Brand New is Brand New

Get this sh**: Did you know that “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically correct sentence?! ¬†Check it out.

But that’s not the purpose of this post ūüėČ

The purpose is this:

I’m one of those Brand New fans that absolutely loved the albums Your Favorite Weapons (2001) and Deja Entendu (2003). ¬†Then became extremely disappointed with The Devil and God are Raging Inside (2006). ¬†Typical fan. ¬†Angry at the change in style because it’s beyond my comprehension that style changes with the humans involved in the music.


Well, now that I’m older.. and I’m more willing to give things I hated at first a second chance (not quite ready to give TBS’s Happiness Is (2014) a second chance YET).. I listened to Brand New’s album Daisy, and

… ohmygod

I do have to say, what was I thinking?!  Brand New came out of nowhere with this amazing album.


It’s not quite the Brand New I first fell in love with, but it is a new Brand New with a style that is different yet still GREAT. ¬† There is a darker tone to the sound compared to the earlier version of Brand New much like the 2006 album, but there is a slightly more chaotic sound. ¬†And they just work together SO much.



I can mash-potatoe, I can do the twist, now tell me baby

Do you like it like this?

This post is a review of my experience with the video game The Bridge. ¬†So if you haven’t played and you would like to.. you should read this because there aren’t any spoilers. ¬†If you haven’t played and you don’t want to.. well, you can still read this ūüėČ


The game is primarily a puzzle game.  There are 8 worlds, each with 5 levels.  In each level, you need to get through the exit door in order to complete the stage.  As you progress from one level to the next, new elements are introduced that make the puzzle slightly more difficult than the last.

The basis for the creativity is the M.C. Escher-like art. ¬†It is what drew me to the game, it’s what drew my brother to the game, and I’m sure it’s what drew most players to the game. ¬†M.C. Escher is well-known for his optical illusion pieces. ¬†Most people recognize the pieces where you may follow a path to go in one direction and end in another.


M.C. Escher has a ton of wonderful pieces.  He is one of the most famous surrealists of his time.

The game stayed true to the tricky paths.


You can move from one end of a path to another through a portal. ¬†The paths also allow you to manipulate “gravity.” ¬†Eventually, these portals will allow you to manipulate the color of your character… this allows you to access black keys and black doors only if you are black, and white keys and white¬†doors only if you are white. ¬†It is up to you to find the perfect path which gives you the proper color at the proper position.

Also, you’ll have to deal with portals and deadly balls. ¬†As well, you can manipulate time so you do not have to begin a level all over again.


Although you have these factors,  I found the puzzles much easier to solve than the game Braid.

All in all, I rate this game a 9 out of 10. ¬†It was fun and challenging enough to make me want to finish the game. ¬†Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a story despite the fact that you get to meet Isaac Newton and your character is¬†M.C. Escher himself.

Go on Steam and play the game.  Let me know what you think.

We NEED to ask Questions. We are REQUIRED to seek answers.

I sometimes volunteer. ¬†The work involves talking to youth who seek help. ¬†We’ve all been young before… we know that when we are children everything seems so much more serious. ¬† We are all so much more dramatic. ¬†Like Romeo and Juliet… they couldn’t be together in life.. so instead of just moving on and finding another to love they killed themselves.


But what these youth are feeling.. it isn’t silly to them.. and some of it isn’t silly to us. ¬†Some youth have experienced abuse, others have thoughts of killing themselves, and still others are dealing with unrequited love. ¬†All of these things are equally serious, and they deserve attention.

Yesterday I talked to a girl about her sexuality. ¬†AFTER I watched the season finale to MTV’s¬†Faking It. ¬†When I watched the show, I was irritated. ¬†I thought: ¬†just another show where lesbians again look like they go back to men like feelings for women aren’t real.


However, I reflected how representation has been much better lately than in earlier media. ¬†Then I talked to the young lady, and remembered that young people don’t know what they want out of life. ¬†It’s okay for them to question whom they are attracted to, and as humans we are built to find answers to our questions. ¬†The young lady needed my support. ¬†She needed to hear that there is nothing wrong with the fact that she is questioning herself because of sudden feelings for the fairer sex. ¬†She needed to hear that it is okay to take her time to figure it out.

Then I thought… why is it okay for people to say this to straight girls as if because she is coming over to the rainbow side it’s okay that she is figuring things out?? ¬†Why can’t Amy, who has declared herself gay for Karma, take the time to figure herself out as well? ¬†Why is it that when a lesbian has sex with a guy she’s a traitor or automatically straight or considered so¬†much of an abomination that Skittles doesn’t have a flavor for her?

Of course, we don’t know what sex with Liam means yet… but they both were quite clear about their feelings for Karma… so I predict regret and shame and awkwardness in Season 2.

But, my own initial reactions are representative of lots of people. ¬†I’ve read some hateful comments about the finale on the internets. ¬†Lesbians are bitter and angry about Amy’s drunken sex-capade with Liam. ¬†Yet, there are some¬†of us who tried to convince ourselves and others of straight-ness by having sex with guys or relationships with men. ¬†It’s part of humanity to discover who we are. ¬†To convince ourselves that we aren’t gay first, and then become okay with it. ¬†It’s part of our journey to grow into who we are meant to be. ¬†Why shouldn’t television, which sometimes aim to represent real life, display the same journey in life?


I personally did not need the aid of other people to figure myself out.  Once I knew I was gay, that was that and I hid it as long as possible on my own.  But I have been involved with both straight girls and bisexual women.. the terminating result made me bitter for a long time so I understand where the stereotypes come from as well as the angry reaction from lesbians who cling to the stereotypes.

However… reflection tells me that humans will always question themselves (their sexuality, clothes, career choice, etc.), and we learn from a young age that we should find answers. ¬†It’d be best to do so without hurting others, I think. ¬†But some people need to leave a tornado in their wake.


Some people need chaos in order to avoid it the next time. ¬†And people who are dealing with feelings of homosexuality are the same as people who are dealing with feelings of heterosexuality who are the same as people who are dealing with feelings for both who are the same as people who are dealing with feelings for absolutely no one…

And a tornado is exactly what Amy and Liam have just created. ¬†I don’t care that Karma is a unsavory¬†person, and I don’t care how much she hurt Amy, and I don’t care how badly acted drunk Liam and Amy are.. you don’t claim you love someone and then do what they¬†have done. ¬†I’m not a fan of what happened in the season finale.. ¬†Amy can sex her feelings away with some other guy, not the one your best friend is in love with. ¬†This makes Amy worse than Karma somehow… because while Karma was flaunting her feels for Liam in Amy’s face, Karma was also unaware of Amy’s feels for her. ¬†Amy is completely aware of how Karma feels for Liam.

I shake my head at this despicable ending. ¬†Not because Amy needs to reassert her heterosexuality after being hurt in her vulnerable homosexual skin… and not because Liam has fallen for a girl in a committed relationship… but because these two lashed out in the worst way possible.


Taking Back Sunday’s album “Happiness Is”

Happiness is… a new album by a favorite band that’s just come out.
Happiness is… a new album by a favorite band that shaped what you look for in music.
Happiness is… sitting in your bedroom enjoying the sounds and the lyrics and the magical moments.
Happiness is… excitement of expectation on the way up to the top and the excitement of fear on the way to the bottom… a roller coaster ride.

Taking Back Sunday is definitely a roller coaster ride. I first heard Taking Back Sunday on FuseTV in 2005. “MakeDamnSure” was the key that unlocked the door to punk music for me. And it was one of the first times I’d ever seen a music video.. the experience was incredible. I bought that album, and have played it over and over and over. The Louder Now album is one of the better ones. One of the rides up the roller coaster for me and TBS.

Then I met a friend who introduced me to¬†Tell All Your Friends.¬† When I first heard “Cute Without the E” and “There’s No I in Team” and “You’re So Last Summer” … well… I think that was the first time I had an eargasm. ¬†It was beautiful. ¬†Songs like those forever cemented TBS into my¬†Favorite Bands list. ¬†I loved the dueling vocals and the realness in Adam’s voice. ¬†Of course… those were the highs in that album. ¬†I am still not able to¬†fully listen to the album ..

which is an issue with most of their music. ¬†They have some REALLY good albums like¬†Tell All Your Friends,¬†Louder Now, parts of¬†New Again,¬†and¬†Taking Back Sunday, i.e. the highs of their music. ¬†But… I consider them good albums solely for the reason that I found a song on the album that I liked. ¬†Then there are the other albums.. albums which contain only songs that I do not enjoy. ¬†Those are the album lows.

That is what they’ve done with¬†Happiness is. ¬†It’s a low. ¬†It’s¬†Where You Want to Be and parts of¬†New Again all over again. ¬†This is not happiness… ¬†This sound is not something I’m into. ¬†I think most fans of TBS are like this too. ¬†I think we all keep expecting TBS to come out with an album full of songs like “Cute Without the E”… and it’s not going to happen. ¬†TBS found their sound a long time ago, and it’s not that punk sound we fell in love with. ¬†They are actually more indie than punk to tell you the truth… which is… ¬†the lyrics are wonderful. ¬†They tell a story, they have deep meaning in poetic lines, and they are touching. ¬†But the way they are delivered… well… there’s a reason fans of punk are fans of punk.

Anyway… I came across an article in ¬†They posted a release of a song that didn’t make the cut to¬†Happiness Is. ¬†It’s called “How I Met Your Mother”… the title alone is punk. ¬†Taking something popular and making fun and turning it into your own art. ¬†The song is not amazing but so much better than anything on the album. ¬†WHY DID THIS NOT MAKE THE CUT?! ¬†Who knows.

I think everyone needs to come to terms that TBS is not one of the idols of punk rock. ¬†They never were. ¬†They are indie, and you’ll never love them as a whole the way you love the few songs.


Don’t Judge a Video Game by Its Cover

When I go into a book store, and I don’t have anything specific I’m looking for, I pick up books with the following thoughts in mind: “That’s a cool title, let me check it out” or “I really like that cover.” ¬†This method… it works for me. ¬†I’ve only ever bought one book that I couldn’t get through, and that was¬†Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. ¬†So by majority rules, DEFINITELY judge a book by its cover.

WHAT do books have to do with video games?

In this post, the connection is the way I choose them.  I was surfing through Steam one day.  I happened across this screenshot,


and the caption said the game is completely hand drawn in a ballpoint pen.  I HAD TO SEE IT.

I didn’t know what to expect. ¬†The preview video showed sketches, and it showed colors, and it showed a side-scrolling shooter. ¬†I was hooked. ¬†I didn’t care to look up reviews to see if the game is playable.. in fact, I’ve been known to rock the socks off really crappy games or gaming conditions (I’m playing with a 4 year old integrated graphics card.. ‘nuf said). ¬†So I bought the game. ¬†This game is known as¬†Ballpoint Universe Infinite.

Is the game as prettyful as the screenshot made me believe? ¬†YES. ¬†The game is literally hand drawn in ballpoint pen. ¬†The only part of the game that is questionable hand drawn is the background… but that could have been easily painted. ¬†I played only a minute of the game before I started talking non-stop about it to my Steam friends.



So the story is basically this: ¬†rational drawings like squares and triangles, known as The Logicians, are trying to come in and destroy irrational drawings (which remind me of surrealistic art). ¬†The main character is obviously the hero of the irrational drawings. ¬†This character is thrown into the space force, and the main levels are side-scrolling shooter missions. ¬†When you aren’t in a level, then you are exploring the world laid out before you so you can fully appreciate the time and effort the creators put into the game.

However, the game isn’t all colors and happy drawings. ¬†While exploring, the controls are horrible. ¬†I’ve been using a mouse. ¬†If you move the mouse a little to the right or left, the characters starts instantly moving in that direction. ¬†This makes standing still almost impossible. ¬†The pause button is in the top right corner of the screen, so you have to be in a position where moving to the right is okay in order to pause the game. ¬†This also makes the jumping (which is necessary for parts of the exploration) quite horrible. ¬†If you make a jump perfectly, but move the mouse a little to readjust your arm… well, you go off a cliff or platform… i.e. you fall to your doom… over and over and over and over and and and.. this is quite frustrating. ¬†And one of the reasons this game takes longer than a day to play. ¬†You can easily fix this issue by using a remote control. ¬†But I personally found a controller makes the shooter levels harder… also because of controlling the main character.

I still haven’t completed the game. ¬†I have this problem… that if I’m going to play a game this easy, I’ve got to 100% it. ¬†So I’m just waiting on certain bugs to be fixed… before I beat the last boss.

Other than these… tiny *sarcasm*… issues,


the game is super fun. ¬†Here’s a decent enough review on the game: ¬†The reviewer did a good job relating how I feel about the game in more depth and video game jargon.

To Be Juliet’s Secret

Today, I was exploring Spotify. ¬†The same way we all used to take advantage of Myspace: ¬†go to a band you love, look at the related artist section, click on the one with the most interesting name, and then determine whether you like them or not. ¬†I didn’t have to go very far for once.

The music.. so amazing. ¬†I know I haven’t been very good about describing music previously (¬† and¬† ¬†I use descriptions like: ¬†I love this band. ¬†And I guess if we don’t have similar musical tastes, that doesn’t help anyone but me. ¬†I can’t say that I love To Be Juliet’s Secret, because I’ve followed them for less than 10 hours now. ¬†But, as I’m listening to their most recent album¬†Laced With Fear (2013), I feel like they are worth their own post. ¬†For a couple of reasons: 1) They are unsigned which is unique (for a band this good), and 2) the music is absolutely beautiful. ¬†If you love He is We,


you’ll love To Be Juliet’s Secret as well. ¬†The sounds are different, of course. ¬†Both bands are unique (lead singers are different beauties and different sounds). ¬†However, they tackle their music in much the same way, despite the fact that TBJS identifies as alternative rock and He is We identifies as Indie Pop. ¬†What I mean is the lyrics are poetic and the instruments aren’t heavy. ¬†By light, I mean they complement the vocals as well as tell a story themselves, but they do so without overwhelming the sound. ¬†And this is done with instruments like the piano, tambourine, acoustic guitar, light drumming, etc.

I couldn’t find much on the band. ¬†It doesn’t seem as though they have their own website, but they do have a Facebook. ¬†They are located in Michigan, and consist of only 4 members.

I would recommend this band.  They deliver messages wonderfully.  I give them a 5 out of 5.