Monday, June 13, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alum Meka Nism

Hello, welcome the Phile for a Monday. How are you, kids? At least your reason for being depressed today isn't shockingly trivial. Well, looks like the Stanford rapist lied to the judge about his previous alcohol and drug use. The statement Brock Turner read to Judge Aaron Persky is one of the reasons he received an exceptionally light sentence (along with the support of friends and family who claimed he was generally a nice boy who never wanted to hurt anyone, insert jerk off motion here). But not only did his statement fail to include any serious mention of the actual crime of which he was convicted (which Turner still doesn't seem to understand was rape, not drinking), it also failed to include the truth about his previous experience with drinking and drugs, both at Stanford and in high school in Ohio. In his statement to Judge Persky, Turner painted himself as someone who had little to no experience with drinking, binge or otherwise. ("Coming from a small town in Ohio, I had never really experienced celebrating or partying that involved alcohol.'') But according to photos and texts on Turner's phone, which had been seized by police, that's not exactly true. According to prosecutor Alaleh Kiancerci's sentencing memo, there was evidence that Turner had done his fair share of drinking and drugs well before he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster during a frat party at Stanford in January 2015. Turner's phone records reportedly included texts he'd sent and received referring to smoking pot and taking acid as early as April 2014, before Turner even left for college. On July 25th, 2014, while still living in Ohio, Turner sent a text message to a friend saying, "Oh dude I did acid with [person] last week." On December 18th, 2014, at Stanford, Turner reportedly sent a text to a friend reading, "Do you think I could buy some wax so we could do some dabs?" (Dabs are a potent form of marijuana that resemble honey or butter.) On December 24th, 2014, someone sent a message to Turner suggesting they take acid over the winter break, to which Turner responded, "I'm down for sure." And on December 27th, 2014, there was video "depicting the Defendant smoking from a bong and drinking out of a bottle of liquor immediately after taking a 'bong hit.'" It's not surprising that college or even high school students want to and do try drugs and drinking, but it's interesting that Turner neglected to leave all of that out in his statement to the judge, instead blaming his behavior on the party atmosphere of Stanford. ("Living more than 2,000 miles from home, I looked to the guys on my swim team as family and tried to replicate their values in how they approached college life.'') According to "The Mercury News," Kiancerci pointed out the lies to the judge during the sentencing hearing, but Persky did not comment. Persky also doesn't seem to have considered Turner's propensity for dishonesty when dishing out a jail sentence of only 6 months out of a maximum of 14 possible years in prison.
The mass shooting at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando early Sunday morning, the worst in U.S. history (and there are many), has affected so many people and resulted in so many heartbroken friends and family. The massacre, which left 49 people dead and at least 53 more wounded, took place on Latin night at the gay club, during Orlando's Pride Week. One of the victims, a man named Luis Vielma, worked at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, running the Forbidden Journey ride. On Monday, J.K. Rowling tweeted a picture of Vielma.

The tweet had been retweeted over 26,000 times by this morning. Some people responded, saying they knew Vielma or had met him at the ride. As of now, police have identified all but one of the deceased. According to Orlando Health, six people have been sent home and 29 remain in the hospital. While they may not get tributes from famous authors, every one of them will be missed by someone.
Wouldn't dating be so much easier if there were no unknowns, just non-negotiable rules? One eighth grade girl had the brilliant idea of simplifying all the possible "what ifs" by drawing up a contract that clearly states what her man (boy) is and isn't allowed to do within the confines of their relationship. The printed contract, found in a middle school and tweeted by a man named Max Linsky, has some very specific mandates for going steady. While it does not appear to be legally binding, there's no doubt that the author's got a wonderful career as a lawyer ahead of her.

This contract is very clear, and not at all open to interpretation, especially with regards to the talking to and looking at of "hoes." Looks like she's got all her bases covered, including provisions for meals. (He buys, case closed). There's no reason to think this wouldn't hold up in a court of dating law.
While she plays a lightsaber-wielding badass in space (with parentage that will hopefully be revealed in Episode VIII), Daisy Ridley experiences very real health issues on earth. The beautiful new star of Star Wars shared a clay mask selfie and her story of her health issues to encourage people to get help they need, and to also show how she's down-to-earth even if she's famous for fighting in space. Ridley has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which can cause chronic pain and bad skin. "I can safely say feeling so self conscious has left my confidence in tatters. I hate wearing make up but I currently don't want to leave the house without it on," she writes. Ridley encourages fans and followers to seek the help they need, "My point is, to any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don't worry about sounding like a hypochondriac. From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours our working in tip top condition, and take help if it's needed." Take care of yourself, so you can take care of the galaxy.
A Chinese Lego artist named Zhao spent three days building a large Lego statue of Nick the fox from Zootopia for a Lego Expo in Ningbo, China. On Sunday, a kid totally destroyed it just hours after the exhibit opened to the public. Sadly, it's not exactly a surprising fate for a giant Lego sculpture of a character from a very popular kids' movie. What is surprising is that the artist was actually pretty cool about it. Here is a pic of the statue from Zhao's account on the Chinese social network Weibo...

And here it is after being toppled over like a game of Jenga...

The kid's parents publicly apologized for the incident, and Zhao declined the compensation they offered him, because he understood it was an accident. He said exhibit employees were as much to blame for not keeping a better eye on the exhibits. Hopefully, Zhao gets commissioned for some future Lego work in places with kid-proof security (one can dare to dream).
There's one thing about me that you might not know and that is I don't break rules. Haha. Really. Unlike this couple...

So, everyone right now is talking about gun laws because of the shooting two nights ago in Orlando. I saw this poster and I thought I had to share it...

The cheese is from France, but still... Makes you think, right? Speaking of posters, did you see the poster for the last X-Men movie? It shows the best scene in the movie.

Hahahaha. I'm cracking myself up. Just now I mentioned J.K. Rowling... author of the Harry Potter books. I should mention she has a brand new Harry Potter book coming out. Here's an exclusive reveal of the cover and what it is called...

It comes out in September I think. Okay, well, as you probably know I live in Florida and stuff happens in this state that happens no where else in the Universe. That's why I have a pheature called...

The biggest alligator ever roamed the Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Florida a few weeks ago, posing the question: can that be real? "That must be the biggest alligator I have seen in my life," our narrator, Charles Helms, 56, begins in a video. "Jesus, he must be 15 feet long." After a moment of consideration, Helms comes to his senses, "I think that's two guys in an alligator suit." Based on everything we know about Florida, that theory is equally plausible. Or it could be a hoax video created with special effects, as some people on the Internet theorized. For perspective, here's the gator compared to a regular Florida-sized human, golfer David Matos...

It's frickin' huge. Even if that isn't two men inside a gator costume, it could still be two men inside a gator.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, I love comedy... I love watching comedy and I have done stand-up in my time, and I tend to think I'm funny here on the Phile. Anyway, I met someone the other day who is the oldest comedian in the world and who wanted to come on the Phile and tell a joke. Well, the problem is he talks like it's the 1700s. So, I thought I'll have him tell his joke and then I will translate it as I just happen to understand what he's saying, bout you, my readers probably won't. Man, this is a big intro to a new character... hahaha. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Alan, welcome to the Phile. So, you have a joke for us?

Alan: Yes.

Me: Okay, tell us and I'll translate.

Alan: A gentleman being in company with some ladies, who talkd' very amorously, felt an odd sort of motion in his breeches. So he whisper'd one of the ladies in the ear, and told her that his fusee was cock'd. It is so, says she; then you may fire at me if you please; I'll stand ye, I am not afraid of your flints, altho' there be two of them.

Me: Okay, no one is laughing. So, let me translate for my readers, Alan. A dude talking with some ladies gets a boner, and tries to be like, "Oh, hey, I just have a flintlock rifle in my pocket." But the lady is like, "Uh, if that's the case, then there's two of them. But I'm pretty sure one of them is a boner, and you can fire at me with it." Wink! See, now everyone is laughing. Alan Raglafart, the 100 Year Old Comedian, everybody.

"Orange is the New Black"
"Orange is the New Black" is an American comedy-drama series about the gentrification of a woman's prison.

The 49th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author and Phile Alum will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Okay, today's guest is the lead singer in the Orlando based heavy metal band Meka Nism whose new EP "Live From the Machine Shop" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Meka Nism.

Me: Meka! Welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Meka: Very good, thank you for having us back. We've been well, busy on the road touring and everything in between. Staying busy is a good thing!

Me: So, I have to ask before we continue... how's Frankie? He's my favorite car dealer. I bet he misses you kids when you tour.

Meka: Oh, Frankie is great! He does, and we know how much he wants to be with us on tour and how much he has helped us in the early stages of our career. He is a an incredible light to us all and he is always the first one wanting to know how the tour went when we get back.

Me: Alright, so, you kids released a live EP called "Live From The Machine Shop" which is in Flint, Michigan. I think since I first interviewed you you were mostly a Central Florida based band but now you are touring all over the place, am I right?

Meka: Yes, we released the live CD as a celebration of just getting out on the road and doing what we do best. The Machine Shop is such an iconic location and venue, it really couldn't have gone any more perfect. Their crew and staff are on a whole other level. We pretty much made the decision to really hit it hard and get on the road, it's the only sure fire way of really getting people to see us and see what we are all about. Which is funny, because since the tours, we have been getting a really big response from all the places we go. Which continues to drive us.

Me: What made you guys record there, Meka, and not in Orlando?

Meka: Well, we didn't really plan on it. Funny story, is the fact that the sound engineer at The Machine Shop records every band that plays there. He approached us after the show and said how blown away he was by us, and that we may want the audio recording to do as we please with it. We graciously accepted it and didn't really think too much about it until we listened back to it. It was one of our best performances and we felt as though it really captured out live mojo. We've always been a hard band to record and our real magic comes out live. So we decided to take the CD and turn it into a live CD release. Which has worked out really well.

Me: So, in Flint, Michigan... what was the water like?

Meka: Haha, well I don't know. We were fair warned before hand about the unfortunate water situation. They had plenty of water bottles for us though and very kindly made sure we were set with any liquids that we wanted.

Me: In the past, who else have you toured with, Meka?

Meka: In the past, we have toured with Otep on a short run in Texas, Multi-platinum artist Trapt for almost a month, we opened for Gojira and Mastodon in Orlando...

Me: So, do you guys like to tour or rather just play locally?

Meka: Well, we are usually torn between the two. We love getting out on the road and experiencing life and all of its adventures while away from home. We meet so many awesome people and have played some epic venues across the country it's hard not to enjoy it, you know? However, when we get home from long stints on the road, it's always nice to play in front of a home crowd and all of our friends, family, and fans never disappoint. So there is a fine line between the two. 

Me: Out of all the places you have played now, which show was your favorite?

Meka: Wow, that's a really hard question. Other than The Machine Shop in Flint, the one show that stands out is the one from the Trapt tour when we played the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The venue is historic and has two or three levels to it. We all went on stage and the show was sold out, and we were looking horizontally into the crowd as we are all used to, then after the first song was over, the roar of the crowd took over and it surrounded us. We all kinda looked at each other and then looked up to see all the levels completely full and we just stood there in awe. Definitely a moment we won't forget.

Me: In the past you played and lived in Japan. Any plans on taking this current band over there?

Meka: Yes, I want to take the band back to Japan as soon as humanly possible. The music scene over there is on another level, and they really take their music seriously. Especially American bands, but the fact that I used to live there and perform there, helps in a lot of ways.

Me: Remind the readers who is in the band.

Meka: Meka Nism is compiled of myself, Meka the lead vocalist, Bobby Keller on lead guitar, Alvin Bauer on bass, Reed Tyack on guitar, Jeremy Mansfield on drums, and our newest addition, Jay Adkisson on keys.

Me: I have to tell you that your vocals on the song "Phoenix" from "The Shift: Anthems for a Revolution," your last studio album are fantastic! Usually there's a lot of screaming you do. Are you planning on doing a lot more singing softly?

Meka: Thank you very much. That was definitely a special song for us, as it represented a shift and added Reed in as the other vocalist to create an interesting dynamic. The vocals I like to perform are usually somewhat harsh, but not all the time. I like to keep it interesting and give off power and aggression through melodies and added vocal layers. I think what makes us unique is my ability to switch and there's no telling what I plan on doing next.

Me: So, ever think of recording an acoustic song, Meka?

Meka: The thought has always crossed my mind, as I often do perform acoustic sets from time to time. Before Meka Nism was what it is today, it was Meka Nism and Her Rusty Tears, which consisted of me playing a lot of acoustic type sets. So there is never a doubt I would like to, but more like a matter of when I get the chance to.

Me: I think we talked about this before, but who are your influences?

Meka: It's really hard for me to really nail down my influences, because there are so many and so many from different genres. I'm not even influenced by just musicians either, a lot of spirituality and shamanic practices I study also influence me.

Me: So, you have a very specific look... ever feel like it's too much and changing it?

Meka: I think about my wardrobe all the time. I try to change it or vary it all the time so when people see us, it's usually somewhat different. I believe that my red dreads have become somewhat of my signature thing, so I don't see myself changing them too soon. I try to model my stage outfit in order to portray the strong and powerful band that we are. Almost like an epic shaman warrior or some sort with my own twist on it.

Me: I said so before you are attractive and don't need all that crazy make-up stuff on your face. I'm sure I'm not the only one who told you that, am I?

Meka: Awww, well thank you I do appreciate that. The makeup is a part of my stage persona both on and off the stage. It has pretty much become a part of me and others see it as inspiration and a way to express themselves at our shows now. The feeling I get when I see young fans in the front row with their faces painted like mine is just priceless.

Me: You play guitar, right? But in this band you only sing, am I right?

Meka: Yes, I do play guitar, but not in the current form of Meka Nism. Back in the earlier days I did play but thought that I would be more effective stage presence wise to get off guitar and let Bobby handle it.

Me: So, what's a typical Meka Nism show like? A lot of head banging and mosh diving I am guessing. Two things I have never done in my life, but I bet you have. Haha.

Meka: A typical show involves the crowd getting there early. Our fans are very loyal and committed to us when shows pop up. During the show is when we try and give them everything we got energy wise and just try to obliterate everything. My job as the vocalist is to provide everyone with a safe zone and the ability to see the positivity in our message. There is a light in everyone, and we want you to see that. So listen to the words I sing, and we can help you get there. Also, there is usually some sort of moshing and crowd movement.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile this year it's the 10th anniversary year I am asking my Alum guests what that were doing 10 years ago. So, in 2006 what were you doing?

Meka: First off, congrats and happy 10 years! In 2006, I was finishing up the "Mad to Love" album as Meka Nism and her Rusty Tears and preparing to live in Japan.

Me: Alright, so, what's next for you? Any new music planned?

Meka: Yes, we are toying with some new ideas musically and have some secret riffs here and there. We really are focusing on the touring and being on the road, and possibly writing the new material while on the road. We see the road as being a tool to help inspire us and motivate us to keep this machine going. Hopefully by the end of the year, is when the new stuff will start surfacing.

Me: Meka, thanks for being here again on the Phile. Tell Frankie I said hello, and mention your website.

Meka: Thank you for having us again and we look forward to the next time. You can visit our website at and find us on Facebook at

Me: All the best, Meka. Take care. Remove that make-up! Haha!

Meka: Thank you again, and I cannot guarantee it but I appreciate the compliment.

Me: Oh, one more thing... as you are an Orlando based band is there anything you wanna say about the shootings on Saturday night?

Meka: We will stay strong, Orlando. This is our city, we will stick together and we will rise!

Me: Well said. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Meka for a great interview again. Okay, the Phile will be back next Thursday with singer Aiym. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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