Anna Gregoline | October 26, 2004
Of the sources of entertainment which are popular today, which do you find least appealing? Why?

Kris Weberg | October 26, 2004
Contemporary music and contemporary video games

Scott Horowitz | October 26, 2004
Music definitely is on a downgrading spiral of nothingness. I feel most songs written today have lost their meaning. They are no longer a way of expressing feelings, but a empty void of a once great medium.

Anna Gregoline | October 26, 2004
I don't think that's true at all! There is so much great music out there right now - if you're talking about pop music or rap, I agree, but not in many other categories.

Jackie Mason | October 26, 2004
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Lori Lancaster | October 26, 2004
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Kris Weberg | October 26, 2004
"Hi, I'm your MTV veejay. I always talk like I'm wigged out on Quaaludes. I wear a satin baseball jacket everywhere I go. It's my job to help destroy what's left of your imagination. So be sedate, don't create, be a vegetable at home and thwack on that dial. This is the future of rock'n'roll!" -- from "MTV Get Off the Air," by the Dead Kennedys

Kris Weberg | October 26, 2004
Put another way, whatever you think of the relatively few 'good' vidoes -- and I contend that the good ones are the exceptions -- Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N Sync, 98 Degrees, the Backstreet Boys, the New Kids on the Block, and legions of other crap manufactured sugar-pop acts would NEVER have had careers if not for music videos.

Todd Brotsch | October 26, 2004
Cock Fights.

Kris Weberg | October 26, 2004
"Nooo! Little Jerry!"

Todd Brotsch | October 27, 2004
lol

Scott Hardie | October 27, 2004
I enjoy contemporary video games more often than they bore me, but one rising trend leaves me totally cold: Online gaming. PS2 and Xbox games are starting to come out that can only be played online, something that computer games have been doing for years. Frankly, I have zero interest in playing against another human unless they're sitting in the room with me and we can share the experience. Human players online are too often either so incompetent as to pose no challenge, or so good (or cheating) as to be impossible to beat. Computer AI opponents are carefully scaled so that you can gradually beat them the better you get, and the satisfaction of accomplishment doesn't wear off until the game is over. And that's not even mentioning cooperative games -- if I'm going to beat it, I want to beat it myself, with help coming from an FAQ only as needed. This dislike of mine would amount to nothing if whole series weren't going online-only; I didn't think anything could keep me from playing a new Final Fantasy game, but online-only did it.

Kris Weberg | October 28, 2004
The biggest problem with online gaming is the PK phenomenon.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2004
Which is?

My biggest beef, as I might have mentioned before, is fucking 3-D in games. Everything I love comes out in a 3-D version instead of a god view, and it ruins gameplay for me. Who the fuck cares about 3-D when you spend the entire game fiddling with controls, seeing blocky close-up views, and feeling nauseous?

David Mitzman | October 28, 2004
Spend the entire game fiddling with controls? Takes all of a few minutes to fine tune a game's controls to the user's liking and then seeing blocky close up views? Maybe if you have a video card that's pre-1950. Can't say I've ever experienced any of the problems that you've described.

Oh Kris, what's the PK phenomenon you're talking about?

Kris Weberg | October 28, 2004
Player-Killers. Basically, people who use invincibility hacks and other cheats in multiplayer online games and go around killing other players to show how l33t they are, or whatever.

They basically ruined Diablo, f'rinstance.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2004
I have a top of the line computer. I still hate 3-D. Don't assume things about my equipment, please!

David Mitzman | October 28, 2004
Ah yes, player-killers. They also ruined half life and counter-strike. I loved playing until there were so many n00b cheaters that it took the fun out of playing legit. Ah well. I've pretty much stopped playing multiplayer games online anyway. Right now I just beat Wizards and Warriors on the NES and plan to take on Ironsword next. Maybe start up a game of Sim Tower.

And as for your equipment, maybe you don't have the game's video settings tuned to your hardware? No game I've ever played in 3D gives me this "blocky" look you're talking about unless I have it set to "poor" quality or the video card can't handle the game.

Todd Brotsch | October 28, 2004
You said blocky close up views. Easy to make the jump to poor hardware, don't get on his case, you made the comment.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2004
Don't get on my case. Dave was dismissive, per usual. I don't see why you guys can't ever just be nice without trying to insult. It's really boring.

Amy Austin | October 28, 2004
I'm surely not trying to cause a stink here, Anna -- I've been *very* interested in what you've had to say here lately, and even in a lot of agreement with you! -- but perhaps they feel the same way?

I say this, of course, without knowing every post ever made here but only those I've read since joining in -- but sometimes your comments are hard not to respond to that way, Anna... perhaps it would not seem so in person, but it all goes back to that trying to hear the playful/nice interpretation of what someone is saying. (And I totally mean that for them and myself, too -- I've had to re-think what I'm saying to you a time or two...)

David Mitzman | October 28, 2004
I wasn't trying to insult. If you re-read what I typed, I cliamed that it only takes a few minutes to tweak a game's control settings for play and that blocky up close views are results of an out-of-date video card or improper settings for the game. I don't see where Todd was getting on your case on this, he was simply making a point that I made some proper conclusions considering I'm a computer technician by trade. Any person in my position would make the same statements.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2004
I have a very good computer, and games run fine.

3-D games often make me feel nauseous, first and foremost, of which there is no cure.

The blockiness is my way of describing something that I feel is poorly done - for example, one of my favorite games is RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. It's a "god game" with that perspective. Now, in the newest version, they are making it 3-D, meaning you are within the action, walking along and riding the rollercoasters yourself.

This to me is awful, as it completely changes gameplay. I don't want to be immersed in the action and constantly having to change views. The animation is poor compared to the original game - instead of cute little items, hardly pixelated, we now have huge blocks of color, zoomable to infinite capacities and it's just not as good looking. The change in gameplay is the worst though.

They are also doing this to Zoo Tycoon 2, completely ruining two of my favorite games and ensuring that no new development will be done on the games that made the franchises famous.

It stinks.

Scott Horowitz | October 28, 2004
Anna, I have had that problem with 3d games as well... getting headaches. My advice is this. 1) try to raise the resolution as high as possible. 2) sit farther away from the screen.

Most people get this as a form of motion sickness. Hopefully you can enjoy 3d games more if you try these ideas.

David Mitzman | October 28, 2004
Actually, what's worked for me as a temporary thing for this kind of motion sickness is Bonine (it's like Dramamine, but non-drowsy). But yeah, a higher resolution and sitting farther back do help there too. For once, The Ho is right! oooooh, how bout some ointment for that burn, Scott? hehehe.

Anna Gregoline | October 28, 2004
Thanks for the tips - I might try that with Black and White and a few others.

Unfortunately, there is no solution for every game that I like being made in 3-D. Sigh.

Scott Hardie | February 24, 2008
Searching for an old discussion about Britney Spears that I could update, I came across this. At the time I would have agreed about contemporary rock music, but Rock Block has forced me to listen more closely to contemporary artists, and I was surprised that what sounds shrill and stupid at first listen actually grows on you. System of a Down, Hoobastank, Evanescence, Staind, the Strokes, Seether, 3 Doors Down, Avril Lavigne, Deftones: These are all artists I'd written off as crap after one listen on the radio, but they're actually pretty good the more you listen to them. Every generation comes of age with music written off by their elders, but I once found something worth liking in Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and others when I was in high school. I didn't have to be a kid to enjoy the acts of today, just open my mind and really listen. (Sorry, Papa Roach and Panic at the Disco: You still suck.)

Scott Hardie | March 9, 2008
Jeez, even P.O.D. isn't so bad once you get into it. (link)

Amy Austin | March 9, 2008
Heheh... I think you're actually "older" than I am, Scott... ;-)

Tony Peters | March 10, 2008
youngins...

Amy Austin | March 10, 2008
I was talking about taste.

Tony Peters | March 10, 2008
where I was semi mocking you for being young but having old taste

Amy Austin | March 10, 2008
But that was my point -- contrary to gut instinct (and only because I don't *seek out* new music), I actually don't have "old taste"... I already liked much of what Scott dismissed "as crap" (even Papa Roach!) and was having a laugh at how incredulous he is about it growing on him... when he is actually about as many years behind me as I am you.

Lori Lancaster | March 10, 2008
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Tony Peters | March 10, 2008
Well I behave about 15 years younger than I am (or so I have been told) though my body often argues the fact
for some reason Panic at the Disco hooked me from first listen...not so much for papa roach but in truth I can't think of a single song of theirs. POD has riffs that catch you....wanna hear a good one???? listen to the song they did with Carlos Santana "America" Music, new music that is, has to move me, I have to feel the need to move or it has to reach inside me and touch something...Lots of Classical music does the same thing along with Jazz from the era before I was born. Lately the Halo Soundtracks have been good mood music

Russ Wilhelm | March 11, 2008
You want old? It's 1981, I'm 17, sitting around with a freind of mine, listiening to a reel-to-reel recording of the top 1000 rock & roll songs of all time. I'm discussing with him in a mildly inebriated state, how I think that Rock/Pop music is in an irreversible decline. We made it through disco, and are in the punk era. Heavy Metal (which was more about band member appeal than music) and Techno are starting to emerge forth. I had no idea that MTV recently launched (no cable there today either) and that rap would soon become the young generations biggest hitter.

But, as if it was a premonition, after that moment, I could no longer listen to anything that resembled Top 40, and enjoy it as I had before. So I spent the 80's listening to Oldies (That's from the fifties for you really youngin's), Country in the 90's, and I'm mainly back into Classic Rock (60's/70's) for this decade, but have also expanded into modern blues, folk, and some odd, but interesting stuff I sometimes hear on what I think is a rent by the hour radio station in the area somewhere.

But on the debate of whether video killed the radio star, I'd have to say for me, I believe it did.

Amy Austin | March 11, 2008
First of all... while we're on stupid labels, you Northerners need to get it straight -- it's "young'uns" not "youngins"...

Second... I was raised by MTV... back when it actually *was* "music television" -- and I loved it. In the immortal words of Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits... "I want my MTV" -- the MTV of an era bygone (sadly, VH1's as close as it's gonna' get.) I liked disco and punk then, too (still do)... not so much the metal. And there have been an appreciable number of rap artists through the years that do justice to their forbearing pioneers... do you actually realize just how far back that goes? SugarHill Gang hit the Top 40 in 1979, but Blondie made one of the first rap(okay-influenced) hits in 1981 with "Rapture"! (And even back then Al Sharpton had shit to say about it coming from a white girl.)

And on anything more than a personal basis, video did not kill the radio star, but the Internet just might yet.

Amy Austin | March 11, 2008
Lori... you're just now noticing? You must have been seeing a cached pic these last couple of weeks -- I made the change a little while back. I'll put up another one when I'm feeling photogenic again... could be a while.

Lori Lancaster | March 11, 2008
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Tony Peters | March 11, 2008
ahhh MTV...I think their downfall was RealWorld...Anyone else remember the early years of 120minutes???? Back when they were playing music that only the alternative/punk/college folks had ever heard of and you would actually hear something NEW? I hadn't realized that it lasted until 2003 since it kept getting bumped/cancelled for RealWorld ReRuns

Amy I'm sorry that you found my yankeefying southern colloquialism offensive it's been a long time since I lived south of the Mason Dixon line

Amy Austin | March 11, 2008
It's more than that.

Russ Wilhelm | March 11, 2008
I apologize if I infuriated you. I'm not saying that the other styles of music didn't have their shining moments. I was saying that while the styles have changed, my taste really hasn't. I'm still listening to the exact same styles I did as a kid, I've just found them in different genre's, than I would have expected. I haven't moved forward with the music, but rather laterally.

And MTV..I'm not saying it killed the music. But it had a definite impact on changing the music. Music had to become more video friendly. If you didn't make it on MTV, you didn't make it.

The Internet is a whole new ball game, you're not trapped into listening to only what the network wants to support. There is so much more variety than you can get from either radio or television. Musical Freedom is finally at hand.

Amy Austin | March 12, 2008
You didn't infuriate me, Russ. I understood everything you said perfectly. And I agree -- the Internet is Musical Freedom... I also think it's done (no, *doing*) way more to change the music industry than MTV ever did -- perhaps I should have said that Internet killed the video star. It was always just as easy (if not slightly more expensive) to be a one-hit wonder on video as on radio. But videos are relatively unimportant and low budget anymore, and the focus these days is on 1) how to provide unique content to the CD consumer in order to bolster CD sales and 2) live tours and performances to make the big money. What it costs to see a show is almost prohibitive compared to the heyday of video, and I've been to exactly *one* live concert show (Dido) in the last fifteen years... and that only courtesy of a friend (I am sure that he paid upwards of $100 for this). I can't afford any of my tastes anymore, because they're all big-ticket names now. Yes, it's nice to find a good underground act, and yes, I do remember when 120 Minutes and college radio made that easy, because I've never been one to go digging for it myself (even now, with Internet)... and that's why I miss it.

Lori Lancaster | March 12, 2008
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Tony Peters | March 12, 2008
Damn I haven't paid for a concert in years but I've been to 4-5 in the last year. Poison was strangely good (though Ratt as an opener was just sad) but my favorite recent concert by far was Blues Traveler...we were backstage until the band went on and then in the VIP section for the whole concert. On a related note I recently got a chance to talk to the lead singer of my all time favorite band John Plymale of the Pressure Boys about shows, touring and the music business in the 80's compared to now. It was interseting to get an insiders take on how much it's changed. Things like 120 minutes would probably still work today but it would have to be streamed instead of on cable. BTW if anyone is in Chaple Hill at the begining of May, The Pressure Boys are playing a benifit (for Cystic Fibrosis) and the Cats Cradle on the 2nd...it should be a great show, I wish I could go

Jackie Mason | March 14, 2008
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