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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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T’was the Day After Xmas…

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boxing day
Gift Return Day. Known in the UK as Boxing Day. Time to take the things that we got and exchange them for the things we wanted, regardless of the thought that counts.

What follows is a post that a friend on Facebook made this mourning, and I felt it was good enough to steal for the blog:

Christmas is over. What difference did it make? Were you happy with what you got? Were the recipients of your gifts pleased? What difference does it make?

Is your life full today, as it felt yesterday? If not…then it made no difference.

If you are suffering from Post-Christmas Depression, maybe you forgot, didn’t know, or don’t believe in the reason for much of how the American Christmas tradition looks and feels. It means you haven’t gotten the greatest Christmas gift of all. The gift of God’s presence in your inmost being.

Christmas can truly be every day of the year, if you understand and accept the Gospel of Jesus, that he is God in the flesh, come to earth, died on a cross as atonement for your sin (for my sin as well), thta you might be forgiven, and know God intimately. That you might become a son or daughter of the King of all eternity.

Without Jesus, Christmas is, was, and will be little more than self-gratifying emptiness that leaves you void the next day.
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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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Regrets

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I should have never put myself out there. I should have known better; every time I get a glimmer of hope, that somehow I feel like I’m contributing something to the church, helping with the best of my abilities, that I actually fit in somewhere…and then I find myself ostracized due to my chemical imbalance. My depression. Manic depression. Tourettes. Whatever. It starts off so well, but then turns to shit. Lord help me in my bitterness; I am, however, waiting for the other shoe to drop, when they come up and tell me that my services with recording the sermons will no longer be required. To find someplace else to worship with the corporate body.

I wear the sunglasses indoors so that everyone can’t see the sorrow and pain in my eyes. Nobody wants to see that. They want to see sunshine, rainbows and unicorn farts. Hear nothing but praise reports, how happy you always are.

I don’t know what to do, Lord. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone, not enough to do it justice.

Maybe getting back involved with a small group again can help things. Maybe. I shall try Jake’s group. At least I know and am still friends with him and Chelsea. Baby steps and all.

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By the time we get to Woodstock, half of the investors will be gone…

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woodstock 50Watching the saga and drama that is the Woodstock 50 festival has been downright amusing, I have to admit.

Sure, that seems a bit callous, sounding like I take great pleasure at the misfortunes of others. I don’t, but this is a music festival we’re talking about, here. And one based on an icon of the 60s, at that.

Look, I’m no business man. I took broadcast communications in college, and I didn’t make it past a year at that. I can’t even begin to imagine everything that’s involved with getting a multi-band / artist festival going; I presume it goes a bit beyond just “hey, let’s get [insert band name here] to play at [insert venue here]!”

So, if you’re reading this and wondering what the heck I’m talking about, here’s the TL;DR Edition: Plans for the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock festival has been fraught with setbacks, delays and finally cancellation…only to be immediately uncanceled again. Investors are pulling out, and artists are cancelling their appearances, despite having been paid for the appearance.

To be fair, this fiasco is nowhere near the clusterbomb that was the Fyre Festival back in 2017. That sucker garnished at least two documentaries that I know of. Woodstock 50 at least just seems like it’s experiencing PTSD due to the result of Woodstock ’99, aka The One Where Limp Bizkit Incited An Apocalyptic-level Riot. Allegedly.

Mind you, I’m writing this as a casual observer that has no vested interest in the festival itself. The lineup is…let’s just say, I’m not the target demographic for this one. Woodstock ’94 at least had Metallica, King’s X, Primus, and Nine Inch Nails. Not to mention a career-defining performance by Green Day. This 50th Anniversary Woodstock…yeah, the only reason this has my interest is because of the wackiness going on even getting it up and going.

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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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