Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Book Announcement, The Zen of Minecraft, And When Did All These Bands Get So Whiny?

The Acme Employee Handbook” is set for online release this month! I should have a solid date to announce soon, and will post a link here. Hard copies of the book will be available in May after an official launch party in Australia. Since I’ve spend the last several months focused on the lonely, Sisyphean pursuit of finishing a novel, it feels good to have an actual “product” to release; something to show for myself besides a big fat mess of a book that won’t see the light of day for a long time to come.

After a few failed attempts over the years to get into Minecraft, I had pretty much given up on it. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t vibe with all the cubey-ness. And I certainly didn’t have the patience for the endless grind of digging up terrain with pixelated axes. But recently, Mr. Typist, a long-time fan of the game, built himself a really cool-looking house with a waterfall and glowy cubes and guest rooms and a chicken ranch. Inspired, I started the game up again and got to work building myself a little waterfront abode with deck and a boat launch. And this time, it was a whole different experience. I’m finding it to be incredibly Zen-like. All the repetitive, mindless activity and the soothing predictability of it calms my overwrought brain, and the simplicity of the grid crafting system is a great antidote to living in a vastly over-complicated world.

While performing the hard labor of building my house, I had to have something to listen to. I’ve been pathetically out the loop on new music for years now, and wanting to catch up on what the kids are listening to today, I started a new Pandora station. After a few hours, I was so disgusted I deleted it. I am utterly appalled at the massive proliferation of whiny, sad-boy bands. How long has this been going on? Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good, solidly depressing song. But what’s happening with these so-called indy boy bands is maddening. I’m talking about front men who can barely muster the strength to breathe, much less actually sing. It’s as though putting any effort whatsoever into carrying a tune has become totally unhip. They all have the same, helpless, warbely, high-pitched whimper, they strum their guitars with the listlessness of a valium addict, and the lyrics; my god the lyrics! Indy boy-bands, snap out of it! If your girlfriend broke up with you, the appropriate response in a song is rage, baby, not sniveling about how you probably deserved it and how dead you feel inside. I don’t want to hear about how you feel like an utter failure, how the clouds reflected in your latte are especially gray today, and how you’re convinced that nothing is ever going to work out. Of course nothing is going to work out if that’s your attitude, Emo-boys! You can’t carry on with this breathy whimpering forever. Pop yourself some anti-depressants and get in touch with your inner 80’s metal band. You’ll feel better, trust me. Rock it out. Swagger a little. You’re young men. You’re supposed to be brimming with rage and testosterone, not sniveling into your craft beer over some chick you’re not going to remember in a few months. Here’s a little sample to get you started.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

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