Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Music Blog for Taylor

Music Blogif

Okay then. So while this didn’t start with Taylor (known from now on as Kid) it goes to him anyway seeing as the music I listen to is one of those things that keeps coming up in conversation after conversation. I suppose it happens as a result of meeting new people or some other thoroughly horrifying thing that I am forced to do as being burdened with things like emtions, natural charm, and artificial desires. No matter though because now this along with many other questions will be answered. AND SO what sort of music do I listen to? All kinds. So there.

Yeah yeah lot of people give that answer. I am going to show you that I actually mean it.

I am going to start this with somewhere random. Japanese music. I love Japanese music.

The main reason for this is because it doesn’t put on any airs. When you watch anime or occationally track down lyrics to your favorite songs they will frequently not make sense. It isn’t that the lyrics are poorly translated it is just that Japanese song writters don’t put meaning at the forefront of their thought process when coming up with song lyrics. They will occationally throw around phrases in other langages, most frequently English and sometimes they belong and other times they don’t. As a result I will be cheerfully listening to a Japanese rap song that sounds like something like LFO. I don’t like LFO but I do like the Japanese song. This is because, first and foremost I like the way music sounds. That seems like an idiotic thing to say so let me explain myself abit. No matter why genra of music I am listning to I don’t like stuff that fades into the background. Music that you can just put on and then go do something else all the while only half hearing what you are listening to. It doesn’t work for me. I want to listen to what I am hearing. I want my music to be interesting enough so that if I were to sit with my hands at my side and just listen I would still be entertained. In fact the music I like the most is music that would actually distract me from my current task. So I couldn’t write something dense or play a demanding video game while listening to my music because I would be to busy listening to my music.

So why does the Japanese music work so well for me? While I like the way LFO’s songs sound for the most part the lyrics will occationally get in the way. By occationally I mean all the god damn time. I don’t need things to be brilliant when it comes to lyrics in fact most times I try not to pay to much atension to them so the vocal track becomes just another instrument and I let the song as a whole take me. This is why I tend to shy away from American Pop music for the most part. While I would certainly like to share in some of the emotions the music envokes the over emphasis on clear, easy to understand, simple lyrics doesn’t work for me. Japanese lyrics do, not only because the song doesn’t make sense to me, but I am safe in the knowledge that the song may not make sense to them either and it is best to just listen for the song as the song and let things go.

Unlike some of my contemporaries my Japanese music collection or knowledge there of isn’t very extensive. In fact it is sadly limited. I plan on expanding on this soonish but I will either need a bigger hard drive or a portable alternative (I am leaning twords portable.). So most of my music is cribbed from soundtracks and friends. Some of my favorites are:

The Pillows, not just their work on FLCL mind you, they have a ton of great songs scattered all throughout their discography

Yoko Kanno- Not just Cowboy Bebop. I actually first heard of Yoko when I bought the sound track to Macross Plus way back in middle school. What an incredible music career. I mean look at it, from working with the Isreali orchestra to the seatbelts such a wide range of musical compostions. It really is astounding.

Pizzicardo 5- My first non soundtrack offering coming from one Jessica Carter. She introduced me to them and other things via her face book postings and in car sound system. This is one of those things that makes you thankful you encounter other people I tell you what.
The Hellsing Sountrack- First project when I start rebuilding my mp3 collection will be to find out who preformed this and get everything else they’ve done. I’ve yet to encounter anything else that has so nearly combined sin, sex, and cool so neatly and not through boring direct lyrics but just through the raw sound of those songs. Just listening to the opening theme oozes a sweet slinky atmosphere that makes me want to do something I’ll regret years down the line.

Paranoia Agent’s Sountrack- Hirasawa is someone else who I plan on tracking down as soon as I resume the collection because the paranoia soundtrack is one of my favorite things ever.

Sigh- Sigh is the last of the Japanese I am going to list mostly because they will allow me to neatly switch gears from Japanese music to my next topic. Sigh I actually disovered in a book about black metal, I mean a Japanese black metal band? How fabulous! And they are. Oddly enough they’ve grown up with me which is really strange. While I was in high school and I was most into my METAL phase so was sigh. Then at one point in collage right about the time I was realizing that I was pretty much past the emitional void that black metal filled Sigh realized they were fucking Japanese and went insane. As a result you have a band who starts off heavily influced by Venom (aweful music I realized that even back in high school) to a band who is willing to make the sunset song. The Sunset song is something that needs to be heard rather than explained. Fortunatly Youtube provides.


Ah yes metal. My exploration of metal happened very quickly. I don’t even remember what cd I bought that prompted the whole thing I it was a Korn cd. Anyway that prompted my friend Lior to hand me a couple of things and I quickly didn’t look back. I became a pretty serious fan of black metal and phish pretty much at exactly the same time. This is just how I roll. We are focusing on the metal part of myself though. I am not going to go into details because I don’t undertand all of them myself but I am going to just leave it with the statement that, “I used to be a very angry young man”. Very very angry. I didn’t even understand the depths of my rage or where it came from. It was there though and Black Metal was the only thing that even came close to getting at it. A lot of people like to ask what is the difference between Black metal and Death metal. The truth of it is that I don’t’ know shit about music composition. What I do know is that Black Metal shakes me down to my very bones where as Death Metal makes me want sip some lemonade. It is the emotional resonance that matters most. As I said whatever it was went the way of my suicidal tendencies (not that the two were linked mind you) and as a result I simply can’t listen to it like I once used to. Which is a shame because I did like it and sometimes I will still turn on “Thus Spake the Night Spirit” because it really is quite an enjoyable little ditty.

My favorite black metal bands are:
Dimmu Borjir
Annnnnd that’s it really. It actually is a pretty small genra and I never did really learn to appreciate Burzum and lots of the other stuff gets lumped elsewhere. Emperor though, oh my there is something that deserves a little bit of a special mention. They pretty much defined that genra and holy fuck did they ever deserve to. Later on they split up into two band Peccatum and Zyklon. Peccatum carried on with some of the more symphonic stuff they were doing and Zyklon happened because some members of emperor didn’t think they were MEAL enough. The combination of the two though, that is what made emperor what it is, legendary. Zyklon and Peccatum are both very good, I mean holy fuck if you ever listen to Zyklon’s drummer he puts methodic to shame in terms of pure energy. But neither are the original.

However, you can’t do all black metal all the time. It will drive you insane. I know this cause it almost happened. So I branched out. One of my favorite wannabi bands is Cradle of Filth. Maybe calling them a wannabi black metal band is a bit harsh but I don’t care. They have given me two of my favorite all time Cds so it isn’t like I hate them, but they certainly aren’t Emperor. Also I would like to make it VERY clear that when I am talking about Cradel of Filth I am talking Midian and earlier. After Midian they got a little bit too…boring I think is the applicable word for them. However, both Cruelty and the Beast along with Midian make for two unusually glorious cds. One is because I have a Bathory fetish and because it is a damn fine cd I don’t care what you say. Okay wait if you want to claim that Danny Fith’s screaming is irritating I will allow you that. However, barring that it is a good cd. Midian isn’t as good but the cd itself is a great deal of fun and you can tell that some of the songs was just Danny taking the piss. I mean who can really take anything called Lord Abortion seriously?

Moving onto the stranger side of things I developed a massive love for Tristania. They are definitely one of those bands that started out strong and wandered away but it will become pretty clear after a bit that I am a huge bloody fan of strong female vocals. First cd had better lyrics and the second cd had better production and composition. The third cd just kinda was and I honestly don’t know if they made anything after that. Well I just checked because I couldn’t remember After Forever’s name and my haven’t they been busy little bees? Three new cds that I am now eager to check out, I did really do like them. While the genra is wide the only other two bands I took away from Symphic metal were Nightwish and After Forever. Nightwish has some TERRIBLE lyrics but they do have some mighty fierce drum tracks whereas After Forever has some nice string work and a wonderful vocalist. Also I like the band name which is something that will get its own heading.

I listen to a lot of metal. What can I say. Though I wouldn’t really say it is my genra of choice. It is just that unlike most other genras of music it seems to accept fustion with other genras unusually well. It doesn’t matter if it is the 1920’s style jazz interlude somewhere in the middle of Dream Theater’s Metropolis part 2, Type O Negative covering the beatles, oprera lyrics accompanying metal, or even an entire chorus in the case of Therion metal is an oddly freewheeling genera when it comes to introducing more parts into itself.

Haggard is my favorite example of this because they basically did what Metalica did with its S&M project only they did it much much better. They are a german combination metal band and 16 piece orchestra. They will never come to america and I hate them for it. Before the orchistra they were a forgetabble progressive rock group so lets just pretend that Awkakening the Centuries is their first cd and move on shall we. I could talk more about Haggard but really the song speaks for itself.

I think I will round out the metal conversation with mention of Opeth because Opeth is one of those semi unknown monolithic metallic figures that looms over the genra from the shadows. Opeth used to be a lot less well known than they are now and that pretty happened when they made their divinity and damnation cds. Opeth is a band that like to mix clean lyrics with an acoustic guitar with METAL and they do it incredibly well. They also like long songs. I am talking at least 10 minutes sometimes getting closer to 15 or 20. Amazingly enough I find that their compostional skills are enough so that they are able to keep my attension for that long with is pretty impressive all things considering. The aforementioned Divinity and Damnation cds stand out because one was all metal and one was all acoustic. I can never remember which one is which. I’ll look it up when I fill this thing with links on Wensday. What I do know is that their all acoustic cd caused quite a stir. Their reply to said stir was fuck you fans who don’t like it. You don’t like our acoustics then you don’t like us and that was that. Good on them I say.

Moving on.

Wait no this is the bottom of the third page. Okay them we will just be breaking this into multiple parts. Next time we will talk about bands with spectacular names, the one hit wonder series, my strange love of everclear and oh I don’t know whatever the hell else I want to talk about.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oh Afganistan

Sorry Taylor looks like I am doing Afganistan. The choice became ultra simple when I realized that my Books A Million discount card had expired and thus no more interwebs for me. How disappointing. I need the internet for it so I can link to you tube videos of the songs I am mentioning so you can have a better idea of what I am talking about.

Yes that’s right I will actually utilize the internet and create a multimedia blog post. This doesn’t happen every day. Mostly because I am lazy and I don’t want it to. Anyway here we go.

The Afganistan conflict is one of those things that seems to be on everyone’s mind lately and for good bloody reason. I mean after all we are spending billions of dollars on a country that isn’t us, thousands of people have died, Afganies don’t want us there, and we no longer want to be there. Superficial reason aside I have disovered that the average person has a massive amount of ignorance regarding the issues surrounding the conflict, the history of our involvement in the middle east, and some of the cultural problems involved.

As a result most people who demand we leave have a pretty good point. However they don’t really articulate their arguments properly because they don’t actually know what they are talking about. As a result many of the articles I’ve read in favor of us staying spend a lot of time explaining just what exactly is it that is going on over there and why it is important that we be there. Still it is hard to justify the loss of lives+the money on that area of the country. The three articles I’ve recently read all come from Forgien Affairs which is part of the reason why I like that periodical so much. There was an article against us staying, one for us staying, and one that was talking about how all the guns got there all in one issue. There is also some other neat stuff like why is it that the Russians are such pains in the ass. I want to take and synthasize some of the information I’ve acquired so that I can make some sort of sense out of the whole mess. And let me tell you it is a mess. I’ve never quite been so depressed about the news as I was after reading some of these articles holy fuck what a stupid mess.

Alright first of all lets start with why we should stay because everyone with even a passing knowledge in the conflict knows full damn well why we should go. During the year 2001 Afganistan was literally the worst country on the face of the planet. Less that 15% of the population had access to running water, less than 10% of their roads were paved, zero percent of the women were allowed to attend schools, they had the highest infant mortality rate, the lowest life expectancy, less than 20% of the population had access to a toilet. What is worse is that while a central government excisted it was largely ineffectual. When I say largely I mean fucking completely. The nation was really run by roving tribes of warlords, who would run their territories with an iron fist and they would kill anyone they didn’t like. This is slightly fine except that some of the people they didn’t like consisted of entire ethnicities so there are some definite complications involved here. I mean it got so bad that the economy completely collapsed and the different warlords would produce their own forms of currency to be used in their areas. We are talking some mad max style shit here. This place was worse off then Somolia.

Now? Now things are better. Almost 40% of the nations women are in school now. This has fantastic benefits that are far reaching as shit. More educated workforce, higher literacy rate, and better health practices are just the start of the benefits that the country will receive with its newly empowered gender. In addition over 45% of the country now has access to sanitation, 30% of the roads are now paved, 25% have access to water, and almost the entire country is receiving immunization shots against measles, and tetanus. Let it never be said that we haven’t made some fantastic strides in that country. The conditions some of these people were forced to live in are completely unimaginable and in ten short years we have done so much to turn the country around.

The problem now is three fold, one is that people are still trying to killus over there. That is a big one. The second biggest problem is the fact that the newly formed Afganistan government sucks. The third and more cerebral problem is just how well do we wanna fix these people up? I will deal with these problems in reverse order.

So just how good are we going to make this country? Both the one for and against us hanging around Afganistan touched on this point, and it is a good one. It is also scary that none of our policy holders seem to have any sort of answer to this question. See while we’ve made some pretty significant strides in terms of the quality of life for the folks in Afghanistan we are, by no means, going to be creating some sort of Middle East Utopia. So how far are we going to push it? There are literally hundreds of examples I could draw from to help frame this issue from refrigerated warehouses that will help support crops other than opium, to paving more roads, to rebuilding its central banking system. The thing is though, and both articles pretty much agree here, is that we are not going to get our monies worth out of this. There is no way we are going to get the billions of dollars back, there is no way we are going to make it so that we have a country indebted to us. Pretty much the best we can hope for is to create a relatively stable government that won’t try to destablize the rest of the region and turn around and kill us.

Since I just mentioned the Afgani government I might as well switch gears. All three of the articles I read pretty much agree that their govenerment sucks and that we seriously fucking dropped the ball when it came to making sure that ther newly created government is strong enough to resist/fight corruption, along with the insurgents. In this task we have failed stupidly and we should be ashamed. There still just isn’t enough of it to hold itself accountable for its misdeeds. As a result not much of the aid money we keep funnling into the country goes elsewhere like into rich people’s pockets. That’s no good. What is even more troubling is that some of the arms and weaponry we are providing the government with to fight the insurgents ends up in the hands of the insurgents. Which means here we are creating our own cycle of violence.

Here is where the first article that is in favor of us leaving starts to weigh in. And while it still rubs me the wrong way I am starting to agree with it. The authors plan is to pretty much just give up on the South and Eastern Afganistan and instead they would focus on continuing to focus on their attensions on the north and western parts of the country. The southern parts are where all the horrendous mountains, valleys and urban conflicts all take place. The idea is to leave those places pretty much entirely. We would still provide intelegance and aid to anyone who wants to continue to resist Taliban rule but for the most part we are just going to divide the country in half. While I don’t like this solution at fucking all I feel that it might be the best choice.

See strong governments take a long time to form. One of the main differences between the Narco terrorism of columbia and the narcoterrorism in mexico is that Mexico currently has a much weaker government that columbia did in the 80s as a result they are havng a harder time fighting the drug trade…that and we are being incredibly unhelpful while still buying all their drugs woo go america. There was a point to that. See if Mexico’s government is still so weak even after how long it has been around and under fairly good conditions then we have to expect that Afganistan’s government will similarly take a decent amount of time to get going to a point where it can function correctly on its own. By essentially splitting the country in half we give their government less to focus one fixing, a goal to work twords, and it frees up a massive number of our troops which will give us a break from some of the constant fighting. I don’t agree that a total withdrawal from the area is a good idea. Like I think we should still run join missions in there along with Afgani forces. Then slowly as the country is ready it can assimilate more of its land back. I do think that this is the best option even though it is incredibly harsh.

There is one main problem in this equation. And that is the USA. I am running low on time so this last point might get a lil cramped. See one of my biggest questions is that how are a bunch of cave dwelling, malnourished, men managing to give our army so much trouble. This is an honest question I mean by all accounts we should be able to just brush these folks aside. I mean they are just irregular troops this shouldn’t be hard. In civilization terms it would be like your late game marine unit getting beaten up by some blokes wearing gear being used in WW1 and 2. However, that is literally what is happening. No seriously they took a rifle off an insurgent that was made in 1915. It was originally killing the germans in WW1 and today it capped an marine. There is something seriously fucking wrong with THAT picture now isn’t there.

The Afgani conflict has tought us something. We have no idea what the shelf life of a combat rifle is because they are still being used today, from WW1 and WW2 and the cold war. What we do know is that a bolt action rifle can fire reliably under some of the harshest conditions known to man for years on end while still remaining incredibly accurate. Afganistan in particular, for whatever reason, has ended up as a dumping ground for all the world’s discarded weapons since WW1. So when we upgraded to better rifles in WW2 all the previouse rifles when to the middle east and Africa. After WW2 when nato was formed more weapons were dumped because NATO uses standardized weaponry. As a result all non standard weapons were sold off in bulk some as cheaply 15 dollars apiece assuming you bought over 1000 at a time. Essentially? That movie Lord of War understated the incredible damage arms dealers do to the developing world. What is worse is the legal arms sales that we have taken out. Many of these sales have been done by the US with little to no oversight as to where the weaponry is actually going. As a result, due to massive incompetence on our part when it comes to dealing with left over weapons from bygone conflicts. There has been a couple of times we have tried to pressure other countries to meltdown their stockpiles of left over, outdate weapons. However as these countries what us make leagal arms deals with other countries and they saw there is a huge market for them the rightly told us to fuck off. The cold war was the largest military build up in the world’s history. When it ended all those guns went somewhere. Now we are paying the price. We need to seriously need to reexamine how it is we are going to work with these sorts of countries in the future because they are shooting our old guns at as because we were to lazy to take care of them ourselves. Also we need to stop buying their drugs but that’s something else. We most certainly need to stop giving guns to one of the most corrupt governments in the world without seriously tracking where every gun is going and holding accountable those that misuse them.

Man I sound like an anti gun person at the moment. I’m not. But for fuck’s sake this is a lil ridiculous especially when you consider that we ARE STILL FAILING TO DEAL PROPERLY WITH THE WEAK AFGAN GOVERNMENT. Ugh I don’t really want all of that in caps. Oh well.

The whole thing is very frustrating, our complete lack of concrete goals, along with a generalized failure in both the part of our and their government leads to a situation with no good answers. It angers me because I know that this whole thing could have been done much better. Well that’s that then. Books a Million is closing and I think I am going to eat milk and cookies while watching Brick cause I lurve that movie.

Friday, February 4, 2011

So geeky things

So I just read three articles on the Afganistan war. Holy shit that has got to be some of the most depressing reading I've done in awhile. I just finnished the third, most frusterating, article and I think I would like to let them all stew in my head a bit before I go off writting about it all. Since I will be heading to books a million to do some writting tonight all of this will work out as I will do it there.

For over a week now I've been trying to write a blog post about the music I listen to. This is for Kid better known as Taylor. I don't want to do that now though because it will take a really loooong time to write and I don't feel like doing something by half right now. If I decide to not do the war I guess I'll do the music thing otherwise WAR. So that leaves me with some geek stuff and some life stuff. I'll combine them...later MALIFAUX!

Because of a recent addiction to Dominion we have backed off on playing Malifaux. That was unintended it is just that Dominion games are so short and smooth and they tend to go from one to another without you even realizing. Fortunatly I think we are all finally dominioned out for a bit and we can go back to good old Malifaux which is good cause I wanna play more innut. Mostly because I've discovered my new favorite master and I really want him to happen more. The Dreamer/Lord Chompy Bits is just to much fun to play. It actually isn't so much the Dreamer and LCB but it is also their crew, and the horrific ability to just sort of have my entire crew show up on someone's door step ready to hand out murder and rage.

However, as I was sitting around and thinking today I don't think we are doing the stiched together correctly. See when I interpreted the rules to does not die I think I did it a little bit to literally. The way we play it now does not die comes into effect when the oggie boogie man takes his last point of damage, it dies, comes back with one health, and gains reactivate. It is that one health that is tripping us up though. Because when oggie boogie is killed in his one health state I ruled that he is still alive and able to take more actions. He doesn't gain reactivate twice however because the rules state that no one gets reactivate twice. So he just in effect stays alive. However, for a 5 point figgure with a 6" ranged attack that doesn't technically need line of sight that always has cheatable damge that seems ever so slightly ridiculous and there have been times where I have killed many times its point cost in figgures with one oogie boogie man. I'd examine the forums for answers but the last two times I've tried I haven't found any answers and I don't feel like logging in. Besides those forums are WEIRD.

Even if we were to rule their second death to be their premenate one they are a deadly force to be reckoned with and once I get my hands on a couple of Insideous madness models they will become positivly leathal. As an unresitatable action they can give a negative flip to all will power duels to everything within 4 inches. So I can do that, have someone else fly over, poop out an oggie boogie man who will proceed to murder people. This can potentially kill a master as they will only be able to soulstone their flip rather than cheat a soulstone. Actually that is just fucking mean and something I am now excited about doing.

See? That is the cool thing about the Dreamer, more so than just about any of the other crews he has out of this world synergization and flexibility in terms of crew composition while still remaining within his stable of specialized nightmare models. I can fear bomb with teddy, madness, and eyeball guy; I can murderface with LCB and 3 teddies; I can do tricksy shell games with twins, daydreams, eyeball guy, and whatever else; I can go uber swarm by using Alps which is apparenly a fucked up thing to do; or I can go hybrid which is what I normally do.

Eyeball guy is pretty much my favorite figure in the game but there are times where he can be more trouble than he is worth. Mainly he can keep multiple figgures locked down pretty much indefinatly but he has a very hard time inflicting casualties and sometimes I would much rather just have people be solidly dead than just super irritated.

In other news I want to play Lillith more but I am having trouble with her crew. They decimate but they aren't very interesting. I think I am going to change it up to the twins, the hooded rider, and the Waldigiests. Yeah I know a little short on Nephelim but whatever I don't find them that interesting. However, the you and mature's ability to fly is not something to be overlooked.

I realize that I have two critical weaknesses in my ability to budget. One is buying supplies I need to do the things I like, glue, paint, bags, card holders, et cetera. The other is clothing. For example I just spent as much on card holders for dominion as I have on dominion. Granted it is pretty nessisary because the money cards are starting to fall apart but still. While not all of them needed sleeves it wouldn't work if I just did half of them.

The other is clothing. I'll deal with both of these problems later right now I am just getting them out there.

Alright lunch is now ovar!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trying to get out of the Rut

So I've been in a rut. I've been in one a long time now and I have made many attempts to get out of it but so far I have failed. These things happen and it is hard to break habits. It is even harder when you don't have people around to call you on things like bullshit. So now I am going to try this again and this time I think I can make it work. I've decided to start making weekly scheduals for myself. I'll do it on sundays plan out my week set some goals then at then end of the week I will see where I stand in terms of meeting my goals and what not. At the end of the month I will restart my months in review. I hope this will allow me to manage my time a little better and that I can help focus more on things I really want to do rather than things I just sort of end up doing.

There are four major things I want to be doing more of:
1) NA25
2) General Fiction
3) TLC Lectures
4) Video Games

These are complicated by several minor things:
1) Shadow Run Prep
2) Chores
3) Physical/Mental exhaustion
4) Social life

So I figgure by setting goals changing things around and working twords things I'll be able to get and keep enough momentum going so that I'll be able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get back on track. This is going to be a long process. It certainly isn't going to happen overnight and it definitly won't happen in the next three months. I think that if I can keep this weekly thing going for at least 6 months I will be ready to progress with my life again.

I have some serious inner crap to defeat and I've come a long fucking way in the last 5 years I really have. Now I just need to get over this last little bit and I will be home.

So for all of this I was considering buying a daily planner. However, then I realized that I have a damn computer and acess to a photocopier and that there is no reason to buy something like that. Good heavens. Hell I think I can even use the printer at work. Okay then so a new plan!

We will be doing the weekly plan on saturday night and then printing/photocopying it on sunday. This should work, at the very least I can get it printed and the lastest I will photocopy it will be monday or so.

The idea behind photocopying it is so that I will have it posted in multiple areas around my house and personal space. If I gotta see it everywhere I will have a harder time avoiding it.

To start with I am not going to go with a rigid schedual. I'll just come up with a list of goals for the week and block out the days I am busy. And then the plan will fall into place on its own. This way if something unexpected happens on any given day I can be ready for it. The other challange is to make it so that I don't end up over scheduled and annoyed but I don't want to be so underschedualed that nothing happens.

I'll get it though! This will happen one way and the other. I am actually really optimistic and excited about making this happen and even if it all falls apart well then at least I will have been busy for a couple of months.