I've done a bunch of shit since the last SQS, so let's go!
FURRY WEEKEND ATLANTA
WOW, WHAT A WEEKEND! I'm serious, this show popped the FUCK off, and I couldn't be happier! I made a bunch of new fans, sold a lot of merch, and most importantly...
THEY GAVE ME A MIC STAND!
Also I was a host for the live Fastest Furs event, which while relatively uneventful given my timeslot, was a great place to meet people I've only seen on the other side of a Twitch stream, and really, why else do we show up to these conventions?
Still incredible that we made 60% more than our goal for the Animal Park Conservatory!
Excited to go back next year, and yes, I will be getting TWO MIC STANDS! Maybe three? I dunno.
Atlanta's also been the city where I've been putting a lot of my job applications, because as you might have seen in the news, Florida ain't going too great...
A funny story I got is that I got a call for a job interview on the elevator at the con... while on my way to a Himbo Hooters meetup!
Anime Festival Orlando- June 17th, 2023, 8 PM Open Panel Room
AKA The only anime convention that hasn't pissed me off yet! I remember actually doing pretty well, but this year it's the same weekend as CommanderFest Orlando, so I'm trying to get some cross promotion going. Of course, I will make it plenty early so everyone can jam in some commander games with me :D
This is the big time, y'all! I'm going to be crammed in a room, but this is the best way I can make it work on such short notice. THE PREMIERE furry con (well, at least until Midwest Fur Fest) but this is such a big opportunity, I'm making it count!
Hey, a game I did music for made it to the final game!
It's a tight little package that is a well constructed experience. There's not a whole lot there mind you, but what is there is 100% solid.
I would like to do more music for it, especially if and when they plan to make more content for it. Hopefully someone else can run with it.
JAM OF THE WEEK: "Call Of The Void" by Mutoid Man
My friend Milt introduced me to these guys through the series "Two Minutes To Late Night", where they are the house band. Coincidentally, 2M2LN directed the video, and Jordan Olds/Gwarsenio Hall makes an appearance as an "Imagineer"/Jonesy Spencerson. Mutoid Man is the name of a boss from the game Smash TV, and this is the closest I've seen them pay homage to its namesake.
"Call Of The Void" FUCKING GOES. It's constant motion and whining, screeching chaos that belies a song about avoiding despair, which GIVEN EVERYTHING is very necessary. I can "hear" everything without it devolving into noise or "Put Me In Clone Hero" shredding. Just a well put together song that varies up its central conceit to keep it recognizable without having it get dull or overly "pop"
One thing I like noticing in TV shows and such is when a character that's a robot has mechanical whirring effects dubbed in later like Jimmy The Robot from "The Aquabats Super Show". Here, the band is portrayed as an animation band, and YUP, the got the little whirs. Don't worry nothing bad happens, trust me.
I dropped it for Bandcamp Fridayand it's probably my favorite things I've written so far!
I'M GOING TO TEXAS FURRY FIESTA!
Yes, my FIRST Texas Furry Fiesta! It's my first time playing, so I'm a little nervous, but I'm bringing a bunch of new songs to my repertoire, and going to make this one HELL of a show!
Bringing a bunch of new songs with me (see aforementioned "Hop On!"), including some new covers, one of which from a VERY Texas band, and since the theme is "Attack Of The Jackaluffles!", I'm throwing in some stuff from a certain Science Fiction Double Feature ;)
I'M ALSO GOING TO BE AT FURRY WEEKEND ATLANTA!
Fastest Furs is making their IRL Debut at FWA, and I'm a host! My sexy voice will be reading your donations Saturday afternoon!
AND I'll be playing a show! Hopefully, with a mic stand!
JAM OF THE WEEK: "Whirring" by The Joy Formidable
Yet another song I got from a video game, "Whirring" comes to us from the Welsh band The Joy Formidable, and every word describes this song to a T.
Whirring - The intro, a dizzy plucked arpeggio feels like I'm coming out of a dreamy haze, and the outro speeds by so quickly that it leaves my with a hardcore adrenaline rush.
Joy- The song is about a relationship that you can't quite get together but the thought of it, and the swooning just lifts you up to the goddamn sky.
Formidable - For a song that starts out so delicately, it knows when to HIT, especially toward the end in this version with like, two solid minutes of soloing
"Whirring" plays toward the end of Hi-Fi Rush in the battle before the final boss fight, right after an emotionally powerful scene where Chai, the wannabe rockstar hero, saves his friends and leads the charge to take on the big bad.
The opening notes play as the protagonists walk slowly toward the camera, and throughout the level, every big fight scene is punctuated with the chorus belted out by lead singer Rhiannon Bryan and ends with you fighting a big robot to the intensely chaotic.
Right then and there I knew that I'd be staying up late finishing the game, and it would be a strong contender for GOTY.
Well, no I’m doing… stable. I guess the scary 35 is here, and I wonder if all of this is worth it.
However, even though I didn’t do a lot of music this year, I still traveled a lot: this year alone was Maryland for Magfest, Atlanta for FWA, Chicago for MFF, and I went back to Orlando TWICE.
I guess that’s what Rhythm Bastard has been for me: A way to get out. Out of my shell, out in to the world, outside of my own head. People recognized me at these places and it finally felt like I was getting somewhere.
Until my Twitter suspension, but I don’t want to dwell on that.
But even that doesn’t deter me because as inconvenient as it was, it made me try harder and starting over helped me slim down and learn how to cultivate an online space, which is a necessity in these anger-inducing times, but more on that later
My inspirations like MC Bat Commander, Mark Mothersbaugh and Billie Joe Armstrong are 40+ and are still doing goofy shit, so why can’t I?
TWO UPCOMING SHOWS SOON: OTAKUFEST AND BIT BRIGADE
Otakufest (as I'll post later) is the best South FL anime con, and Bit Brigade is the REAL show I'm working hard on!
At long last! I've been saying "I'll get around to it!" for over 2 years, but now it's finally out! It's a best of/road mix but at the first couple cons I've been able to sell it at, it also boosted the sales of my OTHER albums as well!
FAVORITE SONG I MADE THIS YEAR: “Shutdown”
I didn’t do a lot on Patreon song wise this year, it was a lot of build up for other projects, and I guess I was in a malaise, hence why I started doing weekly updates for my Patreon. It felt like I was doing SOMETHING with you all.
Shoutout to ThirdKoopa from GameGrooves for helping me out immensely with this, and for introducing me to the concept of “ear candy” that gave the song a big boost.
Also helped the stories for Neon Dynasty and New Capenna ended up being really good? It was VERY clear that there were themes to explore within the setting of tech vs. nature, and that was a NATURAL fit for Shutdown.
PODCASTS I'M A PART OF! RPG Pals Club-
…We’re wrapping up at 100 episodes which should be soon.
The Dragon Heist Campaign has been wrapped up, we’ve all had big changes in our lives, ONE OF US HAD A BABY! It sucks, especially with late stage RPG Pals being so fun and carefree with our improvisation, but the podcast itself is stagnating. We can have fun without needing to record and edit it.
As much as I love my punk drow monk and his motley crew, maybe opening their dog cafe is the “ride off into the sunset” moment he needed.
I love Luke, Sahoni, Sam, Jean and Madison so much, and want to keep playing with them.
Taste Of Dragons-
Not only do I do their theme song, but I was FINALLY ON! I have not seen these people in person since the pandemic started and it was great to see the 3KB crew again!
Finished a fursuit Full body, front and back with muscles included. There's a shitton of pictures in various stages of completion, but I have it COMPLETED. There's still some work to be done in regards to giving that bitch some ventilation, but I'm so happy I was able to accomplish what I have, learning so many new skills in the process.
Even made a last minute Sly Cooper costume for it!
Played a bunch of new conventions
MAGFest - National Harbor, MD What if a con had everything you wanted in it? And was reasonably walkable to decent food?
Otakufest - Miami, FL
What if a local FL anime con was good?
Furry Weekend Atlanta - Atlanta, GA I don't need a mic stand to fucking shred. But I love attending these big conventions where I can do nothing but play Commander games all weekend.
Midwest Furfest - Rosemont, IL PAX East for all my furry bullshit. Well, not really. PAX East is where I see a bunch of shiny new stuff, MFF was more meeting people I've only known online through handles and hashtags.
Made Stuff In VR Chat SPEAKING OF FURRY BULLSHIT...
i swear to xenagos there should be like a double jeopardy on this shit
TREND I LIKED THE LEAST: DIVORCED DADS MAKING THEIR CASTRATION OUR PROBLEM
Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Johnny Depp are the biggest examples of this, but a lot of the Proud Boys here in South Florida are so divorced, I'm starting to think that Fidel Castro invented the concept of alimony.
If you want to stem the rise of fascism, just award the man at every divorce a certificate saying that they "Won The Divorce". That's what it is: people who wrap up their self worth not in what they do, but in a preassigned role in the hierarchy.
See also: Men who only have children to prove that they're straight. If their children turn out Not Straight, then that means he is "defective", bringing into question his Straightness. Drag is not "Straight" so it will infect the child, where as Hooters and church is considered reinforcing How It Should Be
TREND I LIKED THE MOST: COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY For all the threats of men in the former category wanting to murder people for being Not Straight, local communities showed up in numbers to protect each other, especially when Antifascists show up armed to scare the gravy seals.
Yeah, I know it's not some video game or internet thing, but half my brand is Being Swole, and I found a new routine that works for me.
Long story short, 8 sets, 8 reps, 30 seconds of rest. I do four exercises per workout focusing on two different muscle groups. It's time efficient, gets me a good pump, and forces me to retreat a little on the weight so I can make sure I'm hitting those SIXTY FOUR REPS with the best form I can. Work out wise, I've been in a rut for a while, and this is getting me out of it!
NOT FOR BEGINNERS, THOUGH.
FAVORITE SONG OF 2022: "C'mon Loretta" by Trixie Mattel
Trixie Mattel has two modes: Catchy as fuck Pop-Rock or introspective country. "C'mon Loretta" is a power pop tribute to the late country star Loretta Lynn, that still has the storytelling DNA of the latter genre. In Trixie's usual fashion, it's a dire story, told with a peppy and uplifting facade.
Of course, the video is pure sunshine-y camp, recreating the Bille Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs match, featuring a cameo from UNHhhh co-star Katya.
TOP 40 SONG I HATED THE LEAST IN 2022: "About Damn Time" by Lizzo
This was no contest, Lizzo rules, and has been a shining star in the pop music landscape in the past few years. About Damn Time is a disco song with fun turns of phrase like "I'm gonna need two shots in my cup: One to get up, one to get down" and "Bad Bitch O' Clock/Thick Thrity" and it's impossible to feel anything close to bad while listening to this.
OLD GAME OF 2022 RUNNERS UP: 5. A Golden Wake (PC)- An historical point-and-click adventure game that's perfect if you want something light and, like me, are an NY to FL transplant that will have plenty of "Oh! I know that place!" moments, even though the game has you playing a Floridian realtor in the 1920s who turns to crime, which reminds me of how his counterpart 100 years later will turn to divorced Fascism.
4. Doom (Switch)- Hey, turns out the old FPS that influenced many other it its wake is a good game!
3. Danganronpa v3: Killing Harmony (PC)- Its conclusion is similar to Zero Escape in that it will leave you wondering "Well what's the point?" but the madcap happenings will make you forget about all that and leave you with an hype swan song for the series that FINALLY MANAGES TO MAKE HANGMANS GAMBIT NOT SUCK!!!
2. Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)- Everyone was sour on this game for "NIKO, IT'S YOUR COUSIN!" and being less humorous than its predecessor, but the game tells a story about how the American Dream is a bunch of bullshit upheld by crooks and liars and gets the immigrants to turn to crime to scrape at each other in a New York City expy that felt so real I teared up a little just driving through the different boroughs.
#1 OLD GAME OF 2022: Timespinner (PC)
Jeff was kind enough to gift me this out of the blue and once I was an hour in, I then played it in its entirety on stream. Metroidvania's are a dime-a-dozen, especially in the indie scene and this wears it's "I LOVED SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT" inspiration like a lighthouse beacon. I never played Syphony of the Night.
Where Timespinner shines is how it uses the "AHA!" Moment, in every aspect of both its setting and its gameplay.
As the name implies, you'll be traveling between two separate time zones, as you play the role of a titular "Timespinner", someone who is tasked with going back in time to warn your tribe about danger, at the cost of you essentially restarting a new life since you were erased in the old one. It makes for some very bittersweet moments, but also allows some very intense AHAs! when you finally are able to warp between time periods.
For example, when you first encounter the castle area, you encounter it in the past, so the technology is medival, and while the soldiers are tougher than the flora and fauna you've been tackling thus far, they don't do THAT much damage. But in the "present", the soliders are more technologically advanced, are tougher, and require new strategies to beat. And that's just the tip of it: Flooded areas drain, pathways become blocked by walls that have crumpled over time, even basic layouts become rearranged.
It's a game that builds all of these connections as you play concluding in one grand tearjerker of an ending.
NEW GAME OF 2021 RUNNERS UP: 5. Beacon Pines (PC)- While it doesn't have a whole lot of game play going on, its hand painted presentation and wholesome, 80s movie adventure left giving it a solid recommendation to play through.
4. Vampire Survivors (PC)- The indie darling everyone's been talking about hits all the brain parts of a clicker, but has enough strategy required to make it a game worth coming back to that has plenty of challenges to shoot for.
3. Grapple Dog (PC)- While it juuuuuust misses the mark by being failed by its main mechanic in the later levels, it's still an extremely well designed platformer with a soundtrack that recreates the 90s in all the best ways, mainly with orchestral hits.
2. Neon White (PC)- A platformer experience that starts and ends strong, and keeps you coming back for more creative ways to explore your environment, Neon White also has the crisp art style and strong audio aesthetic that makes the game feel like a fever dream.
#1 NEW GAME OF 2022: Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers (PC)
Two years in a row! Kinda!
Where it's predecessor took notes from the workplace romance sitcoms of yesteryear, Arcade Spirits: The New Challnegers takes its cues from the 80's Sports Movie, complete with a douchebag rival team and a gang of misfits you work your may to the top. If you're coming off of harder fare like say, an Echo or Adastra, this is like a sweet, fluffy cotton candy after that meal from the movie The Menu.
Arcade Spirits is not a series about MAKING DECISIONS, it's about HANDLING SITUATIONS. It's more about whether or not you, for example, handle a dispute between teammates by being aggressive, humourous, or logical, making every piece of dialogue feel natural and like you're just carrying on a conversation. While there are certain interactions you can "fail", those are more like "There's no good way to handle this". Towards the end there are "Boss" interactions but those are more about leaning in to your natural way of handling things.
Can I just say, as I posted on a Twitter thread, this game addresses social issues WAY better than most media out there? Discussion about social justice and those who pursue it (BASED COMRADE BOYFRIEND LOCKSLEY), the Gamer Branding, technology and its consequence, all written in a fairly lighthearted story about playing Not League Of Legends.
ANNUAL REMINDER I SHARE A BIRTHDAY WITH MC BAT COMMANDER:
No time YET, but it feels good to be back in Miami playing a convention that will likely have a proper stage setup. Winji did right by me last year.
I was lucky enough to secure a room with artist friend HELLBREAKFAST, his wife and a fellow artist, and then I was in the hotel by Thursday evening. I couldn’t really do much, since they closed the vaccination check line early, but I got to bum around the con for a bit, play some Commander, and saw some really excellent fursuits.
HOO BOY WHAT A LINE TO GET IN. First, I had to go through the vaccination line (just got my second booster and flu shot a couple weeks before) that took almost an hour, then ANOTHER two hours on the proper registration line.
At the very least I was able to start “Glory Hounds”, the latest VN from the same studio who did “Echo” and “Adastra”. "Glory Hounds" has you playing as Alex de Rooij, a down on his luck dalmatian whose life is saved by the vigilante Dawn Hound, who later takes Alex on as his sidekick. While this year's State Of The Bastard describe Echo as a "Renpy-ass Renpy Game", Glory Hounds is a lot more stark and stylish in its presentation with more animations and crisper lines in the sprites and BG. It's meant to be episodic in nature, focusing on individual "issues" and has NO choices, but I enjoyed going through Issue 1.
Also met up with Teddy Wynton, one of the best musicians in the fandom and some of his friends for some Pho at a nearby restaurant, Mian in the Rivers Casino, which was the best and most reasonably priced food all weekend.
Rick Fox had his “Cut Content” panel, and it was good to catch up with him again, as he is also spreading to other conventions and working hard on his comic project.
There were two themes at this con: Heroes, which lent itself to a fun little metagame where there were trading cards you can pick up at various con locations
I am not going to any convention that doesn’t have a pop up shrine.
Apparently there were protestors outside the con.
Pug Face girl and Incel Boy are seen here protesting the event, but there
were HUNDREDS of people their age inside having fun and they chose to
hold signs because they're lives are worthless. They are beings of no consequence.
Most of my day was getting in games of Commander, but I also managed to catch a show by I’ve Made Too Much Pasta, a fursuiter band very reminiscent of The Violent Femmes.
The lead singer also goes by Scurrow Squirrel and streams regularly on Twitch! I did want to see more live non-DJ music this weekend, but the best I could manage is an impromptu show Pepper Coyote, infamous filk furry play out by the food trucks.
The weird thing was that I then went inside to the game room, where someone was playing “Even Flow” on Guitar Hero 3 and Eddie Vedder’s voice suddenly went up a full octave and oh shit, it’s pepper.
Sunday and Monday were pretty uneventful. I did end up purchasing a bunch of commissions throughout the weekend, and did buy some books from the artist alley, because support writers, dang it.
I got exactly what I wanted out of this convention: got to see a lot of people I followed on the (soon to be unusable) Twitter in person, like a PAX East for my Furry Bullshit.
I also learned two things about artists: 1. A LOT of them are BIPOC, showing how diverse this fandom can be, and how NECESSARY they are to the fandom as a whole, since, as I've said before:
Furries Are Nerds Who Have Siezed The Means Of Production
2. Saying, "Oh, I recognize your stuff now!" is a phrase that apparently induces more fear than it meant to. Especially in the realms of bara.
Anyway, on to something less gay:
JAM OF THE WEEK: "Born To Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez
This was always one of those one-hit wonders of the disco era that always seemed to be on in the background and in the rotation, but never stood out since there wasn't any
I've been though it the past couple months: day job rough, losing main twitter account, depression at the state of the world, etc. But basically I still managed to do SOME things, and all my weird furry art shit was my brain keeping productive when I couldn't find the motivation to pick up a guitar.
This song I covered at Megaplex 2022, and I figured since I had to do the backing track from scratch, might as well finish and make the whole version. It's a tricky mix of the original Wall Of Voodoo and the cover by Authority Zero, taking the delivery of the former and the punk feel of the latter.
Ever since I got booted off Twitter, and my phone got good by accident, I decided to use my TikTok account more, and my proxy, Instagram and Youtube.
Mostly it's been smaller things, like game recommendations and tiny skits, but keeping up can be a bit exhausting, whenever I get the urge, I might need to run a couple backups whenever I'm in the mood.
My friends from the 3000 Brigade have a podcast called "Taste Of Dragons" where they cover gaming news, and talk about a weekly topic, and this week I was that weekly topic! (alongside the Resident Evil and Silent Hill news) It was great seeing these guys again, and I got to do the "Dragon Of The Week", a figure in gaming they feature, and I chose Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo. MY NOTES WILL BE IN THE PATREON AHAHAHAH!
MY TWITTER ALTERNATIVES
Elon Musk is probably going to make Twitter unusable, either by racist bullshit or by getting rid of the people who do the work.
Cohost - This feels more like Tumblr than anything, but it's where a lot of professional people are on, and you can "pin" a post with all your relevant tags on it.
Mastodon - So this one is also kinda eh since it seems like people are also joining this enmasse, but it's more decentralized and it's easy to feel like you picked the "wrong" server when all you want to do is fire off quick shit again. And no threads.
I've appealed to Twitter, but my account will likely be reanalyzed after the elections.
JAM OF THE WEEK: "Busy Sim" From The Sims 2 Composed By Mark Mothersbaugh
Yup! I could have covered Devo, but I might as well look at a full composition by Mothersbaugh.
It's a slow build and if you change around a bit of the instrumentation, it works as a Devo song. Now, this is one of the Build Mode songs, and while Sims 2 didn't eat up as much of my time as The Sims, or the Gamecube Version, the soundtrack never got to "heavy" preferring to have most of its compositions sound like they could be played on your grandma's old piano, and/or from a 1950's instructional video about the Home Of The Future.