Tag Archives: the simpsons

My new best friend!!!

9 Jul

I did it. I finally fricken did it. Last night I got up the nerve to drive myself over to Microcenter and spend almost $600. On what and for why? Well, as of yesterday, all I had was a seven-year-old laptop sitting on my desk like a retarded brick – if in fact, bricks can be retarded. Can they? I mean, they really don’t have brains, but I do think that some bricks look smarter than others…

Anyway, it was a Dell 5100. A blue, heavy workhorse of a machine, and before you yell at me for some reason, I have to say that it was one of the most reliable pieces of electronic machinery that I have ever owned. I bought it in 2003 to use for college and it performed everything that I needed it to. It wrote me essays, burned me CDs, got me cheat codes for Grand Theft Auto and cruised the Internet (obviously never going onto any of the seedier sites… my computer was too high class for that). But now it is ridiculously outdated and struggles to work. It lays on my desk and just tries so hard. Its like watching your best friend die. I sit there some nights and just sing sweet lullabies to it. Holding the mouse and clicking softly as the fan whirs away.

Loudly. Like its gasping for air. Every whir one step closer to death.

I decided to put it out of its misery last night. I haven’t fully euthanized it yet, but the time is at hand. I already got the replacement for it and it has taken its place on my desk. Its black, with a subtle weave pattern on the case, has a bright LCD screen and an integrated web cam and is super fast. Now, again, before you start to yell and throw things at me for what I bought, let me just say that it was a super deal, has a ton of power and is specced very nicely.

Deep Breath. OK, here I go.

It is a Gateway. Yes, the boxes still look like the skinned remnants of the cow I grew up with and had to brutally slaughter because it held succulent meat within it, but you no longer get the satisfaction of also getting a squishy cow stress toy or a cow skin logo mug to go with your computer. Things just are not what they used to be I guess.

But its a nice looking computer and comes with some good hardware. I won’t go into it all here, but here is a link to some specs if you want to check it out for some reason. Below, you will find the unboxing pics. And yes, I was watching The Simpsons while doing this, and extra special brownie points to whoever can tell me the name of the episode that is being shown!

The cow skin box

The cow skin box

Nicely wrapped

Nicely wrapped

The first look

The first look

A closer look

A closer look

Side profile 1

Side profile 1

Side view 2

Side view 2 - Guess the episode in the background

Top weave pattern

Top weave pattern

IT LIVES!!!

IT LIVES!!!

Advertisements

The Lakewood Cemetery

12 May

At the intersection of 36th and Hennepin Ave a traveler can go in four equally distinct directions. In one direction, down 36th, a person will run into Lake Calhoun, and the masses of people who crowd around it on pretty much every day of the week during the summer. In the other direction on the same road, one will find the Interstate, which can lead them to anywhere in the Continental United States, if they should so choose. Hennepin poses a whole different, yet equally different scenario. Travel north on the avenue, and you will first run into the hip and trendy Uptown portion of Minneapolis, before actually diving directly into the heart of the beast. But on this blustery, cool and overcast day, I chose to turn south on Hennepin and enter into Lakewood Cemetery.

Lakewood is home to some of the most famous names in Minnesota business, industry and entertainment. The cemetery was founded in 1871 and features a park-like atmosphere that was designed to resemble the popular cemeteries popping up on the East Coast that featured these rural and country appearances. It has long been revered as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country and the chapel on the premises is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the beautiful landscaping, art and architecture, one will find a bevvy of famous dead people, including Charles Lindbergh, congressman and father of the aviation pioneer of the same name, Franklin Mars, creator of the Milky Way candy bar, and Tiny Tim, the falsetto-voiced entertainer of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” fame. Luckily, without even knowing it, I happened to stumble upon many of these famous tombs and graves and have a collection of pictures to prove it.

With the sun trying to burst through the ever present grayness of the day and the wind turning Lake Calhoun into a white-capped expanse, I secured my bike at the entrance and, with my backpack slung over my shoulders, I started to trek into the unknown at around 1:30. I would have loved to have taken my bicycle into the cemetery so that I could get around faster, but they are prohibited from being ridden around. No matter. I knew this going in and had on my trainers for just that reason. From simply walking past the place down by the lake, I knew where I wanted to go first. So I took off to the right, following one of the many snaking roadways throughout the grounds and proceeded to the farthest corner and the big plot that was over there. Directly in the corner of the cemetery, overlooking the lake for all eternity, was the former owner of the Minnesota Twins, Carl Pohlad and his wife. The man had a vast, vast fortune and never felt the need to shell out for a decent free agent to upgrade the roster, but he was also the man responsible for keeping the Twins in town, so was both a loved and hated figure at the same time.

The Pohlad Headstone

The Pohlad Headstone

To his immediate and forever left (at least looking at the gravestones from my perspective) – go figure – was the grave site of the Wellstone Family. Paul Wellstone was a beloved Democratic Senator from the state and was died in a plane crash in 2002.

The Wellstone Head... uh, stone

The Wellstone Head... uh, stone

As you can see from this picture here, his undead corpse must have recently escaped, only to have been driven back to the world of the dead. His freshly sodded grave stands as a testament that even when zombies do rise from the grave, a swift decapitation is all it takes to make them truly rest for all eternity.

Where Zombie Wellstone Tried Escaping

Where Zombie Wellstone Tried Escaping

Next to the Wellstone grave someone I had never heard of, but they seemed to be pretty famous. Not only did this Joseph Francis found and invent many invaluable services and items, he was even knighted by the crowned heads of Europe! This man, whom I had never before heard of, was quite the person when alive and someone who more people should probably find out about (and I include myself in that group as well).

Joseph Francis Grave

Joseph Francis Grave

Joseph Francis Accomplishments

Joseph Francis Accomplishments

The next headstone to grab my attention was that of a Mr. John Shaw and his wife Frances. The reason that this grabbed my attention was two-fold. First, the date. He was born in 1795 and his wife in 1804. Not only were they one of the oldest graves I found, but Mr. Shaw actually died before the cemetery was founded. And his wife died three years after the founding, making this, probably, one of the oldest grave sites in the cemetery. I have to wonder whether John’s body is actually buried here, meaning he was dug up from another cemetery, or if he is just here in spirit and his body is elsewhere. Of course, what I really hope happened is that his body was buried here before the cemetery existed, and that they built the place around him. Now that would be a story to tell.

John Shaw Headstone

John Shaw Headstone

This next towering tombstone features a name that will be familiar to anyone who has ever been to the grocery store and needed to buy some soft, doughy crescent rolls. Plus, their mascot, the Doughboy, has shown up in numerous TV shows, including The Simpsons. The Pillsburys founded their company in 1872 and because their product required shipping all over the country, they also helped to fund railroads in Minnesota. Here you can see where the family and their descendents are buried. It is a massive monument in their honor, and they no doubt have the money and fame to get away with it.

The Pillsbury Monument

The Pillsbury Monument

Pillsbury Grave

Pillsbury Grave

This grave got me. As I was wandering about the place, I came upon a grave that simply said “Lindberg” and I thought to myself that there was no way this grave could be that of the famous aviator. And I was correct. This grave happens to belong to someone who just happens to share the same name as the famous aviator, but spells his last name without the h at the end. So close, but so far. Plus, this grave is a little plain for a family this well known in Minnesota.

Charles Lindberg Grave

Charles Lindberg Grave

Here is another one that got me going. This is Grant’s Tomb. But not exactly. This is because it is the tombstone for a Ulysses S. Grant… you know, like the former President of these United States! But obviously, it is not for that one. It is another case of people being named like other, more famous people. Also, if you are ever asked who is in Grant’s Tomb, you can honestly say that his wife, Avis, is. Because here is the proof.

Grant's Tomb

Grant's Tomb

This next one is very recent, but still has history behind it. This is the grave of Master Gin Foon Mark. He was a 5th Generation Master of the Kung Fu style called Southern Praying Mantis. I love his gravestone. Not only does it stand out from all the others thanks to the lions at the side and the black color, but it also includes his logo with the praying mantis in it! This was an unexpected find and one of the better headstones from that day.

Master Gin Foon Mark

Master Gin Foon Mark

Southern Praying Mantis Style

Southern Praying Mantis Style

Another teaser. This is not the same one who invented Morse Code.

Samuel Morse Grave

Samuel Morse Grave

There is more to this cemetery and I spent about four hours wandering throughout the grounds. I think that my next post is going to be some of the interesting headstones that I found and some of the larger mausoleums that entomb the dead. Obviously there are a lot of people buried here and my goal is to find some of the more famous among them, including the real Charles Lindbergh and Tiny Tim. However, because this place takes up so much space, I am going to need to find a map so that I can better figure out a way around. It is a beautiful place to be on any day of the week, but I must be going back when the weather is a little less cold and the sun is shining instead of simply peaking. Truly a wonderful excursion and excuse to get out of the apartment.

Ke$ha Simpsons opening

10 May

Had to post this here. I dig Ke$ha. Not entirely sure why I do (possibly because she is a durty girl), but there is just something about her that I can’t look away from. Sure her songs are pretty lame if you actually listen to the lyrics (but who the hell does that anyway when all you really want is the beat), but then along come The Simpsons to make “Tik Tok” make some sense. This is a great opening to the show and must have taken forever to do. I am really only a fan of the show up until the ninth season, but this is one of the better things I have seen them do for some time. So click the link to see the Ke$ha opening of The Simpsons in all its glory! (By the way, for those who don’t know, when there is a super long opening like this, it means the writers were probably struggling to make the actual episode an acceptable length, but couldn’t come up with anything).

The Simpsons Cast

The Simpsons Cast

Ke$ha Simpsons opening

Ten Epic Songs of Epicness

4 May

What makes a song epic? Does it simply have to be long? Convoluted? Perhaps have a profound backstory to its conception? Possibly. But for the purposes of this list, I have come up with ten epic songs that I feel are both epically long and epically rocking. How did I come up with this list you may ask? Well, it all started from this picture…

Three Men in a Lobby

Check out those sweet moves!

Ok, so not really. But it is an interesting picture isn’t it? For those who don’t know, which is many, this picture was taken on the day of the home opener of the Twins in celebration of their new stadium. CAN YOU GUESS WHICH CITY I WORK IN?!!!?? Anyways. I like the picture and these guys were really cool. They were very entertaining and had to be so for a long time, much like the songs on this list. Of course, the real culprit for getting me thinking about this list is this other list here. As you can see, assuming you clicked the link, is that many of those songs can be found on my list as well. The reason for this is that the author of that site and myself both have similar tastes in music. You will probably be able to decipher from my list that I really enjoy rock music, and, more specifically, a genre called Prog Rock, which is filled with the Pink Floyds and Rushs of this earth (as you can see, I’m especially fond of Pink Floyd). Anyway, on to my list, which is in no particular order. Also, pretty much all of the videos can be found as hyperlinks attached to the artist and song title at the top.

  1. Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand 10:25
    I found this song by happy accident and loved the drums and guitar. Not only do I think it is one of Zeppelin’s better songs on an album that is not given enough credit, it would be badass on either Rock Band or Guitar Hero! Dammit Led Zeppelin, get with the times already. I chose the live version of this song for the video simply because you can watch Jimmy Page shred that guitar hardcore.

    Led Zeppelin Presence

    Led Zeppelin Presence

  2. Metallica – Outlaw Torn 9:59
    I don’t know who did it first, but when you add an orchestra behind a major rock band, the results are spectacular. Outlaw Torn is from the 1999 live album Metallica recorded using the backing of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen. Though I love a good, simple hard rock song, adding the orchestral score pumps it up even more and gives it a thoroughly epic feel.

    Metallica S&M

    Metallica S&M

  3. Pink Floyd – Dogs 17:06
    This song is 17 minutes of bliss. It is typical Floyd as well, starting off with a faster section, accompanied by a driving guitar solo in the middle and then slowing way down for the middle interlude before picking up again at the end with a flurry of lead guitar and drums. I’ve heard this song many, many times and it never ceases to get me going.

    Pink Floyd Animals

    Pink Floyd Animals

  4. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain 10:21
    Look no further for your epic lead guitar solo. You can actually feel the emotion running through the fingers of Eddie Hazel. It seems to encapsulate exactly what he was told to think about while playing, namely that his mother had died in the first half, and then came back to life in the second. It plays out beautifully and is even more spectacular when you consider it was all done in one take.

    Funkadelic Maggot Brain

    Funkadelic Maggot Brain

  5. Rush – 2112 20:34
    The simple fact that I could only find this song in three separate parts is testament to the epicness it embodies. The fact that I am going to witness this band’s awesomness in person later this year makes this song even better (though I doubt they will play it, but I wish they would).
    Part 1

    Part 2
    Part 3

    Rush 2112

    Rush 2112

  6. Dream Theater – Octavarium 23:58
    This is another band that I had never heard of before seeing the original list. I know nothing about them, or their music outside of this song, but I really appreciate this song for making me get lost in its entire length. A rare quality. In fact, this song starts off in a Floydian tone before delving into something akin to hard rock before taking that epic Floyd departure at the end again. Great stuff.

    Dream Theater Octavarium

    Dream Theater Octavarium

  7. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1 and 2) 26:00
    Another Pink Floyd song, and this one is split into two parts. It is actually a nine part composition in tribute to the former leader of Floyd, Syd Barrett. This is one of those classics that most people will know the instant the first chord is struck. If I could, I would probably listen to this all day long.
    Part 1
    Part 2

    Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

    Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here

  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird 9:06
    Ah yes. Skynyrd. This is the song that is constantly being politely suggested – by which I mean drunkenly yelled out – for every band in the history of the world to play. Right now, there have been 2,174 instances of this happening. However, the song itself is a rocking epic that is nine minutes long and one that, once again, pretty much everyone knows the tune of. Here it is, in its entirety, for your listening enjoyment.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

  9. Iron Butterfly – Inna Godda Da Vida 17:05
    You can almost hear the psychedelic drugs coursing through their veins. And that bass line! Its hypnotic in its simplicity, yet makes everything about this song work. and makes the song come alive. And with a song being this long, it makes for fantastic solo work as well from every member of the band. I would love to see this video in full color, just to see the funk and colors and what their dreams must have looked like every night. Bonus: the Simpsons take on the song as well.
    The Simpsons Version

    Iron Butterfly In A Gadda Da Vida

    Iron Butterfly In A Gadda Da Vida

  10. Pink Floyd – Echoes 23:28
    Echoes is one of those tunes that is not known by many people. This is mostly because they have such a huge catalog of other hits that this one tends to get lost in the shuffle. It is also because it was not on a record of theirs that sold in huge numbers. This song was before they really took off after Dark Side of the Moon, but is one of their better tunes. This is another one of those that is normally broken into two parts, but I found it in its entirety, although it is synched up to the final part of 2001: A Space Odyssey for some reason. I recommend simply listening to it without the visuals, as they are distracting.

    Pink Floyd Echoes

    Pink Floyd Echoes

So, in this list alone, should you actually sit down and listen to all of the songs here, you will have a grand total of 167 minutes of music! How awesome is that? For some, not very; but for others, it is a great way to get into the rhythm and spirit of some grandiose songs that are too long for conventional radio, but perfect for making the day fly by. If you have any suggestions for anything that you feel would best be on this list, let me know. Or, perhaps you hated every selection. Either way, drop me a line and let me know.