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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Dynamics of Heavy Metal

I missed the Random Friday Ten yesterday because I spent much of the day cleaning my filthy house. During my cleaning, I was listening to a record I downloaded from iTunes, the soundtrack for Showtime's Masters of Horror soundtrack. I really wanted the unfamiliar Mudvayne song I heard watching an episode of the show, but I also got a bonus when I heard this Norma Jean song.

Called ShaunLuu, it has some interesting dynamics. The opening strains are a simple (and somewhat boring) three chord progression, but on the second progression the rhythm section chimes in. The drummer gets on the hi-hat. The bassist bends in a few notes. And then bam, the song explodes into all kinds of unprecedented heaviness.

I'm not sure what the vocalist is so mad about --you can't understand him anyway-- but I love the short bursts of riffage followed by the little flourishes higher up on the strings. It's like a flurry of quick blows followed by tingles of pain.

There's a kind of body-throwing groove to it.

Here's an example of a song with crappy opening dynamics. Yes, yes, I know Slipknot is supposed to be the shit. But I've always only kind-of liked them. The mask thing is silly, but it appeals to the kids. Plus they have, um, four more members than they should have, because after all, watching a clown beat up a keg with a baseball bat is fun for only so long.

What the hell is wrong with the opening of this song, you say?

You've got the riff, a handy bit of shredding, then the drummer starts his countdown, building, building, this is good...then a drum roll and a nice fill. Then everything stops.

Corey Taylor shouts "Go!"

And then we hear the same fucking riff again. The only embellishment added is some off-rhythm drums. It doesn't go anywhere, doesn't turn into anything else. It just starts, pauses briefly, and keeps going.

Now when your singer shouts "Go!" you go, man. You kick it up a notch, take it to another level of heaviness. Add something. Take something away. Whatever you do, don't just repeat yourself like Slipknot. That's not dynamics. That's just lame.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fuck This Shit

I am so sick of this shit!!!

Here we go again. Roads impassable....again! There's a significant chance I'll get stuck at fucking work...again! Yet another week ruined by the weather...again!

I'm so pissed...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

This is a Beautiful Sight

James Brown/Grindhouse

So who's next? You know they always come in threes. First there's James Brown. Then there's Gerald Ford.

Or was Robert Altman the first?

It's kind of funny how James Brown has been eulogized since he died. Don't get me wrong. I like me some James Brown, but you have to admit, the guy has been something of a joke for quite some time.

Remember Living in America? Remember Eddie Murphy's James Brown routine? Man, that was...twenty years ago!

I don't mean to diss James Brown, though. Vaya con dios, amigo.

You know what I saw the other day that was really disturbing? The trailer for Robert Rodriquez/Quentin Tarrantino's new movie Grindhouse.
I'm a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez, even more than Quentin Tarrantino, but this one...man, I don't know.

That machine gun leg is freaaaky.

My second thought is, damn, that girl is hot!!! Not the one legged one (Rose McGowan) but the one dancing up on Kurt Russell. Vanessa Ferlito. Say it with me and let that R just roll off your tongue.

Ay yai yai!

Still...the machine gun leg thing. Yikes!

It's Video Time!

I've been meaning to post about our further sledding adventures, but time hasn't been on my side.

On Saturday we went to another hill, a legendary hill, the best hill in the city. Just look at this view!
You've got the downtown skyline in the distance, the Rocky Mountains to the west (we call those things foothills), and a whole lot of snow!

The run cut out in the snow has to be at least 50 yards long, maybe even 100. It's a steep hill and you really have some speed by the time you get to the bottom. And to top it off, some kind soul built a ramp, perfectly engineered to launch you in the air.

And when I say air, I mean air. The ground literally disappears beneath you.

Here's a video of me taking the hill face first.

Here's a video of my brother taking the same hill.

To give you some idea of the magnitude of this hill, check out this video. My brother just winged the side of the ramp, but you can kind of get an idea of what kind of air you get.

It was a blast!!!

And while we're at it, check out this video of me beating up my Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post-Christmas Wrap-Up

So did you have a merry Christmas? Get everything you wanted? I did, except for that weight bench... I guess I'm on my own for that.

I have to say, I'm glad that it's over. Like I told my family yesterday during my brief before-work Christmas celebration...I'd get into the "holiday spirit" a little more if I didn't have to work. It's hard to enjoy the "holiday" when it's just another workday.

As for gifts, let's see...I got a punching bag and stand. I'll post pics when I get it set-up. That's another drawback of having to plow through a work week during the "Christmas season." You don't get to play with your presents.

I also got a 4 drawer filing cabinet for all my important files, Michael Connelly's new book (which I'd been tempted to buy in hardcover despite my no-hardcover rule), a sculpture of two hands shaking, some steaks. Yeah, steaks. Don't laugh. These steaks are GOOD and I got a lot of them. Too bad it's not barbecue season!

What'd you get?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas From Michelle Malkin

It's Christmas Eve and I should be talking about Santa, or presents, or the warm joy one gets by being with family during this time of the year, but instead I'd like to talk about Michelle Malkin. Yes, that Michelle Malkin.

She may be married to Jesse Malkin...but she's divorced from reality.

I know you've got better, more important things to do besides read Michelle Malkin, but while you were braiding your cat's hair or reorganizing your sock drawer, she's been on a tear about the AP (Yeah, that AP) and a little immolation story they ran not too long ago.

The quick version: The AP reported that Shiites burned six Sunnis alive in Hurriya, a Baghdad suburb. The military couldn't confirm that it had happened, and the AP "confirmed" the story with a single on-the-record source, Captain Jamil Hussein of the Iraqi police, a Captain Jamil Hussein the Iraqi Interior Ministry says doesn't exist. (The AP offered several other anonymous sources later, but that's beside the point. Anonymous sources won't erase the doubt.)

The AP is an easy target in this case, because they...I mean, Reuters had been caught publishing an altered picture of the bombing of Lebanon. (Reuters, the AP...these news agencies are all the same.)

Malkin, and other niggling windbags, took this Jamil Hussein discrepency and ran with it, and set out to prove to the world that the AP (and Reuters) are feeding their audiences terrorist propaganda and/or outright lies. They assume, based on the lack of evidence (something they're good at, by the way), that the immolation didn't happen.

The military says it didn't happen, so it didn't happen.

They assume the AP is being taken for a ride by a propagandist who goes by the name of Jamil Hussein.

If the Interior ministry says he's not on the payroll, he's not on the payroll.

But you know what they say about assumptions, right?

And what about this Jamil Hussein character. Is he real? Is he even a cop? Is Jamil Hussein his real name? Fuck, I don't know.

Is it Usama Bin Laden or Osama Bin Laden? Is it Al Qaeda or Al Qaida?

Try this one on for size...Jamil Hussein is the Arabic equivelent of Joe Smith. It's like Juan Martinez down in Mexico. Jamil is a variation of Jamal, which believe it or not is one of the top 50 baby names in the United States.

Jamil can also be spelled Jamail, Jameel, Jamaal. I've even seen Bosnian Muslims named Chamil. I suspect that too might be related.

So maybe the AP mispelled his name and the Interior Ministry didn't run their spell check. Or maybe Jamil Hussein doesn't fucking matter, whoever he is.

Malkin recently agreed to go to Iraq to investigate the matter, but she's barking up the wrong tree. We don't need to see an episode of "Where in the World is Jamil Hussein?"

We need to see what happened in Hurriya. (Scroll up if you forgot the name already.)

It doesn't seem that the AP is all that interested in doing that, and who knows, maybe they can't. Say the AP throws two reporters down and sends them in a little convoy out to Hurriya. Yeah, there's a good idea.

Even Michelle Malkin doesn't want to do that. She's got kids, man!

She sums it up thus:
It is not about conservative bloggers ignoring the bona fide, grim realities on the ground. It is about the credibility, veracity, trustworthiness, and accountability of the world's "essential global news network"--more important than ever in a time of war.
Right and a story about people being burned alive in Iraq isn't credible. This from a country known for beheadings and car bombs. It's not the like the Iraqis invented the Improvised Explosive Device.

They just gave it a name.

Here's the oh-so-offensive AP report in its entirety:
Six Sunnis burned alive in Iraq

Associated Press

Friday, November 24, 2006

BAGHDAD -- Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaying of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques, and several homes while killing an unknown number of Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighbourhood of Baghdad.

Gunmen loyal to radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began taking over the neighbourhood this summer and most of its Sunni residents already had fled.
© Associated Press 2006
If you remember, shit was so bad in Iraq at that time that Baghdad was under a strict curfew.

A little searching also led me to this story, also from the Associate Press.
Police Capt. Jamil Hussein said Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in the burnings of Sunnis carried out by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia, or in subsequent attacks that torched four Sunni mosques and killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same northwest Baghdad area.

Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes.
Perhaps some effort should be made to track ole Imad down, too.

Or maybe we should just put this story in the probable category.