Kavalier Calm's Crowdsource Inspiration

Hi. I'm Kavalier Calm. I write songs and poems inspired by the people I meet on the internet. Ask, and I’ll write something for you. Really.
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  • Tonight’s post is for the gamer girl at insanelygaming. Mallory’s blog shares wonderful video game images and music, including artsy and funny interpretations of classic gaming themes. Seeing her posts make me remember a not-so-distant past when I feverishly gamed. I smile every time I see an image of Ash Ketchum on her blog. One of my all-time favorite games is the Blue Version of Pokémon for Gameboy. I love that game for the same reason I enjoy a lot of minimalistic music; it is so simple to understand and play, yet profoundly imaginative. I wrote this song today for Mallory because her blog made me remember the good times I had playing that game. When I was a boy, the thought of a girl who played video games seemed more mythological and magical than dragons. So, this song posits a ridiculous way I could get Mallory in my life if I lived in the world of Pokémon, using a Ditto. I think anyone can enjoy this tune, but aficionados of the first-generation Pokémon games will revel in the references (I hope the intro/solo is recognizable). Free downloads of this song can be found here, and you can stream it on YouTube here. — Kavalier Calm

         Ditto

    I’m tired of living a Blue Version life.
    Day after day, everything appears more wild.
    I’m gonna hang up my red cap, and quit the gyms
    'cause I got a plan to fill my life with love again.
    I’m gonna catch me a Ditto and have it read your website.
    And when it transforms into you, I’ll ask it to be my wife.

    Cause I don’t got to catch them all.
    I just got to catch one like you.

    We’ll settle down in Pallet Town, and I’ll build a bird house.
    Pidgeys will come from all around to play in our yard.
    We’ll grow Cut flowers in the garden and go Surf at the beach,
    and we’ll Fish with my Old Rod for Magikarp.
    We’ll go spelunking in caves with our Flash(lights),
    and Dig our escape from all those Zubats.
    CHORUS

    On days you don’t feel special, I’ll brew you elixirs
    to restore your PP (and your feelings for me).
    We’ll teach you how to swallow your laughter,
    so you don’t ever return to your true form.
    I’ll finally be a Master of a household.
    You’ll fill every page of my heart’s Pokédex.
    CHORUS

    This post is for Megan at megandear. Found her blog by accident and was struck by her humor and unique bio (a girl who likes horror movies and video games!?) And those eyes. I couldn’t figure out if they were green or blue, but I enjoyed studying her pictures trying to figure it out. I know I’m not the only one to imagine surviving a zombie apocalypse; but I might be the first to turn the situation into a love song. Enjoy, Megan, and thanks for the inspiration! Free downloads of this track are available here. — K.C.

         My Green Eyed Zombie Killer

    If the Zombie Apocalypse
    comes tomorrow, and I am left for dead,
    I hope I’m left in a musty, dark cellar
    with you.
    We won’t have much besides piles of movies
    (both Romantic and Scary), and a cache of weapons,
    and canned food and Twinkies,
    and an Xbox.

    And every time we push back the brain-eating horde,
    we’ll fall into each other’s arms.
    And I’ll tell you: There’s nowhere I’d rather be
    than here with you, my green eyed zombie killer.

    We’ll spend the hours between Undead surges,
    gaming and laughing and counting ammunition.
    We’ll draw escape plans for all situations,
    though we both never want to leave.

    And every time we push back the brain-eating horde,
    we’ll fall into each other’s arms.
    And I’ll tell you: There’s nowhere I’d rather be
    than here with you, my green eyed zombie killer.

    And if you get infected,
    I’ll deny it with every ounce of my being.
    I’ll tie you down in a chair
    and put on all your favorite movies.

    And every time I push back the brain-eating horde,
    I’ll come as close as I can to your hungry arms.
    And I’ll tell you: There’s nowhere I’d rather be
    than here with you, my green eyed zombie.

    Cosplayers, this love song is for you. I was first inspired to write a song about cosplay when I saw breams' blog a couple weeks ago. Since then, I have been reading these great blogs for more lyric ideas: gammagahato, fyeakkickasscosplay, fuckyearfinalfantasycosplay, daily-pokemon-cosplays, cosplay-society, loverscosplay, cutecosplayers, and thelittlecosplaythings. I hope all you cosplayers enjoy! Free downloads of this song are available here, and you can stream this on YouTube here. — Kavalier Calm

         More Than Pretend

    When we met, you were so happy
    to meet someone who could play Vash the Stampede.
    When we met, I was just happy
    that somebody was talking to me.

    When we’re together, we play hero and heroine.
    But just once I want to play boyfriend and girlfriend.
    How do I tell you my love is more than pretend?

    We’ve been Aerith and Cloud, Ash and Misty;
    we’ve gone to Comic-con and costume parties.
    You do my make up, and I dye your hair.
    You laugh as I brush it with my hands.

    CHORUS

    And you try on your costumes right in front of me.
    Do you think I’m a robot? That I don’t have feelings?
    Well, I can compute every last inch of you,
    and it fills me with joy, and it fills me with hunger.
    A hunger to be real.

    So I go online and buy a bow and arrow,
    a pair of gold boots, and little wings.
    And I go to your room, and I sit you down,
    and at the top of my Cupid lungs, I sing:

    CHORUS
    Do you understand? This isn’t pretend.

    And you grab an arrow out of my quiver,
    tuck it under your arm and say, “Yes.”
    And you give me a hug and a kiss on the neck,
    and then I know that we’re more than pretend.

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m09yzy1uei1qm5sww.jpg

    Tonight’s rock song was made with some samples from old technology: a Talking Whiz Kid. I got this when I was a boy, and I played the hell out of its number games when I was young. I found it in the closet the other day, and I couldn’t believe it still works. You know a technology is old when it advertises—in its name—that it has the ability to talk. When I turned it on, I was captivated by all the lo-fi sounds this machine makes—sounds of victory and defeat. I recorded it speaking a number of words and accidentally made it spell the compound word in the title; I instantly knew I had a song. The funny thing is Siri doesn’t sound any more sophisticated. This tune is about two people who are falling in love, but they are both denying it. I devote it to these awesome gaming/old technology/music blogs: derekgheck-yeah-old-tech, nerdology, videogamenostalgia, justintr, and thestrutny. Enjoy everyone!

         Lovegame

    You’re like a spider
    weaving me into your web,
    and I could escape,
    but I’d rather stay here instead.
    You’re like a bear,
    and I’m a hive full of honey,
    and though you’re bound to get stung,
    you just can’t say no.

    You have a plot,
    you have a plan
    to win the lovegame.

    We’re on the same adventure,
    in the same dark cavern,
    neither of us wants
    to share that treasure.
    You give something up
    when you give it up.
    Lose your heart, lose your head,
    lose your freedom, lose the game.

    CHORUS

    Who will find it first?
    The truth and the feel.
    Rub it in the face of the other,
    act like it ain’t real.

    CHORUS

    The red ring of death. This song is for anyone who’s experienced this tragedy. I was crushed the first time it happened to me; sure, it’s not too difficult to get a new Xbox 360, but I built a relationship with that specific piece of hardware. I was sad to retire it. This song could be about a lover; but Xbox players will enjoy the metaphors. For listeners who don’t intuitively recognize subtle emotional satire, this is a joke—just like the emotional intensity in my zombie apocalypse love song. I hope everyone enjoys it; I’m slowly rounding out my album of songs for gamers, geeks, and other nerds. I dedicate this tune to these awesome Xbox/gaming blogs; I’ll bet these bloggers understand the sadness in this song: girlsonxbox, x-360, brogamer, geeksngamers, pwnlove, gamefreaks, and dotcore. Free downloads of this song are available here, and you can listen to it on YouTube here. — Kavalier

         The Red Ring of Death

    You used to respond when I pushed your buttons;
    you’d hum and get hot,
    and we’d play for hours, on the bed, on the couch,
    from dusk ‘til dawn.
    We’ve been on an adventure or two:
    Angel, I rode your Halo through space;
    and we lived a fairytale, a Fable;
    you were my Lady Grey.

    But all at once, you put up a wall:
    a red ring of silence—the death of our love.

    And I thought we could save the world;
    in fact, we did a dozen times.
    But now you won’t respond to me;
    who will stop the Locust Horde?
    You committed Grand Theft—
    Auto-matically stealing my heart—
    when you went cold to my touch;
    oh, you can’t refurbish such hurt.

    CHORUS

    Now I’m heartless and homeless,
    looking for a new box to settle in.
    I’ll trade in your memories, pawn all your stuff,
    and find love again.

    For awhile now, I’ve been trying to think of another Poke-themed song (“Ditto" was my first). Tonight I was reading the great poke-problems blog, and all I could think about was the HM problem in the games; it was always so lame to waste one of a quality Pokemon’s four precious move slots on an HM, but it was also annoying having some HM-only Pokemon and constantly having to switch them out at a Poke-center. And then it hit me; I could write a song using all of the wonderful HM/TM names in the lyrics! So, I decided to write a love song—about how nothing could keep me from my girl—and I used most of the First Gen HMs/TMs as lyrics. This was so fun to write because the move names are so diverse. For your edification, in the lyrics below I capitalized all the words referring to a Poke-move. The best part about this, is someone that knows zilch about Pokemon would just think it’s another love song. I devote this song to poke-problems, fypokemon, pokemon-mind-control, allpokemonallthetime, and all-that-is-pokemon—great blogs! Enjoy everyone! Free downloads of this song can be found here, and it can be found on YouTube here. If you like it, share it (Twitter, Facebook, etc.); and if you have an idea for another song, message me! — Kavalier Calm

         No Substitute

    Baby, if you’re ever kidnapped;
    I’ll do everything in my power to get you back.
    Because you have no Substitute.

    If you’re taken by a ninja,
    I’ll do the Swords Dance with him;
    give him my Rage, my Dragon Rage.
    I’ll Body Slam, Skull Bash, and Seismic Toss him.

    If a prince tries to woo you away
    with his throne and his big Pay Day,
    Swift as a Thunderbolt, I’ll be there to Counter
    with my Strength. Yeah, I’ll beat him into Submission!

    If a wizard grabs you and Teleports away,
    I’ll Fly, Dig, and Surf over every piece of this earth,
    until I find him. And when I do I’ll Reflect his Psychic spells
    until his mind’s Softboiled and Toxic,
    oh, until that Dream Eater is dead.

    And, darling, if a dragon flies off with you,
    I will hunt him down.
    And our battle will be so epic,
    it will shake the ground.
    There’ll be Earthquakes, Fire Blasts,
    Rock Slides, Explosions, and the sounds of Thunder.
    And when he tries to Take me Down
    I’ll give him a lethal Tri Attack:
    Water Gun, Razor Wind, and Bubblebeam—
    I’ll make a Blizzard out of him.

    CHORUS

    This is a song of solace for the engineer who designed the Death Star—the one that Luke Skywalker blew up in Episode IV: A New Hope. The other day, my-nameis-dylan requested that I write a song about Star Wars. That simple request had me dumbfounded at first; the Star Wars universe is so huge (no pun intended) that I could spend a lifetime writing songs about it. I was searching for a unique angle when I watched this and realized how absurd it is that the Death Star had this Achilles’ heel: shoot one spot and the whole thing explodes. I wondered who could make such a fatal design error, and then I read this: the engineers did recognize the error and tried to fix it, but a Wookiee caught up in red tape went ahead with the original design. After learning this, I thought it would be funny to write from the perspective of the engineer who first dreamed up the Death Star; oh, how his heart must have wept when his beautiful creation was destroyed. Now, listeners, I do not claim Star Wars expertise—the lyrics are based on pretty elementary research and my memory of the film—so please forgive me if I made an errant reference. Thankfully, I did learn that “Wookie” is correctly spelled “Wookiee.” Then again, that might not be the kind of thing I want to brag about knowing—especially to women. I devote this song to my-nameis-dylan for the request and to these awesome, inspiring Star Wars blogs: tiefighters, millenniumfalcon, starwarscollectors, fystarwars, beyond-starwars, mkjedi, ladyvader, starsandsabers, and star—wars. If you fancy, free downloads of this song can be found here, and it can be streamed on YouTube here. Actually, frequent listeners will be glad to know that with this track I finalized my first free album for gamers, geeks, and other nerds: Lovegame. Check it out. I’ll post more details and tracks from it during the week. Enjoy everyone; and, if you do, share it on Twitter and Facebook and stuffs! — Kavalier Calm

         Death of a Star

    Out here in space, only one thing still marvels man:
    the depth and fire of the stars.

    So, like any good engineer, I planned to build a wonder:
    a star of my own—one to rival the suns—
    for it will not give life, but death.

    I built her—a wonder to behold;
    nearly perfect, but for one minor flaw.
    I told that Wookiee not build that exhaust port,
    but, oh, how he argued: more concerned with red tape than the art.

    CHORUS

    And I hate those Jedi, those rule breakers;
    there’s no equation for The Force—
    in their world, physics fails to have meaning.
    That shot was one in a million,
    but that Skywalker made it.
    And now my masterpiece is destroyed.

    CHORUS
    Oh, it would have given death;
    but now it’s destroyed.

    I wrote a song about being a plumber—based on the most famous plumber in the world: Mario. The lyrics are full of references to Super Mario Bros. Can you spot them all? This song is dedicated to these great Mario/Nintendo blogs: fuckyeahmario, fuckyeahsupermario, supermariobrothers, nerdwire, and thenintendard. Free downloads can be found here, and you can stream it on YouTube here. Enjoy everyone! — Kavalier

         The Plumber

    It’s not always easy being a plumber; it’s not a job with a lot of glory;
    but I know one thing: someone has to wield that plunger.
    So, I wake up at dawn, put on my overalls, and grab my wrench.
    Oh, duty calls in the Kingdom of Toilettes.

    I start every day with my super brother; we get breakfast to power up.
    We plot out the house calls and talk about our lives.
    We’ve got blue-collar problems, but we know how to stomp and jump on them.
    Oh, it’s just another day in the Kindom of Toilettes.

    You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen in pipes:
    mushrooms, turtle shells, and almost enough coins to buy a new life.
    Crawling under sinks all day, I hit my head on question marks; and, man, sometimes I see stars.
    Oh, it’s just another day in the Kindom of Toilettes.

    It’s not always easy being a plumber; the pay sure ain’t great;
    but I got a good lady, and that keeps my fighting the good fight.

    I come home at night and my peach has dinner ready on the table;
    I call her princess and tell her I like her pink dress,
    and she says she loves her working man, and I tell her I love to provide for my lady.
    Even if it means working in the Kingdom of Toilettes.

    Even if by day’s end my mustache smells like mold and damp;
    Even if I tire of moving that wrench from left to right—
    each day I pay Mr. Bowser one more month’s rent.
    I’m grateful for that job in the pipes.
    Yes, it’s good to have a job in the Kingdom of Toilettes.

    Jill Valentine is one of my favorite video game characters ever. I remember when I was a kid, I would stay up late playing as Jill in the original Resident Evil, biting my fingernails in fear. I wanted to tell Jill’s story in a unique way, and my inspiration came from talking to Vinett at thehorny-zombie. She said, “I don’t think zombies are stupid,” and that simple statement made me wonder how an intellgient zombie would feel during the classic “Mansion Incident” in Resident Evil. So, I sang from the perspective of the zombie who owns the mansion. He just sees Jill as a trouble-maker. Really, when you think about it, the zombies are victims of home invasion; S.T.A.R.S has no right to enter that mansion. The zombie’s rantings are full of references to the game—even the classic Jill Sandwich moment—and they really highlight why we un-undead all love Jill (good looks aside). This song is dedicated to Vinett for the good zombie-dialogue, and to these great Resident Evil blogs I read during my research: residentevil-fanart, f***yeahresidentevil, hellyesresidentevilseries, -thehivef***yeahchrisandjill, fyeahjillvalentine, jill-valentine, valentinefever, claireredfield-, and bloodyxnightmare. If interested, free downloads are here; and stream it on YouTube here. I first recorded this with electric guitar and heavy distortion; if you are interested in comparing, you can hear that version here. I like it, but the humor in these #gaming pieces is lyric driven, and the words get lost in distortion. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out my other #zombie and #gaming songs. — Kavalier

         Evil Valentine

    Evil Valentine, everyone thinks you’re one
    of them shining S.T.A.R.S.,
    but I know you’re a petty thief in a uniform.
    I’d like to wash my hands in your Type B blood.

    Master of Unlocking who invited you to open up my doors?
    Undead or not, I’m still a resident of Raccoon, and I got rights just like you.
    I can kill trespassers on my land; what do you care if I turn them into a snack?
    Why let good flesh go to waste? Brains, brains, brains.

    Umbrella gave me this mansion of puzzles, games to test my mind.
    I don’t remember asking for your help; Valentine, you’re out of line!
    And you claim to be flexible, quick on your feet, but I would have made a sandwich of you if not for Barry.
    And your sweet flesh would not have gone to waste. Brains, brains, brains.

    I tire of you shooting my guests in the head.
    I tire of the sound of your footsteps.
    (Brains, brains, brains.)

    Evil Valentine, I just want you to leave me be.
    Take your beret, take your brain, and get off my property.
    Don’t mind the dogs; they’re as friendly as can be.
    And Valentine, we’ll see you again real soon in Raccoon City.

    Tonight’s song is for Ratohnhaké:ton (aka Connor Kenway) from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3 game, which I can’t wait to play. I recently contacted the guys at the awesome On The Level Gaming blog to see if they had any song ideas, and they gave me great ones, including:

    We pitched around the idea of a song on upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3’s protagonist Connor Kenway.  Possibly something about how most people can’t pronounce his proper Indian name Ratohnhake:ton (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon).  There’s got to be some comedy gold in there, right?

    I agreed, and tried to mine said gold. It remains unclear how Connor’s story connects to Desmond’s—the overarching story in Assassin’s Creed—so I focused on what we know now (which is very little). To write a song that would logically survive the release of the game, I needed to tell the story of the man, the story of a legendary assassin who fought during the American Revolution. I literally researched about oral tradition and colonial folk music to understand what makes a folk song distinctly American and timeless (à la “Yankee Doodle”). Hence the banjo and the Native-like chanting of the recurring, catchy refrain. Rhythm is essential in such songs, but hand claps are not easy to record; so, I leave it to all of you to clap as you sing along. Along with the bloggers at otlgaming, I dedicate this song to these awesome Assassin’s Creed blogs I read in my research: allsoundsasscreed, f***yeaassassinscreed, thetumblrhoodheadquarters, f***yeah-connor, everythingasscreed, assassinsecrets, and nyiro. Enjoy everyone! If you like my work, share it! Free downloads of this song are here, and you can stream it on YouTube here. And may the Gaming Gods continue to bless America. — Kavalier Calm

         Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon

    Though he left The Valley of his birth,
    he wears his people’s name at his hips.
    Like a bird among the trees he watches;
    a Mohawk with Eagle Vision.

    Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon, the Redcoats are doomed.

    His moral compass guides him through the snow
    like a wolf’s nose guides him to blood.
    The Templar’s fingerprints are on this war,
    and he will freerun them down for our freedoms.

    The Founding Fathers know they’re outnumbered;
    he is their ally in the shadows.
    A new nation’s fate lies in the balance,
    and he fights to tip the scales.

    Stealthy as a whisper he moves,
    with his tomahawk in hand.
    He’ll scratch out your life
    if you try to take our rights.

    So, gamers, can you spot all the references to Assassin’s Creed?

    Croft and Jones in the Temple of Bones

    When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the important women in gaming, I realized my whole next song project should be character-centric. I’m slowly building an album of character-based songs. I plan to have an even number of songs for male and female characters, and Meagan gave me a strong list of characters for the female half. I decided to write for Lara first because she is one of my favorite characters ever. Writing these #gaming songs is fun, but I like to think they can have a message. After all, gaming has never been simply about fun for me; I’ve learned much about life when gaming; thus, a song about gaming should achieve the same thing. Megan essentially challenged me to highlight the strengths of women—to create a girl power moment!—and this was a challenge I was ready to take on. I actually believe the distinction between genders is often overblown; in general, I don’t think very much separates men and women. But the women in my life collectively have a few traits that I envy—traits that Lara has exemplified over her career as well. Primarily I mean: infinite patience; an incredible strength of spirit; compassion; and a cleverness, which is often used against me. Both men and women are clever, but I am dumbfounded by feminine cleverness; the women in my life have such subtle and smart tactics to get what they want. They know how to plant seeds, make something they want seem like my own idea, and they know how to ask for things with the slightest whisper of guilt—a feeling that makes me cave every time. Some people will argue about these distinctions I’m drawing, and that’s fine. I only claim they are based on my experiences with women. And I love the women in my life for these traits—these strengths. So, when it was time to write a song about Lara, I imbued her with the qualities I know she has from playing Tomb Raider games, but I also gave her strengths I believe all women have.

    The second important part of this song is my use of Indiana Jones as a foil. When defining characters, it is useful to compare them to someone. In my research I read that Lara was initially designed as a man but was changed to a woman partly because the developers felt that the original design was too similar to Indiana Jones. This got me wondering about the differences between these two world-renowned archaeologists. The song highlights some of their unique characteristics.

    Tomb Raider’s music is beautiful, but it’s orchestral. I am many things, but an entire orchestra is not one of them. So I had to do this my way, and my way is a chugging rhythm and Homeric-like storytelling. The rhythm is constantly leaning forward; it creates the feeling one gets when falling out of a chair. And I am proud of the lyrics; the rhyming, the near-rhyming, the word play, etc. At seven minutes, this is not for those with short attention spans; but considering the immensity of the two characters I am comparing, the length seems fair.

    My devotees are listed in the separate audio post.
     
         Croft and Jones in the Temple of Bones

    Gather round, ye friends and foes, and I’ll sing the tale of Croft and Jones,
    the tale of two adventurers great who made a wager, a bet for the ages:
    the first to the treasure in the Temple of Bones earns the title:
    Best Archaeologist Ever Known.

    This dungeon is ideal for their bet; the Skeleton King, as DM, is no novice.
    Cursed to a cave with two entryways, he strove to shape a very fair maze.
    Whether raiders enter East or West, they will face the exact same test—
    two paths in a symmetrical tomb, leading to its heart, the throne room.

    At a time on which they both agree, Indy enters West, and Lara enters East.
    The very first room is full of giant spiders; Indy’s revolver makes short work of them.
    One small bite and their poison will kill; nothing Lara can’t handle with her pistols.

    The next room is dark as night; Indy lights a torch and to his surprise
    the floor is covered by undead tigers, restless in their slumber.
    They smell blood, and they smell meat, but Indy is ever-quick on his feet.
    He cuts his palm on a nearby rock, covers his leather bag in blood.
    Just as those tigers near, he tosses his bag in the air.
    As one, those cats chase his scent, and he slips right by them.
    Facing tigers of her own, Lara’s flare casts a pink glow.
    She can see they’re blind as bats from years living in darkness.
    They hunt with their nose and ears; she needs to trick them that she’s near.
    The cave’s high ceiling plays with sound, so Lara screams louder than loud.
    Her voice bounces of all the walls, hits those tigers like a hundred war calls.
    In confusion, they begin to roar, adding to the echo score.
    As they crash and claw each other, Lara slips by without a bother.

    The next room is home to a ghost, he appears to Indy, a demanding host:
    "In the next chamber awaits your prize, but passage comes at a high price;
    The toll is a life or a limb; nothing less will get you in.”
    Indy wonders until his light bulb’s lit: “Ghost, I will give you my dear bullwhip;
    so often has it saved me from harm, I think of it as my third arm.”
    To this, the ghost responds: “I know this is a clever trick,
    but I respect its guile, so I accept.”

    In the east Lara faces the same grave toll; she uses what she knows from old scrolls:
    these undead worship cats as gods. She makes this bold claim to help her odds:
    "Sir, like many of your people, I am part feline—on my mother’s side;
    this makes me swift and nimble and gives me nine lives.
    I have one I can spare for you if you agree to let me through.”
    To this, the ghost responds: “I know this is a clever trick,
    but I respect its guile, so I accept.”

    Lara enters right, thinking she’s best, and in walks Indy from the left.
    They meet eyes in a long stare. They both know they’re almost there.
    As one their heads turn to the prize on the throne: the solid gold skull of the Queen of Bone.
    Though a scholar and a Doctor, Indy is still just a man—
    and men can’t bear to lose, and sometimes, they act too soon.
    But ever-patient Lara smells a trap—her wisdom screams  hold  back.
    She watches as Indy charges for treasure, hears as he calls out in pleasure,
    mere steps from victory—

    and then he cries out in fear! as the King from thin air appears
    and gives a swing of his club of wood—as only a king could.
    Jones crumbles to the floor, knocked out cold, he starts to snore.

    The King then takes a step towards Lara; she falls to her knees, palms stretched forward.
    In his language she humbly speaks, “Do you not wish to rest, My King?”
    And on this question he halts and says: “At times I tire of my task.
    But someone must guard my wife against ill intent.”
    "My King, I can be your guard. I can give your wife a new temple,
    a modern home called a museum where people will line up to see her,
    where she will be worshiped every day, where she will be treated like royalty.”
    The King taps his chin and weighs the choice, turns his ear to his queen’s silent voice.
    "The Queen says she likes this idea, and I learned early in my rule
    never to argue with that woman—it’s a duel I always lose.
    So, raider, we have a bargain, then, and I declare it a win-win:
    You get to keep your life, and I finally get to end mine.”
    He extends his hand in thanks, and as they shake, he fades away.

    Lara grabs the Queen’s Gold Skull and kneels to pinch Indy’s nose.
    She gives his cheeks a gentle pat; when he wakes, she hands him his hat.
    With a smile of jest, she says, “Let’s go home, Mr. Second-best.”

    EDIT: I decided to make a Lara-only version of this song, too. Check it out here.

    Tonight’s song is about a race between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones to see who is the Best Archaeologist Ever Known. When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the important women in gaming, I happily accepted the challenge of highlighting the strengths of women in games. Lara is probably my favorite female character ever, so I wrote her an epic. Really, at seven minutes plus, this is Homeric in scope. Fandom like a boss. In my story, Lara and Indy have the strength and intelligence we expect; but it is Croft’s womanly wisdom that matters most in the end. The art of this is in the storytelling—the music merely provides a chugging rhythm. I painstakingly enunciated so you could understand the words, but they are a fun read. I put the lyrics and a full explanation of the songwriting process in a separate post; the lyrics are also in the video details on YouTube. Free downloads of this epic are available here.

    This song is dedicated to many blogs that I read during my extensive research on Lara Croft: Of course, Meagan Marie and the Official Tomb Raider Blog, and also larahcroft.blog.cz, Eidos’ Tomb Raider Forums, tombraideraddiction, captivatingcroft, raidercroft, twinpistolsf***yeahlaracrofttombraider, effyeahtombraidergirls, fyeahtombraider, lara-croft, tombraidingb*tch, and laracroft. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! I hope you all enjoy because I am certainly enjoying being the #Gaming Bard. – Kavalier Calm

    Listeners: Who do you think is the better archaeologist? Lara or Indy?

    Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame is the protagonist in this adventure-ballad. When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the women of gaming, I happily accepted the challenge. Lara is probably my favorite female character ever, so I wrote her an epic. At five minutes plus, this is Homeric in scope. Fandom big or go home, I say. In my story, Lara raids the tomb of an ancient Undead Kingdom; rather than highlight her physical traits or her weapons, I focused on her cleverness—her distinctly feminine wisdom. The art of this is in the storytelling—the music merely provides a chugging rhythm. A lot of thought about gender differences and music went into this; you can read about the whole process here if you wish. And this is actually the second version of this song; the original was an even longer version about a race between Lara and Indiana Jones. It’s worth a listen, too, but it is less attention-span friendly. Free downloads of this epic are available here, and you can stream it on YouTube

    This song is dedicated to the many blogs that I read during my extensive research on Lara Croft: Of course, Meagan Marie and the Official Tomb Raider Blog, and also larahcroft.blog.cz, Eidos’ Tomb Raider Forums, tombraideraddiction, captivatingcroft, raidercroft, twinpistolsf***yeahlaracrofttombraider, effyeahtombraidergirls, fyeahtombraider, lara-croft, tombraidingb*tch, and laracroft. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! I hope you all enjoy because I am certainly enjoying playing as the #Gaming Bard. – Kavalier Calm    

         A Woman’s Clever Ways

    When Lara reads about The Kingdom of Undead, her eyes light up, dreams fill her head.
    She makes plans to raid that tomb—the Skeleton King’s Temple of Doom—
    for great treasure waits in its vault: The Queen of Bone’s solid gold skull.
    Our raider smiles because she knows:
    No man, beast, or magic game
    can beat a woman’s clever ways.
    The tomb’s first room is dark as night; Lara lights a torch and to her surprise
    the floor is covered by undead tigers, restless in their slumber.
    They smell blood, and they smell meat, but Lara is ever-quick on her feet.
    She can see they’re blind as bats, from years living in darkness;
    they hunt with their nose and ears; she needs to trick them that she’s near.
    The cave’s high ceiling plays with sound, so Lara screams louder than loud.
    Her voice bounces off all the walls, hits those cats like a hundred war calls.
    In confusion, they begin to roar—adding to the echo score.
    As they crash and claw each other, Lara slips by without a bother.
    CHORUS
    The next room is home to a ghost, he appears to Lara, a demanding host:
    “In the next chamber awaits your prize, but passage comes at a high price;
    The toll is a life or limb; nothing less will get you in.”
    Facing this grave toll, Lara uses what she knows from old scrolls:
    these undead worship cats as gods; she says this to help her odds:
    “Sir, like many of your people, I am part feline—on my mother’s side;
    this makes me swift and nimble and gives me nine lives.
    I have one I can give to you if you agree to let me through.”
    To this, the ghost responds: “I know this is a clever trick,
    but I respect its guile, so I accept.”
    CHORUS
    Into the throne room Lara steps, and right away she spies her get:
    she takes a step towards the prize, the golden skull shines;
    and then—-
    she jumps back in fear! as the King from thin air appears,
    carrying a royal club of wood, smiling as only the dead could.
    But Lara’s heart doesn’t skip a beat; she falls to her knees,
    and palms stretched forward on the ground, she humbly sings:
    "My King, do you not wish to rest?
    At this he halts his march, at this he drops his arm:
    "At times I tire of my task, but someone must guard my wife
    against thieves like you, against their greedy vice.”
    CHORUS
    “My King, I can be your guard. I can give your wife a new temple,
    a modern home called a museum where people will line up to see her,
    where she will be worshiped every day and be treated like royalty.”
    The King taps his chin and weighs the choice, turns his ear to his queen’s silent voice.
    “The Queen says she likes this idea, and I learned early in my rule
    never to argue with that woman—it’s a duel I always lose.
    So, raider, we have a bargain, then, and I declare it a win-win:
    You get to keep your life, and I finally get to end mine.”
    He extends his hand in thanks, and as they shake, he fades away.
    And as Lara grabs the skull, she hears the Queen say:
    CHORUS

    When I first played Final Fantasy VII as a 13-year-old, a part of me really did love Tifa. She was tough and smart, and she really cared for Cloud. I remember envying Cloud during that flashback with he and Tifa sitting by the well in Nibelheim. I wanted a girl to ask me to be her hero. I think most boys have the heroic capacity; we are all just waiting for a girl to ask. But Cloud blew it! When he first sees Tifa again in Midgar, he is distant and acts like he’s too cool. Well, this song’s lyrics are what Cloud should have said—what I would have said if I found my childhood love working in a bar in the Sector 7 Slums. True fans of this classic will catch all the lyrical references and recognize the bits of music I borrowed from the game for the intro and outro. And don’t miss the chocobo’s wark!  I devote this song to the many awesome Tifa/FF7 blogs I read during my research: awyeahtifa, nibelheimsweetheart, lockhartsenpai, barmaid-tifalockhart, sweettifalockhart, badass-barmaid, finalheaven, cloudxtifa, clotiheaven, victoryfanfare, finalfantasyviiforever, a-false-memory, and just-use-a-phoenix-down. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! Free downloads of this track are here, and you can stream it/follow us on YouTube here. Enjoy everyone! — Kavalier Calm

         Final Heaven

    Tifa, a girl like you don’t belong in a place like Midgar.
    Don’t you know the ceiling is going to fall in on this bar?
    Run away with me, and I’ll take you to Costa del Sol and Gold Saucer.
    Oh, if you want, we can start a chocobo farm.

    Tifa, darling, how long you gonna work this dive?
    I can give you a better life.
    I can be your cloud, your cloud 9, your lucky number 7.
    I can be your final heaven.

    I know you’re tough as nails and pack quite a punch.
    But Shinra’s gonna come down hard on Sector 7 and AVALANCHE.
    I want you to look into my mako eyes and know the truth:
    I’ll use this here Buster Sword to protect you.
    CHORUS
    I’ve reached my limit, so here comes the break.

    Don’t tell me I lost my chance; I was just a boy when we sat by that well.
    I want to make good on the promise I made beneath those stars.
    I’m your hero, and I’m here to rescue you, Lockhart.
    I’ll do everything in my power to care for your premium heart.
    CHORUS

    Question to the Listeners: Are you a bigger Tifa or Aerith fan?

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