Friday, January 29, 2010


I remember being ten years old and seeing basketball as the greatest thing in the world. I loved playing it, I love talking about it, I loved thinking about it. I collected cards and would stare at them for minutes at a time. Flicking through the pages of my folders and marveling at the superhuman shots that were captured just for me. Space Jam came out that year, and it's amazing how much I remember of that movie. It feels like almost every scene was etched into my brain the moment it came onto the screen in front of me. That movie, along with Tim Burton's Batman, is the movie of my childhood. But Batman came before, and in a sense I had actually grown out of Batman by the time I was ten. Well, at least out of seeing it as the big kahuna. You see, I remember being seven years old and seeing Batman as the greatest thing in the world. I loved playing it, I love talking about it, I loved thinking about it. But I guess I changed, without much fanfare, to being a basketball fanatic. But there was a moment, during my love of basketball, when I was standing in my room staring at my basketball posters and a thought came into my head. What if one day I stopped loving basketball and moved onto something else. I became scared, because if I started to fall in love with something else, then I wouldn't love basketball anymore.

But I love basketball!

I don't want to lose it!

And just then, as my feeble child brain was worrying about losing the thing that I loved, I realized something: If there comes a moment where my love for basketball ever dies, I won't be sad at that moment, because I won't love it anymore. So I must love until I don't love anymore. And I can't control how long that is.

A few months had passed and I'm sitting on my couch watching wrestling, marveling at the superhuman moves that were captured just for me. I hadn't thought about basketball in months. I didn't miss it. I had changed and I couldn't deny it. Most of all, I didn't want to deny it, because my new love was so much fun.

The lesson I learned was that if we force or deny change, it will hurt us both short term and long term. And when we feel ourselves changing, it will only be natural.

- Lee

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Internet Shield

I read news websites, tech/games websites just about everyday at work, and all these websites I read open themselves up for comments on their articles. For quite a while I imposed a ban on myself from even visiting a news website, they're so filled with bile and terrible reporting that I just didn't know why I was reading them anymore.

I remember one day Brooke and I were driving to work when we drove past a horrible car accident, the car had been ripped in half and strewn across the road, we were a bit shaken up just seeing it. I got to work and wanted to read about it, in the afternoon the news sites started posting their articles. Well... here are some of the charming comments from one news website: Mercury News – Fatal crash ‘the worst ever’.* Clearly these people were thinking about how the families of two young men were changed that day.

Today with the announcement of Apple's new device - the 'iPad'. I think the negative comments have outweighed the positive about 25 to 1. I don’t get it, considering Apple has sold over 250 million iPods and over 40 million iPhones, they know a little about hawking cool looking shit. Give them a little bit of credit for trying something that’s somewhat new.

Negativity leads to dead ends, in fact it doesn’t even go that far, leads to unhappiness and stalls progress of humanity. How about this negative guy:

That rules by the way…

I don't come across this much negativity in real life, and never in my life have I heard anyone say anything so heartless and callous as what I've read on the news websites. It just shows how much the internet acts as a shield for cowardly behaviour. I found Eden’s article yesterday so uplifting, it made me feel happy, infact I'm re-enforcing my personal ban of news websites. If I need something to read, I'll read something positive like BOTM (which now has over 100 posts).

- Dogman

*I tried looking for the one that was on, it had some amazing comments... this was the best I could find unfortunately.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It’s Therapeutic

Bathing with therapeutic bath soaps such as this range from PRE de Provence will restore lifeforce and generally make you a better person

I’ve found myself saying this a lot in recent times. "It’s therapeutic." I used to view the word as something the hippie corporations branded their tangerine coloured, cinnamon scented rose gold priced candles at the Crescent Moon or Rising Sun stores. You know the ones with the healing gem stones, Indian dreamcatchers and of course a younger version of myself sacrificing hours of my childhood in order to get a Crunchie thick shake when my mum finally left.

But since those days of having vanilla pot-pouri incense still ingrained in my T-shirt as I lined up at Wendy’s with a lavender coloured fiver in my hand, I have come to better understand the benefits of therapeutic activity. I have taken a large interest in Yoga and Meditation. Two practices which promise amazing results if strong determination and enthusiasm are used in the process; two practices which I would have originally scoffed at as stupid or gay; two practices which most certainly delivered on their promises.

And as I grow older and wiser I find that more and more things fit under the guidelines. Perhaps it was the understanding I learnt through meditation that instant gratification is often anything but gratifying almost instantly. I find that anything that you take your time to appreciate and understand will offer you heightened peace of mind.

So enjoy the simplicity of life next time you are wading in a body of water like a pool or the beach, feeling the sensations of the interaction with the cool water. Then drying off in the warmth of the Sun, aware of its heat slowly evaporating the little droplets. Thinking about the strange beauty of the water cycle as it returns to the sky only to fall again. Reading a book and being taken to another world of shared imagination between yourself and the writer. Coming home and showering, taking time to keep yourself clean and healthy. Preparing a meal, with care and patience, letting the aromas whet your appetite. Conversing with a loved one while you eat. Not complaining or feeling hard done by as you clean the dishes. Listening to some music as you take a light jog to a friend’s house. Not rushing as you chop some spouch. Patiently refining your rolling skills. Enjoying the rush of endorphins as you laugh your ass off. Falling asleep. Your body relaxing and your mind entering a world of your own imaginings. Waking refreshed for the day, preparing yourself for work, enjoying your breakfast. Taking some time while in traffic or on the train to find a calm peace within. Doing your duties diligently, chatting with fellow employees. Returning home to loved ones in that peaceful train carriage. Writing a blog while listening to Built to Spill. Fine-tuning your guitar skills. Watching your favourite show. Learning something new. Relaxing. Exercising. Laughing. Crying. Fucking. Working. Creating. Meditating. Inhaling. Exhaling. Loving. Living…It’s therapeutic.

- Eden (while listening to You In Reverse by Built to Spill)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sack Whacked.

Most of my time spent in high school was spent standing in a circle, scared of being sack whacked. The fear didn't take control until the first time it happened to me. Watching people get sack whacked is very different to the personal experience. I think back to my first few years, I was so naive, so innocent. I laughed along with the others, unaware of the evil that existed right in front of me.

What are everyones thoughts on this dreaded exercise?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Comfort Zones

Everyone has their comfort zones and a large part of our will, subconscious or not, goes towards remaining in these comfort zones. It is directly related to fear – stay in my comfort zone and I avoid fear. Simple concept right? Except that comfort zones are pretty small places when you compare it to the area beyond the confines of your courage. You could liken it to a piece of property with a fence around it. Outside the fence is a scary world.

I realised that the best way to deal with comfort zones, is to be constantly trying to expand upon them. Imagine the fenced off property, but then you expand it to a whole city, a whole country, the whole world or universe. Imagine if your comfort zone shared the same boundaries as your imagination. No matter what predicament you are in, whatever part of the world, you would be free from fear – or at least not bound by it.

But facing a fear is a scary prospect by definition. But I believe there is a loop hole in the system. Basically you expand your comfort zone so that the idea of facing a fear is within your comfort zone and from there you can grow exponentially. I, myself, am by no means at this point. I write this as much for myself as anyone else, but it is a state of mind I would like to maintain one day.

- Eden (while listening to Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd)

P.S I feel bad for whacking the cock off of the top article. So make sure you scroll down and catch art at its finest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dogman's Cock College

First draw two parallel lines from left to right going upward at about 35 – 45 degrees (perhaps not perfectly parallel, I like it slightly fatter at the bottom), then draw a tear-drop at the top right end. On the lower line, draw a truly parallel line just above it, but slightly shorter at each end – shade the inner edges of those first lines ever so slightly (be gentle). Also shade the edge of the tear-drop on the left – just a touch. Now draw some scattered spider legs up and down the cylinder. Once you’ve done this you can either move up or down (from the base), I like to go down. With light hands – draw something like a half a tear-drop, make it much larger than the first and more “wrinkly”. Add in some spider legs/creases and shading around the edges, and some shading between the cylinder and large tear-drop (this is make or break right here). Now to finish it off, draw your best interpretation of grass at the topside of the base of the cylinder.

Here is the result if done correctly:

- Dogman

PS - I do apologise for the quality of the scan. I was at work and didn't really want anyone to see what I was doing (I felt like Seth from Superbad).

PPS - This was just an excuse to post a picture of a cock.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

“There’s someone in my head but it’s not me”

A man on the brink of insanity enters a room. There is a white table with a gun on it. There are two chairs on opposite sides of the table. One empty and the other occupied by a man who shares an exact likeness to that of the first man. The first man sits in the empty seat.

Man 1: Are you me?
Man 2: I am what you call the mind.
1: My mind?
2: No.
1: You are some form of over mind? Like a mother ship?
2: No I am the mind of the body you see. Nothing more.
1: But that is my body. So you are my mind.
2: No.
1: No?
2: You don’t exist. Therefore, I cannot belong to you.
1: How can that be? I am here. In body and mind.
2: I am the mind here, in this body.
1: But it is mine. I see, hear, feel with it. I smell and I taste.
2: Yes those sensations exist, but it isn’t you. The senses are not yours. You did not sense them.
1: Yes I did. I exist, I am sure of that. Perhaps you don’t exist.
2: I am the mind. I control the body. I am instinct, a culmination of past lessons.
1: But that is all me.
2: You don’t exist.
1: How can you say that?! I am here aware of body and mind.
2: But your awareness has no bearing, no influence. No tangible ground upon which to lay claim.
1: I claim this body and mind.
2: That is inconsequential. I can claim presidency of the United States but that is not so.
1: But I have choice. It is me who decides your fate. I guide you. I am choice if nothing else.
2: You have no choice. All actions are the sum of genetics within this vessel you wrongfully deem yourself. Genetics and the moments that have been experienced up to the exact point of action.
1: But I experienced those moments. I made the decision.
2: Perhaps you were aware of their occurrence and understood the logic of the course of action that was eventually taken. But this ‘decision’ was nothing but a calculated reaction, a reflex, by myself based on preserving and increasing my domain. It is written into me by an ever unfolding destiny.
1: I spell out your destiny. My destiny! The memory is my domain for consideration. The choices were mine.
2: The memory you possess is a vacuum. It exists nowhere. True memory is in the reflexes of nerves and muscles. In the inevitable learning of the reactionary brain. The spider must build its web and its memory is in the fine tuning of each new abode over years of experience.
1: And how does the spider choose where to build its home?
2: It doesn’t choose. It simply knows when it knows and begins to build. It exists.
1: Let's say its web is partially destroyed and the weather is rough. How does it decide to stay or not?
2: There is no decision. It stays or it moves on.
1: But what if it stays, but the weather is too strong. And it would have been better for the spider to have left.
2: There is no better.
1: What if it dies for its decision. Are you saying to live would not be better than death.
2: Then it dies. Naturally selected to pass on. A different spider would leave and go to know of new webs.
1: This is stupid. What if the wrong spider-
2: There is no right or wrong.
1: Shut up! Just-OK, what if the dead spider hadn’t died but suffered a great deal. What if next time it is faced with the same situation. This time it would surely decide to leave, learning from its mistake.
2: You chase your tail with pointless hypotheticals. You said it yourself. The spider has learned. Another line of lore inscribed in its DNA. There is no decision present.
1: OK enough of the spider! I am not a spider. I am human, evolved into critical thought. My hypotheticals improve my knowledge, they offer me a greater capacity, a better capacity, to make decisions. I preserve and grow my domain beyond that of the lesser life forms.
2: You are not human. Nor are you beyond the value of a spider. I am human, without value. Still operating according to nature.
1: And I am not? You operate according to me!
2: You should not have eaten the apple. And now are too proud to admit it.
1: What? The apple? You quote scripture? You claim to know all but have a fairytale as your point of reference. You believe in God?
2: I believe in the truth of nature. It is you who believes in God; seeking a truth beyond that which lies within all of nature; claiming to be nature itself; finding nothing but false deities and ego.
1: Ego? So does my ego exist? Is it wrong for me have an ego?
2: It exists as much as your God. Wrong cannot exist. To act is to act as nature has determined. You do not do this, therefore you cannot exist.
1: You are wrong!
2: There is no right and-
1: Shut up!
2: Only life. Only nat-
1: Shut up!!
2: All is one.
1: SHUT THE FUCK UP! What is this?! What is this, this emotion I feel? Deny that!
2: Emotion is another of your misconstrued beliefs. Love is the closest you come to pinpointing the emotion felt mentally and physically by this being.
1: By ME! I know Love. I have felt it.
2: You know nothing of it. All this knowledge you claim. Such intelligence you possess, yet you tag something as great as Love to your misleading dogmas and false hopes. Love is the energy of nature driving us all forward. Beckoning us to live and grow. Love is but a fantasy to you, inspiring a confidence in your ego. Acting as an idol of regret to which you worship.
1: No. I know Love. With my friends and family.
2: You attach love to people like a price tag to your finest work of art.
1: No I protect loved ones from fears and-
2: Fear is love. You do not understand it. All is one. Fear helps preserve and challenge everything. It culls the weak and is a seed for love when nurtured correctly.
1: But who nurtures it?
2: We continue around again. Continue to chase. The tail again just out of reach. You cycle through thoughts like a two dimensional O. It is nature that nurtures itself. Striving upwards like the double helix, moment to moment, evolving into the infinite.
1: But where does this infinite start? Where did nature begin?
2: What concept is this? A beginning. An ending. It is inconsequential thought. You knew your thoughts were unripe in your ‘beginning’ and yet you continue to feed from that tree. How well do you claim to know this sensation of taste?
1: NO! STOP! You are not right! I am the pinnacle of evolution!
2: Your ego betrays you.
1: I know Love! I have choice!

The man picks up the gun and puts it to his temple.

1: This is as nature intended! An ill mind needs to meet its end and I CHOOSE to carry out the task because I am part of nature. I am Nature! I am God!

The gun fires.


"It’s only me, it’s not my mind" – The Beatles
Title quote from Pink Floyd

- Eden (while listening to Black Sheep Boy by Okkervil River, and perhaps borrowing a touch from Fight Club)

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I'm a curious guy. I need to know things. Civilisation has always been one of those topics that has astounded me. No-one told early humans to build cities that have their own cultural identities, laws, government etc., so why did it happen? Maybe it has something to do with evolution - that is we needed civilisation to occur for us to survive, you know survival of the fittest type thing (See: Socio-cultural evolution). Before civilisation occurred (which can be classified when a culture is sedentary) humans were basically hunter/gatherers; cave-men if you will.

Before I go on, let me put civilisation into perspective of not only how long humans have been on this Earth, but compared with the age of the known universe. Warning, this may blow your mind.

14 billion years ago: Big Bang occurred
13.2 billion years ago: Oldest known star in our galaxy (HE 1523-0901) was formed
4.6 billion years ago: Solar system formed as part of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud (This is roughly the age of Earth as well)
3.6 billion years ago: Life on Earth (Abiogenesis) began
200,000 years ago: Modern humans originated in Africa
12,000 years ago: Civilisation began (Natufian culture, Mesopotamia, Neolithic Revolution)

Earth is expected to continue supporting life for another 1.5 billion years, after which the rising luminosity of the Sun will eliminate the biosphere. Now won't that suck!

I was having a discussion with two of my amigos the other day, and we were pondering how scientists worked out the exact time frame of the above - and when you think about it, they are basing their facts on calculated experiments, they didn't actually live that long to experience it first hand. In other words, these are the generally accepted figures that I've used to prove a point. And that is humans have been living in civilization for 6% of the time that we have been on Earth; and only 0.000003% of the time that life has existed on this planet. It is safe to say that civilisation is a fairly new thing.

By putting civilisation in this context it becomes frightening just how quickly we are messing up this planet. When you look at the population increases of major cities in countries such as China and India, it seems as though we will one day run out of room to fit all these people. Civilisation not only causes massive increases in population, it also leads to cities pumping out enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses and other pollution that is destroying the Earth. In saying all this, I love big cities. Of the large ones I've been to, they all have so much to offer in terms of art, variety of people, experience to breathe and opportunities to embrace. I don't want to go to the length of boycotting these planet-destroying-places if that means missing out on the jewels they offer.

Another way you could look at civilisation is that the world itself now has a civilisation. If each of the civilisations represented in the diagram below were to possess a 'Captain Planet' style ring, with their powers combined we would become quite an influential force.

Clash of civilisations. Click to enlarge

Why can't this happen? Why can't each country put their differences aside and work together to breed a culture of love and not indifference. Of course this won't happen - but maybe if everyone read Beatles on the Moon then their mindset on living life would tweak in a positive direction, and it would start an acceleration of love that spreads across all civilizations!!

My fascination with civilisation will never die, not when people in Dubai just completed construction on the new tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa. To build something that is 828 metres tall is beyond my comprehension, surely no building needs to be that high, no matter how great an accomplishment it is. Urbanisation is a subset of civilisation that is also extremely interesting - but no matter how contentious it may be, it makes sense. I myself have moved from one rural area to another one that is closer to the city of Sydney, based mainly for work but also to be closer to a civilisation hub.

At some stage in my life I'd like to live as far away from civilisation as possible as well - get away from computers, blackberry's, cars, people with attitude. I was recently in Byron Bay, and even though that town is experiencing growth it still maintains a vibe that I am totally in tune with. A place like that is somewhere I want to live in, open skies with friendly people and crystal seas. It just seems that when you add more and more people with busier schedules and more money to be made, the collective psyche becomes tainted with a bad attitude.

Coming back to the stats that I layed out earlier - even though civilisation hasn't been around that long, it is growing at a rapid pace and probably will be the death of humans. This doesn't concern me though, because it is all part of evolution. Many different species have come before us and many will come after that will go through the same phenomenon - even though we may be smart enough to understand what is transpiring, we aren't smart enough to stop it; and if we were, would we stop civilisation?

- Russell

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lee's Comedy College

Dana Gould - Let Me Put My Thoughts In You (2009)

Dana Gould is a hero of alternative comedy and a respected comedian of that scene. He was around for The Ben Stiller Show, is friends with Bob Odenkirk and tours with Marc Maron. This is a really solid set. It's only 35 minutes and it's like a good meal that satisfies but leaves you wanting more. And seriously, how good is that title.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bloggin 'bout Joggin

Damn! I should have stretched before this…

“Wait up, Topaz” he called as he stopped by a lamppost to lean into a light calf stretch. Seeing her owner had stopped, Topaz veered left into a small bit of bush to inspect the wonderful variety of smells. Happy that he wasn’t even a little short of breath, he extended his stretching session to include his quads and then the dreaded hamstrings. Only barely able to touch the tops of his shoes, he reeled upwards in pain and cursed his lack of commitment. “Feel the pain” he said out loud in his best attempt at replicating the manner and tone of a zenful master.

On his second attempt he reached the same point of his shoes as previously but managed to stay in position, resisting the calls from the under side of his knees, which were so accustomed to getting their way when it came to flexibility tests. For five agonisingly long breaths he remained, before returning upright to shake off the memory of the pain. Feeling much better for the stretch (probably better than such a stretch should warrant), he turned his head upwards, finding the quarter moon gave away enough of its bright reflection to let a keen eye find the outlines of a band of space dust. This time he drew five much easier breaths, but despite the temptation to continue starbathing, he preferred to honour the symmetry of his situation and shook off the smile that had formed on his face.

After a whistle in the direction of the bush, he continued to run, drawing inspiration from the magical sound coming from his iPod. When it came to running, there was no better album than Quadrophenia. The daring wit of Townsend’s genius would perhaps be hard to take seriously if Daltry didn’t sing the lyrics with such passion and conviction. This comes over top of the unique strumming and empowering guitarwork of Townsend, partnered by Entwhistle’s emphatic bass lines that deserved their own separate tracks to be fully appreciated, . And to top it off, Keith Moon’s non stop drumming can only make one question what sort of drugs he had to take to be able to maintain such a pace for the duration of the record.

With Topaz leading the way for the most part of the jog, trailing only to investigate the occasional tree or post before deciding it was worthy or not of her signature, he made his way to the local park. It was around two kilometres from his inner suburban apartment. Through a path, heavily shadowed by the overhanging trees, he slowed to a walk watching with admiration, the silhouette of Topaz crossing the peak of the small hill at the edge of the football field. He climbed and she paused lifting her nose to sniff the air, though it seemed more as an attempt to have her head scratched rather than catch the scent of the environment. Tom obliged, as he scoped the field for any dogs or owners who might give Topaz reason to taste the air a little closer. She was not always a sweet, lovable animal, and became more wolf than dog when she encountered a smaller creature. However, it was the middle of winter and by 11pm the local football teams had long since packed up their training gear and switched off the floodlights, and most people in their right minds wouldn’t be out in this sort of cold anyway (or their dogs for that matter).

Tom gave a sudden start to catch his pet’s attention. Then, with a small slap on the hip of her hind leg he dashed off in a sprint. Topaz, being a fit young husky didn’t need encouragement when it came to sprinting. She dashed after him and within seconds had covered three times the distance and began literally running circles round him, barking playfully as he dodged her attempts to cut his path off.

He reached the opposite side of the field and by this time Topaz had found more interesting things to do in the bush behind the goalposts. He always found it amusing when she tired of the games before he did. Tom stopped at the base of another hill, about 20-25m long on a decent gradient. Fighting off the doubts and fears that seem to be averse to any sort of activity no matter how beneficial it may be, he started up the hill with the number twenty in his mind. His previous encounter with the hill he managed fifteen and ten before that. Twenty was the logical next step.


He descended trying to keep his mind blank, not wanting to let it drift (as a general principle) but also feeling that one lap is too early to start focusing on the pain as a means of coping with it.

“Dos…Too easy mate,” he said for the benefit of those who might be watching.

“Tres!” Who the fuck are you talking to, you moron?

As was always the case, his mind stepped into the fray. This is where he recruited his music for inspiration. He sang random lyrics out loud to mute the many voices in his head, which sprung to life at the news that severe, self inflicted (and therefore avoidable) pain was about to begin and be maintained for twenty laps. TWENTY!? What the fuck? Last time was fifteen and you nearly threw up.

“Ocho.” Ocho?! Only eight? That’s still twelve to go!

“And people die because their old
or left alone out in the cold”

He sang in shaky tones, with a smile at the apparent poetic relevance of the lyrics. The monologue continued, with his mind both helping and hindering at different moments. The helpless dancer continued to play in his ears and at an unconscious moment he sang out again:

“And when a man is trying to change
It only causes further pain.
You realise that all along
There’s something in us going wroo-ng”

His voice choked on the last note. He couldn’t be sure whether it was his exhausted condition or the sheer emotion the lyric tore out of him, but his knees almost buckled under his weight as chills did more than just make the hair on the back of his neck stand on end; he felt the sensation penetrate every organ in his body.


He shouted it with a passion that sounded weak by the time it escaped him, but one which had a resonating determination that grew from within. As he descended for the twelfth time he felt his stomach churning its contents but acknowledged it with decided conviction that it was merely an inconsequential pain in an otherwise enjoyable journey back to the top of the hill.

“Trece, motherfuckers!”

He now had a confidence that he would accomplish his goal. A confidence in each individual climb. In each step. Each breath. Not knowing if his thoughts would revert to the dark side again, but more confident still that they would have no consequence if they did.


At fifteen he decided to ‘feel the pain’, believing that he was clearly less exhausted than his last outing which had been completed by this point. He focused on the constant tightening and release of his abdomen muscles, and the queasy feeling that produced within. As he circled to climb again he turned his attention to the burning in his thighs and the next round on his lungs desperate attempts to meet the O2 demands of his body. He studied the pain, from an objectionable viewpoint, knowing that from here onwards the pain had plateaued and would remain until he stopped or collapsed.

He reached the bottom of the hill after nineteen rounds. He paused a while to soak in the moment. Topaz had situated herself some distance to his left, halfway up the hill, looking at him with mild curiosity as her tongue dangled out the side of her mouth. As usual his soundtrack found some uncanny relevance as he moved to finish the final lap.

Is it in my head
Is it in my head
Is in my head here at the start?
Is it in my head
Is it in my head
Is it in my head, or in my heart?


he exclaimed with one final push of breath through his voice box, before collapsing to the ground. He smiled through the pain in his lungs and drew strength from the beauty of the celestial magic on show above him. He listened to the rest of Quadrophenia, hardly moving except for the rising and falling of his chest.

- Eden

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let it out!

I was browsing through some old Word files the other day when I came across something I had written a short while after school ended that i thought I'd share with you. I read it over a few times and was surprised by the passion and intensity I had towards the subject matter. It could only be written then, in that moment, as now I wouldn’t feel the same way about it. That’s something that has always interested me; if I had never captured my feelings and thoughts at that particular moment in time, I would have forever lost them as I could never possess that exact disposition towards the subject again. You can’t write about love the same way someone in love can. You could never write about hate with such passion unless you truly despise something. So no matter how out of the ordinary I feel about something I have to pen it down immediately, even if I understand it’ll soon pass, because I won’t be able to feel the same way about it once it has. And, although it mightn’t seem like a big deal once your feelings have subsided, to have something recorded, to look back and to try and understand the way you once felt about something is an amazing feeling and a portal to self-discovery. So, whenever you feel someway towards something, capture it in whatever way you can.

With every blog I read on BOTM I get a chance to understand each bloggers' thoughts, feelings and outlook on life. I’ve come to admire and recognize that there is much to learn in sharing your feelings, thoughts and attitudes.
We shouldn’t be afraid; let it out!
The anger apparent in these lyrics I wrote 3 years ago shocks me; to have once felt such hatred towards something that I now have no care towards, simply because I’m older, wiser and have learnt to forgive & forget, gives me great satisfaction.

In the End

I don’t know what I expect; I can feel the effects.
If I keep living like this, this is what I’ll get.
But still, I lay in my bed, these notions play in my head,
So I get a paper and pen and write the thoughts that I’m fed.
But I don’t listen to them. Sure, call me a charlatan.
Writing songs on penitence and singing them like I care.
But nothing changes in my head; I just spit out what I’ve said,
Then crawl back into my lair and spew hatred for the rest,
Who believe their ways the best and scorn what we represent.
The minority on the bench, getting stones thrown at our heads,
All because I'm in a band and fail tests without a care,
They don’t understand why we don’t take the same steps as theirs.
But I swear, in the end, there was jealousy in the air,
Knowing that we’ll go somewhere and that they’ll be selling shares.
And I’ll be laughing in the end when it goes according to plan,
Sure, fame and money will be grand, but it’s their emotionless stare
When I've exceeded them that keeps me breathing this air.
And I’ll remember when they fixed and twisted their heads,
Would’ve missed but dissed it instead, there are lists of the shit said.
It’s floating in the air; relationships beyond repair.
But they’ll remember then, when our channels cross again
And blame it all on ignorance as they defend their innocence.
Adolescence, arrogance; “I swear we meant no offense”
Like all’s forgiven in the end, your actions warrant a reprimand,
No overlooking what you said because your balls were growing hair.
No excuse for insolence then or any subsequent.
No dismissing your contempt; now suffer the consequence.
Broken bones can be repaired but spoken words stay ‘til the end
Now you got me burning red; I’m tearing paper to shreds.
But, don’t fret, I won’t forget and you’ll regret, on that I bet.
I will take it to my death; I won’t forgive, I won’t forget.
Yeah, sure, call me a hypocrite but I’d rather burn then turn my head.

- Jay

Friday, January 1, 2010

Why Fastball Are Awesome

When grunge came to the forefront in 1991, there was now a specific sound that was associated with rock and roll. It was great that rock, not just major-label pop, was dominating the airwaves for the first time since the late seventies, but there wasn't much room for light in the darkness of grunge. Bands such as Jellyfish found it hard to connect with an early nineties audience wanting a dose of pain over sweetness. In other words, although the next few years was good for plenty of bands, it pretty much meant that any sense of pop in rock was lost. Of course, this isn't true to the regional bands that built a following in their home state. But in the nineties when you find success locally, a major label will come swooping in hoping that the success will continue nationally. And when it doesn't happen on that large scale that the suits were hoping for, they spit you out by dropping you from the label and suddenly you're a failure and a has-been. And this is what happened to Fastball, one of the most underrated bands of the decade.

Tony Scalzo - Bass/Vocals
Miles Zuniga - Guitar/Vocals
Joey Shuffield - Drums

They are from Austin, Texas and they have two lead singers!! Also, they had two albums IN A ROW that kick ass. And three other albums that are really fucking good. I want to talk about my three favourite Fastball albums.

Fastball released 'Make Your Momma Proud' in 1996 and it is still one of my favourite albums to listen to if I want to pump myself up. It's Fastball at their most loud and intense. It sounds a bit like Husker Du on a pop bender. Clearly a band excited to be playing their songs the way they're meant to be heard. It screams debut, but that's not a bad thing, it just means you can hear the joy in every note. It opens with the sound of a match being lit, Joey Shuffield hits the snare and then we're off! That opening track, 'Human Torch', is one of my favourites on the record, and it really sets the pace nicely for the rest of the album. Miles Zuniga's guitar work on this album is great also, even the little solo on 'Lender', a song about friendship and drugs that just kills me with how it can do so much with just a few chords. It's not a perfect album. Tony Scalzo's voice isn't yet showing it's true beauty that would provide later albums with unmistakable emotional heft, and Miles is even further away from the brilliance he would eventually put on display. Almost every song is played at the same speed in a similar style. But actually, it doesn't really wear thin and it's just one of those albums where its sameness feels right because the songs are good enough to hold up. It's great, fun stuff and there is one song tucked in the middle there that will always turn heads. It's called, 'Are You Ready For The Fallout' and not only is it the best song on the album, but it is clearly a good representation of what lays in store.

'All The Pain Money Can Buy' came out in 1998 and ended up selling over a million units. This album is NOTHING like their debut. As all great bands do, Fastball grew from a good band to a great band in just one album. EVERY song is amazing. There are layers. There are harmonies. There are great choruses. There are solos. Yes, dear reader, these are SONGS. Remember songs? How they change from moment to moment, grow with each listen yet grab you straight away. It just doesn't fucking let up and it's at about halfway through the album where you stop and think, "wait, how are these guys not the biggest band in the world??" The first song, 'The Way', was the reason for success of the album and it shines from the first chord. 'Warm Fuzzy Feeling' will NEVER get old, and as much as I try to wear it out, it refuses.

'Harsh Light Of Day' was released in 2000. It's lush production is perfect for the direction the band was going in. It has that quality that most 'second great albums' have, which is that it sounds like Fastball and only Fastball, yet not one of the songs would sound right on the 'first great album'. The one-two punch of 'This Is Not My Life' and 'You're An Ocean' is still one of the great segways ever. It features piano work from Billy Preston, who fucking played on fucking 'Get Back'. FUCK!! I love Tony's bass work on this album, it makes me want to be that good of a musician. He actually plays a lot like Mccartney because he never settles for a boring bass line. And 'Whatever Gets You On' makes me want to smoke a doob. God, these melodies just never stop. I'm so happy this album exists.

What I love about their albums is that they are smart and funny, sad and whimsical, yet with so much going on, they are, at the end of the day, great songs and they are so easy to listen to. Usually if a band is easy to listen to, they have little depth. But Fastball prove, just as their predecessors from the 60's and 70's did, that the greatest songwriters can change all that.

- Lee