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Friday, December 24, 2010

One Year Later......Everything Has Changed

Hello, image of my former self. Since you're the only one paying attention here, might as well address you directly. You may know that we started this one year ago, when snowfall bestowed upon us an epiphany of major proportions. Since then it hasn't been a good year, in fact, you could say this has officially been the worst year I ever lived down. There is only one person that can come close to knowing the things that went through my mind. But rather than dwell on that, I've decided to simply let history repeat itself and pictures do the talking, as once again, this December is covered in snow on the very same day. And still: One year later......everything has changed:

It started off small, but I value every snowflake given to me.

By the time of our anniversary though, it was clear that the snow was here to stay:

Remember this one?

It was coincidence that once again led me outside, as I ventured towards the hospital

Bus ride:

My hands had frostbite by this time, so out of focus shots. 

Took the exact same route home, so it felt pointless to recreate more of the same, but I did get to snag a picture of the lake before I took off. Yes, that's a lake.

Went home and treated myself to a nice breakfast.

The next couple of days, I spent sitting inside giggling at all the people trying to rush their life past the forces of nature, as the snow became more intense. Nature finds a way to slow us all down; we should all embrace it, instead of fighting everything we face.

This weather spawned a microwave. Yes, most shots are weird, but I liked them regardless. 

Even more intense weather. In a way, snow has become the catalyst for my existence. I'll be sad to see it go

And as of today, Christmas Eve, the snow has dominated our landscape to assert its place in the world. All is chaos outside as people scramble to do society's bidding. It's been 20 years since I've seen this much snow. I'm not going to bore you any longer, so here's one last shot. One last shot.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Comic: Leap Of Faith

It's time for morbidity and humor: In an attempt to act like Wednesday's funeral wasn't real, I spent all my time and attention to complete my very first web comic ever Tuesday. The final drawing is a bit more crude than the original sketches, but I had to redraw the entirety, as my scanner is dead also. Drawing things with a mouse isn't easy, so the result is still good for a first ever thing. It was inspired by my recent attempt to replay Super Mario Bros in celebration of his 25th anniversary. Enjoy Mario's Leap Of Faith:
NoobFeed - Web Comic 1 - Mario's Leap Of Faith
*click to enlarge*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

If life had a final purpose, it would have been reached by now.

Sorry, there is no one picture that can do this justice.
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Sometimes, this overused line affects people more than it should; a lot more. Tragedy always strikes unexpectedly, as we don’t anticipate it striking ever. And it is in such events we are forced to part with loved ones, just as we had to say goodbye to Dieter Bercx. He was a loved friend, brother and son; he was so much to so many people and yet was also secluded and alone. It’s strange how easily we collectively let those things happen and this case is neither solitary, nor will we prevent it from happening again. Look, there’s no way to wrap this up correctly and I can’t seem to manage my emotions, so I can’t keep writing. Maybe I will soon, but now let’s get on to business. Because that’s what people do, right? They suppress deeply scarring shit and let the cogs roll as if the machine never stopped in the first place. ..

And so, here is the promised secret project I was working on with some friends: Swords & Wizardry.

We came together once again, after years of absence, to immerse ourselves into the wonderful world of Roleplaying. Spearheaded by Dieter, the dungeon master in this case, we set off to make roleplaying more spiritual than calculated. So, with little need for dice and such, our adventures would rely more on the strengths of our intellects. That was a wonderful new take on an idea based on our imagination in the first place.

I was going to announce it once the project received more momentum, but as it was requested from his brother (the gentleman rogue in this case), I’m going to try and get the footage up as soon as possible. Therefore, I’m going to compile all the information that we had already and get the backgrounds up and whatnot, so you can get a better feeling of what was going on.

I was also in the midst of picking up art again, to illustrate our adventures, but I had only created one portrait and now see little need to ever roleplay again, period. Still, I’ll release that picture as well; anything we have basically.

Even trying to keep this brief, I spewed out 400 badly written words; I suck. So,  without further ado:

Richmond background

 What’s that? You want to know more about me? Really, there is nothing much to tell.
I am Richmond, chief warlock of the brothers of darkness, lord of the bones, master of the thirteen hells, emperor of the black, lord of the dance, mistress of magma …
Oh, and the mayor of a little village up the coast. Very scenic in springtime. You should visit sometime.
I also had a familiar. Hctib Elttil was bonded to me until the traitorous imp managed to flee.

My story began when I started looking for some magical artifacts. I was bored and felt like doing something. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? The Sword of 77% Probability? The Sword of Maybe, Maybe Not? The Sword of Mostly Falsehoods? The Stick of Lies?
No? Well, can’t hurt asking.

Anyway, I asked a farmer’s two children for directions. I then killed both of them. I mean, it is hard to kill just one! That would be unfair. Spread love in equal measure and all that. I also wanted to lose some baby weight. Mostly from the baby I ate. Good times.

Why did I kill them? Because they didn’t know the directions.
After that I displayed their heads on stakes in a suitably comical manner. As for their expression, I went with mild surprise. Seemed proper given the situation.
Didn’t sit well with their father though. Gave me a good nobbin on the noggin.
And that was the first time I died. By the way, the meaning of life is ‘bucket’.

I also spent some time staying at a recently widowed woman’s house. I comforted her best as I could. ‘Your husband is in a better place’ I said to her. The crazy old woman went on rambling about someone having killed him and he two sons. I still don’t know what she was going on about. The Spork of Condescension didn’t provide any answers either.

This other time I met some overzealous warrior. I tried to punch his liver out via his ass. Didn’t work, even though I once drank the soul of a monk and tried to imbue it in a small animal which I intended to learn how to speak. They taste like chocolate. And that was the third time I died. Or maybe the fourth, I always mix them up. Like the time I got eaten by a Purple Worm. I did return, in one form or another.

What else? During beautiful moment I like to compose and break into musical singing. Wholesale mass slaughter, locate and butcher your daughter. Stuff like that. I should write this down. This is good stuff. Got any chickens with you? Works well with my Fork of Truth, my bear arms and my kidney hat. Made from real kidney, you know. So you can’t have it.

People say I don’t behave myself. They tell me I’m a monstrous abomination. I resent those comments. Warlocks just have a bad reputation. I mean, I try limiting my maiming to undesirables these days. Most of the time, at least. Do I get points for effort? Playing good has its advantages though. No pitchfork and torch lynching for one. Being loved instead of feared does have its appeal. Yes, you might even say I’ve turned over a new leaf.

Are you still listening by the way? You seem kind of quiet, just lying there with your tongue lolling out. You also look a bit pale. And I’m in the mood for conversation.
Oh well, I wonder when dinner is. I did help with the flaming rat-problem.

Background Story – Link “Shorty” Goodale the Fifth
Link Shorty Goodale V Sketch
Born in the shire community of Palervale, Link Goodale is a descendant from a long line of brewery folk. The bustling, small community was known throughout the Kingdoms for their Pale Ale and Link was brought up in all aspects of its trade. From running the ins and outs of tavern, to gathering ingredients and creating the brew to export it; it was all shown to him by his father and older brother.

Staying relatively small, even for Halfling standards, Link was dubbed the nickname Shorty throughout his childhood years. It was a name that would stick with him for all time, as his real name took a back seat more and more. He grew to be a mere 2 ft 11 inch. It was said, tongue-in-cheek, that the shire was haunted, as villagers would sometimes spot giant barrels of booze float by without a hint of an owner. This was the lad carrying the goods arched over his back. His father therefore dedicated a line of Short beers upon Link’s coming of age. It was an inside joke Link did not mind, but rather appreciated for its gesture.

As a man, Link set off into the world of export for his company, so he could meet the outside world and learn its secrets, in benefit of the brewery. Not resisting the power of the tavern call, he would sometimes help out at the local inn he was staying or provide them service if he spotted a tavern serving their brew. This made him known throughout the towns and aided the reputation of the company grow. He would always order the Short Ale, wherever it was available, advancing his nickname’s recognition. But it would also make him a robust drinker; much more resilient than his scrawny apparition would give away. It was something he could use to his advantage.

Hailing from tavern life, he was a more than avid gambler. He would use his knowledge and wit from the shire community to perform parlor tricks and whimsically cheat at betting games. This could also land him in a spot of trouble from time, but most inn keepers knew his intentions to be more whimsical than heinous. Link also tried to make sure his con wasn’t performed on characters that would not oblige.

In time, Goodale Inc. furthered its reputation to such extent; it would become a house of powerful reach within the brewery trade. It got his father the title of Baronet and later, even Baron. Link began wearing a large, black cloak flaunting the company logo on its backend, embroidered in gold thread. This made him an even more recognizable figure amongst taverns throughout the land, but also landed him in his fair share of trouble. Due to its darker appearance, he was sometimes mistaken for a fiend or dark character by townsfolk or guards and suffered his share of wrongful accusations because of it. He took it all in stride however, as he knew well the lower standards of living.

It is on a fall day that Link returned to Palervale to meet his destiny. Upon arrival in the town perimeter it was already noticeable something was largely amiss. Smoke bellowed from all sides of the shire, much more than needed, and the well-groomed lawns lay ransacked before his eyes. He rushed his horse and carriage over the small hills to see what was the matter. There he saw the once flourishing Palervale, set to ashes. Houses were burnt down, Halfling folk struck down and most of all, the brewery lay to waste. The local magistrate had become corrupt with greed during Link’s absence and had set his eyes on the prospering entrepreneurs of the shire community. But those refused to give in to the ridiculous demands of the avaricious aristocrat. He had personally come down with his men-at-arms to oppress the town of Palervale, but their bond was stronger than the greed of the tyrant. In an episode of blinding rage he had ordered to destroy the brewery and its contents. But the worst was still to come.

The villagers could not warn Link in time for what was about to unfold. Upon hearing the dreadful news of the magistrate, Link rushed to the brewery grounds. There, inside the rubble, lay his family, murdered… It was all his eyes could bare and he went mad with grief. His father and his brother together were dead before his eyes and he was dead behind them. He laid there and wept for what seems an eternity, unaware of any other possible danger. He had not seen the smoldering remains of the factory house, nor did he care for it. But before he knew it, a supporting beam gave way and the ceiling collapsed upon him, triggering a new fire due to the current released. Not even his agile frame would save him from the tragedy and he suffered severe wounds and burns. The lacerations and brandings were well to be noted across his face and body alike.

However, he pulled through and together with the help of the town; they buried his family underneath the brewery cellars, with coffins carved from the factory kegs. After that the remaining folk decided it be best to leave Palvervale for good, as it wasn’t safe their anymore. Their decision lead them to join the town of Miltonshire, down by the sea. There they could reset the brewery name in peace, together with their kin, and continue the legacy, lest it be forgotten. Link was of course asked to lead the crusade, but he could not. The once whimsical, quick witted fellow had become a bitter and torn individual. His scars and burns only heightened his dark appearance, but he himself had gone dark before it.

The shire of Palervale was further demolished and the bucolic homes filled with the remains of wooden walls, straw roofs and then they were aligned with dirt. This way, nature could once more flourish as had the town before it. And the Halflings; they would disappear from the territory as from its history. A small shrine was made for the ones lost in the attack, but it would only be noticeable to those who made them and Halflings who would pass it on in coded songs and chants of the land.

Link “Shorty” Goodale did what he knew to do. He set out into the land to search for the towns and taverns. But he was no longer a free spirit in conquest of reputation. He would keep the cloak, now torn, but it looked grim and the embroidery fragmented and faded; such as his concept of morality. No more would lawmen and noble figures meet him in good virtue. He even went on to relinquish his right to access his family title of Baron. No; authority was not to be trusted and mankind was driven by greed and not by justice. As he later found out, the evil magistrate acted upon name of the entire kingdom. Therefore, Link swore vengeance upon the kingdom itself. Stretching far and wide, he would not rest until a burning inferno would lay to waste the ones responsible, as they had lay to waste his life.

He resided in much unfriendly territory and learned to skulk around caves and caverns, most inhabited by dangerous Goblins and Orcs. In hiding, he learnt to understand the lingo of the talkative small goblins. After he had learned some keywords he could venture closer in, as his grim appearance and scrawny figure could fool many a goblinoid in dark spaces to meet his kin and not a Halfling. Unfortunately, this coin flipped both ways and he would also get mistaken by adventurers and lawmen alike as being a foul cave-dwelling cavern; especially if he would anger any of those in the goblinoid tongue. He has ran more than his fair share for his life.
Link picked up an aid on his travels. A young human boy, harassed by highway guardsmen, was about to be violated and humiliated when Link surprised the evil-doers. He crippled them, slashing their ankles, so he could grab the boy and run for the hills, before any could lay hand on either of them. After a period, it the tale began circulating of a goblin abducting a village lad from the highway to lure him into the mountains. This tale gave the 2 the breathing space necessary to set out into the world again.

The now teenaged lad thanks Link for his life and now serves him as his human assistant, whenever he can. His name, Coulter, is pronounced ‘Colder’ by Link, due to a momentarily confusion, spending too much time with Goblins, trying to speak his name in their dialect.

Character attributes/special abilities:
Apparition: his small and dark, cloaked figure may have a chance at having townspeople mistaken him for a creature or ghost, leading to trouble. It may also give adverse effects to talking to people and Link suffers a +1 penalty on any conversations outside his nature and NPC loyalty checks (above any others that may apply)

Gambler’s Fortune: using his cunning and knowledge of the trade, Link is an unstoppable force when it comes to bar games and betting games. He has a chance 1 in 4 chance of winning all games played and a 1 in 3 chance when served Goodale Inc beer in the place he resides. Starting level 8 this becomes 1 in 3 and 1 in 2 respectively.
Drinker’s Fortitude: The man can hold his liquor, such is true. His bluff increases the more people are persuaded of his drunken debauchery, when in reality he stands ‘tall’. His persuasive skills get a +2 bonus if people are fooled by his small appearance while drinking.
Fortune’s.. Fortune: Link is a merchant and knows merchants, especially those who serve in the brewery trade. His knowledge give him a heightened percentage at favorable effects when dealing with any person related to the brewery trade (such as inn keepers, brewers, alcohol merchants, etc)
Goblin Tongue: His cave-dwelling ways have earned Link the comprehension of the Goblin language. His chance of understanding small Goblinoids is relative to his “Hear Sounds” check, as is speaking the language. From level 5 this also applies to Goblinoid script (if deciphered).
Goblin Face: As with Apparition (look above) Link may be mistaken for a Goblin when in towns and such. He takes a +2 penalty on any suspicious checks for his person. +1 is added if he is speaking Goblinoid. +1 is added if near caves or other known Goblinoid dwelling and retirements

Seriously though: There were a million things left to discuss... But thank you for the compliment you once gave on my blog via your friend. I knew you of all people could understand where I was coming from. You know what I'm talking about.

May it bring you the peace you so deserve, my friend. That is the fine line.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Holy bottomless stomach, Batman! I've been eating so much crap the last 2 days and I'm STILL hungry! Really, you wouldn't believe what I all ate; it's maddening. But on to business:
Recently, I got into an argument about HD re-releases now also getting done in games. Now, I'm not a huge fan of it in movies either, but trying to resell the same game twice took it a little too far for me. Apparently, I also extremely butthurt a wave of fanboys, because from my valid points on, the argument deteriorated in attacking my person and nothing else. So, it wasn't really an argument, as I was the only one trying to divert the assaulting monologues 5 to 6 people were blasting upon me. After repeating myself 5 to 6 times and disproving a lot more "arguments", I decided it was best to let the internet be the internet and create an article about my opinion. Since I had to make myself crystal flippidy clear on every word said in the argument, I had to create an article of equal clarity. Therefore, it became the shocking discourse you will see posted below. It was even so long, I couldn't bring myself to making any more points; so not all subjects were handled. If it means anything: I'm sorry for being so precise. I'll try and make monosyllabic grunts about people's sexual preferences in bad grammar next time, pinky swear.

Enjoy. Oh, and it's only the internet: cool the copulation down, ok buddy? 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apocachips and the most awful play on words ever.

I failed to sleep for 6 days straight now, so enter your own witty opening here for once. If you want me to come up with something smart, I suggest you hook me up to a never-ending caffeine pump or force feed me cocaine.

Anyway, it’s been an odd few days, I suppose. I was going to write about it as it happened, but the same rules of exhaustion apply. So, what you read will be extremely fragmented and incomplete. I even doubt most of it will still be very accurate or even correctly processed by my sleep deprived brain. But here goes:

So, yesterday I received an email stating my super awesome DS games have arrived and I should come pick them up from the store. As I almost died last week (literally), due to exhaustion, I wasn’t really chipper about having to go somewhere, but I did anyway. I was planning on returning to the gym that morning, but I started feeling extremely ill again, so I aborted early, before choking on my own vomit again. If you ever want to spend an afternoon doing something different, may I suggest fainting in a gym toilet stall. But I digress. I got up and tried to find some fitting clothes, without passing out. In one fell swoop, I also added my new favorite song, Under My Feet by None More Black, to my music player and headed out.

It will never cease to amaze me how people can look at you with such disdain, no matter how presentable you look. Yes, it’s the piercings; I know, I’m the one wearing them, not you. I have lost all comprehension as to why people try passing off charity and compassion as the social standard when nothing could be further from the truth. People are brought up to hate others and suppress anyone in a fierce global competition for social status.

I was nearing the store though, when someone crossed my path that I knew recognized me.  We’ll get right back on that. First I want to tell you the jolly news that right behind her back; I noticed the store being shut down. It’s always lovely to battle consciousness over effort and having it be for naught upon arrival. Now I’m even fainter and I have no games. But back to the ho...nourable passerby, myes. Apparently, right behind me, she started picking up pace; which I could’ve concluded by her stare being stuck to the floor before she passed me. She looked more and more familiar as we were now both stuck on the same pace leading home. That’s why she chose to cross the street; you know, just in case. But enough about her; my point is, you don’t need to be friendly if you know me. But it’s kind of rude to act like I might rob, rape and kill you in the middle of a busy street in midday. Not that I couldn’t use the money and such; I just don’t like prison all that much.

Giving my middle finger to this day in general, I thought it’d be time for me to be a complete fat pig. So, I passed by the store on my way home and dug in. There I bought an assortment of lovely items. I also decided to catalogue the rare occasion, as it could probably serve as my epitaph later on: “Here lay Daav. He should’ve cut down on the greasy stuff, the fat pig”.

So, after purchasing all these lovely goods, I went home to eat everything all at once. If you’re going to live like a pig, you might as well bear down. Get it? Bear? Yes, I explain my obscure puns; otherwise my subtle genius would be lost on you all. I’m like Kanye West: A mothafuckin lyrical wordsmith, mothafuckin genius, Pardon his French. Maybe he can debate me later about the fact he doesn’t speak French and I shouldn’t start rumors about him. Is any of this getting through? If not, you and I do not share interests; sad.

Several digressions later, I walked home to stumble on more people that recognized and shunned me. At some point people should realize they are awful people, when all their acquaintances shudder in fear when they pass. Someday, I’ll make that realization as well. But I had chips to eat and sorrows to kill by indigestion.

At home, I downloaded some bad tv and start to scarf down, what I’d hope would be an imminent heart attack waiting to happen. It is strange that at these precise times, you’d get interrupted. Not on the 19 hours a day you’re completely isolated from any social contact, oh no! Right at that godforsaken point; that’s when you interrupt people, in the name of social interaction. Here’s a tip: If you were truly social, you’d let me be when I need a minute and come back to me later on, even if you have other friends. It’s called a priority and I apply it well to all my contacts. Perhaps it should be something you need to do as well.

Did I mention I found my first ever fortune cookie that day? Well, I found my first ever fortune cookie that day! At least it’s a little light point at the end of a flame engulfed tunnel. I was expecting it to taste like cardboard though and the fortune to be very snide and sarcastic. On the bringt side, I was only correct on one occasion. The fortune cookie actually tastes yummy, not at all like cardboard. If that were the case, I’d eat cardboard every day! The fortune was a bit more tasteless though. In the sense it stated: “The roots of work might be bitter, but the fruit tastes sweet”.

Yes, a work related fortune is exactly what I need right now. I’ve been summoned to appear in front of the people in charge of my welfare money. And despite my ridiculous amounts of efforts across the years, it’s no surprise I’m still jobless. This will probably not come over well, so I’m fairly screwed on the matter; even with the amounts of evidence I can present. Being depressed for months now, doesn’t help much either. But hey; we should fight and make the most of life and all that stupid bullcrap I don’t agree with. “Awakened to the blood stained face of a world that cannot be changed. Forever reminded of a nightmare that is every passing day.” These words I live by, therefore I have them imprinted in ink on my body.

As I was building up this coronary, I noticed that 300ml of Hot Salsa is actually less than I’d want it to be. And so, halfway through my bag, I was left wanting and my jar empty. Why Hot Salsa? Because I like hot tamale!(10 points for reference) Still determined to kill myself with the power of potato goods, got up once more, now filled with chips energy, and proceeded to saunter down the shop across the street. One overpriced jar of Hot Salsa later, I was back in business; though I fear the exercise of walking might’ve saved my soul.

At long last, I reached the critical point though. With about 20 chips left in the bag, I could not get another bite in, without all the other bites coming back out first. Indigestion had been achieved (Achievement unlocked – 30 points).

To make sure my brain would shut down on itself, I took a look at my right side where there are many a letter stacked, filled with official statements that need my urgent attention. I’m fairly sure some are bound to be overdue, because I can’t remember when these letters weren’t here. There’s a letter from my money-stealing union, my money revoking authority and my useless insurance. Apparently the insurance thing is something of critical importance. In that case, perhaps they should send it in a more important letter. But it doesn’t end here, oh no! You live in a dream world if you think a simple mountain of feces is enough. Feces only come in Himalayan proportions, nothing less.

My landlord has been very evasive about getting down a new contract; probably since he’s selling the house I live in with little warning. I can’t stop him though; it’s his place. But being this is the second time this has happened to me, I can’t say it does much for my general sense of trust and security. I’m not going to have any money in a month though, so I guess that doesn’t really matter, if you look at it that way.

Why do people keep asking me what I will do once that occurs? I have no idea what they expect my response will be, I really don’t. If I don’t have a plan for basic daily routines in life, how do you think my visions of the probable and debatable future are? My hypothesis is, I will wait until my money runs out, which I expect to happen in about a month and a half. After that I will wait to get evicted from this house, if it is still under my contract and still functional. And after that, I suppose curling up and die is the ‘plan’. I wouldn’t know how else the situation can be handled.

There’s a lot I’m not telling you, of course. If it only were this simple, it wouldn’t be much of a conundrum. I might be lowly educated, but that doesn’t render me useless from an intellectual standpoint, just from a technical standpoint. So, let’s try and end this on some random notions:

I started a DailyBooth recently and have enjoyed acting like a tool on it. What else is there to do with my life than acting like a tool? It’s not like I’m useful for anything else. But in general, I’ve talked to a lot of people lately; none of them seeming to share a lot of interests with me. But I guess some attention is better than none; be it ever so slight.

I also finished all my fatty foods today and was still hungry when all was finished. I didn’t get up once more though, as I stated earlier I’m exhausted. I wonder if this has something to do with the near death experience thingie?
Anyways, we’ll conclude here. It’s been a while since a personal post, so consider this way overdue. There will be less personal blogs to follow later, if I can get one project to start. If so, expect more news here. But you can also follow me on a whole rayon of social media to stay updated. Here is everything you need to know:

And gamesites:
NoobFeed – I’m a staff writer on this one
Gamespot – I’m a mentioned member on this one
All others are usually ghost accounts:

There’s more, but they’re not even worth mentioning. But if you have any sites you’d like to know I’m a part of, feel free to ask on any active account.

This isn’t one.

Monday, June 7, 2010

History Reviews Itself.

What’s up douchebags? Your cholesterol? Man, that line is so old and cheesy and you stole it from an even worse film. For shame, imaginary person, for shame!

Yesterday, I had a fairly old school hangout with Second Base and got a hold of their new effort “Manifesto” and also The Rocket’s cd. I had been meaning to get their new cd somehow, but since I no longer support (read: buy) music, those chances were slim. Of course, it does help as an incentive that the band in question plasters the most unflattering picture of yours truly they can find all over their cd and promo. It kind of obliges one to get a hold of a copy, if only to prevent one more horrific photo of you to reach the outside world.

When I finally had a few seconds to myself and the alcohol of days past lingered away from my hearing, I put on the tracks as fast as I could. It was time to be surprised or ultimately disappointed. And the verdict is… a mystery. Why? Well, because it made me think back to a time where I wrote reviews for albums, concerts and such. And I remember those days well. It made me yearn to do so once more, if only to finally be able to view an analysis that doesn’t make me cry. Truly, reviews of late have been so amateur it made me feel ashamed that I did better when I was 18 and had no writing experience at all. So, if you write reviews, there's about a 90% chance I've read them, despised it and laughed out of secret shame. It's not that they're bad per se; it's just that most are bland and lazy. Adding nothing, absolutely nothing I wouldn’t discover myself by just checking out one or 2 random songs on a band's Myspace. But then the other side of those days kicked in: All the bullpoo “politics” that goes along with writing reviews for bands.

What bands say when they hand you a cd for review is this: “Yes, please review our cd. We don’t mind if it’s bad or not, we just want an honest opinion of our music. Anything you’d like to say, please say it. We’re really looking forward to it” That, my, errm, friends, is what I’d like to call “bandspeak”. You’ll notice once you talk to any band. They are either the biggest saints ever created on the planet, or complete asshats that are so far up their own arse, they can smell their aorta. The truth is most bands are somewhere in between that and more sided on the latter expression than the first. So the above paraphrasing actually means this: “You, worthless promo-person. Here’s our divine gift we grace your meaningless existence with. Write the most flattering, brown-nosing, arse-licking statement you can about it, now! If you don’t, we will spread ill word over you and everything you do so fast and so vast, people will associate your name with the next disease comparable to AIDS. Shove your honesty. If this review comes up with anything less than a perfect score, we will come by your house and brutally beat you.”  I’ll be right on that, good sirs! Yessum, I just loves me some writing, I does.

So, I have decided not to review any recent music I acquired yet, since most of it comes from people I know. Instead, I’ll write one for an album I already know is good and thus can’t really upset any frail, frail hearts with.  Here goes: More Than Life - "Brave Enough To Fail"

More Than Life from Whereeverthefuck, England is a band that sprung out of a somewhat recent trend in the hardcore landscape, being melodic hardcore. Think of it like Emo for people who are too lazy and cool to play dress up and wear make-up. Whether or not they are pioneers or are just riding some hype coattail doesn’t matter, More Than Life is a powerhouse in its genre that is overturning some hardcore standards. The fact alone that they’re from the UK makes people all wet in the pants. Because for some reason, being born in a specific area in the world makes you better at some things than others. Right then. Nevertheless, their music doesn’t make me gag, like the plethora of generic crap that spews out of this fine world every week. Also, they have a defined sound of their own and go even further than that by influencing cheap knockoffs of them. Imitation is the sincerest of flattery and all that. So, kudos goes to you More Than Life. Now, on to your debut EP “Brave Enough To Fail”.

Easing us into their works, “Aperture” is an instrumental interlude that melodic hardcore bands like to do. Only to prove their worth as musicians, I’m sure. I personally hate that with a vengeance. If it’s just a prologue to the upcoming song(s), then paste it to said song and don’t give us this bull. Luckily, apart from being unnecessary, the song does what it’s supposed to well. It sets the mood, gives us a flavor of what to expect and is very enjoyable to listen to. And for once, it’s not an actual song cut in half, but finishes differently than the next song begins.

The time for pleasantries has now passed as we set in “Faceless Name”. It is now time to dance, time to scream and time to feel. From this point on the goosebumps you felt coming up in the first song will grace you like you were some sort of cheese grater and won’t leave you anymore. From the first riffs on you’ll feel it. And once the singer makes his presence known, all hell breaks loose. You’d have to be some sort of sociopathic monster not to feel a shred of what emotion was put into this album. The melodies and lyrics intertwine in such a seamless manner, they start magnifying themselves into an infinite power surge of raw emotion. The only problem is that after such a start, it is hard to not go downhill from there.

Therefore “In Hindsight” tries to switch it up in the beginning and starts off as a lot faster and less melodic song. It’s a nice way to broaden their spectrum and try to impress us once more. However, halfway through, the melodic aspect returns to us, but doesn’t quite catch the vibe as before. It becomes a little too repetitive even towards the end. I feel the outro could have been cut short by at least half a minute. Bad move, since attention spans are short in our internet generation.

Keeping in mind this EP is like 16 minutes long, I push myself back in gear for “Never Ender”. Starting off as a mix of Comeback Kid songs, it breaks around half a minute to push us into that emotion pulse once again. It succeeds in this quite well and the buildup that follows it draws you back in, to blow up into a faster bit with a nice gang vocal. Strangely enough, the melodies take a back seat again and the outro once more seems to go on forever. Yes, you like instrumental bits, we know. I don’t think it necessarily amplifies your mood, rather than just boring us.

Since the title track is next, it’s a little less hard to shift back into gear. If it’s good enough for a title, then it must be the cream of the crop, such is my understanding. Starting off slow, this ironically is the shortest track of the 5. Notice how I don’t count your first thingie as an actual song. As 1 minute is spent as an interlude, I’d imagine they’ll spend the next minute trying to make me orgasm; otherwise this has truly been wasted time. When the song finally does kick in, we get the best vocal work on this EP so far. Even better than the first, the raw emotion of the vocalist comes through so perfectly, you’ll forget there is anything else to this song. But the musicians also try hard to keep up with it, although it again isn’t as melodic as their first songs. You’d wonder if they even are a melodic hardcore band after repeating this process for so long.

Perfect timing on their part, the last song “Fear” starts off as a more peaceful melody, only to blow up in your face seconds later.  They later on do fuse back in more prominent melodies and accompany this with hard hitting breaks. It slows back down for a while to create another emotion build up. And this doesn’t stop until the abrupt ending of the song. Until then you’ll get the better work, like on their first track, where music and lyrics go hand in hand so well, you’ll forget any other indiscretion that might have happened before. The ending happens in such a manner, you’ll be left wanting more and start listening to the first track again right away. It’s a very nice way to hook people into your music, even though I hate cliffhangers.

Overall, “Brave Enough To Fail” is an amazing first effort, if anything. Not only is the music diverse and incredibly talented, but the lyrics and especially the voice are so rich and emotional, it makes the better Emo bands cry out of shame. Well, more so than otherwise, I guess. It might have a few imperfections, like milking the endings a bit, but other than that, this EP sets a standard. It’s a standard for any hardcore band that would like to come off as emotional and melodic and mean it. The fusion of guitars and voice amplify each other to such an extent, this album just radiates a large array of any emotion you’d like to attach to it, but even more so a genuinely, pure honesty. If you like powerful music with a meaning and with a heart, you’ll love this. If you’re a bit on the dim side and you need names to know if you’ll dig something, then sure, I’ll indulge you: Comeback Kid, Bane, Verse, Have Heart and then some Emo bands. Fill those in as you like, you pansy.

Verdict: 9/10

On a completely different note now: If you’d like me to review anything:

If you’d like me to review how horrific your band or any other band is, feel free to email me a link to your garbage. If you’d also like for me to vomit all over your artwork and how depressing your, otherwise completely inaudible, lyrics are, either include those or arrange for a postal package.

Be aware though: Even if we’re buddy buddies and we like the sense of each other’s sweat on our dirty bits, the chance of me praising all sorts of false prophets on your works is slim. In fact, some pieces might be broken down in a fashion you should be accustomed to by now. For the love of said idols, please don’t ask me to do so, if you won’t be completely honest about it yourself. If we really are friends, don’t ask us to be this hypocrite about it. I’d much rather keep my friends by declining a request, than by having you be dishonest about your intentions and ruining our friendship once I fulfill it honestly.

If you are a ten year old girlie at heart and can’t take any criticism, then there is no way this will work out. Also, don’t expect constructive criticism, as that’s not my job. My job is to point out the bad and good, if any of the two apply. I’m not there to counsel you on what I believe would improve your work. If I was, I’d like to get paid for dishing out advice.

That being said, this was just a test and I might never review anything ever again. I’m fickle like that and my priorities change constantly. Awful, I know.

Blow me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Non-epic Epic.

It's strange how even short and routine trips can be eventful when you let them.

Today, I had to leave the safety of my cave, I mean room, to go out to job management. It's quite the dull ordeal of people telling you how you could get a hold of a career and all that jazz. Except, after hearing that for so long, it kind of loses its original spark.

Anyway, a numerous things occurred to me on the hour or so I ventured into the open world. That strange, shiny, confusing, open world:

- It takes skanks 18 cars to hitch a ride from a suspicious, black minivan:
While I was waiting for my bus, next to the malodorous, balding man, I was looking to kill some pointless time. I loathe waiting so much; it's in essence the most horrid human pastime ever created. Because, basically, it's standing around actively doing nothing! If that isn't contradictory, then I don't know what is. Whilst engineering this wondrous plan, suddenly a lady person of the female kind appeared out of nowhere on the other side of the street. Now, I'd call her out on her ill demeanor, but that would be rude. But seriously though, she had all symptoms going for her: Clothes so trashy even I felt offended by the gratuity of it. A general slouch and stare that shows her extreme ennui with this wretched existence. And that oh so classy, open mouth, chewing, bubblegum trick that all the upstanding citizens of our nation do. I swear to you, I could nearly smell the STDs from where I was standing.

Then, to no surprise of mine, she starting barely lifting a finger to extend a hitchhiker thumb, only a few feet away from an actual bus stop. This, again, with as much enthusiasm as her general stance on life. It's nice to see people who are so jaded in life at such an age, they've already thrown all morals and values out the door. More casual pussy for us all, as long as you don't mind the presents you get from all previous 'testers'.
It made me remember a show, where they tested how many cars it took for people to get picked up. And in her general case, I expected the first car to make a screeching halt. But in fact, it had seemed I had too much faith in humankind. It took a numerous amounts of cars, driven by nice, single, young men, to eventually have someone stop. By the way, I love the person who fucked with her head by slowing down, only to take a turn into the street left of her. Kudos, sir.

In the end, after 18 cars had passed, a very suspicious Minivan with blinded rear windows took halt. An even more suspicious man opened the door and off she went on her adventure.

This screamed 'date rape' all over, but I'm pretty sure her appearance already kind of considered that within the favor. I'm glad at least someone is getting some today, semi-forced or not. And in the end, you can't really be upset into being pressured to share a venereal disease.

- Kids are the darnedest creatures:
No, really, kids are some of the most cruel and yet honest humans out there. Unburdened by any taught social rules, they say and do pretty much all they feel like, until somebody tells them differently.

After I waited long enough to drown in my own sweat, the bus arrived. I could already see the admiration I'd get from my first impression at the interim station. What with reeking hours of sweat and all.. So, I get on and it's fairly crowded in there, so I can't really manage to get to the back. Before I can even move forward, I get shoved in my sides. And we all love getting shoved in our kidneys, don't we? I look up to swiftly knock out a few teeth out of the culprit, only to see a child address me, even though I have my earphones in.

And here's the deal people: He wanted to know about my piercings. In fact, all the kids of the class rushed on like flies on sh..marmalade to see and ask me about my lip piercings.

I get a LOT of wind for having to metal studs through my lip. People are always going about how bad it's for my appearance and it frightens people and blablabla. Although I always keep telling them that they don't own them, so they can't know and in reality people are always more intrigued than actually scared. Again, I was proven right when random stranger infants swarmed me for questions. Do they hurt? Can you eat with those? Do you sleep with them? I've heard all these questions a million time, but I thought it was endearing these kids were so eager to know and not afraid at all to ask.  Their handlers were a bit fed up with their annoying barrage of inquiries, but I didn't mind. Then some kids grabbed my earphones to listen to what I listening to. I was blasting Remembering Never, as usual, but they seemed to dig it a lot. I should hire these kids to give a wake up call to society. It's sad to see that we only get taught preconceptions and notions about people. Which makes it all that much more sad when someone says he doesn't have any prejudices around tattoo's or piercings. If you didn't sir, you wouldn't have mentioned it and this is undeniable proof.

- Social workers are a gamble on your life:
It was time for me to arrive at my destination. I arrived at the swankiest of places I've ever seen from just an office. I was unsure if this was an interim office or if they were discovering time travel machines there. Anyway, I walk into the largest room I've ever seen in my life and I just stood there. There was no one at any front desk, because that's just how these post-modern kids roll. Sitting at desks for help? What are we, in the '90s?
 After a while I heard heels clicking and a lady asked me to wait while she summoned my appointment. I was asked to sit and wait alone in the huge room. They made me sit in one of those spherical chairs, because again, post-modern and stuff. I took some time to reminisce about how Gaston Lagaffe used to own such a contraption. But it was best if I kept that to myself, as he's not really the poster boy for a motivated worker. He's the poster boy for me though, I'll tell you that!

Right after I got bored to death with novel seating, my counselor summoned me forward. She was..special. I've never seen someone that is this chipper at work. I mean, prozac bender chipper here. I mean, someone could've died right then and there and there would still be a smile on her face so big, that it would make the Chesire cat feel shame. Tim Burton, if you are reading this by the way, stop making movies. You suck. Incidentally, Kevin Smith rules (10 points for reference).

Strangely enough, my counseling took place in the smallest room imaginable, within that fortress. It actually turned out to be quite a relaxing talk. I'm sure thats just her strategy, but even if so, that strategy works for me. Everything I mentioned was received very positively and I pretty much agreed on the same schedule I think she had in mind. This was some awesome counseling skills and I tell you, it doesn't always go that way.

It's really always a gamble if you will do well or not, not because of your own merits, but for the one on the other side of that table. Basically, they control a lot of power over you and if they're good to you, you'll advance and prosper. But for the same reasons, you might get stuck with someone who hasn't your best interests in mind and thus you'll fall way short in the job market and start resenting jobs in general. Whether your life is going up or down is really up to them and their ability to cope. In the past I've had some truly horrific encounters that really made me resent jobs and counseling:  Usually, I'm better than that as to drop names, but ask around. Anyone I've met that has also met her, can't get negative enough about her. In no way shape or form should she be assisting people in such a delicate matter. And I say this as a professional and a graduated social worker. I believe everyone should follow their calling and this obviously isn't hers.

But it also made me wonder why I always anticipate the worst of these events. In truth, this ordeal of counseling has gotten me down for a few weeks already, since I heard the dreaded news. It's just so heartbreaking to go through the same cycle over and over and get forced to shove failure down your throat every single time. But in this case, the pill was at least filled with sugar and coated with chocolate for gentle insertion. It now feels like such a vast amount of wasted time. Although I always loathe a change in my daily rut. I'm just autistic like that. Perhaps I can see towards changing this attitude, but it's much too early to see about that. But it is a welcome start. I'm relieved things turned out to be rather smoothly. Especially since we agreed on helping me in my general checkup case from the government. I'm a downright mess when it comes to organize these things, so I'm glad I won't have to ask the counselors at the VDAB for help. Because they have never helped me with anything on that part. And for that fact, neither has my union, that I pay for. More so even, they've even helped kicking me down a few times and aided me getting suspended, rather than aiding me out of said inspection.
Thanks for agreeing with the inspector that I'm a worthless bum, dude. I though you were my friend here. But it's nice to see you chose your buddy's side.