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Western World Literature

Posted in Books, Personal, Philosophy by steelstringed on January 7, 2010

While running errands yesterday, I happened across a used bookstore that I’ve never been to. I will make it a new years resolution; I plan to buy a book a week from this store. Today, right outside the shop were old books for $1, so I decided to rummage through the selections, not expecting to find anything worth picking up. How wrong I was! Not only did I find a cheerful looking read called Keys to Happiness (copyright 1955) but I also found a massive, 1400 page collection of Western literature published in 1938. This giant collection covers classic literature from Homer to Plato, Machiavelli to Shakespeare, Poe to Frost… you get the idea. One of my goals this year was to begin an academic reading list covering a history of great literature, and I think I have just found the book I want to duct tape to my hands for the next several months. Of course there will be some other books on the side, but this tome of human intelligence is going to be like my Bible, the difference being that I will actually read it. Cheers to knowledge!

Shiraz And A Girl

Wine is best shared in the company of fellow wine-lovers; however tonight, such people are absent from my life, namely one girl I haven’t yet specifically mentioned on this blog.  This girl lives a few hours north (3 hours northeast to be exact), forces me to brighten up my eyes to the music in front of me, and sends me love the old-fashioned way – in the form of x’s and o’s.  A long distance relationship is a bitch I promised myself I’d never speak to again, but here I am facing that maiden square in the face.  And I couldn’t be happier.  Not everything is rosy in the world right now; the recession has cut off the creative person’s drive, forced him into the experience of everyday people, a fate he’s tried to avoid his entire life.  But it has made him thankful for the opportunity to see other people where they are, to embrace himself in the daily struggle of those whom have greater perspective and greater character than he does.  It has made him thankful for the support system of individuals who would do anything to see success come to fruition in his life.

Tonight I tried a new Shiraz I’ve not had before, Red Belly Black, and I drank a full bottle of it alone in my parent’s basement.  While some may think ill of this, any catalyst that causes me to think of the ones I love the most can never be a bad thing.  So tonight, I had both a Shiraz and a girl with me while Bright Eyes sang melodies and strummed acoustic guitars.  It has been a good night.  Thank you.

For Katie.

Holy Dragoons!

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on January 6, 2009

Dragoon

I have returned. If the reference from a popular 1998 RTS is lost on you, hurray! You still have a life. If the abbreviation RTS is lost on you, hurray! You have a good chance of keeping a life! But if you knew I was pulling a reference from the glorious Real Time Strategy game Starcraft made by Blizzard Entertainment in the late 90s, join me in loneliness for many Valentines Days to come. The worst holiday for singles is fast-approaching, and I’ve already been through one of them recently, New Years Eve.

But 2009 is here and luckily I did not have to spend the 31st playing the aforementioned game with a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and Nacho Cheese Doritos by my side. I was able to make it out on the town (what little of one there is in downtown Springfield, MO) with a few good friends, get some free shots, and walk around in the cold weather without a coat for a few minutes while my nipples froze, only because I did not want to get my new jacket all smoky. So I guess that last one’s my own fault. Other than those exciting tidbits, I rang in the new year with quiet melancholy in a very lackluster bar named Bubbles, ironically without any bubbly or drink of any kind. There was not, to my knowledge, even a TV available to watch the ball drop, as if seeing a pre-recorded feed of flashing light bulbs is anything to gawk at anyway. Unless you are one of the endlessly energetic celebrants making-out with your significant (or insignificant) other in Times Square, the entire event is decidedly tiresome and ferociously annoying… especially when people are shouting “FIVE!…FOUR!…” while the real counter is still on the number seven and not even thinking yet of turning into the number six. The number five might as well be that backpacking trip to Europe we all haven’t really planned yet and the number four might as well be the fucking big rip as far as the counter is concerned.  Overzealous bastards, chanting their numeric incantation at blinding speeds… The inability of large groups of people to uniformly count down to zero while maintaining relatively close approximations of actual seconds will never cease to bug the hell out of me. Anyway, back to Bubbles; the bar seats looked like urinals, the couches smelled of body odor, and the drab white and silver walls and decor screamed to be used as a destination for blood-splattered rampage in the next Grand Theft Auto title. And of course, I had no one to make out with. Starcraft and Dr. Pepper isn’t sounding so bad in retrospect.

But before you decide that my uneventful and dispassionate passing into the new year has turned me into a depressed, homicidal maniac, remember that there were already an infinite number of reasons 2008 wasn’t anything to cheer about. Consider the following: countless suicide bombings, continued fighting in Iraq with US soldier death tolls rising above 4,000 (not even to mention Iraqi civilian deaths), deadly tornadoes and hurricane Gustav, an earthquake in China killing tens of thousands, floods in India, violence between Georgia and Russia, the arduous primaries and presidential election, Sarah fucking Palin, a ban on human rights in California, a massive bailout fiesta coupled with an economic recession… and tell me that I’m not allowed to be slightly pissed off. Now amend this list with the further additions of drastic personal changes leading to high-stress, emotional drain and problematic family issues, penny-pinched budgets, job loss in October and mono at the same time (forcing me to move home to Missouri). And then amend that with similar problems outstretching to my circle of friends and your own; we all undoubtedly saw relationships fall apart, plans change dramatically, and jobs being lost as well. Sounds like one hell of a 2008. At least for now we have relatively low gas prices and the hope that Obama will actually do something positive once he is in office, even though it’s a shame that Rick Warren will be there to kick things off. So fancy that, it seems I was already a depressed, homicidal maniac.

In all seriousness, though, 2008 brought some very positive (well, from my perspective) changes in my life and perhaps I am just having a bad night. I don’t honestly feel that depressed on the whole, but life in Springfield can and does take its toll on me. I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with good friends here and have even met or reconnected with others that are proving to make my stay worthwhile. I intend to continue these friendships as long as possible.

But all this is to say: Nashville, I miss you. I miss everyone who stood out among the dreariness of 2008 to make the year worth remembering. I miss the studio and 10-hr. recording sessions. I miss porch parties and bonfires. I miss grabbing my first beer of the week at 1:30am at Broadway Brewhouse, most of the time on a Tuesday. I miss the cigars and whiskey over a game of chess and philosophy at 4:00 in the morning. And yes, I’ll go off into the deep-end of cliché and sentiment here, but what makes these events great are the people. I miss the people, I miss my friends.

And so the start of 2009 has stuck me with a goal of getting back to them, in whatever physical or metaphorical sense you wish to attribute to the statement. As this post is already beginning to foreshadow too much of an inspirational turn for my taste at this point, I will be quick to end it in fear of sounding like a motivational poster should I dare to start gushing in paragraphs to come. Readers and friends, just know that I am going to kick the shit out of this year regardless of what new and dreary history will most likely be written once again, and hopefully I will end up the with only minor bruises when the next Jan. 1 rolls around.

Friends old and new, work your asses off this year, show compassion to those around you, and sit down with me for a beer, conversation, and love. Let’s try to be goodness for each other amidst all the shit heading for us as the world enters 2009.

And Then the Cold, the Bitter, the Depressing

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on December 7, 2008

I just burned up 2 hrs. and 22 minutes re-watching Closer, which could have been used to sleep. But I needed badly to watch it. I was compelled to a late night viewing instead of wasting time in unproductive slumber, cause that’s all I’ve been doing for days.

It is an amazing film. I say this sharing every bit of the humanity and pain of the characters in it; the coldness of Larry, the bitterness of Alice, the depression of Dan. Anna is a tragedy that I will fight my life to avoid.

Of the four, first call me Dan. Prone to infatuation, quick to call it love, cunning with words (probably less-so than I’d like to imagine) and subject to extreme confusion for years on end. Overly obsessive with each small obsession, a brilliant son of a bitch capable of destroying that which he admires, driven by truth to the point of ruin.

Next, call me Alice. Irresponsibly spilling out love without reciprocation, feigning self-respect while needy to the point of tears, guardian of my secrets that no one must know, as fast as a light switch to find new love when current love sours.

Finally, call me Larry. Proud of my perversions, a champion of myself, I am my own muse at the expense of others, boasting of my attainment of love more than that which gives it. Cold in my retribution and bloated in my victories.

Anna carries traits of all them all, but is too weak to exhibit even strength of her failures. She is a wash to me and I hope I never see myself in her shoes.

I have never experienced in full magnitude the cheating, lying, and devastation displayed in the film, but if you can see yourself somewhere within its reels, we can be friends. If you can’t, check yourself; you are probably not human or perhaps have never loved someone. If you have not seen Closer, watch it immediately. If you don’t care, you need a lesson in the greatness of Clive Owen. And if you don’t like Natalie Portman, shut your mouth because she is my future wife and looks hot even when she’s bald.

The Hot, the Warm, the Cold

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on December 6, 2008

Hot cider, a warm blanket, slippers, an episode of The Universe on alien galaxies, and fresh brownies coming out of the oven in 20 minutes… I’d say recovery from mono has its benefits :) And aside from toasty evenings like this one, I absolutely love the cold outside. Toss me a beanie, a scarf and a jacket and find me a sidewalk. Now all I need are tall buildings and a coffee shop to duck into.

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Tailored, Fed, and Well-Read

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on December 2, 2008

I’m finally getting out of the house today for a little while.  The first stop is a small place called Alterations by Jo Ann, where I will be getting several shirts and perhaps a few jackets tailored to fit me like a glove.  I have never had anything tailored besides a suit or tuxedo, so you can understand if I might feel a little metro.  Nonetheless, I plan to look undeniably awesome upon wearing the tailored shirts, and feel even more awesome as I go into today’s next endeavor, reading Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.  This is a book I have wanted to read for months, and I am looking forward to it with such boyish delight as if a Batman-themed birthday cake has just been set in front of me, candles blazing in the formation of a giant number seven.

Among the other books that are on the short list: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God (which is a Christian’s undeniable case for evolution against ridiculous creationist claims, sure to be a great read) and then onto Nietzsche’s On The Genealogy of Morals (<sarcasm> That is, if a particular person thinks I will be EDUCATED enough AS HE IS to understand Nietzsche. </sarcasm>)  Also on the conveyor belt are Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker and Unweaving the Rainbow, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and perhaps Francis Collins’ The Language of God if Miller’s book fails to satisfy.

Damn.  Where am I going to find time to read everything?  Oh, that’s right.  I’m busy with my “shit show” of a life and have plenty of time left to sit ungratefully at home while the rest of the world crashes down around me.  I must’ve forgotten!  Sweet deal.

And there’s also Quizno’s today, right now.  Goodbye.

Stick a Björk in Me, I’m Done

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on December 1, 2008

As a musician, there are always those few artists who speak in a language that makes me want to give up this whole music thing and become a janitor.  (No offense to any janitors reading this..) I’m talking about the artists who bleed creativity, emotion, and eerie bliss in a transcendent and magnificent way.  A couple examples come to mind such as BT on the electronic side or Radiohead on the band side of things.  These musicians transport you somewhere else, sometimes uncomfortably, sometimes with such potency that it would be wise not to operate any kind of heavy machinery while listening.

Tonight, Björk is that artist.  I am very unfamiliar with her work, but as I am currently a few songs into my first listening of Drawing Restraint 9, I already realize she should be filed in the “Unclassified Magnificence” genre at the music stores.

Immediately, I must get my hands on the film (Drawing Restraint 9) for which this CD is the soundtrack.  If you know of where I can find this film, please let me know.  I have no doubt that it will be beyond my scope of appreciation, but the least I can do is try to understand.  My rock and pop-music tools are going back in the box this evening; looks like I’m getting out a plunger to go clean up my unworthy piles of crap.  No heavy machinery though, gotta watch out for my well-being.

Should We Resurrect The Neanderthals?

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on November 25, 2008

Read the story HERE.  If I weren’t so tired and my hands weren’t such prunes from just spending an hour and a half in my hot tub outside, I would make a much less juvenile commentary than the one below. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to deal.  Should we bring the neanderthal back?

HELL. YES. Revive those sons of bitches.

And don’t let anyone’s “moral objections” stand in the way of pure, unmitigated awesomeness.

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First Alderaan, Now This?

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on November 22, 2008

It looks like we’ve found the remains of a distant planet, only evidenced by a dust cloud floating close to a white dwarf named G29-38.  Here’s what New Scientist had to say:

The planet’s outer layers were apparently engulfed by the star’s preceding red giant phase. The core survived but may have been dragged close enough to the subsequent white dwarf to be torn apart by its gravity, creating the dust cloud.

Earth, on the other hand, is likely to be totally vaporised during the sun’s red giant phase billions of years from now.

I call bull shit.  We all know our pop culture history too well to let a story like this just slide by unchallenged.  Say, New Scientist, did the white dwarf happen to look like this?

I think we just witnessed a fully armed and operational battlestation.

That's no white dwarf, it's a spacestation.

Let’s hope this particular white dwarf doesn’t make it to Earth for a few billion years… oh the look of disappointment on their faces when they realize our sun already beat them to the job of destroying us all!  It’ll be priceless.

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Epstein-Barr and a Healthy Dose of Age 16

Posted in Books, Creationism, Evolution, Films, Music, Personal, Politics, Religion, Science, Uncategorized, Unmitigated Awesomeness by steelstringed on November 20, 2008

Please, someone give me bamboo shoots to poke underneath my fingernails.  I have nothing to do.  On November 5th, I was diagnosed positive for the Epstein-Barr Virus (relax, it’s only a snake..er…it’s only mono) and it has only been a recent occurrence that my daily temperature has finally failed to hit the 100 + mark.  Elevated liver enzymes are going back down, my spleen is hopefully returning to a normal size, and I only experienced jaundice for 2 days!  However, I’m still not out of the woods.

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Due to this unfortunate sequence of events, I’ve had to pack up my things, temporarily say goodbye to some friends, and move home to Missouri for a few months in order to rest and recover.  They say relapse is a common tick-box that stupid and overzealous mononites choose to check off once they start feeling even the slightest bit better, and I’m hoping to avoid that fate.  I can sense my immune system gasping for air, even though am no longer in need of a strict 3-hour Tylenol/Motrin rotation, and I feel just peachy most of the day without any kind of medicine at all.

In essence, though, I’m 16 years old and back in high school, and I’m on extended winter break.  I have no apartment, no job, very little cash, and my wonderful mother is cooking up food, busting out the thermometer, and making sure I have an ample supply of Oreos and milk.  It is all well and good; I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t like a doctor’s prescription of “sleep and eat, do nothing else,” but it is hard to be away from Nashville, away from music, away from friends.  I am growing anxious already, but maybe once I can get my small studio set-up working here, I will at least find enough comfort so that I don’t have to resort to http://www.bambooheadquarters.com/ to satisfy any masochistic desires.

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