Have I not been telling you all to be afraid of the danger lurking in our dumpsters at night? I may like raccoons, but I recognize the dangers that they pose. I’ve warned about the impending downfall of man at their adorable, Doritos dust soaked paws, and finally someone respectable is backing me up. This week, naturalist (not to be confused with naturist) Jim McCormac wrote an article for the Columbus Dispatch about how awesome raccoons are. For example, did you know they can rotate their hind paws 180 degrees? Now imagine if they were holding pistols in those hind paws. That’s right, they can shoot at someone behind them with the flick of a wrist!
Anyway, lots of other interesting stuff is to be found in the article. I recommend you give it a read.
A married couple from Maryland, relocating to Texas because the husband is on assignment with the U.S. Coast Guard, stopped by a gas station for a break. While there, the man opened up a bag of his favorite flavor of Doritos whereupon a horde a raccoons (actually, the term for a group of raccoons is a gaze) descended on the rest stop begging for the delicious spicy snacks. It was all caught on video and it’s just plain adorable. They’re also remarkably well behaved–downright polite–little critters. Why haven’t they been domesticated yet? Also, I think we have a new mascot for the Taco Bell Locos Tacos. Is anybody with me on that?
I avoid talking about music save for once a year, and that’s during my annual review of music. Note that this isn’t about “new” music, or even “new to me” music. It’s just a collection of the songs that struck me for one reason or another throughout the year.
I found myself obsessively re-listening to the song “Signal Spark” by Seafood from 2006 (released both as a single and a part of the album Paper Crown King.) I have all of their albums so I must have heard the song before, but for some reason this year I really “discovered” it. The whole thing feels like the soundtrack to a great, cheesy short movie (well, music video) with tentative, uncomfortable stares in the first minute, a kiss at about 1:15, living life through to 4:00 where bittersweet joy kicks in (along with the chimes.) I wonder if I could cut the opening of the movie Up! to this song? Sadly, the official music video is just underwhelming compared to the images in my head (aren’t they always?)
I have an unfortunate affliction of listening to some girly music. I like the female voice more, what can I say? Pop music is not a crime! And I was rather found the short-lived band Saving Jane (now doing more country style music as the Union Rose Band.) One of my favorite songs was the hidden track (damn, though, I hate hidden tracks) on the 2007 album One Girl Revolution titled “Ohio.” For some weird reason, early this year, I dreamt I was singing that song at a bar. That’s kind of gay when you consider the lyrics. My favorite part though is the chorus of the song and its quaint dismissal of what to many would be more desirable places. Of course, as I drove through the state of Ohio on my way to my new home in Denver, I couldn’t help but think of this song.
It would be a rare year for me not to notice something in a soundtrack that I thought was awesome. This year it was the main theme for the movie Pacific Rim (which I have to admit, I saw in theaters three times) composed by Ramin Djwadi. I’m always a sucker for blending traditional orchestration with electronic elements. The song did a great job of musically portraying the battle between the Jaegers and Kaijus, with somewhat distinct “hero” and “villain” themes woven throughout the piece.
I finally played through Child of Eden this year, a spiritual successor to the awesome techno musical shooting game Rez. Of course, it featured some terrific pop/techno music with pretty vocals. Perhaps my favorite moment in the game was at the last part of the first level, with the constant droning guitar riff, underlying the song that’s trying to break free of the techno sounds of the computer virus, and bursts out momentarily as you do well to fight the virus (erupting into the untainted song when you conclude the stage.) I thought it was great.
While we’re on the topic of video games, I also played Braid, which featured the song Build that Wall (Zia’s Theme). Just a woman and a guitar … and it’s gorgeous. The same artists who did that song (Darren Korb, composer and Ashley Barrett, singer) also produced the preview song for the upcoming Transistor. It sounds terrific, too!
I logged into WordPress today to write my annual music of the year post. I was greeted to a message encouraging me to sign up for dual authentication to better secure my WordPress account. I figured, okay, I use to it to keep another service I frequently use secure, so why not here. Oddly, and unnecessarily, WordPress requires you to give them your phone number to authenticate me so I can authenticate myself going forward using Google Authenticator. That’s rather amusing, actually. If I’m already able to get into the site because I’ve had a cookie keeping me authenticated all this time–and never disputed the access–why do I suddenly need to supply them with my phone number at this point just to see a QR code? Why couldn’t they authenticate me using the e-mail address already tied to this account? Oh, right, because these assholes want any excuse to get more personal information on me. How about before I make myself more secure from the hackers that WordPress wants to convince me are just dying to break into my account, they make an effort to assure me that I’m not going to be pestered by a dozen advertisements a day from some god-forsaken call center because these assholes asked for my information unnecessarily?