Albumin’: David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

January 2nd, 2024

Album cover for David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

New year, new thing to try for maybe a few days!

I realized with my recent Apple Music year in review (no Spotify, sorry but I like having a music library, I’ll keep reveling in my vestigial millennial obsession with owning things thank you) that, beyond a sudden surge in orchestral songs playing in the background for online D&D games, my music listening has dropped off a cliff to almost nonexistent in the past decades. There’s lots of reasons for this, among them: an upswing in podcast listening (itself vastly reduced now that I don’t commute), watching more streaming shows during downtime, and my wife and I having differing musical tastes resulting in least common denominators like Disney soundtracks and Christmas pop songs dominating any remaining music time. I like discovering new music but have always been terrible with the “discovery” process (I haven’t turned on a radio on purpose in like twenty years).

So in an effort to revitalize my listening habits before I get so stuck in my ways that I’ll just keep grumbling about what passes for “oldies”, I’ll do what the last few generations of Internet users do best and gamify the act of music listening itself. Gonna make an effort to listen to entire albums, with a mix of mainstays in my music library plus newcomers (would even take a recommendation if folks have any), and write up my brief thoughts here. This may make things worse! Let’s find out together!


Kicking off this project with a Dave Holmes jaunt, when he broke from his tradition of composing Ocean’s franchise soundtracks and filling the album with movie dialogue samples to guarantee a worse listening experience, and made an album of original tunes with lyrics and what sounds like a full band, the eponymous Free Association. I love his scores, but this change-up was exactly what I needed from him back in the aughts, and this album remains a regular fixture in my music library. I only recognize one song carried over from his past works, “Paper Underwear”, but even just having this instrumental without George Clooney piping in was a godsend. The instrument samples are sometimes a bit crunchy and repetitive (we can still judge aesthetic choices), but I’m always happy to run into any of these tracks in a shuffle, so actually sitting and giving the whole album a listen was a delightful treat to kick off the new year. It’s a quick listen and I happily recommend it to anyone who has fond memories of the heist movie boom and wants to feel like they’re smoking cigarettes in a back room and planning to rob a casino (or if you want to actually do the heist part, I don’t know your life).

While writing this, I realized that the track list changed some time between me buying this CD and it ending up on streaming services, both with a new song order and a song replacement! It’s wild to me that something I try to reference from my past isn’t locked in place like a time capsule but can change based on, what? Song licensing? Did Holmes make a whole-ass different track (“Sugarman”) as a single back in the day and later on a whim just decide to kick out “Somedays”? For accuracy’s sake, here’s the album as I have it in my library:

  1. Don’t Rhyme No Mo
  2. (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart
  3. Le Baggage
  4. Free Ass O-C-8
  5. Somedays
  6. Everybody Knows
  7. Pushin’ A Broom
  8. La Dolce Vita
  9. Paper Underwear
  10. Whistlin’ Down The Wind

I’ll avoid uploading the song for fear of copyright strikes and legal actions (amazingly things that can happen even if a song exists nowhere on the Internet for legal purchase or stream), but there’s a sample on UMPG Songs for reference. I’ve grabbed Sugarman and the “new mix” of Wooden Heart (I hear some more prominent organs and a general up-pitching, but maybe someone with a better ear has more thoughts) to add to my collection.

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More blogsolidation: SpyMac

July 20th, 2023

Remember SpyMac? Of course you don’t! It was an iTools/.Mac alternative free/cheap hosting service targeting Mac users. I had a site there for a hot minute where I basically made fun of LiveJournal while also somewhat emulating its post format (and then I spent some time on LiveJournal anyway). I stumbled upon a Wayback Machine archive of my SpyMac page, so I transcribed everything I could into archival posts here! Check out the spymac category to see them in all their non-numerous beauty.

dnd5e-classes

April 11th, 2023

A collection of 5e homebrew classes, subclasses, and optional class features.

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The Stygian Sea

January 14th, 2023

This is a rules supplement for running a flooded Avernus in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, including rules for creating infernal ships, examples of some of the vehicles and creatures a party might encounter on the Stygian Sea, and some aquatic charms a fiend can offer in this modified setting.

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Rhythmancy: The Magic of Music

January 14th, 2023

Rhythmancy is a fundamental aspect of magic that is summoned through the performance of music. Though it is sometimes considered an independent school of magical study, rhythmancy spells all align with various existing schools and can potentially be learned by any arcane practitioners — if they know where to look.

This document includes a list of 5e class options, feats, spells, and magic items utilizing rhythmancy.

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dnd5e-species

January 14th, 2023

A collection of 5e homebrew species.

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Allergies

January 14th, 2023

Monarchs and commoners, heroes and villains, and creatures of all makes across all planes of existence in all states of life (or unlife) can be susceptible to the effects of an overactive immune system. All it takes is an errant mote of dander, a puff of pollen, or the wrong substance ingested, and your entire day can be ruined.

This 5e homebrew supplement describes how to assign an allergen to your character, and how it manifests mechanically within the game.

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Urban Ranger Options

January 14th, 2023

This 5e homebrew supplement adds rules for playing urban rangers who navigate city streets and crowds with ease, including optional class features for the Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer traits and a new City Dweller ranger subclass.

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Announcing the Halloween Zero-to-Thirty Challenge Rating Challenge!

September 30th, 2021

I’ve collaborated with @probablybadrpgideas on a thing!

For the 31 days of October leading into Halloween, let’s all make one Dungeons & Dragons monster per day. Challenge rating starts at 0 on day 1, and each next monster is CR+1, culminating with a CR30 nightmare on the 31st, representing the monsters getting spookier and more dangerous as we approach the most sacred day. Post your monsters each day like an advent calendar, try running encounters against monsters posted by others, build one-shot Halloween-themed adventures, make monstrous player races to oppose the growing threat, make fan art of other people’s monsters, or just enjoy and share the community’s creations!

For your consideration, a prompt list:

  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Undead
  • Kaiju
  • Fairytale
  • Accursed
  • Spoopy
  • Beast
  • Outer Space
  • Doppelgänger
  • Capitalism
  • Insects
  • Trick-or-Treat
  • Misunderstood Monster
  • The Deep
  • Prehistoric
  • Secretive
  • Ooze
  • B-Movie Monster
  • Expanse
  • Parasite
  • This is Not a Place of Honor
  • Chaos
  • Mythology
  • Supernatural
  • Mecha
  • Psychopomp
  • Forest
  • Abomination
  • Caves
  • Boss Monster
  • End of the World

Feel free to follow the prompts in any order you like for inspiration, skip and replace any you aren’t feeling, use another list, or just follow your heart to make the spoopy spooks of your dreams. Dealer’s choice for D&D edition, or Pathfinder, or Monster of the Week, or whatever TTRPG system you like, just make them scarier and tougher each day.

This is the Halloween Zero-to-Thirty Challenge Rating Challenge. Let’s see what amazing things we can come up with to celebrate the best time of year. Hope your party survives to the end!

Gotta Spend Bells to Make Bells

May 6th, 2020

Animal Crossing: New Horizons! You all should be playing it. Like right now, get right on that please.

Cool, now that we’re all on the same page, check out my spreadsheet for tracking turnip sales. Behold, the Porkfolio!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1f_TfNdhdvAvrzr90bZL6hlMoIuADGte_jlbDLX4NpnY/edit?usp=sharing

Just input the date of each transaction, the amount of turnips bought or sold (use negative numbers for sales), and the price per turnip. The sheet will track bells earned or lost per transaction, how many turnips you have left, and the target price for remaining turnips to still turn a profit. Each Sunday, clear out your values and start fresh (or keep tracking longterm, I mean turnips don’t really work that way but it’s your finances so feel free).

Let me know what you think! I’m sure I’ll be making tweaks in the coming days to fix math errors.

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