Monday, February 22, 2010

FYI: Feed Your iPod

My friend emailed me this last week to ask for some musical tips. She is traveling to NYC and wants to fill her new iPod with some favorites. After writing her a long list I decided to put it on here. This list isn't exhaustive because I know she has other stuff, but these are things I know she doesn't have... maybe you don't either, so Enjoy.

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars
Northern Sky by Nick Drake
Let it be me by Ray LaMontagne
You Are the Best Thing Ray LaMontagne
Simple Things by Amy Kuney

a good EP is... The Tip Jar Volume 1- Obadiah Parker... only getting 2
songs? lame, you shouldn't but check these 2...
Let's stay together
Hey Ya

great album... 19 by Adele get the whole thing, but these songs are great...
Chasing Pavements
Make you Feel My Love

album... Battle Studies by John Mayer is a CD that grows on you. I
likes a LOT... a few in case you can't commit.
Heartbreak Warfare
Friends, Lovers or Nothing
Who Says
Perfectly Lonely

Jason Mraz's new album is decent... I like these songs.
I'm Yours
If it Kills Me
Make it Mine

500 days of summer soundtrack. If not the whole thing, these 5 songs...
Us - Regina Spektor
She's Got You High - Mumm-Ra
Hero - Regina Spektor
Mushaboom - Feist
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap



OTHER GOOD HIP HOPImma Be by Black Eyed Peas
Thank you by Jay-z
Rising Up by The Roots (give this song a minute, it gets catchy and then you love it.)
Stronger by Kanye West
Umbrella Rihanna & Jay-Z

If you don't have The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill, that is a crime. Remedy this situation. Too Cheap? At least get these...
Lost Ones
Doo Wap (that thing)
Every Ghetto Every City
Everything is Everything

Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cirus
Don't Stop the Music by Rihanna

Come on get Higher by Matt Nathenson
breakeven by The Script
Believe (Moon Version) by The Bravery
Conductor by We Were Promised Jet Packs
That's not my name by the ting tings
Shut up and let me go by the ting tings

whole album... no list of selections, just get it...
Only by the Night- Kings of Leon

Rose Rouge (radio edit) by Analogue People
Around the World by Daft Punk
Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Mondo '77 by Looper

Saturday, February 20, 2010

this commercial is nearly perfect.

I am buying this product, just to support the company that approves ads like this.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book: Blink

2/16/10: "Interesting Read"

I was at Barnes & Noble to spend a gift card that I've had for nearly 5 years. (I'm not a fan of Barnes & Noble, wondering why? Click Here.) I wanted to get a book that would be fun and educational all at once. I'd read Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" a few years back and really enjoyed it. It is some basic psychology wrapped up in easy to understand terms. Very accessible and very helpful. I would strongly recommend "The Tipping Point". So, while walking the aisles of I recognized the font and look of the book. I am not a dust jacket guy, as soon as I buy a book I throw them away, but this purchase affirms the need for a good cover. As I walked towards the shelf my gut reaction was "stop looking, this is the book you're gonna buy." I looked it over and found it interesting, but kept searching.

Sure enough, 30 minutes later, I was buying this book. I had to blog this story of buying the book because it encapsulates what this book is about. I had a split second reaction that was on point. Blink is about how our brain makes judgments that are instinctive and often access our whole arsenal of experience within an instant. It is learning to explore that split second reaction because there is something to it. When I first understood the premise I was hesitant but the author makes it clear that those split second decisions can be poisoned by prejudice, and we need to develop our experience to correct such a problem.

Gladwell uses great stories to develop his points and this book is no exception. While it wasn't as good as "The Tipping Point", it was still enjoyable. I have to do a LOT of reading with work and school, but when I am in that place, I find I read more. During the summer or a break, if I am not reading for those things, I often won't read for fun either. Weird, but it's how I work. This book was a quick read (done in a week), and is a nice break from heavy reading. It's worth picking up if you like to consider the way people think.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie: Avatar

2/15/10: "I saw Avatar and I was right..."

So, I did it. I spent the money to go see this "amazing film". My thoughts can be summed up in a single word: "Ehhhhhhhhhhh...." It really was what I expected. The visuals were great but there was not much to the story. It accomplished the "make an effect not look like an effect" effect really well, and that isn't easy to pull off. I think it deserves all the praise for being visually stunning because it is. 

Now with that said, I am really bothered by the hype this movie is getting. Some friends attribute this to my "not liking things everyone likes" but I don't think that is true. I just thought the story telling in this movie was blah. It was long and drawn out, it was a cliche take on classic story elements, the only great thing was the visuals. The fact that this movie is nominated for best picture is downright ridiculous. This is by no means best picture material. 

I want to give everyone a right to hold an opinion even if its wrong. Avatar deserves an Oscar for Best Picture in the same way that the Water World Stunt Spectacular deserves the Tony for Best Play. Sure, Water World took place on a stage, is performed live with actors, and is fun, but that doesn't make it the best play. Same with Avatar as a film: cool to look at, you walk out having enjoyed yourself, but not epic.

My conclusion, see it in the theater for the visuals (3D - IMAX is the way to go), buy it to show off your new flat screen TV. Other than that, this movie is blah. 

1/1/10: "I haven't seen it yet, but I have thoughts anyway..."

I'm sure you've heard about this little movie called Avatar, I sure have. Since the buzz over the movie started back when I was in High School and I have spent the last 2 weeks reading status updates saying it was great, you'd think I'd be excited. I'm not.

After asking everyone who has seen it about the story they say... ehhhhh. "Visually stunning" they say, but everything else is sub-par. I feel an obligation to see this in the theaters because it's "visually stunning", so there is a bit of a ticking clock. But, I want a good story!

So, it looks like James Cameron has taken the Pocahontas story and used it as a framework for a 3D adventure. Maybe I will gather the $20 to see this on an IMAX screen, or maybe I will pass. Time will tell.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Movie: Lovely Bones

2/4/10- "Spoiler Alert, this movie is a waste of time."

I know that it's going to sound like I had a big glass of "Hater-ade" but I really don't know how else to approach this. I guess there's a side of me that wants to just walk away from this movie and not speak of it. Kind of like that ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend in your past with whom you have a developed a mental block; you just don't think about it and try to forget. But I can't do this. I just can't.

I work with students and I love it. I love their imperfections, their innocence, the good and the bad. One thing that students generally do is LOVE whatever movies they've seen recently. If I asked a group of young people between the ages of 12-14 what their favorite movies, I guarantee you 1/3 of them will name a movie that has been in theaters in the last 4 months. It's in their nature. The last few days I've been shocked... SHOCKED at how many of them updated their statuses of Facebook with a statement like this: "Lovely Bones, OMG so so good!"

This movie is garbage. I am going to ruin the plot, so be warned. It starts off decent; it looks good as far as cinematography, the characters have a nice family dynamic, it was going good. Then via the overused narration the girl makes it clear that she's going to die. Eventually there is no mystery, none whatsoever. You know who done it. So apparently this is a movie about watching a family go through grief. Well there isn't really time for that to be developed because every few minutes we have to devote time to watching this girl walk around a bunch of hippy paintings; Giant waterfalls, sun and moon, water becoming land. THEN you try and get back into watching this family mourn. Rather than a "who done it" story, it's a "will the bad guy get caught" story. Okay, so we go back and forth between these 3 elements;
1- boo hoo, family is sad.
2- yippee, the little girl is walking in a cosmic park with her new asian friend.
3- is the family going to solve the mystery?

Okay, so the family hurting issue just wraps itself up after time, no rhyme or reason, just time. THEN the Sister figures out the murderer, and tells the family the answer after a few minutes of greeting her returning mom. Those few minutes were crucial because it meant the bad guy got away. LET ME REPEAT THAT... The Bad Guy got away. The movie is called Lovely Bones and they never even find the bones. They are minutes from finding them, one psychic character is watching the bones being disposed and all she does is channel the victim girl so she can resolve a 2 week school crush of a 14 year old!

AHHHHHH.... I was sitting in the theater RIDICULOUSLY frustrated. Then, the final scene of the movie, the murderer is talking with a young girl at a roadside diner. There is an "oh no, not again" feeling for the audience. The girl blows the guy off and walks away. THEN, here's the kicker... the camera moves up and shows an icicle. I sigh as I think, "Oh great, the guy is going to die by nature. The 'universe' is going to get revenge." Sure enough the icicle falls and as it hits the guys shoulder and shatters, showing it was small and not deadly. The guy brushes his shoulder, saying ouch, and then stumbles a little backward. OOPS... he's standing on the edge of the quarry. Dude falls down and dies. And the credits roll. SERIOUSLY!!! Seriously, this is ridiculous. I am not a personal fan of the 'universe' getting random justice, I would have been happier if the icicle impaled the guy. Call me a violent stereotypical guy, that's fine but COME ON!

This movie was boring the whole way through, but the end was horrific. SO... why did I spend a blog to vent?
1. Because I have taken hold of the false belief that because I have a blog I can be uber-critical and it matters.
2. To redeem the money I wasted on this film so that at least I got a blog out of the time and money wasted.
3. To warn friends to avoid this movie by giving my opinion and ruining the ridiculous plot.

Be warned friends, be warned.

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