Sunday, March 31, 2013

The rule of thirds

I've been a pretty lazy bastard. All winter, hell, much longer than that, I've been feeding myself, living in comfort with next to zero exercise. I can always find convenient excuses to not change a damn thin too: no money, no time, other things to do. But really, I spend quite a bit of time just looking for things to occupy the shriveled nut that serves as my brain.

Computer games for instance. I have about ten st up right now, most of which go unplayed, simply because I always get taken in by the latest one. I gotta say, Funcom's The Secret World is pretty damn addictive. It really packs a lot of meat for little junkies like me.

But I have to take a break from that. I need to get my ass in gear. Get going.

It took some time and doing, but I'm finally getting to join a class. I have an escrima school just by the metro, so I have little excuses not to join, especially since that my biggest impediment debts, has been addressed. Sure, the schedule is not the best (call centers do that) but the teacher is accommodating. So I'll be signing up this week, and I'll have to get myself into shape ASAP if I don't want to get my ass kicked. So the bike is getting tuned up and set up so that I have even less excuses.

So that's two thirds: working out and escrima. I also want to get back to learning languages, one way or another. I have something of a knack for it, so I should stop wasting time and do it.

The three goals fr the coming year:

1- Proficiency in escrima
2- Getting in good enough shape that I can reasonably attend martial arts seminars with no shame (and lose a few belt knotches in the bargain)
3- Proficiency in one new language.

It's doable, heck, even modest a far as expectations.

And to get my ass in gear, a first challenge: no alcohol for six weeks. I want to see what impact it'll have on my health. I'll take it from there.

Here's a video of what escrima entails:

Sorta like renfair...

So last Monday I decided to play along the medieval/folk sound, because I haven't touched it much and I used to be big into that. This is what got played.

this mortal coil - song to the siren
coco rosie - gallows
corvus corax - ballade de mercy
faun - andro
anastasia - na rekah vavilonskih
rome - der wolfsmantel
derniere volonte - la joie devant la mort
unwoman - written in red
voltaire - ex-lover's lover
swans - love will save you
nick cave and the bad seeds - henry lee
andromeda complex - la chevelure
sol invictus - the killing tide
mick harvey - demon alcohol
michael gira - michael's white hands
johnny cash - personal jesus
the tiger lillies - beat me
bauhaus - hope

Yeah, it was a thing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Everybody's got a plan

I have been having technological issues for a few months now. As a matter of fact, this has been going on since I upgraded to the desktop from the lap top, specifically for hardware and graphic performance. With all the bells and whistles, one thing that computer makers have been conveniently ignoring is sound over graphics.

It makes sense, when you get right down to it; after all, once that you've got 3D Surround, that shit is covered, right? Time to make the picture pop out! Fine if you play games (which I do,) but a bit of a hassle if you also play with sounds (which I also do.) There are features beyond "I can hear the world around me" that can be pretty important.

Like being able to record sounds that your computer generate without resorting to external cables.

I found that tech forums are useless on the subject, since that it does't feature into their numbers and performance fetish. I had to go to the source, that is, sound card makers to get the answer I needed. See, its a weird thing, but the on-board sound card on the laptop is capable of pulling that little trick off, but my performance-superior desktop isn't.

Thankfully, the folks over at Creative Labs quickly came to my assistance, not only telling me the name of that feature (What U Hear) on their tech software, but the list of products that carried that feature. A quick trip to Tiger Direct, and by the end of the week (UPS willing) I'll have that little snag fixed.

It sounds like a small thing; after all, I do own several computers, and I could well have the wires set up to do this. But it's wasteful, a pain in the ass, and is not only impeding my podcasting, it's preventing me from doing music. It's something of a pain if both your recording prog, sequence, synth and guitar amp are the same machine, but can't share the same card to blend it all together.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a lame excuse to justify not doing something, but hey, one less excuse, is a win... right?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is it spring yet?

Alright, so the Ides of March are trying to squeeze the last bit of annoyance out of it's lemons into my eyes, but with some perseverance, I'm pushing through. There's probably a lesson there.

Guru Dan Inosanto is visiting for a seminar in a few weeks, but I'll have to skip, simply because I am way out of shape and would rather not embarrass myself when I will attend his teachings. I also want to be able to comfortably afford it, so it'll have to be for next time, after I shed some lazy padding and attend classes regularly. Soon!

This week's show wasn't too depressing, but I'm definitely on a rock bend. Then again, when the tunes are good, go with what stirs the blood, eh?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back from the deep and into the fire

So after last week's bit of depression and so forth, I decided that this week, I'd shake some of those March winter blues and get stomping. This week's set is pretty heavy on the drums and bass, without any drum-and-bass.

the chameleons uk - dont fall
dead skeletons - yama
inkubus sukkubus - heartbeat of the earth
rosenkopf - troth
angels of liberty - girl under the water
soror dolorosa - 43'
13th chime - cursed
every new dead ghost - hunters
miguel and the living dead - batcave
deadchovsky - alcool
hysteria - love thine enemy
fangs on fur - blood on the sand
skeletal family - lies
sex gang children - sebastiane
christ vs warhol - the end is nigh
dekoder - sanity
alaric - tribute
dystopian society - dystopian society
mizar - vo mojot son
derniere volonte - toujours
chelsea wolfe - advice and vices

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ides of March

March is a bad time for me, go figure. Might be that cabin fever is setting in bad, might be that I'm long overdue for a proper vacation, sometime out of my skin and mind.

That being said, this last couple of weeks have been putting me in a bad space and I decided to exorcise some of the poison out with last Monday's playlist.

To get in the right mood, get some bad lighting, remember some of your screw-ups and other failures, drink some vodka and have a one-man mosh pit in your basement. Yeah, it's one of those:

kraftwerk - metropolis
fad gadget - insecticide
black marble - msq no-extra
esplendor geometrico - unidas de control
dive - final report
dark day - no, nothing, never
suicide - ghost rider
the kvb - 8 hours
no more - suicide commando
tommi stumpff - helden sterben
haus arafna - heart beats blood flows
blitzkrieg baby - your happy place
makina girgir - alpha
in trance 95 - shapes in a new geometry
nine circles - twilight stars
depeche mode - the things you said
coil - tainted love

Low-key, minimal electronics, with a last minute addition of Suicide, because you're not in a dark mood if you're not craving some Suicide, and some closure by Coil. Hey, we all get those days. Maybe the weekend will bring some more positive tidings and I'll post a more joyful set on next Monday, but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A heart in darkness

I'm in something of a bad place right now, and it's not the first time. What's particular is the timing; late winter and early spring have been emotionally and psychologically trying times for me in the last few years. The first instance that I came bring to mind was when I damaged my back. I had been on worker's compensation for well over a year at that time, and was waiting for the agency to deliver their verdict, after therapy was stopped because I was starting to regress. It took a long time for them to answer, and their answer was to return to work, everything's fine. AKA fuck you.

At that time, I had only had work experience in physical labor, and it was what I had assumed  would be able to do, previous experience and all. It was a very bad time, since that I couldn't actually return to my old job, and I was rather wary of pursuing such employment, which all led to me living on my own with zero income for a few months. It was tricky to say the least.

This led me to apply for call center jobs, first as a telemarketer (and what a glorious failure that was), then as a customer service peon. sadly, this was the best salary I had ever had. I was being paid more money answering the phone than lifting the heavy things and other blue-collar activities ever had.

This time the damage was psycho-emotional; after a few years, I was hit with a severe depression. My only advantage in that dark time was that I wasn't physically self-destructive; that was a double-edge sword, because while I did not internalize my anger, I externalized it, towards whatever happened to be near when the mood shifted dangerously. I never lashed out physically, but that didn't mean that I didn't strike fear into my partner.

I got mostly over my depression and returned to work, taking a break from the office to return to physical labor of sort. And I needed that vacation, to get back to a proper head space. The biggest trouble with office work is that lack of tangible result. You can work your ass off all day and all week, and at the end of it all, you have to start all over again, with little tangible result to show. With physical labor, at the end of the day, you have a shelf stocked, dishes washed, inventory moved from the truck to the warehouse, a deck built. It's real, it's tangible, it's undeniable. With office work, it's all about numbers and perception ans status.

I hit another low last year at about this time. Sleep issues that were work related. I had returned to call centers, in a different field, but ending with the same sort of dangerous environment; play the game, fake off, be hungry, the games that money and status demands. I was never big on those, so they got to me eventually. I did not enjoy the work, but  was somewhat addicted to the newfound status of now being officially middle-class for the first time that I needed to get help to find a way out. So I took a month's vacation, an sent out exploratory tendrils.

So I moved on; same field, better environment. Less of a rat race, improved salary and benefits, the works. And yet, troubles returned to haunt me and mine.

While I could say that it's not just me, and that it quite likely has an impact on me, I am surrounded with friends and acquaintances trying to plow through problems after problems, many of which are medicated, whether the meds are being taken or not. And throughout all of this, I have yet to address the anger issue. Oh, I had said I would, a few months back. But when you give yourself time to think about it, you find good, rational reasons to not do it.

Until you snap again.

Like I did yesterday. So I didn't wait. This time, I made the phone call, and I will force myself to not ignore the need and deal with the shark in the living room.

Deal with the shark, or it will deal with you. With extreme prejudice.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The procrastinator

Well, this week I was supposed to do my podcast along the theme of "the man in black" tribute. On paper, a good idea, in practice, a pain in the butt. Especially given my terrible tendency to put the set list together on Sunday night, to be delivered before I hit the sack, which usually means three AM.

Overall, a pretty dumb move. Its a two-part thing, really; on one hand, I like to keep it fresh, so the set list I put out is as close to the feeling of the moment as I can make it without doing it live, on the other hand, I'm a procrastinator. I keep delaying doing anything, no matter how small, or trivial, or how much of a benefit I'd get from it. Like a full night of sleep before starting the work week.

Anyways, enough bitching and recriminations, here's the playlist for this week's show:

those poor bastards - i walk the line
the cramps - big black witchcraft rock
scarlet and the zombie spiders - zombie werewolf
christ vs warhol - cross of lorraine
the sisters of mercy - walk away
alien sex fiend - i walk the line
sex gang children - sebastiane
imaginary steps - when i'm gone
flowers for agatha - the common enemy
miranda sex garden - peep show
red lorry yellow lorry - he's read
joy division - interzone
christian death - sleepwalk
skeletal family - she cries alone
ausgang - crawling the walls
soviet soviet - marksman
a touch of hysteria - non compos mentis
les yeux sans visage - neon lies
decima victima - un hombre solo
the cure - pornography
haus arafna - i did it for you
three winters - atrocities

Now, there's a couple of notes about this playlist: for one, I opened it with a Johnny Cash cover, which does sort of work with my planned theme. It's also one of the most interesting cover versions of any sort I've heard. Second, waiting till the last moment to do things means that I'm rushed and don't pay attention to little details, like spelling. I realized that I had made several spelling errors, which I find a little embarrassing, but that's being a writer wannabe for you.

Tune in to the show next Monday, where I'll be spinning it back towards electronics. Maybe. I'll see how the mood goes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Another week, another playlist

Okay, so this week was something more of a regular week, so there was no theme. However, I felt rather strongly towards a more standard rock band lineup and sound, so it was another drum-and-guitar set.

young marble giants - credit in the straight world
cranes - reach (live)
christian death - this glass house
alien sex fiend - now I'm feeling zombified
red lorry yellow lorry - hand on heart
danse society - danse/move
she past away - sanri
skeleton hands - dotted lines
cold showers - bc
belgrado - in my head
pink turns blue - walking on both sides
fangs on fur - new coats
the cure - the hanging garden
bauhaus - the man with x-ray eyes
the cramps - human fly
balaam and the angel - two into one
clan of ximox - muscoviet mosquito
the royal family and the poor feat peter hook - voices
death in june - she said destroy
coil - heartworms

Next Tuesday, it's International Man in Black Day, celebrating the influence and legacy to a pair of true american rebels, Bill Hicks and Johnny Cash, so this will be the theme for the show. Wait to hear what I'll do with that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ladies' night

I've been DJying on and off for quite some time now. I've done my own promotion too, and did I ever learn some valuable lessons there (don't trust club owners is pretty much at the top.)

After my last gig fizzed out, opening the evening at Burning Mondays, I sort of fell off the wagon. Well, it's not so much that I fell off the wagon, as the scene and it's inhabitants preferred to all just the "hard noise" (or something like that) bandwagon, leaving any sort of rock variants in the dustbin. It's a bummer, especially since this town used to mean something, but that was a long time ago, and it's only been going steadily downhill.

One way or another, I've always been fairly eclectic in my musical tastes, which have been strongly influenced by the many DJs, whether in clubs or on the radio I have tuned to. I liked this idea that a good club night was not restricted to a single niche market; for one thing, it's a recipe for rapid failure, and this sort of elitism only appeals to a small crew of sycophants, who will abandon ship as soon as the new cool, elite thing comes along. It's not my game.

I had been playing with the idea of podcasting, or streaming a setlist on the internet for many years now, but never got around to it. It was mostly excuses, or the lack of motivation that stalled me. A friend of mine, Nikki, had been doing her show for a while online, and it turns out that a spot opened on the station that hosted her gig, The Katalepsia show. Now, I felt a little out of my depth at first, but I jumped in with both feet, and overall, I'm pretty happy with what I'm making.

I have some fun doing the occasional themed show, if the timing makes it relevant. I've done Hallow'een, Rememberance day, X-mass, New Years, and this week, it's Valentine's day, which due to the timing and general circumstances, I decided to drop the whole Hallmarks thing in favor of something more interesting: Ladies' Night. Here's the setlist, for your enjoyment and comments:

p j harvey - to bring you my love
nick cave and the bad seeds - loverman
bat for lashes - what's a girl to do
zola jesus - night
coi - windowpane
fad gaget - lady shave
kraftwerk - das model
new order - blue monday
the sisters of mercy - lucretia
pop will eat itself - wise up! sucker
x-ray specs - oh! bondage up yours!
bikini kill - rebel girl
shonen knife - she's the one
the cramps - what's inside a girl?
siouxie and the banshees - christine
bauhaus - she's in parties
trisomie 21 - the last song
vast - touched
joy division - she's lost control
the gun club - she's like heroin to me
voltaire - ex lover's lover
this mortal coil - song to the siren

I'm on Radio Zombie, running a show called Bloody Monday. You can stream or download the podcast, and it's free, so why not tune in?

An opening

How to open a new chapter: food porn.
This is what I call shepherd's pie.