Sunday, February 28, 2010

D.A.N.Y.E. System Review for "Shutter Island"

Welcome to the D.A.N.Y.E. System 2.0 review for Martin Scorsese's film
"Shutter Island". For those of you who don't remember what the acronyms stand for, it's Dialogue, "Awe" or "Awful" factor, Nudity, "Yes" Factor and Entertainment Level. Ever since I saw my first preview for this movie last summer, I set my expectations high. After reading the book, my expectations were sent to an almost unreachable level, and it wasn't until about a half hour before seeing the movie that I realized that there was a distinct possibility that I would be let down. Needless to say I was somewhat let down, but nevertheless read the review and see the movie for yourself before passing judgement.

Dialogue- Right off the bat it was apparent that the dialogue in this movie would be very frantic and fast paced. The first scene in the movie shows U.S. Marshall's Teddy and Chuck on a boat to Shutter Island, talking about the mission and getting to know each other with incredibly quick banter that would continue for the duration of the movie. It almost seemed sped up to the point of unprofessionalism, and I wasn't really sure what the benefit of this style of conversation brought to the film. The writing was well done, but let us not kid ourselves, Lehane's novel served the story up on a silver platter of perfection. With that being said, I wasn't too crazy about the adaptation from book to screen, most notably during the stories most important scene at the lighthouse, when Teddy is forced to accept some harsh realizations about who is really is. I felt that scene really lacked the passion, fear and closure that the book brought to life so wonderfully.

"Awe" or "Awful" Factor- In this case, "Awe". Now the movie as a whole didn't really awe me too much, however it did feature some of the best dream/hallucination sequences that I have ever seen. To the casual movie viewer, it may have been hard to understand at all times what was unfolding before your eyes because it was very confusing and somewhat all over the place. However, I thought it was fantastic and really helped move the story along, all leading up to the (Spoiler Alert!) inevitable insanity of DiCaprio's character.

Nudity- This movie had about as much nudity as an Amish after-prom, and if that attempt at a joke was too dumb for you to comprehend I'll spell it out for you in laments terms: there was none. In the book there is a flashback sex scene between Teddy and his wife Deloris, but I guess that didn't make the cut to the big screen. Sure, you wouldn't really expect a physiatric thriller, set in a 1950's insane asylum to have much nudity, but would it have really killed them to throw in a boob or two?

"Yes" Factor- Despite my ridiculously high expectations for this movie, it still left me walking away with that yes factor that makes movies work for me. I think the main reason why it worked so well was because of how much I found myself rooting for/hoping against all odds for Leo's character. Right from the get-go when I noticed his pink and green flowered tie, it was pretty evident that he wasn't all there in the head, but that still doesn't stop you from wanting to believe that there is some kind of conspiracy going on against him, and that he really is not crazy.
Mark Ruffalo's character "Chuck" aka the other Marshall aka Dr. Sheenan, didn't bring much to the table, and I felt his role disappointed me. In the book Chuck does a great job of reassuring Teddy, following orders, and helping to crack the case; where as in the movie I found him to be a complete bore, and terrible actor. Ruffalo, along with the lighthouse scene, will go down as the two things I disliked the most about "Shutter Island."
Despite being hard to watch at certain times (Spoiler Alert! i.e. the last dream sequence where we see Leo drag his three dead children out of a lake/murder his manic depressive wife) "Shutter Island" definitely has many re-watchable characteristics. I'm looking forward to seeing it a few more times to really get a good sense of what is real and what is all a set up. After all, nothing in Shutter Island is what it appears to be.

Entertainment Level- I give "Shutter Island" a 9 out of 10 when it comes to how entertaining it was. Now I wouldn't give it that same grade in terms of overall performance, but it was most certainly entertaining. Any movie that leaves you confused, is visually stimulating, and keeps you on your toes throughout the duration means that is succeeded in entertaining you. Yes, the more you think about it, and I'm sure the more you re-watch it, the more you will start to realize how obvious it is that the whole operation is staged, but it is a great mystery and certainly a grade A mind fuck. Everything snowballs extremely quickly towards the end, and you have to stay on your toes to pick up on the chaos that is unraveling all around him.

My recommendation: READ THE BOOK!!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

"I got a thing for Milano, Biscotti Italiano's and I never turn down some Oreo's if you got them"

Just like Nick Ross, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet (pause). The weekend is once again upon us, and it is my civil duty to drop some tunes for you to help make your weekend pop-off. The above song is called "Cookie Jar" by The Gym Class Heroes, and although the song is a couple of years old it still makes the ladies go crazy. This song really reminds me of a trip that my friend Ryan and I took to Oneonta during the fall of 2008. We were visiting some friends, and that night they had a party at their apartment, the AEPi house. Everything started out normal, sorority girls running around, some pulsating flashing lights, cheap keg beer and jungle juice. Standard college party. That is, until "Cookie Jar" started bumping out from the speakers. The second that "I like girls, they like me" started playing it was like an audio social lubricant. Girls bending over and dropping it like it's hot, all the while full on grabbing dudes "junk" like they were digging for gold. My dude Travolta (pictured to the right) immediately started going in like a Drake and Lil Wayne song, it was something straight out of a movie. Ryan and I just stood there in awe of what was going on around us, and after 3 and a half minutes we were changed men. I've still never witnessed anything like that in my life, and anytime I hear this song I'm immediately brought back to that night in Oneonta when all those girls threw their inhibitions to the wind, and grabbed for that cookie jar on the dance floor...


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Weekend Is Here; It's Time To Get Ill

Alright so the weekend is finally upon us. Tiger just told the world that he is a Buddhist, the Knicks have cleared up enough cap space to buy the world this summer, and the above soundboard has completely taken over my life . So with that being said I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. I've been bumping a lot of Beastie Boys lately, namely the "License To Ill" disc. The album is straight fiya.

The city boys could really bring it back in the day (pause), and their rhymes are fresher then a degree stick. Lately, my favorite tracks from Ill have been "Rhymin & Stealin", "The New Style", "Hold It Now Hit It" and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn."

Anyways, I'm hungover and about to crawl back into bed to watch "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Hurt Locker" back to back (expect a D.A.N.Y.E. system review shortly) so I apologize for the short post. Enjoy the beats and have an ILL weekend.

"Yo ho ho and a pint of Brass Monkey,
And when my girlie shakes her hips - she sure gets funky"


Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Really Happened To Uncle Jesse In High School?

So yesterday afternoon, while doing what most college students my age do (eat taco bell and watch "Full House" with my roommates), I couldn't help but notice a crucial flaw in the story line that was unfolding right before my eyes. In the episode "One Last Kiss" (season 4, episode 9) Uncle Jesse attends his 10 year high school reunion. During this episode he is reunited with his old girlfriend Carrie, and sparks immediately fly. They even show a flashback to the day before graduation of Jesse riding his motorcycle into the gymnasium to meet Carrie. She is shocked that he would just ride his bike into the school like that and tells him so, to which Jesse responds "I'm graduating tomorrow, what can they do, expel me?" After some more small talk, she eventually drops the bomb on him that she will be leaving for Europe to pursue a modeling career, thus ending their relationship.

Fast forward to later on in the episode when they slow dance to "their song" at the reunion, followed by Jesse running out on her because he is already engaged to Becky and feels bad. Carrie ends up knocking on his door later on (God only knows how she found out where he lives, considering it is the Tanner household), and before she leaves, they kiss. This just goes to further make Jesse realize his love for Becky, blah blah blah and everything ends up happily ever after.

Or did it? After viewing that episode, I was reminded of another Full House episode where things went a little differently...

In the episode "Educating Jesse" (season 5) DJ and Kimmy set off to work on a "Stay In School" campaign, with the help and support of everyone in the house. Everyone except Uncle Jesse, that is. We later find out that Uncle Jesse was a high school dropout, thus making him feel like a fraud for supporting a stay in school project. He finally gets the courage to go back and finish up high school, but the English teacher that embarrassed him in the first place by making him recite Walt Whitman's "O Captain, my Captain", is still there, and Jesse drops out again. However, after helping Michelle learn to tie her shoe, Jesse has an epiphany and decides to give high school one last chance.

By the end of the episode Jesse has overcome his fear of "O Captain", and somehow in a mere 22 minute show, is granted Valedictorian of the graduating class. However, on the way to graduation the train they're on breaks down and he misses the ceremony. A mock-graduation is held on the subway, and once again there is a happy ending.

What I would really like to know is how is it acceptable for a popular television show to contradict itself so blatantly from one season to the next? Sure there are bigger problems in the world; war, recession, poverty, swine flu, trying to figure out LOST etc. but still this seems ludicrous to me.

There really isn't much more to say about this matter, so I'll leave you with this clip of Uncle Jesse finding out he's having a baby!

and this Levi's "O Pioneer" commercial (words by Walt Whitman), which was my favorite commercial of 2009. Granted it had absolutely nothing to do with jeans whatsoever but the words from it make me proud to be an American

"Have mercy"- Uncle Jesse


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Interview With New York Producer Kevin Casey

My man Kevin Casey took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for The 2 Man Weave. Kevin recently dropped his first mixtape, "Live From New York" which features groundbreaking New York Hip Hop, to much acclaim. I have had the privilege of knowing Kevin for years now, and am very excited to see what he is going to do next. There is no doubt that his hard work and musical talent will earn him great success. Check out his website for great music, as well as a free download of his mixtape "Live From New York", and get familiar...before it's too late.

By dropping a New York only mixtape, it's obvious New York based hip-hop has had a large influence on you and your career. What other musicians, types of music, etc... have influenced you?

Growing up I was constantly surrounded by music - mostly stuff from the 50sand 60s. I remember my dad having a big collectors set for each decade of all the hit records, each one holding at least 30 tapes. Long car rides between New York and Toronto meant long listening sessions, and I quickly learned all those songs inside out. Playing the alto saxophone in middle school and high school got me more familiar with other genres, mostly jazz. And then as of more recently I've been locked into funk and soul stuff from the 60s and 70s. Oh yea, and hip hop.

Your blog, , displays a wide array of music. What is your goal with the blog, and what made you decide to start a blog?

I didn't want to just start a hip hop blog that reported on the hip-hop world's "news of the day." To be completely honest, I wasn't even comfortable with the word BLOG until very recently. I understand it's value now, and I also just enjoy sharing music that I listen to. If I come across that one song of the day that has me addicted to it, why not share that. My man Buckwild once said to me that my site is more about "culture" than hip hop music ... so I'll go with that too. It's also a good way to support projects of mine and the people around me.

Music, and rap/hip-hop in particular, is in a terrible state. What are you doing to elevate the state of music and blow a breath of fresh air to the music business?

I think all I can do in my position is just work hard and make sure the stuff I put out is to the best of my ability, and nothing less. I do have to say that I believe hip-hop is on an upward trend... how far along on the spectrum I don't know, but I think it's moving in a good direction. I would just like to see all the people that ask for "real hip hop" be ready to buy the projects that come out in that lane. If they are not doing that, and just talking about it, then they are part of the problem. We're all at least a little guilty of this.

What has it been like working closely with notable producers such as Scram Jones and Buckwild? How have they influenced your music, as well as your career?

First off, I have to say that my man Dub Sonata was the first one to really see potential in what I did with music, and bring me around the people that I'm around now. He is also one of the dopest producers I know. Being around Scram and Buck has only been positive... watching these dudes make beats is just like being in class - you try to learn as much as you can. Well, I guess that makes it not really like any class I've been in, but I think you get my point. Biggest thing is that I am friends with all the people I make music around, and that can be a hard find in the industry.

When did you first realize that you wanted pursue a career in music?

Probably around the time I really fell in love with DJ-ing while going to college. I got paid for the first time for having fun with music, and it felt good. I started making beats on my computer, and that was that. There is such a high level that this can be taken to ... I look at someone like Quincy Jones and get depressed, but then excited. Depressed that I am where I am, and he is where he is ... but excited that if I apply myself, there is so much room to grow as a producer. That's what I love about creative arts, you have the opportunity to take your craft to the highest level. I don't think I should ever reach a point where I am 100% satisfied. I got alot to learn but I'm all in.

Any new projects your working on?

I like to just put stuff out and not talk about it in advance, but I will say that the next time you hear a Live From New York style mixtape from me it will not be what you expect. 2manweave, it's been real.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Three Things To Look Forward Too (Feb 12th Edition)

#1. Knicks Well Represented At All-Star Weekend! Yes, for the first time in nearly ten years a member of the New York Knicks will play in the All-Star game. Double-double machine David Lee was added to the Eastern Conference roster earlier this week, after it was announced that Allen Iverson (who was undeserving of a spot in the first place, but was voted to start by the fans) would not partake in the game due to an injury. Lee's recognition as a star is long overdue, and he has been one of the lone bright spots on the Knicks for the past five years.
Additionally, Danillo Gallinari (the Rooster) will be participating in the Rookie-Sophomore game Friday night, and the 3 Point Shootout on Saturday. Both are big accomplishments for the second year sharp shooter from Italy, who is quickly emerging as a fan favorite at the Garden. He leads the NBA in 3 point field goals made, and at +300 odds, is a great sleeper choice to win the shootout tomorrow.
Lastly, I'm looking forward to the return of 2-time champ Krypto-Nate to the Dunk Contest Saturday night. The 5'9 human trampoline is making his fourth appearance in the dunk contest and is the runaway favorite to take home the title again. You never know what Nate has up his sleeve as far as dunks are concerned (or actions for that matter) but I hope he brings his "A" game tomorrow cause the kid can flat out fly.

#2. "Shutter Island". Okay so I know this movie doesn't come out for another week (Feb 19th) but I can't keep quiet about it anymore. Ever since reading the book in early December I've become obsessed with this story and have been anxiously awaiting the movie. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as U.S. deputy Teddy Edwards, who is sent to the Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of one of its patients, Rachel Solando. However nothing on the island is what it seems to be, and this story has more twists and turns then Lombard Street. The book was written by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) who is one of the best authors of our generation, and I recommend everyone read the book before seeing it in theaters. However, if you don't have time to read it, I 100% encourage you to go see the movie. It will leave your mind scrambled and jaw on the floor. Peep the trailer below, movie is going to be dynamite.

#3. Spring Break! Yes, this is even further away then "Shutter Island" (March 13-21), but I can taste the beach already. Plans are in the works for Panama City, Fla, a place I went two years ago and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun times of my life. Also, lets call a spade a spade, and agree that there is nothing greater then a spring break trip. Countless no-strings-attached hookups with people your never going to see again, all the while partying your face off for seven consecutive days and nights. Seriously is there anything better then waking up and hitting the beach, 30 rack in hand, with an endless sea of beautiful bikini clad women? The night life is even better, going to the clubs and drinking on the beach until the sun comes up. And for all the one and done girls you meet, there is always the chance that you will find a cool group of people to become friends, and stay in touch with (shout out to ECU and UF '08).
Lastly, I'll leave you with some lyrics from Mike Pinto's "One More Time", which will always remind me of both Panama City (and the people who went with me) and spring break in general. For those of you that stalk me, yes, these are the same lyrics that have inhabited my "favorite quotes" section on my Facebook page for the past two years.

"Let’s have conversations bout the past thinking when was the last
Time we spent you know we cared less if our days went fast
Let’s reminisce about the ones we’ve kissed
And mention all the friends we both have missed
Flashback to the road trips in the summertime
Listening to sublime taking our time while the bass line
Shakes the rear view there’s no need to speed
Cause my friend with weed is a friend indeed
Partying down the beach in a hotel room
There was no need to sleep cause the sun would soon
Go on and meet us and greet us as we sat there waiting
Listening to the sounds of our young hearts breakin’
With the crashin’ waves we knew we’d go our separate ways
Times they change like stories never told the same
To all my friends old and new there’s nothing to it
Live this day like it’s your last let’s do it"

"Well you can crank up the music and be well supplied
But a party ain’t a party till your friends arrive"


Oh yea and happy 25th birthday to my man G-Flem, much love

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Ode To Killa

Cam'ron has always been one of my favorite rappers for two reasons, 1. he convinced every heterosexual male that it was cool to wear pink, and 2. he is possibly the funniest dude on the planet. Here's a brief collection of his finest work:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

R.I.P. Big Pun

Sunday February 7 marked the ten year anniversary of Big Punisher's death. Big Pun is one of my favorite rappers of all time, so I thought this would be a fitting tribute to a man who was taken from us way too early.

Few rappers could control the microphone like Pun, his wordplay and dynamic while rapping is unparalleled and has paved the way for many quick-tongued rappers, such as Eminem. Pun emerged from the Bronx, NY rap scene in 1993 when he opened up the Beatnuts classic "Off the Books" and laid lyrical slaughter on the song, and easily stole the show. Pun was soon signed to a solo deal with Loud Records and his mark would soon be left on the rap world.

Pun was raised in the South Bronx's Puerto Rican community, and to put it bluntly, was raised rough. Struggling with his mother's drug problem, a non existent biological father, and an abusive stepfather, Pun would become quite destructive and angry, however, all of this led to him dropping some of the realest verses hip hop has ever scene. Pun alluded to his fatherless childhood on the song "Punish Me", when he wrote,

I wanna raise my little man but you keep resistin
I'm insistin you chill for real before you come up missin
Listen, I don't wanna fight I'd rather do what's right
A boy needs a father that's the most important part of his life

There's no doubt Pun had it rough growing up, but it was these memories that fueled his fire and motivated him to becoming one of the rawest MCs to ever touch the mic.

In 1998 Pun dropped his classic "Capital Punishment" that featured hit after hit. The album reached platinum status and Pun became the first latin rapper to reach platinum status, undoubtedly opening the door for other Latin rappers to achieve success in the rap world.

Unfortunately, just like few rappers could flow like Pun, none had an appetite like the man. Pun's weight fluctuated constantly to levels of obesity, and on February 7, 2000 Big Punisher died of a massive heart attack at the young age of 28, leaving a gap in hip hop music that still hasn't been fulfilled. Pun released 2 albums posthumously, "Yeeeeeahhhhhhh Baby" and a best of album entitled "Endangered Species". Endangered Species was the first Pun album I heard and it truly blew me away. I had never heard a MC control the mic like him and was thoroughly impressed by his wide array of hits. Throughout the years I have gone through several Ipods and computers, but this album always finds its way back onto my hard drive. Rest in Peace Pun, you are truly missed by the hip-hop community.

Here's a few of my favorite tracks by this legend, enjoy:

(Same video, different song)

This list could go on and on, he had that many hits. REMEMBER PUN!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Without Further Ado... "The 3 Man Weave" Radio Show today LIVE from 6-8pm

After much anticipation I'm finally taking The 2 Man Weave to the air-waves. Well, the idea that is. Listen up today from 6-8pm on 90.5fm "The Dragon", or if your not in a ten mile radius of Cortland, NY you can stream it live at Very easy, just click "Listen Live" and you'll be going in like a Tiger Woods putt. I'll be joined by John Fontaneli and Pat Montgomery. Text, call, or comment (at the bottom of this post) any song requests you want played, or shout outs to whomever. A.K.A. if your trying to impress a chick, hit me up with a message or what not, let the show play, and watch said girl get wet when she hears your name on the radio. Easy as pie. Which btw, what does that even mean? Is pie an easy food to make? Or are they talking about that 3.14 bullshit? It can't be easier to make then grilled cheese or a peanut butter sandwich right? Anyways for more rants like these, tune in!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Awiez Productions

This is gonna be short and sweet. A very close friend of mine made a song called Gold Rolls Royce. He put it on Said song jumped 1.5 million spots in less than a week. Please listen, and get familiar. Awiez Productions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The 2010 Lettuce/Ketchup Fiasco

I witnessed something today at lunch that was so unbelievably bizarre there was no way I could let the story go untold. Myself, JJ, Mike and Ryan went to Neubig (the all you can eat dining hall at Cortland) for a hungover lunch at around 12:30. I could barely manage to get down a hamburger, and everything I ate seemed to infuriate my stomach even more. After a half hour or so, we were about to leave when we saw the most outrageous display of cafeteria etiquette we had ever seen.

Standing a mere five feet away from us was a girl holding a single plate with a gigantic tower of shredded lettuce. The above photo really does it justice, like no kidding you would be able to keep a rabbit stuffed for a solid month with the amount she had on her plate, but oh no it didn't stop there. She then proceeded to walk over to the ketchup dispenser and beat the handle down with the rage of an unpaid pimp. Beating it down over and over again as the lettuce became hidden behind a tsunami of ketchup, but still that wasn't enough. She then proceeded to fill up three additional mini ketchup cups and walked over to her table that was adjacent to ours. You know the old saying about how you "can't look away from a train wreck", well that is exactly how we all felt at that time. We all had a vested interest in how much crazier this meal could potentially get for her, so we decided to stick it out and not leave until she finished.
It was brutal from the get-go. I dry heaved roughly six times during that first plate of lettuce/ketchup and at one point thought I was going to vomit exorcist style right there at the table. Not only was she eating the ketchup doused lettuce, but she would scoop out ketchup from her extra stash with a fork first before digging into her course. Watching that display of eating made my stomach twitch.

Ok, so first plate done. She ate it with all smiles, got up, and disappeared into the hot foods section of the dining hall. We thought we were good to go, but that's when she returned with yet another plate (and by plate I mean mountain) of shredded lettuce. Next stop, the ketchup dispenser. The first one she tried was predictably out of ketchup (and rightfully so after the beating it took from her last time), and the look of sheer anger in her eyes was unmistakable. It was as if she had just realized somebody had totaled her car in a hit-and-run and she didn't have insurance. Luckily for her, and us for our enjoyment pleasures, there was another full dispenser two feet to her right. Sure enough, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE, Hurricane Katrina pt.2 of ketchup flooding over her Mt. Vesuvius of lettuce.

It was at this time that we realized two freshman girls that we knew were sitting at another table nearby, but with a much better view of the situation (Yes, I jump at any chance to use the phrase "The Situation", deal with it). We immediately texted them begging to take a picture/video of what was unfolding before our eyes, but they rejected our requests. Stupid freshmen. Anyways we kept watching, laughing and at times almost crying over our disgust. Plate 2 was more of the same, and once she finished up with that, went to get a coffee. She came back empty handed and we assumed she was done devouring Roger Rabbits dinner, so we decided to call it quits and head home. Upon arriving in our driveway, Cummings received a text from the freshmen saying that she had in fact gotten A THIRD PLATE!!

So let that be a lesson to all of you, it's not over until the fat lady sings... or at least until rabbit ketchup loving girl leaves the dining hall!

Lastly, here is a great video I found of a child doing a ketchup keg stand at an A&W. No joke, we had bets going on whether or not she was going to attempt this.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane With YouTube

According to John Burgess, “Participatory culture is a term that is often used to talk about the apparent link between more accessible digital technologies, user created content, and some kind of shift in the power relations between media industries and their consumers.” For the past five years or so, there has been a drastic increase in user created content on the internet. This new trend puts the ball in the consumers “court” and essentially allows you to be as creative as you want, and has brought thousands of people fame and notoriety for the content that they have created. There is an endless amount of viral platforms to which you can upload your user created videos, pictures, or words, but in 2010, no site does it quite as well as YouTube.

I can still remember my first time on YouTube like it was yesterday. It was winter of my senior year, and I remember hearing everyone talk about this new video that a bunch of the skater kids in my high school had put together. At the time, I had never even heard of YouTube, but I followed instructions upon arriving to the site and found their video with no problem.

The video that they had created was a four minute lip synch of the song “Stay Fly” by Three Six Mafia. In total there were seven kids in the video, each taking turns rapping and dancing around the inside and outside of one of the kid’s houses. I was very impressed with their editing skills. At the time my only real experience with editing was sitting on a duel VCR TV and hitting record and stop while trying to put together a basketball highlight tape for colleges to look at. Very amateur when compared to the non-stop cuts and transitions that this video possessed. The video they made looked like the most fun thing to be a part of that I had ever seen. Since it was really early on in the YouTube days it got tons of hits and if I’m not mistaken even received some recognition. As of today the video has close to 155,000 views, and as I re-watch it again, I’m immediately brought back to the youthful feeling of wonder and appreciation that I felt when I would watch it in high school.

Seeing a video on YouTube for the first time is great feeling. It’s as if once you watch a video on the site for the first time you immediately feel connected with the rest of the world, or at least the other million people or so that have watched said video. Just the fact that a video is on the internet means that someone, somewhere, deemed it viewable, important, and thought the world should see it. YouTube has become the household name in terms of video sharing on the internet. My eight year old sister watches clips of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with my dad all the time, and it is the most used platform in the classroom these days when a video needs to be shown to the class. People of all ages are on it, making the user content range from pre-teens to senior citizens. The variety of videos is almost too much to handle sometimes, and on numerous occasions I’ve wondered where my day has gone just clicking from video to video.

I grew up in Westchester, New York, after living in Manhattan until I was five. Looking back now, I am very grateful for all the opportunities that I was given. Raised by very open-minded parents, creativity was something they always encouraged. As a child I would always write stories, songs, and draw comics. As I grew older, and eventually received a digital camera (December 2004), taking pictures and videos became my new hobby. I would bring that camera everywhere and was essentially the paparazzi for my group of friends. was the first website that I uploaded pictures to, and my experience with that site didn’t go over too well. Sometimes I would take and post pictures that perhaps the world wasn’t quite ready for, and after the school got a hold of my account, a few of my friends and I were reprimanded for some underage drinking pictures I had posted. But as my maturity increased, so did my love for the video camera, and after learning of YouTube, it became one of my passions. I started a YouTube account back in 2006 (danye33), and as of today have viewed over 29,000 videos (that I have been logged on to watch, thus excluding another easy 10,000 that I’m sure I wasn’t signed in for), and have uploaded 27 videos of my own that have been viewed over 20,000 times by people all over the world.

The shift in Internet use from passive to active is something that I have certainly lived through and been a part of. My first real memory of Internet participation would have to be when I used to create and edit my “profile” on AOL. As time has gone on, and the Internet continues to evolve just as all creations do, more and more sites have added features that beg for user participation. You would be hard pressed to find any website that doesn’t have some kind of poll on it for readers or at the very least comment boxes at the end of an article or video so that you can voice your personal opinions. I jumped into the YouTube craze head first, as opposed to the majority of my friends who passively chose to watch rather than create. Yes, there absolutely was a part of me that felt compelled to create content for the site, if not for creative reasons then merely for the fact that I loved what was going on, and wanted to be a part of it.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a billions times; trends are changing, and yes, today's youth has it much different from the world that even I grew up in. Television has become a luxury, it’s not something we need, or relay on like in the old days. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that over 90% of shows on television can be found in some shape or form on the Internet. With thousands of sites like Hulu, TV Shack, fancast and tvduck, not to mention all the networks sites that broadcast their own shows, you can basically watch any show, anytime, and with less, or at times no commercials. YouTube plays into this factor as well. Anytime something memorable happens on TV, i.e. Kanye West steals the microphone from Taylor Swift, you can bet your bottom dollar that the clip will end up on YouTube within the hour. This goes for almost anything, live performances, great sports plays, as well as countless unscripted mess-ups that normally we would never know about, but since there is a place like YouTube now we get to see it all hundreds and hundreds of times. Another thing that YouTube does is the occasional live broadcast of events such as electoral debates, concerts and state of the union addresses. YouTube continues to further fuse the two mediums of television and Internet together, and in the near future, I could see these two become one.

YouTube has provided me with more laughs, information and entertainment then I ever dreamed possible. It is a place of refuge from the everyday struggle, a place where you can sit back and enjoy what others out there just like you have created. In a small amount of time, I’ve watched the site grow into the worldwide phenomenon that it has become today, and luckily for me, I have been along for almost the entire ride. There is no telling what is next for the Internet, there never is. However, I’m thankful for what we have now, and the opportunity that YouTube has given me and millions of others like me to be heard, and now, to be seen.

I mean come on, without YouTube we may never have gotten to witness spaztic singing boy, peanut butter man, or the "Oh you mad cuz I'm stylin on you" rap battle fight gone wrong!


Monday, February 1, 2010

America Still Not Forgiving of Mr. West?

The 52nd Grammy Awards took place last night in Los Angeles, and all the stars were out shining bright (Snooki and Situation included!). The event came and went without problems, and was actually very enjoyable to watch. The performances were exceptional; a touching MJ tribute by some of the all-time greats like Smokey Robinson, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood and Usher, along with an upside down rendition of "Glitter In The Air" by Pink, Lady Gaga and Elton John dueling pianos with one another doused in Army-like face paint, Dave Matthews Band played with about 100 extras for their song "You and Me", and a great job by two of the usual suspects in popular music today- Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas. However, with all the notable celebs in attendance, there was one star whose absence from the awards was hard to ignore. That man, was Kanye West.

For years Kanye West has been at the epicenter of everything that is everything in the entertainment world, especially in regards to music. In fact, his first three albums all won Grammys for rap album of the year. However, the backlash from his mic-stealing stunt at the VMA's has become so apparent that his stellar "808's & Heartbreak" album didn't even receive a nomination. On top of that, West wasn't even invited to preform the single "Forever", a song on which he spits a verse. Drake, Lil Wayne, Eminem and Travis Barker (on the drums) performed the hit single to much praise, however the fact that Mr. West was not in the building (in contrast to his opening line in the song where he boasts "Mr. West is in the building") was all I could think about. I would compare last nights rendition of "Forever" to seeing the '92 Men's Dream Team play basketball, but without Michael Jordan. Sure you still got to watch all the greats, Eminem as Larry Bird, Weezy as Magic and a young Drake as an equally young Scottie. And undoubtedly they would still be very entertaining and win every game they played, but you wouldn't be able to help yourself from thinking about how good it could have been if Michael (Kanye) were there.
Ever since Kanye drunkenly stole that microphone from Taylor Swift during that legendary September night, nothing has been the same for the once lovable rapper. He was forced to cancel his winter "Fame Kills" tour with Lady Gaga, due to fears that ticket sales would be down as part of societies backlash on West, and I feel like his exclusion from this years Grammy Awards just goes to further solidify the uphill battle that lays in front of him. Lets face it, Taylor Swift is America's Sweetheart (Sorry Sammi, your a close second) and you can't embarrass and bully someone that everybody loves that much. It is just as if one of the hot "bitchy" girls from high school was caught bullying the nicest, prettiest, most popular girl in school. You just don't do it because you know everyone already likes that girl more then you, so stick to making fun of the out-casts, and bullying the Math Team in the cafeteria, and everything would have been fine. But if you take shots at someone who is not confrontational to begin with, mixed with the fact that she has the largest following in popular music today, then yea the outcome probably wasn't what you expected it to be.

Look, I still love Kanye West for all he has accomplished in his life, and all that his artwork has meant to me over the past eight years or so. He came from nothing to something, busted his ass as a producer, and then finally showed the world he could spit better then almost any cat out there when no one gave him a chance. I hope he can find a way to turn his ego down a few thousand notches and come back with the fire and motivation that propelled him to this level of fame in the first place. Let's not forget that A) this man is one of the hardest working people in the industry, and settles for nothing short of perfection and B) that we live in America people, the most forgiving country on the planet (i.e. Bill Clinton, A-Rod, Robert Downey Jr., Martha Stewart, Charlie Sheen, Madonna, O.J. etc.) and there is no reason why Kanye should be any different. I hope to see Mr. West back in the building at next years Grammys, playing with a chip on his shoulder, just like Jordan would do...

On a side, and somewhat related note, today is my mothers birthday. The video below is Kanye West preforming a tear-jerking rendition of "Hey Mamma" at the 2008 Grammys, shortly after his mother passed away. I remember watching this in my dorm room in Smith Tower live, and unsuccessfully trying to fight back tears. One of the purest things I've ever witnessed, and it is a song that my mom and I both love very much. Happy Birthday Loretts, enjoy!

"A livin legend too, just look at what heaven do,
Send us an angel, and I thank you- Mamma"

-danye fresh