Frank Ocean and Channel Orange

transition from working in coloring books, to drawing pictures on a blank piece of paper must be a *bitch to little kids. When you work in the predefined lines of a coloring book you can safely make awesome shit. You can make some very realistic flowers in a field, or get Super Troopers  drug hallucination inspired and make pictures of purple elephants frolicking in green rivers. With either approach to coloring you benefit from those set lines. You have a base idea what the final outcome is going to look like. The first time your parents hand you a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper, you have no idea what it’s going to end up looking like. It’s a small act of bravery to begin TRYING to draw. Your attempt at making an elephant can easily end up looking like an illustrated guide to a womens vajay jay. That’s a frighteningly age inappropriate reality for kids that still find Yo Gabba Gabba to be a compelling show.

The Hip Hop and R&B game, stays firmly in the world of “coloring books”. Most albums fall into very predictable subject matter and execution. There’s songs for making love, songs about falling in love, songs about falling out of love, and songs celebrating human anatomy. There’s some autotune, maybe a club joint from some Swedish pop singer. The execution varies slightly, but at the end of the day, you know what the album will sound like. Channel Orange—Frank Ocean’s debut album, throws back to the more adventurous days of R&B. Back in the days, dudes made seven minute long R&B jams about life that could double as progressive rock songs and mad people conceive babies while listening to it.

From the opening track “Start”, a sound collage of everything from an iPhone text message noise to heavy breaths to Street Fighter 2 soundtrack music, you realize you’re on some different shit. The album begins with “Thinking ‘Bout You” a delicately sung, slow burning song that expands the sentiment of childhood “do you like me” notes into an examination of newfound love. It’s the sort of track young girls want to hear on mixtapes given to them by dudes they have crushes on. But, the dudes they have crushes on don’t have the courage to rock joints like this until it’s no longer age appropriate to lead with mixtapes. Such is the tragedy of young love. While this is standard fare for an R&B album, a couple of songs later you get a suite of songs “Sweet Life,” “Super Rich Kids” and “Not Just Money” that unravel a story of privileged black kids enjoying a life of luxury. These are totally songs you could make babies to (“Sweet Life” especially feels like some old D’Angelo shit) but it’s an odd lyrical choice to focus in on the black upperclass for the middle third of your debut album, yet it fits with the young love theme of “Thinking ‘Bout You.” Odder still, is the decision to have one of these songs work off of a piano melody that sounds a lot like Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.”  

The rest of the album is similarly out there in a low key way. “Monks” features some odd metaphors about moshing monks and instrumentation that brings to mind Stevie Wonder as played by Phrenology era Roots.  The combination of “Bad Religion” and “Pink Matter” is an OD level melancholy testament to unrequited love and longing, but it also sounds a lot like a Jon Brion (early Fiona Apple producer/Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind composer) jam, with all that melodic melodrama preserved.

While Channel Orange has a lot of jams on it and beautiful lullaby compositions, it’s also incredibly brave and nuanced. For a first album (depending on what you consider Nostalgia Ultra it shows an assuredly distinct and mature musical voice. This is one of the first R&B albums in recent memory that plays out as a whole instead of a collection of singles. It’s clear that whether it be on Tumblr or in his music, Frank Ocean isn’t afraid to make bold and defining statements. Judging by Channel Orange, they’ll all turn out pretty well for him.


I asked one of our artists (Bruze Wayne) to do a write up about this like 2 months ago…needless to say he dropped the ball on this one…way to go buddy! 

With The Dark Knight Rises out theatres, the massive amount of Batman titles that were relaunched with The New 52, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Caped Crusader. Thumbing through some of the new Batman comics, it struck! my what a good job that various writers have done with the various incarnations of the Boy Wonder, and how all of them still figure heavily and effectively into the Batman story. There is, of course, the OG, Dick Grayson, the first and most basically iconic Robin. But has he perhaps become more well known as the very strong character Nightwing?

Then there is Jason Todd, the at first beloved and then later loathed replacement for Master Grayson, who was famously voted into death at the hands of the Joker by the American public in Death In the Family. He has, however, returned in full force as Red Hood, and is a major part of Under the Red Hood, one of the best recent Batman Projects. Or maybe you’re more into the charismatic brainiac Tim Drake, who was ward for over 20 years and is now Red Robin. Let’s not forget the “Spoiler” and daughter of the Cluemaster Stephanie Brown. For all you fans of 13 year old school girls we have Carrie Kelley and finally we have the current Robin, Batman and Talia Al-Ghul’s borderline sociopath teenage son Damian Wayne. All great, but you know how this game works. The game is simple. I pick the candidates. you choose the winner. it’s so simple.

Dawson and I are sooooo sorry…

I feel like I’ve betrayed the family or something.  It’s like I was an integral part of some cult in the mid-west that worshiped sporks and a week ago I stood up and said, “Spoons are supreme!,” and have since been banished from the camp grounds.  Well, perhaps maybe not that extreme of an example but you more or less feel where I’m coming from.  I left the loyal readers waiting in vain in my absolute best Bob Marley impression and for that my friends I truly apologize.So now I have to come back to my familiar post, but this time on bent knee asking the humble followers for their forgiveness with wilted roses, mostly sincere apologies, and big things SSB things on the horizon.

On that note, I’m back until the next impromptu vacation and back to wreck some havoc.

San Diego Comic Con Day 0 Haul

What do Black Widow, X-23, and Batman have in common?  WE OWN THEM.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Unfortunately our boxes are still wrapped, so the pictures will come later.  🙂

Something’s off about X-23 though.  Why is she smiling?  Isn’t Laura Kinney supposed to be the 2nd best at what she does?  Killing?

Practice: The Legend of Zelda Symphony of The Goddesses by San Diego Symphony.

we caught the San Diego Symphony practice one day before concert at Comic Con 2012, In advance I apologize for the quality as everything was improvised and caught us by surprise. we had technical difficulties with people messing with the equipment before the end of one of the song. never the less, please enjoy this exclusive!

San Diego Comic Con Entry #2 – Then and now.

My first comic con that I can remember going to was back in 1996.  I slept over at my buddy Ryan L.’s house, along with our homie Felix R.  Y’see, growing up I wasn’t much of an athletic kid, and most of my classmates from elementary and junior high school can attest to that.  So I hung out with the geeks.  Felix, Ryan, Nick, Daniel, and Mario.  We all hung out and talked about videogames, comics, and the Simpsons.  Manga and Anime wasn’t really big yet, and my powerlevel was way stifled.

I can remember being so giddy with anticipation that the three of us could barely sleep.  We did spend the night talking about girls too.  Let’s face it, you’re in junior high.  What else are you going to talk about?

When Ryan’s mom drove us to comic con, we were dropped off.  We then got in line to get our passes, and it was a walk-in affair.  We even got to write on our badges.  And once we got through the other big line into the actual convention hall, we were in our geek mecca.  COMIC CON.

We were packed in with thousands of fellow geeks, all looking for the latest issues of Gen 13, Bloodshot, and the X-Men.  Man, Felix loved Gen 13.  Ryan was more mainstream in his comic tastes.  Me?  I really didn’t know any better so I just went with what was popular.    I was just happy to be with my friends.

I can remember that the con wasn’t as big as it is now. The convention wasn’t as Hollywood.  It felt…cozier.  Warm.  Calm.  Sure it was crowded, but nothing like today.  There was no hall H, no Twilight, no Game of Thrones, no Nolan North Batman movies.  Just…comics.  And lots of comics.

Things have changed. 16 years later, I’m a creative professional and I’ve got a comic of my own.  Ryan’s got a family now, Felix is into film (I think).  We may have gone our own separate ways, but the memories of that first Comic Con, and of my friends, those will last a lifetime.


San Diego Comic Con entry #1 – “Maybe the end’s the start that we need.”

Shit just got real.

This story never gets old.  A while back, I had to make a tough choice.  Girlfriend’s cousin’s 21st birthday in Vegas, or San Diego Comic Con?  I chose the comic con, and because of my indecision, I was only able to get passes for that Sunday.  This was back in 2008.  I vowed to never make that mistake again.  (And on that note, who the fuck schedules anything during Comic Con that’s not Comic or pop culture related?  AWAY FROM SAN DIEGO?!  Some people deserve roundhouse kicks to the head.  Multiple times.)  Unfortunately, my girlfriend then decided that it was time to call it quits, and we broke up…wait, that was exactly 4 years ago today.  Holy shit, time flies.

Nowadays, I find myself at the helm of a comic solutions group that’s full of ideas.  I’m also writing for the Korea Daily magazine and  I’ve met tons of amazing people and there’s no sign of stopping.  I’m happy, I can legitimately say that.

Now while Rolando works on the Strawberry Scented Burnout: Taekwondo manhwa and Beau works on Strawberry Scented Burnout: Chapter 1, I’d like to take a few moments to say thanks to my team.  I’m only sorry that the application process didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped.  I don’t know what happened during the application process, but I’ll try my hardest next year, so Justin and Eileen, I’m willing to go through that application process again with you guys.  Hell, it’ll be my turn to reverify, so I’ll be in the same boat :P.

Back to more pressing business:

  •  I’m still working on my comic con schedule.  I’m probably gonna be networking and trying to show the comic off.  Any panels you’d like to see covered?
  • Parties?  I figure Eileen will know where to go, so check out her guide.
  • I’m gonna get a California Burrito and drink at Lolita’s Bar with Captain Justy.
  • Planning on acting stupid with my friends.  Like always.
  • Stupid Networking?  In the industry lounge?  IT’S A LOT EASIER THAN I THINK.
  • I’ll be wearing my bunny ears.  Just like always.  Be sure to say hi if you see me!
  • So yeah, Team Mixed Nuts will try its best to cover the Comic Con.  We can’t cover everything, even with our 4-man infiltration squad.

Real talk though, there’s probably gonna be plenty of this.

In closing, I just want to say thank you.  You people inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing, ‘cuz I’d rather live my life as a proud geek than a caged bird.

Negatron’s Broken Joystick: Power Stone

Oh holy crap! did I pour an insane amount of hours into this game. Why? because it delivered a coherent and endless entertaining fighting mechanic that was truly novel, maintaining the essence of a 2D fighter and seamlessly adapting it to a 3D arena. I actually had two long periods of play with this game, an initial one upon it (and it’s sequel’s) releases, then a renaissance if you will throughout high school and college.

A party game par excellence, Power Stone features great characters who have relatively simple fighting styles, but the variety is introduced in the levels and items. Opening up the player space as they did, including multiple levels and interactive objects, was outrageously invigorating. More than any other discontinued fighting franchise this game is just purely so damn fun to play. I would love for them to make a new one, but i doubt it…WAY TO GO CAPCOM!