Saturday, August 01, 2009

Hey! Check out this thing I did!

Hey! Check out this thing I did. Oh, and Amber helped. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that Amber did this, but I'm taking credit because because it was my idea. Well, it was OUR idea, but I took care of the technical aspects. Except, well, she did the photoshop stuff. Uhm.... I chose the words to put in Cathulhu's balloons. Except she ended up editing that for space.


Anyway, check out this totally awesome thing that I totally did all by myself!

The Call of Cathulhu!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Forgive or Forget; Part One

When it comes to horror films, I'm willing to forgive quite a few things the movie going public would probably protest, things that I would find inexcusable in more mainstream fare. In fact I will often embrace these supposed faults. Frequently wooden line readings by non-actors? I actually quite enjoy the rhythms and cadences common to horror films, which are(major exceptions aside) usually lower budget and profile. Predictable plot twists, a tendency to go off the rails plot-wise, and willfully ignoring character development? All problems that I won't even notice for several possible reasons.

The reasons vary from film to film, and may not always make logical sense; sometimes the reasons don't apply at all, and I'll just flat out hate a movie for reasons I will excuse in another. I make no claims to consistency. If a horror film lacks a certain amount of originality, but is competently made and done with affection, I'll go along with it whole-heartedly. Likewise, if the film is completely slapdash and borderline incompetent, I will forgive that if it at the very least goes to some interesting places. Sometimes all it requires is one scene to bring me over to the movie's side. The Angry Red Planet is, by all accounts, a pretty mediocre example of '50s sci-fi, but it features some pretty excellent creature designs by Alex Toth, so I display it proudly in my collection. Dr. Phibes Rises Again is an utterly worthless sequel to a fantastic film, completely pointless throughout, but it has a last minute reveal that, while it doesn't redeem the film, at least raises the stakes dramatically, so I'm not about to purge it from my collection just yet.

The same theory applies to Seance, an early film by existential horror filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa(although it's unfair to call him a horror filmmaker, as he's made more movies outside of that mold than in it), director of the unnerving Cure, and one of my personal favorites Pulse. Seance is in many ways the most straightforward film Kurosawa has made; the story of a man and his wife who stumble upon a young girl recently escaped from a kidnapper. Instead of taking her immediately to a hospital, the couple decide to keep her for a couple days in order to string the police along with clues, in hopes of gaining fame for the wife's psychic powers. Tales From The Crypt style outcome to follow. Thing is, the wife really is psychic, and she does find the girl through the use of her powers, but unfortunately no one is around to see it, and so, at her insistence, the husband goes along with her plan.

The main problem with the film would have to be consistency. The overall plot is straightforward enough, but the characters are defined more by plot necessity than any actual believable motivation. It's not just that they make ridiculously idiotic choices, but that these choices go against what we've been led to believe about their nature. For the first half of the film the wife is soft spoken, kind, and well-meaning, using her abilities to help people. Yet as soon as she discovers the unconscious girl, she becomes cruel and fame-hungry, ignoring all rational advice. It's also never clear why the husband goes along with these plans.

What the film does succeed at is atmosphere and mood, conveyed through several beautiful, short scenes that could almost be called set pieces if they weren't so low-key. Kurosawa as a horror director has always worked towards unsettling the audience with the implied horror of what is lurking just outside of the frame rather than scaring them with sudden shocks. His films can be terrifying to those willing to invest the time and attention, but boring to those who will wonder where all the scary stuff is. In Seance he attains his goal several times, creating incredible tension out of something as mundane as folding laundry, while wind blown trees allow the light to dance, obscuring and revealing areas in the background of the frame.

Scenes like the above are so visually and emotionally resonant that it's a letdown when the rest of the film can't wholly support their weight. The film is, I have to admit, half-baked. It's a drawback, though, that I'll happily forgive for another chance to get lost in those swaying trees and shifting shadows.

Up next: I continue this theme, applying the same theory of forgiveness to the Zombie Diaries. How will that fare? Tune in this weekend to find out.

[Author's note: I discovered, while writing this, that Seance is a remake of the well-regarded film Seance on a Wet Afternoon, which I have not seen. Perhaps seeing it will provide context that puts this film in better company, but I'm thinking not]

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spamalot pt. 2: Not really about the play, just some thoughts inspired by the multiple viewings.

When reading up on Spamalot the other night, mainly to find out what happened to the witch burning scene they had promotional materials for, I saw quite a bit of negative reactions to the play. Most of it leveled at Eric Idle for having the gall to tamper with such a classic bit of cinema comedy as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Much of the mudslinging came from two of his fellow Pythons. Terry Gilliam called it 'Python-lite' while Terry Jones called it 'utterly pointless' and said 'regurgitating Python is not high on my list of priorities.' John Cleese apparently had no problem with it, as he lends his voice to the play as God, and Michael Palin called it 'a great show.'

The negativity isn't really that surprising, really, but I do think it's a bit unfair. Eric Idle has always been, it should be admitted, the Python most eager to cash in on his status. He's spent the years since his time in Monty Python lobbying strongly for a reunion tour, and when that didn't come together he surrounded himself with unknowns and toured the country rehashing old Python routines. Of course, Idle will be the first to cheerfully admit he's shamelessly exploiting the Monty Python legacy(he did name the above-mentioned tour Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python), but that does nothing to calm his detractors.

To me, though, Eric Idle is the Python I would most like to hang out with(aside from, possibly, Michael Palin, who may just be the nicest man on the planet). John Cleese has been the most consistently funny throughout his career, but it also seems like that whole frustrated-anger-exploding-suddenly-and-violently is more than just an act. Terry Jones would be interesting, but would probably dominate all conversations with bits of medieval trivia. Fascinating, but it would probably get old. Terry Gilliam is the only Python I have followed closely since the group disbanded, but he seems like an often difficult person to be around. Graham Chapman would probably be boring, and a bit dirty.

Clearly I've spent too much time thinking about this.

Back to Idle; he has an infectiously cheerful persona that I'm always happy to see; he's one of the few elderly comedians who I don't feel is desperately trying(or not even bothering) to hide a deep, profound sadness. And his material offers an incredibly inspiring world-view. This is most evident in two particular songs; Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and The Galaxy Song. Those two songs are all about finding the joy, not just the humor, in the most sober, dry, or downright miserable topics. It's not about making a dirty or tasteless joke, but about turning unpleasant(crucifixion, death, the humdrum misery of every day life) into something joyous and inspirational. Think I'm reading too much into this? Go listen to the Galaxy Song and try to feel miserable. In that song Idle admits that life here may be horrible and yes, even pointless, but step way back and you'll see just how awe-inspiring and amazing this existence we're all part of really is.

This spirit carries over into Spamalot, which becomes something much different than it's detractors probably take it for. True, the show recycles many bits from The Holy Grail in a manner that isn't nearly as funny, and yes, it often panders shamelessly to the audience, but it comes across less as an exploitation than a gift to fans new and old. And come on, isn't it about time to admit that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a pretty bad movie? Oh sure, it's hilarious, but as a movie it's too slackly paced and written. Part of the charm of Monty Python has always been their random non-sequiters and the breakneck pace at which they switched scenes, but that doesn't translate very well to a movie, especially when you don't spend enough time on the story that is supposed to be the backbone for all this silliness. Spamalot rectifies this a bit, by tightening the loose ends, and tying many of the random go-nowhere bits into the main story. The result is, as I said, not as funny, but it is more dramatically satisfying(Idle doesn't always succeed, though, the Prince Herbert scene still rambles on interminably, even if it's payoff is better in the play).

Monty Python has always been, by design, a cult item. Sure, everyone knows who the Monty Python crew are, but only a select few really 'get it.' These are the people wearing Black Knight t-shirts, buying stuffed Rabbits with Sharp, Pointy Teeth and quoting their favorite lines at the slightest provocation. This cult has grown more rabid and more exclusive as the years go by, and the people watching from the outside only get more confused and, possibly, nervous. This hasn't been helped by the Pythons themselves, most of whom refuse to get together in the same room and often have negative things to say about each other. Their refusal to get together lends the short period of time where they all worked in unison a much more mythic, iconic feel.

What Idle has done with Spamalot is break down some of those walls a little. He's taken what was once an item cultishly adored by a few and turned it into a story designed to bring joy even to those who had never seen a Monty Python sketch before. It's also a chance for those lifelong fans, many of whom weren't even alive when Python was an officially performing troupe, to feel a part of their favorite cult items. It opens the door for them to experience this story in a new way, that quite literally includes them in the experience.

Perhaps this is why it's failed in some circles. Nerds are fueled by elitism and exclusivity, we hate it when our favorite things become popular among the masses. I'm just as guilty of this as the next guy, but in this case, it seems tastelessly opposed to the spirit in which this particular play was forged.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spamalot pt. 1: Just a bunch of notes.

Last week Amber and I went to see Spamalot on opening night. We had won tickets through a local radio station, and they were actually pretty good seats. We enjoyed it enough that when, on exiting the theatre, we ran into a man offering half priced tickets for the second week of showings, we decided to go again. This was due as much to the fact that the show was enjoyable, as it was to the horrible audience we were part of. Going to a Monty Python inspired musical, I expected a certain level of over-excitement on behalf of the audience, but it was my miserable luck to be seated next to a very loud woman who had obviously listened to the cast recording multiple times, and who enjoyed announcing to those nearby what her favorite parts were before they happened, or maybe repeat a line as she brayed laughter.

What follows is a short series of notes I composed in my head as we watched the play for a second time. I have twitter, but I have no mobile device and so I don't really use it, and I wouldn't have been texting in the theatre anyway(probably not even during intermission). So consider this a series of fake tweets(is that the proper vernacular?) sent during the show. A live event from a previously recorded program, if you will. This is part one because I have a more involved post about Spamalot already written(and to be posted tomorrow) but these notes didn't really fit into that piece.

Pre-Show: We spend a good 20 minutes in conversation with the guy at the merchandise counter; he won't let us leave. He's been with the show for 3 years, and most of the conversation centers around which cast members are avid videogamers. There's a slight hint of animosity towards John O'Hurley(J. Peterman from Seinfeld), who plays King Arthur in the Alaska performances.

Pre-Show: We sit down with plenty of time to go. I overhear the couple to the right of me trying to figure out what the show is about. "I think it's a parody of Camelot" one of them says. Apparently they bought one of those season long packages.

15 minutes into the show and there have already been 3 pot jokes that weren't in our first showing. I remember it's 4/20/09.

During the opening night show, John O'Hurley flubbed a line during the scene with God(character name capitalized), which was noticeable only because God's part is pre-recorded. The line as spoken opening night: 'Yes, Lord' 'Well of course it's a good idea, I'm God!' He got it right this time.

One mistake carried over from the first show; The Lady of the Lake is still holding the fake hand and Holy Grail in the wrong hand. The fake thumb is on the wrong side.

Intermission: Amber plays with her DSi, I read my book. I notice the girl sitting in front of me has the same haircut and blue dye job Amber had when I met her. She's also reading the crappy Star Trek novel I just finished. Is there a French word for this phenomenon?

Intermission: This is a much better night. The couple next to me that didn't know what Spamalot was seems to be enjoying the show immensely. This makes me happy for some reason.

Audience member called on stage at the end of the show gives his name as Kilgore Trout, who we all know from Kurt Vonnegut's novels. Either he's a plant or he knew what was coming. He doesn't seem happy.

Another sign that we had a better audience tonight: everyone joins in on the post-show singalong of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. An awesome feeling.

10 o'clock at night, the weather is mild and there's still light in the sky. We end the evening with a nice walk home.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Crazy Like a Fox

There was a joke in one of the early Simpson's episodes, a throwaway gag in one of those stories where they look into the future of the family, where Marge turns on the TV and says 'Fox made the transition to hardcore pornography so subtle I never even noticed.' I'm paraphrasing, because I haven't seen this episode in at least ten years, but it's a line that comes to mind several times a year whenever Fox makes some vicious attack against the very idea of intelligent programming or announces their newest reality show. This week I've been thinking about that line a bit more than would normally be considered average.

Now, Fox is the network that brought us the plastic surgery dating show The Swan, where two women we're given makeovers and cosmetic surgery, and one was ultimately told she was just too ugly and had to go home alone. And Temptation Island, which is the only show in history that could give you chlamydia simply by watching it. So I can't exactly say that their newest announcement brings them any closer to their goal of out and out pornography than those two examples did, but it certainly helps ensure their place in that new circle of hell Rupert Murdoch had built solely for Fox executives.

Fox has announced their newest reality show, Someones Gotta Go, which coldly capitalizes on the zeitgeist of the new American public. The broke, depressed, terrified-of-the-future American public. Each week the show will focus on a different small business, where the employees will try desperately to hold onto their shrinking 401K and meager health coverage by competing and backstabbing in reality show style, until at the end of the episode the loser is fired. Surely it won't be long before actual, literal executions make up the bulk of Fox's prime time lineup.

Also, Variety has a much more gushing report on this upcoming show(of course). They do their best to make this sound like a good thing, but if you read it through there a few other depressing notes about the show(the opening up of Human Resources files and financial reports is sure to cause friction long after the cameras leave the building).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

On Facebook and Waxing Nostalgic

Lately I've been spending a LOT of time on Facebook, although not as much as it may seem to an outsider. Basically if I'm online then I'm logged into Facebook, even if I'm doing something else in another window, or cleaning up around the living room. In fact I'm logged in right now. But I'm only really giving it my full attention for a few cumulative minutes out of the day, when a friend is online and we're chatting, or I'm perusing whatever updates my friends have made. Another recent trend you may have noticed is the complete lack of attention I've been giving my blog. Hell, I even started a new ongoing series in order to give myself some structure, and then I turned my back on it. On Facebook I've been partaking in many quizzes, and I've been listing my various Top 5s(Top 5 movies, books, albums, etc), things I'm fully capable of putting onto this site, and yet I haven't found the time to complete even the simplest of blog posts.

There's been a lot of media attention placed on Facebook and Twitter recently, both sites where I claim membership(although Twitter was mainly out of curiosity, and is now mostly ignored). And certainly I don't want to add to that, nor do I have anything incredibly relevant to say on the subject. So I'll keep my comments brief, mainly as a prelude to future thoughts. The main complaint with Facebook and Twitter is that it gives people a chance to catalog every aspect of their lives, to the extent that they may stop living it. Well, allow me to call bullshit. You know what? This list-making and constant status updating is fun, and takes no time at all. I find it hard to bemoan as 'timewasting' something that takes about 5 minutes a day.

So yes, I am on facebook a couple times a day taking a random quiz or making a list of my top 5 of the moment. One of my more recent lists was 'top 5 albums of all time,' a subject that inspires some small amount of dread. I say this because my top 5 ANYTHING changes from month to month, day to day, often minute to minute. I normally avoid making lists for this very reason, and yet I made it anyway. For those curious, my choices were Automatic for the People by R.E.M., The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails, Boys for Pele by Tori Amos, OK Computer by Radiohead, and Deluxe Men In Space by Man... Or Astro-Man? So those were my top 5. Maybe not technically my favorite albums of all time, which would be impossibly difficult to pin down, but the first five that popped into my head, which is probably the most honest way of deciding. However, those albums are no slouches, they're records I keep coming back to, and have a symbiotic effect on my emotional state. Whatever emotion I'm feeling at the time informs how I perceive the album, while the album plays on my memories and emotions and shapes the way I feel at the time.

Do you see the pattern in that list? Certainly they're all stellar albums(provided you have any interest in their respective genres), but they were all released in the mid-nineties; the decade of my adolescence. It was a ten year period in which I became a teenager, lived through high school, lost my virginity, and entered my twenties. It's a time of great import to everyone who lives that long, and the things that were important to you then may fall by the wayside from time to time, but will always hold a special place in your life. While I've remained a fan of all those bands and celebrate most of their respective discographies, those albums represent the most important contributions to my own personal development.

Automatic For The People represents the bittersweet transition from carefree preteen to mopey, self absorbed teenager, The Downward Spiral perfectly encapsulates all the frustrations, heartbreaks and rage that came with high school life. Boys for Pele is an album that makes me fall in love every time I hear it; with the album, with Tori, with Amber, with every ex-girlfriend I've ever had or never met, and every single person in the world. A ridiculously personal reaction to a ridiculously idiosyncratic album. OK Computer and Deluxe Men In Space are both albums(or, in Deluxe Men's case, an EP) that hold a different place in my life. Both huge influences on how I listen to and think about music, but also strangely removed from any personal recollections of the time they came out. If anything each album makes me think of moments years after I'd discovered them, when they were already permanent members of my personal canon. To give an example; when I listen to OK Computer, I flash immediately to a moment in my 22nd year, laying back on a bench on a London street, just about midnight, while my friends talked and drank in a nearby bar and planned the rest of the evening. I remember laying back and watching the clouds move by overhead(it was a semi-clear night, and the clouds moved quickly) while I sang Let Down to myself. It's obvious now why I associate Radiohead with that moment, but I have no real explanation as to why that moment would have called Radiohead to mind in the first place.

And so this is how it's gone. I've been ignoring my blog while spending time on Facebook and circling around these themes that are bound to be the subject of my next post. The project I've been working on is almost completely composed in my head, but I'm finding it very difficult to start putting into print, so I find other ways to spend my time that serve a somewhat similar purpose. My next post will be the long awaited(by me, at least) continuation of the Working Dead A to Zed series, which has so far only had one introductory post. The purpose of that series was to go through my vast music collection and re-listen to albums I might not have listened to in years, while trying to find just what it is about those albums that speak to me. And the reason I've hit this wall is because of the unexpectedly personal associations I have with the next album on the list. It will be the most personal thing I've written for this blog, and probably the most personal thing I've written since college. It will be full of things I've not really spoken about with anyone, even the people who went through it with me. I don't want to raise expectations that this will be some soul-searing pouring out of emotions; it will likely be fairly minor in comparison to what a lot of people write on their blogs or livejournals. But for someone like me, who's used to talking about his life mainly in terms of pop-culture likes or dislikes, this is proving a hard first step to take.

And so, in the words of my inestimable friend Rick; 'to be continued...'

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Working Dead: A to Zed

The importance of music in my life is hard to overestimate; nearly every moment of my life is done to my own personal soundtrack. I listen to music on my walk to work, on my walk home, on break, I have CDs spinning while I'm online, or cleaning the house, or giving my daughter a bath, and I fall asleep to some songs that are usually, but not always, soothing. It's been this way my entire adult life, from the moment I first began to formulate my own tastes outside of what my Mom liked, or what the radio played. I got my first CD player when I turned 16, but I had already been buying CDs, making dubs to tape at a friends house and eagerly awaiting my birthday. From there I was hooked. I piggybacked on the BMG Music Club memberships of friends and relatives, and scoured used shops and new releases every time I got a few bucks. When I got my first job, a good half of each paycheck would go to music.

Over the years my collection has fluctuated a bit, but it's constantly growing ever bigger. Occasionally I'll decide I've outgrown something and either sell it or pass it along, but those moments are growing more and more infrequent. Of the 4 discs I bought from BMG in the days before my CD player, I think I only have one left, although nostalgia may lead me to one day rebuy them(for the curious, the discs were REM; Automatic for the People, Dire Straits; Brothers in Arms, The B-52s; Good Stuff, and the Waynes World Soundtrack, I only retained the REM album). My tastes are varied, if you name a genre I can name at least three bands I like in it, and if I can't, well, then a little bit of research and firsthand experience would lead me to them. My tastes are ever-changing. I'll find some new band(at least, new to me), and become obsessed with that sound for a short time, until the next sound comes along. Those older discs fade away for awhile, but become part of the larger mosaic that is my taste in music. For a few years in a row I would make mix CDs in October, not consciously, but it worked out that way. When I went back and reviewed them I found a bit of crossover in terms of bands, alongside whatever my newest obsessions were, so that each disc seemed like a slowly changing chronicle of my years.

Which is all to say that I like a lot of different styles of music, and I own a lot of it. So much of it that there are some discs I haven't listened to in years. Expecting that I'll listen to every disc in my collection regularly is just unrealistic, even if I was allowed to listen to my iPod at work every day. This has been a problem for awhile, actually, ever since my collection first grew past 100 discs(well over a decade ago). Looking over my collection recently, I realized how much stuff I haven't heard in years, and I've decided to try and rectify that.

My iPod makes this incredibly easy, and I can even track my progress by seeing when the last time I listened to something was. However, since I'm a completist, I'm going to ignore that and listen to EVERYTHING, regardless of how recently I had reviewed it. This isn't a new practice, I've done it several times in the past(though not since exiting my teens), and I know it's one of those things people do occasionally. I'm planning on going through my collection, and although I don't plan on doing any excising from my collection, I do plan on reflecting a bit on why I like a particular disc or band. I've not thought up a schedule for this, so it might be a bit infrequent, but I'm planning on posting my results at least biweekly. Ideally I'll listen to 10 full albums a week(give or take, because when Amber and I are home together I probably wont be sticking to this album-at-a-time formula), and then write about them. Of course we've seen how good I am at keeping a schedule, so I'm giving myself some leeway.

I'm going to be going through my iPod alphabetically, but by album instead of artist. There are two main reasons this appeals to me. 1) I like listening to albums more than singles, so this way I won't be splitting up my compilations or soundtracks that have multiple artists on them. 2) When I can listen to an album by Flogging Molly and follow that up with Mates of State, well, I stand less chance of getting bored, or at least burned out on a band. I have over 20 different albums by The Cure(their studio work, some live recordings, and fan club exclusives from back in the day. I'm a dork, I know), and having to listen to them all in a row may give me a greater appreciation of their musical evolution, but they also run the risk of running together on me.

I might not have something to say about every album I review, but for those interested(and if you are, really, what's wrong with you?), I'll be listing the albums I listened to at the end of the various posts. I'm also cutting this a bit short, since I'm using up space with introductions, and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

A-Haunting We Will Go-Go; The Ghastly Ones: I can't actually remember the exact moment I first heard this band, but it would have been in 1998, probably after I had started DJing at the local college station, and definitely after The Red Elvises and Man... Or Astro-Man? had destroyed my shoegazing, self important world and rebuilt it, brick by brick, into something much more open-minded and, well, fun. One of the very few records released by Rob Zombie's Zombie A Go-Go label, and so far the only disc I've heard by these guys. The album tells the story, in between tight surf instrumentals, of the band breaking down one dark night and seeking aide in a spooky old castle inhabited by Dr. Diablo and his evil Robot Atomico. It's not the best example of it's particular 'spooky surf' genre, but it's still an awesomely fun disc, and was one of my first introductions to the world of Surf Music.

The A-Team; Mike Post: Alright, if I was going to start cutting music out of my collection, I have to admit I'd probably start with this one. I'm not a big fan of television incidental music in general, and definitely not of mid-80s incidental music. But what can I say, I'm a big A-Team nerd. I own Mr. T's autobiography, and I love my A-Team t-shirt even though I can't wear it in public due to a washing machine mishap that melted something into the fabric. For awhile I wanted my first car to be a Custom GMC Van. Of course, maybe I just like that van. I love TV shows where the hero(s) drive around the country in a van. But back to this disc. The music is not good at all, but man, Mike Post can write an awesome theme song.

ABBA-Esque; Erasure: Erasure have a couple of really great synth-pop songs that I love listening to frequently, but none is more awesome than their cover of Take A Chance On Me, that only falters in the annoying reggae-ish vocals towards the end.

Absent Friends; The Divine Comedy: The Divine Comedy are one of my very favorite bands, although it took me a short while to appreciate them. I was initially put off by their overbearing romanticism and bourgeoisie pretensions, until I saw them live on TV and realized, it was all part of the joke. Oh, they actually are pretentious and ridiculous, but lead singer Neil Hannon at least recognizes this and delivers almost every line with the smile of a congenial drunk from a movie made in the forties. Absent Friends is currently my favorite album of theirs, although that sometimes changes. They frequently cause me to reevaluate every previous album whenever they release a new one, and I somehow end up liking them more each time. With this album, that combines Ennio Morriccone with chamber music and drunken romanticism, they hit a creative peak.

Albums this post: A-Haunting We Will Go-Go; The Ghastly Ones, The A-Team; Mike Post, Abba-esque; Erasure, Absent Friends; The Divine Comedy, Absolution; Muse, Accelerate; R.E.M.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Facebook Games = Digital Herpes

This appears to be one of those games making it's way through Facebook, and that's where I came across it, even if it was actually in a link to my friend Rik's blog. Here's the rules:

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line (unless the first line reveals the song title) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like the game post your own!
Step 6: Make a new one... only after all 30 have been guessed

A couple of notes: It actually took me over 60 songs before I got a full 30, and not because of judicious skipping. I have a large collection of soundtracks and surf, and my ipod seemed to want to play those today. Also, I skipped any song that was in a foreign language, for a couple obvious reasons. A larger number of songs than I would have guessed have the title in the first line, so those were skipped as well. I also went further than just the first line, and basically used, in most cases, the first verse, to give greater context. There are a bunch of cover songs, and a few songs made famous by multiple people, in there, so if someone guesses the correct song but not the correct singer I'll still count it as a correct guess.

Now, without further ado, thirty random lyrics!

#1: Waitin', watchin' the clock, its four o'clock, its got to stop/ Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech

#2: Raise your glasses please into a toast/For we are many hometown ghosts./Let it spill all over the floor./What the hell are you saving it for?

#3: And you don't seem to understand/ a shame you seemed an honest man/ and all the things you hold so dear/ will turn to whisper in your ear

#4: What are you staring at/ in that hospital bed/ let me explain...

#5: Relax, you're quite safe here/ Am I dreaming, no/ Where am I, in bed/ Well, what am I doing/
Oh, t-t-t-t-talking to myself

#6: Now and then I get horny/ at night you do, at night you do/ Smile from side to side/ At night you do, at night you do

#7: We dig TV we dig remote control/ We dig the Furry Freak Brothers and the Twilight Zone/ We dig Marvel and D.C., we dig Run-DMC/ We dig Renegade Soundwave and AC/DC

#8: There's a nail in the door And there's glass on the lawn/ Tacks on the floor
And the TV is on/ And I always sleep with my guns when you're gone

#9: Walter, remember when the world was young And all the girls knew Walter's name/ Walter, isn't it a shame the way our little world has changed?

#10: Can you tell me why the bells are ringing/ Nothing's happened in a million years/ I've been sitting here since wednesday morning/ Wednesday morning can't believe my ears

#11: nothing ever gets in my way/ nothing ever gets on my mind/ nothing ever makes me stop to think about/ nothing of the kind

#12: Take away the sensation inside/ Bitter sweet migraine in my head/ Its like a throbbing toothache of the mind/ I can't take this feeling anymore

#13: And Abraham Lincoln town cars arive to dispose of our king and queen/ and They orchestrated dramatic new scenes....for celebration needs/ When one world ends something else begins/ but without a scream/ Just a whisper because we just started it over again

#14: Still don't know what I was waiting for/ And my time was running wild/ A million dead-end streets and/ Every time I thought I'd got it made/ It seemed the taste was not so sweet

#15: Too hard on the brakes again/ What if these brakes just give in?/ What if the car loses control?/ What if there's someone overtaking?

#16: Midnight, our sons and daughters/ Were cut down and taken from us/ Hear their heartbeats/ We hear their heartbeats/ In the wind we hear their laughters/ In the rain we see their tears/ Hear their heartbeats/ We hear their heartbeats

#17: I've got you/ You've got whatever's left of me to get/Our conversations are like minefields/ No one's found a safe way through one yet

#18: The bitch is getting ready to make my life unsteady./ I don't care, I just want a surprise.

#19: Those schoolgirl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone/ But in my mind/ I know they will still live on and on

#20: wait for... everything evil in you comes out/ i'll stay when we'll only motivate sound instead

#21: Fire burned and blew out flowers/ Showing me its comely powers/ Still and all it would be hours/ Before I would get burned

#22: wherever I go/ I take a little piece of you/ I collect/ I reject/ photographs I took of you

#23: The secret rulers of the world/ Have stolen my girl/ The whisked her away in a black limousine/ And that was the last of her I'd ever see

#24: You gave up right away/ Never too tough to care/ You give a brighter way/ Never too notice her

#25: This is not love/ This is not even worth a point of view/ In Echo Park/ I pause for effect and whisper 'who are you?'

#26: Dark in the city night is a wire/ Steam in the subway earth is afire/ Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo

#27: I buried him down by the river/ cause thats where he liked to be/ And every night when the moon is high/ I go there and weep openly

#28: The lights go out and I can't be saved/ Tides that I tried to swim against/ Have brought me down upon my knees/ Oh I beg, I beg and plead singin...

#29: I got a pocket full of quarters, and I'm headed to the arcade./ I don't have a lot of money, but I'm bringing ev'rything I made./ I've got a callus on my finger, and my shoulder's hurting too./ I'm gonna eat them all up, just as soon as they turn blue.

#30: Hey Yo doctor, here's another proper track/ and it's phat, watch the sniper, time to pay the piper/ and let that real shit provoke, so you's a wanna be 'loc/ and you'll get smoked and i hope that yer fans understand/ when ya talk about sprayin me, the same records that ya makin' is payin' me/ Motherfuck Dre/ Motherfuck Snoop/ Motherfuck Death Row/ yo and here comes my left blow