Monday, December 24, 2007

Why People Still Care about Duke Nukem

With Duke Nukem Forever being on hold…almost indefinitely and the new teaser that came out, God knows how many of them they’ve made, people are still excited about Duke Nukem. Why is that? Let me tell you.

Duke Nukem is the traditional badass character. He’s witty…kind of, stealing most of his witticisms from Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, but that’s wherein a lot of the humor rises. Throughout Duke Nukem 3D, (DN3D), the first FPS installment of the series, Duke will randomly just spit out phrases from Army of Darkness or the creator’s own mind – which were all off-the-wall ridiculous in their humor. Tack that onto him running through the mid-nineties after pig-like space aliens invaded, and it makes it even more amusing.

That’s part one. Part two was the fact that DN3D was modded like crazy. As Tycho points out, you could run onto the internet and download a ton of mods or new levels with the click of the mouse and gain hours upon hours new gameplay. This just added to the replay value of this game which was already high enough as it had more than one level of difficulty, like most of the old-school FPS games. It added to the fun and allowed you an opportunity to, much more readily than most modern games, to modify and change the way you played. The sheer number of modified DN3D levels out there was amazing and added to the game in so many different ways.

Next, which is a very sad reason, is strippers. Throughout the game, and really for gratuity’s sake alone, there were half-naked strippers strewn about the levels. They were also…damageable, you could blow them up with enough ammo being popped into them. Also, as Duke got close to them he threw cash at them. It added to the ridiculousness of this game and also appealed to the lowest common denominator in many male gamers. It was stupid, but altogether comical how the strippers were just added to the game. They almost felt like they were added last minute to make the game not rated as more mature than it really was, hence the almost random layout of some of the strippers (ex. dancing on rooftops, or on space ships).

Then there’s always this – the anticipation. They’ve been working on this game for nearly a decade. It’s changed engines, consoles, etc multiple times since. It’s changed staff. It’s changed…well, everything at least a half dozen times. And because of this – it builds and builds the anticipation for this game, making people more and more interested in what will happen when it’s actually completed. If it’s either awesome or awful, it’ll still make people happy – only the mediocre will turn people away…because they expect either the worst game ever after all this time…or something so ridiculously fantastic that it appeals to every single person who games.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, people like DN3D…because it was stupidly mindless shooting. The plot was weak at best, at worst it was atrocious. Yet, the game was fun because you just ran around and shot at everything that moved. There were no people specifically to save, except for the strippers…which you weren’t penalized for shooting. It was simple running around and killing monsters. That didn’t mean it was a simple game, it’s merely to point out that there didn’t need to be much to it. It was fun, plain and simple. Whether it appeals to everyone or not – it’s just a fun game where you run around and kill monsters with no need to worry about consequences, plot, or anything else for that matter.

DN3D was not the best game in the world, by far, but it was liked and really, that’s all that mattered. Other thoughts on the Duke Nukem phenomenon are more than welcomed…they’re encouraged.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Modern Hymn Post

I began thinking about the early Methodists and their attempts to use music to help convert people to Christianity. It was a smart maneuver, especially considering they used tunes people already knew and added a Christian message into the lyrics so others could sing along. It produced some amazing results, not the least of which is my favorite Christmas hymn, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, which I spoke about at length last year. The second verse really sums up the entire Christian spirit in its lyrics and makes me proud to be one.

I got to thinking, this morning, what if modern Christians did something akin to this. What if they took modern tunes and changed the lyrics to have Christian overtones. So, to ruin everyone's favorite tunes...I started doing that. Here are some examples --
To the tune of "Baby One More Time..."
Oh I must confess
That my sinfulness
Is killing me now
But you know I will believe
That with my Lord here
He gave us His life
To take away all of man's strife

My Jesus Christ is saving me
His sacrifice has set us free
Through Him salvation is guaranteed
He gave us His life
To take away all of man's strife
To the tune of "Girlfriend"
Hey, hey, you, you
I really like your Savior
Yea man, I feel
That I need to convert
Hey, hey, you, you
I want to be a Christian

I can't pretend
Because I know
Salvation is precious
And yeah
He's the ever loving Prince of Peace
I can tell you He loves us
Again and again
(And again, and again)

Old gods, cast them whereever
Through Christ I can do much better
I need His everlasting love
And that is what I'm praying for
I know, they're ridiculous -- but maybe that's the thing. Our music stylings have changed so much that much of our popular modern music is not quite as timeless as it was in the past. Much of it sounds dated and won't transcend into the next few decades very well. Yet, when I hear Hark! The Herald Angels Sing every Christmas, I am still moved and still love the music. I wonder if that will happen some hundred years from now -- where our music is still loved and cherished. If not, we need to begin truly working on more timelessness in our tunes because without that bit of timelessness, our music will disappear and that incredibly important piece of us will just slip away...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Firefly

If you haven't seen Joss Whedon's short-lived series Firefly, I suggest you talk to me or rent it...now. As I've mentioned before, I like most everything from Joss Whedon. But, Firefly is perhaps the best of his works and quite possible the greatest television series of all time.

The series is set in the future -- a future where a civil war had broken out between those planets which wanted to form an alliance of sorts and force everyone to join their alliance -- and those which wanted independence from this alliance. Effectively, the galaxy that they live in is similar in atmosphere to the old west -- a great many people are wandering from town to town looking for work however they can get it. Instead of traveling by horse, buggy, or on foot -- people are traveling in space crafts. Technology, instead of being ridiculously futuristic it's gotten to aircrafts that can travel from planet to planet, there's no laser weapons, no crazy aliens, no sound in space, and no "warp speed" or anything of the sort. Instead of going to that extreme that most science fiction does...which makes it more realistic and gritty.

The main characters vary from a goofy pilot, to a former "independent" Colonel, to a Doctor running from the law with his sister, to a Companion (i.e. prostitute) who's considered to be the most honest working one amongst them. Great depth to each and every one of them -- more dimensions that most characters on shows that have been running for years.

The bottom line on Firefly? It's a space western along the lines of Cowboy Bebop -- except without the animation, life on Mars, and ridiculousness. It can appeal to everyone. I should know -- my wife who hates science fiction, for the most part, can sit down and watch the series with me...and enjoys that along with the movie, Serenity. It's fun, cleverly written, and just a masterpiece of television. And yet, like too many shows these days, wasn't even given a chance. With a poor time slot and the episodes shown ridiculously out of order, Firefly never had a shot. The one season of the show is worth every single cent to purchase and again, if you haven't seen it...watch it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Alex Trebek Heart Attack

Keep Alex Trebek in your thoughts -- not merely because he's a great television game show host, but because the man recently had a heart attack. Let's hope he gets better quickly and back on the television. You'll be in our thoughts, Mr. Trebek.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Quote of the Day

Here's a lovely quote from the ever modest, Quentin Tarantino --
“I watch my movies all the time. It’s the only stuff out there worth watching…And the music in my movies is always the best, too. I’ve always just felt that the combining of the right piece of music with the right scene, the right sequence, that creates movie moments that you remember for the rest of your life and you even appropriate the song. If you do it really right, then you can never hear that song again without thinking about that scene in the movie. “
-Quentin Tarantino

Monday, December 3, 2007

Puzzle Quest

Welcome young lads and lasses to a world unlike our own. Where the dead walk the earth and attempt to attack our kingdom! You are of noble blood and must help defend the kingdom from these undead attacks and help to find out the source of these attacks. Welcome to the world of Puzzle Quest.

Puzzle Quest's story is ridiculously simple -- but its not the story that's the most fun, it's the fact that it's a puzzle game with some RPG elements that make it incredibly fun. In many ways, this is a modified version of Bejeweled. Instead of merely playing by yourself -- on the same board, you are taking turns against an opponent. The Wikipedia article explains the gameplay a little better -- but imagine competitive Bejeweled with you gaining power as you continue to play the game allowing for interesting "attacks" which can change up the course of gameplay. It's a lot of fun and worth checking out...especially for the Nintendo DS, where the controls shine. Using the stylus to click and point to where you want to move the blocks is beyond natural. This is a wonderful game and I'd suggest it to puzzle and RPG fans...as well as fans of good video games.

Dollhouse

Joss Whedon is teaming up with Eliza Dushku to create the new television show...Dollhouse. It's a new sci-fi show that sounds a bit like Dark Angel, but...seeing how Joss Whedon is writing it, it'll probably be better. Dushku will be producing the program along with Whedon.

After the writers strike, I hope to see what comes of this show.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life Imitating Art, Art Imitating Life

Imitation of Life is a 1959 remake of a 1934 film. It's one of my wife's favorite films, so we recently picked it up on DVD used. She didn't expect to find it on DVD anywhere, let alone hidden in FYE's new used DVD bin for less than $7. But, I digress...

The film is about two women and their daughters -- both of which are single mothers in the 1940s...one of which is white and the other is black. They end up coming together in this oft looked over feature. It begins with the white woman, played by Lana Turner, trying to break into acting...and has to hold onto her values to avoid being dragged into the gutter by the hucksters and cheats who wish to bring her down to near prostitute status. On the other side of the coin, the black woman played by the amazing Juanita Moore, basically raises the daughter of the white woman and her own incredibly light skinned daughter...who hates that she's black. She tries to pass as white all the rest of her life, barely being able to accept her true self.

The film touches on prejudices of the past and present. It discusses such ideas that aren't always touched today with such passion and such amazing acting. These women act so convincingly that two of them were nominated for two Academy Awards. If you are interested in a classic dramatic film with amazing acting, look into this film. Try to find this gem amongst the many films that came out of this era...and uncover the magic of a dramatic work about real women.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots is a British film that my wife and I recently rented from those lovely "Red Box" locations for a cool two bucks...because we forgot to return it the first day.

The film is a comedy-drama about a classical shoe company that recently got taken over by a son who didn't quite know what he was doing...or want to know. He's thrust into running the company that had been dying for years. He looks for a niche market to try to bring in new revenue. What does he find? Women's boots for men who dress as women.

It's an amusing film that tackles some interesting and serious issues. It's also loosely based on a true story, which makes it evevn more interesting to me. My wife and I both enjoyed the movie and I would suggest it to anyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Love Elite Beat Agents, But...

I love the game Elite Beat Agents. It's a clever, silly, and fun beat game that can entertain a man for hours and shows that beat games can be played with a touch pad on the DS...and done very well.

But...Three Panel Soul pegged it best with this comic. Sometimes the story just makes a person a little confused by its ridiculousness.

Talking About the iGeneration

A while back, iTunes ran this promotion where they gave away free songs when you joined their facebook group. It was great, and it was the only reason I joined. During one of the packages of free songs, I got a track entitled "iGeneration" by MC Lars. Check out the lyrics, specifically the second verse --
The iGeneration new organization meant optimization and unification,
When imagination gave participation in creation of culture a manifestation.
The Berlin Wall fell and out we came, the post-Cold War kids laid claim to AIM.
LOL, OMG, yo, BRB. Space, colon, dash, closed parenthesis.
We sat at our laptops and typed away, and found that we each had something to say.
Web-logged our fears, our hopes and dreams. Individuated by digital means.
Fiber optic lenses, DVD, Coca Cola, Disney and Mickey D's.
Flat mass culture, the norm that took hold; I hope I die before it gets old.
It may seem like a bunch of buzz words about the internet and modern mass media, but think about it for a moment and you'll realize that MC Lars, with is expression and his lyrics has put the nail on the head. He has found a new way to define Generation Y, and frankly I think they should be defined that way. We are the iGeneration.

The internet is such a defining factor in this entire generation, from MySpace to Facebook to Web logs of our lives, our hopes, our ideas. We use the internet as our means of uncovering the news far more than we use classic media. We post personal thoughts and sometimes information, yet no one seems to blink an eye. We don't care about privacy issues as much, so long as we continue to have a choice as to how much of our privacy we wish to give up. We are much more liberal on social issues partially because we see them, we see people and we feel their plight through the mass media and through their own personal release of emotions through the internet. We appear more passive in our attempts to protest and raise up against, but in reality we do so en masse to each other through the incredible power of the internet. We've found a way to protest and get our message across to one another across the globe in such a way that has never existed before. We find video games to be as true of a media as film, television, and literature. We also take our freedoms and liberties for granted far more than we should. We have a faith that's personal and many explore different religions and home brewed versions of traditional faiths. We are ready to take over already as Generation X stands by with a bit of rugged ingenuity and the iGeneration rises into political offices already. We are unified through this information superhighway and we like it that way. We are the iGeneration and I think I'm happy to be a part of it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Something to Sing About

In the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More with Feeling," has some wonderful music that I've talked about at least once before here. One song that I didn't pay as much attention to at first was "Something to Sing About," which discusses Buffy's emotions about coming back from the dead. The profound aspect begins with the first verse and I think it can apply to...well, many people --
Life's a show
And we all play our parts
And when the music starts
We open up our hearts

It's all right
If some things come out wrong
We'll sing a happy song
And you can sing along

Where's there's life
There's hope, everyday's a gift
Wishes can come true
Whistle while you work
So hard all day
To be like other girls
To fit in in this glittering world

Don't give me songs
Don't give me songs
Give me something to sing about
I need something to sing about...
It's profound in many ways. The emotions evoked by these lyrics is amazing and what it means both in and out of context is great. Think about the desire to fit in, the desire to be understood by everyone around you, you want to be accepted by those who care. It's an interesting song and Sarah Michelle Gellar pulls it off far better than Jewel would have (as Whedon initially had intended, according to Wikipedia).

Everyone feels like they need something to sing about from time to time. They need something to make them more fulfilled in life -- something may seem missing. This whole introduction sets that stage. Joss Whedon has a way with words, so it's not surprising that he's able to come up with such clever and meaningful lyrics. Read them through and think about them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A New Tron Chapter Awaits

One of the first movies to make use computer generated graphics was Tron. It was a sight to behold and incredibly fun back in the 1982. This year marked its 25th aniversary.

Well, apparently, that marks as good a year as any to finally make a sequel movie. The original creators are still around and ready to help write for this one. This will be interesting to see how a sequel will be handled, and how much of the ridiculous "Tron 2.0" video game gets incorporated into it. I just hope that it can live up to the expectations that will be created from a 25 year wait between sequels...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Angel and the Joss Whedon Realization

I've realized completely at this point why there are so many people who believe that Joss Whedon is a master storyteller. I began my Joss Whedon fascination a long time ago and I didn't even know it. He was one of the primary script writers for Toy Story -- as a big fan of that film, must say that it was incredibly well written with witty dialogue.

It was later on that my friend Yanni got me to watch all of Firefly before going into the theater to see Serenity, one of my favorite movies of all time. That led into me watching Buffy. I already knew I enjoyed the same group of storytellers and most especially, the fanciful ideas of Joss Whedon. I found Buffy Season 1 on sale for 15 bucks and picked it almost on a whim. I loved every episode and have watched over and again every episode since. I even got my 12 year old sister hooked on the show, asking to borrow seasons of Buffy and asking me rather detailed questions about the show on a regular basis.

Now after finding out that I got a $150 Best Buy gift card for my new cell phone and that seasons of Angel were on sale, I picked up the first two seasons on DVD. After watching the first eight episodes, I've realized that Whedon and company are masters at storytelling. To go from cowboys in space ala Firefly; to all the complications of high school written cleverly and with almost epic action; now I'm watching Angel which is a detective style drama with witty dialogue and very in depth characters. Frankly, I can't wait for Ripper.

Whedon and his team of writers have masterfully crafted nearly every single genre and he's only ready for more. I know I'll be here waiting as excited as ever to hear the new stories told by this storytelling team. I also realized how relatable the characters are -- despite their demonic or superhuman characteristics. There are many complaints that can be made about the writing and styles of Joss Whedon -- but above all, he's an amazing entertainer and a great storyteller.

Sad, But True

Read over this comic about little Billy. Poor little Billy's puppy died...and guess how his mother handled it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Emerald Reich

I began writing a fan-comic script entitled "The Emerald Reich" about a crazy alternate, darker Sonic the Hedgehog universe more akin to "Other-M" than most other Sonic comic books. It was set in the following scenario -- the Sonic Adventure games happened in the real world whereas Sonic, Robotnick, and company all came from an alternate reality that's a modified version of the Archie/SatAM version of "Mobius," a darker place with robotic monsters around every corner and a floating island nation full of echidnas.

The problem? I couldn't draw. So, here comes the first three sections of the script. I'll post more if anyone actually cares to read it.
Part 1: The Scheme
(Robotnick sits in a small, unadorned room. There is a metallic door and a large desk where he sits. In front of him lay the plans for some sort of robotic creature device).
Dr. Robotnick: (The doctor presses a button on the desk and says into the intercom)
Snively, come here
Snively: (He enters the room saying) Yes, master, what is it you need?
Robotnick: I have a plan, it will take time, but once it begins there shall be no man or beast that could stop me.
Snively: (Grinning) Perfect master, what does this plan entail?
(Dr. Robotnick presses a few buttons on the desk, a screen comes down from the ceiling. Zoom in on the screen which shows Kodos in a dark cell with one of the E-100 units moving past it in a corridor)
Robotnick: (Back to showing Robotnick) First, we will be needing the hide of (pointing at the screen and you can partially make out Kodos looking upwards) that. (Show Robotnick turn around in his chair and face Snively) I have a use for it. (Show Robotnick’s face with an evil grin) All else we’ll need are the usual robots and the Master Emerald to power my city, and I can wait for that (Robotnick laughs maniacally, standing. As he stands you can see the plans were for a robotic creature, an outline of which surrounds it, it’s shaped like a large feline creature).

Part 2: The Meeting
(You see a tapestry showing two Echidna’s standing with fists out in front of a large emerald, one is blinded and holding an olive leaf, the other is muted and holding a sword)
(Zoom in on Knuckles with a gavel in hand, with the tapestry behind him. He is dressed in a suit with a red tie, adorned with images of chaos emeralds here and there)
Knuckles: Order, Order I say!
(You pan around to see an entire room filled with echidna’s in similar dress sitting around a table. The echidnas seem to be in some sort of discussion, they calm down after his comment)
Knuckles: We were talking about the Chaotix and our part in their existence. The Chaotix is a unit that I had formed, a team of creatures of all nations whose sole purpose was to protect even when others could not. Protection is what this nation was founded on, protection of the emeralds, why is protection of the remainder of this world so different. If the emeralds are to get in the wrong hands, it would be devastating to all of us.
(An echidna stands; he is a dark orange in coloration and has a grey tie. He has a small, neatly trimmed mustache and has a small pin on his suit-coat, his name is Cain)
Cain: If I may speak, Mr. President.
Knuckles: By all means, Senator Cain.
Cain: Thank you. Our nation is, as you’ve said founded to protect the emeralds. Before we even dream of focusing on anything else, we should focus within. We should protect the emeralds first and foremost.
(A cheer of ‘Here here’ comes up from the crowd)
Knuckles: Ignoring the danger of Robotnick is pointless.
Cain: (Tensions are beginning to build) Robotnick has no need for us; he wants to destroy the nation of Acorn, not the floating island.
Knuckles: (A vein appears to become more prominent in his head) I have seen this man firsthand, he will come for us, and he will destroy many in the process and I do not want to stand by while that happens.
(Another echidna stands)
Echidna_2: Pardon, Mr. President, but is it even our place to step in, in these foreign affairs. Acorn’s war against Robotnick is his, not ours.
(The crowd of suited echidnas begin to rise up, arguing)
(Knuckles pounds his gavel)
Knuckles: Silence! (All are quieted and sit) We have a motion on the table. The motion reads, “We the members of the Angel Island House of Guardians do hereby move to sever all official ties with the fringe organization known as the Chaotix.” It has been written up by Senator Cain, is this motion seconded.
(A random echidna rises saying ‘Aye’)
Knuckles: All in favor. (Pan around, showing hands raised) All opposed. (The same type of pan). Abstention? Motion passes 23-14-3. I will send a message immediately to the Chaotix, telling them of our decision. (Knuckles shakes his head)

Part 3: The Freedom Force
(Sally and Sonic are seen walking through a large door. Behind them are Antoine and Tails. Zoom out so that you can see them in the grand throne room of King Acorn).
Sonic: (Narrating) King Acorn had summoned us in that day, a day I won’t forget.
(The four of them reach up to the front and King Acorn comes down from his thrown to greet them)
Acorn: Ahh, welcome. You all wonder why I have sent for you.
Sally: Yes, I do and what is this I heard about you dissolving the Freedom Fighters?
Acorn: Yes, all in due time my child, but first I must say that Sally will no longer be leading any Freedom Fighters. (Acorn is holding Sally by the shoulders) Since it is the 18th year since your birth, (He lets go) you must finish your training as Acorn Royalty first and foremost.
Sally: Father?
Acorn: There is no debating this. You have been a warrior since you were 13, it’s time you learned how to be a Princess.
Sally: (shook her head in anger and then stomped her foot as she said indignantly) But who will lead the Freedom Force, surely you are not dissolving the organization?
Acorn: (The King walked away from Sally and towards Tails) Of course not, Miles?
Tails: Yes, your Highness?
Acorn: (The King puts his hand on Tails’ shoulders) Miles, will you kneel before me. (Tails kneels and Acorn pulls out his sword, placing it on Tails’ right shoulder and moving it towards his left shoulder saying) I dub thee Sir Miles of Acorn and I ask you to rise. (Tails stands back up smiling) Sir Miles, I now grant you full control of our elite, the Freedom Force. I trust you Miles and wish you luck.
Tails: Thank you, your Highness. I shall not fail you. (Tails walks out of the throne room).
Sonic (Narrating) A lot of changes were made that day. (Show Antoine bowing before Acorn) Antoine was placed in charge of the Royal Army. (See Acorn’s arm on Sonic’s shoulders) And I was to direct the two forces and a third one, a Secret Service.
(Sonic looks confused)
Sonic: Secret Service? What do you mean?
Acorn: (Calls to the shadows with his hand) Come over (Looks back to Sonic) I am establishing a secret service, a reconnaissance based group for my kingdom.
(The robed figure is next to Acorn who is pointing, Vana White style)
Acorn: Sonic, I’d like you to meet the head of our secret service (The robed figure begins pulling back his hood and we pan to Sonic’s face which has a look of shock)
Sonic: You? You’re…alive?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ripper Confirmed

The Buffy spin-off they've been talking about for a long time, the Giles based BBC series "Ripper" has apparently been given the greenlight by the BBC, Tony Head, Joss Whedon, and the approval of Fox. According to Whedon, it looks like it'll be a 90 minute made-for-TV feature about Giles -- but no matter what the format, I know I'm overly excited. Those who know me know that I'm a big Buffy dork. Gifts of "The Long Way Home" graphic novel are always appreciated...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blue Door

My brother is in this band called Blue Door. If you like to rock, then check them out on MySpace. Do it, they're great and you can download each of their tracks to listen to at your own pace -- or on your iPod/MP3 player...

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Boys

My Boys returns to television next Monday on TBS. I highly recommend the show -- as such, I'm linking to the TBS My Boys subpage, where you can watch the episodes from the first season. I know, I like strange television -- but this show is worth checking out. Enjoy.

0 mg

Have you noticed that when you write out zero miligrams in the proper format -- it spells 0mg, i.e. OMG!

Coincidence...uhm...yea.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time

As I did with my favorite albums of all time, I'm going to have to go in no particular order. I honestly can not decide which one is better or worse, but I can narrow it down to 10 individual songs that I truly love.
Dexy's Midnight Runner – “Come On Eileen” – This is perhaps one of the campiest little ditties of all time. It's silly and I love every second of it. It's hard not to crack a smile when you hear this song, it just can get an entire room to just immediately start singing along as if out of nowhere – it's almost become a universal happy song for generation upon generation. It's great and there's really not much else to say about that.

Jerome Pradon – “Heaven on Their Minds” – The first number from a musical, written for Jesus Christ Superstar by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Pradon's version was for the revival production of JCS by Gale Edwards beginning in 1997 and filmed for television in 2001. The music is wonderful and Pradon's voice is amazing. The reason for its inclusion in this top 10 is not merely the great music and great singing voice – but the passion inherent in the song itself – and in the vocalist. You almost can feel the true strife of the apostle Judas as he realizes that he's afraid of what could happen to his good friend, Jesus, if He continues down this religious path as opposed to the save the poor path he initially viewed His teachings as. It's the incredibly impassioned tale of a man who is worried about the health and life of his good friend – a friend who happens to be the Messiah of the Christian people. The emotion this can evoke in me is amazing and frankly, deserves a spot on the top 10.

Chris Cornell featuring Eleven – “Ave Maria” – This is the type of risks which I really want more artists to take. This is a traditional Christian hymn which has been sung in Latin for centuries. Cornell took that hymn, developed more modern music with the band Eleven, and used an Old English version of the lyrics making it both poetic and more accessible to the average listener to Cornell's work. His voice has such a range and power that you don't hear in most of Cornell's work, both solo and with Soundgarden or Audioslave. It really makes me want to hear him produce an entire solo album of hymns or power ballads – just those because, frankly, it would sound amazing.

Coheed and Cambria – “Wake Up (Acoustic)” – A strange addition to the mix here is the song “Wake Up.” Originally found on the unnecessarily long titled Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Mad, this version was found on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. It doesn't steer too far from the original in tune, but in raw emotion evoked by the lyrics it surpasses the original by leaps and bounds. It's a sad song of love expressing how everything that the narrator was, was for this one person and yet, here he am, leaving and there's nothing that can be done because she's just letting him go.

Johnny Cash – “Hurt” – You know, there are a great many amazing Johnny Cash songs out there and yet, I always come back to this haunting cover of the Nine Inch Nails song of the same name. As Trent Renzor said when he heard this version, “This is the way this song was intended to sound.” The hurt in Cash's life from the loss of his wife is heard in every single note of this song. There's such passion in the old man's voice that comes out as he gets out each and every line that has the power to bring tears to a man's eye. It's an amazing track that shows that Johnny Cash never lost any of his talent as he aged, it merely matured and aged with him.

Jay-Z – “Lucifer”– The first hip-hop track on this list. This track is a collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, which shows in the masterfully put together beats that are simultaneously catchy and timeless. The song begins with Jay-Z asking the Lord to forgive him, who's the him? His friend Bob Law, it appears. The entire song discusses the terrible situation that his friend has been in and ends as it begins, asking the Lord to forgive his friend who appears to have recently passed. He says that it was Lucifer, the Morningstar, who truly was the cause of the bulk of this sin that his friend and even he had committed. This song has powerful lyrics that you don't expect from such a source.

The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Walk Through the Fire” – Go ahead, laugh and laugh and laugh at the Buffy fan for adding this song to the list. Done laughing at me? Okay, now listen to the song and then decide whether or not you can laugh anymore. Inside the episode, this one song proves to me that Joss Whedon knows how to write music, whether he can admit it to himself or not. This song evokes so much emotion in the scene that can all be heard in the voices of the cast. It's a beautiful collaborative piece that really helps build the climax of the episode, revealing the feelings of each one of the characters through a power ballad. It's great fun and great music all at once – I can listen to this one track over and over and over again and never get sick of it.

Beck – “We Live Again” – I rarely have a clue what Beck is talking about in...well any of his songs. The entire Mutations album is no different – except for the sole fact that it's a beautiful compilation of off-beat music ranging from the huge harpsichord tune listed here to other, folksy songs. As a review from Allmusic.com described this album, “...his best songs are simultaneously timeless and modern.” This track is the perfect example of that.

Traditional – “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – I'm going to be honest, this is one of the first hymns I need to place on here and that I have no idea who I'd post as the artist whom I'd like to hear this from. Perhaps Chris Cornell, in a similar fashion to Ave Maria, who knows. This is just one of those hymns that make me proud to be a Christian and an American simultaneously. It's a wonderful marching tune that puts a smile on my face every time I hear it, either as “John Brown's Body” or as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” either way I'm happy to hear it.

Coheed and Cambria – “The Suffering” – Another track originally from Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Mad, I find myself surprised that I'm placing this track on here as well. Yet, every time I hear this song I find another layer of it which I fall in love with; be it the amazing progressive chords to the masterful verses which span the genres of progressive rock, emo, and alternative rock. This multi-faceted song may very well be one of the best songs of all time, making me more and more excited to hear new music from Coheed and Cambria. Early music from the band was fun and all, but listening to their second and now third album, you can hear the band's music mature beautifully with this track and “Wake Up” being the culmination of their wonderful new sound that is both larger than life and down to earth at the same time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top 10 Songs Soon

I just had an epiphany and the 10th song for my top 10 favorite songs of all time has come into my head. Realizing how often the song itself comes into my head and how much I love it made me realize its place there on the list. I'll need to write this one up and add it to the list which I've been working on for well over a month now. Expect hopefully before the weekend is over.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My December

Be honest, what have you currently heard of the album "My December" by Kelly Clarkson? I'm sure you've heard of the battle with Clive Davis, about the firing of her producer, about the poor sales, about the fact that Clarkson wrote all the tracks (or co-wrote them with less than famous producers), and that it's the worst album of Clarkson's career.

Yea, I've heard it all -- and I'm here to tell you that the album is great and has a sort of passion that you rarely hear from an artist. Kelly Clarkson, in this album, helps prove her mettle as an artist and I'll explain to you why.

In addition to amazingly personal tracks with beautiful lyrics like "Sober" and "Haunted," the album contains "Since U Been Gone" style pop-ish ballads like "Never Again." That matters very little. Before I continue this discussion on an album that I really enjoy, let me say that this truly is Kelly Clarkson's first album. Why? First album's from artists are a bit raw, but are filled with passion that transcends musical boundaries making for, on average, a great album that draws in new fans. It usually does not sell as well as major label hits down the line, but it defines the artist as an actual musical talent and, in the case of Clarkson, as more than merely a created pop sensation but a musician with many different musical interests and talents. As an artist works on their second or third album, you see them grow as an artist and the lyrics become more in depth, the music becomes more complex -- but it is that first album which defines them as an artist. This is a defining album for Kelly Clarkson as it shows to the world a) that she can write music/lyrics and b) that she's not willing to remain quietly as a contrived pop sensation, but actually wants to take the reins and control her own musical destiny akin to artists like Christina Aguilera as opposed to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson. In many ways, Clarkson needed this album to prevent herself from being pigeonholed as merely a voice with nothing to back it up. This helps prove otherwise.

For anyone who enjoys Kelly Clarkson's voice and some of the more personal tracks off her second album, this album is worth listening to. For those who merely appreciate music, you owe it to yourself to give this a chance. You may hate it, but at least try it out for yourself instead of merely accepting the hype at face value. This blogger almost did and it would have denied him some beautiful music.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Uncle Orson on Serenity

I found this old review of the movie Serenity by Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game. He's right...it is one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. Perhaps he should ask Joss Whedon to direct the Ender's Game film...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Leave Out All the Rest

Here are some lyrics from a new track from Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight --
I dreamed I was missing, you were so scared
But no one would listen, 'cause
no one else cared
After my dreaming, I woke with this fear
What am I
leaving when I'm done here?

So if you're asking me, I want you to know

When my time comes, forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave
behind some reasons to be missed
Don't resent me, and when you're feeling
empty
Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest

Leave out all
the rest, don't be afraid
I've taken my beating, I've shared what I made
I'm strong on the surface, not all the way through
I've never been
perfect, but neither have you

So if you're asking me, I want you to know

When my time comes, forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave
behind some reasons to be missed
Don't resent me, and when you're feeling
empty
Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest
Leave out all the
rest
Note I said some lyrics, it's not the entire song whose title is the title of this post. I find the lyrics deeper than anything I anticipated from Linkin Park, a sort of introspective piece that I never could have expected. The music is beautifully prepared and the lyrics have a haunting aspect to them. I know we all feel this way from time to time and it's interesting to hear someone actually put this fear of no one caring when you pass into music.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mr. Pibb v. Dr. Pepper

I've got to say it...Mr. Pibb is much better than Dr. Pepper. Not because of the taste of their respective product, but because Pibb didn't need to spend all that tim to get his doctorate in order to compete with the big boys.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sonic 2 FMV Ending

Going back through my primary blog, I came across one of the most sparse posts I've made. What was on it? The link to follow -- an FMV version of the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. So, without further ado -- I present the link again, in all its amazing glory.

Sonic-holic Anonymous

Hello, my name is Matty N and I'm a Sonic-holic. I admit that I still cling to the long dead gaming empire that was Sonic the Hedgehog. I still play my Sega Genesis, merely to attempt to defeat Sonic 3 & Knuckles with all the Chaos Emeralds. I bough all the Sonic Collections for the Cube and each of the revamped versions of the Sonic Adventure games. I admit that I purchased Sonic Heroes and still wear the free t-shirt I got for pre-ordering it as an undershirt, despite hating the game and gameplay. I admit that I played Shadow the Hedgehog, and enjoyed it. I admit that I purchased on the day it came out the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series, SatAM. I admit that I'm really excited about Sonic and the Secret Rings despite reviewers that I trust panning it.

I am Matty N and I am a Sonic-holic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fondest Video Game Memory

I was recently asked on a forum what my favorite video game memory was...so, I thought about it. Of course, there's the creation of characters such as the Dad from Family Matters and some very homo-erotic wrestler who liked to slap his opponents with JB and Kirby in Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64.

But, I've got to say...the best one was merely hanging out with my younger brother, Alex; dividing up the fighters in Super Street Fighter II on the Genesis and having our own tournaments, our own "belts" to fight for, and our own elaborate WWE-esque story arcs involving the characters. It was ridiculous and fun...and it begs the question, who said video games can't breed creativity?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crisis of Infinite Me's?

In an attempted spoof on the Crisis of Infinite Earths, I decided to remake myself...in each of the many infinite Earths. Here are a few silly examples --
Earth 1 – Matthew Newman – b. 1953 – Matthew Newman was born of Howard and Cindy Newman, country folk from the capital district of New York State. He was the eldest of four children; Emily (1955), Alex (1957), Anna (1960). In 1970, Newman decided he would attend college. He told his parents that he would pay his own way through it entirely and he did, incurring a great deal of debt as he got his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Newman was picked up straight out of college in 1974 by General Electric’s new silicone plant in Waterford, New York. He quickly flew up the ranks and by 1978 was manager of half of the factory. In 1976, Newman married his college girlfriend Jennifer Brandice, a native New Yorker who studied teaching at Russell Sage College for women.

In 1980, Newman was approached by the Republican Party in Waterford. They needed a bold candidate for City Council, one who would resonate as a hard working gentleman. They felt that Newman fit that description. He ran against 4 term incumbent John Baldwin and beat him by a two percent margin. Newman served for 4 years and was asked by the GOP in Waterford to run for Mayor, he accepted. His hard working appeal continued to do him justice, sweeping him into Office in 1984.

After serving for a term and a half, Newman quit his job at General Electric officially and ran for State Senator in 1990. He fought a difficult primary match-up against local-boy Joseph Bruno and won by a hair. He took the Republican and Conservative lines. Using both lines to his advantage, he swept into office by a larger margin. The State Senate was an interesting place for Newman, who was not used to the politics on a State level. He found himself more at odds with the Republican Party with each passing day as the memory of Rockefeller was ringing true making many Republicans act more and more like the Democrats. In 1994, George Pataki was running for Governor of the State of New York, he claimed to be a strong conservative Republican who would push for tax-cuts. Also running was wealthy businessman Thomas Golisano. Both men promised tax-relief and both men promised a more conservative agenda. Staying true to his party, Newman backed Pataki and was tapped as such to be his Lieutenant Governor. With the power of Newman from upstate, they defeated Mario Cuomo in quite the upset election.

Newman served as Lt. Governor and watched as Pataki’s views shifted from the Conservative he claimed to be to a more liberal candidate. In 1998, Newman had enough and challenged Pataki to a primary for the Conservative and Republican lines. Thomas Golisano was planning to run once more and surprising most of the State of New York, backed Newman helping him garner the support of the third largest party in the state, the Independence Party. Newman fought a hard primary, defeating Pataki on the Conservative line and barely losing the Republican line. Democratic challenger Peter Vallone attacked Pataki, citing the division in the Republican Party as proof that he did not have what it took to be Governor. Newman kept on issue saying that Pataki failed to cut taxes and failed to bring about the smaller government agenda he promised. The election was one of the closest in New York State history -- Pataki 35.09%, Vallone 28.80%, Newman 35.23%.

With this victory in hand for the conservative movement in New York, Newman pushed for lower taxes immediately. He cut spending everywhere in his first attempt at the budget leading to strong opposition within the Republican ranks who had supported Pataki in 1998. He barely got a budget passed in 1999 and in 2000 the State Government shut down for 3 days before the legislature was forced through the media frenzy to support Governor Newman’s budget. Over the course of 2 years, he cut spending 25% and in his first week in office cut out 10,000 state jobs.

Newman continued his large-scale cuts all across the budget throughout his first term in office. In 2000, he stayed out of the Republican primary saying, “I pray that whomever is elected is a truly conservative choice who plans is serious about cuts government spending.” He spoke to uproarious applause at the Republican National Convention. Disappointment struck the Republican Party with the election of Vice President Gore in 2000.

In 2001, tragedy struck in the wave of a terrorist attack on New York City. Citizens of New York became global citizens, Giuliani became America’s mayor, Newman became America’s Governor. He forced a small enough budgetary increase to pay for the rebuilding of the City and sent in a portion of the State Militia, which had begun being rebuilt in 2000. In 2002, Newman was easily reelected taking nearly 60% of the popular vote and taking the Republican, Independence, and Conservative lines.

In 2004, the Republican Party needed a strong candidate for President. They found that in Newman. He challenged everything Gore stood for ranging from his response to September 11th to his failure to act on the growing problems with Iraq and Iran. Newman ran a fiery campaign with maverick Republican Senator John McCain as his running mate. He defeated President Gore by 1% of the popular vote and by capturing the State of New York.

Newman is the current President of Earth 1.
Here's another --
Earth 3 – Matthew Neuman – b. 1962 – Neuman was born in the New York of two Soviet spies, Svet-lana and Siergei “Neuman.” They had survived being ousted in the nation after McCarthy and had remained hidden in New York as parents of two children, Emily (1960) and Matthew, they went by the names of Howland and Cindy. The two taught their children to speak fluent Russian and English. In 1971, the couple was found and forced to flee back to the Soviet Union. Neuman, a fast and nimble child, was taken in by the KGB. He was trained as a child in the art of combat while learning about the menace of America and other problems in the world. Neuman became the perfect member of the KGB and at 17, he was dropped into Afghanistan. He was sent on a mission to assassinate the current leadership. He was armed to the teeth, but was sent alone.

He was quick to the task and within a week returned to Moscow a hero inside of the KGB and unknown outside of it. He led troops across the Soviet Empire and in 1985; he was promoted within the organization. He was a quick learner of the politics of the KGB and by 1990 was second only to the head of the Soviet Empire. Yet, in 1992 that Empire fell. Neuman went into hiding for 5 years and in 1997 appeared in the People’s Republic of China. The government used him as a consultant for their secret police and, despite his Russian heritage, he was treated with a great deal of respect. He served in that position until 2000 when he was found by the Russian government. They forced the Chinese to hand over Neuman to the United Nations who put him on trial for crimes against humanity. With no proof of his wrongdoings, as the bulk of KGB documentation relating to Neuman had been destroyed, he was released in 2002

He joined the Russian Communist Party and attempted to help their candidates. In 2003, he took a bullet for their Presidential candidate. This was his last act of patriotism for the Soviet cause, for the bullet killed Neuman.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Friday, March 9, 2007

History of Popular Music 1984-2006 Compiled by Weird Al Yankovic

Something I came to the realization of...was that if you follow the songs utilized in the polka tracks from Weird Al Yankovic, it would basically create a brief history of popular music. Here's a nice timeline of songs included --
  • The format used here is Year - Album - Title of Track - "Listing of songs" by Artist
  • 1984 - "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3D - Polkas on 45 - "Jocko Homo" by Devo; "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple; "Sex (I'm A...)" by Berlin; "Hey Jude" by The Beatles; "L.A. Woman" by The Doors; "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly; "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix; "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads; "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner; "Bubbles In The Wine" by Lawrence Welk; "Every Breath You Take" by The Police; "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by The Clash; "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones; "My Generation" by The Who.
  • 1985 - Dare To Be Stupid - Hooked on Polka - "12th Street Rag" by Euday L. Bowman; "State Of Shock" by The Jacksons With Mick Jagger; "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top; "What's Love Got to Do with It?" by Tina Turner; "Method Of Modern Love" by Hall & Oates; "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" by Yes; "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister; "99 Luftballons" by Nena; "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins; "The Reflex" by Duran Duran; "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" by Quiet Riot; "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
  • 1986 - Polka Party! - Polka Party! - "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel; "Sussudio" by Phil Collins; "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy; "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie; "Freeway of Love" by Aretha Franklin; "What You Need" by INXS; "Harlem Shuffle" by The Rolling Stones originally by Bob & Earl; "Venus" by Bananarama originally by Shocking Blue; "Nasty" by Janet Jackson; "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco; "Shout" by Tears for Fears; "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna
  • 1989 - UHF Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff - The Hot Rocks Polka - "It's Only Rock'n Roll (But I Like It);" "Brown Sugar;" "You Can't Always Get What You Want;" "Honky Tonk Women;" "Under My Thumb;" "Ruby Tuesday;" "Miss You;" "Sympathy for the Devil;" "Get off of My Cloud;" "Shattered;" "Let's Spend the Night Together;" "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" all of which are by The Rolling Stones
  • 1992 - Off the Deep End - Polka Your Eyes Out - "Cradle Of Love" by Billy Idol; "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega; "Love Shack" by The B-52's; "Pump Up The Jam" by Technotronic; "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.; "Unbelievable" by EMF; "Do Me!" by Bell Biv DeVoe; "Enter Sandman" by Metallica; "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground; "Cherry Pie" by Warrant; "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson; "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls; "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe; "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
  • 1993 - Alapalooza - Bohemian Polka - Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
  • 1996 - Bad Hair Day - The Alternative Polka - "Loser" by Beck; "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots; "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow; "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails; "Bang And Blame" by R.E.M.; "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette; "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" by Smashing Pumpkins; "My Friends" by Red Hot Chili Peppers; "I'll Stick Around" by Foo Fighters; "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden; "Basket Case" by Green Day
  • 1999 - Running with Scissors - Polka Power! - "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls; "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger; "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" by Pras, Ol' Dirty Bastard & Mýa; "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" by the Backstreet Boys; "Walkin' on the Sun" by Smash Mouth; "Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys; "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba; "Ray of Light" by Madonna; "Push" by Matchbox Twenty; "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind; "The Dope Show" by Marilyn Manson; "MMMBop" by Hanson; "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground; "Closing Time" by Semisonic
  • 2003 - Poodle Hat - Angry White Boy Polka - "Last Resort" by Papa Roach; "Chop Suey!" by System of a Down; "Get Free" by The Vines; "Hate to Say I Told You So" by The Hives; "Fell in Love with a Girl" by The White Stripes; "Last Nite" by The Strokes; "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed; "Renegades of Funk" by Rage Against the Machine, originally by Afrika Bambaataa; "My Way" by Limp Bizkit; "Outside" by Staind; "Bawitdaba" by Kid Rock; "Youth of the Nation" by P.O.D. "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem
  • 2006 - Straight Outta Lynnwood - Polkarama! - "Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas; "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand; "Beverly Hills" by Weezer; "The Nina Bobina Polka" by "Weird Al" Yankovic; "Speed of Sound" by Coldplay; "Float On" by Modest Mouse; "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz & De La Soul; "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls & Busta Rhymes; "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers; "Slither" by Velvet Revolver; "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent & Olivia; "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg & Pharrell; "Pon de Replay" by Rihanna; "Gold Digger" by Kanye West & Jamie Foxx.
And there you have it -- a history of popular music from 1984 to present based completely on the polka tracks from Weird Al's albums. Enjoy...

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fergie

Stacey Ferguson, AKA Fergie, has found herself a musical niche. Here's what each one of her songs are composed of --
  • Black Eyed Peas style beats, many of which prepared by members of BEP
  • Her, or someone else, spelling the title of the song OR some other word which relates to the title of the song
  • Her saying, "Check it out"
  • Repeating the title of the song
  • A cameo by will.i.am
And that's the formula for a Fergie song. Sounds like a simplistic criticism? That's what you get for simplistic music.

Snakes on a Plane II: Dinner's Served

Here's an article about an entire army of snakes which were almost...on a plane. I call it, Snakes on a Plane II: Dinner's Served. While I'm thinking about it, here's my original Snakes on a Plane movie review as found at my primary blog. Enjoy...

HT to Jen

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ten Favorite Albums of All Time

I was listening to a great deal of music on the ride back from Baltimore this past week and realized how much music I truly loved. Then I began to wonder -- what were my favorite albums of all time. These aren't necessarily the best albums, the most earth shattering -- just my favorite pieces of music that I could listen to over and over again. I narrowed it down to 10 albums. Here they are in no particular order.
  • Beck - Mutations -- Mutations is an album very unlike any other album I have ever heard. It combines elements of electronic, folk, rock, alternative, country, and even classical music into this strange compilation that only Beck could create. I'll be honest, my copy of this CD has started to have frayed edges for how often I used to listen to this music. It may lack the major hits of some of his other albums, like Odelay or Midnight Vultures, but what it lacks in radio play it more than makes up for in amazing music. It's the type of music that could sit in the background as mood music, a soundtrack to your life in almost any mood your in. Mind you, I still don't think I understand any of the lyrics on any of the tracks for this album -- but I think that happens to me no matter which Beck album I'm discussing. It's a great album and it's worth listening to if you like any genre of music, period.
  • Smash Mouth - Fush Yu Mang -- Despite the fact that the title of the album is a slurred version of the F-you as said by Al Pacino in Scarface, this album still rocks my socks off this many years later. Written at a time before Smash Mouth had become happy-go-lucky in their lives with the success of this album and the insane success of the song All Star, these songs were real about their lives at the times and have elements that are both foreign and relatable to most people. It is upbeat with almost a Beach Boys' feel at times -- and other times somber and reflective, yet always containing these fun, ska and punk tunes making it accessible to anyone. Mind you, I wouldn't allow my children listen to this album with the language and content of the lyrics -- but for those mature enough to hear it, this album can be fun, introspective, and just a pleasure to the ears.
  • Jay-Z - The Black Album -- If Extreme Behavior is one of the most perfect rock albums I've heard in a long time, The Black Album is one of the epitome of what a rap album should be. Something most don't realize about Jay-Z is that instead of discussing gang-banging and how great it is today, Jay-Z discusses his life, how great its been since he raised himself up, and his family. This isn't gangsta rap, this is real rap about life and it's amazing. Jay-Z shows himself through in each and every track, with each track produced expertly with really great beats and powerful vocals. It's not often that you hear a rap album that's this good that really makes you say, "Wow, this is great music." This is one of those albums and deserves to be in the top list of any music connoisseur.
  • Toby Keith - Greatest Hits 2 -- Now, I didn't think that I would actually be willing to post a greatest hits album in my top list -- but let's be reasonable, this is the best that Toby Keith has to offer. It's got his fun songs like "How Do You Like Me Now" and a live version of "You Ain't Much Fun," while including some of his best slow tunes like "My List" and "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like That." This album also includes some great original songs, despite what the likes of AllMusic has to say about it -- plus it includes the popular "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" which, when you listen to the lyrics, has NOTHING to do with the Iraqi war and everything to do with September 11th and how each and every one of us as Americans felt after that tragic event happened, "You hurt us, and we will make sure that you pay for your crimes."
  • Jack's Mannequin - Everything in Transit -- This is the band and album that makes me wish beyond belief that Andrew McMahon never returns to the band Something Corporate. Jack's Mannequin is basically the Andrew McMahon show -- he wrote and produced this album. The entire album discusses a summer after he returns home from a great deal of touring with Something Corporate and was now on his own. He actually spent some $40,000 of his own money to put this album together before Maverick Records picked it up. This is the story of a man -- and the passion and personal feeling shines through in each and every single track of this album. If you go into it looking for the pop punk of Something Corporate, go away -- this is a piano based rock album more along the lines of Meat Loaf than Something Corporate. Basically, I'd say this is an amazing album and worth every single cent that I spent on it.
  • The Beatles - 1 -- Ok, apparently I'm a liar, I put two greatest hits albums on here already. The Beatles' 1 spans decades of number one hits from them to bring only the best and classic hits that you can sing along to even if you didn't know it was The Beatles who sang them to begin with. I don't really know what else to say about this album beyond just that.
  • Hinder - Extreme Behavior -- Fastly becoming one of my favorite albums is this, the first major album from Hinder. Ignore what the critics say about this album, as usual the critics are idiots. The album contains everything a rock album needs to be perfect -- hard rocking tunes, a few power ballads, and great music all around. Honestly, it is one of the first major pure rock albums I've heard in a long time, and it's perfectly fit into that genre. I would say this about the album -- it's the perfect breakup album. This band must have had a great many bad relationships, because it shows in some of the lyrics. And yet, the music is able to span the beautifully melodic to the harder rock that many on the radio want to hear. All in all, this is a great album -- if not friendly for the kids.
  • Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell -- This is the perfect Meat Loaf album. Written entirely by Jim Steinman, this album contains nothing but amazing music. "You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth," "For Crying Out Loud," and "Heaven Can Wait" top this groundbreaking album that borderlines on the verge of being a rock opera. It's an amazing album that really should be everyone's musical collection. It's such a classic that I'm really not sure what else to say about this besides get this album and you will not be disappointed.
  • OutKast - Speakerboxx/The Love Below -- The second album in the hip-hop category on this list, Speakerboxx/The Love Below is amazing. The album is divided in two, we have the Big Boi half and the Andre 3000 half of the album which allowed each of them to take all manner of musical risks individually while still keeping that OutKast feel. Big Boi's half is perhaps some of the best rap music I've heard of all time; it has amazing beats, great lyrics that flow off the tongue, and varying messages from discussion of love to politics and it never goes stale. Andre 3000's half of the album is insane, ranging from funk rock to hip hop to classical pop hits in line with Michael Jackson, before he became creepy. It's a great album set that makes hip hop accessible to anyone.
  • Billy Joel - The Stranger -- If you want to hear some of the best music written by Bill Joel, look no further than The Stranger. It may not contain some of the hits like "Piano Man," but what it does have is amazing -- "The Stranger," "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant." This album can be fun, romantic, introspective, and basically everything you can ask for out of Billy Joel -- it's all here. It's another classic along the lines of Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell that I really don't know what else to say about it -- the album is great and well worth the price of admission.
On a side note, many of these albums contain lyrics which are not good for children so, before you go running out to pick up some of these great albums -- check them out for yourself or at least make certain there's no parental advisory label before playing them in front of your children. I'm sure you all have different opinions on songs, etc -- and feel free to post them here.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Sigdon Riley

Sigdon Riley is a new character I may be playing in a Dungeon's and Dragons game with BM2, JB. It's set in the world of Greyhawk, of which you can learn more about here. Here's the biography of the character that I've put together --
Sigdon Riley was born of noble parents. Money was his life and it was a good life indeed. He was trained to be a noble fighter by his wealthy father, learning all the niceties of high society. He had it all and at 21, he married the beautiful, 17 year old Mary Ann Crone. Riley loved his rich and fulfilling life, but all that changed in an instant.

On Sigdon's 25th birthday, his father passed away in the middle of the night of unknown causes. Unbeknown to Sigdon, his father carried a great deal of debt which had brought him to his current station in life -- primarily to two notorious underworld bosses, a half Drow named Jarl and a hot-tempered human by the name of Hunter Davis. Upon his father's death, Sigdon's mother disappeared with Jarl -- the two had been holding a secret romantic affair for the past ten years. Along with her went half of Sigdon's family fortune -- all to Jarl and all not enough to finish repaying his father's debt.

Sigdon fled town with his pregnant wife, hoping to find refuge with what little money he could carry a town or so away. Upon reaching the nearby village of Blackstone, Mary Ann gave birth to her first child -- a half-elf. Neither Mary Ann nor Sigdon were elven. Upset, confused, and angry, Sigdon decided he was going to leave his cheating wife and the offspring of that unholy union when suddenly, his father's debt caught up to him. Hunter Davis and his men had caught Sigdon, beat him, and enslaved him. Mary Ann was taken as Davis' own, a new member of his ever growing menagerie of concubines. Sigdon never saw Mary again.


After four years of brutal enslavement in the Underdark, Riley could take no more. He exploded on two slavers one day in an insane, berserk rage slaughtering the two men. Using his chains as a makeshift weapon, Riley fought his way to Davis, freeing any slave he found along the way. Riley and his small band of hungry slaves overpowered Davis, savagely killing him.

Riley could never go back to civilized life after that. He lived on his own in the wilderness, traveling from town to town attacking slavers as he found them. He tracked a certain slaver band to the Shackled City, which is currently where his full story will begin...

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Poetry from Class

I wrote this while sitting in Molecular Biology I today. It is an interesting take on my feelings and is barely following a particular rhyming scheme.
Tell me how to feel
Tell me how to heal
How am I to know just what to do
I'm looking for direction
A greater plan for my selection
By the world to get a job like all of you

I want a job
Don't want a career
I need something that keeps me near
To my love
Gives family time
I need a plan that will provide for me and mine.

I sit here in class
Hoping just to pass
And leave all of this behind
I think of my life
Of my family and strife
Of my future and my wife
And so I find

That I want a job
Don't want a career
I need some way to keep me near
To those that I love
Gives that family time
I need a plan for me and mine

I need a plan to let me know
What I need to do so
I can graduate in May...
What to do so I will find
A job that will ease my mind
And help melt my cares away

In the future I will be
A grown man with a family
That for I will need to provide
Yes monetarily
But also lovingly
And the only way to abide

Is to find a job
Not a career
Something which will keep me near
To those I love
Give me family time
I need a plan for me and mine
To find a job
That's all I say
Not a career which takes me away
From my family fun
My beloved ones
With a career I'd be married more than once
Wedding both my wife and job is nuts
I can't imaging loving a job with a larger part
Than the one for othse who occupy my heart.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Chapter One Preview

As I mentioned on my primary blog, I'm in the process of writing a book. It will take me quite some time, especially considering that I don't write on a daily basis, but I hope that it will be completed by the close of 2007. Here is a preview of a section of Chapter 1, which will almost be a biography-esque chapter --
...But what else has happened in the life of Matthew Newman? I was a dork my entire life. While some children yearn to be astronauts, superheroes, or firefighters; I was playing with my “Too Gross” mad scientist set saying that I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. In elementary and middle school we learned about the sciences in lumps, with little to no rhyme or reason behind anything. We'd talk about dinosaurs and fossils one week, followed by a simple chemical experiment. Throughout that time I learned all about mathematics, I absorbed it and when I began to learn algebra in seventh grade, I was enthralled. To me, math had always been like a puzzle – one which I actually had enjoyed doing, unlike those ridiculous piece puzzles that showed pictures of puppies or famous works of art. With the realization that I loved math combined with the fact that I was really good at it, I decided that I wanted to find a way to merge my love of math into my love of science that I carried on from childhood.

In high school we began to delve more deeply into the specific sciences and continue my diving into mathematics. The first of my high school scientific explorations was earth science, or as I liked to call it “Rocks 101.” We learned about rocks of all shapes and sized, we learned about how the rocks were formed, and so on. It was the most boring class I believe I've ever taken and I've taken years of math courses during my undergraduate career. My sophomore year we learned about biology. I thought this would be interesting, but the memorization was all manner of irritating. It did not feel like a science class as nothing appeared to be quantified; everything was observational with little to no structure. I hated it, despite doing well in the course. Following that came the science I had always dreamed of, chemistry. I became enthralled by chemistry; it was a science that I could understand, that was straightforward and easily accessible to one who could figure out patterns, and it was incredibly quantitative. I loved it, so much so that I took physics the following year merely to build a better foundation for my chemistry knowledge. I knew that this was the type of scientist I wanted to be when I grew up – I wanted to be a chemist.

At seventeen, I began looking into colleges. Being the valedictorian of my class, I knew I could get into most universities, but first I needed to know how I would use my love of chemistry to get a job in the real world beyond my schooling. I looked into the chemistry related fields and found chemical engineering – the application of chemistry, commonly in industrial settings. It sounded magical, perfect even. I said to myself, “I'll take it.” I applied all across New York being accepted into all five of the schools I applied. In the end, my school decision came down to money and name recognition, which led me back to the city I was born, Troy, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Thursday, January 4, 2007

What If -- No Kennedy Assassination

This idea had originally been posited on a game I used to play entitled US Government Simulator, or USG for short. I developed, in short, what I thought would happen and initially posted it on my primary blog. Here's a repost of that same thought -- a bit tweaked --
1964 - In a wave of popularity surging from his near death experience, Kennedy wins in a strong mandate for President against Barry Goldwater (similar to LBJ's victory). Kennedy dumped Johnson for Governor Pat Brown of California, who recently defeated Nixon for Governor. Kennedy continues to stand by the Vietnam war, but in contrast to Goldwater sounds much less militant.

1965 - Vietnam continues to escalate, Kennedy's popularity starts to drop. Vice President Brown meets with South Vietnamese leaders in Hawaii promising full support for their independence.

1966 - Vietnam war continues to be mismanaged as it was in real life.

1967 - Nixon begins speaking tour of America and talking about Civil Rights. MLK speaks out against Vietnam war. Secretary of Defense admits that Vietnam strategy has been ineffective before Senate.

1968 - Vietcong sweep in surprising American and allied South Vietnamese forces. Support for the war reaches all time low. Nixon meets with MLK. MLK assassinated (no correlation to Nixon meeting). Nixon v. Brown v. Wallace -- Nixon wins by larger margin than in reality -- Wallace gained support in unexpected regions.

Nixon's Term - Nixon pushes for the Civil Rights movement and deescalates Vietnam as he pledged on the campaign trail. Civil Rights movement moves forward later than normal due to Kennedy's initial opposition to the affair, despite popular belief. The Watergate scandal happens as expected only swifter then in reality. Carl Albert becomes President until 1976. Albert finishes the push for Civil Rights reform

1976 election - GOP primary between Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller. Reagan barely wins in a hotly contested primary, setting the tone for the Republican party for the next 20 years. President Albert is primaried by George Wallace for the nomination. After losing a few early primaries, Albert comes out victorious and eventually takes on Southern Governor Jimmy Carter as a running mate. Reagan barely wins in 1976 with Robert Dole as his running mate. Iran hostage crisis shortens with the hardliner Reagan handling the situation. The OPEC scenario leads to drilling in Alaska and other parts of the US and a renewed effort into alternative fuel sources. The oil found domestically lets the OPEC boycot having a lesser effect on domestic affairs.

1980 election - Ted Kennedy runs against Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primary, as it does in reality Kennedy's skelleton's surface leading to Carter winning the primary. Reagan uses sound bytes from Kennedy in campaign ads against Carter. Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter in 1980 in a campaign similar to the RL 1980 election. Soviet talks were huge in the early 1980s.

Dole wins on the wave of Reagan popularity in 1984 and continues the policies of Reagan. He pickes Howard Baker as a running mate. By 1988 talks with the Soviet Union had been going so well that Dole swept into reelection by a smaller, albeit still large margin. The Soviet Union began to slowly fall apart and taxes were forced to be raised and, without the charisma of Reagan, Dole was unable to sell it to the American people leading to the same problems Bush had in the late 1980s. Dole gets us into the Gulf War and it ends as quickly as it begins. He handles it about as well as Bush does.

In 1992 VP Baker runs into a problem as eccentric millionaire H. Ross Perot decides to run for President. Popular Southern Governor William J. Clinton sweeps through the DNC primary leading to an interesting Presidential race in 1992. Clinton still wins.

1996 leads to a fragmented Republican primary torn between Pat Buchanan and Senator Phil Gramm. Buchanan barely squeaks by with a primary victory. Clinton wins in 1996 as he did in reality with a slightly larger margin.

In 2000, Popular Maverick Senator John McCain faces off against popular Southern Governor George W. Bush in a GOP primary. The Democrats rally behind VP Al Gore. McCain sweeps in the primaries and picks up Alan Keyes as a running mate. Despite questions about the selection of Keyes, McCain sweeps into office in 2000 with his plain talk defeating Al Gore. September 11, 2001 happens as it does in real life. US sweeps into Afghanistan handling it a bit more manageably than in reality. Intelligence is brought to President McCain that Iraq may have weapons of mass destruction - he waits it out while finishing up efforts on Afghanistan.

By 2003, Iraq becomes a threat and invasion becomes eminent. End of 2003 we invade Iraq. McCain as a wartime President defeats peace-hawk Howard Dean in 2004 in a larger margin of victory than George W. Bush did in reality. McCain is currently our President.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

American Gods - A Review

I read American Gods a while ago, but haven't gotten a chance to review the book. Since I have a literary blog now -- I figured this was the place to do it.

American Gods is the fourth prose novel written by Neil Gaiman -- the fact that it's his fourth has nothing to do with its content as the book has nothing to do with his previous works. American Gods chronicles the story of a man named Shadow after he leaves jail, discovers his wife's infidelity, and gets picked up for seemingly mob related work by a man who calls himself Wednesday. This leads to all manner of strange adventures involving gods worshiped from all over the world -- and the modern gods we have created through the worship of such things as money, the internet, and television.

The book gives an interesting idea on religion, whereby gods exist merely because we believe they do. It's a concept which is delved deeply in most Dungeons and Dragons campaign worlds, and other fictional, polytheistic worlds, yet not one we discuss in reality.

The book is written beautifully providing wonderful imagery, incredibly interesting characters, and an engrossing plot which makes you want to read more. Anyone looking into a darker book with an engrossing story involving classical myths and religions, look no further; it will not disappoint.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Realization

I have just realized that nearly every single post I've made thus far has somehow pertained to religion.

Church of Lucifer

In 2002, I took a class entitled "Introduction to Monotheistic Religions." In said class, I learned from a purely historical perspective the histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and how the three were spread. I have always been fascinated with alternate history, including the works of Harry Turtledove -- as such, I decided to combine my newfound knowledge into an alternate history timeline. The product? A chronicling of the foundation of a church devoted to Lucifer beginning in the Beth El around 200 CE. Here is a small biography of the founder of this fictional church --
Beelzebub Timothy – 158 – 215 CE – At age 40, Timothy had a torrid love affair with an Arab woman, cheating on his current wife. She was appalled and left him after discovering this. He could not understand why she was upset; he was only showing his true joy and love of mankind. He decided that something wasn’t right in the way people thought. So, after this experience, Timothy went into the desert alone. While out meditating, Timothy of Bethel met with Satan - Lucifer told Timothy to follow his ways and he promised to teach Timothy the ways of the world – Timothy listened and assumed the mantle of Beelzebub Timothy – He constructed a temple in the town of Beth El to Lucifer in 200 CE – he began preaching his word and gained a small following. By 210, most of Beth El attended the Lucifer cathedral – Beelzebub Timothy trained 3 successors, one to take over in Beth El and 2 to spread the faith. In 215 CE he died of internal parasites, but his faith lived on.
Next comes a few passages I created from the "Luciferite" holy text --
“…(12) And Cain took his brother Abel (13) saying, ‘Look Lucifer what I give unto you. (14) I would sacrifice my only brother, (15) the only sacrifice I could find befitting your glory. (16) You who was denied by Yahweh, (17) the Immortal Dark One, my divine inspiration. (18) I choose you as my Elohim, Lucifer (19) For ever and always’…”
Book of Cain 2:12-19

“…(4) [A]nd Lucifer spoke unto Timothy saying, (5) 'One day, my chosen people shall rule this Earth entirely. (6) This world will be ours. (7) Follow me and I will give you more than life eternal, (8) but eternal power, a true kingdom in this world.’
(9) Timothy smiled at this and bowed before his rightful master…”
Book of Timothy 3:4-9
To follow will be the entire timeline as I had developed it about the history of the church and how it impacted the other major monotheistic religions in the area --
~200 CE – Temple to Lucifer was founded by Beelzebub Timothy in Bethel – his new religion was founded. New beliefs – Lucifer is the one true god and all should bow before him. Yahweh of the Jews and Christians had exiled Lucifer because he did not understand Lucifer’s ways. Major ideals – 3 Laws of Lucifer
  1. Obey Human Laws
  2. Worship Lucifer and Lucifer alone
  3. Disobedience of these first two is punishable by death or torture
The followers of Lucifer are awaiting the Apocalypse when their Dark Prince will reign on Earth as the King of Kings
215 CE – Beelzebub Timothy dies – Beelzebub Arafat takes over
250 CE – Luciferism has spread across the Middle East – 4 major temples – Beth El, Damascus, Sidon, and Antioch. Christian church in an outrage – calls Luciferites “…foul demons”
260 CE – Riots by Luciferites in Sidon call for freedom of religion and speech
Riots crushed by Roman guards
261 CE – Paul Il Diablerie – 1st High Priest of Lucifer – “Descendent of Cain” – name changed to Beelzebub Paul I – helps to collect “holy” scriptures in Damascus – story of the creation, similar to Genesis – includes Lucifer’s descent from Yahweh’s paradise and the creation of his own
Story of Cain’s sacrifice of his brother to Lucifer and includes lineage of Cain down to Timothy– Collection known as “Book of Books”
Many Jewish clergy and people flee to Egypt – are not initially accepted
262 – Jewish temple in Jerusalem destroyed by Romans
Diaspora – Jews spread throughout Europe, Russia, and Asia
280 – Jewish communities begin to form in Egypt – some locals begin to convert to Judaism
303 – Beelzebub Timothy and Beelzebub Paul I made saints by official Lucifer church – Saint Timothy and Saint Paul
304 – Beelzebub Anachus as High Priest – calls for Luciferite army to develop in order to protect the faith from others – official Holy center for Luciferites become Beth El
310 – Lucifer High Temple built in Beth El atop the original temple – a new temple is built in Jerusalem, some say over top the old Jewish temple.
Jewish High Priests from old temple hide in Ethiopia and Egypt – Official sources unsure which group took the Ark.
311 – Lucifer church’s religious army takes over Beth El and overthrows Roman rule – Rome fights back with outside troops, but the Lucifer troops, fighting a defensive war win the conflict and by the end of the year, Rome grants the city self-governance – does force them to give a tithe to Rome, for fear of more casualties the Lucifer church accepts this
313 – Edict of Milan – Christians are given toleration in Rome
315 – Lucifer church in Beth El begins to expand the army – all males in the city are forced to join the army – Holy duty – other followers of the Lucifer faith are asked to go to Beth El and join the army – by 318 the army measures in the thousands.
323 – Christianity becomes official Roman religion – Rome decides to purge Beth El of its “Heathens” – plans an attack for the following year.
324 – Roman troops attack Beth El – heavy casualties on both sides – Lucifer army comes out the victor – begins to expand Beth El
325 – Rome fights back against Beth El – pushes them back into the city – In May a small guerrilla unit, calling themselves the Fist of Saint Timothy, catches the Roman troops in their sleep – burning the encampment killing many – The conflict continues on that year – eventually, the Romans pull from the area when Germanic nomads began to invade parts of the Northern Roman Empire.
350 – Beth El expanded massively – large amounts of land in Middle East are taken – as far north as Damascus and as far south as Beer-sheba – Jerusalem has been taken in this processes
400 – Europe was Christian – few sects of Luciferites in modern Italy, France, and Belarus – Middle East split in thirds, between Christian, Jews, and Luciferites
Rome falls from power, Eastern Rome/Byzantine Empire established
410 – Lucifer Army invades Constantinople - Byzantines fall in a lengthy battle to Lucifer Army, known as the “Flaming Truth”
Byzantine Empire ruled by Orthodox Lucifer faith – theocracy for next 10 years
420 – Byzantine/Lucifer Empire becomes “Dominion of the Dark Prince” – Elhard Judas becomes first Emperor of the Dominion – taking over above the Church, says that he rules because Lucifer willed him to rule.
Lucifer cleansing – begin to seek out and destroy all non-Lucifer churches in the Dominion.
422 – Europe – Holy Roman Empire – former Roman armies rise again – Based in Rome
- Recreate Roman Empire – take Italy, and begin to purge the land of Lucifer churches
430 – Holy Roman Empire completed – from Portugal to the Ukraine under the Christian
Roman Banner – Begin the move southward towards Constantinople
Major Jewish settlements exist in modern Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, and other parts of Northern Africa
431 – New Jewish temple built in Cairo – Jewish faith is massive in Egypt and the Jewish population is just growing – Lucifer followers in hiding in Europe – All European Lucifer temples destroyed
432 – Beelzebub Ali – High priest in Beth El – visits Jerusalem – attacked by Jewish mobs – mob put down – Priest Ali barely escapes
440 – Egyptian/Jewish settlements all along Nile attempt to unite – New Israel – loosely bound together, basically by faith and trade Beth Shalom (Western Yemen) founded – Hebrew nation
442 – Holy Roman Empire takes England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland
Dominion invades Beth Shalom – Hebrews use guerrilla tactics – Luciferites make headway, take heavy casualties
443 – Dominion gives up their invasion after massive loss
Beth Shalom begins establishing laws of conscription
445 – “Beelzebub” Sergey Trotsky founds Lucifer church in Moscow – new Russian sect arises
470 – Russian Czar’s rise to power – Czar Nicholas I – Christian
Dominion attacks Holy Roman Empire
Egyptian Israel founded as nation from Mediterranean to the southern border of modern Egypt – very organized – builds army to protect its western border and trade
480 - Romans pushed into Turkey, but are pushed back – all battles take place here during the next 10 years, very little headway is made on either side – Constantinople/Lucifre is destroyed – Christians Bishops from area fled to Moscow
490 – Romans push down through Constantinople/Lucifre down into the south of Turkey and deeper into the Middle East
501 – Nomadic invaders from modern Pakistan/India area invade Dominion – Germanic Nomads attack Holy Roman Empire – ravages through the countryside raping and pillaging. Order is destroyed – 2 empires fall – feudal, local rule begins to develop out of fear of the outside world – Indian Nomads eventually settle in modern Turkey, Germanic Nomads settle into modern France – bring new customs to old traditions – variations of Christianity and Luciferism arise
  • Aryan Sadism – from the Indian Nomads mixed with the Luciferist faith – adds the ideas of reincarnation to the table – the only way to end the horrible cycle of reincarnation is through faith in Lucifer – there are other gods out there including Vishnu and Yahweh, but Lucifer is the only one with power over reincarnation
  • Germanic Christianity – Added a few pagan holidays into the mix of the usual customs of Christianity at the time, did not last too long, in some parts of France these holidays are still celebrated to this day
502 – Europe falls into feudalist state – as does most of the Middle East/Turkey
Beth Shalom begins a Golden Age – develops new technology
Czar begins to expand Russian territory
504 – Beth Shalom/Egyptian Israel trade creates strong ties – Sinai Peninsula – many small, feudal, Jewish communities arise
520 – Feudal lords in modern Iraq and Iran attempt to form a unified state – form Persia for a time – very loosely bound federation
550 – Beth Shalom builds massive sailing vessels – sends one into the Ocean, first voyage
552 – Vessel returns from India – some new spices and items – a new language is brought as well - Urdu – new trade routes beginning between India and Beth Shalom
560 – King of Scotland, Wilem, converts to Christianity after meeting with missionary – spreads it through his lands
580 – Loosely bound Persia falls
600 – Beth Shalom – spreads to all of modern day Yemen and Oman
611 – Mohammed begins to receive his visions which would later become the Koran
630 – Mohammed’s followers enter Mecca – Islam officially begins to spread as religious movement
630-661 – Islamic religion spreads as Islamic Empire spreads, based in Mecca – takes most of middle east by force – does not spread into Africa due to blockage by Egyptian Israel – in this time period, Egyptian Israel flourishes
632 – Mohammed dies
641 – Islamic Empire invades Egyptian Israel – gets pushed out easily by organized armed forces in Egypt – Egypt remains a free Jewish state
645 - Beth Shalom attacked by Islamic Empire – slowly crushes the small state – war of attrition ends by the end of the year – Beth Shalom falls and religious toleration for these Jews is granted
651 – Koran published officially
Koran’s take on Lucifer and the Luciferite community --
  • “… [T]he Dark One is not to be followed. His evil is equaled by none and his lust for souls is great. Those who praise this false lord are damned, both in this life and the next…”
680 – Still a large Luciferite population living under Islamic rule, especially in areas such as modern Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria
700 – Luciferites rebel in Jerusalem, Damascus, and Beth El – Lucifer locals overthrow Islamic forces – regain local control – new “Flaming Truth” Army begun in Beth El by Beelzebub Paul II
Islamic Empire moves troops from these areas, build up on borders
710 – Islamic Empire stretches as far east as Pakistan/India area
Islam begins to spread into modern Turkey, Empire does not spread that way
750 – Aryan Sadists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans in modern Turkey begin to look outside their feudal boundaries and trade begins between city-states
Modern Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and certain parts of Saudi Arabia under Lucifer occupation – based in Beth El – law mandated by clergy
750-800 - The Abbasid Dynasty rules the Islamic Empire
752-800 – Abdul Dynasty rules the Lucifer Empire – Rule with an iron fist
754 – Egyptian Israel becomes republic
755 – Reign of Demons in Lucifer – other religions stamped out – churches destroyed
762 – Abbasid’s move their capital to Baghdad
770 – Islam on the rise in area of former Beth Shalom – Judaism still holds its ground and remains the major religion in the area
774 – Egyptian Israel begins trading with China
775 – Jews in “Beth Shalom” granted local rule by the their own clans by the Islamic Empire
780 – Hebrew reformation – synagogues in southern Egypt begin restructuring ideals – some areas sanction modifications to Kosher including the allowing for eating of certain pork products – begin translating Torah into local languages including Arabic, Aramaic
800-900 – Islamic Empire attacks the Abdul Dynasty – battle ensues for the next 100 years between the two of them – during war flourishing of culture and religion like never before in this area – many pieces of literature come out of this time – much is lost in later centuries – “Beth Shalom” area comes to the aid of the Islamic Empire, defending their rulers.
850-855 – Egyptian Israel falls into civil war between northern more orthodox Jews and the southern reform counterparts – war ends with southern portion winning – take over republic’s government and allow freedom of interpretation of Jewish law – Judaism divided between Orthodox and Egyptian Reform (usually just called Egyptian)
860 – Egyptian Israel sends ships across Mediterranean into France/Spain area – found small colonies
870 – French locals living near colonies attack the Egyptian settlements – fighting ensues – Egyptian Jews fended back by locals
880-911 – Viking attacks at their peak in Europe
900 – War ends between the two Middle Eastern empires - both are in ruins – feudalism arises in the Middle East Universities begin to sprout in Egyptian Israel
900-1200 – Agricultural advances – rebirth of towns and trade in Europe
920 – More people from Egypt enter Europe – Judaism begins to spread
950 – Universities begin to sprout in Europe – a few in the Middle East
953 – City States sprout in modern Yemen – primarily run by Jewish tribes, allow minor religious tolerance.
967 – Fatimites invade Egypt, take control of lower region
969 – Fatimites/Egyptian War ends – half the former Egyptian Israel under Fatimite control – Fatimite Judaism begins to form, combination of their local traditions and Judaism.
970 – Second Islamic Empire forms, based in Baghdad moves westward.
980 – New Lucifrite Dynasty forms, keeps to itself around modern day Israel, capital in Beth El
982 - 985 – Second Egyptian Civil War breaks out – Fatimite Egypt and Israeli Egypt war until 985 when both sects are crushed – fall of Egypt into feudalism/tribalism
984-986 – Lucifer/Islamic War, ends with fall of small Lucifer nation, fall of Beth El
1000 – Lief Erikson discovers America
Islamic Empire moves into Indian Subcontinent
1005 – Loosely bound Turkish clans invade Baghdad destroying Islamic Empire capital
1006 – Aryan Sadists and Hindus in India fight back – push back Islamic forces