Friday, February 27, 2009

fave U2 videos (the lovefest continues)

And so much like El Nino, the coming of a U2 tour every few years sparks a total U2 overload for me. The album officially comes out on Tuesday and with the hopes of seeing them in concert the next best thing is the endless TV appearances they'll make and new videos

With that I thought I'd take a step back list my top 5 U2 music videos...I repeat this is not necessarily my favorite songs (although if you asked for my Top 10, they'd come close)

1. One (restaurant version) - There's something about a guy dressed up like a total badass that makes a video the winner. The leather jacket Bono (actually he's wearing Edge's jacket) is a a winner. My favorite part is when Bono doesn't move his lips at 2:44 when the line is "love is a temple love the higher law ". To this day whenever the song plays and I sing along I don't say those words either. Be the Bono. Be the Bono.

2. All I Want Is You
- Perhaps one of the most artsy videos as the the video is really like a short movie. Plus it has girls and midgets and a circus. What more do you want? Furthermore the end leaves you the feeling of not knowing what the hell happened in the story

3. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
- Irish guys walking around Las Vegas....with the bassist checking out by hailing a cab. Good stuff. Plus the juxtaposition of a character singing a tune looking for religious and personal salvation in a city devoid of both answers is stunning. In the words Bono uses in the song "MoFo" several years later, he's looking to fill a God-shaped hole where there is no God. A fruitless and borderline tragic search

4. Where The Streets Have No Name
- It's LA, it's spontaneous, and it's probably the first U2 video that I can remember seeing. You can see it HERE

5. If God Will Send His Angels
- I love the album Pop and I like simple songs that look cool visually. Enter a diner in Detroit and a band singing plea to God.

Honorable mention:
- Windows in the Skies - Maybe it's not in my Top 10 U2 songs (although highly underrated) but the sheer editting work to make all the video clips appear to be singing their song is pretty awesome

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

U2, "No Line On The Horizon" - Which era is each song?

And so the inevitable finally happened, the new U2 album leaked 2 weeks early. The Austrian affiliate of the label Universal records had the song available for purchased downloads for about 90 minutes. And with that the dam was broken.

Let's just say, after first listen, the album is everything I've been waiting for and more. I know that's a bit of hyperbole, but you try to convince me otherwise.

The most striking thing is how much the Sound is a mixture of classic & new U2. Anyone who obsesses over U2 can tell you that their albums seems to fall in trios of sonic arches (dismissing a live album or two). Allow me to go in chronological order
  1. Boy, October, War - Young, early and adolescent
  2. The Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree, Rattle & Hum - Big sweeping ballads, and song structures
  3. Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop - The birth of alternative meets electronic
  4. All That You Can't Leave Behind, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, No Line On The Horizon - The era of long album titles shows a band trying to get back to their roots, from traditional pop songs to their core of punk rock....and now the ultimate coda that brings everything together
So with that I started thinking: this album is sorta like a Greatest Hits album. But when I say Greatest Hits I mean more from the perspective of the type of sound. So I took my stab at defining which era each track on the new album alluded to....

...and by the way my personal view is that the album breaks up into 3 parts. The first part (in purple below) is about surrender, giving yourself up and being vulnerable. The middle section (white) is a bit of a relief in the form of pop songs. The final section is (blue) is a bit more out there in terms of being desolate and characters backed up against a wall. Some are placed there in varying levels of their own volition, from the dying soldier in "White as Snow" to the guy in "Breathe" who is trying to emerge, and finally the reporter in "Ceders" who's in a desolate place on purpose because that he's reporting . "

But back to my original thesis
  • No Line On The Horizon - Unforgettable Fire + Achtung . Big Epic and loose song structure
  • Magnificent - War. Soaring melodies with straight forward lyrics
  • Moment of Surrender - Unforgettable Fire
  • Unknown Caller - loud and stomping chants...not sure what to compares to
  • I'll Go Crazy - Just a pure pop song in the vein of "Sweetest thing" to "Wild Honey"
  • Get On Your Boots - How to Dismantle. It's like Vertigo 2.0
  • Stand Up Comedy - not quite sure what era this fits in, maybe a bit like portions of Rattle & Hum
  • Fez - Being Born -Unforgettable Fire'ish
  • White As Snow - maybe similar to the sparse "The Wanderer" on Zooropa
  • Breathe -Pop
  • Cedars of Lebanon - dark, sad and reflective...maybe Achtung Baby in tone, but like Pop's "Wake up Deadman" ?

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bobby Jindal...

....why does he talk like:

1) a puppet from the Muppet Show
2) an elementary school educational cartoon
3) a friendly walrus
4) a Baton Rouge tourism board commercial

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

PODCAST: DJ Shakes_2009-02-22 (mostly Indian)
theme: mostly Indian

Okay! So you just watched "Slumdog Millionaire" gobble up a bunch of Oscars and now you're totally into Indian songs that are dancey and kinda sorta filmi....well look no further, bust out your yoga mats and your officially sanctioned yoga clothes.

T R A C K L I S T I N G (42 minutes)

[0:00] Intro - Me
[0:29] LMFAO - Miami Bitch
[2:40] Pete Philly - Motivated
[3:29] Guru - Stand Up
[4:24] Coldplay - Strawberry Swing
[7:35] movie: "Slumdog Millionaire" - Aaj Ki Raat
[10:22] movie: "Namak Halal" - Baaki (DJ Akbar Sami)
[12:33] movie: Bombay - Kehna Hai Kya (Jay Dhabi - Mumbai After Dark remix)
[14:30] Jay Dhabi - Mumbai After Dark (Sandeep Kumar Kulture Klash remix)
[18:22] movie: "Thoda Pyar Thoda Thoda Magic" - Lazy Lamhe (Jay Dhabi remix)
[24:38] Karsh Kale - Free Fall (Jayant's remix)
[32:55] Fusing Naked Beats - Zoroastrian Star
[36:48] Fateh Ali Khan - Kahin Mot Se Bhi Na Jao (Gaudi mix)

You'll notice my Indian itch takes doesn't start right away, but I just had to get LMFAO in there...and when I started messing around with Coldplay's super pretty "Strawberry Swing" with a beat I had to work it in too...

PODCAST ME: Simply drag the orange podcast icon on the top left of this page into your iTunes. Or:

1. goto iTunes
2. click on Advanced
3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
4. paste this URL

If the link doesn't work, just message me and I'll upload the file again.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trump to self: You're fired

Sometimes in life the simplest questions are the most important ones.

So Donald Trump has the show the "Apprentice" where he goes around acting like he's the greatest business mind of our era. Truth be told he has made good investments in things...

....but then Trump Casinos filed for bankruptcy yesterday.

This made my giggle like a mofo.

Last time I checked, doesn't bankruptcy tend to happen when you mess up? At some point shouldn't he try to be a wee bit more humble?

Surya, of former "Apprentice" contestant fame, if you're reading surely you have thoughts on this...

Does the Don deserve a nice smack with a baseball bat?

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Monday, February 16, 2009

stereotypes are good / desis on parade

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

a letter from General Mills...

Dear Customer
Thank you for contacting General Mills. Your comments are important to us.

We are committed to making a difference in the lives of our consumers. Feedback such as yours is important to the nature of our business.

We appreciate your loyalty and the time you took to contact us. Please be assured that we will share your thoughts with the appropriate individuals.

Bridget Davis

..and so the dance continues. What kinda response is this anyway? They take a week to give a generic email? Thanks a lot Bridget Davis. Thanks a lot.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear General Mills

Attached below is an email I wrote to General Mills today, the maker of Cocoa Puffs, regarding my cereal incident yesterday:
Dear Mr/Mrs. General Mills,

Firstly General, I would like to thank you for your service to our country. But that's not what has caused me to write today. Yesterday while at work on the morning of February 10, 2009 I was eating Cocoa Puffs and the bowl attacked me and spilled its sweet chocolaty goodness all over my shirt. While the attack/spilling was due to no fault of you, the Cocoa Puffs themselves, or even famed mascot Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, I must admit that it has severely dampened my enthusiasm for the product

One could say that I am no longer "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."

While this unenthusiastic viewport is admittedly temporary I just wanted to inform you that your daily sales for the product may suffer a decline by a bowl or two over the next few days. I pray that perhaps something can be done to re-establish my joy for your product in the short-term....otherwise perhaps it is I, not Sonny, who is in fact cuckoo.

- Shakes
And so that's the email I sent via the General Mills website. I got the automated response saying they received my comment. Now it's the old waiting game...

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cocoa Puffs, Tide stain stick, & Brooks Brothers

Hypothetically speaking spilling Cocoa Puffs all over yourself at work on a Tuesday morning at 8:30am is not the most ideal way to start your morning.

When this happens a lot of things go through you head, namely "What the hell just happened? My shirt is sooo chocolaty!" Even worse is the fact that I had a big internal meeting to go to and let's just say being young and having a chocolate stained shirt isn't exactly confidence inspiring to the others.

After accepting my new chocolaty circumstance I was left with some tough choices. On one hand I can take time cleaning up the mess at my desk BUT each second I do that causes the cereal that's remaining in the bowl to grow soggier and soggier.

This is quite dilemma...and in my case it sets up the idiotic visual of a brown guy (me) wiping my desk with one hand and craning my neck to slurp another bite with the other. It caused more than a few weird looks from the ol' manager. Oh well.

What's even more ridiculous is that I knew he was thinking exactly what was starting to go through my mind: "I am 31 years old and my breakfast habits are centered around eating a chocolate-based cereal, or specifically The Puffs of Cocoa." It's one of those things that make you wonder how you can you look at yourself in the mirror everyday, is this what my life has come to after 4 decades? Well you know what? I look pretty damn good. Even with my cocoa shirt.

What's most annoying is that I wear a sweater EVERY DAY during winter.Of all the days not wear a sweater this was the worst day. I've worn a sweater to work for the past 4 months winning me the nickname of "Sweater Guy" in certain quarters of my floor, and I purposely did not wear one today. It could've perfectly concealed my chocolate tainted shirt

One good thing about being completely paranoid at all times is that you end up being prepared for odd situations. So as it turns out I carry a Tide magic stain stick in my bag to work. It's designed for situations exactly like this. The problem of course is that when I...ahem, hypothetically....when I say that I spilled Cocoa Puffs all over myself, I really mean everywhere (at least on my shirt). So I was using the Tide stain stick like I was bathing myself. I put it on all over.

Sadly it clearly was not enough. So I did the next best thing, ran out from work to Brooks Brothers. My boss doubted that I could make it back in less than hour and another guy on the desk claimed that maybe I would just end up walking outside and crying and then going home. It got me thinking, "There's no use crying over spilled milk" OHHHH SNAP! YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT LINE COMING DID YOU BITCHES !!!

No no no, I didn't think that, but rather "what kinda of people show no empathy over a fellow co-worker who has been attacked by a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and now mock the victim?" That's not change. That's more of the same.


I made it to B.B. (open at 8:30am! how convenient!) bought a sweater (60% off since Winter season is over, also convenient!) and ran back to work in 28 minutes. I am now the proud owner of my fifth black V-neck sweater. Quiiiite a portfolio of warmth. Quiiiite.

Now there's one more funny thing about Tide's stain stick that you don't notice in small doses. While I was wearing my sweater the fumes from the heat or something started going to my eyes. It was like bathing in a vat of ammonia. I was like a human science project gone horribly awry.

So there I was, sitting at my desk at 9:30am with watery eyes and incredibly warm because, well, I had to wear a godforsaken sweater. All I can is that I am less cuckoo for these Cocoa Puffs

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

thank you for filling the "tirtha" to the brim

One of the things which has always caused me pain while going to temple has been getting Holy Water, or the tirtha from the priest. While most Hindu temples have a different setup, the general premise is the same, there is one main alter/God and every 15-20 priest gives a new batch of worshippers an offering of sweets or fruits.

Since you can't really say no to getting food that had been offered to God, these little offerings of raisins, pears, and sometimes bananas typically constitute the extent of fruits and vegetable consumption in my diet.

The real issue is that while these offerings are being distributed one of the priests comes around and puts a spoon full of holy water, the tirtha, and gives it to people in their cupped hands. This usually happens after another priest puts a crown/hat thingy on your head for a few brief seconds (if you're not Hindu, I'm not gonna bother trying to explain this one).

Now if you've ever tried to drink water from your cupped hands you know that well, your hands aren't exactly water tight. Things drip. Religious miracles aside, this also happens with Holy Water too. Who would've thunk! Add to this the problem that usually there's a bunch of Indian people around you who are jostling for space as if they're trying to post up in the paint in basketball. It's a more civil affair in temples in the US versus India, but there's always an element of boxing out. Usually there's some little turd kid in front of your who hits you in the side and you have to sorta bend over them while graciously taking your Holy Water.

It's all quite spiritual. But I digress.

The problem is that you take a tough task (lack of making non-water tight hands, drip-proof) and add an element of confusion (turd kids, other Indians) and you usually get some leakage. Now goal is to drink the water as quick as possible and maybe put some on your head for additional blessings. Now while I may write in a semi-sarcastic tone, I do believe there is good in all this. What is not good is that the priests I witness all this and they turn the heat up by one notch: they overfill each hand with toooo much water. This almost ensure that a mess their delight (or so my conspiracy theory would surmise).

Allow me to explain via analogy. Have you ever had to be the person making the beer run at a stadium and the beer guy fills up your glasses with two much beer. So much beer that the foam gushed on your hands. On one hand you're not gonna tell them to under-fill your glass, on the other hand common sense would lead one to believe that it's okay to leave a little bit of space on your glass. Tirtha is the same way.

I'm not saying beer is holy water, it's just an analogy remember, although it is a liquid with spirit. Likewise the priest could just give you a little less water it you wouldn't end up spilling it everywhere. And as I alluded to, it's not like you can tell him "please give me less blessings, thaaaanks." So you end up dropping a little on someone else, some all over yourself, and some on the floor...

...which you end up stepping in and soaking you sock.

Now I don't wanna be too critical here, but if the priest would just control their dosage of Holy Water this whole mess could be avoided. Please listen priests, for the love of God. Literally.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Grammy live blogging

8:01. U2 hooray!. Bono is wearing eyeliner. whoa.

8:05. Whitney Houston sounds jacked up. While she has a teleprompter no one needs to help with lines. She done more than her fair share.

8:09. The Rock has nice teeth. I've always admired them from afar. Now I'm bearing all.

8:12. I'm 31 years old and I like girls....but 's just call a spade a spade, J-Timberlake is one guy I'd like to spend a lot of time with. Maybe grab a burger at Fat Burger. Drink a soda. Perhaps even eat tacos or catch a movie with.

8:21. Chris Martin wearing even more garish ornamentation than usual. He sorta looks like he's from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band....oh snap Jay to the muthahfucking Z! ...and back to more Coldplay. Oh snap, the whooole band is in the Sgt Pepper get up! It's like a Target commercial showing the joy of colored cotton outerwear! The only problem is that cotton shrinks when washed and it explains why nothing looks like it fits right on Marty boy.

8:32. Old people tributes are boring. Old people tributes to old country music people are boringer. Boringest. If I wanted to watch history I'd watch C-SPAN. Also what is a Sugarland?

8:36. Target commercials make me happy and fill me up with hope.

8:43. Whoa the band that performed, Coldplay, just won. That's never happened. Ever... HOLY FUCKING they just acknowledged my Sgt. Pepper reference! I'm just that good

8:44. Say what you will, Kid Rock is one talented dude. He knows how to play like 7 instruments and he can one good gospel song that doesn't feel like a gospel song. Now watching him singing Sweet Home Alabama in a suit while wearing the "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"-esque hat and sunglasses is damn cool

9:01. I have fallen asleep and now I am awake. I shall take my rib painkillers now.

9:09. I have now viewed the Jonas Brothers. I am less of a man now. And so is Stevie Wonder. He's lucky that he cannot see what he was just in .

9:28. Kanye looks like he beamed in from the 80s. I want to turn my eyes from his aluminum foil jacket and super perm hairdo...and yet I cannot.

9:45. The Rat Pack and a verrrrry pregnant M.I.A. She is definitely not missing in action, she's very easy to spot. Her polk-a-dot outfit leaves something to be desired, namely more clothing. However it does look better than the dress thingy she was wearing before which looked similar to the fat Homer dress/mumu

10:19. Radiohead! Radiohead! Radiohead! ...and Thom is looking exceptionally weird! The high school band is a nice touch, sadly they had a 12 piece orchestra originally slated to appear with them, but they couldn't afford it after they gave away their album for free

10:36. White Grammy Prez guy gives "Yes we can" speech. His street cred soars exponentially but sadly those three words will never be the same again.

10:39. Jamie Foxx is a Top!

10:48. Neil Diamond doing his best lounge-fly rendition of Sweet Caroooooliiiiiine. The band sounded tired, and Neil has seen better days, but at least the crowd got the "So good, so good, so good" part right.

10:50. Neil is done. Now to put him to sleep or make glue out of this old horse. This transitions neatly into The Dead Person Montage. Soon they'll be adding Neil's picture here.

11:30. It is over. I sleep now.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

60,000 hits!

No one on the corner has swagger like us. Swagger like us. Swagger-swagger like us.
60,000 hits.

Great. Now go back to your day.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

blinded by the light

If there's two things I hate in life, it's zebra's and people who have their lights on high beam while they're driving behind you on dark nights. It is with that in mind, that I present you, my reading public, a poem:

I stare at you in my rear view window
Wondering what you're doing back there
Your vision is blazoned on my mind
You asshole your high beams are stuck all the time

I can't properly see any more
Because when I blink I see an oddly colored orb
You've completely ruined my nigh vision
You asshole your high beams are a bad decision

I'm finding myself unable to see where I'm goin'
I'm sorta guessing and assuming there's no one in my blind spot zone
Why did you have to get the after market Xenon brights
You asshole your high beams have ruined my night

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reasons I Hate Montreal

The last time i was flying during Super Bowl Sunday was in 1994 when my high school Model UN and I were flying back to LA from a tourney in Georgetown. The Super Bowl featured Dallas and Buffalo and as luck would have it our trip took us to a stopover in Dallas, right after the game ended, before continuing to LAX.

The only other noteworthy event was when my classmate Josh Anderson bought the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and all the girls in our class complained about what a vile pig he was/is. Go figure.

Throughout my life when my team has lost a big game (or a game I deem as being big, like Kings/Montreal...regular season game #48) I have created a defense mechanism strategy to handle such defeats. I try have a tremendous ability/desire to find things I hate about the victor. I like to create a narrative which concludes with the fact that my team losing is the culmination of a long series of evil events and human rights violations that that victorious city/people/team/country have been willing participants in.

This week's target: Montreal.

Montreal is a worthy target because I flew up to the game with my dad...and the Kings were on the verge of a big upset leading 3-2...only to lose it in the last 2 minutes of the game. Cue heartbreak and sadness. The worst part is that it was a Saturday afternoon game yesterday which meant I had to spend 30+ hours in this ice city...

These are the top things I hate about Montreal:
  1. Everyone makes a big deal about the Canadians having won 24 Stanley Cups. But wouldn't you have a ton if more then half of them were won in an era with only 6 teams. I mean I was the all-time greatest scorer in my living room soccer league but you don't see me hanging banners.
  2. According to our cab driver who drove us to dinner on Saturday night the Habs had an unfair advantage of always getting the top rookie prospects. Apparently this was a rather dirty secret during the first 65 years of the league. Even though the Canadians always finished as #1 or #2 in the league, they'd still get the top picks! No wonder they always won...imagine if the Lakers always got the first pick in every NBA draft. They'd win...even more championships. This news was so shocking to me that I didn't even want to look it up on the internet to verify...after all why would a Montreal fan lie about that?
  3. Newsflash: Montreal is fucking cold. There is no reason to be here 6 months of the year
  4. Parts of Montreal's Underground City do not appear to be underground. This is pure lying.
  5. The refs clearly gave the game to Montreal, enabling them to score 2 goals in the last 3 minutes and win 4-3. In doing so the refs missed an obvious penalty on the game tying goal (even the Montreal player said he got away with one). Even worse BOTH refs were from I sense a bit of a bias? I'm not saying they threw the game for Montreal but they certainly gave them the benefit of the doubt in wanting to escape with their lives. BOOO.
  6. French. They should stop this silly language nonsense and learn to speak American (insert comment by someone telling me that "American" isn't a language and thus ruining the entire joke)
  7. While I don't normally condone the killing of people I feel that refs do not count as people and therefore should be exempted from this clause. Even Batman wouldn't struggle with any conflict in his operating principle of not killing villains.
There. I feel better already.

...God dammit, my flight is slightly delayed and I'm now gonna miss the 1st quarter of the Super Bowl. I hate Montreal.

But I'm sure I will return in the summer to investigage more reasons not to like it.

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