Archive for September, 2006

Raw military men

Ladies, I know it’ll be hard, but try not to swoon when you click this thumbnail.

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The music entry

Daaaang.

October 3rd is gonna be an awesome day for music for me.

Pillar and Skillet BOTH are coming out with new albums, titled The Reckoning and Comatose respectively. I love both of these bands and greatly anticipate these new releases.

But that’s not all, oh no, not even close. There’s so many other CDs that I’ve listened to and want to get simply because I’m waiting for this tuesday to roll around! Let’s take a look, shall we? Wait, whaddya mean, “no”?? Get back here!!

Decyfer Down is a band I’d only recently heard of quite a bit on Jesusfreakhideout.com (which is where I go to for album release dates, it’s actually pretty reliable), who gave there first album, End of Grey, some pretty good reviews. So I listened to them at the new Mardel’s in Waco, and dang, they’re pretty good. Not quite metal, but still very hard rock, the spiritual content is poetic and prominent, and it doesn’t sound formulaic. I cannot stand it when bands don’t “have their own sound” but just copy all the cliches of a particular genre, and unfortunately it’s been all too prominent in Christian music in the past. At any rate, yeah, I like it a lot.

It’s actually a complete mystery to me why I never got into Kutless more. I don’t have a single Kutless album, in fact, I didn’t even have a single song of theirs until Josh gave me a collection of 6 that he had on his computer (zomg RIAA is coming for us!) from their self titled album (Your Touch, In Me, Run) and Sea of Faces (Sea of Faces, Treason), as well as their contribution to the Songs Inspired By the Chronicles of Narnia. I like them all. Their new album, Hearts of the Innocent, was very good from the samples I listened to, and it’ll probably be another one I pick up that day.

Mutemath’s self-titled full album supposedly came out yesterday as well, though not having gone to verify that, I can’t say so for sure. But Reset was greatness. I’m guessing these guys won’t disappoint again. (We are peculiar people, this I know….)

So those are my for sure buys. These next albums are potentials that I’m leaning towards getting. Tell me what you think, please.

First up, Family Force 5, and their debut CD, Business Up Front, Party in the Back. I got to hear this bad boy this past weekend with my main man David Butler whilst running around in preparation for the WWII expedition. These guys…they’re a mystery to me. I first saw them mentioned on David’s Blog, so I figured I’d see what was up, given the strange album title. Upon viewing the song titles spelled with internet shorthand (Lose Urself) or just plain wrong (Cadillac Phunque, Kountry Gentlemen) I immediately set it back down and refused to even listen to it on principle. I HATE it when people do that. However, I’ll admit that upon hearing it, it’s very catchy stuff, heavy bass kinda rock, lot of pop influence. The kinda thing that’s perfect in a club environment. Lyrics are mostly just fun stuff, there’s not much (at least not that I heard) that deals with Christian living. I’d like to listen to some of the later songs on the album, cause I’ve read that that’s where they get more into that. If you’ve got or heard this, let me know what you think.

Next, Showbread. Ah, Showbread. No, Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical, which I just recently got, is actually kind of growing on me. At least it was before I left it in Denton. Oops. I got a brief chance to hear their new CD, Age of Reptiles, and it sounded pretty good, but like David told me, absolutely nothing like Nihilism. Again, it’s a maybe.

Finally, a really sweet band I was exposed to by David this past weekend. Flatfoot 56, and their CD, Knuckles Up. You wanna know what makes this band sweet? They’re a Celtic punk bad. Yeah. You heard me. Bagpipes, thrashing guitars, Irish vocals, a mandolin, and all. You really have to listen to this one yourself, because I can’t explain it to you. Go find it on iTunes, or go to Mardel’s or whatever Christian music store you like, and listen to it. I absolutely loved what I heard, and if the rest is as good, this album’s a sure-fire pick for me. Thanks David and Holland for that one.

Aight, so like, I’ve noticed recently there’s been a drought of people leaving me comments. Come on you guys! I know a lot of you read this thing. TALK TO ME OR SOMETHING! In fact, I’ll even talk about some other CDs that I’d never buy myself, but maybe you cotemporary types would enjoy it.

Big Daddy Weave’s new release, Everytime I Breathe, also came out yesterday.
Amy Grant’s got a new Live CD out as of yesterday as well.
Chris Tomlin? Yup, new release See the Morning out yesterday too.
Moving forward, you Jeremy Camp types might be interested in knowing about his new album Beyond Measure will be out October 31st.
It looks like a lot of people are putting out Christmas albums next month, including Mary Mary and Sandi Patty.
Finally, there’s the Platinum Series, which appears to be a “Best of” collection. Rich Mullins, Michael W. Smith, 4Him, and Twila Paris each have one of these coming next month.

There. Never let it be said I’m not accomodating to you weaksauce types :-P. Aight, I’m done for this entry. Later!

Technician 4th Class Brandon Matthews, 82nd Airborne Infantry

EDIT: The picture should now actually allow you to click it to view the full size now.

So, I imagine you’re all wondering how the weekend went down. As most of you are no doubt aware, From The Trenches went on another reenactment this past weekend, where a group of army Rangers (and one airborne infantryman who got misdroped) trudged their way through a French forest and cleared it of Nazi resistance.

Well, given that the results of that project are still being finished up, I can’t exactly show ya much at this point. I do however, have this little preview for ya. Click it!

There shall be more forthcoming. Much more, I promise.

In other news, it’s Monday. And it’s not starting off well. There was yet another example of human incompetence on 820 this morning, causing HUGE backups and me to be late to work again. That’s three workdays in a freaking row that there’s been an accident on this road. This one was particularly bad. Some (extremely redneck) guy was towing a piece of construction equipment. You know, one of those that looks like it probably serves some purpose, but you honestly couldn’t tell for the life of you what that might be. Anyway, the little trailor he had this beast on was apparently not quite up to handling something that heavy, because the wheels fell off the thing. So there the guy is, just standing there, staring at the thing that’s blocking an entire lane, scratching his head. And of course, this isn’t on the part of 820 that’s 4 lanes wide, no no, this occurs just right after a brilliant city planner decided that when building this highway, it would be a good idea to just compress it from 4 to 2 lanes. AARRRRRRGGGGH

Head
hit
keyboard.

But you know, as bad as the day’s started, I know at least it should end well. Me and Grace are gonna go do something tonight we both greatly enjoy. Eat cow. Yum.

Enjoy the preview, and see ya’ll later.

Coup in Thailand

I know that Thailand is on the hearts and minds of a lot of people who read this blog. So I thought you would all be interested in this news.

The military has staged an apparently successful coup against Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The coup was bloodless and achieved without firing a shot as the Prime Minister was attending the UN General Assembly in New York. Martial law is in place.

Army leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin says they will need a year to produce a reformed constitution, but is seeking out a suitable replacement for the ousted prime minister among the civilian population, hopefully within 2 weeks. The coup was initiated as a pre-emptive strike against what he saw as “intractable political deadlock which threatened Thailands stability”. Accusations of corruption in Thaksin’s government were rampant

The coup was given legitimacy by Thailand’s royal family. Thaksin has been accused of subverting democracy in Thailand for his friends in the business world and his family, including election fraud. He is not exiled from Thailand, but will be welcomed back, though according to the nation’s police chief, he will have to answer for any charges currently filed against him.

The US, EU, Australia, and others all condemned the coup, asking that democracy be restored as soon as possible.

Link

Weekends in Waco

So as you are all no doubt aware, teh Bmatt made yet another triumphant return to Waco this weekend. Why?

Well, honestly, because I missed you all. And I needed to talk to Josh about some important stuff. More on that eventually.

So, what exactly went down on this fateful Friday…well, lets put it simply. Shenanigans. Lots and lots of shenanigans. I prevented Chris from studying. Or more accurately, me, Josh, Smith, Sean, and…Jeff, I think was there too. We all prevented him from studying. Friends don’t let friends study on Friday evening. That’s just not right. They also don’t let them play gnomes, especially gnome warriors. But that’s irrelavent to the current conversation. For the Horde.

I don’t think we actually did anything except sit up there and talk about stuff for hours. But it was fun all the same.

Saturday, me, Josh, and Sean Corley ran around all over the place. We went to…McDonalds for lunch (because Josh is in love with the place despite the fact that anything they make is made better somewhere else. Seriously Josh. The burgers are better at Wendy’s or Jack in the Box. You want better chicken? Go to Bush’s. Or even Wendys for crying out loud. Salads….ok, seriously if you’re going to McDonalds to get a salad, you got messed up priorities). After that, we went to a various assortment of locales. I got them to run me by Bankstons Comics, where I picked up several Star Wars comics I was missing, inclduing Knights of the Old Republic #1 (completing that collection), Republic #79-82 (now only missing #83), and a Boba Fett one-shot that I thought was pretty good. After that, we headed to Target just to prowl around and kill time. Sean found a bike he really wants. That guy loves yellow. I don’t know why. After that, the new Mardels. We browsed books and music. I think i found some good CDs I wanna get alongside Pillar’s new CD when it comes out next month. Age of Reptiles actually sounds a lot more to my liking than Showdown’s previous album. Decyfer Down’s CD sounded really good too. Hearts of the Innocent, the new Kutless CD, will probably round out those purchases. The only other CD that kind of caught my attention was DJ Maj’s Boogiroot. Not sure about it, I’ll have to listen again to know for sure.

Anyway, after all that, we met a bunch of people at Rosas cafe before the balloon glow concert at Floyd Casey stadium. Big Daddy Weave was the artist this year, and actually was last year as well, but the show was canceled on account of the whole hurricane scare. Pfft. Anyway, I really wasn’t planning on going, but my be-sociable desire won out over my general disinclination towards contemporary Christian artists. BDW actually wasn’t that bad, but it was a concert atmosphere, and that is extremely infectious. Most of the songs they did were stuff that had been adapted by Antioch’s praise band, so I knew them fairly well. All in all, never a band I’d buy a CD of, but a good enough show. The balloons were pretty good, they actually almost didn’t inflate them on account of high winds, but eventually it died down enough that they were able to get them up. One of them, unfortunately, got hit with a strong enough wind that it was getting pushed down into the stands, and several people had to scramble out of the way. It was hilarious. During BDW’s intermission, the balloon glow did their usual thing of igniting the flames to the beats of several songs, including We Will Rock You, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and interestingly enough, Toby Keith’s patriotic country song that ends with “Brought to you courtesy….of the Red, White, and Blue”. Frankly I was shocked they allowed that one, given that it contains use of the word “ass” and that a lot of Baylor Students vehemently (and loudly) are opposed to the war. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Keith’s sentiments in the song, but still, not something I expected.

After the concert, we got a phone call from Gino. He was at work at a local radio station, where he monitors everything and switches to commercials when needed. He was all alone there and was going through some rough stuff he just wanted to talk to someone about. Josh, Sean, and I all went. In the course of the evening, we invented a new improv game called “The Ask Bmatt Show”. You see, Gino’s station has one of those cool mics that radio personalities are always seen talking in to, so I grabbed it and started messing around with it, and gradually this game developed. Basically, everyone takes turns coming up with hilarious characters to call in to an advice show, and the Bmatt of course attempts to answer them in a mean and snarky fashion, which is of course blamed on a distinct lack of Mountain Dew. Josh and Gino had a lot of fun with it (Sean for some odd reason refused to take part). Great night all in all.

Sunday was church, lunch afterwards was at Rudy’s. Oh man, I had not had sausage that good in a very long time. I also saw J-Dugg and Steph, who had just then come into town, as well as Tina and Shannon. It was like…visitors weekend or something! Afterwards I hung out with Akin and David, who are always a blast to be around, and their part in the guild raid in the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj. It was storming pretty badly, and I had to take off as soon as a lull in the storm developed.

So yeah, I had me a good weekend.

This Article from Slashdot explains EXACTLY how I feel about buying music online nowadays. I bought 2 albums off of the iTunes music store before I truly understood about what DRM was and why it was so horrible. What’s DRM you ask? Click here. I won’t buy anything out of there if I can help it. It’s worth it to just buy the CDs and rip them to my hard drive in order to avoid having iTunes tell me what I am and am not allowed to do with SOMETHING I BOUGHT AND PAID FOR. Plus I like having the CD artwork.

Who likes random thought Blitz? ME!

Why is it that every time I go down there I inevitably get questioned about my romantic life??i

Today is most definitely a day to use the blue pen in my 8-color pen assortment

I’m not touching the new Nintendo videogame system until they come out with the promised Star Wars game where, given the uniqueness of the controller, you actually get to (virtually speaking) wield a lightsaber. Oh sure, previous games let you control characters who had them, but the Wii’s new controller scheme (look it up) lends itself to using the controller as an actual lightsaber hilt. In fact I believe such a thing was promised in early promotional videos. Give me that game, or else I’m gonna be very unhappy, Nintendo.

If you haven’t switched up to Itunes 7 yet, you need to fix that problem.

On my desktop calendar at work, it lists mexican and canadian holidays in addition to US ones. Or rather, it did, before my whiteout tape and I had something to say about it.

I heard You calling, setting fire to my soul. Is this the Voice we die for? We die for Life.

Apple Newsday

Ok, so first off the bat, you may notice things look somewhat different round here. I decided to be an early adoptor and joined the new Blogger, currently in Beta. Features a layout editor which is more easy to use, ability to tag posts, all sorts of good stuff. Unfortunately, as a side effect, i had to remove Meg from the blog. As soon as they let me let her back in, she’ll return. Now, on with the post

Hmmm…so some interesting news out of Apple couple of days back. New iPod Nanos and Shuffle, and a new version of iTunes.

The new iPod shuffle (http://www.apple.com/ipodshuffle/) is even smaller than the older one, about the size of a matchbook. Has about a 12 continuous play battery life, holds up to 1gig of songs, and an attached belt clip. Nifty I suppose, but frankly, not my taste. It looks like it’d snap in half in a good breeze. I’ve never really been a fan of the Shuffle concept, I want my Mp3 player to at least have a screen showing the time or what song number I’m on. But then again, that’s why I’ve got a 5th gen iPod (the video one)

Moving on to the new Nanos (http://www.apple.com/ipodnano/), they’re thinner and now come in stylish new colors. Or rather, certain ones do. The low end 2gig model only comes in silver. Middle-road 4gig is only availible in blue, green, or pink, and if you want the nice 8gig model, well, I hope you like black. That make any sense to anyone? No? Yeah, me either. They’ve got brighter screens and better battery life too. I still don’t really want one. I like mine much better.

Now the new version of Itunes (version 7), that I like. A lot. (http://www.apple.com/itunes/) They’ve made some vast improvements to the UI. You can now view your music library organized by album, complete with album art (which you can finally retrieve from their database), or even scroll through a new “album art” style browsing. You can view options for syncing without going into iPod preferences, they’re already in a series of tabs that show up in the main window when you plug your iPod in. It’s mostly minor things, but they really polish the whole program.

Itunes store now features downloadable movies and some games that those of us with video iPods can get, too. They’re not cheap though, and I don’t wanna know what kind of bad things they do for battery life.

In other news, Rosie O’Donnel thinks us “radical” Christians are just as dangerous to the U.S. as radical muslims. Yeah. I must’ve missed the news that day when radical christians were blowing themselves up and killing heathens to guarantee their place in heaven. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51956

I hit my 7 year mark as a Christian tomorrow. I’m going to celebrate it by going to work. And listening to the song written about that tragic day by that really awesome ska group monkeywrench. Then I’m gonna go to Waco.

By the way, the day is not tragic because it’s the day I gave my life to Christ, it’s tragic because of the shooting at Wedgewood Baptist church which God used to move my heart to that place where I realized that only He could give me the salvation I desperately needed. But then again, most of you probably already knew that.

Random Thought Blitz time. Ready?

Ice Breakers Sours are the most delicious candy on the whole planet. And they’re sugar free.

I think Pigeon John has one of the coolest voices ever.

I want to know why in the world the US military isn’t exploring Mech/Walker technology more. We should have AT-ATs already, dangit. Or something from the MechWarrior game series. GET CRACKIN!

Take some time today and think about how Phantom Menace would have turned out if Darth Maul was the Jedi and Qui-Gon Jinn was the Sith Lord.

I like comments. Please leave me some. Anything. Give me a random 6 digit number if nothing else! Seeya.

New Music and teh US Open

This past Friday was officially declared to be a “NEW MUSIC FRIDAY”!

I picked up 4 new CDs whilst at the local Mardel’s. So far they have been on the most part very very good. I spent a long time there though, trying out all sorts of new artists before finally settling on what did went with.

First of all, let’s start with the obvious gold item. Demon Hunter’s Summer of Darkness. It’s Demon Hunter. I haven’t heard something by them yet that I just had to say “Oh for the love of crap, this song SUCKS”. Not once. Not Ready to Die is probably one of the best songs ever. It’s going to be gracing my Last.fm “recently played” list numerous times in the coming days.

Second up is the other obvious good one. KJ-52’s Remixed. Now, I know a lot of people don’t care for remix albums. “It’s the same songs” they say. “I want some new stuff”. Fair enough, I reply. But KJ doesn’t just throw down some new music behind the lyrical track of a song and call it good, Remix changes up the songs so much, you’ll find yourself unable to sing along until you get the new flow. Still feels a little like the original but different enough that you’ll enjoy it all over again. The man busts through 4 different flavors of hiphop in ONE SONG. 47 Emcees on this album is worth listening to alone.

Actually, this album was the first time I heard the whole story of the VH1 controversy involving KJ supposedly “dissing” Eminem. Probably old news to most by now. Yet another reason I can’t stand popmusic culture. Ah well.

Next up on the list is Stryper. Yeah, another Stryper album for the Bmatt. I got their new “Reborn” that came out last year. I’m not sure what exactly I think of it yet. I’m trying very hard not to compare it alongside their old stuff, because you can’t really make that comparison and call it fair. How long had it been since Stryper came out with a new album? 15 years? Gotta expect a lot of changes since then. So far, I’m enjoying it a lot. And the cover art is phenomenal.

Finally, a new band. Showbread’s “No Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical” rounds out my CD purchases. I don’t even know where to START with these guys. Their sound is completely unique and not something I’ve even come close to hearing. It’s going to take quite a few listens before I can give it a final verdict. But then again, I had to do the same thing with Joy Electric, and now I’m like “I ❤ JE!"

It’ll never happen though, Federer is too good. Ah well. Watch and enjoy, 3pm on CBS. I’m out!