Thursday, June 28, 2007

Drunk on Amy Winehouse

She's cool. Her debut (Frank) is finally seeing light in the states...four years after its initial release in her native U.K. Her most recent album (Back to Black) has gone triple plat in her homeland...probably because the Brits jock American soul music so hard...but the appeal is clear: she sounds great and seems to embody that old school sass.

I won't reiterate all the descriptions about her smoky vocal style, which some say is reminiscent of Billy Holliday, or the beehive which smacks of The Ronettes, but I guess I just did. Regardless, some of the music, though it may sound like Motown or old school jazz, it's definitely a 21st century interpretation...let's just look at "Fuck Me Pumps", as an example. Don't be thrown by the title.

Check her out when she performed on Dave.

The Rolling Stone also did an interesting article on her.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's official...this is as bad as it's ever been

Did you hear that Cheney made the claim that he's not a member of the Executive Branch, so he doesn't need to abide by the rules that the Founding Fathers stipulated.

What? Am I taking crazy pills? Why is this okay and is it election time yet? If he's not quite Executive and not quite Legislative, does that mean we can expel for being a deliberate lame-tard poo-puppet bass-turd? Doesn't this set off a big blip on your basic right/wrong radar that we had instilled at birth? Is Cheney's not working properly? Oh wait...that's right...he's an evil soulless robot constructed for the sole purpose to drag this great nation into the dirt! Ha! I feel sooo much better now!

Hopefully the next President to take office makes an effort to show the American people what kind of dastardly deeds this evil toolshed purported while in office as Vice President.

This guy's sense of entitlement at the expense of others is astounding. Can he and I go duck hunting soon?

You either love him or hate him...

...but his films (aside from the recent "Grindhouse", which he looks like was done just to entertain himself and Robert Rodriguez) are at least downright enjoyable popcorn thrillers, if not cultural milestones.

Quention Tarantino's "Kill Bill" was originally supposed to be released as a single film, then Miramax decided to split them into 2 because they'd get more money from ticket sales and DVD revenue.

The rumor was that one day, the studio would release the film on DVD, as it was originally planned, a three plus hour extravaganza.

Today ign reported that Amazon is now listing the product on the site. The release date is Nov. 6, 2007. The movie has no suggested MRP, but it's probably going to be around $16-$25 depending on promos. It's rated NC-17, which means that the whole Crazy 88 fight scene that shifted from color to black and white and featured quality arterial spurts of blood resulting from limb severage and decapitations will now be all in color. Who knows what other surprises may lurk on this godsend?

Maybe an extended O-ren Ishii anime sequence?

Or perhaps more GoGo?

Monday, June 25, 2007

My new Netflix

So you might be aware of my frustration with Netflix. They have a policy that involves throttling your movie allowance based on how often you rent movies. If you rent a lot, then new releases you have in your queue take longer to be sent. Most of the movies I wanted were new releases, so I cancelled my membership. I was considering BLockbuster, but then I found a kiosk in several Safeway locations. It's a service called dvdplay. The kiosk has a touch screen, and you follow the simple prompts to find the movies that you want.

Granted they mostly carry new releases, so it's somewhat limited if you're trying to find First Blood or Dreamscape, which you should check out because it stars David Patrick Kelly, whom I saw in Shakespeare's, The Tempest, in which he played Ariel...can you imagine..."Prospero...come out and pla-eee-yaaay!"

Needless to say, the dvdplay option is awesome. $1.49 a title per day, then $.99 each additional day. If you watch them that night, you take them back and go through a simple process of inserting them into a "return" slot. There's no big hassle of setting up an account, because once you initially rent, and enter an email address, the system automatically sets one up for you, and emails you your rental receipt. There's no paper involved.

Recent movie rentals for me? Cooky Mel's "Apocalypto", "The Good Shepherd" (an awesome story about the birth of the C.I.A. and its toll on the man who founded counterintelligence), "Pan's Labyrinth" (an astounding adult fairy tale set in Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls backdrop), "Stranger Than Fiction" (Will Ferrell's first serious role, and a commentary on the fragile nature of life and love), "Blood Diamond", and "The Fountain" (Daron Aronsky's take on immortality).

I heart dvdplay.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Need spiritual guidance while driving?

The Vatican released a 36-page document called "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" contains 10 Commandments covering everything from road rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping a car in good shape and avoiding rude gestures while behind the wheel.

Apparently the Church felt that so many people were hurting themselves and others, so it took a stance to issue an edict.

These were some that the Pope threw out on the final revision:
  • Thou shalt stop at stop signs.
  • Thou shalt not bump bass-heavy music near your momma's house.
  • Thou shalt not rock gold dub spinners unless thou art in the NBA.
  • Thou shalt not bust a cap in your brother's ass on the road.
  • Thou shalt not hit donuts in residential locations on school nights - the Lord considers you a punk-b1tch a-hole should you engage in this type of activity.
  • Thou shalt use turn signals, as they are not merely decorative facets of your vehicle.
  • If thou drivest with a firearm, then thou shall keep it and its ammunition separate (actually this is also part of the Firearm Owners' Protection Act) for the duration of the trip.
  • If thou drivest an SUV, thou shall not sport a "Keep Tahoe Blue" sticker.

I beat the gerrymandering high score

I just played the coolest game ever: The ReDistricting Game. If you like the lame MS Minefield game, then you're going to love this one. You pick your political party (Republican or Democrat), and you engage in hardcore gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering, if you're not familiar with the term, is what politicians (like our various Congressional House Representatives) do to concentrate partisan votes in a geographic zone. These zones are not determined by streets, but rather by population and party affiliation. Simply put, congressional districts get reorganized in order to consolidate electoral votes. These votes matter come election time, and it could be said that the person who draws the district has more political power than the campaign manager or the average Joe Sixpack casting his vote at the neighborhood polling center.

The game is pretty cool in that you are able to work out different scenarios of gerrymandering. I take it as a chance to see the cognitive processes involved in such a venture, so that you're a more informed voter/American. This way you don't feel like you got screwed out of an election - you'll know it was completely out of your hands thanks to g-manding! Yay!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back to the lab...

I haven't written anything in so long because I have been straight chilling between jobs. Got offered a couple, accepted one, and have been seriously enjoying staying at home mowing lawns and hanging out with my family before I start anew. Politics and the cluster-f*ck in Iraq is still something that makes me dislike the current administration and general political hypocrisy, but I haven't been as hot under the collar as of late. Maybe it's because I know election time is coming up, and I feel like we'll be able to start to move this country in a less hawkish direction. I think part of the problem is that most of the folks in office don't have their kids going to public schools...I'd imagine that most White House admin and Congressional kids are on the Exeter-Harvard track rather than boasting of going to a school with high APIs.

Needless to say I have been catching up on some of my DVDs. Some recent ones: The Prestige (awesome), The Illusionist (ladies, you'll love this one too, fellas it's got Jessica Biel), The Queen (awesome...although I'll always remember Helen Mirren from a childhood movie called '2010'), Re-Animator (Jeffrey Combs is a genius), and Dave Chappelle's 'The Chappelle Show' DVDs. The man is brilliant...absolutely brilliant.

Being roughly the same age as him, and having roughly the same cultural interests, I found his take on race, sex, music, sports and everything else he tackled couched splendidly in comedy to be some of the most amazing material ever.

It's easy to see why his comedy made so many people laugh. It's accessible on many levels, but at the core made use of comedy to illustrate how far we have to go before we're able to really consider ourselves 1) a loving and integrated American community, 2) #1 with 'global' substituting 'American'. He was shocking.

Consider 'The Niggar Family'. The title alone will make the most PC person shudder, but the piece demonstrates the duality of the hateful term implied by the sophomoric misnomer. Brilliant.

Or his response to all the heat he was getting for his racially charged jokes. And for the record, I've never been to a meeting where one of my female colleagues has ever tossed her bra off.

And one of my personal favorites...The Racial Draft.

He was making a killing. As you might know, Comedy Central offered him a $50 million contract after his second season. This was huge...he seemed a force unstoppable, and I for one was juiced that he was getting recognized for his work, and then all of the sudden he left...then surfaced in South Africa where he was taking a hiatus. He ended up turning down the contract and the show was cancelled. Comedy Central, a network force true to its nature, milked sales using partially filmed season three episodes, and that was it. No more Chappelle Show. I bet even Negrodamus saw that one coming.

I haven't heard a clear reason why he left, but apparently it didn't seem that he was all that fired up to not have total control of the show's content. My two cents: something happened between him and Neil Brennan, his co-writer. At some point, Dave felt that he was not being laughed with for his irreverent and scathing commentaries, but rather laughed at.

Since I've never had a hit show, and been offered a $50 million contract I can't really say that I understand the motivation to quit, but it must've been a good reason.

After watching some of his shows tonight, I felt really bummed that he's not doing what he was doing, but I have to respect his decision.

That being said...there's always tomorrow...and there's always another contract. In fact, my birthday's coming up, so if anyone wants to arrange for him to do a show on my patio, that'd be the best present ever. I'll host the Dave Chappelle Comeback tour.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lala rocks the house...any house

Do you use Lala for your musical appropriations?

Well, they just launched a service that integrates your music library so that you can listen to it from any computer. Once you establish a profile with the service, the small app that installs searches for your music library, uploads it, processes and tags it as needed using Gracenote's catalog, and allows you to play your iTunes library (for example) from any computer that has internet access.


This means you don't have to carry your iPod or CDs to work to listen to your music, or if you DJ or stream music you don't need any special hardware or software (save for the small app) to access your music. It definitely puts the crosshairs on Sling technology, and makes the Lala CD trading experience that much richer.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Best. Game. Ever.

This year Take Two Interactive and Irrational Games are producing what looks to be the most awesomest FPS game ever: Bioshock.

It looks like they modeled in aspects of our current cultures obsession with aesthetics and the looming figure of genetic modifications and ran with an idea couched in a glorious first-person shooter.

The character arrives in an underwater city originally designed to be a Utopian home for wealthy and brainy elites. It turns out that genetic modifications eventually turned everyone both chock full o' nuts where their insanity also manifests in bizarre physiological abilities.

Current gameplay was recently released by the development team at Irrational Games, and from what's seen here, it looks absolutely brilliant. It's coming out sometime late this year, according to the publisher.

I'm not discounting Crysis to also blow up the scene for DirectX 10 FPS gaming. Additionally, the Half-Life Episode 2 Orange Box (includes Portal, Epsiode 1/2, and more) is coming out this year as well.

Jeez, Portal looks sweet. And what a cool trailer.

Lord, give the time to play these games, and the patience and wisdom to know when to play hooky from work. Amen.