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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Open Mic Night

It's a question I've been pondering for a couple of days. When I say here, I mean the internet. More specifically social networks. Sure, I use Facebook to communicate with friends, and MySpace to keep up with musicians, but why do I feel the need to use Blogger or Twitter? Is that I really want to connect with people? Or am I just one of the millions of mistaken kids who think the internet will make them popular?

I'm just gonna admit it, come out and tell you what it is. I want the world to care what I think. That's all there is to it. I want the world to listen when I speak. I want to be important. Who doesn't? The success of networks like Blogger, MySpace and YouTube just go to show that everyone wants to share how they feel, what they think, what they like and what they hate.

The internet is a big place and millions are fighting for the spotlight. I don't think there's any shame in it. You have the opportunity to impact millions.

See, we are the first generation to really live our lives with the internet, but we're also a generation that got to live through the transition. And we're still living through it. We were there when the internet became accessible from the average home. We were there when the internet became a required information tool for students. We're here, now, watching as the internet becomes as much of a necessity as the telephone.

Just take a moment and think about how quickly it happened. If you're my age, you remember when people didn't need computers in their homes. Heck, my dad had a laptop from work, but I was in 9th grade when we got a PC. Just think about that. I didn't have a computer until high school - and it didn't matter!

I've come to a conclusion: it would be foolish to pass up a chance to perform on the world's biggest stage. Your thoughts, your knowledge, your talents - the world is watching, but they'll only see you if what you have to offer is incredible. My situation in that I just don't have an act. I'm standing, shouting babbles, in the town square of the world.

I mean, I can express thoughts like anyone else, offer a few opinions, but nothing sets me apart. I am different. I'm not like the millions of others vying for attention on the world wide web. There's no one in the world quite like me. We were are all created unique. The thing is, I don't know what it is I have that no one else can offer. I don't know what it is that I have that the world would want.

I have a couple of ideas...

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Is the internet the ideal way to make your mark on the world? Pshh, who knows? It's certainly one way. It's probably one of the easier ways. Is it reasonable to hope to make a bigger impact than Rickrolling or Chuck Norris Facts? Maybe not yet - but we're getting there. Consider how big of a role the internet played in the recent Presidential election. Candidates on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace? That's never going to end. Internet social networks are officially a campaign necessity. Businesses are doing the same thing.
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If there was ever a post I'd love to hear your opinions on, it's this one.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Putting Me Out Of My Misery...

I'm frustrated with the story I'm writing, because I keep overhauling it. I feel thrilled about it one day, then I switch up, entirely. See, the problem is that I'm not attached to the story. I set out to write a fiction story because I wanted to write a fiction story, not because I felt inspired. So I can, and do, constantly change the fundamental elements of the storyline. There's nothing concrete, because I started with nothing.

Does that make sense? I can't write a story that way. I can't write about something I don't care about. I mean, I can, but it's no fun and there's nothing motivating me. I even thought about setting a deadline for myself in order to push myself. But even if that worked, the story would like any passion. It'd be like school work.

A good story has to start with a spark, not just a thought. It has to be an idea that will push you through the times you don't feel like writing. You have to love it, you have to care to the point that your desire to see the work completed outweighs everything else. The story may not be dead. If I truly feel inspired to, I'll go back to it.

So what now? Well, many people, including myself, would consider writing fan fiction kind of a nerdy thing to do. Fan fiction, of course, is when one writes fiction pertaining to something he's a fan of. Say, you wanted to write your own Batman story or your own Star Trek episode. It's common practice, but it's pretty futile. I've always thought about it, but I didn't like the idea of writing something that so few people could enjoy. You can't sell it and it's not canonical, so who's going to care? It's just one guy's idea, right?

Well, it really doesn't matter if anyone else cares, if you truly enjoy writing it. Last night, I found a spark. It literally came to me in a dream. As I remember it, it was just a few seconds long. Hardly a snapshot, but a starting point.

I'm planning what I think will be the greatest work I've ever written. Better than all the stories, better than all the papers. And waaaay better than LifeShift. Yes, it's fan fiction. No, it's not Power Rangers, but I will probably be announcing it in the near future.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Somebody Had To Say It...

  • Look guys, nobody said you have to be young to use Facebook, but if you're over 40, your friends list should not be full of kids.
  • There's no point in getting all bent out of shape because we young people talk on our cell phones while driving. We don't pay attention, anyway. It's either the phone or the stereo. For your own safety, when you see a young driver, just pretend the vehicle is unmanned.
  • There's a curfew at my local mall. No one under 18 can be in the mall after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays without a 21 year-old guardian.A "gang fight" broke out a while back, all the old folks lost their minds and the mall was obligated to make a stupid rule. Stop looking to the authority to fix your problems. All they can do is make rules.
  • I sincerely hope they find out who killed Caylee and bring him/her to justice, who ever that may be. But does anybody really want to see her gorgeous mother go to jail... Or worse?
  • Nobody likes you, Rosie O'Donnell.
  • Grocery store. Booty shorts. Your toddler in a stroller. - One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong...
  • Barack Obama is the topic of discussion these days, but let's be honest, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that his name is really fun to say. I like to say it in my Al Sharpton voice. "Obama Obama Obamaaa!"
  • You want to help preserve our environmental resources? Cool. But we can plant new trees. Can we put the paper towels back in the restroom?
  • On January 23rd, The Dark Knight will be re-released in theaters. Give me a break. Sure, it was a great movie. Sure, it broke box office records. But those records are broken every year, sometimes two or three times. People treat The Dark Knight like Jesus. Transformers 2, Wolverine or Harry Potter will break the records next summer and no one will be thinking about The Dark Knight. And if Shia LeBeouf mysteriously died...
  • "Yes Man" beat "Seven Pounds" at the box office this weekend. Now, I didn't look it up, but this may be the first time in ten or so years that a Will Smith movie didn't open in first place. Wacky Jim Carrey is still funny. Let's have more of that.
  • Stevie Wonder has confirmed that he's been approached to compete on Dancing With The Stars, and he's considering it... Really, Stevie?
  • Merry Christmas!

You have one? I wanna hear it. Comment!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Future

I thought about this blog a lot today. I'm really glad to have the readers I do. I'm glad you guys care what I'm thinking and want to read it. But I have my good days and bad days. Sometimes I write things I think are relevant and thought provoking, but most of my posts are, admittedly, written simply because of how long it's been since my last post. Like yesterday's.

Well, I'm going to try harder to make my posts more meaningful and I have more time now, but I'm also going to quit posting completely uninspired entries.

But I've come up with a great way to supplement my possible decrease in posts!

TWITTAH!

You may know it as "Twitter." It's kind of like blogging and it's steadily growing in popularity. They've reached agreements and are now working with Facebook and Myspace to set up full integration with both services.

See, Twitter limits all of it's entries to 140 characters. That means that they wont get any longer than the exact length of this paragraph.

These "tweets" can be posted via the web, mobile web or text message. The idea is that you can post as frequently (or infrequently) as you want, saying whatever you're doing or thinking. I'll be using it on a daily basis, sharing my thoughts and observations. Little nuggets of awesome.

And in case you were wondering, no, you don't have to sign up to see my updates. In fact, you can see my most recent updates in the sidebar to the right, whenever you check out my blog. Now, if you use Twitter, feel free to use that link over there and "follow" (subscribe to) my profile.


Friday, December 19, 2008

My B...

Sorry about that last post, if you happened to read it before I locked the blog. You gotta be quick with this blog if you want the controversy...

Nah, it probably would have only offended a couple of you. But why write if I'm gonna hurt my own friends?
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So... the fiction story I'm writing has totally changed direction. I'm pretty much at square one, right now. But I'm more excited about the story than ever, and I'm still really excited about showing it to you. I mean, I don't want to hype it up, because you might think it sucks. But I think it's pretty unique.
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I'm totally, full-on ready to make a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film trilogy. I've got the stories all planned out in my head. All I need is about $200 million to film the first one, Ramin Djawadi to compose the scores and DragonForce to remake the theme song.

Seriously, though. MMPR fans are at peak ticket-buying age, now. It's about time.

...maybe I should just write it...
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So, I'm really starting to get into this bluegrass/country music thing. I discovered Alison Krauss over the summer and since then I've bought two albums by Alison Krauss & Union Station albums, three from Emmylou Harris and one from Lee Ann Womack. I think the biggest thing I disliked about country music may have been the male vocalists... Well, that and the songs about nothing. Country musicians can make songs about listening to the radio, buying a drink or sitting on a porch swing, but when rappers write songs about dancing in a club or driving their car, it's meaningless. Fun music is fun. Let it be.
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Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock" is the hottest song on the radio.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Chris' Favorite Albums of 2008 (and 2007!)

This wasn't easy. My mind changed a lot. If you were to ask me tomorrow, the list may be a little different. I was originally going to wait until January to make it, but I was just too excited about it. Besides, there are no upcoming albums this year that I anticipate making a difference.

Only studio albums in my collection that were first released in 2008 were considered. No live albums, EPs, singles, re-releases or albums originally released overseas in 2007 then released in the US in 2008 were considered. I had a pool of 37 albums to choose from.

I tried to choose albums that won't pale with time - albums I know I'll be listening to for the rest of my life. These are albums that I'll be playing for my children, with hopes that they can appreciate them as much as I have.

Also note, this really isn't informative at all. It's not about the music as much as it's just me telling you how much I like it.

So, starting with #5
If you wanted, you could just call this album "Summer 2008," because it's pretty much what I was listening to the whole time. There's really not much great about it, except that it's ridiculously fun. I almost didn't put them on the list because it felt so shallow, like putting Gobstoppers on a list of favorite foods. I mean, it's trendy stuff and The Ting Tings will likely fade with time, but I can't deny how much I love this album and how much I've listened to it.

Even if you're not sure who these guys are, you've probably at least heard "Shut Up and Let Me Go" or "That's Not My Name." The whole album is just as fun and I recommend checking it out.

A track to check out: "We Walk"



#4
That's right, film score. And it's one of the best I've ever heard, ranking right up there with "Superman: The Movie" and "Back to the Future Part 3."

And a lot like the "Back to the Future" films, Djawadi's score adds to the scale of the film. He makes the fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger sound about as epic as a slow motion fistfight between Hercules and Samson in a dark alley during a thunderstorm. This may be the most exciting score I've ever heard. I don't even own the movie yet, but the themes burned many of it's sequences in my brain. It's unforgettable.

Iron Man's theme is fantastic. Ramin Djawadi, a childhood fan of Iron Man, created the basic theme after just seeing the trailer. It's really the coolest aspect of the score it because it's introduced as a theme for Tony Stark, but it evolves throughout the film, becoming bigger and more fleshed out every time Tony reinvents the suit. It's really neat to follow. It makes the first time Tony puts on the final suit about as epic as you could ever hope for.

A guitar-driven film score may seem like a sketchy idea, but it works here and it works well. This score is everything "Transformers" should have been.

A track to check out: "Driving With The Top Down"




#3
The Vines return, rather quickly, after their last effort with a new bassist and their lead singer/songwriter, Craig Nichols a few months away from an Aspergers-induced meltdown. So what do you get? Typical Vines awesomeness. Seriously, Craig is like my own personal um... John Lennon. Music royalty, in my mind. Everything he writes is gold. He just has one of those minds, and it goes unnoticed in the US, which is a shame. The Vines hold the distinction that they are the only band or artist that's put out 3 albums of which I love every single track. Even though there's a track on this album I'm not crazy about, the rest is amazing.

A track to check out: "She Is Gone"


#2
I first noticed Goldfrapp was heard "Lovely 2 C U." You may remember them from when their track "Strict Machine" was used in a commercial unveiling the LG Chocolate in 2006.

I forgot about "Seventh Tree." I was waiting for it, but the released slipped by me. I saw it in Best Buy and freaked out. I actually ended up liking it more that I expected. It's more mellow than most of what Goldfrapp has put out. It's not "danceable," like their other albums. They really abandoned what had made them popular. I listened to it all the time. It's just that kind of music you can play all the time without getting tired of it. I shoved this album in other people's faces, trying to make them listen, confident that it was the best album on 2008...

A track to check out: "Road to Somewhere"



#1 - My Favorite Album of 2008:
"Seventh Tree" came out in February, and I was crazy about it. I spent the year telling people that it was the best album of the year and that nothing else would top it. "Circus" leaked onto the internet in October, and it has been, by far, my most listened to album over the last 12 months. I record my plays on Last.fm, and I just checked them, and added, and checked them, and added. In just 3 months I have, literally, listened to "Circus" twice as much as "Seventh Tree," which I've had since February. It's unprecedented. Not since Michael Jackson's "Invincible," in 2001, has one album taken me over like "Circus." Not since then have I listened to an album so much in such a short time. It's all I want to hear. I sit down with another album on my mind, thinking I'll listen to the whole thing. Two tracks in, I just end up listening to "Circus." I can't escape it. It's CRACK!

Britney's returned to the top, where she should be. Her last album (which was only a year ago) was well-received by critics, loved by her diehard fans, but not so much be everyone else. Personally, I think it went unheard, due to a poor choice of singles, but that's not important.

When I say "back on top," I mean it. When it was first leaked, I told my friends that "Womanizer" would make their heads explode. Luckily, that didn't happen. But it did jump from #95 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in just one week, the biggest jump ever. It also had the highest first-week song download sales by a female artist.

The song is, undeniably, Britney's biggest hit since "Baby One More Time." So what about tracks 2 and after? It's a lot to live up to... but she managed. The album is pure gold.

One year ago, when I made my Top 5 list, I said that Britney's last album, "Blackout," was "easily her best work" and that it "smacks your mother." I stand before you now to tell you that "Circus" is Britney's best work, by far, and that the album not only smacks your mother, it throws her over its lap and spanks her with a paddle. Tell your mom that I'm sorry that had to happen. It's tough in the streets.

I'll tell you what. If you only have "Womanizer," do yourself a favor and breakdance in traffic. When you get out of traction, buy the rest of the album.

I'm not going to jump the gun and call this my favorite album ever, but uh, it's up there...

A track to check out: #$&% that, you need the whole album! Go ahead and get the Deluxe Edition, too. The bonus tracks are great.




Almost made the list:
"Rockferry" - Duffy
"Paper Trail" - T.I.
"Seeing Sounds" - N*E*R*D

"Ghosts I-IV" - Nine Inch Nails




Copy/Paste of last years list, because it was on Facebook:
Note, "Paper Planes" is a track from "Kala." Was I right or was I right?

Posted December 17th
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I spent a lot of this weekend trying to think up this list. It wasn't easy. This has been a good year for me and music; there's been a lot that I've really loved. Take this list for with a grain of salt, because it's purely my opinion. I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts, though.

5. "Kala" - M.I.A.
You may not know M.I.A., but you should. She's a Sri Lankan rapper from the UK with a very unique style of dance music. I know, I know for sure that her music would blow up the club if they played it in the U.S. I would try to describe the sound, but I honestly wouldn't know how to start. I can only suggest you check it out.

Tracks to check out:
Boyz
World Town


4. "American Gangster" - Jay-Z
Now, I'm a fairly new Jay-Z fan. I didn't really get into his music until "The Black Album." This album is a concept album, meant to complement the recent film of the same name, which I have yet to see... Jay-Z said he wanted to fill in the gaps; to sort of describe the thoughts and feelings of a gangster that couldn't fit into the film. Jay-Z's always been a great lyricist, but it's the samples that do the most for this album. A lot of old school R&B. It just sounds great.

Tracks to check out:
American Dreamin'
Ignorant Shit


3. "The Black and White Album" - The Hives
I love The Hives. I love The Hives. Their last album, "Tyrannosaurus Hives" was one of my favorite rock albums. I listened to it all the time. "The Black and White Album" trumps it, easily. It's just fun. Also, The Hives' sound has evolved quite a bit. They've diversified beyond simple grunge. While "Hey Little World" and "Return the Favour" sound like they could have been released two albums back, "Giddy Up," "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." and "Puppet On A String" sound so new and different. Funky, even - there's disco influence here. I would even go as far as to say that many Hives fans wouldn't like this album much at all, but I love it.

Tracks to check out:
Try It Again
T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.


2. "Blackout" - Britney Spears
Ok, ok. Shut up , shut up, shut up. If you diss this album, you simply haven't heard it. Britney Spears proved, with this album, that an artist's personal life doesn't have to effect their music. I know, that VMA performance really sucked. They say her heel snapped and she was pretty buzzed, but that doesn't really matter. This album smacks your mother. Britney is doing now, exactly what she was doing in '99, and that's making music that you can't get out of your head. You're probably thinking "Gimme More didn't get stuck in my head." And to that I would respond that I could probably pick eight songs that would have made better singles than "Gimme More." The word "pop"doesn't even do this album justice. This is like Madonna meets Timbaland. Don't let Britney's image keep you from hearing this album. This is easily her best work. So even if you've only almost liked Britney in the past, you should check this album out.

Tracks to check out:
Hot As Ice
Toy Soldier


1. "The Reminder" - Feist
If you haven't heard of Feist by now, you must truly be living under a rock. Even if you don't know who she is, you've heard her. Her songs "1 2 3 4" and "My Moon My Man" have been featured in commercials for iPod and Verizon Wireless, respectively. "The Reminder" is a best-selling album on the iTunes store, the number 1 "Editors' Pick" on Amazon.com, and nominated for four Grammy Awards. It's a calm pop album, mostly acoustic, somewhere between Bright Eyes and Regina Spektor. "1 2 3 4" is pretty much as upbeat as the album gets. I'd love for you all to check out this album, but you'd be doing yourself a big favor if you just ran out and bought it...

Tracks to check out:
Intuition
1 2 3 4
Honey Honey


Honorable mentions:
"Funeral For Yesterday" - Kittie
"Dignity" - Hilary Duff
"Rival Factions" - Project 86
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Monday, December 1, 2008

I Knew Something Didn't Look Right...

You could say I have a problem determining boundaries. It's not easy for me to see what's in my territory and what's not. Funny thing is, I err on the side of distance.
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You know what? I'm really critical of myself. It seems like about half of what I write here is me complaining about me. I can't really imagine how that looks. I can't see from the outside. But it can't look good to see a guy complain about himself all of the time.

And what am I doing now?

I guess you can only be you. If you don't like who you are, you can change it. But if you're not willing to make that change, you should just stop talking about it...
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You know what I hate? When people try to set standards. There's always someone around with that personality. They think that whatever they do, others have to match up. For some reason, they think that they're special, and that what they do matters more than others. They love to 1-up people look down on those who don't meet their own, personal par. Ironically, it's usually not about anything important.
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IN STORES NOW!
I actually didn't manage to make it to the store today. My schedule was so crapped up, I couldn't fit in a bus trip... The last time I was this excited about an album and didn't manage to get it by release day was in 2005! I pre-ordered Project 86's "...And the Rest Will Follow," and it shipped late. I received it nine days after release day. Since then, I've never pre-ordered an album unless I wanted multiple copies and bought it in the store as well. I have more faith in my ability to get to the store than I do in any online store or postal service - and I failed...

I walked to East Coast Music and Movies, but they were too indier-than-thou to have it. I did get three sick albums, though. Quarashi's "Jinx," Lasgo's "Some Things" and Willa Ford's "Willa Was Here." $6.42 - ridiculous.

I'll definitely have the Deluxe Edition of "Circus," tomorrow.
Bet your valuables.
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So yeah, end of the semester. I really can't wait for it to end. I am so, so tired of it. Seriously, when exams are over, I'm throwing myself my own private, one-man dance party. You'll wish you could be there.
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I really thought The Dark Knight came out on video today. That's next Tuesday. I mean, I can wait, but I must have told my dad "December 2nd," like, five times... Whoops.
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Christmas is coming up. I know, because I've heard the music in the stores. Really guys? Christmas shopping? Already? I mean, I haven't even thought about what to get my family, and I probably won't think about it for a couple more weeks. Yet, miraculously, I'll still have plenty of time to shop. Wooooow.... Don't get me wrong, I'll be at the mall all the time when I get home, but I won't be shopping. I'm a mallrat by nature.
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Speaking of movies, I could use a really good one. It's been a while since I've seen a new movie that I was just amazed by. The last one was Pineapple Express, last summer. I have a feeling I won't see another movie I'm crazy about until next summer. And you know what I'm talking about. I may not be able to peg every movie I like before I see it, but I know what I'm gonna love.