2012 was NOT a great year for film, I wanted to make a top 20 list…I couldn’t think of that many. I thought about making a top 10 list, but I could only think of 9! Then I added another that was just OK. So here they are, 9 films that I enjoyed enough to rewatch the trailer and pull some thoughts about them out of my brain. I also included the trailers here, for you. You’re welcome.

*Continue reading to see the movies!*
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Review: Outside Lands 2012 Food and Drink

The Outside Lands Music and Arts festival has always been really good at providing a great selection of quality food and drink options. The best part is that the vendors are local, with some exceptions. While the stars of the festival are obviously the bands playing, it was nice to take a breather and grab some sustenance.

Food Review – I Love Spicy Pie Pizza – San Diego, CA

While actually from Southern California, I Love Spicy Pie is a repeat vendor to Outside Lands, so while they don’t quite apply to the “Taste of the Bay Area” banner, they do have some credibility within the festival. Their short menu of ready-to-serve pizzas included several amazing sounding meat-centered pies, but I went for a veggie slice called “Gnarly Marley.” The pizza included a simple but delicious combination of red peppers, green peppers, and red onions.

The spice was a little cold, but then again, it was quite cold in Golden Gate Park that day so keeping the pizza warm was probably a challenge. Other than the temperature, I don’t have a complaint. Delicious sauce and cheese with quality ingredients.

Food Review – Senor Sisig – San Francisco, CA

I have never been into the idea of a food truck. I grew up in a town where I only spotted them in shady areas or near the community college. The trucks in my town never looked clean. Outside Lands included quite a few local food trucks that showcased a very diverse array of food, most of them fusion. For dinner I decided I wanted a burrito of some kind and Senor Sisig was the most interesting option I came across. Senor Sisig is a Mexican/Filipino fusion food truck, which seemed like a very odd mixture. I had never had Filipino food of any kind, so why not? All the items on their menu included sisig in some form with the option of pork, chicken, or tofu. I went with the California Sisig Burrito which consisted of a tortilla filled with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fries, and tofu sisig.

This was the best burrito I’ve ever had. The guacamole to sour cream ratio was perfect and the salsa was delicious. The fries were not the potato sticks that I expected but rather potato chunks that provided more of a texture to the burrito with a subtle flavor. The tofu sisig was what made it so good though. It was a very unique flavor that I cannot describe.

The one question I had following the meal was, “What the hell is sisig?” I looked it up and Wikipedia lists it as “a Kapampangan term which means ‘to snack on something sour’. It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.” Other online sources list it bluntly as the meat from a pig’s head. If it is the latter, having the burrito with tofu was a good choice on my part. Perhaps it was mixed with pork head, I don’t really know. The menu on the website doesn’t really go into detail.

Regardless, I now follow the truck on Facebook and will be tracking it down when it decides to come to the Sacramento area.

The last time I attended Outside Lands I came with no money beyond what I used on a shirt, so I wasn’t able to partake in the alcoholic festivities, which was sad. This time I came prepared with extra cash and no interest in merch. I was excited to explore the beer garden now that I know what good beer really is.

Beer Review – Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery – San Francisco, CA

The 21st Amendment Brewery is one that is carried in my local supermarkets so I have had experience with them and I trust their products as a fan of the Monk’s Blood brew. Hell or High Watermelon is a completely different beast. It is a wheat beer, which is always a good choice for those looking for a beer that isn’t terrible intense in flavor. I had this beer at one in the afternoon so I wasn’t looking for anything intense. This was a solid wheat beer with a hint of watermelon flavor that isn’t too powerful, which is nice since it doesn’t turn it into a fruity flavored drink.

I would recommend this brew over their vast selection of IPAs only because I am not an IPA fan. 21st Amendment is a great brewery though, so if you do dig IPAs, wheat beers, or dark beers (see: Monks Blood), check them out.

Beer Review – El Oso Lager by Bear Republic Brewery Co. – Cloverdale, CA

A name will often sell me on a beer. For example, Monk’s Blood sounds pretty metal so I got it and didn’t regret it. On the other hand, El Oso (Spanish for “The Bear”) was not such a joyous experience. I guess I just have to accept that I’m not a fan of your typical “lager style” beer, as El Oso was an American Amber Lager. Lagers all taste the same to me, which is just like a generic carbonated alcoholic beverage.

Fans of Lager might like this one. I guess I am just not a fan.

The Best Albums of 2012!

In this week’s new podcast episode (Episode 128.5), Zach, Danny, and Rob talk about their favorite albums of 2012! If you want to spoil their Top 20 lists for yourself, click to continue reading.

Enjoy comparing your favorites and/or finding some new music!

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My Favorite Album of 2012

For as much as I truly love heavy metal, it has been a few years since a metal record has blown me away so much as to warrant the title of my favorite record of the year. Last year Devin Townsend’s Deconstruction lost the title to Steven Wilson’s jazz infused progressive masterpiece Grace For Drowning. Even 2010 was a toss up between Brothers by the Black Keys and Compass by Jamie Lidell over the metal releases of the year. From the opening moments of “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract” by Ne Obliviscaris, I knew their album The Portal of I was that long awaited metal album to trump all else.

First of all: the name is pronounced “Nay Ob-li-vis-kar-is”

Ne Obliviscaris are an Australian progressive metal band with black metal and classical elements. Their line-up consists of a pair of guitarists, bass, drummer, a harsh vocalist and a clean singer who also plays violin. These guys would produce fantastic music even without the violinist, but the addition of this nontraditional element to the their metal collective puts them over the edge as an absolutely amazing musical experience.

Their debut full-length album, The Portal of I, is some of the most beautiful and interesting music I have ever heard that was also heavy. The whole subgenre of black metal with atmosphere has become such an overdone cliché that it was so refreshing to hear Ne Obliviscaris take black metal, add tons of melody and foreign influences and have it sound unique. The band has a knack to using their non-metal elements, like the lengthy violin/bass intro to the epic, “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope,” to emphasize the heavy portions of their songs.

I have already converted a few people to listen to this band and many of these folks were not metal fans. Your traditional kvlt black metal fans will not be too into this one, but fans of Opeth, Agalloch, Alcest, prog metal, black metal, etc. will probably adore this one as much as I do.

This is not only my favorite album of 2012, it is one of my favorite albums ever.

So nice humans, I ask you…

What is YOUR favorite album of this year?

*Two songs after the jump*

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