Archive for April, 2009

You’re not always right. Face it.

Recently, I have been bombarded by a slew of ignorance coming from everyone from the media, to friends, to people commenting on internet news articles. It comes from every direction, and is not limited to any certain moral or political ideal, but rather comes from all equally. I don’t want to call anyone in particular out, for fear of being subjected to a tongue lashing so one-sided and biased it would be impossible to fight. Which leads  me to what my problem with people really is: when someone feels strongly about their opinion, they lose the ability to listen to anything else.

Everyone buys into their own view or philosophy, good. You’re entitled to that. It doesn’t make you better than everyone else. It doesn’t make everyone else’s philosophies inadequate, or inferior. Nor does the fact that they have a differing opinion on any variety of subjects than you make them ignorant. What does make one’s views ignorant are when they violate what I stated above. If you think you’re better than someone because of your views, you’re ignorant. If you think someone is ignorant because they don’t agree with you, you’re the arrogant AND ignorant, a horrible and dangerous combination.

So please, have an opinion on something, anything, or everything. That is what keeps us strong and unique as a country, and as humans. But don’t let your beliefs get in the way of my beliefs, or my neighbors beliefs. Because, believe it or not, you’re not always right about everything, no matter who you are. It doesn’t matter how much you disagree with current policies, or how hard you fought to put them in place. You’re not always right. So please, everyone. Think what you want, believe what you believe to be right. But those of us who don’t agree with you would like to have our opinions too, thanks.

*I feel much better now!

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April 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

Springtime in the Stream

The weather this weekend was amazing in Cincinnati, which allowed me to finally get out and do something fun for a change. Friday I managed to shake off some cobwebs (and get a tan!) at the driving range, played some catch Friday and Saturday, and played some Ultimate Frisbee sometime in there. So now I’m sore, and its raining, so I’m back on the computer stumbling through the internet and watching the Godfather through Netflix. What an amazing day!

I have managed to find three interesting links to put up today during my travels through the internet. I thought they were all entertaining, and I hope you will too!

First, a test that will help to determine how well you can hear high pitched noises. Its kind of like that annoying “teacher proof” ringtone, only it comes in increments so you can figure out just how bad your hearing really is. Be careful not to listen to it with the sound all the way up as it might damage your speakers. I could hear up to 17.7 kHz, and my roommate could hear up to 19.9 kHz. How high could you hear? I learned in class that the threshold of human hearing is 20 kHz, but this page says that by the age of 20 it drops to around 17 kHz.

Second, the coolest/nerdiest Mac desktop ever imagined (feel free to prove me wrong!) If I could figure out how to do this, I would, but I can only find the tools he used. Some of which are pretty cool, so check them out if you are a Mac geek like me.

And lastly for today, and my personal favorite link, a timeline of the evolution of the cover of the game, “Left 4 Dead”. Whether you like the game or not (I love it!!), this is an interesting look into the process that goes into the marketting of the game. I have thought about some of the other aspects of making a game, but never thought this much about the cover. Very interesting for anyone intersted in art, design, the game, or just a good read.

Well, thats it for today, I hope you enjoyed the links I found, and stay tuned for more possibly later this week!

Currently Listening:
The Godfather

April 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Queensryche’s “American Soldier”

Queensryche’s latest album is a concept album about the American Soldier, aptly named, “American Soldier”.  A quick note about my review: This is the first Queensryche album I have listened to, so there are no comparisons to their older work. I might go back and listen to their older stuff later, but for now, this is a perfect outsiders insight to the album.

First, let me begin by saying that I love concept albums. And this is a good concept album. Musically, the songs flow together nicely, with some great transitions between songs. Lyrically, all the songs are obviously about soldier’s experiences in war, and in coming back to civilian life. Only a few of the songs piece together into a story, while the rest just talk about the same subject matter. So in this sense, it is not a perfect concept album, but it creates an interesting effect. Unfortunately, I never got the full impact of the effect without reading the lyrics along with the album, which can detract some of the power of the album from those who don’t read along (and I usually don’t).

Like any good album, it is better as a whole than as individual songs. Many of the songs throughout the album would be unremarkable on their own, but when taken as a whole they add to the effect of the album. One aspect that got repetitive and annoying as the album went on was the amount of monologues within tracks. I understand that sometimes this is the best way to get the message across, and I also think that speaking within a song can have a very powerful effect. But to the extent that it was used in this album, it began to get old, even boring. I feel bad for thinking this because they are all very good monologues on very touching subjects, and individually, there is nothing wrong with any of them. I just think that if any technique is used too heavily, it begins to detract from the music.

Despite the use of too many monologues however, the album flows extremely well from one track to another, and by the middle of the album, it really draws the listener in to impact them deeply. The dynamics of the album are great, going from slow and chilling to hard and heavy, both within songs and between songs. This really drew me into the album, and allowed the louder bits to stand out more, while the softer bits carry the album. The lyrics are affected by the dynamics, as the louder songs are brought out more and leave more of an impact.

The two songs that stood out the most to me were “The Killer” and “Man Down!”. “The Killer” felt like the lyrical climax of the album, with the soldier facing off against the enemy face to face, wondering “Who will be the killer?”. Finally, in the bridge of the song, he exclaims “I’ve got to be the killer! I’ve got to live!” I felt that this was a good insight into what it might be like when facing an enemy face to face, knowing that one of you must die. I have never experienced it before, so I wouldn’t know for sure, but this sounds like what would be going through my head. “Man Down!” is the musical climax of the album, and it hits hard. It starts off with a short monologue about survivor’s guilt, which leads into a punching guitar riff that never lets down. The song culminates into a soaring chorus that gave me chills the first time I heard it, and was even more powerful after coming out of the guitar solo/bridge later in the song. The lyrics are all about survivor’s guilt and how hard it is for a soldier to readjust to civilian life. Because of the musical power of the song, the lyrics stand out against the rest, and become one of the more lasting impressions of the album.

Another powerful moment is toward the end of the album, on “Home Again”. A decent way into the song, it transforms into a duet, with a kid singing about how he wishes his dad would come home soon. This is hauntingly poignant, and one of the best moments on the album. Another interesting moment is in “Middle of Hell” where a saxophone trades leads with the guitar at the end of the song.

I was impressed with this album, despite my first thoughts. I feared that it would be thinly veiled propaganda about the glory of being a soldier, to be used as a recruiting tool (like that Three Doors Down song, blegh). I was relieved to hear an album about the trials and difficulties of being a soldier, and even more relieved that it stopped short of making any statements about American foreign policy. It would have been so easy to use the album as a protest, or as a testament to our righteousness. But “American Soldier” is neither, rather, it is just a musical journey through the life of a soldier.

Everything considered, I think that this is a very well written rock concept album. It has its flaws, but its qualities make up for them. Therefore, I recommend listening to this, at least twice. Its not background music, so it requires some attention, but I think that it is worth the time. 8/10

April 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm 3 comments

I’m on YouTube!

I’ve been promising a review for today, and… its not here. My excuse is half procrastination, and half that life happened. More specifically, homework happened. So I have written about half of the review, I’ll finish it tonight, and I’ll post tomorrow. This time, I’ve actually done some work on the project and I know about how long it will take (one or two more listens and a half hour of writing), so I think that this should be on base.

In the mean time, check out the fan video my brother and I made on Easter. It is a fan video of the YouTube series, “Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This?”, and so far, is has been getting rave reviews (mild exaggeration). Here is a link to the video, because I am still working on embedding into the blog (Zach: Maybe I wrote down what you said wrong, but it didn’t work). Please comment and rate the video, whether you liked it or not, because I like getting feedback. You don’t have to, but I am asking you very nicely to. Also, if you like that video, check out my channel for the rest of my videos. Some of them are actually pretty good, so let me know what you think!

That’s it for now, I’m off to finish my Psych homework, study for my Psych test, and finish that review. Probably won’t get to play my new Xbox game til tommorow 😦

Currently Listening:
Quuensryche
Man Down!
American Soldier

April 13, 2009 at 10:40 pm 1 comment

Happy Easter

I just want to touch base and wish everyone a happy Easter! Whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you have a happy day. It is a day that puts my life in perspective and reminds me of what my God has done for me. I hope that it serves as a reminder to those who need it, and again, that everyone has a happy Easter.

I mentioned on my Facebook and Twitter stauses (follow me on Twitter: @toledo8904) that I was considering doing a few reviews for this blog a few days ago, and I asked for suggestions for my first review. With only one request, I have decided that I will be reviewing the new Queensryche album, American Soldier. I am currently doing my first listen through it, and I hope to have the review ready to go live by Monday.

Until then, have a happy Easter!

Currently Listening:
Queensryche
At 30,000 Feet
American Soldier

April 12, 2009 at 12:00 am 1 comment

DSi: Interesting or over the top?

Today is the official release of the Nintendo DSi, Nintendo’s next generation of handheld gaming. Sure, it looks almost exactly like the DS lite, but its the new features that set it apart from the old generation. I find it interesting that this release follows Nintendo’s old pattern of handheld releases: Original, smaller version of original (remember the GameBoy Pocket? or the GBA SP?), then new feature (color screen, camera and wireless internet). Throughout the ages Nintendo has always been the dominant force in handheld gaming, so if the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

So the question is, will you buy one? I might not, but mostly because I don’t play my regular DS that often. In fact, I didn’t even bring it to college with me because I never played it. But the new features look pretty cool, as long as they can integrate them into gameplay effectively. And the DSiWare looks cool as long as they keep it updated. So eventually, I might get one, if I see a game I would play a lot and come across a few hundred bucks.

What feature are you most excited for in the new DSi, if any? I would have to say internet adaptivity, because that is just cool. Sure, it only works within WiFi networks, but I’m used to that through using my iPod Touch. Which reminds me, I might be getting an iPhone this summer, if they release a new one and it looks really cool… And if the price is right.

Currently Listening:
Zombie
The Cranberries
The Cranberries Great Hits

April 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm 2 comments

Thinking ahead…

Its not something I usually do. In fact, its something I generally avoid. As long as the next few hours add up in my mind, life can go on without too much thought.

This is not the case for me right now. Before anyone (read: mom) gets excited about seeing me learn to plan ahead, I should say that it is nothing important. Just what I’m doing the next three weekends.

Normally I try to keep my blog from being an autobiography in progress because as a blog reader I don’t find this to be all that interesting. But the occasional blurb about cool things going on in my life I think can be interesting. Feel free to disagree, I would be happy to have any kind of feedback!

Tomorrow is my grandparent’s 50th anniversary, so I am driving to Dayton to congratulate them and catch up a little. 50 years is a long time, and I would personally be happy if I lived to be that old, let alone be married that long. Has anyone you know, or you yourself, had a 50th anniversary? Do you think it is amazing that a marraige could last a half a century? I know I do!

Next weekend, Easter weekend, I am going home to be with my family. This should come as news to anyone in my family reading this tonight, becuase I haven’t actually told anyone that yet. Heh… I’ll get on that. (Again with the thinking ahead thing)

And the weekend after that, I found a really cool event in Dayton. I just found this and I think I’m going to buy tickets once I post. I know that it is a little bit (maybe very) nerdy, but the Dayton Philharmonic is performing “Play! A Video Game Symphony.” Student tickets are $27. I’m not sure if this is a good price or not, because I don’t know the length and I don’t frequent symphonies, but this sounds fun regardless. It reminds me of a CD I got in an issue of Nintendo Power magazine, oh about 5 years ago (ish). I forget which symphony performed it, but it was a collection of Nintendo tunes, and it was pretty good. Does anyone remember this CD, or know who performed it?

So, I have my next few weeks planned out, and it begs the question: Are you doing anything interesting anytime soon? Its always fun to hear what other people are up to, as it seems that most people get out more and do more exciting things than I do.

That’s it for now, enjoy my song of the day!

Currently Listening:
Death of Me
Red
Innocence and Instinct

April 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment


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