Sunday, June 27, 2010

jean-luc says...

and on a drizzly cliff overlooking the rocky irish peninsula, she said yes.

ireland pics.

this post precedes the next one, which is far more significant. click to peruse the (far too many) photos from our recent road trip thru southwest Ireland:

Friday, June 18, 2010


for the first time in a long while - we're actually heading to a (fully) developed country for a holiday, VS some of our usual jaunts (Canadia doesn't count!). fancy that. 

i'll give you 3 guesses where:

spoiler alert: it's NOT the Gallapagos. and it's not easy being green see you in a week!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

music + book club.

= musooklub.

several weeks ago i started thinking about music. sharing music, to be more specific...sharing music with friends, to be more social.

a few scribbles, pencils sketches, and ideas for pyramid schemes later, it was 1am, and i was sending the following email to a close handful of friends:
friends - 
had a social-music idea i want to try out for the next year or so. i think each of you is uniquely suited to participate. you'll get to hear some new music, and maybe even meet some (more) friends of mine. if you're interested. please leave a comment on the site ASAP. once we have critical mass, we'll get started.

so what happened? we started a music "book club" to discover a new album every week. still doesn't make sense?
who: 13 signed up - i selected 6 boys, 6 girls, me. i picked friends whose musical taste is a step ahead of most (myself included), with whom i very probably traded/talked music, or went to a show together at the point where our lives intersected. people from as far away as bangalore, brisbane, and portland, or as near as brooklyn and cincinnati.

what: we all take turns sharing with the group an album we've heard in the past ~12 months. everyone listens, everyone reviews (1 to 5 scale, with further commentary/discussion encouraged). i basically started "crowd-sourcing" my new (to me) music consumption. but everyone wins, really, because they get to do it too.
when: every week. members take turns making posts Sunday nights - 1 album a week. we all listen, review online within the week.
where: on the interwebs, a Google doc, and some other fun tools. beyond that, in your ears, on the train, at your desk, in your car, at the gym, etc. maybe we'll schedule a 1-year reunion on a boat in Alaska.

why: i like music. but i don't LISTEN to enough. i hear plenty (there's  just no effective FILTERS): radio-stations, streaming sites, magazines, podcasts, soundtracks, mixtapes, MP3-dumps, and word-of-mouth from trusted sources give me tons of ideas of what's out there. but like you, i keep busy. so more often than not, i don't make the real "leap to listen" (and learn more). so we all eventually go back to whatever's comfortable, familiar, and nothing really changes (enough). until now.
also - i like hearing songs. i like seeing bands. but most of all, i like listening to ALBUMS. from start to finish, an album, like a good BOOK (or film), lets you only know how you feel about it if/when you make it to the end. unlike books/films, this often takes 2-3 tries. what's better about albums - you can easily experience it over (and over) again.

so the klub gives members a GREAT method to listen to something new(ish) EACH week - from 12 other somewhat diverse people around the world. and at the end of the year, we'll have listened to ~50 new albums, and maybe made some friends along the way

can it work? so far we're 14+ albums in and going strong (though we're all behind, we're all committed to staying on the weekly rhythm. while we're keeping the immediate group closed, anyone is welcome to come to the blog, and maybe hear something new each week. if you engage enough, we might even consider letting you join. though nothing is stopping you from starting your own musooklub with your friends

so maybe the concept (koncept?) will become madly popular, i can write a business plan, get some VC money, scale it, get bought out by Google/Apple, and quit my job, start a band, and travel in a winnebego criss-crossing former Soviet Republics and/or Latin America.

OR i'll just listen to more music. and that's good enough for me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

summer movie originality (?)

every day i feeli more and more like an old man. Hollywood only persists by placing another a nail in my coffin.

at first it was music. more than a few years ago i finally caught myself asking (in actual non-mockery) "what are kids are listening to these days?!?" that's ok though, bc the interwebs is causing our tastes in preferred/popular music to quickly splinter. granted, there is still mass-appeal stuff that appears on the radio, but the distribution and consumption of niche tastes is easier than ever (a forthcoming related post on that). 

the same concept (mass fragmentation) applies for TV - network VS cable. don't believe me? google "Frisky Dingo." so despite craptastic shows like "Two & a Half Men" (that one's for you DB) beating out works of art like "30 Rock" week-on-week, i'm OK with what's happend to modern mass television (sorry Aaron Sorkin, big love Bartlett style)

back to the point of this post ("raman is a becoming a crotchity old man"): as i was recently sitting thru a # of movie trailers, it occurred to me: the concept of originality is (nay, has been) fast escaping the film industry. not to harken on the "good ol days" (but i will), but remember when it felt like everything coming out was new + different, blowing our collective minds on what could be done on the silver screen? Star Wars, Alien(s), Wall Street, the Shawshank Redemption, the Matrix, almost anything by Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, etc

so now what are we left with? here's a short sampling of the upcoming summer movies i'm actually excited about (with links to trailers, since many of the idiot studios DISABLE embedding), and i'll let you do the math.

Toy Story 3: Pixar doesn't make bad movies. in fact, 99% of their films are original, well-thought out concepts. BUT this year's submission to the annals of inevitable Pixar greatness a sequel to their sequel. milking a long-standing franchise for all it's worth. i'm sure it'll be better than Cars though.

Scott Pilgrim VS the World: based on a popular indie comic book (of which by now you should know i have a long-standing obsession), and directed by a Edgar Wright - a guy who makes hilarious films such as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. still, it's BASED on a comic book.

the Last Airbender: based on a good for kids and grown-ups cartoon called "Avatar" (sadly James Cameron got to the name first) that famed thriller/twister M.Night Shyamalan decided he had to make when he got way more into it than his kids. as excited as i am, i'm not sure if a live-action film can beat the delivery of the source material.

Inception: OK. this is a pretty original/intriguing one. and Chris Nolan doesn't make bad movies. and as much fun as i like to make of Leo, he's a good actor who tends to pick pretty solid projects. so i'll be there. hopefully it doesn't go over the audience's head.

so 3 out of 4 of the movies i'm excited about this summer are by definition, UNORIGINAL. throw in Iron Man 2, and the numbers look even worse. OK, so i'm a bit of a geek for some (all) of those i bear excitement for, so therefore i grant that the source material must be equally as geeky.

factor in some movies i was NOT as interested in - MacGruber, Sex & the City 2, the A-Team, and the Karate Kid (which takes place in China not Japan, so is it actually about Karate or Kung-Fu?) - and the numbers look even bleaker. sequels, remakes, books, comic books, genre-sketches, cartoons, TV shows. it's only getting worse. and to make matters worse, the lion's share of actual original concept movies hitting the silver screen don't help the math, because they look like movies developed by marketers and focus groups.

i'm getting too old for this.

Friday, June 11, 2010

it's go[al] time.

the World Cup officially starts today (June 11 - July 11). 

despite hardly being a fan, i can't help but get a little excited. so we'll see where it goes (and how much i actually watch/appreciate). i've got other things cooking.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

syrian comic books.

there was quite a lot of awesomeness during my recent trip to the Middle East. but you already know that because you already saw all the trip's pictures.

what you did NOT see was these little gems i picked up on the streets of Damascsus (Syria). sure, they're moreso coloring books than comics, but they feature the trials and tribulations of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the Man of Steel himself, Superman. what really makes them great is the Arabic/English "interpretations" of what our 2 righteous heroes are really up to.

i'll say no more. enjoy!



Friday, June 04, 2010

photos: montreal VS the karl.

between the spills, flotillas, lost and what not - there are more than enough things to write about. but i'm going to be lame and let mum be the word.

so here are some pics from our memorial day trip to Canadia - Montreal to be exact:

AND as a bonus, some photos from my good buddy Karl's visit to NY, which was way awesome (though the first 1/3 or so were taken with his phone, so pretty grainy):

NOW, when someone other than my mom comes to the blooog, they see more than just silly videos and/or me poking fun of the RNC.

next up on ramancoke: silly middle eastern comic books!
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