let the chips fall…

I’ve now finished recording on the next album. Like Parallax it’s in two parts, each consisting of multiple sessions that blend together. I was originally planning to go for two 30-minute parts but the second one wanted to end where it did… and that’s kind of the theme here. Making the music and just letting it work out the way it does. Not exactly a new concept for me, but the way the first couple of sessions just sort of automatically fit together hand in glove made me feel that the album’s theme should be, loosely, serendipity and trusting in fate and a relaxed attitude toward certain aspects of the process and outcome. So I’m calling this one “Where They May.” Thankfully I’m finishing it before May — it’s taken a while (by my standards) due to life events and illness etc.

As for the phrase “let the chips fall where they may,” I always thought it was an odd turn of phrase referring to gambling, with chips “falling” to the winners of a hand — or perhaps a pachinko-like game with literally falling tokens of some kind. But the internet says it comes from chopping wood. Not so much about gambling, as focusing on the broad strokes and dealing with the details after (if it’s even necessary)… that’s not unlike my musical approach.

So, yep… on to mastering, artwork and publishing my notes. The notes have some neat detail that reveals how many recording takes there were per session, or at least I think it’s neat anyway.

The art… hmm. I had an AI-generated image I thought would be cool, but my general attitude is a lot more frosty and skeptical toward AI art now, even when it doesn’t really look like AI art. Maybe especially when it doesn’t look like AI art, because I start wondering whether there is a specific artist’s work that it does look like.

I thought maybe there was something to be found on the borders of glitch art and AI art, where you give it nonsensical prompts and it produces something uniquely weird. While I’ve had a little luck keeping things extremely abstract (the cover of Daydream Network for instance), often a style still imposes itself, one obviously cribbed from human-made art or stock photos.

I’m not saying I will 100% swear off of using AI art tools, but I’m at least going to tread very carefully with them.

What else? Still coughing, and it’s annoying. I’m feeling 90% better for the most part, but once in a while a cough sets in, stops me from taking deep breaths and is generally uncomfortable and tiring. I got really tired of sugar-free lemon-mint Ricola, and then really tired of sugar-free Werther’s Original hard candies (though they taste much better and honestly seem to be no worse at cough suppression) and am now resorting to sugar-free wint-o-green Life Savers mints that frankly taste kind of weird — our grocery store doesn’t really offer anything else suitable. But knock on wood, today seems to be better so far.

Soulstone Survivors updated its update, mainly just increasing the pace of leveling streamlining away a couple of the more awkward new boosts. It feels much better. That said, I’m hitting a point where it’s kind of just passing time, grinding to get the costume unlocks and I could probably do something else instead. That something else would have been a lot more music if I’d been feeling better, but perhaps now?

My Guild Wars 2 experience has stabilized/stagnated too. I have a main now, my dual mace Soulbeast. Quite tough and somewhat helpful at background-supporting nearby players. Very respectable burst damage, but it peters out after a while — if I were willing to give up the bow for a second melee weapon set I could fix that, but I’ve found it useful for some situations; maybe I could experiment though. I’ve gotten into the habit of logging in, doing all of the daily/weekly Astral Acclaim tasks that aren’t too annoying, and then back out. I’m kind of thinking I should go ahead and do the End of Dragons story with this character.

Deep Rock Galactic Survivor is fun for the occasional round, but that’s about it. And that’s fine.

After The Silmarillion, I reread Paper Mage, a fantasy novel set in China that has some neat aspects to it. And then when searching for the next thing, accidentally discovered that I have a second copy of it, as well as finding my own paperback copies of The Silmarillion (I’d read my spouse’s) and Lord of the Rings trilogy (I’d read it on my phone via Hoopla). Checked with the county library again and now I’ve got a couple of books with similar themes on my Kindle:

  • The Dead Take The A Train is a Richard Kadrey / Cassandra Khaw novel. Generally trashy and gory but fun, it’s a world where the big financial players in NYC have deals with horrific eldritch entities, and the protagonist is a freelancer caught up in their plots. I would not want to see this as a movie and am maybe a bit glad for my visual aphantasia, but it does make an entertaining book. I’m about 3/4 of the way through it.
  • Season of Skulls, from Charles Stross’ Laundry Files universe (where a secret government organization was meant to protect the world from horrific eldritch entities), the third in the New Management trilogy (where they failed and Britain is currently ruled by one such entity). Generally this series has less gore (though there are times) and general scumminess than the other book, but better dark humor and more bureaucratic/late capitalist absurdity (though the New Management kind of wiped away a lot of that) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of what’s in the setting.

4 thoughts on “let the chips fall…”

  1. Hey, I noticed you playing GW2 on Steam notifications when I revived Steam from its torpor in order to try out BG3 and Dredge for Nebula Awards voting. I started playing during the earlier days of the pandemic and stumbled into a good guild, and have never stopped since. My main is a soulbeast and I thought I’d try maces out before switching back to my beloved-if-not-top-spec greatsword, but the maces have grown on me. The CC is really nice.

    Anyway, I’m wintersweet.4360 /Tess Greenfinch in-game if you want to say hi sometime, or if you’re looking for a guild.

    P.S. Thanks for being thoughtful about the AI stuff. My feelings about it definitely evolved over time, too. I’ve been making book covers and play posters recently, so that’s a factor. (Haven’t made any album covers…yet!)

    1. Not sure if I’m interested in joining a guild, but I’ll keep an eye open. My main’s name is Una Swampflower.

      I haven’t tried greatsword with a ranger recently, I’ll have to give it a try. (I have a vague memory of briefly playing a not-fully-trained Soulbeast with one several iterations ago, when my usual pattern was to level a new character from 1-80, repeat a few times, then uninstall and come back a few months later. That character probably barely had Soulbeast unlocked without all the traits/skills trained.)

      1. Greatsword is just fun with the leap and smash, and because a lot of the greatswords have well-designed skins. But I got a mace skin from the current batch in the Astral Shopping Mall (I forget the real name) and I like how it looks, and the mace skills combined with the new Sky Chak pet feel pretty good. Less giant damage in one blow, but still.

        I’ve only started experimenting with other classes recently, and whew, I have a lot to learn. Especially with the necro!

        I was surprised to like being in a guild. It has no old-school “rep” requirements, weekly optional and laid-back group activities, and people who’ll help me with whatever I’m trying to do. The humor in the Discord gets juvenile sometimes but the guild leaders are mostly women and/or queer people.

        P. S. Hope your cough has cleared up!

        1. The mace skins I’m using are Fixer Upper (a big pipe wrench) and Moonshine (a glass booze bottle), which amuse me. Along with the ghostly aura, it looks like my character has joined Spooky Luka’s crew (“after you’re dead, come be a pirate with us!”)

          The cough is gradually getting better. I’m getting much better sleep and mostly feel pretty decent overall, but sometimes it’s really sensitive to cold, exertion or even deep breaths and I’m in for several minutes of rough coughing. Seems to be less frequent and intense each day though.

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