My Computer “Still At’ent Dead” And Other Thoughts

“I STILL AT’ENT DEAD”

My computer turned on again. And with the help of a friend in tech it’s actually partially restored to it’s former ability. Not completely, but it’s hobbled now rather than crippled or dead. Not only that, but my move and jobhunt are both over so I can be more consistent about putting actual, quality content up on this blog again. Because what good is doing 52 blog posts in a year if all of them are “sorry this is so short but I’m busy and doing this for routine without putting any heart into it?”

So let’s recap my last few weeks. I moved halfway across the country as you know, but due to circumstances I was unable to transfer my Gold’s Gym job. That was unfortunate as Gold’s Gym was a wonderful place to work with awesome people. So after a quick hunt I got a few jobs. One is scooping ice cream between now and the winter for a friend. The other is a fitness coach at an elite fitness club in Brookline, Massachusetts. So that was a stroke of extraordinary luck, wouldn’t you say? That said I am caught between checks like an extended version of the last three days of a bi-weekly pay cycle. Once that comes to an end everything is basically back to what passes for my normal.

As far as non-work stuff, I’ve caught up with a good deal of my friends but there are still a few outliers whose schedules I haven’t been able to mesh with yet. There was a party where I drank vodka as though it were beer, and several shows ranging from local bands like Aminals, Actor|Observer and The Shallow End Divers to the original metal legends, Black Sabbath. At my youngest brother’s urging I played Shadow of Mordor on his Xbox One and it was actually a good deal of fun. I borrowed The Zen of Screaming for a friend of mine and I watched it and am making decent progress at screaming well. As I’ve mentioned previously I have a short story in a physical anthology and I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo, especially now that my work life is settling down. There’s still a lot to do both for work and for everything else, but the chaos of my life is more of the magnitude I prefer, which is still present but not much that I can’t keep my head above water.

So I hope all y’all had and have a great week and I’ll be back to doing real blog posts next week, I hope!

Advertisements
My Computer “Still At’ent Dead” And Other Thoughts

[LATE] – 2010s, the Gritty Reboot of the 1970s

So a while ago I went on a super caffeine bender and ranted on Snapchat about how the 2010s are the gritty reboot of the 1970s, in part as a joke about how most of the media in the 2010s are remakes, adaptations, reboots and sequels of older works and partly because holy shit, guys, the 2010s are just the 1970s.

So let me explain my thinking. There are a few things, good and bad, and I’ll do them in no particular order but try to end with the okay stuff. Also, bear in mind this is from the perspective of an American white guy primarily versed in things related to American white people, both good and bad, from the era. Since I try (and often fail) to avoid talking out of my ass things like relative gay rights, the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter won’t get a ton of mention here but link in the comments if you know someone has made some good points about those potential comparable data points, okay? In addition I will be using the term “Hippy” to refer to the generation of people who were in their 20s during the 70s much as most Millennials are in their 20s now. The statements made will be general. Obviously not everyone in their 20s was a Hippy back then, but that is what they are primarily remembered as and, in addition, I am making the confident prediction that Millennials will be remembered for the subset of our generation you probably just thought of when I said Millennials just now and am referring to that group when I use the term. And yes, it’s possible the Hippy movement is more 60s than 70s but in my opinion there is enough overlap for the term to still be applicable.

First, the politics. Sorry. But think about who wore this one better: An abundance of conservative politicians making potentially disastrous decisions out of fear and hate of the Other supported by scared old (usually white) people and usually at the expense of a progressive, scared group of young and relatively diverse people who would get organized and hold rallies and protests for peace and positive change all under a near-constant dread of global nuclear annihilation due to tensions between the US, Russia and China and war waged, also at the expense of the poor and the young, by the rich and the old. The 1970s had it, of course, but the young, diverse progressive crew back then at least had some idealism. Nowadays it’s far more common to see a sort of Knight In Sour Armor/Theory of Courage style progressive who, having seen that the 70s yielded little permanent positive fruit, is resigned to the inevitability of failure across the board from civil rights to economic equality to ending for-profit war. Even though the protests and the rallies still happen there’s an atmosphere of defeated futility. “This has happened before and failed, why should we expect any better now that the conservatives have become more harsh, the progressives more ostracized and socially outcast, the rich so much more powerful?”

Second, slightly related, the relationship between generations, patriotism (at least in the US) and trust of the system. Who wore it better: A general trend of “my country, right or wrong” and “love it or leave it” among older people up to and including a distrust or disdain of people from other nation-states and the idea of criticism as condemnation (or, in more extreme cases, criticism as treason) versus a younger generation, generally considered a waste of sperm by the older generation, trying to survive off underpaid, laborious and thankless jobs (all while being told they’re worthless slackers) while attempting to improve what they see as a broken system for as many people as possible only to be met with derision and mockery for even trying to improve if their desire to improve – and it’s implication that things aren’t already perfect – isn’t seen as somehow treasonous. The Hippy generation certainly saw this, and don’t you think Millennials are pretty sick of this one by now? And again, the people on the older, more conservative side have only become even more extreme than before, in the US putting forth as their ideal paragon an outright anti-intellectual fascist instead of people who just flirted with fascist tendencies while the younger generation is starting from a place of being even more psychologically beaten down due to the lingering awareness of the previous cycle and it’s failures.

Millennials are angrier than Hippies. We want positive social change but our awareness of their failure and the near-inevitability of our own gives us a fire of rage that causes us to lash out more. We have a grit, a darkness around our cores that the Hippies lacked. Where Hippies were the generally good if sometimes kooky and misguided heroes of the 1970s sociopolitical world with an uncertain hope for the future Millennials are the dark anti-heroes of a dystopian story who have accepted their failure before the fight even begins like a dirty, tech-adept Spartacus.

I think that’s most of the heavy stuff. Now for the stuff that may be a remake of 70s stuff but is actually kind of an improvement or is complimentary to both eras because, despite the term being loaded, not every aspect of a gritty reboot is universally worse than the original!

Did you notice though, that Millennials tend to have hair like Hippy 2.0s? In contrast to most of the Gen X-ers and Boomers in my life who believe men should have short hair that is very minimally styled most of the people in my age bracket at least do interesting things with fades and differing lengths and different points of the head. But that said a lot of us actually do tend to keep our hair long, only instead of letting it run fully, Ozzy or Geezer wild we tend to style it in buns or, again, with cuts that emphasize certain shapes. For example as some of you know I keep my hair shaved nearly to the skin on the sides and back and the top is either in a man-bun or, more frequently, in a ponytail that is in excess of a foot long. In addition while I’m used to seeing pictures of people with some facial hair nowadays beards are fairly common to one degree or another, and it’s considered a normal thing among my generation where my Dad’s peers would probably have kept shaven the majority of the time. And that also opens the door to beard styles. While I usually let mine flow free I also have in my possession a handmade bronze beard ring carved with Runes that I wear on special occasions. In fact large swathes of the Millennial aesthetic is a lot like the Hippy one, if darker: an often misguided focus on and obsession with things that are “natural,” a DIY attitude and a lack of trust in corporatism in the things we wear that is often manipulated by the very same corporations we mistrust (cough, Vans, cough).

And the best part of the link between the 1970s and the 2010s is the music. Alternative, underground music, specifically. In 1970 a handful of young men from Birmingham, England had a band that got huge when their guitarist lost the ends of his fingers and, to compensate, downtuned his guitar in a way not common among blues-rock musicians of the 60s. In that act Metal as we know it was born. In this era, whatever purists say, Metal is in a new golden age of creativity thanks to the internet and, like the 1970s, is being practiced in an environment of friendship, extreme use of alcohol, sexual liberation and experimental use of recreational drugs. Like metal and hard rock of the 70s a lot of metal is spurred by the general sense of disenfranchisement and fear that pervades our society. While time will tell what song is the War Pigs of my generation trust me, a lot of people are trying to make it. And while people outside the Metal community of both eras tend to think of it as very dark and negative despite the outer appearance there is actually a lot more kindness, openness and love in the modern Metal community than can be found almost anywhere else in the world.

So that’s pretty much it as far as shit I am (or at least feel I am) qualified to talk about. So which one am I talking about here: An era of fear and hatred. An era of flagrant abuses by the wealthy and powerful. An era of political corruption. An era of disenfranchised youth. An era of expression. An era of unrivaled creativity.

I’m talking about the 1970s. But since the 2010s are just that party all over again then to talk about one is to talk about the other.

So come dance with me until the party’s over.

[LATE] – 2010s, the Gritty Reboot of the 1970s

Crazy Eventful Week

Holy balls, guys. That was insane.

So I started my new job on Monday and it’s fantastic. I have awesome co-workers and the work itself is actually very enjoyable. I also get to interact with gym rats all day long. Ah, my people! I’d say it’s a pretty awesome development in my life and it suits me much better than my last job, which means everybody’s happy. I even met [REDACTED] from [REDACTED], who is someone I enormously respect as a host and as comedic talent. Not sharing his/her name here though because he/she might not want to get swamped by fans during a workout.

As for non-work stuff I went to a “Farewell to the FORT” party and it was incredible! Between the chat on Griffon Ramsey’s Twitch and the people there in person I met a ton of awesome people. It was overall a wonderful experience and I’m glad I did it, and interacting with those sorts of people is one of the reasons I moved down here in the first place.

Aside from that I started my diet, and I’m getting into my normal work schedule next week. Which should also put my writing schedule back on track.

Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m going to write and listen to Jomsviking by Amon Amarth.

Crazy Eventful Week

Learning to Scream Days 4 and 5

​So okay, literally nothing went as planned. Cool.

Thing one, instead of four songs I just sang and screamed along with the entire Actor|Observer LP The Longer Now. And honestly if you haven’t bought that album already you’re fucking up big time. (By the way, they’re going on tour so go see them if you can).

Thing two, while my throat is already at the stage where it feels fine I had no energy today, no drive to do much of anything. Things are up in the air if I’ll take today to rest or if I’ll try to find a few songs to do after I eat, but still, something about today is weighing me down, like a prelude to a cold or something. I already shifted my workout to tomorrow and Sunday (I do that from time to time, still training six days but shifting when in the week I rest if needed). But I’m not sure.

Either way, I think TLN is a great album to practice with since it has both screaming and clean singing, so I was able to practice both. Fun fact – volume wise my clean singing is WAY louder. Like by orders of magnitude louder. Not sure why that is but I’ll just roll with it.

Learning to Scream Days 4 and 5

A check in and a new blog series – Screamer Day Three

​Hi everyone,

So after SXSW and however much other stuff, I’d say I’m in a positive groove now even if I lost count of days. So I think I can call Operation KNITTING a full success. I’m happier now than I was before and able to push through problems with more reasonable reactions. I’m still not going back to politics – I’m going to treat it as recovery for an addiction and stay away.

As for my new blog-ish series, I’ve decided, as regards creativity, I’m going to teach myself how to ​actually​ metal scream and document my journey. I’ve looked up a few tutorials so far and overall I think progress shouldn’t be too slow. According to the tutorials my throat may be a little scratchy and sore for a week or two before my false cords get more used to it, much like how muscles you aren’t used to working out are sore for a bit until they get used to it. If after a week or two I practice and I still feel a bit raspy and tight that means I am doing something wrong and need to go back to the drawing board. 

In the meantime, here’s some information about what I’m doing:

1. I’m training primarily “false cord” screaming and growling with some supplementary clean work if possible. This is mostly because false cording is the only variation of metal screaming I understand the mechanics of. I’ve looked up explanations of compression fry screaming – which is what several of my friends do – but I don’t understand the explanations of how to do it. It’s hard that you can’t see the throat, so the explanations of “just do x, y and z” make no sense to me. But that’s okay, since while I like the sound of both I feel like a lot of what I like is also false cord – traditional death metal stuff.

2. I’m drinking a lot of lukewarm/room temperature water. Supposedly this helps to recover after practicing. I also plan to buy some honey and tea in the near future since that also helps the throat. 

I figure I’ll try to do four full songs a day for a while on top of the practice noises I’ll be doing (more on those tomorrow, maybe?) and share them here if there’s a legal way to view them. In this case all four practice songs were from Vanna, off of their label’s official youtube channel. Feel free to give them a listen because they’re good anyway.

1. Fuel – Metallica Cover off of Vanna’s ALT album (I failed this one, tonal distortion escapes me almost as much as Fry screaming)

2. Digging – one of my favorite songs, from Vanna’s album VOID.

3. The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson Cover off their ALT album

4. Bienvenue – also off of VOID

 

Hope you enjoy the songs and wish me luck!

A check in and a new blog series – Screamer Day Three

Operation KNITTING – Day 5 (Haha Get It?)

​Man, it’s getting harder to ignore politics but I am trying really hard to keep my nose out of it. But as they say, “brawl with a pig and you go away with his stink.” The old Norsemen had some solid wisdom.

And that wisdom has helped me pass through Day Four okay, despite the temptation to dwell in politics. I know only that today is a major milestone day in the elections, but I’m solid in my resolve to remain uninvolved beyond “Stop Donald Trump.”

Oh also this is Day Five. Anyone else hype for that show?

So I’ll hop on the positives real quick to get my mind farther from that circus.

1. I got Fable Anniversary in the mail today. I ordered it primarily with the Amazon gift card I got from my grandmother at Christmas. It is pre-owned, and while the box looks a little dinged the disc itself, overall, appears to be fine so here’s hoping it works!

2. Aminals play in Austin tomorrow! There’s some other SXSW stuff I’m hoping to do but that is the main thing and I am so damn excited for it!

3. My first unemployment check came today. Glad to say that as things stand it looks like it’ll be the first of only very few depending on when I start at the Ford place (or the other opportunity comes to fruition) but every little bit helps both before and after.

4. Back to the weather, it was like 90 degrees and sunny today as well, and it was magnificent. Flawless. It’s March 15th and it feels like the peak of Summer already as I understand it from the north. So this is exactly why I moved here.

5. It was just one of those days where I got a sight of myself in the gym mirror and realized that months and months of consistently working out means I actually look really good now. Not saying that in a braggy or conceited way, more in a “remap my brain to be able to see the good” way. My arms are getting thicker, my chest is getting better and my shoulders are more rounded. And dem calves, yo. Dem calves.

Okay, that’s that, I’m going to try and play Fable now, since Fable is awesome. People give it shit but I think it’s lovely.

Operation KNITTING – Day 5 (Haha Get It?)

Operation KNITTING – My First Day Four, a Big One

​Yeah I really don’t have a lot of commentary for you guys today. I feel different now. Better, just… better. It’s hard to explain it more than that. With the absence of the fear from my lack of employment (still don’t know when I’d be starting exactly but I should hear back soon) combined with the deliberate practice I’m doing here it’s having an appreciable effect on the way I think and act while at rest.

So let’s get on to my usual list, shall we?

1. HOLY FUCK KILLING JOKE WITH KEVIN CONROY AND MARK HAMILL! I’m not a huge comics guy but I genuinely enjoyed Killing Joke and to hear “my” Batman and Joker will be reprising their roles just makes me overjoyed. Because let’s face it, to most millennials those voices ARE Batman and the Joker.

2. It was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Austin today, and sunny. I had my windows open all day long to let in the fresh air. My apartment got up to 86 and I’m in heaven right now.

3. This one I may need to phrase a bit obscurely just because on ongoing whatevers, but I may have a uniquely well-suited opportunity in the near future (albeit one that is not writing related). I don’t see why it wouldn’t play out, but still, I don’t want to go counting unhatched chickens. However even the possibility (and pretty significant likelihood of that possibility being realized) is exciting. #teaseteasetease

4. Speaking of writing, doing some worldbuilding today. It’s a fun thing to do that’s probably the easiest thing about writing because it’s just listing all the cool shit. It’s basically just stretching, the equivalent of a mobility routine for your body only in your brain, but it’s a good way to get back in the groove.

5. In fact, I think I’ve had ideas come easier and more freely since I got the “congratulations we’ll follow up soon to tell you when you start” from the dealership. I think the fear being gone has basically opened the floodgates back up. Basically I apparently write the way people in disaster movies fuck: “oh God I’m so glad to be alive well you’re hard enough to work with lets GO.”

That went to a REALLY weird place. Good to know my absolutely vile sense of humor is recovering apace with everything else.

Anyway, I’m probably going to spend tonight in. My next real SXSW-related thing is Wednesday when Aminals are playing at Dirty Dog, but we’ll see if I don’t go in to do anything else tomorrow.

Operation KNITTING – My First Day Four, a Big One