Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Album Review: The Game: The R.E.D. Album

The Game
The R.E.D. Album
3.5/5 Stars

I normally start writing reviews about midway though an album and try to figure out as I listen whether the second half changed my impression. This go round I had to scrap the entire review I had been writing.

The first half is unbelievably boring. Not bad. Just so mediocre that it's not worth listening to. I mean if you're looking for an early 2000's style gangster rap and you need something quick it'll do you, but almost everything else you can think of is better.

Ricky (Track 9) is where it starts to turn around, and turns into one of the best hip hop albums of the year. That's the point the album stops sounding like a poor man's '50 Cent and starts becoming something more.

I seem to be saying this a lot but well I don't like having to trudge through an awful first half to get to a golden second half.

But this is one of those rare cases where it's worth it.

P.S. Yes this is that Game. And that's all I'd like to say about that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finkel I Double Dap My Chest to You and My Current Personal State of Magic

Normally I don't do this and Escapist said everything there is to say about it, but as a magic player and a human being I'm pissed about this. Especially when I learned about it the day after I created a post about not embarrassing people on the internet.

Jon Finkel is a former world champion Magic the Gathering player. I have to be honest. I'm more of a casual guy so I don't pay much attention to the tournament scene.

But reading this post the name sounded familiar, and then I realized it was that Jon Finkel. What pisses me off isn't that Magic the Gathering isn't liked by everybody. Hell take any given thing even the ones that seem universal and that will be the case. For the record I don't like pie, or hamburgers for that mater. They didn't take as a kid. I can deal with the fact that Magic is a niche activity.

What ticks me off is that just because the guy had an interest that she didn't get she decided to publicly embarrass him. Look ladies you can not be into whoever you want, but really are we going to start ranting about people who ... wait what the hell am I saying. It's the internet. While I wish they did, the standards of decent human behavior don't apply.

Now that that's all done and gone here is my personal state of magic. Right now am trying to break proliferate. That and I've been trying to create a deck that represents the true evil of Phyrexia. Yawgmoth will eventually rise again! But right now I can't afford Tezzerett, Birthing Pod and Phyrexian Obliterator . Regardless I really want to make a deck that highlights all that is Phyrexia both old and new. The major baddies, the ripping guys spines out and lobotomizing them (yeah I know it's not the card you were expecting ;P), methods of infiltration and subterfuge. Grafting on metal to unrecognizably enhance my guys. When I get around to it I'm going to make a vid about it.

In real life I'm a nice guy, but in the game I am sort of evil.

When You're Evil by Voltaire

complete with maniacal laugh.

Probably because this go round Maro made the bad guys cooler. Read the," 'Mark Loves the Phyrexians' Problem" section.

On the not so patently evil side of things I'm trying to make an enfuego burn deck with New Chandra and trying to slip in the original fire chick whom thou shalt not diss. I'm also trying to find ways of and having mild success with breaking Quicksilver Amulet. "Oh you didn't know I could bring out Blightsteel midcombat. BAM! Say 'ello to my colossal frien'."

Okay sue me. I'm a huge Timmy and Hermes, as I like to call, it lets me get it on in a block of giant robots.

Over the past month I also found out the hard way (I miss The Ferret. He's half of why I started playing magic and also writing. He should be required reading for anybody who wants to play multiplayer.) why you don't put Kaervek, Tsabo, Prince of Thralls and The Bolas in the same commander deck. Damn my Timmy impulses. Stop trying to take it up to 11 all the time Miles there is value in being awesome but practical. If you're wondering Garza was the commander. Just because you have the tools to put out 7 mana threats consistently by turn 5 doesn't mean you should. You think you're creating a 300 situation, a bunch of kick ass bruisers only to realize that because numbers mean something it's going down more like the Alamo. Or for that matter like Thermopylae went down without all of Zach's theatrics.

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Won't Turn into the Den of The Whiney Little Bitch

So here is a question every writer, especially bloggers have to think about. How much of myself do I put out there?

My general rule is I don't mind putting things that embarrass me in a "Yeah he's a nerd kind of way," heck I even like doing it because I figure a bunch of my audience probably consists of nerds too, but I do mind putting up things that would make people question my sanity, and in life everybody has those wacky moments.

Besides that nearly every cool story I tell would involve my family in some way and I don't want to embarrass them either. Which of course is a problem. Most entertaining stories seem to embarrass somebody. It's like telling a good joke. Hell it's not like telling a good joke it is telling a good joke. Somebody has to be the butt.

I don't mind being the butt of a funny joke, especially if I'm the one making it. Hey it's how I deal with being a nerd. That said I do have my berserk buttons. DO NOT insult my integrity or intellect. That pretty much sums up everything that pisses me off. By the way one of these days I going to get around to making a comedic list of my berserk buttons.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I can say the same thing about my family, and like I said all my entertaining anecdotes involve them. They may mind being the butt.

Besides that, I don 't want this blog to turn into the "Den of the Whiney Little Bitch"

Why Do Follow-Up Stories Dominate My Front Page?

I am a graduated journalism major. I don't know if that's what I want to do with my life, but sitting in journalism classes I've been indoctrinated with this sort of journalism ideology. So from time to time I think about how we get the news. This is going to be one of those blog posts.

While there are certain things I know I should be doing I still feel a bit off after the weekend. In short I have a case of the Mondays and am surfing the web when I notice something.

The majority of the news stories on the front page of the news websites I traffic are follow-up stories. Libya, Irene, the Republican race. It irks me. I am writing this article in part to figure out why it irks me. It shouldn't. We've just had a national disaster. If I were an editor I would send most of my writers, photographers and videographers to the East Coast to figure out what the hell is going on. Who is going to be president is unquestionably important as is what's going down in Libya. So why as a news consumer does it bother me?

I think part of the problem is that I live in the Midwest. The effect Irene has on me is limited. All I fell I need is one or two news stories and I feel I know more or less what I need to know about it. It's selfish I know, but I feel as though the resources devoted those follow up stories could be used to gather new news if that makes sense. News that more so impacts my life.

Then again the coin can easily be flipped. On Friday all there was a bunch of speculation. Information was limited. It's a goddamned natural disaster. I can't possibly argue that it should not be on the front page. I can't possibly argue that the loss of life, property damage, and drain on the government's coffers is not important. I'm just tired of going to a website and getting more or less the same information I had yesterday.

I think the one that's really starting to get to me however is the Republican race. The others at least have certain immediacy, but for the next few months and I suspect at least for the rest of the year the race will be too much in a state of flux and too far away for anything of true significance to happen. So why does it dominate my front page?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog Tips

I hate it when people give advice. They always make the assumption that they know everything about your situation when in actuality they probably don't.

That said I need more content so here it is my advice on creating a blog, though to be fair this is mostly just my own advice to myself.

10. Take Stock of your resources and how to get the most bang out of them
Look I get it. Not everyone is going to have a fortune to spend on cameras and editing software. But you would be surprised at what you can do on the cheap. Find out what cool stuff you can do with what you have and do it. Also keep an eye out for free and cheap services that can help you, and when in doubt ask for favors.

9. Experiment and Evolve
Chances are if you do anything related to media over an extended time, it's going to look different than when you started. Try different stuff and figure out what works and what doesn't.
In short try to do what you can to continuously improve. (Miles don't you dare use corpotalk. Not here!)

I like to think of myself as having a quasi-punk rock attitude when it comes to media. Don't ask someone else's permission to do what you want. Sure the end result my be rough, but you can take pride that it's yours.

I can't remember who said it but some rocker said it best. "If it's something you care about you learn to get better at it. "

8. Keep It Goin'
When I talk to people, most of them at some point in time had a blog. They just for some reason stopped. If you want a blog to be successful well obviously it needs to exist. Keep it goin' for as long as you can.

7.Use yo' pimp hand on yo' self
You got a smooze baby. The great Spoony said it best. "Nobody is going to pimp your stuff but you." The net is vast and people need a way to find the good stuff. Do yourself a favor and guide them there. The one thing I regret not doing from the get go is putting down for some business cards so the first thing I can say in a conversation, could be hey, "I have a blog you might like it, go to this url".

6. Monitor your stuff

Oh your job isn't done just because your video or you post is up. No no no no no. Check Google analytics. Read comments. If you want to put up content that matters to people you have to know what matters to people. Figure out what is it that people like and what is it that people don't like.

5. Don't expect success immediately.
The problem with the web is that popular stuff breeds popular stuff. You know all those web memes and instaweb celebrities. Chances are those videos and the videos they did before those videos have been around for a while, and you're just now hearing about them because somebody with their own following randomly found them.

Don't expect to just throw something up and get millions or even thousands of hits immediately it's going to take time and work, just like everything else in life.

4. Mind the Technical stuff
It may not always be possible with the resources you have, but try to make things look as professional as you can. Even if you are a guy just working out of a basement, you don't want to look like a guy just working out of a basement. Yes that was self deprecating humor. Laugh. I SAID LAUGH!

3. Create regular content
People like patterns, try to create groupings of similar content and a schedule for that similar content. That way people will know to go to your site on a certain day because you'll have new stuff there. Just like DVD Tuesdays.

Note to self: It's long time I wrote another, Getting Meta.

2. Realize the World Doesn't Revolve Around You
If you want to make a blog where your friends can see what's going on in your life, that's fine. But realize that if you want more people to read it then the vast majority of people probably won't care that you ate stale choco crispies for breakfast. Try to have content that maters not just you.

1. Content is King
Everybody knows some tips and tricks for funneling people to your site, search optimization, guest blogging, youtube promotion etc, but if you want them to keep coming back, if you want them to stick around, if you want them to actually give a damn, you have to have good stuff there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Southfield City Council Regular Meeting August 22, 2011

Audio from the August 22, 2011 regular city council meeting held in Southfield, Michigan.

Topics Include
  • Changing the city's master plan and zoning to allow Lawrence Tech University to build a dormitory
  • Residential Problems caused by Bradford Academy
  • A Contract for Continued use of Detention Center Operations
  • A Liquor License Request for Nick and Lorna Abraham
  • An Abatement for Linamar
An agenda and related documents can be found here.

An audio file of the meeting can be found here.

Southfield City Council Regular Meeting August 22, 2011 from Greg Miles on Vimeo.

Southfield City Council Commitee of the Whole Meeting August 22, 2011

Southfield City Council committee of the whole meeting held August 22, 2011 in Southfield, Michigan.

Topics include

  • The city giving the Field Zone, a program for the city's youth $45,000 for continued operations until the end of the calender year.
  • The state's elimination of the personal property tax
You can find an agenda and related documents here.

You can download audio of this meeting here.

Southfield City Committe of the Whole Council Meeting August 22, 2011 from Greg Miles on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Album Review: Royce Da 5'9": Success Is Certain

Royce da 5'9"
Success Is Certain

I got to be honest. I was starting to feel guilty. There weren't a lot of hip-hop and R&B albums that I reviewed I liked since I started doing this review thing.

Oh let's be real here. There weren't a lot of black hip hop and R&B albums I liked. I was starting to feel a bit like an uncle tom. Prior to this album the only hip-hop album I reviewed I liked was the Beastie Boys album. I was questioning whether or not I should stop trying to review rap, because I just didn't get it. This album changed that. Finally a sublime marriage of production and lyrics, with few cheap gimmicks. An album that showcased talent rather than shameless pandering. An album that's introspective when it wants to be and bombastic when it wants to be. An album that doesn't insult the intelligence of its audience.

This album has heavy beats laced with well thought out well performed lyrics. It has single handedly restored my faith in rap after Jay-Z shot it to hell earlier today.

Am I giving this album a higher rating because of how disappointed I was with Watch The Throne? Probably. But why was I disappointed? Because I know in my gut rap can be better than that. This album strives to be better than that, and as a result is. In short Royce sounds hungry.

Album Review: Jay-Z: Watch the Throne

Watch The Throne

Hov. Meet me at camera 3.

What the hell? What happened to The Blueprint? This piece of crap no let me rephrase that, this piece of shit features every, and I mean every annoying trend in hip hop today. Hova you're one of the greatest rappers who picked up a mic. YOU... ARE ...BETTER ...THAN ...THIS! Do you know how many M.C.s starting doing what they do because of you. Better yet forget about the past. When you start pulling this shit it makes everybody think this is what's hot.

Don't get me wrong, the lyrics of some of the songs are great, "New Day" has real heart, but it's undercut by the autotune. Like I said you don't have to give in to the cheap gimmics. You're Jay-Z. Mr." Heart of the City." Mr." Hard Knock Life."

Okay and I have to admit "That's My Bitch" (track 7) was pretty cool, but I hear the track it could have been.

The reason why SNL's Boombox is funny is because it's a parody of overblown over produced rap. Jiggaman, when your album sounds like more of a parody of yourself than Saturday Night Live it's a sad sad day.

I'll admit this does have some redeeming qualities but not many.

P.S. What I think of when I think of H.A.M.

I am still confused about this grant thing.

Okay so there is this whole grant thing. When I wrote what I wrote about it I was under the impression that the City Council hadn't verbally committed to accepting it, but this article from C and G Newspapers, the guys who own the Southfield Sun suggests otherwise. So yeah. That said, what Councilman Frasier said in it can be taken either as commitment to it or as a general good job team for getting the grant. I still have no idea of what to make out of all of this.

By the way here is an ABC News video about the whole brouhaha.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Southfield City Council Meeting August 15, 2011

City Council Meeting Held in Southfield, Michigan on August 15, 2011

Topics Include

  • Smart Meters
  • Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.
  • The Michigan Emergency Managment Assistance Compact (MEMAC)
  • Detention Facility Contract
  • City Employee Retiree Insurance
An agenda and related documents can be found here.

You may download an audio file of the meeting here.

Southfield City Council Meeting August 15, 2011 from Greg Miles on Vimeo.

SAFER Grant Shenanigans

As, usual getting the audio of last night's city council meeting up is taking longer than I'd like, but a lot of interesting stuff happened.

So last night Channel 7. The local ABC affiliate was at the city council meeting. Yeah ethically I probably shouldn't do this but I'm going to tell you the, "vibes" I was getting off of everyone.

The cameraman said he was there about something regarding FEMA, and my guess it that probably had something to do with the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

See a few months back the fire department applied for the federal grant that would help the city pay their salaries.

Okay, kids this is where it gets complicated.

The city asked for a millage. One of the reasons why they asked for that millage is because without it they would have to lay off workers for Southfield's emergency services.

The SAFER grant as a stipulation for its money would require the city not to layoff any firefighters for the next two years.

The vibe I got is that the city doesn't feel like guaranteeing that. But because of the millage a lot of folks feel they already did.

Also, during the millage campaign, Southfield Fire Chief Peter Healy said, "We are very pleased to secure this grant; however, it is unfortunate that we will not be able to accept it if the May 3 millage does not pass," which implied that if the millage passed the city would accept the Safer grant. For those living under a rock, the millage passed overwhelmingly.

At last night's city council meeting, Councilman Fracassi, said that way back during the campaign he was present when that statement was made and that he had asked the Chief not to do that again after the public meeting. According to the council, The SAFER grant wasn't supposed to a part of the campaign.

Right now the council is in contract negotiations over fire and police and as always the possibility of layoffs is going to be a factor, so the council tried not to talk about the SAFER grant. Like I said accepting the SAFER grant would mean that the council would be guaranteeing that no layoffs would happen in the next two years.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Damn it. I Want a Magic the Gathering TV Show

Okay so I was watching Card Fight!! Vanguard. It's one in a long line of TV shows based on card games. I love me some Magic The Gathering and every now and again I find myself in a deck building slump. One of the ways I try to get myself out of it is watching such shows, but none of them feel right.

Yu-Gi-Oh (The Original)

It had a bunch of problems. The first was rules consistency. The game was never suppose to be a big part of the series in the first place so in the beginning the rules are wonky.

The main problem I had with Yu-Gi-Oh of course was with the stakes and acceptable levels of disbelief. I can believe that a game is based off some ancient mumbo jumbo, but why the hell would wizards invoke magic with paper playing cards. Why the hell would a game like this be a mechanism for unleashing unspeakable evil that could only be stopped by a foolish samurai warrior who stepping forth to oppose... wait what was I saying.

The truth of the matter is that the plot would have been better without the card games and the card games would have been better without that plot.

Duel Masters

Okay, Duel Masters was actually created in part by Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes Magic. Yu-gi-oh was taking off and was an obvious rip off. Hell the creator of Yu-gi-oh even admitted it. (That's not to say it's bad. Just based off Magic.)See back in the day Yugi just played random shadow games. One was an expy/lawyer friendly version of Magic and it so happened that it became popular and developed into a plot tumor. Later it was defictionalized and more rounded out.

Anyway Wizards saw this and said hey why can't we profit from this stuff. And created a nerfed version of Magic and a TV show to compete.

It was actually pretty cool because it didn't take itself too seriously. That said it has a lot of the same problems as Yu-gi-oh. While the show has a lot of great humor I just want something with people playing card games as boring as that sounds.


Okay the first season of Chaotic will probably be the closest thing I get to the show I want. A show about a bunch of friends playing a game they all liked. The problem I had with it is that it was complicated and convoluted, especially when it tried to explain the, "flavor" of the game in later seasons.

This is my problem with all of these shows. If you're going to do that, make it its own damn show, maybe a 10 minute end segment. I'm not saying a TV show about the plot to Scars of Mirrodin would be boring. I'm just saying it would be distracting from the more competitive card game plots. Choose one. A sports TV show or a fantasy TV show.

Note: I'm not calling Magic The Gathering a sport. I'm saying that I want a show involving it in the format of a sports movie or TV Show. Like, and damn I don't want to admit I watch this, Bamboo Blade.

Or maybe something like Initial D.

with maybe the tone and setting of Genshiken. A college Magic the Gathering club would make sense.

Even if they did it there would be problems.

First they would run into the Tron effect. As a guy who plays the game, I can just watch and be entertained but it wouldn't exactly be an action packed show to watch people throwing down cardboard so they would have to have some sort of visual way to represent what is going on which may or may not be consistent with any rules system. And that may defeat the purpose of the, "sports aspect".

Second, none of these shows, with the exception of Yu-Gi-Oh really, really focused on character development, because the show wasn't about the characters. It was about magic and monsters. The thing is any sports movie or tv show has to be about the characters. Hell it would be that way even for a fantasy series. The problem is a lot of these shows just focused on how cool the game was without really rounding out the characters and it made things less interesting.

One thing that makes the players of any sports movie interesting are the characters' play styles, and the only way to really have that come through in a non-superficial way would to really show the viewers how the game really worked. Again this is one of my pet peeves out Yu-gi-oh in the early days. It would just be my monster is bigger so it destroys your monster which got old quick watching the show. (It's annoying me about the current standard environment too. Look WOTC an improved power:converted mana cost ratio does not equal cooler cards.) That or again with the weird wacky doesn't make sense inconsistent rules. That's why people love battle city, that's when the rules became consistent and the battles became interesting.

Magic has a really flexible rules system that allows for several ways of going about winning. I loved when Yu-gi milled Marek's deck. It would take work and finesse but if they could create a show could fully use the rules that would be really interesting rather than the stupid, "Hey my deck's made out of bugs because I'm the creepy bug guy" way these shows have been going about it.

Have a guy who likes burn spells, another who wins through tramply creatures, white weenie, combo, control, infinite mana. Heck even throw in a couple multiplayer games where politics matters. You get my point.

Another beef is that none of these shows ever take the competitive aspect seriously. They always need to add another gimmick along the line. Look, Rocky long ago proved it.

Two people locked in a contest they both want to win can be entertaining in and of itself. Nor does any party have to be overtly evil. Hell it can sometimes be interesting if both are likable and you don't know who you want to win. You can have drama simply because both sides want to win the damn game. Not lose. Not tie. Win!.

Ultimately I just want a show that would take the idea seriously.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Much Interest is The Government Going to Have to Pay

Behind all the rhetoric I think a lot gets lost when we talk about the national debt so using the 2011 fiscal budget, I created a chart that showed the federal government's net interest as a percentage of it's outlays, basically how much of what the government spends is going to be going towards just paying off the interest on it's debt, which is my main concern when we talk about the national debt.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Album Review: George Thorogood and the Destroyers: 2120 South Michigan Ave

George Thorogood and the Destroyers
2120 South Michigan Ave

Whenever I write anything I always try to leave hints of the following disclaimer. My genre of choice is good ole fashioned dirty rock. I dabble in other stuff, but I get rock. I know what it's trying to do and what it's supposed to be.

The soundtrack to my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Been wronged and want revenge there's a rock song for that. Diggin' on this girl you just met? There's a rock song for that? What if that person is someone you know you shouldn't have fallen in love with. There's a rock song for that. Been a long time home and glad to be back hangin' with the boys. There's a rock song for that. What if the old neighborhood's gone down hill since you were gone. There's a rock song for that.

Guess who just came out with a new album? The king of old fashioned dirty bluesy barroom rock. George Thorogood and his band The Destroyers. The closest thing I'm going to get in this day and age to Texas Blues. If you haven't guessed it yet, I consider Thorogod one of the best blues rock guitarists ever, right up there with Stevie Ray Vaughn.

And boy does he deliver. Fuzz rhythm and blues. It's like I'm listening to concentrated rock. The essence of rock, striped down from all the bullshit.

The Destroyers get it. Before you can rock red hot you got to play cold blue. This is their send up to Chess Records, a lot of whose artists were creating this whole rock and roll thing by speeding up blues. Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley. I hate to admit it, all hell no I don't, to my ears rock always sounds best when it's deep rooted in bluesy goodness.
(Prepare for old man fist to be shaken in 5 4 3 2 1....)

Now days people want to deny the blues. Hell Hendrix watched Buddy Guy and B.B. King do their thing. The Stones named themselves after a Muddy Waters tune. What? The blues not good enough you youngin's? Blues not hard enough you "G's" out there? Screw y'all then.

You think oh oh we can shred. We have our drum machines and our pedals. And don't get me started on those stupid synthesizers. Screw all that. Rock ain't rock without a little blues. Where do you think your power trio came from young folks. A bass, A snare, and a guitar. What chu think half of the British invasion was playin'. Ya heard that Axl. Slash had the right of it.

(You're 23 Miles. Howlin' Wolf and Lightning Hopkins was long dead before you was even crawlin'. Shut up.)

Anyway. This is an awesome album. From a guy who gets rock in a way few do. Thorogood and the Destroyers live and breath this stuff and show it here. If you want a crash course in Rock 101 this is a good place to start.

Album Review: Jill Scott: The Light of the Sun

Jill Scott
The Light of The Sun

I feel like I'm going through Deja Vu. I'm about to repeat everything I said about Tech N9ne's album. The first quarter of the album is meh at best. The reason why I like R&B like this is because of potential emotional intensity, but the first 6 songs seem to be more about how much just plain weird stuff Scott can get away with, including a scat session that comes out of nowhere with Doug E. Fresh (All Cried Out Redux. )

She makes up big time with the song "Hear My Call", but it doesn't stick. I won't lie to you when the album is good it's really good, but most of it seems to lack emotional intensity as Scott tries to find the endless groove. A lot of it seems to be style over the type of substance I've come to expect.

Songs to Check Out From the Album
Hear My Call
Rolling Hills
Some other TIme

Songs to Skip
La Boom Vent Suite

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CornerStore Good Goin' Lamont

A highschool classmate of mine produced a movie. A real one. Not like the 15 minute documentary I made This one had a budget and actors. (That was a shameless plug Miles.I know, I am sooooo jealous.) I heard about it through the facebook grapevine and thought it might be interesting so I went to the premier. I didn't get a chance to see the movie proper. I'll probably get around to it. Anyway here are some photos from the premier and a trailer. I apologize for the crappy quality of the pics, and I have more that I'll be adding to the flicker stream so keep coming back.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Talent Problem

Okay I'm not that great at anything. I just try my hand at a bunch of stuff but whenever I do put my hand to something I try to think back to someone who did or is doing what I'm trying to do and analyze how they went about it. In short it takes a lot to make doing something seem easy.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I came across a list of people who try to be funny but fail on Imdb. That list seems off to me. A lot of what some of the people on that list is people did is considered classic.

Bigger and Blacker is often considered one of the best stand-up specials of the 90's. Ashton Kutcher was hilarious in That 70's Show. The Waterboy was my first, "grown up" movie (Okay it was that or Problem Child. What? My parents let me watch a lot raunchy comedies as a child.)

I guess my point a lot of the people on that list did some pretty funny stuff. And that list to me seemed like a cheap way of saying, "Look at me I'm so cool because I'm able to recognize these people suck. And I'm not going in for the popular stuff" That's not the, "talent problem" though.

A lot of these artists were great in their element and not so much out of it. The best example I can think of is Chris Rock. Like I said, he was one of the kings of HBO late night stand up the 90's, but his movies are meh. There are a lot of people who only see his movies and don't get why everyone thinks he's so great and dismiss him. This isn't just about comedy though it's about any sort of art.

Imagine if Shakespeare were around today, one of the best if not the best playwrights and poets ever. Imagine someone saying to him, "You wrote that really great play. Write me a movie." It's not a given it would be a good one because the two are inherently different. Not all writing is the same.

One or two trips when trying to do something different shouldn't discount all the great stuff an artist does.

Furthermore no matter what, over a creative career consistency is going to be a problem. For some artists it's more of a problem than others but still. Even though J.D. Salinger peaked at Catcher in the Rhy, that didn't mean he was a hack.

Towels at the Ready!

Jesus Christ. You leave for a week and the economy goes to shit. And yes ladies and gentlemen. This post was an excuse just for me to make that joke.

Alright that said, I guess I should talk about all the economic crap that's been going on. So after the debt ceiling deal one of the credit ratings firms downgraded the United States' credit rating and all hell broke loose.

The president's been trying to assuage everyone's worries while at the same time the stock markets' have been dipping.

At this point I'm just watching. I'm not a trader so I can be observant and in all honesty it's too soon to start panicking yet. That said, I have towels on standby.

Music I Dug

I really should review something today, but I just got back last evening and am not in the mood to cast the die, especially considering I listened to the first half of the album I was planing on reviewing before I left and felt "meh". So instead here is a quick run through of recent, relatively speaking, albums that I dug.

The Memorials : The Memorials

I was planning to review it but it came out way back in the beginning of the year before I really started doing this and I couldn't think of anything remotely "critical" to say about the album. It probably would have gotten a 5/5 from me. As is I've been listening to a few tracks from it almost every day for a month. Check it out.

The Bots
: The Bots

I would have reviewed this but I've been having a hard time listening to it the way I like to for reviews (Rhapsody), but The Bots let you listen to it on their website, and from what I've listened to it's pretty cool, especially considering the guys in the band are so young and playing like that.

Tamar-Kali: Black Bottom

Okay this one came out last year. But as with everything on this list I really really liked it.

Hishe Tron Rap

Lastly, not an Album, but How It Should have Ended's Tron Rap is Amazing. I 've been listening to it almost 5 times a day for the last two weeks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crazy Doctor Who Series 6.5 Theories

There will be spoilers.!!!

Okay so I’m stuck at the hotel and the only real thing of interest on the tele is Doctor Who. I just saw the ending to Silence in the Library. After the whaaaa moment of the last 5 minutes of the last episode of series 6, I re-watched all the River Song episodes on Netflix and then forgot about it, but it’s coming back relatively soon which means it’s crazy theory time.

I think I got the plot of the next episode. And now it’s time to number 21 it meta style.

I am a sci-fi nerd and as a sci-fi nerd I study the weird wacky time travel rules of fiction, i.e. are we talking Back to the Future rules where a new universe is created, or The Final Countdown (The movie not the comic)/Andromeda rules where history is immutable.

One of the classic time travel debates is whether or not it would be morally acceptable or even possible to kill Hitler despite the fact that more or less the entire geo-political landscape of the last 50 years was a direct result of the crap he put the world through.

Doctor Who has always worked on the basis that some events in history must happen. Though to be fair it’s never been consistent on what exactly happens when they don’t. Anyway Let’s Kill Hitler is probably not a literal title.

Killing Hitler is probably a metaphor for doing the Timey Wimmy thing, doing or undoing something major that probably shouldn’t be messed with. Is it going to be a new universe, alternate history, or crazy death scythe monsters? Who the hell knows? But somebody somewhere is going to try to mess with the time streams.

In the last episode some crazy shit went down. The Doctor does know exactly where River is. Back at the library. Her body’s fried but her mind is still there. The problem is she needs a new body, que the flesh.

There are theories abound that River is trained to kill the Doctor. Maybe she is the one, trying to “kill Hitler.” and the Doc. Nay her future self has to talk her out of it. Heck maybe she does kill him and her future self tries to unkill him or vise versa. Either way, it would be bad for the streams. Way way bad. Like blowing up the Tardis bad. It always irked me that they never explained why that happened.

P.S. The crazy theories about Madam Kovarian being an older version of her seem to be right as she's been seen brandishing the eye patch in the recent BBC Trailer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quality News Ain't Cheap

Right now I am a blogger. Every now and again, I get cocky and start thinking I’m playing with the big boy’s I’m not. Bloggers and digital media may eventually
supplant print media, but there are very real reasons why it’s not up to stuff right now.

Digital and print media share a similar problem in different ways. Capital. Journalism at it’s heart is the art of finding stuff out and telling people about it. Everything else is how to do that honestly and efficiently, but at its heart that sums it up.

Finding stuff out, especially the stuff that not any idiot could find out with a phone call takes capital, cash, green bills if you will. The same goes for telling people stuff in a way where they will listen. Even a 5 minute video package these days will take some sort of equipment. Heck even writing a blog takes a computer.

People like turning to the internet for content, but internet culture dictates that the end user should not bare the cost. Put simply people do not like paying for stuff on the internet.

That doesn’t change the fact that quality journalism costs, cameras, microphones, correspondents, content editors, video editors, copy editors, fact checkers, travel expenses. All of this costs money and nobody really wants to pay the cost.

Bloggers often can and do cut corners by parroting. Heck that is part of the point of the internet. That there is no one source of information. That in short you can’t stop the signal. Once it’s out there it’s out there. That serves a purpose, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that that is the same thing as carrying a 20 pound camera into Libya and nearly having your ear shot off, or even spending all night camped out at the Capital Building waiting to hear from the Senate. That’s not to say that a blogger can’t be a reporter, and a reporter can’t be a blogger. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but there is a difference between commenting on an interesting article and getting the info to be commented on in that interesting article. The later tends to take more time and money than the former.

That is what saddens me. Newspapers are shrinking because people don’t seem to get that. They think that the blogosphere will just take over. Bloggers at least from my own experience don’t have the money to do all the things legacy media can. It’s not to say that they won’t eventually, but right now both new and old media face the problem that people just don’t want to pay for the news anymore. If nobody has the money to do real journalism anymore than we have a real problem. Just because newspapers are being forced to do less doesn’t mean that journalism is less important.

P.S. The reason why I didn't do more about the local election is because I was packing for a family reunion trip.

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