Monday, December 8, 2008
I thought about this for a really long time. Though we had an assignment to write about our food log in some detail, I felt that I really couldn't analyze anything once I had written my diet out. So I did what any bored, attempting to be creative teenage would do for an assignment. I started bsing about evil micky D zombies.
But I digress. Anyway back to the food. After thinking for a good week or so (on and off), I came up with a theory to why I eat so strangely. I figure that the human body needs a balance of everything and in the modern world where you are bombarded with advertisements about health drinks, newer health foods, cheaper greasy fake foods, etc etc how can one balance a diet? I found that I eat a ton of meat. But then on a later date I ate only vegetables the entire day. Also one day I ate a nice greasy tasty In N Out meal with animal style fries and a double double which was insanely unhealthy. Yet I ate only health foods on another date. What I am trying to get at is that maybe we don't need to be some sort of magical vegan/vegetarian, carnivore, or giant storage tank for preservatives. I mean vegetarian diets lack many of the essential things that meat brings and meat lacks many of the essential things that vegetables have. So how can we become a truly healthy person?
In a world where everything has dangers, what can we truly trust? I cannot truly tell you because I am no scientist, but I can explain my theory of eating. I figure that we will all die eventually, so we should eat what we want if we can. However, we must factor in health factors and other negative and positive possibilities with the food. Because of this I feel that humans should be responsible for themselves and eat things in moderation. Both the extremes of too much and too little seem to have a negative impact on the body. I find that this seems the least traumatic for people who want their super healthy hipster munchies and their occasional Big Mac splurge too.
I personally use this method and only find it disturbing when I go on meat eating rampages. I mean the health effects that come from that are truly dangerous, especially with the new "magical" medicines which are used to raise the animals. However, like I said what is safe anymore. When the fields are covered in pesticides, animals being injected with god knows what, and even water being contaminated with chemicals of all shapes and forms what is still pure? I mean even organic foods seem to have potential to have pesticides because these chemicals don't just stay in one place. They are like a freaking plague and can get into water supplies and the ground. Even organics are tainted, though maybe to a lesser level.
So what can we really do for food? Besides going on with our regular eating it seems like all we can do is try to improve the way we produce foods. Maybe new laws and regulations are needed in order to improve our food supply system. Legal business may take lots of lobbying and may take an incredibly long time, but won't it be worth it when you are able to cook up a nice tasty all natural meal that tastes insanely better than some of the garbage we eat these days? What really should be asked is what is better? Low price and low quality, or high prices and food that causes one's palate to lust for the next meal?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
At the moment I have almost 20 days logged and I figured that I would be at least sort of healthy. I found that instead I have eaten large amounts of fish and meat. How much you might ask. All I can say is that some people would consider me a carnivore. Which is not necessarily bad I guess, but only a few days on this list did I eat things that could actually be qualified as salads or fruits. Also I found that even though I say that I don't like Japanese food that much ( at least to those around me who consider myself a food racist), I ate Japanese food at least half of the days logged. Mind you this is over Thanksgiving Break so half of the time I was eating the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes mix (which ironically I have been preparing the way that my Japanese grandma showed me). Even more disturbing is that I found that most days I only eat 1-2 meals. These meals can range in size from a pack of natto to a giant feast that could probably feed at least 5 people. These feasts generally consisted of meat, fish, meat and fish, rice, and also a strange random thrown in item like a poptart or something similar. I doubt many people know what natto consists of and those who do know, I know you are incredibly freaked out right now. In fact, I found that one day I actually ate 8 packs of natto. It was my sustenance for the entire day and trust me, thats a hard thing to do with natto.
This information over a short amount of time has led me to wonder about 3 things. 1) Am I a food racist?, 2) How did I survive a day only eating natto, and 3) How am I not incredibly overweight. I find my current diet quite dissatisfying. Though I love Japanese food and most of it is quite healthy, I now feel that I should really expand my food comfort zone. Though I can eat basically anything that is edible, tastes good, and is either cheap or free, I feel like I am being limited by my current Japanese food spree. It has definitely made me consider eating salads, especially since I live in the freaking Salad Bowl of the World. Additionally, I figured that maybe I should lay off the natto because even though it is supposedly super healthy, it causes most people to freak out because of the look, smell, and texture. Not the best meal to bust out in front of some weak stomached people. Plus the natto tends to deprive my diet of anything but soy and salty soy sauce which probably isn't the greatest source of nutrition. Lastly, I haven't really figured out why I am somehow not super overweight. I eat tons of meat apparently and exercise not as much as I should in my opinion. Plus I lack sleep, which apparently can cause one to gain weight. After much thinking I figure that I should just not think about this subject too much because it just led me to images of a old grey me that resembled Jabba the Hutt.
Overall, I must thank Mr. English teacher man for his assignment because it has made me realize that I should probably eat something that isn't meat, fish, or Japanese food a heckuva lot more. Though I luckily had mostly either home made or restaurant made food that was pretty healthy in general, I can really improve my overall health by something as simple as making random epic salads that are basically 5 feet tall and contain every known salad ingredient known to man. Thank You Sir. Your food preaching ways have reached my mind and hopefully my short high school attention span will not destroy the progress that has been made.
What seemed to be even more important though was that this list made me realize that maybe if we were mandated to record our eating in order to get health insurance or something, that a lot of people would be pretty screwed with that. In our modern times we can survive of Mickey Ds and cup a noodles for basically our entire existence, though that existence might be kind of short if one tried that. I feel that people, especially America, really need to realize what they are eating. Maybe if they realized that soda is basically an acid for the stomach and that they've never really eaten a hamburger, food consumption will shift towards the better. Or maybe they might just say what the hell and munch on their big macs and slurp down that oh so tasty high fructose syrup of death. I have no idea. We cannot devolutionize our society in order to make people eat healthier. This would cause massive riots by corporations and unhealthy people alike. Can you imagine a giant riot of unhealthy Micky D slaves? It would be like a freaking zombie movie, except worse because zombies are already dead and just require a headshot. Living Micky D slaves like crack addicts would be freaking out, going through withdrawals, looking for that Big Mac that is just waiting to cause their brains to give them their dose of happiness. Whats even worse would be the after effects of this. I mean without that Big Mac to give that dose of happy people might go to drugs and sex to fulfill this addiction. Do you want to deal with a doped up generation of Big Mac babies? I sure don't.
Friday, November 21, 2008
CPU: Custom 8-bit Sharp LR35902 (Z80-clone) core at 4.19 MHz which is similar to an Intel 8080 in that all of the registers introduced in the Z80 are not present. However, some of the Z80's instruction set enhancements over the stock 8080, particularly bit manipulation, are present. Still other instructions are unique to this particular flavor of Z80 CPU. The core also contains integrated sound generation
RAM: 8 kB internal S-RAM
Video RAM: 8 kB internal
ROM: On-CPU-Die 256-byte bootstrap; 256 kb, 512 kb, 1 Mb, 2 Mb, 4 Mb and 8 Mb cartridges
Sound: 2 Square Waves, 1 programmable 32-sample 4-bit PCM Wave, 1 White noise. The unit only has one speaker, but headphones provide stereo sound (for further information, see Game Boy music)
Display: Reflective LCD 160 × 144 pixels
Screen size: 66 mm (2.6 in) diagonal
Color Palette: 4 shades of "gray" (green to (very) dark green)
Communication: Up to 2 Game Boys can be linked together via built-in serial ports, up to 4 with a DMG-07 4-player adapter. More than 4 players is possible by chaining adapters.
Power: 6 V, 0.7 W (4 AA batteries provide ~35 hours)
Dimensions: 90 mm (W) x 148 mm (H) x 32 mm (D) / 3.5" x 5.8" 1.3" (in)
Mass: 275 grams (9.7 ounces).
Physical dimensions: 148.7 x 84.7 x 28.9 mm (5.85 x 3.33 x 1.13 inches).
Screens: Two separate 3-inch TFT LCD, resolution of 256 x 192 pixels, dimensions of 62 x 46 mm and 77 mm diagonal, and a dot pitch of 0.24 mm. The gap between the screens is approximately 21 mm, equivalent to about 92 "hidden" lines. The lowermost display of the Nintendo DS is overlaid with a resistive touchscreen, which registers pressure from one point on the screen at a time, averaging multiple points of contact if necessary.
CPUs: Two ARM processors, an ARM946E-S main CPU and ARM7TDMI co-processor at clock speeds of 67 MHz and 33 MHz respectively. The ARM946E-S CPU processes 3D rendering and the ARM7TDMI processes 2D rendering for DS games and Game boy Advance gameplay.
RAM: 4 MB of Mobile RAM
Voltage: 1.65 volts required
Storage: 256 kB of Serial Flash Memory
Wireless: 802.11 + Nintendo Original Protocol
Wi-Fi: Built-in 802.11 Wireless Network Connection (802.11b compatible with WEP encryption support only)
Despite this enormous gap in technology, the original gameboy can make amazing music with the help of only two mods: a Flash Cartridge with Little Sound Dj or Nanoloop and a Prosound modification. Custom painting may also be desired in order to give it that extra "cool" factor. Luckily for all those technically challenged and lazy musicians out there Nonfinite offers pre-modded systems. These simple modifications make the Gameboy a viable instrument by adding a much higher quality 4-bit sound. The Prosound modification makes the output louder while reducing hiss and the Flash Cartridge with the music interface programs allows any musician to make music in no time. The Little Sound Dj is essentially a sequencer designed for the 4-bit processor, which can also be used with a variety of samples including the famed TR-808. Nanoloop on the other hand is a step sequencer that loops 16 1/16 notes with a incredibly easy interface. Gameboy musicians tend to use these two programs, though others do exist, and usually describe Little Sound Dj as having a slight learning curve. However, the program's both have their merits.
Though music can be made on other Gameboy systems, the original system is the best in audio quality and "retro" feel. This Gameboy artist's site probably has the best description of the different sounds that can be obtained. Hopefully, as this musical scene grows more excellent artists will experiment with the sonic possibilities that can be obtained. I have already heard one excellent band called Pornophonique. They describe themselves on the site as "gameboy meets lagerfeuer" and have a most excellent sound. I suggest checking them out and keeping your eyes open for any new groups utilizing the Gameboy as an instrument.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
During this last week I have gotten to miss school. Lots of school. The sad thing is that this time spent not at school sucked. Having a small allergic reaction cause autoeczematization on one's entire front side of the body is no bueno sir. However the good part of this is that I had tons and tons of hours to think about things. I thought about things that ranged from the random pointless things that emerge from the male mind such as why women are so difficult to topics that actually seem worthwhile to write about. The one that seemed to stick in my mind the most is the idea of identity and society in general from my view as a high school student.
Identity has interested me lately. As a high school senior, one must think about identity a lot when contemplating how to bs an essay to get into college, bs an essay to get an A in English, or bs to someone to pretend to know something you haven't the faintest clue about. Of course I am exaggerating a bit, but it really is quite interesting. What I find the strangest is that colleges actually base their entrance upon such essays that require the fragile high school mind to reflect upon their short lives and find meaning. I find this especially humorous due to the fact that they are asking people who have lived less than 20 years. Not to mention the fact that everyone changes over time, though it may depend on their situations and personality. What this leaves colleges with is an essay that may show how much someone wants to succeed now, or at least how good they are at pretending they do. Ah the fun of the high school essay.
High school is not meant to make a person magically enlightened. If anything it is a sort of system to supposedly prepare one for the world that exists outside of the sheltered high school community. This thought was strange because almost a year ago, I had an intense MySpace message chat going on about this very topic with my friend Rhea. We both were rather fed up with school, the concept seemed incredibly boring to us. However, through our messages we determined that in a way high school was a necessary.
We figured that high school is nothing more than a kind of microcosm of society that the older and supposedly wiser adult conspiracy had created to control and force feed us youngsters the rules they had put down. Everything that the real world has exists in high school, though in a lesser form. There are always stoners, overachievers, dealers, stealers, perverts, losers, winner, etc. Additionally, the high school government/student council was very much like our own ruling government and the ones who make the rules. In this sense, school was almost like a gauntlet. It didn't really determine what kind of person you were because there were plenty of good people in every clique, ethnic group, intelligence level, etc.
What high school did do was put everyone into a larger environment. This larger environment was very much like the world. It had all sorts of people from different backgrounds and different strengths and weaknesses. This gauntlet can best be described as the Battle Royale effect. These giant pools of maturing teenagers are given the chance to "learn". Those who can survive through the trial and make it to the real world, the ones who drop out cannot seem to handle the standard brainwashing that society has set in place and choose to remove themselves from the testing system to instead try their luck at the real world.
The ironic thing about this chat that went on for a while was that we were new high school juniors. We had been pointing these things out mostly from our limited experience and much was probably based on either emotion, or the need to feel like a rebel. Such strangeness, these high school days of self discovery. Such primitive animalistic instinct buried within our dated system of education.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are
The Onion documents the horrible tragedy of losing one's lives to Obama Mania. Watch and weep at the sadness that the supporters find when there is no more race left to run.
Monday, November 3, 2008
First off, Facebook cannot replace the good old forms of communication that we have always relied on. Though some may find actually seeing people and making noises at each other to communicate primitive, it has always been essential to social development. By basically grunting, squealing, bickering, whatever you want to call it, we humans have developed out own society of rules. Social interaction is in some ways even more important than learning because it can be used in any situation. This is why I find this whole social networking obsession kind of creepy. When the youth of today are more into their Facebooks than actually meeting people, what will happen? Will we begin text messaging instead of talking to people right next to us? Will we slowly dumb down the society we live in until even novels are created in a language that is filled with abbreviations and colloquial chit chat? Whatever happens, it will forever shape the social landscape of the world. Maybe people in the future will refer to 2008 as the good old days when people actually talked to each other. Or maybe they'll just refer to it as the dawning of the new age of communication. An age of Facebook and text messaging. A cold new age of digital social ties.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The two videos above have, what I believe to be, some of the worst guitar solos that have ever been created. Weezy can rap decently, but when he picks up guitar my soul begins to die. I'm all for simplicity/stripped down sound because I love the blues and punk rock and all that jazz, but I have no idea what hes up to with this. I'm all down with the random improv that has no sense of direction and follows no rules, but these two videos above may change my mind. Have a watch and be amazed by Lil Wayne and his guitar skizzizzles.
That was the first piece of writing that I had ever heard from Shakespeare. By now everyone should know that Shakespeare is a genius, whether you think that is your own personal opinion. Literature teachers around the world use him as a an example and all talk about how awesome Shakespeare is/was/and shall forever be. What I really want to know is what the hell Shakespeare meant by "to be or not to be". This small phrase alone seems to be the most quoted and frankly I have no idea what the true meaning is. Ever since I was young I have been hearing people quote this phrase and I am pretty convinced that they have no idea what this means either.
Out of the possibilities that exist, the literal meaning of this famous soliloquy from Hamlet seems to deal with the idea of suicide. Hamlet seems to be debating whether it is better for him to live or die. This could be the meaning, but I think it probably deals more with the very existence of man. Hamlet himself questions this as he mopes away after his father's death and his mother's marriage to his uncle. He comes upon this morbid thought because he realizes that no one really cared that his father died. They cared in the sense that they felt remorse because he was their king, but after all was done and through they just went to their everyday lives. His death had no true impact on how they lived and they seemed to forget about his death, instead focusing on the new king and his marriage.
If this idea was what the most famous of the famous Shakespeare writings was attempting to bring across, what is Shakespeare really forcing the reader/audience to think about? It seems to me like he was questioning the existence of man and man's very mortality. Though man can shape the world around him to an extent, after he leaves this earthly realm what will be left? What is left behind by man as he died off? Will our species eventually die out and be found by an evolution of our current form or by aliens, much like the fossils we examine? It seems like Shakespeare examines the idea of legacy.
Legacy seems to be growing increasingly important in a time of super celebrities and politicians. Every body seems to be trying to leave a mark on society, but why exactly do they have motive. Is it some sort of human social relic that forces us to want to pass our experiences and story down the generations through lore and legend? Perhaps it is to make one feel that they have contributed they have changed society in a positive, or negative, way.
Shakespeare has created a good little riddle with this one. Maybe he meant for it to be taken literally, maybe not. It doesn't change the fact that its some deep stuff and I still have no idea what it's saying.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Disneyland is the an amazing creation. It is a place of pure revenue that uses other locations to generate goods and raw materials in order for it to expand its base of operations and get more money. Think of it this way, if Disneyland is the advanced nation among the 3rd world countries. It deals in deception (the place where dreams come true? I think not) and selling you overpriced goods which appear to have sentimental meaning (Eeyore stuffed animals are freaking $50). Much like illegal drugs, Disneyland hooks them when they are young (Hannah Montana?) and creates major revenue by scouting and marketing young children as we have seen in The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, etc. Their little child labor pool brings in major cash by marketing to their younger audiences who are still stupid in the ways of life by hooking them onto a "role model" artist like Miley and making them worship her like some kind of 16 year old goddess (for all those mothers who had intense cat fights over Miley Cyrus tickets I salute you). I mean when I was at Disneyland Miley Cyrus had her birthday party in the park and I didn't see a happy little fanbase of Miley Cyrus. It was more like a giant purple and pink cult of preteens who were stupid enough to pay $250.
Now I guess Disneyland does have some admirable traits like the fact that those underpaid men and women who dress up in costumes and meet children. That must be the hardest job ever because they are basically paid to pretend like they love everyone and prance around in suits that must melt their skin off. I mean they are great, but when I really thought about it, they are merely puppets in the massive Disney dream drugs. What are the Mickey Mouses and Goofys? Dream come true characters, sure, but their more important purpose is to get kids to love them. They are merely the dealers of the Disney LIES. Much like the priests who convert people in 3rd world countries, they are like the priests of Disney. They make us all love their Mickeys and Minnies so much that we buy buy buy everything. I mean honestly if you go to Disneyland and can spend less than $500 dollars there you are amazing. The food there alone could cost that. These characters are the harbinger's of destruction. They are the horsemen of the apocolypse. They are the reason why all of us know about Disney, whether we like it or not.
I'm done with my delirious rant now so all of you go to Disneyland and junk. I know you all watch Hannah Montana and High School Musical don't lie. Space Mountain FTW.
1. LOVE: Pokemon teaches you love because if you don't LOVE your Pokemon they apparently turn out super lame and weaksauce. Take for example Ash Ketchum's Pikachu. It is basically freaking invincible because they LOVE each other. His Pikachu can basically kill any other Pokemon that is out there, except of course killing each other is BAD and doesn't show LOVE, so of course they never do.
2. Friendship: Pokemon teaches you that if you don't have a bunch of homies you will get pwned by evil people. I say this because in both the game and anime, the lonely dude with no friends is befriended by the main character and the "good" always wins. Plus that whole Gotta Catch 'Em All stuff is basically a mission from the Pokemon god saying make friends or die. Can you beat the Elite 4 without lots and lots of high leveled Pokemon? Heck no. Go make friends now kiddies.
3. Being Unique: Pokemon stresses that we get our own SPECIAL Pokemon and name them, give them accessories, enter them in contests, etc etc. It stresses making a "secret base" for your character which you can customize to your heart's content. Also there are "shiny" Pokemon which are rarer and obviously cooler.
4. Capitalism: If you don't buy in Pokemon, you have to live like a bum and scavenge for things. How can you get Pokemons if you don't have Pokeballs? You can't fool, so go buy stuff.
5. Not Hating on People: It seems like all the jerks in Pokemon have some sort of weird epiphany that makes them suddenly nice. The Pokemon Gods have spoken. Be Nice (or they'll make you)
6.Good Work Ethic: The Pokemon game is basically a game based on obsession. If you play the game a lot, then your Pokemon can get stronger. Additionally there are special ways to make the Pokemon stronger with things called EV points. Basically this is a game designed for future businessmen. The developers wanted to teach children how to be OCD workers who keep on working until they get that level 100 Pokemon. Its a valuable training tool to develop a generation of video game addicts into a hardworking business force.
7. Trade is Good: Pokemon now has a Global Trading Station. This allows people to trade their Pokemon all over the world. What this is meant to teach little youths is that trade is good. Thats how you get all the intense monsters fo sho. Plus this is meant to boost friendliness between other countries/people/etc. Don't be a stingy with your monsters. Sharing is caring.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Matt Stanton is a great man and personal hero. People know very little about Stanton and his greatness, so I have compiled a list that illustrates his greatness:
1. Matt Stanton can bench 9000...and 1
2. Matt Stanton keeps it real
3. Matt Stanton's tears contain gold
4. Matt Stanton can fly, but chooses not to
5. Matt Stanton is asexual
6. Matt Stanton can pity Mr. T
7. Matt Stanton has enough brain energy to pick up large encyclopedias with his MIND
8. Matt Stanton poops bricks of pure platinum *AR
9. Matt Stanton can do calculus with his fingers
10. Matt Stanton once killed a man with his TI-83
11. Matt Stanton does not sleep, he calculates
12. Matt Stanton is made of dark matter
13. Matt Stanton can see into different solar systems
14. Matt Stanton lives long and prospers
15. Matt Stanton controls the economy
16. When Matt Stanton bleeds, the world bleeds
17. Matt Stanton can cure all diseases with his saliva
18. Girls can't kiss Matt Stanton because his greatness would cause them to implode
19. Matt Stanton once debated with God and won
20. Matt Stanton fought Chuck Norris. They tied.
21. By gazing upon Matt Stanton, there is a 5% chance of getting cancer from the epic beams of light that emanate from his glowing body
22. Matt Stanton solves the meaning of life...everyday
23. Every time Matt Stanton cries, God kills a antelope
24. Matt Stanton once played Crysis for 2 weeks...without blinking
25. Matt Stanton's hugs cause internal bleeding
*Contributed by Primary sources
If anyone else out there has knowledge of the great one, please contribute by commenting and adding them. If enough are added I'll add yours to the list. Additionally if anyone has any ideas about a Stanton religion please post. I think Stantonism would involve listening to an hour of metal everyday to purify ourselves. Thanks Much.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
1. Waterproofing Microphones
2. Water Balloon Toss Games (they are designed to not break)
3. Emergency Water Carrier (not even joking)
4. Stylish Beanie (not sure how this would work)
5. Awesome Balloon Animal
6. A cheap sling shot
7. A cheap way to make a puppet
8. A weapon (fill it with heavy objects for weight)
10. Door Stop
11. Popsicle maker
12. Storing Spices/Candy/anything else
13. Spider Capturer
14. Art Supply
15. Jello Mold
16. Individual finger gloves
17. Pencil/pen holder
18. Waterproof Ipods
19. Waterproofing for rolls of money
20. Message in a condom?
The other day I heard my friend describe Shakespeare as an "old dead English dude". I suppose he is correct in some aspects, but why does Shakespeare still exist in our society? If he was just some old dead dude, why are his plays still being produced and, more importantly, why does every school in the freaking world require Shakespeare for reading? I figured he must be more than some old dead dude, and at the very least he must be an old dead dude who could write. At the moment we are reading Hamlet in class, so I figured I might as well explore this idea while doing an assignment.
When I was reading Hamlet I noticed one thing at once. Shakespeare's play is incredibly detailed. Puns and references are scattered everywhere through the play. Also his writing seems incredibly poetic. At first I didn't pick up on it, but after reading the "to be...or not to be" speech in my best imitation of a dude who wants to kill his uncle but can't because he has the hots for his mom who is married to his uncle who killed his dad whose ghost came and told me to kill his brother voice. A most confusing voice indeed, but that's not the point. The point is that Shakespeare is a damned good writer. If he was in a rock band, he would probably play some epic music like Symphony X, Pink Floyd, or Coheed and
So if this is so, why are we taught in school to hate Shakespeare? Well not exactly taught, but pushed to view him as some sort of writing god. Since the readers are usually parochial minded teenagers or young adults, this is almost equivalent to teaching one to hate. From a teenage perspective Shakespeare just seems like some old dead dude who wrote a bunch of funny words. It's kind of sad really. Especially when prisoners (my English teacher made us listen to This American Life on a report about prison Hamlet productions) can relate more to Shakespeare's writing than most of the brightest high school students. Personally I think this is because as teenagers, we feel we cannot relate to a dude whose dad gets killed by his uncle who married his mom who he has the hots for. But if this character is really that hard to relate to why is he one of the most memorable characters in the history of the world.
I figure that it's because Hamlet is everybody. Not literally of course, but Hamlet's life is basically so messed up anyone can relate to him. I know that people who are like dude Hamlet is "lols", but it’s really not. Hamlet is basically a story of a dude whose life goes from super awesome straight downward. We should be able to identify with this because everyone has their ups and downs in life. We are told Hamlet's life from the deepest, darkest point of his life. Why do you think Shakespeare put it at this point of time in the young lad's life? It's because if he places the play in the time when it was all good in the hood, we would be more pissed off about reading the play because we would just have to read about how Hamlet and Ophelia want to make babies and how the King and his wife are all lovey dovey. Who would want to read about some rich dude and his awesome life? (but then again most people do listen to rap music nowadays...) Human beings like excitement and death. We don't admit it, but the fact that someone's life sucks more than ours makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's not that human beings are cold hearted emotionless slaughterers (though this could be debated), but that we don't usually like seeing someone brag about how awesome everything is and flaunt it in front of our faces. Maybe it has to do with survival instincts, or just the fact that we always want what we can't have. I have no idea, but the point is that: dude, Hamlet is one unlucky SOB.
Though his life basically sucks by the time we enter it, Hamlet is an amazing character. He is the character that anyone can project their own problems on. I know I already mentioned how we essentially enjoy watching people suffer, but part of Hamlet's appeal lies also in the situations he is put in. Because of this Hamlet really embodies the reader, the reader who has their own problems and experiences. Maybe Hamlet you when your girlfriend cheated on you and you had crazy plots to sabotage her new relationship. Or Hamlet can be you when a loved one died and you feel all alone. Hamlet can be every man. He can be the punk rocker who is fighting the system, the employee who got screwed over at work, the guy whose girl is taken, etc.
This is the magic of Shakespeare's plays. He is able to cover broad themes, yet create characters we can relate to. His characters are incredibly complex, yet are accessible for those who try. Not bad for an old dead English dude.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The modern recording artist does not need to sing accurately, or even know an entire song perfectly to record a sparkling, clean example of modern music. They don't even need to be in the same room, building, state, country, continent, or even hemisphere. Because of the internet, as well as modern recording that requires as little as a laptop and magic box as small as a pencil box, artists can roam freely, much like minstrels of the past, and create music wherever and whenever they want. The way I see it there are basic pros and cons.
The pros are that music can: basically be recorded ANYWHERE, eliminates the need for close contact with band members (which the Rock n' Roll world knows can cause horrible things such as Lead Singer Disease as well as many various intoxicated and non-intoxicated adventures), lead to amazing musical collaborations, provide good ways to write while touring, keep jams and ideas for music, etc etc. Another worthy thing to note is that almost anyone can acquire some sort of recording gear from stores at a fairly reasonable price compared to the old machines that required lots magnetic tape.
The cons are that music can be recorded ANYWHERE. This may seem like a strange problem, but it is a problem. Because music can be recorded anywhere, music loses a great deal of emotion. It can distance a musical entity and although it can be used to record great sounding tracks, much of the chemistry and spontaneity of the music is lost. The greatest why this natural energy, this natural chaos that surrounds the recording process is important is the album Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses.
Guns N' Roses' debut album is considered by some as the last rock record of the vinyl age, which is backed up by its lingering popularity. It is the 4th best-selling debut album of all time, but by today's standards it sounds like crap. The drums, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar tracks were all made from basic tracks recorded live; the guitar work overall on the record is tastefully sloppy, but nonetheless quite sloppy at times; the drums are rough and bring a punk rock feel; and the vocals have been described to me as "a pissed off teenager's prepubescent scream".
How does a sloppy, raw album by 5 LA street urchins become one of the best loved albums of all time? The way I see it is that its sloppy and raw. The appeal of this raw sound is seen in many classic albums such as Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good by Megadeth, Nevermind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols, The Ramones by the Ramones, and Raw Power by Iggy and The Stooges. This rough sound brings a more human element to the music. However there are dangers to this raw sound too. Anyone who has listened to Metallica's St. Anger should know that. Their desire to make that album sound "raw" ended up with a irritating snare drum sound and no guitar solos. Quite a piece of blasphemy for the group who was partly responsible for bringing the world thrash metal.
Many feel that because Pro Tools makes it too easy to make music, the modern musicians are not as skilled as the past greats. Why use Pro Tools if it just creates a false image of an artist who, in reality, cannot play their music live without lip syncing? Fortunately for the rest of the music world who enjoys this new found ease in editing, the negative people seem to neglect to realize the other effect that this new precise method has had on the musician community. Though some may say the new generation lacks "feel" (such as the great Bob Dylan), they don't take into account that there are musicians out there that are virtuosos. The Pro Tools magic has created magic musicians who surpass the previous standards and can play music just as though it were edited. The most recent example of this that I saw was Avenged Sevenfold.
People can hate on Avenged Sevenfold as much as they want, but they can't deny that their live show is amazing. They recently released a live DVD called Live In The LBC and those guys can play. On the cover of the DVD they state that there are no overdubs, and if this is so, they are a prime example of this Pro Tools talent boom. Throughout the entire 2 hour show they played 12 songs and I can't honestly say they missed a note. Their playing was articulate and even the drummer was able to sing backing vocals while using using two kick drums. Their music was an amazing live interpretation of their albums.
This digital recording method also has its merit when coupled with the internet. On sites like YouTube and Myspace people are able to post music they have made and easily and quickly. This method has unlocked the potential of finding amazing artists and drawn musicians from all over the world to post videos of them playing. One example of this is the Taiwanese guitarist JerryC. His video is nothing special and was filmed in what appears to be a bedroom. It features only JerryC playing his adaptation of Bach's Canon in D and a slight backing track made of a stringed section. Though this sounds quite primitive, as far as technology goes, the video has spawns hundred of copycats on YouTube.
Here are FunTwo's and JerryC's videos:
So, overall one cannot argue that Pro Tools does indeed have its merits as well as problems. Some simply refuse to record digitally and stick with the tape, such as Jack White of the White Stripes, while others embrace the future with digital. The fact is that as more and more precise recordings come out, the future generations will be a need breed. Maybe they won't embrace the digital precision and play with their grooves, or else they might learn to play like the recordings they hear and become the next Steve Vai's and Joe Satrianis. We seem to be at a transition point in music, at least in America, so anything can happen. The industry is changing and with it the music. Pro Tools may degrade or enhance music depending on your standpoint, but the fact of it is that no matter what, the new wave of artists will find a way to record and whether they strive to stay away from the modern and stick with tape like Jack White of the White Stripes, or choose to use the state of the art Pro Tools rigs, the music continues to play. It'll keep playing until someone manages to create touchable 3D holograms or something. Then there might be a problem.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The other day my friend mentioned a movie I had not thought of in a long time, Salt Lake City (SLC) Punk. SLC Punk, directed by James Merendino, captures the pain, confusion, and most importantly the difficulty of maturity. But most of all it captures the spirit of punk rock through two main characters, Stevo, the son of a rich Jewish lawyer/former hippie, and Heroin Bob, a strange character who contrary to his name is scared of any and all pharmaseuticals and is the son of a crazed war veteran. Though a bit dated (1998 release), I feel that this movie contains many elements that are essential, yet lacking in our current society. Also it provides a fairly accurate analytical depiction of today's world. This may seem like complete crazy talk, but once the stage is set it makes a lot more sense.
SLC Punk essentially is about a plan created by Stevo and Bob to fight the system by doing the only thing they can do to fight the system, wasting their newly college grad education by partying, veggging out, and of course participating in some illegal pharmaceuticals/alcoholic beverages. In the world of Salt Lake City that James Merendino creates there are several "tribes" that inhabit the adolescent world of a Salt Lake City teen. There are punks (punk rockers), mods (essentially wannabe British dudes who wear suits and ties), Rednecks (stereotyped blue jeans and flannel, etc), Nazis (white power skinheads), Heavy metal guys (long hair and flannel wearing metal heads), and New Wavers (described as people who dress like the New Romantics and are "the new hippies"). Also within these groups are "posers" who Stevo says are people who are "punk" just for the fashion aspect. The film follows Stevo's and Bob's punk rock ventures which include beating up bouncers at punk rock shows, fighting rednecks and Nazis, debating about anarchy, and eventually climaxes with the death of Heroin Bob. Stevo's best friend's death causes him to rethink his life and drives him to change his self destructive lifestyle to go to Harvard Law School to "fight the system from within the system"
Now you may ask how would a story about two suburban white kids who dress like punk rockers and want anarchy contain any elements that are needed in our current state of society. But by looking past all the "punk" fashion and stereotypical desire to cause chaos, one can see that this state of society contains many needed elements and is, in a sense, a social commentary.
The first element of society we find lacking is the questioning of authority/rebellious attitude. The current state of the youth is relatively depressing. Most focus more on getting into a college than what they really want to do. Our society has become somewhat of a repressive force, which stifles individuality and our voices. One might argue this case and say we have plenty of individuality and rebellion. There are emo kids, punk rockers, artistic indie rockers, etc. However what they fail to take into account is that most of these are not genuine. Like in SLC Punk, the world of today is cluttered with "posers" who do it for fashion, or money, or fame. A great example of this is the "emo" music scene which exploded onto the charts a few years ago. Kids started wearing eye makeup and black hoodies to try to imitate their new emo heroes. Soon everything became "emo", from hooded sweatshirts to even acoustic guitar music. Kids flocked to the scene with Hawthorne Heights' "emo" anthem, "Ohio is for Lovers" and started attempting to hurt themselves because they felt it would make them feel better and fit in. Essentially what I am trying to say is that the current society seems to me at least to be a mere shadow of a few. The few innovators are imitated constantly by others for their own motives.
Now this doesn't mean that no one questions authority or rebels, but the drastic drop in this element is rather sad. No longer do we have the rebels like Jim Morrison who want the world, or even the rebel acoustic rock of the sixties like Buffalo Springfield's "For What Its Worth". Though the current society does have some rebellion in music, such as John Mayer's "Waiting for the World to Change", it is far more subtle and not the Rebel Yell that is needed for this country. This shift that is easily seen in the music represents a change in the social dynamics of the country. In some ways this may be good and represent a sort of stabilization of society; however it also may represent a sort of dumbing down of the American. This time is fairly similar it seems to the time of American isolationism and can be seen starting again. We Americans may be smarter than some media portrays us, such as the video below, but there is an obvious shift towards a more docile common man.
SLC Punk also seems to have a lot to offer on our current state of America. One can look at the different tribes as the different nationalities, religions, social classes, etc. The current America is in a transition period from being a primarily Caucasian nation to truly multi-cultured mixing pot. However at the current time many spend their time fighting the other tribes rather than uniting behind a common background as Americans. Like the tribes, America’s different backgrounds are all linked by commonalities, but are disrupted by the differences that exist amongst the tribes.
There are many different conclusions that can be drawn from this movie, but I will stop there as there is little time for other tasks that need to be done. If interested in the “Poser Speech” from SLC Punk you can YouTube it, but viewer discretion is advised. There is much inappropriate language.