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August 29th, 2005

Rock Rock 'til you drop

Saturday night marked my triumphant return to the world of Rock 'n' Roll. Sort of. Heather and Steve decided to have their bevy of talented friends come over for an evening of balls to the wall rocking. From 20 minutes jam sessions to 3 minute power ballads and everything in between, it was an evening of musical delights and debacles that never failed to at least be interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to be in front of people with a guitar in my hand again - for the first time trying to impress with my vocal stylings. I'd forgotten how quickly it all rushes by you when you're up there. Trying to just hang on and keep up while doing your best to remember what's next. Its certainly a rush not easily duplicated.

posted 10:11am

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August 24th, 2005

May you forever be touched by his noodly appendage

Here's a favorite subject of mine recently. Its not all that current a subject (in the sense that its not currently burning up the press like it has in the past 18 months) but one that is near and ever so dear to my heart: Intelligent Design. To me, the arguement for ID is something along the lines of "Nature is so complex, the only possible way to explain it is with God." (I'm sure ID advocates would argue, but you get the gist) Of course my arguement on the bottom line would be God's got no business in science class. To me the reasons are obvious, but apparently not everyone agrees with 99.9% of the world's scientists. But in a gesture of appeasement, here is a counter theory to evolution I'm willing to get behind. May you forever be touched by his noddly appendage.

posted 2:39pm

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August 23rd, 2005

I get knocked down...

This article over at the snarky pitchforkmedia.com talks about online music sharing and how consultants track who listens to what and how much and how people who like the Arcade Fire also like Coldplay. Its especially interesting near the beginning where they talk about the "Chumbawamba Factor":

If you remember the song "Tubthumbing"-- the one that goes, "I get knocked down/ But I get up again"-- you may recall that the album, Tubthumping, and actually every other album that the one-time punk band ever recorded, sounded nothing like their big hit.
"Chumbawamba sold a lot of records, and every single one of them ended up in a milkcrate at a yard sale, six months after it was purchased. And what we told [the record labels] is, 'Look, you had a great long run of business essentially built on regrettable impulse buys,'" says Garland.

It made me cringe thinking about all the embarassing CD purchases I've made over the years, and then gave me hope, thinking that maybe this factor could reduce the amount of crappy one hit wonders I have to endure. I'm sure that's wishful thinking, but a boy can dream.

posted 11:16am

The Moog will live forever in our hearts

Robert Moog died Sunday. I didn't know the man. I can't say whether or not he had done anything recently that the public at large is now or will be denied. But I can say we all will forever be in his debt. From Prog to 80's synth to Beastie Boys to Wilco - the Moog synthesizer was a revolutionary instrument that's still sought after for its unique qualities. I'll defer to the NYTimes for a complete obit (even though it does make a Kraftwerk reference (?)). I'll just say Thank You Robert Moog. You left the world a more interesting place.

posted 10:11am

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August 22nd, 2005

Imagine... Then again maybe you shouldn't

After a discussion/arguement Saturday where I almost had to beat a kid with his own crutches (we get it, the Beatles were great. We all agree. Its just not an interesting conversation anymore) someone (Steve) brought my attention to this NYTimes review* of the new musical Lennon. I'd heard it was bad, but this particular review had me laughing out loud (God bless the Times). I'll spare everyone my musings on why I like Paul better than John and if certain things were reversed so would most people. If you know me you've probably heard at least part of it. If not, by me a drink sometime and I'll tell ya a tale...
*The Times requires a registration before they let you view full articles on their site. But honestly, if you don't have one already, you should get one. It'll make you smarter.

posted 2:41pm

Making the most of the waning summer

Its really hard to believe that summer is over. Well, almost over. Another week before school starts. One more weekend before college football begins another year of being the all encompassing fixation of my life. The high temp today in A2 is supposed to be 70. 70. After 60 straight days of it being 90+. Despite the pending arrival of cold weather and my thirties, I can't wait for the fall. There's still plenty of proverbial daylight for all day drinking Saturdays and the wearing of flip flops though, so enjoy while you can. It was great to see the Barlows this Saturday as well as Neil and Gabe, and Heather and Steve injected a little excitment into a hangover Sunday by getting me off the couch to come watch Topaz. Thanks y'all. Let's keep getting things done before we retreat indoors for winter hibernation.

posted 9:08am

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August 19th, 2005

Almost Famous

Napoleon, Ohio has always been world reknowned for its drinking and subsequent drunks. Get a few people together and chances are someone knows someone from Snap-Town. Turns out this year's PIB (Put-in-Bay) trip has garnered national media attention. OK not really, but sort of. RJ sent notice today that an 'independant' newspaper in Orlando (which reads like a cross between Pitchforkmedia.com and a high school newspaper (read: mean spirited, petty and stupid)) picked up a blog entry from his girlfriend in an effort to smear the Orlando Sentinal (where he and his girlfriend work) by calling them boring. Following me? Well bottom line these buddhas on the mountaintop dared to pass judgement on the bucket wearing in the Roundhouse. The line read: Another just got back from a trip to Ohio where she drank a lot of beer and put a bucket on her head. The whole article is here if you're having trouble sleeping. Be nice to the drunks people, they're having more fun than you. Tania's entry on PIB (with photos!) can be found on this page. My busted photo essay (for context only) is here.

posted 3:57pm

Death of the telephone

Months ago I finally ditched my landline phone in my apartment since A) I never used it and B) It was costing me close to $30/month (what the phone company said was their 'minimum plan'). Only problem was cell phone service in my building is spotty at best. Enter the world of VoIP and Skype. Skype is a free service that allows you to call other PC users that also have Skype. OK, kind of pointless given IM accounts and what not, but it gets better. For a fee, they let you call actual telephones. I was immediately intrigued. I signed up for $10 (actually 10 euros, which I'm sure is slightly more). The rate for calling anywhere in the U.S. is $.02/minute, so the $10 should last me easily for the 6 months until they expire. The quality is fair to good when I use my headphones and noise cancelling microphone. I hear the international rates are out of this world as well, which is what most people who are on the Skype bandwagon use the service for. You can also get a service where people can call you, but let's face it, I don't want anyone calling me, so you'll have to check that out for yo' self. Its only a matter of time before communication takes place only on computers and cellphones, so get on the bandwagon now.

posted 10:50am

Tar-zhay

This article in Slate does a good job of explaining why I feel so much more at home in Target compared to Wal-Mart when for all intents and purposes, they're the same store. I mean, I could give a shit about a Michael Graves tea kettle, but there's still nary a fortnight that doesn't require a run to Target (my son and I ran out last night to buy Star Wars Risk). On the other hand, going to Wal-Mart is the shopping equivalent of taking home a skank at last call. I hope nobody sees me and I immediately need a shower afterwards. But hey, maybe that's just me.

posted 10:11am

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August 18th, 2005

Welcome to my Dojo

I just realized that I have yet to give a shoutout here to the greatest thing to happen to bars since Golden Tee, or maybe even beer itself. The game that made boobie match all but obsolete: Word Dojo. There's little on the web about the Dojo, but that's OK - because it really needs to be experienced to be believed. So next time yu're in your favorite watering hole, step on over to that 'Megatouch' machine you've always seen losers hanging out at waiting for someone to talk to them and pop a quarter in. One round of Dojo is all it takes. As someone once said "Its like crack for intellectuals."

posted 4:15pm

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August 16th, 2005

Chicken in the bread pan, pickin' out dough

One of my favorite McSweeney's contributers (John Moe) has some interesting questions for Charlie Daniels on today's site.

posted 10:04am

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August 15th, 2005

Tap-Tap-Tap-a-root

Everybody's favorite rockers (two of which are my former roommates) Taproot will finally see the release of their third album Blue-Sky Research tomorrow, August 16th. Amazon.com says:

Taproot returns to the scene with Blue-Sky Research, their melodic yet hard-hitting follow-up to the critically acclaimed Welcome. Studio wiz Toby Wright (Alice in Chains, Kiss, Korn) pushed the band to write over 80 songs for this record. The hard work has paid off handsomely, as Blue-Sky Research delivers not only on every song, but as a cohesive album.

Sounds good. Now everyone go out and buy a copy. Only $10 at Best Buy. Skip the new Brad Paisley CD and go for this. Trust me.

posted 11:19am

Clerks is overrated? You cocksmoker.

Premiere magazine joins VH1 and the E! network in the 'let's make a list that pisses everybody off' club with this list of the 20 most overrated movies of all time. Now there are some movies on here that I love but will begrudgingly admit can tend to be overrated (Good Will Hunting and yes, even Clerks) but 2001? 2001? C'mon people. Hopefully we can all someday agree that A Beautiful Mind sucked, but even if you hate sci-fi and don't get 2001, please admit that if anything, its underrated.

posted 9:32am

I'm a pony! I'm a pony!

The 2005-2006 "30 year old birthday party extravaganza tour" kicked off this weekend in fine fashion. Guest of honor Troy wanted a carnival, so we got him a pony. Imagine a bunch of immature drunks in that thing and you've pretty much got the evening. Here we see what happens when you put several large-sized adults into a structure designed for children. This of course elicited cries of 'Worst Birthday ever' from Troy (we assume he was being sarcastic). Thankfully the pony recovered to provide many more hours of drunken enjoyment. The bar has been set - we all now have a lot to live up to for our birthday parties.



posted 9:11am

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August 9th, 2005

The glove compartment, is not accurately named

If you're a Death Cab for Cutie fan and have loose morals, the new album Plans is folating out there in the ether (which is all I'll say about it other than on first listen, it doesn't disappoint).

posted 10:04am

Hot chicks on the beach vs. Hot chicks kicking ass

This probably isn't news, but I just found out that The O.C. will be on the same night and time as Alias, which of course really chaps my ass. (Lesser conflicts include House vs. The Office and Lost vs. Veronica Mars) Its apparently time to either get a second TiVo or a life.

posted 9:53am

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August 8th, 2005

I'm going camping and I'm taking a television

For the fifth weekend in a row I left the friendly confines of Ann Arbor - this time to head North into the Michigan wilderness and spend the weekend camping, canoeing and of course, drinking. Not suprisingly everything on my body aches this morning and my liver is crying 'no mas'. But a great time - especially an impromptu 2 hour conversation about the soon-to-be craze that sweeps the nation, Poop Dollar. Don't ask.

posted 10:02am

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July 29th, 2005

Serenity Now!

Not a Buffy fan so I completely missed this in its initial run, but Sci-Fi Channel is showing Joss Whedon's Firefly. You should definitely check it out - especially if you like space westerns (and even if you don't).

posted 12:07am

Back again...

Holy Moses am I getting old. The trip to Put-in-Bay '05 is over and didn't disappoint - if you don't count the fact that I feel like hell. If you've never been and are anywhere near NWO and love alcohol, its worth the trip. If you plan to stay on the island (and its the only way to fly) get your reservations for next year now. It fills up fast.

posted 11:55am

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July 20th, 2005

F-U

I'm learning to love the Wikipedia. This, for instance, is awesome. I would have sworn Casino was the champ.

posted 10:07am

Holy Winnie Cooper

God bless the smarmy men's psuedo porn mags that allow me to see the girls I grew up watching on TV in their underwear. This reminds me of my very first erection.

posted 9:55am

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July 18th, 2005

Hot in the City

There was panic in the streets of Chicago Saturday night as the local taverns became increasingly worried that a small group of Michiganders in town for a weekend furlough would drink the city out of alcohol. Okay, hyperbole aside, thanks to the Grzyms, my fellow road warriors and the great city of Chitown for showing us one hell of a time. Hopefully our livers will let us one day return (and Megan will let us back into her hotel).

posted 2:39pm

Dreamier than Undone

It would probably take you all of ten seconds to figure out who's behind the camera here (if his name wasn't listed right beneath the video) but its still some dreamy goodness to admire whilst waiting for his next film.

posted 2:50pm

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July 13th, 2005

Sweet Love Hangover

I'm finally back to feeling normal after going to see my buddies Taproot Monday night at the Mchine Shop in Flint. Yes, I'm officially getting old and can't go out and drink till 2 on a Monday (at least not when I have to be at work the next day) But anyway, the show was great. Their first headlining gig in a while and it was worth the wait. The boys were in (almost) midseason shape and kicked some old school jams along with some of the new material. So everyone go on iTunes and buy their new single (Calling), request it on your local radio station and of course buy Blue Sky Research when it rolls out in August.

posted 3:25pm

Wardrobe by Bernini

Ok, its not a wardrobe item, but have you seen the new set for The Daily Show? It looks like a 1970's designed space ship control room. And eschewing the coach for the desk makes things waaaaaay too CNN/Charlie Rose. Let us not turn on our backs on our fake news bread and butter people. Seems like they're trying to make the political guests feel like its a more respectable place. Hopefully that's not the case. I've always had a fear that TDS would eventually start to take itself too seriously - especially after all the pub they got over the last election. For now I'll keep my faith in our dear steward John - don't let us down (and fire your decorator).

posted 3:18pm

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July 12th, 2005

Your peanut butter is in my chocolate!

Speculation is running rampant as engadget is showing off a 'leaked' image of what's being referred to as the 'Netflix Player'. Their best guess is that its part of a partnership between them and our beloved TiVo. Sounds interesting. My guess is that Blockbuster is pissed.

posted 4:30pm

Witchhunt!

Wanna watch Republicans (okay, this particular White House) do what they do best? Go to Salon.com and read the "You're in a bad spot here, Scott" article. Its filled with all your favorite doublespeak, hipocrasy, backtracking and of course - blatantly denying what we know to be true.

posted 11:59am

Katie Watch, day 47

OK, I'm breaking my promise to stay away from Tom Cruise, but this in the interest of hoping there's still a chance to save katie Holmes. After reading this article on style.com, it appears that she has been completely brainwashed. And I don't mean in the 'blinded by her love for Tom' kind of brainwashed. The 'I loved it. It was much better than Cats.' type of brainwashed.

Oh yeah, and here is some gossip that will have you worried for Felicity (whilst reinforcing the skin crawly feeling we still have about Tom)

posted 10:59am

Fantastic Alba Four

OK, so the special effects aren't that spectacular, the plot is dumb and they screwed the pooch on Dr. Doom - but I still liked it. To paraphrase what I read in Salon, this is what Summer blockbusters are supposed to be - mindless PG fun. I'm glad for War of the Worlds and Batman Begins, but I'll take Reed Richards and the gang over past summer stinkers like I, Robot and Armageddon.

posted 10:30am

Back from vacation

As if anyone noticed, I was gone for a week and not posting. Hooray I'm back at work and adding to the blog - waiting for the sweet release of death.

posted 10:28am

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June 27th, 2005

A better man than me

This guy heard that the Modern Library had released a list of the top 100 novels of the 20th century and decided to read them all. He's been at it since 1999 and hasn't finished, but he's still working on it. He even takes the time to review each book, although he gave Slaughterhouse Five two out of three stars, so you might steer clear of his advice. I decided to do the same thing with AFI's 100 years...100 movies list when that came out. I'm still about half a dozen movies short. Ah well, best laid plans. These are the things I tell myself I'll do when I'm old and alone and smell wierd but no one has the guts to tell me.

posted 2:59pm

Trailer Park Time

If you haven't seen it yet, the ridiculously advanced trailer for the Peter Jackson King Kong remake is floating in the ether of the internet (Here's hoping Jack Black does his best Bill Shatner and at some point screams KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!!). As well the new Cameron Crowe flick Elizabthtown. (Here's hoping Crowe can make Orlando Bloom a little less, say, elvish than he usually is in his non-elf roles.) Find them at the appropriate links below.
King Kong
Elizabethtown

posted 2:25pm

Come on Feel the Illinois

The new Sufjan Stevens album is streaming on the internet here. On first listen, it has the same dreamy and wonderful qualities as Greetings from Michigan, the Great Lakes State. You already love the title, so give it a listen - you won't regret it.

posted 2:10pm

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June 28th, 2005

I got a secret I won't tell...

For the uninitiated, check out POSTSECRET. I'm too lazy to make a postcard, but this would be mine:

posted 3:30pm

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June 27th, 2005

Sweet Holy Moses

Say what you want about Maxim, FHM, Stuff and whatever psuedo porn you may adore, but when Rolling Stone features a starlet, I tend to fall in love on the spot. Case in point:

posted 1:33pm

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June 27th, 2005

The last Cruise/Scientology link ever

At least I hope so. In any case I couldn't pass this up. Salon.com is doing a four part series on Scientology, starting today with Tom Cruise's recent turn as their #1 shill. I love Salon's reporting, so having them delve into Scientology is a dream marriage for me. You will have to watch an ad in order to get on the site, but trust me, its worth it.
Salon.com

posted 9:57am

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June 22st, 2005

Avengers Pumpkins Assemble!

Billy Corgan took out a full page ad in the Chitown Trib' yesterday to announce his plans to reform/reunite/reassemble the Smashing Pumpkins. Not surprising that the announcement comes out the same day as Corgan's solo album. Well hell, if the Pixies can do it, why not the Pumpkins? Read a more informative and concise breakdown at Pitchfork. Or go and see the actual ad here.

posted 10:30am

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June 21st, 2005

Back to back AFI events

Last night USA aired the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award to George Lucas. It was overly long and featured a completely superfluous appearance by Maroon 5, but it almost brought a tear to my eye to see Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer and Mark Hammil on stage together (plus they all rode George pretty hard for his well-known shortcomings). If you missed it, look for it on your TiVo scheduler - It plays again like next Sunday at 2am or something. And of course tonight is another installment of AFI's 100 years, 100 movies series. CBS airs 100 years... 100 movie quotes at 8pm. My guess is that 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn' will be #1 - although I'm hoping for 'May the Force be with You.' You can get the list of the 400 nominated quotes in PDF format here (pretty cool if you're a huge geek and have a lot of time on your hands) I'm sure the AFI site will have the ordered results on their site soon.

posted 9:54am

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June 20th, 2005

What the deuce?

I'm not convinced that this show deserves as much praise and devotion as it gets (although I myself have seen every episode and catch re-runs on cartoon network now and again.) but the Family Guy movie is on its way. Smartly, it will be direct to DVD so you can watch it in your underwear with one had down your pants, the other holding a beer and a smoke burning in the ashtray. Please though not while company's over. Read more here.

posted 2:15pm

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June 20th, 2005

Wham! Pow! Biff!

So the new Batman is out. While I strictly read the Marvel brand as a young comics snob, I've always had a soft spot for the Dark Knight. If you were super rich and really bored, would you don a bat suit and fight crime, or just get really drunk and hang with the beautiful people? Well for the first time in cinematic history, director Christopher Nolan tries to get to the bottom of the fact that while most of us would choose the latter, Bruce Wayne goes with the former. Its dark and stylish - probably slow and short on action from some. And it falls prey to recent trend of up close/quick cut action that tries to make you feel like you're in the armpit of what's happening, but actually just prevents you from really seeing anything. But I loved it. Dead nuts casting and thematically perfect. Best Batman movie yet for my money. Go see it quick before War of the Worlds comes out and we can debate how much the fact that Tom Cruise is creepy affects how we feel about the movie.

posted 9:35am

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June 20th, 2005

Die, Stephen Malkmus, die.

Spin is out with another list to promote vehement heated shouting matches between music snobs everywhere. I didn't see anything about it on the actual Spin site yet, but USA Today had a story on it here. Now while I like their choice at number one and I respect the shit out of Spin if for no other reason than Chuck Klosterman works there, but will everyone kindly remove their noses from Pavement's ass. As I writer at a college newspaper in the 90's I learned to hate Pavement and those who believed it when the were told how good Slanted and Enchanted was. As long as there is music, there will be bands who get by on a bunch of snobby music critics who pass the name on to others who feel the need to like something either that everyone else doesn't or at least before everyone else does. Pavement is the penultimate example of this. Listen to Slanted and Enchanted, realize it sucks, and then find some hipster friends what they think. The first one who starts to extoll its virtues, slap them in the back of the head. Hard.

posted 9:15am

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June 16th, 2005

The return of college football

Its that time of year again, when next year's national championship game for college football begins to be decided. The 2005 college football preview magazines are beginning to show up on newstands, bringing drunken debates on where everyone's favorite team is ranked (and should be ranked) to sports bars across our great land. Fortunately the internet has swooped in again to save you time and energy. While I'm sure the hard core sports geeks out there will rush out and buy at least one magazine so they know who the backup tackle for Boise State is, Yahoo! has provided a consensus poll to help give you an overall idea on who the professional geeks think is the best. I'm not sure that this page will be updated in the same spot, but you can get the initial poll here.

posted 10:12am

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June 16th, 2005

Undercover at Dean and Deluca?

Something's not quite right with this. Keri Russell, she of Felicity fame, has signed on to play a secret agent in Training in the new Mission: Impossible movie. She's taking the place of Scarlet Johansen, a casting choice that makes a bit more sense. Obviously M:I3 director J.J. Abrams has some influence here. He's now officially in Keven Smith territory for recycling actors. I'm sure I could show 30 seconds of one of J.J.'s shows that you might have trouble identifying as Lost, Alias or Felicity. Ah well, I didn't really care for the first two M:I movies. You can read more here.

posted 9:31am

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June 13th, 2005

Where have you been Yoshimi?

Some good news on the Flaming Lips front - Looks like they will a contribute a song to the soundtrack of The Wedding Crashers starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (which if they concede to an R rating should be wonderful). Sounds like we'll be waiting until '06 for a whole new album though. Read more about it at everybody's favorite snooty music site, Pitchfork.

posted 1:31pm

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June 13th, 2005

Beware the Return of Xenu!

Now I may not be the most religious person in the world, but I like to think I tolerate other people's spirituality. But we all have a line that shan't be crossed and mine is right in front of Scientology. People, this organization is scary. Even if you only believe what THEY tell you its frightening, much less if you take time to read the horror stories of its past members and critics. My impetus for all this is the recent trainwreck that is Tom Cruise, who is apparently gunning for Crispin Glover status. To that end, I encourage all of you to support this initiative:
Free Katie
And in the interest of informed dissent, here's the official Scientology site, along with one of my favorites that takes a more critical view:
Official Church of Scientology Site
Operation Clambake: The Inner Secrets of Scientology

posted 1:11pm

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February 11th, 2005

Name That Movie

Now I can't exactly verify that this is actually true (actually I probably could but didn't actually bother to) but this supposedly was the listing in the Marin paper for a classic movie:

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets
and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

The movie, of course, is The Wizard of Oz. Real or not, I think it makes the movie more interesting. Now all they need is to recommend getting high and synching it up with Dark Side of the Moon.

posted 9:42am

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February 4th, 2005

Looking for new music?

This is hours of fun. A site that takes your favorite artist and tells you what else you should be listening to. At least that's my log line for it. Check it out at http://musicplasma.com/

posted 9:36am

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January 23rd, 2005

The Best Movies of 2004

Well its still January so I feel pretty good at having this done already and I'm fairly sure there's nothing left off - i.e. a movie I haven't seen and would be on here had I seen it. Well that's probably not true, but that's what mulligans are for. So as of this second, these are my favorite movies of the last year:

10. The Dreamers
Come for the nudity, stay for the tension. I'm still not sure I get everything that Bertolucci was getting at here, but watching a bizarre love triangle implode on itself in a way that parallels the 1968 Paris riots that are its backdrop is definitely a scene. Its got a hot chick that's constantly naked and is in love with film. It makes the list on that alone.

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
After making a coming of age road movie that includes lamentations on Central America's eroding environment and a three way, it was time for Alfonso Cuaron to take the reins of the biggest family film franchise ever. I was ecstatic when I first heard they were going to take this movie away from one of the biggest hack directors of all time and hand it to somebody with vision up the butt - and I wasn't disappointed. Cuaron focused more on the every day, real world aspects of wizard teenagers and realized that in order to make a movie out of a book that things need to be changed and left out. If only we could get the first two back...

8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
This is kind of a mess of a film with spotty dialogue and a somewhat laborious plot. But its still a beautiful Wes Anderson movie. Which means it exists in its own separate universe that is apparently neither past not future. OK, so its not Rushmore or even Tennenbaums, but its stilll one of the most original movies of the year and one that I would encourage everyone to see without reservation.

7. I Heart Huckabees
David O. Russell is one of Hollywood's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. If you didn't relaize that yet, it will probably occur to you after seeing I Heart Huckabees. If someone watched this and told me they hated it, I probably wouldn't try to talk them out of their opinion (which as most of you can attest to isn't my normal course of action). But I revelled in all of the existential silliness and have the utmost respect for a film that sets out to competely make fun of any philosophy, and then ends up believing in it -just a little bit - as if to hedge its bet.

6. Spider-man 2
Not only the best comic book movie ever, but an actual great movie. The stunts are fantastic sure, but the focus on Peter Parker's struggles in coming to terms with his dual identity as well as his every day, average teenager struggles make this a film where we can root for the hero when he's not wearing the tights as well.

5. Before Sunset
No one makes movies where people sit around and do nothing but talk better than Richard Linklater. Its the best kind of sequel in that it deepens and continues what we saw nine years earlier in 'Before Sunrise' rather than trying to give us closure on an ambiguous ending. Your mind will race in the sappiest of ways thinking of every person you wish you had one more chance with, but Linklater never lets things get too schmaltzy. The suspense towards the end is as good as anything where shit blows up or a killer is finally revealed, and again we get an ending that's as ambiguously satisfying as they come.

4. Sideways
From here on in its essentially a four way tie for first. But since we have to start somewhere... Alexander Payne makes movies about people who really aren't any more interesting than you or I. And for the most part, the things that happen to them aren't that much different than perhaps the best story any one of us could tell. Somehow Payne manages to these things and turn them into some of the best films around. Sideways feels like it should've been made in the early 1970's with Jack Nicholson or Ryan O'Neil. Paul Giamatti is a master of the emotionally stunted, and his relationship with Thomas Hayden Church is a great conduit to show that two middle aged schlubs can still learn a thing or two. It gives hope to us all.

3. Garden State
This is probably the movie that I'll watch the most out of everything else on the list in the coming years. Its the best of Cameron Crowe, Jon Favreau and The Graduate, all rolled into something that's not nearly as scmaltzy as you'd think it'd be given those influences. This is the romantic comedy you always hope you're going to see but end up never seeing. Watch it again and again and again.

2. Kill Bill Vol. 2
After last years grind house vol. 1, we finally get a what we've come to expect from a Tarantino movie. Quentin brings his love for Sergio Leone and Howard Hawks to the front this time, with an ending that is vintage Q. Also includes my favorite line reading of the year, when the Bride tells Esteban that "My pussy wagon died on me" and he says "The pussy died?"

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I used to think that Spike Jonez should direct every Charlie Kaufman script. That was before I saw what Michel Gondry could do. Using Kaufman's best script, Gondry gives probably the best filmic interpretation of what its like running through the memories in your head that I've ever seen. And Kaufman again bends conventions and plays with non-linear narratives in a way that actually adds to the plot, rather than distracts from it. Tom Robbins once wrote that the only serious question was how does one make love stay. This movie starts by posing the opposite question and ends up getting back around to finding a way to answer the original. What a ride.

posted 11:49am

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January 14th, 2005

And the winner is...

The New York Times currently has a listing of every film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar, along with the original NYTimes review. Interesting in and of itself for those film geeks out there like myself. But take a look at the winners decade by decade. Sad, huh? I thought the 1970's were in a lot of ways analgous to the 1990's in Hollywood, with the re-birth of independent film and what not. Then you look at the two decades and note the disparity. Perhaps had Pulp Fiction beaten out Forrest Gump and Fargo had beaten The English Patient I'd feel differently. It just doesn't feel right as is. The fact that Silence of the Lambs won is great, and no one can deny Schindler's List, but it will forever irk the living shit out of me that Titanic won the same award as Annie Hall, The Godfather, and Lawrence of Arabia. And don't get me started on the fact that two Russell Crow movies won Best Picture back to back. Perhaps a small, interesting movie like Sideways can win this year, and we can look back on all this previous foolishness as 'the dark times'.

posted 11:49am

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January 12th, 2005

The TiVolution marches forward.

TiVo is the greatest thing ever. I'd rather ditch my cell phone then be without TiVo. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, TiVo has just announced TiVoToGo. Yes, now you can transfer shows from your TiVo to your computer, making your laptop even more of a multimedia juggernaut. And soon, you'll be able to archive this stuff to DVD. My life is now complete, and my VCR officially dead to me.
http://www.tivo.com/4.9.19.asp

posted 4:42pm

So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

I will never understand how Apple didn't win out over Microsoft. Well, I guess as I sit here typing on a Windows machine I suppose I have a vague understanding. But still, Apple is so cool. Take for instance the new MiniMac. Who wouldn't want one of these?
http://www.apple.com/macmini/

posted 11:21am

One more thing I didn't know I was doing wrong

I've been folding T-shirts almost my whole life. But I just found out that I've been doing it like a retard. Watch this to see what I mean. It will change your life.
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/fold.php

posted 10:00am

 

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January 3rd, 2005

Worst Name Ever

The first big, fat, stupid, head-shaking, shoulder-shrugging mistake of the year:
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Read about the colossal blunder on USAToday.com

posted 3:23pm

 

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December 22nd, 2004

The Best Music of '04

Another year filled with some great new bands, some old favorites and as always, some out of the blue surprises. For the few who care, here's my picks for the best of '04:

10. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News
My favorite Album title of the year. Will probably work its way up the list in weeks to come, but since I just got it, it starts at 10. Still getting used to some of the stranger stuff on here...

9. Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Part Doves, part Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol know how croon, whine, rock and keep it interesting all in the span of a four minute pop song. Add the British accent and they're number one with a bullet in the flavor of the month club.

8. Keane - Hopes & Fears
Like most piano-rock that isn't made by Ben Folds, I really wish these guys would just rock out a little bit - once in a while at least. I hesitate to take the easy way out and compare them to Coldplay, but I will say that I don't really like Coldplay and I love Keane.

7. Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
Girls who cuss with as much spite as Rilo Kiley tend to scare me a tad. But in the end I fall for them. Especially if they can make me feel like Rilo Kiley does.

6. Cake - Pressure Chief
Still obsessed with old fashioned American consumerism as much as bass lines and guitar melodies that seem to pick at each other while a trumpet does play by play. Thank God.

5. Maritime - Glass Floor
Maritime rises from the ashes of my beloved Promise Ring, this time with horns. One of the bazillion times I've heard something, loved it, and wondered why it wasn't on the radio. Then realize I probably wouldn't love it as much if it was.

4. William Shatner - Has Been
A tongue in cheek parody that takes itself deadly seriously. Shatner must be the world's best sport, and Ben Folds is a musical genius for navigating a potential minefield and coming out with honest to goodness pop gold.

3. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Jeff Tweady follows up the decade's best album with a slightly tighter, still sprawling, almost none-the-less-magnum opus. Throw it on right after you finish listening to the White Album and see what I mean. Someone called this album 'a real motherfucker'. I tend to agree.

2. The Walkmen - Bows and Arrows
Yes, they were on the O.C., which only makes me love them more. OK, maybe not more, but certainly not less. A barage of accusations and musical questions, this album could easily be split up to suit the 1am party and the 10am hangover.

1. Franz Ferdinand
The most fun rock has been since Talking Heads. You'll be singing to yourself in the car at the top of your lungs before you even know the words. There's no better endorsement than that.

My yearly mulligan - The Postal Service - Give Up. Came out in '03, but I just found it and I would be remiss not to include it here. Any album that can get me to appreciate techno indie pop deserves a mention.
Also special nod to my favorite lyric of the year, from the Walkmen:
When I used to go out I knew everyone I saw
Now I go out alone if I go out at all

Happy holidays...

 

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December 6th, 2004

Michael Ian Black and Nick Hornby

I saw on McSweeney's today two things of note. The first was an essay by Michael Ian Black about his availabilty as a late night talk show host (which included the laugh out loud line "And while being famous is great, being famous without being correspondingly wealthy is a lot like being a really hot nun. Totally pointless.") The other was the pending release (insert gratuitous sex joke here) of a new Nick Hornby book. Which gives me a chance to promote his collection of essays called 'Songbook' which features some great writing about music. And if you're into that at all, let me just say Lester Bangs.

posted 4:28pm

The internet has come to this?

This is the first of what I hope to be several entries on this space relating to things I find interesting. The name will hopefully change to something more humerous, the focus will remain on me. Those things include, but are not exlusive to music, movies, books, the internet, events both local and global and things that happen to me. Boring? More than likely. Trivial? For sure. But perhaps from time to time I can find something that will make you laugh, question, ponder, or just say "Hey, that's all right."

posted 3:47pm

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This page is written and maintained by Tyler Brubaker. All content is spewed forth from the author's brain, unless otherwise credited. He views his opinion as much more valid than yours, but welcomes all thoughts and comments.