Jan 31, 2010

London Bar - Barcelona Spain



When my fiancee and I get married in June of this year, we are basically leaving our reception in order to be whisked away to Barcelona, Spain. I'm beginning to get really excited about travelling to Europe, and so I'm going to periodically torment you with pictures and links of places we will be visiting while there. This is the first entry in the series, I suppose.

"London Bar" is a swank old place where people like Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso used to hang out, which instantly makes me want to go there. The good thing is that it's only a short walk from where we will be staying in Barcelona's famous Gothic District.

From The Barcelona Tourist Guide:

London Bar is basically a pub, but a pub that has been open since 1910 and used to be frequented by the likes of Dali, Picasso and Hemingway. The décor has been kept the same which lends an old school glamour to the place.

Source: Google Maps

The Crazies Trailer

I'm getting kind of excited about the not-zombie zombie movie remake of George A. Romero's The Crazies. The cinematography looks great, the actors seem to fit the roles, and the trailer kicks major ass (Anytime someone incorporates Gary Jules's version of 'Mad World' into a horror trailer, it almost works). I don't know if it will be any good, but it certainly looks good based on the trailer.

Jan 30, 2010

Protocast 5: Avoiding Lost, Writing, and Self-Publishing



For example, I want to read this Timeline of 'Lost', but I can't due to the fact that I've only just finished season three.

Jan 24, 2010

The VICE Guide to Liberia



Before this video, I really knew nothing about Liberia, save for the fact that it was started via a "back to Africa" movement by freed American slaves. That was it. Everything I knew about Liberia could be contained in that one sentence. However, now that I know any more about the place, I'm afraid I know too much. It's a hellish, war-torn country, and if you watch the 8-part special about it on VICE, you'll be afraid and horrified, too. Cross-dressing cannibals, heroin-smoking child soldiers, etc. It's insane. And interesting.

Jan 23, 2010

Guillermo del Toro on the Late Late Show



This clip isn't new, but it's a nice companion to del Toro's (co-written) book, 'The Strain', which I'm reading right now. I wanted a little more context for why del Toro had chosen vampires as a topic - in the book, they're sort of like vampire-slash-zombies, which is awesome - and pretty much got my answer. It's backlash against vampire popularity, and it reminds me of when metal bands criticize the music scene. Usually, they'll say something like, "We're putting the metal back into Metal or some other thing. Anyway, enjoy the clip.

Peter Frampton - Black Hole Sun



I'm not the biggest fan of Peter Frampton. Never have been. But I have to admit that his instrumental version of Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' is impressive to fairly impressive. Rather than sing it, Frampton plays the vocal lines on his trusty Les Paul. Nice.

Jan 21, 2010

Corporate Candidates

By 5-4 vote, the court overturned federal laws, in effect for decades, that prevented corporations from using their profits to buy political campaign ads. The decision, which almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.


Though it seems like a while before this decision will have any effect on the political process, I don't foresee any way in which it could be conceived of as a good thing. However, that my just be my kneejerk liberalism acting out here. I haven't really researched the topic (so my words might as well be random keystrokes), but the idea that corporations can really throw money around in elections doesn't bode well for the country...or democracy in general.

Jan 20, 2010

Stonehenge...Solved?



This video doesn't necessarily "solve" Stonehenge, but it does allow for an explanation as to how the stones could have possibly been moved that far. I have to use malleable, weak language because we can have no idea how it was done, unless we find some antiquated text explaining how it happened. But the video's impressive - and yet mundane - nonetheless.

Jan 19, 2010

Patton Oswalt on the Leno / Conan Kerfluffle



I don't want to spend very much time or energy really delving into the Leno/Conan brouhaha, but suffice it to say that this whole fight has ignited in this country a virulence not seen even in political debate. People are taking sides, arguing over who did what to whom, etc. Everything exists in this vacuum of US vs. THEM. It's a mob mentality, and a divisive mentality, and I've just got to say it, folks: This may just be it. This may just be the way Americans are. Maybe we just like being contrarian.

Anyway, I went farther into discussing it more than I thought I would, but Patton Oswalt has a particularly keen insight on it, so I'll let him take it away...

Jan 18, 2010

OK Go: An Explanation of Non-Embeddable YouTube Videos

I really like OK Go. I'm sure there are some too-cool-for-school hipsters out there who say they're a passe band from a couple of years ago, but I still like their music. So I support them. When their new album came out last week (along with a great video for their new single, 'This Too Shall Pass'), I wanted to support them by placing the video on this blog. Now, partly it's selfish - because videos look cool on a blog/web site - but it's also about online dissemination, which OK Go is totally for. When I saw that embedding had been "disabled by request", I wondered WTF like everyone else. However, the band posted a very thoughtful explanation of how and why this happened (and why it almost always happens), so I thought I would post that instead of the video. You can obviously still find the video on YouTube. Thanks, OK Go.

Protocast 4: 1984, Haiti, Running, and BioShock



I mentioned in the podcast some grisly pictures from the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. Here they are. Some of them are quite difficult to look at, so proceed with caution. Boston.com: Haiti, Six Days Later.

Here's also a link to the race I'm running in March: The ING Georgia Marathon!

'Ink' Trailer



I have been immersed in the Netflix Instant Queue I'm using with my PS3 - all five seasons of Lost! W00t - so I was ecstatic to see that 'Ink' is now available on NIQ. It's a surreal, mind-bomb of a movie, apparently (I still haven't gotten around to seeing it), with excellent effects (which you can see by the trailer) and story (which you cannot).

How John Yoo Sidestepped Jon Stewart



I wanted to wait until I'd actually seen the interview for myself - and I didn't get to that this weekend - in order to talk about the whole John Yoo thing, but by then Slate had already done a far superior job of analyzing the situation than I ever could have.

It doesn't come entirely as a surprise that John Yoo could sidestep Stewart's efforts to pin him down: Yoo basically did this for a couple of years and was smart enough to prepare for the interview. Beyond that, Jon Stewart didn't really seem to come out firing on all cylinders, as he had with Mad Money and, oh, whatserface.

Stewart on Yoo: "It was like trying to interview sand." It was still an okay interview, and I don't personally hold Stewart responsible for not being able to successfully snipe him. Since when do we only hold a late night show host responsible for the whole of integrity in journalism? Sure, Jon Stewart is able to make that pirouette when people say an interview was soft, as in the case of Yoo, but there's only so much he can do. The nation has pretty much forgotten about torture anyways. That was SO 2008.

Jan 16, 2010

BioShock 2: It's Nearly Here

This teaser video on Amazon for BioShock 2 gets me all riled up! I can't wait for the Feb. release, though I also don't know how many more times I can play through the first game without getting sick of it.

Here's a question: if they continue with the franchise, will it get extremely repetitive - it all takes place in the same structure - or will the developers at 2K fashion new sections of Rapture (which seems much more likely)?

Jan 15, 2010

Best Poker Face Cover I've Seen

I don't know. I don't even really like 'Poker Face' that much, and yet I am always suckered in by original covers (wow, what an oxymoron) of the song. Most people are already over it, but this Russian guy just extended its appeal by a couple of days. The guitarwork on the video is impeccable. He sort of looks like the sidekick from 'American Movie' (this guy) mixed with Jim Harrison. Either way, check out the video. It's wicked awesome.

Jan 4, 2010

The Loudness Wars

Music is much, much, much louder overall than it used to be, and it may be hurting music sales. There is an article on NPR about the rise in overall volume in popular music over the last decade due to the type of compression used. According to the article, "He's [Bob Ludwig's] referring to the practice of using compressors to squash the music, making the quiet parts louder and the loud parts a little quieter, so it jumps out of your radio or iPod."

Most music is dynamic, or at least it used to be. Different instruments were recorded (or mastered) at different levels to give each its place in the song. That way, the drums, for example, had a very distinct punch, or the lead guitar rose above the rhythm section, or the accordion was clearly audible over the polka singers. Or whatever. That practice has slowly been abandoned over the last several decades and came to a head - according to the article - with Metallica's last album, Death Magnetic. All the instruments are either recorded at the same levels or compressed so that they play back at the same level, and it ruins the quality of the music, some say.

From NPR:

"It [Death Magnetic came out simultaneously to the fans as [a version on] Guitar Hero and the final CD," Ludwig says. "And the Guitar Hero doesn't have all the digital domain compression that the CD had. So the fans were able to hear what it could have been before this compression."

According to Ludwig, 10,000 or more fans signed an online petition to get the band to remix the record.


Ostensibly, Ludwig is worried about fatigue the ear goes through in listening to such loud albums, but it's also about the quality of the music, he says. The two ideas are related in that, once you've listened to an album produced in this manner, you are far less likely to listen to it over and over again the way that you might listen to an album with more sonic texture. Check out the difference in how music is compressed in the following video, The Loudness War.

Jan 3, 2010

'Paranoid', by Black Sabbath in 8-bit

Jan 2, 2010

Paul McCartney Photobomb



Source: The Daily What

Jan 1, 2010

Best of 00's...Movies

  1. City of God
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. The Dark Knight
  4. Avatar
  5. WALL-E
  6. The 40-Year-Old Virgin 
  7. Shaun of the Dead
  8. Ocean’s 11
  9. Requiem for a Dream
  10. Once

Movie Star of the Decade: George Clooney

 

Filmmakers of the Decade

  1. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, King Kong, The Lovely Bones): 3 Academy Awards, 8 Academy Award nominations, $1,250,000,000
  2. Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, Full Frontal, Solaris, Ocean’s Twelve, Bubble, The Good German, Ocean’s Thirteen, Che, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!): 1 Academy Award, 2 Academy Award nominations, $728,000,000
  3. Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight): 1 Academy Award nomination, $883,988,000 
  4. Clint Eastwood (Space Cowboys, Blood Work, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Changeling, Gran Torino, Invictus): 2 Academy Awards, 7 Academy Award nominations, $538,000,000 
  5. Pixar’s stable--Brad Bird, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, etc. (Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up): 6 Academy Awards, 25 Academy Award nominations, $1,820,000,000

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Slimer Test Footage from Ghostbusters II



Seeing this footage confirms my belief that this is way better than CGI. It's a bit long, but the beginning is extremely worth a watch. At first, I didn't know there was a person in there!

Best of 00's...TV

I would argue this has been the best decade television has ever had (and it doesn't include The Shield, because I never watched it). The 90s were good (Buffy, Seinfeld, Friends), but the 00's kicked the previous decade's ass.
  1. The Sopranos
  2. Battlestar Galactica
  3. The Office (British)
  4. Arrested Development
  5. Friday Night Lights
  6. Lost
  7. The Wire
  8. American Idol
  9. Deadwood
  10. Six Feet Under 

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