Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Black Company (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #1)The Black Company by Glen Cook
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can totally see how this book must have had an influence on Game of Thrones. It is gritty as all hell and the narrative is quite exciting. The story flips the usual black and white fantasy narrative on its head, focusing on a mercenary company and the various patrons who employ them. Without giving anything away, its is interesting when good people are placed in bad positions which question their conscience and also how they justify it in their own minds.

also magic and battles and shit...

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Grandpa Ian Turned 31

Thanks to all the people who showed up yesterday and last night, including family, friends, co-workers etc.  Had tons of food, ice cream, beer, and bowling.  Also apparently I am pretty good at a bowling.... and won 2 out of 3 games (coming in second in the other) who knew?

Having been in Providence now for over 5 months, I can say that things are going really well and I am starting to feel pretty good about the direction events are going.   In particular, one which can be announced relatively soon.....  Despite this, I look on the advance of winter weather with dread.

My mom gave me this in shiny wrapping paper.  Epic!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rome, Barbarians, and ...more Barbarians

The last week I have been doing a lot of Roman things.  I have been working my job for a pittance of a wage, fought Javier in gladiatorial combat in his kitchen, watched both seasons of HBO's Rome, drank a bunch of wine, and have been waging a delightful co-op campaign of Atilla total War with my Kiwi buddy Daniel.

First on the subject of Rome, I thought that the series was ok.  It was definitely violent and disturbing, but apart from the visuals, the historiography of it is the most interesting part.  I could care less for 2 created roman soldier characters who are interspersed through the story like Forrest Gump.  However, seeing visuals of historical events play out between figures like Brutus, Mark Antony, Julius Caesar,  and the very loosely based Atia Balba Caseonia, was delightful in my nerdom.

Taking the participatory level further, my friend Daniel and I have spent two nights playing Atilla Total War (complete with wine, dinner, and silly hats).  I have been fighting a rearguard defense of the Western Roman Empire, while he plays as Eastern Rome (and I guess helps me out sometimes).  I love playing difficult games and was convinced by Daniel that Normal difficulty would be challenging enough and getting attacked by around 12-15 different barbarian hordes simultaneously has definitely been interesting.  Daniel accused me of being stubborn for trying to hold onto Britain and Gaul, but as much as its been sucking treasury money out and causing all sorts of corruption, it has kept many of the hordes at bay on the periphery while I develop my core territories.

That doesn't mean that I haven't taken losses.  I lost a whole legion to the Vandals, while they burned one of my outposts to the ground, another legion is starving to death in a British city under seige by angry Scandinavian Jutes... but it could always be much worse.  Daniel on the other hand came to my aid to beat back some pesky Ostrogoths and to smite some rebel uprisings, but is more camping out and fortifying his borders against the Huns and Sassanids.  Despite his relative lack of military assistance to my struggles, I am surviving and will give additional reports after our next session.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jamming to Black Sabbath is the New Norm

I spent the majority of last night from around 11:30pm - 4am jamming with my coworker Anthony and his friend in a music studio in downtown Providence. On the way there we were carrying instruments and passed through a huge crowd of people at a waterfire event and look and acted like we were musicians going to play a set hehe.

In the studio, the majority of the session was doom metal, mixed with some iron maiden and classic rock.  We played a whole lot of Sabbath and I used the wah pedal to some good effect for "Electric Funeral" and "War Pigs", then snuck some of Sleep's "Dopesmoker" in and started a weird trippy metal rendition of Sublime's "April 26, 1992".  Considering that I have also seen two dead bats in my apartment in the last 2 week, Rhode Island has definitely passed the metal threshold for me!

On the down side I definitely forgot how to play a bunch of the Rage Against the Machine songs I knew, but could probably relearn them given some time.

It is hard to explain how cathartic it was to play drums and guitar again with people after a more than 2 year hiatus.  We kept leaving for breaks to an empty downtown and coming back totally stoked to try something different.  I could definitely get used to this being a regular thing... and could always be looking for more jam partners :D

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Job Hats, New Tats, and Murdered Bats: an update of life's silliness.

Hello faithful readers, all 3 or 4 of you, there are some life updates to report.  First of all I now have a new retail job which is technically part time but I have been working 38 hours a week.  Most of my day involves dealing with customers and shoving metal polls up chicken rectums (not a favorite thing to do if you are vegetarian).  Now you may be saying to yourself, "why jump back into retail?"   Well, its for the great salary, scheduling, and benefits of course!  That being said, it is nice to have every Sunday shift be considered overtime and to be working with one of my housemates.  Oh yeah and they gave me a black hat with a corporate logo on it.

Having an income has also given me the opportunity to plot out my third tattoo... and how fortunate I am that someone I know in Providence is a political comic book artist and fantasy nerd.  Here is his tumblr of sketches and less finished products:

  In exchange for a ride to Boston I will get a design and will be posting the final picture when I actually get the tattoo.  Excited :)

The last new thing to report is that the cats have murdered a second bat in 2 weeks.  I dont know where they are finding these things.  Is there a bat cave secretly in my apartment or on the ledge outside of our windows that I dont know about?  I am a bit scared that they may get rabies from this but they passed the initial period where symptoms show so I suppose as long as they dont keep up their murder streak, we should all be ok.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Current Observations About This Place Called Providence

Having been here two weeks I have noticed a few things about my current abode:

  • Almost everything is cheaper here than most other places I have been in the US.  I like this, particularly the price of rent.
  • I am located in a very walkable part of town, right near their "little Italy".  Yet having a car has still proven useful because some of the nearest department stores are in Massachusetts..... but still only 20 minutes away.....
  • As for Italian food, had the best eggplant parmasan I ever had in my whole life at this place called Meditearraneo.  Amazing!  just Amazing!  
  • Unfortunately despite hearing and reading otherwise, there is no good pizza in Providence.  I went to locations listed as The Best and it wasn't.
This is called a "pizza strip"  it is definitely a strip, but it is  I still haven't tried it yet because look at it... I mean look at it.

  • Another weird food that is quite common here is coffee milk...or rather coffee flavored milk.  Its not bad.  *Thumbs up!*

  • As for the people I have met here so far, total sweethearts!  To make hangouts more fun, I bought a bunch of board games and a soccer ball (because we are going to play some games).  My friend Javier also wants to watch the under-20 world cup and the latin american cup... so plenty of soccer and beer to go around.
All in all a pretty good report, I have a job starting in a week so will have a bit less free time, but its only part time..

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One More Week in NJ

Since I am heading out of New Jersey back to New England again i thought I would take a look back on all of the stuff that happened and things I accomplished in the year I have been living in New Jersey:

  • Lost my partner/best friend and my father within a month period.  Did my best to be strong for family and my dad's friends.
  • Reconnected with many amazing NJ/NYC/DC friends and comrades.
  • Paid off all my student loans!
  • Bought a car
  • Spent quality time with family including my brother and his amazing partner.
  • worked at a warehouse here for over a year and really learned a lot.
  • Really upped my game in soccer and scored goals playing against former professional players from Colombia.
  • Substantially improved my Spanish and Mexican slang.
  • Read a ton of books... both political and fiction. 
  • Did a ton of writing and thinking and believe that I have a much better conception of my politics.  Gave a talk on this at a bookfair in Scranton and was very happy with the results
  • witnessed some badass black lives matters demos.
  • Saw a bunch of sick shows with bands such as Electric Wizard and Pallbearer.
  • Greatly improved my mental and physical health from where I was a year ago.
  • Ate soooo many pupusas and pizzas.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mistborn: The Only Slave Rebellion I Wasn't Enthusiastic About

Mistborn is a book about a slave uprising led by some former slaves with Jedi powers and written by a Mormon. Parts of the book are excellent and I found myself cringing in others..particularly at the awful politics of the lead character. 

Despite descriptions of utter class oppression in addition to massacres committed by the godhead,  there seems to be constant reminders that "not all the nobility are bad.  As a result (spoiler alert)

...the rebels decide to preserve the nobility and create a monarchy to prevent the "economy from collapsing and the slaves from committing wanton acts of reprisals against the nobles.  As I said, a Mormon wrote it.

In addition,  besides the main character, there is barely a female character in the story...which is more excusable in Tolkien than a modern story. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Seeing Electric Wizard!

In less than a month I will be seeing the infamous doom metal band Electric Wizard with my friend Steve.  Unfortunately, we waited too long and we will have to see them in Baltimore, rather than Philadelphia or New York city.  Regardless,  it should still be really fun and their latest album is pretty good.

I've also been digging on a bunch of retro doom bands lately such as Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and would love to learn about new bands if anyone has any tips!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ian Chinich on Moving Out, Leaving New Jersey, and Being Accountable to Your Loved Ones.

I haven't updated this blog in a while, but for those of you reading it (if there are any), I am looking to change things up a bit.  The Chinich family has definitely gone through crisis in the last year, with my father succumbing to his pancreatic cancer in October and the emotional toll that this obvious has had.  That being said, I moved back to New Jersey from Los Angeles with the sole purpose of taking care of my father and while it has been really nice to be around family and NJ friends--I dont think I can stay.

The emotional support and friendship a lot of people have given has been amazing, but it is dangerous to be living purely for my father's memory and in a house that still bares his images like a mausoleum.  That being said, some friends in RI have offered to take me in and develop a change of scenery.  Im thinking around May 1st.  For more information, "Ian chinich the Blog" Reports:  (i just wanted to say that :P  )

New Jersey has many things I still really like.  It has amazing food (Im a serial- pizza eating fiend...which probably isn't healthy), it has friends from both high school, college, as well as easy access to NYC and Philly.  Lastly it has my mother, brother, uncle, cousin, my mom and dad's partners, and others who have been really close on account of my fathers situation.  Being accountable to them and supporting them emotionally is a huge responsibility that I plan on continuing.  However, that does not mean I have to stay here and live in limbo either.  

RI has coffee milk, a really working class environment, cheap rent, new people to meet, and a group of supportive friends who already know all the circumstances of what I have been going through.  Despite the ridiculous unemployment that is there, I am also pretty confident I can find work.  As a result it seems really appealing.... and its still in the pizza belt--for the Win!
Ian Chinich, Pizza, hot sauce.
Ian Chinich at a Pizza Joint in Buenos Aires