I Fight Dragons: Kaboom! Review

This is only the second album that I’ve officially reviewed and by that I mean, listening to each song in repetition as well as spreading its songs throughout my day.  Of course, I also happen to be on a flight from JFK to San Diego on jetBlue using my wife’s MacBook Air paired with her Lady Gaga Beats Headphones.  Not the best listening setup as compared to my review of Justin Bieber’s latest album, but it’s what I have. So here goes. p.s. I’m also thinking about changing the format for reviews to be more like a simpler general review, but tell me your thoughts.


  1. Fanfare
    1. basic intro with all the video game sound effects you can expect from an intro when popping in your 8-bit NES cartridge --> excitement
  2. KABOOM!
    1. the title track starts off with a very fast upbeat drum line and mixes in more sound effects that help out transitions between the chorus.
  3. Save World Get Girl
    1. deep bass line intro, you’d never think it’d be fast paced.  Bottom line, it’s a great pick me up type song reassuring you always get the girl when you save the world.
  4. cRaZie$
    1. definitely a slower tempo that realigns the feel of the album a third through mixed in with multiple harmonies.
  5. Gloria (Interlude)
    1. A perfect throwback to a text and graphic transition from a frightful world to much calmer one.
  6. My Way
    1. Happy.  There’s clapping and “la la la’s” all around.  This is where the album actually starts to incorporate more game like midi files and sound effects.  It’s definitely calmer than the rest.
  7. With You
    1. one of the biggest changes of pace especially with guest Kina Grannis dropping in with a great harmony.  I almost thought that it was Incubus on the album.  This is a sweet song and is cute.  Probably could have been on an RPG of sorts.  Definitely an easy favorite to chill to and completely unexpected.  Probably my favorite on the track.
  8. Fight For You
    1. I’ll fight for you if you care about me.  I guess you can say we’re in it together.
  9. The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth
    1. the understanding and old adage of geeks being the losers of high school and the winners in the end. the song itself is a little geeky with robotic speak and spell coming at you.  they have funny lines such as “we need some sun” make the song entertaining.  I guess it’s almost like telling an old crush, we’re awesome now!
  10. Disaster Hearts
    1. A very slow song bringing you back down to earth and reality.  About getting over a dramatic life changing event its proves to be a sad song.  A very emo themed Death Cab kind of song.  Good but just a little too different in the mix.
  11. Don’t You?
    1. Partying after a disaster to get over things.  the guitar rift is pretty sweet beginning at 2:00.  that definitely brought the song back from the dead.
  12. Working
    1. it’s not working for me that’s what the song says and I agree.  it’s just too different.
  13. Before I Wake
    1. a charming song that might have sounded better as an acoustic solo
  14. Suburban Doxology
    1. a song that concludes the album well.  it’s almost like the end of a movie


It’s a great alternative album along the lines of a sub par Green Day mix.  Honestly, that might be a little bit of an overshoot, but that’s what it happened to remind of.  Fun throughout and the 8 bit anecdotes sprinkled within the tracks are honestly perfect.  Download the free tracks here or buy the album and support the group!!!

Garmin's new Triathlete Watch: 910XT

Garmin just released a video showing their latest device for triathletes calling it the 910XT. I've been waiting for Garmin to replace their Forerunner 310XT for sometime, but now, I'm not so sure that I'd be all for spending $399. If it was exactly like my Garmin Edge 500, then I'd be all for it but it's missing a temperature sensor. Yea, small things like that matter to me and I don't see why they couldn't have included it. We'll see. At least it works with Garmin's footpod where the Edge 500 doesn't which would help me track my indoor running at the hotels I stay.

Peep commercial video is down below, but if you have sometime (read: 15-30 minutes), check out Ray Maker's In-Depth Review. There is no other review like it!

At the Movies: The Social Network

I was fortunate enough to be invited out to see an early screening of The Social Network. I have to thank Loli for taking me, it was her advanced screening invite. I'm just going to make it a rule that anything that she invites me out to will be cool and awesome from this point forward. I have to say this is the first advanced screening that I've been do in my adult life, I saw Top Gun on NCAS Mirarmar, but that was a long time ago. We both got there a little later than we planned. I blame traffic, that shouldn't of been there in the first place. Boo traffic. When we finally did get into the lobby of the theater, we got stuck in the 2nd line. Yes, 2nd line. I wish we had known about the Yelp registration so we could of been seated with all of the other 1st liners. I would of blogged about this earlier, but they took our phones at the door and I came home to a kitchen full of ants and had to clean up, but here we go. I'm not going to be giving away too much of the movie by giving a synopsis. The Social Network is an adaptation of Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires. This is the story of how Facebook came to be. Basically, Mark Zuckerberg creates Face Smash, a site that allows user to compare female students based on pictures from their school's online Face Books,  which will become the keystone to creating Facebook. Face Smash brings a lot of negative attention to Mark from the female student body and the Harvard administration. This notoriety is noticed by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss and Divya Narendra who want to use Mark's talent to help create a dating website which caters to women who are interested in Harvard men. Mark uses the basis of this idea to begin work on creating Facebook with the financial backing of his friend Edwardo Saverin. As Facebook becomes more popular there are complications between Mark and Ed that leads to a lawsuit by Ed for control of the company as well and intellectual properties lawsuit by Tyler, Cameron, and Divya.

The format of this movie is from the prospective of Mark Zukerberg as he recalls the events he's being questioned about in 2 separate lawsuits. I find this to be an effective tool to justify the chopped up timeline. There were only a couple times when the quick cuts between lawsuits caused me to forget which group of lawyers he was talking to. The pace of this movie was very good. It moved very fast and did not leave you too much time to wonder what the score was for the Padre game. The writers did a good job of putting a great set of 1-liners in for all of the cast. This helped with the movie because, as the movie starts to become too serious, you get a great 1-liner to break it up. This made it more believable.

The Social Network portrays Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg') as a very intelligent man that lacks some of the social graces everyone wants him to have. Jesse Eisenberg does an excellent job or portraying  Mark as and ADHD genius and an outright dick. You're going to hate Mark a little as you watch the movie, which is good acting.  I have to say, I did feel some empathy toward the characterization because he is so intelligent but he doesn't have the patience to wait for people who are steps behind him. I think this is true with a lot of people with vision, they are challenged with the suffering of fools. I still think that Mark's Machiavellian tactics were borderline unethical, but you don't become a Billionaire CEO without making enemies along the way.

I was impressed by Andrew Garfield's Edwardo Saverin. You could see the progression from college dorm friend who has the startup money and business knowledge to help Mark with his idea to disgruntled friend as he's slowly pushed out from his seat as co-creator. Edwardo's story did not share the same screen time as Mark, but his was the true focus of the story. His character showed the most emotional content out of all of the characters. Brenda Song played Edwardo's girlfriend, Christy Lee. I was taken aback a little because I know her from the Disney Channel shows. I guess she has to make the change from Mickey Mouse Club to adult actor, and she picked a character that helped her get there.

Justin Timberlake plays the co-creator of Napster, Plaxo and Facebook, Sean Parker. Justin Timberlake's portrayal was good, but not excellent. I think I was influenced by the subject mater. Justin Timberlake does a fine job of being the flashy guy who, talks a lot of talk, is manipulative, and paranoid. There are times where I though his acting was forced, but how much more acting can you put behind, "...he's in the zone, that's what I'm talking about!", "...Take another bong hit.", and "...you need to come out to California. That's where it is." I was actually more irritated by Sean Parker's characterization that anyone else's in this film because he's just like Iago, from Othello, who's jealousy and manipulation does enough to latch onto Mark Zuckerberg and secure him part ownership of Facebook.

Armie Hammer's Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss was impressive. I honestly did not know it was the same actor. They did a great job on wardrobe and editing. The Winkelvoss's portrayal seemed like the classic "Jock" that had to be written in to intimidate the "Nerd". I wonder how much of this characterization is true to their real life personalities? Even though I realized this was going the way of the Revenge of the Nerds format, I wasn't swayed by the movie.

Overall, I recommend that you see this movie in the theaters. I think everyone should take the time to get a little history lesson on how Facebook came to be. I walked away with a better understanding of how Facebook came to be. I think I might even go out and get the book. I also wanted to delete my profile, but then, who does a better  job at social networking as Facebook. I realized that this is what the movie was about, how Mark Zuckerberg took something that was good at what it does and is cool and turn a profit out of it. He even has business cards that say, "I'm the CEO, bitch."

This movie won't disappoint, go see it. I actually want to see it again. I'll give it a 4 out of 5 (still haven't come up with a rating system...).

Additional Links:

The Social Network Official site - http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com/

Wikipedia: The Social Network  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Network

The Accidental Billionaires - http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780385529372.html

Wikipedia: Othello - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Othello

At the Movies: Catfish

I was invited out this morning to watch the documentary Catfish with my friend Loli. I accepted not know a single thing about this film, which was a good thing. I had a totally open and unbiased opinion. She told me some background about the movie the night before on the phone, but being a Man, I totally forgot what she said except, "meet me at the theater around 10:10." I actually forgot the name of the movie when I showed up, but I was early and went to look at golf equipment at the Sport Chalet. This worked out in my favor, because now I could just stand in line with her and learn the name of the movie. I make a few jokes about the movie title, Catfish, because I had no idea what it was about.

"Maybe it's about a giant Catfish that eats people."

"Maybe it's about a guy who's in love with a catfish."

"Maybe it's about a man who falls in love with a woman and she looks like a catfish."

My friend Loli first found about about this film through a combination of Facebook, from a friend, and then on an interview on the Ellen show. After watching the movie, I find the Facebook connection rather appropriate.

Catfish is a documentary about the personal relationship Nev Schulman, a New York Photographer,  develops with, Abby Peirce, an 8 year-old artist from Michigan, who paints one of his photos printed in a newspaper. Abby sends Nev the painting and their friendship began. What follows is Nev taking several other photos which are re-painted by Abby. Nev soon develops a friendly relationship with Abby's Mother, Angela, Abby's Father, and Abby's older Half-Sister, Meg. Once Meg is introduced, the real plot of the documentary begins with Meg and Nev developing a long distance relationship via email, text and Facebook. During a work trip by Nev, his brother, and their friend to film a dance festival in Colorado, the 3 discover clues that begin to shake Nev's resolve in his online relationship with Meg and her family. Nev takes the opportunity to head to Michigan and uncover the real story Meg and Abby.

I don't want to get too in depth with this synopsis because this is a documentary that everyone should watch. The basic premise of the movie is something that has been a concern of mine for a while. How do you trust the friends you make online though social networks, emails,and  instant messages? Personally, I don't usually correspond to people I don't know in real life. I've made a few friends with people I met on online games, but our friendship is solely based on that game and does not extend beyond that world. Also, my job requires me to manage project and people that are not physically located near me, but again those relationships usually don't extend beyond the confines of work. I have concerns with people who readily make friends with people they met online and easily develop true feelings for that person based on their online persona. We've all read and heard several stories of people whom break out of the confines of medium that attempt a real life relationship. But then again, I've done online dating so I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite...

Overall this film was very enjoyable as a documentary. It does a good job of capturing the budding relationship that Nev has with Abby's family via emails, Facebook, and phone calls. The production of the movie is very on the go, with some of the film taken with professional grade cameras and a point and shoot cameras using the video capture feature. This actually sold me into the movie more, because it made it more relatable because it felt like something I would do if I was a young 20-something. When they use Google Earth to show the transition from city to city, I was sitting too close to the screen to appreciate this low budget trick. At my distance, it was nauseating. The film did a great job of showing the range of emotions that Nev went through as you went through all of the plot twists throughout the film. I have to give credit to Nev's friend who helped Nev and his Brother realize the sensitivity they had to bring to this unique situation. I actually found myself becoming emotionally attached to people in this film; indifference, joy, and anger .

I recommend this film to anyone who has a Facebook page. I think I'll be talking about this movie for years to come. I don't want to ruin the plot line to the film, but even if you have basic understanding of the whole story, how it's told will bring you to the theater. If I had a rating system, I would give it 4 out of 5 (that's something I'll have to work on before the next film review.)

Additional Link:

IMDB Catfish - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1584016/

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfish_(film)

Official Website: http://www.iamrogue.com/catfish

Catfish - Official Trailer

Review: iTunes Ping

So i downloaded iTunes 10 last night to play with the social networking component Ping. I didn't listen to the Apple Press Event yesterday so I didn't know what to think. I had this grand idea that it would integrate with all the other social networking sites that I frequent (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). I also though that it was kind of weird since there are existing online music sites that have integrated social networking and have a very mature model, like LastFM. I also thought to myself that this could be something huge with the 100 Million worldwide users of iTunes. That's a huge user base to start with! With that being said, there is a very high bar for Ping to at least get close to. In the few hours that I've had to play with Ping I have to say, I don't get it. What is the point to Ping? Upon activating Ping to my iTunes account the options are very rudimentary. Basic stuff about you and what picture you want to use as your avatar is available to you. If you have an acccount, you've been asked this a Million times over.

You are then asked a simple set of questions to gauge your musical tastes. Strike 1: I can only choose 3 genres of music I like.  I"m very eclectic with my choice in music. This does not set well with me.  Strike 2: When asked what albums to represent the music I like, I'm limited to 10 items. This DOES allow me to get past the 3 genres failure, but I'm going to need more than a couple minutes to define myself with 10 albums. To some audiophiles, this is going to take more than a couple minutes.

Getting past the account creation part, I'm still confused by the use. In my opinion there aren't enough people that are registered on the site to get any value. I THINK the point is to find like minded people who are making reviews on the music they purchase via iTunes and befriend them because they have similar musical tastes as I do. Since the release last night, none of my Real Life friends are not on. I value their input 1st before some random person I met on the interwebs.

Getting past the Friend finder, I attempt to register for a couple artists that I want to follow. I start off with their suggestion for Dave Mathews Band. Hey, Under The Table Dreaming, was like the anthem to my 1995. My knee-jerk response is, this has potential. I can see some simple posts by the band about Tours, Music, and Videos from the band and comments from their fans. Honestly, most of the posts are pictures from their current tour. OK, this is starting to look like all the other social networking sites now.  It even has it's own comment bombers that want to peddle their get-rich-quick schemes. I followed Jack Johnson as Ping suggested and I see several comments to his posts about how to get a free iPhone.

In my few hours of exposure to this feature of iTunes, I'm at a lose of how they are going to bring something new to the social networking environment. As I mentioned before there are several existing behemoths that do this job well. I'm reminded of LastFM and their format. They allow their users to discover new music, follow the artists tour schedules and even has a wiki like interface for fans to dump their knowledge about the band. LastFM also allows the users to listen for free. Apple, why didn't you just partner with them? There's an existing user base with lots of content?

That brings me to my point; this experiment into social networking via iTunes brings no value add for me. I've already spent the time on other sites like Facebook's Liked pages, MySpace Music, and LastFM to want to recreate in Ping. The current Ping user base is not very helpful and the artists that are using it are few. I think Ping might have some growing up to do before it becomes useful. I think I"ll let it sit for a month and come back to it and see what it's become.

Additional Links:

iTunes Ping: http://www.apple.com/itunes/ping/

LastFM: http://www.last.fm/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/

MySpace Music: http://www.myspace.com/music

Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Dave Mathews Band: http://www.davematthewsband.com/

Jack Johnson: http://jackjohnsonmusic.com/