Tag Archives: Entertainment

New And Old Favorites

I came across a video game review I did several years ago on here while looking through old posts, just being nostalgic. I gave a list of my all-time favorite games at the tame and explained why, so I figured it would be fun to do one now.

The list back then:

Jack and Daxter
Spyro (original trilogy)
Spyro (new trilogy)
Crash Team Racing
Crash Warped
Crash Bash
Journey

I came up with this list at the time because I was feeling nostalgic, but some of the games on this list are still favorites.

The list now:

Spyr0 (first game)
Crash Team Racing
Journey
Minecraft
Oblivion

I like the first Spyro game because it’s incredibly simple and easy and you can beat the whole thing in a few hours–well, until you get to Tree Tops. I forget how to beat that level every time I play it. I eliminated the two sequels from my list because they add in gimmicky complications that I personally think make the whole process a little less fun. Most of the game is pretty mindless, and sometimes I just enjoy a mindless game. All you have to do, really, is wander around, collect treasure, and occasionally fight bosses that are really pretty easy to kill.

I like Crash Team Racing because my dad and i get really competitive about it. It’s just something we do together. He comes home from work, we watch the news for a little while, and then we play Crash. As with Spyro, it’s incredibly simple and relatively mindless, so we usually talk about stuff or trash talk unnecessarily while we play. It’s basically like Mario Kart, only easier, and requires less effort.

Journey is probably even more simple than the two games I just talked about. The purpose of the game is to get to the shiny mountain. You just wander through several levels until some spirits who are showing you visions throughout the game help you to fly through the last level to get to the top. You would almost think a game like this would be boring, but it’s actually beautiful. It’s visually stunning, and the soundtrack is amazing. In fact, I sometimes just listen to the soundtrack while working on things because I like it so much. The nice thing about this game, too is that it only takes about an hour and a half to play through the whole thing. Furthermore, there are little things you can do within the game that can add to it, but are not necessary. If you want to, you can search for images that help tell a story (based on your interpretation), and shiny symbols that make your scarf longer, which in turn allows you to fly higher and longer. Again, though, you don’t have to do these things. If you just want to book it to the shiny mountain, you can.

Minecraft has been around for a while now, and while I don’t play it nearly as much as I used to, I still consider it one of my favorite games. Sometimes I just like to listen to music or podcasts while building my kingdom. What I like about Minecraft is that it’s fun by yourself or with playmates. I like working on projects with my brother and cousin, but I also like to just do my own thing. It’s also fun that there are different game modes. I tend to find survival mode more fun while playing with others because it adds a little complication that makes cooperation necessary, while I find creative mode more fun by myself because it allows me to build stuff more quickly without having to worry about starving to death.

I only recently started playing Oblivion. It’s definitely the most complicated game on my list, but in some ways I find that refreshing. Playing oblivion is really like entering a whole new world where magic and goblins and other strange creatures are totally a thing. I like that the world is complicated. You can have a hundred things going on all at once, and in some ways, the stories intersect. You acquire quests right when you’re in the middle of something important. The nice thing about it is that you can do things at your own pace. I also like creating a story around my character, which this game not only allows, but encourages. You can join guilds and by doing so, create enemies, and what you do matters. I’ve played other role-playing games, namely MMO’s, but I’m also liking that this game is single-player because the focus is on my character. She’s actually significant, and I have to be careful about who I piss off.

Well, that’s it for now!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Stupid Man: A Critique Of Sexist Advertising From A Woman’s Perspective

A while ago my dad mentioned that commercials on television were often demeaning to men. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I started to pay attention, and I think he’s right. The scenario in many commercials is usually something like this: guy is trying to do something and can’t. Girl comes over and gives him X product or X advice, or even just does whatever it is herself. Some narration about the product. End of commercial. There are hundreds of variations of this, but it seems to all point to one thing: advertising has become sexist.

Something I have noticed about the generation of people approximately between the ages of 15-35 seem very interested in women’s empowerment. Obviously people have been working towards that for years, but now, along with the gay rights movement, it is more socially acceptable. What I often see as a result of this however, is a tendency to take it a bit too far. For example, it is socially acceptable to make jokes about the intelligence of men, but it is not as socially acceptable to make jokes about the intelligence of women. It does, however still seem to be socially acceptable to poke fun at the moodiness or emotional sensitivity of women, and interestingly, it is still okay to make jokes about overly sensitive men. This obviously raises the question of whether or not our society has a problem with sensitivity in general, but that’s a topic for another time.

The question in advertising, comedy or anything else is, at what point does something become sexist? Often when people observe that something is sexist, they notice that it’s sexist against women. Not many people seem to take into account, however, that things can be sexist and downright offensive towards men. I believe vehemently that women and men should be equal, and when it comes to portrayals of the sexes in advertising, they are not. We seem to be at a precarious place at this point in time. There is still plenty of inequality for women in this country and all over the world. In America, however, we are equal in terms of what we can say and do, and we must be careful that this does not lead to animosity between men and women.

Social norms are changing at an almost overwhelming rate. Groups who were oppressed throughout history, women included are gaining immense power and freedom very quickly, and we are having to learn how to use it very quickly. Sexist advertising is not empowerment. It is irresponsible, and frankly, immature. I can guarantee that if commercials were shown with men helping women with things, someone would call them out as being sexist. The main problem with this kind of advertising is that it is one sided. If half the commercials showed men helping women and half showed women helping men, there would be nothing wrong, but the constant portrayal of men being weaker and less intelligent than women is offensive and unfair.

The fact of the matter is that women are better at some things and men are better at others, and this is okay. Furthermore, every individual has different interests, skills and talents. It is okay for Sarah to be physically stronger than Tom because he happens to be a physicist and has decided that solving the mysteries of the universe is more important than working out. It’s also okay for Miles to be a body builder and Nancy to be a fashion model. I can be slaying zombies one minute and gushing over cute puppies the next, and there’s nothing weird about that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Email Miracle

Just because I’m in school again does not mean that music is getting left in the dust. Something amazing happened 3 days ago. I had sent an email blast towards the end of my vacation to all the places that would potentially let me make noise in their venue for a night. On August 30th, I heard back from my favorite; the Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem Massachusetts. I was told that I had 4 hours to work with from 8:00 to midnight and that if I didn’t want to play that long I needed to find openers. Just a few minutes ago I heard back from my friend Nate. He and a girl I met at an open mic named Amanda have both agreed to open for me.

We’ll each get to play for about an hour and 20 minutes, which is super cool. Now all I need to do is come up with a set list that’s long enough and awesome enough to get the audience to like me for that long. I’ll be playing most of my originals, including the ones that won’t be going on my first album and a few covers including some from my friend Ken’s old band since he’ll be accompanying me on lead guitar. You can check them out on iTunes; just look up Meet The Day.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get this gig. I’ve been either rejected or ignored so many times that I was just scratching my head and wondering what to do next or instead. Getting this gig and getting opening acts was so easy that I really do think this some kind of gift or push in the right direction; maybe even just assurance that this is what I should be doing. Sometimes I come across opportunities like this seemingly by accident, and I’m sure that the Lord has something to do with it. It doesn’t always have to do with music either; I think he probably had something to do with finding the right school or getting runner up in a state wide poetry contest that I submitted song lyrics to.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Ice

I was having breakfast with my mom and cousin, and we were watching the news. I normally hate watching the news because there are never any good stories. One in particular seriously pissed me off this morning and my family were unexpectedly subjected to one of my angry hippy rants.

Today reporters said that the arctic could be expected to have an “ice free summer by the middle of the century and although that could have devastating effects ecologically, it could create great opportunities for tourism.”

Tourism… Because apparently all we think about these days is making and spending money. All that matters is our own entertainment at any cost. Humans aren’t the only species that matter in this world just because we can talk and we walk funny. I believe that God entrusted us with the care if his creation, and this news story was a prime example of how we are failing.

This is more than a matter of faith, however. It is simply inhumane to let that ecosystem die because we are too lazy or selfish to do anything about it. In all cases, not just this one, Nature was there first. We ought to respect that and fight to preserve the life that is there; not exploit it for our own ends.

The natural world is beautiful. My brother and I spent our childhoods learning about it and experiencing it first hand. My parents took us hiking and camping every summer. When it was too hot or too cold, we would go to the Museum of Science or the Aquarium in Boston. We grew up on Animal Planet and the Discovery Chanel. I want my future nieces and nephews to be able to experience these things the way we did. Maybe the problem is indifference, or maybe it is a lack of education about these issues, but something needs to change.

If you agree, please reblog this.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

A Part Of The Show

My brain just did a 360.  For weeks now I’ve been trying to figure out how to get gigs. It’s been such a painful search that I just sort of gave up (not completely, but I’ve mostly been playing open mics). I think life will be easier once my album is finished, so I’ve decided to mainly focus on that. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make God part of the show. I believe that God inspired and continues to inspire my music and I want to make that clear to the audience. I just couldn’t figure out how to do that without being annoying.

When I started my gig search I decided that I wouldn’t play churches because my music wouldn’t exactly fit. I think it’s Christian music, but it’s not worship music in the way people normally think of worship music. I never come out and explicitly say “Look how awesome God is” in any of my songs.

Of course that sneaky little voice in my head piped up a few minutes ago and said, “if you talk about what inspired the songs before you played them or something it would probably be perfectly acceptable to play in a church. That and if you want God to be part of the show, that should be more important to you than what the audience thinks.”

*sigh* Yeah, I know. 🙂

The only thing I don’t like about this plan is that I partly wrote music that isn’t explicitly Christian so that i could try and reach people who wouldn’t listen to explicitly Christian music. I’ll admit it’s a little bit of a sneaky evangelism thing that probably doesn’t even work. I think in order to get anywhere I sort of have to separate my faith and my music a little bit, which I sort of didn’t want to do. I do want to gain fans, and that means playing for everyone. Plus if I play churches I can practice making God a part of a show so that it doesn’t feel weird when I play for the general public.

My job now is to find churches that like contemporary worship music. I’m hopefully getting back to the studio tomorrow, so I can talk to Ken about it. I know his church uses contemporary music in their Sunday service, so that might be a good place to start. In the mean time I’ll be spending lots of time with Google.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dreaming In Sound

I played an open mic on Monday in the tiniest bar ever! In fact, the room seemed to be full of musicians and their friends/family and no other patrons. No one else would have fit. It was a really fantastic atmosphere and everyone there seemed awfully nice. I met a band that consisted of two brothers and their dad (who had an awesome beard btw) who were visiting from Florida. There was also a tiny middle aged woman (probably in her 50’s) who played some really strange original songs. She had a good voice and an adorable hat.

Everyone only got to play 2 songs, so I played “One” and “Passenger.” The whole room freaked out. I actually remembered to promote myself this time, so I even got a few Facebook “likes” out of it.

Last night I heard back from someone at Jade Tree. They’re Jets To Brazil’s record label. I had emailed them a while ago because I was wondering what I would have to do/what it would cost to record and sell my own version of one of their songs. Apparently it’s pretty cheap and simple, so I think I’ll put it on an EP or something at some point. Once “Replace My Empty Spaces” is done I’m going to hold off on recording for a while and write some new songs and perform as much as possible.

I met a lady the other night who came up to me after my set and said she wanted to feature me at her open mic in Beverley. I’m going to give her a call today. I’m hoping to play there on July 2nd. Sometimes coordinating this stuff is difficult because I don’t drive so I usually get a ride from my dad and he’s been traveling for work.

The album is 70% finished. I have 3 songs to record and then it’s gloriously done! As much as I love working on it, I’m so ready for it to be finished. We’ve had a lot of delays because Ken is doing some upgrades at the studio. I’m really hoping to finish it before I go back to school, but we’ll see.

I’m also not sure what to do about a release party because Ken’s friend sort of dropped off the face of the earth. There are a few places that I could probably set it up at. It just won’t be as big and grande and epic as I was hoping.

Well I ought to get to work. Thanks for reading!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Imperfection vs Satisfaction

Is anyone ever truly satisfied? I don’t mean satisfied with one or even most parts of their lives; I mean utterly and completely satisfied. My immediate response is “No. I don’t think so.” So the question is; why is that? I think our own personal imperfections play a large part in it.

I’ve been doing fairly well lately. I’ve been getting a lot done on my album and I’ve finally killed songwriter’s block. I’ve set up a few small gigs and I’m going to start looking for more again tomorrow. I even bought a book about the music industry that I intend to read as soon as I get a good chunk of time to. I had an awesome gig last night and an awesome recording session this morning. I was feeling great about myself right up until about 8:30 tonight.

It ended up being super hot today so I decided to goof off, drink some soda and play video games for the afternoon. Well my mom was watching the news when I came down to the kitchen for dinner and apparently they’re having another tornado in Oklahoma. That was a buzz kill to say the least. My friend came over shortly after and we hung out in my basement and watched the Nostalgia Critic (who is freaking hilarious) for a few hours.

So why do I feel so crappy all of a sudden? Why is it that every time I do something remotely unproductive I feel like a loser? So far I have been pretty darn productive this summer, so why do I feel so bad about taking one day off? Maybe it’s because I’m too unrealistic with myself. I need to remind myself that it’s okay and even necessary to have some fun. I am just one girl and nobody ever said it was my job to save the world, even though I want to.

Something I’ve recently come to realize is that I’m a bit of a pushover. I didn’t like discovering that about myself. It worries me because I take a lot of crap from my brother and my friends. I know they’re only jerks in a loving sort of way, but I don’t think it’s funny all the time, and I don’t say anything. I just take it and laugh and act like everything is perfectly fine. It only really bothers me because I’m very nice to them. I can be a “loving jerk” as well, but I know when to turn it off.

This whole thing only really bothers me because I’m worried that if I’m ever in a relationship that I might let the wrong person walk all over me. I think this was an important thing to discover, freak out about and think about, but I currently don’t like it at all.

The whole point I’m trying to make is that my life freaking rocks, but I’m still unsatisfied. My parents are paying cash for me to go to college, I’m close to finishing my first album, I love God and I know he loves me, I have awesome friends, family and stuff, people like my music…. The list goes on. I have absolutely no reason to be feeling remotely unhappy tonight, but I do. On a basic level I think it’s the fact that my life is so good that’s frustrating. I have so much, but a lot of times I feel like I can’t give anything back.

I don’t actually think I’ll ever be completely satisfied even if I do become a famous musician with all kinds of resources to do good in the world because I will always feel like I could be doing more. I guess that isn’t exactly a bad feeling to have per se. I guess the bad feeling I have right now is mostly just impatience, and I guess all I can do is learn to get over it or at least ignore it and keep on trucking. I have to allow myself to have some fun and not feel guilty a out it because having fun is healthy and can be productive in some ways.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Not An Option

I hung out with my cousin for a while today because he got out of school early. I came up to my room a couple hours ago after he left, intending to play video games, but I ended up doing some research on getting gigs and selling music online– since I’ll have to figure that out eventually anyway. I know; sign of the apocalypse; Katie was productive just because. I did pester a few venues already this week, so I’m just waiting to hear back from them. I only found one new open mic, but I just don’t think there are a whole lot around here. I figure what I’ll do is just ask people where else they play next time I do my usuals. I do have a few tentative open mic dates planned, so if they work out I’ll let you guys know. Check my music page soon.

I also pestered Ken’s friend because I hadn’t heard back from him. I’m becoming less shy as a result of this music thing. I’m having to learn to be more of a pest. I’m sick of not hearing back from people. I’ve decided that failure simply isn’t an option. I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it right. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot I can do at the moment except wait. I’ll do a little more research into selling music online, but my cousin is working on building me a website, and I need to finish my album anyway. My next recording session will hopefully be either next Tuesday or Friday.

Last night I had a holy-crap-I-suck moment. We were picking up my brother and my dad from Boston University because my brother was going to a presentation about how to deal with their admissions office or something. We went to dinner and then my mom and I went to Barnes and Noble to get coffee and look at books. On the way back to the car we walked right past a homeless guy and every time I do that I feel guilty. I feel guilty a lot just because my life is easy. It really bothers me that children die of hunger and stupid jerks blow things up and kill people. My two goals this summer were/are to figure out how to succeed in music and save the world. I decided that I need to worry about music first because if I’m going to get anything done, it’s going to be through music.

If anyone has any pointers on where to go/what to do, comments would be awesome!

Thanks,

Katie

The Sad Made Me Happy

Hey bloggers! I’ve got some exciting news. All week the Sad Cafe has been looking for someone to jump in on a slot that opened up for this Friday. No one jumped on it, so I did! 🙂

I’ll be playing there at 7:00 and I’ve got about a 25 minute set. They told me to promote the crap out of it, so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing on Facebook. I figured, “I have a blog, don’t I,” so I thought I’d let y’all know what’s going down. I have absolutely no idea where any of you people are from, but if you’re anywhere nearby and would like to come hear some music you should come hear me play on Friday night.

The address is 148 Plaistow Rd in Plaistow NH.

Here’s the song I’ll be opening with:

Come and see, and if you don’t come, wish me luck! ❤

15 Years + 2 Girls = A Lot Of Weird

To be honest I didn’t think I was going to make it this far. I’m about 2/3 of the way done with my final project for my American Lit class, which is definitely going to be my hardest one. I’m almost done with my paper for Music in Worship and I already passed in my creative writing final. Other than that I just have to study for my Romanticism exam, which I don’t think will be too hard. I’m DONE on Wednesday.

I’m very excited because my friend is going to make me a cake and we’re going to watch “I Am Legend.” It was on TV on Friday, but my cousins were over and they don’t like scary end of the world movies. It’ll be sort of a birthday party as well since Julia turned 20 today. We’re both officially 2 decades old and we’ve been friends for 15 years. We’re practically sisters. I’ve always thought it would be weird to have a sister, but I don’t think it would be weird to live with Julia. She’s stayed over for entire weekends before. We hung out in the basement and played Spyro and probably listened to Green Day. Between the 2 of us we probably own every Green Day album. We went through a serious emo-punk phase in middle school.

I got Julia a book for her birthday. I read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in high school and I really liked it. I saw the movie a few weeks ago with my mom and I thought Julia would like it. A few days later she came over and we ended up talking about books. She said something along the lines of “Yeah, I don’t know why, but I’ve been into depressing books lately,” and I said, “Oh, good you’ll like what I got you for your birthday then.” “You got me a depressing book?” We laughed.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!