Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pheaturing Alicia Rae

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. What's up? How are you doing with your March Madness bracket? I don't care about it now that Stony Brook was beaten by University of Kentucky. Anyway, let's talk about how Domino's to test pizza delivery robots, changing porno movie plots forever. Domino's Pizza is testing a pizza delivery robot in Queensland, Australia. The Domino’s Robotic Unit, or DRU, is basically a miniature version of a self-driving car. Not to mention the autonomous delivery vehicle was developed in collaboration with Australian tech startup Marathon Targets, which also makes robots for military live-fire exercises. So yes, this is a recipe for disaster, because when a robot with military technology delivers pizzas it's the first step in the machines taking over and enslaving humankind. The vehicle uses the same tech as self-driving cars to get to delivery destinations, and has built-in GPS tracking technology that syncs with Google Maps. It's also locked, so no greedy monsters steal the pizza en route. DRU has hot and cold insulated compartments, and is opened via a digital security code you receive when you order the pizza. The pizzamobile tops out at 12.4 miles per hour, which seems like the same speed as some human delivery drivers in real cars. It took a lot of regulatory clearance with transportation authorities in Queensland, and DRU's first road test was restricted to some pre-approved roads. So it may be a while before delivery robots are approved in America. Until then, just remember to be nice to robots.
A recent survey conducted by Zoosk revealed that for 72% of people who use online dating sites (like, for example, Zoosk), poor spelling and grammar are a deal breaker. These errors are a problem not necessarily because they makes the writer look dumb, but because they make them look lazy or indifferent. And that's not the message a person should be putting out when they're trying to find a date, even if it happens to be true. And yes, punctuation counts. Of the 9,000 people polled, 93% said that just adding a period at the end of a sentence makes their opinion of the person sending the message more positive. So if you proofread more, you'll get rejected less. The good part of this news is that grammar and punctuation are things you can control. Unlike your looks or, god help you, your personality. Best of luck out there, people.
A waitress at Zombie Burger in Des Moines​, Iowa, had a less than stellar shift when a customer not only stiffed her on a $17.82 receipt, but also left a scathing and judgmental note, according to "NY Daily News." "Tips are only for normal looking people," was the unhelpful message waitress Taelor Beeck received from her customer. Beeck... who looks like a human being... told WHO, "At first I felt really upset. I felt attacked. I almost felt like I was back in middle school all over again." "I may look like a weirdo but I'm actually a very nice, decent person," Beeck said. Zombie Burger's parent company, Orchestrate Hospitality, couldn't care less about what Beeck looks like. "We believe that Zombie Burger is a place that celebrates individuality. We are in 100% support of our staff and we’re confident that our customers will be as well. She is an example of a great team member and we are standing by her." It's a little baffling that Beeck's customer thought she looked strange when eating a meal at a restaurant that dishes out food like this...

What was the diner expecting when walking into the restaurant? And anyway, what did the customer look like... a real-life Barbie doll or something? That would be even weirder. Just for the record... I don't think Taelor looks bad.

The new Star Wars got the kind of acclaim George Lucas could only have wished for on his prequels, and now the tarnished legacy of his other great franchise is about to be rehabilitated, because Disney is making a fifth Indiana Jones movie. Steven Spielberg is directing it, Harrison Ford is starring in it, and if Lucas is involved with it at all, no one mentioned it in any of the press releases, despite him having written the story for all four existing Indiana Jones movies. Here's Disney's statement on the new movie, which is set for release in 2019 and hopefully doesn't call for the return of Shia LaBeouf, or, really, any plot element from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. "Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce. Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.” Famed archeologist and explorer Indiana Jones was introduced in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark... one of AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time... and later thrilled audiences in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The four films have brought in nearly $2 billion at the global box office. Though the press release didn't name a screenwriter, "Entertainment Weekly" claims it's unlikely that the job will go to Lucas, considering he had little involvement in The Force Awakens. Of course, this is maybe exactly what Lucas wants, because he has said that he's gone into semi-retirement in order to work on smaller, more personal films. But watch Disney announce six American Graffiti reboot movies next, just to twist the knife in his side. Speaking of George by the way he was caught eating noodles alone in a food court, because in the end we are all alone.
Just because you have a net worth of $5.1 billion doesn't mean you're too good for a lunch of noodles, Diet Coke, and the day's newspaper on a plastic tray. Twitter user Gabrielle Fusco saw George having a quiet meal to himself in a South Australian food court, and kindly left him alone in person to make fun of him online.

Note that Fusco provided no evidence she was eating with another person or that her noodles were any warmer. Poor George made three unpopular movies after making three of the most popular movies ever and now he can't live down the jokes. Leave this humble soul alone. He's given you more than you can take from him.
That said, I have to show you something very cool. A few weeks ago these road signs were put up all over Iowa...

Now if only we can get every state to have signs like that. So, did you see Bernie Sanders' new campaign slogan?

Hmmm. I think he lost his mind. And then I saw this...

Speaking of Trump...

I think they all lost their bloody minds. You know, I miss Jeb and his disappointing looks. Like the time he really wanted ice cream instead.

So, do you kids like music festivals? There's one I am thinking about going to...

Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Types Of People In Every Match Madness Pool
5. Overly confident in their Alma Mater's chances.
4. Never actually gets around to filling out bracket but afterwards tells you they would have gotten it right.
3. Status guru.
2. Harasses everyone in office for help filling out bracket.
And the number one type of people in every March Madness pool...
1. Lets their kid fill out bracket.

If you spot the Mindphuck then let me know. Alright, so, my son is in town and we have been talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together. Now that show is on HBO it's a little bit different.

Big Bird learns the harsh lesson that an inch of water is all it takes for a baby to drown.

Gogi Grant 
September 20th, 1924 — March 10th, 2016
Wayward, and in the wind.

Today's guest is a wonderful young singer-songwriter from D.C. whose EP "Sweet Melody" is available on CD Baby. Please welcome to the Phile... Alicia Rae.

Me: Hello, Alicia, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Alicia: Hey Jason! I’m doing well! Excited to speak with you today!

Me: That's good. Okay, before we start talking about your music I have to mention this... did anybody ever tell you that you look a little bit like Maisie Williams from "Game of Thrones"?

Alicia: Aw Arya! I love her! I haven’t had anyone tell me that I look like her before, but I can see it now that you mention it. She’s one of my favorite characters on
"Game of Thrones." People normally tell me that I look like Shailene Woodley from Divergent.

Me: I can see that as well. I have to mention this... your chin is pierced... well, right below your mouth. That looks like a painful place to have anything pierced. Was it?

Alicia: Haha! I can already tell that this is going to be a fun interview! I honestly can’t even remember if it hurt or not… so, I guess it didn’t hurt that badly... ha ha! Also, I’ve had people say things about the piercing, but no one has called it a chin piercing. So, that was a first... haha! Sometimes older people with bad eyesight will tell me I have some food on my lip. That’s always a little embarrassing... haha.

Me: I'm old, but knew it wasn't food. Haha. You are braver than I am, Alicia. What made you wanna get pierced there?

Alicia: I went through a little “rocker” phase. I had half of my head shaved and I wore black nail polish, and I decided to get my lip and nose pierced. Now my hair has grown out, but I like the “chin piercing” and nose ring still... haha.

Me: Okay, now we got that out of the way, Alicia, where are you originally from? Have you lived in D.C. your whole life?

Alicia: I was born in Seoul, Korea, but I moved to America when I was 2. I grew up in Southern Maryland, right outside of D.C., and a few years ago I moved just a little north of D.C.

Me: Where are your parents originally from, Alicia?

Alicia: My dad grew up North Dakota and enlisted into the army. He was stationed in Korea where he met my mom. I love visiting family in North Dakota! They are very outdoors-y and do cool things like ice fishing. And, my Korean family is awesome, too! We’re planning a trip back in a couple of years.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Alicia: They’re so supportive of my music! My mom loves everything... haha. And, my dad gives really good constructive criticism. He is a musician himself, and used to play in a band when he was younger. I get my eclectic taste from him! He is really good with being able to hear a part to a new song I’ve written, and say, “Well, I think you should go to this chord,” or, “I think these lines could be a little better.” Sometimes I hear him playing the piano in the basement and I go to Shazam the song and then realize it’s something he is writing.

Me: Do they go see you perform?

Alicia: They do! They don’t make it out to every show, because I play all around the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. But, they come to any show that is nearby or on the weekends. They’ve heard me play the same songs a million times and are always there to support when they can.

Me: You seem very young... are you still in high school?

Alicia: I think it’s the half-Asian blood. We tend to look younger... haha. I actually just went to our ten-year reunion over the summer. It ended up just being a small group of friends hanging out at the National Harbor, but it was still a great time.

Me: I love your EP, Sweet Melody. Is this your first release?

Alicia: Thank you! I released a single a couple of years ago called “Autumn." It has a cool video with it that I recorded with my family on an iPhone. I learned all of the words in reverse and then we shot the video with me throwing random things around, like leaves. Then, we reversed that video. It created a cool backwards effect, while my mouthing was regular. I hope that made sense… But, yes, "Sweet Melody" is my first EP.

Me: The title track is very whimsical and I like the ukulele on it... was that your first instrument you learnt to play?

Alicia: Thanks! My producer, Chris Rafetto, did a great job with that track, and the whole EP. "Sweet Melody" was a lot of fun to make! My first instrument was the piano, technically. I can play “Mary Had A Little Lamb," “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and the “A, B, Cs." The last two are cheating because it’s the same song... haha. When I was younger my parents had this interactive game to learn the piano. These little ducks would be on the screen and every time I hit the correct note on the keyboard, the duck would quack the note and then disappear. Kind of like "Duck Hunt." In elementary school, I picked up the flute, and eventually the piccolo. I loved both instruments, but I couldn’t sing while playing them. In 2009, I purchased my first guitar and fell in love. A couple years later I purchased the ukulele, but I honestly don’t play it much. I wrote "Sweet Melody" on the guitar but decided to record it with the ukulele after my dad suggested it.

Me: What do you prefer to play? Ukulele or acoustic guitar?

Alicia: I prefer acoustic guitar at the moment. Only because I am more comfortable with it. I do want to write more songs with the ukulele in the future.

Me: Do you remember what the first song you learnt?

Alicia: I do! I learned “Valentine” by Kina Grannis. She’s my favorite musician, and my inspiration for picking up the guitar. She posted a tutorial online for “Valentine” and, I spent a long time trying to get my fingers to cooperate to play the song.

Me: Alicia, did you write all the songs on the EP?

Alicia: I did. “Hide Away” is the oldest song on the EP, and “Fire In Your Eyes” is the newest one I wrote.

Me: I watched the videos for "Sweet Melody" and "Cupid." You look like you enjoyed being on video. Do you like to act and play?

Alicia: I had a ton of fun with those videos! I like to play! Definitely! I don’t think acting is my strong suit, but it was fun to do for the video. With “Cupid” there were a lot of times that I would randomly laugh at my acting. The fight scene was the hardest for me to keep a straight face. Partly my fault, because I kept shouting random things at Bradley Roukis, my onscreen boyfriend.

Me: There was one scene in the video for "Sweet Melody" where I thought for sure you were gonna be pushed in the pool... you also looked like you thought that as well. Was that planned?

Alicia: That whole video was fun! I had all of my friends over for a pizza/pool party. For that scene, it was planned, but Matt Meyers, my onscreen boyfriend, was good at really pushing me forward so it felt like I was going to fall in. There was one point, off camera, where he snuck up behind me and practiced almost pushing me in. I screamed so loudly, and I had genuine pure fear in my scream... haha. I wish the cameras were rolling then because that was the perfect reaction.

Me: So, were you pushed in?

Alicia: Nope! But, I got to push Matt in a couple of times... haha! Oh! This is a little off topic, but I made a Vine with my mom one time and made her jump in the pool a few times. It’s really funny. I said, “If you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s” and then I step on a crack. Then, the camera shows her falling in the pool. Haha! I think you just have to see it. My Vine name is @AliciaRaeMusic.

Me: I noticed in both videos you have different boyfriends... haha. Are any of these guys your real boyfriend?

Alicia: Ha ha. No, they’re friends of mine. I went to high school with Matt, from “Sweet Melody." I actually hadn’t seen him for a while before we met up to shoot. I met his girlfriend that day. It was slightly awkward getting cuddly with Matt with his girlfriend in the room... ha ha! But, she was very cool about the whole thing! I met Bradley the day we shot “Cupid." He’s close friends with the director, Scott Sayasithsena. Bradley is an actor and lives in California. So, it was pretty cool working with someone who does this kind of thing all the time.

Me: "Cupid" is about your boyfriend cheating on you... this is not a true story, is it?

Alicia: I actually wrote “Cupid” off an idea a friend of mine inspired. She told me to write a song about her ex-husband and how awful he is. I started thinking about how Cupid is seen as this sweet little baby man who shoots you with a heart-shaped arrow and then you fall in love. But, if Cupid is so awesome, why would he set you up for failure? I have been cheated on before, and the way I reacted when I found out was much different than the way I reacted in the video. I like to think that I’m older, stronger, and have more self-worth to handle that type of situation more like I did in the video. BUT! I don’t plan on ever being in that type of situation again... haha.

Me: You sing that cupid has a gun... Alicia, the cupid I know has a bow and arrow. Haha. A gun would be worse though. What were you thinking when you wrote that song?

Alicia: I was thinking if Cupid is shooting you, and making you fall in love with someone who he knows isn’t the best fit for you, then he isn’t really shooting you with a little heart-shaped pillow arrow. He’s shooting to make you feel pain and, I think he’d do that with a gun.

Me: On your EP you do a song with a guy named Michael Pearsall. Who is that?

Alicia: Yeah, “Fire In Your Eyes”! My dad actually suggested that I do that song as a duet. Once he planted that seed, I couldn’t get the idea of a duet out of my head and, Michael was my first choice for the male vocal. Michael is the lead singer of the D.C. local band Honor By August. They’re my favorite band, and they put on a really good show! I met Michael and the rest of the guys a few years ago at their shows. My producer used to be the bassist in the band, and recently left to pursue his career as a producer. And, he is a darn good producer! When we decided to record “Fire In Your Eyes” I reached out to Michael and asked if he’d be interested and when he said “yes” we hit the studio to record it right away!

Me: I was trying to figure out your influences... who are they?

Alicia: Well, Michael is my favorite songwriter, and Honor By August has influenced me a lot. I pulled a lot from their writing when I first started. As I mentioned earlier, Kina Grannis is my favorite artist. I kind of hold her in a whole different league than everyone else. I admire her songwriting, artistry, and her marketing as an indie artist. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked up the guitar. Taylor Swift is also another big influence. I listened to her album "Red" on repeat for months before writing for "Sweet Melody." I think she’s a big influence with the title track and “Hide Away."

Me: Okay, so, what's next for you? Any big plans? Are you gonna be touring?

Alicia: I’d like to take some time off to write again. I find that it’s easiest to be creative when you make the time for it. When I’m gigging a lot, I tend to only play my current songs, to keep them fresh and ready for my shows. My next release will be a collaborative project with two friends of mine. The single is a little different than "Sweet Melody;" it’s an electronic track. After its release, I will focus on writing and releasing an acoustic album. I want to give music to the fans that is closer to what they hear with my live acoustic sets.

Me: I hope this was fun, and the best interview you have ever done. Will you come back again on the Phile soon?

Alicia: This was a ton of fun, Jason! Thanks so much for having me! I’d love to come back on the Phile again! Don’t tell anyone else, but this was my favorite interview... haha!

Me: Yes! Ha! Want to mention your website?

Alicia: Oh yes! Thanks for reminding me. I have all of my music up there, a blog that I need to update more often, some merch, and all the links to my social sites!

Me: Alright, take care and continued success.

Alicia: Thanks so much, Jason! I wish you the best, and we’ll talk soon!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Alicia for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Japanese singer Airi Mori. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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