“Of the Month” Archives: 2007

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December 2007:

Link of the Month:
My Wish List!
Christmas is fast approaching, and if you were REALLY my friend you’d buy me a dozen (or so) things off of my Amazon wish list! Go on, be a friend! I’m shameless!

Game of the Month:
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The first Zelda game for the Wii, Twilight Princess offers up a handful of innovations, twists, and surprises, but mostly it is firmly in the tradition of the 3D Zelda games, which is a good thing. The Zelda games have routinely been called some of the best games ever made. This is certainly up there with the best of them.

Album of the Month:
The Chipmunks: Greatest Christmas Hits
Ahh… you might not remember this, but there was a time (before the 80s, really) when Alvin and The Chipmunks didn’t make you want to violently vomit. Case in point is this collection of all of their best Christmas songs. These songs are simple, fun, charmingly innocent, and the interactions between the characters are honestly, legitimately funny. Listen to this wonderful album (download it from Amazon’s new MP3 download service—it kicks iTunes’s ass). Then go and watch the trailer for the new Chipmunks movie and cry and cry and cry.

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November 2007:

Link of the Month:
The Language Log Blog
Fascinating ruminations on the world of linguistics, perhaps one of the most important fields of study EVAR. The Language Log, maintained as it is by linguists, is unsurprisingly well-written.

DVD of the Month:
The Call of Cthuhlu
Created by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, this is a to-the-story accurate filmed version of one of the most famous horror stories every written. And the filmmakers chose to make the film as if it had been made the year after the story was written: 1926. As such, it is in black-and-white, is silent with title/dialogue cards, and uses (mostly) techniques that were available at the time.
Bonus: <spoiler> Cthulhu is stop-motion! </spoiler>

Album of the Month:
Ballzack: Knucklehead Memoirs
was talking to a couple of friends of mine who are Katrina evacuees, and I mentioned Ballzack, and they were all like, “Who?” And I was like, you gotta be kidding me! You’re from New Orleans and you ain’t never heard of the best rapper in New Orleans? You know how most rappers rap about (a) how good they are at gettin’ the fine ladies and (b) how skillful they are at rapping? Well, Ballzack raps about (a) how awful he is at gettin’ fine ladies (“I lower my standards to improve my game” he raps in one song) and (b) says that Teen Wolf is the greatest movie ever made and works references to Fraggle Rock and Saved by the Bell into his songs!

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October 2007:

Link of the Month:
Nad Shot
A fascinating/disturbing project: this website collects scans of any instance of a comic book panel where a character gets struck in the testicles. Quite horrifying if you are a guy. Probably NSFW.

DVD of the Month:
The Devil’s Rejects – Unrated Director’s Cut
Mr. Zombie’s follow-up and sequel to his House of 1000 Corpses is a much more focused, distilled, and intense film than its predecessor. It is an incredible homage to 70s explotation-style horror, and is seriously disturbing. Highly recommended.

Album of the Month:
Poe: Haunted
A fascinating piece of a multi-media ensemble, Haunted is the companion piece to Poe’s brother’s landmark horror novel, House of Leaves (which I must confess to not having yet read, or else it would probably be included in this “of the month” set as well). It’s a damned catchy and subtly unsettling/creepy album.

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September 2007:

Link of the Month:
Gaijin Smash
Gaijin Smash is the hilarious story of an African-American who decided to live in Japan. This resulting blog is one of the funniest, well-written, and least politically-correct websites on teh intarweb tubez right now.

DVD of the Month:
Samurai Jack Season 4
The final season (sad and crying) of one of the very best animated television shows EVAR. I’d only actually seen ONE (1) of these episodes when they originally aired, becuase for some reason (I suspect mild retardation) Cartoon Network practically buried Season 4. But now I can watch them whenever I want! Take THAT, jerkoffs!

Album of the Month:
Dr. Octagon: The Return of Dr. Octagon
Back in 1996 we were introduced to Dr. Octagon, a deadly, libidinous, hilarious, and doped-up doctor. Unfortunately before he could put out another album, he was apparently killed by Dr. Dooom around the turn of the century. Turns out, though, that he wasn’t killed—he was abducted by aliens! After becoming embroiled in a plot by a gigantic gorilla to destroy and/or take over the cosmos, Dr. Octagon escaped to return to Earth. Now a much more enlightened being, he has dedicted himself to saving the planet from aliens, from our own destructive ways, from the afore-mentioned gorilla, and most importantly from terrible music! The Return of Dr. Octagon is an ingeniously hilarious, mind-bogglingly creative, and enjoyably bizarre hip-hop album unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.

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August 2007:

Link of the Month:
Physorg
This is my favorite website to get news about what’s happening in the fast-paced, exciting world of science. Yes, I am a nerd. Why do you ask?

DVD of the Month:
Hot Fuzz
Still one of my favorite movies of the year. Shockingly funny and with a pitch-perfect third act. Read my review!

Album of the Month:
Mika: Life in Cartoon Motion
Born in Beiruit, Mika grew up listening to a lot of Queen, a whole lot of Supertramp, some Elton John, some Rufus Wainright, and a li’l bit of Prince. And you can tell. His music is bright, free-wheeling, piano-driven, falsetto-sung music, the kind that people haven’t made since the heyday of classic rock in the 70s. Infectiously catchy. My favorite song on the album is “Stuck in the Middle.”

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July 2007:

Link of the Month:
Lifehacker
This website is an absolutely great resource on how to increase the productivity and fully utilize the customizability of not only your computer systems and programs, but your life. Everything from Firefox extensions to how to build your own air conditioner for about 30 bucks.

Book of the Month:
Runaways Vol 3
I really enjoy this comic book. It’s the story of a group of teenagers who discover that their parents were all supervillains. By the time of this third volume they’re relatively well established, but they’re still dealing with all the usual teenage crap. It’s just way more well-written than most teenage crap is.

Album of the Month:
Busdriver: RoadKillOvercoat
Speed-rapper Busdriver’s latest opus, this is probably his musically strongest album ever. In addition to his usual jaw-dropping verbal agility, RoadKillOvercoat has some surprisingly melodic and beautiful songs. It is probably my favorite Busdriver album to date.

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June 2007:

Link of the Month:
Paleo-Future
You may not know this about me, but one of the things that I find extraordinarily fascinating is how the future has been viewed throughout the ages. From Jules Verne to George Pal to George Lucas and William Gibson, the history of the future is one of my most favorite subjects. Well, this Paleo-Future website just happens to be all about it! It isn’t very in-depth, but it does have a wealth of links and videos and pictures that I absolutely adore.

DVD of the Month:
Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
Yeah, this came out a while ago, but it’s practically all I’ve played for the past month. I never played Final Fantasy I before, and it has a charming directness in its complete lack of character development and it’s almost-complete refusal to hand-hold you. Plus it’s been beefed up with SNES-level graphics and four huge new dungeons! And Final Fantasy II is my favorite of all the Final Fantasies that I’ve played (though I stopped playing at SNES FFIII, so I don’t know about the 3D, FFVII+ games).

Album of the Month:
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
When I first heard her voice, I could have sworn that Amy Winehouse was a large, 30ish – 40ish black soul singer from the South. Imagine my surprise when she turned out to be a tinly little Jewish girl (she’s only 23) from Britain! This album has a fantastic retro feel to it, harking back to the era of the girl soul groups and jazz from the 50s and especially the 60s, with a whole lotta Motown mixed in. It’s great fun, and surprisingly sophisticated.

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May 2007:

Link of the Month:
1ROM.net
Gasp! A website that actually has rom downloads for almost all of the major consoles and handhelds? In this day and age of the cease-and-desist letter and the threatened lawsuit! Jeez, you’d better get over there and grab as many as you can before this place gets shut down! For realz!

DVD of the Month:
Pan’s Labyrinth
I am a bit shocked that this did not win the best foreign film Oscar. Similar in tone and setting to Del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, this one far surpasses it in intriguing imagery and some genuine shock value. This is a fairy tale that is not at all for children.

Album of the Month:
The Wastelanders: BlackHearted American Water
After many years, The Wastelanders have put out their sophomore effort. Having evolved over the ensuing years from a stripped-down country punk trio into a full-on-dirty-southern-rock-garage-sounding quartet (with the addition of an extra guitar), this album is 11 tracks of growling, screeching, shouting, wailing good times.

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April 2007:

Link of the Month:
My Wish List!
It’s that time of year again: Time for you to buy things for me for my birthday! BUY THINGS FOR ME!

Book of the Month:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 8 #1 by Joss Whedon
Buffy’s back, in comic book form! And this isn’t like that old Buffy comic out there. This is the official story of what happens after the end of the TeleVision series, written by series creator Joss Whedon hisself! Due to comic length and pacing, this issue is more like the first fifteen minutes of a season premiere rather than a complete episode (it basically encompasses the teaser, and then up to the first commercial break).

Album of the Month:
Mates of State: Bring It Back
I discovered Mates of State through the live This American Life stage show. They’re a hard to describe but thoroughly engaging duo. A real-life couple, she plays piano/keyboards and he drums, and they both sing exuberant, joyful songs with good, quirky, eclectic, irresistible hooks and exquisite harmonies. This is their fourth and most-recent album.

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March 2007:

Link of the Month:
Uncanny X-Men dot Net
Want to know what happened in a specific issue of an X-Men comic? Or how about a comic book in which an X-character made a cameo? Chances are they’ll have the issue summary (both a brief and a very detailed version) at this site. They have an ungodly amount – over 3,000. Plus they have in-depth biographies of some of the movers and shakers in the X-Men’s world. Insane amount of content.

Book of the Month:
The Monk From Brooklyn by Antonio Graceffo
Stick a very un-PC Brooklyn native in the Shaolin Temple and watch the cultural harmony fly! Graceffo has a very engaging writing style, says exactly what is on his mind, and is not afraid at times to be bluntly offensive. The result is a fascinating outsider’s look at the inside of one of the most legendary places in the world, and a very non-reverent comparison of the perception and reality of the Shaolin Temple. I wanna read some of Graceffo’s other books now.

DVD of the Month:
Teen Titans – The Complete 1st Season
I know a lot of people who don’t like this show because they like all the iterations of B:tAS so much, and this show is so different. Well, they’re right – Teen Titans is a completely different kettle of fish, and is unrelated to B:tAS. I also think that it is the most thoroughly enjoyable superhero cartoon to be produced since B:tAS ended. The first two seasons are out on DVD now, and I’ve been watching them like a mo-fo.

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February 2007:

Link of the Month:
Whedonesque
Yes, I am a nerd. And as a nerd I tend to like all things that Joss Whedon does. This site is a news aggregate site dedicated entirely to the Jossverse, Joss projects, as well as the careers of almost anybody who was in any way ever associated with any of his TV shows or movies.

DVD of the Month:
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr
I really liked this show when it was on originally. Now it’s starting to show its age a little bit. The budgets were obviously tiny. It has a bit of the A-Team thing when it comes to how often people get shot in proportion to how much people get shot at. It wraps up its main plot about eight episodes before the end of the series. But Bruce Campbell is just so durned entertaining, and the show nevar takes itself too seriously. It’s just a good, fun romp.

Album of the Month:
The Advantage: The Advantage
The Advantage is one of those NES cover bands. They’re like a soft-rock version of The NESkimos. But some of their covers are surprisingly tight, and so close to the source material that you almost forget you’re listening to actual people playing actual instruments! Especially good are their Castlevania covers. They also have an unusual selection of songs, including a handful of “password screen” types of songs. It’s worth a listen.

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January 2007:

Link of the Month:
MOG
One of those social-networking sites, but this one revolves only & entirely around music. Download an inoffensive little client, and it will tell MOG what music you have on your computer, and how often you listen to what songs etc. MOG can then automatically find other people who have similar tastes in music. It’s pretty spiffy.

Book of the Month:
I Like You by Amy Sedaris
Subtitled “Hospitality Under the Influence,” this is a very entertaining book about entertaining. The Sedaris family is some crazy funtimes, and this book is full of fun, tacky, drug-addled party ideas! I especially like the section on how to write an effective party invitation.

Game of the Month:
Mega Man ZX
Set after the Mega Man Zero series, the line between human and android (“reploid” as they’re called in the game) has blurred. This game has much of the same Mega Man mechanics that make it work so well, but adds in a more “adventure” feel. Instead of selecting levels from a menu, the game world is all interconnected and you have to actually travel to the entrance to each level. Instead of receiving a weapon from a defeated boss, your human character gets a full “biometal” suit of armor with which he/she can merge, and the strength of the biometal you receive depends on how badly you damaged it when you were fighting the boss character that used to use it! Plus, it’s a pretty fun game.

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