Archive for April, 2013

The world beneath my feet

April 28, 2013

The Smiths are great!!

April 28, 2013

I found myself listening to The Smiths quite a bit lately, and every time I hear them I get this epic feeling of joy.  Joy may not be the right emotion you say.  “How many happy songs do they even have?”  And that, my friends, is the point.  The reasons I love and adore bands like this so much is because of how downright depressing so many of their songs are.  The alienation, the depression, the paranoia, the sick of life motifs?  It feels genuine and real.  There are way too many happy songs out there that completely miss the point, and just feel sugar coated and weak.  A happy song doesn’t necessarily mean a good song.  “Everything is completely fine, and nothing will ever change that,” is a depressing song lyric.  It’s just so phony.  How could I sing that with soul?  It’s why I like say Nirvana, or Radiohead.  The subject matter of the songs is what gives them their power, as disturbed and painful some of the subjects might be, because they reflect on the artists in the truest way.  Could you imagine Morissey singing a truly happy song?  No. If you did, The Smiths would not be remembered today, and everybody would be asking, “who is that again?”

Disarm by The Smashing Pumpkins

April 19, 2013

This song is in my head right now.

My Thoughts on this week’s shocking events

April 19, 2013

So, I’m sure people reading this know all about the Boston events.  I do want to spread my condolences to the victims, and their loved ones, and any of the people currently locked down in their apartments due to these events.  I don’t want to say too much about it, for the simple reason that, sometimes our thoughts and prayers are all that is needed.  And the more they bombard us with the news reports, before new facts come to light, the worse the climate becomes for those that it has directly hurt.  An act of terrorism is defined as anything that causes fear in the masses.  While a lot of what the news media is doing is to keep us all up to date on things, it is also causing extra panic and fear.  Interrupt anything with a bulletin as soon as you get breaking news, but replaying these scenes of mass carnage, and the events of last night and early this morning at MIT over and over again is just putting salt on the wounds.  

And then, also this week sandwiched in between the Boston tragedies, the Senate shot down new legislation that would only make it harder for dangerous criminals to acquire guns, through stricter background checks.  Our president called it a “shameful day.”  I agree, especially being shot down in wake up these events in Boston.  

Based on this, it does seem a lot of these problems are rooted somewhere in the fabric of our society.  All I can say is love as much as you can and live stronger to honor the victims of Boston, of Newtown, of Aurora.  Reaching out our hands to one another we will change this together.

A Pleasure to Burn…

April 17, 2013

In Ray Bradbury’s story collection, A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories, we get a really insightful look into the what would ultimately become one of his greatest works.  At least a few of the stories are familiar to me from other collections that have been put out over his long career.  Long dead authors wage war on Mars against astronauts as the last of their books are destroyed on Earth.  A dead man rises from the ground to realize he is the last dead body in all of existence, no longer are there cemeteries, nor much of anything else.  Life just happens, but in a sense doesn’t happen, for nobody is afraid anymore, of anything.  A man gets carted away by the police for the simple crime of taking a walk.  The dumbing down of society, the cultural call for brevity, the shoving aside of education, the ugly looming head of censorship, are all present in this, oh so relevant during the time of their writing as well as today.  I surely hope the joys of reading never go away, and we become unimaginative, mass produced, not much good at anything but just pushing some button accepting emptiness as living.  

Found at the end of this collection, are two novellas, both early drafts of Fahrenheit 451.  It is interesting to notice which parts are missing, or which parts are stressed more than others.  But within both you see the overwhelming loneliness of life devoid of art, of exploration, or truly seeing the world. Wondering how such a dreadful future could possibly be allowed to happen.  And the thing is my friends, we can’t let it.

 We must read, we must think, we must talk to one another, go for walks, Sometimes with the ease at which materials for reading, viewing, or listening to are available to me, I forget about how special art, and music, and literature are at times, the biggest reason why I buy CDs instead of downloading illegal copies, choose real books over e-books, actually go out to the movies.  I know myself very well, but all the things of this world outside of me are there to be found, and I try not to sit here behind this keyboard more than I really have to.  

                                    Further Reading: Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury (of course)

                                                                1984 by George Orwell

                                                                 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Choices of one shape the futures of all

April 12, 2013

I just finished reading Choices of One by Timothy Zahn. It’s yet another Star Wars book.  Sorry to any readers who aren’t into it.  But once more I find myself presenting to you a Star Wars book that is a fast paced and engaging read, not just because you are faced with a familiar cast of characters.  Many of the Star Wars writers are really at the top of the writing game, but in my opinion, none approach the Star Wars universe with the skill and mastery of Zahn.  His Thrawn trilogy was released over 20 years ago, and really set the benchmark for what good writing should be in the expanded universe. The book is a stand-alone story focusing mostly on Han Luke and Leia, in a period of time between the first two films, yest the original films.  Mara Jade, spoil alert, later, Skywalker and Thrawn himself also come into play here, sowing some of the initial seeds for the earlier mentioned Thrawn trilogy, even though this book came out long after the amazing trilogy.  I finally get a good glimpse at Mara in her role as Emperor’s hand, and we find someone, although very very devoted to the Empire and believing in its cause, she is not short of compassion, and only kills if it is absolutely necessary to getting the job done.  We see Luke struggling to exist as the Jedi of the Alliance, even though he keeps telling them, “I’m not a jedi yet.”  Han is as cocksure as ever, and Leia is not quite yet at the level of compassion for him that we find her at during the famous makeout scene in Empire Strikes Back, but it’s getting there.  It’s nice to read these stories that re-examine the gaps between the films and really show how the relationships that we have come to know and expect between the trio and other key players come to be the way we know them to be.  

Choices of One is really only restricted to a timeline of about a week or two.  An Imperial governor is ready to defect to the rebellion and Han, Leia and Luke are on the scene  to broach the negotiations and can’t resist the promise of a new base in an abandoned mining facility.  Meanwhile on the fringes, a mysterious warlord has surfaced from the unknown regions, threatening the futures of the Empire and the Alliance both.  

Mara Jade, with the help of a few rogue stormtroopers is also on the scene, to prevent the Governor’s defection.  Not all is as it seems, and new allegiances may have to be made or all will be lost.  

That’s about all I’m going to divulge plotwise, otherwise there won’t be a book left for you to read.  And as far as recommended reading goes, here are a few other Star Wars books that read well as stand-alone books.  

                                                              Traitor by Matthew Stover

                                                               Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber

                                                                Darth Plagueis by James Luceno

My thoughts

April 12, 2013

I see the way you hungrily eye my merchandise. 
Is this what it’s like to work in a strip joint?

I feel like a lamb to the slaughter,

Ironic since you’re buying things that are made to kill.

What happens to you and your millions of rounds

When your house catches fire?

“Thanks Obama. This is fucking America. Give me back my guns.”

They never took them away you fools. 

My rebuttal,

“Thanks Obama for being such a great scapegoat for

Gun nuts everywhere.”

Something must be done,

And if you realize that

And aren’t a psycho killer,

You have nothing to worry about,

Your guns are safe.

As safe as guns could possibly be that is.

Orange Television at Barnaby’s

April 10, 2013

Friday Night, I went to the monthly gallery walk in the wilds of Brattleboro.  For those not in the loop, as it were, Brattleboro holds a special event downtown the first Friday of every month.  It’s the day when all the galleries change out their exhibits or add new things.  There’s music and joy and laughter, and some very eccentric, oddball, and amazing people everywhere.  It is the day I remember that there is actually stuff to do in this town.  Running into old friends and new friends in an amazing mishmash is such a joyous and spontaneous experience.  After visiting galleries I stopped into Barnaby’s for a beer.  Drank some hoppy masterpiece well worth my five bucks.  

Once more for those not in the loop, Barnaby’s, formerly, Rocky Top Tavern, has a sign out front boasting that it is Southern Vermont’s premier music hall.  I experienced my first show there, when I went to see local band, The Love Sprockets perform. The music was great, a lot of soul behind it, a lot of passion, but out of the abysmally small crowd, half of them still thought it was a sports bar and paid no attention.  But that was  a Sunday night also.  Friday, I was getting antsy waiting for the ban to start, so I ended up taking a walk with my friend.  When I came back a bit later, the soundchecks were finally done, and the set was in full swing.  

I found myself assaulted by a unique fusion of grungy vocals, blues jams, Southern Rock, and Radiohead.  Lots of energy, lots of feedback, lots of distortion. And a super tight three piece.  I danced up a storm with wild abandon. It’s not enough for me to feel the music, I must become it.  Orange Television did this for me. I scored a free CD and made some new friends and dancing partners that were immediately on the level.  The community is truly starting to come together, and it is through music.  The crowd consisted of standard bar flies, groupies, and general music fiends like myself.  

So if you’re out some night and need a break from the standard bar routine, check out Barnaby’s and see if there’s a show.  It may look like a sports bar still, but  I soon think it will be a musical hot spot for the region.  See you there. 

Also check out Orange Television in Northampton, Mass on May 4th, covering Ok Computer in its entirety. 

Two Spring Playlists both alike in Dignity

April 9, 2013

Spring Mix

1. In One Ear- Cage The Elephant

2. On Top of The World- Imagine Dragons

3. Shut Your Mouth- Garbage

4. LIfe Begins Again- Jimmy Chamberlin Complex

5. Split Me Wide Open- The Bravery

6. Blue Orchid- The White Stripes

7. Back Against The Wall- Cage The Elephant

8. Who Did That To you?- John Legend (From Django Unchained)

9. Faust Arp- Radiohead

10.All Along The Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix

11. Song About An Angel- Sunny Day Real Estate

12. Radioactive- Imagine Dragons

13. The Storm- Rob Dickinson

14. Daft Punk is Playing At My House- LCD Soundsystem

15. Turntable- Grace Potter

16. Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You- New Radicals

17. Alive With The Glory of Love- Say Anything

18. Tonight, Tonight- The Smashing Pumpkins

 

This first playlist reflects on my current no holds barred, no quarter, kicking the door in mentality. Taking a stand against tyrants and any others who may try and tear us down.  This attitude reflects the them of new beginnings for this time of year, the renewal of the green world, and a bigger passion for life and the world at large.  Mixed in there are some songs that are just a lot of fun to listen to or rock out to.  You will also notice the major permeation of 90’s music, which never seems to lose its relevancy.  A product of my times truly am I.

 

Second Playlist- Acrobat

1. The Loner- Neil Young

2. Under The Influence- Matthew Good Band

3.Panic Switch- Silversun Pickups

4. Love Is Blindness- U2

5. She’s Long Gone- The Black Keys

6. Supermassive Black Hole- MUSE

7. Acrobat- U2

8. Prime of Life- Neil Young and Crazy Horse

9. Seven- Sunny Day Real Estate

10. Where Did You Sleep Last Night- Nirvana

11. Bigger Than Love- Ben Gibbard

12. Blowout- Radiohead

13. Dream On- Depeche Mode

14. Blue- R.E.M.

The second mix just came at me suddenly this morning, and the results were too good not to share.  More of the same swagger, the same attitude, the same diversity, renewal, the good fight, moving on.  All of these things and more.  Tell me which you like more. 🙂

April Fools? More like April Hypocrisy

April 4, 2013

The only foolish thing I saw on Monday, was the woman who was  a fellow customer at the auto shop that day.  I walked in for my appointment amidst a “heated debate,” about gay marriage, and how this woman believed it was wrong, and how it was a sign of the end times for this country or some other blah, blah, bullshit.  If there is one thing I dislike more than a hypocrite, it is a hypocrite who doesn’t even try to back up her opinion with anything.  “I don’t dislike gay people, don’t get me wrong, they just can not be allowed to get married.”  She also wanted to point out that her best friend was apparently a Lesbian.  I call foul. Especially for what came next.  She finally revealed that it was some religious reason that made her feel this way.  But when the mechanic asked her if she was a regular attendee of her church, it was a negative, and not only that but she talked about how she didn’t believe half of the “mumbojumbo,” and what have you.  So a non-practicing Catholic decides that gay marriage is wrong for a religious reason?  i think not.  Hypocrisy my friends.  But that isn’t the worst of it, oh no far from it.  She thinks her “gay friends,” should be denied the same rights that she can have under the law as a straight woman, yet she finds herself unable to even live in the same place as her husband.  So why should this lady have a right to be married, to someone she can’t even be bothered to be around, while some gay people that love each other to an amazing degree are denied the right to marry?  The final nail in the coffin was her “farewell tour.”  “I adore my gay friends, but I even tell them, that their relationships disgust me.”  Would a woman foul enough to say this to their faces have any gay friends?  I sure to hell hope not.