Saturday, December 17, 2011

O Holy NighTunes

Well, my merry little friends, Christmas is nigh and that means it's time for me to shove some Yuletide music deep into your earholes. This is the thirteenth edition of my mix, so most of the old chestnuts that you hear year in and year out have already been included at one point or another. If these songs are new to you, hopefully you'll dig them. And if you don't, then just wait until next year, you ingrate.

1. "Home for the Holidays" - Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler
2. "Santa Stole My Lady" - Fitz & the Tantrums
3. "Party Hard" - Zach Gill
4. "The Christmas Song Song" - Rocky and Balls
5. "Winter Night" - Little & Ashley
6. "Angels We Have Heard on High" - Sufjan Stevens
7. "Get Down for the Holidays" - Jenny O.
8. "Beautiful Star of the East" - How to Throw a Christmas Party
9. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" - Dean Martin & Scarlett Johansson
10. "What the Hell (It's the Holidays)" - Joey + Rory
11. "Who Needs Mistletoe" - Julie Roberts
12. "Silver Bells" - Raul Malo
13. "What Will Santa Claus Say?" - Christabel and the Jons
14. "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" - Regis Philbin
15. "Zat You, Santa Claus?" - Buster Poindexter
16. "Christmas Smorgasbord" - The Swedish Chef
17. "The Christmas Goose" - The Oxford Waits with the Mellstock Band
18. "Ring of Hannukah" - Paul F. Tompkins
19. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mike Viola and the Candy Butchers
20. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - Butch Walker
21. "Toy Jackpot" - Blackalicious
22. "Christmas All Over This Town" - The Plimptons
23. "George Bailey" - Carolyn Sills
24. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - The Avalanches
25. "Sleigh Ride" - She & Him
26. "White Christmas" - Otis Redding
27. "Adeste Fideles" - Frank Sinatra
28. "Always in the Season" - Pomplamoose
29. surprise!

Grab a .rar file of all of these songs here. Enjoy!

(And if you're jonesin' for more Christmas goodness - including past editions of A Very Micah Christmas - do check out my other blog, creatively titled A Very Micah Christmas.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Micah World is dead. Long live Micah, Please!

"I feel reborn. I'm like a Phoenix rising from Arizona." - Frank Costanza

Way back in late 2004 I caught the blogging bug and set up my corner of the internet. It was fun and I had a good time bringing light to the music, movies, books, and TV shows that I was enjoying. Posting weird news and links, making fun of politicians and celebrities, and occasionally giving people a glimpse of my personal life also occupied my time here. Entries were substantial. Readership could be counted on more than one hand.

Then I got lazy. Posts with actual substance got rarer. Later, I'd just throw a funny pic or YouTube video up. If you were lucky, I'd write two sentences to go with each of them. No one would comment. Checking my log, I could surmise that the only people coming here were the result of Google image searches of my weekly Crushes. (Granted, that traffic is steady, but I doubt anyone sticks around to do more than gawk at the fairer sex.)

So, I took a summer vacation. And then an autumn break.

Now I'm back! New layout, new name, a little more focus. Let the old blog be a lesson to you: never name something after a passing piece of pop culture ephemera. Sure, in 2004 I had just seen Spice World on cable and thought it'd be funny to jack the title of the Spice Girls movie for my blog. In 2011 it made no sense. (Also, the Micah World URL was taken.) Welcome to Micah, Please!

Updates won't be daily. They may not even be weekly, but I'm going to try. Sure, I may still make posts with little more than links, videos, or pictures in them, but I'm going to do my best to do some actual writing, dammit. And maybe I can then build my readership to a level that can be counted on two hands. Dare I even wish shoe removal should be required when tallying them up?

Oh, yeah. Since the season is approaching and all, I'm also reopening my Yuletide blog: A Very Micah Christmas.

So, ease into your comfy chair, start a fire, pour yourself a brandy. Cozy up with your new 78th favorite sporadically updated blog. Spice up your life!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day: it's all downhill from here

Ah, Opening Day. So much promise. Before the first pitch is thrown, every team is a contender. And then tomorrow we may as well call it a season for my beloved O's and Nats.

Are you still on the fence as to who should be "your team"? Well, just use the handy dandy chart above. (Get the original, larger version here.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick movie reviews

Sucker Punch: Sure, the story wasn't deep, some of the acting was poor, and the dialogue could tend to be laughable. But I went in to the matinee expecting some kick ass action and an embarrassment of visual riches and that's just what I got. Were there hot chicks with guns, dragons, steampunk robot Nazis, runaway trains, living stone samurais, and Don Draper? Yes there were. The flick's not as terrible as everyone says. Basically, it's a mess, but a fun one. (Sucker Punch was initially filmed as a sort of musical (!), but was later recut into a traditional action movie. I'm dying to see the original version.)

Paul: Shaun of the Dead is one of my all time favorite movies. Hot Fuzz is a riot. This Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film is different from those two, though, because it lacks the directorial skills of Edgar Wright, so I went in with my expectations lowered. Even only expecting a solid flick, I still didn't really care for Paul. I got a lot of the geek references. The performances were fine. Pegg and Frost still had their usual chemistry (and some terrible haircuts), but the movie just wasn't all that funny. What a shame.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blimey! An Irish Limey!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends. Get out your seat and jump around, but try not to overdo it.

My plans for the evening? Root my beloved Spiders on to a March Madness first round victory (hopefully!) and then imbibe a few drams of Scotch while settling in with Annie's Boobs, the Nard Dog, Ron Freakin' Swanson, and Toofer. Hey, it's a school night. *shrug*

Note: This post's title is a reference to an old Captain 20 and Chef Combo PSA/kids' show cooking segment on DC20. All these years I thought they made an "Irish Slimey" until a Google search turned up this. Upon reflection, "Irish Slimey" makes no sense and I guess it could be offensive to our drunken Leprechaun friends. Sorry, you tossers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We ain't got no place to go, so let's go to the auto show.

It's that time of year again, which means yesterday I moseyed on over to the 2011 Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show. Unlike last year, I didn't do any test drives or get my hands on any tech (unless you count briefly watching a friend's DVD of The Expendables on the down low in one of the cars). But I did get a few good snaps:

This Camaro is practically begging to have a personalized license plate that reads FKYEAH.

A new color for my dream car! It looks like FJ Cruisers now come in a different shade of blue.

First person shooters aren't my thing, so I'm eagerly awaiting a Katamari Damacy-branded Xterra or Rock Band Econoline van.

An old Holman Moody race car.

Unfortunately none of the new cars on floor were powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball. None of them were...The Homer.

Want more pictures? Head on over to Spydrz's blog.

Special thanks to the fine folks at Ford for providing for my entry to the show. And also for not taking taxpayer money.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Crush of the Week: Autumn Reeser

This week's Crush is actress Autumn Reeser, lately of "No Ordinary Family". The show has its faults, but largely I'm digging it.

Her adorable comic book geek character on "No Ordinary Family" is a far cry from the upwardly mobile Hollywood agent she played on "Entourage". Range!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"And the Oscar goes to 'Little Fockers'..."

Ah, Hollywood. My favorite hideous bitch goddess. There are few institutions I love and hate with equal fervor as do with the Dream Factory. And Oscar night let's both sides shine.

I can't really comment on what films are deserving of a nomination this year as I only saw a handful of '10 movies, with Toy Story 3 being the only Oscar contender among them. So I'll leave the speculating to the experts.

Last year's pairing of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as tandem hosts was great. Anne Hathaway and James Franco have some mighty big shoes to fill. But even if they aren't as funny, well, I can always gaze upon Hathaway's big, beautiful eyes. That's good enough for me.

So join me in the comments section here and we can rag on the self-important speeches, the back-patting, and the opulence. Share your thoughts on the big winners and even bigger losers. Revel in the nipple slips and the people being cut off by the band. In other words, let's knock them down a peg!

(I'm also going to be following along with Doug Benson's live tweeting and the goings-on at the A.V. Club.)

Best of 2010: podcasts

I don't see as many movies these days. I still listen to a lot of music, but not as much as in my trendsetting days. It seems there is one entertainment medium that has been increasingly dominating my free time (and work time, for that matter): podcasts.

While still in its relative infancy, podcastdom has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. There is a show for pretty much any interest. While there are many podcasters still stuck in amateur hour, there are a slew that have carved out niches and set the standard.

My daily/weekly/monthly/sporadic favorites are still chugging along - Doug Loves Movies, Filmspotting, The Adam Carolla Show, and Comedy Death-Ray, to name just a handful - these are the best podcasts that debuted in 2010:

The Pod F. Tompkast: It's nighttime on the internet and once a month (and sometimes here and there in between) stand up comedian extraordinaire Paul F. Tompkins puts out this hilarious hour long show. Each episode contains some of his riffing, an excerpt from his monthly stage show, a phone conversation with fellow comedian Jen Kirkman, and an ongoing story featuring his hilarious impressions of Ice-T, John C. Reilly, Dame Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Lithgow, the Cake Boss, and others. It really is the highlight of my podcast month.

The Sporkful: Two guys and occasionally a guest go into the minutiae of the preparation and consumption of everyday foods. This is not your high-falootin' foodie father's podcast.

This Week with Larry Miller: Larry Miller has long been one of my favorite comedians and his 30-45 minutes of stream of conscious rambling each week amount to a good helping of audio comfort food. I like to listen to this on the commute home from work.

Culturetopia: This used to be a weekly compilation of stories from NPR - well, it still is that - but it's been retooled to add a second weekly episode featuring a pop culture round table. I find panelist Glen Weldon nigh-intolerable, but can overcome my dislike of him because I enjoy listening to the other people on the show so much.

The Nerdist: '90s MTV darling Chris Hardwick and a couple of his pals descend into the depths of geekery with a special nerdy guest. They've also recently added a non-guest (or "hostful") chat each week, too.

Who Charted?: Howard Kremer (aka Dragon Boy Suede), Kulap, and a comedian guest dissect the weekly music, movie, and other charts. Simultaneously, it confirms my bewilderment regarding what the kids listen to and watch these days. Get off my lawn! (This wins my award for Best Podcast Name.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Requiem for Uncle Leo

R.I.P. Len Lesser, 1922-2011.

"Hello!" Uncle Leo was always one of my favorite secondary "Seinfeld" characters. He's not really dead if we find a way to remember him.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Too early for flapjacks?

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

As much as I love winter, I'm ready for some spring. An actual, breezy, full spring. None of this summer-in-April crap we usually get. Make it happen, Punxsutawney Phil. Happy Groundhog Day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crush of the Week: Sarah Shahi

This week's Crush is actress Sarah Shahi, lately the lead on Fairly Legal. Honestly, I find her strikingly beautiful.

The show itself is nothing new - She's a lawyer-turned-mediator who solves everyone's problems but her own. And she lives on a boat. She's so quirky! - or all that special, but Shahi can really fill out a business suit and the show's light enough for background noise. So I'll keep watching for a few more episodes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best of 2010: DVDs

What makes a great DVD? Sure, the content of the movie/show/concert/whatever itself is imperative, but more important for whether something is to be deemed a success on the format is the audio/video quality, packaging, and the scope and depth of the bonus features. Due to budgetary reasons, an ever-increasing lack of storage space, and willingness to wait so as not to double dip on discs when I get my own Blu-Ray player, I've greatly slowed down my purchases. Honestly, I only bought a handful of titles. But I made sure they were all winners. Here are the shiny discs that I think were the best to come out in 2010:

Kick-Ass - Okay, so I still haven't really checked out the bonus features of this Blu-Ray, but it looks packed. The film transfer itself is excellent, though. The colors of this world of costume vigilantes absolutely pops.

The Office: Season Six - When it comes to DVD releases of TV shows, "The Office" is tops in terms of what it gives back to its fans. The webisodes (ugh, I hate that term) and bloopers are fun, but the real meat is the all of the deleted scenes. When you add it all it up it's like getting almost another 10-15 episodes. And it's not chaff; this is quality humor that just couldn't be fit in due to time constraints. Points off for completely excising the Halloween cold open of the "Koi Pond" episode because some nervous nelly watchdog group complained. Boo!

The League (The Complete First Season) - The deleted scenes and extended episodes make a funny debut season even better.

Survival of the Dead (Ultimate Undead Edition) - The movie was crap, but this Blu-Ray is packed with zombie goodness. The feature length documentary is better than the actual movie. And some of the autumnal scenery really is nice to look at.

Happy Burns Night!

Wishing you and yours the very merriest of Burns Nights. What will I be doing tonight? I don't know. Definitely enjoying a wee dram of Islay. Maybe read from Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Best of 2010: books

In 2009 I read embarrassingly few books. To make up for that, last year I read more books than in any other year, including seventeen books from an entirely new genre to me and the best freakin' book that I've ever read. My year end list for books is different than most people's since I'm a relatively slow reader. And sometimes inspiration takes a while to hit me. So I don't catch everything as it's published. So these are the best books that I've read in 2010:

The Stand by Stephen King - At 1,100+ pages, this epic novel is the longest book that I've ever read. But the daunting length did nothing to diminish how extremely intriguing the story is. Seriously, this is the best book that I've ever read. King really threw everything into this tale of good versus evil. I can't recommend it highly enough. Baby, can you dig your man?

Hard Case Crime books by various authors - I've decided to lump these together, but they aren't a series of books per se, but a publishing imprint. I had never really read any crime noir fiction before, but the dual siren song of a dollar store find and the best damn covers in the business swayed me. And I'm so glad that I spent those hundred pennies. Last year I ended up reading 17 HCC books and have loved every one of them. The cream of the crop: Christa Faust's Money Shot (murder in the porn industry; this is the title that got me hooked), Lawrence Block's Grifter's Game (the ending is completely shocking; I can only imagine how it played in 1961 when it was first published), and David J. Schow's Gun Work (this would make an excellent revenge movie). Hard Case Crime's original publisher decided to get out of the books-on-paper business this year (damn you, Kindle!), but luckily they found a new home and will resume putting out these pulp classics in the autumn.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill - Stephen King's son whipped up a very creepy ghost story, about an aging rock star haunted by his past. The first half is great, but it loses steam when the setting changes halfway through. Still worth a read if you want some chills.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - Hey, I'm not above reading airport novels. And I like stories about the Freemasons, so it's got that going for it. In usual Dan Brown fashion, it's briskly paced. It's not as good as Angels & Demons. (The Illuminati are my favorite nutty conspiracy theory.) I'd put it on par with The Da Vinci Code. Great for the beach or your next trip to Washington, DC.

The old college try: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - Last year I tried yet again to read this, but I just couldn't get into it (again). It takes a lot for me to abandon a zombie tale and that special something is Jane Austen's writing style.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Simpsons surprise

So, whilst Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, I happened to stop at the local hipster dry goods market and general store and noticed an intriguing impulse buy: mini Simpsons figures. Cool! But there's a catch: each individual box is sealed and you don't know which character you've bought until you open it.

Interesting concept, but I'd much prefer to know what I'm getting. At $.25, a gumball machine isn't much of a risk. But at $10 a pop, which is what each of these suckers cost? Anyway, this weekend I went back to the shop and picked a box up.

Of all of the Simpsons figures in this set, the one I really want is "Zombie Homer". Apparently, he's ultra rare and goes for upwards of around $80 on ebay.

But if I don't end up with "Zombie Homer" (and I don't expect to), the other Springfield denizens that I'd prefer to get are Moe Szyslak, Groundskeeper Willie, or Captain Horatio McCallister. The rest I'll accept (of course), but I may not rest until I get what I want. Maybe.

So, let's see who's in this box...

It's, uh, Disco Stu. Despite having one classic line - "Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue...AAY!" - he's never been one of my favorites. You know, I've been wanting to try my hand at selling stuff on ebay. I think I know what item I'll put up on the auction block first.

I remain undeterred and may have to give it another shot. But if I get another so-so character - please no Patty or Selma! - then I'm out for good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You choose the Crush of the Year

Lately I've been pretty busy with compiling my "Best Ofs" for movies, music, TV, etc. and those lists should be popping up here shortly. But there's one area where the choice of the year's perfection is out of my hands. Once again, I'll turn the selection of the Crush of the Year over to you, dear reader. After all, the consensus picks in previous years have been great. (You folks did a fine job last year given the tough choices.)

The rules:
1) Vote by leaving the name of your pick in the comment section of this post (either on Blogger or Facebook). No votes via e-mail, text, phone, different posts' comments sections, or other methods will be counted. I do this so that there'll be a virtual paper trail of people's clear intentions. No hanging chads around here.
2) No justification of your choice is required, but if you want to explain why you opted for a particular candidate, feel free to do so.
3) No write-ins.
4) You may only vote once regardless of location (that means no voting on both Blogger and Facebook).
5) Only the candidates listed below are eligible to win.
6) Should no Crush receive a plurality/majority of the votes, I shall choose the CotY. In fact, I reserve the right to lay down my tyrannical fist and institute my own pick, no matter the voting results. But I probably won't. But you never know.
7) Void where prohibited. (Likely Utah.)
8) Voting ends when this post leaves the front page of the blog or two weeks from the exact time and date of this post, whichever comes first.

Finally, your candidates for 2010 Crush of the Year:So there you go. Pester your friends, rally the civic organizations that you're a member of, and organize your congregation. You really don't want Diddy on your bad side.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2010 resolution winners and losers

2011. A new year. A fresh start. A blank slate. Another tired cliché. Rather than make some new resolutions, how about we see how I did on last year's lofty aspirations?

  • Get better at responding to e-mails (including Facebook messages and posts). Two day delay, tops.

    Eh, I wasn't great at doing this, but I think I was better than before. A little.

  • Start AND finish at least one these epic-length books: The Count of Monte Cristo, Gone with the Wind, The Stand, or Atlas Shrugged.

    I read the extended and uncut edition of The Shining! I think this year I'm going to tackle The Lord of the Rings.

  • Start AND finish at least one of these epic-length video games, including their DLC: Fallout 3 or Grand Theft Auto IV.

    Nope. I did finish Fable II, though, and that's pretty epic. I'd still like to get those games, as well as Fable III and Red Dead Redemption.

  • Finish compiling the mix CD that I promised a friend of mine.

    Yup. It was actually more of an audio and video project, not just a mere mix CD. And it was warmly received.

  • Watch all of the various Britcoms that I've already procured. I kept promising and promising to blog about them, but obviously didn't.

    Didn't touch 'em. In fact, I've procured even more since then. *sigh*

  • Read more of the Bible. I've really slacked off in this department.

    I sucked at this, too.

  • Post more substance here, less lazy YouTube hit and runs. Hopefully, that'll get people to actually, you know, read this blog (no offense to my three regulars).

    Yeah, this blog is still pretty much a YouTube-links-and-pictures-of-attractive-women repository with only a smattering of substance. But I have a new feature in mind that should last at least a year. If only I could muster the initiative to start it.

  • Create a super secret online Christmas thingamajig.

    Done: A Very Micah Christmas. The plan is to make every one of my Christmas mixes since 1999 available digitally on that blog. But I've at least started it and posted 2010's mix there.

  • Totally revamp this blog's layout and name.

    Fail. I should check Go Daddy and see if there are any domain name coupons. I'm still bored with the layout and would like to get a custom one. Any kind souls want to do that for me?
So that's that. Strange that I didn't make a public proclamation about my intentions to drop some el-beez because that's the one thing I actually DID do last year. (70+ pounds to be a little more precise.)

Anyway, in 2011 I'll just build on what I couldn't do over the past 365 days. The only thing that I'll add is that I intend to get rid of my mounting paper clutter. Why do I save all of these gas station receipts? And you'd think after two moves over the last five years that I'd learn not to amass an immense archive of unread magazines. So, henceforth I will read and toss new ones out shortly after they arrive.

I can probably do all of that. Or maybe I'll just wait until 2012 to get things done. Then again, the world's going to end then, so what's the point?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Audio fruitcake: "Auld Lang Syne" by Salsa Celtica


We finish up this seasonal loaf of audio fruitcake with Robert Burns' poem-turned-song "Auld Lang Syne" by Salsa Celtica. Leave it to a bunch of Scottish lads playing salsa music to record my favorite version. You can find this on their 2003 album El Agua De La Vida.

And now that "the holidays" are almost officially over, I can start the process of shedding my winter weight.