More Stuff I Like (Other Than Our iPad)

Been a while since I wrote any suggestions or Top 5 lists, and even longer since a reader shared theirs (okay, that’s yet to happen ever).  So here you go; please read, then PLEASE suggest new stuff if you like.  And please don’t point me to one of the myriad ‘favoriting’ social sites like or whatever the hell teenagers think is cool these days.  (Okay, you can point me there, but if it sucks, I’ll come back & scold you publicly.)

Currently reading The First Tycoon, which is a massive biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and also my first foray into non-performer biographies.  Kinda digging it.  Learning a lot I didn’t know about US history, railroads, origins of capitalism, etc., but it’s not the type of biography (nor am I suggesting it SHOULD be) where you get much of a sense for the subject’s personality.  The author (TJ Stiles) obviously had very few primary references (CV’s been dead for more than 130 years), so the direct examples of his persona are nil, and even the secondary ones lead you to conclude the guy never wasted a breath on words he couldn’t squeeze a penny out of, so his persona has a very bright tinge of money around it.

Currently watching… well, we’re still reveling in the DVR we finally got.  We DVR a lot of things & “watch” them later – most of them we turn on & then end up doing other things or playing with the Nugget while it plays in the background.  But a current sample consists of:  Holmes on Holmes (HGTV), Your OWN Show (OWN), Enough Already! (OWN), Conan… there are actually an embarrassing number of additional shows from OWN.  But it’s no surprise really – the woman set out to launch a network full of shows that help folks lead their own best lives, and she succeded, and A LOT of us are really interested in that stuff.  We still make appointments out of all-time favorites:  Modern Family, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, Community & 30 Rock.  The newest winner:  Nurse Jackie.  Comcast has turned on a free month of Showtime On Demand.  In the last two weeks the wyf & I have gone through all 24 episodes in the first two seasons.  The stories are okay, the characters are GREAT (I *heart* Zoey Barkow), and the writing is FANTASTIC.  It has the flavor of a darker, more personal Sorkin.  Not sure which of the three writers from those seasons it comes from, but it’s addicting.

As for movies, we just screened The Black Swan & True Grit last weekend.  From the comforts of our living room. :)  A friend of a friend has some not-so-ethical colleagues at an agency in L.A. that happened to send copies of the Awards season screeners.  They were both fantastic movies & well worth the hoopla.  Jeff Bridges deserves accolades, as does Natalie Portman.  Also Hailee Steinfeld, the young girl in True Grit.  Not so much for Mila Kunis or Matt Damon – both were good, and I loved Damon’s slightly naive take on a Texas ranger, but there are better supporting actor nominees in the running.

We also recently saw Due Date.  All I have to say about that is that we would’ve seen The Social Network instead if it had still been out, and we would’ve felt far more satisfied with our use of the grandparents’ babysitting capacity.

Finally, I’ve been keeping up with a few more blogs recently.  I check Zen Habits a lot.  I check Mark’s Daily Apple, although my interest is waning.  And I always find something interesting at The Happiness Project.  They all seem to speak to my desire for simplicity, for doing & owning & using less.

There’s a purposeful lack of musical influence.  Why?  I don’t listen to new stuff.  AT ALL.  My new car (2011 Hyundai Sonata) has XM radio, which has 3 or 4 comedy stations.  Since I bought it in October, I think I’ve listened to all the material they have for one of them, and the other two or three are either All Canadian or All Contemporary African American comedy, which I’m generally less in the mood for – only so many days I can laugh at bits about bacon & being poor or fat or fat & poor.  And the Blue Collar channel is abysmal – there’s no way the target audience for that crap can afford to pay $8 a month for radio.  They can’t even afford public schools, and those are free.

So I’m COMPLETELY MUSICALLY STAGNANT.  The last new suggestions I got were from my sister, in 2007.  That’s three years’ worth of evolution that my mind has gone without.  I thought maybe Ping would help, but either it doesn’t work well or it takes too much effort to get value out of it, because I’ve yet to get value out of it.  I’m in this situation because I generally don’t listen to music (even pre-XM), and when I do I just listen to whatever radio station is on, or to my iPod playlists.  I’m generally fine with that, but three years… three years was long enough to build the Hoover Dam.  A lot could’ve changed since then.  Thoughts?  If not, no biggie.

However, I could REALLY use some new inspiration for running mixes or great songs to run to.  I have 5 or 6 different playlists on iTunes that I use, but there are still only probably about 70 songs between them, with a lot of overlap between lists.  I’m even running to a lot of John Williams themes.  Would love it if someone could help me spice that up.  (If I’m unsuccessful in this post, this may become a new post all on its own.)

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 4:42 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “More Stuff I Like (Other Than Our iPad)”

  1. Emily WK says:

    What kinds of things do you like to begin with? Like, what are four albums you’ve liked that are widely representative of your tastes?

    Things I liked recently:
    – Nicki Minaj “Pink Friday” – the album as a whole is good, but no individual songs stick out. I am going to edit the one that Eminem is on to cut out after her initial rap part is over because he is just awful on that song.

    – Metric “Fantasies”

    – Janelle Monae “The ArchAndroid”

    – Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More”

    – Florence + The Machine “Lungs”

    For listening to new things, I like Sirius’ “Alt Nation.” I think there’s something comparable for XM, but I don’t know if it’s called the same thing.

    For running:

    – Girl Talk – anything by him. Some tracks are faster than others.
    – Peaches – Billionaire and Serpentine (from “I Feel Cream,” a great album)
    – Judas Priest, Painkiller
    – Dr. Theopolis, Move the Earth
    – Coheed & Cambria, A Favor House Atlantic
    – fast beat mashups, like Bootystition (Superstition + Bootylicious)

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for the likes, Em. Four albums that are widely representative of my tastes… why are musical taste questions so anxiety-inducing? I’m nearly about-to-have-sex-nervous in trying to answer that. Here’s 4 artists, because I think in terms of artists, not albums – generally I like all albums put out by artists I like.

    1. Frank Sinatra. Sorry, but I enjoy almost everything he sings.
    2. Flight of the Conchords. Anytime you can sing folksy stuff & make me laugh, I’m totally in.
    3. Dave Matthews (w/ and w/o his Band). No, I promise I’m not an 18-year-old girl who just smoked pot for the first time. I like his vibe, though it does tend toward the drab, the morose, the suicidal. There hasn’t been a “big” band since Dave that I’ve found that consistently puts me in a happy place – though most of that happiness is directly related to the memories his music brings, which is just an unfair advantage… though I’d argue at least part of the reason I have so many memories of his stuff is because we were always listening to it, which is likely because we liked it. :)
    4. Dr. Dre. Smart. Angry. Able to rap without blurring all the words together so that short-bus-ears like mine can’t hear them.

    … was it good for you?

  3. Emily WK says:

    Do you know Dr. Theopolis? If not, definitely check them out.

    What about OutKast? And have you heard what Girltalk does or is that me dropping names like it’s hot? :P

    And yes, it’s good for me. It’s hard to recommend stuff if you don’t know what the person’s taste is. Sinatra is left field, but that can be good.

  4. Stephanie Hansen says:

    Bro, check out Arcade Fire. You’ll like them I promise. Also I concur with Emily’s suggestion for GirlTalk – even though he’s a DJ that calls himself a musician, you can’t deny his talent. GREAT for running. Also second Florence and the Machines.

    I love The Kooks. Remember Herman’s Hermits? They’re like the modern day version:) It makes me happy.

    Final Reco is Citizen Cope. Now don’t say I never did anything for ya.

    Out of curiosity, what did I recommend back in 2007?


  5. Brian says:

    Thanks very much ladies…

    Em, I downloaded some Dr. Theopolis last night & ran a slow 3 miler this morning with his lyrics in my ears. I’m definitely intrigued – he’s like a less-overtly-sexual Mickey Avalon… and yes, I actually do like Mickey Avalon. I also d/l’ed some Coheed & Cambria, but I haven’t had the occasion to listen to it yet. Also, GirlTalk… apparently he hasn’t done enough to please the gatekeepers of iTunes, because you can’t get his stuff there. Don’t ask my why iTunes is the only place I bother to shop for music. You already know why. :) Also – what mashup stuff would you recommend? I’ve only ever gotten into them by virtue of friends burning me some CDs. (My friend Shorty gives out music at Christmas & for birthdays… a novel idea.)

    Sister, I’ll check out all those people, though Citizen Cope seems a little weird based on the preview. In ’07, I think it was right around our first trip to Mammoth… you gave me a mix you called Cool Ass Music, and it had Louis XIV, White Stripes, Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, the Shins, and my first exposure to Rilo Kiley (the redhead from a classic childhood movie called ‘The Wizard’, for those of you who are curious.)

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