Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frankie And The Knockouts!!!

Oh joy. Thank you Cody for recording this when you did. Thank you TiVo for making it possible for Cody to record this. Thank you me for being able to remember the name of this band and having the common decency to look it up, find it, and put it in an easy to access place where it may be enjoyed by all (assuming that at some point "all" begins to check here on my little blog).
Without further ado, please enjoy Frankie and the Knockouts groundbreaking music video for their hit song "Sweetheart."

A Musician's Growth: The Coheed Backstory

This last week I finally did a Coheed shuffle with their four albums (and some live stuff mixed in there too). It was the first shuffle I've done since their last album came out and it may be the first one that included their third album too. I've done Coheed days where I just listen to all four albums in a row or whatever, but the reason why I bother bringing this up is that it changed the way I feel about their progression as musicians.
Brief backstory: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (Coheed's 2nd album) was the first Coheed album I ever heard (and as a fun side note, it is the only times that I purchased an album without ever having heard a single song from the artist. It was recommended to me by someone I didn't even really know, but who I knew had pretty good taste in music. It turned out beautifully, but I probably won't ever do that again), and I immediately grew obsessed. It not only introduced me to the idea of concept albums (or bands as they have turned out), but it is an amazing amazing album. Next, I went backwards and listened to Second Stage Turbine Blade (theier 1st album). Again, I was absolutely blown away by this band. Some time went by between this point and the release of their third album Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. I loved this album when it came out, but I would be lying if I said I thought it was as extraordinary as their first two. If the first two both receive perfect 10s, then this one gets 9-9.5. Then, last year their 4th album--Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. II: No World for Tomorrow--came out and I'll be honest, I didn't really like it at first. I'll go into why in the next post, but I found myself with mixed feelings about a band that I had not only been in love with but was also heavily influenced by. It was very discouraging to say the least.
For the sake of space (and hopefully breaking up the monotony) I will just end here by saying that this recent shuffly lasted a few days and was excellent. It allowed me to put all of the albums into perspective in a way that I hadn't been able to just by listening to them all in a row.
More on this to come.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Video Day!!!

Today is a day of random videos. First of all, I am sure that most everyone is familiar with the "Rick-rolled" phenomenon. This is where someone pretends to give you a link to a website, but instead it goes to a youtube video of Rick Astley's 80s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." Well, someone decided to let Barack Obama into the fun. I think they are calling it getting "Barack-Rolled." Anyway, here you get to see the two videos side-by-side:

Next, for all of you fans Guitar Hero and the wonderful Homestar Runner (which, sadly, I haven't watched in years), check this video out:

That's it. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Give Me Someone to HATE!

I freely admit that I have been greatly enjoying these Olympic games. Michael Phelps is turning in one amazing performance after another in a sport that doesn't interest me at all (swimming), and I am enthralled by it. Not only has he won the Gold Medal in every even in which he has performed, he has also broken every World Record relating to those events in the process. He has also become the winningest Olympian in history; he currently has won 11 Gold Medals, surpassing the previous tie that a few athletes (including Carl Lewis) held at 9 Golds. He may also win more Golds in a single Olympics than anyone else in history if he can get 8. He already has 5 for this Olympics. Anyway, you get what I'm saying about this being a pretty special Olympics.

However, I have come to realize that there is something missing from these Olympics--someone to hate. France talked a ton of trash coming into the Olympics in regards to swimming, and it made our relay victory over them (and it was amazingly close, and without a doubt THE highlight reel of the games) that much sweeter, but I'll be honest... it's France. I don't take them seriously. They are no threat to us. They are the annoying kid down the street that tries to be cool and look tough but always ends up looking like a fool. They aren't a REAL opponent. China is as close as we can get at the moment. They are beating us in both the overall medal count 35-34, and in the Gold medal count 22-10. The women's team gymnastics final was heartbreaking--to see our girls buckle under the pressure and lose to the supposedly 16-year-old (they look 8) Chinese girls was terribly disappointing. It would seem like China is the country to hate in these Olympics, but, if I am honest, it's just not there for me.

Perhaps what I'm trying to say can better be illustrated with an example of what we are lacking. Think back to those "fairytale" days (they seem that way to my generation for the most part at least) of the Cold War. Did we have a clear enemy? YES. The USSR was the enemy, and they were evil. There was only one thing worse than the US not getting Gold in an event, and that was if the USSR got Gold in that event. I don't feel that way with China. So I guess what I am really saying is that what would make these games more exciting would be to not just have the US to root for, but to also have a nation to really root against. We need someone to hate.

After all of that, the idea behind the Olympics is to promote understanding and world peace through athletic competition, so maybe they can consider this a very successful games.

This video may give you a hint of what I mean.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Burn Notice Revisited

I had a top-secret conversation with Ryan yesterday about TV shows. Amongst other things, we discussed the two shows that I am currently in the midst of, how you say, "catching up on." I am watching the first season of Prison Break and just finished the first season of Burn Notice last night and am greatly enjoying both. Ryan asked me if Burn Notice was as good as 24 or Lost. I didn't know how to answer that question. The reason? These shows are going for very different feels. 24 and Lost are all about the cliffhanger. They are designed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, craving to immediately move onto the next episode when the one before it ends. They also provide a puzzle-solving factor that keeps you glued, wondering what twists and turns will be thrown at you.
Burn Notice definitely has tension and some of that edge of your seat power, but it isn't inherently designed for that. Additionally, for as intelligent as the show is (and believe me, it is an intelligent show), there isn't the "rush" of trying to solve things before they happen or the wonderment of how this or that is possible. So, when asked if the show is as good as 24 or Lost, then I have to sit back and wonder if the "addiction factor" of 24 and Lost are required for other shows to be just as good. In the end, I still don't have an answer. The best I can say is that it is too hard to compare 24 to The Office, because both shows offer very different experiences. Similarly, Burn Notice offers a very different experience than 24, Lost, Prison Break, The Office, or Arrested Development. It is almost like a hybrid between the action oriented, espionage show and good old fashioned situational comedies. It is very smart, very funny, and just plain fun. It's not overly intense or dramatic (usually, although there are plenty of intense moments that come as the season develops), but does combine action, big explosions and all those special ingredients that make a show exciting. Also, it brings a sense of learning and enlightenment, because man is it cool (we're talking above MacGyver level cool) when the main character Michael Westen makes some awesome little gadget out of household supplies or explains how best to break into something.
The idea of an ex-spy having to take on odd-jobs around Miami to make money, using his skills in espionage but having to do so without the funds to buy the nice equipment is so appealing to me.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Olympics Are Here!

They officially don't start until tomorrow, but the group games for women's soccer began yesterday and men's soccer began today. I am sad to say that the US women's team lost their first group game to Norway 2-0. Both goals were scored in the first six minutes. Ouch. All hope is not lost though, because these are the groups games, and the top two from each group advance. So the US women's team can still pull through if they turn it around and start wining.
On a much happier note, the US Men's team (which is technically the US Under-23 Team with three overage players mixed in--Brian McBride, Michael Parkhurst, and Brad Guzan) beat Japan in their group games opener 1-0. The lone goal was scored by Stuart Holden (who plays for the Houston Dynamo).
NBC is doing an excellent job covering the Olympics, and, from what I can tell, they will be providing video footage of all the events online. Until the games officially begin, I won't know for sure, but it looks promising. That website is

Congrats to a good start from the US Men's Team in what is a very tough group.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We Thank Thee for Japan...

There is no other nation whose culture both commands my respect and desire to mock as Japan. Think about it for a second; the same nation produced the samurai warrior and anime (sorry to all the anime lovers out there, but that stuff is ridiculous and should be mocked). Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to the powers that be for making Japan. It sure keeps me in a constant state of bewildered awe.

Here is an excellent video of a Japanese prank show that Matt sent me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I have finally seen the light; Ozma's third album--Pasadena--is excellent. When it first came out I was incredibly bugged by the fact that they redid two songs (from previous discs) on this album. I wasn't angry with the band per se (mostly I blame the label for a stupid move like that), but I was put off by that. I think I felt cheated. With those two remakes as the first and third tracks, and the second and fourth tracks being ones that I didn't like, I sort of shut down and stopped caring to discover the rest of the album. Well, here is what I must say now. The rest of the album is wonderful. Heartache Vs. Heartbreak is a beautiful song that does some incredible things with chords and dissonance and is almost chilling (while maintaining its pop feel). Lunchbreak has one of my favorite little vocal hooks ("Your classmates don't respect you/Asi es la vida") and it has been running through my head almost constantly for the past week or so. In fact, I've even come around on Barriers now too.
So, I have changed the way I think about the album. I still don't really enjoy listening to the two remakes (because I feel like the songs were better captured the first times around), so I have decided to pretend like those songs aren't really a part of this album. Whalah! The album is great! The only song that I will still need more time with is Fight the Darkness, which I still think is a stupid song (at least lyrically, and so far it hasn't done too much for me musically either).
I highly recommend this album though. If you were already an Ozma fan then just pretend like the two remakes never happened, and if you aren't already a fan then it won't matter anyway.
The video below is of the song Heartache Vs. Heartbreak. I apologize for it, because it most certainly isn't the music video. It looks like some fan just made a photo collage background for the song. Ah well. The point was the song anyway.

This one is for Alex. I saw it on youtube and immediately remembered your cover of this song. It is Daniel, Star, and Kenn covering New World Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle." Have atchya.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Born of Hope

Well, in my perusing of The Hunt for Gollum, I came across a link for another fanfilm that is being made about Arathorn (the father of Aragorn). I guess these two little indie films were/are getting made at the same time in Wales and England and they have been collaborating with props and what not. That is kind of cool. Anyway, here is the trailer for that one. It is called Born of Hope.

The Hunt for Gollum

Now, obviously I can't vouch for this film (because it hasn't come out yet and won't until December), but some independent filmmakers are taking a stab at The Lord of the Rings story. Writer/Director Chris Bouchard (an entry of this name exists in imdb, but I currently have no way of knowing if it is the same person) is behind the project. Most of the footage of scenery was shot in Wales, and it is basically just a low-budget higher quality fanfilm. It is based off of the appendices of LOTR that explain Aragorn's hunt for Gollum. Not much more to say about it until it comes out, but here are the two trailers that have been released (trailers below) and also a link to the site if you want to check it out.