Friday, July 21, 2017

Chester Bennington Tribute

    I could not believe the news I heard as I was getting ready to leave work yesterday. Someone had told me that Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide.. I don’t really think it hit me until I got home and started listening to Linkin Park’s second album  Meteora. 

    While listening to it I started to think about the band that Chester was the front man for and the effect that his music has had on my life. I remember as a kid hearing “One Step Closer,” “Crawling,” and ‘In The End,” on the radio, but I didn’t buy That first Linkin Park album until after I had bought Meteora. I do however remember loving those songs and thinking that I had never really heard anything like it. 

    Then I thought about how all day yesterday I would randomly sing “Bleed it out,” and how anytime I started to sing a Jay-Z song I would subconsciously sing the Collision Course version, (By the way, there needs to be more collaborations like that album.)

    When I was in middle school I think kids were really starting to drift into listening to more hip hop and rap than rock, and Linkin Park was bridging that gap. Mike Shinoda was great at rapping the verses while Chester Bennington would melt your ears off with one of my favorite voices in rock music. 

    My mom would actually yell at me whenever I was singing “One Step closer,” because she didn't think I should be yelling “:Shut up when I’m talking to you.” 

    I loved Hybrid Theory, but for me Meteora was a masterpiece. That album was practically glued into my discman. (For you kids who might be reading this, a discman is a way to listen to an artist’s full album on the go, you actually had to carry this bulky thing around and listen to one artist at a time.) I still to this day know every single word to every song on that album.

I was 13 years old when it came out. For a 13 year old boy in middle school music can play a big role in making that person who they will be for the rest of their lives.  I was, and still am obsessed with music and Chester Bennington and Linkin Park are a big reason for that. I always try to find bands that sound similar to Linkin Park. I love when a band can rap the verses and then get super heavy during the chorus. Without Linkin Park I would not have found Thousand Foot Krutch, and the electric sound of Bring Me The Horizon’s two latest albums caught my attention because of Mr. Han from Linkin Park. 

So what this boils down to I guess is that for me, Chester Bennington’s music is a big part of who  I am today, and I would like to thank him for that. I won’t say goodbye to him because I know that I will listen to him on a weekly basis and I will play Meteora at least three to four times a year, and his voice will constantly be in my head. 

Thank you for all you’ve done for me Chester, and I hope you have found the peace you were looking for.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daredevil Review

This past Friday Netflix and Marvel re introduced us to the man without fear as the Netflix original series Daredevil was made available for instant streaming.

Daredevil is the story of Matthew Murdock. The son of boxer Jack Murdock, Matthew was blinded in a toxic spill after a car accident. Young Matthew saved a man’s life but lost his sight. Matthew grows up to become a lawyer after attending Columbia University where he meets his best friend Foggy Nelson who he starts his own law firm with.

Lawyer by day Murdock tries to put criminals away, but sometimes the law makes it difficult to put bad men away so at night Murdock takes it upon himself to put those criminals out of business as Daredevil.

The show is 13 episodes and will eventually we will see Daredevil again in the Defenders series coming to Netflix.

The main story arch of Daredevil stems from the Battle of New York from The Avengers. A Major construction company controls the rebuilding contracts for Hell’s Kitchen following the devastation of the Avenger’s battle and that company is owned by the mob and a one Wilson Fisk.

Unlike the movies out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, Daredevil has a very dark side to it and to be honest it was a refreshing change from the films. Daredevil is gritty, gutsy and gory. 
There is a lot of blood, and a lot of violence. This is not your fancy Avengers fights with all their powers and what not, this is a man with heightened senses beating the crap out of the scum in Hell’s Kitchen and getting his fair share of bruises in the process.

Although the fight seems can feel a little dragged out, they feel so real to the viewer you may start dodging punches on your couch.

One particular fight scene is very notable. In episode two Murdock goes into a building to save a kidnapped child. The entire fight is a single shot and it makes for a great peace of cinematography. It is so fluid and when the fighting goes off camera viewers are immediately on the edge of their seats waiting for someone to bust threw the door Murdock just went in.

The show does a great job of introducing its villains and telling their stories. We find out how the Russians who kidnapped the boy from episode two got to New York, and what their role in the show is. We also find out that the Russians, Chinese and Japanese mobsters are all working together with the King Pin, Wilson Fisk.

One thing the show does that makes it stand out is tell the story of Wilson Fisk. Not often do we see the history of our antagonist and find out how they got to the point they’re at and what they mean to accomplish.  We see glimpses into his past just as we see glimpses inti Matt Murdock’s.

Not only are viewers shown Murdock’s struggles as a hero, but we see the man’s day to day struggles as well. We see him struggle with the morality of what he has to do in his costume, and we also see how people interact with him because of his disability. The way that people interact with him because of his vision adds a bit of comedy to the series. A lot of people nod in response to his questions, or go for a hand shake.

There are plenty of great elements to this show but there are a couple things missing. It would have been nice to see some type of tie-in to the upcoming Marvel shows that will be on Netflix. Some type of cameo or mention of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Danny Rand would have been fun. Surely Daredevil will feature in the next show that starts up.  The lack of a lead in to the other shows and the long fight scenes are really the only things to complain about.

Marvel and Netflix had a lot to prove with this show as tit is the flag ship for a fleet of shows headed to Netflix in the next couple of years. They have succeeded, and after you see episode thirteen of Daredevil you will want to see the rest of what Marvel and Netflix have coming. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NFL Domestic Abuse Cases

            In the past few weeks four NFL players have been involved in domestic violence cases.  Jonathan Dwyer is the latest player under investigation, and he joins Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice.

            After TMZ released a video of Ray Rice punching his then FiancĂ© in an elevator Rice’s contract with the Baltimore Ravens was terminated. He has also been suspended from the league indefinitely.

            Adrian Peterson is under investigation after allegedly hitting his son with a stick. Peterson has turned himself into the police and was going to play this Sunday until he was put on the Commissioner’s ineligible list.

            Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer are both facing charges of domestic abuse as well. Hardy and Peterson are both on the Commissioner’s ineligible list and are not allowed around their respective teams while on the list. As for Dwyer, there has been no word on whether or not he will be the next name on the list.

            The NFL is under a lot of heat for the way these cases have been handled. After changing the terms of Rice’s suspension from two games to six and then almost allowing Peterson to play Anheuser Busch has voiced their concerns to the NFL regarding these cases.

            “We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

           Anheuser Busch is a major sponsor of the league. They put around $200 million into the league each year, and Bud Light is the official beer of the NFL. Nike has stopped selling Adrian Peterson jerseys while his case is in the court system. Other sponsors like McDonald’s and Campbell’s soup have also expressed their concerns.

             If the league can’t make decisions satisfactory to it’s sponsors they could be in danger of losing millions in advertising.

            Should the NFL just be punishing these players?  They could start asking more questions to try to prevent these things from happening again. Why are so many players doing this? Why so many right now? Part of the terms for the players return should be to see a mental health professional to figure out why this is happening.

Did these players just make a mistake that would never happen again, or is there more to this? Could these cases have to do with football related issues?

            It is an aggressive sport with a lot of dangerous contact. Could it be that the aggression needed to play the game extends to the players home life, or could it be that a naturally aggressive person just fairs well in the sport?

            There is also the possibility that the player’s injuries can be to blame for these cases. Three of the players involved in domestic violence cases are running backs and all four are offensive players who take dozens of hits in every game, and practice.

            Retired players have been suing the league because of the injuries they suffered during their career that are affecting them in everyday life. Concussions are the main reason behind most of the arguments. Could concussions be to blame for Rice, Hardy, Peterson and Dweyr’s cases?

            As verdicts are handed out to the players a precedent will be set for how the league will handle domestic abuse cases in the future

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Madden 15 Review

EA will be releasing Madden NFL 15 on Tuesday August 26th, but thanks to the new EA Access app, for just 30 dollars a year you can play any EA game five days before its release.

                Madden is the first game that is available for early access, and you  have six hour of game play to decide if you want to go and spend the sixty dollars or not.

                The trial version of the game opens with a short video clip of the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers battling for the NFC Championship. We see a fumble by Russell Wilson which gives the ball back to the Panthers inside the two minute warning. This is the player’s first chance to experience the game play of Madden 15.

                The graphics in the video were outstanding, and the situation of it already has you saying, “this game is going to be great!” followed by, “Let’s do this!”

                Once you see the new camera angle it already feels so unlike any Madden you have played to this point. The camera is much tighter.  It’s so close that you feel like you are right in the middle of all the action.  Once you hike the ball you will be 100% sure this is a whole new game that bows the last 25 years of football gaming out of the water.

                The stadium sounds, the broadcast presentation, and the player likenesses make it seem like you’re watching the game on Sunday afternoon. Every snap is so realistic and the game speed feels so different from what we are used to.

                After scoring a rushing touchdown with the Panthers, I got a quick idea of what is new in Madden 15 from Cam Newton. Then it was time to play for real.

                I played in exhibition game, Patriots VS. Jets and the game just got better and better. This was my first chance to play defense and the changes made to the D were a lot of fun. Instead of button mashing as the Defensive line to try ti get off your block, there is now a different system for pass rush and run stop.

                 There is a button specifically used to try and stop the running back, and a specific button for pass rush defensive moves.  All of this depends on how fast you get off the line which now is measured as perfect, early or late displayed above your defender.

                Perhaps the best addition to the defense in Madden 15 is the ability to player lock on defense and control one defender through an entire play. This has been seen in NCAA Football but was not in Madden 25.
                The best part is this is how you control your defender on connected franchise which now gives you the camera angle of your defender in third person view and the offense at the top of the screen which makes it much easier to keep track of a play.

`               The connected franchise mode is similar to last year but now instead of practice to gain XP you can now go through different forms of game prep with the addition of confidence which gives you individual game boosts or the typical XP that is more permanent.

                The Madden Ultimate team menu has changed and is now easier to navigate and introduces new challenges which give the player more chances to collect coins and buy new packs. Not much has changed the new very popular MUT game mode that has become the most popular mode in the game.

                New is the word to describe this game. It is unlike any Madden we have ever played before and when the full game is released on Tuesday, we will have enough time to see them all.

                Six hours was hardly enough time to experience everything so  If you haven’t bought Madden in a few years, now is he time to get back in the game. You will not be disappointed.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

On Friday, Marvel released its 2014 summer block buster Guardians of the Galaxy. The Movie stars Chris Pratt (Peter Quill)), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), and Vin Diesel (ZGroot).
      The story is about 5 outcasts who meet after Peter Quill steals an orb that holds a power unknown to him.  Once they discover what the orb is and what Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace,) plans to do with I, they team up to stop him and become the Guardians of the Galaxy.
      I respect Marvel for not   inserting an Avenger or any other character in to the film to help along the story. They trusted that people who did not know the Guardians prior to the movie would relate to and fall in love with the Guardians with no extra help. I mention this only because in the latest volume of the Guardians comics, the first few issues feature Ironman and I personally did not believe the Guardians needed that crutch.
       The story of the film was very well written. As a reader of the comics, there were a few things I thought would happen differently but we all know it takes different stuff to make a relatable movie.  In the end, the changes that were made were not drastic enough to distract from the film.
       The humor used in the movie was used just right. Star Lord, or Peter Quill was a perfect capture of the comic book character, and the same goes for Rocket. The other characters however were made a little sillier then their comic counter parts, but that did not change the core of the characters. Drax was still a maniac, and Gamora was still a kick ass assassin. Groot was a great compliment to the comic book character with the use of his mesmerizing abilities and his one line of speech, “I am Groot.”
       Speaking of lines, I was disappointed that Rocket lacked the use of his personal swears from the comics that make me laugh every time I read them, and he also is without his tag line, “Blamo! You’re dead.” I spent the whole movie with the thought that it might come up in the back of my head but with no luck. Perhaps in the sequel that was announced at San Diego Comic Con I will get to hear some Rocket originals.
       I was also expecting to see Peter’s father, and there be some of his story in  the movie. If you don’t know about Peter’s father I will not spoil the surprise that awaits. I will only say that he is a big part of why Peter is a Guardian.
       If the missing Rocket quote, and Peter’s father missing are the only complaints I have, then I can live with that. Marvel has given us another great film that leaves us wanting more. There will be no lack of Marvel films in the next four to five years as the Studios have announced their line up through 2019 with 2 more Avengers moves, another Guardians of the Galaxy, and many more.

     Go see Guardians of the Galaxy it’s a great film for all ages and who knows maybe you’ll pick up the comics that made me fall in love with these characters. It will only help Marvel bring other lesser known stories to the big screen and believe me there are a lot more characters to see and stories to be told.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pats V. Jets

After a narrow escape in their game Sunday, the Patriots face the New York Jets tonight, an 8:25

The Patriots took the W and ran after just beating the Bills only four days ago. The 23-21 victory was not what Pats fans were looking for, but the Bills do tend to sneak up on the Pats

The biggest question in tonight's match up with the Jets, is who is Brady going to throw to?
We are not expected to see the Pats free agent pick up Danny Amendola after he re-aggravated a groin injury that had kept him out of a few weeks of training camp. Amendola had 10 catches for 108 yards. He lead the Patriots in receptions.
The Pats will also be without running back Shane Vereen. Vereen played most of Sundays game after Stephen Ridley fumbled the ball. Vereen had 101 rushing yards and caught 7 passes for 58 yards.

Vereen and Amendola accounted for 159 of Brady's 288 passing yards, and some one will need to step in and fill that void.

Brady will most likely look to Julian Edelman. Edelman caught 7 passes Sunday for 79 yards and caught both of Brady's TD passes. Edelman will be Brady's most reliable target in the game tonight although we can expect to see a few catches by the rookies.

Aaron Dobson will be playing in tonight's game, and Kendrell Thompkins will try to shake off his first game jitters and hold on to some of the passes he dropped on Sunday. Zach Sudfeld will also look to redeem himself after fumbling a catch that lead to points for the Bills.

Unfortunately for the Pats they might not be able to compensate for the loss of Amendola and Vereen with the run game. The Jets only gave up 65 rushing yards to Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The Pats do have a superior offensive line, but the Jets will be able to shut down the run if Brady can't clear the linebackers out of the box with a consistent passing game.

Defensively, the Pats might not want to overlook the performance Geno Smith had in his NFL debut. The rookie threw for 256 yards with one TD and one INT.

The Jets were also in danger of losing their game last week.

The fact is it is only week 2 so it is hard to tell how the season will shape out, but when the Pats and Jets meet it is always going to affect how the AFC East standings sit at the end of the year.

If I can give one piece of advice tonight it will be to start Edelman if you have him on your fantasy team.

Enjoy the game sports fans!