Monthly Archives: August 2006

Forgotten Favorites: Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count

What can I say about From First to Last? They’ve been my all time favorite band for a long time now, and I was so excited about the release of Heroine earlier this year that I completely forgot about their major hit album Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count.

It’s a dark and dreary record that cuts straight through the bone right to the heart. The fast paced, heavy guitar riffs will leave the songs ringing in your ears while the genius lyrics will keep you wondering whether everything’s literal, or if it all has a second meaning. Note to Self was their breakout song with this one, but every song in between, from Ride the Wings of Pestilence to I Liked You Better Before You Were Naked on The Internet hits just as hard. And don’t forget to check out the hidden untitled song, also known as Dead Baby Kickball, an ode to bad relationships and fake girls.

Dear Diary was an impressive and explosive album, and since then From First to Last has been constantly on the rise, headlining two Warped Tours along with a ton of other packed shows. Show your support and check out their new album, Heroine, as well.

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Filed under Media, Music

Thank God for the British

If it weren’t for theme we wouldn’t have tea, oh how I love tea. Maybe it’s hereditary, or maybe I just like the taste, but I’m starting to take after my mother; a nice hot cup of tea in the morning and another one at night, but I’m so much worse. I can’t just have one cup, I have to have at least two, sometimes even three or four cups.

One Lipton tea bag, two spoonfuls of sugar, boiling hot water and some 2% fat milk to top it off. A cup of tea and incenses burning and I’m as close to bliss as you’ll ever see me. The tea provides me with a great tasting and relaxing drink while the fumes from the incense put me at ease, put the two together and you can focus on anything you set your mind to.

Thank God for the British and all that tea they brought with them. I guess it helps that I was born in the Boston area. And no, the water in the harbor doesn’t taste at all like tea, so don’t bother asking.

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Filed under Family, Miscellany

Another Interuption

To keep it short, being a teen is difficult, and some things have come up that have prevented me from getting any online time at all over the past two weeks or so, so again I apologize, but will try to return to a normal blogging schedule as soon as possible.

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Filed under blog, Design, Family, Friends, holiday, Miscellany, Skateboarding, Skating, teen

Forgotten Favorites: Commit This To Memory

Every once and a while I come across an album that I really enjoy, but a rush of new music quickly pushes it to the back of my mind. Eventually I’ll rediscover that gem of an album, and when I do, I want everyone to know how great it is. I first heard of Motion City Soundtrack sometime early last year, and acquiredtheir entire new album, Commit This to Memory, later in the year, but with all the holiday releases it got shoved away.

If I have one thing to say about this album it’s got to be that it makes you feel great about yourself. While the lyrics may be depressing, violent, and despotic, the upbeat sound and just knowing that you have it so much better than the figures depicted in these songs makes you feel great. I’ve recently found my self in a state of depression and this album is slowly helping draw me out of it. It’s one of those albums that you’ll have set on repeat for a long time to come, from the high energy tunes of Everything is Alright, to the cruel lyrics of When You’re Around, all the way to the cheery mood depicted in Together We’ll Ring in the New Year, Commit This to Memory is not an album you’ll soon forget.

I hope Motion City Soundtrack’s next album is just as dark and cheery as this previous one. Does that even make any sense?

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Garfield Sucks

For those of you who never receive greeting cards, Garfield is the orange merchandising turd that creator Jim Davis pinches out every Sunday in newspapers around the world, traumatizing millions with his bland humor week after tragic week. 

When he’s not licensing the hell out of Garfield with toys, bags, napkins, paper cups, socks, and probably tampons, Davis takes a break from whoring out his creation to occasionally write a new strip. Found in the “humor” section of newspapers, reading the comic is like having a five-finger prostate examination. Many years from now when Davis dies and CNN is undoubtedly squandering precious airtime on the passing of another sanctimonious American icon, historians will look back upon this series as a cancerous lump on the teat of humor strips. There’s nothing funny about Garfield. Every single comic starts out the same: Garfield sits around being fat, he eats all the food, and his ambiguously gay owner yells at him.

The cat eats food. Alright, WE GET IT. Move on. Then as if to piss all over our better judgement, Davis has received the National Cartoonist Society: Best Humor award. Twice. Garfield gets awarded for humor and “Family Guy” keeps getting canceled faster than a baby at Planned Parenthood. That reminds me of how much I hate babies. Why does everyone want to save them? There are too many babies. I’m not saying we should kill them, but if you happen to be giving your baby a bath and the phone rings.. well, nobody will judge you. Besides, you might get free brownies out of it at the funeral, and brownies rule.

As if one criminally boring comic after another wasn’t enough to dull your senses, “Garfield: The Movie” and “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” have hit theaters over the past two years. I’m impressed that they’ve been able to take a 2D character with a 1D personality and bloat it into a 3D disaster. With a tagline like “it’s all about ME-OW,” you can be guaranteed the cinematic equivalence of having your hand fed to a wood chipper when these mind-dumps were released. The tagline would be more fitting if it were changed to “it’s all about ME-OH-CRAP-I-THINK-I-JUST-HAD-AN-ANEURYSM.” A movie about Garfieldappelle, and you’re not funny.

Plus Garfield, NJ Sucks too.

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Filed under blog, humor, Miscellany

A Little More Like iTunes – WMP 11 Beta

For some odd reason, the new Windows Media Player 11 Beta reminds me a lot of iTunes with a bit of Songbird flare thrown in. Not only is it just as big a memory hog, WMP11 Beta has inherited some of iTunes’ features that have made it successful.

The Interface

The WMP11 user interface is extremely trimmed down and not as confusing as it has been in previous versions. Sporting a default black glossy look, with some Microsoft Blue accents mixed in, it is both visually pleasing and easy to navigate. While the MTV URGE network sign in button may be a bit distracting, the interface is otherwise slimmed down and does nothing to distract from the listening experience. As always different accent colors can be chosen.

Media Sorting

WMP11 also sports some new, more advanced sorting features absent in previous versions. An enhanced library view allows you to not only see songs, albums, and artists, but the album art is also present to help you pick your way through music you may only be familiar with through sight.

One basic feature I miss is the tiny button that, when selected, opens a drop down menu listing all albums, artists, and play lists in the library. This allowed me to pick and choose what album or artist I wanted to hear without having to fully open the player or navigate to the library.

Mini Mode

Those of you using WMP on a laptop or desktop short of memory are undoubtedly familiar with the Windows Media Player toolbar, otherwise known as the Mini-Player mode. In this version the mini player sports the same black and blue color scheme. As in the full size player the quick select menu has also been ditched, requiring a full sized view of the player to change play lists or albums.

Enhancements

There is some bad news for all of you plug-in and enhancement lovers though. First off, Microsoft has ditched many of the default visualizations that you may have grown used to, but all custom visualizations seem to work just fine when upgrading. All plug-ins are automatically disabled, and most, if not all, do not seem to be compatible, meaning you’ll have to either wait for an update to the plug-in, or revert to an older version of WMP.

All custom skins are also incompatible. While they may load and intros may play, WMP11 seems incapable of displaying any media information, not moving past the final frame of the introductory movie or animation. This leaves you guessing where certain controls, like volume and seek, are.

The Final Verdict

While Windows Media Player 11 Beta may need a lot of work, and many are sure to find it lacking in the more important areas, it has some real potential. The slimmed down interface adds to the overall pleasing experience and I personally can’t wait for an update to the beta, or even an official release. But don’t get your hopes up, this looks like it’s been built for Vista, so an official release probably wont be coming anytime soon.

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Filed under Design, Media, Microsoft, Miscellany, Movies, Music, Technology