Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Are you shopping yet?

I think I'll have most of my shopping done by December 6th. I mentioned in a previous post that I bought my dad a Peyton Manning Broncos jersey, but I've just decided that tomorrow I'm going to go to the Bama Fever Tiger Pride store in the mall and see if I can get my brother an Alabama jersey. Now, I know what you're thinking... you're thinking the same thing I am... why the hell would Auburn and Alabama apparel be sold in the same store?

It's a very good question that begs an answer, but at least the store is segregated (as is only proper) into two separate parts. One side is Alabama and the other is Auburn.

But I still say it's poor building planning. If someone could build a wall between the two sides in that sumbitch then that would be just dandy. 

Essentially, I'll probably be paying three hundred bucks on two shirts. I'm hoping the Alabama jersey is under $100, though. But I figure it will be worth it because I've always defined Christmas as the time of year where you get shit for others you normally don't/won't/can't get. It's an outside the box type of thing for me. My brother has never asked for a jersey and neither has my dad. My dad didn't ask for the Colts jersey the first time around, but you would have thought that he'd been wanting one his entire life when he opened that box to see his favorite QB's jersey.

I bought my mom the first season of Big Bang Theory for Blu-Ray because she said that it's the funniest show she's seen since I Love Lucy. That's really saying something, too. She loves Lucy probably more than Ricky did. I also got her (my mom, not Lucy) the second season of Bewitched because she already has the first, third, and forth seasons. I'd buy her a jersey too (I'm sure they sell some for females), but she doesn't like football like we do. Instead she is listing stuff she actually needs like a washer, dryer, and all that good stuff. 

I keep saying that Christmas is a time for getting shit we want and that needs can wait until after Christmas when we're all done spending money on gifts. Yeah, it's backwards thinking, but the washing machine and dryer will be just fine for a while. An appliance is only a gift if you are a newly wed. And when you are expecting a washing machine... C'mon, it takes away all the fun of looking for shit. 

In the meantime I'll try and help complete her I Love Lucy collection, but my dad might have to foot that bill. She only needs seasons 3-5. 

My brother has expensive taste in clothing so outside of the Bama jersey, I'll leave the clothing to my mom and dad. They know what he likes more than I do, anyway. I've looked at a couple of Big Lebowski shirts online for my bro (he loves that movie to death), but I can't find one that really looks good. If I could find a John Goodman one that didn't look uglier than hell then I'd probably get that one. 

Of course, none of the stuff I've bought has arrived yet. Then the fun will start when I try to remember how the hell to wrap stuff. I've always sucked at it. Trust me, you don't even need to look at the name tag to know it's from me. 

I'm going to keep looking for a good gift for my mom. I got my brother and my dad "open last" type of gifts, you know? After my brother sees that Bama jersey there isn't anything else he could open that would even come close. Maybe I'll find something really killer. If not, I'm sure my dad will. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Good Morning, Black Friday

I purchased the first Christmas gift of the family this season late last night. I didn't go to a store or anything, either. I just clicked on Amazon and let the ole internet do the rest. I bought my dad a Peyton Manning Denver Broncos jersey (the orange one with blue stripes down the side) and it will go great with his Manning Colts jersey. I probably should get him a matching hat, too. I should also mention that the year we got him the Manning Colts jersey (and a matching Colts hat), Peyton won the Super Bowl. So let's hope this trend continues (if I don't get him the hat, things might turn out like '09 and wouldn't that just suck... must get a Broncos hat).

My own Christmas list is short one. I'm really not asking for stuff as much as I am just suggesting stuff. I've been through Christmases where me and my dad bought everything for everyone (including ourselves... and I admit it's easy to pick gifts for yourself when you know what you want) and a Christmas where we didn't even have gifts to open. But this'll be the first Christmas where I actually don't have to depend on my dad or brother for everything. So that's good. I can get them stuff without them having to pay for it. Always a plus.

I've already bought myself stuff over the course of the year that I've always wanted so I don't really have as much of a list as usual. I just sort of winged it this year.

Work today sucked big ones. I got three hours shaved off my shift because we were dead as hell and labor costs got way too high. So I went home at 4:30 with six hours on my time slip and absolute boredom in my brain. Three hours cut off my shift. Yay me.

No one bought anything. Surrounded on all sides by the mall, Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, H.H. Gregg, Academy, and Marshall's and we didn't do a damn thing. We were less busy than usual. We sucked.

But I'm off tomorrow and I'll be watching the Iron Bowl and doing some Christmas stuff (decorating, purchasing stuff via Amazon) and I'll probably fit some anime in, too.

I hope you stayed safe today. Whatever shit you want to buy isn't worth your life. It can wait until tomorrow. Or better yet, buy online. I don't buy anything from an actual store unless it's groceries or something I just can't find anywhere else. Buying online takes less time, gas money, and there are no crowds. There's no traffic, either.

That's my advice for the day.

My Christmas list is a very short one (I said that earlier, didn't I?). As much as I love Dragonball Z, I've never had a shirt. I've had action figures (and still do somewhere, lol), posters, magazines, coloring books, VHS's, DVD's, and I've even got a Majin Buu keychain right now. But I've never had a shirt. So that's on my list. I also want something NY Giants related. A hat, shirt, something. I told my mom and dad that I'd prefer to not have something too blue because the Giants suck worse than a drunk Courtney Love when they wear blue. I also want John Carpenter's They Live on Blu-Ray. It's about time I get that one, right?

And I don't want an AC/DC shirt. I have five of those already while my only Black Sabbath shirt is a little too small. So if I get one more AC/DC shirt, I'll pull my hair out, lol.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Overlooked Albums Vol. 1 (Aerosmith Edition)

I'm always looking for albums that have been seemingly forgotten by the world at large. Some of them are recent and some of them are not so recent.

This volume kicks off with Aerosmith:

Aerosmith have released quite a few albums in their forty year history. Some of them are classics and some of them are not. The majority of albums which don't qualify as classics are basically all of their post-Pump albums. Their recent Music from Another Dimension and less than recent Just Push Play make one wonder if all those drugs did indeed fracture their brains. They keep channeling I Don't Want to Miss a Thing and Angel over and over again so much that it gets ridiculous.

But Aerosmith used to be good. In fact, they used to be badass. So here are a few of the diamonds in the rough by the former badasses from Boston:

Done With Mirrors (1985) - You could argue that this is the weakest album they've released, but only if you've been in a coma for the past twenty years. Containing the cover of Joe Perry's Let the Music Do the Talking and My Fist Your Face, this album actually does rock. It's far from great, but it's worth a listen or two every now and then.

Get Your Wings (1974) - We've all heard Same Old Song and Dance and Train Kept A-Rollin' but do you know the album they are from? Well, now you do.

Aerosmith (1973) - This is my third favorite album by Aerosmith next to Rocks and Toys in the Attic. Quickly name a song other than Dream On from this album. Did you guess Mama Kin? There are other songs on this album and they are all worth listening to. I could listen to Movin' Out all day.

Night in the Ruts (1979) - My dad still has this on vinyl. There are no breakout hits on this album. The closest might be Remember (Walking in the Sand), but calling that song a hit would be a bit of a stretch. It's just a good album. Of course, it's easy to see that they were on their last legs. They sound more weary than hungry. Joe Perry is only partially on the album.

Rock in a Hard Place (1982) - Continuing the trend of becoming a weary and strung out rock band, Aerosmith released their penultimate album before their '80's ballad band makeover. This album kind of reminds me of Never Say Die by Black Sabbath in that it is fairly bad, but bad Aerosmith (or Sabbath) isn't that bad compared to today's Aerosmith and it will grow on you. I should mention that this album doesn't feature Joe Perry at all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Anime in Review

I haven't reviewed any anime in a long while but that doesn't mean I haven't watched any. Oh, I've watched quite a lot. When I'm not working, I'm watching anime or watching football. And sometimes I read and write and record stuff.

Currently, I'm watching season four of InuYasha because it's been a long time since I've watched the series and I'm certain I skipped over a few episodes here and there. The first part of InuYasha: Final Act is out and I'm certainly going to get that when I reach the end of season seven.

But this is a list of what I've watched since I last blogged about anime:

Light Yagami
DeathNote - A co-worker sort of referred this series to me. It's a very dark series and the main character is a boy named Light Yagami who discovers a strange book called a DeathNote. The DeathNote is a book that can kill people. All that you need to do is write down the person's name while you have their face firmly envisioned in your head and within forty seconds they will die. Light (after a very, very brief moral conflict of whether or not he should use this book) uses this to cleanse the world of crime and to essentially become god of the new world. Light is often befriended (more or less) by a shinigami (or: god of death) named Ryuk and it is to Ryuk the DeathNote actually belongs but once a human touches a DeathNote they essentially own the book until their death or until they give up possession of the book. Ryuk simply hangs around Light until he can get possession of the DeathNote back.

Along the way Light and Ryuk encounter a masterful sleuth called L and it is L who begins to suspect that these criminals who are dropping like flies are not just dying from natural causes: they are being murdered.

It is an intense game of cat-and-mouse between L and Light that drives this series and that is why the second half of the series sort of loses its luster. The new characters introduced at the end of the series don't quite have the same presence as L and that is possibly the fundamental flaw in the series.

Good overall... but it should have had more L.

Outlaw Star - It's a show in the vein of Cowboy Bebop but not quite as good. It shares a few of the same voice actors like Wendee Lee, though. I believe she even directed the series. The show follows around Gene Starwind and his young friend Jim Hawking sort of travel through space on the search for something called the Galactic Leyline. Along the way they meet a strange tiger-girl, a semi-cyborg girl, and a tough-as-nails samurai girl. There are a few filler episodes and that's kind of a disappointment because the series is only 26 episodes. But it is a very strong show anyway. Could have been stronger, though.

Casshern Sins - This show was featured on the Adult Swim revamped Toonami but I didn't watch it on there because I normally have to be at work early on Sundays and staying up late on Saturday nights is not ideal for me. I did not know this show was a reboot of an earlier show called Casshan. The show was also adapted into a four part OVA series called Robot Hunter Casshern in the early '90s. This show is a lot different from what I've read about those shows so it's tough to call it a decent adaptation because it is such a different version. But I really liked the show. It is a stark show and it may not be so original considering that it is a reboot. We've all certainly seen post-apocalyptic shows about plagues and robots.

But I really liked this show. It was tough to tell where it was going at times and there are characters that I wish that could have stuck around a bit more. The angel of ruin was certainly a hoot and I'm disappointed she only made it into one episode.

Claymore - Maybe not the most clear and precise review given here, but all I can say is that it is AWESOME!!! If you like monster shows then this is the show for you. The show follows around a half-human half-Yoma woman named Clare as she battles these creatures called Yoma and deals with being shunned normal humans. There are fight scenes galore, scenes with smoking hot women duking it out with monsters, and a great story line.  If not for the abrupt ending, this show would rank among my top three favorites. As it is, it's in my top seven. Definitely in the Blog House Catalog of Greatness.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In response to "The Loss"

Well, here I am. I haven't made any entries in a while and I would be remiss if I didn't try to post something. I really don't want to talk about football right now but there is this huge elephant standing in the room and it's not like it will go away any time soon.

Here's the type of Alabama fan I am: I don't want to watch knuckle-biting games or dramatic second half comebacks. I want to watch forty-point maulings. I want the teams that play Bama to feel like they've been ran over twenty times by a Mac truck and then buried in the Pet Sematary only to be ran over again after they've been zombified.

Of course, things don't always happen that way. The game against LSU is a good example.

But I would rather Bama have lost to those purple and yellow teletubbies than to A&M. My reasoning is a bit perverse, but a real simple one. The LSU Tigers have a history here in the SEC and a rivalry with Alabama that goes back a long time. LSU is an SEC team and one Bama knows inside and out no matter who is coaching or playing.

Texas A&M is not. Who the hell is Johnny Football? Who is their coach? Beats the hell outta me. They still have the stench of the Big 12 on them to me. I'm a spoiled brat and a sore loser, but they should be getting humbled in the very worst way in the West and not royally screwing the SEC out of a National Championship by knocking off the Number One team. I mean, like we all really want to watch Kansas State vs. Oregon or Kansas State vs. Notre Dame. If an SEC team isn't in it then why would I watch it? It'd be like watching a Redskins-Patriots Super Bowl. Might as well be watching a movie.

Of course, every team wants to win. And in a very perverse way the pride of the team is more important than the pride of the SEC. But every SEC fan with any sense will tell you they want an SEC team playing in the big game. So the entire thing is a bit of a contradiction because if your team is playing the number one and knocking them off means no National Championship for the SEC... why the hell would you want to knock them off?

But that's just how we roll and many other conferences probably feel the same.

Now, had LSU beaten Alabama last week than we'd likely have the same scenario, but I'd feel better about it because LSU is an SEC team and they were a higher ranked one than A&M at the time.

I don't know Texas A&M. I know even less about them than I know about Michigan or Notre Dame.

And they beat my team, goddamn it.

And the fuckers in charge of the SEC let them in.

In short: Stop this expansion bullshit.

Or, better yet, let's kick these new fuckers out and go back to the way it should be.

But all hope is not lost. If two of the top three teams lose a game then Bama is in. So I've just become the biggest Texas, USC, and Stanford fan you'll ever meet in your life. My hopes are in their hands. A lot less has to happen this year compared to last year. Last year Boise State, Stanford, and Oklahoma State all had to bite the big one for Bama to get a shot. Now we just need two to go down.

If Bama can win out and get lucky and those teams go down than all is forgiven.

But if not... this SEC expansion will be the biggest boneheaded move I've seen since the call at the end of the Seahawks-Packers game.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Trials and Tribulations of Cross-Country Recording

I got this neat recording software recently and I've been recording a couple of songs. It's tricky, though. I have to essentially record riffs and sequence them in a way that doesn't sound "choppy" and use a drum machine that can only do so much in order to record anything that could be considered a song. I can free record without limits, but that particular program requires me to create my own drum beats using the keyboard on the computer and that is ridiculously time consuming and difficult. So I use a program that uses pre-set drum tracks, but the drawback is I can only record a something for so many bars at a time. This also limits effects I can use because if an effect from one riff ends at a point where the next riff begins there is almost an audible click. So I've got to either use the same effect throughout the song or change the riff entirely to where the effect can fit. 

All of this requires some ingenuity and some self-sacrifice. I can't really record the songs (or the guitar parts for the songs... which is probably the more accurate way to put it) the way I feel they should be heard. 

But I am a step ahead of where I was before I'd gotten this software. 

I have this buddy who lives in California and he sends me tracks that I can record over. I have to use the same guitar settings he does or it'll sound like shit, but it's kind of cool to piece together a song from across the country like that. 

He's asked me if I am planning to go to California and actually play in his band that he's trying to form and this is something that is sort of difficult to answer and to contemplate. And certainly expensive for a minimum wage guy like me. 

It'd be something interesting, for sure. But... I'm not quite sure how viable this option is. I can think of nothing worse than moving to California while completely broke (I consider a thousand bucks almost completely broke in the grand scheme of things, don't you?), having this band idea not work out, and then being forced to work my way home. All the while being stuck in freakin' California, home of the Raiders, Chargers, and Niners. Also home to USC and a bunch of other crummy self-righteous college teams. As well as Korn and Limp Bizkit fans. 

I'd die. 

In the meantime, I'm recording stuff.