Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Ancient Ghost of Irony...


UPDATE 2: No, the song is not the song Angel... c'mon people...

I recently started rewatching the entire Buffy TV series on DVD. I own the Chosen collection, which is 1 big box with all 144 episodes. Today, I watched the 2nd season finale, the amazing Becoming two part episode. But I am not here to talk about the show itself, I am here to tell a story.

Many many many many years ago (like 9) my best friend and I decided to enter this big contest in the Games puzzle magazine. The contest involved answering many questions, and each question would somehow give a hint to the final question, which, if you could answer, entered you into the grand prize. The questions varied from "simple" mathematic equations, to knowing about historic events, to finding out about a specific painting and how much a bottle of shampoo in that painting cost. We hunted down answers everywhere from the then limited internet, up to and including heading all the way into center city Philadelphia to the city's big library to hunt down answers. Ok, he did most of it... but I was all helpy and supporty.

One of the questions what right up my alley. The answer we needed was which Sarah McLachlan song played at the end of the 2nd season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I did not know. I could remember only a bit about the song. Now remember, this was before the internet had every piece of information available at your fingertips. I could recall a tiny segment of the tune, and a few lyrics. After finally finding a short clip on a website, I was able to get the lyrics "and I claw for solid ground." I even learned to play the few notes on the piano, a musical instrument that still mocks me to this day. But that tiny segment of the song is all we had to go on.

My best friend's friend, and one of our classmates, he found out, is/was a big McLachlan fan. He played the little ditty for me, I mentioned the lyrics, and not even she knew the full song... but she did own the piano books for her albums. After a lot of searching, we found the song was on an album called Surfacing, and the song was called Full of Grace. I still have a fond memory of this song, the hunt for the title, and that moment in the episode where Buffy's mom comes up the stairs, and those lyrics play.

Fast forward to an hour ago. I am watching the 2nd half of Becoming, the episode in question. The song starts to play. Buffy has just killed Angel and sent him to hell. Tears are pouring. Memories of the episode and our quest flood back. Then, I see Kristine Sutherland start to walk up the stairs. The lyrics begin... "and I claw for solid gr.........." Heh..... freeze frame... odd, I didn't touch the remote... Then the familiar XBox 360 bloink noise, and a message pops up "Attempting to read media." The disk cannot be read. It cannot be read AT THE EXACT MOMENT THAT PART OF THE SONG IS PLAYING.

I eject the disk, put it back, try another device... but there is something wrong with the disk AT THAT EXACT MOMENT. It winds up playing if I let it sit for a minute or two, but every device and every time, the disk freezes at this exact moment. So, long story short, the ancient ghost of irony has decided to freak me out a bit today.

From Andrew, the best friend guy: "it's really funny to think of the internet as NOT being the mecca for all answers to all life, isn't it? i mean, we got that video of the commercial for the episode on the internet but couldn't find the episode. then when we nailed the little bit of lyric, we couldn't find it in context. that same question would've taken us ten minutes today, and from the time we actively started working on it, until the time Caitlin gave us the sheet music...had to be several weeks. straaaaaange..." More in the comments section.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Define lazy....

How lazy am I? The keyboard was a little too far away from me, but the mouse was at hand. I wanted to look up Ghostbusters on IMDB. Again, keyboard, not within reach. So instead of actually getting up, I brainstormed. I went to the Coming Soon section on the site, found Street Kings. Street Kings features Hugh Laurie of House fame, which now features Kal Penn, who stars in Harold and Kumar which had a cameo by Neil Patrick Harris who works with Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother whose first movie was My Stepmother is an Alien which starred Dan Aykroyd... who played Dr Ray Stantz in.... GHOSTBUSTERS! No keyboard required.

Yes, I realize in hindsight that Kal Penn was in the Buffy episode "Beer Bad". The reason I did not recall this fact at first? BECAUSE THE EPISODE WAS BEER BAD!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Greatest Gift of all...

This past week was that one week each year that my birthday happens to occur during. Also, screwy sentence structure reared its ugly head. I know, wacky. So what did I get? Other than a kick ass party with a large number of beautiful women (some dudes were there too....) and the prerequisite mommy made bday cake, a few good things happened on or around my big day.

Smash Bros: My Wii has been rather lonely lately. Mario Galaxy has long laid dormant... ok, lie, it has been borrowed by 2 people so far. No Virtual Console titles have merited my hard heard Nintendo points. Super Smash Bros Brawl's arrival, despite delayed, is perfectly timed. I have put in at least 20 hours so far, both solo and in hilarious multiplayer matches. No other game in memory other than Rock Band can bring out such utter joy and glee. The controls are fully customizable, and everything runs much closer to the N64 original over the GameCube speed fest (which I popped back in this afternoon for comparison). I absolutely hate playing as some characters (Donkey Kong, Ganondorf, and yes, Mario) but have found perfect balance with Link, Pit and Meta Knight (fallen out of love with Samus for the moment). Only negative? A week in and I still cannot play online against strangers. Quick message to Nintendo: stop being so freaking stupid about online. Oh, and Mario Kart Wii comes out in like a month.... yay? Yeah, didn't think so.

Paramore: Hey, so, good news and bad news! Paramore has added one of their songs to Rock Band for the bargain price of 80 points ($1 to us normal folk). Bad news? It wasn't Misery Business. Crushcrushcrush would be the song. While still a great song, when I read Paramore as one of the bands for the week, my heart skipped a beat thinking the next words would be Misery Business. Clearly, not the case. Misery Business would be one of the greatest songs to have in Rock Band. Everyone cross their fingers, mkay?

Lewis Black: My favorite comedian's new TV show premiered this week, and it isn't half bad! Root of all Evil pits 2 pop-culture items against each other, with 2 comics arguing for why their topic is the true root of all evil, with Lewis Black being the final judge. Only complaint? Not enough Black! He opens and closes the show, and quips here and there, but this is a show WRITTEN and CREATED by Black, not starring him. While his writing is one of the things that makes him so great, I want to see more of the man doing his thing, and less of the actor.

Serenity: Wuzzat? The Angel: After the Fall and Buffy: Season 8 comics are doing so well that Joss is going back to do more Firefly/Serenity comics too? Ya heard that right. And the first issue came out on Wednesday. And is it as good as the aforementioned amazing comic comebacks? No, actually. A tad disappointing.... not bad by any standards, but the show/movie has lost something in the translation to the comic world, something both Buffy and Angel have done quite well. I will wait until all 3 issues are released before making any final judgments, but so far, a comic about 9 characters (10, including Serenity herself) needs more time to marinate. The previously released Those Left Behind was a great example of how to do it, so let us hope the next 2 issues are worthy of the Whedonverse.

Top Chef: Hey, do you like reality shows? Me neither! But I love Top Chef. And what's that, Top Chef, season 4 is back only 4 months after the last seasons finale? Isn't that great? Well? Isn't it? Yeah, not TOO psyched either. Need some breathing room sometimes between shows... but, proved me wrong season 4 has! A good number of interesting characters are already showing their true colors, and I will make my calls now that Richard, Stephanie, Andrew, Dale, and Mark will be top contenders. Sorry other ladies, none of you have stood out quite yet like the last 3 years. Early call overall, Richard for the win. And no, having 2 of the women being in a relationship is not an advantage, it will be harder for them both, having to decide whether or not to help each other or look out for #1. So far so good, despite my early attitude about the show coming back on WAY too soon again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stand In The Place Where You Live...

Living in Las Vegas is unlike living in any other place I have ever lived, or even visited. For me specifically, I live pretty far away from any major landmarks, in the far southwest of the valley. And yes, Vegas is a valley. The Strip is in the middle of the big square, and I live in the bottom left hand corner, quite literally in the middle of the desert. I see coyotes at least once a week, and I am surrounded by mountains on 3 sides (4 if you count the entrance to my neighborhood) and the sidewalks are covered in tumbleweeds. When you get off the exit from the highway to get to my house, you pass several big brown signs indicating you are driving to Death Valley.

Sometimes, I see something here that truly sets it apart from the rest of the world. Driving to work this morning, I witnessed an amazing sunrise coming over the mountains to the south east. The picture below, taken by my passenger on a cell phone camera, cannot do justice to the majesty I witnessed. Just thought this was something cool and unique, and wanted to share it.

Click to embiggen