Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Song #1:

OK. So the plan is that I'm going to update this EVERY SINGLE DAY until Christmas with a new song that is appropriately Christmas-y (or, if Christmas brings about negative connotations for you... songs that are decent enough to make up for the Christmas-ness (today's doesn't though... it's kind of a poor way to start off, but who cares)).

I'm actually going to stick with this too. I have a schedule mapped out and everything.

SONG #1:



This inclusion is less about the quality of the song and more about the fact that I want it to signify that I'm not including either John Lennon's "Happy XMas (War Is Over)" nor McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." I don't hate Lennon's song (Phil Spector--who, you will find out, created the greatest Christmas album of all time--produced it) but Yoko Ono's part annoys me. "Wonderful Christmastime" however... that sucks.

Anyway, because they were the biggest band in the world, the Beatles recorded these small little Christmas records every year and released them for free to their fan club members, as a way to apologize for not replying to their fan mail because... they were the biggest band in the world. Usually the records consisted of them goofing off in the studio, playing random snippets of Christmas songs, wishing happy holidays to the fans... the like.

It's kind of weird, because a lot of the Christmas albums (at least the 60's ones) I've been listening to have included tracks where the artists involved wish the listeners a happy holidays while a bare arrangement of a holiday standard plays in the background. I don't know why this is the case, but apparently this was how it was in the 60's. So I am treating you to a holiday tradition of year's past right here, and you should be thankful.

Except this track really doesn't fit the description (so... nevermind.) In the year of 1967, the Beatles decided to actually write a track for the Christmas record, called "Christmastime Is Here Again", but with what appears to be a weird parody of a radio program interrupting and taking up most of the runtime. And... I really don't know what the hell's going on during it.

But the actual song is... well, it sounds pretty tossed off. But with charm! And it's the Beatles, so obviously it somehow becomes great.

And, as they say so eloquently... O-U-T spells out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I have my old computer back.

Which is good.

In its place, my DVD player died.

I guess I'll take that, but... sometimes I'd prefer a period in which everything in my life worked perfectly and without error.

...

I'll write more tomorrow. From here on out though... it's pretty much all Christmas-related. Deal with it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My laptop may have just died. Forever.

Obviously I am not writing this on my laptop. Somewhat fortunately, it decided to have massive hardware problems (or virus problems... or both at the same time) while I was at home, so my dad could take a look at it and I would not lack things to do, given that my brothers just bought/rented a crapload of games that came out recently.

But uhh... I came to the realization today that my laptop is pretty much now another limb for me, and I'm having trouble going through daily life without being able to utilize it.

I'm writing this on the family computer, and it really isn't the same. I don't have the usual sites all at my disposal (I mean, I do... I just have to type them in instead of clicking a button... and then I have to go through the painstaking process of typing in my passwords and whatnot), and for some reason the sound isn't working... so I can't even go onto Youtube and listen to anything. Not to mention that my music library is no longer at my disposal.

You know, not like this is all very important in the grand scheme of things. But... I mean, it's a pain. And it feels like just about everything has been breaking down on me this year. SO it sucks for me.

And I want a little sympathy, dammit.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Random stuff:

-Sitting in Panera, on the internet... because couldn't find parking nearby Hard Times and I was getting impatient and this was the first thing I could think of so I drove there.

It was all kind of frustrating, actually... cause when I finally got my food, it wasn't what I ordered. People usually would complain about this sort of thing. Today I just accepted it as my fate. Sometimes you have days where you're just meant to get your order screwed up.

-Another somewhat frustrating thing... when you can't be really sure if your boss is judging you or not while said boss is telling you to correct mistakes you were never told were mistakes. I mean, it's probably not anything, but it's been enough to throw me off my game today.

-SPORTS. So I was watching the tail end of the Broncos/Jets game, and I found myself rooting for the Broncos--despite the fact that the Broncos have Tim Tebow, who seems to be the most hated athlete in the NFL at times, for the most part because he's a mediocre player who nonetheless receives a massive amount of attention. At least on the internet I've seen a ton of complaints... I don't know what his perception is out in the real world, but I can't imagine it's much better.

But it's at the point where I'm basically rooting for the guy essentially just because everyone else hates him. I mean, this is probably due to my own contrary nature--I wasn't liking the guy when ESPN was inundating me with stories about him, and the hatred towards him seemed much less pronounced. Other than that, though... I think it's good that he's doing well, just because he's a different type of QB, one that's actually going to try to run you over if you're in his way and one that seems more comfortable running the option rather than any "pro-style" formation. And there tends to be a prevailing thought in sports that if you don't necessarily fit into a "mold," then you can't be a success. Which is true in a lot of cases, but you also need players who seem to succeed despite all conventional wisdom--and there's no better example than Tebow right now.

I mean, it's not going to work long term unless Tebow improves as he plays--defenses are going to adapt to his style, and eventually he'll have to prove he can win on something other than grit (which seems to be how he's won 4 of the last 5). But in the mean time, it should be somewhat newsworthy that a guy that seems ill-prepared for the NFL--and is going 9-20 and 2-8 in piss-poor passing efforts--still seems to be willing his team to victory. And maybe he's getting the attention because he's so overtly born-again Christian, or if it's because he was wildly popular as a college athlete, but he deserves at least some of it based on his unique performance so far.

-I was going to write more, but then I realized this damn place closes in 15 minutes.

Grumble.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So here I am, sitting in the library, listening to Leonard Bernstein listen to Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue. I don't normally listen to classical or jazz or whatever the hell you'd like to call it, BUT... I'm reading a biography on Brian Wilson, plus I just watched a documentary on the man during the period when he rerecorded Smile... and Rhapsody In Blue gets namedropped. A lot. And because I'm an idiot, I need mad pop geniuses to tell me what they like in genres I'm not completely familiar in.

The lady next to me is watching something on Hulu. She just yelled out "don't!" at one of the characters on the show she's watching. (Well... "yell" meaning she said it somewhat audibly in library speak.) I'm now trying to figure out what she's watching now. I assume it's Grey's Anatomy, since that seems like the type of soapy drama that would get a lady to yell out in the middle of the library. But I really have no idea... glass just shattered on the show, though. Maybe that's a clue...

I'm trying to figure out a project to work on... something that could at least give my writings a little bit of focus, and maybe the little bit of inspiration. This is what fueled me starting up my other blog... which I haven't updated in weeks... but I'm not feeling that right now. I haven't abandoned it completely... I'll probably go back to it off and on from here on out... but right now I'm yearning for something else. Which is entirely my problem... I can't stick to something, and get bored easily.

I've thought about buying a bunch of the vinyls I've stumbled upon at the thrift stores and the like, but the problem with that is that I'd just be writing about a lot of music I'm already writing a lot about... and if I wrote about the weirder stuff, it'd probably be nigh impossible to find any samples of the music online, so no one would really know what I'm babbling about. Also my record player is pretty crappy, and there's shame involved in that (not that there should be... I've never been terribly picky about quality of sound, and it's pretty reasonable not to have a better system with my limited budget and somewhat varied interests.) But it's on the radar!

Oh... I know what I'm going to do.

Actually, it's a few things. One, I'm going to be compiling of favorite songs lists, with each list being devoted to a single letter of the alphabet. So... ostensibly my first one would be "favorite songs starting with the letter A". Why would I do this? Because it seems fun. And I don't think it's been done a lot (because it's a stupid idea), and perhaps I will find a common theme or motif for each letter (I won't, but still...)

Two, I'm going to write a lot about Christmas songs. Because it's about 40 days away and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. (I mean, you can ignore this for the next 40 days, but... please don't.) This is definitely going to happen. It's all this little internet page will be (the occasional despair over the Vikings will be mixed in though.)

That's about it.

I didn't really have anything else to write today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

So it's on the record...

Vikings 27, Packers 24.

This is going to look really stupid when the Packers crush them by 30, but right now I'm imagining the Vikings somehow pulling off the upset.

The reason I think the Vikings could win is that a) it's a rivalry game, and there are no better trap games than rivalries, b) Ponder--while not great so far--doesn't seem like this would be a type of situation that would faze him, and played pretty well against them a couple weeks ago, and c) the Vikings--if they hold onto halftime leads, could be a 6-2 team. They're not, and I'm not expecting them to all of a sudden pull off 8 straight wins to make it to the playoffs... but they're a decent team with a crappy record. And they can hang with the Packers if they get a couple small breaks along the way.

Of course, the real reason I'm thinking the Vikings win is that the idea that the Vikings derail a Packers perfect season in route to a 2nd consecutive Super Bowl victory is the only way I feel I can stomach the rest of the season. So I'm trying to will it in a way. Which probably doesn't work.... but still.

Also, congratulations to the NBA on essentially cancelling their entire season today. Great work on each side involved. Couldn't have happened without their tireless and determined effort in making sure a season does not take place.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I had a long post on here talking about the Penn State scandal, and how it seemed as if everyone was being extremely quick to judge Joe Paterno in his complacency during the matter without knowing all the details.

But I'm reading more and more about the case, and now I'm not so sure what the hell to believe.

But I haven't written anything on here in a while, so I'm feeling the need to at least put something here...

So... uhh... here's a completely unrelated music video.



It's futuristic and retro at the same time, it features ridiculous people wearing ridiculous outfits, it features the weird, sleazy Bryan Ferry with his trademark crooning vocals, and it features a young Brian Eno off in the corner contributing weird noises. So... yeah. It was probably really cool at the time. (I mean, I think it's still a pretty good song, but... it takes a while to get over how silly it all seems.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thought process:

Oh hey... all the outtakes of the 5 disc box set of the Smile Sessions are on Spotify.

Oh hey... there's an entire hour of nothing but outtakes from the Good Vibrations recording. I think I'm going to listen to that.

This is actually pretty enjoyable... you know, for essentially listening to what was a 4 minute song for an hour.

Oh hey... they also have almost an entire disc of Heroes & Villains outtakes. Let's give a listen to that... also enjoyable, although there's less repetition and segueing into other songs a lot.

Hmm... maybe I should stop listening to this for a while so I don't completely burn out on it after a week or two.

...

*turns on Brian Wilson's version of Smile*

That'll work.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What team will Alex root for once the Vikings leave?

The stadium session plan was derailed, which I think means that all hopes for something getting done are dead.

(For the record, I don't want to sound like I am pro-funding the stadium through taxpayer money for a project that'll just make billionaires richer. I don't know what the hell the best way to keep the Vikings in Minnesota is... but taking all the politics out of it, it would suck to lose the Vikings. And that's all I know.)

So essentially, the Vikings are probably going to be moving down to join the Lakers in sunny LA. And then they'll get to see Christian Ponder develop into an efficiently mediocre QB, and they'll get to see Adrian Peterson try to carry a subpar team all on his own. And it'll be depressing. And I'll start to really regret the 98 NFC Championship game.

And this is a topic I've discussed before, but since it's a fresh topic again... I'm going to do a more thorough examination of which team I'm going to be rooting for when the Vikings move down to LA. So in essence... I'll be trying to choose the team I'll be cheering for next year.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
PROS:
-I used to cheer for them like crazy back in the day... and by back in the day, I mean when Jerome Bettis was still playing and Bill Cowher was still coaching. Now it's just sort of a "hey, I'll casually root for them and what not."
CONS:
-Now their team is filled with... not so nice people.
-Also, they've won 6 Super Bowls... and I think the way to fill the Viking shaped hole in my heart is to replace it with a team that is equally miserable.

CLEVELAND BROWNS
PROS:
-They've always sucked.
-They have a history of losing that mirrors the Vikings.
-They wear orange.
-I have a Browns shirt already (and it's awesome.)
CONS:
-I could probably only name maybe two Browns players were it not for Fantasy Football.
-They are rivals with the Steelers... and I'd feel weird about liking both teams.

BUFFALO BILLS
PROS:
-Lost 4 Super Bowls, like the Vikings.
-Now have snazzy uniforms... which I suppose is important. They're neat and retro and classy.
-Their best player in team history is a double murderer/fantastic comedic foil to Leslie Neilson.
CONS:
-They might move at some point too. And I'd hate it if they also moved to LA.
-It's always been a debate whether or not the Bills or the Vikings are the most tortured NFL franchise (maybe a bit of the Browns/Lions in there too.... but the Bills and Vikes are the main ones because they have 8 Super Bowl losses between them), and if I start cheering for them... would I be siding with the Buffalo Bills over the (formerly) Minnesota Vikings as the most tortured team? These are things I need to consider.

DENVER BRONCOS:
PROS:
-TIM TEBOW!!!!!!!
CONS:
-*shoots self in face*

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
PROS:
-They've won a Super Bowl, but it seems overall that the franchise has been mired in mediocrity... and every playoff appearance is extremely short lived no matter how well they do in the regular season.
-They are the closest team aside from the in my division (I believe.)
CONS:
-Their current head coach seems like kind of a dick.
-I have no strong feelings towards them one way or another... I mean, even with the Bills... usually I'll cheer for them because they usually suck and I like it when bad franchises do well. But the Chiefs seem like they're just kind of there.

ARIZONA CARDINALS
PROS:
-No Super Bowls... terrible history of losing... you know, the works.
CONS:
-They play in Arizona... and I usually have a hard time cheering for any warm weather teams.
-They knocked us out of the 2003 playoffs on the last play of the season, the buggers...

LA VIKINGS
PROS:
-Already got a connection to the team, after watching them for my entire life.
-...They might move back, if somehow Zygi Wilf becomes Al Davis 2.0 and just gets sick of LA after a while.
CONS:
-Oh, you know... nothing major pops out in mind.

CHICAGO BEARS
PROS:
-They are rivals with the Packers, which means that I can continue my hatred for them.
-They have a rich history of losing in recent years... aside from the one Super Bowl year. They also have a rotating cast of starting QBs for the past 20 years. So essentially, they're the Minnesota Vikings with different colors.
CONS:
-They're kind of the Vikings' rivals... and I'm supposed to hate them and everything. Not that it'll matter when the Vikings are gone... but it still feels wrong.

DETROIT LIONS:
PROS:
-Rivals with the Packers... albeit more in a "little brother wants to prove self to big brother" sort of way.
-History of suffering and pain... which, again... is a positive because I'm going to want to replicate my Vikings experience.
CONS:
-They're going to be good... maybe not Super Bowl good, since the Packers have that locked up for the next 3 years, but still. If there's ever a time to jump on the Lions bandwagon, this would be it... unless you're trying to be miserable, like I am.
-Rivals with Vikings and all that.

GREEN BAY PACKERS:
PROS:
-I'll have already lost my team... perhaps I should just decide to hate myself and cheer for the most perfect f***ing franchise in existence?
CONS:
-

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Smile Sessions came out. Here's a link where you can stream it. Which you should, because... you know, it's part of musical lore and everything.

My own opinion on it is a little complicated. I mean, it's still pretty great, and would have been a classic had it ever been officially completed way back when... but I'm used to the bootleg copy that I have. Which might just mean it'll take some time before I stop expecting sections that are omitted from the official copy to come around... and then I'll come to prefer the official version.

But then again... what happens if I prefer the bootleg version? Well... nothing will happen. But I'll feel like I've somewhat cheated myself a little.

There are a couple noticeable differences that'll take me a long while to get used to. There used to be these wonderful and original orchestral pieces sliced in between songs/sections, which has for the most part been replaced with callbacks to previous melodies/parts in songs. Which I suppose gives a more unifying feel... but I miss those sections. Another thing: the bootleg version of Do You Like Worms (or Roll Plymouth Rock) featured the Bicycle Rider section twice... whereas the just released copy plays it only once. This is also going to be hard to get used to, because... it was one of my favorite sections on the album (even if it was just a repeat of the Heroes & Villains chorus).

Don't get me wrong... there are good changes too. Vegetables is about 40% longer... which means that it's theoretically 40% catchier. And this version of Good Vibrations reverts the lyrics back to the rewritten Mike Love version, instead of the original Van Dyke Parks version. Although this might also be a case of being used to what I heard first... but then again, I'm going to say that "...and the way the sunlight plays upon her hair" sounds much better than "...she's already working on my brain." (Again, I don't care about lyrics... except when they're really bad, or they don't flow particularly well. This is a case of the latter.)

ALSO.

I listened to the Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration album that came out today. I am not a fan of Metallica... and I am not a fan of Lou Reed (although you wouldn't tell by my album collection, since I have about 8 of his on vinyl... but I got all of them with a bunch of Bowie albums I wanted, so...) But the album has been routinely getting blasted as a complete fiasco, so I figured I'd listen to it because I'm contrary and usually like these sorts of things.

And I do... kind of.

It's really long, right off the bat. Which doesn't really alleviate the fact that the songs seem like they were put together about a couple seconds before hitting 'record.' And I'm not really sure why it was deemed a good idea to marry Metallica's hard riffs with Lou Reed's almost spoken word delivery (other than the fact that they're Metallica and Lou Reed, so of course it was a good idea.)

But it's saved by the lyrics, which are so absolutely horrendous that they come around to being good again.

It's hard to explain... I don't really know what the hell the lyrics are getting at other than that they sound kind of disturbing coming from a guy near (or at) his 70's. I guess maybe describing them as horrendous might be a bit unfair (except Frustration... which *is* absolutely terrible and yet I can't really not turn it off), but the overall experience of bizarre/disturbing/incomprehensible lyrics coming from a 70 year old man with a strained spoken word delivery--well, it's just weird. And I couldn't turn it off.

Which I guess is saying something, since again... it's really, really long. And most of the songs approach 10 minutes without really having any right to stick around that long.

So in essence... I'll probably defend it if it ever comes up in conversation. But I'll never want to hear it again. Unless if I want to listen to something dreadful. Which actually happens... every so often.