31 March 2009

Teenagers from Mars and we don't care

First let me say that Heather Rose totally had the best mixtape idea- Roots and Burial. I'll be making a sweet mix for her real soon-like. As for the other ideas- Sarah's "Holy Shit, Get the Fuck Out of Here" (minus emo music) mix I think I'll put together a quick list of awesome escape/getaway music here soon, too. And dear LadyGlutter wants some good road music. To that I say please get yourself a copy of the soundtrack from Motorcycle Diaries. Absolutely awesome for roadtrips. Lots of classical guitar. Good thinking music. Thanks for all the ideas, y'all! I'll probably do this again sometime. I like it! I only wish I had the time to make 'em all.

I just finished reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's the first book I bought and read on my Kindle, by the way, and that's totally awesome. As a matter of fact when I finished reading it I was in the midst of a meeting that I knew was going to last a few hours more so I went ahead and bought the second book in the series and started reading it. How cool is that? Anyhow, back to the book- it was really good. It is a science fiction novel about the beginning of human colonization of Mars. It focuses specifically on 'the first 100', the group of scientists and engineers that were sent to set the foundations of the colony. I don't know much about Robinson but I discerned this much - the guy knows his stuff about the science. He discusses at length everything from the health effects of zero-g environments, the geography of Mars (a lot of this), to the physics of the voyage from Earth. If you're not science-minded it may even be a little heavy.

Don't let that deter you from reading it, though. I found that I could kind of skim some of the more overscienced parts without losing any of the heart of the story. And boy is the story compelling. It deals primarily with the relationships between the scientists and the work they do. There is a lot of politicking going on, as can be expected. The story is divided into about ten different parts. Each part deals with a new phase in the development of the colonies on Mars. The whole book is written in the third-person but each segment focuses on a different person in the 'first 100'. This, in effect, eliminates the standard 'protagonist/antagonist' storytelling mode which makes for an interesting reading experience. No matter whether or not you like a character in the story you are probably going to be made to see things from their perspective before it's all said and done.

It may also challenge what a lot of people consider to be "science fiction". There are no three-boobed aliens a la Total Recall (rats!). No laser-pistols. No warp drives. It's really a story about struggling to live amongst a small colony in a truly harsh, alien environment. It could draw a lot of comparisons to the popular frontier literature of the 1800s. I would definitely suggest this book to people who get a little tingly when thinking about space exploration. It accomplishes the amazing task of delivering a great human drama while simultaneously making me all wistful for another life. On Mars.

25 March 2009

You shouldn't have!

This is my 100th blog post! Yaaaaay! Wait... where's the confetti and balloons? And isn't there supposed to be cake or something? No presents?! What kind of celebration is this? Well you know what? I didn't want any cake or presents anyway. That's right. Yeah. Who needs 'em? Not me, that's for sure. Cake is bad for you. And I've got plenty of stuff so I don't need no more stupid presents. I could hardly fit anymore stuff in my apartment because it's so full of cool stuff.

This blog hasn't been nothing but trouble any how. I mean, sure I've gotten some cool new friends. Yeah, maybe I have used it to sort out a few issues. I've even challenged myself to write a dumb music review or two for it... Well, maybe on second thought it ain't been so bad. I guess it's actually pretty cool! Okay well I guess I'll be going now. I'll come back tomorrow if I've got the time.

Oh, you know what? I've got an idea. In honor of my 100th blog post I'll post a kick ass play list for the person who comes up with the best mix-tape theme. If you're awesome enough (and I have time) I might even make the damn thing and mail it to you. How does that sound? I'll decide at the end of the week. And if no one posts any ideas I'll just make one up.

There's cake at 1000, right?

20 March 2009

You stick around, I'll make it worth your while

It's a beautiful day outside. I wish I wasn't at work. Then again I'd probably wish I wasn't at work even if it were pissing rain and freezing outside. But it's not; it's sunshiny and 65 degrees. I can't wait to leave work and go for a walk around the lake.

I still haven't called Old Flame back. I will. I just keep putting it off. I'll probably call her today while I'm on my walk. I'm not looking forward to it but she deserves the call. I'm pretty sure that once I'm off the phone I'll be wanting a stiff drink, so I'm hoping that tonight is a good one.

Taking a day and a half off from work in the middle of the week really killed my productivity. I feel like I haven't been able to get anything done. I may have killed one too many brain cells on Tuesday night. Poor guys, I should really get 'em something for treaing them so bad recently. Maybe a new book?

Now for my top five good-weather/sunshine albums. These are the ones that are perfect for a day at the park with your dogs, your lovers, and your dog lovers. So break out the frisbees, hacky sacks, and Nerf footballs then crank the stereo up, folks.

1) Bling Melon - Blind Melon -- This 1992 classic has to be my all-time favorite park album. The music is so sunny! If you can get over the tragic death of lead singer Shannon Hoon and the mostly depressing lyrics, that is. Just listening to "No Rain" makes me think of sunny days with friends.

2) Bob Marley - Legend -- What better music for sunshine than the best-selling reggae album of all time? Plus, it features arguably my favorite song ever, "Redemption Song".

3) Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty -- I think that the Beastie Boys made some of the best feel-good music to come out in the 90s. This is probably my favorite of theirs.

4) Rancid - And Out Come the Wolves -- I remember hearing this album when it came out in 1995 and knowing that I'd love it forever. It's just filled to the brim with punk rock angst and California sunshine. May still be a toss-up with Let's Go for good-weather goodness.

5) The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds -- This album pretty much defined sunny weather music. I couldn't leave it off the list, could I?

Also ran: Sublime by Sublime and Odelay by Beck.

Now that I've got myself in a rockin' good mood I think I'm going to cut out of work early and head to the park with my hacky sack, a six-pack, and my friends. Any music suggestions?

19 March 2009

Say what now?

I had a good time in Birmingham celebrating my birthday and St. Patrick's day. I'm pretty sure I drank all of the Guinness. All of it. There was also a lot of whiskey and Irish Car Bombs. I saw a bunch of friends I don't normally get to see, which was cool. I hate that I couldn't spend time with all of my Huntsville friends, but I'm glad I went back for the night.

That's not to say that the night was without its drama, though. Towards the end of the evening I ran into an Old Flame. She and I had a relationship that lasted about 3 months and ended over a year ago. We have a good mutual friend so this wasn't the first time I've seen her since we stopped talking. That's how the relationship ended, by the way - we just stopped talking (apropos of the entire relationship, honestly). No big fight or sobbing phone calls. Just stopped talking. You may judge me poorly for letting that happen but, hey, here we are more than a year later and she's telling me she loves me... Yeah. What. The. Hell. Can you say OUT OF THE BLUE? We never even said that to each other when we were together! I mean I had gotten the impression a couple of months ago that she was still attracted to me but I didn't think it was anything like this. She wants to get back together. She kept saying it, drunkenly. My only response was, drunkenly, "Why would it be any different this time?" to which she had no real answer.

I don't have any intention of getting back together with her. I think she picked up on that because when she left she was crying. A lot. That really made me feel like a dick. She called me yesterday. I didn't answer. She left me a message to call her back. I haven't yet. I am going to call her, I'm just going to let her cool down for a day or two first. I feel like I need to handle this delicately. Any advice?

17 March 2009

Where streams of whiskey are flowing

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today's my birthday! Yay! I'm 26 years old and I don't feel a day over 40. I am at work right now. It's probably the first time I've worked or gone to school on my birthday in a really long time. It's always been a policy of mine to take my birthday off. I'm only working til lunch, then I'm going to get a haircut (finally!) and heading back to Birmingham. I'm taking tomorrow off for rest and rehabilitation. The good thing about having a birthday on St. Pat's is that everyone else is celebrating, too. One of the main reasons that I'm going back to Birmingham is that, honestly, I plan to stay out late getting all boozed up proper and I just don't know that many people in Huntsville who are willing to do that during the workweek. Totally understandable, really. In Birmingham, though, I know a number of people who have night jobs and don't necessarily need to be at work tomorrow. Lucky me, huh? So there will be much Guinness and Irish Car Bombing tonight. Tomorrow I will feel like death warmed over but I'll get to see my family and do the birthday thing with them. My mother and her husband came into Huntsville on Sunday to bring me presents and cake. It was awesome. When I was living in Auburn my mother always made a point to come down on my birthday which is totally awesome of her.

Now for a quick list of my St. Pat's must-listen songs:

1) Dropkick Murphys - Barroom Hero
2) Flogging Molly - Death Valley Queen
3) The Pogues - Dirty Old Town
4) The Dubliners - Whiskey in the Jar
5) Tommy Makem - Wind that Shakes the Barley
6) Dropkick Murphys - Finnegan's Ball
7) The Pogues - Streams of Whiskey
8) Against Me! - Pints of Guinness Make Me Strong
9) Clancy Brothers - Whiskey You're the Devil
10) The Dubliners - Wild Rover
11) The Descendants - Lucky Charm
12) Bondo - Fuck You I'm Drunk
13) Flogging Molly - What's Left of the Flag

In all honesty, though, I'll be listening to nothing but Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly today. Hope y'all have a good one!

13 March 2009

We'll, uh, listen to beautiful music together

I've been meaning to write this post for a while but I knew I wouldn't be able to do it at work because it'll take some doing. I've mentioned before that I really like making mix CDs. I treat each one like an awesome assignment. Like I'm going to make a mix CD and some record company/pretentious rock magazine will stumble across it and begin paying me to put together awesome albums. Like that. Anyhow I've been working on this one mix for a long time. It's my "Beautiful Songs" mix. It's been long in development because I had to define for myself what exactly I think a beautiful song is. I eventually came to an admittedly weak definition: a song that forces you to stop and listen. I know it's a weak definition, but it worked for me. There are hundreds of really pretty songs that I love that don't quite make the 'beautiful' cut. For instance right now I'm listening to Bon Iver, a chap who makes pretty, good music. I just wouldn't call his songs beautiful. So, without further ado, here's my latest "Beautiful Songs" revision, with some descriptions. These are not in any particular order.

  • Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah -- Hands down without a doubt the most beautiful song I've ever heard. I could probably write an entire essay about the way this song makes me feel.
  • Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water -- The original and best version.
  • Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You -- Background choir, 'nuff said.
  • Stevie Wonder - Ave Maria -- First time I heard this I had to pull my car over and listen to it again.
  • Jolie Holland - Grey Funnel Line -- I absolutely love her voice and this old shanty is as good as it gets. The lilting accordion in the background really does it for me.
  • Elvis Presley - There Will Be Peace in the Valley -- Ain't nothing prettier in this world than some old church music, especially when sung by one of the most prolific voices ever.
  • Alison Krauss - Down to the River to Pray -- See above. Plus, acappella!
  • Don McLean - Vincent -- I'm really a sucker for McLean's song-writing (his alliteration kills me!) and this song is such a beautiful tribute to another artist.
  • Willie Nelson and Ray Charles - Seven Spanish Angels -- Two of the greatest ever. Together, man!
  • Sarah MacLachlan - Arms of an Angel -- Yeah. I know. It's cliche as hell. But damn she's got a beautiful voice. I can't deny this song.
  • Everly Bros- Unchained Melody -- Probably one of the first songs I ever fell in love with.
  • Sigur Ros - All Alright -- It's all the beauty of Sigur Ros but in english!
  • Denali - Time Away -- Why this band was overlooked I'll never understand.
  • Chuck Ragan - Geraldine -- Every time I hear it I have to call my mother and tell her I love her.
  • Fleet Foxes - Meadowlark -- Picking one Fleet Foxes song that characterized the beauty of their music was hard. This is probably the best of 'em, though.
  • Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees -- When they played this live in Atlanta in 2002 I honestly had to sit down like a tween at a Jonas Brothers concert. That's how much this song affects me.
  • Radiohead - Nude -- Picking one song that characterized the beauty of Radiohead's music was impossible.
The whole time I was writing those notes I was thinking, "Man, you could've put this song on there!" Mind you that this is a list of songs meant to fit onto one CD, otherwise I'd go on for miles. So there's that. It'll likely be different in a month. What do you think are the most beautiful songs?

Here's one that'll probably be on the list at some point. Damn Willie and his smooth layered vocals.

12 March 2009

Don't want security to get suspicious

I'm at work doing some online IT Security training. Nevermind the fact that I just did last year's training a little over a month ago when I started. I've got all the time in the world to drop what I'm doing and dedicate an afternoon to common-sense training in computer security. Really? I shouldn't print secret information and then leave it in a coffee shop? Really? I shouldn't download viruses? Really? No porn at work? Well I guess I've just been DOIN' IT WRONG.

Time for a cup of coffee. I need something to take the edge of this exciting adventure in ass-hattery.

In completely unrelated news I am feinding for some Oreos right now. They are NOT diet-friendly. Since I'm going to eat ze German food tonight I don't think it's in my belly's best interest to hit up the snack machine. Stay strong, Apollo. Stay strong.

11 March 2009

I think I just twit myself

Yep. I did. I twat?

Let's see how this works out.

10 March 2009

ITP: I watches the Watchmen

I went and saw Watchmen last night. It was so fucking good. I think I'd like to go see it again. It's been a long time since I wanted to see a movie twice (or more!) in the theatre. As a general rule I don't enjoy going to movie theatres because, well, they suck. I don't like people and at movie theatres people are always around trying to ruin my hard-earned, well-spent dollar. Luckily there is a kick-ass movie theatre here with a few view-and-brew auditoriums and big, comfy chairs. Sure it's a little pricier than I'd like ($13!) but since I don't go that often it's worth it to splurge.

Without going into too much detail I'll say that I thought they did a fantastic job of telling the story and conveying the mood of the original book even if they did have to leave some stuff out. I understand and like the changes they made at the end. The two people I went with had not read the novel and they both enjoyed it a lot. It's definitely something that you could watch a dozen times and still not pick out all the details. The sound quality was astonishing and the visual style and effects were breath taking. I'm trying not to sound too much like a fanboi here but OMG THE MARS SCENES NOMNOMNOM. That shit gave me goosebumps. Okay I'm done now. Whew. Anyhow if you haven't seen it GO SEE IT and if you haven't read it GO READ IT, TOO.

Oh, and you'd probably want to abandon all humanity too if you had as bad a case of blue-balls as Dr. Manhattan. *rimshot*

09 March 2009


Man I've been for real slacking on my blog lately! What's up with that? I mean I've been keeping kind of busy at work, sure, but I should still make time to update. I think I'll try to do better about that. I think I also want to stop doing as many 'diary' entries as I've been doing lately. You know what I mean - those entries where I just talk about my weekend and shit like that. I kind of like writing them but I don't think they really say much. I think I could probably do better to put some actual content on here. That's my plan, anyway. We'll see how well it plays out.

I do have to tell you that I went back to Birmingham this weekend and saw my nephew who is effin' tiny and adorable. I also don't think I'll be seeing Date Girl again after this past weekend. I will likely expound upon that in a later post. I also drank like a fish.

I still haven't seen The Watchmen yet. I know, right! What's my deal? I'm going to try to go tonight or sometime later this week. Speaking of later this week I'm going to be having dinner with Ari and Heather Rose and I'm totally stoked about it. We'll be having German food at Ol' Heidelberg. Tasty!

Bob Dylan is one of my favorite musicians. Lyrically he just can't be beat. I've talked about him before on here. He has a show on XM Radio called "Theme Time Radio Hour". Each episode has a different theme and Bob Dylan picks songs pertinent to the theme. Bob Dylan makes the playlist! When I heard about this show I considered subscribing to XM Radio. Just for that show. Seriously. Anyhow I do have Sirius Radio in my car and now that they've merged I could hear his show if I decided to go driving around every time it was on. I imagine that might get expensive. All that to say this: I found an online mp3 archive of all of the shows! How cool is that? It's all I've been listening to since I found it. Here's the link. Love on 'em a bit.

Lastly I'll say that this has been on my mind a lot lately. It's an article about why renting can be better than buying a house. I told myself when I moved here that I would rent for a year and then buy a house but, honestly, I don't think I want to. Not just because of this article, either. I don't like the idea of being tied to a property for 3 or 4 years before you can get out without a loss. How do you homeowners out there feel about this?

04 March 2009

Uncle slacker

So I've been pretty busy at work this week and haven't had much time to blog. You would think that maybe I would do it when I get home but, uh, eff that. Work is for blogging. I don't really have much time right now but I'm going to make time. You know why? Because I love you. That's why.

So, big news first. My brother and his wife had their second child on Monday! So I'm an uncle^2. Pretty cool, huh? It's another baby boy, too. He's got an older brother that turned two in December. I imagine that house will not be a fun place to be when the babies aren't happy. Good thing they aren't mine and I don't live there!

I, too, have a new baby now. His name is Kindle. He loves reading. What's that you say? You want to see pictures of him, too? He's adorable.

Really though it's pretty damn cool. I am still amazed by the e-ink technology they use in these things. I imagine that within a few years they will be able to do color images and that will completely change the world of print media forever.

In other news, I feel like for the last two days I have been not-all-here. No idea why, either. Weird, huh? Like the last two days are just kind of a montage of cold weather and bright images. Hopefully this feeling will go away soon.

I'll leave you with this image. It was taken at the Salvation Army store in Cullman, Alabama this past weekend. It is the most disturbing anti-drug poster I believe I've ever seen. If they had put these around my elementary school I think I'd be a wholly different person right now. Click for full size. Believe me it's worth it.