Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heartstrings

For some reason I've been having strong emotional reactions to overly sentimental pop ballads that are supposed to satirical of their style. It would seem that they're parodying the style a little too well.

Examples:

  • "Elenore" by The Turtles (this one was definitely done too well- it was a huge hit.)

  • "Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye" by The Juicy Fruits (Gaahhh, Eddie sacrificed himself for his little sister!! Waaaaahhh!!!)

  • "Where's Gary?" and "My Tighty Whiteys" by Spongebob and the Hi-Seas (if only they weren't about a snail and his underwear.)


Does anyone else feel this way or am I just that big a sap?

Oh no, not you too, Disney...

[caption id="attachment_777" align="aligncenter" width="792" caption="You must join the cult of the Firefox."][/caption]

Gee, I dunno, how about coding your page so that it displays correctly in ALL BROWSERS?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My final word on the Twilight franchise

You know, my problem with Twilight is not so much that it throws everything I find cool about vampires- traditions established centuries ago- out the window, or that everything I hear about the story itself makes it sound like a bad fanfiction writer's first attempt at something original. That's bad enough as it is, but...

What I really have a problem with is that if a Twilight fangirl met a real, Dracula-esque vampire... the vampire would win.

What this says about the moral depravity of today's young women is staggering.

Friday, March 26, 2010

6-string and 12-string basses

I don't like modern 6-string basses. Not only do they tend to be ugly, they either have four three-or-more-string courses- which seems pretty pointless to me, since it's application would be extremely limited- or they have six individual strings with the same thickness of a regular four-string, requiring the neck to be like three inches wide and look like a wooden plank with metal rods hovering over it. This makes them extremely unwieldy- your hands would have to be extremely flexible and dexterous to maneuver the fretboard. It just looks plain silly to me.

Now, 6-string basses from the '60s are a different matter altogether. The most famous one is probably the Fender VI, which I came to know about through it's use by John on the Let It Be album whenever Paul was playing piano. Now, the difference between a vintage 6-string and a modern 6-string is that a vintage one has approximately the same neck width of a normal guitar, but it uses a longer scale length, slightly thicker strings, and is of course tuned an octave below a regular guitar. So there's an obvious advantage to this: there's no need to train your fingers in order to play it if you're already familiar with a guitar neck.
Now, when it comes to guitars, my brother prefers wider necks because he learned to play guitar on a nylon string guitar. In contrast, I learned to play a tiny 1960s Silvertone acoustic, so I prefer thinner necks (although I can handle classical guitars and Gretsch guitars just fine). But there's a limit to how much width my brother's hands can take when playing guitar or bass, so a modern 6-string is out the question. None of them are aesthetically appealing to us anyway...
See, the plan is for my brother to eventually learn and compose some very technical basslines, which of course would include making use of bass' entire range. With an old-school 6-string, that range can be expanded even further, even going as far as using guitar techniques- not to mention the potential for using huge and heavy chords.
Thing is- every recording I've heard of a vintage 6-string is nigh indistinguishable from a regular vintage bass, save for the high notes, of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The "vintage versus reissue" debate makes me go ARRRRGGGHH

Seriously- how is it that a dinky little synthesizer marketed as a toy have enough indie-cred to spark debates over which version is better?

I'm talking, of course, about the Stylophone. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a small synthesizer that was literally played with a stylus, sold in the late '60s and '70s. It's most famous usage can be heard on David Bowie's "Space Oddity", and apparently it's been recently used by Jack White. I came to learn about it because I read that during the Let It Be sessions, The Beatles played with one for a few minutes.

OMG TEH BEATLES TOUCHED IT

...So anyway, I've been wanting one because I love vintage electronic keyboards, especially ones that the Beatles breathed on- so here I am listening to people play it on YouTube... and apparently there are those who say that the vintage ones are better.
This really, really surprises because you'd think something as cheap and simple as a Stylophone would be easy to recreate, analog or digital. I just wish I could get a new one and have it done with, instead of worrying about whether or not it's tone is accurately recreated. I hope at the very least it's "close enough". I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering it's still essentially sold as a toy for cheap, and it's not particularly iconic, unlike the Mellotron.

UPDATE: Okay, I found some guy on a forum who happened to have both a vintage one and a reissue. Comparing the two, he said that the reissue sounded a bit more complex and not so much raw electronic buzzing. That might actually be an advantage to us, because that would expand its potential uses... it'd be a lot cheaper, anyway.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Toon Music: "Steamboat Bill", "Turkey in the Straw"

This is the very song Mickey whistles in the debut cartoon Disney will never let you forget, 1928's Steamboat Willie. Words by Ren Shields, music by "Leighton Bros." (whoever they are), 1910 or 1911.

If you don't recognize this song, you probably don't exist.







Lyrics: http://dig.lib.niu.edu/twain/songs/bill.html

And of course, everybody knows this tune (it dates back to before recorded sound), but have you ever heard it with lyrics?







I'm not sure what to make of this version.

The same melody was also used for the rather racist tune "Zip Coon"- unfortunately (or perhaps not!) I can't find any version with the lyrics, if there are any.

Monday, March 8, 2010

You say griffin, I say gryphon

I think I finally understand why so many people have switched to spelling it as "gryphon". It's so you don't get any Family Guy in your or anyone else's search results. In that case, I wholeheartedly approve, and I'll be switching to "gryphon" immediately and permanently!

Shocking people = social progress? WRONG!

To those of you who like Marilyn Manson or sexually explicit and violent art of any kind, I say PHOOEY.

They didn't shoot Dr. King because he ran around naked.

They didn't put Martin Luther to trial because he ran around naked.

And they didn't crucify Jesus Christ because he ran around naked.

What changes the world? What TRULY shocks people? It isn't sex and violence, uncensored swear words, or breaking social norms or taboos. Any idiot with a filthy mind and perverse desires can do that.

It's bold, cage-rattling, and downright righteous IDEAS.

So ask yourself: Who has made the world a better place, or sparked more controversy? Some artist who likes to depict dismemberment, or someone who spoke out against injustice and immorality?

Let the Jonas Brothers be...

...I am quite honestly tempted to give the Jonas Brothers an open-minded listen, just because half the population hates them. I wouldn't be surprised if I liked them. Hey, if I like the White Stripes and Green Day, who have gotten just as much hatred as the Jonas Brothers (albeit on a smaller scale), I don't see why I'd close my ears to them...

(And yes, I am aware that these bands are quite different from the Jonas Brothers, stylistically...)

Y'see, there have been times when the hatred for something is so ridiculous, childish, and unfounded, I get the nagging suspicion that I would like them. That was the case for the White Stripes and Green Day- I heard so much bashing that I wanted to check them out. And I think they're both great. If there's one thing that gets my goat, it's when people form an opinion for poor reasons, or no reasons at all. You should either base your likes and dislikes on taste or principle, if you ask me... simply saying "i think they suck lol" just doesn't cut it.

It also helps if I lower my standards- that often helps me like it more.

Okay, so the Jonas Brothers are cute. Okay, so they play pop rock, instead of your belov├ęd death-grunts and whines. Hating them- I repeat, outright HATING them is ridiculous... to call them talentless hacks or airheaded dweebs is just unfair, because you can't prove that. And as a Christian, I admire them for their abstinence. So all you anti-Christian, anti-Disney South Park fanboys can stay away from me.

Of course, hatred is ALWAYS ridiculous. One of my goals as a Christian is to never hate someone. It's such an ugly, hideous thing to feel... and it's one of the biggest failures of mankind.

UPDATE: The same goes for Miley Cyrus.

UPDATE: Oog. Well, now that Miley Cyrus is a slut, I take it back.

Pre-Tolkienism

As part of my quest to distinguish myself from other fiction writers, I've been teaching myself about the fantasy fiction created before The Lord of the Rings showed up and changed everything. You see, as much as I appreciate the epic scope and mastery of Tolkien's work, dragging myself through the books before seeing the movies (mind you, I was in my early teens at the time) really took its toll on me. I admit: I'm not much of a fan of LotR. I was bored by the lengthy descriptions of the landscapes, and was monotonously depressed by the doom and gloom of The Return of the King in particular. It was hard to trudge through, and it certainly wasn't pleasant feeling pretty much the same way Sam and Frodo did on their journey to Mordor. I just wanted it to end. In fact, I don't plan to read them again, and I'm perfectly satisfied with the extended cuts of the films.

If there's one thing that gets my goat, it's the fact that most fantasy writers don't really care, or worse, know about anything beyond Tolkien's work and maybe some of the other things made into movies, TV shows, and cartoons. When one thinks of the word "fantasy", they usually picture something resembling Dungeons and Dragons. No one really likes the elves we associate with Santa Claus and a certain poor shoemaker, and the tall, mysterious, and holier-than-thou Tolkien elves have pretty much replaced them. The same goes with hobgoblins: Tolkien himself knew that hobgoblins were originally smaller, more benign versions of goblins, but he had already made them larger and meaner than regular goblins inThe Hobbit- so despite being renamed Uruk-hai, a lot of people treat hobgoblins as if they were bigger.

My problem is that for some bizarre reason a lot of people feel its necessary to similarly reinvent what has already been fully developed in folklore and mythology, such as the fairies shaped like beetles and flowers in The Spiderwick Chronicles, the lumpy bat-like dragon in Zemeckis' Beowulf, and of course the pretty boy sparkly vampires of Twilight. Even Harry Potter commits a minor offense by making boggarts unfriendly shapeshifters instead of the household nuisance they originally were. See, I don't see why anyone would bother making these sort of things any different when they're perfectly fine already... if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Mass culture, world culture and all the knowledge in the world is so easy to access that traditional mythology has been set in stone, because after so many millennia of being developed and refined without anyone's awareness, we can finally map out how it evolved and where it wound up. Any changes we make now is self-conscious.

Open Up Your ****ing Heart

Just for good measure, here are more versions of "Let the Sunshine In".

The original:







Popular version:





Screeching Weasel vs. Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm

Now what am I rambling on about THIS time? What could I possibly be doing pairing a loud, fast, hormone-enraged skate punk band with two adorable, iconic cartoon babies? Well, let me tell you.

So here I am, watching Boomerang late at night, and The Flintstones come on. I hadn't seen the episode before, because I'm not a terribly avid Flintstones fan (although I know a thing or two), nor an avid television watcher. I prefer watching DVDs late at night, because then I can watch whatever I want. But my point is that I discovered this completely by accident.

At first the episode disgusted me with its horrid, outdated, and narrow-minded views on rock 'n' roll. I was willing to accept the laughably out-of-touch quality of "The Bedrock Twitch" and the terribly unflattering caricature of The Beatles that shows no understanding of their music whatsoever. But when Fred AND Barney, the latter normally being a much more liberal-minded fellow, started ranting about stuff like "TEENAGERS ARE EVIL AND ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD" and "THIS MUSIC IS AWFUL AND MADE BY TALENTLESS HACKS" and "ME WANT BIG SPORTS GAME"- which has been proven embarrassingly wrong a million times over in the past forty-plus years- I almost wanted to cry.

Things started looking a little better when I realized that this was an episode described in one of my favorite books: The Rocklopedia Fakebandica, which is all about one of my favorite subjects- namely, fictional rock groups. I looked forward to whatever dopey song the two toddlers got to sing. Here's the song:

Emulation

I love emulators. It's like having a bunch of old games all in one box, without needing any physical space. Like a museum of old software. I kinda get giddy sometimes.

WEE! OLD GAME!

Here's something I've been meaning to post for a while:

Tymime's Recommended Emulator/Simulator List!

4Kids is evil, apparently

At least that's what people keep saying for some reason. I can't imagine why. I don't approve of their censorship practices, but I fail to see what it is that makes them evil or why it's so hilarious to make such a claim.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010