Saturday, February 26, 2011

YouTube: This Generation's Greatest Distraction

Usually, when attempting to write a post, I will make some kind of an outline in my thinkhatch of how the thing should work.
If I think of something that will require a video, I'll make note of what I need to look up, and do so before I ever start typing up the inane accompanying words.
Even if I just think about using the video, I'll find it before writing the post; rather have it in a window, ready to be embedded into a post than to have to stop what you're doing to find it.
So, tonight, I had in mind to write a post regarding music; nothing in particular, just some random thoughts I was going to attempt to string together, because what else is there to do in this wretched little town?
I sincerely wish I was kidding. I'm not. Home looks a lot like this.

I have attempted this concept several times over the last few weeks, but nothing has really screamed to be talked about, until the subject matter tonight (more on this later).
I thought to myself, "it's like I keep tripping over this post, and right as I go to do it, I fall on my ass".
"Hey, what about that video... aw, it'll be great! I can draw the similarity using my sarcastic wit that nobody but me thinks is funny, and I'll get to use that video! Two birds, one stone, it'll be genius!"
I head off to YouTube, knowing exactly what to type in the little search bar, relishing the thought of finally having a perfect excuse to use this video. Of course, if I couldn't fit it in anywhere, we could just keep it in mind for another time. Feverishly, I begin typing.
Now, here's where we encounter a problem.
As I'm trying to decide which version of the video I want to use, I happen to glance over at the "Related Videos" on the right hand side of the screen.
"Oh, compilation of funny moments? I LOVE those! Cue the Yakety Sax!"
This, in turn triggers video after video of mindless, useless, and, at some point, semi-related/unrelated subject matter.

Two hours later, I decide that this post has waited long enough to see the light of day, and I must write it while it's still asking to be written.
The video?

Yes. This is the process. Three out of four times, it goes smoothly. That fourth time is an ass-kicker. Or, in the case of Mr. Ross, a belly-buster. May I just say, speaking solely as a fellow skinny person: OW! That must have hurt.

Whether I would have used this video had I not wanted to illustrate the evils of YouTube (TIME, where hast thou gone?) remains to be seen.
Never worry, though, we'll be seeing this video again in the future.

Now, back to the supposed programming. Or, perhaps, a perfectly unplanned segue! Yes, I like that better.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

While we were out of town, and Grandy was eating all of our peanut butter...
I'm not sure why my mother was laughing as I took this picture. Was it because I was taking a picture of an almost empty peanut butter jar, or the fact that I was absentmindedly humming Punky's Dilemma while doing so? You be the judge. of the music videos I had been quietly waiting for was released. Surely, being a fan of their second album/branch offs, I was incredibly curious with how the "new" Panic! At The Disco would handle the loss of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, and regaining that stupid exclamation mark...

As soon as I had the chance, I headed over to YouTube to find their latest ditty, "The Ballad Of Mona Lisa".
I was greeted with this.

My mother said, and I quote, "he looks evil". Laughter ensued.

Hmmmmm. OK. I was more distracted with the fact that I could identify a steampunk theme than anything (it made me feel so hip!).
Does this latest video not remind anybody of something from this band's past?

Before we go any further, I'm just going to point out how the quality for Internet videos have changed in a few short years. "Mona Lisa" is in widescreen, HD, and all them snazzy bits!
Carry on.

Very, very similar. So similar that I went and looked it up to make sure it was done on purpose.
Mine was, apparently, was the intended reaction.
Reginald Kitty is still not amused.

As quoted from this MTV article: "When we were talking about the concept, somebody had the idea to kind of tie in to the beginning of the 'Sins' video, and we realized it would work with it," Spencer Smith said.
"It was a nice homage to some of the first stuff that we had done with Shane," Urie added. "And also, for us, mostly, it was closure."

Hmmmm. I'm not so sure I buy the sentimental sap tie-in. It certainly sounds nice to tell a reporter, particularly when you're trying to get back on your feet after band members (one of which was a founding member, no less) fall out.
It happens. That's OK.

But doesn't it seem a bit strange that with their whole "let's wipe the slate clean!" attitude toward going forth as a duo (oh, see what I inadvertently did there?), they would want something to tie into their past quite so closely?
I don't know about the rest of you, but once I'm finished with something, I'm all for burning it; scatter the ashes, wash your hands, and hope to run some soap through your brain to get the flavor out of your writing projects. (Maybe that last one is just me.) Out of sight, out of mind, right?

My theory, then, is that there is some hope to regain their original target audience.
After all, that first video won them a VMA, and they had to have done something right with their first album to have been nominated for a Grammy. You can't sell nearly two million records without having some kind of a fan base somewhere, right?

Of course, there are holes in the theory.
For one thing, six years have passed since that first album (cast your mind back, and we'll prove how long it's been. Tom Cruise finally proves he's psycho by jumping on Oprah's couch, bird flu, Hurricane Katrina, Bush gets a second term, new Pope, Chucky marries Chicken [I said it as I watched live, and I'll say it again... that is one ugly hat], need I go on?) ; there is no guarantee that their original fan base is still interested. We aren't still the fourteen year old market any more than they are the eighteen year olds to deliver the product. (Something else to keep in mind, while we're harking back to the matter of age, is that there are six years of maturity added to this latest song; call it unfair, but there is a certain advantage to it.)
Note to the wise: if you have pictures like this of yourself, burn them.
Hang on, I think I've seen that hat before...

Yes, even the photographer must sometimes be photographed. Even wearing her adventure hat.

Heaven knows that if I were still interested in the same things I was six years ago, I would want my head examined; possibly to be put in a sanitarium, left to weave baskets and make things from popsicle sticks, because that's where I'm least likely to hurt myself or society. Since that isn't the case, I just enjoy my insanity.
Hey, Dean! We found your underwear!

Fan base aside, there is still the major point that these albums were written by different people; this latest effort, of course, by the remaining original members, but the first disc was, for the most part, the brainchild of Ryan Ross.
Video similarities aside, if you listen to the songs by themselves, no imagery in mind, they mirror each other pretty closely, so far as I'm concerned. Now, lyrically, the structure is different, simply because the stylists used their own ears (also, remember the previously discussed age factor).
Something I found interesting as I compared the two was that "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies" does not rely on a rhyming pattern. I know, I looked up the lyrics to each song, and read along, 'cause I'm, apparently, an eighty year old nan.
If you haven't seen this, go. Now. This drivel can wait, it'll be here when you get back.

Not a rhyme one, not even a slant rhyme. Perhaps that gives the song a unique flavor - though that flavor would be lost on me, since I don't really have an appreciation for that particular sound.
My mother just said, "that cat looks kind of like David Cassidy does now".
This craziness must be hereditary.

Maybe not.

Whether one is better than the other is neither here nor there, though "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies" feels like a tidier story, and makes a little more sense to me.
My opinion, though, is not to be asked on such matters; I am predisposed to believe Mr. Ross is a lyrically gifted individual; or, perhaps, just the same brand of crazy I am.

Another factor to consider is the absence of the musical mind of Jon Walker. Where is the flow? Instead of a melodic odyssey, we are subjected to a cacophony of tinny guitar and brash cymbals.
I suppose that, if the original, debut sound from Panic! At The Disco was your "thing", this third album is going to be right up your street.
If, however, the "sans punctuation mark" material is more to your liking (imagine me flapping my hand in the air and bouncing on the balls of my feet), and the later efforts of those ballsy enough to leave a well established name to produce what they wanted (I told you, I'm biased)...

60's style musicians and Apple products? Somebody tie me down!

...perhaps you should keep looking.
For now, stick an umbrella in your Orange Squash and go watch Pirate Radio. It does a person good.

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Radio Rock!

By the way, if you're curious as to where I ended up after two hours...

Never seen American Gothic? Seriously? Under what rock had they previously been living? Or, like my mother said, "even I've seen that! It's on cereal commercials!"

My mother is a bevvy of information. Crazy, but knowledgeable about such things.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Black Outs, The River Walk, And The Grammys Finally Got It Right!

I'm thoroughly enjoying my first evening off in nearly two months.
Ryan Ross is rockin' the Bose, I've got my hot tea on the hot plate (yeah, I keep my cuppa on a hot plate, 'cause I'm ruddy awesome), I've got a puppy in my lap, and life is generally fab.
Of course, we had a full blown power outage throughout the neighborhood last night.
There we were, watching the Duchess Of Duke Street (again, 'cause we're awesome), minding our own business, and the entire neighborhood goes dark.
I, naturally, felt it was an occasion to take a couple of shots.
These were the two that didn't come out blurry.


There, now, wasn't that fun?
Reginald Kitty is not amused.

I don't feel bad about talking about our vacation now.
We packed up the Golden Egg (it's what I call our car) and boogied our butts down to San Antonio, just because it's such a freaking awesome place to go.
I've been to San Antonio many times over the last ten years or so, but I love to keep going back; the River Walk, the downtown square, the Alamo, and, let us not forget, the bestest Half-Price Books in South Texas (the stats, by number only, ended up at 27 books, the complete Jeeves and Wooster, 2 corny BBC mini-series, the best of the Match Game, The Tomorrow Show, and 3 tote bags). Now, of course, we have a new "local", but we'll talk about that after you watch the slide show.
And, to answer the question in your brain, but you feel too guilty to actually ask, it's a very long slide show. San Antonio is one of my favorite places to take photographs, so I burn up the pixels.

I think the most fun we had on the trip was on the River Walk; at least, that's where the majority
of those pictures came from, anyway.
(As an aside, I feel we were very lucky to have been there on an overcast day; not only do I
wither in the sun [yes, even winter sun is irksome to me], but I love to take advantage of the filtered sunlight
when taking pictures. It's a thing for me.)
Since this was really the first opportunity we had ever gotten just to walk the
River, we walked our little buns off.
I mean we walked about four miles of the arts district of the River Walk.
While there, we stumbled upon the Southwest School Of Art, and I was instantly,
as I said at the time, "besotted" (what a fab, underused word).
We also stopped in at the Hard Rock Cafe, where this photo may or may not have gotten sneaked in.
Keep rockin', Pete. Just keep rockin'.

Highlights from the trip include:

Our new "local", a pub called the Lion and Rose, was primarily the menu of choice.
On rare occasion can I go to a restaurant, and be struck with a bout of indecision regarding what to order.
So many choices, so little time!
We were also exposed to live Rugby matches, which has proven to be quite the
source of entertainment for my mother and I.
Neither of us are by any means in that Nick Hornby danger territory...

but we enjoyed what we saw.
And, yes, I'm well aware that the sport in the film was football, but we're allowed to illustrate our point
without having to match up every little line, aren't we?
At least I didn't use the American trailer, that's one's Baseball...

Hey, it's my blog, and I can. By the way, if you've never seen this film, I feel incredibly sorry for you.
Go. Watch.

Funniest Moment - When, during the Morning Express show on HLN,
the review of Justin Bieber's film came on, and they played a bit of one of his songs.
My mother, bless, said "I thought that was Lady Gaga!"
I nearly wet myself laughing.

WTF Moment - We pull up next to a car that's just blasting some terrible rap.
My dad flags me down, like he does if he wants to say something to me when I have my fantabulous
noise canceling Bose headphones on (ALLAN!),
and asks me if "that rap" is mine.
Apparently nineteen years isn't long enough to know somebody without having to ask
them if the rap is theirs.
And, apparently, this - which I KNOW he couldn't hear through the Bose,
'cause I've tested it - sounds like rap to him.

Voted, at the time, to be the best non-Paul McCartney song of the summer of 2007.
Yes, we were a strange lot, even then.
Oh, and SPEAKING of Our Paulie,
congratuwelldone to the most adorable man on the planet for winning his first
solo Grammy in thirty-nine years!
This face deserves a Grammy, and a cuddle.

I would like to point out two things.
First, check out that fret board at the 2:13 time stamp.
Second, the communication between Paul and Abe (the drummer)
at the end of EVERY song
(fast forward to the 4:20 time stamp), goes a little like this.
I'm glad they showed it, because it simply fascinates me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hold Out For The Clearance Chocolates

Well, here we are, folks.
Another Valentine's Day is upon us.
Now, I know there are folks split down the middle on this particular day.
This video illustrates that very point (click on everything, especially the "Mystery Video").

Personally, I don't really care.
One might think that, at nineteen years of age, with no prospects, I'd be in the "hate" category.
But hate is such a strong word.
Yet, for folks like me, there doesn't seem to be a "wishy-washy-Charlie-Brown" category.
I don't like to be the cynical bastard in any situation, but I shall say this: Valentine's Day? Pure bollocks.

If you aren't telling the people you love that you love 'em every day, then you are a worthless slimebucket.


So go on, be a doll, wait a few days, THEN make a big deal for your loved ones.
Chances are great that any gesture, big or small, will make a bigger impact on any other day of the year than the biggest Greeting Card Lollapaloosa of the year.

Of course, it may make this guy mad...
...but whatever.

So, whether you love it, or ya hate it, have a happy one, or something.

See this? I love this. Amen.

Reginald Kitty is not amused. He did, however, enjoy the song.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bachelor Monday (It's A Snow Day)

Well, another Monday has come and gone.
I tend to get a little sad at the end of a Monday, only because it's another week until it comes around again.
Sound pathetic? Psychotic?
But Bachelor Monday only comes around every seven days!
Bachelor Monday (it's a fun day!) is a very big deal around our house.
The evening starts at seven o'clock, and has been known to stretch past midnight.
It's like this every Monday.

See this? This is the sign that another Bachelor Monday has successfully been wrapped up.
So what? I bake, and cook a meat-free dinner every Monday night. It's tradition! Tonight's Meat-Free Monday treat was meatless stroganoff. Tasty!

Of course, the end of Bachelor Monday was much less depressing, since we also had Sunday night's finale of Downton Abbey.
How about that Miss O'Brian? We at Fusspot Farm are convinced she'll kill herself in series two. As for Thomas, I hope his eventual demise is slow and cruel; there must be justice for Mr. Bates! We are also glad that Edith got what was coming to her. And what is to come of Cousin Matthew and his mother? If you didn't watch it, this won't make sense. If you did, you'll probably agree, and draw some similarities between Mary and Katherine in Wuthering Heights. Am I alone in that one?

I have to say, I have enjoyed Dame Maggie Smith more than anything about the series. I haven't enjoyed a performance from her so much since I saw The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie...
She's one of the few contemporaries (I say few, really it's only Smith and Dame Helen Mirren) to Dame Judi Dench, whom I love to bits.

You can imagine, then, that with Bachelor Monday AND the season finale of Downton Abbey, the lack of awesome forthcoming television was beginning to sink in.
That is, until SNOW distracted all of that glum-glummery from our brainboxes.
Photos, naturally.



Of course, since our very old house still has it's original aluminum windows, and my bedroom is on the North side of our house, I'm in for a very chilly night.
All six windows in my room, and the one in my bathroom, look very similar to this.
Yes, that ice is on the inside of the window.

You may notice that these windows are very close to my bed.
Yes, I have giant Paul McCartney posters in my room, 'cause I'm cool like that.

It is currently fifty-five degrees in said room; I'm in for a very chilly night, indeed.

*Tuesday Morning Update!

I awoke this fair morn to find feathery ice on my office windows.
It looked like this...

Yeah, that's on the inside, too.

So, here I sit, happily sipping my cider...
...checking news updates, when I happen across a status update from my mother on Facebook. I quote "...likes One Night Only, and 9 other pages."
I blame this on the lad at the restaurant we picked up a quart of cole slaw at last weekend.
I sat in the car and waited while mother went for the salad. When she got back in the car, she said, "you should have gone in with me! There was a guy that looked just like that one guy in that British band that you blogged about. He was cute!"
After an incredulous look from me, she said, "I may be old, but I'm not blind!"
Well, here's to you, Mr. Craig.
They say things go better with Coke...

So, here I sit, firm in my belief that this was a fabulous start to a very busy week.

Why so busy, you may well ask?
Here's a clue...

I've been waiting to use this video for months. Never fear, I shall be using it again. It's my blog, and I can!

What about that golden shot at the forty-eight second timestamp... look familiar?
Like I told my mother just this afternoon: it's so refreshing to see folks that subscribe to my brand of crazy.

Reginald Kitty believes my life is boring. After reading this post, I must concur.

The 90's: Not As Bad As The 80's, But Only Marginally

February 1, 2011

Do you ever have days where you just feel ruddy brilliant?
You think to yourself, "my life is pottering along splendidly! I'm warm and snuggie in my comfy wittle house, with my cozy little writing projects, and my dog with OCD. I've got tea in the kettle, pasta in the pantry, and Splenda in the bowl. Add all that to your 'A' in algebra, and you're life is just friggin' ducky!"
At least, that's what I think to myself.
So, imagine my surprise when I log into my Blogger account to write up a spiffy little post (more on that later), to find that the last post published was from January 19th.
"Didn't I have one scheduled for January 20th?" I ponder.
I must investigate!
Reginald Kitty can read the writing on the wall. It spells out M-O-R-O-N.

One might imagine that, after two years, and 266 entries, I would have figured out how to make a post on my own bloody blog by now.
For those of you who are unaware of the process, you have to push the GIANT orange button that says "PUBLISH POST".
Someone forgot to do that.
That someone was me.
Yup, college really does a world of good for the mind, doesn't it?

So, without further ado, here's a post that was supposed to be read eleven days ago.

January 20, 2011

Guilty confession: I'm having 90's radio night. There. I said it. Child of the 90's, what can I say?
As I sat down to write this post, I thought to myself, "right, girly, you need mood music!" And off to YouTube for my late 90's/early 00's (is that what we're calling the last decade?) rememberies.
By the way, that's pretty much what this post will be about: memories of a not-so-distant childhood (if you want to call it that, 'cause it sounds really stupid coming from someone my age).
Why do I need music to remind me of it? I was there, after all.
It just seemed the prudent thing to do.

Anyway, on with the merriment!
I'm pretty sure this thinking process started with Rolos.
(Hang in there, we'll all make it out of here with minimal damage if you just take direction.)
For the first time in far too long, I actually sat down with some of the awesometastic, caramel-y, chocolate-y goodness. As I unwrapped the golden foil from the glossy sweet, I gently set the featherlight wrapping aside; I'm thinking this was a reflex action, as I wasn't really aware that I had done it until I noticed there were five wrappers stacked neatly on top of each other.
I looked at those wrappers for a moment as a distant, foggy thought entered my brain.
"I wonder..."
I picked up the wrapper on the very top of the pile, admiring my psychotic talent of not ripping the candy's foil (it's a thing of mine, not to rip the foil, but to unfold it. If you haven't yet discovered, I was/am a strange duck), I began to gently smooth it out into a full square.
Yes, it was coming back to me now.
I began folding the foil into an envelope, and the entire process came back to me like I had done it just a few days ago.
Before I knew it, five Rolo wrappers turned into a memory from when I was very small...

Yes, I minted my own play-money (I'm refraining from making many political jokes).
I remembered playing Pirates, or Gypsies, or, on occasion, Caesar/Judge Judy (you would be surprised how many children didn't understand the concept of the Judge Judy game. It was very simple, actually. I was Judge Judy, they were plaintiff/defendant. This meant that I would point at them and yell "that's irrelevant to your case!" I made a few of the weak ones cry. It was eventually a game I played alone, but enjoyed no less). If you ran out of coin, you just ate more chocolate! It was a perfect plan.

Pleased with remembering a little tidbit of my younger years (that just sounds ridiculous coming from someone my age), I started my evening blog rounds.
When I ran across this post of 90's Childhood's Greatest Hits, I chuckled to myself.
"How silly," I thought, "childhood! We're technically still in it! Oh, what piffle."
Then, I started to read the playlist (and contemplate the extinction of the mixed tape, but that's neither here nor there).
I was shocked.
Reading over the titles brought back a flood of memories I hadn't thought of in eons.
Like a kid I knew that was absolutely obsessed with the Spice Girls. She never shut up about them, or the Spice Girls bicycle she got for her birthday.
It felt like there wasn't five minutes to go by without her shouting "girl power!" on the playground. I didn't know her as well as some of the other kids did, so I didn't have to deal with her too much, but she did rather wear on the nerves.

Or when the Disney Channel put up the "Ooops! I Did It Again" video on their website before it was supposed to premier on MTV (or wherever it was going to show up), so my sister and I waited over four hours for it to load on our lousy dial-up service (I seem to remember that we were both very disappointed at the end of that long wait).

Or - dare I say it - when I was the envy of every girl I knew because I had secured tickets to an N*SYNC concert.
In the midst of thinking back to being a wee bit shorter, a wee bit dumber, firm in my belief that I was the hippest cat around, I was jerked back to the present, and reminded of this interview I saw recently (2:38 timestamp, if you don't care to see the whole thing)...

I'm sure that the Backstreet Boys has been outranked as favorite concert; I know for a fact he was one lucky bastard and got his grubby little mitts on a seat (well, I say a seat... it was a standing room only gig, but whatever) to see Paul open The Joint in Las Vegas. We tried for a pair of tickets, but the odds were really, really, really against us. A 4000 capacity venue, countless people on the lines... I believe it set a record at the time, selling out in under four seconds.
As an aside... Pet Sounds? Revolver? Oh, you speak my language, Mr. Ross.

As I was contemplating the intricate weaving that makes up a life, the final blow was dealt.
From the other side of my screen, across the desk, and another screen, my mother says, "hey! You remember him!"
She turns her computer around to reveal a picture...

Fellow 90's kids may remember Danny Tamberelli from the Nickelodeon network.
I remember Danny Tamberelli as the reason I watched the Nickelodeon network (some things never change).
No, really. When his contract expired in 2000, I stopped watching kiddie television. This was around the time my passion for HGTV started, so I had something to fall back on, but that's not what we're talking about at the moment.
We played the "what happened to him?" game on TMZ, did my mother and I. As the page loaded, and I was greeted with the "...and here they are now!" photograph, I felt my eyes sharpen around the edges.
I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm making a direct quote from myself when I restate: "I think my childhood was just raped."
(Oh, yes, laugh it up. It's all so funny, until you realize our generation will one day be in charge of your pension checks.)

So, with the last traces of Drops Of Jupiter leaving my ears (stupid here forgot Train existed up until she heard "Hey, Soul Sister" on one of the two radio stations available in this po-dunky little town), here I sit, slightly jaded, but wiser.

What have we learnt from this sequence of events:

*I can, in fact, still fold a mean Rolo coin.
*I plan on sharing the aforementioned skill with my niece when she gets to be a little bigger (I'll also teach her the Judge Judy game, if she so fancies, though I shall warn her that it may make her unpopular).
*My mother has since asked to be taught how to make these, and, if I find myself folding Rolo foil, she'll keep our newly-minted treasure (for reasons unknown).
*While looking back can be fun, it's not something you should do often.
*I stand by what I said during last week's episode of The Bachelor. I don't care if you're getting a private concert from Train at the Hollywood Bowl, that you've had a one-on-one date with the Bachelor (PART TWO) to a spa, they've let you play dress-up with a bunch of fancy frocks (by the way... she had all those dresses to chose from, and she picked that one [it's just a picture, not a video. At least it shows you, though]?), you're still getting screwed if they don't play Drops Of Jupiter.

I leave you with this...

It's a wonder our generation has any brain cells left.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)