Best of 2015: a metal playlist

I made another metal playlist on Apple Music.

While my last playlist was a bit of a magnum opus, this one is isolated to metal contributions from the year 2015.

Best of 2015

  1. Skydancer (feat. Jonathan Vigil), by In Hearts Wake
  2. Throw Me In The Jungle, by Born of Osiris
  3. No Way Out, by Bullet For My Valentine
  4. Return to Sender, by Elitist
  5. Bleed Heavens Dry, by Solution .45
  6. Dead Choir, by Phinehas
  7. Fail, by Haste The Day
  8. The Sickness, by Imminence
  9. Legion of Monsters (Bonus Track), by Disturbed
  10. Fiat Empire, by All That Remains
  11. Utopia, by Tesseract
  12. The Direction of Last Things, by Intronaut
  13. Question Everything, by Five Finger Death Punch
  14. Coffin, by Disarmonia Mundi
  15. Empty Promises, by Miss May I
  16. The Give And Take, by Like Moths to Flames
  17. Supernova, by The Devil Wears Prada
  18. Loyalty, by Killswitch Engage (from the Game of Thrones Mix Tape II compilation)
  19. Follow The Crossed Line, by The Agonist
  20. Anodized, by Fear Factory
  21. Ghosts (feat. Jeremy McKinnon), by August Burns Red
  22. Enemies in Fidelity, by Soilwork
  23. The Path, by Battlecross
  24. Blind Leading The Blind, by Trivium
  25. Omega, by Periphery

From Mercy to War

I created a Metal playlist on Apple Music.

Here’s the playlist description:

A collection of some of the best Artists’ songs in metalcore, nu metal, prog metal, Swedish metal, and more

Here’s the list itself:

  1. The Windswept Mercy, by Soilwork
  2. Vengeance, by The Devil Wears Prada
  3. Ultraviolet, by Erra
  4. Dying Breed, by Deadlock
  5. Clandestinity Now, by Solution .45
  6. Time, by Wintersun
  7. Ringside Seat to Human Tragedy, by Disarmonia Mundi
  8. A Rose for Epona, by Eluveitie
  9. Hymn of a Broken Man, by Times of Grace
  10. Erised, by Periphery
  11. Amaranthine, by Amaranthe
  12. I will Fail You, by Demon Hunter
  13. Of All These Yesterdays, by Trivium
  14. Square Nothing, by In Flames
  15. Orbital, by Sybreed
  16. Of Matter: Proxy, by Tesseract
  17. Evolution, by Skyharbor
  18. Doxa, by Monuments
  19. Pleidian Keys, by The HAARP Machine
  20. Broken Man, by Corpus Christi
  21. Machines, by Crown the Empire
  22. The Death of Me, by Asking Alexandria
  23. Fire That Kid, by The Ascendicate
  24. The Place That Most Deny, by Haste The Day
  25. Mad at Myself, by Issues
  26. Tears Don’t Fall, by Bullet For My Valentine
  27. The Ravenous, by I, Omega
  28. Delusions of Grandeur, by Art by Numbers
  29. Backstabbers Need Not Apply, by Close to Home
  30. Glass Faces, by Corelia
  31. Yellowism, by The Safety Fire
  32. We Never Should Have Met, by Aliases
  33. The Hounds of Anubis, by The Word Alive
  34. Tiny Hands (Au Revoir), by Silent Planet
  35. White Flag, by Glass Cloud
  36. Pittsburg, by The Amity Affliction
  37. Healer, by In Hearts Wake
  38. Before You Know It, by Ten After Two
  39. Half Life, by Whether, I
  40. Redemption (With Embedded Track “Mosley”), by August Burns Red
  41. Watcher, by Bury Tomorrow
  42. The Mapmaker, by Jamie’s Elsewhere
  43. The Path, by Upon This Dawning
  44. The Wretched, by Attack! Attack!
  45. How Could I Believe, by Il Niño
  46. Hey Mister, by Miss May I
  47. Five Months, by We Rise The Tides
  48. If Not, For Ourselves, by Woe, Is Me
  49. Your Heart and Mine, by Us From Outside
  50. No Peace, by Affiance
  51. This Ship, A Coffin, by Adestria
  52. Flourish, by The Contortionist
  53. John, The Revelatory, by Righteous Vendetta
  54. Truth Be Told, by Phinehas
  55. Product of a Murderer, by Of Mice & Men
  56. Castles In The Sky, by Mureau
  57. With Ears to See, And Eyes to Hear, by Sleeping With Sirens
  58. From Ashes, by War of Ages
  59. Ceasing Time, by Onward to Olympus
  60. Silhouette, by A Breach of Silence
  61. Legends Never Die, by Betraying The Martyrs
  62. A Greater Sense of Self, by Fit For a King
  63. I Will Destroy The Wisdom Of The Wise, by A Bullet For Pretty Boy
  64. Legacy, by Memphis May Fire
  65. A War Inside, by We Came as Romans
  66. Ten Thousand Feet, by I See Stars
  67. Trapped, by Abandon All Ships
  68. What The Water Gave Me (Rock Mix), by Come The Dawn
  69. Lonely Giant, by Elitist
  70. Strange Comfort, by The Color Morale
  71. Atonement, by Your Memorial
  72. Inheritors, by Serianna
  73. Die to Live, by Confession
  74. Upside Down Kingdom, by As I Lay Dying
  75. The Rise, by Oh, Sleeper
  76. The Silent Divide, by Anterior
  77. Into The Sky, by Armana Reign
  78. Fadeaway, by D Creation
  79. Murder…Savior, by Dirge Within
  80. Guarded, by Disturbed
  81. Harmony., by Forever Orion
  82. Deathmarks, by Like Moths to Flames
  83. I Am Hell (Sonata in C#), by Machine Head
  84. 1.618, by Allegaeon
  85. The Unknown, by Shadows Fall
  86. Reincarnate, by Motionless In White
  87. Before You Finally Break, by Sonic Syndicate
  88. Question Everything, by Five Finger Death Punch
  89. Get Over It, by Battlecross
  90. The Tempest (The Siren’s Song, The Banshee’s Cry), by The Agonist
  91. Exile, by Before The Dawn
  92. Conquer, by God Forbid
  93. Inane, by Threat Signal
  94. Canis Major, by Substructure
  95. Cascade, by Auras
  96. Vahle, by Volumes
  97. The Malignant, by Black Crown Initiate
  98. Machine, by Born of Osiris
  99. The Way We Die, by Devil You Know
  100. Holographic Universe, by Scar Symmetry
  101. Painters of the Tempest, Pt. II (Triptych Lux), by Ne Obliviscaris
  102. The Arms of Sorrow, by Killswitch Engage
  103. Fractured, by Diecast
  104. Melancholy, by Machinemade God
  105. Psychosocial, by Slipknot
  106. Anika, mon frère, by Shoot The Girl First
  107. Fightin’ Words, by Casino Madrid
  108. Stay Captive, by Still Remains
  109. Forsaken, by Mutiny Within
  110. Arise The War Cry, by Unearth

Listen to this playlist in Apple Music by clicking on the link below:

From Mercy to War

Troubleshooting Xbox One Kinect Voice Commands

The Xbox One Kinect is cool. It offers hands-free voice controlled operations within the home to go to games, apps, or TV channels. For example, it’s actually kind of satisfying when you say, “Xbox, record that”, and it auto records the last 30 seconds of gameplay without having to double-tap the home button and then press X (or whatever button it is).

Well, a better statement is that it is cool except for when it isn’t. The Kinect sensor doesn’t perform well in noisy-kid environments. It seems that any amount of ambient noise from someone doing the dishes to a kid laughing, coughing, whining, or screaming (of course) prevents the sensor from picking up your voice commands. There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to mute the Xbox so that you can hear someone in the other room talking to you, but it can’t register your mute command because of the someone in the other room who is talking.

My thoughts on the Kinect aside, I wanted to share some troubleshooting that I have done recently to figure out why Xbox would take me to VH1 when I was trying to go to beINSport USA, which I referenced in passing in a former post.

When I experienced the issue, I first turned to self-help resources. I went to Settings > Kinect > I moved my Kinect sensor. I re-calibrated but to no avail. I then went to Troubleshoot Voice Commands. These steps did not resolve it. I Tweeted Xbox support, but the steps they provided did not resolve the issue, so they referred me to their phone support. I spent an hour on the phone with their support staff, and they concluded that I needed a new sensor.

They were wrong.

I tested my sensor on my Day One Edition console after taking it off of my Elite one, and it worked perfectly to take me to beINSport USA.

I bought a new Kinect to have it with my Elite console, and–at first–it had the same issue. I thought it was environmental initially, but that didn’t make sense because the Day One console and Kinect worked perfectly fine in the same exact spot as the Elite console and new Kinect.

Then I realized it could be my satellite box. I power-cycled it. Issue persisted.

Then I realized it could be my pronunciation. I realized that I could say, “Xbox, select”, and it would pull up the existing channel and show the voice command on the top right to get to it. So, I manually selected the channel in the full guide and then used the aforementioned voice command. It showed me, “Watch beIN Sport”. I was not slightly pausing between beIN and Sport! So, I went to NBC and then invoked this watch command–and it worked!

The troubleshooting step here is to ensure you are following the appropriate voice command with exact pronunciation and pauses.

For example, “Xbox, go to Minecraft” will not work. Instead, use, “Xbox, go to Minecraft Xbox One Edition”.

In my specific case, “Watch beINSport” is not the same as “Watch beIN Sport”. The space must be followed.

However, colons should be ignored. “Xbox, go to Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is simply stated, “Xbox, go to Halo The Master Chief Collection”.

So, for troubleshooting voice commands, remember to be exact and follow commas and spaces but ignore colons. When you are not sure what the command is, think literally and entirely. For games and apps, you must say the name exactly how it is listed in your Games & Apps. For TV channels, manually go to the desired channel and then say, “Xbox, select”, and take note of the voice command listed to the top right as it will be the exact one needed to get the Kinect to that specific channel in the future.

With these tips in mind, I bid you success in using and troubleshooting your Xbox One Kinect!

Best Buy customer for life

In my recent Xbox One Elite debacle, I had to go to Best Buy to swap out my bundle. I figured I would pick up an external drive while I was there.

I found a G-Drive 1TB 7200 RPM USB 3 & Thunderbolt portable drive for $65.99.

When I was checking out, it rang up as $179.

I immediately coughed up a chicken bone and said that I thought the drive was like $70 or $80.

The customer service representative asked me to show him. We walked over to the drives and we found the same unit sitting there under the $65.99 price tag. He said that he would take care of the difference.

I love Best Buy. They have good policies and, in my experience, they do right by the customer. I’ll be their customer for life!

Xbox One Elite: cool product, questionable support

I recently purchased an Xbox One Elite bundle as I wanted to plunge into a nice, premium controller.

My experience with the controller has had mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I like the features. Programming the buttons and paddles, adjusting the center LED brightness, saving 2 profiles—it’s all so cool!

On the other hand, I experienced a defective left-bottom paddle (P4) that was loose for some unknown reason. When I went to get it replaced under warranty within a couple of days of purchasing the bundle, Microsoft Xbox Support charged me to replace them. I didn’t understand it initially, but I later found out that the paddles are not covered by the warranty and neither are they covered for defective craftsmanship out of the box, which I found to be disconcerting. By the way, with tax they come out to $16.28 to replace.

I also had an issue where my new Xbox One Elite console was not working correctly with my Day One Edition Kinect Sensor. I would say, “Xbox, watch beINSport”, and it would pull up VH1 instead and, sometimes, it would then automatically switch from VH1 to NBC. Bizarre behavior. However, if I reconnected the sensor to my Day One Edition Xbox One, it worked perfectly.

As a result, I exchanged my Xbox One Elite bundle at my point of sale. I will have to wait to get a new Kinect sensor and test it out with this Elite. However, much to my surprise, my new Elite controller has a defect out of the box—the right joy stick clicks upon rotation! I just cannot believe it!

So, I like the features, but I’m upset with the policies and support.

How can a premium product such as the Xbox One Elite controller not be flawless upon unboxing?

How can a premium product also not be fully covered from top to bottom under the one year limited warranty (barring accidental damage of course)?

This experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I trusted Xbox, and they let me down in material craftsmanship, quality control, and questionable support.

If you are in the market for a nice, premium controller, you may want to look elsewhere. I hear quality support is hard to come by with third-parties, but maybe the quality craftsmanship is better with a Scuf Infinity1 or something else.

Getting Right with Wright: A brief synopsis of the first three volumes of Christian Origins and the Question of God

I recently finished Jesus and the Victory of God (JVG), volume 2 in the Christian Origins and the Question of God series by N.T. Wright. Prior to that, I first read volume 3, The Resurrection of the Son of God (RSG), and later volume 1, The New Testament and the People of God (NTPG). Much like this blog post’s title, these books are rather lengthy. Not including the appendices, bibliographies, and other indices, they are 476, 662, and 738 pages for volumes 1-3, respectively. It took me several years to slog through these books, not because they are boring—on the contrary, Wright’s writing style is exceptionally engaging—but because I am a slow interactive reader. Now that I finished these 3 volumes, I need to save up to get the fourth, which is something like 1700 pages at the cost of about $80.

Before I dive into the next volume, Paul and the Forgiveness of God, I believe I should sum up the first 3 volumes for my own benefit to ensure that I am rightly following Wright. Below is my brief synopsis of the first three volumes of this series.

The New Testament and the People of God

The New Testament provides stories that show elements of praxis and symbols pertinent to the Second Temple First Century Judaism of which Jesus was included and out of which Christians emerged. As such, it is not a privatized spiritual guide but a public proclamation of a subversive narrative about a creator and the world. Indeed, “. . . history, literature and theology belong together” (NTPG 471). The story—history, literature, and theology—are “rooted in Israel’s past, and designed to continue into the world’s future” (476). In addition, the New Testament “repeated the Jewish claim: this story concerns not just a god but God. It revised the Jewish evidence: the claim is made good, not in national liberation, but in the events concerning Jesus” (476).

Jesus and the Victory of God

Jesus was a eschatological kingdom prophet/Messiah by vocation who

believed himself to be the focal point of the people of YHWH, the returned-from-exile people, the people of the renewed covenant, the people whose sins were now to be forgiven. He embodied what he had announced. He was the true interpreter of Torah; the true builder of the Temple; the true spokesperson for Wisdom. (JVG 538)

The result of his life, death, and resurrection was to bring about the return of the King—YHWH.

Now, in the conclusion to the volume, Wright states practically out of nowhere that the resurrection, however it is to be understood, was the validation for Jesus as Messiah and to give any relevance to his words and actions long after his death (659). He went on to state,

But if he was an eschatological prophet/Messiah, announcing the kingdom and dying in order to bring it about, the resurrection would declare that he had in principle succeeded in his task, and that his earlier redefinitions of the coming kingdom had pointed to a further task awaiting his followers, that of implementing what he had achieved. Jesus, after all, as a good first-century Jew, believed that Israel functioned to the rest of the world as the hinge to the door; what he had done for Israel, he had done in principle for the whole world. It makes sense, within his aims as we have studied them, to suppose that he envisaged his followers becoming in their turn Isaianic heralds, lights to the world. (660)

I believe volume 4 will be focused on Paul’s missionary work to be the light unto the world and to bring about Jesus’ vision for his followers to implement what he had achieved, but RSG is all about the resurrection, which he did not cover in JVG.

The Resurrection of the Son of God

History does not work in logical or mathematical proof theorems; it works in the probability of unrepeatable events. The resurrection is one such event, and Jesus’ resurrection as an event sufficiently and necessarily explains the later Christian belief about Jesus as the Son of God and not the other way around. No other explanation will suffice. The resurrection of the Son of God itself has three meanings. First, “Jesus is Israel’s Messiah. In him, the creator’s covenant plan, to deal with the sin and death that has so radically infected his world, has reached its long-awaited and decisive fulfillment” (RSG 728). Second, “The resurrection constitutes Jesus as the world’s true sovereign, the ‘son of god’ who claims absolute allegiance from everyone and everything within creation. He is the start of the creator’s new world: its pilot project, indeed its pilot” (731). And, third, “The resurrection . . . declares that Jesus really is God’s Son . . .” (735). He is what would later be described as the second person of the Trinity. The resurrection shows God’s involvement in his creation, that he exists and acts in space and time (735-6).

Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace :: Time to regroup #KTBFFH

Well, 2015-2016 is off to an horrid start for Chelsea.

Here was our starting lineup:

Here were our available subs:

We opted to sub Willian off for Falcao, Azpilicueta off for Kenedy, and Matic off for Loftus-Cheek.

The recipe for last year’s success is not working this season, and we need to change things up right quick if we want to get a top 4 position as we have only earned 4 points from 4 games, and only 1 other team has let in more goals than we have.

Ivanovic is clearly the target, the way in behind our back line, the weak point through him our opponents know they will cause trouble and disarray. We should move Azpilicueta to Right Back and let Kenedy own Left Back, reserving Ivanovic for Center Back duties as a substitute or as a starting replacement for Cahill.

Fabregas is clearly misfiring. He is not the same player that he was last season. His passing is poor, and it is affecting the team. Replace him with Ramires ASAP.

Matic is off his game. He is not bossing the midfield like last season. If he doesn’t take the game by the scruff of the neck, our midfield will continue to fold to the opposition. Replace him with Mikel for the time being to shore up the midfield.

Hazard is haphazard. I’ve seen no real purpose or organization to his movement and passing. He just doesn’t look sharp, and he doesn’t look dangerous. I’m not sure if he can influence the game, but let Loftus-Cheek take over Hazard’s duties for now. [EDIT 8/29/15 9:36am Pacific] How did I forget about Oscar? Once he is available, he should take charge.[/EDIT]

Willian has been poor. He takes a lot of shots—none of which are on target. I would suggest pulling him off and switching formation to remove a 5th midfielder.

In lieu of the 5th midfielder, we can add on a 3rd forward. We could go with Pedro, Diego Costa, and Falcao up top:


Azpilicueta – Cahill – Terry – Kenedy

Ramires – Mikel – Loftus-Cheek

Falcao – Diego Costa – Pedro

That’s just my two-cents. Whether right or wrong, something has got to change, because our current strategy just isn’t working as we are falling flat on our face.

I couldn’t be more happy that a long international break is here. We need to regroup.


City 3 – 0 CFC

Well, it has been a long time since I last published a blog post.

It has been an even longer time since I last wrote about football.

But here I am today with a ton of time on my hands and a myriad of thoughts about the state of affairs for my beloved Chelsea—2 games into the 2015-2016 season with only 1 point of a possible 6 to show for it.

We lost today 3-nil away at Manchester City. To be frank, it was horrid.

Why did we line up as follows (I don’t know if this was the official setup, but these were all of the starters)?


Ivanovic – Cahill – Terry – Azpilicueta

Matic – Ramires

Willian – Fabregas – Hazard

Diego Costa

Sergio Aguero’s goal came due to a fatal error by Cahill. I thought he should have been subbed off at half; Mourinho instead opted to sub off Terry.

Ramires and Fabregas looked knackered. Fabregas was rather imprecise throughout. I thought that the two should be subbed by Cuadrado and Falcao, respectively, although I had forgotten about Remy, whom I feel is much more deserving than Falcao.

We lacked offensive. We lacked defensive. We were poor. That’s not exactly the compelling statement we want to kick off the season.

I should say that our worst game last year saw us lose 3-nil to West Brom, so it is entirely possible that we have gotten the worst of it over for the rest of the season. I realize that is highly optimistic, but I’d rather not be cynical.

Here were my comments on the game as I watched it. Note that around the time I felt like City were holding back, they ended up netting 2 more goals. Credit to them.

Here are some post-match musings through Twitter and the like.

I think something is wrong in the dressing room. It’s almost as if we are resting on our laurels or we have a sense of entitlement. Titles are earned; they are not given. Wake up, lads!

I’m confused by this excerpt. When I read the full article, I became more confused. Mourinho stated that Chelsea were the best side in the 2nd half, but it was City who scored twice in the latter half and not Chelsea. However, his final quote should be noted: “We couldn’t capitalize on the second half.” We couldn’t convert. We lacked offensive options, drive, determination, and will.

Per the full article, I agree: “Chelsea looked sluggish in midfield as Silva, Sterling and Toure ran rings around the, and they failed to find their rhythm in a rambunctious encounter.” Additionally, “. . . the reigning Premier League champions were most disappointing in midfield as Ramires, Hazard and Willian floated around without purpose and Nemanja Matic raced around like the Tasmanian Devil trying to put out fires in the engine room. His usual partner in crime, Cesc Fabregas, was nowhere to be seen and this display reeked of a man low in confidence and unable to live with the cut and thrust of his powerful opponents.” This game was lost in the midfield, allowing City to put the pressure on the back line, who capitulated 3 times.

This just hurts to see.

Meanwhile, we now signed a proper left back. I suspect that Ivanovich is going to be fighting for a center-back position between Cahill and Zooma, although Terry may be phased out as he is the slowest one of the lot. In Ivanovich’s old spot, Azpilicueta will move to the right back.

Well, Week 2 is over. Mourinho needs to sort things out in the locker room. We need to make a resounding comeback next week against West Brom next week—the very team we lost 3-nil to last year. I expect a strong, compelling, inspiring comeback next week against all odds just as Abramovich will, which I believe will motiviate Mourinho and his men.

Psalm 119:153-160

Psalm 119:153-160 all begin with resh (ר).

Look at my afflictions and rescue me
for I do not forget your laws.

Plead my legal cause and redeem me
let me live in your word.

Salvation is far from the wicked
for they do not seek your statutes.

Your mercy is great, oh Lord
let me live according to your justice.

Many are my persecutors and my adversaries
I have not stretched from your decrees.

I saw the treacherous ones and felt disgust
because they do not keep your word.

See that I love your precepts
Lord, let me live according to your steadfast love.

The sum of your word is truth
and every one of your righteous judgments is forever.