Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: Are you kidding me??? Again

I can't believe I am doing this again, but why do movie executives always want to change something that is fine the way it is? Seriously, we have seen it with Wonder Woman, Spider- Man, X-Men and many others and now it has come to the iconic Superman. Now I already discussed his new costumes in the relaunch of DC Comics, and I even pointed out the new suit. But there was one thing I didn't discuss that post. And that is the lack of the red undies. In the promo picture it was hard to tell if they were on or missing because of the lighting. Now it is official...they changed one of the most iconic and most recognizable costumes of all time to this

*sigh* when will they learn to leave things alone? The cape is gone too, but since there have been pictures of him with a cape I am assuming it's missing for a reason. And what's up with the stripes down the side? What was wrong with the original design? Now since I don't want to be too negative I will add two things; first the hair is better than it was in the promo pic and second Henry Cavill looks like Superman...his arms are huge! Is it enough to make me look away from the stripes and missing red trunks? We'll see, but I'm gonna

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star: Thank God it wasn't a terrorist attack...

This is just too perfect. Wolf Blitzer is interviewing a man right after the earthquake from last week and ... just watch.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star: Artificial...yes,

From, seems like someone decided to put two AI chatbots together to see what would happen. Seems cool right? Maybe plot about Judgement Day? Or complain about humans? Nope;

Funny how computers even get pissed at stupid people.

Best comment from io9, "Scientists force two chatbots to have a conversation, prove that Skynet will be a moron"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Free Speech for the Dumb: Al Gore

Oh Al Gore haven't you learned yet that all the global warming myths you have been talking about for years now are starting to be debunked? Maybe you have that's why to get some attention back to you, you compare global warming to racism;
“I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me,” Gore said. “My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, ‘Whoa! How gross and evil is that?’ My generation asked old people, ‘Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?’ And when they couldn’t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.” 
The former vice president recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner. 
“Secondly, back to this phrase ‘win the conversation,’” he continued. “There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.” 
“We have to win the conversation on climate,” Gore added.
Wow...just wow. This man could have been president. How you can compare racism to global warming is beyond me. One is morally wrong. God said to love one another, pretty cut and dry. The other, not so much. It seems like every day now we hear another report that debunks his crazy "end of the world" scenarios.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Music Non Stop: Anterior - Echoes of the Fallen

This is a surprise for me. Now don't get me wrong, but I liked their debut and was mildly interested in this follow up...but holy crap! This is a lot better than I thought it would be. In terms of newer metal bands (Sylosis, Lazarus A.D., and Anterior), Anterior was probably the one album I didn't really care about. With that said, they might have made the best album out of the three, in all honestly all 3 should make the top 10 this year.

The guitar work on this album is awesome. I have seen this band listed as a metalcore band and while they do have a few breakdowns, there is more melodic death metal/thrash here. The guitar intro for Blood in the Throne Room is a dream for air guitarists everywhere. In fact most of the songs have that similar style, which is great for me. I will also add that most of the breakdowns come towards the end of the album. I am not sure if it was planned that way or not, but it is kind of interesting.

Vocally it is your standard harsh screams, at times it is understandable's not. There really isn't much variety going on, but like Sylosis' latest, the music definitely makes up for it. Take a song like Tyranny, it is your standard song, then all of a sudden it goes into this classic sounding solo that makes you think you might have switched on Iron Maiden. It has that technical feel to it without showing off.  I can't praise this album enough when it comes to the guitar work.

Last song recommendation, Of Gods and Men. This really reminds me of The Autumn Offering's song Ghost. A mind boggling solo that bleeds into a sweet breakdown. I go nuts for stuff like that. I have to admit I am shocked at how much more guitar leads were put in this album compared to their debut.

This album is streaming HERE and it is one of those albums that makes me want to keep listening to it over and over again.

One thing that these 3 bands have in common on their sophomore albums is the great guitar work. While some bands are afraid to play solos, these bands aren't. All 3 are very similar in that they put the guitar work in the front...very guitar driven bands.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star: Times of Grace - Live in Love

Great video. I love videos that have a purpose instead of just showing guys playing guitars. The message at the end made me feel like I was watching our school's Peer Counseling video they put out every year. Even though I would love this song, I doubt anyone else would. But the message is a good one.

Heck if you aren't into metal, turn it down to watch the stats they show. And as for the message being's the lyrics;
Just live in love, believe in love

In my life I have seen all the ways hatred destroys mankind
Break societies system, change the mind state, there's no compromise
Don't mistake kindness and compassion for weakness
It takes so much more strength to be selfless and live in love

I trust you live in selflessness and live in love

Through all the days, just live in love
Through all the pain, believe in love

(I change to think you not, it tries to function if this world...)
Take the time to think about your life, live righteous

I trust you live in selflessness and live in love

Through all the days, just live in love
Through all the pain, believe in love

The words we speak, the ones we don't say
Power you don't know you could say
Through all the days, believe in love

Don't you see, we are off
Don't you see, we are off
Brothers and sisters, we are one
Brothers and sisters, we are one

And I pray this is not in vain, all that you know about, all you can hide
How would you feel inside (Live in love)
All that you know about, all you can hide
How would you feel inside (Live in love)
All that you know about, all you can hide (Through all the days)
How would you feel inside (Live in love)
All that you know about, all you can hide (Through all the pain)
How would you feel inside (Live in love)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Inside Four Walls: First Day Back

So I headed in to my new classroom today and it got off to a rocky start.  The first "bump" was when I tried to get into one of the classes and noticed the lock was change.  Not just the one room, the entire building.  Now I really can't complain because our campus is being broken into weekly and something needed to be done.  I just wish there would have been some notice about getting a new key before trying to get in.

So I get the key and tell the secretary I need one for my old room too.  She tells me all keys are the same now, cool right?  Nope because my old room had the old lock on it and I didn't have the key anymore cause I gave it to the new teacher.

So I go to my new room to check it out and see what has been moved and ... nothing not a damn thing.  So I have to track down our operations manager to find out when it will be moved.  He calls a custodian to start moving it.

Now I had it all organized, but when we got on there it was a mess.  When they cleaned the carpets, they moved it all around and broke my desk! 

So the custodians are moving pretty fast and have about one or two more cart load to go when they tell me they were taking a lunch 11:10.  Really?  Kind of early, but what can I do?

Well it finally got done, but I am far from ready.  I was on campus a full hour before I started moving.  Kind of crazy.  I hope the rest of year goes better.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tirades of Truth: Trivium - In Waves

So here is Trivium's follow up to Shogun, which as I said before is one of those "instant classics", if nothing else the title track is epic.

There seems be a lot of people saying that this album combines the best of Ascendancy and Shogun, basically forgetting all about The Crusade. The Crusade gets a bad rap because they threw out all screams and went for a more commercialized sound. But there are times as I listened to this album that I couldn't help, but think "this is what The Crusade could have been." Some of the songs have that simple song structure that was present on The Crusade, but this time the vocals aren't one dimensional. Listen to A Gray So Dark, that song could have easily been on The Crusade...even down to the vocals.

I don't really hear a lot of the Ascendancy references that I keep reading. Maybe it's in the vocal delivery? I'm not sure. I think Ascendancy is where the band found their sound. They simplified & commercialized it too much for The Crusade, but for the most part it has stayed the same.

A quick note about the title track, In Waves. Holy crap! This song is killer. One thing I have noticed with Trivium is that their title tracks have gotten better and better with each album. The Crusade had that insane instrumental, Shogun was epic...that build up amazing. Now with In Waves, they wrote a song that was definitely catchier and easier to sit through (those other title tracks were 8 minutes and 12 minutes respectively), but that doesn't take away from how great it is. In fact, if not for that stupid intro, this song would easily make my Top 10 lead off tracks.

While not as good as Ascendancy or Shogun, it's definitely a solid album. This would be a good album to introduce people to Trivium. It has their catchy writing, diverse vocals, and does a good job of displaying their playing abilities.

I don't think this will be my number 1 album of the year, Mercenary's latest is just that good.  But it just came out so maybe it will grow on me.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Music Non Stop: New Trivium album streaming

What's up with all of these posts today?

Anyway, the new Trivium album, In Waves, is streaming over here. I don't know how long it will be up, but go enjoy it while you can.

I will be doing a longer review on it later, but first impressions is that it isn't as strong as Shogun. And that's ok because Shogun is one of their best or best (depending on the day of the week) album they have released. I will say that the title track is one of their best songs ever. It is just that perfect metal song.

Hopefully, I will have a review up this weekend before I head back to school, but my daughter's birthday is this weekend, so if it isn't up by Friday, don't look for it before Monday.

Inside Four Walls: CSTs are in - 2011 edition

Got a little bored today and decided to hop on the computer and see if my CST scores were in. Now remember this wasn't the best year for students. In fact when I used the same formula I had used the last few years I came up with the following estimates;

Geometry – 43/93 46%
Algebra B – 10/26 38%

That's how bleak it was at the time. While my scores aren't anything to "write home about", here is what they ended up being;

Geometry – 54/93 58%
Algebra B – 15/26 58%

While not stellar, they are definitely higher than what I thought I would end up with. The school average for Algebra B is 60% proficient or advanced and 52% for Geometry. So I am really happy with both. It is the first time in quite some time I have been above the school average in Geometry.

By the way, I'm not saying that I alone got these scores. This was for the most part a good group of Geometry students. I am sure they would have been pretty much the same no matter who they had.

Thoughts Without Words: NCLB Waivers

No Child Left Behind was a good idea. It held schools accountable to teaching students material instead of fluff. Well, we all knew this day was coming when the bill was signed into law. By 2014, every student must be proficient or advanced. Now anyone in education knew that was impossible. Our school has high CST scores and we aren't close to 100% proficient or advanced.

So when Obama came into office in 2008, everyone expected NCLB to be dumped...I guess it just gets added to the list of things that people thought would happen. Anyway, the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan announced he would issue waivers to districts that applied. Hey that's good right? Wrong...much like most of what this administration has done, if you want something you have to change.

If you want the waiver, you need to;
States must agree to education reforms favored by the White House, such as tougher evaluation systems for teachers and principals and programs that tackle the achievement gap for minority students.
Sounds similar to the Race to the Top reforms. In fact, they probably figured since so many states opted not to do Race to the Top, they could force them to make these ridiculous reforms by waving a waiver in front of their faces.

If Duncan cared about helping states, he would have simply found a way to void some of the requirements of NCLB. Just another example of bullying by this administration.

Music Non Stop: New Nightrage - Insidious

This year of great music just continues to get better. Nightrage plays that classic melodic death metal that was made famous by At the Gates. When I did my The Clone on At the Gates, they ended up being the first didn't hurt that At the Gates' singer was on the first two Nightrage albums.

Anyway, they have changed vocalists a couple of times since then, but for the most part the music has stayed the same. If you like that classic sound, they play it. So here is the first song, Insidious, from the new album. I should note that the original singer, Tomas Lindberg, sings on this track as well.

My first reaction is that this sounds similar to The Tremor from their debut album. Doesn't bother me...just noticing. There are also a ton of guest musicians on this album, including 4 who were apart of the first two albums. It seems like they are really trying to recapture the past. I'm not sure it's necessary, but I'm not going to complain because their 1st two albums are classics in the genre.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Music Non Stop: new Anthrax - The Devil You Know

Another new Anthrax song is out there. Definitely not as thrashy as their other one. It has a little bridge in there that reminds me of something that could have come out of Stomp 442. As long as Joey doesn't do any "ball-grabbing" screams, I think it will be ok.

I would really love to hear this album with Dan Nelson's vocals, not because Dan is a great vocalist, but he is a dead ringer for John Bush. It would be really interesting to see how this would have turned out with Bush.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Sun Always Shines on T.V.: Thundercats

Rebooting 80's shows and movies seems to be in vogue right now. Whether it's Battlestar Galactica, The A-Team, He-Man, or Voltron 80's shows are coming back. The best of these, so far, was BSG. They took the basic foundation of the show and turned it into something so much better and interesting. But that might change with the latest reboot Thundercats.

The change up things a bit on the reboot. First off, their planet of Thundera doesn't explode. They are on 3rd Earth to begin with. And here on Thundera they (the cats) are rulers of the planet. They do a good job of walking that line of ruler versus dictator. Lion-O is in line to be king, but doesn't seem mature enough. He is interested in technology, which in this version is supposed to be a myth. Which is another opposite of the original series, considering they needed a rocket to leave the planet. Watching the first few minutes I felt like I was watching a version of The Little Mermaid...stay with me. Lion-O is supposed to be with his dad going over the process of becoming King, but he is out in the "slums" trying to buy technology for his collection. Sounds pretty familiar, even down to when he realizes he is late...classic.

The show is written really well and there appears to be some pacing going on. Panthro is assumed dead right now, but of course will appear in the show. The second episode felt like a filler almost because you were expecting this huge battle with Mumm-Ra and it doesn't happen. Instead we get an episode that feels like a re-telling of Moby Dick. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized that the writes are adding depth to these characters and giving some sort of back story for later on.

In terms of the characters designs, I really can't complain. Here is a photo of the old versions;

Nothing bad there...classic 80's animation. Here are the new versions;

I have read some people complain about the anime style, but that doesn't really bother me. Panthro having mutton chops is a little weird, but oh well. The other thing that is tons better is that Snarf doesn't talk. Now as a kid, Snarf didn't bother me that much, but when I watch those episodes now...Snarf is annoying. Finally, I really like how they kept the same design of Mumm-Ra. He has a little bit more reptile in his design, but that goes with the new story. By the way, there was a definite shout out to the original series with the original voice of Lion-O voicing the King in the new series...everyone knew about that. However, Lynx-O (the blind Thundercat) makes an appearance and has a line in the new series. He is presumed dead, but maybe he will come back.

There is so much to like about this new series. I could talk about how different it is that Tygra is now Lion-O's step brother or Cheetarah is a cleric. This show has a lot of potential so I will sit back and enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Venting the Anger: Catwoman needs ears

Maybe I should change this blog to a comic book costume blog...

So the new Batman movie is going to have Catwoman in it and they released the first picture today;

Really? That's it? She looks like she could be any generic spy from any generic spy movie...heck even Spy Kids. Now if you look closely, she does appear to be wearing some sort of mask under those blue blockers. But really what makes Catwoman's costume a Catwoman costume? Let's look;

Every one of those suits (minus the golden age green one) has ears. And why not...she's supposed to be a cat! Even that train wreck of a movie Catwoman with Halle Berry had ears. Here's a comparison of the ladies, including Michelle Pfeiffer's iconic suit;

When you look at it this way, you can clearly see why fans are a little worried about this. Catwoman needs ears!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thoughts Without Words: New Superman costumeS

Yes I said costumes.

Back in June DC announced it was rebooting the entire DC Universe and giving everyone a makeover. Now I have talked a lot about comic book costumes on here, so of course I will talk about these. Now I was always going to talk about the new Superman comic costumes, but it just so happened that they released an image of the new Superman costume for the new movie, so I will throw that one in here too.

So first up are the new comic costumes. Here is the one from Action Comics, which supposedly tell stories from his earlier days on fact he can't fly yet, just jump.
What the?!?!?!? Is Superman wearing jeans and a t-shirt? Wow. Seriously, it looks like a commercial for Wrangler jeans...Brett Favre is in trouble. And how can he be wearing a t-shirt of his logo if he is just getting in the public eye. Did he go to like Cafepress or something and said "hey, I got a cool idea for a shirt..." It just looks bad.

Next up is the costume for the Superman title;

If you have read any comments online about this costume, they are all true. This costume looks like it was ripped from the 90's with the armor. I also don't like the fact that the red "underwear" is gone. The high collar isn't the worst thing about this, so it gets a pass. But seriously, if you are Superman...why do you have armor? Clearly, he was ok running around in jeans and a t-shirt, so why the upgrade?

Finally, the new movie suit;
Things I like about it;

  • The big 'S' is back
  • Those arms are huge!

Things I don't like about it;

  • Cape is super long...I like it better than the original but I thought they got the length right on Superman Returns.
  • The texture on the suit.  What's the purpose of it?  The new Spider-Man has it too...why?
  • Colors are dark again.
  • The hair...he needs a haircut...hippie.

Compare it to the other suits;
I felt the worst thing about the Returns suit was the small 'S'. The dark colors weren't too bad, especially on the film.  I am sure more pictures will come out in the next few days and I will post them and of course give my thoughts on them.