~Not Yet, Satan

Today marks the fourth anniversary of me opening my eyes from a twenty-plus day coma.

Also: first post in a long time over on Mind the Music. Go check it out!

Journey: Nihilism at its Finest

I should preface this by warning those who care that this will contain spoilers for the game Journey.

Yes: Journey. The game by ‘That Videogame Company’ which came out in 2012. I love everything about this game: The art style. The soundtrack. The narrative.

To those who don’t know or never cared to know, Journey is a game where you direct a nameless, voiceless character from the beginning of a map to the end. The path is full of puzzles and various clues to a past. Nothing is explained, in a tradition sense, and the clues are there for you piece together as time goes on.

It is a simple game in every way. That is what makes it so daunting and stressful at times. I do find that part mildly ironic. I first was introduced to this game by someone who sold me on it by claiming it is relaxing.

Due to the fact there is no narration and little text, the player is taxed with finding the correct path from point to point. You are doing so while trying to complete the task.

What task?

Well, the game does not tell you. Ever. You assume it is important. You assume that it will be explained as time goes on. However, you get to the end and…

Yep.

The game concludes with a cinematic recap of the environments you just tread while the credits roll and beautiful music plays in the background.

It is kind of an anti-climax, but I still found it incredibly satisfying.

You see, I took the game to artistically depict my views on life.

All that matters is now. The events that happen later are, yes, in consequence of what now contains. This does not change the fact that whatever you are feeling now is all that matters.

Journey displays this by telling the player to go on an adventure. One that does not contain any direction except for the walls of the environment. The player has to then endure many difficult trials with NO rhyme or reason except to get to the end. Then, there is end. You die. Well, maybe not DIE, but you do stop existing in the ‘physical’ realm.

The strangest part of this ending was what I felt when I realized what had just happened: I felt accomplished. I felt like everything that needed to be done was done. I had a tonne of fun playing the game, and when it was over, I realized that I could play it again if I wanted to, but there was not that longing to.

That sounds so much worse than I intended it to. I played it again because I WANTED to. Not because the game was taunting me with a ‘maybe’ further play-through. I know I missed secrets on my first play, but my second I knew I was playing as a new character. My previous character was dead, and that was fine.

I cried just as hard the second ending as I did the first. Yes, me, an adult male, cried at the end of basically a cartoon with the bleakest outlook on existence that I have ever seen portrayed in that artistic medium.

Recently, I started following a play-through of someone playing Journey. It had been five years, give or take, since I had played, so of course I was compelled to watch. His commentary was annoying at times, he missed things that I noticed in the background, he went ways that I remembered as being wrong ways, but I will still link as many people as I can to the playlist because I think the game is that important.

To answer the question preemptively: yes, I wept at the end. I wasn’t even embarrassed, even though my dogs were looking at me like I had something wrong with me.

So, why did I open with a bold comparison saying this bleak, beautiful game is anything like nihilism? The game shows that there is no reason for anything we do. Like the game, life is a bunch of attempts at things until something sticks. In the end, it really does not matter what we have done. What does matter is how happy we are at the time.

I will take this opportunity to say that this is a blog, not a direction on how to live. If you are going to take my words to heart, talk it over with someone who understands the direction in which you are taking it. I am just kind of waffling through this post wile I keep my pets away from things they should not eat.

Also, I would like to point out the irony in me saying ‘only now matters! later means nothing!’ as I write this post one week before I post it.

I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD HALLOWE’EN!

Have You Not HEARD? Part II

I realized on Thursday that this was being posted on October first. Happy spook-month, everyone!

This is a series of blog updates where I either remind you of bands you forgot, or show you things you may have never heard before. Every album listed here is one of my favourites, and I will try not to bring up duplicates from other lists I have done.

Bloc Party :: Four
This band confuses me. I am very aware that they are far from the scope of the mainstream (or, were huge at one time, anyway), but no one seems to talk about them. I have been made well aware that they are terrible on stage, but that does not change the fact that Four is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard. Hard-hitting, spiteful, dark, yet beautiful.
Recommended listening — We Are Not Good People

Boards of Canada :: Music Has the Right to Children
Yes, I admit, this is a strange album that not many people would be interested in. It is electronica, but very much background ambience. Brought to you by the same record label that brought Aphex Twin and Squarepusher to the world, this exists in a kind of strange vacuum that could be considered Adult Contemporary, but it is far too strange and fantastic to be degraded in such a way. (I’m sorry if you like Adult Contemporary, just not my thing)
Recommended listening — Wildlife Analysis

Broken Social Scene :: You Forgot It In People
To set the record straight early: I really hope that no one has actually forgot this band. Seriously, when was the last time you listened to this album? Not recently enough is the answer. Interesting Canadian Pop-Rock, with an impressive collection of vocal artists and very talented musicians.
Recommended listening — K.C. Accidental

Broken Social Scene Present: Kevin Drew :: Spirit If…
Strange, honest, jangly… this album contains everything that could be considered great in the early-2000’s Canadian Indi scene. It contains one of my favourite songs ever recorded and, for the last decade since its release, I rarely go a week without treating myself to this forgotten gem.
Recommended listening — TBTF

Dear in the Headlights :: Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
I feel so badly for this band. They were released on Equal Vision in 2005 and were quickly overshadowed by the emo and hardcore movement that was taking place at that time. Ignored by the masses, the world dejected one of the most talented bands to ever grace our planet. Good from beginning to end, please do yourself a favour and give it a fair listen. Do it for you.
Recommended listening — Sweet Talk

Deathmole :: Present Peregrine
This is a fake-not-fake band. Jeph Jaques created Deathmole as a joke in a comic he writes, and then used the opportunity to flex his creative muscles musically. The result is a very interesting take on the Djent genre. As far as I am aware, the drums were all programmed. I must say, he did a fantastic job on them despite that fact.
Recommended listening — Personal Charm

Death From Above 1979 :: You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
My friend Kevo and I did a rendition of “Turn It Out” for a school pep-rally over a decade ago. The album dropped back in ’04, and I think we performed it ’05? Does anyone remember, or have a link? Was there ever a video taken of this? I would love to see it. That occasion stands as one of the first times I tried to sing and play drums: and I forgot the words half way through. It was awesome.

OH YEAH, THE ALBUM. It is Punk with just bass and drums. Hard, strangely funky, a lot of fun. I don’t put it on often, but I am always happy when I do.
Recommended listening — Turn It Out

Hot Hot Heat :: Future Breeds
Fun. Fucked. Amazing. I love this album. (I just noticed just how much of this list is Canadian, and I am far from sorry about that.) This album is a great example of what you can put in music that will annoy people, yet still do incredibly well at the end of the day. Phenomenal lyrics that hide time and key changes masterfully. Something else I feel like I should mention: the vocals are much less obnoxious than they were on earlier releases. I am not saying that they were bad, back-in-the-day, but they were grating if you could not get behind them.
(secret: if you want to see a drummer cry, get them to drum along to this album. It sounds simple, but it’s noooooot)
Recommended listening — JFK’s Acid

The (International) Noise Conspiracy :: A New Morning, Changing Weather
I will be candid here, I hate this band. In my eyes, this album was fantastic, Survival Sickness had some good tunes: THAT’S IT. You may recognize the singer as being the front man from Refused, but he does NOTHING to that caliber. Not that he should, however. This album is a strange combination of Surf-Rock and Punk: it worked once, at least.
Recommended listening — Up For Sale

Lullabye Arkestra :: Ampgrave
This band is strange. Like, proper strange. Just bass and drums (on stage, anyway), and they were very artsy. The drummer was from Do Make Say Think, and his wife was on bass. They put on one of my favourite live acts I have ever seen. It was awkward, fun, loud, and inviting: you felt like they wanted you there, and everyone else was your good friend. Really recommend listening to a few songs off this album before you jump to a conclusion.
Recommended listening — Unite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maximo Park :: A Certain Trigger
This album means more to me than it probably should. I picked it up randomly when I was still working at the music store on a whim. I was immediately caught off guard by how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of The Smiths, without sounding anything like them. They are one of the tightest bands I have ever heard, and the lyrics are very ridiculous, but still important.

Random personal story: when I was fresh out of the coma, and finally starting to realize the world around me, I identified with the song “Apply Some Pressure” in a morbid way. Something about the way the singer keeps repeating the phrase “What happens when you loose everything? You just start again. Start all over again.” It just resonated with everything that I was and still am going through.
Recommended listening — Apply Some Pressure

(Of course, I would point out the song that keeps the album close to my heart.)

AMENDMENT TO MAXIMO PARK: After listening to “The Queen is Dead” I no longer agree with my Smiths comparison. I do hold true to the fact they sound like that era. The Smiths are their own beast, and few bands will ever be able to recreate that sound reliably.

I am not here to tell you what you need to listen to. I just simply need to remind the world of these artists and/or bands. If you do not love them, as I do, that is okay. I still want to make these exposés every once in a while. As I have stated in the past, I do aim to do a music update at least once a month. I have not done one since June 25th, and I am not proud of that. Please, share this list with your friends. Tell me if you found something awesome, or recommend something that you think I might like!

The Potential Move

Natasha and I are looking to move house. We are looking into Hamilton because we are not having a good time in Burlington. I think it is a positive move, even though I have little nice to say about that city. It is her home town, there are a lot more places to work, and the cabs are less ridiculous.

I am also starting to look for a real job. Maybe through the police in the civilian branch. I need to do something other than look after the dogs and cat all day. Mind you, I am writing another book (as stated in the text interview) and I have changed the way I am writing it. I am very excited.

Long story short, I am going to be very busy over the next month and a bit. I am also very exited for all of it. Yay, living life again!

How Meta…

(Still recovering from being married)

Welcome to my blog about blogs! I promise that I will only do this when I feel it ABSOLUTELY necessary.

The Shameful Sheep is a collection of the funniest thoughts I have ever read. Blair has a fantastically bleak outlook on situations. She never shy’s away from reminding the reader of that situation they cringed at the other day. Even my wife Natasha finds it hysterical at times, which is saying something: I have the darker sense of humour between the two of us.

The other blog I wanted to point my readers towards is The Viking Reviews. Mainly the “Gibberish” posts, though it is all grand. I will not lie: it is slice-of-life-ish and mild voyeurism, in the best way. I just really enjoy reading it. OH: and the main part of the blog is book reviews. They are all pretty fantastic. (Yes, he reviewed “You’re Not Dead” positively, but it does not sway my opinion what-so-ever)

Anyway, I just felt this compulsion to share these sites with the world. If you have a site I should look into, leave a link in the comment section. I have to approve every comment before it gets posted, so I will be looking into each link submitted.

(I should note that these are not the only two I read, just the two I wrote about today.)

So, why am I doing this? Why am I highlighting these outlets? Am I being paid to mention them? I fucking wish. I just really love them and want everyone to enjoy them.

BOOK!

Married 

I got married on Friday. As you can imagine, I have been a bit busy planning things, so I do not have an update. Please keep yourself posted: I will have something next week (even if it’s just celebratory photos). 

ALSO: it is Natasha’s Birthday today! 

~June :: The Worst Month

I don’t like generalizing whole months as one thing. No month is inherently bad or good. This June, however, was especially amazing in how it kick my ass, and it is not over yet.

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I had a seizure on the first and on the fourteenth. I scarred the shit out of my fiancée, and spent far too long in hospital. Never a fan of hospital stays, medication, or loosing control, I lost all independence for a total of t=24 hours collectively. Normally, this is where I say “one good thing that came about is…” but nothing good came of the event. I am fine, if you were concerned, but very embarrassed. I am actually very reluctant to even bring it up, but I started this blog with transparency in regards to my health. Therefore, seizure notice!

On the evening of the 18th, my cat (Hank) jumped from my balcony and fell seven floors. Wee spent over 12 hours trying to find him before we saw a note in the foyer talking about a small, orange body that was disposed that morning. That was devastating, as can be assured. There are a million excuses. None of them, however, bring my best friend back. I loved him. I miss him. He will forever be missed.

On a less depressing and more annoying part, I am about to celebrate one year of You’re Not Dead being released. I have only moved 95 copies (at time of writing) and I am not sure if I will sell any more this year. Thank you to anyone who bought/read it. I am just disappointed that I did not reach my goal of 100 copies sold in one year.

Eh. First world problems.

~Update

Starting the first of July, You’re Not Dead will use this as its main page.

I will be doing updates gradually over the next couple of weeks to facilitate this transition. I hope it will go as smoothly as possible.

On that note, I have sold 95 copies: completely independently! Thank you so much for your continued support. I have written about 75% of the next book, and I hope to have more information about that to you very soon!