Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009... songs

Here it is!!!  My personal favorite songs of 2009.  It was fun coming up with this list, but also excruciating to narrow it down.  This little bracket helped me:)  Okay, I better publish this before I change my mind.  Congrats "On Directing," you're my favorite song of the year!


I want to know your favorite songs of the year!  What songs did I miss?

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okay, I need to get off youtube for awhile.

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And now it's time for Japanese Game Show!  Stay with this one, it gets intense near the end.

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Ode to Avatar.  A pretty funny spoof. 

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Cool graphic about 20 things that happen in 1 minute.  Like Oprah makes $523.  Lucky.

Also, this is the Snuggie I want.  Apparently they're actually sold at Hot Topic.

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Who wants to name all the songs in this mash-up?  No thanks.

I like when he randomly puts in Caleb from KOL singing "dooown!"

For those of you interested, here is 2007's and 2008's

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In case you haven't seen it yet, here's Jib Jab's year in review.  I like these JibJab vids.

P.S. Added 3 new songs to Best of 2009... pop

Best of 2008... music

Before I announce my favorite songs and albums of 2009, here's a look back at my list for 2008.

Best Songs:
"Kids"- MGMT
"Decode"- Paramore
"Rocky Took a Lover"- Bell X1
"Camp Out"- An Horse
"Comes and Goes (In Waves)"- Greg Laswell
"Soon We'll Be Found"- Sia
"Your New Twin Sized Bed"- Death Cab for Cutie
"L.E.S Artistes"- Santigold
"A Children's Crusade on Acid"- Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
"Travel"- Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Best Albums:
Funhouse- P!nk
We Brave Bee Stings and All- Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Some People Have Real Problems- Sia
Santigold- Santigold
Partie Traumatic- Black Kids

Best of 2009... rock

My favorite rock song is Flyleaf's "Again" from Memento Mori. 

If I could cheat a little, Anberlin's "Feel Good Drag" from New Surrender (2008) would be right up there.  This song got a second life, after already being on the 2005 album Never Take Friendship Personal.  Love this band.

If I cheat even more, Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" would be on this list too.  But that was technically 2008.  Plus, I've already posted 2 covers of the song.  So just check those out.

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Review of Sherlock Holmes:
Sherlock Holmes' characters and visual effects could not help a weak screenplay.  Which is too bad because this movie had the potential of being hip and humorous.  Robert Downey Jr. is an entertaining Holmes, reminiscent of Johnny Depp's turn as Jack Sparrow, however, he wasn't given enough entertaining (funny) material.  Jude Law is a solid Dr. Watson and Rachel McAdams plays a thief who is the only person who has been able to outwit Holmes.  McAdams' character is not developed enough and probably should've had more screen time.

The story's plot does not start until well into the movie and the beginning drags too long.  The case to be solved by Holmes is too simple and uninteresting.  The movie does not allow the audience to solve the mystery along with Holmes, instead, dumping all the answers at the end.  Not good.

The visual effects are cool and the scenes of London look great.  If only they could redo with everything the same but the screenplay.  Otherwise, they should halt production on the sequel.

What did you think?

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I need this.

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Picturing the Past 10 Years (link)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Yep, it's another cute panda. (link)

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Today I saw this at the movie theater arcade.

I love those stuffed animal grab games but this one's just TOO hard.  Align the claw perfectly and put those tiny claw arms into those tiny holes?  I don't think so.  Plus, the claw rotates as it goes down!  omg!

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Just watch the first 30 secs.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Best of 2009... performer

Wasn't really sure where to put Lady Gaga in the Best of 2009 lists.  Her album The Fame came out last year, but she became somewhat of a phenom this year.  Here's one of my favorite performances.

Best of 2009... hip hop

My favorite hip hop track of the year is... "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi (feat. MGMT and Ratatat), yeah!  However, after listening to Kid Sister's "Right Hand Hi," I'm tempted to change my mind.  Your favorite hip hop song of the year?

Best of 2009... pop

Black Eyed Peas- Meet Me Halfway
Adam Lambert- Whatya Want From Me
Fyfe Dangerfield- When You Walk In the Room 
The Fray- You Found Me
Kelly Clarkson- Already Gone
Lights- Ice
Thao- When We Swam

Your pop favorites?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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Check out these funny comics and more!
(thanks jenny)

Best of 2009... dance

My favorite dance music of the year is Gossip's Music for Men.  "Heavy Cross" and "Vertical Rhythm" are powerful tracks, or rather Beth Ditto's voice is powerful, and the beats make me want to get up and move.

Best of 2009... success story

It was 2006 (or was it 2005?) when I randomly went to a concert headlining a band that I had never heard of before called Phoenix.  I knew they were French and I thought that was different so I went.  I remember it being a smallish crowd at a smallish venue and I stood right in front.  Their music was poppy and catchy and I remember the lead singer jumping off the elevated stage to stand amongst the audience during one song.  I listened to their albums Alphabetical (2004) and It's Never Been Like That (2006) and especially loved the songs "Everywhere is Everywhere" and "Long Distance Call."  Phoenix became one of my favorites.

I didn't hear anything new from them for a couple of years and thought that their only claim to fame was going to be that the lead singer, Thomas, had a kid with Sofia Coppala (director of Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation) and I guess another one is coming.  However, the band emerged in 2009 with one of the best albums of the year and a lot of mainstream success.
I like their new stuff, but those two old songs still remain my favorites.  So if you like Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), I'd suggest you take a listen to their old stuff.

Worst of 2009... songs

I usually don't like dwelling on the negative, but sometimes I wonder if people dislike the same things I do.  There were several popular songs this year that I couldn't stand, but many people liked them and they were played on the radio constantly.  Here's my list of the worst songs of the year (that people liked).

1. Fireflies- Owl City

2. Boom Boom Pow- Black Eyed Peas

3. Smile- Uncle Kracker

4. The Climb- Miley Cyrus

Do you agree?  Am I missing any?

Best of the Dacade... movies

Unfortunately I haven't seen enough 2009 movies to decide my favorites of the year.  Since I'm one of those people who rent DVDs instead of going to the theater, I probably won't be able to choose until mid-2010:(  Instead I'll give you my two favorite movies of the decade.  Both came out in 2004 and have been my two favorites since.  One made me cry like a baby (hyperventilating and all in the theater) and one made me want to dye my hair orange (not really).  I'd suggest you watch these two to celebrate the end of the decade!

What are your favorite movies of 2009?  Of the decade?

Monday, December 28, 2009

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Kelly Clarkson just performed a slew of new songs and covers on her most recent tour.  Here's some of her best covers (she's done a lot over the years).  Singing good songs really well is what made her famous on American Idol, and she still belts it like no other.

1. "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
2. "Why" by Annie Lennox
3. “That I Would Be Good” by Alanis mashed with “Use Somebody” by KOL (again!)

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I usually don't fall for these cute animal videos (besides sea otters holding hands) but this one's actually pretty cute.

Best of 2009... cover songs

My favorite cover of 2009 is Paramore's cover of "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon.  Maybe I just got sick of hearing the original.

Honorable mention:
Taken By Trees' cover of "My Girls" by Animal Collective (renamed "My Boys")

Lissy Trullie's cover of "Ready for the Floor" by Hot Chip

Sunday, December 27, 2009

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Just saw Avatar.  Shed a few tears.  Wanna know why?  Read ahead.  SPOILER ALERT!!!

Avatar is visually captivating and a true stretch of the imagination.  The world of the Na'vi is full of the beauty of their land, colorful and alive.  The animated parts of the movie do not look weird or fake and blend well with the "real world".  The avatars look life-like and I quickly got used to the way the blue Na'vi people looked (I've decided that if I weren't human, I would be a Na'vi).  The humans actually begin to look strange and scrawny in comparison, like naked mole rats.

Dr. Grace (Sigourney Weaver) is the morally good doctor who has a "Gorillas in the Mist" type relationship with the natives.  Jake Sully is the ex-marine who is accepted into their tribe and forms a relationship with the people.  He is taught by Neytiri, a Na'vi who I think resembles Beyonce if you look closely.  Jake and Neytiri fall in love which doesn't play a major part in the movie, although surprisingly it's not too strange a bond, actually kind of sweet (crying point).  I was told that the look for the Avatars was modeled after cats.  Don't really see it. 

I was disappointed that the movie's plot followed the story of Pocahontas almost to a T.  Although it's an important story to be told, a unique one would have really brought this movie to the next level.  But this modern day Pocahontas will at least force a new generation to reflect on human actions.  As you can imagine, the humans are cruel to the natives and ruin their special connections with nature (crying point).  The movie is long but I'm glad it kept going so that it would not end badly, ie Titanic.  But I still left the theater sad and mad at the humans for what they did to the nature-loving Na'vi.

I wish that they wouldn't have solved the movie with the overused plot of animals saving the day, however, it doesn't ruin the movie for me.  Overall, it's a solid movie that I think the critics were harsh on because of built-up expectations.  Even if you value plot lines and dialogue more than visual spectacle, you can't ignore a captivating movie's entertainment value.

What did you think?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

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Those "My Twin" dolls always kind of creeped me out.  Now that sentiment is reaffirmed in this eerie short film.

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Carol of the Bells, technology style.

Experience Mobile Mobile from James Théophane Jnr on Vimeo.

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My sister shared this with me as she was signing up for the ACT.  Fourth pointer is interesting since they don't want you to use actual words.  I guess that's when your gibberish should be used.  The last pointer seems awfully difficult to me.  Not only do you have to remember a line of song, and use the first letters, but then you have to substitute numbers and symbols for some of the letters.  Now how am I suppose to remember that!  omg!

What Is a Good Password?

To create a secure password:
  • Do not use your user ID as your password.
  • Make it as long as possible. It must be 6 to 12 characters.
  • Use a mix of letters, numbers, and characters such as # or @.
  • Do not use real words that are found in a dictionary
  • Create a new password—do not use a password that you use for other things.
  • Try creating a passphrase. For example, think of a sentence or line from a song, then use the first letter from each word. To make that even more secure, substitute numbers or characters for some of the letters.
© 2009 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved

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Just saw Kung Fu Panda on DVD.  Cute movie.

The question of the day is... Why is the Kung Fu Panda's father a duck?  Here are some of the answers my family came up with.
a. Panda was adopted
b. Duck was in a mixed marriage
c. It's normal for ducks to have pandas
What do you think?

Best of 2009... happy song

My favorite happy music of the year comes from Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and their new album Know Better Learn Faster.  Here's the first single, "When We Swam," but 3/4th of the album is happy like this.  Saw her in concert this year and she's still an energetic performer, crazy almost.

Friday, December 25, 2009

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My favorite holiday movies...
1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town!  I can't count how many times I watched this stop motion TV special growing up.  It first aired in 1970 but has since become a childhood classic (now on DVD).  I'll always remember the song "Put one foot in front of the other" where they teach Rudolph (or was it cranky old man winter?) how to walk.  Wow, that abominable snowman was scary too.
*EDIT* I've been advised that I confused this movie with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," a different but similar looking movie.  That movie is good too.

2. The one holiday movie I probably watched just as much as the last one was The Muppet Christmas Carol.  Definitely the best "Christmas Carol" movie version (the others are just dull in comparison) and the best Muppet movie made (the Muppets work better when given a solid plot line).  I watched this movie year round it was THAT good.  I even remember getting tearing during Christmas past and when Miss Piggy, I mean Mrs. Cratchit, couldn't feed her piglets.  It had heartfelt moments AND humor.  Plus, there's plenty of singing, something that's hard to find anymore.

3. My favorite recent holiday movie is Elf!  Will Ferrell is brilliant as Buddy the Elf and Zooey Deschanel is one of my favorites.  Will Ferrell does not break character which makes this movie so funny.  I can't imagine anyone else in that role.  There's also some singing, making me think that a good holiday movie needs songs.  Plus, the beginning and the end of the movie sample from my first movie pick, bringing this list to a complete circle:)

What's your favorite holiday movie?

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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The best TV show nobody is watching is Better off Ted.  It's like The Office that tries harder.  It takes place at Veridian Dynamics, a cold, heartless company that invents the world's next greatest thing (usually something ridiculous like popcorn that pops in your mouth).  Ted is the manager who plays a great straight man, Linda is an employee who is hilariously awkward, Veronica is the boss whose stern one-liners are a show high point, and Phil and Lem are the geeky inventors who are like real-life caricatures. 

Something about this show works for me.  It doesn't rely on wacky personalities like The Office (I love the Office) but on its clever writing, which may be its downfall.  The jokes are easy to miss if you don't listen carefully.  It's effective because it thrives on life's awkward moments.

The show is in its second season but has been tanking in the ratings.  Won't you check it out?  Episodes are online.

Have you seen the show?  What do you think?

Best of 2009... electropop

The Mercury Prize is a music award presented to the best up and coming band or artist from the UK or Ireland for best album of the year.  It's regarded as a highly prestigious award and is chosen by music insiders and not based on popularity.  This past Sept. the award was given to Speech Debelle, a unique female rapper with uplifting rhymes that stem from her experience of growing up and being homeless for some time.  I've listened to the album once so far and find it refreshing.

Another nominated artist was my personal favorite this year, La Roux.  The self titled album is my favorite electropop album of the year.  Elly's falsetto voice may annoy some but I love it.  She apparently had some sore throat problems during parts of her tour this year, geesh no kidding!  Her hair and style are clearly unique and stands her apart for me in 2009.

Seems like a tough British crowd in this Golden Globe-esque setting.  Not ideal for a concert.

Best of 2009...

I was a little weary of the Silversun Pickups' new album Swoon at first because I loved their last album sooo much.  "Lazy Eye" is one my favorite songs of all time, and that was a lot to live up to.  I was not impressed with their first single "Panic Switch" off their new album.  However, after giving their second single "Substitution" another listen, I think I've found my "Lazy Eye" for this album and couldn't be happier.  It's a great song with a great guitar part that I can't get out of my head.

A band that didn't bring a huge crowd when I saw them play in 2007, will likely be bringing in a lot more fans after being nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist (a category I don't quite understand) and an appearance on Conan this past Monday.

Unfortunately, their Conan appearance was weak, but this video really shows off their talent.  What happened, did he get nervous?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

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Do you like this Alkaline Trio cover or Tegan and Sara's original better?

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Lady Gaga meets the Queen.  Classic moment.  Wonder if the Queen likes her makeup?

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It's taken me a bit to digest Marianne Faithfull's new album of cover songs Easy Come, Easy Go.  The two songs I recognized were Neko Case's haunting "Hold On Hold On" and the Decemberists' "The Crane Wife 3", also a great song.  I think her voice is growing on me and will become one of those cult favorites for me, but we'll see.  Posting the songs alone would not do it justice, you know you would have to google image her, so here's the videos.   I'm curious to check out her past work now.  What do you think?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best of 2009... sad song

The Antlers' "Kettering" is the most beautiful sad song I've heard all year.  It's soooo sad.  But it's sooo good.  What's your favorite sad song of the year?

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Awesome new hip hop track from Kid Sister.  It's got me dancing all morning!
Do you have a song you like to dance to?

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Why do I get such a kick out of this?

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This is my newest music find.  Recommended by NPR's Monitor Mix.  Awesome sound and love the singer's unique voice.

Go listen to Hellfire and Culver City now.

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A new, creative video was just released by Sia.  It makes me happy.  Sia has the best music videos around.  Whoever is her creative team needs to be commended.  It reminds me of one of her other music videos though...?  What do you think?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

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I was a little late to the game with this band.  That just means more great music to rediscover as I go back through their collection. 

Loro- Pinback