Last year, I learned that one of my favorite television shows, The Walking Dead, would be getting a video game adaption made by Tell-Tale. I was very excited. Tell-Tale has made a few CSI games which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing and I knew that they would do a tremendous job on The Walking Dead. But when I saw the finished product, I was still blown away. This is one of those few video games that I count as a piece of artwork. It plays a lot like the game Heavy Rain in the sense that it’s more of an interactive story. The player has to make a lot of very difficult decisions that will affect his relationship with other characters later on in the game and can decide the fate of these other characters, too. The game’s voice acting was top-notch (especially Melissa Hutchinson who voiced Clementine), the characters were realistic and entirely believable, and the scenery and plot always had me guessing what was going to happen next. Most of all, there was some extremely atmospheric music composed by Jared Emerson-Johnson to fit this gritty and dark landscape, music that was so immersive that it pulled you into the game before you had a chance to take a breath. It made the time to make the tough decisions tougher and depressing moments even sadder. And even better, the music was never right up in your face. It was never something that you truly noticed. It assisted the scene and did so without becoming the center of attention. That is what good soundtrack music is. You don’t realize its there until… you do. My favorite Let’s Player HarshlyCritical just finished up a playthrough of The Walking Dead which can be found here. Today, I’ll be sharing 6 songs with you and show you what I saw when I listened to them.
Month: February 2013
Violently Shaken, But Not Stirred Enough
COOKING ADVENTURE # 59: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Yup, that recipe’s name is a bit of an oxymoron. How does one enjoy frozen hot chocolate, do you ask? I’ll make it simple for you. It’s not chocolate milk. It’s not a frappe or a milkshake or anything that can be easily made. It’s the most fattening, sugar laced hot chocolate you’ve ever known. And somehow, it wasn’t invented by Paula Dean. Shocker. Actually this recipe is taken from a very popular place in the great New York City called Serendipity where they are known for their frozen hot chocolate. I found this recipe while scouting Pinterest (once again) and decided to take a whack at it. It’s not as if I needed to add to my chocolate consumption though. Combine your surplus of chocolate from Valentine’s day and mix in some stress from a long and not great day at work. Voila. You are now primed for clogging your arteries with this drink of choice. Or at least, I thought I would be able to enjoy it while sulking about my day. Turns out that even making the frozen hot chocolate was more of a chore than I’d predicted.
Inspiration Through Music: Kings of Convenience
There are many songs that have really inspired me while working on my situational comedy novella, Night Time, Dotted Line. Most of these pieces are indie, folk, and a couple pop songs. It amazes me though that almost everyday, I hear something new that just seems to jive with everything happening in the manuscript and with the two characters. Night Time, Dotted Line is a dramedy about two characters who’ve just met one another who have agreed to go on a 3000 mile road trip across the country together. Along the way they run into several strange situations and people, but also have to contend with one another. The journey allows them to find the faults in themselves and one another and ultimately, try to heal from experiences that have been haunting them. This is a huge change from most of my other works which are much, MUCH darker. But it also allows me to listen to much more upbeat music during the darkest time of the year in Maine; winter. While working my way toward the end of the second draft, I’ve come across a wonderful band with deep lyrics but also that feel good vibe that makes fantastic road music: Kings of Convenience.
The Garden Steak
COOKING ADVENTURE 58: Three-Herb Steak
Here’s my idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day: waking up to a bold, rich cup of coffee and a deliciously sweet breakfast of French Toast, spending the day doing something I love (such as writing), having some time to really rest, listening to some music that gets me in the groove to do whatever it is I need getting done, spending time talking to someone you care about and telling someone (whether it is your mother, father, sibling, close friend, or significant other that you really adore and appreciate them, and hearing them say it back to you), and lastly, polishing off the evening with a scrumptious dinner, sinfully sweet dessert, and a movie that makes you feel all warm and tingly inside. Oh, and sure, a kiss wouldn’t hurt. Alas, a few of these things happened but not all. I had planned to make a three-herb steak recipe that I’d found last week as a way to unwind from my work day. I dressed up in a red dress that I bought a couple years ago that I haven’t found an occasion to wear it for yet, and checked the website to see the ingredients list. I had one herb out of the three that I needed. And I was not going to go back out to the store and get them. In short, I spent the evening cooking a rather boring meal of green beans, peas, and kielbasa, enjoyed a giant mug of hot cocoa for dessert, and after talking with a friend for a while, spent the rest of the evening reading a book in which I criticized every other sentence. Yup. You couldn’t touch the romance of that night with a ten foot pole if you wanted to.
Inspiration Through Music: Fleet Foxes
I’ve never known a band that would remind me of the sun as much as Fleet Foxes. No matter what song I’m listening to by them, there is always a scene with a gentle sunlight bathing the scene. It’s refreshing and light during a time of the year that can be hard to get through because of the snow and cold. This week after the recent snowpocalypse, I’ve been craving this folksy-bluesy music, dreaming of the spring and summer to come, of flowers, wearing skirts and spending afternoons perusing through shops with no hurry to be anywhere later in the day. I miss this. And when I listen to Fleet Foxes, I can see the scenes in my head as clear as I can see this computer sitting in my lap. I’m thankful that I was introduced to Fleet Foxes a few years ago by a friend from work. New Years Day, as we drove in her car over frost-heaved roads late at night to get the spare apartment key from my parent’s house (because I’d locked myself out), I listened to White Winter Hymnal and was forever grateful for that first exposure. Today, I’ll be sharing five songs with you and what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy.
Orange You Glad Matilda’s Back?
COOKING ADVENTURE #57: Orange Pecan French Toast Casserole
Nothing irritates me more than using a lame orange joke to open up a Cooking Adventure. But honestly, this is one of those few miracle times where nothing terrible happened during the adventure. It was a rare moment of complete euphoria, the delightful mixing and pouring, slicing, and baking that makes up this gorgeous French Toast recipe. Even when Matilda stepped up to bat to take on grating an orange, there was not one speck of treachery nestled behind her beady black eyes. I’m pleasantly surprised. And since this recipe made so much, it would be a fabulous gift to a loved one on Valentine’s Day! Mmm, yummy orange-flavored love. You know you’re excited.
So, yes. For those of you who live in New England, I don’t have to describe to you the outrageously insane snow storm that we just had. For those of you who live elsewhere in the world, I’ve spent the last two days shoveling snow up to my chest. We got a record 30 + inches and had winds at 30-45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. I just finished shoveling out my car (which was almost completely buried) and am now kicking it back with some orange juice while my body screams at me for the torture it just endured.
What this means for posting is that the Cooking Adventure (which was supposed to have been up on Friday) will be up MONDAY. Apologies for it being late. I have no good excuse other than being outside three times yesterday trying to shovel off the deck to keep the snow from drifting in front of me and my neighbor’s doors and trying to dig the bottom half of the staircase out as well. Oh, and then I napped for three hours to get rid of a headache that had settled in, spent the rest of the evening watching Dexter (such a delightfully dark series!), and went to bed at 8 pm.
So, what was I saying? That’s right. Tune in for a Cooking Adventure MONDAY!
((Those of you who read this post earlier saw “later today” in place of Monday. I shouldn’t have been so optimistic. My body feels like its on fire. All of my muscles are killing me. My hands are spazzing out because they can’t remain still on the keyboard for long enough to type out letters. I’ve seriously got to go to bed. And seriously, I will have this up tomorrow along with Inspiration Through Music.))
Inspiration Through Music: Little People
Ever watched a montage scene in your favorite television show or movie? It’s where the characters are working together (or sometimes against one another) and they are not necessarily in the same scene as one another. This is usually a fill in scene that lets people know how these characters accomplish their tasks at hand. This is a little trickier to do in books because it ends up usually just being a lot of exposition and no dialogue. But, as long as the language is rich enough and the task being done captures the attention of the reader, that’s all that matters. I mean, honestly, we’re not going to be interested in a character with a montage scene of him doing his daily chores, are we? Odds are probably not. One of the television shows that is famous for pairing awesome music with montage scenes is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Now imagine you have Little People’s music playing through a scene of the characters processing evidence. It feels like it belongs there. This band is so chameleon-like with their various pieces that I feel they can fit into several different genres quite seamlessly. Little People has described their musical style as “downtempo instrumental with hip-hop beats and bleets.” This basically means that they like to experiment a lot with their music. In my opinion, the end results are always phenomenal. I’ve listened to their stuff for a few years now. One of their pieces even inspired a scene for “Aequitas”. Today, I’m going to share six of their songs with you and tell you what I see when I listen to them.
The Coup of the Can-Nope-ner
COOKING ADVENTURE #56: Lasagna
Imagine getting home from a seemingly super long day at work. Snow has just begun to fall outside and you are absolutely chilled to the bone. You get inside, peel off your coat, turn up the heater and look into your fridge for dinner. And there, staring up at you with a heavenly glow is a casserole dish full of scrumptious meaty lasagna. This is the euphoria I’ve been having the last couple nights. There are only a few comfort foods that make me this excited to rush home and eat. Lasagna is definitely one of them. Thursday, when I’d gotten home, I assembled all of the ingredients on the counter, prepared to dive into what would hopefully be a better dinner than my stew from last week (Eeehhhhwwww). All in all, the recipe was very easy which I was grateful for. It also didn’t have me using a bunch of weird ingredients (like coconut milk). However, nothing can be “too” easy. My kitchen utensils have ways of refusing cooperation, which is precisely what happened this time around. I’m beginning to think that Matilda, my demonic grater, is staging a coup with the other utensils against me…