Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why My Stereo goes to Eleven

I have a lot of interests, many bordering on passions…. er, too many probably.

Some, like martial arts, are lifestyle choices. Integrated into my weekly schedule, there’s actually set times devoted to practice, so its kind of placed before me on a regular basis and my interest keeps getting renewed through regular involvement. Any reading, practicing or communicating about the martial arts that goes beyond my scheduled sessions is fine, of course, but waxes and wanes like any other interest. Because practice is part of my routine, involvement (if not actual enthusiasm) means that attention to it never really gets to fall away completely.

Others, like video games or genre films, are pastimes that come and go on an almost cyclical basis. I always love this stuff, but interest in this sort of pastime isn’t always at a fever pitch. Currently I’m in video game mode (obviously, given their dominance in this blog), with a fair focus on manga (actually a media form along with anime that is seminal to the development of video games, though my interests don’t normally dovetail them together) as well. Current manga being read: Monster, Yagyu Ninja Scroll, Path of the Assassin, Berserk, and Initial D.

Still other interests are sort of always buzzing in the background. I like to read, so I’ve always got a book or periodical being worked through at any given point. I’m particular towards SF and horror, but I try to work classic literature into my book reading, and various lifestyle publications into my magazine list. At times this sort of interest can rise up to dominate my free time. That usually happens if I discover a new author or series or a favorite author comes out with a new work. Currently reading: Lukashenko’s DayWatch and various H.P. Lovecraft stories. The Lovecraft is of course a revisit. He’s a read-many-times staple author.

I don’t really ignore interests that aren’t currently front-and-center. They just don’t get equal time all the time. I suspect most people are like this. They find an interest, thoroughly work it, then if they don’t lose interest altogether, they at least backburner it for awhile and come back to it down the road when some new inspiration comes. I might be spread a little too thin. Having a lot of things you are interested in (and maybe more importantly, conversant in) makes for a more appealing person, but you’ll never get the most out of anything you do, if you don’t have focus. As with most people, I’ve had my share of interests that I got what I could out of them and then let them go, but I’ve been around long enough to where I’m not really adding any wholly new arenas… just circling around in the ones I already know and love.

This brings me around to music. Specific to me, listening (not playing) heavy music. If there was one interest/pastime/hobby/whatever that could be called my mistress this would probably be it. In this blog I’ve talked about video games (a lot!), martial arts, and racing. I’ve now mentioned film, manga, and books in this entry. I will probably get ‘round to hobby painting/modeling, wargames, anime and even booze. All this stuff... but the one big constant, the wallpaper in the background that is ‘visible in every shot’... is music. Through all the interests that have come and gone, changes in life, and places I’ve lived, I’ve never let my love for music dim.

Oddly, given my love for music, my appearance, and a lot of my lifestyle choices, I’m not actually a musician. I can keep decent time or rhythm, and I have reasonable manual dexterity to where I could probably learn an instrument relatively quickly (given other limitations inherent in trying to learn as an adult). People sometimes think I’m in a band, but more humorously (though tiresome) is the sheer volume of folks that think I look specifically like Peter Steele, vocalist for Type O Negative. I'll detail my opinion on this resemblance at a later date. Anyway folks, I’m not a musician. I’ve never been in a band. My music interest, HAS influenced my dress and style sense. So in expressing myself, I am sort of cultivating the band member look. Part of this comes from the many years I worked for Games Workshop. That company has a very image-conscious, rock and roll, guns and thunder mindset that cultivates ‘creative types’. So when you spend your work hours (the majority of your life) in an environment of cool, where being non-conformist is fine… well, you take it to heart. I didn’t quite grow up in some ways. That’ll maybe explain the hair, the music, the clothes, all my ‘juvenile’ interests, and of course, this blog.

Heavy music? A euphemism. I’m fuckin’ metal. There it is. The heaviest music is still metal. I’d like to think I’m a bit more cultured/cultivated than the stereotype (see Deathklok), and I’ve certainly met my share of metalheads that were not just beefy beerhounds in black t-shirts. Maybe it would be more correct, in a don’t-judge-me stereotype avoidance thing to say ‘rock’, but I have to face facts, ‘rock’ just isn’t specific enough. I DO like other kinds of music too, don’t get me wrong. As in all things, I think a person needs to be well-rounded, having at least some experience in things outside their normal sphere. I listen to the Beatles, Bowie, a lot of goth rock and various forms of industrial music.

But at the end of the day, I’m a metalhead. I’m not sure why I’m coming out of the closet in the blogosphere today—I’m already well out, and a town eccentric after a fashion, in real life. I guess this is the preface to why some blog entries will be dominated by opinions in music when music (metal) isn’t specifically thought of as a fanboy interest. Well, people can be just as geeky about anything. I’ll try to restrain myself on the volume of music entries.

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