Archive for August, 2013

7 Terrible Films I Should Be Ashamed to Enjoy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by synabetic

I really need to do a proper update on this thing; but until then, here is something I did over at Nerd Titan. You may dig it. Just click on that there image!

reign of fire_tank_title graphic

Or, fine, click here.

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My Review of Papers, Please

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by synabetic
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CLICK ON ME, COMRADE

I also write reviews of things like video games. Here is one of them. Heck, this might even be a game non-gamers would be interested in.

I try to make them funny. Your mileage, of course, may and will vary.

Read it here.

I’m also the Managing Editor of Nerd Titan, which makes the approval process so freaking easy!

 

 

 

 

 

Tozovac: Serbian for “Awesome”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by synabetic

While going through the usual social media distraction bullshit. I saw this going around. It’s a list of 21 Painfully Awkward Band Photos. Go on, look through them. Can you hear the Horsemen telling you to come and see? I can. Most of these are hilariously awful. All but one.

One album cover is completely awesome.

This one.

Dođi da vidiš

Dođi da vidiš

My first thought was “Who is this dude?”, but my brain already knew… and then I looked it up. I was right! It’s Predrag Živković Tozovac, a famous Serbian folk singer. Born in the same year as my father, Tozovac had the distinction of being born in a more badass place than Fairbanks, Alaska, like dad; Tozovac was born in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and he probably saw more shit than you, I, or dad ever did.

Yugoslavia has a special place in my heart, you see, seeing as my mother’s family is from Slovenia. Laubach is also from Slovenia, and the music and arts have always been strongly encouraged in the Yugoslav countries. Tozovac is no different, and his folk music is pretty sweet. And he is indeed rather popular in his homeland, as I know “Zlatna” means “Gold”. But what about the other bits? Something about Jeremiah and a round Jeremiah, I think. My Serbo-Croat is rusty.

Of course, I want to come up with my own story behind that photo. I mean, there he is Tozovac, famous music star of his people, mounted atop one of the only sad instruments of Balkan diplomacy, an artillery weapon. I like to think that while he wants peace and happiness for everyone, he is also willing to protect sloboda– freedom and liberty– at any cost. Tito kept them free from Soviet rule, but Yugoslavia still had its problems, many caused by Tito himself. I like to think Tozovac is telling everyone “But I can see our freedom in the future. Look! And this makes a nice seat if we don’t use it to kill people”.

Tozovac protested openly against unrepentant butcher and all-around piece of shit Slobodan Milošević. I remember quite clearly watching the footage on CNN as Milošević’s regime was taken down, with reporters saying stuff along the lines of “You can still see he has supporters; people are chanting his name”. No. They weren’t. They were chanting “Freedom”. It’s just a sad, sad irony that one of history’s nastiest humans just happened to have the name “Free” or “Freedom”.

I know a great artist named Freedom. He is not a brutal dictator. As far as I know.

Can you imagine if Stalin had chosen “Pero”, instead? Actually, being known as “Feather” instead of “Man of Steel”? Then again, “Pero” can mean blade, feather, and probably more things depending on context I’m guessing. Also, considering who “Man of Steel” brings up in our minds these days, “Stalin” is efficiently scary enough.

Вверх, вверх, и далеко в ГУЛАГ, товарищи!

Вверх, вверх, и далеко в ГУЛАГ, товарищи!

The next time you are laughing about silly album covers, just remember that there’s a story behind those people. I’ll give you that most of those stories probably involve pathetic misery, laughable ideas, and mental illness, but one or more of them could be folk heroes, and way more badass than our own soft and pasty folk heroes are in North America.

There. Now you might know some new stuff. If not, at least you got to while away some more time until your biological vessel expires. Huzzah!

Body Memory Body, A Stripping of a Musical Material

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by synabetic

“Steal! Just steal! There’s nothing real in this world, so take what you want– Just steal!” –Leaether Strip “Steal”

In an effort to add more material to this thing, I have decided to write about little snippets of my life. It’s the details I am obsessed with, usually, as it is the details that combine to create a whole; a whole that is enjoyed by everyone else. But there are those of us caught up on the little things, enjoying the whole range of tastes and sensations life has to offer us. Naturally, it’s easy to get hung up on details and the little things– which is what I am doing right now.

So, let’s get hung up on one small detail from the exciting drudgery of my carbon-based existence.

Head like this hole

Head like this hole

A long time ago, in early 1994 to be exact, I was 18. There are a whole bunch of stories to be had during this time period, but I will stay focused and just mention the facts as they pertain to this particular flashback. I had– still have– a friend named Donovan, and he was really into industrial music like me. If you are unfamiliar with what industrial music is, or elektro, EBM, darkwave, etc, the internet is truly your friend right now. But in short, it is a form of music I am most interested in and have been since I was around 16. I’m almost 38 right now, so that should tell you something.

Like me, Donovan scoured record shops and scavenged whatever he could in order to find new music. New industrial music. That distinction was very important. One day he found a serious score: Leaether Strip’s “Material” 12″ on vinyl. It was  discovered through a record shop called 4000 Holes, probably still around today, in Spokane, in the great state of Washington, Americaland. To say this kind of discovery was rare would be a severe understatement. The owner, Bob I think his name was/is, had a habit of selling promo product (that is, product sent from record labels free of charge to play in nightclubs or at the store to promote sales)… which might sound lame, but when you think on it a bit, it was pretty nice of him. He liked to take advantage of the goth kids, but we got to have awesome music we would have to order from shitty catalogs we managed to get our clammy, nail-bitten hands on otherwise.

leaetherstrip_material_record_side_A

This 12″ record was certainly a one-off promo. We didn’t care. Donovan informed me of this Great Find quickly. We had heard of Leaether Strip through Cleopatra Records catalogs and compilations. I used to call Cleopatra “Queen of the Comps” and for good reason, as that label made its entire reputation on its myriad and mind-blowing array of compilations it released over a couple of decades. Back in the 90’s, if you lived in North America, Cleopatra was almost always your introductory label to the goth-industrial scene. Then you picked up some issues of Industrial Nation, eye-liner, tights, camo pants, a leather jacket, a surly attitude, some combination of all that, usually, and you were set.

It was a process, really. I know Skinny Puppy said that their album “The Process” was named for some groupy groupthink art organization outfit, but I like to think it was named for the process in which you dive into a scene, a group, a gang of like-minded individuals. Wait. That’s what The Process as a group is! Well, nevermind, then.

Strip’s Material EP was a part of this process. At this point in my life, the guy behind Leather Strip was some kind of mysterious robot alien that made awesome music. It wasn’t until I heard his release “Solitary Confinement” shortly after finding Material that I fell in love with his brain.

Donovan and I listened to that EP over and over. Later that year I became a club DJ, which is a fun story in of itself, involving insults, injury, and nails (and another guy named Steve). We’ll save that one for a future installment, alright? Anyway, my buddy and I loved the shit out of Material. We would play that sucker over and over and talk and smoke cigarettes and play it for friends. It was an anthem for our souls. Sure, we liked industrial music, but here is a guy who got us. Who got what we wanted. And once I heard Solitary Confinement, Claus Larsen, the biological organism behind Leaether Strip, became my favorite musical artist of all time.

It’s odd to think that, you know? The Beatles, The Doors, or Bob Dylan should be at the top of my “greatest musical bards of all time” list, not Leaether Strip, Laibach, and Front Line Assembly.

Okay, Neil Diamond, too– hey, he’s the fucking MAN. He’s my Johnny Cash; and I love Cash, too.

What also made Material a standout to me are the live tracks. They sounded as good as studio tracks… which I later heard and was underwhelmed by. Take the song “Japanese Bodies“, for instance. The album cut of that just doesn’t resonate with me. The Material version is the one I think of, have played in clubs, and is the version I prefer. It is harder, meaner, darker, and better as far as I’m concerned.

Alas, we were so goddamned young. The record ended up in my stuff somehow, and I didn’t even know it, thinking I had given it back to Donovan after I had DJ’d it a bunch. I had a tape recording of it (well, three, actually– I liked my bases covered) and didn’t even know it had been lost in the Teen Adult Shuffle of Youth until it was re-discovered one day in someone’s truck, partially melted and warped. It seemed a fitting end for that record, reflecting our souls in some meaningful, poignant, and utterly cliche way.

leaetherstrip_material_image

Today I was notified via email that Claus has released the Material EP through Bandcamp. You can go listen to it whole, in all of its early-90’s, groundbreaking, elektro-EBM glory. I have listened to “Body Machine Body” nine times now. And the transition into Japanese Bodies still gives me chills. It is a prime example of industrial electronic body music. I do have all of these tracks in various forms on a whole bunch of different kinds of media, but there’s something about listening to it from the official release. To me, anyway.

Yeah, I know you may not be into this sort of thing. But I am. The least I could do is dedicate a bit o’ writing to one of the pieces of plastic, representing but a fragment of an amazing human being, that shaped me into the person you see today.

All of this leaves me with one final thought: “I wonder how Donovan is doing… haven’t heard from him for a while…”

leaetherstrip_material_zoth_image

Postscript: I can’t mention Strip without mentioning Zoth Ommog, the brilliantly named record label from Germany that brought us all these fantastic bands. Thanks, Zoth. Thanks for everything.

Getting All Extroverted About Being Introverts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by synabetic

It is around 12:30am as I write this. I played some Sniper Elite v2: Nazi Zombie Army, and after getting a bit frustrated with blasting away those stupid protecto-skulls the Occult General has flying around him in the Cathedral level, I decided to read through some Facebook posts.

“Oh,” I murmur, trying to not wake my partner (though my typing certainly will). I noticed this post linked from HuffPo. Now, I hate giving HuffPo hits; and it makes me feel better when I say that before I give them more hits. But it’s the latest trend online social media, kids. It’s all over the Buzzfeedings, and the Twitterverse, and the Facebookings. It’s probably made it’s way to G+ by now, too.

Maybe not. Google+ is a sad wasteland populated mainly by weird artists and tabletop gamer nerds.

Anyways, I post “Have you ever noticed about how extroverted everyone is about being introverted?” to my Facebook wall-thing. Because, you know, this whole introvert craze is starting to go fever pitch. Everyone is an introvert– WHO KNEW? And there is also the requisite “You know you’re an extrovert when BLARG BLARG” stuff, too, because, you know, contrarianism. It’s all part of some alien plan, probably.

Pictured: Terrifying alien plan

Pictured: Terrifying alien plan

Why is being an introvert so popular these days? If internet denizens are to be believed, nearly all of us living in this cyberpunk future (we dare not call cyberpunk) are goddamned introverts. Those of us who do not pick up and bear the ironically loud standard of Introvertia proclaim allegiance to Extrovertistan. One or the other; pick a side, you motherlicking drokkface.

Now, it’s easy to say this is all in good fun. Hey, I like fun! Who doesn’t? If you don’t like fun, you should be killed. Because fun is FUN. It’s all like the heady, early days of Livejournal and everyone passing quizzes around. Who remembers those? I loved the “Which Genocidal Maniac Are You?” one where my result was “Henry Kissinger”. Oh, the laughs that were had!

Maybe people have no problem telling everyone they’re introverted because they mean “Meatspace Introverted”. They are shy and quiet and contemplative, and parties are always hijacked by those fucking ADHD sociopathic attention whores… who often go home and feel lonely… but they don’t matter– because INTROVERTS RULE, that’s why.

It sounds as if I dislike introverts. I don’t; have no fear. I love one actual introvert very, very much, actually. Thing is, I feel everyone is varying degrees of introvert/extrovert, depending on mood and circumstance. People describe me as a massive extrovert, but I rarely go out and participate in shared events with live humans, making happy meat sounds whilst draining meat-happy-making libations down my Primary Frontal Meathole. I just don’t do much with people these days. The majority of my social time is spent online and with the wonderful company of miniatures.

(Holy crap, that last bit sounds creepy.)

What fascinates me is the sudden social trend of the Celebration of the Introvert. No one really cared before, because if it was brought up, I assume most people would feel “they want to be left alone”.  I don’t know if I have an opinion on this subject. Just glib, loquacious, semi-witty observations.

If you feel like commenting, what do you think?

15 Reasons to Not Date a Writer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2013 by synabetic

After reading this bit over at eHarmony called “15 Reasons to Date a Writer“, linked via various social media outlets, I immediately thought about it and posted about it over at my Facebook; complete with 15 points of my own.

I post it here for posterity. My partner says that it’s also 100% accurate… pertaining to me, at least.

While the post over at eHarmony is all well and good, with the good should come the bad.

1. Your writer pet drinks, loves to drink, and is a raving drunk or depressed drunken twat. Or, she/he is a teetotaler and seems like the anti-fun at parties (unless they are talking about themselves).

2. Writers are full of wonderful opinions! AND THEY ARE THE BEST OPINIONS, SO YOU SHUT YOUR GODDAMNED MOUTH.

3. Writers are angry. Or sad. Or sangry. They are always hungry…

4. …so, writers will eat all of your food.

5. They will also drink all of your booze. DO NOT TOUCH THEIR BOOZE OR NON-BOOZE CANDY IT’SALLTHEYHAVEOHGAWDWHATHAPPENED

6. Writers are depressed.

7. Writers hate you. No, wait. They love you. Hate you. Love you. Hate you.

9. Writers are confusing because they think it adds to their mystique… and hey, it’s one way to exploit a mild mental illness for booze ducats, right?

10. Writers will use words that make them smirk and have you roll your eyes. ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

11. Writers are vulgar beasts.

12. All writers think all writers are like them.

13. All writers are sad that they cannot art. Those writers who can art are sad because non-art skilled writers laugh at them and spit whiskey on their lesser writing skills.

14. Writers are assholes. They also fart in public–OR– they are terrified to fart in public because they don’t want their over-inflated sense of self-worth to be scrutinized or mocked.

15. Writers often project. Yes, this is supposed to have multiple layers of meaning and word-play because this list is written by a writer.

This probably all goes well with the “15 Reasons Why You Should AND Shouldn’t Date An Editor” list.

All in all, writers are creative people, and with all creative people comes creative issues. Some people have quarterly issues, and others require bi-weekly subscriptions.  Plus, it’s all a matter of taste in the end. My hope is that my partner doesn’t drop me like a sack of radioactive potatoes, but with hope comes work. When the work becomes too much, the work becomes work in of itself, turning into a horror show that would only entertain someone who has been squirreled away in an Eastern European mountain range for twenty years, with nothing to entertain them other than a limitless supply of cherry Kool-Aide and magazines concerning stereo repair from the 1980’s.