Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lavos Theme Remix

I've been pretty busy this week with work, school, and a few different projects I've been working on. Here's one of them: It's a remix of "Lavos Theme" from the SNES rpg Chrono Trigger. If you haven't played it I suggest you do. Here's the original for reference:

I've also been working on some stencils, some photoshop art, and a full sized human  head that I'm making out of clay. I'll post all the results when I'm finished, and likely give some basic instructions on my methods if anyone is curious.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Yesterday, I watched a film that has been dubbed "The Worst Movie Ever Made." The film critics that gave it this title have either never seen a  movie directed by Friedberg and Seltzer or are lacking the part of the brain responsible for processing humor, (but not both, as someone with a sense of humor would never watch a Friedberg and Seltzer film). The movie I watched for the third of fourth time (in the span of three weeks) yesterday is none other than master dilettante, Tommy Wiseau's, The Room. The film is as amateurish as it gets but was made with a six million dollar budget. It's the funniest movie I've ever seen, but I can't think of a single joke in the entire movie. The film is riddled with plot holes and the acting is atrocious, but I can't turn away. I've laughed harder every time I've watched it (which is saying something, 'cause the first two times I was high). The film is an anomaly ... BUT it's not for everyone. My friends and I love the movie, but we also don't share the same sense of humor as most people. If you've ever seen an episode of Tim and Eric's Awesome Show and didn't get the appeal, then The Room is probably not for you, and you probably don't share my sense of humor. I love the absurd, the ridiculous, and the stupid, but only if it doesn't come off as trying to hard. Tim and Eric is one of my favorite shows for this reason. Their skits are probably some of the dumbest and most ridiculous, but they don't give me the impression that Tim and Eric sat around thinking about them for hours; in fact, the skits feel as if Tim and Eric smoked a bunch of weed, thought of an idea, and then recorded it. I'm sure there's a lot more that goes into it than that, but its the final product that I'm looking at. The same is true for The Room. Tommy Wiseau, The Room's eccentric director/writer/producer/protagonist fired the entire crew working on the film two times, but the film feels as if he simply had an idea and got some buddies (and a woman who was willing to do sex scenes with him) to film it with him. To me, Tim and Eric and The Room almost feel like a continuation of the ridiculousness of Monty Python or Airplane (which most people I've met enjoy), so I don't always understand why people dislike Tim and Eric and The Room. I guess there's only a certain amount of cheesy dumb humor most people can handle. Not me though!

Here's a clip from The Room. Keep in mind, this is supposed to be a serious scene.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Four Twenty

I live in the California Bay Area, and weed is everywhere (which is quite awesome, I might add). The cops are lenient about weed; the majority of people have definitely smoked it, and I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of people still smoke it occasionally (or frequently). Why do I bring this up? Obviously, cause it's 4/20, the "international stoner holiday" as many people have referred to it. Every year around 4/20 some friend or acquaintance of mine - without fail - will say something along the lines of,  "What's so special about 4/20. It's just another day to smoke weed." And I never have a  good answer, so I've been doing some thinking. To me, 4/20 is like Thanksgiving. The historical origins are disputed, people eat in excess and sit around, and most importantly the holidays are days where we hang out with our friends and family. When someone says something like "what's the point of 4/20" they are misunderstanding what holidays are at their core. I'm not a Christian, as I've mentioned earlier, but I still celebrate Christmas. Why? Because I like presents and ham and seeing family that I usually don't see. Sure I can give people presents on other days of the year, and I can receive presents and eat ham other days of the year, but Holidays allow for everyone to participate so it's more of a communal activity. Four Twenty works exactly the same way. Sure people can smoke weed other days, but when you designate a Holiday to do so, it often brings people together to celebrate (even if it is something as silly as weed). Usually when I smoke I'm with two of my friends. Later today I will be smoking with at least five people (including my girlfriend who never smokes). If 4/20 can bring friends together then I'd say it's a good thing, and serves the purpose of just about any other holiday. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that eventually 4/20 will become commercialized to the extent of Thanksgiving. I have a feeling weed decorations will be a common sight during the month of April. I just hope kindergarten teachers don't have their students make hand stencil weed leaves like the turkeys they make around Thanksgiving time. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Opportunity Cost

According to Wikipedia, opportunity cost is the cost related to the second best choice available to someone who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. What this means for everyday people (rather than economists) is that for almost every choice you make, you give up something (that you consider to be second best). For example, when you decide to stay up late playing video games, you decide that playing video games is the best use of your time, and sleeping is the second best. This is a simple example, and it's easy to follow because we're working on the hour scale. Opportunity cost applies to just about anything. The trade off doesn't have to be as simple as time spent on one thing vs time spent on another, it can be time vs money spent, or experience vs relationship. I bring this up, because I've been thinking about how to spend my money lately. I could put a few grand in a Roth IRA and have a bunch of money when I retire to do whatever I want with, or I can spend it on what I want right now (musical instruments) and make music. The thing is if I save my money now, when I retire I'll be able to buy the musical instruments I want now along with many other things, so what exactly is the opportunity cost of putting my money in a retirement account? Well, I'd say the biggest thing I'd be giving up is not the physical instruments but the ability to create music with them. By waiting to buy the instruments later in life, I'm giving up the music I would have made, which is a very large opportunity cost in my opinion. Every time you make a choice it might be a good idea to consider what you are forfeiting by making that choice, but be careful to consider more than the obvious. Sometimes the biggest thing you are giving up isn't money or time, but experience.

I mentioned before that I play guitar. I also play drums, bass, and piano to a lesser extent. I can sing fairly decently if I stay within my range (but where's the fun in that?). I'd like to learn how to play violin, saxophone, sitar, and accordion. Unfortunately these instruments aren't cheap. I'll post some videos of me shredding some other time. Until then, thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

As He Creates...

In my last few posts I've touched on philosophy, music, and my reasons for creating this blog. Now it's time for something much more important - Minecraft. If you're unfamiliar with the game, I suggest you check it out. It's considered a "sandbox" game, meaning you can pretty much do whatever you want. At the heart of the game is mining for materials and building structures. Although, if you want you can avoid these steps altogether and run around fighting monsters at night in an attempt to gain gunpowder to create tnt and blow up part of your seemingly never ending world (part of what makes this game so amazing is that the world you are in is self generating and you can almost walk forever). Here are a few screenshots of things I've built or am working on. They should give you a feel for what you can do in the game if you haven't played it or heard of it before.
 This one is of an ugly "cobblestone" castle i made.
 Here is a side shot of a giant sphinx I constructed out of sandstone. The face unintentionally looks like Frank from Donnie Darko.
 Behind the sphinx is a giant "netherrack" pyramid. I intend on having the entire front side on fire with a railway going up the side.

 These two are of the inside of the unfinished pyramid. It's so large that it is completely dark if you stand near the center.

My humble room, with my recently tamed wolves and some artwork.

All of these structure were made legitimately, meaning no inventory hacks or mods were used. I have a few ideas that I'd like to manifest into creations, but they will take awhile to build. I'm planning to make a giant tree with floors (sort of like the first dungeon in Ocarina of Time). Next to the tree I intend to construct a floating ship. I also wanted to use note blocks (blocks that play sound) to create an in-game version of "Song of Storms" (yeah, I'm a big Ocarina of Time fan). Thanks for reading. Post any screenshots of stuff you've done in the comments. Bonus points to anyone who can name the title reference. I'll give you a hint- the Sphinx is sort of related.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Clouded and Metal.

What's in a name? Well, if we're talking about the name of this blog, "Clouded" not a whole lot. I spent awhile thinking of a name, but eventually settled on the name of the sixth song on my all time favorite album, Obscura, Gorguts 1998 dissonant death metal masterpiece. If the words "dissonant" and "death metal" turn  you off, I'm not surprised; the album is not for everyone, and I don't expect many people that read this to understand why, but to me, Obscura is the crowning achievement of my favorite genre of music (death metal). My love of death metal spawns from my love of metal in general. I learned to play guitar when I was 13, inspired mostly by Metallica, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden. Today I play a variety of metal, but I'd like to start a project that combines the abrasive Gorguts' sound, with the strange rhythms of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (they are sort of like the Dadaist movement of metal), but I have yet to find musicians who want to play something that strange. I'll occasionally post metal reviews on this site, so if you don't like metal don't worry, they won't be very often. I'll try to keep things interesting for everyone.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Why this blog?

If you've stumbled upon this blog you might be asking yourself what it is, and as of now I'm not entirely sure. It will likely take the shape of an online journal: a place for me to write down my ideas, post riffs I'm working on, share art, news commentary, etc. There are a few reasons I'm choosing to write a blog instead of saving these ideas to a word document for my eyes only. First of all, if a single person gains any amount of knowledge or satisfaction from anything on this blog, then it's served its purpose. Motivation is another reason why I'm choosing to blog.While extremely unlikely, I'm hoping that enough people will want me to keep posting stuff on here that it will motivate me to do so. One other reason I'm using the blog as my medium - money. While also unlikely, there's a chance to make some money (from ads) with this blog. I'll try to make at least one post a week - hopefully more, but I'm not sure how much I can post. I'm a full time student and a part time shift leader at a yogurt shop (technically two yogurt stores). I commute to school while trying to find time for my friends and my gal. Thanks for reading.