Everyday Albums vs Special Occassions

August 23, 2005

Posts based on wxpn’s 885 greatest albums of all time:

http://xpn.org/885_GAAT.php

Those Special Albums vs Everyday Listening

Okay, I’m trying to come up with my top 10 list of albums. But, they are like my special albums. Albums I appreciate for their artistic talent and musical stylings. But they’re not necessarily the albums I listen to most often.

It’s like the top 10 albums are the really special meals I prepare once or twice a year, that really take a lot of time to prepare and cook and have ingredients that I can’t get in the local store. And then there’s the ten or so meals that I eat most frequently, the macaroni & cheese, grilled chicken, and beef stroganoffs of my musical taste.

No, it’s not the Brittany Spears or N-Sync or anything (thats akin to McDonalds or food you microwave at 7-11).

My top 10 frequently listened to albums (over the last 5 years) would probably be:

1. Southern Culture on the Skids – Liquored Up and Lacquered Down
2. Garbage – Version 2.0
3. Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
4. Buddy Guy – Feels Like Rain
5. Jimmy Buffett – License to Chill
6. Brian Stetzer Orchestra – The Dirty Boogie
7. The Commitments – Volume 1
8. The Commitments – Volume 2
9. Richard Thompson – Mock Tudor
10. Weird Al Yankovic – Running with Scissors

My top 10 listen frequently listened to albums (of all time) would probably be:

1. Billy Joel – Storm Front
2. Rush – Permanent Waves
3. Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus
4. Tower of Power – Monster on a Leash
5. Joe Satriani – Surfing with the Alien
6. Van Halen – OU812
7. Stray Cats – Built for Speed
8. Pink Floyd – The Wall
9. John Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee
10. Styx – Paradise Theater

This is more of a discussion than a problem. I just like to know if others feel the same way.

Robert

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Finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

August 9, 2005

I was going to post this in the normal journal, but… in case there’s anyone who might be reading it who might be reading the Harry Potter series, I’ll refrain from putting it in the main journal.

I’m not sure this is for anyone but myself anyway.

Anyway… I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Basic Plot: Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about the history of Lord Voldemort, while Harry attends school.

I mean, that’s the plot. Think about that for a moment. Yes, there’s a plot line with the Half-Blood Prince, but it really could have been left out of the story. Yes, there’s a romance love triangle thingy. Yes, there’s a Quiditch issue. But that’s the plot.

Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about what he knows about Lord Voldemort, before (and I do believe that Dumbledore knows it’s coming) his untimely demise.

Okay, for comparison’s sake, let’s boil down the plot of Goblet of Fire:

Following the events of the Quiditch World Cup, the Wizarding Tournament is being held at Hogwarts with the three major wizarding schools submitting their champions. Someone has found a way to put Harry Potter’s name into the competition, while danger lurks all about.

My basic feeling, and I think to a degree this is proven by the direction hinted at by the end of the 6th book is that J.K. Rowling is sick of writing about school. It interferes with the story she wants to write about which is Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort. However, she put the books up to the British school system, which is a seven year program. So, she kindof had to go through with it.

Other thoughts.

I really think that Rowling is disappointed that these books are depicted as ‘children’s books’…. because there is definate real SEXUAL tension in these books. I mean sexually, these characters act like they are 12 and 13, rather than 16 and 17. The characters are so enfatuated with kissing and snogging. Like that’s the end. Like that’s the bees knees for 17 year olds?

However, she gets much kudos for leaving the word snogging in the book, knowing that much much MUCH more Americans (in sheer numbers, not in percentages) read the books than Brits. And snog really isn’t in our vocabulary. I’m decently read and I love British slang… But if I hadn’t read High Fidelity or watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I’m not sure I would know the word ‘snog’ means. And will have millions of people looking up in the dictionary or wherever to find out what snog means. Plus, the difference between kissing and snogging is similar to the difference between naked and nekkid.

Kissing is the act of pressing lips together between two people.

Snogging are at the least much deeper, open mouthed kisses. They are not the kisses of 12 year olds on a date for the first time. There is something sexual about snogging.

Next thought. I liked the new professor. First off, it is nice to see someone from Slytherin who isn’t evil, just is ambitious. There should be more of this in her books. And he was decently fun.

Let’s move on to Snape. If there is one thing I hate in works of fiction, it’s to have a character who seems to be the red herring villain, actually turn out to be the villain.

Snape hated Harry for what his father did to him, and he decided to take it out on Harry. That’s fine. He was supposed to hate Harry, but actually be loyal to Dumbledore. But this, he pretended to be redeemed just so he could kill Dumbledore for Voldemort is stupid. All of Snape’s actions prior to this book that had nothing to do with Harry, always were on the side of good and not evil. To suddenly turn him, reveal him to be the villain all along, means that the young boy Harry was more perceptive, more intelligent than Dumbledore.

I have no problem believing that Harry will be stronger than Dumbledore. But a better judge of character at 12 than a wizened old wizard. Yes, there still is a chance to redeem Snape. There could be another purpose. But, this made little sense. She was rewriting things to make Snape the villain. And I just cannot believe that it would be Snape who would kill Dumbledore. Doesn’t fit.

Snape being the Half-Blood Prince… That was fine. No problems there. I find it hard to believe that he would let one of his old books remain in the classroom, but still, that revelation was no big deal.

Obviously, Dumbledore was sacrificing himself for Harry. And there is a new ally for Harry, the one who put the false WhasisCrux in the cave. But to not have Dumbledore as an ally in the final book where the fight with Voldemort is supposed to take place, makes little sense.

Predicitons for the final book:

* Snape redeems himself in some small way.

* Draco turns away from Voldemort.

* Dumbledore provides help to Harry, if only in a Obi Wan Kenobi role.

* Ron and Hermione fall DEEPLY in love.

* Harry becomes a teacher at Hogwarts.

A satisfying book. I just like the idea of Hogwarts the School, and not just Harry’s quest to defeat Voldemort. The universe she created is loads of fun, and by concentrating only on the Harry plot, it diminishes it a bit.

Same issue with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series dropped a bit when she stopped being normal, and only was a Vampire Slayer.

Anyway, that’s it from me.

Cheers,


Weddings and weekends and w-words….

August 1, 2005

It really would help if I was more clever than I actually am.

Anyway, so I was the best man at a wedding was this past weekend. It was interesting and a lot of fun.

Weddings are one of those topics that bring out opinions in everyone. Everyone has an idea of how things should go, who should attend, who shouldn’t attend, what the service should be, what the church should look like, how much you should be involved, how the reception hall should look, what the food is, whether to use a band or a DJ, whether to serve cake, whether to have an open bar, what songs should be played, etc.

And I’m no different.

In fact I am even more opinionated about this subject than I was a mere 2 years ago, before I had to help make the decisions that went into my wedding.

You see I’m just not one of those guys who can just say, “Sure, whatever you want, babe.” and go back to watching the football game. Sure, when she asked me about flowers, I said that she could do whatever flowers she wanted. (Other than her idea about an all babys breath arrangement). But for decisions that affect what I’m going to see and how my friends and family will remember me, I care.

The wedding wasn’t how I would have done it. But I don’t want to armchair quarterback the situation.

One thing bugged me the most. Friday night was the rehersal for the wedding. The Indian (from India you morons!) Catholic Priest, obviously felt that everyone knew what to do during the ceremony, so we did a 15 minute walkthrough. That’s fine. Whatever. We get to the vows part of the ceremony. The priest asks my friends, “Do you want to hear what the vows are?”

They said no. They had no interest in hearing the vows before the church service on Saturday. And during the ceremony, my buddy said the vows as you say anything in church, clear enough to be heard, but not so clear as to really make it enthusiastic. (For those of you familiar with Catholic mass, think of the “Praise be to Lord, Jesus Christ” response.) His wife said the words as if she was repeating a pizza order (Okay… One Pepperoni pizza with extra cheese…… okay, one order of mozzerella sticks).

The words meant nothing to them.

Now, I am do not stand on the throne of the sanctity of marriage. It is an interesting ceremony that combines a personal commitment to each other, a civil ceremony tying two peoples financial futures together, and a holy ceremony binding your eternal love for each other.

And here you are saying words to each other, important words. Not just “Yeah, I’ll take out the trash” while you’re watching football on TV. Words of importance. You are saying these words in front of others (and in this case, videotaped so they can be used later as evidence). I mean we all know those times that we were sure that we didn’t say something (even when we were fully sober), and someone else comes in and says, “Um, yeah Rob you did.”… You are making these statements as the words in an official civil ceremony. Similar to swearing to tell the truth in court. Similar to signing a contract to do work for someone. And finally, you are making these comments in a holy ceremony before the priest and (supposedly) in front of God.

Now, I don’t believe in God every day of the week. I have doubts. Sometimes I do think that church is a big joke. Fine. I also think that motivational exercises are a big joke. But if I’ve agreed to a church ceremony, then I’m going to treat the ceremony as being holy. That these words I am speaking are meant to have some weight to them.

They are vows. Doesn’t mean you have to keep them or you’ll go to prison, or suffer in helfire and brimstone for all of eternity. But it does mean they should mean something to you.

Boy, is this a long ramble.

Everything else was a mixture of good and bad.

Good: Shots of Crown Royal in the limo

Bad: A shared bottle of Asti Spumante.

You know, like that….

Crown Royal loves me, yes I know….
Cause the bottle told me so…..

Sorry, don’t know where that came from.

Cheers,

Robert