Album Review: Bitte Orca

Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors
9.3 of 10
Buy album from Amazon
Download album from Amazon

Back in the early 90's, one of my method of finding new music was to buy compiled albums. That's how I discovered bands such as Filter. However, with the help of the internet nowadays, never did I expect to discover a band through this method again. But I did fall in love with Dirty Projectors when I heard their single, "Knotty Pine", on Dark Was The Night -a compiled album that featured indie artists. The band's style -folky and poppy- was just so much fun to listen to. Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of them, I wanted more.

Luckily, and much to my delight, they released a new album this year entitled Bitte Orca. I must say that, after listening to this album for a month, I'm strongly convinced that this is the best indie music I've heard this year. The album has everything, and I mean everything. It's riddled with complexities, like weird arrangements and odd-time signatures, that would make any musician and composer drool. But, at the same time, it's very accessible and doesn't alienate those who haven't a single clue about songwriting.

Furthermore, the album also offers a variety of quality songs, displaying the band's range of talent. Each track in here is as good and unique as the other. I can't possibly see anyone who have a good sense of music not like this album, or even just a single track. It just caters to everyone, from the ballad of "Two Doves", the croony pop of "Temecula Sunrise", to the R&B beats of "Stillness is the Move". There's a favorite song here waiting for everybody, no matter what genre they like.

I've never heard any album in a long while that is as fun and creative as Bitte Orca. It's also the only album I've listened to that has tons of eccentricities but yet remains accessible to a lot of people. Plus, it also has variety, making it very replayable. I can see myself listening to it even a year after. So if you like indie music that is outside the box but still easy to get into, then grab this album. It's definitely one of music's highlight this year.

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Comics Bundle: 07.22.09 Pt. 2

This is the 2nd part of my comics bundle from last week. Normally, I'd write the review an hour, or a day, later after I've written part 1 (which can be found here). But since I had like 30 stacks of comic books, I just couldn't read them all in just one go. Hence the delay.

Batman & Robin #2
8.9 of 10

This title is becoming one of my favorite comic book, and it's definitely one of Morrison's best work since New X-Men. I really like how both Dick and Damian try to adjust to their roles as the new Batman and Robin, and how they try their best to work as a team. Even the people that they worked with before, like Albert and Gordon, are also adjusting to them. Frank Quitely's artwork, which is nothing short of impressive, also compliments the vigor of this new team. All in all, it's a just very refreshing take on one of the of the oldest comic-book franchise.

Chew #2
8.5 of 10

Chew is probably the best new comics that came out this year (as of now). But issue #2 is a bit of a let down. It just lack the hilarity and gross factor that issue #1 delivered. Nonetheless, it has its moments.

Fables #86
8.8 0f 10

This title have been derailed from its normal continuity, and I was displeased with that. But, now that the crossover is done and over with, the title is finally on its right track. Which means they'll be focusing on the Fables dilemmas such as their current "housing" situation and their new nemesis Mr. Dark. This issue tells a back story that characterizes Mr. Dark, and also clears a bit of mystery that surrounds him. It tells us of how he was captured by Geppetto's empire, and of how he manipulated the events that led to the fall of the empire. It's one enjoyable read and I can't wait for the series to take of again.

DMZ #43
8.8 of 10

Like Fables, I also miss this title a lot. Mainly because the main continuity have been put on hold to give us a story from a different angle. But in no way this issue, and the whole arc, is a bore. It may not be tied to the continuity but it adds more to the setting by shedding light into other characters and factions that lives inside the DMZ, reminding us that it's a grim place. This arc particularly focuses on Tony and other NYPD cops that have stayed behind and became insurgents, a cult that steals, kills and inflict pain on just about everyone.

The Walking Dead #63
9.0 of 10

This book never ceases to amaze me with its study of human character and morality amidst a gruesome reality. We've seen many characters in this title who, were once decent and respectable persons before the zombie plague, have now succumb to moral decay. We've seen friends turning against friends for a piece of canned food, survivors killing fellow survivors for safe haven, and desperate lonely men trying to rape little kids. But, just when you thought you've seen it all, this new story arc ups the ante. Because, now, men have become the very monsters that they've tried to kill or elude since issue #1.

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Comics Bundle: 07.22.09 Pt. 1

I rarely pull my comics on time. Hence I always end up with a pile of books during weekends. But this week's bundle, worth 7 weeks of comic book releases, is just too enormous for me. So, as per usual, I'm just gonna write a pithy review of all the Marvel books that I liked and get back into reading the rest of my bundle.

Avengers: The Initiative #26
8.4 of 10
I almost canceled this title off my pull sheet. But I'm glad I didn't because it really got interesting, now that Taskmaster and The Hood are both in charge of the newly restructured Initiative. Like most of Osborn's Dark Reign teams (Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men), the Initiative has also become a twisted version of its former self. Instead of training heroes to become proper heroes, it's now teaching B-list villains on how to become better villains but act as heroes in the public eye. Just as The Hood had said, it's the guys in suits and power who rip-off the public much worse than the common criminal.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1
8.5 of 10

The X-Men titles have always tackled bigotry and defended those who are a bit different in their stories. That's why, as a minority and whose taste differs from the norm, it's my favorite comic book, even though its quality have degraded. The latest Marvel event, a Dark Avengers and X-Men crossover, entitled Utopia, explores the same themes. But what makes it really special is its setting, as it pays homage to the struggle of gay rights back when Anita Bryant marched into the streets of San Francisco and when they banned same-sex marriage just a few months ago. Plus, the art of Marc Silvestri here is just awesome.

Deadpool #12
8.4 of 10

In the past couple issues, Deadpool had the opportunity to meet with his past "frenemies". First it was Taskmaster, whom he asked to help him fight the Thunderbolts. Now, in the latest story arc, Norman Osborn sends Bullseye to assasinate our hero. Since Bullseye and Deadpool had been rivals in the past, and that they're both crazy, this arc turned out to be a lot of fun. There's just a lot of violent slapstick humor and crazy dialogues between the two characters that readers don't want to miss.

Runaways #12
9.0 of 10

Runaways Vol.3 pretty much had a rocky start. While the books still has its teenage charm, it just doesn't hold a candle if compared to the series when Brian K. Vaughn was still on the reins. But the new team -composed of all female- had a very promising debut. They've already killed a member and now, on this issue, they're showing us that, despite they've been together for so long, the team still don't know each other that well. If this goodness continues -and I hope it will- this new team will definitely put the Runaways back on track.

Thor #602

9.5 of 10

As always, JM Stratczynski did a marvelous job with another issue of Thor. But what I really love about this issue is that William and Kelda had some significant face time. What I didn't like about this is that it's missing Oliver Copiel's art work. Nonetheless, Djurdjevic's work is still pretty decent.

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Monk for Sale

I finally had the time to sit down and enjoy my beta invitation for D&D Online: Unlimited today. I've always wanted to try this game since its initial launch back in 2006. But, since I was just out of school and jobless, I couldn't afford the monthly subscription back then. By the time I got myself a job a lot of good MMORPG were already out in the market, and DDO's number of subscribers have been falling rapidly. So I skipped it and jumped into Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft and then Warhammer Online.

A few months ago, however, I was surprised when Turbine announced that they're restructuring DDO's model, making it a free-2-play game. So I dug hard into it (that's how I got my beta invitation) and now that I've tried the beta version of the game, all I can say about it is: not bad. Not bad at all.

Flurry of Blows FTW!

If you've played any D&D 3 to 3.5 games (like Neverwinter Nights, Temple of Elemental Evil, or Icewind Dale) and liked them, then you'll definitely like this one too. I rolled as an Elven Cleric on my first run and everything seems to be intact -the Elven and Cleric feats/abilities. With my healing abilities and spells, I pretty much breezed through dungeons by myself. Leveling, however, is different, and also difficult, in this game. Because you must gain 5 ranks first before you reach level 2, and another 5 before your reach level 3. But each rank gives you an action point, which you can spend to buy an ability, improving your character a little bit.

Some classes and races, however, are not available to those with free accounts. These are called "premiums". So if you want to play as a Drow Ranger, then you better shell out some real cash and buy the Drow race. As for me, since I couldn't resist because it's my favorite class, I paid real money just so I could play the Monk. All premium classes and race costs 595 Turbine points. So I bought a bundle of 900 points for $12 in order to unlock the Monk. But it really is a premium class since they've put some new bells and whistles, like the elemental stance and finishing moves, to make the Monk a much more martial arts oriented class.

All in all, D&D Online: Unlimited is shaping up to be an nice game. Some people argues that Turbine has locked and reserved all the good features of the game from non-subscribers, and that you'll end up paying more by buying points. But I just don't see that. The free content is fine by itself. Of course, things might be different when the game goes live this early August. But, hey, it's free. You've got nothing to lose here.

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D&D Online: Beta Invitation

Normally, I don't get anything good in my e-mails. Just a bunch of Facebook alerts and Viagra ads. That's why I was so surprised when I opened my Hotmail account and found a closed beta invitation to test out the newly structured D&D Online: Unlimited. Unfortunately, I'm too tired and too sleepy to try it out tonight. So I won't probably be able to give it a shot until this weekend.

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Book Review: Lowboy

Lowboy: A Novel
8.4 of 10
Writer: John Wray
Buy Hardcover Edition from Amazon
Buy Kindle Edition from Amazon

Gaming has taken most of my time these past few months. Especially the guild events in Warhammer Online -and the lure of of earning guild points to buy things from our vault- have kept me busy and away from reading. Hence, all my reading materials (both books and comics) have piled up on me again. It's a good thing that player vs. player activity in WAR isn't as hectic as it was before. So I took a respite from the game and, after months of disjointed reading, was finally able to finish Lowboy.

Lowboy is John Wray's third novel. While I haven't heard of his last two books -which were also highly praised by critics- I instantly felt the want to read this book after I had read its synopsis. How could I resist it? It's a book about a schizophrenic teenage boy who's off his meds and wandering underneath the New York subway system, trying to find a way to save the world by stopping global warming. It just had too many good aspects -from mental illness, environmental issues and heroism- that would make for an interesting plot.

But the book's plot didn't turn out as interesting as I had hoped for. However, it still remains as an interesting book. Because, instead of a good plot, the book offered an in-depth character study about schizophrenics. Through William Heller, the main character in this book, you'll see and experience the world the way schizophrenics does. Furthermore, other characters -who are also equally interesting as Will- are there for support, giving us a more detailed medical knowledge about the mental condition through fun dialogues.

I'm the type of reader who prefers good plots and stories over characterization. While characterization and character studies aren't my cup of tea (unless they go along with a good plot and story) there's always an exception. Lowboy is now a part of that exception. This book is a page turner. The writing is masterful, and the characters are wildly interesting. If you're looking for a fun and crazy book to read, I suggest picking up Lowboy.

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Winning Wars, Losing Battles

IGN PC had put up a poll last Thursday, a Grudge Match between Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft. The winner, of course, was a no brainer. I mean, how can WAR, a game less than a year old with waning subscriptions, stand up against WoW, a game of 5 years with 11 million subscribers? It was a stupid poll, and the comments were even less intelligent. I voted for WAR, of course. WoW may be a more polished game with a bigger world and lots of people to play with or against. But WAR's gameplay mechanics is just much more action packed and exciting than WoW's. Plus, I always like underdogs.

Speaking of underdogs, the Order's side in WAR (Phoenix Throne server) seems to be swelling in number these days. Destruction is just nowhere to be found ever since we got into Invevitable City a month ago. Everytime I log in with my Knight or White Lion, every keep and battle objectives in the RvR lake are blue. Back when I joined this game, almost 4 months ago, everything were red and Destruction were just steam rolling us in every direction. Yeah, were losing a lot back then but it was more active and fun. Now, it's getting boring. I don't know if the rumors are true -that a lot Destruction guilds are cancelling their WAR subscriptions and are moving to Aion- But I hope Destro picks up their pace soon.

Jungle heat in Far Cry 2.

In the meantime, however, I decided not to play WAR when there's no open RvR activity. It's just a waste of time. Instead, I installed Far Cry 2 on my PC to keep me occupied. I bought this game a couple months ago when Steam slashed its price off by 50% ($40 to $20) but I've never played it. Far Cry is one of my few FPS favorites. I just like its gameplay and the atmosphere a lot. But Far Cry 2 is a far cry from its predecessor. The graphics is so realistic and cinematic. I like the lighting especially. I swear you can almost feel the jungle heat around noon time in game. The story and setting is also cool and original. It has a Blood Diamond feel to it. The freeform gameplay is awesome too. The immersion it gives you is so total. It almost feels like a RPG.

Anyways, I do hope that RvR activity in WAR will pick up soon. If not, then I might probably move to Champions Online or wherever my guild moves (our guild leader and some members are checking out Runes of Magic right now). For now, however, I'll just enjoy Far Cry 2.


Film Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
8.0 of 10
Director: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books. Not because I don't like it. I just prefer my fantasy to be rife with political and mature tones rather than with magical and wondrous elements. I did enjoy the films, however. Although it wasn't until the 5th installment that I actually took some interest in the franchise's lore. The Order of the Phoenix was just brillant. Its plot -where paranoia turns the Ministry of Magic into a totalitarian authority- was an eye opener for me. All of a sudden, I realized that Harry Potter isn't just a kid's book anymore. All of a sudden, I couldn't get enough of Harry Potter. That's why, after I left from work last night, I hurried to catch the last show of The Half-Blood Prince.

However, I found the 6th film to be a bit of a lackluster. It just didn't have a strong plot if compared to other Harry Potter films. Instead, it presented a series of dull sub stories, back stories and plot build ups. Nonetheless, as boring as it was, this installment is still a vital part of the film franchise. If there's anything The Half-Blood Prince was set to accomplish then it was probably to construct a stage for the grand finale (which will be a two-part film due in 11/2010 and 07/2011).

The visuals in the movie, however, were just tantalizing. It pretty much did its job too well in letting people know that this isn't a happy kid/teen movie anymore. The atmosphere is gloomy and ominous from the very moment the film rolled in with Harry sitting alone in an austere cafe. Even Hogwart's, a bastion for light and wonder, its walls have turned from golden brown to gray. But the ending shots were probably the saddest of all. It was just so dark that even with the Phoenix flying -a symbol of hope and rebirth- there's no foreseeable hope the future for our heroes.

But the film isn't entirely covered with the dark and dejected stuff. Audiences will have a little bit of respite as romance develop between characters, Ron/Hermoine and Harry/Ginny, amidst the depressing elements. There are bits and pieces of comedic scenes as well, mostly during conversations between Harry and Ron in regards to girls. Then there's Luna Lovegood, probably the only character who retained her colorfulness and funkiness, who happens to slip in and out during scenes. She never failed to surprise me on her entrances, from the funky sunglasses, the lion hat, and the 80's Madonna prom dress. I wish they gave her more face time.

All in all, I was a bit disappointed with the film. Mostly because I was expecting a bit too much of it due to what happened in the previous installment. It was very anti-climatic to sit through a 150 minute long movie watching nothing but a series of back stories and plot build-ups. If not for the awesome shots, visuals and the teeny romance in this film I would've fallen asleep. But this part shouldn't be missed, especially by those who haven't read the book, since it's a vital part of the franchise.

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My Essential WAR Addons

I've been playing Warhammer Online for months now. While I'm not a master of WAR, yet, I'm very comfortable with my skills when it comes to the game. Although, I must admit, my skills would still be in the noob level without the help of some addons.

Addons (if you're non-gamer reader of this blog) are third-party applications that you can "add on" to your game and make your life much easier. Some hardcore elitist players refer to some these applications as "cheats". Fine. They can call it whatever they want to call it. But as long as Mythic does not tell me to stop using these "cheats". I will still continue using them.

There are plenty of addons for WAR out there, and searching for the right one can be ardous sometimes. So, to help you out, I've decided to post all the addons that I can't live without.

TargetRing - A simple addon that puts a ring around your friendly and hostile targets. It may not sound useful but, trust me, it's really helps you find your target amongst a sea of destro players.

LoyalPet - An addon allows you to access certain pet commands -like turning off auto pet abilities or binding pet attacks to one of your hotkeys- that aren't native to the game, making it easier for you to micromanage lion. This mod is a must have for White Lions.

Dammaz Kron - Also known as The Book of Grudges, Dammaz Kron is a Tome of Knowledge addon that lists all the players that you've killed, or players who killed you, in player vs. player combat. If you play PvP a lot, this addon is great to have so you'd know players to avoid and players to chase.

State of Realm - Probably the most used addon in the game, and there's a reason for that. It shows you a lot of things like your realm's victory points, which zone is about to lock, which keeps and battle objectives your realm still holds or being attacked by Destruction. This is a vital mod to have if you play a lot in open realm vs. realm.

Twister - an addon designed to let Knights of the Blazing Sun easily twist three of their auras while reducing the risks of getting carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist injuries. I use it, I love it and my groupmates love me for it.

Miracle Grow Remix - A mod that transforms your Cultivating interface into a small box that you can put on the edge of your screen. This addon is really useful for Cultivators because it lets you plant and harvest conveniently. Cultivating with it is so convenient you can even plant/harvest your seeds while fending of a train of Choppas.

Squared - a unit frame addon that was specifically designed to give you a better view of your group or warband member's health. This is a must have for all healer archetype (yes, that includes the shammies too).

Calling - This is definitely the most fun addon I've ever used. This mod will make assist trains much more effeciently. Almost all players on my guild uses this addon during RvR, and I've never seen enemy players die so fast due to being focus fired by an entire guild. So if you're guilded or play with a permanent group, I suggest you and your guildmates/friends get Calling. It's fun and you'll be more organized in combat.
So these are my favorite Warhammer Online addons. I love them and, if you haven't got any of these yet, I suggest you get them. If you have a good or favorite addon that's not on this list. Then share them with me.

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The 'Plan B' Event

It's already July, 25 more days until Lollapalooza. But, due to unexpected necessary expenses (like changing my car's brittle fan belt and two of its bald tires), I wasn't able to raise enough money to buy that $200 ticket and some extra beer/food cash. It totally sucks and I'm sorely disheartened. But, before I go down and wallow in dejection, I used what money I was able to save to get tickets for Chicago Comic-Con.

The Chicago Comic-Con's guest list, however, isn't as good as NYCC 2009. But it'll do. Some of my favorite comic book writers such as Mark Millar and Brian Azzarello will be there. Artists like JG Jones, Frank Cho, and George Perez will also attend as guests. So I'll definitely bring a lot of my books and have them signed by these people. Then there's the actors and actresses -which I don't really care about. But I do like to see Rhona Mitra and Michelle Rodriguez in persons.

I bet Chicago Comic-Con won't be as fun as Lollapalooza. But it's the next best event, and also the cheapest, in this city. I won't see Tool live but at least I'll have my comic books signed, adding more value to them. Plus, I might be able to get all the comic back issues that I don't have for a bargain. So, to all those who are going, see you there.

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80's Cartoons-to-Film Wishlist

Hollywood seems to be running out of original scripts for summer blockbuster films these days. So if they don't turn to the colorful pages of comic books for ideas then they turn to the cartoons of yesteryear. That's why we get cool looking movies with bad storylines like Transformers 2. We're also gonna get another of the same sort with G.I. Joe next month and also Grayskull, in 2010, a revision of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe -which I hope will be less cheesier than Dolph Lundgren's version.

But, anyways, if Hollywood decides to continue this trend, I wish they'll adapt 5 of these cartoon titles I've posted below.

5. M.A.S.K.

Although short-lived, this was a pretty popular cartoon show amongst my peers. I remember telling my mom that we should go to church on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning just so I can watch M.A.S.K. This was pretty much like Transformers, in which the focus was also on the cool vehicles. All the vehicles in M.A.S.K. can also transform but only into another sort of souped up assault vehicle (motorcyle to helicopter, helicopter to jet fighter). If made into a movie, its atmosphere will definitely be like a watered down Transformers.

4. Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light

Visionaries was also a short-lived cartoon show, even shorter than M.A.S.K. (13 episodes only), which was sad because I couldn't get enough of it when I was a kid. That's why I wanted to see this in film. It was an awesome cartoon, and the toy line was cool too. Set in world of Prysmos, the Visionaries' story involves two faction of magical knights (Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords) who can magically morph into animals. I'm not sure, however, of what the outcome will be if this cartoon was made into a movie. I think it might come out as Power Ranger-y. But at least the armor and light effects will rock.

3. Dino-Riders

This cartoon is the main reason that I got hooked with dinosaurs. Dino-Riders is about Valorioans (Telephatic Humans) and Rulons (Alien Conquerors) who traveled back in time and got stuck in prehistoric Earth. Out of power and resources, both faction captured dinosaurs and strapped them with weapons to aid them in their fight. Because of its setting, I think this might work if adapted into a movie. How awesome it would be to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex, souped up with laser cannons, tear through the silver screen?

2. Centurions

This is one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid, and my second favorite toy line as well. I think the Centurions can be easily adapted into film because it doesn't have a lot of campy elements to it -maybe except for the villains. The show's about three guys with exoskeleton armor that can be fitted and modified with various weapons and even vehicles. Its setting has a potential of a good plot and its visuals might just rival Transformers.

1. ThunderCats

This show follows the story of cat-like humanoids who survived the destruction of their planet, Thundera, and have moved to Third Earth. Like Centurions, ThunderCats also have a great potential to do well in the silverscreen. Because, unlike other 80's cartoons, this show wasn't created to promote a toy line, and it actually have a good setting -combining elements of science fiction and fantasy- and story (that's why it lasted 4 seasons long). I know an animated film of ThunderCats is already scheduled for next year. But I think a live-action one will be much better.

This are the list of cartoons that I want to see on film. They might be campy but at least they'll make me feel safe and comfy in childhood nostalgia.

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Phat Loot!

As a melee DPS class in Warhammer Online, I die a lot in Tier 4. So I decided to stop playing my White Lion and started a tank archetype, Knights of the Blazing Sun. I really love my knight right now. He's been dominating scenarios in Tier 1 ever since he hit level 6. Plus, he doesn't die a lot. Although he'll probably give me some sort of wrist injury because I've been tap dancing on my keyboard, twisting three of his auras most of the time.

But, a couple days ago, some of my guildmates started a warband in Tier 4. I have no other character on that tier except for my White Lion. So I had no choice but to unleash my war lion, unsheath my woodman's axe, and jump into the fray with my guildmates. I was expecting to die a lot that night, and I did. But -and there is a but- I killed a lot of Destro as well. I also got some phat loot too. I won both Conqueror and Warlord wristguards (which I can't wear yet) that night, and received two gold bags from keeps which gave me an Annihlator mane and helm, completing my Annihilator set.

Now I feel a little better about my White Lion. But I still want to get my knight to get into tier 4 as soon as I can. Because I think my guild needs more tanks, not only in realm vs. realm but also in dungeons.

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Martians and Chicken

It's been a while since I double featured new music in this blog. Blame it on Isis' Wavering Radiant (see review here). The album was just so good I couldn't remove it from my playlist. Plus, I've been busy playing Warhammer Online. So, I guess, part of the blame goes to me as well. Now all of the CDs I got last month, both the good and bad, have piled up again. But I've managed to pull myself away from other activities to listen to all my neglected CDs, even for a bit, and made time to write this post.

Choosing two new music from my pile proved to be an ordeal, however. There were too many good options -like the new albums of Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear- and the conundrum was tearing my head apart. In the end, I decided to feature the new music of already familiar bands, The Mars Volta and Chickenfoot.

The Mars Volta

The Mars Volta is pretty much on the roll this year. They won a Grammy -Best Hard Rock Performance for their song "Wax Simulacra" - and just released their 5th studio album, Octahedron. This is probably their most restrained album as of yet. It's mellow, it's not chaotic. There's none of that over indulgent experimentations they had in their previous albums. It's the exact opposite of their 2006 album, Amputechture. It's more mainstream, however, more pop. So I can see why a lot of their old fans are now whining. But if you can't get into The Mars Volta's music before then now's your chance.


What happens if you throw ex-Van Halen's vocalist and bassist, Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer, and guitar legend Joe Satriani into one band? Do you get a rock supergroup that can rival Led Zepellin? That's what the vocalist, Sammy Hagar, thinks. But no. In fact, this is the worst supergroup ever formed. You just don't group technical musicians with happy-go-lucky members of a lamed out 80's band. They won't mesh well together. I haven't heard Satch and Chad Smith at their worst. Because both their styles are being suppressed by Hagar's singing in this album. In my opinion, they should rename their band from Chickenfoot to Chickenshoot. It's aptly named that way.

From the two new albums I posted above, I highly suggest getting The Mars Volta's Octahedron. Especially to those who haven't heard of the band's music or who couldn't get into them before. They've mellowed down and made their music small enough to fit local radios. Older fans, however, might not like it. As for Chickenfoot, they're fun to listen to. But I suggest you skip their album if you didn't grow up listening to 80's glam rock.

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Trucks and Animals


Beating the Heat

It's finally summer. Not my favorite season of the year. True, it's not as bad as winter or spring. But I like fall -with its cool temps and colorful trees- better than summer. Summer is just hot and sticky. It has its benefits though, like girls in tank tops and short shorts. But the summer's heat is a big nuisance to me and lessens my quality of life -which, as of now, is limited to gaming and reading.

One might wonder how summer heat can affect gaming and reading. They're done indoors, away from the heat and humidity, unlike outdoor activities like fishing or golf. Well, that's true. But my room turns into a scalding cauldron every time direct sunlight (from 3 to 8 p.m.) seeps through my windows. So I have to abandon my gaming and retreat into the cooler parts of the house. As for reading, it's not affected as much because I can read anywhere. But my books and comics -which are vulnerable to heat, humidity and light damage- are all stored in my room.

Windows with (right glass) and without (left glass) film installed.

So, earlier today, after being sick of stopping mid-game just to avoid the heat and worrying about my books, I went to a couple of hardware and home improvement stores to find a solar curtain. That way, if I have them on, it'll reflect the heat and light outside my room. I didn't find any though. So I bought a roll of window film instead. The store associate told me it works and looks much better than a solar curtain. Applying them, however, since I'm no handyman, was a bit troublesome. I wasted about half of the film roll before I decided to search for an instructional video at YouTube (hooray for the internet!).

But, by the end of the day, I managed to install the films on both my windows. I noticed its effects right away and it's amazing. It's still hot in my room but not as much as before. Plus, my AC unit can also manage the heat now without it huffing and puffing, saving me from big electrical bills. Now I can play games all day long in my room and I have also protected my books. Take that summer heat!

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