Saturday, May 13, 2017

Plant Day!

DSCF5548Today was the spring day I went plant shopping.  We had a lot of pots to fill and I think I filled them well.  It was overcast with sprinkles this morning, perfect weather to beat the crowds so I got going early.  By midday it was sunny and beautiful outside so I'm sure the amateur gardeners were out in droves, crowding the plant stores and making it hard to move about and causing long lines at the cash registers.

I didn't really have a plan when I set out, just an idea of how many pots I had.  I tried to get plants that tolerate full sun and that looked nice to me.  I did get one for part shade by accident, I put it on the front step behind the front flower pot.  The front is the north side of the house so it should do well there.  This afternoon Kate and I went and got a couple hanging baskets, too, one for front and one for back.  We may still get more plants, there is still some space in the flowerbeds in back, we want to look at perennials to replace tulips on one or both sides of the front stoop and we still have planting to do in the garden.

This was really the first spring day that we could have all the windows open all day and enjoy the beautiful weather.  But that also means summer is right around the corner, and Tuesday is supposed to be the first day in the 80's F.  I always hope to keep the windows open but before you know it it's just too hot.  Oh well, we'll all - cats included - enjoy open windows while we can.

I'll take more pictures and post another yard and garden photo tour soon, possibly tomorrow, over at the garden blog.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Latest Listening Pleasure 26 - Dementia

In high school I had friends (yes, not many but some!) who either played instruments, had longer hair, enjoyed the same kind of music that I did or any combination of the above.  I'm still friends with some, and I've written about them here, while others have faded or pushed away.  One of my good friends from then, Mike, even lived with me for a while after high school.  Otherwise we still seemed to get together somewhat regularly, driving to and fro.  He continued to school an hour or two away but got hooked up with a band, Syrys, if I remember correctly.  School fell by the wayside for him as it did for me, but he was doing what he loved.  Eventually the band left small town Wisconsin and moved to a house in Chicago to seriously pursue music.  It was after that move the band, now named Dementia, put out an album called Recuperate From Reality.  Getting that album out was a great accomplishment.  That the album was recently re-released by an independent label is a wonderful recognition and validation of their efforts.  Too bad some of those involved sought more so it is just the one cd instead of a box set.  The 3-cd box set that it should have been would have been a better tribute - if they all could have agreed on things.  It's all in the past, this should be nothing more than a celebration of that past.  One would hope that would be the only motivation, but it seems not because only the one cd got re-released.

Mike, Skylar and Brian
Mike contacted me recently to let me know about the re-release and I ordered it immediately.  The album, Recuperate From Reality, was released in 1991 on Tombstone records, the re-release is available under these blue words.  A few days later he sent me a link to a YouTube video of Dementia playing at the Avalon in Chicago.  (He also emailed me a picture of me and him at least 25 years ago.  I was shirtless, tanned and skinny.  No, I will not post it.)  Unfortunately, I don't think the band lasted much longer after this show.  I believe both Skylar and Brian went to the west coast, I think separately.  Mike followed his own career path, too, and wound up in Michigan.  They had several bass players over the years, and one interesting fact is they once had a bass player named Matt Snell who more recently played with Five Finger Death Punch.  He appears on the last two tracks of the re-release, songs that weren't on the original CD.

I've heard this so much and knew all the guys (well, not all the bass players) so it's hard for me to be objective.  These were the times in the early nineties.  We were young and having loads of fun, probably lucky to have survived it at times.  But being close to it and having it and hearing it for so long, I can't tell, is it dated?  I don't think so, or maybe it's the production.  No matter, it will always remain a favorite in my collection.

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia

A YouTube video of the whole 1991 album audio is after the break.

Friday, May 5, 2017

May The Fifth Be With You

Happy Friday!

Thanks Jonco!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May The Fourth Be With You

For all you Star Wars geeks, here's the Star Wars Holiday Special that you all want to forget.

I do remember watching this on television in 1978 - and it was never to be re-aired.   (Of course I also remember seeing the original movie in the theater with my friends back in 1977.  I remember playing with imaginary light sabers, acting out the scenes with my friends behind the Dixon theater waiting for one or our parents to come pick us up, several times we went.)  I liked the original trilogy as a youngster, but the newer ones I've not really seen much of, except for the one with the original characters back.  And then I only got it for us to watch as a nostalgic novelty.  I'm just not into this kind of thing anymore but I thought posting this today might be somewhat original and funny.  Well, we all like what we like so whatever it is you may as well let your geek flag fly high!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Petcube Video

I just took this video through the Petcube app, the first time I tried the video part.  I think the video taken was just over a minute but the file is 45 seconds.  It seems to be sped up a bit, and there is an episode of pixels.  The laser isn't the easiest to maneuver with your finger and over wifi, but overall not a bad first try, I think, and Hamish would probably agree.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Gadgets, Petcube!

Recently I wrote how we received the Amazon Echo Dot for christmas.  It was a fun gadget, but it was just a novelty and not really utilized for anything.  That changed when I bought two outlets that connect to wifi to control power to whatever you plug into them.  So now, both lamps in the living room are controlled by voice with Alexa or by using the app from wherever you are.  Not a necessary thing, but I think it's pretty neat.

Since then, I was looking for a bluetooth speaker to use exclusively for Alexa.  I would up getting a bigger version of the Amazon Basics bluetooth speaker that I already have and like.  Now it is much easier to listen to music - anything we really want through Alexa and Amazon Prime.  Another use for the Dot, and a good one for us.

While I was getting that speaker I came across another gadget that caught my fancy, and I ordered it pretty quickly - the Petcube.  The Petcube is a 4 inch cube with a camera that connects to wifi that you can use to see your pets from wherever you are on your phone via the app.   When you log into the camera the cube itself makes a noise and a light on it turns blue letting you know the camera is live.  Through the app you can play with the cats with a laser or turn on the sound to talk to them.  You can also take a picture or video if they happen to be super cute.  If it's dark, they have a more expensive version with night vision, but again, I can turn on the lamps from anywhere with my phone.  There is also a feature you can pay for that will use it like security, recording when it detects loud sounds or movement.

The cats have become familiar with the noise it makes when it comes on, so when they hear it they will come out to the living room and start looking for the laser!  It's not the easiest to control, with your finger on your phone screen, but they do have fun with it.  And almost everyone I know has absolutely loved it when I showed it to them, other than one relative who acted rather dismissive but I think he likes to think he's on top of all the tech things so it's old news to him.  I think it's quite a lot of fun and still not something everyone has heard of, but I know several people that I showed it to who may have one of their own soon!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Late Easter Bunnies?

DSCF5496aWe lost the tree 2 years ago now, April 25 actually, and then we had much fewer squirrels in the yard last year. This year, a brood of what seem to be yearling - or maybe 2 year old - rabbits have moved into our yard.  Well, maybe not 'moved in,' as I think I would find out where they lived, but our yard has certainly been their playground lately.  I keep telling my wife I need a pellet gun - half-heartedly, of course - and she always exclaims her disagreement.  As long as they don't eat all the flowers that I'll buy this spring then I guess at least they give the cats something to watch.
My wife says there are four, but I have only ever seen three at a time.  I'm pretty sure this will continue until proof is presented...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Happy Blogday To Me!

I almost forgot, this is my Blogday!  I've been doing this for eight f**king years!   Wow.
Edit 4/11, added new 8 pic.

That's a long time to keep something up that is as personal as it is public.  I've had friends and family that care, friends and family that don't, friends and family that sign up to get emails when I post but then I rarely or never hear anything back from them.  I know blogger ain't farcebook, tweeter, linkden or Instagrat.  I don't care.  I don't want more accounts or social media so I know I don't make it easy to be my friend that way.  I just like having my own little corner of the internet here that I can say and post (almost) whatever I wish.  Just - and sometimes mostly - for me.  An online journal, or a diary, of sorts.  I appreciate those that come along for the ride and I also appreciate the new friends I've made along the way.

Blogging is always a bit of work in progress.  The other day I tweaked my template and lost my lists in the right column.  This is the second time I lost my lists, I can't remember if I was messing with my template last time.  I will build them again, but it may be later tonight, tomorrow or even next week.  Whenever I feel I have the time and gumption to get it done.

I don't want this to take away from my post earlier this evening - we got bikes!  Scroll down or click here to read all about that!  And Happy Blogday to me!

New Bikes!

I've said it here a few times now over the last few years, and finally we have bicycles!  Last weekend we went to look at them in a store then came home and shopped online for what we wanted.  They arrived on Thursday this past week, the delivery driver was good enough to leave them at the back door since we weren't at home.  We've never had a delivery stolen but we know that it has happened in the area before.  That night I started putting mine together, and today I finished it and put my wife's together.  Hers went much smoother than mine.  She has a nifty 3 speed that has the normal brakes of a one speed, while I have a 7 speed with hand brakes.  We won't be riding in any races, just riding around our side of town, eventually.

We spent some time outside with adjustments and learning to ride a bike all over again.  While I think it is true, that you never forget how to ride a bike, the details and the finesse of it will take time to re-learn.  Still, the harder part is going to be getting the body back into somewhat near the shape it was the last time we rode bikes.  For me it has to be at least my late teen years, while Kate thinks she may have been twelve when she last rode a bike.  We started mostly in the driveway and yard until moving to the sidewalk and then the street, but just our little corner of the street, maybe a couple hundred feet either way at the most.  It was a nice little exercise and, as my wife pointed out, much different than riding the recumbent exercise bike downstairs.

We practiced enough to be a little sore, but not too bad.  Overall, not bad for how long we've not ridden.  There are so many places we can get to just on our side of town, and so many dedicated bike paths to get there and further, if we ever wish.  I'm looking forward to getting in better riding shape this summer, even if it's just for a quick jaunt down the bike path to Atwood Ave to get ice cream! →

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring 2017 Pictures

DSCF5469It was finally dry and sunny enough to get a first look at what's going on outside with all our plants.  If you're interested in looking at a bunch of small plants that probably don't mean anything to you then stop by Scoakat's Garden here!

I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with that website, but don't expect much more than what I did last year.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March This-And-Thats

Most all I've posted recently has been about the weather or my shoulder.  We've had warm spring days, cold winter days, snow, rain, thunderstorms and hail - all very recently though not necessarily all on the same day.  Thank goodness spring is coming, but officially it is already here.  We have plants coming up and I'd like to get out and take a few pictures but today is rainy and dreary, maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, I have a few things on my mind so time to type them out!

  • Just to get it out of the way, I had a cortisone shot in my left shoulder on Wednesday.  It's too early to know how well it works out, but I hope it gets better yet as the next day it was measurably worse.  It is starting to feel a bit better now but certainly not as it should.
  • I mentioned spring so it may be time for my annual wish of getting bicycles to get about our side of town during our non-winter seasons.  I think I may actually follow through with it this year.  My wife would be content to walk, but I want to bike.  I feel there's a higher chance of me biking somewhere with her than walking.  I think that's because biking will take much less time than walking.
  • I finally bought myself a cordless drill/screwdriver.  I've had the same corded drill since I was a teenager, and it still works wonderfully but it is a bother to keep chucking drill bits and screwdriver bits alternately when working on projects.  I bought it during the holiday sales late last year and, unfortunately, I haven't had an excuse to use it yet.  But it seems real cool!
  • Last night the Badgers fell to the Florida Gators in the round of sixteen in the NCAA tournament.  It was an another exciting ride, watching them come together and get the wins when it counted.  Last night they lost by one point, at the buzzer, in overtime.  A quick and almost surgical finish to the game.  Most Badger fans were probably stunned, like me.  A few seconds after the late finish I picked up my jaw, turned off the channel and got on to other things.  I still can't make myself look up the highlights or stories yet today.
  • Over the holidays we received a gift called the Amazon Echo Dot (thanks Mom and Dan!).  I set it up at home, but it was just a novelty.  We never really used it for anything, until recently.  I bought two outlets that connect to wifi and plugged in our living room lamps.  Now we turn on and off the lights by asking Alexa to do it, or I have an app that will turn them on or off from anywhere, individually or together.  Certainly nothing necessary, just a bit of fun and it makes the Dot more useful.  I've tried to think of other things we could automate in our home, but nothing else really makes a lot of sense, usefully or monetarily. 

That's all I can think of for now.  In the middle of writing this today my wife and I went out and about to a couple neighborhood places for food and drink.  Not very busy out today with the weather.   This is the kind of thing we could do on bikes during good weather.  It will happen this year - and soon!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Trump Catnip Toy

I was shopping Amazon for something totally unrelated a while ago and I saw this little trinket that brought me thoughts of Basil and Hamish shredding it - The Trump Catnip Toy!  It's brand new, we'll see how long it takes for it to fall apart...    :-)      Oh, and Happy Irish Day!

Video link here, email readers, if it doesn't transfer.  But stop by the website sometime, say Hi!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hmm, March. Yeah.

DSCF5441I woke up to snow today, several inches through mid-morning.  They said it was going to be the light, fluffy stuff but my snow thrower was clogging every few feet.  Oh, my aching back.

I scheduled this day off a few weeks ago, it's just my luck we get March snow this day.  I got to sleep in, anyway.  A few hours were spent scanning and cropping all our wedding album photos into the computer.  Yes, we were married just before digital cameras were everywhere.  I'm glad I finally did this task as the pictures were getting well stuck in the photo album.  Now, rather than spend more time at the computer typing (and alternately shaking my arm trying to get feeling back), I think I'll go out for a bit.  I have a couple errands, now that the snow has slowed, and I may go out for a late lunch.  Overall, since I'm not at work, this is still the best Monday I've had in some time.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Relative Humidity

DSCF5440Today was chilly, but refreshingly sunny out, and the high winds (gusts of 40-50+ miles per hour) of the last several days finally calmed.  By the time I got home from work today the sun had warmed the porch enough again so that the cats really wanted out there.  They always want out these days when the sun is out because they know it can get even warmer than the house.  The porch does face south and the sun is starting to get higher in the sky and warmer, surely spring is coming!  I let them have access for, oh, maybe 90 minutes or so until the sunbeams left us.  My wife was home by then and they were inside, anyway.

When I went to shut the door I saw something I had never seen before.  Well, not like this.  The porch windows had condensation on the inside.  It was 24ºF (about -4ºC) outside the single pane cheap porch windows and 72ºF (about  24ºC) inside the house, the porch felt similar when I let them out, slightly cooler when I went to shut it.  The humidity outside, according to my weather app, was 24%, while inside I got a reading of 43% relative indoor humidity from the humidifier controller on the air return vents downstairs, and a reading of 37% upstairs in the computer room off the porch.  That's a lot of numbers.  I found it interesting to check for those numbers when I saw the effect.  Like I said, I have never seen this before.  I've seen the condensation on the outside, making it look similar, but never the inside.

DSCF5401The humidifier we had installed just after the beginning of the year has been a very good investment for our cold, dry, winter air.  The best part is that we never have to think about it.  No constantly filling up the tank, changing expensive filters every 10 days, no dripping water on the floor.  No muss, no fuss.  Twice a year I have to move the damper from 'summer' to 'winter' or back, and once a year change the water pad.  I think we made a very good investment, indeed.

Other than that, all has been well enough, I guess.  I have a few things I could mention, but I should have time this weekend that I may post another This-And-Thats.  Outside, there's no snow around, really, and just a few inches in the forecast for Monday.  Now if we can just get temperatures to stay above freezing...  I mean, really, there's already plants coming up!

Saturday, March 4, 2017


Well, I wasn't in a very good mood my last post, was I?  It was how I was feeling at the time.  This will be a short post as my arm tends to fall asleep when I'm typing.

I had my MRI Tuesday evening.  I spent almost 30 minutes shoved into that toilet paper tube head first.  This was my fourth or fifth time in the big donut.  I hate it every time but I do manage by always keeping my eyes closed and concentrating on the music in the headphones.  Even the banging of the machine is somewhat comforting to me in the darkness.  Anyway, it looks like I'm headed for a cortisone injection in the near future for rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis.  I think my doctor expected to find more from the MRI and, depending on how the shot works out, we may have to take another look at what's going on in my neck.  The pain seems to have lessened - or else I'm getting used to it - but the numb and tingly is still happening often.

So that's it for now, my arm keeps falling asleep.  Just know that my condition is not fatal, just a bother, but I reserve the right to complain sometimes.  It's my site, after all.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Misadventures Continued

I had my doctor appointment a few days ago.  It's now been over 5 weeks since the original injury and I'm still having pain in my neck, scapula, shoulder and bicep with numbness and tingling going down my arm into my fingers.  The doctor believes the source is my shoulder injury and not in my neck, and now, so do I.  My lack of progress has gotten me a date with an MRI machine next week.  From there, if it's like my past experiences, I will have to meet with a surgeon, set a date and get all the paperwork in order.  I don't want to have surgery again but I can't live like this, either.

And to top it all off, I missed the bottom stair yesterday afternoon and rolled my ankle while tumbling to the concrete floor.  I kept ice on it for hours last night but still today the top outside of my foot by my ankle is swollen and purple.  And everything hurts today, like I fell onto a concrete floor yesterday.  I'm getting too old for this shit.

And if that's not enough sunshine and lollipops for you, winter has made a comeback.  We got snow and ice yesterday and last night.  Not much, but it does seem like February again.

Now I should try to write something positive instead of just complaining.  Sorry, I don't think I have it in me right now.  There's always next time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's Still February, Right?

Here's a sight not often seen here in the middle of February.  The cats have full access to the warm, sunny porch today and have been enjoying every minute of it.  Last fall we expected a harsh, cold and snowy winter.  Here we are now, on this date, in this month, with the snow almost fully melted with high temperatures hovering at or close to 60ºF and more of the same in the forecast.  I'm certainly not going to complain, but it does worry me some.   There's plenty of time for it to be winter still before it becomes spring, but this is pretty unusual.

Today, we slept in - well, I slept in.  My wife is the more responsible one and keeps a more regular daily schedule.  The cats help her with that.  They can be pretty obnoxious about wanting their early morning wet food treat to get her out of bed.  They don't usually ever, or never, bother me in bed, but they don't seem to hesitate to jump all over her.  On weekend nights at home sometimes I tend to stay up too late and drink too much.  I still have fun, but things are so different now with the internet, and it's a lot safer fun than I had on weekend nights 15, 20 or even 30 years ago.  Is that justification for me now being old, tired and boring?  Hmm, maybe, or maybe I just suck at being social now.  Next topic.

It's been over four weeks now since I injured myself coming up the stairs on January 18, and my left shoulder quarter is still giving me problems.  The pain has calmed recently and defined itself to me more.  I'm still having issues with my neck, but I still have a little lump on the outside of my bicep that sends numbness and tingling down my arm and into my hand when I touch it.  And the soreness in my rotator cuff has defined itself now, as my doctor originally diagnosed.  It is notable to mention that I had a left shoulder problem in the summer of 2015.  The PA I saw a couple weeks ago mentioned that was the last time I requested my pain pills.  I have a full physical scheduled for this upcoming week so I'll see the doctor again very soon, I'll just have to see what he thinks then.

I turn 50 this year. I've always known, but I'm starting to realize my mortality even more, and the ramifications of getting older.  It sucks.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Duchesse De Bourgogne

Happy Friday!.. and Happy Weekend, everyone!

The days are getting longer now and the end of winter is inevitable.  We will be warm again!  There will be more to life than work and cold and darkness!  Soon!  Well, relatively soon.
I promise...  *Sigh*

Actually the immediate forecast isn't so bad.  But I think it's just lulling us into a false sense of security, then - Bam!  20 more inches of snow!  We'll see. Mother Nature, I'm keeping an eye on you.

Tonight is Friday, still a reason for at least a small celebration in this household.  The Duchesse has been our Friday friend for some time now.  She is a pleasure indeed, and one of the luxuries we afford ourselves, my wife and I.
Duchesse De Bourgogne

Saturday, February 4, 2017

More Misadventures Of Being Me

Two and a half weeks ago, on a Wednesday, I was bringing something up from downstairs, maybe laundry - I can't remember, but something requiring both hands.  I lost my balance a little bit but steadied myself as I was coming up, but I was off to the left side.  I stepped up right into a handrail on my left shoulder.  Me, rushing a bit up the stairs and my left upper quarter suddenly and unexpectedly stops dead.  Wow, that hurt!  But I didn't drop what I was carrying and, after a few moments and curse words, I shook it off and completed my task.  I don't think I even thought about it again after that, well, not until the next day.

DSCF5411 bBefore I continue, maybe I should explain how it came to be that there is an odd handrail on the way downstairs.  There were no handrails for the first parts of the stairs when we moved in, only the one on the steps downstairs starting where the wall ends at the basement.  I added the two short pieces of handrail to cover the first 3 steps down and the first few steps after the corner until the handrail starts at the bottom of the wall.  When I bought the piece, 8 feet was the shortest length available so I had a good size piece left over.  So, being a tall person and admittedly rather clumsy I had the idea of adding it along the base of the wall, giving me something else to grab that may be more solid than the rail that starts below.  It may look a bit odd but I use it often on the way downstairs and I'm glad I installed it as it has helped me greatly in the past.

The next day at work, it was Thursday afternoon, my neck started to get a bit stiff.  The following day my neck was still stiff and my shoulder started to ache.  I still did not even remember that I hit it at all until later Friday night as it got more and more sore.  Over the weekend it affected everything I did and disrupted my sleep, so on Monday I went to work and let them know I intended to get in to the doctor that day.  My doctor was off so I saw a Physician Assistant that agreed with my assessment of a rather bruised shoulder.  I had full movement and it didn't seem like anything serious happened to the structure of my shoulder, just badly bruised soft tissue internally.  She gave me a prescription for painkillers, which is the reason I went in, and sent me on my way.  I got through the rest of the week dealing with the pain and taking pain killers as needed.  When it got to the weekend I had seen no improvement so I requested more pain killers and received a few more, but not many.  I rationed them as best I could but it was not feeling like it had improved at all.

The next week, now this last Wednesday, two weeks after I hit my shoulder, I left work again to go to the doctor.  This time I saw my own doctor.  My old doctor I had for over twenty years, until he moved up and became a Vice President so I had to find a new primary care physician.  This new doctor I have only seen a few times so I have yet to really trust him fully.  He looked at my shoulder and determined that it was the rotator cuff that I injured.  While he was going over the plan of care I was saying to him that that just didn't seem right with the pain I had.  He came over and started poking and prodding my shoulder again and Yowza!  He found the spot, all right.  He pushed his fingers in to check out my biceps tendon and I almost jumped out of my chair!  The diagnosis changed to Biceps Tendinitis.  He upped the amount of painkillers he was going to give me and mapped out exercises for me to do.  On the way out he had me stop for x-rays, later he sent me a message that they were normal.  He also wants me to consider physical therapy but I declined for now.

Last night I also found a lump on the outside of my bicep that is exactly where the base of the wall ends if my shoulder is under the rail, so I must have hit that pretty good, too.  In fact, that is the source of most of my pain, though I still have issues in my neck, shoulder and scapula.  For now there is nothing I can do but pain management, hot/cold packs, maybe a few exercises and hope it heals sooner than later.  If not, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Sorry to be long-winded.  I didn't write this to complain and I'm not asking for your sympathy, but I haven't written anything since it happened so I thought I'd share what I've been dealing with lately.  Now for some more painkillers and whiskey...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Latest Listening Pleasure 25 - Darkc3ll

I found another interesting band while indulging in one of my favorite pastimes, browsing the internet for new music - Darkc3ll.  Something initially caught my attention, probably a description of the album and the song titles and, after looking further, I took a leap and got their recent release, 'Haunted Reality.'  If I see something interesting the first thing I do is go to YouTube to see and hear it.  This time, what I found was a newer metal band that was using a lot of keyboards and effects to create a sound that I rather liked.  They go for the "evil" approach to their songs and image, like metal bands have been doing since I was a little kid.  It still works and it's still pretty cool when done well.  An Australian band, they once had a promoter cancel a show because he took exception to their album cover and theme.  Nice one, boys.  As it was then, it is now.  It's show business, folks.

'Haunted Reality' is a pretty strong album start to finish.  I can see why they released Preacher as the first single, but I think there are several songs that are better, like Stitch Your Heart, Stab Me (With Your Crucifix) and Monsters - which is kind of a cute song, actually.  There are two videos from the new album so far, one is essentially a tribute for their fans called Raise Your Horns (Army of Darkn3ss) and the aforementioned Preacher.

Darkc3ll - Preacher

There's also some video of the band playing live on YouTube - not a lot, but I've watched much of what there is.  It is there on the stage that all those effects used on the album need to be played and played along with.  Now, I've long accepted that these days some bands play to backing tracks.  Nightwish needs to recreate the orchestration,  and Pain has always played to tracks to sound like the album (he is a producer, after all).  Here, similar to Amaranthe, the guitarist is also the keyboardist so they play to the pre-recorded tracks.  But one live video keeps bugging me.  I watched a show where only the singer had a microphone, the background vocals were all on tape.  Really?  At least give them a mic stand and pretend to sing!  Not enough to turn me off the band, but I do hate that.  Here's a song off an earlier release.

Darkc3ll - Hate Anthem

I'm actually having a lot of fun enjoying this band, maybe you will, too. Now, raise your horns!!!  \m/

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I'm a Liar

I know this is a farcebook kind of thing to do, but I resemble this cartoon!  Sorry!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January This-And-Thats

I haven't done this in a while so it seems like it's time to start typing again and see what comes out.  Come along, it might be fun.
  • I'm finally feeling better after a rough start to the new year.  I was hit from behind in traffic on the Thursday before.  I stayed home the next day due to soreness, but did not go to the doctor and am quite well now.  NYE we had a few friends over for food, drinks and games.  It was a lot of fun but I felt that I was coming down with something all weekend.  On Monday evening it hit me like a ton of bricks and stayed with me all the way through Friday.  Just a nasty, snotty man-cold - the worst kind!  As I write this I am feeling perfectly healthy for maybe the first time this year.
  • I drop my car off at the shop for repairs tomorrow morning.  At the same time I will get my rental car for the week.  That means I'll have to do some make-up time at work.  I don't like doing make-up time.  I will miss having my car, too.  I've never had to have this amount of repairs done to a vehicle and can only hope that when I get it back it's like brand new.  Or at least as good as it was before the accident.
  • Our weather started out by snowing the first few weekends in December.  Since then we've had a few spells of bitterly cold weather.  Single digits, either above or below zero like our highs and lows have been, is really cold.  That said, I think I would rather have the cold than the snow.  Snow has to be moved and makes travel more difficult than the cold.  Unfortunately, I have no say in the matter.  Though the days are now getting longer we have months of both snow and cold yet to maneuver.
  • We had a whole house humidifier installed last Tuesday.  It installs downstairs on the air ducts by the furnace.  We had been using a 4 gallon humidifier located generally in the center of the house but it just wasn't cutting it.  You're constantly filling it up and the filters are expensive and don't last long when it gets really cold and dry.  I think it will be a pretty good investment in the long run.  I'm still playing  with the settings a bit and it seems to be working well, but when the weather gets this cold and dry it has to run often.
  • It is still a pretty good thing to be a sports fan in Wisconsin.  The football Badgers won a great game in the Cotton Bowl last week.  The basketball Badgers enter league play on a roll and have another really good team this year.  This afternoon's road game against Purdue will be a tough one, though.  And the Packers enter today's playoff game on a 6 game winning streak.  It's win or go home time, Packers.  I hope they can keep it rolling.
Even though I felt the need to sit and type I guess I don't have a whole lot more to say right now.  The holidays are over and we are in the part of winter where we tend to hibernate - we don't go out as much and spend little time outside.  Today, I'll be spending the later afternoon watching Packers play the Giants and flipping back and forth to the Badger basketball game.  It's not often the games conflict, but they do today.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

LLP Bonus - Amaranthe and Pain

I may have to rethink this format.  I'd like to post these Latest Listening Pleasure posts more often ( the last was in April?!) but eventually it would be most of the same bands every time they release a new album.  Thus the LLP Bonus posts, like this one.  Although I'm constantly scanning the internet for new bands and new albums that I find appealing I need to really get into the music to write one of these posts.  I don't want another one like LLP 7 - Paramore where I really dug the single then later I hear the whole album and absolutely hate it.  Now, I've found a newer band that I want to write a LLP post about but first I need to acknowledge two favorites that I've been listening to a lot lately.  Both have recent releases and both have already been a featured LLP band.

Amaranthe's new album, 'Maximalism,' is much like their last and I am still enjoying their 3-singer sound.  The first single, That Song, is a standard rock anthem and I recognized it as such immediately.  Still, I found myself singing along and loving it.  This album goes deeper than the last with better songs but is still front-loaded like the last CD.  Below is the official video, but there is a great, simpler version from a record store appearance here.

Amaranthe - That Song

Peter Tagtgren's Pain has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  His new album, 'Coming Home,' has been eagerly anticipated as his last Pain album was in 2011.  Since then he has released a Hypocrisy album and the Lindemann album with Till Lindemann from Rammstein, as well as producing other bands.  Now, with his 17 year old son, Sebastian, filling in on drums, he is out touring again.  (Till even joined him for a Lindemann song, first time live!)  Besides the title track below, just released on New Year's Day, you can find all the other new Pain videos here.  Wannabe is a real good one, too.

Pain - Coming Home

There, now that I have these posted I can start on the next official LLP post.  No hints on who it is!  You probably wouldn't know the name even if I told you.  It will be posted when it gets posted...