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!

Music Review :: The Contortionist — Language

No, this is not a classic review, as I often do. Today, I want to bring light to one of the most interesting albums to come out in the last 10 years.

Language is a beautiful album. It contains playful guitar lines, crushing bass, deft drums, etherial keyboards, and one of the most magical juxtapositions of vocals you will ever find.

Actually; let’s start the review with the vocals, for once. The singer has one of the most angelic voices you will find in music, let alone metal. When he sings, it is with one of the most pure tones you will ever find. He hits the notes with clarity only found in top-40’s pop, and he maintains notes for a substantial amount of time. Not since Tool have I found a more talented singer.

Where he gets very interesting is now he switches (at times, in a bar) from the voice of an angel to a daemon. His growl is brutal, Earth-shattering, and chill-inducing. What is beautiful about this album is that he never sticks to one style for too long. In fact, you do not even hear the growl until almost two minutes into track two.

Language part two (track three) opens with one of the most interest flows. The time signatures make little sense if you do not count them actively. The kind of chaos continues for the first minute, then moves into a sort of lull, where the focus seems to be places more the strings than anything else. Near the two minute point until the vocals kick back in, and singing does not return for another 30 or so seconds.

Okay, let’s go back to what I consider to be the most important part of most bands: the drums.

Not only is this possibly my favourite drummer in modern music, the choices he makes in relation to the music is perfect. It truly feels like the drums are another instrument, unlike other pieces where the drums feel like they are there because that’s what has to happen. Think Danny Carey meets Chris Pennie*, and you get a kind of feel for what he’s doing here. Ghost hits and polyrhythms litter the entirety of this album. I have listened to this collection for about a year at this point, and I am STILL discovering parts that I previously missed.

Why do I bring this now? I bring this album to the attention of those who care because this is what the new Tool album should have been more like. 12 years working towards releasing a spiritual rehash? I love Tool. In fact, until recently, they were my favourite band. The long waits, couple with the underwhelming releases that come at the end of the long waits, really ground my admiration with the band to the quick. Do I hate them? Far from. This sort of revelation just implies that I am going to be very critical of everything that they do moving forward.

*Danny Cary and Chris Pennie are Tool and The Dillinger Escape Plan respectively. This comparison will anger some, but I feel that it is just. Have a better comparison? Let me know.

No.

I have been stewing over this topic for days. The idea that you can do anything if you try hard enough, you can make it. I hate this concept, and I want to fight it to the best of my ability. The wall I hit, however, is that I cannot dispute the necessity of trying regardless of end position. If you work hard, you will be compensated. If you do not work hard, you will be repremanded. To assume that it just takes time and elbow greas to make it somewhere can actually be both heartbreaking, and damaging to standing in the greater endevour climate.

I spent over 10 years in bands trying my hardest to make it. There was a constant climb upwards in the scene, do not misunderstand my points, but I always put out multiple times what I made. I offset any sort of financial downfall with jobs. I did music because I loved it and needed to do something creative. I never had any illusions that I could live off of it, though it was an end goal.

That unfortunate reality goes for any artistic doing. You can try, you can succeed, and you can fail. Sometimes, all three in the same week. To assume that you are going to make it big is dangerous. It does happen, but it does not more often. There are so many things at play when considering a career in the arts, and doing one thing is often not the path to go down. To assume that if you just write that one song that everyone will love and you’ll be fine is actually a safer bet than believing that your band will do gang busters.

Another way to look at it: I was a drummer. That means, that under copyright laws in Canada for a musical composition, I had rights to the recordings of my drums. If the primary song writers could rerecord my drums without my knowledge, they could have stripped me of any financial rights. Lucky for me, I played with collections of stand-up people who never even thought of doing things like that. Instead, we kept playing. Getting gigs whenever we could, going on short tours, recording albums out of our pockets, and not eating.

10 plus years of that. Now, three years writing. No money made, but a fuck-tonne put out. That’s part of why I opened up the Patreon. just $1 a month gets you a subscription. That means you get a list of your name on this site, plus you get ansP releases about a month before anyone else in a fancy PDF! Hell, if you donate $10 a month, you get the pleasure of knowing that I consider you a fantastic human being and I will love you for a very long time! Your name gets put on the list with a little note of FANTASTIC put beside it. Even if you cancel your donation, or lower it, that denotation NEVER goes away!

Early release

I have sent out Patreon’s there copy of the next anewsin today. I know, it’s a day early, but I am equal parts excited and forgetful! I have a feeling that if I wait until tomorrow, I will forget.

Anyway, that got me thinking: why base an income on crowd funding? It’s very unreliable, kind of awkward, and kind of needy. Fuck knows that I hate asking for donations all the time. I hate having to set myself time limits to make sure that I live up to my end of the bargain.

Patreon is better than most of the others because I can offer a service for a little bit of money. Like, right now, $1 a month will get you a subscription to anewsinPublications and that will mean you get a link to a PDF one month before the story becomes available to the public! I think that’s hekin’ swell!

Some will argue that there is no point, and I won’t fight that. The stories do come out eventually, and they are always free. BUT! If you donate you make sure that my pets get fed! WHO DOESN’T LOVE MY PETS! (dontanswerthatbecausenoonethatswho)

There are other levels of donation. I cannot do cents, but $5 a month makes you the villain in a story I write, $6 makes you the hero (or at least the main) and stuff like that! There are so many new and exciting things that I want to write in the future! Please help me make that a reality!