Ever wondered about all those places, people, and events that are referenced in that new Cam’ron joint? Well, don’t bust your dome thinking too hard because there is The Rap Map to solve all those hard to figure references.
The, uh … geniuses over at Rap Geniuses, a site which “explains rap lyrics”, have devised the Rap Map to further help the listener find out exactly what/where the fuck Lil Wayne (et al) are talking about. The map includes the cities of New York, LA, The Chi, New Orleans, Detroit, and a handful of others … each place or event is marked by a handgun (how sad) … 2pac’s elementary school? That’s there … Lil Wayne’s boyhood home? That’s there too … as well as a shitload of other useless information, but holy shit, is this site addicting! It’s like a thug nasty version of googlemaps.
I might have to start listening to terrible hip hop just so I can use the resources available to me at Rap Geniuses … but then again, maybe I should just stick to, you know, awesome shit. And there’s always Girl Talk.
What happens when you cross the awesome musical stylings of Yeasayer with the talent and beauty of Kristen Bell? Well, throw in a creepy-looking pet type thing, and you’ve got the oddly awesome music video for ODD BLOOD’s “Madder Red”.
You’ll have to follow thislink to see it, however …
I suppose what’s kept me away from Lost for so long was ignorance … ignorance mixed with the daunting task of overcoming seasons and seasons of ignorance when I finally caved to start watching. Once the first couple of seasons passed, and more and more people close to me were getting dragged in by J.J. Abrams’ brilliant mind, it was hard to not hear bits and pieces of plot/story. This made me even more reluctant to begin … I dealt with something very similar after M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense came out in 1999 … I was very slow to the theater for that one (I actually never made it to the theater for it), but in my less-than-speedy ways, I had the ending, or the famous “M. Night twist” ruined before I had a chance to see the film. Aside from this really pissing me off, it kept me from seeing the picture for years … yes, that’s right, YEARS.
I was thinking about this recently as I was watching the first couple of episodes of Lost. As things were happening early on in the story, I had these things that I had heard about in the back of my mind keeping me from really being engaged in the story. Hearing about “the others” and the “Smoke Monster” … my mind, at first, was unable to expel these thoughts from its forefront while I watched. I was experiencing the same thing when I finally watched The Sixth Sense … the ending had been ruined for me, and sure, that movie seems to rely on the twist, as all the movie leads up to it, but there is important and riveting story regardless if you know the ending. Why else do we watch movies we’ve already seen, again and again?
So, as I sat down and watched episodes 7 & 8 of Lost, I found myself so ensconced in good, captivating story that after the episodes had ended, I realized that the entire time while watching I hadn’t once found myself trying to piece together things that I had heard, with what was happening on screen. I guess that is what good story is capable of … taking us out of our own minds for a bit, and placing us in its lap as the words and action wash over us.
So, with all of this said, Lost has captured me. I am on the island now. Sawyer’s back story was the one that really got me. I am sure there may be times along the way where these thoughts in the back of my mind will once again come to the forefront, but I am extremely confident in the abilities of J.J. Abrams et al, as they reveal more and create more questions that pull me out of my mind for a bit.
I’m ready to settle down in the lap of the story, as it slowly wraps its arms around me, and just hope he doesn’t turn out to be a dirty old man.
Growing up, before I ever really got into music on my own, my ears were held captive by whatever record (and later on CD) my Dad happened to be into at the time. I was a child of the MTV generation. Not the reality show MTV garbage that kids these days know and, in some cases love, but the “let’s actually be true to our name and show music videos” MTV. I didn’t know what was or wasn’t cool, and what was or wasn’t considered quality music for a chap of my age at the time. Maybe the fact that it was Dad’s music made me uncool for liking it, but I’m talking about as far back as age 6, where my Dad was the coolest guy I knew … to quote “The Wedding Singer”, “You’re eight years old, you only know your parents.” It’s funny how you grow up thinking your Dad is the coolest guy in the world, and then you hit a certain age, and all of the sudden you want nothing to do with him … but i digress …
At one of my places of work, thanks to satellite radio, I am brought back into this world of my dad’s music. I had intentions of trying to include a song from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, but as it turns out, most of what I grew up with was 80s, either that, or the artist/band repeated … anyway, let’s see what I can come up with …
1967, The Moody Blues, “Nights in White Satin” (or as I thought at the time “Knights in White Satin”, HA!)
1967, The Moody Blues, “Tuesday Afternoon” (pretty epic, especially in the context of the entire album)
1975, Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir” (why, oh why Jimmy Page, did you let that no talent ass clown Sean “Puff Daddy ‘P. Diddy’ ‘Diddy'” Combs use the amazing riff from this song on one of his bland, unimpassioned “songs”?!?! AND, you played with him! Why?!)
Here we go …
1986, Paul Simon, “Graceland” (Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, FTW!)
1986, Pink Floyd (sans Roger Waters), “Learning to Fly”
1986, The Moody Blues, “Your Wildest Dreams” (yeah, i know, more Moody Blues, he always referred to their music as “hippie music”, heh.)
1987, George Harrison, “Got My Mind Set on You”
1988, The Traveling Wilburys, “Handle with Care” (how awesome is Roy Orbison??? also, you gotta love supergroups)
1990, Paul Simon, “The Obvious Child” (oh, Paul Simon and your Vampire Weekend inspiring Afro-pop)
1990, Eric Johnson, “Cliffs of Dover”
and because this is just way too fucking awesome to not include:
Anytime I hear any one of these songs, I am transported back to my childhood … a simpler time, where liking something your Dad liked was just fine … and I am glad that I am back to a place in life where I can say the same thing now. So, thanks, Dad, for liking good music (and for being completely oversensitive about the AC in the house, and for thinking “Predator” is the best movie ever made) … “HILARIOUS!”
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, penned by Carson McCullers in 1940, is a book I just happened to cherry pick off of The Modern Library’s 100 Best novel list. I had no previous knowledge of the book aside from the title. I had no clue who Carson McCullers was. If you had mentioned the name, I would think she were a man. I found her to be a brilliant writer.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is equal parts bright and dim, uplifting and wrenching, healing and wounding. The story follows five characters living in a small city in Georgia in the 1930s. It explores human relationships. Friendships, marriages, parent/child relationships, racial and social tensions of the time. How people interact with each other. It is a jarring narrative full of very real people and real conversations. Richard Wright, black author whose works include Black Boy and Native Son, reviewed Ms. McCullers book, and had this to say in the August 1940 issue of the New Republic,
“To me the most impressive aspect of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is the astonishing humanity that enables a white writer, for the first time in Southern fiction, to handle Negro characters with as much ease and justice as those of her own race. This cannot be accounted for stylistically or politcally; it seems to stem from an attitude toward life which enables Miss McCullers to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness.”
At first, most of the attention is given to the first character we are introduced to, a deaf-mute named John Singer. Soon thereafter, we are introduced to Mr. Singer’s best friend, another deaf-mute by the name of Spiros Antonapoulos. Slowly, we are introduced to a small cast of main characters, all from different walks of life, that all feel drawn to Mr. Singer for one reason or another.
The plot takes a few turns that I did not necessarily see coming, and that if mentioned here, would ruin the story, so I will keep this short and sweet. The themes in the story resonated intensely with me. The lonely heart will always be hungry for understanding … for companionship. We all long to be understood. We all yearn for people to listen to our heart’s concerns and love us. But not everyone can understand us. This is sad, but the truth. We can just try our best to live with one another, and love one another. Because when it really comes down to it, we are all on the same boat.
Alan Arkin starred in the big screen adaptation in 1968, which garnered a handful of nominations, including one for Arkin (Best Actor in a Leading Role). I would certainly give the movie a try after reading the book … and I certainly recommend the book.
Question: “Hey, wasn’t there at least one other contributor to this blog?”
Answer: Well, yes. The answer is yes. And my defense is this: I have just found myself up to my eyeballs in sangria. That’s not exactly true. But I have found myself, as the weather improves, experimenting with a couple different sangria recipes.
Sangria is a drink that I (and all of Spain) believe is the quintessential summer cocktail. Icy cold, fruity, and refreshing, Sangria should be in everyone’s summer cocktail arsenal. As a wine lover, and lover of most things Spanish, I thought it was high time to make some of my own. I had some ideas in mind, but wanted to cross check my ideas against a “traditional” Spanish sangria recipe. Whether or not my search on the internets, this vast series of tubes we find ourselves tangled in, led to an actual traditional recipe, I do not know. But it did yield a few guiding points. My initial instincts were not way off. Here is what I was thinking …
Take a bottle or two of a youngish Spanish wine … why youngish? Well, I wanted a wine that was more fruit forward and possessed less oak. My two favorite Spanish varietals are Tempranillo (grown in the north of Spain) and Garnacha (the “workhorse” grown all over Spain, pretty much). I selected one of my favorite, inexpensive garnachas, Monte Oton from Aragón. Once my wine was selected, I consulted a good friend of mine in the wine department about an ingredient, besides brandy, that would make my sangria really pop. I told her I was anti bubbles, so that ruled club soda out. She suggested gin. Gin is probably my favorite spirit, so, I was all over this suggestion. She also suggested that I leave any citrus juice out, as that can cloud the finished product. She instead, suggested I use the zest of any citrus I was thinking of using.
So, I had my wine picked out, I was armed with a few new pointers, and I was on my way to making a (hopefully) delicious and refreshing sangria. I picked up two bags of frozen mixed berries, a couple of gala apples, an orange, lime, and lemon. Once I was home, I began preparing the fruit. I chopped the apple into pieces that were of similar size to the average sized strawberry from the bags of mixed berries. I zested some of the orange and lemon. I added 3oz. each of gin (had Tanqueray on hand), brandy (Cognac to be exact), a splash of Cointreau, Chambord, and Navan (a vanilla infused cognac). I had wanted to let the fruit set with the alcohol for several hours, but I was so anxious to try this concoction, that I doubt it set for more than 20 minutes. I added the wine and into the fridge it went … for minutes, not hours.
The June sun was out, the deck, drenched in warm light. I anxiously pulled the pitcher from the fridge. I grabbed a pint glass and a spoon. I poured the deeply colored libation into my glass and spooned in some of the delicious fruit. Since the berries were frozen, they acted as ice (who needs ice in wine, anyway???).
It was love at first sip. Maybe not sweet enough for some, but I found that the addition of Cointreau and Navan added enough sweetness, along with the fruit, for me. The gin added some lovely herb notes. The wine paired with the fruit very well. It acted as the perfect red canvas for this liquid artistry. I’m not gonna lie (and this is not saying that I think I make the best sangria ever), but, I could have consumed the whole pitcher in one sitting. It’s like the most dangerous fruit punch you’ll ever drink.
It is summer. Ice cold beers should not be the only beverage you reach for. Take some initiative and make yourself up a pitcher of sangria. The fruit you use is completely up to you. The wine is, like I said, a red canvas for liquid artistry, but in case you are not feeling as gung ho, here is my recipe …
2 bottles of red wine (again, I used a garnacha … the only wine I would warn against using is Cabernet Sauvignon. Too oaky)
1oz. Cointreau or triple sec
splash of Chambord (just to help the berries)
2 bags of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
2-4 apples, chopped (I used gala)
1 t. orange zest
1 t. lemon zest
Combine fruit and all alcohol, except wine in pitcher. Feel free to let this mix infuse, but beware its charm! Add wine and stir. Again, feel free to let it set for hours … but, it will be hard not to want to tear into this drink right away! Once it has set for as long as you deemed appropriate, spoon fruit into glasses, and pour. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon, or both, and enjoy!
“Move over Las Rocas, there’s a new smash hit value in town. Outstanding ripeness and concentration, with notes of black cherry, black currants, mocha and a savory coffee note. This is a must buy by the case.” — Wine Library
I thought that this quote from the Wine Library was an appropriate way to begin this post on Alto Almanzora Este. If you’ve read this blog, you know that we here at Roused love our wine … more specifically, we love our red wine … even more specifically, we love Las Rocas. I’ve always been a sucker for Spanish reds, so I am constantly on the lookout for the next amazing and cheap Spanish wine … not to replace Las Rocas by any means, for that cannot be done, but to broaden the scope of delicious Spanish reds our house enjoys. I recently ventured outside of my home Whole Foods to the Roosevelt Square location … so glad I did. Their wine department is much larger than my store. I immediately found two wines that caught my eye. One of these wines was one called Monan, another Spanish garnacha that will most likely make an appearance here at some point, the other wine was Alto Almanzora Este.
I’ve since been back for another bottle (already gone, so I’ll be headed back again soon), but from the first sip, I knew that Las Rocas had a new brother to play with. Este is pretty great. The winery is located in Andalucia, a region in the southeast of Spain. The label of Este depicts a pregnant Andalusian mare, which is a tip of the cap to the unique and beautiful horse native to the region (and some of the most beautiful horses in the world), the rich history of the region, and the fertility of the land. A blend of 45% Monastrell/Mourvèdre, 25% Tempranillo, and the remainder being rounded out with Syrah, Garnacha, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, I was instantly reminded of Bogle Phantom … maybe it was the blend being somewhat similar, but it was more from the big blackberry and cherry notes along with pepper, oak, spice, smoke, and even some dark chocolate. Este gets its oaky depth from being aged a combined 6 months in both French and American barrels. Despite being a full bodied wine, it drinks easy. I feel like this is a product of each varietal that builds the blend working in perfect harmony with the next to create a depth and mellowness that is mindblowing. Monastrell, which tends to be tannic on it’s own, becomes more easy and deep when blended with Garnacha, which features spice and berry notes. Tempranillo introduces some herbaceous and tobacco qualities. Syrah brings some dark fruit and pepper to the party. What little merlot enters the blend balances the tannins of the cabernet sauvignon and offers plum and currant notes. Cab Sauv loves oak and lends more herbaceousness and peppery notes to round out this astounding blend. And oh yeah, have I mentioned that this bottle is less than $10?
So after having read Scott’s post about Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men we had a bit of a conversation about how awesome it was that his post generated so many hits. In the midst of this dialogue, I realized something. I am not a nerd, or at least, I am trying really hard pretending I am not. My only Joss Whedon experience was and still is the brilliant “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”. I haven’t seen any part of any episode of “Buffy”. I was never a “Trekky”. I never went apeshit for Star Wars. I was briefly into comics in middle school, but not much came out of that. I have no credentials.
With that said, I feel the next several weeks and months will be interesting for me. It is probably fair to ask why it has taken me so long to try to get into things like “Lost” (I’ve only seen the pilot), Harry Potter (haven’t read a page, haven’t seen a frame), saw Watchmen but only read about 20 pages of the graphic novel. I’m been partially baptized in nerd culture, but my full indoctrination has still yet to happen, and not because I haven’t been surrounded by it, or people who are passionate about it. I think it is because I am set in my ways on many things. I find things I do like, and watch or experience them over and over again. With this being true, new things that come along by recommendation or, my own discovery take some extra effort that I am reluctant to put forth. With friends like Scott and Wes, who are both part of this “nerd” subculture and partners and founders in this blogging adventure, I am now ensconced in this culture and (not that I had an excuse before) I now have no excuse whatsoever to avoid these things any longer. And anyway, as Scott mentioned, I may not be as far removed from the subculture as I think. There lies in me a love for these things which is dormant. Will jumping in awake the sleeping monster?
What are some things that I should make sure I don’t miss out on as I seek to be ravaged by nerdom. Who should be my first? Who should I let pop my cherry?
This is the kind of art I would like to be a part of …
La Blogotheque is a French based music video/blog project of independent film maker Vincent Moon. He records bands on the streets of Paris, in cafes, in moving vehicles, in people’s living rooms. There are similar things out there, but I knew of Mr. Moon’s work first. These performances are called Take Away Shows or Les Concerts à Emporter. It is really awesome. Really awesome guerrilla-style art. The Shins, Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Beirut, Of Montreal, Sufjan Stevens (covering the Innocence Mission!), Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, Phoenix, Essie Jain, Cold War Kids, My Brightest Diamond, Islands, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, Okkervil River, Menomena, and Jens Lekman are some of the artists featured. Read that list again. Read it again, and get going. Most, if not all of the videos can be found on youtube. Go. Now.
If you’ve stuck around, shame on you … but here are three of my favorites:
I can’t imagine how cool it would be if I was walking down the street and heard one of my favorite bands playing a song, turning a corner, and seeing one of my favorite bands performing on the street. How awesome would that be?