Monday, December 27

End of the year goodness

Genesis Device-Cloudkicker.
I listened to a lot of Cloudkicker this year. All the awesome of aggro metal without the frequently irritating vocalists. Lots of people hailed Beacons as a great record and it's certainly a solid effort but I stumbled onto Cloudkicker this year so the entire catalog is open to me.

Power-Kanye West.
I am as big a sucker for a killer single as anyone else and this one is huge. I haven't even listened to the whole album yet; this song is still killer.

Snakes for the Divine-High On Fire.

This song was described as their 'Thunderstruck' and I'm hard pressed to disagree. The album felt little uneven for me but this is probably one of the best opening tracks to a metal record that you could ask for.

Blind in One Eye-Coliseum.
"Ain't no key left in this hand...ain't no hope left in this room,"
There are some lines that just resonate and that's one for me. I don't think this song is about devastation, I think it's about discovering there are things you hide from yourself that you can't hide from others.

Little Monkey-Armored Saint.
I suppose it says something when a band that, twenty years ago, would've been considered heavy metal (and still is by those who've listened to it for long enough) is now using Van Halen-esque harmonies in their choruses. That's not to suggest that Armored Saint is suddenly just a rock band or that the guitars are up with Van Halen's. But they made a damn solid hard rock album that I think I would've loved at 17 and still somehow really like at 38.

He Films The Clouds Pt 2-Maybeshewill.
So I recommend Cloudkicker to a friend, sending the myspace link to Cloudkicker so he can get an idea of what they sound like and he comes back with; Did you hear this band? They're apparently 'friended' on MS.
The moral of the story; sometimes the internet works.

God's Gonna Cut You Down-Johnny Cash.
I heard way too many clips of this song being used to sell me shit, mostly because it's got one of the most amazing riffs ever. But the music has nothing to do with a product someone wants me to buy into. The long and short of it is, this is one of my favorite songs by the Man in Black. Guitar gods everywhere wish they'd come up with this, tuned it down and slogged through this one. In honor of the awesome of this song and to keep it from being a corporate whore I had to include it.

I Gave You All-Mumford and Sons.
This one is about defeat. Sometimes, it's like that.

Love Like A Sunset Part 1 and 2-Phoenix.
I generally don't include two songs by the same group back to back but in this case an exception had to be made. Phoenix does some really nice pop music however Love Like A Sunset is why they're interesting. The first part is this Tangerine Dream influenced soundscape that gently segues into a catchy riff that becomes the second song, which dreamily ends, all the crescendo happening previously. I don't know if Phoenix will be a great band but certainly taking risks like that make them more interesting than 90% of other bands working the genre.

That Dress Looks Nice On You/Make You Feel That Way-Sufjan Stevens/Tor.
It's a sign of the times, I suppose, that one of the songs I listened to a lot this year is a mashup. Speaking of...

Triple Double-Girl Talk.
Girl Talk has managed to produce three records in a row of solid to awesome quality and all of them are pretty much meant to be the soundtrack to your crazy party. I'm not sure you can dance to it for very long because the energy level is nearly inhuman. This music may have the motor of a five year old and the mentality of a 24 year old but that's probably what makes it work.

Tell Them-Sleigh Bells.
Which brings me to this bombast. It's too aggressive, too loud to be pop music but it's not heavy enough or dense enough to be rock, really. Like dance music that's been hit with the mutant gene or something.

The Water Glass-Melvins.
The Melvins have devolved a bit for me; I'm not sure that I like entire albums they do, anymore. However, when you've been playing as long as they have, doing pretty much whatever they like with as consistent a quality, I'm fairly certain they don't need to please me. All that said; this was a really solid opening to their latest and is just the kind of transition song a list like this needs.

Absolute Dissent-Killing Joke.
The latest album from KJ just can't hold up to Hosannas From The Basement of Hell because, frankly, Hosannas is the kind of record you get to make once in a lifetime. They couldn't do anything else but this album; a solid one that touches on their past, continues with their vision and mines the strengths of Hosannas.
But a solid album from Killing Joke is still going to be better than a great album from many other bands.

I Hold Grudges-Goes Cube
This was a band I found out about in '09 but didn't pay attention to until '10. Somewhere in between the punk-metal-rock cloud bands like Goes Cube mine a whole bunch of ignored territory. Ignored because people tend to get stuck on things like genre purity. Fuck 'em.

The Theatre Goer-Daughters.

Daughters' self-titled album was probably the record I ignored almost to the point of criminality. Sad, because every time I listened to it the record just got better and better. Weird and yet really catchy with a vocalist that doesn't always make it easy, the whole album is full of moments of standout riffs that draw me in. I'll probably listen to it more in '11, likely on the strength of songs like The Theatre Goer.

Widower-The Dillinger Escape Plan.

DEP is always very hard for me to ignore but very difficult for me to love.They're undeniably talented on pretty much every level; even the lyrics, as hard as they might be to understand until you read them (and then suddenly they crystalize like a giant snowflake) are just awesome. But damn if they don't work the jazz-metal thing to the absolute limits of my tolerance.

In Your Words-Lamb of God.
This was the year I got into Lamb of God. Granted, I think last year was also the year where they elevated their game with Wrath-but of course I didn't hear it until the album showed up on all these end of year best lists. I'd given them a shot before and even seen them open for Slipknot but just couldn't get into the music, even though I could definitely see the appeal because they put on a good show. Fortunately for me, not only was Wrath good but so is Sacrament, a track from which makes an appearance a little later on.

Apocalyptic Havoc-Goatwhore.
Once upon a time, it was really easy for me to say that I didn't like black metal. The vocals were unintelligible and the music wasn't made to be liked, or so it seemed. But damn if this isn't one of the best opening riffs ever. So I converted, at least for this album-which was also released in '09 but appeared on a bunch of 'best of' lists.

Virus-Black Breath.
Maybe you saw them, these great punk bands playing in some shitty bar in your hometown; fast and gritty and loud, and you really hoped they'd make it because man, they just blew everybody else off the stage.
Well, at least one of those bands made it.

Underneath the Waves-Strapping Young Lad.
It's really, really, really rare for me to include a song I've heard in years past. Lamb of God or Cloudkicker have discographies that extend past this year but I just got into them so they're new to me. SYL's stuff I've been into for years-before the band broke up, even.
However, the glories of random shuffling on iTunes brought this song to my attention again at a time when I really needed to hear it. It's super aggressive sonically but lyrically the theme of "I am tired of the boring bullshit that leads to nothing" just worked for me.

the sun, the earth-Constants
I love it when albums surprise me with a hook somewhere that isn't the first or last song. Granted, this is the second song on the album but still; anything to help shake me out of the flow of a record and pay attention is usually good.

Core Relations-Intronaut.

A concept album based around LA. Neat! I suppose this is filed under stoner rock but I don't see that so much. Influenced by, sure but this is like a slightly more catchy Isis to my ears.

You've Seen the Butcher-Deftones.
The Deftones have had a hell of a few years, with the Saturday Night Wrist album proving they can still bring the noise, then having their bassist go into a coma while writing a brand new album, shelving that record to make a new one because touring on the comatose bassist's work felt wrong and going full out to make a new record.

And the new record is stellar. How about that?

At this point, I feel like I practically have to have an Jesu song on my end of year lists. Hell, even as it stands Justin Broadrick is all over this list, having produced the Constants album and doing a remix of a Pelican song that made it on, down the line.

Blacken the Cursed Sun-Lamb of God.
I wish I'd seen LoG when they had written this song. It's probably 100% crowd pleaser.

Scum Will Rise-Nails.
Nails probably released the angriest album of the year. I think this song is maybe a minute thirty seconds but it flays.

The Dream is Dead-Type O Negative.
Peter Steele died this year and when that happened I took it upon myself to investigate the Type O history a bit more than I had. I've always liked TON but albums never seemed to settle on me. There were great songs, which I'd tape (very old school I know) and then usually sell the CD off because the album just didn't work for me. But Life is Killing Me and Dead Again were the two albums I poked around on and looking at it, it's more likely that I was just not ready to really love Type O Negative. A rare metal band with a sense of humor, they will be missed.

Plus, there's something about a man howling, "The dream is dead." If you've been there, you know.

More shoegaze metal. Rosetta didn't produce an immediately catchy record but as with Daughters, it was one that went frequently unlistened by me and I aim to make that up in the next few months because every time I hear it I like it.

Final Exit-Fear Factory.
Probably the best closing song to a FF album, ever. The album itself was solid and very much a return to the form of Demanufacture or Obsolete but this was the song that suggested to me that the band that stretched what sounds metal bands could incorporate on those older records was still alive. I don't know if Fear Factory has another album in them but if this is their revisit to Demanufacture and the next one is the Obsolete revisit, then that will be damned impressive.

This was also the song that, when I started building this list, was going to be the one I wanted as a closer. As the list got built, it became more apparent that this song was instead going to be the beginning of the end but that works too.

Angel Tears-Pelican, remixed by Justin Broadrick.
Took me some time to acquire this song; iTunes wouldn't let me buy just this one, it insisted I get the entire 3 song single which includes the original version-which I already have. On CD.

But man, is it a brilliant rework of the original. Fifteen minutes and I wasn't bored.

Out Again-Torche.
Torche probably made the most pop friendly heavy album of the year and undoubtedly one of my favorite videos for the year. I wish this album had gotten more attention because man it's good. The band works that last riff into the ground for probably three minutes but I don't care; it's catchy and fading it off is the exact right move. As good as Final Exit was, this song had to be the penultimate one. It says goodbye in a sad but not cheerless manner and I think I'd like to remember my year that way. I won some, I lost some but it wasn't all bad.

God Be With Ye-Cloudkicker.
It's just a nice finisher; the kind that allows me to start the list up all over again.

Tuesday, December 7

Dear President Obama

Basic tax information is available to anyone with an internet connection, readable by anyone with sense organs and understandable by anyone with half a lick of common sense.


Jesus. I voted for someone to lead the country, not play the violin while the city burns.

Monday, October 25

So I saw Inception

Pretty strong film.
The drawbacks; the soundtrack was too loud and overwhelmed dialog multiple times. This is bad.

I wanted about 15 more minutes in that movie to offer me some characterization for the players beyond the main one. Almost nobody smiles in this film and while the Inception gets a lot right, it doesn't really capture the whimsy that dreams often bring. Even a few moments of whimsy-two-would have been enough, something to give the characters a little bit more than gravity to work with, to show that they are connected to one another.

That I wouldn't mind another 15 minutes in a movie that's two point five hours long already is a really good sign.

The good; the acting is solid and the directing is very good. The finale is one of those things that only movies can do and it's always amazing to see someone take advantage of the artistic medium that way. Worth seeing in the theater for that alone.

Thursday, October 14

Wednesday, September 1

Oh boy

Everyone else is in a meeting. Should I be in that meeting? I don't think's not on my calendar...but everyone else is there... rargh brain won't stop worrying!

Feels like it's been a downer week. Going to visit friends, Mom, and PAX. This should turn everything around.

Thursday, August 26

It doesn't matter why

They don't want to talk to you.

Wednesday, August 25

eh, I guess

I mean, they resurrected the consu and yay for everyone. I care but I don't. Just like the old community; I care and I don't anymore.

I care because it's my nature. I don't because I just want to get away from the silly shit that was there. I'm a little adrift and there it is.

A few days and I'm sure I'll be fine. Walking is still good for the soul.

Saturday, July 10

Friday, June 25

With sympathy

So, Paul Gray died of an accidental OD. He was the bassist for the heavy metal band Slipknot, and pretty close to my age.

What's disheartening for me is the comments to the story-as always. Addiction, by most medical accounts, is classified as a disease and the idea that he just should've been a better person is kinda insane.

And is probably why we have a process of imprisonment instead of treatment when it comes to drugs.

Tuesday, June 8

The new guy

I recently got Left 4 Dead 2. 8 plus months (or so) after the game was released I was able to afford it and because I loved the original I was looking forward to playing the game. I could even afford the occasional DLC now!

L4D is noteworthy for me because it's the first game I played online and remains so for the time being. Because the mechanics of the game insist that you help each other out, leaving someone behind isn't quite forbidden but nobody wants to do it. Of course, I've had the experience of telling or being told; "No! Go without me I'm done for!" but for the most part when someone gets in trouble, you go back and help, right?

There is a 'but' of course.

I'm the new guy. I don't know the maps, I don't know how the new Infected work, or the new health devices. Yes, I read the instructions but it's a game; you have to play it to understand.

Which is why it has been so discouraging to be the newbie.

I'm about average at gaming and I try to keep a casual attitude about it. But no matter what; I still have to learn how things work. In Dead Center, I didn't know that the goal was to fill the car with gas-I didn't hear the characters tell me what the goal was. The people I was playing with didn't tell me, often ran ahead without me and one person even asked why I kept getting lost and knocked down.

"I'm new and I don't know the maps," I said, trying to sound cheerful but I couldn't escape the feeling that the other players were done with me. A few minutes later, they left, we failed the mission and I started over with bots.

Sigh. I kept at it and eventually people joined up, including another new player, and we got through the mission.

Last night I attempted to get through Dark Carnival. I found a room, waited, and when the party leader asked, "Are we ready to go?" I replied, "You bet!" and he said, "Not you," and kicked me from the game.

I didn't even know the guy and yeah, I shouldn't take it personally but it's hard not to. I'm new, I want to learn how to play and play better, I want to explore a bit and see what cool routes or jokes or things might be hidden in the game. I don't know many people who play online so I'm out there, trying to make new friends, in the casual sense of the word. And people don't want to show the the ropes/have fun with me, so it's hard.

Because I'm late. I'm the new kid at school and nobody wants to tell me where the lunchroom is.

Everybody is new sometimes and if you want people to keep playing the game you love, you have to welcome the newbies. I know not everyone is going to mesh and become best chums or anything as silly as that, but is it really such a pain in the ass to help a new player who isn't being a dick through one mission?

If it is, then play on a private channel so we don't muck up your good time. Everyone will be happier.

Monday, May 3

It doesn't matter how much you love me

a little is alright...-You Better, You Bet-The Who

On my way home last night it struck me how little love we seem to need. People can get by on tiny amounts, sustaining themselves over months or years, so long as they get some. This is especially true if all other things in a relationship are 'normal'. That is to say; someone isn't being abused or hurt.

The good part of this is that it helps friendships last. Once a foundation has been built, maintenance is fairly easy. Which is good because we can't spend all our energy on building friendships or relationships.

Of course, one has to remember to show some love, every so often. I don't think this is an excuse to be stingy.

The flip side is, of course, that we can become camels on the desert, waiting for the next oasis of love, no matter how small that oasis is, or how little love we get from the spring. This starvation...has got to be unhealthy, right?

Just because we can survive on dollops doesn't mean we should.

Thursday, April 29


I had a dream where it was suggested to me by a pixie redhead that I should be thankful to and for the people in my life. So thank you.

But I don't want to post this kind of thing on Facebook. It's getting too...skeezy for me. Not enough privacy valued.

Still, I hope that by putting this out there, it will be felt and/or read by those who need to know.

Monday, April 26

On wastefulness

So I saw the end of Tosh.0 tonight and it had a clip of Tosh getting a new iPad.

And then teeing it up and swinging at it with a golf club.

That iPad could've been sold to charity. It could've been the centerpiece in a skit mocking people's need for crazy shit. It could've been used to mock Apple + fanboys.

Instead it was destroyed in less than five seconds.

In a world where so many of us are getting fucked over, the wanton destruction of 'cool things' for the sake of a joke that has 1) been done before-and often, 2) was not that funny, beyond the idea of swinging a golf club at anything can be amusing and 3) doesn't actually say anything...

Well, it feels like someone is just wasting my time and their talent, just to blow shit up. And I can watch artistic explosions and feel a hell of a lot better about the universe.

Sunday, April 25

Thought Experiment

Pretty good post, brought to my attention by Fuz.

There are nights

I have come to realize that it doesn't matter how old you get there are days, or nights, or long stretches of minutes where despite the success you may have had, there are times when all the small failures add up and haunt you.

Thursday, April 22

New dance class

It's been 100x more difficult than previous classes. I don't know why. I have guesses; new teacher, different style of learning, poor song selection.

But it's frustrating. It's like I'm choking, except it's not because I don't know what I'm doing-it's because the new stuff is rebelling against what I learned.

I'm fighting gloom these days. Just hit me all of a sudden. I think it's 1.5 gloom - .5 me, so far. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Have finshed videogames. Will talk about them soon.

Wednesday, April 14

Choking vs Panicking

A really interesting article I wanted to share that I found via Lifehacker.

Thursday, April 1

Things I'm learning

Denny's takes orders over the phone.

How to make a budget.

How to install printer drivers. How to extend patience with people who are not technologically savvy.

How to muck around servers. Not quite as fond of that one.

Time management. Sorta.

That I can be made invisible by someone. A new kind of irony from the days when I was small and wished I could be invisible.

That I can resist my completist tendencies...but not very well.I just do it because of the poverty.

When I finish a story, nobody is under any obligation to say anything.

Thursday, February 11

Why are you there?

I can suddenly see you in the friends online. You've excised me out of every. other. part. of your life.

But there you are. The great taunt of my heart.

I get it. The system has changed. You don't know you're supposed to exile me. You are exposed and I now just have to accept it.


Wednesday, February 10

I imagine this doesn't happen often

but I have gotten something I needed and yet feel worse than I ever did.

I'm still trying to work out why but a big chunk of it is: from a monetary perspective, it's a step backwards. From an employment perspective, it isn't fulfilling. I have no sense of how this job is going to help me a) make more money b) be a more diverse/useful employee or c) be a better person. It's just a job, and all of the other problems are still unsolved.

I'm still poor. I'm still directionless. I still have all the trappings of being stuck. I didn't want this job and I don't feel like I earned it at all. I just acquired it, like getting the monkey's paw.

It's not a good sign when you get a boon and wish you were dead. It just ain't. Now what it's a bad sign OF is an entirely different matter. All this crap in my head that isn't resolved, that's the problem.

Ah. I get it. This job isn't a solution to anything that troubles me.

Thursday, January 28

On the other hand

My former dentist's office called me yesterday, asking if I wanted to schedule an appointment since it had been so long. I explained that I was unemployed and thus could not afford an appointment. The caller identified quickly that this was because I no longer had insurance, which is true.

She then told me about a one-time thing they were doing; offering free exams and 50% off X-ray+cleaning services.

Which is damn kind of them. I still can't afford it, mind, but it's a really nice thing to do.

Tuesday, January 26

Things stacking up

I was taking my shirt off before getting into the shower and my glasses fell off.

Seems like a pretty mundane problem, right?

Except I can't see without my glasses. My vision is truly awful. I would probably be declared legally blind.

So now I'm afraid, because I need my glasses and I can't afford to fix them if they break. I already can't wear my contacts because I can't pay to a) get my eyes checked or b) get more contacts to replace my diminishing supply.

Which is frightening. If I break my glasses and have to do some kind of home repair on them, how does that look when I go in for a job interview? Now I've got the chicken/egg dilemma; I need a job to fix my glasses, I can't get a job because my glasses are broken and I look unprofessional.

All of this is thought of in half a second and it's allowed to grow and fester in my brain because I can't find my glasses now. I really don't know what to do, because holy crap, I can't see!

So very very slowly I move, gently maneuvering my feet to a position where I can crouch down and feel the carpet with my hands.

I found the glasses without too much difficulty there, but what if, man?