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Friday, September 28, 2012

Lazy round-up

Between a surprising and distasteful item sent in the mail from my mother and a general long week at work, I'm really fucking glad it's Friday and in no mood to talk about Serious Things, or even really anything cohesive--so have a few links to things I've done around the web recently, and things I'm currently enjoying.

  • I've been emblogginating over at Paper Droids, in the Style section if you can believe it, with some outfits inspired by heroines from all sorts of nerd media. The newest is Jade from Beyond Good and Evil.
  • I've also been writing reviews of comic books for Between the Panels, and last week joined site runner William Goodman, Esq. and dandy Tumblrpeep Justin Partridge for talk about Avengers vs. X-Men, Batman, and Fantastic Four. Warning: the first time you hear my voice, I say something mean.
  • Have you registered to vote? There's still time!
  • Elementary aired last night and yes, I love it. Partially out of spite, partially because it actually seems like it will be fun, but mostly because Lucy Liu is flawless.
  • Grumpy Cat is my Patronus.
  • Seriously, Tommy Karevik can wail. I'm very much looking forward to their headliner tour next year. 
  • Mark Reads has reached In the Hand of the Goddess and oh my zombie Jesus, this liveblog is just so excellent and will keep on getting better, because HE IS NOT PREPARED FOR TORTALL.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

If there's something better than seeing Nightwish live, it's seeing Kamelot open for Nightwish.

A few reasons I enjoy power metal shows:

1. The musicians are good. Perhaps because the style of music generally calls for virtuosic vocals and instrumentals? All I know is I've never been to a shitty power metal concert, period, and some of them have been close to religious experiences. Both Kamelot and Nightwish whipped it out last night, happy to report; apparently since the last time I saw Nightwish they've boomed in the US, because the venue was packed, sold out to about 1500 people--and let's be real, in Europe these bands regularly sell out to twice that. I'm torn between being proud that the line to get in stretched across five blocks of downtown Columbus and somewhat fearful that bands I really love might graduate to stadiums someday soon. I dislike stadium concerts as a rule.

2. The fans are polite. I kinda hate moshing, and thankfully power metal fans generally groove politely. Last night's show was the first time (out of seven similar concert experiences since 2006) that I've ever seen even a bit of crowdsurfing at a power metal show. There are always huge singalongs, which the bands tend to encourage. In my experience there is also usually less douchebaggery at concerts for these bands, though I have no theory on why that might be aside from a reasonably even male/female fan ratio.

A few music notes: Nightwish is touring their newest album, Imaginaerum, which made for a nice blend of songs from that record and stuff from Dark Passion Play and Once. I would have been happy no matter what their setlist was, because the band puts on a great show (and have very adorable camaraderie), but I was so happy to hear "Dark Chest of Wonders," "The Islander," "7 Days to the Wolves," and "Slow Love Slow" (a jazzy, generally unmetallic number from Imaginaerum which I adore). Kamelot's set was also pretty nice, pulling chiefly from Ghost Opera and The Black Halo plus the performance of the first single, "Sacrimony," from their upcoming album Silverthorn. This tour is most notable for it being the first official tour with new vocalist Tommy Karevik. As a fan of some years and a Khan devotee, I was anxious to see Karevik in action...and he did not disappoint. He has a great grasp on the band's older material and I'm really looking forward to hearing them perform the new album when they inevitably headline the Silverthorn tour (she said, sacrificing a goat to that end). A very talented performer and a great new frontman for Kamelot.

Other highlights included guest vocals from Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz on a few Kamelot tracks, gorgeous instrumental back-up from Nightwish's touring musician-of-all trades, Troy Donockley, and getting to commune with every European metal fan within four hundred miles of Columbus.

Friday, September 07, 2012


Mark is reading The Song of the Lioness! He's only on chapter three, so you have plenty of time to catch up. If you're not familiar with Mark Does Stuff, basically the dude in question reads and watches things that people love, and liveblogs his experiences. If you love a thing he is watching/reading, it can be very fun and rewarding to observe him flipping out over, say, all of His Dark Materials.

Yeah, that one was fun.

And now we get to watch him discover Tortall. A WINNER IS ALL OF US.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Last LDS-related post for awhile and I swear there'll be kittens or sex or something FUN soon

In the interest of providing some background and insights into people who manage to be both Christian and polytheist or other brands of pagan, a few links:

Ruby Sara's new blog at Witches and Pagans 
Cat Chapin-Bishop and Peter Bishop, two Quaker Pagans 
Zillah Threadgoode of Surprised Christo-Pagan 

And one that is specifically LDS: Mother Wheel

Not all of these bloggers' paths fit my personal definition of what "Christian" means, but they all share glimpses of spirituality that reaches beyond what we typically consider "Christian" and "pagan," and anyway, that's the beauty of living in a free society, isn't it? Note to conservatives: we are still living in a free society, where people are free to worship according, as it were, to the dictates of their own conscience.

Monday, September 03, 2012

I am actually a little bit scandalized

Still on the Mormon train: what's this I see about the Book of Abraham being removed from official LDS canon? I suppose you could say that until super official word comes down from the General Authorities, nothing doing--but this interview is still a very interesting read. After fifteen years of Mormonism Florida-style, I'm inclined to think that, despite the church's intense efforts at correlation, members in the mission field apparently practice a bit differently from the hub in Utah. Hearing an LDS "expert"--can I read that as "mouthpiece"?--state that some items of doctrine "depend on which Mormon you talk to" is frankly a goggler for me; what church is he part of? Nothing in LDS doctrine is supposed to depend on who you're talking to! That's the whole point of correlation, the much-loved adage that "the Church is the same everywhere."

Basically my reaction to this piece was a lot of gasping. Manfriend became concerned and thought perhaps naked pictures of Idris Elba had surfaced on Tumblr. Alas, nothing so sexy, but it is very strange to contemplate things that I had never considered fringe aspects of LDS doctrine being talked away or denied significance. May I remind you all that I'm only twenty-five? Less than ten years ago the Book of Abraham was part of my seminary classes, eternal progression was a main tenet of the Plan of Salvation, and the Garden of Eden was most definitely located in Missouri--hell, I joked about the latter in a LiveJournal entry dated to 2004: "Then it was time to pack up our dear camp by scenic Troutless Lake and pull out for Zion! I mean, Salt Lake, since Zion was actually behind us, in Missouri, contrary to what Utahns believe."

Trek-related teenage sniping aside, I do wonder how potlucks, dances, and wedding receptions will change now that drinking Coke is ok (seriously, they picked the caffeinated items that are totally terrible for you to OK?). On the one hand, shoving the Book of Abraham to the quaint-and-outdated or esoteric-and-scholarly closet is a long time coming, since it's basically a crock of easily disproven shit, but there's a lot that stems from that book that is very important to the larger church doctrine. Or is it? Who knows? Apparently the LDS Newsroom is now the center of revelation in our techy era. All I can say from my own experience is that if beliefs about the world to come are indeed misconceptions, they are misconceptions held by a good chunk of members. Part of participating in a religion which accepts modern revelation is experiencing and acknowledging changes to lived doctrine, but I don't think I'm wrong in thinking that most Mormons prefer to get their revelation straight from the Prophet in General Conference, rather than the church website on any given weekday.

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