I like it. It's a very esoteric reference to Final Fantasy Tactics...
This is a blog post to explain the name of our blog and the origins of how we chose it. Four or five years ago, I bought a GBA. I know I am a little behind in the times, but I am not one to shell out big bucks for new systems right away. So along with it, I bought some games. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was one of those purchases. I immediately fell in love with the Game and am in the midst of playing FFTA2 (which is proving to be just a good, dare I say better?).
This is where the title, Damage -> MP, comes from. It represents a skill that Blue Mages, as well as some Soliders can learn. For those of you not familiar with Character Classes, a Blue Mage represents a certain type of magician. When a Monster attacks with a certain ability (i.e. Bad Breath, Sandstorm, Twister), Blue Mages can “learn” it, allowing them to then use it.
Damage -> MP is a skill used for keeping Blue Mages alive. Instead of converting Damage -> HP (Hit Points), it converts the damage into their MP or Magic Points. Considering they have to take so many hits to gain the skills they’ll need, this is a vital skill in terms of raising a successful Blue Mage.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the reason for the season. For those of you who don’t know what Blue Mages look like, I have provided pictures. They wear silly hats.
(The title quote was provided by Scott Andrew McArthur, my ever-so-close friend and partner in writing at SignificantRobot.Blogspot.com)
"Before I was shot, I always thought I was more half-there than all-there — I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television — you don’t feel anything.
Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.” -andy warhol
"The enormous energy of the twentieth century, enough to drive the planet into a new orbit around a happier star, was being expended to maintain this immense motionless pause." - J.G. Ballard
Ballard’s Crash considerably changed my understandings of what literature can do. This grotesque little novel is about a man who, after recovering from a near fatal car crash, finds himself sexually ungratified by anything other than car crashes. I had picked up the short book before a road trip from Indiana to New Mexico with a friend. I read every gorey page with considerable amounts of disgust and revulsion; I didn’t want to think any of this had anything to do with me. I detested the novel as overblown, a literary snuff film.
But a few months later, the world became the same blossoming wound he described, and I started seeing tiny collisions in every thing. I wanted desperately to skulk around the highway at night, praying for the crashes he described with such vigor. I wanted to be in my own car crash, to have my own tragedy play out, to be covered in broken glass that resembled, under the street lamp, my own suit of lights.
It seems appropriate the oversexed writer who wrote a pamphlet on the similarities between Ronald Reagan and a circumsised penis, who removed speed limit signs from streets in the hopes of creating accidents, who, on trial for obscenity, told the judge “Of course it’s obscene!,” would die of prostate cancer.
And the world’s probably a better place without his obscenities, without his semen-stained dashboards, without his blood splattered roads. But who wants a better world, anyway? It’s a whole lot more boring.
Here’s a few paragraphs from a short story I wrote, inspired by Ballard. Yes, this is a shameless plug for my own writing, but also a tribute. Get over it.
”[…]I want to hold him the way the mangled monstrosities of his occupation hold me. When fresh accidents arrive in his garage, he points out to me the bloodstains on the windows; once we found a tooth lodged in the dashboard and I thought it was a pearl.
[…]I wish regularly that my car had a crank, a wind up key, like a toy. And like a child I could rehearse the violence that children don’t fully understand, ramming the vehicles into each other, a miniscule collision in my palms. Everyday I pray for crashes. I close my eyes when I drive. Everyday I hope there is someone speeding, ignoring every red light, I hold the wheel in my hands deciding whether or not to intentionally cross the parallel yellow lines that do not touch, do not touch. I want the crash to be my excuse. I want to be able to say, “Well, ever since the crash,” or “I could have, but then the crash.” I want to be able to have something that’s mine. Some traumatic experience I could use when I needed to, the only card I could play. I wanted an actual reason for my sadness, some quiet tragedy that people thought I had internalized, he’s still dealing with it, he’ll be OK soon.”
RIP Ballard. I hope you’re living out the car crashes of your dreams, somewhere orbiting a less melancholy earth.
“Unlike DC, “the Marvel universe has always been set in the ‘real world,’ ” explains Matt Lehman, owner of Comicopia in Kenmore Square. “And Spider-Man has always been a New Yorker.”—TRAGICOMICS: Spiderman gets Real by Mike Mallard
Over in Littleton Mass, local artist Joel Wool put up a sound installation called Sound of Found Art at the Indian Hill Music Center. Here’s a few impressions:
The main component of the installation is a seventeen minute loop of poets reciting various lines from their works. Each line is cut up and overlapping each other, to create a new sound poem. These sounds are also layered over various other aleatoric noises (static, cars starting, someone bumping into a microphone), but these noises are manipulated and reconstructed so as to imitate other phenomenon (a heartbeat, a growling electo-sounding bass beat).
The artist encourages the viewers to participate in the piece by placing pads in geometric formation on the floor. On the pads, we are encouraged to draw or write out words or noises we hear, then place them on the back table of the room. As the piece loops over the three hour installation, the paper will pile up to create a new assemblage.
Perhaps the most striking component to the piece though is the concept manifested in a more physical form: the speaker console in the center has wires extending to a balcony, and on a stage there is a book with a microphone plugged into it. The sound piece, as a whole then, is a book projecting outwards, a text vomiting out, in all its dramatic and confusing ways, the sounds of its own making. Wool gutted these books (Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and two collections of poetry) and equalized all the static, noise, and violence into a bizarre and fascinating project, as confusing and complicated as the books he draws inspiration from.
I am not as artistically cultured as Eric is but here its goes. I liked this installation, quite a bit.
Soundwise, the compilation is very comforting. I found myself meditating to it, losing myself in the rhytm of someone breathing. I imagined ocean waves, when I closed my eyes and at points, could see the very machinery that created the noise. I could literally lay on the floor all day and take a nap.
The space itself is what really helped the piece though. Joel choose to do his work in a auditorium, providing a very aucoustic and open area. We were allowed to sit, lay down and be wherever we wanted to be. I felt more than comfortable. On the floor, we’re notepads, provided with pens, instructing us to write down our feelings, image and word that came to us. I found myself caught by a few phrases and sounds, instantly putting them to paper.
Joel provided an element to his piece that I think is important to all art: interpretation. We all percieve things differently, from colors and sounds to taste and even touch. Many times I forget that how I sound in my head isn’t how my voice is projected in the real world. Thus, by providing this method of capturing our own ideas, the installition becomes a connection.
Sam Kusek is one lanky motherfucker. He obsessively reads copious amounts of manga, enjoys the understated surreality of bees partaking in the civil war, and wishes that horses were pokemon and not real animals. Between bike rides and making paintings featuring Dr. Venture, Sam loves all up on his pink-haired girlfriend. Heroes include: Tim Heidecker, Jason Statham, Eric Wareheim, Osamu Tezuka, Mitsuru Adachi, and Douglas Coupland. (Bio written by Eric)
Eric Shorey wears glasses. He is known best for his pretentious prose & snarky sarcasm about life. Eric enjoys ugly things (i.e. hair, clothes, animals) and appreciates hyper-stylized design (i.e. vinyl toys, Kid Robot, steam-punk, buildings?). If he could say one thing about the recession, it would be “FIX IT!”. If he could say one thing about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it would be “Oh thats gonna suck!” He doesn’t enjoy physical activity. (Bio written by Sam)
If we were a super-hero duo, this would be our origin story: Late in the year 2007, while Eric was hop-scotching around Europe like the spoiled Long Island brat he is, Sam was busy enjoying the manic-depressive weather of Boston and began courting the lovely and talented Adrien Warner. As Eric returned from his extensive misadventure, trouble was brewing in Bean Town. After a calamitous disaster involving Godzilla, Mothra, Freddy, Jason, Alien, and Predator which destroyed half of the theater district, Eric and Sam realized that with their powers combined, they could save Boston from cataclysmic ennui. Sam, Eric, and Adrien lived, post-crisis, in a Beacon Hill apartment/sauna with no windows for a whole summer, where they began a collective artistic delusion that involved drag queen renditions of 1950’s science fiction films, poems about Paris Hilton and Sarah Palin, and a website called cashforyourbutt.com.
Well, now it seems that Sam and Eric are catching up with the fact that it is the year 2009 and the future is now. Here is our frighteningly stereotypical, annoyingly pedantic, and unfortunately obligatory blog that will, from here on out, feature a veritable cornucopia of the banal grotesqueries of our lives. This is Damage -> MP Hope you enjoy!