Friday, January 30, 2009

Wii Fit

Steven and Jenna have been kind enough to let Sierra and myself pretty much take over their Wii Fit when we come to visit. I really enjoy the little sucker and have gone through countless internal (with myself) and external (with Sierra) debates as to whether or not getting a Wii and the Wii Fit is worth our money (and then time, energy, time, and time). We still haven't come to a concrete decision.

I really enjoyed this little article, though. I have been following this blog for a long time now, because he used to do a comic strip involving the Lord of the Rings. Make sure to read at least the first two comments after the article, also. They are thought-provoking, humorous, and sad. So, once again, a big thank you to Shamus for his lovely blog.

Devaluation Of The Dollar.

I don't know how many of you guys follow or care about this stuff, but here is an easy explanation of why we should be VERY concerned about what our government is doing with this bailout. We are headed for some incredibly rough times, and we are doing it to ourselves by having elected morons and immoral people into our government positions over the past 50 + years. If our government is corrupt, it is because WE elected corrupt people in and then didn't hold them accountable for their immoral acts. Electing and nominating immoral people because they are the "most qualified" is not acceptable. John off

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Matches

It has been a little while since I have done a good music post, so prepare yourselves for a little good old-fashioned verbosity.

Summer, 2005 -
Matthew Hanks and I are living in Sacramento, CA, working a summer door-to-door sales job. He introduces me to a band called The Matches. While I immediately love a few of the songs from the album, I don't get into their album as a whole. Why? I think that they are just another punk band (in a long line of crappy punk bands) coming out after punk is dead to me. Let's face it, punk had its heyday, died down, flared back up again, and then played itself out. Now bands have to add a subgenre to even be able to use the work punk to describe themselves (pop/punk, alt/punk, etc.) Perhaps a month or so later, Matt and I go to the Warped Tour where we see The Matches perform. Their performance helps me change my mind about them for three reasons:
First, they sound really good and do so while playing with a tremendous amount of energy. Basically, they have excellent stage presence and don't sacrifice their sound to get it.
Second, I like that they seem to be trying desperately to hold onto their punk roots. They look ridiculous, still dressing like kids I mocked while going to high school a few years earlier, but they show no shame in it. While I think that they look like absolute (prepare yourselves for a VERY un-P.C. term, boys and girls) retards, I also somewhat enjoy the unashamedness of it all.
Third, during the set, the singer or guitarist (I can't remember which) jumps up onto the drummer's bass drum to be able to gain an extra foot and a half in his rocking out (or perhaps to elevate himself so his eventual jump-off gains an extra second and a half of air time). However, things don't go as planned for said singer (or guitarist), because his foot slips up and he crashes into the drum set. Not to worry, they sort out the kit enough to keep going and continue rocking the 15 or so of us that had stopped by to listen into oblivion.
Sidenote - I'm not going to lie, it was both hilarious and also really cool to see him/them keep going after something that was both incredibly embarrassing and surely painful (not to mention the drummer was probably PISSED).
Over the months that follow that show, their first album E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals grows on me tremendously and begin to get plenty of rotation time on my Johntime Playlist.

Fall/Winter, 2006 -
Their second album Decomposer is released. I struggle with this album at first. The band is maturing, trying new things, and straying away from the pop-punk roots that had taken me so long to grow to like. They still have that punk feel, but are trying a slightly more experimental/alt/rock style. It doesn't take too long though, and eventually I come around to the new direction. Both albums find themselves in heavy rotation on my Johntime Playlist at different points over the next two years.

Now, 2009 -
The Matches release their third album A Band In Hope. For some reason, I don't even bother listening to it for at least a few months after it comes out. After I finally give it a try, I immediately fall in love with it and am still in love with it. It is obviously continuing down that road that Decomposer started them on, and it does so beautifully and with confidence. While a direct comparison to Queen would be difficult to support, there are moments when the same fearlessness and passion that drove Queen's music shines through in the music of this band. I highly recommend them.

I leave you with three videos (one from each album). The first is from their first album.
"Chain Me Free"

Next is a video from their second album.
"Salty Eyes"

The third and final video is from their third album.
"Wake The Sun"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

For Those Who Missed It...

There are many different forms and styles of comedy. Some comedians get really hyper and loud to achieve their style of humor. Some are very quiet and subtle. Some humor involved language and the play of words, while other humor relies completely on a facial expression or whatever. To be honest, I am not sure what style of humor this next video would fall under (certainly there are many more than the few I have listed). Whatever style it is, I hereby declare it my favorite. It is a brilliant kind of humor and doesn't need to resort on gimmicks; swearing; dirty themes; loud noises, bangs, or pops; or anything other than comedic perfection. To those behind the SNL Digital Shorts (the Lonely Island boys), the cast and writers of SNL, Lorne Michaels, and especially to Neil Patrick Harris: I thank and salute your comedic achievement.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Duel Deleted Scenes

If you haven't watched last night's The Office, then I suggest waiting on this clip. Otherwise, enjoy some great moments (especially the final scene between Michael and Andy).

A New Feature

I am testing out an add-on that I just installed called ScribeFire. It will supposedly make blogging easier (as though it was difficult before or something). Maybe I'll spice this up by quoting a line from Beowulf (which I am currently reading) and sharing something I found cute. Yeah, that sounds nice.

"In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute" (lines 9-11, emphasis added).

That little word there--"whale-road"--refers to the sea/ocean. But how much less interesting would it have been to say, "beyond the ocean"? I'll answer for you: much less interesting. The author of Beowulf chose instead to describe the sea as the "whale-road" which is not only more vivid; frankly, it is more fun to read. This literary device is known as a kenning. I know not where that name comes from, but I think it is cute that there is a name given to it.

English Major-types get bored easy, methinks.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Family Soup

I don't know if I have linked to my sister-in-law's special blog creation, yet (I realize that Cal has also been involved in this project, but for some reason I think of it more as Bethany's brain-child). It is called The Family Soup. The basic idea behind the site is to have "a place where people can come (single, married, divorced, widowed, etc.) and gain strength and wisdom from other ordinary people who have ‘been there’" (taken from the 'About' section of the site). Thus, it is a place where family, friends, and even strangers can open up, be honest about life's difficulties, and share their experiences with each other. A very wide variety of topics is/will be covered on there, and it is divided into different "rooms" depending on what you are looking for. Por ejemplo, the kitchen is where people can gather to swap stories of their challenges, the family room is focused more directly on the challenges that affect families, and the sandbox is a place to talk about the strange and funny things that children do.

As far as I know there is an open invitation to all to come participate and share, and I highly recommend it. To begin with, I will direct you Bethany's most recent blog post (their own personal blog space as administrators of the site) where she shares a great idea on bringing a little more unity to a marriage and family. The Family Soup Blog.


Long cut scenes in video games can be some of the most annoying things on Earth if you can't skip them. It is about time someone found a way to combine the awesome power of commentary humor (a la Mystery Science Theater 3000) with something that frustrates me so. Thanks to Shamus for posting this video on his blog.

Disclaimer: yes, this is a complete MST3K ripoff in form, but that does not mean it is un-enjoyable. Just give it a little time so you can warm up to the humor. You don't need to be into video games to be able to enjoy it.