Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick Cuts

Hello readers! I have meaning to post for a while now, but my schedule has suddenly and violently filled with events. I am exhausted, but I have some quick points:

We need to stop paying so much attention to Sarah Palin. Just seriously, don't look at the news when she's involved. Stop it.

Michelle Bachmann was seriously dynamite at the GOP Presidential Debate. I am a registered Democrat, but she was an impressive presence. She might steal some incumbent votes. Everyone else was kind of unimpressive. (By the way, can we try to confirm that Herman Cain is, in fact, insane?)

The increased influence of NATO forces (especially United States forces) in Libya is concerning for me. I fear for our forces in uniform when they're finally put on the ground. And I think that's an increasing inevitability.

Pennsylvania needs to decide what season it is. I can't deal with its mood swings any more.

...And that's about it. I promise a more substantive post soon.

On the run,

Daniel, of course.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Out of It

I've tried to put out a blog post every day so that I can help myself log and broadcast what I'm thinking and feeling, but I am just tired today.

So, in lieu of my blog entry, check out www.rainymood.com. It's just basically a rain background track, but it's really relaxing.

Chronically lazy,

Daniel of Course

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Living the Heathen's Life

It's been a while since I've talked about religion. And when I say that, I mean it's been a while since I've discussed with another person in depth about the spirituality and complexity involved with the belief and worship of deities- the psychological, spiritual, mental, and physical changes that a religious person would experience that a non-religious person would not.

I'm not going to short-change you here, though. I'm an agnostic who leans heavily to the atheist side of the fence. The more I research, the stronger that lean becomes. And I have never said this blog will be unbiased.


I've never been approached by a nonreligious person and had eternal damnation promised should I not change my ways. I've never had someone who was agnostic or atheist accuse me of committing a crime observed by a cosmic, invisible force, a crime for which I will pay with my soul's eternal suffering.

On the other hand, it's inaccurate to say that religious people do this to me often or to even imply that many of the people I know would suggest such a thing. Coming from a rural area, the percentage of people who are agnostic or atheist is impressively small. Even then, those that are will often conform to their locale's religious beliefs if for no other reason than social and communal conformity. I have refused to do this.

So, in short, I never really had many friends growing up. People who were religiously fervent (in my case, Protestant Christians of various denominations) often didn't take kindly my parodies and jabs at their seemingly ridiculous beliefs.

Imagine my disbelief when I laughingly asked if one of my friends believed that a man lived in a whale for three days and got a solid, unmoving "Yes" in return. Imagine my shock when I asked similarly about the reviving of a three-day old corpse and they replied with the same unflinching "Yes".

Then again, Santa Claus never sat well with me, even before I disproved him in discourse with my parents ("There are millions of homes in the Eastern Time Zone which receive gifts- he literally doesn't have the time to visit EVERYONE. And if he did, he would probably have a heart attack from all of those cookies. And doesn't he age?"). I always viewed the story of Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed with the same general disbelief and humor. Well, it turns out that people are much more serious about those last three than the man in a red suit that delivers presents. They are waiting on a different kind of "deliverance", I guess.

But I guess I was never convinced when I was younger, and therefore it never held to me. Sometimes I wish I could believe what is so generally taken for granted as fact by huge communities of people. I really do wish I could believe that I could think all the answers were in a Bronze Age, desert nomad's book. It would be so easy and so convenient; morality would take no thought, my deeds and misdeeds could have greater purpose, and, best of all, I would never have to die! (Hell, if I pick the right role in the right religion, I might even have some virgins waiting for me in the afterlife.)

...But I suppose that I am unable to take that role. I've never felt like there was some "hole" inside of me that I required God (Retro or Christian), Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, Zen, or Osiris to fill. I am confident when I act, but not because I draw upon faith that what I'm doing is right. Rather, I draw from intellect and experience to move my hand, wisdom and acumen. I live for this life and those people in it. I love and hate, forgive and scorn, laugh and cry. I am not empty nor lonely nor lost. I require no shepherd to guide me, nor no prophet to lead me.

Unless I have some religious epiphany, I am going to live this life much as I do now. I am living the heathen's life, and I am happy and prosperous in doing so.

Now let's hope I'm right about this. Eternal suffering sounds like a huge bummer, man.

Brought to you exclusively by the blessed heathen:

Daniel, of course.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Connection Interrupted- Autoconnect Attempt in Progress

This week, I realized I was fairly isolated from the rest of the world. I mean, of course I'll bump into my family and friends occasionally, but I'm on break from University right now- I have too much time to use, no wheels to get from X to Y (unless they're borrowed), and no work to pour myself into (except for a blog, of course).

So, I am actively making the attempt to reconnect. Last night, I went to see First Class with some friends who I haven't seen in a long while and it was... Really nice, guys. I mean, just to get that sort of actual presence back was nice in itself. There's something text and voice don't quite "capture" for me, if that makes any sense. People always seem so far away.

But I'm convinced my resocialization is something the universe is rooting for. On the way to the cinema with three friends, I bumped into another long lost acquaintance while getting some gas for my current borrowed vehicle. Now, this an event far from "extraordinary"- bumping into someone from your hometown around your hometown is fairly commonplace. But it was just so odd to bump into someone and suddenly remember they existed, you know?

But anyway.

It's just odd for me to come home and suddenly see all these people again. It's like faces from the past are just suddenly back again. Really, they were always here. But I just wasn't here to see them.

Like a more handsome Indiana Jones,

Daniel, of course.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-Men First Class: Totally Worth It

When X-Men: First Class was first hitting cinema screens across the nation, I was excited. The previews made it look far superior to the disappointing X3 and the abomination that was Origins: Wolverine. The majority of me was hoping that this would be a restoration to action and honor for the potentially awesome series.

And damn, I was not disappointed.

Following are reasons why you should love this film: spoilers are most definitely ahead. And for those of you who seem to read selectively:


Let's get started:

1. The Casting

When it comes to comic book movies, casting is possibly the most decisive and important thing to address. For example, do you think that the feel and direction of the Spider Man movies may have been changed if someone besides Tobey Maguire played the role? Absolutely- whether for better or for worse, there would have been a different presence there on screen. If Heath Ledger didn't knock out the perfect performance as the Joker, then would people still be saying "Why so serious"? Who can tell?

So, when I looked at the lineup for First Class and saw a lot of unknowns- rather, a lot of hardly knowns-it initially gave me pause. The only actor I really recognized was Kevin Bacon- and I suspect he took the film to further promote the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon myth. This was initially a concern which I found hard to not worry about going into the movie.

I was so wrong. So, so wrong.

James McAvoy plays Charles Xavier perfectly in his early years- he captures the negotiator, the diplomat, and the starry-eyed younger version of Professor X very well. He even comes across with a bit of naivety.

Admittedly, this could be directly because of the seriously badass performance of Micheal Fassbender, the most awesome incarnation of Magneto that may ever grace the silver screen. I mean, did you daddy's version of Magneto go on an international Nazi hunting/killing spree to avenge his dead mother? Nope.

Speaking of Nazis, Kevin Bacon's Sebastian Shaw is such a devious type of character, the type that is trying to convince the world to consume itself in nuclear war so that he and the other mutants can rule the Earth; or, really, rule that ashes the world used to be. He poses as a Nazi in the 1940's, then in current day plays both sides of the Cold War fence, pushing forward events like the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2. The Message

The X-Men series, whether in print, cartoon, or film, has always carried a sort of undertone to it: Mutants are a minority of the majority of regular humans. Mutants are feared and looked at in an often hostile perspective. They are avoided and shunned, unwanted unless, say, other mutants are busy causing terror.

Sound familiar?

It's no mistake that the X-Men series quite effectively mirrors itself with the civil rights movement. Mutants, as the protagonists and antagonists of the X-Men series, were always shown to be discriminated against and were shown extreme prejudice if their mutant identity was known on a more public level.

In this movie, though, the anti-mutant movement culminates into one crucial moment, where the United States and the Soviet Union (mind you, still the middle of the Cold War) come to a temporary agreement and decide to use their militaristic might to entirely decimate the beach on which the entire surviving mutant cast stands. This moment is crushing for Charles Xavier, who had hoped for an ultimate peace between humans and mutants, and merely a confirmation for Erik Lansherr (aka Magneto), who had always suspected that it would come to this. One scene of awesome later and the mutants are alive, if potentially entirely divided.

3. The Awesome

This seems like a half-assed reason, sure. But go see the movie and you'll understand. There's a certain spectacle to every scene, a balance of understanding and emotion with explosions and mutant aerial combat. Towards the end of the movie, there are literally four or five duels going on between mutants at once, which is captured and rendered perfectly.

There's only way you can know what I mean by this last point, and that's going to see it.

So go see it.

Proud member of the Brotherhood of Mutants,

Daniel, of course.

UPDATE: I've decided to go see it again today after writing this review. As the title states, totally worth it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Tracks Are Always on In My Head

Ever have a day where you swear you have a soundtrack to your day, hanging in the background and completely irrelevant to what's going on?


But today I definitely do. So, in honor to the invisible soundtrack that won't stop following me, I'm going to go over three bands that won't give me the common courtesy of mental silence!

1. They Might Be Giants

An Alt Rock band formed in the early 80s by John Flansburgh and John Linnell, They Might Be Giants has always had a way to be weird, catchy, and off-beat in the most pleasing way. They consistently and frequently change the style of their music, sometimes in the same song. They are known for songs like "Particle Man" and"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)".

They are insanely catchy and hard to get out of your head. Approach with musical caution.

2. deadmau5

This guy is everywhere- he's a Toronto based Electro/House producer and is responsible for some of the most damned addicting hooks in music lately. His entire album "For a Lack of a Better Name" can be listened to on repeat in the confines in your room, or, alternatively, cranked to the highest volume in a club or house party.

Awesome stuff- if you don't know him, check him out.

3. Gnarls Barkley

The odd fusion of Cee Lo Green and Danger Mouse was something that I initially approached with some caution and reserve, perhaps rightfully so- Cee Lo had limited but remarkable success before hand, and Danger was more popular for his capacity as a producer than a performer. But, lo and behold, they are a duo of melody, capturing whatever mood they please in their songs with near perfect clarity.

Their albums "St Elsewhere" and "The Odd Couple" are both stacked with amazing songs, make sure to check it out.

So, they've been rolling through my head today. Feel free to comment about them or tell me about the soundtrack in your head today!

Always packed with awesome,

Daniel, of course.


So, I've successfully ignored this blog for the longest of times. At some point, life pulled me in a completely different direction than this website.

Well, what's there to talk about, hm...

Oh, we missed a Rapture, which I always find funny. At some point, you just have to brace for it- not the Rapture, mind you. I mean brace for the potential wave of insane people who actually believe the rubbish. This time it was a fairly small group of Christian crazies, but who knows what the next "End of Days" group will consist of. How many people are going to go batshit insane in 2012?

Part of me is disappointed, though. I would've loved to have seen the zombies raising from the graves and engulfing the world.

Maybe next time. Sigh.

Brought to you cordially by:

Daniel, of course.