy - a true bitch amongst ourselves.
I love you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Expectations Met...and it Was Not What I Was Hoping For

For a brief time in an embarrassing moment during my childhood, I played the role of a Sony Fan Girl. Like most people who have no clue what they're talking about due to sinful ignorance, I loudly decried Nintendo without ever really investing the time to play a Nintendo game. It was purely brilliant reasoning, I know.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The End of Year Review: Music in 2013

Every year I say the same thing.  It's usually something about how I did not really listen to anything all year long and I could review maybe the 5 or so albums I did take the time to plug my headphones in for.  Then the end of the year happens in time for the review and I am astonished I actually bought and/or listened to as much as I did.

Every year I curse my first world problems.

This year was no different.

As with previous years, some of the albums on the following list are not ones that were released in 2013.  However, I did listen to them this year and thus they find a place on my list.  Additionally and traditionally, I utilized the "out of five" scoring system per song as part of the overall determination for rating the album.

9. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the Modern City

Over the years, I've reluctantly admitted to liking some of Vampire Weekend's work.  They are a band I have mixed feelings on - acknowledging that they more than likely shine in a live setting more so than in the studio.  With my usual hesitation and a bit more of an appreciation thanks to their previous effort, I listened to Modern Vampires of the Modern City and was met with something unexpected.

It was unexpected in not a good way.

Taking two steps back for me, Vampire Weekend sounded not much like Vampire Weekend.  It sounded safe for the most part.  The problem for Vampire Weekend for me was never musically but more so vocally.  Switching their sound to something safe in sound and a standard run-of-the-mill alternative album was uncharacteristic.  I love when bands take chances but this was one that was not needed.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Hudson" (a very good song, actually in its haunting ways), and "Finger Back"

H1 vs. Or 2: 5 > 6.  A Winner is H1 with "Don't Lie" over "Hannah Hunt"

Album Cover Review: I really like it actually.  Misty, mysterious, vampires lurking about that city of old... A

8.  Mindless Self Indulgence - How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence

Heavy on the screaming, and heavy on the club style of music; MSI's focus on this album was one I did not care much for.  The lyrics usually border on the ridiculous and the offensive, which is not lacking here but what is lacking is the general fun.  Track after track of similar sounding songs ushered in by the same tones made this album mostly forgettable.

This was the wrong title for an MSI album as I've always been a fan.  I won't say I will stop giving a shit about MSI but I may just love them a little bit less, at least for this effort.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Hey Tomorrow Fuck You and Your Friend Yesterday", "Kill You All in a Hip Hop Rage"

H1 vs Or 2: 5 > 6.  A Winner is H1 with "Hey Tomorrow..." over "You're No Fun Anymore Mark Trezona".  Hey H1, Eff You and Your Friend The Better Song!

Album Cover Review: ...I kinda like it.  But do I love it? Kinda mesmerizing though the longer I look at it.  B

7.  The Strokes - Comedown Machine

Was it just me or did this album just sort of fly under the radar this year? I certainly almost forgot about it when I was doing this review.  It's not that I listened to it and did not love, it's that I did not listen at all.  In listening, what I found is that undeniably familiarity in The Strokes.  But there was something missing too.  It was in the uninspired tracks that just fell flat and seemed they were made to just fill an album.  There was not as much fun here, not as much bite... in some parts, anyway.  It was enough to be noticeable to me but I am certain, as with all The Strokes albums, there's something to adore in some of the songs and in some of the frankness of it all.  But that's what it is.  It's the blunt, dry honesty that's missing.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Slow Animals" and "All The Time"

H1 vs Or 2:  5 < 6.  A Winner is Me with "50/50" over "80's Comedown Machine".

Album Cover Review: Intentionally and a blatant dig at record companies? If so, then my perception changes of the lacking substance to this album; making this more of a statement and proving a point.  If not, then it just proves my point.  Based purely on the visual, it's an eyesore:  C

6.  Passion Pit - Gossamer

I have a dirty confession to make.  At some point, I just had to know what the fuss was about this overly hipster sounding band.  Much like last year's $1.99 purchase of Imagine Dragons, I purchased this for next to nothing.  During a particularly hard month earlier this year, the general upbeat music coupled with the abysmally ironic lyrics of depression and soured relationships sung in a way to match the happy notes, stuck with me.  There's a lot of trash on this album too, make no mistake, but this album is the kind of secret, guilty pleasure love that I had a hard time keeping much of a secret.

Songs Worth Listening to: "I'll Be Alright", "Carried Away", "Mirrored Sea" and "Cry Like a Ghost"

H1 vs Or 2: 5 = 6.  They are both songs that I love and I believe it is a tie with your "Mirrored Sea" to my "Cry Like a Ghost".

Album Cover Review:  Oh hells no.  F - -

5.  Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady

Strong opening tracks eventually devolve into disappointment for me.  I realized something as I was listening to this album.  Whenever Janelle has a guest artist on the tracks on these, it almost seems as though she gets drowned out.  The songs are recognizable to the artist who duets with her.  The tracks can feel less of a collaboration and more of a compromise.  That's not to say the tracks are bad because that is not the issue.  Then there are the tracks on which Janelle does it solo.  It's a mixed bag with many average tracks and some acting as an extension to Arachnoid.  What remains is still a level of fun, soul with a throwback to 70s and 80s R n B style.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Suite IV Electric Overture", "Dance Apocalyptic", "Giving Em What They Love (feat. Prince)"

H1 vs Or 2: Yours is actually an interlude that's a talk through that I did not rate.

Album Cover Review: That girl sure knows how to win my heart.  All she has to do is place her cutie face all over the cover and I'm sold.  Electric Lady, indeed! So much personality and sums up the album's content and style.  A-

4.  The National - Trouble Will Find Me

While it's true of most types of music for any situation or mood, this is one of those bands that I sometimes just need to be in a very specific mood to listen to.  It's not easy to just pick up a song by them from this album and just have a listen on a whim.  The National put forth an album here that was much of the same - a solid, familiar effort.  There's a lot on here that sounds very much like their earlier album, Alligator. These are songs of lost love, and down to earth discussions on relationships.  It's typical The National with a little bit of cacophony while being a listening experience that will grow stronger with time, and is best when you have a moment to be focused.  You know, for when you are in that sort of mood.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Fireproof", "This is the Last Time", and "Pink Rabbit"

H1 vs Or 2: 5 > 6.  A Winner is H1 with a "Sea of Love" over "Heavenfaced".

Album Cover Review: I don't even.  No.  No thank you.  C

3.  Jack White - Blunderbuss

This was an album that I do not know what I would have done had I reviewed it last year.  It probably would have found itself on top of the list or very close to.  It's the album that gave me a new found respect for Jack White.  It's an album that makes me regret I did not go see him at Radio City Music Hall when I had the chance.  Most of the album is crafted with sharp sounds and in interesting, sometimes confusing ways to wrap your head around.  Powerful, sometimes frenzied vocals coat music that in itself is a tribute to music.  The Piano speaks and Jack's vocals command a type of respect and an urgency to listen.  Actually, Jack probably couldn't care less if you listened or not.  It exists and it is on a plane of its own.

Songs Worth Listening to: Most of the album but a few stand out tracks are "Trash Tongue Talker", "Weep Themselves to Sleep", and "Freedom at 21"

H1 vs Or 2: 5 < 6.  A Winner is Me with "Hypocritical Kiss" over "Blunderbuss".  

Album Cover Review: Now there's a bad-assed album cover.  A+

2.  Arctic Monkeys - AM

I determined long ago, I just needed to grow with Arctic Monkeys and accept that the boys would never return to the life they had and thereby, never return to the types of songs Alex could wrap sharp and witty words around to tell an ordinary story to make it incredible.  The lyrics are still sharp and Alex continues to prove himself a master with words.  Continued surprise at unexpected expressions, he's now taken to singing in that sultry way that is backed by same in Cookie's strumming, Helders' ability to keep beats with ease and are masterpieces of their own, and Nick's bass lines give all even more depth.

The album is a fun, adult ride.  Thoughtful, full of yearning and less personal in some regard.

It's incredibly strong, showing an amazing growth that happens almost every time a new one is released and will continue to strengthen an already amazing library from Arctic Monkeys.

Songs Worth Listening to: "Do I Wanna Know", "Knee Socks", "One for the Road" and "Arabella"

H1 vs Or 2: 5 > 6.  A Winner is H1 with "I Want it All" over "No. 1 Party Anthem"

Album Cover Review: You know, I like it.  Reminds me of the very amazing video for "Do I Wanna Know" and that just makes me swoon all over again.  B

1.  Queens of the Stone Age - ..Like Clockwork

What's left for me to say about this album? My constant love/hate relationship with QotSA continues.  On this album, there's nothing wrong.  I had a difficult time choosing whether to make Arctic Monkey's AM top this list or to give it to QotSA.  In truth, they're both such stellar efforts that it's really just interchangeable depending on what I am feeling like listening to.  Here, Queens created an album that is going to be an amazing listen that's going to continue to be surprising in years to come.  There's so much depth here, so much raw emotion, and just a good rock album in its honest lyrics and thoughtful, creative layering of sounds.

Songs Worth Listening to: The entire album, I believe I said! If you had to go with a few, "I Appear Missing", "My God is the Sun", "...Like Clockwork", and 'The Vampyre of Time and Memory".

H1 vs Or 2: 5 > 6.  A Winner is H1 with "My God is the Sun" over Kalopsia.  Damn you, H1.

Album Cover Review: Well, I'm not sure how to feel about it.  All these months and I still have no clue how I feel.  I'm edging towards a dislike, and so... I'll give it a B-

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Brothers... and a Sister: A Tale of Quiet Reflection

The younger brother is a bit of a trickster. He has a natural ability for the musical arts. He is kind to animals, preferring to set birds free from the cages that trap them than to see them chirping sadly in captivity. Yet as a young spirit, he finds himself leaning towards the inquisitive, playful and sometimes naughty side: teasing a bunny along the way or mischievously creeping up on an unexpecting villager. He is far more trusting and curious. His sometimes daring nature and carefree attitude lands him in trouble but at times, it is just what is needed to further a journey.

The Year of Luigi (Lumpuigi), FTW!

I see your Snow Mario, GBD. And I raise (?) you a Snow Luigi! Or rather, Snow Luigi's Head.

Gil Toss: The Year In Review!

Next to the inviting electronic glow and crackle of a virtual fire, it was there I started my year by tossing objects (with a scarily joyful smirk) into my brand new Little Inferno fireplace. Doing so warmed the place right up in those cold January months! What it did not do, however, was stop those grizzly murders from happening.  Difficult to ignore, I turned my attention to solving case after case with my very own Scooby Doo gang: the Investigation Team.  It was tough staying up until midnight and venturing into the television on those crazy nights.  I also really hated that thick fog.  Umm, maybe I should not have burnt those toys after all.  Plus the screaming when I did was none too pleasant…

Ridiculous Sightings in Retail...Are you Sure?

This article was also published on on December 9, 2013.  The article may be found at the following link:

Your Favourite Worst Nightmare: Trust No Bun(ny)

Your humble abode: it's just one room and you. There's a single-sized bed with other modest furnishings in a lone table and two chairs. Some paintings hang on the walls, three pots on the lower left line the wall in a most unassuming fashion, and a mask adorns the opposite side of the room.  Not far north stands a grand castle and to the west, a quaint village with its laid back atmosphere found in its milk bar, farm, citizens and cuccos happily clucking while roaming free. Everyone knows your name but you prefer to live the solitary life with your late mornings, and idle thoughts of becoming a Blacksmith.

The Link Between Super Mario 3D Worlds Launch Event at Nintendo World, NYC

Streetpass continues to be one of the best features of Nintendo's 3DS. It certainly comes in handy when you're waiting in line for a launch event. It makes the cold air a little more tolerable while you're standing on the street. Listening to friends talk about their respective Pokémon Safari is amusing. There's fun to be had being allowed to peek into what games others are currently playing. And of course, the all mighty flicker of a green light indicating you've tagged a fellow Nintendo Enthusiast is one of life's simple yet wonderful pleasures.

I wish my Streetpass was no longer working. I just really wanted to an excuse to get my hands on that sweet new The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 3DS XL!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Not the Green Hat Adventure I was Planning on Embarking on This Week...

While the rest of you were sailing the oceans blue, or taking the King of Red Lions straight into treacherous waters drummed up by magnificent storms… I took my green clothed tunic friend on a different high sea adventure. I left my hut with its cooking pots and potion storage. I put on my green tunic, and matching fitted green hat. With my rosy cheeks matching my rosy red underwear that I like to wear on the outside, I set off on a grand (?) adventure to collect some rupees.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to TD5 and Bughie J. this day.

The HOchieS loves yous.

Foodie Adventures with Nach: Days 4 and 5

Let it be known (again) that I have wayward math. Alright, not really but Nach's visit began Tuesday night and continued through Sunday afternoon. I combined Saturday and Sunday because Saturday was a bit of a strange day for food (and by that I mean I really don't have pictures…), while Sunday we said our goodbyes on the streets of Chinatown. It was my last attempt to rid myself of the hipster. And if you are to believe UI, I was successful. UI may be making claims that this current Nach floating around TAY is an imposter, since he, UI was not with Nach during his final hours and I pulled a switcheroo.

Foodie Adventures with Nach: Day 3

Nach came back safe and sound from his Thursday Philly trip, ready to go adventuring some more bright and early on Friday morning. At one point he was trying to suggest that perhaps we could start a little later in the day. Memories of the terrifyingly long day we had on Wednesday had him talking crazy when he uttered that suggestion, but that would mean fewer hours to eat. Weighing the pros and the cons, we set out early once more but it was not early enough…

Foodie Adventures with Nach: Day 2

At Aikage's suggestion, there is a change to the story formally known as "(Foodie) Adventures in How to Ignore a Hipster...".  However and despite the header image, this will not be a romantic comedy about canoedling, cup noodling, canoodling, or canned bread..ling(?).  I happened to take a  picture of some glorious art that day and this is all by chance.  None shall sully this thread! I'm looking at you, Aikage and Swan.  With that out of the way, I will be continuing the story on how Nach visited NYC and ate himself silly almost all of last week and at the start of this week.

Foodie Adventures with Nach: DAY 1

About this time last week, I was probably doing the same thing as I am now.  I was probably trying to write a blog post or at the very least, thinking of one.  The only difference being that, I was cursing under my breath thinking about how I had to leave the comfort of my house to go to dinner.  With a Hipster, no less.  That’s the real reason for the cursing… because you know, Dinner is always cool.  Hipsters… not so much!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Last-Gen Heroes: ...All That Jazz (and Then Some)

It was a week after its launch in 2006 when I strolled into Nintendo World to pick up my Wii.  The place was in utter madness.  Kids were running crazily all over the place and parents were busily trying to keep them in check (or not).  I handed in my receipt at the counter and from the back my Wii was collected and presented to me.  “How come she gets one?!” an insolent child inquired.  “Pre-order,” I smugly replied to combat the attitude I was met with.  The Wii sold out quickly and being in short to no supply, made all unable to get their hands on one that day quite displeased with my pre-order "prowess".  I took it home and booted up The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.  Days later, Link and I would be felled at the bridge while my family teased me during my time of increased frustration.

Last-Gen Heroes: Atlus is no "Square"

The Last Generation of gaming saw me log more hours into my DS and PSP than on my Wii and Playstation 3. On the go gaming just made more sense with busy weekends, and a two hour commute each day for five days a week. The ten or so JRPGs I bought for my PS3 and Wii for the most part remain untouched. Of the handful I played, Final Fantasy XIII and Eternal Sonata disappointed me while Costume Quest brought Halloween to life, and the joy of inedible candy into my heart. While I have some gems waiting to be played on my consoles, I needed to not look very far to get my JRPG fix as both the DS and PSP were willing to cater to those needs. Square had a strong presence in that regard but when thinking about the Last Generation of gaming for JRPGs and SRPGs, it's clear that there's one company in particular that has become a force to be reckoned with.

Game Changing: Feeding the Chocobos to the Dogs

I am very much a creature of habit.  I found my preferred genre of games in 1997 when I laid my hands on Final Fantasy VII.  However, it was not love at first play.  It took a frustrated break and a determination to understand what I was doing to develop that love.  When I finished it, I knew that the JRPG would be the type of game that I would seek.  I knew then too that Square would have my loyalty.  In looking at my library from the PSOne and PS2 eras, there are a few different genres strewn in as well.  There are my fighting days in Soul Blade and Tekken.  I would cringe as a “backseat” player to the Resident Evil series.  Farming was fun with Harvest Moon… and cooking with the Wonder Chef in the Tales series makes an appearance as well.  It is clear, however, that Square dominated my decision making in buying games.  

"No Black and White in the Blue..."

Last year, scouring the main show floor room at NYC’s Comic Con felt like quite the task.  DC and Marvel had the biggest booths with Lego smack right in the middle of the two comic giants.   Doctor Who paraphernalia was in abundance.  Gaming company giants were there too showcasing new games and playable demos, and everything dazzled the senses.  Nintendo was there promoting Paper Mario: Sticker Star.  And Square Enix also had a sizable booth.  It was there along with the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary chocobos and moogles, I saw it.  Perched on his shoulder, the ominous black bird stared at me in a familiar fashion and I had to have him...  while his glare invoked images of shattered stained glass windows that glistened in my mind and a favourite song began running through my head.

Last-Gen Heroes: When the Best Villain is You

I had seen this man before. An attractive, tired looking sort of fellow with his scruffy excuse for a beard. He had tussled hair and the rings around his eyes indicated he had not been sleeping very well. Perhaps he’s been having nightmares. His expression is one of utter concern. It’s as though he’s gotten news he’s none too keen on. Drinking every night at a mostly empty nightclub, he talked about problems of the heart. Ah yes, this guy. How could I forget him? He reminded me of myself.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Seedy Social Experiments of Animal Crossing

At some point, and very early on in my Animal Crossing's town's short existence, a green parrot named Frank moved in.  He and I did not get along the minute he opened that brutish mouth of his.  He sounded mean and gruff, and spoke Animalese in a tone that was very much like how Okami's Susano sounds.

He's one of those animals that had the heart of a jerk.  You know the sort if you've played any iteration of Animal Crossing: the judgmental type who is unpleasant in his mannerisms.

I wanted him gone.  And so, the fastest way to get rid of him was to have little to no interactions with him.  Day in and day out, I uttered barely a word to that ugly green bird.  An occasional pleasantry was exchanged, and I may have run an errand once or twice but not much more was done to further the friendship.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Flashback: The System is Down

The Internet seems a sadder place since 2010. That was the last time I saw certain fools...and since then I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I’ve been doing with my life. It feels as if I’m at a crossroads and there’s like a Denny’s on one corner and an Ihop on the other. Light switch raves never seem fun anymore and I don’t feel like celebrating Decemberween either. You guys know what I mean? Bear (holding a shark) with me as the strom is unleashed on this Flashback Friday!

Your Favourite Worst Nightmare: Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Your Home Town: You’ve just about forgotten the day you stepped off that train into a life of Inadvertent Leadership.  Neighbros have come and gone.  Friends have visited your larger than life world with its zen garden, and the lonely lighthouse keeping watch over the cliff as it ushers Kappa safe passage to the Island.  Your house now looks fit for a king as you sit in front of your fireplace every night wondering when next that horse will make an unannounced visit.  Your museum has reached a new level of cultural sophistication and yet there’s still so much left to explore.
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