Dream of the Dragon

Category: Music

Off to the witch.

by Justin

Blair-witch woods fade into black to one side of the sidewalk. After 10 feet, the light from the row of fluorescent street lamps barely hits the bases of slender trunks. Ten feet farther, the woods become dense and featureless.

In that expanse, the distant roar of a motorcycle sounded more animal than machine.

Opposite the woods, uniform, numbered houses sit on plots of close cut grass. Occasional lamps can be seen behind windows. But most of the buildings, split into multiple apartments, sit in darkness. The one-story structures look more like barracks than any apartment complex would ever allow. They don’t attempt much beyond function.

The barracks, surrounding woods, and abrupt clearings make the area look like a low-key military compound. Very little of the hum of the day persists into the night.

All that said, this place is electric with charm. There’s no place I’d rather be, and the stars are particularly bright tonight.

P.S. I live here for a while:

Dimensional Burrowing

by Justin

Don’t bet against Einstein. Smarter people and actual scientists have said as much in response to the flurry of news about neutrinos breaking light speed. I believe the CERN results are accurate, but I also believe that three or four dimensional space restricts its residents to 186,000 miles per second. The neutrino news has raced across headlines and blogs; I only weigh in because it is a) fabulous, and b) musical.

A century of physics supports Relativity’s postulation that nothing can exceed the speed of light, and I am stupidly devoted to the idea that Einstein had special access to the thoughts of the ‘Old One.’ That said, these new results may echo more accurately old Albert’s reaction to quantum uncertainty: Yes, the results are accurate; No, this cannot be the final word. He was a bit of a curmudgeon when faced with quantum theory, but he earned it.

The curious, ghostly neutrino is also a notorious troublemaker. It sets the bar for weak interaction (exceeded, maybe, only by WIMPS?), guards its signature against all detection, and suggests its existence more often than not as nothing more than a bit of missing energy.

To top all that, the barely-there rapscallion has its own unique symmetry breaking qualities. Most particles exhibit both clockwise and counter-clockwise spins. The neutrino, however, spins counter-clockwise exclusively. So what’s that about? Read the rest of this entry »

Goblin Rock: An Evening with Dio

by Justin

Follow me down, down to Goblin Town, where a prince among men made music.

I fell for Ronnie James Dio’s vocals, in a shallow way, the first time I heard “Rainbow in the Dark.” My sister, actually, lifted the curtain on it back in 2008. That track, from the 1982 Dio (the band) album Holy Diver, marries cheesy keyboard, nasty guitar, and demon vocals. It’s a wonder of a song. I defy you to listen to it and not be charmed. Lyrics, performance, goblin-dancing, it’s got it all. When there’s lightning, you know it always brings me down.

After that, Dio and I had a casual relationship. I’d nod appreciatively when our paths crossed, but I never really investigated this vocal behemoth. I’m a nerd about amazing male vocalists, from Robert Plant to Freddie Mercury to Layne Staley. I’ll listen to live recordings just to marvel at the sound those superhumans could make – beyond the amazing music, I’d get down on the sheer virtuosity of the vocals. And make no mistake: Dio’s voice shines as brilliantly as any in history. The real revelation was that he sang as easily as an angel as a demon. Also, the dude really loved rainbows. Read the rest of this entry »