Stunning pictures of the devastation in Japan. They need your help. Text 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross (charge will be added to phone bill).
One of my favorite underground hip hop groups over the past couple of years has been Seattle-based Blue Scholars. If you don’t know much about them, they are a duo comprised of producer/DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic. They produce really good socially conscious hip hop. Some of the themes that appear throughout their albums and EPs include struggles between socioeconomic classes, challenging authority and youth empowerment. Recently they announced that their forthcoming album, Cinemetropolis, would forgo a traditional record label release. Instead, they are signing to “the people.”
After weighing all options for the release of our third full-length studio album, Cinemetropolis, we’ve decided to forego all traditional channels and return to the independent approach that made Blue Scholars who we are. No record label. No marketing and distribution deal. No middlemen. No bullsh*t.
Instead, we’re going to sign a deal with the people. Specifically, you.
An industry-standard release leaves very little to the imagination or creative diversion. A set amount of singles, videos, and a tour, constantly negotiated by a contract that dictates the “life cycle” of an album. Thing is, Cinemetropolis is our most ambitious release yet, and we don’t want to stick to the script.
Our philosophy has always been to create our music and our media with creative freedom while still being able to sustain and grow ourselves. And at this point, we don’t believe that the tired music industrial model is necessary for people to pick up what we’re putting down. We don’t need to compromise our vision by ascribing to the “deal.” We believe the power of word-of-mouth far more than industry-induced hype, recognizing that it’s been the support of our fans and not what we’ve signed that have gotten us where we are.
With your support, we’ll be able to release Cinemetropolis to you directly. Those who pledge in this campaign will receive the digital album weeks before it’s actually released in June, and will get special exclusive-to-Kickstarter swag, not to mention be the first people to find out about when our Cinemetropolis singles, videos, and merch gets released.
Check out their Kickstarter video.
So, they group has created a Kickstarter page. Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. The premise is simple, donate money and receive stuff. What you receive from Blue Scholars depends on how much you donate. You can see the different levels here. Blue Scholars is definitely one of the most creative groups out there. You should kick in a few bucks and help them out. When you think about it, you’d be spending $10 for their album on iTunes anyway. Why not send it directly to them and get the album for free before it’s released? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Personally, I’m glad to see more and more musicians using Kickstarter. It definitely helps show that their music is appreciated and allows the musician to cut out middle men and release directly to the fans that support them.
There are certain things you don’t do in a restroom, at least if you’re a guy. Most guys abide by this (unless they are drunk at a bar or sporting event), but there are a few that I have to deal with on a daily basis that don’t.
No Talking: You do not talk while in the restroom. It is not something you should ever do. Do not talk to the guy next to you, do not talk on the phone. Don’t even answer the phone if it rings. We used to have a guy at work that would have entire conversations on the phone while dropping a deuce. It got so bad the building’s landlord sent out a letter to all tenants asking them to refrain from conducting business while… conducting business.
No Free-Form Urinating: When you’re standing at the urinal, hold your hose. Hold it with one hand, two hands, I don’t care, as long as you hold it. I don’t want to walk in to see you with both hands behind your head. This is how splash and splatter happens.
Flush: Seriously, how hard is it to pull (or push) a handle? There was a guy at work that would never flush. Every single day, more than once per day, we’d walk in to a pee-filled urinal. It would annoy us so much that I finally took matters into my own hands, so to speak. Since I put that up about a month and a half ago, there have been no issues with flushing.
Wash Your Hands!: Again, something that really isn’t that difficult. Another guy at my work (not the same one that doesn’t flush, oddly enough) never washes his hands. I’ve been in the restroom at least 5 times in the short time he’s been here where he’s left without at least putting water on them. Again, I decided to take matters into my own hands and put this up. Unfortunately, this one hasn’t worked out as well as the flush sign. Since i put it up, I’ve caught the guy not washing twice.
These simple rules of etiquette are not hard to follow. There’s not even that many of them. They are manners that everyone should have been taught back in kindergarten. I guess some people just need a reminder.
Recently switched from Outlook (adios Exchange) to Postbox on my work Windows machine. I needed a way to sync my MobileMe calendars to the Lightning calendar add-on. This tutorial helped me do it.
Absolutely hilarious. Logic FTW.
St. Louisans can’t complain when we get 3 inches anymore.
To age is to embrace a slow hurt inside and out, to collect scars like rings on a tree, dark and weathered and sometimes only visible if someone cuts deep enough. Scars keep the past just close enough to touch, but healing is forgetting. Healing invites another cut. Healing is the tide that smoothes away our line in the sand. For life to begin, the damage must be permanent.
- Dale Sampson, The Samaritan
Thanks to the great people over at Blank Slate Press I received an advanced copy of their debut novel, The Samaritan by Fred Venturini. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the description on their site.
Dale Sampson is a nobody. A small town geek who lives in the shadow of his best friend, the high school baseball star, it takes him years to even gather the courage to actually talk to a girl. It doesn’t go well. Then, just when he thinks there’s a glimmer of hope for his love life, he loses everything.
When Dale runs into the twin sister of the girl he loved and lost, he finds his calling–he will become a samaritan. Determined to rescue her from a violent marriage, and redeem himself in the process, he decides to use the only “weapon” he has–besides a toaster. His weapon, the inexplicable ability to regenerate injured body parts, leads him to fame and fortune as the star of a blockbuster TV reality show where he learns that being The Samaritan is a heartbreaking affair. Especially when the one person you want to save doesn’t want saving.
The Samaritan is a brutally funny look at the dark side of human nature. It lays bare the raw emotions and disappointments of small town life and best friends, of school bullies and first loves, of ruthless profiteers and self-aggrandizing promoters—and of having everything you know about human worth and frailty questioned under the harsh klieg lights of fame.
I started reading the book and instantly knew it would be something right up my alley. Dale, the main character, is painted in such a way that I immediately related with his middle and high school social struggles. I really felt for Dale when he was unable to speak to the girls in his class (and as we learn, this never went away). Because the character felt so authentic, I could picture myself (or almost any of my friends) in his situation. Dale wasn’t the only character spewing authenticity. His best friend Mack encompassed parts of many of my friends as well. It felt like I really knew these characters as I read the novel.
The setting was also something that seemed to take on a life of its own. Perhaps it’s because I’m also from the Midwest, but I could picture any number of the places described in the book perfectly. In fact, the only issue I had with it is how quickly it jumped from location to location. One minute he’s in a town fighting the local meth dealer and the next he’s meeting with a studio executive to create a television series. I really think that the stories that took place in each of those settings could have been developed more. Perhaps some more confrontations with the abusive husband meth dealer and his wife or perhaps a bit more conflict with Doc before Dale jetted off to California. It would have really been great to see Dale suffer a bit more while in California. Sure, his battle with his inner demons and the people creating the show were apparent, but it could have used a little more story development to show how truly conflicted Dale was.
All in all it was a great read. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more from Venturini. Venturini’s story and style reminds me a lot of Chuck Palahniuk, and that’s a good thing. I’m constantly looking for authors that can tell a story where everything about it feels real. This is one of those. I don’t want to go into great detail about the story and plot, read it for yourselves, it’s worth it.