Saturday, July 21, 2007

Things That Bug Me, 2007 Edition, pt. 1

So yeah, being a normal human being, there are occasionally some things that urke me to some degree. And since this is my blog, my solitary place to bitch about those things, here is the beginning of my list for this year...


STEM CELL RESEARCH OPPONENTS. - Look, I understand your argument people, it's the same bullshit you've been using against Roe Vs. Wade since the early 70's... "Every embryo is a life, every life is sacred, every life desecrated is murder."

Okay, so first off... and I've made mention of this in previous blogs, but please, right now tell me, how many of you people are pro-death penalty?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Fucking hypocrites.

Anyway, your big issue, the major problem you have with stem cell research is that it "destroys life," it destroys embryos. Now let me ask you this; do you have any comprehension about the type of embryos we're talking about here? We're not talking about embryos taken from women trying to conceive, we're talking about embryos created in a lab for no purpose other than research. They are nothing more than a small group of cells. And they get thrown out when unused after a period of time.

Taking this into account, your logic also suggests that we shouldn't eat yogurt, as yogurt is created by bacteria, and thusly holds living cells in it. And it gets thrown out when it's no good as well.

And let me ask you this question; being a male in my late 20's, I have a tendency to masturbate. As most males do, from the age of 13 up until... well, christ, I won't know until I get there, but we're talking 60's, 70's at the least. So now tell me, considering each ejaculation I perform upon myself carries thousands of living sperm out into the open, to die within seconds... does this make me a murderer?

But I digress...

EMO KIDS BUYING RECORDS. - Look, here's the deal... I love records. I love vinyl. I love the feeling of putting a needle in the groove, hearing that slight scratch emanate through the speakers, and feeling the first song on my record come to life.

But I also only love that feeling when it's real.

Here's what I mean: Up until a few years ago (like, ten or fifteen), most recordings were made in an analog style, usually onto tape. These tapes were then mastered, and copied onto a number of different sources... a couple decades ago, they'd be put onto a master record, from which all copies would be printed from. Or there would be a master tape, which carried the 8-track or cassette recordings. But then, towards the mid-80's, there was suddenly a master CD.

And the CD was digital. It couldn't hold all the nuances the analog recording did, as it was stuck with a specific bit rate, a specific bandwidth of frequency it could hear. So the earliest recordings on digital media sounded tinny, and never had the warmth of the analog masters. And vinyl fans rejoiced, and spoke down about this new media, that couldn't possibly ever carry the true vibe of the music that they loved so much.

But as the years went by, digital media grew into higher standards, and higher quality. And the recording industry caught on, and suddenly, everything was being mastered digitally. All recording studios started recording artists onto a high-frequency digital medium. And analog was a thing of the past.

But hark! What is this I hear? The kids of the next generation actually listened when their parents talked about how wonderful analog vinyl was, and now they're willing to pay through the nose to buy vinyl copies of their current favorite band's albums?!

And they don't pay any attention to the fact that they're listening to digital media on an analog source?!

Here's the long and short of it; the earliest CDs, the ones made up until somwhere in the late 90's, carry a code on them, usually the letters "AAD." What that stands for is "Analog Analog Digital." Basically, an Analog master created an Analog source, which was then recorded onto Digital media. And quality was lost between the analog and digital.

Nowadays, CDs no longer have that label, as everything is made from digital sources. But now, explain to me, how a Digital master, to a Digital source, recorded to Analog media (records), is going to be any good? I mean, how much of your digital signal is lost recording to an analog source? And how much more will be lost as your vinyl degrades under the needle?

This is why I think the Emo kids buying records are idiots... their record collections will never sound as good as the digital masters.

But I guess that's something else for them to be despondent about...

(End of Part One.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Never rains when...

After putting off washing my car for about half a year, as the tendency for rainy days during winter and spring were too great (and happening every time I even thought about washing it), I finally took her to the car wash yesterday to get the whole shebang done; wash, wax, sealer, vacuum, tires, etc.


And to prove even more that it rained on account of me, the drops fell at precisely the correct angle that they could splash the back of my car, which is currently parked in a covered carport. And they were big drops as well, the ones that leave a giant ring where they land.

The spoiler and trunk are now pitted with huge watermarks.

Goddamn you, mother nature. After everything I've done for you...

That's it. This week I'm leaving all the lights on in my apartment, and running water all throughout my tooth brushing.

That'll show you, bitch.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Big Ideas For A Small Planet... Watch It This Tuesday

For those of you that don't know, this past winter and spring I spent working as an assistant editor on the show Big Ideas For A Small Planet, an environmental documentary series for the Sundance Channel.

Now, as much of a clusterfuck as the production was, admittedly the end product was incredibly good, and I'm ridiculously proud to have worked on the show (even with the Lexus sponsorship).

This Tuesday, Sundance will be showing the episode entitled "Pray." It's one of my absolute favorites, as it shows, without a doubt, that environmental concerns aren't just a concern created by hippie athiests, but an issue that even the most right-wing religious folk do and should care about.

There's a story about a Reverend preaching environmental care to elementary school children of different faiths and practices, a segment about a Southern Baptist woman opposing the evils of mountaintop removal coal mining, and a piece about a Florida based company that will literally use your dead ashes to bring life back to the coral reefs.

Anyway, the point is, this is a very good show, and I'd quite like to share it with the lot of you. It airs this Tuesday, July 10th, at 9pm EST/PST. Please watch it, TiVo it, share it with your friends, buy it off iTunes (the full series is only $20!), whatever. Just share the message.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Umbrella" by Rhianna... Why do I love it so?

Is it that ridiculously catchy hook of a chorus?

Is it that repetitive chord progression that somehow sounds fresh with each repetition?

Is it Jay-Z, upon knowing this song would be a hit, forcing himself into the beginning of it with a completely out of place rap, just to prove his corporate ass still should be considered "an artist?"

Or is it that part of the video where 19-year old hottie Rihanna does the naked Goldfinger chick thing, but in black and white, making her look silverish, shiny, and just plain awesome?

Before I get too far ahead of myself, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here's the song, and accompanying video (presented by Covergirl, as you'll see the second you click on the play icon... and don't forget to watch through to the end, to see Rhianna shill for her favorite lip gloss manufacturer!):

Okay, now let the song digest for a second. In fact, take a few minutes, go open another tab in your browser, do something else for a little while (like maybe read something of importance, as opposed to this blog, maybe the news or something... did you know Bush commuted Libby's sentence today? Will someone PLEASE give me a justifiable reason why our President isn't in jail for treason by now?). Once you're done with that, come on back here... and TELL ME THAT SONG ISN'T STILL STUCK IN YOUR HEAD.

Even if it's just one little piece, one little echo of the chorus ("-ella, -ella, ey, ey, ey"). Something repeating through your brain over and over, making you need to hear the song again, play it over and over. You can't tell me different.

Now, understand where I'm coming from... I, for the most part, HATE most music of the last 15 years or so. There are a few bands I like here and there, a few songs I enjoy, but for the most part, it's my opinion that modern music died when a.) Bush and Candlebox landed a one-two TKO punch to grunge and rock music in general, and b.) Michael Jackson got in trouble for child molestation the first time (yes, that long ago).

But now and then, someone creates a hit single, that, as far as I'm concerned, completely deserves to be a hit, and more so. Nelly did it a few years ago with "Hot In Here," as did Beyonce with "Crazy In Love" (another track that Jay-Z poked his nose into). Justin Timberlake did it with "Rock Your Body," and goddamn, Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" is still one of my favorites. Hell, even the recent "Fergalicious" by, who else, Fergie, is a kick ass track.

It's rare though, that I'm prompted to buy an album thanks to a single... after all, of all five songs I just listed, I can only think of one which belonged to an album that justifued purchase, and that was Gwen Stefani's (go figure, since I've never been into No Doubt). But Rhianna's song is so damn good that I went out and bought the album immediately. No speculation, no wait for a second single, no download of it from Soulseek before deciding to purchase... nope, I just went ahead and bought it. And guess what? It's a fantastic album! So fantastic I'm even gonna link to a purchase option right here, Good Girl Gone Bad by Rhianna, available in fine stores everywhere, and online in a few places.

Hell, it's so good that I'm willing to forget the fact that after finding the video for the song on YouTube, I soon after found this:

I mean, I understand the world of shilling for the man... christ, even the most respectable project that I've worked on, Big Ideas For A Small Planet, was still sponsored by Lexus (and I won't even begin to discuss how they stuck their noses into the episode about driving, suffice to say it was either as bad or worse as the writing in that Covergirl advert was). It's pretty much a given nowadays that the only way to get out in the public eye is by allowing corporate sponsorship to travel alongside (not that this is a new concept; didn't they used to sell cigarettes during the Mickey Mouse Club?).

Point is, the song is so good, I could care less about the sponsorship. Hell, I could care less about the fact that it's one of those songs that makes regular people think they can sing it:

Quick question aside... why is it that every single person who sings a pop song into their webcam for YouTube has to be shirtless, and so ridiculously gay that a flaming drag queen homosexual will look at them and say, "Goddamn, honeybuns, you are fucking gay!"? Is there a written rule that I didn't notice when I agreed to the rules and regulations for the site?

Anyways, back to the point... there's one other thing I love about this song, and that is, the fact that it's the rare pop song nowadays that's not about sex, or drugs, or partying, or bling... it's about friendship, and caring for another (and here are the lyrics, for whoever wants them). It's about loving a person so much as a friend, that you're happy to be there for them at any time. Maybe you were once an item, but you're not anymore, who cares? You're still there for that person who meant so much to you, no matter what. "And that's when you need me there, with you I'll always share..." something best friends would say to one another. It's sweet, it's innocent, it's lovely.

Unless of course, "umbrella" is a synonym for "vagina." In which case the song's about a pity fuck.

However, I can't imagine a girl willing to do that ever going so far as saying "come into me," and meaning it in that context. So yeah, we'll stick with the innocent subtext for now.

Although Rihanna is naked and silvery in the video... hmm...