Joining the Club

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So out of nowhere today I had something great to review. As I get older, I frequently get depressed because it seems like the indie pop and indie rock scene has kind of disappeared.  The pretentious artsy and cultish zines of the past that I used to love seem to be nowhere to be found.  Most indie music blogs today focus more on stuff like EDM and hip hop. With that in mind, it’s great to know that creative and incredible avant garde acts still exist. I’m just apparently too out of touch to know where their parties are.

Anyhow one of those groups that are making great new jams is “Kasket Club,” which consists of two guys that began working on music together in 2012. The duo is from Norway, so maybe I just need to finally bite the bullet and migrate back to Europe. Kasket Club combines acoustic instruments with electronic beats to create a flawless and positively energizing sound. They kind of remind me of some of the indie bubblegum pop bands of the 90s like Majestic, only with more electronic and synthy influences…somewhat resembling contemporary groups such as Magic Wands.

Kasket Club has a new EP called “The King of Cool and the Acrobat.” The first song, “Straight West” was a great choice to open with at it sets the mood with peppy and the kind of ultra catchy melodies you normally only get from television commercial jingles My other favorite song on the EP is “They Don’t Mind,” which has some radical grooves.  The whole thing has a definite chillwave vibe,  but slightly more fast paced than any actual chilling would involve.  I’d recommend you support these guys, because their music is awesome, and I enjoyed it enough to write a longer review than I normally would.

Kasket_presse_2

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STV/VCR

stv

I can usually tell within the first 10 seconds of listening to something whether I’m going to like it or not, and in the case with STV (Steve Counts) I already made up my mind it was great in even less time than that.  “Suburban Function,” the opening song on his cleverly titled album “VCR,” is a terrific indie pop song. It doesn’t really do it justice to call it indie pop though, since the production quality is as a higher level than what you’d expect from this style of music. The chimey, xylophone like intro hooks you right into the song. The vocals are excellent, and this is just an all around well crafted song by an obviously talented individual.

Hembot Recording artist STV

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March To May

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Well traveled indie folk duo, “March to May” finally ended up settling  in Seattle. Their music is a great fit for the Pacific Northwest. It’s finely tuned with nature, and if I had to describe the “mood” of their songs it would be something like an overcast fall afternoon in the woods, that good kind of cold rainy day feeling. It reminded me of trips to Flagstaff several years ago with an ex-girlfriend.

March to May’s  recently released album, “The Water’s Edge” is everything you’d want in this genre. They really have their sound nailed down. The production quality is as good as anything you’d hear in the background playing at your local Starbucks during pumpkin spice season, but without any of the corporate insincerity and packaging. As artists, March to May seem to capture what almost every musician hopes to,  which is just the right blend of authenticity and professional quality. 

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My favorite song on the album is probably “Count the Days,” which seems to stand out more for me. It’s catchy, upbeat and brimming with energy(as lively as this kind of music can get anyway.) Darren Guyaz  plays the  guitar, keyboard while Beth Wesche’s main instrument is a Celtic harp. They alternate singing, and both have beautiful voices.  I’ve reviewed a lot of music over the years. I always try to find good things to say about whatever I come across, but it’s rare that I get to review something I like as much as this. It would be nice to see these two score a showcase at South By Southwest, in March. I think they would go over well.

 http://www.marchtomay.com

 

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Dream A Little Dream

In the late 80′s and early 90′s I was addicted to NBA basketball. The teams, the players, and even the coaches. I couldn’t get enough. I would watch any team, didn’t matter if it wasn’t my favorite team (The Phoenix Suns), I just wanted to see tall dudes in cool uniforms shooting hoops, make amazing passes, and doing incredible dunks.

I had to enjoy it in secret though. I was into skateboarding, and had mostly skateboarding friends. Most skateboarders, especially during that time, hated jocks and sports. Which was understandable as most jocks hated skateboarders in the same way. It was like the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story. Each having very shallow reasons for the hate towards the other.

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So I would make up excuses to get out of skateboarding or hanging out with my friends just so I could watch an NBA game. I didn’t feel bad about it either, because some of the friends I had were pretty lousy and I was better off avoiding them.

The NBA during this time was, I feel, at it’s prime. The Internet was not really a common thing, and only Zack Morris goons had cell phones. So there wasn’t 24 hour access to see pro basketball except on TV.  So I would relish the time watching the pre-games, the games, and the post games. I would even try and watch highlights on national TV to see what non-home team analysts had to say.

The top players were all future Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and David Robinson. They all went on to play together on the Olympic team, named the Dream Team, for good reason.

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They were all recognizable and it was amazing to see them playing together, more than any all-star game would provide. It created an iconic team of which all teams, Olympic or not, would be compared to. It was epic!

The games were so entertaining because all the teams seem to have one or two superstars, so it felt more competitive then games today. The games were less flashy, and there were no fireworks during the introduction of the lineups, and not all the teams had cheerleaders. It was about the game itself, not the sideshow antics like today.
It also felt like the rivalries were more intense also. The Knicks vs the Pistons, Pistons vs Bulls, Bulls vs 76ers, Knicks vs Celtics, Lakers vs Celtics, Lakers vs Suns, Suns vs Trailblazers, Lakers vs Trailblazers, etc. Every game had potential to be a classic.

The NBA also used to make video tapes to rent or buy. Further expanding their brand and the personalities of the NBA. It was impossible to not catch the commercials for some of these tapes, like NBA Bloopers, NBA High Flying Dunks, Hardwood Champions, etc.

These videos would usually show highlights from all NBA history. You’d would get to see iconic players like Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, and Bill Russell. These were made even more amusing when hosted by Marv Albert, the most recognizable NBA announcer of the time. Even better is when he was paired up with the coach of the Utah Jazz, Frank Layden, who played the bumbling sidekick.

Recently, a ton of these videos can be seen on Hulu. Its a blast! Re-watching highlights from classic games, seeing players in their prime, and seeing them in their old uniforms and arenas! I only wish I had the old SEGA Genesis and Super Nintendo games to play afterwards.

And if that wasn’t enough, Netflix has a few of the ESPN “30 for 30″ videos to watch. These are made recently, but reflect back on some of the classic players or teams, such as Reggie Miller, and the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” era. Back when the NBA has so much character and personality.

It’s kind of a shame that this era went away. There are too many expansion teams, and there are too many young, inexperienced players now. Drafting kids straight from high school, or with only one year of college basketball experience has flooded the NBA with mediocre players.

It’s not rocket science that so many of the superstars of the late 80′s and early 90′s were all players that completed college.  Look at Tim Duncan, one of the last players I can recall that played four years of college basketball. Numerous championships and awards, and he is still playing. He is a throwback to the glory years and will definitely end up in the hall of fame.

 

It’s pretty tough to watch the current era of players where they have mediocre skills, and you have to invest into them for years before they achieve the skill level they would have in college. It’s a waste.

I will never be super into the NBA again, unless they start making blooper tapes again…

bloopers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II COMING SOON

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How to Figure Out Who is Trying to Contact You

reverse phone lookup

It may be phone calls from a strange number you don’t recognize, or messages on your Facebook or Twitter from someone who you don’t know but seems to know a lot about you. It can be frightening to know that someone is trying to contact you, but there are ways to discover who is behind the mysterious calls or messages and feel safe and secure again.

The first step is to think deeply about who may be trying to contact you or even harass or scare you. Do you have any outstanding debts? That could be the source of mysterious phone calls from a number you don’t know. Do you have a resentful ex-boyfriend or ex-friend who might be trying to make you feel unnerved? Sometimes the answer to who is trying to contact you might be as simple as a quick swipe of your brain.

Of course, sometimes secrets run deep and you might have someone from your family’s distant past trying to contact you. Family members who are adopted out often try to make communication with their birth families, for example. Are you sure there are no secrets in your family closet?

If you’re receiving phone calls from a strange number, type that number into google and see what comes up. You may discover it is indeed a debt collector a number used by your bank or utility company. It may be a number that harasses people with sales calls. If you find out who is calling you, you’ll know whether to pick up the phone next time, let it ring out, or answer and ask that you be placed on a “do not call” list.

Trying to discover someone’s identity on the internet is a little harder. You can use a reverse phone lookup directory or “Gray Pages” service. You also may be able to trace the IP address of anyone sending you strange emails or messages. Unless the person is using an IP masker, this should give you the area where the person is sending the messages from, which may make it easier to narrow down your search.

If you are really concerned that someone is trying to contact you and you feel threatened or scared, you can hire a private investigator to take on your case. They know all the secrets and tricks to identify someone who is trying to hide.

You don’t have to remain powerless if you feel bothered by someone trying to contact you. There are many things you can do to discover their identity, and, once you do, either resolve the problem or put a stop to them contacting you altogether through a legal remedy like a restraining order.

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Never Send a Man to Do a Woman Realtor’s Job

diana

Women are simply much better realtors than men. It has to be said. All of the male realtors I’ve ever dealt with were mostly retarded and useless(not to mention kind of douchie.) Female realtors always seem to be professional and have their shit together. They are constantly on top of their game and are prepared for any possible contingency. My realtor sold my condo in 1 week, and she has been managing the closing process while on vacation in Europe without any issues.

Meanwhile as I call up and try to rent places from male realtors, they do stupid shit like lose track of my application or forget that I wanted to rent a place even though I’ve already given them some money… I have so many stories of dealing with absent minded men realtors going back several years when I was first looking to buy a place. The women are always dressed for success and ready to handle biz, with minimal bullshit. You might think I’m a sexist pig, but I’ve got to go with the odds. Only female realtors from now on.


Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

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Democracy’s Dissidents

anissimov

With another “Something Wicked This Way Comes” modeled election circus creeping up on us, millions of less-than-enthusiastic constituents are gearing up to vote for their favorite unqualified politician. Inevitably, they’ll resign to choose a leader who doesn’t represent their interests and (to they extent he pays any lip service to those interests at all,) will sell them out the moment he(or she) takes office.

Somewhere  in a dark room, the brightest republican strategists are working ’round the clock to recruit a black, transgendered, pansexual, Somali, muslim, illegal immigrant candidate in order to distance them from their most loyal conservakin support base and prove once and for all just how inclusive the party is(to people who wouldn’t vote republican if their post-op life depended on it.) Liberal operatives on the other hand, are salivating at the demographic trends which they believe will eventually make it impossible  for conservatives to win democratic elections without drifting leftward and abandoning many of their core beliefs.

But what would happen to those supposed realities, if we were to stop caring about votes, head for the exits and seek a new political system entirely? Fortunately,  a growing number of individuals are becoming aware of the long term idiocratic trends of democracy and starting to question whether it is a viable system at all. Michael Anissimov’s  new book, “A Critique of Democracy: a Guide for Neoreactionaries” does just that.

I must admit,  having spent the last few years quietly lurking in the outer rings of the Dark Enlightenment, I was somewhat dreading reading this book. As John Derbyshire once said, neoreactionaries are “prone to earnest philosophizing:  the kind of stuff of which, for me,  a little goes a long way.”  Mercifully,  Anissimov spares us. The book is wisely written in a compact, accessible style that anyone remotely intelligent can read, without cheapening it’s academic value.

First off, let me just say right off the bat that I agree with his main thesis, which is essentially that democracy is a fatally flawed system in many ways, and we can do(and have done) better. We are not approaching Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History.” Therefore, any marginal criticisms I have should be considered as such.

Anissimov comes right out with it in the opening chapter, “Against Democracy,” where he lays out nine points of contention in a condensed fashion.  The most important of these in my mind is the first one, which states that  “democracy incentivizes high time preference.”  Candidates campaign and govern without any need to consider the implications of their policies once they are planning to leave office, let alone on future generations.  It’s great to live in the present, but if you’re only going to be around to be held accountable for the immediate effect of the legislation you’re implementing, you’ll be leaving a mess for others to clean up like someone trashing his apartment throwing a party, and moving out without caring if he’ll get his deposit back. Democracy encourages “looting the present at the expense of the future.” A system which doesn’t provide incentives for long term planning, doesn’t make for a nation with good long term prospects.  The only argument one could make against this is that politicians may care about their “legacy” and how they will be remembered by history, long after they leave office, and that will lead them to take into account the distant future effects of their policies. Indeed, they do. However, I’ve seen no indications that such considerations overrule the immediate requirement of placating the populace in order to gain office. They will just get a book deal later and use their memoirs to try to frame their achievements positively.  Each of the nine points of criticism Anissimov makes have validity, though some will resonate more than others to different people.

Another interesting chapter is one where,  in “2001: A Space Odyssey” fashion,  Anissimov delves into the evolutionary history of leadership at the dawn of civilization, beginning with  prehistoric apes(!) and demonstrating how they operated in hierarchal groups which maintained a “dominace hierarchy.”  He then goes on to make the case why Indo-Europeans  were the forerunners of Western Civilization.

Much of the rest of the book expands on the 9 bullet points against democracy outlined in the first chapter, going into much greater depth on them. Of course, it’s relatively easy to persuade people that flaws exist in democracy, but they tend to just shrug their shoulders and seem resigned to believe there are no better alternatives.

Anyone familiar with Anissimov knows his preferred alternative is some form of traditional European monarchy. The final chapter in the book deals(mostly) with this, in large part contrasting monarchy with libertarianism. I got the impression he was attempting specifically to reach open minded libertarians(or those leaning that way) and persuade them to give monarchs a chance. This is really the only chapter of the book that I didn’t find all that persuasive, mostly because there just isn’t enough space devoted to it. While he talks about  GDP, marriage rates etc, the most common objections to monarchy aren’t sufficiently addressed. The main one being of course, how to prevent or minimize corruption in an aristocracy if you have a king who doesn’t care.  In an otherwise great performance in his online debate with Noah Smith, Anissimov had no good answer for this. He basically said that monarchy is a higher risk system, which offers greater rewards if we could “luck into” a perfect storm  of ideal circumstances. That’s not very reassuring.

Some other concerns about monarchy:

How would the first king be chosen? Why would anyone follow him? If he is a revolutionary leader, why would his offspring deserve to be royalty? Wouldn’t the offspring be likely to be spoiled brats? Wouldn’t there be frequent military coups? What psychological tests would be done to determine if someone was mentally fit to be king, and how would those standards be enforced? How much would IQ factor in? It should obviously be important, yet many serial killers have high IQ’s and are master manipulators. What mechanisms are in place to prevent a “King Ted Bundy?”

There are additional considerations in a technologically advanced monarchy vs. those of the distance past. In medieval times, even though one was living under an authoritarian regime, someone residing in the countryside may have had very little contact with the government, due to the logistics of travel and lack of modern communication. Thus even in such an authoritarian system they would have had more autonomy than we do today in many respects. Yet, a monarchy with the sophisticated surveillance technology of today would potentially have security cameras everywhere as well as a substantial security network. The Shah of Iran was an effective leader, but his secret police were known to be ruthless and brutal torturers. That was in the 1970′s, imagine how much they could infiltrate your privacy today and how much damage they could do. One can’t expect Anissimov to deal with all the hypothetical questions related to a potential monarchy in this publication though, since that’s not what it’s  primary purpose is.

This book is a condensed guide, specifically focused on critiquing democracy. It does a very good job of what it is intended to do, and in a saner society might be required reading in high schools. I would like to see Michael produce a follow up book, exclusively advocating monarchy. Ideally it would be a book which tackles in great detail the logistics as well as theoretical problems people associate with aristocratic monarchy. It should leave no stone unturned.

Anyone who is satisfied with democracy because they think it’s the “least bad among a lot of bad options” is an evolutionary “dead ender” in the world of ideas.  Don’t listen to them.  Worse than a bridge to nowhere, democracy is the road that led us to where we are today. We can do better. We can always do better.

Michael Anissimov’s book can be purchased here


Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

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Tales from the Drive-In

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in 1988. A combination of live footage film and animation. Starring the talented Bob Hoskins, and directed byRobert Zemeckis, the end results were mixed. The lasting impression for me was not the movie itself, but the experience of seeing it at the drive-in.

My parents loaded up the family for a drive-in double feature of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the movie Vibes, starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum.

It began to rain as we drove, but my parents thought it would be fine to continue onward. We lived in Phoenix, and the drive-in was in south Scottsdale, so it wasn’t exactly nearby.

The rain kept up throughout Roger Rabbit, so the window wipers were left on, which lent itself to the pseudo noir setting of the movie.

The movie ended and it was still raining, so my parents decided not to stay for the second feature film. As we left the maze-like parking lot, my father got turned around, and ended up going the wrong direction through an exit, running over the ground spikes that avert traffic from going the opposite direction.

So the family was stuck at the drive-in exit, with blown tires, in the rain. My father walked in the rain to the nearest payphone and called my aunt Mary for a lift, and then called a tow truck.

Aunt Mary arrived to the scene, and we all packed into her VW bug, as father stayed behind waiting for the tow truck. We fell asleep on the ride back, only waling up as we arrived home. I haven’t a clue how late it was by the time father was dropped off home, but he was certainly there when I woke up the next day.

For a movie that was only mediocre, I never forget the rainy circumstances of which we saw it. The mishaps and shenanigans of trying to leave, and the eventual divorce it lead to.

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If Job Interviews Rewarded People For Honesty…

heey8

Let’s face it, job interviews are no place for honest people. Answer questions candidly in good faith, and you’re toast. Tell them the diplomatic lies they want to hear, and  you’re in like Flynn(“My passion is to help people! I loved my old job, and the only reason I left was that I felt I had reached a point where the position wasn’t conducive to helping me achieve my future goals, etc.”)Well, actually you may not get the job anyway if you don’t look the part or if you give off any kind of off putting vibe at any point in the process.

In any event here are some honest interview answers we’d like to see:

“What makes you want to work for us?”

A: I need a job or I will run out of money. I applied to 20 places, and you were one of the ones who called me back

“I see that you only worked at this place for 4 months. What happened there?”

A: I hated it. The place was like a prison, and you needed to clock out just to take a piss. They also gave me more accounts than anyone could possibly handle.”

“What are you looking for in your next job?”

A:Something that pays all right and where I’m not constantly in fear of being fired for violating some trivial technicality.

“Were you able to consistently hit your quota?”

A: Yes, but only for a while. Then I got burnt out. Then again the quotas were so unrealistic that no one on the entire team was hitting them, except maybe like 1 or 2 people.

“Tell me about a time when “XYZ” happened and how did you handle it?

A: I can’t really think of a specific example, so let me just pull something out of my ass real quick and hope that it sounds like something that could have actually happened.

“What would your colleagues say about you”

A: That I’m sort of creepy cause I tend to hit on girls through the office communicator and on Linkedin, but that I know what the fuck I’m doing, and that’s why everyone still asks me for help.


Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

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