Sunday, May 09, 2010

The 100 Coolest Things of 2009... #10 thru 6

We inch closer to telling you the things of all of 2009...

The 10th Coolest Thing of 2009... "Bombs Over Baghdad" by OutKast
Sometimes I come a little late to the party when it comes to pop culture--especially music... in fact, I heard my first Lady GaGa song the other night.  "Alejandro"... it was so-so.  I think I fast forwarded through the last half of it.

So, since 2009 was the end of the decade, we had loads of "End of..." and "Best of the 2000s" lists, much of which included music.  I'm goofing around on Google, and I ran across Pitchfork Media online, which had a list of the Top 100 Songs of the Decade.  #2 was "Hey Ya" by OutKast... and #1 was "B.O.B. (bombs over baghdad)" by OutKast, as featured on the 2000 album "Stankonia".  I was like, "What the hey is B.O.B.?", so I went onto YouTube and found the video and watched it.  And was hooked instantly.

This is a PG-13 rated video... there are wiggly booties and an N-word in here somewhere, just so you know.  Beware.

You know those songs that, no matter how loud the radio or your iPod is turned up, you need to edge up the volume just a little more when they come on?  "La Grange" by ZZ Top, "Loungin" by LL Cool J, "Crazy on You" by Heart and "Everything Zen" by Bush are songs like that.   And just with one single "don't need to bang less you plan to hit something..." this song was added to the rotation.

Here's what Pitchfork Media had to say about it:  I'm not even covering all of its turf when I list that it contains: the reverbed drums of first-wave hip-hop (played at the tempo of booty hip-hop), organs suggesting "The House of the Rising Sun", futro blips, George Clinton freakouts, choral gospel, rave-up drum-n-bass, Prince funk-metal, speed-scratching, and an extended roller-rink outro. I tell curious people who have never heard it to imagine that Public Enemy handed Side 2 of Fear of a Black Planet over to Southerners.

And yes, Andre 3000 and Big Boi... I do believe a pimp can rock a microphone.

The 9th Coolest Thing of 2009... "Up"
From July 9th, 2009... If there is any issue with Pixar movies, it is this… one day, they are going to make a bad movie. One day, they are going to release flick that is just… well, not good at all. So far, we’ve been entertained by the 9th Coolest Thing of 2008, a friendship between a cowboy and a Space Ranger, a bunch of ants with four legs, some monsters in the closet, talking cars, cooking rats, a lost fish and ranking 20th on TheDave 100, a family of superheroes. So, could this be it? A movie about an old man and a Wilderness Scout who fly in a house to South America? Could this be the inevitable misstep?


“Up” is magnificent in every way possible. The story is fun and sweet, and somehow, the theater gets a little dusty after the first fifteen minutes. The music is fantastic, especially in that first fifteen minutes. The characters are likable, even lovable, from a dorky Scout who is deeper than a dork, to a goofy talking dog, who doesn’t talk by normal Disney standards, but through an inventive collar. Perhaps the least likable character is the actual bad guy, who is really only unlikable because you don’t see much of who he is, other than a jerkface. The main character though, is Carl, who seems cantankerous and miserly, but you’ll discover has his reasons.

How can an animated film make you feel so emotional?  That's the power of this early scene right here.
The color is marvelous. The scene when the roof comes off and the balloons fill the sky is incredible, a feast of color and animation brilliance. My recommendation is see this movie in 2-D, not 3-D. The 3-D glasses tend to dim the color slightly, and you don’t want that diminished in any way.

Enjoy the splendor, enjoy the color, enjoy the story, grab a hanky for the first few minutes of exposition between Carl & Ellie, and start worrying that maybe the next Pixar movie—Toy Story 3 in 3-D—will be the misstep.  (ps... I heard that last week, Toy Story 3 is completely finished and in the can.  And the early buzz on it is fantastic)

The 8th Coolest Thing of 2009... The Lovely Steph Leann's Class Reunion
Excerpts from September 1st, 2009...  One of the best (or worst, depending on who you are) parts about a class reunion, be it five, ten, fifteen or beyond, is seeing people that you hadn't seen in a long, long time. Friends you had, chicks you crushed on, people you didn't care for (but can't remember quite why), people you just knew and were used to seeing every day for years and years and suddenly, strangely, they are completely out of your life in every way possible.

When it comes to my own reunion back in 2002, for my 10th year anniversary of the Class of 1993, I saw some faces I welcomed like Chris McCall, Tonya Windham, Greg Avant, Stephanie Phillips, Tammy Thomas... now, I can keep up with them via Facebook. Some people, like my 4th grade crush Misty Kimble, I haven't actually seen since we walked off the football field around 8:30pm graduation night.

I think anyone who had been to a high school reunion will relate to some of this... just like The Lovely Steph Leann and DeLisa, who were attending their 15th anniversary of the Baker High School (Mobile, AL) Class of 1994.

The reunion was held at The Blue Gill Restaurant over in nearby Spanish Fort, out on the patio. While DeLisa had scrounged around for her 1994 Senior Yearbook, "The Novis", The Lovely Steph Leann had dug in the archives to find a ton of pictures, spirit ribbons, buttons and all sorts of nostalgic memorabilia. We walked through the restaurant to find a girl named Lynn Sprouse (now Kilgore), who quickly became one of my favorites of the night. It seemed that DeLisa and Lynn were part of a larger committee to help plan this shindig, but over time, it became ONLY DeLisa and Lynn planning this shindig, so while friendly enough, Lynn was quick to point out the failings of some other people. And it made me laugh.

The full story of the weekend can be found here... first, a post where DeNick and I went treasure hunting, and a photo essay on all the great finds we came upon... and secondly, the reunion overall, including my photography impersonation of Lesley Foley of Foley Photography, serving the Florida Panhandle and Southern Alabama, contact 850-543-7407, the porn star next door and these things being spoken:

"Those aren't real."

"I checked her photo. She's pretty hot now, especially since she got her eyebrows under control."
"Time has not been good to him."
"Time has not been good to her."
"Wow... time has been that guy's friend, I think."
"Dude, time has been very, very good to her."

And my favorite exchange of the night:

DeNick: That chick's top... not many people can do a top like that, but she managed to pull it off.
Me: I'm sure a few more beers and that's exactly what she'll do
DeNick (leaning over, trying not to choke on his $3 brew)

The 7th Coolest Thing of 2009... Disney with The Rays
The 6th Coolest Thing of 2009... Steven & Calah Ray
These two can be combined into one spot... we were setting up our trip to Disney World for June 2009 early in the year, and actually had a couple that had discussed going with us.  That fell through, and The Lovely Steph Leann and I discussed the idea of inviting these two people we'd just met, that being Steven Ray and his wife Calah.

They were fairly new in our Sunday School Life Connection class at Valleydale Baptist Church (an sbc fellowship), and our brief interactions had been... well, pleasant, but brief.  We knew he was close to 30, maybe 30ish, she was around 24 or 25... 23?  Who knows.  Anyway, we had enjoyed chatting with them...

So on a Sunday morning, I sat next to Calah and said, "Hey, you wanna go to Disney World with me and The Lovely Steph Leann?   In June.  It will be on the cheap..." and her eyes lit up and she said, "Uh... yeah... definitely.  Let me talk to Steven, but I think we can do this." 

And so we met up a few times, and each time we did we learned more and more about the Rays--and liked them more and more as well--as we planned our trip.  We stayed at All Star Music, and the Rays did the right thing... they trusted us and followed our lead in an effort to do as much as possible over the few days we were there.  It was go go go for three solid days, much of the time spent with Steven and Calah, and we had a few times apart from them so we could do our own thing.   I tell ya, if you want to get to know someone well, spend 10 hours in a Trailblazer, spend a weekend at The Most Magical Place on Earth, and spend another 10 hours in that same Trailblazer...

We got to know them well, and loved them greatly.  Steven is a former music minister, so The Lovely Steph Leann relates to him easy because she is a child of music as well... I relate to him because he's a guy my age.  Calah is a bit younger, an optometry student, but sometimes more mature that both of us guys... and since our friendship has lasted over a year now, with frequent lunches, frequent dinners and frequent game nights...

...and you know what else we love about Steven and Calah Ray?  They call us. 

See, The Lovely Steph Leann and I love socializing... we love being around people, we love dinners and having people over and such... but in our busy lives, we don't have time to call people alot.  Its nice when people call us every now and then, and to the Rays credit, they've done just that... randomly, I'll get a text that says, "BUFFALO WINGS DINNER?" or "YOU GUYS BUSY?  CARDS?" and we'll say "YEAH!" or "YEAH!"

Their marriage is sweet, you can tell just being around them that he adores her and dotes on her constantly, and you can tell that she not only loves him, but admires and respects him as well.  I hope that people see that between The Lovely Steph Leann and I when we are together.

Anyway, we loved our weekend vacation with The Rays and we love our friendship with them as well.  We think both are extremely cool.

Coming up... what IS the coolest thing of 2009?  Is it Disney again?  Is it another piece of technology?  Is it an unlikely starlet with a catchy tune?  Its all Up in the Air... this week, the Top Five Coolest Things of 2009.

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