Yeah, 2021 has had a LOT of ups and downs and while it was a "Back To Normal" year, that came with a big fucking asterisk. I started to play live shows again which is always a treat, but the year was basically 2020 Take II.
We're still not handling the pandemic (at least only enough to go "BACK TO WORK") and it's boiled down to "We've learned nothing, and we're not taking any new precautions to prevent something like this screwing up everything again"
Since we're in "The Show Must Go On" mode, I played Megaplex, Mizucon and Anime Iwai, and played the opening set for All Hail The Mustache's EP release.
Let's see... I also got kicked off a huge project that could have been my big break and then have my podcast friends try to have an intervention over podcast which left me an emotional wreck the next day. Then again, it was an ultimately mediocre affair that was met with a resounding "meh".
"Fuck Danimal Sweepstakes With Zach and Cannon" is an inside joke within my friend group.
I took all of that into BastardMania, an album of all my instrumental work and a new single "Future Endeavor" (more on that later!).
GOD I love HellBreakfast. He KILLED it on this! I look like a badass Jojo character, Thrash looks beefy as hell, and Jonesy Spenserson looks like a proper grappleman!
SPEAKING OF ALBUMS, HARDCORE NERDCORE PUNK ROCK WILL RELEASE THIS YEAR FOR REAL THIS TIME!
When this post is posted, I'll have been back from MAGFest where I gave out Test Burns for feedback, since I HAVE finished all the car mixes. It'll have a lot of songs I play live, a lot of songs based on Fandoms, and with proper funding, it'll be a sweet package. I will be holding another Bastardthon to fund aforementioned sweet package, since Kickstarter is going down the NFT route. I'll probably host it somewhere else:
MY PATREON IS GOING MONTHLY
I'm part of SO MANY GODDAMN THINGS: podcasts, music making, costume making, game development all of which fall under my, for lack of a better term, brand or nerdy DIY shit.
I don't want to feel "pressured" by the notion of "Shit! I gotta come up with song this month!" or ONLY posting to it when I have a song to do.
At least with a monthly schedule, I'm still DOING stuff, and I can post my project board to the Patreon so you can see all the balls I have in the air.
All right, that's all the major headlines, TIME FOR THE SUPERLATIVES!
MOST RECENT SONG THAT WASN'T A REWORK OF AN OLDER SONG: "Run Over Ronnie"
Hi. do you like all the shitty fascist vice signaling of Trump, but NONE OF THE PRETENSE OF SUCCESS? Ron DeSantis is your guy! At least Trump (fuck that's an awkward phrase to say) is like "Yeah, I got the vaccine because I'm a special boy" to Token Black Female Conservative Candace Owens and when she tried to push the CHINA BAD RIGHT? line, he was like "China's like. blowing our asses out".
Ron legalized running over protestors, and fucked up COVID response because he was looking out for Trump's brand. So this song I went all Dead Kennedys on it and got gruesome.
The only people who LIKE DeSantis fall into one of two categories:
SOUTHERN FL = Is 1/16th Cuban (and their relatives immigrated before WWII) so they can justify hating "Communism" (which is defined as anything that inconveniences them, not public control of the means of production), and failed as either a lawyer or a realtor.
If they're male, they work for a cheap contractor that ends up pissing off the clients of the people that also hire the geotech labs I work for and have a beard made of pubic hair. If they're female, they run a business that can boil down to "Psychic Yoga For Dogs" and takes pics of her fake tits whoring it up on Instagram, but call for a "Retrun To Tradition" on the same page. You can dox them if you type "(THEIR NAME) LLC" into google.
NORTHERN FL = They're a veteran who immediately enrolled in the officer program and sat behind a desk for the minimum enrollment period. They call themselves a "Hard Working Small Business Owner" and that Damn Biden is fucking it all up, and how THEY don't benefit from White Privledge.
Also their small business is selling yachts.
FAVORITE SONG I MADE THIS YEAR: "Future Endeavor"
Every once in a while, when I'm feeling bad about my songwriting, I turn out a song that proves I still got it. I wrote this after I got booted off Retromania Wrestling to be replaced after working with them for ALMOST TWO YEARS.
Writing this came natural because in addition to having a lot of jargon to jog my writing, wrestling also has a lot of EMOTION in its storytelling. Betrayal stories are VERY common, and to mold that on a breakup song is a natural fit.
PODCASTS I'M A PART OF!
I'd Rather Not- These are still good for a laugh every couple weeks, and we've gone.... places.
RPG Pals Club- We've hit a LOT of milestones, with us FINALLY making it to the Battle Of The Bands, the party splitting up, and having plenty of fun asides. If you're a fan of RPGs at ALL, give us a listen!
OTHER COOL SHIT I DID
Was Part Of Two Tribute Albums
Thanks to the cool dudes at GameGrooves, I was part of:
Link-182: A Pop Punk Tribute to The Ocarina of Time (covering "Water Temple")
Subliminal Verse: A Tribute to Joey Jordison (as vocals on SaiyaSounds's cover of "Psychosocial")
Both incredible for helping to get me out of my comfort zone. I also tried an acoustic version of "Live and Learn" for their Sonic Adventure 2 album, but it ended up not working out.
SaiyaSounds did wonders on his cover and took it from aggresive to symphonic, and I'm relieved it worked out as well as I did.
Interviewed on Furry Radio
So as I've been getting into the Furry Scene, these guys guys were smart enough to make notice of my genius and try to fit me in!
It's probably the MOST in-depth interview I've done.
Started A Wrestling League
What was supposed to be a celebration of Retromania releasing, became probably a spark in my week? Me and my friend from the 3000 Brigade started with a Battle Royale that ended up with Would You Rather Bot winning and taking on Thrash Panda for the belt.
Then we kinda kept doing it, with my friend Ernie and the RNG took us to some very strange places. Fire Pro throws some stuff at us that is VERY conducive to some interesting booking, and even on more bespoke weeks, it's still hype.
Built A Fursuit
AND I'm working on the full suit, but this was the year I finally caved and said, OH WHY NOT? This whole process has been more of an engineering project than anything else. I've learned how to work with fur, how to carve foam, and I've even learned how to properly sew by hand!
I am planning on making a full video on it, but even if I never did anything instructional, there's a wide community of people out there eager to answer questions and make tutorials themselves. It feels like I have a project car I'm working on, only which make sense, since as I've said before:
FURRIES ARE NERDS THAT HAVE SEIZED THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION
Is Thrash my fursona? For lack of a better term yes, but there's a lot of BIGGER thoughts I've had that I don't want to type out right now because it's 3 AM and I'm writing this RIGHT after Magfest.
I Went To MAGFest
Technically this is supposed to be 2021, but fuck it, I'll include that here.
Most of my time was spent helping staff the Rock Band booth, but I still got to get around and meet friends I've only talked to online, catch up with old friends, and try out some new games. Unbeatable and Crescendo are my highlights from the indie game section,
Also there were little game challenges you can try out in the console area for reward points! Perfect idea for when I'M clinically insane enough to want to do a con!
TREND I LIKED THE LEAST: Fascism By Karens
Hey, did you know that if you know jack shit but bitch loud enough you can upset reality? Just a couple months ago, a bunch of members of the neo-nazi group the Proud Boys and their enablers raided a school board meeting in Miami to whine about shit like mask mandates and "Critical Race Theory", things predicated entirely on an extreme conservative media sphere that emphasizes that inconveniences and "wokeness" are the greatest threat to the children they don't have.
These Karens, backed by violent Neo-Nazi thugs who are in turn backed by the police, get to waste everyone's time by sqwaking to someone who has to deal with budget cuts to their department because all the funding is going into supporting an already over-militarized police and backing corporate bailouts. Some even run for the school board, entrenching their whining, hoping that Daddy FacebookPageNewsmax will give them little pats on the head as Karen gets told she's a good girl, while a billionaire fucks over every other aspect of her life.
MIAAgainstFash on Twitter has been a really good look into how this shit works on a local level.
Hence why we should bring Chanology back.
TREND I LIKED THE MOST: Worker Solidarity
HEY, TURNS OUT STRIKES KINDA WORK, HUH?
ALMOST LIKE THEY SHOULD BE CONTROLLING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND NOT BEING FORCED TO WORK LONG HOURS FOR LITTLE PAY WHILE THE CEOs MAKE BILLIONS?
Also Titmouse NY Unionized as I typed this.
WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS SOONER? AWARD: Scott The Woz/RuPaul's Drag Race
Hey all, hey all, hey all, Rhythm Bastard here!
This year I discovered TWO things that have had an impact on fucking up my vocabulary, not seen since Homestar Runner.
Scott The Woz is a gaming YouTube who makes informational videos on various topics in gaming, usually wasting a fuckton of money in the process. What takes his videos to the next level though is his very snappy sense of humor, very aware that the YT gaming space is filled with a lot of people who straight up have no idea what they're doing, no interest in being educational, and no idea of what's actually funny. Scott Wozniak saw the "Mickey Mousecapade" Game Grumps Episode and went "How bout I do NOT THAT?"
Plus the guy gets his friends in on the dumb bullshit, so it looks less pathetic and more like "Me and my friends doing funny bits".
RuPaul's Drag Race was introduced to me by UB, lovely partner in crime, and even when it's bad, I'm still amazed by the basic facet of it all: People doing what they're good at, and encouraged to be creative in strange and unique ways.
I pretty much do everything everything a drag queen does (lipsync, sing, tell jokes, make costumes, etc.) except do make up and present a woman.
FAVORITE SONG OF 2021: "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" by Lil Nas X
Every phase of this song hits at just the right time, and that lovely acoustic guitar work makes this song a pleasure to listen to. Looking at a video he did on Genius, he goes in depth about every line of the song, just to show how well thought out this is. Lil Nas X has proven himself worthy in his own right, not just a one-hit wonder who did a silly hip hop cowboy song.
Plus the music pissed off a lot of people and features him twerking on the devil, so fuck yeah, that's punk rock.
TOP 40 SONG I HATED THE LEAST IN 2021: "good 4 u"
Despite the alleged controversy that it's too close to "Misery Business" by Paramore (what), I'm glad to see Pop Punk fluke it's way on to the charts at least once a year.
It's also a good example of Song Writing 101:
Chorus: Main thesis (You're doing BETTER without me? WOW SOUNDS GREAT *through gritted teeth*)
Verses: Supporting the chorus, where Verse 1 is how short term her ex benefits, and Verse 2 provides a longer view of them post relationship.
Bridge: A counterpoint to the song (hey, maybe I do suck and you're better off)
Not a whole lot to say about it, it was just a fun song for me to listen to and lipsync to.
OLD GAME OF 2021 RUNNERS UP:
5. Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Xbox One) - More fun than RE:Rev, and the character switching makes more since, especially since we get more screen time for Claire Redfield and the Burtons (Barry from RE:1 and his daughter Moira)
4. Steamworld Dig (Switch) - Purely a bathroom break game which gives me enough time to go through a couple digs and come back up, and while the story isn't that much, it's a satisfying game to go through.
3. The Hayseed Knight (PC) - A bollywood movie in a visual novel, wonderfully voice acted all around, with my good friend Stanpai being the voice of the titular Hayseed Knight, and pushing the limits of Ren'Py to give a presentation BEYOND what's capable for most.
2. Full Throttle: Remastered (Xbox One) - Rock N' Roll motorcycle point and click adventure game that has incredible worldbuilding, incredible VA (main antagonist played by Mark Hammil? YAAAAS) and the fucking opening song "Legacy" by The Lone Jackals that sets the mood just right make it on this list as an old game worth revisiting.
#1 OLD GAME OF 2021: Arcade Spirits
Visual Novels were big for me this year, since it's something I can just zone out to and read along with in tiny parts, and not have to really interact with. It's easy progression, as I've been finding myself sinking more and more time into "battle pass" style games like Fortnite and MTG Arena, and want to actually finish a story.
Arcade Spirits tells the story of a 20-something in their quarter life crisis looking for a change in life, and they find it by working for an arcade where they can eventually find romance.
I'm friends with Stefen Gagne, the primary writer of this game through the Rock Band community, and I was excited to see so much buzz around a game that he made with a small group of people. To support him, I bought it Day One!
Then I never touched it. What prompted me to finish Arcade Spirits was this video by Laura Crone. She discussed the benefits of the VN being more accesible for people who don't play video games, since it provides a good story in a striaghtforward method that most people are familiar with (reading words), and presents it in a manner that is unique to gaming (interactivity and determining the outcomes of a decision) without anything that might throw someone off (reaction time, mastering a control scheme, the question of "Where Do I Go?")
The story is striahgt out of the 80's with your best friend character, a corporate asshole rival, and (for the most part), an ending where you find one your true love.
Like Hayseed Knight, this game pushes Ren'Py to its limits, but where Hayseed Knight's focus was on presenting elements that make the presentation of the VN easier to digest for someone not a fan of the genre, Arcade Spirits gamifies the interactions, giving you different "moods" of responses and setting each romanceable character with their own relationship meter, making the VN more digestible to someone looking to play a proper game with numbers to min/max, but provide enough enticing options to give them an emotional vector to start from.
What I liked most about was that it was just a fluffy game that didn't have high stakes, but still made me care about everyone. EVERY choice is seen as valid and meaningful, since you can romance any character regardless of your gender, or romance nobody! The game still goes on, and your character can still find fulfilment! As someone who has trouble with relationships and intimacy, it's refreshing, and makes me still feel valid.
Though I hooked up with QueenBee, the correct choice, I mean, c'mon.
NEW GAME OF 2021 RUNNERS UP:
5. Backbone (PC) - A game where you play a bisexual raccoon detective
out to destroy the bourgoises that oozes style and reminds me of the
Harebrained Shadowrun games with how diverse your approaches can be.
4. Echo (PC) - This game is on the OTHER end of the Ren'Py spectrum, where the presentation is as basic "Ren'Py VN" as you can get, but the writing is so solid, that I IMMEDIATELY went to replay through the other routes, because this isn't a romance, it's a psychological horror VN where you choose who you're spending the horror with, and each of the character routes are playable short stories that explore different genres and tropes of horror under the umbrella of a very real dread of being stuck forever in a town that fell apart.
3. Resident Evil Village (Xbox One) - It doesn't do the horror genre tour as well as Echo does, and isn't as well written, but it's a fun game that puts a more action oriented spin on the mental moments I loved about REmake and Resident Evil 2 (including Mercenaries Mode from RE4), while making Ethan Winters kind of developed as a character?
2. Everhood (PC) - On the surface, the game acts as another game trying to munch on Undertale's flav, but the battles are absolute trips to behold with each fight being a synesthetic experience that incorporates its music BETTER than Undertale, and also acts as its philisophical counterpoint.
#1 NEW GAME OF 2021: Inscryption
Inscryption combines a solid rougelike deckbuilder, an escape room, and the most hardcore DM you've ever experienced that takes a story I should in should in theory hate, but makes for the best game that came out in 2021.The game's first act sets such a strong groundwork for how good the game of Inscryption itself is, that when the game pulls a "THE PRESTIGE!" on you not once, but twice, you're still along for the ride.
When it comes to Magic The Gathering and the like, I'm what you'd call a "Vorthos", someone who's interested in the lore of the game and how the card interactions work in "kayfabe", or the proposed reality of the game itself. For example, in Magic The Gathering, a Planeswalker card is an ally you're summoning from another plane of existence to aid you in battle, and will "planeswalk" away once they've taken enough damage. "Instant" spells require less preparation than "Sorcery" spells, etc. Inscryption's presentation makes these little interactions much more intense when you could just be playing a regular old card game. I did NOT get this level of attachment to... any mechanics really in Slay The Spire.
I'm considering looking into Kaycee's Mod, which allows you to JUST do the roguelike deckbuilding and can even contain more lore!
Also, kudos to the devs for finding an actor who looks like all MTG influencers simultaneously.
ANNUAL REMINDER I SHARE A BIRTHDAY WITH MC BAT COMMANDER: