Monday, April 30, 2007
This week's video combines two of my favorite pastimes, gaming and pretending to be a musician. After rocking at guitar hero this past week it confirmed what I had heard from actual guitar players, that it is nowhere near like playing an actual guitar. This video's product, however, strikes me as something both non guitarists and guitarists could love. It's called Jam Session, and it's for DS, check it out.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Each Friday I will leave us with an easy online game to waste a few minutes with. I would love to see people play for 10 minutes or so and then post in the comments what level or score they were able to get. This week's game is called "bloons", which I guess is the cutesy monkey way to say "baloons". Easy stuff here that gets pretty interesting as you go through the levels. Just use the darts to help the monkey pop all the "bloons". Why a monkey? Because everything is funnier when monkeys are involved, don't you know (sigh). I managed to get to level 15 in the first few minutes of playing.
Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
On another note, I was thoughougly impressed with American Idol this week, not just the music (which was great, especially Phil. Man, he is coming on strong the past couple weeks) but the heart with which they pulled off this incredible fundraiser. I would love to hear your thoughts on the "Idol Gives Back" special.
Til the morrow...
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Since I didn't get much of a chance to expound yesterday on the events of the day I'll do a quick summary of Monday and Tuesday for you before I head home today.
Monday Lunch - Rocketown Records, Big Trail Brewery, Label guy Lunch
- Learned that New Artist Jake Smith (born and raised in New Orleans) thinks that "the people left behind in Katrina were the stubborn ones" and that "Nashville gumbo just ain't the same as hometown gumbo"
- Swag, Jake Smith CD.
- Rating (A-)
Monday Dinner - EMI CMG Dinner, Some fancy high rise, Label Dinner
- Learned once again how much I hate "fancy food". It's chicken. It's fine as chicken. You don't need to slather on some bitter, nasty sauce just to make it cost 10 dollars more. Charge me the extra 10 and just give me CHICKEN! It's not like I'm paying anyway.
- Learned that Jon and Sherry Rivers' (legendary radio hosts) 3 yr. old daughter calls Toby Mac "my Toby Mac". Thought that was cute until I realized that I do the same thing. Now I must find her so we can put an end to this dispute once and for all.
- Learned that new artist Brit Nicole has an absolutely earth shattering voice (in a good way). That girl can wail. Very impressed.
- Learned that when you set inches from the presenting area your shoulder becomes an automatic support spot for passing artists. My shoulder sleeve now bears the hand sweat of Chris Tomlin, Brit Nicole, Mandisa, Toby Mac, Bethany Dillon, Jon Foreman, and Shaun McDonald.
- Learned that Shaun McDonald's wife went into early labor while he was at the dinner and was heading to the airport afterwards to hurry home to Seattle to be with her and the new baby.
- Learned that Toby is often amused by Christian radio people asking him about his Hip-Hop music. "I couldn't be more pop these days, but I'm the closest thing they know."
- SWAG, none, but I took some of the artists' name card place holders.
- Rating, (B)
Tuesday, Digital Summit, Belmont, non GMA event.
- Learned that Terry McBride is a genius visionary who seems to understand the new digital culture and how to battle online piracy, that is by understanding the needs and desires of the consumer.
- Learned that I should never count on a "boxed lunch" to be something I would even consider eating.
- SWAG, tons, dvd, cds, notebooks, bag, etc.
- Rating (A)
Tuesday Dinner, PLG Dinner, General Jackson Cruise ship, Label Dinner.
- Learned that Bingo can be fun in small doses, but becomes mind numbing quickly.
- Learned that Brian Litrell was a former Backstreet Boy, which for some reason made me want to run up to him tell him I was his biggest fan and then sing NKOTB songs and see if he would snap. "WHOA-O-O-O-O, I'm Hangin' Tough... "
- Learned that Michael W. Smith speaks for his "good friend" the President. I guess that makes him like George's Pope. They do after all share their middle initial.
- Learned that eating on a moving riverboat while listening to Casting Crowns, Monk & Neagle, and MWS play live can make you a bit light headed. Or maybe it was more of that ridiculous fancy food I had to eat.
-SWAG, DVD/CD, picture frame, bingo sheets.
- Rating, (A-)
30 minute time limit has expired, I'll try and post some pics tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Just a quickie today as I have to get to meetings. I'll give you the full scoop hopefully tomorrow.
I shook hands and gave manly one armed hugs to two, count 'em, TWO former American Idols yesterday. Mandisa and Chris Sligh both got the Dice treatment, which is vaguely reminiscent of a pre-teen girl hoping up and down and giggling on the verge of tears, except in the body of a freakishly tall and large 31 year old man. Let's just say I don't blame them for the look of fear in their eyes. I also sat next to Toby Mac at a dinner last night for about an hour and a half, and hung out with Tim and Jon Foreman from Switchfoot after that.
I'll see if I can post some pictures tomorrow, but gotta run for now.
Just another day at the GMA.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I don't have much time (Internet cafe, 30 minute rule, etc.) but wanted to get a post up from GMA today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. If you are unfamiliar with the term GMA it stands for Gospel Music Association, and it's something us "industry people" get to do every year under the pretense of learning how to make a better radio station. It is more likely an excuse to hobnob with artists, eat lots of free food, and shake lots of hands with strange people while smiling and saying things you don't mean. That, and of course, not get up at 4 in the morning to do a morning show. (Note to boss: That's all just blog talk, I learned so much this week, and think that doing this every year will ultimately result in The Fuse being the best radio station in the world.) I figured I'd give you an "insider's view" of my week, so let's rock it.
Right off the bat you will notice everything I do is at a meal time, and if it isn't you can bet there is food there anyway. I didn't exactly pick a lean man's profession if you know what I'm saying. You will also notice that many of these events are with independent promoters. This is someone who labels pay (or independent artists pay) to beg me to play their music. They call every radio station that reports to the charts (Step 1 in getting lots of new friends, have your music impact the charts) and use phrases like, "the next -insert name of popular Christian artist-" and "with the feel of -insert name of popular mainstream artist-" I then in turn use phrases like, "I've been listening to that" and "I'm still thinking about that one." The trick is that when you play one of their songs you must always, I repeat always, make them feel like it was their persuasive gifts that got you there. This develops what we call in "the biz" a "working relationship". Like most of us, the promoter always claims that honesty is what they desire most, yet what they really want is for you to agree with them. That's why when it does happen, you must embrace it like a tire swing. You must also never forget that these people are being paid to be your friend, something that adds an element of obvious cynicism, but is important to remember for that extra protective coat of weather resistance. Once I accepted that these were business relationships it's much easier to build a somewhat genuine relationship with them on the side. Such is the relationship I have with all the promoters who I'm doing stuff with this week, one that is based on a false game of spins and charts, with a glimmer of hope of genuineness underneath.
Here's my week so far:
Saturday Lunch - Top 5's Fajita Fest, San Antonio Taco Company, independent promoter lunch.
- Learned that new artist Marie Miller might just faint if she meets Nichole Nordeman.
- Learned that the guys in Seven Glory still live and minister in Valpo, IN and know some of my friends in the area.
- Live performances from Ian Eskelin and Seven Glory, in the restaurant.
- SWAG, couple T-Shirts, (which I always snag in smaller sizes for my boys).
- Overall rating (B+)
Saturday Dinner - Donna Del Sesto, Old Spaghetti Factory, independent promoter dinner.
- No artists just radio friends at this one. (which is fine with me)
- Learned that the OSF doesn't make great Alfredo and despite my pleas still thinks it needs Broccoli and Mushrooms.
- Learned that WNAZ in Nashville has started fazing out Hip Hop. (comments withheld)
- SWAG, nothing physical, but Donna's pre meal speech was worth being there if for no other reason. (Donna was very sick this year and just to be there and be able to be with her was a pleasure, no cynicism needed).
- Overall rating (B)
Sunday Breakfast - CHR radio guys (and Kai), McDonald's in the Hilton Lobby, hang out time with buddies.
- Learned that if you think you are 10 minutes late for a meeting that starts a half hour before you thought it did, you are actually 40 minutes late.
- Learned again that there are some pretty cool guys trying to make great radio, even if we do disagree on some things.
- Learned that George from "Union" (won our Battle of the Bands a few years back) is now working at Way in Grand Rapids and is doing solo stuff.
- Learned that Goerge's solo stuff is actually pretty amazing, and can't wait to get it on the air for you.
- SWAG, a few empty McMuffin wrappers, and OJ cups, the smell of DJs in the morning.
- Overall rating (C-), but that was my fault
Sunday Lunch - Focus on the Family, Plugged in Lunch, Commerce Street Grill, Radio Program Lunch.
- Learned that there are still stations that debate things like talking about American Idol on the air. Can't imagine what they would think of my show.
- Learned that the Focus lady's favorite movie is "When Harry Met Sally" but when I started doing the diner scene she seemed offended, look lady, you're the one who brought it up. "I'll have what he's having."
- Learned that when a waiter combines a thick southern accent with Paul Reuben voice, and then says everything with an abundance of unneeded decibels, you end up not wanting many refills.
- SWAG, Laptop light, Movie Book, Sampler CD.
- Overall rating (D)
Sunday Dinner - Chris Houser, Pirahna's Grill, independent promoter dinner.
- Learned that some restaurants put French Fries and Cole Slaw on all their sandwiches.
- Learned that such restaurants may just have some amazing fries.
- Learned that I'm actually not that bad at darts.
- Learned that my friend Matt can actually throw three Triple 20s on one turn. (though I still won the match)
- Learned that a radio friend from Maine actually reads the blog. (Hey Morgan!)
- SWAG, none but I did get to give Mike Couchman another back rub. (Running gift to any radio programmer who embraces a diverse playlist)
- Overall Rating (A-)
Sunday Late Night - Club PLG, Provident's Suite, Label Fun
- Learned that when Krystal Myers, Jars of Clay, Wavorly, Eleventy Seven, Pillar, Casting Crowns, and about 5 other bands all get into one hotel suite it gets a little crowded.
- Learned that I still haven't figured out how to not eat Peanut M+Ms when they are within walking distance.
- Learned that though I'd never played Guitar Hero before in my life I'm actually pretty good at it.
- Good enough to beat Rob from Pillar.
- Good enough to win the entire Guitar Hero tournament.
- SWAG, lots of giveaways, including the XBOX 360, Guitar Hero Game and Guitar that I won for the tournament.
- Yes you heard that right, I won an XBOX 360, but being a Nintendo boy I will likely EBay it.
- Overall Rating (A+)
Well I've overstayed my 30 minutes, see ya' tomorrow.
Friday, April 20, 2007
What I do have are step-by-step instructions for you to follow for today’s intervention:
1) Turn off your computer.
2) Go outside.
3) If there are kids in your yard, they are probably yours. Go play with them!
Thanks for the privilege of being your blogger this week! Guaranteed improvements next week, as Dice returns.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I often think about the guy who marketed the commercial toilette paper roll, rather than the 4-inch, 1-ply squares we used to have in the school bathrooms. (Side Note: If we increase educational funding could schools afford stall doors?)
What about the shear genius of the guy that invented cheese-in-a-can! He saw a need, and he met it.
Well men, that was not the end. Another genius has risen to the occasion. Your days of postal embarrassment are over. Let me explain . . .
On any given day you may walk into the Post Office to buy a couple of stamps to mail your bills, a letter, or whatever. You ask for the number of stamps that you’d like. You have the change already counted out in your hand. You find out stamps have gone up in price again since the last time you bought some. After handing over the correct change, the trouble begins.
Looking at the stamps you realize you’ve received one commemorative stamp of the only known picture of Eleanor Roosevelt smiling, one stamp of a dolphin jumping over a unicorn, and an oversized stamp the size of a soda cracker with a quilted heart on the front, and a stenciled message that reads, “Postage paid by an effeminate male.”
I’ve got to tell you this was not the message I intended to send. I don’t want the people at the satellite company to make any assumptions when they get my bill, and sign me up for a free upgrade of the Lifetime network! I’m a guy. I’m male without the “fe.” (I would reference the song “Macho Man” from 1978, but I’m afraid that might contradict my argument.)
Men, you never have to experience this trauma again. As of May 25th a fantastic solution will eliminate female domination of stamp design.
It is Star Wars Stamps. No more oversized girly stamps. No more embarrassing stamp-based assumptions.
From now on there will be no questions. There will be no doubt. Step aside toilette paper roller guy! Not so fast cheese-in-a-can man! George Lucas (I’d like to believe with the help of George W.) has done it again. Your letters will now say, “This mail was mailed by a male.” (With very high midi-chlorian levels!)
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I predicted before the show that country music would separate the “grits from the gravy” as the saying goes, and I couldn’ta been more right.
I was a bit upset that no one chose to sing a song from the king of country music—Willie (for those of you who may not know him on a first-name basis . . . that’s Willie Nelson. For those of you who are really out of the loop . . . No, Willie is not the 3rd son of Ozzie and Harriet). You may notice that I’m a bit of an extremist on the grading scale. Needless to say, I don’t grade on a curve.
Well, before this gets too “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), we’d better get “On the Road Again” (Willie Nelson), or I might get “So Lonesome I Could Cry” (Hank Williams Sr.), and start singing “The Theme Song from Duke’s of Hazzard” (Walon Jennings). [Dice, those are names to country songs and their singers intermingled seamlessly into a transitional paragraph in an effort to be quaint.] So here we go . . .
Phil Stacey - “Where the Blacktop Ends” (A)
For the first time we finally got to see who Phil Stacey is! We knew he had a voice, but we didn’t know why. Then he acted like he has wanted to sing country music all along! “Phil? Phil like the Ground Hog Phil?” You didn’t get an A+ because of a couple cracks and your apparent attempt to deliberately lose this competition by hiding your country roots. (I would’ve done it too, Phil. The last country singer to come out of American Idol hasn’t done squat!)
Jordin Sparks - “Broken Wing” (A+)
This was an amazing night for Jordin Sparks. I was blown away not only by her voice, communication, height, and age, but also by her “guts” to sing a Martina McBride song! But she wailed like a stuck pig! (that’s supposed to be a compliment.)
Sanjaya Malakar - “Let’s Give ‘em Somethin’ to Talk About” (F)
No need to comment on Sanjaya’s song, or his pipe dream of doing “Bonnie Rait justice” with his rendition of this song. He sounded like a stuck pig. (In this reference, this is not a compliment.) What I’m most amazed about is from the interview question. Of all the judges and songs to choose from he didn’t choose Paula Abdul singing “Straight Up”! Sanjaya must go.
Lakisha Jones - “Jesus Take the Wheel” (F)
Lakisha ain’t got the sense God gave a goose. Who in their right mind is gonna choose a former Idol winner’s hit song. She might as well have auditioned with “A Moment Like This.” There’s only one way to do something that gutsy—you’ve got to knock it out of the park. Lakisha didn’t. In the words of my wife, “Jesus, don’t just take the wheel, take the microphone too!”
Chris Richardson - "Mayberry" (F)
Elliot, I mean Chris, was stinkin’ it up tonight. This was just bad. I’ve never been a Chris fan, but I have no clue what he was thinking. Let’s just say it hurt me, and in the words of the late Barney Fife, “Nip it in the bud. Nip it!”
Melinda Doolittle - “Trouble Is a Woman” (A)
This was a great performance, and it was nice for Simon to finally ask for an end to humility. Humility is so offensive. She must be so arrogant to be so humble! (On a side note, I once got an award for being the most humble person in my class. I got a ribbon with a pin; but they took it away from me because I wore it.)
Blake Lewis - “When the Stars Go Blue” (B)
I didn’t get this. I think it’s because he destroyed a perfectly good country song trying to make it something it’s not, and maybe a little because you rarely see his teeth when he sings. (Now you’ll never be able to watch him sing again without noticing it.) But I still like him just for the anticipation that he might beat box.
”Please, Lord, if TV is going to be a source of enjoyable entertainment for me, if I’m ever going to be able to relax with the remote in my hand again, I need Sanjaya to go. Granted, this is not a prayer that probably ranks very high on any list of priorities. But I want to bring my every need to You. So please do all the other more important things first, and then eliminate Sanjaya tonight. Amen”
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
That’s the only reason I don’t live in fear in this troubled world. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for [God is with me]” (Psalm 23:4). Sometimes this world can seem hopeless, and we can get caught in a spiral of hopeless depression. But God offers Hope—in fact He is our Hope.
Imus Not Tell a Lie . . .
Well, by now you’ve heard all you want about Don Imus, and the aftermath of his inappropriate comments. It’s amazing to me how much coverage news stories get today. Almost as amazing as what is considered news today.
Before we get very far, I’m not defending Imus or his statements. I’ve never even heard his program. What is interesting to me is the primary defense given by him and his other defenders. The argument goes something like this: “This is about entertainment, not content. Just because I say racist things to be entertaining, that doesn’t make me a racist.”
As a society that values entertainment above all, we are compelled by this argument to rethink our morality and to contribute to the “Save the Offensive Entertainers” fund.
The big question for me is, “Can I separate my mouth from my morality?”
Every time I open my mouth (or type), I express what I am thinking. Even if I don’t consider myself a racist, if I say racist things, I am at least willing to go that far in my thoughts. Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” In a nutshell, you are what you say.
I’m not saying the media never takes things out of context, or that I’ve never pushed the envelope for the sake of a laugh. I’m only suggesting, if I think things are funny that others find detestable, perhaps I should apologize for who I’ve become, rather than simply what I said.
Monday, April 16, 2007
1) You must have a computer. (That right there eliminates about 7 people currently living in third world countries).
2) You must be able to type. (Actually, you could do that one finger typing thing, so really you just have to be able to recognize the letters of the alphabet.)
So, as you can see, bloggers are an uncommon breed. I however, am not just a blogger—I am a “Substitute Blogger.” I feel as honored as the lady from the local affiliate who fills in for the regular network weather guy when he covers the Olympics. (I would mention her by name, but I didn’t catch it.)
Either way, you are stuck with me for the week. I’ll take a moment each day to share with you a simple reflection on life as I know it, and possibly a bit of commentary.
I’m not crazy enough to hope you’ll read everyday this week; I’m just hoping someone will still be willing to visit this blog when Dice is back next week.
To continue Dice’s efforts to make this blog a salve for the open wound of workaholic-ism that runs rampant in our American society (not to mention the fact that the odds are you’re reading this at work already), here’s a little something to waste your time on.
Take a walk down virtual memory lane with the “Wayback Machine.” Just click the link below and type in the name of your favorite website (the page you built for your dog or the site of a Fortune 500 company), and then browse through what it used to look like way back when. I’m talkin’ way back! Like 1998!
This little gem should help you waste a good solid 3 minutes of the time your employer is paying you for. This is our little way of stickin’ it to the man.
"The Wayback Machine"
Friday, April 13, 2007
Have you ever pulled into somewhere, smelled burning rubber, exited your vehicle and found smoke and flames coming from your front driver side tire? Well I have. Yesterday pulling into the KJ concert. So I did what any smart non-mechanical person would do, let it burn itself out and never thought about it again. No way that one ever comes back to bite me.
Finally this morning, I wanted to introduce you to a new name that will be popping up here at the blog for at least the next week. With our fundraiser sucking any blogging time I might have next week, my dear friend Andy has agreed to fill in and blog Monday through Friday next week. I would ask that you make him feel welcome, laugh at his jokes, and give him nice comments, but I'm actually more afraid that he will be so much funnier than I that you won't accept me back after next week and we will have to rename this thing Rollin' with Andy.
Watch yourself Andrew, don't show me up too bad.
Each Friday I will leave us with an easy online game to waste a few minutes with. I would love to see people play for 10 minutes or so and then post in the comments what level or score they were able to get. This week's game features a pudgy green jumper leaping from key to key on your keyboard. It's called Jelly Jumper and it may just cure you of the work habit for good. 50 levels that you can complete green/orange/ or red. and it will track your percentage of overall completion. I played for about... well let's just say way too long this week and I'm currently sitting at 74 percent.
Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
What's the problem, Dice? Wasn't that the point? If people hit you up asking the question, now you have the answer.
True enough, but now half of those hits are from people searching for how tall Haley Scarnato, Phil Stacey, Gina Glocksen, etc. Somehow, Rollin' now appears on page 1 on any Google search dealing with Idol contestants and their respective tallness. I am also now aware that by even mentioning this again it furthers the likelihood that searchers will come here looking for their vertical fix. So what's a blogger to do?
Stand up and take responsibility, that's what.
I will not run violently into the night, allowing my lack of knowledge on Idol related altitudes to ruin my fragile blogger psyche. I will fight on. I will persevere. Together we will locate this elusive information and present it for all the world to see. Together we will accomplish a task, few dare to attempt. By the time Idol ends we will have the respective heights of the Top 10 Idol finalists for 2007. Scour the web, use your inside connections, whatever it takes, the world must know the answers they seek.
So if you've found Rollin' with Dice looking for the height of your favorite (or least favorite) Idol, stay tuned, we are committed to finding what you need, and we will be updating this tall tale every week.
Jordin Sparks: 6 ft.
Chris Sligh: 6 ft. 1.5 in.
Grades for the Top 9 results show:
The Bottom Three: B-
The Top 8 Performance: C+
The Ford Commercial: B-
The Guest Performance: D
The Elimination: B+
Updated elimination guess:
4. Chris R.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Melinda Doolittle - “Sway” (B+)
Yes, Yes, Melinda will win. This we know. But I think this was a down performance for her (and will still likely be one of the best of the night). The negative criticism should actually help her out a bit on the phones.
Lakisha Jones - “Conga” (B+)
Hmmm. Melinda and Lakisha at the beginning? And both with off performances, this could be an interesting night. (B+s as off performances, they should all be so lucky.)
Chris Richardson - "Smooth" (B)
I figured out why I'm not a Chris fan. Cause he steals votes from my boy Blake. Anyhow, Chris was fine, but I still think he's the weakest guy left.
Haley Scarnato - “Turn the Beat Around” (C-)
The best you can say is that she gave it a shot. It takes a lot of guts to try that, but that was hard to listen to.
Phil Stacey - “Maria, Maria” (B)
I know I sound like a broken record, but Phil just doesn't have a lot of showmanship to back up his vocal chops. Where is his "Philness"? What sets him apart?
Jordin Sparks - “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You” (B)
Another adequate performance. Someone needs to blow it out of the water tonight, and with only Blake and Sanjaya left, you could probably guess where my money is.
Blake Lewis - “I Need to Know” (A-)
Unless Sanjaya pulls a miracle I think Blake has taken the night.
Sanjaya Malakar - “Besame Mucho” (C)
Well, I won't be besa-ing him mucho, but I will say that was a decent vocal. And was it just me or was that one of the hippies from the Amazing Race high-fiveing Sanjaya's sis? (CONFIRMED: BJ was in attendance last night.)
8. Haley Scarnato
7. Sanjaya Malakar
6. Chris Richardson
5. Phil Stacey
4. Jordin Sparks
3. Lakisha Jones
2. Melinda Doolittle
1. Blake Lewis
8. Sanjaya Malakar
7. Haley Scarnato
6. Chris Richardson
5. Phil Stacey
4. Jordin Sparks
3. Lakisha Jones
2. Blake Lewis
1. Melinda Doolittle
Sanjaya pick: Sanjaya.
Non-Sanjaya pick: Lakisha Jones
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Simplified, this is a movie made great by performances and not necessarily plot or substance. Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti are absolutely astounding. Norton as the titular magician and Giamatti as the inspector that follows him (out of curiosity and necessity). It's unfair that this movie will be always linked and compared to "The Prestige" because of their similar nature and coming out at the same time. (By the way, has anyone figured out why this happens so much, and do we even have a name for this occurrence? Can we call it the Armageddon effect?) It's not fair because it has no chance at being as deep, intricate, or compelling as Nolan's genius film. As wonderful as Ed and Paul are to watch, the truth is that this is a very basic story dressed up by some pretty cool visuals and an attempted twist ending that fell pretty flat for me. I won't give it away, but sufficed to say, when all was said and done it was difficult to buy into any part of the reality of the movie. Even a message about the destructive nature of obsession was tainted by a seemingly contradictory message that obsession could also overcome all things. Overall, still worth checking out, and I'll give it a solid B, but the sleight of hand in this movie is that while we are being distracted by compelling performances the underlying structure is pretty flimsy and basic.
I'm going to admit something that may get my "guy card" revoked. I've only seen one Rocky movie before this one. Not only that, I'm not even sure what number it is. It's the one with the Russian, the one that made "I. Will. Break. You." a part of my go to vocabulary. Anyhow, it was a lot of fun, and I remember thinking, "Hmm, boxing movies can be fun" (something later confirmed by friends forcing me to watch movies like "Diggstown" and "The Gladiator" (Cuba Gooding not Russell Crowe)). So when Rocky Balboa was announced, I had the same reaction as everyone else; utter disbelief. I mean, seriously, Sly's what now, eleventy seven? (Actual answer, 60, but I needed the LOTR reference for my geek cred.) But a funny thing happened on the way to the theater, Balboa started promoting to churches and the faith audience and now my curiosity was peaked. Could this latest Rocky actually carry a decent message and at the same time deliver one last knockout punch? The answer? Uh... kinda. The truth is for every bit as sweet as the themes and messages are in this movie (great stuff about family, perseverance, and purpose) the plot seems contrived, surface, and completely unrealistic. The movie plays like it's own battle in the ring. It will get off a few good punches with message, heart, and even performance (Sly can still act, by the way) and then get pummelled to the corner by poor direction, bad pacing, and bad acting (Sly can still overact, by the way). The point is that by the end of the movie you feel bloodied and bruised but greater for having taken the punch and still getting up. When the final bell sounds, it's this inconsistency that makes "Rocky Balboa" hard to recommend, but a movie still worth seeing if you can take a punch or two.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Today's video is in honor of a true American hero, Rocky Balboa. Having just seen this movie finally last week I had to include this tribute to the Italian Stallion. It's not just that the remix is pretty cool, but the delivery is absolutely engaging. You've never heard the Rocky theme like this before but then again you may never want to hear it this way again.
Enjoy, and quit working so hard.
Mini reviews of "Rocky Balboa" and "The Illusionist" tomorrow!
Friday, April 6, 2007
Why this Scientist Believes in God.
Interesting read, what do you think?
Each Friday I will leave us with an easy online game to waste a few minutes with. I would love to see people play for 10 minutes or so and then post in the comments what level or score they were able to get. This week we head over to wiicade.com. A flash game site specifically designed to play on the Wii browser. Don't worry though, you can play them in the regular old browser you are looking at right now. This game is called 3D Logic and it's a brain teaser/puzzler. The simple goal is to connect the colored squares without crosses paths of other colors. It starts out simple and each level gets a little more tricky.
Check it out and let me know what level you can get to.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
One thing that's cool about doing this blog through blogspot is I can get some pretty detailed analysis of who is visiting the site and how they get here. For instance I can tell that most of my readers link here directly, but I've seen lots of referrals from my myspace page and the station website, and some from my articles that post on cmcentral. Many of my hits, however, come from google or other searches and it's always interesting to see what people searched for that landed them at my little blog. Since I posted this Idol Thoughts blog a couple weeks ago in which I just briefly asked the question about Jordin, "How tall is this girl anyway?" I've received a few hits from people searching things like "Jordin Sparks tall" or "how tall is Jordin Sparks". Well, it's time to set the record straight. If people are going to come to my blog looking for answers, (a sign of the apocalypse if I've ever heard one), well then, I'm gonna have them. So the next time someone does a google search for Jordin's height and it leads them here it will not be in vain.
Jordin Sparks is 6 feet tall (and wears a size 11 shoe).
Whew. I feel useful now. You can read this article for more on how that affects her fashion choices if you so choose.
The other thing I learned about Jordin this week was that her ties to the "Christian Music" industry go back a few years. Check out this blog for some commentary from Smitty (that would be Michael W. Smith for the nickname illiterate) about Jordin. Here are the highlights:
So in the Top 10 that makes Sligh, Jordin, Lakisha, and Melinda who all have ties to "Christian Music". Why was it we needed a Christian version of Idol again?
"Two or three years ago my manager stopped by the house with a great young girl named Jordin Sparks. Ironically they stopped by when George Huff, a former IDOL contestant, was at the house. The three of us wound up around the piano and I remember thinking that I was playing and singing with two of the greatest voices I had heard in a long time. And Jordin, like George, had a smile and personality as big and inviting as her voice.
Jordin went on to do two tours with me – CHRISTMASTIME 2005 and CHRISTMASTIME 2006. If you saw either of those shows – you’ll remember her voice and her smile."
Grades for the Top 9 results show:
The Bottom Three: C
The Ford Commercial: C-
The Guest Performance: B
The Elimination: F-
Updated elimination guess:
8. Chris R. (Yet another shocker)
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Mr. Tony Bennett in the house. Showin' the youngins how it's done. It reminds me of when Manilow does Idol, in that we all make fun of him but somehow that night every single performance is better. Overall, Mr. Bennett's touch probably made last night the best overall night of singing on Idol since the girls had their first go around. Even Sanjaya seemed listenable (Did I really just type that?)
Blake Lewis - “Mack the Knife” (B+)
Another quality performance from the Blakester. If he gains momentum at just the right moment we might actually have a battle on our hands for this title. However, it's just as likely that he will go home this week. Go figure.
Phil Stacey - “Night and Day” (B-)
It was good, but I felt like Phil was trying to be Tony Bennet instead of himself, not that I'm completely sure of who he is to begin with. He can sing but he just can't perform.
Melinda Doolittle - “I Got Rhythm” (A)
I think Melinda is biding her time. It's amazing to consider, but I think she has another level to kick into on finale night. Can't wait.
Chris Richardson - "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (B+)
Hmmmm. I have to give it to him tonight, he actually did very well with that. Even the blind squirrel gets a nut, I guess.
Jordin Sparks - “On a Clear Day” (B)
I just keep thinking she is trying to escape the huge shadow cast by Lakisha and Melinda. (That's not a fat joke, I promise.) It was a great performance but I'm not sure she can survive much longer. Mark my words, she is in danger this week despite that great showing.
Gina Glocksen - “Smile” (B)
One of my favorite songs, and one I wasn't introduced to until we sang it in the choir I traveled with in college (yes, you read that right, proud member of the back row bass, so deal with it) Anyway, I love that song. I love what it says, I loved singing it, and I thought Gina did a good job.
Sanjaya Malakar - “Cheek to Cheek” (C)
"Heaven, I'm in Heaven", or.....
Haley Scarnato - “Ain't Misbehavin'” (B-)
I'm just bored by Haley, and call me cynical, but I get the sense that she only sticks around because she is the last "hot chick" in the competition. Fine, be like that, but you know you were thinking it too.
Lakisha Jones - “Stormy Weather” (A)
Lakisha needed a big performance to regain some of the momentum she's lost to Melinda over the past few weeks. I think that might do it. LJ is back baby.
9. Sanjaya Malakar
8. Haley Scarnato
7. Phil Stacey
6. Gina Glocksen
5. Jordin Sparks
4. Chris Richardson
3. Blake Lewis
2. Melinda Doolittle
1. Lakisha Jones
9. Sanjaya Malakar
8. Haley Scarnato
7. Chris Richardson
6. Phil Stacey
5. Jordin Sparks
4. Gina Glocksen
T2. Lakisha Jones
T2. Blake Lewis
1. Melinda Doolittle
I promised myself I would keep picking Sanjaya as a matter or principle, but I'm growing weary of being wrong. In my heart I know we are stuck with him for a couple more weeks, so I'll enjoy the ride. (Non Sanjaya pick: Haley Scarnato)
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Meet the Robinsons, Disney, G, 96%
I have seen the future and it involves glasses.
But before we get to that I have to set the stage. Austin (my oldest son) turned 8 this past Sunday. Yes that would be April 1st, and no I'm not fooling. Having a child on the first of April changes your perspective of this "holiday". We've come to call it April Cools Day around my house, and set about to do nice things for people instead of using it as an excuse to mess with people's minds (not that there is anything wrong with that as Seinfeld might say.) One of the cool things I decided to do was to take Austin out to see a new movie. I also allowed him to pass on the April Cools Day moment by inviting his brother Justin to come along with us. Of course, this act of kindness had it's own level of selfishness as well as the movie we went to see was one I have been interested in for a while, "Meet the Robinsons". OK, fine, I desperately wanted to see the movie and I dragged the boys along as an excuse, you caught me, you happy now? The point is, father and sons, under whatever false pretenses, went to see a movie this weekend, but not just any movie, a movie with a third dimension.
And this is where the glasses come in.
But before I laud the inevitable coming of a new age of movie making, let's talk about the film itself. "Meet the Robinsons" marks the first Disney animated feature that incorporates completely the recent regime change at the top of Walt's animation department. If you don't know, almost a year ago, Disney solved their ongoing disputes with Pixar by buying them outright and as part of the deal putting the Pixar crew in charge of their entire animation department. The Robinson family is the first direct result of that decision and bears the fingerprints of Pixar's genius though not technically a Pixar film. In fact, this movie, in my mind, ranks right up there with the best that the little hopping desk lamp studio has to offer, somewhere between Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. It tells a great story, driven by fun, engaging characters with a compelling and positive message (in this case the power of persistence, discovery, and imagination). In this film the writing and direction are also of special note for delivering, at a blistering pace, some of the funniest dialogue and visuals I have seen in a long time, all the time while moving the plot forward and never losing the emotion or depth.
Speaking of depth, let's finally talk about the glasses.
It's great that "Meet the Robinsons" is a tremendous film, and I would imagine it would even be so with only two dimensions. But after seeing it in Disney's new "Real D", Digital 3-D, I was left astounded. I've seen 3-D stuff before but never through digital projection. Since it's a digital screen ever frame is picture perfect. The color, framing, and intended 3-D effect are exactly right and the result is the feeling that you actually exist in that world. Curiously, I found myself staring at reflections. I don't know if you've ever thought about it, but you can't get reflections right in 2D. Ironically, this is because they exist only in 2D in real life. The world around us has depth but a reflection doesn't, so it's unique. But in a 2D movie both real world and reflection are flat and that distinction is lost. So now instead of just seeing a time machine, I find myself staring in amazement at it's chrome bumper, much like I imagine those in attendance at the first color movies would get lost in how blue the sky was or the green of the grass. It's these kind of subtle nuances that convince me that 3D is what all movies (and TV for that matter) should (and will) move to in the near future. You already hear some of the major players talking about it, and I don't think it will be very long until the movies released in 2D will be the lonely ones. You might still think it's just a gimmick, but remember people said the same thing about sound and color when they first started appearing in films. Why wouldn't a filmmaker embrace a way to drawn his or her audience into his world in a deeper and more visually compelling way? Also, before you think there are no places near you doing the "Real D" thing, you might want to do a quick search at reald.com. If there is a theater within 40 miles of me that is showing it, I'm pretty sure you can find one even closer to you (considering the nearest theater of any sort to my house is 25 miles away). The point is, if you have to drive a few extra miles to catch it in 3D I would highly recommend it.
Overall, "Meet the Robinsons" is a fun frolicking film (I could throw in family as well, but enough alliteration is enough, really.) that speaks directly to our willingness to keep thinking outside the box even when it doesn't work out the first time. The movie's message itself and the presentation in three dimensions is a visual reminder to us that seeing the world around us involves more than just the stuff that's on the surface. That if we allow ourselves the vulnerability that comes with depth it can open up an astounding world of beauty and reflection that we might have missed otherwise.
We just need to put on our glasses.
Monday, April 2, 2007
With the men's basketball national championship tonight I thought I would issue a challenge to Ohio State and Florida to make the game more interesting.
1) You must trail by 7 with 45 seconds left and win the game.
2) You must win in regulation.
3) Not only that you must win by 2.
4) 3 pointers are not allowed.
5) Nor are 3 point plays. If you get fouled in the act of shooting and make the basket you must miss the free throw.
6) All points from the 45 second mark must be scored by the same player.
7) The last (and winning) shot must take place with less than one second on the clock.
8) IT MUST HAPPEN DURING A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
9) And most amazingly, neither coach is allowed to call a timeout from the 45 second mark.
Instructional video to follow...