Category: NaBloPoMo

Quality TV: American Horror Story

I had heard about this show some time ago, around the time it originally aired I guess. It was a horror based podcast and they were discussing some points, but I never really paid attention to it at the time.

On the one hand that’s too bad, because if I had, and decided to sit and watch it, I would have written about it long ago. But I didn’t. The other hand is that I could download the whole season and just burn right through it. I much prefer that Smile

American Horror Story is about a family that buys a house with a past. A terrible past, filled with murder and other despicable deeds. And the souls of people that were murdered still remain to haunt the house. Sounds pretty cut and dry, heard it all before kinda stuff. Right?

I thought so too when I first started, but there was something a little different. It was how the ghosts were interacting with one another. How they all weren’t out for the same thing. And how they never really presented themselves as ghosts at all. It was all just moody creepy stuff. And I had this feeling; it’s as if the writers of Lost had their shit together and did horror instead. That’s how it felt. Like horror Lost.

Each episode will tell you more and more about the history of the house and it’s inhabitants. How they came to be, what they were like before, and what their motives are. It seems they all want something different from this living family.

It’s on FX, which means they can get away with a few more things. Some mild swearing, more gruesome gore, that kind of thing. But it’s not all about the gore. They do a great job building suspense and not disappointing with the results. There are a number of things that are unseen, and you just see the reaction, allowing your mind to go wild. That’s the great part. Hell, I’m still seeing things out of the corner of my eye and getting spooked at stupid stuff. It allowed my mind to go wild, and I’m still feeling the effects.

I watched the end of season 1 on Halloween, somewhat fitting I think. I thought that it might be a lack luster, setting up for season 2 kinda thing. But it didn’t, on either count. Watching the last two episodes, I really started to wonder how they were going to end it, and at times I thought it was going the Sixth Sense route(tie everything up, end on a happy note). Didn’t do that. I won’t spoil it, but you won’t be disappointed either(unless you like that kind of thing).

What is also great about American Horror Story is that each season will stand alone. Sure, you might get the same actors involved, but they’re not playing the same roles. Each season will stand alone, be it’s own story.

From one of the creators, Ryan Murphy:

What you saw in the finale was the end of the Harmon house. The second season of the show will be a brand-new home or building to haunt. Just like this year, every season of this show will have a beginning, middle and end. [The second season] won’t be in L.A. It will obviously be in America, but in a completely different locale.

I like this kind of format, it’s not something that’s seen very often these days. It allows the writers to make it more of a long mini series instead of a long running series. They have an end point, and can easily work towards it in 12 chunks.

I’m really looking forward to Season 2, as it takes place in an Asylum, and those places are creepy enough on their own Smile

So if you’re a horror fan, do yourself a favor. Grab a copy, turn the lights down low, and spend a couple of days going through it. You’ll be glad you did. Or, you’ll never sleep again, either way….

Digital Hoarding

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a bit of a digital hoarder. I have music, movies, TV shows and random other things just cluttering my hard drive.

Lately I’ve been trying to purge, or burn, but I’m not moving fast enough and it’s piling up.

Let’s give you an example:

TV Shows: 1,129 files or 340Gigs

Movies:238 files or 209Gigs

Music:20,499 files or 144Gigs

So, that’s 693Gigs of digital media…oh, not including pictures. But those are scattered around the drives, so I don’t feel like counting those.(mental note, organize those!)

And that’s just files on the computer, not including anything already burned off to DVD.

So yea, it’s time to burn and purge.

Purging can be easy, as it’s just deleting files. Burning is a little more time consuming, and I have to make decisions on what to burn and what can just be purged.

But how did I get here?

In terms of the downloads, I blame bittorrent. I never really got into Napster as I found it very annoying to use. And single file downloading was just too tedious. Bittorrent though, super easy. And it allowed for larger file downloads. So now it wasn’t song-by-song, it was CD-by-CD, or discography-by-discography! Oh how the hard drive(s) filled up.

There were also certain time frames when my downloading was at it’s highest. The first was when I was a DJ. I had a lot of stuff, but always needed more and more. I remember downloading well over 150 gigs in one month, and I suspect the majority of that was MP3.

The next push was when Tara and I didn’t have cable. So it was all the downloaded shows we could get. That worked to a point, as we were on Rogers at the time and they had a cap. But when we moved to Primus(no cap), well, that all changed Smile

Again, it was hundreds of gigs per month, and it was all stored locally.

But we have cable now, I’m no longer a DJ, so my downloads have diminished a great deal. But it’s not like I got rid of anything. That’s the second part of hoarding. The first is that you get the stuff(generally because you can), the second is that it never goes anywhere.

I have a dedicated directory of things I need to burn off, and I still haven’t. Mostly because it takes time, also because I currently have enough drive space!

So I’m a digital hoarder. Today I did try and purge, but mostly moved stuff around somewhat.

That’s another problem. I have three drives(that aren’t the c drive) and they all have…stuff on them. D is for storage(which makes no sense really). E is for temp stuff because the drive might be faulty. F is for user stuff, like pictures and other music. But in all of that, there are random backups from other computers, from other reinstalls, from days gone by that I don’t even remember. Our picture directory, while initially a good attempt to have all the pics in one place, is full of duplicates and random images that probably don’t even need to be there. But, there are 13 thousand of them. Yes, 13 thousand! That’s a lot to go through. And that assumes that’s from all the computers in the house, and I know for sure it’s not Sad smile

But I chip away at it. I think I’ve got it to a point where I’m purging/burning more than I’m adding. At least for tv/movies/music. My next big task is pictures. That’ll take a little while, but will be soooo worth it.

I’m sick, and it sucks

That, and AVG is now picking up some Blackhole virus from my wordpress install.
On the upside, I can always reinstall wordpress in a matter of moments.
Tara thinks that I should change providers, and you know, with recent history, it might not be such a bad idea.
Anyway, I’m sick, and it sucks.
I’d like to think I don’t do the ‘man cold’ thing, but when you feel like ass, you just feel like ass.
I’ve just tried this new stuff, we’ll see how well it lets me sleep.
Isn’t fall great 😉

Santa Claus Parade

For the first time since I’ve lived in the Ottawa area, I attended a Santa Claus Parade. And for the first time in a long time, I’ve felt excited about Christmas.

Now, before anyone says anything, yes, I was working today. But I took a long, yet early, lunch, and was not away from my trust laptop for more than a couple of hours. Which is fine, the last email I got was from 2am. So it’s all good. 🙂

We gathered the troops over facebook and finally came to a decision of where to park and stand. It was at the local arena and was a major turning point in the parade. By turning point I really mean it was a place they had to turn. It didn’t suddenly make it better.

Tara and I were the first to show. Of course we brought Liam and bundled him up really well. He seemed very content in the stroller and was behaving himself really well. Both Jim and Scotts family showed up right around the same time. Jim was sporting his Movember do, and it was turning out really well. Yes, he looked like a stalker, but that’s ok. For now.

We chatted, had our coffee and whatnot, and it seemed somehow appropriate that the guys were separated from the women folk. Like you see in the movies 🙂

The parade got underway and we were, actually, kinda thrilled. It was a big thing for Tara and I. We both remember going to these kinds of things when we were kids, and now that we have a child of our own, it’s one of those experiences that you pass down and it feels really good.

Sure, it’s a smallish town so the floats aren’t huge or expensive, but it’s all local. The Scouts were there, the local churches, local business, the football teams. That kind of thing. And yea, the Mayor and local MP were paraded around too.

Then the big man himself showed up. On the top of a fire truck, with the loudest speakers of the bunch. I remember this mall Santa being really good with Liam last year, and, if it’s the same guy, we’ll go back this year. There was talk of taking all the kids to do one big group shot. That would be pretty cool 🙂

Afterwards, some warming up and coffee. It was good to chat with everyone and the kids were doing really well. By the time we got home Liam was done for and he slept nearly for three hours.

These are the kinds of moments and experiences that stay with you forever. And to see the world anew through a child’s eyes is pretty darn cool.

Friday Fun

Today was really a family day. Tara had the day off work and, well, so do I, so we got to spend an extra day as a family.

It started with swimming, and this time Tara got to be there to watch. She loved how he was floating on his back in the life vest, and how vocal he was at the fun he was having. He’s easily the loudest and happiest kid there. Always splashing and loving the water.

I think Tara had as much fun as Liam did 🙂

Next was home and a little down time. I think the little guy is coming down with something, as his nose has been running pretty solid all day. So he slept for a few hours and it gave Tara and I a little us time.

We then headed down town to meet up with friends at the Works. It’s the best damn burger joint in, well, Ottawa. I had a new one with bacon, peanut butter and banana. There wasn’t a lot of banana, so you really couldn’t taste it. But the PB made up for it. It was good to catch up with old friends that we just don’t get to see very often. I regaled them with my Jury Duty adventures, and being sent back to the office.

Then home. Since lunch was so late we really didn’t know what to do with dinner, so we mostly skipped it. Liam was starting to get tired, so it was bath and bed for him. Again, I think the cold is getting to him. So some extra vicks was thrown in for good measure.

Tara and I have some more us time in store, but the question is, will we be awake enough for it 🙂

All in all, a great way to spend a day.

Dead Movies

I’ve had the opportunity to rewatch the George Romero “Dead” series. Why? Because I can! Mostly it’s on in the background as I wait for things to show up at the house. I’m not sure where the urge came from, but I’m sure it was helped along by a review I read about the original Dawn of the Dead. That, and Halloween just passed, so it’s like a Christmas thing. Yea, that’s not making a lot of sense to me either.

So, Dead movies.

I’ve really just finished watching the second two, Dawn and Day, and I have two quick observations:

  1. Hugh Laurie is not in Dawn of the Dead, although it looks like he is
  2. Rowan Atkinson is not in Day of the Dead, although it looks like he is
    1. Mind you, if he was, he looks better now than he did in 1985. But it’s not him


image (not Hugh Laurie)

image (not Rowan Atkinson)

It’s interesting to go back and watch these two films now and see how they set the tone and the ‘rules’ of other zombie movies. One is set in a mall, one is set in a military bunker. This pops up more often than one might think. Zombies retain some characteristics of their former selves, they need to be shot in the head, and they lurch around and seem to be stealthier than you would expect. The amount of “holy crap where did that slow moving zombie come from when we’re in a well lit room with only one entrance” was a little un-nerving. But it happened enough to make you think that all Zombies, at one point, become ninjas.

Day of the Dead is so much more gory than I remember it to be, and to be honest, more gory that most movies even produced today. I really wonder, and I suspect it’s true, that it was a sort of one up man ship from past attempts. It happened a lot in the 80’s.

In Dawn of the Dead they were just smurfs. Really, all but a few were just blue people walking about. I suppose, somehow, this is fitting, since the Smurfs started all of this.

Day of the Dead had a much larger production value, either that or they found a way to make the effects for a lot less. Each of these Zombies had a lot of detail. But the blood was still really bright.

Moving on to Land of the Dead, I was actually kind of disappointed at how little gore there was. Can’t remember if this kept them off the R rated list, and if that’s the case, then it’s more disappointing. But still a fun movie as it moves the overall story along nicely.

Diary of the Dead starts it all over again. It’s a ‘found footage’ kind of movie which is coming back into Vogue these days. Guess they’re easier/cheaper to make. Because of this I thought it would be kinda crap, but it’s turning out a lot better than I thought it would be. And it’s gory. I like gore. Zombie gore anyway. Not so much the torture porn that some people produce. I know there’s a fine line, but this gore is entertaining, the other is there for the sake of being there. I see a difference.

Where was I? Yes, Diary of the Dead. 61% on RottenTomatoes, where as the audience rating was just 46%. To be honest it reminds me of Walking Dead, and that’s not such a bad thing. I found it rather entertaining, with just the right amount of good and bad acting that makes it feel a little more real. Sure, the camera batteries would have died long ago, and the idea that someone would be filming instead of helping is a little hard to swallow, but you see it often enough in the news that it’s not that hard to take. So I would still watch it, I think it’s worth it.

Still have to get through Survival of the Dead, but since it’s got 29/21%, I’m not holding out a lot of hope. Maybe I should stop while the going is good.


5/6 isn’t too bad 😉

Must have food

You know you have it. You can’t live without it. If it was banned, you would be at the local speak-easy eating it. Yes, it’s that food that you just can’t be without.

is it chocolate?



At one time, for me, I thought it was bread products in general. But after being on that Atkins diet, I think I replaced it. It’s been a major part of my life, well, all my life. It’s peanut butter.

I was thinking that maybe peanuts in general, but I haven’t had a peanut, outside of it’s butter form, for some time now, and I don’t miss it. But peanut butter. That’s another story. Here’s something that I’ll put on pretty much anything. Or have with anything. Hell, I’ll have it on it’s own.

In terms of my current favourite, I like it with a banana in a wrap. Yes, it’s a PB and Banana sandwich, in a convenient wrap form. It’s something that you can eat with one hand while you’re driving back to the office on your all too short lunch break.

And all things considered, since I have the natural kind, it’s not such a bad thing to be hooked on.

How about you, what is the one thing that you just can’t live without?


Waaaay back when I was in high school, and just getting into Metal, the basic credo was; the faster the better. Actually, when I first got into the metal scene, I thought AC/DC was fast enough and Metallica was too fast. I was later introduced to faster and faster music, and people that actually liked them. Good thing I was an impressionable youth, because it didn’t take me long to like it as well.

I guess you could say I ramped up with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and then in a couple of years, I was into full blown Death Metal. The way I wrote that sounds like it’s a drug of some sort, but it’s more of attuning your ears to the speed 🙂 Otherwise it all sounds like garbage. Granted, to some, me recently, it does sound like garbage. I think I enjoyed the early days of Death Metal. Groups like Death, Morbid Angle, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and Sinister filled my ears with all the grinding speed and gory vocals I could handle. This, of course, was all before the internet, and I would have to troll through the tape/cd stores to find stuff. Some was better than others, but I was young and had money to burn. But there was a problem.

I also started getting into industrial and punk at the time. Old punk, new, didn’t really matter. It still had a speed and edge to it that I liked. And the Industrial was something that was really different to me and struck a certain cord. Along with this, my general tastes in music started to spread past death metal, and metal in general. I still liked it, but there was so much more to try and enjoy.It went on and on like this, and death metal pretty much fell to the side.

Over the years I would actually grow to hate the vocals in death metal. To me it seemed like a waste of a perfectly good band to have such craptacular vocals. I mean, you didn’t have to know how to sing that well, but to basically growl into the mic was just a little much for me. So I dropped it and chose metal that had real vocals for the longest time.

With eMusic, I wanted to try new bands and not be that limited to what I already had. I made sure to download stuff that hadn’t heard before. There was a lot of death metal there, or at least death metal type vocals. So there was a lot of music that I just skipped over. Looking back, it was a shame because, odds are, there was some stuff in there I would have liked.

Something happened recently. I don’t think it was anything in particular, but for some reason, my love of Death Metal came back. I think I got nostalgic or something, downloaded something I remembered, and just gave it a shot. That’s the best of my recollection. After that, I was hooked again. Nothing slower than 1000bpm(I’m sure I’m exaggerating) would do. Anthrax was too slow. Slayer was borderline. I needed that speed again, and this time, the vocals didn’t matter. In fact, for some strange reason, if it was fast and not death like, then it wouldn’t do.

I bugged a friend of mine for band suggestions since I’d been out of the ‘scene’ for some time. This is what he came back with(a subset, haven’t found it all):


This was just the first list, but it gave me a good starting point.

As mentioned, I haven’t listened to half of them as I just haven’t been able to find them. But of this list, for me, Nile and Behemoth really really stand out. They’re the fast, and talented, death metal that I was looking for. Amorphis hasn’t really done it for me. Which is a little odd as it was the kind of metal I was looking for previously. Good metal with a great singer. But it wasn’t filling the need like Nile was. And Opeth, it’s very progressive, and I can’t get into that right now. I should look again for the others.

Thanks to XM Radio, I was also able to add one more to this list: The Black Dahlia Murders. Very cool stuff.

And so, for the past few months, that’s all I’ve been listening to in the car and at work. Well, that, and the older stuff. I happened to find a lot of the stuff I used to listen to in high school online.

Anything slower than that I keep trying to go back to, but it’s just not working. At one point I was bothered by this. The music here is much more aggressive than stuff I had been listening to, and I was worried that it was saying something about me. But my overall temperament or attitude about life hasn’t changed, so I’m not worried anymore. If anything, I’m kind of excited as this opens up another music stream for me. Something that I’ve purposely been avoiding.

That’s kinda cool.

Cop Out

Dear Readers,

This is the first of two cop outs that I give myself each NabBloPoMo. I really meant to blog
earlier, but I became tired and/or lazy, depending on who you ask. And, there’s now a farty dog
in the room. Also, I’m a terrible speller and I’m dictating this to my wife who can spell.

I’m off to watch Boardwalk Empire and eat cinnamon buns. Tomorrow I’ll have a much better
post, but I think I’ve said that before :0