Author: Daimion

Review – “A Different Kind Of Truth” by Van Halen

Review – “A Different Kind Of Truth” by Van Halen

They’re back.  It took 27 years, 11 months, 29 days, 705 tour dates, two new lead singers, and one new bass player – but Van Halen have finally released the long awaited follow-up to their seminal album “1984” – “A Different Kind of Truth”.  I have to say, it was well worth the wait.

 

Van Halen fans have always seemed to fall in two camps – fans of Roth and fans of Hagar.  (Let’s face it – we can ALL agree that the Gary Cherone experiment was something that need not ever have happened.)  I’ve always found much to like in both Van Halen and Van Hagar. “Van Halen” is one of my favorite albums of all time – and all of the classic line-up albums have done nothing but get better with age.  What the band did in their early years laid the foundation for the guitar rock and heavy metal spectacle bands of the 80’s.  But, none of those bands did it better than Van Halen. 

 

On the flipside, Van Hagar was the soundtrack to my high school years.  “5150” is also one of my favorite albums of all time.  With each successive release though, (“OU812”, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance”), the band seemed to lose a little more juice and a little more of the cohesive vision of who they were.  Those albums just don’t hold up as well as “5150”.  That, more than anything, says to me that Van Halen has really always been Dave’s band. 

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A Few Thoughts On “Star Wars: Episode 1” in 3D

A Few Thoughts On “Star Wars: Episode 1” in 3D

I had a chance to take my family to see “Star Wars: Episode 1” in 3D this weekend.  Neither of my children had ever had the opportunity to see Episode 1 on the big screen – and it’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost 13 years since I’ve seen it theaters. As I left the theater, I had few thoughts on the day.  I thought I would share them with you.


  • Lucasfilm and ILM did a very good job with the 3D conversion.  Given all of the CGI in Eps 1-3, it’s no surprise it looks good.  I’ll be anxious to see what the original trilogy looks like in 3D.

 

  • “Duel of the Fates” is one the best pieces of music John Williams has ever written.

 

  • The light saber battle between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon is the epitome of Jedi badass-ery.  The fluidity, grace, and aggression on display there is a thing of beauty.

 

  • Jar-Jar Binks remains a disgrace and a distraction.  He makes the Ewoks look Shakespearean.

 

  • More than half the theater was filled with kids.   For some reason, that makes me feel a little bit better about the future of America.

 

  • Any day spent watching Star Wars with my family is a good day.





The Sharp Knife Of A Short Life – Remembering My Cousin Emily

The Sharp Knife Of A Short Life – Remembering My Cousin Emily

We all sat around the table in my grandmother’s kitchen, talking.  So many of my family’s roads lead to my grandparents’ kitchen.  The children were in the living room playing loudly, my father watching over them with a protective eye.  Over plastic plates filled with chicken, beans, slaw, and more, we swapped stories – sometimes laughing, sometimes smiling.  It was a familiar moment there at table, shared by us countless times over the years.  But this time was different.  This time, we were sharing stories about my cousin Emily.  She had just turned 31 a few weeks earlier and that afternoon we had buried her.

 

My mom had called to tell me Emily had been taken to the hospital on Saturday night, the 14th.  That Sunday, the 15th, was her 31st birthday.  I learned that her liver had failed and she had been put in a medically induced coma.  Her brain began to swell and she eventually developed an infection in her lungs.  Any one of those conditions alone would have been daunting, but taken together – well, the outlook wasn’t good.    

 

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American Idol: Season 11, Episode 3 – “I can’t wait to hear 40 people sing the same Adele song, for six f-ing hours!”

American Idol: Season 11, Episode 3 – “I can’t wait to hear 40 people sing the same Adele song, for six f-ing hours!”

The third audition episode for Season 11 of American Idol found the judges in San Diego.  The producers decided to go for huge production value and placed the entire production on the aircraft carrier USS Midway.  Cool right?  Well, it looked cool – they even played the prerequisite musical clips from “Top Gun”. (Who would have seen that coming?  Anyone?  Anyone? Buehler?)   There was just one teensy-weensy problem – the USS Midway is docked in an active harbor close to the airport.  Plane noise?  Check.  Boat noise?  Check?  Wind?  Check.  All in all it made for a different vibe and as a bonus, gave Steven a chance to wear a ridiculous pair of green aviator goggles.   But what about the Idol hopefuls, you ask.  How did the singers fare on the evening?  Have no fear – read on and get the entire scoop…

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American Idol: Season 11, Episode 2 – The Unfortunate Planking Incident

American Idol: Season 11, Episode 2 – The Unfortunate Planking Incident

The second night of our 2012 journey with Idol found us in the city of Pittsburgh.  That’s right, Pittsburgh.  We were welcomed to the “City of Champions” by a guy with a size 58 beer-belly wearing a size 28 shirt.  (And by the way, it looked like he was there to audition.  If he’s 28 or younger, I’m Captain Caveman.)  With the bar set that low, I had to wonder what sort of talent Pittsburgh would bring to the table.

 

First up was Heejun Han.  To say that he presented himself in an underwhelming manner would be an understatement.  As he talked to Ryan I wasn’t sure if he had been sniffing glue or was just roused from his midday nap to attend the auditions.  Dude was strange.  To top it off, his family told Ryan they had never heard him sing.  My thought was – “they’re probably the lucky ones.”  But then he walked in the audition room and started singing.  You would think by now I would know not to judge a book by its cover.  Turns out dude was strange – but dude could sing.  Three quick yeses and he was on his way.  (By the way – he also had one of the strangest, and yet coolest, “I’m going to Hollywood” moments ever…)

 

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