Friday, April 30, 2010

Best Songs by Letter. And s’more tidbits!

Thought it’d be fun to give my favorite song based on the letter that it started with! Yes, that’s the sorta thing I think is fun.

A - “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

B - “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve

C - “Caring is Creepy” by The Shins

D - “Detlef Schrempf” by Band of Horses

E - “Everything” by Lifehouse

F - “First Night” by The Hold Steady

G - “God Made the Automobile” by Iron & Wine

H - “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros

I - “I Summon You” by Spoon

J - “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” by The Killers

K - “Konstantine” by Something Corporate

L - “Lump Sum” by Bon Iver

M - “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

N - “New Slang” by The Shins

O - “Ode to LRC” by Band of Horses

P - “The Past and the Pending” by The Shins

Q - “Quasimodo” by Lifehouse

R - “Rebellion (Lies)” by The Arcade Fire

S - “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers

T - “Time to Pretend” by MGMT

U - “The Underdog” by Spoon

V - “Vaporize” by Broken Bells

W - “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek

X - “X&Y” by Coldplay

Y - “You’ll Find a Way (Switch and Sinden Remix)” by Santigold

Z - “Zero” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

# - “23” by Jimmy Eat World

Well that was interesting to put together. Some fun surprises in there for me. First off, I didn’t realize The Killers would get three songs…they just happen to have given the right letters to start their songs. I wasn’t surprised to have so few songs that started with the letter X, but having to dip all the way to a three-star Lifehouse for Q surprised me. Also didn’t realize that F and H were such awesome letters. Alright, enough of that!

Currently watching my Seattle Mariners play a 0-0 game in the 10th inning. This is a very different team than the one I used to watch lose 10-8 back in the 90’s.

I ate some bad coleslaw yesterday. Coleslaw should be sweet. I know places like to change things up, but horseradish coleslaw should be advertised as such. I could have had waffle fries!

The clarinet doesn’t even sound nice. Just sayin’.

I hate when people make other people feel bad just for the sake of making them feel bad. Yes, this happened to me this morning.

Bowled a 185 in 9 pin no tap today. That ain’t half bad!

Good night everyone!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where Mentioning the Words “Chest” and “Pain” Gets You

I’ve probably been pretty stupid, but since about Saturday I’ve been feeling some pressure in my chest. Not necessarily a “pain” but it sort of has felt like someone was pressing down on my sternum. I’m afraid of doctors so I was just sort of hoping it would go away with time. This morning it flared up again. I was driving to lunch with my superintendant, MSgt Blakely, when I just sort of mentioned that I’d been feeling some pressure in my chest. This alarmed her and she tried to get me to come with her to make an appointment at the hospital to get it checked out. Of course, I probably should have known better. The minute you tell an appointment desk that you’re experiencing any kind of discomfort in your chest they won’t allow you to make an appointment a couple days out. Instead they insisted I get checked into the Urgent Care Clinic.

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I don’t do well with medical things. I need to be driven just to get shots, and I've passed out behind the wheel following a blood draw. So being admitted to urgent care for “tests” was basically the culmination of every reason I hadn’t gone yet to the hospital. I really didn’t feel like it was a heart problem, but they still ran numerous EKGs and heart x-rays. They took four vials of blood from me and hooked me up to my first IV. It was a miserable, miserable experience. I’ve been hooked up to machines and heart monitors since about 11:30 today and I only got home a little while ago. At one point they told me there was an “abnormality” in my bloodwork, which scared me, but a retest took care of that.

The good news is that it is not a heart issue whatsoever. I suspected that, but they still had to do all their tests and bloodwork to make sure. I got a little better after they hooked me up to some sort of breathing exercise. Best they can tell is that I have some sort of constriction in my lung passages. I have an inhaler and some medicine to take and hopefully that fixes it. Forget the chest pain, what put me down for the count was four vials of blood and countless tests as I lay half-uniformed in the urgent care center for more than half of the day.

Holly was a doll. She came out after the first sergeant gave her a call. All in all four people came by to say hello, which is always nice. In the end I feel fine and I’m relieved I don’t have any heart problems. And hopefully the lung issue will dissipate in the coming days. For now I’m going to enjoy a relaxing evening on the couch and have some junk food, because I am totally, totally exhausted.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The BX Thinks That Pibb Xtra is Dr. Pepper. And Some Slightly Depressing Commentary.

I was certain that watching the hapless Kansas City Royals beat up on Felix Hernandez last night would be the most distressing that would happen to me this week, but that’s until I drank Pibb out of the Dr. Pepper dispenser in the Base Exchange today…AGAIN. Two months ago I did this and lamented that they probably had some extra Pibb sitting around. Now I’m just certain that some old lady thinks they are the same thing. Not true. The math is quite simple:

            pibb notequal dr_pepper_can

I really don’t have a whole lot to say today. I’m a little restless and miss home and friends—friends that are becoming increasingly scattered all over the country and the world. I’ve been blessed to have such wonderful friends and family back in Silverdale, have made some amazing friends at college, and met some great people in Mountain Home. I wouldn’t change anything, but it gets hard  meeting such awesome folks and then knowing that you won’t see them for very long periods of time. I joke around a lot and I love to have fun, but I’m pretty sentimental and I’m certain that I miss people who might not even miss me. And trees. I miss trees.

Even a bit of a downer paragraph won’t keep me from a song recommendation. This is a wistful tune by Iron & Wine called “Carousel” off of the outstanding Shepherd’s Dog album. It took me a few listens to adjust to the underwater-ish vocal style, but after a while it grew into one of my favorite tunes. Hope you like it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Five Awesome Instruments. Also Minus the Bear, UZR, the Limits of Power, and How to Use the Internet.

I wish that I could play a musical instrument. I wonder if I could if I tried. Little know fact about me: I played the oboe for a good month a decade ago. “Good month” is probably the wrong way to say it…I’m sure it was quite awful for those around me. The oboe is a lovely instrument, but a poorly played oboe is one of the worst sounding things in the world. It sounds like a dying duck begging to be put out of its misery. However, if I were to play an instrument, these would be my top five picks. Then I could finally start that band.

1) Mandolin

mandolin

Why a mandolin? Because it makes me feel happy, dangit. It fills me with pleasant bluegrassy, americana-ish feelings. I hear it and I see the front/back porch and feel happy feelings on my insides. If I could play the mandolin I could feel these happy feelings any time I want!

 

2) Piano

Piano2

A lovely melodies I could concoct on this thing if I only knew what to do with it! Think “Clocks” by Coldplay, or the good parts of Something Corporate and Ben Folds. I. Would. Move. You. You wouldn’t know what hit you if I could only play this thing. I can hammer out Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/The Alphabet Song (same song! anyone here never realize that?), and Michael W. Smith’s classic “Do You Dream of Me” (chorus only). But I have not the patience, dexterity, or talent to be a piano player. Which is sad.

3) Electric Guitar

Electric-Guitar-AD210-

Not only would I play electric guitar, but I’d have one of those pads that gave me like 943 difference sounds I could make with the guitar. I would mostly use it to sound like the background guitar in Kings of Leon’s “Knocked Up”, but it would have many other uses as well. Primarily, I would look cool, which is something I’ve generally failed at for the last 24 years. (Don’t shed any tears…I gave up a while ago…although I just figured out how to match shoes with the rest of my “outfit”!). Electric guitar bonus: by playing it I will immediately find it easy to figure out the acoustic guitar!

 

4) Cello

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By now, having mastered the mandolin, piano, and electric guitar, I have a rockin’ band. But I need strings. And while violins get all the love, the most moving strings come when the cello is brought into the fold. I mean, Cursive makes great music essentially by talking an experimental alt-punk sound and introducing, yes, The Cello. It’s mournful, it’s moving, it will knock your socks off.

 

5) Synthesizer!!!

synth

Oh the crazy things I could with this puppy! I can just picture myself hiding in the back room growing out my “beard” (thin mustache with occasional cheek hair, actually) and layering all my instruments together now. The synth would be the key to it all.

Two things are, of course, primarily missing from my band now: vocals and drums. I’ll handle the vocals. I won a music award for singing when I was 14 and I’ll just pretend that that qualifies me. Plus have you heard what studio production has done for the likes of Heidi Montag/Ashlee Simpson/Lindsay Lohan/The Jonas Brothers/Black Eyed Peas, etc? Apparently anyone can be a singer!

I have no rhythm (longest world without a vowel? okay way off topic…). Once I learn all five of these instruments I will be hiring a percussionist. We will both get paid in the love and respect we get from our adoring indie fans. We will never get rich because our music will be too good to be “categorized”. We’ll be open to selling out, but no one will find us qualified for mass consumption. Our big break will come when the 2013 Audi uses our song in the background of their commercial. Especially the cello part in that one song. Rolling Stone will give us 3.5 stars, Pitchfork will give us a 6.2 and say we sound too much like The Antlers, who we will be copying so we won’t be mad about the reference. So, in sum, be my percussionist if this doesn’t sound like a miserable existence to you.

***End discussion about musical potential***

In the meantime I will just play the role of amateur critic. Here’s the new song by Minus the Bear of off their forthcoming release. The song is called “My Time” and I find it to be four-star quality.

In the linkage department:

--Alex Remington describes my favorite baseball statistic, Ultimate Zone Rating. Why is it important? Because the eyes can be deceiving. You made a diving catch? Congrats. A truly good fielder wouldn’t have had to dive. You catch everything hit right at you? Great, but you can’t move. Best defensive outfielder last year? Franklin Gutierrez. And he didn’t win a Gold Glove.

--Thomas Sowell discusses the limits of power. Amazing how wishful thinking and catchphrases like “affordable housing” are thrown out there without reality ever having to sink in.

--What’s a web page? Something ducks walk on?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

You. Are. Welcome.

Do I even need to write anything after that? Yes, but only briefly. I did indeed “get in trouble” for comparing Fridays to Alexis Bledel. Thus apparently Holly does read my blog. Ah the little victories.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hello Friday! Of Cheap Concerts and Chicory.

If Friday was a person, I’m quite certain that Friday would look like this:Alexis Bledel! Yes, I may get in trouble for this. But if I do it’s just proof that my wife reads my blog. So, in sum, two options here:

1) I don’t get in trouble

2) My wife reads my blog

Both are victories if you ask me!

Tonight I go to a concert for two small up-and-coming indie bands (As Tall As Lions and Bear Hands). The plus side to seeing small bands in small venues? $$$$ Yup. Dollars. This concert is $12. I know some people going to see Daughtry tonight for more than $100. Now, all respect to the bald American Idol dude, but I wouldn’t pay more than $25 to see him yell about going home.

chicory Alright, before I change into some kickin’ threads I must discuss the cup of coffee I had this morning. Today my main partner in crime at work decided that we would try a new coffee with “chicory” in it. I’ll try anything, which can be bad. And it was. Oh so bad. Wikipedia says that chicory is a “bushy perennial herd with blue or lavender flowers”. Sounds pretty. I support leaving it looking pretty and never grounding it into coffee. Both my mouth and stomach agree that I will never again try coffee with chicory in it. Gross.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Long Day Redeemed By Fantastic Mr. Fox

Today’s post is brought to you by this delicious energy drink. Why? Because it’s an energy drink….and a juice! What a fantastic idea. Props to you energy-drink-and-juice-together guy!

monster_khaos_juice

This morning was uber-productive. I think I got more done between 0730 and 0915 than I did all of yesterday. The coffee was getting chugged and I was on point. Also had a fantastic lunch at Wingers with friends. But the second half dragged (caffeine crash?) and then I got tied up taking care of some things and ended up getting home at 6 PM, which makes the evening even shorter. A bummer you say? Not after I watched the surprisingly wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was the perfect feel-good movie, full of happy feelings, good laughs, and lovely folksy music. Made me feel 10 again. Here’s a small taste of the nice music that made it so fun.

No, no, that’s not the “song” of the day. You don’t get off that easy. I’m instead going to promote “Factory” from Band of Horses, which is one of those bands I adore to the point that I own a t-shirt. A t-shirt! I only have two band t-shirts, so you must take this seriously. Lovely track off their forthcoming album

Tomorrow is a little reunion party followed by As Tall As Lions and Bear Hands at a local small music joint. Hope it’s good!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I, for one, do not believe that I am “grown up” yet. And although I like to tell the fable of me as a child stacking mobility bags on my bunk beds and inventorying my toys in my lifelong quest to be a logistics officer, I must confess that this story is a farce. Let it be said, though, that I love my job. I can’t believe they pay me to spend all day with the people in my flight. Awesome, awesome folks. And truth be told, my high school/college job of video store clerk prepared me well for the supply world. And yes, realistically I will remain a professional logistician for quite sometime. But, indulge me as I journey through my options for a second career…

#1 Major League Baseball General Manager

Mariners Wakamatsu Baseball I have many special skills that would make me good at this job. Most of all, I know baseball better than anyone I’ve met personally, and have a solid grasp on sabermetric statistics like UZR, FIP, and WAR. I understand that Ben Zobrist posted the second best WAR last year and that Manny Ramirez loses with his glove as many runs as he gains with his bat. I realize that fielding percentage is a practically worthless tool in gauging defensive prowess. I also have management skills and can make sweet powerpoints on all sorts of things baseball related. 

#2 Gourmet Chef

Chef_pic

Holly will tell you that we don’t usually order steak when we eat out because I can make just as good of a steak at home. She will also equally tell you that she doesn’t like my burgers all the time because I make “weird” burgers. Apparently she prefers a cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard over my green chile burger with roasted anaheim and poblano peppers seasoned with garlic salt, balanced with an avocado spread, and served with a chalula southwest mayo. Cooking is an art, but an art that you get to eat when done. I dream to one day make something delicious that someone will want to buy.

#3 Professional Music Critic

I wouldn’t this being a side job any time someone wants to hire me. I have this vision of Rolling Stone stumbling upon my facebook music lists and hiring me. I couldn’t imagine getting paid to listen to music and write about it. So basically someday after I retire I will relax in my log cabin on a lake writing music reviews for the local newspaper. I will also go to shows. Too old to go to shows you say? Not if I’m a professional music critic! All the young kids will look at me weird, but then I’ll tell them why I’m there and they will suddenly accept me as one of them. Right?

And, to keep in good practice, how about a good song recommendation? I know I posted this one earlier, but I didn’t really know how to work a blog yet, so I’m making sure it gets in here. The song is called ”Kettering” by The Antlers, and it’s one of the most heartbreakingly moving pieces of music I’ve heard in a while. It serves as the opening track to their stunning concept album. Think of it as the captivating first chapter to an unbelievable novel. Hope you like it. And hope you listen to it with the lights out.

Who knows if any of this will ever really happen. And until then I remain a dedicated Logistics Officer in the US Air Force who loves my job, loves my people, and finds supply chain management strangely fascinating. Good thing that job #1 is essentially unattainable, job #2 is a post-retirement gig, and job #3 is hobby!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

R.I.P. Seven Tumbleweeds That Got Owned By My Saturn Ion This Afternoon

Tumbleweed

A beautiful day has given way to wind and then given way to a large thunderstorm. Weird night. But the satellite feed is still doing just fine, so I’m watching my glorious Seattle Mariners play. Winning 5 out of 6 has gotten me in a good mood.

So anyhow, in the random thought department, is there any worse place to buy music than Walmart? My goodness. It’s basically nothing except for country, rap, and whatever genre you put the emotionally-sensitive-yet-totally-hardcore bands like Nickelback. I try to be fair. I’m not expecting them to carry bands like The Antlers or even My Morning Jacket. But no MGMT? I thought “Time to Pretend” was big enough to at least get MGMT’s new album stocked at Walmart. But I guess I either need to develop a taste for Toby Keith, Justin Beiber, and Three Days Grace or I should just stop expecting them to stock my albums. (Speaking of Justin Beiber…his fan base is basically under 13 and over 35…I wonder what he thinks of himself and his “craft”.)

On a related note, here’s a song choice of the day for you. I’m not ALL about the unknown bands, so here’s a choice for you off of the mostly disappointing Lifehouse album. Despite not liking the overall album, I love this song and think you will too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Monday!

Today’s post is brought to you by this delicious hot dogs and chips. Because a hot dog and chips cures everything.

hot-dog

A happier Monday than usual, fresh from a guy who thinks Monday is the worst day of the week (Saturday-Sunday-Friday-Thursday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Monday, in that order). Today I took advantage of a slightly slower-than-normal day on the job to work the front customer service desk with a bunch of my airmen. So much more fun than sitting behind the desk working projects.

Anyhow, now that I’m home comfortably watching Celebrity Apprentice wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket, it’s time to relax and prep for my fifth ranked day of the week, the dreaded Tuesday. The song of the day comes from the electro-pop band Yeasayer, which I find to be a more accessible version of the often amazing yet often overwhelming Animal Collective.It’s called “Mondegreen” and I love its sound. Good song as the weather starts to turn for the better.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Links of the Day

Currently listening to Zoey Van Goey’s “The Best Treasure Stays Buried”. Nothing life changing here, but it’s very pleasant.

Zoey Van Goey - "The Best Treasure Stays Buried"

Just biding time until May’s amazing string of awesome bands releasing albums. Primarily I’m talking about Minus the Bear, Band of Horses, The Hold Steady, and LCD Soundsystem. That’s a year’s worth of releases coming out in one month.

Also, in the food for thought department, Michael Medved questions this concept that the world is “safer” without nuclear weapons here. Certainly the world would be “safer” if the weapons had never been created in the first place, but it doesn’t make sense to give them up now and count on some sort of change of heart in our enemies. The money quote: “On the one hand, the administration suggests that the push toward disarmament will inspire better behavior from Iran and North Korea—ignoring the fact that whenever a nation reduces or limits its own power, it only encourages more aggressiveness from its adversaries.” I, for one, don’t want to count on “inspiring good behavior”.

Quick Movie Review:

Date Movie (2.5 stars) – Mildy likeable and full of half-laughs, Date Movie is almost good, but really falls short of being memorable. Too bad, because the last thing Tina Fey touched—Mean Girls—was amazing.

On Embedding Videos and What's Next in My Life

Going to see if I can successfully embed videos...So I'll test with one of my favorite videos of all time. Let's hope it works!








Adorable.

So today Holly and I went to the 9 AM church service so that we could possibly do something today. Wasn't sure exactly what that "something" was going to be, but we were planning on doing it nonetheless. I did a lot of research online for activities, but I found we'd already done each of the "somethings" that we could. Eventually we settled on driving over an hour to a roadside cafe that appeared on "Diner Drive-ins and Dives", one of my favorite TV shows. As we started driving we both decided that, hey, you know what, none of us really want to spend over two hours in the car for a steak sandwich. So we went to our local Mtn Home taco truck, picked up a soda at the Chevron, and ate on a boat ramp in Bruneau. It was here that I realized that although I have loved my time in Mtn Home, and although I've met some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life, I'm really ready to live in a city again. There are exactly three things I have left to do before I head to Ohio for the next phase of my journey:


1) Sasquatch Music Festival. This is the event my life has been countin down to since I bought the tickets last year. Here's some festival shots from last year, and the bands are even better this year.

2) Grand Teton National Park. I've been to Yellowstone, but still haven't gone to the Tetons. This is essential before I move to Ohio.


3) Silver City, Idaho. An old ghost town not too far from here. Inaccessible in the winter, which is why we didn't go there today.

Alright, I know this post is more of just a test post, so sorry for the lack of real content. Anyhow, before I go, let's see if I can get this song to embed correctly. It's called "I Don't Feel it Anymore (Song of the Sparrow)" by William Fitzsimmons.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Goal: All Things Amusing, Interesting, Thought-Provoking. Music Reviews. And Pics. Presented With Fun For Means of Discussion

This is me:


Look at that face. So confused. So troubled. Sure, at this moment I'm wondering where the disc golf course is supposed to be amongst this dung covered field, but I COULD be wondering about so much more. So many thoughts cross this poor boy's mind, like how did the Black Eyed Peas get so big? And how come when I'm eating the ice from my soda there's always one cube left at the bottom of the cup? Seriously, why is there always one?




Now I suppose I'm no different than most people who start a blog. Blogs seem to chiefly be diaries for other people to read, since I certainly see no advantage in writing something only I can read. Will people read it? Who knows. Buuuuut, if they don't, then it's just a diary, right? That's the worst case scenario.

Topics include:

- What's up
- What I think about what's up
- Politics, theology, and other topics that are good to discuss
- Music. Lots of music recommendations from my adventures across the internet sifting through music blogs and other resources.
- Videos which I find hilarious
- Probably other things

Random samples! From each category!

- What's up

Today I tried to go fishing. I thought I'd fish at CJ Strike Dam and catch a trout and then eat said trout. Ambitious! In the military we often find that there are certain procedures we have to go through to get state licenses when we are not technically residents. I am, after all, a taxpaying resident of Washington, and therefore don't have the same cheaper access privileges that Idahoans do to Idaho. Fortunately for me, they smile upon the military and give us "resident" licenses so long as we get forms signed by our leadership saying that, yes, we are indeed in the military, and, yeah, we live here, and, sure, we can fish. Good right? Here's where I went wrong though. I figured that I only had to do this once. Last year I bought my license with my military form signed off, and I figured I could just renew this licenese. Not true. I have to start the process over. So instead of going fishing today I came home, and, apparently, started a blog.

- What I think about's what's up
That's just dumb. I already proved I was military and live in Idaho. This system is highly ineffeicient and wasteful and could use some streamlining. As a certified Six Sigma Greenbelt I could do some serious wonders to the Idaho Fish and Game Department's processes, and save many people a lot of time in the long run. Hire me as an independent consultant, Idaho Fish and Game Department!

- Politics, theology, and other good things to discuss

How about that Icelandic volcano, eh? A gorgeous displays of God's power on display if you ask me. It does amuse me sometimes that the world can create marvelous things like transcontinental air travel, and then God and nature remind us all that they still can just shut us down if they feel like it. People are stuck all over the place now. Obama can't go to Poland, bands are cancelling gigs at festivals, and people are losing money having to extend their vacations in foreign countries. The bright side? Pictures like this.
- Music
The music that's been burning up my car's cd player and office includes mostly three bands lately: Broken Bells, The Antlers, and Freelance Whales. Broken Bells is a side project of indie legend James Mercer of The Shins in which he teams up with Danger Mouse. The Antlers are a small outfit that put together one of the most moving albums I've ever heard, centering around a friend dying in the hospital. And Freelance Whales are a perfect synthesis of indie and pop. Samples below!
- Videos which I find hilarious
And that's it folks! Of course, most posts will center on only one of these topics. Read at your own peril.