A Dilemma

I want to talk about the book idea I just had, but is that even a good idea? It is rather cerebral, and there is a good chance that I am nowhere near smart enough to make it happen. Hell, I have little more than a concept, at this point.

I have talked to family about the idea. One thought it sounded like an interesting concept, but did not elaborate. One thought it would make an interesting screenplay, but could not see it working as a novel. I get that take more than most: I write a lot of ideas out that would make great screenplays but fall short as novels. Maybe I should write a movie? Do I really want to enter that world right now?

That is part of the reason I haven’t been writing here so much in recent times. Between that new concept, and two books that I have been working on for a bit, I am mildly distracted.

What I would like to remind people is that Canada is coming up to an election. I implore you to vote for YOUR interests, and not just tow a family line on principle alone. I am going to have to vote strategically for the first time in my adult life, and I am far from a fan. I want to vote NDP (you know: one of the five major parties of Canada. We do have more than two.), but to keep out the party that would damage my way of life the most, I will have to vote Liberal.

More on Epilepsy

I don’t know why I research this topic. I am always overcome with a feeling of dread as I scroll through diagnoses and side-effects.

On that note: YAY LIVING IN CANADA AND HAVING PRIVILEGE!

ahem… I promise that I will not speak of privilege again.

The fact that Epilepsy is considered a disease according to the WHO is strange. It makes sense when you consider that some epileptics get a viral infection that readjusts the chemistry of the brain. Everyone I have met with epilepsy, however, has had physical brain damage. Maybe it’s just me, but calling that a disease is like saying someone with an amputation has a disease. Disease, to me, is acute.

So, as I was writing the “disease is acute” line, I started trying to define ‘acute’ in my head. Part of me doing that was identifying an acute disease. I noticed quickly how my definition was crap, but I still stand by my statement that epilepsy should be viewed less as a disease and more of a physical impairment.

I’m on a fucking role, I NOW HATE THE TERM PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT.

You know what I’m getting at.

Anyway, The thing that I really wanted to point out is that epilepsy goes hand-in-hand with a plethora of mental disabilities, including depression and anxiety. I know that I have noticed an uptick in depressive episodes since my first diagnosed seizure. I am using that as a marker because that is when I started tracking. I’m not saying that is when my depression set in, and I am well aware that I might just be depressed because I’m looking for signs of depression.

My point that I was trying to get to, is that over 50 million people worldwide suffer from some form of epilepsy. The article I was reading pointed out how 70% of people cannot get treatment, but I choose to look at the fact that only 30% of people have access to treatment. I, myself, have gone a very long time without a conscious seizure, probably due to the medications that I am on. I don’t even take the largest dose, and I have gone two consecutive days not taking it because I’m an idiot and forgot.

I’m sorry, Texas.

I need to extend an explination to my friends and readers from the State of Texas.

I have been rather unsympathetic to your plight as of late. To be fair, parts of what you are dealing with sounds pathetic to those who deal with it all the time. It’s easy to forget that even a monicrom of snow is a huge deal to some parts, and temperatures around freezing are strange for a large part of your State.

I find it kind of strange how you got our winter, kind of. We have had about a month of snow, and equal time of freezing temperatures. I understand that the inclimate weather hit suddenly and fast (for you), but our winter has been mild and relatively snow free. At our pique, we had a foot and a half of snow (imperial measurements are a pain in the ass). We have hit temperatures of -20 C this year, which is -4 F for those who measure that wrong.

Seriously, however, your power situation is disgusting. I cannot believe how your power companies have literally hung you out to freeze, and your government is bloody useless. I’m sorry.

Remembrance Day

Today is a day I hold higher than any other day: even my birthday. I only learned recently that it is only recognized by the Commonwealth nations, and I find that sad.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about; Remembrance Day is a day put aside to remember military conflict, primarily the World Wars, but has extended out to any military action over the last 100 or so years. It is a day to remember the sacrifices made, the lives lost, and the peace gained.

The fact that it’s only celebrated by the Commonwealth nations makes me very upset. It is important to remember what we have achieved, both as nations and as people. I feel as though remembering the lives lost has garnered a kind of reverence in regards for life and a collective respect for the potential atrocities of war.

ANY-WHO, I just wanted to kind of explain why this day exists for those who have never heard of it before. I learned recently that it is far more than I imagined, and that makes me upset. Even if you don’t recognize it, for whatever reason, knowing what it is rates as very important: to me, anyway. The only thing that is asked is a moment of silence at 11am today.

TO MAKE IT CLEAR: Remembering the actions of the men and women who give their lives is NOT compliance with the military. I, myself, am very anti-conflict. I still recognize the importance of today because we need to learn about what went wrong in the past to make the future better.

(Tomorrow is my birthday, then starts the usual time off until the next year!)

Total Collapse

I have been ruminating on writing this for literal weeks. Not because I am afraid of offending people, the people who would be offended somewhat need to be offended. No, simply because there is too much that has been going on in my head.

I hate the culture of ignorance around this pandemic. It feels like there is willful ignorance and too many fake professionals giving their two cents. If I hear how horrible it is that Canada hasn’t opened its borders to the US again, I think I will actually lose my voice screaming at the screen. Same goes for letting kids back to school, or how the vaccine has a microchip, and the most egregious: how the mask is inconvenient.

I get the allure of having kids go back to school. “Free” daycare so parents can go to work. There are so many things wrong with these sediments, but the easiest rebbutle is that this will cause the pandemic to spring back up in numbers. Kids are gross and needy. They will touch each other, no matter the precautions that are put in place. This puts teachers lives in danger. This puts families lives in danger. I cannot even express how blind and arrogant this whole idea is. Again, I understand the want. I just have a hard time accepting that we (as a society) are ready when we just have quintuple digits worth of new cases spring up in some places in the states.

Do you have a license? Do you have pets? Do you notify the government when you move? Do you collect mail? Do you have a cellphone? Do you belong to a country with universal healthcare? Do you have a bank account?
If you answered yes to any of the above: THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T NEED TO MICROCHIP YOU.
There is nothing that they cannot access already that they could learn from checking your blood. Health records are accessible to government agencies, so they know everything from your blood type to your diet.
And no: you cannot figure out sexual orientation or physical disability from blood. I HATE THAT I HAVE TO WRITE THAT.

The states have literally created an Orwellian police state. Here is a video showing and explaining much better than I could.

Wear your fucking mask. Just, wear the fuking thing. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but there is no excuse whatsoever. If you think there is, then doctors shouldn’t wear one when they do surgery. Wear your fucking mask.

I am not an expert. I am just sick of being assaulted constantly with so much misinformation that I don’t know where to start my tyrades.

Classic Album Review :: Kill The Lights — Buffalo [of] Love

I have wanted to share this album with as many people as I could, and FINALLY someone put it on YouTube, so now I get my chance!

I saw this band back around the release of this album. They were awkward and it was amazing! Not only is the drummer one of the fastest drummers I have ever seen, the nuance and intricacies of the music blew me away. As I mentioned, I saw this band back when this album had been out for not a year, but they made playing these songs seem effortless! I was floored.

Okay, I need to make my amazement seem a bit more warranted. I had never heard of this band before. Like most independent bands in Canada, they were over shadowed by the bands that got huge around that time, whether it was deserved or not. Since this band was from Montreal, the French part of Canada, they got little to no attention from even the circles they belonged to. This is a fact that KILLS ME, but it hurts me even more because I understand it.

What this band did that few other did was combine disco, indi-pop-rock, and jazz. It sounds like an unpleasant mess, but a few notes in, one awakes to the fact that it works in the most inappropriate way.

Did I mention the part about the drummer and how I rate his one of the fastest I have ever seen? If I had not have seen them live, I would swear the drums on the album were sped up or manipulated. To add insult to injury, he is the least impressive looking man. Not that musicians have a look, but you would pass him on the street minutes after seeing them play. I only bring that up because it was actually STRANGE to see someone who looks so… well… plain!

I digress, love this band. I mean, LISTEN. Well, and love. There is something endearing about them that makes you fall in love with the almost-off-key squeals and almost-not harmonies.

Little side note: there seems to be some conflicting reports on if the album is Buffalo of Love or just Buffalo Love. That’s why I put the square brackets in the title.

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.

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!

~a bit of transparency about money

I try to keep the financial side out of this blog for two reasons.

  1. It always feels either preachy or like a plea for something. Either I feel like I am dictating to those who cannot get a foothold, or I am begging for more from the masses. Neither is 100% true, however. Yes, I do want/need help. Don’t we all? Also, it is very hard to get a handle on what exactly is available and what the limits I can push are in those directions.
  2. I HAVE NO IDEA all of the caveats and obligations. Like, if I beg people to gift me something on Patreon, do I have to declare it? Is what I do worthy of donation?Then, I self destruct into a world of “what makes me better than most?” and “what can I offer that no one else can besides this blog?” to which my self-worth gets eroded over time.

Those two point are why I never ask, or beg if you see it that way, for people to donate anything fiscally.

I HAVE (kind of) FOUND WHAT TO DO NOW!

I am on CPPD (Canadian Pension Plan Disability) which gives me just over $800 a month. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t break the poverty line. There are no benefits (like insurance) and I have to put the money out for things like my medication, wheelchair, and other necessities. It feels a bit broken, and a bit worthless.

WHY DON’T I JUST GO ONTO ODSP OR ODB?

They require a minimum income available, and look for any reason to not give me a helping hand. Since my wife had a decent job, I lived at home and/or my parents were well off, I was not eligible through the government of Canada for any sort of benefit. I am going to reapply, but the soonest that I can go through wit that is next month and the process takes about a month to complete. In the mean time, I have all three of my meds coming to an end, and I really need new wheels. Which actually segues beautifully into my next point…

DOESN’T THE GOVERNMENT FUND WHEELCHAIRS?

Easy answer is no. Harder answer is “explaining the caveats and bullshit reasons” no.

To get a new chair, the only way to government will put anything towards a replacement is if repairs cost more than a new chair would. If that is the case, the government (through ADP. I don’t know how it works with ODSP since they keep saying ‘no’ when I apply) will pay 75% back AFTER you put the money out for a new chair.If I am not mistaken, wheels are covered on a 5 year cycle (again, AFTER the money has been put out) but I have not looked into that yet.

My purpose for writing this all out is to demonstrate that being in a wheelchair does not create a win-fall financially unlike what I have seen the public assume it does. I cannot have a conventional occupation because of my epilepsy, wheelchair, and various other medical situations. They cannot NOT hire me for any of thees reasons, but maybe I don’t have the education that they like. Maybe my job experience isn’t quite up to their standards. There are many reasons not to hire someone without pointing to their medical and physical limitations.

I have ranted at you long enough. I basically wrote this for a semi-excuse to say PLEASE support me on Patreon. I will never ask for much. There are nine beautiful people on there whom I am forever indebted to.

Classic Album Review :: Matthew Good Band — Beautiful Midnight

I have not written one of these in a while, but the last one keeps getting new readers! If this is something you want me to do more of, let me know in the comments! I have a few albums I can think of that I feel everyone should remember or experience for the first time.

Oh, Canada! You make such good music!

I know that I keep doing retrospectives in Canadian music of albums from the ’90’s, but that was my bread and butter. I was a huge alternative nerd back then, and some of the best music came from Canada. I am sure, if this article does well, I will hit on Our Lady Peace.

I digress. I lovingly call this album “The Soundtrack for Nihilism” to no one ever.

(I need friends.)

This album has some of the bleakest outlooks on life ever put to lyrics. From the bombastic opening of Giant right through to the somber ending of Running For Home. Every song croons about “everything is fucked is and we’re all going to die so make the best of what you’ve got.”

I love it so much.

Giant is probably one of the best intro songs ever. It opens with a cheerleading group spelling ‘KICKASS’ with no backtrack what-so-ever. Then, with piercing squeals preceding it, the drum line comes crashing over everything. It’s beautiful.

From that point on, the lyrics and music paint a picture of how great it is that everything is the way it is in the most sarcastic, unfeeling way. The music reminds me of the epic crescendo’s of the ’80’s metal scene mixed with the independent movement in the early 2000’s. Leads and little more than jangles placed perfectly over steady rhythms laid out by a steady bass line. This, of course, is punctuated by the slap of crushing swells and pounding drones. The strings sound like they would be simple in execution, but they are covered in flairs you might not notice unless you were looking for them. The drums accentuate the standard pop song structure then vier wildly into the realm of progressive meters and timing without the listener even noticing.

To put it simply, this album should not work in the mainstream archetype, but does so beautifully. The bleak lyrics help along this feeling of ambiguity that the album contrives. Metaphors abound and the similes used illustrate the mind of someone defeated by society, but they do not celebrate it. They are used more to illustrate how messed up everything is, but drive home the hopeless emotion that permeated the ’90’s.

I think my ravings have proved how much I love this album. In fact, I am having a hard time picking a favourite song to share with everyone. When you have massive tracks like the aforementioned Giant and piano ballads like Strange Days with only one song between the two, to find a standout track that dictates the general feeling is really difficult. It would actually be a lot of fun to break the album down, song by song, and write a piece about each one. There is enough content in each song individually that doing so would be interesting. Even taking what they sound like they mean and comparing what they are actually about would be interesting.

I, however, am far from the right person to do such a task.

If I had to make a generalization as to what states-of-mind the album elicits, I would have to say crushing realization combined with an acceptance of just how wrong everything can be.

SO, I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD NOT PICK GIANT.
I found a really good version of Giant live.
The first guitar solo is ignored by the camera operator. Epilepsy warning, though I was okay.

Enjoy.