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Albums of 2003 [08 Jan 2004|04:35pm]

[ mood | hungry ]

Favorite Albums of 2003:
(in no particular order)

Brand New - Deja Entendu
Super catchy, dynamic, and heartfelt. Sic Transit Gloria is one of my favorite songs of the year. At this point it may seem that any punk/emo band is mining old territory, but Brand New make the shopworn conventions of the genre seem, well, brand new.

Outkast - The Love Below
Not to give Big Boi the cold shoulder, but Andre's album is quirkier and more fun. When Hey Ya comes on the radio, I bop around in my car like a microcephalic nimrod. The album is laced with beautiful string arrangements and goofy keyboard hooks that would make John Linnell proud.

Thrice - The Artist in the Ambulance
When my band went to the studio to record our demo, we told the engineer that we wanted to sound like this album. They've evolved in every conceivable way from their earlier releases. This is one of those CDs I play at work, and at least one person will ask me, "Who IS this band??"

Thursday - War All the Time
Full Collapse was my favorite album of 2001. This album just might be better. Vocalist Geoff Rickly summed it up last time I saw them play: "It's not a question of whether or not you like the new album. You either like it, or you're dead." Only Thursday can pull off using September 11th as a metaphor for personal turmoil without sounding trite or insincere.

AFI - Sing the Sorrow
I love every single song on this album without reservation. I hope this album influences the direction of punk music. The songs are dynamic and extremely well written, and they're anthemic without being repetetive and boring.

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What I did on my summer vacation [26 Aug 2003|05:57pm]

Me, hanging on, sloopy (O-H-I-O

The aforementioned tatoo.  I don't even remember dancing with this guy.
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Nina Hartley [29 Apr 2003|09:07pm]

As some of you know, Nina Hartley was speaking at
my school tonight. I was really curious about
what type of crowd would show up. Would it all
be guys or all girls? What would she look like?
What would people ask?

Having such an inquiring mind, I figured that
the best way to find out was to show up. There
was this mostly normal looking woman in a red
turtle neck and black jeans. Her hair had
been bleached one too many times, but I can
name a few people who fall into that category.
She had ona pair of black EMO glasses, and
tended to slur her esses a bit, the type of
lisp that is stereotypically associated with
gay men.

She told us how she got a degree in nursing,
but she never was a practicing RN. She wanted
to be a midwife until she got into the porn
industry. Next year, will be her 20th year
in the business.

She was well spoken and talked about a number
of things and assured us that we could not
embarrass her because she worked in the
porn industry.

She talked about how "objectification" had
been turned into a dirty word by feminists
from some period or other and explained to
us that it is not the feelings or the desires
of wanting to see people naked that hurts
others. It is the acting out of these
feelings in a way that interferes with the
other person's reality when they do not

Her four rules of sex were:
-Don't take advantage of people
-Don't take advantage of people
-Do not have sex with people who
are incapacitated.
-Do not use drugs or alcohol to
lower boundaries that you
are not yet ready to cross.

After that, she discussed masturbation.
"If God didn't want you to do it, he
wouldn't have made your arms that long."

She also explained the power of female
sexuality. "Men will do anything the
topless chicks tells you to do as long as
you do not remove the topless chick from

To test her on the being able to answer
any question, someone guy in the back
asked "How many dicks do you think you sucked?"
She paused briefly and replied "About a
thousand-- about a thousand of each gender."

She then went back to the topic of masturbation
and toys. She really plugged the Hitachi magic wand.

She explained how a table is a good sex prop
and demonstrated a handful of possible positions
that you can do with a table.

She also made one young man's childhood fantasies
come true. Some guy in the front row had mentioned
that he had been a fan of hers since he was 10,
so when it came to Nina requesting volunteers, he
was definitely her man. She talked about explaining
to guys how to suck nipples. She said it was much
like sucking earlobes and proceeded to demonstrate
on her lucky volunteer. She also explained the
eroticism of hair pulling and neck kissing. Then
she stopped and asked the boy if he was dizzy and
let him go back and take his seat.

I asked her about how she resolved feminism and
BDSM. She said that with her current partner
she is a submissive and that admitting that she was
a submissive was almost as shameful as admitting
she was an alcoholic. Her partner is a 100% dominant
who only has BDSM sex, and she talked some about
exploring that with him.

She also did not seem to be anti-pirating because
someone mentioned that they found "Debbie Duz Dishes"
on Kazaa, and she was excited because she thought
that was one of her more fun movies.
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Things that kick ass. [07 Mar 2003|02:45pm]

Okay, so I have been a fickle LJ user making and breaking alliances like static filled underpants in a dryer.

I have spent endless hours creating a more fun friends list, and I have pissed people off because I have deleted them from my friend's list.

Some of the more interesting livejournal friends include:

spoonfeeding, a stripper in Nevada(?). She does not post quite so much as I would like her to, but she is hot and she posts the funniest stuff.

saltdog, a merchant marine who tells many stories about getting drunk at every port while flashing back to interesting stories from living in Rhode Island before his career. He is not posting too much right now because he is changing jobs(?).

jwz, one of the original creators of Netscape, once he left with his millions, he started a bar called the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Most of what he posts are interesting factoids that you could probably find if you
spent enough time surfing the net, but he keeps them fairly brief and to the point.

merovingian, one of many people's favorites. He makes up the most bizarre stories and puts up humorous polls.

Who are some of your favorite LJ people that you have never met?
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The worst movie of all time [07 Jan 2003|11:00am]

While wandering through the local mall that is getting ready to close, I went into a Suncoast. The person that I was with swore that Plan 9 from Outer Space was the worst movie of all time, thus we had to watch it. But while at the movie store, I saw the boxed set of Carnosaur movies as well as The Brother from Outer Space. I think one of these has to be worse than Plan 9 from Outer Space. Maybe, Leprechaun 4 in Space is even worse than these. But I an not convinced that Plan 9 from Outer Space was the worst movie of all time.

Sure, it had a poorly written voice over by a bad narrator. Sure, the controls in the airplane were made of wood. Sure, the aliens had a stupid greeting and were just as mean to their women whose only purpose was to open doors. But I do not believe that this was the worst movie of all time.

This is not a complaint about how bad a movie was but more about how bad a movie wasn't. And this one was not quite bad enough to qualify in my book as the worst movie of all time.
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Queen of the Damned [28 Dec 2002|04:35pm]

As much as this movie sucked ass, the sound track rocked. It was all that angsty stuff that you get in the mood for sometimes. Static X, Deftones, etc. Okay, so I am not a verbose twat today, but I think you should check it out.
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[11 Dec 2002|01:16pm]

I noticed Dominick came up with his own twat name - Twat Munro.

We should create our own names.
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LOTR:FOTR:EE DVD [04 Dec 2002|10:44am]

By request, I am reposting this here. Enjoy. :)


Review of The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition DVD.

One line review: if you’re a fan, go get it.. NOW - if you don’t much care for the book, you’re probably better off with the theatrical version, unless you have a great interest in the making of the movie.

Overall, I feel this new version of the film is worth owning and at least seeing for most fans of the movie. Even if you prefer the theatrical version, the special features discs are worth the price all by themselves. However, in the end I must say that the extended edition is not truly a superior film. I know that by saying this, Lance and many others are now looking at me like a man who just swore at God in front of a Sunday school class. *chuckle* I didn’t mean it like that. In Peter Jackson’s film commentary, he states that the extended cut is intended as an alternate cut only - not a replacement, nor the definitive edition, and certainly not a “director’s cut”. Throughout all the commentaries, the filmmakers all express their happiness at the inclusion of some new material, and their justifications of why other material was rightly left out. The new material is all stuff that they had good reason for cutting out for the theatrical release, and is only being included here for the benefit of the curious fan (and, in many cases, to set up events in Two Towers). While I had been hoping to call this the definitive edition, I must agree with Jackson that it is merely “alternate”. However, this is no shame to the movie, as most of the new material is a joy to see in any case, and also because of the possibilities of the DVD format. That is to say, I think this edition illustrates a difference between theatrical presentation and home presentation than I hadn’t thought of before. Viewed at the movie theater, the original version seems to me clearly superior. The extended cut is simply too bulky and long for such a venue. However, this objection has no relevance in a home theater. The venue is much more casual - people may go and return as they please - the break between the two discs which contain the movie is very natural, both in terms of timing and its placement in the story. It’s simply a different kind of viewing experience, one which changes the demands put upon the momentum of the storytelling. For instance, there is a lot of new material added between the formation of the fellowship and their actual setting out - Aragorn at his mother’s grave, and a farewell scene. These were not in the theatrical version, because the formation of the company creates a big dramatic swell, from which the momentum needs to be maintained, and so they tried to get them out of Rivendell as soon as possible (the only thing in between was Bilbo’s presentation of gifts to Frodo). In the theaters, this is the right choice to make, because Rivendell was a slow, restful point in the story, and the audience needs that push forward into the second half. Aragorn’s solemn moment at the grave would have felt awkward and irrelevant right after the Council of Elrond. On DVD, however, the dramatic height of the formation of the company creates the perfect cap to the first disc. The audience then goes to the bathroom, gets more popcorn, chats about geek stuff, and returns to the movie about ten minutes later. By this point, we need to be re-sucked into the film. The moment with Aragorn is the perfect way to open. It’s exactly the kind of opening you would give to the second act of a play. So, really, I do not call either version superior, because which one you prefer is largely going to depend on how you like to watch movies. I tend towards the theatrical version, since my thinking is very cinematic. But the extended version plays just a touch more serialized (and thus feeling more epic - as others have pointed out), and I think it is a step closer to the experience of reading a book.

Now, for you uber geeks like me, read on as I detail some of the best and worst aspects of this new DVD.

Detailed CommentsCollapse )
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Arcosanti [14 Oct 2002|06:55pm]

"Arcosanti" is the name given to the first prototype architectural structure developed by Paolo Soleri, one of the disciples of famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Called Arcologies, these building are the ideological meld of architecture and ecology, in theory, allowing humans to live in harmony with the land that they are currently recklessly abusing. Each arcology will be a massive super-structure which will, in essence, be a self-sustaining community (like a mini-city), growing its own food, recycling its own water and wastes, and generating its own energies. Though Arcosanti was designed to be the first of these buildings, at its completion, it will house about 5,000 people, and designs of even million-person arcologies have been made.

At least, that's what they tell you before the tour of the place. I went to visit Arcosanti with my girlfriend last year on our way back from Sedona. From a first-person perspective Arcosanti is both a beauitful dream and a failure of that dream. First off, the road to Arcosanti is now what I would call "easy to find". We got off I-17 at Cordes Junction, proceeded to follow a small road for about half a mile, past a truckstop and a junkyard, where it quickly became a dirt road to the middle of nowhere. There are heavy earth-mover treads in the road that wrecked havoc on my little Sentra's suspension system, and the surrounding desert looked like it would be good for get rid of dead bodies. This was a place where either you were going to have a vision quest or get killed in a drug-deal gone wrong.

Anyway, after about 15 minutes of slow driving and kicking up a 50-foot-high plume of dust behind us, we finally arrived at an array of concrete and metal buildings that looked like a cross between a sci-fi movie set and a commune. The concrete stumps and blocks that stuck out of the dessert ground looked distinctive against the landscape otherwise devoid of human civilization. Yet, up close, you could see that the steel was well rusted, the concrete chipped, and weeds were growing through the cracked walkways. A bearded man wearing only shorts and a old tennis shoes came down the path, ignored us, and walked into a building.

Feeling a bit disconcerted, but figuring that we'd made it all way here already, we decided to wander around a bit and have a look. Following a few sparse hand-written signs, we were eventually led to the main "lobby" area, which featured a collection of custom-made Paolo Soleri bells (windchimes), which was evidently how the foundation made the majority of its income. The bells were all basically of the same new-age-desert-motif theme, though the only ones that I could afford were about the size of a teacup. From here, the tour started hourly, with the guests given a lecture and a video, and then shown around the buildings.

The project had started around 1970, and since then, only about 5% of the total construction had been completed. Understandably, the project is a non-profit organization and survives solely on the basis of donations and corporate investments, but the project was at a similar stage about 10 years ago when I first heard about it. I suspect that since the initial infusion of money in the 70's, the project has more or less stagnated, and as money would have eventually dried up, probably turned its goals to survival rather than the realization of some ultimate purpose. Now, Arcosanti has become the home of eclectic hippies and over-eager Architecture students wanting the prestige of studying with the famous Soleri.

Everywhere there were signs of artistic touch. A metal stair-railing, for example was fashioned in the shape of a gecko. Yet, I also noticed a half-naked child (about 4 years old) riding his tyco tryke through the courtyard. Somewhere, someone was playing what sounded like electronic-feedback overlayed with a live Frank-Zappa concert played backwards. The few native "arcosantians" that we did see seemed to ignore us with the indifference of tourist-wearied citizens of some exotic south-asian city, as if trying to ignore our gawks and pretending that we simply weren't there. All in all, I couldn't quite shake the sense of "strangeness" (as if eccentricity had been taken a little too far) of the whole place. It's as if the denizens of Disneyland had started living there, and you saw Goofy walking around in his bathrobe eating a burrito.

Overall, I would say that it is a place to visit if you are at all interested in architecture, but be prepared that this is no theme park. On the plus side, I think this would an awesome place to hold a Burning Man.
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Trembling Before G-d [13 Oct 2002|07:43pm]

I saw the movie Trembling before G-d tonight, and I'd like to talk about it. First of all, dude, it's the first non-hollywood cheesecake movie I've seen since I left Cleveland this summer, not that I'm opposed to Cheesecake, but as I've mentioned, it makes your brain fat and sluggish and it's got no nutritional value. So if nothing else, I appreciated that the film was grainy.
Trembling before G-d is a documentary, and there are certain things to appreciate about the film documentary. For one thing, there's no re-shooting. Well, duh, but what I mean is that you only have the one shot to make your point. Even if the film is biased in your favor, you can still come across as a moron. Of course, you can always edit out the idiotic things later~~ I'm certain Micheal Moore edits all of the statements that don't skew well with his demo. But this documentary was pretty bare of that. People on both sides argued well, people on both sides argued poorly. I think the the film was most guilty of bias in camera angles. Ever since the Barbera Walters interview with Monica Lewinsky, I've paid attention to the way non-fiction film uses angles to betray a bias. In the Lewinsky interview, the camera was below Monica's face looking up very close up so that Monica looked like a looming monster, while the angle on Barbera was far and from slightly above so that she looked very un-imposing and... good. I mean, half the time you could see up Monica's nose. In this film, people the filmmaker seemed to be particularly unfond of were shot at unflattering angles which brought out ugly physical charictaristics.

The film was about hasidic (sp?) and orthodox jews who also happen to be gay or lesbian, how they fit in in a world that tells them they are all wrong. I identified with this on several levels, not that I am Jewish or particularly gay. But it was a story of trying to reconcile who you are with your upbringing, something I was never able to do.

I cried when a 58 year old gay man said "All I want is my dad back. I'm 58 years old and I want my daddy." Then he sang a hebrew song that his father had sung. I feel the same way every time I go to church. I cry because I don't *want* to not believe, I just can't, you know?

Eh, anyway, it was very good, thumbs up.
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On the inaccesiblity of culture in small-town america [30 Sep 2002|04:30pm]

I wouldn't say that I'm one of those people who goes out of her way to be "cultured." I don't go the art museum because I want to ~better myself~ or something, but because I feel like it. Same with the theatre that shows first run art house flicks like Amile and The Importance of Being Earnest, same with the theatre that shows even more obscure art house flicks like Dancer in the Dark, The Wintersleepers (sorry, my German spelling's worse than my English), and the Troma flicks. And so on. So I guess this is why I never noticed just how much I take these things for granted. It never occured to me that I might ever be in a place where it was not so easy just to walk into a theatre and see whatever art flick I've been hearing about on NPR. It never occured to me I might end up in a city with (god forbid) NO NPR! Augh!

It's so odd, then, that I have no idea where to find "culture" in these cities. The movie theatre in town only shows three flicks at a time, and they're all mainstream monstrosities. There's no such thing as an art museum, and you don't just hop over to the Cinemateque when you feel like seeing a presentation of Storm Over Asia with a live Mongolian orchestra complete with a throat singer.

I often wondered whether I really enjoyed some of these pastimes, or whether I did them because that's what my friends were doing and it was better than going to Denny's. I mean, I didn't enjoy a single solitary moment of Toxic Avenger IV, I can tell you that much, and sometimes I'd like to sit in a movie theatre with comfortable seats, ya know? Being bereft of these things, I know now that the good movies, the good art, the good music, they were like my meals, my staples. The real deal. That off of which I thrived. The rest was candy, and not very tasty candy at that. I never thought I was picky about movies as there was little I would refuse to see, but now I know that the good movies are the only ones I devour-- the others I enjoy idly, as one might snack on a bag of chips.

My boss at puff n stuff was always complaining that you can't get a decent Pizza outside of New Jersey. Now I know what she meant.
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Music [29 Sep 2002|07:50pm]

Okay, so my eyes are getting opened to a whole variety of early 80s stuff back when being punk was something original and likely to get the mess beat out of you by jocks and such without them fearing that you would blow up the school.

So these old punks are telling me about their old band that got a lot of play on college radio (The Aqua Nazis). The whole premise seems to be who the hell would put together those types of lyrics? So they had me listen to a whole bunch of stuff by Gary Numan, Ultravox, and various other artists that I had never heard of. It was actually good. There was one song that may have been titled parthanogenesis which only served the purpose of "Can you use the word parthanogenesis in a song correctly?"

After that, we listened to some recent song which you would think would be really bad because it talked about how people are upset at the president. But then it bursts out with the line "Grammarians are pissed!" about how presidents have misused the English language.

"You don't get three exclamation marks, 10 exclamation marks, or THIS many, you get one."

Anyway, it was a wonderful experience.

In other news, my younger sibling is doing this project where she needs a CD's worth of music about the topics of androgyny or cross-dressing.

She already has a few songs including "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed(s?), "Dude Looks Like a Lady" by Aerosmith, "Laid" by James and some other ones that I cannot think of right now. If you have any song titles or know somewhere on the net where she could find these songs so she can put them on her little Mac that could, let me know. Or better yet, let shahar know.
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Music Reviews [29 Sep 2002|09:11am]

[ mood | screamotional ]

quick rant about screamoCollapse )

SPARTA - Wiretap Scars (Dreamworks 2002)

Rating: **** (out of five)
kindasoundslike: At The Drive In, Fugazi

Well, At The Drive In broke up (boo), and the erstwhile members formed two bands in the wake of its dissolution: Mars Volta and Sparta. I haven't heard Mars Volta yet, but the that's the one with ATDI's singer.

The album opens up with this rippin' track called "Cut Your Ribbon." It has an ambiguous feel that seems to shift from major to minor (are there any music geeks in the house that can name the mode that has a major 3rd and minor 7th?), but more importantly, the riff is HUGE. Reminiscent of Quicksand's second album. If the whole disc kept up the intensity of the opening track, this album would be 5 out of 5.

I won't avoid the inevitable ATDI compariasons. The vocals aren't as shrill and urgent, and the lyrics are a bit more conventional.


At the Drive In: "Corduroy, satin nailed jewelry lips/ while the guillotine laughs again"
Sparta: "This tunnel vision breaks my mind/ dark days leave this world behind."

In general, the name "Sparta" is apropos, given the comparitively spartan production and lyrics. Track 11 is an exception, with cool drum loops, piano, and acoustic guitars to add texture to an intriguing melody line. Overall, an engaging yet challenging album.

THURSDAY - Full Collapse (Victory 2001)

Rating ***** (out of five)
kindasoundslike: The Smiths-meets-(any other Victory band)

Just let me blurt this out: I fucking love this album. It just may be my favorite album as of right now. Thursday is a hardcore band in the same sense that The Police were a rock band. Sure, I suppose technically it's hardcore. But holy fuck.

Where do I start? The guitar parts are obviously written with a lot of care. These guys can take an old vi-IV chord progression, write these interlocking sinuous guitar lines that suggest it, and make it kick an assload of ass. There are a lot of clean quiet parts, open jangly strings, and melody. The rhythm section is perfect for the music. The bass is simple and effective, and the drummer is unafraid to throw in a lot of feel changes.

What really makes Thursday transcend the limitations of hardcore, however, is the singing. The lyrics are pretty damned emo (though not so much that a girl & location are mentioned in every song). The main vocals are very melodic, reminding me of Morrisey (without all that fucking reverb he uses) or Robert Smith (though not so gurgley). Plus there's this other dude screaming in the background, going completely apeshit.

The production has an indie feel (Heather asked me if they were local), but I think it makes the album sound more sincere. In fact, I have almost nothing negative to say about these guys. Buy this fucking album. Now.
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[26 Sep 2002|11:19am]

So long as we're talking music, I need something to keep me awake on my 8 hour drive back to Ohio tomorrow, preferably something I can find in a record shop in Lexington, VA. I like everything. Any suggestions?
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Review of The Finishing Touch [21 Sep 2002|01:43pm]

The Finishing Touch is a Spa and Salon in Boulder, Colorado. It has a website at www.FinishingTouchSpa.com.

I just received the most incredible eyebrow waxing there. They used this thick wax that just hardens a little and gets peeled off. This was an incredible experience because usually getting waxed hurts a bit, but this did not feel so bad, and it did not irritate my skin. The lady did not try to give me evil eyebrows plucked to death and followed the natural curves of my real eyebrows. There was only slight reddening of my lip and no other forms of irritation. They applied this marvelous moisturizer to my face afterwards.

They have this "membership" thing for people who like to get waxed and cut a lot. I have been a sucker and becoming a member of everything for an added fee of $91802309183 dollars to my bill lately, but I did not fall for this one because I always forget to get hair cuts.

But they really do a good job if you are into that regular maintenance thing. :)
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*Robert Ash: Can't You See Me Falling?* [17 Sep 2002|08:11pm]

[ mood | artistic ]

I sorted through my CD tower the other day and came across a CD that I aquired three or four years ago. The singer is a local artist named Robert Ash. I met him while at Hoover Music in downtown Springfield. He was just starting out, and was selling his CD's for $4.99. I would have paid more, however; yes, there are only four songs on this CD, but he puts together such wonderful music. Some bands only put out two or three good songs for every 12 they produce; Ash takes this and makes every song on his CD meaningful. I haven't heard anything about him since, but I still have the CD, which I had forgotten about. Unfortunately, I can't find the jacket or the case the CD originally came in (not that the jacket had much info on it anyway).

There are only four songs on this CD; it's obviously a first-CD kind of thing. However, the music is a wonderful and harmonious combination of a string ensemble and more modern instruments (i.e., electric and acoustic guitars and drums). While not completely down home, this CD is a taste of the laid-back attitude ofJars of Clay with a bit of the bluegrass of the The Charlie Daniels Band (famous for Devil Went Down to Georgia one of my favorite songs) that meets a tad of the classical influence of Yo-Yo Ma.

I will review two of the four songs, the first and third tracks, Standing Here For You and Can't You See Me Falling, respectively.

The first song (Standing Here For You) starts off in a quick 4/4 time signature with an intricate fiddle solo which plays a major part through out the whole song. While the instrumental aspect of this song is "dead-on" in terms of strength and "confidence", Ash's voice is a bit too quiet and wavery, and he puts forth an air of being slightly self-conscious, but it isn't anything that can't be worked on and improved.

Standing Here For youCollapse )

The third song is a rather fast tempoed song as well (starting off in 2/4), but has a differnt style than the first, with a "darker" (read: minor) base scale. The fiddle makes a return, and two-thirds of the way through the song, there is a rather interesting and wonderful ensemble solo that bears classical influence. Ash's voice is
still a bit weak in this one; but as I remarked earlier, it isn't anything that can't be worked on. It's clear his back up is top notch.

Can't You See Me Falling?Collapse )

If anyone would like a copy of this CD, I'll see what I can do.

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