Fear Mongering isn’t Helping

Time for a little perspective here. Recently people have thrown around the words “terrorism” and “terrorist” rather liberally. This is inappropriate fear mongering. Be thankful that so few people died or suffered injuries  as a result of recent incidents, be thankful that we live in a country, where this sort of event is shocking and horrible and unexpected. Don’t blow it up out of proportion. Push back against legislation that strips us of our civil liberties under the guise of “stopping terrorism”. Do people really think that if we have enough laws against something that it will just end?

I am not trying to defend people like this, but jumping straight into “terrorist kills soldier, attacks Parliament” isn’t doing anything but spreading fear and uncertainty.

Law enforcement says they are unclear of his motives, can’t find anything that demonstrates he had help from another party. Yes, he was radically religious, yes, he had a history of drug addiction, and even a criminal past, but I’d like to stress again backed by a quote from the New York Times “Investigators have said they do not know whether he acted spontaneously or deliberately, or why.”

His own parents seem to have no idea why he  was driven to do such a thing.  Below is a statement they have written in response to inquiries from the Associated Press:

Hi, I am writing this note on behalf of my husband and myself. No words can express the sadness we are feeling at this time. We are so sad that a man lost his life. He has lost everything and he leaves behind a family that must feel nothing but pain and sorrow. We send our deepest condolences to them although words seem pretty useless. We are both crying for them. We also wish to apologize for all the pain, fright and chaos he created. We have no explanation to offer. I am mad at our son, I don’t understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time. You write that our son was vulnerable, we don’t know, we (he) was lost and did not fit in. I his mother spoke with him last week over lunch, I had not seen him for over five years before that. So I have very little insight to offer. We don’t wish to be part of any media circus, we don’t think it will add anything to the conversation. Please respect our privacy although many may not feel we deserve any … Once again we are so sorry. -Susan Bibeau and Bulgasem Zehaf

Does that sound like the voice of someone proud of their child’s actions? Does it sound like someone who deserves  threats, attacks, and harassment because of their religion?

As for the events in Montreal, Harper was quick to condemn the event as a result of a call to arms from radical Islamic groups, even though that has not yet been proven. So why give groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda the opportunity to take credit for it by branding it “terrorism”?

Fear mongering isn’t helping anyone, so knock it off. Quit threatening people who are different, be it in faith or ethnicity or what ever other criteria. Quit calling for increased laws at the cost of civil liberties. Don’t fall for click-bait headlines. Do your research. Yes, it was a tragedy, but the loss of our civil liberties is an even greater one.

The Physical World

Death From Above 1979: The Physical World

One of the greatest Canadian acts of all time, Death From Above 1979 has finally released their second album The Physical World it is a glorious, notorious, noisy and much welcomed return to the music world. I recently got my hands on the ultimate bundle edition of their new album and it lives up to the decade of hype! Bear with me while I review The Physical World!

Super Ultra Mega Crazy Collectors’ Edition*

Swag included Crazy Wicked Awesome
Everything in the Ultimate Bundle

* AKA The Ultimate Bundle

The Ultimate Bundle of The Physical World retails for almost $90 but is almost completely worth it. In addition to the epic new album you get: A set of 12 vinyl stickers, each a track from the album, A DFA1979 T-shirt, Physical World patch, Elephant Head Pin and Belt Buckle. To top it all off, it includes a Physical World Poster signed by the band! The one downside to this bundle was the way the packaging was handled, my stickers ended up sticked to the print on the shirt which caused some major wrinkling, and my CD wasn’t included with the rest of the swag. Fortunately the fine folks at Kill the 8 were nice enough to replace my sticker sheet and send my cd free of charge after I tracked down their customer service.

The Physical World

The album itself is unassuming, a plain red disc with the band’s name, and album title. I was pleasantly surprised when I stuck it in the player and the loud, proud noisy sound that put Death From Above on the radar with 2004′s You’re a woman, I’m a Machine started up. The Physical World is eleven tracks, with a running time of just over a half hour. In a slight departure from their past work, tracks like  Gemini and White is Red give the album an interesting pop twist.  Death From Above 1979 claimed that their new album would be different from what they’ve done in the past, and it is, but in a good way. Kind of like how cupcakes are different from cake, but not really. One important thing to note was that the digital album I received for The Physical World  was mp3 at 256kbps so if you’re an audiophile, you’ll want to rip your own copy.

The Final Verdict

If you’re a long time lover of the dynamic duo, or new to their sounds, The Physical World is worth every cent you choose to spend on it. You can pick it up, along with all kinds of other DFA1979 Swag from Kill The 8 Here, stream it from Google Play Here, and pick it up from iTunes Here.

Steam Backlog Title

I am Terrified of My Steam Backlog

I have a confession that I need to make, I am terrified of my Steam Backlog.

There, I said it. I mean it too. I have just over 300 different titles in my Steam Library, I need almost two terabytes of space to install all of them. I’ve logged a ridiculous number of hours (that I won’t mention here) and yet I’ve only managed to play a third of them.  If that.

I’ve spent $1263.95 on Steam, not including various bundle deals, like the Humble Bundles.  That means I’ve spent more than $800 on things I’ve never even used.

Maybe I do have a problem.

That’s a lot of money down the drain. Mind you that’s over the past five years, and it was never more than $30 at a time, $4.99 here, $9.99 there. I always managed to justify it to myself, “Ooooh 75% off! I HAVE TO buy that.” or “part of my purchase is going to a good cause.” or even “I’m supporting game devs, artists, and musicians. They can eat now that I’ve given them money.”

 

Have I really supported those people if I never play their games?
All these titles sit there, gathering virtual dust, taking up two hard drives. That’s like commissioning Ushio Shinohara to create a painting and never ever looking at it. But that’s not why I’m scared of my Steam Backlog. I’m terrified because…

I might die before I get through my Steam Backlog.

Seriously. If we assume that each game takes an average of 15 hours to complete the story, and that I have approximately 200 games to complete, (probably way more, Steam says I’ve only completed 19% of a game on average) that’s 3000 hours of playtime before I’m done. That’s not counting getting every single achievement, side quest et cetera. Just the primary content.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around just how terrifying my backlog is, this handy infographic should help break it down.

Steam Backlog Infographic
My Steam Backlog.

I really have a problem.

I have no idea what I’m going to do. What can I do? It’s not like I can just cloister myself away and play video games. I can’t stop buying games either, There are too many new and pretty titles to  buy and play.  Soon. Eventually. Probably one day. Maybe?

I’ll get around to solving it one day, right now it’s time to relax and play some video games…

Sweigh's UI

Sweighing in on the Sweigh App

Sweigh, the clever portmanteau of sway and weigh, is the title of a recently launched iPhone app that serves as an interesting new social media platform. Giving weight to what matters to you, Sweigh falls somewhere between reddit and a game of would you ever. Users can post a variety of content, under  many categories from Technology to Food & Drink,  asking questions which other Sweigh users can answer and vote on.

Created by Chris Monteleone and Jamie Proctor, Sweigh is still very much in its infancy, but fills its niche very well. Providing near instantaneous feedback on content, Sweigh feels incredibly engaging especially when compared to networks like Facebook and Twitter, where it often seems like shouting into the void. Millions of status updates, messages, tweets and images are shared by people every day, but only a fraction of these posts get responses. Sweigh tries successfully to avoid that problem.  Bite-sized bits of content are perfect for today’s uber-connected social media users while still being engaging and thought-provoking.

A unique platform combined with a clutter free and eye-catching user interface, it’s certainly an attractive and appealing alternative to other social networks. One interesting feature is the ability to either post anonymous content or to share with friends.  This is a refreshing change from the pervasive data mining so common on the rest of the web.

Sweigh, like almost everything else on the internet is not without its quirks. For now it’s only available on iPhone and iOS 7 leaving Android and Windows Phone users out of the loop. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however as someone who primarily uses Android devices, I can’t help but feel a little jaded.

Final Verdict

As far as social media goes, there’s a ton of competition, Sweigh manages to stand out exceptionally well, it’s clever, easy to use and entertaining. Assuming they launch Android and web versions I suspect Sweigh will soon be a household name.

If you want to start sweighing in on what matters to you, you can grab it from The App Store here.

Real Men Don’t Scream at the Fire Hydrants

Real men are the epitome of the human race

Real men don’t get intoxicated
Especially not on light beer
Real men get Drunk

 Real men don’t sing karaoke
They invented it

Real men don’t stop drinking at last call
They find another, manlier bar that’s still open

Real men don’t stumble drunkenly
They walk with purpose, even if that purpose makes them a little disoriented right now

Real men don’t scream at the fire hydrants
Because that’s how they got arrested for public disturbances.

Quandrant Debut EP: Elements

Liverpool based Quandrant is back with their début EP Elements! it’s AWESOME! Even though they’ve parted ways with their previous drummer, David Stephenson their edgy, metal inspired, progressive sound still rocks just as much as it did in their single: Through the Veil.

The British rockers are in top form with their shiny  début EP and it shows. Elements is a must have for any alt-rock enthusiast. Extra long tracks leave plenty of room for some epic solos!

Quandrant’s début EP features three new tracks from the band and the previously released Tripartite from their 2012 single.  It’s almost a half hour of crunchy bass, technical guitar work, and the eerily falsetto vocals  of Lloyd Rock.

Elements is edgy and melodic without being too mellow, and Quandrant’s dark and moody sound comes off surprisingly upbeat in places which is a pleasant break when not a single track is less than five minutes.

Overall Elements is a solid effort from Quandrant and worth every dime you want to give them. Quandrant’s name your price model means that Elements is an excellent purchase, suitable for every budget.  You can buy Elements from Quandrant’s site at music.quandrant.net 

I would recommend Elements to anyone looking for indie progressive rock with a metal twist sound. Thanks to BandCamp it’s even audiophile friendly with Lossless FLAC downloads available.

I’d love to hear more from Quandrant and I hope you will too.

Don’t forget to follow Quandrant on twitter @Quandrant, and while you’re at it, follow me too @The_IanM.

Keep on being awesome Quandrant!

A Look at MIC:LEE

Hey world! Ian here with some new sounds from up and coming Canadian producer and emcee, MIC:LEE!  For your listening pleasure I’ve embedded a playlist of his tracks for you to chill with while you find out what I have to say.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve never been a fan of rap, MIC:LEE could change this.

Mike Lee Louisseize hails from Barrie, Ontario and damn he’s good! He hit me up on Twitter this morning and asked me to take a look at one of his newest tracks PATIENCE(??) ft. KEN-GEE (prod. Maze)

(If you have something you want me to look at, it’s really that simple, just hit me up @The_IanM)

I figured I’d do him a solid and look at everything! His upcoming Albumn, The MIC:LEE Project is coming up soon!

Self-described as “The only rapper that personifies Will Graham rather than Hannibal.” MIC:LEE runs Jus Another Label on top of his own musical career.

Smooth, bass heavy, funk and jazz inspired beats underline his crisp and distinctive raps, words are distinct, clearly enunciation is a thing he’s heard of!  Speaking of lyrics, MIC:LEE has edgy, subversive lyrics covering everything from broken hearts  and the end of capitalism to finding hope and rebirth. Some of his tracks however, feel a little overproduced but nobody’s perfect.

I expect to hear much more from MIC:LEE in the future and you should too, he’s a little rough around the edges but that’s the best kind of edge.

If that sort of thing sounds like something you want to support, check out MIC:LEE’s Bandcamp, where you can pay what you want to download his sounds.

Able-Bodied Etiquette

What’s an able-bodied person?

An able-bodied person, colloquially known as a “normal” person is someone who is usually capable of unassisted bi-pedal locomotion. Don’t be alarmed if you see an able-bodied person moving quickly, they will be fine. Shocking I know but it’s true, they will be fine. Able-bodied people often have the use of all five senses making them particularly vulnerable to sensory overload, as a result they can often be observed being incredibly absorbed by one or two things, such as their mobile phones, otherwise completely oblivious to their surroundings. This obliviousness often results in minor injuries, such as bumps, bruises and scrapes. Fortunately the able-bodied don’t have compromised immune systems and heal from these injuries quickly.

Oh No! I’ve come into contact with a normal! Am I going to die!?!?!

First, calm down you aren’t going to die. Second, it’s incredibly rude to call someone a “normal” (even if they are). Some Proper English Nouns Instead of Slurs (PENIS) that are acceptable include: PWAD (Person Without A Disability) Able-Bodied Person, and finally, person. If you are aware of another PENIS that we haven’t mentioned please feel free to let us know. Now that we’ve got the very important terms sorted out, back to less pressing matters. No, you won’t die if you’ve come into contact with a PWAD.  Able-bodiedness is not contagious. Chances are at least one of your friends, family members, or coworkers is a PWAD and you’ve already spent an extended period of time with them.

I didn’t realize Able-bodied people were so common, what can I do to make sure I’m not oppressing them with my Disabled Privilege?

If you suspect your mere existence is making those around you feel uncomfortable, don’t panic. Stop doing what ever it is that is causing problems. This could be as simple as getting out of your wheelchair before you get together. If you are missing an arm or leg, be so kind as to get a new one sewn on, or even better, grows a new one. Small gestures like these show PWADs that you respect their feelings and values as a fellow human.

What can I do to make life easier for able-bodied people?

Well for starters, you can leave your disabled privilege at the door thank-you-very-much. Able-bodied people are often very upset if they see someone different. So you can help prevent that by wearing long clothing to hide any prosthetic appendages, the same applies to assistive devices, such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs, keep them out of sight.  It is also advisable to try to stay out of the way of able-bodied people if you can help it; they are very oblivious and could hurt themselves on your equipment, or worse, stop and ask you lots of questions.

I’m still concerned that I’m making Able-bodied people uncomfortable, what can I do?

Well, if you may or may not have noticed, an able-bodied person’s biggest fear is becoming disabled, that and spiders. But everyone hates spiders. Able-bodied people fear what they don’t understand, and they really don’t seem to understand how our lives can be so difficult and painful, thus they fear us. If staying out of sight and out of mind didn’t work to calm the able-bodied people in your life, the only other guaranteed solution is the obvious one: Stop being disabled. Act as though you too, are an able-bodied person.

 

So that’s it! Just follow those simple guidelines, use the PENIS method of political correctness and you can’t possibly go wrong!

Something For Everyone