Gods Rise as Pillars Crumble

I’m not your typical blackmetal fan.

Sitting here in a grey cardigan, eating fried eggs with kale and mushrooms, reading an article on precise speech, nothing could be further from my mind than burning down churches and picking up a plastic spiky bracer from Hot Topic. But as far as rock music goes, it’s by far my favorite genre.

This particular rabbit whole (of which there are many when it comes to my musical tastes) began in the early 2000’s while I was working in a record store in Detroit. I’d recently given up an affliction for the trashiest gangster rap imaginable (with which I would flirt on and off for the next decade) for the exact music I belittled other kids in school for, perhaps because I was afraid to admit how interested I was.

To be fair, when my friend Aaron returned after summer break senior year wearing black lipstick and eyeliner, it was a little jarring.

Kids are weird though. They don’t understand that the makeup and trench coats with spikes on them belong exclusively at concerts, not a mall food court. Still, in the back of my mind I’ve always slightly regretted ostracizing Aaron after that moment. He was just a confused teenager who thought Satan was the bees knees. I was a confused teen too. It was a mess. I digress.

My love of blackmetal has been tempered well by the fact that I don’t believe the devil exists. You’re really free to explore a lot more of the art world when you’re of that mindset. Silly me, I thought all of the other fans and the bands themselves were in on the same joke. Not true, not true at all. It’s similar to the time I thought that Genocide Organ were doing it for shock value and weren’t actually a neo-nazi band. Sadly mistaken, Brian. I suppose due to my own history with the national socialism movement, I’m more keen to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they couldn’t possibly be that stupid in real life.

Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir were my introduction to blackmetal music. Now, any serious blackmetal fan will read that sentence and piss his pants with rage… they are blackmetal bands in the same way the Backstreet Boys are a rock and roll band. But when you’re 18 the chances that you’ve heard of Satanic Warmaster or Drudkh are slim to none so you pick up whatever the local shop has. I owe my liberal musical tastes to the shop I worked in because they carried a wide variety of music and I listened to it all, regardless of whether or not it was related or would make me look ridiculous! I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that there’s been a Ke$ha shaped hole in my heart since 2010. She’s a bit blackmetal in her own way, I guess.

Why do I love it so much? I’ve thought about it recently, trying to nail down my reasons (as you do). The problem is that the genre has a massive breadth of quality. You have records literally produced in garages on the one end and million-dollar metal masterpieces on the other. A lot of blackmetal fans praise the garage albums because it’s like a badge of honor to own the shittiest record you could find, I guess. “Oh man listen to this one you can’t even hear the drums!” I imagine them saying.

For me, it’s the atmospheric, ambient style guitar. It’s like a wave of noise that washes over you with slight alterations in harmonics over time… kind of the reason I was attracted to noise bands like Merzbow and Whitehouse. Blast beats are, of course, central to my philosophy of life as well. The faster and more aggressive, the better. As far as the lyrics… I’m pretty “meh” about it. I’m well past the age where I use my musical tastes to shock people in a vain attempt to look “dangerous”. Some bands, like Inquisition up above, have genuinely interesting lyrics. Some, like Agalloch or Deafheaven, aren’t Satanic in the least.

My current tastes change like the season, though. With the onset of winter, I feel my craving for the monotonous drone of traditional techno creeping up on me. I’m severely out of touch with that genre this year and have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve even begun producing my own music again, which I’ll be putting up shortly. It’s not great, but I enjoy doing it. I’ll probably get better. That’s what people say, anyway.

Foreign YouTube

One of my late-night guilty pleasures is lying in bed watching YouTube on my phone before I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve watched a LOT of YouTube and when you do that you eventually run out of interesting creators in your own country and start branching out. Because of this, I’ve found quite a few sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful videos that I’d like to share today, instead of putting in actual effort to write a thoughtful post. 🙂

I love this guy’s videos. I have no idea what he’s saying in the videos that don’t have captions, but he seems to be a master at breaking down seafood. Also, his kitchen makes mine look gigantic.

This channel is thought to actually be Chinese State Propaganda due to the quality of the film and editing, but I don’t care. The cinematography is gorgeous from the composition to the colors. Every single one of these videos is worth watching.

This guy (I assume he goes by Pooh) eats spicy food and then chokes and cries. Over and over. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with it, but I am.

I realize now that all of these are Asian. Maybe I’m a closet weeaboo. Hmmm. If people are interested in seeing more from the dark corners of YouTube, I’ll post more. Today’s post is just a tribute to the fact that I really have nothing to say right now. Oh, I started Adderall. It isn’t doing anything, much like every other medication I’ve ever taken for ADHD. What can you do.

The Lie of Mindfulness

We tell lies with almost every breath spoken because a person can’t tell the truth without knowing themselves. Opinions flip with the tides, new ideas emerge from discovered wisdom, and no man is truly introspective except for possibly a monk! How can you possibly be honest about something when you don’t know what you believe, yourself? So we need to be more forgiving of people when they are wrong or when they say something that is obviously stupid. Not all of us are playing on the same field and some of us aren’t even playing the same game.

Void

Sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum. The roar of the atomic fires below wouldn’t reach Kaylon’s ears, much less pierce the thick hull of the ship. The hull was comprised of meters-thick alloy designed to shrug off interstellar dust and debris during near-light travel. The dark observation room in which Kaylon surveyed the bombardment from was illuminated only by the red, yellow, and blue flashing lights from various consoles… coded reports from the ships A.I. on everything from life support to the operation of the bomb manufactorium in the ships aft. Kaylon ignored the lights; only engineers of the technomancer’s guild were equipped and trained to understand them. Kaylon was merely a grunt, waiting for the last signs of resistance on the planet below to die out before he and his brothers would descend like vultures upon carrion to purify the world of its past civilization to give birth to a new. Order from chaos.

The Imperium swept across the stars like a cleansing light, subjugating the weak and annihilating the strong. They had no directive other than to expand. Worldships such as Kaylon’s traversed the void nigh-aimlessly until a habitable world was discovered. If uninhabited, a garrison would be left behind to establish a foothold and communications with the home systems. If inhabited, it wouldn’t be for long.

First Day of Work

I feel weird if I don’t write something every morning. I was working on a lengthy post about how most relationships don’t survive sobriety but I don’t have the time to finish it right now, it’s going to the ever expanding queue.

Had my first day of work yesterday at Kohl’s… it was just orientation but everyone there seems super positive and upbeat which is a massive change from my full-time job in the morning. Isn’t that kind of weird? People with good salaries, full benefits, marriages, and kids are absolutely miserable and people who are only making $9.50 an hour with no health insurance are loving life. There might be a moral in there somewhere but I can’t find it at 8 AM.

I’m also noticing half the tags I try to attach to my posts don’t show up in the published copy.

The Books of September

Today, a blog I follow called LIFESFINEWHINE posted a list of recent reading and I thought that’s a wonderful idea to get me back into the swing of writing about things that aren’t me.

I read a lot compared to most of the people I meet; around 25 pages a day. 25 pages may not seem like much but between work (two jobs as of today!) and college, it is what it is. I prefer non-fiction but I try to read both fiction and non-fiction at the same time (one book each). I’ve heard from some people that they can’t read more than one book at a time because they start to get confused but I don’t even understand how that’s possible!

September was a light month for me because the last two weeks of it were depressed, but I still got a few good books digested…

Walden by Henry David Thoreau


I read this back in July and loved it so much I went back over my highlighted passages in September. Walden really changed my outlook about a lot of things to do with the outdoors. It got me to start gardening, hiking, and photographing nature a lot more. The book can be dry at times, especially when he’s going over how many beans he grew and how much he sold them for, but overall it is easy to get the sense of awe and excitement that Thoreau had for the natural world through his words.

Crime & Punishment by Fyoder Dostoevsky


The bulk of this was read in August but I finished it in September so I’m counting it! If you’ve been following me for a time, you’ll remember that I hated reading this book. Despite that, the story and characters have stuck with me very vividly. Perhaps the book being such a chore has etched it permanently in my memory. The writing is very dry and conversations turn into chapter-long diatribes which are difficult to follow, but overall the book is a manifesto against atheism and objectivism, albeit a weak one (straw men do not make great arguments but as this is a work of fiction I feel we can forgive Dostoevsky). The lead character, Raskolnikoff, is able to be an atheist on one level but can not reconcile his spiritual torment over what he has done. That’s the bulk of what the book is about. It’s an interesting read, at least, and I think that it is a fairly poignant representation of the illness we feel in our gut when we know we’ve done something abominable.

Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt


Although this book has some exercises for determining what activities are in your “desire zone”, I feel that it falls flat like most business/self-help books do. Chapters and chapters on why you should find your true calling and focus on it without any sort of real advice on how to do that. It’s designed to work alongside the Full Focus Planner which I use religiously, so I was able to glean some insights from it. Overall, though, it’s a lot of fluff and filler just to say “focus on the things you love and say no to the things you don’t love.” Pretty common advice in these sorts of books.

Wow, that’s really all I read in September?! Well, October is already shaping up to be better. I’m half-way through both 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’ll reserve my thoughts on those for the next reading post!

What Makes Someone Qualified to Give Advice?

Have you noticed the “life coach” trend that’s popped up in the last decade? I’m sure they’ve been around longer than that, but it’s become the go-to profession for every stay-at-home mom on the internet, it seems. A lot of these coaches have never accomplished anything in their own lives so I’m unsure as to what inspires people to take their advice. It comes in all flavors: fitness tips from obese people drinking overpriced shakes, career advice from single moms trying to juggle 3 jobs to make ends meet, and so on. So what exactly does qualify someone to give someone else advice? It is said that we can often see solutions to other people’s problems better than our own, but is this actually true or are we just judging them and projecting our desires upon them?

This question has been important to me lately because I’ve fallen into a few positions in which I am required to give advice. First, I am becoming a peer recovery coach so that I can give back to the community that has so graciously saved my life while simultaneously giving my own life a sense of purpose (everything is, after all, selfish in the end). What gives me the right to give advice on sobriety though? Yes, I am sober and will likely continue to be forever. I don’t know how to give advice on that though. Unlike most alcoholics I meet, a switch was flipped in my brain and I simply do not crave alcohol anymore. That’s not to say my addiction issues are cured, I’m still addicted to a plethora of things that are bad for me.

Second, I’ve been given a lot of responsibility at work for training other people and developing them as employees, particularly in my old department. I feel more qualified to do this than to give life advice because in all modesty I did absolutely kill it at that job. I have a very hard time enunciating what needs to be done, though. Perhaps that is just practice. It must be.

This is just me thinking aloud and trying to figure out what I want to do, don’t mind me! My first day at my second job is tomorrow and I am very excited. Working retail is so much more fun when you don’t have to be doing it. I think a lot of my positive attitude toward it is in realizing that I’m taking action and doing something to better my life above and beyond the ordinary. I could easily just work my full time job and just get by paying bills but I want to get ahead in life. I want to be somebody some day. I want it all.

Just a terrible pic from the gym this morning 😅

My heart hasn’t really been in this blog ever since the depression episode, so if my writing and design of my posts seems like it’s been lacking, it totally has. That happens to me… I’ll have all of these fun hobbies I start getting really good at, then the depression hits and even after it passes I still have almost no interest in those hobbies any more. I’m trying to stick through it though and hope that it comes back. I do feel a bit more motivated today than I have for the past several posts… but not motivated enough to do any editing and whatnot.