Monday, May 30, 2011

My little brother graduated from high school last Saturday. This is my gift to him via college budget. (Senior photo credit Conor Lamb.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


a.k.a. THIS is how you do summer.
From Mad Decent on Vimeo.

It's a little early for me to declare siesta season, but I'm already in that mindset. Probably not a good thing as I still have two weeks before I sit half-asleep and partied out in an ill-fitted green gown at my college graduation ceremony. (What the... ?!) Ramblings aside, nothing screams summer like some sweating body-on-body action, billowy crop tops, lawn parties, popsicles, fireworks, and dance music that will help you dip low, slow and to the floor.

The mix is divided into two parts. Download both for the complete compilation of music that, I hope, you'll want to blast during a joy ride or through your outdoor stereo system. To help you readers discover something new to love, I tried to cover various grounds of music and artists - even threw in some Ohio love with tracks created by friends Cassius Slay and DJ Self-Help. So if you like anyone on this mix, go do some further diggings and buy their stuff/attend their shows.

Stop bumming and start twerking. Mediafire links are below the track listing.

1. "Hot-N-Fun feat Nelly Furtado (Boys Noize Remix)" N.E.R.D.
2. "Masta Blasta (Original Mix)" DILLON FRANCIS
3. "Run Hide feat. Amanda Blank (produced by Diplo)" TROUBLE ANDREW
6. "Paris Orly" DEUX
7. "Gunbeat Falls" SHABAZZ PALACES
8. "Tent in Your Pants" PEACHES
9. "Time of the Season (Self Help Remix ft. Kain)" DJ SELF-HELP
10. "Green Velvet - Everybody Wants" KID SISTER
11. "Hold On" HOLY GHOST
12. "Jungle First Date" NIGHTBEAST
13. "Behind the Stars" PANTHA DU PRINCE
14. "Ringfinger" NINE INCH NAILS
16. "NYR (Will Eastman remix)" OUTPUTMESSAGE

17. "Chains" GATEKEEPER
18. "Love At First Sight" ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL
19. "Sex Sax" DROP THE LIME
20. "Only Girl Part Two (Rihanna vs The Cataracs)" DOSVEC
21. "Riverside (Moombahton Edit)" DAVE NADA
22. "Look At Me Now feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne (No Big Deal remix)" CHRIS BROWN
23. "I Got A Lot (New New New)" MIKA MIKO
24. "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" CSS
26. "Something to Do" DEPECHE MODE
27. "Lead Head" //TENSE//
28. "Over (dJ eSenTRiK Remix)" DRAKE
29. "Murderers" JOHN FRUSCIANTE

Get the Mix:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Revisiting the 1997 N64 Game, Mischief Makers.

Note: some of my posts will be reviews of various forms of art and entertainment for my review writing class. Until I figure out a way to make a page within my blog that will be exclusive to these posts, these reviews will be on this page. Otherwise, enjoy!

The other day, I decided to revisit a game that was a major part of my childhood. Back when blowing into N64 ROM cartridges was the norm of the geeks (now it's just cumbersome and a waste of breath) 1997's Mischief Maker's was the death to my nights of good sleep.

I remember some consecutive days were spent trying to get out of a swampy, vertical labyrinth in one of world 3's levels because I couldn't figure out the order of its star teleportation. For the simplistic 2D, side-scrolling, run-jump-attack nature the game seemed to front, my forehead nerves trembled over its surprising level of difficulty. Unlike side-scrolling predecessors like the Mario and Donkey Kong series, the unpredictable emphasis on control strategy is what took me on a nauseating, tireless ride.

Here's to round two of playing through two worlds in under four hours... ten years later.

The conflict of the game involves a kidnap of Professor Theo, a self-proclaimed 'genius roboticus,' who's in planet Clancer for a visit. The protagonist you control is Marina Liteyears, Theo's robot maid who fights her way to the Empire that's behind the abduction. As you tread the various terrains of planet Clancer to get to your ultimate enemy, Emperor Leo, and find out why the kidnap happened in the first place, you overcome an obstacle of enemies and allies called "Clancers" - a species of ghoul-faced animals and humans - and the game's major trio of bosses called the Beastector Mechas.

When this game was released, a year after the inimitable Mario 64, it was the first 2D side-scrolling game for the console. What separates this from other side-scrollers is that not only does your character cover every horizontal, vertical, and diagonal grounds of your peripheral play space, you're also furiously bouncing, free-falling, swirling, swinging, teleporting, and rocketing-launching your way through the course. This brightly colored, fast-paced game is an epileptic's worst nightmare.

But this trip of a ride doesn't occur until you checked out of the first world, a deceiver of what's to come: a valley of lush greenery, flowers, and - aside from those employed under Emperor Leo - law abiding citizens of Clancer. Here, you learn the art of "grab and shake," because nothing's more mischievous than shaking the life and loot of those around you to get by. It's conveniently an all-in-one game control for just about anything in the game because not only is it used for attacks, but also transportation and weapon alchemy.

The problem is that inconvenience lies in the convenience, and this is the reason why, even on my revisit, I'm always facing troubles in this game. With full knowledge of how to get to the blue star at the end of each course, I'm still falling to my doom in the lava pits or the depth-defying skies because the calibrations to hold onto the ghoul-faced balls is both too sensitive and occasionally unresponsive. To make matters worse, the "grab and shake" tactic encompasses 60% of the gameplay. So when I think I'm holding onto a flying enemy or a ghoul ball, I see little Marina loose a portion of her life bar because of my spastic fingers.

Complaints aside, I still get a kick out of this game because it encompasses the essential attributes to, in my opinion, a good video game. The minimalist make-up of the MIDI music soundtrack, character mobility, text dialogue satirical to the heroic platform game genres, and recycled graphics make room for actual gameplay. With constant demands for CGI, theatrical storyline, and million interpretations of a hi-def explosion to please the visual jerkbooth, the craft of good, strategic gameplay is lost in today's world of video games.

Sure the strategic make-up of the game and its major bosses induce mild headaches - but doesn't that leave you striving for more? Finally finding the blue star in the endless swamp labyrinth will leave you feeling like a million bucks. Basking in the privileges to throw around both your enemies and allies à la Grand Theft Auto and shaking them up for money and vitality diamonds provides a great escape to freely be a mischief maker.

Image sources:,

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Any punk on the block will agree that basement shows make the best venue for punk music. There's no better backdrop for spit riddled snooty screams, spastic riffs, and some crowd bulldozing action than a dusty, humid basement.

The flyer for tonight's show that features The Ropes, Southside Stranglers, and locals Rocks At Cops and Hardtime, says the show starts at 8 p.m. "sharp," so I arrived around 8:40 assuming the show functions on punk time. My mental clock wasn't punk enough to guess that the show started, instead, around 9:20 p.m. After chilling on the steps of the White House, the house-cum-punk venue located just off of Columbus’s High Street, and passing time drinking cans of PBR, guitar feedback shook the living room floors signaling the start of the show. I made my way through some couch potatoes watching sports on T.V. to the tiny basement and propped myself against the damp brick wall.

The locals opened the show and Rocks At Cops was the first to take the plate. I'm surprised I didn't have blood trail out of my ears because prior to starting, guitar feedback took over for a good three minutes. As if super glue kept them in place, Rocks At Cops remained static while hastily ripping through some fast hardcore tracks - so fast, that my recollections of that set are all too blurry. I do remember a sparse crowd, arms crossed and timidly throwing their heads down when the guitars got melodic (if a band like this even had a melodic part), but that's always the curse of opening acts.

Hardtime was next on the bill, and fronting the New York hardcore cover group is one of the tenants of the house. When I hear that band name, I think of Cro-Mag's "Hard Times," so I knew that this show was about to get ignorant. Tucker Lappi, the vocalist, spent the past 5 years fronting his other hardcore projects Triceratops and Forget It, so naturally he's a master on the mic. I have a terrible ear when it comes to recognizing what songs are being covered - even if it's by a band as inimitable as The Misfits. Admittedly I don't remember exactly what songs were covered that night. I can assess that Hardtime put on one flawlessly brutal set. The crowd could not resist hard stomping to the tumbling, storm chugging sounds of New York Hardcore, and at one point a modest pile-on formed during a crucial sing-along.

The show took a slight shift to a more denotative punk sound. I say denotative because Richmond's Southside Stranglers played the straight-up, rock 'n' roll garage punk - the kind that, as the vocalist Kenny pointed out, "your girlfriend probably listens to." Interesting to see the ex-Government Warning frontman make this switch for the '80s hardcore sound. Whatever, Southside Stranglers had the audience shuffling and getting into the whiskey-fueled fun of their melodic numbers. I couldn't keep count on how many times Kenny stumbled into the crowd, locked lips with his bottle of whiskey, and was constantly in tango with an equally animated crowd member who, during song transition, heckled the band to "play something that's up the punx."

Finally the night capped off with the act everyone wanted to see: Chicago's The Ropes - a.k.a., basically The Repos with a name change and slower sound. As everyone crowded around the band's merch table to get a piece of their 100 copies exclusive tape release, the basement was packed to the brim. The bassist took a long drag of his cigarettes before The Ropes blew away the audience with its cacophonous blast of barking vocals and blown out guitars. When that guitar wails, a section of the audience gets a pile drive, and those up front were seeing red when "Heads Will Roll" erupted body shuffles and sing-alongs. I was upstairs snagging a tape and t-shirt when the "set" was over, missing the encore that left everyone seemingly satisfied according to the roars and clapping. This would be one of the last two chances for Ohioians to see the band before they check out of touring until the end of 2011. This night left everyone walking out of the house with a satisfied punk fix and ready to take on another house for the after-party.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5_6 - 8. Chicago

I don't think I'm going to add too much commentary about this weekend. Overall, I had a blast and realized that I had a lot more friends living out there than I thought. Always wanted to go to Chicago before the school year ended and this seemed like the best time to do so.

I took the Megabus up to this city to hang out with some Ohio University friends and celebrate the quarter of a century's worth of Miss Julie Wainwright's life. She's a dear friend of mine and former co-conspirator of the Athens punk scene back in '08. The food and beverage menu of the party consist of Taco Bell hard shells and a Baja Blast mixed drink - which was as dangerous, if not more, as the green turkey drink the girls had back at the Zack Morris house. Absent from the party were igniting bottle rockets and a long list of peeps who were part of the '07-'08 crew.

I had plenty of time on my hands to explore the city and its night life. When I wasn't chilling on Chicago Ave. and eating over some wine with the roommates, who are both me and Julie's good friends, I was tagging along my friend Kevin. Friday night, we went to some warehouse where a bunch of artists lived and threw free shows. Broken Water played on the bill, and aside from technological difficulties that often involved some inconsiderate individuals stepping on the guitar pedal, they put on one hell of a show - singer/drummer in her underwear and sheer tee and all. I was pretty happy about this, because I had to ditch their Athens show earlier that week for an all-nighter on an English paper/presentation due the following day. Saturday, before going to Julie's birthday fete, we went and saw Libyans, Skrapyard, Daylight Robbery, Scabs, and The Outs at a relatively new space not far from Kevin's house. I ended up seeing only the last three bands because I had to walk out the whole neighborhood to figure out that N Albany is split by 3 streets. I lost it when I saw the Jack Skellington come to force in the pit, because you don't see that anywhere unless you're at a Chicago show or a Chicago band and its crew come to your town.

Sunday I accompanied him on a museum trip to the Art Institute. We only had 30 minutes to explore the museum because the place closed at 5 on Sundays, and somehow we managed to snake our way through - if I remember - 16th century, post-impressionist, and the contemporary exhibits before we were forced to scram. After watching tourists stare in amazement at the Cloud Gate with their Nikon D40s in tow, we made a brief stop around the corner at Reckless records before parting ways. I came home to the roommates throwing a small slumber dinner party over Smoking Aces 2 on Netflix, sat through the atrocity of the film, then frantically packed and took a taxi downtown when I realized my bus leaves Union Square at 10 p.m. sharp. Taking an overnight bus to your 10 a.m. class is a miserable experience.

make my face.

Out of boredom, I decided to put together a nice collage of products I've been digging lately and, as a result, have become staples to my daily beauty regimen.

Below are copies I wrote in the ass crack of morning containing my thoughts on these featured products. Most of what I use teeter on the pricier side of the cost range, but I find that if the product gives you the results you're looking for without having to constantly shell out, for example, $6 on shit lipstick/poor shading, then the benefit lies in what works. However, it always rules to have a secret beauty weapon like a tub of Vaseline guarantee you lifetime results for just $3, so don't go thinking that I prefer to wear price tag over quality results. This philosophy also applies to the way I shop for food, clothes, accessories, and electronics, and I think a smart consumer should adopt a similar mentality.

Anyway, I always find these show-and-tell review posts to be both informative and entertaining, and I'm a beauty junkie - so why not? Hope you feel the same way too.

Vaseline rich conditioning petroleum jelly in cocoa butter, I put this on my face. No really, I do. After putting on Clinique's moisture surge gel, I glaze a very thin layer of Vaseline to seal the gel in. Might as well swim in a vat of some catastrophic oil spill with the birds, right? Ever since I took this risk (because countless beauty forums have warned that this whipped oil could make you break out, while handfuls have debated otherwise), I have experienced little to no break outs since - and this is coming from a former high school pizza face. This is good news because now I can have my youthful, moisturized face for another 40 years!

Bumble and Bumble surf spray, I don't like to blow dry my hair and I've recently embraced my hair's natural, tropical waves. (Equator genes.) A spritz of this stuff on slept-on washed hair transforms me into Texan bombshell Erin Wasson. It comes in a small bottle and has a pretty steep price tag, but it's literally the only hair product you need in your cabinet... okay, aside from a bottle of a light, leave-in conditioning cream and overnight repair cream.

Smashbox eyeshadow in Brazilian Bronze, high pigmented, sexy brown smoky eye appropriate for both day and night wear - just put on a heavier amount for the night life. I'm a sucker for versatility in my make-up, especially if I'm spending money out of the butt for it. Every chick needs brown eyeshadow, and this is one of the best (in my opinion.) This brown shadow is insane with cat eyes, so when the two combine your eyes become twinkling mysteries of the soul. Hubba hubba.

Rosebud strawberry lip balm, once again, let me stress versatility here. Rosebud is so dewy and thick that not only is it fantastic for the driest lips (ahem, like the girl behind these words), but as I discovered from the advice of model Chanel Iman, it's also great for a cuticle quick fix. If you really stress over how your cuticles look, this is an instant softener - just try to shake off the resulted strawberry scented fingers. I guess you can opt for the original, scentless balm, but don't you want to add a little flavor to those kissable lips? I also like Rosebud because it's not one of those asshole companies that packages the balm in those irritable tubes that are designed to be lost. It comes in a classy, relatively large tin can so it's easy to stash and hold onto. I also realized that this shit lasts FOREVER. I bought my tin in mid-July last year and 10 months later, it still has plenty of balm. The $7 is actually a STEAL.

Tom Ford Black Orchid, this is without a doubt my favorite perfume of all time, with Viktor and Rolf's Flowerbomb trailing at a close second. According to the Sephora copy, the sultry wood and fruits used in this scent work to bring out the "skin's natural perfume." I couldn't agree more. Black Orchid doesn't sit on top of your skin, but instead lightly radiates from it - if that makes any sense. I'm a huge fan of wood notes because it's so seductive, Hollywood, and classy, so it's no surprise that the concoction made by Mr. Hollywood/GQ Motherfucker himself, Tom Ford, is within that realm. I get friends who despise perfume complimenting me on this scent, and I swear this is the secret weapon to attracting some class act men and scoring first dates. Only one spritz is needed (it's STRONG) to benefit from this love potion.

Diorshow by Dior in Black Out, Asian women are cursed with short, stubby lashes that are near impossible to accentuate. Unfortunately the most effective mascara for my lashes are highway robberies. If I can afford to phase out of the cheap Covergirl Lash Blast mascara (okay for me, but everyone seems to be all hoplah heelah about it), then I steep for Estee Lauder's Projectionist High Definition Volume. Unfortunately Sephora doesn't sell Estee Lauder, and unfortunately I want to reap the benefits of being a Beauty Insider, so I gave this Dior mascara a chance. This stuff lengthen, thickens, and separates to an effect that's as close as I can get to Twiggy. That's A+ in my book.

Bare Minerals in warmth, mineral make-up is a tricky monster. If you're allergic to/experience some unusual reaction to it, products like Bare Minerals would probably make your face go wild. Otherwise, if you are a once-pimpled/oily skin face like me, then you'll find that your skin does improve with each wear. The warmth bronzer is great because it's heavily pigmented but easy to control. I just lightly sweep it on my forehead and nose, then put a heavier layer on my cheekbones to give my face depth. I'll get a sun-kissed glow without the risk of becoming a leatherface. (Pet peeve, ladies. It is not sexy.)Whatever you do, DO NOT use the Bare Minerals primer because it mysteriously screws up your complexion and enlargen your pores. You certainly don't want holes big enough to fit caviar balls.

Make-Up Forever Rouge Intense #49, you're looking at one big lipstick junkie. I seldom wear gloss; instead I constantly slather on lipstick. I've always wanted to go dark, and haven't done so until last winter when my lovely friend/music enthusiast/Billboard's Editorial Assistant Jill Mapes insisted that I buy this stick of MUF Rouge Intense. Now I owe her a beauty buy suggestion.

This shade strikes a good balance between making you look too washed out or too much like some underworld clown. With the right amount of confidence, poise, and baddassness, it can give you a look that's as sultry as MAC's inimitable Russian Red shade. (#1 lipstick... maybe until I can afford to try the Tom Ford lipstick line, which my former internship had the luxury of doing so at the line's launch party.) I've mustered up the courage to wear this shade out in broad daylight while running errands or grabbing lunch with some friend. I loved this plum color so much that I want to start a collection of darker lipsticks in all shades of the color wheel. I'm thinking billowy green, day-glo yellow with a cool undertone, blackout blue, and that Anna Sui black lipstick. Thank God my cool complexion complements my darkened soul.

Jokes and praises aside, my problem with MUF is that although it's HEAVY in pigment with a fantastic color variety, it dries up your lips like sea salt. I'm constantly touching up with lip balm, get the color on my balm and fingers, clean up, put on another layer just to shortly go back to square one. Too much for me. Although I do like the colors, I may do a quick ditch for a better alternative when the opportunity comes. I also own the MUF Rogue Intense in #28 (nude with a faint pink undertone) and #36 (shocking fuschia pink, seriously rules, similar to Nicki Minaj's on the cover of V Magazine), so I guess I put it on myself to suffer through dry lips.

Do you have any personal favorite products in mind that you're willing to share? Wondering what else I can recommend to the best of my knowledge? There's a comment box for that reason.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicago-bound for the weekend. But first, celebrating Cinco de Mayo with some of Columbus, Ohio's finest DJs.