Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I Could Totally Take Vader

(Make sure you let the audio load on these links. Otherwise, you'll be very confused.)

I mentioned a while back that the Vader Frankenstein scream in Episode III kinda bothered me. I'm glad I'm not the only one that found a little humor in Vader acting like a total wuss:

Vader on a roller coaster.

Vader loses on the Price is Right, but wins on Wheel of Fortune.

Vader turns on the lights....okay that one was a stretch.

Not Vader, but still somewhat Star Wars related.

Definitely not Star Wars, but cracks me up for some strange reason.

Happy Birthday to the Suitcase!!

In four minutes, the Sunless Suitcase will be celebrating its first birthday! Hooray!! It's been a nice year of blogging. I'd grade this blog a C+. The grade drop comes from the three month hiatus. Still, at least the posts have been pretty mostly large!

I know I haven't been blogging much lately, but I just haven't had much to say. Plus Gran Turismo 4 has been eating up most of my lazy time. I'm sure you don't want to hear about my video game car collection. Well at least I'm excited about it.

I'll start blogging more this week, promise.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Ramble Tamble

It's been a little while since I've posted last, so I'll do another rambling post just to meet my quota.

Oh and thanks to CCR for the title of this post. That's my favorite Fogerty song.

First, let me respond to basically everything Cory has talked about it the last month or so. I finally got around to picking up the Bloc Party album. With as much hype as I have been bombarded with concerning this album, I feel it is my duty to like it.....and I do. I may not be quite as nuts as Cory about it, but it's still a very solid debut. It's so very not complex, and that's okay. With all the complex music I love, it's always very comforting to have something I don't have to concentrate on as I listen to it. That's not a barb. I really do like it. The one thing that is hard for me to get over is the dude's voice. It reminds me so much of when I was in high school and British comedy was my obsession.....shows like Red Dwarf and the Young Ones. Of course I'm much smarter now. Okay.....Bloc Party gets the Sunless Suitcase seal of approval. Nice work, Cory!

I need to say happy anniversary to John and Heather. One year ago today. Hooray!! I guess in John's case it would be a "ham"iversary.

I have to talk about the new Coldplay really quickly. I'm really confused by it. I'm not digging it as much as I should. It's great, don't get me wrong, but I'm not as crazy about it as "A Rush of Blood to the Head." I can't figure out if it just isn't as strong an album as the last, or if I'm just in the wrong mindset to be listening to Coldplay. I just don't know. Maybe it's just that it just kind of squeezed into this long stream of great new albums and it just isn't like the others I've been buying. I don't know. Somebody else tell me. Help!!

Has anybody seen this show Animal X on Animal Planet? Definitely the most unintentionally funny show on television at this moment. It's a show about cryptozoology, something I'm very interested in. However, this show is so over the top that it's difficult to take it seriously. First, the host is biggest ball of cheese I've seen since I first time I saw a Ronco infomercial. He never leaves the studio and lets his younger cronies do all the work (a la Marlin Perkins). He's just ridiculous. Second, the two little field reporters are a couple of the worst scientists I've ever seen. I love how they constantly jump to conclusions, then they actually have to tell themselves to stop jumping to conclusions. Here's an example from their bigfoot hunt in timeline format:
-They set up a bunch of different types of cameras in the woods (infrared, motion detector).
-They hear a howl....and of course they say it's bigfoot.
-A camera catches some animal drinking from the water.....they think it's bigfoot because it's HUGE!
-They try to recreate the camera shot and determine it's actually an armadillo.
-Obviously embarrassed to mix up a bigfoot (7 ft. tall) and an armadillo (2 ft. long), they decide to not jump to anymore conclusions.
-As they are packing up, the girl sees something brown run off into the woods nearby. She says she thought it was bigfoot. That's science!

Have you bought your Sufjan Stevens yet? Well get on it!! He's unreal and becoming a very big obsession of mine right now. In fact, I'm listening to him right now. Just to give you his concept, he's a very talented multi-instrumentalist (24 listed in one album) that wrote an epic album about his home state of Michigan. It got tremendous reviews, so he decided to write an album for every state in the union. Yes, EVERY SINGLE ONE!! His new one is "Illinois." It, like "Michigan," is incredible. Both are basically suites that last well over an hour. Think of it as a folk symphony. If Iron & Wine played a cross between Gershwin and the Peanuts theme, you would have Sufjan Stevens. His music is very complex, layered. It can be difficult to listen to because every song just blends together. You can't just listen to it on the way to work. You have to actually prepare to sit and concentrate for over an hour. It's difficult, but extraordinarily rewarding. It's funny, too, that the concept of this project seems to be like a history lesson. However, the way he writes is more of putting the burden of these people (historical or ordinary) in his heart and letting his mouth tell their stories. It's something truly beautiful and very folksy. Plus he's still got 48 more albums to go in this series!!

Okay, off to bed. I hope that catches everybody up.....on what, I don't know.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Brief Review

I'll make this brief as I have to get to bed.

I listened to the new White Stripes tonight. All I'll say is that Jack & Meg have mastered this thing called rhythm and blues. Man it's good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

It's Over Ninety Degrees Outside, But It Still Feels Like Christmas

Christmas in June continues as I picked up the new Coldplay and White Stripes just now. Then I got home and checked my mail and received my Viva Voce shipment. I received a refund notice on my Calexico shipment, but that's okay. I'm still waiting on my Sufjan Stevens order, then I'm set.

I listened to the new Eels while at work this morning. It is FANTASTIC!! I highly recommend it. If you haven't ever checked out the Eels (first of all SHAME ON YOU), I would recommend picking up "Electro-Shock Blues." It's always been my favorite, but this one may be better. The reason I recommend it is that the new one has 33 songs. That's a pretty daunting task to get into somebody new.

Has anybody noticed all these double albums coming out? The new Eels, Ryan Adams, and Foo Fighters are all double albums. New Foo comes out in a week. I'll check it out if I'm in the mood. The new Eels is a FAR superior double album than the new Ryan Adams. For the most part, "Cold Roses" all sounds the same. The new Eels is a great adventure through all kinds of different musical formats. It's very long, but it never feels repetitive.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Christmas in June

The mass shipment of new schwag has begun!! Today in the mail I received:

Calexico "Convict Pool"
Eels "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations"
Sufjan Stevens "Illinois"

I'm still waiting on:

Calexico "Feast of Wire"
Sufjan Stevens "Michigan"
Viva Voce "The Heat Can Melt Your Brain"

And, of course, tomorrow brings the release of:

Coldplay "X&Y"
White Stripes "Get Behind Me Satan"

Plus I got my new shirt in the mail today. Two words: Woo and Hoo!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Sunless Suitcase All-Star Ballot

American League
1B-Mark Teixeira (Texas)
I love this young core of Ranger infielders. That sucks for ex-Missouri Tiger Ian Kinsler who is tearing up the minor leagues. Teixeira, Soriano, Young, and Blalock are all studs. Teixeira is the one that really stands out to me. He's having a great year. .300 BA, 13 HR, 41 RBI, and a .905 OPS(!!!).

2B-Brian Roberts (Baltimore)
Pretty obvious choice here. To think Roberts was platooning 2B in Baltimore with Hairston in Spring Training. It didn't take too long for them to ship off Hairston to Chicago.

SS-Miguel Tejada (Baltimore)
Easily the best hitting shortstop in the American League. No doubt about this pick.

3B-Melvin Mora (Baltimore)
I think ARod is the choice here, but I'll always refuse to vote for him. The guy is a good hitter and not much else. Besides, I'm sure he'll get plenty of votes from other people. I'll pick Mora because he's having a solid year and Baltimore's accomplishments this year need to be refected in the All-Star game.

C-Jason Varitek (Boston)
Might be the best catcher in the majors.

DH-Shea Hillenbrand (Toronto)
Just comparing DH stats, Hillenbrand's name was the only one that stands out. I've always thought of him as a solid player (not spectacular, but good nonetheless), so I've always been surprised that he's bounced around in his short career.

OF-Garret Anderson (LA-Anaheim)
Another solid year for Garret. He's becoming an All-Star mainstay.

OF-Scott Podsednik (Chicago)
Not the first name that stands out on an All-Star ballot, but the guy has twice as many stolen bases as Ichiro. That's an accomplishment in my eyes. I also don't like to just look at homeruns when comparing stats.

OF-Gary Sheffield (New York)
Sheffield is one of those rare players that rejuvenates his career with the Yankees and he's having yet another great year for them. I, like most, hate the Yankees, but I've never really had too much of a problem with Sheffield. I know plenty of people that don't like the guy, but not so much me.

National League
1B-Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Come on, that's obvious. I have a feeling that this will finally be the year he wins MVP. Isn't it great that I can say "he'll finally be MVP" when he's only 25?! Albert just oozes the game and it's so great I get to watch him play everyday for my favorite team.

2B-Mark Grudzielanek (St. Louis)
I'm not picking him because he's a Cardinal. Being able to watch this guy play everyday is just awesome. He's been incredible in every aspect of his game. He's unreal in the field and is has been on fire at the plate all year. Plus he hit the first Cardinal cycle since Mabry.

SS-Clint Barmes (Colorado)
Easy pick for Rookie of the Year right now. Yeah he plays in Colorado, but almost the whole starting lineup for the Rockies are rookies. Only Barmes is standing out in that crowd.

3B-Troy Glaus (Arizona)
It pains me to not see Rolen in this place, but it makes me so happy to see Glaus come back to have a good year. Plus he works out with my bro every now and again and my sister is good friends with his mom.

C-Ramon Hernandez (San Diego)
This guy is putting together a solid year. Any catcher that hits around .300 is a stud in my eyes.

OF-Bobby Abreu (Philadelphia)
Another great year for Abreu. He's always been a really solid player and it's really cool to see him stand out like he has for the last couple of years.

OF-Jim Edmonds (St. Louis)
Since coming to the National League, he's never been down. It's pretty common to see a hitter come to the NL and struggle (Tino and Griffey anyone?), but Edmonds has never struggled. Should be a mainstay in the NL All-Star starting lineup.

OF-Carlos Lee (Milwaukee)
Milwaukee's been really solid this year and Lee is the biggest reason why. He and Podsednik were swapped in a trade and both make my All-Star ballot. That's a value trade!

Friday, June 03, 2005

All Right Cory....

....I'll bite.

The last CD I bought was:
"Feast of Wire" & "Convict Pool" by Calexico
-I ordered these two today. I saw them open for Wilco last year and loved them but keep forgetting to pick some of their stuff up. Then I saw Cory's mention of "Alone Again Or" by Love and remembered Calexico's killer version of that, so I picked these two up. I'm still waiting for my shipments of:
Eels "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations"
Sufjan Stevens "Michigan" & "Illinois"
Viva Voce "The Heat Can Melt Your Brain"

Song (CD) playing now:
Well right now I'm watching the Cardinals game, but I listened to Gorillaz "Demon Days" all day today. I also haven't been able to get Pavement's "Cut Your Hair" out of my head all week.

Five songs that I listen to a lot or mean a lot to me:
Boy, that's a tough one. I remember one time back in Milwaukee, Joshers in Ohio and I were IM'ing each other. He asked me, "What songs make you cry?" I said give me an hour. I came back with a list of 100 or so songs. I'll narrow this list down a bit. Most truly memorable songs to me end up being pretty topical, but most of the songs I'll list come from my totally random selective memory.

"God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds)
-I still consider "Pet Sounds" to be the greatest album ever recorded. It's strange because I got into it in the dead of winter of 1997. Typically the Beach Boys aren't associated with brutal midwestern winters, but I'll always associate "Pet Sounds" with the winter. Especially really cold days.

"Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" by the Flaming Lips (The Soft Bulletin)
-My favorite song from my favorite album by one of my favorite bands. I was obsessed with this album for over a year straight....actually I still am. My favorite memory of this song (and this album) was one summer night in 1999. I was home between my time in Kent and Milwaukee and was playing Final Fantasy VII (still my favorite video game ever). I was nuts over that game in Kent, but never finished it there because Jason's Playstation broke. Well I was playing the game at around 4am and was listening to "The Soft Bulletin" for the first time. I remember having to stop playing the game when I started the CD because the first song was so good. By the time I got to "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate," it was dawn and I went out back to smoke a cigarette. I was wandering around my parents' backyard listening to this song and watching the sunrise and was just in awe of everything. (On a sidenote: I think this song was foreshadowing to my time in Milwaukee.)

"Peninsula" by Bill Janovitz (Lonesome Billy)
-Always reminds me of Jonas. I remember listening to this album one Saturday in 1996 with him while cooking a bean stew and getting ready to watch MST3K. Then we went to get funnel cakes. We ate a bunch of funnel cakes that summer. Plus it reminds me of an ex-girlfriend from high school.

"Cold Water" by Marty Robbins (Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs)
-This one may seem a little out of left field, but this song always brings back a ton of memories from my childhood. The biggest trip I took as a child was when I was seven and my family took a train to Dalhart, Texas, to see my newly-relocated grandparents. During that trip, we drove all over New Mexico and Colorado in a van. I got to see the desert and the mountains for the first time. My grandparents were really big into Marty Robbins at this time (actually I think they still are). During the whole trip we listened to a TON of Marty Robbins. We also watched a bunch of those corny Marty Robbins western movies. "El Paso" and especially "Cold Water" are the songs that still remind me of that trip. I always remember my dad's impression of "Cold Water" and thinking it was the funniest thing ever. This trip also started a weird phase for my brother (who was four at the time). He became obsessed with Marty Robbins. He started dressing like a cowboy everyday for years. He would watch those Marty Robbins movies and listened to Marty Robbins tapes all the time. He would watch old videos of Marty Robbins as a stock car racer. He had framed Marty Robbins pictures hanging on his walls. He would even watch old Marty Robbins concert videos. Now that I think back about it, the sight of a four-year-old kid watching Marty Robbins in a white rhinestone suit swaggering all over the stage while women throw roses at him just cracks me up. I still remember the suit Marty Robbins was wearing in that video and I remember there was an empty brandy snifter on his piano. After doing a little Googling, I think this might a picture from that concert. Two Thanksgivings ago my brother and I were driving home together from those same grandparents' house. I put a Johnny Cash version of "Big Iron" in my CD player and he still knew the whole song word-for-word.

"Windfall" by Son Volt (Trace)
-This and "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd were the first songs I learned to play on guitar. It was pretty simple because the riff in "Windfall" is basically "Wish You Were Here" in reverse. I was going through a pretty weird phase in high school when "Trace" came out. I had really gotten into music a few years earlier when I started staying up late on Sunday nights to watch 120 Minutes on MTV and seeing videos from Weezer, Pavement, James, etc., but still had a certain disdain towards country music (other than Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins). In 1995 Jonas and Jonathan started getting into newer music and transferring it to me. Son Volt was that one band that I really went out on a limb on. I picked up "Trace" I think right after Christmas in 1995. I remember that night turning all the lights out in my room and listening to it, and suddenly my perception of music changed forever.

Honorable Mentions:
"The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago" by Johnny Cash (at San Quentin)
"Don't Panic" by Coldplay (Parachutes)
"Kinder Murder" by Elvis Costello (Brutal Youth)
"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" by Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde)
"P.S. You Rock My World" by Eels (Electro-Shock Blues)
"Sin City" by the Flying Burrito Brothers (The Guilded Palace of Sin)
"Unspirited" by Guided By Voices (Isolation Drills)
"Tomorrow" by James (Whiplash)
"Ghost" by Neutral Milk Hotel (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
"Beat a Drum" by REM (Reveal)
"Factory Girl" by the Rolling Stones (Beggars Banquet)
"Burn Last Sunday" by Superchunk (Indoor Living)
"Flowers in the Window" by Travis (The Invisible Band)
"Train Song" by Tom Waits (Franks Wild Years)
"My Name is Jonas" by Weezer (blue album)
"Far, Far Away" by Wilco (Being There)
"We're an American Band" by Yo La Tengo (I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One)

Three people I will Tag:
I can't because Cory stole the rest of my Blog friends. Greedy!! Still, I would like to see this launch B Waj's return to writing. Remember, I started writing again a couple months ago because you were one of the ones insisting.