Muses by Tom


Blog news

Posted in Music,News by Tom on October 31, 2010

Followers! Long time no blog, I know. My bad. Anyways, I’m gonna get right down to business. I always accept and encourage feedback on what I do, and, if it is constructive, I will listen the best  I can. With this in mind, you all know how important music is to me. You also know how easy it is for my blog to start overflowing with music related material. On one hand, it is important for me to write on a broad spectrum of topics and keep my intellectual juices flowing. On the other hand, I do need a niche, if you will… a speciality (music). The best way for me to go about this is to keep this blog music-free (yeah I said it), and dedicate it to my fiction and nonfiction writing, as well as other topics I see fit. I have put up a new blog (http://tomtalksmusic.wordpress.com) that will be dedicated to just music. Everything music. All day every day. This, I hope, will keep my readers happy and still help me reach out to as big an audience as I can.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Go check out my new blog, Tom Talks Music to help support my other passion. Subscribe to that one too and spread the word to all the music lovers you know.

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Choose Your Fate

Posted in Music,News by Tom on October 29, 2010
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Escape The Fate‘s new self-titled album, which is set for release on November 2, is now available for streaming at the band’s Myspace page. This is the band’s first major label release with Interscope Records. Craig Mabbitt and the boys have definitely changed up their game on this album, which sounds nothing like the album that first launched them on to the scene (2006’s Dying is Your Latest Fashion feat. Ronnie Radke). ETF will be touring through Noember 7 before taking a week off and heading to Europe. In a recent interview, the band stated that this is the album that “defines” who they are.

I tell you what…

Oh man. Have you guys ever been on that website, peopleofwalmart.com? Well yesterday I felt like all those people had migrated from Walmart to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup race was in ATL yesterday and I was there… along with ATL’s finest rednecks. It’s all good, though, I had a laugh or two.

So we got to AMS at around 1:30 yesterday afternoon and set up the folding chairs, threw a burger on the grill and opened some cold beers to begin our tailgaiting festivities. It was SO hot to be tailgaiting (I have the awesome lobster look going on today to prove it), but it was fun times with good people. We just chilled and took in the sights for a couple of hours before making our way to the track. We walked in the sweltering sun for what felt like 20 miles to the entrance, got in, and began exploring. All the merch trailers were set up so we went and checked those out, making sure to check out my favourites Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart, as well as the hottest person to grace a racetrack, Danica Patrick (although she wasn’t racing last night).

Anyways, after wandering around for a while, we went up to our seats and opened another cold one. The view was pretty awesome–we were right at turn 3. Those jets that fly over the track at the beginning of every race are SO LOUD! The race started around 7:30 PM and Busch was in 3rd place, Stewart in 5th. Good news for me. After about 100 laps or so I started to go deaf from the noise. There were no real wrecks during the race but a few drivers spun out, sending a smoke screen up over the track. The smoke was so thick and the smell of burning rubber was intense. This happened about 3 times, but there were also a number of unnecessary cautions due to “debris” on the track. More like Stewart was so far in the lead and was dominating everyone that they wanted to pull him back… and again… and again.

After a three or so hour race and 325 laps later, Stewart crossed the line first to pick up the victory, much to my excitement. He drove great all night and earned the win. After all the celebration we stay put to let the crowd die down a bit before we made our way out. As were leaving, though, we saw a girl right outside the gate puking her guts out. Classy, right? We hit the parking lot and decided we could either sit in the car in traffic for an hour, or we could fire up the grill again and open more beer. We chose the latter. It was past 1:30 AM when we finally decided to pack up and make our way home. Everyone was tired and sunburned (some  more than others… cough, cough) and ready to hit the road.

As much as I make fun of the redneck debauchery and hickness of NASCAR, it is pretty fun to go and see, and you really get an appreciation of how fast the cars are going when they whiz past you at 200mph. I had a lot of fun at my first NASCAR race and I’d definitely go again. Despite the sunburn.

A decade of decadence

I’ve been so busy with school and all that jazz lately that my blogging has been becoming less frequent. I just wanted to make sure I logged in and left an update for all you folks to read, though. You know, because I know how much everyone loves my blog and all. Anyways. Something pretty significant happened/passed this week.

Yesterday, August 31, was the ten year anniversary of me living in America. Ah, scary! I cannot believe how fast the past ten years have gone by. When I moved here I was just a kid, I was 12, and now I’m getting ready to graduate with my BA. Time truly flies. I still remember how I felt, though, when I first came over here to Connecticut from Wales in 2000. I was scared, nervous, anxious, and knew I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to be the new kid. Lucky for me though, I was accepted with open arms as an eighth grader (the word eighth looks weird to me.. just a thought). I was the talk of the lunchroom and all the cliques wanted me to be a part of them.

After that came the awkward “nobody gets me” high school years full of rebellion, rage, and rocking out. Yeah, I was a legit hot topic kid to the max, and I was in a kickass band. I went from playing the tenor horn in Wales to picking up a pair of drumsticks in CT. Thanks to that feat, music has become such an enormous part of my life and I truly don’t know where I’d be without it. High school was pretty good for me, I’d say… except for 12th grade. Normally senior year is supposed to be the best of the four (so they say), but for me it sucked.

I finished my junior year at New Milford High in 2004 and then pretty much moved right down to GA, leaving everything behind. I found this move to be worse than the move from home.  Moving from Wales to America was an adventure, something brand new and exciting. Moving to Georgia, though, was something I didn’t want to do. Going in to 12th grade as a new kid is just as awful as it sounds. Everyone was already in their little groups and I was just an outsider. I was an awkward 16 year old anyways, so putting me in this situation was destined to be nothing short of it. South Forsyth High School was nothing but awful to me and for me. I wouldn’t wish that school on my worst enemy. I was singled out by teachers and administration for not conforming to their standards (basically, I was a total badass). I wasn’t a rich, spoiled, coke-selling, collar-popping, pink shirt-wearing preppy driving around in my dad’s brand new Mercedes, so therefore I was deemed a target by them. Oh well, I made it out alive.

I made it through college with a lot of patience and determination, and after five years all that is paying off. After starting writing at the age of 10 as just a hobby, I am now graduating with a degree in English. Who would’ve guessed it? Not me…

Being here has changed me so much, and more has happened to me than I could even begin to put in this blog (good and bad), but it is because of being here, I believe, that all of this has happened.

I won’t give you my entire life story here because it’s a blog and it’d take up soooo much space and take you forever to read. Here’s what you need to know, however. I have been here ten years, and these ten years have shaped me tremendously.  While I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been presented with while being here and all the great people I’ve met, I’m still a Brit. I am still Welsh and stand proud to be from Wales. I don’t know what  the future will hold for me, I really don’t, I just hope it’s as exciting and exhilarating as the last ten years.

Thanks to everything that has happened to me over the last ten years, I am now a musician, a writer, a published author, a college student, and very nearly a college graduate. I would like to thank every single person who has come in to my life over this period of time and made me who I am today.

With that said, I will sign off and let you read on :).

Youth “witches” killed

Posted in News by Tom on August 25, 2010
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In the dead of the night, a pastor plants his hand firmly on a woman’s head. He screams some chants at her and ultimately casts out the demons within her. She is free of all evil and is one of the fortunate few allowed to keep her life. This isn’t the plot of the newest wanna be horror film, or even Massachusetts circa 1692. This is present day Nigeria.

It’s something you would only expect to see in the most disturbing of movies; many children are being accused of witchcraft and subsequently punished by being cast out and sentenced to death. Pastors in Nigeria claim poverty and disease are caused by witches bringing evil and misfortune upon the community.

One mother recently cast out her two sons and daughter, accusing them of being witches after the premature deaths of two of their siblings. The mother claims her children used black magic.

When a child is accused of witchcraft, he or she is often “thrown into the river, buried alive, or stabbed to death.” said Sam Ikpe-Itauma, who runs Child’s Rights & Rehabilitation Network, an orphanage in Nigeria. CRARN is home to around 200 children, all of whom have been accused of witchcraft and cast out from their families.

If you thought this was bad, it get’s worse. Here is the story of Godwin, a five-year-old child. After the boy’s mother passed away, the church pastor said Godwin was to blame. Even though Godwin denied the accusations, he was still beaten and forced into falsely confessing that he killed his mother. As a punishment, Godwin was locked up every night with his mother’s corpse with very little food or water. Miraculously, a neighbor contacted CRARN and Godwin was rescued and taken to the orphanage. Sam Ikpe-Itauma says many of the children at the orphanage show the physical scars of being beaten, attacked with boiling water, and cuts from machetes.

“When a child is accused of being a witch,” Sam said, “that child is hated absolutely by everybody surrounding him so such children are sent out of the home… But unfortunately such children do not always live long. A lot of them, they’re either killed, abandoned by the parents, tortured in the church or trafficked out of the city.”

The orphanage is struggling at best, and has neither the finances nor the room to grow. Because of this, many children are forced to roam the streets, like fifteen-year-old Samuel.  Samuel says he has been living on the streets for five years after being blamed for numerous deaths in the family and beaten by his pastor. He lives in an abandoned building with 10 other children, also accused of witchcraft.

“Religious leaders capitalize on the ignorance of some parents in the villages just to make some money off them,” said Lucky Inyang, project coordinator for Stepping Stones Nigeria, a local group that visits the abandoned children.

“They can say your child is a witch and if you bring the child to the church we can deliver the child but eventually they don’t deliver the children… The parents go back to the pastor and say, ‘why is it you have not been able to deliver the child’ and the pastor says ‘Oh – this one has gone past deliverance – they’ve eaten too much flesh so you have to throw the child out.'”

Children in single-parent and broken home environments are the most likely to be accused and killed. The state looks down on organizations such as CRARN for tainting the community’s name and image. It would seem the churches are doing a pretty good job of that themselves, though, no? It is in the last 10 years that this extreme superstition has returned and caused mass hysteria in places such as Nigeria.

This kind of thing just blows my mind, not only that such strong superstition is bad, but that innocent children are being put to death by ignorant pastors and stupid parents. I’d really love to hear what you guys have to say about this. Comment, please.

Click here to read the full article and watch a video.

Book details revealed

Posted in News by Tom on August 22, 2010
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Alright, guys. I have another update.  Get comfy and feast your eyes on this.

Recently, I begun writing new material and writing a lot of preliminary ideas down for my next book. A lot of these ideas I feel are strong, and others I feel I need to continue to work on as new ones keep coming to me. I have also recently been receiving a lot of positive feedback and requests for new material, so I feel now is as good a time as any to light the match on my next project; book #2. Yeah, call me crazy deciding this right as my final semester is starting but hey,  crazy seems to work sometimes.

I mentioned in some earlier posts that I was unsure what direction I wanted to take my next project in, but after some discussion and guidance I feel I have reached a decision. My next project, as of right now, will be another poetic work. Whether it will be a concept-book or a book of stand alone poetry is still up in the air. This was not an easy idea for me to come to, I assure you. I originally wanted to have my second book be a mini novel or collection of short fiction. However, I came to the realization that for the time being, the poetic direction is more practical.

I am going to keep writing and persevering and aim to have book #2 out and in your hands no later than early December. That’s right–mark winter 2010 on your calendars ’cause I’m going to blow your minds. I know this is only gives me a short amount of time to get everything done (i.e. writing, editing, final selections, organizing, and publishing), but I am sticking with the deadline for now.

With all that  being said, I thank you for reading. I am looking forward to getting new work out to you guys and hope that the new project can bring me as much joy as Deep Shadows & Shallow Graves did. Stay tuned to my blog, my official Facebook page, and my Twitter for up to date info as it becomes available.

Thanks and see you soon!

Where the lines overlap

Posted in Uncategorized by Tom on August 20, 2010
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Well, hi. It’s a rainy, stormy Friday afternoon and I’m in a relatively good mood, so I thought hey, why not update?

The biggest thing that’s been going on with me right now, which is probably no surprise, is school. Classes started back on August 18 and I am officially in my final semester :). This is great news for me. I feel like I have come so far and it’s finally paying off. In less than four months I will be a college grad. I applied for graduation today so within the next week or two, everything should be official. I can’t believe that time is upon me. I have my cap and gown ready, and all I need now is the ‘2010’ tassel thing.

Before I can graduate, though, I need to get through this final semester. I am only taking 12 hours this semester because, well, I only have four classes left to take. I only have one English class (applied grammar), and the rest are sociology. I am taking society & globalization, sociology of religion, social stratification, and as I said, applied grammar.

I don’t see these classes being super challenging, but I do see a heavy workload coming my way. I’d better lace up my boots and put my game face on. If anything, grammar will be the most challenging. Yes, I am an English major, but grammar can be tricky–especially all the diagramming and different rules. I think I can get through these classes, though. My professors seem nice enough, even though I have had some of them before, and have had a not too great experience with one of them last semester.

My mission this semester is to stay focused and keep my eye on the prize. I got this down. Anyways, I’m outta here.

Wyclef who?

Posted in Celebrities,News by Tom on August 19, 2010
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Everyone knows who Wyclef Jean is. But if you have been sleeping under a rock for the past two months, dude’s been running for President of Haiti. No, it’s not an ill-timed joke, it’s for real.

Anywho, according to the latest news, we may not have to worry about the possibility of a President Jean much longer. Why, you ask? I shall tell you. Reports say that Wyclef Jean failed to make the list of legally approved candidates for the election on November 28. Is this the final obstacle in Wyclef Jean’s campaign? Is this the straw that broke the camel’s back? I bet everyone in Haiti cares about this story. Maybe I’ll start broadcasting to them.

It’s a slow news day week.

Let’s talk about D.R.U.G.S.

Posted in Music,News by Tom on August 19, 2010
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Ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens has finally announced the name of his new project after months of anticipation. The band, which also features guitarist/vocalist Matt Good (From First To Last), guitarist Nick Martin (Cinematic Sunrise, Isles & Glaciers), and drummer Aaron Stern (ex-Matchbook Romance), is named D.R.U.G.S. The name is an acronym for Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows. You can keep up to date with the band via their official Twitter page.

On a related note, Chiodos have begun streaming the first single from their new album, Illuminaudio, entitled Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together. The track is the first to feature new vocalist Brandon Bolmer. While musically the track has its strong points, Bolmer needs to realize he is not Craig Owens and that he should stop trying to imitate him. In my opinion, Bolmer sounds like a bad clone of Craig Owens. Only Craig could pull off Chiodos– this new guy is gonna sink fast. This track would make a decent  Chiodos tune if it wasn’t for Bolmer. The music is impressive as always but BB, he is in way over his head. Check out the track for yourself on the band’s Myspace page.

New Chiodos

Posted in Music,News by Tom on August 3, 2010
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It has been revealed that Chiodos‘s third studio album, Illuminaudio, will be released on October 5. This will be the band’s first album without ex-frontman Craig Owens and will also be the first to feature new vocalist Brandon Bolmer. Bolmer has a lot to live up to and personally, I don’t think he can pull it off. His mediocre vocals are no match for those of Owens, who was the essence of Chiodos. The band is going to go downhill without Owens. I’ll give the new album a chance, but I’m not holding my breath for anything amazing. Sorry, guys.

Illuminaudio tracklisting:

1. Illuminaudio

2. Caves

3. Love is a Cat from Hell

4. Modern Wolf Hair

5. Notes in Constellations

6. Scaremonger

7. His Story Repeats Itself

8. Let Us Burn One

9. Hey Zeus the Dungeon

10. Stratovolcano Mouth

11. Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together

12. Closed Eyes Still Look Forward

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