Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is literally my "Rock Box"

Greatest product Adidas ever made: the sneaks Run-DMC used to rock. Worst product Adidas ever made: those goddamn sandals Mark Zuckerberg always wears--even to formal business meetings, for Christ's sakes! The Adidas brand and ugly-looking sandals go together like Motown and Phil Collins.
I like to use shoeboxes to store the complete runs of three of my favorite comic book series--Y: The Last Man, Gotham Central and the Vertigo version of Human Target (Y ran for 60 issues, Gotham Central lasted for 40 and Human Target had 21, so the complete run of each title can easily fit in a shoebox). I also sometimes use shoeboxes as portable filing cabinets for CDs that have to be utilized for AFOS. One of these boxes contains the CDs that carry all the non-score music tracks (a.k.a. existing songs) I have to presently re-edit and re-upload to my Live365.com music library without the old AFOS "F Zone" sweepers they used to open with--all in time for the "F Zone" programming block's name change to "Rock Box" on January 3.

The time slots for "Rock Box" on AFOS are 4-6am, 9-11am and 3-5pm on Mondays and 5-7am, 9-11am and 3-5pm on Fridays.

I'll miss the Boondocks animated series. It had the most interesting soundtrack for an animated series from 2005 to 2010 outside of The Venture Bros. You'd never hear a DOOM track on The Simpsons or South Park, that's for damn sure.
"Always funky fresh, could never be stale"--Run, "Rock Box"

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Day means changes to AFOS programming

My brother and sister like this new station logo. It was inspired by the opening Batman logo graphics in The Dark Knight.
I'm renaming one of the AFOS programming blocks. Starting January 3, "The F Zone," which focuses on "needle drops" (non-original songs during films like High Fidelity and the Harold & Kumar series and shows like Breaking Bad and Community), becomes "Rock Box." The time slots for "Rock Box" are 4-6am, 9-11am and 3-5pm on Mondays and 5-7am, 9-11am and 3-5pm on Fridays.

In November, I created a block called "New Cue Revue," which streams selections from new releases (or albums that aren't exactly new but are new to the "Assorted Fistful" playlist). It moves to Wednesdays at 10-11am and 4-5pm and Fridays at 11am-noon.

A new block called "The Street" will focus on my favorite kind of film or TV score album: the funky-sounding kind, the kind that gets frequently sampled by beatmakers. Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, David Holmes and newcomer Adrian Younge will get tons of airplay here. "The Street" airs on Mondays at 6-9am and noon-3pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 6-9am and 1-4pm and Fridays at 7-9am and 1-3pm.

The listeners who evaluate my playlists' tracks on Live365.com tend to give low star ratings to the funkier or more soulful-sounding ones. Live365 has listeners rate tracks because the site thinks this helps its station programmers decide which tracks to keep and which ones to get rid of. Well, it doesn't help this station programmer because I don't care about those listeners' ratings anyway. Every time someone on Live365 gives a track one and a half stars, it makes me want to find ways to stream it more often.

Whenever I upload a new track to one of my playlists, I always have to block my eyes from the ratings to keep myself from getting pissed off at a negative one. What the hell are those listeners doing hanging around AFOS anyway? I bet they want another StreamingSoundtracks or another Permanent Waves. AFOS is a little different from them. It streams certain subgenres of film or TV score music that those stations tend to ignore.

"The Street" is my three-hour middle finger to those people who give one and a half stars to classic tracks like "Pusherman." On Fridays, the block is two hours because my middle finger will get tired by the end of the week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I don't listen to just film score albums, you know

I don't even listen to any of them on most days of the week, although the Tron: Legacy score was on repeat a lot last week.

For the print compilation of my webcomic, I've been trying to write an article about one of my favorite movies, Chan Is Missing, and I've been fighting off a bad case of writer's block with the help of some music. There was an episode of Quantum Leap that mentioned that Sam and Al put on the Man of La Mancha Broadway cast album while building Project Quantum Leap. DJ Phatrick's Asian American Hip-Hop for Dummies, a 2008 compilation of his mixes from the KPFA-FM program Apex Express, has been my Man of La Mancha album.

Cop that.
Despite the censored curse words (stay out of my mixtape, profanity censor guy from Ping Pong Playa!), Asian American Hip-Hop for Dummies is a fantastic sampler of APA hip-hop. Hey, look, it's a pre-electro-hop-era Far East Movement joint.

Asian American Hip-Hop for Dummies track listing
DJ Phatrick's mixtape is an effective cure for writer's block. My piece on Chan Is Missing consisted of only 68 words last week. Then I started bumping the mixtape on my laptop to get myself to add some more words. The article is now up to 2,168 words.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Derezzer's edge: Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy score is now part of "Assorted Fistful" on A Fistful of Soundtracks

Woops, wrong Tron: Legacy.
I'm a fan of Daft Punk, but I was never really into the Tron franchise. So the French duo's original score for Tron: Legacy, which Walt Disney Records released earlier this week, is the only element of the sequel I've been looking forward to, and it's as dope as I expected it to be.

Another thing I expected was negative reactions to the Tron: Legacy score from both film score music fans who are too conservative to get into Daft Punk and Daft Punk fans who find film score music--including even the kind of score music Daft Punk wrote for Tron--to be too conservative-sounding and old-fogey for their tastes. I don't belong to (or care for) either camp, of course, which is why I've added the duo's score to daily "Assorted Fistful" rotation (also new to "Assorted Fistful" are selections from the recently released two-CD score album for another franchise that's known for its futuristic motorcycle chases, 30 Rock).

Olivia Wilde is still bangable even when she's sporting Lego person hair.
Daft Punk's sound also graces another Disney property, the Iron Man movie franchise, but for only a few seconds (the late DJ AM mashed up their 2005 track "Robot Rock" with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" during Tony's drunken brawl with Rhodey in Iron Man 2, the last of the Paramount-distributed Iron Man installments now that Disney is assuming distribution). In some alternate universe that's more musically imaginative and less clichéd than ours, the Iron Man movies were scored by Daft Punk, and the duo's catchy 2001 track "Superheroes" is either a needle drop in some other superhero flick or the main title theme for a superhero cartoon series, which is where that track always belonged (see Interstella 5555--"Superheroes" goes well with animation).

My homemade recipe for Bluth's Original Frozen Banana from Arrested Development

Cold Bananas in Delicious Brown Taste
(Photo source: JJA)
I love Arrested Development, but am I the only one who's skeptical about the much-demanded feature film version that creator Mitch Hurwitz has been trying to write within the last year (and it's becoming closer to a reality now that Hurwitz and his fellow Running Wilde co-creator Will Arnett have some free time)? Does the reunion movie have to be a feature film? Why can't it be a miniseries on IFC--the current home of Arrested Development reruns and eventually, every badly treated comedy series ever made--like that recent Kids in the Hall reunion miniseries?

Who'd be the Storm of the Arrested Development movie cast? You know, the one who gets the least screen time and the crappiest lines like 'Do you know what happens when a toad gets hit by lightning?'
TV currently outdoes movies when it comes to nuanced character arcs. A great example of this was the serialized, multilayered antics of the Bluths. Arrested Development was known for broad gags like Gob's bungled magic tricks or the Bluths' hilariously inaccurate chicken dances, but despite what the show's title would have you believe, it was also capable of rich character development, particularly with Michael, the supposedly level-headed and smart foil to the rest of his nutty family, who was gradually revealed to be often as oblivious as the other Bluth adults were to the world that doesn't revolve around the Bluths (it took Michael a whole season to realize Charlize Theron's Manic Pixie Dream Girl character was mentally retarded).

Gob and Michael Bluth by Blake Loosli
(Photo source: Blake Loosli)
Over the course of three seasons, none of the members of what has to be one of the best ensembles ever assembled for a comedy series were ever underutilized. But with only two hours to reunite the Arrested Development cast--which is as large as the cast of the first three X-Men movies, and we know how well all the major X-Men members were utilized in those overcrowded movies--how will there be time to give everyone in that Jason Bateman-led ensemble a satisfying character arc?

Bluth harvest
(Photo source: The Live Feed)
The non-serialized format of a big-screen version of Arrested Development would also deprive the audience of one of my favorite running gags during the show's run: the "On the next Arrested Development" previews of fake scenes from the next episode. However, I could picture Hurwitz concluding the film with those fake teasers as if the TV show were still around, just to drive Arrested Development fans crazy.

Birth of a dynasty
(Photo source: Balboa Observer-Picayune)
I learned a lot from watching Arrested Development, like the importance of always leaving a note, the existence of a dessert known as a frozen banana (which, in the show's universe, was created by a Korean banana stand owner and known as "Cold Banana in Delicious Brown Taste" before the Bluths stole the idea from him) and George Bluth Sr.'s adage that "there's always money in the banana stand." I had never heard of a frozen banana before Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Stand (a.k.a. "the Big Yellow Joint," the subject of Arrested Development composer David Schwartz's amusing fake '70s stoner anthem "Big Yellow Joint"). I thought a frozen banana was Asian American slang for a McCain-supporting Asian guy who lives under the Uncle Ruckus-style delusion that he's as white as Edward from Twilight while suffering from hypothermia.

I didn't realize a frozen banana is a banana covered in chocolate until recently, when I became curious about fictional foods that were integral to episodes of sitcoms like 30 Rock, The Boondocks and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which gave us "milksteak" and "the grilled Charlie"), and I stumbled upon online recipes for the not-so-fictional dessert.

Yeah, it kind of looks like a chocolate-covered dick, and when peanuts are added to the coating, it starts to resemble poop on a stick, but it's also a delicious snack that's alright for any season. It's essentially a banana Popsicle in a chocolate coating.

'Alright, we have time for only a couple more snapshots. These bananas have to be at a condom fastening demonstration at a high-school sex ed class across town in 15 minutes.'
Bananarchy (Photo source: A.V. Club)
In 2009, a couple of Arrested Development fans in Austin opened their own Bluth-style banana stand called Bananarchy, where they offer toppings like cinnamon and coconut. They even named an item after Arnett's breakout character. "The Gob" is two bananas double-dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts.

Meanwhile, I attempted a few times to make for myself a frozen banana because I always wanted to re-create a snack that came from a show I admire (and occasionally revisit on DVD or IFC). I failed the first time with the chocolate coating, which is the trickiest component to master while making this otherwise simple snack. The coating shouldn't be Oreo cookie-esque, which was how my coating turned out the first time I made the dessert. It should be as smooth as Tobias Fünke's shiny blue pate.

So while we wait for word on the Arrested Development movie (or mull over getting the Arrested Development complete series DVDs for someone who--like everyone else during this recession--could use a laugh or two), here's the first-ever homemade recipe I've posted on this blog:

Ingredients
1 ripe and peeled banana
1 cup (6 oz.) of Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 Popsicle stick

Rolling a big yellow joint
(Photo source: JJA)
1. Unpeel a banana. Cut an inch off one end of the banana. Push a Popsicle stick into that end of the banana.

2. Put the banana in a Ziploc bag and freeze it overnight.

3. The next day, place the chocolate morsels and the vegetable shortening together in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl. The shortening will thin out the chocolate and make it easier to work with. Heat the bowl on medium-high (70%) power for one minute. If there are still some morsel shapes in the melted chocolate, heat it again for a few more seconds. Stir.

4. Unroll a sheet of wax paper and pour the melted chocolate onto the sheet. Take the banana out of the freezer. If there are ice crystals on the banana, scrape them off. Roll the banana around in the chocolate until it's completely coated in it.

If the Schwarzenegger version of Mr. Freeze wrote the alt attribute for this image, it would go something like 'Buh-na-nuhs, I'm sending yoo to da land of da freeze.'
(Photo source: JJA)

Poop on a stick never tasted so delicious.
(Photo source: JJA)
5. Seal the chocolate-covered banana in an airtight container and place it in the freezer. Keep the banana inside the freezer overnight or longer or until you're secure enough in your sexuality to stick a chocolate penis in your mouth.