Tag Archives: music

I Tanked a Troll

Lord of the Rings Online inspired filk.  With apologies to Katy Perry, Lukasz Gottwald and Max Martin.  Sung to the tune of, I Kissed a Girl.

This was not the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, sword in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna take it on
I’m working to complete a deed
It caught my attention

I tanked a troll and I liked it
Killed it with my 3rd age pointy-stick
I tanked a troll just to try it
I hope my kin-mates don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m a tank tonight
I tanked a troll and I killed it
I killed it

No, I don’t even know it’s name
It doesn’t matter
It was my experimental game
Just minstrel nature
It’s not what, good hobbits do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

I tanked a troll and I liked it
Killed it with my 3rd age pointy-stick
I tanked a troll just to try it
I hope my kin-mates don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m a tank tonight
I tanked a troll and I killed it
I killed it

Those trolls they are so magical
Hard skin, big warts, so squeezable
Hard to resist so touchable
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I tanked a troll and I liked it
Killed it with my 3rd age pointy-stick
I tanked a troll just to try it
I hope my kin-mates don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m a tank tonight
I tanked a troll and I killed it
I killed it

Using the ‘net, not being scared by it

People who own the rights to music, film, tv, etc. should, in my humble opinion, learn to love the Internet, and not to be frightened of it.  That’s a nice glib statement from someone who never created anything useful in his life, but as someone who consumes a lot of created content surely I have some experience 😉

I was really struck by this thought when reading Felicia Day’s blog (again), after the release of the Guild song, Do you want to date my avatar.  Within a short time of it being released, there were fan-made movies on YouTube, using that music and animation from games such as Lord of the Rings online, World of Warcraft, Second Life, and others, to perform to the song.

Many content owners would immediately go to war with DMCA’s to have the music stripped from those videos, since it’s clearly not owned by the people who made them but by The Guild, or Felicia Day, or whatever organisation she has in place to own the rights.  Did she start processing take downs?

Nope, she found them on YouTube and listed them as favourites, which let’s them show up on her FriendFeed account.  I can only assume that this eventually increases the sales of the song (because god only knows once you’ve heard it you can’t stop humming the bloody thing) and doesn’t negatively impact it at all.  In the same way that seeing a cool fan video on YouTube with a song by Big Mega Band from the 80’s as the backing track is more likely to make you go and re-buy it on iTunes than it is to make you strip the audio from the vid and import the illegal, low quality version onto your mp3 player.

You either embrace the ‘take it and use it and make something with it’ nature of the ‘net, or you end up fighting it at every step of the way and losing none-the-less.

Felicia Day and creative content owners of her generation are going to make it work, because they accept, use and take part in the medium.

It’s spring

I’m back at work after a two week break which means less energy to post stuff, although my posting rate dropped dramatically during February / March anyway (yay, I hear some of you say).  We’ll see if it picks up, I don’t consciously do anything about it, just sometimes I feel like talking more than other times.

Got myself an iPhone for my birthday, and it’s pretty cool.  Clearly I don’t  need one, no one rings my mobile anyway, and I don’t make any calls usually from a mobile, but I love the other features and I feel like I should be one of the people using mobile internet even if I really have no use for it.  I promised myself if I got one (or an iPod touch, was a close race), I’d do more walking at work again and use the iPod stuff.  So been out both days back so far, the fact that the weather is gorgeous helps obviously.

So clearly spring out there today – green buds at the end of every tree branch and a lot of insect life making an appearance.  The last time I walked and listened to music at the same time was around 1992 when I lived in Sheffield and worked in Rotherham.  I used to walk to Jack’s house through a park in Sheffield, early in the morning, to get a lift to work.  Since I basically stopped collecting any music at that point in my life the stuff on my iPhone is from the same era (a lot of Queen, Eurythmics, INXS, Paul Simon) and in combination with the weather it really invokes memories of those (mostly good) times in Sheffield.

It certainly makes going for a walk a lot easier, I was actually looking forward to it today – yes Grete, you can say you told me so.

Cool game

Spotted this link over at Critical Hits, and they’re right, you really should check out this cool game.  It’s like a puzzle game with a stream of ‘stuff’ you have to re-direct to fill up meters, but as you do so they play sound and as the levels get more complex so does the music.

You need your speakers on, really, it’s cool.  Play’s fullscreen, so probably not something you can get away with at work.

How goes the war against the humans?

I’ve been using that phrase (How goes the war against the humans?) since I first played Wing Commander II sometime in the very early 90’s. I had an Intel 386DX with 1MB of memory, and a Soundblaster compatible sound card (couldn’t afford a real soundblaster). That computer kept me going from the end of the first year at University (when I replaced my Amstrad 1512 with it) to the end of University and beyond. It got slowly upgraded to the point of uselessness and finally replaced. I blogged a while back about the moment I got rid of the last bits (keyboard mainly).

Anyway, Wing Commander II was just amazing.  There is a moment during the introduction when a conductor taps his music stand, and then an orchestra plays the intro while scrolling into view over the horizon (you can check out all the music here).  I was amazed.  Shortly after that is a cut scene, and amazingly, some folk have converted all the in-game speech and have it on the web, here’s a link to the file with the quote in question.

The thing that got me started looking for that, is that I’m still quoting games, movies and music from more than 15 years ago.  In fact, the whole conversation with a friend started when I tried to work out what I did on Sundays before the internet.  One of those things was play computer games, Wing Commander II being one of them.  Games and movies from my early 20’s have had such a lasting effect on my speech and memories.  I’m the kind of annoying nerdy geek who quotes this kind of stuff at random during conversation, even when I know no one around me will have a clue what I’m on about.

I’ve been asking people I’ve not seen for a long time “how goes the war against the humans?” when we see each other, since 1991, and most of them still have no clue what the hell I’m on about.  It’s amazing to me the impact that art (essentially) can have on memory.  I have lasting and vivid memories of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, F19 Stealth Bomber, and a bunch of other very early games in the early 90’s.  But equally, I have memories and still use quotes from movies around that time and even earlier.  When someone asks if I’d like to play a game, I still respond with (mashed up) quotes from WarGames (how about a nice game of tic-tac-toe or, yes, how about a game of thermonuclear global war?).

Maybe I’m easily impressionable?  I find myself saying ‘hmm, upgrades?’ and ‘guns, lots of guns’, and ‘i know kung-fu’ quite a bit as well (from the various Matrix movies).

Anyway, after finding the web site linked above, and listening to that intro another thing became clear.  Not only do I have vivid memories of playing a lot of Wing Commander II, but hearing that speech opened up a bunch of additional memories that I don’t think about as much.  I was reading The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant around the same time, I was living in a flat in Sheffield, I used to watch Northern Exposure, I used to eat a lot of tuna and salad cream on toast.  I used the launderette just up a hill not far from the flat (which is something I had totally forgotten until just now), and I hated it.  I used to get up at 5am to catch three buses to get to work (until I met some other guys at the same place and starting getting a lift in, Jack Dainty, Chris Philips, they were good times).  I remember Charles Dobson coming to visit and we bought a crate of beer from a local off licence, and we either dropped it and/or some of the cans exploded in the shop.  So many good memories.

So it’s amazing to me how the sound from a computer game can open up memories of the same time that I’ve not thought about for such a long time.  I’m the same with smells and music, sometimes a smell or a song will bang open a massive collection of memories I’d totally neglected to refresh over the years.

Like the Graceland album, which evokes a vivid memory of walking to Jack Dainty’s house in the early morning, through a couple of parks in Sheffield.  Playing on my fake-walkman casette player would be that album (I had very little music on tape), and I’d play it full blast and watch the sun come up over the trees to burn off the morning mist while I walked.  And then we’d listen to Chris’ Michelle Shocked album in the car on the way to the labs.

So yeh, if you ever meet me, and I ask you how goes the war against the humans, just lie and tell me it’s going fine and that the Kilrathi shall once again be the supreme beings in the universe, and all will be well.

And I’ll just nod.  Pleased with our mighty power.

Lyrics

Scouting for Girls have a song called She’s So Lovely. My favourite lyric in that whole song is, “I love the way she makes me drool; i think that you are beautiful”.

You have to love that couplet.

When has drool and beautiful ever been rhymed before. Fantastic.

CD Changers

So, we were in Meadowhall doing our Christmas Shopping, and we found one of the Sony 300 CD Changers in the Sony Store. So we bought it. Even though we bought an 80GB hard disk and a CD a week ago to making ripping our CD’s easier, and then ripped all of them. So now we need to put them all into the changer and think about entering 15 character descriptions for them all! And it’s HUGE!

CD Player

I wanted this 300 CD Changer from Sony, but it appears to have been discontinued. Which is a shame. They do a 400 CD one, but it’s £100-200 more, although it does play MP3’s.

So we’ve looked at some 5 tray ones, but at £40 less than the 300 CD changer was going to be, we feel shortchanged.

In the meantime, because our CD player isn’t working properly, we’ve been playing MP3’s. And it’s not bad.

So, I’ve got this Linux box running Debian. PII-400 which holds together our mail, news, web stuff here. And it’s got a 40 Speed CD ROM in it, and a reasonable sound card. A plan is hatched, convert it into a CD Jukebox so that we don’t need a new cd player.

Quick check on freshmeat and I have some candidates for web-controllable jukebox software.

Got home, whacked a CD into the drive, lots of clicking but no action. So, cd drive is dead. Ack! Spend an hour convincing myself of this fact by trying lots of things, including moving the drive from slave to master, etc. Also, since it’s Linux and I can’t remember when I last played anything in the cd drive, I play with modules and configs for a bit. No joy.

Luckily I have spares, drag out a 24 speed drive, rip the linux box apart, whack in the new drive, test out some CD’s, looks fine. Bundle the thing back together, take the time to do a bit of recabling I’ve been meaning to do for ages, and stick it back onto the shelf.

Then it’s a software hunt. Debian has jack (manager), cdparanoia (cd ripper) and mpg321 (player) available as packages. I found a debian package of bladeenc knocking around (encoder), and I’ve downloaded gronk (jukebox type web app). Currently ripping our copy of Puddle of Mud’s album.

Haven’t got the jukebox stuff in yet.

So, need to install that software, or choose another one, and then consider relocating the speakers and amp.