Wednesday, June 30, 2010

List of the Week: Best Things About Going Home (Wilmington, NC To Be Specific)

Tomorrow at around 2:00 I'll be heading to my hometown of Wilmington, NC. At times, Wilmington was my favorite place on earth. At other times I'd rather spend a day in Hell (which actually would be comparable if you visited Wilmington in the summertime). But I guess that is to be expected of your hometown. We never realize how much where we come from has had an effect on us until we leave. Or at least I didnt. After I left I realized I missed a lot of things about my home (both big and small). Here are some of my favorite things about the sleepy little beachtown I call home.

1. My Friends- While some have moved on to other towns, you can always count on holidays to bring everyone together.
2. Indochine- The best Thai food on our hemisphere
3. Gravity Records- One of the few independent record stores still left standing in America (at least it seems).
4. Blue Post- The best bar in Wilmington. Back in the 1800s it was a pirate hangout. I mean c'mon, it doesnt get cooler than that.
5. The Beach- I didn't take advantage of it nearly enough when I lived there. And I went quite a bit.
6. Downtown ILM- Enough hangouts to fill any number of nights, all snuggled up to the Cape Fear River.
7. The Soapbox- The perfect upclose venue to see your favorite local band.
8. Trolly Stop- Probably the best hot dogs that you can buy outside of a baseball park.
9. Pita-Delight- My favorite lunch spot.
10. The Heat- I know I'm in the vast minority here, but I cant get enough of the southern heat. Especially because Wilmington has a nice salty seabreeze to go along with it.

Yeah, I'm excited about this weekend...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Lord It's Hot

I'm a beach kid. I love the summer time. I always have, always will. This summer it feels like the heat is one for the books. I haven't been down to my hometown of Wilmington, NC to feel the how scorching it is there yet, but I will this weekend. Here in Northern Virginia it's pretty hot though. I think about 94 on average, peaking at around 100 in the dead afternoon. A lot of people complain about it, but I don't. I think it's great. I love being able to go outside in just a t-shirt and shorts.

I remember a few months ago we were digging our way out of multiple feet of snow. It was fun, sure, but after the novelty wore off the cold started to become annoying. You could only be outside for a few minutes at a time, and even then you (I) had to be so bundled up that you could barely move your joints. I'm not saying that winter doesnt have it's perks, it most certainly does. I'm just saying, to me, the perks of summer outweigh the perks of winter.

Everyone loves fall and spring. How can you not? The weather is usually in the 60s or 70s. The colors on the trees are always rather brilliant. Most people when you ask them what their favorite season is, they will say fall or winter. But there are those precious few people who love the extremes. They like to feel the sunburn on their arms or the numbness on their toes.

I definitely love the summer the most. I like the way it feels to go on a walk, sweat a bit, then walk into a nice air conditioned room. I like opening the windows, turning on a fan, and putting on some relaxing music. I like falling asleep in the sun, regretting it later that night when you are walking around with a sunburn on the back of your legs. Perhaps the best part of summer is the muggy nights where you can hear cicadas buzzing with the wind rustling through the trees. Or the waves crashing on the beach. I like being able to have the freedom of wearing flip-flops everyday.

To me summertime always takes to long to get here and never stays long enough when it is. Hopefully this one will take its time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I want this so bad it hurts

I'm taking a poll. Who wants this to be me and Lia's wedding topper?

I Shouldn't Enjoy This As Much As I Do...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Some things are just masterpieces, gifts from genius minds that for whatever reason deem us worthy to to enjoy their creations. Not only does Toy Story 3 belong in this private group, but the Toy Story trilogy belongs there as well. Usually the third film is where a franchise falters. Case in point: Spider-man, X-Men, The Godfather, The Matrix etc. One could argue that The Lord of the Rings broke this spell with Return of the King, but I would counter that the book was already written, the story laid out, so Peter Jackson did not have to worry about staying fresh while also being faithful to the preceding films. This is not a swipe at Jackson, I'm just saying that the task at hand for Toy Story 3 was different than it was for The Return of the King.

When my fiance and I walked out of the theater, we dabbed the small remnants of tears from our eyes and asked each other which Toy Story film we liked the most. I couldn't do it. The beauty of Toy Story 3 is that it makes the films seem like one saga. While all three most certainly stand on their own, the best way to watch them, obviously, is in sequential order. We grow with these characters and learn as they learn. Perhaps it helps that I was 9, 14, and 23, respectively, when the three films came out. I saw them all in theaters at different points in my life, and I was able to make a strong emotional connection to all three of them.

Perhaps the message in the third film is the most profound of the three. That what makes life worth living are the people who we live with and the connections that we make with them. Sometimes our "purpose," whatever we think it may be, can change and shift in ways that we are not ready for, but the only way to face those changes is with the people who made us who we are by our sides. Pixar is genius in doing this, bringing out deep messages in family films. They are so good at it, in fact, that it makes me wonder why they seem to be the only ones who are doing it these days.

Regardless, Toy Story 3 is the best film I've seen in a long time, and definitely the best film I've seen all year. There aren't many movies that come out where I would say drop everything and go see it, but drop everything and go see Toy Story 3.

P.S. Make sure you get there in ample time to catch Pixar's short Day & Night. It's the best short film Pixar has ever done and it may be just as brilliant as Toy Story 3 itself.

What I've Been Listening to Lately: My Favorite Albums of 2010 (So Far)

2010 is shaping up to be one of the best years in music we've had in a while, and we still have records from the Arcade Fire and Radiohead (supposedly) coming out. My iPod has been on almost constantly as it tried to keep up with all of the music that was coming in. Here is what I've liked the most so far:

The National- High Violet
Local Natives- Gorilla Manor
Janelle Monae- The Archandroid
The Roots- How I Got Over
Beach House- Teen Dream
The Tallest Man on Earth- The Wild Hunt
Broken Social Scene- Forgiveness Rock Record
LCD Soundsystem- This is Happening
Wild Nothing- Gemini
Four Tet- There is Love in You

If you all havent heard some of this stuff, I suggest you get yourself to your favorite local record store. This is a great year in music that only looks to get better!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Rant About The Decay of Our Culture

People never get sick of talking about the things they love. To me nothing is more interesting than to hear the passion someone has for a piece of art of hobby. To hear someone explain to me in detail why a certain movie or book or whatever is their favorite is music to my ears. That's one of the things that pains me about the death of independent record/movie/book stores. It would seem as though corporate America pulled a fast one on us. It wasn't Best Buy or Wal-Mart that destroyed these stores, it was and Why would we leave the house to get the new cd by The National when we can just order it online? We're even willing to sacrifice some album art, downloading the albums from iTunes where all we get is a small picture of the cover.

Soon the day will come when we can't even go into a record store and ask the person at the front what he or she recommends. Try asking your local Best Buy employee. I'm sure he or she will point you in the direction of the Billboard Hits. Or if he or she is ballsy they might send you to the "up and coming artists" section where you'll find Modest Mouses 7th album. Up and coming--get your head out of your ass.

Sure we have social networks that allow us to connect to entertainment gurus in one way or another but they still don't do the trick. Besides, it's not like people listen to critics anymore anyways. Transformers 2 was almost universally bashed by anyone with a brain cell, yet it went on to gross over $400 Million. Normally I wouldn't care, I'd say "oh well the people who I want to see make movies will make movies anyways because the production companies know that quality work is rewarded in one way or another." Then I read that a studio passed on the new Paul Thomas Anderson picture because it's budget (which was only $35 Million) was too high.

You're telling me that Micheal Bay can get $200 Million to make Transformers 2, and Paul Thomas Anderson can't get $35 Million to make what is sure to be a fantastic film?

I know this post seemed a bit scatter brained--but honestly I'm so fed up with my generation and their bullshit.

And don't get me started on Owl City...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Arcade Fire: In Concert (Coming August 6th)

OK, so I just had what may have been the most exciting/insane 30 minutes of my life. Honestly.

Ever since I purchased their debut album Funeral at an independent record store in Raleigh, North Carolina, I have wanted to see the Arcade Fire live. Their debut album changed the way I look at music and skyrocketed them to the top of my favorite band list. They have stayed their ever since.

Almost 6 years later, I have graduated from high school, college, gotten a job, and gotten engaged (to an arcade fire fan). Things have changed drastically in my life, but I still salivate at every single thing the Canadian rockers put out.

Last Wednesday I was told that the Arcade Fire would be having a pre-sale of tickets for a venue that was a mere 30 minutes from our home. I waited patiently at my computer until the clock struck 10AM (the said time of presale), but alas, the supposed date of my concert was blank. After phonecalls and e-mails to Merge Records, Merriweather Post Pavillion, and Paste Magazine, we came to the conclusion that the presale had had technical difficulties and would go on sale again at a later date.

I stayed tuned to websites and discovered (via the Arcade Fire's twitter page) that the presales for our show would occur on June 9th at 10AM at the Arcade Fire's website. Come Wednesday I was there, again, at my computer, waiting to click go computer crashed. I ran to a co-workers computer, forced her to get up and went through the process. I got the tickets (Front Row!!!) in my check-out cart when the screen froze! I let out a yelp (the same you would hear from a dog when you step on it's tail) and refreshed.

And a gift from God I saw the words I had been waiting for 6 years to see.

"Confirmed Order: Arcade Fire Tickets"

I sat in a dream state and reveled in what had just happened. Not only are they fron row tickets--but Spoon is opening up for them!

Today was indeed, a wonderful day--all I need now is for my fingernails to grow back!

Friday, June 4, 2010

List of the Week: Things To Do on a Friday Night

This sin't so much of a "ranking" post as it is just me trying to figure out what I want to do tonight. There isn't really anything out in theaters that I'm dying to se (although Splice looks interesting). Also, another thing to keep in mind is that I had a fairly busy week and I'm not exactly wanting to go "out" and do anything that requires that much physical commitment, I really just want to relax.

(Note: All of the following will be done with wine)

1. Friday Night Lights- The best show on TV that noone is watching (possibly because it comes on on Friday evenings). I'm actually looking forward to this episode because *spoilers* last week Matt's father was suddenly killed in Iraq setting up tonight's episode to be rather emotional.

2. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus- Some people really cant get into Terry Gilliam's movies, but I really love his visual style. His narratives can sometimes get convoluted but when he is on, he is on. Take Brazil for example. Also, I'd like to see how Gilliam was still able to make this film when Heath Ledger died in the middle of it. Oh yea, and Tom Waits plays the devil--sweet.

3. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City- I'm about half-way through this book and it is really incredible. Nick Flynn is a poet so his memior certainly has some musicality to it. The memoir depicts when Flynn was working at a homeless shelter and meets his estranged father sleeping in one of the beds. It's bleak, depressing, and often funny. Perfect for a relaxing Friday night.

4. Netflix Instant- Because we have over 200 titles in our instant queue there is at least something interesting to watch. Can I also say that I love the fact that Criterion has been making their titles available to the masses the Netflix Instant. Very cool.

5. Do nothing- Sometimes I feel like a slob just lying on my couch diddling on my macbook--but there is definitely something nice about doing nothing at all. I appreciate it.

Hopefully, I'll be able to figure something out.