Archive for April, 2014

My favorite SciFi Themes

April 24, 2014

1. Aliens- Yes, it’s a bit cliche at this point, but those who don’t go for much under the surface in SF kind of miss the fact that this theme has intersections with so many other themes as well.  You get the classic invasion story, like War of The Worlds kind of stuff, or in a more ridiculous manner, something like Independence Day.  You have the alien franchise  where it’s survival horror at its best, people under extremely high stakes to escape the Xenomorph like in the first film, or it’s kill and be kill.  The company wants control of the creature to use as a bioweapon, and will stop at just about nothing to see that it is contained, no matter how high the death toll reaches.  And then there’s also the theme of human as alien, or even the case of a sentient planet like Le Guin’s “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow,” creatures that see all points in time at once, like the tralfamadorians in “Slaughterhouse Five,” which isn’t even really a SF book to be quite honest.  Also much intersection with the second showcased theme”

2.Transhumanism/Posthumanism-  I saw the film Transcendence earlier this week. You might have heard of it, it just came out after all.  Transhumanism stems from the earliest SF theme, which is rooted around mankind’s arrogance that they assume they will live forever, (see Out of The Silent Planet by C.S Lewis or Bradbury’s The Martain Chronicles).  Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis cycle suggests that humanity will only survive if it adapts, evolves, becomes something entirely new and different.  Transhumanism is a lot about shedding that which makes us human, if it is just evolving into beings of pure thought and energy and shedding our skin, some sort of hybridization, or installing our soul in the machine.  Transcendence is like the Matrix in more believable packaging.  If a sentient brain can inhabit the internet, it will be unlimited in its scope, in its mastery, a digital God, with all new potential.  

3. Ancient Aliens- Now that we are on the subject of God and Gods, we come to this theme, which is more popular than ever. It is essentially the story of creation from the scientific standpoint. It is a bit full of conjecture and farfetched ideas, and its sometimes hard to approach in a truly inquisitive manner, but I think Prometheus and movies of its kind, have done a lot to push the discussion into a more user friendly realm, regardless of any faults the film may have had, it opened up a whole world of other questions, and that must be applauded.

4. Time Travel- Is it possible? And does it really matter if it is, it’s a pretty damn awesome subject all the same. 

Playlist for Easter Weekend

April 19, 2014

1. Feeling Good- Nina Simone

2.  What I’m Fighting For- Matisyahu

3. Crossroads- John Mayer

4. Come Away to The Water- Maroon 5 feat. Rozzi Crane

5. Sweet Soul Sister- The Cult

6. One Engine- The Decemberists

7. Save Me- Muse

8. Kick Drum Heart- The Avett Bros.

9. So Here We Are- Bloc Party

10. Silver and Gold- U2

11. Runnin’ Blues- Color of Mind

12. A Punch Up At A Wedding- Radiohead

13. Crucify- Tori Amos

14. Run Daddy Run- Pistol Annies

15. If I- Flobots

16. Lightning Crashes- Live

17. Don’t Leave My Mind- Azure Ray

18. Fizzy Love- Catherine Wheel

19. Such Great Heights- The Postal Service

Passion

April 18, 2014

It being the week leading into Easter it seemed fitting that the idea of passion would cross my mind.   If you know the story behind the Christian holiday that some people will be celebrating on Sunday, you most likely know that Christ’s final hours are referred to by a single word: passion.   I am all for spreading the word about the things I love and always great to encourage others to always strive to do those things they live, their passions as it were.  So it’s funny that something that means that which we love or admire or hold great enthusiastic feelings for, or hold in high regard is routed in a word that means suffering.  Though in a way it makes sense.  We go through a lot of grief throughout our lives to be able to do the things that keep us happy, but still we soldier on.  So I guess in a sense we suffer to live the life we want. So any kind of sacrifice or sufferance that we endure to do that which we love is truly the meaning behind having a passion for something.  The world beats us down, or someone expects us to behave a certain way, like a certain thing, wear a certain kind of clothing, endure a horrible job that leads to a dead end in our lives, or any number of things.  Our faith in that thing, and in our life  sometimes hangs in the balance, but still we persevere, or at least try to.  That resilience keeps our passions intact.  And as we head into this weekend, which is the coinciding occurence of numerous festivals, holidays, and fertility rites, all of which signify rebirth and new beginnings and all that kind of stuff, remember what your passions are, and keep them strong in your hearts, in your minds.  Put one foot in front of the other, and walk into the rising sun, remembering that life is yours for the living.  So get out there. Go! Do!

What a wonder

April 9, 2014

I’ve begun to wonder why print media has been on such a down slope.  The crediblity of news has gone down hill severely, since the creation of online only news sources.  I keep reading all these articles facebook keeps telling me to read, that seem to have sources that were pulled out of somebody’s ass.  Next thing you know, it will in fact say that somewhere on the page.  This is the world we live in after all.  Any idiot, or genius for that matter, can operate a blog much like this one.  Any person can claim to have heard this thing or that thing, or decide to pass off a rumor as a 100% truth.  Any person can say that they heard it straight from the horse’s mouth, and sometimes we can’t help but believe it.  Not that it wouldn’t be the same in print media, but when there’s a paper trail….credibility is a much smaller issue isn’t it?

Scott Brown Go Home

April 9, 2014

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, if you win a Senate seat in Massachussets, and then lose that seat to the person you originallly ran against because you were a wanker and messed everything up, it is not proper to try to take over a state that you have nothing to do with.  Case in point, Scott Brown trying to win over New Hampshire.  His campaign involves going up and down and all over the state that he has no connection to whatsoever, to try to ignite the masses. Will it work?  If his campaign funded entirely from out of state moneys is any indication, it shouldn’t work.  But as every crooked politician knows, the general public is easily fooled. But don’t be fooled by this guy, Massachussetts ultimately wasn’t, so why should New Hampshire be any different?  Scott Brown is certainly a politician’s politician, doing things only to inflate his ego.  Way to go!

You Know it’s a good day when…

April 8, 2014

A customer ask you the customary “how are you?” and when you say, “I’m good,”  and you actually mean it. 

Shawn Mullins with Max Gomez at The Iron Horse

April 3, 2014

Tuesday night, I went down to Northampton Massachussets, accompanied by my mother, to The Iron Horse Music Hall, to see one of her favorite artists, and one I could most of the time take him or leave him, Shawn Mullins.  He did that Lullaby song back at the end of the 90’s, which he jokingly referred to later by saying he would do a medley of his hit. Not his hits.  And as far as that song goes, I could take it or leave it most of the time.  So the Iron Horse is one of my favorite venues, because it is small enough, that no matter where you are you will be close to the artists performing, and it’s got a rustic, homey atmosphere about it, and very tiny bathrooms. But the bathrooms aren’t a selling point, but as far as night club bathrooms go, they aren’t all that bad, besides maybe the unisex bit, at least some people would worry more about that.   

The show began at 7pm, with a young up and coming folk singer from the fine state of New Mexico.  He definitely didn’t look like he ever broke bad, being from New Mexico and all.  He told funny stories between his songs, accompanied by some idle strumming. Nice touch I thought.  I performed in such a chill manner, and you could really feel his passion while he was singing.  I can see him going far, one of the best new folk acts around if you ask me.

The headliner, Mr. Shawn Mullins, was very unassuming in appearance, but so calm, and so focused on the music, much more than on appearances, and in lieu of a band, his voice and guitar were only ever accompanied by a bass.  He produced enough sound for a band, you can be sure of that.  He has a bit of a raspy twang to his voice, and certain songs he would speak rather than song, which really worked well with the quality of his voice.  Incredible vocal range, and a level of modesty that I don’t see in many performers most of the time.  Just a guy with a guitar, playing a show because he loves to share his music with people, and not just because he’s getting paid to do it.  Now that is the greatest sign of showmanship I’ve seen so far this year.  I am sure it will continue with Boston Calling and The Green River Festival and other such things this year.  

And all in all, it was a great way to spend April Fools Day.  With a couple of dudes, that didn’t seem like that big of fools. 

Springtime is good for 80’s Vinyl…

April 3, 2014

Listen Like Thieves by INXS!  

True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

Latest Obsession

April 3, 2014

I’m watching Being Human (the original BBC version), and all I can say is Holy crap it’s good!  Well that isn’t all I can say, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.  This show has existed for some time now, and I’ve been interested in it ever since I heard of it, but why didn’t I start before now?  It’s incredible.  A ghost, a werewolf and a vampire are roommates struggling with their conditions and trying to lead normal “human” lives.  It’s much harder than it seems.  And although the show has a supernatural flavor to it, it’s really a show that’s about trying to live your life.  Being Human isn’t only hard for the cursed or the dead, but for people in general.  It’s a great mix of comedy, high drama and horror. So it feels a lot like real life while you are watching.  And the characters and the stories are just so deep and engaging and emotionally intense.  I can’t get enough of this, nor can I stop watching. It has taken over my week.