#Listmas2014: The Lesser of Two Evils in Christmas Music

I have a pretty high tolerance for Christmas music. Every December, I regularly cycle through my few Christmas playlists, and if you happen to catch me knitting, baking, or doing something homey, I’m probably listening to or humming a holiday tune. I find the vast majority of holiday hits very likeable, from religious hymns to novelty songs. So as my head has been filled with mostly holiday tunes of late, I thought about covering a few here for #Lismas2014. But rather than go the simple “most favorite” or “least favorite” routes, I’m taking a more circuitous path. It’s true that plenty of unpleasant holiday music has been released over the airwaves since Christmas music became a thing to sell to the masses, but there are levels to the unpleasantness. While my ears will welcome almost any Christmas song, I’m averse to certain versions of some songs. The songs on the list don’t constitute my favorites, if I must listen to them, their versions mean the difference between reluctant acceptance and nails on a chalkboard.

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At the Buzzer (12/18/14)

Episode 161: ATB Christmas Special III — The gang welcomes the holiday season with a look at some specially themed headlines and their favorite movies in Rapid Reviews. Also, Chris struggles to maintain control, Dave sings a familiar tune, Michelle reviews the worst possible movie, and Shaun hates white elephant exchanges.

Headlines

Credits

Music:

  • “Main Theme (Rhythm Thief)” by Tomoya Ohtani
  • “Main Theme (Valkyria Chronicles)” by Hitoshi Sakimoto
  • “Arkham City Main Theme” by Nick Arundel
  • “Night at the Octodrag” by Thee Jaguar Sharks

Production Assistance: Tony Robinson, Executive Producer

Announcer: Molly Robinson

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Like A Fine Wine: How Well Do Older Video Games Age?

As someone who hasn’t been gaming since they came out of the womb, like some of my other friends have, I’m always interested in hearing their opinions about how older games hold up compared to other games we have now. Do the graphics still look good? Is the game still an enjoyable experience to play like the day they first played it? My friends always have something to compare it to, while I simply don’t. I became a late bloomer kind of gamer and most of the games I play now have better graphics and technology to work off of. It came as a surprise to me when I actually found a video game I have an opinion on when it comes to how well it holds up as it gradually ages. Which game is this? Dragon Age, of course!

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Future Retro

My pre-teen niece recently celebrated another birthday. Prior to the festivities, I asked her what she was hoping to get.

“A typewriter!” came the enthusiastic response.

Taken aback, I paused. “Like… a computer?”

“No…a typewriter,” she repeated as if I had become deaf, and dumb.

“Oh. A typewriter. But why?” I queried.

She didn’t skip a beat. “Because they are cool.”

Well, duh.

Still, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the image of an young, modern girl sitting down to formulate a document via and old-fashioned typewriter, but what did I know. The fact that she even knew what a typewriter was floored me. But it became a strangely proud moment as I considered “hey, my niece knows what a typewriter is! Take that iPad society!”

It also got me thinking about the notion of “future retro,” which I might have just made up or might actually be a thing. Either way, when I say “future retro” I mean: what items of the recent past may someday become the “cool” things of the future? Like, will vintage-minded folks someday seek out “rare” 2014 skinny jeans? It’s a funny thought when applied to culture generally and in the present, but being “vintage” nowadays is serious business. Blame the cosplay geeks, hipsters, steampunk aficionadas if you like (I know I do), but lots of paraphernalia from whatever “good ol’ days” of your choosing has come back in style – from Victorian household goods such as typewriters to 1950s cookware. It begs the question, “What ‘future retro’ goods might my niece’s descendants someday seek out and call ‘cool’?” Here are a few ideas.

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Watches/clocks

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Watches are staples in any jewelry display, but are they truly a necessity anymore? Same goes for clocks – wall clocks, alarm clocks, grandfather clocks! When was the last time you bought one? For many people now, cell phones are their watches and clocks. Why spend the extra money onannoying artifacts that need batteries and are set wrong more often than not when you have a cell phone that can give you the most accurate time possible? Watches have become status symbols more than anything. And clocks, analog clocks…we’ll, they are cool to look at, but everyone knows that kids can’t tell time these days. It’s not hard to imagine a future vintage shop filled to the brim with these old-fashioned time-telling devices.

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Landline phones

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In a junk drawer somewhere, I have an old, beige, and very plastic landline phone. I’m pretty sure it came from the likes of Radio Shack and cost no more than fifteen dollars. It’s hard for me to consider that something like that ugly phone might be considered “cool” again, but it could happen! Of course, there are plenty of better-looking landline phones out there now and from the past, so the notion of being “cool” is relative. Regardless, there’s no doubt that landline phones will become a thing of the past. Which means they’ll become the kitsch of the future. Shoot, I bet those classic see-through phones from the 1980s will fetch millions! Or…maybe there will just be millions of them available. Either way, they’re bound to come back in fashion, even if there are used only as decoration.

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Point-and-shoot cameras

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Despite repeated attempts to attain one as a birthday or Christmas gift in high school, I never received my own camera. Well, I know I’ll be able to rectify that in forty years because the vintage shops will be full of those little point-and-shoot babies! In the not so distant past, point-and-shoot cameras were dime-a-dozen, and they came in as many styles as there are stars in the sky! Right now, many photo enthusiasts are favoring older style cameras, early 20th century models completed with glass slides, black sheets, and flash bulbs the size of small animals. So it’s only a matter of time before the point-and-shoot  film guzzlers enters the realm of vintage rediscovery. And never mind the film, because our future selves will no doubt be well-versed in the ways of retrofitting and repurposing.

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What instances of recent past or current tech do you think will become the retro goodies of the future?


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play, United We Game, and 8bit Kitchen.

At the Buzzer (12/11/14)

Episode 160: Crunked — The gang tries to follow through on their plans to do an episode while drunk with mixed results, then talk about putting different liquids in your body and make snap decisions in Saving Society. Also, Chris edits out a vote he doesn’t like, Dave finds out about a drunk baby, Michelle falls in love with “cough syrup,” and Shaun tries his luck with sound effects.

Headlines

Credits

Music:

  • “Main Theme (Rhythm Thief)” by Tomoya Ohtani
  • “Main Theme (Valkyria Chronicles)” by Hitoshi Sakimoto
  • “Arkham City Main Theme” by Nick Arundel
  • “Night at the Octodrag” by Thee Jaguar Sharks

Production Assistance: Tony Robinson, Executive Producer

Announcer: Molly Robinson

More At the Buzzer

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Sing Us A Song: My Top 5 Songs From Video Games

With almost every video game I play, I find my music collection expanding more and more each time. From musical scores to songs being played during the end credits of a game, I always want to own and carry a piece of the game experience I have loved and enjoyed with me.

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I don’t like blueberry bagels, and other arbitrary food musings

Note: This is a non sequiter-ish follow up to my post “Giving in to holiday food indulgences.” I wrote the posts together, but I held off on publishing this one because it seemed too nonsensical to place after my neatly structured list. Now that I’m staring at a kitchen that’s slowly filling up with “holiday food,” this post matches perfectly with incoherent and food-filled madness of the weeks ahead.

When I was in grad school, one of my professors once said, “There are only three kinds of bagels in this world: plain, poppy seed, and sesame.” Well… two out of three ain’t bad. But my dislike of poppy seed bagels (too many damn seeds to get stuck in your teeth!) reaches nowhere near the height of my abhorrence for blueberry bagels. Oh, I’ve tried to quell my hatred – just the other week I purposefully added two blueberry bagels to my grocery store stash just to see if my opinion had softened. Nope. They were still yucky. I think it has to do with the fact that they don’t taste at all like blueberries. In fact, I really don’t care for any baked goods that contain blueberries – muffins, scones, cookies, cakes, pies, even pancakes. Not only is the blueberry flavor never all that pronounced in these items, but it seems that they end up extra sweet to make up for that lack of taste. Plus, when you cook blueberries, they tend to disintegrate into mush. When I want blueberries, I want that extra-fresh *pop* of flavor that only comes from them being fresh. I can handle fresh blueberries in salad or on top of cereal or oatmeal. But in a bagel? Never.

Continue reading I don’t like blueberry bagels, and other arbitrary food musings

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