Friday, March 31, 2006

Goodbye Cruel Work

It's over! I'm finally out of here! I'm less than an hour away from being an employee at this slowly deteriorating and depressing office I've called my place of employment for the last 2-4-ish years (depending upon how you figure in interning). You know, I never thought I'd be excited to leave this company, but over the last few months I've wanted nothing more than to get the hell out. Personally, I think the place is going down in flames, and I'm so glad I'm not going to be burning up with them.

On Monday I start my new job. Wish me all luck. I hope it will be a much more interesting place to work and will have a better sense of what the direction of the company is (which is something lacking at my current... wait, now ex, employer).

So let's all celebrate! I'm gone. Good riddance, job!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Storage Problems

How do you store your comics? That's the question Mike asked, and subsequently answered himself, but in reading his organizational strategies and looking at some of the responses from other people, I got to thinking about the haphazard way that I have my comics stored.

First, there's a four fold division of comics. A comic can either be a new release, already read, needs to be read, or waiting for completion. Now this might not make a whole lot of sense initially, but let me explain each a little further.

New releases are the new comics I get shipped to me monthly from DCBService. Most new releases I read within the first week or two of getting them. That is, unless they are a part of a mini series or graphic novel. If they are part of a mini series, I store them away until I have the entire mini series to read, at which point the mini series will be put into the "needs to be read" bucket. If it is a graphic novel, it will be put into the "needs to be read" bucket as well, unless I really have a hankering to read it.

Already read comics are, as you guessed it, comics that I have already read. Be it old comics, current comics, graphic novels, or whatnot, whenever I finish reading something it gets stored in the "already read" boxes.

Needs to be read comics are comics that I, well, need to read. These consist of completed runs of back issues, mini series (both current and older), and graphic novels. It is very rare that any comics will be put into the "needs to be read" boxes unless I have completed the back issue series or miniseries. More often than not, things come into the "needs to be read" boxes from the "waiting for completion" boxes once I've finished getting a run together.

The "waiting for completion" boxes are the boxes where I keep back issue runs and mini series that I have some issues of, but not all. These are comics runs that I need to go find missing issues of before I can successfully move them to the "needs to be read" boxes. When I go to comic cons, I focus on completing certain runs from my "waiting for completion" boxes.

Now within each of these four subsets, I generally try to keep things loosely organized by publisher (Marvel, DC, and Indie). I'm not too particular if I don't have them totally organized within the four subsets, but I do freak out if comics get in the wrong subset.

Lastly, I have usually kept graphic novels in with the rest of my comic collection, but I think I want to bring them out and put them on a bookshelf in my new place that I'll be moving into. Since I'll probably have the shelf space, why not display what I like reading?

So there you have it. That's how I keep all of my comics organized. I'm pretty sure there aren't many people out there who will do it the same way as me.

3 Year Olds Don't Need Supervising

I know I'm about a day late to this party, but part of the reason is because I was dealing with a confusing mixture of thought. Initially, I found this story ridiculously funny. A 3 year old kid somehow managed to climb into one of those claw grabber game machines where you put in your money, guide a claw over a stuffed animal you're sure it'll grab, hit the button, and wait for the claw to not hold on to a damn thing when it comes back up. But after a while, I was very confused and concerned.

This whole incident took place at a Godfather's Pizza joint in Austin, MN which I've actually eaten there many times with my family. Not a bad place, but definitely more on the "dive" side of quality. Now, this kid is 3, right? He's obviously there with his parents. There are also obviously workers there, and hopefully a few other customers. With all of those people around, how did the child manage to climb into the machine?

I can't imagine absolutely no one noticing a little kid trying to crawl into a game machine. Sure, this is Austin, a town known mostly for the sheer amount of meth that's produced by it's townsfolk and the Spam museum, but I'd think that even meth-heads might want to keep an eye on their kids every now and again.

What I think actually happened was that the parents saw what the kid was trying to do, thought it was really cute how he was trying so hard to climb, laughed at him alongside the staff as they waited for their pizza, saw that the kid somehow managed to get up into the holding area the stuffed animals come out of, suddenly thought "hmmm... maybe this isn't such a good thing", tried to get to him, and then the holding area cover shut while the kid climbed in with the stuffed animals. From that point on the parents sheepishly realized how undeniably terrible their parenting skills are.

On a side note, the hole the kid had to climb into is like 2 to 3 feet off the floor. How did a little tyke like him hoist himself up into that holding area? Is he some sort of super climber baby?

In the end, I still got a laugh out of the whole thing, especially when the article contains choices quotes like, "Workers used tools to free the boy," and "He was happy in there." But it also made me realize that there are some really atrociously bad parents out there! Watch your kids, dammit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Crime in Stereo - The Troubled Stateside CD Review

Nitro Records is on a hell of a roll right now. With recent, certified (via my eardrum certification program), kick-ass releases from A Wilhelm Scream and No Trigger, as well as upcoming releases from Enemy You and theStart, the addition of Crime in Stereo’s The Troubled Stateside to their catalog of releases is simply icing on the cake.

Crime in Stereo’s first full length release for Nitro is a phenomenal step up from their last effort, an EP entitled Fuel. Transit. Sleep. While their EP was much more straight ahead punk with a few hardcore influences, something like a mix of Sick of It All and Strike Anywhere, their latest takes on a less aggressive, but still intense, stance. It’s quite easy to hear the influence of labelmates No Trigger and other similarly flavored bands, such as Bigwig or Set Your Goals, but it doesn’t come off as merely copycatting. But enough with the name dropping — there’s going to be too much bold in this review if I don’t stop now.

In 12 songs Crime in Stereo manages to rip through the gamut of classically styled punk song types, which seems to be all of the rage the last month or two, spiced up with their original melodic hardcore leanings, and some gang vocals added in to stir up the pot a little. The melody found throughout isn’t so much melody, however, as it is actually really more like raspy singing, which only adds to the rough and tumble nature that permeates this entire effort.

Now, this CD is far from perfect or groundbreaking, but with that being known, the timing of this release is perfect. With summer coming up, the best place for this CD to be is in a car stereo, blasting songs like “For Exes” and “I’m on the Guestlist, Motherfucker” as kids drive to local punk shows or hit up record stores on the weekends to dig around through the used music section. Everything about this release feels like a summer, all fun, no work, enjoy life type of effort. It’s hard to believe that a punk flavored melodic hardcore release could be put into those terms, but it’s the best way to classify it beyond doing even more name dropping, which there was enough of in the first two paragraphs.

It’s often hard to find music that doesn’t feel manufactured or created to fit into a particular niche, especially with so many fashion-core bands on the market and meticulously crafted scene-specific tripe floating around the airwaves. Isn’t it great to hear a band that sticks to their guns, makes music that doesn’t feel forced, and creates a CD that can actually be listened to more than 3 times without getting outright boring? Let me answer that for you—it definitely is.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

They've Arrived... Sorta

My Xbox 360 and PSP came today! But by came, I mean that I had to go pick them up from UPS's Rochester facility. Long story short, the address on the box was slightly wrong so they couldn't deliver it. Thankfully, though, I finally have both of them in my hands.

I know I'm a little bit behind in the techno-gadgetry department, but I'm really impressed by both the 360 and PSP so far. The 360 came with both a wireless and wired controller, the hard drive, and Call of Duty 2. I popped in Call of Duty 2 and played through the first mission. It was pretty freaking sweet. It's not leaps and bounds ahead of the Xbox, but playing the games in high def is killer. Sure, I've been playing my Xbox in high def (I sprung for the high def cables on both systems), but the 360 is so much more sharp.

With a wired and wireless controller I expected them to function slightly differently since my wireless Xbox controller can be laggy at times in comparison to my wired controllers, but I had absolutely no problem at all with the 360's wireless controller. The only accessory I'm not looking forward to eventually buying is the $100 wireless card. It doesn't look like any other 3rd party is going to develop a version soon, so I'll have to throw down the cash eventually.

The main reason I wanted a 360 was to stream all of my music and movies on my computer to my television. Without the wireless card, this feature obviously hasn't been tested, but I did plug in my external USB hard drive that contains a backup of all my media and the 360 picked it up perfectly and let me start playing music from it in no time flat. Now if the streaming works, those two features will be worth the price of admission to the 360 world.

The PSP I bought on a whim with the 360 because the person selling it only wanted another $100 for the PSP. Considering they cost $200 or more in game stores, I thought it was a steal. Besides, it'll give me something to do while I'm flying for business trips. That and I can transfer the tv shows I've recorded on my computer to the Memory Stick and play them while I'm on the go.

I didn't expect the PSP to be quite as cool as it is. The screen is so sharp and clear that it almost made my jaw drop. Then again, it also might be because the last portable system I played was Sega's Game Gear. I booted up Untold Legends (the first game I bought for it) and started playing. The games, graphics wise, are about as good as Playstation games, if not slightly better, which amazes me. Again, probably because I played the Game Gear last.

What will be hours of fun without costing any money (even though it might be slightly in the illegal department) is playing old NES, SNES, and Genesis games on it. The person who I purchased it from left on emulators for those three systems along with some of the classic games. I spent probably 15 minutes reliving my childhood while playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2.

So with all of this new-fangled technology in my hands, I feel extra geeky. But I felt like it was almost time for me to nerd out and get some new tech, especially with the job upgrade I could treat myself, right? And I had some birthday money to spend. Thank goodness I don't have kids yet or I'd be fighting them for my toys!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Hey UPS, I Got Something For You

Yeah, that's exactly what I think of your delivery service. There's a reason why more than one of the companies I usually order things online through have switched to DHL--UPS makes more mistakes than any company should be allowed to.

It's fine to have a package not arrive on time once in a great while because, hey, mistakes do happen, but with UPS they happen more often than actual service. Take, for example, today's shipment that I was supposed to receive.

I was having my Xbox 360 and PSP shipped to me via UPS and according to their handy-dandy tracking system it was supposed to be delivered today. I checked when I got home from work and it said it was out for delivery. I was pretty much salivating while sitting on the couch in anticipation (yeah, I'm that lame, wanna fight about it?). After waiting and waiting 6:45 pm rolled around. In order to keep from exploding from impatience, I headed to the gym.

I got back from the gym at 7:45 and no package had arrived. Distraught and feeling like a kid who got a lump of coal for Christmas, I checked UPS's site once again only to see the following:
A CORRECT STREET NUMBER IS NEEDED FOR DELIVERY. UPS IS ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN THIS INFORMATION
Umm... what? It was being shipped to [house number] on [x]th St NW, Rochester, MN. How much more specific can I be about the street? I've had mail, pizza, and Fedex shipments sent to the same address without any trouble. Why is UPS so shitty????

I'm praying to everything holy they'll be able to figure out that the street listed on the shipping invoice is the address they should deliver it to instead of attempting to someone gain more information about the street. Ugghh, this is frustrating. I just wanted to play some Call of Duty 2 tonight, dammit. UPS, consider yourself on my naughty list. Idiots.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Want to Carry Some Boxes?

It's official. Yesterday I signed the lease to a place in the Minneapolis area to move to! I'll be living with two friends--Karl and Jared--in a 2 and a half story house in St. Louis Park, which is a little south and west of downtown Minneapolis. It feels good to have a place decided upon, even though it now means I have to pack and move, which won't be fun, especially considering the weekend I am moving in is the weekend of the auction for my great uncle's estate.

With the auction on the same weekend I'm going to have to move, my packing and moving will be done predominantly by myself and anyone I can trick into helping since my family will be busy with the estate sale. I'm sure it'll be fine, but moving my gigantic TV, couches, bed, and dressers will be a little bit of a chore. If anything I suppose I can just leave them home for a week or so until my family can help me move it all if no one else is available.

The place that we are moving to is not big, but it's also not dirty. Since I've never had to search for a place to live before, it was an eye opening experience to see just how crappy some places could be and how misleading pictures in ads really are. One place we stopped by, we had high hopes for because it was in a good neighborhood, was well over 2,000 square feet in size, and was close to downtown.

We drove by the place and the outside looked fine. The pictures in the ad made it look really slick and clean inside. The lady I talked to seemed nice. All signs pointed to the place being great. It wasn't . We got there and as soon as we got inside I wondered if it was the same place from the ad. The entire interior looked like it hadn't had any upkeep done to it since before Regan was president.

When we went to look at the basement we found it to be completely unfinished--just cement walls, a moldy smell, and a washer/dryer were to be found there. The upper floor was the only decent part of the place and that was no doubt because it was one big master bedroom that I'm sure whoever had been living there was very respectful of, and who liked to live cleanly.

The kitchen was also a mess and just felt... gross. The entire house needed to be bleached from top to bottom before it would be livable. So we mulled it over, but knew it wouldn't work, even though it was unbelievably spacious.

The last place we visited for the day was actually the place we ended up taking. It was owned by a couple who were in their late 20's or early 30's who were moving to Iowa. You could tell they had really taken care of the place. I mean, heck, it was actually CLEAN! That was the biggest selling point for us. No part of the house felt gnarly, icky, or gross. It felt like somewhere we all wanted to live.

It's not the biggest place, like I said before, but it is in a great neighborhood, feels homely, is an actual house (which should make it easier to feel like we're in a home as opposed to someone else's home or a temporary living area), and is actually a rent-to-own place if I would want to take the route of purchasing the house as time goes on.

It's not a place I could see myself raising a family in because it is small, but it might be a good place to start off for a few years and save some money while gaining equity. I just have to be careful right now as the housing boom is on the way down and if I bought a place I wouldn't want to end up losing value. But at least the purchase option is on the table if I want to exercise it.

So, anyways, I didn't take any pictures of the place, but I did grab a couple from the listing before they took it down. These pictures don't lie and the place looks as nice as they make it seem. I'll try to get some good pictures put up in a month when I move in.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Open Up, Eyes

My eyelids feel like they have 10 lb weights attached to them right now. I want nothing more than a nice, soothing, not interrupted by dog barking, power nap. Last night was a late poker night from which I didn't get home from until well after 2 am. By the time I finally fell asleep it was near 2:30. A scant less than four hours later my idiotic internal clock thought it would be a good idea to wake up. It also thought that instead of letting me go back to sleep until I actually needed to get up, it would force me to feel totally and utterly awake, as if I was already infused with my morning caffeine intake.

I gave in to my body, drug myself out of bed, showered, and hauled my very physically tired, but mentally rip-roaring, ass into work. Once here there was no turning back so I brewed up a pot of coffee, proceeded to down glass after murky dark glass... and I suddenly felt fine.

Morning meetings came and went without me feeling tired. It was just the usual frustrations of work which, oddly, I didn't mind since I was so amazed I wasn't conking down on top of the speakerphone and snoring into the mic. Lunch also came and went without the utter lack of quality rest affecting me.

Then 1:30 pm rolled around. Without warning my body shed all of its artificial go-juices and set off my internal "Nap Right Now, Idiot" alarm. NRNI for short. Having to finish work and then hit the gym afterwards, I knew that I couldn't accurately respond to the needs of the code red NRNI alarm. So I did the next best thing--I slammed a Diet Coke hoping that the little bit of caffeine in it would rejuvenate me, if even just a little.

It didn't. And writing this isn't really doing anything special to keep me from leaning back in my chair and starting up a snorefest. I don't know what to do for another two-ish hours of work before I can get to the gym. Someone, anyone, help me. I need a freakin' nap.

[Update: No nap for me. I tried to lay down but the damn dog wouldn't shut the hell up. I'm about inches away from killing it.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Inspired by Snakes on a Plane

With the random talk about the sure to be aweful Sam Jackson movie, Snakes on a Plane, going around on the internet, I got to thinking about my own experiences with snakes. I'm not the biggest fan of said reptile, but I find them curiously interesting. Whenever Kristin and I visit the pet stores in our frequent mall crawls, we take plenty of time to examine the reptiles, especially the snakes. I'm pretty sure before too long we'll have one as a pet.

When I was growing up on the farm, I'd occasionally see snakes here and there. Usually they were gardener snakes that weren't much bigger than the length of your forearm and no thicker than a hot dog. I never tried to pick them up or play with them because I was a little bit spooked by them (it's the slithering!), but I would often examine them as they moved across the yard or through the fields.

One day as I was bailing hay for our neighbor, who thought it was fun to promise to pay us $6 an hour and then only give us $4 an hour (at this time the minimum wage was something like $4.50 or so). Let me tell you, $4 an hour for bailing hay is not worth it in the least. Bailing is easily the hardest farm work I ever had the pleasure of doing. I'd rather wrestle a hoard of midgets for $4 an hour before bailing for my neighbor ever again.

So as we were bailing it came time to unload the 5 or 6 hay racks we'd filled throughout the afternoon into the hay loft of the barn. Since the loft was usually 100+ degrees because it was enclosed and insulated with an inordinate amount of bails around the edges, of course it was my job to be up there while our neighbor unloaded the bails off of the racks.

As the bails were coming up into the loft, I was busy stacking them, at one hell of a pace I may add, because all my lazy neighbor had to do was set the bails on the conveyor that took them up to the loft while I had to get them off the conveyor, carry them to the area of the loft where I was stacking them, and then stack them. So it was a lot more work for me and I couldn't control the speed they were coming. Yeah, this was my least favorite part of bailing.

In a rush to catch up with the stack of bails that was accumulating at the end of the conveyor, I was stacking somewhat haphazardly, and as I tossed the bail I had up onto the fourth row stack, which was a little over shoulder height, a wiley snake came tumbling down onto me! I almost filled my drawers since I was absolutely not expecting to be assaulted by a snake while stacking bails.

I could have sworn the snake wriggled its way out of the bail I was hoisting up, but that would have meant it somehow survived getting scooped up by the bailer, getting packed into a bail, and then didn't somehow get killed when the bail was tied off, shot out, and stacked by myself. That would be quite a feat for a snake, if you ask me.

So if this little story teaches you anything, snakes are badass mofo's, and you definitely don't want a group of them taking over a plane. They can survive ANYTHING.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ligeia - Your Ghost is a Gift CD Review

Some of you may or may not have gotten a hold of the Poison the Well demos that were floating around about a month ago. If you did, no doubt your interests were piqued, much as mine were, since there hasn’t been anything new heard from them in quite a while. Fortunately, while you’re waiting for Poison the Well’s upcoming effort to be officially released, you can give Ligeia a spin or two.

To be completely frank, Your Ghost is a Gift sounds extremely similar to Tear from the Red era Poison the Well. Feel free to take that as an endearment or an insult depending upon what your feelings are towards the band Ligeia is being compared to, but the similarities are not simply casual—there is a distinct and overtly noticeable commonality between the two releases.

Ligeia’s Keith Holuk has an uncannily similar guttural scream to Jeffery Moreira. Keith’s screaming may be a slight bit deeper at times, but more often than not the two are interchangeable. At times, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense, Keith will make attempts to throw in some changes to his perfectly fine screaming technique, most notably aiming for the upper octaves, but these attempts rarely feel natural or work. Thankfully they are extremely rare.

The biggest difference in the two vocalists’ styles comes in the few moments of melody found throughout Your Ghost is a Gift. These moments are not exactly prevalent, but when they occur you will find that Keith’s approach is very natural sounding. It very down to earth, but there is a reason that he screams the majority of his vocals—melody isn’t his strongpoint. The few times he turns to it are very well executed and give the songs a needed balance to offset the staccato screaming, such as the back to back combo of examples in “The Blackout” and “Household Stereotypes”, but it’s not something that would suit this band if used too often.

Musically, Ligeia take a very standard metallic hardcore approach with the majority of their songs following similar patterns. There is very little to differentiate them from their peers, but their lack of diversity isn’t so undeniably monotonous that it will turn you away, but it does leave the CD feeling a tad stale by the time you’ve finished it up. Regardless, there are more than a few tracks that will get the pits spinning at live shows and also a few tracks that will fit in nicely with the currently popular melodic metalcore scene. There is one main musical fault, however, in that there is a little too much reliance on breakdowns that consist simply of a strong power chord or two being hit and then allowed to ring into near silence before another chord is hit. It’s not a bad technique, but they go to that same watering hole a few too many times. Besides that caveat, none of the songs come off as being terribly constructed, even if a few are somewhat basic.

Playing to their influences too heavily is the biggest thing that sets Ligeia back, but when their most noticeable influence is a band as talented as Poison the Well, it doesn’t feel quite as contrived. Given time to gain some more songwriting development, Ligeia should have no problem finding an identity that will let them create their own metallic hardcore niche, but for the time being they’ll have to be content with sounding a little too much like competently talented clones.

South Park Scientology Episode



Who would have thought that after all of the lampooning that South Park has done to Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, and other religions that a whiney Tom Cruise could get an episode pulled because it made fun of scientology. This episode also made Isaac Hayes quit the show as the voice of chef.

Sure, it was fine for Hayes to be involved with the show when they were making fun of everyone else's religions, but when his very own got poked fun at he throws a shit fit and quits the show. Thank goodness the episode was uploaded onto our friend, the internet. Watch it. It's freakin' hilarious.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Got Older

On Saturday I turned the big 25. A quarter century. About a 1/3 of the average human's lifespan gone. It's a little surreal, actually. 1/3 isn't that far from 1/2 and 1/2 isn't far from 2/3 and 2/3 isn't far from 3/3 which is dead which isn't appealing to me. It still hasn't registered, though. I'm sure I'll continue to say that I'm 24 for the next month or two until I condition myself to remember I'm now 25.

In celebrating yet another birthday, I didn't party or go on some bender or do anything crazy. No, instead I enjoyed it with my family, which is actually what I preferred. I'm pretty sure that any urges to party are pretty well flushed from my system. Growing up sucks like that.

It was nice having dinner with my parents, brothers (and their girlfriends), my grandparents, and Kristin. Sitting around, talking for hours, and enjoying a nice (but not overly extravagent) meal felt totally right. For being a person who hates aging and the concept of time passing me by, calmly and patiently enjoying my time with family wouldn't seem like something I'd want, but it was.

Another thing that comes with growing older is rambling, which I'm getting so much better at all the time, unfortunately, I now realize. It's funny, though, that this year my birthday was the birthday of DVDs since the majority of my presents were DVDs. My parents got me the second and third seasons of the X-Files. Kristin bought me the first season of Grey's Anatomy and the fifth season of South Park. My Grandma Meyer bought me the Airplane movies and the second season of Lois & Clark while my Grandma and Grandpa Gebhardt got for me the Criterion Collection Edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I did get some other things (like a wonderful knitted scarf from Kristin and comedy CDs from my grandparents), but for the most part it seems like I was overwhelmed with DVDs, which isn't bad at all, just interesting. Now I won't have an excuse for sitting in front of the TV since I'll simply be utilizing the myriad of birthday gifts I got!

On a side note, I also ordered an Xbox 360 and a Sony PSP, which should both be here this week. I'll be looking forward to them. I'll never need to leave the house for entertainment again... and when I do I'll have the PSP to take with me!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Magneto - Resistance is Futile CD Review

The Brotherhood of Mutants, of Marvel Comics fame, being led by the great Magneto himself, wouldn’t be able to put together an evil scheme that could get the people of earth to somehow believe that this CD is anything other than utterly mediocre. And that’s saying a lot if one of the greatest foes of the vaunted X-Men couldn’t change your mind about this band. It is because there is only so much average pop-rock that music listeners can handle and, with Resistance is Futile, Magneto (the band, not the supervillain) has pushed the envelope of pure blandness.

Magneto claim that they were brought together partially because of the band members’ mutual interest in “rawk ‘n’ roll”, however, they certainly don’t bring any of that rawk on this release. Now knowing that they’re not exactly going to rock your socks off, might they not still be a decent pop-rock band? Sadly, even with tempered expectations, they really aren’t.

As you quickly trek through this release, you’ll be overcome by an overwhelming sense of simplicity, but not the “less is more” good kind. There are rarely any compelling moments to be found within the 11 tracks of Resistance is Futile. Some of the more inspired moments come when Magneto attempt to truly embrace their radio-crafted side and totally conform to already established pop-rock conventions. In these moments, however, there are no attempts to convey the image of a rock band, albeit all they would be able to portray is a band which, sadly, has lost their edge without realizing it. All you get is cookie-cutter clich├ęs.

Take, for example, the song “Everything Has Gone”. It starts out with a simple full band rock passage, followed by the first verse over a lone electric guitar, which segues into the full band meatiness of the first verse. Then, as you guessed, there is a crazily melodic, sing-a-long chorus, followed by another verse and then repetitions of the chorus (with a small guitar bridge thrown in for good measure) to end the song. This is the same formula that every radio pop-rock song has used for the last 15 years, if not more.

It’s this total lack of variety and complete conformity to a worn out template that holds Magneto down. Like previously mentioned, they are at their best when they are abiding by pop-rock standards and conventions, which says something about their pedigree. There’s a plethora of other great bands out there that should be given a listen before this.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Madness Begins

2006 bracketThe tourney has begun! You can click on the image to the left to see what I picked for this year's tournament. So far I'm not doing so hot with Seton Hall getting eliminated right off the bat. It also looks like Oklahoma isn't going to make it. BC is headed to overtime so that should be fun to watch.

I don't know about everyone else, but once March sets in, I become the biggest college basketball fan in the world. Up until March, I don't know jack about the sport. I don't even think about watching any games or reading up on ESPN about college hoops. Usually it's because I'm taking a break from football season ending and catching up on what the NBA has been up to.

Anyways, I can't believe I'm wasting time writing this when there are games to be watched on TV right now! Back to the games!

How Do You Use Your Computer?

There are reasons why you should occasionally tune into QVC or other shopping networks--the comedic moments, such as this one where a caller tells the hosts exactly what he uses his Dell computer for. I'm glad that he can be open an honest about his computing uses.

As I watched this, I was also thinking about how funny videos on the internet are turning into the next version of email forwards. It's rare any more that I get a straight up forward that has a joke or funny story in it. Many times I'll still get forwards with funny pictures or links to funny pictures, but the majority of links and attachments that I receive in forwards or via instant messaging are for videos.

With broadband and sites like YouTube and Google Video, it's so easy to put whatever you want up on the internet. I've even thought of putting up some videos that I have on one of those two services just to get them out there (mainly the TV package that was done on me and blogging last year). It's interesting to see the shift in pointless forward content as the internet grows and morphs. I wonder how long it'll be before there are interactive forwards... or email clients embedded into our brains. That would be way more efficient than a Blackberry!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It's All Backwards

Finally. After needless wasted hours that I shouldn't have had to blow, my taxes are complete and e-filed away. I went out and bought TaxCut instead since TurboTax totally blew. Taxcut worked fine. I think it asked a few too many questions in its wizard interface, but I'm sure that was to make sure that it covered all the bases it needed to.

I ended up getting back a little over $350 from my federal return, but I owe $25 to the state. Seems like it works out that way every year. I wonder how I can get more state tax withheld so that I don't have to send them a check every year.

One small annoyance that I came across this year for the first time was having to pay e-file fees. In the past I'd simply filled out the paper forms and mailed them in. No fees to do that. E-filing, however, incurs a $15.95 fee once for federal filing and again for state filing. I don't understand why the more efficient method for the state and federal government has a charge attached to it, while the harder to process hand-written or typed hard copies are sent in without being charged a fee.

It's absurd that those of us who are e-filing should be subsidizing the processing fees of those who go the paper route. It's ridiculous. Seriously, I'm pissed about having to pay over $30 to file my taxes the most efficient way. True, I get $16 back in a rebate from TaxCut, but I'm still out another $16 for the other filing. It's so dumb.

Dead Girls Ruin Everything - What a Perfect Ending CD Review

With a name like Dead Girls Ruin Everything, it’s easy to imagine them as either a cookie cutter metalcore band or a cheesy pop-punk group. Personally, I guessed the former, but it turns out they’re more of the latter. Formed by members of the now defunct bands Podstar and Ultimate Fakebook, Dead Girls are a throwback to the 90’s pop-rock genre. Had these four guys come together in that era, you’d have been hearing them spoken about in same sentences with bands such as Sugar, The Posies, and Teenage Fanclub.

There is definitely a modern edge to Dead Girls’ brand of updated 90’s pop-rock, but there is no doubt where their main influences lie. What gives this release a more modern edge is the slight, yet noticeable, emo and pop-punk stylings that litter the cd. As much as you can hear Sugar in most of their songs, you can also hear pieces of Jimmy Eat World strew about, most notably on the title track. It is this mixture of modernity and an appreciation of the past that gives What a Perfect Ending the interesting attraction that it possesses.

From the onset, it is quite apparent that there are no agendas being forwarded, no big questions being tackled, no high profile concepts being explored, and nothing overly complicated being undertaken by Dead Girls. Instead you’ll simply nod along to the 12 tracks of light-hearted, yet not saccharinely sweet, modern emo-pop-rock. There is a heavy emphasis on the the easy going and laid back nature of the band, which comes in contrast to the, at times, heavily serious independent rock scene of today.

Many of the songs, such as “Had It with You”, are written in a somewhat Midtown-esque nature in that the members of the band know exactly what they are shooting for and pull it off with the maturity of a band that realizes what their identity is, instead of turning to the album creation process as a step to finding an identity.

Dead Girls Ruin Everything are playing within the confines of a genre that hasn’t seen a whole heck of a lot of radio play in a few years’ time and which might not be all that popular with the general musical populace, but it’d sure be hard to find another band right now that could emulate Sugar’s trademark sound better than these guys. If you’ve read this far, you know you want to take a trip back to when pop-rock was all the rage, not just on college radio, but on the radio period with What a Perfect Ending, so just do it. Buy this CD and enjoy a brief nostalgic indulgence.

Deaf People Can't Hear?

deafnews

Thanks to Ryan, I saw this news article and just about crapped myself. Read the news article title and then read the subheading. What editor lets this run to press? Is it just me or does this seem a little disrespectful, and somewhat of a slap in the face, to the family of the young woman who died? Why make mention of the conductor sounding his horn when we all know the girl wouldn't be able to hear it anyways? This just seems mean... but I still chuckled a little anyways. Damn you, Ryan.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Moving On

Well, I can now officially let the cat out of the bag. I have accepted a new job! I will be working for a company out of Minneapolis, which I shall not name at the current moment considering I don't know their policies inside and out yet about what I can or cannot release. The last week of March will be the final week of my tenure at Kingland Systems.

There were a lot of reasons that I chose to move on, one of the main ones being the decision by the executives of Kingland to consolidate the Rochester office into their Clear Lake, Iowa office. I was not about to move to Clear Lake. It would be like a death sentence for my social life. Seriously, there would be absolutely nothing to do there.

I'd be hours from any major city with anything to do. Rochester is about an hour and a half from Clear Lake. Ames is like an hour and a half. Des Moines is around two. Minneapolis is about two. There would be nothing around within an hour's drive anywhere. Mason City would be close, but I wouldn't count that town as having anything to do.

Anyways, I will be moving out of the Rochester area to the Minneapolis area within the next couple of months. I need to find someplace to live before I can move, obviously. It should be an interesting search. So if new content starts to dry up, it's because I'm dealing with my final weeks of work, moving to a new city, packing my crap, and making the transition to a new position. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Worst Program Ever

What the hell was I thinking trying to make doing taxes easier on myself this year by using a computer program instead of filling out the forms by hand? Who was I to think that I'd save time by doing it that way? What was I thinking when I imagined that interactive software was the way to go instead of messy figuring by hand? I was surely crazy.

Friend, I tell you this: do not ever waste your time using TurboTax. I make this statement not because of the way that the program works (because I couldn't even get the damn thing going), but because it won't let you use it period... at least for me on my year old computer.

Once I installed it I doubled clicked the pretty little icon it put on my desktop to start it. About a minute later it finally came up, but only to tell me I needed to check the web for updates. So I let it. It found some that it had to download and install so I let it go about its business doing that. As it tried to install the updates, however, it claimed TurboTax was open and needed to be closed when, in fact, it was not open and I had killed the program thread manually just to make sure.

Once it prompted me again to exit TurboTax, it simply threw an error message saying it was aborting the patch install. At this point I tried running the updater by itself, running TurboTax, restarting my computer, running my spyware scanner, restarting some more, running the updater and/or TurboTax as the only programs open... nothing would work. Crashes and errors were happening left and right.

After a solid hour of monkeying with this waste of hard drive space program, I uninstalled it, put the disc in its box, and made the decision to take it back on Monday. I don't care if it's already open. This pile of steaming cat feces isn't worth the $30 I paid for it, or any dollar amount for that matter.

I might give TaxCut a shot if I feel daring, but more than likely I'll stick to doing taxes by hand again this year. This is the first program to crash on my home computer. Everything else I've put on it runs perfectly.

So in conclusion, TurboTax sucks ass. Lots of ass. Lots and lots of ass.

Super Awesome Friday Fun!

It’s a Friday, and a beautiful one at that, so what do I have on my agenda for the evening?  Let me tell you!  Tons and tons of fun!

With tax time approaching I will be attempting to get them done this evening utilizing my recent purchase of TurboTax.  In the past I’ve filled out the tax forms manually, but I figure it’s about time I get some type of computer program where I can keep track of my tax stuff year to year in one consolidated place.  Hopefully it’s worth the $30 I paid for it.

After that I will start filling out my passport forms.  So much awesomeness will be had!  Who doesn’t love filling out forms?  Then next week I’ll turn them in and pay the bajillion dollars it costs to get a passport nowadays.  I talked to one of my managers today about it and he said it cost him under $50 to get one for a relative a couple of years ago.  As it is now it’ll probably cost me over $100 easy.

Once I get those two things done, the real fun begins.  Whatever time I have left over for the night, I will be spending playing video games, reading a book, and watching DVDs.  Yeah, that should be enjoyable, but by the time I’m done with the other two things it’ll already be close to my bed time.  Lame.  Being grown up sucks.

Unpimp My Auto

TV ads, for the most part, are utter crap and have become more and more easy to totally ignore. What happened to interesting ads? Rarely is there an ad or ad campaign that makes me want to actually look into a product. Lately, however, the VW ads revolving around "un-pimping" someone's ride have had me rolling every time I see them.

Luckily for me, someone put them up on YouTube so I can watch them throughout the day when I get really bored and need a pick me up. Go here to see all of the videos in action. You will laugh and laugh and laugh... guaranteed.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Where Did Winter Go?

Ummm... I'm a tad bit confused. It was unbelievably nice out today with sun, warmth, and a lack of wind. Definitely a spring day if I've ever felt one. Yesterday it was rainy and gloomy, yet warm. Another spring day if I'm any judge of it. This is all so damn weird because I'm still waiting for winter to start.

I don't think there was ever more than 5 or 6 inches of snow on the ground at any given time this entire winter. Also take into consideration that the first snow didn't really come until mid-December, if memory serves me right. So what happened to the frigid, frost-biting, nipple-condensing, arctic cold that I'm used to?

Growing up a Minnesotan you come to expect at least 3 months of horrible, snow covered roads, snow days, and all around frigidness that no one but a true blood northerner could ever imagine standing. This year didn't even come close to feeling like we had a winter, and with April fast approaching it looks like we missed out, or dodged a bullet, depending upon who you ask.

The thing is, though, I kind of missed having that cold winter. It's because of those days where it would be ludicrous to go outside that I could justify hours upon hours of video games and television watching. With spring on its way, I'll start to feel more and more guilty for "wasting" my time on those guilty pleasures. Sad.

Considering I like being outside, why does it feel so weird saying that I missed having winter this year?

Looking So Darn Good

Back in November there was a certain technological gadget that I most definitely wanted to get my hands on. That wonderful piece of Microsoft gaming goodness, the Xbox 360. I was ready and willing to throw down over $400 in hard earned cash for it and then contemplate forking over more dough to be able to actually buy a game or two for it.

As I went to pick one up they were sold out, which was a good thing because I don't think I really needed one but wanted it for the whiz-bang gadget factor. I read reviews of the games and the system, finding out not all of it was as good as I had hoped, but it still seemed awesome. Now, the second wave of games is on its way, along with more shipments of Xbox 360 units, both of which are tempting me yet again.

Specifically I saw some screenshots for the next Ghost Recon game. If the game looks that good while you're playing it, is fluid, and is as fun as the reviews make it sound I very well may have to re-think my latest choice to not buy one. Honestly, this game looks phenomenal and that's just from small screenshots. Imagine that on my big screen tv! It would be amazing... I hope.

I'm trying to temper myself as much as I can to not get into the "I must have latest gadget now" mindset again, but giving the next generation of games a try is kind of hard to resist. God, I'm such a nerd.

Hell Promise - Aim for Hell CD Review

In order to keep things interesting when I sift through CD review candidates, I started a game that I like to play with the CDs I get. As soon as I receive a disc, if I haven’t already heard of the band (or only know a little about them), I make sure not to read their bio, press sheet, or visit their myspace. Knowing what they’re supposed to sound like, even if it according to the creative writing that is most press sheets, would ruin the game. I won’t even contemplate listening to the CD until after I have made my answer to “the game”. The point of this game is to make an attempt to pin down a band’s sound simply by looking at the band name, album art, and song names. Sometimes it’s not that hard to pick out a band’s sound (like with most emo bands for example) by the cover, but other times there are some real surprises. Hell Promise, in the context of this game, would be an entry level guessing candidate because they are just too easy to identify.

Their name is Hell Promise. The name of their debut is Aim for Hell. Their song names involve mention of shotguns, arson, vengeance, and “brass knuckle nightmares”. The cover of their CD is of a desert with a skull shadow in the clouds and a skeletal head on the ground. Yes, my friends, this is most definitely a metal band influenced purely by booze, bad boy living, dirty metal, and everyone’s favorite king of the demons—Satan.

From the first dirty metal chords of “Chamber #5” to the very end of “Shotgun Romance”, Hell Promise churn out song after song after song of simple southern metal, complete with occasional 80’s metal riffage, a few modern metalcore breakdowns, and some Swedish metal licks. Being that Brian Johnson, ex-guitarist of Himsa, is laying down some of the riffs, it would have been more expectant that this release have a quicker paced, thundering metal edge instead of the often slowed down groove nature of some of the songs, which gives many of the riffs a Black Label Society feel. It’s not really like modern Himsa at all, though.

Certainly this style of music has seen a resurgence of sorts lately with bands like Maylene and the Sons of Disaster gaining popularity, but Hell Promise lean more towards classic metal stylings alongside the southern metal as opposed to tacking on some southern metal sections to a predominantly metalcore base. Most of the tracks on Aim for Hell sound as if early Metallica had grown up in the dirty south or if Pantera slowed down their songs to half speed.

Those things being said, it is probably apparent that this CD is not exactly the most interesting southern metal release around. Sure, there are some decent grooves and riffs here and there, but most of the songs feel like a band just coming together trying out stuff for the first time, sticking to the simple things to keep it easy to learn and remember. The level of musicianship on display here just isn’t up to what it ought to be, considering the experience some of the members of the band have.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Drunk in Duluth

Last week I had the chance to take my first quasi-vacation in the last, well, long ass time. I only had a couple of days off from work (2 to be exact) but combine that with the weekend I had a solid 4 straight days... 4 and a half actually, off from work... sorta.

I took those days to go up to Duluth with Kristin and some of our friends to hang out in a cabin and totally decompress. By totally I mean moreso than if I was at home, but it was still good to put work down for a bit and just feel free. It's amazing how much work can hover all around you even when your job is supposedly only supposed to affect your life from 8 am to 5 pm. It never works out quite that way, though.

Our trip started out interesting enough in that the directions we got from Mapquest (which is a site I will no longer use--ever) led us down a road that simply ended in the middle of a forest. I kid you not. We were driving down this swerving road that was about one lane wide when it suddenly just ended in a gigantic pile of snow. Thank you Mapquest.

After calling the cabin owner a couple of times we thought we had the correct directions to where we were supposed to go. That, however, was completely wrong. What happened is that their directions were just as bad. Worse, actually. We ended up going down another crappy, little road but this time instead of it ending in a snow bank, both our cars ended up in snow banks from which we had to not only push ourselves out of, but had to get our vehicles turned around as well. Let's just say we had tons of fun pushing cars around in the snow.

Once we got there, eventually, after talking to the cabin owners yet again, things were not nearly as stress filled. We all settled in quite nicely and the next few days were filled with plenty of movie watching, reading, ice fishing, Uno, cribbage, and pool.

The only other really out of the ordinary thing that happened (that would interest anyone reading, at least) was Kristin and my encounter with a wonderful character at Jitters, a coffee shop in Duluth, a really nice coffee shop by the way. We went there so that I could get my internet fix and send off some emails as well as do a few other things I needed to do.

As we were sitting at a table in Jitters a woman came and sat down by herself at the table next to us. She was calmly drinking her coffee and eating a muffin when a slow moving, unshaven, middle aged man in a black leather trench coat wandered in slowly through the door. He sort of stumbled a little as he came towards the woman's table but didn't quite fall over.

He sat down, lazily looking around at his surroundings, and the woman looked over to Kristin and myself with an expression that couldn't read any other way than, "What is he DOING?" Personally, I didn't know what to do initially. He wasn't doing anything too out of the ordinary other than sitting down in a drunken stupor.

I was busy doing some work on my laptop so I wasn't fully aware of the sheer uncomfort of the woman at the other table, but I became aware when our drunken fool thought it would be fun to lean over and start reading what I had open on my laptop (which, at that point, was a personal email I didn't really want some looney bum looking at). As I looked at him he didn't even register that I was gazing at him. He was that far gone into drunken la-la land.

He continued to sit there, at times mumbling to the poor lady sitting across from him, his alcoholic stench slowly taking over our area of the coffee shop. Both Kristin and myself didn't really know how to approach this. I should have simply told him to leave the area, but I wasn't totally "into" the situation since I was working on my laptop. Eventually, and thankfully, a worker at the shop asked him to leave.

It was unclear as to if he understood, however, as his glazed over and drooping eyes groggily wandered around as he was being talked to. It took about three or four repetitions of the request to leave before it registered with him. Once it did he got up, started mumbling about God knows what, occasionally throwing in an f-bomb for good measure, and left. For a while he sat outside the shop, obviously confused.

As we sat there taking it all in, I couldn't help but wonder over and over again what would drive a man to get totally sloshed on a Monday before wandering down Superior Street. Especially since it was only about 2 in the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gloomy

There is nothing more wonderful than rain, clouds, cold, and utter dreariness on a busy day when you want nothing more than to get the hell out of the office. My motivation is hitting rock bottom right now, but I have so much to do that I'll be working from home again tonight. Nothing like the weather to pick you up, right?

It's amazing how much of a difference the backdrop Mother Nature puts on display for the day can make a difference in mood. If it were sunny and 80 degrees out I'd be working my ass off so that I could get out of here right at 4 and enjoy the weather. As it is, though, I could really care less about being outside. All I'd rather do is curl up on my couch, watch some tv, and have a beer.

What's even more depressing is that it'll be about another 40 years until I can retire. Can this day get any more gloomy?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Interesting Yawn Facts

Last night while conversing with Kristin about the physiological elements of yawning she pointed out to me that when humans yawn we always pull our tongues back in our mouth. In stark contrast to that, most animals we could think of stick their tongues further out when they yawn. Why the heck is this?

I did a little research on my good, ol' friend the internet and found out a couple of interesting facts... or as close to facts as you want to take them since I did get them from the internet of all places. It seems that depending upon the animal a yawn can mean different things.

For dogs, a yawn is not a sign that it is tired. Instead it is a sign that they are conflicted in making a decision. So instead of being tired a dog's brain is actually hard at work trying to figure out what the heck it should do in a given situation. If you think you have a really, really tired dog you, in fact, have a highly indecisive pet instead.

Cats, on the other hand, are actually relaxed when they yawn. They, however, are not ready to go to sleep. If you'll notice they often yawn after they wake up. This is because they are now waking up and are communicating to other cats in their area that they are awake, still relaxed, but aware. In other words, if you were thinking of pouncing on me and waking me up, don't try it--I'll claw your eyeballs out.

Humans, at least in my experience, just yawn when they're tired. Truth be told, I've yawned about five times while writing this and actually feel a little more tired. Odd... yet somehow interesting.

Interesting as this all may be, I still haven't found the answer as to why humans suck their tongue in when they yawn while animals usually put theirs on display. Of course this means I will have to perform more internet research. Unfortunately stupid things like a job keep getting in my way and taking up my time.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Catching Up

As you may or may not have guessed with my posting of a couple of music reviews that I wrote while on vacation, I am now back. I took a trip with Kristin and some of our friends up to a cabin by Duluth for the past 5 days. It was a pretty low key time.

Getting back to the regular grind, however, has been the usual pain in the ass that it is whenever you're gone for any period of time. My cell phone had messages on it, my email (both personal and work accounts) was overflowing, and I have way too many things to now catch up with.

I really wish that it was possible for everything to simply go on pause when going on a vacation of any length. It seems like I had to work extra hard the few days before I left to get what I needed done finished and now my first couple days back will be extra long to catch up. It's frustrating, but at least I'm not bored.

Last Laugh - No Regrets CD Review

Next time you are hanging out with some of your punk music listening buddies, pull one of them aside and ask them to tell you about their first experience with the genre. Surprisingly, more often than not, each punk fan’s story will share many common traits, the most prominent being the description of the music upon their initial listen, much like this response from Johnny Q. Public when asked what it was like when he first heard a punk band:

“It was so raw, man. This wasn’t what I was used to hearing on the radio or from my friends’ CD collections. There was an intensity that felt so genuine despite the simplistic nature of the actual music. It showed me that production values don’t make music good—the attitude does. Their talent lied within their ability to make rough music that made me want to get up and kick a kitten!”

Last Laugh, a strong member of Suburban Noize Records roster, embodies that crazy, raw punk spirit—and wears their influences proudly on their sleeves. It’s a given that No Regrets isn’t going to revolutionize any punk sub-genre or bring about a punk resurgence, but what it does do is show that there are still bands in today’s punk arena that know where modern melodic punk’s roots lie.

It won’t be hard for listeners to pick out the parts of the songs that sound like NOFX, Pennywise, early MxPx & Offspring, or AFI. Not all of Last Laugh’s songs are simply throwbacks to the 80’s and 90’s, however. There are some uses of modern punk song structures and vocal harmonization, even if they are not totally noticeable at first and don’t have predominant parts to many of the songs. “Overboard”, for example, shows some of the modernity of punk styles Last Laugh exude by making astute use of a piano intro, harmonized choruses, and a drum heavy bridge.

One thing that deserves a little note about this album is Last Laugh’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black”. Cover songs usually bring on a shudder since most bands don’t understand how to properly do a cover or there is such little variation from the original song that including it on an album seems quite superfluous. Last Laugh avoids these pitfalls and turns in a stellar, yet gritty, version that doesn’t feel out of place on the album and doesn’t lose any of the Stones’ genius musicianship.

Last Laugh, with No Regrets, possesses an album that stands among some of the classics of yesteryear. Standing among them, however, you may be hard pressed to choose this release over some of the classics, but for the younger punk listener, this CD is exactly what they need to open their ears to all of the greatness that has come before what makes up the punk crowd of today. This CD could be their gateway to past gems.

Bracket - Requiem CD Review

This, quite easily, is the oddest punk release to be heard in quite some time. Not so much because of the music itself (although there are some head scratching moments), but because of everything associated with this release that isn’t the actual music.

First, I was pretty confused when I was looking over the tracklisting on the rear of the cd. Every song was “Warren’s Song pt. ”. This isn’t so out of the ordinary in itself as many prog bands label their movements and sections of extra long songs. But none of Bracket’s songs are in order. For example, track one is “Warren’s Song pt. 16” and track seven is “Warren’s Song pt. 17”. In between are parts 19, 14, 24, 11, and 23 respectively. So did Bracket make one big release about Warren and mix it all up?

Second, these guys still exist? It’s been six years since their last studio release so, for all intents and purposes, most people probably figured they hit up the punk band retirement home. And, no, this isn’t a reunion effort.

Third, and finally, the contents of this CD are off the wall in every direction. You have do-wop flavored pop, bouncy mid 90’s style punk, modern schmaltzy pop-punk, acoustic sing-a-longs, Weezer inspired quirk rock, blistering distorted punk, and peppy melodi-punk. There really hasn’t been this eclectic of a punk album put out in well over six years, and there probably won’t be another one for at least six more (unless Bracket get around to making a follow-up to Requiem before that).

Listening to this effort straight through is quite a trip as each of the 17 songs has an oddly unique feel. It was almost as if the band entered the studio on 17 different days, each time trying their hardest to create a new song that would sound nothing like what they did on any of the other 16 days. If that's the case, then for the most part, they succeeded.

For most discerning punk listeners, 17 songs would be a little bit of overkill, but in this case there is so much variation that you feel like you ended up with either a Bracket sampler disc in which you get to hear bits of all the punk sub-genres they are capable of playing or a Bracket homage album. Not a disc that is an homage to Bracket, but a disc that shows Bracket playing homage to all of their influences.

Six years may have been a heck of a long time between releases, but in the end it turned out just fine as this release comes out at a very opportune time, just as the classic Epitaph / Fat Wreck punk sound is making a comeback. Obviously this isn’t a standard Epi-Wreck sounding record—it is so much more diverse—but it encompasses a broad range of what was popular in that sound that you’ll feel nostalgic throughout Requiem’s running. So kick back, pop this disc in, and take a trip back to punk’s glory days of the 1990’s.