Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007: A Year in Review.

Last year I began my annual faves list—my top 3 favorite examples in each of the categories I blog about. And I have to admit, even though it’s been a fun year for Music, Movies, TV, Cars, and Design, there didn’t seem to be that many solid standouts (accept in the music category). So remember this isn’t necessarily the “Best of 07” or anything like that. These are just a few of my favorite things…

Top 3 Favorite Albums

3. In Rainbows: Radiohead—This smooth, laid back album is all about the groove. It is more or less a collection of refined jam sessions. Now with most bands this would probably be a bad thing. But anyone knows that with Radiohead this is nothing less than a jem. Not to mention In Rainbows has single-handedly pronounced the record industry dead on arrival. Standout track: All I Need.

2. Sky Blue Sky: Wilco—The first time I ever heard this album, (Upto12 had given me the CD that came with his gorgeous LP set) we were on our way to a reunion in Tahoe. That couldn’t have been a better intro to this throw back of a rock and roll album. Yeah that’s right, rock and freaking roll. You can’t help but melt to its sassy steel guitar. No joke, you’re actually bummed when the guitar solos are over. Sky Blue Sky is Americana, albumified. Standout track: Impossible Germany.

1. Neon Bible: Arcade Fire—So this is a no-brainer. Ever since this album was released (actually since before its release, hehe) I’ve probably listened to it at least once a week, if not more. In fact, I listened to it yesterday and I’ll probably listen to it tomorrow. I’d have to say it’s near perfect, and seeing them live has made it all the more listenable. I’ve realized that Arcade Fire has basically been raised with my same musical education as far as what was popular through our teen years and the effect things like MTV have had on us. The sounds of Neon Bible have totally confirmed that fact to me. Standout track: This one’s tough, but I’m goin' with Intervention.

Top 3 Favorite Movies

3. Hot Fuzz—Is it an action movie or a satirical comedy? Is it an homage or a slasher flick? In a word, yes. From the dudes that brought us Sean of the Dead—comes the movie that glorifies flicks like Bad Boys II and Point Break. The irony is that this satire is a better movie than the films it’s supposedly honoring. It’s better written, more entertaining, and in the end is an all out better action flick. Standout moment: the biting ginger kid.

2. The Bourne Ultimatum—During a time in filmdom when every action movie and its dog were doing knockoffs of the Matrix’s slow-mo, Bullet-time effect—The Bourne Identity came along with rapid-fire, real-time fight sequences. The extreme shaky-cam follow-up The Bourne Supremacy was next, directed by Paul Greengrass. The final installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, brings Greengrass back with what seems to be the perfect balance of stunning, real-time action sequences, captured by not-too-shaky handheld camera movement. They seriously put cameras in places I’ve never seen them be placed before. Which easily made this flick one of my faves of the year. Standout moment: Babco™’s VW Touareg commercial that actually uses Edgar Ramirez from the movie.

1. Juno / Dan in Real Life—For the first time in Kyailty history I have a tie for favorite picture. Here are two flicks both with intriguing twists on real life situations. They’re dramadies that once again fit my profile for the ideal Kyality-style movies: tight scripts, high levels of production design, and killer soundtracks. These flicks had tons in common, they’re both brutally uncomfortable, laugh-out-loud funny, and extremely emotional all at the same time. The attention to detail is off the hook in both cases, for example Dan is still wearing bowling shoes long after the fiasco at the lanes and if you look hard enough you can see a hamburger phone in Bleeker’s room too. The dialog and delivery works so well thanks to acting chops of Ellen Page and Steve Carell. And both had great tunes that end up stuck in your head the next day—in the good way. Standout moments: acoustic guitar / vocal duets by Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Steve Carell, and Dane Cook.

Top 3 Favorite TV Shows

3. Chuck—From the guy that brought Cameron Diaz shakin’ her booty as one of Charlie’s Angels comes the spy series for the rest of us. Just when you were through with thinking your way through stuff like LOST and 24, Chuck is just plain old fun. It eliminates all of the stretching of the imagination and the need to have seen all the previous episodes of most spy-like shows. Plus there’s great music, biting humor, and hot chicks, need I say more? Standout moment: Black Friday at the Buy More.

2. The Office—Everyone knows that Season 3 rocked the house down, but most people kind of seem to think that Season 4 hasn’t rocked as hard. I’m here to officially say that it rocks even harder. Yes, corporate Ryan is freaky, but Jim and Pam have held their own, Kelly has cranked it up, and the coupled-up Michael and Jan are an unreal-in-a-good-way pair. Not to mention, Moes is my new hero. When you look at this series’ entire story arch, you’ve got to admit when many series crumble, Season 4’s had all the right twists in the right places. Standout moment: The that’s-what-she-said deposition debacle.

1. Pushing Daisies—So I’ve talked this series up quite a bit. But once, you’ve seen an ep your hooked. And I haven’t known anyone who’s seen the thing who wasn’t become a fan. Simply put, it’s infectious. This ultra-complex premise proves that the right writers feeding lines to the right actors can provide for a totally compelling series, no matter how intricate the storyline. Standout moment: Chuck’s super-cute mod dot dress.

Top 3 Favorite Cars

3. The New, New MINI Cooper S—For 2007, MINI completely redesigned their Cooper and Cooper S models without a single screw carried over, though you might never notice. In order to comply with new EU pedestrian safety codes, the MINI Cooper is wider and longer, but not taller. All of these changes were made merely to accommodate a few extra inches of height on the nose. In the process the S went from a supercharged model to a turbocharged engine, which apparently means more horsepower, more speed, and better gas mileage. At first I hated this thing, it looked like a deformed MINI to me. In fact I opted for a 2006 because of it, but for some strange reason it’s totally grown on me and in many ways it now seems like a killer update to an already damn good looking car. And as SouthernJ can attest, the turbo can out-spool the supercharger on the tarmac. Standout feature: available JCW 18” R105 matte black rims.

2. The Fiat 500—Where the Smart Car can feel like a soulless deathtrap, the all-new Fiat 500 comes off like a hip, economical micro-car with a Synchronicity-style Vespa for a mom and a Monte Carlo rallye car for a dad. When it all boils down to it, green technology will only get you so far. At some point every SUV driver with a soul will have to realize that more mass = more energy to move it. Micro-cars are the future and if they’re actually this cool, bring it on. Standout feature: Fiat’s amazing “Video Configurator”.

1. The BMW 3.0 Biturbo Engine—Okay, so this isn’t a car per se, but it is inside of several Bimmers and will be inside of many more. BMW has built what’s being called the perfect engine. It’s lightweight, it’s fuel-efficient, and it’s brutally fast. Essentially the wizards in Munich have taken BMW’s classic straight six from a very respectable 230 horsepower to a bit over 300 horsepower. Best part—no turbo lag. There are two, count them two turbo units; the second is timed to compensate for the lag that inevitably comes from the first. They’ve already dropped the new biturbo into the 335i and 535i. But we’re all anticipating the 135i to set the new benchmark for modrodding in 2008. Standout feature: Audi S5 killing power.

Top 3 Favorite Designs

3.—Music videos can take a hike. This thing changes it all. Coming from working in the interactive design industry day in and day out, this site actually cuts through the clutter and made my job feel cool again. So many sites these days are merely marketing tools to the max. This one on the other hand turns the medium into art, using it to enhance, entrance, and entertain. Props once again to the kids from Montreal for taking Neon Bible to the next level. Catch Upto12’s post on the topic here. Standout feature: Embedded Flash Video assets used in a totally new way.

2. Sky Blue Sky Album Art—There’s gotta be some reason why two of my top music picks are showing up in my top design picks this year too. The collision of media will continue to happen more and more. And in a world where you’re interfacing with your Album Art more and more, you’ve got to appreciate the guys that are taking the time to seriously do it right. When Mrs. Kyality and I saw this cover, we actually considered turning it into wall art for our living room some how. Standout feature: it looks fantastic sitting next to the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album art.

1. The Apple iPhone—I’ll be honest, when I was watching Steve Job’s unveiling of the iPhone a year ago. I looked at it and thought: I guess it’s cool, doesn’t look very Apple. What I didn’t realize was that I was looking at the future of Apple’s design. Jonathan Ive’s changed the world, yet again. Function and form have never looked or felt so good. And when this thing is paired up with the new, new iMac—everything sorta clicks and you get it. You can see precisely where Jony is heading with Apple design aesthetic in the next three to five. And talk about the collision of media, never before have you been able to interface with your music, movies, TV shows, and album art in such a ridiculously seamless and tactile way. Use one for a week and you’ll be a believer too. Standout feature: uh, the fact that I’ve rigged the Cooper S so that I can dock the iPhone in the cup holder.

Bonus: Favorite Ad Campaign of the Year: Lauren Wallace—Geico (It’s Lauren not Warren, trust me.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Have A Very MINI Christmas.

Mrs. Kyality rocked the house down this Christmas with the definitive Kyality-style publication: MINI The Book by Peter Würth. This book starts out by describing the first decade of the new millennium as the age of design—where disciplines intersect into cross-genre art that fuses fashion, music, media, design, architecture and narrative into a single product family.

The book chronicles the cultural impact of the old and new MINI and interweaves all kinds of products that jive with the MINI lifestyle and its design principles. These products include things like the iPod, the Loftcube, and the Lecia Camera.

MINI The Book is a gorgeous must-have for any MINI owner and/or design buff. Well played Mrs. Kyality, well played. PS: Look for my 2007: Year in Review post, coming soon to an internet connection near you. Just gotta get a couple more flicks in!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It’s All About the Album.

So, not many people know this little fact about me, but other than Upto12, I was the first person I knew of to actually own an iPod. And at the time, Upto12 was living in P-town (so he didn’t count anyway). It was a 10 gigger super-brick complete with a remote control, the first track wheel, and a full FireWire hook up. I nearly filled it up with hundreds upon hundreds of my favorite songs, but with only a few choice tracks per album. I had everything on there, from Kyality classics like R.E.M.’s Drive to one hit wonders like Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles.

The only setting I ever used, and I mean ever, was Shuffle. I’d hit play and let that thing rock from one artist’s track to the next. The goal was to create the unskipable playlist. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of The Gash by The Flaming Lips backing right up into the opening strums of Paradise City by GNf’nR. I’d actually pump my tunes into the airwaves at work—it was like I was the DJ of my own little radio station—unabashedly mixing and mashing tracks from one genre to the next.

I honestly don’t know what’s different now but unless I’m working out—there’s no way I can do the Shuffle anymore. Nowadays, it’s all about the album. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s exactly changed over the past five years of my digital music life. Why have I ceased all Shuffling and have since insisted upon rockin’ the album side of things?

Here’s what I’ve come up with. First, my digital music library has probably quintupled in size over the past few years—so albums have become a way to organize my vast amount of music files. They function kind of like “Events” in the new iPhoto. Second, album art has become a part of my digital lifestyle. Whether its Apple’s iTunes Artwork screensaver or scrolling through Cover Flow, I’m interacting with album art on a daily basis.

Finally, I’ve noticed that several of my favorite artists—most likely due to the fact that their tracks don’t even get played on the radio—aren’t making “singles” anymore. They’re actually composing albums once again. Like The Beatles and Pink Floyd before them, artists are bringing back the album in full force. Take for instance Arcade Fire's Funeral, you just can’t listen to Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) without listening to Neighborhoods #1 and #2 first, (Tunnels) and (Laika) respectively.

In fact due to this new wave of album-centric artists, I’ve disabled the Shuffle function on all of my iGear, whether it’s Tunes, Pod, or Phone. Though I admit, I haven’t yet disabled the Shuffle on my Shuffle. I guess I still like my Deee-Lite mixed in with a little bit of The Killers when I’m hittin’ the elliptical.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Parable of the Concept Car.

In October of 2005, Steve Jobs described to TIME Magazine a phenomenon he called the Parable of the Concept Car: "You know how you see a show car, and it's really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, What happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands! They grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory!

“What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea. Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, 'Nah, we can't do that. That's impossible.' And so it gets worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go, 'We can't build that!' And it gets a lot worse."

Last year MINI fans were stunned and excited by the unveiling of the super cool MINI Traveller Concept. It was rugged yet sporty. It was MINI but not Cooper. It was fun but also functional. Basically it seemed like a great way to extend the MINI product offering without treading on the Cooper—which was already working so well. In fact, I’d bet that most current MINI owners were just like me when they looked at it and thought: Yeah, I’d rock one of those too!

MINI just announced the release of their new 2008 model based on the MINI Traveller Concept. Apparently it’s called the MINI Cooper Clubman. Okay, so granted it's really just a Cooper with some serious junk in the trunk, but it’s by no means a bad looking rod. The problem is the classic phenomenon that Jobs described—none of the innovations that made the Traveller so amazing were carried over to the production version! It’s seriously just a longer version of the Cooper—exact same design, exact same engine options.

And why? Why tempt us with the multiple fogs, a cool spare tire solution, gear compartments and extra-wide doors? Why tempt us with a vehicle that could complement the current MINI, then just come out with a dumbed-down, additional body style instead!?! I honestly just don’t get it.

Last week, MINI updated their corporate site with a Build Your Own section for the Clubman. And I’m glad to report that with the addition of the right accessories, you can actually get the Clubman looking quite a bit like a Traveller. But again, even with that degree of accessorizing, I guarantee you’ll never see anyone rollin’ with both a Cooper and Clubman.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finally At Home In The Modern World.

I’m going on my fifth year of Dwell Magazine subscriptions. I love architecture, especially mid-century modern, very geometric design. Over the past years, I’ve read about urban renewal, prefab projects, loft living, and off-the-grid green. Yet I’ve always thirsted for articles more suited for the common family, because let’s face it, sometimes you just want a big backyard, some babysitter-age neighbors, and a cul-de-sac for impromptu kickball tourneys.

After four plus years of constantly lusting over a myriad of modern marvels—Dwell finally released the issue for the rest of us. Their latest installment celebrates suburbia and even showcases a modern reinterpretation of a totally typical tri-level (just like what we have).

This issue exposes the classic subdivision as a critical solution to a unique time in North American history. And despite extraneous things like inoperable shutters and excessive vinyl siding—these homes typically have bones worth preserving. The theory they put forth, with which I completely agree, is that living in and redesigning these homes is a form of sustainability.

Granted a vast majority of the featured renovations cost bucks deluxe—but I can honestly say that I was totally inspired by this particular article. I most likely felt this way because for the first time a Dwell-featured redesign actually seemed attainable. The previous issue did have an article showcasing a modified, blue Cape Cod—the very color and style of my childhood home. And that was inspiring as well; there just ain’t too many Capes out here on the West Side.

Simply put, there is power in good design. And good design can be applied to nearly any image, object, or dwelling—no matter how mundane it may seem or how humble its beginnings. Good design can give spirit to sprawl and turn 'burbs into Bauhaus.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Red Porsche Is My Maroon Golf.

On May 14, 1998, the nation united to watch the much anticipated series finale of the show about nothing, Seinfeld. About 4 minutes into the finale, I knew that for me the real series final had actually aired one week earlier, on May 7th. In my opinion “The Puerto Rican Day” was the last genuine Seinfeld episode and the true series finale. This episode featured each of the characters at their finest—even Kal Varnsen, H.E. Pennypacker, and Art Vandelay made appearances. This episode also introduced one final nemesis to Jerry and his Black Saab: Maroon Golf.

This episode introduced a new concept to me, the combining of driver and vehicle to become a single entity. Maroon Golf was the combination character of a vehicle (a maroon VW Golf) and a driver (in this case, comedian Mario Joyner). From that point on, I’ve designated my share of freeway foes in a similar fashion. And for the past couple of weeks the same dude has pestered me nearly every day: Red Porsche.

First let me say that his vanity plate is the biggest oxymoron ever: UNDRADR. Pa-leeze Red Porsche! Seriously, you couldn’t be more over radar here in good old West Jordie. Other than the inaccurate license plate, Red Porsche is actually a fairly competent archrival. I mean, the guy’s a decent driver, he understands the rules of engagement for a quality game of cat and mouse, and our cars are fairly comparable performance-wise.

So on Thursday last week, I once again encountered Red Porsche on the way into work. I made sure I was right behind him as we merged on to the freeway. As soon as he was on the open road, he took off. Now there’s no way for a 2006 Cooper S to catch even a 1989 Carrera in a 0 to 60 scenario, or in this case a 45 to 85 scenario. But I’m patient, highly maneuverable, and I know that to succeed in a freeway game of cat and mouse—you’ve got to think of it like chess. You play 3 moves ahead.

Basically, I just drove pretty normal, using stratagem with each lane change. We exchanged leads a couple times. I knew all I needed to do was be about a car length away before “the curves”. Meanwhile, Red Porsche, made some clumsy moves and ended up behind a delivery truck putting him in perfect position for an old fashion smack down. As we drew nearer to the curves, I was right on his tail. I could tell he was accelerating just a bit too much into the first curve. I on the other hand did the usual: geared down to 5th and let off the gas, then as I entered the turn, and geared down to 4th. We were both in the outside lane. Then right at the sweet spot, I gunned it, changed to the inside lane, and sling-shotted right past him. Booyah.

Oh Red Porsche, when will you learn?

On a side note, Best Buy mislabeled the newly released DVD of Seinfeld’s 9th and final season today. It was supposed to be $29.99 and it was marked as $16.99. I actually brought it to their attention, but the pimple-faced “manager” shrugged and just asked me if I wanted it or not. Booyah.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Maybe The Trekkies Have A Chance.

So every fall, Mrs. Kyality makes a list of all the new shows that we’re supposed to check out. We typically sit thru the first few minutes of several different premiers and I admittedly get my kicks out of sniping the crappy ones with the flick of the remote. This season, there’s been one standout that hasn’t received a swift execution, ABC’s new show: Pushing Daisies.

This show’s the brainchild of former Star Trek writer Bryan Fuller. In the heyday of DS9 and Voyager, Paramount had an open script submission policy. Fuller submitted a script, got it produced and eventually worked his way up to co-producer status on Voyager. Since then Fuller has been best known as the co-executive producer of a show I totally don’t watch: Heroes. But this season he left NBC and Heroes to start his very own series.

Pushing Daisies is a fun, surreal combination of Amelie and Big Fish, with a hint of The Royal Tenenbaums. It tells the story of Ned (Lee Pace) a dead-reviving pie maker who accidentally revives his childhood girlfriend, Charlotte 'Chuck' Charles (Anna Friel, pictured above).

The writing is witty and multilayered. The acting is strong and silly in a good way. And the special effects are very tongue-in-cheek and dreamlike. But the best part of the show is Chuck. She’s the uber-positive, walking-dead with a serious Jenny Lewis thing goin' on.

We’ve been watching beautiful, hi-res episodes on’s killer Full Episode Player. And after each one, you can’t help but smile and you definitely thirst for next week's. Pushing Daisies airs on Wednesday nights, but the eps are online and ready to stream the very next day. Bottom line, if anything good ever did come out of the late 90’s Star Trek franchise, it’s this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Helvetica Is Your Friend.

I love when I can write about events in which my blogging topics collide. This post is about the collision of filmmaking and graphic design. Last week, I went with a bunch of co-workers to an AIGA event to see a movie about a font, yes a font. And it wasn’t just about any font, it was about the font: Helvetica. Which was perfect for me since I tend to use Helvetica like Wes Anderson uses Futura.

This documentary outlined the inception, usage, and future of the most loved and hated font of the past 50 years and this ultra-nerdy-designer-flick rocked the house down. The question they pose is this—should a font communicate a feeling in and of itself or should a font be neutral, forcing the viewer into the content in order to get the message? It was a bit surreal to see and hear some of the most important graphic designers of our day either tear that font apart as a soulless piece of air or uphold it as a literal representative of perfection.

What made me love this doc was the exploration of a concept that I totally believe in—finding art in the mundane, daily things that surround us. Through all the differing views, one interviewee cut through the clutter. Michael C. Place of Build, London really brought things into perspective. He more or less put my own thoughts into words. Basically, he said, hey it’s a great looking font, it fits nearly any scenario, but most importantly there’s an inherent challenge to make something beautiful out of something that’s seemingly ordinary (see image below). This is the very reason that I find myself using Helvetica in my own designs from time to time, either that or I’m just a no-talent wannabe who only knows like four fonts anyways.

So if you have a chance, check out Helvetica. It’s a Veer production and it has great music, fun editing, and horrible interview lighting that can be pretty entertaining at times. As ridiculously boring as a flick about a font sounds, if you’re into docs, design, or both it’ll definitely be a rewarding eighty minutes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Concerts, Concerts, And More Concerts.

Have you ever noticed that the indie kids all call concerts “shows”? Does anyone out there in Blogland know why they do that? Anyways, if you can’t already tell, I’ve been going to a lot of concerts lately, you know—shows. Last weekend we cruised down to Vegas for Mrs. Kyality’s bro’s super-Vegas-style wedding—to which I wore a bonafide classic tuxedo tee—no joke.

After the harmonious ceremony and the awesome reception at Cheeseburgers, we went with Upto12 and the Mrs. to see Rilo Kiley at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It was a pretty sweet little venue. We skipped the crap opening bands—what is with these crazy, screaming chick combo bands anyways.

We showed up just in time to get great spots for Rilo Kiley’s opening. Now for those of you who don’t know the band, it’s basically got two frontmen, well and frontman and a frontwoman: Jenny Lewis who’s hot and who everyone’s actually there to see and the other guy. So here’s the deal, Jenny launched her solo debut album last year to critical success and more sales than any Rilo Kiley album to date. At this show, Jenny was just doing her thing, but you could tell the other guy wanted the spotlight. Plus they used to date, so the on stage tension was even more amplified.

The other guy’s stage banter was out of control and he was annoying the crap outta me. Plus he played a solo ukulele song that made him look like a lobster, so I just started venting, loudly about how much of a tool this guy was to my concert-going compatriots. Bottom line: the concert was really good, but the other guy could definitely take a flying leap and Rilo Kiley wouldn’t skip a beat.

Toward the end of the show, the other guy took a moment to thank his sister for attending. Right then a spotlight landed on me and heads turned—sure enough the other guy’s sister has been standing right next to me throughout the entire show! She without a doubt had to have heard a vast majority of my venting. And to make me feel even worse, the other guy offered up an amazing cover of my favorite Jenny Lewis track “Rise Up With Fists”, which rocked the house down. Yes, I was the tool.

On the following Monday afternoon Upto12 IMed with a question: “Do you want 2 second row tix to see Morrisey in a barn tonight?” Let me just say if anyone ever asks if you want to see Morrisey in a barn, there is the only answer there is to that particular question.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sometimes You’ve Got To Rock ‘til The Cops Come.

So I’m in SF on a biz trip and while wandering back to the hotel after a long day of thumping the pavement, we came across a good old fashion street party. The fun started with the sound of hip drumbeat and a scorching guitar. At first I thought the tunes were coming from inside a local bar, but I soon realized that they were actually coming from the corner of Geary and Powell.

A small crowd was dancing and grooving to some relatively pretty good beats, in fact I’ll admit that I thought (hoped) the band was somebody well known. Even though I didn’t recognize them, they rocked pretty hard. I caught myself thinking, not bad, not bad at all.
After listening to a couple songs, I said, “sometimes you’ve just got to rock ‘til the cops come.” Not even a second after I thought that, a cop car pulled up and a hulking patrolman stepped out of the car and crossed his arms. The crowd danced even more once the cop was there, which was awesome.
Once that particular song was done, the band thanked the crowd, broke down their equipment and started loading it into a little Nissan pickup. I asked the drummer what they were called and he said “Hills and Jackets”, I thought it sounded weird, so I asked him again just to make sure. I guess that’s what they’re called…

I can’t find anything about them online, so if you know anything let me know! But I’ll tell you this, there ain’t anything wrong with a little rockin’ ‘til the cops come.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've Been Tagged, And Not In The Body Spray Way.

Okay, this is not commentary on music, movies, TV, or design. Nevertheless (yes, it's one word) thanks to Babco™—I've been tagged.

Jobs I have had:
1 – Passport picture taker guy
2 – Telemarketer-extraordinaire
3 – Assistant (to the) Director of Marketing
4 – Executive Producer

Movies I could watch over and over:
1 – Back to the Future
2 – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
3 – School of Rock
4 – About a Boy

Favorite TV Shows:
1 – The Office
2 – Lost
3 – 24 (when it doesn’t suck)
4 – Seinfeld

Favorite Hobbies:
1 – Playing games (a.k.a. SCUM)
2 – Not doing yard work.
3 – Hiking
4 – Driving

Places I have lived:
1 – New Windsor, NY
2 – Honolulu, HI
3 – San Jose, CA
4 – Salt Lake City, UT

Favorite Foods:
1 – Sal’s Pizza (olives only)
2 – Cafe Rio (Pork burrito, black beans, hot sauce, enchilada-style)
3 – Mrs. Kyality’s Pork Chops
4 – Tasty Crust Pan Cakes

Places I'd rather be:
1 – Upcountry Maui
2 – London, Baby!
3 – National Parks
4 – Anywhere Arcade Fire is playing.

Websites I visit:
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –

Who I am Tagging:
1 – Upto12
2 – Snizzle
3 – TheDainon
4 – Justin, join the bloggers my friend, the time has come

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Arcade Fires: Live At Red Rocks.

I actually did this. Yesterday, I was picked up from work at 2:30 by my honey. We caught a flight outta SLC to Denver with Upto12 and his woman. Got there in an hour, rented a gas guzzler, check into a hotel and were looking down at the stage at Red Rocks one hour later.
For those of you who don’t know, Red Rocks is one of the most beautiful and classic music venues in North America. It was put on the international music map with U2’s iconic 1983 performance. We’ve always wanted to see a show there, but it can't be just any old band. It has to be a band with some serious passion, you have to have an anthem or two, and apparently you have to be able to boogie to it.

Without a doubt, the 10-member Canadian rocker band Arcade Fire was the perfect primer for a Red Rock virgin like myself. For a venue that’s known for the occasional rainstorm, the weather was flawless; a stunning view of Denver with stars overhead. The crowd was perfect too. Arcade Fire is just big enough to bring in a serious crowd (the place was about 75% filled), but the band is also small enough to only attract the true believers. You know, the one's who will actually stand during the course of a concert.
What does that mean? It means the perfect scenario. The band rocked, the crowd rocked. Never before have I literally been forced to start dancing at a show. The anthemic, hypnotic grooves laid down by the band—just made you move. It was just what you want at a show for a band you love, a few thousand of your closest friends jamming in symbiotic cadence, to the tunes that’ll keep you thumping the rest of the week. The sing-a-long never felt so good.

Best track of the night: Haiti from Funeral, Régine Chassagne takes the mic on this one. She’s the little musical magician, a cute Canadian version of Gilda Radner who even jumped on the drums for a quite a few tracks (as well as the hurdy gurdy).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Life Aquatic.

For my recent birthday, my wife got me an awesome gift: a Team Zissou T-shirt and red cap. And for some reason, ever since then, I’ve had The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on the brain. I purchased the soundtrack from iTunes and have had it thumping in my car. I also ripped my DVD of The Life Aquatic with an amazing little program called HandBrake and I literally carry the flick around with me at all times.

I completely realize that The Life Aquatic is totally the ultimate hipster "film", but seriously I don’t care. I kid you not that every time I watch the thing, I see new things and pick up on deeper degrees of detail. It’s easily one of the richest movies I can think of. For example, the last time I watched it, I noticed in the scene where the crew is watching an old Life Aquatic episode “Trapped in the Ice”, there are actually little Team Zissou action figures arranged on both sides of the TV set… awesome.

After watching The Life Aquatic for the very first time, I thought to myself this is probably Wes Anderson’s 13-year old dream come true. In fact, I distinctly remembered growing up, drawing pictures of similar expedition teams with cool vehicles and matching uniforms. I even remember building my own little expedition team and vehicles out of my vast Lego collection. I’ve even thought, how cool would it be if Lego actually came out with Team Zissou set! I guess I’m not the only one who’s had that thought.
So check this out. I came across another fan’s blog with a link to this Flickr account. Yes, that’s Steve and Ned in their red caps and Speedos! Though I seem to have enough time to blog about The Life Aquatic, I’m kind of glad I don’t have enough time to take my temporary obsession to this degree. Nevertheless, these photos are awesome and I totally would love to play with the vehicles that would accompany these figures—so enjoy!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

…And Design.

I’ve been blogging now for about a year and it’s been good fun. I was recently asked, why I even have a blog. Well, the reason I’ve chosen to unleash my thoughts and opinions on the world is hopefully to improve my writing skills, which were beginning to wane since the college years. But I’ve also noticed that writing these things has helped me focus my thoughts and be much more observant in my day to day. For what it’s worth I’ve been pretty stoked about my posts.

When I started, Upto12 recommended that I kind of zero in on a few topics. I’m glad he recommended it and I still plan on being fairly focused in my subject matter. But since it’s been a whole year, I felt it was a good time to increase my range of topics just slightly. So I hope you’ve enjoyed my musings on music, movies, TV shows, and automobiles. I’ve decided to start sharing my thoughts on design as well.

As far as design is concerned, I don’t want to limit it to graphic design—so you’ll be hearing what I have to think about art, industrial design, architecture, and even fashion. The trend I’ve been seeing from my little position in the design/advertising industry is an intense emphasis on what I’m calling: living a designed life. This doesn’t mean surrounding one’s self in expensive designer products just for the sake of saying they’re designed. For me, a designed life means I’m looking for products, stores, vehicles, clothes, and media that, for lack of a better word, fit.

It’s all about thought-through integration. For instance, a designed life should be able to show how something like an iPod can integrate into a car, a home entertainment center, and a courier bag from a functional, aesthetic and practical point of view. There are so many companies that are focusing on helping our society to have designed lives, and I’m gonna talk about them.

So sit back, relax and prepared to be informed, enlightened, and entranced by a new look at the way we live our media-intense, consumers-focused lives. Kyality is taking on the rest of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Maybe, Just Maybe.

Just prior to 2002, Bimmer enthusiasts the world over prayed that maybe, just maybe BMW would honor the year by re-releasing the legendary 2002. There were even rumors that the original casts for the body of the 2002 were found, and that BMW was seriously considering re-releasing the identical car with an updated engine and interior. Fans of the 2002 were going ballistic.

As 2002 arrived, two things happened and one big thing didn’t. Much to the chagrin of true Bimmerphiles, BMW was deeply focused on the launch of the new MINI—which obviously turned out to be a good thing. Then BMW released a concept car called the CS1, it was touted as the spiritual successor to the 2002. However, everyone was much more focused on designer Chris Bangle’s controversial “flame-surface” approach to BMW’s new lines. Bottom line, the year 2002 came and went without the re-release of any like unto a 2002.

Now 40 years after the original US release of the 2002, BMW is finally claiming that the successor has arrived to North American shores. This successor has come in the form of the new 1 Series.
The 1 Series hatch has been a fixture in BMW’s European line up for a few years now, but the combination of this car and the 335i’s amazing new bi-turbo engine here in the States is something worth noting. When I saw the pics of the new 135i, I actually felt like maybe they were telling the truth—maybe, just maybe the re-release of the 2002 has finally arrived.

Visually, this car looks like the muscular, little offspring of an M3 and a 2002. In fact, as I was cropping the pic for this post, my daughter saw it and said, “Hey, it’s Tessa’s car!” Which is what she calls our red 2002 for some reason. Performance- wise, this thing is gonna be a WRX-killer. The tuner crowd isn’t gonna know what hit them. The current 335i is already faster than the previous M3 CSL; one can only imagine that this engine in a lighter body will pack an even more powerful punch.

So yes, I want to drive it. It looks amazing in red—it’d be even more awesome if BMW released the thing in orange. I guess the next question is, do they dare come out with an M1 version of this car? Doubt it. Now if they’d just called the thing a 2 Series, I don’t think there’d be any question.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Much More Than Meets The Eye.

So, last Friday I went and saw it: Transformers. Luckily, Mr. RobotsandAngels gave me a good heads up and let me know that I should make sure I walk into this thing as a 15 year-old kid. That wasn’t really a problem—I think I walk into just about any flick like a 15 year-old kid. So this is what I have to say about this movie. Michael Bay should only ever may this type of flick, because it was good fun. Did you catch that little disclaimer? Realize I didn’t really say it was ‘good’, I said it was ‘good fun’.

First and foremost, this flick did a fantastic job of making you wish your car was somehow, someway your very own Transformer. The Bumblebee scenes were awesome. There was a great and very appropriate allusion to the old fashion VW Bug, and to top it off the Bumblebee/Barricade chase scene was as cool and exciting as any classic car chase I can think of. I guarantee that the new Camaro’s top selling color will undoubtedly be yellow.

I was nervous about the robots. From the previews and production photos I totally thought the bots looked way too techie. Seeing them in motion, they just looked cool. They moved right, they transformed right, and they fought right. I still think they brought way too much tech to their faces and expressions—they were just too complicated—but this was pretty forgivable in the grand scheme of things. Bottom line, the animation and effects rocked the house down.

The stand out feature of the entire flick was the performance of Shia LaBeouf. Dude, where did this kid come from? I mean I’m pretty sure he showed up in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, but other than that—this kid came outta nowhere. And he was awesome. I’d say that just about every other character’s dialog was chee-zee, but Shia on the other hand pulled out all the stops. He as witty, convincing, seriously funny, and most importantly there was this perfect amount of tongue-and- cheekiness about his performance. It was almost like he was winking at the camera, like: “Yeah, I know I’m in a Michael Bay flick, but it’s freaking Transformers!”

So I’ve decided not to critique this thing too much, I guess I’ve sort of decided that I’m just gonna like this movie. I’ll admit all the NSA nerd scenes were useless and confusing—why is some young, Aussie babe floating around the Pentagon anyway, I mean, c’mon! But still I’ll tell you right now, this very well could be the first Michael Bay movie that I’ll ever own on DVD, and if you saw my ridiculously clichéd, snobby collection, you’d know that actually means something.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye.

I would just like to officially say that even though I probably hate Michael Bay more than any director in existence, I am still planning to go and see Transformers. Yes, there will definitely be more dramatic, panning, low-angle hero shots than anyone can bear—but still, it’s freaking Transformers! How awesome is that! Honestly, this movie could star Carrot Top and I’d still go see it.

Ever since I watched the pilot episode of the Transformers cartoon as a kid—their escape from Cybertron, I have loved this storyline. My favorite Transformer was and always will be Jazz, the music-thumping Porsche. I vividly remember going and seeing the original Transformers: The Movie with my mom at the Fishkill Mall on my 10th birthday. I full on cried when Optimus Prime died and passed the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus. (Who then passed it on to Hot Rod, who then opened it and became the new Autobot leader—Rodimus Prime. I’m telling you, I know my stuff.)

Here’s what I’m excited about. First, the special effects in this new flick look like they’re off the hook. They’ve nailed how these things should transform in real life—nailed it. Second, I’m also mega stoked that Peter Cullen (the original voice of Optimus Prime) has returned to play him once again. Hopefully the voice talent will be as cool at the original flick, which brought in the skills of actors like former Python Eric Idle, Leonard Nimoy, and the amazing voice talent of one Judd Nelson.

Here’s what I’m torqued about. Why the crap is Bumblebee now some cheese-ball Chevy concept car!?! Who are the ad wizards that came up with that one? A bumblebee is a bug, the car was a bug—this is not rocket science. Seriously, a New Beetle Turbo S in racing yellow would have been the perfect way to update that character. Somebody at Crispin has got to be pissed about missing out on that little product-placement-dream-come-true! (Suckers.)

Anyway. Look for my review in the coming weeks, the movie opens on the 4th of July and it’s going to be awesome.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Don’t Read This, Just Go See It.

Call me lame, but I just saw Children of Men. I’d say around a half-a-dozen close friends (with exceptional movie taste, mind you) have asked me if I’ve seen this one. And finally—I have. So, I know you’re all dying to hear what I thought. Well, first I’ll start with why I didn’t rush to see it in the theater in the first place.

Growing up I was a huge sci-fi movie buff. Even as an elementary-school-aged kid, I treated myself to a healthy dose of futuristic flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Road Warrior, and even Bladerunner. In more recent years, I’ve kind of started leaning away from bleak, post-apocalyptic films. I mean seriously, my favorite movie is In Good Company. (Most people think that’s a freaking chick flick, sheesh.)

I don’t know if it’s been since I’ve had kids, or maybe it’s even due to post 9/11 vibes that I’ve tried to avoid. But whatever it is when I saw the preview for Children of Men, I remember thinking, that’s a movie I probably don’t need to see. I could immediately tell it would be gritty, political, extremely graphic, and disturbing at times—all things I feel really need to be merited in order for me to appreciate them, which rarely happens.

Once the bros started reporting on how great Children of Men was—obviously I was interested on getting my own take. So when the latest free Hollywood Video coupon came in the mail last week, we checked it out. And here’s my take.

Children of Men is a smart, powerhouse epic. Here are the pros. Amazing cinematography and editing—many of you know I am a huge fan of the long take (ie: Unbreakable). There is something gripping about the extended take that pulls you in and allows you to become part of the scene. The production design is mind-blowing, almost scary. To quote the DVD extras, “everything in the scene had to have a reference, nothing was invented.” This concept brought a chilling sense of realism, unmatched by any sci-fi flick I can think of.

The final pro is Clive. Obviously I’m a massive fan of the BMW Films, and Clive was great in those. But this easily proves that he’s an actor to be reckoned with. If he keeps this crap up, there’s no reason to be bummed about getting passed on as the next 007.

Now for the few but important cons—really there are just two. The first is that even though I completely understand that this story is about Clive’s character Theo, I felt like there was little to no backstory for any other character. Not that big of a deal other than I really wanted to care when some one got blown away.

My other critique is minor as well. As far as the themes and messages of the movie are concerned, there was nothing unexpected. What I mean is this: when I first saw the preview, I guessed exactly what sort of take they’d have on humanity, politics, and hope. I was kind of waiting for the thematic twist, the payoff, something unexpected in regard to the message—which kind of never came.

Bottom line: see it and for your own opinion on this one, it’s definitely worth it. And seriously, I just need to stop watching previews altogether.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Getting MINIed.

So I totally got MINIed the other day. I was on my way to work, cruising on a three-lane highway in the center lane and I noticed a silver Cooper S just behind me on left. It eventually caught up to me and we more or less were driving together for a little while.

A couple minutes later, I caught a glimpse of a yellow Cooper with a checkerboard roof in my rearview. He was hauling up the lane on my right. As he was gunning it, I had this notion that he may have spotted us and wanted to catch up. Sure enough, I was right.

The yellow Cooper caught up to us and all of the sudden there were three MINIs—right in a line. I got a nod from the guy on the right and, as if I were brainwashed by the MINI brigade or something, I gave a nod to the dude on the left. (Man, I’m such a dork.)

As we were all lined up there in a row, not letting a soul pass, naturally our speed began to increase. I’ll admit, it was actually kinda fun. What’s interesting is this; I’m coming off of a fairly rare car. And now driving a car where obviously I can meet up with several versions of it on a single commute to work—yet I still feel very much like an individual in it.

On the way home today I spotted my own MINIing moment. I saw a brand new grey Cooper S ahead of me and I saw a blue Cooper behind me. I caught up to the new Cooper S and took my position. Then we waited for the blue Cooper to catch up to us. We waited and waited. But that 3rd MINI never clued in! Oh well, I guess you need have gotten MINIed to know how to give a good MINIing.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Within The Hour.

Remember back at the beginning of the year when I named 24 as my Number 1 show of 2006. I can honestly say that it was. Every episode was cleverly written, action-packed, and wrapped with a big fat jaw-dropper of an ending. It was like a roller coaster ride except the entire ride felt like that moment when you just begin going downhill and start screaming. It was awesome.

Now if that endorsement for some reason enticed anyone out there to start watching this season of 24, I give you my utmost apologies. This season has royally sucked. It’s been a disaster. I’m talkin’ worse than the season when Kim got stuck in a bear trap, stalked by a cougar, and trapped in a psycho’s bomb shelter all within a 20 minute time span. Seriously, this season has literally been worse than that.

I usually tout myself as a viewer who can typically do a pretty good job of suspending my disbelief. But for some reason, I can’t this time around. Here’s what I think is wrong: too much crap is happening to random people, well maybe not more than previous seasons but the intensity of the crap is too extreme. Nearly every member of CTU and the White House staff has been beat up, tortured, shot, and/or drilled. Yes, drilled. Then within one episode, they’re up and at ‘em again—way more so than previous seasons.

Here’s the thing, I DON’T CARE. If the person who’s getting beat up, tortured, shot, and/or drilled isn’t Jack or at least someone very important to Jack, then seriously, I DON’T CARE.

And it’s pretty obvious that this season’s writing has been left to the interns. I swear if I hear the phrase “Within the hour” one more time, I will refuse to watch next season. Yeah, we get it, the show’s in real time, you don’t have to constantly remind us that something is going to happen sometime during the course of an hour long episode—that’s why we are watching.

Bottom line, 24 is about one thing and one thing only: Jack Freaking Bauer. That’s why we watch and that’s what made last season so successful, it was all about him. There have been some eps this season where he’s gotten 5 mins of screen time tops, which is a joke. Honestly, the only redeeming thing about this season has been the introduction of Brother Schroder’s character, Mike Doyle. And seriously, is it just me or is he still sporting the Silver Spoons hair cut?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Think MINI.

If you haven’t heard already—the rumors are true. No, I have not rejected my solid Bimmer upbringing, but yes, I have moved onward and upward from my beloved M Coupe. Heresy you say? Well, for one thing I of course still have the 2002. And for another I’ve stayed in the Bimmer camp and am now driving a new MINI.

To be more specific, yes, it is a Cooper S—a brand new, supercharged 2006. And I have to say, in all honesty, I feel like I’ve definitely traded up. Granted I don’t have the out and out 0-60 power of Coupe’s 3.2 litre classic Bimmer straight six, however I’ve got what definitely feels like way better handling. I’ve got a totally smoother, quieter ride (while maintaining a fantastic little engine growl). 90 feels like 50. And most importantly I’ve had the car for nearly two weeks and I’m still sitting at more than half a tank!

So here’s a quick rundown of the options. Metallic grey paint with a white top. 17-inch two piece alloys. Xenon headlights and fogs. Sport and cold weather packages. White bonnet stripes. Two-tone cloth upholstery, which I dig. Chrome grill and side view mirrors, which are totally growing me. And a goofy cup holder, which I hated at first, but now love since I discovered it holds up a cell phone perfectly! (Thanks for the heads up Justin.)

So bottom line, better handling, way better gas mileage (duh) and zero loss of performance—in fact, I’m gonna say I’ve got a better performing car now than the Coupe. The MINI Cooper S is DEFINITELY a great driving enthusiast’s car. I’m not even joking when I say I’ve actually thought that I might get another MINI for my next car one day! Can you say vader-mini?

Monday, April 09, 2007

No, Seriously. I Do Hate Movies.

Last week a couple of coworkers were (once again) poking fun at M. Night movies in my presence—I’m pretty sure it’s become a game at this point. Then within minutes of that conversation, someone brought up how much they hated Superman Returns, yet another movie of which I’m very much a fan. And a certain Shyama-hating co- worker who will remain nameless goes: “Uh, you like any movie. Seriously, what movies don’t you like?”

This was very bizarre for me, because I feel like I’m an extremely picky movie-goer. I mean, seriously, I hate a lot of movies, but I realized that in order to truly hate a movie I have to have seen it first. Bottom line: I just don’t see that many crap movies. I typically do quite a bit of research before I ever go see a flick. I always find out who the director is, what he’s done in the past. I’ll read a few reviews and ask peeps I know and who’s tastes I understand, who’ve seen that particular movie. Probably the only time I won’t research a movie before I see it is if it’s by a director that I totally trust—you know the Wes Andersons, Steven Soderberghs, and yes, M. Night Shyamalans of the world.

So, just to make sure that I haven’t turned into some anything-goes-and-I-love-it movie dude, I went through Rotten Tomatoe's Top 100 Worst Reviewed Movies of All Time. And I’m glad to say that I’ve only seen two and both viewings happened under atypical circumstances. But just for the record, I do hate movies. Here is my Top 10 Ten List of Worst Movies ever:

10. Pearl Harbor: This is why Michael Bay sucks and his work is represented throughout this list.

9. The Patriot: To quote Harrison Ford (the man who turned down the lead roll) “It boils the entire American Revolution down to one man’s revenge.” Pretty tacky don't you think?

8. Die Another Day: This movie ended Pierce’s career as far as I can tell, and it proves that Halle Berry should have her Oscar revoked (though it did set Casino Royale up for an awesome franchise comeback).

7. The Island: Two words. Action porn. Too much of everything, zero actual satisfaction, and again Michael Bay sucks.

6. X-Men III: Brian Singer obviously was doing something right with the first two X-Men. This probably was the most dismal conclusion to a trilogy ever concocted.

5. Independence Day: No redeeming value. And no, I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to buy that Cousin Eddie from Vacation ends up saving the human race.

4. Daredevil: This movie demonstrates why I hate Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell and basically ruined Jennifer Garner for me for life. I still can’t believe actually she bore his child.

3. Batman & Robin: Anyone who knows me knows I love the Batman. And anyone who loves Batman despises this flick, though once again… it became a fantastic set up for the Batman Begins comeback.

2. Vertical Limit: I should have known better. But it was 50-cent night at the dollar theater in Provo and a lot of people were going. Never in the history of filmdom has any movie spawned more unintentional, laugh-out-loud deaths than this pitiful waste of celluloid. This was known as my Worst-Movie-Ever until…

1. The Master of Disguise: So everyone knows that “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is universally known as the Worst-Movie-Ever. And I’ll tell you right now that it actually is horrid. However, The Master of Disguise is easily ten times worse. When I was a senior at BYU a fellow classmate’s father came to speak to us about the making of this movie. He was a Production Designer for a majority of Adam Sandler’s flicks and this was his directorial debut. So I rented it when it came out on video just to check it out—and honestly I have no idea how I even finished it. What’s hilarious is that all together the deleted scenes are nearly as long as the movie itself. I still have no idea what was even going on in that thing. This was one of the two 100 Worst Reviewed Movies Ever that I’d actually seen.

For the record, the other thing film from the top 100 list I’d seen was actually Taxi, starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. I was sick one day… heard there were Bimmers and Victoria’s Secret models in it… I rented it and I liked it, so sue me.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who Needs 6th Gear Anyway?

Growing up I was more-or-less infatuated with all things European. I was really stoked on two things in particular: British culture and German cars. Even as an elementary school student, I was fascinated with Alfred Hitchcock and Monty Python. I loved British humor/banter and would honestly practice my British accent while lying in bed late at night—a talent I no longer posses (probably cuz I’m sawing longs the second my head hits the pillow).

Anyways, I’d also spend an immense amount of time lining up my Hot Wheels and having “battles”. My list of killer German Hot Wheels included: a black 911, a red 928, an orange M1, a maroon 325 (with doors that opened for flying, of course), and a silver Mercedes sedan—which was always the bad guy.

From time to time I’ll do a quick search for random BMW videos on Google and YouTube. About a week ago, I came across episodes of a British TV show called 5th Gear. This show features the driving talents and fantastic banter of professional drivers: Tom Ford, Jason Plato, Vicki Butler-Henderson, and Tiff Needell. On this show, these drivers take dream cars to their limits. Though they test tons of different rods, you’ll find that they have a strong affinity for German automobiles and do some amazing things with them. So basically, it’s the embodiment of my childhood time-wasting interests. (And the time-wasting part is still in full-force.)

This is the first vignette I came across. It's a throw down between the new Z4 Coupe and the new TT; there’s gorgeous cinematography, great editing, perfect music. Since finding this one, I’ve watched probably 3 dozen 5th Gear eps—they are awesome. Enjoy!

Some additional classics include the new M5, the old M5, a 911 Turbo, the new, new Mini, and a quick little jaunt around the track with Vicki and her mummy in a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Just search for “5th Gear” on YouTube, and you be set for a couple hours of pure autophile bliss.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upto12’s Gonna Be Ticked.

So here’s the update to my previous post on the amazing music rockin’ at my gym in the morning. It’s become sort of a battle; my goal is now to have better music on my Shuffle than what’s playing on the speakers at the gym. I’m picking more obscure bands with tunes that I can still workout too. (Not that easy.)

This morning I started my workout with a healthy dose of Arcade Fire; track one, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), from Funeral to be precise. I’m rockin’ out, doing some cardio—and then I heard it. Intervention, track four from Arcade Fire’s latest, Neon Bible, is blaring on the gym’s sound system. I was jaw-dropped; I just got schooled—again. (Apparently, they’ve got the thing plugged into some XM station; the gym-rat employees had no clue which one.)

Then, just as the song was finishing out, I looked up at the many TV monitors, and right there in front of me, there’s a little newscast on—you guessed it—Arcade Fire. I yanked my headset out of my Shuffle and plugged into the TV’s sound system. John Norris, the MTV News correspondent (who I’m actually a fan of), did like a 5-minute story on the band—and it was awesome. He totally nailed how I felt about both Funeral and Neon Bible. I’ll paraphrase:

“Though no single track on Neon Bible hits the heights of Funeral, the album as a whole, is a more complete and listenable collection.” I totally butchered that quote—sorry John.

Immediately following that great little news story, I once again learned why you should always listen to Jack Black. Wasn’t it he that once said: “It was called rock 'n roll, but guess what, oh no, the Man ruined that, too, with a little thing called MTV!” It was. And immediately following the piece, I was visually, audibly, and emotionally attacked by the Queen of Crap’s new video, Girlfriend—sick.

For those of you that don’t know, the Queen of Crap is of course, her lowliness Avril Lavigne. And that my friends is why Upto12 is gonna be ticked.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Everything's Not LOST.

Alright, I have to talk about what’s been going down on LOST since the mid-season premiere. (First of all, what the heck is a mid-season premiere anyway.) This season has been sort of a strange one, but then again this is LOST. As I’ve said in a past post, I can be so frustrated with an episode, and then in the very next moment it’ll go and completely redeem itself.I’m sure you’ve all heard about the huge viewership drop-off LOST has supposedly been experiencing. This has been attributed to the proliferation of unanswered questions, the elimination of characters we’ve just grown to love, and what’s been called a severe lack of focus. But I don’t buy that. In everything I’ve read, no one seems to mention anything about ABC’s haphazard scheduling or the massive mid-season hiatus, as contributing factors. Will someone in the LOST camp please take a hint from Kiefer and the 24 boys?

So three weeks ago, when this so-called premiere occurred, I was anxious to see how good old Damon and JJ would respond to the criticism. And all I have to say is anyone who has fallen away from the path is seriously missing out. The last three LOST eps have been as good as any. Fantastic acting, killer cinematography, amazing dialog, more answers and even more questions—they’ve been classic.

I’d just like to extend an invitation to all those less-active LOST viewers out there. Please come back, we miss you on Thursday mornings. Suspend your disbelief, grab some popcorn, and rejoin the baffling journey. And maybe, just maybe, Sawyer (or Jack) will get his Kate on and everything will be okay again.