Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I made a fake Slint song... people thought it was real

A couple of months ago, when I drove back to Schenectady from Nashville, I wrote some music. If you look at my previous entry called, "How to track a full album of drums in two days," this was composed/recorded shortly before that blog post.

I recorded the drums for this fake Slint song (titled "Vellum") originally for a song that was supposed to be like a slow-burning, Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque Southern Folk-Rock tune. I was too lazy to write a real melody so I just played some random chords over the top instead. Then I added a bass line and thought, "This is basically a Slint song."

Once it was Slint-ified, my idea for the track was like one of those concept albums that are based around a fictional story. My conceptualized lyrics for this music were going to tell the story of "The Patient." Stay with me... A man works at a local research lab every day, and checks in on a patient who has been in a coma. At the crescendo of the music, he visits work to find the patient has awoken, and in fact, he is the patient himself.

I think I wrote some lyrics but then I tried some spoken word like Slint does, and it sounded bad so I just gave up, because who cares? Instead I figured I'd post the instrumental to see how many views it would get as a fake (though seemingly real) unreleased Slint track. People immediately thought it was real. Here are some of the reactionary comments the video garnered over on YouTube:

"holy fucking shit!"
"Where did you get this?"

"New Slint!? i mean they are around lol it could be, Maybe not tho i only hear 1 guitar and 1 bass, a drummer and a repetitive part with no build, nothing else"
--"theres 2 guitars for sure if u listen closely"
-- "Hmmmm, yea i hear it!"

"this song sounds like this year"
"Not slint. I know them like the voice of my mother. Listening to them for ages.But cool, good work. And maybe change the title with your name man."

"Is this real?"

Nope, it's not real. Instead of milking any illusion I just posted a comment saying I made it, and that it's fake. But hey, if I can convince someone it's real, maybe it is. - Mike 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

How to create your own blog

Oftentimes when I send a link to my blog to someone, they reply with, "Wow, this is cool, I wish I had a blog."

Whether you're into sports, politics, music, or just want a place (outside of social media) to post hi-resolution pictures with as much descriptive text as you want, a blog is always an option.

Many times, you may want to document something you've just done, like a trip to the beach, or a vacation to the Great Wall of China. A blog is the perfect way to keep a record of your thoughts, and also a great place to cheaply promote your business.

The winning combination is this:

First you sign up with Blogger to create a blog, then sign up with Porkbun to register a domain name. Blogger is a 100% Free service and your information is hosted by Google. A domain on Porkbun for 1 year will run you about $4.50.

You can sign up for a Blogger blog with your Google (i.e. G-mail) account. Not all of your sensitive Google-based info is explicitly linked to your blogger blog, although some defining characteristic will carry over, for instance, your profile picture.

When you find a Porkbun domain that's satisfactory, you will then assign the domain to your blogger blog fairly easily. The total setup time is about 15 minutes. Here's a tutorial on how to do it: https://kb.porkbun.com/article/101-how-to-connect-your-domain-to-blogger.

There are a few more steps that are fairly straightforward from the blogger side of things, basically enabling the custom domain, and also enabling www redirects, both are buttons you have to find and press (i.e. activate) within your blogger control panel to activate the functionality. It's pretty easy. There isn't a big wait time either, it's pretty much instantaneous.

Because blogger is a free service, this really is a money-saver. Your blogger blog could even be formatted to be a professional forward-facing website with a PayPal "Buy Now" button. By finding the correct theme, you can have your blogger blog show different pages for different aspects of your business or personality.

If you are wondering if you should start a blog, I'd definitely recommend checking out blogger.com. I've enjoyed the experience of having somewhere to post my thoughts on a variety of different topics without being constrained by text-length limitations, or certain social-media-based etiquettes, etc. The blogger interface allows you to express yourself without feeling any pressure to conform to a certain post format. Good luck! - Mike 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Smokey and the Bandit: Movie review

I watched this movie for the first time ever yesterday. First off, the leading lady (Sally Field) isn't attractive enough to be the female star of such a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. Just my opinion.

The movie itself is entertaining for the full runtime: 96 minutes. If you ask me, 90-99 minutes is the perfect length for a movie. Any longer and I start to lose interest.

The film is surprisingly realistic. Disbelief is suspended while Reynolds does 130 mph in a Pontiac Trans Am for 90 minutes straight, whilst conducting conversations with the film's co-stars. It never seems fake. Re-releases of the film have inauthentic car sounds dubbed in. I watched an original version, with the real Trans Am sounds.

The movie is based around a car chase scene. While modern films rely on effects like super slow mo, and computer graphics to enhance scenes like this, "Smokey and The Bandit" shows you don't need all of that for a compelling story. There are a couple of major car "stunts," but these are more-so improbable than impossible. Most of the time it's quick-thinking from "The Bandit" when the police are eluded, rather than a major Hollywood stunt.

Anyone who has driven a similar route to the one "The Bandit" takes on during the movie can confirm the film is visually accurate. I recently drove through Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, all the way down South, and several of the rest stops looked just as they do in the film, which was released in the late 70's.

As for what goes on inside the car, the interactions between Sally Field and Burt Reynolds are kind of strained. Field isn't much of a seductress, but rather, willing to give in to whatever "The Bandit" asks of her. I guess there is a touch of 'Girl Power' in the movie, when Field's bride-to-be character takes the wheel of the Trans Am. "The Bandit" does call his hitch-hiking lady-friend "Frog," though, which comes off as less-than-endearing. Reynolds isn't much of a looker, either, if you ask me. It's not quite James Bond and Twiggy on screen, and I guess that's supposed to add authenticity.

The Snowman, who is Burt Reynold's sidekick, has some good scenes by himself. At one point during the movie, he faces adversity at a truck stop. Why was this included in the film? Was it a message to the audience that not every truck stop is a friendly place to stop? Or was it a way to express that the "Snowman" isn't as quick-thinking as The Bandit?

The other major star of the movie is Jackie Gleason's sheriff character. His performance is both humorous and quotable. He never breaks character which is impressive considering how outrageous "The Sheriff" is as a fictional police chief.

Overall, the car scenes are great, and the rest stop scenes are just as interesting. The film moves at a rapid pace. It's both enjoyable and lighthearted. Definitely worth watching, and there's replay value for all of the one-liners.

Monday, June 8, 2020

A visit to a local used CD store

A couple of months back I drove across the USA by myself, specifically from New York to Nashville to see a live wrestling event. I saw Ring of Honor: Bound by Honor at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, and was satisfied with how the event panned out. I sat in the second row.

A week later I found myself in Baton Rouge, Louisiana looking for something to do. One of my favorite hobbies is to peruse book stores and CD stores. I don't really listen to vinyl. I own about 10-12 vinyl records, and at a time I did listen to them, but I prefer CDs. There are some vinyl records I've recently become interested in, but I don't have a record player right now so those'll have to wait.

Anyway, in two visits, this is what I bought:

The Ramones - Loco Live
Bauhaus - 1979-1983 Volume One
BeeGees - Number Ones
The Breeders - Last Splash
Mountain - On Top
Morrissey - World of Morrissey

Other stuff: I almost bought Daft Punk - Random Access Memories, but skipped out on it, and when I returned it was gone. I noticed one album that caught my eye which was one of Jack Endino's band's albums, I think they're called, "Skin Yard." I bought a copy of the Armor for Sleep CD "Smile for Them" during this time also. I asked the owner if he had any Sly Stone CD's, he had some compilations (inside of a locked glass case) but I was looking for a particular one he didn't have. I also asked about Deep Purple's "Machinehead" which wasn't there.

The store was called, "The Exchange" and I recommend visiting, they have a lot of stuff you don't normally see, including B-sides, CD singles, rare albums and more. The owner was also friendly and interested in helping you find whatever it is you might be looking for.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Movie Review)

I just watched this classic for the first time since the movie's release, in 1994. I may have caught bits and pieces of the film on TV re-runs, but haven't seen the full movie from start to finish since at least 1996, or so.

Watching it back at age 32 gave me an opportunity to understand the movie more thoroughly. Before I dive into all of my opinions, a quick note. "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," at just under 90 minutes, is the perfect length.

The plot of the movie back then was confusing for me, because I was 8 years old in 1996. I didn't understand the twists and turns of the story-line, and didn't understand all of the jokes.

What's actually hilarious is that when I was a little kid, in the climax of the movie, when Finkle is revealed to be Einhorn... I thought that Lois Einhorn had crapped her pants and there was a big load in her underwear, which is why it was funny.

As an adult, I realize it's actually because Finkle had just tucked his junk in between his legs and the "load" is actually his man parts. Heck, maybe I'll re-watch this film in my 60's and realize I was wrong back in my 30's as to why this scene is humorous. It's all up for debate.

My other takeaways from the film involve some of the less than kid-friendly humor that's thrown in, and how it's sort of like a rapid-fire collage of scenes. "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" doesn't drag whatsoever. The relationship scenes between Courtney Cox and Jim Carrey are pretty enjoyable. I'd even venture to say the scene where they argue while in poolside lounge chairs is borderline endearing and dare I say, realistic.

Another scene that stuck out for me is when Ace breaks into a Los Angeles apartment complex. There are some shots interspersed that present a cool juxtaposition between a realistic look at life for some (either hard-working, or lazy) American one who likes to relax at his home and watch TV, and the cartoonish and very Hollywood character that is Ace Ventura, who scampers down the apartment complex walkways to eventually interact with this person.

I think the reason why this movie became so popular and such a phenomenon is because of the easy-to-understand, facial-expression-based humor from Ace. The over-the-top slapstick humor appeals to small children who relate to the type of interactions you see on Bugs Bunny, where every gesture is hyper-exaggerated.

The film also appeals to adults, with a somewhat complex detective/mystery subplot, and the macabre look into a disgraced football player who goes mental, and then changes his identity to become a woman in order to plot revenge on... a mega-famous archetype of Americana and pop culture, but also someone who is flawed himself in never having won "The Big Game," ... Mr. Dan Marino.

The writers certainly tossed every idea into the script except for the kitchen sink, and Jim Carrey pulls it all together with his performance.

"Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" combines gags, a light-hearted and easy-to-follow detective story-line and more complex and sort of "scary" elements. It accomplishes a lot in a short amount of time.

Classic VHS Review: Interview with a Vampire

I first heard about this movie when Richard Christy (Howard Stern) talked about it on the radio and how he had a "moment" with ano...