How fast did that Christmas come and go? It seemed to be here and then be over in no time at all. Needless to say, even though I haven't been working I feel like I've been running around like crazy... like I have all of these things to get done and just not enough time in the day to do them. I have all these books that need to be read, all these movies that need to be seen... and this blog that needs to be kept up. I haven't forgotten about it, though... I certainly have not forgotten.

I'm going to stick to the segments I have, but seeing as 2009 is drawing to an end, there will be a few other types of posts spliced in. I do, however, have some posts lined up... they just might take a while to get them all written. Anyway, if you're still reading, you can look forward to:


  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks 2
  • Legion
  • Iron Man 2
  • Priest
  • 1984
  • The Running Man
  • The Road
  • Avatar (possibly)
  • Doctor Who (through Season 4)
Gaining My Respect:
  • Karl Urban
  • David Tennant
  • Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
  • Gerard Butler
  • Zachary Quinto
  • Paul Bettany
The Bare Cupboard:
  • Peanut Butter Brownies
Song of the Week
  • Tik Tok by Key$ha
  • Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada
  • Cross The Line by Superchick
I also plan on doing a year re-cap post, much like I did last year. And who knows what surprises 2010 holds! So don't think I've forgotten about this just yet! Big things are coming. Big things indeed.

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Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.

It scored a 9.5 out of 10 rating from Playstation. Nabbed the game of the month title. More importantly than that, it has officially become my favorite game.


Assassin's Creed 2 did what only one other video game sequel has done before: It succeeded its predecessor in so many wonderful ways.

I discovered the original Assassin's Creed mere months before the trailer for he second one was released, but I tore through it and quickly fell in love with it. So much that I awaited the release of the second one eagerly. I didn't pre-order it, because I didn't plan one buying it when it came out but, when I picked up my copy of Left4Dead2, I couldn't help myself.

I wasn't sure what I expected. The fact that it turned the first game's "decent reviews" into "universal acclaim" coupled with Game Informer's 9.5 rating and all the talk of it having fixed all the problems of the first one, I have to admit, I was pretty excited to start playing it.

The Story: There are two arcs to this game: Desmond Miles (present day) and Ezio Auditore (1476, Italy). Like the first game, you start as Desmond, present day assassin forced into the Animus to live out the memories of his ancestors.

Only this time, you've broken free from Abstergo. Following a gutsy move by Lucy, you end up with a team of assassins that have in their possession the Animus 2.0. Using that, and the memory core Lucy swiped from Abstergo, you access the memory of a common ancestor you share with the mysterious - and now deceased - Subject 16.

The common ancestor is named Ezio Auditore, born 1459 in Florence, Italy, to Giovanni and Maria Auditore. You step into Ezio's shoes when he's a naive 17 year old, picking fights with other neighborhood boys and causing trouble with the young ladies. He knows nothing of the Assassins or Templars. He learns quickly, however, when his father and brothers are kidnapped, betrayed, and executed. Giovanni's brother, Mario, takes Ezio in and tells him about the Assassins. He teaches Ezio a few skills and sends him to assassinate the men responsible for his father's death. As in the first game, the more people you kill, the more secrets unravel. You follow Ezio through nearly 23 years of his life as he travels across Italy, makes new allies, and continues to unravel the conspiracy that got his father and brothers killed.


Assassin's Creed 2 has none of the problems its predecessor had. As great of a game as AC was, it was not without problems. AC2, however, is. The lush landscapes are easier to navigate, the absurd tunnel-sound dialogue is gone, there missions are not nearly as repetitious, and you don't learn the Templars plan after the first assassination. Not to mention, there have been a ton of improvements:

  • Ezio does not posses Altair's super drowning ability and can, in fact, swim. This is a break through, not just for AC gamers, but gamers in general. Finally a game where a fountain isn't deadlier than a 10 story drop.
  • Vigilantes that tugged on and tripped up guards have been replaced with hireable thieves that can steal money from guards and lead them away, and mercenaries that will help engage guards in combat. Both can follow you a considerable distance along rooftops.
  • Ezio has an all new arsenal of techniques, including the ability to toss out money when a minstrel gets in the way, which is a much better alternative to the "punch the begger in the face and hope the guards don't see" technique from the first one. You can also steal weapons from guards and use them against them.
  • Ezio is supplied with a number of new weapons, including a poison blade, smoke bombs, and a gun.
  • A number of systems have been revamped, including the noteriety and blend systems, and subtitles have been added for those few people who don't speak Italian**.
The character development is actually there. While Giovanni Auditore's story is more explained in the mini-series "Lineage", you get 23 years of Ezio's life layed out before you. This caused me to favor Ezio over Altair, even though Altair was the better assassin.And there seems to be so much more to Ezio, as well. At 17, he is a complete and total Dbag. He's a playboy, and extremely cocky. But you learn quickly that he loves his family, and has something in him that is worth respecting. And as you follow him through the years, you find out that there is actually some dignity to him. He hurts over the loss of his father and brothers, he wants to protect his sister and mother. And a part of his dbaggery makes him absolutely loveable and badass***. There's something to be said about a game that explores a character so deeply, and develops them so well (Ezio keeps his playboy status while somehow maturing and becoming a man that demands and deserves your respect).

I also really liked the subtle touches they added to Ezio as he grew older. As the years went on, his voice deepened, and by the end of the game, he has quite a bit of facial hair. Just touches I wouldn't have missed if they hadn't been there, but ones I can appreciate because they are.

AC2 offers more objectives, but delivers them in a less daunting way. Along with the seeking revenge aspect of the game, AC2 offers a side storyline, presented to you by the mysterious subject 16. He has hidden symbols all through out Ezio's world, and you are required to find them. Each symbol unlocks a piece of "The Truth", something that will really get your brain thinking. You are also required to collect 6 assassin's seals to unlock a special suit of armor. Feathers are scattered through out the world, much like the flags of AC, but collecting all of these will actually gain you a reward. Other objectives are presented to you (compete for a golden mask, restore a villa, save the world), but out of all the tasks that must be completed, there is no sense of panic. You don't feel overwhelmed, because you don't have to go out of your way to rescue citizens or complete all tasks in one district. Everything flows together quite well. You still have to do a bit of puzzle solving and symbol searching, but it's a lot more fun because it doesn't seem so daunting.

The supporting cast is phenomenal, and they twist history in a very interesting way. While Altair had a few assassin friends he could pal around with, Ezio hangs with the likes of Leonardo daVinci, Machiavelli, and the Pope. There is a bit of artistic liscence taken with each character, of course, but each character is very likeable. This game made me a bigger fan of daVinci than I already was! Beyond that, they seem to rewrite history, but in a rather plausible way, listing people like Hitler as Templars and people like Tesla as Assassins. While it isn't authentic enough to make you question what you know, it is extremely interesting, and very well done.

The soundtrack. Just... the soundtrack. You just have to listen to it. The music makes the scenes. Jesper Kyd really captures each and every emotion. The use of "Venice Rooftops" when Ezio finds his father's assassin armor was genius. Try not to get excited during that scene, I dare you.


You don't get to know what happens to Ezio.
I kind of had this same problem with the first game with Altair, but it was more of a problem with Ezio, because of the vast amounts of character development. This game really let's the gamer connect with Ezio, and once you really start to like him, they snatch him away. Which would be fine, if there was some sort of montage to let you know what happens to him after we stop following him. There's just this sense of loss when you spend an entire game connecting with someone, only to cut them off cold turkey. I didn't even get to say goodbye properly.

I'm just kind of attached to Ezio right now, and the one problem this game didn't correct from the first one was the cut off from the main ancestor. You never really get to have a satisfying goodbye, you're just done.

Overall, I give it a 10. The story is well rounded, the characters are amazing, the landscapes are to die for, and the puzzles are just tricky enough. The ending is a lot more satisfying, as well. There are still cliff hangers, though not as bad as the first game. Now all that's left is to wait as best I can for the Assassin's Creed 3 trailer. It's not easy to replace Halo as my favorite game, but Assassin's Creed 2 did everything right, and more than deserves the title.

Well played, Ubisoft. Well played indeed.

(how can you not want that sexy GQMF for Christmas? Shoot.)

*Yes. Even more than Halo 2. This game is that good.
**Unlike the first game, that apparently expected it's gamers to know Arabic, or whatever was being spoken. Yeah... I missed half of that.
***You have to give Ezio props. He went up against the POPE... and told him to go eff himself.

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The Princess and the Frog (spoilers within)

Seeing The Princess and the Frog was kind of a big deal for me. Not because she's the first African-American Disney Princess... I don't really care about stuff like that (did we make a big deal when Jasmine or Pocahontas hit the scene?). It was a big deal because - excluding computer generated movies - it was the first animated Disney movie I've seen in the theater since 2002, and the first musical Disney movie I've seen since 1994.

More so than that, I'm not a Disney Princess person. Ariel and Belle are the only ones I really like. Other than that, I really could not get into them*.

Tiana, however, is easily the most awesome Disney Princess created, and the movie was amazing.

The Story: The Princess and the Frog is loosely based on the novel "The Frog Princess" by E.D. Baker. Disney's interpretation tells the story of Tiana, a young New Orleans girl who vows she will never need a prince and will instead open a restaurant with her father... something easier said then done. Obsessed with her dream, Tiana becomes the very definiton of "all work, no play", working 2 jobs and pulling double shifts to afford a down payment for her restaurant.

It seems her hard work finally pays off when her best friend - Charlotte LeBeouf - pays her big bucks to cook at a ball she is holding in honor of Prince Naveen. Little do they know, the 20 year old, superficial, gregarious prince was tricked by the "Shadowman" - a local voodoo/palm reader - and turned into a frog.

Tiana's world is turned upside down when she is tricked into kissing the frog version of Prince Naveen, and is turned into a frog herself! Naveen and Tiana then head deep into the Bayou in search of Mama Odie to have the curse reversed. While on their journey, they encounter many characters like Louise - an alligator that plays a mean jazz trumpet - and Ray, a firefly that is in love with a bright star he's named Evangeline. Naveen and Tiana also learn a lot, not only about each other, but about themselves, and ultimately learn the difference between what you want, and what you need.


There is so much about this movie that made me love it.

The New Orleans setting was absolutely to die for. Something about the accents made me love the characters that much more... and the characters themselves were so loveable! Naveen very much reminded me of Ezio Auditore... a huge play boy that you hated, but couldn't help but love at the same time. Tiana was perfect as well. You felt all her pain, wanted so badly for her to succeed, since she was working soooo hard. The Shadowman was a very classic Disney villain, very much like Scar or Ursula. He was delightfully dastardly and and wonderfully wicked. Louise and Ray were both wonderful additions to the cast as well, and for some reason I found myself connecting very much with Tiana's father. Even Charlotte was great... annoying in a loveable way.

The music is easily my favorite in Disney history with, of course, a few exceptions**. I love jazz, and am greatly impressed with how they kept the magic of the music alive while still supplying the audience with the showtune-esque numbers Disney is known for. Such gems as "Dig A Little Deeper", "Almost There", and "When We're Human" are all shining spots in this movie. But most noteable is The Shadowman's number, "Friends On The Other Side". This song could hold its own against such numbers as "Be Prepared", "Poor Unfortunate Souls," and "Kill the Beast".

But the best thing about this movie, in my opinion, is the message it sends. Unlike a number of older Disney films, the love story (stories?) in this one is much more pure*** and the life lesson is a far better one to follow. It stresses the difference between what you want in life, and what you need. It teaches you that you can't get what you want simply by wishing on a star, that if you want your dreams to come true, you have to put in a bit of old fashioned hard work.


The one downside to this movie is the Shadowman is a little too dark and evil, to the point where he's scary. I'm 21, and some of the shadow creatures he summoned freaked me out, I can't imagine what they do to the kids. There are a number of scenes that can freak kids out, from the end of "Friends On The Other Side", to the shadow creatures, to the talking with the Voodoo Masks. There's just a lot of dark, evil, scary things that may scare children.

So, overall, I give it a 9.5 out of 10. Wonderful wonderful movie, but the scaring children potential is kind of silly, seeing as it's directed at children.

*I've said before that Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess, and that's true, she is. But only because she's an Indian like me. I don't care much for her movie. Like I discussed with someone today, tell the children all the little fairytales you want, but don't dork up history.
**The exceptions of course being The Lion King and Mulan... it's really hard to beat Mulan.

Tiana and Naveen fall in love with each other while they're frogs. Naveen has been cut off from his inheritance due to his party all night lifestyle, and Tiana is a waitress trying to make ends meet. They have virtually no money. And they fall in love as frogs!! Not to mention, Naveen realizes he's in love with Tiana when Mama Odie tells him to dig deep and find out what he needs in life. He feels like he needs her! And he's willing to marry Charlotte to get Tiana the money for the restaurant and thus help her realize her dream, because he loves her so much. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I love love LOVE that. And how Tiana abandones her dream when she realizes that Naveen loves her, and that she loves him... so beautiful. "My dream won't be complete without you." *tears*

The most amazing thing to me was when they decided to stay as frogs, that it was okay because they were in love, and would be alright as long as they could be together. There hasn't been a Disney love story that pure since Beauty and the Beast.

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The Bare Cupboard: Nothing There-a Primavera

This blog has gone through a few revamps, the most recent being the implementation of various segments. I get ideas for new segments all the time. Some make it, others do not. This particular segment was thought of days ago when I was rummaging through my kitchen, trying to whip up something healthy, yet filling, with the few ingredients I could find in the house. The question was not if I could do it - I recently spent 6 weeks cooking meals that had no more than six or seven ingredients total - but if I could find a way to do it inexpensively. There was not going to be any fun in finding a steak or rack of ribs and whipping that up... that would have created all sorts of problems.

I was on the prowl for something cheap, quick, and easy, but something that wouldn't make me feel like I was cheating*. And I found it. Combining a few carb-cutting tips from a friend with the PROTEIN! PROTEIN! HE'S OUR FRIEND! mantra I learned in my six week program, I threw together a filling and healthy meal with a total of 2 ingredients that I just found in my freezer/cupboard.

Cheap. Quick. Easy. Perfect.

However, while it was perfect for my tummy, it wasn't quite what I wanted for my blog. There are enough people out there telling you how to make easy and quick meals with whatever it is you can find in your fridge... I wanted something with a little more kick. So I began to brainstorm, and realized that the time I had the most fun cooking was not in the eating, but in the creating. Food is food, but cooking is art. Like any good form of art, it is done best when you give it your own twist.

I began to put together everything I knew:

  • Money is not endless, therefore whatever I was going to make should keep that in mind. Cheap ingredients.
  • I spent 6 weeks creating meals based around 12 foods. I was given recipes, but spent those 6 weeks teaching myself that the recipes were more like guidelines and, if the spirit moved me, I could tweak them as much as I liked. In short, I knew how to combine aspects of meals to make something amazing.
  • I had recently learned the beauty of canned food.
  • I loved experimenting and trying new foods.
  • We live in an era of instant gratification, therefore, if it takes more than 30 minutes, people probably won't pay much attention.
With this in mind, I decided to set the bar a bit higher. I would create a segment on my blog about cooking... not step-by-step strict cooking, but art cooking; experimental cooking. But that wouldn't be the only thing... no... the segment would look toward preparing meals that take a bit more effort than require for say, making a sandwich, but would still be quick, cheap, and easy. I would try as hard as I could to use ingredients one normally has in their house, or practical ingredients that are no skin off your back to pick up.

Thus, The Bare Cupboard was born.

Every TBC recipe will be open for interpretation and free for the taking, but not every recipe will be a success, so I implore you to read the entirety of each entry before attempting it on your own. I will do my very best to keep these ingredients cheap and practical, and use as few as possible, so as to keep your own bare cupboards in mind.

I do not claim to be an amazing cook, I simply claim to be a creative fan of food with a small wallet and a large sense of adventure.

If you're expecting strict guidelines, organized steps, and always delicious results, your best bet would be to stop by The Dirty Spoon. The Bare Cupboard does not have those things. It has nothing... nothing but imagination.

The recipe I created today is one that I can actually label a success... at least, that's what my taste buds keep telling me. I've been craving Italian food for a while, mostly due to my overexposure to Ezio Auditore de Firenze and the lush landscape he calls home.

In my brain, Italian means pasta... however, pasta with any type of substance requires a large chunk of your day and a ton of ingredients, right?

Wrong. You can get a fairly satisfying result using almost nothing at all.

Nothing There-a Primavera

This recipe got its name from the fact that it uses 4 solid ingredients - Pasta, Diced Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Parmesan Cheese - and that's all. It's as if there's nothing there... likewise, it holds the same concept as the name of the segment: you can whip this together if there's virtual nothing in your cupboards.

Pasta of your choice (about 9 oz)
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 cup broccoli
Parmesan Cheese (added to taste)

(optional ingredients)
Extra vegetables, diced or minced.
Extra seasoning
Olive Oil
Wheat Bread
Garlic salt

This is the fun part. The Nothing There-a Primavera is prepared not unlike a typical pasta primavera. I started with my pasta of choice: Buitoni 100% Whole Wheat Three Cheese Tortellini. Not exactly the cheapest pasta in the world and, if you're cooking for a whole family, I advise against using it. But, if you're only preparing the meal for yourself, one package will give you about 3 servings. Not to mention, it's healthier than a processed pasta**. I was able to find it at my local supermarket for 2/7$, it's freezable, and easy to prepare. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove and then add the tortellini, letting it boil for about 7-9 minutes***, after which the heat should be reduced to low or warm. Next, throw a touch of olive oil in a pan (if you so desire) and add your broccoli, sauteeing it for about 3 minutes. Next, add your can of diced tomatoes... undrained, of course.

This is where you can get creative. Add in whatever seasonings or vegetables you like! You don't need to add any, as the tomatoes, broccoli, and olive oil should be enough, but subtle seasonings are okay, as well as yellow or red peppers. I added a touch of italian seasoning (a mixture of basil, oregano, thyme, sage, and something else) and some crushed garlic. Mix well, then cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. While this is cooking, drain your pasta. It doesn't have to be completely dry, but see if you can get out as much water as possible. Once the five minutes is up, stir your pasta into the mixture, top with some Parmesan cheese, then cover and let cook for 2-3 more minutes.

And - WHA-LA! You've put together a rather tasty, flavorful meal with 4 ingredients! It's healthy, it's filling, and it took no longer than 20 minutes.

If you wish to also make the cheap garlic bread that goes along with it, simply melt a half a tablespoon of butter (seeing as I am not a supporter of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, I can't condone the use of more than that and really, you don't need much) in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Add a pinch and a half of garlic salt, mix, and paint onto a slice of whole wheat bread. Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes****.

And there you have it! It is actually quite tasty, and very filling. What I made today came out to about 3 servings but, depending on how you tweak it, it could make more or less. And my brother ate some of it, so it isn't just me that likes it. ;)

So, give it a try... and you may find your cupboard isn't quite as bare as you thought. Till next time!

*ON MY DIET. Get your head out of the gutter.

**For one thing, it's 100% whole wheat so, yes it's a carb, but it's a good non processed carb. Also, it's cheese tortellini, which means it comes with its own nifty little protein to balance out the carb ingestion. 2 birds 1 stone, in my opinion.

***These directions are actually the ones on the back of the Buitoni brand tortellini. They will definitely differ from pasta to pasta and, seeing as you are not required to use the pasta I did, you will probably want to make sure you follow the preparation instructions on the pasta you choose, and not those used for my tortellini.

****This can be done as the pasta drains in the collinder, that way the bread finishes shortly after the rest of the meal.

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Live Action: Fall Jazz Concert

Alright, before I start... this is the first time I've written a review for a live thing, so I'm kind of nervous... but I figure, in such a small town that kind of has a large artistic community, it would be good to do something like this. There is usually a lot going on here, so... I figured I'd try my hand at it. Also, I apologize if it sounds like I'm being super harsh... but I promise I'm not just doing this from memory. I recorded 90% of the concert and intend on listening to it as I write, to refresh my memory.

I'll start by saying: The concert this year was actually enjoyable. This is my second year attending, and last year, it was... shall we say... painful to sit through. I really enjoyed myself this year. The songs were fun, and the vocalists did well.

The show started with the Merced College Guitar Trio. Now, I'll be the first to admit, I was excited going in. When I think "guitar trio", I think something along the lines of Rodrigo y Gabriella. Pretty outrageous expectations for a junior college guitar trio. I told myself it would probably not be anything like that, but I expected something a little more... upbeat.

I was not impressed, even after preparing myself to be disappointed.

One of my problems was not with them. The trio was NOT mixed very well at all. You had to strain to hear them, they were so quiet. However, I don't know that that would have been a problem if they had put a little more pep in their step, so to speak. They played a total of six songs, each one slower and quieter than the next, making the task of staying awake a daunting one.

I hesitate to say that their song selection was the problem. They had some slower songs, but they also played Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy". I love Tchaikovsky and will listen to him as much as I can, so it speaks volumes that they were able to bore me to tears with their rendition.

By the time the Jazz Band took the stage, I think the crowd was ready for something with a little more substance.

And they got it. While the Merced College Jazz Ensemble has a lot of work to do, it definitely has some shining stars and, all in all, the concert was as I've said, enjoyable.

Their set consisted of 12 songs, from Ray Charles to Les hooper to James Van Huesen.

"What'd I Say" started things off, and put the audience back into a feel-good mood. The song was a good one, and was played very well. There weren't too many missed notes, and the only real glaring problem was the lack of note seperation, namely in the trombone section*. The saxaphone solos were done very well, and the upbeat tempo offered an acceptable alternative to what was presented earlier in the evening.

"Barnburner" was next. Like "What'd I Say", the song was upbeat and enjoyable. It also, however, had far more problems, namely in the Saxaphone section. It was clear that they were struggling to stay even remotely in time with each other, and were unable to play the 8th runs they moved the song along. This caused the opening of the song to drag a bit. It got back on track, however, once the trumpets jumped in to assist. The Merced College Jazz Ensemble has a fairly good trumpet section that was able to push the tempo and deliver the runs in a crisp, concise way. The saxaphone and trumpet solos were both done well, though not entirely mistake free, but the only one tough to listen to was the trombone solo by Lemuel Abresinos.

A trombone is a fairly low instrument, so I can't understand why his low notes were practically inaudible. Whether it was bad technique, or just a failure to breath as he should, I don't know, but I do know that - whatever it was - it made his solo slow, dull, and lacking.

The night took a different turn when Angelina Rodriguez took the stage to sing "Too Close for Comfort," followed by Austin Rogers and his rendition of "Come Fly With Me."

Rodriguez delivered "Comfort" extremely well, displaying a set of vocals she did not have the previous year. She was a lot less painful to sit through, and was actually very much improved. She had a few mistakes, but for the most part, the song was done very well. Her second number - "Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)" - was not quite as good. It was more reminiscent of the pieces she had performed in the past, lacking passion and what seemed like a knowledge of the melody (Rodriguez stuck to singing the harmony rather than melody). The song started out well enough but, as it progressed, each and every note became an adventure, leaving the audience in suspense as to whether or not she would hit each one.

The real treat, however, was Rogers, who's vocals were superb. He didn't do a carbon copy of Sinatra, but his notes were pitch perfect, and he delivered a rendition that was respectfully different than what Sinatra had done, and he seemed to act the part very well. His moves on stage were very reminiscent of Frank, and oozed of the same charm Sinatra posessed when he was on the stage. As an avid Sinatra fan, I can say that I was very much impressed, and greatly enjoyed the song, and was pleased to see him return to perform "I Get a Kick Out of You", which he also performed very, very well. Considering that I was fully expecting to despise his rendition of Sinatra's songs, but the only problem I walked away having was when he accidentally unplugged his microphone, and I could no longer hear him.

The best piece of the concert, however, was "I Believe I Can Fly," a song that was mostly driven by Jeff Miller on Saxaphone. While Miller did a phenomenal job, it seemed like the song sank - rather than soared - when the whole band came in. Again, the saxaphone section seemed to be the worst offender, unable to not only play together, but harmonize as well. However, when Miller was on his own, it was absolutely beautiful.

The concert ended with a piece entitled "Count Bubba". While it contained another mediocre trombone solo by Ambresinos, it also contained a superb trumpet solo by Sean Brent**. Where a few of the other musicians seemed to tire by the end of the concert, it seemed as if Brent had only begun to warm up, and he proceeded to outplay the timid piano solo that preceeded him. The song in its entirety was well done, and was a great way to end out the evening.

All in all, the evening was greatly enjoyable, and I had a good time. It was nice to spend money on a concert I didn't hate afterward. While the technical issues were definitely there, there was also a lot of noticeable talent that kept the tempo movie, and kept the melodies sweet.

*I realize that toungeing is impossible with a Trombone, but I also know that note seperation IS possible with such an instrument.
**Yes, he's my brother. Sue me. He still did a great job. :P

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Song of the Week: Dance in the Dark

Let me just start by saying, Lady GaGa wins album of the month.

Not because it's the best thing I've ever heard in my entire life, not because it's "musically amazing" or anything like that. No. She wins because she won me over so commpletely with Fame Monster, it's unbelievable.

Before, I could sing along with Poker Face, Paparazzi, and Just Dance, but I wouldn't call myself a fan. I had no desire to run out and get the album, or even purchase the individual songs on the radio. I was content just hearing them once in a blue moon on the radio*.

Then Bad Romance came out and I had to buy it. I loved it so much... and then the album got leaked and, with the exception of Video Phone, I love every single song... mostly because I really like her voice. She does some very Madonna things with it, and I enjoy Madonna.

In fact, her Madonna-ness is kind of what made "Dance in the Dark" jump out at me. There were a lot of songs up for song of the week, but "Dance in the Dark" was the only one that made me wonder WHY I loved it so much. I've given it some thought, and I think I've finally figured out at least a few reasons why I love it so.

1. The "break-down" is very "Vogue". "Vogue" is quite possibly my favorite Madonna song ever. I love how easy it is to dance to it, how it speaks to being yourself and just having fun and being confident in who you are. But my favorite part about "Vogue" is the spoken break down... there's just something about how Madonna's voice sounds when she says it. "Dance in the Dark" has the same - almost EXACT - spoken break down. It's similar enough to where it has the same effect, but not so much as to say she ripped it off**. I absolutely love it.

2. The message. "Dance in the Dark" has a very similar message to "Vogue", though it goes about it differently. Where "Vogue" was very get out there and dance, have a great time, do your thang and be confident, "Dance in the Dark" is very your boyfriend is pretty rough on you, makes you feel like crap, and whenever he's around you crumble... but when you're alone - when you're dancing in the dark - you're you. It's got a very similar sense of self-confidence, though I wish it would focus a little more on DUMPING THE LOSER GUY. But that's for another song... lol.

3. The synth melody at the beginning. I'm not a huge fan of how digital music is getting these days, but for some reason, I adore the synth melody at the beginning of "Dance in the Dark". It's haunting and tragic, yet so damn catchy.

4. Lady GaGa has some pipes. She's crazy. She's unorthodoxed. She swears and sings about sex. But man can she sing. She rips in a very Natasha Bedingfield way. This song really show cases her voice. She does a lot of interesting things with it, and it's just beautiful.

That's really all I can think of... I just like the song a whole lot, and it makes me happy - in a tragic kind of way - when I listen to it.

If you've heard it, what are your thoughts?

If not, listen to it!

And then share your thoughts!

*I realize her songs get a lot of radio play... what I mean by this is that I listen to the radio once in a blue moon.
**I can see how some people might make this argument, though, so... um... don't hate me. lol.

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