‘Cause I got shit to say, man.
Now to find time?
‘Cause I got shit to say, man.
Now to find time?
I might do a few of these year-in-review posts for a few various things so I’ll keep the, brief. I’m not making a top 10 list, or anything that in depth – just picking my favorite thing, and in my opinion the worst, or most disappointing thing this year.
This first one will be a look at my picks for best and worst album for 2015.
I’ve been hooked on Lord Huron since their debut album, ‘Lonesome Dreams‘ back in 2012. In fact it doesn’t even seem like that it was that long ago. It took nearly three years for their sophomore effort and what we got was thankfully an album that continued everything that was great about the first.
The sound of the music on Lonesome Dreams could be described as almost ethereal – the kind of music you’d hear in the background as you’re hiking through the Grand Canyon under starlit skies with the Milky Way shining in a beautiful arc over you from horizon to horizon. While Strange Trails doesn’t quite emulate the same feeling, it’s not far off. The band continues with song after song of addictive guitar riffs and vocal catches that you can’t get out of your head. It almost seems as if the album is a single song with multiple movements. If you’re weary of it, or it doesn’t seem to catch you right away, my suggestion is to go back to Lonesome Dreams, and get lost in that album (you’ll immediately recognize the first track, then let it glide seamlessly into tracks 2, 3, & the rest.) Then come back to Strange Trails and it will feel much better.
Almost all the songs are noteworthy, but I’ll say that some stand outs include (in no particular order): Cursed, Fool For Love, Hurricane, La Belle Fleur Sauvage, & Meet Me In The Woods.
Bonus: If you’re curious about the backstory to their debut album, Lonesome Dreams, do some googling on this fella named George Ranger Johnson, and read about the history of the band – it will make you appreciate their creativity even more.
Wilco – Star Wars
Wilco, the kings of alt-Dad-rock, is in my top 3 favorite bands of all time. Even still, with this fantastic out-of-nowhere surprise album full of great music, I couldn’t put them in front of Lord Huron. Even so, Star Wars should be on your must listen list.
Phantogram & Big Boi – Big Grams
I’m sure there are worse albums- and in fact I know there are. But to me, this was the worst. Well, most disappointing anyway. I couldn’t even get through the whole thing.
Look, I love Phantogram. Their first two albums were fabulous. I know they walk the line between alt-rock and techno-hip-hop, or something like that, but it worked. Well.
But now all that talent is pretty much wasted. I, personally, could give two shits about Big Boi – but his participation in this group relegated the talents of Phantogram’s soaring lead vocalist Sarah Barthel to a backup whiner, and Josh Carter to hip-hop drum machinist. Just awful. I hope this was a one time thing.
At least we’ve got Phantogram’s 3rd album to look forward to soon.
So there you have it. If you need some new music to listen to, give the above a try. And if you want your ears to bleed, you know where to go for that too.
The Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter set has been out for a number of months now, but I finally got around to putting it together over the last few nights. So, like before with the Red 5 X-Wing, and Slave I, here’s a quick rundown and review of the build, and the final results.
While the Empire’s TIE Fighter may not be the most sleek looking of the ships in the Star Wars universe, it’s still iconic. I’m sure most of you reading this already know that TIE actually stands for Twin Ion Engine – so it’s name has nothing to do with neckwear or how they attack people. I honestly don’t know what the Empire was thinking when they designed these things because the giant solar panels on each side of the cockpit keep the pilot from seeing anywhere but in front of him. Serious tactical disadvantage there. But, they’re bad guys anyway so who cares, right?
Alright, on to business.
The instruction booklet is beautiful just like all the previous UCS ones – giving lots of details about not only the ship itself in the Star Wars universe (as if it were real) but also information from the designer of the model at LEGO. Some kids may not care, but to adults it’s a quick interesting read and I’m glad LEGO goes to the lengths they do to make the entire process engrossing right from the start. The directions are easy to follow, as usual. However I think one of the reasons these last few UCS booklets have been so big is because each step only adds between 1-5 pieces at a time. Most instructions add a lot more per step depending on the model. This isn’t a drawback because it helps me make sure I didn’t miss anything – which I often do.
OK, onto the build pictures…
Read the captions beneath each photo for more information about each!
This part was probably the most fun of the entire build. Putting the final details on the wing panels and attaching them to the main body was a close second. There are a lot of little pieces and details here, but it’s fabulous once the shape starts to come together. When you built out the support struts for the large panels you start to wonder about how they are going to attach to each other securely.
The large side panels were quite tedious, actually. The directions had to be repeated numerous times since you were creating multiple copies of a number of the components. The payoff is good in the end, but it takes some of the fun of watching things come together when you do the same thing over and over again. Here’s a closer look:
After the outer panels were constructed I was curious how they were going to securely connect. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. The arms from the main cockpit body slid nicely into the opening on the inside of the panel, and locked into some bricks. To further secure, there were two flaps that swung up and also locked in place to the body’s frame. Overall, the connection feels very solid.
And here are some more detailed views of the finish product. Sorry for the shitty lighting. But you get the general idea.
So there you have it, the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter. It’s a simplistic build in the end, but has some interesting LEGO mechanics to get it to work. Frankly, I love that they have minds that can come up with ways to connect simple blocks to produce these things. Either way, it’s a must have for your Star Wars collection!
Oh, and one last word of advice – make sure you try to put the stickers on before you put the pieces onto the model because some of them are hard to get at, and then you end up with crooked stickers. I HATE STICKERS.
Build Experience: C+
Build Time: A
Price: C ($200 – a lot for limited complexity)
LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter Overall: B-
The case against @lego and stickers: this is a pic of the back of the box of the UCS Tie Fighter – look at the sticker – they couldn't even get it on straight for the damn box photo. If this isn't a clear indicator that #lego should stop forcing us to apply tiny-ass stickers to $200+ sets then I don't know what is. Why are these not printed blocks? It completely ruins the experience when you end up not getting a sticker straight. And you can't peel it back off to try again either. So you know. It's always going to be there. Staring at you. Slightly askew. Laughing. Taunting you. And it's not your fault. It's LEGO's fault. #legostarwars #StarWars #stickers #legostagram #instalego #fucklegostickers
There are now only 10 days left until the new Star Wars movie comes out and like every other geeknerd out there I’m excited as hell.
So I’ve been doing a little countdown on my Instagram page – reposting some of my own, and fan, favorite Star Wars LEGO pics from the two 365 projects I did years ago.
If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, head on over and do so to catch the remainder of the countdown, as well as other LEGO pics and random photos of cycling, pets, travels, and whatever else my phone points at. <shameless plug>
Here’s a few to get you rolling!
The Force Awakens opens December 18th! OMG OMG OMG
I haven’t posted much lately – mostly because it’s been a busy holiday season with friends and family visiting us in our new house. Plus work, and there hasn’t been much to gab about.
I will be posting some reviews of some new cycling equipment I’ve purchased lately – so that’s coming soon. Plus I’m sure I will post a review of the new Star Wars movie as well. I haven’t posted movie reviews lately – been pretty lazy. Ok, here’s a few quick ones:
SPECTRE: A good Bond movie because it paid homage to earlier Bond films in many ways: gadgets, lines, and of course the title & the villain: spoiler alert – it’s Blofeld. But it’s not like you didn’t already know that. The action sequences were glorious, the scenery was glorious, Daniel Craig was spot on again. The story was a little long I thought, but the biggest problem was Christoph Waltz was grossly under utilized. He is such a fabulous actor and he could have really been a sinister villain but I just left the theater wanting way more.
Overall grade: C+
Mockingjay Part 2: The final installment in the Hunger Games franchise delivered exactly what it needed to. It was nearly a page for page run through of the second half of the book – it had to be because the book isn’t long and they stretched it into two films. Overall I thought it was a pretty strong finish to the series with good action, and a satisfying conclusion to the overall story. It wasn’t longer than it needed to be and was long enough to hit all the main plot points. It’s interesting to see how far the quality of the movie and production progressed as the series went on.
Overall grade: A
Inside Out: It’s not without its faults, like any movie, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The way they took something as complex as the way your brain works and stores memories, and represented it visually and physically – absolutely brilliant. I loved it. It wasn’t a hilarious Pixar movie – but I don’t think it was meant to be. It was a good story that was backed by an incredibly well thought out and clever world. That’s the movie’s biggest strength.
Overall grade: A
Here are some random flicks I’ve watched in the past few months that I would also highly recommend: Zero Dark Thirty, Snowpiercer, The Imitation Game.
The other week I excitedly posted information about LEGO’s upcoming Ghostbuster’s Headquarters set – to be released in January of 2016.
More info was released today including more pictures, especially of the inside, and……..the price.
Look, I love LEGO, but c’mon. I’ve pretty much made it a rule that my maximum limit for buying a set is $200. And even that is pretty unreasonably high.
I think the set looks absolutely fantastic with tons of details from both movies. I love it. But I might have to wait and see how much money I get back from my tax return – or maybe call in all my favors for a single combined birthday present. All I know is I won’t be running out and buying it no matter how much 8 year old me wants to.
Check out some official pics from LEGO below…
(for the record, i would have dropped the $500 for the UCS Millennium Falcon in a heartbeat if I had a good job when that sucker came out)
This past week we’ve seen some brick-shitting new stuff in the way of trailers and fresh looks at The Force Awakens.
After the official final trailer dropped here in the US, a slightly different version dropped overseas (which is usually the case) and offered folks even more new footage.
Now a new 30 second TV spot has dropped and we’ve got even more nerdgasm-ing to do.
I have to say I’m supremely impressed that Disney has managed to create so many trailers and peaks and the movie without giving very much away (seemingly).
All I know is that we’re in the home stretch now, and they keep giving us new bits. It’s getting harder and harder to keep waiting. Expectation levels are basically going through the roof at this point.
Watch the new TV spot, and the Japanese trailer below.