Today I am very angry. Here are my reviews.

New Nine Inch Nails: sucks. Can't get into it. Trent Reznor can't get beyond ripping himself off to be anything definite. He's not mad anymore. There's no passion. There's no music. Just loud, discordant sound from a middle-aged guy who needs more money. This is the sound of someone who's beyond needing the outlet anymore. He used to coax the purest anger out of his electronics. Now, he's bored and it comes out in his music. Bye. I'm going to play Pretty Hate Machine. That was a good album. Wish I could get my money back for this piece of dung.

New Dave Matthews: Goddamn Dave, I love ya, but you're starting to suck. You and Trent, ripping yourselves off. You used to play songs to the melody in your head, but these are melodies from someone else's head. You used to amaze me. Now you're boring. These are the songs you get from someone who had to squeeze off eleven albums in a row. These are the songs of someone dizzy. Disoriented. Lost his way. Come back to us Dave. Someday you will. Not now, though. Sorry I bought this one, Dave. Double DVD included or not. Gimme Dancing Nancies any day over this pile.

New Porcupine Tree: Steven Wilson is a genius just like Dave Matthews and Trent Reznor are geniuses. The difference is that Steve hasn't been enjoying the same level of success as the other guys, so his stuff is still new and weird. He's kind of self-referential. But he's still got the fire. I can still feel the pain that makes this guy write. Don't let my album money go to your head and turn out like Dave and Trent.

New Star Warz. Yes, I am going to review a movie I have not seen. I'm going to review how I feel about the whole social cataclysm. This is starting to piss me off. I had friends leave work early to go stand in line for eight hours to catch the 12:01AM show on Wednesday night. They tell me the lines for the 3:00AM show on Thursday AM wrapped once around the AMC Mercado 12-plex, and they were showing it on all 12 screens. Here in silicon valley, people lined up weeks in advance. The shows are sold out, all theaters from here to Elko till Monday which is fine because I wouldn't spend money on this blistering waste of un-belief-suspendable crap if George Lucas came to my house and invited me to a private screening for the price of a bag of microwave popcorn. I am tired of entertainment franchises trying to pipe computer adulterated shit into my cortex. Juggernauts. When the movie is over, I have to get back in my petrochemical propelled automobile and drive to my home made of British Columbian timber and galvanized steel nails. When George Lucas changes my life, I'll care about his product. The smartest computer we've made still loses at chess to human grand masters and can't predict the path of a hurricane-- so forget about droids shooting blasters and armies of cloned orcs fighting Jedi knights. What the hell do the Jedi's fight, anyway? It's still an army of clones. Didn't we just have 14 hours of dwarves and elves and boll weevels fighting clones?

Clearly, the American public has an insatiable hunger for scenes of the righteous fighting soulless automatons--a parameter to which our leadership is not blind.

The Messianic Legacy. Goddamn it, why does every book I pick up have to suck? These bastards wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail back in the late 70's. That was the book that exposed the Priori of Sion and the entire history of Mary Magdeline, the Merovingian blood line, and the alternate history of Jesus Christ that was made popular in The DaVinci Code. As I have mentioned before, I thought The DaVinci Code sucked, but clearly I'm in the minority. A world-wide minority, it turns out. Tom Hanks disagrees with me to the point he bought the movie rights and is playing the leading man.

Good for you, Tom. Good for you.

Well, so there you have the whole "Christ as Historical Fact" versus "Christ as Fictional Hero" thing exposed and so people like me are out reading books like The Messianic Legacy to get more info on the subject. In fact, where Holy Blood, Holy Grail was a lengthly recounting of a historical treasure hunt, The Messianic Legacy is an exercise in journalistic self-aggrandizement. These three British bastards get led around by their collective nose rings by a group of French, British, and American millionaires who claim to be representatives of the now famous Priori of Sion and wind up nowhere. All we can do, we poor readers, is to skim the pages as quickly as possible and hope we waste as little time on this nonsense as possible.

The one thing I found interesting in the book is their drawing parallels with the current trend in world politics de-separation of church and state. Starting with Iran and moving in to third world countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America, they chronicle a disturbing pattern of religious zealotism overpowering the conscious logical processes of entire populations with the fundamentalism du jour. Their parallels to the Third Reich are extreme, emotion evoking, and in terrible taste, but they're not entirely without merit as the tactics used by religious leaders who adopt political stances are identical to those used by Hitler during his rise to power.

Of course, the book was written in 1986, so the American Third Reich they talk about is the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in politics during the Reagan administration. Now, I'm not a Republican, but Ronald Reagan was just a plan nice man, and good man. Not a particularly smart man, but a very measured man, and one who knew the meaning of being a leader. Though, like his Republican successor, he believed we were living in the End Days when the Apocalypse could be brought on at any moment.

The book authors point out that if the Apocalypse were to be brought about, it would most definitely be by the hand of those with the power to cause it and who due to their religious convictions are certain it will happen.

They also point out that the rise of Jesus Christ happened during a time that was also felt to be "THE LAST DAYS" by the religious clerics of the holy land.

Two thousand five years ago.

The day in their calendar must be some kind of weird astronomical solar year thingy. Like, these are the end days in Whale Years. In Redwood Tree years. Two thousand human years equals twenty redwood tree years. So, we're still in the redwood tree end days. The apocalypse is upon us. Satan rules the earth. Everybody get to rapturing the hell out of here so I don't have to wait in line behind you at Hollywood Video while you debate the increased sinfulness quotient of "R" versus "PG-13".

Anyway, the book sucks, religion invading politics sucks, people inspiring hate in the name of God sucks. Being forced to watch the FOX Angry White Man channel while on the treadmill at the gym sucks.

Here's what's good.

Talking to someone who loves you.

Today I was lifting weights in the gym, getting out all my frustrations about all the crummy CDs and Books I've bought, shitty Star Warz all over the place, goddamned Islamic and Christian fundamentalists in perpetual denial, not realizing they're the same thing, praying to the same God to kill the other, trying to undo thousands of years of human learning with fear and hatred in the name of God -- and my wife walked in.

I finally worked my way up to 225 on the incline bench. I always lift alone, so I try to be safe. I add a little every week and now after a lot of weeks I'm up to 225, 10 reps safely with no spotter. I was on my 4th set (I could only pull off 3 reps before I felt like I might drop the bar on my brain) when I racked the bar and there was my wife looking at me.

I got off the bench and after reracking the plates, we started for home.

"I'm up to 225 pounds," I said. "It took me a while."

"You could benchpress me easily," she said.

And I thought, wow. I can benchpress a girl. In fact, I could probably incline press two supermodels.

Totally. If I was on my back in bed with a naked woman, I could lift her up over me a couple times. In fact, I did that once. I could do it again. I remember how it felt and it was great. She giggling, balancing on my upstretched arms, hair falling down around her face above me. Eyes delighted while I pushed her upward a foot.

I could sling her over my shoulder and carry her over the threshold. I could toss her up in the air and twirl her like one of those Spanish dancers. I could save her from a bear.

Yeah. From a bear.

"I could save you from a bear," I said to my wife, who wasn't involved in the prior conversation in my mind so she just squinted at me.

"What?"

"A bear," I said. And in my mind I wrestled a brown bear while my honey ran to safety.

I think if some bears would just get off their asses and attack, a lot of my problems would be much simpler.

Imperial Blog week ending 21 Meadow 4703


1
Monism
Our first remembered exposure to this term was from Bertrand Russell who in some writing such as Why I am not a Christian described himself a "neutral monist". That (our exposure) was c. 4670.

Today, we think ourselves simple monist in that we are no longer neutral. If strings are real objects, then the fundamental string is the object referent of monism.

With respect to the poles, Being-in-Itself, the object and the one real transcendent to which it gives rise, we now see that being face-face, sozusprechen.
2
Absolute Values

We may say that the arrow of time points from the one pole to the other. The process is the game, and it is NOT a test, but a progression of states of affairs from the one situation to the other. Everything hinges on the success of that project/Entwurf so it determines every matter of morality, politics, etc. Tendencies which advance it are called progressive and those which do not are regressive, or at best, conservative.

I like to read these daylogs because they inspire me. When I have run out of inspiration, I like to read these daylogs because they inspire me. Mostly they make me angry, and that inspires me. I have written a poem, my latest stab at immortality. As you will see from reading it, my use of the word 'stab' is a pun.

throughout my life I've always tried
to suppress the surge of the killing urge
to switch my brain to a lower gain

nonetheless I would like
to drive a knife into your neck

and that's all I have to say

although I acknowledge that
the reality would probably
fall short of the ecstasy
at least I tried
to fight back

That is a fair summary of my state of mind as I read through these daylogs. I have modelled the poem on Siegfried Sassoon's "The Kiss". Sassoon's poem describes a soldier's faith in his bullets and his bayonet, his desire that they destroy his enemies so that he might live. The poem speaks in lustful, erotic terms of splitting skulls and driving stabs.

You will notice that I have used a technique whereby the writer includes little miniature rhymes in the middle of each sentence, specifically 'surge' and 'urge' in the second line, 'brain' and 'gain' in the third. I wanted to include the words 'striate' and 'lacerate' at some point, but I felt that the former was too esoteric and the latter would be too obvious. You will notice that, in the final verse, the middle three lines are bracketed by the first and last lines, which rhyme 'that' with 'back'.

In the real world I would much rather attack someone with an axe, because I do not have the physical grace or power to effectively use a knife. An axe harnesses the force of gravity - the force of the earth - for its effect. Although there is a certain knack to splitting wood, there is no special skill required to club a man's head with an axe. I am surprised that Sassoon's generation were not armed with axes. There was an article in the newspaper, the other day, about how the fields of France and Belgium are still filled with unexploded ammunition, grenades, gas shells and so forth; so many bullets which soldiers did not have a chance to fire. Apparently the Belgian bomb disposal squad is called DEVO.

No, on further investigation it seems that they are called DOVO. More properly, SEDEE-DOVO, which stands for "Section Enlèvement Destruction d'Engins Explosifs - Dienst voor Opruiming en Vernietining van Ontploffingstuigen". Unlike the Daily Telegraph, I bothered to look that up. It's a mixture of French and Belgian. If you want to know what SEDEE-DOVO means, ask a bloody Belgy.

Another advantage an axe has, over a knife, is that it is more likely to produce a concussive effect; the killer blow can be dealt whilst the other party is unconscious or unable to react. I believe, from watching "Braveheart" and reading the instruction manual for "IL2 Sturmovik", a flight simulator, that knives were commonly used by women to cut up the remains of the wounded. Western society has lost this attitude towards death and murder; women need to regain their role on the battlefield, if we are to be equal.

And it is the thought of physical contact which ultimately turns me away from the knife. The thought of having to grab someone, and pull them towards me. The thought of their blood soiling my shirt.

Heather lost her mucus plug yesterday.

Oh, you don’t know what that is? Isn’t that funny? How many countless scenes of birth have been brought to us by Hollywood and yet not one of them employs the words “mucus plug”. No, we have to wait until we prepare to experience the real thing before we learn about that little friend. The mucus plug is about what it sounds: a snotty bung for a barrel designed to keep things where the’re supposed to be until, well, they're not supposed to be there any more. In any case, what you need to know is that its demise signals that labor’s a pretty safe bet in the next couple weeks.

An even stronger signal is the fact that Heather was up from 4 to 7 am this morning suffering contractions, back pain and cramps. She quietly took herself into the living room couch, deciding not to wake me until she was sure this was the real thing. It wasn’t. The contractions subsided. We had a normal breakfast of french toast. Then we took Declan to the Pacific Science Center and had a good time poking around there, though the boy was a bit scared of the animatronic dinosaurs and super-sized insects. He was even a little freaked out by actual fly-bys in the butterfly room, but on the other hand his dad reckons this is the coolest thing I’ve experienced in a long time. Living gossamer leaves of color flittering right past your face in all directions. It’s enough to make you glad you’re bringing another life into the world to share it with.

Then we went to the Red Mill, the best "fast" burgers in Seattle. Heather and I each had one. Declan, per usual, happy to merely poach our fries and some of our shakes. The boy would rather eat dirt than burger. Go figure.

Anyway, I got this nifty laptop that my work has loaned me because my boss wants me to spend as much time at home with the baby as I can. (Sometimes even corporate America can be cool.) I’m thinking I may take it with us to the hospital and tell y’all as much as I can during the process.

Or that might not happen at all. You parents out there know how these things can go.

In any case, wish us luck. It won’t be long now.

For the first time in a long time I've been watching live music. OK, you sometimes hear bands playing for free in pubs or so, but I mean actually make an effort to go to a venue and pay for it to actually listen to the music. Today was one of those days.

There is so much live music going on all the time in Amsterdam that it can be difficult to choose, unless it's sold out, which kind of makes your choice for you. That is when the reputation of a venue can come to your aid.

Bimhuis is one of the most respected jazz venues in the Netherlands. They have always been located on a canal called Oude Schans in the lesser known parts of central Amsterdam. But they have recently moved to a new location near the ferry terminal on 't IJ. It's a completely new building called Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, which also contains other concert halls, exhibition rooms and at least one café. Anyway, to get back to the subject, the Bimhuis website is what I looked at when I decided to go for The Bad Plus, since I do like jazz trios.

To get yourself a ticket should be a simple action. I chose to go for the AUB (Amsterdam Uit Bureau) who sells tickets for all kind of venues. When I got there at half past five they told me that although there was 22 tickets left, they had all been sent back to the Bimhuis, so I would have to get them there. That's life for a procrastinator. I should have been there earlier.

At five to seven I joined the line that has formed outside the Bimhuis ticket office. Knowing there was only 22 tickets left I was relieved when the first few customers merely wanted to get into the concert area rather than buying tickets, it looked pretty promising. However, when the girl in front of me got to the ticket counter she was told that it was sold out. However, she being a hot looking female, amazingly enough the guy behind the counter managed to find her one ticket. Me being not so female, and keeping my hotness under wraps decided to run the race differently. I used my Dutch to tell him that I had just missed 22 tickets at the AUB and had traced them here, and I now wanted two of them for myself. With the tickets in my hand I returned home for a shower.

At about half past eight I returned with a friend of mine (why do you think I bought 2 tickets?) and found that all the seats were taken, as were most of the standing room. And this half an hour before the band was supposed to get on stage. In a state of amazement we went to the bar instead to get a drink or two. As we heard the applause for the band getting on stage we entered the concert hall and managed to get pretty good places. Standing up at the back, but still with unblocked view of the band.

As they started with the first tune I almost got a fright. The jazz was very intense, but everybody – that is the pianist, bass player and drummer – were playing as if they were the soloist. In other words, no perceivable melody, no foundation to improvise on, no steady rhythm. I thought to myself that this is going to be a long night, but I tried my best to enjoy myself all through the number. As the second number started the the fog lifted. This was a more the kind of jazz trio music I like. Tight, innovative, coordinated and utterly enjoyable. From there on the concert turned into pure joy. Even later when they played tunes similar to the first one it was 100% listening pleasure.

So what are The Bad Plus like? Well, I've already said that they play well, haven't I? But one of the things that fascinated me was the pure joy that radiated from all three of them. They just seemed to be having a complete blast all of a time. Imagine having a job where you just have fun all the time (I'm sure they have their bad moments as well, but still). The three members also look completely different. Reid Anderson, bass, looks like he should be in a Britpop band. Ethan Iverson, piano, always wears a suit and hence looks like he would be a classical pianist. David King, drums, looks like he would fit perfectly in a hard rock band. Together they form a unity that creates beautiful music. Or as they say on their website, Regardless of how you might describe The Kind Of Music You Like, this acclaimed trio’s passionate, eclectic language speaks directly to you and to anyone with a functioning heart, ears and nervous system.

The only tunes they played that I know most people will know about are Human Behavior by Björk and We Are the Champions by Queen, although both veered quite a bit from their original versions, especially the latter. They also made at least one political statement by playing their own The Empire Strikes Backwards dedicated to the US government. This was all interspersed with entertaining talk by Ethan Iverson. To finish it off they played two encores.

All in all it was a fantastic evening, and I would recommend The Bad Plus as well as the new Bimhuis to anybody.


For further info see:
http://www.bimbuis.nl/
http://www.thebadplus.com/
http://www.muziekgebouw.nl/

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