My King Diamond Tribute

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on January 6, 2015 by slateman

It is well known that King Diamond is the man. Andy LaRocque, well, he’s the man as well (so you can point that fucking finger up your ass!) Sorry…Tool lyrics there.

Anyways, that duo has created some of the best music ever. In fact, King with both bands may be the greatest musician in history, just judging by the number of top-notch albums…but I digress…again!

With a new guitar in tow, a buddy suggested I re-record some acoustic awesomeness from the ’80s. His suggestion was Drunken Wisdom but I’ve been out of the Overkill loop for some time. This morning, A Visit From The Dead came on random and that was it. Could I pull this off? I am in fact not the man and both Andy and Pete’s guitarwork on Conspiracy are perfect and glorious metal anthems. So, while I can’t possibly live up to that blinding excellence, here’s my poor-man’s ode to King and 1989’s slab of excellence Conspiracy. Busted out in an evening, replete with the normal imperfections that time and love could address…here goes nothing!

Bone Fire: 1503 – A Visit From The Dead (Intro)

New Guitar. New Music. YEAH!

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on January 4, 2015 by slateman

A nice, routine outing with my wife turned into music store discovery which turned into new gear purchase! I finally offloaded my ever-despised Ovation Celebrity Electric-Acoustic and ended up getting a Guild D-150. This thing is awesome and sounds incredible!

So…of course I have to test it out in recording mode. Now, I had already started recording something new last night and both feature live (electronic) drums by myself! (Translation: They’re pretty poor!) (Follow-Up: I don’t care!) Anyways, the first, aptly titled 1501, is a metal/harmony little tune while the second is just acoustics with electric bass.

Bone Fire: 1501

Bone Fire: 1502

So, I might as well post a pic of my entire guitar collection – which is pretty sick if I might say so myself! \m/!!!

Guitar Collection 2015!

Guitar Collection 2015!

Cube Collection – Winter 2015

Posted in Blog, Cubing on January 2, 2015 by slateman

This past year was a good one with some substantial additions to the collection. Most were cheap fill-ins to voids, but some were stand-out puzzles (the 2x4x6 being one of the coolest ever!) Since I typically keep the collection page updated, I generally don’t need to post here about it. However, a new photo of that ever-growing amassment couldn’t hurt anyone! Overexposed, but whatever. Here’s just the twisty puzzles I have on my shelf!

Cube Collection - Winter 2015

Cube Collection – Winter 2015

The Pros & Cons Of The Hobbit Trilogy

Posted in Best / Worst, Lists, Movies, Reviews, Tolkien with tags , on December 30, 2014 by slateman

307252id1L_TheHobbit_TBOTFA_Teaser_27x40_1Sheet.inddNow that The Hobbit is done, we can look back at the trilogy that is a miracle to even exist. I recall the promise of it coming out being squelched by lawsuits. Now that the trilogy has ended, there is plenty to mull over. The verdict has come and it isn’t pretty. Rotten Tomatoes lists the finale as the worst of the three movies. I’ve heard of at least two comparisons to Episode I – just about the worst analogy a multi-part film could receive. It’s not quite so bad, but some commentary is needed.

The most important part of an article such as this is to preface the entire lot by saying this trilogy was no LOTR. The book, the lighthearted feel, even the way it was filmed differed. Comparing a children’s tale to the “if we don’t destroy the ring, the entire world will cease to be” feel of LOTR would be utterly foolish. Having said this, by the conclusion of the series, I found this tone, the colors, the presentation to be a charming alternate to the darkness found in the first film trilogy.

Nothing is more exemplary than the barrel scene from the second movie. If you read the book, you’ll remember it was a consistent, silly tale of “Aww shucks, we’re in trouble again – Oh look at that! Bilbo saved the day!” Contrast that to, “OMFG darkness, Nazgûl, Sauron’s gonna kill everyone.” The movies’ entire atmosphere is representative of this.

Letting go of this comparison allows for a better appreciation, so just do it.

The Good

The Dwarves
The variation of the Dwarves in the book was limited to color and some simple personality traits. The film does a good job in at least visually differentiating each. Time is limited, clearly, so by the third movie, there were some whom I couldn’t name whatsoever (Bifur and Nori, for instance.) I feel Jackson did a splendid job at making a colorful cast work well in the constraints presented by film. I did quite appreciate the fact that Glóin looks like his son, Gimli.

Out-Of-Control Action
It’s safe to say that some scenes were almost ‘comic-book’y. Yes. Just in case you were forgetting already, This Isn’t LOTR. Read the book again to get a feel of how silly it all was.

Three Films
In the recent weeks, reviews have slammed Jackson and his expansive Hollywood rendition of the timeless 200-page book. Most state that two films (the original vision) would have sufficed. But let me say this…in the original book, Thorin, Fíli and Kíli were all killed in three sentences. The nephews were relegated to saying they died defending their uncle. A film translation cannot introduce main characters and kill them without some weight and gravity. And Thorin’s death would come how? By the hands of a normal Orc? By a stray arrow?

hobbit-azog

Enter Azog & Bolg
In the books, Azog was slain by Dáin after killing Thrór. In the extended version of The Desolation Of Smaug we’re given information about Thrór’s death by the hands of the orc-chieftain. While Azog’s involvement in The Hobbit trilogy was greatly expanded, it presented us with a very important nemesis.

I didn’t like the idea of Azog originally. Another CG character – but think about it…Tolkien created Azog and while his backstory isn’t fleshed out (much like countless other characters), his purpose in the book is legitimate. And Thorin has a genuine interest in him. Who is the main antagonist in the story otherwise? Peter Jackson took an underused enemy, beefed him up and gave the trilogy a veritable (though not the most innovative) main enemy. It had to be done and while it’s far from canon, it ties in well.

Oh, Bolg was Azog’s son. He fought in the final battle and was slain by Beorn. In the movie, Legolas took care of him, but that’s OK. I guess Legolas needed to have some purpose (more on that below).

Extended Editions
We still wait for the last film’s extended version but I look forward to Alfrid dying! I liked the first movie’s extra footage but the second’s was far more powerful. It included much more about Thrain and Thrór. The potency and overarching importance of the magic rings is played out. Beorn has his time in the sun and seeing him next to Gandalf next to Bilbo was a cool height comparison!

Seeing the the Witch-King of Angmar’s burial grounds, the added scenes in Mirkwood and even the naming of Bilbo’s sword Sting were all nice touches that added to the fidelity of the motion picture as well as effective tie-ins to the LOTR trilogy.

The Bad
I positively hate how Galadriel handles things in Dol Guldur in the last movie. However, in The Silmarillion, details are given about the White Council, though few they are. Essentially, while Galadriel is part of the council in some form, she wasn’t there for the actual event. All that’s told is that Saruman, Gandalf and Elrond “assailed Dol Guldur and drove Sauron from his hold.” You can understand Peter Jackson’s desire to include this portion in the films. It ties this trilogy with LOTR and also gives Gandalf something to do. That is why he left the party at the edge of Mirkwood after all. So, having this is ok, but man, I hate the weird magic they give to Galadriel (but it’s not much different than what she was like in LOTR. And, having that meeting in the first Hobbit in Rivendell with Saruman, Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond is pretty cool.

hobbit-tauriel

Tauriel
I don’t know of a single reader of the book who enjoys Tauriel’s presence in these films. Her acrobatics were entertaining. Many cite Tauriel as one of the worst decisions of the movies but I’ll just say one other name. Arwyn. I still haven’t a clue how it was the she was dying in the LOTR trilogy. As a purist, I hated her entire storyline and Tauriel is no better. She is Hollywood’s love story and as dreadful as it was, I understand the need to have this type of character.

Legolas
I realize time doesn’t pass the same way for Elves but it’s hard to hide the 10 years of age in Orlando Bloom’s face. To counter this, some film tricks have been used but he looks less natural. Visuals aside, my biggest issue with him was his lack of purpose. The entire second film just made him seem like a whiny boy slighted by his true love.

The WTF?

Thranduil’s Goodbye
Really? Go find Strider? That’s absurd, ridiculous and unnecessary.

Gandalf Knows?
I look forward to the extended edition to tell me more about this. I’m guessing he may think Bilbo has one of the Dwarf rings of power. This was another unnecessary attempt at a tie-in to LOTR.

Worm Things?!?!
I guess the Orcs need a way to travel. I don’t remember any worm things…

Alfrid
He kept getting screentime in the third movie but never died! Perhaps the extended edition? He was annoying but the comic relief was appreciated by one of my daughters. I expect this was the goal, but like Tauriel, readers groaned at his inclusion and recurring appearance!

It’s Over
Regardless of what you think, we’re done. The Silmarillion will and can never be made into a film so let’s not even pretend there’s hope. So, that’s it. Two trilogies that were dreams in the first place have been issued and while The Hobbit will never receive critical fame, I thought all three movies were fun. I enjoyed them all in some fashion and each has its own merits. I can’t wait for the extended finale. While most will disagree with all of what I wrote above, I’m a reader. I’ve read everything at least three times. I love my stuff and was highly entertained by the motion pictures. For me…that’s good enough!

New Bone Fire MP3: MMXIV-VIII

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on November 23, 2014 by slateman

Ah, just because. For some reason I was in a rough mood this morning, a little agitated. Why not record? Just 30 seconds of metal here. The mix is crap, but I can’t be bothered to tinker any more. Ought to tend to matters, I suppose. So, another snippet. Enjoy!

Bone Fire: MMXIV-VII

New Bone Fire MP3: MMXIV-VII

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on November 8, 2014 by slateman

This is shoddy but it’s my first recording with keyboards. I purchased a MIDI keyboard ages ago but could never get it to work properly. Here’s just a sample from that first session. Just guitars & keys. Enjoy!

Bone Fire: MMXIV-VI

Now Reading: Prince Lestat!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Books on October 31, 2014 by slateman

lestatAfter voraciously tearing through the first three Vampire Chronicles books, I was very disappointed with numbers four and five. The next half-decade would provide me with plenty to digest as the New Vampires novels focused on the historical side of the preternatural world, my favorite! I stopped after Merrick and Blood And Gold and thoroughly enjoyed both. That was over 10 years ago.

When Rice merged the world of vampires and witches I lost some interest (though, again, Merrick was phenomenal!) and I never read the Blackwood Farm titles. However, now, after abandoning this world, another tale of our brat-prince appears and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic. Only 40 pages in and I’m bathing in the glory of Rice’s words. She paints such vivid pictures of landscapes, sights & smells, the human/inhuman condition. It’s evident a decade has passed though. The layout has changed to meet George RR Martin’s style. The need for a glossary (Blood Argot, as she calls it) appeases the newcomers who may have grown up on the nu-vampire trends. The topics of science and technology contrast her histories spanning the millennia. However, Rice is as colorful here as ever and the story so far has gripped me. Plenty of familiar names and ‘oh! I recall that!’ type moments. Truly psyched to have this (and another evidently in the pipeline! Now…to get back to it!!!

New Bone Fire MP3: MMXIV-VI

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on October 28, 2014 by slateman

Why not more? A clean guitar this time. This is a short one…nothing special but worthy of a listen, perhaps!!!

Bone Fire: MMXIV-VI

Einherjer – Av Oss, For Oss = Album Of The Year?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on October 26, 2014 by slateman

av-oss-for-ossOh the dilemmas of the modern world. I’m sitting here thinking Judas Priest has put out a phenomenal album, perhaps worthy of the coveted AotY title. But then, let’s not forget Exodus has never actually released a bad album (thus making them the best metal band ever, when I think of it that way.) I loved this band, then they broke up, damnit…but then they got back together and have ‘won’ my AotY in 2004 AND 2010! Wait!!! At The Gates – back from the dead, the first new album since 1995’s masterpiece Slaughter Of The Soul. I remember that album coming out and then them breaking up. The production is insanely good and the album is spectacular. Is it good enough for AotY?!?!

So, Einherjer. I loved this band from compilations and word of mouth in the mid-90s. I bought Odin Owns Ye All and…well…I pretty much hate it. Then, some good stuff and after Blot, they TOO broke up. WTF? But, they TOO came back from the dead and while I liked Norrøn, I didn’t love it. The first single from the new album…OK. The whole album is now available for streaming. Let’s check it out. OMFG! I expected 70s rock + viking death sorta. I don’t know if that’s what I got but I friggin’ LOVE it! It’s catchy, melodic, folk-inspired, groovy…I don’t know what to say. I’d read some iffy reviews of Norrøn and think it got a bad rap. Av Oss, For Oss translates to By Us, For Us. Hell, if this is what they want to put out, I’ll buy their shit for life! The more I listen, the more I think it may usurp the kings…Judas Priest, Exodus, At The Gates. It already passed The Haunted, Insomnium and Vintersorg. Damn, I love this record.

ShengShou Mastermorphix Get! Solve!

Posted in Blog, Cubing on October 26, 2014 by slateman

mastermorphixWow, this 3×3 mod messed with my head. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just another 3×3 mod! Dunno, it was one of those that I couldn’t wrap my head around. For future reference, Crazybadcuber’s tutorial will help. Oddly enough, just getting the cross correctly was my biggest challenge with this puzzle. I’m back at it though, hoping to have an easier go the second time around. It’s a fun one…and…my, oh my, the cube collection sure is growing!!!