Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Democrats Blowing It On Health Care

More from my favorite political columnist and voice of extreme reason, FearTheReaper:

It’s really quite interesting to watch the Democrats throw it all away. This time, they seem to think blowing the chance at decent health care reform will aid them in future elections. Or perhaps they have taken so much money from the health care industry that they don’t give a shit. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Fixing health care is the biggest problem facing our country. If we don’t do something drastic, it will completely destroy our economy in the years to come. As it is, we’re in bad shape. Democrats, specifically Senate Democrats, have decided to help the poor insurance industry out as much as possible. Es no bueno.

Click HERE to read FearTheRepaer's summary of the various sick options the Democrats are seriously considering.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Moby: Wait For Me

Moby could be described as a reluctant celebrity. He first found his way into the collective consciousness with the 1992 rave anthem "Go." In the faceless world of techno culture success remained within his comfort zone. For the remainder of the decade he released his increasingly hybrid electronic-based music with little fanfare outside of the dance world. His 1999 album Play, barely made a ripple in the ocean of record sales when it first came out.

However, after a series of high profile film, TV and ad licenses, Play was propelled into the mainstream and Moby into the media maelstrom with it. Track 5 from the album, "South Side," a little duet with Gwen Stefani, subsequently gained momentum, becoming an MTV staple for many months. It reached number 14 in the Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the Modern Rock singles chart in 2001. Play went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide.

As film director David Lynch succinctly puts it, "Success is just as dangerous as failure, maybe more." In the years since "South Side" graced the charts, Moby has not exactly been chasing similar commercial success -- far from it -- however many automatically assume he has. After all, money and fame are the goals of every artist right?

Wrong. Back in October of last year, when SuicideGirls last spoke with Moby, he told us he wanted his next album to be "a really emotional, beautiful record." Expanding on the subject, he continued, "I don't know if I will succeed, but my goal is to make something very personal, very melodic, very beautiful. And hopefully interesting at the same time." By these standards, Moby has indeed succeeded, his new album, Wait For Me, being all that and so much more.

But, since contemporary society quantifies success in commercial terms, it's easy for certain areas of the media to talk about Moby and his post-Play music in disparaging terms. It's understandable therefore, that Moby looked upon his looming press day in Los Angeles to promote an "introspective" and "vulnerable" record that's the antithesis of commercial with a high degree of trepidation.

Click HERE to read SuicideGirls exclusive interview.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Daniel Ash: Rock On

Daniel Ash has had a tumultuous recent past. Having reunited with Peter Murphy, Kevin Haskins and David J in 2005 for a now legendary performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, iconic goth rock band Bauhaus released their first new studio album in 25 years in March 2008. Sadly, the reunion had already faltered by then, with David J citing explosive chemistry as the reason in a SuicideGirls interview published that month. Moving on without Murphy, the trio regrouped under their post-Bauhaus band moniker, Love and Rockets, playing Coachella in April '08 and Lollapalooza the following August. After the last epic chord died down, Ash retreated to his Ojai home, seeking solace on the open road with the one thing he loves more than his guitars: his motorcycles.

All remained quiet for many months, until his friend and sometime manager Christopher Minister (whom Ash affectionately refers to as "The Minister"), persuaded him to come down to Swing House, a rehearsal and recording complex in Hollywood, to participate in a session for a new in-house project. One thing led to another, as things do, and Ash ended up producing (the track, "Rock On," to be released on the Swing House Sessions Vol 1, features vocalist Zak Ambrose).

Reinvigorated by working with a fresh mix of people, Ash is now looking forward to taking on more production work. In the meantime his Swing House buddy, The Minister, has compiled a Love and Rockets tribute album entitled New Tails To Tell, which features covers by The Flaming Lips, The Dandy Warhols and Puscifer, among others.

SuicideGirls caught up with Ash at the studio to talk about his new music, needless to say, the conversation soon turned to motorcycles. One has to wonder if the Swing House recording sessions are merely an excuse for the 160 mile round trip on his bike.

Click HERE to read my interview on SuicideGirls.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monsters of Heavy Metal Star In New Computer Game

The voice and persona of Ozzy Osbourne, along with several other monsters of metal, will feature in a new computer game called Brütal Legend. The music-themed action adventure will be released in October by Electronic Arts in Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 formats.

The plot centers around the character of Eddie Riggs, the world's best roadie who works for the world's worst heavy metal band. Named after Iron Maiden's mascot, Eddie The Head, Eddie Riggs is played by School of Rock star Jack Black, of the comedy rock band Tenacious D. His character roams a '70s rock fantasy land created by games legend Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango), doing battle with a motorcycle-mad bassist called Kill Master (played by Lemmy Kilmister) along the way. Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Tim Curry also feature in the game, which is played to a pumping metal soundtrack.

Sounds like it rocks but will you actually have fun playing the game? Click HERE to read SuicideGirls' Hit Play preview.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy F**King Birthday From Blue Shield

My birthday's coming up towards the end o' the month. On April 30th my health insurance company sent me a lovely letter to let me know that to celebrate my big day they'd decided to up my premium by $35 from $191 to $226 starting July 1st.

Then, a month later, they sent me another letter explaining that they were raising my premium again, this time by a hefty $65, just because they can, you know, for the hell of it. What a gift!

That's a total premium increase of $100 effective July 1st.

Think about that. My premium was $191. It's going up to $291. That's an increase of over 50% in one year.

Can you think of any other product or service that's gone up by more than 50% this year? In this economy? Have health care costs increased by that much in the last twelve months? Really?

What do I want for my birthday? Universal health care please Mr. Obama.

Otherwise I can't afford to get any older.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Sick Way To Run A State

Last Friday folks were marching right outside our door in protest against the Governator's proposed cut in funding for AIDS medication. I meant to comment on it at the time, but the day, and the next several, kind of ran away from me, hence, precisely a week later, I'm typing this.

The move will essentially be a death sentence for the 35,000 Californians who rely on state funding for their HIV meds. As FearTheReaper succinctly put it in one of his recent posts:

"Shit, I'm sorry, but Republicans refuse to raise any taxes. Bummer you have to die because of it, but it's a moral thing. It would be immoral to take money that is not yours, sicko."

However, even if you're misguided enough to fall for the Republican anti-tax/anti-healthcare bullshit, this move still doesn't make sense. You might save some cash now, but, when these folks succumb to full-blown AIDS, things will start getting very expensive, very quickly.

This sick army of individuals will be packing emergency rooms with what should be minor ailments, like strep throat, colds and yeast infections, that their compromised immune systems will simply be unable to fend off. Too ill to work, they'll be relying on disability, and too sick to look after themselves, they'll be relying on social services. Eventually, they'll become so ill they'll have to hospitalized -- at our expense. And sadly, many will die really horribly -- and really expensively.

In the not-so long run, it'll be much cheaper to allow these people to live with their health intact with the help of state-sponsored prescriptions, but apparently that's just not the Republican way. I'm not sure what is anymore. I don't expect moral responsibility from the GOP, but there's not any fiscal responsibility here either.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Duncan Jones (a.k.a. Zowie Bowie) Talks About His NASA Experience And His New Movie Moon

Ground control to Major Tom, Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie) talks about his amazing new movie called Moon, which was screened recently for NASA -- at their request. Mining Helium-3 of the dark side of the moon might sound far-fetched, but it's actually something NASA's working on. Just watch this film before you volunteer for the low-gravity mining job though, since all might not be as it seems.....

When asked about the NASA screening in an exclusive interview, Duncan told SuicideGirls:

"We did a screening at the NASA Space Center in Houston and the beauty of it was that it wasn't a PR stunt, we didn't organize it. There's a professor at the Space Center who does a lecture series and he asked me if I wanted to show the film. He'd been reading online that we'd done this film about Helium-3 mining and that's something that people at NASA are working on. We went down there and we did the screening, it was a fantastic experience, and we did a Q&A afterward. They asked me why the base looked so sturdy, like a bunker, and not like the kind of stuff they are designing that they are going to transport with them. I said "Well, in the future I assume you won't want to continue carrying everything with you, you'll want to use the resources on the moon to build things" and a woman in the audience raised her hand and said, "I'm actually working on something called Mooncrete, which is concrete that mixes lunar regolith and ice water from the moon's polar caps." So, it was great - they basically started talking amongst each other and I just sat back and watched them. It was truly an amazing experience."

The full interview can be found HERE.

New App Turns iPhone Into A Classic Star Trek Communicator

This not exactly legit app, which its makers, iPhone Savior, named the Star Radio Communicator (so it's safe to assume this is not an official Paramount-licensed Star Trek product), gives your iPhone the look of the classic communicator from the original '60s TV series.

According to Gizmodo, "the 99 cent app gives you a dialing interface to place calls from within the app, making you feel like you're about five seconds away from bitch-slapping a couple of Klingons."

Yet another reason for those that held out on buying an iPhone (like me) to get the 3G S.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marilyn Manson: The High End of Low

There's nothing half-hearted about the new album from Marilyn Manson, The High End of Low, which explores love, hate, revenge, loss and despair. Off stage, many find Manson's passion disconcerting, but the singer/songwriter considers anything that veers towards apathy to be inherently "worthless." It's therefore not surprising to hear that during the recording process Manson pushed himself and his band to extremes, the resulting album returning him to the kind of form he's not seen in a decade.

Very personal lyrically, and more melodic than past efforts, the album is the result of the much-anticipated reunion of Manson and Twiggy Ramirez -- the pair's last studio collaboration being the concept album Holy Wood, which came out in 2000. The lineup for the album was rounded out by longtime Manson drummer Ginger Fish and producer/drummer/keyboardist Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails and Tweaker (who joined the band in 2004 when Fish was injured and moved from drums to keyboards upon his return to health).

The reunion with Twiggy wasn't the only emotionally charged ingredient in The High End of Low mix however, the period of recording, from November 2008 to January 2009, also coincided with the very public disintegration of Manson's relationship with Evan Rachel Wood, whom he dated following the failure of his marriage to Dita Von Teese. The 15 tracks on the album, which appear on the finished product in the order they were written, therefore chronicle Manson's emotional journey during this gut-wrenching time.

SuicideGirls caught up with Manson on the eve of a European tour to promote the new release. When asked about the album during our interview, it's hard for Manson to separate the music from the emotions and events that lie behind it. He also talks very candidly about the identity crisis that was sparked by this emotional turmoil, and his battle to figure out exactly who Marilyn Manson is.

Click HERE to read my interview at SuicideGirls.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hanging Out With The Star of One Eyed Monster

Bumped into Ron Jeremy (see photo) at the Gavin Rossdale show at the El Rey on Saturday night. I've seen him out and about more times than I can mention (Ron that is -- not Gavin, whom I've only met once), but this was the first time I was able to go up to him and say, without a hint of irony, that I really enjoyed one of his movies.

The film in question is One Eyed Monster, a laugh out loud funny B-movie, in the tradition of Return To The Forbidden Planet, but with one big difference -- a 9 3/4 inch alien-possessed killer penis to be precise.

I have to say, it's all done in good taste -- albeit in the B-movie universe where the right kind of bad taste can sometimes equal good taste.

And I'm not alone in this opinion either, since One Eyed Monster has just won the, ahem, prestigious "Trashiest Trailer" honor at the 10th Annual Golden Trailer Awards. Ron Jeremy must be so proud -- no really, he must!

Monday, June 8, 2009

When is a book not a book? ...When it's an alternate reality game!

When is a book not a book? When it's an alternate reality game!

(And for that matter, when is a games columnist not a games columnist? When she's a character in a book writing real posts for a popular pin-up website).

Click HERE to go down the Personal Effects: Dark Art rabbit hole with author and podcaster J.C. Hutchins and ARG mastermind Jordan Weisman (creator of The Beast, I Love Bees and Year Zero).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spymaster = Spammaster = WTF??

This is for every Twitter user who feels violated by friends who play Spymaster.

(I have 14 Spymaster direct messages clogging up my inbox so far....Ugh!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor = Sweet GOP Self-Destruction

More from FearTheReaper, my favorite political columnist and voice of extreme reason:

I was very sad to see Obama pass on my gay pick for the Supreme Court. I really wanted the Republicans to be forced to show their colors as they made homosexuality the main issue to keep someone off the bench. It didn’t happen. Fortunately, Obama went with a pick that is so politically shrewd it is astounding: Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Turns out she’s not white. After the dust settles, the Democrats will have created a majority for many, many, many years. Why? Because Republicans can’t stop their racist nonsense from spewing forth out of their loud holes. By the time this nomination process is over, America’s Hispanic population will be done with the Republicans for a long, long time....

Click HERE to read the full post.