Tequila Tasting

Tequila Tasting

I should preface this by saying that I don’t drink; I’m a water, tea, and milk kind of guy, so I went around taking photos while everyone else was taking shots. This was taken at El Baston del Rey, a tequila factory that was part of a city tour in Puerto Vallarta. But since today is apparently National Tequila Day, I thought I’d post it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: A World Of Orange

This week’s challenge requires lots of orange-themed photos, so I thought I’d look back at some of my travels over the past year…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity, Or: Mexican Folk Dancers

Spanish Dancers

This week’s challenge is all about humanity. Pretty sure the iconic Mexican folk dance covers that. I took this at Union Square in San Francisco.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Katamari Forever – Katamari On The Funk (Senor Coconut’s Katamambo! Remix)

If there’s any musical genre that was unexpected for the Katamari Damacy series, it was probably Mambo. But when the trailer for Katamari Forever debuted, this remix of the original Katamari On The Funk stole the show. It rounds out an already eclectic soundtrack with some powerful brass instrumentals and one of the most upbeat rhythms in the entire series. In a game that involves rolling the entire universe up into a gigantic sticky ball, you need a track like this to cheer you on.

If you want more Katamari Forever, you can find part of the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: LittleBigPlanet – Cornman

Video

Choosing a song from the LittleBigPlanet OST is like buying ice cream. There are many options, and most of them are amazing. Kinky’s Cornman represents just one of several genres featured in the game’s playlist. Depending on the level, you could be treated to rock, funk, folk, jazz, classical, chill, and techno. The soundtrack reflects LittleBigPlanet’s eclectic design; it takes its fundamental mechanics from old school Super Mario-style platformers, but allows you to collect tons of stickers, costumes, decorations, and other ways to customize your avatar. It even lets you build, edit, and share your own levels online, resulting in some of the most fun and original platformers in recent memory. Six years, an even better sequel, some spinoffs, and 8 million user-made levels later, it’s still going strong.

…Oh, and it’s narrated by none other than Stephen Fry.

If you want more LittleBigPlanet, you can find the OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Ryu Teaches More Than The Hadoken

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is about learning. Specifically, what kind of learning style works best for you. It reminds me of something Ryu once said:

“Every moment gives us a chance to become more than what we are.”

I know it’s geeky taking inspiration from a video game, but still. I try to put it into practice whenever possible. It usually involves reading. I have a fiery, unbridled passion for books. I always bring something with me to read, and not just because I’m an introverted loner. If I stumble across something interesting on Wikipedia, I’ll spend hours learning everything I can about it. If I took my entire library out of storage and stacked every book in my room, it’d probably cover at least a couple of walls from floor to ceiling. I don’t have Angry Birds on my iPod; I have encyclopedias, translation guides, and access to pretty much every public domain text out there. Open Culture and Stanza (before it went defunct, at least) have been instrumental in turning my device into a portable learning tool and reference desk.

However, not everything can be learned from just reading. Take languages, for example. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who had to learn a foreign language at some point. It was a requirement for my bachelor’s degree. I chose Spanish because hey, I’m in California. People were speaking Spanish here before the state even existed. It’s going to be even more important in the country’s future. Learning accents and verb conjugations has always been easy for me, but it wasn’t just because of reading and memorizing text. It was because I practiced. Language is like a sword; when it’s not used or properly maintained, it gets rusty. The same goes with any skill. I incorporated the vocabulary into my normal routine, and I challenged myself to go through the day without speaking English. More importantly, I spoke to other people – and not just my professor – in Spanish. You’d be surprised how effective it can be.

My preferred style is a combination of distanced observation and hands-on interaction. I’m no super-detective like Sherlock Holmes, but sit me in a room and I can make detailed descriptions and conjecture about pretty much everything. For years, I worked in the customer service industry when things were still done the old-fashioned way: face-to-face with an actual, physical person. Yeah, remember that? So quaint. It taught me how to read people’s faces, vocal tones, and other little nuances in a conversation’s subtext. Whenever I review a video game or a book, I always approach it from an analytical standpoint, so much so that I need to remind myself to have fun. You can get a whole new level of enjoyment out of something if apply what you’ve learned; anyone well-versed in Jungian psychology will get a kick out of how Persona 4 plays out. If I can’t figure something out by just observing it, I’ll try to handle it myself. Yeah, I was the kid taking clocks apart and mixing paints together. It may have been messy, but it was worth it.

It still is. Thanks, Ryu.