(This one most likely was written around its posting time, I’d expect; the WWE Armageddon PPV was released around 12/15, and this was tagged 12/22, so it makes sense time-wise. For reference, the prior piece would have been written sometime around Survivor Series in November, but was tagged as being posted in early December. Anyway, by all indications I’d been disgusted by the results of Survivor Series, and had opted to skip this PPV and simply read the results. From looking them over now, it seems like an okay PPV, so we’ll see how my opinion then matches up to my opinion now.)
Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? No? Well, let me say this: even after Vince McMahon dropped the revelation to his staff that Shock TV is dead, (This was in reference to an internet rumor that Vince announced that the long-standing “Crash/Shock TV” concept pioneered by Vince Russo was dead and should no longer be relied on. No idea how true it is, but it did reflect in the booking in the months and years following, so let’s say it’s accurate.) they still managed to shock me on this PPV. I mean, somehow, they managed to do some things RIGHT. (Story of their lives.) Now, I’m not about to say that everything was peachy, but honestly, they did a good job with what they had set up, and honestly, HHH was destined to go over, so I’m not too shocked about that or anything. (Which is worse: HHH wins lol or Cena wins lol? Discuss.) But Angle won the belt?!? Oh my shit, I think I might pass out from shock. (Angle had been a World Champion prior to this point, but had also been treated as something of a goober leading up to this point, so it was surprising. Say what you will about Paul Heyman, but his rebuilding of Angle during this time period was pretty decent.) And for those wondering, yes, I DID miss Armageddon, but I read enough recaps to have a solid feeling of what happened.
Today, Van Canto:
So, this band was shown to me by a personal friend, and while it’s not a perfect effort, to say that this isn’t cool all the same would frankly be unfair. In general I really like acapella bands that do something unique or interesting with their efforts, and while Van Canto is cheating a little by having an actual drummer, a heavy metal acapella band is frankly awesome, especially when they really get going. The lead vocalist sounds close enough to classic James Hetfield to really make the song work, and the guitar solo towards the end is, honestly, pretty amazing in its own way.
Also, this plays off something of a Livestream in-joke so of course I’m going to post it.
Ultraspank is one of those bands who probably could’ve gotten somewhere with enough time invested, had things worked out; they were on their second record (which this song is from), and were dramatically improving as a band, and it seemed like a third record would’ve really gotten them to a level of at least mild public recognition. However, Epic, their label, basically didn’t promote their records at all, to hear them tell it, and while they managed to get onto a game soundtrack (3Xtreme for reference) and moved some units from that, Epic’s original president had signed them with the intention to push them, but was fired shortly afterwards, and the new one gave no fucks about them. Progress, their second record, was their last, and most of the band is presently in Lo-Pro, which is a fine enough band, but doesn’t have the same sound or feel, and it’s a shame; I liked Progress, and this song has a certain place in my heart, but I really just can’t get into Lo-Pro, so this is kind of where it ends, more or less.
Book review: Tonight… in This Very Ring! A Fan’s History of Professional Wrestling.
By: Scott Keith. (True story: back when Keith was first getting into publishing his own books, after The Buzz on Professional Wrestling, I somehow ended up receiving a link to request a review copy of this book, which I did, and somehow ended up getting one to review. At the time I was kind of just eh, whatever with Keith, but honestly, of the wrestling writers out there, the only ones I regularly care about reading anything from are Keith and Brandon Stroud, and I admire their work for entirely different reasons. I have my issues with both of them, obviously, but they’ve both been stand-up guys whenever I’ve talked to them, and they both generally write things I enjoy reading, so I’ll probably keep putting money into their pockets however I can until they retire or some shit.)
I’ve been meaning to review this book for, oh, four, five months now… and I’ve just never gotten around to it. Part of me feels as though I just can’t do the book justice… but another part of me basically just didn’t know where to start, to be honest. The book is quite a read, and it’s very entertaining… but it isn’t what you expect, and it might not be what you’re looking for. (Yeah, as much as I still like the book, it’s… different.)
Sia’s interesting to me: I was vaguely aware of her music (and liked it fine) but really had no idea what she looked like or intention of finding out, up to the point where I found out that maybe she doesn’t think so highly of what she looks like. I was passed this video recently, though, and discovered through conversation that, in addition to making Shia LeBouf into someone I’d probably think was alright if not for all of the other stuff about him, Sia’s current deal is that she doesn’t tour and wears masks whenever she makes public appearances. That was odd, I thought, so I started looking into it and kind of figured out holy shit for someone as talented as she is, she’s
1.) had a super hard life, with anxiety, illness, and all kinds of other unfortunate issues, and
2.) someone I feel really bad for, given how poorly she seems to view herself and how talented she is,
so, honestly, I hope she gets better and gets together the confidence in herself she deserves, because holy shit you guys, she is so good at this.
Silent Hill 3
Console: Playstation 2
Genre: Survival Horror
(Ah, Silent Hill 3. One of my favorites in the franchise, mostly because it brought the storyline of the first game to a logical conclusion, tied together the events from the franchise well enough, and showed that the concept still had some real chops to it. While many people love Silent Hill 2 over all others, the first and third games will always be my favorites, because I really loved the Mason family storyline, and while I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the second game in later years, it is not, nor will it ever be, my favorite, as Silent Hill 3 will probably always hold that spot. I still probably overrated it though.)
Today, Meghan Trainor:
I was introduced to this one in kind of a roundabout way; basically, I saw people complaining about the message of this song online, listened to it, and ended up asking the question, “What in the fuck are you on about?” afterward. That’s how we discover things these days: someone complains about them, we check them out, and we realize that maybe they’re not so bad and we kind of like them a lot. Mass complaining is the black, I guess is the point here, so if you hate something don’t say anything about it or it’ll be popular and you’ll be stuck dealing with six more weeks of winter.
Anyway I like Trainor’s message here, that you should try to be okay with who you are and what you look like, and while that’s a message a lot of people have been trying to get across, it’s still one I can get behind. Even the “fuck skinny bitches,” thing people got mad about was a joke (which Trainor literally explains in the next verse), and her overall point is, “Like who you are, whether your ass be big or not big,” and I like that. Also she’s cute so there’s that.
And as the ring turns… (This was written in early December of 2002, but it hits a lot of points regarding shit that was going on during the year leading up to this post, so it should be an interesting retrospective and viewpoint on my current views, if nothing else.)
Okay, so let me see if I’ve got this straight: Soap opera angles are the way to revolutionize the wrestling world, if I don’t like my TV being hoarded with necrophilia I’m obviously too stupid to know better, I really wanted to see Lesnar/Big Show, Stephanie and Bischoff making out is supposed to make ratings, yet another Kane-HHH match will bring in the fans, even though we know Kane won’t win, and Scott Steiner is SURE to make a huge impact, right after he learns how to wrestle again while not breaking another part of his anatomy. (Yes and apparently it still is, no considering they no longer talk about that, yes and I apparently wanted to see it a bunch more times afterward, no and they never ultimately did anything with that plot point, that was the plan but they actually used the Kane/HHH match to unmask cane because Glenn was getting tired of wearing the mask, and Scott Steiner was such a colossal fucking disaster that no one pretend that was a good idea anymore.)
Y’know, I just basically summed up the entirety of my rant in a paragraph, but in the interest of entertainment, let’s stretch it out a bit, eh? (Relative to your definition of entertainment, of course.)
Going back to the Curve discussion for a bit, on the other side, today’s piece is from the other side, Toni Halliday and her band Chatelaine:
So here’s the other side of the issue with the breakup of Curve: while Dean Garcia ended up in a position where he was making boring music focused on a vocalist who only had so much to offer, Halliday ended up on the opposite end, making music that focuses heavily on her vocals, to the exclusion of all else, and it’s… fine, but it’s the same problem Free Dominguez ran into during her break from kidneythieves. Basically, everything about the song screams “you’ve heard this already, and it was more interesting when (at the very least) Adele did it,” which doesn’t help your sound in the least. Say what you will about Curve and Halliday, but Curve had a distinctive sound few others can really replicate (even its own members can’t do it, apparently), while Halliday sounds like every other female vocalist with a piano on Earth.
Anyone who knows me personally (or, failing that, attends my livestreams) is almost certainly aware, but about five months ago, I made the switch from traditional cigarettes to a vaporizer device, in hopes of getting rid of a lot of the long-term issues cigarettes cause for me (hacking, smelling like cigarettes, a dude with a scythe following me around pretending I can’t see him). For the most part, it’s generally been a good transition, I think; I can smell and taste things significantly better than I used to, my breathing is better (if not where it used to be), I don’t cough… at all, really, and in general it’s been a positive change in my life. That’s not to say that vaporizing is some kind of amazing miracle alternative to smoking, of course. For one thing, it’s a bit of a difficult thing to really get into; it took me nearly three years to really get to a point where I could find the right tools and fluid balance such that my body’s immediate response to it wasn’t “Oh HELL no,” and I’ve met several people who have never had luck with it, so it’s clearly not a winning proposition for everyone. It’s also worth pointing out, though, that we kind of don’t know what using electronic cigarettes and vaporizers does to people long-term yet. While we know that nicotine isn’t great for your body, it’s more on the level of a worse version of caffeine rather than “death and destruction, woe to all,” and we don’t know what the rest of the chemicals in e-liquid might do. Aside from the scares a few years back about Chinese produced liquids having antifreeze in them, most modern liquid one can purchase in the US is manufactured in the US, and any website you go to is going to actively advertise how they make their fluids in FDA-grade facilities, using FDA-approved processes, because they want you to know their fluid is “safe.” It’s not, obviously, but not because they’re not trying to make it so; we just don’t know enough about e-liquid to say what the effects are, but hey, it’s made in the USA, so clearly you can feel safe using it, right?
Which brings us to the formaldehyde thing.