Thursday, June 19, 2014

So I found a Sarah Brightman CD that I bought when I was 17

I never listened to it. I bought it because I was a huge Phantom of the Opera fangirl and I saw it at the Media Play and thought "Sarah Brightman!" and bought it. Fun side-note: I had to do a Google search because I couldn't remember the name of Media Play. "CD stores" auto-completes with "from the 90s". Bless you internet.

So here we go. A CD that was made in the 90s by a former Broadway singer who did not age gracefully. Let's run this shit into the ground.

First song: Sarah Brightman whispering behind vague ambient sounds and something that I think is meant to sound like the mission control for a space shuttle. What's the name of it? La Lune. Bloody fantastic. The booklet tells me that she's saying actual words and not just muttering, but I'll choose to assume that someone caught her trying to read a recipe she didn't quite understand.

Everyone does that, right? When they can't understand a recipe, they kind of stand there in the kitchen, muttering the instructions over and over again. Right?


I should have mentioned this earlier, because it's important. Sarah Brightman played the very first Christine in the Phantom of the Opera musical, which was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Andrew Lloyd Webber is this charming motherfucker:

What's even more important about this is the fact that his wife at the time was... Sarah Brightman. In fact, he wrote the role of Christine specifically for her to sing, which is why Christine is a soprano. Sarah Brightman was a soprano. 

Well, is.

Sort of.

See, I always thought that Sarah Brightman made a great Christine because she had a really breathy quality to her voice, which fit in with the character. Young shy girl who is very talented but with no self-esteem, being pushed along by a hidden father figure who turns out to be a creep. She sounds a bit out of her league. Totally made sense. 

According to track number two here, Sarah Brightman's whispery, breathy singing is a goddamn feature. Whatever, let's continue.

TRACK FUCKING TWO: Sarah sings far too quietly as the background music overwhelms her. It sounds a bit like she's trying to seduce a track from one of those world fusion CDs. She gains some energy towards the end of the track but it's only after a long musical interlude has me concerned that someone clubbed her over the head with a pan flute. I'd complain about the pretentious lyrics but I can barely hear them so that's all right.

Third song: Scarborough Fair! We're starting off good here, since I love this Sarah Brightman what are you doing with that high note please no please stop no

Okay, she stopped. Wait, no. I guess I'm getting that lovely high note every time she says 'sage'.  Good. Otherwise not a terrible song, and she managed to capture the floaty quality that I assume she's going for when she's breathy. 

Literally as I was typing that out the music suddenly swelled and overwhelmed her so much that I could not tell she was still singing. Excellent. I want to have a chat with the sound editor.

Fourth song: Figlio Perduto, written by Beethoven. The instrumental is still playing as I'm writing this, so hope


I would say that this is the best track so far but I cannot tell what's going on here. Is she... okay, it sounds like she's singing, okay, and then they overlaid her singing with a robot version of her singing. Is... is that autotune? Was autotune around in 2000? Hold on. 

Auto-tune, initial release 1997. Hmm. I'm hesitant to call it, but something really weird is going on for the first 30 seconds of her singing. After that we have Sarah Brightman singing overlaid with Sarah Brightman humming so that's all right. At least this time she's being drowned out by herself. 

In the last couple of stanzas she switches to full operatic mode and it would be very lovely if I COULD HEAR HER OVER THE BACKGROUND MUSIC TURN THE SOUND LEVELS DOWN 



Okay, let's be fair. I'm going to listen to the original Whiter Shade of Pale and then I'm going to listen to Annie Lennox's version of it because why the fuck not, and then I will judge Sarah Brightman because maybe I'm just being unfair.

Hm. See, yes, there's a fundamental quality that's lacking in Sarah Brightman's version of this song and it's the fact that SHE'S DROWNING IN HER OWN BACKING MUSIC. I know it seems like I'm harping on this a lot but holy hell, it's terrible. She's somewhat anemic anyway, but even when she gets some power in her voice, suddenly the music swells to compensate. It might as well be "Angel Records' Studio Musicians, featuring Sarah Brightman."

I don't think it's actually the studio musicians, for the record. I can't be bothered to look it up. 

Annie Lennox's version of Whiter Shade of Pale is also pretty terrible.

Sixth song: Nothing new going on here. Loud backing music, anemic singing, unnecessary high notes. I will say this though, I desperately want to tell her to cheer the fuck up. 

hahahahahaha I thought I was done with this track but she just did a little pop music trill and that's so stupid it's fucking adorable. 

Seventh song: How many songs are on this CD? 15? Fuck me. Song number 7 is just an instrumental. Now I feel bad for already blowing my load on that "Studio musicians featuring Sarah Brightman" joke.

Eighth song: A song called How Fair This Place that she is singing in what appears to be Russian. Full on operatic mode and very beautiful. I am willing to forgive the slightly less overwhelming background music.

Ninth song: A quick preview of the booklet and this song is really, really long. Like, two pages long. Maybe it'll be a good one!

...she sounds like a Japanese schoolgirl singing in Spanish.

Tenth song: My husband's playing God of War right now, and I had forgotten about all of the completely unnecessary breasts in this game. Greece must be the number one supplier of diaphanous material.

Oh, song number ten is Here With Me and it's mostly terrible. Someone poked her with a stick and she sang a bit louder for a minute or two. That's something.

Eleventh song: I feel like Sarah Brightman is a teenager who's had a few voice classes and just downloaded Audacity, but with an opera singer as a headmate. Opera singer got to front for this song, and it's just beautiful. Also, when Brightman's using her operatic voice her high notes are so strong and pure. It really makes her anemic pop music high notes all the sadder. 

Twelfth song: fuck you I'm skipping this piece of shit

Thirteenth song: Hell yeah, opera singer got to front again! 

Fourteenth song: Hey, apparently what I have here is the Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition! I didn't buy this at Media Play at all! Man, I bet I got shafted hard, Barnes and Noble CDs were expensive as hell.

Song number 14 is Gloomy Sunday and someone needs to tell Brightman that only Ella Fitzgerald can be Ella Fitzgerald.

LAST SONG ON THE DISC: So anemic pop singer and booming opera singer are having an argument and opera singer is winning. I am suffering through the thin, reedy singing because the more powerful moments are absolutely stunning. Even the background music is at an appropriate level! Someone learned how to operate Audacity just in time for the last song. 

In a way this is the most disappointing song because about half of it is just hauntingly beautiful.

CEE DEE ROUND-UP: I've watched Repo: A Genetic Opera, and I'm happy to report that Sarah Brightman did eventually scrap any idea that she would make a good pop singer. I'm throwing this CD away now.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson AAUUUGH GO AWAY

It's October!  Well, it's almost October.  Like I'm going to let an extra hour and twenty minutes stop me, you terrible pedants.

Sorry.  It's (nearly) October!  Which means that it's time for my annual "Palisade Plays a Game and Freaks Right the Fuck Out!(tm)" event, where I play a horror game and pretend like I'm not about to burst into tears and urinate on myself the entire time.

Last year I promised everyone Fatal Frame 2 but didn't deliver, as the copy of Fatal Frame that I bought was a Wii game accidentally shelved with a 360's box on it.  Terrible times indeed.  Since then I've purchased a Wii, so I can finally provide you, the reader, with the highest quality of terrified ramblings.


And the game opens with some winsome twins.

okay so that's a british accent?


okay game, I'll bite

Mayu is dead. Right? I mean, come on.

If Mayu is not a dead person then I will eat my hat. I will purchase a hat for the express purpose of eating it.

Jesus Christ, this chick moves at the speed of a glacier.

Thanks game, for giving me control over a character just long enough to have her slowly trudge through 5 feet of forest. That's handy.

"It's the lost village. I heard that it disappeared on the day of a festival, and that people who were lost in the forest were lured to it." I've got bad news for you, kid.

Again with the terrible british accent. In Japan.

It's really handy that these two winsome twins happen to dress almost, but not totally, exactly like each other. School mornings must be a real pain in the ass.

"Mio, I'm wearing the red shirt with the white dress today!" "But Mayu, you wore the white dress last time!" "Well yes, that's because I'm dead."

Dead people in Japan wear white.

It's a joke that works on several levels.

You've found a black handbag!

Yes, I am aware that it looks like a glowing blue ball, but it's a handbag.

No, we have no intention of modeling these things. You're getting glowing blue balls and you'll like it.

Ooooh I just realised that the screen flickers and then occasionally shows screaming ghost faces. Creepy!

okay um


um game please stop


why are they even in the forest

why are there things

there are things fuck this game

and then I hid under a rock the end

okay so thank you everyone who suggested this legitimately terrifying game, I hope you get eaten by a grue

Okay, so this game is forcing me to search through a house where there is CLEARLY an angry ghost

which seems to be a really passive aggressive move on the game's part

I only called it a few names

the nice part is that I get no end of amusement from walking into Mayu and watching her stumble backwards and look sad

Stupid winsome ghost

Oh good, I found a torch!

Oh good, it's a shitty torch!

I swear to christ that horror game characters get their torches from The Shitty Torch Store.

"Oh look honey, here's one that only illuminates things that are a foot in front of you!"

"Hmmmm, that one's nice, but this one plays terrifying musical stings when you highlight completely innocent objects."

"Well what happens when you highlight something terrifying, like a ghost?"

"It kills you."



wait no


wait no

I am tempted to just turn the sound right off

"Notes on the Camera Obscura"


That means there's going to be a ghost for real

"The Camera Obscura, it takes pictures of things which should not exist"

Yeah uh, all cameras can do that

Unless you mean that it can take pictures of things that can't be seen with the naked eye


anyway it's time for a camera tutorial

Oh good, let's make the controls as shaky as possible




officer I would like you to arrest that ghost for assault

Okay, she's dead.  Deader.  More dead.


fuck that ghost, let's bounce

The door's locked.  Of course the door is locked!


Ooooooh dear

now the game wants to teach me about benevolent ghosts, like I give a shit about benevolent ghosts

"Don't come any closer!" the ghost intones

Yes, sir

I am down with that

Okay game, I am NOT HAVING your fakeout bullshit.  Okay?  NOT HAVING IT.

"Touch this thing the size and shape of a human!" oooh nooooooo what is it!  "It's a mirror!"  Oh.

"Touch this futon with a lump the size and shape of a human!"  Ooooooh nooooo wha- "It's just a futon!"  fuck you.

"follow this ghost up the stairs!"

No wait, that's actually what it's telling me.

Of course the ghost waits to attack me until after I'm actually lodged in the tiny room where it's hard to maneuver.  Can't make the combat too intuitive!





Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Discussion About Words

I've intentionally left the goal of this blog to be pretty vague, in order to accommodate the various whims that hit me from time to time, but overall I've always intended this to be a place where I can talk about stories, in all their various incarnations.  What makes a story can be pretty vague, which has allowed me a greater playground, so to speak.

Today, however, I want to talk about something only tangentially related to story-telling--yes, even more so than when I spent a month making fun of Silent Hill: Homecoming.  I want to talk about words.

Most people have certain words that simply bother them.  I'm not talking about things like racial slurs--they bother people because they are hateful words--but more about words that simply sound wrong.  For instance, I've heard from many sources that "moist" is a word that just makes people uncomfortable.  It sounds wet and damp, like something living in a cave.  Moist doesn't really bother me, but it's not a word I'd use unless I was talking about a particularly well made cake.  Doesn't that sound lovely, a nice, moist cake?  Mmmmm, moist.

At any rate, there are other words that do raise my hackles--for some reason they just don't feel right, they roll off the tongue in a strange way, or they conjure up unintentionally negative mental images.  For a lot of them, it's because they're words I naturally associate with something a small child would say--so when I hear an adult use them, it make me uncomfortable.  Observe.

Word: Tasty
"Oh, did you have some of Mrs. Partridge's cake?  It was ever so tasty."
I am certain that Mrs. Partridge makes a rather exceptional cake.  I am also rather certain that she wouldn't want you to go around besmirching the good name of her cakes with a word like tasty.  All I can hear when someone says this word is the sound of lips smacking together wetly.

Word: Morsel
"Thank you, but I'll just have a morsel."
This word is only acceptable if you are a mouse that can talk.  Unless you are describing the sorts of things that you eat to your human friend, Stuart Little, then do us all a favor and say "a little bit" or "a small bite".
Bonus points: You can describe something as "A tasty morsel" if you'd really like to see my face turn red at a party.

Word: Nibble
"I'll just have a nibble of this tasty little morsel".
Fuck you and die.

 Word: Tummy
"I'd love some cheese, but it upsets my tummy so."
I have a six year old who has learned to say "belly" instead of "tummy" and she's so cutesy that she shits rainbow-colored sprinkles.  You're not prettying up your gastro-intestinal distress by calling them "tummy troubles".  Trust me, we all know you have the shits.  Just say stomach, please.

Word: Hubby
"Delilah, have you met my hubby? "
For moral reasons, I object to being forced to picture a grown man being married to a small child.  "Hubby" is fun though, because even though it sounds like a word that a small child would use, it's also a word that is not used by any small child, ever.   "Hubby" is like the verbal version of PDA--this couple wants you to know that they're ever so cutesy and in love, even if they can't make out like teenagers all the time teehee!
Bonus points: Find a couple where the wife says hubby and the husband says wifey or little woman.  No, please, find these couples for me.  I want to make a nasty facebook page about them.

Word: Yummy
"Wasn't that avocado and bean sprout salad just yummy?!"
Every time I hear a grown person say yummy I expect them to then lean over and ask me if I'd like to be mummy's little helper after lunch.

Word: Cuz
"Well I said that cuz I didn't want him showing up."
This one's a bit harder because I don't object to the verbal version of it--a shortened version of "because".  I say it all the time.  There's two ways to indicate that you are using the shortened version of "because" in writing though, and one of them is 'cause and the other is cuz.  Is it the zed that bothers me?  It is how the word has almost zero relation to its parent?  Is it because Andrew Dobson says it?  The world will never know.

That's my list for now, but I'll add to it as I think of things.  In the meantime, what are some words that bother you for reasons you can't adequately describe?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Holmes Talks: The Introduction

So I've been busy with this and that, that being a proposed new series I want to make where I explore the history of Sherlock Holmes the character while making stupid mspaint jokes.  This is the first--not just the first video in the series, but literally the first video I've ever made in my life.  Watch it and weep, bastions of good taste.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Darkness: Part One

Did you honestly think that I'd forgotten The Darkness?  Silly!  No, I had Mass Effect depression for a couple of weeks, but I eventually rallied, complained a lot on the internet, and then started The Darkness.  So here we go!

The Darkness!

So the game opens with my character in a speeding car with two obvious mobsters, talking about obvious mobster shit.  We're then chased by the police, for being obvious mobsters.  It's neat.  The only hinderance is the fact that I appear to have autonomy, but can't actually do anything with the gun that expendable mobster A shoved into my hands.

Oops, there goes expendable mobster A.

Expendable mobster B is now shouting at me to use my gun, which is somehow the cue for me to... actually use my gun?

Boom boom, motherfuckers.

Okay, everyone has really obnoxious New Jersey mob-style accents.  My husband is not going to stop doing his really bad mobster impression for weeks, is he?

Hold on.

Okay, now that he's tied up, back to our chase scene already in progress.


That was a pretty fucking epic crash sequence.

Expendable mobster B actually has a piece of bone sticking out of his leg.  EWWWWW.  But immersive!

He gave me some exposition and some guns before dying.  I shot him in the head, just to  make sure.

Okay!  So I'm the nephew of some dude named Paulie, who wants some other guy dead.  I can handle that.

My name is Jackie, for the record.  Paulie, Jackie, and expendable mobster B was named Mickey.  I'm sensing a trend.

I'm being attacked by construction workers with really filthy mouths.  Oh, and guns.

I didn't know you needed a concealed weapons permit to work in construction, but ok.

I'm probably just too used to playing Mass Effect, but holy hell these guys can take a lot of bullets before going down.

Oh Christ.  Is Jackie wearing a leather trenchcoat?


I walked into a room and Paulie started talking to me over a video recording.  He's been taking lessons from the Joker!

Right up to and including "Obvious Puns in Your Threatening Message."

"I left you a present, it's in the closet.  Have a blast!"

Okay so it's a... yeah, it's a bomb.

I can see why you got into the mobster business Paulie, with one-liners like those.

Jackie somehow survived the blast AND the three story fall.  It must have been the trenchcoat.

Then Jackie has a cutscene all to himself where he explains that Paulie's a BAD MOBSTER who got into drug running and working with the cops, while Jackie's a GOOD MOBSTER who looks out for the family, and... no, that's it.

I'm not sure there's a whole lot of income generation implicit in "you gotta look out for the family!", Jackster.  Look, Paulie might not be the best at making jokes, but at least he brings in some money!

I made it into a cemetery.  I'm getting shades of Silent Hill, here.

I met a bum in a bathroom.

I quit.

Okay, fine, Jesus.

Th-the TOILET BUM informed me that I was in a bathroom (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) and that I could get out of the cemetery by blasting open a gate.  He was less amused than I am about the fact that Jackie apparently just throws the word "fucking" into random sentences.



That's a lie, I'm not sorry.



Is it because I made fun of Jackie, game?  I'm so sorry.  Oh Shiva.


Ok.  So I was leaving Toilet Bum to his toilet bumming when suddenly a digitally modulated voice started talking to me.  And then I grew tentacles with faces and the faces reached out and bit off everyone's faces I guess because they need more faces for their faces OH GOD.

Can you imagine if someone started playing this game, thinking it was just a normal mobster game?  An entire hour of shooting bad mobster caricatures and then TENTACLES WITH FACES HAHA


This just gets better and better.

I now have the ability to spawn a little chittering demon thing that can show me exits and kill things and emit a stream of COMPLETELY ADORABLE gangster talk.

I directed him towards a storefront.  He ran over and then turned around and yelled "Yo!"

He killed a man by tearing his throat out.  As the man gurgled to death, the demon yelled "Peace out!"


Also the tentacles with faces have a kind of an eel quality to them.  They're unintentionally cute as well.


Well that one just devoured a dead man's heart, so maybe..., still cute.

Okay, new cutscene.  It appears as if Jackie's talking to his girlfriend named... Jenny.

Well, trend supported.

I think I'll call Jenny on this handy payphone.

Yeah doll.  It's me.  Listen, just be super careful until I get there, okay?  No reason.

Her response is to tell me that she's a big girl and can handle herself.

Will she a) get abducted or b) get killed?

It's a video game, silly.  No over-confident women has said something about being able to handle herself without getting shown the error of her ways.

Silly women!

I met up with a bad italian stereotype who wanted to know if I was still dating my girlfriend, because if she's free...

God man, show some tact.  Look, you've gone and offended my shoulder eels.

This subway is peppered with graffiti and actual adverts for products and movies that don't exist.  Look, um.  Um.  This game is really, really charming.  Um.  I think I might have accidentally picked up a great game.


It's kinda neat that I can walk the streets of downtown wherever we are, and while yes I'm getting shot at by mobsters, they still react if I pull my shoulder eels out.  Sometimes they even run away!

Show some respect to the shoulder eels.

I finally met up with my girlfriend, who called me rat-face.

Haha, okay, you got me.  I do kinda look like a rat.

I decided to tell her the truth about the fact that I kill people in the face for a living.  She insisted I was just making up a story to cover up the real problem.

All right, so Jenny here ain't the brightest bulb.  That's okay.  At least she hasn't been kidnapped yet.

Huh, Jenny managed to survive past several cutscenes.  Well played, Jenny.

I'm supposed to go meet Butcher.  These mafia names are getting frankly ridiculous.

Butcher told me to whack Dutch Oven Harry in order to get to Silly String Mallone, who's great friends with Wild Balls Frank, who sometimes sleeps with Paulie.

Great, and now I'm being attacked by corrupt cops.  Like I don't have enough problems.

This game isn't the greatest at showing where on the map I'm meant to go, so I tend just to follow the trail of enemies.

Jackster here has just gone overboard with these mafia references.  He's like the uber-nerd at the after-school anime club, pointing out that Super Sparkle Love Love Girls is actually a reference to The Yum-Yum Show, actually.

Yes, I am hoping to gain popularity by indirectly--and poorly--referencing K.C. Green.  That is literally my plan.

Also Jackie is more like the kid that laughs a little too loudly and constantly talks about Dragonball Z, since it's the only anime he's ever seen.

Jackie is getting a little tiresome, is I guess what I'm saying.