Following are more-or-less my five favorite songs. One of them isn’t even sung by a chick!
My daughter has a playlist on my YouTube Channel. If you want to watch it, it’s called Bella’s Superheroes. It’s basically Spider-Man fighting Ryu and so on… screen captures of guys playing Street Fighter.
But I have another playlist of awesome songs that I often watch / listen to at work. My daughter really likes music and has eerily superb taste for a four-year-old. She was rocking out to Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley and my wife happened by while Bella was strumming air guitar and leaping from this huge wooden stool onto the living room carpet.
“You know, Mommy think’s that’s Mommy’s favorite song,” she said.
Bella just kept bopping air guitar (she says her favorite song is Into the Groove by Madonna, but I think she likes So What by P!nk the best).
You know… Even the best, closest, couples have rough patches once in a while. But overhearing that thing about Portions for Foxes being K’s favorite song… it was just one of the infinite tiny things that occur, unheralded, in a marriage that remind you you’re connected to the right person.
#1 Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley
This song has the absolute best opening line of any song, ever:
“There’s blood in my mouth / ’cause I’ve been biting my tounge all week…”
#2 Special by Garbage
This is a song that reminds me of my first summer in New York City. We only had like three MP3s back then… This was one of them. Shirley Manson is so hot.
#3 The Touch by Stan Bush
If you don’t know how I feel about this song, I suggest you read this. At the very least it’s the only blog post I’ve ever written whereby my readers have stated that I 1) I restored his faith in humanity, or 2) made a grown man cry tears of joy… Plus you should probably shotgun a tee shirt (I got two for Christmas! Go me!).
#4 As Cool As I Am by Dar Williams
I have only ever bought the album they were playing in the record store two times. The first time they were playing this song. I later remembered that I had heard it before, road tripping up and down New Jersey for a week in-between a family vacation and Pro Tour New York 1997. Dar Williams eventually grew into my favorite solo artist. I still feel like she is the finest songwriter to use the English language. I don’t know if this is my absolute favorite Dar song (probably not, actually)… but it is the one that made me fall in love with her.
I opened that PT with wins over Aaron Muranaka (Top 8 at PT Atlanta earlier that year) and Rob Dougherty (Hall of Fame)… and then didn’t make day two. Typical.
#5 He’s Gone by Leona Naess
I dunno if this one will stick forever, but right now I find myself playing this video over and over and over (just ask anyone walking past my office). I take a fair number of musical cues from Josh Ravitz… He was the one who introduced me to Rilo Kiley (my favorite band), for instance. A few weeks ago at the office he asked me if I knew this song, and… Well one thing led to another and I just run Leona at least four times a day.
At the recent Star City Games $5,000 tournament in Philadelphia, a lot of people came up to me and asked about The World’s Greatest Tee Shirt. I am proud to say that having explained the desperate situation that the heroic Autobots found themselves in — at least until the arrival of their mechanical messiah — and how Optimus Prime, the Touch in tow, was able to save the day (or at least Autobot City) well enough that players present seemed to “get it” and new friends like Garrett Sheier even went and got themselves some Optimus Prime tee shirts.
So I thought I’d share what I talked about “in real life” in Philadelphia… and keeping in mind that you don’t have me swearing like a sailor in your ear… maybe you will come to understand why I find a tear in my eye every time I see that newly beloved tee shirt image. Transformers: The Movie has been one of my favorite films for over twenty years.
Here’s the setting.
The Decepticons are blitzing Autobot City! The Decepticons are BLITZING Autobot City. I know you are used to some skirmishes over the tee vee seasons with ‘bots from both sides of the Red / Purple insignia division walking away or even rolling out as it were, but the film to this point has been a murder of murders. Ironhide. Prowl. Wheeljack. I owned some or all of the vanquished ‘bots. At age 11 I didn’t yet realize that this was a ploy to, you know, sell more bits of plastic and die-cast metal.
But through the long night some of the Autobots have survived. The villanous Richard III-like Megatron calls for the final destruction of all that is holy and good and energon-powered on Earth, the end of a war that began in the time of the dinosaurs, perhaps… but not at all a good ending for us and ours.
Devastator, six ‘cons strong, shrugs off a heavy blow and is tearing Autobot City in two with mighty hands of steel, threatening to expose the last hidey-hole of the now exhausted Autobot faithful.
All seems lost.
But there is hope.
Hope that rides on sixteen wheels.
Here is a music video (I didn’t make it, but they let some other videos sit on the same site as Five With Flores), albeit largely less popular:
Check it out at about 0:09… That long shot of Optimus Prime rolling out and crossing the bridge to what will be his final battle. Can you hear the palpable hope alongside Stan Bush’s power ballad crooning?
0:16… The Decepticons hear it, and are rallying to the bridge. 300 Spartans nearly held the hot gates against the greatest army history had seen to that point. But can a small army of robotic killing-machines stand against a single sixteen-wheeler?
0:21… We have completely misjudged this situation! The ‘cons aren’t rallying… They’re RUNNING! From a single Autobot! He must have “the Touch” or some such.
0:24… This is the reflection of a supervillain’s face right before he’s…
0:25… splattered to the sky by an oncoming sixteen-wheeler.
0:33… Prime is so tough he seems completely immune to blaster fire, even in truck-mode. Eff these guys and their stupid blasters.
0:35… There go the jets. This is the iconic moment. Prime is vaulting from “run over the slower Decepticons” truck-mode to “heroic mass-murderer” Autobot mode. If you aren’t cheering as he launches from the ground to the sky, I fear, my friend, that you have no soul.
0:37… He hasn’t even hit the ground yet, but his gun is in his hand.
0:41… Fatal… Um, we know Soundwave lives, but he seems pretty effed up anyway. Remember, Prime hasn’t even hit the ground from his transformation yet and he has already run over 2-3 Decepticons and shot another 2-3 to death already. Has this guy got the Touch or what?
0:42-0:47… We aren’t even a FULL MINUTE into the song yet and Prime has just unloaded 10-12 more rounds. We see the results of the last two; that is, two more ‘con corpses. Given his shot percentage to this point, how many ‘cons did he drop along the way?
1:07… No clue why Megatron flying tackles Prime here instead of shooting him with his black hole-powered cannon. This guy needs like, a life coach or at least to listen to Top 8 Magic or something. What a poor play.
1:25… Oh, that’s why! Black hole, black shmole! Prime would just dodge his lightspeed cannon-blast! (No clue why being disparately shown to shrug off blaster fire and dodge singularity-level destruction moving at the speed of light, he was successfully tagged by a hurled piece of debris, which you can see sticking out of his gut… You know when the Japanese guy shoots all his rounds and Gojira and they don’t hurt him, but then he inexplicably throws his empty revolver at the rampaging dragon-god? Imagine that the gun knocked him back into the sea. Logic.).
1:34… Megatron has a lightsaber!
1:35… Prime is vulnerable to lightsabers (I mean who isn’t?); this will be important at a later date.
1:44… Megatron, though, is vulnerable to PRIME’S EVER LOVIN’ FISTICUFFS!!!
2:00… Also Prime’s Judo!!!
We all know how this fight ends. It is Optimus’s last fight. Though he defeats Megatron and routs essentially the entire Decepticon invasion force, he is greviously wounded and has to pass the torch — or the Matrix of Leadership in this case — to the Prime of the next generation.
3:11… Rodimus Prime unleashes the Touch and lights our darkest hour. Do you see how the Touch can be passed to the most incompetent of potential heroes?
But you can surely see how Prime’s inspiration and leadership — and most importantly the hope he represented to the embattled and desperate heroes — combined with the magical music of the time combine sublimely (almost like Devastator or perhaps Voltron to go off-universe) into The World’s Greatest Tee Shirt:
Your old buddy michaelj (or Mrs. michaelj properly) ordered two. They will be mine for Christmas! Thank you beloved Better Half!
If you have foolishly not gotten yours yet, think about it like this… Do you not have the Touch? Do you want it? Are you constantly complaining about bad mana, bad luck, being topdecked? Perhaps you need the Touch, or perhaps the Power. Did you notice Prime teasing your opponent and calling him a loser with that L-shape up top his head?
You just might want to think about that.
I plan to start next year’s Extended PTQ season with the Touch in tow.
MichaelJ is sick! Also some things are not available at any price. Others are available for between $4.99 and $24.
First of all, sorry for the few / lame updates the past week or two. I am back in New York and have been in I think five cities in three days (Cleveland, Richmond, New York, Ft. Lauderdale, New York again) between Thanksgiving and now. Most recently I flew down to Florida for less than 24 hours to do a speech, back in the office the next day (today).
I am wiped from traveling and the speech / presentation.
Millionaire copywriter Dr. Harlan Kilstein let me do a presentation at his Tactic7 seminar which was daunting. I have done presentations about being awesome at Google before but… like… only at Google or at seminars talking to Googlers. So yes, it’s a big honor to be one of the few online marketing experts to actually present at the epicenter of the online marketing universe, but the stresses are very different. Sure it can still be intimidating, but when you are speaking at Google, you are sharing with a room full of professionals who basically get paid to be there.
Presenting at Harlan’s made me nervous because the situation was reversed: Entrepeneurs and students were paying to hear me speak. Yes it was Harlan’s event and I was just a guest speaker for the day but the people present paid a deep four figures to sit in that packed room so it was important for me to do a good job.
Luckily I aquitted myself quite adequately.
Unluckily — and if you know me in real life (instead of just listening to my videos) you can probably imagine this — I spent a lot of my speech shouting at the top of my lungs. Specifically I repeated THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR five or ten times, Gregorian chant style (if Gregorian monks, you know, shouted THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR at the top of their lungs).
So I have no voice now.
Which is kind of horrible because I am going to do a video on my Star City Blightning Beatdown tonight. I kind of have to. I did the footage more than a week ago, intending to do the video while I was home in Ohio, but wall to wall family stuff came up for a week and the raw files have been sitting on my computer for however long. But the Star City $5K event is less than two days from now… So when you get to see the video (which will be later tonight, getting back to the “sorry for the few / lame updates the past week or two” bit up top), you will have to deal with my non-voice. I am the equal and opposite of Blackagar Boltagon. My voice is THAT un-powerful at present.
So what does this have to do with this blog post’s headline [“Not Available at Any Price!” if you forgot]?
While I was at Tactic7 I met up with fellow presenter, quality human being, and Career RenegadeJonathan Fields, an imminent Amazon.com best seller and expert in social media (you know, like this blog). Jonathan turned me onto Twitter. So if you want to follow me on Twitter (no one is following me on Twitter, please follow me on Twitter, I want to feel popular), I am unsurprisingly FiveWithFlores, that is, Twitter.com/FiveWithFlores. Apparently I previously registered my Madmanpoet self some time in the distant past, but I have since forgotten the password to Madmanpoet’s account. Poor Twitter.com/Madmanpoet. You are alone forever. Long live FiveWithFlores!
Jonathan pointed out the agile use of “not available at any price” in a sales letter he showed me, and I just found something also not available at any price (though my use is dramatically less agile).
I am not sure if that Decepticon belt is cool or lame; only that it is bright purple. However I have the following little mice turning gears in my noggin:
1) It’s only $4.99 (meaning that if it turns out to be lame, I blew less than a latte), and
2) It fits up to 38 inches (meaning I’m good… Is there anything more embarrassing than buying a belt you can’t fit into?)
So I’m thinking to myself, “Self, there is a reasonable possibility this belt is lame. Maybe there could be some other belt that is definitely cool, or at least not lame?”
So I came upon this belt:
IT IS NOT AVAILABLE AT ANY PRICE.
I had to double-take.
This Thundercats belt is $0… You know, like my lifetime winnings in individual Pro Tours.
Yet it is in stock.
How can this be?
When price = $0, that throws the whole cool / lame cost / benefit matrix completely out of whack. Free things are basically automatically cool, or at least not lame.
Then I read that you actually have to buy a Thundercats tee shirt to get the NOT AVAILABLE AT ANY PRICE belt “for free.” Oh, that’s how they get you. Actual commerce and product purchases. The arrogant bastards. You have to pay them before you get goods and services. How gauche. Maybe they should just let me buy The World’s Greatest Tee Shirt instead of it being out of stock. Did I mention “bastards”?
Anyway, I was leaning towards this one, because then I can pretend that I didn’t know there was a double entendre (my life is more or less non-stop shenanigans, and pretending I didn’t know I was committing a faux pas is basically my favorite scam):
The only problem is that if you have a daughter and you want her to be proud, independent, free-thinking, and strong, you have to at least THINK ABOUT / consider certain ridiculous actions and intentional unintentional double entendres, especially if you want to dodge the ire of the Mrs. For the unmarried among you, there is a high benefit to relatively low cost in dodging the ire of the Mrs.
So what is a man to do in order to shotgun a free Thundercats belt?
There is the Underoos-looking route:
Or alternately the hipster “I found these Underoos crumpled under my bed” route:
Personally I like the second one more, but I am worried the Mrs. will mistake it for a ratty old shirt and will accidentally throw it away.
This is more difficult than “Figure of Destiny” or “Tarfire the Birds of Paradise” on turn one.
So long story short, video + Magical post later tonight.
Thanks everybody for continuing to love what Mike Flores loves. If I can get my free Thundercats belt in time for the Star City $5K, it will match my deck of choice (Blightning Beatdown, obv).
What is actually more difficult? Figure of Destiny / Tarfire the Birds of Paradise on turn one or Underoos-looking Thundercats shirt / “distressed” Underoos-looking Thundercats shirt?
How can the world’s greatest tee shirt and Optimus Prime, iconic leader of the Autobots conspire to such an unmitigated disaster? This Black Friday, there is only one way to find out, sadly.
So I found the world’s greatest tee shirt.
When I say “THE WORLD’S GREATEST” tee shirt, I am not kidding.
I created some of the game’s most inventive strategies and sideboards — meaning I have a pretty decent imagination — and I can’t begin to imagine a tee shirt even one per cent as great as this one. It is nostalgia, inspiration, art, and coming-of-age all rolled into one piece of clothing.
Go ahead and look:
(You can click that and get one yourself… maybe.)
I mean there is so much stuff going on. Me, I can actually visualize Optimus cruising towards Autobot City, with the instrumental gearing up behind him as he starts rolling over hapless Decepticons. The first 20 minutes or so of Transformers: The Movie is one of my favorite cinematic experiences ever.
The sheer ridiculousness of Optimus with speakers behind him, axing an electric guitar is… Sublime. It truly transcends genre, goes beyond animation, speculative fiction, meta-fiction… can only exist on the greatest tee shirt of all time.
The vendor even says “If you feel like you’ve lost The Touch, this shirt might just be the way to regain it.” Yes! Please help me regain The Touch! Please let me buy this tee shirt!
The disaster is that they are all sold out of my size. In fact, they are sold out of M, L, and XL… Though if you are a small, 2XL, &c. you can still get one (provided they are not all sold out of everything on account of it being Black Friday). Check here if you have any taste at all.
I think I am going to call the company and complain and / or ask them if they are going to print another large. This is an exclusive and therefore there is no other place to get this tee shirt!
If they reload, I will keep you updated.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Perhaps if you put on too many extra pounds, you can upgrade to a 2XL or thereabouts and obtain The Touch.
Culmination of a lot of the tech I have been working on for Standard. No Sylvan Caryatids is a nod to Patrick Chapin. Nothing but two-for-ones. Wish I could have gotten this in the hands of a good pilot for the GP but just finished it.
I had a day off this weekend from shooting Supernatural, and I was walking around downtown Vancouver on Saturday, sampling all the artisan coffee I could get my throat around. At one point I saw a pair of guys walking towards me wearing gamer shirts. Black short-sleeved, one Halo and one Call of…