Thursday, May 23, 2019

REVIEW: Tool - Undertow (1994)

Tool are a strange band.

No, not in the sense that most bands are strange. Tool has always been -- at least to an extent -- a group for normies who want to think they’re smart and clever (which made me the perfect mark for them in high school, but nowadays I have way fewer illusions about what I am). What I mean is that, because of their intense yet fairly large cult fanbase, talking about them in terms of what’s “popular” of theirs is odd, because my perception of that is completely askew.

Tool’s Undertow is not their debut as such; it’s their first full album, but the EP Opiate came out two years before it, containing a mix of studio and live songs. These represent Tool at their rawest and angriest, in a period when they offered no illusions about the fact that their band was named for a penis. Undertow is probably the Tool album I can criticize least, but note that this doesn’t mean that I think it’s their best -- just their least deep.

Friday, May 17, 2019


I hate that I can't stop thinking about the new live-action Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m more obsessed with it than men on the internet are with bacon. I dream about the little blue bastard. I have that plastic statue thing from the Sonic Mania special edition package, and every time I look at it, I can only see that twisted abomination of flesh and blue fur-spines. Everywhere I look, I notice similarities to his absurd human teeth and his horrid, disconnected eyes. And his nose, don't even get me started...

Or maybe the problem is just that the internet won't shut up about him and his ugly-as-sin movie. There's a good reason for that, though! No, not because of the movie being likely to not live up to our high standards regarding Sonic, nor to constantly rub over-the-top "ooh it's such body horror" responses into the dirt, Jim Sterling, but because of something actually genuinely evil.

(I should note that Jim Sterling made some genuinely good remarks about this in his video, but I also didn’t want him to feel bad because someone wasn’t making fun of him.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Six Ways to Not Be a Complete Idiot (If You're a Big Time Video-Game YouTuber)

In light of recent events, let me explain a few very simple methods for not ending up on a “stupid criminals” type show or news post or anything of that nature. (CONTENT WARNING for discussion of sexual assault and mention of, and linking to, an account of, sexual abuse of minors.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Let's Look at the Sonic the Hedgehog (2019) Film Trailer! (Do We Have To?)

So, I had something else in mind for this week, but a trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie was released yesterday, so why don't we talk about that? Answer: Because everyone else already is and you've probably formed your opinions on it already. But hey, why not?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Magic: The Gathering First Impressions: War of the Spark

Fans of Magic: The Gathering's story have gotten irritated about the newest set, War of the Spark (prerelease events next weekend, release a week later -- okay, this is a fair argument against physical media because the entire set has been unveiled and you can see every card online), and its associated plot. It's been considered, in various ways, unsatisfying -- "not enough people died," say a load of twits who ingest no media but Game of Thrones; "Dack died offscreen," say a silent minority mourning the protagonist of the Magic comic from IDW not realizing that there were very few people reading it anyway. For my part, I say "Thank goodness that that Nicol Bolas storyline is over already!" The Nicol Bolas thread is basically the longest running in the game (very off-and-on), featuring a distinctly uninteresting character who sometimes just pulled things out of his ass to win, and has had almost everything suddenly start tying into him over the last couple years (I found the sudden revelation of Ral Zarek working for him to be extremely stupid, for example). But finally, it's over, and maybe Wizards can move onto something more interesting after this. Shame about Dack, Domri and Gideon, though, I guess. On the other hand, only one of those had much story arc recently anyway. Domri didn't show up anywhere off of Ravnica, even where he could have been interesting.

But let's talk about the set for now -- the cards, you know. Which you can view all of right over here on Scryfall, and hopefully somewhere on Wizards of the Coast's own website, but I haven't been keeping up with it via that.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Risk of Rain 2 (2019): First Impressions

A very generous friend gave me a copy of this game over the weekend -- which is super cool! I was looking forward to Risk of Rain's sequel! I loved the original -- it's probably one of my favorite games of all time, somewhere around #10 or so. I reviewed it a million billion years ago but, in retrospect, I'm not terribly satisfied with that, so maybe I'll write about it again some other time. Risk of Rain 2 is in early access, so it doesn't get a full review this time around; rather, just sort of a first-impressions thing. There's also going to be a lot of comparing it to the original Risk of Rain. Due to the changed gameplay style, this is definitely kind of unfair, but as every effort has been made to make Risk of Rain 2 a 3D reinterpretation of the indie run-and-gun classic, it's basically unavoidable.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Capsule Reviews of Some Records Turning 40 THIS YEAR: The 1979 Anniversary Special

Feel old yet? After this article, you'll feel like some of your music sure is.

Okay, but seriously, I don't go in much for that level of nostalgia. Writing the phrase "feel old yet" made me feel incredibly silly. But I do appreciate some old music. I appreciate a lot of new music, too, but there's more of the past than there is the present just by definition.