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Massive Attack 2023: Running, Music, Documentary Work (+Some Whisky Reviews)

Went out for a run today — have been running about once weekly these days, which is not a lot at all, but better than nothing — and was thinking about planning a new ultra-distance course to run for Spring. I’ve gained too much weight again and slowed down, but after swimming in a tasty vat of single malt Scotches for the past weeks/holidays (and Christening my floor with a full glass of one of them), eating my fair share of cheesy, bread-y everything, not sleeping regularly, and dipping in and out of deep depression, I’m going to need a new inner focus for the new year.

The focus will be triune in nature: 

  1. I’m currently working on material for a new album,
  2. helping put together a documentary with a friend, 
  3. and am looking to plan a new running course to endeavor upon in Spring as mentioned just above.

So yeah, whisky drinking is not part of that goal, but I did want to include some brief reviews here from a few new spirits I’ve been sampling recently. Or rather gulping down voraciously. Though, now, I’m gonna have to take a break and cut back a lot again as I did in October. Perhaps maybe just a dram or two on Sundays. Well, at least that will help me not only to focus, but also not to decimate the nice opened whiskies I have here at home now so quickly. In conjunction with the running goal, I’ll also post some pics/tunes from my recent two-mile runs just below. Have begun slowly working myself back up to steam engine shape. That’s the plan, at least.

Music-wise on runs, I’ve been listening to Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, and Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet. The two albums pictured above are winners all the way through. Trip-hop, ambient, electronic. All with a very nice vibe.

No sunshine in my life because the way I deal is hazy

And everyday’s a daisy ’cause I’m on my toes

While contemporaries of mine remaining comatose

-Massive Attack, “Blue Lines”

I’d like to feel that you could be free

Look up at the blue skies beneath a new tree

Sometime again

You’ll turn green and the sea turns red

My son I said the power of reflections over my head

The big wheel keeps on turning

On a simple line day by day

The earth spins on its axis

One man struggle while another relaxes

-“Hymn of the Big Wheel,” Massive Attack

As far as the physical end of training goes, I have to work on more core strength to help with issues in my hip and back. It’s easy to forget how important a solid core is to supporting your whole body. The issues with sleeping continue to nag at me. But I figure there must be some kind of way to still get strong, regardless. That said, it’s much, much easier and healthier I think, to train when you can follow the sun’s lead, instead of trying to hardwire your own circadian rhythm in an unusual way.

New Album and Documentary

I’ve been putting together some ideas for a new album over the past months. I’m feeling excited about what I’ve got so far. Now it’s just continuing to work out the songs, saving up money, and finding a good studio/producer. 

The documentary I mentioned I cannot really talk about, but it is about the garbage that’s been going on for the past three years now. Working with a cool anarchist organization to help them make their vision happen. More on that later.

Newly Sampled Whiskies/Tasting Notes

I’m getting tired so will just touch on this really quickly, but couldn’t go without putting these down in the list of now-experienced whiskies. Tasting the following three made me wish I had saved all my YouTube whisky reviews before deleting my channel. I’ve tasted quite a few by now, for a mere enthusiast, and am kind of proud of that. Anyway! Here we go:

Caol Ila 12-year

Nose: Hint of cinnamon, ash, sea salt, smoke on the tail, caramel overtones.

Mouth: Honeydew, iodine, bonfire, old wooden barn door, fresh grass, ashes in an ashtray, seaside salt, light and crisp, dry red wine, hospital, medicinal smell.

Finish: Fire, pepper, oak, smoke. 

Ardbeg Wee Beastie, 5 Years Old

Overall Impression: Lively, young, slightly simple perhaps in some sense, but delightfully intense. 47.4% ABV helps deliver that punch.

“Charcoal-Chocolate-Marshmallow-Tar.”

Nose: Solvent, raisins, chocolate. 

Mouth: Ashes, sea salt, toffee, tar, blackberry syrup, charred salmon.

Finish: Black pepper, smoke, oil.

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Rye

I think this was my first time ever trying a straight rye whisky. It’s the first time I’ve knowingly imbibed one, at least. I mostly stick with Islay region single malt Scotches. That said, I really liked this. More than bourbon in some major ways, too. It’s not as overpoweringly sweet as bourbon can be. 

Nose: Hint of spicy rye, prunes, oaky, nutty oils, mint, fresh leaves, delicate balance.

Mouth: Tiny hint of Werther’s Original candy, hesitant spices… Then, all of a sudden: an explosion of spices, pepper, biting oak oils, and rye all across the palette with more spice, oak, and minty hints in the background.

Finish: Very dry, spicy, flash of intense warmth, then gone.

Bring on 2023!

Well, that’s all for me, for now. Thanks so much for reading. Am looking forward to what the new year brings, or rather, what we will make of it as freedom-loving individuals. The world is indeed in a very, very, bleak place currently. But also, this has been the story across history, depending on where one is and one’s individual circumstances. “One man struggle while another relaxes.” But damn, this time it is truly global. And damn, is it dark. People here in Japan are still wearing the muzzles, too, so I haven’t really seen human faces in public as a normal thing for almost three years now. Soon to go on four. 

Well, they can go to hell, so to speak. Those of us still alive, unmasked, calling out the bullshit openly: THANK YOU.

Let’s keep making events, keep networking, and most importantly enjoying those we love and taking practical steps to become more self-sufficient and ready to defend ourselves that we may thrive all the more in freedom and self-ownership.

Let’s kick ass, in other words.

-G.

By Voluntary Japan

Living life.

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