Astroknot (Level 13)

Also this... one book, 90000 people
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There are thousands of protesters in New York City entering the third week in their protest. If you don't know, or had no idea this was going on, its alright I live two hour away by bus and had little of an idea until a few days ago. This has to be the hardest spun story in U.S. media I've ever seen. These Occupy Wall st (WIKI) protests are barely mentioned on nightly newscasts because they're protesting against corporations who own most of the media. And what is said is so blatantly misinformation its disgusting. The first night something was said they said there were maybe a few hundred, but at that point it had grown to thousands.

Even the police are part. The NYPD just excepted a "donation" from JP Morgan for $4.6 Million, one of the many companies the masses are protesting against. And some of the officers of the law seem to be taking advantage.

It is some of the grossest abuse in police force I've seen, to walk up and mace a group of unarmed women already behind a barrier and walk away without arresting or saying anything is disgusting. And more than twenty thousand people saw him do that live streamed on the internet. Though things the videos like this have made a group of veteran marines decide they should help the people. I'm not saying every cop acted like that, for every officer Anthony Bologna (the man who used the pepper spray, whose name was found out by Anonymous, and is still under investigation about incidents in 2004), there are dozens of police who are trying hard to do the job right.

Corralling protesters to the Brooklyn Bridge so they can be arrested is not how you go about "doing it right". And it wasn't "dozens", 700 were arrested on the bridge for "obstructing traffic".

The twitter hashtags about these events are mysteriously not trending. In New York. Instead I have a promoted #heresthebeef, followed by things like #meandyoucantdate, and #thingsthatgetmepissed. And the searchable tweets corresponding to relevant searches seems thinner than it was before, despite a growing number of people joining in.

Just the fact that people across oceans in different countries are more aware of what's been happening in past weeks through their own newscasts and live streams is very telling.

I don't think you should worry or panic yet.

There have not been any riots, as far as I can tell in New York about this, and I'm curious, if anyone's heard any of the protesters become violent, or is the brutality one sided? And if you live in the city, what have you heard or seen regarding Occupy Wall st?

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These videos have either a Halloween theme or have aspects that would be from a horror movie, except they aren’t at all, and really have nothing to do with either the holiday or the movie genre. So with that being said, there won’t be any Marilyn Manson, even if this was a top spookiest videos and he was there, would I really be trying?

So, in not really any of a particular order:

5. N’sync

Drive Myself Crazy

They’re in an asylum, padded walls and silk jammies, how wonderful. Not like the white monotone one Sarah Conner is in, in Terminator 2 either, or dirty and run down as found in a multitude of movies.


4. Weezer

(IF You’re Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To

Obviously, the entire town is clones of the band, a man loses his arm in a chainsaw accident and another gets plowed with a car. Except in the video, unlike a horror movie where the “outsiders” go into town and discover a shady underworld, the woman who passes through this town is clearly and antagonistic creature, because the clones of the town are celebrating a summer festival and nothing goes wrong until the woman passes by, and eventually gets thrown out.


3. Blur, Song 2. For a small room, those guys sure do get thrown around a lot. And is there a storm brewing? Sounds like that house could be haunted, call you local priest for an exorcism.


2. Bonnie Tyler

Total Eclipse of the Heart

This is creepy enough on its own.  City of the Damned glowing eyes choir, girl wandering alone down a hallway at night, that kid in the chair with the wings… and ninjas, for no apparent reason.


1. Green Day

When I Come Around

You know whats great about Halloween when you’re a kid? Trick or Treating. Walking around the neighborhood, or several neighborhoods going door to door for candy. The one time a year where is it not only ok to talk to and accept candy from strangers, but is encouraged. Clearly this video has the same theme, the band wandering around, those people in the windows are waiting for the little trick or treaters arrival, or awaiting their guests arriving their Halloween party.


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Trends come and go in the music world, a lot tend to fade out just as quickly as they came (Kriss Kross and the majority of those late eighties early nineties hair metal bands for example) or go on seemingly forever, the Beatles being an exemplary case of longevity. Anyone who listens to the radio today may notice two examples of current trends, those being Lady GaGa and Nickelback. The former makes insanely good, catchy, and original music, while the latter constructs songs that are formulaic, generic, and sound far more like a youth garage band

LAdy GaGa

First always comes the genesis of the story. Lady GaGa, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germotta, learned the piano at age four, wrote her first ballad at thirteen and within a year started performing at open mic nights. By seventeen had been one of twenty people to have early admission to New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, and a year later in 2008 was hired by Interscope music executive Vincent Herbert to be a music writer on her twentieth birthday. Her song “Telephone” for example was originally written for Britney Spears’ Circus album, but did not appear on the record, so Lady GaGa recorded her own version of it, and had Beyonce featured on it.


Nickelback features Chad Kroeger on vocals and guitar, his brother Mike on bass, Ryan Peake on guitar and vocals, and Ryan Vikedal currently on drums. They began around 1995 as a cover band in Hanna, Alberta Canada. Their name comes from Mike’s employment at Starbucks, where the popular item on the menu came to a $1.45, where people would just hand him a dollar fifty and he would have to give them a “nickel back”  for change. In 1996 Chad, Mike and their cousin who is no longer in the band started writing original music and lyrics with Ryan where they came up with their name. Within the following year they had enough songs for a seven song demo they entitled “Hesher” and started supporting it with live shows. And in 1997 Nickelback released their debut record “Curb” and pushed it with a non-stop touring attitude. It’s around this time the band had their original drummer leave the band and had a few people try to fill in until they got current drummer Ryan Vikedal in the band.

Poised in their respective places, both talents had a breakthrough. Lady GaGa dropped out of the New York school because she thought she could teach herself music better than anyone could teach it to her, and was signed to and dropped from Island Def Jam records before signing with Interscope. Writing all her own songs, her debut single “Just Dance” was the first of numerous number one singles.


Nickelback’s second CD released in 1999 (in Canada and 2000 in the US) under the bands own independent label, and the had a top twenty hit with the track “Leader of Men”. And after that success they were quickly signed to major recording label Roadrunner after touring for the album. Having wanted to be bigger in the United States Nickelback wrote and recorded their third album “Silver Side Up” containing the single “How You Remind Me”, which took off in both the US and Canada making it to number one on both rock charts.


Since you can’t please everyone with the music you make, no matter how hard you try, there will be people out there who will criticize your work. Lady GaGa might seem the easier of the two. Her alien and garish outfits, and some of  the things she says, like she doesn’t like to have sex because she’s afraid of losing her creativeness through her vagina during the process are two major faults. Except when you take two seconds to look and think about her and not just dismiss her as just another pop singer. First is her music education, learning piano at an early age, and being able to write pieces before being able to legally drive, being accepted into a music university early, dropping out and being signed to two major record labels before being able to buy alcohol, she’d have to have some kind of musical talent to do that. Another reason I’ve heard people give, is that Lady GaGa is just copying what Madonna did. Similar as they may be on an attempt to dismiss, I will say Madonna’s fashion was very influential, and her eighties “street urchin” look included fishnet gloves, series of bracelets and necklaces, and short skirts. Lady GaGa however doesn’t wear pants, and has worn a dress made of kermit the frogs. nothing that anyone would or should wear daily.


Nickelback however strong they came on the scene with “How You Remind Me” they shrink critically with every successive release, because every song seems more like the last. More generic and formulaic. They’ve been quoted as saying “We just like writing good songs with good melodies that you’ll sing at our shows and remember when you walk away”, except the lyrics don’t have any wit to them  like a good song from bands like Eve 6 do, nor do they have a rather strong storytelling aspect to them like Lady GaGa’s, or someone like Eminem do. In fact their is the controversy that the songs “How You Remind Me”, and “Someday” are structurally the same song, and there are some strong arguments for that.

Similar song, or are people just hearing things?

Personally speaking, and this is how I listen to music which might seem strange onto itself to some, but I never have that song stuck in my head that would drive me to that need to put on Nickelback. A few examples of this would be Alanis Morissette, she is my absolute favorite I’ve listened to all her songs possibly hundreds and some maybe a thousand times each, and there are still times when I get one of the early nineties pop songs stuck in my head for no good reason, and I’ll need to physically listen to that song to get that odd sort of craving to go away. Sometimes even a Lady GaGa song will do that, I don’t ever get that with Nickelback.

Despite Lady GaGa’s out of left field tangent like fashion and Nickleback’s seemingly clean cut “rock” attitude, I think Lady GaGa has much more music that will be around longer and hold up real well against the future.    
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I'd like to say I have many interests, I watch the   Jets  on Sunday during football season, I like reading   Batman  comics, I enjoyed watching   Robin Hood: Men in Tights  the other day on   Netflix, I'm kind of excited about the new Borderlands game of the year edition  video game. What I love however, is music. From before I can remember, or so I've been told, I've always been into that branch of art. I've gone through many different phases in a variety of different styles, and those experiences shaped my passion for the way I love music today.

According to my mom, who would have the only recollection of this, because I was in that age where I was young enough to not remember, and still in a car seat, my first song I sang along with the radio was   Starship's "We Built This City". I only know this because my mom does what moms do, every few years or we have a conversation about whatever and that gets derailed and we go on a tangent and she asks me if I remember certain things, like when we used to live in   Poughkeepsie, and if I remember singing to this song. I have to tell her no, I'm pretty sure that all happened before I was three. What I can remember though, are my   Alvin and the Chipmunks  records. I used to listen to those everyday. I had maybe three of them, and I'd have to call my mom over to help me with the record player when I wanted to switch them. I also had a   Romper Room  record, and I really miss having those copies, though I'm sure they would not be in the best shape.

My first time actually recognizing a pop song on the radio was a Tina Turner song, I might have been "We Don't Need Another Hero" from the   Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome  soundtrack. I don't know how I knew that, I don't remember  how that knowledge entered my possibly four-year old brain, and needless to say my mom was slightly amazed, it was one of those things she told my father at the dinner table that night. I didn't think much of it at the time.

Growing up I couldn't help being influenced by the music my parents listened to. My dad was a classic rock guy.   Led Zeppelin,   The Who, and   Hendrix  were some of the bands he listened to, with an occasional  Chuck Berry  or   Cream. I remember there being lots of   Eric Clapton.

My mom is a little different, she had records I don't ever remember her playing.   Best of Blondie  was one of them, but she listened to the radio a lot. There's nothing wrong with that, it's like being exposed to a whole slew of pop music at once, but I never got real sense of which artists she liked more, or which ones she disliked. I got a lot of, "Man they used to play this song all the time back when I was younger". Although, I do remember her giving me a few cassettes to listen to, I don't remember what most of them were, but I know one of them was the soundtrack to   Miami Vice. Even today, I'll walk into the room with her and the radio on and listen to a few seconds and turn to her and ask "Metallica"? My mom will quip back, with an "I didn't know, it was on and it wasn't hard so I stopped there". Which then the song always goes from the light intro, to the heavy guitar riffs, and she changes the station. I suppose I'd have to say my mom today is a country music

Although it wasn't until years later I found out my mom likes   the Beatles, because she got one of their CD's. And only a few years ago when we were talking about something she confessed to being a   Neil Diamond  fan, and liked Bobby Sherman  as a teenager.

And my grandmother played a smaller influence to me. She was an   Elvis Presley  fan, they went to the same high school, although I think different years, so they never actually met there, but I think that's cool. One time she was watching a biographical movie about Elvis, like   Walk the Line  was about Johnny Cash, on T.V., and she got frustrated because the actor playing Elvis had the wrong color eyes. Something I'm pretty sure only a superfan would notice. I can also remember hearing her say that the song " Mr. Bojangles" always reminded her of my grandfather.

The first real album I got after saving up my own money, was   M.C. Hammer's   Please Hammer Don't Hurt'em  around 1992. I thought it was a pretty good album, despite it being the only cassette I had for what I can remember being a long time. And I played it on a little playskool cassette deck, complete with mono sound. I always found it weird that when I had headphones on the sound would only come out of the left ear, and at first I thought my tape was messed up, but when I played it through the big stereo we had out in the living room in my house, and plugged in headphones I was surprised to hear that I got sound from both sides. It was awesome, like listening to the album for the first time all over again.

I'm ninety-nine percent sure the next album I got after Please Hammer Don't Hurt'em was M.C Hammer's follow up album " 2 Legit 2 Quit", where I thought it was kind of silly he dropped the "M.C.", but what was I going to do? The album itself was alright, I liked it, but I never thought it was better than the previous one I had. That Adam's Family song I listened to often.

Then I got this dual cassette stereo with AM FM stereo. By no means was it an awesome stereo system, but it got the job done. Also I was able to use a power chord to plug it into a wall outlet, which was a huge step up from always having to use batteries, because man when they got low in power and couldn't quite make the spindles spin at a consistent speed that was a creepy experience when you least expect it.

Shortly after I got the stereo I got a blank cassette tape, which I thought was cool after it was explained to me what the object I just received was, and what I could do with it. At first it was a lot of recording myself do strange things, mainly fake radio stuff. Then I had this fantastic idea of putting the tape in the playskool player, and then recording the radio from dual cassette stereo in my room. I thought the idea was the best, and for a week or so getting a handful of real horribly recorded songs my dad told me I could just put the tape into the second tape deck and use that to record a way better version than what I had been doing. That was like adding your favorite topping on a delicious pizza, and I was excited that it worked.

I only really listened to one radio station doing that when I started, and it wasn't the best station I could've been listening to, they played your average top 100 songs of whatever week it was, and a lot of dance music. To this day I can't stand listening to   "Be My Lover" by La Bauche.  I think one time they played that song three times in one hour. The station would have terrible hours like that, and I'd get frustrated that it wasn't playing good music and I'd go do something else for a bit and come back and they'd be playing a   Collective Soul, or   Gin BLossoms. I thought those songs were far superior to that really lame stuff they were playing before.

Later of course I realized different stations played different music, and there were some that played the music I liked more often and played different records and bands, like Green Day. That's how I got my music for the most part for the better of at least two years. I'm sure I have that tape around somewhere, with the craziest track list you could think of.

And then 1996 happened. Which for me was the most amazing time for music. It all happened because I was on summer vacation, sitting on the couch watching MTV and VH1, flipping back and forth watching music videos. One channel would play something I wasn't to fond of and watch the other until the same thing happened. Then one day I saw the video for   Alanis Morissette's  " You Learn", and I thought it was a pretty good song and as a song like that does it got stuck in my head, so I did more channel flipping, trying to get to listen to that song, because when I get a song stuck in my head the first thing I want to do is give it a listen, sometimes it only takes half the song and I'm good, and sometimes only the whole song will do, and rarely I'll listen to one song over and over until it gets out of my head. I never really know until I'm done. But what had happened was, Alanis had a new video out, that I first saw on VH1. I know that in the grand scheme of the universe, I don't think anyone would actually guess "Head Over Feet" as my most favorite song, but when I saw that video for the first time my first reaction was, that she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Fourteen years and five years later I still have an amazingly huge crush on that woman.

The way I first got   Jagged Little Pill  is oddly simple. My mom and I were in the local K-Mart looking for something and I wandered off to look at video games, which is also where they put all the music. I abandoned why I was in that section and quickly ran around to find the Alanis album. To my surprise it was priced at nine $9.99, so I mulled it over in my head, do I ask. How do I ask. What's a good enough reason for me to have this. Walking slowly around the store for a while, after I found my mom I asked if I could get a new tape. She asked her standard how much question which I told her. And to my astoundment she said yes. When we got home I listened to the whole thing, twice. And I listened to it at least twice a day every day for months, I knew every word and music cue. It was an amazing find for me.

A few days after I got Jagged Little Pill my dad came home and for some reason or another it came up that I had gotten the album. He said they were talking about it on the radio that morning and that they said that there were some questionable lyrics  on it, and he demanded he read them. So I gave him just the case with the lyrics and kept the tape in my player, because I wasn't going to hand that over not knowing if I'd get it back at that point. My dad read the lyrics, and then gave me back the case and didn't really say anything after that about it. And that's the only time either of my parents wanted to look at any of words in the music I was listening to, though I did play Slipknot in a car ride with my mom once, because she was curious. She said they were very repetitive and I agreed.

A year or two later I got a better stereo system, one that played   Compact Disc's! The first CD I played on it was Nimrod by Green Day, I thought it was okay, I always liked Dookie and Insomniac better though.

The end third of the year 2000 was the beginning part of my senior year in high school, and in November I had my first real live experience with the local music scene. The first act was a gentleman with a guitar, he wasn't bad, but I also don't remember his name or any of his songs, shameful I know. After him, the reason why I was there played, the band  Three.  They played an amazing set, I was there with my friend Allison, who had seen them many times before me. Three ended their set, and said they'd be back for a second set. I didn't know at the time they were going to do that, but I was all for it. The third set of music of the night was just as awesome as the previous, and seemed to go on deep into the night. The show ended with Three performing a cover of Purple Rain, and both Allison and I were surprised.

At the time of the show I was seventeen years old, and it took place in a bar called C's Spot. In Kingston New York I was unable to enter the establishment to enjoy the show on my own, and I was sad because I was sure I wasn't going to be able to go. However, Allison knew the band and had told them I wanted to go, so they said the only way I'd be able to get in is if I worked the merch booth, so affectively both me and my friend were "with the band" that night. Three's first CD Paint by Number had just been released a few weeks prior, I'm sure the band would've made more money had it not been my first show, or if I had known what I was doing, but I think I did at least a decent job.

The rest of the school year I spent primarily listening to Paint by Number, it's a good album to listen to from start to finish and it seemed like every time I started it I went through the whole thing.

Until then I hadn't put much thought into listening to live music, which thinking about it now seems weird to me. It's something I actually enjoy doing, despite my total disinterest in crowds. I've been fortunate enough to see Three quite a few times since that November day in 2000, and a lot of good local music, bands like   By Land or Sea  and   Nightmares for a Week  come to mind, and are a real highlight to see after a hectic week at work, and maybe I might discover some new band seeing them play.

The discovery of new music is where I'm at now. I go about that slow, I mean I could go on the internet find something like a   Grooveshark  and find bands left and right, theoretically. I use more word of mouth recommendations and then giving them a listen when I get a chance. The latest music isn't the only thing I want to find, I like when I find something old, but new to me and it's even more fascinating when there's a crazy story behind the musician, like a Django Reinhardt,  or   Leadbelly  Searching is an endless quest for the next source of good music. Finding a new good song from any band, whether I know them or not is always a positive experience, but finding an entire album I can listen to from beginning to end and want to do it again makes me feel like I've found something really special.

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   I was thinking the other day, there are a crazy amount of options if you wanted to listen to music. I mean how exactly do you listen to whatever your're into, like the iPod or other portable .mp3 player device. They're great for on the go listening while in the car or exercising it's also probably the most popular way in this era. But I was thinking about all the ways I've used, besides my iPod, like cd's, the cassette tape, vinyl records, and eight tracks. And okay, I'm not old enough to have actually used the eight track format in any real capacity, but I know what they are and at one point had a player for them. The cassette is what I used most growing up, I had a few in my collection I listened to constantly, and then cd's became popular when I had a way, which wasn't very good, but a way none the less to get some money, so I have a collection of cd's that is almost respectable. However, all that being said my favorite way to listen to music are vinyl records. I had barely a few as a small child, and even now I really don't have that many  and those that I do have have a special place. I'm not Rob from High Fidelity, though I would not mind having that deep of a collection at all.

     First things first, when you use the vinyl format to listen to music, you're most likely settling down to give whatever you put on an actual listen, because there aren't exactly portable players for these things. I'm not saying you can't do anything else, you can, but if you are going to take the time to bust out the record I think you're more likely to pay attention to the music. When was the last time you took the time to listen to you're favorite album and really took in the beat and followed the bass line, or followed the notes on the guitar solos, even followed the flow of lyrics on some good hip-hop. Most likely it's been awhile, maybe you should take the time and rediscover what made you like that particular album to begin with.

     Secondly, I like the physically bigger format. It makes for bigger artwork, and I love sitting there listening and studying the album cover, going over the songs on the back one by one so I can learn the names of them instead of just saying, "Well yeah that third track was awesome".  And on one of the records I do have, Alanis Morissette's Suppsed Former Infatuation Junkie, which is a double album, so not only do you have to flip the record over, but there are actually two of them for four sides of awesome, when you open it up on the left side is all the lyrics to all the songs in one place, not in a little booklet like you get in cd's. And just the records themselves have a good asthetic look to them. As colorful as the bottom of a cd might be as light reflects off the bottom, no matter how closely you look you can't really tell where one song stops and the other beginns. On a record however you can see all the bands representing the music, if you inspect closer the way the light makes the rings on the record have a shimmer to them, that's all the grooves imprinted on the media. You have a physical representation of the music, that's something you don't have on a majority of formats.

     Lastly, and most importantly of all, is the way they sound. Today's .mp3 and other digital formats leave music very clean, which is good for many things, but it also leaves something behind. That staticy hiss before the beginnging and all the slight imperfections really give the record a real soul like quality to them. It's the analog quality to the music that gives it that. Just putting on record in the turntable and dropping the needle on and watching it spin around in circles makes it feel special. If you bought a song off itunes or amazon and got something that sounded like that it';d be a little dissapointing, because you know that they couldv'e used a higher bitrate, or had a cleaner file, ubt the record has a definite charm to the quality.

     Listening to vinyl records is not for everyone. The person who needs clean sounding audio can be a real stickler for what makes a record a record, but those who choose to sit and listen to not just music, but the subtle undertones of the format itself know there in for something special every time they put on a record.

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