South Of Heaven by Slayer

I have been fascinated with Slayer for a very long time. When I was in grade 6 or 7 I had asked my older neighbor (who happened to be a metal head) to make me a mix tape of the heaviest, metalist stuff that he had.

Slayer was on the tape. This is obvious right?

I spent a few years, ever night listening to that tape. For a while I had a ghetto blaster above my head that I would turn on as I went to sleep. Then soon I got a walkman and had headphones on every night. It was for a very large part that tape that I listened to. It was a great tape. The funny thing is that the tape had no song list, so I didn’t know I was listening to Megadeth, or Slayer, or Anthrax, or Prong until much later in life. I’m still finding a few of the bands on there. Light bulbs go off.

So, the album for today I have chosen to review is Slayer’s South of Heaven.

The title track is a staple to any metal fans diet. If you do not know this song, then you are not a metal fan. Seriously. It’s that staple.

The fury that rocks through your veins when you listen to this album is real. Fast drum beats from Dave Lombardo, the fascinatingly hard and fast riffs from Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and Tom Araya belting out lyrics blows the lid off of many pots (and mothers) regularly.I laugh at this old photo.

I love the track Mandatory Suicide. Not particularity for the name, but everything together makes sense.

On angry days, I like to scare innocent people with Slayer. You know they’re wanting to stare and wonder and gawk, but you know they’re to afraid to do it. This is what goes through my mind.

I think the thing I like about this album is that every single song makes me think about dancing around in a circle throwing a few elbows.  Have you ever been there? I’ve had the chance to see Slayer rock a few times; yes, its epic. Kerry King’s goatee is getting pretty intense. I read an article on him where he explained the reason for braiding it now is because it would get stuck in his guitar. Badass.

Cleanse The Soul? Seriously? Is this possible to be such a crazy insane bits of solo mixed with the clearly searching lyrics of preparation of Tom? Badass, I’m not joking!

Whose with me on this? Which one of y’all have days where you need to be angry? It pushes me further. Does it help you? Get South of Heaven.

Product Review: Canon SX 210 IS

I’ve recently got myself a new camera. I got this one to serve a purpose: mobility. This camera will allow me to take great photos while I’m on the run.

The camera is a compact camera, but not the smallest one on the market. It packs itself into a body thats 105.8 x 59.3 x 31.9mm, and as you can see from the photos the lens has a bit of that with a circular extend.

The body feels great to me. It’s a little tricky to get the power button depressed, but thats ok, I have enough capabilities as a human to depress the power button with my fingernail…. The flash pops up automatically at startup it seems, which is a bit annoying. I’m not a fan of flash, so I end up just popping it down, which kind of feels a bit like I might break it but then nicely closes. Simply placing your finger over the flash at startup cancels it from coming up. Easy.

The rate at which the auto feature adjusts the light condition is a little bit slow. I’m used to adjusting it manually with my other cameras, so it’s nice to see it adjust itself for me, albeit it takes around 2-4 seconds to adjust.

There are a tonne of built in features that this camera has, that I won’t even attempt to get into. But they are for the most part fairly generic to all point and shoot cameras like this.

The coolest thing about this camera is that it has a 35mm equivalent zoom that goes from 28-392mm. Thats pretty astounding to me. It’s one of the wildest range of zoom out there by any camera really. In fact, thats why I bought it. That and the great reviews it received.

The LCD screen is 3-inches horizonally. It’s nice and big. From the photo just above, you can see it has 14.1Mpixels. That’s a nice size.

The image stabilizing on it is pretty amazing. It’s a very great feature to have on a camera so that when you’re out of breath, or getting nervous for taking a photograph of somebody or something holding up traffic or forcing people to hold a smile for you, all the shaking that comes with it is somewhat taken out by the IS built in to the camera.

The menu, and features on the camera, and how to set the functions is familiar to myself for I’m already a big Canon fan. So anybody thats used to the Canon menus and scroll wheel will be able to handle this easily.

That little nob at the top there between the shutter release and the on/off button in the image above is the zoom knob. If you push it to the left, it zooms out (three trees) and to the right it zooms in (one tree).

The lens cover, it doesn’t come with a lens cap ( I don’t think I’ve ever seen a point and shoot that has) is interesting. It is held together by light springs, so if you put your finger into it, you can wiggle your finger and easily open up the ‘closed’ cover to expose the lens. It does snap back into place. I’m not sure why they have it this way. To me, a good camera is one that will protect the lens very well and sturdy when not in use, it seems that this leaves room for a lot of random things to get in there. For me, I bought it to carry with me everywhere, so I’ll be having it in my backpack all the time, which means that random things may get into there. I’m contemplating getting a case for it, which I don’t really like to do for it slows capturing the moment down a bit… All this said, the actual lens inside has a glass flat cover thats not the lens itself that protects the lens, although I think it would be just as harmful to get that scratched, for its implanted in the camera, and wouldn’t be easy to get out like a screw on filter would be (found on higher end camera lenses).

All in all, I’m excited with my new toy. To everything there is always one or two things that a person can complain about, but the quality of the pictures its taking is great.

Tech Review: Solar Power Personal Devices

I’ve been doing a lot of research on different solar powering devices out there, and trying to find the cheapest and coolest ones. I’ve come up with a few that I’ll showcase here.

Freeloader Pico

The freeloader pico looks pretty cool, with a charge -up time of 10hrs providing an 800mAh battery supply. The solar cells are crystalline running at 75mA.

It goes for $27.69CAD it looks like.

4W Fold-up PS4001

Another product from Solar Technologies Inc is their 4W Fold-Up unit. Its specifically meant to charge car/motorhome batteries. It ouputs 4W@18V. It looks like a sexy bird, but also not relly compatible with plugging directly into your ipod.

Its $40.73CAD at their site.

Freeloader

The last Solar Technologies product I will showcase is their Freeloader. Its slightly bigger than the Pico, with a 1Ah battery, and 120mA crystalline solar cells. It comes in a much nicer body though, and the very nice usb connections, with the connectors to fit lots of various handheld devices.

Its $53.77 CAD (converted from their website).

Solar Charger

This is a solar powered 2000mAh rechargeable portable emergency power with phone adapters and an LED light. Its the cheapest, and pretty cool too. Its the same size as the previous ones but looks more klunky/cheaply made. I guess this is why its so cheap. Who knows until you have it in your hand. It has an output of 5V 500mA.

It is from who knows where but it says that its $11.81. No idea what the currency is, although it is a .com, but its office appears to be in Hong Kong.

Solar Charger II

Another panel of theirs thats way less current capable at 900mAh with a built-in rechargeable lithium battery seems like its dated technology or just bad ranking system?

It goes for $18.30. Same deal.

Portable Device Solar Charger

I like the current rating on this one, at 1000mAh Li-ion battery. Very curious how well they keep the voltage regulated though..

The best deal of them all is $7.76.

Solar Charger III

One that I really think looks sharp, and I’ve seen it in adds before is the 1000mAh rechargeable lithium battery. It looks good and can be folded.

Solar Charger IV

The final one I will review is the Dual Solar Panels (3W) Self-Recharge 2000mAh 4.5V~9V kit. Its pretty perfect, and has all the right things.

I’d be very interested to hear if anybody has bought from this last company. It sounds like this is the place to go. They have the biggest supply of these units, and they are all in a nice little bundle. It also looks like the shipping is free.

Which one do you pick?

Concert Review: Matt Costa with The Threes and Nines

Tuesday the 19th of October I was so lucky to find myself standing in front of the stage at Matt Costa‘s Vancouver date in the Venue right smack downtown on Granville St. Matt Costa is one of my favorite musicians, so I am immediately biased, I must warn you, but the show was good. Turned out it was even one of the guitarist’s birthday!

The show opened with a band called the Threes and Nines. The singer/guitarist was clearly a lyricist taking pride in being a songwriter, and enjoyed it the whole time. The band was definitely a hard working band, with guts to leave everything and face the life of no money to play for crowds all across North America. They had some great songs that had some great feel to them, and the band was tighter than the glue holding my shoes together!

Matt Costa opened by walking through the crowd, washboard, mandolin in toe, guitar and harmonica in hand. It was a great intro, most people didn’t understand what was going on. I love when the artists interact with the crowd like that. I was actually quite surprised at how small the venue was that he was playing in. Last time I saw him he had packed a much larger venue, but I know that some artists  crave a smaller venue to do just that; interact with the crowd.

His set, however, I felt started off somewhat slow. Something was off, the band was rattled for some reason or another, so I felt that it wasn’t the Matt Costa experience that I was expecting. However, as the show continued on, I found that Matt started to really get into it. He sat down for a few songs and played just him and an accompanying instrument, guitar for two songs and banjo for another. After this, I think he felt more at ease. I think the crowd was waiting for Astair.. and they got it!

He finished the show in fine fashion. Pumping out Mr. Pitiful on that piano of his was exciting. I was standing nearly 8 ft away from him. I like this Matt Costa character. I suggest you check him out.

The show was great, I enjoyed it. The crowd was very nice. I am beginning to really enjoy that venue, Venue. Did any of you go to the show? I’d love to hear how you’re enjoying the rest of his tour. 

Concert Review: The Black Keys with Nicole Atkins

Tonight I hit up the Black Keys with  Nicole Atkins opening at the Oprheum Theatre. Nicole Atkins and the ?? black seed? maybe just seed? Maybe that was still in the makings, but they were awesome. The guitarist was insanely awesome. I cannot find who she is, but she had a Japanese name I believe.

It was a great show. One of the ‘loud’ people came and sat down behind me, all “this is so awesome, these are awesome seats” like nobody around him could see either, but nearly a few seconds after that after he realized what was going on. Tonight was extremely special. It will go down as one of the greatest rockings that place has ever seen, and no doubt it has seen some GIANT acts. This one was among them.

Nicole Atkins and her band had the volume way up. The Black Keys only turned it louder. They both came out with an absolute bang, kept the cool going the entire show, and rocked their finales. Dan Auerback, the singer and guitarist for the Black Keys, spoiled the entire crowd with intense guitar rhythm, solos, lines, and beats. No more beard. Short cut and shaved. It was my first time seeing them, and it definitely wont be the last. I lovethe venue, the Orpheum in Vancouver; I am really quite partial to it, and I feel that any act you see there can only be a good acts.

I’ve said it before, and Ill say it again, if you play with a slide, you’ve automatically won me over. Dan definately played some slide, on top of the raunchy, riff laden rock through his stack. It was awesome. Possibly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

I think a key is that they started off their sets so nicely. Nicole Atkins started loud, and with a great song. They were from New York. The Black Keys also started with a great song everybody knew and loved, and just kept rocking and rolling from there; cranking out the goodness. The Black Keys come from Ohio, and they look it with their plaid and cowboy pinstripe outlined shirts.

One of the best things I like to see at a show is the artists finishes and is sweating profusely. It shows they’ve been giving it their all. It was the Avett Brothers who I read a quote from: “If we leave the show not covered in sweat, it means that we haven’t given it all we can.” Drummer Patrick Carney was soaked! He played amazingly as well, although I was mesmerized by Dan for most of the time, Patrick is a star himself, just that I play guitar so am naturally captivated by one.

The Black Keys brought out two other players for some of the songs, a bassist and a keyboardist, that fit in nicely, but honestly Dan and Patrick are so explosive themselves that they really don’t need anybody else, I do respect the fact that some songs require a little bit extra. I’ve been really a fan of keyboardists lately, possibly one big reason is because of the Jack Johnson show I just went to, with pianist Zack Gill totally blowing me away with his awesomeness.

All in all, if you haven’t got the drift yet, I totally was blown away by the show, and would highly recommend it to anybody and everybody, regardless of the genre of music your into, you’ll find you have a really great time at the Black Keys.

Concert Review: Jack Johnson with G. Love

Tonight I had the pleasure of hitting up Jack Johnson‘s show at Rogers Place here in lovely Vancouver, and what a beautiful day for a Jack show I’ll tell you that much for sure. He rocked. G. Love opened for him. He rocked. Another girl whom I cannot find the name for was on before that rocked. I know, bad journalism, but she really was good. Although her last song, about her tour manager, she shouldn’t play that anymore.

I have never seen Jack Johnson before this evening, and its been way to long. He was pretty rad. I love his whole setup, curved screen, video cameras planted around the stage, great time. He was playing a slow song, just him and his guitar, and his strap came off. He stopped and picked up again after telling a story about the song. Do You Remember was the song, he told us how the piano they wanted it so bad, and they kept it anyways, even though it took up half the bedroom door. That song is one of my favorites, on possibly my favorite album.

I like hearing Jack play electric guitar. I think it’d be a fools business to dislike him for changing his style. So much more good can come from instrument changes. That being said, i do love his solo acoustic stuff. His band killed it up there. They were rock solid. The pianist Zack Gill is pretty damn awesome. He’s awesome and his style perfectly goes with Jack. I just read Adam Topol‘s bio on Jack’s, and this dudes got some cool history.

So the people were friendly, the music was extraordinary, and Jack was as good as ever. Its so cool to go to jackjohnsonmusic.com and read about all the things Jacks trying to do for the environment. I think one quote that I’ve read that sticks out in my mind is: “We want people to leave the event seeing this as the way to life, not just a novelty.” To me that has profound meaning to my life, and I congratulate Jack for putting his name to such causes. It honestly inspires me to be the better person I can.

G. Love sure played some good music too. His harmonica accompanied Jack on a few songs, which is so cool to see. Its a really nice atmosphere when the main act brings up some of the other acts to play with. I like that a lot. But G. Loves show was wicked as expected. His slide Phillie bred blues style music is something I really dig. He even pulled out the slide for a song or two.

If you can, hit up this tour. Jack is on his game, better than ever and its an extreme pleasure and inspiring to hear this show. I wish I knew the opener so I could give her some credit too. She came out for a while to play a uke song with Jack, which was totally cool. She threw in some crazy awesomeness in the song. I love a good Uke!

Under Feet Like Ours by Tegan and Sara

Under Feet Like Ours was Tegan and Sara’s first full length album, after the Orange, Yellow and Red demos. I’ve recently been on a big Tegan and Sara kick, and came across this gem in my library, and was simply moved. I was crying by the end of the album.

Its a very strong, acoustic rhythm album that plays with vocal and guitar arrangements in such a way that it makes me feel like I’m enjoying the good times, sitting in the back of an old Cadillac convertible, the kind with the big wings, sailing down the highway on a nice sunny day with my sunglasses on and great company.

Its not the singular talent of one specific instrument in the band, but the girls singing is what moves me. Of course they do have great rhythm and chord progressions, but its the way they pack it into a song that I love.

I love Freedom, the one part where who ever is singing, I can never tell, does that drop. If you’ve heard the song, you know. And Proud just fits in perfectly after it.

Seriously, I listen to This is Everything, song 8, and I immediately feel an immense longing and sorrow and desire to be the everything I can be, and it brings tears to my eyes. Maybe I’m just emotional right now, but the chord progression will forever be in my mind. Heavy also gives me the same emotion. Just speaks so much emotion that I don’t know how to express sometimes, except with silence of my mouth, and open ears.

Today is their birthday, they’re 30. Wikipedia says Tegan lives in Vancouver, Sara in Montreal, when they’re not on tour, and are originally from Calgary. They sell out tours, internationally, and totally kick ass. Just like to say if you read this Tegan or Sara, I’m in Vancouver.. gimme a shout and we’ll play guitar.

I’m definitely proud to say that I’ve been a fan of these girls since around 2002 when I first heard of them going to college at SAIT in Calgary, reading the local culture paper.

I need to see them more. I need to hear them more. I hope you all like them as much as I do, I’d be interested if its just me that likes Under Feet Like Ours.

They have a new album thats out, Sainthood, which anybody in their right mind should already have in their possession.

The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

I got the word on the street that Arcade Fire’s much anticipated album, The Suburbs, was out, so I had to get it. My impression? I love it. Its not a number one all time favorite of everything kind of album, but its an album I played front to back twice kind of love thing.

Win Butler’s voice is unmistakable, lovely, and eerie all at the same time; fitting in perfectly with the orchestra backing him. This band, which consists of Win ButlerRégine ChassagneRichard Reed ParryWilliam ButlerJeremy GaraSarah NeufeldTim Kingsbury just keeps getting better.

The opening title track I think was perfectly placed and sets the mood for the whole album. Not the best song on it, but oh, its a good one.

Modern Man is just stunning. The guitar riff in it is one of the ones where your dancing to it, but when you swoop, mid swoop you gotta swoop even further because thats where the song takes you. I like it!

Rococo is another good feeling song. The whole album is chalked full of songs that make you think you’ve heard them before. I just watched the movie Crazy Heart and a quote from it is: “Thats how you can tell its a good song, when you think that you’ve heard it before.”

City With No Children, Suburban War, Month of May, really, all the songs I enjoyed and like. Its just simply a great album, if you didn’t get my drift yet. Go get your hands on it any way you can. And enjoy it. And Arcade Fire, if you’re out there, I can’t wait to hear whats going to come next.

I’d love to hear what you think of The Suburbs!

Ducati Sport Classic 1000 SE

So, to go along with my candy apple Audi S5 I’ve previously picked out I’ve decided my next best thing to have would be a Ducati Sport Classic 1000 SE.  It comes in a few different styles, but my favorite is the Special Edition seen above with the gold highlights.

They made these bikes on a pretty short run from about 2006 to 2009, but boy are they a beautiful thing; its a damn shame they don’t make them anymore.

The engine is a L-Twin cylinder, 2 valves per cylinder Desmodromic with air cooled technology with Morelli electronic fuel injection, displacing a total of 992cc’s. This works out to around 92hp @ 8000 RPM. The torque on this sucker is 67.3lb-ft @ 6000RPM. Thats punch.

Its a 6-speeder and weighs ~ 394lb/179kg in the shop. The wheel base comes in at 1402mm, with 120mm of front wheel travel, 130mm in the back. The seat height on the stock ones comes in at 825mm.

The instruments on this thing are decent, hosting a speedometer, rev counter, high beam indicator, turn signals, oil pressure warning light, low fuel warning light, LCD clock, immobilizer.

To me, this is a thing of beauty. Its got the classic look to it with the traditional type headlight and taillights, and the open heart to see whats making the lovely sounds. I love these bikes that strip things down an leave it out in the open, but no doubt it would quickly get very dirty, thus requiring a lot of detailing, a lot of the time!

What do you think of it?