I feel like I should write more about this. I have a few dozen pages written that are maybe a bit more incendiary than I should share, particularly in this environment. They aren’t fully formed or edited thoughts that I think deserve more. But fuck all that, I am going to say this…
President Barack Obama – I will miss you. You are an absolute hero of our people, a paragon of all American truths, and I hope we see more of you in the future, especially in light of this horror show that is coming into office.
Thank you, Barry. Thank you.
Well not really for me, but for them. I had intentions on writing today about some other stuff, but whatever, that shit can wait.
It’s snowing today, here where I live in a suburb-ish city outside of Baltimore, MD. Or rather, it snowed, earlier today, and I guess it might snow some more. Right at this very moment it isn’t snowing. It’s just cold, and cold enough for my northern born ass to get the chills. Alright, let’s get to the story.
I hope I haven’t oversold it, as this is hardly a story. In fact, it is about to pass by in about a sentence. Keep your eyes open or it might sneak by too quickly. Here it goes.
I picked up hitchhikers and everything was fine.
That’s it. Story’s over.
Well, I guess there are details. I was out driving around my town, heading back to my place after picking up sleeping aids – I have real bad insomnia and didn’t feel like battling it unequipped tonight. Nothing too special. I was heading down a road I’ve traveled a zillion times when I spotted a cop car pulled over and talking to some folks. I was going to pass around the cop, but the cop pulled away, off into the night. The group of folks turned out to be a trio of girls that were absolutely frantic, desperately flagging me down. Form my vantage, they looked pretty panicked, so I pulled over to see what the matter. For some reason, I thought they were either warning me of something up with that cop or in some scary trouble. Turned out, they just needed a ride.
They were trying to walk home from a nearby shopping area – nearby in a car, less so on foot. Anyway, I gave them a ride. They were about half-way from the shopping area to their destination which, if everything else were the same, they probably wouldn’t have even bothered with a ride. But, and it’s important to remember that I come from the land of the ice and snow, it’s fucking cold out today. I mean even for me, a very overweight adult-assed man from the frigid wastes, it was was fucking cold. It’s not as cold as there, don’t be stupid, but it’s about as cold as it gets here, which is cold enough for people around those parts to finally pull out the goosedowns. Whoa, I just got nostalgia chills from the thought of that. Anyway, these were three teen-ish(?) girls with accents implying they are from around here, so they must have been freezing their asses off.
Hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers can be a real adventure. The hiker can be dangerous, the driver can be dangerous, the location can be dangerous. It’s usually not. This was of the later kind. But hey, they probably have something to talk about for while, right?
Anyway, that’s long enough for a post, right? I’ll be less boring next time, I promise. I don’t promise. Maybe I will be, I don’t know. Thanks for reading? I’m sorry?
I’ve had this site for a while now and it’s sat largely dormant for the past few years. Part of that has been a general malaise of depression and some unaddressed, lingering PTSD stuff which, well, let’s leave that for another day. It was also partly not being happy with what I was putting out into the world, not being happy with how long it took me to do so and subsequently how infrequently I did so, and not being happy with the overall presentation and a handful of things that populated my place.
A lot of what I wasn’t happy with is easy enough to clear up, though I’m saying that as the person I am today. Back when this became a problem, even knowing how easy it was to fix wouldn’t have helped. I’m in a little bit of a different space now, and I’m just kind of rollin’ with it. As a result, some of these posts (like today’s) are not going to be well proofread and are going to be pretty damned boring.
Here’s the thing I’m taking my sweet time getting to – I’m change some stuff on the site.
I already cleared out some dump pages and I’m going to change the look. A few years ago, I made a full theme from scratch that was kinda nice… but was a little janky. So I never used it and instead went through a bunch of themes with the tag “minimalist”. It’s an aesthetic I really loved at the time, and still do, but have since grown to appreciate the utility in the more traditional “blog style” themes. So I’m going to switch over to one of those, as well. And… I think I might kill some of the content that’s on here. Some old posts, a few more racy than others. I’ll probably my brother’s stuff down, too, as I’m not so sure it’s stuff he wants out there anymore and even if it is, it really deserves its own space or to be a part of a bigger, more trafficked area. To be clear, I’m not destroying any of it – just taking it off of this site and preserving it locally, for possible future restoration elsewhere. Anyway, I figured I’d put that out as a heads up for the one or two people that stuck around in my hiatus.
Well, this has already gotten longer than I intended so, let’s bring back an old favorite…
tl;dr – I’m going to delete some old posts/pages that don’t make sense anymore, change the layout, and some other shit, I guess. Don’t be alarmed.
- SOAK – The cover that sent me off on this ill fated quest in the first place. It’s. Fuckin’. Rad. It’s muted and stark but very clear. No unnecessary appeals to overdrive peddles, no wailing that will never live up to Page, no burning guitar that can only mimic Plant. It’s its own thing, but it feels good.
- Galactic, ft. Boots Riley, Chali 2na, and Laidlaw – When someone on the Internet labels something as “Best”, you can be assured it will likely be pretty far from it. In this case, I personally wouldn’t call it the best, but wow… yeah, I do dig this. It varies up the repetitive instrumental with some saxophone – yes a fucking sax – and then pours some raw rap fuel onto the fire. In this recording, I find the lyrics largely incomprehensible and maybe, I suppose, if I could follow them, that might be a knock against. But I don’t, so I don’t fucking care, it’s just another interesting twist. Though maybe this one hits me a little harder because I’m a sucker for a crossover.
- Karen O w/ Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – I guess most people first heard this song in a trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is where I found it in some googling. I lost the link and am too lazy to find it again, sorry. Anyway, it rings as sort of a halfway mark between original and SOAK, and you can really feel the Reznor in it, which I like. Especially in the drums, which I feel like must be drum machine driven. It’s on Spotify if you’re hard up for a listen.
- Adagio – Also found on Spotify. This is a pure metal, instrumental version that is twice as long as the original and, by all rights, should absolutely suck. But it doesn’t! Surprise! It nails the original feel while laying down a good plaster of its own personality. Right around the end, when it should really start to drag ass, they start noodling around in Solo Land, which is a lot of fun. It does, however, make me lament the lack of double bass and variation in the original.
- Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk – I swear I can hear this behind the opening sequence of a Bond film. It’s real jaunty and fun! More horns!
- The Bad Plus – At this point, I’m starting to feel weird about how populated this part of the list is by oddball covers, but… fuck it. That’s what makes it work for me. It’s like… jazz. Piano, drums, and I’m pretty sure an upright bass.
- Vanilla Fudge – This version is SO CLOSE to being on the list below, but the singer is doing such a strange thing with the melody that it is just fuckin’ nifty.
- Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro – Give it a minute. In the first few bars, I thought this was another one for the pile of generics, but nawh. Just stick with it a sec. There’s some really good funk guitar and bass and, oh, what’s this? That’s right, a Wurlitzer!
- Airship – It’s really not that bad, really. And I’m sorry for using this band as my straw man, especially since their version is at least listenable. The problem is that this is the best of the worst, the top of a pile doing their best to carve out an exact copy of the original, and I’m sorry… you just don’t have the voice. Your tuning is good, your effects are good, but the amp sounds off. Is that a Crate or something? Okay, fine, I have one, too, and they are great, but they don’t sound like 1970’s Brit Rock. Also, you can go ahead and swap out this pick with just about any other band trying to do that “exact cover” deal, or any version on a Karaoke track.
- All the Queen’s Men – It’s not my favorite and honestly it kind of feels like something from a transitional era of music. Somewhere near an Industrial park, a Folk Metal band tries to get in a commercial.
- Amber Brooke Band – Better than Airship, but pretty bland.
- Arjun Kaul – Good voice, but it’s boring. There is an ocean of folks doing a cover of this song an an attempt to put it in “their style” and it’s… not. Everything is almost spot-on the original, just a little off-brand. While we’re at it, let’s throw the following under that label:
- Hollywood Undead
- Dark Angel
- Ken Tamplin
- Mighty Sphincter (gotta love that name at least, right?)
- and countless more
- Tomoyasu Hotei – Coming in from the late 90’s, I feel like this is the start of artists actually trying to do something different with the underlying music. They just don’t do enough. Also, it’s just dripping with too much late 90’s for me.
- Informatik – See above.
- Infectious Grooves – ALMOST gets me going by starting with some groove/funk bass, but then falls flat shortly before the vocals barge in without welcome.
- The Sword – I love this band but this cover does not do it for me. To be fair, I could only find a live version, so… if you can dig up a studio version, I’ll give it another shot.
- L.A Band – apparently from Shrek the Third? I don’t know, but what I do know is it is wincingly unnerving. I don’t even know what’s wrong, it’s like it’s discordant but rather… like the original was discordant in a way that feels real good and this tries to clean it up, thus killing off the personality. It’s like they are trying their best to sound just like the original but all the notes that should be flats and sharps are just… there. It feel kind of icky and I can’t put my finger on why.
- Ann Wilson – I shouldn’t hate on this. I shouldn’t. All of the parts on their own are pretty good, and some are genuinely great. The singer and namesake of the group is really nailing it, but I as good as her performance is, I just find it to be another, “how much can I ape Page”. It just doesn’t do it for me. I do applaud the effort, though.
- Anno Daemonicus – This sucks and I hate it. I understand you might like it yourself, but duder… Why is Opera Man hanging out with The Crypt Keeper? And why are they on the set of A Muppets Movie? Yucko. I’m sorry, but I got super sick of the various iterations of “demon voice” in Metal a good while ago, to a degree that it has put me off of even some of my previous favorites, and this version of that voice just makes me wince.
- Minimal Compact – Nope.
- Dread Zeppelin – I guess I couldn’t make the list without including this cadre of goofballs. I get what they’re going for, and bravo to them for really giving it an honest go. Pffffftttttt, no. Just, no thanks.
- Coalesce – Another instance of them giving it a go and genuinely doing something different (at least for the time), but I just don’t like it.
- There is a Moby cover, I guess… I don’t know, I found links but they were all either broken or blocked by copyright. Though to be fair, I didn’t look that hard.
- Same for a Nirvana version that I couldn’t be bothered to find.
- Cyro Baptista – I think I might hate this but I think I might love this… I’m so conflicted… is that a Concertina? Falsetto apropos of nothing? What is happening here?
- There is apparently a series of Bluegrass covers of it? I’d like to hear that.
- Zoffy – Let’s be clear – it’s awful. But holy smokes, they are going for it. There is something I have to admire about that.
- I could have sworn there was a Cindy Lauper one, right? It was good, I think? Was it only live? I’m in the weeds here, kids.
- Halleluja – Leanord Cohen
- All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan
- House of the Rising Sun – Unknown
- Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
- That Summertime song from Porgy and Bess
- I don’t know, something by the Beatles, probably.
It’s the first day of 2017, my first post of the year, and my first post in quite some time. 2016 was a real… thing. Lot of bad, bit of good. Outside of a couple of half-written drafts that accidentally posted on accident, I didn’t really blog last year. I’ve also largely punched out of social media. Let’s be honest, I’ve largely punched out of social anything, including real life, though at least some degree of that is just a matter of not having time.
I’ve found some of that lost time and, having relearned to use it on real living and not just barely getting by between work tasks, I have been feeling a very strong desire to reengage with some of my more positive habits. One of those is maybe writing a bit more. Yeah? Well, I guess we’ll see. I have a lot I want to talk about, though I struggle for how to talk about it with any amount of entertainment value, and I’d prefer not to bore the rare reader to tears. So yeah, I’m looking to do some more gettin’ on here, this website what I pay for and has my name on it and all. But I guess we’ll see.
Also, fuck Trump and any asshole who voted for him.
I said it.
I’ll say it again.
For years and years and years, I have had to sit through friends and family act as if this bland, rubbery, boring, almost-mozzerella bullshit is the best cheese of all time forever. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. You are so wrong that it upsets me. Shut the fuck up, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re a rube and you need to take your head out of Provolone’s boring asshole. Think I’m wrong? Bring it. Here’s a list of seven cheeses that beat the absolute shit out of Provolone.
And for that matter, what happened to the music?
Look, I’m a skeezy dude, so I don’t always need a story. I think that most of the guys that I know would probably say that they never need the story, just the five or fewer minutes that it takes to finish. But I like the story. Even when it’s stupid and sometimes especially when it’s stupid. I like
Yes. I have been to India. Like… ’bout a week ago.
I’ve actually put in some real thinky-time on this as to whether or not I’d ever been there, and I’m pretty damned sure I haven’t. That probably sounds like an absurd statement, but there was a brief time in my life where I traveled quite a bit. Most of that travel was professional and most of the places I visited during that time either don’t count as a visit or just barely do. Years ago, I learned that saying you visited a place when you never left the airport is the mark of a real fuckin’ new guy. Or real fuckin’ asshole. Probably both. At most, you can count that as a “passed through”, but I think the phrase isn’t very honest when applied to a layover. Well… I guess if the layover is long enough and you get to leave the airport for longer than a meal, shower, and smirkoff in a hotel, then I think it’s fair to consider it as more significant than typical layovers. Working travel can be fun or it can be a nightmare. I suppose that’s true of any travel, but I think that business travel has the highest chance of landing in the range between disappointing and terrible. Sorry for the pun. They just kinda fly out of me sometimes.
There was a point to that. My trip to India was for business. So it wasn’t a fuck-off pass through an airport. But even though I’d been there a few weeks, I feel like saying I have been to India is maybe not totally honest. I mean, it was a fantastic opportunity and I am infinitely thankful for it. But it was for business. When you go for business, especially when business is already busy and relies too heavily on you, it is difficult to enjoy your trip. I was there for about three weeks but, in earnest, I’d say the total hours I spent actually touring the beautiful country would add up to four, maybe five days. I spent my arrival weekend mostly stuck in the hotel, trying to fix things back in the ‘States with an underpowered laptop while in my hotel room. On the plus side, the hotel was a 5-star and it lived up to every star. I mean, sure the room itself wasn’t great but… look, I’ve been in a lot of hotels. I find the rooms are usually at least a little shitty, no matter how nice the hotel itself. I’ve developed a bit of a theory about this, which I could probably spend some real length diving into some other day. The long and short of it is that the rooms suck a little because they can suck a little. Not to say hotels are deliberately being cheap, but rather there isn’t really a need for top-of-the-line anything. I want a pretty decent bed with clean and comfy sheets, a decent internet connection, and a decent shower with towels I feel okay about drying my balls off with. Really don’t give a shit about the quality of the TV. Don’t care if the paint is shit.
Anyway, I have some pictures from India. I have some more thoughts about it, but it’s almost 3 AM and I gotta get the fuck to bed. I don’t know. Laterz, yo.
tl;dr – I don’t know, somethin’ somethin’ India, somethin’ somethin’ hotels.
I should really get back to blogging again.