Merry Christmas 2020 – From the Carroll Family!


Our church put out a call for video submissions for the Christmas Eve streaming service. Here is what we contributed.

I threw it together into one video and added some cheesy effects and titles.

This is…

  • The Christmas Carrolls performing “Away in a Manger”
  • Molly reading The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher
  • Ian doing some prayers on the fly – take 1 & take 2. (We only sent take 2 to the church.)

Check out live & archived videos from the church here: https://www.facebook.com/hillschurchexport/live

The Mandalorian | Jedi Theory :: SPOILERS


I hate speculative articles about fiction, but here we are. I can’t resist. I fall for the clickbait. I feel the fervor, I feed the fervor. I needed to get t out about the Mandalorian. Don’t read this if you’re avoiding spoilers & aren’t caught up to The Mandalorian Chapter 14: The Tragedy (S2 E6).

A Jedi is coming. Eventually. It will probably occur in the last few seconds of the season ender.

As a huge Rebels fan, I had hoped Ezra Bridger, but he may feature in Ahsoka’s rumored show (hopefully with Sabine Wren) later. I doubt Luke, but you never know. I’m not a gamer, but Cameron Monaghan would probably crush it if they incorporate Cal Kestis. The choice may be much more obvious. They have a bunch more of EU to pull from, or could create a totally new character, but I feel like they have a great direction to go right in front of them.

Is it too clear-cut to be true? Did Grogu call out to Mace Windu?

At first I dismissed theories of a Mace Windu return, but it really would be a major fan-service win while remaining great storytelling.

Especially with his latest Boba team-up… it will REALLY complicate alliances.

Mace beheaded Jango in front of Boba in the prequels. Boba infiltrated the clone cadet program and tried to kill Mace and Anakin in the Clone Wars series. Now they have to work to accomplish the same goal? Protection of Grogu.

Overcoming past grievances and making new fresh decisions on continuing down a dark/light/grey path are Star Wars at its core.

Ahsoka used the verbiage “took” not rescued or saved in Chapter 13. At first I thought it maybe implied Palpatine. Maybe Mace took the child and disappeared?

Falling out a window is certainly an established non-death-sentence in the Star Wars universe… and Windu was too badass to go down without a fight. We have seen Maul, Palpatine, and Boba Fett return from similar perilous circumstances. Perhaps he has cybernetic enhancements or even an eye patch now? Ha ha.

Samuel L. Jackson has been vocal about his eagerness to return to the franchise. There is potential for him to also pop up in the rumored Ahsoka and Obi Wan shows. (He is also professional enough to keep tight-lipped about it, and has a well established relationship to Disney and directly to Jon Favreau through Marvel and Star Wars.)

Dave Filoni has a love for all things Star Wars including the prequels, and has shown to be fantastic at bridging (pun intended) it all together. It would feel like a circular rhyme, which George Lucas tried to explain once.

I see it as a win all around, and would love to see Grogu wield a tiny purple lightsaber (and a tiny beskar suit).

I also see, that in needing to save Grogu at some point, Din will have to take off the hemlet. Will he then draw the vengeance of the Children of the Watch?

I honestly wonder if the call will draw out a Sith, inquisitor, the Night Sisters or another dark force wielder, or perhaps discover & unite all existing Jedi for Luke to start his academy.

At any rate, I have enjoyed every minute of The Mandalorian so far, and I no doubt will continue to do just that, no matter where the story takes us.

Mace Windu: "Shit Grogu, that's all you had to say."
I wish I knew where this came from to give credit.

Christmas Playlists and Streaming Services


I am signed up for too many free streaming accounts. I like raucous punk and metal Christmas music in addition to some of the more straightforward poppy and traditional stuff. I wish that all of these songs were available across all platforms. I have some stuff from the wild west days of mp3 downloading that I can’t seem to find on any platforms.

Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube
Christmas Playlists | Spotify • Amazon Music • Pandora • YouTube

I do need to work on refining the lists I have. The YouTubes ones are all over the place. I hardly use Pandora enough to thumbs up or down to get it where every song is a smash. Spotify and Amazon are the ones that are easy to use… but I wish I could add more content.

I do have the free accounts for all mentioned. I don’t feel like playing for a streaming service unless it can be complete. I heard Google Music was pretty awesome, until it just became the YouTube Music thing. I need to get my personal stuff all digitized someday too. Man, I miss just running WinAmp on a giant desktop.

What do you use to listen to Christmas music? What are your favorite songs, traditional, wild, overplayed, or obscure?

Here are mine:

Spotify | Christmas 🤘🎸🎄

Amazon Music | Christmas

(WordPress doesn’t seem to want to embed the Amazon playlist.)

Pandora | Holiday Rock N’ Roll ☃

https://www.pandora.com/station/1758025359576278863

(WordPress won’t embed Pandora I guess, either.)

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | Christmas Playlist – Nice

YouTube | ☃ ♩♫♬♪ Christmas Songs ♩♫♬♪ ☃

Which rock docs you diggin’?


I liked & would recommend these rock docs, which other ones should I check out?

Rock Docs!

  • Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch – This has to be THE rock doc.  It ought to be the standard to which all others are held.
  • Mad Tiger – I love Peelander-Z.  This is a story about art, music, choosing your path, and ultimately about the bond of friendship beyond being band mates.
  • Anvil! The Story of Anvil – This is wild.  You feel for these guys so much.  At least I do.
  • Sound City – What a cross-section of rock n’ roll history.  Dave Grohl is cool for putting this together.
  • Searching for Sugar Man – This is a crazy story about how music can transcend time and borders, and save the artists like it saves the listener.
  • It Might Get Loud – I wouldn’t list any of these guys in my favorites as far as guitarists go… but this was a damn good movie.  I mean, Jimmy Page is Jimmy Page.  How can you not respect his body of work?
  • Beware of Mr. Baker – Fabulous just because Ginger is a wild man.  Maybe even a wild animal in a man’s body.
  • Flogging Molly: Whiskey on a Sunday – Mostly about Dave if I remember right.  I’m a fan of the music, so it was nice to have a peek inside that world.
  • The Punk Syndrome – Finland has some cool-ass social programs, one that gave us Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät.  Follow a punk rock band formed by cats with Autism and Down Syndrome and realize that their struggles are a whole lot like yours.
  • FilmageALL gets such a bad rap.  Ha ha.  I really enjoyed this story.
  • Mission to Lars – Less about being in the band, more about fandom & brotherly love.

What other ones do you like?  I am sure I have missed a few.  I liked that one Rush doc, I need to catch all of it.  I caught the end on VH1 way back.  Bonus points if these docs are “free” on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

At my signal, unleash a $3 VHS cassette.


So, browsing one of the local flea-market/yard-sale type groups on Facebook, I discovered this post…

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

As you can imagine because I’m blogging about it, many questions came to mind.  It’s hard to even know where to begin.

We’ll start with the obvious.  Who would pay $3 for a VHS cassette of any movie, let alone this movie?  I mean Gladiator was a good film… but here is a shortlist of better values available online…

This is just for physical media.  I didn’t even look into streaming.  I get that not everyone is set up to stream and that some people (myself included) like to put their hands on physical tangible media.

Who has a working VCR?  OK.  I do, but I’m odd.  It’s a VCR/DVD-recorder, and someday I will transfer all of my VHS tapes to DVD (which is already a dead format).  Who is still watching video tapes?  I mean, watching the old 4:3 aspect ratio drives me nuts these days.

The other side of this… who goes through their stuff, decides they can part with this, and assigns a $3 value to it?  I mean, I could see if this was a collector’s item.  I have Star Wars on VHS and I’ll probably have it forever, but The Gladiator?   Sure, it was a good movie… but not that good. Why were they even still making video tapes in the year 2000?

What do you need that badly that costs $3?  This wouldn’t be worth the gas money or the bus fair to meet someone to make the sale.

I have been strapped for cash, but never would think to list what essentially amounts to garbage for a negligible value on a Facebook flea market group.  If this sells, I really have a lot of stuff that I need to be listing for under $5 amounts.

Digital Media vs.Physical Media.


The other day I posted a Facebook status, and wanted to expand upon it here.  This is what I said:

I get that digital & cloud media are the next step. I get that ALMOST everything is available for streaming as part of a service. Anyone else weirded out by it? Some stuff… obscure or whatever just isn’t available for streaming. What happens when the companies close or the cloud’s redundant services fail? What happens if someone buys the rights to streaming movies, just to keep them from the public? What if censorship goes out of control and some committee decided certain movies are no longer available? Will they all be lost forever because no one will have physical copies? Don’t say it can’t happen… it has in the past with books.

It sparked a discussion.  Not too long after I posted that, Amazon posted this:

Announcing AutoRip from Amazon MP3: Buy an AutoRip CD and instantly get the MP3 version for FREE. Learn more: http://amzn.to/VMhFaJ

I of course shared it, and it sparked a tiny bit more discussion.

English: Photograph of Roku XDS player with re...

Photograph of Roku XDS player with remote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like the idea of digital music & cloud storage.  I just purchased a 3TB drive, and in addition to other uses, hope to eventually rip all of my CD’s & put them on there so I can set it up to listen to all of my stuff from any browser anywhere.  Well, after I make a few decisions.

I like the idea of Digital movies & TV shows…  I love having Netflix‘s library available in an instant.  I love being able to watch a movie from Netflix or rent a digital movie from Amazon through the Blu-ray player.

I like the idea of Pandora or Google Play where there’s streaming music there in an instant.  Pandora just disappoints because of the variety of music I listen to… a lot of smaller bands that I really dig just have a minimal or even no presence there.  Google Play at least lets you upload your own mp3’s in addition to purchasing new ones.  Amazon holds your stuff in the cloud too.  I just wish all the music that I wanted was all in one place.

I have had an older external hard drive crash.  It’s not good.  I still need to get it fixed without breaking the bank.  Anything physical can be destroyed…  CD’s & Records can melt or scratch, and not too many people have 8-Trak or even cassette players any more.

My original question is as much about content control & ownership as much as anything else.  Say you purchase a ton of music that’s in the cloud… and that company shuts down.  How do you hold on to that music?  Were you just renting it?  What happens if the parent company gets into a disagreement with the management of your favorite band and their catalog is removed from your clous storage?

Cover of "Idiocracy"

“…a time when people cared about who’s ass it was, and why it was farting!”

What if you bought the movie Idiocracy and it becomes so true to life that it’s banned?  Don’t sit back comfortably and think it can’t happen.  Books are banned all the time by different groups.  No one comes & takes all of your books… yet.  What if the banned book could be deleted from your Kindle or Nook?  All In The Family would never fly on TV now, but what if it was no longer available because of its abrasive humor?

I just feel uneasy about it.

That being said, I absolutely hate cash money.  I hardly ever have it on me.  I like swiping my card for everything.  If I could use it in parking meters and pop machines, I would.  There’s a swing back towards cash though, as credit card company fees are crushing small businesses, especially if you’re making a purchase with a low dollar amount.  Is it odd that I have no problem with my money being intangible,  but when I use to to purchase an album or a movie… I need that to be tangible?

I’d like to get a good discussion going in the comments.

Nostalgia…


So, I upped a bunch of old songs to SoundCloud.  Some aren’t bad.  Some are terrible.  (There’s some AiXeLsyD, some Gasoline Dion, & even some Ernie and the Berts for good measure.)  Feel free to enjoy and/or ignore.

AiXeLsyDI have had many many fun times writing songs & jamming with all of these cats over the years. We have recorded some good stuff, met interesting people, and played some absolutely wild parties & shows.  It’s awesome to have played at parks, in basements, on small stages, in garages, in countless dive bars, on big stages, in back yards, a sports bar, band battles, in cool rock bars, an Elks lodge, a dorm room, American Legions, skate parks, VFW’s, theaters, Fire Halls, and even live on the radio.  (Places I haven’t played yet… on a boat, under-water, on a moving flatbed, outside of the U.S., on TV – Ernie, can you get on booking that?)  Some people even dug our stuff.

Gasoline DionI’m glad to be able to continue to rock out with some old faces & some new faces.  I enjoy that I’m still playing shows, going to shows, rocking out with talented dudes, & continually meeting & being influenced by local musicians & those that are just passing through.  We get together to rock out & have a great time doing so …all while trying to be as goofy as possible.  I’m glad I fell into punk rock as there’s a sense of humor about it all.

Ernie and the BertsI enjoy the exchange of knowledge, whether it’s music trivia geekery, guitars & amps & how they work & how to play them, or just general rock n’ roll legends.  I enjoy being obsessed with goofy guitars yet able to appreciate a nice normal axe.  I enjoy making fun of bands that are doing absolutely terrible things, taking too long to set up, playing too long, or have terrible names.  I enjoy being the target of the same kinds of jeers.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day coming soon, I’d like to toast my fellow musicians whether I’ve been in a band with you, shared a stage with you, or just been to one of your shows and told you how much it rocked.

☘  Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking! ☘

If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.

Please, share with me some memories of the crazy paces you’ve played, the fun (or terrible) times you’ve had with your bands… whether you were in one with me or not.  Share some of the music too!

☠ Good Halloween Movies?


The Monster Squad

Monster Squad

I have a bunch of stuff I wanna blog about, but I need the time to sit down & do it.  [I have some goofy World (and Lunar) Domination ones coming up, some half started… that seems to be what grabs more readers/comments.]

You’ll help write this blog post for me.  If you’re seeing the link on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ … please reply in the comments section here at the blog, not in the comments stream at Facebook or Google+, & not an @ through Twitter.  If you’re logged in on Facebook or Twitter you can comment down below using either account!

This one is relevant & easy to knock out because of the time of year.  I was trolling through Netflix on the Wii the other night, trying to find a good Halloween-ish movie to watch.

Cover of "Shaun of the Dead"

Shaun of the Dead

My wife is scared easily, and wasn’t in the mood for House of 1000 Corpses-like gore or Alienlike “Ah!” jumps.  (I still can’t get her to watch Silence of the Lambs.)  I was thinking The Crow, maybe Monster Squad or Shaun of the Dead.

I thought of a bunch that weren’t available for streaming, like Wolf and Teen Wolf or even Beetlejuice.  I found myself unable to think of campy other spooky fun.

Help me build a go-to list of all of us who are too old to remember good scary/funny/creepy movies like Ghostbusters, Batman, Zombieland, Fido, Edward Scissorhands, etc.

Roku XDS

Roku

While we’re on it, does a streaming service other than Netflix offer these movies, or am I going to have to start trolling the cheap DVD/Bluray bin at Walmart?  Maybe I just need to get a device like Roku that streams Amazon movies.

What movies make you want to mentally escape in front of the blue glow of your TV under a warm blanket on a cool October day?

Netflix: “Oops”.


A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

Image via Wikipedia

Searched for this after some buzz on Twitter:

“We underestimated the appeal of the single web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”

You think?  Apparently a lot of people thought the same things that I did about the whole plan.  The whole article is interesting, and can be found here: Netflix Abandons Plan to Rent DVDs on Qwikster

Maybe now they can work on deals to stream more new movies… and a better back-catalog of older movies.  (Like the entire Star Trek movie series?)

I still love that Oatmeal cartoon.  I hope they do another one.