I Am NOT Satisfied by Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Response

Okay so… Neil deGrasse Tyson was probably my favorite living scientist and science-popularizer. He has carried on the scientific legacy of Carl Sagan in a way I can only admire. I absolutely adored his take on Cosmos, and I loved Startalk (until he decided to have Michael Shermer on as a guest… recap on that for those who’ve forgotten). I was a huge fan of his, to the point where I was defending his “ruining” of movies. I loved when he pointed out the scientific failings of films, regardless of what film it was or if science was at all relevant to the film. He was like CinemaSins, only with science (and yes, I like CinemaSins… get over it).

So, by all accounts, I’m the exact right person to defend his statement about these allegations.

[Read more…]

Rock Isn’t Innovative Anymore

From reading my blog, my tastes in music should be obvious. I like Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Blues, Folk, and even some experimental stuff. But my tastes tend to be rather limited. I like guitar in my songs… and not just guitar, but, at least most of the time, guitar solos. But even with those, I’m picky. I don’t like “look at how fast I can play” odes to toxic masculinity (let’s be really… straight speed is basically “look how big my dick is”). I don’t mind speed, but only as one technique in a guitarist’s arsenal of techniques. And considering that David Gilmour is one of my three number one all-time favorite guitarists, speed isn’t even the most important technique, in my opinion (though he did have it to a point, he barely ever used it).

To be fair, no guitar isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Emerson, Lake, & Palmer is another of my top 10 bands of all-time, and they only had guitar sometimes, with most of the leads being taken by Keith Emerson on keys, while the guitarist, Greg Lake, favored playing the bass guitar, instead. But even then…

Perhaps it’s because I’m a songwriter, but I don’t really listen to music as an escape. I don’t like going to clubs (too many people, too loud, not enough personal space), and I hate dancing (because I’m really, truly, honestly bad at it… I promise you… you don’t ever want to see me dance… you’ll have nightmares). So I’m not listening to music for the rhythm. I also don’t listen to music as background for something. The best time I have listening to music is, in fact, when I can gather a small group of friends, we can pour some drinks, grab some snacks, turn some music on, and sit and discuss it. I only got to do this rarely (and I haven’t done it in a long time… I miss it), but I have done it with Jimi Hendrix, ELP, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Chantel McGregor, Anna Calvi, Living Colour, and Steven Wilson.

And this means that most of today’s mainstream music, including Pop, Rap, Hip Hop, R&B, Top 40 Rock, New-Age, etc isn’t my jam. I don’t hate them… I realize music is subjective, and I absolutely acknowledge the monster talents that can exist in these and other mainstream genres (Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are just two of many, many examples [yes, I genuinely believe that Kendrick Lamar deserved that Pulitzer for “Damn”]). But, overall, when I look for music to listen to, I look, basically, for guitar-driven Rock… whatever that may mean. In short: I’m absolutely a music snob of sorts. (I still have trouble with Metal, though… I don’t like 80’s Metal at all, and I have a lot of trouble with the harsh growls and screams of heavier, darker Metal [some Prog Metal, and most Death Metal, Doom Metal, Black Metal, etc], despite the fact that the music in these genres is often incredible.)

So you might be surprised to find that I kind of agree with Steven Wilson, here

[Read more…]

Streaming Service for Rare, Hard-to-Find, and Out of Print Music

I’ve already posted most of this on Facebook, so it will be familiar to some or all of y’all. But here I’m gonna expand a tad…

First, like I said on Facebook… I’ve been going over the take-down of What.CD, a private torrent site that, yes, shared official material (music, audiobooks, e-books, etc… no video, though).

Now, before I continue, I’m going to quote what I said on Facebook:

No, I don’t want to talk about how or why I know as much as I do about it, and yes, I agree that piracy is wrong, it’s right that piracy is illegal, people should support artists they love with money, and blah blah blah… we’re not having that conversation here.

And I’m gonna stress that here. We’re not here to discuss the relative morality of torrenting sites, question why I know as much as I do about the site, etc. So that’s the commenting policy. And that includes you, too, NSA, CIA, and FBI.

So anyways… I called What.CD the Library of Alexandria of music, and one of the reasons for that is because What.CD amassed an amazing collection of out of print, rare, hard to find, and/or prohibitively expensive music you basically couldn’t find anywhere else. It was incredible what could be found on What.CD, what new music you could find that you never heard before, and so on. And now that’s gone. Sure, torrent sites are like a massively exagerrated Hydra (shut down one site, a thousand more will pop up in its place), but it’s going to take a seriously long time to rebuild the What.CD Library.

But there could be another way, too… a… perhaps… more legal way… to rebuild a part of that library and make it accessible to everyone…

[Read more…]

Some Stream-of-Consciousness About Nazis

I haven’t posted about Nazi invasion and terrorist attack in Charlottesville because I’m feeling… well…

You can easily see my thoughts and things on Facebook, where I let loose a tad with the re-posts…

But anyways…

I don’t really have much to say, to be honest. I’m grappling with my feelings, because, at the moment, I have to deal with the fact that I genuinely feel fine seeing these Nazis killed… and I’m not okay with that. That does not make me comfortable or happy. It seems like a betrayal of my ethics, considering I’m against the death penalty.

But these are also Nazis. I don’t think there’s another group in modern history that can be considered as evil as Nazis. And now they’re here, in the United States, in 2017, marching in our streets and killing citizens.

[Read more…]

Pointless Rant: Why I Won’t Get an iPhone

I’m very stubborn about what I require in a cell phone. The basics, of course… wi-fi and 4G connectability, access to apps, good phone call quality, good sound quality, and so on; the kind of stuff that most people today expect in a smart phone. I like having a portable internet, and as it gets better, I get happier.

But there are four specific things I require that seem less and less popular these days as more and more companies move away from them. The various reasons people give for not needing these things anymore are nice and all, but I simply don’t agree.

Unfortunately, some of the best phones on the market currently lack these features, meaning I have to sacrifice performance for their sake, which gets more and more annoying as time goes on.

For example… I’ve reached a point of abhorring my current phone, the LG G4. I got it, in part, because it offered all the features I want, plus many others that had me excited. Many of those features, however, have become useless as this phone breaks down with major, annoying lag. And apps like Clean Master don’t help; they largely just make it worse. Despite even that, however, I still demand these four features, and until technologies are good enough that even having them as a security blanket is pointless, I will continue to demand them.

[Read more…]

Self Care – Star Wars Anthology Films That Should Happen (3 YouTube Videos)

I have to be honest… my Star Wars fandom was a late-bloomer. Although I largely agree with people that the prequel trilogy was… well… crap, that’s also when I became aware of Star Wars, and found myself interested in it… which is why I will never hate the prequel trilogy as much as some others do.

And of course I loved The Force Awakens and Rogue One, I can’t wait for The Last Jedi, and I’m actually looking forward to the Han Solo movie, as well.

We’re going to be getting a lot of Star Wars films going into the future, too. One every year. And there are rumors that Disney is looking at Netflix for live-action Star Wars series, which would also be incredible. So, of course, many many people have discussed what anthologies they’d want to see.

Featured here are three videos discussing anthology wish lists. The first two videos are in fact connected, as they’re a collaboration. The third video is a completely separate/independent video on the same topic. Then I’ll follow that up with two subjects I personally want to see explored in live-action form…

[Read more…]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Considering how much I love guitar solos, it should be no surprise that I have thoughts, here. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an interesting, and perhaps polarizing, institution in music.

On April 20, 1983, the late Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder and president of Atlantic Records, put together a team that included attorney Suzan Evans, Rolling Stone magazine editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner, attorney Allen Grubman, and record executives Seymour Stein, Bob Krasnow, and Noreen Woods, and founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. They started inducting artists in 1986, but they still had no home for the museum. So they put together a search committee, and ultimately chose shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

The very first performing artist inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 was, of course, Chuck Berry, considered by many who think they know to be the founder of Rock and Roll (I, personally, disagree, but I’ll get to that). Others inducted that same year included Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, James Brown, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Jerry Lee Lewis. They all fit the original criteria of the foundation:

Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.

[Read more…]

Vacation Note: I’m On My Way to Georgia

For those who don’t know, I live in New York. But at the moment, I’m boarding a flight to Georgia. I’ll be there until April 25th. I’m very excited.

I’ve got a lot planned. I’m going to be rooming with my awesome brother. We’re going to a festival, cooking food, and hanging out. I’m also going to be checking out the Anthropology graduate programs at a school or two down there.

I’ll have Self Care posts scheduled, and I will attempt to post a few other things, but I can’t make any promises beyond the Self Care posts. I’m continuing the checking out. I want to enjoy this time and not be stressed.

 

I’m trying my best to avoid things that stress me this week. I need less stress in my life, even if it’s temporary.

I should say… when I say that I have “a lot planned”, a very large part of that plan is just relaxing and enjoying myself, not stressing about anything. That’s the biggest thing, actually. I don’t set up itineraries for a vacation. To me, that seems to defeat the purpose. I don’t want to be on any more of time crunch then I have to be. One day, I might have enough money to take an open-ended vacation… maybe. That day is not today. But 7 days… I can enjoy that.

This is definitely self care for me.

See y’all in a week!