Monthly Archives: May 2013

Put Another Record On

I listen to my iPod pretty much every time I’m in the car.  There are a number of podcasts that I listen to, so I often get behind and don’t get a chance to listen to music.

Today, however, I was listening to some tunes and was reminded of one of those stupid Facebook things a while back where people posted the first song that popped up on their iTunes for each letter of the alphabet.  I never did it, because it’s stupid, but at the same time, I wondered what I would find.  More often than I would expect, I go through songs on “random” mode and a song comes on that I don’t recognize, or don’t even particularly like all that much.  So let’s traverse my iPod (whose name is Nigel, by the way), shall we?

“A-Team Theme” by John Swihart – No, not that “A-Team” song by Ed Sheeran.  The A-Team.  Mr. T.  Those guys.  C’mahn.

“Baba O’Riley” by The Who – A classic.  Everyone who likes rock should have this one.

“California” by Phantom Planet – I think this was the theme song for “The O.C.”  It’s a pretty great road trip song.

“D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin – The title of this song is pronounced like “Jamaica.”  It has a reggae-inspired tune to it, so the guys in the band got a little cheeky, I guess.

“E.T.” by Katy Perry – YEAH, WHAT ABOUT IT?  This is not the version with Kanye West.  That one sucks.

“F.N.T.” by Semisonic – It stands for “Fascinating New Thing.”  I think it was in a Bacardi commercial way back in the day.

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers – I guess “The” doesn’t count.  If you ever play cards with any regularity, you know this one.

“Half of My Heart” by John Mayer – I have a few of his albums.  As insufferable as he is as a guy at times, he’s a genius with a guitar.  As my affection for Oasis shows, I can compartmentalize.

“I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles – I also have a pair of Oasis live versions.  I like the one from “The Masterplan” the best.

“Jacob’s Ladder” by Huey Lewis and the News – A band I remember my dad listening to in the first house my family lived in.  We moved out when I was five, so that’s a long time ago.

“Kaleidoscope” by The Prototypes – A song from one of the FIFA games.  FIFA 07, I think.

“Lady” by Lenny Kravitz – It hasn’t been played in over two years.  Huh.

“Machinehead” by Bush – A frequent pump-up song found in stadiums and arenas across the country throughout the 90s.  During the year and a half or so that I watched professional wrestling, I think this would have been my walkout music.

“N—– in Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West – “Ball so hard.”  Words to live by.  Very easily hashtagged as well. #ballsohard

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by The Beatles – I don’t know what it means, either.

“Pain” by Jimmy Eat World – I think this is the first song on the list to have been to source of one of my post titles.

“Quarter” by Fuel – I actually have three songs that start with Q.  Cool?

“Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe was an anti-communist thing started by the U.S. government.  Cool.

“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys – I’m a big fan of the guitar and drums in this one.

“Tainted Love” by Soft Cell – Another one of those songs that probably everyone recognizes and can sing like two lines of before just making noises that vaguely resemble the tune of the song.

“U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer – Just watch the first minute of this clip.

“Valleri” by The Monkees – I loved their television show and ended up borrowing tapes from my dad back when I was in middle school.

“Wait Until Tomorrow” by Jimi Hendrix – Another guitar genius.  “All Along the Watchtower” is one of my favorites.

“Yellow” by Coldplay (performed by Chris Martin and Noel Gallagher) – I also have a version of Oasis’ “Live Forever” that these two did at the same event.  At the beginning, Martin tells Gallagher to play a little faster.  DO NOT TELL NOEL HOW TO PLAY HIS OWN SONG.

“Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie – Spiders from Mars.  Leper messiahs.  I don’t even know, man.

Yes, quite the eclectic mix.  And an effective use of blank blog space.

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Down by the Schoolyard

I’m going to make this short and to the point.

I hate school zones.

You know, those areas near schools where you’re supposed to drive 15 miles per hour when the lights are flashing?  So you don’t hurt any kids?  Yeah, can’t stand ’em.

When I was growing up, my parents told me not to cross the street.  Then, when I was a little older, I could cross the street, but I had to look both ways about a hundred times first.  Believe it or not, I was never hit by a car.  Not one time.  Why?  Because I was careful.

It wasn’t because the cars were driving slow.  It wasn’t because they all had their flashers on and were looking out for me.  It was because, even at age seven or eight, I understood that getting hit by a car was bad, and that not getting hit by a car was the preferable course of action.

Now, I’m not saying we didn’t have school zones back in my day.  We did; I just didn’t live in any.  And I made it.

As a driver, they are the worst.  Sometimes I end up taking a late lunch at work, or a school along my morning commute will have a late opening, and I get caught in them.  The worst part is THERE ARE NEVER ANY KIDS AROUND.  And when there are, a crossing guard has them cross at the corner, and then goes out and stops traffic altogether.  So it doesn’t matter if I’m going 15 or 25 or 65; I have to stop because there is a person in the street.  Those flashing lights are just the mocking icing on the “screw you, cars” cake.

Why can’t we just teach kids to, I don’t know, not run out into traffic?  A mind-boggling idea, I know, but I already think we coddle kids too much these days, so anything like this is going to annoy me more than it should.

But don’t worry about me.  When I drive through a school zone at night, or on the weekends, I get my revenge.  To make up for what feels like hours spent in school zones during the day, I drive through them faster than normal stretches of road.  Sometimes I crank it all the way up to 25, or, if I’m feeling really frisky, and there aren’t any cars parked along the curb because come on, let’s not be unreasonable, 30.  THE MAN CAN’T HOLD ME DOWN.

Fifty-Seven Channels and Nothin’ On

It’s May, which means that many television shows are ending their seasons.  It also means that the NHL and NBA are deep into their playoffs, putting important games on the air every night.  More importantly, baseball season is in full swing, too.

I was thinking about this tonight as I flipped between baseball and basketball.  If it wasn’t for live sports, what would I be watching?  I honestly couldn’t answer that question.  There are like four billion channels, and I would probably be watching ESPNews.

It’s funny to me that we have so many channels.  Like, how is it profitable for some of these to exist?  How is it possible for people to watch them all?  I can’t even keep up with the shows I want to watch that are on network television, let alone anything on the different cable tiers.

One of the things that some networks do is run episodes of old shows in syndication.  So on top of the aforementioned four billion channels all showing whatever new stuff they’ve bought or created, they’re also showing stuff that has already aired, five, 10, 20, 30 years ago.  Are you kidding me?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the end of this basketball game before putting on a Friends re-run.

I’m Burning For You

It was rather warm today.  Which means, when you get home from work, and all the windows are shut all day, it gets all hot and stuffy inside.  It’s a common occurrence come summer time, but today was the first “oh this is disgusting” day of the year.

I’m one of those types that in general prefers the cold weather.  That being said, when it’s really cold out, I’m rushing to get inside and get the heat on.  Of course, it has to be perfect; if it’s just a little too high, it feels suffocating and oh God turn it off turn it off.  I think it’s part of getting old.

I used to love opening windows, but now I’m all about air conditioning.  It’s mostly a sleep thing for me.  No matter the time of year, I will ideally sleep under a blanket or two.  If it’s winter, a combination of heat and blankets gives me a nice, warm sleeping environment.  In the summer, I need to cool the air down to the point that I’m cold, and then I crawl under the blankets for a nice, warm sleeping environment.  It’s weird, I know.

I don’t understand why people turn down/off the air conditioning or the heat overnight.  “You’re asleep, you don’t feel it anyway,” they say.  Um, YES I DO.  There is no way, on a hot, muggy night, that I can sleep in that gross, sticky air.  Conversely, it’s impossible for me to fall asleep in the winter if I’m too busy shivering.

So what I’m saying is, I am apparently a climate diva.  Whatever.

When I Run Base, I Dodge the Pen

As usual, if you haven’t seen the film in question – in this instance, “42” – you can skip this post.  Or don’t.  Up to you.

* * *

Last week I saw 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic (of sorts).  It took me a few weeks to get to it, which is surprising, considering how much I like baseball.  But it happens.

Anyway, it was hard for me answer the question, “was it good?”  I mean, yes, I liked it, but what does “good” really mean in this situation?  I called it a “biopic (of sorts)” because it isn’t really a film about the life of Jackie Robinson.  It’s about the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and how Robinson fit into that squad, more than anything else.

To me, a true story (which it is, despite dramatizations and the “based on a true story” disclaimer at the beginning) is hard to assess as a film if I know the story.  I wrote a few months back about Argo, which was based on a true story that I’d never heard.  I was able to consume the finished product with a clean slate.  But 42, on the other hand, is a story we all know.  As such, I like how it picked out a very thin slice of Robinson’s life – albeit, the most well-known and most historically significant – and told that story, instead of squeezing his whole life into two hours.

It felt less like a single story and more like a collection of vignettes, I thought.  For some reason, I didn’t like that at first.  Looking back, however, as difficult as it would have been to cram a lifetime into a film, it would have been just as difficult to capture the everyday ins and outs of the approximately two and a half years the film covers.  By showing the highlights – Robinson’s first meeting with Branch Rickey, his first trip to Dodgers camp, a number of incidents at games throughout both his Triple-A season in Montreal and his first season in Brooklyn – you get the gist of what the filmmakers are trying to say.

Both Chadwick Boseman (Robinson) and Harrison Ford (Rickey) will be talked about come award season, and they certainly deserve some recognition.  I thought the film was well-acted, and I always appreciate an appearance by Christopher Meloni (as Dodgers manager Leo Durocher).  More importantly, however, it was pretty accurate with the events and people it featured.  Personally, as a fan of baseball, and history, inaccuracy would have been unforgivable.

I feel like I jumped all over the place there, but I really don’t know what to say about it.  It was a movie that told me a story I already knew, but was still able to make it enjoyable to re-hear.

But more than anything, it took a number of unprovoked shots at Pittsburgh.  And to that I say, “well done.”

You Can’t Rome Without Caesar

Did you ever go to the mall and see an Orange Julius stand and think “OH MY GOD MOM I HAVE TO HAVE ONE MOM MOM NOW ORANGE JULIUS NOW PLEASE MOM PLEASE OH MY GOD?”

Oh, only me?  Huh.

I remember how much I liked those drinks, and how in middle school, in what was called “Family Consumer Science” because I guess “Home Economics” sounded too 1950s, we made a version that included orange juice, bananas, and cinnamon that absolutely knocked my socks off.  For a month after we learned it, I think my parents bought like 45 pounds of bananas.  Delicious.

Tonight, we went out for a belated Mother’s Day dinner (work schedules and some other things got in the way last week).  Side note: the lines are much shorter the week after; we’re going to do Father’s Day a week early (for different reasons), and I think this is an idea I can get behind moving forward.  My mom and aunt (who is also my godmother) picked the Olive Garden, which I considered a rather underwhelming choice, but hey, it was their (delayed) day.

There is a Coldstone Creamery around the corner, and sometimes when we go out to dinner for special occasions, we stop there.  But everyone was kind of full, so we decided against it.  “I could do a milkshake, though,” I said.  “How about an Orange Julius?” suggested Mom.  Um, sold!

Apparently Dairy Queen owns and now serves Orange Julius.  I had no idea.  Suffice to say, this will not be the last time I stop at Dairy Queen during the warmer months.  I recommend you all show your support for this heroic act of patriotism and patronize your local DQ.

(I’m Joe, and I approved this message.)

I Set My Clocks Early ‘Cause I Know I’m Always Late

Don’t you hate it when other people’s timing just flat-out sucks?

I won’t get into details because it’s stupid and I don’t have the time and it’s stupid, but today I found myself in one of those situations where if the person on the other end of the line had just called three minutes earlier, instead of waiting around, my life would have been like 27% easier.

Doesn’t it seem like as soon as you walk out a door, the phone rings in the room you just left?  Or you’ll get a call to look something up, only you just shut down the computer a minute ago?  Or you’re in the checkout line at the supermarket, get rung up, get in the car, and leave the parking lot, only get a text from your spouse/significant other/roommate/friend/whoever asking you to get something else they forgot about earlier?

It sucks, doesn’t it?  And as soon as you show the slightest bit of exasperation, they get all defensive, as if it’s your fault you didn’t triple-check, “hey, are you sure I’m done here?”

Aren’t people the worst?