Recommendations and Catching Up…

22 May , 2012 Culture,Lifestyle

It has been quite a while since my last post. I have been insanely inundated with work and life, but I still wish that I had been able to find the time to post even the smallest tidbits in the interim. With apologies out of the way, this post will be, of course, fairly long. I want to focus on some recommendations of music and electronics that I have discovered recently as well as a glimpse forward into activities and events I am anticipating.

I want to start by talking about Band of Skulls. The experience I have had with this album lately is the main catalyst to me getting back to writing on my blog. I woke up this morning with lyrics from their track “Cold Fame” flowing through my head. This album purchase was triggered by the free iTunes discovery/singe of the week download of their current single “I know What I Am.” I can’t say enough for how great a source of music free iTunes downloads have been. I have become a fan of this British band much like I went on to become a follower of The Kooks after a short time with their free download. You know, Atlanta held a record store day recently, and I indeed miss the days of being in the local shop sampling music, looking for something ethereal; but I believe the magical music searching challenge is still out there if you really try and listen. The sources have changed and so should you. Pay closer attention in the lounge next time, try and search for that song you heard in the background of some commercial or listen to NPR’s “All Songs Considered” segment. You’ll be surprised what you find.

Anyways, back to the band. The album has an average 4.5 stars out of 5 rating on iTunes by the users. I would describe Band of Skulls as The White Stripes meet Smashing Pumpkins, sprinkled with Heart guitar rifts and Auchtung Baby moods. I anticipate great things out of them. The lyrics gracing the tracks of Baby Darling Doll Face Honey are too stirring to be underestimated. Let me not forget to mention that they have Skull in their name, and anyone who knows me knows how much I like skull imagery. Nothing is a substitute for good writing and they have that. Here is one section from “Cold Fame:”

Play your 45′ records late at night
Open all the windows, turn off the lights
Mysterious creatures will fill the room
A midnight show put on for you
But still I fall from grace with this microphone
How do you find your self if you never roam
Certainly, I am indebted baby…

Keeping with music, I also want to take the time to recommend the Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack. A. R. Rahman, simply put, is a master. I had known of him from before from his contribution “Chaiyya Chaiyya” to the Inside Man soundtrack, but this album is a true world music jaunt through cultures and experiences. How can you go wrong with Spanish, English, and Hindi all on one album dispersed over hip-hop, pop, and tribal tracks. Angela and I have found ourselves working out, singing out loud with the top down, dancing, and laughing to this musical feast. I like the soundtrack even more than I like the movie. So, once more, here is a tip of the hat to Indian culture; Praful, don’t get a big head.

You know, as much as I can credit Band of Skulls for retreading me on my blogging path, I can also credit Samsung for knocking me off of it. We had the great fortune of being picked to test one of the new Samsung Series 6000/7000 LED 120 hz TVs. How would a TV stop you from blogging you ask? It was not so much the TV as it was the reactions to it. A quick primer, the more hertz (refresh/draw rate) your TV has the more real the picture. It was that very realism, or the reaction to it that has been bouncing around my mind for so long now.

Generally, you would expect a favorable reaction to a picture quality that was almost life like, but some of our friends had the very opposite. “It is Too Real” was the common reaction of those not initially inclined to it. We have come to learn that there is a certain level of expectations you have to manage when introducing people to the next wave of television entertainment. People sometimes seem disarmed when their perception of reality is challenged by actors seemingly coming into the living room through a finger thin LED TV. Most people eventually got used to it and some tried to steal it; but there were those few puzzling reactions.

Still, in the end, you have to get one of these new Samsung LED sets if you want a TV that can act as that generational fix, like the big screen projection in the family den was so many years ago. You will be getting the truest picture quality, advance features that can replace Apple TV or the like, new life into old movies, and richer images that pull you from scene to scene in ways you never had before. Also, skip Blu-Ray, it is over-rated. Our Apple TV HD movies looked as good as any Blu-Ray discs while running through this TV.

Moving on, summer movie season is upon us. Block buster film after smash hit, with some flops, are coming week after week. Last week kicked off the sprint with Wolverine. We decided, partly to get more out of each theater experience and also as a refresher, to have Movie Marathons as a lead up to every prequel and/or sequel. To start, we watched all three X-Men films before seeing Wolverine. We also swung by Oxford Comics and took advantage of free comic book day.

I really think that having these movie marathons extend the life of the DVDs you have purchased. You also can get more out of your $10 Regal ticket, because you bring some history and context to the viewing and maybe a better overall opinion of each film when viewed as part of a compendium. As a quick reminder here is the summer line up we are having viewing parties for. Also keep an eye out for District 9, it looks very promising.

  1. Wolverine, held this, watched all 3 X-Men.
  2. Star Trek, we will view Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as well as a TV Star Trek history review.
  3. Angels & Demons, we will watch The Da Vinci Code again, which you can get a digital copy of for $4.99 right now on iTunes; Angela is also re-reading the book.
  4. Terminator Salvation, we will watch Terminator and Terminator: Judgement Day; that other one is a crime.
  5. Transformers, we will watch the original cartoon and also Transformers 1.
  6. Harry Potter, this will be the hardest to pull off, but the plan is to watch 1 a night leading up to the new film.
  7. G.I. Joe, we will watch the cartoon movie featuring Cobra-La.

With all this talk of summer movies, we need to remember that summer vacation season is nearly here. I finished my “Beach” playlist for my iPhone and look forward to these tracks soundtracking my vacation. I know the economy is bad, but if you can, get away some where. Nothing heals the soul like having some time to reset. I am looking forward mostly to spending time with family and friends without the specter of work anywhere around. Also, we are participating in the Susan G. Komen – Race for the Cure this coming Saturday and if you can lend a dime of support, please do so here. Angela and I both lost a parent to cancer, so this 5K run is extra important to us.

Last but not least, a reminder to all, Burn Notice is coming back June 4th. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!

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