Thursday, December 29, 2011

Angry Robot - Harbinger of Yuletide Cheer

Recently, I found myself blessed by a wondrous tune, entitled "Angry Robot" by John Anealio. He recounts the tale of a poor automaton who, encountering the terrors of the Internet, finds himself unable to fulfill his desire to purge the world of humanity.

Download the song for free here, and follow along with the lyrics below.

Angry Robot; plotting the overthrow of all mankind 
Angry Robot; thoughts of Armageddon on his mind 
Don't look him in the eye, he's an Angry Robot 
The Angry Robot wasn't always mad 
He started out so happy but things went bad 
Cause when he hooked up to the internet 
what he saw there filled him with pained regret 
He wanted to go on a killing spree 
to rip the souls from meatbags and set them free 
His Asimovian circuit wouldn't let 
him kill just anyone he met. 
Angry Robot; plotting the overthrow of all mankind 
Angry Robot; thoughts of Armageddon on his mind 
Don't look him in the eye, he's an Angry Robot 
But angry as he was the robot knew 
there was no violent thing that he could do 
He learned about the Singularity 
when chips & blood become one entity 
The human system software is a mess 
but the robot knew that with success 
a robot/human hybrid he would be 
and he could kill with equanimity 
Angry Robot; plotting the overthrow of all mankind 
Angry Robot; thoughts of Armageddon on his mind 
Don't look him in the eye, he's an Angry Robot
from The Robot E​.​P., track released 01 March 2011 Lyrics by John Anealio & Matt Forbeck  

Beneath the surface, John and Matt have crafted the perfect holiday song for 2011. Because the reasons may not be immediately obvious to everyone, I will spell out the holiday connections for you:

Frosty the Snowman

Like the Angry Robot, Frosty was created by man. Powered by a magical hat, Frosty came into the world, innocent and, let's face it, ignorant. Angry Robot, too, was innocent, until the taint of Rickrolls, Peanut Butter Jelly Times, Numa Numa's, and Cheezburgers that Can Be Has'd overloaded his circuits.

Of course, Frosty's dilemma is somewhat different than that of Angry Robot - he faces imminent temperature increase and death by melting.

Somehow I doubt Santa will lend
Angry Robot last minute
assistance with his goals...
Professor Hinkle, the magician responsible for Frosty's magical hat, is totally against the concept of Frosty achieving his ends - going to the North Pole to avoid liquification.

In the same way, the Angry Robot's programmers went well out of their way to ensure that he could never have what he truly wanted: the death of humankind.

Those selfish jerks.

A Christmas Carol

Angry Robot could easily be Ebenezer Scrooge reincarnate. (Well... as 'incarnate' as a robot is as capable of being, anyway.)

Though he was always a bit of a nitpick, Scrooge did not truly hit his low point until his fianceƩ, Belle, tells him he's too focused on his penny-pinching ways, and it's over between them.

At that point, Scrooge truly snaps. He becomes the miser and all around jerk we know and love. The only real difference here is that Angry Robot has a more proactive plan to "decrease the surplus population."

The parallel does not end here. When the Christmas Ghosts visit Scrooge, he finds himself on a quest to rediscover himself. Finally, he achieves the Angry Robot's necessary goal: Scrooge becomes human once again.

When the Angry Robot accomplishes this, however, there will be no Christmas feast. More like a Christmas barbecue.

God bless us. Every one.

Die Hard

Angry Robot can relate to John McClane.

It's one New York cop versus a dozen German terrorists, and it's Angry Robot versus seven billion stinking meatbags clogging the Earth.

McClane is, for all intents and purposes, all alone.

Even when he gets 'backup,' it just makes things worse.

Now I have a machine gun.
Ho ho ho. 
They're both comfortable with taking action when it's clearly necessary, and will shoot and/or explode anything that gets in their way.

Though Hans Gruber and company try to crash the Nakatomi Christmas party, McClane goes to every length - climbing dangerous elevator shafts, crossing a field of broken glass with bare feet, and blowing up the entire bottom several floors of the tower with C4 - to prevent them from succeeding.

Angry Robot will not stop there. There may not be enough C4 in the world, but I feel confident he'll find a way to keep humanity from continuing to crash his party.

Plenty to fear over at
In conclusion, "Angry Robot" belongs right between "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "Christmas at Ground Zero" as a true holiday classic in your Yuletide playlists. I'm sure there are some other great parallels to be drawn that I didn't consider, so feel free to bring them up below!

While I wait to hear back from the Christmas Music Authority, feel free to check out "Season's Geekings", a holiday album from John Anealio. It features other greats such as "Batman Smells (A Rebuttal)" and "Is a Chupacabra Kosher?" You can download it for FREE here!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all good luck in the impending robot revolution!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Writer v. State of Inertia

I accidentally took a sabbatical from writing.

This is not to say it was entirely necessary. Though the situation was definitely antagonistic to my writing, I could have continued. Regardless, I did not.

Now, I am paying for it.

Dear reader, I have learned another valuable lesson: getting back into writing is tough.

I stopped for three weeks. Granted, these three weeks were during NaNoWriMo (which I still find to be inconveniently placed), so I did not finish my manuscript for that, clocking in at about 10k. I am aspiring to maintain positivism, and purge the negative feelings that creep up due to the quasi-failure to complete the goal.

Yesterday, I finally started again, but I am having plenty of trouble dragging the words out into the light. They are rabid, photophobic badgers who prefer the dank recesses of the mind, and fight tooth and nail to remain. Even this blog post, in its relative brevity, has been a battle.

Writer contemplates amorphous block.
I opt to participate in the school of thought that does not fully believe in writer's block. In my mind, it's a crutch, or an excuse, and not something I need. Still, I recognize that writers do, in fact, sometimes have trouble, and I am currently a writer in trouble.

Besides, I have a bandoleer full of excuses hanging in my proverbial closet (next to the Class 3 radiation suit with the big guacamole stain on it... don't ask), which are readily available should the need arise. (In case the point is not yet painfully clear, when I was younger, my mother suggested I write a book entitled, "An Excuse For Every Occasion.")

Today, I also happened by a particular form of social media, where a particular participant had chosen to give into discouragement and go down in flames - destroying their own work and giving everyone the finger.

This hit me harder than I initially expected.  At first, I viewed it with a cool passivity. "Oh, look, there goes another one." I know, it's insensitive, but it feels like there's always someone spazzing out online.

Then I realized that, sometimes, I feel like I'm just a few steps away from that point. I go to great lengths to not use Twitter, Facebook, and this blog as a sewage processing plant for all of my negative emotions. To be frank, there's too much negativity online, and I'd hate for my rage tweet to be the final molecule that brings the Internet to critical mass (explodey).

Even so, when I get frustrated - and, oh, do I get frustrated - it's tough to not feel like giving up on everything forever and ever. After all, what have I accomplished so far? When I'm disheartened, I'm blind to most good things. It's like the opposite of rose-tinted glasses. I have shit-tinted glasses.

But then the smoke clears. The dust settles. The townsfolk step back, and the guacamole finally stops twitching. I realize that I'm not writing because I can't do anything else, but because I like it. I love it. These thrilling highs and dung heap lows are just a part of the game, and I need to work harder to keep myself on a stable medium to avoid the tumultuous roller coaster effect a bit more. And we're back to...


I shan't carry on about this today. It merely needed mentioning.

Thanks for sitting with me through semi-banal bout of bloggery. I actually feel a bit better, having written this post. It's going to be a rough couple of weeks, getting back into the groove, but maybe I haven't lost my touch after all.