Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Days later, my progress is getting to be mildly admirable, and I'd like to introduce you to my team.
See that girl? Her name is Sunraker, because she will destroy you. She'll drop a Leech Seed to suck the life out of your inferior Pokemon and finish you off with Leaf Blade: a SWORD made out of PLANT that can CUT HEADS OFF.
This bird right here is named Brobin. Because he's a robin AND he's a bro. See that funky red hat thing he's got? Only males look like that. Female birds don't have any color. His ability is Big Pecks, which means his Defense stat can never be lowered. NEVER. Leer all you want: Brobin will always have Big Pecks.
This cool as ice fella is named Rosencrntz, like the character in Hamlet, except without the A. He wears his sunglasses even when inside. In a few minutes he will be evolving into a larger, angrier version of himself.
This adorable little critter is named Carraway, after the narrator of The Great Gatsby. She's super nice, too, and a female. Her freshest move is Electroweb, where she shoots a spider web supercharged with electricity.And finally, above is the newest addition to my prestigious team. While she isn't hand-drawn in real life, she still pretty durn cute. I named her Lizaveta, after the supercute girl from Crime and Punishment that Raskolnikov murders accidentally.
Anyways, you might notice there's only five Pokemon here (most teams are six-membered). That's because I haven't yet found a satisfactory Pokemon to fill that sixth slot. If you're interested or know someone else who might be, contact me.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
I recently did a post ranking all of the movies I saw in 2010. Well, since then I've seen three more (from last year), and they were all quite good, so I've gone back and added them to the list.
A word about and a score for each:
1. Exit Through the Gift Shop - 90
A fascinating, hilarious documentary about street art. Examines essential questions like the difference between art and vandalism, and, later, the difference between good art and bad art.
2. The King's Speech - 82
A well-acted, slow-paced classy movie for old people.
3. 127 Hours - 79
Spoiler: James Franco cuts his arm off. Disgusting.
Another word about The King's Speech:
All the Oscar talk is starting to point towards this one taking home best picture, and that worries me. It's not that The King's Speech doesn't deserve it, like, I wouldn't be disappointed that it won or anything, it's just that this other movie, The Social Network, deserves it so much more.
Note: I have now seen 8 of the 10 movies nominated for best picture. Everything except The Kids Are All Right and The Fighter.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
I know you're scoffing right now. Please stop.
Anyways, the dance move is called shoulder raising. Sit in a chair in front of a mirror, put on a song with a nice beat, such as "Odessa" by Caribou or "You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record Baby)" by Dead or Alive. The next step is to emphatically raise your left shoulder in time with the music.
It should look a little something like this:
You are very welcome.
(Now, it's quite possible that that image isn't moving like it's supposed to on your computer. If it isn't, imagine that the left shoulder is raising up and down repeatedly.)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
I did watch Lost, though, and occasionally American Idol, but beyond that my TV experience was limited. When Lost ended last year I was sure I was done with all television. I had tried to get into the Golden Globe/Emmy award winning Glee at one point, but when I really, really disliked most of the episodes I decided that television shows just weren't good.
Here are my favorites (realize that I'm only comparing shows that get put up on hulu, because if it doesn't then I don't have a way to watch it):
5. The Office
This is the one that got me hooked on the site initially, as I had seen and liked episodes in the past for some reason. It's supposedly a comedy, and might have been more of one in previous seasons, but I find the jokes upstaged by the show's repeated flirtation with sadness, obsession and unrequited love (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
4. Parks and Recreation
Very similar to The Office, but more consistently funny, and with more realistic, dynamic characters.
The only non-comedy on my list, this fantastical detective show has expanded into Lost-esque levels of scope and confusion.
My favorite current show, Community is repeatedly hilarious and touching, often in the same moment.
1. Arrested Development
This one isn't currently being produced, as it was canceled after three seasons of low ratings. In its short lifespan it was an off-the-wall portrait of the dysfunctional Bluth "family" that I can only
compare to The Royal Tenenbaums, but it's less serious and less restrained, and filtered through rapid-fire, pun-peppered scriptwriting. Hulu currently only has season 3 available for viewing, but it rotates between the seasons every few months. (I've actually only seen seasons 2 and 3, but whenever they put up that first season I can guarantee I'll be all over that to see how things began).
Saturday, January 8, 2011
(i rated everything out of 100, relative to the rest of the movies in this list, if a movie released in 2010 year isn't in this post, i haven't seen it yet)
movies in bold were added after my initial post
1. The Social Network - 100
An astounding piece of cinema in every way. The wordplay, the score...I've found it difficult to discuss this movie beyond the "I loved everything about it" level.
2. Black Swan - 99
Terrifyingly enthralling. I came out of the theater shaken, gasping for air.
3. Toy Story 3 - 95
Hilarious. Sublime, even.
4. Exit Through the Gift Shop - 90
5. True Grit - 85
6. The King's Speech - 82
7. The Ghost Writer - 81
8. How To Train Your Dragon - 80
9. 127 Hours - 79
10. Winter's Bone - 78
11. Inception - 77
Not as good as I wanted it to be.
12. Despicable Me - 75
Also worth watching:
The Book of Eli - 70
Shutter Island - 71
The Crazies - 65
To Save a Life - 70
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - 65
movies i enjoyed a great deal even though they kind of weren't good:
Tron: Legacy - 50
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - 45
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief - 35
worst of the year (I try to avoid bad movies in general, so i'm sure there were much worse films out there which i fortunately missed):
5. Robin Hood - 40
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 - 45
It looks nice, but it's long and boring like the part of the book it's based on.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - 35
The worst film in the series yet.
2. Green Zone - 25
Incoherent action sequences are all i remember.
1. Alice in Wonderland - 15
What should've been another crazy good Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration ended up failing to be anything. It wasn't funny, it wasn't that weird. The worst part? It was the second highest grossing movie of the year.
the other movie i saw that didn't fit into any of my lists:
Iron Man 2 - 59
Thursday, November 18, 2010
For the school newspaper here at the ol' First Presbyterian Day School, I recently (about a month ago) sat down with Floco Torres, a local hip-hop artist, at Books-a-Million, and talked about his music, the local scene, books, models, and other things. Here's the full interview, raw and uncut:
(Zach Shealy): Are you from Macon?
(Floco Torres): I am not from Macon – I am from Willingboro, new jersey. I lived in Macon from like age 3 to like 9, and then I just moved back here two and a half years ago. Macon at heart, I guess I could say, but I wasn't born here.
Were you always into rap?
I was always into writing and journalism and stuff like that. In high school a lot of my friends rapped and everything like that, and I, you know, wrote lyrics for other people and slowly got into it. Rap was probably one of the last things on my list.
What got you into it?
Pretty much just being in the environments and listening to a lot of music growing up. I wasn't one of those “I've been rapping since I was three years old!” Nah. I didn't buy my first rap cd until I was like 15 or 16. Being around the different people, like, the culture of it growing up, it's just something I slowly took a liking to.
How'd you discover you were good at it?
(Laughs) People started to react in a positive way I guess. In the beginning they were reacting really negatively, that was kind of like a “give it up” or “keep going” thing. I mean, I kept going. Ya know, people were saying positive things, I was starting to get booked a little bit more, started to learn more and have a little bit more fun with it.
Where were you when you first got into hip-hop?
I was in Willingboro, New Jersey when I wrote first song.
Do you still perform your first song?
Nah man, I gave that song up a long time ago. I read it a couple days ago, though, like, working on the new album and everything. I went back to a lot of the older stuff and read it and it was awful, so awful.
Macon has a rich musical history – is the current scene living up to that?
I feel like it is, but at the same time I feel like we're slowly making our own moment in history and a lot of people are starting to come to grips with it. We're not going to create an Otis Redding or a Little Richard, like, we're not trying to, but there is a Floco Torres, and there are Roly-bots, and there is the Citizen Insane. It's a lot of things going on right now that in twenty years we're going to be talking about.
Say somebody wanted to get involved and find out what's out there (in Macon). What do you suggest – just go downtown and find some shows?
Get out, man. Everybody's on Facebook, everybody's on Twitter. The outlets are there, the shows are there, creative people are there, the scene is there. If you don't tap yourself into it, you're left on the outside of what's going on. Which is amazing, like, people fifteen minutes across town that don't know what's going on. Fifteen minutes downtown in their own city, you know what I mean? It's crazy.
Why would you recommend someone tap into the local scene?
I've met a lot of people that were in Macon when Otis Redding was here and Little Richard was here and stuff like that, and they regret now ignoring that cross-dressing hippie that was doing this thing called rock and roll at the time. Or this guy that was literally leaving his soul on the stage singing these songs about the dock of the bay and everything like that. Don't miss that moment now and twenty years later make up stories to your grandkids like “I was there.” Nah, you wasn't there. Macon is really, like you said, rich in history and music. It's just, the city's gotta support it before the rest of the world is gonna get on to it, you know what I mean?
How well do think the city supports local artists?
Aw man it's crazy right now, like, it's amazing how many more people you see coming out to shows, like, when I'm out, how many people are coming up to me asking me about something they see on Facebook or a song that they heard, or “what does this mean?”. So I think, right now, like, the awareness of what we're doing, all of these musicians is at an all time high, and it's only going to get better with, you know, the better the music gets, and the more bands and more people come out to the shows.
Are you looking to expand and tour more outside of Macon, or have you done any of that in the past?
I've done a little bit of touring outside of Macon this year, but with the new album “Floco's Modern Life” we actually launched a campaign with a website called “Kickstarter on Monday” where we're trying to get the city and the entire music scene involved in this album because on my album I have so many different Macon musicians: Jerry Wright of Roly-bots is on there. Oh Dorian's on there. Sean Williamson with Citizen Insane. I've got Al K!ng on a record, Jubee of City Council's in a record. I was just with Chelsea Hughes yesterday working on a record. I'm getting as many Macon musicians as possible so when the album comes out and we get ready to hit the road it's not a Floco album, it's “look what we're doing in Macon.”
Do you record in Macon?
I do record in Macon. I'm actually going to be recording the album with a guy named Rob Evans, which I actually spoke to him today. I'm going to meet him tomorrow to let him know how crazy I actually am doing this album.
So the next step is getting this album out, then?
The next step is getting the album out. We're looking at late February, early March. Once the album comes out we're hitting the road.
Are you doing any shows while working on the album?
Here and there. It's really been more out of town stuff to, you know, bring the awareness from Savannah, Athens, Atlanta, stuff like that, but I'm planning one or two big shows before February or March. I don't quite have the dates on them yet but I'm gonna try to place them nicely and do something real cool. I'm kind of being quiet a little bit and getting ready to unleash this big thing I'm working on.
Can you tell me about the best show you've ever performed?
In Macon or just in general?
I'm gonna say in Macon it was probably Bragg Jam of this year. It was just a culmination of the last two years of people supporting me since I've been here and me really realizing how dope I am. (Laughs) Not in a cocky way! Just really realizing how hard I've worked. I'm at a comfortable place artistically where, ya know I really don't care, man. Like, I'm gonna do what makes me happy and what I think my fans like and it seems to be working. I'd say my best show out of town would probably be Buffapalooza at Buffington's in Milledgeville. It was like a music festival that they put on with the radio station and the crowd was just crazy. They were just ridiculous.
Are you able to support your music just through making music?
I do little things here and there, little part time gigs, I part time blog some times, I write little articles and everything like that. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get the bills paid, but my music does compensate a lot of itself which I think is a cool thing and I'm trying to open up that door for a lot of other artists that I do know who aren't quite there yet. That is one thing I can say, like, my music does pay for itself. It may not have me driving in a Bentley yet, but it definitely does pay for itself.
I've heard some of your music and it sounds pretty professional...
Do you try to get across a message with your music, or is it just about the sounds? What is your music about?
Hmm. This shirt I have on is, it was one of my grandfather's shirts from maybe like '94, '95 or whatever. He passed away and I got a whole bunch of his shirts. I never wore them until this year I came across them and I started wearing them, and they're just super comfortable, like, I could care less what they look like, how worn in they are, like, they're really, really comfortable. That is what my music's about. It's about being comfortable and learning things. Like, I knew nothing about these shirts, or really about my grandfather cuz I didn't know him at the time and then he passed away before I really got to know him, but I held on to the shirts and at the right time the universe lined it up that in my life I was supposed to start wearing these shirts. And that's how my music is. I could have learned something, you know, in '99, '98, and may not get it then, and I'll come across a beat tomorrow that is going to explain that situation perfectly, and I write about it. And then, you know, mixing the sounds and the energy I feel makes the song as close to perfect as possible...and this shirt is really comfortable.
What's you ultimate goal with making music? Where do you want to see yourself in 5/10 years?
The professional answer to that would be doing it for a living, you know, paying my bills and being able to live comfortably from my music. The spacey answer is to make a dope time capsule. Yes, I want, if I die tomorrow, I'm happy with the music I have right now, that people will go back and listen to it and be like “wow, dude was in a crazy place right here” or “nah, he was really feeling himself right here.” Like, I'm slowly doing for myself and my fans here right now, but really, really doing for their children and grandchildren. Cuz I feel like the music that I write and the people that listen to it were having a moment together and I want their grandkids and their kids to be able to experience that same moment without being there.
Have you ever felt discouraged, or started second guessing your decision to pursue music?
All the time. I think earlier this morning I woke up, like, you know I was calling people and everybody was at work and I couldn't get in touch with anybody, and I'm like, man, I'm one of the only people I know who doesn't have a set schedule. I go to sleep when I want, I get up when I want, I play video games when I want, whatever whatever. So yeah, you always have doubts and regrets, it's just, how you handle them makes the person that you are.
How do you get through that, how do you keep doing it?
Some times a lot of outside influences... (chuckles) …you just gotta fight through it, man, however you can. Some moments are harder than others. It's willpower and just believe in it yourself – that's the main two you gotta have.
So, you work with lots of other artists based in Macon. Do you often perform together?
I think what has made me the artist that I am is that I'm not really able to be put in a box. I work with the rock guys and the indie/acoustic guys, you know, you can put on stage with some of the best spitters you can find and I can go toe-to-toe with them. I pride myself in being...ambidextrous maybe? We'll go with that word and see what happens.
You incorporate a lot of different influences, but I guess hip hop is number one, right?
Nah. No, hip hop's probably number two or three. It's slowly moving down to three. Number one would probably be rock and roll. That was one of things that, like I said, I came across something in 1998 and didn't get it until now. Hip hop is number two because that's what I grew up on and that's what I do it for, but musical influence-wise right now i'm influenced by a lot more rock than I am hip hop.
If someone was to download one of your mixtapes or EPs, what's it going to sound like?
I think it's going to sound like something that is going to take more than one listen to understand, which is what I go for. It's gonna sound like something they want to grow with. If you download Psychadelphia, you are gonna want to hear Floco's Modern Life because you know Psychadelphia's where I was at last year and I'm explaining to you how my mind works. Floco's Modern Life is my entire life. How does every day, how has this entire process, gone. It keeps you interested, I think that's what my music does. You want to hear the next step.
If someone wanted to get into your music today, where do you recommend they start?
Of course iTunes and Amazon and that stuff, but if you go to my blog I have the links to everything: the free music, if you're so gracious to pay for something that's there too. I have loads of free music on the internet. I have stuff on youtube, like, they can watch videos. My blog is the central location for anything me. (hiimflocotorres.ning.com) Everything's there: pictures, videos, stuff I like, movies I've seen. I'm about to put up some pictures of Minka Kelly today. People need to know that she is the sexiest woman alive in 2010.
I'm trying to think of a few more questions for you.
It's all good, man. Read this book, too. (refers to book he has with him)
Bringing Down the House?
It's about six MIT kids who took on Vegas. Yes, and when I say took on, not like they went and had a blast. No, like, they financially took down Vegas. It's really, really cool.
Are you into a lot of reading?
Not as much as I should be, but, yeah, I read at a normal rate. I would like to read more, but sometimes I don't get the time to really indulge into a book, you know what I mean? I hit the Golden Bough bookstore up a lot, on Cotton Avenue downtown, and actually I was coming from there before I got here. The last book I read was, um, “Where the Money Was”, I think it's... David Lee Sutton? I might be wrong. Yeah, but it's about the most famous bank robber in forever. Yeah, I read a decent amount. Especially about Minka Kelly. I need to stop looking at her. (flips to next page of magazine) Whoa...who are these women?
What do you have to say to your fans?
I have to say “Thank you very much”, because without them I would not be existing. I would just be another rapper, but because of my fans I am of the elite of their taste and ipods and everything. Thank you. Stay tuned for the album, I've been putting my heart and soul into it and I hope you enjoy it, man. Definitely check out the Kickstarter campaign, you can go on kickstarter.com and search Floco Torres and you'll see the whole campaign for the album.*
What popular rappers out there are doing it right?
In Macon, or just in general?
Mainstream, you know what, I don't really classify Kid Cudi as a rapper, but Kid Cudi would probably be my number one right now. He's doing exactly what he wants to do and you can tell. Of course, the Kanye Wests, the Jay-Zs, the stuff like that. J. Cole I really, really enjoy, like, he smashed you with like a bunch of music and you were like “Ah, he's dope” and he's like “Now I'm working on an album, so you get nothing,” and I was like “That's cool, yo. Make 'em wait.” I really like Wale, sometimes. I think he's dope. But I think he's dope at what he wants to do and he's not so great at what other people push him to do. Those are my main ones right now. I was listening to somebody... oh yeah, you know Lupe Fiasco and... I'm forgetting somebody I do not want to forget... and I'm probably going to forget them. Yeah, I can't remember anybody else right now, but the people know they're dope, whoever it is. But yeah, those are my main... I feel like creatively they're doing what they want to do and it's coming out dope. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who am I forgetting?
Anything else you feel you need to say? A question I need to ask?
Nah man. I, uh... I really want to redefine the definition of “a--hole”. I do, and I'm probably not supposed to say that. My bad if I wasn't, but I really want to redefine that definition, but I haven't figured out how to yet.
Sounds like something Kanye West would say.
(Laughs) Ah man, that's just one of those things in my career I'm never gonna be able to get past, cuz he was born before I was. But yeah, the first song on my new album is called “A--hole”, and I really want to redefine that definition, because I feel like there is the actual a--hole, and then there is the a--hole that you have to be to get things accomplished. People mix up those two. Like, the guy that snatches a purse in the alley? He's an a--hole, like, he deserves the crap beat out of him. But the guy that realizes he has to change certain things in his life to reach another level of success? Not an a--hole. There's a different word that needs to be created for it, but I need to do it before some rapper creates it and it really sucks and then we hear it all the time. Yeah, I'm working on that. Maybe I'll write a book.
Put it in your song.
Hey, I think that song represents it. It teeters between the line of like, “I'm right in between it” to “you decide which one I am.” And that, the whole comment probably made me the a--hole that I don't want to be. These things happen.
Yeah, I probably can't run that word in the story, at a Christian school and everything.
Yeah I figured that. So you go to First Presbyterian School?
First Presbyterian Day School.
That's what's up. Are you guys involved in the music scene a lot or is that one of the big purposes of the article?
Not much. Hopefully what the article will do is make people realize that there's stuff out there, stuff downtown, people making music that nobody knows about.
We should come out there and do a show. We should do a profanity free, gesture free show.
That would be really cool.
Yeah, I mean I'd be down to do it.
I think our environmental club is trying to put on some kind of concert.
Yeah, we'd come out there. I'd bring the band, come out there and try to sway some opinions.
Yeah, most people (at FPD) have never seen or heard any local music at all.
We gotta get them involved, cuz you guys are the main focal point. The people older than myself and all that, they care, but they care to a certain extent. They care from 6PM to 9PM. That's an hour after they get off of work, and two hours before they need to go to bed to do it again. Who we really need in the scene is, you know, 23 and under, because we are the ones going into the next generation, and if we don't support what's going on locally we're all going to end up just going to college and leaving, and it's left for the next person. If you don't set it up correctly it's just...it's just Daisy Lowe from the United Kingdom (looking at magazine again). She is a model, and she is gorgeous. Of course, all these women are models. Or actresses or something.
They all double as models.
Yeah, one of the only things I don't like. Like there are just...no, there are...I was gonna misspeak on that. There are beautiful women that just do regular things, but you can't find them! And if someone else finds them they tell 'em “Hey, you ever thought about taking pictures?” “No, but now I did.” And then they go take pictures. And then they end up here, and I never see her again...because she's out of my pay grade.
*Floco's Kickstarter campaign raised $2,000 to fund his new album, Floco's Modern Life, which comes out early next year.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010