Great Guitar Solos – This Entire Show by Kaki King on TED Talks

I was looking for a solo by Kaki King to showcase, and decided it was impossible to find just one. Her playing is absolutely incredible and she absolutely deserves to be noted as one of the greatest guitarists of the modern age. Her playing is beyond brilliant, and it was very hard for me to narrow down just one.

So, instead, I decided to link to this amazing performance she gives at TED.

Watch the whole thing, because it’s mind-blowingly awesome:

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Suicide Squad

(Warning… some spoilers ahead… also, I discuss the abusive relationship between Joker and Harley in the Batman animated series and the comics. Not in much detail, but still…)

The Suicide Squad cast, minus Amanda Waller and the Joker, posing in front of Belle Reve.

So let me be honest up front… I don’t read a lot of comics, but I do prefer DC to Marvel. That said, that’s only for two reasons: Batman and Wonder Woman. I’ve always been a fan of both, and through them I prefer Justice League to the Avengers.

When Marvel and Disney started on their Avengers cinematic universe, I was hoping for DC to do a Justice League cinematic universe. And I wasn’t the only one. Many had hoped that Nolan’s Batman movies would be the start, but he refused to go that route, and honestly, his movies would not have fit in a Justice League universe with fantasy and sci-fi all around, especially as Nolan’s trilogy was more of an exercise in “what would Batman be like in the real world” (even if TDKRises sort of ultimately failed that question).

Then, Man of Steel came out. I was… not impressed. Although I’ve never been the world’s biggest Superman fan, following Justice League through Batman and Wonder Woman makes the other heroes, including Superman, very hard to avoid (though no, I wasn’t trying to, as I like the Justice League in general, as well). Superman is not an easy hero to pull off. Being the first, his over-powered, nearly god-like status made sense back when he was created. But DC has never been able to successfully update him, and when he has been amazing (All Star Superman, for example), they never really understood why he was so amazing, and so would kill it. And, of course, DC and WB gave Zack Snyder (of Sucker Punch infamy… gods that movie was terrible) the reigns over Man of Steel… which means that what we got was a Superman based quite a bit on Dr. Manhattan (which really shouldn’t be that surprising in hindsight). That just didn’t work. It’s not too surprising that critics weren’t fans.

Then we got Batman V Superman. I’ve been promising a spoiler-heavy review of the ultimate cut, but have so far failed to deliver, and I apologize for that. Hopefully I’ll get one up eventually, but suffice it to say, I really did not like the movie… I think largely because what I wanted was something more akin to World’s Finest. But I’ll get to that in my spoiler-heavy review… if I ever get to it.

But now, we have Suicide Squad.

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Great Guitar Solos – Comfortably Numb P*U*L*S*E*

Welcome to post 1 of Great Guitar Solos. It’s a series in which I highlight guitar solos I consider to be incredible. This first one, and the next two, are being moved from my old blog space. Then I’ll be writing new ones to go up every Monday.

I love guitar solos. A lot. I love picking them apart and figuring out what’s being played and what techniques are being used and if it’s sloppy and if that sloppiness is on purpose and so on and so forth. I’m a bit of a snob about guitar solos, in fact.

It doesn’t help that I can’t play them myself. I want to; I want to be a lead guitarist, able to play mind-blowing solos, from slow, emotional, melodic, deliberate melodies to face-melting, mind-bending psychedelic, shredding goodness.

But I’m just not there, sadly. My playing is not that good.

I do, however, have solos that I hold up as pillars of what good soloing is, and what it should be.

And the first one I’m highlighting is the solo I consider to be the greatest guitar solo ever recorded.

The band is Pink Floyd. The album is the live DVD P*U*L*S*E*.

The song?

Listen to that guitar solo. It starts at 4 minutes and 54 seconds in, and ends at 9 minutes and 24 seconds.

Already listened to it?

Listen to it again…

I can wait…

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This is the Horror I Like (YouTube-Based ARGs)

(Note: this post has many, many links to many, many Youtube videos. The videos either are or are about Youtube-based horror series, which means the videos include lots of video/audio distortion, jump scares, disturbing imagery, and so on. Be aware of that if you decide to embark on the journey I’m laying out before you. This distortion [as well as the other stuff I mentioned] is extremely present in the series based around Slenderman, as that video and audio distortion is a major component of the stories.)

So if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of horror movies. It’s honestly because I don’t like being scared. It’s not a fun feeling for me, and causes anxiety and an inability to sleep.

That said, however, there is something I find myself enjoying more and more these days, and that’s Youtube-based horror ARG’s. ARG, if you don’t know, stands for “Alternate Reality Game”. According to Wikipedia

An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.

The form is defined by intense player involvement with a story that takes place in real time and evolves according to players’ responses. Subsequently, it is shaped by characters that are actively controlled by the game’s designers, as opposed to being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video game. Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and collaborate as a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities. ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet as the central binding medium.

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Tellin’ mother nature ‘bout you and me…

Moving more blogs over from my old space. Bringing this one here because I want to get back into blogging about music. See this as a segway to my Great Guitar Solos series, which I’m bringing back next Monday, and will (try) to do every Monday, starting with ones I already wrote. 

So I wanted to introduce everyone to my all-time favorite song. I don’t even know why it’s my all-time favorite song. What I do know is this:
a) It’s written by my all-time favorite band, Led Zeppelin.
b) It’s about a dog (Strider, the dog Robert Plant had at the time).
c) It’s my all-time favorite song.

I listen to it every morning when I wake up. It’s my ringtone. I know the lyrics by heart. I made myself a collection of every recorded instance of the song live. I have the studio outtakes and sessions on the electric instrumental version of the song. The studio outtakes/sessions, especially from Bron-Yr-Aur Cottage, of the acoustic version (which is the officially released version), are my Led Zeppelin collection holy grail.

Needless to say, I’m a bit obsessed with this song.

And I know you’re a Led Zeppelin fan if you already know what song I’m talking about.

And just which song am I talking about?

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(In Memory of Prince) Great Guitar Solos – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Live at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

(I don’t know if this signals a return of my Great Guitar Solos series or if it’s just a one-off; I haven’t decided, yet.)

So I have a confession to make: I don’t have Prince’s music in my collection. His music was never completely my jam.

I don’t hate his music.

On the contrary…

Prince, IMO, was a monster of guitar, a talent surpassed by very, very few, perhaps almost none, during his time. His ability to play the guitar was phenomenal to watch, and I loved watching him solo. His solos were incredible, up there with Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and David Gilmour, but with a technical know-how above all of them. Each time Prince laid down a solo, it was a master class in how to play the guitar as the leading instrument.

So yes, I respect, immensely, the talent that he wielded. But I was never a big fan of the 80s musically, and Prince was part of that. He was brilliant, however, and I would defend him as a master talent of guitar to anyone who would dare claim otherwise. Even someone who would assume that their musical opinions are objective facts would have to bow to Prince’s mastery of guitar.

And this performance I want to highlight here shows that off incredibly, in my opinion…

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(Best of) Tales from the Second Window

So for a couple years I worked as a shift coordinator and overnight manager at a 24-hour Burger King in Florida. Since we were situated across the street from a large group of bars, we would get a lot of interesting customers during the overnight shifts. I shared some of the best stories on Facebook that I then brought to my old blog in two posts, here and here. I’m bringing what I consider the funniest ones here, along with two new ones from my current job at Teavana.

I have to admit that I have a slight ulterior motive for doing this… I desperately want to publish a comic made up of all of them (not just the ones I’m posting here, but all of them in those two links), but there are a couple obstacles I need to overcome:

1. I can’t draw (including doing illustrations on a computer) to save my life. And I’ve tried, believe me. You do not want to see the results…

2. I’m not sure how to handle the fact that I basically steal the format (and idea, really) of Not Always Right. Well… okay… let me be honest… I’ve submitted to them before these stories happened, but I never saw anything resembling my submissions posted, so I gave up and did this, instead. It probably won’t matter given the format of a comic, but still…

Also, I’m pretty sure I’d have to obscure the references to Burger King and Teavana. For a lot of these, that’s easy, but for a few of them that will be more difficult… and I’m not the best editor (as anyone who reads my writing can attest :D).

(Content note for some ableist words. It’s mostly in the dialog from customers, but at the time I originally wrote these, I wasn’t really aware of ableism, unfortunately, so I use some ableist words, as well. I do apologize for that.)

Anyways, without further ado, here are the best of Tales from the Second Window…

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How Would You React to the Emergence of Superheroes?

I actually posed this question on Facebook before Batman v Superman was released. It didn’t get as long of a discussion as I’d hoped, but it did get some fascinating comments. I thought I’d bring it here, too, if people are interested in talking about it.

For the record, I saw Batman v Superman again on April 19th. Dad wanted to see it, and I went along with him. I liked it a bit better the second time around. I still have most of my complaints, but in general I’m not as bitter about it as I was after my first viewing, and I did see a few more things I enjoyed, plus the ending hit me a hell of a lot harder the second time around, too.

But that’s not what this is about, really…

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The Debate Over CGI

Before Batman v Superman came out, there was a lot of discussion about the use of effects in certain shots from the TV clips, like when Batman drives the Batmobile into his cave, or when Superman flies over to Lex Luthor… people were talking about how they noticed how bad those shots looked (a few people said that the Arkham games had better Batmobile driving effects than the shot I linked to above), and then moreso after the movie came out, as well. My response would always be to rewatch those TV spots and then keep my mouth shut because I just didn’t see it. They looked fine to me. Then when I saw BvS for the first time on March 24, in real Imax, and I did look for those things, but maybe not hard enough, because, again, I didn’t see it. The CGI, for me, at least, was simply not one of the problems with BvS. (Although, admittedly, that was also my first time seeing a feature film on a screen that big, so that could have been part of it.)

But that sort of clued me in to something about myself… I guess I just don’t notice CGI. I mean, I can see when it’s really bad… like the Rock’s Scorpion King in the second Mummy, or Neo’s fight with the hundreds of Agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded. But, for me, the CGI has to be particularly bad to notice it, and that tends to happen in a much smaller amount of movies than the anti-CGI people would have us believe… at least from my perspective. Even in this video, the CGI they point out (with the exception of the aforementioned Scorpion King and Agent Smith battle, both highlighted) is stuff I definitely didn’t notice when I first saw those films (though, admittedly, I would notice it now if I watched those films again).

During my binging, I came across the following video:

After seeing it, I decided I’d like to have this discussion/debate here with y’all. How do you feel about CGI versus practical effects? How often do you notice CGI (definitely more than I do, but still) in movies and TV shows? Do you think mediocre CGI can ruin an otherwise great film? What would you hold up as examples of great CGI? Do you really prefer practical effects, or can those be bad, too?

Anatomy of a Guitar Solo

This is a post from my old blog, posted back on March 28, 2013. Not the best written post ever, but it’s a nice little insight into my mind when it comes to music and what I listen to. I thought there were a few readers here who might enjoy it. I am removing the references to one of my many abandoned blog series, because I just never continued it. Maybe I’ll reignite some of those old series here… or maybe not. We’ll see…

Of course, what makes a guitar solo good is a subjective question. There are even people out there who don’t like guitar solos!

I know… right? Seems like a mythical concept, like gods! But oh… they exist. They’re out there…

Anyways…

This post explains the kind of guitar that I personally like to hear. This is only my subjective tastes, so…

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