Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Arcade Fire Songs/Album!

Two new Arcade Fire songs were released yesterday. After listening to them both obsessively i have determined that "The Suburbs" is excellent and "Month of May" is great.

Update: Literally minutes after I posted this. Arcade Fire officially announced their third album entitled "The Suburbs"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LOST: The End

I sat down yesterday to write this blog and I couldn't do it. I spent the day in a haze: a mixture of contentness, sadness, and thought. I had never invested so much of myself in a television show before. Over the weekend my fiance, my sister (who was visiting from college), and I re-watched our favorite episodes. We talked about who our favorite characters are (throughout the weekend I think we named them all). We half-joked about how depressed we would be when the show came to an end. We threw our own little LOST party inviting friends and family who we had turned on to the show. When those fateful words "Previously on Lost" were spoken we quickly turned off the lights and focused in. After a mixture of cheers, laughter, and tears (lots of tears) the show came to an end.

That night I had trouble sleeping. I was so moved by what was on the screen that I couldnt just close my eyes and "let go". I wanted to go and find Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and thank them personally for the gift that they had given me, and my family. I wanted to find J.J. Abrams and thank him for giving those writers the chance to capture our hearts and our imaginations. It seemed as though I would never be able to get my gratitude across. Then I read Damon Lindelof's last message on Twitter: "Remember. Let Go. Move On. I will miss it more than I can ever say."

He understood. They understood. The show meant more to them than it did to us. It was their creation. They know about our gratitude, and they want to thank us as well. We all were on this journey, the actors, the writers, the viewers. It was a group effort. I'll never be able to just forget about LOST. It will be my favorite television show for as long as I live. It was a part of my life where there were so many changes. Where I grew up. My fiance and I wouldnt be the same people without the show. It helped make us who we are. So in order for me to "let go," I am going to write a letter to my favorite show. The show that helped me become who I am today.

Dear LOST,

I miss you already. Thank you so much for taking me, my family, and my friends on this incredible journey. You made us question ourselves and our ways of thinking. You taught us that noone can tell us what we cant do. You taught us that things happen for a reason. And most importantly you showed us how one of the most important parts of life are those who we share it with. I plan on seeing you again in the near future, both in little bits as well in your entirety. Don't worry, I'll finally get a HDTV, so I can watch you in your full glory.

I remember in the beginning I was hooked and that was it. You grabbed me from the start. I had no choice in the matter. You took my heart and ran with it. I was not the only one though. Millions of people around the world loved you. People wrote about you, both good things and bad. The ones that love you stuck around, and you rewarded them with a beautiful and poignant finale. No matter how many times we questioned you, you always ended up coming through.

I wonder what my kids will think of you. Will they be able to be wrapped up in your mystery as their mother and I were? I think you will find your way to touch their hearts. At least I hope so. I want them to love things like I love you. I want them to invest themselves in things the way that I do. I want them to wonder why things are, and then accept them when they get the answer (or when they dont).

Your heart laid in the characters you gave us. The people who we watched grow and change. You were about humanity in general, as we could see ourselves in your characters. You showed us our good as well as our bad, and let us know that nothing is irreversable. We can be whoever we want to be.

Last night I was cleaning up after our party doing the dishes and lietening to your music. I couldn't help but feel as though I had just come back from a close friend's funeral. The kind of friend who helped make you who you are. Please know that this is not a goodbye letter. I will be seeing you again, many times. Take this as a thank you note. Thank you for changing my life. I'll be seeing you again soon. I love you.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

LOST: Why We Love Television Shows

Why does it feel as though we are losing a family member when a TV show ends? People half-joke about needing to find a self-help group after their favorite show ends. I've said so numerous times (although I dont think I've ever meant it as much as now with the end of LOST a mere three days away). I mean if we put things in literal terms, we are just staring at frequency waves being projected through a screen (i think). If you really think about it, the phenomenon of people being hooked on a television show is really a bit strange. They tune in at the same time, on the same day of the week, to get their helping of a story in which they know their will be no resolution--unless, of course, it's the series finale, but even then it doesnt always give you the type of closure that you want (case in point, The Sopranos, although I am a fan of it's now infamous series ending).

Writing has a way of mystifying us, whether we like it or not. It is cool for a teenagers favorite books section on Facebook to say "never opened one," yet they will list forty of their favorite movies and tv shows. Little do they know that none of those movies or tv shows would exist without words on print. A script. Thats where it all starts.

The TV shows that break new ground today are the ones with the brilliant writing. Look at David Simon with The Wire and Treme. Or Alan Ball with Six Feet Under. Aaron Sorkin with The West Wing. And of course, Damon Lindleof and Carlton Cuse with LOST. The list could go on and on, but the majority of "great" tv shows are known for their great writing.

The writing creates the characters and the relationships that we are expected to invest ourselves in. If Sawyer from LOST didnt have snappy one-liners to say, he wouldnt be Sawyer. If President Bartlet from The West Wing didnt inspire the viewer to think what if with his rousing speeches then the heart of the show would be gone.

I don't mean to belittle the actors or the director of a tv show. They of course have to make the stuff work. But here is the thing, you cant get around bad writing. Look at what happened to Grey's Anatomy after the second season. What started as a mature (as well as fun) look at the struggles doctors go through, became a silly contrived attempt at making a Primetime television show a soap-opera. I mean did we really think that Meredith was going to die half-way through the third season? Will somebody please tell me why Izzie is doing surgery on a damn deer? Please.

LOST has kept me riveted throughout the years. It has made me theorize with friends and family. It has frustrated me as well as made me jump with excitement. The show also looks at these characters with a very human lens. A poll was recently done on a popular LOST fan-site asking what people watch the show for characters or the mystery. 84% said the characters. These characters have become our family. We'd follow them no matter what happens. And the bizzareness of the show really proves that. For instance a few of the main parts of the show include, time-travel, a monster made out of smoke, and quantum-physics.

LOST's impact on pop culture has been similar to the great television shows of all-time. It's already inspired knock-offs (Flashforward lasted one season before it got the boot). The fans are starting to have their own cult-like conventions (not unlike Star Trek). And it is one of the best-selling tv-shows on dvd of all time.

If I can say one thing about LOST, it'd be that the journey will not end on Sunday evening. The best part about LOST is watching your favorite episodes over and over again. Picking up on hints and clues that were left (another victory for brilliant writing). People will talk about where the Hurley-bird (fans know what I'm talking about) and who Juliet shot during the time shifts for years. No definitive answer will probably ever be given. Some would think that would be maddening.

LOST fans like myself think it's genius.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

List of the Week: Desert Island LOST Episodes

If I were stuck on an island (get it? get it?) and I could only have 5 episodes of LOST to keep me entertained they would be as follows:

1. The Constant- Stands on it's own as well as being an important part of the series, The Constant is my favorite episode of LOST. It has everything love, heartbreak, time-travel. Brilliantly written, acted, and edited, The Constant is what LOST is all about. Characters whom we care deeply about stuck in mysterious situations that seem hopeless.

2. The Pilot- Needs no introduction. This one started it all.

3. Ab Aeterno- Richard's backstory is similar to The Constant in that it stands on it's own as well as being a important part of the series. An old love story, the answers that are given about the island almost seem inconsequential due to Richard's plight to get back his wife. Brilliant episode.

4. Through the Looking Glass- Perhaps the best cliffhanger season finale in all of LOST the revelation given in the last few minutes is one of the great shockers that the show has become infamous for. The sacrifice made by one of the main characters also is sure to leave the iciest of people with a tear in their eye.

5. Walkabout- The first backstory of one of my favorite characters, John Locke. Here we learn what a tragic figure Locke is and what an interesting predicament he was in before Flight 815 crashed. Gives us the first hint of "powers" that the Island has.

Hopefully with only two more episodes left in the series one of them will show up here (The End prefereably, as long as it gives us a fitting conclusion). It's a bittersweet thing for a show you have been following faithfully for years to end. It is only a TV show, but you cant help but feel as though these characters are your tuesday night family, with whom you checked in once a week, 20 or so times a year. It's a brilliant show that I certainly plan on revisiting time after time again on DVD.

Anybody else got any favorite LOST episodes?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Many Faces of John Cusack

Good morning everyone! Stumbled upon this site this morning--thought it might help cure everyone's case of the mondays!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

banksy is a genius

"The Army 10-Miler" or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept My Fate as Roadkill"

So in October I will be running 10 miles around Washington DC. Yes, I just typed 10 miles and not 10 kilometers. I was bullied into it by my co-workers. If anything this will be an example of how peer-pressure does indeed lead to death.

I'm just joking, I dont think I am going to die. I started training a few weeks ago and I actually think I will be ok. As my fiance's step-father Eric said "you won't come in first, but you wont come in last either." Pretty good mantra, I think. It made me feel a bit optimistic.

The race also gives me a good reason to take Amelia out for some runs. She can't last too long out there (she just simply lies down in the middle of the sidewalk whenever she has had enough exercise, forcing me to carry her home), but I enjoy having her next to me. She smiles while she runs, which I for one have never been able to do.

I've never been able not to finish a race or not pass any kind of physical test, so I feel a bit confidant about the entire thing, even though after I run for what feels like an hour and I realize Ive barely gone over two miles and it's only been 17 minutes.

There are a few things that help me get the motivation to go farther and faster. Perhaps the biggest one would be the second guitar solo on "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. Always helps me kick it into high gear when it comes on.

Ill try my best to post updates as I progress wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stuff I've Been Into Lately

1. High Violet by The National- It may just be better than Boxer. Im not quite sure. Id have to listen to it a few more times before I make an accurate assessment. But the fact that it's even a possibility means that this cd is really, really good. I highly recommend checking it out.

2. The Walking Dead Comic Series- I read the first few issues a while back and just never got around to reading the following stories. Now that they are available in volumes (and books, and omibus volumes) I have been really getting into the series. It is really fantastic.

3. Ipads- Basically I just want one because the are unbelievably slick and cool looking. Also, whenever I go to Best Buy I cant stop playing with them.

4. Following Roger Ebert's Twitter War with the Tea Party- At first it was a friendly debate. Then things were said to Ebert like "how many more pieces of you need to fall off before you shut up?" Don't get me wrong, I hate hearing humans reduce themselves to a level lower than bottom-feeders. It's appaling to me, I understand cheapshots, but making fun of a man's struggle with cancer is just wrong and there is no other way to put it. Watching this group expose themselves as the tactless, awful individuals that they are just makes me laugh--sort of.

5. Leon: The Professional- It was one of my favorite movies when I was in high school, and I hadn't seen it in a while, so Saturday night I decided to pop it in. Good Lord it is good. And Natalie Portman was such a phenomenal actress at such a young age. If you havent seen this film, or even if it's been a while since you have, I suggest you revisit it. You won't be dissappointed!

Friday, May 7, 2010

List of the Week: My Favorite Comic-Book Adaptations

In honor of Iron Man 2 coming out today, I'm gonna make a list of my favorite comic-book adaptations (note that graphic novels will be included as well!)

1. The Dark Knight
2. Spider-Man 2
3. Iron Man
4. American Splendor
5. X-Men 2: X-Men United
6. A History of Violence
7. Batman Begins
8. V for Vendetta
9. Superman
10. Kick-Ass

There ya go. Now go see Iron Man 2 (even though I heard it wasn't as good as the first one, but still awesome)!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Johnny Depp versus Robert Downey Jr.

Ok, so these are obviously the two most bankable actors in Hollywood today, and I just want to point out a few things.

Iron Man would definitely win in a fight against Jack Sparrow.

Robert Downey Jr is self-depricating which makes him cooler because let's face it, Depp is just kinda weird most of the time.

I like both of them and most of their movies.

Thus the most pointless blog entry I've ever written comes to a close.

Hope you enjoyed.

World War Z by Max Brooks

At first I didnt think I was going to be able to get into this book, but then it hooked me in. It's style(snap-shot interviews with "survivors" of the zombie apocalypse) is different so it takes some adjusting, but ultimately it is refreshing. It's more topical and enlightening than it is scary, though it certainly is both. Im only half-way through, but Im enjoying it so far. I needed something a bit "fun" to read after finishing Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (but good lord that book was good, as is all of Eggers' stuff).

What is it about zombies that is so engrossing? Is it the fact that they are just inside the uncanny valley and that they repulse us just as much as they attract us? Is it that they can hold up a mirror to society better than any other horror creation of the 20th century? We see so much of ourselves in the undead that it is scary. Personally, I love trying to answer the what-if questions that the genre poses. Would you be able to off a friend, family member, any loved one--or would you let them turn into something they are not? It's a question I would most certainly ask in job interviews.

Regardless, check out World War Z by Max Brooks. It is fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Indie Music is Dead, Long Live Indie Music

Broken Social Scene come with a new record this week. I got a hold of it earlier and it is really fantastic. It's not as good as You Forgot it in People, but it's just as good as their self-titled. Considering You Forgot it in People is a masterpiece and I really wasn't expecting FRR to be as good, let alone better. But it's incredible and definitely worth a listen. Broken Social Scene is one of those bands who you can count on to put out a quality record everytime.

Over the weekend Lia and I were discussing how it seems new artists today (specifically pop artists) aren't really trying. Case in point: Owl City. Good God that stuff is awful. Let's just remove the obvious: it's basically the Postal Service with really, really bad writing. I mean I dont care if this guy likes lightning bugs. Will someone please explain to me why I should care whether or not this guy wants to stay awake or go to sleep?

It normally wouldnt bother me, but I overheard someone arguing on the radio that the reason Owl City exists is because "The Postal Service never put out another record." No, the reason music like this exists is because some studio exec heard it and said "yea, that'll sell." There is an absense of heart, of earnestness. But really this is nothing new. It's just that it is much more difficult to find good music. In today's society, where everything has to happen now, with the snap of a finger, it seems like people dont want to dig to find music that will challenge them and make them think.

Thank God bands like Broken Social Scene, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, and Modest Mouse came just before the "Now Phenomenon." Would they have been able to put out multiple records in today's society? Would they have even been discovered? I want to say yes, just based on the quality of the art they are creating. But you have to wonder.

Now, don't get me wrong. Good music will always exist. It will always be loved and cherished by those who choose to find it. But the issue is this: who chooses to find it anymore? I guess it is our responsibility to keep the art alive. To bring our kids up on our music, crossing our fingers that they will "get it." Hoping that our music will touch them in the same ways that it has touched us. Explain to them that nothing worth having comes easy. Sure you can buy their record on iTunes with the click of a button. But you have to look for that music before you press a button. When you listen to a song you are choosing not to listen to millions of others. We need to teach them to make a good choice.