Monday, January 28, 2008

Why It Is Important That Obama Win In The Primaries

I have created a simple visual representation showing why it is so important that Obama beat Hilary in the primaries:

80: Bush (VP)
81: Bush (VP)
82: Bush (VP)
83: Bush (VP)
84: Bush (VP)
85: Bush (VP)
86: Bush (VP)
87: Bush (VP)
88: Bush
89: Bush
90: Bush
91: Bush
92: Clinton
93: Clinton
94: Clinton
95: Clinton
96: Clinton
97: Clinton
98: Clinton
99: Clinton
00: Bush
01: Bush
02: Bush
03: Bush
04: Bush
05: Bush
06: Bush
07: Bush
08: Clinton
09: Clinton
10: Clinton
11: Clinton

This oligarchy crap has got to stop. Now that Thompson is out, I have no idea who I'm going to vote for. My only choice is this:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You Know, I May Have Been Wrong

Amazing, I know. For a long time I have said that is almost NO good music being released these days. Aside from a few standouts (David Crowder Band, Snow Patrol, maybe a few others), most modern (past 5 years) is garbage. So it is extremely exciting when you come across something worth listening to.

The sad thing is, this particular album came out over a year ago, and I'm just know noticing it. I heard one of the tracks from it a while back, and loved it. But thought, "The rest of it can't be that good," so I went on with life.

Well, the other night (while driving "the van"), I took the plunge and listened to the rest of the album online. And was completely blown away.

That album was The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. Honestly, it was a stretch for me to listen to at first, because I was under a large misconception about what kind of music it was. Look, I LOOOVE rock of all kinds. Except emo-rock. Which I THOUGHT this was. Well let me tell you something: MCR is anything but "emo". But I digress.

The Black Parade is a concept album, similar to The David Crowder Band's Collision. An album where every song is a part of a larger story. In this case, TBP is a rock opera (in every sense of the phrase) telling the story of "The Patient", a man dying of cancer. The album presents the story of his passage out of life, and his subsequent reflection back on his life. It's at times sad, angry, and hopeful (and everything in between).

The sound on the record is very 70's rock anthem mixed with modern punk. From the wiki:
Lead singer Gerard Way has cited the band Queen as a major influence on the album. Similarities have been noted between the guitar orchestration in "Welcome to the Black Parade", and the arrangements of Queen.

Way has also stated that Queen's A Night at the Opera, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd's The Wall, and The Smashing Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness as influences.

And it shows. The single "Welcome To The Black Parade" (probably the best known song on the album), is VERY Queen-ish, and every song is extremely well written and performed. There is some bad language on the album (not a lot, though) but honestly, it kinda makes sense, and it's never offensive just for offensiveness' sake. "Welcome" in particular stands out, as it consists of "167 separate tracks mixed together, including marching band drums, multiple snares and a horn section." It creates a literal "wall of sound." Very cool.

There is soooo much to digest here. I've listened to the whole thing straight through 4 times now, and am still hearing new material. I haven't picked a favorite song yet, but it's coming down to "Welcome" for it's creativity, "Famous Last Words" for it's sheer emotion and power, or "Heaven Help Us" (which isn't on the US version, it's on the Japanese import) for it's solid rock factor. Check out a the lyrics to the chorus of "Famous Last Words" (and keep in mind, this is from The Patient's point of view, as he's dying):

I am not afraid to keep on living!
I am not afraid to walk this world alone!
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven!
Nothing you can say can stop me going home!

It's interesting, as "Famous Last Words" is final (sort of) track on the album, it kind of leaves the fate of The Patient up in the air. For the entire album you are led to believe he has died, but by the end of the song, you're not so sure: it's so tiumphant and hopeful, it's easy to believe that he has been given another shot at life (MCR intentially made it this way. Thanks a lot, guys!) I'm still not sure where I stand on it.

I know the subject matter sounds extremely morbid and depressing, but it's really not. It's almost an adventure. Sure, there are plenty of very dark spots, but there's also awe, wonder, and even fun.

The creativity and effort put into this album is readily apparent in every track. There is some serious songwriting genius going on here, and sadly lots of people are missing it because it's "just emo punk crap." I know I thought that way, and I was wrong.

BTW: There's lots of places online you can listen to the album, and I'll be posting some videos I've made (or will make) in the near future.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

BEHOLD! The Power Of The Intarwebs!

Some of you may know (or probably not, considering it's a non-controversy) about the so-called controversy over the computer game Mass Effect. Well, as our lovely media outlets just LOOOOVE to create a controversy where there is none, Fox News "interviewed" various people about the game (none of which ACTUALLY PLAYED IT!) The non-controversy stems from the fact this (Mature-rated, mind you) game has about 20 seconds of a "sex" scene between two characters (that only happens if you play the game exactly right). Of course, the people screaming about this haven't actually seen it, but I digress. It's nothing. I mean NOTHING. There's way more "sex" on "The OC" or "CSI" or even "Friends". Anyway, one of the people interviewed was a writer name Cooper Lawrence. She know NOTHING about the game. Behold what happened:

On a Fox News clip, self-proclaimed psychologist Cooper Lawrence shot her mouth off on a game she'd never played. (And most likely a game she'd never even heard of before she got on air.) Doing so, she not only exposed her own ignorance and prejudices, but also angered publisher Electronic Arts and the gaming community. As a sort of internet vigilante justice, the Amazon page for her new book The Cult of Perfection (the irony) is getting the crap spammed out of it. As of posting there are 330 reviews. 279 of those reviews are one star reviews.

And a link to the reviews: It's freakin' GLORIOUS!

Perhaps a little research next time, eh Ms. Lawrence? How about it, Fox?


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NEWSFLASH: Heath Ledger Found Dead In His Home

Well that's a surprise. My guess? Drugs, and lots of 'em. Kinda sad, really. He was a pretty good actor (as far as modern actors go). He was (is?) The Joker in the new Batman movie.

And yet Britney lives still.

Something is rotten here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Genius of Calvin & Hobbes

Let me start by saying this: I have always been huge Calvin & Hobbes fan. I began reading the strips about 5 years after they started in 1985, and relished every single one of them. Calvin was my hero, Hobbes was teh awesomes, and I always had a crush on Susie Derkins (still do, in fact.) Calvin's parents were so cool, but I didn't realize it at the time (looking back, I see how awesome his dad was, constantly messing with him, ie. those photos aren't black and white, the WORLD used to be that color.) It mixed the mundane with the absurd, to create a lasting memory.

Calvin was a like me (and vice versa). We were both somewhat introspective, highly imaginative, and all-in-all a bit different. I never really played much sports (like Calvin), didn't have legions of friends (like Calvin, although the friends I DID have were very good), never quite fit into school (like Calvin), and (like Calvin) had zero problem being completely alone, with just my own self to talk to (wow, that sounds weird). And somehow, this underachiever became the star of the best comic ever written. Calvin's not your typical star of anything. There's nothing extraordinary about him. He's just Calvin. And he made it OK to be different.

Strangely, I never had all the books, but I'm trying to rectify that (a side note: if anybody needs a gift for the GreatMoose, I suggest this.

Anyway, 12 years ago, a little piece of my soul died when Bill Watterson stopped producing Calvin & Hobbes. At Christmas 1995, Calvin & Hobbes came to an end. But it came to an end with the most hopeful, life-affirming strip I've ever read. I'll let it speak for itself:

I STILL can't read that without getting a tear in my eye. I'm such a girl.

Anyway, a fellow Calvin & Hobbes fan has compiled what he considers to be the best 25 strips from the 10 years that C&H ran. And he's DANG close. I'll make a few changes, but he's pretty much spot on. Give it a read here. And here's a mirror if that first link it borked.

And I DEFY any of you to read the raccoon series without getting a bit misty. If you don't, you have no soul.

I'll post my favorites a bit later when I have the time to compile them all. Stay tuned!

Oh, and lastly, if you want your soul to be ripped screaming from your body, read the alternate "last strip" that some seriously disturbed "person" made. I gotta give it props, it's certainly "good", but it WILL MESS YOU UP.


Don't click if you don't want your whole day ruined.

I'm not kidding. Last chance.

Here it is.

I'm sorry.