Movie Roundup 2009

so this began as a summer movie roundup, but then i forgot to do that, so here is a yearly roundup for 2009.

20. Taken
You know my thoughts on this one.
19. Final destination 3
Stupid. Just stupid.
18. The International
Not thrilling, and not entertaining.
17. Planet 51
Childish but still kind of fun.
16. Fame
Rushed and slightly hard to follow. This musical remake doesn’t live to the same standards as others in recent years.
15. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Ok, lets just get the whole cast together and do X-Men 4, none of this origins bull.
14. 9
A story that might have been told before, but still beautiful in its execution.
13. Inglorious Bastards
I do appreciate Quintin Tarentino for his creative style and was glad to see it in this movie, but this didn’t live to the hype.
12. Harry Potter 6
They continue to get better (proportional to darkness), but one can only go so far with substandard acting and mediocre storylines.
11. Couples Retreat
Hey, let’s put 6 dysfunctional couples on an island and see what happens. The result, not as funny as it could have been.
10. the Hangover
Taking stupidity to greater heights, the Hangover finds what makes the worst-best night ever
9. I Love You, Man
Fish tacos and all, the Paul Rudd stared comedy is lovable and funny.
8. Funny People
While it was billed as much funnier, the result was subtlety more fun than a stupid comedy could ever achieve.
7. District 9
Taking the fakumentary to new levels, thrilling and entertaining.
6. UP
Pixar’s contribution to this year in animation, the highest ranking comedy on the list.

5. Law Abiding Citizen
A smart movie, the likes of which aren’t seen that often, it slides in at number.




4. Star Trek
J.J. Abrams brings the old series back to life in spectacular form, I swear everything he touches is gold.



3. Benjamin Button
Three hours, but definitely worth it in the end. An emotional ride as we watch Benjamin button grow young.



2. Invictus
While I do like Rugby, it had nothing to do with the liking of this movie. Morgan Freemans portrayal of Nelson Mandela just after he took office in South Africa is brilliant. The story is tight and compelling.



1. Watchmen
The movie form of the famous graphic novel by Alan Moore. I read the graphic novel before and was truly impressed by the comparison. Though some things were changed the characters remained mostly true to the book and were wonderfully brought to life in this Zach Snyder epic.

Top Albums of the Decade

So i couldn't, try as i might, limit this list to 10 albums. Thats why its 15 long. either way these are the albums that are both my favorite combined with their critical acclaim.

15. Meteora – Linkin Park
-It was a toss up between this and Hybrid Theory, but this won out in the end as the album I much preferred.
14. Stars of CCTV – Hard-Fi
-This London rock group’s first album tells the stories of young adults under the cameras; the stars of CCTV.
13. These Streets – Paolo Nutini
-Unique and different, this album is a really good listen. Too bad his sophomore did not meet the same high standards.
12, Graduation – Kanye West
-His most celebrated release, and the album that really defined the Kanye West brand. And who can forget those glasses?
11. X & Y – Coldplay
-While others might point out A Rush of Blood to the Head, X & Y is the album that got me addicted and is the most played in my library.
10. Jimmy Eat World – Jimmy Eat World
-Another complete album, surprisingly varied yet totally unified.
9. Eye to the Telescope – KT Tunstall
-Can’t find a bad thing to say about this album, it has highs and lows but comes out solid in the end.
8. FutureSex/Lovesounds – Justin Timerlake
-Without knowing it you can probably identify 4 songs from this album, JT reinvents himself from pop star boy to hip hop adult.
7. Hot Fuss – The Killers
-The debut album from the Killers, bringing a unique sound that they would soon depart from, going on to equally good things.
6. The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
-yea im a sucker for concept albums, but this one is one of the better ones.

...and now the top 5...


5. Continuum – John Mayer
John Mayer’s third major release rounds out the top five. It’s a smart album that combines multiple influences into a string of likable and well constructed songs.



4. Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys
-the longest album title on the list, thought this isnt suprising considering lead singer Alex Turner’s way with words that craft the eccentric lyrics to the Arctic Monkeys high intensity narrative-esque songs.


3. Eyes Open – Snow Patrol
-This album manages to capture so many wide ranging feelings and emotions in a tight package it has squirmed into the number 3 spot. While many will only know this album for its major hit ‘Chasing Cars,’ the album is full of many other exceptional songs, ‘Hands Open’ and ‘Set Fire to the Third Bar’ to name a couple.


2. Absolution – Muse
-It was the album that brought Muse into the spotlight. Full of single worthy songs yet cohesive as a whole this album earned Muse the respect they had been due since ‘Origins of Symetry.’



1. American Idiot – Green Day.
- If ever there was an album that captured the feelings of this decade, Green Day created it. A complete album that tells the story of angst, political awareness and love in times of hardships, this slips—although with much competition—into the number one spot.


The Fool Formerly Known as Rupert Murdoch

Maybe it’s the denigration of an old man stuck in an antique media showing the signs of his age, or maybe pay media is the way forward for the internet medium.
Rupert Murdoch, creator of the News Corporation (News Corp) Empire, discussed this week his plans to do two things to News Corp’s subordinate websites. One, to create a pay-wall behind which subscribers would have to pay money to read any one of the news stories on his websites. Two, to remove his websites and all their content listings from search indexers like Google and Bing.
News Corp owns, among many other Newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times (England).
Murdoch’s reasoning behind his decisions are mostly monetary based. He says to Sky News Australia, ‘no web sites anywhere in the world make serious money.’ Which is partially true, most news websites don’t make much money—but they do make some money. This system would not have worked from the beginning 10 to 15 years ago if the websites were not making money. Murdoch, in his infinite wisdom of all web-based media, counters this, ‘they [consumers and search engines] shouldn't have had it free all the time…and I think we've been asleep.’
While it may have been nap time for this old fart, he doesn’t realize cyberspace has grown up. We’re in a time when broadcasters can stream the entirety of their primetime shows to anyone in a nation for free over the internet. Admittedly, there was some foolish CEO the other week boasting about how Hulu.com would become a pay service by 2010 these rumors were quickly shot down. We will never know if they were dispelled because of the sheer uproar at the news, but we know that people would be entirely adverse to it.
And this is the reason why pay content will not work. One, people will never pay for it so you’re limiting your income base originally. You would then have to remove any income generating ads from a pay service, so that’s another step down in income. Not only that, but Murdoch intends to remove his websites from search engines. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that search engines are a major source of traffic for non-readers. New users will never become familiar with the site if they can never find it or see what kind of content it holds.
Murdoch says that you pay for a news paper, so why not pay for content online. But I don’t believe this is how things work anymore. But I could be wrong. The New York Times is making its decision in the next couple of weeks whether or not they will be constructing a pay wall. The New York Times has about 19 million visitors monthly (Compete.com), it will be interesting to see how this would affect that number. It would also be interesting to see the affects on a company who has no plans for a pay-wall, CNN.com (30 million visitors monthly). If consumers cannot get their content for free at the site of their choice, they will go to other places to get it without any sign of remorse. The internet is free and it will remain free. Murdoch might not get it at this time, but his empire is bleeding and this is not the bandage he needs.

Overrated: FlashForward

Despite being based on a novel, this TV show falls flat on its face (see Dexter for TV shows that actually do well when based on a book). Billed as the next Lost, ABC’s FlashForward seemed to have a good premise. The previews looked exciting and new. What I found though was a show particularly hard to watch. Apart from the first 20 mins of the first episode which seemed to head in the correct direction, the show began a headlong spiral into obscurity and feeble stories.
The premise:
The entire world blacks out for two minutes. During that time they see the future—they FlashForward. Wow, you say, that sounds like an awesome premise. Well that’s what I thought too, unfortunately I was dead wrong.
What makes this show awful?
One key element of the premise comes back and bites the story writers in the ass. Everybody sees their future—and we as the audience see that future too. Personally I hate predictable endings and this plays directly into this. I’m sure there are twists and turns on the way there but as soon as they figured out all the FlashForwards occurred on the same day and time in the future I figured out I was over it. I did watch 3 episodes of the series. I did try, but what I found every time were revelations that were less than earth shattering. Maybe I was expecting the Lost effect, or just expecting too much. While it might be an original premise it all feels way to played out; From the way Dr. Olivia Benford (Sonya Walger) finds the man from her FlashForward, the fact that we know that Special Agent Demetri Noh (John Cho) will die sometime soon (its like Jack from 24, except the exact reverse), or even the way the uninspiring-ly acted main character Special Agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) pieces the puzzle together from his FlashForward.
You itch for it to get to the end—to some measurable point—at then you just can’t take it anymore when a revelation comes and it’s weak or a dead end. And while this may seem almost hypocritical from a big Lost fan, I’m calling this show Overrrated. On the same hand I can’t wait for ‘V,’ ABC’s other big mystery-drama of the fall.

Check out the ABC Starter Kit for everything you really dont need to know:


Underrated: Modern Family

As I watched this week’s episode of ABC’s new half hour comedy on Wednesday, Modern Family it dawned on me that this was definitively the best new show on television. The mix of comedy is both smart and calculated and of course funny. The characters are understandable, quirky likable and the storylines are interesting and usually beyond funny.

The premise
The show consists of three separate family units. The first is the traditional nuclear family, one oblivious dad who wants to be a friend as apposed to a dad, 3 kids and a mom who just wants to keep everything together. The second, a gay couple who recently adopted a child from Asia. And finally an older man who has remarried a younger Colombian woman with a single child.

What makes this show great?
The key thing to know for this show is that all three families are tied together. The older man is the father of one half of the couples in the other two family units (the super mom and the smaller half of the gay couple). What this means is that at times the story lines will intertwine to a single (and often hilarious) point at the end. Three separate storylines means that if one storyline sucks the other two generally make up for it. Each family unit works by itself, developing its own plot, but then takes it a step further when the families come together. From being learner parents to learning to drive the show takes on the most prevalent and funny issues and trivialities in parenthood and families. Without spoiling any of the multitude of jokes crammed into a half hour, some of the best parts of the latest episode (and the best of the series) were issues of driving, waking up, baby bumps and who could win a race, fitting in and the first day of school. Despite the humor the show usually always wraps up with a lesson—almost Grey’s Anatomy-esque—which ultimately ties the episode together nicely and completely.

While NBC’s Community did have a good streak, it ultimately falls in second behind the admittedly lesser known but far funnier standards of Modern Family. Do yourself a favor and tune in Wednesdays at 9 on ABC; I’m fairly sure you’ll be glad you did.

Checkout the clip below for a taste:


The Mysterious Motorola

Remember those commercials from what seems like years ago? ‘Hello Moto’ they would say. I would respond, ‘hello, but my name isn’t Moto so I don’t really know who you’re talking to, and I don’t really care for your phones either if that’s what you are actually selling because it particularly hard to tell in some cases’. These ads were about nothing, which says a lot for the brand it was promoting: they were nobodies. Not that I really cared at that point in time, but I don’t know a single person who owned a Motorola phone.

Yet here they are—Motorola that is. Its 2009 now and Motorola have a new phone out which Verizon is going more that out of its way to promote. Sure Verizon is kind of PO’ed at the Apple and the iPhone, but still its aggressively promoting a brand which for one reason or another hasn’t actively existed for the past 5 years. The Motorola droid will be officially deployed on the Verizon network on November 6th according to Verizon today.
While 3 of the Droids four legs are the Android 2.0 Mobile OS, the final legs is one that I have never actually associated with Motorola before—Style. Yea I said it, this phone has style. It’s slim and sexy, and it’s also functional—camera, 3.7 inches of display, exchange support, Google maps with directional interface this phone has most of ‘it all.’

From a company who’s only statically achievement in its history was the flimsily built but illogically popular Razr, this phone is their first foray into the Smartphone market. Critical reception for this new phone is good, and it might turn out to be a strong competitor for those of us not rich enough to buy an iPhone and all the strings attached.

So Long Geocities…and Good Riddance

Today marked the end of an incredibly long era. Yahoo Geocities, the original free hosting site has finally been taken down. It was just 10 years ago that Geocities was the 3rd most visited site of the web (behind AOL and YAHOO!) and with it came a whole host of intolerable things that the web has since grown up from. Looking back at any geocities site (Before they all got erased) it was like looking into another time, one that the world has moved far on from This is a dedication to some of those things that we can blame on Geocities.

Under Construction Banners
It seemed like every page was under construction for eternity. It didn’t matter whether your site had been edited yesterday or hasn’t been edited in 3 years, the banner still remained—hinting at something better to come, but then never delivering. My personal favorite was the animated under construction gifs. In fact you can probably lump all dancing baloney in this category.

The Webmaster
Aka the term I will never forgive Geocities for. The popularization of it can be inextricably linked to the existence of geocities. At its beginning everyone and they’re mothers were webmasters. And thanks to them that name has stuck. So the first word that comes to mind whenever they come to ask me or my contemporaries about their email or about a computer issue is webmaster. Unfortunately nowadays webmaster sounds like someone who rules dungeons in WOW and id like to stay as far away from that stereotype as possible. If you haven’t figured I despise this name

Freedom on the Internet
Perhaps the one good thing that did come out of Geocities was the simple fact that everyone could do it. Everyone was a webmaster. It popularized the notion that everyone had a place, space and purpose on the web. There is no doubt helped the Internet accelerate to its position in society today. So for that Geocities I thank you, because without you I wouldn’t have a career.

CNN.com Redesign--the Good and Bad

This morning the big switchover to the new edition of CNN.com began. I’m sure the CNN crew are working hard still to bring the last set of pages up to the new design (health, tech and travel are a few still in the legacy version at point of writing). But this post isn’t about what hasn’t been done; it’s about what CNN has done with its web presence.

Design and Content
The design is fairly consistent with probably CNN’s largest competitor the BBC—three columns, universal large banner and navigation bar. Content however changes the game. BBC’s homepage has three columns of news, while CNN has decided to have one column of news, then one column (notably the largest and middle) dedicated to video content. Now obviously this is because of CNN’s dedication to video content as a supplement to news, but to me this just seems wrong. The real news stories seem marginalized. Dimensionally speaking, the news story listings make up around 5% of the total page area (above the fold). This just seems like a bizarrely small area for a news website. Further stories are broken down into categories below the fold. We’ll have to see how this works for them, one article I read recently says that ‘the fold’ has no bearing on today’s internet user (http://www.cxpartners.co.uk/thoughts/the_myth_of_the_page_fold_evidence_from_user_testing.htm).
The actual news pages look fairly beautiful. I’ve always been a fan of BBC’s pages which are headed by a large image or video. CNN takes this to the next level for their best content, increasing the size of the header. Whereas in the legacy version, had videos, pictures and article on separate pages, this brings everything together really nicely.

NewsPulse
New to this revision of CNN.com is the NewsPulse section (http://newspulse.cnn.com/). At first glance this looks like a fairly easy to use section. The top stories are listed, and there are more options to filter the stories. It’s a much more interactive feature than the BBC’s top stories. One note on UI, you can click on one headline to expand it, but you first have to close that headline before you can open another. The details are nice, but not at the cost of two clicks. (this has since been fixed--guess i shouldn't do a review while its still going live).

iReport
Thank you for finally integrating this into the CNN.com design. That blue for the legacy version was off-putting and caused some sort of cataclysm of brand in my mind. Also that’s a really nice flash interface on the homepage. I’ve never really found a point for browsing the iReport site, and this probably wont change, but it’s cool when iReports turn up the main news.

Profiles
Maybe they had this before, maybe they didn’t. Either way I signed up today to one minor nuisance: Usernames are limited to 12 characters. Anyone who knows me knows I use one username everywhere; the problem is it is 13 characters long.

The Overall
The design looks good, the news pages look good, and it seems friendly, but I’m still bugged by how small an area the latest headlines takes up—this should not be a secondary section on a NEWS site.

Droid does what iDoesnt; and what this means to the iPhone and Verizon

You may have seen over the past week or so several of the new Verizon attack ads on the TV. The target? Well originally it was AT&T, but as of this Sunday it’s been more specifically targeted at Apple.
Last week Verizon rolled out the ‘there’s a map for that’ campaign. Cleverly taking the AT&T-Apple iPhone slogan, ‘there’s an app for that,’ and turning it around on them. The ad shows Verizon’s 3G network (a map that is nearly entirely red shaded) compared to AT&T’s 3G network (a maps that has hardly any blue shaded). And while the maps may not be entirely accurate, points have to be given for Verizon finally taking a stand against the near unstoppable iPhone.
As of last week though, Verizon didn’t have anything to counter the iPhone in terms of phone power. This weekend changed this. In an even more direct attack on the iPhone, Verizon launched its Droid does commercial. The advertisement serves to pronounce all the things the iPhone doesn’t do with phrases like ‘iDon’t take pictures in the dark’ or ‘iDon’t run simultaneous apps.’
The advertisement is smartly played along to a tune that could have come right out of any other iPhone commercial, and the font face is eerily similar. The ad ends with the saying ‘Droid does’ and ‘November.’
The product Verizon is advertising is the Motorola Droid, due for release on October 28th (as far we can figure from the droiddoes.com website). The phone will run Android 2.0, the latest version of Google’s Mobile Phone operating system; and will include a 5 megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keyboard as well as all the other bells and whistles associated with the average touch-screen Smartphone.
The reason why all of this is significant is twofold. Firstly it marks the first Smartphone that has come close to rivaling the market dominance of the iPhone in terms of features and power. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it signals that Verizon may not ever be getting the iPhone.
The current contract between Apple and AT&T is set to expire in 2010. And like with any Apple venture there is ample speculation about what exactly is happening in Cupertino. The speculation states that Verizon will finally have a piece of the iPhone pie—a partnership that could mean potential hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for Apple. Further rumors say that even at this moment a fourth generation iPhone is being tested on Verizon’s next generation LTE (long term evolution) network.
Looking at the UK for example, the iPhone has lost its single carrier exclusivity, and is now carried by the three major mobile phone networks. But how can this happen in a U.S market where Verizon is deliberately and unmistakably attacking the iPhone’s potential? And the truth is that it most likely can’t.
So dispel those 2010 CDMA Verizon-iPhone rumors because with the kind of money Verizon is throwing at knocking the iPhone down a rung on the mobile ladder they are burning all sorts of bridges that could have made it a done deal.

Lessons Learned: Backup!

Never underestimate the importance of a backup. Ask yourself, what would you do if every file, every song, every word document, every piece of data I owned was deleted? Given, there would probably be some people who it would not bother, but I would argue a majority would not know exactly what to do. Now what would you do if a corporation was somehow responsible for this data loss?

In two separate cases this week, users saw they’re data eradicated without any chance of it ever being returned. In the cell phone market, T-mobile had server issues which caused rampant data loss. And in the OS market, Apple’s new release, Snow Leopard, was revealed to have a bug which could erase your hard drive.

For owners of T-mobile’s Sidekick phone a simple power down would have meant the entire erasure of all the phones data. Here’s why, all the data on Sidekick Phones is stored in ‘the cloud.’ You might have heard of this magical term before, but in reality it’s not all that magical. In fact this fluffy good-natured white thing is generally just a nice name for a bulky black server located in some dingy basement continually hooked up to the internet. The particular servers that constitute T-mobiles cloud are owned and operated by Danger (a subsidiary of Microsoft). But Danger, in its infinite wisdom, decided not check the cloud or back it up, with that a remarkable reliable system became remarkably unreliable. So if in the time when the cloud was down your Sidekick shut down, you removed your battery or your battery ran out there was no hope of ever getting your contacts, notes or photos back from the black beyond. T-mobile did offer its users a $100 gift card and a free month of service for their troubles.

Across the way in Cupertino, Apple was also struggling with a random bug in their Snow Leopard Operating System code. This hard to define bug has believed to been targeted down to a few steps. Take any Mac running the 10.6 OS update, log in with a guest account and then log back into your user account. At this point all the data in the user account is erased. No prompts or warnings, just massive data loss. Apple said in a statement to CNET that “We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix.” How widespread the problem occurs is unknown. Around 100 posts of similar complaints were submitted on Apple’s support forums over the last week. I would suggest that until 10.6.2 is released or unless you have Time Machine running correctly (and you’ve double checked this, because it’s a finicky thing) that you beware of this hungry snow kitty and its guest accounts.

So what have we learned America? Firstly, backup. Secondly, backup. And finally, Backup! Don’t ever get the notion that your data is perfectly safe, because its not. Also beware drinks near computers (from personal experience).

Drop your old browsers!

Hey, old browsers, I don’t respect you and I’m not going to take it lying down anymore, there are better browsers out there and you might just be the worst of all time.
Like this Kanye West meme, Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) isn’t going to die anytime soon. And this is a problem. Let me preface this all and tell you I’m a web developer. This means I build the websites and web applications you use on a daily basis (that might be a bit of an egotistical statement). So why is this a problem and, why does IE6 still command almost a 15% share of internet traffic (August 2009, w3Counter.com)?
Released in 2001 the browser is still prevalent in a vastly changed internet, and continues to be supported by Microsoft—until April 2014 to be specific. So why is it so bad? For starters it doesn’t even support 1 of 3 major image types on the web. Then, the basic building blocks of webpages are, for no specific reason apart from complete ignorance, completely different to any other standard browser. Meaning a page that looks one way in Firefox, Safari, etc. will render differently in IE6. Headaches are bountiful and extortionate hours are lost, from web design firms to digital ad agencies, across the world because of single outdated piece of software. This is not to mention that IE6 operates at an unimaginably lower speed than any of its competitors.
But it’s not like there aren’t other products out there. In fact what we’ve seen over the past year is nothing short of a revolution in the web browser market. Google debuted the slim and efficient Chrome. Firefox put out its latest version, 3.5. Safari brought 4 out of beta. Opera developed version 10. And the diabolical Microsoft released IE8. All of these are stable and usable browsers, each with there own features, extensions, pros and cons and come in all shapes and sizes
So why is it supported still supported, despite others and even Microsoft developments? Some say it’s the business programs that still require IE6 to run vital operations. But I say it’s the IT staffs fault for not picking up the ball, and showing support for the other options out there. Last time I checked (approximately three and a half seconds ago) Firefox could be installed next to Internet Explorer. But it’s not just IE6 that’s problematic, any browser that is operating on an older version poses problems to the development of the web.
So I urge you take charge of your browser especially if you happen to be one of those stuck in IE6 rut. Even if your not, know your options, and find a browser that best for you.. And if your own a business machine locked down by the tyrannous IT crew, know you can install Google Chrome locally (which means you don’t kneed them anymore). Or, if you were so inclined, Google just released Google Frames which runs in the Internet Explorer browsers, brining standards to your doorstep without changing browsers. HTML 5 is waiting, and we (the web developers) are waiting for you to get on board so we can show its amazing power to you.

It’s Not Me, It’s You—Lily Allen Fights Piracy

It all began with a blog post on MySpace—A condemnation of illegal music piracy. Lily Allen, the 24 year old British singer who put out her second Album ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ in April, is took up the fight that record executives have been battling for years. Unfortunately, she did not change the music industry, and what followed was probably not the response she was looking for.
On September 14, Allen posted “I think music piracy is having a dangerous effect on British music, but some really rich and successful artists like Nick Mason from Pink Floyd and Ed O'Brien from Radiohead don't seem to think so.” Allen promised to contact fellow British artist to help the British music industry. It was one response though that spawned the next generation of her fight.
After a counter response from, the particularly outspoken Matthew Bellamy of English rock band Muse, Allen set up ‘It’s Not Alright’ on BlogSpot (http://idontwanttochangetheworld.blogspot.com/ ). The blog featured the artists who had responded to Allen’s request for their opinion. As of Tuesday last week responses had come from Tinchy Stryder, Gary Barlow, a couple of the boys from Keane, producer Mark Ronson and James Blunt including 16 more responses, supporting the cause she was fighting.
At this point, various members of the record industry were rebutting Allen’s cause. But it was when Allen posted a response from 50 Cent to music piracy that her argument lost a lot of steam. Unfortunately for her, she had copied the paragraph response from a Tech Dirt (http://techdirt.com/) without accrediting it. Michael Masnick, who had originally written the 50 Cent article, spoke to TorrentFreak who picked up Allen’s oversight, had their piece to say “The fact that she is trying to claim that such copying is bad, while doing it herself suggests something of a double standard, unfortunately”. This, of course, prompted a response from Ms Allen, “I THINK ITS QUITE OVIOUS [sic] THAT I WASNT TRYING TO PASS OF THOSE WORDS AS MY OWN.”
The disagreement escalated when a couple of mixtapes were found on Allen’s site. All of which contained copyrighted music, which Allen was distributing free of charge. Allen defended these saying ‘"I made those mixtapes five years ago. I didn't have a knowledge of the workings of the music industry back then.’
At this point though, the reason for her blog had become complicatedly entangled in one big ironic snag. Within days the blog was shut down, with Allen stating, “I'm proud of the fact that that I've been involved with this debate but I'm passing the baton on to other artists."
Unfortunately, what could have been a good undertaking by an artist to combat a problem in this industry has turned out to be one horrible mess. Allen did have some good points though. Preventing the Simon Cowell puppet nation and the same old crap circulating on terrestrial radio while still promoting new music and preventing the rampant job losses she has seen at her record label EMI as some examples. Despite this, Allen’s career as piracy thwarter wont be going any further.

FOTM: Tarboy

Its been a while since ive done one of these--a blog or a Flash of the Moment. but this flash animation is so awesome i just couldn't help myself. A mash up or amazing music and mind blowing animation, this one definitely deserves it.
this Flash of the Moment is James Lee's
Tarboy


As mentioned above, the music is great, the animation is great. but what also helps is the color-bold and vibrant yet simple. make sure you watch it all the way through for a great fight scene near the end composed entirely in the dark and set to a bouncy piano melody. im now waiting for number two, although as this one took 8 months to complete it could be a long wait.

Moblin 2.0, Netbook OS

Gotta say i love the look of this new OS based on Linux for Netbooks (interestingly developed by Intel).



walkthrough here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFJaDy6ySbU

wish i had a netbook so i could try this out.

NBC Fall 09- Community

So today’s big TV news revolved around the NBC ‘in front’ presentations. Infront presentations are basically an advertising/network thing for deals and such, but the TV community takes notice because it’s when a network announces its plans for the coming TV season. Today we got the official word on a number of NBC shows, although one was still conspicuously left off—chuck. It hasn’t been canceled and it hasn’t been renewed (I vote renewal). Today is also when the names of the pilots who have been picked up are announced. I was looking at some trailers for said pilots, and I definitely think this is the best one by far, and I can’t wait for it.
Staring Joel McHale (I lurrve the Soup, it’s the best show on E!) and Chevy Chase (?!!) it tells the story of a Lawyer who has an illegitimate bar degree, and now has to go to community college (gasp!). Anyway, it unfolds from there. Watch the trailer:


Also Mercy looks good…

Sing it Loud @ Webster Underground (05/01/2009)

Taking the stage in a nearly sold out underground, Sing it Loud played the Webster Underground this past Friday (May 1, 2009)—a night which was shared with Nightwish on the main stage. Sing it Loud brought with them their unique brand of Synth-Pop-Punk-Rock and gave their everything into their performance, capping out a night including The Morning Light, Friday Night Boys, Artist vs. Poet, The Summer Set and Thrash Unreal.

For those lucky enough to be off the side of the Underground stage prior to Sing it Loud taking the stage by storm, you would have seen two things. The first was Pat Brown (lead vocals and guitar) playing along to New Found Glory’s ‘My Friends Over You.’ Even if you were in the audience you may have heard this one as his guitar was live at that moment. Secondly you would have witnessed Sing it Loud’s team chant—which is essentially the Mighty Ducks team chant—an interesting element to a fascinating band.

Taking the stage, Sing it Loud opened with ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, the first track off their new CD. With more energy than a toddler in a candy store, Sing it Loud bounced around the small stage. Despite the stage’s size limitations, Nate Flynn (bass) was able to pull off a full arial spin without taking out any of his band mates. Playing other songs off their new CD, Sing it Loud also included ‘Maybe I’m a Ghost’ one of the songs from their first EP. The crowd went wild for most if not all the songs. And when requested to ‘jump so high the floor caves in,’ followed without a moment’s hesitancy (and let’s just say the audience did a pretty good job). Finally, Sing it Loud closed their set at the Underground with ‘Come Around’, the title track from their new CD for which the crowd screamed harder than any other song.

From the Underground, Sing it Loud plays Bamboozle in New Jersey this weekend (May 2-3, 2009) and then joins the Warped Tour for the rest of the summer.

The Webster Star found Ben Peterson (keyboard and synthesizer) after the show and he gave us his best approximation of their set list:

I've Got a Feeling, We're Not Afraid, Don't Save Me, Best Beating Heart, Maybe I'm a Ghost, Over You, Come Around

Pop Punks Not Dead

New Found Glory rock the house, assisted by Bayside, Fireworks and Set Your Goals

As I read on one attendees shirt during the night, ‘pop punks not dead.’ And after this Wednesday night (04/29/2009) at the Webster Theatre, I can concur with that statement.

With a casual disregard for the last two days of the work week, New Found Glory stormed into town to play the Webster Theatre, supported by three fellow Pop Punk bands Bayside, Fireworks and Set Your Goals on April 29th. What followed was an incredible performance that I will remember for some time to come. Admittedly, I have only been a casual New Found Glory since the days of the major pop singles from 2004 (‘My Friends Over You’, ‘Failures Not Flattering’, and ‘All Downhill from Here’) but I can sincerely say I’ll be following this band a lot closer now after this performance.

The night started with Fireworks who, even for an opener, had the crowd singing along to their songs and generally built the energy through their set. Set Your Goals followed, taking the stage with their two lead vocalists, building the energy further. Finally Bayside arrived to close off the openers half of the show. Bayside, eagerly awaited by the audience was received like free candy, with a core majority of the audience singing, chanting and otherwise joining along.

Of course New Found Glory was not to be outdone and, without much time between the end of Bayside, captured the stage and the audience. Launching straight into their first song, ‘Listen to Your Friends,’ New Found glory was full of liveliness, bouncing around the stage and engaging the crowd who had gathered to see them. After their first song they quickly swung into second gear with ‘Coming Home.’ Interspersed in some of the crowd favorites and unique songs (like ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ which was only released as an EP) were two of the songs I was dying for, ‘All Down Hill From Here’ and ‘Failures Not Flattering’.

Sidetrack: The only thing more disturbing than Ian Grushka (bass player) wiping the sweat off his naked plump upper half, was the supposed addiction the band has to Miley Cyrus. This stemming from a set of banter in which Chad Gilbert (lead guitar) announced he now has a twitter and is addicted. And in doing so tweeted this picture. Talking about twitter, there were rumors that New Found Glory might play one of the 5 Green Day songs they sound checked with. But no luck on that one.

Finishing up their main set, they played their ‘fake last song’ as they proclaimed it and marched off stage before their encore. They came back and sidestepped their set list, brining one of the audience members, who had brought a sign, up to play drums for their first song. Not only did this guest drummer nail the song, he also got the live ending down which impressed the band. After that they took an audience vote over which song to play next, ‘2s and 3s’ or ‘3rd and Long.’ Finally, New Found Glory played their last song and a half, Finishing with ‘My Friends Over You,’ to complete my (and others) trifecta for the night.

While there was so much that made this show great, it was perhaps the crowd that really made it. New Found Glory has more than a ten year history, and it was particularly exciting to see the reaction received when they played songs from their more obscure catalog. Overall it was a spectacular night, proving that pop punks still kicking.

Sit Down, Shut Up

There are two new shows on my radar right now. The first is a comedy from the creator of my favorite comedy show that used to be on television (that is, arrested development), Mitch Hurwitz. In fact it even features some of the stars from that amazing TV show including Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. The show is sit down, shut up. Based on the Australian show of the same name (except animated, where the original was a live action sitcom) the show fits nicely into its 8:30 slot in FOX’s (fox the same company that cancelled arrested development) Animation Domination Sunday.
So why is it good?
Well I haven’t actually said it was good yet. But I will. Though it might be a little too soon to tell (having only seen one episode), the half hour comedy has the potential to be a spectacularly good program. Mixing animation on top of real photographs the show does something I’ve never seen a network animation do before. Next is the comedy. While some have called it nothing “above sniggering double entendre. Seemingly preoccupied with impressing teenage boys,” I think the comedy works well. One of my favorite parts of the show is Mitch Hurwitz style of comedy which includes the small double entendre (small nuts, rush the d, Miracle Grohe), which then builds to a bigger joke later in the episode/season.
Another Arrested Development?
The show would appear to be off to a start that mimics arrested development, creating a core group of viewers who truly enjoy the show. But then again it might be too early to tell. The whole show is very fast paced, and the number of cast members is somewhat astounding I can definitely see the point that the show is abrasive and a little off putting. In my half asleep state I was caught unawares as the show launched quickly into motion. Regardless what anyone else thinks, or any of the critics think, I’m going to continue watching this show, because I’m interested to see where it goes from here.
…Although for it to fail would be alright so long as Mitch Hurwitz moved straight to the Arrested Development movie…

you can watch it on hulu.com here!

TaskFox (or Ubiquity) preview for Firefox


Looks neat. But do we need to add this functionality to Firefox (or all browsers)?
The problem for me might be that we’ve gotten to a point in browser design where everything can be contained inside one (tabbed) window, that we are now going back into multiple windows (as the developer in the video suggests). Despite this fact the ideas behind Ubiquity is creative and looks to me like a great addition to the functionality of a web browser.

SOTM: 22 by Lily Allen

I finally got the new Lily Allen album last week (It’s Not Me It’s You was released at the beginning of February) and I’ve chosen the fourth song off the album as my song of the moment.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were bopping along to smile, and hearing tales of people getting robbed in LDN. In each there was a crude note of truth, a revelation of the terrible nature of human society—each and every vice. Well I’m happy to say that this latest album is exactly the same. In fact the album opens with Lily Allen singing about how everyone is on antidepressants. One of my favorite songs off the album is 22 (coming in a very close second in F*** You, which might equate to how sesame street would tell someone to go F*** themselves in a song). Well 22 is like all other Lily Allen songs in that it tell a story, this one happens to be about a girl who, even though she’s only 22, her life would seem to be over. ‘She’s got an alright job, but it’s not a career.’ The song itself is upbeat, starting with a humming organ and moving into a finger snapping beat. The sung lyrics of the verses are nicely contrasted with descents and ascents in the music behind. You’ve also got to love the electric-xylophone type sounds (or perhaps the piano in the bar of old western films) that make up the background of the verses. Overall it’s a very sing-along-able song, and despite its ‘down’ sort of nature is very ‘up’.
My only complaint about the song is how it ends. The song is in a nice little solo, and all of a sudden its over (I guess a bit like the life of the character).

the DiggBar - a Revolution for Social News Agregation

I'm a fan of social news aggregates, the likes of which include Digg.com and Reddit.com. the idea behind them is that users submit articles they find on the web and other users vote for or against (in Digg's case 'digging' or 'burying') depending on whether they are relevant or interesting. the best articles will be displayed more often to the most number of people. now thats a very simple version of what exactly goes on, there are whole algorithms that deal with what is most popular and what gets 'front page' status.
the DiggBar.
digg just released its latest, and perhaps most important, adition to the site--the diggbar. Launching on april 2nd, the diggbar is essential a tool bar containing all the most important functions of Digg (comments, digging, burying and favouriting). but its much more than that. the diggbar also alows users abreviate urls. for example the url for this blog is http://digg.com/u1GlK. Digg has now essentially become a url shortening service (along with the likes of tinyurl.com). simply put digg.com/ infront of any url and digg does the rest for you. along with this added functionality the diggbar gives related articles and also articles from the same domain.
Why I Like It
My method to Digging or Redditing has always been to click on multiple links, on say the homepage, read them and then go back to either digg or bury them. this becomes problematic for links say in the most popular section, or when ive gone to different pages. with the diggbar the articles are displayed inline with the functionality to digg and bury--all in the same page. for me this move makes sense, and its one of the best things digg has done as a site in the time ive been using it. the added usability to the site is astounding, and a much needed bonus feature for the 'original' (i use that term lightly) social news agregate. Congrats Kevin Rose.

I Love You, Man

Derived from the comedic genre that gave the Office life, this sometimes vulgar, always awkward and mostly funny comedy stands apart from its competition. The premise: what if a guy never had any guy friends, only girl friends. What if he then had to find a guy friend(s)? The abstract and ridiculous premise sets the tone for the overall movie staring Kevin Rudd (finally he takes lead actor in something), Jason Segal, the ever-funny Jaime Presley, and two parts of NBC’s up and coming show Parks and Recreation.
Why it Works
It is a comedy after all, and like I stated the movie derives a lot of its comedy from the absurd proposition around which the movie is based. How exactly does one go about finding a best friend? NBC’s the Office’s lifeblood during its first season was the awkwardness that surrounded the central character Michael Scott. It would seem in this movie that Kevin Rudd is channeling his inner Michael Scott as he looks for help to find a friends from his brother (the more and more popular Andy Samberg) or goes out of dinner dates with Thomas Lennon (aka short shorts from Reno 911). Whether is Rudd’s inability to formulate complete and coherent sentences in short succession while nervous, inability to do any type of accent or interactions as he try’s to make a best friend the comedy shines through leaving you laughing for most of the time.
Smart?
Some critics have called this movie smart and intelligent. And while I can’t say I totally agree with them wholeheartedly (screaming in peoples faces on the boardwalk, and falling on your ass while playing Rush on guitar), I do believe there was some level of smart occurring here. The relationship between Rudd and Segal is something I haven’t seen on screen before. Through this chemistry we find both the most bizarre and the most truthful lessons of the movie.
Overall
This was overall a good movie, very funny in places and a good use of good and underused comedians. However, I don’t think it lived up to the hype I at least had for it in my head.

1) Watchmen 2) Benjamin Button 3) I Love You Man 4) The International 5) Taken

“In the End…”

This Thursday marked the end of 15 years of ER. Over the past decade and a half, the peacock has brought America through the halls of County General in Chicago and into the lives of the people who worked there. It is probably for this reason that this show resonated with the people who watched it week in and week out. The serious character development that made ER the program is was, as the characters struggled with the everyday life of an emergency room.
Ever the Same
So it is sad to see this program leave its hallowed spot at the end of Thursday night. Even for a casual viewer like me, ER has always been something of a spectacle. An hour of non stop drama, both in the thick of a heart pounding mass casualty trauma, and with the heart wrenching complicated relationships and lives the staff lead. While the show might have fallen from it high back when its first seasons were airing, the core dynamics of the show have remained the same (at least for the episodes I have watched). It’s been good these past few weeks and especially in the final episode to see characters from years gone return to the show, reprising their roles and showing why we love ER. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Retrospective, take a look at it on HULU. You can see the effort and emotion that the actors, directors and writers really put into creating a show with such a reputation and history.
(It was also nice to see the opening credits return from their three year hiatus)
After It’s Gone
It was a show that survived the reality show invasion, remaining tied to the network that had developed the movie-like program. And what doubles the gloom following the departure of such a strong player is the thought that there won’t be a chance for another ER. With Jay Leno taking the 11pm time period, larger budget products cant get a foot in the door with NBC instead looking to the lower cost talk show as an option for entertainment. You can see my opinion on late night, talk shows and jay leno here.
One More Thing
I’m a huge fan of Michael Crichton—Michael Crichton being the brain behind the beginning of ER. So it’s kind of sad to say that he never saw the end of the show he started 15 years ago. It’s also sad to say that there won’t be anymore amazing books by this one of a kind author. So rest in peace Dr. Crichton, your novels, shows and movies will forever assert your creativity and intellect.

"Twouble with Twitter" sous-titré

Daily Motion posted this video animation about twitter and twitter users a week ago.
I might be a twitter user, but when put like this the whole concept is laughable. a lot of great quotes in this animation, and a lot of truth too.



"You've summoned the fail whale!"

FOTM: Mastermind: World Conqueror




Mastermind: World Conqueror
Before my computer decided we weren’t going to be friends anymore, I had planned out this post on my latest Flash of the Moment.
The next installment of this irregularly updated series (FOTM) is actually a game. A game released 6 months ago now. Now usually I like to be on the cutting edge of flash development, but 6 months ago I was in Australia. Suffering from a bandwidth and download speed headache. So basically an 18MB game was out of the question.
Create by The Swain (aka Michael Swain), creator of the blockhead series and of the mastermind series, this game is centered on tactical control and base defense.
The Essentials
You hire minions who will carry out your every will and whim. You them set your minions missions like stealing cash or, to advance, stealing science. Missions happen in 4 locations around the world—North America, Asia, Europe and South America. With each successful mission you notoriety increases. With every substantial increase your base will come under attack. Use your minions and buy weapons and defenses for your base. Then there are other things like henchmen, #2’s, extra bases, evil corporations, and coffee shops, and different more advanced missions as you increase your level.
Overall
This is a very playable game. The cut scenes are both creative (different characters, different dialogs, same locations) and funny. The animation for the most part is smooth and the drawing is, as in all Swain productions, excellent. Coding wise the game is solid, with one major bug but it doesn’t detract from game play that much. Give it a try, I seriously got hooked one afternoon.

Dorm Life

Somehow I managed to stumble upon this web gem the other day and now I can’t get enough of it.
Basically take the office in its mocumentary format, and place it in a dorm hall. This is the format for Dorm Life. Weekly 5 to 15 minute webisodes created by theatre students from UCLA that chronicle the lives of the students living in 5 South. Previously I though theatre students were only good for dancing on common’s tables, but surprisingly this web comedy proved me wrong. In fact they were a 2008 Webby Honoree for best Writing and Comedy for an individual short or episode.
Now entering its second ‘season,’ Dorm Life derives its comedy from the cast of characters in their first year of college living together for the first time.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is one of the characters looks wholly familiar (well, if you used to watch All That like I did). Jack Desena or Shane was on the sketch comedy show during some of its last years of life.
While the beginning of the series starts off at a fairly slow pace, it picks up quickly leaving you wanting more like a strange addiction. The majority of the show is built from character development, and one thing is for sure that these students have built creative and insane characters.
Give it a chance, start from the beginning. It’s available on hulu, youtube and their website dorm-life.com (they also do shorts fairly regularly). I’m fairly sure you’ll appreciate it if at any point you’ve lived in a dorm.


Facebook Rant Pt 2 –Social Diarrhea

Apparently I’m none done complaining about this latest update of Facebook(and neither is anyone else). Last time I took a mostly heavy approach on the design of the actual things now, but I believe there’s more to this problem then just the atheistic. I might have started to corner in on it in the last post, but my main complaint right now is the function of new new Facebook.

Social Diarrhea
Facebook calls its new homepage your stream. I call it social diarrhea. Why, well because it lacks any sort of consistency and content, runs contrary to anything normal and leaves you cramped and with a bad taste in your mouth. Ok, so maybe that’s a little far, but the changes we’ve seen in the past week are close to the worse thing I’ve ever associated with Facebook. What’s my point? Facebook is a social networking site. It always has been, and as far as I can tell the denizens of Facebook have used it so. These updates though, take us down the microblogging path that twitter has established. In combining these two, which were never really meant to be combined, Facebook arrives at a conscious stream that runs like diarrhea—watery and insubstantial—and ultimately interrupts the core function of Facebook (social networking).

A Photo Explanation
On the left (old new Facebook):
(a) green posts a photo of last nights party
(b) yellow comments on greens photo
(c) red sees yellows comment and reds photo and friend requests yellow because they met at last nights party

On the right (new new Facebook):
(a) green posts a photo of last nights party and a status update
(b) yellow misses the photo, but reads the status update
(c) red writes a status update about what he ate for dinner

And I Just Noticed
In creating this post I spent some more actually seeing some of the changes that Facebook has implemented. It seems everywhere I look I see something I don’t like. I just realized that Facebook has just completely dropped any sense of timeline from your profile’s wall tab. How does this contribute to a social stream? Who put on the arbitrary hat in this decision process?

Take Note
I’m not complaining here, Facebook, about change. I like change. I was for change in the past redesign. What I’m complaining about is fixing something that wasn’t broke. There are specific complaints here, all spanning from this one update. Next time Facebook, take some time to work out the flaws before jumping on a ship you don’t know is floating or sinking (I don’t even think twitter even knows).

I’m going to link this blog on huffpost again because it’s hilariously true.

Facebook Doesn’t Know (about usability and design)

So, waiting perhaps 36 hours more than some people seemed to have to wait to get their Facebook update rollout, I’m now stuck with something I don’t like. Which is surprising to me. Unlike the majority of the Facebook population, I was in favor of, and liked (for the most part), the past couple of updates and redesigns. But there’s something about this new layout that irks me. I’ll try to put my finger on it: a usability nightmare?

Rounded Images
Here’s a challenge. Look at pretty much everything on Facebook and tell me what type of corners everything has. Square. Now there are a few exceptions, but for the most part those have just been implemented. So why would Facebook change our user-icons to have rounded edges—it just looks awkward and un-aesthetical. My guess: twitter has squares and we can’t look like we were trying to copy twitter.

Wall Posts
Take a look at your news feed and quickly try to find a wall post. This might be because the news feed is now FULL of status updates (more on that later), or it might be because they display almost exactly like a status update. There is one difference and that is the tiny grey arrow, which to me doesn’t delineate a conversation at all. Suggestions: two pictures, quotes…doesn’t matter, just do something about it.

Notifications
Facebook’s thought process of this one is startling. Before Facebook had two places for notifications, the sidebar and the numbers next to the inbox. Now Facebook has three places: the sidebar for birthdays, the welcome banner for friend, application and event requests and the numbers next to the inbox. They couldn’t make this any more confusing.

Highlighted Items
Huge problems here. First off, by whose definition are these highlights highlighted. Personally I couldn’t care less what or who ‘ssenmodnaR’ is, or what ‘rar-rar’ is. Perhaps Facebook thinks I do, but I really don’t. You might have noticed in you’re news feed there is an option to hide a friends updates. Well you can’t hide a highlight. Here’s an idea: stop thinking for us Facebook ( And hiding ads in the highlights).

Icons
Again, questionable thought process here. Facebook: ‘hows about we get rid of all those icons that mark out what type of update is what, no wait here’s a better idea, hows about we get rid of all of them, except put them in the highlights bar’. Pick a design standard Facebook, this mix is confusing and un-aesthetical.

Not Enough Mix
Suddenly I’m stuck with a never ending list of status updates I don’t care about. What I really want is a decent mix of status updates, and to not have decent items I may want to view getting bumped off the bottom of the page by dumb updates like ‘don’t like new facebook’. I think you had it right last time Facebook. Keep it to three or four statuses at the top of the news feed, and have a separate section (like live feed) where you can see everyone’s up to date status.

Design Structure
Take a look at your profile and tell me how the content is divisible. Tabs. Well if this is the dominant design paradigm for Facebook, why have they done away with them on the homepage in favor of something completely different? It makes me think that Facebook has become so managerial and bureaucratically driven that separate divisions and brains are designing different pages at different times differently. Design structure unity is key to a good interface and good usability.

Combining publisher
Anyone on first glance wonder where the publisher went? I smiled and thought they’d abandoned the idea (I’d never used it except to update status). I was wrong. Turns out it’s hidden for on-click in textbox only. This is a usability flaw and a half, I always thought the idea was to have things as easy to access as possible in web design. Thought process: if I want to post a picture, I’m not going to type anything; I just want to click one button. Now I have to pretend to type a status update to get anywhere.

‘What’s on your mind?’
Basically, you need a different phrase. Of course you can’t use ‘what are you doing’ (twitter’s), but ‘what’s on your mind?’, to me, limits exactly to what I’m thinking about, and if that’s the case why haven’t they auto-inserted ‘is thinking about’ to every status box. Of if they’re mind/thinking updates, then their not status updates anymore.

We Will Adapt
The denizens of Facebook will undoubtedly adapt to the complicated, un-aesthetic and usability nightmare that is the new Facebook homepage. But right here and now it feels scraped together, a mish mash of a hundred different thoughts with no clear design patters, and no clear direction. It feels like Facebook when I first joined, which is a giant step back for a webpage, no tool, that hundreds of millions of people around the world use consistently everyday.

The Watchmen - the Comic, the Movie, the Reaction

So I actually got to see this movie last Sunday, but have until this point not had a chance to go back over it and to write up a review. Easily it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year, but I’ve only seen four movies. And to put it bluntly, this desk lamp sitting next to me is more entertaining than one of them (Taken). But it does go up against Benjamin Button, which shares the category of really good (and really drawn out) movie—but they need to be to get the story told.

The Comic
As you should probably be aware, even if you didn’t see the movie, that Watchmen is based on comic book—nay graphic novel—written by Alan Moore in 1986. It’s one of the most well respected graphic novels around and even features on the Time’s 100 top novels of all time. I managed to finish the book a week or so before the movie came out, this after starting it in mid January. For me I wasn’t terribly pleased with the novel. It was good, yes, it wasn’t amazing though. There was a great story, and great characters and a set of good overreaching archetype that blended together fairly seamlessly, but it failed in certain key aspects. The Biggest was the ending, gripping as it was I didn’t like it. It may have worked back in the 1980’s but it just didn’t feel right or suitable an ending for a book I was really into at that point. Clarification: it wasn’t the why of the end, rather the how of it (without giving away any spoilers).
The Movie
So I’d read and liked the comic book, and the trailers looked amazing for this film (although I can’t help but think they marketed it wrong—a superhero movie verses a movie of the morality of people). I personally loved the movie, and got a lot of satisfaction from seeing scenes from the pages of the book recreated on the big screen with startling precision. I also loved most of what they did with the story line. Contrary to what some might think or say it wasn’t exactly page for page, there were parts that were abbreviated and done exceedingly well. The flow was done well, especially when its source is jumpy and staccato. And the new ended tops that of the comic book in my mind, much more plausible (although less gory). So for that I commend Zach Snyder. Of course there were things that I really didn’t like. One was what I just commended Zach Snyder for, and that was story modification. Who is that cat with Ozymandias at the end? Well that’s part of the story that never made it to the screen, so what point does that cat have there except to satisfy some watchmen fanatics personal contentment. Choice a storyline and stick with it, don’t include the unnecessary. Also what was up with some of the songs? '99 luftballoons', really Mr. Snyder? This is given that some of the music was very fitting (critically praised opening credits). Over all I was more than content with the movie.
"The Times They are a Changin'"
There have been so many blog posts, stories and articles over the past week about just of good/bad (circle one) watchmen really is. One of my favorites explained that every showing really had a different feeling to it depending on the audience. 'Who Watches who walks out of the watchmen', describes how many people he saw leaving the theatre during the movie.
Whether you thought it was good or bad, I think watchmen (as screen writer David Hayter says), should be admired as a one of a kind, and one of the best, (almost) literal translations from story to film. Also I think I probably liked it more than most people just because I had the prior knowledge (reading the comic) to add the necessary connectors to this monstrously long movie.

...and all of that without mentioning big blue penis...

We the Kings plays Mr. Brightside

We the Kings covered Mr. Brightside by the killers when they played at Webster Theatre this past Saturday (3/7/2009). What follows are two clips from that performance. The second of the two features the drummer from the Cab when he came back onstage to drum to this song. Check out the show review





We the Kings, the Cab at Webster Theatre 3/7/2009

Unlike Friday night’s concert, Brand New, Saturday’s was a concert I had some tangible excitement for. It was officially the last stop of the Secret Valentine Tour (though not technically), headlined by We the Kings and supported by the Cab and two other smaller bands.

The Openers
I’m going to keep this short and just say that they were decent. The second band, There for Tommorow, did a good cover of Icebox by Omarion.
The Cab
The Cab was a band who, although I had heard their hit single before, Bounce, I had only gotten their Album that week. Regardless of this fact, I was still enthused to see them perform live. And I was not disappointed. Live, they put on a good show. The audiences really seemed to enjoy their performance and they went particularly crazy when they played their sole hit single. The band from Las Vegas—I know this because they said it about twelve times—didn’t disappoint from any angle, and very overall very satisfying. If you want to read an interview with Cash from the Cab, my friend did one last week. (continues below)

We the Kings
Without much further ado, the lead singer with the red hair was on stage and We the Kings was kicking off their part of the concert. They sounded great, very tight very solid. With a set of super bright lights surrounding the elevated drum in the shape of a W, the feel of the show was full of energy. Despite two things, a) the guitarist not actually being the recorded We the Kings guitarist (real one somewhere in New Mexico?) and b) some technical problems with the guitars near the end, We the Kings kept the show moving. Engaging in Banter, and even singing happy birthday to everyone in the crowd, it was obvious that they had formed a relationship with the Webster (having played it 5 times in 12 months or something ridiculous like that).They also pulled off a good cover of Mr. Brightside in which the drummer from the cab jumped back on stage with drum set to drum along. Finally they came back on to the encore shirtless (at concert goers request), before spitting out their three most famous songs in quick succession Check Yes Juliet, Secret Valentine and their closer Skyway Avenue.

Brand New at Webster Theatre 3/6/2009

With just a weeks notice Brand New, a band that has been fairly obscure (at least to me) since their big radio hits from 03/04, managed to pack the Webster Theatre in a sold out, limited tour schedule show. I have to admit, that prior to this concert the only two songs were those radio hits. Songs "Sic Transit Gloria" and "The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows."
The Openers
Not the best of bands, but their certainly made their fill as openers. The first band managed to break the record for number of guitars being played on stage that I’ve seen. Including 4 guitarists and 1 bassist (although 3 of the guitarists were sometimes keyboard player’s as well). The dear hunter, under which this feat happened, was probably the better of the two. The other, mewithoutyou, failed to sustain any kind of music I would listen to in any substantial form. In fact they all looked mentally handicapped up on stage—no wonder they ran all their names letters together!
Wait…NeverShoutNever! Is in the other theatre?
Fun story: NeverShoutNever! sold out the underground at the Webster Theatre before Brand New was even announced as an event. The show was packed and screams arose anytime the lead singer, Christopher Drew, said anything in his unusually squeaky voice. For a time I traded one band who scrunched the words in their name together for another. Except the second was actually good. It wasn’t long before we went back to the main stage for the event that packed the larger of the two venues.
Brand New
The stage filled with fog, two drum sets sat alone on stage and the crowd roared. What followed was only slightly short of impressive. I said before that I had only heard two songs before, but the energy of the crowd combined with the solidity of a show that this band put on really raised my opinion of them. The lighting, a mix of white and yellow mainly from the back gave the theatre an epic feel. This was then combined with the songs in which two drummers kept the beat for the song (Jesus Christ and Millstone?)—breaking the record for number of drums I’ve seen played on stage simultaneously. Overall they sounded good, the crowd was responsive and they were a pleaser. Perhaps I’ll think about finding their albums…