Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekly Radio Playlist/Stuff

First, a few points of order.

Number one, proud of myself for blogging twice in a row after a week or so of spotty posting. *Self-pat*

Number two, a story about the perils of relying on outside forces for transportation.

So I have a radio show at my college's radio station from 8-9 every Tuesday morning downtown (listen here woot!), a switch from last semester's 11-12 shift. And by switch, I mean "way the fuck earlier." But when I was approached by my station manager to do it, I figured it would just mean more listeners to feed my apparent desire to be appreciated by others (see: newspaper and this blog).

Last semester for my 11am shift, I would take a shuttle that takes me from the campus I live near that drops me off right next to the building that houses the broadcast booth. Naturally, I assumed that the same would hold true this week.

Nay nay.

I stumble to the bus stop in the bitter cold (wind chill likely made it around 0) at about 6:55 after only four hours of sleep, hoping to catch the shuttle at seven (that my school's website claimed existed) only to see a bus in sight. Fantastic. I tapped into my Gunnery Sargeant Hartman powers and cursed up a storm, though it may have come out more mumbly, as my lips had mostly frozen over.

Anywho, I go to walk across the street to catch the CTA bus. Its about half a block away, then have to go to an intersection. Then, I see the "walk signal." At the same time, the 147 bus I need to get on pull up to the stoplight. The race was on.

I started sprint-jogging (not a real word, but I know you know EXACTLY what I mean). With a few hundred feet to go, the 15-second countdown began. Like a cheesy sequence in a movie, time slowed down. I ran, but I knew it wouldn't be enough. And, sure as I sit here typing, a big 0 flashed just as I got to the corner. The bus pulled away, and I cursed angrily again.




I eventually got to the station yadda yadda yadda, but frustrating nonetheless. BUT it brings me to the final part of this blog post.

I've noticed that some of the blogs I look at have weekly segments, like horror movies of the week, a "Heroes" "Hiro Meter", that sort of thing. And it struck me as not only something cool, but also an automatic gimme blog post every week. So here, for your viewing pleasure, my playlist this week from the radio.


The Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song

Of Montreal - St. Exquisite's Confessions

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland 1945

The Minor Leagues - Projections of a Person

The Natural History - Dance Steps

Wake the President - Remember Fun?

Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band

Speech Debelle - Spinnin'

Vampire Weekend - Cousins

Secret Machines - Nowhere Again

They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Spoon - The Underdog

Weezer - Perfect Situation

Them Crooked Vultures - New Fang

The Capulets - Summertime

The Heavy - Oh No! Not You Again!

Dandy Warhols - We Used to Be Friends


I figure, worst case scenario, doing this will make me pay attention to the songs I play so I don't keep playing the same songs every week and hoping that none of my listeners notice.

The Future!

Okay, once again, haven't posted in awhile, and I WILL remedy that sooner rather than later. Production for the school newspaper just started up right around the same time school did, so I've been a little preoccupied. However, I should have a solid week of posts coming up, so stay tuned.

Until then, I do, however, have a piece of awesome news to present to you, my adoring public.

Now, I'm one of those people who refuses to acknowledge the future is here until a certain set list of demands/criteria is met.

1) Robot servants (though Japan seems to be rather creepily working on that, more on that in a later post).

2) Gigantic, super badass intergalactic space fleet (or at least the possibility of personal space travel for individuals).

3) Finally, and most importantly, personal jet packs.

Every little kid dreams of being able to fly like a superhero etc. And ever since I saw the Rocketeer battle Nazis in the 1991 movie, I had wanted to do so in a jet pack.



And here we are, a full decade into the new millenium, and no jet packs. There have been a few prototypes out there that now work, including a guy who jet packed across the English Channel. But none of that matters, because I don't have one.

However, we have a bit of hope thanks to our lovely, tax-funded National Aeronautics and Space Agency. Behold, the glory of "The Puffin."



According to an article on wired.com, the pilot of the aircraft can cruise at 140 mph, or can use a special "boost" button and reach up to 300. THREE HUNDRED. It takes off much like a V-22 Osprey (video is in the link), and probably can fire sweet ass missiles or lasers or some shit.

Or it will as soon as I get to own it. Which I shall.

Friday, January 22, 2010

WHOOO! HAAA! WHA-TAH!



So I've done a pretty good job of espousing my love of zombie apocalypse scenarios (and plan on doing more when I talk about Seth Rogan's new potential zombie movie in a couple days). I've touched upon my slowly growing appreciation and love for comics (I'm listening to a podcast interviewing Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O'Malley right now for goodness sake). And I've glossed over my love for video games. But now I feel like I should bare my nerdy soul just a little bit more for my tiny baby audience while I still can so that when my blog becomes magnificently popular they won't judge me when I bring this up.

So, here it is.

*deep breath*

I love kung fu movies.

I love them with all of my moviegoing heart. I would probably take a good (or really really bad) kung fu movie over any other movie. The prospect of a pre-children's movies Jackie Chan getting drunk, breaking walnuts with his bare hands and making a fool of himself in Drunken Master (or, truly, his near cameo role in the wonderfully terrible Young Tiger) makes me unbelievably happy. The sheer mention of Bruce Lee and the crazy noises he makes shivers run down my spine.

Some of the legends:






Every last one of them could probably kill you with a look, let alone with a fist. Or well-placed paw.

I love the escapism of them. The idea that one man, armed only with his fists and perhaps a pair of nunchucks, can dispense indiscriminate justice among those who take advantage of the poor, yet kind and peaceful villagers, makes me smile and cheer every time. I always get sucked into their weak plots filled with terrible dubbing, lackluster acting, and unbelievable fight scenes.

Point is, if you ever have a desire to watch some butt-kickin action and need a few suggestions, I'm your guy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Reaction to Full Metal Jacket, and the Ensuing Idea

***WARNING, FOUL LANGUAGE IS USED IN THE CONTENT OF THIS POST. LOTS, AND LOTS OF FOUL LANGUAGE. COPIOUS AMOUNTS.***

So I was sitting around tonight, feeling bad about two things: I haven't blogged in a couple days, and I didn't have any ideas for tonight's post. I was frantically searching around for ideas, any ideas, and one of my roommates didn't want to do his Italian homework, so we popped in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket.

If you aren't familiar with with the movie, then I sincerely suggest you go out and see it. I had never seen it before, even though I'm a big fan of war movies, and assumed that I'd be able to divulge some deep meaning and/or insight into the nature of humanity or myself. And it did, but that's not what I decided to blog about. Instead, it was this, and a fantastic idea:



video

For a large part of the movie, the main characters are in a boot camp lead by one Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, one of the most foul-mouthed human beings in existence. From his mouth comes gems such as these:

If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit. Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me the more you will learn. I am hard, but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on n*ggers, kIkes, w*ps or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?

Holy dog shit. Texas? Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy. And you don't look much like a steer to me so that kinda narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?

I bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I'll be watching you.

You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece!

I want that head so sanitary and squared-away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in and take a dump.


And there are plenty more where that came from. But I said/quoted all that for an epically awesome idea that all this gave me.

I want the superpower of being able to spew profanity indefinitely at will.

Not only does it have extreme shock value, an insta-win for most arguments, but it also has application to stopping crime in the traditional superpower sense. Imagine. The ability to turn on a stream of words so disgusting, so loathsome and depraved that it could stop any criminals in their tracks....

------

*a special red phone rings*

Me: Hey Chief, what's up?

Police Chief: **** Man, we need you. We got a Mexican standoff down at the bank. Robbery gone wrong, now they're holding twenty-one people hostages.

Me: I'll be there.

*a few minutes later, at the bank...*

Me, to the robbers: Excuse me, but I'd like to interject, if I may...

Robber #1: Wha-

Me: *Unprintable*

Robber #2: Did you hear what he-

Robber #3: How hurtful!

Robber #1: My mother does NOT-

Robber #3: C'mon guys, let's get out of here! This guy is too hurtful!

------

Clutch.

Here is comedian Stephen Lynch's ideas for superheroes. With music!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sleepiness and Chicago and Zombies

I suppose I broke my string of days with a blog post, but the last two days were mostly spent running around my room in Kansas City scraping up all of the stuff that I brought from school, running around the airport with a bag that only BARELY weighed under the 50 pound limit, enjoying relaxation with the girlfriend, catching up on a few weeks of terrible sleep habits, etc, so I don't feel too bad about it. Plus, I enjoyed writing that last post so much that I was content in leaving it up for a day or two extra.

Anywho, on to the post.

------

I'm a big fan of zombies. I'm not a huge horror/gore movie fan, but I love those undead moaners and I love planning out my survival tactics if (read: when) Z-Day, the zombie apocalypse, comes around. In fact, I've already decided that I'm going to have a full blog post dedicated to detailing said plan for those of you who haven't read Max Brooks' wonderful creation, "The Zombie Survival Guide."


(Organize before they rise!)

But that's for another day.

What inspired me to post was a bit of news from Slash Film, a movie blog that I semi-follow. I was scanning it earlier and found this post from a month ago:



For those of you who are vaguely confused as to the awesomeness that is going on in the above picture, it's pretty much exactly how it sounds. Let me break down why you should be as excited as I am (if it isn't readily obvious).

First of all, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is EXACTLY what it sounds like: the best-selling and classic novel/movie Pride and Prejudice, except with zombies. Simple, no? Author Seth Grahame-Smith got the project after an editor at Quirk Books read The Art of War Against Fat, a weight-loss take on Sun Tzu's guide of war. Grahame-Smith's book took off to wide critical fame. So popular, in fact, that the publishers already commissioned Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (a prequel), and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer (all of which have wonderful covers by the way).

Interestingly, when Grahame-Smith wrote his first book, he decided to leave upwards of 85% of Jane Austen's original text intact (so much so that Austen is still listed as a co-author). I really want to read the book, but felt I had to read Pride and Prejudice to truly appreciate it. Now, however, thanks to this movie, I might just do the unforgivable and just watch either the 1995 or 2005 movie adaptation sometime before this new, undead one comes out.

Oh, and by the way, if zombies running around 19th century England and Natalie Portman doing her best Ash Williams impression in a dress doesn't intrigue you, maybe this will.



That's right. In the book, there are FUCKING NINJAS. Zombies vs. ninjas? Could it get more awesome? Doubtful.



And finally, some more pictures from the book itself to get you excited.





Yup. That's Elizabeth Bennet, exploding a zombie's head. With her foot. That is all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Plan

I need to become a meme*, and here's why.

*For all those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines an Internet meme as "a catchphrase or concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based email, blogs, forums, Internet-based social networking sites and Internet-based instant messaging. The term derives from the original concept of memes, although it has come to refer to a much more narrowly defined category of cultural information. Examples include Rickrolling, lolcats, "Leave Britney Alone", Keyboard Cat, and "All your base are belong to us." If those examples didn't tell you what you needed to know, then you're probably at the wrong blog.

I was watching the Food Network a few nights ago (one of my favorite channels, it's basically porn, minus the nudity but with all the appeal and lust, for college students) and Iron Chef came on. Now to me, the members of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America are practically royalty (or, I guess, porn stars, though I definitely won't be looking for pictures of Iron Chef Batali in anything but full chef's clothes holding a tray of food...).

As I watched my favorite Iron Chef, the always badass Masaharu Morimoto, make some of the craziest and most delicious-sounding dishes ever concocted, I realized that I now had a dream.

And no, it's not to one day look as awesome as ICMM.

I want, nay, NEED to get a spot as a guest judge on Iron Chef America.

There have been loads of celebrities who have guest judged before, including one of my favorites, Tina Fey (one of my favorite bloggers, Wolf G. Gnards, pretty much nailed how I and, I'd imagine, most of America feels about Liz Lem...er...Tina on his blog a little while ago). But realistically, to have a shot of getting on, you have to do one of two things:

1) Get it on with one of these two fine gentlemen.


And, let's face it, who wouldn't?

Or...

2) Become famous.

I'm not into the whole age-difference thing, so this is probably my best bet. Now, I need an appraisal of my skills to see what I can be famous at.

Skill A - Writing. Maybe become a famous author or journalist one day I suppose. Unlikely, and even if I did, it likely wouldn't be for a long time, and by then most of my favorite chefs could have left, so no go on that one.

Skill B - Music: Become a famous musician - ha...Even if I WERE good enough (which I'm not, nor will I ever be), still a long shot.

Skill C - Making people laugh at my expense: Now here's where we might have something. People are always in need of a cheap, possibly self-esteem boosting, laugh, and I have proven time and time again that I have little to no shame. But how can I utilize my willingness to become an exhibitionist? Stand up comedy? Another long shot. But that's when it hit me...

A meme.

It was so simple. If a guy yelling "LEEROOOYY JJEAANKINSSS!!!" can do it, and become famous (he had a question on Jeopardy about him, albeit one that no one got), then by the Hammer of Thor, why not me???

So I will be taking submissions of ideas for the next great Internet meme, as put forth by myself, starting now. If you're lucky, I'll let you ride my coattails to superstardom, maybe even arrange for you to get a doggie bag of Iron Chef leftovers. Though, be warned, I already have some material posted on YouTube, and it might already be ready to rocket me into Food Network glory. Watch it, and behold its majesty.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Points of Interest: SP tidbit and Blogging

First up on what is apparently going to be a large ADD post, I'll continue my Scott Pilgrim fanboy crush for another post (for now) just to say that I'm now an official subscriber to the website/blog, so if I piqued your interest enough to get as jazzed as I am about it, then look over to yonder sidebar to look at the pictures and videos and news therein.

------

Anywho, as I said in my first post on this site, I'd tried blogging before, and largely failed. I had my moments of what I'm sure was WWWW (World Wide Web Wonder - copyrighted), but mostly I A) didn't post nearly enough for it to be taken seriously and B) let it devolve into a personal pity party a few too many times.

Now, God knows that I'm not going to be the next Perez Hilton (thank goodness...I enjoyed "I Gotta Feeling" a lot more when I listened knowing that Will.i.am had punched that guy in the face), but part of the reason I decided to start over here on blogger/blogspot (MAKE UP YOUR MIND WEBSITE!) was because I wanted to try to do this right.

Enter the shitty-looking hand-drawn banner, the hours - literally hours - spent picking out and tweaking a template (I switched it five times in the 20 minutes after my first major post with Scott Pilgrim), and the time I spent this morning perusing through dozens of blogs, opening them all on one window with more tabs than it could handle, and Following a few of them with the tremendous amount of creepy randomness that only the Interwebs can provide.

Despite my original reluctance to commit to blogging every day or two as an official New Year's Resolution, it's looking like it might just turn out like that. And I am fully willing to sell a portion of what remains of my non-geek soul (as precious little as there is left) to semi-anonymously recapture my youthful love of writing by making myself do it. As un-romantic as that last bit sounds, the fact that I'm nearly 20 and referring to it as my "youthful love" is enough to rationalize it to me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson says Haiti had pact with the devil?

First of all, might I say that I'm impressed with myself for blogging twice in one day. I wanted to try and pace myself with these, but this was so mind blowing that I just had to say something about it.

Pat Robertson, everyone favorite televangelist asshat, who has started so many controversies that the list things he has said that have hurt people has its own Wikipedia entry, dropped another fun bit of knowledge. Apparently, the people of Haiti came together in the late 18th century and, desperate to overthrow the rule of Napoleon, made a deal with the Devil.

For some reason, blogger isn't letting me post the video from Youtube (or I'm too incompetent to), but here's the clip.

Well, right on Pat Robertson You keep on keepin' on. At least he's still asking for donations to help those in Haiti, so his crazy is being a tiny bit productive....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Man, The Legend, The Comic Book Character

**WARNING: THIS BLOG POST HAS WAAAY TO MANY PICTURES. HOPEFULLY YOU HAVE JOINED THE NEW MILLENNIUM AND NO LONGER HAVE DIAL-UP. AND IF ANY OF THEM ARE TOO SMALL, CLICK ON EM, AND THEY'LL EXPAND.**

So earlier this semester, I saw one of my roommates reading what appeared to be a comic book on his computer. I asked him what he was reading. His answer changed the geek aspect of my life forever.

May I introduce those of you who aren't nearly as nerdy as I am to the one and only Scott Pilgrim.




Now, I'm a decently nerdy fellow. I have a few blogs I follow, play way too many video games, can tell you far more than the average person can/should be able to on Star Wars AND Star Trek, enjoy the occasional showtune and Disney movie, and am constantly updating my personal Z-Day escape plan (that would be for the zombie apocalypse). But I'd always regarded comic books as something beyond my geek range. That was, until Bryan Lee O'Malley and his wonderful Scott came into my life.

Scott is a lazy Canadian in his early twenties whose only discernible skill is being adorably naive and making the occasional video game reference (the band that he plays bass - also my instrument - for is called Sex Bob-Bomb after the Mario character). He has no direction in his life, freeloads off of his best friend/gay roommate Wallace, dates a high schooler because it's easier that way, and is unemployed. So basically, he is the definition of the young adult floating through life, which I think we can all identify with (through our own lives or the lives of that one friend we all have...).









All that changes when he meets an American girl named Ramona. Ramona changes her hair color every few day, has an "interesting" fashion sense, and has a whole heaping helping of mysteriousness (real word? I vote yes) about her. Scott falls for her immediately, and after looking past his inherent dorkitude (also claiming it as a real word), she falls right back.


(see?)

But there's one catch that turns "Scott Pilgrim" from the usual (albeit hilarious and sweet) coming of age, boy-meets-girl story: Ramona has had a history of dating some bad guys. Literally, cartoon (or I suppose comic-book)-style bad guys. She has seven evil exes, all of which Scott must defeat before he can go out with her. It turns out Scott also happens to be a master fighter, and the remainder of the series switches focus between his relationships with his friends and Ramona and his quest to beat all seven exes, including the leader of the "League of Evil Ex-Boyfriends" himself, Gideon Graves.





If you enjoy laughing, then I recommend Scott Pilgrim to you, and invite you to be giddy with me for whenever the sixth (and final) installment comes out later this year. But more than pimping out how awesomely nerdy I am (very nerdy), I was mostly inspired to make this post because Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) is directing a movie based on the series that stars Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim.



(I can sorta see it....)

My fandom of Michael Cera goes all the way back to his Arrested Development days, but I'm not quite sold on whether he can pull off Scott Pilgrim. Nonetheless, I was still unbelievably pumped for it to come out later this year (supposedly in conjunction with the last SP book) even BEFORE the production crew released new pictures from the movie a couple days ago...








Um, awesome much? Why yes, that IS Michael Cera carrying a god damn flaming katana while some guy backflips seemingly because he fucking can. Behind him is Jason Schwartzman as Gideon and what I assume is Ramona. I have all of the books so far on my computer, so if you know me and you're interested in reading them, then I have a flash drive to give you....and if you're undecided as to whether you should read O'Malley's creation, I believe someone has an answer for you.....



Sorry, couldn't resist the cheap, and bad, gag.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Post/New Year's Resolutions

Well, here I am again. Trying to create another blog while starting off with another post semi-chastising myself for not blogging more often, which has been the opener for roughly 90% of all my other entries across the short span of time that I've been blogging (unless you count Xanga back in middle school. Do you? I guess you could...*).

*While we're talking about Xanga, I'd like to reminisce for a bit. Not to brag or anything, but I was a Xanga fiend. Maybe it was because (sadly) middle school/early high school was near the peak of my social popularity (I was - evidently - a hot piece of early teen arss...). But I always got a few people commenting on what I posted. I also loved the fact that you could put what song you were listening to or book you were reading or game you were playing etc. One more thing people could connect to, I guess. POINT IS - I had enough in me to actually post something frequently. Which transitions me neatly into....

NATHAN'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW DECADE

I've tried these before, and rarely have I succeeded in keeping them. Likely because of my low attention-span for self-improvement and such things. And many of them are conceptual (the hardest kind of resolution to keep because there's no real "goal"), but I think as long as they're more like "focus points" rather than actual goals, I'll still pull through. I'll try again this year, perhaps with a bit more urgency.

1) Practice my bass at least once a day, time providing.

I've let myself fall horribly out of playing shape, if there is such a thing, and I think it's quite the shame. I was always a much better upright player (mostly because I was in orchestra), but I was always fair at the electric. When I made the all-district orchestra senior year and took a solo to state competition junior year, they were some of the most fulfilling experiences I've had in my life. I worked hard, dedicated myself to something, and was rewarded through not only accolades, but a real sense of accomplishment. So while finding tabs for the theme songs of TV shows and struggling through the bass lines of CAKE and others may not be like playing a Suite with some of the city's top musicians, I'll hopefully be able to capture some of that same sense of fulfillment.

Bonus points: Do more lyric writing. And/or buy a keyboard and get back mah skillz at ticklin' the ivory. Or plastic imitation. What have you.

2) Devote more time to reading.

When I wasn't fiending up Xanga, I was an avid reader back in the day. There were times when I would literally have four or five books all going at once, opened or bookmarked throughout various rooms in the house. As my schedule filled through high school, reading began taking a backseat to preserve sanity. I just didn't have time for it. So I fell out of the habit. Once I got to college, I figured I'd be able to jump right back into it, and I did to a certain extent.

Then came a book called "Mornings on Horseback" (stupid Blogspot for not having an underline function....as a former English major it hurts my soul a bit). It is a biography about Teddy Roosevelt, one of my favorite historical figures of all time, so I figured I would be interested.

Seven months later, I'm halfway done.

It was indescribable. I could power through anywhere from 50 to 100 pages every now and again, but weeks would go by without me even thinking about it. I was worried that I had lost my book mojo. Could video games have truly devolved my brain this far? But then I came to a frank realization earlier this week: the book is mind-numbingly tedious and boring. All it took was a pair of guides (Zombie Survival and Hitchiker's to the Galaxy, in that order) that restored my confidence. So once again, I shall try my hand at making reading a part of my everyday life. Until Left for Dead 2 comes calling of course.

3) Keep an idea journal.

Another oldie but goodie. I've been saying this one for months, but I'm going to legitimately try to carry around a separate notebook for me to write down what few ideas and bolts of thought-lightening (good analogy eh? I should write that down somewhere....) so that I don't forget them faster than an ADHD kid forgets he's supposed to be doing homework and not looking at the pretty shiny.

4) Be more outgoing.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I'm hardly a quiet person. I'm not exactly what you'd call shy. But I don't do a good enough job taking initiative when it comes to hanging out with people (or planning dates etc for that matter). Game on.


And to close it up with one final cliche....

5) Get my butt to the gym.

Or at least actually attend my martial arts class. Or go lift. Or get in a good stretch now and again....


And there you have it. Not only have you slogged through your first post by me on this new site, but now you know the list that I will likely forget all about come next week. Hope to make this a regular thing (though note that blogging consistently was not one of my resolutions....trying to keep them realistic). Read my column in the Loyola Phoenix ("Lurz Blurbz", the site is loyolaphoenix.com) for my always witty analysis of national sports, or listen to my radio show on 88.7 WLUW at 11am on Thursdays (live feed on the website!). Both shall start back up in a couple weeks. Hope the holiday season treated you well!