Friday, December 31, 2010


Another year has come to a close; to be honest, I drafted an entire "2010" post, but I decided against it when rereading it as it seemed to be too cliche and sappy.  I'm at place as an English student, I love my friends, blah blah blah, I've changed as a person but only slightly, snore.

If anything that 2010 produced, it was this blog, my baby, Haus of Matt.  What began as a silly idea one August day with two readers became something much larger, what with regular readers and even readers in other countries than mine.  A lot has changed; the blog has undergone a face lift, and if you were to go back and read some of my first entries I'm sure you'd find a definite change in thematic material but especially my writing style.  I'm proud of my feat, keeping this up regularly.  In all honesty, I makes my day when people tell me how they love reading my posts or how they laugh at what I have to say or how they marvel at my writing abilities.  Nothing else makes me as happy as being complimented to my face; do so, and you'll make my day!  (do it today and you'll make my year, haha) For the upcoming year, trust that I'll be keeping up with my writing here; it's become too important for me to stop.

What do I have to look forward in 2011?  Well, not much.  I suppose come April I'll officially be half way through completing my university degree - that's wild, huh?  Come May 18th I'll be half way to 40.  Yikes.  Early 2011 I'll begin my ridiculous obsession with Lady Gaga's new album, Born This Way, and I'll likely never listen to any other music again for the rest of the year.  Next summer, I'll likely explode due to being such a nerd, as there's a massive amount of new superhero movies coming out - I can't WAIT for X-Men: First Class, not to mention the final Harry Potter.

On a personal level.. I'm not able to come up with any New Year's resolutions.  There isn't much I need to change about my life - I don't have many bad habits, let alone habits that hinder my well being.  Maybe it's just a sign of how comfortable I am with how and who I am; there's nothing pressing I need to change or nothing I need to attempt doing or what have you.  A few hours at the gym may not hurt.

If anything, I'm looking to keep things constant.  I hope to keep in good contact with my friends, to maintain the friendships I have now and make them better than ever.  I hope to keep up with my new found success in academics, and I'm sure that's more than doable.

Well, anyways.  I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2011, and I should only hope that I'm lucky enough to have the same!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Every year, I'm brimming with excitement at the idea of going Boxing Day shopping with the money I managed to scrape up through the Christmas rigmarole; every year, as my dad navigates through over crowded parking lots, I neurotically fear for my life as though we'll end up in a head-on collision with other eager shoppers; every year, I slowly lose my excitement throughout the crowd, left behind in each store, one after the other.  I don't know why I'm always so eager to go shopping on December 26th, because it usually results in the same two things: disappointment at the lack of deals, as well as red hot anger at the stupidity of people.

Well, this year, I was in fact successful in my conquest; perhaps the switching of location - Sherway Gardens instead of Square One - gave me additional luck.  I came away with a new shirt from Guess and a fly new jacket from a store from Amsterdam called Scotch & Soda.  Success!  My crowd-clubbing payed off!

Despite being lucky with my purchases (although I can still hear my wallet weeping), one thing never changed - stupid, stupid, STUPID people.

If there's anything I hate in this world, it's people.  That may come as a shock, given that social interaction is so vital to a happiness, especially mine; however I love time alone as much as anyone else.  On a bigger scale, I hate the general public; collectively, I find that large amounts of stupid people prove to come together to make large, stupid crowds.  People are selfish, rude, obnoxious or just plain stupid, and when thrust into the narrow hallways of shopping malls rabid with the disease of blind consumerism, they prove to be the biggest frustration to press my buttons and make me fume.

Have you ever found that when two people are heading in the direction of crossing paths - specifically, you crossing in front of someone else, or even just walking in their direction - YOU are the one to shift your stance to let them by or change your footing to avoid a collision?  In all honesty, I've NEVER been in a situation where my path is unbroken, where others stepping one foot to the left to let ME by; it's always me to make sure that I'M cautious of where the other person is going.  Now take that, and amplify it by a factor of 50.  I don't think I walked a single straight line today - people walking EVERYWHERE, so rude to notice you're walking, too, or so oblivious to your presence that they collide into your bags or shoulders (it happened), and rather than offering an apology scoff at you.  In fact, today, if I had a dollar for every person I spotted walking with their eyes down looking at their cell phone, I'd have enough money to buy two more of my new jacket - and that says a lot, considering the one I got was expensive to begin with.  Jesus, is it so hard to part from your BBM for five minutes?

I also have to say: why on God's green earth would you decide to bring your decrepit grandmother who can't walk more than two miles per hour or stupid six-month old baby in their tank-sized stroller to a goddamn mall on Boxing Day?  Here's where I tread the line of being rude, but it's the honest truth; people with strollers think it's THEIR right to soldier straight through a crowd, because oh, watch out! my baby!  Well, fuck off.  You idiot yuppie parents: a stroller will NOT easily navigate through an already tightly packed store, let alone on a day like today where people are literally shoulder to shoulder staring at isle upon isle.  I will not move for you just because you need to get by, because I am here for a reason.  I will not caution myself in my own goals to make room for you and your little gargoyle who should have been left at home with a grandparent, babysitter, friend, or savage dog.  A wolf would also suffice.

Likewise, I can't stand the people who walk slow.  I realize not everyone moves at a top speed - well, that would make them all the more ridiculous, running to The Bay - and I myself keep a regulated pace, not crawling though not running, but fast enough as if to advertise "hello, I'm here to shop and do what I need to do, and it's an added bonus if I'm done with time to spare."  Relating to my mention of decrepit elderly people: why would you let them tag along if they have trouble walking?  Why inject them into a situation with people running at top speed, where their slow speed is nothing but a hindrance on everyone else?  Well, maybe I'm lying: I don't care for their well-being, if they're stupid enough to come to a busy mall on Boxing Day then oh well if the soles of my shoes happen to trample them.  Okay, that's overly harsh.  The things I say for a laugh..

I can't stand people who suddenly stop in their tracks, or form immobile groups staring incredulously at their surroundings as if they'd just been returned to Earth from their alien adventure.  If it's busy, it's likely that I'll be pressed against you heels; likewise, if you come to a complete stop because you're a stupid fuck, I'll probably hit into you out of unpreparedness for your stupid decision.

Boxing Day is just the solid representation of everything wrong with Christmas - so much so that even I am aware that I am indulgent of the craziness (I'm an aware hypocrite, commenting on my own actions and my own kind).  Our society has been brainwashed into a mode of buy buy buy, and the ideal has infected our minds like a plague, controlling us into thinking that we simply MUST take advantage of the deals at hand.  Spending for the sake of spending.

Well, anyways.  There's a whole lot of wrong with my Boxing Day escapades, but I think I've made myself comfortable with being so spiteful - or, at least, comfortable enough that I'll be back again Boxing Day 2011 feeling right at home with yelling at idiots.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


As I was anticipating, Christmas wasn't much this year.  The spirit never caught up with me, I didn't really look forward to it, and today proved to be one of the worst - if not the worst - Christmas I've had in my life.  Somehow, thinking with my heart instead of my head seemed to screw me over far worse than being selfish.  I have no remorse for the end of this Christmas season, and after everything, if anything, I feel as though my heart has frozen over against my will.  I'd go on, I'd go in depth, but that wouldn't do me any good.  Boo freakin hoo, right?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sweet girl

This semi movie review of Black Swan has been inevitable, given that I've been unsuccessful in getting the movie out of my head since seeing it on Sunday night.

I don't really know where to start.  I guess I'll say that it was a very, very well done movie brimming with eerie good performances.  I'm more than certain that this year's winner of the Best Actress Oscar will be Natalie Portman who convincingly portrays an innocent ballerina who is driven slowly to insanity in her pursuit of perfection.  Given the pattern already in the nominations for the Golden Globes or SAG Awards, it also looks like Mila Kunis will at least be nominated for Best Supporting Actress; while she was good, she wasn't amazing by any means - or, at least, not when compared to Winona Ryder as a disturbed ballerina fallen from her prime or Barbara Hershey (who I was compelled to look up after seeing the movie) as Natalie Portman's frightening mother.  Mila Kunis has come a long way since That 70's Show, though, and I'm a fan.

I also need to note that - at least to me - the movie was falsely advertised; when it comes down to it, it was largely a horror film.  Here's what I saw it as in the trailers: a movie about the competition between two ballerinas for the lead in the company production with psychological thriller aspects.  Oh yes, the thriller is still intact; what I was shocked to find was that the competition between the two - Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis - is nearly non-existent, and that the central conflict is an internal one in Portman's Nina.  Nina's obsession with perfection is what manifests the idea of Kunis' Lily as trying to sabotage her; Nina sees small instances of disturbance as treachery (such as, for example, Lily coming in late to an audition and slamming the door causing Nina to lose balance while dancing) and soon begins to lose herself in the idea that Lily, along with others, are out to get her.  I wish that the movie WAS more about rivalry, but I feel that my surprise to the more internal insanity had me all the more invested.

If anything to describe my experience of this movie, I'll use a list of words: unsettling, uncomfortable, shocking, disturbing.  Like I said, the movie felt like a horror movie; there was an overall backdrop of some foreboding presence over the entire movie, and I constantly had my guard up as I figured something was bound to happen or pop up.  Towards the end of the movie at the height of the protagonist's decent was where I was curled in my seat half covering my eyes; instance after instance had me jumping a good five feet from my seated position causing my heart to skip and pound.  By that point, I guess, the constant whispering noises throughout the movie up until that point were taking their toll on me (neat trick.  Nina hears voices everywhere, and upon coming home after the movie late at night, I was sure I did to, my mind replaying the laughter and whispering and projecting them into what I thought was real life lurking in the corners of my house).  I'll forever be haunted by the image of a character's sudden and downright terrifying self mutilation, as well as the apparition of that character in another's kitchen after whispering "sweet girl" from the darkness.  I get shivers thinking about it.

Aside from the suspense, I found the movie was considerably gory, though not in the sense of a slasher film like Friday the 13th or Saw; instead, we were given long lasting shots of realistic, disgusting injuries, as Nina's nails constantly bleed (leading to something DISGUSTING), for example, or her "rash."  I much preferred the style of gore presented in this movie; I'm far more affected and unnerved by cracked bleeding nails or bones breaking than I am when I see a stupid horror movie character get stabbed comically.

As I said, I can't stop thinking about the movie; I can't stop thinking about the disturbing images, but mostly, I'm still sorting out what was real and what wasn't.  The audience is subjected to these confusing instances - including sex and murder - and we're left to decide whether it actually happened or if it was in the confines of Nina's mind.  If anything, I'll say that the movie is one big metaphor.  You'll see what I mean when and if you ever watch it (or if you already have), specifically in things like the feathers.

If you think you can stomach it, I highly, highly recommend the movie; in fact, I've already decided that I need to see it again eventually to straighten things out in my mind about what's shown.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas blues

Only now eight days away, I have yet to get into the Christmas spirit this year.

Perhaps it's due to my parents' resistance against the Christmas phenomenon - and yes, I say phenomenon, but getting into a rant about the true meaning of the holidays NOT being consumerism is a whole different story and blog post on it's own.  I won't go there.  I digress; my parents, year in and year out, always make comments about how they don't want to put up lights outside or a tree or our inside decorations.  And year in and year out, my sister and I protest their decision to the point of victory through sheer annoyance on our parts.  And so, for another year, the tree went up with great reluctance; the majority of the decorations remained boxed, aside from the stockings and tree trimmings and the occasional nutcracker; and the whole decorating process was filled with hot headed argument.  Perhaps now when I look at the tree across from me in the family room, I see a transparent representation of holiday love and cheer.

Perhaps it's because Christmas is very chopped up this year - I'm having Christmas on Saturday, the 18th.  Here's how Christmas usually works for my family: my dad's side consists of my nonna and my dad's four siblings and their kids (my cousins) and in one case, their kids too; my mom's side is my grandma and grandpa (or Nanny and Baboog, for your information.  My mom's Armenian, so that's what we call them.  Yep, I'm half Armenian, it's weird to consider given that I'm actually half Middle Eastern) plus my mom's two sisters, neither of whom have kids and only one of whom is married.  Usually, Christmas Eve is when we see my dad's side, and Christmas Day is comprised of the morning between me and my parents and sister as well as the day itself with my mom's family.  My one aunt and uncle, however, are going to Australia for a month, and are leaving Christmas Eve; therefore, to accommodate for them, we're doing the family Christmas on the 18th.  Christmas Eve is still intact, though completely devoid of anything cheery, given that presents are completely nixed; Christmas Day will still be intact, just without my aunt and uncle.  Therefore, I'm thinking this severely segmented Christmas takes away the whole magic behind it; the 18th doesn't seem like Christmas even though we're doing the whole shabang, but maybe it's me not letting myself be ignorant to the date.  You'd think more Christmas events would mean more Christmas spirit.  Nah.

Perhaps it's due to the fact that this year's Christmas seems to be a rush.  The malls have been even more packed than usual (or, it feels like it) and looking for gifts is a downright task.  Along those same lines..

Perhaps - and I'm thinking this might be the realest of all - it's because I've been now told on multiple occasions that I'm mind numbingly difficult to buy for and that it's frustrating.  My parents, in fact, are constantly reminding me they don't have anything for me; this might be because I didn't ASK for anything, because I'm completely aware that I don't NEED anything and I don't actually WANT anything (maybe it's a sign of my humbleness, or the fact that I'm comfortable with my life.  I don't know, again, beside the point).  But it's concerning - and it always has been, not confined to my parents or to this year or Christmas - that apparently I'm so frustrating to give to.  I'm not materialistic; you may think I'm judgmental, and sure, I can be, but I would never dislike a gift because it's just that - a gift (no, this isn't me just being nice - it's the honest truth, and stands unless the gift is something completely left field like women's clothing or a potted plant).  Is this apparent difficulty a sign of how much people might not actually know about me?  I would say that what I'm interested in is fairly easy to see, so it's concerning if this is the case.

I just don't know.  Maybe my mind will be changed when I start to see family or all my friends again.  Or maybe, I just need to sit down and watch a good solid block of Christmas programming, including Rudolph, Frosty, and Christmas Vacation.  For now, I'll just keep being a Scrooge.

Rent or skip: 2010

As I flew through the songs list with ease, I always knew in the back of my mind my next step would be a list of my favourite movies from 2010, being that it'd be logical and given that I'm such a huge fan of movies, it'd be a piece of cake.  It's quite the opposite.

Music is much more accessible; with movies, I had to consider multiple things, and my field of choices is narrow.  I first had to have seen the movie, then I verify that it is indeed a 2010 release and not an older movie that I watched in the year; then I'd have to like it, and then I'd have to pick not one but ten.  I quickly found that that was impossible.  I hardly went to the movies this year, and the times that I did, I came away hating what I had just seen.  As well, I'm in no place ranking the best movies of the year, as I missed out on some - I haven't seen the majority of the Oscar contenders; some haven't even come out - and therefore it'd be improper for me to list a movie like A Nightmare on Elm Street as "my 6th favourite movie of the year" simply because I've SEEN it and haven't seen something like Black Swan or The Kids Are Alright.  (I want to see both)  Maybe in some cases, the movie has yet to be released - well, I guess I'm only thinking of one specifically, and it's Tron Legacy.

Therefore, my alternative is this: I'll pick ten movies that I HAVE seen this year, and rank them from worst to best, using subheadings ranging from The Amazing to The Ugly.

(I also look forward to this list much more than I did to my music list, as I find a person's musical tastes are subject to more scrutiny, probably because there's such a wide range to choose from and I visibly stuck to the mainstream.  Movies are movies - independent movies are just as moving or excellent as blockbusters, and had I seen some lesser known films in 2010, I would've included them.)

I hated this movie.  I knew, somehow, that going into the movie I wouldn't like it; I was right.  Not that it wasn't well done; in fact, quite the opposite.  The movie is visually spectacular, and the use of special effects were impressive (at times).  Despite all that, there was just something preventing me from enjoying the movie - the story wasn't really all there (it still felt like a string of encounters with strange characters) and the characters were difficult to relate to.  I was no fan of Johnny Depp in this movie, and had I not seen the exact same character everywhere in every movie she's in, I would've enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter.  I tried my hardest to enjoy the movie, but my attempts came up short; I couldn't deny the fact that despite it all, I hated it.

I really don't have much to say here, it's a given.  If anything, though, it was a definite improvement over New Moon, but that doesn't say much at all.  I think a movie's fate is instantly sealed when its headlining stars are Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.  (I must say I need to commend myself from not launching into an I Hate Twilight rant, picking out all the flaws, but it's been so overdone that it's not effective anymore.  It's like making a parody of something that's already a parody itself)

Yikes.  Speaking of a movie's doom when considering who starred in it.. when you have Christina Aguilera, a singer turned actress (when has that ever actually worked?) up against Cher, who looks like she needs to get back to her crypt.. there's nothing but horror to come out of it.  I full well knew that going into the movie, I was doing so for a laugh - in addition to seeing two of my favourite actresses, Kristen Bell (who, I would say, stole the movie as a psychotic burlesque dancer in a downward spiral) and Dianna Agron (completely shedding her Glee image in the two minutes she's onscreen by screaming and swearing).  Not even they, or the music, could save this movie.  Far too long, far too laughable.

As a horror movie by itself, it's certainly better than those made these days; visually disturbing at times, the movie goes beyond the run of the mill horror movies out there, with stupid premises and over-reliance on gimmicks.  However, I think one of the biggest flaws is the fact that the jump scares become so constant that they become uneffective - I'd much prefer more disturbing scenes with the horror upfront (as the movie does) than the expected scares from right around the corner.  Now, as a remake, it too is better than most - but I'd be remiss to not mention that the original is miles better regardless of the time period and budget / technological restrictions.  One thing that was improved upon was the concept of micro-naps, where characters are so tired that they become delirious and start dreaming while conscious.  That element added a level of stress while watching the movie, but the effect soon wore off after the first ten or so jump scares using the tactic.

Back in 2008, I had little to no expectations for the first Iron Man, and even though I'm a pretty huge fan of superheroes, I had never payed attention to Iron Man at all (and I therefore didn't know about the characters or villains - though I had vague ideas).  Needless to say, I was completely surprised, as I enjoyed it immensely and thought it was actually well done.  The sequel is no different, which is commendable in itself, being able to match the success and quality of the first.  Just as funny, just as action packed, and mindful of the addition of so many characters, a feat which many superhero movies before it have failed at (I'm looking at you, Spider-Man 3).

I loved this movie.  Completely loved it.  I would consider it as an great, but that's just my inner fanboy, since the movie isn't technically as good as the ones I've listed as "better."  I was like watching the pages of a comic book come to life on screen, as characters and violence are both realistic and cartoonish at the same time.  The movie is a perfect example of pure entertainment, and I'm more than confident in 2011's X-Men: First Class in the hands of this director (Matthew Vaughn).

If you've read this blog at all, I'm sure you're already well aware of my thoughts on the seventh film in the series.  To be honest, my outlook improved on my second viewing, since I knew what to expect.  Still, the movie felt a bit drawn out, forcing the few actual events occurring in the first half of the book over a far too long period of time.  Then, I'm faced with the question: do I prefer this - long, half of the story, but keeping most if not all of the aspects of the book, or the entire book as one movie, risking a rushed pace and the omission of some important facts?  Aside from that, I would have to commend the director's effectiveness in making a Harry Potter film work OUTSIDE of Hogwarts, the staple for the past six movies.

This movie was a pleasant surprise for me; I went in hearing good review upon good review, good recommendation after recommendation.  While at times dry or slow, the real strong points are the performances by the cast; I actually came to loathe the character of Mark Zuckerberg, wanting to desperately punch him in the face, so I guess that's completely due to the effective acting onscreen.  Even Justin Timberlake was better than I expected, though it was difficult to get over him as an actor; he was never his character but always Justin Timberlake playing his character.

I cried.  Maybe that's an indication of how effective this movie is.  It was absolutely heartbreaking to witness this movie, especially the end, as I felt like my the ounces of childhood I still was hanging on to were completely vanquished.  Being the English student I am, this movie was like the archetypal loss of innocence, as I practically grew up with the first movies and the characters; now that it's done, I come to realize that so is that part of my life.  Maybe I'm being to sappy, who knows.  I had my reservations going into the movie given that the first two are nearly untouchable in their quality and given that there was such a large space of time between making the second and third, but the third didn't miss a beat and was as good, if not better, than the first two.  I don't even know if I can handle the devastation of watching it again, hah. 

Hands down, the greatest movie of 2010 - I expected nothing less from Christopher Nolan, and am now eagerly awaiting The Dark Knight Returns.  If you haven't seen this movie, shame on you; if you have, you're already aware of everything amazing about this movie, and I need not even explain it.  The plot is extremely complex and mesmerizing; the characters are diverse and well played; the entire movie is an adrenaline rush, and I was on the edge of my seat both times I saw it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Play them on repeat: 2010

Given that the year is quickly approaching its close, I've already been giving thought to some year end themed blog posts; I figure I'll do something similar to one of my facebook notes from last year, where I talked about my year in a nutshell, about what I learned or how I changed or what have you.  And then, I was struck with an idea: maybe, in addition to those personal culminations of the year, I could have my own say in the top music or movies of 2010, much like other reputable websites do come December 31st.

And so, we have the first of such lists: I thought it would be a fun idea for me to create my own Top 20 of the best songs from 2010, ranking them and reasoning.  I do this lightheartedly; my word isn't law, and as much as I tried to stay objective, you'll see that a lot of the songs likely appear due to my personal likes for them.  But then, on the flip side, you'll see that I included some that aren't exactly my favourites, but even I can step back and affirm that 1. they are undeniably good songs despite the fact that I might not personally like them, 2. that they were popular and sold well for a reason, and 3. that Lady Gaga wasn't the only artist with worthwhile hits in the year.  In fact, to (probably) your surprise, the number one spot isn't occupied by a song of hers.  Nor is the second.  (The third, well.. we'll see, I'm sure I'm bound to edit the order as I go along)  I realize that the majority of them are radio offerings; I'm not so much an indie fan anymore, so yes, it's fairly mainstream, but even so, I tried to stay objective when valuing the songs with the biggest impact in 2010.  Of course, there are notable omissions - there's my personal preferences.  This list isn't a be-all end-all of lists - the songs here are merely my personal choices and (sometimes) favourites.  Ready?  Me neither.

I'm sure you've never heard this song on the radio; in fact, chances are you've never heard it at all.  I couldn't deny it, though, since I like it so much.  Truth be told, I'd much prefer Brandon Flowers to go back to The Killers, as his album as a whole was less than good; but of any, Crossfire reminded me most of his former band, and after seeing the video so many times on MuchMusic, you can't help but like it.

I'm very hot and cold with Rihanna, but this is undeniably one of the better singles she's had as of late - even with the sometimes annoying repetition of 'oh na na, what's my name.'

I'll say it now, and I'll probably end up saying it again: 2010 was the year of Kanye West.  I'll say it myself, I was never that big of a Kanye fan, especially not after the Taylor Swift debacle; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy more than changed my mind on him.  Sure, maybe sometimes his egotistical ways irk me, but it's undeniable that he knows how to make a great song - Power being no exception.  (it just happens to be my least favourite of any appearing on this list)

I would rank this song higher except for the fact that it's relatively very new compared to some of the songs on my list.  I like Bruno Mars' voice - he makes songs like Billionaire and Nothing On You bearable - and I adore this song.

Another case of "not really being a fan," this time because of seeing him live; the second time I saw Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi opened for her, but I ended up loathing him because his set was over-long and I wanted to see Gaga perform already, damnit! I'm a big fan of this collaboration with Kanye West, though; so much so that I checked out Cudi's entire sophomore album, and it's a diverse good listen.

This is one of those instances where I feel like a follower or a hypocrite; I hate when more 'unknown' bands hit the airwaves and suddenly explode where countless upon countless people jump on the bandwagon of being a fan.  In that sense, I feel like that; I love this song, but I'm completely aware that I owe my awareness of it entirely to the radio despite the fact their CD came out a while ago.  It's just one of those songs that you can't dislike.

Speaking of things you can't dislike.. the Black Eyed Peas are quite the opposite.  I'll be the first to say that I'm NO fan of them; the times of I Gotta Feeling were excruciating, and they've topped themselves with the god awful The Time (Dirty Bit).  Despite all that, I'll give them kudos where kudos is deserved: Rock That Body is a solid song, and when coupled with Imma Be in a nine minute version complete with an unbelievably amazing transition between the two, the song is a fantastic listen.

Much like Rihanna, I'm very hot and cold with Katy Perry.  Her songs are usually the devil incarnate: I HATE California Gurls; Teenage Dream was once sweet and enjoyable before the radio overplayed it; and Firework is gratingly shrill.  However, I couldn't seem to ignore her completely; credit is where credit's due, and Katy Perry had a very good year in 2010.  Therefore, instead of acknowledging her singles, I chose the strongest song from her album Teenage Dream - E.T.  The song is completely out of the box when considering it as a pop song, and I think the branching outside of the normal is what makes it especially special.  I seem to have this liking of stutters in songs, too.  (in this: 'kiss me, k-k-kiss me,' etc; others: 'papa-paparazzi' or 'ale-alejandro'.. just a trend)

Sometimes, the video makes or breaks the song; the video for Runaway - a 35 minute movie of the same name, or, specifically, the 5 minute excerpt where the song itself plays - gives just another rap song some level of beauty.  (watch the video, you'll see what I mean)  Kanye's live performances of the song just elevate it even more - I would recommend watching his performances of this and 'Power' on Saturday Night Live.

I have to give it to Fefe Dobson: she was able to create such a strong song despite being, well, Fefe Dobson.  I too laughed at first when I heard "and now, a new song from Fefe Dobson!" on the radio, but my mind was changed quickly after hearing it multiple times.

I've been aware of Robyn - a Swedish pop singer - since hearing one of her songs on So You Think You Can Dance and instantly falling in love with it.  I was never a big enough fan to keep up with her, though, until I read in multiple places that her new album (Body Talk Pt 1, and its subsequent "sequels") were pretty amazing, and I'd have to agree - Dancing On My Own is a stunning, haunting song, and believe it or not, I think you've heard it before if you watched this year's MTV Video Music Awards.

Again, speaking of things you can't hate!  I'm as much of a fan that I can be of Taylor Swift - meaning, I can only like her so much since I'm not a 13 year old girl.  I can't exactly relate to her lyrics, although I'm fully aware of why she is so easy to relate to. It's no secret that Taylor Swift isn't the best of singers on a technical level - her live performances are rarely any good.  Her strength is in her songwriting abilities, and this song is the perfect example of unique lyrics.  Where else do you hear about brides wearing gowns shaped like pastries?

Beyonce who?  This year, Kelly Rowland began to get a lot of attention following her collaboration with David Guetta; the first time I heard Commander, I was in Costa Rica, and I was instantly mesmerized and in disbelief that it was Kelly Rowland, or Beyonce #2.  After that, I started hearing the song everywhere - in commercials, the video playing on Much - and it's such an infectious club-banging song that you'll want to get up and dance.  (I don't)

Another instance of guilt: I feel like I've jumped on another bandwagon here as I'm aware that Florence + the Machine had a following before hitting the airwaves.  The abnormal structure of the song and the absolute power of Florence's voice meshes together to make a unique song that I'm still loving despite hearing it everywhere.

Of course, I can't ignore Nicki Minaj!  Options to pick to include on a best-of list are slim: her debut CD is sub par, and her singles each have their own annoyances (specifically the idiocracy of 'You see right through me, how do you do that shit? repeated over and over in Right Thru Me or the horrifying looming presence of Annie Lennox on Your Love).  Roman's Revenge, however, is pretty amazing.  It's a heavy hitting rap song where Nicki and Eminem take turns spitting out the most vulgar lyrics you can think of; the song is a cartoon of itself, and it reaches the point of being "so bad it's amazing."  The ending where Nicki screeches in a fake British accent is so over the top, that even when it gets to be too much, it provides for a good laugh.

How could I ignore Lady Gaga?  Well, I can't.  My personal all time favourite song of hers, I was overjoyed to know that Alejandro was selected as a single - though my happiness faltered when it didn't garner the greatest of receptions, since it broke her string of number one songs and didn't catch on as well as her previous singles.  I recognize its daring; the video itself is marginally controversial, and as a pop song, it's extremely unorthodox - it especially seemed out of place on the radio.  But then, the fact that it DID receive acclaim (just not on the same level as Telephone or anything before it) is something only Lady Gaga could pull off and only shows her relentless strength as an artist.

Impressive, impressive song; you must have some SERIOUS cred if you're able to incorporate so many artists on one song - including Rihanna, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Alicia Keys, and fucking Elton John.  I would rank this much, much higher - maybe at the top of the list - if it wasn't for some of the more questionable verses (I'm looking at you, Cudi and Fergie); despite them, the song is still pretty amazing.  Besides, it ends with an Elton John piano solo - cool.

Gaga, not number one?  (Bad Romance was released in 2009.  Otherwise..)  This song and accompanying video is more solid proof that Lady Gaga isn't going anywhere; she was able to put together a near 10 minute mini-movie of completely unrelated subject matter and set it to the tune of a song superficially about dancing at a club and making it, simply, iconic.  Things you'd never think to put together work in this song: the song uses a harp, for instance, and the pairing of Gaga and Beyonce is conceivably strange until you hear the product.

Technically, my number two spot is a tie; on the flip side, it's merely a recognition of both songs as a whole, as that's what they essentially are.  Both use the same Rihanna sang chorus; both differ in showing two sides to the same story.  (obviously, Eminem's viewpoint in the song most dominated by him - his own; Rihanna's answer in hers)  It's a shame that Rihanna isn't releasing hers as a single, as I'd even go so far as to say that it's simply beautiful.  Eminem's offering, on the other hand, is an excellent rap song to sing along to, pretending you're a rapper - maybe after a few drinks.  Eminem's is another instance of the radio overplaying and killing a song, but I can still see that it deserves the accolades it deserves, and I'm personally pulling for it to sweep the Grammys since Gaga's Bad Romance was shockingly overlooked.

And now..

AMAZING, AMAZING SONG.  There's nothing else I can say (eh, eh).  Kanye West does it again; it's safe to say that this song single-handedly reignited my love for rap music - yep, those were the days in Grade 8.  This song is truly incredible, and each featured artist does their best to top each other with their spitfire, heavy hitting verses.  No contest, however - Nicki Minaj wins hands down.  If any song on this list to download (if you haven't heard it), THIS IS THE ONE.

I actually had a lot of fun putting this list together, and god bless you if you actually read it all.  Jesus, this is long.  Who knows, maybe you'll find a few songs that peak your interest?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'd rather take O.W.L.s

Despite my ignorant bliss of having time off from school, I know that my exams are looming just around the corner; I've pushed off studying for them as much as possible, opting to play the Sims on my computer or read the entire series of Harry Potter (I'm nearly through with Prisoner of Azkaban).  It's now Tuesday, and my first is on Thursday, and I know that I can't avoid it any longer.

I have three spread out over five days - one day on, one day off, until I'm finally finished by 3pm on Monday afternoon.  I'd consider myself very lucky that my first semester wrapped up so quickly, as I sit back and heckle my friends who have exams up until Christmas (I'm kidding); my happiness is soon dwindled when I know that I return to class on January 3rd.  That sucks.

As per usual, I'm going into exams - specifically, only one this time - with the fear of failing a class.  I won't, I never have and I never will, but the fact that everything I do for BIO206 ends up falling short gives me little hope for the final exam.  I can't win with that class; so much impossible detail for even more impossible expectations.  I calculated that I only need a 25% on the final to pass, and that's doable, although I'd love it if I came out with something that RESEMBLES a respectable mark.

But, for the first time, I'm actually going into exams with security.  I know I can bomb my Science Fiction exam and still come out with a high 60 - even though I'd have to write in a different language or be completely incoherent to fail that exam.  It's nice knowing that extreme amounts of effort actually do pay off.  This just serves as yet another reminder that my strengths are completely in the realm of English and that I am where I should be.

At this rate, time has been flying already; before I know it, it'll be Monday afternoon, and I can resume my status as lazy lazy lazy for another three weeks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

R.I.P. blog

Just a quick one: I pretty much just partook in the assisted suicide of my blog when I changed my Facebook profile into the "New Facebook."  First off, it's ugly as hell.  The thing that's worst is that the "About Me" box is now removed and relocated and only accessed when actually clicking Info, therefore meaning that my blog audience has probably PLUMMETED since it now takes effort to reach the link.  Sure, maybe I have regular readers, but I know I don't have many; the causal reader is now likely vanished, the constant updating of "last update on:" will probably mean nothing, and to be quite honest, this post may be the first of many to start collecting dust.  Oh.. no.  Will I have to start shamelessly plugging the link to my blog in status updates, crossing the line of desperation?

I repeat.  Oh.. no.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome to December

Time has FLOWN.  It seems only yesterday I was complaining about going back to school, fearing for my venture into the world of humanities, but here we are: it's December 1st, classes are over, and I've once again found myself in the comfort of sitting in the same spot day in and day out.

I'm certainly excited for the Christmas season and for the upcoming reunion of sorts when I see many faces who have been missing in my life.  (As I put it to one of my friends, "we all get to be reunited with each other's glorious faces" to which she replied "you're going to make me cry")  Plans are already formulating - including a "drunk day" and the braving of a savage night of Moonlight Madness at Mapleview - and provided my work schedule doesn't restrict me much I hope to take in as MUCH as humanly possible.

Of course, there are still exams to worry about, but call me a slacker when I say I want to at least enjoy the rest of the week until buckling down.  I've also decided to only study in sequential order, and given that I have three exams over five days each padded by a day in between, I'll focus my attention to each for an intense 48 hour session of cram cram cram.  Who knows, that might be my downfall.

Aside from that, I don't have much to look forward to - maybe a few movies or TV shows or books I want to finally watch or catch up on or read; maybe I'll get to writing since I'm upset with myself for missing NaNoWriMo - thus meaning my blog will likely become a hotbed of monotony!

Also, just an added note: it's come to my attention that my blog is actually being Googled, and if you type 'hausofmatt' into Google I'm the first result.  Bitchin!