Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #18: Lost is Back!

But maybe just for a brief moment. Lost returns for the start of the 4th season tomorrow night with a two hour special. We know that there are 8 episodes finished and ready to go. Sadly, this season was supposed to have 16 episodes and with the Writer's Strike still going on, who knows when we'll get the rest of this season. In fact, given that they may only have 8 episodes, you'd think they'd only show one a week rather than give us what may end up being a full quarter of what they've got done tomorrow night.

Either way, I'm excited to get back to the island and find out whats going on. Here is a video from the good people at ABC to get you back up to speed if you can't quite remember what all has gone on. If you're new to Lost, my recommendation would be to buy the DVDs and watch them to get caught up because its a great show. But if you don't mind spoilers, feel free to watch the video.

And here's a special bonus Lost WTW. Its a video showing what was going on during the crash of flight 815 from several different perspectives. Fun to see how much more we know now than we did so long ago when we started on this adventure. (I actually didn't start watching until around the time that the 2nd Season started).

Monday, January 28, 2008

My Musical Recap of 2007, Pt. 2: Hip-Hop

In the first post in this series , I covered my favorite albums of 2007. Now I'm going to start into my favorite songs of the year, and as promised I've managed to find YouTube videos of all of them so you can listen to the song, or not, as you so decide.

A Dream - Common ft. Will.I.Am
Theme song from the movie Freedom Writers that uses some MLK samples.

The Way I Are - Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson
Timbaland keeps on pumping out the hits, whether its producing for Justin Timberlake, or doing his own stuff, he's one of the things thats still good about hip-hop right now.

Crank Dat - Soulja Boy Tellem
Yes, its overplayed. Its probably "selling out" whatever that means. But I defy you to tell me that this song wasn't huge in 2007, and that you didn't at least think about trying to do the dance.

Kanye West had a new album, and while I didn't feel like the whole album was strong enough to merit a spot in the best of the year, there were definitely some great tracks.

Stronger - Kanye West
You've probably heard this one by now.

The Good Life - Kanye West ft. T-Pain
I like this one better, and you may have heard it on the radio as well.

The Glory - Kanye West
Probably my favorite track on the album, and as far as I'm aware it hasn't been released as a single. Yet.

Second to None - Styles of Beyond ft. Mike Shinoda
I like this song from Styles of Beyond on Mike Shinoda's Machine Shop label. WARNING: It does have some cussing.

Paper Planes - M.I.A.
I discovered this song on a lot of other people's "Best of 2007" lists and at first I thought it was just weird, but it really grew on me. Funny how gun shots and cash register sounds make for a great beat.

Shoot Down the Stars - Gym Class Heroes
When I first realized that there are tons of songs available on YouTube I started looking at stuff from bands I was interested in. This was the first one that I found when I was looking for other stuff from Gym Class Heroes and probably helped cement my interest in checking out the rest of their album.

Clothes Off - Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes seem to do a good job of hitting that spot between a song you would dance to a slow jam. Just good chillin music. I enjoy Travis' rhymes and his voice. Also the video features a dance off between what appear to be college mascots. There's also some PG-13-ish strip poker scenes, so be forewarned.

We Takin' Over - DJ Khaled ft Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby, & Lil Wayne
DJ Khaled assembled an all-star roster for this song, but more than anything I think its the beat that brings me back to it again and again.

I Tried - Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ft. Akon
Not sure whether this is part of a triumphant comeback for Bone or a final highlight in a long career, but definitely a classic song from Bone. They seem to have slowed down a bit in their old age, but thats a good thing if you want to be able to understand their lyrics. Not that this is a slow song by any means, just slow relative to some of their other hits.

Roc Boys (And the Winner is...) - Jay-Z
Last but not least this late entry from Jay-Z. Gotta love those horns.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Old Book, New Book

I figured I ought to at least start mentioning the books I'm reading. Since I started listing what I'm reading on the sidebar, I feel like I should at least make mention of it in the blog when I finish one and move on to the next. Yesterday I finished reading "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby. I've pretty much seen the whole movie, but maybe not in one sitting and figured I should give the book a shot, as I've heard of quite a few Hornby books, but never actually read any. Also, usually I find that if I like a movie, then the book is definitely worth checking out. The opposite is sadly not as likely. For some reason I have a sense of loyalty to the book that makes me upset when they change things in the movie, especially when there doesn't seem to be any apparent reason. Anyway, tangent over, its turns out that "High Fidelity" the movie is a shockingly faithful adaptation of "High Fidelity" the book. So much so that a) it was like I was reading the script of the movie, b) I kept wondering if it wasn't one of those books thats written after the movie, like when the Star Wars people hire Terry Brooks to write "Phantom Menace: The Book", and c) there really wasn't much suspense because everything played out exactly the same as in the movie, except that everything was quid and pence instead of dollars.

Not to say that that was overall a bad thing. I liked the movie, so I also liked the book, and would recommend them, with the caveat that there is a considerable amount of adult language and sexual content. Not explicit sexual content, but sexual content nonetheless. Oh, and in case you don't know anything about it, its about a 35-year-old who owns a struggling record shop and his girlfriend breaks up with him.

Next up: Armageddon's Children, the first of a new series from Terry Brooks that, as far as I can tell from the first 13 pages, is going to bridge the gap from the "Knight of the Word" books to the Shannarra books.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Musical Recap of 2007, Pt. 1: Favorite Albums

I've been putting off this post for a while now, not because I didn't find a lot of music that I enjoyed this past year. More because I knew there would be a lot to write and that was kind of imposing. In the end I decided to break it up into sections, for my benefit and yours.

One nice thing that I saw on a lot of musical "Best ofs" for 2007 was that the music was there available for your listening in the article. So I did my best to go out to YouTube and find most of the songs that I wanted to mention in this list. I couldn't quite find all of them, but it was surprising how many of them I could find. And it was also surprising to realize how long its been since I watched a music video. As far as I can tell the M in MTV stands for "next top Model" since that is all that is ever on that channel when I surf past it in search of something to watch. It was also interesting to find that some of the songs were made available by someone other than the artist or record label, and basically as audio-only videos. Just the song playing with a picture of the album cover showing. Its an interesting time that we live in.

Anyway, I wanted to start out by first mentioning a couple albums that I enjoyed a lot this past year, and then move on to individual songs. And as before, these albums and songs may or may not have been released in 2007, but thats when they came to my attention. So if you are upset that I include something thats a little bit old, I can't really go back in time and "discover" that song back then, so I might as well enjoy it now, right? Without further ado and in no particular order...

Top Albums of 2007

1. Minutes to Midnight - Linkin Park
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
If you read this blog, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Fort Minor, side project of LP member Mike Shinoda. This is the first LP album since Mike got Fort Minor up and running and there are a couple tracks on this album that are very Fort Minor-ish. At the same time, this album also has some songs that feel like traditional LP, and some that are harder than their other stuff, and some that are very much adult contemporary in sound. So while there's not a real consistent feel to the album, I thought there were a lot of good songs and I really enjoyed the album.

2. Paper Walls - Yellowcard
Yellowcard - Paper Walls
In addition to being a big Linkin Park fan, Yellowcard is another favorite band of mine. Their previous album, Lights and Sounds, I didn't enjoy as well as their break-out album Ocean Avenue, and while I didn't enjoy Paper Walls quite as much as Ocean Avenue, I thought it was definitely a step up from Lights and Sounds. If you liked Ocean Avenue, its definitely worth checking out.

3. Commitment - Lucky Boys Confusion
Lucky Boys Confusion - Commitment
This album came out a few years ago, but if you're like me, you may have never heard of this band. They play what amounts to rock music, but this album doesn't quite fit nicely into that genre for me. Its hard for me to say exactly what I like about them, but I'll put a couple songs from them in the songs section and you can check them out.

4. As Cruel As School Children - Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children
If you've heard of these guys, it was likely their song "Cupid's Chokehold" that featured a chorus from "Breakfast in America" by Supertramp ("Take a look at my girlfriend. She the only one I got. Not much of a girlfriend. Never seem to get a lot.") Or you may be familiar with the songs "Clothes Off!". Anyway, basically their lead singer raps over live instruments and I thought this was a fun album. Kind of chill hip-hop that's not exactly dance music, but good for listening to in the car.

5. Infinity on High - Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
F.O.B. once again put out an album that is growing on me and producing lots of hit singles. They do a good job of standing out from the large (and always getting larger) crowd of emo bands. And they make good songs to back up their quirky song titles. My hat's off to them.

This ends part one of my 2007 musical favorites. Still lots more to come. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #17: Happy Birthday Hippo

I kind of drew a blank today, but if you haven't seen this I think you should, and request it next time you are out for a birthday dinner. Much better than your typical restaurant birthday song. Assuming you can find a beatboxing server.

FYI, its from the movie Raising Helen, which I've never actually seen all of.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #16: Show Me The Money!

Back before Tom Cruise was a crazy guy jumping on Oprah's couch, he used to just make great movies. And before Cuba Gooding was pretending to be gay (Boat Party) or handicapped (Radio), he actually made a good movie, too. And "Show Me the Money!" suddenly became the catch phrase for everything. Especially the Utah Jazz PR people, who have never been great with slogans, were suddenly yelling "Show Me the Playoffs!" The "Show Me the [Product Name] lazy slogan method was ultimately topped by the "Got [Product Name]?" model of ripping off of the "Got Milk?" people. But there's a reason everyone loved to say "Show Me the Money!" and its this clip right here:

Mitt Romney wins primary in state shaped like his name

In case you weren't aware, Mitt Romney won a big victory in the Michigan primary last night. Willard "Mitt" Romney was actually born in Michigan, which got me wondering. Did his nickname come from the fact that Michigan looks a lot like an oven mitt? Lets compare:

This is Michigan...
Michigan map

...and this is an oven "mitt".
Oven Mitt

Coincidence that Romney was able to get a big win? Its too bad there's no candidate nicknamed "Rectangle" because then we could see how well they'd perform in Wyoming and Colorado and we'd have a better idea of how much this contributes to scoring votes for a candidate.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big Digital = Great Things of History

One of the fun things about having a site tracker tool on your blog (I use Sitemeter), is that it lets you see what search terms bring people to your blog. Today someone arrived at The Big Digital by searching for 'great things of history' on Google. I repeated this Google search and found that a link to one of my blog posts was the #2 result. So if you ever feel like my blog isn't particularly great, maybe you just aren't looking at it in the broad historical context.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #15: Ouch! Help! Spray Me with the Water!

I'm sure you're wondering if I'm ever going to post anything aside from my weekly video pick again, right? Well just be glad that I feel some commitment to the weekly video pick, ok. :) Actually I've been more productive during my work hours lately, and thats cutting into my blogging time. So my gain is your loss, I guess. Anyway, I hope that there will be something between this post and the next that isn't a video. But no promises.

Speaking of promises, I promise that this might be the strangest NBA season ticket commercial ever. It starts Sonics player Peja Drobnjak and I'm pretty sure its several years old, because I remember seeing him in commercials a few years back. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #14: Well, People Kept Ringing the Bell!

More fun with Kramer this week, as he relates his bus trip to the hospital to save a friend's toe.

P.S. Some of the other videos I've posted in this feature have since been removed from YouTube, so I guess the point is, watch it now before its gone. :)