Friday, 27 April 2012

Weekly Rituals

Yesterday, my room-mate and I went to the local athletics track and had our weekly sprint. No goddamn surprise that the bastard beat me again; he's built like a gymnast whereas I'm a swimmer - the muscles are heavily in his favour. He wins in the aerodynamics stakes as well, with his big bald head (as opposed to my luscious brown locks).

Afterwards, we went to a burger joint. I got a flame-grilled quarter-pounder with smoked blue cheese, onions, peppers, ketchup and a side of taco fries, he got a large bowl of cheese fries and a steak burger with lots of salad and mayonnaise. We both got large milkshakes - chocolate for me, strawberry for him. He's not much of a talker, so I don't know if he quite agrees, but, as far as I'm concerned, we weren't blessed with machine-like metabolisms so we could eat rabbit food.

When we got home, he went to meditate in his room, I started playing around with some bass riffs in mine, trying to put together a song. Jane sang like a bird but it wasn't happening today. It hasn't happened for a while, actually. I don't just feel impotent, I feel infertile. It's not that I can't get the emotion out, it's that I don't have any emotion to get out.

I need stimulation.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Some Good Memes

I dunno if you're familiar with the term "meme" but, unlike concept albums, they're a rather nuanced idea that I can't really explain very well. Here's Wikipedia's attempt, if you're not in the know.

So, I've got a few memes I really like and I'd like to share you with them, because they're hilarious. The first one is called Zach Braff Facts, which is a sketched picture of noted comedy/drama actor and director Zach Braff with his eyes cocked accompanied by a quote that is rendered amusing by its context. Some favourites;


Funny, right? In case you can't tell, I'm a black humour fan.

This next one is called Conspiracy Keanu and is a picture of less noted comedy/drama actor Keanu Reeves with a horrified look on his face and an insane conspiracy theory superimposed over him. Some good examples follow;


I laughed heartily just picking these ones out. There's something goofy and charming about them. I think they're pretty rad. However, my favourite is hands down the Yo Dawg meme, featuring the least noted person ever, Xzibit of Pimp My Ride "fame" with a redundant caption. Have a look;


Haha, aren't these great? Shit, I just snorted chocolate milk all over my keyboard. Brb, loling forever.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Video Games

When you spend so much time with nothing to do, you find ways to try and fill your time. Me? I play and listen to music, read books, swim and jog. Occasionally, I might watch a movie or a TV show. However, before today, I'd never tried video games. I don't know why but I never really got the appeal of them. My parents never bought me them and, even as I grew up, they never attracted or entice me in any particular way. Having played them though?

They're okay. Yeah, not exactly a stunning endorsement, I know, but hear me out. First of all, I'm not going to be a douche like Roger Ebert and say that video games are not an art form. They clearly are and anyone who thinks otherwise is a fucking moron ("line between craftsmanship and art" my fucking ass). Also, I'll admit straight up that by "video games", I don't mean things like Skyrim or whatever is popular with the kids these days, since I don't have any money to buy games (or a console to play them on for that matter). My job provides me with bed, board and expenses but it's basically voluntary beyond that.

So, I ended up playing free games on the Internet. May I begin by saying that Runescape is a pile of crap? Too bad if I can't, because it is. What a meaningless heap of cow manure. In case my concept album post didn't make it clear, I like stories! I get the whole "free-roaming" aesthetic and idea and that's great but when I get bored of free-roaming, there should be a plot for me to go back to. There's a difference between being free and being directionless.

That's why I enjoyed the works of one Adam Atomic because, even with the most scant and minimal details, his games were compelling. They are honestly beautiful. Gravity Hook (about a little dude in an underground military base trying to see how deep down he is) is fun and challenging, while Canabalt (about a slightly taller dude running through a ruined city to escape mysterious machines that are destroying everything) sets new standards in both minimalism and awesomeness. One thing I really liked about them both is that, while they have a clear story, the details of that story are sparse enough that you can fill in the blanks and make up your own version of events each time, unlike Runescape, where shit happens for no apparent reason. Seriously, fuck Runescape.

After that, I tried some of those Facebook games, but they were so mind-numbingly boring that I had to give up after a few minutes. Then I played more Canabalt. That game is really addictive, I swear. On my last playthrough, the running guy was a despotic dictator who had turned the city into a dystopian wasteland and the mysterious machines aren't actually destroying everything, they're just trying to kill him (shit was so cash).

So, that's me and video games. They're alright. Maybe if I had the money to get some of these allegedly awesome ones I hear so much about (admittedly, I am very intrigued by the Fallout series), I'd have more to say about them, but I'm afraid that's simply not the case. An unfortunate fact of life.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Concept Albums

Time to talk about some music! I was going to talk about a specific band but then I realised that I don't know enough polysyllabic words to talk seriously about music without sounding like a know-nothing asshole, so instead I'm gonna do the general idea of concept albums.

So, to start, I should probably explain what exactly a concept album is. Basically, to illustrate the difference between a concept album and any other kind of album, let me compare one of each kind. Let's take the best-selling album in history, Michael Jackson's Thriller (a boss of an album, incidentally), and Thirteenth Step by A Perfect Circle (an even bigger boss of an album, if you ask me, but I digress). You don't need to be familiar with the albums to appreciate my point, but, uh, you probably should be anyway. They're pretty fucking awesome.

Let us consider some songs from each album. Thriller's three most famous tracks will do for starters; "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and, of course "Thriller". If you listen and compare, the songs are quite different, in both arrangement and subject matter, though the latter concerns me more here; "Beat It" is about street culture, "Billie Jean" is about lying and obsession, "Thriller" is an excellently veiled love song. There's no overt or even implicit connection between the three, no relationship.

On the other hand, let's have a look at Thirteenth Step. I'll pluck three songs at random; "Weak and Powerless", "The Nurse Who Loved Me" and "The Noose". So what are these about, oh, well, "Weak and Powerless" is about addiction, "The Nurse Who Loved Me" is also about addiction and "The Noose" is...about addiction as well? Well, I guess we've stumbled across a concept album!

So, yeah, in short, a concept album is an album where a unifying concept (hence the name) runs through all the songs. Often, it's a story, as is the case with such epic albums as Ludo's Broken Bride, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Pink Floyd's The Wall, but as often as not it's an abstract idea, like a single theme (addiction, in the case of Thirteenth Step), a recurring lyrical idea (69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields and Murder Ballads by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds being exactly what they say on the tin) or, for want of a better word, a "gimmick" (Strange Little Girls by Tori Amos, for example, is all covers of songs by men reimagined from a woman's perspective). Having explained the concept, if you will, of concept albums, I should probably explain why I decided to talk about them.

Well, sufficed to say, I think concept albums are pretty fucking great. Sometimes regular albums can feel a bit disjointed, like the songs don't join together quite right, but with concept albums, especially the truly great ones (Illinois by Sufjan Stevens, The Wall by Pink Floyd, Rain Dogs by Tom Waits), there's a...fullness to them. They feel more rich and textured in their thematic explorations, examining them in greater depth (the frequently aforementioned Thirteenth Step, for example, explores addiction from twelve different viewpoints and never for a moment feels stale in doing so). Which, by the way, is not to disparage non-concept albums in any way - in fact, my favourite album of all time is not even a studio album, but a live album; Daft Punk's Alive 2007.

I myself have always dreamed of releasing a concept album but I've given up on any hope of a musical career at this stage in my life. I've got a job that I can't just walk away from and I've more-or-less come to terms with the fact that all my fantasising about being a glamorous indie rock 'n' roll star will remain just that - fantasies. But it's cool, I'm not bitter about it. I can still make my music here in my apartment, since my roomie (a pretty cool dude, if reserved) doesn't mind. But yeah, concept albums. Listen to some.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cassandra and Jane

Today, I'd like to introduce you to two very special women in my life, Cassandra and Jane. These two ladies have been with me a long time and have proven their worth to me time and time again by helping me get over some rough patches in my life.

That beauty right there is Cassandra. If you're not a learned scholar such as myself, let me tell you what you're looking at; an Ibanez Iceman, one of the sexiest guitars that was ever forged by human hands. Mahogany body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, all beautiful of course, but nothing in comparison to those gorgeous Super 80 pickups. High output, bright, no mud, sexy, 'nuff said. I would say that every hot-blooded guitarist in the world should have one of these but then I wouldn't feel as special every time I wrap my fingers around that neck and jam like a motherfucker. A sweet setup, to be sure.

This baby is Jane, my Epiphone Thunderbird IV. I've had her a couple of years now and have never felt the need to part with her once. You know why? Because she's a beautiful creature with the sweetest tone I ever did hear. Again, that beautiful triple combo of mahogany, maple and rosewood and the TB pickups give this beast punch and growl out the wazoo. Fuck Wagner, this is what should have been accompanying the Nazis as they marched into Poland. This here bass sounds like a war machine and it's still smooth as Santana. If you're wondering what the wet patch in your underwear is it, that was the best motherfucking guitargasm of your life and before you say it; you're goddamn welcome.

(These aren't actual pictures of my guitars, I got them from Google. I know what you people are like, you could track me down by performing some voodoo magic on the information in the photos. Not that I think there's anyone after me but a dude's got to have a certain level of paranoia right?)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Introductions & Co.

So I was sitting here in my apartment, fiddling with my guitar and smoking a joint when I realised - holy shit - I have fucking nothing to do half the fucking time! Taking this sudden realisation into account, I decided to get off my ass and do something, a phrase which here means "I moved the whole three feet from my bed to my computer desk". Then I started this blog and tried my hand at making it look somewhat decent. I don't know if I succeeded and, frankly, when I consider tweaking it a bit, I start suffering from sudden-onset fuck deficiency, so I'm probably just going to keep it at is.

Right, anyway, the name is Holiday, or at least it is as far as you're concerned. I'm 24 and living in New York, where I work as a creative solutions consultant with a community assistance organisation. My job basically consists of coming up with ways to overcome the obstacles faced by members of the group in the field on a day-to-day basis. The only thing is that most of them are pretty competent professionals, so they don't often need my help, and when they do, for the vast majority of problems, I can advise them by text or over the phone, so even when something does go wrong, I don't get called out into the field much.

I'm not quite 100% sure what I want to do with this thing. I'm pretty big into music, so I might post about music a bit. Either way, you can expect me to update this regularly, since, as previously alluded to, I've got nothing to fucking do. So, yeah, I'll follow up this post in a few days with something with a bit more substance.

Peace and love.