Of Tuesday Tunes – Underground by Adam Lambert

My song of the week is Underground by Adam Lambert.

Adam Lambert recently dropped his latest album and it’s unsurprisingly wonderful. What I really appreciate about Adam is that he takes risks with all of his albums by playing with genre. You can tell which album a song is from based on it’s aesthetic, but no matter what it still feels like an Adam song.

Underground is about longing, loss, and love. The song itself is a mixture of R&B and EDM, with a bass drop is sheer sexy perfection.

There is no music video, but you can enjoy starring at his beautiful face. ūüôā

Favorite lyric: “Cause nobody feels you like I do, nobody kills me like you do, nothing I take can ever cut through, I’m in trouble.”

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Of PTX, Vol. 1 by Pentatonix (Music Review)

Pentatonix

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The first EP entitled PTX, Vol. 1 by the a capella group Pentatonix is officially out. Go buy it! All of you, its sheer genius.

WARNING: these singers will make you feel extremely untalented (but in a good way).

I pre-ordered this album weeks ago and was incredibly thrilled to see it had automatically downloaded into my iTunes (no waiting, excellent). When I watched this group on NBC’s The Sing Off last season they stood out in a way that no a capella group ever has, and trust me I’m an a capella nerd. They were modern, attractive, seemed genuinely nice, and have every possibility of creating a buzz that will make them¬†well-known¬†in the mainstream market.

Here’s what makes them so special, they break the boundaries. They come up with unique arrangements, can pull of vocal dub-step/techno as well as pop, r&b, hip-hop, and¬†virtually¬†whatever genre they feel like singing, but most of all each of their band mates has equal importance. Most the time when watching an a capella group perform there is the clear star, everyone else seems to fade into the background while they get all the attention and praise. With Pentatonix everyone shines at all times, they are a team that works together. Plus their bass and beatboxer (who also gets props for knowing how to play the cello) are crazy awesome.

When I started listening to the EP I thought, this is so epic! Followed shortly by, how do they get their voices to do that?¬†And from that point on this album is all I’ve listened to. To give you a taste of this brilliant group I’ve posted their first music video below, which also happens to be the first track on PTX, Vol. 1:

The rest of the EP is up to the same caliber of technical quality regarding their arrangement as well as entertainment. My only complaint is that it’s only seven songs long. When they release a full length album I’ll be giddy as hell, like a kid at Christmas, unable to sleep the night before from the excitement.

Trust me, you need this album in your life.

Of The Cabin in the Woods (Movie Review)

Cabin in the Woods Movie Poster

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge Whedonhead. The man is incredibly talented and has a knack for taking things and turning them on their head, bending them like a Gumby doll, and producing something awesome. He’s quoted as saying that his stories come from a place of why. With Buffy it was why does this girl always get killed off? With Cabin it came down to why do I love these movies and why do they always follow this certain pattern? To watch that interview click here.

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Go watch this! Two thumbs up. Five stars. Etc. Etc.

I’ve already seen it twice.

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The challenge with writing a review on this masterpiece will be avoiding spoilers. So I’m going to do my best to avoid saying anything about the plot, which as I said, will be challenging. But I’m not telling the details¬†because¬†it’s really the type of movie that you should go into with as¬†little¬†knowledge as possible¬†about beforehand. ¬†I also will say that if you arrive at the theater and the movie is already going, WAIT till the next show, trust me – even the first 30 seconds are essential.

The movie expertly balances horror and comedy often at the same time – a signature quality in Whedon’s work. The plot slowly unravels itself and doesn’t spell anything out for the audience. We get¬†thrown into the middle of this world, much as the kids in the cabin are. The difference being that we get to see both sides of the spectrum.

Everything and what you think is to happen probably won’t happen, or if it does, something else will occur to destroy that particular horror film trope. In fact, expect this to be first horror in years that keeps you guessing. Ultimately it all leads to an epic explosion of chaos and awesomeness.

That being said, if you prefer stupid horror films filled with blood and guts (which, by the way, there is plenty of in this film), where there is an¬†unnecessary¬†rape scene, pointless jump scares, highly¬†unlikable¬†characters, and requires no thinking or frankly intelligence. Then you probably won’t this movie. However, for the people who enjoy intellectual comedy and horror at it’s finest, where everything has a purpose, and the characters are¬†lovable¬†(even the bad ones). Then you will LOVE this movie.

I love this movie. I love that Whedon and Drew Goddard (co-writer and director) trust the audience to be smart enough to understand the premise, characters, plot, and so on. I love that it pays tribute to the classics from the 70s but also teases what horror film have become.

And yes, I never mentioned what the story is about. But that was intentional, the trailer already borderline says too much and advertises the film as pure horror when in reality there is a lot of comedy thrown in the mix.

I’ll tell you this: a group of kids go to a cabin, bad things happen, but not exactly what you would expect.

Of a Washingtonian’s Social Life

Me and Nicole

Me and one of my besties, Nicole. Initially her and I were not friends, now we think we're both pretty awesome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the quirks that seem to be shared by 99% of those around me. Namely my fellow Washingtonians, whom if my life goes according to plan I will no longer be living near, at latest, by next Fall, I’M COMING BACK NEW YORK!! (the city this time, not Amish country – thought I should clarify). There’s the more obvious traits, coffee habits and an extreme aversion to the umbrella that I’ll never understand – it was literally designed for our climate, yet, it is a sign of weakness to actually use one. But the most fascinating thing about Washington is the social climate.

We’re very polite, pretty much all the time. Canadians come down to the States and say they like shopping here because we’re all so nice. I always smile and joke about how that’s because we’re all 70% of caffeine. Even customers who yell at me at work for (being forced) to sell them a membership, say thank you after I hand them their tickets.

We all smile and nod as strangers pass by, if it’s an acquaintance¬†we’ll throw in a peppy, “Hey how’s it going?” maybe a quick hug. The following responses are respectable: good, fine, tired, busy, late … and/how-about you? repeat cycle. Note how they are all one word responses, we don’t actually care how you are doing and you don’t actually want to tell us – but it would be rude to not acknowledge their presence. Nobody wants the following conversation to occur:

Person A: Hey how’s it going?

Person B: Not good, my cat/grandma/lover/car just died.

Person A: Oh … I’m sorry

Person B: Yeah, I’ve been really depressed. Are you free to talk?

Person A: I wish I was but I’m actually running late. We’ll talk soon.

Or

Person A: Hey how’s it going?

Person B: Great getting married tomorrow!

Person A: Wow, Congratulations

Person B: Thank you, well … let’s hang out soon!

The word soon is our saving grace. It has the ability to be manipulated to mean yes, no, or maybe depending on context.

The thing I’ve learned from living with Washingtonians is that sometimes the best thing I can do, is lie. Or rather, imply a maybe.¬†Here’s a real world example:

Me and Erin

Me and one of my other besties, Erin, she's the one I quoted ... she's also awesome.

I was out drinking and dancing with several friends. I was the driver, it was 2AM and I wasn’t good to drive yet, and I had three incredibly drunk ladies surrounding me. Our friend calls us, wanting us to stop by his house. Saying, “no,” was ineffective, he just keeps pleading. So we start to say, “we’ll try,” and “maybe,” even though we have no intention of actually going over. He accepts this – probably knowing that we weren’t actually going to come over, that’s not the point, the point is (much like the word soon) we might try. Might.

After we hung up the phone I mentioned the social rules we just followed. My friend Erin said, “That’s how you have to deal with a Washingtonian, especially a drunk one.”

The phenomenon is exactly why when I transferred to Western as a Junior it was hard to make friends. I’ve always been a very social person and I am not shy (outside the world of romance) but moving back to Washington after a year and a half in Amish country New York – I began to question my social skills and doubt how awesome I actually am. On the outside everyone was very pleasant, we would talk¬†about hanging out, but we never would. It felt like I was asking people out on dates just to have friends. Maybe this (and the lack of sunlight) are key to why the depression rate is so high around here.

But please don’t be fooled, we’re not all bitches, and we do actually want to hang out. It’s the making it happen that’s the hard part.

However, once you’re in, YOU’RE IN, and they got your back. Also, the too-much-too-soon factor that people tend to frown upon in other places I’ve lived seems to get thrown out the window – most people will tell you almost anything (within reason).

After I got past that pleasant but frustrating social barrier I found lovely people to hang out with. These people are hilarious, outgoing, and outspoken … I love them dearly.

Of Pure Writing Talent

Me and Joe

Me and my best friend Joe. I miss the kid. This photo technically has nothing to do with the post. Except, just look how awesome we are. Awesomeness = relevance.

Before I begin. I was planning on doing a November challenge, where I would get my ass in gear and write a post a day. My personalized version of the write a novella in a month challenge. I figured this is more doable since I am a busy person. However, I’m starting a couple of days late. Oh well, better late than never.

Okay, post time!

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Let’s be honest. I’m fucking talented.

Every quarter I take a creative writing workshop, fiction or non-fiction, and every quarter I’m reminded of how awesome I am. This is not to say I am the best, but I’m certainly not the worst. I read a lot of lame or simply AWFUL work from people who are supposedly creative writing majors, these same people are intending to graduate within the next year or two. Crazy, surely there must be something else they are more talented at. I have to read so many plotless fiction stories, and poorly written non-fiction essays that make me feel like a bitch for prying into a private moment.

Sigh. Why creative writing majors? But, on the other hand, thank you for making me feel like a very talented person in this smallish school.

Most of what I write I throw together in a blur. Typically I’m low on sleep, high on caffeine, and limited on time. This quarter especially is a sleepless haze, I’m taking eighteen credits and work twenty – twenty-five hours every weekend. Then when I can I try to throw in a night of dancing or mindless television for the sake of sanity. It’s pure magic that I manage to get my assignments finished on time.

Ironically,¬†I refuse to half-ass things, so maybe that’s why my work turns out above average most of the time. Let’s be honest again, grammatically I’m not a queen or a Nazi. In fact, most of my writing buddies will agree that while I’ve improved¬†that is still my weakest department – thus I have no desire to be a¬†copy-editor. I would no doubt suck at that.

But in terms of content, yeah, I’m pretty fucking awesome.