Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forgot one more review I meant to put up in my last uberpost.

Sick Puppies - Dressed Up As Life
In case you haven't heard of the Free Hugs Campaign, I thought now might be a good time to plug it. And if you haven't heard of Sick Puppies, you should have. They're a rock group from Australia that somewhat defies classification, other than to say they're great to listen to. There's some influences from Linkin Park (sans turntables), there's a little Muse (sans fantasy themes and epic feel) thrown in, and stylistically they're probably most like Lovehammers, but with slightly more edge. Then thrown in the occasional passage that is reminiscent of another down under band - The Living End. This record runs the gamut from straight-up rock to ballads to really crunchy riffs with absolutely killer bass lines from Emma Anzai, one of the best young female players I've heard. Meanwhile, vocalist (and guitarist) Shimon switches seamlessly from a falsetto to a growl and overall has a very smooth timbre when singing in the middle of his range. Song lyrics trend towards the darker side of the human experience, but I think most people can identify with the feelings of emptiness, loss, or hopelessness being conveyed with some point in their own lives. Bottom line - this record is fantastic and one of the best albums I've picked up in a long time.
Rating: Lava

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Been meaning to post about a few things for a while, but it's a long post, so I keep putting it off. But welcome to more reviews!

After our first massive snowstorm of the winter, we dug out just in time for the holidays. Emily's parents and brother stayed with us for Christmas, and we had a great time with them and my family, both at my parents' house and at ours. Emily put together an amazing Christmas feast featuring roasted chickens that worked out perfectly. And who doesn't love chocolate pecan pie for dessert? We spent New Year's Eve at a friend's house who was out of town (under the auspices of dog-sitting). Everything was going fine until some total asshat showed up and ruined our party for everyone. After that it was off to Miami for the Orange Bowl, despite the loss, we had a great time doing some sightseeing and sampling local fare. Then it was snowstorm after snowstorm until today, when we're expecting another 10-20" of snow. Whee! Then we enter the busy part of the year. This weekend is Valentine's Day, next weekend we're in NYC for Meg's wedding, the following weekend we're in Jamaica for another wedding, and then it's Kristin's baby shower. And all of a sudden it's mid-March!

Jersey Shore
Some people insisted on watching this at our NYE party. There's a lot of things on TV I haven't watched, but I'm willing to say that this is easily the worst thing ever broadcast on TV. If I thought it was supposed to a parody or satire, it would be brilliant (though still painful to watch). But I'm reasonably certain it's just extending the stupidity of other MTV shows further into the netherworld of unfathomable braindeath. I'm not even kidding. I think I lost at least a few dozen IQ points watching an hour of this trash. Although, to be fair, after the first 20 minutes, my brain started replaying episodes of the Simpsons to prevent me from slipping into a coma.
Rating: arsenic

Despite near-record cold temperatures, 50 degree Miami with palm trees beats 20 degree DC with snow-covered pines any day. Monday night we had appetizers at a seafood place near the Grove and dinner at a Cuban place, then topped it off with a night cap at the illustrious Biltmore hotel lounge. Tuesday was gameday, but kickoff wasn't until 8 pm. We hit up a bay cruise that took us all around Biscayne Bay so we could see Star Island, Fischer Island, Palm island, and Hibiscus Island. A beautiful bright sunny day, but still a bit chilly, but it was nice to be out and about. After the cruise we drove over to South Beach and had a fabulous lunch at Caffe Milano. Then we walked along the beach for a while before heading out. We took in an amazing sunset on Key Biscayne at the lighthouse, then it was off to Pollo Tropical for a light dinner before trudging through rush hour traffic up to (what is now) Joe Robbie Pro Player Dolphin Land Shark Sun Life Stadium. Yeah, we lost the game, but had a lot of fun in Miami. Most of Miami is exactly what I expected: very spread out, very flat, very gritty but covered in bright paint. Certainly there are areas of tremendous wealth, but there are also areas of extreme poverty, just like any major city.
Rating: Aureolin

Miami International Airport
And you thought Newark was bad... Okay, to be fair, Newark is much much much worse. But on such a relativistic scale, the much much much isn't really important. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the nicest airport in the world, Miami is a 1.0001 and Newark is a 1.0000000000000001. See what I mean? When we arrived, we needed to find the hotel board to summon the hotel shuttle. We eventually found it in the ticketing area (not the baggage claim or ground transportation area). Except that the phones had all been removed the board was stripped completely bare. We also noticed walls throughout the airport with bare wirings hanging out that had once attached to monitors. No signs notifying us of construction or "please excuse our mess" or that kind of thing. Lots of signs in Spanish though. When it comes to food, maybe it was just the terminal we were in, but there was nothing hot or fresh to be found. Nearly everything you could buy to eat there was pre-packaged and sold out of a fridge unit. Additionally, the terminal just looked dirty and had poor natural lighting, was laid out terribly, and was entirely too small for the number of people in it. All around a completely terrible experience at MIA. Avoid at all costs.
Rating: Myrtle

Iowa Hawkeye Fans
The thing about U(sic)GA fans is that they're just a bunch of dumb hicks, most of whom never even went to the college they root for. But at least they're unapologetic about it, and they know how to mock opposing fans. Most of the Iowa fans we went en route to or in Miami were very pleasant and friendly, although it was hard to strike up a conversation with them that didn't revolve around tractors. No, I'm not kidding. But after our bay cruise, populated entirely by friendly Iowa fans, we got booed by another fan waiting to board. Literally, booed. That's the best you've got? Booing? I wasn't upset as much as embarrassed for this poor Hawkeye fan. Later, in South Beach, we got drive-by booed by some giggly middle-aged women, only, in SoBe, you can't really drive-by anything because traffic is moving at a crawl. Pathetic. Only later did we realize that Iowa fans saved their real heckling after the game, once they've gotten good and drunk. Their best jeers: As a group walked up to us, they yelled Ga Tech, then under their breath mutter sucks. And another group told us to go back to Atlanta. Yikes, watch out. Here's the thing: I would never mock a stranger in passing just because their team lost and mine won, no Tech fan would, not even U(sic)GA fans. So the small handful of classless Iowa fans kind of ruined my impression of the entire group. But even more so, if you're going to mock us, be original or at least malicious, and do it to my face. Like "that's the country's #2 rushing offense?!?" And I hate to break it to you, but Atlanta is waaaay nicer than Iowa City. Overall nice people, but lousy as fans.
Rating: Puce

The stage musical, not the monthly payment to a landlord in exchange for lodging, although, I suppose technically I'm talking about both. We saw it at the Keegan Theatre's Church Street location, which is a converted townhouse near Dupont Circle which seats maybe 100 people. I firmly believe that all live performances (of pretty much anything) should be in such settings. You really get immersed in the performance and can see the facial expressions and feel the emotions being conveyed in a way that is impossible in a setting like most modern performance spaces. At any rate, using a single stage setup with a few moving tables, and a fantastic cast, this performance of Rent was amazing. I've never seen it before, so chaulk some of that up to first-time newness, but I've seen La Boheme and SLC Punk (no matter what James Merendino says, I think it's loosely based on the opera) before, so I knew what I was getting myself into. (Unless you count my previous knowledge of Rent - Homer Simpson playing the landlord Mr. Stingly in Rent II: Condo Fever - "Where is the rent/I must have the rent/dollars dime and nickels/I need them all right now. ... I literally chewed the scenery") All the performers were micced, although with their powerful voices, this was almost unnecessary. This is the second Keegan performance I've seen, and was equally impressed with the first. I would recommend Keegan to anyone, and if tickets hadn't already sold out for Rent, I'd have recommended it sooner. One other mention, Roger was wearing a God Forbid shirt featuring the State of Liberty with the slogan "In Greed We Trust". Loved it, except that Rent is set in 1994 and God Forbid didn't form until 1996.
Rating: Palatinate

Winter 2010
Snow, snow, and more snow. The snowstorm in mid December dropped about 2 feet. Then it was so cold for weeks that it stuck around forever. Finally it had nearly all melted just in time for the 6" we got in later January. Which was followed a couple days later by another 3-4", and then a couple days later, we got 32". Roads are still a mess, some basic services aren't operating, and we're due for more snow this afternoon in the 10-20" range (although, the current radar images look like we might luck out and most of the storm may miss DC). Seriously, who pissed off nature this year? 2/25 cannot possible get here soon enough - get me out of here and off to sunny warm Jamaica please!
Rating: Liver

HaloScan's datacenter is fried, so they're discontinuing their free service and requesting that user upgrade to something that costs $12/month. No thanks. So I'm removing the embedded HaloScan comments and turning on Blogger's comments instead. Alas, this means you will no longer be able to go back in time and re-read the old comments, but I've got them exported in an XML file if you ever get weepy over days long gone by. Anyway, let me know if you have any issues using the new comments. It should work for anyone with a Google or OpenID account.

About me

  • I'm Rev. Adam
  • From Oakton, Virginia, United States
My profile

Twitter Updates

eXTReMe Tracker