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Messages - Manimal

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Music / The Manimal's Music (NEW SONG)
« on: Today at 10:21:41 AM »
Finally I broke out my white shorts and white shirt look yesterday, which means it's almost the best season of the year at last. When the snow is gone it's ice cap season and when June hits it's Orangina season also. Thank God to. This is the funnest rock song I've made since last August. It's a quality to my music that has been lost in the seasons. I think it's emerged better than before.

I'm way to proud of the line "they turned him into teriyaki. Yama, Mioski pierogi". Like it's not clever why did I think I was genius for this. Anyway a fun rock n' roll song, and only the third time I've gone full Ac/Dc for the riff. "Idol Eyes" (I hate that song title so much, I wanna punch my February 2017 self for many reasons and that is one) and "Don't Drink My Ice Cap" being the other times. Every single time I pick up a guitar I go G, D, A out of habit, it's just automatic. So I made a riff of that simple as it is, but whatever. *Let's ignore how hard it rips off "Rock Your Heart Out" but hey that progression is A, G, D that song also has one of Malcolm and Angus' coolest interplays in the verse"*


MR Pub / Re: Chit Chat 2018
« on: May 20, 2018, 01:16:10 AM »
I posted an ad online about joining a band, got some replies. Mostly boring people. I refuse to jam with metal heads, stoners and people who like Pink Floyd. Though at this point in my life it seems I refuse to even want to jam with any people ever. I've sent a couple people my tunes and like reasonable humans they didn't reply afterward. But one guy was like "guitars are good, vocals not a fan" but then he was all "can we write music together?". My heart was-a-pumping but then I decided to not reply. Too many factors online. Of course the prospect makes me nervous as well. Someone says "want to jam" and I'm stressing, I think big picture like we're basically forming a band right now and starting on our first album. In everything in life I don't want to waste my time and bother with flakes. If we jam we're making our first song the first day we meet, and recording that thing right away. I'm just going to keep hoping for some kind of magical encounter in real life until it's time for something else.

Music / Re: 2018 In Music
« on: May 18, 2018, 08:09:43 AM »
Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel 

Remember everything that made Courtney seem interesting on her debut? Her second album is not that. It's 10 mopey grey songs firmly in cased in the generic indie sound. It does the slow thing, the noisy thing, but only in a couple moments does it do a good thing haha. Certainly it's an album meant to feel this way to reflect it's themes, but it lacks any real bite, even in it's most aggressive moments. Much like the dull album she did with Kurt Vile last year. She just kind of Lou Reeds a good chunk of the thing, especially with her very predictable rhymes. The song with Kim & Kelley Deal is the best. On her debut there was an interesting character with her lyrics, very detailed and rambly. If one wants a very rainy album then it works, but for me it's just boring. A typical modern indie bore.

Kero Kero Bonito's latest single "Time Today" is good, the music video especially. This new aesthetic is kind of trendy with the VHS quality, but the concept and all the shots in this video are so...unsettling. There are actually a lot of really cool shots here. Musically I really like this track to, the upbeat drums and all the details instrumentally. Of course Sarah's vocals are great as normal. This next album will be very different...I hope it'll be interesting.
Also what, I didn't think Palm could even play their songs live. You mean to tell me those crazy tropical sounds are guitars? Jeez, I finally listened to the album again yesterday and ya it's just mad. It's so new. "Composite" is definitely my favorite track and watching it in that video is just...what is this band man.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 17, 2018, 09:04:28 PM »
Ya I'll check that out to. I've been listening to all the takes of "Good Vibrations" from the Smile Set for the last hour. Listening to demos has never felt as satisfying as this. Even as one of 90 hours, you hear so much change, and I love hearing Brian produce and speak to the musicians. Tommy has good guitars and composition for sure, but in a way it felt like Pete Townshend playing awesome rhythm guitar for 75 minutes and then some other stuff is thrown on top. and ya songs like "Cousin Kevin" are simply...unnecessary. It will be a bit before I feel like listening to Quadrophenia...but it's only 5 minutes longer...No beating Who's Next indeed.

Certainly this phase is back, all stuff to check out for sure. I hadn't listened to Pet Sounds for nearly all of 2017, and when I finally put it on again after marathoning the Beats discography last month it all came back to me. Good to, I needed that re-spirit in my music. and yes I've been putting off Can for a while now.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 17, 2018, 07:41:33 PM »
The Beach Boys, Smile Session 

As in the boxset version where it pieces together what the album could've been. We can never really know what the album would've been, but if this is an indicator it seems to me like the most ambitious and creative album recorded in it's time, but not very satisfying or grabbing. In fact I'd only it has 4 songs even worth noting. I've listened two times, and it's still hard to comment. The intent is clear, to push even further and do something completely unlike what anyone else was doing. But everything that "Good Vibrations" is, the rest of the album is not. My emotions when listening are literally blank, only a couple things make me go "oh!". "Heroes And Villains" is crafty, especially in the way the following songs build off it. The tune is so good but the mash up of instruments in the intro is muddy and, frankly, awful sounding. "Surf's Up" is amazing, and the video of Brian playing it on the piano is one of my favorite musical clips. But throughout the album I often hear no connection with the lyrics and him. 

Lines like "the music hall a costly bow" are actually ridiculously amazing, but on "Surf's Up" the amazing tune does not match to the lyrics. Mike Love's simple words on "Good Vibrations" are amazing because of how vivid a image they paint and how you remember each line, they are all gold and catchy. But the rest of the album is, technically highly impressive, but it just seems so off. I know this is the point, but it makes the tracks fail to connect with me. When "Good Vibrations" breaks in on the end it's a relief, #1 because it's the best single of the entire decade, and #2 because it has that wild spark of madman brilliance, but in a finer form. In reality, the song has no place on the record, it's really just it's own thing. and man fricking hell, this song. It's just, GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!

I like "The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O'Leary's Cow)" because it's an actual vivid emotion and like...what the hell. "Vega-Tables" is also quite good because of the catchiness and effective lyrics. The rest of the album is neat, but it just doesn't do anything for me. It's not because it's "weird" or not like Pet Sounds, it's an admirable piece of work, but still an incomplete record that maybe...was better off being a mythical legend?

Also I listened to The Who's Tommy today and it was so boring, overly long, one trick and unexciting that it's not even worth writing about.

Music / The Manimal's Music (NEW SONG)
« on: May 17, 2018, 12:21:06 PM »
It's like I forgot Pet Sounds was such an inspiration when I started making music and just discovered it again when I changed my artist name. I don't know what it is, but I'm going to do it some more. Lyrically pretty lame, but my mind is pretty blank at present. I did the assertively Canadian thing well enough on Pirrakka Enlightenment. I got a little too serious on Skywalk however, it was an album built on a very specific interaction at the last local geek con which I sang about with great detail on "Under The Skywalk". But my last few albums have been about what my place in the world and identity mean to me.

So I think it's time for some I haven't made simply fun music since Aesthetic. I'm always so serious even when I sing about silly things. But whenever I sing about silly things I get mad that I'm not making enough serious songs. So I'm just going to ignore that nonsense and if I want to make a stupid song I'll make one the best I can.

Ol' Bettie In A Bind Again 

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 16, 2018, 08:09:46 PM »
and thanks for the comment! As seen I naturally love to post about the music I listen to, and albums as I experience them. Cool that you're checking that stuff out also! Like, hey, another playlist is pumping.

Mika Nakashima : My Sugar Cat
Redbone : Come And Get Your Love
Boris : Woman On The Screen
BABYMETAL : Distortion
OOHYO : Goodbye
Neon Bunny : All I Want Is You
DAOKO : Samishii Kamisama
miwa : Drive Song
YESEO : Night Night
Kero Kero Bonito : Time Today
Palm : Composite
The Stone Roses : Don't Stop
Neil Young : See The Sky About To Rain
BAND-MAID : anemone
The Beach Boys : Let Him Run Wild
The Millennium : It's You
The Clash : Stay Free 
The Replacements : Valentine
Husker Du : Celebrated Summer   


Music / Re: The Manimal's Music
« on: May 15, 2018, 10:24:25 AM »
Barry Goldman & Ahasuerus : Two Much Power (PLAYLIST)

1. Conquistador Of The Dance Floor
2. The Labors Of Larry Pine
3. Black Sea Fleet
4. Pink Blood On The Battlefield
5. Number Two On A Top Ten List
6. Mr. Loch Ness
7. I'll Have A Water
8. This Clock Keeps Ticking
9. Camp Lazlo
10. It's OK
11. Sunspot
12. Epic Deathscene
13. Superior
14. Phonecall For Stelly
15. Diver's High

All songs written & performed by the Manimal

The combined power of me and Lego! Features the 5 collab songs we've done so far, and 5 previous tracks from both of us going back and forth.       

Lego drew the cover! We make a great duo...I like to make music along with Lego, he and someone from UltimateGuitar are the extent of my Soundcloud network! Maybe some people from FAWM 50/90 to but a lot of those folks only post when it's go time. So I wanted to post this fun playlist of the songs we've done and some randomly chosen songs that go together in some sort of manner.

So this is just something enjoyable. I make so many songs that I like to make things like this to list them in a good way. Like I'm really proud of "Diver's High" aside from the overly busy mix and out of key singing right off the bat. SOMEHOW it has 200 plays on SoundCloud. A fairly good amount of that is from myself, but it isn't all me. It was a 50/90 song, but that count is impossible to explain. It's a song about just wanting to do things with my life that aren't the same as always. I don't know what Diver's High means, I heard "runners high" in K-ON which is where Mio gets song ideas when she's on a mad jog, and went from there. "Sunspot" is also a little more meaningful, being about my 10 AM world in this city, but some of the lyrics and singing suck. "Superior" is my most honest lyric yet. "Camp Lazlo" is me writing about 10 years ago and today, and how weird it is that a new generation of kids born in 2000 on has risen. "I'll Have A Water" is a simple 50/90 song with the most cliche chord progression ever, but it's one of my most upfront and hell ya vocals. I hope I can recapture that magic this 50/90. I wanted to go with one of my FinnTalian or Canada songs but nothing fit.

For Lego I went with "Mr. Loch Ness" because it's cool as hell. "This Clock Keeps Ticking" for it's lyrical themes and idea. "It's OK" because it felt like a big step up when he put that out. "Epic Deathscene" because it's one of his coolest lyrics and song ideas. and of course "Phonecall For Stelly" is still his best song. That simple two chord, one finger movement, drone that never ends and the catchy as how-did-you-come-up-with-this-dude vocal line. But yes, before I get more rambly I'll just end it here. A fun playlist of double power.


Music / The Manimal's Music (2 NEW SONGS)
« on: May 13, 2018, 08:19:18 PM »
Our 5th collab, it's not like, a fun back and forth but we do different things everytime. Lego came up with the verse and chorus riff as well as the lyrics and melodies. You can tell write away the verse is a Lego melody also. This is fun to work with and the results trackwise I am happy with aside from the mix and the terrifyingly horrific bass sound. Based of the comic we did where I drew and he wrote. That was a one time magic, but we continue to make collab tracks because it's fun man. I love to make songs with Lego, whatever way we do it.

The Labors Of Larry Pine (Feat. Lego) 

I'm happy with the music here, but the mix eh. I tried something sort of new to me I think. I ripped the Johnny Marr trick of open tuning and dropping things. I tuned my Jazzmaster to open A and threw loose whammy bars at it, and messed with the volume and whammy. It was fun and sounded neat. I've said it a lot, the Jazzmaster is a tool for cool things and you have to use it like a tool. It's not a normal guitar. It's a wild animal. I alao did the thing in "Ask" which sounds like a harmonica as a rhythm maker in the later verse. Cool trick.

Gloved Hello


Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 13, 2018, 07:33:51 PM »
Boris, Pink

The Pickle Man knows. What band makes sounds as badass as Boris? No one, this album is amazing. Jesus. The pure fury, the fuzzed out madness, the smashing, the crashing, it gets my blood going. It's insane, I love it. The thing is, Boris is fun. The music just has this quality of life, and nothing else. It's living music, it's just this feeling. The sound just takes over everything, songs like the 18 minute finale "Just Abandoned Myself" take no time for dynamics, it's just loud and amazing. It goes on and on but the guitars never stop. This is music to just sit in the middle of and explode the speakers to. and with the melodic edge this album is perfect. It has a more fierce and full sound then Akuma no Uta (but still as badass). Stuff's good.


Melt Banana, Fetch 

Hell, ya. An awesome album with all the craziness, but in a refined kind of manner. The style here is wild and very satisfying. The band's sound is just madness, but it seems organized, the songs breaking into various sections quickly, with some very cool riffs and parts. The drums make things tense in the verses with the slamming beats. Yasuko's super high vocals just work with the sound of everything, it's a perfect match as she yells along. I don't know if she is saying real words or not. This album is just so cool.


Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 10, 2018, 04:54:38 PM »
The Millennium, Begin

Wow, talk about a lost gem. This record nearly sounds like a throwback to late 60's rock n' pop recorded in the 90's or beyond. Begin sounds advanced for it's time in terms of recording, it's a varied record with elements of psychedelia, sunny pop, country, rock n' roll & others, mixed together and changing around song by song. It's exciting, with something different to offer as it goes along it's 14 song tracklist. Far more interesting then heavily dated records like Forever Changes and Odyssey & Oracle. I was quite surprised by the album, can't believe I've never heard of it until now. Of all the non Pet Sounds or Beatles releases of the late 60's, Begin has grabbed like where others haven't (ya I'm mad about Pet Sounds again, I mean I never wasn't since I heard it but fricking hell, there is not a single album from the 60's even half as good as it). It sounds of it's time, but the variety makes it less dated. I really like "It's You", "The Know It All", "Karmic Dream Sequence #1" which has an authentic koto performance, and "It Won't Always Be The Same". Quite a good album! 

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society

A bland, fairly standard British slight psychedelia late 60's rock pop album. This record gives me little, it doesn't sound bad and certainly it's well written, but I'm not taken by anything here. The styling is standard of it's time, with the acoustic, strings and so on, led by subpar vocals. Only sometimes like on "People Take Pictures of Each Other" do the lyrics spark my interest. That is actually a clever song that works very well in today's world. I don't know, the Kinks just don't do it for me all that much. Out of the context of the time I find this record to be unexciting, and not worth relistening. I was left feeling nothing.   

Jenni Vartiainen, Seili   

Suomi pop, kind of a mid tempo album with electro elements and some big dynamics and build ups. There are cool bits throughout, and good sounds. It is just long enough, as the whole thing is of a fairly similar tone. Jenni's singing is good, and Finnish is one of the magic musical languages along with Spanish and Japanese. This is a nice sounding album, I enjoyed it. Nothing outstanding but a good thing to put on. I do like some of the big payoffs and at times random instruments. Maybe a little too much on the ballad side, the album is best when it's pumping.     

Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising 

A hella fuzzed out and intense guitar playing for 40 minutes with band accompaniment, is what this album starts like, and certainly what a lot of it feels like, but there is quite a lot going on here. A fierce album with intense energy and passion, but also good melodies and clever song craft. The guitar power is insane, a disturbingly badass tone that rips the speakers apart, and heavy drumming to match. The vocals, feh, most of the time you have no clue what's going on and it's awesome. Though there are clear moments like the epic tale of a girl, her books, and her oranges on "Books About UFOs", one of the best songs. I love the parts when it gets soft, and slows down from the pounding. Or when it introduces something new like suddenly piano or acoustics. New Day Rising has far more to offer then one trick or one sound, it varies enough and has a great power throughout.   

OOHYO, Adventure 

A nice sounding synth pop album with those chill elements. It's different from other albums of the kind, given it's drum sound and more low key instrumentation along with OOHYO's melancholic and sweet voice. It's a Korean and English album, with far more then a couple poorly pronounced phrases. I quite enjoyed this album, it has variety and sounds nice. I like the guitar tracks, and the English lyrics which work well. It creates a good tone and keeps things interesting enough. Highlights are "Goodbye" and "UTO".

Manga Talk / Re: what manga are u reading now?
« on: May 09, 2018, 07:56:15 AM »
Slowly read through the last few published volumes of D-Frag.   

Man I love this series, I'd like it to go on forever. It's gone off the original idea after it reached the end of what the anime covered. It just delivers great comedy and fun scenarios every time. Volume 10 was amazing, just focused on the bald dudes in the school and solving the stupid mysteries, and volume 11 where Roka and Takao stay at the Kazamas house. The side characters have always been D-Frags secret strength, there are so many and it makes thing very fun. Kazama's sister and mom are especially great. The interactions are key, with a lot of awkward conversations and quirky focuses. The series has managed to keep it's quality for sure.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 08, 2018, 08:29:31 PM »
Some more records today, cool stuff for sure. Always nice to get new old stuff as the hunt has died down in recent times.

R.E.M., Murmur   

I have a deep seeded dislike for Michael Stipe and his disgusting face with his douche bag expression and complete cock aura. He pisses me off so much I can't even bare to look at his stupid bald head. I feel the same about Bono, which is why I swore to never listen to R.E.M. and U2. However I would be foolish to pass up on a near mint copy of Murmur for cheap, so I got the record. I've never seen any R.E.M. album on record, this kind of stuff hardly ever pops up around here. Naturally, like many things, something I've convinced myself I don't like has turned out to be good. It's enjoyable with good jangle and melodic songwriting. "Laughing" is when I knew it was going to be good, and sure enough it proved to be solid all the way, especially songs like "Shaking Through" that break out the piano. The vocal lines and steady drums/bass seem to drive the songs, the guitar parts have good tone but don't play anything overly remarkable. The tone is consistent and as a whole, it's fine. I don't need to hear any of their other albums.     

Santana, Abraxas

Spicy, this jamming Latin Rock jam record is full of cool things. Much is instrumental with the percussion and guitar action leading the way. It's not a soloing blow out, rather it just gets into these cool ass grooves, with only a couple of actually songs, most famous my least favorite song in Guitar Hero III "Black Magic Woman", which actually sounds great here. It has a great slow beginning, with a lot of mystery right away. This is a really cool album that could only come from the early 70's.     

The Beach Boys, All Summer Long 

The big beach blow out, a very fun album full of sunny songs. We got "I Get Around" with some great harmonies and a cool verse groove. "Girls On The Beach" is an early masterpiece, the group vocals and supreme summer feeling! and plenty great tunes like "Little Honda" and "Wendy". It's a very fun album, cheesy at times like the early albums tend to be. "Drive-In" being so insanely corny you have to love it for that good ol' innocent Happy Days style charm. I still haven't heard the first 5 albums, but it'd be safe to say this is the first album with great songs from the band, very enjoyable.

The Beach Boys, Today!   

The first album to really use the Wrecking Crew, Today! sees the band going beyond the same old themes. It has it's share of cheese like "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" with it's counting backing vocals, but there are some good tracks on here, and it sees Brian Wilson starting to go hard on the arrangements. Side 1 is the fun, but "Do You Wanna Dance?" can only be done by the Ramones, and any other version is simply too slow. Side 2 sees the slower songs where things turn good, like "Please Let Me Wonder" and "She Knows Me Too Well". Brian Wilson probably has the best falsetto I've ever heard, it's a magical tone that is distinctly and totally his own. This album is a good start to the wild days ahead, fine listen.

Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: May 07, 2018, 06:40:30 PM »
Got some new records today, great finds. A lot of Beach Boys in fair shape. I passed up on some to save money...Buddy Holly's self titled, a great find but it wasn't in great shape. Plus I have all I need from Buddy on record with one of the compilations. I buy to listen not so much collect in that regard. An original of Highway someone else who doesn't have a copy can get that one. The Kinks Lola Part One! Rare but bad shape.

The Beach Boys, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) 

The last of the early traditional Beach Boy albums, with the surfing, cars, girls, music and California themes in full form. The Wrecking Crew is present, seen in the rather fantastic arrangements. With that great rhythm and fullness to the songs. "California Girls" is the album's classic, and a truly amazing single with it's illegally catchy chorus and simple lyrics that paint a campy and fun summer image. The composition as well is remarkable. The rest of the album is good, with a greatness bubbling. It really shows the road to Pet Sounds, the instrumentation is so good with a lot of cool bits. Especially guitar tones and background sax. "Let Him Run Wild" is a highlight, a standout in every regard. This is a very worthwhile album that shouldn't be ignored.

The Beach Boys, Smiley Smile   

The greatest tragedy of 60's recorded music is that we'll never know what truly could've come from Smile as a completed work. Instead we have this muffled lo-fi rush job, which has all the charm, twists and sheer creativity you'd want, without the sound and power. Smiley Smile is a weird basement record with a lot of crafty and cool bits, but nothing more then unpolished gems that where never allowed to shine. "Good Vibrations" is present which sharply contrasts the rest of the record. It feels so out of place, a single with insane amounts of work among rush jobs. "Vegetables" is fun for the lyrics and sound effects, "She Goes Bald" has a twist spoken word bit, "Little Pad" is simply odd. "Wind Chimes" is almost like a failed attempt at remaking "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)".

There may not be a timeline where a fully realized Smile could exist, and I don't think it would've been better then Pet Sounds anyway. Given how meaningless and goofy some of the lyrics are. Smiley Smile is no way to judge this, it's just a novelty with "Good Vibrations" and a muddy recording of "Heroes And Villains" tacked on. The band didn't even bother touching "Surf's Up" yet. You hear good things happening, but it's a sad end to something that was not allowed to grow.       

The Beach Boys, Wild Honey 

Recorded and released mere months after Smiley Smile, this album is dramatically different, like a weight had been lifted off, resulting in rather upbeat and sunny music. It's surprisingly black for a Beach Boys album, with a real R&B sound in the vocals, which are grittier and dig deeper. It's primarily made with band action, the songs don't have tons going on, but the keyboard sounds are cool with a lot of neat tones such as the sounds on the title track. It's an easygoing album and rather short at just 23 minutes. Instead of trying to make an ambitious masterpiece, Wild Honey just sounds like Brian Wilson relaxing his music muscles, while still trying to make a consistent record. There are still cool changes in the music, and the Motown tint gives it a unique feel. It's a neat album.

Bob Dylan, New Morning 

It would be a little too sweeping to claim Bobby never made anything worthwhile after Blonde On Blonde, certainly he was not the same cool guy with the shades, black clothes & wild Jewfro, and the attitude in his music became much less interesting, but an album like 1970's New Morning shows he still had some good things going. It's really quite simple, a solid band backs Bob doing the folk rock, country thing. The songs are very effective and sound good, with a light sound. Variety in tone with some cool twists like the jazzy "If Dogs Run Free" and upbeat title track. George Harrison did a much better version of "If Not For You", but this one is good for something fast and loose. Ditching his strange tone on Nashville Skyline, Bobby sounds good. This album actually has life and fun to it.     

Develop Your Story / Northern Nerds Exchange
« on: May 07, 2018, 08:44:07 AM »
I'm trying to write again but I'm hella rusty as I've found out. This is a simple tale of a small shopping plaza in a Northwestern Ontario armpit. I'm just going to write it and worry about making it good later, maybe I'll make it into something if I get motived? Either way I wanted to post this and see how it is, I'm very rusty and my writing isn't to the same quality as before.

I've written in a manner that is not quite like...novelish but not scriptish either. It's a simple way that I figure can turn to either and looks easier on the eyes then my old script format. So here, I'll see how this is. I need to write these characters a lot to really get them going anyway, I want to make a story that is about random characters in this plaza, more then just this one store. I want it to go somewhere as well, but I don't know what to do with it, so I figure it out as I go.

Chapter 1 : Battleyoads
Some Armpit In Northwestern Ontario

Bright blue skies, not a cloud to spoil the view. A chilly breeze flies by through an empty lot. In Dicker’s View Plaza we see a stretch of buildings that form an L shape. At the end of the space a small store with the name “Northern Nerds Exchange” hangs in a faded image.

“Instant cash for your geek goods” reads a cheesy sign from 2004, a washed out image of the Master Chief along with a poorly photoshopped PS2, Watchmen comics and an Elektra figure. The sign hangs on the small window below “Now accepting musical gear” with a small image of a chibi school girl ripping a Jazzmaster. 

Beside the small space is an empty lot with two windows, an entrance and a blank sign on top. A sign reads “For Lease”. Next door is Sassy Sally’s Steaming Salon, next to an Italian deli “Mussolini Meats” decked out in a tricolour explosion. is next, a travel agency with it’s classic “CALL 1-866-WOW-DEAL AND GET AWAY FOR LESS” slogan in big letters below the sign. 

As the building forms it’s L shape we see an old Buck-Or-Two struggling to hang on. Next is a Little Cheasers, a big pig pizza that omits an awful greasy smell all day long. In the modest street the Dicker’s View Plaza sits next to many fast food joints, all assembled in little clusters.

It’s 8:59 AM, cars are moving along and people are stopping for gas or Tims. The parking lot for Dicker’s View is quiet, aside from a couple old wops waiting outside Mussolini Meats. The Canadian and Ontario flags mounted next to the plaza sign blow roughly in the breeze that runs across the sunny skies.

A car suddenly burns down the road, the song of jangly guitars and Kermit the Frog singing omits from the open car windows that dare to embrace the breeze. The old grey Impala turns into the plaza parking lots and stops promptly in front of Northern Nerds Exchange. The figure inside quickly turns the car off and grabs his backpack.

As he does a figure appears in the door. A somewhat tall girl with a lean form, light brown skin and long brown hair begins to turn the “Closed” sign around. Her brown eyes glare at the driver from under her thick black rimmed glasses. She slowly turns the sign as the driver grabs the door handle and roughly pushes it open.

“Safe!”, he calls out as the girl puts out her foot, tripping him to the floor. “How about showing up before we open next time?”, she smirks, officially opening the store. The driver looks up annoyed, “Right! I do this every time and it pisses me off! Like right before I have to go I get involved in something and boom! It’s 8:55!”. 

The employee stands tall with a skinny form. His shaggy dirty blonde hair moving as he speaks, his eyebrows a darker colour then his hair, and green eyes express every word, as he makes big motions with his hands. Kacey Karvala stands in clean new jeans and a collared black shirt.

Ami Desrosiers shakes her head, wearing the same type of clothes but with a necklace of USB sticks and assortment of rattling bracelets. Her long brown hair flows down her back roughly, in a manner that looks perfectly messed up, her bangs bushy and to her eyebrows. 

“When do you wake up?”, she asks grinning. “Oh 6:30 everyday!”, Kacey exclains proudly.

“What’s wrong with you dude!”, a loud voice calls out from behind the counter, a plump guy with a golf cap and brown beard walks into the scene. Medium height, wearing khaki pants too small for him, and old fashion loafers. He wears a long black top under his employee shirt.

“I like to be productive and get going! No time to waste sleeping I say!”, Kacey pounds his fist in his hand, making a proud statement as his backpack slips down his arm.

“You have so much time and yet you’re late everyday”, Walter Perogiski replies, hands on his chubby hips. “Don’t lecture me man”, Kacey becomes annoyed, “I’ll try to stop being late”, he speaks facing Ami as he walks behind the counter.   

“That guy eh, always late...unlike someone around here…”, Walter looks smug, straightening out his hat. Ami smiles, shaking her head. “Coming 20 minutes early to re-alphabetize the games won’t win you any favours, unless you can sell more of them”, she walks by, flicking Walter’s hat down his face, exposing his balding head.     

“And Kacey try to be on time alright”, Ami turns her back and walks towards the employee room, “I’m already going to be firing one flake this week”. Walter’s eye light up, “Jerry!”. Kacey shrugs.

The store is bigger inside than it appears but still modest in size. In one half is a counter with all kinds of games, figures, cards, and board games behind it. The exchanges are done here with a cash and computer behind the class cabinet containing used game systems. Along the wall are racks of video games, new and old, with the other wall containing a growing music section.

A couple cheap guitars hang from the wall, with practice amps, cords and pedals nearby. A keyboard sits in the box below, with a shelving unit holding assorted goods. Next to it are shelves of DVDs, Blu-Rays, VHS tapes, CDs, records, tapes and books. A small selection that is packed tight.

The walls are all packed, with a TV in the corner playing a curling game. The store radio lightly blares, rotating between classic rock, old & modern pop and bebop free-style avant jazz at any given day. 

There is another counter by the door for purchases, a small space leads to a washroom, employee room and closest of random cleaning and handy gear. In the center wall a door leads to the backroom.

Kacey walks in the employee room, throwing down his backpack, he tosses his water bottle in the freezer and straightens his collar. He turns around to see Ami holding up the doorway smiling. “You know what time it is?” she teases with a playful grin. “Coffee-a-clock already?”, Kacey grins back. Ami nods, holding a couple loonies out. “4x4, large, make sure it’s a roll up cup, I got ripped off last time!”.

“But Roll Up The Rim ended 2 months ago!”, Walter yells across the store. “I don’t care! I just want to finally win! Do you realize how maddening it is to lose every SINGLE TIME. I WON’T STOP UNTIL I-”, Ami rants as Kacey grabs the change and begins to walk off.

“I’ll be right back! Want anything Walter?”, Kacey askes as he nears the door. Walter thinks, “I could really go for a 1 milk 1 sugar iced latte with a strawberry danish. I need a little fuel in me!”, Walter straightens his cap as he cleans the glass cabinets. 

“You look like you’ve eaten too many danishes Walt”, Ami smirks from the corner. “What...oh, okay hold the food then, and make my coffee a medium”.

“Ya don’t want to get more fat eh!”, Kacey grins. “HEY! Workplace bullying!”, Walter throws down his paper towel in mock fit. “Ya but it’s okay when she makes fat jokes!”, Kacey replies annoyed. “She was just looking out for my health and well being!”, Walter looks back at Ami. She shakes her head, “Just go Kacey, hurry up today might get busy”.

“Might get’s never bu-”, as Kasey turns around a girl walks through the door. “Oh”. He quickly turns to the side and opens the other door, speed walking outside and promptly opening his car door before speeding off quickly.   

The girl looks confused, turning her gaze up to Walter and Ami. “Hello, my name is Ellie Mäkkeli and I am coming to apply at store”.

Ellie stands at a fair height, with her blonde hair in a tight bun, little pieces touching her face. Her blue eyes shine, with her brow tense as she holds out an essay sized resume. She wears a white sweater and black pants with grey fuzzy boots.

“Oh, you want to apply well let m-”, Walter begins before Ami walks up, grabbing the resume from Ellie’s gloved hands. “Kal-la-jocky, Finland?”, she tilts her head looking up from the paper to Ellie. “Kalajoki!”, she corrects Ami. “But this is a j...why are y-whatever, anyway I guess you saw the ad online?”.

“Yes. I am coming to Canada now, and I need work before I go school. I live nearby and am a great team player who works well with others or alone!”, Ellie smiles brightly. Ami shields her eyes, “Right, I’ve heard it all have an impressive resume Ellie Maka-e-lie”.

“Mäkkeli!”, the blonde girl stomps her foot and looks up angry. “Holy *censored*, okay Ellie yes. I will keep your resume by my desk and get back to you!”, Ami nods motioning to the door. “Thank you, I’m hoping you consider me for placement. I am tidy, organized and above all punctuational.”, Ellie beams. “Yup…”, Ami opens the door as she leads Ellie out, the blonde girl waves bye to Walter and skips off.  Ami tosses the resume in the trash and walks to the employee room, “I need some coffee…”.

“I thought you sent Kacey to for that?”, Walter askes. “It’s for while I wait for that airhead”, Ami shouts back. Walter shrugs, humming and playing air guitar along to the Lynyrd Skynyrd song that fills the store. “And be a simple kind of man!”, he thrashes around dramatically beside a customer who looks over embarrassed for him.

5 minutes later Kacey shows up with a bunch of coffee in his arms and donut bag in his mouth. He struggles to open the door before spilling Ami’s coffee all over the sidewalk. He gets mad and throws it all down, kicking the cup along the sidewalk. As he opens the door Ami points back to his car, prompting him to sigh as he walks back to his car and drives off, leaving the Tims cups to sit on the concrete.   

An hour later a Tims cup lands in the garbage, staining Ellie’s resume. Kacey looks at 5 PS4 games still in plastic wrap. “Ya, so how did you get these…” 

“I had this like $75 gift card to Wal-Mart man so I like bought a bunch of games, just stupid things, and thought I’d sell them for some quick cash!”, the stoner kid stands, looking dazed as he tells his story, shaking around, wearing a baseball cap and baggy pants. 

“Oh so instead of buying I don’t know food and essentials, or selling the card you bought 5 games to sell to us for a lot less money then $75?”, Walter comes in from the side, looking angry. “Dude go away this is my sale! Ya I can do something on the games...let me see…”, Kacey replies.

Walter eyes up the customer angry, as Kacey looks up the games. “Do you have a problem?” the stoner askes angry. “Hey Walter, go back to what you were doing!”, Kacey replies annoyed. Walter backs up, looking at the guy in disgust as he walks back to the guitars and plays a Led Zeppelin riff poorly. 

Later the stoner walks out with $40, rolling up his sleeves, “Vein juice!” he smiles running off. Kacey sighs as he rubber bands the games together and throws them in a bin on the floor. “So happy to pay for someone’s trip”, he sighs. “Should’ve given him more money so he could overdose”, Walter chimes in. Kacey shakes his head, “Feh”.

The next morning. The skies are bright once more, Walter is inside reordering the games. Ami sits at her desk arms crossed as the open sign is flipped. On the schulde we see Kacey is off and Jerry is on 9-5, but nowhere to be seen.

“Today’s the day, if the prick shows up”, Ami mutters as she drinks from her Robins Donuts mug. Finally the door creaks open, an awkward bald guy with a big backpack and taped glasses stumbles in, he’s carrying a half finished pizza and 2L of Coke.

“Jerry, you’re late again”, Ami speaks plainly as the employee walks to the desk across from her. “Ah”, he speaks softly, sitting down as he opens the 2 liter. He begins to drink the coke and slowly pick at the pizza.

“Are you going to do any work today Jerry?”, Ami turns around in her chair as Jerry huddles up, picking only the pineapples off the pizza. “Dah”, he replies with a mouth full, taking another sip of pop. Walter shakes his head in the background and walks up, Ami signals him to stop as he approaches Jerry.

“We can’t do this anymore Jerry, it’s not working out. For 2 weeks since you’ve started all you’ve done is sit in the corner for 4 hours eating pizza and drinking pop, how can you explain yourself?”, Ami speaks firmly hands on her hips. Jerry looks up at the clock, noticing it’s 10:00.

“It’s apple-o-clock”, he speaks trying to get up. “Please get out of my way, I have to eat my 10 a clock apple”. Ami stands in front of him as he tries to leave the chair. “Jerry you’re fired”.

Outside the store a deadpan Jerry walks out eating an apple, pizza and 2L of Coke under his arm. “See if I care” he laughs to himself, choking on a piece of apple in the parking lot.

Ami sits inside with her head in her hands. “Great down another employee...what will I do…”. Ami looks over to the garbage can where Ellie’s resume sticks out. She shrugs, taking it out of the garbage covering in coffee and food stains.

“This girl seemed pretty useless, I think I may regret this one”, she speaks grabbing a phone.

The next day, Ellie shreds on a Jackson V. Everyone is in shock as the blond girl plays with technical and aggressive precision. She rips across the fretboard with a goofy smile, nodding her head back and forth and her fingers menace.

“The bridge is not set up good. I think I should adyust things a bit. Lot of the fret buzzings”, Ellie looks at the guitar as everyone picks themselves up. “Ellie, the guitar lass of Northern Nerds Exchange”, Walter speaks as he adjusts his hat. Kasey looks at Ami as she tries to hide her surprise. 

“Well Ellie you’re good at guitars, but what about games? What if someone asks for a recommendation or wants to sell some rare titles?”, Ami askes.

“I like to play video games, back in Finland we used to stay up all night me and my father, and we were playing the old Nintendo and the...what was it, cube of games?”.

“The Gamecube, my favorite system”, Walter finger guns. “Did you ever play the Momdroid Prime discs?”, Ellie askes. “Did I ever, wow. Sister, I played the HELL out of Momdroid Prime, it was my JAM!”.

“Remember the final level when Sam’s Mom is in day care and-”, Ellie looks excited, Walter backs up. “Oh it’s been a while I don’t remember too much...but uh, it was a classic!”.   

“Sounds good Ellie, but the only issue is your English. How will you interact with customers and tricky situations?”, Ami askes. Ellie grins, “I am master of English language in only four easy steps! Four long steps, but book says four easy steps!”, Ellie smiles smugly.

“Ya she’s hired right?”, Kacey whispers. Ami shakes her head, “I like the spirit, and it’d be nice to have someone around here that is good with guitars”. Kacey and Walter motion to themselves, “Ya I said good” she fires back.

“I have of one question however”, Ellie smiles. “Ya what’s that”, Ami braces.

“Have you a copy of Battleyoads?”. 

No one replies, the store is silent aside from the soft sounds of avant jazz that blare. Ami puts her hand on Ellies’ shoulder. “You'll be alright Ellie”.

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