Video Game Heckling

I have been known to spend some time watching Sam play some video game or another. Yes, watching, not even playing. I know that's kind of a strange thing to do, but I never claimed to be the coolest person. That said, this has diminished of late, as the TV and subsequent gaming systems are not in the same room as my computer and whatnot.

While I watch said video games, I often comment on the goings-on, make fun of the characters, etc. No game is quite as good for this as Kingdom Hearts 2 (I should also mention that of the games Sam plays most often, KH2 is the only one I have any interest in actually playing). There are so many places just ripe for comment that watching this game is much more fun than any other, because of our MST3K-style commentary (For those who don't know, MST3K stands for Mystery Science Theatre 3000, a program/movie which makes fun of movies and old school PSAs in a commentary fashion, done by a guy and two robots. And it is incredibly funny.) So we'll insert bits of dialogue, make comments about whether a character will be caught in the train door, etc. However, what has never happened before is having the game actually respond. Here is roughly how the conversation went...

Sam: Hey, they have some Chippendale's on the ship! (referring to the fact that the pilots are Chip and Dale, the Disney characters)

Tim: Well, really they only have one Chippendale.

Sora (the game's main character): Only one?

We laughed hard for a solid minute, and then continued laughing when Donald said something (I can't recall exactly what) which followed up on Sora's comment. The character was clearly talking about something else, but that certainly didn't take away from the hilarity.

State of the Music Address

About a month ago I had a conversation with a friend about the state of music today. He asked me what I thought about it and I said that, generally, I love it. Now the question was meant to be more of a joke, but I wasn't joking. Now, he was refering to the plethora of crap churned out by radio stations. There I would agree. However, it is a very exciting time to be a music fan. This is especially true if you have musical tastes that differ from any of the radio stations that might be in your geographical area.

The reason I answered positively is for two reasons. The first would be because of Zach Braff. I like Zach Braff as an actor/director. Scrubs is fantastic, and Garden State is one of my favourite movies. I love his rather eclectic choices for the Garden State soundtrack (and its fairly clear he is quite influential in regards to the Scrubs soundtrack as well). I remember when the first Garden State trailer was released a year before theatrical release, the soundtrack (I believe it was Let Go by Frou Frou) was a major part of what got me excited about the movie. He also has a blog where he puts up what he's listened to recently and often talks about this band or that.

Now, I like his taste in music. It resembles my own. He's brought several artists to my attention (Colin Hay as the best example) and certainly put a few other bands on the map who may not have risen above a small fanbase (I've seen considerable press on the newest album by The Shins, something that seems to me to be considerably due to Braff's inclusion of them in the Garden State soundtrack). But I am torn. His taste in music has become too "hip". I guess my worry is that people aren't developing their own musical tastes, just aping Braff's.

The second is much more important. I'm talking about music in television. I referenced this somewhat above, in regards to Scrubs. It is something which gets me excited because it is another way that obscure bands, many of which aren't exactly designed for radioplay on most stations, can be heard outside of just their rather small fanbase. The most instrumental in this would probably have to be The OC. Now, I have never cared for the show, and haven't seen more than about an hour, total. But the music from this show is generally fantastic. It is good music, and said music has leeched into the mainstream. This is the first show that I have experienced where people weren't just talking about the plot/characters/whathaveyou, but where "water cooler" discussion also included the music.

(Once upon a time, I was searching for interesting cover songs, and I came across Ryan Adams doing a live cover of Wonderwall. I thought to myself, this would make a fantastic studio cover as well. So, one day, I'm doing laundry at home in Brampton and my sister is watching The OC, when I hear my request come to life.)

The OC certainly wasn't the first to use such a soundtrack, but they certainly pushed the envelope and created a different climate for music on TV. I mean, Fix You by Coldplay was premiered on this show, a fact that I learned through many media outlets who were reporting it as such (the only other time I think I've seen this happen is with CSI and Radiohead's Hail to the Thief album, and I'm not 100% sure about that).

Now it seems that soundtracks have become a much more important part of television programming. One Tree Hill, which I know little about, has featured my favourite obscure artist, Tom Freund, with one of my favourite songs of his, available here (it seems that this TV show is pretty much taking The OC's spot in respect to soundtracks). I know that several episodes of House have made me search up some new artists (not counting those times I heard some other great songs, such as Delicate by Damien Rice and Waiting on an Angel by Ben Harper).

I just love the fact that something other than the radio is becoming an arena for introducing new, talented artists. And stay tuned, as before too long I plan to make a top 20 song list, which has spawned from similar conversations over the last month.

Edit: On another note, I went to fix some problems I was having with my html, and noticed that you could upgrade your template to an easier to edit one. Well I did, decided I didn't feel like doing the whole thing right now (as I did more than just change the colours), and went to put it back, but couldn't for some reason. So I'll leave this one up for now, until I have time to sit down and put up something more similar to what I did before (the colour is mostly there, but there are other spacing things and such that need work). It will all be worth it, as they have included Trebuchet in this revised template, which means I finally have a fitting font (without the excessive italics or really small font).

A Crustacean Presentation

So, I've got crabs.

Yup, I finally redeemed birthday and Christmas gift certificates to pick me up some pets. Meet Statler and Waldorf...

StatlerWaldorf They are hermit crabs. The pictures are terrible, I know. Apparently my camera is garbage, especially when focussing on smaller objects. And as these, or at least their shells, are about the size of the inside of my palm (that is the end of my thumb in the upper left corner, for a somewhat better idea of scale), they didn't turn out very nice. As they grow, they need bigger shells. Waldorf actually molted within a day of me buying them. And as you can tell his shell is considerably more shiny.

I've got them in a 10 gallon tank with a wood chip base, a water dish, some rocks and a branch, though they spend most of the time burrowed in the wood chips. Or at least when I'm not moving them around or having them pose for pictures (it is difficult to get blush on crab antennae).

For those who don't know the reference, they are named after the two cynical, grumpy (err... crabby) old men from The Muppet Show. Boo... and all that. I considered getting a third and naming him Zoidberg, but who wants a penniless, lonely, and generally depressed crab? Emo kids, that's who. (On a side note, Statler and Waldorf (the Muppets, not my crabs) have a rather funny webcast where they review movies.)

Boo! Boooo! That was the worst post I've ever read! It was terrible! Horrendous! Well, it wasn't that bad. Oh yeah? There were parts of it I liked. Yeah, I liked a lot of it. Yeah, it was good, actually. It was great! It's wonderful! Ah, bravo! More! More!

Also, I just found out that my sister picked me up a ticket for the Ben Folds concert at the Kool Haus in about a month. Very, very exciting.