Saturday, November 12, 2011

Look, a book!

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful. Full of rich descriptions on wondrous phrases that will surely leave you smiling and tempt you to highlight three-fourths of the book. A stunning example of adjectives portraying the thematic elements. This book is definately for those who have a passion for literature, especially students.

The story overall was adorable, a cute little tale about love and opposition, centered around the fantastical world of a magical circus. It's a story that leaves you wondering what is happening and why, and when all comes out in the open, it's truly magical. The greatest element of all is how the characters are real, and their actions don't betray their mannerisms. This is a story that trumps many you may have encountered.

Great book, great read!

View all my reviews

Friday, November 11, 2011

Out of the Studio . . . more or less

Well, the drumming went as expected, though there were some definite surprises. A few technical issues sprouted up (including crashed-hard-drives and lack of Internet service) and there were of course some drumming issues (I think I may be developing arthritis in my knees and I never did find my tambourine), but all in all the recording session went very well.

In the end, a massive collection of over twenty songs were recorded in the span of five days. Some songs went smooth, some not so smooth, and some induced arguments -- albeit because I was cranky and tired! Yet, I walked away proud and excited, and I'm eager to hop back in to begin the mixing process and to record guitar/bass tracks for Silver Cypher.

As you may know (or rather, you would if you followed my blog), I also play guitar and come up with a few riffs from time to time. Over the past few months, I had kept a Vlog entitled I'm In the Band where I featured a song in the making known as 1 to 3 V.7. It was quite the journey with said song, having undergone several revisions. There was also the slight problem of it being my song as Silver Cypher hadn't the time to learn it; ergo, I hadn't the time to practice it on the drums. With that being said, I was left with but one option . . . my percussive imagination.

For days I listened to variations of 1 to 3 V.7 trying to imagine drum parts. I sat at work with my headphones and just tapped away at my cubicle -- trial and error. Finally, in the studio, I had a vague idea of what I wanted. And this is what I came up with . . . check it out:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In the Studio

So, this past weekend was my first session at Litter Box Studio recording material for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album. While there, I had some extra time to kill and decided to record a lil' ditty consisting of some old, old (like teenage old) material. I'm not the guitarist, but I do play, and occasionally I have the opportunity to lay down some riffs for Silver Cypher. Jon Krech, lead singer and founder of Silver Cypher suggested I recorded the riffs not only for the band, but for myself as well. The result was a short little song that I couldn't wait to jam out on the drums. And completely unrehearsed, I gave the song a go and the band was quite happy with the first take. So here it is . . . the first studio take of "Utopia."

Keep in mind, it's un-mixed and doesn't have any vocals yet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Writer Writes . . . some words

Holding hands
-- more exhilarating than a kiss,
As finger tips
-- amidst vigorous innocence,
Rock across tantalizing hips,
Does one not see
Two hearts
Too in unison
To ruin
Such tender moments
With tender lips
. . . whispering sweet somethings?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Song Up From Silver Cypher



Whew . . . it's been a few.

In just three weeks I'm headed to the studio to begin recording the most insane musical project I've ever been involved with. The as-of-yet Untitled Project (album) from the band Silver Cypher will be the band's 4th release, and it's going to be quite a beast! In all, there's some 25+ songs with playing-time ranging anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes per song; and its been hectic these past couple of months rehearsing this gargantuan conglomeration of musical visions. How can three people (Jon Krech, Mike Lawson, and myself) have so much to say musically . . . especially after all these years? And believe me, this is the big one!

Okay, enough of that sappy-self-promotion.

Over 25 songs, each with dynamic contrasts and a multitude of time and key signatures, have taken quite a toll on me committing them to memory (muscle memory). I'm exhausted, so I've been relaxing a little lately. But in all honesty, my time-off from work and practice has been self-motivated. I need to just kick-back and relax, not bombard myself with constant practice leading to sheer exhaustion. But, I'm confident with my preparations. I cannot stress how impressive it is that in just three months Silver Cypher has constructed a colossal collection of songs that's sure to reach a few ears.

Yet, despite relaxing, I'm not relaxed. There's still a lot of work to do, and as I'm adding finishing-touches, I'm already planning my next project (or rather, planning on revisiting previous projects). And though I will be finished with the drums for Silver Cypher at the end of October, I'm not finished with the album itself. There's still guitar and bass work that has to be done, which I will also be adding. As such, I took Friday to work on a click-track to establish the tempo for the song 1 to 3 v.7. It hasn't been easy rehearsing this song on drums and looks like my only practices will be with the click-track itself before I head into the studio. So, much work, but I'm confident all will go smoothly. I've already coonstructed the main drum-lines and what few practices Silver Cypher managed with the song, all will fit nicely.

And so here it is, another segment of I'm In the Band. Check it out . . .

Work Sucks

So, I called off . . . for the fourth time in two weeks. Aye-ye-ye . . . what am I thinking?

I'm thinking: my job isn't satisfying. I'm thinking: I could better spend eight-and-one-half hours pursuing more creative endeavors. I'm thinking: I need a break before I head into the studio with Silver Cypher. I'm thinking: TrollHunter is the coolest movie I've ever seen and I refuse to leave home before watching it at least once more . . . I fear I may never see it again!

That's right! TrollHunter!

The coolest movie ever, no joke! For those of you who need your fix from Netflix, don't even bother adding TrollHunter to your instant queue, just watch it! Watch it now! It's aces!

Now, it's a Norewegian film (say wha? . . .) so it;s subtitled and there is some Christian-stereotyping (say wha? . . .), but if you have any basic concept about Norway (and I'm speaking to all you black-metal posers . . . say wha? . . .), then you'll really love this movie! It adds such a unique twist to classic fables featuring trolls; it's creative, original and imaginative, not too mention fun, while at the same time very professional.

Rarely do films hit everything on the mark in terms of self-perception -- a screenwriter's or director's ability to realize "Hey, this is a movie." TrollHunter hits that mark. There's a genuine story, constructed from various elements of fairy-tales, told through POV perspectives in the vain of a horror-documentary (think, Blair Witch) while simultaneously admitting to being a movie: using special effects, interesting camera-work and camera-shots, great dialogue, evenly-paced action with quite possibly the most epic battle in fantasy! And the scenery: oh, so beautiful; and horrifying. Overall, TrollHunter tells a story, very smoothly. So flawless is this film that it will leave you sitting, thinking "This is the coolest movie I've ever seen! I must tell everyone! They must see TrollHunter for its . . . TROLL!"

I couldn't recommend any other movie more . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm In the Band - 1 to 3 (latest version)

I'm preparing for my studio sessions with Silver Cypher and there's a lot of work that still needs to be done (on my behalf). In just four weeks I begin recording drum tracks for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album, but some of the songs which will be featured on the album have been written by yours truly. As such, I need to make sure those songs are finalized (in terms of structure) before I can begin recording scratch-tracks and click-tracks. Yet, one song in particular 1 to 3 has been rather difficult, and I'm still struggling with the structure. Jon Krech, lead singer, rhythm guitarist and founder of Silver Cypher has been helping me with the song and as such, this is the latest version I've come up with.

Check it out . . .

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm In the Band - Chad's Arsenal

In preparing for the upcoming studio sessions on drums with Silver Cypher, I decided to clean my guitars and see what sort of action they still possessed.  I will most likely be recording guitar tracks for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album much like I did with their third album Existential Realisms.  In doing so (cleaning my guitar collection) a wave of nostalgia hit me and I thought it might be rather interesting to include my guitar collection as a feature for I'm In the Band

Check it out . . .

So . . . what's in your arsenal?

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm A Clone!

So, I swear to science I'm a clone. People always say I look like so-and-so.

When I was in college, people would randomly inquire whether or not I went to such-and-such high school because I looked so familiar. I used to just think it was a comical coincidence, albeit slightly annoying, but I really began to take note of these strange mis-sightings when an individual started a confrontation with me at a party. I had never met this individual before, but he was absolutely positive that I was sleeping with his girlfriend. Even after I explained to him that I had no idea who he, or his girlfriend, even were -- or the fact that I hadn't slept with anyone in quite some time -- he still tried to accost me. It was only after a third-party (who knew us both) intervened that the individual finally conceded.

Since then, I've had a number of peculiar encounters:

At a concert, a girl came up to me and gave me hug, then backed away wide-eyed, stating, "Oh shit, you're not Alex!" Apparently, Alex was a good friend of hers who looked exactly like me.

On another occasion, while I was working at a bookstore, a young lady became rather smitten that I didn't say hello. She mistook me as an old friend she knew from high school. When I tried to explain to her that I was not her friend, she just sneered and said, "Whatever, Jack." Then, she walked away.

Once, while wandering the downtown district of Hamilton, Ohio, I was greeted by three different people, on two seperate occasions (roughly fifteen minutes apart), and was mistaken for familiar acquaintances. Oddly enough, according to both parities, their acquaintances had the same type of hair and even dressed similar.

These occurrences happen to me a lot. In fact, there's even been scenarios where people who are acquainted with me mistake other individuals for being me. And it seems that hardly a month will go by that someone won't say I look like so-and-so; recently it's begun to morph into celebrities.

A number of people say I look like Chad Kroeger (lead singer of Nickleback), and a few times people have suggested I look vaguely similar to Mikael Akerfeldt (best known as the lead singer for Opeth), and just yesterday, while purchasing bagels, someone said I looked like actor Paul Giamatti.

What do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm In the Band - Flamenco?

I attended band practice Saturday afternoon with Silver Cypher, and after an exhaustive session learning Jon Krech's monumental masterpiece -- a fast, thrashy/black-metal-esque song clocking in at around twenty-five minutes -- I decided to give my limbs a rest and began messing around on the bass -- Mike Lawson (the bassist) was unable to attend, but his bass was at least present. Whenever Mike doesn't make it to band practice, I always relish with much delight playing his bass. Ah, who am I kidding, I play his bass even when he is there. It's so choice . . .

Anyway, doing what I do best on the bass, Jon Krech offered up the idea of utilizing my bass lines to write a song for Silver Cypher's upcoming fourth album. I don't know if any such song will truly happen; nevertheless, I was merely happy playing Mike's sweet bass!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bar Bands Rock - n/a

HYPOTHETICAL -- you're a musician, and you're first band (a basement band trite and true) has just broken-up, what do you do?

ANSWER -- join another basement band! Duh!

But when that basement band breaks-up, what do you do then? Join another basement band! Gah! How easy is that! And when that basement band breaks-up (or you're simply compelled to walk-out because the singer is a psychotic ex-police-officer and thought it would be funny to aim a loaded pistol at the bassist . . . hahaha, so funny [note the sarcasm]), well what do you do then?

Therein lies the next musical chapter in my life: n/a. My first official bar band. And just what is a bar band? Well, it's a band that performs at bars. And there are two types of bar bands -- bands that play covers (performing songs written by other bands) and bands that play originals (performing songs written by them).

n/a was the brain-child of an individual known as Kaine, a singer/song-writer/artist who I had met many years prior and even had a brief musical-stint with in a prior basement band. But after I had graduated college, Kaine approached me with the idea of starting up a gothic-rock band with a few other musicians he knew.

"I have a guitarist and bassist," he said, "and we could use another guitarist."

"What about a drummer?" I inquired.

"Well, I'm working on that," he said, "but I imagine we can find one."

"Well, I'm a drummer," I said.

"You are?"

Even though we had played music together for a brief period of time, I don't think I ever mentioned to Kaine that I was indeed a drummer, and had been one for years, nor did he know that I had my own drum-kit. And so, the pieces fit perfectly. A band had formed. And in just a few months we had a couple of songs that were perfect for a demo recording. Yet, unlike our previous attempts in music, we weren't content with the mere status of being a basement band. We wanted more. And so, with a little luck, Kaine was able to set up a few shows for us at some local bars.

I was rather ignorant of the whole bar ordeal. Little did I know that there was no money involved; I mean, we got paid from time to time, but only a small percentage of what was made at the door, and being a small local band with almost no fans, there wasn't a lot of money pouring in. On average, a good night for us was when all of our friends showed up -- truth be told, we had quite the group of friends (long live The Den [that's an insider-thing]) -- but that only added up to enough cash to support our love for whiskey, which we indulged in quite frequently before and after our set.

(On a side note, I will never ever play a set drunk ever again. Only once did I ever perform while intoxicated, and being a rather versatile/active drummer, the end result was nauseating . . . figuratively speaking).

But oh, did we think we were aces! We thought our band was going to be the next big hit. We were original, unique and very talented, and our friends loved us! Unfortunately, no one else did -- for the most part, anyone who was not acquainted with us didn't really seem to take an interest in what were doing. Often times, we recieved a lot of negative criticism. However, I don't think it was because of the music; instead, I'm fairly certain it was the locale and its societal-disinterest for musical pursuits. There has never been a real musical presence in Cincinnati, save for some scream-core and/or punk bands, and most of the bars in the area were so low-key that even the popular bands in the area found difficulty drawing decent crowds. I do believe our biggest show consisted of nothing more than maybe thirty people in the crowd.

But it didn't matter. Like I said, we were aces! The music was so fresh and unique that I had a lot of faith in n/a. I was confident that with the right steps, we would reach higher grounds.

Unfortunately, we began to spiral into the obliterating status of being a basement band, which ultimately led to the dissolvement of n/a.

Shame. I really loved n/a. Still do. To this day, n/a is still one of my all time favorite musical projects. I frequently listen to the demo and live-cuts with as much passion and interest in the music as I had when actually performing with n/a.

Check it out . . .

R.I.P. n/a.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm In the Band - Messing Around On Bass Guitar

I love the bass guitar . . . I really do; although, it's not an instrument I usually pick-up.
I first learned the bass (for what it truly is) when I was in high school, performing for the jazz ensemble.  Yet, for the most part, the bass was merely a passing interest of mine when it came to "rock bands" and what not.  It was based on my assumption, that on average the bass is merely an accompaniment instrument, adding a sense of rhythm alongside with the drums.  Perhaps, that's why my fascination with it didn't flourish until my focus on drums became more rigid in my mid-twenties. 

Indeed, only within the past few years has my skill on the bass really begun to take shape.  I discovered that the bass was definitely one of the more interesting instruments associated with rock-esque music . . . or rather, has the potential to be.  Most bassists I encounter don't go beyond the typical root-note basics, and that's a shame.  There's just so much this instrument is capable of.  And if I wasn't so focused on drumming, I would definitely invest a lot more time and energy (and money) into the bass.

Check it out . . . 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm In the Band - Drum Maintenance

Here's a little video I made pertaining to maintaining my drums.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm In the Band - Chad Guitar #3

Yesterday, I was messing around with my song/riff after having showed it to the other members of Silver Cypher. I was rather pleased that they liked it, but it's still in its early stages of creation, and therefore incomplete (especially in my eyes).

Writing a song on guitar can be quite challenging. Most people aren't really aware (assuming, of course, most people don't play guitar . . . or music in general) of just how much thought and re-thought goes into writing a song. It's not as if number-one-hits result from the very first try; rather, most musicians are like writers, in that they undergo drafting/editing stages with their work. Sometimes, you get lucky, and things just sound so perfect together that there's really no need to fine-tune any of it; other times, however, you'll give yourself a massive headache just trying to figure which note actually sounds better - C or C-sharp. And sometimes, such intense focus on musical details lead to nothing more than a messy conglomeration. I think a number of the riffs I write are rather good (some exceptionally so), but the task of structuring certain riffs together, and in the process creating new riffs when-and-where need be, has definitely proved to be a struggle.

Jon Krech, guitarist, bassist and singer for Silver Cypher, is definitely a master at structuring riffs and writing songs. He does it so effortlessly that it's truly a thing of envy. Nevertheless, I do have my moments in musical creation and am more than eager (as well as excited) to share them.

For the past week, I've been creating a song with the combination of a few riffs I've had in my musical catalogue for years as well as a few new riffs I've been exploring. I'm pleased with the result thus far . . . and I hope Silver Cypher is too.

Without further adieu, here is my latest creation:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm In the Band - Introduction (plus the musical creation)

So, here it is . . . the first, of what will soon be many, videos featuring yours truly living the life as a musican.  I'm aiming to cover every aspect (both great and mundane) of musicianship.  There's so much involved in the world of music (and how we as musicians navigate through it) that I figured documenting it would be a great way to share with you the ins-and-outs of being in a band.  (Plus, this is an awesome chance for shameless self-promotion, right?!)  So, let's jump start it with a little feature concerning the musical creation, shall we?

As some of you may know, I'm currently the drummer for the band Silver Cypher and our upcoming album Existential Realisms will be out very soon; in the meantime, however, we're getting ready to head back into the studio September/October to begin recording material for the upcoming fourth album (as yet, untitled) and though that's relatively soon, we're still on that journey through musical exploration.  As such, the fact that I also play guitar and bass (though my true focus is on percussion [that's drumming, in layman's terms]) is a great addition for the band's musical exploration.  With our last album, Existential Realisms, I actually wrote a few songs/riffs for the guitar as well as played a number of guitar-tracks on the album.  In fact, the song titled The Greater Evil features me on drums, guitar and bass!  So, with an upcoming fourth album on the horizon, I've been tossing out a number of ideas. Recently I've been sharing a new idea with them, which they seem to like.

So, without rambling any further, I'd like to showcase the process I go through with musical creation.  This is a song, as of yet untitled, which will be making an appearance on the upcoming fourth album.  All I have to say is "Yay!"


New Videos . . .

Lately, I've been attempting to make as many videos as possible to showcase the life as a musician.  My attempt is to keep a vlog about the various affaris and trivial ordeals within said life.  There's just so much that goes into musicianship that I figured it would be a great idea (for self-promotion . . .) to share it.

But first, I'd like to share an updated video featuring the song Relax (with yours truly drumming in the studio) off of the upcoming album Existential Realisms from the band Silver Cypher:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Basement Bands Rock - Mind Trixx

If you're a musician then you know what I'm talking about.  A basement band is one of those bands that doesn't really go any further than the garage . . . because, you know, you at least want someone to hear your music, even if it is just the mailman and the neighbors.

When I was in high school, I convinced a few friends of mine to form a band with me.  We called ourselves Mind Trixx.  Why that name, I have no idea.  But it was cool.  And we thought we were cool.  We would hang out in my parent's basement for hours, smoking cigarettes, playing video games, watching cult movies, sneaking off to indulge in the occasional joint, and of course rocking out until the sun came up the following morning. Eventually, we had enough songs that we thought were good enough to record.  So, we packed up our gear and headed all the way down the street to another basement -- though, this basement was in the home of a family-friend who happened to have some recording equipment.  And over one glorious weekend, we rocked out the best we could.

The result, a really hideous basement recording, but it was all in good fun.

Man, we thought we were aces!  We really thought we were going to have it made!  We were young, cool and awesome at video games!  Oh, and the music was pretty good too . . . or at least, we thought so.

The band obviously broke-up -- most bands do, whether basement, local or national -- but one thing you (as a musician) can never do is quit. I never quit playing music.  In fact, neither did the bassist of Mind Trixx, Mike Lawson.  Together, him and I stuck through thick and thin and went on to form other bands.  Today, we both play for the band Silver Cypher . . . and with a little luck and wisdom, we actually managed to get out of the basement; thouh he still plays video games, I still smoke cigarettes, and we still sneak off to indulge in the occasional joint -- just kidding (but not really).

Nevertheless, whenever waves of nostalgia wash over me I reach for that Mind Trixx record. It's quite comical, honestly, but still awesome!  I mean, come on, we were high school kids . . .

Check it out:

I'm the one on the fence . . .

To quote The Coneheads, "Ah, memories! We will enjoy them!"

Monday, August 1, 2011


Silver Cypher (the band I drum for) is getting ready to release their third album Existential Realisms very soon.  I hope to have a sneak-peek created very shorty, but there are a few videos (which can be found here on the page:Noise) floating around the internet.

In the meantime, the band is currently set for another studio session, recording material for the upcoming fourth-album.  That's approaching fairly quickly, and we're still creating new material everyday . . .

Though I am a drummer by trade, I do play guitar and bass from time to time (in fact, I even play a few guitar tracks on Existential Realisms); and occasionally, the guys in the band ask me to write a few riffs now and then.  Today, I took the day off (relaxing from the previous night, as Silver Cypher played a show in Chillicothe, Ohio) and I came up with this lil'-diddy . . .

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Language and Writing

At the blog for the magazine The Battered Suitcase, the editors featured an intriguing article concerning spelling within the literary world. Apparently, author F. Scott Fitzgerald (who, if you're completely ignorant of, then you're just completely ignorant in general) was horrible with spelling. Yet, no matter, that's what editors are for. But more and more these days, with so many new writers jumping into the game and literally hundreds a various writing platforms offering assistance to emerging writers, it seems common writing mistakes (especially spelling) are becoming rather prominent, and there's a fear that it may lead to a new evolution of dumb-downed language.

Say what?!

In laymen terms . . . does the new-wave of digital-age writing (and its use of limited characters and phrases -- such as: u2, lol, tl;dr) threaten the literary world?

Well, my personal response . . . no.

I do find the new wave of digital-age writing rather irritating from time to time (especially when I have no idea what certain acronyms mean), but I don't see it bearing any real threats on the literary world. I mean, it's not as if you see an abundant trend of dumb-downed language littering literature -- especially when concerning young, emerging writers. And I'm willing to bet any number of authors, these days, use limited characters when typing on their cellular telephones and electronic-mailing devices, but nevertheless maintain a strong focus on language when writing stories, essays, journals, et cetera. And why is that? Because it's merely a different writing platform . . . like fiction versus nonfiction; philosophical prose versus scientific prose; journalism versus research -- all vary with writing style.

There will be (and already has been) text-style writing to appear in the literary world from time to time, but I don't think it's going to write itself (pun intended) into history as a new literary convention. Sure, there are some phrases and/or words that will undoubtedly be adopted, but overall, I don't think it'll amount to anything more than a different style of writing for a different platform.

Also, I love a misspelt [sic] word or two. It adds character! And it shows that we are not flawless, no matter how hard we strive to perfect every tiny detail. To think, mistakes still plague us, especially in this day in age with a vast wealth of information and technology at our fingertips. And for such a mistake to be something as trivial and simple as spelling . . . well, that in itself is perfection! The perfection of the non-perfect.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Sounds - Why Heavy Metal? - Part 2: Emotional Context, Tone and Structure

What do you think of when you think of heavy metal? Angry music? Scary music? Evil music? Screaming? Growling? Harsh tones? Fast guitars and fast drumming? Loud and obnoxious?

No matter what you think about heavy metal, it's probably legit. But more often than not, the one thing that seems to escape most people is the emotional contexts heavy metal music incorporates. Most people assume that heavy metal merely conveys a limited range of emotions: anger, hatred, sadness, disgust, lust, et cetera. Overall, the emotional tone of heavy metal is generally dark. While this is true for the most part, there are number of subjective qualities behind this idea . . . all of which I wish to share with you, right now!

The Beauty Within Darkness

What is perhaps the most curcial element to any musical creation? A sense of melody. In the world of rock music (in its most basic pretext), the melody is a guitar riff or vocalization that provides a unique, catchy hook in which the listener finds alluring, and often times memorable. For example, the opening guitar riff to Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine, or the vocalization of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, or the most infamous drum beat and guitar riff (and vocalization) in the world of heavy metal: the epic climax of Metallica's One. The melody of a song is what makes it a song -- that doesn't mean that every song has a melody, however -- and in the world of heavy metal, never is melody better defined.

How so?

Well, take what I said last week pertaining to the musicianship of heavy metal artists. The world of heavy metal is littered with thousands of talented musicians on every instrument, and when you combine their musianship with musical creation (such as melody), you achieve something you cannot achieve in other avenues. For example, take what I stated above . . . melody in Sweet Child O' Mine is found within a guitar, melody in Smooth Criminal is found within a voice, melody in One is found within a guitar, drums and a voice.

Now, that doesn't mean there aren't melodies in other genres of music which don't incorporate a multitude of instruments, but never is it more prevalent than in the world of heavy metal. But the real beauty of it, is that often times, in a heavy metal song, there may exist several melodies!

That's right! There are a number of songs which don't focus one just one climatic element, but rather numerous variations and themes, all of which add to the totality of a song. I offer as Exhibit A:

But sure, it's easy to feature a number of melodic entrancements with a song that's ten minutes long. Yet, that's another fascinating feature with heavy metal. There are numerous heavy metal songs that push beyond typical song length. On average, a song ranges anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes in length; yet, in the world of heavy metal, it's not uncommon to find songs beyond 10 minutes, especially when considering various sub genres. For example, black metal, epic metal, pagan metal, et cetera, all feature a vast number of songs pushing the 15 minute mark. And bands like Moonsorrow, Weakling, Dakestrah feature songs more on the side of 20 minutes . . . especially Moonsorrow who have a number songs beyond 20 minutes, even approaching a 30 minute mark.

Hold up, a 30 minute long song?! That's right. Songs so wondrously created, in structure, melody and musicianship, that they transcend the prejudices of heavy metal and enter the realm of musical composition! And yet, it retains its heavy metal qualities. I highly recommend checking out Moonsorrow's album V: Havitetty -- pure pagan metal, featuring classic shriek-style-vocalization, blast beats and tremolo picking, acoustics, flutes, keyboards, and wonderful musicianship.

But back to my point. Melody is everywhere in the world of music, but in some styles it's far more purposeful. And none other than heavy metal . . . I mean, how else can musicians make a dark song catchy and appealing?

That does appear to be the main criticism behind heavy metal: it's dark. Why would anyone wish to surround themselves with such darkness all the time? Well, in truth, it's not the darkness that draws in most fans. I mean, when I was a teenager and began listening to heavy metal for the first time, it wasn't because I found the music dark. Instead, I heard the other qualities the music had to offer. The melodies, the musicianship, the structure . . . not its theme. That was an aspect that came later in my quest to find other heavy metal bands. And yet, even then, I discovered that a lot of "dark music" was really just another subjective quality -- a way in which to explore musical elements. Even then, not all dark music is wholly dark. Even though the tone of a song may be dark, sometimes the melody and indeed the lyrics themselves are beautiful. I offer as Exhibit B:

So, why heavy metal? Well, it's all the tonal and emotional elements heavy metal has to offer. What other source of music has the ability to convey so much, yet remain so true to its nature? Heavy metal music has a lot to offer, only many levels, and it's to prejudge it based on media prejudices. It may be dark, but it can be beautiful.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Sounds - Why Heavy Metal? Part 1: The Muscianship

The answer is quite simple: it's the technicality of it all. The musicianship, the structure of the music, the emotional contexts. These are elements all forms of music encompass, but I can't imagine any style of music that focuses on these elements more so than heavy metal. But for me, a lot of my passion for heavy metal really stems from the musicianship. And to be very specific, it's all about the drumming with me.

Everyone knows guitar, whether they play the instrument or not -- it's not difficult to judge a good guitarist (especially when solos are concerned). And the musicanship of guitarists is a strong focal point for many musical styles; as such, there's little I wish to discuss about the nature of guitarists in rock or heavy metal, as both exhibit a wide range of musicianship. A little harder to dissect is the bassist -- as the bass (in most musical forms) is merely an instrument of accompaniment, but even it can be a strong focal point for many musical styles. As for the drums, which (in its basic form) is also an instrument of accompaniment like the bass, there's generally a lack of understanding on just how truly complex the instrument can be. Most people hear drums, but don't understand what they're hearing, more specifically what they're not hearing. They may hear an interesting rhythm and pin-point it as being unique, but on a whole the drums are a mysterious instrument to many.

Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of rock music from my family. I was learning percussion (drumming) during those years, and was always under the impression that all manner of drumming focused on rudiments (that is, to say, the composition of rhythm). I thought that being a drummer for a band simply meant keeping a beat, and therefore keeping time, for a song. The drummers didn't really appear to do much, despite their notoriety (i.e. Keith Moon, John Bonham, Steven Adler); but of course there were moments where drummers had a chance to shine -- most notably with drum solos. But even then I was bored. Rock drummers didn't appear to have a wide variety of skill.

The led me down a path of trying to discover the musicianship of drummers in bands. And ultimately, I was led to the discovery of drumming virtuosos (drummers with in-depth understanding of percussion and music theory). I was introduced to a variety of drummers who were extremely skilled (i.e. Buddy Rich, Dave Weckl, Tony Royster Jr.), and though highly impressed with the musicianship of such drummers, I was bored with the musical style. Most of these drummers played in jazz bands, funk bands, gospel bands, et cetera.

So I was now under the impression that great drummers only played for musical styles that were of little to no interest to me. As much as I appreciated musical styles like jazz, I didn't feel said styles of music represented all of the complexities music had to offer. For lack of better terminology: it didn't rock!

So I was torn between my love for musicianship in regards to drumming, and my passion for something that rocked. It was as if I only had two choices . . . something that rocked with drummers that didn't do much save for a simple drum solo, or drummers that were insanely talented but played for bands that I found boring.

Then I discovered heavy metal. It was this style of music that I discovered the perfect blend of musicianship and music that rocks. Here was a style of music where a drummer was a focal point without having to break away into a drum solo, while at the same time adding to a style of music I found very interesting.

Case in point:

Derek Roddy . . .

George Kollias . . .

Dirk Verbeuren . . .

All of these drummers possess talent. And though they all appear to have similar abilities (which they do), you cannot proclaim their drumming ability as simplistic; nor the music as a whole as being boring (which is a topic I will save for next time).

So why heavy metal?

Well, for me, it's all about the drumming.

Posting On a Regular Basis

Kayla says I need to post on a more regular basis, but what exactly I should post has been eluding me for quite some time. Until last night, after band practice, Jon (lead singer and guitarist for my band Silver Cypher) and I were discussing many wonderful things pertaining to our love of heavy metal music, bands in general, and of course philosophical musings.

It occurred to me that there are more things I'm passionate about other than literature and art . . . actually, that didn't occur to me just last night (for I always knew I was passionate about music and philosophy), but it did occur to me that I should share this passion on my blog.

And so, it is my plan to dedicate one day a week to music--my love of the genre heavy metal and the bands therein--and quite possibly dedicating a day (at random) to philosophical pondering.

With that being said . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Again . . .

My first introduction into the blogging world was years ago when an individual copied one of my responses (discussions) at a forum website (, and proceeded to comment on it via their own personal blog.

And now it's happened again.

Interesting? Well, to me at least.

Here's the blog/post:

In short, this individual and I were have a philosophical discussion about "self." We were not agreeing. I shan't bore anyone with the philosophical musings, but needless to say it was their opinion that "self" is merely a word and bearing no philosophical subjectivity, to which I promptly replied: wrong!

Boring, huh.

Oh well . . .

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Creative Creation

Lately, I've been obsessed with the idea of making another zine.  I had a lot of fun doing the last one (The Satanic Teddy Bear: Immoral Morals and Other Terrible Tales), and I couldn't wait to do another.  This new project is actually something I've been working on (rather haphazardly) for quite some time.  It's a story (of sorts) written in collaboration with activities and pictures (i.e. coloring books).  The main character is a girl named Ditzy, who goes on an exciting adventure in hopes of finding her baby.  Now, the literary representation of Ditzy was simple--I've already written the story and had the idea of a dim-witted character fully in mind. . . the artistic representation however was quite another story.  I went through many different versions of Ditzy over the course of a year (most of which were so horrible they aren't even worth showing), but in the past month she really began to take shape.  In fact, here's a few examples of Ditzy's formation.

I like her.  I think she's one of the best characters I've done.  I know she's simple, but that's the look I'm going for.  There are many things in store for her . . . I have quite a number of adventures planned out for her . . . but those will just have to wait until next time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Busy Bees

It's been quite some time since I've made a post, but that's only because time has been spent accordingly:

1. One whole week without internet (router died).
2. Two weeks of work, work, work.

That's right, I said life without the internet. How horrible! You know, I'm old enough to remember life without the internet and how simple (and exciting) life was back then. I remember being in high school when the internet was within its first stages of life and I recall a number of people (myself included) thinking that the internet was just another fad . . . here today, gone tomorrow. I remember having to write research papers which required no less than two internet sources. Do know how big of a pain in the a__ that was back then?! Citing internet sources was as simple as drilling a hole through Superman's chest! (The obvious analogical explanation being impossible as Superman is merely a figment of imagination . . . rather than Superman being indestructible . . . but now is not the time for philosophical hogwash). Seriously though, the internet . . . what a drag it was back in the mid/late-nineties. I mean, the only individual I knew who had the internet was my sister, and I would have to spend an entire evening at her house just trying to understand how to find research papers on various topics for essays, all the while my sister bugging me about needing to use the phone (dial-up internet . . . awesome).

Then everything changed. Soon, naked people were on the internet and music was easily accessible, movies too, and the wealth of information grew so vast that the library itself became inane. I remember being in college and professors would specifically state that we could use no more than two internet sources for research paper -- they wanted us to go to the library. Do you know how annoying that was?! The mere physical exhaustion of having to walk all the way across campus just to get on a computer to locate a book?! Thank god for recreational substances which helped soothe the research process within the library; otherwise, the whole ordeal would've been a complete drag.

Anyway, life is now in full swing as our internet has been fixed . . . somewhat. We received a new router, but the internet cuts in and out whenever we access Netflix. Oh well. Besides, I don't think either Kay or I could survive another day without the internet. Sure, it motivated us to do more meaningful things with our time, but it was quite torturous after a few days. But it's odd: life before the internet seemed so fresh and exciting, but life without the internet today is so d____ dull it's like having a conversation with a mime! (The obvious analogical explanation being moot as mime's too are a figment of your imagination . . . philosophically speaking).

However, as I stated, life without the internet has driven Kay and I to pursue more creative avenues; not too mention our company hasn't had a lot of work these past few weeks, for which early-outs and all-day-call-offs have been approved. With so much free time, and a strong passion for creativity, I have jumped head first into a new project which I hope will be completed relatively soon. I won't give too much way (for I've rambled-on long enough . . . and Kay says words are the deaths of blogs [as cited, via internet, by professional bloggers]), but I will share some of the details very soon.

Until then . . .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Satanic Teddy Bear: Immoral Morals and Other Terrible Tales

So here it is folks.  It took several hours, along with numerous cups of coffee and cigarettes, to finish this baby. This is my first attempt at self-published Zine.  For the most part it was merely a test run for future projects in this format, and I must say I found it quite easier than I had originally suspected.  Oh, the power of technology (Mac style!) . . . I did of course run into a number of problems, such as printing and converting to a PDF file, but in the end I finally did it!  My very first Zine for your [dis]approval.  Feel free to read it.  Simply click on the link!  Happy readings!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Look, A Book!

Watership DownWatership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have often heard that Richard Adams' Watership Down is a book which a number of people have read in school; though I did not . . . and in fact, I've never even heard of this book until my mid-twenties when someone mentioned the movie adapted from the book. After having finally read it, there is definitely a classic literary feel. Now, I am a fan of xenofiction (anthropomorphic fiction), but this book definitely feels more at home in a high school english class or university literature course as opposed to just being another book on the shelves of a sci-fi/fantasy fan's collection.

That doesn't mean that I didn't like the book. In fact, I was quite fond of the story and the characters, but it was a book not quite suitable for the mood I was a seeking. I was hoping for something a little more adventurous and anthropomorphic. I knew before reading the book that that was most likely not going to be the case, and instead I fault myself for having higher expectations, but nevertheless reading this book made me feel like it was an english class all over again, trying to pin-point figurative versus literal meanings, symbolism and other various thematic elements. But all the same, I enjoyed the book and I am glad to have finally read it after all these years. It was a cozy little read.

Good Book, Good Read.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Satanic Teddy Bear: Immoral Morals and Other Terrible Tales

So, what's with that little evil teddy bear?  It's a little project of mine that I have been working on for quite some time.  The idea first came to me years ago, but within these past few months I've been giving the project a more serious approach . . . though to what seriousness I do not quite know.  It's merely a test run for possible future projects.  Specifically, I have it in mind to try my hand at a zine for another project, but before I begin to even attempt to muck up that one I figured it might be best to give it a test run on something a little less serious.  In other words, this is all just an experiment.  I hope to have it posted up fairly soon.  In the mean time, I plan to post bits and pieces of it for viewing pleasure . . . enjoy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Drawings

Crazy Good Time

Tail of a Thief

Here are few drawings I made recently.  Crazy Good Time was just an experiment in free-style gone horribly awry which led to a more macabre vision.  Tail of a Thief was just a little practice in shading (which didn't turn out as clear as I had hoped with the scanner) and portrays a little image I've had in my head quite some time concerning a story/novel I had been working on at one point in time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Writing Becomes A Waste of Time

Is it possible? Can writing be a waste of time? Ultimately, the answer is no. Writing is always a practice in craft. Everything from journal entries to blog posts to poems to stories to song lyrics . . . sure, they may be stupid from time to time, silly, or maybe even ways to kill time, but any form of writing could never be considered a waste of time.

I am inclined to disagree. While I do admit that any form of writing is indeed a practice in the craft and therefore worth something, I am still of the opinion that sometimes a story or a poem is just completely and utterly hopeless. I am of course talking about myself here, and I am referring to a short story I have been struggling with for years. I recently commented about this particular piece in a few posts back (entitled When Revision Becomes Re-Imagine). At the end of said post I was contemplating the effort I made in trying to finalize this story which has bothered me so, and I had asked myself the very same question I am asking here: can writing be a waste of time? But a month or so ago I was hopeful that my new version of a sci-fi pseudo-drama set aboard a spacecraft was complete and successful . . . but I was wrong.

I recently read the latest version of the story (some 9,000+ words . . . far too long for general zine publication) and I am now of the opinion that said story may just have to remain one of those pieces that was purely an exercise in practice. There are many stories in my catologue that fit this bill (most of which were written during my college years), but as I am now actively seeking publication (or rather, saying that I am) I am rather smitten that I have wasted so much time on a story that I know for a fact will never see publication. I mean, it needs edited; and I'm not speaking of the basics here (spelling, word choice, sentence structure -- these are all a given in any editing process); rather, the plot, sub-plot, climax, characters, flow, et cetera, all need revision. And this is what I have been struggling with for years. I do believe that this latest rendition of the story is number seven. And throughout it all, I have both loved the idea and hated the outcome. Characters have been erased, new characters introduced, scenes completely rearranged, new ideas expressed, and when I read the latest effort I am always annoyed. I just can't seem to tell the story the way I originally imagined it. And I know that it sucks! Who would want to read my story when I myself don't even like it? And so, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot waste anymore time. It's time to pack it up and move on. Maybe one day in the future I will take another stab at it . . . maybe when I am suffering from a case of writer's block. But for now, the story is going to be packed away into a box full of stories showcasing a practice in crap . . . I mean craft.

The Satanic Teddy Bear

Whew . . . that was rather difficult to make.

But what is it?

All shall be explained with time . . . until then, enjoy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Meepers Creepers Go VaroooBOOM!

The Story . . .

Thursday. 10:19 pm. 56 degrees.  Scattered showers -- ending a week-long torrential rainfall. Warning: flash flooding in various areas; road conditions: wet.  Still a beautiful night. Not too cold, not too warm. The past hour saw a passing rain cloud which brought a cool breeze to the warm spring air. It's the type of night in which C___ considers leaving work early (as there's no work to be done) and going home to spend a comfortable evening with a cigar and a glass of wine, hopefully ending the night within the comfortable embrace of his girlfriend's arms -- who, as of late, has witnessed an embrace of fate all her own. It doesn't take much dileberation valuing a comfortable night over a few hours of pay for no work.  Ergo, C___ logs of his station, packs up his things, says goodbye to one or two other employees -- who are weighing their own pros and cons for a mere few hours of pay for no work -- and leaves. With a perk smile upon his face he waves goodbye to the front-desk security guard. Then he strides out into the cool night and prepares to head home.

It's a quick drive, no more than 30 - 35 minutes (tops), and before he sets out he tosses on a classic album (Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness) and drives off. The roads are wet, a few slick-spots seem possible, but overall it's a relatively easy commute. Not too many cars on the road. A few other drivers, most likely retiring for the evening after a day of work or going home after a relaxing evening with friends. C___ can't help but notice the soaring gas prices these days, but he smiles. The expense of gas is of little to no concern for him. After all, he recently upgraded from having no car -- which briefly followed an average run with a piece of s___ car -- to what is now a fuel-efficient car. A 2008 Honda Fit which gets 30-34 miles to the gallon (city-highway) and rides as smooth as BOOM!

From the other lane: a smack, a pop. The other driver failing to observe the rules of the road attempts a left hand turn from the opposing direction. Unknowingly, unintentionally, unintelligently, she accidentally failed to yield and crossed C___'s lane. The collision isn't grave . . . thankfully. Everyone is fine. A little shaken and nervous, but no loss of limbs. Both parties step out, share a cigarette (though only in act), and patiently wait for the police to show up and begin taking notes before issuing citations and permitting them all to leave the scene.

It doesn't take long. Not long at all. The police arrived . . . promptly. And did their thing . . . promptly. And just as his night had began, C___ was back in his car enjoying the evening; or rather, enjoying it the best that he could with a constant RaaaTLinG from the engine while the hazard-lights repetitiously blink -- alerting the other drivers that this particular individual is driving f___ing slow for a reason! Said reason being, of course, that it's a nice night and one should not waste one second of it.

He does not fret. Not one bit. What has happened, happened. He could cry. He could complain. Or he could, instead, continue dreaming about a fine cigar, a fine glass of wine and a fine woman. So he drives. And he smiles. And he rolls the window down, enjoying the cool breeze on the warm spring air while simultaneously airing out the slight odor of melting rubber coming from an over-heating engine.

The Facts . . .

As of late the fates have saw fit to deliver onto me motor-vehicular hardships. Without all the mundane details (which really do nothing other than seek sympathy), the facts are that my new car seems prone to mishaps. What was once affectionally nicknamed Meepers Creepers is now undergoing a revision (in both name as well as body). I'm thinking of naming her The Curse. I mean, seriously . . . just look! 

So, the collision . . .
A month or so ago someone dinged my read drver-side door (presumably with their car door) . . .

To top it all off, someone spit on my car (presumably) . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When Revision Becomes Re-Imagine

For years I have been working on a short story which has plagued my imagination for quite some time -- the idea of which sparked within my brain during my short stint as an employee at a bookstore some four or five years ago. It was a story which took one wintery day and an entire pot of coffee to begin. I wrote on a whim, allowing the words to free-flow without any real thought or purpose as to where they may lead; and what I wound up with was a twenty-page manuscript which had no ending and just a lot of dribble-drabble which I loved. Good enough!

It took a few months before I really found my way to a conclusion; after which came the inevetiable (and dreadful) revision process. So I sat down with a printed copy, started up a pot of coffee, and began reading openly without any bias (a bias which can only be described as I-am-the-author-of-this-here-masterpiece-and-feel-every-word-of-it-is-masterfully-crafted!). And when I was finished I set down my coffee and my manuscript, gently rose from my favorite sitting position (crossed legged on the couch), walked into my office, turned on my computer and began playing a multiplayer first-person-shooter game to help relieve my utter disappointment and frustration at having crafted the biggest pile of slushy crap to ever grace a 5,000+ word-count -- I figured that perhaps it's best to stick with what I'm truly good at: shooting counter-terrorists across open fields with long-scope sniper-rifles!

Anyway, it was only a matter of time until I decided to sit down and try my hand at editing the original piece, but I knew that this revision was going to bear the scars of more than just a grammatical operation . . . the plot needed to undergo a messy dissection! So I made a pot of coffee, smoked a few cigarettes, and scratched my head for awhile (because I had dandruff at the time) and began to muse about what exactly needed to change. Then it occurred to me: less words!

WARNING! Lesser word-count does not a good revision of plot make!

I know that many times a short story must undergo a dramatic transformation in length in order to fit the scope of publishable material (most zines I submit to request under 5,000 words), but to try and fix a plot by merely chopping off words left and right is truly a macabre way of crafting a story!

So there I was, again, back in my office, sitting at my computer -- only this time playing a game of chess online as I had deemed gaming to be a distraction and set out to uninstall every game I had so as to focus on more important things in life; but not straying from the rationale that gaming is a much needed stress reliever . . . I merely justified that if I am going to play a game online then it should at least be game which takes intelligence!

Anyway, long story short (too f___ing late!) I finally decided to have a go at the story one more time (which by this point had seen at least five revisions -- in both plot and length, but to no avail). Even though I was in the midst of revising/rewriting another story I decided to make a pot of coffee, light up a cigar, scratch my head (this time in thought . . . dandruff gone!) and set out rewriting what I had originally intended for all those years ago! But I knew the plot was still in dire need of a change and so I wondered to myself: what could be more drastic than erasing a character altogether? And poof!, I set out with a brand new revision.

One week, seven cigars and twelve pots of coffee later, I'm left with a brand new story that has a 9,000+ word-count and is now in dire need of a serious revision all its own! GAH!

But it wasn't all for naught . . . right? It's all about the crafting of crap, not the crappy craft . . . right?

Anyway, I feel slightly more hopeful with this new re-imagining. It still isn't how I figured the piece should or could have been, but I am coming to grips with it being one of those stories that just may not be suitable for zines seeking smaller word-counts. After all, a story is more than just words.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Philosophical Pondering: Aspiring vs' Accomplished

It seems these days that almost anyone and everyone claims esteemed titles such as author, artist, or musician but are merely aspiring individuals of said arts, rather than accomplished. But that in itself is a vague notion . . . for what does it truly mean to be an aspiring artist or an accomplished one?

In the past I was always under the assumption that if you were an individual who had an artistic piece (be it poem, song, or drawing) produced in some sort of mass-marketed format (i.e. magazine, record, or comic strip) then you were by very definition an accomplished artist. This notion was somewhat shaped by my academic understanding of said fields. As a student of creative writing I had to study accomplished authors who had works featured in various formats (zines, anthologies, colletions, et cetera) for I was merely an aspiring writer who had to emulate these individuals. They were authors, I was merely a writer. And so the very idea of being published was something I held in high regard. And so I set out seeking my title.

Well, after two years or so of rejections I began to doubt myself. I thought that perhaps there was something wrong with my writing (which had undergone extreme evolutions -- both in style and content) until I found out what was wrong were the markets I was submitting to. I was an aspiring writer seeking publication amidst accomplished authors. How foolish of me? So I switched gears. Instead of seeking big-press I set my sights on small-press. But now, to my horror, it seems that a vast number of markets open to aspiring writers are becoming overrun by those already accomplished in the field.

Small-press, indie-labels and self-publications are more popular than ever . . . in fact, it's almost become a title in its own right: indie artist, self-published author. And more often than not many individuals who find themselves in these markets are by very definition accomplished! They may not seek the bigger markets or venues as they have made their mark in the smaller ones and continue to do so.

It seems to me that one may claim the title as accomplished (in any format) by sheer popularity (be it fandom or proof of economic status). And it goes without saying these days that the quickest and easiest method to get your name out there and attract groups of people is through multiple online avenues. Anymore, an author doesn't need to be published in a magazine that rests on magazine stands in chains of bookstores -- nor do they need to be published in smaller zines found at local coffee shops or independently own books stores -- today, almost anyone can publish their work online (regardless of the website). And depending on how many individuals visit the site and read their story then, by definition, they are an accomplished author.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for those who are aspiring writers? What does it truly take to become accomplished? Furthermore, what does it truly mean to be accomplished?

I have seen a few of my stories in print for the very first time, and I continue to write as I dream of being an accomplished author. I am also a musician who has played on stages in local venues, recorded a few demos and albums, even made some home video recordings which I have featured on And through it all I am still an aspiring artist. At what point in time may I claim myself as accomplished? Does that even matter? Who knows . . . all I know is I like to write and I love to play music . . . and oh, how I wish people would love me for it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Look, a Book!

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

Vastly articulate and intellectually enthralling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is one of those rare books which actually catapults you (the reader) into a world of its own magical devices as it sucks you into the fantastical visions of first-time novelist Susanna Clarke. Most notably, upon first inspection of this book, is its great length -- which, many fans of fantasy are accustomed too -- but to tell such a lengthy story without expanding decades or centuries or travels to and fro dangerous lands littered with snarling beasts is quite the feat . . . more so for a first-time writer. But the length of the novel is one of the more remarkable things about it, for the story contained within is actually quite uneventful, yet fascinating! There were by no means any moments of pure boredom (despite multitudes of filler), and though a number of scenes are rather dull, focusing more on dialogue, descriptions and language rather than actual climatic situations, the plot continues to thicken. And thicken. And thicken. Indeed, it's quite puzzling how the book continues to drag on and on, expanding on characters to the point of exhaustion, yet never falters, and instead only continues to grab your interest. And then, when it almost seems apparent that the book is going to suddenly end without any real conclusion, that's when the story finally spirals drastically, proving to be a real tour-de-force demanding your utmost attention and desire!

There is something undoubtedly remarkable about this book, but it comes from so many different avenues that it's hard to truly pinpoint what makes it so remarkable. I had been told by a number of fans that this was a great story, but that is an argument better suited for the various schools of thought when concerning the sole definition of story. For example, if one were seeking a story of grand adventure, look elsewhere. If one were looking for a story concerning the battle of good and evil, look elsewhere (although there is plenty of good and evil in this story). Yet if one were looking for a story that delves deep into the human condition, then this is definitely the book! But whereas most stories surrounding this style are better suited for mainstream fiction or memoirs, this one pulls it off in a work of fantasy, Finally, a novel that interweaves fantasy and fiction (in the most broadest of definitions) without being hokey or too overbearing.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a novel for any reader. Fans of mainstream fiction would love it as well as fans of fantasy and science-fiction, and in almost any age group -- though the youthful fanatics of fantasy these days may find the book terribly dull without its cliched romances and monsters; nevertheless, I am sure that any true lover of stories would be most pleased to stumble into the world of Susanna Clarke.

So . . . Great Book, Great Read!

This review and many others by me can be found at Goodreads: C. D. Brinker review.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Careful What You Wish For at Title Goes Here:

My short story Careful What You Wish For is featured at Title Goes Here: Online Edition (Issue 1.4 - April 2011).

Brief Synopsis
Careful What You Wish For tells the story of a weed that dreams of becoming a flower, but fails to realize that beauty comes with a price.

Please visit Title Goes Here: and check it out!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Outside the Box at Bards and Sages Quarterly

My short story Outside the Box is featured in Bards and Sages Quarterly (Volume III, Issue No. 2 - Spring, 2011).

Brief Synopsis:
Outside the Box is a colorful little tale about the life of a crayon, and the horrors therein.

Please visit Bards and Sages Quarterly and check it out. PDF and print copies are available at

Happy reading!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friend or Foe? at Golden Visions Magazine

My short story Friend or Foe? is featured in Golden Visions Magazine (Issue No. 14 - Spring, 2011).

Brief Synopsis
Friend or Foe? concerns itself with that age-old question: are we alone in the universe?

Please visit Golden Visions Magazine and check it out. A PDF copy as well as a print version of the issue are available for purchase.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Look, a Book!

You can read my review of Livi Michael's The Whispering Road at Goodreads: C. D. Brinker review.

Please visit my personal collection of books at Goodreads: C. D. Brinker  (or simply click on the button on the right of my blog) and check out my other reviews.

Suffice it to say . . . Decent Book, Good Read.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look, a book!

You can read my review of Jesse Bullington's The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart at Goodreads: C. D. Brinker review.

Or you can also find it at: Skull Salad Reviews

Please visit my personal collection of books at Goodreads: C. D. Brinker  (or simply click on the button on the right of my blog) and check out my other reviews.

Suffice it to say . . . Good Book, Good Read.

On track . . .

Whew! What a ride it has been these past few weeks/months. A lot has been accomplished, and I am ever so grateful that it's all over . . . and just in time for spring too!

The list thus far:

1. Finished moving (unpacking)
2. Bought a car
3. Turned 30
4. Published (upcoming spring issues)
5. Passed exam for CPhT

1. Unpacking always sucks! Especially when you have as much junk as I do. My closet is filled with old toys, old notebooks, boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of novels I've yet to read, a couple of guitars, a bass and drum pads . . . and that's just in our very apartment! At my folks storage/garage I have more guitars, an entire drum kit, old video games, et cetera. I have a lot of junk! But alas, our apartment is fully furnished and decorated (for the most part). As such, I decided to reward my efforts by doing the following puzzle:

Definitely not easy! Kayla bought me the puzzle for Christmas after I saw a few puzzles based on M. C. Escher's art and expressed a desire to do one. Little did I know that putting together a puzzle that's completely black and white is ever-so freaking difficult! But it'll be worth it in the end. And when I'm finished, it will hopefully be framed and hung up on some wall. Joyous!

2. Yeah, I finally went out and bought a car. A 2008 Honda Fit. A little hatchback of the soccer-mom variety, or so people mock, but I like it! The hatchback provides a quick and easy way for me to transport music equipment and the fact that it gets 35 mpg is just plain awesome!

She has been named Meepers Creepers on account that Kayla likes to joke about the car, often saying "Meep, meep," in reference to my driving the thing; and of course the other half of her name is derived from my musical tastes. Ergo, the name fits . . . pun intended! Sadly, however, some nimrod nicked/dented the rear door (presumbly by whacking their door into mine) just 10 days after my acquiring the vehicle.

3. Turned 30.

4. Getting published . . . yes, finally! After years and years of writing and submitting and reading rejection letters that begin with Dear ______________ we are so delighted that you took an interest in our magazine, but [. . .] I am finally seeing a few stories in print. More details on that later . . .

5. And finally, after fretting and avoiding a much needed certification for the better half of a year, I passed the exam for my CPhT. What is a CPhT? It's an acronym! Duh! Okay, but what it stands for is Certified Pharmacy Technician. I work for a pharmacy, have for years, and about a year ago I was accepted into the Technician Department on the approval that I earn my CPhT within one year as is required by law. So, to put it simply, failing to obtain my certification as a CPhT means losing my job! At first, I didn't care, but as the months wore on and the deadline grew nearer I really began to freak out . . . more so because Kayla has the exact same job as I do and told me horror stories about her exam and just how hard it was. Needless to say, I studied college-cram style for about a week and passed the exam. So all is good. I get to continue to sit in a cubicle wasteland! Yay! But seriously, I'm very delighted to have this certification.

. . . and that's all folks! With everything all wrapped up and completed I can finally get back on track with other endeavors. I still have a few projects and a number of stories in the works and now find myself with a giant load of free time to spend however I wish! With spring here, my days really do seem to get brighter and longer! (How cheesy?)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Now?

It has been quite awhile since I made a post. I have found myself in the midst of several changes (both opportunistic and frustrating) and what little time I have had I have not spent to the fullest. Overtime has consumed a small portion of my time, as well as preparing to move to a new apartment in a few weeks, but I haven't utilized my free-time to its fullest. In fact, sitting around playing video games and reading a few novels has really been all I've done. I haven't worked any further on Dead Again nor have I spent much time drawing. I did however get together with some buddies to jam out in preparation for an upcoming show. So I guess that's something . . . but for the most part my time has just sort of dissipated. However, I am ready to get back in the saddle (even though I don't like horses) and get back on the right path. It's good to stray away from time to time, to let your mind melt and to forget all your wants and desires, but remaining in such a state is a very dangerous thing. For weeks my mind has been in turmoil, struggling against plot ideas and character attributes while simultanesouly drifting into the best weapon and perk set-up to achieve a better kill/death ratio with my first-person shooter video-game. Oh, the struggle!

Anywho, I don't have much to say but I wanted to say it all the same.