Album: To Know the Light
Artist: Dawn Ray’d
Genre: Anarchist Black Metal
Origin: England

Listen to: Freedom in Retrograde

This album pairs well with communion grape juice and gin.

The illusion of reality breaks down occasionally when a confluences of memories, both old and recent intersect.

This is a movie review of Dinner in America.

The second time I arrived at Roswell New Mexico was for work.  I had to manage the integrators and train the end users on our system, which was being installed at the largest organization within hundreds of miles in this corner of the desert. 


The day of the end user training started out rough.  It had been a long night.  I was standing behind a podium in a classroom and the integrators were in the back row, wearing sunglasses.  I took a long glug of my 32oz Gatorade just as the principal stakeholder walked into the room.  He said something like, “Are you feeling ok?” and I replied, “Absolutely.  Just adjusting to the different time zone.”  The time zone is only one hour off, but he didn’t know that.  Or maybe he did.


I know that they say that you can’t define yourself by what you’re not.  I know that it is impossible to build something if your only principles are about tearing down.  But, plants that are grown in protected environments that never experience the destructive forces of wind and rain produce steams that are so weak that they will break and fall over under their own weight.

Dawn Ray’d exist only to tear down. 

However, being destructive doesn’t mean you don’t believe in something.  Recognizing the absurdity of reality can drive you mad, or it can cause you to drive your rental car off the road, gas pedal on the floor, careening into the sand wastes of the New Mexico desert. 


Roswell is a small town.  There aren’t many bars open after midnight, but the integrators and I found one just outside of city limits.  The drinks weren’t good, but we had a lot.  One of the integrators crossed a line and said that we needed to leave now.  Apparently one of the locals threatened him with a knife.  I didn’t see it, but he probably had it coming.  Begrudgingly, I closed out and decided to take them on a night drive in the rental car across the alien landscape.


Of course society and laws are important, of course.  But, it is just as important to push back on them. 



There’s nothing in these songs
Of which to be ashamed
Everything we sing about
I’d just as plainly say

For the noble flame of integrity
Will surely always win
As dawn brings
The Reckoning!








Album: Convergence
Artist: Shylmagoghnar
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Origin: Netherlands

Listen to: Follow the River

This album pairs well with Four Sixes IPA

The theologian, Richard Beck, has an interesting take on “powers and principalities.”  He points out that, in the New Testament, the phrase is used interchangeably to describe both spiritual and governmental forces.  For the early Christians, demons and bureaucrats were both a reality to be dealt with.  The interesting thing is that our response to both forces should be the same.

The Fontainebleau casino was partially bankrolled by some Chinese oligarchs.  During construction, they hid gold bricks and small wooden ships in the walls for good luck.  They had monks walk the floors to bless it and concentrate good luck.  But, good luck for the house is bad luck for the mark. 


You don’t have to believe in luck or mysticism to recognize that casinos are evil.  Maybe, there are no supernatural forces blowing on the dice at the craps table.  The materialist will point out that every slot machine has a sticker on it that clearly tells you the odds.  Whether the odds are determined by metaphysical powers or by mechanical determination, our response should be the same.


One thing religion offers, is a framework for dealing with powers and principalities.  Sometimes, mysticism can provide tangible tools to refocus your mind and help combat the evil around you.  This can be something as simple as rosary or even a rubber band on your wrist.


When you are surrounded by evil, it is important to have a talisman.  You need something to ground you and protect you from dark influences. 

I have mine.  What is yours?







Album: When no Birds Sang
Artist: Nothing / Full of Hell – Collaboration
Genre: Post
Origin: USA

Listen to: Spend the Grace

This album pairs well with Bells Two Hearted IPA

The museum theater room looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while.  Most of the time, a dark dingy theater is downer, but the dozen or so people filling out the 300 seats were in high spirits.  It was a bad day to visit because the surf was on the borderline of a red flag. 


On the ride over I was bubbling, explaining how wonderful it is to feed sea turtles cabbage and float over the reef while a school of fish chase the stale breadcrumb trail you create by intermittently tossing chunks into the water.


The sky was getting darker.  I noticed a sign that read “Entry allowed from 6:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.”  It was 1:30.  These restrictions didn’t exist when I was a kid.  The park rangers let us in, and I was so excited!  “Let’s go find a guy, rent some gear and go snorkeling!”


On the ends of each crossback, there were signs with rules.  One was repeated:  “All visitors will be required to watch the educational video in the theater for each visit to HBAY. Previous viewing of the video will not preclude visitors from skipping this step.”


Actors, who didn’t even pretend that they weren’t reading off a card, explained how everything I loved about Hanauma Bay was now illegal and punishable by law.  You can’t feed anything, even yourself; no outside food or drink allowed.  However, they have an authorized food hut.  It was closed.   Independent vendors are now banned.  However, they have an authorized shack that will rent you snorkeling gear.  It’s expensive and you have to sign a form that relinquishes you human rights.  Touching anything, especially the coral, will land you in jail.  However…  They don’t provide an alternate touching service.


The sea was getting louder.


We had gone this far so we had to continue.  The surge was intense.  We were lifted up, and the distance filled with a blizzard of sand and particles from the ocean.  Then, a sinking feeling comes as we flew down to just inches above the coral.  Everything is clear.  The fish, hiding in any space they can find, look just as surprised as you to make an acquaintance. 


This is the most Hawaiian album of the year.