Saturday, June 29, 2013

What a Jive Turkey

Another post to file in cool things seen while working category... the other day I watched as this giant bird landed on the top of this woman's house.  I wasn't able to get the best pictures possible, as anyone with a keen eye for photography can tell... nature doesn't always cooperate.

I'm not sure if turkey vultures are bad omens or not.  I enjoyed watching it settle on the roof and chill out for a bit before taking off.  Apparently, turkey vultures are one of 7 species in the family Cathartidai, which includes the King Vulture of Brazil, and the Californian Condor.  

Up close, it looks like this: 

This is certainly the coolest thing I've seen at work yet.  Nature is pretty awesome.  I need a better camera.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ska in Gainsville

Less Than Jake
Hello Rockview
1998: Capitol Records
produced by Howard Benson

Chris Demakes - Guitar, Vocals
Roger Manganelli - Bass, Vocals
Vinnie Fiorello - Drums
Buddy Schaub - Trombone
Pete Anna - Trombone
Derron Nuhfer - Barri Sax

  • All my Friends are Metalheads/Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding/Rock and Roll Pizzeria
  • History of a Boring Town
This album came with a booklet that had each song illustrated like a Dick Tracy comic book. Pretty awesome. It is one of my favorite ska fueled punk albums, second only to NoFX's So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes. Punk with a horn section was the new thing in the mid to late 90s, and as soon as it exploded, it disappeared. This album will hold a special place for me, as it reminds me of those angsty high school and anxiety filled college years. Last One out of Liberty City starts the album out with a bang, a great way to begin an album full of face paced, melodic punk, punctuated by trombone harmonies. This is actually the only thing from Florida that is worth my time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Butterfly Effect

Another installment of Cool Things I See at Work:  

This is a butterfly of the Nymphalidai family, genus Speyeria, a species of Fritillary butterfly.   As far as I can tell, by looking at other pictures and reading descriptions, this particular butterfly is the Aphrodite Fritillary.  

Once again, this is pretty cool, as according to Butterflies of Massachusetts dot com, this particular species of Fritillary has become pretty uncommon in the New England area, supplanted by the Great Spangled Fritillary.  Although, because I'm not very good at this, what I found could very well be a Great Spangled Fritillary.  

It's About Dichotomy!

Beyond Heaven/Above Hell
2010: Rebel Monster
produced by Jacob Hansen

Michael Poulsen- guitar, vocals
Thomas Bredahl- lead guitar
Jon Larsen- drums
Anders Kjolholm- bass

  • Fallen/A Warrior's Call/Rebel Angel
  • Heaven nor Hell/Carolina Leaving
  • Still Counting
  • The Mirror and the Ripper
  • A Warrior's Call
The album can be classified, I suppose, as a concept album, but everything this band releases is one giant concept, and this album is just one link in the chain of the concept that spans several albums.  I've never heard of any other band doing this sort of thing, either, which makes it pretty interesting.

The concept appeals to me in a big way, as I'm a huge dork when it comes to demonology, Faust myth, and Judeo/Christian superstition.  This particular story line is, essentially a deal with the devil with a twist.  The cover art kind of gives away the themes of good and evil, redemption, circular story telling...

The music shows moments of brilliance, as with the use of a harmonica solo in their big single Heaven nor Hell.  The sound blends and changes between Metallica-esque thrash, a little Motorhead inspired garage rock, some blues, rockabilly, and of course Danish death metal (they are from Copenhagen, after all).  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Surprise! Living a Lie Sucks

So, this is happening today.  The organization Exodus International has closed, and the president of this "Christian" ministry, Alan Chambers, is doing interviews apologizing for his very damaging and unchristian-like ministry which has hurt many people.

Exodus International focused on healing homosexuals, turning them straight through reparative therapy and prayer.  Chambers has gone on record, most famously with Oprah, to denounce this idea of homosexuality as a choice and lifestyle that can be treated through psychological therapy.  Basically, he has realized that brainwashing does more harm than good.  The Huffington Post has an article in more detail.

I'm not sure, but I hope someone else somewhere has drawn parallels between this anti-gay movement and the Inquisition's use of torture to illicit and secure oaths of undying devotion to the Faith.  Frankly, this Evangelical war on homosexuality is disgusting, and I'm glad to see a leader and true believer of this madness flip his position...  how very Saint Paul of him, what a revelation this must have been.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Falling on Deaf Ears?

An open letter to Dan Snyder has been posted by Grantland, the super cool sports/pop culture blog headed up by the immortal Bill Simmons. Changing culturally insensitive, and mostly outright racist Indian mascots is something I've supported for quite a while, so... this is a repost?  reblog? something?

click me to go to the article
I do find this interesting, as it is the first time I've seen professional (semi professional?) sport writers make any sort of public statement regarding this issue in support of American Indians. Most of the time writers, the NFL, and fans play the "too much history" card, or the "dignified honor" excuse like the franchise is doing the Indian people a favor by naming themselves after them.

Anyway, I doubt this will change Snyder's mind, if he even sees it at all. More importantly, many other sports fans will see it. This will help change the mainstream opinion concerning American Indian imagery in sports. Hopefully the NFL will feel pressure to change its stance. The part of this article that made me the most angry was learning how Goodell feels about the issue. Clearly appeasing the owner of one of his franchises is far more important than doing the right thing.  

Snaaaaaake! Snaaaaaake!

I almost stepped on this little guy the other day.  He was nice enough to sit still so I could take a picture.

Milk snakes are one of the 14 snakes found in my area.  Milk snakes, like most of the other 14 snakes, are mostly harmless.  Usually the snake of choice around here is the boring garter snake, but sometimes more interesting snakes show up, like the very long black racer, or even a copperhead or eastern rattler if you aren't so lucky.  This post can be filed in the "cool shit I see at work" category.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

If Only There was a Band More Emo than Billy Corgan...

Silversun Pickups
Neck of the Woods
2012. Dangerbird Records
produced by Jacknife Lee

Brian Aubert - guitar, vocals
Nikki Monninger - bass, vocals
Joe Lester - keyboards
Christopher Guanlao - drums

  • Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)
  • The Pit
  • Here We Are (Chancer)
I like this band.  Pitchfork, of course, gave this album a bad review.  But, in true Pitchfork fashion, the reviewer comes off as just another music snob, hipster douche who only gave the album one, half-ass listen.  Not every album can be In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, or Jeff Buckley's Grace.  Get over yourself.

This album is their third release.  I discovered the band after hearing their single Lazy Eye somewhere, and thinking, "wow, that chick can sing", and then realizing that it was a dude the whole time.  They have a sound very reminiscent of Billy Corgan when he's being depressed.  The similarities don't stop there, either.  They also have a female bass player.  If you enjoyed the Smashing Pumpkin's "shoegazing" melancoly sound made famous by songs like 1979 and Disarm, the Silversun Pickups fully explore their own airy, eerily creepy desperateness on this album.  

While Bloody Mary is a good track, and definitely a good choice for a single, the band missed an opportunity to showcase Mean Spirits as a single.  It is by far the best track on the album, and I recommend giving it a listen, or two.