Friday, December 30, 2016

Bosch: The Garden of Dreams


Bosch doc at the DFT? Date w/ Marie? Wouldn't miss it.

We went out to see this w/ a couple friends and then ate some good vegan nosh at Seva. All in all it was a very good evening.

The film was pretty good. It's essentially a whole doc on one painting. They got a variety of artists (poets, playwrights, fine artists, singers, writers, etc) to comment on the Garden of Earthly Delights. Some information was historically accurate, but most was just speculation and opinion.

Overall I think the film could have done w/ more cultural context surrounding the meaning of the painting. There's so much to look at and so many details that they could have had a field day explaining what some of it meant by talking to more art historians. Instead they focused on seemingly random interpretations by people who aren't formally educated on fine art. What can Salman Rushdie tell me about the Garden of Earthly Delights? I'd rather hear from an art history professor to be honest. Or even just a historian who could help unravel some of the weirdness going on in the painting.

It was still good and it was a very enjoyable night.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

the Lord of the Rings


Homeboy waffles on too much at the beginning about a bunch of relations and history that no one gives a crap about. A bunch of stuff that has zero bearing on the rest of the story. All it does it stop you from enjoying the first book. It's like reading the bible or something. So-and-so begat this guy and he begat that guy etc.

Having said that, books two through six are pretty awesome. I'm not trying to knock Tolkien's masterpiece by bitching about the first book, but it's true. I think it's a barrier to getting immersed in the story.

It's a killer novel. The characters will live forever. It's worthy of all the praise. The visions Tolkien paints in your mind are truly spectacular and grand beyond belief. A genuine epic tale.

It'd be cool if someone at some point did a film adaptation justice with a cool movie or anime to remove Jackson's hideous attempts from memory.

Anyway, contrary to popular belief, TLOTR isn't a trilogy. It's one novel that's broken into six books and often divided into three volumes of two books each. FYI.

Loved it. Wished I could have read it faster but with the birth of River...well, finishing a 1000 page book as fast as I normally would certainly wasn't going to happen. The wee man can certainly monopolize my reading time.

A true classic.

Frazetta: Painting with Fire


Just watched this on Amazon. I'd heard about it for a while. It's a low budget doc, but it's official and I haven't heard of any better ones out there.  I watched it a few days ago but if I recall it was in 4:3. So yeah.

You learn a good deal about the man, though. It's definitely worth watching. I actually liked it better than the Giger one, for instance. It's a lot of talking head interviews with Frank, friends and family. I like that it goes back to his youth a lot. Definitely gives you a better understanding of Frank as opposed to just pouring over his art.

Dig it.





Saturday, December 24, 2016

Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD


I was real freakin stoked when I saw this movie get released. Then I was quickly bummed out because it was a PAL-only format dvd. They weren't doing a US NTSC version. Something about not having distribution here. Teased!

Fast forward a few months and they finally got streaming rights in the US. I don't even care bout the dvd version now that I jumped on streaming it.

I watched it last night and I was a happy lad, transported back to Scotland. Transported to the local sweet shop where I'd go in every week and buy my issue of 2000AD and an accompanying bag of Pickled Onion Monster Munch or a Yorkie bar. mmmm....

This is a well-made doc about the origins and history of the ground-breaking British comic. It turned me on to Judge Dredd at an early age, and he's stuck with me through the years. Definitely one of my all time favorite characters. I loved the early shit. And just as important as Dredd was the introduction to Simon Bisley's artwork. I would stare at his pages for hours. Revisit the hell out of them. It didn't even matter what strip he was painting or whether it went over my young head or not. It was the art. The blood. The visceral nature of it all. Bisley is god.

Slaine: The Horned God by Bisley is one of the greatest comics ever created, imo. I can say that without hesitation.

I loved the hell out of Rogue Trooper, too. But anyway, I digress. This is a good doc for comic book nerds. It pulls back the curtain and sheds light on some of the darker days and the shadier aspects of working at 2000AD. But mostly it celebrates the good times and focuses on the great legacy of the anarchic, satirical, brilliant comic that I grew up on. It truly is the galaxy's greatest comic book. 


Nas: Time is Illmatic


I saw a Nas doc on Amazon Prime so I checked it out. It's about the making of one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time. One of the greatest debuts by any artist...ILLMATIC.

Yeah, it's pretty dope. If you dig Illmatic then watch this doc. If you don't...wtf?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dear God No!


Motorcycle Movie Night kicked off in an absurd and sickening fashion. Dear God No! is an over the top modern exploitation flick. It pays homage to a bunch of classic biker flicks, rolls them together, and puts its own legitimately unique spin on it.

It's almost impossible to fault. It's so good at what it's supposed to do. The dialogue is hilarious, the plot is bone-headed, the music is good, and the violence is over-the-top. But the one place it loses points is crucial...the fucking bikes! They all have some sweet rides but you don't see them after the first ten minutes or so of the movie. So that's my only gripe.

But back to the violence. I said it was over-the-top. It is INSANE. I've never seen anything quite as sick as some of these scenes, and that's saying something. Best watched in a group of light-hearted individuals. Not recommended for date night w/ the missus.




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead


I've never listened to Steve Aoki, but I know who he is. Ex-hardcore dude turned world famous DJ. Son of Rocky Aoki aka the founder of Benihana. But all that doesn't matter cuz I like documentaries and I like learning about people/things I don't know about.

Netflix puts out some good original programming. They're legit. My eyeballs fucking hurt right now so this has to be brief. This is a good doc. Well done. Mad respect to Steve's work ethic. Homeboy cracked 300 shows in one year. That's absolutely insane. He seems like a real nice dude and he makes a lot of people happy.

Entertaining doc. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Hurt Business


I liked Generation Iron and I'm looking forward to GI 2. This doc is by the same dude. It's a quality documentary about the history of MMA. It's well produced with really good editing. They interview a lot of the heavy hitters like Ronda, Jon Bones Jones, Rashad Evans, Randy, Tito, etc...

The doc covers women, men, champions, and has-beens. There are interviews with team owners, gym owners, ref's, announcers, owners, Bellatore and UFC. It's definitely well rounded.

Definitely worth a watch. It's not just a hype machine. It plays devil's advocate and looks at brain injuries and isn't afraid to throw some dirt around. Good stuff. This guy makes legit sport doc's. Thumbs up.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Smiths – Under Review


I've been going down a rabbit hole of music documentaries offered on Amazon. I watched this Smiths doc even though it looked a little bootleg. It was probably made for TV. Whatever, it was still interesting even though it was more of a B or C production.

Morrissey did a LOT of hip gyration in the Smiths. That's my takeaway.

Looking forward to reading the Johnny Marr book. That's been getting good reviews.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stone Roses - Made Of Stone


Ahhh, now here's another gem. Shane Meadows directed the amazing This is England. And he's the man behind this doc. He does the Roses proud.

This is a look into the history of the Stone Roses, but with a focus on their 2012 reformation and come-back gigs.

There's a decent amount of archival footage as well us a ton of new stuff. But the best thing about this documentary is you can tell Shane is a through-and-through fan. He put a lot of detail into it. And the editing is just electric at times. He does an awesome job on the live footage. He captures the mood of the crowd, their emotions, with the mood and energy coming from the band. It's a perfect marriage.

This isn't a definitive oral or visual history of the band by any means, but it certainly captures a spirit of revival. It's a very enjoyable watch.

Highly recommended.

Slash: Raised On The Sunset Strip


So I just watched the Oasis doc and it was fucking brilliant. This Slash doc is quite the opposite. It's fucking bollocks.

Slash is the guitarist who made me want to play guitar as a kid. He's the reason I play Les Pauls and Mockingbirds. He's THE MAN. But boy did he get shafted with this flick.

It's made by Guitar Center. Do I really need to say more? It's basically a shitty infomercial for Slash's newest band.

There's no artistry in this flick. No passion. Just low budget corporate crap.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oasis: Supersonic


This is one of the best music documentaries I've seen in years. Gotta be the best doc I've seen in 2016.

This Director knows what's up. There was so much effort and so much detail put into this film and it really shines through. The editing is great, the inclusion of lots of rare archival footage is great, it's just a really top-notch production. Even though I don't know anything or give a rat's ass about Amy Winehouse, I'd see the doc he did on her on the strength of this one alone. He's a great story-teller.

Supersonic charts the origins and insane ascension of Oasis from their first gig through to their second album. It's really cool that the doc is so limited in scope because it means you don't get some super compressed timeline of all their albums and exploits. It's just the first 3 or 4 years or so.

It's no secret that Oasis is literally my favorite band of all time. I think Noel is the greatest song-writer of our generation and definitely one of the top 10 song-writers of the last 100 years.

Highly recommended doc. You should watch this. And they should make more that chart the rest of the band's history in segments.

Stoked for the probable reunion in 2017.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal


Went over to JJ's house with some good veggie food and watched this flick again. Clearly in a thrash mood lately.

For being as Italian as J is, he didn't have any olive oil in his house. WTF.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Murder in the Front Row


The only thing I regret about buying this book is that I didn't buy it sooner. It's literally been in my Amazon wishlist since it came out in 2011. I just finally pulled the trigger.

Do you love early Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth and Testament? Of course you do. So buy this god damn book. It's about 300 pages of photos from the early 80's in San Francisco. Lots of sick live shots and a good helping of candid photos from soundchecks or just hanging out.

Tight blue jeans, no belts, sleeveless shirts, bulletbelts, Flying V's, Explorers, Bichs, Mockingbirds, Les Pauls, white sneakers and bangs. It's all there.

If Bazillion Points puts it out, it's pretty much essential. Don't wait five years to get this. Hit the lights!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers


Unlike the film, this will be short: The Two Towers is one of the worst films I've ever seen in my life.

...

The second book is much better than the first. Far more action and a much deeper understanding of characters and plot development etc. A lot of variety. No fucking Shire. It's a lot better. The film however, holy shit, it takes the turd of the first one look like a masterpiece in comparison.

The pacing and editing sucks. The film keeps bouncing back and forth between our two sets of adventurers like it has Tourette's at the beginning. The acting is wooden as a baseball bat. Who is this Orlando Bloom guy? He sucks. Gimli, while playing such a generic Dwarf, is good. And Aragorn is decent. Everyone else is as spoon. Even Treebeard, who is actually made of wood (in theory), has more dimension than some of these human actors.

The CGI? For fuck's sake. It's terrible and I imagine it will be laughed at if it already isn't being laughed at. When you have such a tale...don't try and tackle it with technology that simply can't do it justice. You make yourself look crap and you do an injustice to the original text.

So yeah, four fucking hours of my life watching this god damn thing. And like a masochist, I will watch the third installment after I finish the final book.

Rubbish.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Man Vs. Snake: the Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler


I've never heard of the old school video game Nibbler, but I'll watch a doc on anything.

This is an engrossing doc about the sixteen year old nerd who was the first person ever to score one BILLION points on an arcade game in the 80's. He sets the high score on Nibbler and over two decades later the challenge is thrown down. Now in his 40's, our protagonist is back at it, trying to demolish the competition in a 44 hour non-stop gaming marathon...all on one quarter.

Highly recommended.

CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession


If you lift you've probably heard of CT Fletcher. He's a big dude with an even bigger mouth. He's a YouTube star and he yells at his biceps and, "commands them to grow!" He says "motherfucker" a LOT. So he's rather entertaining at first, but he gets old.

Enter this documentary. It's by the same guy who did Generation Iron. Both docs are really freakin' good. Once you watch this you will have a different perspective on CT Fletcher. He doesn't yell all the time. He's really a pretty freakin cool dude. I dig him.

From world champion weight-lifter to open heart surgery to YouTube star to gym owner. It's an interesting story and it makes for compelling viewing. Definitely recommended.

I command you to watch it, motherfucker.

Gimme Danger


I went to the DFT with Mr. Jason Pearce to see Gimme Danger. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get tickets for the night that Jim and Iggy were doing Q&A, though. I was on "you might have a baby alert" for that night.

Anyway, the doc was good but not amazing. Lots of talking head stuff and various live footage. It's well done. Interviews with all the relevant people.

Sometimes you can watch amazing documentaries about boring subjects, and sometimes you see boring docs about amazing subjects. I think Gimme Danger is a good doc about an incredible band. But I was kinda left wanting a little bit more out of the doc. I can't put my finger on it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Deathgasm


I had Deathgasm on my Netflix queue. McCracken told me it was a good flick so I bumped it up in priority. I just finished a book on Black Metal so it seemed like a fitting movie to watch immediately after.

I really enjoyed it. It's a really funny movie, assuming you like metal. I don't know how you'd feel if you weren't in on all the inside jokes, though. It's kinda like you took Dead Alive and mixed it with Napoleon Dynamite and threw in a bunch of metal gags. It's a Kiwi film and has that Kiwi sense of humor. Very over the top and sarcastic.

The only thing that sucks is that it starts off with about three references to fucking Trivium. So you think it's gonna suck. But later references to Emperor, Burzum, Mayhem, etc, make up for the less than auspicious start.

METAL UP YOU ASS!

Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult


Do you like black metal? If not, skip this book. If so, buy this book. It's essential reading on the genre.

Dayal takes a relatively nonjudgemental trip down memory lane as he examines the roots and history of black metal. Each chapter is pretty much dedicated to a single band. They flow in chronological order, and it makes for quick reading.

Only a couple chapters were snoozers and you can skip them; who cares about NSBM or Polish black metal? Not me. While I don't care for industrial black metal, those chapters were interesting because of the extreme characters involved in those bands.

Overall this is a really good read and I definitely recommend it to scholars of the genre. I'm glad I picked up his second book on the topic, "The Cult Never Dies Vol. 1." Decibel just put that out and I'll be reading that later this year.

RIP Euronymous. Gonna cop his stye for the gym, though. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


In a nutshell: this fucking sucked.

...

Marie read all the Harry Potter novels recently and watched the corresponding movie after she finished each book. While I have no interest in Harry Potter, I was reading LOTR and decided that watching the movie after each book might be interesting.

I've seen at least one of the movies before. Maybe even two of them. I know I never saw the third. And thought they both sucked. But it's been over a decade and I figured I'd give them a second chance simply because I was reading the book. I hoped that watching the films might give me some sort of perspective I missed. Or give me a different understanding. I hoped...

Nope, I was right; they still suck.

99% of CGI is shitty, and when your whole film's premise relies heavily on CGI you have a recipe for garbage. There's one notable exception to this and that's Sin City (which is a masterpiece). But that is the exception to the rule. They used CGI to stylize things and not to try and replicate real life or to trick the viewer. So in Sin City's case it's actually an immersive experience because you're NOT being tricked. Your eye doesn't focus on the things that are slightly off. Because they don't exist. Nothing is slightly off. It's awesome. But LOTR tries to blend stunning New Zealand scenery with CGI and it fails miserably. Nothing takes you out of immersion like the fake physics and unnatural lighting of CGI.

So, even if the CGI didn't suck you still had to put up with the wooden acting. Who are these people? Did they actually hire SPOONS to act? With the budget blown on CGI that must be the only answer. Animated spoons.

Seas Astin (as Sam) is probably the most convincing. He seems the most like his character to me. Elijah Wood is too much of a pansy. But he' alright. Liv Tyler is incredibly hot but an actor she is not. Overall, everyone plays their role like they're in a Western. It's all stoicism with the occasional ray of emotion peeking through every once in a while.

You know what would have ruled? If this was an anime. That would have been killer.

Am I going to watch the other two? Yup.

Like a sadist, I will watch the other two after I read the next two books. FML.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist


I can't remember where I picked this book up from. Maybe it was that same bookapalooza event or whatever it was called a couple years ago. Anyway...Buddhist, Atheist? I'm in. Sign me up.

This book really approaches Buddhism from a different angle. The author takes a far more historically accurate and slightly more objective look into the life of the Buddha. Batchelor's angle is to strip away the social context and influence of India 2500 years ago, and just find Siddhartha Gotuma's unique personal teachings. Best example I can give would be the idea of reincarnation. That concept predates Buddhism. It was a Hindu idea at the time that was commonly accepted, so it made its way into what we know as Buddhism. It's a core tenet of Buddhism, in fact. But was it the Buddha's teaching? Or was that merely an artifact of the time in which he lived?

I've always viewed Buddhism as a philosophy first and foremost, and religion second. A lot of people approach it that way. There are plenty of Buddhist Jews or Buddhist Christians for instance. Hell, there are Buddhist Christian Monks. It's definitely not contrary or antagonistic to be a Buddhist AND hold some sort of religious faith (if that's your thing).

Batchelor sees Buddhism in a similar light. He was an ordained monk for over a decade, he was a disciple of the Dalai Lama and lived with him at Dharmsala, he's taught Buddhism all over the world, etc, but he ultimately disrobed, adopted a lay life and got married.

His "thing" is that he started to feel like a fraud when it came to some of the 'mystical' aspects of Buddhism, if you will. Buddhism is all about questioning things and all about empirical research and experience, but what if you question something as fundamental as reincarnation? Is that taking it too far? Can you still be Buddhist? What the hell happens to the concept of karma if you don't believe in reincarnation?

This is the kind of stuff that he tackles in this book. That, and he really does a pretty good deep dive on the true history of the Buddha. For starters, he wasn't a prince. Yeah, this book has some revelations. Well, at least it did for me.

Overall, it was a pretty good book. It's definitely a different angle and I really appreciated that fresh approach, especially considering I'm atheist and Buddhist. It was good to read a book from a renowned ex-monk who essentially says, "that's okay," "that's not in conflict."


Om mani padme hum

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fresh Dressed


This flick is actually quite a bit better than the trailer lets on. It looks a bit too glossy and superficial, but the movie comes off deeper and more down to earth than that.

Anything that starts in 1970's NYC with the classic era gangs is gonna be good. This doesn't disappoint. The documentary charts the origins of hip hop fashion to the NY boroughs when NY was straight up living "the Warriors." It takes it from there to the birth of hip hop via the b-boys and rides the wave to current day innovators. We see rappers starting their own labels like Rocawear, Wu Wear, and Sean Jean, and even before that we see street wear become "a thing."

There are some pretty cool interviews with local cats from back in the day, as well as big name rappers in the game like Nas and Kanye, etc.

I really dug this look back at hip hop fashion. Definitely worth a watch on Netflix if you like hip hop at all.

Wooooord. Woooooooord.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

21 Days Under the Sky


Can't remember where I found out about this. Maybe it just popped up in my Netflix queue. Anyway, it's a biker road trip flick made in part by Dice Magazine. So it has credentials.

Four dudes ride from SF to NY in three weeks. A pretty awesome ride by anyone's standards. Would love to take that on.

They ride some pretty rad Harley choppers. Sissy bars, extended front ends with exaggerated rake, Coker tires, you know the drill. I wanna know where that dude got his serape vest. It's nice. But anyway...the bikes are legit.

The soundtrack is pretty good. But overall the movie is pretty shallow. You don't get to know any of the characters. It's just about getting some nice, artistic shots of the bikes traveling cross-country. Nothing more, nothing less. They try and weave in some sort of commentary on America and the history of bikers...but it's still pretty shallow.

It's not very long. I'd definitely recommend you watch it if you ride bikes or dig choppers. For sure.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen


I wanted to go back to being 8 years old again, when a young boy is fascinated with things like dinosaurs and Egypt. I already received a book on how to read hieroglyphics this year, which I haven't yet read, but I wanted something with a fascinating story. To quench my thirst I picked up this book on the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb, written by the man who can claim that honor.

This is an old book w/ poorly reproduced photographs, but it cost more to ship it than to buy it used on Amazon so let's not complain. The thing I dug about it was that I believe most of the content was written shortly after the discovery, so it feels fresh. It doesn't have decades and research and hindsight to reflect back on. It's right there, after it happened, in the thick of it all. That means there are many unanswered questions, but the book is about the discovery, not the analysis.

Anyway, this is an interesting read about one of the most significant finds in archaeological history. You'll learn a lot. Recommended.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Last Man on Earth


I watched this Vincent Price flick the other day. Marie bought the DVD for me years ago from Target for a couple bucks or something.

The Last Man on Earth is cool because it's totally the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead. Buuuuuuuuut it's not that good. NotLD is amazing. It's groundbreaking. TLMoE is just alright. 

The thing I actually really liked about The Last Man on Earth was the fact it was shot in Italy. I knew it was Italy immediately because of the iconic Brutalist architecture. I was first turned on to the aesthetic by Antonioni's films such as L'Eclisse and L'Avventura. Those monolithic concrete structures just seemed so fucking HEAVY. So futuristic. It was like a dystopian Jetsons. Somehow it was clearly from the future, yet we're talking early 1960's. No flying cars. No Rosy the Robot.

So anyway, the fact that I found inanimate concrete structures to be the start of the show tells you something...

The zombies are interesting, too, from a film history perspective. They can talk. The walk slow and they moan. But they can talk. They still have memory. You rarely see that depicted other than the obligatory, "Braaaaaaaiiiiinsssss." So that was neat.

Oh, the continuity issues are fucking awful in this flick. There're numerous scenes where Price is driving somewhere in broad daylight then it cuts and it's pitch black then it cuts back and it's daylight again. Or dusk. Price's car even switches from a left hand drive to a right hand drive and back. So yeah, that kind of attention to detail is pretty lacking. The whole day/night/day thing was ridiculous.

Watch it if you're a horror completist. Otherwise, maybe watch a Stranger Things episode again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mark Webber: Aussie Grit - My Formula One Journey


I traded racing books with a co-worker again. This time around I gave him the Stig's bio and he gave me Mark Webber's bio.

It's good. Amongst other things it gives you a behind the curtain look at the shady aspects of F1.

Mark Webber is a successful motor racer from Australia. He was famous for his seven years at Red Bull when he was racing Formula One, but now he does endurance racing with Porsche in the LMP1 category. I.E. he races in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

If you're into F1 then this is a good book to read. You learn a lot about how the teams work, how politics fucks things up, and you learn a bit more about the interesting details of the cars and what it all entails. It's cool stuff.

Mark seems very easy going and friendly (as much as one can tell from the book). Reminds me of fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo. Down for a laugh and a race. Leave the politics at the door.

He does spill some dirt on young Vettel, though. Vettel always seems like a whiny bitch when things don't go his way, and that's definitely touched on in the book since they were partners for a few years.

Anyway, this is a good, easy read for F1 fans. Recommended. If you don't care for the sport then you won't give a crap about this.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

I am Thor


I was never a Thor fan, but as a big music bio fan I had to watch "I am Thor." Bodybuilding and heavy metal? Fuck yeah, I'll check it out.

In talking with Uberti about said movie today he described it as, "like a second rate The Story of Anvil." And that's a very good, succinct description. A lot of the production is handled by one dude. The audio is sketchy. The video quality varies quite a lot throughout the movie. It's all done on a shoestring budget.

Is it a good movie? No, not really. Is it an interesting story? Yeah. Is Thor any good? No. He should have stuck to bodybuilding. Dude was a beast. But y'know, a lot of people like his shit, so good for him. Whatever floats your boat.

The whole thing was worth learning one pretty crazy tidbit about Jerry Only and the Misfits. But I won't spoil it for  you...

He looks like He-Man.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Conspiracy of Brothers


I picked up a used copy of this at some big ol' book swap meet type of thing a while back. Booktopia, or Bookapolooza, or Bookmageddon, or something along those lines. It was at a mall. Zillions of individual book sellers. It had a biker on the front and purported to be about, "bikers, murder, and the law," so I was in.

Before we get into the book itself, just look at the typeface on the cover. The "C" is very interesting. It's like a condensed bastard child of Helvetica, Frutiger, and some unique display font. I dig it.

Anyway, the book is about a biker-on-biker murder in Canada, the trial, and the aftermath. It's a true story from the late 70's / early 80's. Mick Lowe does a great job as an investigative journalist diving into the minutia of this case. He builds a vivid picture of the fateful night and then takes the reader on a lengthy trip through courtrooms, penitentiaries, and outlaw clubhouses.

I found the courtroom drama a bit tedious, to be honest. But ultimately it was worth the ride. It was an inspiring and also incredibly sad and disappointing story. Do you like true crime? Do you ride? Read the book!


Grit


I joined the bookclub at work. First book I read with them was "Grit" by Angela Duckworth.

The idea of grit in the workplace is a bit of a buzzword right now. How do I hire for grit? What separates the men from the goats? We need gritty people, etc etc. I consider myself a pretty determined and disciplined person, so I was interested in reading up on the academic interpretation of grit. Are there lessons to be learned? Ways to teach it? Ways to hire for it?

In talking with my colleagues most felt the book was a bit long-winded. Duckworth seemed intent on showing the inner-workings of her conclusions to a point than some people felt was overkill. Example after example. It didn't bother me too much, though. It was a quick and easy read. The first night I read it I drank an espresso and stayed up until 2am getting through the first 100 pages. So for a business book / academic book, you could consider it a page-turner. 

I think grit is important. I'd be interested in hearing what my wife has to say about the book, if she chooses to read it. There's a brief chapter on parenting for grit. I paid particular attention to that as it will come in handy after October 25th. Fortunately for me, my parents were excellent examples of how to instill grit in a child. They just did what came natural to them, so I imagine their parents must have raised them in an equally gritty fashion. Disciplined and supportive. 

I'd recommend this to anyone in business, any parent, or anyone about to embark upon a particularly daunting new chapter or task in their life. Starting a new business? Prepping to run a marathon?

I think it's a pretty good book but I wouldn't rave about it. I'm recommending it cuz it's such a quick read that it's not going to take up too much time. You'll get something out of it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Generation Iron


I watched this last year and decided it was time to give it a second viewing. I just re-read my original review, and while it was complementary I think it was a touch harsher than I feel about it now. That's how I felt at the time, so whatever. I liked it even more the second go round. 

If you lift and you've haven't seen it, get to it!


Saturday, July 16, 2016

We Are Twisted Fucking Sister


Never been a Twisted Sister fan. I mean...look at them.

Still not a fan. But I respect the hell out of them! Definitely thought Dee was a really articulate and intelligent dude for a long time. No doubt. Testifying in the PMRC musical hearings in DC was a big deal. Dee was awesome. But cool dude or not, I still didn't like Twisted Sister.

I watched this 2 hour 15 minute doc about the inception and rise to fame of Twisted Sister and walked away with even more respect for them. The doc doesn't get into their "famous years," it's 100% on their struggle to the top, which is cool. The untold story, if you will.

There's not a lot to the doc. Talking heads and archival footage. Not much in the way of interesting motion graphics or anything else. It's slick enough, but very basic.

I'd definitely recommend it if you want to see a doc on some gritty, determined motherfuckers. This is a story of pure determination and a stubborn drive to succeed. They slog their way from tri-state clubs to selling millions of records and playing all over the world.

It's a cool story. Inspiring. And there's a lot of make-up.

Ramesses II: The Great Journey


I've decided to get back into Egyptology.

Every child, or at least every male child, grows up with a fascination with the universe, dinosaurs, and Egypt. You just do.

So considering I'm 36 going on 11, I'm going back to my roots and I'm going to read some books and watch whatever I can on the subject. I already got a book on how to read hieroglyphics for x-mas. So I'll dig into that soon enough.

I watched this video on Amazon Prime. It was kinda crappy. Didn't like the narrator. Interesting, but I need something that doesn't feel quite so second rate...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Spin


I'll watch a documentary on almost anything. Case in point, I just watched one on ping pong. And loved it.

It's no secret I really dug Spellbound back in 2002. It's an Oscar nominated doc about the national spelling bee. Riveting stuff. Well, Top Spin is like Spellbound but for table tennis players trying to make it to the Olympics in London in 2012. Kids who are 15 years old just kicking major ass.

Top Spin is really well done. Doesn't need a big budget. It just follows some students, tells their stories, and puts it all together in a quick narrative with a well-defined arc. Simple and effective.

The kids who are profiled are paragons of grit, as Angela Duckworth would say. It's true. These kids are the embodiment of steely grit and determination. I'd be super proud of them if I were their parents.

This is only 80 minutes. Stream it on Netflix. You'll learn about something you never knew about before....unless you happen to really, really be into ping pong.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pumping Iron


I'm lifting shoulders with Pickle* on Sunday. I had to get psyched up so I watched Pumping Iron again.

Okay, that's not really why I watched it again. But whatever. It was good to revisit. I'm gonna watch Generation Iron for a second time soon, too.

It's a classic. Just like Ahnold.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Tritonian Ring


I just finished this fantasy novel by L. Sprague de Camp, famous for contributing to the Conan mythos post-R.E.H. I picked it up from a local store because of the author the the cool Frazetta cover art.

The book was so-so. I can't help but compare it to Robert E. Howard, as the tale has many resemblances to a typical Conan yarn. But de Camp just doesn't flow or doesn't paint quite the same vivid pictures in your mind.

Having said that, it was still a good read. I definitely imagined a myriad strange the wonderful beasts and epic landscapes and cityscapes as I made my way through the book.

If you're not super picky about your sword and sorcery tales...fuck it, give it a read. It's pretty good.





Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ROAD


Wow. That was heavy. That was really freakin' good.

Road is a documentary about the Dunlop family of motorcycle road racers. Two generations of Irish brothers constantly succeeding at the highest level of competition.

The sound design in this movie is particularly good. The editing is great. And the overall story arc is wonderful. The Directors really did a fantastic job of pulling this all together. It's not a high budget film, but it didn't need to be. The story-telling is just so spot-on. It's a great achievement. Terrific sporting documentary.

And it's a tear-jerker. Yup.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Real Miyagi


I just watched a documentary that sprang up on my Netflix feed. It's about the sensei who inspired the character, Mr. Miyagi, in the Karate Kid. But that's only one aspect of Demura sensei's story.

The flick is about 80 minutes long or so. There're interviews with the likes of Dolph Lundgren, Steven Segall, and Michael Jai White. And of course quite a bit from Pat Morita, the Oscar nominated actor who played Mr. Miyagi in three films.

I really dug the story. Definitely parallels Jackie Chan's bio. Coming from poverty in Asia. Making it to America to work on films / entertainment. And really bringing martial arts to a much broader audience in the US.

Fumio Demura seems like a really freakin cool dude. Huge heart. Incredibly talented. Movie even brought a wee tear to my eye at times.

It's pretty low budget, though. Written, Edited and Directed by one guy. It's a shoestring budget, but the story-telling is pretty good. It could have been slicker, but the meat is there. I found it worthwhile, but if you don't care for martial arts then you can skip it.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Swedish Death Metal


It's been years since I first read this book. I'm on a music bio kick, and since I have so many good ones it's easy to go back and reread some of them when there's nothing new on deck.

I remember thinking this book wasn't that great the first time around. My initial reaction was that it was more of a list of events, rather than a story. But upon a second reading I've definitely changed my mind. While I don't think it's as deftly woven together as Choosing Death, I'm rescinding my first judgement. I really liked it.

Swedish Death Metal is an authoritative retrospective of the early years of the movement. The book starts pre-death metal and goes up until the explosion and peak in the early 90's. Ekeroth sticks a fork in it around 94 or so. That's essentially food for another book, should someone choose to take it on. But this tome is about those early years, one could argue the classic years. 

So yeah, if you like death metal then by default you've gotta like Swedish death metal, therefore you should buy this book! It's only logical.

This occupies a well-deserved space on your shelf next to Choosing Death and Lords of Chaos.



Monday, May 23, 2016

the Walking Dead: Volume 25 No Turning Back


I forgot how dramatic the last issue was. This picks up where it left off...so it opens on a major bummer.

As always, there's a lot of ups and downs, but it was kind of uplifting in the long-run. I'm stoked to see what happens next. Always am.

Haven't watched the last couple seasons of the TV show. But the comic is still alive and kicking.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Story Worth Living


A story worth living? Not this fucking story!

Worst.
Movie.
Ever.

A dozen of us went out to see this movie. We were all duped. And we all feel like vomiting right now. Most reacted with, "we need to go to a strip club right now!" We have to wash off the filth of the last 90 minutes in a cloud of glitter, perfume, cigarette smoke, and silicone. Watching that movie just makes you want to go out and do horrible things.

If you were writing your own story why the hell would it include the following; sitting around a campfire and talking to your friends about "love," talking with dudes about your favorite scene in Les Mis, pulling out a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia and reading a lame passage to your friends, and worst of all....taking 8 days to ride a measly 1000 miles?! Really? All you could muster on 75% blacktop was a shitty 125 miles a day? WTF. What kind of lame ass story is this?

Oh yeah, the kind of lame ass story where Jesus and the bible pop up every 10 minutes. The kind of shitty ass story where everything in the world is really just a metaphor for the bible. Star Wars? The bible. LOTR? The bible. Fuck off.

These guys were such pussies it just drove you to the brink of violence. Honestly.

I swear I thought we were watching Brokeback Mountain 2.

This movie gives motorcycle movies a bad name. There wasn't one swastika, rape, orgy, shooting, or drug fueled violent act the whole time. What is the world coming to, people?

I left before the movie was done. But if I had been there alone I would have walked out after 10 minutes. Seriously. Fuck this movie.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Complete Chronicles of Conan


Let's not beat around the bush: This is the best book ever.

If I could only save one book from my library this would be it. If I were stuck on a dessert island with only one book this would be it. Etc etc etc.

Just shy of 1000 pages, it took my time getting through all of Howard's tales. I sipped at it like a fine wine. I had to savor the greatness within because I knew once I had read it, there would be no more original Robert E. Howard Conan stories for me to devour. Robert committed suicide at the tender age of 30, and this is all he left us.

I'm still collecting the old paperbacks w/ Frazetta covers. I'll re-read the classic yarns within. But there's nothing new to discover now. Just the new fangled, derivative tales spun by Howard fanboys like L. Sprague De Camp. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Conan is my favorite literary character and Howard's tales truly transport me to a time since forgotten by mankind. All hail Conan...Amra...King of Aquilonia...

R.I.P. Robert E. Howard. May Mitra have mercy on his soul, for we know Crom won't.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ogilvy on Advertising


This was a no-brainer. Ogilvy is a giant in the industry so I decided to absorb some of his sage wisdom. True, this book is dated, hell, it was pretty much written pre-internet...but some of the theories should transcend time and space.

I found myself taking pictures of some of the passages and emailing them to myself at work to share w/ co-workers. Definitely some gems in here and it's worth a read if advertising is your thing, or even PART of your thing...

I liked his writing style. Very forthright. Has a good personality.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Filmage


So, I was about to watch Mad Max Fury Road last night until I realized it wasn't streaming on Amazon Prime or Netflix for free. As I browsed Amazon I saw they had Filmage up there. Bam! I'm in.

Milo Goes to College is a landmark record for zillions of punks. It's dark. It's melodic. It's angry as hell. It's honest. It's just what every 14 year old needs to hear. 22 years later and I still enjoy listening to it. And All had Dave Smalley in the band for a while, so...yeah, I'll watch this 90 minute doc' about the life and times of the Descendents and All.

I really wish every punk band had a documentary about them that was done this well. This was really good. Great production value, high quality film, with energetic editing. It really kept the movie moving forward. Good sound design, too. I can't complain about anything. Like I said, I wish all punk bands had something of this caliber to watch. This ruled.


Friday, April 8, 2016

No Sleep Till Saltburn


I got through No Sleep Till Saltburn pretty quickly. It's less than 300 pages and the type is big enough to read from across the room.

Anyway, it wasn't what I expected. It's marketed well, that is to say it's marketed deceptively. From the cover and the blurb you'd think it was all about NWOBHM. And it kinda is...but it's really more like a dude's diary for eighteen months or so. Yeah, he's involved in the burgeoning heavy metal scene in England, but it's not really what you'd want out of a book that proclaims to be about NWOBHM. This takes a small scene, and a focuses on one dude's experience in it from 84 to 85. It's a very micro view on a subject that could do with macro coverage.

Having said all that, I enjoyed the book once I got over the fact it wasn't what I thought it'd be.

You definitely learn about the likes of Battleaxe, Satan, Tygers of Pan Tang, Black Rose, Holland, Geddes Axe, and more...

This is a good read for die-hards. If you want to soak up every last bit of knowledge you can about NWOBHM, read this. Otherwise, there are probably other books you could be reading, to be honest. Whatever. It's pretty good.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Out of Sight


I was reading Out of Sight and thinking, "I wonder if they ever sold the rights to this." Then right now as I was looking up a pic of the book cover I saw movie posters, too. Evidently it came out in 1998 with George Clooney and J-Lo as the leads. It looks awful. Thankfully, the book is legit.

I don't recall where I picked this up, but I have it, and I've read it. I feel like it was in our house when we bought it, or I picked it up at a garage sale. Regardless, it's good. Elmore Leonard is from Detroit and he typically writes crime novels. He's most famous for Get Shorty, but it's been decades since I've seen that and I never read the book.

Out of Sight is gritty. It'd have to be cuz it's set in Detroit. Partly. It has a femme fatale...almost a modern day noir / crime thriller.

It's about bank robbers, drugs, prison, boxing, chases, guns, detectives. Y'know. Crime.

If you like reading about the above types of things then this is for you. Recommended.


Salad Days


Just watched the much talked about, Salad Days. It was a'ight.

Ian MacKaye serves as the tie that binds this whole thing together. He, along with a bunch of other talking heads from the time period, guide us through the inception of DC hardcore in the early 80's up through its more mainstream success in the mid-90's. It's got all the culprits you'd expect, Teen Idles, SOA, Minor Threat, GI, Faith, Void, Bad Brains, Marginal Man, Scream, Rites of Spring, Fugazi, One Last Wish, etc etc.

The doc is well done. It rarely felt cheap or low rent. Some cool footage and photos.

But something about it just didn't quite make it a slam dunk. Not sure what it is, though. It was somehow missing a spark.

Anyway, anyone into hardcore should watch it, regardless.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Alice in the Chains: the Untold Story


Eric gave me a bunch of Alice in Chains music that I didn't have. I've been listening to it a lot over the last few weeks. I picked up their bio and got through it pretty quickly.

It was 'meh.'

See, none of the guys from AIC were interviewed for the book. It's the first bio of the band, but it's also told from more of a research perspective and not a first hand account from the people involved. The book is flawed, or rather the book isn't as interesting and engrossing as similar bio's because you never get inside the main characters' heads. You don't hear their opinions. You just get dates, facts, other people's opinions, foggy memories, etc. It reads like a research paper for college as opposed to a personal memoir. So it's just missing that personal touch. As a result I can't rate it higher than, "meh, it was alright."

I was never a big AIC fan, but I love bio's and I love the early 90's so I was down for it. And I'm glad I read it. If you love AIC then by all means, crack it open. Check it out. You'll learn a lot.

How so many people can get into heroin is beyond me, man. Fucked up...

Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery


My coworker, Will, mentioned this flick to me. Said it was really good. Will was right. I really enjoyed this one.

Beltracchi was a master forger. He made millions and millions of dollars over 30 years forging 19th century artwork and having them sold at Sotheby's and Christie's. He fooled the most senior and authoritative specialists the world over. Time after time. The dude was absolutely incredible at his craft. His talent and attention to detail is undeniable.

Obviously one can't condone his actions, but the guy is pretty likable and he's immensely talented. It's a good doc. A great peak behind the curtain so you understand his process. Beautiful stuff.

You can stream it on Netflix.

APEX: The Story of the Hypercar


I just watched this doc on hypercars. I think it was made with help from Jalopnik and DRIVE (great YouTube series). It's by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.

APEX is pretty good. It focuses on Koenigsegg, but intersperses bits on Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, Pagani and Bugatti. So all the main hypercars are covered. There are a bunch of automotive journalists (most of whom you're familiar with), as well as interviews with many key players in the creation of all of the above cars.

Chris Harris is in it...so you know it's gonna be pretty good right there.

I wasn't blown away with it, though. It's legit. But it kept me wanting more. It still felt a little bit like a made-for-TV documentary and not something as cinematic or artistic as it could have been. It felt very surface level, and honestly a whole doc on the Koenigsegg One:1 might have been better. If they'd done a series of 90 minute docs on each one of those cars...yeah...that would have freakin ruled.

It's worth watching. I just didn't think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread...or carbon fiber.


Satan's Sadists


Last time I watched this was 2011. I bought a DVD copy so we could revisit it for this week's Motorcycle Movie Night.

Satan's Sadists is probably the heaviest of all the biker flicks. It's a grim film. It has all the typical ingredients of a 1969 biker flick, but it goes over the edge. It's remorseless raping and killing from a truly psychopathic lead character. Your typical biker flick of this era is anti-establishment, it's wild and over the top, but it's also comical on many levels. Satan's Sadists has the comic relief due to its terrible production value, fake mustaches, and redface (like blackface, but for Native Americans), but it's overshadowed by how ruthless the Prez is. He's so nasty and nihilistic in fact that all his gang are sickened by his actions. It ends up watching like more of a slasher than a biker flick. It crosses that line.

It's still a classic biker flick. All the elements are there. I'm just saying that for once the dramatic hyperbolic claims on the poster are kinda true. It's probably the most visions and violent film of the 60's!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Papillon


After I watched the film adaptation again in 2014, I bought the book. I just got through the 560 pages today and went ahead and bought the second book by Henri Charriere, called Banco. It picks up the story where Papillon leaves off.

But anyway, I absolutely LOVED the movie. One of the greatest god damn things ever. The book is really good, too. But technically the film is better than the book, to be honest. The book is awesome source material. You could have made a 10 part series out of it. Easy.

I don't care if it's true, false, half-true, whatever. Reading it is fun and that's what counts. It's a page-turner, and there are a lot of pages to turn.

Prison break stories are awesome. All of them. And the French make the best prison break art. First Papillon, then Le Trou, and then Mesrines. Those are the best of the best.

I can't see why anyone wouldn't love this book.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Northville Cemetery Massacre


We revisited another old biker flick from one of our prior bike night seasons. This one is a local favorite. Filmed in Michigan and starring real 1%'ers from back in the day.

Already reviewed this in 2012. It ruled in 1976, it ruled in 2012, and it still rules now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Icons of Men's Style


I already reviewed this book in 2012 when I first read it. It's just as awesome today as when I first read it. Mandatory.

Straight Outa Compton


Got around to watching the Straight Outta Compton Director's Cut on Amazon.

It was decent. A very palatable big budget Hollywood version of N.W.A.'s story. Definitely seemed pretty soft around the edges. Not nearly as dangerous or sketchy as N.W.A.'s early image. I was expecting something darker.

Too much sunshine.

I liked watching it cuz I learned a lot about the internal politics of the band. I always thought Cube was the focal point of N.W.A., but the movie really paints Eazy as the main guy. Eazy definitely had the charisma, and clearly some level of business/marketing sense.

If you're in your mid to late thirties then you probably grew up on N.W.A. and you should watch this for a historical perspective. Biased of course, but still. But if you don't give a crap about N.W.A. then I'd stay away. It's kinda vanilla Hollywood stuff. Whatever.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Wild Angels


Instead of forcing us to watch a brand new biker flick each time, I've decided to start sprinting in some of the classics that we started watching 4 years ago. Not everyone has seen the likes of Satan's Sadists, Glory Stompers, Devil's Angels, etc. So the first one I brought back was the archetypical Wild Angels.

It stars Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. It's THE textbook biker flick from the 60's. Swastikas, love-ins, rape, mammas, old ladies, AMAZING choppers, causing trouble in a small west coast town, disdain for "the man," racism, and plenty of beer soaked revelry. It checks every box. Oh yeah, including the "very thin excuse for a plot" check box. The Prez is too cool for school. He's even too cool for his gang. It's awesome.

We don't need to go into much detail on this movie. There's nothing of any real artistic merit to critique. It's simply one of the immortal 60's biker flicks, so that's why it was the first for us to revisit.

Good times.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59



I bought this a while back and finally got around to reading it. I got through it pretty quickly, as it was really well written. Douglas Edwards was the 59th employee hired at Google, and was pretty much the man behind Google's voice. He provided the words that supported the brand. So he bloody well better be a good writer!

Edwards has a very easy-going style. The story flows along at the perfect pace. He's very learned and has a great vocabulary, but most importantly he knows how to use it to great effect. Intelligent and conversational. Perfect.

I'm Feeling Lucky is very freakin interesting. It's a great peek behind the curtain of one of the most important and successful brands in the history of...history. It's not quite open kimono, but it's a great insight into their decision making process and product development, nonetheless.

Anyone who considers them a student of business should definitely give this a read. It's definitely thought provoking, if nothing else. It's great for learning about and discussing strategy. Highly recommended to anyone interested in business, innovation, or tech.

By the way, thanks to stock options I think Edwards is worth about 100 mil now. Yeah.

Le Mans


Last time I watched this was about five years ago. I needed a refresher so I purchased the Blu-Ray and watched it last night.

God damn, it's even better than I remembered. There isn't one line of dialogue in the film until about 40 minutes in. You could literally fit the entire script on to one piece of 8.5x11" paper. Honestly. It's a very sparse film, but in the best of ways. I loved it.

The movie is total car porn. Steve McQueen making love to Porsche for two hours. It's amazing. It's definitely been elevated in my list of all time favorite films after watching it again. The attention to detail is fascinating. The realism. The score. It's just a truly amazing film for any gearhead.

While Grand Prix is my favorite car movie, this is my second favorite. They're very, very different, but very similar, too. Grand Prix is Monaco, big budget, glamour, etc, and Le Mans is just straight up RAW. But both are undeniably car porn. Undeniably beautiful homages to racing cars and the men who drive them.

Mandatory viewing.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

12 Angry Men


Wow. Can't believe I'd never really heard much about this flick. A trusted co-worker loaned me the DVD and I watched it tonight. It's fucking awesome. Almost brought a wee tear to my eye.

I knew it ruled from the opening few frames. Great cinematography and framing. Incredibly Hitchcockian in style and content. Hitch' loved "the wrong man" plot device, and was big on the camera telling the story. The camera often took a POV perspective and would focus on exactly what the viewer was supposed to see. Almost child-like in its simplicity. It just followed what needed to be followed. Clearly meticulously story-boarded. That's how this film rolls. The intro also kinda reminded me of Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket."

So I definitely loved the beautiful blocking and framing. Very well thought-out.

Acting was top class. The movie also reminded me of Jacques Becker's "Le Trou," in its intensity, singular setting, and character development. Another absolutely jaw-dropping film. Prison film from France. How can you argue with that?

Anyway, this movie is about a jury deliberating a murder trial. It focuses on 'reasonable doubt,' prejudices, and logic. It's 100% dialogue driven. 99% of the film takes place in one room.

It ruled hard.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Only Death Is Real


Bazillion Points Publishing rules. I have a lot of their books and they're always exceptionally well made. Such great production value. I bought this when it came out about five or six years ago, and hadn't re-read it since then. So I gave it another reading. It was so fucking good second time though. Practically just as awesome as the first time. 

Only Death Is Real recounts the brief history of Hellhammer in pretty incredible detail. I have such a shitty memory, I have no idea how Tom can remember all this crap. It took place over 30 years ago. But I'm glad he documented it because it makes for a really inspiring read. 

Like I said, the quality of the book is absolutely top notch. But the content is what set it apart. Tom writes earnestly and honestly. It's a very passionate story of young outcasts coming-of-age in a society they shunned. A lot of people who are deeply into punk or metal have that understanding. That kinship and shared experiences that arises out of hating the world and taking solace in music. It's all right here. Doesn't matter if you like Hellhammer. I don't. I love Celtic Frost but Hellhammer doesn't do anything for me. Makes no difference. It's about the tale, the drive, the perseverance, and the triumph (of death). 

It's a very inspirational book for anyone in band especially. Great read. I really can't recommend it enough. If you've ever believed in something or wanted something that other people didn't believe you could accomplish...this is the book for you.