Posts Tagged ‘music’

bestMy brother Jon gave his best of list this past week, and I guess it would only make sense for me to again steal someone else’s idea and give my best of list. As is usual for me though, I will also give my worst of list in the hopes of possibly disuading you from wasting any of your time or money. Hopefully I don’t forget anything, as it would suck to disagree with your own best of list. So without further adieu, here it is:

VIDEO GAMES:
Best –Rock Band 2
This is easily the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. I’m really looking forward to forming a band with Jon and Kim. If you’d like to audition for the band just leave me a comment here and we’ll see if we can work out the details.

Worst –
I don’t really have much time to play video games anyways, so I really only have time for playing my favorites. If I had to vote on a worst it would likely be something involving a game made for a Disney Movie of some sort.

ALBUMS:
Best – Elect the Dead by Serj Tankian
Unlike Jon who inexplicably only purchased one album this year, my rough count brings me to the number of at least fourteen albums I acquired this past year.  Strangely enough, not a single one of the albums was released in the year 2008.  This album though, after much contemplation, likely comes out on top despite the fact it’s the one I purchased most recently.  Every song is great, and strangely enough Serj actually has a lot of insights to offer.

Worst – anything by T-Pain, Timbaland, or Nickelback
Classics like “Can I buy you a Drank”, “I’m in Love With a Stripper” and “The Way I Are” are quickly robbing western music and society of any credibility or value while simultaneously destroying the english language.  I enjoyed a lot of pop music from 2008 (I still can’t get Womanizer out of my head), but this stuff was just absolute dreck.

MOVIES:
Best – SICKO
I was going to nominate “The Dark Night” here because it was the most fun I had watching a movie all year, but SICKO was definitely the best movie I saw this year.  Whether you like Michael Moore or not, you can’t argue with the fact that the poor and needy are badly neglected in western society and this show pointed a giant finger at the problems we ignore that stare us right in the face all generally brought about by our pursuit of greed.  The most damning thing of all was the question he didn’t ask: “Where is the church in all this?”

Worst – Quantum of Solace
I’m told that if I had seen Casino Royale that this show may have made more sense to me.  The problem I have is that it made total sense, it was just more boring and predictable that a “See Dick Run” story.  None of the characters were particularly interesting, the people who were going to do were obvious, and there never really was the big dangerous end of the world type weapon or the cheesy humor that used to make Bond movies at least tolerable.  Don’t waste your two hours on this one, just watch the Wiggles instead.  It has more entertainment value, suspense, character development and plot in half an hour than Quantum did in two.

BOOKS:
Best – Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne
This one was a really tight race because I actually did quite a bit of reading this year and read a number of good books.  In the end this one I think was the best one of the year for me because it affected my thinking more than anything I’ve read in recent memory.  In the end I don’t buy the most extreme ends of what he endorses, but all in all I think this book helped me become more Christlike in my worldview and actions.

Worst – Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell and Don Golden
I guess it wasn’t that terrible a book if you haven’t read anything from Bell before, or if you had previously thought that everything the Western Church endorses is awesome.  To me though this book was a major disappointment because I have read his previous stuff and I already know the church has problems.  I was hoping for some offering of suggestions as to what the church should look like, maybe some risky suggestions or admissions that we are deeply flawed, but instead I got a bunch of recycled ideas and gutless suggestions of possible problems.  Rather than offering some vision of where to get to he just pointed out a few vague possibilities of problems and smugly left it at that.  I was really hoping for more.

NEW (TO ME) AUTHORS:
Best – Donald Miller
I know he’s been around for quite some time, but I had never read anything of his before this year.  I picked up his Greatest Hits (a 3 book collection), in the local bookstore for $20 and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of each book.  His writing style was very comfortable to read in a recliner with a cup of coffee in a darkened room.  His memories and stories of friends reminded me what it was like to have friends close to me onnce upon a time and really inspired me to think about writing myself.

Worst – N.T. Wright
Now, I know some of you my friends will want to burn me in effigy for this, but I’m just being honest.  I read a couple of his theological works this year and they were really dry reptitions of things that I had heard a hundred times before.  I didn’t really find anything new of challenging in any of his books.  All in all I think he’s probably a great man of God but he’s not a great writer.

NEW (TO ME) WEBSITE:
Best – Footballguys.com
I’ve been a pretty involved fantasy football player for about six years now and this is the most revolutionary thing that has happened in the game for me since I discovered VBD about 5 years ago.  Between the constant flow of information, the interesting articles, and the helpful applications, I spent more time on this site than any other over the past 5 months.

Worst – Faithful Word Baptist Church
I’ve posted all about this guy earlier in the year so I won’t rehash it all over again, but the hate, venom, and outright craziness espoused by the pastor of this church still astounds me.  His sermon about the man who pisseth against the wall is still one of the funniest of the things of the year though.  If only he meant it to be comedy.

SOFTWARE:
Best – Footballguys.com Draft Dominator
The number of calculations and sheer amount of data that this little application allows you to process almost instantly in a fantasy football draft is outstanding.  I will never feel comfortable in another draft without it.  Sure it was my worst season in fantasy football history but it’s not the fault of this little gem.

Worst – Internet Explorer 7
Wow.  Bill, I’ve really tried to be a team player here.  I’ve been a PC guy my entire adult life.  I’ve had a Windows 98 pc, Windows XP pc, a Windows Vista laptop, and even bought into Windows Mobile 6 with my new Motorola Q9C smartphone.  I’ve run your Microsoft Office platform for everything and even resisted iTunes in favor of Windows Media Player up until about a year ago, but this year you really broke my heart.  I naively kept on the Internet Explorer bandwagon for years now but after hearing about a new security flaw in IE7 seemingly weekly on the news I finally switched over to Firefox about a month ago.  Bill, your web browser sucks.

NEW (TO ME) TV SHOW:
Best – 30 Rock
It’s funny, really funny, I don’t even have to feel guilty about talking about it with church people.  I love the characters and the ways they interact in fake real life situations.  It’s completely unrealistic set in a real place.  I always heard good things about it and now I’m the one recommeding it to you.  The Office/30 Rock combo has been one of the few things that have brought me through a lot of otherwise miserable weeks.

Worst – Four Square
Now that I’m a dad and Payton is starting to be conscious enough of his surrounding that he enjoys some shows, I have been dragged down into the seemy underbelly of children’s programming.  Some shows like Rollie Pollie Ollie (sp?) and Winnie the Pooh are tolerable, but Four Square is such mindless, irritating, shmeg that I get angry even just thinking about it.  Grown adults in spandex aren’t allowed to serve alcohol in Regina and there’s no way they should have a children’s show either.  Silly actions and commands like “hup, hup” do not entertainment or education make.

GADGETS:
Best – Motorola Q9C smartphone
This was probably the toughest category for me to pick as a gadget guy because between my PS3, PSP, stereo bluetooth headset, and smartphone I had a lot of wonderful gadgets come my way this year.  Because of the sheer number of things this new phone has allowed me to do though (email, browsing, fantasy football, podcasts, ebooks, gps, scheduling, blogging, etc) I have to give the nod to my digital assistant.

Worst – None
Really since I discovered the wonderful electronics reviews on cnet.com I haven’t acquired any garbage gadgets in quite some time.  And I guess in my books it would take a lot for a gadget to be bad in my books.

Well, there you go . . . my best and worst of ’08. Praise and hate mail may be left accordingly.

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Half the Man I Used to Be

Posted: September 7, 2008 in life
Tags: , , ,

I guess you can tell from most of my post titles that I’m a music guy (bonus points to the one who recognizes the artist and album of this song). And lately I don’t know if I’m even that good at that anymore. A lot of things I love, or used to love, and a lot of things I spend my time on, or used to spend my time on have been falling by the wayside (including this blog). Life has become so filled with the things that I must do that I have very little time, if any, for the things I want to do. I’ve been so busy accomplishing what needs to get done that I’ve been able to spend almost no time enjoying what I’m doing. I think at the tender age of 27 I’ve become a pretty boring person. The thing that really bugs me about my slow descent into boring mediocrity is that it’s not really by my choice, so much as I feel it’s just kind of been thrust upon me seemingly without warning. If Jerry Seinfeld were here for this Kramer I’m sure I’d be met with an awkward look and a trademark “that’s a shame.” The real shame is that there is seemingly little crossover between what I need to do and what I want to do.

I’m doing my best not to become just another mindless cog in the North American death machine that slowly drains the souls from it’s unwilling inhabitants, but I feel like it’s a losing battle. I’m only 27 and I’m feeling this already. This kind of hopelessness that comes from seeing no legitimate ending or light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to, just more of the same for the next 40 years until retirement. I realize this is all starting to sound pretty emo, but I guess that’s what blogs are generally for: whining or self-loathing. I guess this is a little of both. I realize that my life isn’t that bad by worlds standards – I have a house, clothes, food, family and security – I just guess I wish life was made up a little more of what I really enjoy and not just what must be done.  I guess I do enjoy my life for the most part, it’s just not at all interesting from a blogging standpoint.

I think this is the single biggest reason that I haven’t posted anything in a while here, I just don’t think I’m that interesting a person anymore. Life is too full of humdrum for me to be interesting anymore. Maybe someday I will be again, but in the meantime I guess I just don’t think I have much to offer. So, if by chance I never become interesting again in this life, come and see me in the next one. I know everything will be interesting there.

metal.jpgFor those of you who are worried by the title; no I haven’t recently had any pins or rods inserted into my body for any serious injuries, and no I’m not talking about metal in me like the iron in my blood.  I saw what too much iron in your blood could lead to in X-Men 2 when Magneto sucked it right out of the guy.  That was kind of cool to see in a movie, but I certainly wouldn’t want to experience it myself.  And no, I’m not even talking about my inherent inexplicable love for the Metal Gear Solid video game series because I won’t fully be able to re-embrace that part of me until I get my new PS3.  No, the metal I’m speaking of here is of the heavy description.  I am re-embracing the harder side of my musical persona.

Now before you jump to any conclusions, this is not to say that I am rejecting the Damien Rice’s and Amos Lee’s of my music collection.  I still think they are some of the most talented musicians on the planet and they will always have a regular slot in my playlist, but recently I have had a reawakening of the darker side of me that loves hard music, especially metal.  I’ve been listening to my old Extol albums more, I bought a Revolver magazine last week to see what’s going on in the current scene (and to read the interview with Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter), I bought an As I Lay Dying t-shirt in Edmonton, and I’ve been having the recurring desire to pierce things and get tatoos.  No, I haven’t had anything done yet.  My church is pretty loving and open-minded, but I don’t think their quite ready for a painted and hole-punched pastor yet.  The church encourages pursuing the arts, but don’t encourage becoming art.  The church encourages holiness, but not hole-iness.

I say re-embracing the metal in me because I had my first real awakening about ten years ago when I first went to college.  Prior to this, my musical world consisted almost completely of country music and some gospel.  When I moved into dorm though an entirely new world was opened up to me and my musical desires have never been the same since.  I’ve grown to love the screams and harmonies of the guitars, the screams and harmonies of the vocals, and the overall passion and vibe that the music as a genre exudes.  Over the past couple years I haven’t listened to as much metal as I’ve discovered such accoustic and folk music greats as Damien Rice, Amos Lee, and Ryan Adams, but through it all there was still a piece of me that wanted something a little darker.  Something in my life was missing and I just recently discovered it was the fact that I had been missing out on the metal.  So with this great epiphany in mind, I have decided to re-embrace my metal.  Now I don’t expect Jenn to follow suit – she can’t re-embrace what she rejected to start with – but there is hope for Payton.  Of all the kinds of music I have introduced him to so far, he seems to like the metal.  It doesn’t scare him.  It doesn’t make him cry.  In fact he has even been known to smile while we rock out to Mortification together.  I won’t force anything on him, but I do think it would be a lot of fun if this is one thing that we could learn to enjoy together.

So before I nod off to sleep tonight I will encourage you to embrace your metal side.  If you haven’t found it before, take a look for it sometime.  You might even find out that you like it.

The Soundtrack of My Life . . . ?

Posted: November 17, 2007 in life, music, Random
Tags: , , ,

life.jpgI found this interesting little exercise in the comments of Knotter’s blog and thought I would give it a go.  As all of you who know me at all know, I am a hopeless music addict.  Between Jenn and I we have over 500 some albums.  Right now there are 327 albums listed in my iTunes library, but I know for a fact there are tons of cd’s left that I have yet to rip to my computer.  I think if we’re being honest, just about all of us have some kind of soundtrack to our lives – we have songs that run through our heads at different moments in life – so I guess this is just an attempt at randomly picking that soundtrack from the music I have currently on my computer.  As you’ll see, some of the songs are a bit of a stretch to make fit, while others fit eerily well.  I hope you have fun reading through it.  Feel free to let me know what you think of the soundtrack of my life, and let me know what your results are when you do it yourself.

Here it is, The soundtrack of my life. * As decided by my iTunes. * The Rules:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

Opening Credits:
20 Years of Snow – Regina Spektor > For those of you not familiar with Ms. Spektor’s music this is a beautiful little piano tune that gives you the impression of standing outside on a sunny day with the snow falling softly on your face as you’re overwhelmed by the beauty of a winter scene in the forest.  Okay, so I’m giving you my impression of it; it’s all I have.  A very good opening intro.

Waking Up:
Last View – Frodus > Okay, so I wasn’t planning on Frodus making it into my life soundtrack, but I own the disc so what can I do.  They are a late 90’s punk/hardcore band.  Needless to say this a rather shocking way to wake up in my life, but I guess it would get me pumped up and moving pretty quickly which I do need sometimes because I’m far from a morning person.

First Day of School:
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Blues Traveler > It’s an upbeat bluesy guitar and harmonica dominated instrumental.  I must be the cocky new kid with a leather jacket and tatoos with aviator shades.

Falling In Love:
Sometimes Wanna Die – Joy Drop > What a great song to get!  I don’t think there are many guys who could deny that when they first fall for a girl they feel like “they sometimes wanna die”.  It’s just such an overwhelming feeling that you’re not sure if you’re going to make it.

Fight Song:
Ode to Chin – Switchfoot > Well another hit out of the park!  Given the song isn’t necessarily about hitting a guy in the mouth, but just the title “Ode to Chin” makes it a perfect tune for duking it out.

Breaking Up:
Brand New Beau – Amanda Marshall > Make it three in a row!  A break up song all about finding a new love because the old one ran off on you.  Can’t say it’s the story of my life, but for a generic life soundtrack it’s a pretty great fit.

Prom:
That Song – Big Wreck > “I always get nostalgic when I hear that song”, is the first line.  Maybe not the perfect dance tune, but a good tune from my highschool days that’s about a song that reminds him of his good old days.  Decent fit.

Life:
Woman – Maroon 5 > This has been one of my favourite songs of late, so I wouldn’t turn it down as a song to live with.  It’s a pretty mellow tune that gives me the impression of chilling in front of a fireplace on a leather sofa or confidently walking down a darkened, rain covered, mainstreet by only the lights of the neon signs as you go to meet your girlfriend at the club.  It’s got that smooth vibe to it.  I guess it fits to some extent as for much of my life to this point (just about half of it: ages 12-22) where I spent the majority of my time trying to figure out women.  Not that I have it case now, but I’m pretty comfortable with my situation.

Mental Breakdown:
Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World > I guess this is a good song for a mental breakdown if that breakdown is going into some kind of manic state.  It’s pretty upbeat and driving.  It’s maybe the worst fit of any of the songs so far because I know for sure that if I have a psychotic break at some point it will be into depression just based on the nature of personality.  I have no excuse for this tune.

Driving:
Beauty Through The Eyes of a Predator – Demon Hunter > Who doesn’t love driving to some tune you can completely rock out to?  All Demon Hunter tunes are great for hopping in the car and driving ’til your wheels fall off to.  I guess the line “You brought this verdict on yourself” comes shortly after the speeding ticket.  It even has a kind of siren sound in the background at one point.

Flashback:
My Life – Plus One > Ya, so this is kind of embarassing, but rules are rules.  Yes, I own the Plus One cd (think Christian Backstreet Boys).  I guess though, despite the band, the song is a good song for a flashback as it’s called “My Life”.  At least “Soul Tatoo” didn’t come up.

Getting Back Together:
Early Mornin’ Rain – Gordon Lightfoot > Another good fit, this is actually working out eerily well.  The song is kind of an introspective guitar balad, like all of Lightfoot’s tunes.  This one is about a guy on a plane missing his lady and wishing they were back together again.  I’ve been there before a few times so I like the fit.

Wedding:
You – Switchfoot > It’s a good song for your wife to be to walk down the aisle to.  I think it may even have been the wedding song in “A Walk to Remember” . . . yes I’ve seen the movie a few times, laugh if you want.

Birth of Child:
These are the Special Times – Celine Dion > Okay, so you can look at it two ways: 1. I have broad and healthy musical tastes.  2. I have to turn in my man card right now.  I prefer to think of it in terms of number 1.  So what if I have like 8 Celine Dion cd’s, she’s really talented, so deal with it.  I guess that with my son on the way “these are the special times” is a pretty good fit too because it will be a pretty special time.  So what if it’s supposed to be a Christmas song, it’s almost Christmas.

Final Battle:
The Innocence Spilled – As I Lay Dying > What a GREAT tune for the final battle!  Pure agression in musical form!  I love this band and this tune is just a fight scene painted in music notes.  I can see myself in the final duel to this tune easily.

Death Scene:
Foolish Games – Jewel > Wow, am I a drama queen or what.  I get to die to this heart wrenching piano ballad as we all look introspectively at my life.  So what if it was on the Batman Forever soundtrack back in the day, it doesn’t have to ruin the song completely.

Funeral Song:
Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band > So the song is a little cheerier than I would have hoped for.  I guess the song being about the silliness of modern life fits though.  It was a good life and I want people to remember my life with happiness.  At least it’s not some Klingon funeral dirge.

Ending Credits:
When You’re Gone – Bryan Adams > Okay, so I’m really hoping that the end of my life isn’t marked by a Bryan Adams/Mel C. duet.  It’s not a terrible song, but if this is the credit roll song for my life, people are not going to be sticking around to see the out takes.

 Well, this was a lot of fun to do.  If you want a copy of my life soundtrack just let me know and maybe I’ll mail you a copy of the disc.

I’m Moving Again!

Posted: October 16, 2007 in life
Tags: , , , ,

moving boxesNow before you go jumping to conclusions, no I’m not leaving Swiftyvillerton.  Jenn and I are reasonably happy here and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.  The moving I’m talking about is moving blog homes.  You can find the link to my old blog, Humble Musings of a Curious Man, in the list of blogs called “blogroll”.

It’s kind of a weird feeling moving my online address.  It would seem that it shouldn’t be as big a deal as moving a real address, but I think this virtual move actually has me more anxious than my physical move from Regina to Swift Current last year.  In my real move I had to pack and move stuff in boxes to a new house 250km away.  How do you move something that doesn’t really physically exist though?  I can’t literally move my thoughts, my lists, and my pictures of from website to another.  I have to leave it behind.  It may be silly, but it is slightly traumatic to have to leave behind the thoughts and records of the past year of my life.  Physical stuff you can move, the abstract you can’t.  Technically I don’t have to fully leave it behind, it will still exist in perpetuity in it’s current place, but it won’t be where I call home now.  The links on my new page will take you to my book lists, music lists, and picture lists from my old site.  It’s just a lot easier to update those lists from where they are and quite frankly, it’s a little nicer looking to make the lists there because I don’t know how to code HTML.  It’s kind of a sad “see you later”, and not a total good-bye, but none the less I can’t help but feel a little emotional regarding my move to a new home.

 Well, I hope you all feel welcome to come and visit me in my new home on a regular basis.  The 3403 page views over the past year at my last home says that someone was visiting and reading on a regular basis, so I hope you enjoy my new residence here just as much.  I made the move for you!  That’s right, I didn’t move just because I wanted to move for the sake of it, I moved to the new site so that you could let me know that you were there to visit.  This new blog will allow you to leave comments on my posts without having to sign-up for anything or give all your personal information to Bill Co. (Microsoft).  I hope you will make use of this new feature and leave comments on my posts, otherwise this whole traumatic move will be for not.

Anyways, I’m glad I made the move.  I think this will be a good place to settle down for a long time.  Rest assured, I have no desire to go through this whole ordeal again anytime soon.  Have a good one, and come back to visit soon.