Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A 'Currently' of Sorts...

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I had four or five ideas half drawn out, scheduled, drafted, and the such before I got this overwhelming urge to do THIS post. Now, this post isn't about anything new or groundbreaking, but moreso, I  wanted to talk about a couple AWESOME things that have come across my (internet screen? phone screen? occasionally a REAL newspaper article, but let's be honest...) recently. I also just wanted to give you a heads up on what the hell I've been doing lately (spoilers, not a lot. Learning to love a new town. No Complaints.)

First, John Green, Hank Green, and all of Nerfighteria:
I know I talk about this guy all the time. I have loved him for quite a few years, and each year my love grows more and more.  I just think it is amazing how they use their internet fame. Such an AMAZING example. He is funny and smart, and the issues/topics as well as the age ranges that are addressed is just spectacular. Below is the newest video about the philanthropic arm of Nerdfighteria. (BTW, the nerdfighter community in Mr. Green's own words: "The nerdfighter community isn’t even really about our videoblogs (or my books). It’s mostly about celebrating intellectualism and making cool stuff on the Internet and decreasing worldsuck."
Also, I am super stoked for the newest venture where John's Wife Sarah (the Yeti) has partnered with PBS to produce an program on Art. Sarah is the former curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 

Second, Music:
Man, I always think about how My friend Brady is SO UP TO DATE all the time, on music. I am forever behind. Which, doesn't bother me so much, except when i find this amazing band and realize I could have been enjoying them for years already. I have been listening to a really random grouping lately. My usual R&B/Hip-hop (mostly 90s centered, but with splashes of John Legend, The Roots, Raphael Saadiq (NPR tiny desk linked), Jannelle Monae, etc) But what I really wanted to share with you this second was two thoughts. First, Let's talk about pop music. I have no qualms with how much I tend to enjoy pop music. This is especially true in the fact that I try not to listen to the radio much, so it doesn't get overplayed in my mind, and it can retain what makes it fun, longer. Pop get's a lot of shit though, and I just wanted to take a moment and stand up for. I also was reminded, and wanted to remind everyone else, of how great some of the late 90s/early 2000s pop was. I just re-listened to all of 'Celebrity' by Nsync. and loved it. Go ahead, try to shit on how awesome 'Gone' was, or 'Girlfriend'. They are sugary and delicious! The second tidbit to share was about friend's recommending music. THANK GOD for that. A hat tip to Tyler currently for getting me back into (as I have some reference, and always enjoyed, but never delved into at great lengths) Mazzy Star. Currently the 'She Hangs Brightly' album is on a pretty constant rotation. 

Third, Asheville:
Hey guys, I took photos throughout my last few days off. Here is a snippet of my life currently, in Asheville! (spoilers: I have two Jobs. one restaurant, one bakery. I am now working out every day like a healthy person (I also make a point to try a new Asheville beer everyday too, you know, also for health reasons...). I try to walk when I can (one job, groceries, downtown to just poke around, etc). 

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A Butcher Shop on the way to my bakery job. I just think it's kinda cool that there is a butcher shop. My not eating meat doesn't effect this. Also, the Highland Brewery and tasting room. It is basically what every tasting room should look like. Open, spacious, twinkle lights, industrial inside and large tables to share with friends. Still working on the 'friends' portion.
Library times photo IMG_1346_zpseceebddc.jpgDowntown xmas photo IMG_1342_zps47539452.jpgI got a library card, and checked out one of the smaller branches that is by my house. Got a few books to start me off. And this is just a little snippet of downtown holiday cheer to come!
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I went on my first NC resident hike a little over a week ago! It was at Rainbow falls (didn't actually go all the way to the falls, found this nice little happy place and just enjoyed nature 2/3rds of the way in). This hike was about an hour from my house.Cannot wait to discover so so so many more. 

Four, News:
I am terrible at following news (if it isn't pop culture related. I admit). But I got the 'next Draft' App and man i love it. It allows me to look at the top 10 stories of a day, and click links onto read further. Everything is explained very simply, and you are given resources to look into the headlines further. and it combines all forms of news, so I find it wonderful. I feel KINDA on top of stuff, moreso than I have been in a long, long time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Favorite Albums: 21-30. Let's Do This.

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30. Say Anything- ...Is a Real Boy
Sometime between sophomore and junior year of college I came across Say Anything. The whole record is great, if you are into that type of thing (Pop Punk: Something Corporate, Fall Out Boy, etc). Later the band added a second disc to this album titled '...Was a Real Boy'. Just as a chance to list more songs I love, I'm going to cheat and say you should listen to 'Wow, I can get Sexual too', 'Little Girls' and 'Metal Now'. Memory lane time!: Driving down 26 towards Columbia from a random rest stop my friend Jack tricked myself and his roommate Mark drive 45 minutes out of town to visit (sigh) blasting 'Wow I can get sexual too' and loving every cheesy minute.
Alive With the Glory of Love, Every Man has a Molly, Admit it!!!  (watch the lyric video for the last one, so good)

29. Incubus- Make Yourself
For this one we are going back, back to a time when I had never kissed a boy, and thought that Brandon Boyd was what boys were supposed to look and sound like. I was in 9th grade, and the video for 'Stellar', and Boyd throwing his shirtless torso around that made me feel all warm and tingly inside. I knew I liked Incubus already, as I had discovered 'S.C.I.E.N.C.E.', but it was this album that made me feel all teenager-y. Make Yourself, Privilege, I Miss You

28. Belle and Sebastian- Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Belle and Sebastian get typecast as unequivocal hipster music. I just think of it as music for a sunny day while outside lovin' life. YES, I am most likely wearing cut off jean shorts while playing something like foursquare (BEST. GAME. EVER) but, I could listen to Wu Tang while doing those things too. Just depends of the day. If She Wants Me, I'm a Cuckoo, If You Find Yourself Caught in Love
From a separate album, but when I hear Belle and Sebastian, THIS is the first thing that comes to mind, this scene from the DARK comedy 'Pumpkin'.

27. The Darkness- Permission to Land
SHUT UP. It is one of the most entertaining albums out there. Believe me when I say I have way more ridiculous albums further up on this list. I remember watching the video for 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love' and giving the lead singer a mental high-five. This album never fails to get me pumped up and dancing up a storm. I love the 80s hairband feel, out of a album from the 2000s. Get Your Hands Off of My Woman, I Believe in a Thing Called LoveFriday Night

26. Tune-Yards- W H O K I L L
Minneapolis. This album will always be Minneapolis. I discovered it simultaneously through the GREAT Public Radio station The Current and while browsing with Nick through Paste's 25 best music videos of 2011 and seeing the badass video for 'Buziness'. (I am addicted to Paste's List of the day. ADDICTED.) The album as a whole is wonderful. I cannot believe the sounds that come out of this wonderful musician. Her voice is insane, in all the best ways. I cannot pick three songs. Here is the entire album.

25. Jump, Little Children- Magazine
Jump, Little Children is this wonderful band based out of South Carolina. Or used to be. They don't exist anymore. But they were wonderful. And they had a great following in the south, but never managed to break it big. The had another big fan in Zach Braff, and he played some of there music on 'Scrubs'. Also Elton John. He loved their song 'Cathedrals' because, once you hear cathedrals, you'll realize no one can NOT cry from its beautiful beautiful joy. I saw JUMP twice during college, and would see them a zillion times more, if possible. Cathedrals, B-13, Body Parts

24. Decemberists- Picaresque
2006. I heard 'Of Angels and Angles'. I dug deeper. I loved the epic sound to all Decemberists albums. My favorite songs of their's ('O Valencia!' 'July, July', 'Summersong') aren't on this album, but this one just holds a place in my heart. Fun Side note: they do some wicked live covers of the band 'Heart'.
The Sporting lifeOf Angels and AnglesFrom My One True Love (Lost at Sea)

23. Tallest Man on Earth- Shallow Grave
Tallest Man on Earth is one of those artists that I was told time and again I would enjoy, and just would brush it aside, or listen to one track think 'eh yeah okay' and then move on, etc. I don't know what got me finally really listening, most likely the fact that most people I loved and had similar taste as wouldn't stop harping about him. Either way, thank god they are all relentless. I'd say the main memory associated with TMoE would be my drive from Minneapolis back to Alaska with my ridiculous friends Glenna and Nick. How we survived 10 days together in a car with a cat still astounds me. I Won't be Found, Where do Bluebirds Fly, The Gardener

22.Vampire Weekend-self titled
Fun story: When I was a senior ( I think?) in college I went on a road trip with a friend. It was last minute and sporadic. When I got back from said trip, another friend of mine was like 'HEY! Where were you this weekend? I tried calling! We went with so and so up to (virginia?) and saw this awesome band play in so and so's garage! Then we partied with them in the woods all night!' That band? Vampire Weekend. I had never heard of them, the extended friend simply knew them from youtube and on a whim asked if they wanted to play a house show. Life's cray, right? I would later get to see them in 2008 at Bonnaroo and they were just AWESOME live. Such great sound and energy. And really this album, just a fun great collection of music. Walcott, One (Blake's Got a New Face), A-Punk. Though the fact that 'The Kids Don't Stand a Chance' always brings images of The Police puts it at a strong fourth place.

21. Ben Harper- Live From Mars
Okay YES. This album is definitely cheating by being on the list, but DAMMIT. It's my list. I DO WHAT I WANT.  Ben Harper is sex. Pure sex. I have seen him twice ( maybe three times?) and each time a change of pants is in order. He is ridiculous. This live album is raw and wonderful and everything I love about Ben Harper. I am gonna cheat AGAIN and since this is a two disc album, pick 3 songs from each disc, HA! Take that Rules I created to govern myself in the first place! Disc One: Woman in You, Mama's Got a Girlfriend Now, Glory & Consequence Disc Two: The Drugs Don't Work (verve cover), Number Three, Like a King/I'll Rise (melody)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Oh yes, 10 more albums!

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Here we are y'all, the second installment of my top 50 favorite albums. While putting these posts together, I have to say that each ten albums I tackled took longer and longer, as I wanted to just sit and listen to the entire album, and I had more than a handful of memories to associate with each record. I tried not to get too verbose, but sometimes I just can't help myself...


40. No Doubt-Return of Saturn
I have found that I am a fan of the sophomore albums. I have at least 5 definitive sophomore albums on this list, and I'm sure there is some murky areas where more of these might count as a second go round. (and before some of you grumble, I know that TECHNICALLY No Doubt had records before Tragic Kingdom, so this wouldnt be a sophomore album, but by music industry standards, this is totally their sophomore album). Now, a lot of you might think I am crazy for liking 'Return of Saturn' more than 'Tragic Kingdom' but, alas I stand by my assessment. 'Return of Saturn' was and still is, a fun record. It's a little darker than 'Tragic Kingdom', and I truly enjoy the creepy undertones wrapped in a pop candy shell. What that says about me...well, it's all true. New, Bathwater, Staring Problem

39. Talking Heads- Speaking in Tongues
I had a friend in college who would watch the Talking Heads Live concert DVD 'Stop Making Sense' what seemed like every weekend. It was more realistically once a month, but still. I can't remember the first time I saw 'Stop Making Sense' but I do remember walking in, sitting down, and reliving and sharing the experience over and over with him. Since the concert DVD would break my 'no compilation' rule (sorta) I decided to go with Speaking in Tongues. Really, I could have went with 'Little Creatures' just as easily, but that just means you should listen to the entire catalog and prepare to dance around your kitchen. Burning Down the House, Girlfriend is Better, This Must be the Place
ALSO: Get into the David Byrne & St. Vincent collaboration. It's fucking awesome.

38. Elton John-Honky Chateau
I grew up in a household where Elton John was played a good deal. My dad would sing along to every song, and on car trips he would hit the dashboard to the beat and once in a while stop and tell me to 'listen to the lyrics. Just listen to the entire song'. As I grew older, this particular album became the one I clung to, learning every track myself, and eventually purchasing the CD for my own collection. Mellow, Susie (dramas), Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters 

37. Glen Hansard- Rhythm and Repose
If I was doing a list of the best concerts I have ever had the privilege of attending, Glen Hasard would be #1. The First time I ever saw him live was in 2008 at Bonnaroo, when he was still playing and touring with Mark√©ta Irglov√° as 'The Swell Season', based off the success of the movie 'Once'. (Side note, the Once Soundtrack is kind of a grey area in that it IS a soundtrack, but it could also technically be considered The Swell Seasons First album...I left it off because of that greyness). Any way, The second time I saw Glen was this past June (2013) once again at Bonnaroo. Both shows, separated by 6 years time, were awe-inspiring. Mr. Hansard is an amazing musician, and though I watched both shows by myself, I have never felt more surrounded by love in a crowd. You Will Become, Maybe Not Tonight, Bird of Sorrow.

36. Radiohead --OK Computer
I don't think I mentioned in my introduction, but I only let myself pick ONE album from a group or artist. As it is with most any artist you enjoy, you usually enjoy more than one singular album. There were multiple times when I had it narrowed down to two album by an artist/group and had to sit and listen to them both as a whole, and decide which one. Radiohead is no exception. It was down to OK computer (the winner!) and Hail to the Thief. The overall dilemma can boil down to the fact that my favorite Radiohead song, 'There, There', (and a a few other top 5's) are all on Hail to the Thief, but in a straight listen, OK Computer is just a more cohesive, better listen. The hard decisions I encounter on a daily basis guys. (Side note, when it comes to memories associated with a Radiohead album, a third album 'In Rainbows' definitely wins. It quickly brings me back to the year I lived on Columbia, SC and closing up a small coffee shop with this super hipster youngin' and how it was the one album that we could agree on and blast to get through all our closing activities. OH NOSTALGIA). Paranoid AndroidNo SurprisesThe Tourist

35. George Harrison-All Things Must Pass
George Harrison is my favorite Beatle. I'd say he was my favorite Beatle before I knew who The Beatles were, or that I could have a favorite. When I was young I used to get REALLY excited every time the video for 'I've got my mind set on you' came on MTV, and would dance and spin on the coffee table. As I got older, 'discovered' The Beatles, and then eventually discovered this solo Album of George's, I just fell more and more in love. 'My Sweet Lord' never fails to make me happy (and I have blasted it from many an office to the dismay of coworkers). 'What is Life' is the song I want played at my funeral (yes, I've thought of this). I have read biographies, and biographies of lovers. I have watched the concert for Bangladesh and the Concert for George numerous times. I remember being in my parents bedroom in South Carolina and watching the television as reports of his passing were on every channel. I could go on...This was definitely the hardest one yet to simply pick three songs as my favorite! I included the video below, because I love Ben Sollee, and who doesn't love when some of your favorite artists cover some of your other favorite artists? I Dig Love, My Sweet Lord, What is Life.

34. Joni Mitchell-Blue
I grew up hearing Joni Mitchell around the house from time to time. Admittedly, I didn't understand the appeal for a bit. As I mentioned before, I am not really big on female voices, and at first listen, Joni was some whispy voiced hippie chick. What changed my mind? Mostly age, honestly. I still have to be in the right mood for Joni, but when I am, nothing else works. As far as memory association goes, the year before I moved to Alaska, I met some of the most important people in my life while living in Columbia, SC. One afternoon I helped paint the house two of my friends were renting out, and we listened to the entirety of 'Blue'. To be laughing, painting, and singing along with these two guys just made for a great afternoon. Case of You, California, River

33. Elliot Smith- Figure 8
I was one of those that had their first interaction with Elliot Smith via Good Will Hunting and its soundtrack. (Spoiler: Good Will Hunting is my favorite movie of all time, so I guess I can scratch that top 50 favorite movie list now...). 'Say Yes' and 'Miss Misery' still hit a spot within me when I hear them, but as far as a whole album goes, Figure 8 is the winner. Really though, do yourself a favor, and go pick up any of Smith's Albums. Somebody that I Used to Know, In the Lost and Found (honky bach), Pretty Mary K

32.Kind of Like Spitting- Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs
KOLS was introduced to me while I was in college, and quickly became a pretty consistent soundtrack to my life at the time. The album that means the most to me though, is one in which Songs of famous singer/songwriter Phil Ochs are covered. I very vividly remember being on a road trip (per usual) and my friend putting on one of the tracks from this album because he knew I'd love it ( "It's like that Bob Dylan Shit you like, but you know, tolerable"). The album should be listened to in its entirety, and since youtube cannot provide that for me, I will embed a Spotify playlist for you instead. You're welcome.

31. Damien Rice- O
I think if you looked back over the past 10 years, I can easily say that I have fallen asleep to songs from this album, in some form, 65% of the time. I have cried while in a car listening to this album. I have associated it with the emotion in the movie 'Closer' (as Rice's music feature prominently in the excellent 2004 movie). I have sung it in happiness, and switched what I have claimed as my favorite song on the album more times than I can count. Older Chests, Amie, Cheers Darlin' 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Adventures!: Tangle Lakes/Upper Delta

Alaska Adventures

...Or what I did 4th of July in 2009.

Living in Alaska afforded many a great adventure, and I haven't even begun to get the all laid out here for you. Over my first two years in AK especially (2009-2010) I look back and see that I did a ridiculous amount of magical things. No modesty here, they are wicked cool, and I kind of am awesome for having done them. Point blank. I DO wish I had continued to do as many amazing things in my final two years there, but life can happen sometimes, and so it goes.

Over the 4th of July weekend in 2009 a group of 7 of us embarked on a 29 miles float through the Lower Tangle Lakes/ Upper Delta river. 

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I don't remember how many days we took...2? 3? It really doesn't matter, now does it? Highlights of the trip though: The majestic beauty! I mean just look at these pictures! Having to portage, which was a pain in the ass, but also let us tramp through secret rock staircases, and come out of hidden coves like we were in Neverland. Two of my friends SAVING THE LIVES (eh...helping out some stupid stuck people) in the river, riding their one person kayak with two people all ridiculous like. Sailor Jerry and Cherry coke, always sailor and cherry. Learning I will NEVER obtain the skills that a fellow adventurer has as I watched her effortlessly pee over the side of a two person canoe without ruining anything. ANYTHING. 

Before this trip I had never gone on a canoe trip. Yes, I had been in a canoe, and in a kayak ( I mean, I was a camp counselor, PSSSHHH). One of the things that always amazed me most about the wonderful group of friends I somehow smuggled myself into (yes, smuggle. Like I was a stow away. They just didn't notice I was sticking around, until I laughed. Laughing always blew my cover...) Anyway, what I loved about them was the fact that they never really questioned how much skill I had with anything. I said I could do it, or wanted to go, and they were like always just okay with it. Summit a mountain? SURE. Float down a river for 3 days, portage, etc? Why not? IT WAS WONDERFUL.

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