21Dec2010 2250: Last Post!
This might be the last post of the year; tomorrow I leave for holiday travel and next week I have a houseguest hanging around. So I might as well write some checks that my body can't cash. See you in four years for the next two pages!
15Dec2010 1845: Entering Hibernation
Oh man is it Wednesday already? Time is getting weird around here; I seem to have reached my planned holiday break a week ahead of time. I knocked off the last story bits of Assbro, finished a book, and got to the part of my Netflix queue that I won't mind never actually watching. But all of that would have ideally happened next Wednesday, just before I packed up and drove away for a week. This just means a week of clunkers like Freaky Faron and thinking about packing.
iTunes is trying to help by deigning to carry some non-Christmonth songs. The holiday virus has finally infected the weekly Spanish song, [Willie Colon - Canto a Borinquen]...the only reason I know this is that the album is called "Asalto Navideno". Otherwise it's a by-the-numbers mariachi mess. Is this particular song even about Christmas? I have no idea.
Moving to the definitely secular, this week's video is [Amanda Diva - Manchild]. Her name immediately set off alarms in my head, but the song wasn't the pop horror I expected. It's a slow rap/R&B about how her boyfriend needs to quit playing video games, quit drinking, and get a damn job. At least I have a job.
[Daft Punk - The Game Has Changed] is a taster from the Tron Legacy soundtrack, one more platoon in what is probably a full-on media assault about the movie. It is not danceable and contains no robotic lyrics. Why even use Daft Punk for this? It sounds like this is supposed to play during a tense/ominous moment of the film, but in isolation it's a two-minute build to a brief apex and then a quick fall back into rumbling nothingness. And it's too bad for Daft Punk, but that "brooommmmmmmm" type of sound effect is always going to be associated with Inception.
Maybe [Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now] can pull out a last-minute win for this week. It's certainly 80s enough, with its synths backing other synths, and it's certainly Duran enough. Not a new classic, but the best thing on offer this week.
08Dec2010 2045: Straight Balla
Since the older version of True Grit is on super-long wait, Netflix granted me Glengarry Glen Ross. Here, I just saved you 90 minutes. It betrays its stage-play roots by putting like a dozen awesome actors into a small room and calling it a day. Granted I didn't like Death of a Salesman back in English class, and I'm not expecting a car chase or explosions, but Glengarry was a little too downtempo to hold my interest.
Christmonth continues at Apple headquarters, and yet again the Spanish song doesn't seem to be affected. [Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser - Baila Duro!] is not an ode to Tinkerballa, but an electropop ditty...about a "baila"? It sounds like the lead from Bonde do Role fronting theme music from a NES platformer, which gives me an excuse to link Solta O Frango again.
I was hoping the video, [Karen Elison - The Ghost Who Walks], was going to be a goth Christmonth carol. I guess the title's more suited to an Easter song. But it was neither! It was in fact a broken file, freezing after a few frames of play no matter where I started it. I'd been avoiding the 10.1 update to iTunes thus far because hey, my iTunes was working just fine thank you. And the updater wants to restart my computer? Fuck you, five years ago. But the update did "fix" the file so I could listen to the song and it was almost worth the hassle. Goth country? Is that even a thing? I suppose country blues about dead lovers and ruined farms are kinda evil or whatever.
01Dec2010 1800: Upgrades and Holidays
Did I forget to post last week? Whatevs. It was Thanksgiving, maybe you've heard of it? I managed to be on the road during the two worst periods of snowfall Tuesday and Wednesday, but everybody in the family arrived safely and hungrily. Turns out there was much more menace lurking in the various sharp, shattered, and burned light fixtures of my parents' house. I even found myself at a The Rock movie which wasn't totally bad. It could have used a better director of photography and, let's be honest, less dialogue from The Rock is always more better.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is always showing me something new, something that becomes The Best Thing. First it was the ability to purchase the Colosseum, which is badass. Next it was the inclusion of the crossbow. The crossbow has been teased since the first trailer for the first game -- it was cut out later and also didn't quite make it into the sequel. Now it is here and it is a wrecking machine. After that it was the assassin posse mechanic. I have recruited a group of 10 hot Italian chicks to roll with. They all wear Firenze Crimson robes so that suckas know who done it; I call them the Red Ladies. If I see guards hassling a potential recruit in the street I always bust it up, but if the recruit is a dude I just give him a hearty handshake and send him packing.
Last night AC:B took it up to the next level, literally: some of my Ladies reached experience level 8 and learned how to use smoke bombs. So now I not only have a harem of murderous assassinettes; not only does a single button press summon them from a hay bale, shadowed doorway, or the very sky; now when they appear one of them immediately throws down a fucking smoke bomb to disable all the guards. The better to murder you with.
Saving up three "charges" of these proxy stabbings will let you summon a rain of arrows from the heavens, doing all guards unto death in an instant. But that's not nearly as entertaining as using those three charges to summon six Batmans.
Last weeks' iTunes singles were all Christmas- or Spanish-related, so I gave it a miss when I got back from vacation. Guess what? This week's singles are the same. We are held in the firm grasp of the retail Christmonth and I fear we won't see a decent single until next year. But lo! Amazon rides to the rescue!
First and foremost, Amazon separated their Christmonth songs into their own list, so if you really want modern pop stars to ruin caroling standards you're covered. But they kept the regular monthly 100 as well, and this time they kind of nailed it. Recurring items like She and Him or The Cars are back. We also have some new standouts like Spoon - Transference, Social Distortion - Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, and everything you care about from Smashing Pumpkins. The 100 albums cover the usual wide range of genres, but every selection seems a little higher quality than in previous months.