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Rock Band

26 Feb

Because I’m the best.wife.ever (snort), I bought J Rock Band for his birthday.  Now, those of you who know J will realize his birthday isn’t until next week, but the box came to work on Friday, and I hightailed home early in fear of the impending STORM OF THE CENTURY 2, box in tow.  (Note to my coworkers:  I did not participate in any Rock Band playing until 5pm, when the work laptop was shut off.  Really).

Rock Band, for those of you living under a rock/not a 29 year old woman trapped in a sixteen year old’s mind, is like Guitar Hero on steroids.   The giant box contains a game, a microphone, a drum set and a guitar.  Much to my dismay, all components have wires, unlike my snazzy wireless Guitar Hero guitar.  Up to four people can play at a time: two guitars, a drummer and a singer.  Now, if J & I had two friends, we wouldn’t need kiddie games to keep us occupied, but that’s a whole other story. 

There’s a whole new set of songs on Rock Band.  When I read the box and saw that “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was included, I exclaimed, “Sweet!  We’re gonna need a cowbell!”

J loves the drums.  He was a drummer in a previous life, and misses it.  FortunatelyUnfortunately, we don’t have the room/soundproofing to set up a drum set, so this will have to satisfy his inner rock star.  So, he’s in his glory, pounding away.  There are even places in the song where you can freestyle, and he makes it sound good.  I, on the other hand, have no rhythm at all.  Hitting the bass pedal at the same time as hitting the drum (or, heaven forbid, more than one drum) is way more than I can handle. 

So, I chose to sing instead.  As I mentioned, the game comes with a mike.  The mike can magically tell if you’re singing the right words (scrolling across the screen) at the right pitch.  There are times when no words are required, and you can play percussion by tapping the mike against your palm (More Cowbell!!!)  I did particularly well with Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” and now I can sing the actual words, and not just the ones I made up.  (Apologies to the late great Kurt Cobain for my butchering of his song).

The guitar parts seem easier than the songs on Guitar Hero, and I was bummed to learn you can’t play the Rock Band guitar on GH.  You can use the wireless guitar from GH on Rock Band, which is cool.  It would be cooler if we had more friends to play with us though.

So, you locals are invited to visit and play anytime.  And if you’re lucky, I’ll sing for you!  And J will howl like a dog while I sing.  Fun times.

A Rough Few Days

8 Jan

Are you all sitting for this?

My guitar is broken.  Broken!  After two weeks!  The yellow button doesn’t work.  Well, it works sporadically.  And, no, I’m not just missing the notes.   Really. 

This is so frustrating to me, especially considering the fact I dragged my boss’ son’s guitar out at a retirement party and crushed “One.”  Crushed it after 4 drinks, no less.  I had a 267 note streak.  Then I get home, and boom!  No yellow button. 

We tried to play without it, to hit it harder and coax it into working to no avail.  On Sunday night, J declared “I’m not playing this piece of shit until we get a new one.”  And hightailed it to Toys R Us today.  Praise the Lord!

So I have a brandy new guitar and game waiting for me at home.  J is “sick” and probably mastering Medium as we speak.  All I can do is sit at work and try to strengthen my pinky.

 In honor of Guitar Hero being back, here’s a cartoon my friend “Jessi” posted on my My Space page:

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I Rock (Kind Of)

30 Dec

You may remember me pouring out my heart and soul to my faithful readers in an effort to score some cash for Guitar Hero & an XBox (here).  Despite the fact that none of you donated (thanks a lot), Santa brought J & I some cash and Target gift cards for Christmas.  Yay Fat Guy in the Red Suit!

J & I went off to our local Tar-jay on Friday night.  And spent 20 minutes looking at the XBox systems and debating which one we wanted, before deciding that Target just didn’t have the one we wanted, nor did any other Target in Southeastern Massachusetts.  Target did have a spiffy pink controller that I bought myself so we’d be ready when we did find the right system.  Then I spent the rest of the night pouting about not getting the XBox.  When I buy something big, I think about it for awhile, then, when I go to purchase it, I want it right.that.minute.  I know, its a bit Veruca Salt-ish, but whatever.

veruca.jpg

 

The next day, I set out to find the XBox while J was at work.  After four stores in 3 cities, I found it!  At the Walmart 3/4 mile from my apartment.  Where I obviously should have gone first.  I set it up on my own (yellow plug in yellow hole, red plug in red hole, check!), J picked up Guitar Hero 3 on his way home from work, and we were good to go.

After 36 hours of almost non-stop Guitar Hero playing, I can proudly say I am getting better.  I can’t even remember the last time I got booed off stage!  But I have noticed a few things:

One is that I hurt.  My fingers on my left hand from the death grip I have on the neck.  The fingers on my right hand hurt because I think I have to strum with my thumb and hold the bottom of the guitar with my fingers.  And my arm hurts from leaning it against the guitar.  Plus, my contacts are drying out because I’m afraid to blink.  Secondly, I simply can’t do too many things at once.   I can pretty much only handle hitting one button and strumming, and I sometimes even forget to strum.  If I try to lift the neck for star power or use the whammy bar, I miss a note.  Then I made the mistake of trying to sing “When You Were Young” while playing it.  That was not pretty.  I can barely even listen to the music.  Lastly, I can’t even think while playing.  I just have to do it.  If I do well, I get excited and miss the next 20 notes.  I have to stick out my tongue and just go.  And I must stand to be even half way decent.

J is doing much better than I am.  Except when he tries to play drums instead of the guitar.  And he wasn’t to happy with the way he preformed in his battle against Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine).  He has declared war on Slash, though.  He’s a bit of a showoff.  I laugh at him when he does leg kicks and spins, then misses a bunch of notes.  But that’s the game’s fault, of course.

I am a bit worried about him, though.  Even when the game is off, he still sees a moving screen and dots.  It reminds me of when I played a lot of Tetris and would see the squares when I tried to sleep at night.  And speaking of seeing things, our TV is looking kind of tiny.  We’ll need a HD Plasma soon.  I’ll get the Pay-Pal set up right away.

Rock on! 

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Updated: Right after I posted this, I got booed off stage during “One” by Metllica.  And “Cult of Personality.”  I felt like I had to confess my failure to you all.

A Plea to My Faithful Readers

27 Nov

Dearest Readers of Lord, Beer Me Strength,

As a child, I spent many nights listening to my dad’s band practice in the basement.  No, my dad is not quite as cool as Eddie Van Halen or even Eminem, but he does have a really good voice.  He can also play the keyboard, guitar and accordion very well, despite not being able to read sheet music and sometimes making up lyrics as he goes along.  I’m sure he would have loved if one of his kids had half the musical talent he has.

I have never been coordinated enough to play an instrument, so I thought I could be a good singer.  I was in the church choir.  An older girl once told me I was flat, and I thought, “I thought I had decent boobs for a twelve year old.”  I graduated to high school choir.  Picture, if you will, a bunch of white suburban kids in hideous green robes singing spirituals.  It wasn’t a pretty sound.  I was always a terrible singer, not that I ever sang loud enough for anyone to actually hear me after that flat comment.

Now, though, I have a chance to make my father proud.  The good people at some game company have answered my prayers: Guitar Hero. 

All you need to do to “learn” how to play the guitar is press some color coded buttons and strum a bar.  Its a child’s game, really.  But its hard.  Not quite as hard as Dance, Dance Revolution, which involved moments of my life I’d rather not relieve. 

I’ve only played twice.  I need more practice.  But that means I need an XBox 360 and the game.  Oh, and the guitar.  That’s like $500 worth of toys for an adult trying to buy a house. 

This is where you all come in.  I’ll set up a PayPal account, and you can all donate whatever disposable income you have just hanging around, I can get Guitar Hero, get good and rock out with my dad’s band at the restaurant/God’s waiting room he plays at, and we’ll all be happy.  Sound good?

Smooches!

Julie