September 17, 2014

The freakiest of trees

The Stanford Tree has gotten even freakier this year.

And I love it...


...love it a whole, whole bunch.

The tongue, the flowered shorts, the gloves, the multi-colored palm tree leaves.

It's spectacular.

Not that the past ones haven't been awesome, though.











I especially dig the gold tree, the red tree, and the one that's mostly trunk just above the red tree.

Love the weirdness.

September 15, 2014

New music from Jeff Tweedy & son


It's still a week out before my pre-ordered copy of Sukierae shows up, but now I can listen to the full album thanks to NPR.

You should do the same.

September 13, 2014

Jimmy, it'll all work out for the best...a fresh start





September 12, 2014

Looking back FROM the 80's




Looking back at the 80's isn't a challenge. Right now, with so many children of the 80's in prime buying power age, nostalgia for the 80's is all over the place.

Today, however, I'm looking back and remembering that during the 80's people were already looking back even further. Phil Collins was singing "You Can't Hurry Love." Billy Joel was suggesting that we all "Tell Her About It." The Honeydrippers were asking if we remembered when we met.

And through it all, the stars of that era were looking back on the music from their childhood that they loved so much.

I'm always looking for artists and songs to add to this list, too, because it's not one I've ever figured out how to search for online. Anything with 80's nostalgia just gets me playlists that are like shooting fish in a barrel: A-Ha, Cyndi Lauper, so many easy to list 80's stars...but that's not what I'm looking for here. I'm looking for the 50s and early 60s as filtered through the stars of the 80s.

(Oh, and I wanted to include "Tell Her About It", "Uptown Girl", and "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel, but 8tracks only allows two songs per artist. So I had to cut one.)

September 10, 2014

Today's random ten...



Today's manicured, 'random' ten songs...
  • "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy - This is a horrific, guilty pleasure. I love this horrible song like nobody's business. I swear I've played it in class a half dozen times over the years - the video, not just the song. I love it and hate it in equal measure. I did that just this past week, in fact.
  • "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave - Great song...horrible 80's race-switching movie
  • "Silver Thunderbird" by Marc Cohn - His entire career can be boiled down into one spectacular, eponymous album. I have no idea why nothing else ever matched up to it, but at least he made one perfect album. In the twenty-five years since then, he's released four middling albums...that's all.
  • "Warrior" by Steve Earle - ...not my favorite of his stuff...for spoken word, Steve Earle, I'll actually take "Down Here Below", but even the worst Steve Earle is still pretty outstanding.
  • "Daybreak" by Harry Nilsson - I always flash back to the first time I heard anything that I knew as being by Harry Nilsson, when The Girl was house-sitting for a teacher in New Albany - actually at a house out on the hill in the country a bit - and I stayed with her for the couple of nights. We were in college, home for the summer, and it was one of my first feelings of being an adult. Coincidentally, she'd checked out Nilsson's phenomenally great two-disc greatest hits. I've loved it ever since.
  • "My Best Friend's Girl" by The Cars - This one makes me think of the first time The Girl and I went to Eli's BBQ only a year and a half ago now. They had The Car's first album playing, and I remembered that it's a pretty great album.
  • "Jungle Love" by The Steve Miller Band - Welcome to WNAS, 88.1 FM, New Albany, Indiana in 1991 or so. This was a staple of the then-cd library from which we could choose music when I got my first radio dj time. I'm not as big a fan of "The Joker" and would go against the grain of lots of the other staffers and play this one instead.
  • "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison - The Girl can't stand Van's more meandering songs on Astral Weeks, and that makes her miss out on this really, really nice song - and the rest of a pretty great album if you ask most folks. Then again, though, I'm down with Phillip Glass, too, and he tends to be a bit repetitive.
  • "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by the Vanilla Fudge - Ah, heavy psychedelic rock...so very much a defining part of an era. I came to this one via the 80's cover from Kim Wilde and only much later found out that it goes back to the Fudge and the Supremes. You could always count on Holland-Dozier-Holland to write a song that sounds outstanding in just about any version, any style, any era.
  • "A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)" by Van Hagar - Thank you, Josh Hoepner. Josh was in various middle school classes with me and brought me to the post-Diamond Dave incarnation of Van Halen, admittedly my preferred incarnation of the band. 5150 and 0U812 were heavy topics of conversation in 7th grade study hall, and both albums have stayed in my good graces for nearly thirty years since then.
Enjoy, everybody...

September 8, 2014

Update: QuizMeUp

I've been playing QuizUp since Spring Break this past school year.

As of late last week (when I typed this up), I'd played 3887 games...at a minute per game, that's...um...that's...that's sixty-four hours of QuizUp-ing since then...2.6 full days...a lot of time, in other words.

But I'm happy with my efforting because I'm rolling in the achievements. Take a look at my stats, folks...


I'm clearly way better at some categories (those up near the top: name the element, periodic table, chemistry, movies: general, batman, grammar) than I am some of those that I had to scrape to get across the level 15 barrier (like British Royals, oddly Queen, Bob Dylan for heaven's sake).

The reason for the large number of categories with exactly level fifteen is because many of the achievements require getting to level fifteen in two entirely unrelated categories. For example, to get the GoKart Motzart achievement badge, I had to get to level fifteen both in Classical music and in Formula 1 racing. A number of those took just forever to earn...but earn them I did.


I've highlighted the six achievements that I don't have yet. One, Slam Poet, is the next one for me. It requires me to get to level fifteen in both Poetry and MMA. I know almost nothing at all about MMA, so that's going to take a while, and I know only a very little about Poetry, so that'll take a while, too.

Avatar will require me to get level sixty in five more categories. I'm guessing that'll be Movies: General, Batman, Grammar, and...I don't know about the other two. That'll take a while.

Unstoppable takes 10,000 games played. I'm about 40% there. Praetorian is about the same but with 10,000 victories, so that'll be a little longer. Both will take a long while to earn.

The others are Wandering Explorer - play in four countries - and In Orbit - play in ten countries. I've - according to the game, at least - played in three countries so far. I have no clue what those countries are other than the US. I have played as though I am in other countries, changing my flag to various nations in order to play people in different countries for the UN Assembly achievement.


I'm up to 104 ribbons or whatevers earned, but most of them come as being the best in the Seychelles for some month. It's kind of cheating by choosing to be 'from' the Seychelles. The average points per game of 112 is a bit of a drop from the 114 from before I went after the last couple of achievement badges - GoKart Motzart and a couple of others that took efforting.

So, if you're going to challenge me, feel free to do so by helping me work toward an achievement. Hit me up on Poetry, MMA, Batman, General Knowledge, Movies: General, Batman Movies, or Grammar. Bring it on.