godspeed you! black emperor

The car’s on fire
and there’s no driver at the wheel
and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
and a dark-wind blows.

the government is corrupt
and we’re all so many drugs with the radio on and the curtains drawn
we are trapped inside the belly of this machine
and the machine is bleeding to death

the sun has fallen down
and the billboards are all leering
and the flags are all dead
at the top of their poles

It went like this;
buildings toppled in on themselves
Mothers clutching babies
dig through the rubble
and pulled out their hair.

The skyline was beautiful on fire
all twisted metal stretching upwards
everything washed in a thin orange haze.

I said kiss me, you’re beautiful
these are truly the last days

you grabbed my hand
and we fell into it-
like a daydream,
or a fever.

we woke up one morning and fell a little further down
for sure it’s the valley of death
I opened up my wallet
and it’s full of blood

I feel like this set of lyrics is one of the most impressive things ever written. Maybe it’s because of the juxtaposition between the words and the music, but the chills it instills drives me to dream of ever writing something this important/this beautiful. If I ever write anything that makes you feel something, it would mean the world to me if you let me know. I strive to do that.

I will have full book news at the end of the year. I hope and pray that you are as excited as I am.

Hey: Some news!

  1. I finally got around to editing some footage from The Twin playing Warped Tour. I have had the footage for a number of years, and I finally got around to editing and fixing all of it. YouTube compresses the footage in a way that makes the audio very blown out, but I am happy with the way it turned out!
  2. As I am sure you have noticed if you follow me on either Twitter or Facebook, I have been shopping my book around for an updated, and better, release. Friessen Press has agreed to re-release the book with all the revisions and additions. You’re Not Dead has tripled in size, and I will keep you up to date with actual releases and whatnot. The latest release, if all goes well, is early 2020.
  3. The last anewin release has performed very poorly. I think just due to it not being advertised well on my part. A large part of that is because I have been so distracted with the re-write of You’re Not Dead and contacting agents. EXCUSES EXCUSES. My end point is that I am very proud of it and feel that it is being ignored. At the risk of alienating people, the point of this story was to illustrate the issue with not being afflicted by what you are rallying for: the almost dismissal of situational differences because of the systematic coat of paint left by society.
  4. Why am I posting while on “hiatus”? Simple. The break was more to announce a dramatic decrease in updates, not to up and vanish. I do not see myself doing many more releases before the new year, but you never know what will happen.
Enjoy the noise!

foam {ANEWSIN VOL.11 — Jason Garden}

Edited by Luka Riot

“Come in! Find a seat, or wheel yours in. Whichever works better for you!” 

A woman stands at the head of a rectangular room, beckoning ten or so people to enter. They are all gathered for a meeting to divulge stories and dreams pertaining to seizures. They enter the room one by one, apologizing for brushing against other bodies.

It is a diverse group. Two of them look to be in their early twenties but have no relation to one another. Three look like ex-junkies, with unwashed hair and clothing. One younger girl who is probably around ten finds a seat between two people who one would assume are her parents. Two people in wheelchairs, one is being propelled by a nurse. The other is completely alone and seems despondent. Finally, the last one to enter the room is a flustered looking woman who stumbled in by accident.

It only takes a minute and everyone finds a spot.

“Great! Everyone seems to be comfortable. There is coffee available at the back. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the budget for snacks this week. We’re working on that!” The woman at the front speaks with grace and warmth. “I am Amanda, and everyone in this circle is a peer! By that, I mean that everyone here fights with some form of epilepsy. Some self-inflicted, some not. Life is interesting!”

“Life is a bitch, you mean.” The gentleman in the wheelchair who propelled himself in utters under his breath, with little regard to who hears him.

Amanda’s demeanour does not falter. If anything, she speaks with a heightened determination to sound less patriotic. “To start, I would ask for someone to share why they are epileptic and how that has shaped their existence. How life has been an adventure, and I don’t want to hear a bunch of you looking for pity!”

Awkward murmurs flit around the room.

Amanda looks concerned. This is not the environment that she wanted to have.

“Okay… let’s start with names, then. As I stated, I’m Amanda! Let’s go left. Your turn!”

“Fine.” One of the ‘ex-junkies’ stands. He does not look thrilled to be there.

“I’m Stan. I was drunk, fell down stairs, and now here I am. O’course, there’s a lot more. What you need to know is that I am Stan, and I am here because I was told I need to socialize more.”

With that note, he abruptly sat back down and turned his head to the right. His gaze almost challenged the person next to him to one up him in some way. 

Then, another one of the ex-junkies looked at him with tears in their eyes. “So, you got minor brain damage?”

“Yep. I worked, had a family, dealt with life. The main reason I ended up where I am is because I couldn’t stay conscious through the day. My work decided to relieve me of my position under guise that I wasn’t doing my job anymore. Not because of my injury ‘cause that would be illegal.” His voice cracked. “I was driven out legally. The government jumped in where they could, but I still make half of what I used to.”

Stan fell apart, putting his face deep into his hands. No sound emanated from him, but it was clear from his jumping shoulders that he was crying hard.

“Okay, Stan. This is a safe place, don’t push yourself too much if you can’t.” Amanda stated. She tried so hard to sound delicate. “Thank you for sharing, Stan. That story was heartbreaking and very honest. Who’s next?”

The capable boy in the wheelchair extends his arm while looking at the ground. Amanda realized that he had not even said good morning to anyone around him, and he looks like he came completely alone. Amanda worries, without real reason, that he is alone.

He cleared his throat. “Hello. I am James. I got sick. The result was my brain swelled. It damaged my brain stem. The damage scarred parts of the grey matter.” The group started to murmur with questions and disbelief. “My epilepsy wasn’t even noticed for four years. I passed out and fell out of my chair in front of, who is now, my wife and mother-in-law. They called an ambulance and it was determined to be a seizure.”

“It wasn’t for another few months that the diagnosis came through that I was epileptic. It explains why I failed out of school so tremendously only a year earlier. It explains why I would get so exhausted at times even after I had a solid ten hours of sleep. There was one situation where I remember leaving a classroom, then I am in a wing of the school five minuets away from where I should have been with someone pushing me without permission.” James started to get frantic.

“Here I was, in an apartment that I was living in with the woman of my dreams. All of a sudden, I wasn’t just paraplegic, but epileptic? How was this never caught prior? Why was this ignored for years? Why the f—“

James cleared his throat. “Sorry. Got a bit non-plussed there.” He then wheeled further into the space he made for himself in the circle.

The room goes quiet for a moment. Then, Amanda stands up.

“Thank you, James. That sounds very frustrating. Who’s next?”

“Excuse me!” James shouts from the place is resides in. “Why must you sound so dismissive?”

Amanda looks horrified that someone spoke out against her, regardless of what was said. “You were done, so I’m just moving things along here!”

“You still don’t have to patronize what I said. It came off as dismissive and belittling! How would you like it if you had a bad day and I just responded with ‘who’s next?’ Would that not frustrate the hell out of you? There is a right way and wrong way to go on to the next person.” James was furious. The faces around the room were a mixture of agreement and shock. It was clear that some people saw absolutely nothing wrong with the way Amanda had handled the situation. Some of the other patrons, however, looked just as upset as James was displaying.

“Fuck this and fuck you. I’m going to leave. I’m going to the coffee place down the road, if anyone cares to join me?” James declared to the room. He really seemed like he cared little if he sat alone for the next several hours, or if he made a room full of new friends.

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Classic Album Review :: The Beastie Boys — Ill Communication

I love this album, but it is so hard to write about.

As a punk album, it is a fantastic mix of everything possible in the genre. Especially the old hardcore scene from Chicago and New York that was breaking up around the time of the albums release back in ’94. The do not do the scream/squeal that so many bands from that scene did. Instead, the vocalist on those tracks tends to just yell into the mic as hard as he can. The lyrics are non-sense, the tracks are hard hitting, and strangely well composed.

THEN GET IT TOGETHER COMES UP.

It is, by far, my favourite song on the album. Smooth, brilliantly orchestrated, calmly delivered, and contains the most interesting loops found in hip-hop at the time. Featuring Q-Tip throughout the entire track. Feels very different from modern mainstream hip-hop where the guest has a verse. It was clear he was in the studio when this track was cut.

And then, you have the almost-funk interludes. The three members of the band were actually brilliant musicians who just happened to find an audience in hip-hop.

Everyone rants and raves about Paul’s Boutique or Hot Sauce Committee as being their most brilliant album, but I will contend that this is gravely underrated. It holds my credit as being one of the greatest albums of the ’90s, and arguably one of the greatest the Beasties ever released.

As previously mentioned, Get It Together is my favourite song on the album. To ignore the rest, however, is a mild travesty. Get your hands on this gem and love every track.

Rest In Peace, my friend

I hate posting “in memorial”s on this page. I always feel like it is just me saying “PITY ME, I’M SAD!” which could not be further from the truth. I feel like this is important because of how important Krista was, to me personally, as well as a fantastic person.

I met Krista in 2008. She worked at a local video game store that my store dealt quite a lot with due to our similar stock and interest. She seemed to be a quiet girl, very knowledgeable and well versed in the world of electronic media. At the time I really did not get to know her well, and I always regretted that.

Fast forward to mid 2019. As far as I knew, I was the only person alive who contracted Viral Meningoencephalitis. I say that with absolutely no pride, as I felt alone and absolutely isolated from everyone I have ever and could ever meet. I wanted to share with someone what experiences I had, and wanted to learn from someone what to expect. As far as my limited research goes, there was no one for me to reach out to.

Shortly after my first book, You’re Not Dead, was released, my friend Michelle reached out. She wanted to get a copy to read to her friend that, as far as I knew, went through a similar ordeal. Fast forward a year, and I finally was put back in touch with Krista. It tuns out that she went through a similar thing because we had similar diagnostics. We had both confounded the medical communities with symptoms that made no sense.

For the next year, we would talk over messengers about what we went through. She, daily, reminded me that what we went through was not a competition. At the time, I was completely confused what she could mean by that. It took me several weeks to realize that, inadvertently, I was trying to compare by competing. By that, I mean that I would say “I suffered more because I went through this” while trying to see if she did something similar.

I am not proud of many things, but I am extremely proud that I had ever met Krista. I will miss her.

Wheelchairs are Not a Death Sentence

I was talking to someone a while ago online so they could not see me. It was an old friend who I had not talked to in a number of years. We were talking about how last they heard anything about me, I was about to die. They explained that they were distressed by the news, and they wished they had been able to make it out to show their support to my family when the worst came to pass. They had not kept up with anyone, or looked on social media to see how I was doing. They then notified me that they were going to be in town and asked if they could come by to see me.

Not maliciously, I agreed and they made plans to come by. I was very excited: this was a friend I had not seen since high school. We were never that close, but the exchanges we had were pleasant when they happened. We had gone for coffee about a decade ago, run into each other at concerts, and we worked in close proximity. We never had many mutual friends, and our circles of connections were never close.

When they came to the door, I opened it. Imidiately, they broke down into tears and started murmering “I’m so sorry” between sobs.

I cannot say I was offended. I really did not pay much head until they gestured towards the wheelchair.

“I can’t believe this. You used to stand so proud.”

I was more taken back than offended. The implication that I was not at all the person I was before the wheelchair hurt. The judgement was made before they got to see what I had been doing: before they said more than ten words to me, and before I could even respond. The idea that the chair was a status instead of what it was: an aid.

Wheelchairs are NOT to be a reflection of who you are talking to. Yes, life is more dificult in some ways. Yes, I am in the chair because I cannot walk on my own. No, it is not dictating parts of my life.

To assume that my everything revolves around the chair is rather shallow. It shows a level of disregard for me the person, and a fixation on me the object. I cheated death twice, not being able to walk is only a minor repercussion.

Yes, being in a wheelchair does suck, in some ways. However, it is how I function and get around now. I will not say that it is preferred, but I refuse to bend to it being the worst outcome for any situation. I got out of my brain swelling with only minor brain damage that effected mostly superficial parts of me. I know it sounds bad, but I consider that a win.

No, I cannot work right now, and it sucks. So I write non-fiction to busy myself. To express creative endeavours, I write fiction. I am trying to get published because I know that, with proper support, I can do that. I am not even eluding to accessibility support, I am just terrible at marketing.

Tangent aside, if someone in your life finds themselves in a wheelchair, find out how they feel about it before jumping to condolences and depression. They might be in a good place, or even the best place they have been in for a while.

Classic Album Review :: Kittie — Oracle

I don’t know why I got this album in my head. I was wheeling through my kitchen humming the chorus for What I Always Wanted when my wife, being rather concerned, asked what was wrong with me. The awkward thing is that song is not the only one on the album with singing, but has the least interesting pattern to get stuck in your head.

For being from London, Ontario, this album still scratches an itch that only a few bands can. I hesitate to call it Nu Metal, but it did come out around right around Untouchables by Korn (predating it by a year). Really, a better comparison is The End of All Things to Come by Mudvayne with less “David Bottrill” in the whole sound area.

Very simple guitar and bass. Almost too much (in a good way) drums. Vocals that pierce every inch of your soul. Beautiful singing. To be honest, that is why I have gone this long with never bringing this band up before. I love them, the first 3 albums anyway, but that is literally all I have to say about them.

If you just want something heavy, yet beautiful (in a broken way), you can do MUCH worse. They do the early ’90s sound yet still remain relevant. I mean, Mudvayne and Korn are my only (halfway) decent comparisons, and they really don’t describe this band at all.

Oracle is amazing. Spit and Until the End are good, but a bit more particular. They have one more album, but I hated it.

Personal note: don’t y’all enjoy how I am like “BYE SEE YOU NEXT YEAR” and then publish a review in the same week? I am going to not be doing blog stuff, and I am only going to be writing about music you should check out. I say that not expecting anything fascinating to happen in any other regards this year. I might be wrong.

A bit earlier than usual…

I am putting in my usual break a bit earlier than usual. That means no updates until the new year. I know it has little bearing when I just got rid of the update scheduel, but I am more posting this so you don’t come expecting anything.

Still new asnP on the first. No additional updates for the rest of November and most of December, though. I like to take this break to relieve my brain of frantically thinking of what to write about next, blog wise. I plan on cleaning up and editing my book in the meantime. That’s all the info you get on that, however.

My birthday is on the 12th. I will be 31, and starting into the fresh hell that is being in my 30’s. My wife assures me that it’s okay, but I’ll reserve judgement.

Radiohead.

Radiohead is one of those bands, you know what I mean? That band that you like to tell people can do no wrong, meanwhile they have released 3 albums that, at the very least, underwhelmed.

Before I continue, this is less a review of the career of this band and more of a personal reflection. If you could not tell from the intro paragraph, I am biased. There are some fantastic documentaries about parts of their career (Meeting People is Easy is a personal favourite) so I won’t even pretend that I could do such a monumental task even the mildest justice.

The first album (Pablo Honey) came out in 1993. I love parts of this album, and couldn’t care less about others. The Bends (released 1995) is pretty well the same tale. I would say that I like more of this album, but it still just seems to be holding onto the early ’90s grunge aesthetic. I am not complaining for that reason, but more that I came in much later into their career and therefore had certain unfair expectations.

OK Computer from 1997 was life-changing for me. It was the first exposure to the band that I had, and I hated it upon first listen. Looking back, I hated it because I couldn’t understand it. It took about 2 years from its debut for me to actually grasp some (not all) of the nuance and beauty that this album held. The complexity of Johnny Greenwood’s guitar riffs in contrast to the simplicity of Phillip Selway’s drum patterns did not make any sense to me before I was about to enter high school.

Kid A and Amnesiac (from the year 2000 and 2001 respectively) changed everything for me. I finally understood OK Computer, then I watched the video for Pyramid Song. I loved that I didn’t understand it. I didn’t find out the time signature for at least five more years. They started to experiment with a more digital production, using computers and drum machines in addition to more contemporary instruments. The juxtaposition was astounding to me.

Hail to the Thief came out in 2003. I first heard it when I borrowed the album from a good friend of mine, and HATED it. I found it arrogant and winey. Well, I did the first time through it. I went to give it back, she forced it back into my hands and told me that I just need to give it another chance.

Thank you, Cristine. Your forcing me to listen to it has secured it into the pantheon of albums that I will never be rid of.

I fell in love with it simply for the first song, 2+2=5. When I actually gave it the chance it deserved, that song blew everything I thought about music out of the water, and left me weeping uncontrollably while I clutched my copy of 1984 in my left hand and wrote my will with my right.

Melodramatic? Might I remind you that I was a senior in high school at the time? I never took drama, but I deserved an award for being one of the most dramatic people that ever lived. Hell, if I knew who I was back then now, I would actively avoid me.

I digress. I was a certified Radiohead fan by the time In Rainbows came out in 2007. I was playing in a grunge/punk/metal band called All Cut Up, and we were all fans of any sort of music that would change the way we looked at life. I distinctly remember this album coming out because my guitar player and I got it release day then avoided each other for 24 hours to digest what we just purchased.

It was amazing. Even the slower songs (like Videotape) had enough depth to keep our little minds attentive.

That’s where I think Radiohead should have ended. I know of one more released, call A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), and I hated it. It was boring.

While writing this, I have been listening to random tracks from random Radiohead albums. I can still remember where I was when I first heard every single one of them. Either in my parents activity room, on a school bus, or organizing stock at work.

I just stuck to the main releases. There are many singles and EPs that have importance, but they deviate so heavily from the overall narrative that the albums create. I cannot say I recommend all of them, but definitely give Talk Show Host a listen.

Write Everything.

I found myself in a bit of a jam the other day. I knew I had to write, but I couldn’t find a voice or tone to use. My topics all seemed petty, my vocabulary was dower, and everything seemed wrong. So: I just wrote anyway.

The result? I wrote a script. Not a good one, but it did loosen up areas of insight in my mind. It seemed to be the concept that was drowning my thoughts and not allowing me to continue to write different things.

I will admit: it’s loosely based on a real conversation I had with someone. It paints “me” in a rather pretentious light and her in a horribly arrogant one. I enjoy it, but also acknowledge that it’s very poor in quality. I will be releasing it in the new year under the anewsinPublishing banner because I don’t like to hold anything back.

That brings me to the idea I want to put out there. I am a firm believer in that whatever comes to mind should be written down. That includes if it’s bad. Just get thoughts out there. I find myself stuck on, what feels like, nothing for days on end. I have a document on my desktop full of half-stories that will probably never see the light of day. I just need to get them out, then my brain is no longer full of stupid and generic shit.

Oh! I should mention that it’s my birthday on the 12th! I will be posting my usual masterbatory BIRTHDAY message then vanish for the remainder of the year, like I always do. I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to go the same way that it has in the past, though. I have “foam” coming out on the first, which I am stoked on finally releasing to everyone. I also have a couple applications for things that I want to address as soon as any sort of result comes from them.

It’s starting to be Christmas season once again. Please, consider donating to my Patreon so I can afford to give my wife something nice and my pets food. Even a dollar means the world!