Archive for August, 2010

Are you a Keytar Hero?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The key to the musical 'devo'lution.

It can’t be THAT hard to learn an instrument, right?

Well it can be, if you don’t have the confidence to make an utter fool of yourself. But technically without the bravery of standing on stage, you’ll never get to live out your rock ‘n’ roll dream.

When the first Guitar Hero came out into the mainstream market, people of all ages rushed to buy the mini-guitar and game to rock out to a list of great pieces of music. It brought a lot of smiles to a lot of people.

Wannabe musicians of today afraid of going out in the real world to learn their instrument of choice were using video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band to teach important musical steps like rhythm, and the frustrations of hammering that last three frets to make that ‘solo’ sound really mad.

We’ve even had DJ Hero, incorporating the idea of mixing two tracks together to create a nice mash-up, which I’m sure got a lot of people rushing out to buy new decks and scratch the hell out of Rihanna.

While we do have Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock coming out soon, there’s also Rock Band 3. By now we’ve been swamped with plastic instruments in our living rooms for these games, but when playing the drums on ‘Expert’ difficulty meant you were essentially learning how to play drums, Rock Band 3 is introducing a mini-keyboard.

When a problem comes along, give it a head-butt.

The first prototype looks like a keytar, which can be strapped around your shoulder, or placed on your lap.

The first thing that popped into my mind was the potential of this being a great teaching tool for musicians out there wanting a gaming incentive added to music lessons.

The second thing that popped into my mind is the amount of real keytars that will be sold once it’s released.

Remember Devo? Whip It, with the red culinder hats, cracking whips, cowboys and safety reading glasses, was all about the keytar (although the woman in the blue dress and the bowl of cream never settled well).

How about Herbie Hancock? Rockit still gets me grinning with a cheesy smile.

Is it ready to come back though? Who knows, it could very well be getting piano players a chance to rock out to Bach again.

What do you think?

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And the Emmy went to…

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Alcohol, advertising and abstract families won the Emmys on the weekend.

Main Product: Scotch.

Mad Men swooped up the Outstanding Drama Series award for the third year in a row, proving to us that we just can’t get enough of powerful men drinking all day, talking of their emptiness while mistreating women.

But hey, it’s the 60s. And the character of Don Draper actually beat US President Barack Obama and swimming champ Michael Phelps as 2009’s most influential man in the world. It must suck to be beaten by an imaginary friend.

Jim Parsons scored big numbers for his role in the Big Bang Theory, which further stipulates the world’s love for watching awkward people (see anything Michael Cera-related). This is another good show that dumbs down enough nerdy jokes to make normal people laugh.

Main Product: Sweat.

Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) from Breaking Bad has won his third consecutive Emmy for his performance as Walter White. Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman in the show, won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. If you haven’t checked out this TV series, it’s definitely worth a watch.

John Lithgow’s guest appearance in Dexter scored him an Emmy. It’s funny, all I can think about when looking at him is Third Rock from the Sun. Wow, he and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have come a long way. What happened to that French Stewart guy…?

George Clooney is a superhero, we know. He’s a UN Messenger of Peace, won the Peace Summit Award at the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and now has a Bob Hope Humanitarian award in his hands. With all that money he’s donated to charity, I think he’s won back in actual gold.

Main Product: Understanding.

As a massive fan of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (which is a term he detests), Modern Family won Best Comedy and Eric Stonestreet as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. It has Ed Bundy, which for me holds a special place considering Married…With Children was so good with its dumb humour, and Wayne’s World is still one of my favourite movies, that Ed O’Neill will be good no matter what. I have the same theory with Patrick Warburton.

Al Pacino won an award for his role in the docudrama “You Don’t Know Jack”, which is great to know considering he knows so much about everything, even coffee. Maybe he should make a commercial about Jack, too. Wait, that was the docudrama. Hold on, I’ve confused myself again.

Did anyone watch the awards though? I mean, Jimmy Fallon was hosting. That’s kind of off-putting.

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The saddest pencil strokes I know

Friday, August 27th, 2010

We got teary-eyed when Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile passionately spoke with wet eyes as John Coffey. You couldn’t find a spare tissue in the room when Gerard Butler’s dead character was still winning over audiences in P.S. I Love You (if you love bad movies). But mention animation and sad in the same sentence, and people begin to chuckle.

Oh yeah? Watch this.

This was from an interview of a couple celebrating growing old together, and the audio alone is enough to get your heartstrings tugged. But adding those simplistic, yet expressive drawings to it, and you’ve got me. It’s like a real life ‘Up’ moment.

Old frowns get me the most.

Cartoons originated eons ago. The best of the beginning came from Disney. Walt’s cartoons were a mixture of new characters and fairy tales coming to life, expressing stories young and old could appreciate.

Warner Brothers had their set of toons as well, and ever since then there hasn’t been a moment that animation has been lacking in hilarity and moral teachings.

So what happens when animators try to evoke an emotion rarely experienced with pencil drawings, ink and paper? Like watching Arnold Schwarzenegger acting as the governor of California, we too feel an initial head turn from the idea.

Remember Bambi? BAM! I do. Who suspected that at such a young age?

If there’s one thing we didn’t realise at the time, it’s that cartoons heighten emotions to the point where you forget it’s not real, and become fully involved in the moment.

I’ve collected the five saddest parts in cartoons of all time (but I didn’t cry because that’s like totally not manly and stuff….*sniff*).

Doogs’ 5 Saddest Cartoon Moments

5. The Simpsons – Bleeding Gums Murphy dies
The old episodes of The Simpsons had less craziness, and more of a message from each episode. We learnt how Bart dealt with handling a school bully, why Homer adopted the abandoned Santa’s Little Helper at Christmas, and how a husband and wife deal with the everyday grind of family life. Nowadays it’s usually a ‘Simpsons go to…’ episode, or bringing up long lost relatives to characters to re-jump the shark after more than 20 seasons. When Lisa’s jazz hero died, a little bit of us felt for Lisa’s only outlet for sharing creative expression in a household of dead ends.

... :'(

4. The Land Before Time – Littlefoot’s mother dies
Dinosaurs and extinction are nothing new, but when you give cute voices to carnivores and such, it makes even the most ruthless of species cute. Although Littlefoot was a herbivore Apatosaurus, the mother was killed by a T-Rex, and sadness ensued.
3. Charlie Brown – Janice has leukaemia
“Why, Charlie Brown, why?” was Linus’ saddened voice croaked. Cancer? But, but, this is Charlie Brown we’re talking about! Snoopy and Woodstock and…I think I need some advice from Lucy.
2. Up – The first ten minutes
As said before, the tale of love can get at you. Considering the montage at the start of Pixar’s saddest movie in the history of ever didn’t contain that much talking, the music played us into this sense of security, then stabbed us in the heart when we find out what happens. I know ‘spoiling’ this moment wouldn’t be fair, but it’s in my list of 5 Saddest Cartoon Moments, so…connect the dots.
1. Futurama -- Jurassic Bark
Oh god, this came out of nowhere, but when I first saw it, it reminded me (and probably everyone else) what it feels like to lose a pet. A lot of emotion is shared between a ‘boy and his dog’, but no matter who you are, you can’t help but feel sad. DAMN YOU MATT GROENING!

Have a…happy…*sniff*…weekend.

Here, watch this video of the surprised kitten.

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Eff who?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo Green has released an incredibly catchy song out to the public, titled ‘F**k You’. Considering the profanity is already in the title, it’s no surprise that Cee-Lo’s lyrics reflect a somewhat upset gentleman (the vid’s NSFW if that word’s naughty to hear/see at work):

Ripples of chuckles bounce around the room when the radio attempts to introduce a new single, calling it the ‘Eff You’ song.

The word itself has many meanings, and many have paraded on its versatility. Musicians nowadays don’t have to worry about putting expletives in titles, whereas in the old days using the word “arse” was offensive.

Eric Idle wrote the ‘FCC Song’ (which is also known as ‘F**k you very much’) as a middle-finger salute to the US Federal Communications Commission because he was fined $5,000 for saying the word on American radio.

As much as a swear word is meant to be rebellious, it’s lost its charm it once had whispered in school to feel cool saying the unspeakable. Much like Voldemort, but not THAT nerdy.

I’ve collected the songs which have no shame showing to the public the song’s content, and for those NSFW people out there, I used more stars below than a galaxy of prawns (which in the late Gary Coleman in The Simpsons found out, was three).

S/he's so happy!

Lily Allen -- F**k You
Overkill – F**k You
Norther – F**k You
DOA -- F**k You
Ween -- You F**ked Up
Akon -- I Wanna F**k You
Skid Row -- Get The F**k Out
N.W.A.- F**k tha Police
Eamon -- F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back)
Frankee (Frankie) -- F**k You Right Back
Ashanti -- F**k Song
Moby – The Ultimate F**k Song
Super Furry Animals -- The Man Don’t Give A F**k
Murderdolls – I Love to Say F**k!
DJ Felamanski – F**k That Bitch
Blink-182 – Sh*t Piss F**k
System Of a Down – F**k The System
Knorkator – Ich will nur ficken (Use Google Translate)
Sons of Butcher – F**k the Sh*t

Honourable Mention: Reel Big Fish -- Another F-U Song

What do you think? Has the word lost its potency now?

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Superpowers coming to a baby near you

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

After a swim in the shopping complex pond.

Our gene-splicing scientists have taken their dear sweet time, but we’ve finally come across a breakthrough in advancing our species to defeat those human-hating ligers.

And somehow it’s been kept a secret for decades.

A 50-year-old woman has come out of hiding (or didn’t think about contacting a journalist until now) to show her abnormal power of a “heightened electromagnetic current”.

She’s said that magnets, spanners, coins and safety pins are but a few of many items that just can’t let go of her. Some pieces can stay on her for up to 45 minutes.

Not only that, but she’s also responsible for blowing up light bulbs and interrupting TV signals (poor family must’ve gone through a hundred antennas).

Helping traffic in San Fran.

Doctors have said that high levels of stress could have caused her high levels of magnetism. But I say stress out, girl!

That power of yours could be harnessed for something more useful…or more sinister.

The naysayers might be accusing Ms Allison from just having sticky skin, but I detect the mother of a soon-to-be-born Magneto from X-Men.

Think I’m crazy? Apparently she’s kept a diary calculating when the current is strongest. It happens to be at the end of each menstrual cycle.

Those babies aren’t giving up without a fight.

And just look at the oh-so-convenient people we’ve seen over the years.

The lady with crazy fingernails? Lady Deathstrike.

Guy with freakishly long tongue? Toad.

Billionaire nice guy Bill Gates? Batman.

Batman’s not part of the X-Men team…yet.

Have you sighted any possible superheroes who are trying to live amongst us?

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Real ligers = Threat to humanity!

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

"Great shading work, Dyno."

When television and movies have the ability to inspire others, it brings on a whole new idea of how the power of media can bring about change. The advancements in technology alone are worth being inspired about.

Without Star Trek there wouldn’t be those out there inspired to start colonies on other life forms. Captain Kirk made inter-galactic lovemaking so natural-looking.

But sometimes an idea intended to be silly, or one without substance within reality, can become more of a mess when planted in the wrong minds.

Napoleon Dynamite was a teenager who didn’t fit in particularly well in high school. His social ineptitude led to his awkwardness and negative demeanour was a result of his personality clashes with the rest of the school.

He knew ninja skills were essential not only for self-defence, but to pick up the ladies. He also had a thing for drawing.

One particular drawing that stood out was a combination of two very dangerous felines (and it didn’t involve Catwoman).

The ‘Liger’, which is a male lion bred with a tigress (not like those male tiger, female lion ‘Tiglon’s), was a breed of animal that had the survival skills of both animals. Yet a quick search on Wikipedia will tell you: “Ligers enjoy swimming which is a characteristic of tigers and are very sociable like lions, but unlike tiglons, ligers are more likely to live past birth.”

This is an important fact for survival in its simplest form. It shows superiority. Ligers are also capable of growing much larger than average lions.

A private zoo in Taiwan recently received a $50,000 Taiwan dollars (about $1,600 USD) fine for not gaining approval to breed their newly born ligers.

Some may say it sounds crazy for two animals to mate under the gazing eye of zoo keepers. But that’s another true characteristic that we’re seeing in these new super breeds: Secrecy.

Only a matter of time...

If they start growing thorns like Napoleon’s sketch, we may not be at the top of the food chain anymore.

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Slow and steady blows your mind

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Nice ride...

I’ve fought long and hard to avoid anything to do with the teenage Canadian pop singer, but I’ve finally found some good in Justin Bieber’s music.

The key? Nice and slow.

In fact, 800% slow.

Nick Pittsinger is a musician who used Paulstretch, a free computer program, to slow down Bieber’s song ‘U Smile’ to a point where it almost resembles an epic journey of self-discovery that could only be matched by the awesomeness of the Doctor Who opening credits.

Listen to it here.

Just imagine sitting in a room of total darkness with nothing more than 35 minutes of being spaced out.

Leave your favourite photos of a previous backpacking trip and I swear you’ll create an emotional memory montage that could very well force tears from your eye sockets.

I downloaded the program and tried some of my favourite Beck songs, and aside from the epic guitar strums on ‘Threshold’, I got to experience songs in a whole new way.

If you’ve got a high-speed song that you’ve slowed down to create something better, send us a comment here, Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll try to come up with a week’s worth of music that you can leave on the stereo to melt your mind.

My suggestion is to stay away from any punk, house and any sharp noises. It’s like needles to the eardrums.

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Weezer love for a fictional character

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

That dog is so, so rad.

Over the years Weezer has kept our ears listening and our heads bouncing to their catchy pop rock tunes, and kept our eyes on ‘Gaze Mode’ with their music videos playing in venues of happier days, with Muppets, online vloggers and even cuddling with baby animals.

They’re quirky in their own way, because they aren’t the best looking bunch of musicians, yet they still seemed to capture that essence of music we loved to listen to alone in our rooms when everyone else bragged about their Metallica collection.

There hasn’t been a moment where they’ve simply shrugged their shoulders, and walk away from the freedom of expression and trying something new.

Their last album cover was of a dog leapfrogging in the air with a bit of “raditude”. Other times have been of the Weezer’s iconic ‘W’ symbol, but it wasn’t until their recent album cover announcement that people have started to talk.

When The Beatles wanted to try something completely different by making their white album cover completely white, it was a bold move on their part. Yet they had the following behind them that made it such a massive success.

Spinal Tap wanted to bank on that idea with a completely black album, but they seemed to not jump on that bandwagon of success.

Weezer band member Rivers Cuomo met Jorge Garcia from Lost fame. Check out their photo together backstage of The George Lopez Show.

Aww. Buddies.

Lovely, isn’t it? Jorge has a very happy-go-lucky appearance, and with a smile like that, you’d want to remember meeting him when telling your kids about great famous people we’ve met in the past (I still reminisce about bumping into Eddie Izzard on the street and saying “Sorry”, then realising shortly after who it was. Still haven’t washed that shoulder).

"Just wanna grab his cheeks and go 'Coochy coochy coo!'"

What better way to encapsulate that face, than to make it your new album cover? When I first saw the picture become their album cover, I thought “Does Jorge approve of this? I mean, it’s just his face. It’ll be everywhere.”

Essentially, he’d never be lost at all. It’s free publicity, sure. But it’s just his face.

Here’s what he said: “How awesome is that! It totally put a smile on my face, to say the least…It ranks right up there with getting my own action figure.”

But what would you call the album? ‘Jorge Garcia Has an Awesome Face’? That’d be too complicated. People would assume he released a ukulele album.

Weezer had initial ideas for the title like ‘Heavy Mental’ and ‘Smaller Than Life’, but instead they chose ‘Hurley’, named after Jorge Garcia’s character Hugo “Hurley” Reyes in Lost.

What’s stranger is the fact that it seems no songs on the album are about the TV show. Then again The Shins wrote a song called ‘Australia’, and it had nothing to do with the country.

Grab a pre-order of the CD here, or just click his cutesy widdle face.

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A new biog”ruff”y

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Take that, Take That.

I’ve always wondered how far back in time we would have to look to find the first person to put an animal through misery by wearing a ballerina tutu.

I can say from experience that it’s humiliating to see someone’s pet being put through the dubious task of becoming a living doll.

The only difference about this doll is they poop and tinkle for real.

What I love about the technology age is being able to dress animals up with incredible costumes without them even knowing it.

We’ve got cats and dogs battling epic fights in real life, as well as Narnia becoming something of a visual spectacle with animals going against humanoids.

Not only that, we can put dogs, cats, even guinea pigs into realistic caricatures of famous characters and humans.

When we all saw Bugsy Malone demonstrate the idea of kids acting out mafia shoot-outs and sappy love stories with cooties, the idea of bringing animals into the equation wasn’t far off.

Sure there’ve been movies like Dr. Dolittle, where animals were actually “moving their lips” to speak. But I want to propose something better: A series of biographies.

I can see remakes aplenty.

From pup to pooch, I want to watch a serious story about a famous scientist, actor, political figure or rebel, only acted out with a dog.

Just imagine it: We could really analyse  the mind of Charlie Chaplin without looking at Robert Downey Jr. and think of Iron Man. The worst problem we face as viewers is associating the actor with previous projects, leaving the actual story out of focus.

But throw a labrador into the mix, and we have an unbiased piece that really tugs our heartstrings.

And makes us go “Aww!” at the sad parts.

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Hermione’s Hands are Hallowy

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Something happens! Ooo!

I don’t care how old I am, and neither should you.

The first bunch of screen captures from the newest Harry Potter film have been released, and while Potter fans will have already read what will happen, it’s just so much cooler thinking how special effects will whoop your (and my) pitiful excuse for an imagination.

Trilogies such as Lord of the Rings and The Matrix had fans eagerly awaiting each film with such anticipation that people kept indulging on any news, tidbits and spoilers that would leak out.

Even weekly podcasts like Mugglecast would consistently talk about the wizarding world after the final book was released. And now there’s more for us muggles to talk about.

Is it alright for those who have sworn to follow the Harry Potter series via film release to be upset that the rest of us nerdy book readers to discuss how they’ll portray the remaining scenes?

It's official.

The first half of The Deathly Hallows is quite slow compared to the second half, so as much as I can’t wait for anything Potter-wise, I’m even more interested on how they’ll keep our interest.

The last book has been split into two films. November will be part 1, and July 2011 will finish it all up. Like most series, trilogies, and anything else that can’t be summed up in just a couple hours, the end can seem saddening.

I just finished reading the last of the Scott Pilgrim books, and although the movie (which is totally awesome and you need to see it) differs from the books, I was saddened more that I couldn’t dive back into the slacker’s world.

Just as it was reading the end of Harry’s world.

What stories have you been so involved in that you couldn’t face the inevitable end?

Also, we’ve got an awesome deal on the final Harry Potter Book and the 2-disc edition of the sixth film here. Click!

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