Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/17/2018

January 17, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Tom Waits – What’s He Building? (from the album Mule Variations, 1999 – For my money, Tom Waits is the most unique singer/songwriter ever. His voice, gravelly and gruff, is unmistakable. His style cannot be categorized. Mr. Waits does not make an album because the “label” tells him to. He does not release a single because he needs money. You will not find any fluff or filler in his catalogue (which spans from the early 1970’s to present). Mule Variations is easily my favorite Waits album. It is a great mix of folk and weird. I could have picked any track for song of the day, but Spotify chose What’s He Building for us. This isn’t really and song in the traditional sense, but it is Tom Waits, so it is good.

Little Fact – Not really a fact, but a bonus video of one of Tom Waits memorable appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman.

T.

 

Some pretty cool posters.

As I browse the internet, I come across so pretty cool images. I am a fan of music gig posters, and minimalist movie posters. A lot of creativity inhabits the world, and cyberspace is the easiest way to get your art out to the masses. As I come across something I find pleasing to the eye, I save it. Here are some of the images I feel are very sharable. I have no idea who the artists are, and I can take no credit for any of these pieces. Whoever did these, please keep up the amazing work.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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True Romance (1993)

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Lost Boys (1987)

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Blair Witch Project (1999)

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The Exorcist (1973)

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The Shining (1980)

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Goonies (1985)

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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Ghostbusters (1984)

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The Shining (1980)

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The VVitch (2016)

 

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Danzig/White Zombie/Kyuss Gig Poster

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Melvins Gig Poster

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Pallbearer Gig Poster

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Blondie Gig Poster

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Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

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Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

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The Sword Gig Poster

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Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

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Beastie Boys Gig Poster

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Pink Floyd Tour Poster

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David Bowie Gig Poster

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Pink Floyd Gig Poster

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The Sword/Pallbearer Gig Poster

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Queens Of The Stone Age Gig Poster

T.

Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/15/2018

January 15, 2018

Today’s Daily Tonality is brought to you by the radio at work. I heard this song and thought it was perfect for song of the day.

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Men Without Hats – Pop Goes The World (from the album Pop Goes The World, 1987) Men Without Hats are a Canadian synth-pop based band which formed late in 1979, in Montreal. This is one of those bands that instantly take me back to a time when I was a young kid, just starting to develop my taste in music and appreciate radio. This is a happy sounding song that immediately gets stuck in your head. So for nostalgia sake, have a listen, get it stuck on repeat in your brain, and have a good time. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

Little Fact – The name of the band came from the band members’ refusal to wear warm hats during winter, choosing style over comfort. Thus we have Men Without Hats.

T.

My Favorite Films of 1991

Ninety One was a good year at the cinema. Here is a run down of the five I enjoyed the most.

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5) Point Break (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey) I love a good heist movie, and this is one of my favorites. A young Keanu plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes under cover to infiltrate a band of rogue surfers who may also be bank robbers. Patrick Swayze plays the antagonist, but plays it really cool. Point Break has a really good cast: Gary Busey, Lori Petty, and John C. McGinley also star. It has a total 90’s feel, and even has a guest spot by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This film is a good waste of a couple hours.

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4) Boyz n The Hood (Directed by John Singleton, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Lawrence Fishburne, Ice Cube) This inner-city drama is a sobering reminder that every action has a consequence. Boyz is a coming of age story about the struggles of growing up in a dangerous community, raised by single parents, and just trying to stay alive. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube are amazing as friends growing up in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. The movie captures the racial and economical tension the city endured in the early 1990’s. A very serious tone and some gritty performances make this must watch.

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3) Cape Fear (Directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis) This beauty is Scorsese’s vision of the 1962 Cape Fear that starred Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. Both versions are based on the John D. MacDonald novel of the same name. I have watched the majority of Robert DeNiro’s films, and I have to say that his portrayal of ex-con Max Cady is in my opinion, his best. He plays a smart, cunning, intimidating, and savage man obsessed with getting “revenge” on his defense attorney, played by Nick Nolte. This is how a thriller should be made. DeNiro is far and away the best part of the film, and the Max Cady character should be considered one of the greatest movie villains of all time.

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2) Silence of the Lambs (Directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine) Silence of the Lambs was released on Valentine’s Day in 1991. That would have been a hell of a date. Based on the Thomas Harris novel, this almost flawless film is an example of all aspects of a movie coming together brilliantly. Besides the 1986 film Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs was the first mainstream introduction to Dr. Hannibal Lector. I don’t think I need to tell you what he is about. Sir Anthony Hopkins nails the character, and gives us the chills with his portrayal. Jodie Foster is amazing as the naïve rookie FBI agent assigned to interview Lector. The character of Jame Gumb (aka Buffalo Bill) is a turbo creep, and created many moments that are still relevant in pop culture. This film spawned a bunch of prequel/sequels, and a television, show which deserved a much better fate than it received. From top to bottom, Silence of the Lambs is about as much bang for your buck you can get out of a film.

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1) The Doors (Directed by Oliver Stone, starring Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachalin) The Doors movie is not the best movie on this list, but it is my favorite. Around this time in my life, I was obsessed with Jim Morrison. The music, the lifestyle, the debauchery, it all spoke to me. This film basically put all the things that I imagined into something that I could visualize. My friend Brian (also a huge Doors fan) and I probably watched the VHS every weekend for months. It was a ritual. It was a time and a place in my life that I enjoyed. Val Kilmer was the perfect choice to play Morrison. He looked and sounded so much like the “Lizard King”, that he did the majority of the singing in the film. Director Oliver Stone is a master at capturing a certain time period, and the 60’s come to life in this movie. The Doors is also a tribute to Jim and Pamela Courson’s devotion to each other, even as dysfunctional as their relationship was. That is my kind of love story. This is my favorite movie of 1991, as well as my favorite music biography turned film. It showcased the defiance of a tortured artist, which is the way I thought I felt as a 16 year old dumb kid.

T.

Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/09/18

January 9, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Roky Erickson And The Aliens– Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer) (from the album The Evil One, 1980) Roky Erickson is an interesting fellow. He started his musical journey with the 13th Floor Elevators in the late 1960’s. After some pretty intense recreational drug use (LSD, Mescaline, DMT, and Marijuana), Erickson found himself in and out of mental institutions, receiving voluntary shock therapy. His lyrics and subject matter heavily lean towards horror and science fiction. Two Headed Dog is about Soviet scientist Vladimir Demikhov, who performed head transplants on dogs in the 1950’s. Erickson is highly respected by his peers, and quite often I have heard other artists covering his music. I am a fan of his straightforward, effective guitar playing, and intense vocal style. At seventy years old, he still plays shows and continues to write music.

Little Fact – In the 1980’s. Roky Erickson became obsessed with the mail, even getting arrested for mail theft. He wrote letters to both dead and alive celebrities during his obsession.

T.

List: Top Five Favorite Professional Wrestlers of All-Time

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a mark for professional wrestling. I started watching when I was eight or nine years old, and I was instantly hooked. I was a comic book kid and the World Wrestling Federation was like a real life comic. The battle lines were drawn. Good versus evil. Mastermind managers like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan using his stable of goons to carry out his diabolical plans on the good guys like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. Storyline “foreigners”, like the Iron Sheik and turncoat traitors like Sgt. Slaughter waging war against the flag waving patriots like “HacksawJim Duggan. What a time to be alive. Over the years, professional wrestling has changed. The actual in-ring action is more dynamic and daring, and the illusion of good guy/bad guy has all but faded. WWE (former WWF) runs wrestling shows on three nights awake, and pay-per-view events once or twice a month. The WWE Network is a subscription-based place where you can watch basically whatever past and present events you desire. To be fair, there is an over-saturation of WWE programming. It was special when I was a kid. Waiting for a long time for an event to happen was half the thrill. Now you can just turn on the television and there it is. There are still over the top characters, but for the most part, the veil of “kayfabe” (the portrayal of events and stories in the industry as being “real”) does not exist. I still watch wrestling when I can, and I still love it. I do admit that not a lot of today’s “sports entertainment” stars capture my imagination like the ones I grew up watching in the 80’s and early 90’s. At the risk of making myself come across as a total nerd, I present to you a list of my top five favorite professional wrestlers of all time. This was a very hard list for me to narrow down to five performers, so I will include a few honorable mentions. Starting at number five and counting down…

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5. Owen Hart The King of Harts” spent most of his life wrestling in his older brother Bret’s shadow. Maybe the most underrated wrestler of all-time. I grew up going to Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, and Owen was always the top good guy. He was by far the superior Hart family wrestler in ring, and could put on a spectacular match with a broom if he had to. He Passed away in 1999 after falling from the ceiling at a WWE pay-per-view event after his harness rigging failed. Owen would have been world champion in the not so distant future if it weren’t for the accident. The heel you love to hate, but also loved because of his skill and charming “confidence”. Owen took his character and ran with it. He made it fun to cheer him on.

 

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4. Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels “The Showstopper”. “Mr. Wrestlemania”. “HBK”. Whatever nickname he went by, he is probably my favorite in-ring performer. He was an artist in the ring. Shawn Michaels delivered high spot after high spot. He could sell and put over his opponent as good as anyone. His “finishing” move, “Sweet Chin Music”, was as good a finisher as anyone had. It was a side super kick to his opponents face, and ninety-nine out of one hundred times, looked very convincing. HBK probably has more classic matches than any wrestler alive besides maybe Ric Flair. Shawn Michaels was cocky, confident, and handsome. Michaels and Triple H created one of the most popular groups in wrestling history in Degeneration-X. He could deliver a good interview and make you love him or hate him from sentence to sentence. Michaels took pride in his performances, and love him or hate him; you were satisfied after watching him wrestle.

 

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3. Nature Boy” Ric Flair To be the man, you have to beat the man!” There is not a wrestler, past or present, who could deliver a performance on the microphone like Ric Flair. He boasted about his abundance of women, money, limousines, watches, suits, parties, and most importantly, world heavyweight championships. Animated, stylish, devious, and intelligent are some of the words I could use to describe the character Ric Flair portrayed for forty years. “Naitch” was also a brilliant ring general, making it seem he was strategically using wrestling and cheating simultaneously to win a match. In my opinion, Flair was the first true anti-hero in wrestling. Even in his career twilight, he gave legitimacy to wrestlers like Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista. His retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV was classic and still one of my favorite matches. As he used to say “men want to be him, and women want to be with him”. After sixteen world titles, countless bloody matches with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Sting, The Nature Boy is the most respected and emulated performer of all time. WOOOOOOOO!

 

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2. “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper The first true “bad guys” I gravitated towards when I was a kid, Roddy Piper was a true bad ass. He made being a jerk seem cool. It is the biggest shame in wrestling that he was not put over Hulk Hogan for a world title run. Piper did so many “heinous” acts in the WWF that fans lost their minds. His “Piper’s Pit” segments where the best bits ever. He was a six foot two man, but still insisted on having a bodyguard; “Cowboy” Bob Orton. No matter whom Piper was interviewing, he was always smarter and made them seem stupid by using his cleverness. The natural progression of wresting is for bad guys to turn good, and good guys to turn bad. When “Hot Rod” finally made the transition to fan favorite, it cemented his legacy as a legend in the business. Piper never stopped wearing a kilt and never stopped kicking ass and taking names. His starring role in John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror film They Live is one of my favorite protagonist characters ever. Roddy Piper was a true character. Rest in peace, Hot Rod.

 

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1. Randy “Macho Man” Savage Over the years, you hear stories from his peers about Randy Savage being a touch mentally unstable and eccentric. I assume that you would have to be to achieve the level of cool that the Macho Man achieved. Everything he did in the ring looked real, like he hated his opponent and wanted to cripple him. His interviews always had a touch of insanity that gave Savage a level of intensity that still has not been reached by anyone. His feuds with Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, and Jake Roberts are legendary. He even let a real live cobra bite him for a television spot. Second to Hulk Hogan, I believe Savage is responsible for the surge of popularity in wrestling in the 80’s. If I was going to build a wrestler from the ground up, Macho would be the prototype. He had the look, the style, the gimmick, the skills, and charisma to be the best. Not to mention his valet (and real life wife), the lovely Miss Elizabeth. A real Beauty and the beast story, and maybe one of the first instances where a wrestlers personal life spilled over into the façade of professional wrestling. All of this very much fascinated me as a kid. Still to this day, I suffer from the Macho Madness. Dig It!

 

Honorable Mention: Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith

T.

Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/07/2018

January 7, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Mark Lanegan – The Gravedigger’s Song (from the album Blues Funeral, 2012) Sometimes it seems like my Spotify account can read my soul. Last night, I had this song playing in my head for a little while. Today, as I do the magic shuffle to get the song of the day, BAM…The Gravedigger’s Song appears. Mark Lanegan is an amazing songwriter, and the gravely, ghostly voice to perfectly showcase the subject matter. This song has a driving bass line and tempo, accompanied by a rich, reverb filled guitar landscape. It’s beautiful. If you don’t like the song, your ears are probably fucked up and you should have them tested. The whole Blues Funeral album is the perfect highway soundtrack. It would be easy to get lost in the music and miss your exit.

Little factLanegan was part of Screaming Trees, one of Seattle’s early grunge bands, and has collaborated with Queens of the Stone Age, and Isobel Campbell (Belle and Sebastian).

T.

 

 

Daily Tonality: Song Of The Day 01/05/18

January 5, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Alice In Chains – Rooster (from the album Dirt, 1992) Damn, AIC was a great band back in the day. I am not saying they are bad now, I’m just saying. This song, and album for that fact, reminds me of high school and rolling around in my friend Paul’s Buick Skylark. For me, besides Nirvana, Alice In Chains epitomized Grunge music during that whole Seattle invasion thing. The video is pretty rad as well.

Little Fact – Guitarist/song writter Jerry Cantrell wrote Rooster as a tribute to his Vietnam war veteran father.

T.

My 2 Cents: Molly’s Game

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Molly’s Game (2017)

Directed by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Distributed By: Entertainment One (Canada)
Run Time: 120 Min.

Being a Canadian, I had never heard the story of Molly Bloom. Molly Bloom is a former competitive skier turned high-stakes underground poker game “facilitator”. For seven years, she hosted celebrities, athletes, and rich businessmen each week in Los Angeles, and then moving the game to New York. Eventually. Members of the Russian mob became involved in the games, which in turn attracted the interest of the FBI. In 2013, two years after Bloom last hosted a game, she and a number of other people were arrested and charged with illegal gambling, sports betting and racketeering. Molly’s Game is alleged true story based on the book of the same name.

This is the first film I went to see in 2018. I had some pretty high expectations because of the writer/ director’s history of spinning a good yarn. Aaron Sorkin is a master at taking a true story and turning it into great film. He is the man who wrote Moneyball, The Social Network, and A Few Good Men. Molly’s game is his directorial debut. It is a hell of directorial debut. The movie clocks in at about two hours and twenty minutes, but it does not seem to be that long at all. Great pacing, interesting characters, and the narration makes the film fly by.

The acting is also great. Jessica Chastain is the main star of this film. She carries the load. Along with her voice over narration, her portrayal of Molly Bloom made me instantly love the character, and encouraged me to learn more about the real person. Chastain is also one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, and she looks amazing throughout the whole movie. Molly’s attorney, Charlie Jaffe, is played by actor Idris Alba (The Dark Tower). The chemistry is good and their one on one scenes are the best parts of the film. Kevin Costner, Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim) and Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves) also play small but important roles.

Beyond the reasons I have stated, there are a few other reasons why I found Molly’s Game to be very entertaining. I am a sucker for a movie about or involving poker. Rounders (Matt Damon, 1998) is one of my favorite movies, and Casino Royale (Daniel Craig, 2006) is the best Bond movie. Secondly, I am a sucker for a movie about common people who catch a break and become rich. Wolf of Wall Street (Leonardo Dicaprio, 2013), Joy (Jennifer Lawrence, 2015), and Citizen Kane are good examples of these films.

I will probably see over fifty plus films at the theatre in 2018, and I have a feeling that come the end of the year, Molly’s Game will be in my top five. If you enjoy an intriguing story with a good balance of emotion and danger, please check out Molly’s Game.

T.

The Best Things of 2017

Well, it has been an awfully long time since I have written anything for my opinion column, and quite frankly, did anything really constructive. It was a shitty year for me personally, and I kind of lost my desire to write. As cliche as this sounds…new year, new leaf…right? I’m not hear to bitch about my life. I’m here to provide you with my thoughts and opinions. In 2017, the world seemed to be on fire (literally, and figuratively). Political chaos, disasters, and man-made tragedy seemed to rule the calendar in 2017, but as it seems to do, this rock we live on just kept turning. Not everything was bad over the past three hundred and sixty five days. So to ease myself back into the pool, I present to you something lite and arbitrary; my favorite things that happened in 2017. These are in no particular order.

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Queens of the Stone Age Release New Album On August 26th, QOTSA released their seventh studio album Villains. At first I was not convinced that I would love this effort. It was pop’d up and polished, and seemed to lack the grit and darkness that has made Queens my go to band. Then I realized that the new album is just the latest personality in a band that has been constantly transforming since their inception. There is a swagger involved now, and Joshua Homme flexes his muscles on every aspect of the album. Not my favorite QOTSA album, but it is still better than 98% percent of the mainstream garbage you hear nowadays. Best songs – Feet Don’t Feel Me Now, The Evil Has Landed.

An Enjoyable Year At The Cinema – Something I did do in 2017 was see a lot of films. I would say I went to see movies once a week, sometimes more. The movie theater is really the only time I can truly shut my brain off, so I enjoy that time. Here is my good and bad lists for 2017.

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Enjoyable

Blade Runner 2049 superb atmosphere, acting captures the magic of the original film.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri quirky, dark and absolutely charmingly funny.

Wind River – Based on true events. Gritty thriller was a pleasant surprise.

The Disaster Artist – The movie about making a movie. The most I laughed all year.

The Shape Of Water A romance, a spy thriller, a monster movie, and science fiction all rolled into one. Michael Shannon is damn brilliant.

Baby Driver – Great pacing, great cast and stellar soundtrack. Great popcorn movie.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – So much glorious violence!

Get Out – Really cool concept, and very gritty.

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Not So Enjoyable

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – A very tired franchise. Seems like the same movie with each sequel.

It – Not a terrible movie, just very over-hyped. Disappointingly average.

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle – Pales in comparison to the first Kingsmen film. Predictable.

The Snowman – So much promise, but falls so flat on it’s face. Everyone in Norway has an English accent.

Leatherface – The “prequel” to the original 1973 Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I found it unwatchable after an hour.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi I hate putting a Star Wars film on a list like this. Not a bad film as far as regular films go, but not a great Star Wars film. Too much going on, too long, and a lot of unnecessary scenes. I didn’t hate it, but I also did not love it.

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Mother! This movie is a mind fuck. Two months later and I still cannot process it. It was polarizing.

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Discovering Rick And Morty – It took me a couple of years to catch on, but I finally watched an episode of Rick and Morty. The animated serious about a brilliant, drunk scientist Rick Sanchez and his dullard, gullible grandson Morty who regularly save the planet earth from a variety of hilarious threats. The writing for this series is brilliant, and has so many memorable characters, it is hard to pick my favorite. There is three seasons at ten episodes each so far. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! Friends, if you have not watched this masterpiece of humor, go now. Hurry.

 

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My New Turntable – That is correct. My new turntable made the list. It is an Audio Technica AT LP-120. I love this thing. My record collection probably grew by thirty percent in 2017, so I figured why not listen with a turntable that kicks ass. The sound quality is amazing, and what else matters in life?

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The Dying Buffalo – I got a new tattoo this summer, and it is magnificent. It covers most of my shin. I chose the Buffalo because that is the animal I identify with most. Large, strong, and peaceful. The arrows and tears are just a dramatic touch, but as I think about it, perhaps it symbolizes the struggle that 2017 was. Check out the artists work on Instagram – @missmelissatattooer .

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Depeche Mode Trip In late October, two friends and I traveled to Edmonton to see legendary electronic band Depeche Mode. The last time I saw them was in the summer of 1990 when I was fifteen years old. It was fun and nostalgic, and I look forward to my next musical road trip.

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Discovering Great Music In 2017 I discovered a lot of great artists that I didn’t really know about of didn’t really listen to in the past. Mining music is one of my favorite things in this world. I am also a strong supporter or the featureon Spotify “Related Artists”. Sometimes I fall down that rabbit hole for hours. Some of the new stuff I found this year included: King Dude, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Death By June, Anatomy Of The Bear, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sigor Ros, Alcest, Gone Is Gone, Witch, Red Fang, Black Mountain, Crystal Fairy, and so many more.

Photography – Over the last year I did a little messing around with my cameras, as well as editing the photos I took. I think I am developing quite an eye for producing good imagery. This is something I absolutely enjoy, and plan to continue nurturing going forward. If you care to browse some of my work, check out my Instagram – @how,heavy.this.axe

And I also had a part in this.

Typically, I don’t really care about New Years, and resolutions. To be honest, I am very glad this year is over. I can reset and focus on things that bring me happiness and make me content as opposed to dwelling on negative and stressful things. Until this year, I did not know how anxiety felt. I experienced it, and I am not a fan. This year calls for enlightenment, learning, creativity and love. To be perfectly blunt, I am going to make 2018 my bitch. Beast Mode.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers.

T.