Support this Podcast on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/carlking
In this episode, Carl King shares two film reviews (Prey, Crimes of the Future) answers 3 listener questions (Your Time With Ween, Cubase vs. Logic, If Money Were No Object), and the feature segment: How I Conquered My Anger. Plus, a new FANTASY FICTION segment by Chewbode, a mini-feature on Eric Alexander Moore, and finally, The Musical Artist of the Week: Igorrr.
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I’m Carl King, and this is The Carl King Podcast, where I talk about music, filmmaking, and general creativity stuff. And hey, that’s my music playing right now. To support this podcast, head over to Patreon, and join for just $1 or $5 per month.
Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media. All 5 companies make amazing musical gear that I love to use.
Now let’s get ready to begin getting started.
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE
Man, it’s hotter than usual. It got up above ONE HUNDRED F today. F, as in, F it’s HOT. Chewbode came up with that joke. Anyway, I’m in my studio in Los Angeles, Plosive Central.
And I have some incredible news. Plosive Central been PAINTED. The color is called Dark Storm Cloud. I’ll be sharing a photo of the color on the CarlKingdom Blog for this Episode, so be on the lookout for that. (Post photo of what color it is, but have something totally distracting in the way, like a Scientology Box Set or Skillet Vinyl.)
Here’s some good news: we’ve reached 21 Patrons on Patreon. Folks, Fooolks, I’m blown away. Thank you. It feels good. I’ve been doing some things to improve things over there. I’ve updated the descriptions of what people get for the various tiers. And there’s also a new VIDEO TRAILER. Go check it out.
PS — Chewbode and Hank Howard III are still in that bidding war for my friendship. I’ve decided to bring back a primitive, traditional manner of settling disagreements. It’s something called… a FART CONTEST. Now I can’t explain the rules of a Fart Contest, because, you know… but in the meantime we’re going to try to raise the funds to make it happen LIVE on the show. I know, it makes some of you listeners uncomfortable. BUTT, no pun intended, my lawyer ASSures me A Fart Contest is the only option we have left.
Anyway, speaking of Patreon, I also posted an old Dr. Zoltan creation called What Is Wrong With The Human Race. Back in 2007 I asked that question… What Is Wrong With The Human Race… and 100 humans, many of them Myspace users, responded. Dr. Zoltan published their answers. It’s a PDF, and it’s available to Patreon subscribers at $5 and up.
In other news, my first CD, Sir Millard Mulch “50 Intellectually Stimulating Themes From A Cheap Amusement Park For Robots and Aliens, Vol. 1” has finally been approved for digital distribution through TuneCore. BUT THE PROBLEMS CONTINUE. There’s been a catastrophic error with the song titles, and you can see them all over Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. What a nightmare. Here’s what happened to the best of my understanding.
Back in 2005 or so, I renamed and released around 20 of the tracks as a CD called Fanatical Video Game Retroverse. The way I came up with the song titles was this: I had Chewbode, HisCheapMoves, and LevelNivelo type up a huge list of absurd song names. I COMPLETELY RANDOMLY assigned them to the tracks.
Well. I unpublished that release a while back. When I recently entered all the song titles for the original 50 CD, with their correct, original titles, some part of TuneCore’s system IDENTIFIED THE AUDIO as being songs from Fanatical Video Game Retroverse. And it re-assigned all those stupid names. And distributed the songs everywhere. TuneCore isn’t owning up to the mistake, and they want me to re-enter all the correct song names again. As Nigel Tufnel said, I’m a professional. I’ll rise above it.
Here’s another tidbit that freaked me out. Ian Punnett, my favorite current host of Coast To Coast AM followed me on Twitter this weekend. No idea why, but I’m super intimidated now. Because I’ve been listening to him for like 20 years. I love his episodes, which are super solid. That guy is sharp. Now he might see what I’m writing on Twitter? Talk about stage fright.
Last bit of news, a Tetris Documentary Series Scoring Update. I am just about to start the full-scoring of Episode 1. We are in the process of locking down the episode down with the temp piano track, and next comes all the tracks of banjo and inflamed uvula. But what does that mean to you? It means there is going to be a TON of new video game music for my Patrons to hear. Something like 4 HOURS worth. By the way, I’m going to post the full temp piano sketch inside Patreon, so go give it a list, if you like MIDI piano. Especially 36 minutes of MIDI piano.
Now let’s do some FILM REVIEWS.
FILM REVIEWS x 2
We’ve only got TWO film reviews this week, but I promise they’ll fit in the space of 3. It’s a kind of Hemiola, for the music theory nerds out there. If you get that joke, let me know.
Here we go.
1 – PREY
First up, we’ve got Prey. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who also directed 10 Cloverfield Lane, that was a good one with John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Prey stars Amber Midthunder, who was also in one of my favorite TV shows of all time LEGION. Go look that up. And since we think screenwriters are IMPORTANT around here, Prey was Screenwrited by Patrick Aison. Now, I looked up Patrick Aison, and coincidentally he has credit as a Consultant on Legion. Although most of his credits are as a TV producer.
Okay, this movie did not have a ton of dialogue. There were plenty of slow scenes, and I mean that in a good way. It took its time. It was what I would call Cinematic.
About 21 minutes in, I started to feel this movie is a little bit video game.
But hey. It’s an action movie. I don’t know why I went into it expecting something different. A lot of people love action movies. They want that adrenaline. They like all the fighting. They get a high off it. But Carl King doesn’t need any of that.
When I realized, oh man, I’m watching an action movie, I no longer felt intrigued by what might happen next. I mean it’s basically, they’re hunting a bad guy in the woods. So what surprising thing can really happen? We probably know where it’s going.
Spoiler alert: Amber Midthunder’s character and some other Comanche warriors are out in the wilderness hunting. They think they’re hunting a lion. But, we find out it’s not a lion.
Now this is a basic adventure movie. You’ve got a good guy and a bad guy. But we have a different aesthetic here. It’s an aspiring female Comanche warrior vs. an evil skull-collecting demon from outer space. This whole story could have been swapped out for a knight against a dragon. Or a coyote against a roadrunner. Because at the core, it’s a simple battlefield story. The only thing that changes is the costumes. You could dress them up, however you want. The structure is there. And there’s not much else to Prey’s plot other than the B story of Amber Midthunder’s character proving she’s a warrior.
BUT: This IS a story with cultural relevance. Lots of people are happy to see a Native American in the lead role of such a big franchise. So that’s pretty cool, they were able to make that happen.
Now here’s an observation about The Predators. And I’m sure this has been pointed out before, but boy their cloaking technology is pretty crappy. Isn’t it? Half the time you can still see them there, and the other half the time, it totally malfunctions and shuts off.
Many times throughout the movie, Amber Midthunder’s character has face-to-face run-ins with The Predator. But CONVENIENTLY, EVERY TIME, something interrupts them, and she’s able to escape. I mean, because if they went at it right away, the movie would have been over in the first encounter. But it felt a bit like the plot was being forced along by that.
And hey, Sarah Schachner did the musical score. Here’s another crazy coincidence… or maybe there ARE NO COINCIDENCES? I attended a film composing panel discussion years ago in Los Angeles, and even got to ask Sarah Schachner a question about her NASA Cassini scoring project. And guess who was on the panel discussion sitting right next to her? That’s right, you guessed it. Jeff Russo! Ok maybe you didn’t guess it, but Jeff Russo happens to be the composer for… the TV show… called… LEGION. See how this all comes back to Legion? I think there’s more going on than we are being told!
Back to PREY. There were a few moments of bald exposition, you know, characters stating facts out loud. There’s a scene where Amber Midthunder’s co-star turns to her and says something like: “We have to run!” Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.
And the whole monsters ROARING and SCREAMING was a bit much. How many times do we need to see that? I had barely recovered from all the roaring and screaming in Jurassic World Whatever. But then again, what else are monsters going to do when they make an entrance? Just stand there? I don’t have a better idea. We’ll stick with the roaring and screaming, I guess.
So how much can Carl King really complain about this movie? It DID have a fresh take on the Predator franchise. Amber Midthunder did a super job in the role. And I’m sure a lot of people are going to love it.
So I gave this movie 4 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. Because it was definitely better than average.
2 – CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
Up next, oh, boy. Crimes of the Future. Holy crap.
Written and Directed by David Cronenberg. The guy who brought us VIDEODROME, Existenz, and for the old folks listening, a movie called… THE FLY in 1986 starring Jeff Goldblum. Now I think if you watched The Fly, you would be able to tell, yeah, this is the same creative universe. This dude is STILL making those movies.
Anyway, Crimes of the Future stars Viggo Mortensen and Lea Seydoux who have been in a ZILLION, I actually counted them, a ZILLION movies. Or films. And get this, Kristen Stewart is in this one, too. You might remember her from The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. But in THIS movie she was cast perfectly in the role of a nervous government bureaucrat named Timlin.
If you’re paying attention, you know this movie is confusingly named the same as a movie he made in 1970, over FIFTY YEARS AGO, but it has nothing to do with that movie. It’s kind of like if a band decided to go back and reuse one of their album names for a completely different album. What a crazy idea.
This movie starts out with lots of production company logos. A productions production production in association with production productions. And you know what that means. It means it’s kind of an independent artsy film, and they pulled together many different investors to make it happen.
And I’m glad they did!
Right off the bat, I LOVED the musical score. Turns out it was provided by Howard Shore. He also scored THE FLY. I wonder how he got this gig!
I found myself saying, “What the F?” out loud, repeatedly throughout this film. Each time a new element was introduced, revealing another aspect of the fictional universe, they didn’t ease into it. No sir.
I’m noticing it’s harder to write a review of a film I like. It’s so much easier to point out all the technical problems in mainstream movies. But I loved Crimes of the Future.
Many scenes had BARELY any dialogue. A relief to me. Characters took the time to think about things, react, look at each other, read each other’s emotions. Much of the dialogue was unexpected. What would a character USUALLY say? Cronenberg goes in the complete opposite direction.
The characters really did behave as if this twisted world he created is normal. They rarely explained the oddities. It’s like OK… THIS is happening now. Huh. And I love that feeling of a high quality, mysterious film that seduces you, rather than telling you everything up front. I don’t need everything explained. In fact, I tend to enjoy it better without the explanations.
But then we do get a big exposition scene. And it was alright with me. The acting was so good, and the world was so strange, I didn’t mind.
For the screenwriting nerds out there, I’ll tell you this. Almost an hour into the movie, there’s almost zero conflict. All the characters pretty much get along. And there’s also no huge goal. Yet I was still fascinated and watching. So take that, all you writer bullies who think a movie needs to have a clear, specific, attainable goal, a good guy, and a bad guy. Cronenberg says forget intention and obstacle. Let’s just get weird.
Regarding the location of the story. You never really see the city they’re in. There’s never really a wide shot. It could be a small town. We only see a few beat up buildings in a kinda dystopian future. You can’t tell what year it is or what the rest of the world is like. Are we in the U.S.? I guess we are? It’s all so nondescript.
And I don’t recall seeing any other technology like cellphones or computers. So in a way it’s very retro, almost like it could be maybe the 1940s? It feels as if a war took place some years ago, and society has been rebuilding. For instance, there’s a huge rusted ship, you know, like a ship that goes in the ocean, partially destroyed and it’s fallen over on its side. Some of the characters will hang around it and talk with it in the background. But it’s never explained why it’s there. And the only technology they do seem to have in that world is actually ALIVE and interfaces with their bodies.
Part of the way through the film I had this realization. Wow, I can’t believe David Cronenberg came up with this premise and took it this far. These actors are sticking with it, committed to it and making it happen. They really did it. What an accomplishment.
According to IMDB they spent $35 MILLION DOLLARS making it. And their gross worldwide is only $3.4 million. Does that make it a financial failure? Are those numbers accurate?
I don’t know if this counts as a spoiler, maybe it does, but the premise is basically: Viggo Mortensen’s character has been growing extra mutant organs in his body. So he forms a performance art team with Lea Seydoux’s character. In their live shows, she CUTS OUT his extra mutant organs. In front of live audiences. And in this world, humans no longer experience pain or have sex. So watching these live surgeries are perhaps the only way to feel those sensations. There’s lots of Cronenberg body horror and gore… but without the violence. Because rarely do we see someone being injured against their will.
Something to notice is how the characters relate to each other throughout the story. They rarely get upset. They’ll act sort of happy at what would shock a normal person.
For instance, there’s a scene where two women take their clothes off for seemingly no reason. It’s right at the end of a scene. They make a joke to a third woman who turns around to see them naked. And the woman who sees them is simply amused by their nudity. Nothing happens and we move on with the story. Okay?
Watching this movie is like observing a completely different human culture. For example, Viggo’s character, when in public, wears a black robe and cloak. All you can see is his eyes. I didn’t really pick up on why he’s doing that, but I kinda took it as he’s famous and doesn’t want to be recognized? But he walks around like that and no one seems to mind or call it out.
He goes into a guys office and the guy offers to take his coat. And he’s like no thank you, I get cold. What? I think there would be better ways to stay warm other than walking around dressed like a Sith Lord.
Also, his character’s coughing and throat-clearing was a nice touch. As was one of the chairs he sits in while trying to eat. Another “WTF” out loud moment for me. Is that WTFOL?
I gave this film 5 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. I could watch crazy stuff like this all day. Congratulations to David Cronenberg on a masterpiece.
We have some listener questions, so let’s answer them!
LISTENER QUESTIONS x 3
1 – Your Time With Ween
First up, is a question from Dr. Clown Fart, a member of my Discord server. By the way, if you’re not on my Discord server yet, you’re missing out. Go to CarlKingdom.com and at the top of the site you’ll see a button that says… Discord. Click it and follow the directions, and I’ll see you there.
OK, Dr. Clown Fart’s questions is: Can you please discuss any of your time with Ween? Really good question.
Okay, back in 2002 or 2003, I think I was living in San Francisco at the time, I was experimenting with all of these social pranks on the internet. I would go on Craigslist and a forum called ProSoundWeb and create Andy Kaufman or Borat type situations.
For instance, I had this back and forth story in the music section of Craigslist. I pretended to be a guy who was fired from a national touring Spin Doctor’s Tribute Band. So I posted as him complaining about what the band did to him. But I also posted as the members of the Spin Doctor’s Tribute Band who needed a replacement ASAP to complete their huge tour. And it created this fun drama. People couldn’t believe this was unfolding in front of them. The trick was to keep it believable. Some saw through it. I realized people enjoyed that sort of thing, so I came up with an idea: what if I pretended Sir Millard Mulch got kicked out of Ween?
So, I wrote up a blog about it and posted it in Ween’s Myspace groups and forums. Well, it actually took hold. People sent me angry messages about it, telling me I deserved to get kicked out after what I did. Later it got printed in magazines when I was being interviewed for the How To Sell album.
I was all just a social prank, and as a funny way to promote myself. And I thought, man, what if I had a whole series of these?
Around that time I was reading The Mixerman Chronicles, about the semi-fictional band Bitchslap. No one really knew if the band was real. It was written from the perspective of a supposed recording engineer that was dealing with a nightmare of a band. I was experiencing it as he posted the entries in real time. If you’ve never read that saga, you’ve got to. Mixerman even published it as a book. One of my co-writers on the How To Sell album actually has a blurb on the back of the jacket. Pretty cool.
Inspired by that, I thought what if Sir Millard Mulch is a semi-fictional session musician who goes around getting kicked out of famous bands? The concept was hilarious to me. So I started with Ween, and that went well. I was going to write up the second episode where Les Claypool fired me. But I think I never got around to it.
Anyway, here’s the original post. I’ll read it for you. You can also find it on my website. It’s been up there forever. The link is in the Show Notes.
“Well, my gig as a backup keyboardist for Ween came to an abrupt end tonight. They kept getting pissed because I was noodling out my tunes in between sets and getting the audience too distracted. And get this: I kept jumping around pretending to play solos on my Apple Keyboard, with the USB cable flying all over the place, at one point popping Mickey in the eye. Every time Mickey or Aaron would say, “We’re Ween,” I would say, “And I’m Sir Millard Mulch!” Then when they’d say, “This song is called _______ by Ween,” I would say, “And Sir Millard Mulch is playing keyboards on it!” At first they thought it was cute (like, the first time) but I kept the joke going too long and really pissed them off. I kept just jumping in front of them and dancing around with the Apple Keyboard and throwing Sir Millard Mulch discs at cute girls. It was fun while it lasted. Not my fault if these guys don’t have a sense of humor. At least I still get my two-weeks of rehearsal salary (which I haven’t spent yet, luckily they sent me home after one day), to try and find another apartment. My girlfriend is going to be bummed, because she was getting like 13 of her friends into the show in Chicago (that is where she is from.) So I am sitting here in the hotel and I am heading back to California tomorrow on a Greyhound at noon. It’s a 2.5 day trip, but I don’t mind. I like to look out the window, and it’s better than flying. I tried to convince them to reimburse me for renting a car, but they just gave me a dirty look. I figured I could see a few friends on the way if I drove, but too bad.”
2 – Why Do You Use Cubase? Why not Logic or ProTools?
This next question was submitted by Serious Musician Ponytail 83. Serious Musician Ponytail 83 asks: Why do you use Cubase? Why not Logic or ProTools?
I have a pretty simple answer. It’s really for two reasons. The most basic is, it’s the DAW I started on back in 1993. I’ve been on it exclusively for 30 years now. So I’m very comfortable with it, and it does absolutely everything I need.
Second reason, and this is why I don’t STOP using Cubase. Its capability for MIDI Tuplets. On the piano roll screen, you can easily dividing the grid by any number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. I have no idea how high the number would go because I’ve never bothered to find out. That means, I can take any measure, or beat, and divide it by any number I can think of. I can divide a beat by 13. And the next beat can be divided by 17. Or 5. Or anything. It makes it super easy to compose in odd tuplets.
I took a Berklee class on Logic a few years ago and found it a little bit frustrating. It lacked the MIDI tuplets function. When I wanted to do a 5-tuplet I would need to just enter 5 quarter notes and do this weird stretching on the whole MIDI segment to get it to fit in the space of 4.
But it did have some other cool features. Its MIDI to notation sure seemed solid. And it has this pretty great swing groove slider, for adding various amounts of swing to a drum beat. For instance you could easily find a blend between straight and swung, and adjust according to your tastes. Cubase might have something like that as well, but with Logic it was super easy to do, having that little slider.
If for some reason I couldn’t use Cubase anymore, I’d move to Logic. I did actually record just one song for it, and it’s a Patreon exclusive called SHIT. You can find it in there if you search for it.
As far as ProTools I know almost nothing about it. I’ve never used it even once for a project. I installed a demo version of it and never got around to playing with it.
So I plan to stick with Cubase forever. I used to have an endorsement deal with them back in 2001 when I released Sir Millard Mulch / The De-Evolution of Yasmine Bleeth, but I lost contact. I should get that going again.
Thank you, Serious Musician Ponytail 83.
3 – If Money was no Object What Would You Be Doing
And Question number 3. This one is ALSO from Dr. Clown Fart.
If Money was no Object What Would You Be Doing?
Answer: In a purely “creative work context” I would be producing an Adult Swim Cartoon like Mike Tyson Mysteries. Ever seen that show? I think it’s perfect. It’s got that absurd classic Adult Swim style. The plots are crazy, the acting is so great. It’s possibly my favorite of all time, either that or Harvey Birdman.
But, I also wonder… maybe after having that job I wouldn’t actually enjoy it. Maybe having all that pressure and working with a bunch of people would stress me out too much. Then again, if it were produced out of my own studio, with unlimited money, I could run the production process however I want.
You know, out of everything I do, I think writing is my favorite thing for my temperament. Just sitting quietly somewhere with my laptop. That’s a good lifestyle for me.
Thank you for your questions, Dr. Clown Fart, and Serious Musician Ponytail 83.
Now let’s do a special segment called Eric Alexander Moore Tweets.
ERIC ALEXANDER MOORE TWEETS
Eric Alexander Moore is a comedian and writer friend of mine. I follow him on Twitter, and I find myself laughing out loud at his Tweets. He’s an extraordinarily funny thinker. He also happens to be the transcriptionist for this podcast. So if you read my podcast with your eyes on my blog, it was often made possible by him typing with his fingers.
By the way, he’s the one who came up with the Skillet joke about John Cooper screaming “Kill Myself” instead of “Cooper Stuff.” So he deserves credit for that. Credit has officially been given.
Back on topic. I thought, hey, why don’t I share some of my favorite, recent Eric Alexander Moore Twitter tweets on The Carl King podcast. So here are three. Of them.
1 – I get bummed when I find out a venue has a state-of-the-art sound system. The bands I like aren’t actually that talented! I don’t *want* to perfectly hear every note they play. Kinda like how jazz is about the notes they don’t play, rock is about the mistakes you don’t hear.
2 – Nothing like accidentally burning your breakfast while trying to retrieve your green reusable Aeropress coffee filter out from the garbage while thinking about how Taylor Swift releases more CO2 in a single hot girl summer of private jet rides than you will in 500 lifetimes.
3 – We should pick a red state and let it do a trial secession where it becomes its own country and therefore has to go the next five years without access to blue state tax revenue. “Everyone will leave,” you say. Ha, no. We are building a wall.
And I also suggest you check out this odd thing he wrote called Inside You are 12 Cats Feasting on the Corpse of their Former Owner.
He explains it like this. These are Eric Alexander Moore’s words…
“I’m trying this thing that I’m calling improvised flash fiction where I start telling a story one Tweet at a time without any plan for where it’s gonna go. The added pressure of it being public and unfolding in real time is fun/nerve wracking. Then I try to wrap it up in under 20 or so tweets.”
So yeah. “Inside You are 12 Cats Feasting on the Corpse of their Former Owner.”
You can read it on Medium. Putting the link in the show notes.
He’s always insightful. Always taking a chance. I recommend you follow Eric Alexander Moore on Twitter. https://twitter.com/_eric_alexander
That user name is Underscore Eric. Underscore Alexander.
And now, let’s move on to this episode’s Feature Segment:
HOW I CONQUERED MY ANGER
Today I want to share my thoughts on How I Conquered My Anger.
Now I’m not talking about just losing your temper. Or getting in an argument with someone. Those are short-term, situational things we all experience.
I mean, personally I tend to get mad at technology, as if it’s intentionally malfunctioning. Lots of cussing at my computer. “Stupid F-ing Piece of S!” And as I said, that’s a different kind of thing.
I’m talking about a specific brand of deeper, judgmental anger I carried around for nearly 20 years. It was long-term, competitive, and I was consumed by it.
So yeah, I’ve been in therapy, I’ve read books, and I’ve worked hard to get over it. Here’s what I learned.
A little background. Much of my anger was somehow related to STATUS and INTELLIGENCE. I come from a blue-collar background. I grew up with feelings that I wasn’t as good as other people. Or that I wasn’t as smart as them. I lacked a lot of social skills, and I was kind of in a shell. I was quiet and odd. I think it made people assume I wasn’t intelligent. When it was time to go out into the adult world and support myself, or at least try to, I ended up in a lot of low-paying retail jobs. Being talked down to. But I saw other people getting along just fine. They went to college, bought houses and cars, had kids. And that made me angry. Why weren’t they having the social problems I had? Not only was I somehow envious, I also couldn’t understand why they even wanted those things. Who wants that kind of boring, materialistic, predictable life? I was unhappy that they WEREN’T unhappy.
I found a way to express all of that through creative satire. I made up characters who could say the things I was afraid to say. Sir Millard Mulch, Ed Furniture, Dr. Zoltan, and others. I posed as a superior being. I wrote songs making fun of “stupid people.” As goofy as it all way, my music and essays and videos actually had a SERIOUS source. They were driven by my deep IRRITABILITY.
But I eventually realized this: anger is FEAR wearing a mask. Let me repeat that. Anger is FEAR wearing a mask. If I get angry, it’s because I’m AFRAID.
The first feeling that arises is fear, the second is anger. That means when I’m mad at someone, it means deep down, I feel threatened by them. My anger is hiding a subconscious feeling of weakness. That I’m losing. And they’re WINNING. My ego is protecting itself. It’s a defense mechanism.
All those years of being angry at bands? I felt threatened by them. Ouch. Tough to admit, but it’s true.
I’ve also found that most conflicts I have with people are in my head. I’ll sometimes have long arguments with someone who isn’t even there. It’s crazy, because they’re not actually affecting my life in any physical way. I’m just making myself angry in my imagination.
So I spent a lot of time frustrated with other people. Why aren’t they as smart as me? Of course, all someone had to do to be “smart” in my world was listen to Mr. Bungle. I was ranking people along a single dimension, a single musical choice. But I think that’s what we do all the time, along other dimensions that are just as silly.
Now I’m far from being a superior form of intelligence. Maybe back then I didn’t know that. I developed an “Everyone Is Stupid But Me” attitude. It was addictive. I’d go looking for any sign that someone was “stupid.” I got some kind of twisted sense of superiority out of it. Even though all it did was make my life worse.
The problem is, that person who might seem “stupider than me” in one context? It’s likely they’re “smarter” than me in another.
But even if they’re not, why did it make me MAD? It’s like if someone took an IQ test, got a low score, would that make you angry? We’re all going to have different IQs. At the very least, be thankful you were born with more intelligence. That should be a good thing.
I’ve realized it shouldn’t bother me that someone else is making a mistake. In most cases, mistakes will get fixed. Maybe it takes some effort. But that’s the way life goes. Some people are like those Coke machines that keep spitting the dollar back out, no matter how many times you try. Maybe on your 5th try it works. Then you go on with your day. Try not to be emotionally tormented because something took a little longer than you expected.
I’m looking at you, TuneCore.
Anyway, of course, sometimes it’s beyond a simple mistake.
Sometimes people really do have bad intentions. They go out of their way to hurt others. But most people don’t. I figure if they did, civilization would have collapsed long ago. We wouldn’t have gotten this far, cooperating all these hundreds of thousands of years. It’s a mammal thing.
In other cases, people have incorrect beliefs. But it’s better to go into the world accepting that, rather than being shocked. People think nutty things? What a surprise. It’s on you to be prepared.
Let’s say you criticize someone’s lifestyle. Could someone else with an even better lifestyle also criticize yours? For every person that you think is stupid, is there another person thinking YOU’RE stupid?
Are you making perfect choices in every area of your life? Are you flawless? Or, if you took an honest look, are you just as troubled as anyone else? How’s your diet? Your exercise? How are those abs? Why haven’t you figured that out, you idiot? Anyone can do crunches. If you’re not doing them, you’re stupid. Right? And how’s your inner peace? If you’re so great, why don’t you meditate? Why aren’t you happy everyday? Oh, because you blame someone else for your problems? Haven’t you figured out you shouldn’t do that?
Like anyone, I can get annoyed by the things around me. But as an introvert, I’m sensitive to loud sounds. I have a knee-jerk reaction to people with loud cars or motorcycles. But here’s what’s tough to accept. People do things… SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY FEEL GOOD. Yes. A Republican who wears his sunglasses on the top of his baseball hat while revving his loud truck covered in Trump flags. He’s experiencing the same thing as me, when I Furminate my cat, read a business book, or go on a hike in the hills with my wife.
Our experiences are made up of chemicals in our brains. We do the things that release those pleasurable chemicals. For some people, something you might find obnoxious is THE ONLY WAY FOR THEM TO GET THE CHEMICALS. Some people thrive off adrenaline. Some people get a great feeling out of acting MACHO. Or out of being wild and crazy and jumping off of things. I don’t. I like my peace and quiet.
Now here’s a practical point. And it might be my favorite.
It’s a total waste of time and energy to be angry.
Derek Sivers posted a quote from Seneca, and it’s stuck with me. It’s a Stoicism thing, and it goes like this.
“The key to having a good life is to value things that are genuinely valuable and be indifferent to things that lack value. Any time and energy spent on events you can’t control will have no effect on the outcome of events and will therefore be wasted time and energy.”
Now I have to briefly admit that this very podcast, made by a bearded white male, has officially jumped the shark by saying the word Stoicism. Now all I need are some Bitcoins and a Tesla.
But seriously, that Seneca quote is the same as the serenity prayer.
I believe that unless you’re in a physical fight, or protecting someone from violence, or transforming your anger into positive action, it’s COMPLETELY useless.
I’m going to repeat the second sentence in the Seneca quote, because it should be a sign on the wall:
“Any time and energy spent on events you can’t control will have no effect on the outcome of events and will therefore be wasted time and energy.”
Being angry is as useful as digging a hole and putting the dirt back in for no reason, all day long. It’s Sisyphian. Or Sisyphian. However you pronounce it.
No amount of you being angry will MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER. It won’t help you. It won’t change the world. Doesn’t matter how angry you are. You can measure it if you want. You can try being twice as angry, or ten times as angry, or a hundred times as angry and get the same non-result. That should prove to you that anger doesn’t do anything.
In the meantime, you’re only hurting your own body and mind. Flooding them with stress hormones. Those do REAL damage. Increased fat storage, lowered immune response, inflammation, heart attack, strokes. Dying sooner.
Anger definitely doesn’t hurt your enemies. It only hurts you. Sitting there being angry all day is like punching yourself in the face over and over. Kinda crazy if you think of it that way. Why would you do that? I think I’ll just inject some stress hormones into my body, give myself a chronic disease. See if that fixes the problem.
Ekhart Tolle writes about a concept called The Pain Body. I think he believes it’s a real thing, but I like it as a metaphor. The Pain Body is a way to personify feelings like anger, to explain how it behaves. The concept is: there’s another sort of “energetic” body inside you. And IT WANTS NOTHING BUT FOR YOU TO BE IN PAIN. It feeds off your misery. And of course, it doesn’t want you to be LESS UNHAPPY because that would KILL the Pain Body. And The Pain Body doesn’t want to die. It’ll come up with all sorts of excuses to stay alive, making you upset. It takes over your brain. Eckhart Tolle says: “The Pain Body pretends to be the person.” It will use any resource available to amplify ANY bad feelings you have. It’s as brilliant a Sith Lord. Another word for pain body might be The Ego.
Speaking of The Ego, I’ve also found benefits in Buddhism. The idea that “We are all suffering.” I get that. I think deep down we’re all the same idiot suffering for different external reasons. But the same core reason. I guess if you wanna know that reason go to Buddhism Dot Com or wherever.
I’ll end with telling you 3 beliefs that help me. They might sound dark. In the wrong hands, they could seem depressing. Or nihilistic. I don’t even really know what nihilism is, except that The Dude says it must be exhausting. But these 3 beliefs SERIOUSLY make me feel better. Maybe they’ll work for you.
1 – We have no freewill. Sam Harris says that “It’s not merely that freewill is an illusion, the illusion of freewill is an illusion.” Here’s what makes sense to me. If everything, all of the particles and energy in the universe started with the Big Bang, then everything was set in motion from that instant. And all of our thoughts are made of those particles. They started moving about 13.7 billion years ago, like pool balls. Those pool balls were scattered, and they’re still bouncing around, billions of years later. We don’t control them. Because everything about us, including our thoughts, are made of them. We ARE the pool balls. Every feeling I have, every behavior, it’s all just a movie playing on an old tape. Even our DNA is part of the script. So if I scratch my head, that behavior wasn’t mine. I didn’t start it. It’s all causality. It was set it motion by The Big Bang. What caused the Big Bang? I have no idea. Maybe the universe explodes and implodes repeatedly, into infinity. Maybe when it implodes time runs backwards. But that’s for another time. Back to the freewill thing. We’re all sitting here watching a pre-recorded movie, and we think we’re the characters. We think we can make choices or change the plot. But as real as the movie seems, we’re only watching it. Entirely helpless. This is a MASSIVE relief to me. But of course, my relief is all part of the movie, too.
It helps me to look at people I would otherwise not like… as absurd movie characters. Because they didn’t create themselves or choose the way they are — any more than I did. Could I be wrong about all of this? Yes. But it sure does help me with my frustration.
2 – Humans are cockroaches consuming the earth. But there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re feasting on the cake. We’re all doing it. It’s easy to point the finger at those bad people who are destroying the planet, but we ALL are. From the Earth’s perspective, we’re pure evil. Unlike bees, humans serve no purpose to the ecosystem. We’re a disease. How are going to convince 7 billion people to stop being exactly what they are? It’s like expecting sharks to stop being sharks.
By the way, we love to project evil onto animals in the wild, like sharks. We put them in horror movies. But all they’re doing is eating, just like we are.
Jim Rohn said something like “That’s why we call them liars. Because they lie! What else do you expect them to do?”
3 – Nothing ultimately matters because eventually the sun will explode and the universe might expand so far that it dissipates into nothingness. It’s called The Ultimate Fate Of The Universe. It’s a real thing. It has it’s own Wikipedia page. Go read it.
Ultimate Fate Of The Universe Wikipedia
These things don’t make me HAPPY, of course. They simply relieve the petty anger I have at other people. Maybe since REALLY BAD THINGS are going to happen, far beyond what any specific humans can do, I accept that it’s pointless to sit around mad. It helps me stop pointing the finger. It helps me stop imagining enemies. Casting people as villains in my personal movie.
And yeah, as I said, some of those 3 things: No Freewill, Humans Are Eating The Earth, and The Universe Might End — could seem pretty dark. You might think, well Carl King, if nothing matters, why don’t we just do anything we want? Why don’t I go out and do a bunch of BAD STUFF?
Well, we don’t have time to delve into ethics and morality and why you should be good to other people. But I’m just going to say: you should do that. Care about your friends and family. Care about strangers. Be nice. Make the world around you better. It’s a cliche, but we’re only here for a short time.
LUX PT. 1
Here’s another new segment to share with you this week. My good friend and collaborator CHEWBODE has submitted the first installment of an ongoing fantasy story called LUX. And I’m going to read it to you. This is Part 1.
There was no way his eyes would adjust anymore. After standing in one spot for what seemed to be an eternity, Cantau realized that the darkness in the tunnel was all-consuming. It was surely created by magic, and he was confident that if he cast any spell now, it would dissipate instantly, and he would have wasted what little energy he had left.
He steadied his breathing. Even though he could see nothing, he closed his eyes to gain higher precision with his other senses. “Yes… there we go…” he thought to himself as he focused on the faint echo of slowly dripping water coming from ahead.
He took a step and his battle-beaten body reminded him of the fracture he had in his ankle. And even though he didn’t wince audibly, he was sure his face was showing the pain. Well, if anyone could see his face right now.
As he progressed down the tunnel, he withstood the urge to reach out to his side to feel the walls. He knew that the tunnel was made of damp, sometimes mossy stone by the way it felt under his boots. And by his own sounds lightly bouncing off the walls, he could tell there wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver.
Maybe a meter to the left and right. Not ideal for drawing his sword, if it came to that.
“Ah, wait.” He stopped walking and his ears opened up. He was at a junction point. Left, right, and forward. He turned is face side-to-side and then down to the floor. Cantau quickly realized that he could use this to his advantage and reached to his belt where he retrieved a sinched pouch. Yes, there was the Calzamite. He could feel how lumpy and crumbly it was even though the leather hide.
He stopped and strained his ears again. There were new sounds. Not close, and not loud, but there was something down these corridors. Scurrying sounds maybe? Definitely breathing.
He thrust his hand in the pouch and with his arm outstretched to the right, he pirouetted around while releasing the Calzamite. As it hit the ground, it started to emit a pale, ghostly blue light. And as he came back around to his initial position, he could see that the circle he just deposited perfectly touched each of the four corners of the intersection’s walls.
“Eel support-aunt-hey thigh-rye effort-oozium de zaal.” Quietly left his lips. And immediately the dim dust circle brightened by one hundred-fold, forcing Cantau to throw his forearm over his eyes and drop to one knee. After a moment, he could feel that the protection spell had fully cast, and he was able to slowly peer out from behind his robed arm. The darkness had lifted, but his eyes took a moment to adjust. But as soon as his sight returned, he wished it hadn’t. Outside the circle – to the left, right, ahead and back from where he had come, Cantau saw something he hoped to never see again in his life: Pure evil.
Spooky stuff! Listen in next week, to find out what exactly is that PURE EVIL.
Now let’s wrap up this episode with The Musical Artist of the Week.
MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK: IGORRR
This Week’s Musical Artist of the Week is… Igorr. That’s right. Like Stravinsky but 3 Rs at the end. Igorrr. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be pronounced like that, but I think being a little bit confused is point.
I remember this band because they were recommended to me by Mike Stone. We actually wrote a blog together last year called Mike Stone Forces Carl King To Listen To His Favorite Metal Bands. You can find that on CarlKingdom.com, just search for it and it’ll pop up. The direct link is also in my Show Notes.
Anyway, this week, Dr. Clown Fart posted a song called Cheval inside my Discord. And if you haven’t joined my Discord yet, this is the kind of thing you’re missing out on. So thank you to Dr. Clown Fart.
Igorrr is an alias of a guy named Gautier Serre, a French person. A sort of composer. Mike Stone assured me that Gautier can be seen playing guitar in the video. He has an unusually-shaped and textured guitar. That’s all I know.
The song title is French for HORSE, and is pronounced… Shih-Vaellllll with a sustained L. It’s a tough one, especially if you don’t speak French. It’s probably related to the words Cavalry and Cavalier.
Cheval is from the Savage Sinusoid album. Quite an eclectic recording from 2017, released by Metal Blade Records. If you like variety and extremes, Savage Sinusoid is for you.
This particular song has lots of complicated metal, but also BUTTON ACCORDION. What a mysterious instrument. I saw one of the guys in Farmer’s Market play one at a live show in… 2003 or so, at the Starry Plough in Oakland. Boy, could that guy shred. What ever happened to that band? Is it the same guy? Probably not.
If you’ve never seen one of these Button Accordions before, a typical accordion has piano-like keys. Well this wild thing has multiple rows of little round buttons like an old-timey cash register or typewriter. It’s got 5 rows of buttons, which I understand makes it chromatic, but beyond that I have no understanding of how the notes are laid out. Maybe similar to a guitar.
The bassist has an open-handed style, where he plucks with both his thumb and his fingers. I’ve never had any luck with thumb plucking. Can’t get a consistent tone from it. It sounds drastically different from my fingers. I’ll stick with my Green Dunlop Tortex Plectrums. Point 88 Millimeter.
Cheval also has sections of beautiful operatic female vocals. A striking contrast to all the nonsensical male screaming.
The drummer is quite technical, and the drum fills are mixed in a mechanical, trigger-y way you’d expect from this genre.
That brings us to the Time Signature. You could count this song a couple of different ways, either an up-tempo 3/4, or a tempo half that speed as 6/8. BUT because of the European melody and chords I’d go with the fast 3/4. It’s got that Oompah-Pah Oompah-Pah Oompah-Pah Oompah-Pah. Even though the drummer is playing what would be considered a 6/8 pattern.
It’s all fine musicianship throughout. No complaints.
The YouTube video has 2.7 million views, so I’m not the first person to be impressed by them. But you should be prepared for tomfoolery. This is that kind of metal with playful humor. If you watch the video you’ll see they employ absurdity. There’s a large tradition of this in metal music, and I don’t know why. Metal bands either take themselves way too seriously or write songs about farts.
Anyway, look up Igorrr somewhere on the internet. I’m posting a YouTube link to this specific video, Cheval, in the show notes.
Ok, that’s it for this episode of the Carl King Podcast! Remember to support this show by joining my Patreon. That’s Patreon.com/carlking. And thank you again to my $50 Patrons, Chewbode and Hank Howard III. And thank you to ALL of the listeners for listening. If you get a moment, let me know what you think of this episode. Leave a comment on YouTube or write me a nice review on Apple Podcasts. Because hey, I want to hear from you. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Carl King will clairvoyantly see you in the next episode, and until then, have a great week.