Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh holy balls.

Nickelodeon's classic Nicktoon lineup is (for all intents and purposes) on Netflix's Watch Instantly now.

Now, it doesn't have ALL the seasons of Rocko's Modern Life (and it probably doesn't have other seasons of other shows), nor does it have Doug (assuming it's because they lost the rights to Disney or something), BUT:

The good seasons of Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Hey Arnold, some probably censored episodes of Ren & Stimpy, the first season of Rocko, and Invader Zim for good measure.

This is fantastic, in case you didn't know.

Not just because I get to effectively relive my childhood and all, but also because they're all quality cartoons. I mean, Rugrats sucked for the majority of its run, but before the movie it was actually a pretty well written show. Hey Arnold had a cool, relaxed vibe to it (or maybe my perception of it is just clouded by its jazzy theme song...), Angry Beavers was fun as hell, and Invader Zim had the stigma of being worshipped by a few too many annoying teenagers... but it still had that great twisted, bizarre sense of humor.

It doesn't have everything though. Like Doug, which is unfortunate. Or Rocket Power, Wild Thornberrys or Catdog, but screw those shows. It also has Aaahh Real Monsters, but f*** that. IT'S GOT ANGRY BEAVERS! I HAVEN'T SEEN THAT SHOW IN YEARS!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Collections

Like most people who have nothing better to do with their lives, I like to collect stuff.

Unlike most people who have nothing better to do with their lives, I am too lazy to devote much time to the stuff I'm collecting, so my collections end up being more ideas rather than actual physical groups of stuff.

I hope to change this at some point... you know, once I have a disposable income (and become a teenager again), but as it is, I am going to have to slowly chip away at these collections while I try to fill them out.

That said, I decided to start a new collection today.

My birthday present was a Squidward made out of beads. It pretty much looks ten kinds of amazing.

How amazing was it? Well, so amazing that I thought to myself "Hey! I should start a Squidward collection! Cause he's awesome and stuff."

So I did.

I went to the Mall of America looking for Squidward related items, since I knew they'd have something after Nickelodeon crushed my memories of Camp Snoopy. The problem is that SpongeBob merchandise is inexplicably mostly centered around SpongeBob. SpongeBob and Patrick. So out of all the stores that was filled with SpongeBob and Patrick crap, I found three Squidward items-a pin, a coffee thermos, and a plush toy.

Which blows, because my Squidward collection won't thrive without a handy convenient location for all my Squidward needs. All it means is that I will have to work much harder at continuing this collection than I had previously realized.

Which means the collection is screwed.

(Also... Squidward was the start of another one of my collections, when I bought the Squidward Lego keychain at the Lego store and found myself collecting Lego keychains. I now also have a Santa Lego keychain and a Lego Rock Band generic character, which I got for free at work.)

(Squidward did not start my other other collection of bobbleheads. Although that would have been amazing... I only have one bobblehead, though. It's of Kevin Garnett as a Timberwolf that I found at a Goodwill for $2. I've had plenty of opportunities to buy other bobbleheads before Garnett, but the circumstances were never quite right. Oh well.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

LCD Soundsystem-This Is Happening

Apparently no one is going to say this, but this album kind of blows.

I mean, it's got its highlights, but for some inexplicable reason the press is going wild and giving it absurdly high scores. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that the dude is the same age as most of these writers and is still making what appears to be "hip" music. Whatever. All I know is that I'm not getting it AT ALL.

I like Sound Of Silver quite a bit. Sure, it sounded derivative or whatever, but the songs that really work (Get Innocuous, Someone Great, All My Friends) sounded fresh enough that it seemed as if he had moved on from his influences and created something that was entirely his own. I'm not getting that vibe from this album. Things sound like a retread. Things sound as if on cruise control.

All I Want sounds like Bowie's Heroes. Which is good, right? Cause Heroes is an amazing song, you know? Well, it is. This is not. There's the underpinning sadness that popped up in Someone Great and All My Friends, but it doesn't make the same kind of impact. Maybe because it just builds up to some annoying synths being laid over the repeating Heroes riff.

Drunk Girls is terrible. It sounds as if he wanted to write a dumb frat boy anthem--but with IRONY!!! Except... you're still trying to write a dumb frat boy anthem.

Pow Pow and One Touch are pretty much retooled versions of songs released on prior albums, but not nearly as well executed and sounding mostly like 16 minutes of filler. You Wanted A Hit is a blatant f-you to the record company or something, which immediately turns me off. Plus it just goes on for 9 minutes without really doing anything interesting (maybe that was the point... how provocative).

I think what I'm getting at is that the album feels LONG and not nearly as inspired as the previous album. There are redeeming moments, but it's just that the songs that I would deem legitimately great (Home) or near-great (Dance Yrself Clean) bookend the album, which means it's a tough slog between the two songs. I Can Change has a nice chorus, but the NES-esque synths prevent from really connecting with me.

But about the two songs I really enjoy: Dance Yrself Clean is a great opener, starting with this great minimalistic groove before the synths take over, which along with the vocals actually transforms the song this desperate and plaintive giant. The only negative is that it returns to the minimalism of the first section around the six minute mark, which I thought made a great ending. But then the synths come back... which is OK, but you know. A bit excessive.

Home sounds like the followup to All My Friends, except with a warm and comforting vibe (which I guess is fitting for a song called "Home"...) that sounds so amazingly refreshing after about 6 songs I feel for all intents and purposes middle-of-the-road about. So maybe that's the reason why I like it so much.

Here are some videos to make up for the fact that I wrote this at a way too late hour:



Friday, May 14, 2010

It's my birthday soon...

Not that I am announcing this just because I like to draw attention to myself (even though I do... and secretly this is why I'm saying this), but I'm pretty excited for it.

No particular reason why. In fact, I should be kind of dreading pretty much everything right about now, because:

1) I have to move all the big stuff home.
2) I need to cancel my internet service, which has turned out to be a problem because Comcast's website NEVER EVER works when it's supposed to.
3) I struggle with procrastinating, so "moving stuff home" and "trying in vain to cancel internet service" is a lot for me to do without me taking a mental breather. Which prevents me from looking at jobs and cars... which is what I need to do ASAP.

Not that I need to do all this stuff before the 20th, but... this all seems kind of daunting. Or at least it should seem daunting. Instead, my birthday is in 6 days. So I'm focusing on that and the positives of birthday stuff, which is:

1) I'll probably get treated to dinner somewhere.
2) People on Facebook will write happy birthday on my wall as part of their yearly communication with me (because... you know, my social life has hit nadir that this is something to look forward to).
3) The past few Mays I've had to worry about both school and moving. Well, now I only have to worry about one of those! Yeah!

Plus, Super Mario Galaxy comes out 4 days or so after my birthday. And although it'll be hard to justify spending $50 on it when I should be thrifty... maybe I'll get $10 or so from a relative. So that makes it pretty much $40. Which is somewhat better.

Also, Macgruber comes out the day after my birthday. Yes, I'm excited. No, I don't think that's something to be ashamed about.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'M GONNA BE YOUR LOVER BABY I'M GONNA BE YOUR MAN
I'M GONNA BE YOUR LOVER BABY I'M GONNA BE YOUR MAN

....

GONNA BE YOUR MAN!
GONNA BE YOUR MAN!
GONNA BE YOUR MAN!
GONNA BE YOUR MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN

It goes something like that.

After playing about 10 minutes of Beatles Rock Band, this got stuck in my head. It will never leave. Never ever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

High Violet

The National's new album comes out today. Of course, since I am a bad person, I've already digested it a couple times. But I'm only choosing to write about it now, because I didn't want you to know that I am a bad person and listened to it early.

So, expectations were not all that high on my end. Which might sort of be untrue, since their previous two albums probably would have placed #1 and #2 on my "best-of-decade" list (which I am sure I wrote at some point, but I'm too lazy to look for it right now). But that was it: they released two absolutely amazing albums in a row, so making and releasing a third consecutive amazing album--all the while dealing with the added pressures that a booming popularity and that audience's heightened expectations--seemed unlikely to happen.

And it didn't. Quality stuff though it is, it didn't give me the same thrill that the punch of Alligator and the drive of Boxer gave me. But I'm OK with that, you know? They crafted a solid piece of music, didn't embarrass themselves. and made a record that won't turn off any of the prospective listeners while still maintaining their overall sound.

It's weird, though. It seems as if they're making a play for the limelight by creating such a lush, epic and grand album... but overall everything seems much more refined and restrained. Case in point: they played Terrible Love on Jimmy Fallon a month or two back, and while it had me excited for the album, it sounded slightly off. Mainly, it sounded as if they were trying a little *too* hard to make this big, epic rock anthem that 30 somethings would be pounding their fists to at the 20,000-seat arena concert. So what they do on record is pretty much ruin the song by using a demo-esque recording and de-emphasizing the guitars in favor of a much more moodier sound. It loses the sheen the song seemed to have developed while also making it much more powerful in the process.

Overall as well, the guitars and drums have been de-emphasized in favor of more intricate arrangements. It's a move that fits the batch of songs that they have, but it does lead me to miss the Apartment Stories and Mr. Novembers. Which is probably why I love Bloodbuzz Ohio so much, simply because it seems like a song written during the sessions of Boxer and comes in at the exact time when I'm yearning for something sounding like a Boxer track. I heard the song a month or so back, and while enjoyable, I was hoping that there were much stronger tracks in store for me. It sounds much more magnificent in the context of the album.

Other highlights: England takes a while to build up, but by the end it's grand and bohemian--aiming for the bigger sound I assumed they'd go for, but in an intricate manner. Which is usually preferable to having the song beat you over the head about how it is about to change the world or whatever. (Basically, I'm basing my opinion on this album based on my opinions on Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, which tried to sound bigger and more important--and eventually ended up just pissing me off to no end).

Lemonworld I go back and forth between love and hate. I hate how it starts out (with the simple one note guitar strumming and all), but it ends up picking up steam... plus the chorus is pretty much the best thing on the album. And Afraid Of Everyone seems to drift pretty heavily into Radiohead territory--which is a good thing. It's menacing as hell. And Little Faith again takes a while to get going--but the arrangement is just dark, sinister and lovely.

Not a huge fan of Anyone's Ghost, which sports a terrible chorus and doesn't have the pulsating beat to make it work as either a rock song or something more dense and atmospheric. And Runaway's pretty, but sounds too much like Racing Like A Pro (not one of my favorites--plus this song's about twice as long).

All in all, though--pleased. Not wowed nor disappointed, rather just happy that it will hopefully convert more people into fans. Which will then lead people to discover how awesome Alligator is, since that's the most commercial-sounding the band will probably ever get.

It's 2 AM. This is enough.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I need money

Just a list of things that have broken down in the last few months that I can't fix at the moment because I am broke:

-iPod: plays for about 20 minutes. Then the battery dies.
-Trimmer: Sometimes works for a few minutes... sometimes doesn't work at all. Is the main factor in my increasingly grizzly-man-esque look (secondary factor: laziness.)
-Lamp: it was held together by tape as is, but I think the plug-in somehow broke. Was replaced by a much smaller lamp that is sort of falling apart as is.
-Laptop power adapter: Miraculously found that my mother's old laptop adapter works on my computer... except that it doesn't stay in on its own. It is currently being held in by two pieces of duct tape.
-Laptop driver: the latest to break down! Now I can't watch my DVDs. Which means that I really can't watch any of them at the moment (I mean, I have an actual DVD player, but the instances where I can actually use it are rare for a variety of reasons).

I can fix the last two (I hope), since my laptop's under warranty. But... they could go ahead and charge me anyway. Plus it'd mean I'd have to be without computer for two weeks. Which would be hell.

It's been kind of annoying, since I have a bunch of DVDs to watch that I can't... which leads me to have a lot of free time.

Which I could use to look for new jobs (which would, you know... allow me to actually accumulate some money).

...or I could watch the stuff in my streaming queue on Netflix...

...that's probably what I'm going to do.

Hello Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's almost summer movie season...

This article kind of annoys me.

Not because it has the gall to suggest that Marmaduke might not be considered the comic strip equivalent of Shakespeare... but because it's becoming increasingly clear to me that I might be the only person in the world that likes Marmaduke.

So it's not like I actively seek out Marmaduke first thing in the morning, but whenever I have the comics in my hand and whenever the comics page is blessed with the strip, I read it. And enjoy it. It's not particularly well drawn, it isn't humorous or filled with keen observations or anything. It's just an old guy making a strip about a big dog in about a minute and then collecting his paycheck. And because of that tossed-off quality the strip possesses... it somehow endears itself to me. Cause, you know... just about all comic strips play it safe, recycling old tropes over and over again because it can get away with it. And Marmaduke makes that painfully obvious... and I like that.

Thus, I am excited for the Marmaduke movie, even though no one else in the world is.



I'm trying really hard to adequately convey why exactly I want to see this by using examples from the trailer... but I can't. I mean, I know it's going to suck. It takes the franchise and decides that what it needs is a "dog high school." It features a dog dance routine. Which doesn't exactly fit the "dated by 50 years" modus operandi of the comic strip, but it keeps with the lazy spirit of the strip by hiring hack Hollywood screenwriters to produce a lazy talking-animal family movie. Plus it has William H. Macy in what will probably be his finest role since Fargo. Or something.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that it's Marmaduke. And I have to see it.

I might buy a ticket for a different movie, and then sneak into the Marmaduke showing in a dark hoodie or something.... but still, it is something that I have to do.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm in my apartment right now. Doing all sorts of things.

-Slowly packing up all my stuff. My current plan is to move home for a bit, which was the result of many factors:
1) I am still broke, and circumstances have prevented me from deciding to continue to live here/seek out a roommate of any sort. Which means an increase in rent wherever I'd go. So screw that for a bit.
2) I probably just should have moved home to begin with, cause I wasn't going to handle the stress of being unemployed/broke and out on my own for the first time. And I didn't. So I guess this is sort of a quasi-restart. Plus I'm getting along with my family well enough that the thought of moving back home sounds kind of cool at the moment.
3) ...I need a car. Cause I'd rather not be limited in a job search by where I'm living and how accessible it is to my bus route.
4) My brothers haven't seen Taxi Driver, so... I'll spend my time there well.

I think the plan is that I'm going to bring a few things home this week, but I'm starting to figure out that I have way too much stuff. Since I technically won't have my own room, I'll have to stuff a bunch of crap in boxes and leave them out in the garage. Except I already have a bunch of crap in boxes. So I'm forced to go through all my boxes and decide what is worth keeping. Except that I'm a pack rat and I can justify keeping pretty much everything. I don't know how I'm able to do this every year or so.

-Trying--and failing--to apply for some jobs. I was able to churn out three applications after a particularly crappy night of work. That felt pretty f'n good. So my logic was that since I was hating work, and I had to work three days in a row after that, I'd be able to channel my frustrations again every night after work and have the most productive week in the history of my life. Which, of course, failed when each work shift somehow turned out to be pleasant. So now I don't know how to motivate myself to keep applying.

What happened that inspired me was that I got tired of some of my boss' BS and sort of publicly conveyed that, which then resulted in him scheduling me for 8 hours this week (8 less than the pothead employee who none of the managers seem to like), and then giving me a "verbal warning"--which then turned into a 2 hour diatribe about how everyone is wrong about the fact that he spends half his time at work taking personal calls. Then the rest of the week I didn't see him at all, and everything was fine.

So... I guess the key is to intentionally be a jackass towards my boss, thus causing more of a strain. Then... you know, I'll be able to channel that negative energy again and get stuff done! Yeah!

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.

-My roommate and his not-girlfriend girl friend are currently home jamming to Bittersweet Symphony. Or something. I walked out a while ago and they were both shirtless.

*shrugs*

-Trying to decide whether or not I should continue watching this stream of old 1997 WWF shows (yeah, I know... I'm a dork) or turn on another episode of Mad Men. Mad Men has this languid pace to it that I'm really enjoying--not a whole lot happens, but the tradeoff is that you get these complex characters evolving as they go about life. I'd say the stories feel "old school", but of course the only reason I'm saying that is because the show's taking place in the 60s and they casually participate in activities that is now considered socially unacceptable. Plus I'd hate myself if I were to use the phrase "old school"... but still. I'm trying to say that I'm enjoying it.

But of course, on the other hand... you have Bret Hart and Stone Cold beating the crap out of each other while you have matches with people named Flash Funk and The Sultan. Nothing can really top that.

Plus the show was sponsored by Karate Fighters. Those were some of my favorite toys as a kid.