Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some ramblings regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy

In light of recent events in Connecticut involving the senseless murder of 27 people including 20 children aged 6 and 7 at Sandy Hook Elementary, I really got thinking about the issue of guns and gun control. Guns serve one purpose: killing. Now since I hold as close to the precept of non-harming as I can (I don't even kill spiders), guns have no place in my life. One could argue that they only use guns for target practice. What are you practicing FOR? There's plenty of other things you could be doing to hone your hand-eye coordination. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite in saying that because I've always been attracted to archery. But you can't walk into a theatre or a school with a long bow and a quiver of arrows (or walk down the street for that matter) without it being noticed. "Man kills 8 in downtown mall with a bow and arrow before turning the bow on himself." You don't hear that. And hiding a strung bow in your pocket or pant leg doesn't really work. It's just far too easy to access guns and use them on people, hidden or not. In a society like America where the gun culture is so ingrained that owning a hand gun is no big deal, you know bad things will, and have, happened. Not to mention automatic weapons. People can actually buy them!! The easier it is to access something, the more likely it is to be used. That just makes sense. So take this scenario. Two people in a heated argument. Regular people. Things get really ugly. In situation A, there are guns close at hand. In situation B, there are no guns. Which one do you think will end worse? Gunshot, or black eye? Hmmmmm There's a big difference between having a hand gun on your hip or a rifle locked in a cabinet at home. In most cases, you would hope that separating yourself from the situation to go get a gun would allow you too cool off and rethink what you are doing. In pre-meditated cases, that changes but in everyday life? Come on. I can't imagine living somewhere where people walk around with guns out in the open, or in their purse or whatever. I just can't. It's frightening to think about. I've seen stats (on Facebook. Grain of salt, I know.) that show that in countries such as Canada with no gun culture and strict gun control legislation, hand gun fatalities per year are less than 100. In America, over 10,000. Even if you look at it per capita, the math still doesn't add up. America has roughly 10 times the population as Canada. So one could likely expect 10 times the number of hand gun fatalities, or about 1000. But no, it's 10 times THAT. This is off side people. Something has to change! I'm not advocating a complete ban on firearms, or even a ban on civilians owning guns of any kind. Putting all the firepower in the hands of authority is a recipe for disaster. But hey, an entire world without guns would be pretty frickin' sweet.
Here's another argument. "I need it for protection." From who? OTHER PEOPLE WITH GUNS. So take the guns away from the everyday man, and the kid with mental illness, or the guy who just can't fucking take it anymore, the need for and method of protection changes drastically. You can't run away from a bullet. There will always be criminals and people with twisted souls who will find a way to get what they need. You can't change that but you can change the prevalence of instruments of death in the general population. Peace and love brothers and sisters. People shouldn't need to live in fear. It's sad. It's really sad. This Sandy Hook shooting is just as much about mental health as it is gun control. The problem is, mental health is much harder to spot than a gun. Mental health is much easier to hide as well. I've struggled with mental health issues before and to all but the very closest to me, nothing would have appeared amiss. It seldom does. And as a society we need to get better about openly discussing mental health and depression. I think that's the biggest step that has to be made.
Then today I read about this radical Baptist church from Topeka that plans to picket outside Sandy Hook Elementary with the message that the shooter WAS ACTING OUT GOD'S WILL. They're basically saying that this was God working through the shooter to exact his vengeance on the shameful sinners that support gay marriage. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?!?!?! OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE!!!! They were children!!! Most of them probably don't even know what gay means!! WHAT KIND OF GOD KILLS HIS OWN CHILDREN TO PROVE A POINT ABOUT WHO YOU CAN LOVE???? ABSOLUTELY BAT SHIT INSANE LOGIC!!! That comes nowhere close to even making a lick of sense. It's hateful nonsense. It's disgusting. It's that kind of attitude, that belief, of justifying the murder of CHILDREN over gay marriage that is more appalling, more saddening that the shooting itself! The shooter was not of sound mind. These people apparently are! At least from a diagnostic perspective. I tell you what, non-harming be damned, if I was one of the parents of those poor children, I would personally beat the very life out of anyone who justified those kilings with my bare hands. That sort of speech, that kind of hate, is unforgivable. It would actually be doing those bigot assholes a favour. By mashing their disgusting faces into a pile of pulp until their life drains away would be saving them from a lifetime of generating bad karma. (I'll have to do some serious karma cleansing for even saying that.) But that sort of behaviour is not acceptable. They should be jailed just the same as anyone else spreading the message of hate. It's just so very very wrong. I don't care what religion you follow, Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or whatever, it doesn't matter. KILLING IN THE NAME OF GOD DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. THOU SHALT NOT KILL. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. NO RIGHTEOUS GOD WOULD WORK THAT WAY.
And I am surprised I haven't heard more about the conspiracy theories purporting that this shooting (and the Batman shooting in Colorado) were government operations designed to scare the populace into accepting government actions they would otherwise be opposed to. (All as directed by their serpent overlords.) It's called problem-reaction-solution. Same as 9/11. Like this, Problem: Gov't wants to take the firearms out of the hands of the population. No way that's gonna happen. What do they do? Orchestrate a terrible tragedy that hopefully gets the population to scream for what the gov't initially wanted to propose. Gun control. That's the reaction. The solution, at the public's demand, they enact strict gun control legislation. The people get what they want (guns off our streets!!) and the gov't gets what they want (the first step towards a police state). See how that works? But it didn't work after Colorado so they had to up the ante. I'm not saying I believe that theory but in some cases, it's more believable than "the official story". If you think the gov't wouldn't kill innocent children, think again. Innocent children are killed in wars lead by the US all the time. It doesn't matter if it's in Afghaniston, Iraq or right in America, innocent children are innocent children. Yet in war, it's deemed acceptable, merely casualties. Again, I'm not saying I believe this theory (at least not necessarily in this case) but I can't totally discount it either. It makes about as much sense as some kid snapping because his mother controlled him, killing her THEN going to a school and going on a rampage. I'll admit he was mentally ill but if this was about control, I don't think it would have went down like that. Maybe I read too much Icke or Tsarion but I don't trust governments. I'm not saying this is my theory, I'm just saying I'm surprised I  haven't heard much of that theory being thrown around regarding this shooting. Maybe I've just been avoiding the outlets where I would hear it because I don't want to think children died for that reason. I dunno.
Well, I've sufficiently filled my time and gotten some stuff off my chest.
Let the arguing begin. (at least on the first few and last issues. You can't possibly side with the Baptists.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sorry. I hate "The Harper Government".

Well, I'm not really sorry. I just got an email from The Green Party discussing all that Harper and all the lobbyists he's pandering to have done to destroy Canada's environmental reputation. I want to share it with you.

Dear Matthew,
There is no shortage of compelling issues to discuss in a Hill Times Environmental Policy briefing.  Even listing, without describing, the catalogue of assaults on environmental law and policy by the prime minister in the last 12 months is enough to occupy the whole issue.
Canada undermined global climate negotiations in Durban in December, negotiated in bad faith, and immediately announced intent to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol when the Environment Minister touched down on Canadian soil. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver kicked off the New Year with an assault on environmentalists and First Nations as “radicals.”  The Prime Minister attacked environmental groups for accepting foreign funding, even as he courted Communist Party controlled state operations from China as investors in the oil sands.  One Parliamentary Secretary said anyone opposed to pipelines and tankers was “against Canada.”  When asked to withdraw the remark as un-parliamentary, she refused.
The legislative juggernaut, C-38, repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, replacing a coherent piece of legislation with a discretionary formula for confusion, conflict and court cases.  The gutting of the Fisheries Act raised the ire of four former federal Ministers of Fisheries.  Environment Minister Peter Kent insulted the four former ministers, suggesting they had not read the Act.  Mulroney era Minister Tom Siddon showed up to testify before the sub-committee on Finance and in short order made it clear he may be the only Minister who has read the act.  While Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield tried to claim the new Fisheries Act will improve habitat protection, the assault to habitat is real, underscored by the subsequent lay-off notices to all DFO habitat officers in British Columbia. The National Round Table on the Environment and Economy is scrapped.  The Species at Risk Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act amended to allow the National Energy Board to assume jurisdiction of endangered species or navigable waters are in the way of any pipeline.
Basic science and monitoring is being savaged with the end of funding to the Canadian Foundation of Climate and Atmospheric Science, elimination of the Adaptation research group within Environment Canada, the cuts to ozone monitoring, the closure of the Polar Arctic and Environmental Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, the sale of the 58 lakes in the globally unique Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora, Ontario, the elimination of the marine contaminants programme within DFO, the loss of scientists in Natural Resources Canada to study ice cores data (and the hope to find a university with a large fridge willing to take the 80,000 year ice core record Canada’s government no longer wants), the end of monitoring smoke stack emissions, cut backs in the Canada Oil and Gas research group in Halifax, and cuts at NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) resulting in the closing of the Yukon Research Lab at Yukon College in Whitehorse.
The thin end of the wedge of privatization has hit National Parks – first Jasper and then the hot springs at Banff, while cuts to ecological staff in the parks compelled former Deputy Minister Jacques Gerin to call on Harper to stop gutting National Parks.
It is a blitzkrieg of bad news as cut-backs and programme cancellation hit the core areas of federal responsibility to protect nature.  The multi-faceted assault has the effect of blinding media and the public to the largest threat.  In 2012, Canada still has no plan to address the threat of climate change.
While Stephen Harper has succeeded in dramatically reducing the Canadian media coverage of climate science through the muzzling of government scientists, the atmosphere does not seem to have gotten the memo.  Around the world, the force and frequency of severe weather events has woken up even the mainstream US media.  Fires, floods, tornadoes, heat waves are wreaking havoc on agriculture and running up the bills to the insurance industry.  The culprit for much of this year’s strange weather phenomenon is the rapidly warming Arctic.  As the Arctic warms the differential in temperature between the Arctic and the Equator becomes less pronounced. That causes the jet stream to lose its straight and fast course. (Francis, Vavrus study, Rutgers/Univ of Wisconsin). Slowing down, it has allowed large low pressure systems and high pressure systems to sit for far longer periods than normal in one place --  causing flooding in the low pressure zones and heat waves and fires in the high zones.
Loss of agriculture, losses to floods and fires also cost the economy, as well as human lives. Despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to destroy the collection of data, the evidence of the climate crisis is all around us.  We are sabotaging our children’s future – but what does it matter as long as the bitumen flows?

We're fucked. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

I almost ate an ant.

When an ant bites you on the lip, it really hurts. How do I know? I have a throbbing welt on my lip. That's how I know. Let me give you the whole story.
I have a vegetable garden, and in that garden I grow lettuce. This year I am growing Buttercrunch and Red Sails. Two tasty heirloom varieties that blow away the chemically treated store-bought crap I buy the rest of the year. This morning I harvested some of the crop. Just enough for supper or perhaps to bring in my lunch tonight. I brought it in and left it in a bowl. Before I left for work I took the roots off and washed and spun the lettuce. I knew it wasn't perfect but it is said that you eat a peck of dirt before you die. No big deal. So I'm munching away on my salad like a good little bunny (which have yet to invade my veggies. Knock on wood.) when I feel an intense stabbing pain on my upper lip. My first thought was "Why is there something sharp in my salad?" But when I put my fingers to my lip they came away holding a squirming ant! I flung the little bastard to the ground. I have no idea whether it survived or not. (It didn't, I went back and checked.) And I'm assuming it was a bastard because I believe most ants are male, ants don't get married, and I highly doubt the queen could tell me who that ant's father was. And it bit me. I can hardly blame the ant though. Can you imagine what the experiences he endured over the day would have been like? The majority was probably alright. Just hanging out in an environment very similar to his previous locale with a few buddies. (There were other ants) But then his whole world was turned upside down.
Violent motions as I lift the lettuce from the bowl and cut the bottoms of the leaves. Clinging for dear life as I repeatedly rinse and shake the excess water from the produce. Whirling and whirling as the vitamin rich roughage is spun like a centrifuge only to be stuffed inside a virtually air-tight box to suffocate. When at last a rush of cool fresh air washes over the bastard's thorax, he again can feel hope. That hope is quickly dashed as the ant's unfathomably huge torturer douses ant and fibrous greens alike in zesty Italian dressing. Next, the worst of the ordeal thus far. The lid is once again snapped shut and the whole prison is thrown back and forth with whiplash inducing fervor. The bastard now realizes his captor is a relentless sadist and his only chance for survival is escape. In a doubtless disoriented state the bastard desperately tries to find a way out. But now it appears his demented nemesis is done toying with his quarry. Panic begins to set in as the demon thrusts his pitchfork of death right through the very leaves the bastard sought to hide under and stuffs them into his maw, masticating them into oblivion. Against all odds, the bastard steels his resolve and decides not to go down without a fight. The queen would expect better than for one of her soldiers to die a coward. The bastard anticipates his adversary's next move. Narrowly avoiding his end by the prong of the weapon, the warrior manoeuvres himself into attack position as he is lifted towards the demon's gaping mouth. At the last possible moment, he springs from hiding and lands on the precipice. His presence does not appear to be detected by the unholy beast. Salvation is at hand. Escape is within his grasp. As retribution for the horrors the demon has subjected the poor, innocent ant to, the warrior gives the beast a parting shot before fleeing to freedom. With a battlecry of "For the Queen!!" the bastard warrior sinks his venomous mandibles into the vulnerable flesh with every microscopic ounce of his exoskeleton encrusted being. Too quickly the monster reacts to the searing pain radiating across his grizzled face and plucks our would-be hero from his anchor in a vice-like grip and with a look of disgust, flings the brave soldier to his doom.
This is where the ant's story ends. Whether the bastard succumbed to his injuries or was crushed under the gargantuan weight of some other equally foul beast is not known. His flattened body still lies discarded and forgotten on a cafeteria floor. His noble brothers and regal queen will never know of his bravery in the face of certain death. The ant bards will sing no tales of The Bastard. Only you dear reader, will know the truth of what happened that fateful evening.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Out of the Silent Planet

I recently finished reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. It was published in 1938 as the first part of Lewis' Space Trilogy. (We're talking pre-Narnia here people.) It is presented as a fictionalized account of real events. The whole "names have been changed to protect the innocent (and guilty)" line. I am sure at the time, the more open-minded of readers may have found this to be an entirely plausible, if somewhat fantastic, story. Given the technological advances in the last 75 years and mankind's more "hands-on" exploration of the celestial bodies within our solar system, the believability of the events in the book are greatly diminished. However, when it comes to space, I don't rule anything out. And I strongly believe that our knowledge of "outer space" and our relationship with it is exponentially larger than what we are "allowed" to know. Chew on that.
In the book, our protagonist whom Lewis has called Ransom, stumbles upon two less-than-noble scientists on a walk in the countryside. The scientists subsequently drug and kidnap Ransom and whisk him away on a space ship to the planet Malacandra (Mars) as an offering to some equally ignoble members of one of that planet's many sentient species. Ransom escapes his would be sellers before the transaction is completed and is taken in by a member of a different Malacandran species. Here he learns the common Malacandran language, the basic history of the different regions, and the nature and specializations of the planet's intelligent races.
As in any Lewis work I have read, religion or at least the idea of a "God" plays a key role in the storyline. Ransom eventually gains an audience with the planet's "deity" called Oyarsa. Not so much a person as an etheric entity, the Oyarsa is but that planet's aspect of a greater, universal presence, Maledil. Oyarsa goes on to explain that every planet has it's own Oyarsa. In addition, there exist the formless eldil. The eldil are able to communicate with physical beings in a more or less telepathic way and reside in the cold wastes of space, or "the heavens" but can "be" anywhere. The closest approximation to something an Earthling might understand would be an angel. During the course of Ransom's education we learn that Earth is called Thulcandra. (So THAT'S where the band got their name!) Thulcandra means "the Silent Planet". The story of Thulcandra parallels that of Lucifer. Thulcandra's Oyarsa became power hungry and struck out at the surrounding celestial bodies. With one hand he laid waste to the moon and with the other struck out at Malacandra, destroying its upper plateaus and relegating its life to deep, thin valleys. As punishment, Maledil imprisoned the Thulcandran Oyarsa in its own planet and cut it off from the collective universal consciousness. Hence, the Silent Planet.
The Malacandrans don't have a word for evil. They refer to Thulcandra's Oyarsa (and the aforementioned ignoble Malacandrans) as "bent". I think this is a brilliant way to describe human nature and more or less humanity in general. I believe that at our core, individuals and humanity as a whole are by nature "good". But we have become bent. More specifically our minds are bent. Since actions occur as the result of a thought, if our minds are bent, our actions will be bent as well. We see this in the amount of anger, selfishness, greed, hatred, etc. that dominates our society.
What if Earth really is The Silent Planet? What if we have been cast aside as the proverbial black sheep of the family by the innumerable societies of the universe? We have been conditioned - intentionally? - to believe that extra-terrestrial intelligences are inherently malicious. That if they come it will be to exploit and destroy our people and planet. But perhaps the opposite is the reality. Perhaps the qualities of peace and co-operation are predominant in the universe and we have been isolated to protect the rest of creation from our demonstrated potential for malevolence. Ours is an ugly world. War and death surround us. We demonstrate little to no reverence for the planet that sustains us. Day by day we inch closer to rendering our planet uninhabitable. Maledil forbid such a cruel, destructive and blind "civilization" be allowed to perpetuate itself beyond its own borders.
If this is the sort of statement Lewis was trying to make with Out of the Silent Planet I shudder to think what his perception of humanity would be today. In the last 75 years the destruction of our planet has accelerated, our hatred and destruction of our fellow man continues unabated. Technological advances intended to make our lives easier and thus happier and more fulfilling has only driven us further into ourselves. They've only continued to feed our desire for bigger, better, more. A desire that can never be fully satiated. Materialism will never be the means to ultimate happiness. Until we realize that (and realize the true nature of existence) we will always be a black mark on the face of creation.
But just as the potential for salvation lies within even the darkest of souls, there will always be hope for humanity. The past, present and future are lit by the shining jewels of potential for humanity to break free of the chains we've imprisoned ourselves in. Those people who serve as examples of all that is good and right and virtuous. The Mayan calendar ends this December. It is said that it marks "the end of the world as we know it". One can only hope that the change it marks is a change in the positive direction. That finally the resonant frequency of our planet will be elevated beyond the negativity that shackles both our individual and collective consciousnesses up to that of love, compassion and acceptance. (Yes, I've been reading Icke.) And that by freeing ourselves from our prison we are able to fully realize all there is to know about ourselves, our neighbours and the whole of existence.
If book one of the trilogy has been this inspirational and thought-provoking, I'm very intrigued to see how revelatory books two and three are!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

GIGANTOUR (Megadeth, Motorhead, Volbeat, Lacuna Coil) @ the KRC, Kingston, ON Feb 5, 2012

Kingston has certainly had bigger concerts than this, but to the best of my knowledge, this is the biggest METAL concert to come to town. And it would have to be on Super Bowl Sunday too. No matter. Metal trumps football every time. The turnout at the K-Rock Centre was about what I expected (i.e. not sold out) but from what I understand, the crowd wasn't as rowdy as they should have been. I was 2-5 people deep front and center. Things were plenty rowdy down there. I had seen Megadeth play an acoustic set over 10 years ago but I'd never seen them play a real show. I've been listening to Megadeth for almost 20 years so I've waited a long time. Back in high school I couldn't get enough Megadeth. So needless to say, I was pretty excited. For this version of Gigantour, MegaDave chose a diverse mix of bands in Lacuna Coil, Volbeat and the legendary Motorhead.
Lacuna Coil opened the show to a somewhat sparse but relatively enthusiastic crowd. Some derisive comments were thrown about but the younger group seemed to really embrace them. I'm considering reviewing Dark Adrenaline so I won't go into too much detail. But the band did what they do to an effective degree. They belted out their radio-ready metal in an entertaining show. I will say I enjoyed them live more than on record. However, the male compliment to vocalist Christina Scabbia, Andrea Ferro, sounded a little flat. Maybe he was having an off night. All in all, they did a good job warming the crowd up. They were a lot better than most of the opening bands I see around town. They promised to come back as headliners but I bet they say that everywhere. I spoke with Lacuna Coil's manager (Adam "Doom" Sewell. You know him.) for an hour or so before the show and he was going to take me back to meet the bands but by the time Megadeth was done, Christina was already prepped for bed and everyone else booked it as well. Maybe next time.
Before Sunday night, I'd had zero exposure to Volbeat. So anything that didn't suck would be a pleasant surprise. Well, they didn't suck. They played a sort of metalized punkabilly. Lots of energy, great presence. As much as I wanted to be that "It's not fuckin' Megadeth. Fuck this." guy, I still found my toes tappin' or head noddin' for most of their set. It wasn't necessarily something I would seek out on my own but I was definitely not disappointed. Quite and interesting blend of influences. The sometimes Elvis-like and most times Load-era Hetfield vocal style (without some of the more annoying mannerisms) lends itself very well to singing along. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I found out these guys have a dedicated fan base. I did see quite a few Volbeat shirts making there way back in to the arena during the break. Thanks to them, I saw something I never expected to see before though. People moshing to a Johnny Cash cover. First time for everything. Speaking of covers, they teased us with the beginning of Slayer's "Raining Blood". Don't DO that! You get a guy all excited and then nothin'. I think the most interesting bit of info I learned was that Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate fame was filling in on guitar for the tour. I'm not a huge MF fan, but that's still pretty cool.
I know Motorhead but I don't KNOW Motorhead. (I think the band itself is older than I am.) So I wasn't as outwardly excited as a large contingent of the older crowd. I do know enough that I recognize the worth in seeing them live. What metal fan doesn't want to see Motorhead? Lemmy is a legend. From the spot I was, I couldn't hear the vocals very well but even if I had, how much of it could I have understood anyway, right? I'm not sure what else I can say here. It was Motorhead playing Motorhead songs. They aren't flashy or anything. Well, except drummer Mikkey Dee. Dude is like Animal! He's a beast! Adam told me he was going to do a drum solo and it was un-fucking-real. Lemmy said he was the "best drummer in the world" and he played like it. It was pretty special. And I tell ya, if I didn't already have permanent hearing damage (tinnitus), I would after that set. It was so loud!  Maybe not Jucifer loud, but louder than anyone else that night. Another legendary band to check off on my list of "have seen live". I can't die happy yet though.
The Megadeth lineup of Mustaine, Ellefson, Broderick and Drover is as good as any lineup they've had. Yes, as good as the Rust In Peace lineup. And it's great to see Ellefson back in the band. Back when I started playing bass, "the other Dave" was someone I really looked up to. In fact, "Trust" was one of the first songs I learned to play. Coincidentally, "Trust" was the set opener! I hear the entire set list is available on the Cyber Army forums but I'll give some highlights. I missed a lot of the between songs banter because a) I wasn't in a good spot to hear the vocals to begin with. Good thing I knew pretty much all the words anyway; b) Some drunk fucker was basically just yelling the whole time in my vicinity; and c) some other ass requesting "Bite the Hand" between every song. Right behind me. So apparently. MegaDave asked if everyone was sleeping because the crowd was so tame. At the edge of the pit, where I was, it wasn't that tame. You would think you were at a hardcore show the way people were moshing. Megadeth isn't mosh music. Maybe I'm just getting old. I will tell you this, the crowd got some energy when Dave said this next one is about "little green men" and launched into "Hanger 18". I got nostalgic when they played the song that got me into Megadeth with "Symphony of Destruction". I believe they played 3 songs off the new album, TH1RT3EN, including "Public Enemy No. 1"and "Who's Life (Is It Anyway)". As expected/hoped for, Christina Scabbia joined them on stage for the updated version of "A Tout Le Monde". I lost my shit when Vic Rattlehead made an appearance for "Peace Sells". My constantly sleep deprived brain is having trouble with the details but I know they played "Wake Up Dead", "In My Darkest Hour" and "Sweating Bullets". Did that one ever bring back high school memories! I fully intended to keep track of the setlist but for a good majority of the set I couldn't move my arms enough to get my phone out. The "sleeping" crowd had me pinned between a fat guy, a drunk chick, and Decibel Reader of the Month, Gabe Hugh. Of course, what Megadeth show would be complete without set closer, "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due." By playing a collection of songs covering almost the entire spectrum of their career, Megadeth has emphasized how consistent they've been. I can say that I walked away from my first real Megadeth show fully satisfied. Walking away uninjured was a bonus too. I just hope I don't have to wait another 10 years to see them again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 New Year's Goals

I've never really liked the "resolutions" tag. I prefer to use goals. It sounds better. So, in addition to the 2011 goals that I didn't exactly meet, I've added a few more.
Get in better shape: We have a treadmill and a weight bench now. I just need to make the time to use them. That's the hard part. The weight lifting and running is the easy part. And when the weather is nice, ride my bike!
Be more environmentally conscious: I already am a tree hugger and recycling freak but I can do more. I need to be more diligent. Sometimes I can get lazy and toss something that could go in the recycle just because I am tired or in a hurry. Especially with paper. Along with this, I need to continue to follow my guidelines for fuel efficient driving. Maybe even be better at that too. I also need to get my ebike fixed. Scoot! I'd like to burn more wood this year too. Not that I want to cut down trees but it's better than burning oil. It's renewable!
Expand my gardens: I had one 4x8 raised bed last year and it worked out great. I plan to put in 3 more this spring. VEGGIES!! And I plan to get some more trees. Hopefully some fruit ones.

Get new glasses and orthotics: I was due for both last year but just never got around to it. I really need to. My eyes and feet (and whole body) will thank me. Anyone have like $800 they want to lend me? You'll get it right back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Resolutions from 2011 Recap

So last year I made some resolutions.  I didn't do a very good job of keeping them. Who does? Now I am going to recap last year's failures and maybe set some new goals for 2012.
2011 Resolution: Meditate more. Result: I actually meditated LESS. They stopped offering classes in Napanee around the end of March. I kept hoping they would come back but when the area got a new resident monk, it threw things around a little with the transition. Now it appears the classes won't be returning any time soon. Which means I just have to get off my butt and go to Kingston or Belleville. And in the meantime, I have to get ON my butt and do it at home! The important thing is that I don't beat myself up about it. That will accomplish even less.
2011 Resolution: Play more bass guitar. Result: I know I picked it up at least once. I think that counts as less. This one will be harder to remedy than the meditation I think, but I need to make more of an effort.
2011 Resolution: Scream more. Result: Another failure. Of course I mean screaming as in, heavy metal screaming type singing. I don't really have an excuse for this one.
2011 Resolution: Swear less. Result: I do believe my use of profanity did in fact decrease. Still have a long way to go though.
2011 Resolution: Drink less alcohol. Result: I think I did pretty good here too. I cut way back and lost almost 25 lbs. My intake started to creep back up in December and into this year but I'll take care of it.
2011 Resolution: Blog more. Result: This one is kind of a wash. I may have blogged less on this blog, but the posts were more substantial and more meaningful. On my heavy metal blog, it was about the same amount. Maybe more near the end of the year as I did my Album of the Year countdown. But it did have more views and some actual recognition. And that was the goal really.
2011 Resolution: Read more/watch less TV. Result: While it was probably the same amount in both cases, the nature of the TV watching changed. We watched more comedies and less dramas. We still watch Hawaii 5-0 and Flashpoint but we haven't watched any CSI shows in ages. We tend not to watch stuff about death and murder anymore. Although, I am a big fan of The Walking Dead. Still need to move that ratio more towards the reading side though.
2011 Resolution: Win the lottery. Result: What do you think?