February 28, 2007

Joel's Goals

It's time to start getting into shape and getting organized once again, now that winter is on its way out and spring is waiting behind the curtains. I found a neat little organizer called joe's goals, and decided to give it a try...but, as you can see, the designer in me kicked the planner in me in the nuts and layed out his own schedule for me. Anyway...give it a go yourself.

February 24, 2007

The Number 23

I came across a book in the bookstore one day entitled "The Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret Of The Illuminati" by Robert Anton Wilson, and my intrigue was immediately sparked. It was just one of those books you know will be interesting, possibly even mind-bending...even so, I put the book back after thumbing through it casually, and that was that.
Almost...a couple years later, being about 6 months ago, I finally let my curiosity take over and purchased a copy on Amazon.com, and you know what...I still can't believe I put that book back on the shelf after that first encounter. Not entirely believable, but then again, what is in this life? In fact, I find myself believing and trusting the most in the things in this world that cannot be proven or guaranteed beyond the hope and faith that they are believable. Belief in anything tangible is unnecessary.
Did I mention I purchased this book on 9/14? Go figure...
Well, Wilson sure has a way of convincing someone not to be convinced. I found myself presented with some pretty outlandish questions and ideas, from Aleister Crowley to Timothy Leary to the Dog Star Sirius, and of course, the 23 enigma. The 23 enigma is a reoccurring theme throughout the Cosmic Trigger trilogy, and is responsible for the birth of Discordianism, Wilson being among the founders of the movement. It was also frequently speculated by Aleister Crowley in his many occult works. Being a Christian, I was not at once given to the idea of a number guiding or ruling one's life, but once I read on, I realized just how it could be possible. All around us are numbers...everything is a variable of one equation or another...but why 23? Why is 23 sacred, or cursed? Why 13? Where does superstition end, and philosophy begin? I guess the real question is not why, but how many...does the universe work in 23's more than any other endless combination of numbers, and if so, what exactly does that mean? I was not and am still not able to answer these questions, but I began noticing the 23's in my life regardless, to the extent of wearing my favorite hooded sweatshirt, which I never noticed featured a knit "2" and "3" on either side of the zipper, on the 23rd of October!
Anyway, if you look hard enough, you may find what you are looking for. Enter "The Number 23", directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen. Can a number drive a man to murder? It definitely drove Jim Carrey crazy. I enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed the direct references to Robert Anton Wilson's "The Cosmic Trigger" (notice the doctor's name...Sirius Leary, a combination of the Dog Star and Timothy Leary, plus the striking resemblance of the actor to the late Wilson himself), and having seen the movie a second time, and getting the twists and turns of the plot out of the way, I could really pick out the 23's throughout the film, some of them well hidden and well placed. I would see this movie again, and already plan on owning it whenever it happens to grace the digital video disc. 2 + 3 = 5 stars.

February 23, 2007

I Love Fridays...

I am now acquiring a long-awaited collection completer, and a new release I have been anxious over since the summer, and I am beyond ecstatic! In other news this friday, Noma is a go tonight. John, Drew, Phil and I, beer, Asian/modern atmosphere...dig. Fast forward ten hours: operation basement drain will be in effect, and hopefully completed, and then I can begin growing back what's left of my patchy scalp once again, considering my hands are not in my hair due to some other stresser sure to come. Anyway, after the repair work, the wife and I are going to do some shopping and take a little day trip to get away from this place for a few hours, since winter in Northern Indiana feels like a cold straight-jacket...no spank you. It's good to get away every once in a weekend.
In completely unrelated news, I love Spring. I cannot begin to communicate my longing for green grass, little chirping birdies, and steaming piles of dog doo-doo...lovely, simply lovely. Winter gets this death grip, this choke hold that won't let up...it's like your annoying little brother who doesn't realize it was "funny the first time...". Yeah, well said.
It will be here soon enough, and yes, my son will be here towards the end of May! Brayden James Mattern the first, who already has quite the urban wardrobe amassing in my closet between the blazers and the jeans. This kid will be so spoiled...and that is not a bad thing. He's already got quite the ear for music as well...he dances everytime he hears my guitar, so it's pretty safe to say that daddy's musical heritage will live to see a new generation. All in all, it's an exciting, though admittedly scary, time in my and my wife's life. More to come.

February 22, 2007

"Glass EP" By The Sea And Cake

The Sea and Cake...where to begin. The Ramones of Jazz Rock. The inventors of the Post-Rock genre to which I find myself so heavily addicted. Four true artists allowing their art to directly influence the sounds flowing from the otherwise useless concoctions of nickel, wood and stretched animal skin. To take ordinary instruments, and to go even further and assemble yourself into an ordinary rock ensemble, and create something familar and altogether new at the same time is just plain impossible...usually. Not so for The Sea and Cake. They've been doing it since '94, and haven't yet let up in their mastery of their own sound and temperment. Never have I encountered a group of musicians with such skill in their craft, and such subtle simplicity arriving into such grandiose melody and overall song structure, and never is a tough word to throw around, so I don't do so. This is hands-down my favorite group of all time, folks. I feel like I want to shout their names from the top of a mountain, but at the same time, I selfishly want to keep them all to myself, like your first child as he inevitably arrives at manhood (which I will someday understand...). In their most recent release, the Glass EP is everything that makes this band great, from Eric Claridge's playful and chunky bass lines to Archer's love of the wah and volume pedals to Sam's breathy, always-never-the-same vocals and sloppy, juicy slices of Judas Priest Indie Jazz riffs, and yet there is much more than usual laying beneath the regular amalgom of sound. Sam Prekop and John McIntyre explore their love of electronic buzzes and beeps and swells like never before heard on any full-length TSAC release to date, as well as giving up a few tracks to be remixed by fellow Post-Rockers Stereolab. The album starts with a steady, tinny beat bursting with synthesized blips and driven by a trebly tremolo power chorded riff that explodes into full-blown electro-chill heaven, complements of Mr. Claridge and his extremely playful, throbbing, bass-tacular creations. Give "Traditional Wax Coin" a listen if you enjoy simple, playful Post-Rock, or if you are Tortoise fan, which by now you should have no reason not to be. The remixes are intensely engaging; I could not keep my head stationary through "Interiors (Broadcast Remix)", and especially enjoyed the low buzz bass substitution at every second and fifth measure. Overall, another infectious, dramatic, chilled-out release from the best damn band on the planet. Look out for their eighth full-length release, dubbed "Everybody", coming in May, cuz I sure will!

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