tv shows

Favorite Video Friday – Nostalgia

Megan just burned through the entire series of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix and it got me feeling all nostalgic for my High School years. While there weren’t really any love triangles in my group of friends and none of us waxed poetic as often as Pacey or Dawson did, I did have a friend that looked a lot like Joey and I may or may not have taken her to Prom. Anywho, here’s some videos to get you feeling all nostalgic too.

Dave Matthews Band – Crush

Before These Crowded Streets was the defining album of my Senior year. When I rented my Prom tux (yes, it did have tails, so what?), I got a free Proclaimers CD (the one with the Friend’s theme). That CD was promptly taken to Wal-Mart and exchanged for Before These Crowded Streets, and DMB’s latest didn’t leave the disc-man Velcroed to my dash for the rest of the year. I was crushing pretty hard back then, and every time I dropped her off for the evening, I’d drive home blasting this song, singing along on cloud nine. The video captures that feeling perfectly for me. From Stefan Lessard‘s heavy bass intro to the martini in the Jazz club, it is the veritable definition of smooth (something I was anything but).

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

This video just oozes nostalgia. While I wasn’t nearly “cool” enough to do most of the things in this video, some of my fondest memories of High School were driving around in cars with nowhere to go. We would sometimes do this thing where we would get to an intersection and flip a coin to decide which way to go. One time we ended up in a pet store. This song was on heavy radio repeat back then and for good reason. These days, the song instantly transports me back to those days and this video by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, long before they directed Little Miss Sunshine, captures that spirit perfectly.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

This was my pre-driving High School life to a tee … Well, minus all the Red Dawn overtones. I used to ride around with my friends, ghost-riding my Sonic 6, hanging out under bridges, riding through the bayous, and shooting bottle rockets at passers-by all summer long. Luckily, we weren’t under martial law, though Houston did impose a curfew while I was in High School. Amazing video by Favorite Video Favorite, Spike Jonze.

Favorite Video Friday – Dancing in the Street II

Sometimes you just gotta dance.

The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

This guy is my new favorite.

Cee Lo Green – Cry Baby

Jaleel White kind of bugs me (yes, that’s Urkel), but Cee Lo has the uncanny ability to make the unlikable cool. His voice sounds like someone talking through a warm glass of liquid dark chocolate.

Madeon – Pop Culture

This post was one video away from being another lip sync post, but I had to share this video. Bonus points for using Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks, Party Down).

I take it back. This guy is my new favorite.

Favorite Video Friday – Tribute II

These are not the greatest videos in the world. These are just tributes.

Weezer – Buddy Holly

Yes, it’s an old video, but I’m approaching old man. It’s a good song and a great video and the kids need to be educated. Plus, it’s directed by Spike Jonze and it’s been way too long since I featured a music video from Mr. Music Video.

Miles Fisher – New Romance

Warning: Graphic, Comedically Violent Images

Here’s a tip, America, if you lampoon the great “I’m so excited” episode, you will have my undying support. And yes, I said lampoon.

Tenacious D – Tribute

Yes, I went literal. So what? It’s the D! Dave Grohl not only played the Devil in this video, but laid down his wicked stick licks (I don’t really know what that means. He played the drums, alright?) for the album and he and Jack White are, were, and always will be the Saviors of Rock.

Favorite Video Friday – When Lame Becomes Cool

I was always on the fence about Jimmy Fallon when he was on SNL. He just didn’t do it for me some of the time, and some of his characters were a little annoying, but he also produced some of my favorite characters (I guess Jimmy Fallon was kind of a microcosm of SNL as a whole). Plus, he was always giggling. So when it was announced he would replace the great Conan O’ Brien as host of Late Nite, I was more than a little skeptical.

Then it was announced that The Roots would be his house band and my whole world flipped, turned upside-down. I’d like to take a minute just sit right there … sorry. As I was saying, with one announcement, little white, Nomaaaa-shouting Jimmy Fallon gained street cred. One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was an OK Player show where The Roots backed a bunch of MCs on the OK Player label in Baltimore. If Jimmy was smart enough to get The Roots to back him, I’d give him a chance.

Now, just as Jimmy did with his own image, I present to you 3 music videos in which he makes lame songs pretty damn cool.

Fallon was always at his best on SNL when he had a guitar in his hands.

There are so many things I like about this: ?uestlove on kazoo, Fisher Price Xylophone, Piano Flute, Quest playing the Guiro with an afro-pick, kazoo duet finale … The Roots just gave Carly Rae Jepsen street cred.

Okay, so I’d never call the Reading Rainbow theme lame, but the only thing that would make this any cooler would be a cameo by LeVar Burton … and maybe Troy crying in the corner.

“There’s no use going to school unless your final destination is the library.”

 

The passing of Ray Bradbury was the first time a “celebrity” death that caused me to actually pause and take a moment to reflect. No man outside of my own personal sphere of influence has had more affect on my life than him. His collected works have literally changed my life, so I thought I would take a moment to send a few words of thanks into the Ether.

The following is an excerpt from an essay I wrote 7 or so years ago in a college English class.

In high school, I went through a long period without reading. Something about being told what to read, when to read it, and how to write made me feel like the literary world was an exclusive club, and I wanted nothing to do with it. So, I put down my books, picked up the notes of a man named Cliff, and began to read only what was necessary. Not until recently did I re-discover the true value of books.

I was once assigned the book, Lord of the Flies, and I loved it as I read a few chapters. But the time came for us to write our first analytical essay and I had not read all the chapters assigned. I was much too busy with my other classes and did not allot any time for reading. I was too busy watching Saturday movies on TBS. So, I found the cliff notes and never picked up the book again.

What made me deprive myself of such priceless commodities? I believe Ray Bradbury said it best: “Among librarians and teachers there was then, and there still somewhat dimly persists, an idea, a notion, a concept that only Fact should be eaten with your Wheaties . . . Fantasy, even when it takes science-fictional forms, which it often does, is dangerous. It is escapist. It is day-dreaming . . . So said the snobs who did not know themselves as snobs.”

The first novel I ever read was the first in Asimov’s “Norby” series. I instantly fell in love. Every book I voluntarily read after that was science fiction. I entered a new world with every book, and in doing, fed my own imagination like a starving beast, but in the sophomore year of High School, my worlds were demolished.

No more dreams; no more fantasy; no more science fiction.

Read, think, analyze.

Facts, reality, structure.

No more dream worlds; no more freedom.

My love for books quickly diminished, while my hatred for school and similar institutions grew exponentially. I watched a lot of movies, but stayed away from anything too intelligent or thought provoking. I was not about to learn anything I did not want to.

Years later, I finally broke through the literary bars school had built around me. My first year of college, I developed a love for music, which I nurtured throughout my two year break from schooling as a missionary for my church. Not permitted to listen to “popular” music, I was forced to go back to the beginning of music, a time when music was done out of a love of art, not a love of money. Artists like Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and later Miles Davis gave me a love for art, poetry, and philosophy, and more importantly, I began to write again. In a world so full of structure and rules that bound every missionary, with my mind finally free, my body knew no walls.

Upon return, I returned to books. I entered my new life reading Great Expectations. It all came flooding back: Emerson, Thoreau, Shakespeare, Poe, then Mark Twain, “I will never let schooling interfere with my education” — a man after my own heart. I read all the books I had shunned like lepers in my earlier schooling and devoured every punctuation mark. No one told me how to read them.

Then came the book that seemed to personify my feelings for the past few years, Fahrenheit 451. My re-discovery of books was complete. I was a writer again. Not because anyone told me I was, for no one else would ever even know, but my heart declared it so.

I truly identified with Bradbury. He describes his youth full of movies that created pictures and worlds in his mind that remained forever. My youth is the same. The world in which I live is one of fantasy. My memories are scenes cut from a movie. Life, as my mind sees it, is a John Woo film, full of action, huge special effects, and random symbolism. To the mind, my eyes are but cameras recording the images around them, transporting them into the realms of my dream world. I have recently drowned myself in art of many forms: music, art, poetry, books, and film. My mission now: to use this exposure to create my own fantastic worlds of fantasy.

I now welcome art in all its forms, especially film. Film captures the imagination in a way that nothing else can. It combines the visual aesthetics of art with the aural aesthetics of music and the intellectual aesthetics of books. Yet it captures every bit of emotion found in each element. My favorite movies are ones that get all your senses going, movies like Citizen Kane, beautiful works of art; or movies like Dark City, or Being John Malkovich that get your mind going and keep you thinking long after you leave the theater.

The first dream I ever dreamed in my life was to become a writer. Created in my earliest days in the far away land of Indonesia, this dream resulted from a teacher that left me free to dream and to record these dreams on paper. This dream quickly faded though, as other teachers erected walls around my creativity and imagination. Books and art tore down these walls and gave me desire to write once again and with the help of Bradbury, I now know how to keep these walls down, never to encage my mind again.

I don’t write as much as I should. Writing is directly related to my happiness. It’s the only way I know how to truly express myself. To know my writing is to know me. The more I read, the more I desire to write and it was Bradbury that first instilled that drive in me. Whenever I find myself in a funk, I pull out one of his short stories and before long, I’m writing my way out of the funk.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for helping me keep the destroyers at bay.