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day 4, halo 2, song 1

Now we have arrived at Halo 2, BKA Pretty Hate Machine. Interestingly, in the credits for PHM, Trent thanks the author Clive Barker and Prince (among others) for ideas.

First track is "Head Like a Hole." We will be revisiting this track later via a single release with some remixes. This is obviously the non-remixed version. 

"HLAH" is one of the more direct NIN songs. Maybe that's why it got so much radio play, even though its message is subversive.  It also has a double chorus, ergo twice the catchiness, I guess. The lyrics are anti-authoritarian and rebellious. They point at a lack of faith in organized religion and bourgeois ideals. Reminds me of the expression "I'd rather be the hammer than the nail," except this is the reverse - Trent wants to be the nail that breaks the hammer. Hell, yeah.

This was the first NIN song I ever heard, back in high school. I thought the kids in my school who wore NIN t-shirts were weird, so I didn't buy the tape. *facepalm* File that one under lost opportunities....

I've been reading some of the articles and interviews from 1990, when NIN were touring for PHM. In one of them, Trent talks about how he learned to abuse the audience, and how he takes a song and arranges it, "rather than building up a groove and chanting over it." He also said that he had done the vocals for PHM in one take. It's pretty amazing how consistent his attitudes have been over the years, and how straightforward he has been about expressing them.

Reading those early interviews, I also realize that although I'm writing this series out of fandom and a wish to better understand NIN's music (not to mention perhaps undiagnosed OCD?), Trent might not approve if he read any of it. I'm overanalyzing, projecting my thoughts and feelings onto his songs and lyrics. But isn't that inevitable? Would it be better to nod and smile than at least try to understand? If it seems like I'm taking this too seriously, that's what I do....

Also interesting how in this video, Trent does wind up having control taken from him at the end. This later recurs in the video for "Closer" and is implied in "Happiness in Slavery" (song and video). Is it a nightmare become reality, or a wish fulfilled?

day 3, halo 1, song 3

And today we wrap up our coverage of "Down In It" with the "Singe" remix. This remix is also by Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc. The vocals are much less prominent, and music and vocals are both deconstructed. A repeated shout that is brought to the fore in this mix reminds me of how Trent encourages the crowd to chant "hey!" when they play "The Beginning of the End" live.

There used to be a funny clip on YouTube of NIN going on a program like American Bandstand, but it wasn't American Bandstand, and performing "Down In It." Can't find it anymore. So instead, here is a clip of "Hard Copy" trying to figure out whether the song's video was actually a snuff film. This is worth watching for many reasons, among them to see Trent with a septum ring.

day 2, halo 1, song 2

"Down In It" (Shred) is today's lovely song. It's almost the same as yesterday's lovely song, except with a couple of minutes added to the end. Sort of like a club mix, to give people more time to dance and give the DJ time to fade into the next track.

The remix was done by Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc. Adrian Sherwood, according to Wikipedia, has done production and remixes for a bunch of groups, including Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, and Ministry. So if I had to, I would bet that young Trent was happy to work with him (edit: or not). He later worked on or remixed "Sin," "Happiness in Slavery," and "Starfuckers."

Keith LeBlanc doesn't have a Wikipedia entry, but last.fm claims that he created "the first EVER sampling record" (emphasis mine; video embedded below), which is pretty amazing. He also did some work with Grandmaster Flash and with The Sugarhill Gang. So no lightweights, these guys.

day 1, halo 1, song 1

"Down In It" (Skin) is the first track on halo 1 - the single release that preceded Pretty Hate Machine. The "skin" mix is the mix that wound up on PHM, so chances are anyone bothering to read this is very familiar with the track.

I'll link to the ninwiki info about this song rather than repeating it.

Personally, this song doesn't have a lot of meaning for me. "Rain, rain go away" is interesting in its reuse of a children's rhyme, if a little annoying. But like the face that launched a thousand ships, this song launched an epic career.

You can see the original video here, but I can't embed it because the bastards at Universal are bastards. Below is a live version from the LITS tour stop in Dallas, TX.

Bleh, thought I'd something more to say. Tomorrow: "Down In It" (Shred).

this noise inside my head: nin-a-day intro

So I keep having this idea of going through all the NIN halos, one song at a time, and writing about each one. Kind of an NIN-a-day thing. I don't have the time. What would be the point? Who cares about my random thoughts on this topic? I have other things to do.

And yet, I've thought of it every day for a couple of weeks. So I'm going to do it. Fill in the gaps in my NIN knowledge. Because I'm not obsessed enough!

My grandparents used to read the bible every day. One chapter every morning. When they got to the end, they would start over. I've always admired that sort of thing.

Halo info from ninwiki.com.
These are just my raw impressions on waking the next morning. Forgot to bring my own camera, but I'm sure there will be plenty of photos online. Rob Sheridan was actually standing about two feet away taking photos from the balcony rail, so his will be better than mine would be anyway! Plus, he gets to use a professional camera....

It was an excellent show. I am hoarse and deaf, and in typical NJ fashion we nearly died on the highway getting there, but it was completely worth it.

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mma - elitexc choked out

I don't know if anyone on my friends list watches mixed martial arts (MMA). My husband and I both took martial arts lessons growing up, so it's a sport we can both relate to and enjoy watching together. At its best, MMA is a fascinating physical chess match.

MMA has several promotions. Generally speaking, fighters in a promotion only fight each other (not fighters from other promotions). UFC is the most famous and lucrative. Until recently, EliteXC was something of a rising star because it was airing live fights on CBS, even though it was losing money. Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson and Gina Carano were the top draws.

Unfortunately, EliteXC's money loss was not a trickle but a torrent. It folded earlier this week. Kimbo Slice is now unsigned, though there is some speculation that he could get signed by a Japanese promotion because the culture there favors larger-than-life fighters. He definitely meets that criterion, though his MMA skills are non-elite.

Gina Carano, on the other hand, has nowhere to go. Although she drew over a million fans in the most recent EliteXC event on CBS, her salary was $25,000 for winning compared to Slice's $800,000 for losing.

Dana White of UFC has declared himself uninterested in promoting women's fights. In the sometimes-bizarre world of MMA, rolling around half-naked with sweaty people of your same gender is considered too macho for women to handle. They are relegated to the role of scantily-clad ring girls.

I think it's way past time to have women fight in the UFC. And while we're at it, let's have some ring boys.


Joe the Plumber is not exactly a plumber and he's "not even close" to making the kind of money that would result in higher taxes from Democrat Barack Obama's proposals. And his first name is actually Samuel!

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photography and etsy

Well, I finally listed my first item on Etsy! Very exciting. I'm actually tearing up. It means so much to be able to share this side of myself.

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spore review

I mentioned that Spore was disappointing. This guy thinks so too, only he is much funnier than I am. For some reason, they put ads at the end of this, but you can safely stop watching after the cartoon credits.

By the way, this video is so funny (to me, anyway) that it almost makes having spent $50 on the stupid game worth it.