If you are between the ages of 20 and 45, watch anime or use the internet at all, you’ve probably been exposed to the latest anime craze sweeping the globe: Attack On Titan. Attack on Titan depicts a world which may or may not be post-apocalyptic, in which the remaining population of humanity are confined inside massive walls for fear of being devoured alive by freakishly blank-faced humanoid “titans”. The series pulls no punches and is guaranteed to disturb you on some level. Here’s a trailer if you’re curious.
Did I mention it’s on Netflix now? Yeah it’s on Netflix now.
This brings me to Shizzy Sixx, an aspiring rapper who likes to tackle various animated series and video games for his raps. Given the show’s massive popularity, it should come as no surprise that he picked ‘Attack On Titan’ as his latest subject.
As I said, Shizzy has covered a variety of geeky series and what’s more, the guy can actually rap. Really well. I want to give him a proper shout, I hope he starts getting more recognition soon. He deserves it.
Anyway…The initial leaked trailer for the 2014 ‘Godzilla’ eerily quotes Oppenheimer’s “destroyer of worlds” speech as wide shots pan over dead bodies and charred cities, suggesting that the original message behind the first Godzilla film will be at the forefront of the reboot – Godzilla is nature’s punishment to mankind for all the war and destruction we have caused throughout history. ‘Monsters’ director Gareth Edwards also promises that the film will be darker and more grounded, bringing the monster to a modern audience without losing the spirit of the original.
It’s important to keep Godzilla grounded and close to the source material.
This all sounds great so far but you’re still not excited are you? Who is going to star in this thing? What actor has the chops to match up against a monster so large, it could rest it’s chin on the Statue of Liberty? Who could possibly bring a sense of fear, intrigue and intimidation to a human audience when the movie is about a giant lizard with a death-ray breath?
Bryan Cranston. Yes, that Bryan Cranston, the greatest actor in the past decade of television.
And if that’s not enough for you, watch the new spine-tingling trailer for 2014’s new Godzilla film and tell me he doesn’t absolutely KILL it:
The old “This came out 10 years ago, I feel old”. I see these posts on social networking sites often, usually on Reddit. I myself cannot claim innocence in this regard, as I tipped my hat to anime classic Cowboy Bebop just last month. It doesn’t matter now though, because it’s 2014 and I officially feel old. Why is that?
Because 1994 was the year that I fell in love with music.
Yep, 20 years ago.
Growing up I was fortunate enough to have my ears nurtured and groomed by Led Zepplin, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, The Beach Boys, Carol King and of course, The Beatles. It’s easy when you’re a kid. Your parents pop in their favorite record or cassette tape on a warm Saturday afternoon, you fall asleep to Mister Mister playing on some adult contemporary station in the backseat as your parent’s van as they drive you home from your friend’s house or maybe you had that fantastic little Fisher Price radio. You know the one…
Tell me you didn’t use this bad boy to sing Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” at the top of your lungs, envisioning a crowd cheering for you.
…oh you didn’t? Yeah, no, neither did I…
1994 is when things changed for me however. I was heading into middle school, assembling my own rag-tag group of friends that looked like they were ripped out of an episode of Step By Step. Seriously, we had a “Cody”. Our “Cody” used to be the first one to exclaim “Dudes, have you heard this song?”. Which had us all clamoring to find our own music to obsess over and expose to the group. Mine was The Offspring’s Smash.
I’ll never forget the moment I first heard these guys. I was at a laser tag event for the Sunday school group my parents made me join. I despised that group of kids …in ways that I probably shouldn’t describe in a public essay that has my real name attached to it. This laser tag event was probably the only time I was actually happy to be part of the group- these impertinent upper-crust stiff-necks were about to get a taste of my angsty preteen fantasy-vengeance. I still remember all the kids stationed behind their recharge posts, the count-down clock ticking away as the room filled with mist from the dry ice machine. My back was against the wall, my chest tightened under the plastic scoreboard shield strapped around my body and the sweat started to bubble up from under my Darkwing Duck hat. Then I hear it…the rhythmic clinking drums, the subtle, sneaky guitar riff and suddenly-
I don’t remember who won or lost that night. It didn’t matter. That song was all I needed to throw myself into the battlefield like I was Carl Weathers in The Predator. I felt tougher. I had never heard anything like it and I wanted more. I fruitlessly begged my parents for days, until a relative finally snuck the album inside a shirt as part of a birthday present (thanks Aunt Lisa).
From that moment on it was non-stop. Green Day, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains. All of these were released in 1994 and they all still remain in my music collection. These were the albums that got me through middle school, inspired me to keep drawing and made me want to devour as much music as I possibly could. Dookie, Smash, The Blue Album got me obsessed with rock, and though I was a late bloomer, eventually Nas’s Illmatic and Gang Star’s Hard to Earn would play an integral role in my love and fascination with hip-hop.
More importantly, I was discovering this on my own. I was deciding for myself what I liked and how I wanted to spend my own money my parent’s money and gift cards.
Seriously, take a look at what came out that year.
Yes, these records are 20 years-old, but they played such an important role in my life that I feel more warm-nostalgia and less grumpy-“I’m aging too fast.” 1994 was a great year for music. It all holds up for me. Nas still sounds incredible when he flows over menacing piano plinks about the darker days of New York City on Illmatic. Tales of anger, boredom and lust spazzing through buzzing riffs on Green Day’s Dookie bring out a younger, rebellious voice.
So many songs from this era still blend in beautifully with my current playlists. I can easily transition from the gothic harmonies of Bone Thugs to Kendrick Lamar’s soulful re-collective story telling on Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Cake’s gloomy dry crooning on songs like Jolene ease pretty nicely into The Shins’…gloomy dry crooning. 311’s funked-out dance hall grooves still compliment any summer day just as naturally as Weezer’s sappy melodies blaring at a late night party will cause the room to start singing along.
Seriously, if this song comes on during a party and no one makes a horrid attempt to duet with Rivers, you’re hanging out with the wrong people.
But it all comes back to 1994 being the year that my world was blown open. I was exposed to a cavalcade of new ideas and sounds that excited me, causing me to branch from each artist into something new. Discovering Green Day made me curious about punk music, bringing me to learn about T.S.O.L. and the Buzzcocks. It also gave me a taste for speedy licks and heavy guitars, preparing my palette for anything from the Deftones to Queens of the Stone Age. On the same token, the bubbly melodic instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics of R.E.M. warmed my heart to welcome bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Modest Mouse. And I’ll definitely say that Nas and Biggie spawned my insatiable love for rap music…because I’m going to lie and pretend that it wasn’t Kris Kross.
It’s just amazing to me that when I listen to this stuff now it still brings forth many of the same feelings and sensations that I felt 20 years ago. That seem feeling I had when that I first heard the words “you gotta keep ’em separated”.
These records mean a lot to me, I feel they have truly aged well.
Seeing Superman fly for the very first time was something that inspired me to fantasize and daydream about the impossible, to imagine and conceptualize possibilities that were otherwise beyond my comprehension. Through the confused and often-frightened mind of a young preschooler, Superman made me feel like I could become a great person.
I know that I’m not alone. I know there are thousands of others out there like me- maybe it wasn’t Superman. Maybe it was Wonder Woman or Peter Pan. Or perhaps it was Sailor Moon or Goku. A child’s exposure to fictional super-powered figure that stands for justice and cares for the people of the world is a special moment, one that peels back the roof of a child’s limitation. A single, seemingly insignificant moment that has the potential to snowball into anything from becoming a teacher, an artist or just providing emotional support to those who are in need.
In this video, you’re watching that very moment happen for the first time. We are seeing this child’s world change before him. Notice his mystified eyes, watch him pump his fists up in the air. It’s an amazing thing to see.
Maybe I’m just a geek with a big imagination but I really believe that every child wants to become a Superman.
After many months of enthusiastic peer pressure, I have finally taken the plunge into Crosses (usually shown as †††). As a Deftones fan, and trust me I’ll be doing a piece on them too, I really should know better than to pass up any project that involves legendary frontman Chino Moreno.
Crosses is a band that Chino started up with childhood friend Shaun Lopez (Far) and Chuck Doom. The project had been split between two EPs over the past couple of years before Chino’s self-proclaimed “witch house” project was finally compiled into a full album with all new songs and released earlier this month.
The overall feel can best be described as a dark-yet-bubbly ode to dream pop and 80’s new-wave. One of the more prevalent tracks on the album, “The Epilogue”, tempts the listener with a promising Robert Smith-esque build up before plunging into a punchy hook that made me yearn for the earlier days of Head Automatica. A later, newer track “Bitches Brew”, crawls and climbs up a mountain of angst before soaring off into a crooning electrical storm of a chorus that sounds like it should be on the soundtrack for a new Spawn movie.
Finally, we have my personal favorite track, “Telepathy”. I won’t even bother to analyze it. Plug in those headphones and tell me you aren’t overcome by a warm rush of Depeche Mode nostalgia when those horn synths pour in.
Last October, PopCap and EA finally released the much anticipated sequel to their insanely popular “Plants vs. Zombies” series. It was a free-to-play iPhone app, which more or less meant that you could play the game for free but had the option to spend your own money for additional gameplay perks or extra in-game currency. For the most part, these weren’t options that I had paid much attention to. I was able to rock the collective decaying faces of various walking corpses throughout the colorful Egyptian and pirate-themed levels with relative ease.
Popcap and EA just added a new update to Plants vs. Zombies 2 last week…an update that has made me put it down for good.
People are acting like this isn’t a big deal, so let me explain what happened.
In Plants vs. Zombies, you get five lawnmowers as a “safety” in case one of the zombies should happen to reach your house. The lawnmower will mow down the zombie and everything in it’s path, but once it’s gone, that’s it…at least until you restart the level.
In the new update, I noticed that after losing a lawnmower I had the option to “buy it back” using in-game currency. Now this being a “Free to Play” game, the in-game currency takes quite a long time to acquire and can also be obtained more quickly by using your iTunes account to actually buy large amounts it. Interesting, but I wasn’t going to use my coins for a lawnmower. They’ll be back after I fail the pinata event anyway. NOPE. I used some coins to retry the event (I think this is new as well) and noticed my lawnmowers were gone. Huh. So in the events, doing a “retry” will not respawn the lawnmowers. You’ll have to buy them back. Well that sucks.
I decided to return to the main quest for the sake of replaying some old stages to earn some of that precious currency.
Enter stage 1-4. What’s this?
In their place are five “buy this” buttons. This can’t be. It must be a glitch right? It has to be. I mean this is beyond “Dungeonkeeper” evil.
Enter stage 2-5. No lawnmowers. There are no lawnmowers in the entire game, even if I have already beaten the level, even it’s a non-event, even if I’m starting it over.
They fundamentally changed a core mechanic of the game in order to make you pay more. It’s not like a level or a part of the game is missing, no, a part of the inherent gameplay itself is gone and if you want it back you’re going to have to pay for it. Every. Single. Time.
The outrage is more than justifiable, especially as someone who has been supporting these games and the franchise since it’s birth. It’s also no secret that Plants vs. Zombies is now a massively successful franchise. Why do this? I bet EA is really hurting financially and they just need to go to extreme measures, taking the risk to isolate consumers and fans alike, to make a bit more dough.
Free to play is clearly here to stay but this is taking it another level.
I’m done, deleting the game and not looking back until the gameplay mechanics are properly restored. Go ahead and say that I’m overreacting, but if you play them game and found yourself insulted or frustrated by this change, join me.
PopCap and EA actually responded to my rant after it went viral. Whether or not I was part of some randomized test group to see how much they could get away with, they actually went ahead and fixed it. Time will tell if the changes stick, but this just goes to show- sometimes the squeaky wheel actually gets the lawnmower. …grease. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Thanks for taking me seriously guys.
Now I will go back to taking extra long bathroom breaks at w–home.