Vinyl Confessions Pt. 2: METAL UP YOUR…Something or Other…

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Continuing on with sharing my vinyl record collection, here’s where I let my \,,/METAL\,,/ flag fly freely…
metallica kill em all
METALLICA – Kill ‘Em All
…remastered, obviously, but essential to the collection. It still sounds great after all these years, raw and unbridled. If it sounds like I’m fanboy gushing, it’s because I am.
metallica ride the lightning
METALLICA – Ride The Lightning
…classic. Of course, had to be part of the collection. Also a remaster, came with a download link for the MP3…but, I already have that rip of the CD, so…moving on…
metallica master of puppets
METALLICA – Master Of Puppets
…like the first two albums in the Metallica discography, I’ve had this classic on pretty much all the formats: cassette, CD, MP3 download, and now vinyl record. Gads, I do need to get out and date more, don’t I?
metallica garage days re-revisited
METALLICA – Garage Days Re-Revisited
…this is the remastered version, which cost more than the actual sticker price printed on the sleeve, but it also comes on orange vinyl! But…the first song skips right at the beginning, right when Lars does the first opening drum fill on “Helpless”. Oh, well…and no, the speakers are nowhere near the player, so it’s not a bass vibration thing causing it…

…at this point, all I need now is the reissued …And Justice For All, and I will have all the Metallica I wouldst desire on vinyl. “What about the Black Album?”, you may be asking yourself? I’ll get to that in another blog post. But, for now…

megadeth killing is my business
MEGADETH – Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!
…and this is how you do a remaster of a vinyl reissue: double disc, with the full album on one, and a bunch of rare live tracks from the 1980s and demo versions of a couple of the songs on the other. Also, unlike the CD version of the remaster, the version of “These Boots” does NOT have those annoying censor bleeps thrown in because the original writer of the song threw a hissy fit when he heard Dave’s version of it…also also, that new artwork is KILLER in the big format…
megadeth peace sells
MEGADETH – Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?
…I just got this recently from Amazon, and after giving it a spin while writing this, I don’t think this is one of the re-releases; for one, it’s not on the 180 gram vinyl the record companies seem to insist on releasing everything on nowadays (I still don’t detect that much of a quality difference), and there’s nothing on the packaging to indicate this was a remaster; also, I was actually listening to the remastered / re-released version on CD in the NEKRON-7 on the way home from work before listening to this one, and I could detect slight differences in the mix. So, is this an original master? I don’t know…but it would be cool if it was…

To be continued…

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Vinyl Confessions, part 1

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Record Player Old Retro Vinyl Records TurntableAbout a couple of years ago, I started collecting vinyl records again. I say “again”, because back when I started collecting albums, the only formats available were vinyl records and cassette tapes. Well, okay, the only affordable formats were records and cassettes. CDs were just beginning to come out, but being from a modest farming family, the Compact Disc format was a bit too pricy. But, again I digress. The point is, I’m not new to listening to this kind of format, and now that vinyl records have made a comeback, I can safely say that going back to buying and collecting them doesn’t make me a hipster wannabe.

Also, I want to point out that I really don’t hold to the pretentious notion that music sounds better on vinyl. For me, it’s more of a functional nostalgia thing, really. Obviously, the format isn’t exactly convenient; if I wanted the convenience along with the nostalgia factor in the analog music format, I would have started collecting cassette tapes again. Another old format that seems to be staging a comeback itself.

But again, I digress.

Recently, a friend of mine asked what I have in my vinyl record collection. I thought, rather than shoot off a list to her, this seemed ripe for a blog post. And thus, here we are, with the first of what may be many Vinyl Confessions posts on this bliggity-blog o’ mine. And yes, I lifted the title from the Kansas record. Brilliant bit of punning, that.

scaterd-few - sin disease
The first vinyl record I bought during this phase was the Burnt Toast Vinyl re-issue of the Scaterd-Few classic debut album Sin Disease. This album was something of an acquired taste for me, as the band never did conform to what was generally accepted and considered as “punk”, even when this was originally released. But, grow on me it did. This thing is gorgeous, with a gate-fold cover and extensive liner notes…

Side note: I also picked up one of those Cosley suitcase style portable record players that they’re manufacturing now, just to have something to play the record on. I do NOT recommend buying those things, as they’re cheap for a reason.

horde - hellig usvart
Of course, black metal should be experienced on vinyl whenever possible. This is a classic album that I’ve owned on CD as well as MP3 download, but now I have it on vinyl. Fun Fact: the package arrived with a second empty cover for the record, so I went ahead and framed the duplicate cover. It’s hanging on my wall at the Haunted Victorian…

mortification - break the curse
Originally a Light Force cassette demo when Steve Rowe took over and made the band more of a thrash-based death metal band before changing the name to Mortification. The copy I have is on silver colored vinyl, because it’s the 25th Anniversary of the release of this album. The Silver Anniversary. This has been a message from Captain Obvious. Moving on…

recon - behind enemy lines
To be completely forthright, Recon was never my all-time favorite band in the heavy melodic metal category, but it has its moments. This one came with a sticker of the album artwork. I still haven’t found the perfect spot to stick that sucker on, yet…

demon hunter - the triptyct
This is maybe my all-time favorite Demon Hunter album, and thus I nabbed this on the vinyl format. However, I specifically ordered the red vinyl, but got the mustard yellow vinyl. Regardless, this is a two-disc set, with the album on the three sides, and the fourth side with acoustic renditions of some of the songs on the album…

To Be Continued…

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OBLIGATORY YEAR-END POST (2018 Edition)

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grumpy cat party hatWell, well, well. Here we are yet again, at the end of another year. The year that was 2018. At least, for those who adhere to the Gregorian calendar. If you happen to adhere to the Julian Calendar Or Nothing! school of thought, then…I have no idea what year this is for you. Don’t get me started lunar calendar systems.

Anyway, reflecting back on this year…2018 wasn’t too bad. For the most part. My middle nephew got confirmed, fully Luthernized and everything. Really, there wasn’t any big life-changing events that happened this year…until September, that is.

It all started with my eyesight getting noticeably worse, faster than it usually does. Usually, there’s two years in-between needing to get new glasses; it’s only been a year, and when I went in to get a check-up, the doctor at the America’s Best glasses place where I usually go to (they’re reasonably priced, and I’m cheap) said I may be suffering from…what did he call it…oh, yeah: MACULAR DEGENERATION. Which freaked me out more than a little bit. As you all may or may not know, reading and writing is my life. Going blind would be one of the most cruelest of ironies to befall me. Sure, there are work-arounds, but I value my ability to see and create like this.

So, I did what every level-headed human being would do with a prognosis like this–I went to get a second opinion. After some tests that went beyond the standard “Can you read this line over here?” (they numbed my eyeballs, as well as dilated them…that’s a sensation I hope to never have to experience again any time soon, let me tell you), it was determined that it was not Macular degeneration, but in fact cataracts forming. Which is better, because they can be removed when ripe enough.

What stinks about that development is, driving at night has become kind of a challenge, and I had to skip out on the Metallica show in Lincoln because of this. *sigh* But, this is really nothing compared to what happened soon thereafter.

One evening, after stepping out of the shower, the nail on the big toe on my right foot fell off. By itself. No reason, it just…fell off. It was a bit discolored underneath, but I didn’t really think much of it…until about a day or two later, when it showed indications of getting worse with the discoloration. Daily soaking it in antibacterial water and slathering it with a topical cream didn’t work; it was the last day in September when I finally went into the ER in Fremont to get it looked at. They admitted me to observe it, where it finally broke open and started draining. The infection overtook my toe; but the biggest issue they discovered after a battery of tests is that there was no blood flow going to my foot. The arteries in my legs were severely blocked after decades of smoking and not really eating and living healthy. And the diabetes didn’t help much in that regard, I’m sure. So much sugar consumption.

Long story short: They couldn’t save the toe, they opened up the artery in my right leg to get the blood flowing again (that was a procedure I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy; they didn’t put me under so much as put me in what they called “Twilight Sleep”, which fortunately had nothing to do with those young adult novels / movies, but unfortunately meant I was aware of what was going on…it wasn’t pleasant, let’s just say), then I had a pict inserted into my arm that led directly to my heart, for the intravenous antibiotics treatment, before most of the toe itself was taken off. So now, I have a stump where the little piggy that never came back from market was as a reminder of this year.

I was out on disability leave for three months. I missed out on Halloween, and spent Thanksgiving and my birthday at my parents’ place while recouping from all of this. My mother is a retired NP, specializing in wound care, so she helped out with the down time.

I’m back at work now, and settled back into the Haunted Victorian after the 16th of December, when my IV treatments ended. My sister went in for surgery herself, and is recouping nicely. We all had a lovely Christmas; I received more composition notebooks and a package of pens, so I’m set for another year.

Tonight being New Years Eve, I plan on doing the same thing I do every year: grab some over-priced seafood, and sequester myself in my domicile and stay off of the streets, watching horror movies. And since I work the next day, I probably won’t be staying up until Midnight. I rarely ever do, unless I have a nap.

So, until next year (that joke never gets old, really), cheers, and God Bless, my wonderful freaks…

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I can only count to 19 and a half now…

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Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Season in the year of our Lord 2018. I thought I’d finally get around to pounding out a bit of an update on how things are going for you ol’ Uncle NecRo. And sticking to the age-old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words, here’s a recent one:
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Yeah, that’s me there, receiving my daily antibiotic treatment that has been going on since the first week in November. Here’s the whole torrid story:

For a while, my large right toe had been getting twingy. Something I chalked up to the diabetes. It’s been a struggle trying to keep the blood sugar levels at a nice manageable place. But, one evening in September, after stepping out of the shower, the nail from that toe came off, entirely. Odd, but I figured I may have inadvertently banged it hard enough against something to cause it to do that. It happened to my left big toenail back in 1994 when I dropped a couch I was helping move on it, while only wearing sandals. That grew back; I figured the same would happen with this one.

Only, there was some dark discoloration on the toe, and underneath the skin of the toe itself. I kept soaking it in antibacterial water and wrapping it up with some antibacterial topical creme, but it only seem to progressively get worse. Finally, on the final day of September, after recording the sermon at church, I checked myself into the ER at the Fremont hospital to have the thing looked at.

What I though was going to be an in-out situation turned into a three-night stay at the hospital itself. As it turned out, the toe–as well as much of the rest of the foot–was dying. There was a battery of tests done, was seen by several doctors of differing expertise relating to my ailment, and long story short: at the tail-end of October, I went in for a procedure to open up the artery in my right leg to get blood flowing again. It was quite horrendous, I don’t recommend having to have it done. They didn’t put me under; they put me into what they called “twilight sleep”, so I was aware of what was going on, but time itself became kind of wibbly-wobbly.

The first week in November, it turned out I had to amputate the toe. While the blood flow was back and very strong (and normal color returning to the foot and other toes), the damage was too far gone to benefit keeping what was left. They didn’t amputate the entire thing; there is enough left to keep my balance and feel relatively normal. Still, the joke is that the piggy went to market and never came back. Ungrateful piggy.

I’ve been staying at my parent’s place during all the recouping process. My mother being a retired Nurse Practitioner, she was more than capable to help out and give advice with all this, and provide much support when things kept escalating further than I thought it would go. The healing is going well, and anticipate being back at my usual place of dwelling when the daily antibiotic treatments end on December 16th.

I would be remiss, though, to mention that, during all of this, my depression spiraled almost out of control, to the point where I would sit in the darkness and weep silently maybe once every couple of days or so. To be expected; I’m at my lowest, feeling like I’ve lost a bit of myself (literally), what’s the point of this existence…the usual. It’s been rough, almost as bad as it was when Kim left, but again I had the support of my friends, family, and my faith to get me through.

The adverse result of this, however, was me not motivated to write. At all. Usually, when a stint like this happens, I am furiously jotting down everything into my unplugged journal notebook or whatever sheaf of paper happens to be around me at the time. Not this time around. I haven’t been posting, I haven’t been reading any of the books I have, I haven’t been doing reviews…I haven’t even been wanting to listen to METAL like I usually do. Mindless drivel on YouTube and movies. Then, staring into the darkness as I lay on the couch, my mind wandering to how things could have been, what could the future possibly hold for one such as myself, yadda-yadda-yadda.

So, in short, that’s what’s been going on recently. I’m starting to kick my own self in the rear to get back to writing something, this particular post being the first swift kick. Hopefully, those won’t just be empty words. Cheers, all.

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Some bittersweet news…

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sad pumpkinI guess I should go ahead and let people know, before the first of October hits and anyone is actually expecting it:

There will be no HALLOWEEN’ING series this year.

ThereĀ was going to be one this year; I had the entire month of October mapped out, with over half of the articles already written and scheduled.

But, the reality is, my heart just isn’t in this at this time. The reasons and the standard ones: Fatigue. Health issues. Burnout. Also, I really don’t want to have to constantly justify my love of this particular season over the Big Two Christian holidays I’m expected to prefer.

I just want to chill out this year, enjoy the Halloween season without feeling the need to blog about everything. I want to peruse all the wondrous and spooky things without constantly formulating how I’m going to write the article.

I’m telling you, having a strong writer’s mentality is both a blessing and a curse sometimes.

So, yeah. No HALLOWEEN’ING this year. That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting anything related to Halloween. If I see something cool, I’ll have to say something about it. I just won’t be spending every day of the month doing it, if at all.

In the mean time, I’ve been scheduling next year’s movie and music review posts, getting them out of the way for other things. Until next time, cheers everyone, and stay freaky.

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A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT SCREAM…

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punpkin screamSo, I thought I’d take some time to bring whatever readers I still have up to speed in the life and times of your Uncle NecRo. It’s been a while, and I thought a bit of venting is in order. In a matter of speaking.

First, with the lack of postings since house sitting for my sister’s family whilst they were vacationing in Nevada: Currently, I’m in the midst of writing and scheduling the daily posts for this year’s HALLOWEEN’ING 2018. I’m almost halfway done with that; all that remains is waiting for the stores and seasonal attractions to open up and let me pursue for the remaining posts. This year marks the return of the Shadow’s Edge haunted attraction, after a two year absence. I can’t wait to check that one out. I also want to hit some places I hadn’t made it to for the decorations and costumes. But, there will probably be visits to my standard favorite places, more because of familiarity. I’m old. That’s my excuse.

old metalheadSpeaking of being old, I probably won’t be able to make the Metallica show on the 6th. My health has been not good, and my eyesight is that driving at night and in the dark is getting kind of wonky for me. I’m scheduled for an eye exam later today (as I write this), but the new glasses won’t be back in time for the show. Also, there’s the regular middle age guy things, like I have to work the next day, it’s an hour’s drive, that section of Lincoln is difficult to navigate in the daytime, let alone post-show congestion in the dead of night. And quite frankly, my knees are all shot, making it difficult to make the hike from the parking garages to the arena. If they would have played in Omaha, maybe. Ten, maybe twenty years ago, I would have been all over this show. Now, though, I’m in my mid-fourties. I wasn’t able to find someone to go with me, so I’m probably going to sit this one out. Yeah, I’m probably pissing away my only chance to see them live. I’m at peace with this. Metal up your ass.

As far as blog postings for the rest of the year: I’m holding off on the standard Movie/Book/Music reviews until next year. Right now, I’m focusing on the HALLOWEEN’ING 2018 posts, and getting some of the standard brain dropping style articles take care of. I’ve had quite a few percolating for a number of years that keep bubbling back up to the surface ever now and again. So, bit of a relaxed schedule for the blog, here.

Anyway, if anything else comes up, y’all will be the first to know. That you know of. Until then, God bless, my wonderful freaks. Cheers and all that…

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House Sitting, Day 7

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existential pizzaDay Seven of the House Sitting.

Last day. Doing the laundry one last time, getting things packed away. Spending one last night here, then headed to work tomorrow mourning, all of my things tucked into the NEKRON 7. Headed back to the Haunted Victorian afterwards.

Tonight, though, I plan on watching the newest Preacher on the AMC channel on the Dish Network setup (as opposed to waiting until Monday evening to watch it on the Amazon streaming). Only three more episodes left to this season. I hope they actually get to the point of all this. Judging by last season, though, probably not.

The existential realization of heading back to the reality tomorrow looms just above and behind me, like the realization of my own mortality. It’s more of an intangible black cloud, reminding me that, like life itself, the holiday is fleeting, a mere blip in the grand overall scope of time and space. I exist, and that existence has meaning; and yet, when compared to the vastness that is time, and the fact that time itself is speeding along faster and faster, so that to give the illusion of blinking and seeing much of my life and experience go by, a blip in the history of Everything…makes me want to just order a pizza and chill out a bit.

Mmmmm…taco pizza from Casey’s…make this a reality, when the laundry’s done and I have socks again…

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