Playlist for Fictional People

So I have a little hobby of making up Spotify playlist for fictional characters from comics and movies. You’d be surprised by the number of folks that have curated collections of songs inspired by the likes of Spider-Man or Game of Thrones. I first heard the new Ice Cube song Good Cop, Bad Cop on a playlist dedicated to the Night King.

It’s fun for me when I get wrapped up in a story line or something to think what music a particular character would be listening to on the daily. My first playlist was for My Hero Academia teacher Shota Aizawa. I just heard songs that reminded me of his story and characterization. He somewhat disapproves of All-Mights bravado so the Kendrick Lamar track Humble was perfect.

I’m a huge fan of Marvel’s Ant-Man so I built one for him full of some cheesey moments, songs with a nod to science too.

If you type almost anything into Spotify search you’re gonna probably get a hit. I found a Castlevania playlist with almost 8 hours of music from the classic video game franchise, including 8-bit renditions and heavy metal versions of the iconic music as well.

My favorite that I’ve been working on is dedicated to Jean Grey and her recent story line from then Phoenix Returns Saga. Issue 11 of the Young Jean Grey and the new launch of X-Men Red was just exciting and I wanted some tunes to capture the new directions for the classic Marvel Comics character.

So checkout some of this stuff on your Spotify or streaming service and build your own based on Fox Mulder or Garfield or whatever. Let me know and I’ll check it out. I even got the rest of the Mid-American-Culture staff on board for our weekly waves as we figure out what would be on Captain America’s iPod so watch out for that. Happy Saturday!

Green Bronco

Mitchell Barnes was working a late shift at the Pasta Compound family restaurant off High Street. He was due to close and be off in a little under an hour. Friday nights meant something to a lot of folks but Mitch was a waiter and the service industry didn’t give a damn about your weekend. Tilda Baylor called Mitch’s phone around 9:30 that evening. She was a neighbor of Earl Barnes, Mitch’s Dad. Earl had been found dead on the front porch late that afternoon.

Mitch took the call quite calmly, he acknowledged Ms. Baylor and assured her he’d be down in the morning. He had camly informed his boss R.J. of his father’s passing and the time he’d need off. R.J. had mentioned that with the weekend and short notice, Mitch was killing him, he then realized what an asshole thing that was to say and told Mitch to be safe traveling.

Exiting the back of the Italian eatery, Mitch bummed a cigarette from the new bus boy Philip, then onwards to the big SUV on the back lot. The old Bronco was nearly 20 years old, forest green with a tan roof and matching details down the side. Mitch’s Grandpa, Jacque had bought for him as a graduation present back in 96. His Grandpa would die a month later of a sudden heart attack. Less than a year after that Mitch’s mother would pass leaving only he and his father Earl.

Mitch had hung onto the green Ford Bronco as a last connection to his family, minus until now his father, but he was as gone too. There was no one left who knew Mitch as he was, when he was young and full of dreams and potential. He was a geeky, nerdy, and emotional boy. He loved books and movies. His mother and grandfather adored him. His father thought he lacked grit and was just kinda weird. Not sacrificing the neighbors cat to Marilyn Manson weird, just rather stay inside and read a book then go fly fishing. Mitch’s comfortable crowd was Vonnegut and The Amazing Spider-Man.

He’d moved to Columbus, 3 hours from home for school. He dropped out of 2 different ones. Mitch wanted to be a writer. He wanted to make things like the books he loved so much. His professors always liked his work and encouraged his efforts. All he’d really done is submitted a few poems to no avail. A wide array of half started notebooks floated around his apartment.

Mitch set behind the well worn steering wheel and felt bad for not crying. Odds are he’d have a good cry later over not crying. Life had some rough cycles. So it goes. The old Ford rumbled to life and carried Mitch home. He’d need to be up early tomorrow, a few beers and some YouTube and he’d need sleep.

The following morning Mitch awoke naturally at 10 minutes till 6. Showered and shaved, he’d found a blue Oxford and paired it with a dark blue tie. He’d wear jeans and a blue blazer. His go to 90’s professor look. His thoughts lingered on seeing his Dad’s pale face. They only lived 3 hours away but hadn’t shared space in over a year. The faithful Bronco was a nightmare on gas mileage and Earl didn’t travel much, usually the liquor store and the gas station for smokes. While walking out the door Mitch grabbed his coffee mug and while passing a bloated book case grabbed a book off a sideways stack. It was Vonnegut’s Jailbird.

Heading out to interstate 270 Mitch pulled into a Speedway gas station. The old Bronco would need a fill up. He’d have to break out the plastic for that. Usually the full size Ford received a full tank at income tax time and then lived a diet of meager twenty-dollars here and there. Going inside the station for a diet Coke he’d spotted the new Marvel movie was featured as a tie in on a bag of nacho chips.

Back to the truck and on South to finish his Dad’s business, Mitch tossed the chips in the passenger seat beside the novel. It would be a day he could use some friends.

The Emperor of Ice Cream

Hello everyone. Hope you all are staying dry on this rainy Saturday in February. Today I’m gonna share one of my favorite poets with you, Wallace Stevens.

Wallace Stevens was born in October 2nd, 1879 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was Harvard Educated and a graduate of the New York Law School. He was a fantastic Modernist American Poet, he spent his life as an insurance agent. He lived 2 lives of sorts. This was especially evident at his funeral in 1955 when a large turn out gathered to pay their respects. Half the crowd were friends from his long professional life. The other half were fans of his poetry. Either side had the full picture of the man in his entirety.

The poem I’m sharing is a study upon a elderly lady’s death and the work about way to which life inevitably goes on. It’s called The Emperor of Ice-Cream.

The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Reviews Through a Friend: At.Long.Last.A.S.A.P. – A.S.A.P. Rocky.

Hello everyone, today I’ll continue with our week long series of reviewing albums our fellow contributors. I got A.S.A.P Rocky’s sophomore album, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP.

I confess prior to this record I had not listened to much of Rocky. That first album was huge and everyone kinda jumped on the bandwagon. Sometimes I’ll see what the fuss is about, but I usually liken to discover artist organically on my own.

I did enjoy A.L.L.A so much I went back to the last album. I ended up prefering the newer release more. I feel like he was free as an established artist to take more chances. I think this album breaks into different genres. It has beats of rock, rap, and soul. I love stories. I love that Rocky can take his unique experiences in life and make it into a journey that I can relate too. He has tales of outsiders, posers, users. He talks of struggling with his faith and the challenges of his career.

There is plenty to dig in on, especially if you notice the tracks with Joe Fox, who had a random, late night encounter with Rocky and ended becoming a protege off the streets in London from slinging mixtapes.

Mos Def whom I love, features on the last track and legendary performer of my parents generation, Rod Stewart appears on Everyday. Actually lots of folks are on this album. M.I.A. has 4 lines on Fine Whine and I enjoyed that so much I spent an afternoon at work listening to a Spotify M.I.A. playlist.

I immensely enjoyed this album and it will for sure be in my regular listening rotation.

Lob a Plasma Gernade For Me: The HALO Series. 

     Happy Christmas weekend everyone, I’ve been back into some serious Halo gaming on my Xbox One over the last few weeks. Love the franchise so much. Hard to believe it’s been around nearly 17 years.  I remember one of my first Black Friday shopping experiences was waiting in line at Best Buy to buy the first one for 20 bucks.  I played through the first game with one of my friends and I had developed infected tonsils near the end of the game.  We were both pretty excited to beat the game but I was running a fever and had missed work. That did not deture my friend Mike. He eventually showed up with a large coffee and we got back to it and eventually saved the galaxy.  Have you played and beat the first Halo? Man what an ending! 

     Eventually Halo 2 came along and it was the first deluxe game I had purchased. It came in a steel case which was a new idea at the time.  The game play had been ratcheted up to allow “dual weild” which was awesome.  Now Master Chief could carry two guns at the same time. Very badass.

     The best new feature of Halo 2 was the broading of the story and cast. The story for part 2 introduced us to the Arbiter. A Elite whom was stripped of his rank as a result of Master Chief’s success in the first game.  The whole story really dug into the extensive back story of the Covenant forces you’d been fighting against to give us their motivations and depth. Plus Energy Swords. Totally love Energy Swords.

     Halo 3 would come along and bring an end to the war between the Covenant and Humanity with Master Chief and his A.I. counter-part Cortana seemingly lost after the battle.  Folks who beat the game on Legendary, the hardest mode, or just watched someone else do it on YouTube knew the Chief had actually survived. 

    The franchise was growing now with  successful games, novels, comics, and toys. An Animated Anthology film called Halo Legends also came out. All giving us new characters and back story, building the Halo Universe.  

     New games were released that no longer starred  the main protagonist Master Cheif. HALO: ODST which was about the everyday troopers who weren’t Spartans and Halo Wars which was a strategy game featuring UNSC and Covenant forces. 

     The most successful of these games without Master Chief was Halo Reach. An astounding game that is often regarded as the best offering in the entire series. The game is a prequel to the series and takes place in the opening battle of the war with the Covenant on the outpost planet of Reach. You take the role of a new member of Noble Team, and elite Spartan fighting force. I’ve been replaying this game a bit lately and was surprised by how well it holds up and looks amazing  on the Xbox One console thanks to backwards capability. 

     Halo Reach would be the last game from series creators Bungie who would go onto make their own series of new games called Destiny.  Master Chief and Halo had become the face of Microsoft’s gaming platform and once Bungie was done Microsoft brought the franchise in house and 343 Studios took over. They delivered the awesome Halo 4 which dealt with a new threat to humanity, the Forerunners. Well actually it wasn’t all the Forrunners just the Didact and his crew of Promethean warriors. 

     Halo 5 Guardians has been the latest release in the series and while the multiplayer is a blast the Campaign mode is kind a meh. It’s 10 missions and you only get to be Master Chief for 3 of those. Mostly you are Spartan Locke played by Mike Colter of Luke Cage and Marvel’ s Defenders fame. For the most part your old buddy Cortana is now the big bad.  Hopefully Halo 6 will make up for 5’s story shortcomings. 

     Halo is alive and well after all this time. The community of fans is large. Microsoft named their personal assistant on their devices Cortana. Loot Crate now offers a bi-monthly Halo Crate which I’ve just subscribed too. Maybe I’ll do a review of that first crate when it arrives. Until then keep your shields up and ammo loaded and have a Merry Christmas. 

Reviews Through a Friend: fireHOSE

Salutations blog folks, this week our bloggers took turns writing reviews of music picked by other contributors. I ended up with a 1986 album called Ragin”, Full-On by fireHOSE, I was 9 when this album came out, I lived through the entire 80’s and had never heard of this album or band. Spotify lists it under alternative, but I feel like it’s more New Wave. I love music. I listened to nearly 30,000 minutes this year according to the aforementioned Spotify, however I truly fucking hated this album.

One of my life goals is to always seek out new music. Find new bands and songs to fill up the background of life. Growing up it seemed like my Dad’s musical tasted stopped about 1987. Early Bon Jovi and late Aerosmith was it for him. His favorite band of all time is Lynard Skynard. He used to rant and rail against my grunge music. He’d fuss at me for Nirvana and Soundgarden being in his words “Outta tune.” I like a lot of weird crap. I love Pavement, no one has ever heard of Pavement that I know of. They had hits, toured with STP and the Pumpkins. Stephen Malkmus would go on to form the Jicks after years of Pavement. So I get liking or loving underground bands. However, I fucking hated fireHOSE. Like I didn’t get it at all. It was like a straight B-52’s wanted to be Devo, with some PHISH jam band funk thrown in. I mean seriously, I’m not really into the talking your lyrics out unless its legit rap.

I honestly couldn’t make it through the whole album. I figured we aren’t Rolling Stone and we don’t get paid for reviews. I mean if I don’t like a book I stop reading it. The crazy thing is that whatever fame FIREHOSE had, they were actually just a follow up band to a more revered, yet equally as unappealing group called The Minutemen. I didn’t listen to them. I picked the two songs with the longest titles for my 2 weekly song picks.

You should give Pavement a spin.