Author Archives: jesusgaray

Confabula Rasa – A (Poetic) Review

So I received a test copy of Emma Larkins’ game Confabula Rasa today. From her page, it is an ” a cooperative word construction and storytelling game” where players take the role of kids who found scraps of paper in a creepy house in the woods. The way you win is that you have to figure out the story on the paper or the ghosts will get ya.

Now, I can’t give a review of the actual game, as it is a minimum of two players and I’m missing one. When we spoke earlier she also wanted to know if it’d also work as an idea-generating/solo storytelling tool. I kept that in mind when she asked if I would test the game.

Picking Apart The Scraps – First Try

I’m working on a personal poem side-project I’m keeping under wraps for now. I’m working on it at a strict rule of three and three lines per day. I wanted to see what the card “scraps” could do in generating ideas for lines. For the sake of my sanity and simplicity, I tossed the rulebook aside (sorry Emma!) and kept it to five cards:

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I’d written one line earlier after noticing something from the design of tiled walls:

unique is a blue diamond –

and worked from there. The first word that came to me was the first I saw staring at me – sed, or thirst in Spanish. I jotted it down and went on my way as I scanned for what else came from this tangle of mangled letters.

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This is where I made my first break using Confabula Rasa in Idea Mode. I found the word “crack”, which became pivotal to the line. From there I found other words – “dives”, “disarm”, “match”, “altar”, and “bed” -which eventually became the three lines I needed:

unique is a blue diamond –

cracked tiles forming entry

to an altar that matches a bed

Picking Apart The Scraps – Second Try

I used the Confabula Rasa rules this time to work on on a complete six-line poem this time around. I set up the deck as the rulebook said and dealt card. I started with the first word I formed, “one”, and went on from there. out came a logorrhea mess.

 

I was stumped for a while, so I actually had to use one of the mechanics of the game, the Power Card and played it so I could discard the card in my hand so I could play another. I found the product more creative but slightly rough and in need of an edit, so I won’t post it. It was interesting that I had to resort to the Power Card in order to keep going.

Additional Thoughts

Confabula Rasa as a creative engine shows these peculiar signs of promise if you aren’t inclined to play, or just don’t have a buddy on deck and feel like making a game of your own. Work along the rules still produces a playing experience of its own, and there’s enough there to make homebrew stuff.

I wish I could check out the entirety of Emma’s design right now, but from what I could do with it, I would recommend it as a novel way of thinking up new ideas. Writers looking for more unorthodox writing prompts can really cook up something with the scraps hidden in Emma’s cards.

I found an old tarot card deck that I might mix with this and make a Confabula Tarot mashup and see what I can do with it. But I do recommend this for an atmospheric experience with friends and family.

 

 

 

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The Gears Are Spinning

Something I’ve been working on for a few months is finally making its way out of design documents. I’ll put up some updates as it comes along.

A Lost Generation No More

A post shared by Jesus Garay (@the_jesusgaray) on

 

A few minutes ago I was of a generation that saw the World Cup qualifiers as a gloomy cloud. Now, I can finally take that away from me. VAMOS PERU A RUSIA CONCHESUMADRE.

Epil(NaNoWri)epsy Month Thoughts

November is an interesting month for me, personally. I always try the NaNoWriMo thing (never completing, because it’s just not something that works for me but hey it’s fun). But also that it’s also Epilepsy Awareness Month (because that that’s not so fun, but hey, it completes me as the person I now am).

One day, I probably should combine the two. But I don’t know how. Some ideas have popped into my head, but they’ve all come out like both writing a novel or having a seizure – erratic, auric, and confusing. In the meantime I’ll just ramble on this month, working on both with one on haikumixtape and the other perhaps here, perhaps on things that will never see the light of day.

My Cosplay Pics From NYCC 2017

My time at New York Comic-Con this year was pretty low-key. Didn’t go to any panels or take as many photos as I regularly do, but I still had a lot of fun taking them. Here are my faves.

Festival in Reverse

These were the best photos that came out of the chaotic fun I had at Governors Ball NYC I had last weekend. I saw around 19-ish acts, give or take a few more.

 

The interesting highlights were explaining Wu-Tang to a Guatemalan guy from LA who’d never heard of them, discussing US politics with a Canadian before the Avalanches set, and shutting down some punk kid who said he didn’t “respect” DJs.

As to why this was in reverse. It was after the Wu-Tang show that it occurred to me. I had started listening to them and by extension all of their work in earnest when I was in college. Flume, who I saw the night before, was now.  Tool who I saw on Sunday was emblematic of my teen years. It was as if I watched what I have been listening to for the last fifteen years in reverse, right in front of me. An oddly cathartic and spiritual feeling.

ello, guvna

So, I heard that ello, the ad-free minimalist social media platform, has become a sort of deviantART/Colossal hybrid. I probably linked to my old account in the past, but I’ve decided to use it as a way to post some of my older work in a new place, and as a new avenue for Haiku Mixtape as well.

I also have my first patron on the HM Patreon as well. Why don’t y’all kick in a buck, there’s a few exclusive haiku I’ve put in there already.

I’m on Patreon Now, Too

Patreon

Here’s the link.

The Post Millennial Top Five Albums of 2016

This year’s been rather crappy, no? People dying, authoritarian rising, all that jazz. Still, there were enough tunes throughout these 366 days that I could put up my yearly list. So, onwards with the Top 5 (would love to know your favorite albums from this year, btw).

Rihanna – Anti

The best way to describe Anti is that it’s Rihanna’s mirror, a subdued personal whisper with her best vocal work to date. There is the kind of Rihanna you expect from in “Work” and its ability to spill dancehall into the club. But this is a full-listen album. What starts with the electro-cool of “Consideration” ends with the intimacy in the ballad “Closer to You”. The ride between is Rihanna is her badass and vulnerable par excellence worth a good listen.

Anti is a departure to her normal work, that’s undeniable. There’s electro-R&B cuts like “Needed Me” and “Desperado” There’s also the ambition in putting a Tame Impala song on the album and melding it into superbly in “Same Ol’ Mistakes”.

Favorite Song: “Love on the Brain” pushes Rihanna’s voice to her full potential. The spirit of doo-wop and heartbreak conjure this constant shift between a vulnerable hush and despondent howl.

Flume – Skin

His debut was vibrant, the soundtrack of nighttime wonderland and the festival grounds rumbling with sonic glee. Skin brings Flume into another territory, a richer sound that uses the mix of garage, pop and hip-hop sensibilities, making a richer sound than can be expected from a dance album. It’s ethereal and glitchy at times (“Take A Chance”), and brusque and dreamlike in others (“Wall Fuck”).

He takes R&B-infused bass and uses it to make a glitched-out love song in “Say It”. A proof of that previously mentioned juxtaposition is in Kučka’s quiet by hypnotic voice mixed with Vince Staple’s verses in “Smoke & Retribution”.

Favorite Song: “Never Be Like You” is Flume’s attempt at an R&B jam mastered to its finest point. Kai’s voice moves between breathless and immediate, bringing her lyrics of forgiveness the right levels it needs.

 

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

So many hip-hop albums were already crowned AOTY by the time ATCQ released We Got It From Here… but it’s fashionably late release still went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest albums of the year. It’s tough to make a rap album with the bloated socially conscious rap scene that exists today. Q-Tip, Jarobi White and the late Phife Dawg were not held back by this and still made song after song that mirrored the topics of black America over Q-Tip’s signature beats.

And the beats are interesting. They’re modern but are still made from the DNA of the golden age of hip-hop. Does it make it dated? Perhaps, but compare the work on a song like “Melatonin”, which has a vibe similar to those from previous albums, to “Solid Wall of Sound,” which meshes Elton John and Jack White into this trippy space filled with pseudo-patois rhymes. There are so many songs that retain the spirit the group has had since its beginning but don’t sound like they’re phoning it in.

Favorite Song: “We The People…” is perfect “fuck your gentrification” hip-hop. I can sound a bit on-the-nose but that’s the way Tribe’s always been. Q-Tip and Phife trade verses laying out the problems people of color have are having at the moment, over a simple drum-and-bass ride, and it works so goddamn well.

Savages – Adore Life 

Never has an album talk about the vulnerability of love sound like it’ll kick you in the face. The London quartet laid bare what it means to love and live as a woman in this world but in a harsh, somber sound. They’re love songs set to the tune of the roses on fire.

Jehnny Beth’s pervasive goth-like haunting captures the dark romanticism, while Gemma Thompson’s and Ayse Hassan’s post-punk burn provide the engine for Adore Life‘s ominous voice. Fay Milton’s drum work brings the necessary urgency on songs like “Evil” and “Sad Person”.

Favorite Song: “The Answer” is love distilled in chaotic form. It starts with a seething riff and Beth’s wail of “If you don’t love me…” before unleashing a volley of violent drums and relentless lyrics on the inquisition of passion. Love is the answer, but the question is turbulent.

David Bowie – Blackstar

Danny Brown, whose album is on my honorable mentions, said something regarding Blackstar that we both share. He said how Bowie died to make the album it scared him. That wasn’t the case for me. I found it beautiful that David Bowie left the Earth on his terms, leaving one last statement and version of himself that we had never seen.

We’d seen the alien, the Berliner, the pop star, the modern reinventor, the elder statesman. On Blackstar we are in the private room with Bowie the Phantom Ascendant. You can hear that on the title track and in his voice throughout. There’s a particularly haunting part on the outro to “Dollar Days” where Bowie says “I’m dying to…” in repetition. In retrospect, it has a stronger meaning we should keep to our hearts.

Favorite Song: “Lazarus” was amazing for two reasons. First, of course, it’s the perfect swan song of a man comfortable with his coming end. Second, it actually makes jazz rock sound modern and relevant.

Honorable Mentions

Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

DJ Shadow – The Mountain Will Fall

A Tribe Called Red – We Are the Halluci Nation

Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

Frank Ocean – Blonde

Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3

 

 

 

My New Weapons For NaNoWriMo

Quick blog post. Doing the NaNoWriMo thing again, going to crash and burn most likely, but there is one thing that has helped me in the two weeks prior to it.

The first is my main addiction which is of course Tumblr. The scene is…interesting at times, especially because I really feel out of place from it a lot of the time. And that’s what keeps me coming back – looking into a petri dish of social commentary, fandom and assorted nonsense that’s intriguing to me. So, that’s where I’m getting my inspiration from.

Second has to do with the thing I started two weeks ago. I’ve been working for a client that has me working at breakneck speeds for writing articles. At first I didn’t really think I could write a 500+ word  article in under 1-2 hours but apparently I can? and I’m getting faster – I wrote one under 40 minutes in sheer panic of the deadline yesterday.

So, that means, under concentration, I can hit the 1667-a-day pace for the 50,000 goal this month in about….6 hours. But, because the closest thing to research I’m using is riffing off Tumblr, it really won’t take that long.

I wrote 400 words when I woke up this morning, actually. From 4 Tumblr posts, completely dismantled to fit the narrative. All in…what, half an hour? This might work, maybe.

Expect updates. Happy writing.