A collection of ideas for your interest and for the benefit of my mental health.

28 December 2011

A collection of Christmas thoughts.

In my anual ice cold retreat to the North for Christmas, I did some work and I had some thoughts and I dossed around a bit.  I wrote down a few things I thought might be a decent basis to blog about, and some other things I just wanted to write down.  I'm gonna flesh them out a bit maybe but enjoy a little collection.


Distant family turmoil was going on, which paved a strange feeling of death into the 23rd of December and a general discussion of being ones own man and living for one's self.  It was a weird emotion that struck a chord.

I realise that I have become preoccupied with risks, not conscious of the rewards which I might reap from taking more.  I shall deal with this in the new year.  I feel it is time to take control of all manner of matters.

Damn I’m handsome this Christmas.
 
I have enjoyed this strange and dubiously ethical reality show called The Pickup Artist for a bit but on 24th of December it began to seem like they were teaching the aspiring master pickup artists to be liars.  I felt a bit disillusioned about that really, it's supposed to be about improving people skills and recognition of behavioural language.  Disappointing.

To Dos this holidays...

Make phone calls.
Thank Yous.
Revise more.
Sort New Years.
Design 2012's The Specialist playlists.
Buy a new satchel, a watch, a Kindle?

This section written whilst listening to Wham!

Well that worked out far worse than I expected.  But that's what happens when internet is severely limited and I can't be bothered to focus.  And this blog is what you get when I can't be bothered to focus, but have an unlimited internet.

08 December 2011

In my opinion...

A minor entry right now about something I haven't really understood for a while now.  There seems to be a general call for people to append their opinions with the words 'I think' or 'in my opinion' in order to set them apart from facts.  I cannot comprehend a world like this for several reasons.

1.It is very easy to tell a fact from an opinion.

2. People misuse opinion and fact.

3.Language would be so boring and conversations so unwieldy.

It's a stupid idea.  Now what was that, a fact or an opinion?

1.  If I say 'elephants are a foot tall' you can probably tell me they're not with some certainty - perhaps you have looked at an elephant before, or have an unhealthy addiction to learning and an extensive encyclopedia collection.  You will go 'no they're not' because you know it isn't true.  On the other hand if I say 'My Chemical Romance is dross'  you will instinctively know, because I judged something on a scale of goodness in this example, that I am expressing an opinion and you will react (hopefully) in an 'I agree Harry' way.  It is our duty as thinking organisms to be able to detect through language what we mean.  Nobody is confusing the term 'MCR is shite' for fact unless they lack a critical mind, and we should build this sort of skill up.

No...
 2. I think I touched on this idea in my discussion of religion all those months back.  In a world where people's views can be expressed as fact I face a brick wall.  It is a fact that my opinion is that My Chemical Romance is not a fun band.  But that doesn't not make 'My Chemical Romance is not a fun band' a fact.  That's easy.  However we have certain religious groups claiming that God exists purely because they believe he exists - this exposes a problem in that facts can be disputed in the same way opinions can diverge and create conflict.  The major difference, as far I can tell, is information can be backed up with truths evident to anyone whereas a qualitative judgement along the lines of 'they are a great band' differs from individual to individual.  Of course to be mindful of this difference requires a reasonable and rational thinker, a type of person I hope is common but still can't rely on. 

NOPE
3. Wouldn't life be boring if our language was littered with arbitrary 'in my opinion' and 'the way I see it'?  We eliminate such extraneous phrases from our conversation because we don't need them.  I read a lot obviously for my degree, and a pleasing and easy reading piece of work sheds archaic ways and pairs down the fluff into a succinct and flowing work.  Opinion comes across as such, because it is signposted by structure and use of evidence, not by a prefacing phrase.

HELL NO.
Overall, it is stupid idea.  Now what was that, a fact or an opinion?

30 November 2011

The most wonderful time of the year!

For discussion this time:

1. The obligatory post.
2. What is it about this time of year?
3. The joy of singlemas.

As the winter season approaches faster than that train in the creepy christmas train movie with computer Tom Hanks, it is high time I make my annual declaration of singleness (and disatisfaction about that) to the world.  Like the queen's speech, this annual address has echoed for years (mostly in my head before I had a blog, and possibly on my old blog which I can't find) but the story never changes. In a shocking return to personal life blogging, this christmas period truly is best served ice cold.


The stereotypes are true!  Everywhere, everybody is in a couple!  Not an exageration at all.  I've spent another year predominantly lone wolfing but without sheep to hunt.  Not to suggest I'm the butt of a welsh based sheep joke (please ignore the word butt).  In the past month everyone seems to be developing the need for a lady (or a man) and the topic of relationships or this person or that person comes up more and more regularly.  Though this can be difficult for me to detect, in the haze of my listenings to lusty and loving Prince tracks from 30 years, but its definitely on the rise.  In the warm months it all goes to shit, but apparently now is the time for cuddly warm rendez-vous.  Is that the only reason?  I don't know.  At the time of year I contemplate my achievements and future goals, I find myself wondering if I already met that special lady, but probably not because she's probably coupled up.

The power of beng single at Christmas has its advantages.  Certainly you have fewer obligations, but if you're a tight git like me you also have less spending to do!  Christmas is pretty silly if you think about it, I even considered abolishing gift giving in the family the other day (spend the money you would spend on others on yourself, and you will feel guilty).  But alas I shall continue to mainstream and enjoy the bounty of another year's existence.  You also get to spend all the time in the world hanging out with your single friends, many of whom I'm blessed with (for better or worse depending on their own worldview).  It's always a little simpler too, and your emotions can be focused on how maddening this family gathering is and how much you fucking hate Shrek.

An appropriate song I just discovered.  Sums it up quite well.  Have a great December, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!

10 November 2011

Clubs RELOADED

I was very impressed by the quality of written communication in the following blogs on the club scene.  Here Mini gives an informative analysis of the flyers, aluding to the culture Anne describes.  Dan takes the cake with a blow by blow account of why clubs so often blow.  I often find myself wondering why I'm not like other students running around town drunk as if its a social experience so good you'll risk the most godawful feeling the morning after, physically if not also emotionally.  But in a conversation with a friend, I think I hit the nail upon the head.  Thanks Dan, you have inspired me.  Edited for clarity, content hasn't been touched.


No Rihanna.... no....
You doing anything this weekend?
I think I'm writing an essay given lack of other options
Ohh dear
Not going out?
weekend is shit in York
Really?
yeah
I don't like anywhere enough to go there when it isn't a student night
Hmm
Don't meet anybody though...
you meet people in clubs?
Occasionally
no scope for conversation
Yeah, but your generally pissed as a fart and looking for something to hump at that point...
which is exactly not my m.o.
its a hollow place full of hollow people
drenched in hollow music
Thanks for that...
I don't mean people in clubs are hollow people all the time
but if as you say everyone is at that state of drunkenness they are only after sex
then you have totally eliminated the thing that makes them interesting and human
and you're left with a homogenised crowd of people
they are probably totally different in their day to day
Hmm
so if you're out to meet individuals
the club is not a place to do so
because you can't really meet the person


I have been out 1 time in York this term.  I guess I enjoy being fresh faced and enjoying a long day's work or relaxation more than the drunken, forgotten euphoria that night outs are supposed to entail. And while I can understand having drunken shenanigans with your buds, a club is not the place to expand your social circle in a meaningful way.  Not that I'm good at doing it teetotal.

Some vintage funk with an appropriately named Gil Scott Heron cover.



02 November 2011

NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER

This one has been on the backburner for a little while.  For want of another discussion topic (and believe me, the killing off of dictators and 'evil men' is something I will talk about one day, to someone), we're gonna turn to one of my most central precepts.  You might call it rule 1.

Kudos to you if you know why this is relevant.
Rule 1: Never Settle

In life I think we have a lot of choices to make which can obviously be as simple as which type of crips you are gonna get in your meal deal in Sainsbury's or as complicated as selecting a life partner.  You might go for ready salted because there were no roast chicken crisps, and this would be kind of disappointing but would leave little lasting effect.  Still, if chicken crisps were what you were after and within grasp, why not strive for that?  On the other hand, if the object of your desires has an intractable character flaw or you're just not as compatible as you would like, you may feel like you can't finish this relationship and find someone better suited to your antisocial quirks.  It might be true, depending on what you believe.  To inject some necessary platitudes there are plenty of fish in the sea, if you love someone set them free (thanks for the save Sting) blah blah blah.  Point remains, if there is a possibility of getting a better deal, or essentially of being happier and more satisfied, change it up and aim for success rather than settling for something which is acceptable.

I have simplified a lot of things there, and of course it can be dangerous to continually stop settling.  There is a danger of 'grass is always greener'ing (another marvellous platitude there for you).  But I feel like my point stands that if you know you can do something, and it is the best thing to do, then you should let nothing stop you! Hell, even if you're not sure you can make a difference, why not try?  If it should be done, let it be done!  Where would we be if we decided that the boundaries of what we know or think were insurmountable and that we could not innovate or push out.  I would not be writing a blog for one.  It might take great effort but you know what they say, a change is as good as a rest. 


This has got awfully convoluted already.  I'm gonna try and be clearer from now on.

To summarise: compromise can be a helpful tool in negotiation, and a necessity in life.  It can in fact help you get the best deal possible.  BUT reserve your compromise until your other options to gain the upper hand have been exhausted, because without trying to improve, to reach your goals and to reach the peak of satisfaction compromise is merely a hollow gesture that will remind you of what could have been and what you are missing.  This past week I read a quotation from Karl Pilkington which resonated.

"Your dreams should never be better than your life. Unless you're a sloth. Cos then you're asleep most the time."

 Now take your Acid Jazz to reinforce the possibilities of your mind.  And get out.

12 October 2011

Trust.

I told myself I should find more levity in life, what with the governments and civilisation headed into the shit as fast as... well shit off a shovel I guess.  Ashes to ashes, shit to shit.  On the other hand, my supervisor suggested I write more often and who want's to read happy thoughts? The point is I'm completely ignoring that search for happiness and focusing on something I realised I disliked when a man stopped me in the street on Monday morning.

"That's a very stripey shirt, I'm not gonna lie."

A particularly normal day at the office.

Thanks for your honesty.

There are undeniably stripes there, in a very striking way.  It is a striped shirt.  That's why I bought it.  You're probably realising I'm not concerned with his proclamation that the shirt is stripey (and probably the dark of the night sky some minutes later).  I take umbridge to the latter half of his sentence.

'I'm not gonna lie' is simultaneously seen as 'endeering' by the non-liar and 'cause for concern' by anyone who can interpret language.  If you have to apend your truthfulness onto the end of a sentence, does that mean everything else you say is a lie?  If so, your friendly statement just made me very aware.  Spectacular in its entirely opposite-to-intended effect and its superfluousness, akin to 'no offense but' and 'I'm not racist but' ,I feel we should drop this phrase from our book of phrases.

In an ideal world, the encounter would have gone like this.

"That shirt is fucking stripey."
"For real."

No 'to be honest' or 'honestly' or 'in all truthfulness' needed, thank you.  Now, I will confess that I am guilty of having used some of these extensively in the past and now that seems ridiculous to me.  So, as part of my self-improvement drive I will now wipe these constructions from my mind and instead of subconsciously giving the wrong impression that I'm a pathological liar I will hide my true intentions away.  That's the high road right?

A nice relaxed song to calm us all down.


Coming next time: I speak about contradictions?

27 September 2011

Mr Dark Side

Thank you to Mini for inspiring me to write this 'opus' surely the best song I will ever write (and everyone is obliged to know the words, come on there's only like 1 verse which gets repeated a couple of times.)  I feel whilst I could have gone with Mr Darksyde, a tale about the Predacon ship captained by Megatron in Beast Wars but instead I went for something with maximum mainstream appeal because as we all know this is the font from which all the finest entertainment springs.  Also note the lack of rhyming, just like the real song.    Also note the lack of rhyming, just like the real song.  Onwards and upwards.

Harry's as lyrically clumsy as he is stupid.
Coming out of my meditation chamber
And I've been doing the Emperor's work;
Putting rebels down because I love the Empire.
It started out with the loss of my limbs and the death of my wife and child.
I ended up in this life-support suit.
I was becoming a sith, was becoming a sith.

Now I'm duelling with Luke
And his technique is tactically deficient.
While he's falling down stairs
I'm slash, parry and stab.
Now we're out on a weather vain
And my saber stroke cuts off his hand.
Now I'm inside his head
And he's clutching his stub
Now, I say he's my son
Now, he's letting go...

And I picture myself killing the Emperor
And taking control.
Jealousy, turning Jedi towards tyranny.
Charting the Falcon's trajectory course.
Choking with the power of the force.
Rule by my side, my son!
Luke it is your destiny!
The remnants of your rebellion die.
The power of the Darkside.

etc.

Noooooooo...
Noooooooo...
Nooooooooooooooo...
Nooooooooooooooo...

Alex Smith eat your heart out (and replace with protective armour and control panel).



19 September 2011

Decision derision?

I'm increasingly concerned that we're not allowed to change our minds any more.

"You're going to change your mind a thousand times. That's a good thing. Only imbeciles never change their minds." ~ Anna Rascou√ęt-Paz 

Reading this quote from the French journalist, I was reminded of a conversation I had the other day; should a job applicant be turned away from their interview if they redid the first year of university 3 times having changed their course.   We decided it was unfair, but that the applicant would probably appear somehow too indecisive to employ in anything but the short term.  Can we really equate a change in educational aspirations with a lack of commitment to a career?  Beyond a contractual obligation why should we be expected to be loyal to a job? 



We observe throughout history that adaption or a change in direction has been necessary to preserve a way of life, or to push a company to greatness.  Rome welcomed Goths into its fold, the industrial revolution came rumbling from our agricultural and household industrial stagnation, even Apple computers refocused on mobile devices with the iPod and its parodically named spin-offs.  These have been seen as essential, even perhaps triumphant changes in tack. The phrase 'a leopard never changes his spots' is damning of those who refuse to be consistent.  Yet society still operates on a double standard where a significant change of heart and mind is only acceptable some of the time.

Politics is an area where I am particularly concerned that consitency is being praised above success.  This aged article may not be relevant in its subject matter but it does illustrate my problem.  A party or a single politician is seen as being weak for having changed their mind, and here Gordon Brown uses inconsistency as grounds for political criticism.  Consistent opinion should not be a criterion for success or popularity, yet there is a trend in current politics that says it is essential.  I do however see the other side of the argument, that inconsistency on certain issues and policies can be threatening and damaging.  Janet Daley's comments on Obama and Cameron show a lack of cohesion in foreign policy, something which could cause problems in the future if there is a perception of 'favouritism'.  Nevertheless, does inconsistency mean certain failure or could it be an important step to approaching each challenge in its own context, unbound by rigid policy that could restrict governments from making the correct decision?  A difficult question. 

On top of my soapbox I urge us to judge our leaders, or employees and our fellow people on Earth not by the strength or longevity of their decision but on more important things such as getting it right.  A consistently stubborn, poor choice is not a desirable feature.

The monstrous Skindred will play us out with the track Choices and Decisions.

10 August 2011

Ice Cold: Serious issue edition.

I was having a discussion with my friend Joe (whose shamefully neglected blog is here) a propos religious beliefs which stirred me to write about an issue I have been grappling with for a while.  I make no secret of being an agnostic and a humanist. Could there be a God?  Is there evidence for there being a God?  I have, in the past fortnight, compared myself to Jesus and my phone to Lazarus after my successful resurrection, to the disdain of a Catholic in my company.  I do not however, look down on the religious.  I wonder, though, whether many of the people who belong to organised religions actually take their religion seriously; in turn, is following of a religious scripture or teacher to the letter an ideal behaviour or the definition of dangerous fundamentalism?  Inspired by Stevo's experiences with the 'pious' detailed in his fine blog, Studenting, I'm moved to explore the issue.  In this most serious of my blog posts, I will weigh in my views and hopefully figure out what I actually think once I've hashed it out in front of your very eyes.

The water of thoughts into the judgement of wine.  Not my best metaphor.
If I ever became religious I know that in doing do I would attempt to follow every rule in the holy book.  Rather digressing, I wonder why I would subject myself to someone else's prescribed way of life but let's pretend I do understand that mindset.  By choosing an organised religion I would expect to follow the precepts otherwise what would the point be in being a part of the religion?  So in a sense I would expect followers of, for example, the Catholic Church to obey all of the Pope's teachings, to study the bible and live by its rules to the letter. Is this an unreasonable point of view?

A quick discussion with my dad brought up a question of forgiveness.  This concept, central to Christianity obviously, seems to forgive transgressions and in some sense permits adaption and bending of the rules to suit different needs or situations.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  I do wonder though if the concept of the shepherd and his flock was invented by naughty men to justify their disobedience?  If we view organised religions as relics of a bygone age, in which they were necessary socio-politico-economic tools to guide a less moral and more maleable population towards the will of the rulers.  Perhaps this is overly cynical. I'm inclined to think of this as a pertinent question and those who would censor it as afraid.

Linked to this atmosphere of questioning the status quo,  dogmatism, or the stubborn clinging to beliefs even against crippling evidence that these are ill founded, is a major issue.  In a world where people often confuse belief, or personal opinion, with true facts (Q: Why, in theist circles, does the belief in a deity equate to its existence?[thanks Mark, whose blog is here]) it can be difficult to tell somebody that their 'opinion' is wrong. In absense of the population clearing up its vocabulary, the problem can only be exasperated by the inclusion of religious belief in a world of increasing skepticism and irreligiousness.  Does genuine dogmatism become galvanised by this hostile, cynical environment and lead to a violent zeal and agressive fundamentalism that we read about on the news?

I feel like Mini with his Tracy Jordan images.

At this point I should say I have realised my beliefs so the rest of the post might be more cogent.

I am of course entirely against violence (we've had our fair share now, enough to make kickass entertainment of all sorts) and we have learnt enough to know that even the victor of a brawl is a loser.  As such the prospect of religious wars or extremism that we have seen throughout the world throughout history to me is abhorent and I would not be seen to be supporting such people.  If I assume that this is the inevitable product of total religious obedience in today's world (I won't even approach the idea that devotees can be used by faith leaders after indoctrination) then I shun such an approach to one's spirituality.  Where does that leave me?

It leaves me to believe that organised religion has no real place in a moderate and cooperating utopian world (forged by my hand via eugenics and targetted thought policing).  In our real world, organised religion should only exist if you are willing to follow it properly and to the letter and because of this rigidity it can unfortunately be dangerous depending on the teachings (and I don't believe any are beyond reproach in this regard).  This is not to cast all of those who individually come to the same conclusions as wrong-doers, that is how religious organisations are formed and there is much good to be found in all of them in my opinion.  I think however that when, within these institutions, ideas do split then it is not a debate issue but a reason to dissolve the organisation because you can't agree on it so you're not the same thing any more. A divorce of opinion in the catholic church, for example, really means you're not all under the same church any more.

My primary thrust, though, concerns the majority of people involved in religion.  To those guys, who are in a church or what have you but do not conform to all of its teachings or beliefs, you are not making what you want of your prescribed religion (in saying that you are only fooling yourself and those around you).  You are creating your own religion. Be proud, you have developed a moral code entirely divorced from your deity.  Your god is an embodiment of your own morality, regardless of the existence of Allah or Yahweh or Brahma or whatever.  You decide what is right and wrong.  You don't even need to realise you're doing it.  But please try and realise, because by association a lot of organised religions are bringing you down.  And also know that atheists are the same as you but without the pretext;  I am my own God.

Hope this wasn't too extreme, if it was then maybe you have misunderstood or we just can't agree.  If you're a friend of God you can still be a friend of mine.  Perhaps next time I can try and reconcile religion and socialism (not sure I can).

19 July 2011

If Not Now, Ben?

A week ago today I was surprised by an email containing the hotly anticipated new Incubus record, If Not Now, When?  even though I totally knew to expect a download on release day.  Eagerly I followed the retarded file delivery system they used, taking the exclusive track Surface to Air with me in a flurry of excitement and anticipation.  In retrospect, I should have expected what was to come from the track previews I had listened to some months earlier.


Beyond the simple and clean cover, harkening back to the olden days of Incubus with their original mainstream era logo, is a Brandon Boyd album!  Again, looking back, this should have been obvious.  Here is a trapeze artist, and lo, B Boyd's solo album released last year is entitled The Wild Trapeze!  Moreover, does this lone figure represent the creative control of the frontman and the one-man nature of this record?  Perhaps.  The pieces of the puzzle are all falling into place, rather after the fact.


I should have prefaced this post with a little about my affair with Incubus.  I was fortunate enough to discover the band through Halo 2 for which they wrote an epic almost-instrumental called The Odyssey.  Enamoured with the fusion of styles and sheer musicianship I turned to their, at the time, 14 year back catalogue and discovered their avant garde metal beginnings and their evolution, teetering on the edge of Californian nu-metal and progressing and maturing towards their soon to be released album Light Grenades.  I admired this band for their willingness to change their style constantly, and to always sound like the band they were.  I religiously followed the band's releases, snapping up their greatest hits on day one and hunting down their contributions to soundtracks and compilations.  I was in.

2011 rolls along.  After a 5 year break from studio albums, Incubus returns with their audacious World HQ website providing fans with direct links to the management, merchandise, tours and eventually exclusive performances in the real life Incubus HQ rehearsal space in LA.  I was lucky enough to attend a rather small gig in Kentish Town back in June, where the hits were brought out and a couple of the new tunes we were all meant to have heard were exhibited live and direct for the first time.  This was an elaborate smokescreen for the change of style, change of pace, and change of feeling that was about to confront me.  For when I tuned into INNW, what I found was a beautiful album by a band I had never heard before.

The mixing,or rather Brandon's dominance in the mix, sets this apart from Incubus.  The instrumentation yields to Brandon even at whispering pace whereas once, he would scream and shout over the riffs of songwriting partner and guitar hero Mike Einziger.  The lyrics, always poetic and nebulous in this band whether due to pot or to impulse and intellect, are more confounding and faux-literary than ever; Brandon is incorporating ever more lines from poems and quotations he has read, much as he did in his first album last year.  Stylistically, it bears little resemblance to The Wild Trapeze but this is not to say anyone else in the band got input.

Empty Orchestra.  Hauntingly beautiful.


I spent a large part of yesterday wondering how DJ Kilmore came to be a keyboardist in the last 5 years, whether this was his willing choice or more of a desperate attempt to stay in a decreasingly electronic band.  Could his current subdued and even barely noticable role in the band really be seen as his own conscious desire or really more of a compromise with the band leader(s?)?  I do wonder if Kil sees the band as a sort of 'why not' opportunity among other creative outlets in contrast to the original core of the band (Mike, Jose and Brandon).  I sense a similar vibe from Ben Kenney, a very talented musician and currently my absolute favourite in the band not necessarily for his input to the band (which has seen a maturity and a move away from the complex, bass driven funk of the earlier years).  Ben has released 4 solo albums, was a member of the wonderful Roots (themselves now a house band on a talk show sadly) and runs his own record label in Ghetto Crush.  It seems to me that he has little stake in the band either, and though his work is impressive it has little resemblance to what he obviously wants to record the most (and has).

The band could be said to be stronger for its members' side projects but are these really an effort to exercise the creative control the members cannot when in the studio with Brandon and to a lesser extent Mike? Looking back to Morning View, the last album with bassist Alex Katunich, we can see a level of involvement from all.  There is a strong bass focus on a couple of songs, turntables are spinning, guitars are roaring, drums are as usual fantastic.  I am failing to think how a similar synergy could be present in the bands newest material which seems like a man with his backing vocals.

Do not mistake this as a rant or as a dig at the album, or at Brandon Boyd.  I have enjoyed The Wild Trapeze and If Now Now, When? immensely so far (the former far more than the latter however!) and both are credits to their creators.  This does not mean that I have to say INNW is a good Incubus record.  Through 20 years of music they have set the bar very high and now we have to face a tinge of disappointment at their departure from adolesence (coincidentally, Adolescents is one of the most Incubusy tracks on the disc).

By the way, here is a review of the album which totally looks like I plagiarised it but in fact I just found it via Metacritic. Thanks a bunch, Joe Rivers.

 Part Deux

A few listens later, I felt I should return to this blog post.  I think I have some more important things to say. 

After some days listening to BBC Radio 6 Music (for research purposes only) and having dipped my toe in the indy waters of today I can only guess that Incubus, or rather Mr Boyd, were hoping to craft an indy record here.  And they have failed.  For this too I think we can thank Mr Boyd; a man who can sing too well, and who writes lyrics too poetic, to allow this record all the indy credibility it cries out for.  Some bands are destined for different things.  Those without a more technical singer tend towards independent ways, whereas more proficiency often launches a group towards mainstream rock success or even into metal territory.

Which can't really explain this, admittedly.
I've also been able to spend some time with the album's B-sides, one which I received by preordering, one which I've sneakily listened to on youtube and finally one released on the band's new (and splendid) Incubus HQ app.  Happily I can say my favourite band is present on these recordings.  So the entire sessions are not a bust for the old guard.  I say, we could salvage a decent Incubus EP from this experiment.

My hot picks for the If Not Now, When? EP.
  1. Surface To Air
  2. Hold Me Down
  3. Defiance
  4. Rebel Girls
  5. In The Company Of Wolves
  6. Switchblade
  7. Promises, Promises
  8.  If Not Now, When?
OK so this clocks in at over half an hour, but it would be too skimpy for an album.  I have created a storyline following a poor woman, constricted by her social and geographical situation daring to break the status quo.  In her search for relationship she falls into bad company but is rescued by the right person and takes a huge step in her life.  There's a hidden concept album in these sessions.  Interesting.


In order to celebrate Incubus' prime export of the year, here is Ben Kenney's sweet video Burn The Tapes.

Burn The Tapes from Ghetto Crush Industries on Vimeo.

07 July 2011

My E3 wrap-up.

Another exam season, and thus another Electronic Entertainment Expo have once again passed.  If we look back to 2006, it seemed like I could never have made a comment like that in 2011 (because of the looming collapse of E3, not the current education system).  As a fan of gaming and kitchen commentator on the industry I'd like to exercise my free time to run down a few points of interest from the conference.

Looks like a nightmare.

1. Microsoft  and Sony both had a poor showing I am going to be honest.  Yes, the kinect works was a cool thing if you own a kinect (and a dildo), and I would be lying if I wasn't impressed by the voice commands in Mass Effect 3 where you can offer Shepard advice or call out powers and abilities in a firefight.  Playstation already 'blew its load', if you would pardon the expression, when it announced the NGP at the PlayStation Meeting.  It's name, PlayStation Vita,  was leaked days before the announcement.  Fantastic item, not very exciting.  I was quite amazed by the 3d TV Sony has made that shows a different image to 2 gamers from the same screen.  That is a fantastic use of the technology.  The leaking got out of hand on the first day, when Microsoft's entire briefing was essentially outed by their website (in the usual fashion).  Luckily crotchless Master Chief was saved up until the main event.  Still not thrilling.


That's gotta be about 10 socks down his pants.

2. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the shockingly uninteresting new Nintendo console, the Wii U.  The name is absolutely comittee designed and contrived, like the premise to Glee but rendered in white plastic.  Moving beyond the blandness which is now ubiquitous in consumer electronics (and not in and of itself cool) we see... a controller as big as an iPad with a huge screen on it.  Which can only be used solo on the console.  Interesting?

This is about as far as I have come on this topic and no desire to end it.  It's getting too late to even consider posting this.  But I figure I should throw you a bone after a long time without anything.  I promise something better will come up soon.  But yeah seriously bad E3 this year or what???

06 May 2011

Sexy Comic Book Day!

May have got my wires crossed there, I just have "so much to talk about" in this installment.  Alright, so I'm back at university and May has just arrived.  And what happens on the first Saturday of May every single year?

Yep the one day you get something free at the comic book shop is about to arrive and here I am stuck where the comic book shop is boring.  And small, even compared to Chaos City.  Instead of moaning, I would like to write about the benefits of the day and why for all you non-readers, FCBD is an occasion in your honour.

FCBD.com
You may want to refer to Daniel Meier's fantastic blog Mindless for an article on why Dexter, the hit televised crooked cop shop, could and in fact should be a comic book character.  He makes a wealth of excellent points on the compatability of Dexter and the superhero genre.  This is legit though I am slightly surprised this is how Mini has defined a comic book, as a super hero book, given that his first comic purchase was Marvel's 80s adaption of Blade Runner, a decidedly anti-heroic story.  Sadly he has highlighted a major misconception that the medium of the graphic novel is spandex and superpowers exclusively.  Do not misunderstand me, I am in the business in large part because of these heroic paragons (though I prefer metal suits or kevlar to spandex, they might stop a bullet).  I am also in it for giant robots and licenses from video games and films.  But even that is not the scope of comic book.  We have crime and noir books, life affirming tales, we have paper forms of webcomics which follow MOSTLY normal people.  There is even the sublime

And we haven't even TOUCHED Japan yet.
So tomorrow, do go out and check the comic book shop nearest to you and pick up something which you think suits you.  Because this day is for YOU, the comics uninitiated; the perfect gateway into and exciting and eclectic media.  Get your first free because lord knows they're expensive once you're buying them regularly.  Check out the comics that will be available on the link under the logo.  Adam West comic book!

Another thing I wanted to speak about was the numbers rating system that causes much contention (I'm guessing in kitchens?).  Men seem to approve, finding the translation of women's (and I quote) 'levels' into numbers to be militarily precise and easy to quantify, because we're men.  And women find that numbers are so impersonal they will deny all similarities between the numbering and their own personal comments about attractiveness of their desired gendre. 

Staring blankly at lecture notes I mused about my own standpoint of the system and I think my balls momentarily disappeared as I realised that really the number system, as good as it is on an impersonal level, cannot be applied to individuals you are actually engaging with on a more than visual level.  I can only imagine the number system being an obstacle to relationships as you realise your buddies will be judging your chosen companion on the objective scale whereas you have been blinded (perhaps the wrong word, in fact probably the wrong word) and are on a subjective scale. The realisation that you too are being judged must be unpleasant.

But then with virile bounce my testes returned to their resting place, finally coming to my senses that the personal rating and the impersonal level coexist perfectly.  I'm unsure how to explain this in words but I think the personal scale is a far more important indicator NOT of physical attractiveness.  Two people of the same 'level' or 'rating' will find themselves rating the other higher surely.  So what we have is really a great mechanism to match compatible people, provided they're not giant egoed head in the clouds wankers.  Nobody in mind when I wrote that by the way, totally innocent!  Thoughts from both genders please?

With that fantastic ramble out of the way I felt I should create a playlist of sexy music.  So armed with my sexometer I figured I would comb iTunes.  Here's some of the results, filtered for stuff I already mentioned in my 3 Blog Post 30 Song Challenge!

Destiny - Zero 7
Go With The Flow - Queens of The Stone Age
Funktion - Jamiroquai
Electric Intercourse - Prince
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - Indeep
Inside of You - Hoobastank
Bodies - Cee Lo Green
Drinkin In LA - Bran Van 3000
Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song) - Incubus
Evidence - Faith No More
Pretty much anything by Maroon 5.

13 minutes to midnight, I keep my promise to myself and to all twitter followers.  Well done for making it down this far, I'm certain the quality of written communication was low this time but what can you do, I am a busy man.  Hope to write something more exciting next time, might have to be exam related and judging by the email I just received this will not be a victorious tale.  Until next time...