OBLIGATORY YEAR-END POST: 2019 Edition

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2019-2020
So, here we are, the end of not only another year, but another decade. They seem to go by so fast now, especially after I’ve made it over the hill, so to speak. May have something to do with the downhill momentum. Or something like that.
never mind
In case you’re wondering if I’m going to do that thing everyone’s doing on social media where they post a picture of themselves ten years ago, and one of them now, no. I’m not doing that. For one thing, I don’t have any pictures of me back that far (I’m not a picture person, though I’m sure someone from my family or friends have one), and really there’s no need to compare how I am now versus where I was ten years ago. Let’s just say, I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. Heck, I’m not even the same person I was five years ago. Or even a year ago, one could argue. Though some similarities remain from then. Ergo, the year end review. Because nobody demanded it.
new years resolution
I began the Year of Our Lord, Twenty-Nineteen, on a generally cautious optimistic mood: I had been back at work since the day after Christmas 2018 after several months on long-term disability due to a medical procedure needed done on my right foot. I spent New Years Eve like I normally do, by picking up the Admiral’s Feast from Red Lobster for takeout after work, then slapping it into “B” for “Boogie” and split back to my domicile at the Haunted Victorian to eat my seafood feast and call it a year in the peaceful dark solitude, far away from the crowds and drunken idiots on the streets.
darknoodle star wars fan
I had taken all of the music reviews and band-related interviews from this normal blog of mine (the one you’re reading) and posted them on the NECRO SHOCK RADIO blog. It seemed a better fit. From then on out, any music review and/or interview would be first posted there. In case you were wondering where all of them went to.
pearls before swine generation gap
Over the year, I watched a bunch of movies, either in the theater with the Exalted Geeks, or on streaming devices, or otherwise. Most of them I wrote a review for and posted. Others I recorded episodes of the newly-christened Movies+Beer Pubcast. Some still need to have a review written. I’m getting to those.
eek brain heart eyes
Also over the year, I read a bunch of books, mostly on the Kindle, some actual physical books. Some I’ve written reviews of already, some need reviews done. I’m getting to those as well.

I dreamed of eating kale. That was weird.

I took the entire season of Lent not posting any movie and book reviews, and focusing on study of the Scriptures and meditating on the purpose of the liturgical season. A vow I apparently broke in April. Me so holy.

The dream of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock died a horrible death before it could happen. Make your own application.
Baby-Yoda-With-His-Little-Cup-Is-All-of-Us
In December of 2018, I bought an Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BK turntable, so this past year has been big on me collecting vinyl records to use on it. It’s a very satisfying, if a bit expensive, hobby. Nowadays, I’m usually just buying a download of the MP3 of an album; if I want a physical copy, I check to see if it’s available on vinyl, or nothing at all. I suspect I shall be continuing this hobby in the years to come. Consequently, a new series on my blog grew out of this: Vinyl Confessions. My only regret is not getting the model that has a USB connector for easier playing through my laptop.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO is still a thing. I just haven’t been able to coordinate any further shows in the past few months that I’ve been relatively absent from the blog. And since we’re at this point…
a novel in french
On June 1st, I was readmitted back into the hospital, due to what ended up being the stints in my right leg’s artery failing miserably. This resulted in needing an arterial bypass on my leg, as well as 1/4 of my right foot amputated due to gangrene. Spent over a week in the hospital after the operations, learning a brand new definition of pain and suffering while trying to use the bathroom with even a smattering of self-respect. Since getting discharged, I’ve spent the rest of the year (as of this writing) recuperating at my parent’s homestead, my mother taking care of the daily bandage changes on my foot while it slowly heals. Meanwhile I’m focusing on my health, and trying to keep the crushing darkness and loneliness from suffocating me.
alice cooper steve carrell marijuanas
On the plus side, my eyesight was steadily getting worse and worse since last year, due to rapidly worsening cataracts that were detected in August of 2018. That’s not the “plus side” thing. That would be, since I was out with a bum leg and foot anyway, I decided it was a good time to get the eyes taken care of. At that time, I couldn’t see very well, even with glasses. It was like looking at the world with a thick film of Vaseline smeared over my eyeballs. So, I went in for the Lasik surgery. I’m glad I did, it was the best decision I made this year, bar none.
eyeball
That said, these past six months have been a constant, almost non-stop struggle against severe depression, suicide, bitterness, loneliness and feelings of abandonment and betrayal, with very few bright spots along the way. To quote Grave Robber, I struggle to believe that faith hope and love remain.

As we enter a new year and a new decade, I find myself in a pitch-dark place. I entered the year with cautious optimism; I end it unsure of the future, and not able to trust and believe anything from those I call friends. I wait for the other shoe to drop, to find myself once again without a church family. I don’t regret being honest and up-front about my struggles with mental illness; I regret having expected any other kind of reaction than the one I got. I only have myself to blame for all this.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.
garfield new years eve
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an Admiral’s Feast to pick up, before the drunken revelry gets too unruly. Until next year, I remain your humble servant Uncle NecRo. God bless, my wonderful freaks.

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Dave Ramsey’s Got A Gun…

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dave freakin' ramseyI’ve always kind of had a twinge of something being off about Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey, even when I was taking the course with Kim back in 2013 (they offered the normally $150 course free for couple that are engaged to get married, which we were at the time). It’s rare that anyone doesn’t have any kind of dark underside that doesn’t get shown to the general public, especially in show business and things like this. But, here we are, with an article on The Wartburg Watch blog: Dave Ramsey Hates Gossip. Is It Because He Does Strange Things Like Pull Out A Gun During A Staff Meeting?

Apparently, this has been happening within the Financial Peace University and the Lampo Group (Dave’s business) for a while; the Wartburg Watch article references a previous blog post about Ramsey back in May of 2014, when this started coming out.

This is my shocked and appalled face. In which I mean, I am neither shocked nor appalled at this revelation. Mayhaps my jaded cynicism with American Evangelical Christianity (TM) prevents me from really being knocked asunder. Or maybe it’s the fact that I never really idolized Dave Ramsey to begin with; certainly not as much as my ex does. More the reason to trust in the Lord rather than putting faith in any person, I would presume…

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Eastertide…

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grave of the black sheep
So, here we are. Another Lent season, ending with Easter Sunday, has come and gone. For many, this was a holy time of reflection on their faith and what it means to them. For me…I have to be straightforward with everyone: I don’t really consider the holidays on the Christian calendar to be all that important.

Okay, okay, let me rephrase that: I don’t really consider the Big Two Christian holidays–those being Christmas and Easter–as special as any other day of the year.

Yeah, there’s just no way I can phrase this without sounding like some kind of curmudgeon. I assure you I’m not trying to rain on the celebrations of anyone observing the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Jesus’ victory over sin and death is at the very crux of my faith (pun very much intended).

As I approach my third decade as being a servant of Christ Jesus (as I told the youth group last week, I became a Christian at the age of 15, and it’ll be nearly 30 years in August; do the math), I find myself less and less enamored of any perceived “holy days” and holidays as I once was.

The reason for this, first off, has nothing to do with being sick and tired of having to put up with so many Actual Lee* types who want to nit-pick how un-Christian Easter really is and sucking the fun out of everything for everyone (although I’d be lying if I said they didn’t annoy me); nor does it have anything to do with slowly losing my faith over time.

The truth is, I find that the longer I walk down this path that Father God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit has me on, the less I feel the need to celebrate Easter**. At least, not as all-out as many of my fellow brethren and sisteren do.

Here’s how I see it: Remembering the sacrificial death and consequent resurrection of the Son of God is very important. But, I think, equally important is to remember that we’ve all been living in the Eastertide, the period after His resurrection and ascension. The work is finished. We should be celebrating this every day out of the year.

Shouts of “He is Risen!” Well, He’s always been risen. Do we need reminding? Probably. We are a people that easily forgets what God has done for us. We go about the rest of the year seemingly stuck in the Saturday before Easter, like He’s still dead and our hope means nothing. An empty passion play.

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[*= “Actual Lee”: a type of person who always wants to correct anyone about anything, interjecting their superior knowledge on any topic of discussion, often unsolicited, usually starting with the word “Actually” (“Actually, the Easter celebration has its roots in the pagan celebration of the spring equinox, and was absorbed by the Christian church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.”) SOURCE]

[**=yes, I understand that some prefer calling it “Resurrection Day” due to not wanting to associate with the pagan roots of Easter. That’s fine, I have no qualms with that. I call it “Easter” myself, and that’s why I use it in this post.]

FEBRUARY 20, 2019

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abandoned houseLast night, I dreamed of someone I’ve never met before in my life. Again.

We were both looking after several wayward and lost Middle School-aged kids inside an big, old drafty and dark Victorian type house. It was clear that I had strong feelings for this lady, and as we talked, it was clear she also reciprocated these feelings as well.

The dream ended like so many of these kind of dreams end: I turn around but for a second, and when I look back, she’s gone. Vanished. I always wake up with a profound sense of loneliness. This morning was no different.

The last real meaningful relationship I was in was five years ago. I’ve never felt that having a relationship is what makes me whole; I am made whole and find meaning solely in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Master. However, I have never experienced such profound organic happiness than when I was in that relationship. The reason being, is because we both served God together. We worshiped and volunteered at church together, we faced issues together, we laughed together, we were open with each other…things just never felt as fulfilling as it did when were were working in tandem together. To borrow a despised bit of Christianese, we were “doing life” together.

It’s been five years now. Five years since I lost that kind of organic happiness. Most normal people seem to be able to move on; I tend to find myself paralyzed at the thought of asking somebody for coffee and talk, even if to make a connection on a friend level.

Again, I don’t think that a relationship will complete me as a person. But, that still doesn’t eliminate the profound sense of loneliness that seems crushing at times. I think either my subconsciousness is trying to tell me something, or…I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if I’m being punished for wanting to love someone. The way things ended certainly makes it look that way.

If this is my fate in this life, so be it. I follow Christ Jesus, whether alone or with someone. I just wish my dreams would stop mocking me like that. It’s not nice.

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FEBRUARY 19, 2019

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kale

Last night, I dreamed I was eating kale.

I have no idea why. I’ve never eaten kale, even by accident. I have no idea what it tastes like; which is why when, I was eating it in my dream, it didn’t taste like anything.

I can’t say I ever wanted to try kale. I’m not adverse to eating vegetables; however, my tastes are rather simple and basic: carrots, lettuce (mostly iceburg), snow peas and the occasional green bean. All raw and uncooked, mind you. I can’t stand vegetables cooked. Nasty.

But kale…I have no intention of trying it out. Not because of some aversion to trying something new; I just don’t want to be associated with the hipster douchenozzels that go around telling everyone that they eat kale.

So, why would I dream about eating kale? I don’t know. My brain is funny. My dreams are weird.

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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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