Blog Flume

I am a multimedia designer and aspiring writer from Central Illinois who dreams of bigger things. You are entering the hub of my online world. Welcome. Make yourself at home, read some stuff, click a few things, maybe check out my online portfolio. And of course, if you enjoy your stay, please subscribe.

*NOTE* This blog occasionally contains coarse language. Please use discretion when viewing.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Angry Cat is the new Grumpy Cat

Meet Garfi, the Internet's newest feline of fame. His Flickr/Twitter/Facebook pages are blowing up right now because he's so much more bad-ass than Tard the Grumpy Cat ever was. Thanks to great free exposure like the above linked HuffPo piece and Chris Hardwick's Garfi-centric bit on a recent episode of his @Midnight gameshow on Comedy Central, we will no doubt be seeing a lot of Garfi in the coming months. He's a meme in the making.

So the moment I saw a Santa suit photo I thought, "Grinch. Someone has to make him the Grinch." Of course I figured that if I could think of it, someone else has undoubtedly done it already...

Guess not though. FIRST!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

iPhone art for you. Merry Christmas.

I got a new iPhone 5c last week, and of course I've rushed to customize it, especially since Halloween is peeking at us from around the corner.

Since I'm a huge Mercyful Fate & King Diamond fan, I thought a themed lock screen/home screen would be perfect, so I grabbed a Melissa album cover online and doctored it up a bit to throw on there. If you like it, go ahead and grab it yourself.

Note: I changed the background from yellow to green, so it's good to go all the way through Christmas. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This may be a lost cause

After this long period of trying, fully lucid dreaming is still escaping me. However, I'm going to keep on plugging away because I've had some very interesting nighttime adventures in the last month or so.

I blame last night's crazy narrative on the DayQuil. Trans-dimensional closet gateways, possessed kids' toys freaking out my dog, an alternate-timeline doppelgänger of my son showing up, trying with my dad to disarm a voodoo tiki torch that will explode a man's head from an indeterminate distance...

If none of these triggered my dream self to perform a reality check, full lucidity may never occur. 

But it's still worth trying, because crap like this is showing up more and more often when I close my eyes at night. That shit's ENTERTAINING AS HELL.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A different sort of "wild ride"

When I was a boy of 12 or 13 I used to read a science/pseudoscience/new age magazine called OMNI. I picked an issue up one day at Waldenbooks (remember that chain?) and instantly fell in love with it. Of course in those days I wanted to be a parapsychologist when I grew up. That was before the now-popular term "ghost hunter" came into vogue. And obviously before I understood that ghost hunting is really nothing more than a hobby at best and a swindle at worst.
David Patrick Kelly as Tommy Ray in the 1984 sci-fi thriller "Dreamscape"
Anyway, one of the articles I remember had a big impact on me back then was one concerning lucid dreaming. "You can learn to CONTROL your dreams?!" I was a huge fan of the Dennis Quaid (not to be confused with Randy) movie "Dreamscape" by that age; I can't recall if I'd seen "A Nightmare on Elm Street" yet at that point, but if not I would soon come to love it as well.

When I read this particular piece I was instantly infatuated with the idea of having a fantasy world bend to my whims each night, so I began incorporating the recommended exercises into my daily routine, each day warming my mind up for the idea that upon my nightly respite a new world would come alive to me and be under my control.

The technique I employed involved two components: weaving spontaneous reality checks throughout my everyday waking reality, and muttering affirmation-type statements to myself now and again. The idea is to make these routines such a part of your life that they become typical behavior and you will eventually we've them into your dream world, where the reality check will inevitably fail, allowing you to recognize you are indeed inside a dream, at which point you are in control of the direction your dream will take.

Lucid dreaming issue of OMNI magazine
I put my energy into these techniques and got great results. I became pretty good at it. Being a young teenager, of course, many of my lucid dreams turned sexual in nature pretty quickly. But I also flew and swam (neither of which I can do in reality), solved real-world problems that were bothering me and went on many crazy nocturnal adventures that would never be possible in the real world. Hell, some would have gotten me arrested in the real world. It was a virtual sandbox game of unlimited possibilities back when "The Legend of Zelda II" was the height of technology.

I'm not sure why I eventually quit the practice, but I did. Seems like a crazy thing to do when it's all going so swimmingly. Maybe I got lazy. I don't know. I did, though, somehow end up rejoining the ranks of the world's passive dreamers. And I was satisfied with it for decades. Somewhere along the line it became regular for me to not even remember dreaming most nights. That seems like such a waste to me. I know my brain's doing it. Why won't it at least remember where I was all night?

Last week I got the urge and decided to begin trying the techniques again. So far it's been four days, and though I have yet to experience lucidity, I have noticed that my dreams have become quite vivid and I am now remembering them every night.

I've dreamt of leaving my daughter at a mysterious "summer camp" at a compound of some sort, witnessing a violent train derailment, sacrificing myself running a bomb out of a hospital, participating in a high-stakes karaoke contest run by an evil megalomaniac, being a guest in a house that turns out to slowly reveal its sinister side as the servants and my wife fall under its spell (I particularly love the bizarre image of leeches beginning to grow out of the ceiling)... This is definitely a step in the right direction. Perhaps within another week or two I'll gain some measure of lucidity and the real fun can begin.

This is easily just as much fun as a rollercoaster but more convenient and hella cheaper. I'll keep you posted on my progress, and if it truly pays off I will let you know the simple steps I employed to make it happen. I'm not a greedy man; I'll share.

Monday, January 27, 2014

WTF, Manowar?

I am a lifelong fan of Manowar through good times and bad, but even I am not sure what to think of the newest release coming out next month.

First off, they've rerecorded a classic--nay, the definitive--Manowar album, Kings of Metal, giving it the same treatment as Battle Hymns. I gotta say, even though Joey DeMaio previously has gone on record as saying the band would never stoop to rerecording and rereleasing old music, that Battle Hymns reboot is a killer record. I loved the original much better than many of the early releases, but since BH MMXI released, I hardly listen to the original release at all anymore.

I understand the desire to rerecord the debut album, or any of the first five albums, for that matter; the production value on those albums was definitely lacking. Hearing the old songs performed live really brings that realization home. The band is in its best incarnation ever right now with Eric, Joey, Karl and Donnie. They blow the shit out of all previous lineups, so it only makes sense to utilize their masterful playing and studio production values to breathe new life into solid but sonically dated material.
Kings of Metal, however, is not one of the releases that particularly begs to be revamped. In my opinion, it is the first of the releases with more kickass overall production values. Later on the sound quality and oomph on the records went into even higher gear with Warriors of the World. The way I see it (or, more accurately, the way I hear it) is that there have been four eras of evolution to Manowar's sound:

1. Battle Hymns, Into Glory Ride, Hail to England
2. Sign of the Hammer, Fighting the World
3. Kings of Metal, The Triumph of Steel, Louder Than Hell
4. Warriors of the World, Gods of War, Battle Hymns MMXI, Lord of Steel

Anything in category 1 is overdue for a freshening up. One down, two to go. Category 2 could benefit from a little dusting off. Anything in category 3 or 4 is fine as-is. With the exception of Louder Than Hell, which--if you're a regular reader--you might know is one of my least favorite Manowar releases.

So that's reason one that I'm not sure how to face the release of Kings of Metal MMXIV: it doesn't really need to be rerecorded. There's a reason Kings of Metal endures as the band's best selling album to date--it's sheer perfection already! "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The second reason is, well, take a look at the cover, compared with the original:

Anything missing from the revamped cover on the right? That's right. Where the FUCK is the U.S. flag??? These guys are from New York City, for Chrissakes! Have they become so deeply involved in their overseas exploits that they've forgotten their roots completely? Joey DeMaio doesn't do anything without thinking it through very methodically. You know he and Ken Kelly communicated very specifically about which countries to represent on the new cover. This was a deliberate decision with some sort of very concise motivation behind it. Is it political in nature? What's going on? Why, before embarking on their longest U.S. tour leg in decades, would Manowar give the USA short shrift on the cover of the album they are promoting, especially when the U.S. flag held such a place of high esteem on the original cover? If Warriors of the World ever gets a rerelease, whose flag will our mighty warrior be holding aloft? Where is the interviewer who is gonna corner Joey and ask him head-on about this?

I just don't know how to take this cover. I think it legitimately warrants an explanation from the band, just because they took an iconic album cover that represented victory through adversity and American patriotism and, upon rerelease, completely removed that element, replacing it with symbols of other nations of the world. And truly that's the ONLY thing that changed about the cover artwork. The rest is identical. It doesn't have to be addressed with the hostile attitude I've given here. Just a simple question: "Joey, what was the thought process behind the cover choice for the new album? What inspired you to make the changes you did, and is there any significance behind the absence of the U.S. flag?" Simple.

I just gotta know. Of course I'll buy the album even not knowing the answer because Manowar is in my blood. But I might hate myself a little for it. Despite the buyer's remorse, I just have to own those damn bonus tracks. To have instrumental (read KARAOKE) tracks of "Blood of the Kings," "Hail and Kill," "Heart of Steel," Kingdom Come," "Kings of Metal" and "Wheels of Fire" is going to be amazing. I'll be taking those to the karaoke bar I work at and trying them on for size. I need no lyric sheets of course. I need only the roar of the Black Wind and an open mic.

Damn you, Manowar. I can't hate you even when you piss me off.