Aug
24
2015
2

Middle-earth Monday 68: Oronto, The Dark Land of the Sun

far east middle earth

Welcome back to everyone’s favorite www.isleyunruh.com Monday feature! Middle-earth being the land of enchantment and wonder that it is, each month I will use my love of fictional cartography to transport you to another time and place. So, why not take a moment to fill your head full of knowledge that will have no bearing at all on the real world?

This month I discuss the land beyond which no other lands lie: (more…)

Aug
17
2015
0

Minor Key Monday 68: Lera Lynn – My Least Favorite Life

I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness].

This month on Minor Key Monday I talk about a singer songwriter who is so sad she is almost, but not quite, parody. (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Minor Key Monday,Monthly Mondays |
Aug
15
2015
0

Mid-month Metal Masterpiece 68: Urfaust – Geist ist Teufel (2004)

URFAUST - Geist Ist Teufel

As my tastes in black metal have (de)evolved over the years, I have realized that there is definitely a certain sound that I have apparently been seeking this entire time.  Its exact qualities are always just out of reach, but they most definitely involve some kind of combination of lo-fi folk buried beneath layer after layer of extremely oppressive production.  While not neccessarily the greatest black metal band of all time (or, even a black metal band at all for much of their output), Urfaust is one of those special bands that, from the very first few seconds of my exposure to them, I immediately said to myself “Yes, THIS, is exactly the kind of thing I look for in my music!” (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Black Metal,Mid-Month Metal Masterpiece,Music |
Aug
10
2015
1

My Favorite Movies 68: The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

big sleep hidden camera

The Big Sleep is archetypal noir.  And, I don’t just mean that today’s film was the blueprint for all films noir to follow, I mean, the images contained within resonate so strongly that it must have been as though they were always a part of us even when the film was just released.  The Big Sleep has to be the greatest private eye film ever made (and that is no faint praise), an even more impressive feat considering the plot is, to put it nicely, nonsensically convoluted. (more…)

Aug
04
2015
6

Mailbag Monday 75

Mailbag-Monday-on-Tuesday

Want to have your pressing questions answered by Isley Unruh himself? Send all queries HERE, and I will get to them as soon as I can on a future Mailbag Monday!

Welcome back to Mailbag Monday!  On the first Monday of every month, I take the time from my busy blogging schedule to answer all of my reader’s most pressing questions! Sure, I might have begged, bribed and cajoled my readers into sending me these questions in the first place, but, that still totally counts as reader mail!

This month I answer the following questions:

  • “What happened to Mailbag Monday this month?”
    -Nobody
  • “Why didn’t anyone notice Mailbag Monday didn’t get posted yesterday?”
    -Isley

So, without further ado, it is time to dig into the old Mailbag to see what kind of things have been on my readers’ minds in the last month! (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Humor,Mailbag Monday,Monthly Mondays |
Aug
01
2015
0

Monthly Movie Reviews – July, 2015

Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in July.

Stats

(more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Cinema,Monthly Movie Reviews |
Jul
27
2015
1

Middle-earth Monday 67: Tuckborough

tuckborough

Welcome back to everyone’s favorite www.isleyunruh.com Monday feature! Middle-earth being the land of enchantment and wonder that it is, each month I will use my love of fictional cartography to transport you to another time and place. So, why not take a moment to fill your head full of knowledge that will have no bearing at all on the real world?

This month I discuss one of the oldest villages in the Shire: (more…)

Jul
24
2015
2

RE-ZORK VII: Rachel’s Middle-earth Quest

In the early days of computing, before Graphical User Interfaces were commonplace, nerds still needed games to play on their primitive computers.  Thus the text based interactive fiction game was born.  While the Zork series wasn’t the very first instance of such a game, it was unquestionably the first success in interactive fiction, and phrases like “It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.” remain popular throughout the internet to this day.  If you are curious, you can play the original game here:

PLAY ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire

Anyway, in the nostalgic spirit of such games, I now pit my friends, via G-chat, against an interactive fiction AI played by, none other than, myself. For our third installment, we have Rachel trying her luck.  Rachel is a coworker at my new job.  In addition to being one of the (not even exaggerating) world’s foremost experts on Doctor Who, she also loves the Beatles and tolerates a mostly insane cat on the homefront.  More importantly, Rachel is one of the few people who can routinely (and effortlessly) destroy me during our lunchtime playings of my Lord of the Rings trivia game.  I suppose, in some small way, this RE-ZORK is my revenge for all of the (continued) ass-stompings. How long will she survive before being devoured by a Grue?  Considering my wounded pride, probably not long, but read on to find out anyway! (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Games,Humor,Lord of the Rings,RE-ZORKed |
Jul
20
2015
0

Minor Key Monday 67: Mötley Crüe – Too Young to Fall in Love

I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness].

This month on Minor Key Monday I talk about another hard rock band I was forced to reevaluate due to stumbling across their back catalog on the radio: (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Minor Key Monday,Monthly Mondays,Music |
Jul
15
2015
1

Mid-month Metal Masterpiece 67: Metalucifer – Heavy Metal Chainsaw (2001)

metalucifer-heavymetalchainsaw

Retro metal has been a thing for a while now, and, honestly, I’m just fine with bands mining the good ol’ days of 80s heavy and speed metal in an attempt to recapture even a tenth of the glory of that hallowed time.  Japan’s Metalucifer (a side/passion-project of the almighty Sabbat’s frontman Gezol) is both one of the earliest and one of the best to fully embrace the retro metal aesthetic, along with plenty of humor that manages to strike just the right balance between clever and stupid.  Today’s album, in addition to possibly having the greatest cover of any album ever in any genre, is really just one hell of an entertaining blast of traditional metal from some of my favorite Japanese metalheads. (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Mid-Month Metal Masterpiece,Music |
Jul
13
2015
0

My Favorite Movies 67: Magic Mike

Magic Mike final scene

While I love romantic comedies more than your average guy (or girl for that matter), I’ll be the first to admit that they are not usually cinematic masterworks–or even cinematic averageworks.  In fact, most of the cliched stories of meet-cutes and 3rd act introducing misunderstandings are so artistically weak that I actually prefer the romantic comedies that don’t even try to be better than they are.  When they are content to wallow in that particular cinematic wasteland, they actually elevate themselves into a strange realm of accidental art.  But when they try to rise above their meager origins, they are inevitably doomed to pale in comparison to actual, “good” movies.  Magic Mike, on the other hand, is a simple romantic story that aims to be something more, and, amazingly, makes it work. (more…)

Jul
06
2015
1

Mailbag Monday 74

Want to have your pressing questions answered by Isley Unruh himself? Send all queries HERE, and I will get to them as soon as I can on a future Mailbag Monday!

Welcome back to Mailbag Monday!  On the first Monday of every month, I take the time from my busy blogging schedule to answer all of my reader’s most pressing questions! Sure, I might have begged, bribed and cajoled my readers into sending me these questions in the first place, but, that still totally counts as reader mail!

This month I answer the following questions:

  • “What’s the best strategy for investing for early retirement?”
    -Shena
  • “What can you tell me about anal taste buds?”
    -Chaddyboy

So, without further ado, it is time to dig into the old Mailbag to see what kind of things have been on my readers’ minds in the last month! (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Humor,Mailbag Monday,Monthly Mondays |
Jul
01
2015
1

Monthly Movie Reviews – June, 2015

Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in June.

Stats

  • Movies watched – 7
  • Movies that were new to me – 6
  • Percent 2010s movies watched – 86%
  • Monthly Masterpieces – Die Hard

(more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Cinema,Monthly Movie Reviews |
Jun
29
2015
3

IO5M 20: The Top Five Most Metal Artworks from the Flemish Renaissance

Black Sabbath Greatest Hits Bruegel

Welcome back to my most infrequently occurring Monday feature!  I’m speaking, of course, of Infrequently Occurring Fifth Monday (IO5M), where I come up with a new “top 5″ list on a quad-yearly basis.

If you ask me, like music and systems of government, art of olden times just has a certain quaint barbarity that really can’t be beat.  I love it all, the older the better, hell, I even love those old gold leaf icon paintings where Jesus looks like a tiny man sucking on the teet of his virgin mother while giving the sign of a shocker.  However, my favorite of all old tyme art is that of the Renaissance, specifically the Dutch and Flemish* Renaissance.  Not only did these artists show a real knack for capturing peasant life and landscape with their incredibly detailed paintings of the actual world they lived in instead of focusing too heavily on all that Christian bullshit.  And, when they did decide to paint some Christian bullshit, they used the Book of Revelations as an excuse to paint some of the most metal of all paintings ever!  (Click the images for larger pictures) (more…)

Jun
22
2015
0

Middle-earth Monday 66 – Amon Dîn and the Grey Wood

Gondor signal beacons

Welcome back to everyone’s favorite www.isleyunruh.com Monday feature! Middle-earth being the land of enchantment and wonder that it is, each month I will use my love of fictional cartography to transport you to another time and place. So, why not take a moment to fill your head full of knowledge that will have no bearing at all on the real world?

This month I discuss the first of the Signal beacons of Gondor and the forest at its feet: (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Middle Earth Monday,Monthly Mondays |
Jun
15
2015
0

Minor Key Monday 66: Scorpions – Catch Your Train

I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness].

This month on Minor Key Monday I talk about my secret love of The Scorpions, and how, sometimes, a song doesn’t have to be ALL minor key so long as it nails the chorus: (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Minor Key Monday,Monthly Mondays,Music |
Jun
15
2015
1

Mid-month Metal Masterpiece 66: Depravity – Silence of the Centuries (1993)

depravity silence of the centuries original cover

I’ve been going around lately saying that about the only death metal I listen to any more is Incantation and the legion of bands they influenced with their focus on dark, evil, atmosphere over, like, actual songwriting.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I guess I also still appreciate bands that mix old school aesthetics with a sinister dreamlike atmosphere–and then top things off with a large helping of blackened riffs.  Unfortunately, unlike Incantation, such a mix isn’t exactly a common thing, but Finland’s Depravity really makes you wish it were on their 1993 EP Silence of the Centuries. (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Mid-Month Metal Masterpiece,Music |
Jun
08
2015
0

My Favorite Movies 66: Die Hard

die hard final laugh

Last month I talked about one of the first two movies I owned on VHS as a child.  I figured it was only fitting to talk about the other movie today, the action movie to end all action movies, DIE HARD.  Many consider action movies merely a guilty pleasure, a cinematic genre that must be sheepishly justified in a conversation by shrugging and saying “I don’t know, explosions are kind of sweet sometimes.”  Thankfully, Die Hard is out there to let those of us that feel as though we need the cinematic approval of our peers to sleep at night.  I mean, after all, who hasn’t responded to an “I don’t watch that action movie shit” with a “yes, but what about Die Hard?” (more…)

Jun
01
2015
2

Mailbag Monday 73

Want to have your pressing questions answered by Isley Unruh himself? Send all queries HERE, and I will get to them as soon as I can on a future Mailbag Monday!

Welcome back to Mailbag Monday!  On the first Monday of every month, I take the time from my busy blogging schedule to answer all of my reader’s most pressing questions! Sure, I might have begged, bribed and cajoled my readers into sending me these questions in the first place, but, that still totally counts as reader mail!

This month I answer the following questions:

  • “Have you heard the “Pretty Girls” song??”
    -Shena
  • “In Conan’s big prayer, he says “no one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. why we fought, or why we died.”  So is Crom not omnipotent?  Or since Conan has no tongue for prayer, does he have an imperfect understanding of Crom?”
    -Eckert

So, without further ado, it is time to dig into the old Mailbag to see what kind of things have been on my readers’ minds in the last month! (more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Mailbag Monday,Monthly Mondays |
Jun
01
2015
0

Monthly Movie Reviews – May, 2015

Here are some two sentence reviews of the movies I watched in May.

Stats

(more…)

Written by Isley Unruh in: Cinema,Monthly Movie Reviews |

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