Thursday, August 26, 2010

Top Ten Most Influential Bands/Artists #6 - Jimi Hendrix

It has been an extra long time since I tossed out a post on my top 10 list, so I figured it was about time.  So number six is going to be Jimi Hendrix.  It is certainly hard to have a best in rock n' roll list without the inclusion of arguably the greatest guitarist to ever grace the stage.

For Jimi's back story, he was bounced around within his family, moving in with different family members because of divorce and alcohol abuse from his mother.  He started to play guitar when he was 15 and just kept practicing, never stopping.  Jimi was in the army for a brief stint for about a year ans was discharged because he was lazy and couldn't fire a gun.  Luckily for the rock n roll community, he wasn't lazy with the guitar.

So why should Jimi Hendrix be included on this list?  Well, for starters, this man was one of the first people to embrace the now popular sound of feedback.  In only 28 short years of life, he released three albums with the Experience, and another whopping 11 albums posthumously.  His guitar style is so distinctive that most people educated in rock can tell a Hendrix song just by the sound of the guitar.  He was inducted into the rock n' roll hall of fame in 1992 and was the recipient of the lifetime achievement award grammy.  Rolling Stone named him the greatest guitarist of all time, and really, there is little dispute with that claim.  He has influenced countless acts, where most everyone who plays guitar mentions Jimi in some way for his playing style.  Hendrix only really recorded music for about four years, but his legacy will always live on.

Here is Jimi's version of All along the Watchtower,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Master Chef

Man, it has been a few days since I have but a post up here.  I'd like to point blame at everyone but myself, but in the end, I guess it was all me that was the slacker.

So I decided (unwillingly, as I only have three channels.  But who am I kidding, I would watch this even if I had a fleet of channels) to watch this new Gordon Ramsay TV show called Master Chef.  Maybe it isn't new for all I know, but it is new to the three channels that I have available to watch.  Anyway, back to the ramblings.  Essentially, this show is another reality show where some no name, aspiring chef schmucks from all different walks of life are selected to compete to become America's master chef.  I believe that the prize is also to have a cook book published. (Upon some googling, I have found that this is the first incarnation of Master Chef for the States, but there have been some in Australia, England yada yada yada).

So anyway, this particular episode has the contestants make an asian dish with mandarin oranges.  Everyone makes the same type of thing (mandarin stirfry with rice or noodles) and the judges are all up in their face for making bland, tasteless food.

...I am not really sure where I am going with this, but I guess in the end, I am a cooking show whore, and I would watch anything where there is food involved.  I also have a secret love for Gordon Ramsay.  Sure, he is a little crass, and sure he swears a lot, but really, it is part gimic.  That is what makes it so people will watch Ramsay.  If you like the cooking shows, you would likely enjoy this show.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Top 10 Most influential Bands/Artists #7 - Black Sabbath

Number seven in my increasingly lengthy time in between posts top ten list is Black Sabbath.

The original, and perhaps the most influential line-up of Black Sabbath consisted of Toni Iommi in Guitar, Geezer Butler on Bass, Bill Ward on Drums, and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.  Though never entirely mainstream or popular with critics, Black Sabbath were able to garner a large fan base with songs such as Paranoid, War Pigs, Changes, Sweet Leaf, and Iron Man.  This line-up of the band lasted until 1979, when Ozzy was fired from the band due to his alcohol abuse.  He was subsequently replaced by Ronnie James Dio.

One of the most important aspects of Black Sabbath is their sound; the sound of the down tuned guitar.  This sound came to be because Toni Iommi accidentally chopped off the tips of his fingers.  Since he still wanted to play guitar, he decided to loosen up the strings a little such that they were easier to press down when playing notes.  This became their signature sound.

The other unigue aspect of the band was Ozzy's voice.  Of all of the vocalists in Rock n' Roll, there are literaly non that come close to having the sound like Ozzy's banshee wail.  That distict voice helped the band succeed, as well as allow Ozzy to flourish as a solo artist.

Finally, one of the most important things about the addition of Ronnie James Dio is that he was the inventor of the horns.  You know, the famous horns that are always thrown up during rock concerts.  That is Ronnie James Dio's legacy.

So why to Black Sabbath deserve to be on the list?  Well, under this most famous line-up, they released eight studio albums between 1970-1978.  After the break-up of the original line up, they spawned pretty much two more influential bands - Ozzy branched out on his own and had become one of the best selling solo rock n' roll artists ever, and Ronny James Dio joined the band and gave Black Sabbath a unique sound.  Even Dio, the band, sold millions of reconds.  They became inductees into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.  In the end though, what really makes them kings is their pioneering sound.  They are considered the fathers of heavy metal.  If hard rock artists are asked who started it all, 9 times out of 10, Black Sabbath are accredited as the pioneers.  The down tuned guitar sound that Toni Iommi played is signiture now in rock.  They show their influence in bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Korn, Judas Priest, Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Disturbed, Opeth, Machinehead, Slipknot, Godsmack, Foo Fighter, and White/Rob Zombie, just to name a few of the countless many. Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne are pretty much house hold names. If they don't deserve to be on everyone's Top 10 list, I really don't know who does.

I leave off with Paranoid:


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

D-Link routers suck

Thats right. I have a D-Link DIR-615 wireless N router and it sucks aass. Infact, it could suck a golf ball through a garden hose (Thanks Kubrick) that is how horrible these machines work.  I am embarrased for me and anyone else who has the unfortunate problem of owning D-Link.

Yes friends, this router is a horrible investment.  I bought this router on boxing day 2008 for $50 as an upgrade from our dying trendnet g-router, thinking that most routers are created equal.  No, no, no, like Hulk Hogan waving his finger in the face of an opponent before he hulks up. 

(Incedently, this was a great match at a fantastic Wrestlemania - I was there with some friends are there were only a few of us chanting for The Rock)

I thought "Hey, for $50, and for what we use it for, why the hell not.  But this router drop signal all the freaking time!  I have to go and unplug it to reset in between once a week up to three times a day, depending on how it feels that particular day.

I checked the rating on CNET, and they gave this router a 3 1/2 out of five!  I assume that this was given because they only used it for a whole of 5 minutes to catch the range of the router.  Sure, it covers everywhere in my house.  Sure it was easy to install.  Sure it is pretty looking.  But in the end, over a short perioud of time, it is quickly noticed that it doesn't do the one thing that it is built to do - allow wireless access to the internet.  At least the users on CNET gave it a 2/5, which is still higher than this expensive paperweight is worth.  It takes all my restraint some days not to go all office space on it.  Don't know what that means?  See below:

Long story short, buy a linksys, or a trendnet, or a Belkin, or whatever, just stay away fromt he D-Link.