My Top 10 Rock Albums: The 60's

This is the last part, but not the least, of my top 50 rock albums. This time my top 10 albums are from the 60's. Honestly, I thought that this list will be filled with Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, or any band with Eric Clapton on it. Because these were the people that were big that time, and the only ones that I can remember. So I did a little research, like going through my elephantine CD collection in my storage. But it was fun, even though I had to go an extra mile to write this post. I also had the chance to digitize my old collection and store it in my mp3 player.

10. Second Winter
by Johnny Winter
John Dawson Winter III, for some reason, is not as popular as other 60's guitarists like Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, or Eric Clapton. But me and my friend, who's also a guitarist, were astounded the first time we heard Second Winter. The lightning fast blues licks in this album will leave you disoriented, in a good way, for a while.

9. We're Only In It For The Money
by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
I don't know how We're Only In It For The Money fared during the 60's. Because this album satrizied the pop culture back then, mainly the hippies. Even its album cover is a parody of the most popular The Beatles album. But besides being humorous, Frank Zappa also displayed his eclectic guitar style, that is way advance during that time, in this album.

8. Truth
by Jeff Beck
Back when I was just a greenhorn guitarist, I keep stumbling on the name Jeff Beck while reading Guitar World. The magazine probably mentioned him as much as they did Hendrix or Clapton. So I thought I'd give him a listen. However, I only manage to find Truth. But that's fine. Because his blistering leads in this album gave me the blues.

7. The Doors
by The Doors
The debut, self-titled album of The Doors is probably one of the most entrancing and spellbinding album of all times. The fusion of blues and jazz sounds by Manzarek's keyboards and Krieger's guitars, enchanced by Morrison's poetic lyrics, creates this hypnotic psychedelia that will leave its listeners with a bewildered stare for hours.

6. The Velvet Underground & Nico
by The Velvet Underground & Nico
In We're Only In It For The Money, producer Gary Kellgren regarded The Velvet Underground as a shitty a group as Frank Zappa. Well, at least back in the 60's maybe. But both bands are now viewed as innovators. Especially The Velvet Underground. Without them, and this album, alternative rock would've not existed today.

5. Blind Faith
by Blind Faith
The first and last album of Eric Clapton's project, Blind Faith, is also one of his best works. Like many of my classic rock albums, I found this one in my uncle's dilapidated garage. While the naked girl on its cover intrigued and prompted me to listen to the album, it was the six tracks of heavy blues rock and the creamy guitars that made this my favorite.

4. The Beatles (White Album)
by The Beatles
I'm not into The Beatles. I respect and acknowledge them for what they did but I'm not into them. Probably because I got sick and tired of listening to them since the day I was born. Nevertheless, their self-titled album is an exception. As most of their "good" songs, such as "Helter Skelter" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", are all in here.

3. In The Court of King Crimson
by King Crimson
Most people will say that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is the best progressive rock album. Honestly, I did too, for awhile. But that's only because I was 13 and too ill-equipped to comprehend and appreciate the sonic opera showcased In The Court of King Crimson. Now, however, I understand that this album is a cornerstone of rock music.

2. Disraeli Gears
by Cream
Disraeli Gears is my favorite work from Eric Clapton. Slowhand and his bandmates (Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker) did an exemplary job displaying their virtuosity on this psychedelic album. Especially in the colorful tracks "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love". Though it was the blues breaking solo of "Outside Woman Blues" that had me.

1. Electric Ladyland
by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
I discovered Jimi Hendrix a year after I picked up the guitar. After that, I had every Jimi Hendrix material I could get my hands on (music, videos, books) and covered my room with his posters. Why? Because it was him, after listening to Electric Ladyland, that inspired and catapulted my guitar playing, as well as many other guitarists, to the next level.

That's it. My top 50 Rock Albums list is finally done, and I'm a bit sad. But all good things must come to an end. So I hope you guys enjoyed this series because I certainly did.

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First Impressions: Mass Effect

I installed Mass Effect, on my new PC, the other night. But before I could begin playing it. I had a problem running the game on Windows Vista. I literally spent the whole night troubleshooting the game, updating my drivers, reading posts over at BioWare's self-help support forums...To make the long story short, it was a frustrating night. But that's all behind me now since, in the end, I was able to run the game.

Bright-eyed and dark-haired Infiltrator vixen.

I've been playing the game for hours now, and all I can say about it is: Awesome, holy awesome. The action, the atmosphere and role-playing experience, I've never played something in this caliber since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It just shows that I really miss RPGs with sci-fi elements. But, anyways, I really need to stop now. I have a game to finish.

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A Box of Paper Objects

My old mass market paperbacks.

A friend of mine will be having a white elephant sale tomorrow, and all the proceeds will go to her child mentoring program. A couple months ago, she told me about this and asked me if I have anything to donate. So I offered her my old books and graphic novels. I've been trying to get rid of these stuff for sometime now. But not because I don't like them. It's because I'm trying to build a new library with hardcover and large paperback books, and deluxe and absolute edition graphic novels. It's better to give them out this way. At least it's for a good cause.

As for my new library, I'll probably start with 15 of my favorite fantasy and dystopian books, and graphic novels. I've already made another wish list over at Amazon so I can keep track of what I'm going to get. Plus, someone might take notice of my charitable behavior here and reward me by buying the books from my wish list.

Anyways, here are my wish lists:
Dystopian Books
Fantasy Books
Graphic Novels

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XPS 630

A couple days ago, I made a post about my upcoming PC upgrade. I said that my new rig will be ready sometime in October. Well, it's going to be earlier than that. I mean real early...like now. Because when I went to Best Buy, earlier today, to canvass the components that I needed for my upgrade, I saw a scrumptious Dell XPS package. I just couldn't resist and, as an impulsive buyer, went home with it.

The innards. Lots of space, lots of upgrade potential.

How can I, or anyone else, resist the deal though. The rig packs serious gaming power, almost as much as the rig that I was planning to build, and it's cheap enough. Here's its specs:
  • 6 GB of Memory
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.o GHz)
  • GeForce 9800 GT
  • 750 Watts Power Supply
  • Full Tower Case
The motherboard is also an SLI. So I can just pop another 9800 GT if money allows. The only thing is, its PCI express has only 8 lanes instead of 16. That's fine by me though. Since its price was reasonable enough. The custom rig that I wanted would've cost me around $1,300 to $1,400. But I only paid less than $1,400 for this rig. In addition, the package also includes a Dell 24" monitor and a Canon multi-purpose scanner/printer. So, yeah, I'm really happy with it. Now I probably won't have time for blogging anymore as I have this baby to play with.

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Nat Fan

I don't crush that easily. But, when I do, it's always deep and lasts for a long while. I have a crush on Jennifer Connelly ever since Labyrinth. I have a crush on a medical student at work and I didn't know her name for about a year. I had a crush on one of my classmates that continued two years after the last time I saw her. But the hardest crush I had was probably Natalie Portman.

Natalie Portman, angelic and fabulous.

Ah, Natalie Portman. Ever since she turned around when Anakin Skywalker asked her "Are you an angel?" in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, I knew I was done for. Me, and some of my friends, just went gago over her. But unlike them, I did a lot of silly things in the name of nerd love and fanboyism. Here are some of those things:
  • After I was tantalized by Natalie's beauty in the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, I just had the need to watch the movie all over again. So I camped inside the movie theater, feeding on Picadillo Buns and a six pack of Red Bull, for 12 hours, over the weekend, and watched the movie like a glutton until Nat's image burnt brightly in my mind's eye.
  • Back in the late 90's, internet connection was still in its toddler years back in Iloilo City (Philippines). So it was very expensive. But I just had to get my PC hooked up so I can download pictures of Natalie Portman at the comfort of my home. A year later, I almost died when my mom strangled me with a corroded barbed wire when she saw the bills.
  • This is my favorite Nat story (and probably the reason why I made this post). When I joined the Star Wars hype back in '99, I bought two toys of Natalie Portman. Later that night, after I bought the toys, my friends got into a bar brawl. But before I entered the fray, I ran away and secured my bag in a gutter to protect my Padme Naberrie and Queen Amidala action figures from being crushed during the brawl. Plastic ho's before bro's.
I know that my list aren't that extreme. I know that there are Natalie fans out there that probably did more crazier things. I know there's a fan that did a documentary film that chronicles his journey for stalking Natalie. But hey, I'm a sane person.

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Top Cow's Top Two

A couple weeks ago, I've posted something about Top Cow's Pilot Season (see here). It's a contest that works like the American Idol except you're voting for comics and not singers. Each year, six one-shot comics are presented, you vote for your favorites, and two of the comics that gets the highest votes win. The winners will then continue their stories, as mainstay series, starting next year. This year, I've voted for Genius and Twilight Guardian. They're excellent comics, and I really wanted to follow their stories. Well, fortunately for me, both titles WON!

My New Heroines.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought that the comics were great. So, congratulations to Troy Hickman and Reza (Twilight Guardian), and Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson (Genius). You deserve this, guys. Congratulations, and thank you, to all who voted for the titles as well. Now we have two more reasons to be excited every Wednesday...and being single.

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My Top 10 Rock Albums: The 70's

I've already posted my favorite albums from the new millennium, the 90's and the 80's. Now the fourth part is here, and we're going to explore the 70's. This is the decade where new sounds were forged and legends were made. The decade of classic rock. I'll come clean though, I hated classic rock when I was a kid. But when I reached my teens, I'd frequent my older cousins' and uncles' -their friends'- houses, rummage through their dusty bookcases and find their forgotten tape collection of rock music. Those were fun times.

10. Who's Next
by The Who
During my childhood, my dad tried to inculcate me with rock music by playing The Beatles, The Who and The "What-Nots" in our living room stereo, day in and out. I got sick and tired of it, of course. So I got myself a louder music, hoping to drown out his. But I guess he was successful, in a way, since the arena rock of The Who in Who's Next got stuck within me.

9. The Inner Mounting Flame
by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
I was getting into classic rock when my older cousin's friend introduced me to this band. He just handed me an old and tattered cassette tape and said "Listen to this". I did and, after an hour of listening to the album, it's jazz-rock fusion sound left me with the cannabis effect. The guitar and violin dual assaults, especially, will leave you naturally high.

8. Overkill
by Motorhead
Ace of Spades may be the album that turned Motorhead into legends of rock. But, to me, Overkill is still my personal favorite. The first time I heard this album, I was at awe. Especially at Lemmy's rusty and alcohol fueled vocals and Eddie Clarke's fast and creamy guitar solos. The song "Metropolis" is still the best head-nodding, beer song for me.

7. Wish You Were Here
by Pink Floyd
Music critics and musicians will probably hang me for putting this album here instead of Dark Side of the Moon. Objectively, I agree with them. I just chose this album because of its significance to me. But, sentimentality aside, Wish You Were Here rocks too. Especially Gilmoure's solos and jazzy riffs, and the mesmerizing soundscapes throughout the album.

6. Fragile
by Yes
Besides from The Who, Yes is another band from my dad's repertoire that I listen too. Back then, as a fledgling guitarist, who just formed an upstart band, I just can't help but marvel at the musicianship and the carnival of sounds Fragile presented. From the synths to the drums to the lyrics. But it was Steve Howe's guitarsmanship that did this album for me.

5. Abraxas
by Santana
Most people my age would probably tell you that they love Santana...and Rob Thomas when they did that song "Smooth". In fairness, it was a fun song. But before Santana became a pop icon in the late 90's, they were the kings of Latin Jam in the early 70's, and Abraxas was their jeweled crown. This album is just a dangerous fusion of jazz, blues, rock and latin.

4. Houses of the Holy
by Led Zeppelin
Besides albums I-IV, I've never head any other Led Zeppelin albums. So when I heard Houses of the Holy, eight years ago, I was tantalized by its musical diversity. From the dance rock sounds of the reggae-ish "D'Yer Mak'er" and the shuffle of "Dancing Days", the funky beats of "The Crunge" and "The Ocean", and to the doom and gloom of "No Quarter".

3. Paranoid
By Black Sabbath
There's only one thing I can say about this album: It started metal. With it's low-tuned and crunchy guitar riffs, out of this world bass lines, deranged vocal stylings, and dark themed lyrics, it earned the ire of music critics back then. But now, this sole album has created legions of followers, bands and fans a like. Oh, how I'd love to see the faces of those critics.

2. Led Zeppelin IV
by Led Zeppelin
This album is epic, majestic. If Lord of the Rings is the monolith of fantasy books, Led Zeppelin IV is its counterpart in rock albums. Hard rock, folk and blues coalesces together in this album, and gives more substance to Plant's sublime voice and fantastic lyrics. But if that doesn't get you sold. This is the album that contains the song "Stairway to Heaven".

1. Red
By King Crimson
Late 60's and early 70's was the time of heavy experimentation in music, and King Crimson was always at the forefront. While all the bands (mentioned above) during that era came up with great sounds, King Crimson's Red was just a different kind of monster. It was so different that its sound wasn't replicated until Tool made Aenima, 20 years later.

That's a total four decades now. One more to go! Wow, I can't believe this series is about to end. So stick around with me for the last decade.

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Let the games begin! (Extended Version)

IGN PC has just released a list of upcoming games this fall -the Holiday Games Rush. Apparently, I've missed to write down a couple of good games on my initial list. So here's a quick update to my list.


Civilization IV: Colonization
I've been a big fan of Sid Meier's games ever since I've played Civilization II. But, sadly, I haven't played a lot of his earlier games. So it is fortuitous that Sid and the people at Firaxis studio are remaking some of their older games. First, it was Pirates!. Now, it's Colonization. Using a heavily modified Civilization IV engine, Firaxis finally brought back this strategy game. So some of us who missed this classic can now enjoy and experience conquering the New world.


Rise of the Argonauts
This Greek mythology-themed action RPG is from Liquid Entertainment, developers of Battle Realms. Honestly, I'm not that much into action RPGs. But my interest was piqued after I saw some of its features in the gameplay trailers. The player's connection with the Gods, especially, seems awesome to me. Gods are everything here, they dictate everything from experience points, skills, the dialogue and the story. Definitely a new concept, and it's worth trying it out.


Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
I know a lot of people whine about how bad Neverwinter Nights 2 is. But, as a D&D veteran turned PC gamer, I loved it. Especially the expansion, Mask of the Betrayer. I loved it because I like making different character builds. So when Obsidian announced that you can create a party of characters instead of just one in Storm of Zehir, I was flabbergasted. Now I'd finally have the chance to play both my Black Bard and Dragon Knight builds in just one run.


Mirror's Edge
I love and hate platforming and chase games in general. Love because they make me feel alive. Hate because they make me sick and frustrated. That's why I'm getting Mirror's Edge, a first-person action-adventure game from DICE, developers of Battlefield. I knew nothing about the game. But I was left excited and nauseated after I saw the hands-on video of this game at IGN's website. In addition, this game is set in a dystopian feature too.

These are the games that I've added to my first list. A new PC will definitely happen this year. So I won't be having trouble running these games. I just hope that, with the new PC and the economy, I still have enough money left to buy these games.

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Of Motherboards & Video Cards

Wow. I've finally saved enough money to build a new rig for myself. But, as usual, I'll just choose and buy most of the components. It'll be my uncle who'll build the system. As a PC gamer, it's embarrassing to admit that I don't have an in-depth knowledge regarding PC hardwares, or know how to build a gaming computer. All I can manage to do is a measly memory upgrade. So, I'm very grateful to have skilled uncle who knows these kind of things. If not for him, then I might be forced to buy a $2000+ gaming rig from Alienware or Dell, or commission someone to build a rig for me (which is probably equally expensive as buying an Alienware).

Anyways, as of now, I'm still researching and asking a lot of people of which components to buy. But, so far, here are some of the components that I have decided to get:

  • Antec 900 Mid Tower Case - $160
  • Antec EarthWatts 650 Watt Power Supply - $140
  • MSI P7N SLi Motherboard - $150
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor - $200
  • Corsair 2 GB Memory x 2 - $160
  • Seagate 500 GB Hard Drive - $120
  • PNY 8800 GT Graphics Card - $180
I still need a cooling system and an audio card. I don't know much about cooling so I'll probably wait for my uncle. Hopefully, this rig won't exceed, or amount to, my alloted budget ($1,500) so I can still buy some peripherals (monitor, keyboard and mouse). That way, with extra peripherals, I can leave my old computer as it was, giving us an extra PC in the house. This PC won't be done until the second week of October though (just in time for Fallout 3). So if you have any suggestions, or system build ideas that are within my budget range, feel free to drop it in the comments section.

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Deadpool Vs. Wolverine

The X-Men film franchise was an awesome comics-to-film adaptation (especially X2). But I just don't like spin-offs. That's why I've been shrugging off and deflecting all the news about the upcoming "Wolverine" movie. I like Wolverine, and I like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (except in The Last Stand). But, no. A Wolverine franchise milking spin-off, just no.

But a couple days ago, I stumbled upon a news that Deadpool (yes, Deadpool!), played by Ryan Reynolds, will be on the movie. So now, I'm interested because Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth, is my favorite comic book character. Although I don't know what his role is exactly going to be. I'm hoping that he and Wolverine will have a chance to fight. Nonetheless, however, while it's good that Deadpool will finally get the mainstream recognition he deserves, I think a Cable & Deadpool movie would've been better.

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Wishes Are Sometimes Granted

Yesterday was my birthday and tomorrow will be my Dad's. So we usually meet half-way and celebrate it on the 17th. The family have been doing this for 8 years now, since we've migrated here in the U.S. (except last year, I was new at work and couldn't request a time off). We don't do anything that fancy, or invite anybody else. Just the four of us eating at some restaurant. This year we went to Brio Tuscan Grille, an Italian restaurant. It was my first time eating there but the food was good, making my birthday a bit memorable.

But what really made my birthday special were the gifts that I got. Not in a materialistic sense, however (Well, actually, that too. Although not by much), but of how people paid attention to the Amazon Wishlists (see here and here) I made and sent them a month ago. This is the first birthday that all the gifts I had were the ones I really wanted. I guess Wishlists are effective. Now, here are the things that I got:

Nice presents, very nice.
  • Runaways Vol. 1 to 3 - I actually received this, by mail, last Monday. This was given to me by my Aunt Femia from New York. I only listed volume 1 on my wishlist but I guess she figured out that I don't have volumes 2 & 3. So she got them too. What a smart auntie.
  • The Walking Dead Vol. 1 to 3 - I also received this last Monday, together with Runaways. This was given to me by my Aunt Suyen, who also lives with my Aunt Femia in New York. I guess both of them shopped together. Like with Runaways, I only listed the first volume of this title. But since Aunt Suyen is as smart as Aunt Femia, she got me another two volumes of the series.
  • Spore - I actually wished for the Galactic Edition of the game (which costs $30 more). But since it was given to me by my sister, who's in school and is broke, I'll let it pass. It may not have the extra goodies but I got the game, the one that really counts, anyways.
  • Mass Effect - This was given to me by a friend, yesterday. This was not in my wishlist. But he remembered me saying that I didn't get the game because my PC couldn't run it. He still knows I couldn't run it with my current rig. But he got it anyways so when I get a new PC, I don't need to buy it anymore.
  • Kenneth Cole Watch - This was from my parents. They're the only ones who can afford this thing. I actually needed a watch for years now. But I'm too good to get a cheap one, and I'm too cheap to get me a good one. So I just wrote down one on my wish list.
Well, that's it folks. It was a fun birthday...and not too crazy (means I'm getting old). While I didn't get an ultimate gaming rig or an Epiphone Les Paul, I really did get some nice gifts this year. That's why I'll be definitely doing the same thing on my next birthday: Make another birthday wishlist and send it to people I know. Maybe, I'll include a stunning bright-eyed, dark-haired girlfriend on my wish list next time.

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My Top 50 Rock Albums: The 80's

The part 3 of my top 50 albums list is here. On this list are my top 10 albums from the 80's. Writing this list really brought me back to my early to mid teenage years. Because most of the ones included on the list, I discovered when I was still in late grade school and in high school. Although, to be quite honest, I've only appreciated a couple of these albums just recently.

10. Vivid
by Living Colour
I was browsing through my friend's collection when I came across Vivid. I never knew anything about the band but when I played it, BOOM, it just took me back to the 80's. Nostalgia aside, Vivid is also important as it takes on social issues, such as racism. In addition, the fusion of funk, jazz and soul into hard rock is also an entertaining accomplishment.

9. How Can I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today
by Suicidal Tendencies
I saw Suicidal Tendencies on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and I was instantaneously piqued by their music. So when I finally got their album, How Can I Laugh..., I just slammed in my room like a mad kid for hours. Because their hardcore/trash metal sound was so energetic. I especially liked the rising and falling guitar tempos and Cyko Myko's vocals stylings.

8. The Number of the Beast
by Iron Maiden
I tried to get into Iron Maiden, during my high school years, but failed. That's only because I've been listening to the wrong albums. Seven years later, after I serendipitously heard the grandiose of the song "Hallowed Be Thy Name", I got The Number of the Beast and my history was altered as Iron Maiden became one of my favorite bands.

7. Disintegration
by The Cure
Like with Iron Maiden, I was also a late bloomer to The Cure's music. True that I've been listening to the band, and even enjoyed some of their songs. I just didn't hailed them as a terrific band. But after I heard Disintegration, 6 years ago, I realized I had missed a lot. Smith's gloomy voice, and the shimmering and eerie guitars just cut through me.

6. The Real Thing
by Faith No More
I borrowed The Real Thing from a friend when I saw him carrying it. I didn't know anything about Faith No More, or their music, back then. So when I finally played it at home, I was mesmerized by the cacophony of funk bass, metal riffs, insane wide-ranged vocals and doomy keyboards. I fell in love with the album so much that I didn't return it to my friend.

5. Ace of Spades
by Motorhead
Overkill will always be my favorite Motorhead album. But as a big fan of the band, it's just hard to discount Ace of Spades and the title track of the album, a legendary song, which made this three-man band a legend. Like every record made by Motorhead, Ace of Spades also packs raw and in-your-face music that swings really really hard.

4. Moving Pictures
by Rush
I'm a big fan of Rush and picking up a favorite from them is an arduous ordeal as all of their work are great. So it took me awhile to reach a decision, and pick Moving Pictures as my favorite. All of the songs in this album are just majestic -from the hard hitting "Tom Sawyer" to the synth epic of "The Camera Eye"- both in music and lyrics.

3. Back in Black
by AC/DC
Like Rush, AC/DC also have plenty of good albums. But choosing Back in Black was easy since this album is a testament that the band can't be brought down. Not even by death. While many bands struggle at the death of a lead vocalist, AC/DC just got another one for this album and continued to play anthems of sex, booze, and rock n' roll.

2. Appetite for Destruction
by Guns N' Roses
The band that started it all, and the album that opened my world to rock music. After hearing the memorable guitar intro from "Sweet Child O' Mine", I just decided to spend my 100 Php to get Appetite for Destruction. After that, I listened to this album for the following months, day in and day out, to the dismay of my parents.

1. Master of Puppets
by Metallica
Nowadays, it's easy to diss and dismiss Metallica. But to forget what they've done to expand metal is sacrilege. If you don't know what I'm talking about, get Master of Puppets as it sums up the band's accomplishments. This album, with its pile-driving guitar riffs and scorching solos, made me trade my G.I. Joe toys for a guitar.

Nice. Three decades down. Two more decades to go. So check back as soon as you can to see what 70's albums made it on my next list.

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Full Episodes of X-Men: Evolution

I visited Marvel's website earlier to check out what's new with my favorite publisher. Then I found out that the TV show Heroes, in order to promote their new season, is sponsoring free full episodes of X-Men: Evolution, and you can watch them all here.

I'm not sure how many episodes are available in the website, but it's all free. So I urge you to watch since it's one of the good non-Japanese animations, even though it's directed towards young audiences. It also steers far from the original X-Men continuity. Although a lot of it, especially the uniforms, are based on the Ultimate X-Men universe.

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No Strings Attached

I've been waking up early since last Wednesday, only having 5-6 hours of sleep. I like it though because I could do stuff, like practicing my guitar licks. My guitar have been neglected for almost a month already. So I have to relearn all my licks and exercises all over again. Of course, my fingers weren't too rusty so the relearning curve was fast. My strings, however, have been screaming corrosion at me for the last five years (yeah, that long! I'm too cheap). So when I grabbed my guitar to start my practice session, I heard a TWANG and another TWANG, two of my strings (1st and 5th) finally gave in.

My unstrung guitar and my medium set of Blue Steel strings

It's a good thing there's musician's store nearby my place. So I was able to get some strings right away. As for my choice of strings, I use medium Dean Markley's Blue Steel (I used heavy GHS Boomers or Ernie Ball before). It's what the band Sevendust use. But I don't use it because they use it. It's only because they last. My first two sets lasted for months, and the third lasted for 5 years. Sure they sound less vibrant. But I'm a bedroom musician, so I don't really care. But man, changing strings was fun. I haven't done it for years and I didn't realize how much I've missed it.

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Comics Bundle 9/10: What's "Oh, $#@!" in Skrull-ese?

I had work yesterday, afternoon shift, yet I was able to pick up all my comics. But that is only because of my friend, who called me at 6 AM and asked me if I can baby sit her kid -my goddaughter- until 1 PM. If not for her, I would've slept like a dead deer until 2 PM. So, with a kid around the house, I was up at 7 in the morning, strolling in the mall at 9 and just stopped by the comics store at 11. The kid was well behaved, I got all my comics (most of which were major first releases) and they're really good. It would've been a perfect day if I didn't hurt myself cutting my toe nails.

Anyways, here's my review. Kinda lazy today because my hallux is inflamed.

Big Hero 6 #1
6.8 of 10
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: David Nakayama, Terry Pallot, Emily Warren

I don't read manga. But only because its colorless pages leaves me cross eyed. So when I came across the preview of BH6 a couple months ago, I got really excited because I'll get to read a North American comic with an Asian setting and manga-styled artwork. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I found out that our Asian heroes are gearing up to go to America (WTF?). So much for the Asian setting. Nonetheless, the characters here are all likable. I especially like the geeky Hiro, his mecha Baymax, and the flirtatious Honey Lemon, with her cool magical purse.

Deadpool Vol. 3 #1
8.5 of 10
Writer: Daniel Way
Artists: Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Marte Garcia

I was flabbergasted when I heard that Deadpool is coming back. Even more so when I learned that the first issue is going to be a Secret Invasion tie-in. I couldn't help but wonder what would Deadpool, a lunatic fighter, do amidst the Skrull Invasion. Well, this issue didn't fail to show us that. There's Wade blowing up spaceship and kicking Skrulls' ass while hallucinating, wearing a cumbersome mascot costume, and singing. Lots of action, lots of nonsense, lots of craziness going on in this issue. Yep, Deadpool is back, alright.

Secret Invasion #6
8.8 of 10
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Leinil Yu, Mark Morales, Laura Martin

There's no real big progress between the last issue and this. However, #6 is like a part of the mountain just before the peak. You know, the part when you're exhausted from climbing but the notion of being "almost there" keeps you going? That's exactly how I felt after reading this issue. Especially when all the heroes (and villains) converged in New York to confront the invading Skrulls. Everybody is here, Thor, Captain America, New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Thunderbolts, Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors, The Hood's Crime Syndicate, The Initiative and the Young Avengers. Seeing all of them in the last double-page just sent blood to my ears and almost brought tears to my eyes.

The Stand: Captain Trips #1
9.4 of 10
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Michael Perkins, Laura Martin

I haven't read The Stand, a Stephen King post-apocalyptic novel. But maybe that's a good thing because now I can enjoy Marvel's comic adaptation without being spoilt by the novel. The first issue, like all first issues, starts slow. But it's not dragging. Aguirre-Sacasa just took his time to put everything in detail; the presentation of characters and building up a strong foundation for the story. Perkin's art is also terrific, as it captures a sense of reality. If you haven't read the book, and you want to but have no time, pick up the comics. I'll bet you'll love it even if you don't read comics.

X-Men: Magneto Testament #1
10 of 10
Writer: Grek Pak
Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico , Matt Hollingsworth

Magneto Testament is a big surprise for me. I merely plucked this title from the shelf so I could close a $20 total on all my items, not knowing I was in for a real treat. It just blew my expectations into bits after reading it. I thought it would be about a young Magneto driving nails into the heads of Nazis. But it's not. It's a historically accurate story about a young, smart, talented and athletic Jewish boy living in Third Reich Germany. This is not a regular X-Men comics anymore, people, as it runs on the same vein as The Pianist, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Maus (another important graphic novel about the holocaust).

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Top Cow's Pilot Season 2008

When I came to pick up my comics last Thursday, the owner of the store suggested that I should check out Genius, a one-shot issue from Top Cow. Because the store owner knows what I like, I got the comics. However, I didn't had the chance to read it until last Sunday night. The book was actually made of good stuff, and I was blown away after reading it. Then, I found out that it was actually a part of Top Cow's Pilot Season 2008. Basically, the Pilot Season is an:

"...annual initiative to introduce new books and have readers vote for their favorite. The top two vote-getters will get their own series the following year."
So if I voted for Genius and it wins, the series will continue next year. If it doesn't win, it'll die. It's like the American Idol for comics. So, just to be fair, and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on any good comics before I cast my vote for Genius, I got the other 5 titles who are a part of the Pilot Season. 2 out of 6 of these titles will move on to continue next year. After reading them all, here's my top 2 choices:

Its title lives up to its content because this book is a bloody genius. Set in urban Los Angeles, it tells the story of Destiny, a 17 year old African American girl with the mind of a military genius. She unites all the gangs in her neighborhood, trains them, and uses her smarts to wage a war against the LAPD.


Twilight Guardian
I love Mark Millar's Kick-Ass. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of "realistic" superhero comics on the market right now. That's why I'm so glad that Twilight Guardian is another realistic super-hero comics. But unlike Kick-Ass, which shows us the grim reality of being a super hero, this series is much more calm and reserved, detailing the life of a model citizen patrolling her neighborhood.


As of Sept. 2, Twlight Guardian ranks on 2nd and Genius on 3rd. Urban Myths, which isn't a bad comics at all, is on the top spot. If you guys really love me. You'll help me vote Genius. Because it's just sucks to let this comics go to waste. So vote here, everyday, until the poll closes.

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