November 2007

Here’s a strange little clip from The Bird and the Bee for their tune ‘Again & Again‘.

I like this clip quite a lot, but I simply can’t decide on the song. The chorus just destroys all the goodwill that the verses engender. Hmm…

Thanks to Shadow for the find.

{ 1 comment }

After a short break, The AV Club’s Psycho Bob has returned, and this time he may just have found the woman of his dreams!

Watch above, or smack dab in teh middle of AV Club goodness.

Update: The wrong episode was linked, it’s all better now.


Playstation 3 - This is LivingThe PS3 has undergone a number of marketing shifts in an attempt to bolster the less than stellar numbers, but what’s amazed me is how again and again the brand returns to a style that can only be described as David Lynch lite.

I get that the machine is a technological powerhouse, but what I don’t get is how creeping me out is supposed to convey that. Of course, considering the only way I’d buy a PS3 is if they had a massive new line of Katamari Damacy games, I can see how any branding attempt is going to fall a little short with me. Watch ‘This is Living‘ (which to be fair is visually exceptional) and tell me if that’s an ad that makes you go ‘Hmm, I so need that’.



OFFF CreditsThe annual OFFF Festival 07 wrapped up in New York earlier this month, and I’ve been curious to see what came out of the post-digital creation conference. Sure there’s been all manner of blither blather about new media and new techniques, but let’s face it: I just want the eye candy. So far, all that’s to be had are the opening credits to the festival, which are pretty damn slick in and of themselves.


Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein throws down on Rock Band, and delivers what has to be the single best thought on the game I’ve heard to date: “…if you are going to play the game with a group of friends for more than a night, shouldn’t you just form a real band?“. It’s a great perspective on the game (and yes, she does enjoy it to the degree a non-video gaming professional musician probably would), and worth the read.

Rock BandHaving gotten some Rock Band action over the Thanksgiving holiday, I certainly see the appeal. It is fun to play with a rowdy group of friends, and I’d kinda like to have it just so I could have a drum set that wouldn’t drive my wife bugshit crazy (and that would fuel my new-wave band love). But it’s just not a must-have for me. The out-of-the-box song selection left me more than a little cold, without only a few tracks that I enjoyed playing (Though let me tell you: I can’t convey how frustrating and embarrassing it is to fail playing a song I can actually play in real life.), and the idea of dropping just south of $200 dollars just so I can spend even more money buying a song selection that I actually care about (let alone doesn’t make me want to stab myself in the ears) via Xbox’s marketplace certainly qualifies as ridiculous.

My biggest beef with the game is that, from a vocal standpoint, it’s just too rote. Whomever has mic duty can monotone their way to a 90% or higher through any song, as long as they hold the notes for the appropriate length of time and can manage to raise/lower the pitch a little, while any embellishment from an actually talented singer can get you fast dropped from the band. Maybe I’d like it better if it were called ‘Cover Band’, cause there’s no real rocking to be had. Though to be fair that’s a limitation of the game software, and there’s simply no way to reward genuine originality in the game.

On the plus side: The graphics are gorgeous, and the synch-job between the audio and your digital rocker’s movements are nearly spot-on. The interface is slick, and the customization options are a fantasy rocker’s wet-dream, as you can make yourself look like everything between teddy-boy rocker to full on spangled Hair Metal god. The difficulty settings are individualized, so that neophytes can play alongside longtime Guitar Hero vets, and the online community lets your band ‘compete’ on a ranking board based on how many fans you’ve accumulated. (Which is another weird point. There’s no conceivable way flubbing an Aerosmith tune is going to lose you 10,000 fans anywhere outside of Boston)

All said, it’s one of those enjoyable games that you should encourage a friend to buy, just so you can have it as a drunken party favor towards the end of the night.


Okay, so you’re probably thinking ‘Who?’, and were you not of a cognizant age ’roundabouts 1983 there’s not a whole lot of reason for you to immediately think ‘Oh, yah…the singer from Quiet Riot‘. Kevin DuBrow’s deep seated love of 70’s Brit-rock and a effin’ perfect rock voice translated into a huge hit for Quiet Riot’s version of the iconic Slade tune ‘Cum on Feel the Noize‘, and he’s the #1 reason I’m such a big Slade fan nowadays.

Like every other band that’s ever had a Behind the Music, Quiet Riot had ample downtime to contrast their brief success, and that time was not especially kind to DuBrow, but 2006 saw a reconciliation and reunion of the ground-breaking pop metal band, and they released a self-financed album (Rehab) in the Fall of that year to some success.

On Sunday, DuBrow was found dead from causes unknown in his Las Vegas apartment. So g’night, Kevin DuBrow, and here’s to you for introducing a young music nerd to the wonder of 70’s Brit rock and glam.


Thin Ice

by alphamonkey on November 30, 2007 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

Thin IceThe ceaseless gaming engine that is Nitrome scores again with Thin Ice, which brings back the intrepid hero of Frost Bite, but trades a trusty grappling hook for a sweet pair of skates. That’s right, you’re going to skate your way to victory by circling vicious little creatures who are impeding your quest for frozen delights.

Goofy fun, and a fine little time waster.


Patrick Williams

by alphamonkey on November 30, 2007 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

Patrick WilliamsPatrick Williams’ minimalist style website reflects the sparseness and simplicity of his work, but there’s still oodles of eye candy to be had within.


Ars Technica has some insightful commentary on the current e-voting woes being dealt with by the event horizon of bad e-voting: Ohio’s Cuyahoga County. The short version: Four November 6th elections (which had its own snafus) results are undergoing a recount (due to a victory margin of 1/2 of one percent or less), and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has decided that simply re-printing the recorded ballots from the e-voting machine memory cards is a good enough paper trail. As Ars Technica rightly points out, that violates the entire concept of a voter-verified ballot, as there is no conceivable way to guarantee the printed ballot reflects the voter’s choice rather than say a tampered memory card or simply faulty recording.

Now that’s not to say that I believe that a handful of school board seat contests are ripe for vote tampering, but this half-assed (and ill thought-out) process is indicative of why I abhor e-voting in the first place, as it’s nothing more than trading transparency and legitimacy for the sake of convenience. I certainly appreciate the concept of electronic voting, but so far all it has done is erode any confidence I have in the process, as the makers of said machines have proven themselves incapable of creating a system even a third as secure as your average electronic slot machine.


I’ve always been sad that Neil Finn wasn’t more widely recognized as a pop genius for his work with Crowded House, but I am supremely happy that the loss of founding member Paul Hestor (who committed suicide in 2005) hasn’t stopped Finn and fellow founder Nick Seymour from taking a swing at the pop bleachers once again.

Here’s the clip for their first single from their recent release, ‘Time on Earth’. Watch ‘She Called Up’ to the right, or over at El Tube