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Music, Videos

Bloc Party – Octopus

07.12.12 | Permalink

I really didn’t think we’d ever see Bloc Party return from their indefinite hiatus, especially with Kele Okereke becoming a solo artist in the meantime, but I’m happy to hear that they finally have a new album on the way. While I don’t *love* this first single, it sounds very promising in that they’re getting back to basics and potentially cutting back on all the electronic crap. (Warning: this video may cause epileptic seizures.) Four hits stores on August 21st.

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Things N Stuff

Bath Salts

07.05.12 | Permalink

By now everyone has heard about all of the bizarre “zombie-esque” attacks that have been happening across North America as of late, and the hip new drug that is being blamed for it known as Bath Salts. They’re saying that the drug has now made its way into Canada, as several incidents have been cited in Toronto and Calgary. I know everyone has been making jokes about the zombie apocalypse (myself included) and last month the CDC even had to release a statement reassuring people that zombies don’t actually exist. What’s surprising though, is that out of all of the zombie movies we’ve seen over the years, I don’t think anyone has ever thought to make drugs the root cause of the outbreak. We’ve had viruses, toxic gas, demonic possession, radiation, aliens and even cell phone signals, but no drugs as far as I know. Uwe Boll’s The House of the Dead may have come the closest because it takes place at a rave. I don’t know what’s more terrifying, the thought that we may willingly force the zombie apocalypse on ourselves because we dig drugs that turn us into violent lunatics, or the thought that Uwe Boll was the only one who predicted it in the first place.

Recently I’ve been unimpressed with Netflix Canada and their shift in priority from indie and catalogue titles to recent blockbusters, however, the discovery of Tunlr.net has made me very happy again. This site makes it possible to access the U.S. Netflix library from outside of the U.S. (along with Hulu and other services as well). So far it has worked without a hitch for me and I’ve even been able to set it up on my Playstation 3 as well. It doesn’t seem to be illegal per se and it’s also free, so hopefully the service will be around for some time to come.

As we’ve been preparing for our upcoming Batman premium podcast, I’ve been lamenting the fact that the ’60s Batman TV series is still not available on DVD. Recently there was a faint glimmer of hope when it was announced that Warner Brothers had reached a licensing deal for the show, but it turns out that was strictly for toys and other collectibles, not for DVDs. On the bright side, I discovered that Teletoon Retro currently airs Batman most nights at 9 pm and Midnight. Time to set the ol’ PVR.

With the game industry still currently experiencing growing pains related to production pipelines, labour laws and artistic credibility (among other things), I thought this Gamasutra article had some interesting perspectives on the situation. It’s called The Top 10 Things The Game Industry Can Learn from Film Production and it serves as a reminder that the movie industry went through a lot of the same problems many decades ago. Sure, the movie industry still has plenty of problems now (and we all know that it churns out plenty of crap) but I thought the points about crunch time and having a sole creative director were particularly interesting.

Just when you thought hard copies of photos were a thing of the past, Polaroid comes along and puts out a brand new Polaroid Instant Digital Camera. It’s a point and shoot camera with the ability to print a copy on the spot — a clever idea considering that most point and shoot cameras have been rendered obsolete by smartphones. Having recently taken a ton of baby photos that mostly just end up on a hard drive, I think something like this could actually be something more than just a novelty.

I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to new music lately, but I have to admit that I am excited about the upcoming debut album from Divine Fits. Britt Daniels from Spoon and Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade / Handsome Furs are teaming up with drummer Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) for a collaboration that sounds exactly like you would expect from this trio. The album is out August 28th and you can stream the songs “My Love is Real” and “Would That Not Be Nice” online now.

Lastly, a recent ruling in Europe on the resale of downloadable software could have major implications not just for the game industry but for entertainment industry as well. The Court of Justice of the European Union has found that publishers cannot oppose the resale of software that has been acquired via digital distribution, allowing users to transfer ownership to someone else. What remains to be seen is whether or not digital distribution platforms will now be required to create a way to allow people to transfer their software to others, since in many cases there is no easy method to accomplish it. Either way, the death of the second-hand market may have been greatly exaggerated.

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Tech, Videos

Surface

06.21.12 | Permalink

I still don’t know much about Microsoft Surface, but based on this video it’s obviously the future. Seriously though, the keyboard cover is a pretty cool idea. Apple’s steadfast refusal to allow any peripherals enter the equation could give competitors an opening, but it will take a lot more than that to break their stranglehold on the tablet market. Microsoft is finally realizing (probably too late) that computers are on their way out and the general public is becoming more and more fixated on mobile. It’s time for them to adapt or die.

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Life, Random Thoughts

Fear of the Underdog

06.15.12 | Permalink

underdog

I don’t post about sports very often, but hey… humour me. While most people couldn’t have cared less about this year’s Stanley Cup final, I found myself watching with great interest because (a) I happen to be a New Jersey Devils fan and (b) I love to root for the underdog. The underdog upset is one of the most compelling stories in sports, and for good reason — it taps into age old myths that are ingrained in our culture. I became a fan of the Devils back in 1988 when they had their first great playoff run as a relatively new expansion team performing above expectations. Ironically, throughout the late ’90s and the early 2000s they went on to win three Stanley Cups, at which point they stopped being underdogs and became one of the most hated teams in hockey. Their “boring” defensive style of play slowed down the game and supposedly lowered the skill level throughout the league. Personally, I always appreciated that they were able to persevere through discipline and teamwork without relying on a single offensive superstar, but maybe I was merely justifying it to myself.

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Games, TV

Community: Digital Estate Planning

06.07.12 | Permalink

digitalestateplanning

Well I finally caught up with the final few episodes of this season of Community and after the recent announcement that Dan Harmon is being replaced next year, I felt the need to write a short eulogy for this fantastic show. (Yeah, I know it’s not actually canceled, but I don’t expect it to last much longer.) When Community first premiered, I don’t think there was anything particularly noteworthy about the premise and, to be honest, Joel McHale and Chevy Chase may have been the only real draw. However, as early as the third episode (the one where Abed makes a documentary about his life), the show’s more experimental and “meta” elements began to shine through, hinting that something else was in store.

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Music, Videos

The Black Keys – Gold on the Ceiling

06.06.12 | Permalink

If you happen to be a fan of Harmony Korine’s wacked out Hi-8 flick Trash Humpers, you’ll probably be interested in his new video for “Gold on the Ceiling”, which also makes use of the same aesthetic. I would have given The Black Keys props for taking their hit song and giving it such a bizarre video accompaniment, but apparently they already made a more commercially acceptable video for the song. Lame. I think Harmony Korine should focus on music videos for the rest of his career… it just seems to make sense.

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Books and Comics

The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones

06.01.12 | Permalink

phoenixjones

Ever since I got a Kindle a couple of years ago, my bad habit of buying books and never getting around to reading them has only worsened. Of course, the books don’t collect dust on a shelf anymore, but unfortunately, when they’re out of sight, they’re also out of mind. I keep telling myself that I need to read more, so when I recently noticed that Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) had released a short e-book about real-life superheroes, I figured it was something I could read in a couple sittings and immediately downloaded it.

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Music, Videos

Explosions in the Sky – Postcard from 1952

05.09.12 | Permalink

Here’s a new video for a song from Explosions in the Sky’s last album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. If it reminds you of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, it could be because co-director Peter Simonite was also a second unit cinematographer on the film.

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