Yup, you now know that I’m a Tomb Raider girl. I love absolutely everything about the series and I think that Lara Croft is one of the best feminine heroes ever created. And while the first five games were really iconic and featured lots of globe-trotting, cave-spelunking, yeti-tackling, and deep-sea diving adventure, plus the occasional tomb exploring, my adoration for the series really took off with the release of the sixth title, Angel of Darkness. Unlike most of the other games, Angel of Darkness takes place in only two cities: Paris and Prague. I liked having the chance to stay in one place longer and explore all the different facets of each city, the building tension, and uneasy atmosphere. This game played a lot darker than the previous titles and that also drew me to it. But one of the things that really made me sink my teeth into the game was the music.
COOKING ADVENTURE #87: Asian Lemon Chicken Tenders
Anyone who is anyone can appreciate fried food in some shape or form. Usually, I prefer to think of fried goodies as “the lazy treat”, something that I can order out somewhere and enjoy without any cares in the world except for how said fried goodies will affect my skin. I was expecting the act of frying chicken tenders in my own kitchen to be somewhat of the same joyous feeling, a blissful extravaganza of fun eating and feeling as it I had not a care in the world. If only that were meant to be. Let’s be honest: frying food takes a lot more work than people make it sound. Unless you happen to own a deep fryer and have incredible disposable methods for all of that dirty oil, frying food at home is kind of a hassle. And for me, it took longer than it probably should have. Figures.
Let us descend into another dark and utterly spectacular world given to us by Telltale Games, the creators of The Walking Dead Game. Inspired by Bill Willingham’s Fables comic series, the game “The Wolf Among Us” drops us into the seedy and sinful atmosphere of Fabletown and right into the shoes of our main character, Bigby Wolf. The characters are the real world versions of characters taken from popular fables and fairy tales, some of whom have moved to the city and others whom have remained behind in that other world.
What I learned this week is that no matter how cathartic cooking may be for some, for me, it isn’t a good idea to attempt if I’m in a bad mood. There are sharp objects, often hot pots and pans, and little space available to spread everything out. After having a particularly bad day, I decided “What the hell? What more could possibly go wrong?” It’s best not to ask those questions. I had found a pretty spectacular recipe that was just calling my name. I’ve been craving Mexican food for a couple weeks and this seemed like just the thing to take care of that hankering. Well, it would have been if I’d paid a little more attention to what I was doing. But we all know what it’s like, to be so angry that you’re trapped in your head and can’t step away from it. I tried a number of times. My declaration of “I AM NOT GOING TO LET THIS EMPANADA BEAT ME!” is what finally made me put my rear in gear and pound these things out. And now, the terrible tale…
As of late, I’ve been busy with thoughts about my comedy, “Night Time, Dotted Line” and the potential sequel for it that has been rolling around in my noggin. When I wrote this book, it was because these characters had been speaking to me since I’d started a book with them close to ten years ago. I knew that I had to write a book with them and that was this book. But, I’d expected them to stop talking to me once I’d finished the book. No such luck. If anything, they are more persistent than ever… I realize that this makes me sound a little like a schizophrenic. Writing does that. Dozens upon dozens of characters begging for attention and wanting to be voiced through you… To make a long story short (too late!), I’ve started brainstorming for the sequel to “Night Time, Dotted Line” and one of the bands I’ve been listening to pretty much non-stop to help with that inspiration is Amarante.
Amarante is a husband and wife indie duo from California that I was introduced to only a few weeks ago by one of the Youtube LPer’s that I follow. He used one of Amarante’s songs at the end of the video and since then, I’ve had their songs playing on repeat on my way to work, when I’m home writing, and even in my head while I’m at my day job. They really know how to get a tune into your head and make it stick. Catchy tunes with intelligent lyrics and a unique pairing of voices. They’ve really pushed thoughts of this sequel into the foreground and made me want to work on it (despite being committed to another project at the moment). They help to take me away from the cold and dark of Midcoast Maine’s winter and put me back in late summer, across the country, in the lives of two very different people who are more alike than they care to admit.Today, I’ll be sharing four of their songs with you and what it is that I see when I hear them. Enjoy!
First of all, “LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE CREATED! I…HAVE MADE FIRE!” Okay. Now that that’s settled. Making that fire sucked in every which way possible. It wasn’t easy, not in the least bit. It probably would have helped if I’d had the exact kitchenware to pull it off but I improvised with what I had. I should get some points for that. Honestly, I had a feeling that something as complicated as this cake idea would probably be a lot more trouble than I was imagining. But, it’s all for a good cause.
When it comes to the world of soundtracks for horror video games, there are very few at are as well-known and prolific as Akira Yamaoka, the composer for the Silent Hill franchise as well as other games. Silent Hill evokes an energy charged, haunting aura that always makes one uncomfortable and looking over ones shoulder. With a blend of rock, trip-hop, and ambient that is unlike most anyone’s music out there, he has effectively created a world that we can lose ourselves in when we listen to some of his breath-taking and chilling scores. My personal favorite soundtrack of his comes from Silent Hill 4: The Room, a playthrough that my favorite LPer, HarshlyCritical just finished up. The story line and the twisted antagonist for this title really engaged me as did the various themes heard throughout the various worlds of the game.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve listened to Yamaoka while working on writing projects. I was introduced to his music by a friend in highschool who burned me a couple of the soundtracks to listen to. I knew very little about Silent Hill then, but was still amazed by the music and knew it would be an excellent inspiration for not only my horror titles, but also a historical fiction I was working on and an incredibly secret project which has been in development for several years. Today, I’m going to pick five songs to share with you and tell you what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy! [Just so you know, I had the WORST time trying to pick just five. I had thirteen listed here before...]
This week, I decided to kick it up a notch. I made a batch of cookies last week. I figured I could step it up and do not just one but TWO cooking adventures this week! Albeit one was more of a “cooking frolic” than the other (and NO, it’s not the one you think!) Never the less, I’ve discovered two incredible recipes that I intend to remember for the future. Plus, there was enough of each that I could eat/drink them for multiple meals. Score! Although, I will point out that this wonderful food (or any food for that matter) isn’t quite as enjoyable when you have a giant, stinging canker sore on the inside of your bottom lip…which I’m pretty sure was caused by the smoothie. Ulcers abound in my life, I swear…
Sometimes, I’m glad that I don’t have an infinite amount of money. There are so many brilliantly scored soundtracks out there by composers that should be given more credit than they receive. And I want to own most all of them. There are at the moment over ten that I have listed on my cork board over my desk that are “must haves”. Having been introduced to Spotify over a year ago, I’ve discovered more wonderful composers that I’d never heard of before because of their “related artists” box. One of these is Max Richter.
I don’t remember what I was listening to at the time, but it suddenly didn’t matter anymore when compared to Richter’s minimalist and yet startlingly emotive compositions. The first soundtrack I listened to by him? One for a masterfully created animated film called “Waltz with Bashir”. Since discovering Richter, I’ve listened to him for nearly every project I’ve worked on, the latest being my apocalyptic work-in-progress, Cold Walls, and the upcoming Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles. I find that I’m inspired to write about characters who are forced to do something because of a particularly strong motivation. It pushes them to do things that they normally wouldn’t do but suddenly find an inner courage or impulse that pushes them in a different direction. I’m excited today to share five of his pieces with you and describe to you what I see when I listen to them.
COOKING ADVENTURE # 82: White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Let’s admit it. In winter, especially one as bitterly cold as the one we’ve experienced in Maine, we instinctually gravitate toward foods that make us feel comfortable, warm, and wonderful. This tends to be things like tea, hot chocolate, cake, lasagna, and, of course, cookies. I found myself with a particular hankering for something different than the average chocolate chip or peanut butter styles. I had a bag of white chocolate chips just sitting on my shelf and an almost forgotten bottle of peppermint extract sitting high upon my spice shelf. I knew such combinations were bound to produce beautiful results. That is…until I looked at my brown sugar and discovered it wasn’t about to make anything easy for me.