Sunday A’La Carte – February 22, 2015

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hell froze over

Sunday night, time for a bit of the ol’ A’La Carte that I can’t seem to stop doing on a weekly basis. You’d think I would have given up by now, but no. Here I am, listening to some doom metal by way of Place Of Skulls, and typing out my randumb brain droppings to sum up the week. Yeah, I’ve been listening to a lot of doom metal lately. Mostly the afore-mentioned Place Of Skulls, some David Benson, and Randy Rose, with some Paramaecium thrown in for the brutality fix. For those wondering what this “doom metal” is about, the easiest way to explain is metal made by those who probably haven’t owned any other album besides the Ozzy-era Black Sabbath collection. Gothic music for Metal-Heads. And I am in that dark mood, as per usual, but I needed something heavier than The Cure or Sisters Of Mercy at the moment. Besides, Place Of Skulls’ cover of Third Day’s “Consuming Fire” makes the song tolerable.

Some may remember my old internet show, the glorified mix tape that was NECRO SHOCK RADIO. Ever since giving it up all of those months ago, I’ve noted a curious increase in “likes” on the Facebook Page, which I haven’t pulled because there really wasn’t much reason to do so. I enjoyed doing it for the period that I was driven, I’ve had many people tell me they enjoyed listening to it, and probably have inspired a person or two to start doing their own Christian Metal show and find some success in doing so. Mind you, I’m not planning on resurrecting the show again. But, I am tossing around an idea for another completely different kind of METAL show, where I just focus on one album at a time and talk about it. Memories of when I bought it, how it may have impacted me, that kind of thing, then play a handful of songs from the album, four at the most. Something like that. This isn’t a done deal, it’s just the rampant speculation of someone who has a ludicrously large music collection and a pesky, undying need to play dee-jay in his spare time.

DSC_8963-photo-by-Joshua-Nowicki

It’s almost March. Which means Spring is just around the corner. Bummer. I can, however, enjoy the scant handful of Wintery weeks while I can. Which lead me to muse this morning while I was driving into Blair, why do people complain about the cold during Winter? They may not enjoy the cold, I can understand that, but it’s still February. This kind of weather shouldn’t be surprising. Especially here in the Midwest. As a matter of fact, if you’ve never lived for an extended period in the Midwest, you probably don’t understand just how brutal the seasons can get. Not just Winter. I work with people from Baghdad who have complained about the heat in Summer here in Nebraska. It takes a special person indeed to make the Midwest their home. I’m not saying we’re better than those who dwell in milder climates, I’m just saying we’re insane for choosing to stay and get our collective butts handed to us by the weather on a year-long basis. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I just discovered that there exists Christian Mingle: The Movie. It stars Lacy Chabert—that angsty wunderkind on Party Of Five, but I remember her better from the Lost In Space movie—and the plot itself looks like your typical rom-com with a light Christian glaze. I watched the official trailer, and my brain immediately screamed “I NEED TO WATCH THIS!” It does that sometimes, independent of what I would term “common sense”. It’s part of my masochistic need to torture myself with bad movies. Also, I really, really need to get onto figuring out how to make that Christian Movie Review video show. Also, needing to get to watching all of those movies I have on backlog. I have a lot to get to, it seems.

dt150220

STUFF I WROTE: The Hard Rock+Proto-Metal FEBRUARY of the YEAR OF METAL continued with postings about Black Sabbath, the Alice Cooper Band, and Aerosmith. Then, I posted a bunch of music reviews for CCM Rock stalwarts White Heart, Jesus Hippie Rock duo Malcolm & Alwyn, Detroit crossover thrash band One Bad Apple, the orchestral Gothic artist Mark Thomas Hanna, 80s hair metal band Mass, and ortho-industrial band Mental Destruction.

That’s it for now. I’ve got a bit of tweaking on the notes I’m using for the youth group lesson I’m giving tomorrow night. Given my perfectionist nature, it might be a while. I leave you all with the official trailer for the afore-mentioned Christian Mingle: The Movie. Cheers, all.

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Sunday A’La Carte’: February 15, 2015

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radio shack adios

Greetings and salutations, everyone. It is once again Sunday, which means it’s time to dispense with the week’s brain droppings and various other inane babbling that bubble forth from my head. Meanderings, maybe? I don’t know anymore.

I had to work yesterday. I usually don’t work on Saturdays, but yesterday was a bit different as I had to get something done during the week that I couldn’t do on the weekend, nor was I able to do so after I got off work during the weekdays. So, I traded the one day off that I had during the weekend that my place of employment was open—Saturday—with Wednesday to take care of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. I also chose Wednesday to do the deed, as that was also Youth Group night, and I figured I would just hang out at my sister and brother-in-law’s place before heading out to the group, then going back to the Victorian in Omaha. Make a day out of it and all. Which meant I worked on Saturday. Which gave me a reminder of why I usually don’t work Saturdays. The call volume was relatively low; it’s just that there was an unusually high number of people who made my brain hurt talking to them per capita. I’m content with my usual Monday through Friday, thank you very much.

That also meant that I had to miss my youngest nephew’s birthday party. The kid turned 5, a monumental year, as that means he has to now go out and find a job, earn his keep and all that. Or, you know, get set to go to Big Boy School soon. One or the other. I brought him his birthday gift on the afore-mentioned Wednesday: a bunch of Hot Wheels cars and a semi trailer set. His favorite part of the gift was the card that had a pop-out monkey inside. I think he played with that more than the Hot Wheels themselves. The 10-year-old nephew came back home from school, we all hung out watching a space documentary series from the History Channel, where I amused them with fun comments with the CGI dinosaurs and referring to solar flairs as “Sun Farts”. The five-year-old spontaneously made up a song about these “sun farts.” My work there was done.

Speaking of space, it looks like the Hubble telescope has finally found God’s emoticon

Radio Shack is finally going belly-up after 94-some-odd years of being in business. I used to work at the Radio Shack in Fremont, Nebraska. It was in the “Mall” there since I could remember, and was the source of my family’s very first computer purchase back in 1985. It was a Tandy 1000, and didn’t even have a hard drive–it booted up with a series of floppy discs. It predated Windows, and came with a complementary copy of the very first King’s Quest. Anyway, Radio Shack was already showing signs of stress fractures when I was hired on back in 2005, starting to emulate the Apple stores rather than be the niche place for gadget tinkerers and other tech geeks of the like. There was talk of eliminating the entire parts and pieces stock and focusing more on cell phones, media players and televisions, before my tenure there ended. Frankly, I’m surprised they lasted this long after that. They will be missed, but because of the parts and encouragement to mess around with electronics. But, we have New Egg and Think Geek for that now, I guess.

In kind of related news, though: the Family Christian book store chain recently filed for bankruptcy as well; however, it looks like none of the 250 stores will be closing. Don’t really know how that works. I am relieved, though, as where else am I going to go to replenish my stock of Testa-Mints?

STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: The Hard Rock + Proto-Metal month of February in this YEAR OF METAL continued with posts for the Scorpions, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin. Also, I picked up a bit on my reading, and thus cranked out reviews of the recent Stephen King novel, and a handful of Doctor Who novels here, here, here and here.

That’s all I’m willing to give for this week, folks. I’m going to do some more writing on other things, do a bit of reading, then it’s off to bed for my beauty rest. Gotta look good for the office, and all that. I leave you now with a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon. Because, why not? Cheers, all…


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SUNDAY A’LA CARTE’: February 8, 2015

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2012-01-16-beetlejuice

Greetings and salutations, everyone. It’s Sunday again, in case you may have not found out yet. Or, unless you’re on the other side of the planet–say, Japan–and it’s Monday. Which means, if I call someone in Japan right now, I’ll be talking to someone IN THE FUTURE! Wooo, mind-boggling. Yeah. Anyway, at the moment, I’m going through some issues with WiFi connectivity here at the new-ish abode. Meaning, the WiFi that’s set up by the landlord is…I have an inkling of what is going on, maybe due to my dwelling right next to the bathroom (for reasons, nach). Point is, with the setup, I have to constantly reset things on the computer to get things to go through. Like, every other minute. Literally. And even then, it kind of takes its time to decide whether or not to let me through. So, today I went and invested in one of those Mobile Hotspot thingies that Straight Talk puts out. They were having a half-off sale at the WalMart, so I didn’t pay the full $100 or so dollars it would have cost. Went with the 2 gigs, for hooking up with the posting and general reading of a few web pages. I usually do my video streaming on the Android, anyway, as well as anything I download on Play. Interesting place to get my television fix, that.

Last Thursday, I let slip around a few people at the gathering of the Exalted Geeks that I have yet to watch the movie Beetlejuice. After all the gasps of shock died down, it was decided that it was in my best interest–after we had to talk a certain person out of demanding my Geek Card be revoked–to watch the movie today. So we did. This afternoon, a couple of us gathered together at the home of one Nex Nocturnum, and watched the movie. Interesting flick, that. It’s one of Tim Burton’s earlier works, obviously, so the whimsically morbid glee is still very much apparent, rather than glossed over in his recent outings. Certainly not what I was expecting. Considering my admission to not having watched the movie in the first place stemmed from talk about a sequel, I have to wonder how in the world this could be coming about. And will that head be all shrunken still.

STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: In this hear YEAR OF METAL, we kicked off Hard Rock + Proto-Metal FEBRUARY with bits on Motorhead, AC/DC and KISS. I also reviewed the book Brave New World, the movie Lucy, and a couple of Pantokrator albums here and here.

Gonna cut it short this week. Mainly due to still figuring out the configuration of this hotspot thingie. Seems to prefer Google Chrome over Firefox, so I may have some browser adjusting to do. Until next time, cheers all.

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Sunday A’ La Carte: January 25, 2015

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all about that grace no devilGreetings and salutations, my wonderful freaks. It’s once again Sunday night, so I now dispense with a bit of the ol’ weekly brain droppings I cheekingly call A’La Carte. Of course, you may have noticed that I skipped doing this last week. Or, maybe you didn’t, I don’t know. Point is, I took a bit of a breather last week due to a couple of things: my Aunt Jan’s funeral, and my final move to the old haunted Victorian house in Omaha, referred to lovingly as “The Vic”. Although, I personally like using the full Victorian when referring to the house, as it sounds much more…I don’t know, British? “I’m headed back to The Victorian.” Cue ominous minor-key chord.

Concerning the funeral of my Aunt Jan: it was lovely. Very touching. Got a bit long at the end, when the Eastern Star group she was a member of gave us an interesting ceremony chock full of symbolism, plants, and bad dry readings. Sad she’s gone, but given the circumstances, at least her suffering is done. The family reunions on that side won’t be the same, though.

As to my new place of dwelling: let’s just say, it’s very fitting for a reclusive, curmudgeon-y old recluse like myself. It’s a good place, very atmospheric, very much fitting for my writing sensibilities, and it’s in an area that I find ideally isolated while being nearby places to go. Which, of course, I will probably never really utilize to its full potential, but then again I’m not planning on going anywhere else any time soon. Especially after lugging all of those boxes of books to the second floor room. Gads, that makes a strong case for getting a Kindle or something.

nq150117As a third point of issue: Apparently, today was the day of something you…er, I mean we humans (I’m not an alien) celebrate by pitting our nation’s finest warriors to a battle to the death over an leather egg-shaped item of questionable inflation and size. I believe it is called the Superb Owl, and its acolytes mark this day of jocularity (pun unintentional but nifty) by feasting on copious offerings of adult libations and what are referred to as na-choos. It’s not the same as the roasted tender flesh of the fearsome Kryack washed down with a goblet of the fermented urine of a Kraphlar beast (what you…er, we humans would call “Mountain Dew”), but it is sufficient. Also, the commercials are delightful. I didn’t watch it. I was busy…not watching it. I’m not an alien.

hEAD850A3Do you ever find yourself getting confused when it comes to deciphering the coded language we Christians sometimes use ad nausium called Christianese? While I personally have made conscious efforts to not use it in my daily conversations with anybody, after over twenty-five years, I am fluent in the Charismatic, Non-Denominational, Baptist (both Southern and Independent Fundamental strains), and General Youth Group and Bible Study dialects. Which leads into this blog post here that deciphers Christianese for the common English speaker.

nq150116STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: The Year Of Metal continues on with some posts on the NWOBHM bands Jaguar, Raven, and Saxon, then I post reviews for the movies Knights Of Badassdom and Annabelle and the Star Wars zombie novel Death Troopers, and last but not least I posted the praise and worship playlist I listen to at church every Sunday in lieu of the music played by the contemporary worship band.

So, that’s all for this week. Tomorrow is another day, but I still have a bit of writing to do before succumbing to the siren song of the bed, there. Until next time, leave your comments, suggestions and rebukes down below, and I shall see you all next week. I leave you now with your nightmare fuel, brought to you by one of my surrogate nieces. Cheers.

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Sunday A’La Carte’: January 11, 2015

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10918990_10152507530246854_4920962642766011397_nSunday again. Second Sunday of the month. And already, I’m kind of wanting a reset button for the year. Why, you ask? Well, aside from this last week being the first full post-Holidays work week, back in the same-old swing of things at work (unavoidable, happens to all of us), this week brought about the death of another family member, as well as two other family members getting rushed to the ER for unrelated reasons. I’m in the middle of moving my things into the new digs in Omaha—the move will be good, but the actual moving process is not one of my favorite things. Especially all the boxes. It’s seriously making me rethink the whole owning of so many books. But, it’s a minor quibble, considering the other things that have happened so far. So, you’ll forgive me if this week’s A’La Carte’ is rather brief, yes? There will be plenty of time for writing when I’m settled in at the Victorian.

eek150105If you’re a regular watcher of the Radio Dead Air video series WTFIWWY?, then you already know that more stupid is reported from the state of Florida than any other in this here country of mine. And while I, myself have had that momentary lapse of reason to not realize a door is unlocked before going through, not even the rare (but true) reports of people thinking they’ve been locked inside their own car can compare to the utter jaw-dropping incredulity of this couple’s harrowing two days inside a closet. To be fair, meth was involved, but still.

h4E05189CFor those of us who sometimes wish they could present a classier look for their non-Metal-head (and thus, not as awesome) friends, this guy here has redesigned some classic METAL album covers as Jazz record covers. I kind of want to have some of these as framed pictures, especially the Megadeth and Anthrax ones.

STUFF I WROTE: NWOBHM January continued with bits on Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Grim Reaper. Then I posted reviews of Living Sacrifice albums here, here, here and here, a Klay Scott retrospective here, a Kohllapse album here, a Lament album here, something by a Lee McDerment here, a couple of Leper albums here and hear, a Lo-Ruhamah album here, a Letter 7 album here, and some Light Force albums here, here and here.

Anyway, I have some more packing to do, and then to bed, as tomorrow is the beginning of yet another work day. To quote my sister from earlier, “Is this week over yet?” I leave you all now with a video of two grown men playing Slayer on preschool-sized instruments. I believe the proper retort is, “Your argument is now invalid.” Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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Sunday A’La Carte – January 4th, 2015

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352910_v1Hello, everyone, and welcome back to my weekly disgorgement of foetid brain droppings I like to refer to as the Sunday A’La Carte’. We’re back doing this, after taking a few weeks off during the Holiday Season in December. Hope you enjoyed both your Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebratory rituals. Me, I spent Christmas Day at work, essentially getting paid to read a couple of books—The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, both by C. S. Lewis, in case you were curious—so my family didn’t have their Christmas gathering until January 3rd. Which we can still call a Christmas gathering, because of a loophole with several liturgical-based Christian denominations, the Christmastide runs for twelve days, starting December 25th through January 5th. What, you thought that ubiquitous song was merely arbitrary? Silly human. As far as New Year’s Eve, I celebrated by coming back home from work, ate dinner, then medicated myself from whatever that bug was that waylaid me the day before and called it a year at about 8:45pm. I’m 41 now. My days of staying up past Midnight to party are behind me. Besides, I prefer the solitude. You knew that.

524170_919734128045521_1675893737774604060_nThis year (and by that, I mean 2014) for Christmas, I made it clear that I wanted nothing as far as gifts go. I figure, there was a lot of personal loss, I wasn’t really in the mood for anything. And, for the most part, my family respected my wishes. For the most part. Of course, my mother, being the way she is, gave me a couple of gift cards, so she got a pass. And my Grandmothers…well, you try and argue with any of them. And my three nephews saw something that screamed UNCLE JAMES, and you can’t blame them for knowing me so very well:

IMG_20150103_190620495One of my surrogate nieces shared a link to this blog concerning the blogger’s own struggle with depression, complete with some helpful illustrations. And in the interest of putting forth awareness of something I try to be open and transparent about, I urge you to take a look at page.

babyowlsDid you know there was a Black Sabbath tribute band that consists of the band dressed as the mascots of a popular fast food chain? They’re called Mac Sabbath, and as you probably have figured out by now, their gimmick is playing Black Sabbath songs retooled to reflect McDonald’s themes. This…is awesome. Now, to make good on that Sean Connery impersonator-led Black Sabbath tribute band Shabbath Bloody Shabbath I joked about a couple of years ago…

Found this blog article urging Bible College graduates to forget their degrees rather interesting.

Even more interesting was this report of a Pastor of a Florida church shooting the church’s maintenance worker. To be fair, the maintenance worker drew his gun on the pastor first, when he learned that he was going to be fired from his position. But the pastor was the faster draw, it seems. Somehow, I picture this confrontation as having that whistling-wah-wah-waaaaaah background music from those spaghetti westerns playing from nowhere as this happened. Also, the fact that he’s the pastor of a church named Living Water Fellowship Church makes this drip with delicious irony, methinks.

nq141231Stuff I’ve Written: I started off with my Obligatory Year-End post—t’was a corker—and the list of all the books I read in 2014. Then I kicked off the New Year by writing a review of a Demon Hunter album here, then posted some previously written reviews of a couple of Jesus Freaks albums here and here, a Jesus Joshua 24:15 album here, a Judean Radiostatic album here, and a Kekal album here. Then I went a slightly bit insane, and declared 2015 the YEAR OF METAL, and proceeded to name January NWOBHM Month, beginning with the band Battleaxe. I swear neither alcohol or drugs were involved with this.

unfunny catAnyway, that’s all for this week. Good to be back in the normal swing of things. Going to be a bit busy for me in the coming weeks, but already I feel that 2015 is going to be a big one. We’ll have to wait until December 31st again to see if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But for now, I’m just crazy enough to want to see how it all ends. Cheers, and God bless, my wonderful freaks.

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Sunday A’ La Carte: December 14, 2014

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eek141209It’s Sunday evening once again. The lights have been turned off, the candles have been lit, and I have the eerie glow of the laptop screen giving me my much-needed Vitamin D that I refuse to get from the cursed Day Star. Not that there’s been a lot of that angry ball of fire recently. Mater of fact, it was raining today. Which may not have been too terribly interesting, except for the fact that it’s mid-December, and the fluctuations from cold to really cold to rather mild like this late Fall has been thus far have a tendency to wreck havoc with my joints. I’ve been having to use a cane for the past few weeks due to my arthritic ankle. And I’m beginning to suspect that I may have some heel spurs or something. Either way, it’s been brutal. Still, here’s to the upcoming Winter Solstice and the coming of more consistently cold Black Metal weather.

Nothing too interesting of note this week, other than work-eat-sleep. Today was the children’s program at church for both services, so I took today off from attending. I have no children, and thus I feel no obligation to sit through that kind of thing.

hCC1F07A1One of my Facebook Souls posted this link to a blog post entitled 20 Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Church in America, which I did read through, and thought it was provocative enough to warrant a share on this week’s A’La Carte. Point numbers 3 and 5 particularly thought-provoking, methinks.

Speaking of provocative Christian blog posts: tis the season where I have to once again put up with seeing many of those KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS slogans everywhere—in signs, on bumper stickers, and especially those picture-and-slogan posts that certain Facebook Souls seem obligated to stick on the news feed—which I see more of than the existence of any opposing viewpoint on the matter. Meaning, I’m beginning to think that maybe this whole “war on Christmas” thing is a non-point. Even if it is somehow, here’s a blog post that nicely echoes my sentiments on the whole issue.

hFB330560In other news, apparently it’s now illegal to make puns in China. Which means that, if God ever decides to send me over there as a missionary, I’m going to have to really, really watch what I say, or take a vow of silence while I’m over there. Because a good percentage of my everyday conversations involve the usage of puns, either intentionally or, more often than not, unintentionally. It’s the result of growing up on a diet of M*A*S*H reruns over the years.

In the “Is That A [INSERT ITEM HERE] In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?” files, a man in Florida was arrested for trying to steal six pounds of cow tongue in his pants at a Walmart. I really don’t think I need to write much more than that.

nq141211STUFF I WROTE: In album reviews, I pounded out a review for Deliverance’s “final” album Hear What I Say!, and a couple for the German power metal group Sinbreed, for When Worlds Collide and Shadows. For movie reviews, there’s one for the adaptation of Frank Peretti’s The Visitation, the adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Watchers, the not-an-adaptation-but-completely-meta Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, the 2006 snoozefest remake of When A Stranger Calls, the Christian Rock documentary Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music, the So-Bad-It’s-Good horror cheesefest The Wickeds, and the mid-1990s werewolf movie that stars two former Batman villains, Wolf. And finally, in straight brain droppings, I pontificate on the contrasts of going to a metal show versus going to church, and it’s probably not what you think.

small_moonKinda brief A’La Carte post this week. What can I say? Nothing too eventful. Nice to just relax and such, I guess. Until next time, I leave you all now with a little something to summon ancient Nordic trolls by. Cheers, all.

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