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Malik (6/23/09)

As I come back from feeling like complete crap for the last two weeks, I'm slowly getting back to posting more regularly. Obviously, with this being my first post in a few days, this is my intended first day of getting back into the swing of things.

I don't have too much to talk about for today. I mean there is not much new with games I'm interested in (but I'll try to include thoughts on any good new Rock Band DLC tomorrow...hopefully Nalopean, the new account for Npeaen, has some good expert guitar videos on youtube) with it being summer and no new FF4 chapters until the 6th of July. It's also turning out, to me at least, to look like a slow start to the summer blockbuster movie season. I think I'd rather burn some money than sit around blowing it on seeing most of what's been coming out lately. Between Transformers, Terminator 4, GI Joe, and the other big name movies, summer 2009 has me less than excited. Last of all, the TV seasons are all basically done...with a couple of good exceptions.

As a person who still has to escape into daydreams from time to time (to save my sanity), I love Z Rock. It's an IFC show about a rock band trying to make it big while being a kids band for their day job (for those who need the quick explanation). The second season just started, and this show has always hit me nicely in the right places to compliment my (usually sad and pathetic) daydreams of flipping off the world.

I am also glad that True Blood (on HBO) has started its second season so close to when Z Rock started its second season. Of course, True Blood is more of a very guilty pleasure than something I'd go about just proudly proclaiming I'm addicted to in normal circumstances. I mean it's just around the level of soap opera, but with more gore and nudity. Still, it's this basic level of TV is just good fun. Plus, despite how some would pass it off as simple trash, True Blood has some damned good writing when it comes to witty dialogue (the episode from Sunday had me hitting the rewind button a few times on my DVR just to hear a line an extra time when it was just that damned good). It's not classic literary wit, but some of the best for smart-ass style least some of the best one could hope to find on TV and definitely beyond what you'd expect on a soap opera about vampires, telepaths, possible witches, and shape changing bar owners.


Malik (6/24/09)

I did check out the new Rock Band DLC on expert guitar via youtube videos from Nalopean. Most of the songs look quite lame and uninteresting. Topping this group of lame songs is the Maroon 5 pack, which looks about as uninteresting on guitar as possible. I think Tempter from Squeeze is the only less enthralling guitar songs I can think of right now.

However, I didn't try anything for myself. With getting over being sick, I have some stuffed up feeling ears that make the thought of music seem like torture. However, when I do get a chance to try the songs (hopefully tonight if my hearing normalizes), I think the Bad Religion song is the only one I'll get. It's just sad that 21st Century Digital Boy is one of their songs I don't really get excited for. Still, it is Bad Religion, so I'll get one of their worse songs almost anytime.

I'll also get at least two of the Pearl Jam Ten re-issue songs that are now available for download. I didn't know these were coming out this week, and the charts for expert guitar with Pearl Jam is almost always a blast. I may be burnt out on the band since I was way over exposed to them growing up (I grew up around Seattle and loved my radio ever since I was a kid...which was bad since Seattle is the land of eternal Pearl Jam radio play), but these are fun charts even if the songs are way too overplayed for me. The only one I'll probably skip is the live version of Alive...which is the second song to be featured on disk for RB2 and to get a live version that's downloadable. It's the first that is available as a single in this redundant way, since Let There Be Rock (AC/DC) was only included, live format, if you bought the AC/DC Track Pack.

Anyway, best of all for right now, I've kept my posting streak going to two days. I think it's safe to now say I'm back.


Malik (6/25/09)

I did play some of the new songs for Rock Band last night. It took an extra day of hoping my ears would stop being stuffed (to no avail), but I did get around to it.

First off, I found 20th Century (Digital Boy) to be good fun. It's not as fun as Sorrow is on expert guitar, but few songs can have that great of a rhythm to them. Still, for being one of the lower quality (in my mind) Bad Religion songs, which still makes it an awesome song to me, it's fun. The only problem is that it is quite easy with, more or less, the same rhythm and feel as most other chord heavy songs. There's chords, a set tempo, and an occasional triplet in there from time to time.

As for the Pearl Jam songs, they are pretty fun. I skipped Alive, since I already have the song in another format so spending another $2 feels like a waste. It would be good if I got the re-issue of Ten and got the songs for free, but...well, my Pearl Jam feelings should be well known by now.

Anyway, Brother is standard Pearl Jam. It feels like most of their other songs, with a bit of hammer-ons and a bit of chords, and a definite repeating style. The other song, which I can't remember the name of, is a bit different. Yes, it's chords and hammer-ons and all that...but the solo is a mother f#@$er. I mean this is a solo designed to bring tears to the eyes of people who are not full on expert players. It's fast, full of shifting patters, and some damned quick changes in feel without much warning. Unfortunately, it's just a little more of a chore than I'd prefer, making it more challenging than fun. As a comparison, look at a song like Rambling Man for what I'd call a fun and challenging solo.

Anyway, I've just been playing a lot of Rock Band, trying to retain some skills that have stagnated lately. I mean when I get three stars on Siva from the Smashing Pumpkins and manage to not get 100% on Today (I played the Smashing Pumpkins challenge set to end my night last night), I know my skills are a bit rusty.


Malik (6/26/09)

It's been a weird week when it's all said and done. I mean weird as in bad in many ways. While I was never what one would call much of a fan, between Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and Michael Jackson, the world has lost some major influences. I mean there was the embodiment of sex to an entire generation, a man who made being a side-kick into being a really cool profession, and a man who has done something I don't see happening again...being a artist who is culturally relevant to three whole generations.

Mainly, MJ is the one who I think has changed the world in more ways than one could ever think of. He had the music that has reached so many people, but it goes far deeper. The music video, which had a major impact in music since the early 1980's was his medium. No one else could lay claim to the music video format with any serious reason such as MJ's for doing so. He made mini-movies of a medium that was originally nothing more than a shot of a single artist or of a bunch of people just playing and performing.

Before Thriller, who would think of getting real Hollywood insiders involved in making a video? Who would think of piling on celebrities in a way which You Rock My World did with Billy Drago, Marlon Brando, and Chris Tucker (and it goes beyond them in that video...)? Special effects were pushed to new limits in his limits which would then follow naturally into Hollywood movies. Even if you're not a fan of his music (or just listen without necessarily seeking out or avoiding his music), his influences probably still reached through.

Rock-n-Roll was influenced with the twist to the Mo' Town sound The Jackson Five brought around. Music videos became a real medium to take notice of with his ideas. Probably a good 90% of current R&B singers were influenced in some way by his style. Hell, even if you still want to dismiss this as not dealing with you, he influenced other styles of media with The Simpsons getting in on the act back at the time when Black And White came out, and he has been fodder for covers that go well beyond his genres (Smooth Criminal comes to mind).

To change subjects a little (from music to music), the Rock Band DLC for next week just isn't doing it for me. At least the Warped Tour stuff. Sadly this music all sounds like the same pop-punk crap that seems to always be the embodiment of Warped Tour. It's stuff that tends to remind me why I never got into the Warped Tour scene (with the exception of when Less Than Jake headlined back in the late 1990's).

On the other hand, at least Foreigner is a good addition to RB. It's about time this band came into the rhythm game world. I know that's a three pack that will find it's way on my 360 next Tuesday.


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