Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten: Albums

Here are what I would consider my top ten albums of the year. Keep in mind, not all of these were released this year, some are older, but this was the first year in which I heard them and of all the albums I listened to this year, many of which I enjoyed immensely, these are my favorite ten..enough with the run-on sentence and questionable grammar, on with the music:

In no intentional order:

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Panic at the Disco - To Weird to Live, To Rare to Die

Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt

Bastille - Bad Blood

Ray Lamontagne - Trouble

Of Montreal - Lousy with Sylvianbriar

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses

Sue Ellen - Sunday Hangover

Ages and Ages - Divisionary

Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10: Posts

Just because I want to go back and take a glimpse at the past year, I am going to pick one post from each month as my "favorite" and link it here (since I barely posted in November and December, I will leave those months out):

January: Mingles
This post just brings me back to some fun times with old friends.

February: Not My Valentine
I almost forgot about this story from last Valentine's day...lmfao!

March: Book Review: Don't Tell Anyone
This book was written by someone my sister-in-law is friends with and kind of fell into my lap and turned out to be really great.

April: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Mailbox
I chose this because I was so proud of accomplishing the task.

May: Friday
There's a friggin' picture of L&B Spumoni Garden Pizza in this post, need I say more?

June: Happy Tenth Blog-iversary
There were a few to choose from here but I have to go with this one; reading it again and thinking back to the early days of blogging and the great community of folks, several of which I have remained friends with, just makes me happy!

July: Tuning in To the Universe
Another month where there were several to choose from but this story still has impact - I remember it as if it happened today.

August: Got Milk?
Love the nostalgia.

September: Funny Flood
It's just so damn funny!

October: Recipe: Lasagna Stoup
It's freaking delicious - go make some now, you'll see!

Monday, December 29, 2014

33 Questions about 2014

This Meme seems to be an annual tradition, I always forgot how hard it is!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Visited Texas; Austin to be precise.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not a resolution type of guy – did carry on with the pay it forward thing as I did last year, to a little lesser degree though. I also read a lot more than last year though that dropped of significantly in the second half of the year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No (I don’t think so).

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Al Antino, Phil Mineo and my cousin Danny.

5. What countries did you visit?
Remained in the U.S.A. all year.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
This continues to be a very difficult question for me. It seems every year I do these questions I stop here and ponder and wonder how long I should ponder before just moving on. So for now, I will move on and if something comes to me, I will add it later.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Can’t say there was any one day that comes to mind. Back in March, I broke my consecutive days of exercise streak at 1250 because I realized that I was focusing more on the streak than the purpose of the exercise and as a result, was in a lot of pain. Nine months later, I am still trying to find the right balance of getting back into regular exercise.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being recognized for my efforts in eLearning with a “Course of Distinction” award – this really means a lot to me.

9. What was your biggest failure?
(I just got a big kick in the ass from hindsight as I try to figure out how to answer this.) Seriously, I think I spent ample time thinking about this – not sure if it would be appropriate to post here. I will make a general statement though, I definitely didn't think through every single decision I made as carefully as I should have.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No – thank God!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Discovered Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal cat litter – great stuff!
Also happy with my cell phone upgrade, an HTC One M8.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My niece Lauren. Lauren graduated from college – I am so proud of her hard work, not just in school but she’s been so dedicated to charity work, especially cancer charities for kids. I am so proud of the woman she has become.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Not mentioning names here.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Kitchen remodel – done. Mortgage got a hefty chunk as well. A little more in plumbing that I’d have liked as well.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The local farmer’s market. I spent a lot of time supporting the local market this year and it really was wonderful, especially “The Carve”, a fantastic food vendor run by two great folks.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers   This song just rang through my head so much and I love it as much today as I did when I first heard it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same, but definitely less fit.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Complaining to contractors who made my life miserable for a third of the year.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With friends, and some time with my daughter.

21. How many one-night stands?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Nothing that was over the top great but “Brooklyn 99” was a stand-out for the comedy/sitcom genre.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Mortal Fear by Greg Iles                               Absolutely amazing!!!

25. What did you want and get?
Despite a lot of agony, grief and complication, my kitchen remodel is complete – I wanted that for some time and I was able to realize it this year.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't see many movies at all and even less of this year’s releases. That said, I loved “20 feet from Stardom”, a documentary about background singers.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was visiting Austin, Texas for my birthday. This was a big one, the big 5-0!

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less political hoo-ha. It’s just too fucking much!

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
As always, simple.

30. What kept you sane?
My daughter and just trying to maintain perspective.

31. What political issue stirred you the most?
All of them.

32. Who did you miss?
I missed my friend Tori more than anyone. I am so happy and proud of her for finishing her studies and graduating from nursing school. Help me wish her luck as she prepares to take the boards and get licensed! Tori is going to make a fantastic nurse.

33. Who was the best new person you met?
I don’t recall if it was during this year or last that Meghan and Jimmy joined The Road Dawgs, but they have changed that band for the better; the current lineup is just so incredibly fantastic and Meghan and Jimmy are really cool people!
That’s about the size of it.

And now for a current picture of me:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

In My Ears XI

Been exactly two months to the day since my last In My Ears post; here's what's been in them since that time:

Chris LeDoux - Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy
A former rodeo cowboy, had been a recording artists since the 1970's but never achieved major success - until Garth Brooks mentioned him in a song and then championed for him. LeDoux passed away in 2005 but the music lives on.

Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream
Mark Knopfler - Shangri-La
Mark Knopfler - Sailing to Philadelphia
Yes, just continuing to revisit the Knopfler catalog - it gets better with age.

Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
Fountains of Wayne - Utopia Parkway
Another artist whose catalog I am revisiting...such a fun band.

Bob Mould - Bob Mould
Bob Mould - Workbook
Ever since his WTF interview, I've been going back to his solo work. One of these days I'm going to revisit the Husker Du catalog.

Montgomery/Gentry - Back When I Knew It All
Been a while since I heard this one.

Sue Ellen - Sunday Hangover
I really interesting collection of covers. I stumbled across this on Spotify and love it.

Ramones - Subterranean Jungle
Just felt moved to hear some Ramones and randomly selected this one.

Against Me! - The Original Cowboy
Still learning about this band - late to the party but glad I got there.

Ace Frehley - Space Invader
Not brilliant by any means but it's Ace, so I had to.

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music
I keep referring to Cantrell as "authentic", here, she covers Kitty Wells, he definition of authentic as far as female country singers go; and she does so brilliantly.

Ages and Ages - Divisionary
Another find from NPR - watch the video, you'll wanna hear it too:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sorry for the Absence

Just wanted to check in reader, and say hi. Sorry I've been gone so long - but the road I was traveling through life left me without time or words for this space.

I'll probably have a few music based posts, some holiday reflections and perhaps a year in review type of thing and expect to be back in full force as 2015 draws upon us.

Thank you to all of you who have ever read my words and kept this space alive for over a decade.

Speak soon.