Issue 28 - 09/07/20


  • A Perspective, by Toaditha "Toadie" Martinez
  • There Is a Wildfire in My Backyard
  • Top Ten Nicknames I've Given My Pokémon Over the Years
  • Sam's Spooky Season Suggestions
  • A Drunken Tour of Middle-Earth
  • Types of Coffee Peeps
  • A Lukewarm Defense of Shitty Coffee
  • Office Chart

A Perspective, by Toaditha "Toadie" Martinez

Warg-level contributor Marina Martinez

The sun is in the perfect spot for perching on the bedroom windowsill. The Loud Men continue their incessant racket above us - I grow weary of this.

Mother opened the Tall Portal briefly this morning - it will rain soon. I grow drowsy. Perhaps it is time for our afternoon slumber.

But first I must record this. Mother is making a sandwich, and that only lasts two of her Rectangle Songs.

Mother was lazy with her musings this week, or so she told me. She tells me a lot of things, but she doesn't seem to understand my response, poor dear. She talks to me (and quite possibly herself) a lot in recent months. She speaks of trifling matters - what we will eat, what we are about to do, what she needs to do before we retire for the evening. It seems that she must constantly narrate our lives in order to keep track of them, which is a mite concerning to me. I voice my concerns often, but she just calmly pets my head or laughs (or shushes me when she seems tired).

Mother has seemed quite tired lately, so I have put forth extra effort to attend to her happiness. This is met with a 50% approval rating, if my calculations are correct (and they are!) - flopping over onto her feet seems to be rewarded with laughter, but attacking the ghosts in the electric plugs is met with admonishment. She seems to watch a lot of Pictures with magick and ghosts, why does she not see the ones around us? Oh, Mother.

Hark! The Small Yapping Beast from upstairs is parading past my window with his human. The nerve of the Beast, acting as though being within my sight is acceptable. I must dissuade him from being in my presence. Mother is shushing me - she does not care for my battle cry. She is so feeble, and quite lucky that I'm an adept warrior, even if my efforts go unappreciated. Such is my burden!

It's endearing, really, how much closer we've grown in recent months. Mother and I, I mean. Since I came to reside with her years ago, Mother often took to leaving me (alone! trapped! starving!) for what seemed like hours at a time. The nerve of her! I believe my protestations finally made an impact, for indeed, she has not left our home for what seems like an age. Possibly only a few years. I can't be bothered to keep track of the time, Mother does that. She used to, at the very least. But in any case, she has remained home to attend to my many needs and I have had a large, warm person to nap with. It has been a most agreeable arrangement.

I only wish that Mother would allow me to venture outside. It is partially my fault, I fear. Sometimes I disregard her wish that I remain in-doors. I make it several stretches away from the Tall Portal and yell my triumph to the gods! At last, freedom! Our Reign is Nigh! And then Mother picks me up, scolding me like a kitten, and carries me inside. I do not like when Mother cradles me as if I were a child. It is the most undignified way a cat can be held and I Do Not Appreciate it. 'But Mother,' I explain gently, 'the crickets are fascists. You must allow me to slaughter them for the good of society.' She does not listen. She never does. I know that she agrees that the fascists are scum, and yet she resists my assistance! A conundrum of a human, is she not?

Ah! Mother has left the Rectangle unattended! Looking at it makes her stink of sadness and anger, which I cannot allow. I must lay atop it to hide it from her view. Mother is only allowed to be happy with me, Her Toad. That is my duty. (It also must be said that the Rectangle is warm and therefore it is For Me - all the humming, warm things are Mine).

How fortuitous - Mother has finished preparing her meal. I must join her on the fainting couch and knead the demons from the Soft Covering in case she requires it later.

I have hidden the Rectangle.

Today is a good day.

There Is a Wildfire in My Backyard

Chief Vape Correspondent Alex Speed

Friday afternoon at around 3:30PM I was driving home from the coffee shop I go to when I need an excuse to leave my house. I was on the phone with my mom (telling her about how good my life is and how I am not even a little bit sad and lonely living out some weird sort of novel plot line of moving to the mountains by myself on a whim) when I noticed a small pillar of smoke billowing just outside one of my favorite hiking trails.

"Hey Mom, I think the mountains are on fire"

Since I am a very stupid boy I drove as fast as I could to the source of the smoke.

I arrived at the base of the M trail right after around 100 police cars and fire trucks. They all seemed like they were in a big hurry so I politely pulled over and let them zoom on by. I looked up at the hiking trail I had been on just just two weeks ago - my copy of Crime and Punishment in hand; my mind playing out arguments I should have won with my father from three years ago - and saw flames licking the trees and smoke devouring what is typically a very serene mountain skyline. By this time the fire had grown from the source of a single tower of smoke to a very noticeable wildfire on the side of the mountain range where I live. I drove about a mile back towards town and pulled over to sit on the roof of my Subaru and stare along with 40-50 fellow fire aficionados.

It is so strange to watch a source of peace be devoured by fire for no reason other than it was hot that day.

I sat on the roof of my Subaru for about an hour just watching wildland firefighters (which longtime readers know is my dream job) scurry hoses up the side of a mountain. Helicopters and planes rushing overhead dropping lines of red fire retardant. Orange flames growing taller and wider as a cloud of smoke eerily reminiscent of atomic bomb images forming right before our eyes. It was very spooky. After taking many videos and assuring my mother I would not die to death from fire I took the long way around town to my house. Everywhere I looked there were lines of people standing outside of businesses with binoculars and iPhones witnessing the loss of their precious mountains to meaningless and chaotic fire. It was unique to see an entire town (granted Bozeman is a very small town) just stop. People stopped working, or hiking, or even driving so they could witness this disaster unfold in real time.

When I go back to my house the fire had grown by a factor of about 10. The mountain landscape I have learned to call home was replaced by smoke and ash and pillars of orange flame making their way over the ridge of the range. My roommates and I briefly discussed evacuation plans and decided it was not currently necessary. It felt like one of those things you read about or see in movies but growing up in a North Texas suburb you just don't think you will ever really experience.

By nighttime the flames the sunlight hid were in full view. There isn't much light pollution out here so the very on-fire mountains were a noticeable addition to what is typically just moon and starlight.

When I went to bed the initial reports claimed the fire to be about 800 acres.

When I woke up the next morning the fire had grown significantly. Saturday I watched the smoke rip across the top of the mountains from my backyard. It was growing rapidly just over the ridge. The fire was now directly East of where I live and smoke was starting to block our view of the sky just a few miles out. Neighborhoods on the other side of the range were evacuated. Deer and moose and beers came scurrying down the mountain trying to find new places to crash. The fire had grown from a single pillar of smoke Friday to an 11,000 acre rampage in just over 24 hours.

Today I woke up to good news of a cold front and damp weather keeping the fire at bay. It seems to be mostly under control now, the town is just covered in a smokey haze that is slightly less fun than like a casino scene in an old time gangster film. Friday afternoon I had no idea what I would do with the long weekend and the mountains responded with "watch us burn." It feels like an overly morbid version of The Giving Tree (and thats really saying something) played out at the expense of an entire forrest.

Please be smart about your campfires.


Top Ten Nicknames I've Given My Pokémon Over the Years

Spoink-level contributor Andrew Lucas Piotrowski 

Okay so let's talk about Pokémon.

I've been playing Pokémon since I was 5. I am now twenty-five, so with my knowledge of college math, I've been playing Pokémon for at least ten years. I also did not take college math.

In any case, for those who don't know a lot about Pokémon, it's a video game where the protagonist goes around collecting these little creatures that have powers and abilities to fight against other little creatures with powers and abilities. You're called a Trainer, they're called Pokémon, and it's all a good laugh unless you're PETA. If you're PETA, you get big mad about this whole arrangement and everyone has a good laugh at you instead.

One of the hallmarks of the series is the ability to give your Pokémon a nickname, something more personal than the species name that each creature has by default. Some players prefer these species names, as it makes it easier to keep your Pokémon organized and makes the game quicker and less personal. These players are not to be trusted.

I, on the other hand, have taken the high road ever since I was a child. Each of my Pokémon gets a loving, handcrafted, unique nickname. Unless I'm in a hurry. Or I caught them by mistake. Or I accidentally give them a duplicate nickname because, for Arceus's sake, I've been playing Pokémon for probably less than thirty years.

Again, the math thing isn't great.

Here's a list of my top ten favorite nicknames I've given my Pokémon over the years, with some honorable mentions for some bad ones.

10. Din, Farore, and Nayru; Porthos, Aramis, Athos, and D'Artagnan

Alright, it might be cheating for number 10 on the list to actually include seven discrete Pokémon, but here's the thing: they're all collectively number 10 because they are named for the same theme.

Din, Farore, and Nayru are three Pokémon called the Lake Guardians; their species names are Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. Their namesakes are a Legend of Zelda reference; Din, Farore and Nayru are the Golden Goddesses credited with creating the world in which The Legend of Zelda series takes place. Since both the trio of goddesses and the trio of Pokémon are associated with certain qualities of the spirit, it seemed nerdy and appropriate.

The other four are less of a personal decision but still a reference to another medium. Porthos, Aramis, Athos, and D'Artagnan are characters from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, the former three being the namesake Musketeers and D'Artagnan serving as whatever the straight male version of an ingenue is. There are four Pokémon (Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, and Keldeo) who are explicitly based on the three musketeers and their young charge. So this wasn't my idea but it sure makes me feel like a cool literate dude.

Also I promise this will be the longest entry in this listicle.

9. spicyfingers the Croagunk

One time my roommate and I were playing Overwatch with a few friends online and saw that an opponent's username was "spicyfingers" and we all proceeded to hate it a lot. Naturally, I decided it would be a perfect name for a Croagunk, a Poison and Fighting type Pokémon known for incapacitating opponents with rigid, toxic, straight-fingered jabs.

8. pam smidley the Eternatus (and other sweet, precious primal forces of nature)

First, watch this horrible quality SNL clip upload

Now look at this chungus.

Now keep in mind, this swirling skeletal dragon of venomous hate is 20 meters long.

I will admit, without turning this listicle entry into another separate essay, that one of my favorite nicknaming themes is taking an enormous, dangerous of these legendary, god-like beasts of Pokémon lore...and giving it an affectionately normal name. Another example of this would be my Zygarde, a legendary Pokémon tasked with maintaining the natural order of the Pokémon universe. I lovingly named mine Tanya. Or my Giratina, a Pokémon often compared to the Pokémon universe's equivalent of Satan. Mine is named Candi. With an "i".

7. BIGnBAD the (shiny) Ho-Oh

So this one would be the apex of this list except for a glaring detail; I did not nickname this Pokémon.

BIGnBAD was a random trade I received through the internet, and while I initially hated the nickname, it grew on me as a sign of love from whoever the original owner was. If you're not a frequent player of Pokémon, you may not notice that this is a recolored sprite. The original Ho-Oh looks like this:

There is a rare phenomenon in the Pokémon games wherein a Pokémon encountered at random may appear with an alternative color set and a glittering visual effect. Depending on which Pokémon game you're playing, the base chance of this is roughly a one-hundredth of a percent to two one-hundredths of a percent. Considering Ho-Oh is a legendary Pokémon, it's either a well-crafted fake, or a decent bit of effort went into obtaining BIGnBAD legitimately. Either way, I love my shining metallic baby and I thank the original owner.

6. dancin YEAH the Ludicolo


Haha so this is the honorable mention section to represent the names I don't like as much now. The main perpetrators are all of the Pokémon I've named after people I formerly held a lot of affection for (exes, former friends, etc) but who I am not now mentioning by name. Middle fingers up; now back to the show.

!!! end of honorable mentions !!!

5. bob saget the Mr Rime

Just....I don't know. Just look at him. That's bob saget right there, baby.

Side note: all of the capitalization in these names is accurate to the God-given names these Pokémon have. God is me. I'm God and I gave the names. I don't know how and when I decide to capitalize the names, but who the fuck are you to question God anyway?

4. Doctor Hoo the Noctowl

Hehe cuz

Haha I mean

He's Doctor Hoo

3. Josh Groban the Bisharp

Honestly I have no idea why I named this guy Josh Groban. He doesn't really look like Josh Groban. The Pokémon has nothing to do with singing. I just like...felt it. You know? You know.

2. Sharknado 2 the Sharpedo

Honestly this one just makes me laugh because I did, in fact, have a Sharknado 1 but traded it away for some reason. It's like having both Sharknado 1 and 2 on DVD but only getting rid of the first one for some reason.

1. Easy choice, tbh

Sam's Spooky Season Suggestions

Chief Blood Correspondent Sam Spookmeyer

It's here! September! That means Halloween has officially begun. IT'S BEEN A HARD YEAR LET ME HAVE THIS.

We all know that Halloween is the best holiday but not all of us commit to celebrating it as adults because the capitalist hellscape we live in sucks up all our energy to enjoy things and doesn't compensate us enough to afford to buy any tricks or treats. Not any more! I'm here to remind you how to have a festive Allhallows Eve without spending any money at all.

1. Invite a ghoul into your home

I know what you're thinking! "Sam, how am I gonna convince a ghoul to enter my home if I don't have even one corpse for it to eat?" Do not fret! Just open your front door and lay down in the entryway. Be very still for several hours/days until a ravenous ghoul mistakes you for a delicious cadaver. When your new spooky friend starts to consume your flesh yell out, surprise! You'll have a good laugh and maybe fall in love.

2. Scare your friends

Stand outside your friend's house at 3:00 am and tell the story of the worst nightmare you ever had. Start out at a normal speaking volume and get louder and louder until you lose your voice and once you can't speak start to throw rocks at their windows. When you run out of rocks, summon an ancient, malevolent spirit to haunt their home for all eternity. Got 'em!

3. Scare yourself

Light a candle in your dark bathroom and stare at yourself in the mirror until you no longer recognize your own features. Are you even real? Uh oh! You can't get that experience from anything available for purchase at Spirit Halloween.

4. Put some blood on it

Blood is widely available at no cost and it can make anything frightening. An Xbox 360? Not spooky. An Xbox 360 covered in blood? Gah! For best results, coat your entire dwelling in one layer at least once a day.

5. Become pen pals with a demon

Demons get a bad rap but they're pretty cool once you get to know them. The tricky part is learning how to interact with them. The best method I've found is this: write a letter to a demon and leave it on your bedside table with a couple cookies and a glass of milk. Demons LOVE cookies and milk. Once you fall asleep the demon will possess your body, consume the tasty treats, and hopefully respond to your letter.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT do this if your pet sleeps in your bed with you. Myshka is chock full of demons now and I can't find a priest to help me get them out. Apparently they don't do cats? Anyone know any good cat priests?

6. Get in a coffin

That's it! Let me know if y'all have any other petrifying propositions for making Halloween 2020 the best one yet.

A Drunken Tour of Middle-Earth

Scholar-level contributor Matt Spradling

The Lord of the Rings Online is a MMORPG that has been around since 2007 and that I have also played since 2007. Granted, the last 11 of those 13 years mostly entailed me being active a few weeks out of the year whenever there's new content. I never do raids or other group content (although a long time ago Adolescent Matt did somehow create a guild comprised solely of his main character and seven or so alternate characters just so I could have a guild house to myself, because I'm just that cool), which you might think would defeat the purpose of playing an MMO, and you'd mostly be right. But what's always been special about LOTRO in my opinion is the purity of its Lord-of-the-Rings-ness.

Since the films became a big hit in the early 2000's (The Lord of the Rings, that is - we don't talk about the Hobbit films), many games were created of various types and qualities, but what they all had in common was that they were based off of the films in terms of both aesthetic and canon. But, as is usually the case, the films took some liberties with the story from the books, and then the games inevitably took liberties with the story from the movies, and so most games often presented a world that had fairly little in common with Tolkien's writings, as though strained through a game of telephone, often to a comical extent. The most egregious instances of this come from the recent Shadow of Mordor / Shadow of War series: in the first ten minutes, you make your own ring of power with your ghost friend and then lose it to Shelob who is a sexy lady. I'm a fan, to be clear, but it feels like Tolkien to the same extent that those wild bumper stickers of Calvin peeing on things feel like Bill Watterson.

LOTRO, however, is based as faithfully as possible on the books. It has a massive, contiguous map, grounded art style, a story that doesn't contradict the isolating quest taken up by the Fellowship, countless easter eggs, and asks you to read paragraphs upon dry paragraphs of juicy exposition for every quest step. It manages to expand upon lore in creative and genuinely interesting ways without feeling off-base, to the extent that I frequently have to lore-dive harder than I ever studied for school to try and figure out if a certain element is canonical or invented.

Anyway, one of the little immersive details is that you can purchase various forms of alcohol and consume them, which doesn't affect gameplay, but after too many will give you a little dwarf status-icon that says "You've muddled your wits!" and then the screen gets kind of sepia-toned and shifts back and forth unfocused for a few minutes. It's cute.

But then there's the Inn League Sinister Keg. This is a housing decoration you can attain after reaching a high enough level of reputation with the Inn League, a Shire-based brewing society that's active during yearly festivals. When you consume alcohol from it, you go through the usual stages of wit-bemuddlement, but then pass out and wake up in one of many random locations spread throughout the world, which is just *chef's kiss.* There's even a chance your pants will be unequipped.

I mainly wanted to write about my favorite game mechanic, but here are some of those locations ranked I guess because hey I'm clearly not busy:

Tyrn Lhuig, Angmar

Probably the worst one right out of the gates. If I'm coming to after a night of debauchery, I think the last place I'd want to be is in a putrid acidic marsh full of giant flies and lizards that want to gobble me up. The least inviting landscape in what was the most dangerous region pre-expansions. 2/10

Stock, The Shire

Honestly, anywhere in the Shire is going to be the best place to party: numerous feasting and drinking hobbits will show you a great wholesome time and take care of you, there's plenty of adorable farm animals to look at, and the ground looks downright soft. The musicians playing outside of the Golden Perch 24/7 might not be particularly hangover-friendly, but better than the swampland alternatives. 9/10

Trestlebridge, The North Downs

The North Downs are fairly green and scenic, like Bree-Land but a little less tamed. Waking up on the grass over a river is pretty nice, but some points have to be deducted because the Trestlespan bridge is technically an active warzone, and the implication seems to be that you've fallen off the bridge in your muddled-wittedness, which is a frightful distance overhead. However, add points because I just remembered this town's head honcho is named Aggy Digweed, which is truly the most powerful name. 7/10

The Cat Lady's House, Bree

The town of Bree is my favorite location in the game. It's large enough to feel realistic and get lost in, and neither over-full nor sparse. There are a few different neighborhoods within it, and in one of these resides an unmarked home which houses a couple dozen cats and their owner is never anywhere to be seen. This is never explained. Perhaps I am the cat lady. 10/10

Bree Jailhouse

You can in fact wake up in jail, which I suppose is realistic, although this isn't The Elder Scrolls so you're not actually locked up or anything and can just waltz out past the unfortunate guy in the stockades 24-7. Admittedly rustic, but looks like the straw would smell bad. 6/10

Hylje-leiri, Forochel

So, stranded on a small glacier island surrounded by an icy bay would have to rank pretty low in terms of actual physical sensations. However, stranded in an ice bay near a shipwreck and the specter of a murdered ancient king is major aesthetic points. 8/10

Dead Man's Perch, Bree-Land

Similarly, the Barrow Downs of Bree-Land are a categorically perilous place to pass out, but is also very much my aesthetic. Plus, if you know your way through the Old Forest, which of course I do, you can pop over to recover with Tom Bombadil, who not only exists in this game but is done beautiful, whimsical justice. 9/10

The Scholar's Enclave in Duillond, Ered Luin

An elven library is a great choice, but I'd slowly realize they were simply too polite to kick me out and just left. You know elves never forget, so a points deduction for shame. 5/10

Atop the Giant's Needle, the Misty Mountains

This is a large obelisk surrounded by very quick-to-anger giants who want to hit you with big clubs. However, having grown up both very tall and very self-conscious, I've always enjoyed being around people taller than me because it helps me blend in. 7/10

That's all. This is my nerdy manifesto. Get out of my room. 

Types of Coffee Peeps

Eorlingas-level contributor Rohan Mehta

Matt asked me to write about the kind of connoisseurs I have encountered in the coffee enthusiast world. Why does my opinion matter? Well, other than being an all around fan of the bean juice, I worked as the community manager for a big 3rd wave coffee roaster. It was a great gig, my entire job was talking about coffee with extremely enthusiastic aficionados. The main types:

The 'what varietal are these beans' kind 

The coffee 'purist'. He (it's mostly a he) has one passion in life, it's coffee. He probably also has an instagram dedicated solely to coffee that is followed by two family members who have had to hear him talk about the lipid fractions of his newest beans every christmas, 4 coworkers who made the mistake of asking him a coffee question and a handful of coffee roasters who followed him as a courtesy because he tags their instagram accounts a million times a week.

The 'look I'm so qUiRkY' kind 

These are the people that go into a coffee shop and have the most bizarre requests. When told that is not something offered, the response is always confusion and disgust. Like- "erhmagerd, how do you NOT offer any goat milk lattes?"

The 'coffee gear-head' 

This guy likes coffee, but he LOVES coffee equipment. The target market of the $250 Acaia Lunar smart coffee scale. This scale connects to your phone via bluetooth, so you can keep track of how much coffee you're weighing... I guess?

The 'espresso purist' 

This guy went to Europe once and now believes that an espresso is the only acceptable way to drink coffee. Most likely to order an affogato for desert. Also most likely to write to HR about the 'quality of the office coffee'.

All the coffee professionals (people whose involvement in the coffee industry is more than having a coffee instagram) I have encountered are really chill people who are not pretentious snobs. This is because most of them understand that coffee is a business and the right way to drink coffee is whatever way you enjoy drinking it. So the next time some asshole scoffs at your choice of coffee beverage, tell them to fuck off with confidence. Most of the shit they talk about makes no sense to them either.

A Lukewarm Defense of Shitty Coffee

Chief Trash Correspondent Matt Spradling

Rohan may be right about those caffeine elitists, or maybe not, I don't go outside, but he left out one important group: the fine purveyors of the truly godawful stuff. We are legion; we're the salt of the earth, and there may well be salt in this coffee, it's hard to tell.

They say you form your musical tastes around middle school, which is the emotional equivalent of how I think you form your coffee tastes during the point of your life at which you are the most depressed and destitute (college-ish). There's something charming about the swill - just buckets of the cheapest stuff HEB has to offer and not having to worry about the price; your $20 coffee machine building up its own unique twang over time like an inherited old cast iron skillet even though that's not how coffee machines are supposed to work; not being able to tell how much sawdust or ground up insects are in there but not worrying about it because nothing has set off your allergies too badly.

You know, the classic American aesthetic.

HEB Brand Medium Roast, 2.4 lbs, $6

It's so good/bad. You can just stuff your coffee filter full to the point of overflowing with this dirty fairy dust and brew a pot so strong your tastebuds will actually twitch and you won't be able to tell what the temperature in your apartment is.

Folgers Dark Roast Decaf, 2 lbs, $5

God I can feel the sweet shitty decaf power coursing through my veins and plaque-plugged arteries. Adding chemical treatment to this already dubious blend is like cooking with a fine spice. This won't give you as many panic attacks, though.

HEB Brand Light Roast Crème Brûlée Flavored, 1.2 lbs, $4

Uh oh, you thought you were treating yourself to a fancy new flavor experience but it's actually just the ground remains of Goliath from that Gargoyles cartoon mixed with rancid brown sugar. It's like a Junji Ito novel in a broken, scalding cup. Just like my ancestors used to make in a pan with a campfire on the driving range! (Not the cattle-driving range; they were cowboys but they mostly camped on golf courses. Fuck golf.)

That's it.

One time I ordered a cappuccino from a fancy cafe and I'm still paying off the debt.

One time I used keurig pods at an Airbnb and I got arrested.

Ok fine. For a while I worked at a Starbucks-esque coffee shop where I consumed copious and dubiously documented shift drinks of the good stuff, but when I say good stuff I'm going solely off price because I could never really tell any difference between the bougies stuff and the cheap stuff. I did my best to appreciate The Good Stuff; I was keenly aware that when a roast was called "Colombia Light," it meant the beans I was grinding were a product of the life work of a family of beautiful Colombians and that I in my minimum-wage glow was a key part of their shadowy capitalistic process, choosing brews at random as moms wearing Lululemon and pushing double strollers pressed aggressively for a joyless, perfunctory recommendation. This pressure perhaps led me to shy away from the entire aromatic endeavor out of the stress of responsibility and take refuge in the anonymity of the cheapest most generic shit conceivable, roach haunches and all.


That's it I think?

I don't have a conclusion to this.

Here's some music to occupy your caffeine-addled mind:

Office Chart

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major - Mozart

It is good to have traditions in life. My favorite is pouring myself a few tequila sodas on a Sunday night and hastily writing something for the Newsletter issue that comes out Monday. I always put on Mozart when I am hauling ass through my drunken genius and this is the first song on Mozart's Spotify page so it gets a lot of playtime. It flows and moves very nicely and doesn't have any words so I don't get distracted. Take a little hit of classical music, it's a good time.  -Alex

Autumn Ale - The Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO's soundtrack, at least the original one, is incredible and has a ton of these lovely ambient lute(?) based tunes. They're nice to just have on sometimes.  -Obviously Matt

Raise Hell - Brandi Carlile

I have a Spotify playlist called "i'm a raging witch" and this is the first thing on it. It's the perfect mixture of Country Folk and Angry Woman Singing About the Men and the Devil that I love and that is perfect for Fall. Just the song for sipping a PSL and organizing a revolution. Why is so much country music about angry women? I'm not complaining, I love it and encourage it.  -Marina

Stir It Up - Patti LaBelle, Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack

There is no better bop if you just want to be dancing around on the balls of your feet while you do dishes or other housework while picturing yourself in a quirky 80s music video. "Stir It Up" is a pure, bouncy, high-energy anthem.  -Andrew

Gentleman / M'Lady - Dorian Electra

Oops! I started listening to Dorian Electra and now I can't remember what other music sounds like. This is the highest art I have ever encountered and I am determined to force everyone I know to become as obsessed as I am.  -Sam

For No One - The Beatles

You ever been like really sad? You ever had your heart just absolutely broken in a way that you didn't think possible? This is, in my opinion, the single saddest song in existence. Paul McCartney is a genius (this we know) and he absolutely nailed every part of this song. "In her eyes you see nothing // no sign of love behind the tears // cried for no one." He keeps singing the closing line of "A love that should have lasted years." Haha well time for bed for me  -Alex

For Reasons Unknown - The Killers

The main thing I remember from my birthday is being drunk in the middle of the night at my parents' house where we were visiting for a few weeks, going out into the garage, running around with Cheetoh the barncat for like 20 minutes and singing The Killers at him. He loved it because he's basically a dog. I don't think the Killers have been good since Sawdust but the old stuff is still a good time.  -Matt

Halloween - Siouxsie and the Banshees

As far as I'm concerned, it is now Halloween until at least mid-November. This is the only song you need, quite frankly. It's 80's gothic rock and it is my exact aesthetic for the next 2-3 months.  -Marina

Moving Parts - Trixie Mattel

I've touched briefly upon Trixie Mattel and her quaint, plaintive music. Quaintive? I don't know. Trixie Mattel has always managed to touch me with the juxtaposition between her vibrant, larger-than-life drag persona and her quiet, gentle folk music. "Moving Parts" is a fitting example of Trixie's skill as a musician, lyricist, and walking contradiction between fabulous style and old soul.  -Andrew


Banner - The Killers, Hot Fuss, but, like, just the picture (2005)

Montana got on fire - Billings Gazette, 9/2/20

Andrew's 17 goddamn Pokémon/formatting nightmare - Bulbapedia 

Cat House - LOTRO