Bjorn again and again

Kind of sort of a strange week. On Wednesday I had some good news – I passed 80,000 words in my novel, the benchmark of minimum wordcount to even be a novel. Hooray! Besides regular work, I went to a conference held by a big investment bank in town. Most of the sessions were not for me, but one was and I met some cool people. Thursday the bank held a private party and allowed media. The guy who invited me asked me to promise not to write something negative about it, or describe exploits of investment bankers gone wild (can you imagine?) , or a flop of a party if it didn’t work out. Well, sure enough it was a great party, and I saw more good looking young bankers than I ever knew existed! For musical entertainment they flew in Bjorn Again, the Australian troupe of Abba imitators. Good fun, with “Benny” and “Bjorn” playing actual instruments, and “Frida” and “Agneta” doing a good job singing, although looking a little fleshy in the thighs. They played “S.O.S.” and had at the end the refrain from “Message in a bottle” (sending out an S.O.S., sending out an S.O.S., etc.) that I thought was quite clever. Also played “Living on a Prayer,” just in case people were getting a bit too comfortable with their Abba songs, although I wish they’d picked something a bit more clever. Oh well. After Bjorn Again it was… Bananarama! Not as interesting as Bjorn Again, if simply for the fact that it was only the two ladies with two male dancers, no band so I guess they were singing (or lip-syncing!) to cassette tapes like they did when they just started. And by that time I’d had a few martinis. But somehow I was a bit surprised that I knew so many Bananarama songs – the set was almost as familiar as the one from Abba/Bjorn Again! How odd… “Cruel Summer,” “I Heard A Rumour,” “Love in the First Degree”, “Na na na na hey hey hey hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting,” and of course “Venus.” Good fun.

Bananarama – and then there were two…

Friday was a regular tough day, with me going early to the conference to hear an interview with a former U.S. central banker, but the silmulcast that we were supposed to get in the media room was not connected because at the last minute we found out that media could not listen to the show! So it was a waste of time. Then there was me running around taking care of errands, picking up my new glasses, and going to my Japanese class. Saturday was a fun/difficult day. I took Zen downtown to buy a backpack, since desperately wanted a Spider-man bag. I bought him a small one, even though he badly wanted a more expensive one that seemed much too big for him. But he seemed so unhappy and cried so much that I went back and got him the big one anyway. No sense to have him dislike his new bag because papa thought another one was much better than the one he wanted with no one happy in the end. Then we went off to Swee Lee Music to buy a guitar effects pedal for my guitar. I got a DigiTech Distortion Factory Pedal, which seems really cool. I can make all sorts of warped, distorted sounds now, and maybe play songs that sound a wee bit Black Sabbath-y.


After that, we went home, ate curry, and slept. In the evening, went out for some food, had a nice time. Wow. Sunday was a chillout day, I took Zen swimming in the morning, then for a haircut and some grocery shopping, walking in the rain, ate lunch, Zen slept, then did some cleaning in the house, Zen woke up, I took him to swimming lesson, we went to watch the Malaysia train, I bought a bottle of wine, Naoko and I chilled out and drank wine, we called Nicole because it was Mother’s Day and her birthday too, called mom because it was Mother’s Day, aaaahhh… Interesting thing – Naoko had a massage at home in the afternoon, a Thai lady came over and gave her a massage for two hours. Nice lady, but certainly the tallest Thai woman I’ve ever seen.

I saw two unusual things this past week. One was a guy walking and watching TV at the same time. The other was a tattoed/pierced guy. I’ve seen tattooed/pierced guys before, but what was unusual about this guy was that, in addition to plenty of regular tattoos he also had his whole left arm tattooed black.

Here’s a picture of Zen and my new haircut – check out my new glasses as well!

Peter and Zen haircuts

CD Reviews

Sleep: Holy Mountain – If you ever wished that Black Sabbath had released more albums, you need to hear Sleep, which comes pretty close to replicating the sound of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward as you can imagine, only without the distinctive wail of Ozzy Osbourne. Comes complete with corny doom-laden lyrics, although without the occult imagery. Great grungy heavy slow plodding stuff. Starts off well, but wacked out songs like “Inside the Sun” are a bit corny. “Dragonaut” (Supernaut?) is bluesy and reminds of Clutch. “The Druid” is bluesy and reminds of Clutch. “Evil Gypsy/Solomon’s Theme” is kind of like Sabbath meets Metallica. Breathless and hoarse yelling over primitive heavy riffs. “Some Grass” is a 48-second interlude that sounds like those pretty little medieval things that Tony Iommi put on some albums, although maybe it’s more like Zeppelin than Sabbath. “Holy Mountain” is the real thing – plodding, bottom-heavy, droning, grooving, fun! Lyrically, the band likes to use the word “stoned” a lot. “Look onto the rays of the new stoner sun rising” and “Stoner caravan from deep space arrives.” The band gets pretty wild, saying stuff like “Within the center of the Galaxy, Awway from Earth and all its misery/ Pressin on into the burning sky/ Burning spaceship its time to die,” predicting the whole Heaven’s Gate cult thing somehow… Unfortunately the song itself, “Inside the Sun,” is really irritating with its sound tunnel voice effects…

Pelican: “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw” – Pelican is an instrumental group, and so much like Isis that you’d think they were the same group. Seems like they’re not, although I’m not quite convinced.


Isis: “In The Absence of Truth” - I’ve become a huge fan of Isis’ earlier album “Oceanic.” This one seems to be a bit less powerful than that release, although I will have to give it a few more listens to be sure. Still, even if it isn’t as good as Oceanic, it’s good to have just a bit more Isis just to really be sure. (time passes) Yep, sure enough, the first listen was “hey, I don’t think I like this as much as ‘Oceanic’”, but after repeated listens in the iPod Shuffle (I put in Pelican, this Isis, and Sleep, fills up only part of the memory) I can say I really love this one too. Difference is more atmospherics – keyboard-like sounds – and gurgly vocal effects. Vocally, most of the sound is Brutal Truth-like scary vocals, although there are also some strange mellow vocals that make the guy sound like Layne Staley from Alice In Chains – not exactly a terrible thing, but it does make you wonder if Layne’s back from the grave or not for a brief moment. Like “Over Root And Thorn,” which is over eight minutes long. Laynevocals kick in at the five minute mark and quickly become scary. Great, powerful shit.

April March
April March: “Triggers” - Is Eleanor Blake enjoying a renaissance now that “Chick Habit” is on the soundtrack of that new Tarantino/Rodriguez film “Grindhouse”? Not sure – or at least that’s not what induced me to buy “Triggers.” Basically I’ve been spending all too much time on cialis 120 mg reading reviews of all these bands I like (Iron Maiden! Abba! Electric Church!) for my own good, making a shopping list of CDs I want to get. After some research, there are over 30 CDs on the list! Grief! Orange Goblin! Sunn (0)))! The first Butthole Surfers album! Thrones! Down! Jandek! Mastodon! Monster Magnet! Corrupted! Boris! The Obsessed! Saint Vitus! Swans! Neurosis! Urghhh… April March doesn’t really fall in that list, though, but it’s fun in a geeky, silly way.

DVD review

“The Prisoner” – I had a lot of fun watching this strange series, although nothing could really prepare me for the final, disturbing episode of this series. But watching this has proved to me that the people who produced the series were the real forces behind El Topo, Blade Runner, and much of David Lynch’s world. Also the strange “I… I… I…” Ozzy says at the beginning of “Crazy Train” seems to be yet another Prisoner reference from the world of heavy metal (Iron Maiden sings a few songs about the Prisoner TV series). Another episode, “The Girl Whow Was Death” shows Number Six in swinging London tracking down a female assassin who likes replacing cricket balls with hand grenades. Interesting use of candles – they emit cyanide smoke and will explode if extinquished!?!? He drinks his beer and sees at the bottom of the glass the words “you… have… been… poisoned.” Drinks a shot of everything they have at the bar, “sir, you’ll make yourself sick.” Exactly. Nice rocket – we’ll see that one again in the final episode. Very strange.

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