Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Want My Music Television vol. XXVII

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Pork and Beans - Weezer

What is sad is that I was going to blast the latest Weezer video since Barenaked Ladies already did the internet phenomenon video until I realized that there has been so many new cross over sensations in the year since that video there really not much over lap. And I didn’t realize how attractive Miss South Carolina was when she wasn’t talking. But the Leave Britany Alone guy needs go back to obscurity and stay there.

All Summer Long - Kid Rock

For a second there I though Kid Rock was playing himself as the younger version. It is creepy thinking there is a dead ringer for Rock out there.

Warwick Avenue - Duffy

Mercy is a nice upbeat throwback. The latest from Duffy is simple and effective, the song and the video. I am very close to putting her above Amy Winehouse in the latest import category.

Chasing Pavement - Adele

Speaking of which the latest is Adele who, see if this sounds familiar, is a big hit in her native England, has a retro yet modern feel and is Mark Ronson approved. Nonetheless, a cool looking video, but are there any British people out there can explain what Chasing Pavement means to a Yank?

Download some of these somgs DRM free at Amazon MP3:

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Fear Change or Why Time Warner Cable Want Me to Cancel Their Service

For those that may not have picked up on it, I have a mild case of Obsessive Compulsion Disorder. Basically if my daily routine is change even slightly it totally ruins my whole day. My afternoon routine goes as followed:

4:30 - Tape Jim Rome Is Burning
5:00 - Watch Hardball with Chris Matthews while start cooking dinner
5:30 - Watch Pardon the Interruption while eating dinner
6:00 - Watch Jim Rome Is Burning until the big finish of PTI is back on Sportscenter then walk the dogs

So Monday I get a call from my cousin who had some extra tickets to that night’s baseball game so I fire up my Time Warner Cable box and notice instead of the yellow TV Guide, it is now blue with a completely new interface and it takes two second between when I press the remote and when the screen actually moves. Yeah. For those that do not have the same thing I do let me explain how easy it is to record something. You go to the show you want to record, press the select button on the remote, it asks you if you want to record this show, then press select again. Viola, that’s it. Simple right? All you have to remember is to leave the VCR on.

So I set PTI, Sportscenter, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory to record, but instead of asking me if I wanted to record these shows when I selected them, it asked if I wanted to set a reminder which I figure was the same thing. Well I get home from the game to check up on the days biggest sports stories and the funniest show on television only to hit the rewind button to find that there was nothing to rewind because nothing taped. Being the rational person that I am, after yelling a few obscenities at the screen, I decided to sleep on it and see what is up with this new screen the next day.

Then on Tuesday I manually taped Jim Rome, hitting the record button at 4:30, before going back to what I was doing previously. Later I figured Jim Rome didn’t tape because this new screen wiped out my scheduled tapping, I have the show set to record weekdays, so I check out the new options menu, including the two seconds it tapes for the screen to move from when I hit the remote, only to find you can no longer do this anymore. While going through the menu there was a commercial taking about their website for the new screen, When I get there and finally find the how to record part of the guide, it tells me go to the show, select it, scroll to Record Series. The only problem is that there is not a Record Series option when I do this on my television. Apparently I am not the only one that is not having this problem because this FAQ page ranks a 1.4 out of 5.

Then on Wednesday I did what I was dreading to do since Monday, call customer service. I tell all of the above to the first English as a second language guy I talk to and he says that everything looks right on his end and he will have to talk to his supervisor. When he come back he tells me that I do not have a DVR (like I didn’t know that) and asks me if I would like him to transfer me ordering guy to sign up for a DVR. I asked if it cost anything, to which he responded five dollars a month. I followed that up with why would I pay that for something my VCR does for free, let me talk to this supervisor of yours.

Onto my second English as a second language guy who apparently wants me go through my whole story again leading me to believe he is not the previous guy supervisor, just another tech guy poising as a tech guy. His conclusion, you need to call your VCR manufacturer to see why it is not working. To which I respond that is does work, it records when I hit the record button, it just doesn’t record when I set the program guide.

This “call the VCR manufacturer/it isn’t the VCR” argument goes about five rounds before I calmly shout obscenities and now dude suggests that I change my box, something he actually had to do because his VCR wasn’t compatible with the old box and new software (which begs the question why did we waste five minutes on calling the VCR manufacturer when he had the same problem). I know there is a Time Warner Cable store in town but I ask for the address so I don’t have to look it up myself. Apparently the closest store with this box is twenty miles away. I say great, you want to reimburse the gas it will take me to drive the forty miles I am going to have to drive to get a box? Surprisingly he said no, in fact I am not getting credited for any of my inconvenience.

Sometime during my conversation I mentioned that everything I needed the box to did it on Sunday, why don’t you just upload the old software. Well apparently the brain trust at Time Warner Cable deleted the old software before working out all the kinks in the new software. And in all of this, my cable box has a new light on it, which is labeled bypass, which has never been on in the years I have had these cable boxes. Dude tells me that shouldn’t be on, and shouldn’t a picture, yet I do.

So instead of driving way out of my way to get a box that may or may not work, we decide to have someone come out to my house to hook up a new box. Next Thursday. So if I am overtly cranky, even more so than usually, you have Time Warner Cable to that because they will be messing up my daily routine for the next week.

That is unless I decide to switch to DirecTV so I do not have to deal with TWC ever again. And get to watch Friday Night Lights in the fall instead of having to wait until winter.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Feed Your iPod vol. XVII: Someday We'll All Be Free

One song I was listening a lot to last month was Someday We'll All Be Free by Donny Hathaway. Hathaway (no relation to Anne) is a lost gem of seventies soul that has seemed to not get the credit he deserves despite the string of hits that decade. But some of the biggest artist of today list him as an influence and he even got named dropped by Amy Winehouse when she said she would rather stay at home with Mr. Hathaway than go to rehab. And I utilized Alicia Keys version of the song in my fifth anniversary of 9/11 post. But everyone should have the original in there collection somewhere.

Someday We'll All Be Free - Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway - Extension of a Man - Someday We'll All Be Free

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Is Gonna Be Legendary, Wait for it... Dary

Recently I read an article calling How I Met Your Mother this decade’s Friends to which laughed at. Then I thought about it and realized the write was on to something, a show that had a solid first season that started going downhill when the characters started hooking up with each other. I usually trace the shark jumping moment to when the hot baker chick went off to France, but the show really started to lose its bearings in the second season when they spent the whole year focusing on the Ted/Robin coupling when we already knew that she was not the mother.

But that relationship thankfully ended at the end of last season, thus getting us back to Ted’s search for the mother mentioned in the title. We were teased early of the woman with the yellow umbrella(ella-ella-eh-eh-eh) that would end up being the mother. That umbrella even shows up at a bar later in the season, but it was almost as if the writers forgot all about it when they were too busy picketing.

Which makes the cliffhanger excruciatingly bad. You have either two scenarios; the writer completely dropped the umbrella thing (or will cheesily add it later) and Stella turned out to be the Mother (which adds another continually problem because if that makes her daughter the chick in the future, her brother would be much younger than her); or Future Ted just insanely not only spent way too much time telling his kids about his lengthy sex life with Aunt Robin, he also told them he proposed to some chick that isn’t their mother. Certainly Barney’s inevitable courtship of Robin next season will not be legendary.

Much less frustrating was the first season of The Big Bang Theory which transformed from a bland, and borderline insulting to those of us with triple digit IQ’s, to the funniest show on television. And of course educational, am assuming I am not the only one to go straight to Wikipedia after the finally to read up on Schrodinger's Cat. And there in lies the genius of Sheldon Cooper, and I am not even referring to his IQ.

Sheldon always had the right thing to say all season, even when his lack of a filter wouldn’t stop him when it wasn’t the right thing to say. The ying and yan with him and Penny may be the best duo on television as each is a worth foil for the other and I would be content if the show was just them. Think about the best moments from the first season and a large proportion involve the two together: Sheldon being sick, shopping for a birthday present, Penny the whole cat discussion. In fact it is hard to compile the best of the other character with only Raj’s failing to ask out Sheldon’s twin only coming to mind.

I am not sure who I feel about the season ending with the cat not being alive. I really do not see a Penny/Leonard coupling working out (see the above two examples of a show falling apart when the characters start hooking up). I am really hoping that the date is disastrous and the two decide to stay friends while Sheldon has to analyze why his theory didn’t work. But what I really hope for is no Britany Spears sightings.

How I Met Your Mother 3.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The Big Bang Theory 1.x gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our Name Is Our Virtue

We Dance, We Sing, We Steal Things - Jason Mraz

There is no artist that is more hit or miss than Jason Mraz. He creates these annoying pseudo raps that he surely thinks are clever but get old quick. But he also makes really heartfelt love songs that you cannot help but sing along. And it is odd that he would name We Dance, We Sing, We Steal Things when he isn’t really known for two of the three.

It doesn’t take too long to figure out where the first part comes from as the opening track Make it Mine sounds like a long lost track of a rock band trying out that new disco thing in the seventies. A couple tracks later, Butterfly bust outs with horns straight from the Ohio Players handbook.

The We Sing portion on the album is highlighted by I’m Yours, the quintessential fireside ditty that is easily the best of his career and should be played at every beach this summer. The other standout is the heartbreaking slid guitar aided Love for a Child, a song seen through the eyes of a kid whose parent are divorced debating the pro (having two birthday cakes, less rules) and cons (loss of innocence, drug addled parents) of the split.

Mraz brings along two friends on the album, most notably is the bubbly girl herself Colbie Caillat on Lucky that could have been easily a leftover from her album as it is simple and enjoyable as anything on her disk, but nothing extraordinary. Later on the album James Morrison pops up on Details in the Fabric where the two voices really play off each other well with the backdrop of a haunting acoustic guitar.

Unfortunately that pseudo rap does show up on The Dynamo of Volition with silly lyrics about Gun n’ Roses finally finishing their album and blisters from playing Nintendo. And there is a weird answering machine type message that bleeds into and out of Details in the Fabric. But for the most part Mraz is on the right track with this album.

Song to Download - I’m Yours

We Dance, We Sing, We Steal Things gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Scooter's 2008-09 Television Schedule

This week I watched four hours of prime time television which is exactly the amount of Survivor I watched last week. I guess there is the writer’s strike to thank for that because many show just disappeared never to be seen again, or at least next fall. Maybe it is because of that strike that there is much less fan fare to the upfronts this week, you can also thank NBC who announced their line up last month. And maybe the strike is to thank for the less than interesting new shows, a list even less interesting than last year, with only one piquing my interest. But anyways. Here is what I’ll be watching next fall:

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:00 - Chuck (NBC)
8:00 - Monday Night Football (ESPN)
8:30 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
9:00 - Heroes (NBC)

At the beginning of last year I thought that Chuck would be the one to out nerd the boys of The Big Bang Theory, but thanks to Sheldon it looks like I’ll be watching the CBS comedies live with Chuck saved to Tuesday. Granted if Heroes continues to be excruciatingly painful to watch, I may end up watching Chuck at that time. But all the scripted television will have to be put on hold when the Cleveland Browns, who got the max number of night games, play their first Monday Night Football game in over a decade.

10:00 - Eli Stone (ABC)

I haven’t watched primetime television on Tuesday since Veronica Mars went off the air. And to be honest I may not technically watch it again this year because 10:00 is past my bedtime, but being the most improved show of the year getting better each episode, Eli Stone will be worth watching a day late. Now if only they would sign Dr. Abbott as a regular.

8:00 - Pushing Daisies (ABC)
8:30 - Project Gary (CBS)

Because of the writers strike, it almost seems like Pushing Daisies didn’t happen. Hopefully they can reboot successfully.

8:00 - My Name Is Earl (NBC)
8:00 - Survivor (CBS)

Just three years ago I watch more television on Thursday than every other night combined; now I’m just down to an hour and a half, an hour less than I’ll be watching on Friday’s. Not that I’m complaining, as it actually give me time to actually productive in real life.

8:00 - Everybody Hates Chris (The CW)
9:00 - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV in the fall; NBC in the winter)
9:00 - The Ex-List (CBS)

My sister recently moved and I told her that she should go with DirecTV for her television provider so she could tape Friday Night Lights for me, but alas she went with cable instead. Punk. So if there is anyone in Northeast Ohio with DirecTV, please shout me a holla.

Saturdays, Sundays

I got nothing aside from when the Browns play on Sunday Night Football.

In my schedule above I didn’t talk about the new shows because I wanted to go more into depth here in my preseason top five:

1. The Goode Family (ABC): The latest animated show from the dude who brought us Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill set for midseason. Yep Mike Judge voices the head of a family of do-gooders. Speaking of Judge who also does extremely hilarious live action movies Office Space and Idocrasy, be on the look out for Extract starring Jason Bateman which will also be out next sometime year.

2. The Ex-List (CBS): All you really need to know about The Ex-List is that it is produced by Diane Ruggiero who wrote some of the best episodes of Veronica Mars, which is saying a lot. It also co-stars Rachel Boston of American Dreams fame. What makes me skeptical is that it is about a woman (Elizabeth Reaser) who has a year to find her soulmate, which happened to be someone she already dated, or she will be alone forever. Which begs the question, what happens in the second season?

3. I Love Money (VH1): I get typically get physically ill whenever I flip by Flavor of Love, Rock of Love of I Love New York, but thoroughly enjoyed Flavor of Love School Girls: Charm School and openly hoped they would do another season pitting them against Bret Michael and/or New York castoffs. Well someone over at VH1 must read the 9th Green because they just announced an elimination style show with physical and mental challenges including my boy Midget Mac.

4. Project Gary (CBS): This may be a episode by episode thing because it doesn’t seem that interested but does star Paula Marshall (Cupid) and Jay Mohr (Action).

5. Dollhouse (FOX): This should be higher on the list, but it got bumped to the bottom because I won’t be watching it. I won’t be watching it of course because it won’t last a month. For an extended reason why I won’t be watching Dollhouse check out Fool Me Once, Shame on Me; Fool Me Ten Times…

Speaking of Cupid and Veronica Mars, I noticed that it, along with the other Rob Thomas produced Good Behavior, were conspicuously missing from the ABC schedule. But anyways. For a complete grid of next fall television check out Ain’t it Cool News. You can also watch clips of the new shows here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Want My Music Television vol. XXVI

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Violet Hill - Coldplay

I remember reading that the latest Coldplay song was political and thinking that it was just a sign that there was trouble in Gwyneth land with lines like, “If you love me won’t you let me know,” but a closer listen I guess there are some military themes. And the lampooning of politicians only drives that home. George Bush recently said he gave up golf because it didn’t seem right to do it in wartime, yet he continues to dance as seen here. Well at least he still isn’t as bad as Boris Yeltsin.
Going On - Gnarls Barkley
Usually the latest Gnarls Barkley video is an event for me but I am extremely bitter that the dudes in the video totally stole my go to dance moves when I am inebriated. Hrumph. Ironically while dancing like this I see weird things in door too.
Last Name - Carrie Underwood
Please, if you will, hop into the 9th Green Timwe Machine (patent pending) and go all the way back to 10/23/07 where I wrote, “then Last Name might very well be a prequel to Before He Cheats.” It looks like someone took note and turned a whole video into that concept. I still haven’t decided if this song is the worst thing ever or worthy of the guilty pleasure title, but all off Carrie Underwood’s hair flipping in the video has me leaning towards the latter.
If I Never See Your Face Again - Maroon 5 & Rihanna
This is one of those pairing so inane I am convinced that the manatee writers over at Family Guy has to be involved somehow. Maroon5 and Rihanna? Where is Eric Cartman when you need him? You can also buy these songs DRM free, and sometimes a dime cheaper, over at Amazon MP3, check out the widget below: