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  • My Top Obsessions of 2008

    Posted on December 31st, 2008 Shawn 1 comment

    As we wind down 2008 and wind up 2009, let me recap on the obsessions that have kept me coming back to the blog. In looking over the past 12 months, I’ll highlight the top seven obsessions that have swallowed up all my free time this past year. I’ll also take a look at what obsessions might be cropping up for 2009.

    Here are the obsessions in order of importance to me.

    Picture the ball dropping, and countdown on…
    10, 9, 8…

    7. Death of My Treo Obsession.
    After four dedicated years to the Palm OS and the Treo lineup, and the blog formerly named My Treo Obsession, the obsession that started this blog has ended. I have handed my Treo to my 3 year old son as his new toy phone, and my Treo 700p to my 2 year old daughter for her new toy phone.

    6. New Xbox Experience.
    The Xbox 360 is my console of choice (though do use a Wii nearly as much) and the New Xbox Experience (NXE) was a fun obsession this year. We got to hear the rumors, leaks, and beta testing of a cool dashboard for the Xbox 360, which in November brought new life to the 3+ year old gaming system. I really haven’t played with NXE much since it came out, due to other obsessions taking up much of my time…also, my general rule when it comes to Xbox is, (1) turn it on (2) start Rock Band 2.

    5. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy.
    Well this is an obsession that has spanned a decade+, and finally came to fruition (well, sort of) in November 2008. Axl Rose, and an entirely new band, finally released Chinese Democracy. So, the hype was of course huge and the album…well, more of a let down to most. But, honestly, something that was hyped for about 14 years is guaranteed to never match expectations. I can say that I have only listened to the CD three times, which either means I don’t really love it, or maybe I just got old in the past 14 years. You decide. None the less, it was a very exciting past few months discussing GNR all over again. I felt like I was back in high school again.

    4. Drumming Stuff.
    You may know that I’m a long time drummer. If it weren’t for Rock Band and all the other rhythm games out this year, I probably would have not talked much about drumming on the blog. But, thanks to Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, Rock Revolution, and others, drumming was a big part of the year. From the new kits with the games, to the ION Drum Rocker, to me building (and temporarily failing) a custom Roland/Yamaha kit to work with Rock Band, it was a great year for electronic drumming. I can anticipate that in 2009, this obsession will likely continue. As my Rock Band drum kit recently died (red pad is a goner), and I plan to continue my soldering challenges of building a custom Roland/Yamaha kit to work with Rock Band, 2009 will be a big year for my drumming obsession.

    3. BlackBerry Storm.
    Although the Storm has been on the top of my blog posts lately, it tops out at #3 this year. The hype leading up to RIM’s for touchscreen device was just awesome. The release date flops and “not ready for prime time” OS that it released on, made for great posts and quite an obsession. Now it’s stabilizing, and 3rd party apps are cropping up everywhere. For me, I have enjoyed the Storm since I got it, and continue to love it more every day. Since this blog was founded on gadget obsessions, I’m sure the Storm and BB in general will play a big role in 2009 obsessions.
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    2. Rock Band 2.
    This has taken a big part of my life in 2008. What a game! What a soundtrack! What a fun way to listen to music! On and on. I just love this game and everything about it. Rock Band (and Rock Band 2) has brought me back to gaming, has brought me back to drumming and singing, has brought me closer to friends and family (though my wife would disagree), has given me a way to stay close to people who are geographically far away. I get excited every Friday to hear about the new downloadable content (DLC), and rush home Tuesday nights to play with friends. In 2009, I see this genre remaining big on my obsession list, possibly with focus on new DLC or possibly the rumors of a Rock Band 3.

    1. You, the readers.
    Corny, I know. You may not know this, since I only blog about it once or twice a year, but I spend a lot of time watching statistics of the site. I love seeing what the sites visitors are reading, where in the world they live, and what keeps you coming back for more. As much as I started this blog for myself, it’s built up a few occasional writers (I’m always looking for more writers) and thousands of visitors. In the six months I’ve been using Google Analytics to follow site statistics, I’m happy too see over 5,000 visitors a month and steadily growing. My current target is 9,000 visitors a month by Summer. I’m happy to see some people taking advantage of the Store offerings we added this year (sponsored by Amazon, Best Buy, and Google), and just glad to see that people enjoy reading and discussing the same things that I obsess about. Thank you!

    With that, we’ve come to the end…

    Happy New Year!

    Please share your top obsessions in comments below.

  • Chinese Democracy coming to Rock Band DLC

    Posted on December 16th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    We have been slow to posts over the past week, sorry. I guess “real” jobs, family life, and the holidays are taking their toll. So, let’s see if we can get back to new and interesting stuff…

    Guns N’ Roses (17 year in the making) album Chinese Democracy looks like it will make a DLC entrance on Rock Band soon. Are you shocked? I’m not. Are you excited? So-so for me, though I will buy it day one.

    First, we know that Shackler’s Revenge is on the RB2 disc. We have seen may bands that are on the RB2 disc getting full DLC albums released (Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, etc). I see the trend.
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    Since Shackler’s made it’s world debut on RB2, it only makes sense that Axl and company made an exclusive to have the new album entirely made available after the Best Buy exclusive ended…which is likely over now, or soon.

    Also, the album is not selling well. Only 200k copies it’s first week, and peeked at #3 on Billboard….then sharply fell off the radar. So, the world’s most expensive album to make, is not reaping much in the way of rewards right now.

    Thanks to Wired, we get the rumor that the entire album may show up on Rock Band soon.

    Personally (and if Axl wants to make his money back), he needs, NEEDS to get any of the following albums on RB DLC. Appetite for Destruction, Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, GNR Lies. Get them on DLC, charge $2 (hell, charge $3 a song)…people will buy it.

  • Chinese Democracy is in my hand

    Posted on November 21st, 2008 Shawn 1 comment

    I am speechless, and sure hope you pre-ordered your copy of Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy. My copy just surprisingly showed up in my mail. It is sitting right in front of me, still sealed.
    This is going to be my first GNR album opening since the Spaghetti Incident in 1994.

    Well, just wanted you to know, I have it…and about to open it and toss it in my Xbox 360 for a listen.

    Five minutes ago, I updated to the New Xbox Experience, and I’m in the middle of modding my Rock Band drum kit, oh, and am in a three hour queue at Verizon Wireless to get a BlackBerry Storm. (I’ll be heading back to the store in an hour or so).

    What a freakin’ crazy day! I LOVE this!

  • Chinese Democracy Available Here!

    Posted on November 14th, 2008 Shawn No comments


    Click here for the Best Buy Homepage
    I’m very excited to announce that we have come to an agreement with BestBuy.com to extend Best Buy’s exclusive offer of the Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy from our blog at My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession (powered by blog.javadevelop.com).  As many of us have been discussing the album here at our site, I’m very excited to now offer you the CD and LP available through links on our blog.

    If you are planning on picking up the CD or vinyl, please consider buying through us and our new relationship with BestBuy.com. All transactions will go through BestBuy.com. I know, I know, you can easily type the BestBuy URL in and buy it that way…but everything you buy through our blog, helps make this community stronger. Think of it as you, helping me, helping you. :-) Thanks.

    Click here for the CD at $11.99:BestBuy.com Re-Direct Link
    Click here for the LP $19.99:

  • November Rain (When It Rains, It Pours)

    Posted on November 6th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    This is not necessarily about what you think…well, sorta.  I just took a look at recent posts, and realized…WOW, there’s a lot going on in November.  Let’s take a quick look.

    • Rock Band 2 to get 20 bonus tracks for download.  This is supposed to be released this week, still not out.  In the DLC world, that’s ~$20-40 worth of songs to play, for no additional cost.  Very cool, can’t wait to get this playing.
    • BlackBerry Bold and Storm both released in the U.S.  We know the Bold came out this week, and the Storm doesn’t have an official date yet.  It’s likely we will see both of these in November.
    • Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy get’s released.  The album 16 years in the making is coming to Best Buy exclusively on November 23.
    • Xbox Live update on November 19, known as the New Xbox Experience (NXE).  Lot’s of cool updates, for Xbox 360 users. Avatars, online parties/playing, and the biggie…Netflix streaming.  The best part, NXE is free and the online features are included to Xbox Live subscribers.
    • Netflix, Starz, and lot’s of network shows straming via Xbox 360 (see above).  This piece only requires the $9 per month Netflix fee.
    • Rock Band AC/DC released in Wal-Mart.  This came out early this week.  We aren’t rushing to get this, but will at some point. possibly when we see it on clearance.
    • Not previously mentioned, but I built a Roland electronic drum kit this month to play Rock Band.  I still need to modify the kit to make it work with the game.  Not sure this will be complete in November.

    For me, the instant pick ups are: Storm, Rock Band DLC, NXE and GNR album.  Going to be a busy month for the obsessions. What about your obsessions?  What would you add?

  • Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy…we’ve got it!

    Posted on October 22nd, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Well, the link to stream the single that is.

    Check it out.

    http://www.q1043.com/pages/news/gunsnroses/

    Listen to it, then come back here and comment. Love it? Hate it? So-so?

    BTW, the pre-order for the CD at BestBuy.com is back up.

  • Chinese Democracy Album Review & Track Listing

    Posted on October 16th, 2008 Shawn 3 comments

    Best Buy has updated their site (see earlier post), with the track listing for Guns N’ Roses upcoming Chinese Democracy release.

    Tracks
    1. Chinese Democracy
    2. Scraped
    3. Shackler’s Revenge
    4. Street Of Dreams
    5. If The World
    6. Better
    7. This I Love
    8. There Was A Time
    9. Riad N’ The Bedovins
    10. Sorry
    11. I.R.S.
    12. Catcher
    13. Madagascar
    14. Prostitute

    What do you think? Have you heard any of these….in the (up to) 13 years they have been floating leaked around the internet (or live in concert). There are 5 that I recognize, and am sure I have heard before: Chinese Democracy, Shackler’s Revenge, There Was A Time, I.R.S, and Madagascar.

    Looking at my MP3 library, I already have studio versions of There Was a Time, I.R.S., and Street Of Dreams (formerly known as The Blues). I also have live MP3 versions of Madagascar, Chinese Democracy, and The Blues from the Rock In Rio III show. I got these MP3’s at least 4 years ago…and listen to them pretty often.

    So, how about an early review of Chinese Democracy?

    There Was A Time:
    Has a bit of an Estranged feel to it. Somewhat power ballad sounding. Actually sounds like it could have (should have) been on Use Your Illusions. I like it quite a bit. Actually, sounds like the old GNR guys have actually played it. Hopefully, the final recording sounds just like this bootleg I have.

    I.R.S.:
    Has some electronic drums in it, and the recording sounds really rough. Starts off slow, and rocks in the middle. Not bad, has some cool riffs in the middle. Not a stellar song, but I’m looking forward to hearing how the final recording comes out.

    Street Of Dreams (aka The Blues):
    Another ballad, piano style. Think November Rain and Estranged. I heard this live when they were in Boston a couple years ago. I like the song, sounds very 1991. Though Axl’s vocal recording is so-so. I hope it’s cleaned up for the final recording. But, again, another ballad…not a hard raw rocker. Pretty good, .

    Madagascar:
    Dizzy Reed on keyboards (he joined the band during the Use Your Illusions days). Yet again, starts off as a ballad, with electronic drums. Do you see a trend here? Starts to rock about a minute in, but stays primarily slow throughout. Not bad, sounds decent.

    Chinese Democracy:
    We have a rocker here. It’s heavy (not too heavy though). Simple rocker, with good basic rhythm section and decent guitar riffs. Vocals are pretty good. I see this as becoming a radio friendly single. I like it.

    Shackler’s Revenge:
    This is on Rock Band 2, and I have played it a couple times. The intro to the song is very over the top with guitar, bass, and electronic drums. The vocals in the song are not so great. I’m really not fan of this song at all. Kinda wish it wasn’t in Rock Band 2, or on the coming album.

    So there you go, my pre-release review of some tracks. Overall, I thing Estranged is one of Axl Rose’s best songs…and I think he agrees, since several of the upcoming Chinese Democracy tracks sound quite a bit like Estranged. Though, I can only take so many ballads on a 14 song album. I expect the album to be heavily (over) produced with lot’s of vocal effects, electronic drums, and guitar effects…which I’m not so excited for. But, in general, from what I have heard I expect that I’ll enjoy listening to the album. There are still 8 songs that I have not yet heard.

    On a gaming note, I’d like to see the song Chinese Democracy in Rock Band in some upcoming downloadable content. Axl and Harmonix, are you listening?

  • UPDATE: Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy – Listed at Best Buy

    Posted on October 15th, 2008 Shawn 2 comments

    UPDATE: It’s real.  Best Buy is taking preorders.  Check it out for yourself, here.  Vinyl and CD being pre-ordered in various album covers.

    UPDATE #2 : It didn’t take long for this go from “definite” back into the “rumor” category. Best Buy has already removed the preorder link and replaced with a “Coming Soon” image.  NOTE, the release date is still listed as November 25.  I know what I will be asking for, for Kwanza this year.

    Release Date: 11/25/2008

    So, this is related to what we blog about here, since we talk lot’s about music for the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series’. Just perusing Google, I ran across a posting on the Guardian in the UK. Axl Rose has announced Chinese Democracy to be released in the U.S. on November 23. If you are anything like me, you just re-read that last sentence 3 times.

    Then you will go to your calendar and say, “wait, that’s a Sunday”. All music fans know that music release dates are always….ALWAYS on Tuesdays. It’s also to be a Best Buy exclusive. Wicked bizahhre, if you ask me.

    That said, let me go off on this for a minute. Some background for you. I have seen Guns N’ Roses live on both U.S. coasts (more than once on each coast). I saw them when Izzy was still in the band. I snuck into the Greater Western L.A. Forum and watched slash ride a BMX bike around the parking lot and Axl practice pre-show on stage…with no one but my friend and I in the audience. He was playing an acoustic and singing Dead Horse (long before Use Your Illusions was released). I waited in line for hours to buy Use Your Illusions on cassette when it came out in 1991. I saw the “new” Guns N’ Roses on their Chinese Democracy tour in Boston a couple years ago. In high-school, I played in a GNR cover band. You get the picture…obsessed fan, yes.

    Now, Chinese Democracy has been a bit of a joke in the music world, since every one in the band either quit or was fired, excepting Axl of course. He’s remade the band over and over, in the past 15 years…and still has not released an album since the cover album The Spaghetti Incident of 1993, expect for the Oh My God single on the End of Days soundtrack.

    Several newer recorded tracks have slipped onto the web, cable/internet radio stations, and occasional main-stream radio, but nothing officially released in many years. The song that made it into Rock Band 2 (Shackler’s Revenge), in a word, sucks. It’s a barely noticeable Axl and the band has none of the characteristics of what would be expected. Makes you not too excited for the supposed upcoming release.

    Though, I’ve seen some of the new stuff live and heard some of it…some will be good, in the like of Estranged or November Rain. Not sure what the more heavier stuff will be like. But, if Shackler’s and Oh My God are signs…then the heavy rocking of GNR ain’t gonna happen on Chinese Democracy.

    I will buy it day one. Doubt I will wait overnight in line, but I will (for the first time in 3 years) go to a store and buy the CD. Really looking forward to it, even though I am showing it little love here.

    It it really coming out? Is this total BS? Are pigs really going to fly? Will Slash team back up with Axl? Well, maybe a couple of those questions will never happen.

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