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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Five Best NBA All-Star Games by Rookies

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I got an article published by Associated Content from Yahoo! today:
During TNT's NBA All-Star roster selection special, it was revealed that Blake Griffin would be the first rookie all-star since Yao Ming in 2003. Between his 23 points  per game, his 13 nightly rebounds and a flurry of oh-my-goodness-I-didn't-think-gravity-allowed-that dunks, Blake getting snubbed would have been more upsetting than paying the Trailblazers' medical bills.
Click here to read the rest.

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What I'm Listening To: The Verve - Gravity Grave

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Genius of George Carlin

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Brilliant comedian, listen to his thoughts on time (some language may not be fit for children).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sulfur Hexafluoride

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Sulfur Hexafluoride is a gas that is thicker than oxygen, so sound waves move more slowly through it.  Inhaling it provides the opposite effect of helium.  Have a look:

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dumb and Bieber

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Bieber got shot (on CSI), and everybody's been doing crazy stuff with the video, so I took a "shot" at it:

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What I'm Listening To: Tame Impala - Solitude is Bliss

Friday, February 18, 2011

Every Blake Griffin Dunk So Far

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NBA.com uploaded a video today that shows every dunk Blake Griffin has had this season.  I grabbed it and reuploaded it to YouTube, have a look, and be sure to watch Blake in the NBA All-Star Weekend (go here for a full schedule of events):


If for some reason the video doesn't work, watch the original on NBA.com.
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What I'm Listening To: Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CD Review: Sufjan Stevens

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Here's a CD review I wrote on StuffToListenTo back on October 18:
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This review was supposed to be run in either today's or Thursday's issue of the Maine Campus, but due to a communication error, another writer and myself ended up writing about the same album.  He had called the album before I did, so he got the slot (feel free to read Jay Grant's review here).
  
I figured I should kill at least one bird with this stone, so here is the review that I wrote.
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CD Review: Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
"Indie songwriter's electro-art-rock experiment a success"
   
  
NPR streamed the album in its entirety for almost a month before its October 12 release, so this CD may already be old news to faithful fans of the Detroit native, but to non-fans, "The Age of Adz" - pronounced "odds" - is a breath of fresh, innovative air that will more than likely remove the "non" from "non-fans."
     
The album opener "Futile Devices," a hypnotic folk number along the lines of Iron and Wine, features soft guitar pickings and Sufjan Stevens' soothing voice accented by a light piano, which is not at all indicative of the rest of the album.  This lovely and accessible song may be intended to ease the listener into the record, as 84 minutes is a lot to commit to an album that carries doubt.
    
With the first synthesized-clogged-toilet sound - not bad like it sounds - of the second track "Too Much," the Flaming Lips-ish electronic psychedelia grabs the rest of the record by the horns and muscles it into submission with synthesized twinkles, orchestral arrangements and all sorts of studio trickery.
     
Following the exciting and big climax of the previous song, the title track opens with what seems to be the score from a dramatic scene of a classic Disney cartoon remixed by Daft Punk.  Stevens continues the uncertain lyrical themes present throughout the album, either singing about a lost love, a self-realization or a newfound faith in God, with lines like, "Well I have known you for just a little while, but I feel I've known you, I feel I've seen you, when the Earth was split in fives."
     
Many twists and turns are taken from here, and more musical ideas are explored.  "I Want To Be Well" sees Stevens doubting the beauty of the world as he says, "Everywhere you look, everywhere you turn, illness is watching, waiting its turn." The song's last three minutes are an urgent and beautiful crescendo into frustration, as Stevens calls out, "I'm not f*cking around, I'm not f*cking around," with quick drums and background harmonies only adding to the intense climax.
     
A near-third of "The Age of Adz" occurs in the album closer, the 25-minute "Impossible Soul."  It is certainly a long haul, clocking in at slightly longer than most sitcoms, but like the TV shows, the song shifts moods and tempos, never turning stale.  Like the long-winded Pink Floyd suites of yore, "Impossible Soul" makes use of as many instruments, tones and sounds as possible, while avoiding sounding like a car crash.
     
The first 10 minutes of this robo-space-rock symphony have Stevens on his knees, begging his object of affection for love, singing, "But all I want is the perfect love, though I know it's small, I want love for us all, and all I couldn't sing, I would say it all my life to you, if I could get you at all."  Persistent drums and chanting conjure thoughts of the chorus of "Kids" by MGMT, as Stevens recites, "It's a long life, better pinch yourself, put your faith together, better get it right."
     
Surprisingly, after this extensive, interesting and fantastical ride, the last three minutes hearken back to the album opener, creating graceful, organic bookends to the wild, schizophrenic experiment sandwiched in the middle.
     
The indie pop of Stevens' hit 2005 song "Chicago" has no home on this disc, and that's fine - fans should be delighted to hear such a beautiful pushing of the boundaries.  With all the sonic subtleties and nuances, this boundary-pushing is much more effectively experienced through a pair of quality headphones, so no detail goes unnoticed and the true, intended feel can be fully received.
     
Arguably the most interesting release of 2010 thus far, "The Age of Adz" is a record that warrants multiple listenings, and will be a mainstay in many indie music collections and a topper of numerous best-of-the-year lists.
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(rating out of 5)
  
Tracklist:
  1. Futile Devices (2:13)
  2. Too Much (6:45)
  3. Age of Adz (8:01)
  4. I Walked (5:02)
  5. Now That I'm Older (4:57)
  6. Get Real Get Right (5:12)
  7. Bad Communication (2:26)
  8. Vesuvius (5:28)
  9. All for Myself (2:57)
  10. I Want To Be Well (6:28)
  11. Impossible Soul (25:34)
Album Sampler:
(Sufjan Stevens - I Want To Be Well)

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What I'm Listening To: Interpol - Evil

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Voices Behind Cartoons

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EDIT: I'm on twitter now, check me out!


Continuing with the theme of my last post, I always find it interesting to see the voice of a cartoon character and to hear them use the voice they are known for.  At first you forget that they are the actual owner of the voice, and you think for a tick that they're just doing their impression of it.

I've rounded up a few behind-the-scenes looks into as many cartoons as I could think of and find, have a look:


Also see:

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Origin of Family Guy

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Peter and Brian Griffin were originally named Larry and Steve and were the subjects of Seth MacFarlane's thesis film for design school, "The Life of Larry."  You'll notice some similarities between the characters of old and the ones of today, particularly the voices.  Have a look:

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What I'm Listening To: Radiohead - All I Need

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CD Review: Eddie Hazel (guitarist from Funkadelic)

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It seems unnecessary for me to have two blogs, so I'm shutting down StuffToListenTo.  I will be migrating some of the best posts to this blog, so here's a CD review I wrote for "Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs" back on October 15.

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If you know of Eddie Hazel, he's the gift-from-Heaven guitarist for the 70's funk powerhouse Funkadelic, Rolling Stone's 43rd greatest guitarist to ever pick a string, and the man who thought up the beauty of "Maggot Brain."

"You're welcome, b*tches."
   
What you won't know is that Hazel released one solo album while he was alive, and while it's not widely known, it is widely good.

"Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs" - Eddie Hazel, 1977.
   
Most of the record is a framework that gives Hazel an excuse to pull out his phenomenal psychedelic-funk guitar chops, but if you have any interest in this album, that's probably what you're listening for anyways.
   
The album's two standout tracks are cover, but sound far from unoriginal.  Hazel stretches the sub-3-minute The Mamas & The Papas classic "California Dreamin'" into something long enough to accommodate his top-rate solos, while still retaining the beauty of the original, if not adding to it.

Hazel takes a break from singing in the Lennon-McCartney composition "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," handing those duties over to some female soul vocalists.  He takes the already-long song (the original Beatles recording clocks in at 7:47) and tacks on almost an extra two minutes, making room for solos that made Funkadelic songs like "Red Hot Mama" so thoroughly enjoyable.
   
If you decide to try to find this albums somewhere to add to your collection, look for the bonus track version, that adds on the rare Hazel "Jams From The Heart" EP to the end.  The four extra songs are much more than add-ons: length-wise, they are only a few minutes shy of the whole "Game, Dames..." album.
   
This album is geared toward listeners who enjoy their 70's, are six-string enthusiasts, and have brains and souls.  Don't skip over this one: it's a worthy part of any music collection, despite its lack of notoriety.
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(rating out of 5)

MP3 Sample:

(Eddie Hazel - California Dreamin' MP3)

(full album download in comments)
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What I'm Listening To: Eddie Hazel - California Dreamin'
(I added a window for my most recent scrobbles on last.fm on the right, an imported idea from StuffToListenTo)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Man Gets Shot, Finishes Sandwich Before Going To The Hospital

In November last year, I read about the penultimate incident of hunger, determination and badassery on Neatorama.

Miguel Soto, a 25 year-old Connecticut man, was leaving a local deli, sandwich in hand, when he heard three gunshots.  One bullet hit his left leg, another his groin, and the other missed him.

Instead of immediately going to the hospital like a wimp like you or me would, Soto went home, sat down, ate his sandwich, and then asked his father to take him to the hospital.

The man bought a sandwich, and he sure as hell wasn't going to let the mayo sour because of a few pesky bullet wounds.

EDIT: I reviewed Cut Copy's new CD "Zonoscope" for the Maine Campus, so you can go have a look at that.
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What I'm Listening To: My Morning Jacket - I Think I'm Going To Hell

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simply Orange

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CollegeHumor didn't seem to care for this picture I made, so I'll show you people, people who (may or may not) care:

"Simply Orange... for real."

While I'm here, here's a heads up that my cousin Jordyn started a blog of her own, writing "[s]tuff that your boyfriend probably doesn't care too much about but you'll love."  By "you," she probably means people like this:

Forgot her shorts for gym class again.  Hate it when that happens.

So yeah, go check it out.
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What I'm Listening To: MGMT - Destrokk

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pen Beats

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Top rate beatbox drumming using only pens; pretty impressive and fun to watch and listen to.


If you enjoyed that, check out their "Super Mario Pen Beat" video.
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What I'm Listening To: deadmau5 - Strobe

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Super Bowl Column; Manlier Blake Griffin

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I have a new column in today's issue of the Maine Campus:
Men of all ages will talk about the pinpoint 21-yard pass Aaron Rodgers managed to complete despite the pressure from the Steelers’ defense. 
Women and children will laugh at the funny beer and insurance commercials with talking animals in them. 
Aside from the battle on the field at Super Bowl XLV, the question this year, as in years before, is whether anybody will be talking about the halftime show for more than five minutes after it ends.
Click here to read the rest.

I was thinking yesterday about how Blake Griffin is the ultimate physical specimen - Danillo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov will attest to that.  There is, however, one way that he could be manlier...

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What I'm Listening To: Daft Punk - Rinzler

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brett Keisel's Beard

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I know I just wrote about this a few days ago, but I found a few new things that I had to share.

Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article that chronicles the life of Keisel's beard, full of things you must know about this magnificent piece of facial landscaping.

Yes... yes.

Secondly, you can "beard" a photo of yourself at KeiselBeardMe.com.  Here's what I came up with:

You have no idea how much I yearn for the day this becomes possible.

Here is a video of Keisel briefly reflecting on his beard and playing in the Super Bowl.  The beard looks even better when he's talking, fantastic.


Again, you can become a fan of Keisel's beard on Facebook.
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What I'm Listening To: Black Mountain - Let Spirits Ride

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Melvin (from Kenny vs Spenny)

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Kenny Hotz often comes up with ridiculous characters for the show and as pointless as they may be, they are usually hilarious.

I took footage of his character from the "Who Can Be Obese The Longest" episode and cut it down to five minutes of awesome-sauce.  You can watch all of that episode and every episode of Kenny vs Spenny online at watchKTN.com.

Due to some copyright bullsquash, I can't embed the video here, so go watch it on YouTube.

EDIT (11:30): The video is "blocked on copyright grounds" for some people, so to see what I'm talking about, watch the whole episode here (I find it's better that way, anyways).
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What I'm Listening To: Fat Mattress - Magic Forest