Thursday, May 4

The Meme of Ten

Life is random, at least for the next ten tracks. Here we go.

1. The Zutons - Moons and Horror Shows

Oh thank heavens I got the one good Zutons track. I'm a big Album Person - I prefer to listen to whole albums in one sitting rather than one single at a time. Who Killed the Zutons? is on my iPod in its entirety despite the fact that I only like one or two of its tracks. This is one of them. Catchy!

2. Tea Party - Shadows on the Mountainside

Edges of Twilight. Now there is an album. Fraxas and I had an interesting conversation about it a while back, which I'll quote in the comments.

3. The Chromatics - Doppler Shifting

I have always been a huge fan of science-themed acapella. Finding it is tough. Thanks, Jeremy!

4. RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke

Is this Rock? hip-hop? Dance? Electronica? Who cares. I like it.

5. Cello Suite I in G Major by J.S. Bach, Edgar Meyer, Unaccompanied Cello Suites on Double Bass

As a lapsed bass player, I enjoy listening to ridiculous acts of virtuosity that hardly sound like they could have been performed by a human being. Oh wait, no, that only depresses me.

6. Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows

Hey, there's Bono of U2 covering a Leonard Cohen song in a trailer. Leonard Cohen is probably the only buddhist monk to ever write a song that Bono covers, which is a strange distinction indeed.

7. The Odds - Domesticated Blind

Finally, my iPod takes me to a song I've never really listened to before, which is odd (no pun in ten did!). I'll pay attention now.

Hmm. Clever lyrics, jangly retro tune, what's not to like? Next.

8. Boards of Canada - ROYGBIV

The bright, sinuous airiness of this track is what launched me on a Boards of Canada obsession. It's a perfect 2-minute morsel of music that solidly anchors rest of the album Music has the Right to Children, which otherwise consists of fleeting, fragmented melodic structures that play patty-cake with your brain.

9. The Roots - Distortion to Static

Okay. This is from a playlist that a friend put together for me. I have only recently started to discover hip-hop, so I'll try to sound off on this track without sounding maximally lame. It is - how you say? Fresh. Its qualities are not what you would call "whack" at all, as far as I can tell.

10. Rondellus - Rotae Confusionis

This is from this album, a bunch of very authentically delivered medieval-style latin-language covers of Black Sabbath songs.

metareview: The Onion AV Club "savages" the "summer" "movies"

The Onion's ridiculously highbrow lowbrow highbrow ironic AV Club has a feature on summer movies. It's run-of-the-mill fare for them, but it did have this gem:
Suggested alternate activity: Dressing up as Depp's character [from the new Pirates of the Carribean movie], saying 'Arrrr' a lot, quoting the first film extensively, taking a long, deep look in the mirror and admitting you live a sad and lonely life."

When you think about it, that's actually surprisingly widely relevant advice.

Tuesday, May 2

Back On The Wagon

My name's Fraxas, and I'm an addict. I've been clean for 2 days now. I still think about it all the time; sometimes, I even talk about it. I know I had some good times while I was using, I know the use let me discover things about myself I couldn't have found out any other way -- and they weren't all bad things. I learned about loyalty, I learned about teamwork, I learned about mastery, I learned about conflict resolution, and about perseverance.

But it hurt me, too. I'd use and use and use, trying to fill that void in my life, succeeding in the short run but failing in the long. I lost a lot of sleep. I lost some friends. I got a lot worse at my job. I almost lost my relationship with my wife.

And that's why I quit Everquest 2.

This isn't the developer's fault, any more than alcoholics can blame Diageo. This isn't the media's fault, this isn't anyone's fault but my own. I'm flawed, have always been flawed, in that computer games suck me in and entrance me more effectively than anything else I know of. It seems silly to admit this; after all, "video game addiction" is still pretty fringe as a concept, and I'm not sure it holds water as a Real Psychological Condition rather than a character flaw. But it's a useful metaphor if nothing else.

I've tried to get over this pastime hobby problem before, taking periodic breaks and switching flavours of poison every once in a while, but ultimately they're all the same. All these slow-advancement, highly-social, highly-time-dependent games trigger the same pathological behaviours in me. So I have to stop them all, or accept the life my flaws force on me when I play MMOs.

And I'm not willing to lose any more of my best years to any game, no matter how good it is.