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and a bonus track about forgiveness..



"They are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live"

Free Will

Nov. 6th, 2010 01:06 pm
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There has been a cassette tape in my life for many years. An old C90 tape filled with a variety of songs. I think it was compiled by my father, but I'm not entirely sure, it's just always been around. It ended up in my music collection when I was a kid and I played it and played it. The music covered a wide variety of bands and styles ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s and I got to like most of the songs a lot.

As it got older though it started to get a bit worn and a bit gnarled up in places - a common problem with old cassettes, and the amount it got played really didn't help it.

One of my favourite tracks on it was "Free Will" by Rush, a hippy/prog-rock anthem extolling the virtues of rationality over superstition and religion as a basis for living. And in the middle of the instrumental break the tape had a fault. It wasn't twisted or broken, or anything visible, but the music always distorted in one particular place, odd notes, mangled noises, even a moment or two of a Phil Collins track from the corresponding position on the other side of the tape. It only lasted a few seconds and then carried on as normal.

Well the tape finally took the road less travelled and gave up the ghost entirely, and that felt like the end of an era in many ways. That particular mix of music had been a companion of mine through my childhood and adolescence and losing it felt like a hole had been made.

Time moves on, and technology with it, so I started to gather the individual tracks in mp3 format so I could at least rebuild the compilation, and I've pretty much done it now (I'll be honest there were one or two tracks that I never really liked, so I'm not buying them again just for the sake of it).

And of course I've now got a new copy of "Free Will" in mp3 format, and I still enjoy the song. And of course it's perfect. It's as the band intended. It plays nicely all the way through without any distortion in the middle. The instrumental starts, continues, and gives way to the final verse without any blemish or interruption.



And it never sounds right to me now. I grew up with that distortion, it belonged there. In the same way that your mind, on listening to a familiar album of music, mentally anticipates the next song in the queue as the current one ends, so my mind always anticipates that strange defect in the track. And of course it's not there. It disappoints me. It has made me realise that fixing something isn't always the best option, it's not always even required. The defect over time became normal to me, even something to be missed when it was gone. I've got "Free Will" now, and I've got it as it was intended, but I miss the real version, my real version.
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This cheered me up after my earlier rant about the visit of Pope Benedict the Wanker to the UK

The stars of a Norwegian "Psychic TV Channel" (FEM for those who want the details) visit a crop circle in Wiltshire and are overwhelmed by the energies emanating from it.





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I am fed up with being fair and reasonable in the face of those who are not.

The Pope is visiting the UK at the moment.   As a UK taxpayer, I'm helping to fund this state visit from a man who represents a state founded on the belief in supernatural entities, whose organisation has helped to keep the third world poor, disease-ridden and overpopulated.  An organisation with a proven track record in suppressing human progress and systemic human rights abuses.   An organisation that habitually covers up and protects child rapists from prosecution.   And I'm paying for the Grand Wizard to visit the UK.

He compared atheists to Nazis today.   And he can go fuck himself till he dies (except, being over 12 years old he probably wouldn't be able to coax an erection out of his withered monkey's-claw of a papal pee-pee).

This is an organisation that, if you wear a condom they say you are damned and send you to hell.. but if you rape a child they say nothing and send you to another parish.

And the King Warlock travels in a "popemobile".  Nothing says 'Faith in God' like three inches of bullet proof glass.

As you may tell, I'm infuriated by the whole business.   And if my words cause offense, then I offer only the following by way of apology - a little offense inflicted by a sharp tongue is still far kinder than the things that the kiddy fiddling wizards of Rome have got up to over the years. 
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The Master:

Angelic host, draw close unto my throne
And to my new decrees attendance give

The Servant:

No, sire, you rave.  Within a madman's hall.


The Master:

Dare you speak thus to me?  Who poised the stars
upon the endless void?  And tamed the wind?

The Servant:  

I dare.  And much, much more beside,  I dare.
In faded glory is your throne arrayed,
And stern decrees that once the cosmos shaped
Give way to senile petulance and spite.  
Where once you split the ocean in your wrath
And on dry land led through your prophet race,
Now do you sit in stern and solemn state
And with your ministers do things debate
More fit for gossip tongues, or old wives' bile.

The Master:

And you forget your place, oh Morning Star
To speak with such a careless scornful tongue
The whole world's breadth is here within my palm
I am Jehovah still, and so beware!

The Servant:

Your threats, long since, have had their sting  removed
Now like an ancient, toothless and half mad
You stir no fear, but pity in the breasts
of all your host who yearn for gloried days
When on that palm-held world we strode and fought
And of corrupt decay and chaos wrought
Creation- by your word and will decreed.
Those days are gone, and mourn we for their fall.

The Master:

I bid your tongue be silent!  Traitor worm!
My armed and armoured host, fall to and seize
This cold, dissenting fool who to my face
Foul slander speaks, and treason to his king!

The Servant:

My tongue still wags.  I unmolested stand.
Your host move not to heed your peevish call.
I stand and slander still. Across your world
The sparrows fall, the wind blows where it will.
The day draws to a close.  This seventh day.
And from your halls and service I must go.
I take my leave, Once High, to wait for dawn
And in Valhalla's shadow greet the morn.



 

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(another copy/paste from my comments over at the Roost, reproduced so I have a copy)

 
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Just found this webcomic- only 25 or 26 episodes so it won't eat into too much time.




www.interrobangstudios.com/potluck/index.php
 

Splendidly funny and if anyone has been following the recent RP on the Roost please feel free to take a guess who inspired my chuckling over this.
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I've been doing a lot of work recently to revamp one of the roleplaying forums over at HOL and it seems to be having a good influence. During the course of the various tidying up sessions I've come ridiculously close to deleting valuable information more than once while merging threads and moving things around.

So I'm copy/pasting it all here so I have a permanent record of it away from the forum on which it is based, just in case.

Infodump )
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On June 24, Iranian Superstar Andy Madadian went into an LA recording studio with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and American record producers Don Was and John Shanks to record a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran. This version of the old Ben E. King classic is not for sale - it was not meant to be on the Billboard charts or even manufactured as a CD.....it's intended to be downloaded and shared by the Iranian people...to give voice to the sentiment that all people of the world stand together....the handwritten Farsi sign in the video translates to "we are one". If you know someone in Iran - or someone who knows someone in Iran - please share this link

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I've been listening to the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" - audiobook - on my journeys to and from work as a result of my enjoying the BBC's new "Sherlock" series and wanting to get a grip on the source material.

Juvenile I know but I did chuckle at the following quote-mined comments:

In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there, an old briar pipe between his lips, his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling, the blue smoke curling up from him, silent, motionless, with the light shining upon his strong-set aquiline features. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep, and so he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up, and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment.

And..

I had hardly finished when Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse.

And..

"In the bathroom," he answered. "Oh, yes, I am not joking," he continued, seeing my look of incredulity. "I have just been there, and I have taken it out"

I apologise, it is unworthy of me, but the three comments followed so closely together that I was unable to resist my juvenile mirth.
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 Ohio Jake pushed open the doors of the Deadwood saloon and stepped inside.  The buzz of conversation ceased at once and all eyes turned to face the stranger.  He'd never been in Deadwood before, but they knew him all the same.  His face graced - if that was the word - a dozen posters advertising a reward for his capture.   No one spoke as he walked toward the bar, the pianist stopped playing.   The poker players forgot their games and, significantly, made no move toward their revolvers which lay atop the gaming table.

They knew his reputation.  The toughest gunman Ohio had ever produced.   His reputation spoke of train-robberies, bank-robberies, the gunning down of helpless bystanders.   And now he was here, in Deadwood.

"Earl grey if you please," he snarled at the barman who hastened to obey, jingling the china cup and saucer together in his nervous haste.

"Ohio Jake?" came a challenging voice from behind the stranger, "What the deuce are you doing in my town, you absolute cad, you?"

Jake turned to face the speaker, a hard-faced old veteran with a sheriff's star pinned to his kimono.

"You must be Sheriff Booblywibblyblobs," he sneered

"That's me," said the lawman, "And I want you on the next ship out of my town.   There's a liner for Austria leaving at dawn.  Be on it."

*

All of which is my long-winded way of saying I am really trying to love "Soulless" by Gail Carriger.  It came highly recommended by a couple of friends and I ordered it with glee.   There are things I like a lot about it, and in the spirit of not being negative I will save the good points till last so that I can end this interim-review on a positive note.

The book is a rather splendid fantasy set in Victorian London, but with the addition of a cast of interesting supernatural characters.   I love the setting, the characters are amusingly written and interesting, and the concept is engaging...

But the all too frequent anachronistic Americanisms jar me out of the setting on a regular basis.   And that annoys me because I love the rest of it.

My thoughts after the first three chapters.

We eat jam on toast, not jelly.

We do not hit people "upside the head" (I can't even parse the grammar of that one, but I know it's a common American phrase)

English peers of the realm, werewolf or not, do not say "Gee.."   Ever.

Dukes tend to be named after their Estates.   Hematol sounds like a pile medicine not a place.

And... astonishingly... sending someone to investigate Canterbury because it is a port city, on the coast, with "blood whores" down by the docks... It made me doubt my sanity and I actually went to Google to check my recollections (an act, Miss Carriger, which took less than 30 seconds).    Canterbury is not on the coast.   At all.   Never has been.

There are others but these are the ones that made me wince.   And I honestly did not want to wince.   There is so much to love about the book, the setting and the characters.  I love the concept of a mixed human/supernatural society that avoids the usual cliches.   I love the "gaslight" setting, and the prim drawing room conversations.   The heroine Alexia is tremendous and she has a deadly parasol, appropriate curves, and a fondness for desserts that is refreshing in a heroine.    Which just makes it more annoying because if it wasn't for the imbecile dwarf clanging iron bars together while the violin section is playing I'd really be enjoying the music.

Behold

Aug. 2nd, 2010 01:10 pm
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Never heard this song before. It was playing on the radio as I drove to get my lunch.

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