Saturday, February 26, 2005

Iron & Wine

Rarely do musicians come along like Sam Beam.

I was introduced to Iron & Wine on the Garden State Soundtrack (which won a Grammy...YAY!) and heard more on the In Good Company Soundtrack. Since I got it, I've been listening to the album, Our Endless Numbered Days, just about non-stop.

The bushy-bearded Beam's voice is haunting without being scary. I&W's music is reminiscent of James Taylor, melodic and mellow, consisting mostly of acoustic guitar supported by various instruments that merely serve to compliment.

It's just good music.

Buy his music here:
Our Endless Numbered Days
The Creek Drank the Cradle
Woman King EP (NEW)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Now this...

First it was the Chiefs.

Now, for some reason unbeknownst to me, my Jayhawks are struggling to find wins, losing their third straight game last night (something that had not happened since 1994). I'm not worried so much about the's just a streak. What I'm worried about is the utter lack of urgency with this team. Well, that and the lack of a true scorer.

Langford could be considered a scorer, but when you are more of a slasher and you go to the line a lot and then MISS YOUR FREE THROWS, that doesn't really help. Simien was shut down by Kevin Bookout and Oklahoma couldn't miss in the first half.

15+ turnovers doesn't help much either.

So what's wrong with the Jayhawks. Self thinks it's the seniors' faults, but I think that the issue is that we still don't have a SOLID lineup that can be put on the floor and not screw up. While it was nice to see Giddens get out of his shooting funk a little bit last night and for Galindo to see some minutes again, both those players are absolute disasters on the defensive end of the floor.

I blame the NBA. No one cares about defense anymore. Except Kelvin Sampson and his Sooners who put the clamps down on the Jayhawks in the first half, thus eliminating their ability to score and destroying their confidence. They couldn't recover and now KU is 0-3 in its last three games.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when we went to this movie on Saturday night. Not only had I been ruined of the big climactic twist by a story, but it just didn't seem like a great movie. It seemed a little boring.


Million Dollar Baby ranked up there with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as one of the best films of 2004. I'm not just saying this because everyone else in the world is saying it. I would be the last person to do AGREE with critics, BUT...I can't help it.

I've never been a huge Clint Eastwood fan. I never really understood what the big deal was about him. I think it all started back when Unforgiven won all those Oscars. I just couldn't figure it out. How could a western movie be that good?

Million Dollar Baby is carried by Hilary Swank's unbelievable portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald, a white trash, down-on-her-luck, cliche who wants to box for Clint Eastwood's Frankie. Frankie sees her as an annoyance. I don't want to say too much about the movie because I think that it is a story that is better told on the screen than having someone relay a summation to you. I said before that I thought that she would win and she probably should, but that doesn't mean I still won't be pulling for Kate Winslet. Swank already has one!

I think that I might want to revise my previous Oscar nominations. I still don't think that Clint Eastwood should win. Hilary Swank was right when she said that he put out the best acting of his career. Unfortunately, his career is marked with spaghetti westerns and movies like Dirty Harry and Every Which Way But Loose (in which his co-star was an orangutan), so I still don't think he deserves it here. BUT, I would probably revise my Best Supporting Actor pick to be Morgan Freeman. Freeman provides a similar voice as he did in Shawshank Redemption as Red, but I think that he stretches himself a little further here and it's time for him to be recognized and I expect him to as well.

After watching Million Dollar Baby, I'm really pulling for it to beat out Sideways (which I think is still the front runner, despite being a complete travesty as a movie) for Best Adapted Screenplay. Million Dollar Baby was much more uplifting than I expected and it even had comedic moments, which were well-timed and extremely appropriate.

Now, the question: should Clint Eastwood beLinkat out Martin Scorsese for Best Director? That's a tough one. The Aviator is a movie in scope that Oscar appreciates, but it would be hard to ignore just the almost perfect filmmaking that Eastwood achieved with Million Dollar Baby. This one is a coin flip.

In additon, I also think that Million Dollar Baby is probably the strongest Best Picture contender out of the group. I've seen 4 of the 5 now (with only Ray left to see) and Million Dollar Baby was, in my opinion, the best (although I wouldn't be upset if the Oscar went to Finding Neverland or The Aviator). Both had their merits, I just thought that Million Dollar Baby was spectacular.

IMDb rating: 9 out of 10.

Monday, February 14, 2005


I thought that the "awards" show last night was actually pretty good... FOR A CONCERT. When did the Grammys stop being about the awards and start being about who they can get to perform. I mean, sure, it was cool to see Gwen Stefani, the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5 and Franz Ferdinand performing on the same stage AT THE SAME TIME...


I really get irritated when people are walking down the red carpet and being informed by Joan Rivers or Star Jones or Suchin Pak or whoever that they won an award. That just doesn't seem right.

However, there are too many awards...too many lifetime achievement awards. Everyone gets one. Watched the show with my wife and brother and right before Album of the Year, he says, "I bet Ray Charles wins...he died...he's going to win." I tried to argue with him, but I really couldn't. It happened last year (is that when it was?) with Warren Zevon and I'm sure it will continue to happen in the future.

I also think that if you perform, you are guaranteed at least one award. I don't think I saw anyone last night that didn't win an award that performed. They hand out so many awards that even Britney Spears won an award. Don't know why, but she did.

Don't get me wrong...the performances were pretty cool. "Across the Universe" was interesting and the opening was one of the better openings I've seen, but I still don't understand how the Grammy's are judged. Maroon 5's Songs about Jane came out on June 25, 2002 (no, that's not a misprint...that's according to Yet last night, they won BEST NEW ARTIST.


Then you have the pompous president of the RIAA up on his podium pimping to the masses, like their Napster, subscription-based model is going to work...YEAH RIGHT. At least they pimped iTunes in between performances...that was smart, considering that more people download their legal music from the iTunes Music Store than ALL THE OTHER STORES COMBINED. iPods rule.

At least the Oscars are only 2 weeks away! Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2005

1 Giant Leap

I'm in the process of converting all my e-mail into Mozilla Thunderbird, a totally sweet open-source mail client from Mozilla. I've commented on Mozilla's other product before, but that's not what this is about.

I found an old e-mail that I had sent out to a bunch of my friends about a CD that my dad's old company produced when he worked for them. The e-mail was dated 5/5/2002, so that gives you an idea of how old this is...however, I still think it's relevant and I wanted to share it. The sites that I list are still available and the CD/DVD is out as well. Check it out if you have a chance.

At the risk of sounding sentimental or cliched, I want to tell you guys how proud I am of something that my dad is a part of. For several months, my dad has been telling me about a project that his company, Palm Pictures is working on called 1 Giant Leap. Since he introduced it to me, I cannot stop thinking about it. I truly believe that if it takes hold, 1 Giant Leap could be a revolutionary step for our world.

In a time where trust between nations is at an all-time low, the 1 Giant Leap project is a shining beacon of what our world could be. The project, which is headed by Faithless member Jamie Catto and his friend, Duncan Bridgeman, is a trek across the world that ignores boundaries, skin colors, and religions and studies the concept of "unity through diversity".
The CD part of 1 Giant Leap was released this month, but I have been privileged to be listening to it for several months now because of my dad. Ever since I first put the plain black disc into my CD player I have been entranced by the music. To think that something so beautifully written can be also be so fantastic to listen to is best summed up by one of the review I read on "1GL is more than a fab record (which it is) and more than a thought-provoking film (which it is). It is-and no apologies here to those of you with sensitive bull detectors-a manifesto for a better world. And you can dance to it."
--Daily Express

I believe that the quote above says it all. The album contains world artists working together in a progressive movement of sound and rhythm. The way in which is was created allowed a drummer from Africa to collaborate with a sitar player from India. What results is a unique sound that I don't think has been created before. Certainly not with such a positive message.

I urge all of you, if you get a chance, to check out their web site, or go to the Palm web site, and check it out. If you see me, ask to listen to it because I have it with me almost all the time.

I realize that this might sound a bit cheesy, maybe a little overbearing, and a bit preachy, but the timing for this project could not be much better. Our world is becoming increasingly cynical and negative and the 1 Giant Leap that we can take is towards a better environment for all of us.

I am extremely proud that my dad is a part of this project and I truly believe in it. I am hoping that you might take an interest in it because I truly believe that this is might be just what we need.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Custom Murals and Paintings

One of my favorite things about my wife is her amazing artistic talent. Beginning next Wednesday, she will be venturing out entirely on her own to be a full-time artist. She will be painting custom murals for children's rooms and businesses as well as selling her own paintings and pastels from her web site (which I designed!):

I am so excited for this new opportunity for her and I am certain that she is going to be successful. If you have the time, visit her site and check her out. If you are in the market for a mural or painting, check her site out.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Super Boring

The score wouldn't suggest it, but I have to say that Super Bowl XXXIX fell WAY BELOW MY EXPECTATIONS.

I'm not just talking about the game. The commericals were weak, save maybe the one where the girl walks in and the guy is holding up a knife and her cat that is covered in marinara...funny stuff. The game was a defensive battle, which is undeniably boring. And just when you thought that the Eagles were actually going to give the Patriots a run for their money, the Patriots went and did what they always do these days, which is WIN SUPER BOWLS. There is something intangible about them and I don't know exactly what it is, but I'm beginning to believe that there might actually be something to people calling Bill Belichick a genius, because hey, if the shoe fits...

If I have to see one more commercial about 24 or American Idol, I'm gonna puke.

Half-time show was lame. Paul McCartney is old and not sexy at all...he is the anti-Janet Jackson. I'd rather have had a Half-time show that was just Napoleon Dynamite dancing.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Finally, a Sitcom Worth Watching

One of the funniest guys in Hollywood is finally getting his own sitcom.

While it is highly likely that he never wanted one and that's why he's never had one, I still think it is good news...something to look forward to in this bleak TV world, laced with derivative reality shows and stuff that just doesn't live up to the hype.

I'm talking, of course, about Jason Lee.

Lee, whose antics stole the show in nearly all the Kevin Smith movies that he acted in, is going to star in a show called "My Name is Earl" in which he plays a low-rent crook who wins the lottery and uses his limited (but highly effective) intelligence to right former wrongs (if that sounds like I copied it, I basically did from the NewsAskew web site.

Sounds great so far, although I'm still mad that he isn't playing Fletch in Smith's Fletch Won.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Alias is easily one of my all-time favorite shows. The storyline is always interesting and it is well-acted by a fantastic cast, led by Jennifer Garner in her breakout role as Sydney Bristow.

Elektra was NOT Alias.

JG is still quite a butt-kicker, but the movie lacked the strong support of other characters. The only name was Goran Visnjic, of ER fame, but even he was, well..., blah. I just felt that they could have done more with the characters and I was disappointed with how far it strayed from her Daredevil character (yes, I liked Daredevil...I'm not afraid to admit it).

The fight scenes were cool and there were a bunch of ninjas, which was totally sweet, but I just didn't buy the guy who had all the tattoos that turned into animals. Or the blatant Poison Ivy (from Batman Forever) ripoff. Or the Stone guy (who still dies rather easily). The only cool evil dude was the main one, and even he was a little lame...just really fast.

I was a bit disappointed...thought it could have been better, but I didn't have very high expectations. Considering that...

IMDb Rating: 5 of 10.