Being Ken Block

July 31, 2009

Remember Ed Templeton, the skateboard/photography/entrepreneur renaissance man that ESPN profiled? After watching that profile, I thought Templeton was beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most interesting and innovative character in action sports. Well, it seems he has some company now, thanks to DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block, who has turned himself into one of the top rally car drivers in the world.

In 2004, after Quiksilver purchased DC Shoes, Ken Block decided to pursue his dream of becoming a rally car racer. You always hear stories about athlete’s retiring and then starting a business, but Ken Block’s transformation from retiring from business to become an athlete is the first I’ve heard going the other way. Definitely worth your 5 minutes today to check out his story.

As with all things associated with action sports, there is also some cool music in this spot, specifically Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ “Sons of Cain,” which plays with about 1:45 left in the video. I’ve loved Ted Leo’s music dating back to his work in Chisel, and it’s great to see that he still is out there delivering consistently great tunes like this.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists on MySpace


The T.O. Show

July 21, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As expected, last night’s premiere of The T.O. Show provided plenty of entertainment, and again made me wish he still played for the Cowboys so I could jeer my Cowboy friends for every stupid comment or selfish act that T.O. provides.

All in all, I got everything I expected out of this episode – laughs, cringes, a little more insight into the man that everyone “hates to love,” and as an added benefit, some great music – the episode features an instrumental cut of Tokyo Police Club’s “Graves.” As any follower of this blog knows, I am a huge Tokyo Police Club fan, and since this show is on VH1, it’s nice that the channel remembered (even if just for a moment) that it’s supposed to be a music network. “Graves” was one of the singles from their excellent Elephant Shell LP, which garnered a lot of comparisons to bands like The Strokes, The Decemberists, Wolf Parade, Ra Ra Riot – except I think Tokyo Police Club is head and shoulders above all those bands. They’re tighter and less caricature-like than The Strokes, more imaginative than The Decemberists, and just overall more consistent than just about anything out there right now, although I think I would rather hear them used on a show about Chris Cooley rather than T.O.

The show starts just as Owens finds out that he has been cut from the Dallas Cowboys. He spends a day depressed in his apartment with best friend/body guard Pablo, until his magic publicists, Mo and Kita, show up and force him to leave the house to forget about Dallas. They hit the town, and in an extremely awkward (and definitely scripted scene) they tell him he needs to move to LA for the summer to get serious. Exactly what he needs to get serious about is kind of left ambiguous – one would think they would want him out there training or trying to find a new team, but it mostly has to do with stuff like finding him the right woman and rebuilding his image.

They arrive in LA, and the first thing he does is shop. They drive to Beverly Hills in another awkward, scripted scene that is supposed to be comedic as Pablo passes gas in the car and everyone makes sure to note that it is nasty. Wow. Terrell proceeds to purchase $137,000 earrings, saying that sometimes he needs to spoil himself, just a little bit (but not too much).

The rest of the episode follows this predictable format, with T.O. being T.O. and his publicists trying to get him to tone down his act. It’s obvious the publicists love seeing themselves on TV, as they give righteous speeches, such as the one where they chastise him for bringing a bunch of “hoochie mamas” back to his house for after-hours partying. Watching Owens interact with some of my city’s trashiest train wrecks, he clearly looks in his element.

The next day, Mo and Kita tell him he needs to stay in and be smart, and he takes their advice, but with a catch – he invites his real estate agent over for dinner, proceeds to hit on her, and next thing you know they’re making out in the hot tub.

Somehow, the episode skips over him signing with the Bills, and all of a sudden he’s just arriving in Buffalo for a press conference. Drew Rosenhaus gives a quick blurb about how T.O. is going to make every team in the league pay, blah blah blah. Finally, the show comes to a conclusion as Owens visits his ex-fiancee and they have an uncomfortable discussion as he tries to play, “Joe Cool,” when she asks about his love life, responding with, “I don’t have one.”

T.O. simply being T.O. provides some hilarious entertainment, and although I’m not sure I can make it through a whole season, I will be tuning in next week to check out his shenanigans again. Hope you have a fun season of playing catch with this guy, Trent Edwards! To help you wash the bad T.O. taste out of your mouth, I’ll leave you all with the music video for Tokyo Police Club’s “Graves.”

The T.O. Show on VH1

Tokyo Police Club on MySpace

Funny People

July 20, 2009

Judd Apatow, as you all know, doesn’t make mistakes. Well, The Cable Guy sucked, but everything since then that he’s even been loosely associated with has been great (see Freaks and Geeks, 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Pineappple Express, etc, etc). The latest from this comic master is Funny People, a movie about, well, funny people. The story follows two comedians, played by Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, as one faces a terminal illness, and the other is trying to make a career. This definitely has the makings of a more serious movie than previous Apatow works, but he has always embedded a certain amount of heart and morals into everything he’s done anyway.

I just stumbled upon the TV trailer, which can be seen below, and it looks very promising. Per usual with Apatow, the trailer also features an amazing song (anyone think MIA would be as big as she was without the Pineapple Express trailer?). The tune, “Ain’t That Strange” by Rhett Miller, was one of my favorites off his 2007 album, “The Believer” and I always thought it flew too far under the radar, so I’m really glad to see it get some exposure here. Hopefully, it also gets a prominent role in the film itself, which is scheduled to hit theaters July 31.

Funny People Official Website

Rhett Miller on MySpace

Get Your Popcorn Ready

July 20, 2009

APTOPIX Giants Cowboys Football

The premiere of The TO Show is tonight on VH1, and you can rest assured that I won’t be missing this trainwreck. I imagine it is going to be much like the XFL for me – I’ll watch it once, maybe twice for the novelty and to have some laughs, and then after awhile it will just be too cringe-worthy to stay with, but regardless, I’m amped for tonight. I really am going to miss TO on the Cowboys – he was always such a fun player to hate, and let’s face it, the Buffalo Bills aren’t important enough to hate right now (besides the obvious fact that they aren’t my beloved Redskins’ arch-rival). The show promises to give us a behind-the-scenes look at TO, and how he manages his life and relationships with the help of his publicists and his ex-fiancee, Felisha Terrell (any surprise that TO is datin ga woman whose last name is his first name? He’s not a narcissist. Not at all).

Also, on a semi-related note, it looks as if Tony Romo has just dumped Jessica Simpson, meaning the Cowboys have officially parted ties with just about every excuse they have had for not winning a playoff game in eons, despite having the so-called most talented team in the league last year. I wonder who will become the scape goats this year? Roy Williams? Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis’ stupid heavy metal band? Jason Garrett? Brian Stewart? Can’t wait to find out – I’ll have a review ASAP.

Devil Wears Prada

July 6, 2009

Continuing their Warped Tour series of download packs, Rock Band just released Volume 2 of this punk-themed pack, and of particular notice in this edition is “Hey John, What’s Your Name Again?” by The Devil Wears Prada. The Devil Wears Prada are one of those Warped Tour bands who leans towards the hardcore side of things, and while that’s not usually my jig, I really, really dig this song and band. I dare you to make it through the song’s breakdown without breaking out into a headbanging frenzy ala Beavis and Butt-head.

The Devil Wears Prada on MySpace

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2009

I’m celebrating by writing a poem on a dog biscuit. Here’s Luna playing the Galaxie 500 classic from a 2001 show in Brazil.

Luna on MySpace

Fight Night Round 4

July 2, 2009

Fight Night Round 4 dropped about a week ago, and with the amount of time I’ve been spending with it, I’m surprised I’ve even had the time to blog. Or shower. Those who had an addiction to the great Fight Night Round 3 know what I’m talking about, and this new edition somehow manages to be a huge upgrade in every department over that classic game. Plus, it has Mike Tyson – pretty sure no game has had him since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on the original Nintendo.

Anyway, gameplay is better, and feels much less “robotic” than in Round 3, there is way less of the annoying sponsor ads (the creepy Burger King guy was EVERYWHERE in Round 3), and last but not least, the music is a HUGE improvement in this edition – which is a surprise, considering EA Sports has had some pretty bad music choices over the years (Keane’s “Is It Any Wonder?” was in Madden one year…ouch).  But, yeah some great tunes in this edition – of particular note are two awesome remixes that I had not heard before : Tokyo Police Club’s “The Baskervilles” – Amplive Die Hard Remix (which you can stream here), and El-P’s “Flyentology” – Cassette’s Won’t Listen Remix (stream here). Both of these tracks scream one thing and one thing only : swagger. Normally, I always turn off all the menu music in video games, but these heavy-hitters are the perfect tunes to get you in a pugilistic mood. 

Check out some gameplay footage, featuring Mike Tyson vs. the overmatched Middleweight, Winky Wright.

As funny as it is to see Tyson vs. Wright, it really isn’t that far off from this beating he gave to the then-undefeated Michael Spinks.

Purchase Fight Night Round 4 on Amazon

Tokyo Police Club on MySpace

El-P on MySpace