How 'All Is As All Should Be' Is Secretly About 'The Adventure Zone'

How 'All Is As All Should Be' Is Secretly About 'The Adventure Zone'

Casey Crescenzo is a closet TAZ fan, and I can prove it.
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About two hours into a four-hour train from Venice to Rome, I made a startling and possibly world-changing discovery: The Dear Hunter's new EP, All Is As All Should Be, is actually about the Balance Arc of the popular Dungeons and Dragons podcast, The Adventure Zone. There are six songs, one for each aspect of the seven birds prophecy: The Twins, The Lover, The Protector, The Lonely Journal Keeper, The Peacemaker, and The Wordless One. The album cover even features a handprint made from the rings of a tree.

"Now, Phoebe," I hear you say, "All Is As All Should Be is a collection of songs based on fans' lives. It's not a fan album for your D&D podcast." And that's true, but play with me.

Warning: Spoilers for everything up to episode 67 of The Adventure Zone.

1. The Right Wrong - The Protector

With the chance to go back and amend every grievance, how could I resist preventing my demons from ever existing and making a mess of the life that I could have had? Would I return to you? To the love I knew?

This is the song I was actually listening to when I had this earth-shattering revelation. I had just finished relistening to episode 48, where the chalice offers the boys the chance to change a moment in their history and was more than a little surprised when "The Right Wrong" came up on shuffle.

The very real possibility that Magnus would have taken the chalice if it didn't mean giving up all he'd done with the Bureau, making him the only member of the IPRE to actually be tempted by one of the relics, is a bit of characterization that I find fascinating.

A large portion of Magnus' character comes from his fixation on the lives he might have saved, especially Julia's, and the ways he wishes he could change his actions are perfectly mirrored in "The Right Wrong."

Not only are questions like, "Where could you have gone, the only right I had wronged?" and "What character would I be if my conscience was clean? What would become of me?" at the core of Magnus' character arc, especially as his past actions becomes foggier after The Eleventh Hour.

The song's final decision that "despite all my skeletons, I see all is as all should be" is exactly where Magnus lands at the end of episode 48. It was quite literally the exact dilemma I had just listened to in an hour and a half episode of TAZ condensed into a four-minute song.


2. Blame Paradise - The Lonely Journal Keeper

Did you believe it? Can you unsee it? It isn't difficult to scribe a scheme if you manage to master the subtleties of doublespeak. But I can't keep up, no, the stories creep up.

I wasn't exactly expecting the rest of the songs to relate to the podcast, but I was definitely keeping a closer eye (ear?) on the lyrics. About halfway through the EP's second track, I started to realize it's a pretty solid retelling of Lucretia's decision to rewrite the canon at the end of The Stolen Century.

It begins with Lucretia's plan to beat the Hunger being rejected by her friends with "So I beg for rationale in the midst of all the rage, but I'm met with reduction. Again, I offend before I've opened my mouth." The chorus carries her through the alteration of the world's memories: "The truth's no longer deified. Instead, we wade the wreckage of this false information that you can't deny. Tell me this isn't real life." The rest references her friends slowly start to find the cracks in their memories and "the stories creep up."

Once again, the most important decision of a character's arc is summed up in a song on this album.


3. Beyond The Pale - The Peacemaker

Have we inherited the flaws of fumbling gods too small to stumble on their own who never grow? If you demand we fall, how will we evolve beyond the pale of your holy sprawl?

At this point, I'm basically building a tinfoil hat right there on the train. "Beyond The Pale" is literally about a man's struggle with faith considering how often his god allows him to fail, AKA the basis of Merle's relationship with Pan.

As Merle's powers fade and he begins to believe Pan has abandoned him toward the end of the Balance Arc, the questions asked throughout this song are the core of his character.

What's really interesting, though, is the way this song begins: "Reanimated, I awake awaiting mistakes I shouldn't make born of bonds." This is the first of several references to reawakening or moving throw cycles in this album, and one particularly interesting reference to bonds.

Coincidence?


4. Shake Me (Awake) - The Wordless One

If day becomes dusk, don't let that stop us on our way to something more uncertain, 'cause when we arrive, oh, honey, honey, wherever we're going, we may never want to leave.

I'll admit, I was sort of dreading finding a song for Davenport. Of all of the seven, he receives the least characterization, so if I didn't find a song about travel or a smaller aspect of his character, like his tendency to find simple things to do in his free time, I was going to be at a loss.

"Shake Me (Awake)," conveniently, sings of constant travel and the need to abandon normal life to fit as much into every day as possible, including the smaller things, because you don't know when your life is going to end. It's a song that embodies the IPRE's entire mission, but especially their captain's.

He's the one who relies so heavily on the mission that Lucretia had to erase nearly all of his memories, the one who spends the time he gets to himself each cycle relaxing in trees, drinking wine by himself, or playing cards, the one convicted of rage by the four judges at the "the endless circles [he's] been running in."

It's fitting that a song that so perfectly captures the mission be given to the man whose life was the mission.


5. Witness Me - The Lover

My spirit has been drifting for years in secret as a narrative appeared in plain sight. The fiction forced the truth to imitate.

Barry has always been one of the most intriguing characters in The Adventure Zone to me, and "Witness Me" echoes one of the most intriguing periods of his life almost impossibly well: the years between The Stolen Century and the end of The Suffering Game.

Barry's time spent between life and death, watching a new story take the place of history, trying to get his friends to notice and trust him, and unable to join them without losing himself and his memories, is completely laid out in this song. It's hard for me to even pick a lyric to prove it with because literally, every lyric fits.

It even comes with a call-and-response section where separate voices, easily interpretable as his lost friends, sing, "Join us and watch all the world from afar. We're all just the same, we lost who we are."

You kind of just have to listen to it.


6. The Twins - All Is As All Should Be

Copycat, you can't look back. Your eyes, they haven't seen nothin'. But, at the end, when you're looking out through my eyes, you'll see that all is as all should be.

With only one song left and the Twins the only ones left on the list, if "All Is As All Should Be" didn't fit I was going to have to either find a way to reassign already perfectly assigned songs or give up on this venture entirely.

Luckily, this song is, remarkably, perfect for Lup and Taako. It's the only song sung by one person entirely about their relationship with another, centered around someone who is watching the other move through life without them, slowly closing in on the truth, the moment when all is as all should be.

So, basically, it retells Lup's perspective on Taako moving on without her.

What's weird about this one is how specific the lyrics are, though. Not only does the song bring back that idea of reawakening at the beginning of a new cycle of life with lines like, "Is all that remains the will to start again or is there more retained when another life begins?" It applies that idea to the concept of fading from a person's life: "As I fade away, you come to be and when the cycle ends, it begins with an unfamiliar me."

When combined with the fact that the person forgetting (in this case, an identical twin) is called "copycat" and the song's assurance that "all is as all should be" despite the music underscoring it being markedly heavy leading to a joyous ending as all is proved to be right, it really feels like an impossible coincidence.

Somehow, every single song on this short EP matches up with the IPRE. Not just in small ways, but in loud, easily interpretable ways that reflect the main portions of each of these characters stories. At the very least, this is a very strange coincidence.

At most, this album is secretly Casey getting his feelings out about the TAZ: Balance finale. Until he denies it all, I'm gonna start banking on that latter.

Cover Image Credit: Cave & Canary

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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15 Great '90s Cartoons That Every Adult Should Watch

All of these shows shouldn't be forgotten, so children now, should watch them. They are timeless classics!

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No matter the year, cartoons hold a special place in everyone's hearts while they grow up. Especially those made in the 90s and early 2000s because they were the most interesting to say the least.

1. Rugrats

https://giphy.com/gifs/90s-excited-nickelodeon-3x5V8j8T341lS

(1990-2006)

This is the misadventures of four babies and their snotty older cousin as they face the things in life they don't understand. It reveals the world in a babys perspective and how they perceive things.

2. Ren and Stimpy

https://giphy.com/gifs/90s-ren-and-stimpy-the-show-7NsVeeuIgtM4M

(1991-1995)

Ren, a psychotic Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a dimwitted Manx cat who goes by the nickname Stimpy, have a host of unusual adventures.

3. Rocko's Modern Life

https://giphy.com/gifs/summer-relax-chill-NvL6UIm1dRahO

(1993-1996)

Rocko is a wallaby who has moved from his native home in Australia to the United States. But life in the United States isn't as great as he had hoped it would be, since he is surrounded by annoying neighbors, tons of laundry, and life's issues in general.

4. The Magic School Bus

https://giphy.com/gifs/magic-school-bus-vhpwk2TOw2hq0

(1994-1997)

An eccentric school-teacher, Ms. Frizzle, takes her class on wondrous educational field trips with the help of a magical school bus that can morph into any size and shape.

5. Gargoyles

https://giphy.com/gifs/darkwing-duck-tailspin-goof-troop-xrGmqGJXi4Gek

(1994-1996)

A clan of heroic night creatures pledge to protect modern New York City as they did in Scotland one thousand years earlier.

6. Aaah!!! Real Monsters

https://giphy.com/gifs/rugrats-the-wild-thornberrys-childhood-shows-d1kQqGzS1veb6

(1994-1997)

The show takes us through the struggles of life as a child monster. Three monster friends are studying how to scare humans in school.

7. Hey Arnold!

https://giphy.com/gifs/heyarnold-nicksplat-3o6nUS57mCg0OadreU

(1994-2004)

Young Arnold lives with his grandparents in the city of Hillwood. The fourth grader with a football-shaped head takes on adventures to help solve classmates' problems or come up with solutions to his own predicaments.

8. Freakazoid

https://giphy.com/gifs/freakazoid-10etSqNUAekM0

(1995-1997)

Washington, D.C. has a new defender: Freakazoid. The comedy and insanity never stop when he's around, and he's only one of the weird heroes of the series.

9. Pinky And The Brain

https://giphy.com/gifs/pinky-and-the-brain-JGWTrgUc1WMDe

(1995-1998)

Chaos occurrs with a genius mouse and his stupid sidekick who try to conquer the world each night.

10. Dexter's Laboratory

https://giphy.com/gifs/fire-accident-dexters-laboratory-GNGBfs76E3mGk

(1996-2003)

Dexter, a child genius whips up dazzling, world-saving inventions in his secret laboratory while his big sister Dee Dee frequently wrecks his experiments.

11. Recess

https://giphy.com/gifs/recess-KiXl0vfc9XIIM

(1997-2001)

This cartoon shows tales of a group of good friends during breaks in elementary school, as they grow up, relate to each other, and have brushes with authority.

12. Johnny Bravo

https://giphy.com/gifs/90s-cartoon-flash-WyyhtSnaQl8Eo

(1997-2004)

Johnny Bravo has no shortage of confidence, and he's certain that all women want him. With his big hair and tight black clothes, he's known for his karate chops, accompanied by the sound of a bullwhip.

13. The Powerpuff Girls

https://giphy.com/gifs/cute-nostalgia-bubbles-5RTJVWuO9weJi

(1998-2005)

Accidentally created in a lab by the Professor, superpowered sisters Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup regularly save Townsville from evildoers.

14. Catdog

https://giphy.com/gifs/cat-dog-violet-VvNXEQDKZCz7y

(1998-2005)

Conjoined siblings, one a dog, the other a cat, deal with the unique challenges of their lives. Cat, the more clever of the two, frequently has a plan or a scheme in the works, and more often than not, that scheme goes awry. While dog, is content doing just about anything, like chasing garbage trucks.

15. Ed Edd n Eddy

https://giphy.com/gifs/ed-edd-n-eddy-and-for-the-by-jFA3Nfk825OIo

(1999-2008)

Like any boys trying to survive their youth, Ed, Edd and Eddy are as clueless about girls as everything else. Eddy may not be the brains of the trio, but he's always scheming and dragging his buddies along with him.

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