29 April 2011

Music Video Friday: Let Me Hear You Scream By Ozzy Osborne

Today marks Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with my Washington Capitals facing hated conference rivals Tampa Bay Lightning. This isn't Tampa's first time in the dance - they won Lord Stanley's Cup not that long ago and have three players still on the team who remember that year.

Considering that they have three members who've held the Cup (we only have one, who won it for the New Jersey Devils 11 years ago) and our history of, um, not doing very well in the post-season, I figured that the boys could use some positive energy tonight.

I noticed this year that we've seen a few more familiar faces during the in-game crowd pump-up videos. Pat Sajak? Makes sense. He lives in the D.C. Metropolitan area and has Caps season tickets. David Gregory? Okay, I'll buy it. He lives and works in the area, and he's been a fan for a while. Tom Greene? Well, he's a part of our Capitals Consciousness now and forever. (To the point of re-shooting his clips in a Caps sweater specifically for us. w00t!)

But Ozzy? I didn't get it, couldn't understand it. What possible tie does he have to my beloved team? None that were overtly apparent.

Turns out I'm not a very good heavy metal student. Or I would have picked up that one of the songs Caps Entertainment plays during the game actually is an Ozzy song. Team uses song. Song is a hit with fans. Team gets singer of said song to dress up in Caps Red. Meh ... I think it's a bit of a long stretch (since the man doesn't appear to follow hockey one bit) but, hey, if it gets the energy up in the Phone Booth, who am I to argue semantics?

If you don't know that song to which I am referring (or, like me, didn't realize that it's an Ozzy Osborne song), here it is. Enjoy!

22 April 2011

Music Video Friday: Ain't No Grave By Johnny Cash

Today is Good Friday. This day marks, according to the various Christian religions, the day that Jesus Christ died. He rose from the grave three days later, a day celebrated as Easter (which also happens to be Universal Chocolate Candy, Marshmallow Creatures, And Dyed Eggs Day ... funny that coincidence). Of course, both dates aren't the actual dates but randomly chosen using complex mathematical equations. Or they could have been chosen to be celebrated in lieu of an already-established pagan holiday. I can never remember.

Today is also Earth Day. It is the day, according to staunch environmentalists, that Mother Gaia will rise up and unleash her green fury upon all humanity for centuries of violating her natural purity. Or maybe it was randomly chosen as a one-off political stunt by an upset United States Senator. Meh, it doesn't matter.

Considering that Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, I suppose that would make him the First Environmentalist, as his body wasn't left behind to tarnish Mother Gaia. Which makes this weekend the Coincidences Of All Coincidences!

Snark aside, here's a bit of music goodness on which to meditate this holy weekend. Happy Whatever-Holiday-You-Decide-To-Celebrate!

20 April 2011

A Brief Moment On Blogging

Once upon a time, I was a prolific political blogger. I wouldn't say I was up to the same writing standards as a certain blogger who is fairly close to me, but I was pretty good at it. And I had the numbers to (mostly) support it. I averaged 60 unique hits a day, not a shabby number for someone who wasn't looking to make a career out of slamming politicians online. I ran that blog for shy of four years.

Then I hit the wall. I mean, I was so burnt out that I didn't touch a keyboard for over a year. I was kind of sick of it all ... the politicians, the flamers who came to my site just to argue, the depressing nature of it all (to me). And I couldn't think of what else to write about.

That same blogger I mentioned earlier pulled me aside one holiday afternoon and asked me why I quit writing. He thought I was good at it. He thought I had a unique and entertaining voice. And he was a little disappointed that I just stopped writing. We talked about it for a good chunk of time: he playing the psychologist, I playing the patient. At the end of it, he told me to just write. It didn't matter what about. Just write.

So, on 15 June 2007, I started writing again. About whatever random thought jumped off the front of my head.

I don't pull the page hits I used to. And you know what? I'm totally cool with that. Because I write about what I want to write about. I write about what makes me smile, or to vent a perceived slight, or to share a song or movie, or ... whatever.

It's my sandbox. Sometimes my sandcastles are works of wonder. Sometimes they look more like Smials. But they're mine. You can smile at them or you can sneer. Either way makes no difference to me. I've finally learned that I don't need your hit on my page to validate my voice.

But I do appreciate that you visit and I thank you for being here.

Now let us all go about our day. ^_^

UPDATE 04/21/2011 12:12 PM: Thank you, DCBlogs, for the link. And welcome readers who are visiting via DCBlogs. Feel free to rummage around.

19 April 2011

Sometimes The Thought Really Does Count

I heard through the grapevine of a friend who is going through a difficult time. I've known this person for a long time and have seen him go through many difficult times. But, if what I'm hearing is correct, this might be one of the most difficult.

I understand what it's like going through something like that.

A few years back, I went through the darkest patch of life I've ever been through. It was, quite literally, a year-long depression. Despite my best efforts, I alone couldn't shake myself out of it. Were it not for the love of friends and the soothing balm of three or four songs I doubt that I would have ever emerged alive.

I know how powerful music is to my friend. I know that it shines a much needed light for him into that dark place. So, my friend, I hope you read this. And I hope that this song helps you as much as it helped me.

15 April 2011

Music Video Friday: Queen at Live Aid

Queen is one of my favorite bands, even as they continue greatly diminished. They last toured as the "real" Queen in 1986, a year before frontman Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with HIV. So it's easy to forget how powerful, how charismatic they were. It's easy to forget that Freddie Mercury was the greatest frontman to have ever lived. Here is their live performance at Live Aid on 13 July 1985 - the performance that stole the benefit concert and showed the world, again, why Queen was king.

14 April 2011

Quoth The Raven

I'm a fan of technology. I'm not nearly the technophile I once was. I have neither the time, resources, nor drive to be as deep in the siliconed, wired sea the way I was even 3 years ago. Technical advances are moving too quickly for me to keep up. If I were still working a job that kept me as engaged as my job in Chantilly did, perhaps I'd still be on top(ish) of things. But that's not my life today. Today, I'm engaged enough to have a vague clue about what's going on but not engaged enough to deeply care. All of that said, please re-read the first five words of this paragraph.

With the rise of the iPhone, the various Android appliances (including the Nook), and the Kindle, we are finding more and more of our tomes of knowledge and entertainment put to digital form. Most of the best stuff is public domain and, thus, free. It was only a matter of time before someone sold out in the name of "saving customers a buck or twenty-five".

There is chatter amongst the wired believers that the written word is dead and all things are moving to the digital realm. I hope, for all of our sakes, that they are wrong and that the papered word will be around so long as we can produce paper. Otherwise one day all of our literature shall be as thus.

13 April 2011

Stake Land: Awesome Movie Or Awaiting Disappointment?

Anyone who really knows me knows that I love me a good horror flick. The problem with that is that there are so few good horror flicks. I've seen more than my fair share of movie trailers promising that this time I will get the horror movie I've always wanted: suspenseful, engaging, truly terrifying. The stuff that spawns fear of the dark and gives birth to eldritch nightmares. But far more often than not, I am left unsatisfied by a film that plays to the lowest common denominator by dumbing down the story and piling on the cheap scares (which don't scare me at all).

Yesterday, I saw a new movie called Stake Land on the iTunes Movie Trailers webpage. I watched the two featurettes, "Martin" and "Belle". They are some of the best pieces of suspenseful cinematography that I've ever seen. Both run shy of 5 minutes (closer to 4 minutes if you don't count the movie clip montage at the end of each piece). Both had my eyes glued to the screen. "Martin", in particular, had my heart-rate up a bit higher than normal. These clips are eerie. These clips are memorable. These clips make you want to know what will happen next.

And if history has taught me anything, the movie will be nothing like them.

Horror movies are hard to do. Horror movies containing vampires are even harder. 30 Days Of Night was one of those very few horror movies (specifically containing vampires) that got it right. I cared about the characters. I jumped a time or two. I got a cardio workout without ever moving from my seat.

Can Stake Land follow in those footsteps? It's possible. But it's not probable.

Still, the horror movie freak in me is hopeful.

01 April 2011