Five Things you need to know about

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Calvin James Pynn

cpynn@radford.edu

App

Draw Something:

Be warned – this may be one of the most addictive games you will ever play. As the wonderful ease of Draw Something has taken the world by storm over the past couple weeks, people have taken joy in doodling on their smartphones, tablets, and computers to pass the time. The game’s premise is simple: you play your friends via a network connection (mainly through Facebook), in an ongoing guessing game. Each player chooses a word to illustrate, they draw it, and send it to the other player, as the goal in mind is to allow the other player to guess your word based on the drawing. That’s all there is to it: nothing more, nothing less. Words can be chosen by difficulty as well, and the harder a word is, the more coins are awarded to a player once it’s been guessed. It requires little or no talent as well – as long as you can draw a stick figure acting out a particular word, then you can certainly play Draw Something. The only downside is that when playing Draw Something, productivity is sure to dwindle. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Music

Boards of Canada:

Childhood nostalgia and dark, soothing downtempo beats define the electronic chillwave sensation that is Boards of Canada. Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Boards of Canada is comprised of brothers Mike Sandison and Marcus Eion. they have been active for the better part of the past 26 years. Throughout their career, the two have kept a low profile, developing an exclusively underground following, rarely giving interviews and working with barely any advertising. They harbor a unique sound, harkening back to the warm, analogue sounds of 1970s media in which the two were immersed during their youth. In that essence, the best way to experience Boards of Canada is through their music videos, as their songs are juxtaposed against educational films from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. The films range from the mundane to the all out bizarre, but make for an overall mind-blowing experience. Ultimately, Boards of Canada’s dreamy ambience makes you feel the embrace of times long gone.

Film

ThanksKilling:

No other movie plays on the term “so bad, it’s good,” like “ThanksKilling” does. This fully intentional abomination owes its viewership to Netflix’s initial launch of their instant streaming option, and since it surfaced, it has been embraced as a shamefully good time that is impossible to be unseen. “ThanksKilling” was produced on the most frayed of shoestring budgets, and follows five laughably clichéd college students as they are making their way home for Thanksgiving break (as opposed to Spring break, if that indicates just how backwards this film is). As they hope to party the whole way home, they are stalked by a homicidal, foul-mouthed, axe wielding turkey, who picks the unsuspecting students off one by one. That’s about as deep as the plot gets. The performances are wooden, the scenes are cheap and under produced, the turkey is clearly a crude puppet, and there isn’t a single trace of creative sympathy for any character – but that’s the point. Combine all that together, and you have a hysterically sidesplitting story that makes intentional “comedy” look downright solemn. Fortunately for “ThanksKilling,” it’s lack of serious intention is the key to its wonder. Check it out at 3 a.m. on a drunken night. You will be sorry, but entertained nonetheless.

Comics

The Amory Wars:

Fans of Coheed and Cambria are probably already aware of the rich narrative behind the modern progressive rock band’s songs, but for those who don’t, there is an entire literary universe to behold. Originally titled “The Bag.On.Line Adventures,” the story concerns a sci-fi world called “Heaven’s Fence,” made up of 78 planets connected by beams of energy known as the Keywork. While the first half of the story follows Coheed Kilgannon and his wife, Cambria Kilgannon, the second half follows their messianic son Claudio (named after frontman and main songwriter Claudio Sanchez). The story behind the albums are explored further in “The Amory Wars,” which act as a literary companion to the albums. The story is deep, bizarre, and once you can dig into the complex plots, the story is truly compelling. For all of Coheed and Cambria’s naysayers, “The Amory Wars” could be true proof of Claudio Sanchez’s genius.

Television

Portlandia:

Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen and comedian Carrie Brownstein may have found their niche making fun of hipsters in this offbeat sketch comedy, which debuted in Feb. 2011. “Portlandia” doesn’t follow an exact plot, but rather plays on experiential reality. The show is a blatant parody of bohemian life in Portland, Oregon, showing typical figures in the city in a quirky manner. While the odd setting of the show may be a little difficult to access, the show’s unfiltered satire eventually makes you feel as if you’ve been a longtime resident in Portland, as you will find yourself cringing at the pretentiousness of the hipster culture while being caught in a rising laughing fit. The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland, and “Portlandia” capture the hysterical delusion perfectly.