Monday, September 29, 2008


(Image/info used with permission from the great one)

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

Carmel Ideas Fest.

Today at school we went to Carmel to a writers/idea thing. I found it most interesting. You should check out this book. The dude who wrote it played some epic tunes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Practical Uses of Condoms (besides the obvious)

I believe that all things can be used for many different purposes. Much like how we got microwaves out of military research, I believe we can get much more out of our latexy little friend, the condom. Now when someone mentions condoms, people automatically freeze or feel awkward. This is because America is one of the most sexually repressed nations in the world. A wise man once told me that about 90% of today's problems among people result from this sexually repressive society, and since he is indeed an older and wiser man than I, I cannot argue. However this is beside the point. What I really wanted to say was that condoms are incredibly useful. According to a book I recently read by Douglas Adams, the BBC even use that as makeshift mic waterproofing. Because of this I have compiled a list I have heard of/thought of that list practical uses (beside the obvious) for this underrated and demonized little gadget:

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)
9. Paperweight
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?

Is Shakespeare legit?

Old Dead Dude

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 Cambria. His words are not just snazzy words, but are meant to be heard echoing outward from a stage. The phrasing is amazing, quite confusing, and convoluting, yet it certainly isn't air polluting.

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

Why Pro Tools Sucks...and why it Rocks

Most modern music is recorded digitally with Pro Tools and a USB, Firewire, or internal interfaces on either Mac or Windows computers. As a result, the music is recorded to an uncompressed audio file. This method of recording is used in basically everything dealing with audio, examples including popular music, film scoring, television, etc. There are many merits of this recording method, such as clearer sound, a much wider range of frequencies, easier editing, and "effects". However many argue that the "Pro Tools man" takes the skill out of music and find that even though the sound is much more accurately captured, digital can never compare with analog recording onto magnetic tape.

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

Punk Rock?

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.