Friday, January 31, 2014

converge - jane doe

As I sit here and listen to Jane Doe on Spotify, it just occurred to me that since I last was interested in a new Converge album, they have put out two. I think you could have called me a Converge fan throughout high school and college. Hell, even into my mid-twenties, and still now. Just not an updated fan.

They've got a lot of highly enjoyable songs. A lot. But, aside from Jane Doe, I wouldn't say any of their albums are truly ten out of ten stars. Maybe I'm an asshole (I am), maybe I don't fully appreciate the whole of their art (I don't), or maybe it's a combination of that and other factors.

I'm not going to sit here and sell you on why many of the songs on one album are better than many of the songs on another album. Or even try to get you to listen to Converge; if abrasive music is your thing, you're probably already familiar. But I am going to share a few thoughts with you about Converge and Jane Doe.

It's interesting to hear how their sound evolved from somewhat typical 90's chaotic metalcore beginnings to almost 90's screamo influenced 90's chaotic metalcore, ha. Probably a large chunk of that evolution is due to their guitarist, Kurt Ballou. He's a tall dude, and plays his guitar like he owns the thing; you can hear his technical improvement and ambition throughout the band's career. He's also a very talented record producer, owning a recording studio.

Then there's the singer, and leader of the band, Jacob Bannon, best described as an artist. Usually when I think of the term "artist", I think of a super douchey loser that thinks their "art" is profound. But Bannon's art is profound, for what it is. The metalcore scene explosion from the mid-90s to mid-aughts is, in many ways, a foundation of modern "musical/underground" art/creativity reflected in the mainstream - look at all the skulls and hearts and all-over print t-shirts; that's him, brah. His creativity literally influenced a generation, and an industry.

He apparently oversees the entire aesthetic of the band, and he has, for lack of better words, branded the band into something meaningful, or worthwhile. While many might question the necessity of existence of another band that screams a lot, it's clear much thought has been put into the idea of Converge.

While I may not find Converge to be life changing, the band is doing something highly artistic, and is presenting their art as a cohesive, awesome package - from the music, to the design of albums, to posters, to merch, to a great live show. Dude even owns a record label with a track record of awesome. (piqued curiosity: with a successful underground band, very prolific and varied art production, record label ownership, and additional endeavors, I wonder if he is rolling in the dough.)

The first time I heard Jane Doe, I was listening and hoping to find the album's The Saddest Day. No luck, but that's totally OK. Concubine kicked off the proceedings and those initial distorted notes really set the tone for me, and how I would receive the album going forward. That initial first impression has lasted in the thirteen years since; it always hits me the same exact way.

This is getting kind of long so I will spare my thoughts on their other albums, though what I've heard from the newest two has been good.

Jane Doe is a 10/10 album. Universally acclaimed, it captures rage, despair, fear, darkness, everything. And here it comes, one of "those" statements: Simply, if you don't appreciate the album, you are incapable of appreciating music and art. Please note that statement is coming from a totally uncultured rube.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Recently I had the joy of viewing the below video. In it, Boggie, a Hungarian singer, goes through transformation with a photoshop-like alien technology tool from the future, and her appearance changes throughout.

The video has gained some attention as it has been featured all over the interweb and on the facebook pages of many idiots.

While her attempt to skewer a culture that demands unattainable and unreasonable standards in beauty is lollable, it seems we are not appreciating enough what gave her the soapbox from which to preach: her voice. She has a great voice and this song is awesome. What's not PUMPY about that!?



Kinda funny that in her album cover, she looks more like what she does at the end of the video:

But who cares!

Because it gets PUMPIER!

Yep,, llc will be representing itself at a legislative meeting in Madison, WI...wait, will be? I mean, we CURRENTLY ARE! That's right, your favorite shithead is rubbing elbows with the political elite of Wisconsin.

As you read this, I am out and about FRACKING with the governor. We got all geared up, are facing the cold, and FRACKING the shit outta south-central Wisconsin. We'll probably get so carried away with all the FRACKING, high-fiving, bro-ing down, and what not that I bet I accidentally FRACK somebody!

In all seriousness, look for me to come back a psycho anti-drug, jesus-freak, FRACKMONSTER.

Monday, January 27, 2014

a subtle dismissal

Last week in the mail we received a coupon for the local Brazilian-style steakhouse. On the spectrum of such steakhouses, this place is towards the lower tier, as there is no salad bar, just a salad, (really tasty) cheesebread balls, super creamy mashed taters, and black beans. And not only do they bring out each item separately before you can let the meatstorm start, they take their goddamn time.

So you're sitting there waiting and waiting, watching the fake gauchos walk by with their juicy meat skewers silently taunting you.

The meat is good though, and that's why you hit Brazilian-style steakhouses, salad bar shittiness aside.

Anyway, the coupon. It was buy one, get one (BOGO, YOLO) for the all-you-can-eat "Rodizio Experience". There were like four coupon options, the BOGO deal, a desert thing, an appetizer thing, and a lunch special. Obvi I'm all in for the BOGZ deal.

So whatever, we go; it's awesome being seen in public with Heckyeahwoman. Meal/t was tasty.

When it came time to pony up, I presented the coupon, authoritatively. Instead of tearing our intended coupon from the other three, I handed the waitress the sheet. Let's be real, me tearing it out would have resulted in a totally torn up mess.

Looking at the coupon sheet, the waitress kindly asked me if I wanted the others back. With a smirk, I smugly declined. A subtle dismissal of the restaurant, the food, the staff: the entire experience.

Without saying as much, I let her know that those remaining coupons were beneath me. And that in the absence of a worthwhile coupon, I would not be back.

Rarely am I able to say so much by saying so little. Guess I'm just growing up and getting better at conveying my complex thoughts.

Monday, January 13, 2014

another stupid survey

Apparently, Time, in their "science" section, have a quiz that can predict your political alignment!

So I did it; I bit. And not surprisingly, I had both liberal and conservative qualities. Don't believe me? Look immediately below. Interestingly, despite the longer list of conservative qualities, I scored 63% liberal. For the mathematically and politically illiterate out there, that means I would be 37% conservative.

Lettuce break it on down:

Liberal qualities
  • You like cats more than dogs
  • You like fusion cuisine
  • You think it's okay for your partner to look at porn alone
  • You use a modern browser
  • You prefer the Met to Times Square

Conservative qualities
  • You prefer action movies to documentaries
  • You think kids should respect authority
  • You like a neat desk
  • You think self-control trumps self-expression
  • You think the government should treat the lives of its citizens as much more valuable than those of other countries
  • You think the world benefits from nations and borders
  • You're proud of your country's history

Probably the most glaring thing here is how out of touch Time, as well as the mainstream media in general, is with what the terms "liberal" and "conservative" actually mean. Of course that leads to plenty of everyday assholes miss-labeling themselves, which continues the circle of political cluelessness.

What is possibly the most obviously conservative quality on the list, checks in as a liberal quality: "You think it's okay for your partner to look at porn alone". Suspend for a minute the media's often hateful definition of what a conservative is, and think about it. My partner, looking at porn alone, not harming anybody, choosing to do something wholly on her own volition, and me not giving a shit, is about as conservative as you can get. 

That's me staying out of her decision to view porn alone, involving nobody else but herself. My strong agreement with that statement is conservative. Blah, blah, conservatives aren't supposed to look at porn. While some may not, a true conservative wouldn't give a shit if somebody else did.

Anyway, a quick rundown of the remaining liberal qualities has them categorized somewhat questionably, due to a lack of qualifier, but whatever; it's Time, not like they are purveyors of modern culture or scientificness. Similar thing with the conservative qualities. Really the only qualities that registered an "extreme" answer - complete agreement or disagreement, were the fusion cuisine one, the porn one, and the modern browser one.

Seriously?! You mean to tell me that part of the reason I scored as liberal is because I use a modern internet browser? CHILD PLEASE! I only use Chrome because Rush Limbaugh told me to.

But then we get to the "You're proud of your country's history" - to which I chose "somewhat agree". 

As a 32 year old, becoming superficially politically aware at roughly the same time as the rest of my generation, you'd think I would have chosen "HOLY FUCK DISAGREE WOW", considering recent history. It truly has been one fuck up after another, as the mindblowingly stupid citizenry of this country continues to elect what are essentially corporations disguised as people. 

While there is a lot of progress to be made, generally, for the vast majority of Americans, living here is a lot better than many other places around the globe. People are risking life and limb to get here.

First, and maybe foremost, 'Murica abolished slavery some hundred and fifty years ago (I'm proud of that). Gay rights, while still an abysmal failure, is at least moving in the right direction (proud of that). Religion is playing less of a role in policy making, and that's kind of cool. It appears the idea of the US having a reasonable conversation with Iran is at least on the table, and that's pretty sweet (though AIPAC is mere seconds away from waving a wad of cash in front of the government's face).

Then yeah, there's the constant push for more war, the special interest owning of DC, there's you being alive, the insane overpopulation, but relatively speaking, there are many things to be at least "somewhat" proud of, even despite the many despicable things from our history. And that's why I agreed somewhat.

The scary part comes with the (sometimes) unspoken equating of being even "somewhat" proud of your country's history with being a racist, sexist, intolerant, closed-minded, numbskull conservative. Because, truth is, that's what the media is referring to, when they say "conservative".

Friday, January 3, 2014

reality check

Yeah wow, so a week or two ago I inadvertently inspired some dude to have what would become a full blown textbook internet meltdown. I'm still reeling from his words-like-daggers. We all are.

I wanted to wait a good couple of weeks for it to blow over before I commented and really spilled my feelings. That, and "the holidays", man.

Anytime somebody takes bits and pieces of what you say or write - out of context - and then applies their own misguided and uninformed worldview, and then repeatedly owns you in the comments section of YOUR OWN BLOG, yeah, it can be humbling. Adding insult to my injury, he cursed furiously.

It was bad.

Hurt feelings aside, there is a silver lining.

Most internet meltdowns rarely come sans unintentional lols, and jordan's John Krukian swings at sarcasm produced the lols. Notable was his umbrage with my alleged "dismissing of the impoverished, marginalized people of Chicago". Luckily for the Windy City downtrodden, his internet rant single handedly un-impoverished and de-marginalized those fine folks. I think we all agree that the best way to help those in need is through profanity-laced internet tirades. Truly a gilded heart, that jordan.

Despite perceived differences, it's pretty clear we are more the same than not.

1. We both take to the internet to piss people off - though I think all parties involved would agree that he has a tendency to get considerably more worked up. And way sweatier, if you can believe that. Hey, getting pissed and sweaty is punk, which means he basically just turned his dark living room into a basement punk show! Something I could never do, not being a punk and all.

2. Neither of us employ anything novel or unique in our internet rantings. But to be fair, who really does? By-the-numbers internet trolling comes in both blogging and commenting forms.

3. We both find pleasure in reading and rereading my blog posts. Though his pleasure seems to turn quickly into anger, which turns me from being flattered into kinda wondering if he's going to have a meltdown in real-life.

4. We are both better than you, and we will go to painstaking internet lengths to write about it.

Anyway, jordan is probably just a friend of a friend; we may have even met at some point. Otherwise, I have no idea how he could have stumbled from his highbrow internet reading to something like heck yeah, man.

jordan, if you're out there, and this finds you, please show mercy in the comments section.