Monday, October 29, 2012

Missing

Perhaps you've noticed, or perhaps you haven't, but I haven't posted much of anything in a couple months.  Part of that was work, and recently it's been World of Warcraft, and also because I've been working on writing something else and I haven't felt like also writing blog posts.  But here's a summary of what's new with me if you've been curious.

I've got a boyfriend.  We've been together for a little under half of a year, after meeting during Epic Weekend.  I don't really expect to write a whole lot about him because he's a pretty private person, but he's a swell guy.  So just don't take a lack of posting for a lack of interest, I guess.  We've got a long-distance relationship going on for the next several months, which is something I really didn't want to get into, but I decided I would tolerate because he's a neat fella and all.  But yes, if you're curious, that sucks a lot.  At the very least it gives me a lot of time to myself, which is something that I like, but it's a little too much time to myself, "read between the lines here."

I shipped a product!  For a little over a year I was working on the new version of OneNote, one of the Windows 8 / Surface launch apps.  It's pretty slick, and it's definitely the coolest thing that I've worked on professionally.  I want to get into a little more detail about it at some later point, but in short I wrote the notebook organization features and made it so that you can slide the app left and right with your finger (if you have a touchscreen) to access them.

Get it free here if you have Windows 8, a Surface, or any Windows RT device:
OneNote in the Windows Store

Finally, the latest excuse I'll use for why I haven't been writing much here is that I actually have been writing a decent amount, just not here.  I've been writing a story for a game.  I don't know if I'll ever attempt to build the game (I'd love to, but I already have so many projects going on...), but I'm having a lot of fun designing it and writing the characters and the story for it.  I'm not usually one for writing fiction but for some reason or another this is really relaxing and inspiring.

Anyway, that's the quick synopsis of what's new with me.

Garbage

The short version:
Apparat—The Devil's Walk: 5/10
Time Travel—Never Shout Never: 5/10
Chumbawamba—Tubthumper: 3/10
Vertical Horizon—Everything You Want: 5/10
Newsboys—God's Not Dead: 4/10
The Format—Interventions and Lullabies: 4/10
Air—Le Voyage dans la Lune: 3/10
Gentleman—Diversity: 5/10
Guns n' Roses—Greatest Hits: 3/10
Bee Gees—Number Ones: 3/10
Yury—Curriculum Vitae: 5/10
One Direction—Up All Night: 5/10
Maroon 5—Overexposed: 4/10
Garbage—Garbage: 3/10
Garbage—Version 2.0: 5/10

I've been listening to music a ton lately—you can thank the latest World of Warcraft expansion for that.  It's given me a chance to eliminate my backlog of CDs that I've listened to once or twice but couldn't quite decide what I thought of them.  Here is a list of CDs that I don't particularly recommend.  Since I don't think any of them are particularly good, I won't really go into a whole lot of detail, but I will still complain about musical artists who are still more talented than I will ever be.

Apparat produced the song Goodbye that was used during the epic climax of season 4 of Breaking Bad, and it's on the album The Devil's Walk.  The one used in the show was an instrumental version and was actually superior to the album version with lyrics, and the artist kindly released it online for free.  It's a glorious, wonderful, emotional, perfect song.  Unfortunately it was pretty much the whole reason to buy the disc.  The track Escape is also quite good, and Sweet Unrest is pretty decent, and the rest is the sort of thing you really have to be in the mood for.

Never Shout Never by Time Travel is just middling.  I'm not sure why I bought it in the first place.  The vocals are obnoxiously airy as if the singer (well, technically, the entire one man band, which is actually pretty impressive) were on the verge of falling asleep for the entire album.  The first three tracks Time Travel, Awful, and Silver Ecstasy are a good sampling.

Chumbawamba's album Tubthumper is bad and I shouldn't have even bought it used.  Just buy Tubthumping and maybe Amnesia.

Vertical Horizon's Everything You Want is okay but also pretty mediocre.  The title track is a good pop rock song, and after that Miracle is decent.  Meh.

Newsboys's latest, God's Not Dead, is disappointing again.  They can still play instruments but I'm pretty sure that the talented songwriters have all left the band at this point.  Revelation Song, I Am Second, and Mighty to Save are okay.

The lead singer of The Format is Nate from fun., but the band's sound is more tame and dull, and Interventions and Lullabies is not particularly great.  Career Day is a good song though.  Tie the Rope is okay.

Air's CD Le Voyage dans la Lune is their worst ever.  Just skip it.  The best track is Parade and it's nothing special.

Gentleman's album Diversity may actually a pretty decent Reggae album but I just don't have a very high reggae tolerance nor a lot of experience with the genre, so it just sort of gets on my nerves after a while.  I Got to Go is quite good, and Fast Forward and Changes are decent.

I got a Guns n' Roses Greatest Hits album for a few cents on Amazon for Paradise City, and that's really the only reason to own such a thing.  (Okay, okay, there are actually a few acceptable songs on here.)

Similarly, I got the Bee Gees Number Ones album for a few more cents on Amazon for Stayin' Alive, and most of the tracks are absolutely unlistenable.  It's like MP3s of shattering glass.  But Stayin' Alive is a great song, and the rest was essentially free!  Free bits!  It also includes the song that Ghetto Supastar is based on, which was a mildly creepy thing to hear coming from my speakers.

Curriculum Vitae by Yury was absolutely free on Amazon which makes it the best deal here.  It actually has three tracks that are quite good: Today, Change the World, and Hookshot; the rest are mostly pretty bad though.

Yes, I bought the One Direction album, Up All Night.  Yes, it's catchy.  No, it's not good.  Some of the lyrics are extremely terrible.  I do like What Makes You Beautiful, Tell Me a Lie, and I Want.  I'm already gay; what are you going to do, insult my masculinity?  No, I don't think they're cute.

Maroon 5's CD is their worst one so far. Overexposed is clearly a step closer toward pure pop than their earlier funky rock, and it doesn't work very well, which I don't think is prejudice because I love pure pop music.  The opening tracks One More Night is amazing though, and Doin' Dirt is fantastic too; Lucky Strike isn't bad either; it's just way downhill from there.

Garbage's debut self-titled CD is aptly named.  Only Happy When it Rains is the only good song.  Their second album, Version 2.0, has a couple—When I Grow Up and I Think I'm Paranoid—but it's only decent.

So yeah, none of those were particularly good.  Next I'll get to some of the better albums I've bought lately, but that was already a long post...