Monday Musings: Facebook F8, New Frank Ocean, and More

monday musings

Today I’m introducing a new feature that I’ll be trying out called Monday Musings. I tend to try to catch up on reading and music over the weekends, while the majority of my podcast listening happens during the week. Each post will give you a handful of things to listen to, read, or even watch. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s Everything Facebook Announced at F8, From VR to Bots

On Tuesday, Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer conference with a keynote address. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others on his executive team made a bunch of announcements aimed at developers, but the implications for Facebook’s users was pretty clear. The apps that billions of us use daily—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram—are going to be getting new camera tricks, new augmented reality capabilities, and more bots. So many bots! (Also, so many breakfast sharks.) More announcements about VR and forward-thinking tech were made during Wednesday’s keynote.

Facebook held their F8 event last week and Wired has a nice breakdown of the various announcements they made over the two day event. Facebook focused heavily on augmented reality and virtual reality. They have some interesting ideas that are well worth a look.

Frank Ocean – “Lens”

Frank Ocean dropped a new track and for once, I listened to it in a somewhat timely manner. It’s a jam and it’s my music recommendation for the day.

Karl-Anthony Town Joins Woj

Today, Karl-Anthony Towns made a great appearance on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. He talks about beating KG to the gym, wanting to get the Timberwolves back into the playoffs, and more. He makes for a great podcast guest and every basketball fan should be listening to this podcast in general.

Mac Power Users #374: iPad Sensei – Federico Viticci

We catch up with Federico to discuss how he became an “iPad Guy”, some of his favorite tips, tricks, and workflows on iOS, where there’s still room for improvement, the future of iOS and more.

Federico Viticci made an appearance on the latest episode of Mac Power Users and it’s a good one. He runs MacStories and does most of his work on his iPad aside from his podcast recording. It’s a great listen for anyone who wants to get more use out of their iPad.

Rosario Dawson Continues To Push For Live-Action Ahsoka Tano Role

Dawson recently had an appearance on Good Morning Americato promote her upcoming thriller Unforgettable. During the show, the subject of Marvel Comics came up due to her involvement as Claire Temple in all of the Netflix shows – and while she was on the subject of Disney’s genre entertainment, she brought up a little bit on Star Wars: that she’s still interested in playing Ahsoka if Lucasfilm are looking to use the character in a movie.

Ahsoka Tano quickly became a favorite character of mine when I was watching The Clone Wars show on Netflix. When I saw this news post pop up in my RSS feed, I immediately went to it and I would be thrilled to see a live action version of the character. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple in Marvel’s Netflix shows. It feels like she would be a great fit for the character.

Featured Image Credit: Ian Baldwin

Review: Batman #21

Batman #21

“The Button” storyline begins with Batman #21 and the comic opens with Arkham residents watching the hockey game. In the background, you see a poster with “Arkham is for healing” above a big smiley face, much like the one on the button, sans the bloodstain. From there, the story moves to Batman’s cave, where the rest of the issue plays out. Batman stands surrounded by his wall of screens, the majority of which just have the button pictured. It shows his dedication (and obsession) with figuring out what it means.

Batman calls on the Flash for help with this and before Barry can arrive, Eobard Thawne surprises Batman. He’s from the same world as Thomas Wayne, aka Flashpoint. Thawne shows no mercy on Batman, yet he still manages to survive the attack. What Batman lacks in super powers, he makes up for with his smarts and gadgets. He’s counting down the seconds until Barry arrives, knowing he only has to last a little longer. Despite the brutality of the issue, there’s a nice little moment where the countdown is at 0 and Batman makes the comment, “Hm. Overtime.” You can see the slightest smirk on his face through the blood.

Eobard Thawne is easy to hate and it’s no exception in this issue. However, by the end of it, he suffers an unexplainable death. Now there’s yet another mystery to figure out. Batman is badly beaten, but it is probably safe to guess that he survives. Barry, being the ever-charming hero that he is, runs in just after everything goes down because he stopped to see if he could save the hockey player.

Speaking of the hockey player, one of the Arkham residents at the beginning of the issue makes a comment about the player dying before it even happens. It isn’t until Barry shows that we find out her prediction did indeed come true. It will be interesting to see if she plays a part in the story down the road.

Tom King is a writer who I’ve come to greatly enjoy. He understands how to write an excellent story and this crossover has a lot of people excited. He’s taken the mantle as the writer of Batman with grace. He’s also killed it despite following in the footsteps of the great run from Snyder and Capullo. Jason Fabok on pencils and inks is a fantastic choice. This issue looks outstanding, which of course comes with the help of Brad Anderson on colors. It isn’t the same team for the whole event, so we’ll wait and see how The Flash issues look, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

This is one event you won’t want to miss out on. The story will resume with The Flash #21 next week. As a huge Batman fan, it’s a no brainer to continue reading the series and event to see how this plays out.

Recommendation: S-Town

S-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life,  hosted by Brian Reed. Reed received an email from John B. McLemore about his hometown in Alabama, which he called Shittown. In Netflix fashion, the series dropped all seven episodes at once.

I didn’t hop on the podcast right away, but once I did start listening to it, I finished it fairly quickly. I’m constantly telling myself that I don’t need to keep adding more podcasts to Overcast. However, since it is just seven episodes, I added it anyway. The podcast keeps things interesting and John is full of surprises.

The podcast doesn’t take quite as serious of a tone as Serial does, but it’s still a story worth listening to. It’s one of those small town America situations, and that one small town has quite the character in John B. McLemore. Check this out if you’re looking for a new podcast to pick up. Each episode is about an hour each, so it’ll provide you with seven hours of entertainment (or less if you listen at a speed faster than 1x, as I do).

Subscribe to S-Town on iTunes.

Interview: Joe Marson

Joe Marson

We had the chance to ask Joe Marson some questions about blending genres, his EPs, and more. Check out what he had to say.

When did you first get into music and know it was something you wanted to do?

I fell in love with music in a real way the year my mom moved our family to Italy for a year when I was 10 years old. My older brother and I were separated from a lot of distractions and turned to music very enthusiastically and without distraction. The things we naturally turned to were very adult, for lack of a better word. Lot’s of provocative rock n roll like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden etc. We also were introduced to punk rock, acoustic songwriters, and hip hop by the kids at the International school we attended.

When I was 13, I walked into a music store and said I wanted to play guitar. From there I wanted to play like Jimi Hendrix and then I became a songwriter around the age of sixteen or seventeen and then kind of got into other styles of music and went from there.”

What led to the blending of blues, rock, and grunge in your music?

The thing these my favorite artists and inspirations have in common is that they are all bit hard to describe because they pull from a lot of different genres. They sort of pick out the soul from different walks of life and combine them to make their own thing. I guess I just gravitate towards the three genres you just mentioned.

Who do you work with to record Electric Soul Magic Vol. II?

My buddy Kieran Kelly from Buddy Project Studio engineered and co produced some tracks with me. I also did a few on my own like Explore/Explode. I produced and mixed Float With It and My Love Is A Cannibal at home as well.

What was the thought process behind releasing two EPs instead of releasing the music as a full-length?

Just trying to keep modern! I think its smarter to release a few number of songs these days.

What are your plans after the new EP is out?

Not quite sure yet! I have some shows here and there, but the main focus will just be to get this EP heard by new fans!

Thanks for your time. Where can our readers keep up with you?

Thank you! Instagram is the best @joemarson… also following on Spotify! Thanks so much the interview!

Recommendation: Michelle Branch – ‘Hopeless Romantic’

Michelle Branch Hopeless Romantic

The last music we received from Michelle Branch was an EP in 2010. Everything Comes and Goes is six songs and didn’t garner too much attention. I honestly didn’t even know about it until going to write this. I’m more familiar with her last full length, Stand Still, Look Pretty, which is with Jessica Harp as The Wreckers in 2006. The Spirit Room was her big release back in 2001 and the following record didn’t quite do the same.

Hopeless Romantic is nearly an hour long and worth every minute. She planned on releasing an album sooner, but label troubles kept her from doing so. Now that she’s with Verve, she’s back to releasing music. The title track is the single off of the album and you instantly know that her divorce from Teddy Landau. The album shows off MIchelle’s excellent vocal chops and how well they pair with the melodies throughout.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been a huge Michelle Branch fan by any means, but I did really enjoy The Wreckers. She can handle straight pop songs and work the country side, as well. Giving this new album a listen, I definitely want to go back and listen to her older albums. This new album definitely shows a maturity, though. It isn’t meant to sound like something from the early 2000s. This album also leans a bit more towards rock.

I don’t need to listen to this album a ton of times to know it’s good. But with that said, you should definitely give it at least one listen. It’s a solid album and it will be interesting to see what she has planned next following this excellent return.