I’m sorry I haven’t been writing in ages.
In fact I haven’t picked up my stick outside of CCH for almost two months. Something weird is happening to me. Am I finally losing my drive for fighting games? This is the year where I’ve watched the least amount of streams (almost zero) and done the least amount of training mode.
I still enjoy playing at events, I enjoy picking blue or black gi Ryu and playing footsies and chucking plasma. I still love smacking out an anti-air Fierce DP as hard as humanly possible.
I’ve almost completely transitioned out of a “must improve constantly” mindset where I used to always have SF on my mind, thinking of what new nugget to work on in training mode. How to improve my Magneto movement.
At PAX this month I went and helped out at the CouchWarriors booth. I did some Learn to Play sessions, teaching some kids how to play Marvel, and ran the UMVC3 tournament. Most of all- I just had fun playing! Plink dashing around the screen, chucking Magnetic blasts downwards at my scurrying opponents, hitting the assist button with my little pinky to get them encapsulated within Cold Star…It was all immense fun.
Perhaps I’ve finally found myself in the stage where playing is almost 100% pure pleasure now. I care less and less about my potential prowess in tournaments these days.
I went to OHN13 a few months ago and had a great time. I played a ton of casuals, ate almost four-five times a day – giant bowls of ramen:And had an amazing burger called the “Blame Canada” Burger with maple glazed streaky bacon, poutine & maple aioli: It was so good that – I shit you not- by the time I had finished taking this picture, Andrew aka Vitriol aka Vitty Paz had already finished his burger, and was walking back to the bar to order a second one!
See you might ask- why does a shitty Ryu player travel so much to interstate majors?
This is why.
It was fun watching MKX get hype with Arnold vs Googie, and spending time with everyone. We also got Rossco his tourney haircut at this Abba-iest barber place I’ve ever seen:
And we had like ten people in our double hotel rooms, Xavier (the Sydney Guile player), Falco, Baxter, Danny, Mooseking, Steve, Reece, Andrew, Rossco, Bun, Nat, George, Dayne and I probably even forgot a few people. Everyone was playing casuals, drinking, smoking, playing cards against humanity, talking about TV shows and politics and women till 4AM. It was amazing.
Except when Ross, Vitty and I would wake up in the morning and attempt to clean the giant mess of cigarette tips, KFC wrappers and trash left behind every night! Haha.
I also remember this weird memory. We went out with the MKX crowd after one night and it was 1am. There was literally no choice of where to go eat except fast food. The group was trying to decide where to go, Hungry Jacks or KFC. And this one guy was going”no” to every suggestion, saying he’d just went to that place the night before, much to the group’s growing frustration. Turns out this dude ate KFC, Macdonald’s, Hungry Jacks, O-porto all in the space of one day??? I had no idea OHN was supposed to be a fast-food mega-tour…
Also, a lot of people know that one of my biggest hang-ups is that I cannot sing when at karaoke. Something deep inside of me reaches out its dark tendrils and physically prevents me from doing it. When I go with my friends I can’t sing with a microphone in my face. And I’ve been to the OHN karaoke for a few years now (Carlos’ singing was godlike) and enjoyed myself immensely watching guys sing Shania Twain’s “I feel like a woman”, drinking and partying. But I can’t sing!
This year Youssef and literally five other guys held me down and put the mic in my mouth and I still couldn’t sing! I am a huge wuss. I wonder if I can conquer this annoying hang-up one day.
I actually did pretty ass in the tournament. I went 0-2 in everything. In SFIV I lost to a Gen player because my anti-air went walkabout (but returned during casuals, go me) and a Dan player who had his entire family- his wife and kids there. I will admit to checking out his hot wife a few times but I got bodied fair and square, the dude was good with the Saikyo. And his kids were jumping up cheering for him…it was sweet to see actually. Wait…I lost?
In UMVC3 I went 0-2 too. In my deciding game against a Sydney player, I suddenly discovered that I intermittently could not do tri-jumps with Doctor Doom. This was quite worrying in the middle of the match, but I put it down to my fimble execution and tried to win the match with an Ammy comeback. By the end I was screwing up LMH hit confirms to boot.
Later on I discovered my stick’s M button had become intermittent. I thought the JLF had been busted when I was testing tri-dashes with Doom afterwards, but it was because the M button was wonky. (I dash with Doom with L+M). I was initially quite pissed, because I thought by lending my stick to Burnout previously was why the JLF was busted. But I realised it was the button, and it had cut out to no-one’s fault. It was just super annoying that it had to happen mid-match. And I was super salty.
This is actually the second time I’ve had a stick malfunction mid-match. I had a JLF malfunction during my match with bcvw at SS a few years back too. Why Sanwa gods why?? Why have thou forsaken me…
Anyway despite sucking in tournament, I had a great time at OHN. It was almost a surreal experience at one point too because we were cracking jokes with the artwork at OHN:
And then we got on the plane to go back to Melbourne. When we landed, Tony Abbott was no longer Prime Minister of Australia. And onions were everywhere on Facebook. It was epic.
I was enjoying myself. So long, you fucking jackass.
Who knew that Yuven (who made that Bison picture) was a goddamn prophet!
Another unexpected great time that I had at OHN was surprise…on commentary!
If you know me you know that I am very camera shy and that I hate the sound of my own voice. So I have never, ever felt the urge to jump in front of the camera and go on commentary in all the years I’ve been in the FGC.
But Weng had been trying to persuade me to pair up with him for a double Beng commentator combo at OHN. I was pretty reluctant…but I said what the hell, and signed up for it.
So on the Saturday Goodpart called us over and I sat down next to Weng, feeling trepid and quavery. But you know- it’s Weng. When the two of us are together, invariably some comedy happens or I get humiliated.
I felt myself letting go…and “Thirsty Spice” emerged.
I started shit-talking ZG and Yun players, professing my undying hate for the cheap command-grabbin’ HK bastard, and grousing about everyone and everything like the grumpy old man I am. I started letting the spice flow…letting my unquenchable thirst wash over the microphone, to the point where Weng was cracking up trying to hold me back! It was fun.
I never thought I would ever say this. But I had a ton of fun doing commentary. (With you, Weng.)
…If you guys were watching the stream at the time, I sincerely apologise.
Some people asked me, how come I didn’t bring my camera and mics this time. Well, it’s simply because it’s too much work.
When I was doing the Community series, I would bring my camera and gear over on the plane, and spend most of my time at the venue shooting B-roll, trying to capture the elusive pop-offs, and you know, working all the time!
But why am I paying hundreds of dollars to fly interstate and not do the things which I enjoy doing most at majors- playing games and hanging out with friends.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing the filming stuff, it’s fun and a learning experience which I enjoy. But I figured I would put away the gear this year when I travel and really enjoy the hell out of the majors to balance out with 2015 bodying me in my personal life.
That said, I have been working on a new series for CouchWarriors. I was thinking of doing a ranbat recap series inspired by the old X-report by Ali. Where they would go over results, interview the winners of tournaments, and I thought I would add more behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews of the CouchWarriors staff. So I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, but I was stuck on a name.
So I started asking on twitter for names, and dudes like Igor and HeavyWeapons were taking punts. Eventually the name I liked the most: Fuck Yo’ Couch from that Chappelle skit, was way too un-pc for a CouchWarriors show. So Igor suggest Stuff Yo’ Couch which had a double meaning and a bit of a local flavour and can be taken to mean a bunch of different things, like perhaps to supplement your CouchWarriors experience.
Anyway, that became the name, and I hunted down Rossco to do the audio intro for it (cos I knew he would produce a godlike soundbite) and asked my friend Anya to make graphics for me. And away we went…
I’ve tried yesterday to calculate the hours it takes to make an episode. First I gotta go to the event with my gear and shoot B-roll throughout the day, and shoot interviews.
Then I gotta go home and label every piece of footage, and edit the audio recordings on my Zoom h4n, editing out noise and plosives and editing the sound signature a bit to make the vocals pop. The plosives take ages man! Why haven’t I bought wind filters until now.
Then I start editing the interviews, trying to make them snappier and chopping out unnecessary bits, and scouring the net for supplementary photos or media. I add the subtitles for my questions and save those files.
Then I gather my footage and begin composing the introduction. Usually I have no idea how to make a coherent sequence but it seems to fall together in the end. Finding a good piece of music for the intro is the trickiest bit. Usually if I have that already, sequencing video along to the audio track is quite easy. It’s just finding the right music piece that is hard. (And sometimes Youtube’s copyright software gets in the way and I have to find another music track.)
Luckily in the last few months I have been listening to a ton of music, so I’ve been swimming in music that inspires me and leads me down paths to find good pieces for the videos. It can be hard – I need instrumental tracks for the main body of the videos, and the music will affect the mood if it’s too elegaic or crystalline. Usually something with a chill groove is perfect. And you guys already know my predisposition towards funk rock.
I’ve actually been listening to a lot of psychedelic rock like Tame Impala (who were bloody awesome in person, the smell of weed was everywhere in the venue haha) and the Flaming Lips. But most of their stuff is too spacey to use for this web series.
I’m still a giant noob when it comes to video. Composing shots and colour balance being my two biggest weaknesses. I have zero formal education. Just point and pray, I guess.
So I reckon every video I make takes at least 20-30 hours all up by the time it is completed. But it’s fun learning. I hope I never lose the zest for learning. I know I’m a rank amateur with this stuff, and should try to view it as a useful exercise as well as good content for CouchWarriors.
What Stuff Yo’ Couch made me realise is that I should not lose sight of what I think my central skill is- writing.
Playing around with video and audio…it’s fun. But I should try to keep my writing muscles in shape. And I will try.
Because words have been my constant companion through the twisted passageway of time. They elevate my consciousness and at the same time, bring me down to earth.