Live wallpapers were all the rage when Android was in it’s infant days. They varied from a touch interactive pond, to the busy passing colors of the Nexus wallpaper. Typically they’re battery drainers and in my opinion kind of distracting. Fortunately it appears we’ve made some headway in designing a live wallpaper that doesn’t kill your battery, or make your home screen hard to read. Muzei is taken from the Russian word музей, which translates to museum. It’s created from the same developer (Roman Nurik) that brought the Dashclock widget, which allows customization of the Android lock screen. Muzei operates a little differently than most live wallpapers. Instead of changing all the time, it changes only daily. This app gives the user a bit of an art lesson by showing a new work of art daily. The art is shown on the screen with a blurred, bokeh effect. When the background is double tapped it reveals the artwork in a clear form. Clicking on the actual app gives a little more detail into the artist, the pieces name, and the year. As a minimalist, I love how tranquil the wallpaper appears as it’s blurred. Having taken art classes in high school, some of the pieces are distinguishable even though they’re distorted. Muzei also allows you to use your own photos in place of the famous works of art. If you choose to use your pictures loaded locally on your phone, you can customize how often the image changes in various hour increments. There is also the option to change the blurring and dimming of your images or the artwork. This app is currently free in the Play Store and I suggest you check it out.
It was a much anticipated album from a band that was sculpted from the Desert Sessions. Fifteen years have passed since their self-titled debut album was released back in 1998. Queens of the Stone Age is a band that stays consistent, yet continues to get better and better. Amid a few band member changes, Queens of the Stone Age has landed on arguably their best lineup to date. QOTSA filled the touring drummer role with Jon Theodore previously of the Mars Volta; but using Dave Grohl as their studio percussionist. …Like Clockwork may just be the band’s best album to date. Leading up to the albums release in June of 2013, the band released several videos featuring the artwork of Boneface. This included the first track on the album “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”. This track may be one of my favorite songs, not just of the album but of all the albums I’ve heard. It features a low tuned melody that seems to drag it’s feet throughout the track. A drudgingly staggering track that kicks off the album in a momentous way. Despite the evil ominous tone of the first track, “I Sat by the Ocean” follows up with a more upbeat swing. It features Josh Homme playing slide guitar with great rhythm behind it. The album then dips into a slower pace to bring you down a notch, with “The Vampyre of Time and Memory”. This is typically played as an encore in their live performances and features a candid Homme sitting down at the keys. “If I Had a Tail” reunites Queens of the Stone Age with Nick Oliveri, former bassist and vocalist. The single of this album “My God is the Sun” was the first hint fans got of a new album. This track is one I really didn’t care for at first, but somewhat grew into. It’s probably my least favorite on the album. Kalopsia starts with a charming melody and breaks character only for the chorus. Perhaps the most incredible guest appearance; one that would be astonishing if you didn’t know about it. Elton John not only performs on the piano but also lends his vocals to the “Fairweather Friends” song. My favorite track on the entire album is due to its casual catchy demeanor. The lyrics, and the just jam-a-bility of “Smooth Sailing” make it a a song that I’ll play in bars and one that is even better live. Both closing songs of …Like Clockwork are a bit slower. “I Appear Missing” uses a chorus of 12-string guitars both with a clean tone and with distortion. It’s a perfect buildup into the final track of the album. “…Like Clockwork”, a slow melodic piano sonata begins this song. While the chorus introduces some heavier aspects of guitar and drums, the song remains at the same pace. It’s clear Queens of the Stone Age isn’t interested in changing their style. While the band members may have changed, the pioneer Josh Homme, keeps his ideas intact….
I keep seeing people, especially on cheesy TV shows or when they pretend to like a rock band confuse hand signals. There is one hand signal that symbolizes “I love you” in sign language. This of course is done by holding the pinky finger, index finger and thumb up like so. Then there is the “Devil Horns” symbol, popularized in the metal scene primarily by Ronnie James Dio. This is often given as a solute to bands in the rock and metal genres to give approval or praise. The gesture actually stems from Mediterranean culture as a way to ward off evil spirits. In some places, it can even be seen as offensive. Now, let’s not get the two confused. Throwing up the I love you may make sense in a way; but it is the furthest thing from showing metal or rock support. It’s pretty much the equivalent to wearing a Justin Bieber shirt to a Slayer concert. The metal horns should be used to symbolize “Yeah this rocks” or “Holy Hell, this kicks ass”…something along those lines. The I love you sign should be used for deaf people. Now you know.
Some background Well after reading through fellow runner friend, Brittany’s post , I decided to be a copy cat and write about my experience with the Buffalo Half Marathon. For the very few people that even visit this site, I’m an avid runner. And by avid runner I mean that I sometimes force myself into running sometimes. I don’t overly enjoy running, I’m not a serious runner, nor am I one of those people that doesn’t really need to train and can just run 7 min/mi on a whim. I really don’t know how I became a runner to tell you the truth. It may have been part of the local automotive forum I’m on, and feeling like a lazy asshole. When I first started running, I was terrible. After a mile running I’d have to stop and walk or catch my breath. I’d run 13 min/mi while friends were posting their 8, 9, and 10 minute/mi runs. There was no way I’d ever run a 9 min/mi…pfft you gotta be kidding me. Now If I’m taking a nicely paced run I am right around a 9min/mi. My wife Cheryl and I were supposed to run last year’s half marathon in Buffalo, and were training at a pretty good pace. We were up to around 8 mile runs before we really dropped off. We made quite a few excuses, some valid and some not. We both got sick at different times during training, had wedding plans, and buying our first home that was burdening us. Needless to say we both dropped out and swore that next year would be that year. The Buffalo Half Marathon 2013 This year we didn’t train nearly as much as we should have. Neither of us really got in any longer runs to prepare either. So I think we were both a bit nervous running 13.1 miles all in one shot. Waking up at 4:45am was a real treat, to start off the day. I had a pomegranate already deseeded, some strawberries cut up and I had an orange I still needed to slice. As I was cutting up the orange I managed to slice through my finger with a serrated knife. I can’t think of a better way to start the morning. Patched up, I started getting ready by throwing on my Today’s Miles shirt, my under armour 9″ running shorts and my sneakers that are going on 3 years old. I loaded up a fanny pack with my phone and some Clif Shot Bloks. We arrived at the start and congregated outside the starting chute. We ran into our fellow runner friends Brittany and Katheryn and stood around in the 40 degree weather for a while before actually lining up. My wife and I started towards the back and decided we’d run the first few miles together to feel it out. I popped my headphones in and queued up the new Queens of the Stone Age album “…Like Clockwork“. Somehow I missed the…
It’s a concert I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The Edmonton electronic/indie/pop group was introduced to me by a friend, who is more well versed in that genre(s) area than I. I’ve listened to their album Shrines a whole bunch and even passed it on to my wife. Although the album is surrounded by metal, rock, and even hip-hop in my music library, it’s incredibly addicting. Something about the innocent vocals of Megan James and the poppy electronic beats devised from Corin Roddick that produces an excellent album. In turn it produced and awesome show. I bought tickets months before the actual show. I coordinated with my wife and our recently engaged friends on arriving at the show. We arrived a bit late walking a few blocks in the brisk but refreshing weather. We decided to grab a beer and wait for our friends to arrive while the opening band, Blue Hawaii, performed in the other room. Once everyone arrived and had drinks in hand, we migrated to the main area. Blue Hawaii continued their set with a few more songs that we got to see live. Not listening to Blue Hawaii beforehand, I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise they really played great. Similar to Purity Ring or even Grimes, they were electronic indie. The music was great and Raphaelle Standell-Preston, the singer, had a great voice. She even scored a free whisky from a fan, the same fans that answered “two” when asked by the band if they wanted to play one or two more songs.
MIA’s “Bad Girls” video put a different spin on hip hop cinematography. Normally we are prone to the usual $500,000 Lamborghinis and high end sports cars, with some scantly clad women bouncing their ass around. “Bad Girls” however features older BMWs and Alfa Romeos with traditionally garmented Middle Eastern men (for the most part). Instead of hydraulics and rims, we’re graced with powerslides and skiing . Whether or not this is a true look into middle eastern culture is ignorance on my part, but either way the video is awesome. Apparently the Moroccan desert provided the set for this video, giving a glimpse of overseas life. The song itself has an arabic flair provided by a string section. It sounds like it may be the traditional Arabic “Ghichak” instrument. Of course we get the aural pleasure of MIAs off harmonic overdubbed voice. This is of course mixed with traditional hip hop drum backings. Overall it’s such an entertaining and catchy video. My wife and I even used the song at our wedding. This post is a little late, but I’m not one to be punctual.
The NHL lockout of 2012-2013 leaves all hockey fans a little bitter and melancholy. Here is a sad reminder that you’re missing hockey.