What a day. You wouldn't believe it if I told you about it. Seriously. I'm so mad I'm shaking.
Why you ask? There's this guy at work. His name is James, but I like to call him Jumsen "TC" "Risky Business" Coolingwood. Take a look at this guy:
I know, right?
Anyway, I've been collecting photographic evidence over the past 24 hours. Look at this. You can see why I'm so upset with him.
He thinks he's handsome, but he's never in frame.
He dresses like literally everyone else.
He's always holding a lantern or something weird and totes bright. (I love this picture.)
He dances, but it's always too blurry for anyone else to enjoy.
He likes 55/45 Pop n' Drops. (Maybe he's not so bad afterall?)
Anyway, he's been acting all messed up towards me, and I don't know how much more I can handle. All I can say is that I'm so glad no one at work knows about this blog--my last safe haven to complain about the idiots I am forced to work with (i.e. Coolingwood).
Throughout my music-listening career I have gone through a series of highs and lows--a sine curve between inspiration and complete dispassion. Previously, the biggest musical slump I had was the summer of 2004, when I was in Minneapolis. I couldn't find a new album to listen to for the life of me, as much as Chris and Wipert tried to sell me on their instrumental and Brit Pop/emo music, respectively (obviously). It was quite frustrating.
At the end of that summer, Chris made me a mix CD that helped me reconnect with music after months of being unable to. It had fantastic, custom-made artwork. On the inside of the case it had a little pocket that housed stickers promoting Interpol's then-upcoming release, Antics. And on the back it had a series of inside (hilarious) jokes from the summer, such as "CT shops at Joe's Market," "Buce douche riot! Pious!," and "What a scoop!" I remember listening to this thing as I drove my dad's (and Radio Tokyo's ex-) van over the St. Croix river for the last time that summer and being blown away by the first songs I heard by Aurore Rien, Jon Brion, Maserati, Stars, and so on. It was the perfect end to a perfect summer.
So I guess it's appropriate that Chris is the one who brought me out of the current musical slump (fingers crossed). Listening to his Top 100 Songs of 2007 list introduced me to a surprising number of great songs and artists. I have listened to many songs obsessively (more on that later?), but one stands out way above the rest. The song is"Archangel" by Burial, an anonymous UK dubstepper, and it comes from his second album, Untrue.
I have since read that Burial wrote "Archangel" after his dog died and his mom (one of the supposed five people who know Burial's true identity) told him to write a song about it. This song captures the grief and loneliness of losing someone better than any song I've heard since The Prayer Boat's Polichinelle. And it does this with ridiculously innovative production--gender-blended vocals, haunting ambiance, fresh click drums, and a ghostly crackle track. The result is the freshest song I've heard in months.
The rest of Untrue is meticulously subtle and eerily beautiful. I fell in love with the album when walking around downtown Chicago late one foggy January night. The street lights and the fog created this orange glow around the city. You couldn't actually see the lights, but the aura was everywhere. This ghostly glow combined with an urban setting completely devoid of any sort of population was the perfect setting to listen to this headphones masterpiece. Everything about this album screams loneliness: the lack of the creator's identity; the sublime lyrics; the subtle tweaks that can only be fully appreciated by carefully listening on headphones; even the artwork featuring a isolated man with nothing but his coffee; .
The highlights on the album are numerous: the song-transforming non-transition at 3:29 on "Shell of Light" give me shivers every time; the Cassie-like synth-bass and layer upon layer of vocals on the aurgasm called "Homeless"; the rolling vocoded vocals on "Etched Headplate". But like a truly great album, each listen brings light to a new highlight. Even after dozens of listens new layers appear of nowhere: a distant vocal track surfaces, crackles and pops (such as sampled rain and fire) start to stand out, whole tracks that have previously passed as filler take the main stage. The result is an addictive album that maintains its appeal listen after listen.
If you have any interest in electronic music, I can't recommend the album enough. It's the perfect blend of the innovation of non-instrument-based music and the emotion often completely overlooked by electronic music.
Olde English is a comedy group based in New York City. Their website doesn't really give a ton of information, except listing the five members and stating that they've made various performances across the country in their four years of existence. The rate at which these guys make videos (or maybe just put old ones up on their website) is astounding. Every time I go on there I'm overwhelmed by how many new videos there are. I'm sure there are some other gems on there, but I will now present three of my four favorite videos.
"Why not all four" the astute reader asks. Well, if you will recall, Dave Ryan tried to steal my thunder on this post. (I guess that's what I get for sharing something with him.) Anyway, I love this video because I think it fairly accurately summarizes the way most Lost fans (at least those that I know) are feeling right about now. Countless questions, very few answers, and plots that are getting increasingly far out (see also: Pergatory, Four-Toed Foot Statue, Jacob!?!?). Anyway, I think they did a really good job capturing the pure lunacy that Lost has turned into.
Now on with the videos!
Video 1: Ben Takes a Photo of Himself Everyday
Don't worry Dave. You're not the only one who stole my thunder. Pfeiffer did it awhile back too when he posted about Noah K's series of daily self-photographs. Although, I guess he never did post a link to the video on YouTube.
Olde English created a parody of this video in which Ben Popik supposedly takes a picture of himself everyday. He goes through several Joe-for-a-week-type phases, including dabbling in gangster rap, a successful romp on the stock exchange, juggling two girlfriends, etc.
I love this video. The level of detail in this video is astounding. I've watched in at least a dozen times, and I notice something different every time: the posters changing on the wall, the props that appear for just one shot (including my favorite, the badminton photo), people popping in for one frame, they toys on the desk moving slightly. I also don't think he wears the same shirt twice. Very good stuff. It's rare that YouTube provides a good parody, in my experience, but these guys nailed this one.
Here's an incredibly dorky video on an incredibly dork's incredibly dorky blog. What'd you expect from an actuary?
Love those math jokes! Almost as much as I love you...clidean plane geometry. Wow, that works much better when it's not in writing.
Video 3: Adam's Orange Stand
Wow. A backwards video. How clever. Where's the payout?
THERE IT IS.
Honorable mention, in case you can't get enough:
The First Date - Contains some rather funny moments, as well as a good soundtrack.
So there ya have it, Tubers. Another Chapter in Pat's book of YouTube comes to an end.
Molly sent me a link to an online comic (thanks, Molly!). Normally, I'm not a fan of these, but this guy's is fantastic. He basically says everything that I think. This is the first comic I've seen that has done this since Calvin and Hobbes did back in 1995.
Anyway, my favorite comic is below. Check out his site if you get a chance (Other good ones: 83, 85, 87, 89).
The 8 Best TV Moments Seen in 2005 (Excluding Six Feet Under) More proof that Pat is, in fact, just like Harry's average American.
8. Arrested Development - The Mole vs. Jetpants in Tiny Town
Arrested Development is far better at combining its multiple story lines into a phenomenal climax than any other show, even Nip/Tuck. George Sr.'s "Jetpants", Tobias' mole costume, and GOB's Tiny Town all crash together in one of the funniest TV moments I've ever seen.
7. Lost - The Pilot Episode
There have been only two pilots that have floored me: those of Six Feet Under, and now TV's Lost. As soon as Dr. Jack Shepard awakes to the catastrophic events around him this episode is gripping. Throughout the episode the events of the entire season are foreshadowed: Charlie walks around aloofly, John Locke looks as if he doesn't believe what has happened to him, and Kate enters rubbing her wrists, etc. And then we fall in love with Dr. Jack Shepard as he saves six people. Well done, Lost.
6. Arrested Development - "...It's my illusion!"
After what appears to be the most awkward Arrested Development ending ever, the "Next Time on Arrested Development" pulls a u-turn and delivers the show's finest conclusion. Another flawless merging of multiple jokes from the episode.
5. The Office- The Booze Cruise
Several great moments between Pam and Jim and a glimpse into the real character of Michael Scott. Everything I love about the Office rolled into one great episode. (By the way, all the episodes since The Booze Cruise have been phenomenal.)
4. Arrested Development - "Has anyone in this family ever even seen a chicken?"
I was searching for the last episodes on a torrent site, and I found a file called "Chicken Dance Take 4." It is perhaps the greatest thing I have ever downloaded.
3. Nip/Tuck - Talking Heads and Suicide
The Poor Man's Six Feet Under never resembles the original more than it does in this episode, although it lacks the subtlty of SFU: "You're not real; this is my subconscious talking." Thanks. Regardless, this episode is unreal. After the talking head we're treated to an emotional suicide and a funeral of SFU caliber. The ambient, three-toned Nip/Tuck theme playing all the way from the eulogy to the scattering of the ashes in the sea.
2. Gilmore Girls - The Resurrection of Jess
The only true ray of light in an otherwise boring and uninvolving season of Gilmore Girls. Jess has always been one of my favorite characters, and when they brought him back I knew good things were in store for Rory. Also, the subsequent shouting match between Metzger and me was priceless.
1. Lost - The Arrival of the "Others"
The peak of my obsession with TV's Lost occured when Sawyer and Michael arrived back at the island and saw Jin run out, hands bound. He tells them in his broken English that he has seen the others. We see them march out with creepy, primitive weapons in hand and zombie-like looks on their faces. Just then, the episode ended and Metzger, Megan, Marcus, and myself literally went crazy.