Saturday, August 01, 2020

TOP MUSIC GENRES FOR YOUR CYBERPUNK GAME


So I guess cyberpunk is hot again. I don't play those newfangled video games, but all this fanfare made me remember my old Cyberpunk 2020 days, when I was Jael Furoshiki, Japanese/Jewish survivor of of a destroyed South China Sea pirate pack trying to make a living in the Minneapolis Red Zone as a bodyguard/food delivery technician (yes, both a pirate and an ninja).  Later she got ported to Interface Zero, which got rid of some of the anachronisms and C2020's crazy-high fatality rate (there used to be a page dedicated to players' favorite deceased characters, sadly now lost to even the Wayback Machine).

Anyway, one time I made up musical genres my character would listen to--can't find my old character sheets, but this gives you the idea...

TOP MUSIC GENRES FOR YOUR CYBERPUNK GAME:

  • Cambo-Punk
  • Robo-Funk
  • Post-post-post-post-post Punk
  • Really New Wave
  • Black Klezmetal
  • Danish RaiZulu Techno-Jive
  • Country & Western & Gabber
  • Lo-NRG
  • Goan Garage Garage
  • Wasteland Industrial
  • Just the sound of a dial-up modem over & over

If you also like to ride the waves of cyber, you may enjoy these:







Sunday, May 10, 2020

PERFECT PORTABLE BREAKFAST PART 3: ENTER THE OATMEAL



When I was a kid, oatmeal was boring. I only started to appreciate it as an adult because instant oatmeal is fast and filling to eat before work when you're not a morning person. Then Quaker came out with the "Real Medleys", which are better, but still have that chalky instant aftertaste, and are a bit pricy for what they offer.

Then my friend SR posted this recipe on Facebook, and I saw how much better homemade oatmeal mixes could be. It's so much more flavorful, but has to be refrigerated and tastes best when eaten right away. So, not the way to make a big batch of fruit, nuts and fiber that can be stored in my cubicle and eaten before work.  Back to the Internets for more research!

I lucked out and found this recipe right away. Now, I have to confess that I can't really care about quick oats vs steel-cut oats, so I just used whole quick oats instead of grinding the oats in a food processor. I tried toasting the oats and not toasting them, but didn't see much of a difference. Your milage may vary. The amount of brown sugar wasn't sufficient for my tastes, so you might want to experiment with that.

 I started out with coconut flakes, walnuts, craisins, freeze-dried blueberries, and banana chips. The banana chips didn't get soft enough even after soaking first, so I took them off my list. Luckily, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even Target have lots of options for freeze-dried fruit.

DIY instant oatmeal. Clockwise from top: blueberry, strawberry, mango and raspberry.


After some trial and error, I found the easiest way to make a batch is to mix the oatmeal, flaxseed, chia seed and brown sugar in a big bowl, add 1/2 cup to each serving container, then sprinkle a handful of toppings into each and mix. That saves a lot of measuring. 

When cooking, I add just enough water to go a tiny bit above the oatmeal, then cook in the microwave 90 seconds. Finally, I top it off with a splash of vanilla almond milk creamer. This came to me by accident when a coworker had some in the break-room fridge with a note offering to share it. Half and half is great, but non-dairy creamer lasts for months and doesn't smell up the fridge. If it's close to going bad, you can offer some to the office coffee drinkers.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ANIME DETOUR: STAY-AT-HOME EDITION





A couple of weeks ago, it would have been Anime Detour 2020. I've only missed 3 Anime Detours ever, and 2 of those were because I didn't know it existed. I've also been planning for and working at the Manga Reading Lounge since 2010, so it was weird not to be doing that. Also, my sweetie was out of town, so I had the entertain myself as best I could.

So I did my best to get my geek on. I had ordered a Totoro kigurumi to wear at con and wore it all weekend, including working at my home office on Friday and taking a walk around the river (hope it cheered somebody up to see a little ridiculousness). 
Click here for large pics.

A colleague of mine who is an amazing cartoonist was doing the six character fanart challenge, so I suggested he do Makoto Kusanagi, and asked friends to suggest some characters for me to do. It took me a week or so, but it was a fun challenge. 

Anime Detour decided to have their anime music video contest, virtually, so I watched the livestream on Twitch. Luckily, there is a Twitch app on Apple TV, because I don't watch videos that are more than a minute on my phone. The streamer didn't save the stream for copyright reasons, but you can watch most of them here

Of course, I had to watch some anime too, so I fired up the old Crunchyroll. The lineup:

  • The Golden Kamuy (Crunchyroll)- Historical adventure about a Russo-Japanese War veteran looking for treasure in Northern Japan with assistance from an Ainu girl. Lots of intrigue, some lesser-known history and a rare depiction of Ainu culture. Check it out.
  • Rising of the Shield Hero (Crunchyroll)-loserish teen falls into a medieval-RPG-video-game world, has to form a party and win battles to get out. Kind of a serious Legend of Neil meets WoW reskin of Gantz, and definitely no Order of the Stick. I found the hero insufferable, so I couldn't feel any angst about his problems. When he bought a slave to assist him, it was time to nope right out of there.
  • Death Parade (Hulu)-After death, 2 souls find themselves alone in a creepy bar, forced to play a game that determines their fate in the afterlife. Kind of a Twilight Zone-type anthology series, except we learn more about the bar's "employees" than you might expect, as a new hire learns the ropes. Intriguing, will definitely keep watching. 
Also, because my fandom is nothing if not diverse, I also watched the First Avenue 50th Anniversary livestream, the Werq the World livestream of contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race, and the series finale of The Magicians (sob!). The first two were web-only, but AirPlay from my phone to the Apple TV worked smoothly. 

If you guys have any other streaming suggestions, let me know. My friend K. turned me on to Letterkenny, that should keep me busy for a while. For pure relaxation, check out the livestream from Cafe Meow.






Sunday, December 29, 2019

JFRO'S 2019



Let's all pretend I didn't blow this off last year, like those black years when there wasn't a "Greetings, Friends" poem in the New Yorker.

Format once again ripped off shamelessly from the Librarian in Black:


Books -- The Buried Giant, Catch and Kill, The Water Knife, The Wicked Prince, Crooked, Beasts Made of Night, Bad Blood, Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis, 53 Ready-to-Use Kawaii Craft Projects (featuring content from yours truly)

Comics -- Ooku, Order of the Stick, Digger, The Prince and the Dressmaker, Monstress

Movies -- Shazam!, Midsommar, Knives Out, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Rampant, Us, Rocket Man, Belladonna of Sadness,  Logan Lucky, Kong: Skull Island, King Leopold's Ghost, Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Crazy Rich Asians, Jobriath AD, FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, 

TV Shows -- Stranger Things, GLOW, Billions, Bojack Horseman, Travelers, Tuca & Bertie, RuPaul's Drag Race, Drag Race Thailand, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, Dragula, The Boys, Into the Badlands, Pose, The Umbrella Academy, Dirty John, The Magicians, Star Trek: Discovery, Westworld, Daredevil, The Good Place, Elementary, Red vs. Blue

Albums --Baroness: Gold & Grey, Windhand: Eternal Return, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats: Wasteland, Various Artists: Big Gold Dreams—A Story Of Scottish Independent Music 1977–1989, Robyn: Honey

Songs: Cellar Darling: "The Spell", Dorian Electra: "Flamboyant", Lizzo: "Juice", The Prodigy: "Light Up the Sky", Ministry: "Antifa", Beauty in Chaos: "20th Century Boy"

Apps --Reddit, TuneIn, Flickr, Artstudio, 8Tracks (sob)

Devices --iPad, iMac, Universal Laser Systems laser engraver, Apple Pencil

Events --Convergence, Anime Detour, ToshoCon, WMCN Reunion show, Como Obon Festival, Jawbox, Massive Attack, The Chills, First Avenue @The Minnesota Historical Society, Northern Spark @Rondo Library, Llamas @Minnesota Zoo, Egypt's Sunken Cities @MIA, Art and China after 1989 @SFMOMA

Items of clothing --Doc Martin black engineer boots, bespoke vest, bespoke jumper dress

Games --TimeZero, Hack the Planet, Tokaido, Lost in R'lyeh, Plants Vs Zombies 2, Candy Crush: Soda, Candy Crush: Jelly

Web sites --Captain Awkward, Fast 'n' Bulbous, r/AmItheAsshole, Instructables, Folk Horror Revival

Twitter Twerps --@N7IRL,@BootlegGirl, @midnight_pals, @DrunkestLibrary, @RealSardonicus

YouTubers -- Jimmi Pynk, MovieBob, Screen Junkies, Diamanda Hagan, Hey Qween, Camp Wannakiki, Tierzoo, PBS Eons, Moviebitches, Contrapoints

Materials - Japanese handmade paper, watercolor pencils, Mod Podge

Boyfriend --JSeux's winning streak is miraculous!

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

JFRO AIRWAVES TAKEOVER: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION


The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records, Page 378.

So, a few weeks back it was time to get back on the wheels of steel for my reunion radio show. I got two hours and a prime Friday night slot.

This year, my theme was 80s compilations, meaning compilations from the 80s, not newer ones focusing on the 80s. It was a tribute to the old days of no Internet and two hours of cool music on a college radio station with bad reception per day, when compilations were one of a few sources for new music. I pored over the list of compilations in The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records, then cross-checked the Burning Airlines mail-order catalog, or scoured record stories whenever I got to a city.


A view from the studio. 

Last year, one of the other DJs recommended the DJay app for my iPhone as a way to get nice transitions between songs instead of the iTunes sudden-stop-and-start. I should have practiced more beforehand, but it went OK.


Andrea's Radio Show


Playlist:

Driving The Dynamite Truck--Breaking Circus, Big Hits Of Mid-America, Vol. 4
The Light Pours Out Of Me--Peter Murphy, One Pound Ninety Nine
Haunted When The Minutes Drag--Love And Rockets, One Pound Ninety Nine
Wichita Lineman--Glenn Gregory, B.E.F, Presents Music Of Quality & Distinction, Vol. 1
It's Over--Billy MacKenzie, B.E.F. Presents Music Of Quality & Distinction, Vol. 1
Product Patrol--Cabaret Voltaire, If You Can't Please Yourself, You Can't Please Your Soul
Waiting to Fall --Virginia Astley, If You Can't Please Yourself, You Can't Please Your Soul
Pink Frost --The Chills, Tuatara
Fish--The Clean, Tuatara
Death And The Maiden--The Verlaines, Tuatara
The Protagonist --Dead Can Dance, Lonely Is An Eyesore
Fish-Throwing Muses, Lonely Is An Eyesore
Cut the Tree--The Wolfgang Press, Lonely Is An Eyesore  
Dub --Pylon, The Best Of America Underground
Like I Told You--Shoe, The Best Of America Underground
World War III--Suburbs, The Best Of America Underground
(I Belong to the) Blank Generation--Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Great New York Singles
Little Johnny Jewel--Television, The Great New York Singles
Smash It Up--The Damned, The Last Stiff Compilation
Blue Boy --Orange Juice, C81
I Look Alone--Buzzcocks, C81
The "Sweetest Girl" --Scritti Politti, C81
Therese --The Bodines, NME C86
It's Up To You-- Shop Assistants, NME C86
Happy Head --The Mighty Lemon Drops, NME C86
Pleasantly Surprised--The Soup Dragons NME C86
We Could Send Letters Aztec Camera, The Indie Scene 1981

PS. This 8tracks playlist includes some tracks I didn't have time to play on my show.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

PERFECT PORTABLE BREAKFAST UPDATE


Remember this post on portable breakfast recipes? As someone who loves breakfast foods but doesn't like getting up before work to cook and doesn't want to spend too much of my money at fast-food joints, I have been working off and on to make my breakfast experience the best it can be.

The breakfast sandwich recipe from Lifehacker was missing two things: biscuits (so much better than muffins or croissants) and potatoes. For the biscuits, it turns out Cub sells Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, which I'd never heard of since I'm not a big seafood person, but turn out to be great. Biscuits take a little more work to cook than store-bought muffins, but the taste is so worth it. You do need a pan like this to make sure the biscuits have the structural integrity for the sandwich ingredients. For cheese, why use cheap shredded cheddar when you can get something good like Kerrygold Dubliner.

After some experimentation, for the eggs I went with canned mushrooms, Italian seasoning, parmesan and a splash of milk. Different people can use different seasonings/veggies, but you might as well maximize your taste experience with flavors you won't get at McDonalds. I decided on Provolone for the cheese and Canadian bacon for the meat because I'm lazy and don't want to cut them to fit the biscuit.  I do have a round cutter for the eggs, so I could change the fillings in the future.

But breakfast just didn't seem complete without potatoes. The only memorable food from the Hardee's in my home town was the little hash brown patties, and Ore-Ida has something similar.

Tips for making breakfast sandwiches:

  • PAM cooking spray is your friend when it comes to getting biscuits out of the pan.
  • Cook the potato patties in the oven as directed before freezing, then wrap them in tinfoil and put them in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer.
  • Wrap each sandwich in tinfoil and put as many as you can fit in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer. If you make the biscuits and sandwiches on different days, you can freeze the biscuits and use them later, they will still taste fine.
  • Heating the sandwich and patties in the microwave for 90 seconds on 30% power, then 50 seconds on 100% power works for me, your microwave may vary. If you heat in a toaster oven, take off the top of the sandwich and put it face-up next to the rest of the sandwich. Cook for 10 minutes at 250 degrees. Test the center to make sure it is heated through.
You could make the recipe more low-calorie with egg whites, turkey Canadian bacon, light cheese, etc. I don't know that fresh veggies like tomatoes or spinach would work frozen, you might have to add them at the last minute. The Cheddar Bay biscuits also taste just fine without cheese. Try different things and let me know how it turned out!


Friday, May 24, 2019

SONGS I HAVE MORE THAN ONE COVER OF



  • All Tomorrow's Parties (Velvet Underground) - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Japan, Apoptygma Berzerk
  • Black Betty (Traditional)- John Spencer Blues Explosion*, The Melvins*, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
  • Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath) - Flower Travelin' Band, Type O Negative
  • Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (Klaatu) - Babes In Toyland, Langley Schools Music Project
  • Cold Turkey (Plastic Ono Band) - The Godfathers, The Soft Boys
  • Dancing Queen (ABBA) - Carol Douglas, Milo Binder
  • Don't Slander Me (The Roky Anderson Band) - Lords of Altamont, Lou Ann Barton
  • Fever (Little Willie John) - The Cramps, Eno & the Winkies, Adam Freeland & Sarah Vaughn, The Jam, Peggy Lee, Suzi Quatro
  • House of the Rising Sun (Traditional) - Flower Travelin' Band, Camodian Space Project
  • I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher) - The Dictators, UB40
  • I Have Always Been Here Before (Roky Anderson)-Julian Cope, The Nomads
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Gladys Knight & the Pips)-Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Slits
  • I Think We're Alone Now (Tommy James & the Shondells)- Lene Lovich, The Rubinoos
  • Mexican Radio (Wall Of Voodoo)- Celtic Frost, Polvo
  • Night Time (The Strangeloves)- Bauhaus, The Nomads
  • Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)--The Avengers, The Feelies
  • Pink Moon (Nick Drake)- Sebadoh, Walt Mink
  • Reverberation (13th Floor Elevators)- The Jesus & Mary Chain, ZZ Top
  • Tainted Love (Gloria Jones)- Soft Cell, Marilyn Manson
  • Take Me to the River (Al Green)- Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads
  • Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley)-Jesus & Mary Chain, The Woolies
  • You're Gonna Miss Me (13th Floor Elevators)-The Nomads, Doug Sahm & Sons


*From the same 7"