Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Watchmen: by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

"Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's monumental Watchmen is one of the most influential comics series of all time, and is now a national bestseller."

The first time I picked up Watchmen was done so rather unwillingly. Having just been assigned to read the graphic novel for my Modern Literature course, I had no choice other than to grit my teeth and bear with what I thought would be nothing but your typical cookie cutter good guys vs. bad guys bore. My preconceived notions of the comic book medium allowed me to readily dismiss reading it from being any sort of worthwhile endeavor.

Well, long story short, it only took 1 page, 7 panels, and 192 words to make me think otherwise.

Watchmen is set in an alternate history during the Cold War era. As tensions between the United States and Russia reach an all time high and the possibility of nuclear war becomes seemingly inevitable, the end of the world seems closer with each page you turn. The story centrals around several superheros, who, with the exception of a couple who've been allowed to work for the government, have been outlawed from crime fighting. In the first chapter we learn of the murder of Edward Blake. Rorschach, a costumed vigilante who works outside the law, discovers Blake to have been a fellow superhero, The Comedian. Due to his distrustful and cynical nature, he immediately suspects a conspiracy and sets out to warn the other retired costumed adventurers. He pays visits to Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl), Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), Dr. Manhattan, and Sally Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre), hoping to shed light on the matter. However, each visit yields no explanation. With so many questions left unanswered and with time running out, the novel becomes a hurried tale of "whodunit".

To say this novel changed my life is no overstatement. Nor to say it changed the way I think, either. Between Alan Moore's insightful nonlinear story telling and Dave Gibbons's striking illustrations, this graphic novel is fantastic cover-to-cover. I strongly recommend Watchmen to anyone who's willing to give it a chance, I promise you that it'll be one of the better choices you've made it your life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The LP Adventures, Part I (b)

As I take a step into the store, the smell of must and history overwhelm me. I've always adored vinyls; each one has a story.  The records I ever so delicately pluck from the rows were once held many years ago by someone not too different from myself, someone just as eager to add it to their collection. My eyes gloss over every imperfection, my fingers run over the wear and tear. It all adds to its charm. It all adds to the art. Each time I leave, I find myself wishing not to abandon the countless vinyls that wait quietly and patiently for someone new to want them. I promise them all that someday it will be their turn, and walk away.

Anyway, here's what I came out with today:

Led Zeppelin I - Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
Time Fades Away - Neil Young
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
Don't Say No - Billy Squier

Well worth the trip I believe. I only need a couple more Zeppelin vinyls, and I'll have their entire LP collection.

The LP Adventures, Part I (a)

I'm planning on making a stop at my local record store in a bit, I'm feeling pretty lucky. I'll post any noteworthy vinyls I stumble upon!

"Hold on to the Dream"

Pink Floyd: The Final Cut

Track List:

01 - The Post War Dream
02 - Your Possible Pasts
03 - One Of The Few
04 - The Hero's Return
05 - The Gunners Dream
06 - Paranoid Eyes
07 - Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
08 - The Fletcher Memorial Home
09 - Southampton Dock
10 - The Final Cut
11 - Not Now John
12 - Two Suns In The Sunset

By the end of the touring in support of their mammoth album "The Wall", relations between Waters and Gilmour had reached an all time low. Waters, who was becoming more egotistical and harder to work with as time went on, had kicked Richard Wright out of the band mid-tour . While it wasn't unusual for him to write a majority of the songs, The Final Cut is often regarded as "a Roger Waters solo album" rather than a Pink Floyd album. Due to the fact that he wrote and performed vocals exclusively on all twelve songs (with the exception of "Not Now John", where Gilmour shares vocal responsibilities), this album gets brushed off by most critics and by the most avid Floyd fans. I find this to be such a shame, because in my opinion, The Final Cut is one of the best releases by the band. What Waters had envisioned for this album is successfully portrayed through his heart-wrenching lyrics and almost theatrical-like approach, while David Gilmour and Nick Mason also showcased the best of their abilities. Everything about The Final Cut is damn near perfect, and listening to it takes you away to a foreign place. The imagery produced not only by Waters' vocals but each instrument and each noise is unreal, at times it feels like you're watching a movie rather than listening to a concept album. Although The Final Cut will never be publicly agreed upon as being one of Pink Floyd's best albums, I still personally believe it to be the most underrated and overlooked of all their releases. Anyone who is skeptical, I dare you to listen to "The Gunner's Dream" and tell me otherwise.

About Me

I suppose I should offer some sort of introduction to those of you who don't know me!

My name is Nicole, I'm currently eighteen and attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (go Rebels). I'm majoring in medicine, and can't wait to start a career. I would like to consider myself a fairly ambitious person.

I love music more than anything. My favorite artists include Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, The Eagles, Neil Young, and Morrissey. As far as more modern artists, Manchester Orchestra, Cursive, and Bright Eyes are where it's at. I've played guitar in and out of bands for the past few years (my Gibson Les Paul is my baby).

I'm still trying to figure out a specific theme for this blog, but in the meantime it will probably just be my incessant rambling. Thank you to those who choose to stick around!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This is my first post on Blogger, I'm still trying to get the hang of this thing. I hope to be posting at least a couple times of week. I apologize for the insanity in advance! :)