Updates For Ya!!!

Uh oh. It's been two weeks since I've updated my blog.

I'm not slacking, I swear.

I remember a long-ago time when if I went a day without writing in my blog, I'd get crazy. I was also writing in a very different style and from a very different perspective than I write now.  Most of the stuff I write on this blog are simple updates and such, but when I was young, I was a heated, angry mess!!! 

Anyways, some things going on right now:
1. I'm working on a music video for school. Tomorrow, I start the editing process. Expect to see it soon. 
2. On the tenth, I go to the legendary Cave-in-Rock, IL for the first ever Full Terror Assault festival. I plan on taking many pictures and talking to many people. Expect to see detailed information here. 
3. Podcasts. I put two up this evening. Listen to them. Share them. 

Please tune into my metal show - The Metal Mortuary - on Tuesday and Thursday at noon CST. I'm working out a way to start posting new podcasts on my site, so stay tuned for more of those at some point in the future. 

Much love. 

Link Journalism

Here's a recent class assignment I had to do. Essentially, I had to find three news articles, break them down into two or three paragraphs and rehash them as examples of "Link Journalism". Anyways, these are things in the news today. 

TIANJIN, China -
At least 50 are dead and 71 are injured after a series of massive blasts ripped apart a hazardous goods warehouse in Tianjin’s port area, Wednesday night. Among the dead are 17 firefighters who’d been dispatched to fight the blaze in its infancy.

The cause of blaze and subsequent explosions remains unknown. Media in China have reported that one of the warehouses destroyed by the blast may have contained a number of highly toxic chemicals. More than 1,000 firefighters were dispatched to fight the inferno, which continues to burn more than 36 hours later. 

In a stunning act of foolishness, a man looking to retrieve his lost belongings from a Cedar Point roller coaster was killed on Thursday. Much to the surprise of literally no one but the victim, James A Young II was struck and killed after hopping a fence to into an obviously restricted area.

According to CNN: Sandusky Assistant Police Chief Phil Frost commented, "(Young) jumped over a fence into a restricted area under the Raptor and was looking for his personal belongings. (He) was struck by the Raptor train that was in operation." To his credit, there are no reports of Frost shaking his head and muttering, "Duh.”

Joe Rogan expressed a desire to see more weight classes in the UFC on a recent podcast. The long-time UFC commentator has been a proponent for additional weight classes for some time. With recent drug testing changes hitting the UFC, Rogan has expressed concerns about looming Problems. 

Low Kick MMA  quotes Rogan from his recent Podcast: "I also think the UFC is probably gonna have to add more weight classes eventually, because there’s not enough weight classes. There’s some big gaps – like 185 and 205, that’s a 20 lbs. weight class – that’s a giant gap."

Nihilstinen Barbaarisuus – The Child Must Die

In an effort to make good on a personal pledge, here's the first of many album reviews of the bands I play on The Metal Mortuary. Check out the show on The Edge On Air every Tuesday and Thursday @ Noon CST.

Before I start this review, I want to say, I’m a sucker for physical media. I just received my copy of The Child Must Die today. First, I love the Digipak and the vivid artwork. The front and back cover are illustrated with evocative imagery that harkens to early classic Black Metal albums like Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse and Dark Funeral’s Secrets of the Black Arts. It’s filled with deep purple, green and blue hues, invoking that feeling of something dark and ancient. The cold color scheme has to be intentional, because it’s a subtle advisory of what’s to be found in the music within.

The Child Must Die is basically, from my understanding, a concept album. With the exception of the title track, the lyrics are adapted from The Kalevala, a compilation of epic poetry from Finnish oral folklore and mythology. This is serious North American Black Metal that is deeply rooted in the thematic concepts of Northern European paganism and heathen creation myth.

 Lyrical concepts aside, this is a velocious, frigid and ferocious album.

 Many black metal bands use or have used keyboards, synths and other atmospheric tools to varying degrees of success (including this band in previous releases). Quite a few bands only manage to detract and distract with atmospheric keyboards. As I listen to The Child Must Die, I only hear it improve the frigid textures of the music.

 These songs are hard, bleak and forceful. This album starts with the song, Wondrous Sampo, which without warning, thrusts the listener headlong into aural abuse. Väinämöinen, in particular, throttles forward with blistering blast beats, while the keys help to evoke a rich layer of atmosphere. These elements perfectly complement the stark, throaty wails of the vocalist, Joel Robert Thompson. The production of this album craftily combines a classic, raw style, with a crispness that belies the skill and musicianship of Mika Mage’s obvious perfectionism.  

I don’t know if this album is going to break new ground for any black metal fans, and I don’t know if it needs to. This album does exactly what it’s supposed to do: be really fucking brutal Atmospheric Black metal. In that sense, it is a work of perfection. The Child Must Die is unmistakably unique in that this album doesn’t sound like anyone else, but it still fits comfortably within the confines of the genre.

If you are a fan of raw, cold, atmospheric Black Metal, Nihilstinen Barbaarisuus’ the Child Must Die is required listening. It’s a savage, 33 minute journey that will beg additional listens. This is my favorite release so far this year, and one of the best USBM albums I’ve heard in a while. Do yourself a favor and get a copy. 

AP Style News Stories

This is a recent writing assignment I did for my online class. I thought they were humorous. I had to write four 200 word AP news pieces. This is what I wrote. 

TOKYO – Giant Lizard Trounces Coast
After what was initially thought to be a powerful earthquake, Tokyo’s Kōtō City ward was rocked by a giant aquatic reptile which emerged from Tokyo Bay at approximately 4:15 a.m. today. Early reports from The Japan Times estimates the size of the creature to be nearly 122 meters tall. The damage to Kōtō City is grave, and many building have been greatly damaged or toppled.

"Gojira 1954 poster 3" by Toho Company Ltd. (東宝株式会社, Tōhō Kabushiki-kaisha) © 1954 - movie poster made by Toho Company Ltd. (東宝株式会社, Tōhō Kabushiki-kaisha).. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gojira_1954_poster_3.jpg#/media/File:Gojira_1954_poster_3.jpg

"Gojira 1954 poster 3" by Toho Company Ltd. (東宝株式会社, Tōhō Kabushiki-kaisha) © 1954 - movie poster made by Toho Company Ltd. (東宝株式会社, Tōhō Kabushiki-kaisha).. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gojira_1954_poster_3.jpg#/media/File:Gojira_1954_poster_3.jpg

Anonymous sources on the ground have indicated that the angry Kaiju erupted forth from the bay, emitting an ear-splitting wail, and began rampaging east towards the Edogawa River. CNN spoke with ward mayor, Ishirō Honda, who said “The God of Destruction has come to reclaim his lands! Flee! Flee!” Honda then pointed eastward and began waving the survivors away from the destruction.

It is currently unknown where the immense reptile originated from, but the internet is abuzz with conspiracy theories. One prominent site called Ocean Watch posits that the reptile is part of a government experiment gone wrong.

U.S. President, Barack Obama, authorized emergency deployment of troops to Japan this morning, to assist with Tokyo’s defense efforts. White House officials had no comment this morning on the marauding Kaiju.


Dozens of police were killed and many more wounded during a daring mid-day attack on Megacity Federal Building by the hacker-terrorist group known as “The Children of Zion”. Two unknown assailants raided the 34 floor structure, opening fire upon the main foyer during shift change. Shortly after the initial attack, the terrorists then commandeered a military helicopter from the roof and utilized the vehicle’s firepower to cause structural damage to the 17th Floor.  

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tt2times/2568645910 Some Rights Reserved

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tt2times/2568645910 Some Rights Reserved

Shortly after the attack, the alleged terrorists fled in the helicopter, but seemingly lost control of the vehicle, crashing it into a nearby building located at 1204 West 16th St. Casualties have been reported there, but estimates remain foggy. The current status of the suspects is unknown.

The evening previous, federal agents and city police had captured the alleged leader of the terrorist group, known by the alias, Morpheus. An anonymous source within the city police claimed that the capture of Morpheus was the result of a months-long undercover operation to bring down the elusive terrorist organization. Our source speculated that the daring raid was to free the radical terrorist leader.

Megacity News attempted to contact Agent Smith from Federal headquarters, but he could not be reached.   


After six weeks of searching, all five of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets have finally been located. The winners of the elusive candy proprietor’s contest prepare to be the first people to tour Wonka’s site since the magnate dropped from the public eye three years ago.  The winners have been announced as: Augustus Gloop from Germany, Veruca Salt from England, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teevee, both from America. The fifth ticketholder has not been named. The four winners are set to appear on a nationally televised event on Saturday as part of the contest prize.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wonka_(2908978240).jpg Some Rights Reserved 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wonka_(2908978240).jpg Some Rights Reserved 

Willy Wonka’s contest caused a flurry of media coverage as his famous candy bar became increasingly difficult to find. Thought by some to be a paranoid recluse, Mr. Wonka set out to recapture the buying public’s imagination after his long hiatus. Speculation still swirls as to where Mr. Wonka might have vanished to, and where Mr. Wonka has procured his current labor force. Mr. Slugworth, Willy Wonka’s main competition had this to say about the contest, “If Wonka wasn’t a raving lunatic, he wouldn’t have to perpetrate this brazen publicity stunt to sell his candy! Try Slugworth Chocolate!”

Mr. Wonka could not be reached.  

Five people are wounded this morning after a daring jewel heist was interrupted by Los Angeles police. The culmination of a months-long sting operation by LAPD Special Affairs, the unnamed robbery suspects opened fire upon patrons of Tiffany Gems as authorities arrived. As the armed robbers fled, officers began pursuit, killing at least two suspects in the gunfight. Police officials have estimated that the robbers absconded with nearly half a million dollars in diamonds awaiting transport to Antwerp, Belgium.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MrPink.jpg Some Rights Reserved 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MrPink.jpg Some Rights Reserved 

According to Officer Holdaway of LAPD’s Vice Unit, “This operation required months of undercover work by one of our best officers. He is a hero who derailed his entire life to bring down a notorious crime boss named Joe Cabot. Now the entire case has been blundered by department mismanagement. Let’s just hope our man comes out of this alive.”

Attorneys for Mr. Cabot have denied any wrong-doing by their client, an affluent local business man. Five years ago, an associate of Joe Cabot’s son Eddie Cabot, was found in a warehouse owned by the Cabot family containing stolen merchandise. Eddie Cabot’s childhood friend, Vic Vega, was sentenced to five years in Pelican Bay Prison for possession of stolen property.      

The Matrix
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Reservoir Dogs


The News

Welcome back, friends. Tomorrow, Aug. 7th, I'll be doing a remote through ICB at the Warrenville Summer Daze in downtown Warrenville. Come down and check it out from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. 

Above is a project I did in class where I had to make a movie poster using Photoshop. Here's a link to the original poster I based this project on: Leon.  

I made some small modifications to the site. I got rid of the splash page and I also set up a Patreon site. Check it out

Weekend Update

It's been a busy weekend, for sure! I've recorded 3 podcasts since Thursday and uploaded them to the site. I've made my first real investment in equipment and picked up a Behringer Xenyx 1002B mixer with sexy, sexy pots and dials. It wasn't super expensive, but it gets the damn job done. I've spent most of the weekend recording, mixing and editing audio and uploading it to the site. Check out the results here: PODCASTS.

I'm working on a very tight budget here, so if you like what you hear and you'd like to donate (I hate begging for money), feel free to click on the "Donate" button on the ABOUT page. I'm not making any profit from anything on this site, so if you want to help improve the quality of the shows, feel free to drop a few bucks. Also, if you have a business and you'd like to set up some ad-related exchange, hit me up via email. 
That's my pitch. Moving on. 

Roddy Piper - Wikipedia 

Roddy Piper - Wikipedia 

Friday brought more bad news in the world of Professional Wrestling with the death of my all-time favorite wrestler, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Roddy Piper is probably the greatest wrestling villain of all-time, and acted in a number of movies and TV shows. Roddy starred in one of my favorite cult sci-fi films, "They Live", which if you haven't seen, you should get your life together.  

Roddy Piper was 61. 

In other news, Ronda Rousey knocked out Bethe Correia in the first round at UFC 190, in 34 seconds, further proving that she's the most dominate fighter in the sport.  Rousey's MMA record is now 12-0, and she remains the UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion. 

The Podcast schedule, in a perfect world, will be twice a week. I'm going to make great efforts to have a new episode up every Monday and Friday. I made a very basic logo for the show, kind of as a placeholder for my iTunes submission. I don't know if it's been accepted yet, but I'll post in the blog here when I find out. 

Stuff Going On Now!

The world of pop-culture is abuzz with the recent activities - the utterly fucking stupid activities - of some well-known (and marginally known) individuals. It's been a busy week, for sure. I figured I'd weigh in on my opinions on these subjects, especially since I'm only just barely informed and this is the internet. 



First, we have the previously immortal Hulk Hogan. As you may know, he's been scrubbed from the hallowed halls of the WWE Hall of Fame. As it turns out, Hulk Hogan is a big, fat racist. From what I've read, about 8 years ago, 'ol Hulkster made some disparaging remarks about a guy his daughter was dating. Here is some of the transcript
 “I don’t know if Brooke was fuc*ing the black guy’s son. I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, fuc*ing ni**ers. But then when it comes to nice people and s*it, and whatever... I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. F*cking n*gger.” 
For the uninformed, Hulk has been involved in a lawsuit against Gawker  over the leak of his utterly tasteful sex tape. Now, suspiciously, the National Enquirer has somehow come into possession of a transcript of Terry's racist and homophobic rant. 

My Theory: Gawker leaked that shit. FOR SURE they want to discredit and ruin Hulk Hogan. 
Again, that's just a theory. 
I wish I could say I was shocked by what Hulk Hogan said. I really do. Please see the video on the left. 

I've never been the biggest Hulk Hogan fan. As a wrestling fan, he's never really been my flavor of performer. I don't think he's ever been an especially skilled wrestler, technically speaking. He's certainly legendary to the "sport", but I was just never interested in the whole Hulkamania shtick. I wasn't much impressed by "Hollywood Hogan" either. I'm not terribly sad that the WWE fired him; he should be fired. What bugs me is that there's a bit of a double standard here. A lot of other top-level performers have done some seriously fucked up things in their personal lives and kept their jobs. The biggest example I can think of is Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

Steve Austin beat his fucking wife. Look it up! Maybe I'm out of line, but why is this guy still employed by the WWE? Is it less bad to beat your wife than it is to be a racist? Say what you want about Steve Austin's personal life and the woman he was married to, but he was still arrested for and convicted of domestic abuse. What ever you think about Hulk Hogan being an old racist asshole, being a racist asshole isn't a crime. Punching your wife, on the other hand, is a crime. 

Second, some dentist shot and killed a lion in Africa and the internet went nuts! 

I want to join you all in your universal outrage for the death of poor, unfortunate Cecil. I'm sure he was an amazing lion who totally would have hung with you all and discussed the latest vegan cuisine. I have no doubt he had some really compelling ideas about a myriad of topics. Unfortunately, I don't share the outrage. YES, it's terrible that some douche bag from Minnesota can just go to Africa and kill a lion. Trophy hunting is abominable. I agree. I have to say though, I feel like the internet vigilantism has just gotten out of hand. Every other day, the buzzing masses assemble to ruin anyone who takes an action that is PERCEIVED to be "bad". We've collectively taken social justice to a whole new level of insanity. It's as if there are millions of people, just waiting in the wings, wringing their hands in anticipation of taking their aggression out on someone under the guise of progressiveness.

Mob mentality is not progressive.   
That's just my opinion. I find a lot of this "Social Justice" to be nauseating. I don't think people's livelihood should be threatened because they live differently or have unpopular opinions or make a mistake. If that's your rhythm,  bounce to it. I'll not be participating. 



Now, on to the third topic, which shouldn't make me a target for the White Knights! Fucking Laibach is playing the first rock concert in North Korea! What? If you don't know, Laibach is a Slovenian Industrial/Avant-Garde band that's been around since forever. Their style isn't the easiest to peg, but they have a vaguely nationalistic/fascistic image and sound. If you're into Industrial music or jackboots, you know Laibach. If you don't know Laibach, watch the John Oliver video that's been making the rounds. 

I'm stunned. I don't know what to think about this, but it's fucking funny. I might own 1 Laibach album, so I'm not what I'd consider a huge fan of their music. I've always kind of seen Laibach as this over-the-top kind of silly group. I always thought they were kind of tongue-in-cheek, and this special appearance in Pyongyang could be interpreted in any number of ways. Yeah, it's fucking silly. The fact that Laibach will be performing songs from "The Sound of Music"... that's just brilliant.    

The Heavy Metal Genrefication

Since the very beginning of Heavy Metal, bands and musicians have sought to differentiate themselves from one another. With a slight change of style, a different riff, different clothes, or a few different influences, suddenly you have a new sub-genre. While this concept can, in fact, help to categorize metal or music in general, it really doesn’t seem to me to add anything to the culture of metal.

 I find the descent of metal into sub-sub-sub genres annoying. We all have bands we like and bands we don't like. I don't think you should disqualify any bands based solely on sub-genre, no more than you should validate them for the same reason. If you like the band, support them. If you don't, well, good on ya. Me, I like metal. More than that, I like music. Metal will always be my first and greatest love, but I like electronic music, I like pop music, I like experimental music and jazz music and blues and on and on. If someone can skillfully take elements from different places and make something interesting out of it, that's awesome. Doing so shouldn't be a way to further isolate people.

 What the fuck is “Post Metal”? Is that like metal music that comes after metal? What does “Crust” or “Sludge” as terms add to the music? Do we need to have something called DSBM or Djent or Mathcore?

 How does this labeling do anything but confuse and isolate? Do we need to classify our music the same way we classify insects? Maybe I'm rambling and maybe I have the wrong perspective, but I feel like Fear Factory and The Scorpions and king diamond and cannibal corpse all come from the same source. Yes, they are all very different, but the concept is just the same. If you ask me, I'm just a metal head. If you like metal, I respect that. If you like metal I don't like, I respect that too.

 Individuality has always been the core of my personality, and no one should be shamed for striving towards that. That said, digging deeper into obscurity is not required to set yourself apart from others. What you do should differentiate you, not what you call what you do. To some degree, this type of sub-classification is impossible to escape, I have just always found it annoying and alienating. Long hair, short hair, leather or denim - we're all metal heads. Let's just be happy with that.

July 29th


It’s been about three weeks since my last Blog update. I offer many apologies for such needless neglect. I’ve been active in creating, regardless of my absence. I added some new stuff on the 17th, but I’ve been working on podcasts and copy since my last update. I’ll be posting a new Nerd Words in the coming days, adding more band pages to the site and I’ll be recording a new Metal Mortuary in the next two or three days. I am going to be making an attempt to write in the blog here at least daily. Stay tuned, please. 

Today, my buddy Chance and I recorded a new Nerd Words. Lee's out on vacation, but he recorded some stuff for me to add on to the show. I haven't heard it yet, so I'm going to listen and then toss it into the recording for the final version of the podcast. We rambled for an hour and a half on table-top and LARP gaming. It's probably entertaining. 

I'm going to be working on a movie fest this weekend. Since I am unable to go to Gen-Con this year, I'm hoping to sit down and record my own "MST3K" style podcast - where I have a bunch of people over to talk shit on terrible movies. We'll see how that works out. I am assembling equipment now, and I hope I can make the idea work. 



So, today I had my first show on Evolution Pop, which was a ton of fun, but utterly technically silly. We had a ton of issues with the programs and trying to learn a new sound board. No biggie though. We're hoping that at some point they add a phone in the studio so we can have call-ins. What good is a show about the unexplained if you can't have freaks call in? I'm going to fluff up the show some and upload it here for everyone (someone?) to enjoy. Next week, I plan on the topic being UFO's, and hopefully we'll have better luck staying on-topic and filling two hours. The show is every Wednesday from 4-6 PM, CST. "Tune-in" to hear me say "uh" a whole bunch! 

We're working on the Tricaster in class, and producing a 30 minute game show. I've been given (volunteered for) the duties of host. Today's dry run was exciting and fun, even though the trivia questions I cobbled together were far too difficult. I mean, they were some outright "Final Jeopardy" questions. It's cool to work in front of the camera, and to learn I really don't get nervous working on camera. I've never worked in front of an actual audience, so that could be completely different. I guess I'll find out as I go. 

I'm uploading a video to Youtube of a really silly video project we did in class last week. I got to be a guest on a mock talk show. I can't even explain it. It's too much. You'll be able to find it in the projects section of my site. 

That's all for tonight.  


This Ride

Hi all. 
So, radio show is going, podcasts are casting. Speaking of casting, I just spent the last three days learning how to use the Tricaster and having involved discussions about being a professional dolphin waxer. I'm starting internship duties at school (three days of radio shows a week.) I am going to be doing TMM twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, and I will be doing a talk show on Wednesday with a fellow classmate. It's going to be called, "The World of Weird", and it'll be about bizarre and unexplained phenomena. 

I'll most likely be posting that show online as well, and possibly be making some minor alterations to the site in the coming weeks. 

I'm hoping to do some interviews with local bands and artists, so if you've got something you want to get some coverage for or if you want to join me on my radio show, drop me a line. 


A Brick Is Just a Brick

You know what fucking annoys me? I get really annoyed by the tendency for people to have discussions about or make statements involving non-tangibles. For instance, when people say things like, "Oh, pray for my mom, she has cancer. Keep her in your thoughts," or, "I'm a Leo, and because of that, I'm strong-willed and outgoing." Recent twat post I read said, "Nurture strength of spirit 2 shield u n sudden misfortune. Do not distress urself w dark imagining. Many fears r born of fatigue&loneliness." Seriously? Let's analyze that post, aside from the blatantly obvious, this post clearly wasn't written by a person grounded in the realm of the intelligent.

First, "Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from sudden misfortune"
Ok, now I'm wondering, were it that we had some sort of "spirit", how in the FUCK would we nurture something we... oh, I don't know, CAN'T SEE??? Not to mention the fact that we are nurturing a specific aspect of said spirit. Just read this conversation for an example:

"Hey, Chris, what are you doing today?"
"Oh, not much, Ted. I'm just going to be nurturing the strength of my spirit by conjuring positive imagery from my dreamspace."
"Hmm, that's interesting. I was just going to shit in a prostitute's mouth, but that sounds way more fun."

If you ever told me, person to person, that you were nurturing your spirit, I'd kick you in the face. You might as well say that your facilitating the transmission of your soul waves, or that you're measuring your operating thetans with your new e-meter, you daffy fuck.
Now, in this excerpt, we are led to believe that if we nurture our spirit, this will in turn protect us from "sudden misfortune". Exactly what would YOU define to be SUDDEN? MISFORTUNE? To me, sudden misfortune would be something like, maybe a hurricane blows my fucking house down. Perhaps, someone robs me at gunpoint and then decides to shoot me for my seventeen dollars and my scuffed Nike shoes. Maybe, since the flake who wrote this is from California, the earth decides to take a giant shit on her and rain down a mudslide/forest fire/earthquake orgy of death. Well, I guess if that stuff happens, you just didn't harvest your wishing tree enough. Oh, I mean you didn't nurture the strength of your spirit.

Two,"Do not distress yourself with dark imagining."

Ok, don't imagine dark things, because you might stress yourself out? That's fucking dodo talk. Obviously, you shouldn't spend your day fantasizing about chaos, carnage and mayhem. You might turn into the Joker, and we all know what happened to that guy. Chances are, if you spend your waking hours dreaming about cutting people's faces off, the last thing you need is some new-age hippie telling you not to do it. I doubt a 140 character tweet is going to provide you with the solutions you need to "find your center", what ever the fuck that means. Talking in language like this is equivalent to telling someone not to look at the sun because it will hurt their eyes. No shit. You'll find that almost every pseudoscience out there, from horoscopes to tarot, uses language like this. It's vague and it applies to everyone. That's why you identify with it.

Three,"Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness."

What the fuck does that even mean? Many fears. Tired and lonely. Scared because I'm tired and nobody will fuck me? What the shit does that mean? Let's rope it in, Moonbeam? I went and read some of the other brilliant twats by this person, and they are all filled with the same dime-store, hackneyed, flaccid and generally worthless attempts to provide some sort of positive reinforcement. People that talk like this and think like this make me want to shit on their magic rocks, and vomit on their individual books of Warmth and Vibration.

This type of thinking is rampant in our culture. People admonish various religions in this country for how outlandish and silly they are (see also; Scientology, Mormonism, etc.), but have no problem with the concept that stars, spirits, vibrations, angels or any other arbitrary nonsense could possibly effect their lives. Seriously, what ever happened to logic? If people took a second to listen to the crazy shit that came out of them, maybe they'd realize that they are just as fucking silly as all those people who believe they will rule their own planet as a living god some day.

"Even a brick wants to be something... Aspire. Anything common and ordinary has the potential to be brilliant!!!"

No, dummy, a brick is a brick. It's a rock. It doesn't want to be anything because it doesn't have a brain. Clearly, neither do you.

A Half-Assed Review of WWE Royal Rumble '15 by a Half-Assed Fan.

I have been an off and on wrestling fan since I was a kid. I haven’t followed wrestling or, more specifically WWE since Triple H was still wrestling. Nothing specifically occurred to make me stop watching, but the last time I watched Raw with any regularity, it was fairly boring and formulaic. I decided a few years back to cancel my cable package, and that was the end of my Monday nights, with little regret for the loss.

I had watched for years, seeing the same old pablum over and over again, and I really didn't feel any loss when it went away. Like many other exiled fans, I’m sure, the idea of an app, coupled with the obviously manufactured hype of new, fresh faces as well as the return of classic fan favorites to the ring drew me back in.

Last night was the WWE Royal Rumble, where a varied collective of corny characters and racial stereotypes throw each other around for 20 minutes and then one guy ends up the last ego remaining in the ring. Then, at WRESTLEMANIA!!!!!!! The winner gets to blah blah blah.  This morning, the internets were ablaze with hashtags and vitriol about the results of the royal bumble. Today, like the fucking sheep I am, I decided to plop down my 10 dollars and check out the hoopla.

I decided to give my match by match review, as a returning fan, and share what I saw upon my return to the “WWE Universe” (which is another annoying and contrived internet era term for all things WWE).

The Royal Rumble starts with the introduction by “The New Age Outlaws”, who any long-term fan is familiar with from their tenure in DX, back in the “Attitude Era”. As I watched the opening, all I could think was that they should probably change their name to “The Old Age Outlaws”. They appeal to our collective nostalgia for a few minutes, transitioning to a previous night of RAW where a number of other WWE Legends have reunited in the ring, giving the fans some degree of context as to why Road Dog and Billy Gunn are opening the Royal Rumble. Next, some music plays and some goofy looking guys in Ren Faire armor with Egyptian-ish symbols on their man skirts come out to wrestle the Legends. I have no idea what their team is called, nor am I willing to click over to the browser window to find out. What follows is five boring and unremarkable minutes of old school Wrastlin’ that made me want to go get a coffee. It was an obvious attempt to put some newcomers over, and all it really did for me was bore the shit out of me. The new guys win, the night moves on.

Up next is another tag match. As an aside, I am actually kind of pleased that the WWE is seemingly refocusing on tag matches. When I stopped watching a few years ago, tag teams were all but forgotten by McMahon and Co. I don’t recall any real stables at that point, and I’m pleased that they've refocused on them to some degree. Also, at some point they cut away to Triple H and Stephanie having the world’s most convincing conversation about how Sting of all people snuck into the arena the week before and interrupted the villainous Corporate Power, or whatever the fuck they are calling themselves now from cheating John Cena out of ugh, who fucking cares. Anyways, Sting is getting paid by the WWE, so I’m assuming that very shortly, it’ll start raining toads.

Match number two comes up, and it’s The Miz and his “stunt double” Damien Mizdow against the Usos. Three of the wrestlers in the second match are complete unknowns to me, and The Miz is annoying and I don’t find him to be particularly skilled as a wrestler or a heel. He’s been humping around for years, and I’m just not into what he’s selling. The Usos come out and they do a Haka, which is a thing. There’s some wrestling and it’s all quite remarkable. The stereotypical Samoans thankfully won, and wrestled well in my opinion. Even though I was unfamiliar with them, they aren’t The Miz, and for that, I thank them.

Up next, a match by the Divas, which I don’t even remember, it was so boring. Wikipedia tells me The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella) defeated Paige and Natalya. What this means, I couldn’t tell you.

Next is the three-way, triple threat, and much hyped championship match between John Cena, Seth Rollins (who I don’t know) and the guy who does suplexes (suplex. All kidding aside, regardless of his skill set, Brock Lesnar has always been entertaining to me). John Cena is John Cena, and love him or hate him, he’s always been consistent. My lack of familiarity with Seth Rollins isn’t a deterrent for me at all.

Ugh. The rest of this doesn’t even matter. I was really trying to write a traditional review for this PPV, but I just can’t finish it. In the process of writing this, about a week’s worth of time has elapsed. I’ve watched about three episodes of WCW Monday Nitro since I watched the Pay-Per-View, and I’ve come to a conclusion about Professional Wrestling after comparing the two, past and present. I watched three episodes of Monday Nitro from July of ’96. In 1996, at the beginning of the accent of WCW, the wrestling, the ACTUAL wrestling, was fucking amazing. In a two hour episode of classic WCW, you’d see about 10 matches. Every one of the matches was full bore, and even the unknown wrestlers were incredibly skilled and fluid. You’d have 45 seconds to a minute of promos in between matches, with the wrestlers hyping their storylines, etc. Honestly, most of the promo work was INCREDIBLY bad.
Just BAD.

But that’s ok. The matches were exciting and fast paced. The results were fairly unpredictable. Sure, you’d have the occasional run-in or DQ match to keep it mixed up. The point is, the wrestling was the primary focus. The action was the glue that bound the show together, and it was good. Watch any wrestling from the three big ones in the late 90’s, and the action blows everything away that’s being pushed today. Any of the opening matches picked at random would be more entertaining than the first 4 or 5 matches during the Royal Rumble last week. It’s not the specific characters or wrestlers that made the difference, it is the “entertainment” in sports entertainment that’s different. Now, the action has taken a huge back seat to the “stories” the WWE (and other somehow inferior organizations) are trying to sell. The wrestlers that are popular today can tell a story, they are charismatic and I guess interesting, but the action and actual wrestling part of the equation is just utter shit.

Wrestling has always been insensitive, base, mindless, a little racist (or at least xenophobic), and downright fucking silly. It still is today, but at least 20 years ago, that spectacle was tempered by the skill and physicality of the athletes. The excitement was played out in the drama of the exhibition. Your heroes blathered on about destroying their rivals and archenemies, then spent twenty plus minutes leaving it all in the ring. We all know the outcome is scripted, but now EVERYTHING is scripted. I hate to break the news to you, WWE, but if I wanted to watch a poorly scripted, formulaic show with stiff acting, where action is so rare it’s nearly non-existent, I’d watch daytime drama.

A Few Statements About A Sensitive Topic

I've spent the last few weeks reading about the events in Ferguson Missouri, much like everyone else in the country. It's been very simple to judge idly, from the sanctity of my ideal, pristine life. I don't have problems with poverty. I'm white. I'm fairly well educated and I have a good job with medical benefits. I am, for lack of a better term, blessed. 

That wasn't always the case. When I was young, I was very misguided. I didn't have a lot of opportunities readily available. I made a lot of mistakes, but I was able to get past most of those and get my life in order. I was often targeted by police for the way that I looked and the company I kept. I stole and I broke minor laws, and I was lucky enough to avoid lasting, unrecoverable ramifications for those mistakes.

 One thing that was never a factor for me was race. Another was poverty. I've never been judged or marginalized due to me being white. I've never been the target of hatred simply due to the color of my skin. I was fortunate enough to be born a white male in a country tailor-made for me. 

I could go on at great lengths about how a systematic push to relegate minorities into prisons and poverty has occurred in this country since the 1940's and before, but I'm not going to. The history is out there for anyone willing to look past their own intolerance. When your only real option is to live outside of the law, what option do you truly have? Having said that, I think we all have a choice as to how we live our lives, and we have to live with those choices. 
Live being the operative word here.

We have a semblance of a justice system in this country, no matter how utterly defunct and corrupt it may be, it still exists. The option to take advantage of that broken system was stripped from an 18 year old boy, right or wrong, and he will never have a say. He will never be able to speak for himself, or defend himself in front of a jury of his peers for whatever crimes he may have committed. His rights were taken from him by a man with a gun, who shot him at least 6 times, killing him in the street. That officer made the call to be judge, jury and executioner that day, and he gets to live with that choice.
He gets to live. 

I read an article today written by Darnell Robert Ford, and it made quite an impression with me. I read the article and it really kind of irked me. It irked me because I feel like it  missed a key fact about Law Enforcement and the people that participate in that line of work. I feel that this individual has a very naive outlook on the job of law enforcement and the people who are willing to do that job. Simply, they are people. With people comes an entire assortment of beliefs, prejudices, emotions and weakness.

The belief that police work for the people is an obscenely narrow and frighteningly misguided perspective. The police do not work for the people, they work for the state. The police exist to maintain the status quo, not to provide protection for the people. They enforce laws, they do not serve the will of the people. 

Do I think that riots are a good thing, or that they should be encouraged? Violent unrest occurs at a boiling point of emotion. When people finally hit that wall, what else is left for them to do? When injustice surrounds you, what option are you left with? I don't advocate violence of any kind, but I certainly understand the desire to push back. I understand the massive wave of emotion that can take people over. I can understand, just as well, to live with the shroud of passive racism coloring your perceptions. If you can be, why can't they? 

These people are not you. Their experiences are not your experiences. Your privilege is not their privilege. Try and look at the world outside of yourself, and you might see a world you don't like very much. 

Justice is a fancy idea, but it's very unlikely to exist. 




The Journey of the StormBringer

Labor Day, for most people, brings the typical out-door grilling, hot dogs, beer, and and the other fun stuff that has nothing to do with "labor". Anyways, this year, it was pretty standard fare for me as well. I got together with some friends, made some guacamole, and started to guzzle some Tom Collins and Guinness. 

So, after the buzz settled in, nice and warm, my buddy Chance and I started in on the sloppy music discussion, as is standard operating procedure when the libations are flowing. Chance, in his effort to turn me on to something that there's totally NO WAY I'd ever have heard of, starts telling me about an old metal band he thinks i'd like. As he begins to tell me the details of the band, it occurs to me that I totally know them. He tells me about this tape that he's acquired back when he was in high school, through a friend's dad, who apparently wrote for a metal zine, which were things people read before the internet.  

Some details - A random Power Metal band from Rockford, Illinois puts out a demo tape in 1993, when I was 12. I used to stay up late on the weekends, back when there used to be late night metal shows (which I don't think is a thing anymore) and record music off the radio, on to cassette tapes.  I remember hearing this particular band on the local College radio station, and for some reason, they had just stuck with me. 

So after some jubilant discussion, we rejoice in our collective nerd nostalgia and start trying to track down info about the elusive and generally unknown band from our youth: StormBringer.  The next four hours is spent grinding out various Google search combinations, trying to track down as much info as possible about this band. We find an entry for them at Encycolpaedia Metallum (which is a testament to the people that contribute to that site - holy fuck) that gives us some info, however still slim it may be. I think, at this phase of the night, we just wanted to know if any of the band members went on to join some other band. I'm not sure. We had been drinking gin. 

I know that our end goal was to track down the music from there demo tape, but all we could find was a broken link on a message board and a few videos on Youtube. It was looking like we might not find what we were looking for. Now, at this point we had five or six people combing the internet looking for anything that could lead to something substantial about how to get in touch with this band or some mp3s or whatever the fuck we could get our hands on. Finally, someone (I don't remember who), shows us a site that is selling the original demo tape for $15.00. 

Thus, we discover, Horizons Music. 

I'm always a little funky when it comes to shopping with sites online that I'm unfamiliar with. Looking through the site info leaves a lot to the imagination, as it's very simple and uninspired. Needless to say, I wasn't super eager to use my credit information on the site. Interestingly enough though, the mailing address is in Illinois, where I live. Fucking great! Maybe we could just go there. The only problem we faced was the fact that the place is about 90 miles away from where we live. I was willing to travel, and this had become such a quest, Chance was willing to drive. 

We made a pact to go all the way to Mendota, IL to buy this fucking tape, if they'd let us come in and purchase the fucker in person/ 

So Tuesday rolls in, and we've committed to this trip. Chance had called them before I was awake, and found out that we could indeed go to their location and browse their stock. This, for some silly reason, gave me the impression that Horizons was a store or something. Well, that simply wasn't the case, at least not in any traditional sense of the word. 

Anyways, we get in the car and drive 90 fucking miles, which wasn't bad really, and arrive off the highway into the little town of Mendota. I guess it might be a town anyways. I have no idea. It's basically bunch of truck stops on a random exit in between nowhere and nothing. It seemed nice enough, but it's definitely not a destination. we take a few side streets, crawling back into an industrial, overgrown, sidewalk-free zone. The GPS dutifully informs us that we've arrived at our destination - an empty field. Adjacent to the field (which is clearly the wrong place) is a gray, nondescript warehouse with a wooden sign leaning up against a pole with the word, "sale" spray painted on it in a lovely red hue. We collectively agree that this must be the place.

We park and walk around the side of the building, noting the distinct lack of any identification on the building. A rickety screen door greets us, with another small sign with the same sale indication written on it. We walk in, and we are now in a disheveled office full of boxes and order forms and other random stacks of this and that. In a room to the left, there are three women sitting at a table eating lunch who vaguely acknowledge our presence as we walk in. We greet them and inform them that we'd called about the tape. We ask if we can look around, and they tell us to follow the signs, which will no doubt lead us to the murderer that waits us in the bowels of the warehouse. Everywhere there are posters of old movies and stacks of records and CDs, as well as random boxes and shelves and little signs leading you this way and that way. The walls have little notes that say things like, "don't sell to asshole!"

We finally make our way down the dark corridors and into a large, open warehouse that looks like a combination garage sale/storage unit.   

The view from just inside the warehouse. 

Inside the warehouse it's incredibly hot and it smells like old vinyl. hundreds and hundreds of boxes fill the room, all containing old records and cut-outs, as well as random articles of clothing and furniture free for the taking. It's quite unlike anything I've seen, and really very amazing. It's certainly not a record store in any way, but who knows what's to be found in this cache of long-forgotten music.

If only I had the time... 

If only I had the time... 

  We spend about 20 minutes mulling about the warehouse, trying to take it all in, before we head back up to the front to purchase our intended prize. Back up front, we are greeted by the owner of the company, Ron. He is exactly what you'd expect. He's an older guy, probably in his 60's and just a tiny bit eccentric. We engage in conversation with him, and clearly he thinks we're as nutty as we thing he is for having driven 180 miles for a 15 dollar, 21 year old cassette tape. There's a mutual respect, albeit, unspoken. He tells us he's been in business for 40 years, and tiniest hint of hording that comes with owning literally millions of pieces of music shows that. We leave with the notion that next time, it'd probably be just as easy to order music through the site, but that the trip was well worth the adventure.

The awesome result of our trip. 

The awesome result of our trip. 

With the coveted cassette in hand, we drive the hour and a half back home. 

Now, presented for you, the fruits of our labor, but mostly, Stormbringer's labor: 
StormBringer - Stealer of Souls 

Now, it must be stated, I do not own the rights to this music, nor do I claim any profit from having these songs on my site. They are intended for the sole purpose of sharing something that's awesome to me, and maybe spreading a little bit of mutual joy. If anyone from StormBringer has a problem with these songs being on my site, please feel free to contact me. Until then, fuck it. Also, these songs were ripped from a cassette tape, so the sound quality isn't super great, but it's not terrible. It's a 20 year old tape, so don't get shitty if it sounds a little warbled. That's what happens to old cassettes. As far as I can tell, this is the only place you can find this demo in its entirety online, so take it for what it is. There's not a huge market for relatively unknown Power Metal bands from the 90's.

Anyways, this little adventure has filled a bit of a childhood void for me, and I hope it has a similar effect on you.

Frank Masterson, Donn Koehler, Pete Alvarez, Greg Eichelberger and Leonard Brauchler, I hope you guys found some success and are still playing. 

I was a thousand times more evil than thou.