Recent Posts







I wasn’t ready.

By Billy | October 4, 2011

She entered
and the world would never be the same.
Two thousand days and ne’er a word.
Not even one.
And it wasn’t in the my eyes,
but I was sad and content.

She entered. She took. She left.
It won’t be long now. It can’t belong now.
And of course, it won’t last.

We’ll wait. For just one day.
And as she comes to steal my warmth and woes,
I am ready.

With our frozen tears forgotten,
We’ll dance like starlight on deep waters.
Unsure of our centers, unsure of our druthers,
unsure of our selves.

And we will shimmer, swoon, and shine,
like we have since the beginning.
And when she comes to stop us
Will we then be ready?

Chip away,
chip away,
chip away.
The light will not break through.
But wait! and we are already.
Like we’ve always been.

I can smell winter in the morning crisp.
Come siftly,
I’m ready now.

Topics: poetry, This is my life | Comments Off on I wasn’t ready.

The Nominous Experience

By Billy | October 2, 2011

Today I became a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That’s right, I am a Pastafarian. I am at this very moment thinking of how I can answer the question, “Why do you have dreadlocks?” in a punny way to refer to this very special religious community.

Why did I change my faith from bouncing around from Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and so on (ism) to Pastafarianism? Elvis.
Elvis Presley is the reason for this change in me. You know how? Because he is in the winter sky every night. He’s the most recognizable shape in the sky, with the exception of possibly the Big Dipper, which they call the Big Wagon here. What you might think is the constellation “Orion,” is actually “The King.” In my sect of Pastafarianism, we call him by his right and righteous name.

I am part of the mystical school of Pastafarianism. We’re the ones who simultaneously believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (cheese be upon him) and know it’s a joke. A lot of people from within and without misinterpret this faith and think that all Pastafarians are attacking organized religion. This is not so. We in the mystic school know that, as we say in Austrian, it’s all “wurscht.” (This literally means it’s all sausage, by the way)

It is all sausage. Meatballs, if you will. You see, a sausage or a meatball is supposedly one coherent thing, but in reality it is a conglomeration of things that you really have no business wanting to know what it is. This is life. We like to pretend it’s cohesive and linear and graspable, but it is really, comepletely not. It’s wurscht. It’s sausage. The middle star in The Kings belt, which is where his belt buckle shaped like a bald eagle playing an electrig guitar rests, could have burned out tonight, and we wouldn’t know it for effectively ever, because we’ll be dead before we find out. Furthermore, places further away than us will continue to see The King’s middle belt-star after we’ve already learned it’s dead. The middle star in The King’s belt will NEVER be any less dead than it is now, because the same life that it has for us at this second is carried on behind us for infinity. No stars ever burn out because their light travels on for ever. No stars ever burn out because their light travels on forever.
That means every dead star is still alive. And we spend our whole lives worrying about passing away as if it were possible. We humans don’t know how to think, but we sure like to think we do. We’re just starlight, and we’re just infinity.
Wurscht. Sausage. You’re alive and you’re dead and you’re pretty much confused as all hell.

And that’s when the Flying Spaghetti Monster can step into your life and save you. You can reach out with your hands, and it can reach out with its Noodly Appendages, and you can embrace like never before. Pastafarianism is about realizing that we are all connected by his Noodly Appendages. In Hinduism this connection is due to Brahman. They have known about Brahman Noodles for ever. In Northern European Paganism it is the web of Wyrd, which is where we get the word weird. When something uncanny happens, it’s because the Noodly Appendages are at work and it’s weird (wyrd). Duh.

OK. So I’m tired and running out of gas, so I’m going to be frank with you. Did I join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster tonight? Yes. When someone asks me my religion, will I say Pastafarianism? Yes. Am I taking this seriously? Yes. Why?
Because I like labels, but only when they confuse people more than they assure them. That, and I actually think the Church of the FSM may either be a perfect embodiment of Zen or American Buddhism in the way it pretty much disestablishes all rules and attachments to tradition, while preserving a sense of community which is skillful means for enlightenment, and it’s fun. Thinking of pasta puns are like koans. Seriously.

Also, if you’re not a religious scholar, this post is refering to something called the Mysterium Tremendum. Type those two words into Wikipedia and either roll your eyes or gently chuckle at the connection between nomming spaghetti and terror before the face of the universe.

Topics: Philosophy, This is my life | Comments Off on The Nominous Experience

You will live free

By Billy | September 28, 2011

I’ve had this quote in my head for days. I couldn’t remember where it came from, and there’s only 1 hit on the net for the quote. I think it deserves a second.

Ladies and gentlemen, the true thing is… I know we’re creating a scene, but creating a scene is not illegal. You were born free, you will live free, you will die free. You are allowed to make a scene. You are allowed to scream for joy. You are allowed to complain, you are allowed to cry. You are allowed to love people, you are allowed to hug people. And we’re starting to live in a world where we’re starting to feel scared. We’re starting to forget just how divine and special we are as human beings. Every single one of you is the only example of you that will ever exist. And there’s not a single authority on this world, especially not private security men, who can tell you how to behave at any time, any place, any where. You are free. You will live free. You will die free. The only chains that exist are in your mind. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.

If I ever write a post-rock/post-hardcore song it will probably include the audio from this.
Everything is OK

Topics: Utterly Random | Comments Off on You will live free

An Open Application

By Billy | September 14, 2011

“It’s gota be math or science…” I can hear the words bounce around my skull with the same inflection as clearly as if I were hearing them from my father’s lips. Some things were always certain about my life; more than just taxes and death. Not only will I be going to college, because I’ve heard from before I could understand the words that I’ll be paying for it myself, but I will be studying math or science. I remember the day I verbally consented to this fact of life. My father and I were driving home from Carnegie Mellon University. You see, we had just dropped my brother off at his first year of college; he was to study engineering at the second best engineering school in the country.

“I enjoy physics class,” I said, “because I think it’s cool to see the applications of the math. But really, I just like doing the math.” I was about to speak a sentence that would define my life for the next couple of years, and those years would form the springboard for exactly what I would run away from for the following couple of years. “I think I want to study math when I go to college.” I said it with no understanding of what the world would be like in 3 years when I went to college. I said it with an image of simplicity, and a vague notion of spending my weekends locked in a dungeon like room surrounded by chalkboards and complex equations that have more Greek characters in it than The Odyssey. That was not only a sustainable life according to my naïve understanding of “life,” but it was also a happy existence.

I said it to make him happy. I said it to make me happy. I said it because I couldn’t be happy without his support. I said it because I genuinely believed that I needed to study math or science in order to reliably make enough money to life a comfortable and happy life. I said it because I grew up in a house where we believed in two types of artists; the ones that are deities and the ones who are hungry. I said it because I thought I wanted to study math.

Maybe I did.

For my father or for myself, for better or worse, I declared an intention to study mathematics. Not physics, not engineering, not computer science, not any of the other stuff that mathematics is the basic building block for, but just mathematics. Soon enough I was learning the calculus, statistics, how to prove things, how to tell which person is from the village that only lies and which guy’s from the village that only tells the truth, I even learned the answer to Neo’s question, “What is the Matrix?” I lived and breathed numbers and equations, and not in the mystical everything-is-math sense, but because I was living a life I hadn’t chosen. The only way to live a life you haven’t chosen is to do it with your eyes closed and your head down. When you know what you’re doing, everything changes.

The day I printed out the German language Wikipedia article about Goethe and snuck it underneath my calculus book to practice my German during a math class was the day I decided to change my major. I was a sophomore at a school I’d chosen to go to in order to stay with my high-school “sweetheart.” This school wasn’t challenging, wasn’t far from my home, and wasn’t the right fit at all for me. Thankfully, by this point I had already put this sweetheart and the physical and emotional abuse incorporated into our relationship far behind me. About this time, half way through my 3rd semester of college, I decided to find a new school, find a new major, and find a new life, or at least make sense enough of my old life that it feels new and good.
I started taking classes about culture and politics. I always had a soft spot for “poor people” collectively, and had always dreamed about the Peace Corps or something of that nature. Now that I was actually starting to realize that I was in charge of my life and my decisions, the dreams I’d always thought belonged in a parallel universe started peeking into my consciousness and announcing themselves as well within my reach for this universe and this life time. I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed money and a surefire way to get a job, above almost everything else, so I declared a Political Science major when I started at James Madison University. The Peace and Conflict Resolution class I took at American University thrilled me, and I thought it quite possible to find a job for someone holding a Poly-sci degree to find a job in my home town of the blob of city just outside Washington, DC.

By this time in my life, I was a passionate pacifist, a veracious vegan practitioner, and recognized in my college community as “that barefoot Buddhist.” I ached for justice across the globe, and between humanity and the rest of the planet, and in my own heart and mind. My political science classes stimulated these passions, but always left me feeling very uneasy. Every class made me feel like I’d been watching a movie that got cut off right at the climax. The only things that helped me reconcile all the craziness I uncovered in politics classes were the Meaning and origins of conflict that I learned about in the religion classes that crept into my schedule every semester. Classes like Religious Approaches to Death and Dying and Gandhi and Global Nonviolence seemed much more relevant to me as a growing, living, breathing human being than Critical Issues in Recent Global History. In that class, we had to read a book called World on Fire, which made me cry so much that I ultimately chucked the book and I don’t know if I ever saw it again. I am more interested in why people are afraid, why people horde their food and don’t share it, why capitalism feels safe and cozy to so many people, why we throw grenades in the name of peace. I know it happens, and I don’t feel much like getting overwhelmed by it is going to help me contribute any solutions.

Thus my major changed again. I had almost already finished the coursework for a Religious Studies degree, minus the thesis paper (and also a Religion 101 course) before I had changed my major in my senior year. Everything I had been learning in my religion classes made me more and more sure that there were many other important things than money. The surety of a job that Mathematics provides is nothing to the freedom and happiness that an oversized dose of Buddhist Metaphysics, Ontology, and Epistemology can pack.

My universe was expanding at the same moment as my world was getting smaller. I began to have a smaller and manageable focus, while noticing that the bigness of the world was not so overwhelming. I started seeing the connection between a well formed and sustainable community and the end of terrible industrial agriculture practices or the sacrifice of an entire mountain(ous region) for a quick fix of dirty coal.

So hurrah. I finished school with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion with an emphasis on Cross Cultural Religious Studies and also managed to get a minor in Asian Studies. According to my first university, I earned a mathematics minor, but virtually none of that transferred to JMU. As I write this I am sitting in the attic of a 200 year old Catholic School building turned into a residence in rural Austria. It makes me smile to think I left the Calculus to find Goethe, and when I came to Austria, I have the feelings I have tonight.

Since I’ve moved to Austria, I’ve had time to think about where I go from here. How do I make myself effective, happy, and balanced? I live in a town of 3,000 people, where I don’t speak the language fluently, and I came knowing absolutely nobody. Here, I am allowed a lot of time to think about what I am lacking. While my official job is to teach English, I think I much prefer the odd moment when I get to teach math. In college I studied French, Hebrew, and German and it is an understatement to say that I’m passionate about language, but that passion dims in comparison to the passion I have lurking in the background about algorithms and relationships of numbers and formulas.

I’ve started programming again! I’ve dug deep to find the old knowledge I had from the days in high school when I was an award winning roboticist. I am working on re-learning the relationships between the various trigonometric identities, and trying to actually understand why they function that way. During my banjo building extravaganza, when I tried to use the Law of Cosines and I couldn’t remember it, I was heartbroken. Whatever it was when I said to my father, “I want to study mathematics,” was a piece of something. Whether that was a voice of truth ringing out amidst a lot of other confusion about should and could, or whether laying that shoddy foundation down also left a hardy roots that grew like mushrooms in Hegelkulture underneath the top growth of philosophy and politics, I don’t know.

In any case, I am stuck with this ridiculous passion of thinking algorithmically. I am stuck with this technical, and often Robot-tending thinking pattern amidst feelings of a call to the wild and a desire to spend my life living without electricity in the woods. This time, however, I don’t think it’s pure mathematics that I’m getting reeled in by, I think it’s an application of that math. I think it’s computer science this time, and I think the difference is that now I’m not afraid to be content doing exactly what my father has as his profession.
And all this is to say, in a very silent, very confused whisper, “grad school?”

Topics: This is my life | Comments Off on An Open Application

I Just Have a lot of Feelings

By Billy | September 12, 2011

Ha. So I saw some of the most beautiful things in the world yesterday. And I didn’t bring my camera, so you just don’t get to know what it was like by using your eyes. People made art out of flowers and pine cones and water and ashes and barbed wire and passion flowers and death and life and… and they will only last a few days. It’s perfect. My chest was torn open by this monastery filled with dying pieces of art. My heart was fed directly with a huge hypodermic needle of adrenaline and lust for life and a hunger for words and a screaming for silence. People with glue and scissors spend 1.5 years learning to take nature, put it unnaturally together, and represent nature with it. People walk this world for decades looking at life and forgetting that they are part of it until they look at something that resembles it, and then they have a chance to remember that they are alive. They have a chance to remember that they are beautiful. That Things Are Beautiful

But every now and then a person can realize their role in it all. They can feel the sting and the freedom of their unavoidable condition and they can embrace it, they can swim in it, they can drown in it. This feels like but certainly is not Death.

It is said that Yin supports Yang and Yang protects Yin. Is it any wonder that feeling alive involves feeling a piece of you die? You cannot die before you live, but you cannot live without knowing and tending towards dying. The You that Exists well beyond the you that You let yourself perpetuate cannot die, but also can only live when You (and you) let the you that you (both) put up as a mask finally step down.

Stupid confusing wordplay aside. When we shed the whatever it is that prevents us from seeing clearly, then we feel like every piece of moss and grass is intimately important to our very existence. It isn’t important that we are clean, well shaven, productive, active members of a capitalistic society. We are unavoidably integrated into a more important society and beatles and moss are your coworkers. It’s unsustainable right now, but it’s important to spend time with these colleagues to remember why you’re out there earning money and buying food — why you’re staying alive. It’s unsustainable because the beatle spends time looking for his next meal, while we spend time worrying about how we can afford our next meal. It’s unsustainable because it hurts to shed these layers and it hurts to love every different type of moss. We have a hard time balancing the tension between where we want to be and where we are — and it seems much easier to bounce from one end to the other rather than dampening down to the very center and staying perfectly balanced. Maybe it is easier to live on both sides and always try to remember.

This weekend I did things that I haven’t done but once in a blue moon. Things that I should do so much more frequently. Things that feel like work, things that feel like one cannot possibly engage in them very frequently. The human heart cannot stand so much emotion, the human mind cannot bother to think about everything so intensely, the human spirit cannot be satisfied for a whole lifetime by the same old boring tricks of the sunlight.
Every morning for the last I-don’t-know-how-long, I have cupped just a little water on my hands as part of my morning ritual. And every single morning I have had the exact same thought, “I still can’t believe I’m waterproof.” Seriously. It’s bonkers. Water can’t go through my hand. I am flabbergasted. This gives me hope. Sitting in the sun when you’re comfortable, but the sun is just a little warmer has never become passe. This gives me hope. The sunset gives me hope. The stars and the moon give me hope. The ocean gives me hope. Physics gives me hope. The Pythagorean Theorem gives me hope. Eulers number exponentiated to the quantity of the ratio of every circle in the universe to it’s own diameter times negative one to the one half power — gives me hope. These things remind me that the world will not ever become mundane because it is infinite. No two sunsets are the same, no two moons are the same, and you know what — you’ve never breathed this breath before. My life might not be something special, but it’s never been lived before. The world is always new, and we have only ourselves to blame if we don’t feel just as new.

This hope gives me strength. Strength to believe there can be safety in feeling smallness and bigness together in the same moment. Safety that I will not deplete myself of spirit by counting the rain. Hope that someday I won’t cry when a spiderweb makes a rainbow. Hope that there is a realistic and sustainable way to live as part of nature and as a human being, a thing which seems to have collectively been forgotten. So once again I am strengthened. I am not crazy. I am not lost. I am not walking further in the wrong direction. I just don’t know where I’m going.
לֶךְ־ לְךָ֛…אֶל־ הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ : God said “Go (!) to the place that I will show you.” The first Jew and he didn’t even know where he was going or how to be one. And this is our example.
It’s nice to be in the woods and have these fears, because things make sense out there. The sparrows don’t worry about their next meals, and frankly I don’t have to worry in the woods about my meals because safety is always a few kilometers away, with tea and a fire and fresh bread. When you get home and have to do a little cleaning, then these feelings creep back in. It seems the easiest way to ignore the tension between real-life and Real Living is to worry about the tension, rather than the two ends. Or to look at a jar of glowing mushrooms that you keep next to your pillow and think of nothing else.
Do all people think like this? Or do I just have a lot of feelings?

Topics: This is my life | Comments Off on I Just Have a lot of Feelings


By Billy | September 9, 2011

I built a banjo once. Twice, actually. Neither of them were good. The first time was relatively inspiring, and the second time was absolutely heartbreaking. I have decided to never ever embark on a big project ever again. It’s so discouraging and frustrating and time wasting and blah blah blah et cetera.
No, instead, I will adapt. This banjo fiasco has taught me to stop trying so big and so focused on a goal at the end of the day. When I finished my piece of junk banjo (hyperbole) I realized I needed a way to self soothe.
I baked bread yesterday. I will bake the exact same 4-ingredient bread today with a very minor change in execution in the hopes of baking the perfect bread. I have never been one to self-soothe with cleaning or baking or watching my favorite movie or even binging on chocolate. In fact, I don’t know if I can really identify a way that I have found to make myself feel better. Usually I’ve just found a way to make myself feel nothing. That don’t help much.
I have a bread project now. It is completely sans-goals. It is completely open ended. There is no way to fail at it. My goal is to try to make bread very often.
I am good at setting goals. I’m actually pretty decent at reaching goals to some extent. The problem seems to be that the last 20% of whatever goal I really want is never put together very nicely. I just get so excited about the end that I give up on it all. This project is different.
My Aunt told me once that you are something like 70% more likely to reach a goal if you write it down. So, of course, the thing I did that day was to write down, “Goal: Write down all my goals.” That means I have a 70% chance of reaching my goals 7 out of 10 times. Pretty good.
As it turns out, I have taken up the habit of writing for 30 minutes every morning — and in those minutes comes out a lot of goals. Petty and gradiose, good and bad, healthy and unhealthy. I probably write down every goal that I think of now. I apparently fell on the happier side of that 70% with the goal I mentioned earlier. Well another thing that helps me accomplish my goals is that at night, I keep track of whether or not I took a measurable step towards accomplishing my goal. I want to do sit ups, pull ups, and breathing meditation every day, so in my night-journal, the first line is dedicated to writing the time, date, location, then how many sit ups, pull ups, and breaths of breathing meditation I do every day. If I skip a day, it’s not that big of a deal, but I have to look at the 000/00/00 at the top of the page and it burns into my brain while I write. If I write 000/00/00 for 3 days in a row, you can be sure I’m either very ill or that I’m going to do my sit ups the next day. I just added pull-ups last month, so it was quite often that the page would look like 100/40/0. I didn’t allow myself to be frustrated or angry, just notice it. That 0 appears less and less often now.

Well last night I wrote 100/40/9/BREAD. I intend on listing bread/no bread with every night. That’s all. We buy bread every other day, so it’s not ridiculous for me to make it, instead, every other day. My goal in this is not to become an excellent bread baker, nor is it to have an excellent bread repertoire, it is to enjoy making bread. This goal is a promise to myself to continually do something that is productive and also to enjoy myself while I do it. It’s a little stressful to cook bread for me, since I’m always worried about doing it wrong, but I imagine soon it will be enjoyable and meditative. I have inklings of hopes that in the future I can make things like breads made from nuts, bread cooked over open fires, raw and vegan (and raw vegan) breads, or cook using a solar oven. Those aren’t goals, they’re acknowledgements of possibilities.

There is a distinct difference between Bread and building a banjo. My results are daily, my failures are extremely expectable, and my progress is notable. It’s my hope that someday I will learn to build a banjo the same way I am learning to make bread. I hope to be able to cut fretslots, install truss rods, grind cow bones into neck nuts, etc., with a meditative, grand scheme/small task balanced, simplistic pleasure throughout the whole project. For now, I need to learn to complete small taskts 100% of the way, and enjoy it for the whole time. I suspect that the 80% problem I have has to do with focusing on the last 20% or even the whole 100% instead of looking at the 1% that I am currently working on.

So. Today I made Eggs in a Basket, with a home made basket of bread I baked yesterday.

Mine didn't look like this

That also didn’t turn out perfect, but I ate it and could not complain. It was no where near as pretty as V makes it in V for Vendetta.

Also, I’ve been thinking of using this blog to collect all the annoying things I’d post every 10 seconds on facebook so, look at the stuff I leave at the end.

I didn’t dig Ani til I heard her say “Fuck you.”

Topics: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bread.


By Billy | September 5, 2011

Is there a difference between a soul choosing to inhabit a body in a specific place and time and a soul being chosen by God to be where it is when it is? Did your soul exist before you were born and will it exist after you die? Is the great Death we pretend to fear for our entire lives anything more dramatic than the thousand little deaths we experience when we let go of our bad habits, our past traumas, our best friends, or the air in our lungs at any moment?

We tend to think a soul is the thing that makes us who we are. If we have a defining aspect at all — something that declares our speciality among the ocean of existence, that would be the place we should tack down the little label that says, “me,” or, “self,” or, “soul.” And why is it that we think existing in our bodies at this moment, and having the ability to turn chemicals into notions of things like existence — why is this more or less remarkable or unusual than the notion of us existing outside, before, or after our bodies.

My religion these days has been that 1 = 0. It has been that creation is destruction and life is death. It has been that every single opposite that you can suppose not only necessitates its counterpart, but creates, causes, enables, destroys, and in every way possible is it’s other half. Every choice you have made was made for you. You chose your own fate completely. Things are not what they seem; nor are they otherwise. We are a paradox of profoundly simple truths that battle against each other like violin bow and the strings. Maybe the friction between us keeps us from falling apart.

When information enters your eyeballs and tells your brain about it, is that information equal to the object you’re looking at? Is it different from the object you’re seeing? We like to pretend that we’re actually viewing a thing, but really we’re experiencing a conversation between a perceiver and a processor. It’s a little more obvious with taste; does chicken inherently taste like what you think it does, or does it only taste that way because your tongue talks to your brain, and we’ve evolved to experience it in this way? Does salt have an intrinsic and universal way of tasting? (Is it so intrinsic that the periodic table also include how things taste?) Why do we think that what we see has an intrinsic and universal way of looking? Why do we think who we are has an intrinsic and universal way of Being? If your shadow casts a shadow, I bet you couldn’t see it. Is the unseeable, unexperienceable, unnoticeable, unimportant, unreasonable, and unconceivable nonexistent just because we think so? Can something of these sorts exist just because we think so?

Why is your reality so damn rigid?

Topics: Philosophy, Utterly Random | Comments Off on 1+1=1

Dear Autumn, Wait. Addendum:

By Billy | September 4, 2011

I asked Autumn to wait and she didn’t.
I begged summer to be but she isn’t.
and the sun comes in at Autumn’s angle
and I don’t listen.
I asked Autumn to hold off for me
but she lives in the bones of the trees
and the stars now can whimper
in a way that summer don’t allow.
I asked Autumn to slow but she hastened.
I waited too long and am chastened.
And I brace for the heat
and I’d roll up my sleeves but I don’t.

I asked Autumn to hold off
she let go.
I asked Summer to wait
she went.

And I stood in the breeze and blew back.
And I stared at the trees amazed.
And I know there are fires waiting
and blankets ready for sharing.
But Autumn holds herself
between where I am and where I will be.
Teasing, defying, denying.
But she is my last ling’ring leaf.
And every one must fall.

Topics: poetry | Comments Off on Dear Autumn, Wait. Addendum:

The Songs You Didn’t Know You Loved

By Billy | August 31, 2011

One of my new Austrian friends asked me the other day what music I like. I hesitated for a long time and didn’t really give a good answer, though I have weeks of music on my computer that I love to listen to. This post is effectively a mixtape of music that I won’t be offended if you don’t like. Some of these songs are pearls in oceans I have not explored, some are the only songs I can stand by the artist, and some represent my favorite artists ever. All of them are songs I reall, *really* like.


To start out, we’ll go with the Blood Brothers. This song melts at the end. I like it so much because it sounds alright for the beginning, and then decides to defy rhythm and understandability for the sake of perfection. It is a bit transcendental in this manner.

The Blood Brothers – Loves Rymes with a Hideous Car Wreck

This entire CD is a journey through different paths of self realization, in which the character of the story eventually ends up at the beginning again, right back where they started. Can’t you tell through the delicately delivered lyrics which are so easy to understand?

Circle Takes the Square – Interview at the Ruins

This isn’t my favorite I Hate Myself song. I don’t know why I didn’t link you to To A Husband At War, but I chose this one. I Hate Myself is probably my favorite band ever. I think everything they’ve ever done is 100%, absolutely flawless. I even bought one of their records. I don’t have a record player and I’ve never listened to it, but I have one of their records.

I Hate Myself – Caught in a Flood with the Captain of the Cheerleading Squad

When I discovered Agalloch, I was speechless. They embody just about everything I want from a musical group. They are skilled with their instruments and lyrics, include mythology in almost all their songs, they might worship or be in love with trees, and they play doom metal. Perfect. This song isn’t an example at all of doom metal, but it is pretty much the right mood. Also, that’s a mandolin, that’s an accordion, that’s a song that makes me feel emotions sometimes.

Agalloch – A Desolation Song

Daylight Dies isn’t far away from Agalloch in style. Agalloch has bigger grit in the gravely quality of their vocal growliness. Daylight Dies has a big, hearty, yet smooth growl. They didn’t just turn into Mr. Hyde, but have been stuck in that body for years and aren’t so terrified of themselves, it sounds like. Remember, when a metal song is more than 5 minutes long, you shouldn’t be sitting on the edge of your seat trying to suck it all in as excitedly as possible. They’re going for an atmospheric quality.

Daylight Dies – A Life Less Lived

Choosing a single rap song was difficult, but if I didn’t, I would have gone one forever. I seem to be attracted mostly to East coast gangster rap like the Lox, DMX, Black Rob, Ma$e, etc. Big Pun is probably one of the best lyricists ever. Maaaybe. I don’t know what it means to take someone’s manhood, as indicated in this song. Hm.

Big Pun – Dream Shatterer

The lyrics, the singing style, the instruments. It’s all there. Any song that starts out with the lines, “Kidnapped! I’ve been kidnapped! …by a guy with a moustache and a chick with an eye patch,” and any band that can pull it off seriously… is fine by me.

Les Savy Fav – Adopduction

So there’s a genre of music called lo-fi. This basically means that you don’t sing while you play good songs, but instead you talk without hardly tryin’. Silver Jews are the best at it. Their lyrics are awesome and stick with ya well after the song is over, but I still can’t figure out if it’s actually good music, or just enjoyable. Does that make it good?

Silver Jews – Random Rules

I haven’t listened to this song in a year or two, but I used to listen to it in its entirety once a day for many days on end. Opeth writes epicly lengthed songs. There’s a word for it. Opethic. I don’t know how to use it in a sentence, but I think this one deserves the word. Most people don’t talk about this Opeth CD, but I think it’s definitely the best.

Opeth – To Bid You Farewell

Do I like this title more than the song? No. Do I adore the title of this song? Yes. I like vocals that sound like demons or birds, (or Pidgey from Pokemon, come to think of it?) These songs are awesome. Funeral Diner is great. If you like this song, you may also like all of their songs. They’re also perfect. I don’t know what else to say.

Funeral Diner – My Fist Smells Like Graveyard

La Dispute. Where the hell did I find you? I have no idea. I love music where the vocalist sounds like he’s either on fire or having his heart removed with his own hands after they have been broken hundreds of times against his will and it has been shaped into a sharp mess of claw/bone each time as it heals poorly.

La Dispute – Such Small Hands

This song is so ominous sounding and surefooted. I am pretty sure this is what Saruman listened to as he sent the Orcs out to lay waste to that silly Helms Deep. (Tangentially, if you like this and Agalloch and Opeth, you may like Falls of Rauros. Why did they name their band that? Iduno.) Cult of Luna! God. This band makes me want to listen to nothing but Post-Doom Metal for the rest of my life, specifically just to Cult of Luna. I actually haven’t explored their discography or even the 1 CD I have of them, and I am quite certain it’s that as soon as I do, I will mourn for how long I’ve put it off, or because I’ll go into a week of isolation needing to listen to just their music. In short, I’m just not ready for this band.

Cult of Luna – Finland

There was a time when this song was all I could listen to. It made me go to sleep when I needed to sleep, and it got me pumped up when I needed… pumping up. It is sad and sweet and awesome. If you don’t like it by the first 2 minutes, I guess you can probably skip the last 6 of them. I don’t doubt that a major reason it’s so awesome to me is that it could easily be played during the ending credits of Double Dragon / Battle Toads for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Jesu – Wolves

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hau Ruck. This song is pretty much flawless. There’s an interlude in the middle with a soundclip of a man talking about “violence in America” and how it’s caused by thugs who always plague “the good people.” I watched a documentary in my Critical Issues in Recent Global History class that featured this exact speech and I recited that part of the speech out loud to the astonishment of my teacher. The speech was made in response to a prison riot which was made in response to mass murder and starvation in a prison.

KMFDM – Free Your Hate

And how could we get through this list without Mindless Self Indulgence? When I searched through my iTunes for “faggot,” only two songs came up. One by the homosexual industrial-music making insane person, and the other a song called “Kill the Faggot” by Styles P of the Lox. Styles has consistently been one of my favorite rappers since I first heard Ryde or Die Chick when I was in 6th grade. But about MSI. Hm. Is there anything the song doesn’t explain for itself? (P.S. Finding the best video for this was a challenge, I chose to go with an anime that involved swordfighting for symbolic purposes)

Mindless Self Indulgence – Faggot


And this last one I’m super happy to finally have found on the internet. None of the Dresden Dolls were online for a long while. Times is a changin!
All of their stuff is worth looking into. Yes, she uses the word carefuller. Duh.
The Dresden Dolls – Girl Anachronisms .

Well that’s all for now. I hope you found something you love so you can ask me for more. With a few exceptions, I can point you to some similar sounding artists from any of these videos. 😀

Topics: Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Songs You Didn’t Know You Loved

It is not invisible, but lost like a forest for the trees.

By Billy | August 26, 2011

This poem is a constant work in Progress. Which is hilarious because it is about an obscure flavor of Christianity called Process Theology. As such, these words constantly work to reflect an asymptotically and therefore eternally refining theory of eschatology, metaphysics, ontology, and most importantly me. It’s called,  “It is not invisible, but lost like a forest for the trees.”

When I was a child

I thought like a child

I reasoned and spoke

As I’d been taught

As a child.

I thought mountains were mountains.

And trees were just trees.

I thought prayer was a thing that you did on your knees.

I thought faith was that thing when you heard then believed

I thought God was a thing on a cloud you can’t see.

I thought death was a monster

And life was a curse

I thought both could be conquered if I found the right verse.

I believed in a God of anger and wrath,

I thought I could lose him if I strayed from some path.

I believed in a clockmaker; distant and cool.

Who came round to wind us, or made us his tool.

I believed that grace could be earned and revoked,

And that God could be goaded or teased or provoked.

And I was afraid of mistakes I had made,

And I feared for my soul and my hopes all decayed.

And I lost the glimmer of light that I saw

I gave up my reason and abandoned my law.


In The Dark Night where there is No Soul

There is no God, just an empty Whole.

I learned there are corners and depths so deep

That only darkness and evil can creep.

And somewhere in that darkened stillness

Attacking like a violent illness

I, like my hopes and my God and my reasons,

Came apart and together, and I cycled like seasons.

And God created light. And from that light he made darkness.

Topics: poetry | Comments Off on It is not invisible, but lost like a forest for the trees.

« Previous Entries Next Entries »