Archive for December 2009

Lektüre 2009

  • Kurt Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle
  • John Green: An Abundance of Katherines
  • John Green: Looking for Alaska
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
  • Roger Williams: The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
  • Trevor G. Bond & Christine M. Fox: Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences
  • Scott Westerfeld: Uglies
  • Sven Plöger: Gute Aussichten für morgen
  • Henry David Thoreau: Walden
  • Mike Oldfield: Changeling
  • Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake
  • Scott Westerfeld: Pretties
  • Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire
  • Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Scott Westerfeld: Specials
  • Eckart von Hirschhausen: Die Leber wächst mit ihren Aufgaben
  • Edward R. Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching out Corrupts within
  • Ayn Rand: Three Plays
  • Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan
  • Henryk M. Broder: Hurra, wir kapitulieren!
  • John Green: Paper Towns
  • Vince Ebert: Denken Sie selbst! Sonst tun es andere für Sie
  • Dave Eggers: Weit gegangen
  • Elisabeth Kabatek: Laugenweckle zum Frühstück

Habe ich dieses Jahr wirklich nichts von Terry Pratchett gelesen? Das schreit nach einem Vorsatz für 2010! Erst einmal werde ich aber wohl die fünf, sechs Bücher fertiglesen, die sich hier angefangen türmen (Gibt es intelligentes Leben?, The Greatest Show on Earth, Kritik der reinen Toleranz, Nothing for Ungood, Eine Geschichte von Liebe und Finsternis, American Gods usw.). Literarische Höhepunkte für mich waren 2009 eindeutig die beiden Hunger Games-Bücher sowie Paper Towns. Meine Lieblingsalben kamen von Richard Shindell und den Ninja Dolls.

Future Plans

Despite the upcoming soccer mania, there are several promising concerts announced for 2010. I just saw that The Hooters will be playing in my hometown (Waiblingen) on Friday, May 7th. Great news!

I’m also looking forward to produce some of my own music next year. Manticess are going to release a single and I’m currently trying to decide whether or not to promise to put out solo music on a regular basis, probably weekly. I’d welcome the challenge, but I’m also thinking of writing more often. I’ve started two novels, one back in Belgium, and one this November (for NaNoWriMo). I like both outsets, but only the latter seems to be suited for a prediodical release format on this very homepage. I mean, I wouldn’t start publishing parts until I’m almost through, but it might be an alternative to the song-a-week-madness outlined above.

In different news, look what my mom made me for Christmas (with a little help from Carissa’s patterns):

Jutze with R2D2 beanie

Merry Christmas (from Chiron Beta Prime)

For the lack of other news, here’s a song by Jonathan Coulton. I chose the ASL video by Stephen Torrence to go with it, because his face expressions are awesome. The choice was a difficult one, because there’s other nice ones like Christmas lights, Muppets and plenty of live versions.

Also, check out the two new Ninja Dolls songs – good, friendly punk rock.

Pain of Salvation live in Pratteln

Pain of Salvation played in Pratteln at the Z7 yesterday. I must confess that I’m not a big fan of the band’s more recent work. Still, “The Perfect Element Part 1” remains one of my all-time top 10 albums. A total of four song off that album were on the setlist, so I was indeed thrilled. Additional highlights were the raw “Fandango” with its weird measures and a haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (rather differently arranged than on the DVD recording). The audience was very introverted. The musicians on stage were very extroverted. Daniel Gildenlöw, Johan Hallgren and the new bass player did not compromise but gave 100%. Despite the scarce response from the roughly 300 people present, the concert became a success. The sheer mastery of Gildenlöw as a singer and as a guitarist was mind-bending. Even the heavy noise of certain songs was ripe with contextual emotion. It was pretty hard to decide whether to go along and mosh or to just stand back and be in awe of the action on stage.

In total the band played 110 minutes and given the rarity of superb progressive metal in combination with a passionate live show I enjoyed every single one of them.

Pain of Salvation live in Pratteln 2009

  1. Used
  2. Diffidentia
  3. Linoleum
  4. Ashes
  5. Undertow
  6. Falling
  7. The Perfect Element
  8. Fandango
  9. Handful of Nothing
  10. Inside
  11. If You Wait
  12. Nightmist
  13. Hallelujah
  14. Conditioned
  15. Disco Queen

Manticess: After I Have Gone

Check out the third round of Masters of Song Fu #5 over at! Manticess contributed a song called “After I Have Gone”. Other artists made songs with different titles. Go check it all out! Also: vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! (Read: you have five votes – use them wisely!)

On Wednesday evening I came up with the little melody that opens “After I Have Gone”. I wrote some lyrics on Thursday, but accidently left the paper with them at work. So when it came to record a demo for Susanne, I had to improvise a bit, because I couldn’t remember all the words. (More than 90% turned out to be ‘correct’, though.) She recorded vocals and some flutes on Friday in a bit of a hurry, because she was going to be away over the weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the flutes as they were the wrong key. They would have added quite some Christmas sparkle! Something like a string quartet had been on our mind for some time now. So I used the opportunity to arrange two violins, one viola, one cello, plus a flute. Digital copies of the original instruments had to suffice. A big thank you goes out to fellow song fuer Caleb Hines, who used his arsenal of virtual instruments and provided us with a wonderful orchestra track. I spent several hours mixing the five tracks (voice, guitar, stereo strings, keyboard bells), which is somewhat ridiculous. Still, I really enjoyed what I heard and I’m extremely content with the result.

The lyrics of the song were inspired by Richard Shindell‘s beautiful ballad “Before You Go”, which is basically God’s last words to his son before sending him to earth. I took up the narrative from Jesus’ point of view, both after he left the Heavens and after he fulfilled his mission. I’m still unhappy with the line “my memory has gone”. I had wanted to describe the way becoming human transforms his memories from heaven. But I also wanted everything to rhyme, so sacrifices were made. Also, the time constraint is at times a blessing, because it teaches you to not get lost in details.

In other news, Manticess will be playing a little gig with JODA this Friday at the university of Konstanz, IBZ II (K5 beneath the Mensa) around 19.30! Be there! We’ll be giving away free cds!

Movie Lines I Quote Way Too Often

  • Was macht er in Detroit? (Die Nackte Kanone 2 1/2)
  • Wie war das im Mittelteil? (Ein Fisch namens Wanda)
  • Ich kann nicht nach Alderaan; ich muss nach Hause. (Star Wars)
  • Negativ. Wir haben ein Reaktorleck. (Star Wars)
  • Keine Belohnung ist das hier wert. (Star Wars)
  • Whatever. (D.E.B.S.)
  • A good, solid 7.5. (Beautiful Girls)
  • Setz dich. Nimm dir einen Keks. Fühl dich wie zu Hause… (Das Leben des Brian)
  • Das nächste Mal schreibst du einen Aktenvermerk. (Jagd auf Roter Oktober)
  • Das ist nicht Snowflake! (Ace Ventura)
  • Hello, my life sucks. (She’s the Man)
  • Oh boy. (She’s the Man)
  • Man kann davon leben… (Crocodile Dundee)
  • Na dann ist ja gut. (Ronja Räubertochter)
  • Das ist mein Tanzbereich und das ist dein Tanzbereich. (Dirty Dancing)


Geschafft, aber glücklich nach einigen Stunden Tanzerei brauche ich heute zum Glück keinen langen Eintrag mehr schreiben. Ich will nur kurz auf diesen enorm lesenswerten Text vom Mann mit dem Saxophon verweisen. Da kann ich jedes Wort unterstreichen.

Wer altmodischen Progressive Rock mit schönen Melodien mag, dürfte Gefallen an “The Old Road” von Martin Orford (Vampster-Review) finden.

Movies of Which I Know Pretty Much Every Single Line by Heart

  • Beautiful Girls
  • Clerks
  • D.E.B.S.
  • Happy Campers
  • Imagine Me & You
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • Das Leben des Brian*
  • Die nackte Kanone*
  • Robin Hood – König der Diebe*
  • Ronja Räubertochter*
  • She’s the Man
  • Star Wars*

*at least the German audio track

PS: “Fit to Die (Part 1)” by Future Is Tomorrow is a rather good Power Metal album.

De-Babelized Movies

Yesterday, I watched The Longest Day. I was surprised to find the whole movie shot in the respective native languages. It added a lot to the authenticity and – given the serious topic of the film – didn’t diminish the experience of watching it at all. In Germany, foreign films are usually dubbed in German. The art of replacing the dialogue has declined enormously over the last three decades. Fortunately, DVDs usually feature the original audio track along with the German one. The only other international films I can think of that have not been somewhat de-babelized are Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, both excellent examples of superb film-making.

Today’s music review is about “Force of Gravity” by Sylvan, a German progressive rock band that delivers flawless music with a bit of sound track atmosphere in the more quiet parts. The album is pretty good and includes stand-out tracks like “Embedded”.

Anvil Chorus and My Way to Work

Many years ago I discovered the music of Anvil Chorus. The band had been active in the early 80s. There were no proper releases except for one single (“Blondes in Black” b/w “Once Again”). But if one looked hard, one could get copies of old demos and live tapes. Those n-th generation copies sounded aweful, but the music itself not only stood the test of time, but even had a timeless quality only few metal bands can offer. The band reunited from time to time, but an album release seemed as unlikely as a show in Europe.

This year finally saw the release of the first CD by Anvil Chorus, “The Killing Sun”. I wrote a review in German over at I thin it sounds rather tame, but songs like “Phase to Phase” and “Once Again” still sparkle. The lead guitars are amazing and the music, well, still timeless. And as if that weren’t enough, the band is scheduled to play in Germany at the Headbangers Open Air 2010!

PS: The picture above has nothing to do with Anvil Chorus. I took it on my way to university and thought, why not share it with the world.