Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Followup: Game of Thrones

Following up on yesterday's post about Game of Thrones, I present a performance by Paul and Storm of their new song about George R. R. Martin, in which they plead for him to finish the Song of Fire and Ice series while he's still alive.

The performance happened at w00tstock Founders' Night, presented as part of SF Sketchfest, and includes a bonus performance of their George Lucas-skewering song "Thanksgiving". (Contains adult language and nerdy humor.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Trailer: Game of Thrones - Season Two

I'm a late comer to George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Fire And Ice. I only just finished watching season one of HBO's adaptation, named for the first novel, Game of Thrones, and I found it so richly entertaining that I felt the need to begin reading the books the moment the closing credits began on the final episode. I'd just purchased a Kindle, so I decided to make A Game of Thrones the first book I'd read on the device.

I've found it a very easy and engrossing read; I'm already 40% through it. The HBO series follows it pretty closely, so if anything, it serves as an excellent complement to the novel. I've not yet decided whether to read the second book, A Clash of Kings, before watching season two of the show, but chances are I'll wait until the season is over before continuing to read. (I definitely won't wait for the third season to begin reading book three.)

A trailer for season two hit the web yesterday. Its task is to whet the viewer's appetite for the season; this it accomplishes deftly, focusing on two of the show's most interesting and complex characters: Varys the eunuch and Tyrion Lannister. April 1 can't come quickly enough!

As an aside: when it comes to reading for long periods of time, I much prefer the Kindle to the iPad. The iPad is heavy, which makes it difficult to hold with one hand for a long time, and the backlit screen is hard on the eyes, especially after staring at computer monitors at work all day long. The Kindle is lightweight (less than six ounces), easy on the eyes, very readable in sunlight, and straightforward to navigate. At Marco Ament's recommendation, I opted for the "special offers" version of the base model. The ads are very unobtrusive, never interrupting reading, which makes it an easy way to save $30. (If I traveled often, I would have opted for the 3G version.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dance: Take Me Away

Sorry it's been so quiet around here, life has been pretty busy the past couple weeks. I hope to post more often.

The other day I came across this video and was mesmerized. The precision of movement this guy displays is a quality I've long admired in dancers and have strived to achieve myself. It's worth watching fullscreen at 1080p. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Should the New York Times be a truth vigilante?

Daring Fireball's John Gruber links to this New York Times page in which the paper's public editor asks the following:

I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.

I am in agreement with John that it seems obvious that this should be one of a news reporter's goals in writing about current events and public figures. Merely reporting the he-said/she-said of political debates, for instance, serves no purpose if the statements made by the debaters are not analyzed for their truthfulness; this reduces the news outlet to transcribers, thereby reducing its value to readers.

To that end, I sent this email to the paper's public editor, Arthur Brisbane:

Dear Mr. Brisbane,

As a reader of a variety of news sources, one of the reasons I have so much respect for the Times is its impartiality in reporting the news. To that end, I would strongly encourage news reporters to point out falsehoods and lies being put forward by the public figures they are covering.

It is the job of a newspaper to present complete and accurate information so that its readers are fully informed about the events and issues of the day. It is not the job of a newspaper to serve as a propaganda outlet for one side of a debate or another, nor for interest groups. While I understand that the Times is a business, and that the purpose of a business to be profitable, if a newspaper puts profits ahead of principles, it ceases to be a newspaper at all.

With our media culture's dismal signal-to-noise ratio, if the Times cannot report facts and reality—and point out verifiably false statements made by public figures—without being a successful business, then it has no right to be in the business of journalism. We as citizens need the Times to stand as a reliable source of truth, facts and reality, even—especially—in the face of politically-motivated criticism for doing so.

As a resident of California and a frequent consumer of online news sources, I am willing to pay a reasonable price for an annual subscription to the Times online if its reporters are encouraged to point out lies and false statements made by public figures in their news articles, rather than in a separate (often difficult to find) section.

Thank you for your time,
Scott Stebleton
San Francisco, CA

If you think newspapers should serve truth over propaganda and accuracy over profits, let Mr. Brisbane know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Best albums of 2011

Here it is, my list of the best albums and EPs of 2011. Presented in alphabetical order, and without commentary. (Talking about music, dancing about architecture, etc.) Enjoy!

Notice a glaring omission? Want to recommend something? Drop a note in the comments.

Coming soon are my other best-of-2011 posts: best songs and notable live shows.

Friday, January 6, 2012

In the meantime...

I'm busy putting together my best-of-2011 post—you didn't seriously think I wasn't going to write one, did you?—but in the meantime, I have some bullet-point thoughts to offer on some new (to me, at least) artists.

People to pay attention to:

  • Katy Tiz - This woman is putting forth some tightly-crafted, catchy tunes, with excellent vocals and lyrics, to boot.
  • Moxiie - More catchy pop music, and she's offering her EP for download in return for a tweet. Proof that in the 21st century, publicity is worth a lot more than $4.

And in the category of "I really want to like but don't really" stands Lana Del Rey. Her video for "Born to Die" is good, as is the song, but it's just not getting me excited the way the artists mentioned above are.

Shows I'll be seeing in the near future:

  • Tonight: Return to Mono, Stripmall Architecture, and TIGERcat. At the Rickshaw Stop. Tickets at the door are $10.
  • January 19: Katy B and The Good Natured, at the Rickshaw Stop. Tickets are $13. I adore Katy B's debut album, and The Good Natured are growing on me.
  • January 28: The Nerdist Podcast Live. I love Chris Hardwick and his cohorts (Jonah Ray and Matt Mira), so I'm looking forward to this with great anticipation. Tickets are $30 + fee = $41.50.
  • January 29: w00tstock Founders' Night, at the Marines' Memorial Theatre. Adam Savage, Wil Wheaton, and Paul & Storm serve up a night of comedy and musical nerdery. And since it's right in the middle of SF Sketchfest, there's a good chance of guest appearances. Tickets are $35 + $5 fee.
  • March 25: The Ting Tings, at the Fillmore. Really looking forward to hearing Sounds From Nowheresville! Tickets are $25 + LiveNation fees, so probably close to $40, and they go on sale this Sunday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Hello? Is this thing on?

*tap tap tap*


Hi! I'm Scott. I've been tossing around the idea of starting a new blog for some time, but never quite got to the point of starting it, chiefly because I couldn't quite figure out why.

I decided the time had come because I have become dissatisfied with my current outlets for one reason or another. (Facebook is too personal, Twitter is too short, LiveJournal is too—haha, no one uses LiveJournal anymore!)

So, this blog will be my public outpost. It's not intended to be personal, so you won't see details about my fitness regimen or my relationship or what I had for lunch today.

What I suspect you will see are musings on issues of the day, be they political, cultural, local, whatever. And I also plan on using this to evangelize whatever music happens to take my fancy. And maybe a cute animal or two. Y'know: grown-up stuff.