26 December 2010

TV Character of the Year: Walter White

I’ve watched a lot of great TV shows this past year. I think maybe TV has gotten better over the last few years. Maybe enough time has passed since the writer’s strike or maybe with the advent of DVRs there’s a justification to produce better shows with more rewatchability. Either way, there have been some great one I’ve seen this year. (All of these I’ve watched from beginning to current.)

Battlestar Galactica is really enjoyable. It’s nothing like the connotation that the name implies. It tackles some really interesting human struggles and ethical dilemmas through the near extinction of the human race. I love the way officers always paint people in the most optimistic light regardless of their errors. Plus it’s in space which is awesome. It get's a little weird in the latter part of the series but I think it's a really quality addition to the world of sci-fi.

Mad Men. “It’s like watching poetry” I read once. It is just a dynamic, beautifully fluid show. All the characters have such high and low points. So many grey-area issues.

Glee. I think the pilot for Glee is possibly one of the greatest pilots ever made. The series is funny and touching (sometimes overly dramatic (I guess typical of high school?)), but the pilot is an amazing work of high school drama, finding one’s place in that time of life, the confusing peer pressure and being who you are. The whole thing ending in the greatest cover of Don’t Stop Believin’ ever made. I think the show does an awesome job recontexualizing pop songs into everyday struggles and celebrations. They don’t always line up perfectly, but they definitely tend to link emotions with songs in an interesting way.

Glee - Any Way You Want It (Journey)

Here are some of my favorite examples. Teenage Dream and Hey Soul Sister are by another school and their songs are more in the style I’d like hear on a show called ‘glee.’ Just because I think a lot of the songs have too much back up instrumentation and not enough vocal support. Which is a shame because everyone does sing really well. I think several of the people are off broadway. They have amazing voices.

(I love the enthusiasm in this one. In the episode they're on a cold medicine that's clearly an 'upper.')

Glee - Teenage Dream

Just realized this was a Florence + the Machine cover. Rad.

Glee - Dog Days are Over

Breaking Bad. Amazing drama. Really intense show. (If you don't know, the premise is he's a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has cancer and wants to provide for his family in case he dies.) It starts off good in season one, but really hits it’s stride in season three. It was great season. Although it’s weird when a character displays a trait or characteristic(s) you have but never really realized you had. Other than cooking Meth, I see a lot more of myself than I’d like to in Walter White. Most characteristics are more exaggerated (I hope) but they’re there. Pride, poor communication, stubbornness, and the last one, the one that’s new to me is his need to work on anything and everything except for the real issue. In one episode he starts doing house repairs because it’s basically the only thing he can successfully repair at the moment (as opposed to his marriage or job or cancer). He just goes all out repairing a water heater. As soon as he finishes he realizes that the floor underneath the old water heater is rotted from leaking water. Repairing the floor leads him to the mold problem underneath the house. What starts off as one minor hill ends up being this mountain range. He finishes, but it’s takes a toll on other things that need his attention (family).

I don’t know what causes that, but I’ve got it. Sometimes I feel like I can’t control anything and so I pick something I can control and just hit it full steam. It makes me feel better but it doesn’t help with the issue that pushed me there in the first place. And it generally involves a physical project whether it be cleaning or constructing. Sometimes it’s a project I started out working on but in the process I lose all perspective. The other day i got a new bike (well, and old bike, but new for me). It was really really dirty and had a flat tire. So I thought, “I’ll just look up ‘How to repair a flat’ and go get the parts and do it!” So I went out and got the stuff and came home to fix it up. After starting I realized I had to take the wheel off. It was the back wheel so it involves the chain and gear changing mechanism and everything. In taking that off I realize every part is getting dirty black grease on everything, so I figure I’ll just pull the bike in the shower, spray it down with Mean Green and brush off the grease. Well I did that. I put my bathing suit on, drug the bike into the shower and started washing. An hour or so, a full bottle of cleaner, two bathtub brushes, and shower walls and floor covered in grease washoff later I was done. I would’ve taken a picture or shown jesse, but I was scared I wouldn’t be able to clean up what I’d produced. A half hour scrubbing the shower and things were good as new. I got out, dried off and finished repairing the tire. Amazingly, I was able to reassemble the bike without too much trouble (and an extra set of hands from Jess). The only thing I didn’t put enough time into was tightening the nuts back on sufficiently because on my ride the next day the back wheel came undone and I bent the wheel. Oh well. Another project awaits.

But I do that stuff all the time. We’d be cleaning for company in Jamaica and I’d get sidetracked defrosting and chipping ice out of the freezer or disassembling the fan to clean off the dust. What causes that? Should I see someone?

I was disappointed when Cranston and Paul won Emmys for their performance in season 3 because I was watching Mad Men at the time and thought they should’ve been rewarded. However, after just finishing BB season 3... rightly so. Their performances were phenomenal.

Anyway, I’m not sure what the point of this post is. I have other things I could be doing but instead I’m writing about TV shows that have had an impact on me this past year. Regardless, I highly recommend all of these shows. AND I think that the character of Walt White is interesting. He's so motivated and driven to power through and succeed. He makes so many mistakes, especially regarding friends and family. And he always ends up in a really bad situation and just when you think he's truly done it this time, he reminds you that he's really quite ingenious. And while he's a pathological liar (he's working on it) you always feel that he's trying to be honorable. He's messed up, but I like him.

25 November 2010

Kanye West - Runaway

I'm sure you've all heard this song or part of it by now, but if you haven't listened to the 9min album version you're missing out. Basically, the second half of the song is Kanye singing along with the melody but with a distorted, autotuned voice. That may sound stupid, but it sounds like someone jamming out on an electric guitar (with massive overdrive distortion) over strings and piano. It's mesmerizing. It's awesome.

Kanye West - Runaway (ft. Pusha T) by theearlynerd

On top of that, the album really is something spectacular. There are a few songs I don't care for simply because I'm more of a music than words guy and those one or two songs aren't my cup of tea. But overall... he's really outdone any previous effort.

Commenting back and forth with a friend on Facebook about how it sucks that West always has to come across as such a d-bag. And another friend won't even listen to the album because of how much he personally dislikes Kanye. I understand that, but to me it's like people complaining that a particular athlete is a bad role model for kids... well, that may be true, but no part of what that athlete does outside of his sport adds to or takes away from what he does on the field/court. Who says he has to be a good role model? What does that have to do with how great of an athlete he is or isn't? Now, that athlete won't have my utmost respect in life in general, but how can I not appreciate his abilities and skills? Wouldn't that just be being selectively ignorant? I guess I see Kanye West the same way. I don't respect most things he does in his personal/public life, but that can't take away from his talent as a artist. I see his album as a work of art independent of the person, Kanye West. I think that's the only way to judge a work.

One reviewer wrote, "West may be obnoxious, but at least he's interested in confronting those aspects of his identity through his music." I think that really says it. Give the album a listen (below) on headphones and see what you think. If you can stop thinking about the person Kanye West for 68min I think you'll really dig it. Pitchfork did.

Album V (MBDTF)

23 November 2010

Daft Punk - Oh Yeah

One of my favorite Daft Punk tracks. I love the simplicity and fat, distorted bass. I love how the songs just takes it's time with an awesome beat.

Daft Punk - Oh Yeah by zimbodeux

12 November 2010

Radiohead - Let Down (String Quartet)

I wanted to try out sharing tracks via Soundcloud. I've gotten to really like their system and whatnot. So I thought I'd try it on this amazing string cover of Let Down. I like that it's not really built up. It just sounds like chamber music. Just playing Radiohead.

Radiohead - Let Down (String Quartet) by zimbodeux

12 October 2010

My Man Goob

Last night Jordan accidentally hit Goob with his car as he was coming up the road. He said Goob just darted out as he came by. He thought it was a raccoon. He swerved which I don’t think he normally does. That swerve probably saved Goob's life.

...my dad came running in and said he need us to come down. It was midnight. When he said Goob got hit I ran and got my shoes and bolted outside. As we got in the bulldog to ride down there and I had to talk myself out of a frenzy. i was freakin out. There was a blood stain in the road and Goob’s collar. The woods down there were thick so i called for him with the flashlight for a minute or two and then just took off into the woods. I was terrified at what I could find. Was he dead? In horrific pain? Was he even still in one piece? If my brain could’ve thrown up from the shock it would’ve.

My first cat, Nacho, back in 9th grade got attacked by an owl when he was a kitten and then a year later died from a kidney infection. He pretty much died in my arms. To see your pet dying right in front of you and not be able to help it is beyond heart breaking. it’s like a knife in there twisting back and forth.

Our next little kitten got grabbed by a big dog in it’s mouth. It was only for a second or so before we hit the dog to let it go, but it broke the little cat’s back. When we got him inside the little kitten acted totally fine accept he wasn’t moving his back legs. I didn’t understand. My dad took him out back to put him down. I still don’t have any idea where my dad found the strength to do that. I couldn’t have. We’d only had the kitten for days. I cried a lot that night.

Felix was a great big black cat who kept us company for several years. Up through 1 or 2 years in college. He liked to sleep on top of the garage door (when it was up). My dad called me at school one day and said he’d somehow gotten crushed when the garage door got put down. I think he said the neighbors found him there, still alive. The thought of him being stuck there suffering makes me so angry that I wasn’t there to help. Furious. And sick.

I was saturated with that feeling of sickness and rage that Goob’s safety and condition weren’t in my control last night as I ran through the woods looking for anything and calling out for Goob trying to make my voice sound normal and not terrified. But I was. I was terrified at what I would find, but even more terrified that I might not find him and that he’d die out in the woods alone.

I think maybe we must’ve scared him back up to the house going through the woods. Whatever it was, when Jesse yelled she found him I bolted up to the house. When I went to pick him up he was obviously in shock but when he saw it was me he calmed down and let me pick him up. His face was swollen and bloody, but everything else seemed okay. We took him to the garage and I held him until my dad found a vet that could meet us. I was holding him in a sheet because his blood was getting all over. He was meowing for a while, but actually calmed down; like he felt comfortable enough to relax and rest. I just thanked God that I was able to hold him no matter what happened. Just so thankful that we’d found him.

The vet took him and said he’d take care of him and we went home and washed the blood off our hands. We sat there thinking how lucky we were that it had been Jordan that hit him and not a stranger who would’ve just driven off. The fact is, we all fly up and down Tate Lane and it could’ve easily been any of us. And the fact that he was still in one piece with seemingly no internal damage is miraculous. How many animals just get hit and left? How many people's pets just disappear and are never heard from again? Makes me sick.

Love is such an bizarre thing, you know? We present it as this all around great thing. It makes everyone feel good and happy. And truly, my greatest joys in this world stem from my love for others and their love for me. But at the same time nothing in this world hurts more than love. To lose or have hurt that something or someone you love is mind bogglingly painful. Last night I just laid there writhing in bed. I could barely keep still. My very being was just so uncomfortable and in pain at the thought of not being there for Goob if something went wrong in the night. It’s just staggering how painful the other end of love can be.

I think anyone who’s communicated with us in the last 2yrs has a pretty good idea how much we love Goob. He was literally one of our greatest sources of joy through our years in Jamaica. The thought of losing our little peace corps cat is simply devastating. I know he’s a cat. But if any cat on this planet could possibly understand one iota of how loved and adored he is, it’s Goob. If any cat has any grasp whatsoever of this concept of being loved, it’s him.

We went and saw him at the animal hospital a few minutes ago. He was fairly sedated. He looked tired and swollen. They had an IV in him. The vet said his jaw had broken in the middle which was fairly common, but also that the palette at the top of his mouth had split and could cause sinus problems later on if not fixed. Also maybe some small fractures in his nose. Going to do some surgery tomorrow and should be okay to come home Thursday. I think he's going to be fine, but I don't want to get my hopes up until Thursday.

Thank you for your prayers.