Monday, December 10, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top Ten All Time Favorite Songs

This is the last entry for this review, and to end it I will make it short and sweet!  I will name off my top ten favorite songs.  I'm not going to go into a big explanation into why I love these, I've already done that.  We all know I'm right, so there is no need to prove it any further.  I have enjoyed giving you  a glimpse into my inner workings.  Once it's done please leave. My head is crowded enough without all of you in it!
#10 Where Were You By Alan Jackson
#9 Bother by Stone Sour
#8 When You're Gone by Avril Lavigne
#7 Please Remember by Leann Rimes
#6 One the Road Again by BuckCherry
#5 Blurry by Puddle of Mudd
#4 Tangled Up In You by Staind
#3 Here's to the Night by Eve 6
#2 Zoe Jane by Staind
#1 My Little Girl by Time McGraw

           This series is now over, I will start on my next review Idea.  It going to break away from this, it's going to go into a different realm.  I hope you enjoyed reading these, and I encourage you to listen to any of these songs.  Now, get out of my head.  The voices inside are complaining about it being too crowded.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Top Five Songs Part 5: Country

        We've all heard the jokes about what you get if you play a country music song backwards, your truck, your house, you dog and your wife, but in truth many of them are truly great songs that deserve our attention.  Just as before here are my top five country songs.

        #5 Where Were You by Alan Jackson.  Many people probably consider this a song of opportunity.  It garnered him a lot of exposure on the backdrop of a national tragedy.  I think the reason why I included it is every year I remember the attacks, and I truly do remember exactly where I was when it happened.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I feel I owe it to those who died to remember it.  After all, those who forget the past are damned to repeat it (yes I know that isn't how the quote goes, but I fell my version is more accurate).

        #4 Whiskey Lullaby By Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss  This song could not be any more depressing, but since that's my thing, I love it.  It takes what sadness can do to you to the extreme, and then does the same thing with guilt.  This song inspired many of my early works, when I first started dabbling in writing.  In a way is set the tone for a lot of what came after.

        #3 Country Boy Aaron Lewis.  This is a fairly new song, but it's awesome!  The message of this is clear, be yourself, and stand up for what you believe in.  Don't trade who you are to make yourself more marketable.  I live by that, and if we all did the world would be a better place!

        #2 There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney  This song does not apply to me per sea, but what it does do is remind us how our children can sneak into our lives, take them over, and we could not be happier.  I can honestly say I did not give up any dream to have children, but I am going to do everything I can to make sure my daughter's dreams come true!  She is now my life, and what an epic life it is.

        #1 My Little Girl by Tim McGraw  Come on, do I really need to explain this?  In just a few short minutes this song captures everything I feel about my own little girl.  I may sound like I'm beating a dead horse again, but for those of you who have kids you will understand, and for those that don't, well I hope someday you do.

        Well there you go, I didn't lose a single house, wife, dog in any of these songs, a truck was lost, but we will ignore that (not really, I don't have one) .  It's unfortunate that country and pop are becoming so intertwined.  I wish it would stop, because if it doesn't I fear we will lose great songs like these, to the cookie-cutter empire! 

        Just one more list to go, and it's an easy one!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Top Five Songs Part 4: Pop

Ok, I have a question, can someone tell me what the hell a true "pop" song is?  I've seen everything from Metal, to rock to country on "pop" song lists.  To me it simply means cookie-cutter songs, that have a broad appeal and little depth.  They are usually forgotten quickly and replaced by more drivel.  Think about "Call Me Maybe".  Anyway, there are a few songs that appeared in this "genre" that have actually appealed to me for longer than a few seconds.  So here is my top five Pop songs.  Please help me!

#5 The Space Between by Dave Matthews Band:  I have to honest, I do not understand this song at all.  It made the list for one reason only.  The beat calms me down and helps me to visualize.  For a writer that is of utmost importance.  Just don't ask me to explain it.

#4 What It's Like by Everlast:  This song is very easy to understand.  It conjures images of hard times, and harder situations, and asks a very easy question.  The message in this song applies to us all, from the richest CEO to the poorest rural farmer and everyone in between.  Despite it's melancholy overtones, it reminds me of what I have, what I've earned and what I can stand to lose, either through my own fault or no fault of my own.  If you have a vivid enough imagination it could scare the hell out of you.

#3 When You're Gone by Avril Lavigne:  I'm not a big Avril fan, so I only found this song recently, but I immediately loved it.  The message about loss, anguish and love's triumph is powerful.  Anyone who as ever lost someone could easily relate to this song.  Just like What It's Like this song reminds me of all the blessings I have, and at the same time forces me to think about what would happen if they were suddenly taken away from me.  Once again, another song to scare the hell out of you.

#2 Time of Your Life Green Day:  I am well aware that this song has been beat to death in so many montages that it borders on absurd, but that doesn't change the fact that I still really do love it.  It's a good song to just sit and reminisce about the great times of your life.  In the end this song can put a huge smile on my face.  The older I get the more great memories I have and therefore have more to look back on with fondness.

#1 Here's to the Night by Eve 6:  If this song had been out when I was in high school, I would have bribed people to make it our class song.  This is the ultimate song to look back with especially if you are younger, about to graduate from high school or college, or getting married.  It reminds you of where you have been, but for it also reminds me of where I am going.  When one chapter of life ends, another begins.

               Those are it, it was hard for me to come up with this list, and to be honest I think I could have done better, but most Pop songs that held any special meaning for me have long been lost to me and I have unfortunately forgotten them.  I have no doubt there are others that hold a stronger meaning for me, maybe one day I will do an updated list for this.  For now though, let's move on to Country.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Five Songs Part 3: Love Songs

Ok, I'm going admit something right now, just to get it out there.  I like love songs.  There, I said it.  I always had a soft spot in my heart for love songs.  As pessimistic as I am, it's true.  I think it's because deep down I want someone to love, and to love me in return.  Who doesn't want someone they can call theirs?  Though I must admit the potion of love has often been a poison to me, but thankfully that has changed.  Obviously these kinds of feelings have a powerful effect on me, and they have been responsible for a lot of my work.  Most of it will never be seen, but there is one example of it in my first anthology book, but I do put my own dark spin on it.  Shall we dive into the mush, make sure you have wading boots.

#5 We Danced by Brad Paisley.  I love this song.  The way it begins sounds like something that can be so real that it just makes sense.  It's probably the one reason why I love it, because it is believable.  There's nothing like just holding your loved one close and just getting lost in the music and this is the perfect song for it.

#4 Please Remember by Leann Rimes This song is a great way to make your heart to sit up and take notice.  You can almost say to yourself "Hey stupid, look at what you had!"  Whether your relationship ended badly or simply because of reasons nether of you can control this song is a great way to look back and grab those memories.  Even of you are married, it can still make you think about what you have and be thankful for it all over again.  In that regard it can save you from a fate of having this song apply to you.

#3 Little Moments by Brad Paisley  I really tried to avoid putting one artist on the same list more than once, but I can't help it.  This song is exactly what it means to love someone.  The little moments.  The big moments are important, but let's face it the little ones are way more common, and whether they are good or bad they define your relationship.  This song is a great way to see those little moments often all in a great light and it drives home the point that they make the best memories.

#2 Faithfully by Journey  OK this song really does apply to me.  I'm not a musician on the road or anything like that, but I do work a lot, and I'm not as home as much as I'd like.  Despite that no one has ever turned my head, or even made me consider leaving.  This song is almost like a trophy to me.  I can honestly say I have always been faithful and I really believe without a doubt I always will be.  What can be better for love than that?

#1 Tangled Up In You by Staind  I know I'm beating the Staind horse (wow that could be taken out of context to easily) to death, but for some reason this band puts out songs that match my thoughts so close it's almost creepy.  This song could not sum up my relationship any more.  Just listen to it and you will understand.

That's not the end of the mush.  If I wanted I could probably make up a top fifty list, but I'm not going to do that, I think you would hate me by the end.  The mush does help me though.  When I listen to these songs I can lift my mind to an almost utopia, though I still tend to see the shadows lurking in the corners.  I can forget about all the B.S. in my life and focus on why I put up with all the B.S..
Next up, pop, don't groan there will be no LMFAO or Ke$ha on the list.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top Five Songs Part 2: Depressed Rock

So, let's get a little more serious.  While it's very true that Metal gives me energy and puts me in a good mood, my writing usually comes the easiest to me when I am somewhere between depressed and thoughtful.  In order to completely tap into that state of mind I listen to what I like to call Depressed Rock.  You know the types of songs I mean.  The ones with a Rock beat, but the lyrics and tone make you want go see a psychiatrist so you don't slit your own wrists.  It's good stuff.
             5. Blurry by Puddle of Mudd.  This song isn't so much depressing as it is thought provoking.  Don't get me wrong it has its depression element, but to me it's more about a father wanting to simply be with his child and protect him, which I must admit is kind of sad, not that he wants to be a father, but that he is in a position where it has been made difficult.  He obviously cares for his child, but he isn't around much so he wonders about his child and what he is doing.  It makes me think, and when I think I write, a lot.

             4. Jeremy by Pearl Jam.  Do I really need to explain this song?  Good, it could not be any more self-explanatory.  I will say one thing about the protagonist/antagonist I can relate to him on some levels not the mass murder level, but some other ones.  I think in a way many people could relate to a tormented boy, who just wants to fit in.  Just don't go on a shooting spree, talk about solving absolutely nothing!  I prefer to just hide within my words; there I can do whatever what want, including shooting everyone.

             3. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica  This song was on the last album Metallica put out that could be considered Rock.  Anyway, the lyrics and the tone of the song often take me to a place in my mind where I find some of the more depressed ideas I get for writing.  Are you starting to see a theme develop here?  To be honest I'm not totally sure I even get the song on a conscious level, but it hits my sub-conscious like a Mack truck.

             2. Bother by Stone Sour  This is another I don't really need to explain, it is just dark.  The tone is dark, the imagery of the lyrics is dark.  The video, oh man, the video is the shadow of darkness.  I don't listen to this song much, for obvious reasons, but it still ranks high on my list because it is so dark and that's just how I roll.
1. Epiphany by Staind  This song is the closest I have to what I really feel when my mood crashes.  It simply is the way the I feel.  It's a powerful song with a tone that speaks to me on a level I cannot even begin to describe.  I hope one day that I can verbalize these feelings, when I can I believe I will have a best seller on my hands.
           So this is how it is.  Depressed Rock is how I tap into the region of my mind where my creative juices (I hate that expression) flow from.  Sometimes I wonder if it is good that so much of what I write ends up with so many dark tones, or comes from dark places, but it is simply the way things are.  I embrace who I am and who I am is, read my work and you be the judge.

           For my next list I'm going to get a little mushy, sorry.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Top Five Songs Metal

            Here is the first list of songs that hold a special place for me.  Like all songs these have a unique effect on my psyche and my mood, so let's started with my top five favorite songs from the loudest and most in your face of genres: Metal.

            To me Metal is not about being shocking, or political or evil, it's all about one  For me, the greatest allure of Metal is its sheer energy and force.  It gets my blood pumping and makes me feel alive. These songs, and others like them, are the ones I call upon when I need to blow off steam, or get myself in happier mood, yes they put me in a happier mood, go figure.  These songs have done little to inspire a short story or piece of flash, though Voodoo from Godsmack did once(don't ask),but they have helped me clear my head so I could write, and let's face it, a clear mind is of tantamount importance to a writer.
            #5 I Stand Alone by Godsmack- I just love the in your face attitude, of this song.  When I hear it, truly believe I can take on anyone or anything.  The movie that goes with it pretty silly, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it, maybe I'll do a review of it someday.

            #4 Falling Away From Me by Korn- This isn't exactly a happy song, what Korn song is?  What does it for me is the hard, in your face beat.  I could listen to it without the lyrics and be perfectly content, though it would lose a lot without the lyrics.

            #3 Click Click Boom by Saliva- This song just blows my mind.  I love the powerful lyrics of this song and the fast beat.  I have gotten my foot caught in the engine many times because of this song.  The one line that stands out the most is "On those Saturdays, When kids go out and play, Yo I was up in my room I let the stereo blaze, Wasn't faded, Not Jaded, Just a kid with pad and pen and a big imagination."  How perfect!
           #2 Dragula by Rob Zombie- What can I say about this? Rob Zombie is a freaking genius, and so is this song.  I've raced people (hope no cops read this) with this song blaring.  I mean come on, even in the video is Zombie crashing down the street in a car straight out of Henry Ford's worst nightmare.  Totally awesome!

            #1 On the Road Again by Buck Cherry- Yes, you read that right.  I found this re-make on a NASCAR compilation CD years ago.  As far as I know the song is word for word with the original by Willie Nelson, but I'm not sure because I have not heard it in a long time.  I'd love to get a copy of this again, I lost that CD.   Imagine Buck Cherry doing this song, and no, it is no way acoustical, it is in the typical Buck Cherry fashion.  I almost got killed once behind the wheel when I had this song going.  Do you see a trend here?  That was the point though, no not go fast and kill myself, but to blow off steam and unwind, which is a great gift for any song to bestow upon anyone.

            There you have it, my top five favorite Metal songs.  Yeah, they are loud, yeah they may be obnoxious, but damn it, I love them.  I used to listen to them in the car all the time.  I even devoted three compilation CD's to these types of songs. They were: Haul Ass, Hall Ass Re-visited and Haul Ass Version 2.0, and no I'm not lying, that is how they were labeled.  Speed used to be my crack...umm high physical speeds, not umm, actual speed, such as crack.

            Next time we will get into something a little more serious.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Final Fantasy II (SNES) Great Memories!

           This will be my first video game review.  Now don't worry, I'm not going AVGN on you or anything like that.  This is going to be more about a couple of memories I have while playing it, than the game itself.  I just wanted to take few moments to talk about one of the biggest surprises I ever had while playing video games.

            On the weekends I would often go to the video store and rent video games, like many people did.  Well, one evening  I found, to my dismay, there was nothing left that really held any interest for me.  As I scanned the shelves for the about the hundredth time I see a game called Final Fantasy II.  I thought "Okay I'll give it a shot."  I have never really played an RPG before, so this was going to be a first.
           I got it home and popped it into my Super Nintendo, not expecting too much.  The opening scene scrolled through giving me the story and I started playing as Cecil and Kain.   After I figured out the controls, which, was a new thing to me, I started to progress in the story.

           I went through the village mist, then to Prince Edward's kingdom, then Fabul, then Mysidia and finally to Mt Ordeals where I met the first elemental fiend.  By now I had played for hours and had no idea how much time had really passed.  The next day I was not able to play it as much, but I did make it a little bit further, before I had to take the game back. 

           From that day on I was hooked.  I managed to get my own copy, not really seeing the point, afterall I thought I was probably almost done with it.  Was I ever wrong.  It went on for much longer than I would have ever thought. 
          The game's excellent graphics, for the time, great game play and the immersive world, were accompanied by a great story-line.  Though it did get cheesy in places. 

           When I finally got to Zeromus at the end, I thought it was the baddest thing I had ever seen.  Of course, the thing kicked my butt.  I didn't give up though, I pressed on. I leveled up, which was by far the most tedious thing with the game, but I have found that most RPG's are like this.  When I finally beat the game I was so excited. 
          The only thing that was left was to unlock all the secrets, which I did, and run my characters up to level 99, which I also did. 

           This brings me to one of my favorite memories about the game.  One night, me and a friend of mine decided to go after the most elusive item in the game, the pink tail.  From what we understood, it was only dropped by one enemy in one room in the entire game.  Even then the odds were bad.  There was only a one in sixty chance to encounter the enemy, the Pink Puff, and then there was only a one in sixty chance of it actually dropping the pink tail.

           We literally stayed up all night, doped up on mountain dew, which my kidneys now hate me for, trying to get this thing.  We fought many pink puffs, but never got the pink tail.  So, finally we decided screw it, and gave up.  Actually, what really happened is the mountain dew ran out, and we feel asleep.
          Why were we going through all this for the pink tail you ask?  Well, you gave the pink tail to a little person inthe mine outside Silvara, and he gives you ore. You take the ore to the blacksmith in the underground section, the same place you get Excalibur, and he will make you a suit of armor .  That's it, the whole reason.

           Several years later when they released the game on game boy advance I bought it, and fought through it, just as I did before, and just as I did before I tried to get the pink tail.  Just as before I played for hours, looking at the stupid tiny screen.  Unlike before I actually got the thing!  I was amazed.  I managed to get a hold of the most elusive item in FFII.  Now I have supreme bragging rights!

           The game is very dated by today's standards, but for me it has high replay value and I would play it anytime, if you get a chance to play it, jump on it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Scribe's Review: Dragonlance Chronicles

I'm going to review a set of three books that are responsible for setting me on the road to being a fantasy geek, The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I read these books as a teenager, and since then I have read them so often that I consider myself an expert on them. These is my own personal thoughts on a trilogy that I still love and read today.
            The series centers around a group of adventurers called the Companions. Tanis Half-Elven, a bastard half elf, the grumpy yet kind dwarf, Flint Fireforge, the fleet fingered and childlike kender, Tasslehoff Burrfoot, the Plainsmen Goldmoon and Riverwind. A Knight of Solamnia named Sturm Brightblade and the twins Caramon and Raistlin Majere. Later on they are joined by the elven princess Laurana and a fiery barmaid Tika Waylan. The group forms an unlikely force for good, during a period of evil called the War of the Lance.

            To tell the entire plot would take way longer than this post should be, but summarize Takhasis, a god and the Queen of Darkness returns to a land that had been ravaged by the Cataclysm hundreds of years before. The people of the land are scattered and fractured. Of course Takhisis wants to dominate the world and all the souls on it. She is opposed by Paladine the god of light. In essence it is a celestial battle that comes to the mortal world of Krynn.

            Along the way the Companions must battle all manner of evil things in their quest; they must also fight distrust and dissention among themselves, the power of evil magic and clerics, and of course dragons. In the end two of the group will perish and another will betray them. It all leads to an epic battle that of course leads to the defeat of the evil goddess.

            That description really does not do the book justice. I'm leaving out huge parts, like the three kingdoms of elves the mountain fortress of the dwarves and the power of magic, and the magnificent return of the dragons of light. It is simply too much to describe here. I could really write an entire novel about these three books. That's ok though, I just wanted to give you a glimpse into the trilogy and a look at my own feelings about the series.

            I do see a lot of similarities with the Lord of the Rings trilogy in these books, but that's all they are, is similarities. These three book are completely different and are a work of art all themselves, but if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings then I suggest these books, they will blow your mind.

            Later on they released a fourth book to end the original trilogy. While not technically a part of the first three books; it is spectacular in own right. I read the fourth book cover to cover in about three days, which at the time, was a record for me.

            These books eventually led to a second trilogy, Legends, which focused on the twins Caramon and Raistin. Then more and more books followed from full novels to anthologies. Many dealt with the original cast of characters, and many created their own new ones. Some expanded on the world that Chronicles created, while others delved into the history of Krynn. This series took on a life of its own. I don't know how many books there are total, but I have personally read around forty or so and I have barely scratched the surface. I only wish a feature length film would be made. If the same care that was shown for The Lord of the Rings was given to this trilogy, it would be a treat to watch.

            There it is, my opinion. This set remains one of my favorites of all time. I recommend them to anyone who loves a good epic fantasy novel.

A Scribes Review, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

            I must admit, I had little to no expectations going into this book. The only reason I read it was because a friend of mine suggested it, and we have similar tastes. I must admit the concept was awesome. I mean seriously, the 16th President of the United States, a man that arguably saved the nation from imploding, was a vampire hunter? The first thing that I thought of was, where did he find the time? How did he not get caught in his endeavor? As well as various other things I tried to nit-pick.

            When I began the book it was about twelve-thirty in the morning or so, and I was just expecting to read for maybe a half an hour. I put it down around three hours later, and only then because I had to work the next day. To put it simply, I was amazed. It may have had something to do with the fact I thought it would be adequate at best, after all I got my hopes up about A Game of Thrones, and I was disappointed (insert your gasp here), so it had no where to go but up. The more I read the more I realized, that I simply loved this book! So here is my honest opinion on the book. I will do my best to divulge as little as possible, because I do not want to ruin it for you.

            In a nut shell, the story begins with Abraham's childhood. He was already gifted at telling stories and the like. When he discovers that his mother was killed by vampires he resolves to kill very single vampire he can. His first attempt proved quite successful, and it leads you to believe that he is like Blade and some sort of natural vampire killing machine. However, his second mission goes very badly and he is nearly killed himself. He is saved by the Yoda type character, Henry. He takes the young Abraham under his wing and teaches him the right way to hunt vampires.

            After several years of killing the foul beasts, he is introduced to a plot by the vampires to actually seize control of the United States, and make humans no more than cattle. I must apologize for the next few sentences, it will give a little away. Henry and a group of like minded people who called themselves the Union aid Lincoln in getting elected to President and in fighting the civil war.

            He obviously wins the war, and the Union is preserved, this book just adds a lot more behind the scenes action than recorded history. In truth if it were not about vampires it could almost be believed!

            How Lincoln dies is obvious. The book does not deviate from major historic accounts about our sixteenth president's life, it just adds a few extra unoffical entries to the official record. I gave the book the four stars. Why not five? As much as I prased it, that should be a given right? The answer is simple, the ending. Call it my nit-picking, but I cannot overlook it. Don't get me wrong the ending is sheer genius, I love it, but it leaves a question open, that begs to be answered. There are answers to this question, good answers, but I'm not able to accept them. I guess I'm too logical. It probably also doesn't help that the book is so well written that it actually sounds like a true historical account. So in a sense you do not have suspend your sense of logic to accept what is written, but if you do, it's much more enjoyable.

            Obviously I will not go into the ending, it would ruin a huge treat if you decide to read it. Suffice it to say I highly recommend this book, if for no other reason than sheer curiosity (you can't tell me you're not). It would be well worth your time. I just hope the movie adaptation will be half as good, but I must admit I have more faith in authors, than in Hollywood.

A Scribe's Review: Osric's Wand: The Wand-Maker's Debate

            So this post will be a little different. I am going to do a review on a book by a couple of authors named Jack D. Albrecht and Ashley Delay. The name of their book is Osric’s Wand: The Wand-Maker’s Debate.
            I went into reading this with no expectations; I was going to give it an honest look with no preconceptions. I’m going to talk about the overall setting first.
            I’m not sure what expectations the authors had for the setting in this book, but let me put it simply; the world they created for this book was spectacular. The way that magic was approached was really intriguing. The ways that the various races of people interacted was great, and there are a lot of races of people, more than I expected. The world itself, was vibrant and full of life. It was easy for me to picture, in my head, the places that were described, and let me tell you, I’ve got a crowded head!
            The characters I like a lot, especially a prairie dog named Gus and a dwarf named Machai. These characters’ sarcasm made me smile, which I suppose gives a little away about my personality. The rest of the characters were equally interesting. I genuinely cared about the characters for the most part.
            The plot revolves around Osric, and his efforts to stop a war that may break out after an attack on a treaty signing. Along the way he is accompanied by Gus, and prairie dog wand-maker, his son Pebble, whose innocence I loved, Bridgett, a young woman who spent years living among unicorns, Kenneth, Osric’s right-hand-man and a grumpy dwarf (big surprise) Machai. Of course, things get a lot more difficult for Osric very quickly, when he discovers an old plot concerning the dragons, he must deal with also. I’m not going to say any more about the plot, I don’t want to give it away, but trust me, it’s good.
            The story line was excellent and it was easy to follow. The story flowed well for me and there was very little if any, “down time” as I call it, in the plot. The way that the different subplots blended in together was great. I really hope there are more of these books coming, or maybe they are out there and I’m not smart enough to find them. I’d love to follow these character’s more, and see where their adventure takes them.
           To put it simply, I loved this book. It was easy to read and quite enjoyable. I found myself caring about the characters, especially Gus and Machai. I was always interested to see what was going to happen next. In short if you like a good novel, give this one a look, you will not be disappointed.
           I do feel I should say one more thing. This is my first book review, so if seems kind of choppy and amateurish, well that’s because I am an amateur, but this is my honest opinion!