Monday, June 30, 2008

To Beat a Dead Horse Pt. 2

I won't continue on the first rant on Pitchfork's antics. I think the nail was hit on the head with that one. However, after reading Colin's post and thinking about how cool of an idea this is, I have decided to compile my own list of albums that have more or less changed the way I think about music. I'm sure that I have left some out, but here are five that initially came to mind:

1. Michael Jackson - Dangerous
Date Acquired: Sometime in 1993

I don't know if this album changed the way I thought about music but it was the first piece of music I could call my own. I didn't actually have the album, it was on a tape that was recorded from my dad's vinyl version. I remember having written the title of the album on a paper insert myself then wearing the black gloves to my kindergarten classes one day. I feel like I listened to this thing every day for a year. I probably did since I didn't know much back then. Rather than changing the way I listened to music, I'd say this album marked my beginning into music. From this point on, I knew that I loved music. And yeah, I got Thriller, just after this one.

2. Green Day - Dookie
Date Acquired: Sometime in 1995

I remember being at this kid's birthday party at Roller Kingdom a few weeks into the 2nd grade. (Those kinds of places were big in the '90s.) I didn't roller skate nor blade because, let's put it this way, I wasn't a balls to the wall kind of kid. So I sat on the side by myself for awhile and skated back and forth on the rug like a loser. Then blasting out of the speakers came "Basket Case." I listened for awhile then got this urge to go out on the rink and try skating a bit, so I did. I fell and that sucked because I didn't like getting hurt so I went back to the rug again. After that, I don't think I gave a shit though because I had just heard Green Day for the first time. I didn't understand early adulthood problems of anxiety but the song stuck and marked my beginning into alternative music.

3. Saves the Day - Through Being Cool
Date Acquired: Fall 2000

I think more than anything, my phase in pop-punk/ska was my most important phase in music. It was my attempt to express who I was to others through music, dress, a
nd social attitude. However, it is because of this that no single band really stood out to change my attitude. It wasn't until the summer before 7th grade that I went to a small local show in which I heard a kid say, "Yeah there's everything, punk, ska, and emo," referring to the music to be heard that night. The next day, I asked an older more knowledgeable friend, "What is emo?" She said it stood for "emotional", as in emotional rock and sent me the song "Shoulder to the Wheel" off of Through Being Cool. It wasn't until a few months later that I purchased this album and begin to leave behind my pop-punk/ska roots. From this point on I was taken to other acts such as The Get Up Kids, The Annivesary, and the Midwest scene. It was at this point that I began to appreciate going to shows more. I felt as if I had become a true member of the crowd.

4. Orchid - Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!
Date Acquired: Spring 2002

While I wish that some things w
ould never change, I have to admit that I tend to look for changes. Early on in high school I was introduced to hardcore, more or less the now defunct '90s scene of "screamo." Early acts included Saetia, The Kodan Armada, and Amherst, MA's Orchid. Although an inaccessible style of music, the raw sound of it struck me and I was intrigued by it. I enjoyed following smaller shows and loved the energy behind the music and the intimacy between the band and the small crowd. This would forever influence my continued interest in the DIY/punk culture, from which I expanded my taste from not only the '90s but from the the late '70s until now.

5. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
Date Acquired: Winter 2004

With age comes a certain sense of maturity, I think. With time I have found myself to have an ever-expanding open mind about like, stuff. One day a few years back, a friend of mine told me about the album You Forgot It In People by Broken Social Scene. He said, "I think you'd really like them." What I don't think he thought is that they would become one of my favorite bands of all time, or maybe he did. I think more than anything, while remaining one of my all time favorite albums, You Forgot It In People represented a yearn for new sound. It was at this time that I was beginning to discover post-rock and alternative country/folk, two genres I enjoy to this day and both incorporated into BSS's style. I didn't so much as follow one scene anymore as I was simply trying to discover what other scenes were out there. What hadn't I heard of yet that could change my life? Broken Social Scene was just that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

RIP Flash (1/4/98-6/27/08)

This morning, one of my buddies who I've lived with for more than half my life passed on. His name was Flash, he was my dog, but all-in-all, he was one of the friendly and happiest creatures I've ever met. I'm gonna miss the guy a lot, but it sure helps to think of all the hilarious, joy-bringing things he did in his life. Like bringing back a dead snake once to scare the hell out of my mom. Or when he was a puppy and had never been to a pond before, dunking his head in the water and being freaked out when he pulled his head out because he had never been in the water before. He lived a great life and I think pretty much everyone who knew him can attest to that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Last week I first heard about the ChaCha text search service where you can text any question to the number 242242 and receive an answer within three minutes. The service is completely FREE and is great for clearing up arguments when you don't have a computer at hand.

My friend Scott mentioned that he was working for the site as a guide. They pay 20 cents per answer you take and can work whenever you feel like it by logging on. Payment are made by direct deposit through checking accounts. I decided it might be a fun, lucrative way to spend time at home (and when I'm bored at work).

Three days in, I have to say it's pretty entertaining, although definitely not an ideal stand-alone summer job. On average, it's probable that you'll get 20-25 searches assigned to you per hour, so that figures to $4-5 an hour. It's not too bad though because the searches can be really fun and you can just use the internet normally until something comes up.

Best question I've been asked so far? "wat do u think about wen u masterbait?" I got that question while at work and laughed out loud until I had to go to the bathroom to regain my composure. And then proceeded to think about Kathryn Bates in "About Schmidt" and heat up some kids.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Disney World Culture

I was talking to my friend Jimmy last week about the time he spent studying abroad in China. One question I asked him was: why was it that you wanted to study abroad there out of all places? He said that he had always wanted to go there since he was a little kid and saw that crazy panoramic IMAX of a trip down a Chinese river in the China area of Epcot. I kind of laughed when I heard it, then thought for a second and vividly remembered myself being six years-old in Epcot, seeing that same video and being absolutely blown away by this foreign environment and culture that I had never seen before, with exotic instruments playing music in the background.

I never really thought about it until just now, but I find it pretty amazing that six year-olds can have moments like that when the world just seems kind of infinite.

Speaking of being blown away by new experiences, I haven't been completely floored by a new album in about four months (by Olivia Tremor Control), until today when I listened to this little 1990 gem by British band Ride.

The closest I can come to describing it is My Bloody Valentine meets The Stone Roses, but I honestly don't think that anyone who likes 90's alternative rock would be disappointed.Unbelievable stuff.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Beat a Dead Horse

Lately I've been thinking about how questionable the whole music blog/Pitchfork hipster scene is. While I'd be a hypocrite to say I didn't read Pitchfork daily for music news, updates, and reviews, I'm starting to think that the site is basically mind control for a whole scene of young people. I mean, mind control may be a bit strong, but it is pretty ridiculous what sort of hype-creating power that site has. They generally are pretty conservative with what they give the "Best New Music" title, but when they do give it, it's basically a coronation and an instant catalyst to overnight indie stardom.

From a personal standpoint, I generally do enjoy the albums that Pitchfork gives good reviews, but I guess I just question how serious kids take the site. T
his sort of attitude seems to be the failing of the whole music blogosphere in general. I mean I really love hearing new, interesting music but it just seems like people these days are just posting new music and mp3s like they are trying to keep up with the Joneses. When it seems like the music is a chore over a pleasure, that's a bad sign. I mean don't get me wrong, there's some really damn good sites out there like Gorilla vs. Bear, but 90% of these blogs are just shit...(this one too maybe?)
Anyways, I was listening to the Stone Roses' first album at work today, spaced out, thinking about all this and I started thinking about albums that actually changed the way I listened to music. Here's five I could think of, in chronological order of date bought:

1. Michael Jackson -Thriller
Date Acquired: Sometime in 1994

My first memory of being in a record store was me and my mother in the "J" section. I don't remember why I wanted a Michael Jackson album, but it probably had something to do with a first-grade friend digging his stuff (my mom must have hated that her 6-year old son wanted music by a recently-accused pedophile). I remembered being enthralled by the cover art of the 1991 album Dangerous, but my mom, being a responsible parent, told me that I should get Thriller. My first glorious exposure to pop music at it's finest. I would later get Dangerous and eat that shit up for breakfast and love it. Still do. But Thriller is Thriller.

2. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Date Acquired:
Sometime in 1996

In first grade, one of my best friends used to talk about the Beatles seriously all fucking day. He said he had all of their albums. His name
was Shawn and he was Indian. I got a Beatles' Greatest Hits cassette for Christmas in first grade and dug it. Upon the advent of the CD, I got this for either my birthday or Christmas in third grade and ever since then, it's been my favorite Beatles album. And in one of the more obvious statements ever, I would probably have to credit the Beatles as much as any band for making me love rock and roll.

3. Saves the Day - Through Being Cool
Date Acquired:
Spring 2001

In late 7th grade, I got hit by the pop-punk bug, which probably changed the way I thought about music more than anything in my
life. No longer sufficient was the shitty metal and mainstream rap that I heard on the radio. It was now all about the raw pubescent emotion of these "punk rockers" like Saves the Day and New Found Glory. This Saves the Day album in particular blew away 12-year old Colin, and I still can listen to it at any hour seven years later and love it. In the words of D. Boon, punk rock changed my life.

4. Radiohead - OK Computer
Date Acquired: Christmas 2003

Well I am a hypocrite. Before I knew what the hell Pitchfork was, I remembered stumbling onto its "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s" and seeing this at #1. I didn't know any of these so-called "best" albums of the decade that I grew up in. Having heard decent things about this "Radiohead" band and not having much to ask Santa for, I threw this on my Christmas list. I ended up on December 25th with OK Computer, Slanted and Enchanted, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea...if I had only known that days like that are one in a million.

5. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Date Acquired:
Winter 2004

I really don't remember why I ended up downloading Wu-Tang's debut album. was I trying to give hip-hip a chance? All I know is that before it, I really had limited respect for rap music beyond its catchy dance floor hits. Before I heard this flow, intricate rhyme schemes, meant nothing to me. I think it took RZA's grimy, challenging production and some of the rawest lyricism to ever grace hip-hop to scare the living white kid out of me and into loving the genre.

So yeah...that's how I'm me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Makes Me Happy

I find this video funny. I would have embedded it but embedding has been disabled by the user's request. I watch videos a lot at work.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Rock and Roll is Very Simple"

Check out this Asian dude laying down the Truth on some keyboard drums. The dude spits knowledge and then proceeds to take it to funky town. Domo arigato.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yo yo yo

I'm at work right now and all I call think of is how funny a word "stakeholder" is.

In other news, fat kids falling:

And best of all, fat kids thinking they are going to fall and being terrified of it:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Clark and Michael

I may be the last person on the planet to find this, but Clark and Michael, a ten-episode webisode series starring Michael Cera and his friend Clark Duke (who made the first episode as his senior thesis). The show is about the two friends trying to pitch their TV show to network executives and failing miserably.

Michael Cera really is one of the funniest things in comedy right now and this series doesn't disappoint. Plus each episode is roughly ten minutes long, so you can plow through all ten in the time it take to watch a feature-length film. The highlight to me is episode six, when Clark treats Michael to a day at the minigolf course. Just watch the damn thing.

Alien Ant Farm Would Be Proud

I've had a subscription to NetFlix for the past two years, and I have to say that I love it. They have a super fast mailing service, unbelievable scale in terms of movie choices, and a convenient unlimited online viewing service.

One of NetFlix's other great features is its movie recommendation feature, which personalizes your account to make recommendations based on the ratings you give. This feature has helped me find some absolute gems that I otherwise never would have gotten to see.

One of such movies is Cinema Paradiso, a 1988 Italian film (Best Foreign Film Oscar winner that year) about an Italian filmmaker who reflects on his childhood when he fell in love with cinema. It is a comedy, drama, and romance film all at once and has to me the most powerful ending sequence of any movie I've ever seen. Any who loves film really cannot go without seeing this.

Another incredible movie that I found with NetFlix is Das Boot. This one is a bit more famous, especially after Beerfest referencing it, and is a 1981 German film about the adventures of a single WWII U-Boat crew. The acting is unbelievable, there is plenty of action, and the captain is one of the great badasses in film history. Like Cinema Paradiso, it is of epic length, but a must-see.

So watch 'em.