Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music Update (part 2)

Paint it Black - Live on the streets of Philly

Yeah, the sound from this show isn't the best, so click on their name above to go to the myspace. "New Lexicon" is in my top 5 of the year for sure and is the most solid hardcore release of '08 in my opinion.

My Morning Jacket - Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2

My Morning Jacket performed the best show I've seen in 2008 (yes, beating Radiohead), but I am still a little torn over the new album "Evil Urges." I doubted that they'd be able to top "Z" and I don't think they did. There are still some really awesome songs on this one, though it doesn't feel as complete and as moving as "Z" did. That said, a lackluster MMJ record is still better than most bands best.

Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating

Crystal Castles might be the ultimate pretentious hipsters, but I still don't hate them. The 8-bit sound of much of their stuff (albeit borrowed from chiptune artists, check out the controversy here) is really appealing to me and quite catchy. Their self-titled album that was released this year was missing a few tracks that I have heard from early demos, but also contained a few surprises as well. Listen to this stuff and try to keep your head still.

Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook (live with Björk!)

Goddbledigook, which is possibly the most feel-good song of the year (regardless of the fact that we have no clue what he's saying), is only enhanced when Björk takes the stage alongside the band. I'll be honest, I haven't even listened to the entirety of "Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust," but what I have heard so far I liked a lot.

Portishead -Machine Gun

I'll be honest, I haven't heard much of Portishead before the new album "Thirds," but I've read it has a bit of a different vibe than their past material - yet retains some familiarity. The album is haunting, minimalist, beautiful and vulnerable. And Beth has an absolutely amazing voice. Portishead's back-catalog is on my list of stuff to find for sure.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Music Update (part 1)

Here are a five videos from bands I have really fallen for in 2008. I'll be posting more and more when I have time, with a complete "Best of '08" list coming soon.

Vivian Girls - Tell the World
I don't think I liked this song the first time I heard it, but this album has really grew on me over the last few days. If you are into genre definition, I'd call them shoegazey indie noise-punk. With female vocals of course. Just watch the video.

M83 - Kim and Jesse
I know every critic has said this, but this album truly could have been the soundtrack to most of your favorite 80s teen romance movies. Just like all the rest of his stuff, it's really, really good.

Fucked Up - Twice Born
This video was shot in a Men's bathroom (errr, washroom) for MTV Canada. Pretty funny that they got onto TV again. I still need to experience a Fucked Up live show.

Blacklisted - I am Weighing Me Down
Blacklisted puts on helluva show. Unfortunately, they made a pretty lame video (but the song still rules). If you are into hardcore at all, you must already have "Heavier than Heaven, Lonelier than God." For those of you not familiar, give it a shot.

Torche - Healer
This is easily one of my favorite songs released this year. Torche is awesome because their new album "Meanderthal" can appeal to Isis fans just as easy as they can appeal to Red Hot Chilli Pepper fans. And they are one of the only bands with a gay vocalist that I can think of that doesn't suck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tofurkey, Sunsets, Beer and a Xmas Tree

What could they have in common? They are all things I've photographed over the last 3 days.

The Images:




The Descriptions:
a) A Tofurkey Vegetarian Feast we had tonight. It came with a Tofurky loaf, gravy, apple and cranberry potato dumplings, and a wish bone. Molly also fixed up some salad, goat cheese and bread, along with the potatoes and green beans you see surrounding the loaf. The food was actually quite delicious. Who needs meat anymore?

b) A pretty sunset from today around 4:30. It's so awesome having a 180 degree view out the windows at work. The clear skies have been producing some cold nights and even colder mornings.

c) Brewer's Night at the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern. Sierra Nevada was there this week and I won some pint glasses. And our friend "Chubby Mac" was there yet again.

d) The fake tree at my work near my cube. I put it together and decorated it pretty much all by myself. I am glad I got to decorate at least one tree this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dear Blog

Sorry I've been ignoring you over the last week. I've been busy with my boyfriend who was visiting over the week of Thanksgiving. We did a lot of fun stuff together that prevented me from sitting on the computer:

- Went to my sister's for Thanksgiving dinner and hung out with the family
- Trent and I cooked my very first casserole for Thanksgiving. It had yams, butternut squash, plantains, nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with gouda and sharp cheddar. It was really tasty!
- Visited Mt. Baker and played in the snow
- Went record shopping
- Visited the Department of Safety and Mt. Eerie in Anacortes
- Played Rock Band 2
- Drank a lot of wonderful teas (vanilla rooibos and almond green being my favorites)
- Saw some friend's bands play (Connecticut Four and Brownes Condition)
- Watched Zach and Miri Make a Porno (second time for me)
- Went to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art only to find they were switching exhibits.
- Went to the Lummi Island ferry dock only to find an enormous line that would have taken ages.
- Ate out waaaay too much. Here are some of the places off of the top of my head: The Bagelry, Mallard's, Dos Padres, Fiamma Pizza, Casa Que Pasa, The Temple Bar, On Rice, The Little Cheerful, Rocket Donuts, Great Harvest Bread, Fairhaven Pizza and Pepper Sisters. Phew! I guess bears love to eat.
- Found a hungry cat that belonged to a neighbor. He wouldn't leave after we fed him cheese. I'll finish this post with a photo of Trent and the little bugger. The cat even had the balls to wander into my apartment.

Don't worry my faithful blog-followers, I'll be back to regular posting soon!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Björk!

Happy 43rd birthday to Björk! Since I can't make it down to Iceland for her party, I'll have to celebrate in my own way from home. I am currently streaming a playlist that was on WMFU today. It's 3 hours of Björk, with songs from throughout her entire career (including Sugarcubes of course).

Check out the playlist here and or stream it through iTunes by clicking here.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The New Xbox Experience

Yesterday, Microsoft released the much-anticipated New Xbox Experience yesterday. It's basically a fancy term for the new 360 Dashboard. The old one seemed a bit clunky and dated to me, so I love the new look and features. In addition to menu's facelift, you can now:

- Create an Avatar for your gamertag, which is already integrated in some games
- Stream your Netflix queue directly from your 360
- Create parties to chat and game with up to seven friends at once
- Install games onto your hard drive for faster load times
- Play new Community Games, which is a new section of the Games Marketplace
- Purchase games, themes, etc. from http://marketplace.xbox.com to have downloaded the next time you sign on to Live

Free updates like these are why the 360 is my favorite console that I've owned at this point. I love how the system was created to be able to change and update through software. Who knows how different the system will be in a year from now. Plus, check out my avatar! I actually had a lot of fun making him, although I wish they offered a bigger beard selection.

Check it out, my avatar was featured on an awesome gaming blog Joystiq.

The Future of Food in Japan

The following is an animated video released by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries about ensuring the future of food in Japan. It's very entertaining and informative, and is applicable to most countries. Japan has, for the most part, abandoned much of its traditional diet and replaced it with more of the bad, fatty food we tend to eat more of here in the U.S. This poses many problems, but I'll let the video explain why we should all eat local:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get Up Kids Reunion!

According to the music blog of the Kansas City Star, The Get Up Kids are playing a show this Sunday! It'll be their first show in 3 years. Vocalist Matt Pryor told the blog:

"Next year is the 10th anniversary of our second record, 'Something to Write Home About,' which was our most popular record. We talked to Vagrant about doing a 10-year anniversary edition with a DVD and a photo book and all that stuff. Then we thought, 'Hey, we should play some shows.' This summer we got everybody on-board. Then we basically told a bunch of people about it and then denied it, just to be contrary.

"We weren't going to do it until next year, but we decided it'd be funny if we just showed up and played a show. We thought about doing it Thanksgiving, like, 'Hey, we all happen to be home for Thanksgiving ...,' but that didn't work out."

They've also released new shirts with the words "Be Prepared." Could this imply a full reunion tour or maybe them getting back together? This all makes this guy pretty damn stoked. They were the band responsible for getting me into independent music and away from the shit flooding the airwaves and MTV. Sure the band's last couple albums weren't my favorites, but "Something to Write Home About" is still at the top of my favorite albums list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Super Street Fighter II HD Remix

I spent a great deal of time and money in the arcades growing up playing a much less awesome-looking version of this game. The bowling alley across the street from my house had a machine that I poured countless quarters into (along with the Stargate Pinball game) with friends when we'd stop after school. I also remember getting Street Fighter II Turbo on the Sega Genesis as a gift when I came home from getting my appendix removed. It made being bedridden a much more pleasant experience for sure.

Because of the demand from fans, Capcom decided to make a high-res HD version of Super Street Fighter II. If this game isn't a good enough of an excuse for me to finally make the jump to an HDTV, I don't know what is. According to Wikipedia, it will be out sometime this month. I haven't been able to find an official exact release date yet, so let's just hope it's out by the end of the year.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Role Models

Friday night was spent in Seattle with great friends, fantastic beer and a hilarious movie, to celebrate Eric's 25th year of birth. We started with dinner and drinks at the Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub. The beer was great (Mongoose IPA, mmmm), the portabella mushroom burger decent. Next we saw "Role Models" starring Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, directed by David Wain (of Wet Hot American Summer and Stella fame). The movie started slow and wasn't all that funny, but it really picked up, especially when it started to focus so much on LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing). David Wain's directing is always a hit (WHAS) or miss (The Ten) for me, and this one falls more toward the hit side. Definitely check it out.

Eric, Julie and Lauren outside of the Metro Theatre on Capitol Hill.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Night

We really did it. America has elected Barack Obama to be it's 44th President. I couldn't have been more happy about that. For the first time in my adult life on November 4, 2008, I truly felt proud to be an American.

I spent the evening with the Whatcom Democrats at the Lakeway Inn. Food was provided and the night was hosted by Congressman Rick Larsen. It was really awesome to be around a whole bunch of passionate people from the community who supported Obama. Folks were cheering, crying, calling loved ones, hugging each other... Because not only did Obama win the election, but he won by a landslide like I was hoping for. He took over what were past red states across the country, and is sparking a new political landscape.

Lakeway Inn:

We headed downtown after getting some food at Boomer's to find another large gathering at the corner of Railroad and Holly. I honked the horn, parked and joined the celebration. We chanted, danced, cheered and had a good time. Eventually the group started heading up Holly, completely blocking traffic. We turned onto Samish and heading back down Chestnut, gathering once more at the corner of Chestnut and Railroad. Here is an awesome video from the march, a few more photos I took, followed by a few from Lauren. It was a total blast and a night I'll never forget.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Morning Jacket Vinyl Collection

So I've basically spent all day and night helping a friend list her record collection on ebay. There's lots of good stuff at great prices, so check out the selection here: http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/thegetupkid69

In the process of taking photos of her stuff, I decided to take the photo above of all of my My Morning Jacket records. I am pretty sure I have all of their stuff now minus the spoken word LP they put out, but I don't really count that ;)

I was inspired to take a photo like that because of a thread I saw on the deadformat.net message board. People are posting their collections of a single artist and this one made me INSANELY JEALOUS. Easily the best collection on the internet:

The Get Up Kids

I don't even like to imagine how much that is worth.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Torche at El Corazon

Both Torche and Coliseum put on kick-ass shows at El Corazon last night in Seattle. First of all, it was crazy to be back at that venue after so long. It takes a special band or two to get me to drive down for shows lately, usually due to work or lack of people to come with me, but I am glad I made the effort last night. Both bands had a ton of energy. Torche was heavy as shit and I think Coliseum played faster live then on record, which was impressive. The show wasn't totally packed (which was nice), I got some sweet merch, and I even got to meet fellow homo, Steve Brooks, who sings for Torche and was a really nice guy. Seattle's The Stranger published this roundtable discussion about being gay in the music scene. Brooks is interviewed along with Brian Cook of These Arms are Snakes and Juan Valezquez of Abe Vigoda. It's a pretty interesting read, but maybe just because I can relate.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Carving pumpkins for the first time in a few years made me feel nostalgic. I miss pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating and all the stuff that made Halloween so great as a kid. These days, I can hardly muster up the energy to throw together a costume. Tonight I'll be seeing Torche and Coliseum (two bands appropriate for Halloween, I think) at El Corazon and then either hitting up some bars or a house party with some friends. Either way, should be a good time, although I won't be gorging on any candy and scaring little kids like years past.

Oh, and in the photo above, my pumpkin is on the right (Chris on the left, Lauren center). I intended it to be a Mario pumpkin but the top of it caved in. So I spun it around and let my arm guide the knife, resulting in what you see above.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guitar Hero: World Tour

I spent much of my evening at my Nate and Molly's place playing the new Guitar Hero game on the Wii. The drums feel so much more solid than the Rock Band ones. It takes a little while to get used to having six drums on the screen to follow, but soon it starts working out better once you get used to it and the game provides a much more realistic drumming experience than Rock Band. The bass drum pedal isn't nearly as tiring as it is in Rock Band (just like real-life cheap pedals) and the kit feels much more sturdy all around. In fact, the whole experience is much more comfortable.

My only problem so far is the new way to execute star power on the guitar. Instead of tilting the guitar, there is a button near where you strum that activates it. It was pretty awkward and I kept trying to tilt it. We didn't get to try bass or sing (you need a wiimote for every player - BOO!) so I can't speak about those, but it's probably safe to say it's better than Rock Band. Plus, and this is a major plus for me, I got to play "One Armed Scissor" by at the drive-in. They are one of my all-time favorites, so that was rad.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Larrabee State Park

I love a beautiful fall day like today. Kayser and I decided to go for a drive on Chuckanut and visit Larrabee State Park. We decided to abandon the trail on our way back and ended up on the railroad tracks on the wrong side of the fence from the park. Kayser ended up cutting himself up pretty bad jumping the fence. Hopefully he won't get lockjaw.
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Björk's Homogenic LP

I am currently immensely enjoying Björk's Homogenic on 200 gram vinyl. The volume is set just about as loud as my ears can comfortably take it with my headphones, and I don't really give a shit. It's pressed with Direct Metal Mastering, meaning the groove is cut directly in copper metal and results in a better detail resolution and a lower noise ratio. It was also pressed using the original master tapes. All that shit aside; it sounds INCREDIBLE. The album easily fits in my top 5 of all time. $35 for this on vinyl was a steal.

Watch these; the videos of Homogenic:


Alarm Call:

All is Full of Love:



Pluto (live):

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Gettin' Crunk

Getting crunk in Bellingham at The Grand. The Pavement songs I have coming up on the digital jukebox behind us are taking WAY too long to start playing.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Hugo Awakening

As requested by former colleague Mr. Al Castle, here are some more shots of Hugo. He woke me up twice this morning running on his wheel. Of course as soon as I turn the light on and try to snap a pic of him in action, he stops completely. I can't believe how fast and long that little guy can run on that thing. Maybe he's training for the Hamster Olympics or something.

I'm still working on getting some video of Hugo being all cute while he's running or eating, but in the meantime, watch this one:


No, I didn't take this, but a friend showed it to me and it was too good not to post here. Think she looks guilty much?

Unfortunately, this image brings to mind childhood memories of when I accidentally caught the clubhouse on fire in my parent's backyard when I tried smoking a cigarette out there. I most definitely did not have the look of the girl above though. When I finally confessed, I was balling my eyes out because I felt so guilty. My little brother ended up taking the blame until I told my parents what I had done a few days later. I was supposed to be grounded for quite awhile, but lasted less than a week because I was a good kid and certainly learned my lesson. Thankfully our house didn't burn down; the clubhouse was only a few feet away!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Whatcom Democrats Literature Drop

This is Matt. He proudly displays a "Republicans for Obama" sticker on his bedroom door. He and I used to get into some pretty heavy debates a few years back, but because of the religious right and the fact that Sarah Palin is the VP nominee, he promptly reconsidered.

I have been wanting to volunteer and do something for Obama's campaign for awhile now, and finally got off my ass and did it thanks to Matt's Facebook status update asking if anyone wanting to join him this morning. Sure, it was only passing out flyers for the Whatcom Democrats to (mostly) registered Democrats around WWU reminded them to vote Democrat, but it still felt good. We were surprised to find on our route an adorable Corgi! Anyone who knows me, knows I am in love with these dogs. I can't wait to get one someday. Just look at it! I wanted to pick it up and run back to my apartment.

During the brisk walk on the hills around the Sehome neighborhood, I worked up quite an appetite. My wonderful boyfriend suggested a meal after I told him about the veggies and supplies I possessed. You are seeing a yellow curry dish with carrots, potatoes, spinach and shallots with green tea. Scrumptious!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mega Man 9 Press Kit!

Look what came in the mail at work today! Only 200 of these awesome press kits exist. They were given out to the press and select members of the Capcom Forum Community (myself included). The remaining press kits went up for sale to the general public and sold out very quickly. They are going on ebay right now for a few hundred dollars each, but I think I am going to hold on to it for awhile without opening it. I already know what the box contains; a gutted NES cartridge with a press cd inside that contains high-res artwork, fact sheets and some video. The contents can be downloaded here.

Now I just need to beat the damn game this weekend. Wiley's castle is tough!
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Here's the inside of the box:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Final Presidential Debate

Could this man be any more creepy / evil? I think we saw a very angry and aggressive side of McCain last night that is quite frankly, a little scary. If he can't keep his cool in a civil presidential debate, how is he supposed to run this country with the confidence that is necessary?

Speaking of being evil, am I the only person bothered by how much McCain wants things to be the "states rights" when those issues are things that should clearly apply to every American?

From CNN about McCain:
Believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act but voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Says states and local governments should set their own marriage policies.

Voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1996. During an interview in 2000, McCain said: "I think that the present laws that clearly prevent a discrimination of any kind certainly [apply] to gays and homosexuals as well. That's why I voted the way that I did. I think that enforcement of existing law could work rather than passing special laws for special categories of people."

When asked about the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, McCain said: "...I don't think there's any doubt that there are evolving attitudes in America about many issues, including this one, but every military leader that I talk to, I say 'Should we change it?' They say, 'It's working.' And right now we've got the best military we've ever had -- the most professional, best trained, equipped and the bravest. And so I think it's logical to leave this issue alone. I really do."

The McCain campaign states that gay adoption is a state issue and does not endorse any federal legislation.


If the current laws apply to "gays and homosexuals" (wait, isn't that the same thing?), then how come I could get fired just for being myself in 19 of our states? Look at this map from Wikipedia:

Obama says the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He also advocated legislation that sought to expand federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. As stated on his campaign Web site, he supports full civil unions that "give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights."

He also says military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy needs to be repealed.

Now sure, I'd love for Obama to be support of same-sex marriages as well, but I know that would screw him out of the election. This is a big step in the right direction, though.

To some people, this election is about more than money.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dandelion Organic Delivery Service

Dandelion Organic is a local business that delivers fresh, locally-grown, organic produce straight to your doorstop. I admit, I've only eaten one carrot so far (I took my friend Melissa out for her birthday dinner tonight), but I already love the service. Now that I have my own kitchen, I'm much more motivated to start cooking. I even bought some vegetarian cookbooks this weekend in preparation of the delivery.

Similar businesses have been popping up all over the place, so see if something similar exists in your town.
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The Price of Gas

Holy crap! Only $34.89 to fill up almost 12 gallons. I didn't think I'd ever see gas under $3.00 again.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ben's Visit to Bellingham / Polar Bear Club

Ben, one of my best friends who lives in Seattle, was in town for the day so we got to hang out. I don't get to see him enough, but when we do, we have awesome times. We decided to go for a walk to the Farmer's Market downtown. I found out the hard way that it's no longer the season for only a shorts and t-shirt, which bummed me out. That just means I need a new hoodie!

So after the farmers market, where I picked up some feta cheese and honeycrisp apples, we decided to walk over to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. As soon as I walked in the door (admission was free!) I felt like a fool for not going in there years ago. They had quite a bit of art, and not all of it was folksy or landscape crap that you'd expect in Bellingham. I'll be checking out the The American Museum of Radio and Electricity and Mindport soon for sure.

After the museum, we hit up Dos Padres (the habanero black bean enchiladas are incredible) and hurried to see a band I've been waiting to play the northwest for a long time, Polar Bear Club. They played in Burlington, of all places, at the Common Ground Coffeehouse. The show was sick; they were super loud and intense, played a great setlist and we got in free. Ben hadn't heard them before and was way into it, too. I wish I had brought the camcorder.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gamespeek @ the Penny Arcade Expo / Mirror's Edge Footage

Gamespeek @ the Penny Arcade Expo from Gamespeek on Vimeo.

For those of you who don't know me, I am part of a 3-person video game podcast called Gamespeek. Lately, we've been doing videos, like the one above, but we started as a weekly audio podcast. It's casual and fun, and we try to appeal to the everyday gamer, although sometimes we get a little too dorky. Our latest video shows some footage we captured at this year's Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, WA. We saw some great games that got me really excited for this upcoming holiday season. On my growing must-have list for the 360 is Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3, Fable 2 and Mirror's Edge. Especially Mirror's Edge... every time I see something new about this game I get more and more stoked for it. Check out some new in-game footage:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good Luck

This is a video of Good Luck, a band from Indiana that my friend Duncan in Louisville introduced me to. I filmed a big portion of the band's set last night at the Underground Coffeehouse at WWU, just blocks from my place. They sound a bit pop-punk, a bit indie, and a whole lot of awesome. They had to turn down the volume a bit because of the venue, even though they are a self-proclaimed "loud band." Maybe next time I'll get to see them at a house show or something.

I was worried that the show wouldn't have a great turnout because the band hadn't been here before, but the place was pretty full. Check 'em out. Their new full-length Into Lake Griffy is now available on iTunes here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scrabble Tourney

I got my butt kicked by a coworker today during the first round of our office Scrabble tournament. Oh well, there's always the loser's bracket. At least I made it to the second round of the ping-pong tourney yesterday before getting bumped. At least I win the beard contest :)
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Meat Baby Food?

Really? Ew. I dare someone to taste it. Fred Meyer also has turkey and gravy, if that sounds better.
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