Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cool Shit

Sometimes I tell myself I really want to get to Australia at some point, and then I read articles like this one.

Great article on one of the principals of the book Born to Run. Well, actually not so much about him...more about how they had to find him. I don't want to give anything away, but you don't even have to be interested in running to enjoy the read.

Ok...time to get political! You may or may not know about the dangers of growth hormone additives in milk, and this video isn't really about that. It's about how corporations can control the information we see - and how there's not a lot we can do about it. Yes, it's about FOX News, but that's not really the point. I don't care who the companies are that are involved...

Not sure if I posted this before in a Cool Shit post, and I'm way too lazy to go back and check...the British show Luther is something you might want to check out...especially if you loved Stringer Bell from the Wire (specifically the actor, Idris Elba). Luther is about a British detective who can barely keep his personal life out of his professional life. Honestly, if you like police procedurals and British accents, you're going to love it. It's streaming on Netflix too...

And finally, I recently found out that David Simon has taken up blogging. Don't know who David Simon is? Shame on you. Regardless, I think you'll find his musings provocative and interesting, and, whether you agree with them or not, it's all still a good read.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Slip n Slide Craziness

Next to trampoline mishaps, slip n slide videos are my favorite thing on Youtube (aside form this, of course). So I figured what better way to help people through their Tuesday with a small sampling of what's out there...

Best Neighborhood ever...

Don't think I haven't been scouting locales to put this in my neighborhood.

"Definitely have to pull that pool over."


Not sure the face plant is the worst problem for this guy...

Um, what is going on?

Ok, as best as I can make this out (because the person shooting the video can't be bothered to rotate their phone 90 degrees to attain a better aspect ratio I guess) the girl on the tarp is holding on to a rope being towed by an ATV 8 feet into a pool, witnessed by bikini laden chicks and surprisingly, something goes wrong. Oh and I assume the ATV driver is doing all of this in hopes of an orgy.

This dad is awesome...

Probably one of the reasons my wife won't allow me to put a slip n slide on our yard.

Give the kids an opportunity...

And this is probably one of the reasons why my parents never built a pool in our backyard.

Head first? 

The video wasn't that great, but I dare you not to be singing this song throughout the day. Especially if, coincidentally, you happen to find yourself on a waterside or work at a watermark.

Slip n slide done right...

And finally, a classic...

Ron, you (and your friends) are heroes to many of us out here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Covers: 7 Nation Army

Covers is a new series of posts looking at a song and the covers it produces. The good, the bad, the weird...all will be looked at.

I'm not sure why I'm not a bigger fan of the White Stripes. I like blues. I like the modern take on blues. And I'm a sucker for a showman with talent. I mean, I do enjoy most of the stuff I hear, so I guess it's more of a "musical saturation," theory. While I enjoy finding new music, and will never not explore it, we all have bands that we miss or skip for whatever reason, and decide never to go back - even when we know we're missing out.

The brain is a funny thing.

Regardless of my feelings, I do appreciate their ability and talent. And I do like the song 7 Nation Army. Sufficiently strange enough to stick out on the banal, mass produced pop songs on the radio airwaves, 7NA always seemed to be that song that mixed things up...

It's immediately recognizable, driving riff, which sounds like a bass (but who would be playing it in a 2 person rock band?) is actually not a bass at all. Given tons of critical acclaim, the song is easily one of the most recognizable White Stripes song out there.

And yet, I don't think it's the best version of the song.

Now, I realize that is a dangerous thing to say. Cover songs should never be better than the original material because (at least in my thinking) original creation is more difficult. So for a cover song to be better, that has to be saying something.

(And I also realize that all of this, at the end of the day, has to deal with personal opinion. Best of lists, and awards are only based on the whim of people. There simply can never be something considered the Best of anything, because, as I'm sure you are aware, there will always be someone out there on the other side of the opinion. And that person is never wrong. Opinion can't be wrong. So at the end of the day, this is just my take. But of course, I'm right.)

But seriously, this cover of 7 Nation Army is by Nostalgia 77, featuring Alice Russell is awesome...

To me, both Nostalgia 77 and Alice Russell took this song and delivered something completely different than what The White Stripes did...something more soulful, meaningful and passionate.

But there of course are other versions of this narrow them down I've created some categories (all from research on Youtube:

Fewest views
Artist you would never in a million years think they would do it

So without further adieu...

Countrified: The Oakridge Boys

Artist you would never in a million years think they would do it :Kelly Clarkson

Fewest Views: Squirrel Tooth Alice

Weirdest: Afra and Incredible Beatbox Band


And then just a few more, because I couldn't classify them but I thought they sounded kinda cool...

Singer/Songwriter: Kate Nash

Soulful: Ben L'Oncle

And finally one more - and I dare you to listen to the whole thing, all the way through (I couldn't):

Oh Oh Oh!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Killing: Days 14 & 15

Like all of you at the end of last year’s final episode of The Killing, I wanted to strangle a plant. Led down a path that suggested we would know who killed Rosie Larsen by season’s end, instead we were given nothing but a pile of red herrings – and I don’t even like fish. In a nutshell, (and from my shoddy memory) we had to deal with:

Richmond, an idealistic mayoral candidate revealing a startling dark side involving underage hookups

Richmond then being shot by Belko Royce, a friend of the Larsens who also has a criminal past and a wee bit of instability

Detective Holder’s redemptive arc throughout the season destroyed in the last 30 seconds to get a cheap thrill out of the audience, planting evidence to suggest the creep Richmond, while still a creep, might not be the murderer.

Linden getting yet another excuse not to go to California.

(I think the last one was the worst, simply because the California plotline dragged everything it touched down to the ground completely, with no rhyme or reason to exist. Seriously, why did this murder investigation need the back drop of Linden potentially moving to California? Also, it set it up so early in the season that we knew she was never going to go – she was the star of the series! It offered no dramatic tension whatsoever.

It was all of those reasons, and many more (the terrorism angle one episode had! The teacher who didn’t kill Rosie Larsen but was involved in immigrant smuggling, but then got beat up and wait where is he now? The Larsen’s grief that played out in real time on the show! Etc.) that made me so frustrated with the show. Gone was the eerie suspense the pilot episode created; in its place came a combination of an average Law and Order episode (pick anyone sans Jerry Orbach) a bad Choose Your Own Adventure Novel (not the Bigfoot one though).

But, in the end, I decided to come back to The Killing’s universe…some because I’ve invested enough of my time to want to see how they’re going to piece together a storyline that leads to Rosie Larsen’s killer, but mostly because my choice for the killer is suddenly back in play. Yes, that’s right I have been given a stay of execution to continue harping on Tom Drexler as being the killer! Obviously last year, when we all thought the season finale would give us closure on the murder investigation, it wasn’t looking good for Tom being the big bad guy, since he was on screen for a total of about 12 seconds. But now that we have another entire season to play around with and sculpt a trail right to his basketball court, I can’t see any reason not to list him as the prime suspect. At least until next week, when he’s shot.

…but I just couldn’t recap the 2 hour premiere (which was really just two episodes played back to back. Oh sure, I watched, and dutifully took notes, but in the end when I sat down to write, I realized I couldn’t get into it. It was taking too long to go into too much detail about stuff that was too boring and not important. Because what has happened is they have completely backed themselves into a corner, introducing the conspiracy angle. We now have 12 more episodes to trod through to get to the answer, and knowing that, we also can assume the first 6 episodes are designed to throw us off the track of finding out who the real murderer is. And knowing that doesn’t make me feel like writing too much about it. So instead of the all too in-depth recaps I normally throw out there, I’m going to layout some stray observations/feelings/throughts about the first two hours. After that, I’ll reassess my state of mind and see what I’m up for…

DAYS 14 & 15


He’s in the hospital, paralyzed. We have been led to believe both that he did it, and then didn’t do it. Of course, now that he’s been cleared of Rosie’s murder (because he was going to commit suicide to honor his wife or something) I now have to ask what his value is to the show? Why should I care about his character? I just want to know who killed Rosie, and now that he’s apparently off the list of suspects, I don’t care about his plight. Yes, I understand that peripherally, he’s still involved, now that we know his opponent, the current mayor had at least something to do in framing him (something that is so stupid, since to be framed, they had to know about his hooker history, and seriously, wouldn’t leaking that be enough to ruin him?) so I guess he’ll be along for the wheelchair ride to close up that plotline. But other than that, the guy is a creep (remember, he’s been visiting hookers and asking if they know what it’s like to drown) but not enough of a creep to murder a hooker.


The Conspiracy.

It’s good at least that we know one of the moving parts behind it (the current mayor). Of course, I’m sure that’s not the really big moving piece behind it. But I’m also willing to bet there will come a point during the show where we find out the mayor (and his cronies) simply took advantage of the situation of Rosie’s murder, and didn’t actually have her killed. I realize this doesn’t make too much sense right now (since Rosie’s body was found in a campaign car of Richmond) but if it simply comes out that this was a convoluted plot by the mayor to win the election, well…it’s stupid. The other stuff that is stupid: How deep this conspiracy goes…meaning it seems the entire Seattle police department is in on it, save like 3 people. And I have no idea what to make of the new lieutenant. Is he there to keep the conspiracy going? Is he there to clean up a corrupt police force? Is he good or bad? All of his actions are mired in a stew of ambiguity and ambivalence.

The Larsens.

Mitch isn’t there, so now we get to watch domestic life with Stan and Terry, Mitch’s sister. It’s not all that different, unfortunately. Oh and I almost forgot, remember when Stan was arrested and all that? Yeah, neither do the writers. Rosie’s backpack shows up and Stan is all “Yikes!” at least enough to get his old crew back in the picture (which I’m sure will go smoothly) and badmouth the cops…oh and get Belko killed. Yeah, that’s right. Belko commits suicide after talking to Stan. Presumably (and this is me presuming, but I could be way off base) because he was looking for Stan’s approval of shooting Richmond and taking the law into his own hands. Only Stan doesn’t give him the approval he’s looking for. So he shoots himself. Which pushes Stan down the road of taking the law into his own hands. The logic has the twists and turns of a pretzel. A gross, sewer laden pretzel. That was left out in the rain.


I’m shocked she didn’t go to California!

I’m also shocked at some of the decisions she is currently making. Mostly to do with her son. I’m counting down the episodes to when she finally just ships Jack off to his father’s so we can be rid of this boring, do nothing plotline. It has to be coming soon, right? Please tell me.

Anyhoo, Linden sorta kinda bullies her way back on the case with the new lieutenant by the show’s end, which yeah, I didn’t get it either. But there’s a lot I don’t get with this show, and by this point I’m just following along trying to figure out if it will start making sense again soon. So Linden is back in Seattle, for good, trying to solve a case and also find a place for Jack to hang out, that’s not a hotel room. Along the way she peels away a couple layers of the conspiracy onion (great band name suggestion – thank me in the liner notes please) and figures out that Holder’s sponsor, Gil Sloane, has at least something to do with framing Richmond. Of course, in the process, we realize the onion has many many layers, as while she is surreptitiously following Gil Sloane meet up with the mayor’s advisor at the waterfront construction area, she is being surreptitiously followed and photographed. By who we have no idea.


Holder is the small fish who thinks he’s big. And his bowl is about to get a lot smaller. I’m glad to see he’s not really a big part of the conspiracy, only a pawn that is being moved around on the conspiracy chessboard. Because, while it would have been a ballsy move to make him be more involved, it also would have cheated the audience out of the satisfaction we got from his redemptive arc last season. Holder is currently the most interesting thing The Killing has going for it, and to destroy that for a cheap thrill would have been lousy.

Still, we have to wade through some pretty awful stuff to get where we are right now. While Holder knew the picture was doctored, he also thought it was just a nail that was needed to ensure the real killer was caught. Also, he wanted a promotion. But now there are pieces that aren’t adding up, and he’s starting to question his role in the whole thing. Unfortunately for him, that’s not how things are supposed to work. First, his lieutenant turns on him. Then, his sponsor turns on him. But the final straw comes when Linden turns on him. Holder’s always in a state of fragility, and this realization that he has screwed up isn’t going to help his psyche.

So there you have it. A mish mash of nothing that has pretty much caught us up on the murder investigation (or lack thereof) that has introduced a conspiracy that at the moment, seems like it’s being run by the current mayor to ensure a victory and get his waterfront property deal through. Of course, I suspect there will be one or two other reveals to suggest he is nothing more than a minor player in the whole thing and that Rosie’s killer is not who we think it is right now. Unless you think it’s Tom Drexler. Because that’s who I think it is. And it’s obvious that a bigger player has to be involved since the conspiracy runs deep.

Pac Man: The Movie

I think I would pay to see this...

I'd of course rather it be Ms. Pac Man, a much superior game than Pac Man, but beggars can't be choosers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

These Kids are More Talented Than You...

...and me of course. But that goes without saying.

Hopefully we're seeing the next Shane Blacks, and not the next Michael Bays. Time will tell...

Rear Window from the Window...

Even if you're not a fan of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, I think you'll be impressed with the following video.

And if you are a big fan...well you're in for a treat.

Check out Gizmodo's post, which goes into a little more detail about how this was done.