Because I couldn’t go to sleep on the Elliott Smith post. I can’t listen to this Iron and Wine song without thinking of surfing. Two or three of you know why. The video is beautiful too. Puts you at ease.

Elliott Smith

September 29, 2008

Kind of a bummer, but Elliott Smith died five years ago next month (October 21). Probably my favorite song of his:

Lars and the Real Girl

September 29, 2008

When I first read about the premise of Nancy Oliver’s Lars and the Real Girl, I immediately wrote it off as a gimmick. Yet upon the recommendation of my mother, I loaded it up in the Netflix queue and watched it last week. I have to say it was one of the most original and touching films I’ve seen in a while.

The story centers around a young man named Lars, played by Ryan Gosling (one of the most talented young actors out there), who has difficulty interacting with his family and others in his close-knit community. Lars lives in the garage behind the home he and his brother Gus inherited from their father and repeatedly turns down offers to socialize with Gus and Gus’s wife Karin. One day, Lars shows up at their doorstep eager to bring over a girl named Bianca that he claims to have met on the internet. Gus and Karin are ecstatic that Lars seems to have finally come out of his shell, until they come to find that the girl Lars is speaking of is in fact a doll that he ordered off an adult website, built to his own specifications.

At this point, the film could have gone completely over the top, sought cheap jokes or turned offensive. Yet somehow, it managed to pull back and remain completely human at all times, no small feat considering the storyline. When the town doctor advises Gus and Karin, and the community at large for that matter, to act as if Bianca were a real woman, they do so begrudgingly at first. Gradually, their efforts bring them closer together, all out of their love for Lars. It sounds cheesy, and at points I couldn’t believe that I fell so hard for such a seemingly ridiculous film, but it really works. It’s one of those movies that, had I watched it with a group of friends, I would have pretended that I wasn’t about to well up at certain points. You know how it is.

If you’re looking for a genuine film and one that believes people are capable of doing good in a time when the world is going down the shitter, check out Lars and the Real Girl.

I’m a PC

September 28, 2008

After being repeatedly dogged by those ubiquitous—and now pretty annoying—”I’m a Mac” commercials, PC has finally struck back with a left hook (or maybe a soft jab) of its own, launching a campaign of equally annoying ads. The new commercials feature individuals of varying ages, professions and lifestyles telling the camera “I’m a PC” and offering descriptions of their jobs and ways of life, in an effort to disprove the stereotypical glasses and tweed jacket-clad PC user. For example, there’s a woman in a cage sumberged among sharks, a grafitti artist, and even an appearance by Pharrell. To me, the ads are just a lame attempt to earn PC cool points and actually serve to acknowledge the effectiveness of the Mac ads.

See for yourself:

How we’ve gone this long without a post dedicated to De La Soul is beyond me. They remain one of my favorite groups of all time and are without a doubt one of the most influential groups in hip hop music. After catching the attention of Prince Paul in the late 80s, De La exploded on the scene with their critically acclaimed debut Three Feet High and Rising, which featured such seminal classics as “Me Myself and I,” “Eye Know” and “Buddy.” Due to their offbeat style, non-traditional samples and positive message, De La were criticized early on amongst the hip hop community for being hippies. People simply were not ready for the revulotionary sound that De La Soul was producing. The tone of the music darkened somewhat in their subsequent releases, but the positive message remained the same. If it weren’t for De La, there would be no Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Digable Planets or any other backpack rappers for that matter. Respect Due.

“Me Myself and I”

“Eye Know”

“Ego Trippin”

Frog and Toad

September 25, 2008

Does anyone remember the children’s books Frog and Toad? Man I used to love that shit. Frog and Toad was a series of children’s books by Arnold Lobel originally published in the 1970s based on the adventures of, you guessed it, Frog and his friend Toad. Each book contained a collection of short stories revolving around a central message or value. The illustrations are sweet—albeit a bit trippy—and the stories teach kids (and adults for that matter) the importance of friendship, acceptance, patience, amongst other lessons. Maybe that’s what the world needs right now: story time with Frog and Toad, some cookies and milk and a nap. Check out the photo above, don’t those dudes look happy? Their clothes are so fresh too.

Walking home tonight, I passed by the Tribeca Grand, which for some reason reminded me that as a kid, I used to love staying in hotels. I think this was due to the fact that most times I was on vacation and didn’t have to worry about homework. But there’s just something about those beds and pillows that’s so inviting. First, the sheets are crisp and white and smell so fresh, even if they’re not. I also love how the pillows seem to swallow your face. Then of course there’s the showers, which usually have fire hose-like water pressure, and towels that could double as blankets. And inevitably you make off with a half-dozen mini shampoo bottles that you’ll never use, a couple pens and a shower cap, just in case. I still love hotels, they’re swell. Here’s a cool song by Serge Gainsbourg that has Hotel in the title. I don’t speak French, but Serge sounds like he enjoys hotels too.

Serge Gainsbourg – L’Hotel Particular

One great benefit of this recurring post is that it forces vanillahead and I to seriously think about what artists, what songs, what eras of hip hop we want to discuss each week. I’ve learned a great deal about hip hop through research, especially relating to the origins. This week’s post is dedicated to Kool Moe Dee, who attributed to the development of battle rap and the movement of hip hop away from party rap.

The following vids should be watched in order. The first vid is a great short documentary about the famous battle between Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee. The second video is the actual audio recording of the freestyle in full, while the third vid is of Kool Moe Dee’s I Go to Work.

Check it out.

Battle Documentary

Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy Bee Starski

Kool Moe Dee – I go to work

As the world crumbles around us, at least everything is alright with Calvin and his buddy. The perspective of a child always puts me at ease when life starts getting out of control. It’s not because children are oblivious to their surroundings (which they definitely are not), it’s their ability to prioritize what’s important and really enjoy the present. I think as you become older, you become too obsessed with the past and the future, like “oh crap, what’s the plan for tomorrow, next week, next month?” and “oh crap, I shouldn’t have done that, why did I do that.” Children wouldn’t think past the PB&J sandwich in their hands, and would quickly shrug off spilled milk. I guess my main point is: it’s good to be a child right now.

Here’s a good Calvin and Hobbes strip I found:

There’s Always Tomorrow…

September 17, 2008