Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye 2008! Hello "Top 10" lists!

With the very predictable end of 2008 comes the very unpredictable "TOP 10 of 2008" lists by yours truly, Hunter Burgan.

Top 10 Films I Saw in 2008:
(in no alphabetical order)
1. The Dark Knight - Sure, Heath Ledger was great, but let's not overlook the ridiculous undertaking of using mostly practical effects! and filming in IMAX!? Christopher Nolan is a genius. This is how Batman is supposed to be. Christian Bale is great too.
2. Step Brothers - This film was a test to see how long you can run with a pretty stupid premise before it becomes boring or played out. Will Farrell and John C. Reilly pass this test with flying colors!
3. Burn After Reading - A fun romp of a dark comedy with great characters, as usual. The Coen Brothers are a team that I'd like to be a part of, somehow. Can we make this happen?
4. Cloverfield - I thought this film was really cleverly written. The "found video camera" storytelling format is probably one of the hardest formats to write for that I can think of right now. Perhaps writing an upbeat animated adventure about genocide would be harder.
5. Son of Rambow - This film reminds me of myself when I was younger. I was always making epic movies with my parents' video camera.
6. The Fall - The visuals are STUNNING, and the little girl is so cute.
7. Flash of Genius - Greg Kinnear is really good in this one. It's such a frustrating story...even now, thinking back, it's mildly upsetting.
8. Milk - Destined to be a classic film. Certainly one of the best of the best of the best. If you haven't seen it, go see it right now!
9. Synecdoche, New York - This film was a real mindf*ck. I love movies that challenge the way we watch movies. Thoughts of this film seep into my life everyday.
10. Role Models - I thought this film was going to suck in a "cream of the crap" kind of way, but it ended up being legitimately good. Who knew?!
11. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke was born to play this part...well maybe he was born to be a baby, and then many many years later play this part. What brilliant gem will Darren Aronofsky throw at us next? A remake of Robocop??
12. Foot Fist Way - I thought the book was so good, that there was no way the film could deliver the goods. I was wrong.

Special Mention: Baghead - If you're a fan of the Duplass Brothers' The Puffy Chair, you should check out Baghead. I'm not certain that this film hit that many theatres, but it was a real treat to see it with the Brothers Duplass hosting a Q&A afterwards.

Top 10 Colors in 2008:
(in order to plan your wardrobe for the next 2008)
1. White - White was the new black in 2008. I can't explain it. It just happened, and suddenly I had to go out and buy bleach.
2. Black - Black was still black in 2008, just not the new black. You can't get very far without black, so it will undoubtedly remain in the top five for years to come.
3. Light Blue and Dark Blue (tie) - To paraphrase an Elton John song, "I guess they call it the blues for a reason, don't they?" The Blues Brothers tied for third place for the third straight year.
4. Green - Green struck late in '08. So late, in fact, that many people didn't see it coming.
5. Light Black - Some say grey, while others say gray. I'm talking about neither. Light black is the new grey.
6. Walnut - Sure, it's a nut, but it's also a wood grain. Walnut is strong enough to easily muscle into 2009 like it ain't no thang.
7. G-in-the-D - I know what you're thinking- "oh Hunter, glow in the dark is so 1997!" This might be true, but during a few short weeks in 2008, there was a very "retro '97" thing going on.
8. Clear - Clear may never hold the top spot like it did in the 1860s, but it remains a tough player, year after year.
9. Dark Red - What a surprise! Dark red was certainly the wildcard in 2008. I started the year literally hating dark red. It's funny to see how my opinion changed over the twelve months.

Special Mention: Yellow - Keep trying, yellow. Keep trying.

Top 10 Books I Read (or thought about reading) in 2008:
(in order)
1. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges - This stories were written for the way my brain works.
2. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin - A truly revealing book by my favorite comedian of all time.
3. Comedy by the Numbers by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren - This book has every joke ever written!
4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams - Classic.
5. A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch - Who can resist a severed head!?
6. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - The audio book version is read by the author in a pleasing accent.
7. Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis by Dan Rockmore - You have to love math like I do.
8. Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch - Only begins to explain the genius of David Lynch.
9. Wall and Piece by Banksy - Only begins to show off the genius of Banksy.

Special Mention: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero - "It's a cookbook!"

In an attempt to keep this at a reasonable length, I've omitted my personal comments from the final two "Top 10 of 2008" lists. If you're curious why I picked some of these, feel free to come up to me on the street and ask me. You have a whole year to do this, as I will be standing in the street for exactly one year.

Top 10 Things To Put On A Sandwich (and by "on" I mean "in") in 2008:
(in order to make a sandwich, you will also need bread)
1. Tempeh Bacon
2. Avocado
3. Vegenaise
4. Tomato
5. Almond Butter
6. Marmalade (preferably orange)
7. Alfalfa Sprouts
8. Tofu Salad
9. Follow Your Heart "Cheese"
10. Tortilla Chips (preferably blue)

Special Mention: Lettuce

Top 10 Albums Released in 2008:
(order in the court!)
1. She & Him - Volume One
2. Black Kids - Partie Traumatic
3. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
4. Santogold - Santogold
5. Beck - Modern Guilt
6. Duffy - Rockferry
7. The Knux - Remind Me In 3 Days...
8. Darker My Love - 2
9. Elvis Costello - Momofuku
10. Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night
11. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
12. Dan & Hunter - Dan & Hunter's Holiday EP Volume One

Special Mention: New Kids On The Block and Vanilla Ice - For attempting comebacks, against all odds.

So there you have it. 2008 is over. It's anyone's guess what will come to replace it. Check back soon for my 2009 New Year's Resolutions blog! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Psychedelic Photos!

Psychedelic Photos by Hunter Burgan
Finally, as promised, I present to you the Psychedelic Photo blog. Some of you (the less patient folks) have been awake for consecutive days, tearing your hair out, waiting for this blog. Those of you (like me) who have hair that is too short to tug at have been growing beards in feverish anticipation. Those of you who have shorn heads and no natural ability to grow facial hair have been allowing your eyes to naturally bleed transparent blood that I like to call "tears", maddened by the maddening madness that is expectation. Now it's time to pick up your hair, shave your faces, grab a kleenex, take a bunch of drugs* and get psychedelic!

The photo album above (go ahead, click on it) is a collection of photos taken by my psychedelic iPhone between May 1968 and December 2008. Back in May, my phone decided that some of the photos I take will randomly be psychedelic. I couldn't agrue because that is not a word. Some of these photos appear to be taken in the Matrix, whereas some of them appear to be taken just after an apocalyptic H-bomb detonation. Some of these picture might give you a strange and pleasant sensation in your spine, while others might give you life long nightmares that haunt your waking dreams.

I'll leave you with this food for thought whilst you peruse my psychedelic photos. As one of the forefathers of psychedelia, author Aldous Huxley, may or may not have said,
"And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing ... a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods."

*Drug use is not condoned nor advised by the author, Hunter Burgan. Furthermore, drug use will not be necessary to understand or appreciate the beauty or meaning of the photos showcased in this blog. The author, Hunter Burgan, does not use drugs, but rather, prefers the use of hugs to achieve a similar (yet safer and more predictable) "high" when viewing his psychedelic photos.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Sale on ALL The Force Merch!

Starting right now, for one week only, get an additional 10% off ALL merchandise in The Force's online store!
I'm dead serious! Deals like this don't come around that often! And they certainly don't go looking for you! Can we talk about stocking stuffers? Do you want to see the sparkle of joy in the eyes of EVERYONE on your shopping list this year? 12 days of Christmas? 12 The Force merchandise items! (including size options) T-shirts! Sweatshirts! 12" Vinyl Discographies! Stickers! Buttons!

To paraphrase the Olsen twins,
"There will never be another band like The Force, and these t-shirts are really soft!"
I have to agree with them. The shirts are really soft, and the stickers are really sticky too. The 12" vinyl discography contains every song The Force ever recorded, and was re-mastered specifically for vinyl. Your record player will love to sink its needle into this delicious vinyl.

The Force's 10% off sale ends Sunday, December 21st at 11:59 PM, or when supplies run out, so act now! Tell 'em Chad Cox sent ya!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dan & Hunter - MySpace videos

Dan & Hunter (that's me) made figgy pudding and gingerbread men for all of you, but due to geographical limitations, we will not be able to deliver either to any of you. Instead, we shot some videos.

Dan & Hunter - The Meaning of Xmas

Dan & Hunter - Mail Bag

Dan & Hunter - A Time For Giving

Check the ol' Dan & Hunter MySpace page for more videos in the near future. We have our sights set on our site's set.

Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the season for crime!

A few weeks ago, I was at a Blockbuster, looking for a used copy of Saw IIto purchase, when a man entered the store in a slightly aggressive manner. I immediately thought,
"What would I do if this guy pulled out a gun? Would I duck behind the 4-for-$20 table? Would I bust a roundhouse and kick the gun from his hand? Would I scream like a man?"
I didn't really answer myself, and before I could question any further, the man walked past me and started looking at DVDs. Then my mind really started to wander, and wonder... What is the crime rate for this neighborhood? What kind of people shop at this Blockbuster? What day of the week is statistically the most likely day for a Blockbuster to get robbed?This was a Thursday. I started to really dig into the used DVDs in the back of the store. Miley Cyruswas on the TV monitors. Finally I found Saw IIand another gem, Blades of Glory.Suddenly my shopping trance was broken by the sound of pounding on the exit door across the store. Four cops were outside trying to get in. An employee unlocked the door to let them in. Wait a second...why was the exit locked!? What did the cops want? To pre-order The Dark Knight on Blu-ray?Then I overheard people saying that Blockbuster had just been robbed! Yes, dear readers, the very Blockbuster I was in had just been robbed at gunpoint by the very man that I was suspicious of in the first sentence of this story...and I missed the whole thing!

A few customers (eye witnesses) were selected and pulled aside for questioning. I decided to take my two DVDs and leave (after paying with plastic since their cash drawer was empty) the scene of the crime. More cops and a camera crew showed up as I was leaving. A rat crossed the parking lot. As I was driving home, I decided that I had subconsciously willed the man to rob Blockbuster. Sure, he had a gun with him when he entered the store, but perhaps he had no intentions of pulling it out. Peradventure he just wanted to pick up Dexter - season one, disc 2and some Sour Patch Kids...until he came into contact with the formidable powers of my mind! Later I tried to consciously will him to deliver a burrito and some vegan ice cream to my front door, but it didn't work.

If you think you, your friends and your talking dog have what it takes to solve crimes in the Los Angeles area, jump in your psychedelic van and visit: Solve a Crime - the official website of the Los Angeles police department.

A holiday blog like you may have seen before!

I promised you, dear readers, among other things, a holiday blog like you've never seen before. This is not that blog. This is also not the AFI studio update blog, nor is it the psychedelic photo blog, or even the mammoth regeneration fund raising blog.

The holidays are upon us, and what better way to celebrate (or not to celebrate) than with BRAND NEW ORIGINAL HOLIDAY SONGS!
...and who better to deliver these gems to you than Dan Kelly and yours truly, now professionally known as Dan & Hunter. Dan and I have slaved away in the Torture Chamber for countless hours to craft some holiday revelry like nothing that has ever graced the ear drums of my neighborhood...and perhaps even yours. The result of our blood, sweat, tears and cookie consumption is:

Dan & Hunter's Holiday EP Volume One.




Dan and I have immersed ourselves so deeply in holiday spirit that we just can't stop. "Stop what?" you ask? Stop ourselves from adding songs, pictures, videos, and other fun things to our myspace page. Listen friends, I understand that maybe some of you don't like the holidays because of a bad experience or perhaps you question the commercial nature of the season. That's okay. You're completely welcome to disregard this blog entirely. Click here to visit the wikipedia entry for the Apatosaurus which briefly discusses the controversy over the "Brontosaurus" classification.

Check back soon for more blogs, and to paraphrase the invincible Phil Collins,
"Have a great weekend...I'll be in the studio."