Friday, July 29, 2011

000Webhost Crash - Websites Lost

This morning I found out that the web hosting service I use called 000Webhost had some hardware failures and they lost a bunch of their clients websites, including one of mine.  As you can imagine, I'm not happy about it one bit.  I didn't have a back up of that site so it is pretty much gone for good until I remake it which will take hours upon days. 

The site I lost wasn't huge or immensely important, but still it did take a lot of time to make and it will take a lot of time to rebuild it if I can find the inspiration to do so.  I know computer crashes happen, but I am disappointed in 000Webhost because they do not have a back up and can't recover the files.  If you are a hosting company, you need to have your clients data backed up so this sort of thing doesn't happen. 

I do have another website hosted with 000Webhost and luckily that one did not crash.  I logged in to back that one up and turns out I can't even do that.  Their back up system gives an error saying the website is to big or something.  This is completely unacceptable because the website I am trying to back up is very simple and does not take up a lot of space at all.  They said I need to back it up using the file manager which looks like you have to download each file individually.  Are you kidding?  No one is going to do that.  000Webhost, get your act together.

This is another reminder to myself and everyone else out there to back up your files.  In fact I just got an email from a friend who asked me for some files of his because his computer crashed.  I had them so I was able to help him out.  But yeah, back up all your files, documents, pictures, videos, bookmarks, websites etc.  Don't wait until it is too late.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

eBay is a Rip Off - Hidden Fees and Frustrations

Have you tried selling something on eBay lately?  If you do, expect to get a lot less than you actually sell your item for.  I recently sold something on eBay and was quite shocked at how much they took out for fees.

First of all, just getting the item online was a hassle.  There are so many options you have to carefully read through when you are putting an item up there.  You will probably have to go back and revise your listing several times because you will figure out you are getting charged fees for things you didn't even know about.

They make it look like you can list an item for free, but if you want to actually get what your item is worth, there is no way to do this.  You will have to pay the insertion fee to get it online and then the final value fee if it sells.

The final value fees are outrageous.  Expect to pay around 10% of the sale price of your item to eBay.  Some common items such as media take out 13%!  And what is worse, is that these fees are not clear at all.  When you are posting your item, it should clearly tell you that if the item sells you will be charged 10% of the final value.  It does not say this.  You have to search deep into the support documents to find these fees.  Not cool eBay.

I will be doing most of my business on Craigslist for now on.  They let you buy and sell items for free.  Why can they do it for free when eBay is charging these ridiculous fees?  Yes, eBay has a better website and you can sell internationally, but it's still not worth it with the fees they charge.

PayPal also charges fees, but they are not nearly as bad as eBay.  Still, when you factor in both of these costs, you end up with a lot less money than what you were actually selling your item for.  There must be a better way.  If Craigslist could bump up the security and make it easier to buy and sell items to people in other locations, and still keep it free at the same time, that would be the best.

UPDATE: 1-17-13
I have been selling things on eBay for a while now and I still have many problems with it.

1. It is too hard to navigate the site.  When you log in your are bombarded with images and information that is not wanted.  We want to see our account information like what we are selling or buying.  To get to this, you have to go through several clicks.

2. They hide the charges from you.  Do you want to see your fees for the month after you have sold a few things?  Good luck.  Expect to do some research just to figure out how to find this section on eBay.  It requires careful navigation and several steps.  Once you find the right place, you have to adjust the date time frame just to see the previous months charges.  This needs to be a lot easier eBay.

3. People don't leave feedback.  About 4 of the last 5 items I have sold did not receive feedback.   I have 100% rating, but still I don't have a lot of sales so I could really use the feedback ratings. 

So yeah I am still bothered by many things on eBay.  Not to mention shipping prices at the post office seem to be higher than ever.  It is becoming very difficult to sell things these days and actually make a profit with all the fees and charges involved.

UPDATE: 11-18-13
So eBay has made some changes such as free insertion fees but they are still charging 10% for the final value.  I still think this is too much considering you also have to pay a PayPal fee and most likely the shipping costs when you sell the item.  With all these fees it is hard to actually make a profit when selling an item.  The eBay site is still hard to navigate.  Overall not very happy with the site.

UPDATE: 10-18-14
Now eBay has brought back listing fees and of course this was not clear.  Previously you could list items for free up to a certain amount per month.  Now I go to list a new item and find out I am already charged $.30 without the item even selling yet.  They really need to be more clear about the fees.  Before you press the button to list and item, it needs to pop up a warning showing exactly how much you are going to be charged for placing the listing.  Still just trying to find the fees page is incredible difficult not only to find, but also understand. After all these years, I am surprised at the continued poor navigation and overall usability of eBay.

UPDATE 11-21-15
They seem to have made improvements to the listing procedure to make it a little easier to list an item. Also they are offering free listing most of the time which is better. Still there is the large selling fee if your item gets sold which takes a chunk out of the profits. Also it is still hard to find the fees page. I still use eBay sometimes but there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lara6683 - Rising Youtube Star: Piano and Violin Songs

Lara6683 is the Youtube channel of a girl named Lara who makes wonderful cover songs of game music with a piano and violin.  She is a very talented musician and quickly developing a following of loyal fans.  Lara is from Sydney Australia and is classically trained in piano and violin. She sings too, but has yet to put videos of her singing online. 

Here is a video of her playing Nyan Cat and Rebecca Black simultaneously on the piano:


In this video, Lara does a beautifal cover of the song Still Alive from the game Portal:


Another thing she is known for is her costumes. She often dresses up as the character from the song she is playing.  In this one she is dressed as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.


I have a feeling this Lara and her channel are going to become very popular very soon!

Top 10 Blog Posts of the Past 2 Years

Today is the 2 year anniversary of this Connected Isolation blog.  There have been many changes over the years including the name, the look, and the overall purpose and goal.  This blog started out just as an experiment where I would write about whatever was on my mind.  There were not many page views at all in the beginning.  Now the articles are more focused and directed towards the readers and the blog gets steady traffic every day.

To celebrate the 2 year anniversary, I thought I would review the top 10 most popular articles on this blog.  Here they are:

1. Eden Wood - Cutie Patootie - I'm not sure why, but this article about the child beauty pageant girl named Eden Wood gets more traffic than any of my other posts.  It's just a paragraph and a video that pokes fun at the song she performed on The View.  What is interesting is that the comments section really took off.  Apparently there is a big feud between the fans of Eden Wood and the fans of another girl named Mackenzie.  You can see from the comments how these 2 camps go back and forth.  Anyway, this goes to show, you never really know what will be popular on the internet.

2. The Grates - New Highly Recommended Band! - I'm surprised and happy to see this is one of my most popular articles.  I discovered this band called The Grates not too long ago.  I loved their music so of course I wanted to write a blog about it to share with the world.  I'm glad to see it is getting some attention. If you haven't heard this Australian band yet, check them out!

3. Illinois License Plate Renewal Fee - This was an article I wrote about my frustrations with having to pay the annual free for Illinois license plate renewal. By the traffic, you can see that other drivers are also fed up with these outrageous fees.

4. Songs Stuck in My Head - This was one of my earlier blog posts from 2009 about some songs that were stuck in my head at the time.  I think the title of this post drew some traffic from others who had songs stuck in their head.  It's interesting how one of the songs included was "Threw It On The Ground" by Andy Samburg, and just this week The Lonely Island posted the video on their Youtube channel.

5. Top 10 Youtube Channels You Should Subscribe To - People love lists and videos, so it is no surprise that this post about the best Youtube channels was a hit.  I'm a daily visitor to the site and I am really into the subscriptions feature.  In this post I share my favorite Youtube channels.

6. 5 More Good Songs You Never Heard - Apparently this post was more popular than the first post about 5 good songs people haven't heard.  In this one, I recommend 5 songs that most people have never heard before.

7. Best Websites on the Internet by Category - I'll admit I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably too much.  Because of this, I have an extensive collection of saved bookmarks/favorites of websites on the internet.  In this post, I round them up and share the best ones I have found with the world.

8. AT&T DSL Problems, False Advertising, and Frustration - This article was about my problems with AT&T internet.  I had some many issues with them during this time.  Lately, they have been ok, but still the billing seems to be off from time to time.  Overall though I have been satisfied with their service and I plan to stick with it for the time being. 

9. Reddit Sucks - Here's another similar post where I express my dissatisfaction with the website Reddit. I do like Reddit and visit it on a daily basis, but there are still reasons why it "sucks".  The community is still mean spirited and negative.  The structure and functionality of the website is still not user friendly.  I really think this website can become one of the most popular on the internet, but it needs to address some of these issues.

10. CathyMay15 - Youtube Star - CathyMay15 is a Youtuber who like Rebecca Black became famous for the wrong reasons.  Her singing covers on Youtube drew much hate and became viral.  Since then, she sort of disappeared, at least from Youtube.  She may be posting new videos on Facebook, but I haven't seen any.  Anyway, she is a viral star and that is why this is the number 10 most popular blog post on Connected Isolation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breaking Bad - Season 4 Episode 2 Review

I was a little disappointed with this episode.  The main thing I kept thinking was that time was being wasted.  What I mean by that is there is so much good content that can be packed into this show and they are using precious minutes drawing out scenes that are not that interesting.  For example Jesse and the party.  I understand they want to show he is trying to block out everything with the music and the people, but do we really need to watch people dancing and listening to music for 5 minutes?

Another thing I noticed is that the show is a lot different this season compared to previous seasons.  Gone are a lot of the things I love from past seasons.  Hank is out of commission.  He and Marie are on bad terms.  A little drama is good, but we don't want to seem them like this.  The police department has not been shown much.  What are they up to?  Where's Gomey?  I miss the school setting.  Can Walt go back and visit?

It was nice to see Badger and Skinny Pete, was that his name, back as well as the eyebrows guy from the car wash.  I have a feeling Skyler is going to be able to buy the car wash somehow. 

I'm not really liking Mike right now.  What is his problem.  Walt has got to take care of this guy eventually, as well as Gus.  I do miss Heisenberg.  We saw a little of this when Walt put on the hat when he was going to Gus's place.  That was awesome.

I still have a lot of faith in this show.  I just hope that year off didn't make it lose the magic it had before.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nina Conti - Comedian and Ventriloquist

I just discovered a super talented lady named Nina Conti.  She is well known for her ventriloquist talents.  Now I have never been a big fan of ventriloquism, but as soon as I saw a video of her act on Youtube, I became a huge fan!  She has a puppet monkey named Monk who is adorable.  The two of them make a great combo.  Nina makes their conversations seem so real, you will forget that Monk is really just a puppet and it is really all Nina.
Here is a video of Nina and Monk giving an interview when a talking robot dog approaches them. 

Here is an example of Nina in more of a written, television show format.  She and Monk are performing at a corporate event and then they are invited to a dinner party.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FOX's New Girl, NBC's Whitney - Upcoming Show Thoughts

Have you seen the previews for the new comedy New Girl on FOX?  I don't know about you but I can't stand them.  They are trying to make this girl out to be cute and awkward, but to me it is just coming off annoying and stupid.  I have seen a bunch of different clips of the show and I can already tell you it looks terrible.  I might check out the pilot episode if nothing else is on at that time, but only to confirm my previously mentioned thoughts.

UPDATE 9-21-11:  I watched the first episode and New Girl was as bad as I expected.  I found the whole situation to be very unrealistic.  I can't stand Jess the main character.  I find it odd that some people think her routine is cute and funny.  They did give it a nice time slot between Glee and Raising Hope so it will get viewers from those shows. What can I say, I don't like it.  

NBC has a new show called Whitney which is a sitcom type show following a girl named Whitney.  Unlike New Girl, this show looks like it might actually be funny.  The previews so far have been pretty good, so I will check out the show when it premiers this fall.

UPDATE: 8-2-11 I have been watching videos of Whitney Cummings on Youtube and she is very funny.  She does stand up comedy and interviews which are great.  I highly recommend looking her up. Also, now I will definitely be checking out her new show.  

One more thing, Hell's Kitchen debuted this past week so I thought I would give a few thoughts.  Overall the show is off to a pretty good start.  There is tons of drama as always.  I noticed there is a lot of swearing on the show.  I wonder if everyone is really like that or if they all just pick it up from Chef Ramsey, haha.  I love when Chef says "Shut it down!" when he closes the kitchen after the contestants do a poor job.  I would love to see a super cut edit of him saying this line throughout the seasons.  I was sad to see Jean Philippe is still not back on the show as the host of the dining room, but oh well, it's still good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Video Picks: Simple Pickup, Derek Sivers, Tom Green

Today I'm recommending 3 videos from Youtube ranging from clever to interesting to funny. 

Simple Pickup is a group of 3 guys that have dedicated a channel to picking up girls using a variety of themed pick up lines.  They are always hilarious and definitely one of my favorite Youtube channels.  In their latest video, they get girls numbers by using Harry Potter references.  You don't even have to like Harry Potter to appreciate it.  I guarantee you will laugh at least once. 


Next is a video by Derek Sivers, the founder of CDBaby. Derek has since moved on from the CD company and is now an entrepreneur.  Here is a video comparing different cultures that gives you a perspective on life that you never think about.  Did you know in Japan, they don't have names for streets? Learn how their address system works here.


Remember the Tom Green show?  Tom Green is one of those comedians where you either love him or hate him.  I happen to like him and think he is very funny.  I was just watching a few clips from his show and this one is a good example of his offbeat humor that I love.  Lately he has been touring and doing stand up comedy around the country.  I hope he gets back to making videos and shows soon!  In this video, Tom shares what he wants to have happen to him after he dies.

Monday, July 18, 2011

TV Show Review: Big Brother, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Breaking Bad

So 3 of my favorite shows have premiered with new seasons and here is a quick review of each of them shows so far.

Big Brother is now in it's 13th season and this year, they have focused on the theme of couples.  They have even brought back 3 couples from previous years to compete with the new contestants.  Overall I like the show, but one thing that I have noticed this season is that there is no protagonist.  What I mean by this is there is no one that has stood out as the "good guy", you know, the person you want to support.  Maybe it is just me, but I haven't connected with anyone yet.  There is so much dishonesty and backstabbing going on and we are only in the 2nd week.  I'll give it a few more weeks and hopefully a hero will emerge from all the villains.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is back and hs had 2 new episodes so far this season.  Overall, I have not been too impressed.  The episodes have been ok, but certainly not anything we haven't seen before.  I think this is the problem.  We have watched 7 seasons of Larry David saying the wrong things and getting himself into trouble, and the theme is starting to grow old.  They need to change it up a bit to make it fresh.  Hopefully the supposed move to New York will be just what it needs.  I would like to see more celebrity guests on the show.  I was watching Regis and Kelly the other day and Regis mentioned how he would love to be on the show, but Larry didn't invite him.  I think Regis would be awesome on this show.  Anyway, hopefully the season picks up soon.

Breaking Bad just had it's first new episode of season 4 yesterday.  I just finished watching it and overall it was ok.  At times it was somewhat slow, but at other times it was intense and shocking.  This show always keep you on your toes and I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for us this season.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Best Websites on the Internet by Category

I spend a lot of my time on the internet and over the years I have developed an extensive collection of bookmarks. During this time I have found a lot of good websites and weeded out the bad ones. In this post I will share my top recommended websites by category. These are specifically categories that I am familiar with, so not all topics are covered. This is a personal blog so you may or may not agree with my picks. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.

Best Video Website: Youtube 
When it comes to uploading and sharing short videos, there is no denying that Youtube is number one.  You can find just about any video on there with a quick search.  The video playback is fast and it has nice community features such as subscriptions, favorites, and comments.  As seen in previous blog posts, I have had many issues with Youtube over the years, but overall they are still the go-to source for watching videos.
Runner Up: Vimeo.  Vimeo is like Youtube, but is more for film makers and less for people that just want to upload vlogs from their webcam.  Vimeo has a lot of great content but lacks the traffic and performance to take over Youtube at the number one spot.

Best Community Review Website: Yelp
Yelp is a great website to find reviews of local restaurants and businesses in your area.  You can post your own reviews of places you have been to and see what others are saying.  Yelp has excellent community features that make the website fun and interactive.  It is a valuable resource for anyone looking to try something new in their home town.   

Best Website for Watching TV Online: Network Sites
For many networks, they will post the episodes to watch on their website after they air on tv. Sometimes you must have an account or must wait a week, but usually they are one of the more reliable sources to see the episodes in high quality.
Runner Up: Netflix. Netflix is a streaming service that has a lot of original content as well as other popular tv shows and movies available for a reasonable monthly fee.

Best Music Website: The Hype Machine
I am a big fan of music and one great resource for finding new songs is The Hype Machine.  This is a website that collects music posted on music blogs around the internet.  It compiles them into a database where you can listen to them on the website.  You can see what is popular and what is new.  You can then link to the blog that published it to learn more about the song, or find other songs from that blog.

Best Email: Gmail
Not too much needs to be said here. Email is important and Gmail gets the job done.  It is very easy to use, it's free, and it has plenty of space.  I like how it saves contacts and makes it very easy to email someone just by starting to type in their name or email address.  If you are using another service and you are unhappy with it, give Gmail a try.

Best General Information Website: Wikipedia
Whenever I need to look up some basic information about just about anything whether it be a person, place, thing, or topic, I usually start at Wikipedia.  Wiki has information on most subjects and it is all in a familiar format that is easy to read.  Yes people may say that it is not 100% reliable because it can be edited by anyone, but this is rare because the community and moderators are good at making sure everything is correct.  They have high standard when it comes to editing and posting new information on Wikipedia which can be good on one hand, but frustrating on the other.  Overall it is a good site for learning what you want to know.

Best Maps Website: Google Maps
Google maps is fast and easy to navigate.  You can get directions, find bike paths, get satellite views and learn about geography with this website.  You can even find businesses and landmarks on the maps.  There is also a community element that lets users contribute their own information to the maps to make them even better.  If you need to get directions, you can't go wrong with Google Maps. 

Best Online Dating Website: Match.com
I have tried out a few dating websites over the years and overall my favorite has been Match.com.  They have a large number of users and the website is very easy to use in terms of narrowing down your search results.  The only downside is you have to pay for it to use all the features.  If you want to try it, here are some promo links for a free 3 day Trial and 25% discount.   
Runner Up: OkCupid. Ok Cupid is a similar dating website but it is nice because they give you the basic features including contacting matches for free.  OkCupid is somewhat more limited that websites like Match.com, but hey, if you are looking for someone and you don't want to pay for a subscription, this one is worth trying out. 

Best Viral Media Website: Reddit  
Reddit has become a great community with groups known as subreddits on just about anything. It is a good resource for news, pop culture, entertainment, and information. Here are some of the Best Reddits to get started.

Best Blogging Website: Blogger
I guess it's no surprise that I picked Blogger for the best blogging platform considering this blog is on Blogspot.  I have tried several different blogging sites such as WordPress, Tumblr, and Posterous, but overall my favorite is Blogger.  Now it is not perfect and I have had many issues with it in the past, but it is relatively easy to use and I think it is getting better as time goes on.  Anyone can set up their own blog, customize it, and start making posts in no time.

Best Shopping Website: Amazon
Amazon is great! They have everything and pretty much always have the best prices.  Whenever I need to buy anything, I always check Amazon. The website is so easy to use. Once you have bought something, they store your information so it makes future purchases very quick and efficient.  They recommend products you might like, and remember things you have looked up so you can check on them again the next time you visit the site. I have nothing but good things to say about Amazon. They are awesome!
Runner Up: eBay. Like Amazon, you can find just about anything on eBay and usually the prices are the best around.

Do you know of a good website that should be on this list?  What other categories should be featured?  Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Social Networking Sites: My Thoughts

Social networking is huge on the internet these days. Seems like Facebook and Twitter are everywhere. I'm a computer guy so of course am am familiar with these sites and have been since early on, but I have never been a fan of the social media.

Maybe because I am not a social person in real life so it does not translate to the internet. I value privacy. I don't necessarily want everyone to know every little thing I do. However you can't deny the benefits of these sites when it comes to connecting with people.

There are other ways to utilize these sites as well such as marketing and promotion. You are able to see what people are talking about and what they want. You can promote products to specific audiences using these sites. You can spread content like viral videos through this medium very easily.

Right now the new product buzzing is Google+. It's suppose to be like the new Facebook. I don't really use Facebook and I'm not that interested in trying Google+. When they make it public, I might check it out, but like I said before, social networking does not interest me.

I am still surprised at how popular twitter has become. To me it is one of those products that just caught on when it really shouldn't have. I see twitter as basically an email newsletter that you can sign up for, except it is much more limited. We already had this ability in the form of email. Twitter just got the media buzzing about it and people started signing up for it. It became one of those things where people thought they had to sign up for it to be with the "in crowd" Really it is not much different than technology that already existed.

Those are just some of my thoughts on social networking today. If you have any comments leave them below.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song Recommendations: G-Eazy, Phene, and Tom Haverford?

Today's blog recommends 3 hip hop songs. The first one is "Well Known" by G-Eazy. G-Eazy is a rapper/producer I found a while back and I have become a big fan. What I like about his music is the choice of samples he uses. He always finds good songs both from the past and the present to incorporate into his tracks. Most of the time these are unknown songs so it's good for finding new music. In this song G-Eazy samples a song by the girl group Au Revoir Simone.
G-Eazy - Well Known


Next is a track by a rapper named Phene called "Out Of My Way". I found this through the producer Phoenix who made the instrumental. It has one of those emotional feels to it with a positive message. These kinds of songs always strike a chord with me. We need more positive inspirational songs in this world.
Phene - Out Of My Way
Phene - Out Of My Way by Phoenix Says

Lastly we have the song Turn My Swag On by Tom Haverford. Ok, Ok, so it's actually by Soulja Boy, but I found it though the show Parks and Recreation when Tom is in the club and the song comes and he starts singing along with it. A great character and a great show.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Techno Viking

Have you seen this phenomenon known as the Techno Viking? He is from a viral video that apparently came out in the early 2000's. I just recently discovered it through KnowYourMeme. Basically it is a guy who looks like a viking and he is marching with people in a parade along to some techno music. Here is the video. Note, this is not the original copy because the original is blocked for some reason.


There are some significant events that happen in this video. It starts out with a girl dancing solo to the music when some random guy runs into here. Quickly, the Techno Viking apprehends him, and sends him away. He points again so the guy knows to keep walking.

Next Techno Viking begins to march and lead the group all while executing some awesome dance moves. Not long after he is approached by a man who offers him and inverted upside down water bottle. The Techno Viking accepts the water and takes a drink before returning the bottle to the owner.

The Techno Viking continues to dance and is soon approached by another person who hands him a flyer. He studies the flyer, folds it, rips it and disposes of it, and continues to dance.

Some parodies have been made performing reenactments of the scene which are pretty funny. There are also remixes of the Techno Viking video using other songs.

Friday, July 8, 2011

5 Good Songs You Never Heard: Part 3

This is the 3rd edition of a series of blog posts recommending good songs that most people have never heard.  In case you missed the first two, here are the links: 1 , 2

First up is a song by a punk band that has been around for a long time, and is known well in that scene, but not too well known in mainstream.  The band is MxPx and the song I recommend is "Party, My House, Be There".  It sounds a little different than most of their songs.  It's really catchy and fun to sing along with.
MxPx - Party, My House, Be There

Next is a song by a producer named Ford featuring a rapper named Fam.  I found this guy on myspace music a few years ago and this track stood out to me.  The song combines the genres of electronica and rap into one and the result is very nice.
Ford - ADD ft Fam

You may know the next artist from his Youtube videos.  Nice Peter is a musician/comedian who recently gained a huge following on Youtube.  His popularity is well deserved considering he is a talented artist and all around nice guy.  Before his Youtube days, he was making music and playing live shows around the country.  He recorded several albums.  This is one of his earlier songs about former president George W. Bush.  The song is epic.  If you like this one, be sure to check out his other songs.
Nice Peter - The Bush Song

Yelle is French singer who makes pop/electronic music.  I found her by chance after hearing this remix which was done by an artist named Drrt Devil.  Yelle's music is up beat and happy.  Her vocals are all in French, but the songs are still enjoyable even if you don't know the language.  Here is the remix that got me into her music.
Yelle - Ce Jeu (Drrt Devil Remix)

Lastly is song with a rather interesting name.  It made the rounds and became popular in the music blog scene a while back.  The artist is K-OS and the song is "I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman".  The song is not about Natalie oddly enough.  It does however make good use of the sample from the song California by Phantom Planet.
K-OS - I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer TV Show Reviews and Upcoming Shows

The Summer is in full swing and so are the summer tv programs.  In this blog I will go over the shows I am currently watching as well as some shows that will be coming back and premiering this Summer.

Currently Watching:
One of my favorites right now is So You Think You Can Dance.  You don't have to be a dancer to like this show.  Sure the dancers are talented, but there is so much more to the show including the entertaining judges, guests and host, as well as the behind the scenes where we get to learn about the choreography and back stories of the contestants.  SYTYCD is currently in it's 8th season and going strong.

America's Got Talent is another show I am watching this year.  I didn't follow it closely in previous years, but this year I have been staying up on it pretty well.  It's a fun show to watch because there is so much variety.  The best acts are the ones you have never seen before.  I wonder why they ave common acts such as singers and dancers.  There are other specialty shows for things like that.  This show should just be about unique talents and acts that you can't see anywhere else.  Never the less, live shows start next week and I will be watching.

Have you seen the show Friday Night Lights?  Apparently it's been on for 5 seasons and the series finale is this Friday.   I just started getting into this show a few weeks back and it is very good!  It's like a movie the way it is filmed.  There is a lot of drama and good acting and it showcases middle America which doesn't get noticed as much as the big cities.  I plan on going back to watch the earlier seasons of this show.

Love In The Wild is a new show that is on NBC this year.  It follows the same format of many shows before it where there are a bunch of singles competing in challenges and each week 1 couple goes home.  This one takes place in the jungles of Costa Rica.  So far I have been watching it and it is ok.  The environment of Costa Rica is beautiful so it is worth checking it out just for that.  Also, the drama between couples keeps it interesting as well.  Check it out if you like reality competition shows.

Upcoming Shows:
Big Brother 13 is premiering this Thursday and I am looking forward to it.  I just started watching the series last year and I became a huge fan of the show.  It is one of the best reality competition shows out there right now in my opinion.  They have the formula down and the show is well produced.

Curb Your Enthusiasm has a new season starting this Sunday.  Larry David is a comedic genius and if you are a fan of comedy, or Seinfeld, this show is a must watch.  Can't wait to see what Larry gets himself into this year.

Hells Kitchen is back already with a new season starting July llth.  Although I am not a fan of all Chef Ramsey's shows I do like Hell's Kitchen, probably the best out of all of them.   I will be watching this season as Chef goes through a new batch of contestants to find the next great chef.

Finally, Breaking Bad is coming back July 17th.  I am so excited for this show.  It may be my favorite show on tv right now.  The last 3 seasons were amazing.  So much drama, such great characters.  Who knows what will happen this season, but I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, July 4, 2011

5 More Good Songs You Never Heard

This is the 2nd installment of my songs you haven't heard series.  For the first one, click here.  Bellow are 5 more songs I highly recommend from bands and artists that are not too well known.

The first one is a collaboration between Short Stories and Gregory and the Hawk.  You might have heard of GATH before.  She gained a lot of popularity on myspace a while back with the song Boats and Birds.  She is one of the best singers I have ever heard.  "Short Stories" is the artist name of the guy who produced the song and also provides vocals.  It's a beautiful song with electronic and organic sounds. 
Short Stories - Ask the Dust ft. Gregory and the Hawk


In a similar style to that of the previous song we have an artist that goes by the name "The Blow".  This band is a collaboration between a singer named Mikhaela and the guy behind YACHT.  The have a lot of catchy songs.  Again, you might have heard of these guys before if you follow internet music and blogs, but if not, you are in for a treat.
The Blow - True Affection


Changing up the genre, we have a rapper from Sweden named Promoe.  I'm not sure how I discovered him but he has an excellent song called Calm Down.  It has kind of a raw hip hop sound with some sampling.  Good story and lyrics on this one.
Promoe - Calm Down


Start Trouble is a band that has that punk pop style.  They released an album in 2004 with a bunch of catchy songs.  They had the sound to make it big but apparently they never caught on with the mainstream.  Here's a fun song called Non Stop
Start Trouble - Non Stop


Lastly is a punk song from a band called The Suicide Machines.  The name may be intimidating, but the songs are upbeat and full of life.  I was introduced to this band by a friend of mine back in the early 2000's.  They have a lot of good songs on this cd and here is one of my favorites.
The Suicide Machines - Vans Song


If you liked a song you heard here or you have a comment, leave it below!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zico Coconut Water Review

I was watching a video on healthy grocery shopping and the guide mentioned coconut water and a healthy beverage.  I was intrigued by this because I had never tried coconut water.  So I did some research and found there are 3 main brands: Zico, Vitacoco, and O.N.E.  I went shopping and found Zico at the local Dominicks.  The regular price was $2.49 for a 14oz bottle.  It was on sale for $1.99.  Still pretty expensive for one bottle but that is the going rate.

So I just got it home and tried it.  It was not at all what I expected.  I thought it would be refreshing like reviews said; It wasn't.  I thought it would be sweet like a coconut; Not at all.  To describe the taste, it has like a grain taste.  The best I can describe it is if you took Cheerios and mixed them into water, and then drank the water.  Not good.  I could only take a few more sips and then I just had to toss it.

I don't know if any other brands would taste any different, but I'm not going to buy anymore coconut water.  It is expensive and does not taste good.  I'll stick with regular water and fruit juice for now.