Monday, December 14

2009 Song List

Reposted from Facebook, but also given the director's cut and enhancements.

1) When You Were Shouting At The Devil... We Were In League With Satan-Zimmers Hole
I said this was going to be one of my favorites, and it is. It's also one of those classic 'opening album' songs. Think 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' but for metal. It's one of those rare songs where; if you like metal, you like this, but even if you don't like metal, this song is fun.
2) Hold the Heathen Hammer High-Týr
One day I decided to look up viking and pirate metal. Tyr was the band I found that did Viking metal. Now I think these 'genres' have descended from Manowar but Tyr takes the style seriously (I think) but don't give me the exclusionary vibe that Manowar does. That is to say; you don't love metal, you can still love Tyr.
3) Erasure-Century
I discovered Century this year and they made a fantastic record with Black Ocean. This isn't the song that grabbed me initially, but it's got a great riff in there. What's weird is the riff takes place in the soprano range, it's not heavy, it's more a tweet that offsets the rest.
4) Ghost Key - Isis
It's hard to pull one song off an Isis album because they do records more than songs but Ghost Key is as good as any song on there, and I wanted to pick one.
5) Cinema- Poison The Well
PTW is the hardcore version of the Deftones in that they do and should appeal to a broader audience but for some reason those crossover songs just haven't been highlighted. They made a comeback record with The Tropic Rot and I hope it pays off for them.
6) Lions- Doomriders
"You've got the heart of a lion!"-this was a phrase I needed to hear more this year.
7) Smith & 9th-Reggie and the Full Effect
"It's a major complication"-yeah. I actually got into RatFE because of a song I heard on Burnout 3 (videogame) and this album is apparently the 'metal' one. I'll have to check out some previous stuff because they seem to have a really broad range and I like what they do as a band. Sometimes really loud, sometimes really likable, they are one of those bands that may never do anything groundbreaking but I feel I'll like what they do.
8) Long Dark Twenties (Kids In The Hall)- Nadja
This is a cover song. I rarely include cover songs but Nadja made a really great record of cover songs. One of the few cover albums that actually pays homage to the originals instead of just mimicking them and there's a fantastic breadth to the song selections. Not unlike hearing Tori Amos cover Raining Blood, no do Nadja take songs that you wouldn't expect and twist them.
9) One More Day- Mushroomhead
"One more day to regret"-Felt like that a little too often this year. I'm not a huge Mushroomhead fan but I feel like they were unfairly maligned. That is to say; they're better than I thought.
10) Set Guitars to Kill-And So I Watch You From Afar
ASIWYFA is like Pelican, only instead of being a heavy metal band is a rock band. Really good instrumental stuff and they construct songs in such a way that they bring the good stuff in at the beginning but the awesome stuff at the end so even when the songs are nine minutes long, they're still worth listening to.
11) Flying Whales- Gojira
Sometimes, it's all about the riff. This one starts off slow but almost three minutes into the song this Melvins-level riff kicks up and the whole song just blooms.
12) Milk Lizard- The Dillinger Escape Plan
It's strange to think of a catchy DEP song but there it is.
13) Dimestore Diamond-The Gossip
The opening song to a great album by the Gossip.
14) Raindrops -Basement Jaxx
Basement Jaxx is a band most people wouldn't think I'd dig on but they're just awesome. The do at least one song per album that I can dance to and this song is the one I can dance to.
15) Sirens-Dizzee Rascal
My friend Ally introduced me to this song, posting the video. It's a great piece of work; catchy, solid lyrics, good all 'round.
16) What's A Girl To Do? -Bat For Lashes
This one was sent by my friend Wendy. I got into it because I saw the video first which is absolutely worth searching out.
17) Farewell- Jesu
I don't think I've made a list that hasn't included Jesu since I was introduced to them four years ago. There's something about Jesu's drone metal that really resonates with me.
18) I Hate It When That Happens To Me- John Prine
Dad sent me this song and it's a simple work by a practiced, excellent songwriter. Sad but with an enduring quality-it isn't broken, it's tough. However, it's a song that acknowledges unhappiness and sorrow and keeps going.
19) Let's Not Pretend (to Be New Men)- Crooked Fingers
The new Crooked Fingers, Forfeit/Fortune, is better and more interesting than one might think. Evokes some classic rock (Queen, Springsteen) but isn't afraid to take chances (having someone else sing a song of yours) and is a grower.
20) Dan's Song- Frank Turner
A great, likable song about spending the last day of summer with your friends. The short description shouldn't dissuade people checking Turner out; The Poetry of the Deed is a good album.
21) Wenches & Mead- Alestorm
The other song I found when I searched for viking and pirate metal. It's just fun, especially for people who don't dig on heavy metal.
22) Blackout- Amusement Parks On Fire
I've been looking for the second APOF album for over a year and a half. The album is good but I really like the line: "There's too much future to get out of the way".
23) The Funeral Procession- Propagandhi
Propagandhi made a really good punk rock album. I don't have much more to say because they've got quite the legacy but at the same time I want to impress that they're a solid, veteran band worth listening to.
24) The Gnashing- Baroness
I'm not as high on the Blue Album as everyone else seems to be. It's good but just doesn't grab me like the Red Album did. Maybe it needs more plays-but The Gnashing is good stuff.
25) Monolith- Century
THE song that grabbed me from Black Ocean. One of the most monstrous riffs I've ever heard, ever. I listened to this song once and knew it was end of the year material.
26) I Tamper With The Evidence At The Murder Site Of Odin- Dethklok
Not only the 2nd best song title of the year for me, I realized Detehklok is going to be the most influential metal band in my lifetime. They have a TV show that's both funny and fucked up. They have albums. They tour. Nobody else the reach they do in such a short time. They will influence millions.
27) The Awakening - Architect
As things got worse this year, I started listening to louder, nastier and less melodic music. Architect is definitely that and I'm a little surprised by my enjoyment of them but amongst the noise, Architech throw out something meaty to listen to.
28) Wild Ox Moan- Coalesce
It's a hardcore song alright, but with a country music beginning. Some people called Ox Coalesce's comeback album but I'd never heard them before. However, it was an inspired, raging effort that cannot be ignored.
29) Meddler- August Burns Red
A surprise for me. I didn't think they had much to offer, but they made a solid metal record. Or maybe metalcore. I don't know-the lines get blurred for me, but it's a good album.
30) Dark Horse- Converge Axe To Fall
There are almost always at least two great songs per Converge record; the first and the last ones. This is the first.
31) The Riverbed- Gallows
The Gallows are mired in political punk, I think. They want to rail against the injustices they see in British society and yet this album shows a great maturity over the first one on all levels of songwriting. It's nice to see a band progress like this, from something promising but not good to good, if not excellent and maybe even brilliant someday.
32) Deflated- Jesu
The best song from the other Jesu EP. They're Jesu and I'll admit; I'm weak to them.
33) Almost Lost- Kylesa
A dirty, rockin' song. The iTunes insists that they are 'doom metal' but that's bullshit. They're just straight up, in your face, dirty rock coming from the garages and filtered through 30 years of punk, rock and metal.
34) Vanity- Strung Out
The other really good punk rock record made this year. Again, I don't want to downplay what they did, but while I liked the record I didn't get enough chances to really listen to it.
35) Lost In A Loop- Ghost Brigade
Ghost Brigade had one of those albums that didn't catch me right off but every time it came on, I paid attention.
36) Wounded Paw- Warship
I saw Warship open for a band and they impressed. They kind of walk the metal/punk line.
36) Final Breath- Pelican
A great closing song, Pelican's album was also a comeback album of sorts. They got a little too likable on City of Echos, so What We All Come To Need was a nice balance of being heavy and metal but ambient enough that the songs weren't annoying. At the same time, there was enough going on that I felt the band was engaged in the music.

Thursday, December 10

It's time for a walk...

because the Fail, it overwhelms.

Tuesday, November 17

The Joys of Children

I 'got' to tell my nephew that I wouldn't get to see him at Thanksgiving. He was hoping to see me and play videogames.

He took it pretty well for a 3yo, and didn't ask a lot of questions about it. Which was nice, because explaining money to a child of that age without puppets and a musical number is beyond me.

Sunday, November 15

It has been one of those long unhappy weeks.

So we start again.

Saturday, October 17

Comedy rule

I saw the Hangover last night and I've come up with the Inappropriate Chicken rule of comedy.

If there is a chicken in the scene that shouldn't be in the scene, I am going to find that funny.

Tuesday, October 13

Here's what is messed up.

I need someone to give me a chance-that's the only way I'm going to become employed.

I am applying for jobs knowing I cannot get them. It's the only way I can apply for work. If I put hope into getting a job and don't hear anything that just feels worse.

It's like fail-fail.

Thursday, October 1


Writing the last check that I know will clear is not a good feeling.

I didn't know things were going to be this difficult and I don't like talking about it much. It's weirdly lonely, out there looking for a job, nobody else looking out for you.

I hope things change soon.

Thursday, September 24

Ever have one of those days

where you just know things aren't going to go very well?

I'd hide out in the house if I thought that would help me avoid things.

/has a bad feeling about this...

Tuesday, September 8

Save the Words

Alerted to this by the wonderful Never Slap the Gift Donkey blog.

Just lovely.

Wednesday, September 2

Note to self:

Quaker's Baked Cheddar Snack Mix is hideous. Do not buy it again.

I'm eating it because I'm poor and hungry. This is the way of things, sometimes.

Tuesday, September 1

A brief aside to Patton Oswalt

From his Onion AV interview
Whereas the first album was, “This is shit that I hate,” now as I get older, it’s more about, “This is the stupid shit that I love, and here’s why.”

You'd still hate if you had to do shit that was stupid. You would not know the stupid shit that you love.

Just sayin'.
/also, not blaming you because my life is a portrait of Dorian Fail.

Sunday, August 23

Fun Conversations with Dad #1

"Look, I love you and I don't care what it is you do. Even if you aren't making a lot of money, if you're happy that's what matters."

"Dad, I guess now's the time to tell you about my career in pornography."

"Whoa, wait a minute, I ain't' OK with that!"

"Oh, so now there are conditions."

"Hell yes. I have some serious moral objections to the way the people who make money off that stuff behave-and treat their employees."

"Don't worry; I won't be making any money, Dad."

"Ah. Well, then I guess it's OK."

/we started laughing about line 2

Monday, August 17

The new media

I was at this party a couple weeks ago and for a variety of reasons I overheard (but did not participate in) a conversation that was about the new media. That is; how Facebook is annoying but not nearly as meaningless as Twitter and Livejournal is really where you want to be if you want to read something meaningful.

I'm paraphrasing but I figure you get the idea.

And to me, what this conversation represents is a failure to understand how social websites work now. You define your experience, right? Facebook, Twitter, these sites offer you control over what you see and don't see (Facebook more than Twitter, as far as I can tell). Livejournal does this too-and it also has the extra step of allowing its users to create specific lists so you can post things that some people will see and others won't. I think Facebook does this as well but I'm not sure it's as extensive.

That said; sites like Twitter and Facebook could go a long way towards making those user experiences easier to manage. This is especially true in the case of Facebook and it's privacy policies I think. By hiding it, you're engaging in a sneaky act and people don't like it.

The point is; if you don't want to see the twenty pirate updates every day, you don't have to. So complaining that people aren't using it in a way that you like just means that you've failed to take advantage of the tools that improve your own experience. And complaining that the content it provides isn't the content you think you ought to get means you've misunderstood what the service is.

Thursday, August 6

Who Benefits?

I've been thinking about the opposition to healthcare by the Republicans, the drive they're making against their own people. And it hit me; I get why Big Pharma and the Insurance industries are opposed to this, but why anyone else? Why the Republican drive to fuck over their own citizens, when study after study says that businesses lose billions every year due to illness, or paying for care for the uninsured? They aren't presenting an alternative beyond 'hey everything is fine!' So what the hell is going on here?

Then I got it; Roosevelt.

If Obama is successful at bringing healthcare to this country, especially if he does it over the objections of Republicans then they will truly be the marginalized party, and damn near powerless for decades. Perhaps longer. And they're afraid of that (understandably). History was not kind to the Republicans in the late 1930's. But their fear is costing us lives, so fuck 'em.

Wednesday, July 29

I don't quite get this; I'm employed as a temp, but there isn't enough work.

Seriously, I'm less busy at this job than I was at my last job, and I have, unfortunately, far fewer diversions.

I have a feeling it's going to be awhile before I find employment that makes sense.

Wednesday, July 22

My dream could come true

My dream of being a porn star. Huzza!

While I'm on the subject, when I first moved to Portland I had a hypothesis that said that within one block of every adult business (strippers, porn, whatever) within one block there would be an asian food restaurant. I think as a theory it's been disproven, but the hypothesis is still very strong.

When I started temping in Clackamas, I wondered if the hypothesis would hold.

Pleased to say that so far, it does.

Monday, July 20

a place to archive

In yoga I’ve also learned flexibility — physical and mental. If a muscle seizes up, just wait, it will relax — keep stretching or flexing. If you feel a mental reflex to resist something, just sit with it, the reflex will pass. This is indeed why people sometimes counsel yoga to treat addictions. Wait before you act — or don’t act — as the case may be. You achieve much once you stop telling yourself you can’t do things.

from |

Going to experiment w/ using this blog to post things I'd like to reference again, someday.

Tuesday, July 14

This about covers it

Her: "Are you excited at all about the job tomorrow?"
Me: "No."

I feel like a massive failure.

Saturday, July 11

Resistance 2 (or, I wish I knew more people with PS3s)

Thankfully, while wading through the cesspool of boredom that was Lost Odyssey, I found a very cheap copy of Resistance 2.

Resistance 2 is in many ways your standard FPS; you play a sci-fi soldier, the aliens want to take over the earth, kill all of them. Sounds pretty familiar I'm sure. I'm going to hit the high points though.

First, the story stays apace of the subject matter. It's an action game, so the plot is just complex enough to propel you to the next junction, no further. This is fine, actually; look how well this idea worked in the latest Star Trek movie. There's no need to make things complicated; you good, aliens bad, go. However the story also remains true to itself. While there will inevitably be a Resistance 3, I can only hope that the events of this game are kept as cannon. By this I mean; Resistance 2 is not about how you StMFD, and there is now dancing in the streets. Do you save the day? Yes. Does it feel like you've just put off the inevitable? Yes.

What's also cool is that there is apparently a parallel story that is played as a co-op campaign. That just seems awesome and I can't wait to try it, I just wish I knew more people to play it with.

One of the critiques of the first Resistance game was that it didn't really shake up the FPS genre. I'd have to say that this is still true in the sequel. My response is simple: Who cares?

A good game, executed well is what I'm asking for. They deliver it. The missions were challenging, but not unfair. The parts I had to repeat I learned from and did better the next time. The crazy firefight sequences felt right (chaotic, hazardous, fun only because they weren't real) the creepy parts of the game made me edgy, and I was entertained. I had at least two "Ho-ly shit!" moments when I first saw what I was supposed to fight against, and very frequently felt just like I was in a well oiled action movie.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel if what you have rolls so smoothly.

Now that said, I have two issues. First, there were times when I was lost and didn't know where I was supposed to go next. It didn't happen often, but when it did happen the game lost a lot of momentum. There are even sequences where they put a tag on the screen that you're supposed to move towards, and I found this to be extremely helpful. At the same time what this demonstrates is some glitches in design. If I get lost in what is basically a shooter on rails, something is amiss.

Second, there were two moments in the game which depended on AI controlled characters to get to a certain point before the player could go any further, and the AI was being all daffy about it. This basically strands the player (or at least it stranded me) until I died. Fortunately, the checkpoint save system means that it's rare that a player will have to go too far in order to regain what she or he lost by dying. It wasn't the end of the world, but it was a mild pain in the butt.

Those minor complaints aside, I found Resistance 2 to be a hell of a lot of fun, and am looking forward to playing the co-op campaign. I hope there's some cool people to play it with.

Thursday, July 9

I played Lost Odyssey so you don't have to

Honestly, I think I finished the game in part so I could write that headline.

I knew what I was in for when I got this game; an old-school JRPG, where the good guys line up on one side and the bad guys on another and you throw swords and spells called 'Windus' (that's the 3rd level wind spell!) at each other. Random encounters, raiding people's houses for loot, some levelgrinding tedium; basically everything I experienced in Final Fantasy 7 only prettier. I still hated it.

In a game that plays for 50 hours or longer (I put in over 60) having a complex, weaving story is something that one comes to expect. What happens next? becomes a relevant way to prod the player from "random city on the coast that we start from" to "fucked up mountaintop that we must fight a strange griffin upon" to "remote village where no one goes to the strange house on the hill" and so on, and so on.

Unfortunately, the story is straightforward and mindbendingly dull. Kaim, the hero, is part of a group of immortals who have been part of the world for a millennia. His memories are lost, he knows only that he is a soldier. After a cataclysmic battle he is set on a quest that leads him to uncovering his memories and this, naturally, leads to saving the world.

Now, what I've just told you is the spoiler free version of this game but here's the problem: even if I told you the spoilers I would be adding absolutely nothing to the synopsis I just wrote. There are no big reveals, no twists or turns that aren't telegraphed like a atomic bomb tested in the middle of San Francisco. The villain is cartoonishly comic, and if it weren't for the Presidency of Bush Jr. I would deny that anyone that obviously evil could ever gain that much power in such a blunt manner.

There are a ton of short stories in the game where Kaim gets back chunks of his lost memories but there are at least two problems with this. First those stores are told well outside of the main narrative. They don't inform the current storyline (with rare exceptions) and they don't enhance Kaim as a character; he's still a brooding, humorless dick. Second, the presentation for these stories are a complete break from the game; the player has to sit there and watch as words are very prettily shown on the screen with a hazy nature background as scenery. There's no GAME there. In a medium that is supposed to be interactive they've broken the primary rule; disassociating the audience from the game.

It's understandable that the basic gameplay mechanics might become dull over time. Sadly, they are boring right from the start. Your muscle attacks with swords. There is no strategy there, because attacking with swords is a lot faster and better than using any of your learned skills. Your wizards cast spells. The spells they cast should be ones that are in opposition to the elemental characteristic of the enemy. That is, you cast Water against Fire, Fire against Wind, Wind against Earth, Earth against Water. I think. Sixty damn hours in and I still had to look up which element was best vs another element.

In this case, I blame designers. There wasn't anything intuitive about selecting the elemental spells in the menu, so those subtle reminders that would've helped me map out what to do weren't there. Going to the manual in the middle of a game is an indicator of bad design.

Bad design also comes into play when moving from place to place. Getting to and using the map is difficult, as there are two map screens; one that tells you the names of places and one that just shows you the world. Sometimes I just want to check where I am in relationship to a city but I can't just do that, I have to actually go somewhere because just seeing where I am on a map doesn't tell me anything unless I know where I am in relationship to another place. So I have to go to another place, even if it's where I just came from and that involves a load screen and waiting and boredom.

What's a real drag is having certain characters predisposed to death. There are two who have understandably low health points-the characters are children-but they're vital to getting through the game! So the player has to sit there and resurrect them time and time again, in hopes they will survive to the end of the battle, because dead characters don't level up. One of the best things in the game that I did was engage in a short sequence that made me a ton of money. Buying resurrection potions suddenly wasn't a problem, and I bought a ton of them. More than I can ever remember having to buy for an RPG.

Gameplay gets tiring, moving around is a pain in the butt, and the story is boring. Is there an upside?

There is; the character Jansen Friedh. A friend described him as 'what would happen if you put Bruce Campbell in a game' and that's not too far off the mark. Funny, complaining, interested in getting laid, interested in not getting the crap beat out of him, Jansen is the most human and likable character in the game. Sure his character arc is utterly predictable but at least it's fun to watch. Nobody else gives the story any tension whatsoever--they spend sixty hours being exactly who they are when you meet them.

So I say avoid it.

Finally, I'd like to thank these Gamefaq writers: German Dragon, INVAL1D, and Split Infinity. They made searching through the cities and getting through the maps far easier than the game designers did, and I am eternally grateful to them for the work they did.

Wednesday, July 1

Transformers 3: Return of the Primes

Although I haven't seen TF2, I've read enough reviews containing the 'plot' to know what happens. I understand it's not a movie in the sense that there is a story that somehow connects you from point A to D, so I don't feel weird about what I'm going to do next.

I'm going to tell you what's up for Transformers 3: Return of the Primes (which I'm making up as a title).

Blah blah blah explosions/stupid jokes/explosions/tits until the end when
1) Optimus Prime dies.
2) Giving Sam the last piece of the Allspark.
3) Everything is all but lost (including a special moment when Ultra Magnus, in an attempt to rip out Megatron's heart says, 'Open, damnit, OPEN!')
4) When Sam takes in the Allspark, saying to Mikela: 'Sorry'
5) Mikela screams: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (It will be her only line in the movie)
6) Then to Stan Bush's The Touch, (the original, not that abominable re-creation) Sam turns into RODIMUS PRIME.
7) And proceeds to Save the Motherfuckin' Day. (Which is why the Transformers in Transformer heaven sent Sam back; and Optimus keeps going on about Sam's destiny and all that other bullshit. Sam is Neo, except he becomes a machine.)

That's why the Transformers films focused on the humans instead of, you know, the awesome giant robots blowing everything the fuck up. It'll be Bay laughing at all of us because suddenly those first two piece of shit movies will have subtext and be about something: Man's transformation from boy to godlike robot that StMFD. This of course is a metaphor for how we need to lose ourselves in technology or perish. So in addition to demonstrating that Bay knows how to arrange a narrative arc, fanboys all over will forgive him because of Rodimus, and The Touch. (They shouldn't, but they will.)

When this happens; I want credit.

Monday, June 29

Google vs Facebook

Interesting article on how these two corporations are trying to make things work in the internet age.

Feels weird to post to something like Facebook, though. As a bonus, I think I may've stumbled on a neat tool for a website though. Thanks Google!
/google whore.

Saturday, June 27


Bison Brewing's chocolate stout is not so thrilling.

The Peppermint Tribe ought to be the name of one of the villains in the book.

I heard Metallica's Unforgiven for the first time in many years, and when this line was sung:
"This bitter man he is"
I instantly re-imagined it as a Yoda phrase. The song has been vastly improved.

Dear Kettle Chips; why are your normal potato chips so much suck, while your crinkle cut chips awesome?

Sunday, June 21

Sung to Andrew WK's It's Time To Party

It's time for BACON, yeah BACON
Get on out of bed and have some awesome bacon
Hey, you, it's BACON
Sizzlin' on the stove and smokin'

Don't even try to hide it
'Cause we're gonna need some BACON tonight
And you know I'm gonna fry it up right
We're gonna munch it all
when it's crispy and nice
Gonna have some BACON tonight

Towels laid out
to absorb the grease
Just waitin' for my treat (It's time for BACON)
Tongs in my hand
To turn the meat
Almost time to eat (It's time for BACON)
Pan smoking hot
strips curling up
It's almost done (It's time for BACON)
Open your mouth, let's eat it up, with your teeth

YEAH! (x4)

It's time for...
It's time for...
It's time for... BACON BACON

Saturday, June 13

Once again

Don't. Perpetuate. Drama.

Especially when it's coming from fucktards on the internet who just want to start trouble.

Wednesday, June 10

Odds and ends

First: Resident Evil 5: It's good. Not stupid amazing good, but a solid game that is trying to do shake up the series by placing it in a hot sun-drenched environment. This works for the most part, but there weren't as many spooky parts, and the vehicle driving sections were generally boring. Sitting at the turret of a gun and blazing down enemies doesn't make for a very fearful experience.

That all said, I've gotten quite a bit out of the Mercenaries subgame. With two players who even know a little about what to do, I have felt like I was accomplishing a great deal. It's fun! I wouldn't like to see an entire game around that, but the value that Mercenaries gives to this helps make the game worthwhile.

Second: Left 4 Dead 2. I really wish they would do it as DLC. Or how about giving coupons to people who have bought L4D so the sequel isn't as expensive for us?

I don't know; I worry that this really awesome game I've been playing will suddenly have a much smaller userbase, and currently I can't afford a new game. Hopefully by November, this won't be an issue, but it's hard not to fret about the unemployment thing.

I got on Xbrick Live just to play L4D with people, and I'd hate to see that pleasant experience go away, especially after dropping $110 on it (game + Live membership).

And also: I'd like to see some extra content for the original. The lighthouse in The Last Stand is obviously some kind of end-chapter. Give me the 4 lead up chapters!

I realize that Valve needs to make money, and I've had a good time with their game, but there was an implication that there would be at least some new content coming for the original (although I may be making that up in my head) so this sequel feels a lot like a letdown.

Third: I've started making lists in the morning of daily tasks. So far it's helping, and I think it may be the first step on my way to getting a personal organizer. I think I'd like it to it via an iPod touch because that way I can just copy/paste things into a calendar, but for now writing things down is a start.

Fourth: Usual depressing looking for work thing. It just feels all fucked up.

Fifth: Star Trek is good. The new one hits all the right notes, doesn't invalidate any older Star Trek that people may've loved, and is all around fun to watch.

I guess that's all for now.

Monday, June 1

Healthcare costs

A really good article on the costs of healthcare in America.

As with so many things, it seems to come down to greed vs care.

Sunday, May 31


While building my most recent Magic deck, I realized something.

I have run out of basic forests. I didn't think that was possible. And I'm not sure this is a good sign.

Tuesday, May 19

On Fatalism

Was called a fatalist last night by Jim, in our discussion about newspapers. This was after I'd called him one.

The perspectives divided thusly: He thinks that newspapers are on their way out, and that when they go, we lose something critical to our democracy because there's nothing to replace them. The internet (with bloggers being the definition there) and TV do not have the credibility nor the standards of accuracy that newspapers do. And once they go, they're gone and that resource cannot be replaced. Our democracy will be fucked once that happens.

So: we should save them.

Me: newspapers are going to die, at least as we know them. That cannot be prevented but the idea that nothing will replace those things is one that historically as been false. New things rise up to replace old things in every system you can talk about, and there's no way to prove that in this case, the new thing is going to be worse or somehow be unable to give us the truth we need to continue to function as a democracy.

I know the world is going to change, and not always for the better, but not always for the worse, either.

I had a troubled sleep last night, though.

Thursday, May 14

Get a haircut and get a real job

I got my haircut yesterday. Probably the best $5 haircut I've gotten since the early 80's, but I think I would've ponied up 5 more to not have to listen to shitty, shitty pop music for forty minutes. There was one song with a really catchy riff, wasted in a song that was otherwise drivel. The Foo Fighters could've done something awesome with that riff. But this band wasn't even close.

Although the haircut looks ok, I spent today mostly depressed. Yeah, I made beer and I wrote some and it didn't all suck, but what I realized walking back from the comic store was this; I am admitting that I cannot get a job. I'm cleaning myself up, which will include shaving off the soul patch I've kept on my chin for at least six months, so I can go into a temp agency and ask for work.

I don't have a dream to follow, I don't have a path to look to. Going to the temp agency isn't so bad; hopefully they'll be able to place me. It's that I don't really know anything that makes me valuable, and I don't really love anything that people would want to pay me for. And that' fun.

Tuesday, May 12

More things not to do:

Lock yourself out of the house.

The cats will not let you back inside.

Monday, May 4

Step 1

Well, I finished the first, handwritten draft of a book I've been writing for 3 years. It's not the most triumphant thing ever, but it is an accomplishment in the process of making a complete thing. So I'll take it.

Thursday, April 23


Got yelled at by an anarchist tonight for not knowing what anarchy is, apparently.

When I asked her what she wanted, and she included, 'democracy' and I said, you can't have democracy and anarchy at the same time, she yelled a me, about how I ought to read x,y,z.

But she didn't actually tell me what the difference was, when I asked. Or how I wasn't a liberterian because I thought regulated capitalism was a good thing.

I may be getting the details fuzzy; I was being yelled at. But it was nice to be yelled at by a left-winger, because it's an excellent warning against extremism of all kinds.

Wednesday, April 22

It's one of those days: Resist Despair.

It's not that things are bad, but they do not appear to be hopeful in any interesting manner.

I kind of want to use the internet like Twitter today; just leave my short comments and leave. I don't abhor Twitter per se, but there's so much noise out there in the Universe anyway, and nobody cares about what I have to say in comparison. Especially since I am not eating tasty sandwiches or pooping.

Even writing that 'joke' feels forced and kinda meh. Real writers wouldn't let that go.

In truth, the inclination to hide out is very strong. I guess I'm doing that already by staying at home, but I guess there's my conflict. The days when I want to go away and be forgotten, and the days when I don't. Which isn't much to aspire to, it seems.

Maybe I just need lunch. Everything seems better after lunch or a nap. I have a place to write and things ain't so bad.

Tuesday, April 14

On drama

I've been encountering the usual internet drama and it was in the shower today that I had a realization; some people are addicted to it. They need to create (or bear witness to) a whole lot of anxious misery in order to feed some weird hunger in themselves.

I have the internet trolls to thank for this, but I don't mean that in a congratulatory sort of way. I get that everyone is the asshole sometimes, but it is the consistent engagement of lousy behavior that defines an addiction and rewarding that behavior with attention of any sort just feeds into that bullshit.

The problem is that sometimes you just need people to shut the hell up.

So once again I'm back to the necessity of moderators in any given culture. Yeah, yeah it brings up the whole 'who watches the watchmen' thing, but I have yet to see any non-familial group work without a set of rules and someone to enforce them. For the most part, the community keeps each other in line, and my feelings about moderation in internet arenas is that it should be kept to a light hand.

Because the drama is going to show up no matter what you do or say. There's something about people that causes them to conflict.

Bah. I'm rambling now. I guess part of what I'm trying to learn is when to stand up to the addicts and when to let it go. But even with that knowledge, it doesn't mean very much unless standing up to them can be enforceable. How that works, I don't know.

Tuesday, March 31

The Failure Option

I'm doing a podcast now, for people interested in hearing my voice. Linky above.

I'm having trouble finding jobs that I think I can work in. I seem to know so little.

On the other hand, all the time at home is giving me space to read, write, and listen to music I haven't in a long time. You may not be aware of this, but the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the blahblahblah is a shitty record. It could've been a good one, but out of the 28 songs there, 4 are really good, and another 5 are OK. Maybe 2 more songs after that, and you're done.

Metallica's 'classic' ...And Justice for All? Bloated and tired.

But there's beer. So it's not all bad.

Sunday, March 29

I went to the rock tonight

And it was good. At this point, it kinda goes: Andrew WK, It's Time To Party = Metallica, Creeping Death = Pelican, Angel Tears. And then there's everything else.

I don't care what you've seen live, I'll put those three experiences against anything.

(but, I've had booze and so this is not the be all end all.)

Monday, March 23

Twitter summation

My sister asked me what I thought of Twitter while I was in Spokane, and the link pretty much sums it up.

It does have some uses; A.Ho has told me of how they use it at his job to let people know about shifts they can pick up, and Bailey's Taproom uses it to let people know what's on tap, but these are really narrow applications. Just like the service itself, I think.

Saturday, March 21


When I went back to Spokane last week, I brought with me a whole slew of old cassette tapes which had songs on them I hadn't listened to in twenty years. I learned a few things along the way. The Pet Shop Boys' 'It's A Sin' is a gay anthem. 'Living in a box' is an incredibly offensive song, when I step back from it for even a moment. (Although to be fair, I was far less aware of the plight of the homeless at 16) 'Pop Goes the World' is a bad song.

I spent a lot of time feeling like I had no idea what Spokane was like, almost as though I was lost in a city I grew up in. It was very strange; the winter filth and the starkness of the city had it adopting an alien landscape that felt like I was a stranger now. Maybe it was because so many things evoked the past-old friends, old hangouts, old music, that I had been thrown back, and the city stayed in the present.

Of course, it could be that I'm just out of my head currently. I got sick while I was there, and I'm still recovering from that. NyQuill does a number on your head, and even this morning I'm feeling a little spacey. Perhaps it is best not to be too hard on Spokane, as it's coming off a difficult winter, and the city is in a state of disrepair.

Or, it could be that my birthday is tomorrow and I'm feeling reflective. That's possible too.

Saturday, January 31

Gotta say that 2009 has been one where I've had to accept my successes based on the level of personal growth I'm having to endure. It has not been fun, though I've been becoming more aware. I don't envy anyone the path I'm on though.

I'd also like the insomnia that's been shooting me in the mind between 2 and 4 a.m. every night for the past month to go away. For a long time.

Tuesday, January 27

There are days

When I swear to god I think I could fix the internet by having the 'reply all' email button give you a shock and nosebleed.

Thursday, January 22

2008 mix tape part 2

The first song I heard when I touched down in NYC last year was You're A Wolf by Sea Wolf. It's one of my favorite songs from the album, and hearing it at random made sure I wouldn't forget to include this at the end of the year.

Once again, I found myself listening to Jesu more than any other band this year. Supple Hope is another one of Jesu's textured songs with a title that misleads; the lyrics themselves are depressing as hell.

I don't know that I can explain my love of Armor for Sleep, but I've two albums and the songs that I like on them, I really like, while the others are less memorable alt-rock. But as I said; when they do a good song, I really like it, and it's hard for me to beat a song that opens with "I've got soul working for me half the time". So Run Right Back In goes on.

Bats Over The Pacific Ocean is one of those nonsense titles that bands like Jaguar Love give to their songs. Given that the band is made up of former Blood Brothers members, this kind of silliness makes a lot more sense. Jaguar Love has songs that are a lot more danceable though, so hopefully that will open up some people to their stuff.

A very late addition to my music collection in '08 was Fucked Up, and their song Black Albino Bones caught me right away. Punk rock growls with a light chorus, and I was hooked.

Dead and Divine was a band I swayed on for much of the year. Do I keep this album, or do I just burn a couple tracks and let it go. But whenever I would listen to the album for purposes of burning, I liked a lot more songs than I thought I would. When I played it as background music, it didn't stick, except for Get Down With Your Bad Self, which has the line: I have a way with failure.
I wish that didn't speak to me, but it does.

Next up is Baroness's Isak. This is another album that was probably on last year's tape, but eh. Whatcha gonna do? It's dirty stoner rock, and I like that.

Nineteenhundred by Burst was another late addition to my ears. Burst's record, Lazarus Bird is a strong one, and it's too bad it's been consigned to the 'metal' bin. Don't get me wrong, it is metal, but the band wants to stretch what metal can do-and in this song, they use saxophones to do it. Really neat stuff.

My Apocalypse by Metallica. Yeah, I'm surprised too, but there you go; it took them twenty years to do another album on par with Master of Puppets, but they did it. Is it as good as their landmark albums (namely Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets)? No. But it's pretty damn solid, and the guys are playing again like they have something to prove.

Finally, All Hope Is Gone by Slipknot. The title is beguiling again, reflecting a despair that the song doesn't exactly have, but since I've been feeling a little bit of both, I put that song on. Plus, it's just blistering.

I finished with Unearth's instrumental; Big Bear & the hour of Chaos. I wanted that song to be the bridge between My Apocalypse and All Hope Is Gone, but it didn't work out that way; there wasn't enough room on the tape. Still, I got it on; that's what matters.

Tuesday, January 20

2008 mix tape part 1

I kicked this year's tape off with Tales of Girls, Boys, and Marsupials by the Wombats. It was a song that made me smile in a year when smiling was hard for me to come by.

Against Me! was a band I was happy to discover this year. I'd heard of them for years, but never gotten around to listening to them until I found a copy of New Wave used. It was a great album, and the nice thing about getting into a band late is that you get to explore their back catalog, and usually get more good music out of the deal. One of my favorite songs from New Wave was Thrash Unreal, and so it comes up next.

It's probable that Kevin Drew's Spirit If came out in 07, but I still listened to it in 08, so Safety Bricks gets the nod.
This is true of a few bands; I didn't find a lot of new stuff I was enamored with, so I went back to the things I had playing them to death.

Of course as I say that, the next song is TV On The Radio's Golden Age, and their was on many people's top 10 list for '08. TVOTR doesn't seem to grab me quite the same way ever since I saw them live, but they still put out good albums.

In the same way that I got into Against Me! this year, I also finally heard Minus the Bear. Same situation; lots of people telling me how great they were, but I waited until I could find a CD used. Hooray! is hands down my favorite song from that album, not just for it's thrilling guitar line during the chorus, but the fond tale of snowball fights too.

Fumes is by Aesop Rock. I don't know much about rap, but Aesop and Dalek (who makes the list in a song) both made albums that didn't sound like any rap I'd heard before. Aesop seems more traditional, but his wordplay is very clever too.

Wiper is by Amusement Parks On Fire, and again they probably were on last year's list too. Every time I was in a used record store this year, I spent time looking for their 2nd album to no avail. This is why I'm considering downloading music off the internet; just so I can find things I want.

From this song Dalek's Ever Somber felt like the right thing. He seems to use industrial-stylings as his backbeats. A rapper descended from Ministry-like swirls of noise. This song was chosen in part because of the title, which seems to fit my current mood more than I'd like.

The Gutter Twins didn't make quite the splash I thought they would, but their album was admittedly a little uneven. Still, I am sad I didn't get my ducks in a row to see them live. The Body hooked me in with it's soft chorus, and I never got away from it.

I got Band of Horses' last record late in 07, so Is There A Ghost? makes it on. I would've listened to it more, but my girlfriend absconded with it for most of the year.

Finally, Mogwai's Auto-Rock. I first heard this at the end of the Miami Vice movie, and I loved it, but didn't have it together to find out who did the music. Then I forgot about it, as people sometimes do.

About the middle of '08, I heard it again while in Everyday Music. I had one of those tingly moments, hearing this song--Oh yes, this! I need this. So I went up to find out who was playing, and walked out with a scuffed CD of Mogwai's Mr Beast. The album isn't great, but that song is magical for me.

This side closes out with music from Girl Talk's Feed the Animals. I can't quite distinguish the songs on this album, but that's OK. The mashup fun is too good to ignore.

Monday, January 5

Work musings 1.6, 1.7, 1.9

Right now I have to work under conditions where people can walk into my workspace, and just 'hang out' doing things. This makes me not want to work. I want people to go away. Having someone you don't like much around disrupts the workflow. And he's in space I need to use anyway. It's like a megalose.

It's weird, realizing I have to quit. It's crazy, since this is the worst time to not already have a job since something like 1952. Still, I also feel kind of good. I mean, when I'm not batshit frightened.

They just cut my hours by 7.5/wk. That's almost enough to convince me to stick around.