Friday, September 28, 2007

for what it's worth.

Come join my run on NikePlus. If you don't have a NikePlus account, just run and keep track of your miles in October. It's fun, it gets you in shape, you look better, you feel better, and it'll be fun to talk shit.

you can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat.

Just a few, quick links here. We're watching the less crappy version of Animal Farm today in class, so the kids are all aflutter.

First, I thought that this article on Kobe really hit the nail on the head. The fact is that he wants out. Nothing's going to change that. The best thing that the Lakers can do at this point is to start shopping him (hardcore but seriously under the table!) and hope they get the world in exchange for him. I'm torn on this as a Lakers fan: Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA right now, there's no doubt in my mind. However, he's always brought serious team-chemistry issues to my team.

Secondly, in more great news the one laptop per child project is now in full swing! You can pay 400 dollars for a well-built, well-functioning laptop and feel great about yourself because your purchase sent a laptop to a kid that would never have seen one otherwise. Great karma and great initiative.

Last but not least is a link I pulled off the Boing about a musician releasing a recording exclusively on a floppy disc. Retro, but not annoyingly so. Very cool idea.

That's it. Time for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the top seven things about amazon's mp3store.

If you don't know, now you know.

1. First of all, it's good for business. Know how I know? Because competition is always good for business! That's why we don't allow monopolies.

2. It will increase awareness as to what exactly DRM is.

3. Hopefully, when people learn what DRM is, they'll learn that it's bad.

4. Most of the songs are cheaper than the other stores, which is something the customer really cares about.

5. They have Radiohead!

6. It goes towards breaking the iPod "monopoly". (While iPods don't legally have a monopoly, it's dangerous when one product controls so much of the market.)

7. It'll make Apple (and Steve Jobs) work harder and make better products.

This was easily the best news of yesterday and I'm sad that I didn't get to blog about it until today. But the fact remains that it's probably still the best news of today (yep, it is), and I'm pretty stoked on this idea. DRM-free music is a good thing for everyone, increasing competition with Apple is a good thing for everyone, and Amazon making this move before Google does anything crazy is definitely a good move.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

an open letter to ew.

So, in addition to the great last page article that I linked to last night, the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (shortened to ew, how appropriate) also contained a lot of "New Music Previews." Mostly, this consisted of a big picture of Alicia Keys and a breakdown of Kanye's new CD's cover (by Takashi Murakami!). But in addition, there were 30 short "previews" getting people amped on the new releases by artists like Jennifer Lopez, Brooks and Dunn, Annie Lennox, Backstreet Boys, and Wyclef Jean. The last name mentioned there is listed under the December releases. It goes like this: December - Wyclef Jean - The Carnival Volume II (Memoirs of an Immigrant) - December 4 - "On his solo debut, 1997's The Carnival, Wyclef promised he'd be "Gone 'Til November." Can it be any coincidence this loose sequel is dropping in the selfsame calender month? Guest shorts from T.I., Paul Simon, and Shakira are among the diverse highlights of Jean's latest world-pop potpourri."

Now, if that doesn't seem like a huge problem to you, you should probably stop reading. Because I'm about to get a little silly. But this is a huge issue to me! So here's the letter I just drafted to them:

To Whom It May Concern,

It is too bad the the review of Wyclef Jean's new album (The Carnival Volume II [Memoirs of an Immigrant]) (see issue #956) was almost entirely based on a witty bon mot that was completely untrue. ("Gone 'Til November!" Get it? He's dropping the album in November! It's so clever. Oh wait, it's listed as December...) I mean, it's not a huge deal, but this supposed witticism takes up more than half of the "review." You guys would be better off firing whoever wrote that review, relying on the pirates to pilfer the album and copping their reviews. (10 bucks says Wyclef's new album gets an actual review on my blog before it does on your website.) I could definitely do a better job for you. Ready, here we go:

Wyclef's new album is a return to his first (and most successful) solo venture. Guest spots galore will feature today's hottest artists. Will America re-embrace their onetime Fugee love? Not likely...unless he namechecks Cannabis (his former protege, not the drug), gets in a fight with Bill O'Reilly, or reunites with Lauryn Hill.


There you have it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

so to the parents of america.

Just a quick note to say that I received my copy of Entertainment Weekly in the mail today (it's not my fault! I bought it last year during the school's magazine sale) and I quickly devoured it. (Okay, it is my fault. I'm a pop culture whore.)

This is the best article that I've read in a long, long time. The article talks about how the censorship of the TV medium has gotten out of hand and lists books, movies, etc. as counter-examples. While I don't think that movies are necessarily free from this sort of shit (MPAA, anyone?), it does always make me tingle when I hear people talk about the possibility of censoring books. (And yes, I realize that he's saying we shouldn't be doing it, but still...just the thought is enough to make the skin crawl.) As though people don't do enough stupid shit when it comes to books.

Regardless, that kind of went on a tangent about books, but the point is the article (by Mark Harris!) is a good one, and he deserves some recognition for saying what needs to be said. Go read the article and then do some heavy thinking about how much government you want in your life.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

we're falling now.

A couple of quick links, seeing as I've been the slacker of the century not only with the blog, but with work and personal life as well.

Brother 2 sent me this link to a media converter the other day. I haven't thoroughly examined it yet, but it claims to convert any one kind of media into any other format of the same media. Helpful for all those people who don't have Open Office installed on their computers (like at work).

Secondly, I got linked to this specific comic, which taught me about this concept of "Hammerspace" which I really liked and, upon further exploration, I found that he doesn't really have his own website. (I mean, everyone has a MySpace, right?) However, it does appear that Wikipedia "publishes" a paper of sorts and that the WikiWorld comic regularly runs there on at least a semi-regular basis. (I also found plenty of his images, appropriately enough on the Wikimedia page located here.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

most overhyped anything ever.

So, in the so-called "Showdown of the Century" Kanye West is looking like he's mopping the floor with 50. None of the aspects of this result surprise me, but I think there are several things worth mentioning.

First of all, I'm a pretty dedicated pirate. Yet, when I looked for 50's CD, I couldn't find it. That doesn't mean that it was impossible to find. That just means I couldn't get it. (So maybe I'm not that dedicated.) However, I've had Kanye's for just under two weeks at this point. Point? Kanye's CD was clearly being bootlegged, while 50's may or may not have been. (As though we need any more proof that piracy may actually help sales as opposed to what the Record Industry says.)

Secondly, target demographics (at least two years ago) really don't like Kanye West. (I offer no link to back this claim up other than my own observation of these key kiddos in my job as a teacher.) However, the kids love 50. LOVE him. Or at least they used to. Point? Maybe things are getting better in pop music.

Lastly, this was never much of a fight to begin with. The link's to a new blog that I found, and the guy makes plenty of valid points, so I don't feel the need to re-enunciate them. Suffice it to say that Kanye is a respected artist, whereas 50 is seen as a rapper, if even that. Point? Thanks a lot to the media (and a lot of pushing from 50 himself), this thing was overhyped from the very beginning. It was never a real question who was going to sell more.

Finally, go check out this Wildcat Wire blog. It's got a lot of great stuff and actually pointed out a song from the Graduation album that I hadn't heard yet. (Nope, it's not "Bittersweet Poetry" [which was actually from Late Registration] and it's certainly not that weak-ass remix of "Can't Tell Me Nothing".) Go get it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

camp is fun for all, but zoso is better.

Just quick notes to point out that when CNN reports about Albuquerque, it's serious news all the time, or nothing at all. To the batmobile!

Secondly, Led Zeppelin is returning! Fill out the form to get in the lottery to buy the tickets and then pray for a cheap ticket to London or re-sell them for a hell of a profit. I've gotta cop to being a little disappointed that Jason's going to drum for them and not Dave Grohl. But I know it makes the most sense and anything else would be disrespectful.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

on the perils of drafting in portland.

As though they haven't had enough trouble in the past with high draft picks, Portland's had a tough time with the busketeers the last couple days. I'm sad about this for more than a couple reasons. First of all, Greg Oden seems like a genuinely nice guy. Plus, it would've been great to get to see him play, see what he can do with people who are actually his size (and maybe his age ;)). But, I'm confident that we'll get to see something out of him. Just not as soon as we thought.

However, the real point of this entry is to point out an old entry on one of the basketball blogs that I regularly read which had perhaps the most hilarious writing on Greg Oden from quite a while ago. A guest blogger writes here about the similarities between Oden and Taylor Hicks, and his enmity with Danny Ainge. I swear to God, it's hilarious. Count on it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

cnn is trying (successfully) to scare me.

Maybe it's because when I was growing up as a kid, James Bond was always fighting Russians in a perpetual continuation of the Cold War but I've always thought of Russia as that scary other. Not necessarily like the big bad guy, or the worst place in the world, but just...well, the anti-America. I admit that might come off a bit naive, but what with all the recent scariness about their people in the news, well, I feel like I'm justified.

And then I have to go and read this headline, which says that Vladmir Putin dissolved the Russian government! That seems, at least to me, like it should be a much bigger deal. Maybe it's because I don't understand Russian (or any, really) politics, or maybe it's because of the aforementioned biases. Either way, I'm just saying, how much are these guys our allies if they're dissolving governments at will?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

graduation review.

Herein follows a track by track breakdown of Kanye West's new CD, Graduation.

1. Good Morning - This is basically just a filler intro track, but the beat is killer. I love it so much that I keep wanting it to be a longer, better song. And then it gets to the end which is supposed to be a Jay-Z sample, but actually sounds like he had someone else re-record Jigga's vocals. It sounds terrible.

2. Champion - The first time I listened to this track, I hated it. The second time, I liked it. By now it might be one of my favorite tracks. Nice beat, decent rhymes. Kayne should have had more songs like this on the CD.

3. Stronger - The single that was built on Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" rocks in a new way. Rap plus techno is sweet. However, it's not going to hold up a long time like his better singles did.

4. I Wonder - The beginning of the badness. Kanye slows it down way too much, starting here. I don't know why he felt the need to go slower with his samples/beats, when the thing that's always worked for him is speeding up old soul samples.

5. Good Life (Feat. T-Pain) - T-Pain songs all seem to sound exactly the same to me. And there's something else familiar about this song...oh yeah, it's that Kanye is sampling himself with T-Pain re-singing one of his old verses! Does this make any sense at all?? A perfectly fine song ruined by spending its whole duration counting how many rhymes he steals, not only from others, but from himself.

6. Can't Tell Me Nothing - The first single. This one should have gotten more play. The more I listen to it, the better I think it is. Vintage Kanye, rapping about how spiritual he is (REALLY!) while he's bling-blinging all his materialism. The closest this album comes to "Jesus Walks".

7. Barry Bonds (Feat. Lil' Wayne) - Early reviews were right: this is Lil' Wayne's worst appearance ever. Kanye's rhymes aren't terrible on this song, but I can't tell how the fuck he managed to make Lil' Weezy sound awful. Before this, I wouldn't have thought it possible.

8. Drunk & Hot Girls (Feat. Mos Def) - The badness continues. This song is too long, to begin with. It's too slow, to continue. And while Mos at least sounds okay (unlike poor Lil' Wayne), this song is just terrible.

9. Flashing Lights (Feat. Dwele) - Quality track, solidly good.

10. Everything I Am - Finally a good slow song! This one goes on a bit long, too, but it's the start of the strong finish. The rhymes are some of the best for his new album and he finally starts talking about the stuff that people who love Kanye West expect Kanye West to talk about.

11. The Glory - Getting better. Sped up samples that we expect from him, but a little more self-sampling drives me crazy! Nice lyricism.

12. Homecoming (Feat. Chris Martin) - Not just inspired by Common's "I Used to Love H.E.R." but it directly rips off the first line! Despite his swagger-jacking on the other tracks, this one actually works. A touching tribute to his love, Chicago! On the other hand, Chris Martin sounds just about the same as he did on "Beach Chair". I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

13. Big Brother - The album closer is my favorite song of the album for several reasons. My man-crush on Jay-Z notwithstanding, it's clear that Kanye has crazy complicated feelings for Hov. The song's got a great, subtle beat in the background, and chronicles the story of Louis Vitton Don + God MC = BFF. The dissolution of Roc-A-Fella was hard on Dame and Jay, but I didn't know that Mr. West thought that he played a part in the Love Triangle.

Overall: Better than most of the other shit out there. Certainly better than that other album that he's supposed to be competing against today. Is it better than Late Registration? Maybe. Depends on what you thought of the supposed "sophomore slump". Is it better than College Dropout? Don't be ridiculous.

Grade: B

Monday, September 10, 2007

ironman/ironman synergy is the best they could do?

Well, the good news is that the Iron Man trailer is up at Apple! OMG, it's good! The bad news is, the best that Paramount could do for a killer soundtrack on the trailer was to give us a little Iron Man. Wow. And just think, some suit probably got some sweet bonus for that "insightful synergy."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

the best cms dance song ever.

So while I was watching television over the weekend, I saw what was perhaps the best commercial ever. You can find the YouTube link here but I'm going to try (again) to use this newfangled video uploader that Blogger's been touting to try to put it here.

EDIT: I'm not going to scrape a whole video from YouTube just to try putting it up here. Boo on that. I'll waste hours trying to upload some other video some other time. Maybe Loose Change? Haha.

(Also, I'm watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and I just want to say that it's nowhere near as good as the book. Bummer.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

link of the day.

Down towards the bottom of this recap of Team USA's victory over Mexico, you can read just exactly why I hate Bill Walton. The man just will not shut up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

a little sibling rivalry.

So, Apple released two new commercials about half a month ago and I just spotted the one highlighted here. I couldn't help but think when I saw this spot that there's a subtle little dig at the Google, when the voiceover says, "The 'can you really afford this' part." Now, it's my understanding that rumors of the Google Phone have been going around for a while, but I don't know exactly how long. But I certainly just started to hear about it in earnest (as thought it were...imminent)...hmmm...about half a month ago. Interesting.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

that which don't kill me can only make me stronger.

Oh Kanye. There you are. Good to see that the pirates can still get stuff before the general public. And remember, if you illegally download the CD, you won't have to deal with stuff like rootkits or your CD's not playing in certain players, etc. Ah yes, good job Recording Industry Association of America, keep suing your customers. It's clearly worked thus far. And it's not like if you buy DRM'd digi-tracks you can't just drop that DRM off there. So smart.