Saturday, March 19, 2005

So The Shield premier last night wasn't the coup de grace I was expecting. Tuesday night's episode had so much inside street slang and cop shop talk, I had trouble following the story. Insider,catchy dialog is only okay if I can eventually pick up what the hell is going on and ride with it. The story seemed muddled with gang names, street names and politics. If I were newcomer to show I would have lost patience halfway through. I'm also not sure what to make of Glenn Close, she played her part between being palsy with her new reports and talking tough to gangbangers. I'd rather not have her on Vic's good side, I liked the way he and Aceveda were constantly at each other'sthroats. The bright side of last night was seeing Anthony Anderson back playing a street-thug community leader.

I'm excited about Sony's new PSP portable player but I'll have to read more on it before I buy one. From the little I've read it sure sounds cool. The problem is Sony usually finds a way of screwing things up like creating it so it can't use other software, file formats etc. So we'll see. The PC I'm working on is a Sony Viao system and while it has all the bells and whistles, I've been less than satisfied by its performance.

In other news, I'm leaving town for a couple of weeks to sunny Florida. I'm sooo ready for it after countless months of snow and dreary days. So you probably won't be hearing much from me until April.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Miracles Can Happen

I'm giving a big shout out to my alma mater Oakland University for beating Alabama A&M tonight and moving on to the NCAA tournament! Now I gotta do 2 pools just to pick OU going all the way on one!

Listening to the Kills' "No Wow" right now -- not bad. But, I'm not sure they're worth all the hype they've been getting. They're a bit on the sparse side, mostly guitar and female vocals.

I'm looking forward to the premier of The Shield tonight in about a 1/2 hour. I've been watching since season one, and while I think they push the button a bit too far at times, it's still the police drama I've seen since NYPD Blue season 1.

One more piece of news: I'm a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan (all 7 seasons on DVD), though I'm not sure I'm making it to the convention coming to Detroit in June. It's too pricey for my cheap blood. They just announced James Marsters (Spike) is going to perform. I was never a huge Spike fan, (I actually think it would have been better to keep him evil and away from Buffy). So, while not a motivator for me I'm sure it will be for others.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Of Things Read, Seen and Listened To...1

Let's start with a book:
Legands I: This is a collection of short fantasy novels came out around the same time as the first Lord of the Rings movie. The stories in this collection include: A Stephen King Gunslinger story, which tells a nice perverted tale of the gunslinger being held captive by witches. Unfortunately, the story dragged in many parts. Robet Silverberg follows with a Majipoor story. As an introduction to Silverberg's Majipoor world, "The Seventh Shrine" is a good story that reads like a murder mystery. An Orson Scott Card "Alvin" story is next and provides the most humor of the collection. My favorite story, the last tale by Raymond E. Feist, from his Riftwar Saga, "The Wooden Boy" is bloody vengence at its best. If I'm to use this book as a gauge to pick up a book by one of author's, Feist, gets my vote. I have two other Legends volumes, I'm looking forward to these providing nice breaks between the novels I read.

On to music:
The Notwist "Neon Golden": I'm late in buying this, Neon Golden was release nearly 3 years ago as an import. Doesn't really matter though, becuase the CD sounds as if it could have been released last week. The Notwist are FINALLY the band that gets the Electronica, Post Rock balance right. On the large part for a quiet, somber CD, Neon Golden blows me away with amazing sound textures. Bits of guitar, synth, bango, noise, etc. are matched with a vocal styling that's a bit on the dull side, but sings really interesting lines on loniliness, "Pick Up the Phone" and not fitting in "One with the Freaks". The slight disppointment comes at the end with the three new tracks they slapped on. These are obvious "b" cut instrumentals and are boring. So stop listening at track 10 and you have pure perfection. This would have been my favorite CD of 2003.

Next a comic:
The Intimates#5 -- The cover hooked me into buying this one, a fantastic mix of magazine headlines and a zombie freak kid. The Intimates is like a depressing X Men, without the villans and battles. What's left is a bunch of confused, dysfunctional kids with weird abilities, in classrooms with psychotic teachers. Great graphics, neat little factiods at the bottom of the page, make reading The Intimates a pleasure. However, I'm expecting a bit more out of the story which just doesn't have the originality to match the art.

Last a movie:
Wrong Turn -- Watched this around midnight a couple of days ago. Any movie that begins with the Dream Syndicate's "Halloween" blaring from a car stereo should be good. I enjoyed the no-nonsense, let's scare the hell out of you, direction Rob Schmidt took the movie in. The plot is basically a rip off Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw with teens being chased by some seriously deranged in-breds. But, Wrong Turn does pack quite a gusto of chase scenes, that unlike so many horror movies I've seen tend to get boring quickly. As a derivative horror move, House of 1,000 Corpses probably tops it for sheer shock factor, nonetheless, as far as horror movies go Wrong Turn is a step in the right direction.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Smallville and that Dick, Superman

Got a chance to watch this week's Smallville episode (3/03) Lucy. This is the first seaon I've tried to keep up with Smallville, and I have to say I'm enjoying it. Every episode has this racy innocence about it that Smallville gets just right. I also like the way they capture the original comic book characters and place them in the TV show context (besides Krypto that epsode blew). The actress, Peyton List, playing Lucy last night is very cute, check out the pic, hopefully, she'll pop up in future episodes.

I also found this amusing feature on Superman comic covers and what a dick he can be -- check it out.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Internet Radio and More

I've tried just about every internet music service there is, I've done earlier posts on E-music and MusicMatch. Recently, I've been checking out Rhapsody, one of the more popular music services. Their radio service comes free with my out-freaking-rageous Comcast broadband connection. The radio stations are better than I would have thought. My favorite is Computer Music, descibed as:
"Yesterday's and today's retro-futurist synth sounds"
Their playlist is extensive with music like Gary Numan, Japan, Pet Shop Boys, and new artists like Miss Kitten and Fischerspooner. They're currently playing The Sound, a brilliant early 80's synth band a lot of people were sadly never aware of here in the US. So, if you have Comcast take advantage of the Rhapsody service.
Another music service I subscribe to, XM Radio, I thought was king, unfortunately, I'm finding out they're treating me like their pawn. They're raising their rates from 9.95 to 12.95, which compared to Internet Radio stations is much higher. Alas, I can't listen to I.R. in the car very easily and there are some stations I do enjoy on XM -- Fred, CMU and the Move. If I find them raising their rates again anytime soon, then is one XM subscriber they can "X" off their list!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Is it wrong not to "LIVESTRONG?"

A package came today filled with 10 of those trendy "LIVESTRONG" wristbands. My wife ordered them directly from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. My daughter, Megan, has four on and says "put one on Dad." Now, I'm not an outwardly rebellious person, but on the inside there are just somethings I won't do. I wouldn't wear a red ribbon for aids victims, wouldn't wear the "WWJD" wristbands, wouldn't put out a flag after "9/11," and now I'm not wearing these damn wristbands. It's not becuase I don't care about people with cancer. Quite the contrary, I have no problem donating the money to the foundation. I just have a problem making a statement about it. It's difficult to explain this to my 8-year-old daughter so she'll understand. I find it important not conforming in my own small ways.
There's a decent article on these wristbands at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art29095.asp, which puts it this way:
Slate journalist Timothy Noah, who describes a "tragedy of the commons" with the bracelets. He argues that because there are many more charitable causes than colors, the bracelets lose meaning since it's impossible to tell which issue is represented by a bracelet based on its color.

Besides, I've read far too many Sci-Fi/horror novels and seen too many bad TV episodes in which something that everybody is wearing brainwashes them into committing crimes or following an alien race. I'm not big into conspiracy theories but what would happen right now if everyone with those wristbands on were sent a signal to vote an insideously evil person into office? Hey, just how many of those wristbands were available last November?