Entertain Your Ears: or Why you need to go to Bonnaroo 2010

Today marked the unveiling of the lineup of artists that would be performing at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN.  What is Bonnaroo you ask? Up until the summer of 2009 I couldn’t.

Courtesy of Bonnaroo’s web page here is their take on the what their festival is all about.

“Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival’s 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village.”

I would contend that while Bonnaroo is indeed everything that is mentioned above, it is also so much more.  This festival which last year attracted some 75,000 people is as much about music as it is about spending time with your fellow Roo-ers.  I will say this right now.  If you do not like camping or feeling a little dirty, then Bonnaroo might not exactly be your cup of tea.  That being said however, if you are in any way a fan of music and don’t have qualms about hanging out with a few thousand strangers, then this festival might be right up your alley.  Last year I went to Bonnaroo with one of my best friends, and two girls that I had met not even a week before at concert here in my hometown of Columbus, OH.  These girls were Bonnaroo veterans and had been the last three years.  The plan was simple, drive as close as we could the night before the festival was set to open, crash at a hotel, and meet up with the rest of group.  “The rest of the group” consisted of another 8 people that our girls had met in previous adventures down to Bonnaroo.  Despite the weather’s best attempts to stop us made it to Manchester in one piece.  We all set up one big campsite and spent much of our time together, seeing as many bands as we could.  If I had just camped with my buddy, and not with this giant group, I think with relative certainty that I would not have enjoyed the festival as much as I did.  Forging new friendships is just as important as the music.  I still keep in contact with many of the people I met that summer thanks to Facebook, and many of us are returning to enjoy the festival together again this year. Continue reading

Finding That Thing You Love, and More Importantly, Actually Doing It

If Twitter has shown me one thing, it is that there a lot of people, even just in my hometown of Columbus, OH, that are out there doing the things that they are truly passionate about.  I  have developed, at least on the surface, what appeared to be a sense of complete and utter jealousy towards these people.  Interestingly, I find that jealousy and respect can often be the same thing.  These individuals are living their lives by their own rules and doing what they truly love.  This is what I want for myself and I am determined to find a way to get there. Continue reading

Entertain Your Gamer – Preview – Mass Effect 2

Spoiler Warning – I will be discussing details of Mass Effect 1 as well as minor ones for Mass Effect 2 that have been made widely available in trailers and interviews.  I personally feel like the statute of limitations is WAY past on that game, but proceed at your own risk.

Upon finishing the first Mass Effect I felt that participated in something truly epic.  The choices that I made with my Commander Shephard had lasting consequences both on the universe as a whole and on my band of intrepid heroes.  To me the defining moment of Mass Effect comes on the planet Virmire.  Anyone who has played the game already knows what I am referring to.  In short, the player must make a choice to leave either character or another behind to die.  I even made an attempt to go back and to save the character I had left behind, but the game forces you to make your choice and stick with it.  There is absolutely no way to save both.  When this fact became clear it made me love and hate this game all at the same time.  I have always been the kind of gamer that wants everyone to make it home when the final curtain falls.  This game offers no such possibility and the information we have drip-fed thus far for the sequel indicates that this will be true yet again. Continue reading

Entertain Your Tangent – Travelling Sucks Sometimes

I feel that I should preface this article by saying that I am entering hour 4 of what is shapping up to be a 7 hr delay her at the lovely Columbus International Airport, and that any venom or cynicism contained herein is strictly the result of annoyance that set in around the 3 hour mark.  This will not be typical entry to this blog, of which there have been painfully few in recent months, but will likely devolve into a rant of sorts and for that I apologize.

Like many of the others sitting the Gates C-46-C51 section of  Concourse C are attempting to fly to Atlanta, GA.  As time has gone by it would seem that the weather gods have not seen fit to smile on the ATL on this fine Sunday since there has been a tornado watch keeping planes from coming in for much of the day.  At 6pm the tornado watch expired and the brains working air traffic control in Atlanta started handing out landing times for all scheduled inbound flights.  There was an audible groan of shock, disappointment, and compounding annoyance when it was revealed we would prisoners of CMH for three more hours.

I would consider myself no stranger to air travel, although in comparison to some of my friends I am rookie when it comes to dealing with all the headaches that this particular mode of transport can offer.  I can only imagine the logistical nightmare that results when even one airport in the system has to stop allowing incoming flights for even an hour, let alone most of an afternoon.  My situation is certainly enviable by some considering that I have no connections after I arrive in Atlanta, but the knowledge that I likely will not even be stepping foot in my hotel until some 7 hrs after I was scheduled to certainly does eat at my threshold for annoyance.

I am incredibly thankful that this airport has at least done the kindness of providing free wifi to those that pass through its gates.  It has made this experience at least slightly more tolerable as I have been able to vent my frustrations through my favorite social mediums.  For the time being I think I will possibly peruse Hulu or read a book (a novel concept I know).  Might add more to this later, especially if further delay are thrown into my path.  As much as I loved the movie Up in the Air, I don’t think that that sort of lifestyle is something that I could ever undertake myself.  I do know that there are some that thrive on travel and the sense of exploration that it provides.  I for one am perfectly content with the state of Ohio and all that it offers me.  If today has taught me anything its that if I can drive somewhere in less than 10hrs I probably will.

Entertain Your Gamer – Review – Uncharted 2

If you are late to the party when it comes to owning a Playstation 3, please run out to your nearest electronics retailer of choice, buy a PS3, and pickup Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.  In an earlier post I had said that Batman: Arkham Asylum would likely be overlooked by a number of AAA titles to be released in Q4 of this year.  Uncharted 2 is one of those games.  Uncharted, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with it, tells the tale of Nathan Drake, an explorer, thief, and otherwise smartass as he travels the globe in search of rare antiquities.  If Indiana Jones-style adventure is something you enjoy then you will likely find the story of Uncharted right up your alley.  In this game our hero finds himself searching for Marco Polo’s lost fleet and eventually on the trail of the lost city of Shangri-La.  The story serves up all of the intrigue, action, suspense, and twists that you would expect from a summer blockbuster film, and in many ways that is what this game is in every sense of the word.  There are set pieces in this game that don’t even seem like they should be possible outside of a non-interactive cinematic, but you get to play them out yourself.  One such standout is a battle that takes place on a speeding train where you are constantly being pressed by a helicopter gunship that is destroying the train as you run across it.  There were several other moments over the course of the game where my jaw literally was hanging open out of sheer amazement and I will not spoil those for you here as some of them need to be experienced firsthand. Continue reading

Entertain Your Tangent – Cleveland Sports

Today was like many other football Sundays that I have sat through during my 25 years of life.  Sitting in a chair after having donned my now somewhat tattered jersey, the opening kickoff commences and I cling onto the vain hope that my team will be able to pull off the unthinkable and actually win.  Yes my friends, I am a Cleveland Browns fan and I have been suffering for much of my life under the delusion that my team will one day win a Super Bowl.  Born in 1985 to two Cleveland-born parents I have been a Cleveland sports fan my entire life.  Of Cleveland’s three professional sports teams, the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers, none have caused me more emotional pain than the Cleveland Browns, or as some of my friends so cleverly stated today, the Cleveland Clowns.  The Indians and Cavaliers have at least given me precious glimpses of what winning a championship could be like before having it snatched away in a manner that only Cleveland could muster. Continue reading

Entertain Your TV – Early Thoughts – Glee

Some have tagged Glee, Fox’s newest show, as “The Anti High School Musical.”  In some ways this is true.  The show does feature a cast of high school kids that sing and dance, but there is one key difference.  This show is not oozing with Disney magic, far from it in fact.  It is the brainchild of none other than Ryan Murphy, the man that brought us Nip/Tuck, a show that pushed the limits for dramatic storytelling, and the first 3 seasons of which are still some of favorite of any show to date.  Glee features a rather exaggerated take on high school life.   I’d like to think that no one actually would throw a Slurpee into a girl’s face in the hallway (which happens in the first 15 minutes of the pilot), but then again perhaps things have changed a bit since I was in high school.  While Murphy relies on many familiar archetypes for his characters, he writes them in such a way that makes them feel more real and human than they appear on the surface.  All of the characters are perfectly cast as well, including many actors you may recognize from tv and film (the adult characters), and many you likely will not (the high schoolers).  The main plot of Glee revolves around a teacher trying to bring back the high school glee club to its former championship glory, of which he himself contributed in his younger days, as well as the story of how the new club brings together our characters.

If you enjoy music as much as I do then this show is hard not to like.  Lea Michelle and Cory Monteith who play Rachel and Quinn both have exceptional singing talent, Michelle sang on Broadway before being cast for Glee, and it is easy to hear.  The pilot closes with a stirring rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and I couldn’t help but rewind and watch the entire pilot again as soon as I finished it.  Glee premiered its second of a 13 episode season and this week’s episode and featured music by Kanye West, Beyonce, and Salt N Pepa.  Critics have been buzzing about Glee since the pilot was aired after the American Idol finale in the early summer and it has been well worth the wait.  The show is excellently written and has many moments of great humor as well as ones of tremendous heart.  As Fall TV season kicks off you will be hard pressed to find a better way to spend Wednesdays at 9pm.  Truly feelgood television is hard to come by these days without feeling sappy or forced, but Glee delivers in full and I cannot wait to see where this story goes.  You can find the pilot episode on Hulu and check Fox who will, if they are smart, put full episodes online.