Saturday, June 24, 2017

15 hours in and I've finally hit the end of the song I'm working on.  I can't wait to get this released.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

An insane amount of effort has gone into this song so far, at least for my standards.  It's definitely going to be the capstone of the entire album, representing pretty much everything that I ever wanted to accomplish and achieve with it.  It's already been multiple sessions of working on it and it's still not at an end.  Might be close?  Not sure, it'll really depend on how the music decide to flow the next time I sit down.  I don't think the composition process has ever been so much of a "journey" for me though.  It's quite something.


This song is really good in a totally different way than the rest I've made.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bingo

Bingo! Jumping on the bandwagon with this...how much do you have in common with me? =)


Monday, June 19, 2017

When I think about my past, I am often filled with strong feelings of guilt or gratitude.  I can't help but echo those sentiments to the people who are involved, saying either "sorry" or "thank you".  It is not only a form of coping but also a way of honoring those memories.

Though it's important to not get "stuck" on the past, it is perhaps equally important to express one's feelings toward what has happened on their road to the present.  There was a video that I saw a number of years back about happiness and mindfulness/gratitude where people were asked to pick someone very important to them and write out why this person was so important.  The twist is that they then hand a phone to the subject and tell them to read their letter out loud to the person they wrote about.  You can sort of intuit what happens next, of course.  I think that is a sort of thing that I value -- the expression of these feelings.


Hour of Devastation previews have started and I just wanted to point out that the new "Afflict" mechanic that's in the set is basically exactly the same thing as the "Soul Drain" mechanic that I developed myself as an Orzhov mechanic in my custom "Return to Gatecrash" set.  See http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2014/10/a.html for proof!

Not the first time that WotC has independently come up with nearly identical mechanics as I did (see Conspiracy 2).  Good to know that I was on the right track!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Overrated/Underrated Songs

I actually don't often get personal feedback on a specific level from other people on my music (besides generic "wow this is cool"), but as an artist I still definitely feel like some of my works are underrated or overrated.  And some are also "justly liked".  In this post I'll go through a handful of them.  Audio links included!


Overrated:

Probably the top offender here.  This is one of my most popular songs, but I really don't even like it that much.  It's one of those remixes where I think the original actually has a better feeling.  I think the main thing is the chorus -- the rearrangement is really uninspired and in general the chords used in the original don't really mesh with my general sense.  It's not even mixed that well -- this was in the old days back before I had the equipment to hear a lot of my mixing mistakes.  I remember having a lot of trouble getting a chorus that featured the original melody yet still sounded great.  Probably my favorite parts of the song are the ones where I was able to break free from the original -- specifically, the countermelody at 1:45, and the whistle lead at 2:23.  I will concede that the drum solo is pretty bangin though.

Once upon a time I thought this version of the song was okay but I really don't like it anymore...it's sooooo slow....really loses all the feel of the original song.

Might be a controversial one because this song IS actually quite good.  However I do think it might be a tad overrated, especially considering how well it's known.  The mixing actually has issues (again, this was before I got better at that), and overall the song isn't as "clean" as some of my newer works.  Comparing this to Illumination Reel, especially -- Illumination Reel takes the cake easily.

Underrated:

This song doesn't really seem to have been discovered by the general populace, I guess because it's not yet on youtube or soundcloud (something I can fix?), but I'm actually quite proud of it, especially the Dustforce OST-style first section and in general how I highlighted a subtle melody that was really good in the original.  This remix in general goes a lot of places and actually ends up being really interesting despite being over 7.5 minutes long!

Also another lesser-known song, but I just reallllly love the feel of the melody here.  The beat is jammin, even the chords are really good too.  There's really nothing to not like here.

Criminally underrated.  This is one of my proudest works ever!

Everyone likes Love Everlasting and this is more of the same!

This is hidden in my Ivory album but is actually one of the most poignant things that I've created.

Twin Wings (entire album)
Collaborating with A-zu-ra was great fun and there is actually a =lot= going on in this album.

I'm not actually sure if this is underrated or not but it's really good!  It's really chill, really happy, and sweet.  Like something super nostalgic.

This easily earned its place in my "Best of" album, despite being really out of place compared to all the other pumpin 9-bit tracks.

Justly liked:

Probably the first song that ushered in the "new era" of DDRKirby(ISQ) productions entirely.  I made this over 3 or 4 one-hour sessions and I can't believe how well it turned out.  This song has really stood the test of time, too.

Love Everlasting (entire album)
My most popular album -- it's actually a slight deviation from my usual style, believe it or not.  Not by much, of course, but rearranging aivisura's music really had me doing some things that I didn't normally do at the time -- which led to great things!  I had a lot of fun with this album and I think it pushed me to reach a little outside my comfort zone in a great way.

Maybe my proudest work to this date, or at the very least the most hype.  I really wanted to make something special for my Patreon supporters, and I think I really succeeded.  I love this song.

The best danceable waltz I've made.  Nuff said.

Out of all the irish/celtic style stuff I've made, this one definitely has the others beat.

A lot of people like this one and I actually agree.

I can't believe how much of a club banger I was able to make with this.  I don't really do much work with these sorts of tracks so the fact that I was able to have this much fun and awesomeness with these basslines and such was super awesome.

Cleeeaaannn.  The mixing and arrangement was way ahead of my time here, and the overall sound is just super crisp.  This song was the first dance song that I wrote and it really set the stage for everything else.  I kept on using this as a model to follow for creating waltz songs because it was so awesome.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Your presence keeps me safe.  Keeps me from feeling scared, though there is everything to be afraid of.


=====

"What is your goal?"

I'll be honest -- life hasn't been the greatest recently, as you may or may not have noticed already.  It's not anything poignant -- just a general down cycle, punctuated by some times when things are better; not too bad; even happy and exciting.  The thing that worries me most is that looking at it from an objective standpoint I do think that it has had a pretty high correlation with when I started having to commute so far.  But then again, there were other things that also changed in my life at that time as well.

I finished the Madoka series again -- what a great show.  Surprisingly, I actually had forgotten quite some powerful moments...I guess it has been quite a while, after all (or perhaps I didn't find them as powerful the first time around?).  I debated watching all 3 movies next, but I think for the moment I'm going to skip ahead to Rebellion as there aren't =too= many significant changes in the first two films to warrant it for now.  Perhaps after that, I'll go back to the movies, and then write some general reflections in terms of my thoughts and feelings.  I realized again that I'm actually pretty bad at discussing these sorts of things with other people and I'm not sure if it's because I'm just bad at explaining myself or because I'm just afraid of putting forth my own opinions...

Hyper Light Drifter is done done!  I didn't 100% it, but I actually got more than I thought I would -- I got all 8 modules in each of the four areas, and also found all the monuments.  I didn't do all the challenges and I'm still missing some upgrade bits and one last key, but I didn't really want to bother with those as I had gotten most of the "main" stuff and explored all the areas at the very least.  Good game!

Next could be OneShot, but I'm actually more looking forward to Rakuen, so I think I might go ahead and go through that next.

Of course, I can't forget mentioning Monument Valley 2, which -- surprise! -- just got released (wow!).  I'm waiting to sit down with that one and enjoy it fully when I have the chance.  Honestly, just seeing the trailer and knowing that that game exists restored some of my hopefulness in life in general.  Perhaps I just need more art in my life?

More food experiments!  A few weeks ago I experimented with some different cuts of meat, including a top blade/flat iron steak (was ok.  I also tried out the jaccard on it, which I can't tell whether was a good or bad idea), and a lamb flank steak (!), which actually turned out quite decently -- basically a lamb version of a steak.  I might have to try cooking flank steak a little more often -- I think it's good practice to experiment with these less pricey cuts, both for variety's sake and for my wallet's sake as well.  I've heard skirt steak can be pretty great too.

Just yesterday I fired up the Anova sous vide machine and used it to sous-vide some bratwurst sausages with beer, which I then seared over the stovetop (no grill for me!  That's foreign territory still).  Served it on toasted hot dog buns, along with whole grain mustard and beer-braised sauerkraut (plus a bit of bacon).  A very wholesome meal indeed, and the sausages were definitely very juicy.  Not bad!

Something else I realized is that some of my happiest times are in the grocery store, lol!  Somehow just being by myself and skipping along while thinking of what foods to get really makes me happy.  Maybe I'm destined to be a housewife...

=====

I was talking with my best friend the other night and I realized that one of the reasons that the blogging "audience" and social media audience in general that I find myself writing among has changed so much is not just that facebook and everything has exploded and has everyone and their mothers on it, but also that I no longer have a smaller exclusive group or community of peers that I can point to as my social media "community".  In high school it was actually a big thing to me, that me and my high school friends (and some not-yet-friends that I was able to connect with) had this online "space" where we could interact with each other.  Of course, many (but not all) of our xanga sites were public in the first place, so it's not like it was artificially restricted to just those people (and indeed that was part of the charm of it, that I could connect with people whom I only vaguely knew about), but the notion was still there.

Yet, I, along with many other people, have more or less lost that aspect of life and online presence now -- the idea of a tangible "cluster" of people.  It's not just a matter of social media changing and FB becoming...well, whatever you want to call it.  But now I have dance friends, college friends, friends from my past, friends of friends, ...

And of course I try to hedge myself in the other direction -- try to consciously retain =some= semblance of an "inner circle", but the reality is that that doesn't really exist anymore for me, not just online but in real life too.  Yes, I =do= have a collection of close friends that =I= feel comfortable sharing more details with, but those friends themselves often aren't connected to each other in the same way, let alone at all.  There's no one thing tying us all together, so of course it feels like less of a community.

Perhaps that itself is what I missed most about those days, is the feeling that it was a community of sorts.  The good news is that despite all this I'm sure those sorts of communities still exist, they're just harder to find and form.  But the herd of progress seems to be moving further and further away from it -- in the direction of scrolling tickers, feeds, reddit, tumblr, and twitch.

Meanwhile, I'll just be over here in the corner writing my snail mail...

Monday, June 5, 2017

I thank all of my friends who continue to make this life worthwhile.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Life is difficult enough as it is...
I guess we should try and put ourselves in spaces and situations where we are surrounded by supportive people, and try to be supportive ourselves.  Perhaps I have been underestimating just how important that is.

I'm feeling kind of "tired of life", right now, just sort of off of it.  Not from anything in particular, but just lots of little things.  Accumulated negativity, you could call it.

In other news, I'm working on putting all of my LD post-mortems on my website, and I've also been watching the Madoka anime again -- starting with the main TV series, which I'm already up to ep 9 on.  Also following through with analysis and commentary from the wiki too.  Maybe I'll write up some reflections once I'm done with it all.

But yes, somehow it feels as though there is really a lack of good energy in my life right now.  I think that's why it feels like I just want to be alone.

Are lambs better than people?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fanime 2017 Day 3 - Dance and Goodbye

My last day at con!

The day was =quite= a long one for me, as I started off by getting up early and having to pick up and drive parents from SF in the morning.  After that I went back home, packed up my stuff, put on some eyeliner, and headed back to con.

I didn't have much planned for the day, except I was supposed to drop in for a wcs private, and also play melee with Eddie.  So after I grabbed a sandwich from Subway (yep!  Still snuck in a visit to subway), I made my way over to the B&W ball room, where I met both Bleu and Eddie, and then worked on some WCS stuff.  It was a bit helpful I think -- not sure though, will have to practice it the next time I actually go WCS dancing.  Which I'm not exactly jumping out of my chair to do anyways...

After that I sat down there with Eddie and we played melee on my laptop for a while while they were teaching a bunch of group lessons in the room.  We played quite a bit, until eventually my laptop ran out of juice and that was that.  We made our way around to the Artist Alley where Eddie ended up buying two prints from the artist who work for this site.  Funnily enough I just looked them up and I have actually played one of their VNs a long time ago, Phantom Seeds, which was released back in 2010.  What a small world...

Next I headed over to the gaming room where I said bye to Eddie, met up with Allen at the TGM3 machine, and proceeded to dump a whole bunch of quarters into TGM and play a whole bunch of Master mode (along with one go at Shirase, which went pretty decently actually).  I had some good games; and especially after that Shirase game I could feel the adrenaline, haha.

I walked back to my car and put my laptop and controllers away and packed my dance shoes to get ready for B&W ball which was starting at 6PM.  On the way back, though, I ran into Isabelle Wendy Kotaro and co who were going to dinner, so I tagged along!  Ended up having poke, which was not too bad.

They needed to go back to their hotel room so I decided to just go straight to the ball where I met up with Lann Alex and co.  Very surprisingly, I actually ended up staying at B&W Ball until midnight when it ended!  I danced with Lann and co a bit, and also found some of the B&W ball staff to dance with at some points, but then Isabelle Wendy Rebecca Eddie and Russell showed up and we had a mini Stanford crew thing going on, which was quite fun.  Lewis Joy and Mindy showed up later, which was really pleasant surprise!  It was nice getting to catch up a bit, hang out with people, and of course do some dancing too.

I ended up staying until the dance was officially over, at which point I bid farewell to the other Stanford kids, did one final loop around the gaming hall and main hallway, and left Fanime.  Along the way I passed the Subway store (which was still open) and had a brief flash back to two years ago when I grabbed food there after I left con on the last day and had someone take my photo and strike up a short conversation.

As much as I'm currently off of dance and keep on talking it down as being not the highest priority for me, I think tonight really did show me that I should give it a little more credit, just because it's through dance that I have these friends that I can hang out with and be in good company.  Granted, I definitely could have just checked out B&W ball briefly and left after an hour or whatever, and maybe that wouldn't have been so bad, but it felt really nice to see everyone there and have our own little mini dance crowd.  This might sound crazy, but I may have ended up having more (???) fun at b&w ball than big dance this year -- which is not to say that big dance is the worse event, because =clearly= big dance is the more awesome event, but I think due to a combination of unfortunate factors I wasn't as into it this year as I could have been.  (better luck next time I guess!)

I left Fanime, saying a mental goodbye to the con-goers, to the convention center, to the wonderful atmosphere, and to Fanime itself.  I was sad that it was over, but at the same time wouldn't go to more even if there was much more to go to.  It's been a tiring but good weekend.

I think looking back on this year, this Fanime will mainly stick out for two things -- one is the absolute lack of plans and normal con-scheduled activities that I had; I spent a whole lot of time just hanging out and not really doing much of anything!  The other is staying through b&w ball the whole time and having fun with the Stanford dance crew.  Shoutout to all you guys!

Edit: Oh, right, duh.  This year's Fanime will also stick out for AiviSura's concert which was really epic!!!

Photos from today:

Holy crap!  It's Vile from Mega Man X!  This was a huge surprise and was quite awesome.



The character from Transistor!  I don't know much about this game but her sword thing lit up and was so cool!



This cute girl had on a Little Twin Stars shirt and I couldn't help but ask to snap a photo!  She saw my phone case and charm, haha, yay~  Fellow fan~



A Morrigan cosplayer who definitely had attitude...



Majora's Mask!



The con at midnight...still tons of people milling around in certain areas.



So long Fanime...see you again next year.