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.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Your Favourite Worst Nightmare: The "Single White Stallion" Edition

Your home town: the charm of a quiet life is still there but now you're taking your duties as Inadvertent Mayor seriously.  Public works projects - you've got quite the few:  a trellis near your beautiful fountain? Check.  A splendid overnight camping site by the river under the stars? Indeed.  You encourage the arts and your museum is filled with wonder and knowledge because you're not a cultural Philistine, perish the thought! Your continued battle with the bees is all in a day's work.  As Mayor, you have have taken to buying surveillance equipment to keep an eye on the Demon Clown, or maybe you're out there interviewing Pete on his mail run.  You still find the time to enjoy life by dancing the night away with your neighbros at your Club, but you've got your eyes on trouble brewing (and it's not the pigeon milk in your coffee, though you've got your eye on that too).  No, there's an animal in your town and there is something sinister about him.  You best mind your life or he'll mind it for you...

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. Hare, Hare, Hare.

Well I don't think I have done this properly for some while but here we go.  Here's hoping and good luck all.

Monday, September 30, 2013

SnackTAYku International: Hurry Hurry, Come for Curry!

It’s Saturday and the sky has been grey all morning. From the funeral service to the countryside for the burial, there’s sadness and reflection. As you’re standing there trying to fight back the tears, the sky opens up and it starts pouring. People comment that it’s a blessing as their voices become dull background chatter. Making your way through the thick mud to put that rose with your kiss on it as a final goodbye to your favourite Uncle, someone calls you Maressa.

My Layton vs Your Phoenix: Part I

It was just shy of two years ago when I popped that unassuming DS cartridge in my 3DS. It certainly was an unattractive little cartridge that was an ugly blue with a white silhouette of a character loved by many but unknown to me. I remember not being overly impressed upon a play through of the first few chapters... but yes, I was incredibly impressed by the start: a body on the floor, blood slowly pooling around the victim and a heinous plot hatched by an evil looking, twisted faced man to blame an innocent passerby. Then in came a short monologue, cheesy courtroom drama channeling all sorts of early 1990s Law & Order music and a bumbling idiot named Larry Butz who you had to defend. The shift in tone made me scratch my head: exactly what had I gotten myself into?

SnackTAYku International: Dim Sum in Trinidad

Your life mission should you choose to accept it: Visiting the Chinatown in whatever city or part of the world you’re in and eating your life away at a dim sum house.  Oh… that’s just one my ridiculous life missions? Yeah well, perhaps you should consider making it yours too.  Life is just so much better with dim sum unless you’re allergic to shellfish.  If that’s the case then never you mind what I said.  That aside, for some reason I never ate dim sum when I lived in Trinidad.  I have no idea why that is but I knew that upon my visit a few weeks ago, I had to correct that misgiving.  As it turns out, fellow TAY’er and O-Decker, Supergeek, recently found a Dim Sum house where he lives in the Netherlands.  Well, oh.  Snap.  It’s Sunday, SUNday! Suuunnnddaaay.  And here’s your SnackTAYku International Main Event - Trinidad vs The Netherlands Dim Sum Battle.  FIGHT!*

Flashback: Family Woes!

The 14th day of February never really meant that much to me. With retailers’ ploys to grab at your hard-earned cash to be spent on lots of wasted paper and cheap chocolates; I never understood why a special day had to be set aside for those shenanigans. But I remember that one year I got something incredibly special as a Valentine’s Day present. Gifted to me by my awesome Father during a time when I was still a student and without the means to buy games for myself. It was presented to me unwrapped, and behind the red paper cut out heart that read “ To My Little One, Happy Valentine’s Day - Love Daddy” was a menacing, half-eaten zombie face. Indeed, my father with his amazing sense of humour had gifted me a bloody Valentine of Resident Evil 2.

Ridiculous Sightings in Retail:.. GDDH

Let's see what we got here in our salad dressing aisle... a raspberry vinaigrette.  Cool.  Cool.  Asiago Caesar dressing, garlic going down...alright, alright.  Godd...what?

What the hell is Goddess?

"Made with Goodness"...

What does that even mean? Because all I see is that flowers, garlic, lemons, sparklies and goddesses (plus the world) went into the making of this salad dressing.


This article may be found at the following link:

SnackTAYku: Eating the Rocky Mountains for Breakfast

I am a firm believer that no matter the type of food, it can be eaten whenever.  A stupidly simple statement, right? But I know we are all a little bit different.  Some of us adhere to labels of breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that certain foods should be categorized and eaten strictly during their designated time zones.  I have respect to those of you who do said things.  It may be a matter of not being able to handle heavier foods earlier in the morning too or whatever the case may be.  I understand our needs may be different.  I probably should do same but sometimes eating half a burger at 7 in the morning may be a necessary evil! A bowl of plain old cereal for dinner? Yes.  Sometimes you just have to make up for the days' prior..."misgivings" in that half a burger you may have consumed.

SnackTAYku International: Brunch at the Beach

 SnackTAYku International: Brunch at the Beach
Welcome back to Trinidad and "Breaking Biche".  It's like Breaking Bad but without the drugs.  It just means instead of working and you pack up the car with a cooler full of cold ones, get some beach towels and take to the windy road up to Maracas Bay.  It's here at Maracas, you will find that the dogs may or may not be allowed on the beach, the clouds hook themselves up on the mountains, a freaking rock that looks like so many you collected in your childhood may be found buried in the sand, and a bake and shark dressed up with island specialty condiments is what's for brunch.

Observations on Video Gaming and Reflections on Life in Trinidad, W.I.

With its ice-cream coloured houses, congested highways and local roads, higher food prices, the scattered produce with all manners of tropical fruit, and live animal stands for your fresh goat’s meat lining the country roads; there are many ways in which life in Trinidad has remained the same but in so many ways, it has changed significantly.  The changes are glaring and evolving with every new visit and I think my sister said it best when she remarked that it’s as viewing the country with a different pair of eyes every single time.

SnackTAYku International: The First Thing You do in Trinidad

Welcome to the island of Trinidad in the West Indies.  It's here after a five hour red-eye flight from New York that upon leaving the airport doors, the heat might hit you something fierce.  If you're lucky, there's a trade wind blowing your way.  You may be met by the sun taking to the skies and giving life to the day.  Family and friends will greet you with all their love and genuine happiness melted into the warmest hugs and hellos you could find any where.  And after all that, your first stop is right across the street for breakfast from the cart selling "Doubles".

Late Night Story Time!

Don't be weepy, sleepy puppies... It's almost time for bed, TAY.  Time to change into pajamas (or if you don't wear any of those... whatever it is you want to do, it's kewl.  I just don't need to hear about it), brush your teeth, dim the lights and curl up under those blankets.  Hm? You're not sleepy yet? TAYV Movie Night gave you the scares?! Oh.  Ohhhh, you wanted me to read you a story before bed! Sure, I can do that.  Actually, I've got about 16 to share!

Story Time and Pajamas: The Dream Team Launch Event at Nintendo World, NYC

Another Mario Luigi and Mario RPG game is out, everyone (as if you all did not already know)! It's called Dream Team, it's for the 3DS and I have not even opened up the game yet.  Nope!  What I did do on Saturday however, was skip to Nintendo World for a Pajama Party complete with musical chairs, story time, popcorn, drinks, cupcakes, the chance to dance with Luigi and Mario and of course, the ability to purchase a copy of the game a day before release.

Hosting the Open Forum 3

Heeelllloooooooo, TAY! Welcome to Thorsday and the Open Forum.  Hello? Yes, this is Zarnyx and I will be your host today.  Thorsdays have always tossed mishaps at me for as long as I can remember.  So today I say: pox on you, Thorsday! We're going to do an ActiviTAY to make us forget that there's one day until sweet, merciful freedom.  That's right! We're going to parTAY like it's Friday.  I'm sorry.  I know Friday is still a thing that has to happen but letmejustconfuseyouwithabunchoftextthathasnothingtodowithanything.  And onwards to our game!

We said it before and we'll say it again.  At the recent launch party at Nintendo World for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, a game of Mario & Luigi's Mushroom Kingdom Mad Lib was held and it was rigged.  The Top 5 Mad Lib entries were revealed and the team of Hannibal Chau Chow (fellow TAY'er UI 2.0) and Zarnyx did not win.  Maybe we are just bitter that our Mad Lib entry was not chosen (which seems more than likely) but man, I really wanted a Luigi key chain or plush as a prize! Not really but we were wronged, TAY! WRONGED!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Foodie Adventures: Morso? Yes, Please!

It was great seeing a few of my friends last Friday night.  We took to the subway and headed to the Upper East Side for dinner, drinks, laughs and to celebrate missed birthdays at Morso.  On the recommendation of a friend's friend, we decided to try this place with empty stomachs and an open mind.  Unfortunately, Morso was not participating in NYC's Restaurant Week* (hell, I did not even realize that was on).

*I adore the concept of Restaurant Week.  I love that NYC Restaurants open their doors to people to afford to sample of what their establishment has to offer by tailoring a menu of some of their best selections for a three course prix fixe meal (usually).  Truly not all selections are great for Restaurant Week, and some can be really hit or miss but there are gems waiting to be discovered at any number of great places in NYC one may otherwise have not been able to try due to pricing restrictions.

SnackTAYku: At Lunch with Street Meats

Sometimes confusion sets in.  With the multitude of street meat carts, food trucks lining the streets, and restaurants all vying for your attention, it's easy to see why decisions become that much harder to make when it comes time to decide on what to eat for lunch.  To make matters worse, the rivalries between vendors result in utter chaos with territorial fights ensuing and vendors posing as other vendors.  It's a colourful business, getting lunch in Midtown.  How do you decide on which place to get good food for a fair price when everyone's just trying to addle your brain? After much consideration you may decide that lamb over rice from a Halal Food cart is the way to go.

Mushroom Hunting

It was always on those mornings when I had just enough time to scour the freshly cut, dew laden lawn for those tiny mushrooms that dared to grow, that I knew the day would be a decent one.  "Hey!", my sister would threaten, "what are you doing?! Don't do it..." With a knowing, mischievous chuckle I would kick one of my finds down.  Sometimes the cap would stick to my shoe along with grass blades.  But it was the ones that went flying clear across the lawn that made me laugh triumphantly.  The other morning I found a few scattered about after having not seen them for some while.  One down.  Then another.  However, my usual joyful glee - at having destroyed the imaginary fairies resting atop their mushroom capped stools - turned pensive.

Brooklyn Barcade: Getting Your Gaming and Drinking On

With my Adventure Time t-shirt and my Gorillaz Chuck Taylors on*, I trekked my way into unknown territory last night.  For the first time ever in all the years that I have been living in NY, I set foot in Williamsburg, NYC.  I figured I needed to dress the part some because to infiltrate and understand the hipsters, you must become one like the hipsters.  I don't think I'd ever fully be able to succeed in that regard and my War on the hipsters continues but the point of the evening was for something far more entertaining than made-up wars in my head.  I went to play some classic, glorious video games on some glorious arcade machines and met up with some like-minded awesome people at the Brooklyn Barcade.

The Tree Spoke to me

A most peculiar thing happened in the town of Tennant in the early hours this morning.  The skies were blue and I was busily making my town to be fabulous to match the Fashionista personality my animals all claim I own.  I picked some flowers for their move to their future homes, slapped down some tiles around the Town Square and then I inadvertently came to rest my Fashionista rear (clothed in a plaid, pleated dress ensemble) on the brick wall that encases the Town Square tree.

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