Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Point 1 rocks

Every so often I just love to rock out....kinda brings back the youth.
Although at my age the headbanging leads to after pains but it's worth it.

Well there's a new band out that I thought I'd share with you I've been a member of their I-squad and have been really rocking out. The band is Point 1. They have a new album out now "Unlucky Stars" and so far my favorite song is "Oxygen" Kinda a mix of Marilyn Manson and Alice in Chains and a little Nine Inch Nails thrown in for good measure.

Their myspace page is
If you wish to join the i-squad just click on the graphic below. BTW, the i-squad is where you can get cool swag by spreading the news.

Point One Official i-Squadâ„¢ Banner

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:24 PM Comments: 0

American Dad DVD awesome

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:53 AM Comments: 0

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is not the feel good book of the century. But then again it could be. It seems like the continuous desolation, and destruction created in this book will never end. However, someone is always "carrying the light," which means that if you let this book absorb you as you absorb it you will learn that it is not always futile and that life has a meaning.

Yes all that was what I got out of a book where a man and his son are walking a long a road in constant survival mode in a post-apocalyptic United States. Cormac McCarthy paints a great prosaic picture of what it means to be one of "the good guys." The man and son are just trying to head south to warmer weather. The land is covered with ashes from some apocalyptic destruction that is never explained other than it was all burned. The "how the land got that way" is not important. This story revolves around the man and son surviving and avoiding roving bands of murderers, cannibals and "bad guys." They will succeed because they are the "good guys" and they are "carrying the light."

Normally in my reviews I will warn you that there will be spoilers in the review. This book really has nothing to spoil (that may be a spoiler in itself), also the reading of this book is the true reward. Not only is the story great but the words used to tell the story are so beautifully composed that at times it feels as if reading or hearing music. The flow is perfect as if you are there with the man and boy.

The man spends a lot of time in the story apologizing to the boy. Most of the apologies are for things the boy has seen or events they have to endure. Although deep down inside you get a real feeling of the older generation having to apologize to the younger generation. There are times in the book where I felt I would read this book to my 6 year-old son, but there were times where I felt it was too much. I have always felt strongly about making sure my son gets the most out of life, after reading this book, I am influenced to make sure that happens even more so.

This is a book you have to read. If for no other reason than Oprah says so and put it in her book club. Okay, really this is a great book and I'm glad to see she brought this to the attention of many that would have passed it by, it will give you a different view on life. I think it also helps you decide if you are a good guy or bad guy.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:51 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert

First of all, Wow! what a book. This book not only was a page turner but it had lots of pages to turn. The book takes place 1,500 years after the reign of Leto II, the God Emperor. Arrakis, Dune has returned to being the desert planet, thanks to the sandtrout of Leto II's destruction bringing back the sandworms from extinction. The planet is now called Rakis. Another planet of note, Geidi Prime, former homeworld for House Harkonnen is now known as Gammu.

The empire fell into chaos before the return of the sandworms, due to the scarcity of spice. This created the "Scattering" in which many of the population sought the extreme edges of the universe to find other sources of spice or to expand the location of humanity. As the books opens many people have returned and have changed. There is a new force to deal with, the Honored Matres, they are very similar to the Bene Gesserit but the Matres use sex as a weapon and force of rule. The Bene Gesserit and Bene Tleilax see this as threat and somewhat team up to fight these Honored Matres.

The Bene Gesserit have been using gholas of Duncan Idaho through the years but the Tleilaxu always assassinate the ghola. This time will be different, the Bene Gesserit have a plan. But, as it seems so do the Tleilaxu. They have "programmed" the ghola to kill the Bene Gesserit "imprinter" that tries to imprint him to guarantee his loyalty to the Bene Gesserit.

In the meantime on Rakis, a child is discovered by the priests that can control the sandworms. The Bene Gesserit hear of this and immediately take over Rakis, in order to make the child, Sheeana, a Reverend Mother, and maybe to breed with the Duncan ghola.

The Honored Matres also find this out and seek to destroy the ghola and the girl and Rakis. So with many battles to ensue we are introduced to a retired Bashar, Teg, who is brought out of retirement to not only guard the ghola but to awaken his memories due to Teg being the exact likeness of Duke Leto I. After awakening the ghola Teg, Reverend Mother Lucilla, who was supposed to imprint Duncan before the awakening, and Duncan are discovered on Gammu and have to go underground to get to Rakis. Teg is captured and tortured by the Honored Matres but during the torture some strange powers are awakened in him. He is able to speed his body and mind outside the normal flow of time, and able to destroy all occupants in a Honored Matres stronghouse. He then steals a no-ship (which is a ship undetectable by all, including prescience vision) and takes Lucilla and Duncan to Rakis.

On Rakis, Reverend Mother Taraza dies and passes her memories to Reverend Mother Odrade. Odrade has aligned somewhat with the Bene Tleilax in order to combat the Honored Matres. Odrade has started the process for Sheeana to become a Reverend Mother. Teg and company arrive and provide transport in the no-ship for Odrade, Lucilla, Duncan, Sheeana and a captured sandworm back to Chapterhouse while he stays behind to fight the Matres and as it turns out Rakis is destroyed.

The Reverend Mothers bring the worm to Chapterhouse in order to turn it into another Dune.

Okay, only one more Frank Herbert Dune book to go. Dune is destroyed but the sandworms still live.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:14 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jody Raffoul

JODY - FREE Download 'Give It Away'
If you were lucky enough to be at one of Jody's live shows over the past 12 months you may well have picked up a FREE CD sampler. Well, 15,000+ CD samplers later Jody decided he wanted to find a way to share his music with new fans from around the world in places where he has not yet played. So here it is, the aptly titled "GIVE IT AWAY", a 5 song E.P. for you to download absloutely FREE! - Click on the banner above! Join the i-Squad and get some great free music.

For a Great demo watch the video below


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posted by Gil T. @ 11:12 PM Comments: 0

Monday, May 07, 2007

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Before I summarize the story there are a few things that need to be mentioned about this book. First this book takes on a different feel from all the others written by Frank Herbert. The reason behind this is that the book is mostly written in first person, from the view of Leto II the God Emperor. These are in the forms of stolen journals and other journals Leto keeps for future generations. The other Dune books contained quotes from other sources to highlight chapters, but this one relies on the quotes to tell the story. Another thing about this book is that it jumps the reader 3,500 years after the book Children of Dune. The Universe has changed as can be expected. Dune, now known primarily as Arrakis, is a plush fertile planet with rivers and rain. The exception to this is the small area Leto has set aside for testing the Atreides. And finally in all Frank Herbert's and even in the books by his son, Brian, women are a very strong presence. They are the true rulers behind the men. Even more so in this book. Leto's army of "Fish Speakers" is all women. The reason for this in the book is that in general women mature faster and that in order to protect life one must create/adore life and women achieve this through the act of childbirth.

Now for the story, again I'll warn you there are spoilers here.

Leto II, after 3,500 years as Emperor, has continued into his metamorphoses of becoming a sandworm. The only human features left are his arms and hands and his face which is contained within a sandtrout coweled area. This metamorphoses is part of the Golden Path that his father Maud'dib could not do. This was done to ensure the contiuation of humankind. While this concept is not entirely clear, it is stated that humankind would have become basically lazy and would have killed itself off, if the God Emperor had not been ruling. Leto while being mostly sandworm, still rules from Arrakis, where the sandworms and sandtrout are extinct. Leto has a horde of spice which he uses as rewards for the others in the universe. Due to this shortage of spice, space travel is kept to a minimum. The Spacing Guild, the Bene Gesserit, the Ixians and the Bene Tlielax all compete for their spice rewards.

The Ixians are still creating machines and have all but broken the rules of the Butlerian Jihad, in which "No machine shall be constructed in the form of the human mind." The Ixians are trying to create a machine to replace the Spacing Guild navigators in folding space. The Ixians also have a device called the "no room" in which all is hidden from Leto's prescient vision. In this room they create Hwi Noree, a woman who can conquer the only known weakness of the God Emperor, LOVE.

Duncan Idaho is still around for this novel, but still only a ghola, the Tleilaxu have cloned many Duncans for Leto. Leto likes the company of the Duncans although many have died mysteriously, at the opening of the book one is to assassinate Leto as programmed by the Tleilaxu. But being mostly sandworm, nothing can kill the God Emperor, except water, which that is a secret none yet know. So this Duncan dies and his replacement is suspiciously readily available. The Duncans are commanders of the Fish Speakers, Leto's all woman army.

Leto also has his own breeding program to keep the Atreides bloodline alive and to continue the species. The latest Duncan is to breed with Siona, daughter of Moneo, the Emperor's right hand man and sometimes confidant and heir to Atreides bloodline. Duncan, however, will not be "the Emperor's stud."

Duncan falls in love with Hwi Noree and with this fighting in his conscience he teams up with Siona to assassinate the God Emperor as he comes to his wedding. In the fighting Siona kills Hwi and Duncan is heartbroken. They then cause the worm to fall into a river where the sandtrout all separate from his body and he dies.

This summation of this immense book is very short, when compared to all the information contained in this installment into the Duneverse. This book takes more patience than any of the others to get through but in my opinion with all the philosophies this one tackles it is even more worth it.

As a side note I know there is a great spoof of this book in an episode of the cartoon "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy." In this Mandy has evolved into a worm like creature and runs the universe from her Cinnamon mines and she keeps a constant clone of Billy to entertain her. If you ever get a chance to check it out the episode is titled "Mandy the Merciless."

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:43 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders

Okay I think this is going to be my first not so good review. Normally when I read a book I will put it down if it is bad, and in doing so will not feel inclined to review it. However there was just something different about this book that I had to press on. A lot like when I read "Moby Dick," okay really that was just something I wanted to achieve.

George Saunders' book "In Persuasion Nation" is a collection of short stories that push the absurd. I will admit that some of the stories are actually quite funny such as "I CAN SPEAK" and "My Flamboyant Grandson." The strange thing about all the stories in this book are they either hit or miss. The stories are very futuristic in feel. They also are written in such surrealism that the messages some contain are hidden. Yes there are some good philosophical messages in these stories. Messages about society's impulse to be popular and "in" and a message or two about how media and advertising go a bit too far. Some of the messages are so well hidden that the story itself becomes boring.

Yes there are some extremely boring stories in this book. On a scale of 1 - 10, I would have to rate this book right in the middle at 5. At times there is some great storytelling and wit but equally there are times when it is just plain boring and seems like a chore to read.

The story "I CAN SPEAK" is written as if it is a letter to a customer who purchased an "I CAN SPEAK" system which is a mask to put over the heads of infants to make voices come out. This makes it look like the customer has a smart baby. The letter written to the customer explains how the system only gives that appearance and that it is great. This is one of the funny stories.

I guess what it comes down to is, check this book out from the library. I can't recommend purchasing it.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:12 PM Comments: 0