Treasure Hunting with Metalhead Fred

One of the biggest parts of my upbringing in Hawaii was buying and selling at the local swap meet every weekend. I learned a lot from my grandpa just by watching him sell his old school Singer treadle sewing machines that he picked up at storage auctions. He was so good at the hustle that he even traded sewing machines with his doctor for "sample" prescription medications. I don't remember him actually ever paying for his medications. Apparently, he was also a ladies' man with the old Filipino Nanas and many of them were repeat customers. How many sewing machines does one grandma need? More than one, I suppose.

My father, at one point in time, was also an office furniture salesman. He would bring home old used furniture and we would reupholster them to sell that at the swap meet. I was always surrounded by the hustler mindset so it was easy for me to adopt.

Anyways... I just want to share with you some of my recent top bargain finds.

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1965 Goya T-16 Grandpa's Guitar

Seller was asking $75. Of course, you NEVER pay the asking price even if their asking price is more than fair. Pointed out some nicks and dings here and there and there was a slight bow in the neck so I factored in a the cost of a setup.

Paid $30

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Home Decor

Seller was only asking $25 which, again, is more than reasonable for a sign of this size despite lacking a power plug. There was no way of testing it out to see if it worked or not, so I used that to my advantage. Took it home, found a plug that fit, powered it up. It worked like a charm. I intend to flip this bad boy.

Paid $10

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Kickass Short Sword

Found this sick sword in a box of kitchen utensils. I can only imagine somebody using this in a kitchen to prepare a meal. Other than that, I know absolutely nothing about it except that it's stamped "Made in Pakistan".

Paid $5

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Lemmy's Autographed Photo

Some dude that probably bought a storage locker unit at auction started pulling a bunch of crap out of his U-Haul when this gem literally flew out of a box thanks to a gust of wind. Thanks Sarah!

Paid $1

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Born to Rock Alf Puppet

There's always room for nostalgic finds. I grew up watching Alf. Yea, I'm old... Wanna fight about it? Anyways, I found this guy in a box of crap a seller was going to donate to the Goodwill because they thought nobody was gonna buy it. Boy, was he wrong. My face lit up when I pulled this out of the box and he noticed.

Paid with joy and laughter

The people closest to me know that I'm pretty good at finding great deals on just about anything. There's no big secret to finding treasures though. It's all about (sweet)talking and having a price in mind that you want pay. Stick to your guns and even flirt if you have to. People are motivated by money and the need to feel good so make sure you keep that in mind while negotiating.

HAPPY HUNTING!!!

5 records I’ve been Listening to.

If it hasn’t become apperint by now; We in Aphesis do enjoy making lists.

 

There is always the temptation to qualify your list by some subjective measurement, so that it can live on its’ own merits (Best album to listen to on the third tuesday of the month if you own cats).  Well for this one, I’m gunna say nuts to that.  Who cares what the best metal albums of the year were if they were all garbage. (I’m not saying they were, relax).

 

OK so here’s a list of albums I love with no other quantifiers except that I’m listening to them a lot lately.

Ylem (Dark fortress)

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https://open.spotify.com/album/0aV9OBVMfgDauz5noYc60I

Dark Fortress was a lucky Spotify recommendation.  Honestly, when we play D&D, we usually listen to Black Metal or Doom.  But it’s just background noise.  Dark Fortress stuck out because of the tasty way they incorporate orchestration with gnarly guitars.  On Ylem in particular, the songs sound similar to Septic Flesh (one of my favorites).  Some of their other albums are a bit inconsistent but Ylem is pure Satanic Blackened Death Metal the whole way through.  For me, as someone sort of new to the genre, this is a defining sound.  And It’s fuckin Eeeeevil.

 

Terminal Redux (Vektor)

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https://open.spotify.com/album/56ZRTTv25E2OO7FLuLokkX

Terminal Redux took a couple listens to grow on me.  I was off-put by the harsh vocals at first.  I’m used to my metal screams having a lower pitch.  Once I adjusted to that though, I was able to take in this swirling space-scape of riffage.  Vektor is for guitar lovers.  It’s super technical and super thrashy.  They’re not afraid to experiment with some pop and jazz stuff as well.  I realize I’m late to the party with this band but I’m a fan for sure now.  Their sound is absolutely unique and I love the commitment to a distinct vision, both in sound and concept.  I’m looking forward to diving into their earlier stuff as well, which I’ve heard is a little less experimental.

 

Machine Messiah (Sepultura)

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https://open.spotify.com/album/4M2nFFdiM1nlq8QK8z4IqJ

I was definitely of the opinion that Roots was the last and probably only good Sepultura record.  I’ve tried getting into the other ones but always thought they were pretty ‘meh’. Coming from that point of view, Machine Messiah was wonderful surprise.  This album is full of world music and tons of extra textures. There’s the tribal percussion Sepultura is known for but also some awesome middle eastern sounding orchestration.  It sounds super fresh and ambitious.  Like almost as if they have been doing this for decades and got better at it.  If you’ve written off Sepultura as being past their glory days, prepare to flip your script.

 

The Moon Lit Our Path (Tempel)

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https://tempelofficial.bandcamp.cm/

This one’s all instrumental.  I’m sure I’m not alone in needing the occasional palette cleanser from Brootal demon vocals.   Tempel sound like progressive stoner sludge.  Their songs can be slow to build but the pay-off is worthwhile when they bring in heavy as fuck breakdowns that sound like conan destroying someone's head.


Odyssey to the West (Slice the Cake)

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https://open.spotify.com/album/1tkxgFrcLiS1yB2kvTlueb

I’m sure we’ve all had that experience - where you give a new band a listen and instantly regret even bothering.  Man, sometimes when I’m looking through the net for new bands, I just start hating music. There is so much awful, mediocre, uninspired, boring crap out there.  But then there are those moments.  You know what I’m talking about, those rare sweet moments when you find a piece of music that reaches right into your chest and finds that sweet spot of awesome.   Slice the Cake was a band I stumbled upon from the Progressive Metal Sub-Reddit.  Having zero context for what I was about to listen to, I clicked a link, mostly cause I thought “funny name for a prog band”.   I was instantly captivated by the melodic, shakespearean voice crooning about “agencies with the preordained”.  I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, that maybe takes itself way too seriously.  The thing is, Slice the Cake knows how to back-up their pretension with fucking awesome, amazing, dynamic songwriting.  Theres Djent and Core but also Prog and Poetry in every song.  Mostly though there is guts and honesty and soul.  This album had me looking around the room that no one else as in like “are you fuckin for real”. 

It’s basically perfect. 

So that was a list of albums I have been listening to.  I’ve avoided talking about when these were released or where the bands are from ‘cause I really don’t see how it matters anymore.  Part of the magic of music is that it’s here and now, forever.

 - Arjuna

 

Dillon’s Tao of the Artist’s Mastery pt.1

 -prelude-

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Information…in-formation…in-form...to internally form. When presented with information, there becomes an opportunity to build an experience within ourselves.  Information paired with a strong sense of self-awarenessis the greatest tool that any artist can utilize.  The role of an artist is to translate an experience (information), and the more in tune the artist is within themselves (self-awareness) can they accurately portray what was intended to be expressed.  I do not claim to be a teacher; I am but a humble student sharing notes.  Throughout the years of being a musician I have stumbled across important concepts that have not only aided me in the growth of my craft, but also as an individual.  I present these ideas to you in hopes that they will assist in your personal growth as they have done for me.

      -Understanding the Why-

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Every manifestation of art is emerged from, and driven by intent, the origin of all actions.  Every day we are confronted with ‘Why?’ and the more in tune we are with this source, the quicker our art will expand to the farthest of reaches.This ‘Why’ beholds an endless array of reasons and each one will give unique shape and form to your art, your life.  It plays a crucial role to any outcome, whether it be artistic or as simple as studying for a final exam.  The goal here is to develop a sense of self awareness that coincides with our everyday decisions.  The more conscious you are with your reason, the more likely an outcome will line up with your expectations.  As an added bonus, this will also strengthen your sense of discipline even if your expectations are not met;because you know, life loves its curveballs.

 

        -Don’t forget to breathe-

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When it’s natural, you don’t hold your breath, it’s as simple as that.  This is the key to fluency and fluidity of your art.  When engaging in a challenging activity, whether you’re learning a new song, or playing Call of Duty, there is a tendency to hold your breath.  This tenses the body, prevents calm fluid movements, and proper execution.  Not only does it hinder capabilities, but it also facilitates bad habits.  Let’s look at it this way.  Muscle memory is developed through repetition of action.If you’re holding your breath, your body will stiffen up and become tense.  So by doing this you will condition your body to this habit, which aren’t easy to break.  It’s important to note here that these physical habits can actually lead to injuries.  So the next time you’re doing something challenging, focus on your breathing patterns.  Always breathe with your art and I guarantee your progress in technique will improve swiftly.

 

 -The listener, the observer, the audience-

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For every medium of art, there is an audience.  It is the goal of the artist to direct and conduct the experience of the engaged observer(s).  To hone this craft, the artist must experience and understand the role as the audience.  To be a musician, one must listen to music; to be a chef, one must taste a variety of delicacies, and to be a director, one must watch film after film after film.  By developing your self-awareness as the observer, the subtleties and nuances of the artistic medium begin to unravel, becoming important tools for presenting your art.   With these newfound discoveries, you canhone the flow of creating an empathic experience for your audience.  Never forget, before we learned to speak, we’ve learned to listen.

            -The Decrescendo-

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I hope that these words of advice can be utilized not only for your passionate craft, but also in the everyday tasks that life obliges us to.Art is a translation, and interpretation of life itself, and emerges from what others may sometimes view as the mundane.  Before you know it, cooking is almost no different from music, or writing a book is no different from painting.  It is with this understanding that a guitar player grows into a musician, a painter to an artist, the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Please feel free to contact me regarding any questions you may have and if needed, may even answer your questions with musical accompaniment in our weekly video series on Facebook.  These concepts can evolve to further discussions and discoveries.   Mahalo nuiloa and this is Dillon O’Claray sounding off.

 

 

 

 

Shaggy’s top 5 D&D monsters to make your party sweat.

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As many of you know, all of us in the Aphesis camp are avid gamers! Between us we cover just about the entire gamut of the gaming world, however there is one game we hold above the all else... Dungeons & Dragons. Truly a better game has never existed. I (shaggy) have been playing D&D for the better part of two decades and have been a dungeon master on and off over the last 15ish Years. Here is a list of my top 5 creatures I use to make my players sweat. 

- it should be noted that I exclusively play Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Accept no substitutions!

 

#5 Balor (mm 3.5 pg. 40)

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Ah the Balor! Powerful, classic, and a potential tpk (total party kill) machine! Coming in at a challenge rating 20, this demon is crazy powerful. The 3.5 Balor is stacked with: Damage resistance 15, spell resistance 28, immunity to electricity, fire, and poison, resistance 10 vs acid, and cold. It also has a plethora of spell like abilities, carries a vorpal sword, and can even summon other demons! Oh wait did I forget to mention that the Balor also has true seeing always on, telekinesis, and a huge stat line! Kiss those hide checks and invisibility spells good bye! This demon can rip through whole parties leaving nothing but blood and viscera in its wake. AO help the party that crosses this demon.

 

#4 Cadaver Collector   (mm 3 pg. 22)

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Ah very few monsters clock in as bad ass as the Cadaver Collector. Aside from it’s metal AF appearance, this creature is also a construct. That means it boasts some innate immunities and resistances that can really throw a wrench in your players plans. The Cadaver Collector is completely immune to magic, which means that your spell casters will likely scream and run as they try to escape their potential demise. Good thing you’ve got a tank or two in your party right? Well you might want to say your good byes to them as well as this construct is incredibly tanky as well. In addition to the Cadaver Collector’s whopping Armor class of 29, it also has damage resistance 10, and an effective breath weapon! Don’t let the CR 12 fool you, in the right circumstances this construct could take out a higher level party no problem. 

 

#3 Rage Walker ( mm 3 pg. 132) 

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Oh it’s time to remind the party of their mortality? Ive got just the thing! Coming in at challenge rating 14 we have the Rage Walker!  Now despite the obvious construct stylings, this creature is actually a fey being. This means that this creature is an aspect of nature itself. This creature is nature’s representation of maddening war and as such, Rage walkers tend to spawn in war torn lands that have a history of bloody conflict. Woe to any travelers whom haplessly stumble into this fey creature, as it sports some crazy abilities. First off this creature is constantly surrounded by a cloud of weapons that prevent anyone from coming too close. On the off chance you do manage to get close, Rage walkers can also induce a blood frenzy to anyone within 10’, causing them to become a mindless killing machine. Ok no problem we’ll just blast it with spells! Wrong! Aside from the massive Spell resistance 26 the Rage Walker also has the ability to repel missiles and projectiles. Oh also it can control sentient living spells. If all of this wasn’t enough rage walkers also have: damage resistance, fast healing, armor class 28, and a wicked +5 spiked chain. My advice to you is run....or maybe fly.... fly you fools!!!

 

#2 Mindwitness (und pg. 90)

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It’s a beholder. It’s an illithid. It’s a half illithid, half beholder hybrid known as a mindwitness!  Clocking in at an impressive challenge rating 16, this aberration is truly powerful. The mindwitness has the full power of both of its parent creatures. This means that like a beholder the mindwitness has: all around vision, a massive central eye that produces an anti magic cone, and 10 eye stocks that each produce a different spell like effect as a free action. Let’s not forget about the illithid abilities like: the ability to use psionic powers, telepathy, a powerful mind blast that causes a stunning effect, and the ability to extract the brain of a creature with its four tentacles. Add in an armor class of 27 and spell resistance of 21, and you got yourself a creature that should make even the strongest parties shake in their boots! 

#1 other hand built characters  

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There are a vast many creatures is the universe of Dungeons & Dragons, however none have as much depth as the characters built by the the players and the dungeon master. I implore every budding dungeon master to spend time actually creating antagonists as if they were player characters. This allows you really dig into the narrative aspects of role playing. It’s easy to get caught up in the math and mechanics of D&D but I truly believe that the real enjoyment comes from the story. So build the enemies, give them a rich background, motivations, personality traits, flaws, desires, and ambitions. The more real they feel, the more your players will be immersed, and more engaging the game will become.  This also allows the dungeon master more control over the challenge rating and is  also an avenue for giving the part specific loot items  

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That’s my current top 5 list of D&D creatures to make your players sweat! This list changes from time to time and I’ll do my best to update it as it does. Remember the dungeon masters job is not to kill the players. The job is to tell a good story, challenge your players, and have a good time with friends! 

Freddy's Favorite Boardgames

Make no mistake, we all love a good weekly tabletop roleplaying game, but from time to time I like to break the monotony with a boardgame. Here's a short list of some of my favorite games.

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The End of Times

A great mobile app adaptation. Plague Inc is a neat little game in which you are deadly pathogen and your goal is to wipe out the world. You evolve your pathogen as the game progresses and you soon begin to see how deadly you've really become. Easy to learn. Fun to play.

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The Classic

Everybody knows Monopoly. Hours of gameplay an the game where people play to screw you over. No collection is complete without it.

WARNING: Friendships can be broken while playing this game.

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Destined to Die

Don't get too attached to your characters in Kingdom Death: Monster because they won't last long. Trust me. There are RPG aspects of the game like having to make choices as a community that affect the story. One of the more interesting choices is either choosing to eat or bury the dead. KDM, possibly the most metal board game I've played in a long time. The storyline is well written and the miniatures are highly detailed pieces of art. One of my current favorite games to play. 

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I Love Comic-book Heroes

Although technically a card game and not a board game, Sentinels of the Multiverse is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. Gather a group of up to 5 friends, each select a comic-book style hero, then beat up on a chosen villain and environment. Pretty straightforward concept of play, but with hours of gameplay. Replayability of this game is extremely high.

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What Started it All for Me

Heroquest is solely responsible for sparking my love for tabletop roleplaying games. I have many fond memories of foregoing Saturday morning cartoons to play this with my older brother and two cousins. It's possible that this also started my fascination with playing dwarven races because I played a dwarf rogue in this game. While the game mechanics don't hold up well by today's standards, I enjoy it simply for it's nostalgic factor.

Well, there you have it; a list of my favorite games to play when I'm not gaming with my weekly Dungeons and Dragon's game group. Be sure to share with us what some of your favorite board games are. We'd love to hear from you.

Oh and stay tuned. I come across a lot of treasures from time to time and I can't seem pass up on a deal so I may be able to do some sort of board game giveaway in the near future.