Friday, June 26, 2009

Away I Go

I'll be gone for a week or so and will not be updating. No tears, though. I'll be back before you know it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Video of the Day

Sadly, the last video was removed by the user, so here is a substitute.

Video of the Day

What impresses me about this fight is the image quality. What was the guy shooting with??? And the wailing in the background is crazy. If it wasn't real-life, it would be great cinema. Instead, it's makes me sad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top 5 Bands I Like, But Shouldn't

Not too long ago, I made a list of the Top 5 Bands I Should Like, But Don’t. This list just seemed like a natural follow-up. There are couple issues to be addressed before I get started. First of all, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures.” I’m perfectly happy admitting I like something that is generally frowned upon. In fact, I’ll go to my grave saying that The Brothers Solomon (Rotten Tomato rating: 16%) is one the greatest comedies of the past ten years and that The Wicker Man remake is intentionally funny. You may disagree, but I won’t be embarrassed by your mockery of my opinions. Secondly (and lastly), I don’t necessarily love the bands included, but I like them to have purchased at least one of their albums and listened to the albums enough to know the songs fairly well.

But before I get to the bands, I have to include this:

I actually love these commercials. I’m the only one I know who does. It started out as a perverse glee at everyone’s hostile reactions to the guy and his “band,” but swelled into outright enjoyment. The songs are insanely catchy and I feel like those guys would be fun to hang out with. I know from the eye rolls I get when I tell people I like the commercials that I shouldn’t, but they’re just so damn joyful.

Honorable Mention: The Pierces
I didn’t want to include them because they are fairly obscure, but I didn’t want to leave them off either. I legitimately love their song “Secrets” and kind of hate “Boring.” What remains in between is oddly intriguing. They aren’t particularly good singers and the songs are of an overtly poppy nature that is typically off-putting. They also have a tendency to have silly speaking parts mid-song. However, the music is dark and interesting and the juxtaposition fascinates me. And sure, you can call me out for also liking that they are attractive, but I only discovered that after I heard “Secrets,” so it doesn’t way heavily into the equation.

I included this song because I was shocked that there's a legitimately terrifying image in the video. See if you can find it.

5. Damien Rice
I could have just as easily put David Gray here, but I’ve read more horrible reviews of Rice’s albums from so Rice sticks in my mind more. Pitchfork’s reviews are typically overblown and ridiculous, but they rate Rice so low and my tastes overlap with Pitchfork in the genres I typically like. This is really more about the community acceptance than me (much like I really like the first two Coldplay albums, though that’s verboten, too). I love Damien Rice. O, along with The Arcade Fire’s Funeral and The Secret Machines’ Now Here Is Nowhere was one of my favorite albums the year it came out. I understand some of the criticism about the lyrics and how he could be deemed overly sensitive, traits that can put me off in other artists, but I just think he makes great music.

4. Of Montreal
My opinion of them wavers depending on my mood. Recently, I’ve been enjoying them very much. The biggest surprise about liking them is that I don’t have much interest in many of their stylistic influences. I don’t care for funk much, or reggae at all. The stage show is overblown in ways that annoy me. I never cared much for the Talking Heads and I get a distinct vibe of the Talking Heads from Of Montreal. I can tell exactly what is or should be annoying about the band, but again, I’m compelled to keep listening.

3. The Go! Team
The Go! Team are a band that I really like some songs a lot, but can’t stand others. Again, they are heavily funk influenced, but they also include old-school hip-hop, bizarre cheerleading, and sampling. For those that know me, two of those components are completely lacking in the music I love. I think what draws me to The Go! Team is the sheer energy of the band. The music definitely gets the heart racing and it’s very fun. I have the feeling that seeing them live is the best way to experience their music.

2. Joe Walsh
Probably the most innocuous selection on this list. I can’t imagine anybody having a strong opinion either way on Walsh. “Life’s Been Good” is a fantastic song and the man seems laid back and funny judging by his stint on The Drew Carey Show. The reason he makes the list, and makes it so high, is because The Eagles are on my Top 5 Worst Bands of All-Time list. How can a man make such good music alone and such crappy music with another band? I wonder how I would feel if I had known he was in The Eagles before I’d heard his music.

1. Scissor Sisters
This was the first band I thought of for this list. There is so much I should hate about them. Their name is a stupid sexual joke (although the band logo is pretty awesome). They sound like The Bee-Gees (who I cannot tolerate). Every song appears to be about the same thing (going out and partying) and practically cry out, “Dance to me!” (I don’t dance). They even covered Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” as a dance song! And for some reason, I’m OK with it. Their second album isn’t nearly as good as the first, but the song “Intermission” is incredible. Every part of me knows I should reject them, but no part of me can. Sometimes there is no reason for what you like.

Video of the Day

Another nerdy, yet interesting video. A theory that I don't necessarily subscribe to, but food for thought.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Video of the Day

I love John Hodgman. The nerds out there may enjoy this a bit more than non-nerds.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Video of the Day

It's funny how people will protest about anything. And get their information wrong. An be hypocrites. Aaah, people.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

After Death

Recently, as I try to fall asleep, my mind has been taking on some dauntingly abstract thought. The type of thoughts that are stereotypically associated with stoners. The current thought taking up my mind is what happens after I die. I know that life goes on (I'm not self-centered enough to think the world revolves around me). But assuming that there is no afterlife (which I do), what will the moments after death be like?
This is going to be difficult to express, but I'm going to try. When you die, you lose all brain function (obviously) and the ability to perceive (also obviously). Therefore, it's just emptiness, but you don't even know it's emptiness. In fact, as far as you're concerned, you and everything else never existed. There is a world of life continuing onward and you are a memory to people, but for all intents and purposes, you never existed.

It really comes down to the ability to perceive. As you live, your perception is what solidifies existence ("I think, therefore I am" yadda yadda yadda). I don't want to get into the whole "this could all be someone else's dream" or that bullshit, but I'm going to briefly get close. All you know is that you are here and there are others of varying age around you, but you only know that they are here when you interact with them. As far as you know, there are only about 5 generations alive at a time and nothing but hearsay about anything before the oldest generation. Someone must have come before them for them to be here, but who's to say that everything didn't come into existence the minute you were able to perceive?

I don't really believe that, but it relates to the death issue and why the idea of life after death is so appealing. We don't want to think about ever losing our consciousness. It's nearly impossible to think about what it will be like after you die. It's mildly frightening to think about everything you've accomplished in life is ultimately fruitless, at least for yourself. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I keep a journal. So that my voice, my emotions, and my thoughts will live on after me.

All I know is that thinking about this makes me very curious about death. I don't want to die anytime soon, but when I get there, I hope I view it as an adventure into the unknown. Fuck space... death is the final frontier.

And since this is about death and lack of an afterlife, here's a song that can give us all hope for eternal life:

Video of the Day

This is something I saw in high school and pretty nerdy, but I've been thinking about the expansiveness of space lately, so this is timely for me. Also, there is no way there is not intelligent life somewhere out there. Also part two, where does space end (I'm not high)?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Video of the Day

Even though I don't care for rap, I feel bad for those that love it and/or do it well. Their genre was co-opted for so much bad. Thanks to John for pointing me this way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Job Search

I don't really have much to say on this topic, but I want to write about something and all of my other blog ideas require a fair amount of thought. I just want to pass on something I learned about the job search today.

We all know the process sucks, especially if you don't know anybody that can or will help you out. I haven't been working all that hard to find a job, for better or worse (better because I have loads of free time, worse because my days of having a place to live a dwindling quickly). However, my frustration with not finding a job is pretty high. Unjustifiably so. A friend suggested we meet up and go through the search process together. Turned out to be a top notch idea.

We traded info and ideas. Brainstormed various approaches. Commiserated. It was good stuff. My attitude shifted dramatically and I feel as though there are paths before me that weren't there previously.
So there you go. My advice for the job hunt is to find someone in a similar situation and join in the search. It passes time and helps a lot. I guess the only hurdle is that you can't be proprietary over any of the positions. It's all about support. Employment, here I come!!! (maybe).

Video of the Day

New Weird Al!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Advertising Trends

Recently, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of commercials that are mean-spirited or disgusting and I can’t figure out why this is. Do companies really want to be associated with jerks or nausea-inducing images? I understand the commercials are mostly intended to be funny, but there is a limit, especially when it comes to being disgusting.

First, there is this commercial for Boost Mobile. Yes, the point is that it’s disgusting, but come on. I wouldn’t even want my armpit hair in my face, let alone flowing locks of someone else’s. And it has very little to do with the fact that it’s a girl who has the armpit hair. Certainly there are other approaches to the, “you think this is wrong” angle of the commercial. And who in their right mind would get on a tandem bike with her?

Another example of disgusting advertising is the AXE Dry commercial. It’s probably not much of a coincidence that both of my examples deal with armpits. AXE typically goes with the, “use our product and beautiful women will think you are attractive” model of advertising, but this time, they decided to have a man hose down the world with pit sweat. Again, the point is that the antiperspirant will stop the sweating, but I think most are content in not imagining being sprayed by gallons of sweat.

On the mean side of the coin are the Howie Long Chevy commercials that really make me hate Howie Long (I was pretty indifferent about him before, though his turn in Broken Arrow is top-notch [may or may not be sarcastic]). The commercials are all about insulting people who don’t drive Chevy, but the worst is this one, where Long makes fun of the guy because he left his “man-step” down. How dare a company offer a convenient feature on a vehicle? Gee, I’m so emasculated by something that will help save my back and knees from injury. Howie may not write the copy, but the grin on his face says, “Fuck it, I get a free truck!” Douche.

And finally, I had trouble deciding which Cheetos commercial to feature because they all illustrate my point so well. I don’t know who decided to re-brand Cheetos as the snack for pricks, but here we are (apparently, they wanted to re-brand for adults). The commercials try to paint the actions as just retribution, but it comes off as, “let’s overreact to this mild annoyance,” which seems to be fairly common. Maybe the commercials are playing off of the social climate. All I know is I miss the days of Chester Cheetah sparring with Phil Hartman.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Top Film for Each Year of My Life – 2000

The Emperor’s New Groove

“Break it down? Are ya kidding me? This is hand-carved mahogany.”

“What are the odds of that trap door leadin' me out here?”

The Emperor’s New Groove was released four and a half years after the last Disney animated feature I saw in theaters (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), so needless to say, I didn’t have much interest in Disney’s new feature. I ignored New Groove during its theatrical run and continued to ignore it upon its home video release. However, one fateful night changed everything.

My recollection of the night is as follows, though some people may be left out. For some reason, my buddy Aaron and I were invited over to our friend Betsy’s house. We never hung out there. To this day, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been over there and even that is too much. We (meaning Betsy and other friend, Christen) decided on watching a movie and since the night was about hanging out with friends, any movie would do, so the picked The Emperor’s New Groove. Well, I was blown away. It’s really like no other Disney animated feature before or since (at least 2D animation). All I could think about was what kind of drugs the writers must have been using when they wrote the script. This freak of an evening introduced me to what is now one of my top-5 all-time favorite movies. So thank you Christen and Betsy.
What surprised me the most was how clever and subversive and bizarre the humor was. Let’s be honest, the title of the movie sucks. I thought it was going to be a stupid kids movie based on that alone. Instead, I got a movie that features the line, “Come on, men! No one lives forever!” right before a bunch of animal guards leap to their deaths.

The voice cast is pretty phenomenal. Let’s face it, we know David Spade’s shtick and it gets tiresome, but it works perfectly for Emperor Kuzco. Then there’s John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Spade’s Just Shoot Me co-star Wendy Malick, even John Fiedler (the voice of Piglet!). But the man who steals the movie is Patrick Warburton as the dimwitted Kronk. Everything he does in New Groove is quotable and classic, from his shoulder angel and devil, to his work as the diner cook, to the Junior Chipmunks, Kronk owns this movie.
New Groove was conceived as an epic called Kingdom of the Sun. Sting was going to write all the music a la Elton John and The Lion King. However, story issues pervaded and early test screenings were received poorly, so much of the original story was scrapped, including most of Sting’s work (two songs survived, one in the film and one in the end credits which is glaringly out of place compared with the rest of the movie). A documentary, The Sweatbox, was made about the struggle, but unfortunately Disney has no plans to release it.

Aside from the sense of humor, my favorite part of the film is the way it both pokes fun at and honors Disney’s past, and animation in general. I said earlier that New Groove is like no other Disney film, and that’s true. The style and pacing feel more like the Warner Brothers’ Looney Toons cartoons. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve never had any desire to see the sequel or the television spin-off because I don’t believe they could come close to the original and I don’t want to taint these characters. The Emperor’s New Groove is pure joy and I just ask that everyone watch it. Lots. You will be rewarded.

Video of the Day

This video goes on a little long, but I love the beginning. Dinosaurs are pretty cute.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I don’t consider myself a very nostalgic person. There are things that I wish I still had from my childhood that have since been sold, but not enough to go on eBay to reclaim them. As many who know me already know, I think the 1980’s are the least interesting decade politically, culturally, and artistically since 1900. The 90’s don’t rate much higher. Perhaps I have idealized visions of the eras prior to my birth since I didn’t have to live through those decades. There is a lot I would’ve endured that I’ve been lucky enough to skip out of being born in the early 80’s. I guess, if anything, I’m nostalgic for various opportunities I never got to experience if that doesn’t contradict the definition of nostalgia.

I bring this up because I had a very bizarre experience reading an article on about the Super Mario Bros. movie. I have no affiliation to this film whatsoever. I don’t think I’ve even seen it the whole way through once. But one image in the article shook me in a way that I’ve never experienced and I can only hope that you have a similar reaction to it:
I felt a tingle come over my body for about two seconds and my mind was transferred to my childhood and getting the NES. I remembered playing in my room in the first house I ever lived in. One morning, waiting for my ride to school with a friend playing Ice Hockey and missing the horn and the knocks on the door and having to walk to school late that morning. I remembered getting mad when people got my sisters games because the NES was mine!

I forgot about the packaging of the games entirely, remembering just the gray (most of the time) cartridges lined up around my TV. I collected over 40 games by the time I moved onto Sega, but I always returned (or tried to, sometimes the NES was a bit cranky) the NES and the classic games.

I remembered playing in the garage in my parent’s current house listening to my parent’s records (at least the few half decent ones). My dad playing Jaws and getting farther than I ever got using the NES Advantage controller. And I remembered losing two of my dad’s favorite Nintendo games, Duck Tales and Marble Madness. I remembered playing on a 13 inch TV. I remembered the hundreds of ways to try to get the cartridges to work.
I remembered moving it up to my bedroom in the attic and becoming increasingly frustrated trying to play when all it wanted to do was crap out. I remembered taking the system apart with my dad and making it work again somehow. And I remembered having to go buy a new Legend of Zelda because the battery in my old one had died (and learning that the games had batteries in them!).

It seems a little sad to me to be this nostalgic over a video game system and maybe that’s because I’m not that nostalgic. But I find playing Wii these days that I play the old NES games that I download far more than the games made for Wii. And truth be told, some of my favorite memories of childhood come from playing video games with friends. I never wanted to relive my childhood, but seeing the Super Mario Brothers box not only made me want to, but it made me wish I could.

Video of the Day

Can you recognize the voices of the Gameboys??? I'll give you a hint... think MTV sketch show from early 90s.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Video of the Day

Yes, the guy looks like a fool, and yes, those that join him early on look just as foolish, but in the end, it's pretty joyous. Care of MattyFo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I’m sure most of you have seen those Cash4Gold commercials. The idea (if you couldn’t piece this together yourself) is that you mail them your gold and they will mail you money in return. Sounds like a pretty good deal, no?

But who in their right mind would do this? Firstly, people are reluctant to send more than $20 cash through the mail, let alone potentially hundreds of dollars in jewelry. Secondly, you mail it in a Cash4Gold envelope! At the very least, the envelope could be discreet. But no! It has Cash4Gold plastered on the side. Surely no one would ever risk stealing that and claiming it got “lost” in the mail. And lastly, aren’t there lots of options for getting rid of jewelry that don’t involve trusting the United States Postal Service for both delivering the merchandise AND the payment?

You can do transactions in person using Craigslist, a pawnshop, or an actual jeweler and eBay ensures that you’ll get paid.

And what sort of assurance is there that you won’t get screwed over in the amount you get back? You never see the people who are evaluating the jewelry’s worth.

It’s not that I think Cash4Gold is trying to screw people more than any other company. There are just too many circumstances where the whole deal can go wonky.

I suppose that the only types sending their jewelry to Cash4Gold are the same types who bought their jewelry from home shopping channels in the first place, so at least there’s a fun cycle at play.
This could be you!!!

Video of the Day

Eugene Mirman, who you may have seen on Flight of the Conchords, speaks at his old high school's commencement.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Video of the Day

Those crazy Japanese game shows. Turn the volume down, as the screeching can be grating.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Video of the Day

I just assumed he couldn't see it. Then he starts tracing its features. Uh oh, U.S. educational system.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Video of the Day

I almost can't believe this is serious. Almost.

Top 10 Radiohead Songs - Part 2

For part one, click here.

5. Exit Music (From a Film) – OK Computer
One of my favorite moments of any concert I’ve gone to is when the drag duo Kiki and Herb (opening for Rufus Wainwright) covered “Exit Music.” There entire performance was great, but they crushed this song. It makes complete sense that Baz Luhrmann used it in his Romeo and Juliet adaptation. And for some reason, I can’t help but link this song with The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home.”

4. Reckoner – In Rainbows
There is nothing about this song that doesn’t kick my ass. The guitar riff, the light cymbal taps, Yorke’s amazing falsetto. It’s all perfection. And as my buddy Wes demonstrates, it’s great for portraying one thing: emotion.

Don't forget to watch Gone - Part 2.
3. Street Spirit – The Bends
I’ve spent about ten years trying to master the picking pattern of this song and still get lost in the chord transitions. This was my first favorite Radiohead song, and it should be obvious why. The way it builds on itself is masterful. I defy anyone to not get chills listening to this song.

2. Life in a Glass House – Amnesiac
I don’t know why, but it took me a long time to fall in love with “Life in a Glass House.” It didn’t really connect with me until last year in Australia. It sounds like few other songs out there. The only other artist that might do something like it that I can think of is Tom Waits. Lyrics-be-damned, this is playing at my funeral. Who doesn’t love a good New Orleans jazz-style funeral dirge?

1. How to Disappear Completely – Kid A
I can’t imagine this song ever being displace from the top of my list. It’s haunting in the best possible ways and a always get chills listening to it. When it starts to sound like the song is going off the handles but suddenly pulls out of the freefall (mixing metaphors is fun) is as good as music gets for me. Even an obnoxious bouncy girl at Bonnaroo singing along off-key couldn’t ruin this for me. Probably my favorite song of all-time.

Monday, June 1, 2009