Total Machine Creatures
I Don't Have A Soul//I have Software
27 April 2007
Last week I caught Bastard Noise play in Bushwick. It was an awesome, awesome show. I met up with some buddies from NJ, and I even made a new friend who, it turns out, lives around the corner from me.

Bastard Noise's set was awesome, needless to say. It was really nice seeing them perform live. There are a lot of people out there who don't recognize experimental/electronic music, especially Noise Music, simply because there are no familiar compositional aspects for them to relate to. Meaning, if there are no "songs" (with lyrics, a chorus, and a bridge) than it must not be real music.

Yeah, sorry about that Tchaikovsky.

That's why Bastard Noise is such a good gateway drug to the world of noise music. Not only have these guys cut their teeth with legendary hardcore band Man Is The Bastard, but BN continues to utilize lyrics and vocals and stuff. While certainly not used in a conventional sense, the vocals provide the perfect point of relation in order to begin understanding what BN is really about. And if you can begin to understand what BN is about, you can begin to understand a lot of things.

So, in spite of the fact that there are no set song structures comparable to pop songs, after years of listening to BN, one becomes familiar with certain sounds that they use on a regular basis. All of these sounds are provided by the home-built gear that they have used since the inception of the project. Hearing these sounds being played loud was almost a religious experience for me. It was an amazing site.

I often get the feeling that a lot of bands operate more and more in pastiche. We've all begun to loose our sense of what reality really is like. We've become characters from movies, and our musicians have become cover/tribute bands. Even in noise music. Especially in noise music.

Bastard Noise is the antidote to all of this (contrary to what RZA claims).

Below are photos I took of the NSLU: No Skull Left Unturned ltd ed CD-R set that BN was shilling on tour. It includes recordings of Bastard Noise (feat. a collab with K2 even!), Amps for Christ, Unicorn, and more. Listed as being from "The Bastard Noise Family", the package also includes stickers, patches, a bookmark, and four different booklets - one with an old re-printed zine, one with interviews with Eric Wood during his BN days and his MITB days, schematics for their gear, and info on all the recordings.

I took a bunch of pictures.

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25 April 2007
I <3 Blogosphere!

Where else are you going to find the sentence "Sonny Chiba Humped Your Mother" following a post entitled Bicky Bicky Bwang?

Incidentally, it wasn't Sonny Chiba who humped your mother.

It was me.

People confuse us all the time...


...and that's RACIST!!!

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Martha Jones
It's Doctor Who Week over at Siskoid's Blog of Geekery, so I thought I'd take a stab at a few Doctor Who bits today. I've been rummaging through my notes on the new season (yes, that's right, I take notes when I watch Doctor Who), and I guess I've been enjoying it thus far.

I guess that's sort of a stupid comment, since it's Doctor Goddamn Who and I generally eat up every second of it regardless of how well it's executed or not. But regardless...

Martha Jones: The New 'Plus One'

I was originally a bit iffy on the Martha Jones character. She seemed too out of place in the Doctor's universe for me. Compared to other companions, she's very much a product of her times, and I suppose when your dealing with a time-travel oriented drama, that can be seen as "relevance". I mean, honestly, the only thing that really separated Rose Tyler from Sara Jones was the fact that Rose had a cell phone. Characteristics-wise, that is.

The problem with "relevance" is that it dates the work. It's a great assumption on the writers part to think that any kind of social progress we've managed to make in our history as a species will not reverse itself ever in the future. I mean the "dark ages" is a perfect example of the human race sort of hitting the reset button on culture and rebuilding.

Still, when a character as "relevant" and of-her-time as Martha Jones stands next to someone as "timeless" as the Doctor, it makes the differences that much more distinguished and therefore (when handled correctly) poignant. The problem with many of the Doctor's companions is that they very rarely seem to be products of their times, and so when matched with the Doctor come off as merely infantile or petty in their outlook. All of Rose Tyler's complaints only really add up to the tantrum of a two-year-old child.

Anyway, Martha really came into her own in "Gridlock" (S03E03). Where "The Shakespeare Code" really just sort of played up the fact that she was from the "future", "Gridlock" really pitted her character against some interesting ideas. Which, in my opinion, is the whole point of the Doctor having a companion in the first place. We, the earthly viewers, need a character to relate to. Someone we can cheer on whenever they say, "Hold up. What the fuck is that guy with the second neck doing to the lady with the tentacles?" To which the Doctor would reply with some sort of witty and aloof comment.

Rose Tyler worked well because by the end of her tenure as the Doctor's companion, she was the earthly equivalent of the Doctor's. She was his equal partner. Not equal in her knowledge or skills or even physiological abilities. But certainly equal in courage and curiosity. Too bad she had to be made into a love-interest.

Not that that's a bad thing for hardcore fans.

But, Martha is a totally different creature. Sure everyone seems to be commenting on how hott David Tennant is as the Doctor (with the extra 't' for emphasis), including Martha herself, but their relationship is not likely to reach that point any time soon. If it did, it would be at the hands of a much more inferior team of creators, because Martha is a doctor (lower-case 'd'), and therefore a person of science and intellect. She may not act like it all the time, like when being attacked by pig-men in the sewer beneath the Empire State Building, but when things happen, the Doctor knows he can rely on her intellect.

The thing with Rose was that she carried around so much emotional baggage. This was evident in the second episode of the first season, where she pines to contact her mother, and eventually gets her cell phone all jacked by the Doctor. Of course this allowed for two great recurring characters, Mickey and Jackie, but ultimately it held the Doctor back in a lot of ways. It also held the show back in a lot of ways too.

If the character of Rose, who is inserted into the adventure for the viewer to relate to, is constantly being attached to her relationships with others and her emotional state, than the more fantastic elements of the show will be defined in the context of emotions and not conceptual grounds.

Something like The Face of Boe is alright to view through an emotional/dramatic lens, but the very concept of Daleks turning humans into pigs (livestock of the universe, etc., etc.) is an idea that must be explored differently.

The show seems to be taking a slightly more conceptually focused route than the previous two seasons, which I'm looking forward to. I like the idea of being pitted up against concepts and ideas, rather than being faced with emotion and drama, but that's just me.

Of course the show will still need to provide it's fair share of emotion and drama, which Rose just oozed. Otherwise, why would we watch the show when we could just read a book? Granted, it's a tricky balance, but I have faith that Martha will be able to inject just enough emotional drama, while still helping us stay intellectually grounded.

I'll write more on the last two episodes, which have both been fairly NYCentric later.

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12 April 2007
He tried.
Dear Universe,

You can stop now.

There's no left to get the joke.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 11.11.1922 - 11.04.2007

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09 April 2007

Pictured above: Toth (Right) and The Square Root of Seven (Left)

Last Christmas I adopted two stray cats from the Pier 70 Project in Philadelphia (animal lovers can read some about what the project does here). Casey and I got them together, but since I moved out I've been housing and caring for both of them. They're both about 6 months old, and just this past Saturday I took them back to Philly (one of the amazing things about this project is that the volunteer run clinic provides free vet care for all adoptive parents, although it is a bit inconvenient for me since I don't live in Philadelphia anymore, and hadn't at the time of adoption) to get spayed.

I had been very nervous about this operation leading up to the procedure since these kittens are essentially my baby daughters and I've apparently inherited my mothers pension for worry. They're doing ok now, but the whole weekend turned out somewhat disastrously.

I was particularly excited about taking the girls down to Philly since my best friend from college, Savannah, still lives down there. Theoretically, the trip would have been a nice quiet mini-vacation from all the things that have been bothering me lately. But you know, my life is apparently the embodiment of Murphy's Law.

The main thing I learned from this trip: Cats don't like other cats. Sure cats will bond with each other, much like Toth & Sq Rt did as babies, and sure a female cats maternal instincts can be pretty damn strong to the point that cats unrelated through biology will adopt kittens as family. But at the end of the day, cats are very territorial, insecure creatures.

After possibly the longest trip from Brooklyn to Philadelphia ever, the girls both being confined to a single carrier in the backseat of various cars, Toth & Sq Rt were plopped in the middle of a tiny apartment that housed up to six different cats at a time. In spite of being left alone the entire night and having the entire bathroom of Savannah's apartment all to themselves, it was still olfactory overload for my two girls. Toth didn't step out of the carrier once all night, and Sq Rt hid in the corner of the bathtub. They also refused to eat, drink, or use the litter box. They felt so threatened, and so unsafe that they began to lash out at Savannah and I the next morning when we tried to gather Sq Rt up to bring her to the clinic.

All of the stress this put me through caused me to cut my trip a bit short and run the girls back to Brooklyn, so that they were able to recover in a comfortable and familiar environment. Basically, I just wanted to stop worrying, and get my babies to a safe and secure place where I wouldn't feel that I wasn't putting them in any danger.

Because, you know, it always comes back to me.

Anyway, the girls have been home since Saturday night. They're healing just fine according to John & Margaret (the wonderful couple who have been busting their butts with the clinic and from whom I adopted my girls from), but they still can't be in the same room with each other without hissing and growling at each other. Sq Rt has stopped lashing out at everyone but her sister, but last night when I tried to pick up Toth I got a paw full of cat claw in the face. I still have the scars.

We all have scars around here.

This whole ordeal got me thinking about humans and the way we interact with each other. Unfortunately I don't speak catonese, so the only way I can understand what my girls are going through is through analogy. John pointed out that they're still probably coming down from the anesthesia, combined with having their ovaries ripped out, and so are understandably very very moody. I've seen this happen with human beings quite a few times.

But I started thinking about what happens when we hit rock bottoms. Some of us like to spread the misery. Some of us cling to our loved ones for comfort. Some of us even try to substitute the company of our loved ones with anyone willing to lend us an ear. And then some of us shut out the rest of the world and prefer to suffer alone. When we reach the worst points in our life, all we really want to do is be somewhere that we feel safe.

That's why it astonishes me that in modern society there are very few sanctuaries for people. Everything is about extending oneself. About taking things to the next level, no matter how unfamiliar or unsafe that level is. This is not necessarily a bad thing. All of the greatest advances of our race have developed in this fashion. But at the end of the day, who or what do we go home to? At the end of the day, who or what do we want to go home to?

For most of us, the two don't necessarily match up. I come home to a tiny ass apartment, populated by dirty laundry and two hormonal kittens. Sure I have my books, my DVDs, and my internet, but I no longer have someone to share a conversation with. I no longer have someone who inspires me to be silly and dance to ELO songs. I no longer have someone willing to make me hot tea or soup when I'm sick or simply just cold. It would be nice to have this, wouldn't it?

Not that we are incapable of making ourselves hot tea or soup, or picking up the phone and calling someone, or posting our silly ELO dance videos on YouTube, but none of this a given anymore. Human relationships, real relationships that develop over time and build histories of in-jokes and witty reference, are no longer a given. In order to attain such things, or even maintain such things require effort. It requires extending yourself and perhaps putting yourself in an unsafe position. Sure the pay-off is more than worth it, but did it really have to come to this?

Some of us are really good at this. I like to think most of us are not. But if you are ever in need of a simple real conversation, I'll be cowering in the bathtub like a scared kitten.

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About a week ago I joined Consumating. There's a lot of fun stuff to do on there, which I take advantage of - like, Questions of the Week and Photocontests and "toys". But the one thing that always seemed so daunting was taking part in a "conversation" which essentially a thread. Someone makes a statement or proposes a question, and everyone with a consumating profile is invited to chime in.

I started my second conversation thread about...26 minutes ago. People cannot stop themselves from commenting on this question. It's kind of amazing seeing people being so passionate about something and such a rapid rate, without being belligerent or too insulting about it.

I mean, on comic book message boards & stuff, if someone disagreed with me, or one of the following posters who felt the needed to challenge any opinion inferred from a generally objective assholes abound!

Kind of intense.

You can view the conversation here (probably need to log onto consumating first).

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For those of you who don't know me, my name is Tonio Hubilla. I live and work in New York City (if you can call it that). I watch way too much Doctor Who, and spend all my time doting over my two kittens. Other than that I'm friggin' brilliant and nobody knows it.

For those of you who do know me, stop wasting your time. I'm friggin' brilliant and you don't know it, so poo on you "friend".

I used to have a blog called "Resontence". In fact I had two blogs under that name (one Blogger blog, one Vox blog), but they started to bug me. So I deleted them, maliciously (given the title/URL of this blog, I find that statement ironic). I suppose it's only a matter of time before this blog disappears too.

I missed having something quiet. Something that appeared inconsequential. Something with less noise; something quieter. Something that was mine. So I started this blog up. It even uses the same old template I was using when Resontence was first starting. This will eventually change, but for now it suits my purposes.




...I can't think of anything clever to end this post with. I'll make it up to you later.

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