Friday, February 27, 2009

Apeshit Music Memes

Damn you, Randal and Briwei. DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

I'm not sure why I'm starting my meme posts with movie references lately, but if you don't like it then screw you, nobody's making you pay to read my drivel.

Once again, I have a double dose of memes to get through courtesy of the above mentioned bloggers in arms. Both deal with music, both required work and thought (though in different ways) and both are pretty darned cool. In fact, I had wanted to get them posted well before now, but as luck would have it I had an overflow of work into my personal time, and that took priority. So without further ado, I'll get on with it...


h/t Randal

The rule is simple: list the 15 most significant albums in your life. The concept bears repeating; there is a big difference between significant and favorite.

What I would REALLY like to do is draw something of a diagram showing where they "popped up" in my life and what the links may be between them, but I just don't have the chops to do that right now. So I'll just list them, as close to chronological order as I can. Hold tight cuz this is going all over the place...

1. Disco Duck Dance Party - Irwin the Disco Duck and the Wibble Wabble Singers and Orchestra. Yeah. The first album that I ever owned, when I was about six years old. Significant in that it represents a significant disadvantage from the get-go. Sort of like being born a crack baby. But this story has a good ending...

2. Skip ahead to sixth grade, around 1978/9. Mr. Templin's music class was sometimes fun, sometimes a pain in the ass. Mr. Templin was 20-something, a hothead and a perfectionist. Sing badly, he got mad. Don't pay attention because you're a pre-pubescent thinking about going to your friends house after school and raiding his dad's Penthouse collection, he got mad. On the other hand, he cared about music. The coolest thing he did was spend about three weeks worth of classes going through Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition - Misao Tomita and compare it to the original composition as a demonstration of what "modern" electronic music was capable of. It was the one cool thing he did all year. The rest of the time he was an ass. I haven't heard the album in the thirty years since, but I do still love Mussorgsky.

3. Heavy Metal Soundtrack - Various Artists. The movie came out the summer between middle- and high school. My friends were going to go see it; one of them had a cool mom who would buy their tickets, take them in and then leave. Being a good kid I asked if I could see the film with them and dealt with the "no". I should have said "Hey, can I go see a movie with Mark and Stephen?" But as they say:
"Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Well, if I couldn't see the movie I'd get the record. There is little on it that could be called metal - Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules" is just about it. It was really my first intro to serious rock, I played the Hell out of it, and some of the artists on it would figure in future significant albums.

4. Scant months later, early in my Freshman year, I went and saw my first honest to Gawd rock concert: One on One - Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick had a track on the aforementioned Heavy Metal Soundtrack. There are MUCH BETTER Cheap Trick albums with much better songs out there and you don't need me to tell you what they are. But the show was awesome - I loved watching Rick Nielsen play his 5-necked guitar - and turned me on to the album and other music of theirs. And I can still hear them everytime I turn on the Colbert Report.

5. Rio - Duran Duran. Go ahead - snicker. Laugh. Ask me if I'm gay. Plenty of people did in high school. This guy who sat next to me in Algebra - Skippy as he was known - openly ridiculed me. Their videos had hot chicks. They were not overly talented, musically. Simon LeBon was not, nor will he ever be, an accomplished singer. But freshman and sophomore year I was heavy into them, and stayed interested in the band even after I had moved on to other genres.

6. Skippy may have openly ridiculed me, but he was a good guy. And as we were the two smah-test kids in Algebra II, our love of math bridged our musical differences. Now Skippy was something of a sick guy. He listened to bands like Venom and Slayer, and liked to talk about how uncomfortable his girlfriend got when he played them as mood music for getting laid. He also told me he'd set me right when it came to music. Well, early my Junior year, during "Flex Study" in the cafeteria, he let me listen to a song on his walkman. That song was Ride the Lightning - Metallica. To quote Randal,
The descending progression in the title track? .... Genius.
Hooked. Immediately. And yeah, I still have to crank that fucker, too. With "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Creeping Death", and "The Call of Ktulu" it formed the gateway into an adolescence that was defined by metal appreciation. I had "Kill 'Em All" within a month, the "Am I Evil?" EP shortly thereafter, and the wait for "Master of Puppets" was agony. The floodgates had opened - Slayer, Venom, Wasp, Exodus, Possessed, Accept, Dio...awesome stuff. When Cliff Burton died and their tour was put on hold I threw away my Ozzie tickets...fuck that bloated old sod singing about shots in the dark, I was only going to see his opening act! Vindication would be mine in a headbanging orgy however, when they would come back as headliners on the "Puppets" tour, when my buds and I would successfully move from our ticketed seats to THE FRONT ROW in a pile of people six feet deep pressed up against the rail at the orchestra pit that separated us and the stage.

7. Spreading the Disease - Anthrax. The first speedmetal album I bought (after Metallica). Great, great, GREAT album. "Stand or Fall", "The Enemy", "Gung Ho", "Madhouse" - they just don't write 'em like that anymore, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-UH. Thank you, Greg Kihn. MTV pissed me off by banning the "Madhouse" video because they felt it denigrated the mentally ill. How could it? They were all buying the fucking album and going to the show! But MTV had standards to uphold - ones that eventually led to reality shows about a bisexual whore making brainless fucks eat bull penises for a chance to sleep with her. The "moment" for me on this album was at the very end, right after "Gung Ho", when Scott Ian and company break into this beautiful piece:

But much, much harder. They were the first metal show I saw, in a hole in the wall in Providence called "The Living Room".

8. Powerslave - Iron Maiden.Not my favorite Maiden album by far, but it was my first. Being a kid who loved military history I dug the "Aces High" video, bought the album for the song, and that was it. Dickinson's vocal range, the harmonizing of the guitars, and epics like "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" and other songs throughout their discography lay ahead. I bought all their albums - even the two with Paul Di'Anno on vocals. If you've never heard it, "Killers" is a ballsy song. Oh...and that "Heavy Metal" soundtrack? Nicko McBrain, Maiden's drummer, originally played for a French rock band named Trust, who had a track on it.

Okay! That takes me from my early years of being a snivelling wussy through full fledged head-banger in high school. Tomorrow I'll deal with college and adult life. I said these were a bit of work, and in the interest of keeping this from being a complete snoozer, I'll save the remaining paragraphs for tomorrow.


h/t Briwei

This "work" is much more artistic, as you will see.

Rules, lifted right from bri's page:

1 - Go to Wikipedia’s “random” page:

The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page’s "random quotations":

The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click “explore last seven days”
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

It's nice to credit the photo source, but I lost the URL. So, whoever you are, thanks for the excellent picture! (This sentence is also lifted...but true! I tried going back through and finding it, but you can imagine how that turned out...IF, by some odd chance, you find this incredibly obscure and unworthy site, know that you took a great picture!)

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it together.

5 - Post your photo to your FB page with this text in the "caption" or "comment" and tag friends you’d like to join in.

Okay, so here are the results:

Band Name: The End of Medicine
Album Name: Neither Useful Nor Enjoyable

...and the album:

These guys are definitely late 70's / early 80's post-punk/new wave. Somewhere in the vicinity of The Tubes with some forays into Buggles-like synth-pop. It was their only album and it produced one hit, "Sex Placebo", that spent four weeks on the charts and topped out at number 22. The rest of the album was pretty forgettable, as was the rest of the band's career. In fact, a Rolling Stone review in 1981 declared "With the exception of their one catchy if mediocre single, Neither Useful Nor Enjoyable is a fair description of The End of Medicine's debut album."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Power to Change

I am so proud of what Americans can do. When faced with something obviously wrong, it heartens me to know that we as people will put aside our differences and force the change that is needed to set things aright.

Inspired by your courageous struggle to correct the horrible atrocities of Tropicana and rebuild an OJ container you can be proud of, I present you with the above piece to show how you are truly embracing a new spirit of change.

I know the word "Tropicana" written vertically in big letters can make a container seem just like a generic. And I know how hard it can be to actually pick up a container and read it to make sure you have the pulp concentration you so richly deserve. These words...this...thinking and interpreting. It's so hard. You are true activists. Just like idiots from Florida who punch every hole on the right side of a ballot out of habit and then cry on TV because they ended up voting for Pat Buchanan. It is your refusal to compromise, to actually take responsibility for parsing information, that McDonald's graciously allows us to say "Number 1" instead of "Big Mac, Fries, and a Coke" (Well, the dumb cashiers who don't know where to find individual keys are also part of this, but that came after the dumbing down of our favorite hyper-corn menu).

I have never felt better about how screwed we are.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I've Figured Out What Be Ailin' Me!

Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with
Cause:monkey bite
Symptoms:screaming, grunting, abdominal swelling, sarcasm
Cure:click heels together three times
Enter your name, for your own diagnosis:

h/t replicant

Monday, February 16, 2009

Board Gamey Goodness

Once a game geek, always a game geek, I guess...

...but I was never quite that immersed. Well, there was this one time in college we were doing a live roleplaying game and I decided to dress the part; but it felt really stupid so I changed into my normal clothes after the first few hours.

I was browsing the comic store at the local mall a couple of days ago, waiting for my kids' haircuts to be done, not really into the comics this time. I either wasn't in to looking for the sequels to the ones I bought last time or, in the case of the Cthulhu-based ones, they were so awful that I didn't want to find the next issue. Comics never really caught on with me - I tried to love them, I really did, but the whole Marvel Universe thing never caught on. Judge Dredd comics were pretty cool...

and I dumped some serious cash into them in college.

But gaming was a different story - whether it was role playing, sci-fi or fantasy board games, or a good ol' wargame by Avalon Hill, it was a huge part of my life in college and as a young adult. I still have several hundred dollars' worth of them in totes in my basement and garage. In college we'd have at least one gaming weekend a semester, and at one point it almost became a certainty that my friend B.O.B. and I would set up a big-ass game of Squad Leader and duke it out. The battles were epic and the victories were truly Pyrrhic. I'm sure if you could zoom down and watch the last few cardboard tiles in action at the end of the last turn, you'd have seen one German and one Russian, out of ammo and beating each other with their canteens and pointed sticks.

As with most other fun things, as you get older you get less time for them. We still get together once or twice a year for games, booze and food. In fact, we need to do it again soon.

Okay back to the store. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked down the game much so I bought a couple of games. Actually, game expansion packs:

Zombie Fluxx just looked plain fun. I've never played Fluxx before, though I think it's popped up at a recent game day or two. It plays stand-alone or as an expansion, and it's ages 8+, so I can play with my son. So it'll be getting some exercise this week.

The Arkham Horror expansion looks awesome as well. I used to own the original (1987) version. This to me is a great "bridge" between the role playing and board game world. It's cooperative (you and your fellow players vs. the mythos), you get a choice of many characters (though you don't get to build a personality) and the hundreds of events and objects ensure nearly endless variety. And it's difficult. In short, you and your fellows must prevent Arkham from being invaded by the Great Old Ones and their minions. Throughout the game gates to other dimensions open up, monsters come out, crazier and crazier shit starts to happen, and if the players can't close enough gates and effectively counter the monsters, a Great Old One shows up. Like Nyarlathotep (in which case you're fucked) or Azathoth (in which case you're fucked) or Cthulhu (in which case you're fucked) or Shub Niggurath (in which case you're fucked) or ... you get the idea! Lots of fun. Played it with my son once or twice, and since he's a couple of years on the young side I end up working most of the game mechanics for him and he gets to roll the dice and kill things, which he likes. Or get killed or go insane, which he also thinks is pretty cool.

There were plenty of other awesome games there. Many from the Catan series, and several of the Axis and Allies sub-games. I almost picked up the Guadalcanal game - one of the most gut-wrenching and pivotal campaigns of the Pacific War - but I've already got enough games without anyone to play them with. So what, I'll probably buy it next time.

Once a geek...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My First Valentine's Day Post very short because I'm spending V-Day with my bloggy valentine.

So go read something else.

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If You're Going to Attend Miskatonic U, Expect to See Some Elder-Signs this one...

...or this one...

...or, if you can get one of those sweet little eldrich coeds from the "Sisters of Azathoth" pledge class back to your room, you just may be lucky enough to see THIS ONE!

Now THAT's a portal in which I am sure no evil lurks...

Apparently, some students and staff at a local Catholic University don't feel that way. Now I've made it clear that my religious views are somewhere in the void between agnosticism, atheism and just plain not giving a shit (it's a little place I like to call "Beer") but this seems a bit ridiculous.

“There is no choice if you don’t think it’s appropriate. You can’t turn it around,” said biology professor Dan Kirschner, faculty adviser for BC’s chapter of Hillel, a Jewish student group. “I think it is being insensitive to the people of other faith traditions here.”

Ummm, lessee...private university...openly declares itself Catholic...wants to have a crucifix in every room...hey, you know, they can do what they want. It seems appropriate to me. And to me, insensitive (downright discriminatory in fact) would be not allowing a Hillel chapter. If the school goes Unitarian, feel free to bitch.

Amir Hoveyda, head of BC’s chemistry department, blasted the school in an e-mail to the Herald for “not being interested in an exchange with its faculty members.”

In an interview with the college newspaper, The Observer, which broke the story, Hoveyda described the crucifixes as “offensive” and the university’s actions as “anti-intellectual.”

Professor Hoveyda, I'm sure they are interested in an exchange with you - say, on, oh...I don't know...issues affecting the Chemistry department? Why did you agree to be a head of department for a Catholic university you find the Catholic "mythos" and its symbols offensive? And as for "anti-intellectual" you lose me there. For Yog Sothoth's sake, they put a fucking crucifix in a class! It's not like they invited Ben Stein and his gang of yahoos to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory to your classes under the guise of "academic freedom". As long as they haven't started telling you how to teach chemistry or to make sure everyone believes that supersaturated solutions can only come from God through the grace of Tiny Little 8-Pound, Six Ounce Baby Jesus, and that the tongues of flame on the bunsen burners are really the Holy Spirit, I'm pretty sure you can stave off the anti-intellectual brain rays emanating from a crucifix. There are plenty of examples of the anti-intellectual aspects of ultra-conservative, ultra-Christian institutions and movements. This isn't one of them.

Hey, per-fess'r...maybe you could go teach at a muslim college. I understand the sorority pledges are all Halal:

Ya' just can't tell 'em you'd like to PORK 'em!

Great Cthulhu's strap-on! Now THAT'S INSENSITIVE, if not downright sexist.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Double-Barrelled Boom-Stick Meme...

Alright you primitive SCREWHEADS...

These...these are my MEMEs!

The first is the "Random Song Answer Meme" that circulates on Facebook, but I saw it here. It has 18 questions, and it works like this:

1. Put your iPod/Tunes on shuffle. Or, if you're a Luddite, blindfold yourself and stand in front of your record collection.
2. For each question, press the next button.
3. You must write down the title of the song, no matter how silly or embarrassing.
4. You may comment on songs in brackets after the song name. In this case, I listed the artist.

So here goes...

1. What do your friends think of you? 100 Punks (Generation X)

2. If someone says "Is this ok?" you say: Ogdru Jahad (The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets)

3. What do you like in a guy/girl? I Don't Like Mondays (The Boomtown Rats)

4. How do you feel today? Frank Mills (The Lemonheads)

5. What is your life's purpose? Rosealia (Better Than Ezra)

6. What is your motto? Not Sleeping Around (Ned's Atomic Dustbin)

7. What do you think about very often? I'm a Disco Dancer And A Sweet Romancer (Christopher Just)

8. What do you think of your best friend? People Who Died (Jim Carroll Band)

9. What do you think of the person you like? Ask (The Smiths)

10. What is your life story? I Ran (A Flock of Seagulls)

11. What do you want to be when you grow up? Whiskey Johnny (Traditional Sea Shanty)

12. What do you think of when you see the person you like? Moonlight Sonata

13. What will you dance to at your wedding? Waiting (Cake)

14. What will they play at your funeral? Never Say Never (Romeo Void)

15. What is your hobby/interest? Greenland Whale Fisheries (Van Dyke Parks)

16. What is your biggest fear? Die Walkure Act 2 - Wotan's Rage (Wagner)

17. What is your biggest secret? You've Got Another Thing Comin' (Judas Priest)

18. What do you think of your friends? St. Jimmy (Green Day)

The second is the "Single Letter Meme". Found here. Copy the below questions, erase my answers, fill in your own. Use the first letter of your name to answer each question. No made Make up shit if you want - it has to be real should be fun!

1. What is your name: W******

2. A four Letter Word: Wank

3. A boy's Name: Wanky McWankster

4. A girl's Name: Wendy Wankmee

5. An occupation: Wanker

6. A color: Wankjuice White

7. Something you wear: Wankstains

8. A food: Wanko Crusted Tilapia

9. Something found in the bathroom: Wanktowel

10. A place: Wankylvania

11. A reason for being late: Wanking

12. Something you shout: WANKER!

13. A movie title: Spanking the Monkey (aka - WANKING)

14. Something you drink: Wankshake

15. A musical group: Weird Al Wankovic

16. An animal: Wankodactyl

17. A street name: Wank Avenue

18. A type of car: Wankerati

19. A song title: Wank God I'm a Country Boy

20. A book title: Wank Waldo

21. A verb: Wank

And I tag....NOBODY! If you think it's fun, try it.

There...two barrels empty. Zombie blown away. Now where's my chainsaw?

Monday, February 2, 2009

What? I'm Here for Your Amusement?

Because for the past couple of weeks, I've had more important things to do than amuse you. Not necessarily more fun, just more important.

For some years, my wife has suffered frequent chronic pain from a bulging cervical disc, and on MLK day it decided to go "full bore" and severely pinch a couple of nerves, leaving her unable to lift anything heavier than an coffee cup for a couple of days, and bouncing from clinic to ER to clinic getting X-Rays done and MRI's scheduled. She's doing better now, and we've finally got a doctor to start paying attention to it, so maybe instead of getting a new script for Flexeril every time this happens, she'll get TREATMENT, and maybe even permanent relief.

This last week brought business travel with it, and instead of blogging in the evenings I was in Florida drinking. So there. I thought for a bit I wouldn't make it back, too. First, there were a bunch of bored Floridian kids throwing molotov cocktails all over the place, slowing me up. As if that weren't enough, once I got to the airport i found out my flight was delayed, so late that my connection was in danger. So I cried out for magic - both to wreak vengeance on the teens and salvage my travel plans. Shortly a short, gnomish old dude came to the gate, made the Sign of the Devil and told me I would make my connection. I did.

Now these two items don't account for 100% of my time, but they do account for a lot of it. The rest of the time I just didn't have it in me. But I think I do now.