Posts made in December, 2015

December doesn’t belong to you

Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

The amount of people getting genuinely angry over a greeting is growing increasingly confusing to me. I’m talking about the greeting “happy holidays”. “Happy holidays” is a wonderful, all-inclusive greeting that encompasses every holiday being celebrated in December. Lately, though, people have been claiming that “happy holidays” is being used to avoid offending anyone. These same people, then, are getting offended over the avoidance of  “Merry Christmas”. This has gone from an attempt to include others, to the assumption that we are trying not to offend others, to people being offended by trying not to offend others. I can’t be the only one who thinks that progression is silly. The thing is, most people don’t get offended at “Merry Christmas”. People say “happy holidays”, not to avoid offending anyone, but rather to avoid excluding anyone. It is a courtesy. It is meant to curb the violence that is assimilation and erasure–a violence that, for some reason, we feel we are entitled to dole out just because we are in the majority. To add, there is more than one holiday around this time of year. Even if you do celebrate Christmas, the New Year is just a week after. “Happy holidays” collectively says both. Most people celebrate more than one holiday during this time. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and many others are also celebrated, and that’s why we get so much time off from work or school–so that everyone gets the opportunity to celebrate the holiday of choice. Christmas is almost always the majority. Saying “happy holidays” to someone doesn’t mean you’re taking away from Christmas, but rather that you’re acknowledging that many people live in our part of the world who may celebrate differently from you. If this seems like a no-brainer, that’s because it should be! Do we really need a reminder that different people celebrate things differently? Take a moment to realize that people are wishing you well when they say “happy holidays”. They are not trying to offend you; they are not trying to avoid offending anyone. They are telling you to enjoy this time of year, sometimes despite the fact they don’t know you well enough to know what holiday, if any, you celebrate. And, by the way, if you feel it’s ridiculous to get offended over someone saying Merry Christmas, then I would counter that it’s equally ridiculous to get offended over someone saying happy holidays. December doesn’t belong to Christians. December doesn’t belong to any one denomination. Canada is not a Christian country, but rather a beautiful cultural mosaic that respects people of all religions and creeds. In fact, there is no one Christian nation; there are merely nations with a Christian majority. So happy holidays to you, no matter which holidays you celebrate or recognize. And if you don’t appreciate my greeting, that’s cool too. I’ll gladly save it for someone who...

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Video game music

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I listen to a wide spectrum of music. From heavy metal to electronica, some pop and, occasionally, hip hop, my tastes are pretty varied. Despite all this, there has been very little, I have found, that suits working or walking better than video game music. Occasionally, a game’s music can be its only saving grace. All of the games I discuss here are games whose soundtracks have touched me in some way or other. The Sea will Claim Everything I’m starting with this one because it’s a fantastic indie title that many readers may not have heard of before (unless you read thisindiegameblog, in which case I wrote a long piece about it a couple of years ago). The game is very much like an adult storybook–with its political themes and its intricate story coupled with its whimsical, hand-drawn images–and the soundtrack goes along perfectly. This soundtrack was composed by Chris Christodoulou, who has done a wide variety of compositions–check out his Bandcamp page for more information. Despite being a fairly recent game, something about its soundtrack feels indescribably nostalgic. Favourite track: Home, Underhome Journey This is a well-known indie title that took the world by storm nearly four years ago. I was obsessed with it for a very long time, and the soundtrack had no small part in that. Composed by Austin Wintory, who has since composed the soundtracks for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and the Banner Saga, it is a masterpiece. “Apotheosis”, followed by “I Was Born for This”, are both tracks that have, admittedly, brought me to tears more often than not. Favourite track: Apotheosis Flower Flower is defined as an interactive poem, and this is evidenced through the game’s beautiful graphics and setting. Flower is relaxing, for one thing, but it also inspires awe in the player. Vincent Diamante composed Flower‘s soundtrack to be perfectly coupled with each singular level and mood within the game. For instance, the first few tracks have a calm, playful tone to them. Then, a few levels later, the game grows a bit darker, as reflected in the track “Solitary Wasteland”. Finally, with “Purification of the City”, the game reaches a triumphant, hopeful conclusion that makes me cry every time I hear it. Just listening to the soundtrack again inspires intense emotions within me that I remember feeling the first time I played it. Favourite track: Purification of the City Baten Kaitos and Baten Kaitos Origins These two lesser-known GameCube titles–Baten Kaitos being the first one released, and Baten Kaitos Origins being the prequel–have a stunning soundtrack by a well-known games composer named Sakuraba Motoi. Recently, Sakuraba has done well-known titles such as Bravely Default and Dark Souls, so the Baten Kaitos games are some of the least popular on his expansive roster. The games, considered to be somewhat cult classics among GameCube players, have incredible soundtracks that reflect each environment and mood perfectly. One of the common themes among both games is politics, and one thing that struck me was how songs on the soundtrack can actually sound political. It’s great background music, and great to write to. Favourite tracks: Supreme Ruler of the Nine Heavens (BK), Boundary Between the Wind and Earth (BKO) Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon This was a very unique, immersive game based in a post-apocalyptic Japan. This game was also developed by the same lovely folks who brought Baten Kaitos: Tri-Crescendo. The game is melancholy, lonely, and mysterious, and its beautiful soundtrack is a perfect companion. Many of the tunes are piano pieces that tug at the heartstrings and evoke that same feeling of loneliness found in the game. Fragile had interesting dynamics that weren’t always enjoyable, but it was a very emotional experience that’s worth playing. This is another lesser-known title. Favourite track: A Dedication to… Everyone ICO This game soundtrack is as ethereal and mysterious as the game itself is. As a minimalist game, featuring no heads-up display and no backstory, ICO asks its players to decide for themselves what the surrounding setting really is. The music works in the same vein. Often only centred around one prominent instrument, each...

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