Doctor Who Series 10 Brain Droppings

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Soon, in less than a couple of weeks (premiering between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as a matter of fact), we Whovians will finally have a new series (referred to as a “season” here in the States) of Doctor Who. To say the wait was a long one may be exaggerating a bit; lest we forget the Wilderness Years between the original cancellation of the show and the 1996 television movie, followed by another nine years until it was officially brought back in 2005 (not counting the brilliant 1999 special “The Curse of the Fatal Death”). A year and a half really wasn’t that much of a slog; besides, we had the two Christmas Specials to provide a break in the waiting. Not to mention all the books and radio dramas being produced.

Anyway, we are finally near the 10th Series of Doctor Who. This one purports to be the final one for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Which is a pity, as I thoroughly enjoyed his take on the Time Lord, bringing to mind the best of the First, Third and Fourth Doctors, with a smattering of the Eighth, all while making it his own whimsical beast. I dare say, Capaldi’s Doctor had replaced Eccleston as my second-favorite Doctor.*

There’s a new companion for the Doctor as well, and it looks like, according to reports**, that there’s going to be a refreshing lack of romantic tension between the Doctor and the companion this time around. I understand the logic of getting some forced romantic tension to bring in the younger demographic (which also favors making the Doctor younger every time he regenerates), but in my not-so-humble opinion, the Doctor works best as an asexual character, and not having to rebuff his companion (or companions) while trying to save the world from whatever threat is besotting us this week. That’s part of the reason why, since the relaunch of Doctor Who, the companion of Donna Noble is listed high up as one of my favorite companions: she never fell for the Doctor. If anything, she was a much-needed foil to the Doctor’s ego. But, I digress.

The previews and teasers show promise. There seems to be a return of the classic Cybermen from the First Doctor serial “The Tenth Planet” (creepy), an obligatory Dalek episode, Missy pops up, and some kind of Emoji-based robot, I think? There’s also seems to be more inclusion of the character Nardole, which is awesome, as I think he plays off of the Doctor perfectly. Why not make him the companion? Because we need a female companion every time? I don’t know.

Anyway, the wait is almost over, and I anxiously await April 15th to see where the final adventures of the 12th Doctor brings us. Cheers, all.

* – Tom Baker is my all-time favorite, in case you were wondering. You’re welcome.
** – source

Brain Droppings on Joy vs. Happiness

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cheesecakeHaving the Joy of the Lord does not equate Happiness. Happiness is an emotion. Emotions are fleeting. The dessert at the meal. Joy, on the other hand, is the nourishment that is gleaned from the meal itself–the proteins, the complex carbohydrates, the amino acids necessary for continued strength and endurance. The dessert is the brief allowance of empty calories that produces happy feelings, but overall doesn’t benefit the long-term goal.

To pursue Christianity as a means to secure happiness in this world will eventually leave you confused, bitter, angry, jaded, and finally disillusion.

Jesus does not offer happiness. He offers something better: Joy. And as the risen Redeemer-as the true source of joy, the more we rely and trust in Him and let go of the world we were once a part of, the more you come to understand that Joy is sustaining us. Nourishing us to continue on in Christ Jesus rather than give us a blast of happiness, only to have it fade.

March 25, 2017

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inside my headWhen it comes to the mental part of writing (which happens all the time; the physical writing part is maybe 10 percent of the process), one of the more effective ways of getting past writer’s block is to put some \,,/METAL\,,/ on and let my mind wander amidst the soundtrack drowning out the outside world. Sitting with big over-the-ears headphones, staring out to the distance is good, but the most effective use of this is driving around in the NEKRON-7, something cranking on the stereo, somehow the added busywork of driving combined with the music really brings out some fantastic brain droppings.

The trick is to translate what’s dancing around in my head onto the blank pages here in our dimension. And sometimes that translation process gets lost in the ether, resulting in something close to approximation of what I saw in my head, but not quite.

I am my own worst critic when it comes to my writing. I always have been, and always will be. Until the day I stop writing, I’ll keep trying. It’s the only way I can calm the voices, after all. That, and the \,,/METAL\,,/. Cheers.

From The \,,/METALCUTENESS\,,/ Files…

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I believe I may have found my new mascot:
deathmetalpanda
That there is Aggretsuko, a red panda that hates her office job and blows off steam with the help of death metal. This is from the same company that brought us Hello Kitty. It makes sense that it comes from Japan, really. They can take anything and make it into their own weird version, like some kind of pop culture alchemist.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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Well, here we are. The end of another year. And as a year, overall, I think it’s safe to say that the majority opinion is that the year of our Lord Twenty-Sixteen SUCKED on so many levels, I’m pretty sure its effects can be felt on alternate dimensions and frequencies. Yes, there were a lot of celebrity deaths this year; however, this being a personal bligity-blog of mine, I’m not going to focus on all of those (though I really could, there have been many childhood favorites that have fallen this year). Instead, to at least make an acknowledgment of the ones that have been an inspiration to me, I’m going to pepper this post with YouTube clips of some favorites of mine while I wax nostalgic for the past year. However ugly it was.

First, I would be remiss if I didn’t start off with perhaps one of the biggest losses my family had this year: In the very first week of June, my Grandmother Betty Strand passed away. She was always a constant anchor in my life, as she was a strong, tenacious and lively cornerstone of the family, raising three children on the farm and being active in the community and such. Her loss has left a void in the lives of many.

And as long as we’re on the subject, along with Grandma, two Great Aunts also passed away this year: Aunt Janice and Aunt Muriel. Aunt Janice was Grandma’s younger sister, and was also a presence in the family growing up. Aunt Muriel was Grandpa Strand’s sister, and was another presence in the family growing up. We have a big family, and for better or for worse, we’re still pretty tight as a unit. I’m thankful for that, and thankful for having known them.

In July, there was a massive shakeup at the church I was attending. I really don’t want to go into the details (as we’re still healing and moving on), but suffice to say, there was a split. And after much deliberation, I decided to go with the ones who left, in helping to be a part of the healing and moving on. A new church was birthed out of what essentially started as a Sunday morning therapy group for those who were hurt from the split. Fortunately, this wasn’t formed out of spite, but out of a genuine desire to continue to serve God and Christ Jesus despite of the circumstances. Almost immediately, we’ve been seeing the Holy Spirit work with us to that end. In case you’re morbidly curious, here’s the website to peruse.

Of course, no year-end blog post would be complete without mentioning all the wackiness that happened in the culture. And this was probably the wackiest of the wacky. As in, the world just threw up its collective hands and went, “Okay, we all go crazy, now.” Besides all the celebrity deaths (which, as of this writing, still hasn’t stopped, it seems), who could forget the year-long freak show that was this round of Presidential elections? To quote one of the best parts of the movie Resivuar Dogs, “Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right”. On the left of the Presidential ring, the Senator wife of a former President. To the right, a business mogul/former reality show producer-star/comb-over enthusiast with little to no political experience whatsoever. After months and months of mud-flinging, passive-aggressive public whining, really bad ideas and desperate character assassinations (among other things), at the end of the day, it turned out that we all collectively stepped in some Trumpy-Dumpy. Gads, that episode of MST3K is so endlessly quotable. And given the fallout and the various updates on how Trump is lining up his next four years…yeah, this might make 2016 seem like the Golden Years in comparison. We shall see, as always. The road to Idiocracy stretches out ever before us. Still, I’m trying to figure out why so many of my fellow professing Christians seemed to treat his election as the next best thing to the Second Coming of Jesus.

And lest the Presidential elections overshadow the other bits of wackiness of the year: Britan decided to leave the European Union, citing “It’s not you, it’s me” and further stating “We can still be friends, though,” before deleting them from their Facebook lists; a cartoon frog is now declared a “hate symbol” because…reasons, I guess; the President of the Philippines threatened to burn down the UN; for several months, the entire country freaked out over clowns (well, moreso than usual); and last but certainly not least, there was that Dakota Access Pipeline protest that got rather ugly before an agreement could be made, only to have the protester’s point made for them by the pipeline itself. Delicious irony.

Okay, on to some more pleasant stuff. For all the downers, at least there were some really really good \,,/METAL\,,/ that was released: Megadeth came back in form with Dystopia in January, and then Anthrax released the melodic-yet-heavy For All Kings in February. Babymetal released Metal Resistance in March, which was more of the mutated J-Pop/Metal hybrid I somehow find irresistible. Death Requisite released some rather good death metal with their Revisitation release, while I found myself disappointed with the debut release from Becoming Saints, Oh The Suffering. Ricky Puckett unleashed his In Darkest Dreams project with The Vanishing, a much-needed injection of dark and brutal for my earholes. And then Hell apparently froze over, as Klayton dropped a surprise brand-new Circle Of Dust album, Machines Of Our Disgrace. And finally*, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Metallica releasing Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, which turned out to be quite decent.

On the movie front, this year started off strong with the most excellent Deadpool. The year had some decent ones, like 10 Cloverfield Lane (a lot better than what I expected), the new Ghostbusters, the Magnificent Seven remake, the Pete’s Dragon remake, Suicide Squad (surprisingly decent), and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them (sorry, no review posted yet). The rather good movies this year were Captain America: Civil War, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, and of course, the year’s capper, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Of course, there were some stinkers in this year’s mix, which for me were Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Independence Day: Resurgence, and the surprisingly “meh” X-Men: Apocalypse.

And last, but certainly not least, in the more happier aspects of my personal life this year: This last Spring both my Nephew/Godson Christoper Rinas and one of my cousin’s eldest son Trevor Donahey graduated High School. Gads, I’m old.

So, that’s my year in a nutshell. To quote from one of my favorite episodes of M*A*S*H: “Here’s to the new year. May it be a damn sight better than the last one, and may we all go home before it’s over.”** Take that as you will. Whatever you do, celebrate heartily, but also somberly. Don’t be stupid. Me, I’m going to be doing my yearly Haunted New Years horror movie marathon whilst deciding what part of the clutter in my domicile is going to get the heave-ho. And there may be a bacon pizza in the mix, somewhere. Until next year (see what I did there?), I remain your humble servant Uncle NecRo. God bless, my wonderful freaks.

::END TRANSMISSION::

*– While I did review the new Klank album, the official release isn’t until January 13th, so that’s actually one to look forward to.

**– Season 9, Episode 6: “A War For All Seasons”

Uncle NecRo’s TOP 1O LEAST FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONGS

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bah-humbugWe are now in full Holiday Clusterbomb Season, and now the Christmas songs are nigh-unavoidable. Here I am, sitting in my favorite Irish pub, listening to the Christmas mix playing overhead from the owner’s Spotify account, and since I have nothing better to write about at the moment, I thought I’d share with all of you wonderful freaks of mine my least favorite Christmas songs that I always stumble upon, despite my best efforts to block out the real world.

I kept things down to a cozy ten-ish, because I have to have something for next year…

10. “Happy Christmas”
…as an artist, John Lennon was overrated, as was that group he was in, the name of which escapes me at the moment. This particular Christmas song of his manages to be a smug passive aggressive lump of coal.

9. “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
…I think that, by now, everyone who hears this overplayed tune can recognize it for the creepy date rape-y song it is. I used to think nothing of it, kind of regulating it to barely noticed background noise, until someone said something about the lyrics, and now I can’t not hear it.

8. “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”
…this song was funny the first 500 or so times I heard it. I was also 10 when that happened. While I am fascinated by how long this ode to Seasonal Matricide has survived since being first released, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t roll my eyes and sigh whenever this comes on.

7. “Feliz Navidad”
…NO. Just…NO. I’ve never liked this song, I will cross my arms and give you Extreme Grumpy Face if you try and get me to sing along to it, and I find it a pity that it’s normally associated with the greatest Christmas-themed foodstuff ever concocted, Nachos Navidad from Taco John’s. Gad’s those are tasty.

6. “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time”
…as much as I snarkily deride John Lennon, at least he wasn’t Paul McCartney. I can’t really think of a song of his that doesn’t suck the life force out of me when it begins playing. And this Christmas ditty is the equivalent of one of those glossy custom Christmas photo postcards, only in song form.

5. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
…okay, let’s look past the fact that this is yet another smarmy star-studded guilt trip disguised as “social awareness” (the 80s was lousy with them); the children being referenced here technically live in a Muslim country, so even if they did know it was Christmas, chances are they wouldn’t be celebrating it anyway.

4. “Christmas Shoes”
…so, I finally forced myself to listen to this song, having been able to avoid doing so for all this time. And I have to say, how do you people live with yourselves? Why would you all think “Christmas Shoes” is a modern classic, when all it is is a nauseating fluff piece based on the doctrine of Sola Feels? I will admit, though, that I like to imagine the mother in this story, with her final dying breath, telling her child, “I wanted a necklace,” before dying. Followed by the standard “Wah-wah-waaaaaaah” trombone.

3. “Mary Did You Know?”
…speaking of overplayed so-called modern “classics”, I’m not content to just turn the channel on the radio whenever this one comes on, but I must go beyond that and turn off the power to said device all together, then smash it with a hammer and burn the pieces, for it was rendered unclean and had to be purged.

2. “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”
…I want to stab this song repeatedly with several large sharpened candy cane shivs, set the corpse on fire, and roast chestnuts over it whilst drinking eggnog.

1. [TIE] “Chipmunks Christmas Song”/”All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”
…I couldn’t decide which one of these old novelty songs were more annoying, so I decided to end with a tie. Released back when my own parents were wee children, these two songs are always trotted out and played ad nausium on all radio stations doing a Christmas mix for the season. Mind you, they’re only marginally worse to listen to than the Number 2 spot on this list, but somehow I get extra twitchy whenever these come on, and I find myself diving for the OFF switch on whatever device they’re emanating from.

So, there it is. The songs that make me more of a Scrooge whenever they pop up. There will be more for next year, I’m sure. In the meantime, feel free to send your thinly-veiled hate mail to necrosarx@gmail.com. Cheers, all, and Merry Christmas, if I don’t get around to posting another thing until the end of the year.

::END TRANSMISSION::

Uncle NecRo’s TOP 100 CHRISTIAN ALBUMS FROM THE 1990s, Part 5: 20-1

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Here we are, arrived at Part 5, the final ten in this little mini-series on the blog. Hope it was good for you. I know you’re just itching with curiosity to know what the rest are, so without further adieu:

mortification-mortification20 – Mortification (Mortification)
…this was my first exposure to this new fangled style of metal that was Death Metal. Back in the tail end of 1992, on the trip back from a national youth group convention in Texas, someone in the van I was riding in lent me his copy of this album, because he saw the Destruction Comes cassette in my collection. I’ve been hooked ever since.

crashdog-mudangels19 – Mud Angels (Crashdog)
…what do you know, actual legit punk rawk, at a time when “punk” consisted of the radio-friendly pop styles of Green Day, MxPx and…some other bands, I don’t really know much about all of that. But this, nothing slick about this rawness.

circle-of-dust-disengage18 – Disengage (Circle Of Dust)
…dark, electronic goodness that goes great with brooding.

no-innocent-victim-1997-no-compromise17 – No Compromise (No Innocent Victim)
…one of the better of the so-called “Spirit-Filled Hardcore” bands I’ve come across, only slightly less pretentiously amusing than those Straight Edge bands.

one-bad-pig-i-scream-sunday16 – I Scream Sunday (One Bad Pig)
…while the inclusion of the duet with Johnny Cash on his song “Man In Black” is enough to warrant this as the best of One Bad Pig’s discography to date, there’s some seriously good cuts on this besides just that song.

leaderdogs-for-the-blind-lemonade15 – Lemonade (Leaderdogs For The Blind)
…since it was given to me by one of my alternative music snob friends, I was expecting just that. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be pretty good industrialized rock.

pod-snuff-the-punk14 – Snuff The Punk [Rescue Records 1994 Version] (Payable On Death)
…yep, there’s Payable On Death in my collection. Yep, it’s been in there since long before they became youth group darlings. Yep, this original version is preferable to the post-fame remaster re-release version. Yep, I refuse to call the band “P-O-D”. Yep, even I want to punch myself in the face right now.

stryper-against-the-law13 – Against The Law (Stryper)
…like with the Bloodgood entry, this is the only studio album Stryper released in the 1990s, so I can’t include the previous releases. But, unlike the Bloodgood entry, this album is very good and should be listened to a whole bunch of times.

seventh-angel-lament-for-the-weary12 – Lament For The Weary (Seventh Angel)
…after only hearing a couple of their cuts on the Arise Skates compilation, I found this at a Camelot Records. Good find, methinks.

jesus-freaks-socially-unacceptable11 – Socially Unacceptable (Jesus Freaks)
…I remember this being the first legit thrash album I’ve heard from a Christian band, immediately comparing it to Metallica in their Ride The Lightning era. Oh, how adorable I was back then. Still, great little EP.

groms-ascension10 – Ascension (GROMS)
…pity these guys didn’t produces more than just this album. Great death metal, this one is.

seventh-angel-the-torment9 – The Torment (Seventh Angel)
…I like this debut album just slightly more than their second one, simply because it’s more straight-up thrash. They’re both excellent, though.

deliverance-what-a-joke8 – What A Joke! (Deliverance)
…my first Deliverance album, also my first exposure to the existence of Christians playing thrash metal. Which is why this one is the most-listened to album of their discography.

living-sacrifice-nonexistent7 – Nonexistent (Living Sacrifice)
…my first exposure to the band that is Living Sacrifice, I got this because of the cover art alone. I was thinking, “wow, they sell this at a Christian bookstore!” Fortunately, the death metal was fantastic to boot.

circle-of-dust-brainchild6 – Brainchild (Circle Of Dust)
…heavy industrial metal goodness. More in the vein of Ministry than Nine Inch Nails, and it still hasn’t gotten old over 20 years later.

klank-1997-still-suffering5 – Still Suffering (Klank)
…I cannot tell you how many speakers I’ve damaged cranking this thing. Or how many countless hours of darkness this helped me get through.

rackets-drapes-candyland4 – Candyland (Rackets & Drapes)
…I could write pages on how this album by this particular band was such a paradigm shift for me when I first discovered it, but that would defeat the purpose of a brief synopsis for this list. Maybe later.

vengeance-rising-destruction-comes3 – Destruction Comes (Vengeance Rising)
…you long time Vengeance Rising fans are probably wondering why I placed this one so high on the list. Well…it was the first Vengeance album I owned, and it was the first one to pop into my head when I was brainstorming. Also, sometimes you just need to sit back and GRIND.

tourniquet-pathogenic-ocular-disonance2 – Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance (Tourniquet)
…hmmm, what’s that? You’ve been wondering which Tourniquet album I deem to be better than Psycho Surgery? Why, it’s this one, silly. No, no, don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one who’s wrong.

mortification-scrolls-of-the-megilloth1 – Scrolls Of The Megilloth (Mortification)
…and the top spot goes to the greatest death metal album to ever be released, period.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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