Thursday, January 29, 2015

Important question about my "Monthlies" music series

TL;DR version: I'm considering stopping my "Monthlies" series and instead using that time to work on higher-quality, polished songs for other, "real" album releases.  How would you feel about that?

Okay, so here's the deal:

I've been maintaining 11 years of "Monthlies" albums over on my Bandcamp site as a way of organizing, cataloguing, and sharing my freely available music.  This includes all the random stuff I wrote 5+ years ago as well as all of my One Hour Compo entries.  I definitely wanted to make all of my OHC entries available because they're already available for download on the OHC site itself, and I hate it when you need to go to multiple sources in order to get an artist's entire music discography--it's much easier if everything is definitively available in one place.

This has worked fine so far--I make something for OHC every Thursday, so I get to release 4 or so songs every month as a Monthlies album, like this one.  Now, these are songs made in an hour each, so some of them turn out great but others are definitely more random or mediocre.

Starting this month, however, I've been trying a different approach to OHC: instead of trying to rush out a song each OHC, I've been using my OHC time across the entire month to make incremental progress on a single song.  This lets me focus on detail and polish in an attempt to make a better song rather than something that is rushed out in an hour.

So far this has worked out great: here is the current version of "Fortitude", which shows my progress over 3 weeks.  This song is fantastic, amazing even, compared to the quality of one of my usual OHC entries.  Now of course the downside is that it's taken 3 times as long so far, and still isn't finished yet.  Here is the version that I had after one hour--it's only 38 seconds long!

Despite that, I think this is a workflow that's worth pursuing: take my OHC time and use it towards completing higher quality songs instead of one hour "throwaway" sessions.  Usually a full polished song takes me around 3-4 hours to complete anyways (plus some more time for mixing and extra polish), so theoretically I can finish up one high quality song per month using this flow instead of 3 or 4 regular OHC entries.  And I'm all on board with spending time on higher quality songs, I think.  OHC entries are more "disposable" and I don't really think I actually need to use OHC as practice sessions anymore.  I'd like to find time during the week to work on "real" music but nowadays I often find that I'm spending more time on OHC than my other if I just work on "real" music every Thursday that problem goes away.

The question is, what happens to the Monthlies series now?

Option A:
Keep monthlies as they are, but instead of releasing 4 songs each month, it'll be more like 1 song per month.
- Lets me keep the Monthlies series going
- You guys still get free music every month.
- I could make a few experimental throwaway OHC entries like before and just stick them in with no problem.
- A bit silly to have albums with only one song in them.
- If I ever take more than a month to make a song, I'll have a month without a Monthlies album, which is ugly.
- Releasing the songs in my Monthlies series means that they are less meaningful when put into other full album releases.

Option B:
Stop monthlies completely.  Use OHC as work time for whatever high quality music I want, and release them as part of "real" albums.
- No more monthlies, no more free music every month for you guys.
- However, I already have 11 years worth of monthlies, so maybe it isn't really necessary to have more.
- Lets me concentrate more on developing full albums, which is something I'd like.  I still have not actually released a "real" original artist album! (All in a Day's Work doesn't count since it's just a collection of songs from OHCs)
- If I stop releasing Monthlies albums, now is the best time since it's the beginning of the new year.
- If I ever decide to just make a throwaway song in an hour I don't have an easy venue for releasing it since there are no more Monthlies.  I'd have to release a separate album.
- A little awkward since there's a discrepancy between what's available on the OHC site vs what's available on my Bandcamp (i.e. my Bandcamp becomes less "definitive").
- "All in a Day's Work" is no longer really a thing. =(  Also awkward because I have about 12 songs that are slated to be in All in a Day's Work 4 already...

Option C:
Keep monthlies as they are.  Go back to just working on one song per OHC like always, and work on high quality songs some other time.  Maybe from time to time I can work on a song across multiple OHCs, but not always.
- Monthlies keep going as always.  Still making 3-4 songs a month.
- More free songs for all of you guys.  If you guys enjoy the quantity of music that I output every month, this option is for you.
- I still get to participate in OHC as it's meant to be.
- All in a Day's Work is still a thing ;)
- "Wasting" time on throwaway OHC songs when I could be making more polished work.

Option D:
Stop doing OHC altogether because I'm not gaining that much from it anymore and I don't necessarily need to have a set time each week to work on music.  I don't really like this option because OHC is still a fun community and it actually is very nice to have a scheduled time for music every week to "force" me to get in the creative flow and make sure I'm making forward progress on music.

So far, option B seems to make the most sense to me.  However, I'd like to hear thoughts from others, particularly those of you who are fans of my music since it would be nice to know what you guys like and prefer in terms of Monthlies vs real albums, more songs vs less songs, etc.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I watched Princess Kaguya for the second time on Tuesday.  I don't really know what I would or could say about it, so I won't try.

I think there is less that I am really willing to talk about here, both because I actually have real people to talk about things with, but also because I am simply less willing to share some things.  I think I'm afraid of rashly speaking my ideas without reserve like I once did.  Which is okay.  Back then it didn't really matter anyways.

I do have a question to ask my followers though, about the future of my Monthlies series.  I'm guessing I'll probably explain here in a later post and link via social media to see if people have feedback.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Why do people say "sorry" while smiling and laughing?  Is it just them being nervous?  A reaction to being embarrassed about their mistake, trying to play it off as something not so serious, so they can laugh at themselves with everyone else?  Or do they just not understand what it means, to be "sorry"?  To feel regret and guilt over your actions, because you realize that they hurt someone else.  It's not something that you would really smile about.


Fate Reforged prerelease was this weekend!  I went to Game Kastle yesterday (Saturday) and ended up 3-0, and apparently my tiebreakers were good so I ended up getting 1st place!  Woohoo~  Me and my brother were going to do 2-headed giant today but I keep forgetting about preregistration for these things and it ended up that we weren't able to get a spot.  Oh well...2HG is really fun, so that's a bit disappointing, but can't really be helped, I guess.

I picked Jeskai, along with a slew of other people, since that was the crowd favorite (last time's crowd favorite was Abzan, but I went Temur and cleaned house with a great, consistent UG tempo deck while everyone else was being greedy with manabases).  White and Blue have a lot of solid stuff in FRF, and red has some nice removal and support spells (though its creatures seem to need help in order to function well).  In addition, prowess seems to be much better in FRF, both because of the prowess creatures themselves as well as more good instants and sorceries running around, especially the U/W untap/tap cantrips at 2cmc, as well as all the manifest cards working to trigger prowess.  Something to note is that there are actually not many cheap/good combat tricks in FRF...there are actually not that many in KTK to begin with (with some notable exceptions, including Feat of Resistance), and FRF doesn't really add too much.  There are still definitely tricks you can do still, with morph/manifest (much much less important in the prerelease than in KTK since FRF has a dearth of morphs) as well as things like Hooded Assassin, but no stuff like Giant Growth (Awaken the bear costs 2G for the same effect!), Martial Glory, Smite, etc.  So it feels like the aggro decks with red 3/1s and 4/1s and 4/2s need to find other ways to get in (removal, bounce, tap effects) past your opponent's 2/2s and 2/1s (or 0/5s).  Otherwise you will just be trading all your 4/1s with their 2/1s and that's just not good.

Anyways, here's the deck I built out of my pool:
If you want to view it with card thumbnails (recommended), you can view it on instead:

Soul Summons
Sultai Skullkeeper
2x Sandsteppe Outcast
Dragon Bell Monk
Watcher of the Roost
Write into Being
Efreet Weaponmaster
Alabaster Kirin
Abzan Skycaptain
Aven Surveyor
Torrent Elemental
Warden of the Eye
Ojutai, Soul of Winter

Valorous Stance
Reality Shift
Mastery of the Unseen (promo)
Bathe in Dragonfire
Crippling Chill
Enhanced Awareness
Will of the Naga
Channel Harm

Tranquil Cove
Wind-Scarred Crag
Mystic Monastery
7x Island
6x Plains
1x Mountain

Relevant sideboard cards:
Mardu Woe-Reaper
Abzan Skycaptain
Collateral Damage
Cunning Strike
Marang River Prowler
Jeskai Ascendancy
War Flare
Highspire Mantis
Rush of Battle
Pressure Point
Enhanced Awareness
Monastery Flock

Overall it was super solid; the only thing really missing was some removal and instant speed ways to interact.  Sandblast would have been great great great here as that's the main hole in the deck -- it's hard to remove their game-ending threats if they come out, and similarly it's hard to have good combat against the prowess decks that have lots of tricks and removal.

My manifest creatures were for the most part, just 2/2s, which is going to be the case most of the time, though manifesting Watcher of the Roost was always nice since I got to turn it into a flier and gain 2 life for "free".  Abzan Skycaptain was a downgrade from Alabaster Kirin, I have to say.  It was still fine, but a little tricky to use.  I think ideally you want to play him, block with him (hopefully trading), and then bolster something, as opposed to just using him as a 2/2 flyer for 4 which is inefficient.

Sandsteppe Outcast was great, as expected.  I don't really see why you'd ever choose the 3/2 option, ever, as a 2/1 + 1/1 flyer is just so much better against basically everything.  I chose to keep my splash relatively safe since I didn't have that much fixing.  I threw in Warden of the Eye since it comes down late, and I have a bunch of great spells to pick back up with it.  Channel Harm was a blowout every time but that's only because I played against people who didn't know about it.  It's not -that- bad to play around if you know they have it.  Mastery of the Unseen wasn't unbeatable as it is a bit slow and does take a lot of mana, but infinite 2/2s at instant speed is definitely something that can win you the game easily.  Torrent Elemental is crazy, although if you are racing you need to have something else that can get in together with it.  Reality Shift is...alright.  Sometimes you just have to remove their bomb no matter what, but the 2/2 it leaves behind is pretty relevant.  I guess things may turn out slightly differently in FRF/KTK/KTK drafts, though.  FRF felt like 2/2s and 2/1s running around everywhere bashing in against each other.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's kind of silly how difficult it is to pull the plug on everything and just go into online hiding.  I've done it before for my birthday (I no longer do, at least not fully), but even then it's difficult.  I can deactivate FB and all but then whenever any of my devices tries to auto-login to the chat service it's just up again.

I guess it doesn't really matter though, if you just sit there and don't plug yourself into the feed and post anything, it's almost (almost...) as good as if you're gone anyways.  It will take some time before someone even notices your absence in any case since when you are in the social media zone, you are just a single voice among hundreds.

I don't really know what to say, maybe I should apologize in advance in case I start acting really immature?  What is there to say, really?  Not much.  Maybe I'm just not on good terms with the outside world right now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scared.  Terrified, really.  I need my mya.  Can't survive like this.  I miss my Kiki.  Missed you so much when I looked at the Little Twin Stars snow globe that I bought, bought in Japan and placed on my desk.  Looking at that snow globe, I miss you a lot.  And I wish I could see you, hear your voice once more.  Separated from my Kiki.  It makes me want to cry.  But not just that, it makes me want to curl up in a ball, curl up in a ball and whimper.  Because I'm not sad; I'm scared.  So scared.  It's not safe.  Doesn't feel safe.  I don't really care about the evil one that has been bothering me.  They are not truly that evil, anyhow.  They are nothing compared to the darkness that I fear now.  One that has no name, has no face, doesn't even have a subject or object really.  You might not even call it darkness.  It doesn't even really exist, really.  I'm just so scared.  I miss Kiki, but I really just need my Mya.  Can't sleep, not like this.  Can't do anything.  Need my Mya..  Need to calm down, I guess.  How?  Kiki, would you hold me too?  Miss you both.  It's a terrible thing, feeling this.  I remember now.  This is how it used to be, too, even during that summer.  So terrible.  But, I'll live.  I'll live, I'll live, it'll be okay, somehow, sometime.  I don't know when, don't know how.  Not even sure why.  Ahhhh, I just...don't want this.  Don't want it anymore.  Really don't want it.

Risk of Rain, such a nice game.  Prerelease this weekend for Fate Reforged!  Exciting.  Let's discuss the cards?  TGM is best game series.  Ahhhh.

Hold me and don't let go.

I'm too scared to be alone.