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(Sometimes) Witty Banter
The New Scrubs--A review
12/13/09 at 07:15 PM by Schreiforme417
For half of a decade, I was a die-hard fan of the NBC show Scrubs. I would put as much time aside as 40-something women do for Grey's Anatomy. I would spend whole Sundays laying on my couch watching entire seasons of scrubs with my roommate in college. I could recite lines from episodes, or name episodes if a line was said. I knew pointless trivia. I knew every line to every song of the "My Musical' episode. I even dressed up as Janitor for Halloween one year. I was a Scrubs-a-holic.

And then Scrubs moved to ABC. This was, in retrospect the beginning of the end. While I was happy at the time, a piece of my brain was still questioning the move. How long could they keep it going? It felt like not using a lucky stick in a hockey game after scoring 5 or 6 goals in a row with the lucky one. It was just wrong in ways, I guess.

There was a shining light though---the very last episode was incredibly well done. There was enough emotion loaded into it to make it a spectacular end to a show that accomplished so much in an eight-year span, so much longer than most shows ever reach. There were babies, marriages, deaths, break-ups and breakdowns. Everything a good show could do without going overboard. So Scrubs ended. We were left with memories of JD and Turk's guy love and DVD replays of the Janitor's increasingly psychotic one-liners and pranks of JD. I was happy with this. When I needed a boost, I would pop in a disc and watch an episode or two, mouthing every word silently as I did so.
..Skip ahead..
I get a call from my sister, another Scrubs fan.
"Did you hear they're bringing scrubs back?"
At this point I was living in Montana already. We didn't have television in my house and I had not heard this piece of information.
"What now?"
"A new season. They've moved to a teaching hospital or something," she said.
"I see...."
When we got off the phone, I hopped online and watched the trailer. They were coming back, alright, and they were indeed placing their episodes in a teaching hospital. This was going to be interesting.
Interesting does not even begin to describe what I experienced when watching the new episodes of Scrubs.

I will make this easy for you, readers out there. If you are still a Scrubs fan, and want to remain that way, do not proceed. Take the knowledge that I do not like the new Scrubs and leave. Go to your happy place now. If not, please proceed.

(Note: At this point, I am a little hesitant to continue myself, with Scrubs having been such a large part of my life for the past few years. It feels a little like beating my grandmother in a boxing match, or, what I imagine punching my grandmother would be like. I wouldn't know--she's dead.)

Anyway, the new Scrubs.

Plainly, it's horrible.

The new series tries to hard to be the old series, and it fails miserably. To begin with, the theme song "Superman," originally performed by Lazlo Bane, has been redone. It is faster, younger, hipper--probably to mirror the fact that most of the original cast is gone (of the originals, JD,Turk, Cox, and Kelso having recurring roles so far. Eliot has been seen, as has the Todd, and one of the newer additions--Mahoney, is now a permanent resident of the show). Redoing this song--while not close to covering something like "Yellow Submarine" or anything by Hendrix--is still a travesty. Moving on.

The new characters--a kid whose dad donated a ton of money, a blonde peppy girl with no self esteem and a team of security guards, don't compare at all to the old crew. The kid, Cole I think his name is, is flat out annoying. Good for a laugh at first, this douschebag who refers to himself in the third person and constantly gets on people's nerves because he feels he is invincible, is a little punk that I frankly want to smack the shit out of. To have to hear anything come out of his mouth is like watching a volcano erupt while standing on the very rim of it. Just plain painful. I'd rather stand on the volcano rim. The blonde girl annoys me the least. She mirrors JD, if it isnt obvious enough, and we'll see how long it takes for that to get annoying. Now, my biggest beef is with the security guards. Never did I think there would be such a miserable replacement for Janitor. I am bias in favor of the Janitor, my favorite character, but follow me on this one. The security guards--typifying slovenly, fat security guards the world over, try way too hard to be funny. Their one-liners fall flat and their use in the show screams "we didn't have a better transition." Where Janitor felt like a natural, these guys just feel awkward. On top of that, the black guard looks like the guy from the Miller High Life commercials, and even if it isn't him, that's all I can think of--the "champagne of beers." Actually, now that I think about it, the new Scrubs and MHL leave the same taste in my mouth afterwards and leave me thinking "I wish I were drunker to have to go through this."

So far, three episodes in, all I can say is that Scrubs is trying way too hard. In order to come anywhere near the calibur of the previous series, they would need to--nevermind, at this point there is no hope.

I will still watch, because it is free on Hulu, but that's really only cause I need background noise while I do my crosswords.

Overall: 4/10
Tags: Review, ABC, Scrubs
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Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2, a track-by-track commentary
03/29/09 at 10:56 AM by Schreiforme417
I had spring break this past week and RG and I drove from Elon to Indiana where friend_regan goes to school. Then from there to see Springer in Chicago and hang with friends_dacie_and_emily. In that time, since the I-Pod connector wasn't working, we listened to CDs. A lot of them. PGP2 came up a bunch because we were too lazy to switch out CDs. This game me plenty of time to give this a thorough thinkin' through.

This isn't really going to be an album review. I guess you could see it that way if you want to, but I'm just going to say a few comments on what I think of the song/band/choices made for this album. First, though, a few general comments.

I was really pumped when I heard about PGP2--I absolutely love PGP1. The bands chosen did a pretty damn good job covering some pretty popular pop songs. This time around though, a few things threw me off and made me, on the whole, hate this album. I know it is a very biased way to look at it, but I will be comparing 2 to 1 a bunch because, well, its better.

These things are as follows:

1. Unnecessary Screaming: Self-explanatory. When this first type of music first started, I was into it. There was a raw energy that appealed to me. I found myself sitting on my roof outside my room or just in my room screaming along, air-guitaring it up. Sometimes I even air-drummed it. And then a couple months passed and new bands were still coming out doing the same thing. The music all started to blend together. Here on PGP2, we see the nexus of all these bands. Except for 2 or 3 tracks, every single track on PGP2 has unnecessary screaming. The covers are good up to a point, where you are assaulted with throaty, harsh noises (not really even words, it just sounds like someone is trying to projectile vomit).

2. Band Choice: On PGP1 and even on Crunk, the bands were good. Like, really good. There was a wide variety of types of pop punk represented on PGP1 and on Crunk a whole slew of styles (more or less--I'm thinking variety in terms of Say Anything to ATL to say, FTSK). Here, this point coincides with point 1: too many screamo bands. Yes Fearless, I get it, you like screamo bands and so do thousands of preteen angsty girls out there, but what about everyone else? Those guys and gals that are nearing the ends of their college careers, having grown up with the scene that evolved around screaming. The people who have a bunch of those bands on their I-Pods and listen to them for nostalgia purposes from time to time or when they decide that, hey, i'm allowed to be upset from time to time and I want to express that through my music for six or seven minutes. What about getting bands to represent them? Every band out there has pop covers, that is just a given, go to any live show and you'll most likely a cover of something (I've been present at "Just can't wait to be king," "bittersweet symphony" and "milkshake" covers). Just find some other bands. There may be contractual reasons that Fearless couldn't get other bands, but since those are not out there for the public I am ignoring them.

And now, I will discuss the tracks.

1.. "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around"---Alesana---Justin Timberlake
----I don’t particularly care for either of these bands. The track doesn’t do anything for me as an opening track either. Nothing special. I wish I had more to say.

2. "Apologize"---Silverstein---OneRepublic
----Another one of my favorite tracks on the album.

3. "...Baby One More Time"---August Burns Red---Britney Spears
---- First, this was on PGP1. It shouldn’t be on two. They should’ve rolled up a newspaper and hit August Burns Red collectively on the nose and gone “No! Don’t do that!” I can’t even listen to more than a few seconds of this song. It is shit. ‘Nuff said.

4. "When I Grow Up"---Mayday Parade---Pussycat Dolls
---Since my last time seeing Mayday, my opinion of them has sunk. The band members each seemed to be playing for themselves, not together as a band. This song has nothing to do with that, but that thought sits in my head.

5. "Over My Head (Cable Car)"---A Day to Remember---The Fray
---Hmm. This one intrigued me. I think it was a curious/bold move to switch genres for the song so drastically, but, more or less, this one worked. Except for the screaming (well, if you haven't figured out that I'm harping on this by now, go reread the beginning of this piece).

6. "Smooth"---Escape the Fate---Santana
----Santana is one of my favorite artists and has been since I was a kid. The sexuality imbued in his kickass guitar pieces is awesome and ever since my dad popped Abraxis into the tape player I was hooked. Then Supernatural came out and it was good, cause it still had Santana and his awesome guitar. “Smooth” is my favorite track on that album and the first time I listened to this I was stoked. Then there came all that screaming and sich (Yes, sich, watch South Park more if you don’t get it). By this point, though, my body had developed a callous shell against it, I was a little dead on the outside, but it protected me from the pointless noise. I like what they did with the guitar in this, I’m glad they didn’t kill it.

7. "Ice Box"---There for Tomorrow---Omarion
----Not a bad cover, but I feel this would’ve fit better on Crunk. Then again, a bunch of these tracks would fit better on that album, especially if they consider Will Smith ‘crunk.’ So, thinking along those lines, was PGP2 just a Crunk b-sides album? Jeez, thanks for putting in the effort to try and put good songs on a CD Fearless. Just because we’re not buying as much music as we used to, and you’re not making as much money or anything doesn’t mean we still don’t care.

8. "Flagpole Sitta"---Chiodos---Harvey Danger
----Compared to all of the other songs on here (except maybe “Smooth”), this track seemed out of place. This track was in high school when the rest of the songs were still playing hopscotch during elementary school recess. I think Chiodos did a pretty decent job with it.

9. "Beautiful Girls"---Bayside---Sean Kingston
--Seriously, you're letting people who define themselves by saying they want to cut themselves listen to someone who they look up to singing the words "you had me suicidal/suicidal when you said it's over." Are you fucking insane Fearless? I see that as dipping a baby's hand in water then setting them down in a room full of electrical outlets. Tact, you (Fearless) have none. On the other hand, this song doesn't have unnecessary screaming, which gave it bonus points in my book, and I think Raneri's voice works for this, minus the content.

10. "See You Again"---Breathe Carolina---Miley Cyrus
---Both the original songtress and cover band need to be put on nuclear testing islands. BC is riding that wave of popularity of all those sorts of hardcore crunk/techno bands. Give it up, you will go down in history as a blip on the radar.

11. "Disturbia"---The Cab---Rihanna
---Rihanna must be proud, every song she makes these days is covered by scores of unimpressive emo-pop-synth-whatever bands. Yehaw, let me go get my guitar so I can cover some of her songs, too. I know, I’ll do a mash-up, I’ll call it “Umbrurbia.”

12. "Toxic"---A Static Lullaby----Britney Spears
---I was shocked when I saw that ASL put out a video for this. That ruined it right away (that and the screaming). First, there is already another abominably covered Spears song on here (not that the songs weren't already bad). Second, how bad off as a band are you when you need to put out a video of a cover song to try and stir up some interest in your band? I know, I know, Madonna did it with American Pie and tons of other people probably have too, but "toxic" is still considered our generation. When "American Pie" came out, it was at least a decade or two after the original came out. Get it? There was time for popularity to ebb and flow. With Britney Spears, she's been in the news since "Baby One More Time" and that skirt/ white shirt combo (she was so hot back then, when I was in grammar school), can we please stop giving her more attention than she deserves?

13. "Love Song"---Four Year Strong---Sara Bareilles
---This is my favorite song on the album, I think. When I first heard it, it made me laugh a little. Yeah, I don't like the screaming but at this point on the cd my body developed a callous to it, I was a little dead on the outside, but it protected me from the pointless noise.

14. "I Kissed a Girl"---Attack Attack!---Katy Perry
---Yay, another song covered a billion times. Let me just say this, less talking about girl-on-girl, more actually girl-on-girl, then this song might be bearable.

I realize a lot of this is ranting, but I'm okay with it. This album seriously disappointed me (it is on par with PATD!'s live show being a huge disappointment also) and I hate when that happens. A little part of me dies. It is like when you go on vacation and you hear all of this stuff about how magnificient all of the beaches are, but once you get there all you see is rain and crack whores on the beach. Major bummer, dude.

Things you could listen to that would not take precious seconds away from your lifespan: Tom Waits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Count The Stars, The Starting Line.

Anyway, comment so that I know what everyone else thinks, if I am alone on this position (or not).
Tags: Punk Goes Pop, Review, Love, Hate, Music, Life
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A Book Review: A Cook's Tour
11/24/08 at 09:32 AM by Schreiforme417
So I am going to try something a little classier than drunk and high adventures for once.... this is a book review I had written about Anthony Bourdain's book A Cook's Tour. Please read it, its awesome and travel-y and food-y. If I get any sort of feedback I'll do more book reviews.

When one thinks of a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, the word author is not usually paired with it. Anthony Bourdain, however, accomplishes this easily by showing not only an in-depth knowledge of the culinary world but he also sucker punches the reader with the emotional and psychological weight the book carries. It is even less often that the same chef-turned-author can produce a second book that makes the first book look as unappetizing as a burnt grilled cheese sandwich. Executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles in New York City Anthony Bourdain has done this, though, with his second nonfiction book A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine (Ecco 2002, $14.95). Tour continues the adventures of his first book, Kitchen Confidential, but this time Bourdain is followed around the world by a Food Network television crew while looking for the perfect meal—the adventures that depicted in the show A Cook’s Tour.

The book follows Bourdain through a number of different countries: Japan, Cambodia, Mexico, France, and England, just to name a few. In each he meets up with various people he already knows or contacts that have been provided for him by Food Network in order to gorge himself on local (and sometimes incredibly bizarre by American standards) cuisine. Bourdain is presented everything from haggis (sheep’s stomach stuffed with various intestines, oatmeal, onions and spices all mixed together) to the still-beating heart of a cobra, killed right in front of him. Like the gourmand, or “foodie” as he calls them, that Bourdain is, he dutifully eats what he is given, no matter what it is (for visual evidence of this watch his Travel Channel show No Reservations, where Bourdain has eaten just about everything, including a pig rectum).

The book is not just about searching for the perfect meal, though. While out and about in the various countries Bourdain also takes time(whether he would choose to on his own, without the television crew behind him, is up in the air, but I think he would) to join in on local customs and practices. While in France, Bourdain and his brother, Chris, revisit the town they frequented as children with during the summer with their family. Much had changed since the last time they had been there and, after trying desperately to recapture the magic that had once entranced Bourdain and gotten him obsessed with food in the first place (doing everything from lighting fireworks on the beach to eating the same breads and oysters), he leaves with a bittersweet taste on his palate. The realization that nothing would be the same hits him hard, especially because the real reason why it wouldn’t be the same—his father isn’t there. These are the type of moments in the book that leave the reader unsure of whether to be amazed at the ease that he relays his emotions, or sad at the fact that, in this example, his father is the main reason he experienced so many things and he is gone, leaving Bourdain standing on a windy, freezing French shore.

Bon Appetit did not name Bourdain Food Writer of the Year for no reason. Compared to his first book, Bourdain seems to have gone from being a twelve-year-old to a forty-year-old. The language and flow of his prose, offset by the crudeness he exhibits at times, draws the reader in from the first page—a heart wrenching letter written to his wife Nancy from Pailin, Cambodia that expresses, without him actually saying it, that’s he’s scared. The language, for much of the book retains this subtle power, like an alligator hiding just under the surface ready to pounce and when it finally does, it tears everything apart. Whole passages strike with the force as Bourdain details hostility hanging in the air in Cambodia or his near death experience hurtling down Highway 1 in Vietnam, coming within inches of other speeding cars.

Whatever Kitchen Confidential didn’t do, Tour works to further separate Bourdain from the rest of the travel writing world. He is not necessarily that far ahead of other writers—okay, he is not blazing new trails far ahead at all. Now with three nonfiction books under his belt, some might still snub their nose at him for still being a rookie. But, as evidenced by his writing, I feel certain saying that does not bother Bourdain. While others are racing ahead, trying to overcome each other in terms of sales or popularity, Bourdain is standing on the sidelines, smoking a cigarette and sneaking sips of something potent from a flask. Behind Bourdain, looking down on the competition are statues of some of the most well-known travel writers. Men like Paul Theroux and Peter Mayle who made modern travel writing what it is.

In his first book he mentions his former drug use as well as heavy drinking. In this, the drinking continues, and Bourdain is unafraid to say it. He does not seem to care that he gets drunk while taping a show. While in Russia, they had to re-shoot the opening sequence as Bourdain and a friend walked into a restaurant. Everything would have been fine, had they both not been drinking vodka all night long. Looking back, Bourdain reflects on the fact he is more thankful that he got the lines right than sorry for having to do so. The unapologetic feel stops his writing from harboring any preconceived notions that he is better than anyone else because he is getting paid to travel the world and eat and write. He loves it, undoubtedly, but is not going about trying to shove it in anyone’s face.

The attitude of the piece is not the only reason this book excels, however. Bourdain is not just one of the television, family-friendly chefs he pokes fun at from time to time. He paid attention during his years at the CIA, as well as throughout over twenty years experience in a number of kitchens all over the country. Bourdain shows his knowledge often, breaking down various dishes into their parts or relating them to other dishes, often using the French terms that hearken back not only to his training but also to his childhood summers in France. His knowledge also extends to being able to explain the foods he has never tried before. He is able to compare them to other, more common foods or tastes. He uses this to prod his hosts and friends for more information, forever in search of newer foods and tastes and knowledge.

With a television crew always at hand, things were probably made easier for Bourdain, especially in politically hostile countries, like Cambodia. The network helped him out by setting up contacts; though the rest was up to him. While in the countries, Bourdain needed to be able to talk with these people, in order to find out about the food and culture. The things Bourdain does in Tour are the types that many people might never be able to experience. He gives the reader the things they might miss, helping to complete a mental picture of a given country or city. It is up to him to relay the sensations, to give the thick description that will serve as a mental image for his readers. Bourdain also does a good job of not involving the television crew where they do not need to be, unless the anecdotes specifically involve the crew. He lets the audience feel like they are the only ones traveling along with him, side-by-side adventuring.

Bourdain’s book is not just about food. It isn’t only about his globetrotting adventures around the world. It isn’t a personal memoir. Bourdain combines all of these things, revealing his true emotions and his pure love for food while at the same time analyzing the cultures he finds himself waist deep in. He finds ways to connect to everything and everyone, whether it be going back to France or visiting the town that many of the people in Brasserie Les Halles come from. He is the everyman of travel writing. He travels and writes and eats because he loves it, no other reason. His tastes are not highfalutin—he is as comfortable eating food from a street vendor as he is eating in a three star restaurant. His books show this, and because of that, I envy him.
Tags: Anthony Bourdain, Book, Review, Food, Travel
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you disappoint me, Thieves and Villains
07/09/08 at 09:27 PM by Schreiforme417
Thieves and Villains Indeed! The stole my money!

I paid ninety-nine cents to download the album version of Atlantic Lungs, and holy crap was I disappointed. Rarely do I ever like a demo version of a song better than the studio version, but in this case, yes oh yes oh sweet lordy lord yes is the demo version better.

Sure, the album version may sound a bit prettier to those who didn't hear the demo, but they are missing out. In the demo the vocals had a range, there was emotion behind them

You're goddamn right
I've got a little more to prove tonight

the emotion is fucking gone.

Sure, the guitars sound a little better, but that is it.

The vocals were killed and the overall feel of the song just died.

I had really, really like this song when i first heard it. I know a ton of people hate these guys, but I was willing to ignore that.

I bought this song because I had read the review on here bashing the CD and I was skeptical

but now I agree, had I bought the album, I think it would've killed some hours I would want back, badly.

My recommendation would be to not get Movement by Thieves and Villains. It is polished, but lacks anything worthwhile. Even just listening to the thirty second clips on I-tunes, you can tell that.

Its sad, I thought there may have been something there. I was wrong and that makes me a Sad Panda, of sorts.
Tags: Thieves and Villains, Review, Movement, Sad Panda
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