Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bringin’ Back the Buff

Earlier this week Mrs. Kyality successfully guilted me into finally building the new IKEA dining room table I’ve left sitting in its box for the last 3 months—there were just so many screws! But it turned out to be a great thing—not only did we end up with a sexy new table for the Kyality Kids to trash, it gave me the chance resurrect the multi-talented 90’s indie rock band Grant Lee Buffalo and stream them back into my regular listening rotation.

Lead and voiced by the instrumental wizard Grant Lee Phillips, The Buff—as I like to call them—apparently ruled much of the underground LA music scene throughout the 90’s under then careful tutelage of the Godfather of Alternative Music: Michael Stipe. Their sound is defined by a combo of heavy-duty electric and steely 12-strings and a rich mix of other diverse instruments like rockin’ accordions and a deep dark upright bass.

Upto12 introduced me to GLB jut over ten years ago and when the powerful and haunting opening chords to the anthemic “Jupiter and Teardrop(thanks m.) from their debut album Fuzzy lit up our little JBL On Stage speakers, a flood of memories and awesomeness came rushing back. The album rocked so hard, and the table took so long, that I ended up nearly listing to their entire discography including: Mighty Joe Moon (amazing title track by the way), Copperopolis (apparently not on iTunes) and Jubilee. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

J is for Jawa

A somewhat terrifying red-headed co-worker of mine forwarded me this awesome Flickr stream of Star Wars ABC flash cards! The artist is Michael Fleming (a.k.a. tweedlebop). These classically designed illustrations feature some of the more obscure characters of the Star Wars universe including cards such as: P is for Porkins and B is for Bantha. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nerd Alert! Star Trek + JJ Forever

When I was in fourth grade, I was watching cartoons one afternoon and caught a commercial for an all-new Star Trek series called: The Next Generation. I vividly remember trying to convince my parents to leave Shop Rite quickly one Saturday afternoon so I could get home and catch the full two-hour pilot episode. We made it just in time and I was hooked. Okay, I’ll admit it. For the next decade I was a frequent watcher of the various Star Trek series. I can easily say that they totally inspired me to eventually go to film school.

However, ever since high school, I just haven’t been interested in Star Trek much and let’s face it, nothing too exciting has been happening with the franchise… until now. Last summer, when the first Star Trek teaser hit the big screen prefaced by the Bad Robot bumper, you had to know something special was about to happen. Imagine, the Star Trek universe skillfully wielded in the hands of one of today’s modern mystery masters.

Well, Mrs. Kyality and I caught it last night and of course, JJ’s take on Star Trek was nothing less than spectacular. It was a tight narrative that was emotionally compelling but didn’t take itself too seriously. Even the parts that were a bit cheesy were cheesy in a good way. But every detail was considered, casting was spot on and the film was just straight up beautiful. In all honesty, I’m ready to see it again right now. Now stop reading here if you haven’t seen it yet!

The most amazing aspect of this flick is that it was utterly Abrams. Within the opening seconds, JJ pulls an epic Alias Season 2-style twist with a bit of LOST-ian (yes, it’s a term) time travel, which immediately skews the entire film into an alternate timeline from The Original Series that we know and love. What’s simply brilliant about this move is that all of a sudden JJ isn’t required to be bound by the dogmatic Trekkies who demand strict and constant adherence to the holy canon of Trekness. JJ frees himself to play with these classic characters in completely new and intriguing ways. Like I said, fa-reaking brilliant.

So this now beckons the question: do the LOST-ian rules of time travel apply in JJ’s version of Star Trek? I mean, if you’ve been following the radical dialog between Hurley and Miles in this season of LOST, we already know that the classic Back to the Future rules don’t apply. So again the question is, do JJ’s rules of time travel apply across the entire Bad Robot spectrum? If so, according to Miles’ explanation, JJ’s Star Trek is actually a sequel rather than a prequel. Whoa, just blew your mind, didn’t I!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Road Trip Writing

So recently launched a competition. Now they host competitions all the time, but they're usually contests to design cool background pics for their site or something like that. This one however was different, this competition has Kyality written all over it. Here's gist: write a story about your adventure in the new MINI Clubman + Airstream concept in 250 words or less and at the end of the month you could win a set of four Fritz Hansen Series Seven Chairs.

I watched carefully and after seven lame-o entries were posted, I posted mine:

Camped last night at the Seven Sacred Pools just outside Hāna, HI on the far side of Maui. Went spear fishing this morning, caught a big one. We loaded the custom Airstream, strapped our gear to the rack and fired up the matching Clubman, taking the Hāna Highway back to Upcountry Maui. We’re gonna watch the sunset from Haleakalā Crater.

The Clubman handles the Hāna Highway‘s 620 bends and curves with flawless precision, powering through even the tightest of hairpins. The Airstream follows close in harmonious synchronization. Though they are two entities, they travel as one. Together they pass distracted tourists in cheap rental cars with ease. We catch momentary glimpses of about a dozen waterfalls, but let’s face it—they’d only slow us down.

Once we exit the rainforest, we begin the trek up all 10,000 vertical feet of Maui’s grand Haleakalā Crater. Switchback after switchback is quickly chewed up by the fine-tuned turbo lurking beneath the Clubman’s bonnet stripes. We dodge downhill cyclists with sharp and immediate feedback from both the Clubman and its load. We reach the summit and pop the Airstream’s hatch to lounge in our “Fritz’s” just as the sun begins to dip itself into the Pacific.

We’re surfing Pāʻia in the morn. A cold wind picks up. We grab our fleeces; damn I’m hungry. I think about the fish we speared this morning. Luckily I brought some seaweed, sticky rice and my Kasumi knives. Sushi anyone?

As soon as mine was posted about 20 more went up quick—ALL of them in a narrative format. Blimey. Freaking copycats! Come up with your own format. Sheesh. And Upto12, if you post something better than mine, so help me...