Music Review :: FbcFabric & Reindeer — It’s not who you know, it’s WHOM you know

Yes, I am doing a music review anyway. Why? Because I’m listening to this album for the first time in a while and I cannot fathom NOT knowing this album. Plus, I am remembering just how important some of the lyrics are in regards to capitalism and consumerism.

This is my perfect hip-hop album. The tracks are all minimalist beat tracks. It adds to the lasefare tone of the vocalist in ways that I cannot articulate. His lyrics are cutting, sharp, and almost vindictive. There is no swearing, which adds weight behind his message.

I saw Reindeer by accident in Guelph with my friend Joel. We went to a hip hop show, to which I have only been to one. Independent hip hop is actually more intimate than any independent metal or punk show that I have been to. There was an admittedly small crowd of only 25 or so people, and the stage was just an idea mic’d up at one end of a bar (cafe?).

The performers were all over the map. There was one gentleman who was clearly just apart of the scene because of the poetry of the lyrics, there was a duo who loved the idea of mainstream hip hop, then there was Reindeer. He stumbled his way on stage, in a way that I cannot discern if it was showmanship or if he was strung out on something or REALLY drunk.

Regardless of what he was, the show he put on was magical. He didn’t miss a beat. I couldn’t imagine being the only one on stage. Even if the crowd was small, to recall lyrics with meaning, even if the meaning is explicitly personal, is unfathomable to me.

It was more than a show, and more than a concert. It was a performance.

I remember not having money for any merchandise, so I borrowed Joel’s CD for probably way too long. Think Massive Attack mixed with Gorillaz, and that an okay comparison. I have not found something so original or pure my entire life.

The Social Experiment

As some people saw, I released a poll asking what the content of the next update should contain. It was a success in some ways, and a miserable failure in others.

So, why am I calling it a failure if I got some input? I only had 13 votes, and that kind of hurts. It kind of tells me that there is a very small portion of people who read this, and possibly even less that actually care. I DIGRESS! To those 13, thank you. I really do appreciate it!

The winner was the topic “something else”. I have had a recommendation by the amazing Katie Maz (that should be your superhero name) asking me to do a book review. I think that’s a neat idea! There is a catch, however: I haven’t read a book since I ended up in a wheelchair. I would love to, but the damage to my oculare nerve makes it hard to focus on reading. Even typing this, I barely look at the screen, and proofread at the end. Red squiggly lines make that part easy. I will try, regardless. I mean, I will do my favourite book. I remember most of that one pretty well.

Can you guess what my favourite book is? You would be forgiven if you guessed 1984, especially because I yammer on and on about how amazing that book is. No, my top spot is filled by Rant by Chuck Palahniuk. The best part is, even if I read it today, I would still only be able to talk about half of it because it’s so full of twists and false-flags.

The word of the book takes place in a dichotomy of two existences. You have the people of the day: very similar to what we have now, and there are the people of the night: think midnight shift somewhat permanently. The two planes of existence rarely intermingle. Not by any expressed issue that may incur, but by just happenstance. It feels more natural than a government force imposing some sort of anti-mingle rule.

The story follows around the character of the title (Rant) as he experiences the world around him. He is accompanied by a collection of misfits and weirdos that he calls friends. They enjoy destroying things, and lead a very normal (or, “normal”) life.

The book becomes surreal when time travel comes into play. I am NOT going to go any further into the plot because it will ruin parts, but my GOD the path is worth it. To give an example of how convoluted (in the best way ever) this book is, it is NOT a massive spoiler to say that he is his own grandfather.

That’s right: him being his own grandfather is NOT a massive spoiler. More of “well” as opposed to a “NO WAY” when you read it.

The writing style is what you can expect from Chuck Palahniuk. Grotesque, unnecessary, overly descriptive, and completely perfect. One thing that I have championed for a very long time is that he is my favourite author. To call him unique is underselling his works, and also short-changing his very stark look on society.

Like Fight Club before it, this book has a way of looking at society. It is not bluntly chastising, nor does it feel like he is going out of his way to attack. It simply feels like he is focusing on aspects as literary expression as opposed to critical commentary. It’s more of a “this is how things are” as opposed to “look how things are.” The difference is how he doesn’t explain things: doesn’t try to fix them.

I will be keeping the poll open for the next little bit. Vote on it, and if I notice much of an interest, I will adapt.

You don’t need to see.

Okay, this sounds like a no-brainer to me, but maybe I’m biased.

If I you don’t see something, it does not mean that it did not happen. We cannot see electricity powering a device, we cannot see water moving through pipes, and we do not see our body metabolising energy. All of these things happen in the background and we do not question their existence.

With all of these things in mind: if someone says they did their recommended exercise for the day, BELIEVE THEM.

I have been, for months, dealing with people in my life not believing me when I say that I did ‘x’. I am just going to put ‘x’ because there are many different things that have been brought to question.

No, there is not always physical proof that ‘x’ happened, but it did. My promise should be enough. Especially when it involves a thing that only benefits me.

I get it: people have an interest in me walking again. People have this idealised fantasy where everything is the same as it was seven years ago. Well; news flash! Even if I walked TOMORROW I might never be able to get my license back. Even if I walked TOMORROW I could be turned away from my old job. In that situation, I would come out much further behind than where I am now.

Now, let’s play positive-guy for this paragraph. Assuming that I did my exercises proper and everything went the way half the medical community says that it should, I am still six weeks off ON THE SHORT END of being able to kind of walk. Assuming my medication continues to work as predicted and my body does not create some sort of immunity, I could avoid seizures wrecking my day, but they are to be a constant in my life.

I didn’t write this as a pity-party for myself. I wrote this on behalf of everyone who feels pressured to do something they are doing already and having no one believe them. I am writing this for everyone that feels overburdened by people who have this strange vested interest in their health, even if it really doesn’t affect them. I am writing this for every person who has been told there is a 5% chance of recovery.

DO IT FOR YOU. NOT FOR THEM.

And for “them”: fuck off. We are doing our best, even if you don’t believe us.

Writer’s Block is Weird

I find myself at a bit of a stop in my next book. I am proud of what I have so far. It comes out just over 20 pages. Strangely, I am able to think of a blog post to write, but not a continuation on my writing.

Why does the brain do this? Yes, blogs are a little more auto-biographical usually. That, or they are explaining from a very biased (in my case) source. My stories are usually birthed from reality. They are all situations that I have either lived through, or exaggerations on events. No, I have never been part of a terrorist organization, nor have I taken a bullet for my cause. I have been publicly ridiculed and emasculated for my beliefs. No, the comparison is not one for one. It could be argued that being publically hung to dry is worse than being killed. At least, when you’re killed, you don’t have to keep surviving in the hellscape that comes after.

On that note, at least if you don’t die, you can patch and fix your image. It may take a long time, but it’s doable.

On a very unrelated note: I got a new chair! I’m not using it! Thanks!

Okay, details: I have been using the same chair for 6 years at this point. I have learned many things about what I want from a wheelchair since I put together my initial order, and grew out of certain things that were put in place all that time ago.

Unfortunately, the chair I received until they have constructed mine has a misplaced centre of gravity. Small imperfections in my movement would result in me suddenly tipping backwards. Luckily, wheelchairs have anti-tip bars in the back. They saved my life on multiple occasions, but I hate having to rely on them. Due to this, I moved back to my old chair with a new seat cushion: at least for now. I hope that all is sorted before August.

Politics and Why I am So Sorry

I recently posted the most egregious thing on FaceBook with no explanation. I simply set my status to “I give up” and turned off notifications from my phone.

I am sorry. That statement was less of a depressed admittance, and more of an angry and exhaustive representation of me throwing my keyboard to the ground in a moment of grief.

I know that I have kept my blog out of politics pretty well, with a couple of notable exceptions. This is because I know my own ineptitude, and I try not to share around opinions for fear of corrupting possible movements (as if I have enough clout to wield any power great enough to hamper a movement). I will, however, use this platform to point out my least favourite “argument” that seems to plague the current world of discourse.

A “Whataboutism” is more of a derailment method as opposed to an argument. It is used in place of a proper rebuttal to distract from the point being made in favour of outrage at an opposing (yet, strangely similar) point. The example that I was faced with was when I posted THIS article with little context, and the only reply I received in response was “Yeah, but Trudeau supported the Chinese regime.”. I was completely floored. Their comment had no additional context or room for debate, they completely undermined my attempt to raise a point in the overarching debate that is my feed currently, and now anyone who has anything to say on what I posted is divided between talking about the first article or the second point.

Let me be clear: I was not supporting what Trudeau said about China. It was not even really on the table. My point, and ONLY point, was the article discussing T*mp in North Korea a year ago. My reason for highlighting it was to illustrate some comparison between his tactics and his public statements. I was not saying that it was fair, I was just looking for some opinion. That is when someone derailed everything I was trying to set up and pushed my argument down to the bowels of argument Hell where it was to be ignored for fear of stirring up clearly unimportant points.

My official response to what Trudeau said in regards to China: that is definitely something we should keep in memory IF it ever comes into question. How that relates to what my point was? It doesn’t. T*mp is treating his presidency in one of the most questionable ways in recent decades, and the purpose of me sharing that article was to raise questions if he might be using tactics to gain an upper hand.

Yes. I am Canadian. No. American politics should not cause me to rubberneck like someone passing a horrible car accident. I would argue, however, that this is not only Canada’s neighbour, but also one of the biggest and most powerful countries in the world. So, yes, any argument from a Canadian is valid. In this case, any argument is valid regardless of what country you are from.

If you would like a more thorough explanation of improper arguments, I recommend this old video from Idea Channel on YouTube. I use that video to discuss improper arguments in general, but “Whataboutisnm” was defined beautifully by a video from Last Week Tonight.

Oh: you may have noticed me using an asterisk whenever I spell the standing President’s name. That is so, when you do a search on a search engine, this article doesn’t come up. This is so less hits can be made when searching his name.

ONTO WHY I AM SORRY.

My statement was not well divulged as to what I was giving up on. I was disheartened by the constant barrage of political statements (from all sides) not being well thought out then fought over with assumed authority. I cannot promise that this will be my last wade into the waters of political discourse, but I do promise to consider every side with equal weight, even if I vehemently disagree with you. We are all capable of respect.

The quotes

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will notice that I have started releasing out-of-context quotes from You’re Not Dead.

It’s very interesting. I haven’t read the book since I finished editing it, and this is a great way to A) renew interest for other people and B) Revisit my work without feeling like I am under any real pressure.

Below is what I have released so far, but please let me know if you have a better line in mind for me to put to the masses:

  • For that hour, the Hero felt like he was drowning above water.
  • What is even the point in self-improvement if I am not to enjoy whatever I achieve?
  • Maybe it was for the best that he was alone.
  • Luka hugged him./He tried as hard as he could to hug back./He tried to call her a fool for thinking he was gone/He tried many things.
  • In a hospital near you, a heart monitor squeals./In a town far away, a girls heart breaks

Classic Music Review :: Vex Red — Start With a Strong Persistent Desire

The biggest plus of working at the music store I did was finding albums that were never anything, but that really should have been. Whether it was because of poor marketing, a small label folding, the band breaking up, or all of the above.

Vex Red is a band that I found purely by accident. I always looked into the bands that we no longer carried to find something that tickles my fancy, and this one day; I hit the motherload.

They remind me of a mix between Stabbing Westward and Flaw (another band that I have to highlight one day). They would have joined right in with the early ’90s pseudo-goth scene. In fact, saying that they would have worked on the Blade soundtrack would not be too far fetched a statement.

They combine electronica with metal beautifully. Pre-programed drums mixed with synthesizers and a love for the low end. This is complimented by the singer, whose voice sounds strained on purpose to convey the bleakest of emotions.

Lyrical content is a bit more mature, even if they rarely swear on this album (with exception with the track “Can’t Smile” where it feels mandatory for the narrative.). It is the kind of pointing fingers and blaming everyone else for your misfortune, but it never sounds pathetic or unnecessarily angsty. Instead, it comes off as a plea from someone who has been tortured for a majority of their formative years.

SPEAKING OF THE SONG CAN’T SMILE!
I did not know until I got to this point of the review that there was a music video produced for the song. It is NOT GREAT. Unfortunately, that song is one of the better examples of the album. So ignore the poor censorship and awkward vacant gaze. and just enjoy the everything else.

The Future of ANEWSIN

As I think I have hinted, if not fully admitted, there will not be an anewsin for a while. I am busy working on my next book, and I am trying to flush out new ideas instead of getting fixated on new short stories. Therefore, if you do support me on Patreon for new updates early, I would not be offended if you pull your subscription for the time being.

WITH ALL OF THAT SAID!

If you do decide to support me, even just one dollar a month, you will get your name in the thank you section of my upcoming release!

I scrapped a bunch, about ten pages, but I am still trucking along. It looks like the book will be a series of shorts again. As of right now, I have no plan to do a through-narrative like I did with You’re Not Dead. I mean, that is just how it is going right now. I might, and probably will, change my mind in the future.

I have only about two hours of work present in the project right now. That equates to seven pages, or just over 3000 words. I am trying my hardest not to put a goal because I feel like it stifles what I can create. I might try to reach goals closer to finishing if I have, for instance, 99 pages or something like that.

I just made this post to update you all on what I am doing right now.
REMEMBER: donating just a dollar a month to Patreon gets your name published!
Oh: and remember that I love you.

Do you own that?

I found myself pondering the idea of ownership in todays economic climate. A climate peppered with electronic downloads of basically any media.

I, myself, am a huge fan of digital: to a point. I have 30-plus days of music in my iTunes library, and my wife and I use Netflix on a near-nightly basis. It is a great way to cut down on clutter, while still consuming all of the media that one wishes.

It comes with a massive downside, however. We own very little media physically. This means that we are at the whim of what a corporation wants us to consume that month. One can argue that I *own* the music files, but that are on an unsecure hard drive. If someone knew how to do it, they could delete large swaths of my music and I probably would never notice.

Counterpoint, if I just owned all of the CDs that I have digital copies of, someone could do the same. The only real counter I can come up with is that I have access to a physical thing. In theory, I actually own a tangeble object as opposed to an etherial representation of one. That is my only real arguement for owning as much vinyl as I do.

It really comes down to the question: are you going to maintain a collection? I take good care of what I have access to physically. I stopped buying video games a couple of years ago, simply because I am more likely to get frustrated with maintaining a collection. I realize that I have shot myself in the metaphoricle foot because I am stuck with the product regardless of opinion, but that is a risk I am willing to take.

If you like physical copies of media: I support you 100%.
If you like digital, I support you 100%.
If you struggle to see the point of why I wrote this: same 100%