Monday, May 31, 2010


I am adrift. I'm taking inventory of my stock. How long will my reserves last? I have a liter of Paddy's whiskey, a liter of Osborne's Veterano brandy, and a fifth of Black Velvet. I'd rather not drink the latter. I have some Rich and Rare also, but I'd rather not drink that as it is more a mixing whiskey than a sipping whiskey.

Like a castaway I am assessing my rations, calculating my intake, multiplying by amount, and coming up with a calendar. How long will I last? Mister Booze won't be buying any booze for probably a month. Mister Booze hasn't bought any booze for the last month. Mister Booze might have to go month after that without buying any booze.

If my supplies run out, what shall become of me? How long can I last?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ups and downs

Trembling rumbling in my belly like a shot of cheap bourbon makes the taste in my mouth sour and the feeling in my hands is weak it doesn't feel right like that feeling right after you throw up and you feel as weak and helpless as a newborn. Maybe it will pass quickly or maybe it will last all week but deep down I know it won't go quickly I know I have erred or maybe not but waiting is the worst part; just waiting to know how it's all going to turn out.



There is a metaphor in here, where I see the bits and pieces of my life reflected back in these seemingly insignificant events and all the hardship of life is worn on the faces of the carnies who pull a lever without distraction from the Arbys which drips sauce onto fingers. Change is good. Change is bad. Being paranoid like Stalin means thinking every move is plunging headfirst into disaster. Am I like Stalin?

Am I like Stalin?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Filler post: Asian guitarwizardary

I am in the process of reinventing my life. I am very busy. I will be calling the shores of the big lake they call mishigami home. Mishi is probably a variant of Gitche and has numerous alternate spellings such as Mitche and means great or mighty. Gami or Gamua means waters.

So enjoy this guitar wizardry from - where else - Asia

Two guitars! What won't they think of next?

This one is for the future Mrs. Booze; Michael Nyman guitarwizardry

Monday, May 10, 2010

The greatest scam of the 21st century

There have been many a notorious scam committed this century. Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, the Euro, marriage, Napster...these were all terrible frauds. But no fraud is as terribly pernicious as premium vodka.

Yes, premium vodka. I know what you're saying. Your asking "what's wrong with premium vodka? I like Grey Goose." Dear reader, allow me to explain.

Let me preface this by saying that I like vodka. My vodka of choice is Stolichnaya. It is priced reasonably, and is smooth. There is a harshness in your cheaper vodkas like Popov that gnaw on the way down. It offends the nose and the tongue. It will also leave you holding your head the next morning.

Now, if you are familiar with the distillation process you know that vodka is distilled into a raw spirit and bottled. No aging and therefore less flavor imparted. It isn't terribly much different than moonshine.

Vodka is nice, but I challenge anyone to do a blind taste test of vodkas and correctly identify the brand. I have no doubt that I could, with a blindfold, determine a glass of Johnny Walker from a glass of Old Grand-dad from a glass of Jameson. I might have difficulty telling the Knappoge Castle from the Sullivan from the Paddy, but I could tell you blindfolded that they aren't Scotch.

I'd like to see someone with a blindfold identify Grey Goose from Skyy from Kettle One from Belvedere, from Stolichnaya.

Notice that these vodka taste tests don't actually try and identify which is what. If you blindfolded people and had them taste test water, I'm sure one brand would come out the winner. That doesn't change the fact that its all water does it?

No, I'll wager that such a feat can be performed by few if any people in the world. Why? Because while vodkas might have a bit of character, they don't have the sort of flavor profile of a whiskey or brandy. They don't have much flavor at all.

So why should you spend more than 15 dollars on a fifth of grain neutral spirits that haven't spent a minute aging and developing flavors? What's the difference between moonshine and vodka again?

So for far less than a bottle of vodka one can buy a bottle of spirits that was crafted with a lot more emphasis on the flavor profile, and spent many years aging gracefully in a warehouse.


As May lumbers on, the Northlands heats up. Today is an exception; it is cold and rainy, but mostly warmer days are ahead. Now some people like to resist the seasons. Some people listen to tropical music during the cold dark days of winter and listen to some arctic music to cool down during the dog days of summ- no, they just turn on the air conditioner. Still, I can't abide tropical music in the winter, and I prefer to avoid outright cold music during the summer. Sorry Darkthrone and Ulver, you'll have to leave the ipod.

So what then? Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Now you have a few choices for what to drink with Villa-Lobos. Obviously, he knew how to live like a man. Shooting pool, smoking cigars, living large. You might immediately think rum, and for that I suggest you start with Rhum Barbancourt. Distilled in a pot still, aged in oak for 4 years, and still in the Captain Morgan pricerange. No cartoon character on the bottle, but very drinkable on its own. There are older vintages should you find yourself with the means and the thirst.

Now fine brandies are a delight, and if you can find it in a liquor store stateside, Osborne's Veterano is a very good brandy for the price. Quite frankly I have yet to find a New World brandy that is its equal and even remotely in the same price range.

I still can't recommend a true tropical whisky yet, as I have not yet had the pleasure of sampling. But I can tell you that Kentucky gets quite hot in the summer and stays fairly mild in the winter, and I'll stand by OGD against many premium brands.

Yes, I stay with the brown liquors. Honestly if you've ever smoked a good cigar you'll know why.

As for the music, I'll recommend all the Bachianas Brazilieras. They are a delight, even if some of them are less Bach than others. The string quartets are a mixed bag for me. Some of the later quartets are quite cerebral, a few seem to borrow melodies from each other, but I still give them a thumbs up overall.

Perhaps it is colored by my experience reading Old Man and the Sea with this playing, but I tend to see blue waters with this

It seems carefree, like a summer afternoon, but thick like the air in July.

As a tangential anecdote, I had a transcendental experience on a hot August night drinking Boonesfarm. I've never been so comfortable with the heat and humidity as with a refreshing drink and wearing a loose fitting rayon shirt. With this recipe I have learned to avoid the air conditioner all summer long. Maybe you'll find it beneficial as well?

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Doesn't this video sum up every conversation with a woman you've ever had?

Pretty much

I paint

The evolution of my art on the godmachine


First attempt


Second attempt


It seems to have lost something in compression



This is what I get for listening to too much Ahab and reading too much Lovecraft




There will probably be a lot more of this, since I am short at the office.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One more thing on heavy metal

When Black Sabbath started, Tony Iommi had custom equipment to get his distinctive tone. Bands that used the legendary Marshall JCM 800 often had it custom hot rodded to get huge crunch. Metallica did waaay back in the day. The point is that it wasn't easy to get the tone that the heaviest bands had.

Today you can go to any Guitar Center and buy a Mesa Boogie triple rectifier and get as crunchy a tone as you want. It is accessable, and therefore mainstream.

Here is Madonna playing the Pantera classic A New Level. Anyone can buy a Gibson Les Paul and a Mesa Boogie amp and get the classic sound. So in some ways the sonic mystique that hard rock and heavy metal bands used to set themselves apart is done. It's over. Sorry.

If everything is heavy, then nothing is heavy. If everything is brutal then nothing is brutal. And that sound that once had a specific meaning is now used to sell insurance and promote NASCAR. If bands want to set themselves apart, they will have to do it through their composition instead of their tone.

Rail gun

General atomics builds an electromagnetic railgun

That is all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The stars align

As evidence of the Jungian metaconsciousness, professor Shelby Cobras has some thoughts on the sorry state of heavy metal. Long have I ruminated on this subject. Long have I searched for answers. Coincidentally I came upon answers yesterday.

These days I practice detachment. For great bands will lead to great disappointment, and group association will lead to guilt by association. Therefore I try to reject any labels. To call me a metalhead is an insult; for I refuse to join any club that will have me as a member.

Yet as I introduced my young padewan to some musical gems of the past I realized that my heavy metal collection stops with the year 2000. Oh I have 21st century heavy metal albums. But what I don't have is 21st century bands. I think that Mithras and Lamented Souls are the only bands in my collection that were formed in the 21st century.

As we sit a decade into the new millenium, I ask "did I leave metal or did metal leave me?"

You can see what happened for yourself. Metal left me.

For now it seems that metal has left me. And I wait patiently for it to return. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is never full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

Heavy metal morphology: a brief digression. Often changes in metal arise from cross pollination with other styles of music. I see a blending with punk elements most frequently. Often which side of the punk/metal aesthetic a band lies is nebulous. Here I will cite Motörhead as one band that has long sat astride the punk line.


To be sure there are many many examples of this cross pollination. But there was always a certain point when the punk side was too strong for my liking, and that's where I draw the line.

This is the line, folks. Any more punk and I think I'll take a nap. Boooring!

The recent hardcore/metal cross pollination seems to have created nothing but boring metalcore, and this has basically taken over all the new heavy metal that I can find. Or look at it this way, the bulk of posts on metal inquisition seem to be about shitty hardcore or bands from 1983.

Oh sorry, I was napping. Were you making music? I'm sorry, it is so boring that I must have dozed off.

I even went so far as to go through the "reviews" section of metal-rules to see if maybe I had missed something. This served to only remind me how much I hate "reviews". They're all the same aren't they? They try to tell you if something is "good" or "bad", which is only useful if you have the exact same tastes as the reviewer. Aren't these sort of reviews totally worthless in the age of youtube? Just tell me what the band sounds like, and if I am interested I will give them a listen on youtube. I mean what can't you find on youtube these days?

Hey lookie its Phil Lynot playing live with Motorhead. Just another day of anything you want at the click of a mouse.

Oh look it is Hellhammer. The album that ten years ago you couldn't even buy, now you can hear it free instantly. Lookie that.

So yeah, cd reviews are stupid. Just tell me what the band is like and embed a youtube video for the lazy people.

While I am an old curmudgeon that is scared by change and owns a jitterbug, I can be patient. I don't want to write something "positive", but I'm sure that there are good new bands making music, it is just that finding them is more time intensive than it was ten years ago. But the new crop is there, for it must be.

One generation passeth away

And another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.

I find solace in the fact that I don't like whatever turds the young kids are into. When I was a teenager I was listening to bands that started when I was in diapers, or some before I was born. So when the young kids are into emo bands like Jobs for a Cowboy, I take great comfort in being called a dinosaur for not liking them. I've been called a dinosaur since I was 19. Whatever "new" crap you are into is the new glam. Or the new disco. Or the Milli Vanilli.

No mosh, no core, no trend, no fun. It took me a while to understand this mantra, but doesn't that sum it all up?

one generation passeth away

and another generation cometh, but the Misfits abideth forever

I suspect that, like any other phase of heavy metal, the new good bands are somewhere in Europe. Since I don't speak "European" I can't seem to find them. America has always been the land of shitty heavy metal. Sure, sure Metallica back in the 80s and all that. But it started in England with Black Sabbath, and came back again in England with NWOBHM. Great waves of bands came from Scandanavia. America, by contrast, was the land of Poison and Bullet Boys. Sure, Morbid Angel came from America, but good American bands are the statistical outlier. All the good bands are European. American music has always sucked. European music has always been superior.

Here is a band from Europe that is new and "good". Professor Cobras sums up doom well. Ahab surprised me; for one would assume a doom band about Moby Dick would be more boring than the book Moby Dick. You can eschew my worthless opinions of good and bad and click the embed yourself.

And here allow me to once again plug Lamented Souls.

Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe the ship has sailed to new musical shores, never to return. So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past.