ps: winter still sucks

Fun Facts:

– Danny’s rave was fantastic. I opened with Apotheosis, and closed with Hellsau. I’m an asshole like that.
– Mass Effect just might be the best non-Japanese console RPG I’ve ever played. This is what Star Control 3 should’ve been like.
– There’s an instrumental mix of NIN’s Year Zero floating around. It turns a good album into an incredible one. You should find it and listen to it.
– I should be sleeping.

LE SIGH

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of the year? Every year, you say?

Well, I still do.

I don’t know what’s happening with this Cyanotic/Chemlab tour. Which is bad, considering that I should be booking my time off now, if it’s happening. The problem with being involved in Cyanotic is that you can never really count on anything; the ground is always shifting whenever you look the other way.

…which is fine, given that I’ve been neglecting Ad·ver·sary as of late, due to post-cyanotic-fatigue and pre-label-frustration. I’ve got a handful of releases in various states of completion that I need to deal with:

International Dark Skies: My 2005 demo that labels keep saying they want to release and then not releasing. Current label: Fich-Art, run by the Ars Moriendi crew (Asche, etc). This thing is years old, and I’m tired of it just sitting here.

Bone Music: Full-length album containing some tracks from IDS, some newer reworkings of IDS tracks, plus remixes of IDS from other artists. International Dark Skies 2.0, really. Mostly done — just need to collect remixes and finish one or two tracks.

Channel Zero: This is what I’m working on now. All new material, concept album. Maybe 1/3 done. I’m probably biting off more than I can chew with how I’ve planned it, but we’ll see how it turns out.

The Raven Prince: This won’t be an AVS release — it’ll either come out as a self-titled (if there’s not already a band called The Raven Prince), or I’ll release it under Jairus Khan. 3-track EP soundtrack to a children’s origin-myth-slash-fairy-tale I’m writing.

It would be nice if any of these ended up the way I see them in my head.

Ryan’s a good friend, and I hope his new night is a smash success (and selfishly it would be awesome to have a place where Leslie or I could play an all-goth industrial-free guest DJ set), but I really wish that someone would do a weekly that wasn’t marketed as a statement about Industrial Strength Tuesdays (or “the scene” or whatever). It’s always “re-vamp” and “making the scene a threat” and “the REAL underground” and etcetera. It would be nice if someone did an event that was just marketed as “You like good music? Come to our night! We play good music!”

(Here’s the part where I sound like an arrogant jackass) Aside from Victor (RIP Le Bistro), I’m the only person in town who’s run a successful goth-oriented night in the last ten years (if I’m missing someone, let me know), and I did it twice. The reason they were successful is because they weren’t a reaction to Leslie’s night; if we picked them up and dropped them in a club in Montreal or Boston, we wouldn’t change anything about them. All of the nights/events that have started as an ‘alternative’ to Tuesdays have crashed and burned, because a) the music they play will always be defined by the music played on Tuesdays, and b) there just aren’t enough people who wear black to support two competing events — and let’s be frank — Industrial Strength Tuesday has over ten years of inertia, and any of the events that have openly and directly positioned themselves as competition are punching far above their weight.

The only events that have done well here in the last fifteen years (and this includes Zaphods, Le Bistro, Thunderdome, Dark Crystal, Absinthe, or any other) are the ones that worked to compliment the nightlife, rather than compete with it.

You can run an event that’s founded on aesthetics, or the community, or what-that-guy-across-the-street-is-doing, but they’re not sustainable. The only events that have any staying power are the ones founded on the music.

I’m done now.

THINGS I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING LATELY, FIRST IN A SERIES

Now that Hell Month is over (and I have been VINDICATED) at work, I can get back to my regularly scheduled LJ slack-breaks.

THINGS I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING LATELY, FIRST IN A SERIES:

Specimen – Electric Ballroom
Specimen is one of the most important bands in goth and deathrock music. They were the band that founded the Batcave in the early 80s, asking the regulars (Robert Smith, Nik Fiend, Marc Almond, Nick Cave, etc.), “Are you man enough to wear makeup?”

They released a handful of singles and an EP, and then broke up sometime in the mid 80s, with the members joining Siouxsie & the Banshees, The KLF, Sinéad O’Connor, and eventually opening the NagNagNag club — but never again working together as Specimen.

DUN DUN DUNNN…

UNTIL NOW

Now, when a band that defined a genre comes back to write a full length album (in this case, their first full length album) after 20 years of inactivity, you might not have high hopes. Instead, you may have low hopes. You may, in fact, criticize their poor decision making skills and/or cocaine habits that drove them to this. You may also vow to never listen to the product, so that your precious memory of the band is not forever sullied. This is because the album will cost you $25 and 42 minutes of your life that you can never get back. It is always a bad idea, and it is always a terrible album.

THAT IS…

UNTIL NOW

This album reminds me a lot of Tones on Tail, and the good parts off Mechanical Animals and Peepshow. There isn’t a bad track on it, and the two bonus songs are solid dancefloor EBM and Psytrance tracks. Who knew they had it in them?

You should buy it. It is awesome.

Restraint

I can’t sleep. My body, stubbornly refusing to accept that it must be at work by 7AM, is staging a rebellion.

That’s fine. It’ll pay for it tomorrow.

I’ve been looking over my old design directory, at all of the sites I’ve built and abandoned over the years, and they all feel like they were built by strangers much more dedicated and talented than I am.

Years ago, I asked my closest friends for advice: Given a choice between music, design, and writing, which should I focus on? In what medium did I do the best work? Universally, my friends replied: Writing first, design second, and music last.

I chose music, as it turns out, and I’ve been very happy with the results. In retrospect, I’m sure part of my motivation for choosing it was that everyone ranked it last. Looking back over these old sites, however, I’m not sure I made the right choice.

Did I really design all these things? One after the other after the other? How the hell did I do that?

And what the hell am I doing now?

Techno event showcases original music

By ALLAN WIGNEY — Sun Media

“This,” Techno Ontario’s organizers T.C.P. and Nonstop Promotions helpfully declare in capital letters in their description of tomorrow’s ambitious electronic-music presentation, is “NOT A RAVE.”

Given the event’s Club SAW setting and scheduled 7 p.m. ’til midnight running time, that might go without saying. Yet, there is a more significant element to Techno Ontario that promises to set the night apart from a typical evening of dancing to DJs.

“The idea,” says one of the evening’s performers, Nikolaus Sands, “is that rather than going to a club to hear someone spinning other people’s music, you can go to something that showcases people creating their own music.”

Sands, aka Comrad, will be one of seven local electronic artists presenting original music under a particularly broad ‘electronic’ banner. From trance to metal, there will be an impressive array of sounds on offer.

In addition to Sands, the evening will feature DJ Lushys — both solo and with his band I Awake — as well as Indian-born percussionist Zarnoosh, producer Twiin, dark-trance specialist Blake Sutherland (making his public-performance debut) and producer Chris Girard. Each will bring a different style to the table, and will introduce original music often built upon organic instrumental roots.

“It’s all built from scratch,” Sands says of his productions. “It might start with a guitar line or a bass line, or something on sitar. I develop it from there, using a sampler, drum machines and an analogue synth. And at the show there will be visuals, though I’m no visual artist.”

Fortunately, visuals will be provided tomorrow by Patrick “Brainwerx” Brown, and by old-school video games to be projected onto the big screen. Cool.

And cozy, given the intimate confines of Club SAW. Only 100 tickets are being sold for the event, in fact, with proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund.

“It’s not very often that we get to do this kind of stuff,” Sands enthuses of the original-music showcase. “The only chance someone would normally get to do it is if they put on their own event.

“This is a chance for us to not only get some exposure, but also to hear what each of us is doing. It’s not like people doing live electronic music get invited to play clubs very often.”

Sands did have a semi-regular gig performing his music live at the University of Ottawa’s Cafe Nostalgica. And, in the interest of maximizing his musical pursuits while he prepares for his final year in Carleton University’s environmental studies program, Sands has hedged his performing bets by playing bass with a local “pop-punk band … that hasn’t played any gigs yet.”

Not that one should jump to categorized conclusions, as the breadth of styles slated for Techno Ontario strives to remind us.

“I’m just into music in general,” Sands notes. “It doesn’t matter if it’s punk, hardcore or electronic. I just want to make music.”

one more time for the masses

Thanks to everyone who came out last night — musically, that was one of the best shows I’ve ever attended, let alone had the opportunity to play at, or promote. Everyone who played put on an incredible performance.

Acumen played the best cover of Bela Lugosi’s Dead that I’ve ever heard — DJ? Acucrack did live remixes of Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb and The Prodigy — and Ahnüsse made a surprise appearance to perform Aut Haus, which has been a hit at the club for a few months. Matt brought some Grandmaster Flash to the show, and DJ Hip-Hop rocked the fuck out with some of the dirtiest darkest drum-n-bass I’ve heard in a very, very long time. So to the people there, thank you all very much. Acumen have been trying to come to Ottawa for years, and you did not disappoint them.

With that said, the crowd was much, much smaller in number than we were hoping (or fearing) it would be, and financially the show was a complete disaster of size to rival the FLA cancellation.

After this, we’re almost certainly going to be taking a step back in how we’re doing shows. I don’t want to do them as often as we’re doing them, and I don’t want to do bands as big as we’ve been doing. (I don’t see us continuing to pursue the Skinny Puppy date for their next tour.) I think instead, we’re going to take some time to focus on Tuesdays, get some of the music we’re playing into local record stores, try and build the crowd earlier in the evening (which is something we’re having trouble planning given how many house acts Zaphods has been booking lately).

It was an incredible show, but I’m physically, mentally and financially drained from last night (as is Leslie), and I do not have the emotional or fiscal stamina to invest so heavily when we’ve been asked for years to bring bands to town, and they end up playing to a crowd of 30 people.

This town needs an enema.

For those of you who will be seeing Cyanotic and Ion tour, here’s a sneak preview of one of the 3 (three!) new compilations we’ve put together for this little outing:

Rabbit Junk – Industrial is Dead (Demo)

like some girl in a snuff video
with a chord around her neck
and her veins full of blow
she’s dancing like she doesn’t know
that she’s hanging in the morgue with industrial
so gothed out like “black number 1”
She’d rather slit her wrists than have some fun
Shaking her corpse to the same old shit
Playing it safe is boring, isn’t it!?

Oi! Mr. DJ, what records are ya playin’ today
Oi! Mr. DJ, are you gonna play the same damn thing that you did yesterday

This ghetto
abysmal
like gangstas
in limbo
creation
invasion
a fortress
a mission
arrested
infested
this corpse has been re-animated
pale embrace in a sick romance
it’s dead and gone but still they all dance

Every day is Halloween
but it’s Halloween stuck in ’93
And it makes me think of the good old days
of skinny puppy and ministry
combat boots and pvc
Dressing up like a scary drag queen
It’s dead and gone, so let’s move on
Industrial R.I.P.

If yer lookin for a zombie fuck
then get your kicks at the “club noc noc” (Seattle, WA.)
dancing all ro-bot-ic
120 bpm goin tic toc tic toc

un-dead posers drinking at the bar
and broken pretty things that can’t get very far
and the 3 legged dogs that are on the the prance
I say step aside bitches I’m here to dance

Let’s fucking dance

Sit yourself down, take a seat/All you gotta do is repeat after me.

To start off the new year, I will be giving you good people a SECRET LOOK into the life of Jairus. Completely uncensored, here is a look at the deepest secrets of my browser’s history — I will type a letter into my address bar, and give you the first URL that shows up.

A – Ask MetaFilter. It’s where all the snarky people go to ask snarky questions of each other. Of note is this answer to “how do you get rid of the body?”

B – xbox-sky Tracker. Soon-to-be-closed BitTorrent tracker for xbox games, apps, and assorted files.

C – CamWorld. Boring weblog. I’m not sure why I visit it.

D – Die Puny Humans. The old home of Warren Ellis, comic book author. Some of my work has been featured there once or twice.

E – Industrial Music @ Wikipedia. I’ve pretty much re-written this article from the ground up. It’s incredible, the things people will write. For example, someone added this (now removed) bit to the entry today — I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried:

It is generally accepted that the term “industrial music” was coined in 1995 when a member of Korn described their music to the London Tabloids as “Industrial”. It was a way to describe the psychotic heaviness of the sound and the alternative intstrumentation. Korn would sometimes use more than one guitar and occasionally add sound effects to make the guitars and / or vocals sound “crunchy”. Like machines.

Marilyn Manson. The creators of the genre before its name? Use of Synthesizers and Guitars created the foundry for this style of angry emotion laden music. Bands like Kraftwerk and Coil attempted this type of thing but in the end failed and were forgotten. Skinny Puppy, originally hailing from the great white north, were often lumped into the “Industiral” category, though they weren’t experimental enough to be truly considered. They too were forgotten.

F – The Awful Forums. The best ten dollars I’ve ever spent.

G – Gmail. The power of the Google is so strong that while creating the Gmail link, I actually typed in “a gref” instead of “a href”. It’s spooky.

H – Henry’s Cameras. I think I was hoping for an elite Boxing Day sale. BUT FOR NAUGHT!

I – Instant Bankroll. Free $100 when signing up for a new PartyPoker account. Huzzah.

J – Jean Snow. A fantastic weblog by a photographer living in Ikebukuro.

K – Kottke. The content of the site itself isn’t terribly interesting, but there’s a lot of good meat in the linksbar on the right.

L – You.

M – MetaFilter. Home of pancakes.

N – Google News – When you need to know the news, and you need to hear it from 918 different sources.

O – OEM Express. Where my new computer lives. They just don’t know it yet.

P – Derek Powazek. Master of The Fray. Mostly, I’m just trying to figure out how his fancy photo backend works.

Q – Q Daily News. A pediatrics doctor in NYC. Also, MetaFilter lives in his closet.

R – I would like a box of these.

S – SpaceWeather. It’s weather… FROM SPACE!

T – Tiny Nibbles. Weblog of a “hardworking sex writer, editor, adult book and video reviewer and machine artist”. She mostly writes about sex now, but she used to write a lot about her work with Survival Research Labs, which is/was much more interesting.

U – UseableType – Typography for the World Wide Web.

V – Video Game Music Archive – Eighteen thousand video game MIDI files. What was that? I couldn’t hear BEEP BEEP BEOOO SQUARRR WOKKAWOKKAWOKKAWOKKA

W – Wikipedia. A free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and the single best use of the internet I’ve seen.

X – XVI. Ottawa club/rave community website.

Y – Yay Hooray business card show-off thread. The Buzz Creative one is fucking brilliant. There are Prev/Next links at the bottom, if you want to see more.

Z – Zeldman. Master of CSS, Champion of A List Apart, and King of Happy Cog.

I wish LJ had room for more than 3 icons.

Distractions

Things that are happening:

Next week is the Displacer/Re_Agent/s:cage show slash Industrial Nation release party. Tomorrow, I need to get more flyers and posters printed, and spend a few hours postering around the usual hangouts.

October 18th is going to be KMFDM + DJ? Acucrack (+ local opening act maybe, if rider/time allows). This is going to be a fairly big show, and I want to get the promo started right away. I might do up some stark teaser posters to put up on my run tomorrow, just to let people know that they’re coming to town.

Oct 26 looks like a tentative date for our Halloween show, which is almost certainly going to double as an independent music fundraiser. Ideally, we can get some exposure to underexposed acts/organizations, and provide a little financial help:

Warren’s music keeps getting better and better, and I’d like to raise enough to pay for professional mastering for his CD (from the producer of his choice).

Downhill Battle can always use a few more dollars to keep things running, and they’re going to be sending t-shirts and stickers and such for giveaways and sales.

Rumour has it that Nick has sold all his gear, and is without a PC. If this is the case, I’d like to put together a barebones system for him so that he has a way to keep making music.

And so on, and so forth.

We’re still working to confirm Skinny Puppy for November. There have been some changes to the Barrymore’s liquor license, and we’re looking into alternative venues in case these changes affect Puppy’s willingness/ability to play there. I don’t want to use the Capital Music Hall, because they tried to fuck us out of the show when I went to them four or five months ago. Also, I hear their sound sucks like ass. Ottawa needs more venues.

I taught my first 5-day computer security course a week or two back, and it went pretty well, from what I can tell. The students seemed to enjoy the course and the material, and the school seemed to enjoy the reviews of my work. (Additionally, I think I’m unofficially the new IT guy for the school. I’ll find out this week.)

I made a decision to take a theory-based approach to the course (rather than a technical-based approach), because theory spans generations of technology. I could easily do a security course that’s just five days of hard tech geekery, but it’d mostly be useless in a year or three. With any luck, the material I presented will still be useful five or ten years from now.

I’ve been trying to dedicate as much time as possible to writing music over the past few months, and I’ve managed to get a fair bit accomplished — but every time I think I’m happy with the material I’m working on, I’ll leave it alone for a week or two and listen to it again, only to be disgusted by what I had thought was a good track. I’ve been trying to avoid showing this material to anyone but Leslie, who seems to think that the music is much better than I think it is. She cautions me against developing Zykotik K9 Syndrome (wherein I write a lot of very good music, but release nothing because I think it all sucks). She makes sense, but I don’t want to be the next Hypnoskull. (Ready to scream, ready to die!)

I was, for a time, considering playing some of it live if we end up doing an indie music fundraiser show — but after sneaking a track or two into the rotation last night, I’m thinking better of it. It sounds so very different in a nightclub than it sounds on headphones. I actually felt embarrassed when I heard it on the big sound system. So much so that without thinking I started looking for another CD to mix into before anyone got upset at me for playing such terrible music. I ended up letting the track play, but… There’s no way I want to have that feeling when I’m on stage with a hundred people staring at me.

I’m going to be trying to acquire some gear in the near future. I want to move from a composing-based setup to a recording-based setup, and I know how to accomplish it. ACID (and Tracktion, and the like) were a good starting point to learn about composition from a non-tracker point of view, but I can’t do what I want to do with it. It also makes the idea of a live show pretty laughable — I don’t want to be another artist doing Industrial Karaoke, where I hit play and pretend that the knobs I’m twisting are somehow managing the song structure and soundstage. I need to work in a structure where I can improv, where I can record different takes of a song, where I can perform instead of play.

We shall see how well this works.

This entry is just an excuse to avoid writing about what I’m actually thinking and feeling.

NO DIET SODA, PLEASE!

ode to skinny puppy
a poem by jairus khan

oh skinny puppy
how great you are with your fake organs and meat grinders
how happy you seem covered in blood
will you come to my town?
would you come to my town?

i spoke with a man who says he knows you
he said ‘i can help you see them!’
and so i talk to him. he is a Tour Manager.

but sometimes i wonder what it is he’s saying
i will give him venue details and make him an offer
and then he will ask me to make him an offer.

maybe he’s drunk

i look at your rider, and i glimpse a part of you
a part that mandates 48 mono channels and 12 channels of 1/3 octave eq inserted on each mix output
and 12 more of compression
we can give you these things, sweet friends
and your (1) 6 pack dr. pepper in cans
i, like you, like to eat (1) bag tortilla chips with (1) jar salsa
but why do you need (2) packs of zig-zag red rolling papers?

oh puppy, my puppy
do you not like canada?
do you not remember how tasty leslie’s bbq chicken is?
maybe you are not out of her jam yet
and so you do not need us (yet)

but the jam will be here
even if you are not.

here there be hungry hungry hippos

Spent the day today retching and sleeping, sleeping and retching. Only recently have I dared to put food anywhere near my mouth, knowing the DOOM that might await me.

Now, I play the waiting game.

I’ve received a couple of emails over the past day or two complimenting me on my (never-updated) web writing, which only serves as a reminder that I need to finish the design and coding of my new websites. I’m splitting my website into two websites, now. One of them will be a more traditional weblog, with external links, commentary, reviews, winamp playlist, comments enabled, etc. The other will be much more low-profile. Three sections devoted to writing — personal narrative, dreams, fiction, and nothing else. No links, no comments, no fancyness. After they’re online, I’ll probably stop using LJ entirely, unless I feel like coding up a hack that syndicates my entries to my LJ, without using the crappy native RSS syndication.

I already have the domains in place for these sites, and I’ve got the backend up and running for one of them. I’m going for a table-free pure XHTML/CSS layout for these sites, which is taking a bit of time to get right. After the CSS is in place, I want the markup to be flexible enough that I can do a site-wide redesign via a replacement CSS file, with no modification to the XHTML whatsoever. Secretly, I’m not finding it nearly as challenging as I thought I would, which is part of the reason I’ve been so lazy about it. I think I’ve learned all I’m going to learn about the technology. Might be time to pick up a new skill.

With that said, the sites will degrade gracefully in any browser, all the way down to Lynx. They will be perfectly viewable in screen-readers for the blind, web-enabled cellphones, crawlers, or any other reader from HTML 1.2 onwards. Now if only I could find someone to pay me for doing this.

Every time I start to feel good about the music that I’m writing, I see a show that kicks my ass. Mono No Aware’s live set was some of the most intelligent rhythmic noise I’ve heard in a long, long time — Iszo’s music just keeps getting better and better, and Prospero really impressed me with his techno-oriented stuff. There’s a lot of really talented people working in industrial music today, and I want to make sure that any contribution of mine is on the same level, regardless of how well received it is. I don’t want to be the next Noisex.

I’ve been focusing a lot on structure, but I need to work more on the sounds themselves, I think. A lot of the ‘noise’ that I’m working on is ending up too muddy, or harsh, or whatever. It lacks a certain clarity and definition that I feel is essential to the kind of music I want to make. Also, I can’t write a melody to save my life. It helps, though, that I’ve had a good dozen strangers contact me out of the blue to let me know they liked my Iszoloscope remix (including being asked to play in the UK based on that one remix alone), especially considering that my contact info isn’t listed on the Iszo website.

I might be working on with Lament Configuration on a track or two sometime soon, which strikes me as an opportunity to make some really wicked music. I think his music really excels in the areas where my music suffers, and I have some solid ideas about what it is that I have to contribute. If we manage to find a happy medium somewhere between the two of us, it could sound pretty good. If my remix work with Iszo/Urusai/Converter has taught me anything, it’s that I work a lot better when I’m not left to my own devices. Working with someone else’s melodies/beats/etc., I really put a lot of effort into writing music that highlights and compliments the work of the other people involved. My own music is not nearly so sacred to me, and I think that my work suffers for it.

This Sunday will mark the first of the new Retro Underground weekly night at Zaphods. I’m hoping that as a new night, the crowd it’ll attract will be one that is there primarily for the music, and not necessarily the social aspect that seems to be so prevalent in the other weekly electronic nights in the city. As a new weekly without an established crowd, there’s a lot of room for people to find a space they enjoy, especially if they feel out of place in the more genre-specific nights like Tuesday@Phods, Thursday@Buddha, Friday@Surface, etc. I might be too optimistic about this, but I really do think there are a lot of people in this city that will come out for the music.

I’m also looking forward to working with all the wicked DJs involved in it. Recently, a lot of the events I’ve been involved with (rave, radio, art or otherwise) have felt like work (which it is), but with any luck this night will be something special.

We’ve got great music, wicked DJs, and a good venue. All we need now is for people to show up.

Who knew?

Two recent things I’ve really, really enjoyed:

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians

I’ve been listening to Infected Mushroom since 1999, when they released their first full-length album, The Gathering. I’m often bored by four-on-the-floor techno, but this album really caught my attention. You could tell they didn’t take themselves too seriously, and the songs were fun, and well written and produced. Their next album was in the same vein, especially with tracks like Dracul, where an orchestral sample from the score of Dracula turns acapella mid-way through the song.

I had a chance to see them live, and their show was nothing short of incredible. Their last two albums, however, were ‘serious’ trance, and not very interesting at all. And so, I mourned for the loss of yet another electronic act destroyed by a desire to be accessible.

Which brings me to Converting Vegetarians. This is a double-cd release, the first disc consisting of ‘old school’ Infected Mushroom tracks. Very blippy, goofy, and not at all self-involved. Fantastic, but not too interesting unless you’re a fan of the style (which I am). The second cd is mainstream trance, complete with uplifting synth lines, and cheesy female vocals. Chord progression, and all that. Fantastic, but not too interesting unless you’re a fan of the style (which I am not).

Overall, the album is excellently accomplished, and intelligent. Regardless of which style you prefer in your goa-slash-psytrance, there’s at least an hour of music you’ll enjoy. Listen to it.

Equilibrium

This is a first film by Kurt Wimmer, who wrote, directed, and kicked my ass. Seriously, this film would have been an instant sci-fi/dystopian classic if Dimension Films had marketed it whatsoever. I had never heard of it before I stumbled across it in a binaries newsgroup, and I thought it’d be a funny Matrix rip-off that’d be worth a few laughs. Instead, I got the ass-kicking.

This is simply one of the best movies I have ever seen. Visually, it’s beautiful. Set in an Orwellian post-war world, the visuals mix imposing real-life architecture (Hitler’s Olympic Stadium) with paintings instead of models, giving the setting a washed-out, surreal feel. The action sequences show the first real innovation in film gunfights since Bullet Time, or when Chow-Yun Fat first jumped onto a dolly with two handguns. All the actors are perfect (really, perfect) in their roles, and the lighting is the best I’ve seen since a Coen film.

Wimmer manages to do more with a ridiculously short shooting window and a tiny budget than most action directors have ever done. No distracting CGI, no wires (really – no wires), and for at least half the action sequences, no choreographer and no rehearsal time. The only thing more impressive than the movie itself is that it came out of production conditions terrible enough to sink most films.

In addition, the movie is brilliant. Obviously drawing from Bradbury, Huxley, P. K. Dick and other great dystopian writers, the world this movie is set in gives me the same chills that I felt the first time I read 1984. The plot is simple, but the narrative is complex, and repeated viewings reveal insight and subtleties into the motivations of the characters.

I’ve seen a dozen reviews that have called it the worst piece of cinema since Battlefield Earth, but I can’t say enough good things about this film. It’s science fiction, it’s dystopian literature, and it’s a fantastic action movie. Rent it. Buy it. If you can’t find it, I’ll give you a copy. Just watch it.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black

This week marks the passing of two great women. Nina Simone, who was known and loved throughout the world as a jazz singer and (more importantly) civil rights activist, and the less-known Anita Borg, a computer scientist who was one of the first people to recognize the digital divide, and work to ensure that emerging technologies don’t further stratify the underprivileged.

Their social awareness and willingness to act against explicit and implicit discrimination made the world a better place, and they will be missed.

Decompression

The last two days have been madness.

Leslie and I just finished the third two-day Dark Carnival festival, and while it was a resounding success, it has left us feeling quite drained. There were a lot of technical problems that we had to overcome, in addition to the more mundane stresses of putting on fourteen hours of event time in two days. There were seven different musical acts (not including Leslie and myself), and at least a dozen artists involved this time around, and co-ordination took a lot of time and effort.

Plus, we have another event in a week or so that we need to start polishing up, and perhaps another two in the month following that… and another half-dozen in the works, with plans stretching as far as October.

We’ve been doing pretty well with the finances for the events, which means that we haven’t lost more than a thousand dollars on any given show in the past half-year. Being able to support ourselves full-time with promotion work would be nice, but I think at this point we’d kill to break even two shows in a row.

Leslie’s birthday was yesterday, but with everything going on, there wasn’t much celebration time. I feel pretty bad about this, she made sure that on my last birthday, I had my every desire fulfilled, and not being able to do the same for her doesn’t sit well with me.

I think we’ll take a day off sometime soon-ish and do a belated birthday celebration, but it would have been nice to be able to give her the birthday proper that she deserves.

Work continues to progress on our not-so-secret Cafe project, and while things are slowly coming together for it, my inability to attend work over the last month has really hit us financially. Almost all of that lost income was earmarked for use by the Cafe, and my insurance company has yet to rule on my application for short-term disability.

While the disability would be retroactive to the day of the injury, the possibility of my application being rejected is very real, and very upsetting. The temptation to try to attend work regularly, even at the cost of permanent damage to my knee, is overwhelming.

I’m really not sure what to do about this, except for work full-steam on our business plan and funding applications, and hope for the best.

I need to spend more time doing nothing, sometime soon.

-28c and sucking.

I’ve been inside my house for three weeks straight now, having made it outside only three times. My knee shows no signs of spontaneous recovery, although I hold out hope.

I’ve began working on a remix of an Iszoloscope track for an album to be released in the near future, but I’m not very happy with my work. I took a heavy noise/gabber track, sped it up, and tried to turn it into what is essentially hard techno. Instead, I think all I’ve done is make 7 minutes of dull, uninspired trance.

To be fair, I’ve only been working on the track for two days, I’ve only been working with these music-creation tools for two days, and this is the first time I’ve tried to make music in any serious capacity since I was sixteen (when I was quite prolific within the tracker scene), but I find it incredibly discouraging nonetheless.

I have three weeks until the remixes need to be submitted to Ant-Zen, and I may or may not continue work to try to have something by that time.

Most of my hair is in a garbage bag in the washroom. I’ve shaved a good portion of it, leaving a wide strip of blue hair along the top of my head.

Rarely have I been so immediately happy with a change in hair style/cut/colour, but I’m really pleased with the way it looks. With that said, I have not discounted the possibility that being indoors for a month has caused me to lose all sense of style.

I hope to have added a piercing or two before I go outside again, and perspective returns.

In other news, I’m very happy with Restraint‘s recent facelift, even if most of the non-journal material isn’t currently available. Having a new look does wonders to motivate me to keep writing.