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the return of five things, again.

For the uninitiated, ‘Five Things’ is a post where I share five things I have been enjoying lately. At the moment, it isn’t returning as a weekly post like it used to be.

However, we will be using it from time to time here on RtM when we want to share multiple awesome things with you at once, but don’t have time to write a post on each thing individually.

Today’s five things are albums I have been enjoying non-stop lately. There is most certainly a possibility one of us may write about any of these CDs at length in the future. For now, you should check out these albums!


1. The National – High Violet


2. Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away


3. The Antlers – Hospice


4. The New Pornographers – Together


5. The Local Natives – Gorilla Manor



A feature length version of “Pixels” could be pretty cool in the right hands. News is Adam Sandler is the guy developing it into a film. His are decidedly not the right hands.

Either way. We’ll always have the original. Which is awesome.


rise of the nerd virgins.

We’ve got a new series of posts starting, and I for one am pretty excited about them. The series will be called, ‘Nerd Virgins.’

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not that kind of nerd virgin. We will be wasting no time discussing the idea that nerds tend to be socially awkward and thus have trouble with the opposite sex. No, these posts will be written from the perspective of people who have little to no conscious experience with geek culture, and are willing to give it a try and tell us about their experience. (And speaking of the word ‘geek,’ is anyone familiar with how the word went from referring to someone who bit the heads off of chickens at the carnival, to referring to someone who loves something much more than your average jane? If so, fill me in!)

I will be the knowing guide, carefully teaching these nerd virgins about the ways of the force. The first two guinea pigs who will be trying this out will be my wife Emily, and my best friend Brian.

Fortunately, this journey into nerd culture will be pretty a easy one. The divide between nerd culture and popular culture simply isn’t as clear as it once was. The list of the highest grossing films of all time is mostly filled with sci-fi, boy wizards, and superheroes. Lost is a widespread phenomenon. Jocks loved The Dark Knight just as much as anyone else. So, for Emily and Brian both (as well as anyone else who ends up writing for this series), they are already familiar with plenty of things that fall under the category of nerdom.

I think the primary difference between nerds and non-nerds is passion, attention to detail, and a vast knowledge of meaningless trivia which only helps us have fun conversations with other nerds. We are the ones mentioning where Chris Nolan borrowed from Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb. We are the ones rolling our eyes when someone asks if we have seen the “new trailer,” which we have not only seen, but have seen 13 times two months prior. We are the ones who can talk for hours about the smallest narrative minutia, and we love every minute of it.

That is why I will be the guide. I love film, books, comics, video games, and all that other shit enough that I would love to spend the rest of my life writing about it and showing other people how awesome it all is.

In case this blog so far hasn’t convinced you that I am a qualified nerd, let me give a bit of a resumé. I am certainly not king of the nerds, or anything like that. Yet, I think I can more than hold my own, certainly enough to fulfill my role for these posts. I own not one, but two different Lost t-shirts. I am currently in the midst of my second playthrough of Mass Effect II. At the moment, I have 19 graphic novels out from the library. I have spent a good portion of my life waiting on lines at movie theaters to see a movie opening night. I own Batman action figures that I purchased in my 20’s. There is an entire shelf in my house taken up by my comic books (it’s just above the shelf taken up entirely by my baseball cards). If that is not enough, feel free to email me and I can provide more proof, as well as plenty of references.

As far as our two writers are concerned, they are really just quasi-virgins. They are the teenage youth group, or Christian college, “everything but all the way,” type virgins. This won’t entirely be their first time, but it will the first time they have gone quite this far.

Brian already loves nerd culture much more than he realizes, he loved Kick-Ass, he is looking forward to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which is basically a feature length homage to nerdy awesomeness), he loves Wes Anderson (hipster nerds are still nerds), he enjoys the zombie genre, and he once whispered when he fell asleep on the couch that he would give anything to become Hank Pym, so he could spend the rest of his days on missions with The Avengers. Okay, so that last one isn’t true, but I still argue that for Brian this is more of an intervention to allow him to embrace his inner nerd than a true introduction to nerdom. Either way, I am honored to be a part of it. So far we have discussed him reading and/or watching Harry Potter, and watching Lost. Although, I am sure some comic books and video games will be included as well.

Emily is basically just interested in doing this to see what all my ranting and raving is about. What gets me so excited about all this stuff anyway? She will soon find out, for better or worse. She is going to start with comics and go from there.

So, anyway, I know I am going to enjoy this ride, wherever it takes us. Here’s to hoping you do too!


My Talented Friends: Claire Anthony [The Band Wagon]

“If Rosie Thomas, Yann Tiersen, Jars of Clay, Eisley, Sia, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, The Weepies, Beirut, and Nickel Creek were drawn with a 256 Crayola pack on a huge coloring book and then melted down and mixed with the first flowers of spring, the early morning dew on a hot summer’s day, straw plucked from an old scarecrow, and clouds culled from a winter sky, then baked into a giant man-shaped flan that accidentally burned in the oven and could not be eaten by people so was driven to a park where it was scattered in front of a bramble bush and a flock of birds came down and ate it and started singing, then that song might sound like Claire Anthony.” –– DTA
Claire Anthony

Look out the window at dusk in the dead of winter. Trees, long stripped of their colorful plumage, are stark and black against the blue of the darkening sky. All alone. Their branches reach for the stars, reaching for their small ancient light. The wood is dry and cracked from the harsh elements of a cold winter. Winds from every direction have seemingly battered the life out of the mangled organism. A branch or two is felled with every gust of wind, which are then covered over with the freshly fallen snow, and forgotten. Snow and ice coat the trunk and remaining branches like a well-worn fitted suit. The tree shakes in the blustery winds of arctic origin (where there are no trees, for good reason), like chattering teeth, the branches rattle together. The tree turns its attention anxiously to the east. Waiting with great anticipation as it shivers through the night. The night is cold. The sun breaks over the horizon and wraps it’s warm, yellow arms of light and heat around the cold, covered wood. The suit of frozen precipitation is melted; stripped away like a robe dropped to the floor. Branches, previously weighed down under the cover of snow and darkness, readjust & reach for the sky once again, like a good stretch after a long nap. Light gives heat gives life, yet light is born out of darkness.

Claire Anthony – Red Bird


I’ve known Claire Anthony for nearly ten years. Ever since I’ve known her, she has continually left me in awe, and even intimidated with her depth and incredible talent. There is a quality to her performance style that is hard to pinpoint. It is something that cannot be learned or taught. It is not something one can emulate. It is a quality that is inborn. There is a vocal quality that gently, yet firmly grabs your attention. It beats back at distraction like the deluge beats back conflagration, and guides your focus. Even with everything else fallen away, the honesty is disarming. Despite any nerves that may be present, the performance is still as if we have joined Claire in her bedroom at 3am, listening in as she sings and plucks her way through songs freshly copied from the tablet of her heart. I’ve found it is rare that a performer can combine talent with this honesty and vocal expressiveness. You believe every word because every word feels true, because every word is true. But I am biased, I suppose …

Claire and her Taylor

It will be hard for me to not have this last paragraph sound exactly like Gina’s

Her lyrics are steeped in poetic imagery and her voice conveys emotion where mere words fall short … just reread the first paragraph of this post … the scene I described is what her music is. Her songs wrap their long, loving arms around you and warm you back to life. Visit her myspace. Listen to the songs I’ve linked here, and the ones there. If you’re in Western Washington, go to one of her gigs. You will be in awe too. Listen:

Claire Anthony – Untitled


how to survive a shark attack

As always, summer is coming to Southern California much faster than it is to the rest of you suckers out there. And, while most of you view this as an awesome opportunity to stare down beautiful women who are wearing next-to-nothing at the beach, it only means one thing to me: shark attack time.

There’s something hardwired in my simple, simian brain that makes me fear the ocean – the vastness, the depth, the millions and millions of gallons of fish poop. Throw in the possibility of being attacked by a giant predatory fish that can smell my blood from miles away AND out maneuver me in the water? No thanks.

However, while I don’t know that it cured me of my galeophobia, I did happen to stumble across a post titled ‘How to Survive a Shark Attack‘ on the Art of Manliness blog today that made me feel a little better about my chances of dealing with a man-eating fish.

For those of you too lazy to read a well-written post, I’ll give you a few highlights here:

  • you will probably never get attacked by a shark
  • get out of the water if you see a shark
  • punch that thing in the gills

Sadly, I did an image search online to try and find a cool picture of a shark for this post and immediately forgot about all the good advice in the article when I saw this picture of a shark eating a Tyrannosaurus Rex.


So go on and enjoy your tanlines, skimpy bikinis, and sand. I’ll stick to just staring down the not-so-beautiful women at the apartment complex pool.


the adjustment bureau. [trailer park.]

I’ve been waiting for this trailer for a while, and finally, here it is!

Sadly, the trailer presents lots of text which is formulaic, but trailers do that regardless of what the film has in store.

I am so there the weekend this comes out.

Granted, adaptations Philip K. Dick stories can be pretty terrible (i.e. Paycheck), but they can also be pretty fantastic, (i.e. Blade Runner, Minority Report).

Damon, Blunt, Roger Sterling… C’mon!


the ‘western’ list is taking shape. [another day, another movie.]

Thanks to some internal conversations, and to the helpful feedback from readers, the list of Westerns is starting to look pretty good. We are actually getting to a point pretty quickly where I will either have to stretch Westerns out to a full month, or else split Westerns into two different marathons (or whatever you call a marathon when it takes place daily, instead of all at once).

There are some which are still up in the air. So far, here is the list of definite films included:

  1. Unforgiven
  2. The Magnificent Seven
  3. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  4. The Searchers
  5. Hang ‘Em High
  6. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  7. High Plains Drifter
  8. Blazing Saddles
  9. High Noon
  10. Tombstone
  11. 3:10 to Yuma
  12. Firefly marathon, followed by Serenity

I also think that after this whole thing is over, I will use this opportunity to start watching Deadwood.

Any votes one way or the other?


Eat Your Heart Out, Mariah Carey

I probably should not be the one pointing to this, but since W has seldomly been seen, I will excitedly and emphatically point (and link) to this gem:

We could definitely devote more posts to his related links, but, just check them out after watching. This guy is too talented to go undiscovered for this long.