Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson - Beat It

I have a story to go along with this video. In 1982, I was 5 and I loved Michael Jackson. I was such a fan of Michael Jackson that my mom bought me a Michael Jackson t-shirt as part of my going to school bundle. The minute she bought it I was ready to wear it, but as things go when you are 5 things don't always work out how you like. I had to wait until school actually started and then I could wear the new clothes.

Some of you haven't known me long enough to know that I was a shy kid. I tend to get overly antsy and worried before starting something new. So every year I would worry about starting a new class, meeting new class mates and the new teacher. In some respects that hasn't changed. For example, I get extremely nervous about new things until I finally start doing them. Every job I have held I am always convinced, as I head to my first day of work ,that everything is about to go way wrong. The feelings are the same now as it was then. The difference is now I have learned ways to channel the stress.

Getting back to the story. There I was going to school on the first day; wearing my new lucky Michael Jackson shirt. I was very scared that I would be friendless and that my teacher wouldn't like me. I was more then likely clinging tightly to my mom or dad's hand for support (not real clear on who took me because I was 5!). I remember being welcomed to class but still feeling like maybe I ought to go home. Of course when you are 5 going home of your own volition is not an option. If going home had been an option I might have never went to school. Anyway I was directed to sit in my assigned seat and right next to me was a quiet kid named Derrick. Immediately I knew we were destined to be friends.... he was wearing a Michael Jackson shirt too! Even better was his shirt had the words "Beat it!" in a large red font! Boy did I envy that shirt! Amidst all that commonality ,envy, and the excitement of a new friend I forgot all about being nervous.

Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel

I was thinking while watchin this... "I wonder if suggestively dance stalking while singing is a good way to pick up girls?" Apparently, according o this video, it is.

I have been watching videos like crazy since Michael Jackson's death. I guess even though I am not really in mourning I am reliving some awesome and fun moments his music brought me. So if another video pops up I am just sharing things that I really liked about his music. I still have mixed feelings about the man behind the music but I can't deny that I have always loved the music and the dancing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Hi all!

Yesterday was a bad day to be a celebrity. Farrah Fawcet dies, Ed McMahon dies and then out of nowhere Michael Jackson dies. I can't say that I am overly sad about any of these people passing away but I felt I needed to share a good Michael Jackson memory. I loved this music video/mini-movie when I was little. I remembered it's premiere. It's too bad Michael Jackson kept getting weirder because he used to be brilliant. R.I.P Michael. Hope you stop having to deal with people being ignorant. I wonder if any of you get the "That's ignorant." reference....

I hope the others rest in peace as well.

Enjoy watching Thriller! It is still super awesome!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3 Rambling Reviews; 1 Blog

I recently went on a 3-D movie kick. The movie Up and Coraline are both viewable in 3-D and so I went. I figured I would review them tonight. In addition I would like to review a third movie that I saw that was not in 3-d but was very enjoyable. Let's start with Up.

The movie Up spent a great deal of time being slightly depressing. I almost started bawling within the first 20 minutes of the film! The movie is about an old man who set big dreams with his wife but in the course of living a life they never pursued them. The wife passes away and he is left in a world ready to leave him behind. He is the last holdout in a neighborhood that is being developed into some mega-structure. A little thorn in the side of someone dressed in a suit with dreams of making money hand over fist and is building around this old man hoping he can take a hint. In a weird twist the old man ends up being declared a menace to society and is being shipped off to Shady Acres a retirement community that sounds like a cemetery. In a last defiant step the old guy fills his house with balloons and floats his house toward South America. Unfortunately he has a guest a local scout that is determined to earn a 'helping the elderly' badge even though the old man doesn't want his help. Either way they are stuck on this floating house and end up in the South American spot he and his wife dreamed of visiting. Except not exactly. They land on the wrong side of the Plateau and he and the boy scout set off to get to the other side. Along the way the old guy runs into a childhood hero who should be dead or at least way older then the old guy but he isn't because then who would be the villain? The old hero dude is a kook who lives with hundreds of talking dogs. The talking dogs were awesome because the film makers remembered that they were at the base level dogs. They get distracted easily and are really easy to keep happy. Anyway the old hero/crazy guy is looking for a bird that the scout befriended and he is willing to kill to acquire this bird. So an all out race breaks out between the old guy, the scout, the bird, and one dorky misfit dog versus hundreds of dogs and a crazy old guy in a Hindenburg looking blimp. It was quite fun even though it has probably the most bitter sweet and heart breaking beginning. I recommend it, especially in 3-D!

That brings us to Coraline. Coraline is a stop motion animation about a girl who is not entirely happy with her life. Her mom is too busy and her dad is busy and weird. They have recently moved from Detroit to a place in the country and she seems alone. Of course there is a weird neighbor kid and strange apartment neighbors but nobody she wants to be with. I did not really get the sense that she was unhappy but apparently later in the movie it is the basis for all the events that take place. The weird neighbor kid brings an old doll that looks like Coraline and some how that doll is a link between her world and an alternate reality. In the alternate reality the mom is sweet, attentive and quite a cook. The father is a musician... kind of, and a garden virtuoso... kind of. Her weird neighbor friend is not a talker in this world and her strange neighbors are talented performers. It seems perfect except for the creepy button eyes all these alternate characters sport. hey all seem good natured in an evil sort of way and sure enough they are evil. This was a fun 3-D movie. Not a half bad effort by the new studios from the Knight family (Nike people). I liked it but I also didn't. I have seen better stop motion movies but the 3-D bridged the gap. See this in 3-D if at all possible.

So I was sitting here thinking, "Why aren't all movies in 3-D?" The 3-D was amazing and added a lot to these movies. I do not know much about 3-D but I certainly hope they continue to expand it's uses. It was quite a treat. Next up in 3-D land as far as I know is a U2 concert movie. I will check it out and report back on the real world 3-D versus the animation 3-D. Whenever it comes to theaters near me.

I wasn't quite done with the movie kick after seeing Coraline. I wanted to see another movie and take advantage of the Living Room Theater's 5 dollar Tuesday pricing. Coraline was regular price. No... it was more expensive because of the novelty of 3-D. 12 bucks expensive... but so was Up. But in Up I kept the glasses. Anyway I had seen a preview while I was drinking beer and waiting for Coraline to start. It had Steve Zahn, Woody Harrelson, and Jennifer Aniston in it. The movie is called Management. It is a romantic comedy and quite a good one actually. Jennifer Aniston plays a lonely corporate art salesman, named Sue, who is traveling through Kingman, AZ. In Kingman she is a guest of The Kingman Inn a little motel owned by a family. The son Mike, played by Steve Zahn, is instantly interested in Sue. He awkwardly makes his moves and despite herself she indulges him. Apparently feeling this is over and done she is surprised when Mike flies out to Maryland where she lives. Strangely she allows him to hang out for a day before giving him bus fair and sending him back to Kingman. Her work brings her back to Kingman.... conveniently. She hangs with Mike all day and then flies to Seattle. Mike gets his gumption up to try gain and discovers she has moved to Washington to be with her ex-boyfriend Jango. Jango, played by Woody Harrelson, is an in Punk rock guy and kind of strange. Mike tries to show her that he is the guy for him but she chooses Jango and his palacial estate, dogs and corporate yogurt franchise. It is weird to see two movies in a week where one character in the movie is obsessed wit dogs and has a lot of them. Anyway the movie is a romantic comedy and I am fairly certain you know the vague idea of what happens next. The movie is cute, funny and sweet. It also scores some great shots of Portland's Japanese Gardens in it that are being used for a Buddhist Monastery. Anyway go see this movie about the little weirdo, stalker, loser guy that could.

Speaking of Buddhist Monks I saw some monks doing a book signing when I was in Powell's between movies. It was strange to then have monks be a part of the Management movie.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Computer, Art and Podcast Plans

Well the computer and I are barely on speaking terms this week because their is still something wrong and it is crashing. I am not sure what I should do about it though. Just taking it to a specialist to look at and get an estimate of possible repairs cost money. This is a 600 dollar computer so I have a very finite window of what I am willing to pay to repair it. So I have been looking at computers to purchase just to refamiliarize myself with what is out there and the prices of them. Anyway my first course of action would to take this thing in and have them look at it. The problem with that is I need a computer for my schooling and if they don't diagnose immediately I would run into problems waiting for it to be fixed. So do I just buy a cheap laptop to work with and then take this beast in? Should I put this crashing monstrosity aside and get a little better of a computer and seek getting this fixed later on down the road? Should I get a netbook (the mini laptops) and use it for school while this gets fixed? I could probably get a cheap laptop for 400 bucks or a cheap netbook for 250 to 300 bucks. Then I have a little bit of money to get this thing looked at. Of course if I spent 700 bucks I could get a pretty decent computer with better features and specs. These are the things running through my head.

Besides the computer dilemmas I have been working on my latest class. It is about teaching art to elementary and middle school kids. This week our assignments were to create a resources list and to critique a work of art. I chose The Suicide of Dorothy Hale by Frida Kahlo for my art critique. I am not sure if you have ever seen that painting but it is spectacularly gruesome. Dorothy Hale, a friend of Frida, committed suicide by leaping off the balcony of her skyscraper apartment. She had recently lost her husband and was depressed, she had a going away party, wrote letters to friends, said her goodbyes and then jumped. Frida was commissioned by a mutual friend to paint something in her memory for Dorothy's mother. Frida painted a scene of her death. The painting is a story it shows a small figure jumping, then a larger figure wrapped in clouds going down and finally one laying on the ground dead. Blood is coming from her, a little recap of the events is written in the same color as the blood and there are blood splatters at the base of the painting. It is something I originally saw last summer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with my mom and Becky. It was quite a horrific exhibit as Frida Kahlo is a wee bit morbid. That being said I like her artwork and I think this particular painting is extraordinary. It made an impression on me and is one of the ones I always think of when I think of Frida Kahlo. Anyway, the nice thing is I did a lot of art inspired lessons for my last class and I will be able to choose one and refine it for this week's major assignment.

I am working on a new podcast idea in between school and fighting with this computer. I am really hoping this will be a little more fun to listen to. The main thing I am going to try to do is make it real fun for me to do the podcast. If I am enjoying what I am doing I could care less if most people don't. Of course I am hoping that you do. The first podcasts I did were not a lot of fun as I had no idea what to do. I was doing what I do in my occasional updates (like this one) and just telling you what was going on. I am sure these updates are the least favorite blogs I write so why would I make them the crux of a podcast and expect people to listen. So I decided to think about what I wanted from the podcast and what I could do to make them fun. First off I think I have figured out how to get a few interviews. One way I will do this is by getting a digital voice recorder to do some recording in the field. I ordered a Sony online and added a few components to broaden my abilities. The first is a noise canceling microphone I can use if I am doing a solo podcast. Then I added something I can add to a phone to record phone conversations. Of course if I record you I will let you know first that we are recording for a possible podcast. The next major step is I am spending more time thinking my way through the podcast flow. I am writing down questions to ask in interviews and topics to discuss with other people or even to explore by myself. The last portion I am doing is writing some poetry I am planning to turn into a spoken word piece. This will take a little longer then the other things because I have to like the poem and then I have to figure out how to present it. I imagine a lot of revising and recording to get one spoken word poem. I am hoping to have the first revised podcast posted this week. If it goes according to plan it should be an interview. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Computer Apocalypse

Well I got back from my trip to Phoenix and was working hard on getting my photos in order. I spent a couple hours sorting them and selecting the best but I hadn't started uploading them to my Flickr page or backed them up on my external hard drive yet. I was running low on battery life (I had taken my computer out with me and had been doing the work at a cafe and had nowhere to plug in), so I closed up and headed home. Unfortunately I had spent a moment too long on it and it went into hibernation mode. I couldn't get it out of hibernation mode. I tried everything I could think of including letting it sit overnight and hopefully work itself out. In the morning I still had a computer in a frozen state, it was still pretending to be going into hibernation mode. I did the only thing I could think of I did a hard shut down. When I went to restart the stupid thing it wouldn't get past the initial Toshiba page. I grabbed the system disc and popped it in and it recommended a reconditioning of the computer. I tried to find a way for it to leave the files alone or for me to boot up save my files and then reformat but it wasn't having it. I lost several months worth of pictures and homework assignments. I am reinstalling programs and searching for authentic passwords to my software. It has been a nightmare. Until a few months ago I was up to date with my backups. Then I would periodically back things up but I had become lazy. It was strange. The entire day I was working outside my house I kept thinking I need to back this crap up. In fact, I was going to do it when I got home but I couldn't get the damn machine booted again. Needless to say I am a little distressed by this recent event. I am thinking I need to figure out how to have something set up to automatically back up as I go. I know it can be done but I don't really know how.

The most irritating thing is the loss of the music from iTunes. They maintain a record of all your purchases but they will not allow you to download again. I find it frustrating to say the least. I will be looking into other providers to find ways around repurchasing the music and I am thinking of future new purchases being cd's again. I am not sure if I will because I hated storing the dang thing... I might just purchase an extra external hard drive just for redundancy. Either way I am irritated enough to be willing to try other vendors. Heck I might even try a zune pass out where you pay a monthly fee and have access to the music. I need to research that a bit more. This is irritating and distressing because of the money involved and the fact that Apple knows what I purchased.

The heartbreaking loss was the pictures and videos I made that are not online somewhere. I don't even know what to say about it....

Oh well... lesson learned. Remember to back your crap up.

The least distressing thing is the school work as I have most of it already backed up. The majority of what I lost I could still access as the last class I took was still accessible. Thank goodness.