Saturday, September 29, 2007

thriller


Last night, Ben and I watched Final Fantasy, The Spirits Within. While the movie was ok at best (It was better than I thought it would be, but it will never make my top 10 list...) The special features, though, made the whole hour and 46 minutes worth watching. If you didn't know, the movie is done with 3-D animation in order to look very similar to the video games. There is a special feature in which a short film was created in order to test the movement abilities of the animated characters. In short, they created the Thriller video all over again, using the cast of the movie. It was fricken' hilarious. The facial features, the hands, oh my goodness. I laughed, I cried, I watched it again. This will definitely be one of those amusing memories that will stay with me for quite a while.

And so, my dear friends, I began thinking about wonderful music videos that I have loved in the past. Videos that have also given me wonderful memories -- though not necessarily in the same way this one did. (All of these are ranging from childhood to around high school era-they are the videos that stuck with me even 'till now.)

NOTE: I was originally going to do 10, but being as indecisive as you know I am, I couldn' narrow it down without feeling bad that some of the others didn't make it. So the list is 20-something videos long.

22. Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar.
For the same reason as Thriller, which will be named later, this video rocks! The dance sequence is awesome.

21. Call Me Al by Paul Simon.
So you're sitting there, watching this video, thinking that Paul Simon is just going to sit there while Chevy Chase sings his song. But wait, there's a penny whistle solo and some groovy grapevining to come!

20. “Can’t Stop” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This video is so pleasing to the eye. There are so many different things going on, so many abstracts, so many bright and vibrant colors, and the song is pretty catchy.

19. Buddy Holly by Weezer.

This is just a classic. Most of the video's footage is actually from the original Happy Days show, and the portions that aren't are flawlessly added in. It's so dorky and happy and just plain wonderful!

18. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

I actually posted the link to the Final Fantasy version that I was talking about earlier. You've all seen the original and understand its wonderfulness. Watch this one 'till the end; there's a part where they all make weird faces, and it's to die for.

17. “Like a Prayer” by Madonna.

This was one of my favorite songs when I was younger, and remains one of my faves now. I love the Madonna-before-she-tried-to-hard-to-stay-young-and-hip music she did. This video, as controversial as it was, is simply beautiful.

16. “Don’t Come Around Here No More” by Tom Petty.

I LOVE Tom Petty. I've never heard a song by him that I haven't loved. Several of his videos would have made it on this list if it weren't for all the other worthy competitors. I love this one though. Based on Alice in Wonderland, this video is creepy, comical, and just all-around-Tom-Pettyish. I especially love the part where he cuts the "Alice cake."

15. “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins.

This is one of the quintessential teenage-angst-and-fun videos. It shows various activities teens took action in, from serious to fun. They ranged from spinning donuts in a car, the teenage party scene and the accompanying drama, bowling with soda bottles, and the stupid mistakes teens often make. It's a video that tells a story of what it means to be young and "invincible."

14. “Runaway” by Janet Jackson.

Ok, you may laugh at me, but I LOVED this video when I was a kid. The places she visited, the people she met. Truly amazing and fun and beautiful. And as with most Jackson videos, the choreography was awesome.

13. “Deadweight” by Beck.

First of all, this song is one of those that will stay in your head, in a good way, for days and days after hearing it. The video is simple and complex at the same time. As with most Michel Gondry videos (who, by the way, wrote the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of the best movies ever made) is wonderfully created, and tells a complicated, ironic, and beautiful story.

12. “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. This video is just plain funny. The Beastie Boys, who are extremely reminiscent of Starsky and Hutch, are just a crack-up in what I would call one of the most amusing videos out there.

11. “Natural Blues” by Moby. This video always captivates me. It's got to be one of the best animated videos in creation (I say ONE of the best, because of my number 3 choice.) It's a happy yet melancholy video, where the character sets out on a journey with his trusty dog. He meets many strange and interesting creatures along the way...and you can watch it to see what happens.

10. "Losing My Religion" by REM.

This video is beautiful, surreal, and perfect. The lighting and displays are in-keeping with the tone of the song, the shadowing is amazing, and the band's movements are mesmerizing.

9. “Redundant” by Greenday.
If you haven't seen this one, you need to. It's another story-teller with a simple storyline. While the band is talking about the redundancy of life, the video is showing it.

8. “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” by George Harrison.

This was my favorite video of all time when I was about 10. The singing and dancing animals ALWAYS got me watching this video over and over. I thought that when I watched it again, after all these years, it would be lame and ridiculous, but I loved it just as much as I did when I was younger. I had forgotten about Harrison's dance sequence and the chipmunk's pipe/sax solo, and I nearly cried I laughed so hard.

7. “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel.
This was one of those just-plain-weird videos that always had so much going on, that you couldn't help but love it. The claymation and animation in this video are awesome. Luckily, when I was a kid, I had no idea what this song was really about, so it's funny to watch the video again, noticing the obviousness.

6. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.

First off, how can you not love those sunglasses? This video, with all its political innuendos, is amazing with all the different scenes, environments, and people you meet. It really portrays how the times have changed.

5. “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai.
The dance moves are groovy, the illusions are awesome, the song is brilliant.

4. “Everlong” by The Foo Fighters.

Another Michel Gondry video, this one is comical and serious at its core. Dwelling on a couple asleep in bed and the dreams they have, we encounter many of the things we tend to dream about. The video focuses on the way that these strange, unreal elements seem almost normal when you're dreaming. Plus, the main character has home-made nunchucks.

3. “Take on Me” by A-Ha.

Watch the video, and you'll see how revolutionary it was. It was the first semi-animated music video in creation. (Second was Dire Straits' Money for Nothing, which is another classic). It took on the music video world by storm, winning several awards in the 1986 MTV Music Awards. (It, unfortunately, lost Best Video of the Year to Dire Straits.)

2 "Estranged” by Guns’n’Roses.

This is the third video in a trilogy based on the short story "Without You" by Axl Rose's friend, Del James. It's a simply beautiful song and video. While it IS 10 minutes long, the last 2 minutes really make the video.

1. "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim.

Some may laugh that this made it to my number 1. It's a ridiculous song and a silly video. BUT LET ME DEFEND MYSELF! Any video that feature Christopher Walken dancing around (and even flying) is a fine video by my standards. Watch it; I'm sure you'll agree.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

the darndest things


Kids are too funny. I was tidying up my classroom last week and found a page-long love note from one of my kids to another. It was talking about how he was the love of her life, and how he was "lame for not realizing" that they were meant to be together. This, from the girl who, when given 15 minutes every morning to write a journal topic, will have, at best, a sentence or two written.

And then you get notes like this.


Oh, the silliness.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

fall has come again


Yes, I know, two blogs in one day, what was I thinking? But I discovered something important, so, here we go.

So it’s ALMOST apparently, officially, fall. It happens next week, though I wasn’t aware of it until today. I have been awaiting fall for so long, and wondering why it hasn’t yet come (summer decided to drag on FOREVER this year) so I went on a search to figure out when it was supposed to come.

It makes sense that it really is coming though, and making quite the debut at that. I meant to write about it when it happened, but, alas, the ever-busy weekdays strike, and I only seem to find the time to write on the weekends. On Wednesday, I awoke to find clouds in the sky. Yes, clouds. A phenomenon I don’t believe we’ve seen since last winter. I shook off the excitement, figuring that, as has happened many a time before, the clouds would leave and the hot summer sun would reappear later that day. The sky was smiling down on me, though, and it actually stayed around 75 degrees ALL DAY. It was the most heavenly day I’ve experienced in a while.

I love fall. It’s the perfect season. The leaves become the most beautiful colors you’ve ever seen. You can wear a jackets and hats, and won’t look silly, yet you can still wear summery clothes and not freeze. AND, now I get to pull out all my fall clothes. You know, the earth tone-ish outfits and the tall, leather boots you can’t get away with wearing any other time of the year. With fall clothing being the best clothing, one can only wish it would be fall for a greater time of the year.

I know I do.

Bring it on.

tales from the kitchen, part 1

Today I made a calzone. I am so glad that this kitchen is about twice the size of our last kitchen. With several mixing bowls (one for the yeast and water, another for all the dry, messy ingredients that get all over the place and merely spread or become fused to the countertop when you try to clean them with a moist sponge, and yet another for all the “inside ingredients.”) Now usually, I’m not a messy cooker. There must be something about flour and yeast that just gets me crazy in the kitchen or something.

While waiting expectantly for the dough to rise (this phenomenon is even more boring than trying to watch grass grow) I attempted to clean up my mess. Once the dough finally rose to its peak, I took it out of the fridge, only to realize that I do not possess the quintessential rolling pin. Why, oh why?

FYI, though, a can of refried beans will work nearly as well. It might not be as long as a rolling pin, and it might leave weird indentations in your dough, but it’s easily accessible and multi-functional as well.)

All in all, it was the most scrumptious of the messy dinners I think I’ve ever made. It dripped with homemade pasta sauce and yummy toppings like Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and black olives. I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. Good thing I made enough for leftovers!