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Archive for the ‘Freaks & Geeks’ Category

I have concluded that I have personally killed or mortally wounded every TV show that I adore. Sports fans have their rituals that ensure their team will win, and I have a ritual that ensures a show will stay on the air: don’t watch it.

Here is a list of TV shows that I have single-handedly (with some help from my wife) sent to an early grave:

Reaper
Pushing Daisies
Aliens in America
Arrested Development
Wonderfalls
Clerks the series
Greg the Bunny
Firefly
Dead Like Me
Police Squad (although really, how many more episodes could they have made of this nonsense?)

[Notice that there’s a real pattern here of Fox picking up great, weird cutting edge shows and then canceling them after one or two seasons.  It makes me love and hate Fox at the same time].

Freaks and Geeks*
Undeclared*
Futurama*

[although I don’t know how to classify the weird reprieve they’ve gotten in releasing DVDs and a new season]

*Okay, technically I caught these shows on DVD after they were cancelled, and yet, the point remains that I would have loved them if I knew about them. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: KISS-Alive! (1975).

This was the first Kiss live album and was the album that broke Kiss worldwide.  I’m not entirely sure why a live album of songs that didn’t sell very well would do better than the original studio albums, but so it was.

And, yes, the live recording is pretty awesome.  It is clearly a collection of greatest hits off their first three records, and the band sounds on fire: the songs are heavier and faster and largely more consistent than some of the odder tracks on the original records.

There has been considerable controversy about whether the album was overdubbed.  Wikipedia lists a few different possibilities for what originally recorded sounds were kept for the disc.  It never occurred to me that the disc might be overdubbed (and honestly that doesn’t bother me all that much).  But since I had the pleasure of watching Kissology recently, and I could see the state of their vocals live, it would surprise me entirely if the vocals were not overdubbed.  Not because the band didn’t sound good live (they did), but because they were very sloppy with their vocals, consistently leaving off the ends of lines and things like that, and the disc sounds perfect.

Of course this is all nitpicking.  Alive! is a fantastic document because the live versions add a lot of punch to the originals.  But on top of that, you get fun extras like the drum solo and banter of the 12 minute “100,000 Years” as well as Paul’s drinking banter: “I know there’s a lot of you out there that like to drink…vodka and orange juice!” (How can you pass that up?).  It’s hard to pick highlights from such a good record, but “She” is a particular one with Ace’s wild guitar pyrotechnics.  Right on to the end, the disc is a rocking good time.

It’s also funny to hear that “Rock And Roll All Nite” is not the final encore; rather it is the next to last track with “Let Me Go Rock n Roll” being the BIG FINISH.  That’s the last time that THAT would happen!

[READ: December 28, 2009] The Elfish Gene

I happened to pass this book in the New section of my library and I loved the title.  I read the blurb, made a mental note of it, mentioned how much I liked the title to Sarah and then more or less forgot about it (although, actually, I still see it every day, as it’s always facing out, cover forward).

Imagine my surprise to see that Sarah got it for me for Christmas!

So, yes, this is the best parody-titled book that is not a parody or a make-a-buck joke book that modifies a popular title.  Rather, it is a memoir of a British guy who spent his teen years utterly absorbed in Dungeons & Dragons.  But I must disagree with the Christian Science Monitor’s review as “laugh out loud funny.”  I only laughed out loud once in the book (the dog walking scene is hilarious), but that’s because I don’t think it was meant to be funny (at least I hope it wasn’t).

I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of memoirs in general.  I find them mostly to be a big “so what,” and often without the subtlety required for a good novel.  But the topic here was delicious enough for me to dive right in.  And I think that this book, which I absolutely enjoyed, sort of proves my theory.

Barrowcliffe has done nothing worthy of anyone caring about.  He’s just a guy who played D&D, so when checking out the book, you kind of feel, so what?  Plus, the book is completely unsubtle, with him summarizing his attitude over and over and over.  But nevertheless, I could not put it down. I was hooked from the opening and was totally intrigued all the way to the end.  (I even put down the book I had been reading to speed right through this).

And yet, Barrowcliffe himself is so unlikable.  And not, as he suggests, because of the D&D. (more…)

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