Light Confusion

2009-12-27 17:42:55 by johan

Despite being available on all cars, from the $1,500 POS you got at Carmax to the $143,000 beamer few people seem to know how the different lights on their cars work. Perhaps it was never covered by their driving instructor, but more likely people are just fucking retarded.

First we have the turn signals, generally located on the left of the steering column, they are meant to be used to let other drivers know that you will be turning or changing lanes. There seems to be a common misperception that you use your turn signal after you've changed lanes, you don't. Nobody gives a fuck where you were. And while on the subject of changing lanes, the solid line means stay the fuck where you are, change lanes once it's dashed.

High beams are another source of constant entertainment, now-a-days with most cars all having blindingly bright normal lights, you'd think they are almost out of fashion, alas no. People don't seem to understand that running with them on is quite obnoxious for the rest of us, how are the teenagers in the back seat supposed to get some clandestine feels in when you light the car up like the inside of an OR? People also seem unable to understand that running with your high beams on in the fog does nothing; well nothing except bounce all the light back at them, which in most cases is ok as they're just hurting themselves. Of course then these fuckers go cause an accident and back traffic up for 30 miles. I hope you died.

Finally normal lights, if it's dark or dusk you turn them on, if there is precipitation and poor visibility you turn them on. You'd think this is common sense, however if I had a dime for every car I see out there driving in the dead of night with no lights on, I could retire right now.

People I Can Do Without: People with too many holiday decorations

2009-12-17 18:54:15 by johan

People I can do without will be a reoccurring subject on this blog.

Do you really need 45 nativity scenes, 196 reindeer, 78 Santas, 934 elves, 324 gnomes, 486 Mrs Clauses (Santa is a polygamist), 667 crosses, 1000 jebus statues and 160 miles of blinking lights? Nobody in your neighborhood has gotten a decent night's sleep since before Thanksgiving because of the incessant choir of HO HO HOs, bible verse recitations, reindeer snorting, elf chattering and the Rudolf song on constant repeat in a glorious cacophony. Add to that, that all neighbors have taken to wearing sunglasses inside as your lights penetrate their walls. Your house is directly responsible for all accidents on your street as everybody that drives down the street is immediately blinded. When your electrical usage is higher than the annual consumption of North Korea, it's time to scale back the spirit, and check yourself into a psychiatric facility. Fuck off and die.

The complete list, some thoughts and loose ends

2009-12-14 21:13:37 by johan

While looking over this years list what strikes me most is that while I enjoyed them all, most of these bands have produced better works, so is it cognitive bias or do bands really get worse over time? There are of course exceptions to every rule, but on the whole I think the evidence is against most bands. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that bands get less and less original over time, drawing more on influences from heroes as well as peers, this in turn makes them less interesting and hence "worse". I'm not sure how bands would get around this, not listening to other music to avoid tainting is obviously not an answer.

Read the rest of this story...

1: Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt

2009-12-13 00:10:00 by johan

Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt A friend of mine used to say that bands who played mid-tempo songs those riffs had to be top notch to keep you interested. Bands who played at top speeds could get away with more as the speed covered it up. As somebody who is a sucker for speed I always saw his point, there are few bands that put out mid tempo albums which could keep my interest more than a song or two, if that even. There are of course the exceptions, and wow is this one of them. From the first listen I knew this album would make the top of this list. The vocals and the drums are amazing, the production on the drums could have been better, but the tightness and precision make up for it. Of course it would be nothing without Infernus simple but effective riffs. Without a doubt album of the year.

 

Gorgoroth

2: Funeral Mist - Maranatha

2009-12-11 15:10:42 by johan

Maranatha Every now and then you come across an album, that at first listen does little for you, and even after subsequent listens once it has started to stick can you really put your finger on what it is. This is such an album, on the face of it it's quite standard black metal. However after a few listens you start noticing all those small things: the random ups and down in tempo, the choir thrown in towards the end of "Anti-Flesh Nimbus", the reoccurring religious madness samples (the most prominent being the almost 12 minute long "Blessed Curse"). Once you start finding these anomalies this becomes less and less a standard black metal album and nothing short of a great album.

 

Funeral Mist

3: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

2009-12-10 14:50:14 by johan

Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars Compared to much else on this list, as well as most of Blut Aus Nord's back catalog this must be classified as easy listening. If Anaal Nathrakh is a jack hammer pulverizing your skull, Blut Aus Nord is a carnivorous earwig slowly turning your brain to mush. Never really staying too long on the same path, this album is quite a far cry from previous ones, I still hold 2003's "The Work Which Transforms God" to be their finest moment but this isn't far behind.

 

Candlelight Records

4: Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow

2009-12-09 16:56:00 by johan

In the Constellation of the Black Widow When asked to compare their current work with past or future works the phrase "most extreme" is often abused. Anaal Nathrakh can with some semblance of honesty actually claim this. I know of few other bands where each release in many ways becomes less listenable than the previous one. The barrage of sound that meets you on this album is astounding, and the vocals are as insane as ever. To say that this album isn't for everybody is an understatement; I think the subset of people whom like metal in general and black metal in particular that can actually stand this album are easily counted, and I can't stop listening.

 

Anaal Nathrakh

5: Shining - VI - Klagopsalmer

2009-12-08 16:16:33 by johan

VI 0 Klagopsalmer Shining has with each release progressed further from their black metal roots to something more akin to a black / dark rock band. I've slowly come to accept it, though I still hold their second album as my favorite. Despite that I like this, I like it a lot, probably not as good as "V - Halmstad", but quite logically the next step. I already look forward to "VII - Fdd Frlorare" due out early 2010.

Shining's Myspace

6: Arckanum -

2009-12-07 19:30:17 by johan

Arckanum can be added to the list of artists which prior to 2009 I had extremely limited exposure to. This album honestly blew me away though, it's consistently strong despite it's range from at times thrashy to at other times melancholic and further into classic monotonous black metal. Don't take this albums relatively low placement as an indication of lack of quality, the list is simply getting quite competitive.

Arckanum

7: Immortal - All Shall Fall

2009-12-06 17:58:21 by johan

all shall fall cover One of the reasons I resisted making genre specific best of lists, is because of albums like this. It fails to fit neatly into any one category, it's for lack of a better word "Immortalish". Keeping with the tradition of the last 4 albums it mixes the Immortal black metal sound with riffs that are decidedly heavy metal. Immortal can get away with it, thanks to the fairly unique vocals. For a bit of a comeback album, not half bad.

Immortal

Ending marriages

2009-12-05 17:39:51 by johan

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about gay marriage. Now first of all I couldn't give a rats ass about this in the abstract; I always said, if homosexual couples want to be as miserable as the rest of us, let them. However I think what really needs to happen is that marriage needs to go away, at least the state sponsored version. If you're deeply religious and still want the ritual, then go get married in a church; if the religion of your choice does not approve of your lifestyle, well then perhaps it's time to rethink the whole religion thing, just a thought.

Marriage serves little or no purpose now-a-days except that it grants you a bunch of neat tax breaks and legal protections. While I doubt (m)any people will admit it, most people get married for these reasons only. I didn't love my wife any less before we got married, marriage changed absolutely nothing for us, except we now file our taxes differently and if I die she's got dibs on the money. In the end that's what all this really is about, few people care about the words, what they want is equal protection under the law.

A simplistic solution I've been talking about forever is that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. They'd issue civil union contracts to everybody regardless of the make-up of the relationship. Marriage would be the privy of religious institutions. However I wonder if it's possible to take this one step further and remove the government from the equation all together. Instead have legally binding contracts where each couple spells out their wishes. This would require a major reworking of the tax code though, which I can only see as something positive.

8: Katharsis - Fourth Reich

2009-12-05 06:09:04 by johan

fourth reich cover Katharsis has always been one of those bands that everybody else has raved about but I never bothered checking out. Partially because I resist hype, and partially because I'm lazy (the latter probably being predominant). I did however pick this album up and, I guess I should have done so sooner. This isn't half bad. 5 songs clocking in at just over 45 minutes means you're in for some serious listening here. It's not in any way ground breaking, but it serves it purpose.

Katharsis

9: Destryer666 - Defiance

2009-12-04 15:38:41 by johan

defiance cover Destryer666 have always been one of my favorite bands. Their thrashy war black metal have been a party staple for as long as I remember. It's been seven years since the last full length, but once again they don't disappoint. Don't get me wrong this is no "Phoenix Rising" or "Unchain The Wolves", but it's a solid slab of exactly what you'd expect from Destryer666, and that's good enough to land them at spot number nine.

Destryer666

10: Nazxul - Iconoclast

2009-12-04 02:23:53 by johan

iconoclast cover It's been 14 years since Nazxul's previous album, "Totem", so it was hard to know what to expect. In all honesty if I was subjected to a blind test I don't think I'd have ever made the connection. Whilst Totem was raw and unrelenting Iconoclast is symphonic and overall pretty easy listening (all things relative). None of that is to say it's not a very enjoyable album, it was just not what I expected. The long sweeping passages will make for excellent reading or coding music.

Nazxul on Myspace

The 2009 list

2009-12-03 15:45:56 by johan

Since we're coming to the end of 2009, I will be posting the mandatory list of album releases I enjoyed the most this year. There will be ten posts in descending order. As these posts will most likely bore some people I'll try to toss in a few other posts as well.

Major Psychotic Fucking Hatreds

2009-12-02 14:47:54 by johan

I'm not really a sentimental guy but I've come to realize if I miss anybody it's George Carlin. On an almost daily basis I quote some obscure joke, or interrupt somebody to go off on some random Carlin related tangent. So when I'm about to write a post about pet peeves concerning traffic I of course realize that just like George, I don't have pet peeves I have major psychotic fucking hatreds.

So in no particular order:

It's not the fast lane, it's the passing lane. Please use it appropriately - yes I'm talking to you with the Maryland tags.

Merging. Seriously people this isn't very hard, if you merge like a zipper (google this if you don't get it) you can essentially merge at speed.

Blocking the box, if a cop sees you do this, he should be authorized to shoot you dead on the spot. There is no excuse, and if you have kids in the car he can shoot those too; parents were probably too busy yelling at them to pay attention to the road.

Passive aggressive driving, aka keeping traffic behind you at the speed you think they should be traveling at. Like above, let's kill these fuckers right now.

A Darker Shade of Black

2009-12-01 19:50:33 by johan

Why would a self described "man of few words" bother keeping a blog? Mostly because I maintain the FreeBSD port of blogsum, and there are few better ways to know if something breaks than actually using it. So expect most posts during release cycles as bugs are crushed (According to it's author blogsum is the epitome of blogging software and no features will ever be added as it's already perfect). :-)

I spend a lot of time driving and listening to music that most people find questionable. Expect rants about idiot drivers and tips on excellent music.