Archive for the ‘Influences’ Category

Howdy y’all! I would come right out and ask you how your week is going, but this past week has just felt like one of those weeks that…it’s not a bad week, but you’re certainly not getting anything done. I might argue that this coming week is going to be the same, but at the bare minimum I have a film that I have to shoot. I guess I’m properly back to work.

Speaking of film, I’ve been watching a few scary movies lately, trying to find something that will scare me. I’m convinced at this point that a movie will never be able to do it. A movie can freak me out well enough, but when movies attempt to be scary, all I ever do is laugh.
It’s going to have to be something real life that really gets me creeped out. The real life paranormal is something that people like to fight over quite a bit, and it usually boils down to whether you’ve experienced the paranormal or not.
Now, I’m a skeptic of the paranormal, even though I may have experienced it myself. The fact is, I really have no idea what I saw, but…well, let’s start from the beginning…
I used to work at a golf course, and as the days drew to a close, there were always numerous activities for which we had to set out onto the course. One of the things that we typically had to do was go out to the driving range one last time, jump in the “picker”, and clean up the range for the night. I always liked this job because it let me put my iPod on, and just drive around for a bit, while everyone else actually did work. By the time we went out for these final duties, we were all closed up. There was one night I can remember when I was out there taking the end-of-day picking duty, chugging along and listening to my music, when I see a golf ball bounce past me. I thought, “what the hell”, and spun the cart around to aim its lights at the shooting area. There, right smack dab in the middle was some guy hitting balls into the range. I yelled at him that we were closed, but he seemed to ignore me. I think I cussed at him under my breath, and went back to picking in my little rolling cage. I kept my routine moving along, and noticed at one point that he had gone. I finished my run, packed up all my balls, and headed back for the cart barn. Once I returned, I remember asking my co-workers something like, “Was that a Gold Member you let out there? What the hell?” “What are you talking about?” one of them replied. “That dude you let out on the range,” I said, “he was hitting at me for a while.” My coworkers looked at one another and said back to me, “Dude, we didn’t let anyone out there. Why would we? We picked up all the balls from the tee after we dropped you off.”
I decided not to question them any further, but they reckon that I saw a ghost out there, hitting balls in the darkness. I could argue against them all day long, that it’s entirely possible that this person bypassed the clubhouse and just ran out to the the driving range from the road, but no real golfer would hit his own balls out into the driving range. So, like I said before, I don’t know what I saw. It could have been an idiot golfer, roguely taking to the range in the dark and dispatching a box of balls that he payed for…or that I saw a ghost out there working on his backswing. I would wonder what kind of lost soul would spend part of his afterlife working on his slice at night, but I bet that my dad might haunt the course every now and then once he’s gone.

Ghost Golfer

I’m also told that my current workplace is a great place to be if you want to be quite spooked out at night. Most of us are all heading out to our cars when the 4’o’clock whistle blows, and I don’t really know anyone who would stay out there past 6, at least in the warehouse. I don’t know why anybody would come back at night, but evidently a few of my coworkers know that this place makes all kinds of strange noises at night…and that’s also when the critters decide to come out. What kind of critters do we get? Tarantulas…huge spiders. Yea, you won’t find me staying after hours out at the warehouse. I was waiting on the bus at school the other day and saw a spider roaming around that was about the size of a half dollar. I don’t think I could have nope’d out of there much quicker.

Speaking of things that I’ve seen out on campus, there’s a new fad going around. What is the deal with these shark backpacks that I’m seeing everyone going around with?

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This is possibly the most retarded looking thing I’ve seen, unless you’re still in elementary school…and in that case, it’s actually kind of cute. But I’ve seen dozens of people walking about their higher education with these gaping idiot sacks on their backs. This fad may already be on its way out, but it has me wondering…what other fads have we bought into in our careers as human beings, and which are the ones that we are most embarrassed of?

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Who remembers buying into Beanie Babies, either with the understanding that they were going to be worth a ridiculous amount of money later in life, or that they were just ridiculously cute. Yea, I bought a couple when I was a kid…and I think as attention deficit natured as I was I abandoned them almost immediately. I ripped the tags off, didn’t care at all about their potential monetary appreciation after they got back home. Nope, this fad was over even quicker than it came for me.

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Just the mention of this should cause quite a few people to cringe…Tamagotchi. Yea, be honest with yourself…you probably had one. I think I actually had 2. I think I also remember pitching a fit one day at school when my extremely rare evolution went toes up on me. Ah, to be young again.

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Alright, do these look familiar at all? If you say no, and you were a 90’s kid, then what the hell were you doing with your childhood? I’ll make it easier, how about this…

pogs

Yes, Pogs…proof that kids will buy anything if it’s colorful enough. I did it…in fact about five years or so ago, I tried to single-handedly bring Pogs back. That campaign lasted for all of a week, and then I took my Pogs and put them back where I found them, in a dark corner of my childhood closet.
Pogs, it was like the 90’s equivalent of playing marbles. Someone repackaged and glossed up the idea of marbles and unleashed it on us and we ate it up. Whoever can take that simple concept and repackage it today is going to make millions.

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Alright, this is one that I’m honestly not that embarrassed of, because this is where I kind of discovered that writing could be fun and worthwhile leisure activity, and certainly where began my affinity for blogging.
I think the more embarrassing thing here is the prospect of going back and looking at the frustrations of our preteen minds. Fear not though, I just went back looking for my old xanga page and found this message…

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So evidently if you haven’t been back for 5 years or more, which most of us haven’t, then our archives haven’t been saved as they shift over to a 2.0 version. Thank goodness.

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Oh yes, I haven’t forgotten…pants with zip off legs. I had two pairs of these that I bought from Old Navy. Oh jeez, I can do one better than these transformer trousers…

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The classic Old Navy Performance Fleece Vest…God, now that’s a trip down memory lane. I think my entire family bought into this thing…in fact my dad still does. My only problem with this thing now is that…well, it’s a vest. If your chest is cold, I bet your arms are cold too. Go invest in some sleeves.
Alright, one more…

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Yea, I went there, Pokémon cards. 90% of all nerds have owned at least a booster pack of pokémon cards, whether or not they’ve actually played in a match. Somewhere back in that same closet where I shoved those Pogs, I’ve got a small collection of these gathering dust in their protective cases. I want to show off some of my nerd feathers real quick. If I went home and went through that collection right now, somewhere in there I’d find these…

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If someone were to look up the origin of these two cards, it will be revealed precisely how much of a nerd I was as a kid.
You know what though, back in the day when I liked Pokémon and such, I was horribly made fun of. This was back when the understanding was that being a nerd was something not to be proud of, and nerds were at the bottom of the social food chain. This was back when I let my tormentors have that power over me, and let them know that their words and teasing were painful. It’s easy to look back at these items and resent them based on the association to the bullying that was received on their behalf.
I don’t resent them though, because with age comes knowledge, and the understanding that who you are, and what your obsessions are, are nothing to be ashamed of. In middle school, I was ashamed of being a nerd…and I nearly let it end me. But years later, it dawns on me…nerds are the ones that are actually moving forward, and looking ahead. Nerds are always thinking, and creating, and making the world a better place. Nerds are who are gonna be running this place, once we’re old enough…and fearsome we will be, for we are many.
One should never feel ashamed for doing what they love, or loving what they do, and that applies to all facets of life…accept if one wears those shark backpacks outside of elementary school. What the hell are you doing?

Well, I think I’ve led myself perfectly into a topic I introduced a number of weeks ago, and have been wanting to come back to for a while.

Nerds of the Future
A look at future technology through the eyes of a Nerd

Last time, I talked about what ideas I and others had for where the future of cars and ergonomics were going. Part of moving forward though is looking long and hard at what we have today, and trying to imagine what wouldn’t have any place in our future. Look at sci-fi movies right now, and try and find what similarities the scenery shares with your living room. I’d imagine that most of your live space will be replaced. So, today I want to discuss…

What, in 10 Years, Will We Not Use?

Yea, I’m not even thinking ultra-future, I’m just thinking in the next 10 years. Just think about the kinds of advancement we’ve made in the past 10 years. Think back to your life in 2003…it was about at that point that flip phones were becoming popular…the Nokia brick phone was probably still the most popular cell phone at the time. Think about that for a second, and we’ll get started.
Most people these days are watching their television on some sort of big flat panel display. Our TVs are becoming the hub for all our entertainment; it’s where cable/satellite programing is, our game systems run to it, and most of our best stereo systems are linked into the brain that feeds everything to the TV. Plenty use the TV as a computer display as well. Everything goes there…and I think we can do a lot better than a flat panel display. I bet in 10 years we’ll have 3D projection systems that will begin to replace our 2-dimensional TVs that can at best simulate 3D. I’m thinking we’ll have some sort of projection display that will shine a 3-dimensional spherical or cubical image up from a device affixed to a stand or the floor that will finally give us an image with proper depth. I bet the fidelity won’t be that great, but we’ll be able to create Star Wars-like holograms in our homes.
Talking about cell phones earlier reminds me of something else we’ll do away with. Home phones. Most 20-somethings nowadays have already dispatched with having some sort of land line phone in favor of just using their cell phones at all time, for everything. I think this will be a more generational thing. What I mean is I don’t see our parents or grandparents ditching their land lines, but this generation will just never adopt the concept.
As data storage continues to get smaller and smaller, we will eventually depart with physical data storage devices all together. That means that CDs, DVDs, and other forms of discs will fall to digital downloads and data streaming. We’re there now. Virtually anything that you can still buy packaged in disc form today is also available as a download. Name your product; music, movies, games, software…hell, even books…we’re there. What’s left to be done is full conversion. I said it in myself in this blog sometime around E3 that I was hesitant to make the conversion away from physical media, but in the past month I’ve bought 2 or 3 games in the Xbox Live Marketplace, a couple of albums via iTunes, and about 5 books on my Kindle app. My only real holdout is for movies…I’ll still go out and try to find a new DVD when it comes out, but that’s because movies take up a lot of hard drive space, and downloaded movies still aren’t quite as portable as DVDs…but that’s changing fast.
Physical keys too will be eliminated very soon as well. The last place that I lived in before I moved to where is current had electronic door locks and keys like this…

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They didn’t exactly go sans key, but the new electronic method made the area very safe. And I feel like anyone that hasn’t seen a modern key fob just isn’t getting out anymore. Most cars already don’t need keys anymore, except in extreme circumstances…in which case you can deconstruct the fob and the key is hidden inside.
With all the the buzz in Washington over SOPA, PIPA, and whatever else is trying to fly through right now, we stand on the precipice of legislation over the regulation of the internet. I feel like at some point in the next 10 years, some sort of legislation will slip through that will regulate the internet in some small way, and that has to happen so that it can be declared unconstitutional by the supreme court. Give it time, unregulated internet is coming, I do sincerely believe. Because one way or another, I don’t see our population sitting in complacency with the government being able to look over our browsing shoulders and judge us over our activities with any legal precedence.
I mentioned earlier that CDs and DVDs are quickly becoming antiquated, and really I feel that all forms of non-solid-state-drives will quickly become a thing of the past. Disc based computer hard drives have become outdated for most functions, required seek time to find the correct position on the hard drive. SSD is faster in every way shape and form, and is becoming small enough that it is now feasible to base whole computing platforms on it. MacBook Airs are all SSD, and so will be the new Mac Pros that will come out later this year.

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The physical storage capacity might not be that much right now, but think about what flash drives were like 10 years ago, versus what they are today…and 10 years from now…
As much as possible as well, we want to stop killing trees, and from my point of view, as a college student, the first way we can stop doing that is by eliminating text books…in favor of an app version, tablet version, or some form of digital download. This kind of goes with my digitizing of the physical medium argument earlier, but a different spectrum on to which it can be applied. Several semesters ago, I bought the digital version of my Spanish book, and could use it on my tablet. I’ve got another online version of a book this year…and strange enough, it was the only version of the book for the class that I could find.
One last thing that I can include here…and I’m asking y’all to make a bit of the imaginary stretch for me…toilet paper. I know what you’re thinking, “Slow down there, CVSleen! We like our butts clean!” However, if any of my audience is Japanese, or an aristocratic female, you’re probably on board. A visual is probably necessary, so…

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I can’t speak from experience here, but it is my understanding that most modern Japanese establishments and homes are converting to this style of toilet. And the same way that bidets can polish up your delicate lady parts, these things can (if I can believe several well traveled comedians and entertainers) accurately tidy up your turd cutters as well…see that first picture up there. Toilet paper is wasteful and unnecessary, except to maybe dry off. I’ve wondered for a couple years now why this hasn’t caught on in the States yet, and definitely think that, in the next 10 years, it could and should.

I’m probably getting a little too radical there, so I’ll put a lid on it for this post. But if there is anything else you think is on its way towards technological extinction, feel free to share it with me here.

Alright my minions, go out and manage your mischief.
I would like to note though before I go that, the semester has picked up, and the workload is getting pretty thick. I’ll do my best to keep a weekly entry rolling out, but some weeks I might just be too bogged down to make it happen. I’ll apologize ahead of time if my posting becomes sporadic, but I need to push for the good grades. Remember my mantra…

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Pizza Pods with Basil Pesto Marinara Sauce

Pizza Pods with Basil Pesto Marinara Sauce

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I am taking full advantage of it being summer, So if I revert back to only making 1 post per every couple of weeks or more, that’s my bad. I’ve got plenty that’s happened though, and plenty coming up, so let’s load out with some Updates and New News.

Like I said, school’s over and summer is in session. Verdict is back, and I’m sitting on solid B’s for the Spring Semester. I should have gotten an A in my RTF class, but…well, that one was my fault. The thing is, I missed taking my final in my RTF class. There was some bad information that got circulated around the class, and a number of us were made to believe that the exam was on a Friday…rather than a Monday. I’ve gone over it a dozen times in my mind; where did this start, who’s to blame, who will pay for this…etc. In the end, they let me make-up the exam with a maximum possible grade of a 70. I can’t really blame anyone but myself for that, the Final date was posted both in the book and online, and supposedly our teacher mentioned it as well. Bottom line, they let me make-up the final when they weren’t supposed to, so I’m thankful.

I’ve got a short little workation coming up. My buddy, the Master Bass-er, Jerry’s fiancee is moving in with him in Louisiana. She needs help moving all of her stuff out there, so a number of us have volunteered our services. That will be a nice little weekend, hopefully.

Akon is also looming right over the horizon. I’ve been looking forward to that for a while, but I’ve got to start getting busy with my cosplay. Proto Man ain’t anywhere near finished. That’s about 2 1/2 weeks out, so I really need to get cracking.

As y’all know, all to well, I’ve been putting a lot of hype around Linkin Park‘s upcoming new album, LIVING THINGS, and the single that is out now, BURN IT DOWN. If you haven’t yet, go HERE,  and you can pre-order the album, listen to the single, and sign up for a discounted year of LPU membership. You can also buy Honda Civic Tour tickets there now, but I’d advise finding somewhere else to buy them from. The tickets are pretty expensive via LinkinPark.com, and can be gotten much cheaper elsewhere.

Linkin Park has gotten very creative with the marketing for this new album. Aside from the traditional methods of marketing, they’ve begun this “scavenger hunt”, getting fans the world over involved in a bit a living, breathing method of marketing. It seems pretty cool, actually. I’ve always admired Linkin Park’s drive to give back to, and involve it’s fans it their exploits. Some of you might remember one of the first posts I made on this blog, asking for support for my submission in a “Pre-Mix” contest for The Catalyst, before the release of A Thousand Suns. That was a lot of fun, and Linkin Park keeps coming up with new ways to keep their fans involved, and part of the process. This scavenger hunt is another one of those…I’ll call it a plot device, leading up to the release of LIVING THINGS.

This scavenger hunt kicked off when Mike Shinoda tweeted on May 8th to stayed tuned at LinkinPark.com for news of something big coming up. That news came in the form of a video containing a map.

The map lead to a bar on the University of Sydney Union’s campus, in Sydney Australia, Manning Bar. It was late at night when the video posted, so it wasn’t until morning, on the 9th, that Australian LP fans figured out something was up, and made their way out to the bar to find out what was up. What they found was this.

A seemingly innocent enough promotion poster for LIVING THINGS. But when you read the QR code, it sent you to…

http://linkinpark.com/youdidittoyourself

…with this photo, advancing the scavenger hunt.

LPAssociation  members quickly translated that message for us, so the clue read:

Last September, “A Thousand Horizons” took fans from all over the world here. May 10 or May 11. 11am-8pm only. Don’t be early. Don’t be late. One person only.

Fans quickly did some research to conclude that the location indicated was NicoFarre Club, in Tokyo, Japan. Two Twitterers and LP fans received the next clue there on the 11th at 11AM, which was an envelope containing the following information.

It became clear that the next clue would be delivered to us from Allan (@youbetterhearme). He was reluctant at first, asking that he would be in a much more divulgatory mood if he were to acquire 3,000 followers. LP fans put the word out quickly that this dude needed followers, and plenty responded overnight. He in turn responded the next morning, on the 11th, by following 1 and only 1 person, @pmharper, the Prime Minister of Canada. He also changed his profile picture from the default egg, to that of which was immediately recognized as the Toronto skyline. It would seem that we had our hint of where the next clue would show up. A LPAssociation Member even made the stretch to say that there was a public park in Toronto, named Allan Park. After Allan goaded the Prime Minister all day and night, Allan finally tweeted the next day, on the 12th, that he needed to leave a clue somewhere under a bench in Toronto at 1 in the afternoon, and also tweeted this picture which sure enough was found to be Allan Park.

4 Twitterers showed up to search the entire park at 1PM on the 13th, and found nothing. At 2PM however, they were approached by a man, who asked if Allan had sent them. The 4 fans were handed the next clue, which turned out to be the following picture.

The internet quickly got to work, and found out that this picture was the Lincoln Park Zoo at Gateway Pavilion, in Chicago. The fans waited on bated breath for the 15th. Mike Shinoda tweeted the zoo that Linkin Park fans would be invading yesterday. I don’t know how many fans showed up, but the clue was found by a Twitterer who showed us that the clue was a Brazil shirt…

…with this written on the shirt’s tag.

This translates to, “The next clue is within the gates of Fort Copacabana. Take the opportunity to eat some traditional sweets, cakes and waffles. May 17, during normal business hours only.”

So, the hunt continues on, to the Forte de Copacabana, found to be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’d love to slink down to Brazil for a couple of days…but, no. No buts. Hell, you know me, I don’t have that kind of money. I just have to continue to let the rest of the world’s Linkin Park fans do what they do.

If the clues lead back to DFW at any point, be sure that I’ll be there, ready to serve as the next link in the chain. And if not, well, I’ll keep promoting regardless.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

Dude, I was doing good there for a while. And then, well, school happened again. It’s the end of the semester, and things are getting kind of hectic up in here; finals, homework, and catching up on lost time. Also with the end of the semester though, comes more projects, and that means new stuff to show you guys. I’ve got a couple of things here to display, so strap in, and enjoy.

The first thing I have to share with you is my second spanish song. I don’t remember, did I ever tell y’all that I was working on another spanish song. Well, um, Surprise! Yea, so I had another spanish portfolio for this half of the semester, and it needed the same basic things. So of course, I went and made another song…of course I did.

I actually used one of Eastchase’s existing songs that we haven’t touched in a while as the framework for this song. It made the writing process a lot easier, especially considering that we already had lyrics for it. So yea, some of you may recognize the sound. It was fun. It was stressful, but it was fun. If it wasn’t a challenge, I don’t think I would be able to get into it as much as I do. Anyways…I give you, “Instintos Falsos”.


I also just finished up on a new video project this past weekend. It was a project for the film class I’m currently in, and it all felt very last minute. We weren’t actually given the assignment until last Monday, and were expected to have everything turned in by this morning. I’m kind of proud to say that my team was the only team to have their project turned in on time. It wasn’t that hard, really. It needed to be 3-5 minutes long, contain no dialogue, and have a few certain types of shots. For instance, 2 match-action shots (Quick example: when a person opens a door in one shot and walks part of the way through, the the shot changes to the other side of the door to complete the action).

Our concept was 2 girlfriends are in a fight one morning, Girlfriend 2 pisses off Girlfriend 1 and Girlfriend 1 storms off. Girlfriend 2 spends the rest of the day stalking Girlfriend 1, and Girlfriend 1 eventually loses it. I got Miko to help me with the project as an actress, and my partner also got a friend of hers’ to do the same. So, without further adieu, I give you, “You Can’t See Me”.


I’ve also decided that I’m going to add a new category to my publications here, which I will call “Equipment Misuse”. In these posts, I’ll be calling out a lot of things that I see in media today that I think have been done poorly, or that just generally piss me off. I’ve already got a few things that I want speak on, but I’ll save those for next post.

The school year is just about over now, and I’m not really sure what the summer holds for me. To my recollection, I only have one thing in the books for me this summer, and that’s A-Kon with Miko. If I can get my crap ready for that, it is going to be soooo much fun.
Not really sure where my inspiration will draw from, but I’ll find something, as I always do.

While I’m on the subject of “Upcoming”…Linkin Park’s “Living Things” will be released on June 26th. It is available for pre-order now. Also, if you pre-order now, you can get a discount on a years subscription to the Linkin Park Underground. Well worth it in my opinion. Follow the ^link^ to learn more!

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

Quick little post right here, just because I’m too excited to contain myself…

It’s going to be a great week for music coming up here. You know that I’ve been creating a lot of hype around the new TFK album, “The End Is Where We Begin” and with good reason. I mean I’ve listened to it, and it has badassitude written all over it. I can’t reiterate enough, this album drops on Tuesday April 17th, and I urge you to go pick it up and join in the enjoyment of the latest TFK chronicles.

I also got another bomb dropped on me today. Mike Shinoda updated his blog with some much awaited information, that I will regurgitate for you here. Linkin Park will be releasing the first single “Burn It Down” off of their brand new album “Living Things“.

This happens tomorrow! Yes, tomorrow! I told you that I had good knowledge that Linkin Park was working on a new album. Am I right, or am I right?

I could continue to regurgitate all the info that I know about LP’s new single, but Mike Shinoda can probably do it better himself. I added Mike Shinoda’s blog to my blogroll over there <–. His post “Monday News: Burn It Down, Release Dates, The Album, and a Toolbox.” has all the details. I urge you to check that out as well.

Big week for the rock world. I’m ready. Are you?

[Edit] Burn It Down has been posted. I won’t be greedy, Linkin Park sure ain’t.

 

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

If you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.
The end, is where we begin.

For some reason, I always think that every Thousand Foot Krutch album is their last album. That hidden song at the end of their 2007 album ,”The Flame In All Of Us” which I called The Last Song, I thought made it very plain that they were done. Lo and behold, 2 years later “Welcome To The Masquerade” drops and blows my mind. Imagine my excitement when late last year TFK announced that they were dropping their label and releasing a new CD.

When I got my hands on this CD a little over a week ago, I was expecting it to be good, but what I listened to was grand. It might be as a result of them dropping their label(Tooth & Nail Records), but I think doing so has allowed them to diversify their style.

While TFK has always been regarded as a Christian band, I’ve always felt that their approach to music has been much more of a secular one. I mean, compare them to David Crowder, and you can see that their message isn’t quite as straight-forward and clear as Crowder. That being said, a more secular approach allows them to be more diverse with their choice of genre. Without Tooth & Nail tying them down, they’ve finally been able make an album the way they always intended it be done.

TFK has always had a fundamental darkness to the instrumentals in most of their songs. They’ve had one album that kind of defied this style(The Art Of Breaking), but it was their sophomore album, the 2nd one is always the oddball in a family of albums. They have always tried to be a diverse band in the sense that the’ve wanted to have a couple of styles come together in the same album, sometimes more successfully than others. You know how when a band mixes hard and heavy songs with light acoustic songs? Yea, they do that quite a bit. Their first album(Phenomenon) had all hard and heavy songs on it, with one acoustic song thrown in at Track 4. I really hate it when I get into a good rhythm on a CD, and then it’s broken up by a genre change. Not to say that I don’t enjoy each and every one of their albums, but I frequently find myself skipping over songs so that I can stay in the groove.

“The End Is Where We Begin” isn’t any different in its mixing of light with heavy, but I havent’ yet found myself skipping over anything yet to stay in the moment. In fact, I can easily listen to for hours on end, even though it’s only 49 minutes long. The main theme that I took away from the CD is Empowerment. That single idea felt like a prevalent driving force in just about every track on the album.

The CD opens with an intro track…EPIC. I only assume this is the case, but I get the impression that most people don’t like intro tracks, I love ’em. The next track(We Are) brings us right back to the TFK that we all have come to know and love. Strong, heavy, and with inspirational lyrics. “We are the ones, we are the guns and we will roll. We are the voice off of someones song. We are the change, we are the chains that hold us. We are the choice, we are the strong, we are one.” When I heard that line, I knew…I’m not sure what it is I know, but I knew that I knew it. The next track(Light Up The Sky) had me jumping for joy. The rapping Canadians have made their return.

You may say, “Rapping Canadians…Outlaw, you crazy, what the hell are you talking about?” Well, TFK actually had 3 albums before Phenomenon ever came out. (2 if you count out “Shutterbug”, as it was official with lead singer Trevor McNevan’s first band, Oddball. Some of the songs off this album were remade and later featured on Set It Off.) Trevor with the earliest members of TFK released the independent album, “That’s What People Do” in ’97, and the indie album “Set It Off” 3 years later in 2000. They signed with Tooth & Nail 3 years later, releasing “Phenomenon” under that banner. “Set It Off” was very heavy with its hip-hop inspired nu-metal, and set them apart from a lot of the other secular/Christian bands out at the time. “Phenomenon” marked a departure from the rap heavy lyrics of their previous album, but now that Tooth & Nail is out of the picture…they’re back.

Wanna hear what they sounded like before Phenomenon? Check out this version they did of Unbelievable off of “Set It Off”.

Mad skills, right?

Well, they’re back. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s not all throughout the album, just 3 songs(“Light Up The Sky”, “Down”, and “I Get Wicked” to a degree), but it’s nice to see that they haven’t gotten rusty in their hiatus from the hip-hop game. After several more of those heavy wonders, we get to our first slower song, “Be Somebody”. There is a calm urgency to the chords in this song. It keeps pulling you in until the song comes in full swing in the chorus. At that point, between the guitar lead and the lyrics, I couldn’t skip past it if I wanted to. If it weren’t for another song towards the end of the album, this one would be my favorite.

“Be Somebody” transitions smoothly into the intro song for “Courtesy Call”, the track I felt was the best of all their promotional material. It brings us back into hard and heavy and keeps us rocking there for a few songs before bringing us back to the lighter side. The first of these songs(All I Need To Know) is okay, if there was one song I might skip over, it would be this one. After that though, we get to “Fly On The Wall”. This song just gets into my head. The lyrics are so colorfully descriptive and draw up such a mental image. This one line had my head reeling, “And brick by brick, we built it so thick, that it blacked out the sky, and all the sunlight, and one by one, we all became numb…we were, making the bullets to a broken gun.” The instrumentals are also so fantastical, you feel like you’re listening to something out of a dream sequence. Easily my favorite song on the album. There’s one song after that which feels like a nice little fireside closer. Tack on an outtro song, and the album is finished.

I probably said it maybe one…two…three times before, but I loved this CD. If I had to compare it with the rest of their albums(which I will), it definitely stacks up. It sinks “The Art Of Breaking” and “The Flame In All Of Us” for sure. I think it edges out “Welcome To The Masquerade” too. About Phenomenon…it’s hard to beat Phenomenon…I don’t know. I’m calling it a photo finish. It’s too close for me to call, they’re both outstanding. Anyways, here’s a track list for you.

1) The Introduction
2) We Are
3) Light Up The Sky
4) The End Is Where We Begin
5) Let The Sparks Fly
6) I Get Wicked
7) Be Somebody
8) This Is A Warning (Intro)
9) Courtesy Call
10) War Of Change
11) Down
12) All I Need To Know
13) Fly On The Wall
14) So Far Gone
15) Outroduction

My top 3 favorites off the album: 1) Fly On The Wall, 2) Be Somebody, 3) Let The Sparks Fly.

Thousand Foot Krutch – The End Is Where We Begin: 10 out of 10

Are you noticing a prevalent theme for high ratings? That feels like a chicken and the egg kind of question. Do I like the things I review, or review the things I like?

Anyways, look for this album to hit stores on Tuesday, April 17th. It should be available at Best Buy, Amazon.com, CBD.com, and various family Christian stores. It’s also available for pre-order on iTunes now, and if you do pre-order  from iTunes, you will receive an immediate download of “Let The Sparks Fly”. If this album debuts in the Top 20, TFK will remix 2 of their songs, and make them available to the TFK nation for free. Let’s help them get to the top of the charts!

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

Good evening broads and blokes, how is everyone out there in the interwebz? Good? Good? Well, glad to hear it. I’ve been good too, thanks for asking. Y’all are so nice. So how does this thing go…oh yea! Time for Updates and New News.

That whole school thing is fully on again. I said last time that I was so ready to be back in an RTF class, and RTF Production will indeed be somewhat interesting. The plan is that they are going to run us through 3 different classes during the course of one semester: Audio, Film, and TV. I got started off in the Audio section, so it’s gonna be smooth sailing for the next couple of weeks. I mean, shiii, I finished Project 1 the day they assigned it, Like a boss.
(Not that Film or TV should be any less easy, but y’all know my forte.)

Spanish looks like it’s going to go just as well as a Spanish class will. Since we only meet twice a week, the already condensed semester is even further condensed. We have a midterm coming up next week. I know, WTF is exactly what I said. On the other hand, that Spanish Song I was talking about before, now titled “Mirar El Mundo Quemar” is coming along nicely. I’m looking forward to being able to turn it in.

So, what else is coming up in my schedule. I told you last time about all the Thousand Foot Krutch awesomeness that is on the horizon and the potential Linkin Park stuff that may or may not be coming up, so I’ll glaze over that for the time being.

As of 21 minutes ago, it became February. What does everyone think of when one mentions February? Black History Month…yea, that too, but what else? Right, Valentines Day. And when you’re single, what can be worse than a holiday dedicated to love? Enjoying this holiday the way that it was intended seems to be impossible for me. I got together with my last girlfriend at around this time last year, and as such, Valentines Day wasn’t that big of a deal. I chose to celebrate Chinese New Year last year. The year before that, my girlfriend at the time broke up with me the day before Valentines Day. I spent that Valentines Day drinking. This year…completely lacking a girlfriend…I think I may have a plan.

The Mass Effect 3 Demo drops February 14th. I feel like regardless of whether I was in a relationship or not, I’d be doing this anyways. In fact, girlfriends everywhere will fall victim to this same train of thought. Sorry ladies, priorities. Next year…who knows, maybe I’ll go back to the whole girlfriend or binge drinking thing again. This year is the year of the gamer.

I believe that I may have convinced myself that I want to cosplay at Akon. what What WHAT??? Yea, I’m thinking about taking it to that level. Believe it or not, it’s actually a thought that I’ve entertained for a while, but never gave any real thought to it until recently. I have a fair respect and interest in anime, comics, video games, and really all things Japanese, maybe not as much as some of my friends, but that’s why I say fair. So, the million dollar question: What will I be cosplaying? Those who know me know that there are a lot of options that might play out through my head…Mass Effect, Final Fantasy VII, Mega Man, Ghost in the Shell, or possibly even Assassin’s Creed. Well, the choice that I have made is Proto Man, from the Mega Man franchise. Here’s some reference for all those unfamiliar.

As the story goes, Proto Man is Mega Man’s older brother, the prototype model for all subsequent models that would follow. It was discovered later that a design flaw in his energy core would ultimately lead to his demise, and troubled by his incomplete status and his independency, being the only one of his kind, he ran away from his creator, Dr. Thomas Light. Before succumbing to his design flaw, he was discovered by the exiled scientist, Dr. Albert Wily, who after studying his design was able to convert his energy core to one that would function correctly. Dr. Wily also made other design changes to Proto Man, including the addition of his Proto Shield, helmet, and trademark visor, in an attempt to disguise his true identity from Dr. Light. Indebted to Dr. Wily, Proto Man served him under the alias of Break Man until his encounters with Mega Man caused him to realize Wily’s true intentions. Proto Man turned his back on Wily, aiding Mega Man. Proto Man however refused any kind of help from Dr. Light, still harboring feelings of mistrust towards him.

That, in a nutshell is my characters biography. Proto Man is a lone wolf, which I think fits well with myself. Designing the outfit looks easy enough. Their are a few items that will be hard to fabricate, but only a few. The biggest obstacle will be the helmet. I need to turn something like this:

…more into something like this:

It looks hard…but doable. The first obstacle is just getting a cheap helmet. I’ve decided that if I can actually get my hands on a helmet for pretty cheap, that I’m going to go for it and attempt the whole outfit.

I’ve got my work cut out for me. It should be worth it though, because with it, I’ll finally be able to go to a Kon, and finally be with my people.
This year is shaping up to be a good year if my schedule works out as anticipated. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Keep you heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw

Boys, girls, dogs, cats, and literate creatures of all varieties…welcome back! The year of our demise has begun! Well, at least if you believe the Mayans anyways. We have also begun a new school year. That means finally getting back into RTF work. I’ve been waiting for this since May last year. I’ve been foaming at the mouth, so as Sponge Bob always says, I’m ready.

At this point we’ve also passed New Years, and most of January at this point. Some Updates and New News should probably be in order, right? Not really. I haven’t had much activity since my last post in mid-December. New Years was fun, but relatively uneventful. I didn’t even imbibe that much. And between then and now it’s been a lot of movie watching, script writing, and song writing. Not much to report on for the past month or so. That being the case, I’ll skip over the usual Updates and New News.

I was recently able to get my hands on a couple of copies of Linkin Park‘s Underground #10 and #11. I know they’re not in stores yet, so let’s suffice it to say that I know some people. I may like these cds just as much, if not more than any of the other Linkin Park albums I own. For those of you that don’t know, Linkin Park’s Underground anthology are all songs or versions of songs that didn’t make it to the showroom floor. I know watching the DVDs that come with a lot of the albums that while Linkin Park is working on a new album, they don’t just work on the 12 – how-ever-many songs go on the cd. I think in the case of either Meteora or Minutes To Midnight, each band member came up with their own vast selection of song concepts, and together that total number of songs added up hundreds. From that point, they pick the best of the best and move forward from there. The Underground anthologies picks from all those unselected songs. What I like about all these songs is that they’re unrefined, plenty of them with old lyrics or no lyrics at all. They help give me an idea for what’s been inside their heads, and where their heads might be going.

Speaking of where they might be going, my unknowing mentor, Mike Shinoda has made several allusions recently that he and the rest of Linkin Park are back in the studio working on new material. I know just as well as any other musician that making an album is a long process, but I’m wondering if we could be looking at major album dropping at some point in 2012. That would certainly be the bomb dot com.

Thousand Foot Krutch also has another album in the mix, that I know for a fact will be dropping in March. I know because I and 2,680 others have already helped to finance that album. They’ve also put out 3 songs from that album already for all the fans that have helped out. That’s pretty cool. The End Is Where We Begin is also going to be bomb diggity. It’s apparent that TFK has an immense amount of respect for their fans. There are a lot of places they could have turned when they decided to drop their label, and the first thing they did was put a call out to all their fans. Pretty cool. I just hope there next tour brings them into Texas. One of my favorite bands and I still haven’t seen them live in concert.

Something interesting came up today during my Spanish class. As we were going through the syllabus, our professor pointed out a new portion to our end grade that we didn’t have last semester. A portfolio. The portfolio is essentially a report to the professor of what Spanish learning and exploration we have done outside of class.  Some of the categories we could invest our time in were Spanish movies, Spanish news articles, volunteering, and some others. The one that really caught my I was a creative option. We can write a short story, a poem, or even…a song. Fancy that, an opportunity to merge what I’m best at, with my Spanish work. This could be very interesting. Even though I’m learning this new mode of communication, I had yet to consider using it to add to my talents. I’m probably putting a lot more consideration into this assignment than was ever intended, but this could be pretty cool. Combine that with a new musical idea I’ve had in my head, well, I think I’ve got a side project here.

Well, hopefully I’ll be excited enough after my class tomorrow that I’ll be anxious to make another post. Don’t hold your breath though. You know me at this point, so I know you won’t.

Ooh, I’ve also decided to make a slight change in how I end my posts. Unless I have a picture that relevantly sums up the post, I’m gonna start going with a Demotivational Pic of the…day? Week? Month? Meh, however long it is between posts, you get the idea. Be safe, use protection, and when in doubt…go for the headshot.

Hey, get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking real weaponry here.
Rule #8: Never go anywhere without a knife.

 Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw