Metalocalypse

You probably haven’t seen it – but there’s a new fictional band in town worth watching – DethKlok.

They’re on a show on Adult Swim called “Metalocalypse.” This is the funniest show about a fictionla band since Spinal Tap.

The premise is simple – they are a half American, half Scandinavian Death Metal band they enjoys huge popularity. They also are at the center of what I believe is the coming of the Apocalypse – and the US government knows about this, and so tries to keep them in line.

For example – in one episode they convert a Finnish folksong into a death metal song and it summons a large troll from the underdark. They are charged with getting rid of it – and to do so they have to play acoustically – and play all old traditional instruments – lute, harp, etc…

It’s a really funny show – check it out.

–*Rob

Real Life Improv

I just came across the funniest site I’ve seen in a long time. Apparently there is a group of people in Manhattan called “Improv Everywhere”. I’d heard about them once before but didn’t investigate them further.

Basically they do what they call real life improv performances, which they catch on videotape. For their latest one, they got over 200 people together and went shopping in a Manhattan Home Depot store. They first shopped in slow motion for 5 minutes, then actually froze in place in the store for 5 minutes. Imagine being in a store and people all around you froze. It freaked out the employees as well as the other shoppers. They have video on their site of the mission.

They have done a number of other missions – most notably one where they all dressed in blue shirts and khakis and invaded a Best Buy store – causing confusion among the customers and employees as to who actually worked at the store!

The site will definitely have you sitting there for quite a while poring over all their missions. Really, really funny stuff and if I lived in New York City, I’d love to participate in some of these.

–*Rob

Open iPod, Insert Drive

This is a little techie, but not that much so.

I’m sure from reading this blog, you know how much I love my iPod. No single electronic device I have owned has ever so captured my attention. Between the total music customization and podcasts – I now never listen to the radio. Ever.

Imagine my utter dismay when my iPod’s hard drive started failing. It was failing probably for a few months before it got really bad and I investigated the symptoms. For those with Ipods – if your iPod ever pauses more than a second before playing a song, or skips songs altogether, and/or makes a rather loud clicking noise (loud for the iPod that is) – you have a potentially dying hard drive. It wasn’t horrible for quite a while – usually I would do a restore to the iPod and let it re-sync all the music.

About 3 weeks ago it started to get really bad. It would drop in the middle of songs, and wouldn’t sync at all at times. The PC wouldn’t see it as an iPod, just a removeable drive, and then two weeks ago it got the Folder with the Exclamation point icon – meaning it could not find a good file system on its hard drive.

Well needless to say I was pretty dang upset. I mean the thing is only 20 months old. There is a lot of speculation with folks on a lot of iPod forums over what causes the failure, but the bottom line is it was just about dead. I hobbled along for about a week with another restore, and then a trip to the freezer for about an hour every day (which seems to help the problem temporarily). But the drive needed to be replaced.

Being unemployed, finances are pretty darn tight. But I did find an alternative to getting a new iPod – you can replace the hard drive in it. You have to be a bit brave to crack the iPod yourself, but I found a great guide on how to do it. Apple charges $250 to repair the iPod – aka put a new drive in. That’s almost as much as a brand new iPod!

I looked at the DVD and CD collection. I had some stuff I didn’t need and a variety of movies I never watch. I took them to the Princeton Record Exchange and traded ’em for cash. Then I went and ordered a new hard drive for the iPod.

Now the drive that came with the thing was 20 GB, and for $89 I could have gotten that same drive. But for $99 I could get a 30 GB drive. 10 more gig for a mere 10% more? I’m in.

Today I got the replacement drive, and none too soon because even though the iPod was still kind of working yesterday for about an hour, today I fired it up and got the sad Ipod icon. Talk about good timing. Opening the iPod was not as hard as I thought, but you do have to swallow your pride of having a pristine iPod. I chewed up the edge of the plastic on one side just a little. Once I got it open, replacing the drive was a piece of cake.

So now I’m back up and running with a nice 30 GB iPod. IT’s amazing the attachment we get to certain electronic items, but the iPod is probably the single thing I use the most every day.

It is so good to have my precious back. So good…. My precious…..

–*Rob

Most Played on my iPod

Janet at The Art Of Getting By is trying to get something started with her “Tell It To Me Tuesday” thing. Since her question this week kind of relates to my last post – I figured I’d give it a shot. So – she asks: “What are some songs you can listen to over and over? And if you’re up for the challenge, what do you think it is about these songs that makes them so special?”

Well, I figured the easiest way to go about this was to head to iTunes – and look at the songs with the most number of plays. If I filter out all the kids’ songs (which by far get the most play over and over for my daughter) – here’s what I came up with:

O.A.R. – “Love and Memories” – I got this song back in last October. Yes, last October and it’s just this summer become a big hit.

Cake – “No Phone”

Cake – “Wheels”

The Refreshments – “Banditos”

H.I.M. – “Wings of a Butterfly”

I have to admit that with the iPod I rotate songs a lot more often and I probably don’t play other favorites as much as I used to. It’s good because it gives some a rest. But here are some others not at the top of my iPod plays that I love:

AC/DC – “Back in Black”

Billy Joel – “Pressure”

Matthew Sweet – “Girlfriend”

Styx – “Mr. Roboto”

And finally – anything by They Might be Giants, Cake, Fountains of Wayne or Weird Al Yankovic. Anything.

What makes a song special? I think I tend to gravitate toward songs with a good beat – usually upbeat and rocking. Most of the time I’m trying to rock out in the car, and if sitting in traffic I’ll play the air drums. Lyrics play a part in some songs – and you can see by my tastes of the bands that I love anything they do – I like ironic, sardconic, or just plain funny stuff. Even something like “Pressure” by Billy Joel is just such a hoot, and if you’ve never heard “Banditos” – go find it and listen!

–*Rob

–*Rob

Top Of My Pod

I’m a singles guy mostly, when it comes to music. Yes, I have a certain number of albums that I do enjoy as whole works, but by and large, I love a good catchy song with a good hook. Lately there seem to be a dearth of good songs, and I want to tell you about a few. So here’s what is at the top of my iPod’s “New Music” playlist:

1 – Cobra Starship – “Snakes On A Plane(Come On Bring It)” – This has to be the breakout hit song of the summer. Even if the movie sucks, the song is a great pop/rock song.

2 – Weird Al Yankovic – “You’re Pitiful” – His parody of the James Blunt ballad. Cut from his upcoming album due to a dispute with Blunt’s record label – it’s a free download at his website.

3 – Chamillionaire – “Ridin” – I downloaded this rap song in prep for Weird Al’s parody of it which will be on his upcoming album. It’s the first rap song in a long time I’ve actually kind of liked. It has a good hook and I can already hear Al’s rumored “White and Nerdy” chorus in the song.

4 – Under the Influence of Giants – “Mama’s Room” – This song sounds like it could have come right out of the 70’s. It’s got a beat like the Exile song “Kiss You All Over” and the falsetto and strings in the chorus that was so prevalent in songs of that era. It’s like a trip back to 70’s pop with a new twist.

5 – Muse – “Knights Of Cydonia” – I’d never heard anythign by this band before – but this song is so much fun. It starts out like something you’d have heard in some Road Warrior meets a Surfer Dude movie – and then breaks into an amazing guitar rocker. Then the vocals come in, and I can’t help but think about it like an upbeat Queen song. Just listen to it, you’ll see what I mean.

6 – Nickelback – Rock Star – Their ode to the excesses of living the lifestyle of a rockstar. Fun, and unlike their usual stuff – scaled back quite a bit.

7 – Kevin Reeves – “Throw Me A Line” – One of a number of ‘Podsafe’ superstars – a fun upbeat rockin’ song.

8 – Audioslave – “Original Fire” – A really upbeat hard rocker from former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. You can’t help but move to this song.

9 – The Shakes – “Liberty Jones” – A Beatle-esque mid tempo song. Really good hook, and these folks are also podsafe.

10 – Gym Class Heroes – “The Queen and I” – Folksy electronic rap – if you can understand what that means. Really different – and if you like Gorillaz you will probably like this band.

11 – Angels and Airwaves “Do It For Me Now” – Very cool and interesting second single from Blink 182 frontman Tom DeLonge’s new band.

12 – Adam and Andrew – “Emo Kid” – A really funny song about….what’s in the title. Well worth a listen.

That’s it. Check some of the songs out.

–*Rob

Time Keeps Marchin’ On!

(This is whiny)

Over the years I’ve read a lot of woman’s magazines like Cosmo and Woman’s Day etc. They were all pretty consistent in saying to keep your skin looking younger you’ve got to start now and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize and make sure it’s got a sunblock in it. Over the years I’ve tried various brands of moisturizer with varying results. I’ve now gotten to that point in my life where I’m noticing the fine feathery lines under and around my eyes. What I did in my twenty’s and early thirty’s doesn’t seem to keep time from setting in.

I’ve been on the lookout for some eye cream that will help me fight the signs of aging. Of course, according to the advertising, they all do. They are all little miracles in a bottle, tube or jar. They say they will fight the puffiness and dark circles. One promises to plump my eyes. I guess that means it’ll help with my lines but I haven’t found anything that actually says it’ll help. I also got the impression that said product was just a temporary fix for the day and that tomorrow I’d be saggy and wrinkly again.

These goops, cremes, lotions and potions are just too damn expensive to go around trying them willy nilly. I need some help. Is there hope? Well, there is hope. Hope in a Bottle, Hope in a Tube and Hope in a Jar from a nice little company called Philosophy but it’ll cost me roughly $30 a piece to try those products. That’s looks like it’s marketed directly at me doesn’t it.

When you read the product descriptions for these items, they’re really geared more toward my emotional well being rather then telling me exactly what effect this stuff is going to have on my face. I suppose at this point, the crossroads if you will, between 20 & 30 something to entering the very beginning edge of middle age is somewhat emotionally disturbing. I guess it’s nice that some company out there realizes it. Not that I have anything against Philosphy or their products, I haven’t tried them.

There are so many choices out there, every thing claiming to be better and improved. They all want you to buy their product. Do I have to spend $95.00 for a tube of eye cream? I would. If I knew before I spent the money that it would work. I just don’t want to blow $1000 on a bunch of trial and big fat errors before I end up with $95.00 cream. I also don’t want to spend $95.00 if there’s a $30.00 potion out there that would be just as effective.

I just want to know….What really works? Somebody? Please? Anyone?
I don’t have a flippin clue.