spatch: (Abbie onna Table)
Mr. Abbie's birthday was yesterday so he celebrated a bit by doing the following:

A. Having a tasty fish treat
B. Having a tasty meatloaf treat (with gravy)
C. Being told he was the best cat in the whole world and then being asked who's the best cat in the world (the answer of course having already been reinforced)
D. Being picked up and twirled through the air as Super Flying Birthday Cat
E. Okay, okay, being put gently back down on the ground after Super Flying Birthday Cat obviously wasn't the best idea in the world
F. Going off to the purple futon to have a good sulk for all of twenty seconds
G. Being asked again who's the best cat in the world, and responding accordingly
H. Enjoying a nice round of Cat Fishing, and later on a nice round of Eat The Rock Band Drumstick For Good Luck (he does this before a lot of songs)
I. Being left alone for a nap (probably the best part of the day except for Parts A and B)

I think it went well all things considered. 11 is a good age for a cat.
spatch: (Default)
1. Green Grass/High Tides was solo five-starred at Hard on the very first try. I am not above admitting that it was all due to the rock finish bonus because five stars is five stars no matter how you earn them SO SUK IT OUTLAWS. (Meanwhile, Enter Sandman remains three-starred and I ain't goin back any time soon.)

2. And on another planet, a giant pot of vichyssoise has been overturned in the kitchen. Our heroes are regrouping in some conveniently-placed utility corridors, and Bunny is stuck in an air duct after chasing a headcrab (it got away.) The robots are approaching. More bulletins as events warrant.
spatch: ((rock))
I manually calibrated Rock Band tonight. That is, I watched das blinkenlights and strummed when I thought I should, and the system went "brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp okay you are calibrated" and what do you know, the Strat doesn't feel mushy anymore. I'm hitting all the notes I should be.


But now I wonder if it'll feel kinda weird when I go over to someone else's place to play. Maybe they've already calibrated it to their liking, maybe not. (My sweet spot, by the way, is -48 ms. That's what the computer thingy says at least. I even did a spot check and played with my eyes closed; yes Virginia we do have a sense of rhythm and we stick to it.) Maybe they haven't, and have just gotten used to hitting the strum thingo 48 milliseconds after I usually do. Maybe their TV and/or monitor doesn't have the same delay that mine does. And I'd feel like an absolute sno[b|t] if I showed up at any other place and said "Mind if I calibrate your system?" (I'm sure there's a term for That Guy.) But on the other hand, maybe it just doesn't really matter.

That said, a lot of the songs on Hard have become a lot more fun to play because I'm not constantly overworrying about whether or not I'll hit the damn thing. I absolutely adore Queen Bitch and Reptilia and even Celebrity Skin, which I wasn't too crazy about the first time it came 'round.
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The Drowsy Chaperone opened tonight in Boston and was just as charming and funny as I remembered, although it does lose something when you see it the second time and are ready for the bits. Still, the bits themselves were still delightful and Joye and I had a great time. It was interesting to see which new bits had been added in the course of a nearly two-year run plus a road tour, and how certain lines were delivered a lot more broadly than before to elicit more of a laugh. The fellow playing Man In Chair played it a bit more, well, gay than Bob Martin ever did (Martin played it more fussy; there's a difference) but he was still very good at what he did. The poignancy of the scene with the Super, however, was pretty much gone.

But that's okay, because the show did what a musical is supposed to, and if you don't know what it's supposed to do, the Man In Chair ought to be the one to tell you.

After the show Joye came back to the Haus of Rokk and played Rock Band until the neighbors told us to stop using the drum set. New rule, now: No drums after 11:00. Oops. Felt kinda dumba 'bout that.

Also today I began to sketch out new character ideas for a new... well, a new something. I can't give away too much right now, but one of the characters is named Flapjack Annie. Take that as you will.
spatch: ((rock))
000. When you go to the store to buy Rock Band, you make everyone jealous. The ne'er-do-wells sitting in the comfy chairs at Best Buy playing Madden stopped when I stepped by to pick up the big box. "Oh, daaaamn, Rock Band!" they all said, hopping up and down with excitement. "It's Rock Band Day," I proclaimed, staggering towards the checkout with one (1) big box and one (1) extra guitar box and one (1) XBox 360 hard drive balanced on top. The cabbie who took me home, for crying out loud, got all "Oh daaaamn, Rock Band!" when he saw what I was putting in the back of the car. "I'm gonna get that for my Wii!" he said, which made me glad to think that people are tipping him well enough that he's gone and gotten a Wii. I think the downstairs neighbors are excited, too.

001. Drums on Easy are more fun than anything you can do without violating obscenity laws. Medium is okay too but Easy teaches you the finer art of the foot pedal and hitting eighth notes with it and stuff.

010. The Fender Stratocaster is a beautiful looking device. But the strum bar is mushy and I don't know if it's a product defect, but it doesn't like registering too many sixteenth notes in a row. Or sometimes it doesn't even like recognizing three eighth notes in a row. Needless to say this makes playing the bass quite difficult. I shall have to do some experimenting. It also really doesn't like being tilted up to kick in to Overdrive. I've heard some folks have found the way to fix this is to point the neck down when you're starting the game in an attempt to "calibrate" the position sensor. I also welcome any other bits of advice y'all may have.

The Gibson Xplorer, which Activision made for GH3, is clicky and hasn't had nearly as many downstrum problems and hits Overdrive most of the time, but its scale is smaller than the Strat's and so the neck is wee tiny. Hrumph. Some folks just can never be pleased. Good thing I'm getting the hang of the drums.

011. I can understand the logic behind keeping one character to one role -- your singer can't moonlight as a drummer, and you can't have a guitarist and drummer with the same name -- but the whole "band leader" thing is counterintuitive to our happy shared collective.

I mean, example here: Tonight, Chris, Carolyn and I were all playing in The Bacon Sandwiches (with or without an umlaut over any of the vowels; your choice.) My guitarist Dale Liverstuss had founded the band. Chris' guy Shade was the other guitarist, and Carolyn had a vocalist. No problem. We started Band World Tour and made it to I think Seattle.

But then we wanted to switch around. I wanted to play drums and bring in Martha Ramone, the pirate drummer. We had to start a new band because I was giving up Dale Liverstuss, and Chris wanted to keep playing Shade. Hey, maybe Dale was working on his solo career and couldn't make this tour. You never know. But Dale is the Bacon Sandwiches, apparently, so the lead guitar and vocalist had to go find another group to be a part of. I dunno. Does this make sense to you? If so, call 1-800-YER-ON-CRACK.

100. The downloadable stuff is good, good, good. And in June, they'll be releasing the Pixies' "Doolittle" in its entirety. Next week Judas Priest's "Screaming for Vengeance" will be the first full album download. The Cars' self-titled album will show up in May, and then in June, yeah. Fortunately, I'll have some money again by then.

101. Mountain Dew Various Colored Fruity Caffeinated Beverages truly are rock juice.

110. I played one game online but the game wasn't calibrated right for the new display I put it on and I felt kinda silly. I also need a headset so I can go "OH OKAY THAT'S HOW I'M SUPPOSED TO DO THINGS, THANKS." But again, that'll come once we have money again. We kinda stripped the Money Tree bare today for quite some time.

spatch: ((rock))
(Does this show up in flists now? Hope so.)

I have two new T-shirts and you do not.

The first T-shirt has the Rock Band bass symbol on it (and it's pre-worn out! at least, I hope it's pre-worn out to look all rock-like. Thanx, Harmonix!) I won it at the Brattle on Friday night before a showing of Rock and Roll High School, where I correctly answered which "future star" was one of Sean Penn's stoner buddies in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, though I almost blurted out "Anthony Greene!"

Now I just need more chances to play bass in Rock Band.

The second T-shirt has a big AVENUE Q logo in a box and at the bottom of the box, the heads of Trekkie Monster, Princeton and Rod are peeking up over it. Joye and I saw the show last night at the Colonial and it was such fun. It completely fulfilled all the expectations I had (after having the soundtrack for, oh, four years now or something) and it was just fascinating to watch the puppetry at work, especially when one actor worked one puppet, but voiced two in a scene (operated by one of the ensemble.) Switching back and forth between a Princeton and Rod voice is one thing, but when Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut are having a heated discussion ("I dated a monster once; kept picking fur out of my teeth." "If your teeth are a problem, I could remove some!") well, major props to the actress who pulled it off. Everybody was really great.

The two-person puppets, such as Trekkie Monster and Nicky, were amazingly well done. Two-person puppets are, if you remember your Muppets, characters like Rowlf or Cookie Monster. In the show, the "voice" of both Trekkie and Nicky operated the head and left arm, while another puppeteer operated the right arm, and they worked in perfect sync. Each movement was choreographed perfectly to accentuate or help the delivery of the lines. You see it all the time on TV, but you never see how it's actually done. I loved it. Oh, and of course, the songs were all great and hilarious and the show has an inspirational-yet-not-so message at the end, and it all was just... yeah. Good stuff. The Bad Idea Bears are your frieeends! Yaaaaaaay!!

Later, Joye turned me on to the site of a former Sesame Street puppeteer who's travelling around holding workshops on rod puppets. I think we're totally signing up for it (well I know I am) even though I know full well that once the class is over I'll be left with a "Well, now what do I do with this?" feeling... but sometimes those kinds of skills you learn are the best kind, because someday...


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