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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Albums of the year 2011

Recently started back listening to entire albums. It's cause they can fit onto the new phone. Didn't listen to much. So it's a limited sample size. Even more limited cause I usually check Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone a lot. But how else am I gonna find bands like Yuck and The Weeknd? Not on local radio, for sure.

15. Fucked Up - David Comes to Life


why: A rock opera about a love story set in 1970's and 1980's England. Winning concept. But even if you forget the concept, the energy and excitement of the music is enough to make this album an excellent listen.

14.Yuck - Yuck


why: Easy to listen to, a total throwback to the early 90's guitar rock. All the fans of the shoegazing era will be impressed.Loud and quiet alternating guitar effects give the high tech mixed with melody vibe.

13. Jay-Z/ Kanye West - Watch The Throne



why: A very eclectic album, each track is something else altogether. Kanye's superior musical ability with Jay's exceptional lyrics and delivery, it seems like they were made to go together. It's witty and over-the-top arrogant and very funny.

12. Adele - 21



why: No points for album name originality. Probably the most popular album on the list. Adele was everywhere this year. Her songs were amazing with poignant lyrics but with a voice like that she could sing a menu and make it sound meaningful.


11. Tyler The Creator - Goblin


why: Most people think Wiz should have won the VMA. Listen to Goblin and then consider. Vicious, dark, graphic threats of murder and rape; it isn't an album for the easily offended. It is also the most original rap album I've heard in a long time.


10. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake


why: The album has an early 20th century feel, full of modernism and surrealism. So it's very beautiful but far less confusing and more direct and real portrait of the bloodshed of the last century and it's impact on her country.

9. James Blake - James Blake



why: I didn't even realize post-dubstep was a genre till this guy's album. The lyrics are brilliant and introspective. But the real star is the electronica and vocal manipulations. It's kind of like taking a folk album and unleashing all the tweaks possible.



8. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming


why: I've been a M83 fan ever since I heard Kim& Jessie. There's nothing like the synth-electronica sound they have. It is enthralling and intoxicating to listen to this album. It really is a dream-fantasy world.

7. Drake - Take Care


why: The album is a lot of contrast. Rapping and singing; boasts about fame vs. the problems that come with success; wondering about leading a pointless life & love of wealth and success. The album consists of brilliant lyrics embedded in minimalist, laidback beats.

6. The Weeknd - House of Ballons


why: First really heard about them through Drake (they're featured on Crew Love). It's an album of R&B mixed with electronica, a raw and somewhat sad, scary sound. Kind of goes perfectly with concept lyrics set in a world of hurt and too much drugs.

5. The Roots - Undun


why: I love the Roots. I think they're one of the best live hip-hop bands around, always a great message. Undun reaches a level of brilliance you don't find in too much hip-hop albums. It's bleak but cohesive and complex, embodying existentialism.




4.Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues


why: This band is criminally underrated. The follow up album manages to keep to the standard set by the debut, while also experimenting. It's deeper and darker and completely focused on grounded, real things instead of the usual indie-dreamworld escapist fantasies.


3. Florence and the Machine - Ceremonials


why: The harps, the booming drums, the gospel choirs and that voice. You know a Florence song when you hear it. Emotionally resonant and highly metaphoric (and imaginative), the album is cohesive to the point of fluidity, though sometimes the lyrics are a bit mystifying.




2. Frank Ocean - nostalgia, Ultra


why: Some dark and fun R&B. Melancholy, paranoid and dramatic with a background of original, sometimes distracting beats. There's enough in this to compare Ocean to legends like Marvin Gaye (Here, my Dear era) or Prince but with a surrealist feel.

1.Bon Iver - Bon Iver


why: Magically poetic lyrics that either mean lots or gibberish. It's got to be an art to have lyrics like that. Emotional sincerity carries on from the first album, with a widescale, encompassing sound that is wholly different from the stripped down feel of the debut. The album is an experience.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Coldplay- The setlist

I was thinking about going to see Coldplay live. And then, following from that, I was thinking of what songs I'd want to hear most (if I got to control the setlist). This is that list.
-Usually on the Viva La Vida Tour they did around 25 songs. So that's the number I'm going with. In order of Album release, not order to be played in

From Parachutes

1. Yellow
2. Shiver

From A Rush of Blood to the Head

3. The Scientist
4. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face
5. Clocks
6.Warning Sign
7. A Rush of Blood to the Head

From X&Y

8. What If
9.Fix You
10.A Message
11. The Hardest Part
12.Swallowed in the Sea

From Viva La Vida

13. 42
14. Lost !
15. Lovers in Japan
16. Viva La Vida
17. Violet Hill

From Mylo Xyloto

18.Hurts Like Heaven
19. Charlie Brown
20. Paradise
21. Don't Let it Break Your Heart
22. Us Against The World

Encore Set:

23. Wedding Bells (Non-Album)
24.Amsterdam ( from A Rush of Blood to the Head)
25. Glass of Water ( From Prospekt's March EP)





Friday, November 4, 2011

A list about books that are un-put-down-able

There are some books you can read in one sitting. The ones you don't feel like putting down and you can't wait to get back to. I'm not including novel series in this, because those are a whole other thing and if I did I'd be forced to fill the list with Ian Fleming and Tom Clancy Novels. I'm going with books published after 1960 as well. I'm only allowing books I managed to finish in a week. Only novels, no short stories and poetry, memoirs, non-fiction etc


in no particular order :

15. Portnoy's Complaint - Phillip Roth - 1969 - USA

Quick Summary: Comedy, sexual frustration and self-consciousness. Portnoy's Complaint is one long monologue to a therapist about different stages of his life. This could get depressing but thankfully his life is hilarious.

14. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - 1989 - UK

Quick Summary: Mostly flashbacks of a butler from the time preceding World War II, in which his master was heavily involved in appeasement. The interactions with the household staff also play a major role.


13. Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee -1999- South Africa

Quick Summary : College professor loses his job and reputation. He moves out to the Eastern Cape onto his daughter's farm. Just when he's getting used to it and feeling familiar, events cause further necessary readaptation.

12. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie - 1981- UK

Quick Summary: An allegorical novel about India pre and post partition. Set up as a biography and also full of magical realism.


11. White Teeth - Zadie Smith - 2000- UK

Quick Summary : A story about two friends in London and their respective lives as well as a narration about the lives of their families. A humor-filled novel representing the immigrant life in multicultural London

10. Kafka On The Shore - Haruki Murakami - 2002- Japan

Quick Summary: Two separate but related plots, one involving a 15 year old boy who runs away from home and finds shelter in a private library. The other about an old man who can talk to cats and ends up on a road trip.

9. A Man of the People - Chinua Achebe - 1966 - Nigeria

Quick Summary: A novel about a young man who comes to work for the Minister of Culture. Really a satire of the political situation of Nigeria and applicable to the way many post-colonial politicians behave.

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez- 1967 - Colombia

Quick Summary: A story about several generations of the Buendia family as well as other residents of the village of Macondo. A magical realism novel where remarkable things happen and no one is surprised.

7.Catch -22 - Joseph Heller - USA -1961

Quick Summary: One of the funniest novels ever and a walk through of bureaucratic idiocy and the way in which logical reasoning can be twisted to make nonsense seem sensible.

6. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates - USA -1961

Quick Summary: Married life in the 1950's. A lot of the story really delves into marital difficulty and failed ambitions stemming from the inability to understand another's perspective.

5.Aravind Adiga - The White Tiger - India - 2008

Quick Summary: A tale of how the poor in India have it and how the narrator made it good by taking risks no one else would, or would even think to take for that matter

4. The Buddha Of Suburbia - Hanif Kureishi - 1990- UK

Quick Summary: A story about a teenager eager to leave the suburbs of 1970's London and start living. Said to be highly autobiographical.

3. Snow - Orhan Pamuk - Turkey -2002

Quick Summary: A journalist goes to a town to investigate a spate of suicides. He also hopes to (and meets) a woman from his past. The snow cuts off the city and he ends up in discussions with all the different groups in the city.


2. The Damned Utd - David Peace - UK- 2006

Quick Summary: A retelling of Brian Clough's days in charge of Leeds United. All 44 days of it


1.On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan - 2007 - UK

Quick Summary: The night of their wedding a couple reflect on their differences and how they came to be a couple

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bands I need to see live

I don't really rate bands unless they're great in concert. So I'm making a list of who I want to see in concert. Only rules are they must be still together and still touring (have had a tour in the last five years or one upcoming). Unusually, this list is in order. I'm not giving too much justification. Just one live video of the band.

15. Adele


14. Muse


13. Arcade Fire


12.Mumford and Sons


11. The Kooks

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

penne con funghi/ pasta pomodoroi (variation)

penne con funghi/ pasta pomodoroi (variation) – Pasta with mushrooms and tomatoes

pasta

1. Boil water till rolling boil

2. Throw in pack of Barilla penne pasta

3. Add salt to taste( maybe a teaspoon)

4. Add a few drops of olive oil

5. Stir occasionally

6. When pasta floats to top, give it 3 minutes

7. Remove, strain and douse with cold water.

Mushrooms

1. Dice one large onion

2. Sautee in olive oil (don’t fry till it gets brown, allow some crispness to remain) with basil and oregano

3. Fry two cloves of (grated) garlic together with the onions.

4. Add in chopped mushrooms (and possibly tofu, if desired).

5. Add dried bell peppers and paprika.

6. Allow mushrooms to fry

7. Lower heat to med-low

8. Add half can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes (or dice tomatoes yourself?)

9. Add parmesan cheese (grated) to taste

Finale

1. Combine pasta and mushrooms in large pot on med-low heat

2. Add other half of can of diced tomatoes

3. add grated mozzarella

4. add diced red peppers/ green peppers

5. combine all together. Top with fresh basil and grated parmesan

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The (potential) Impact of Real Madrid on Youth Development in Germany

The (potential) Impact of Real Madrid on Youth Development in Germany

The success story of youth development in Germany is evident from one glance at last year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Thomas Müller finished the tournament with five goals and three assists and was awarded the Golden Boot to go along with his Best Young Player award. Mezut Özil and Sami Khedira impressed enough at the World Cup to secure multimillion dollar moves to Real Madrid. They aren’t the only stories but they do stand out. Another fact that stands out is that these players are all under twenty-five.

How does Real Madrid have anything to do with the German youth? Right now, there’s not that much. But Real have shown interest in Nuri Sahin and if the rumors are to be believed the deal is done. Sahin, though German born, is a Turkish international and his form has no impact on the German National Team. But he plays for current Bundesliga champions, Borussia Dortmund; who have five current German internationals in their squad, all of whom are under the age of twenty-four.

Sahin is a centre-midfielder and an excellent one at that. His departure can have one of two effects should Borussia maintain the same style and formation: it can destroy the Borussia team’s bid for a dynasty or it can force another player to shine in Sahin’s previous role. This player is likely to be Sven Bender , also a central midfielder and a German international. The adaptation to the subtle switch to a slightly more attacking role by Bender will have great impact on the German team.

Teams are not made up of one or two players however. So Sven Bender alone does not make or break the National team. What then if Borussia cannot continue on in the same style and formation that won them the Bundesliga without Sahin? The tactics must change. Five German internationals must now adapt to different routines and possibly positions. As professionals they should, but just because they should does not mean they will. The loss of Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid can, depending on Borussia’s future performance result in a mass exodus of talent. Because although one man does not make a team, one man can cause the momentum to go (Claude Makalele leaving Real Madrid for Chelsea personifies this.)

There are parallels to this entire situation. It might not be obvious to those who have seen Khedira only at Real Madrid but Khedira is a genuine box-to-box midfielder. He is more of a Michael Ballack type player than a Mark van Bommel. His departure from VfB Stuttgart, though he was not alone in leaving at the end of the season, prompted several younger players to be called up from Stuggart II to the first team. The development of these players, as most are German, should be observed.

Mezut Özil leaving for Real Madrid saw a similar influx of players from Werder Bremen’s II team into their first team. The difference was that these players were not given a starting role and used mainly off the bench. Why? Perhaps because Werder were used to their starting playmaker going during summer. Özil himself, despite looking a veteran in the attacking midfield role, only obtained his starting position at the beginning of the 2009-2010 season on the departure of Diego to Juventus.

But also, Werder possess two highly rated and experienced young players in the form of Marko Marin and Aaron Hunt. They were expected to pick up the slack when Özil left. They didn’t. If anything both can be said to have regressed. The performances of Marin in particular, (who was thought of highly across Europe), have been shocking. His spot in the German National squad, once deemed secure (though as a substitute), seems to have been passed on. The departure of Özil has shown both Hunt and Marin to be not yet ready.

What has Real done then for the German Football Association(DFB) ? In tangible terms, nothing. Can we actually measure their effect? No, we cannot. But potentially, they have furthered youth development in Werder Bremen and VfB Stuggart. If this development was already in progress, Real sped up the progress. They will potentially do the same for Borussia Dortmund. They could also cause regression of the Dortmund youth players (albeit indirectly). By taking Özil out of Bremen, they have weeded out the pretenders.

Did Real intend to do all of this (or potentially do it)? Of course not. Should the DFB thank them anyway? Probably they should

Friday, April 29, 2011

30 day song challenge edited to refer to poetry

So there's this thing called the 30 day song challenge. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/30-Day-Song-Challenge/120874111270003?sk=app_4949752878) .

I decided to edit it up and see if it works for books. It worked somewhat with only minor slips. So I figured I'd give it a second try and see what happens.

Original :day 01 - your favorite song

Edited as : day 01 - your favorite poem (This isn't set, it varies a lot) - Do not go gentle into the good night - Dylan Thomas

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/

day 02 - your least favorite song

Edited as : day 02 - Your least favorite poem -The Lady of Shallot - Lord Alfred Tennyson


http://charon.sfsu.edu/tennyson/tennlady.html

day 03 - a song that makes you happy

Edited as : day 03 - a poem that makes you happy - A Silly Poem - Spike Milligan


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-silly-poem/

day 04 - a song that makes you sad

Edited as : day 04 - a poem that makes you sad - A Dream Within a Dream - Edgar Allen Poe

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-dream-within-a-dream/

day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone

Edited as : day 05 - a poem that reminds you of someone - I Carry Your Heart With Me - E.E. Cummings

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-carry-your-heart-with-me-2/

day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere

Edited as : day 06 - a poem that reminds you of somewhere - Sonnet 56 - William Shakespeare (Prague)

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sonnet-56-sweet-love-renew-thy-force-be-it-not-s/

day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event

Edited as : day 07 - a book that reminds you of a certain event - On Death (from The Prophet) - Khalil Gibran


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/on-death-12/

day 08 - a song that you know all the words to

Edited as : day 08 - a poem that you know all the words to.. - Fire and Ice - Robert Frost

day 09 - a song that you can dance to

Edited as : A poem that should never have been made into a movie. - Beowulf - Unknown


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/beowulf/

day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep

Edited as : day 10 - a poem that makes you fall asleep - Illiad - Homer

http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.html

day 11 - a song from your favorite band

Edited as : a poem from your favorite author - L'Albatros (The Albatross) - Charles Baudelaire

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/l-albatros-the-albatross/


day 12 - a song from a band you hate

Edited as : day 12 - a poem from a poet you hate - Howl - Allen Ginsberg

http://sprayberry.tripod.com/poems/howl.txt

day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure

Edited as :day 13 - a poem that is a guilty pleasure - Love Without Hope - Robert Graves

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/love-without-hope/

day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love


Edited as : day 14 - a poem that no one would expect you to love - Dear Friends, we surely all agree - Roald Dahl

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/dear-friends-we-surely-all-agree/

day 15 - a song that describes you

Edited as : day 15 - a poem that describes you - The Prodigal - Derek Walcott

day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate

Edited as : day 16 - a poem that you used to love but now hate - Ariel - Slyvia Plath

http://www.angelfire.com/tn/plath/ariel.html

day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio

Edited as : day 17 - a poem that everyone knows - If - Rudyard Kipling


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/if/

day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio

Edited as : day 18 - a poem that you wish you saw being read - The Odyssey - Homer

http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.html

day 19 - a song from your favorite album

Edited as : day 19 - a poem from your favorite poetry collection - Digging from 'Death of a Naturalist' - Seamus Heaney


http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/seamus_heaney/poems/12699

day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry

Edited as : day 20 - a poem that you read to when you’re angry - If You Forget Me - Pablo Neruda

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/if-you-forget-me/

day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy

Edited as : day 21 - a poem that you read when you’re happy - Are You Drinking - Charles Bukowski

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/charles_bukowski/poems/13010


day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad

Edited as : day 22 - a poem that you read to when you’re sad - Mid Term Break - Seamus Heaney

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/seamus_heaney/poems/12698


day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding

Edited as : day 23 - a poem that you want read at your wedding ( since there isn't time to read a whole book) - And Because Love Battles - Pablo Neruda

day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral

Edited as - a poem that you want read at your funeral ( since there isn't time to read a whole book) - Funeral Blues - W.H. Auden

day 25 - a song that makes you laugh

Edited as - day 25 - a poem that makes you laugh - Anteater - Shel Silverstein

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/anteater/

day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument

Edited as : A poem you completely understood first time though people said you wouldn't - Omeros - Derek Walcott

day 27 - a song that you wish you could play

Edited as: day 27 - a book that you wish you understood completely by now - The Waste Land - T.S. Eliot

http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/t_s_eliot/t_s_eliot_the_waste_land.htm

day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty

Edited as : day 28 - a poem that makes you feel guilty - I do Not love You Except Because I Love You - Pablo Neruda


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-do-not-love-you-except-because-i-love-you/


day 29 - a song from your childhood

Edited as : day 29 - a poem from your childhood - Ramayana - Valmiki


http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/extra/bl-ramayana1.htm

day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Edited as : day 30 - your favorite poem at this time last year - The Voice - Adonis


http://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/462/three_poems_5/


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Travel Listings - Repeats

So I'm really a big fan of repeats, i.e. I don't care to go the save places more than once. But obviously there are exceptions. So I'm making a list of places I wouldn't mind going to again. This list is, unusually, a definitive one. It's in order and set. Hopefully I'll never go to anywhere I've ever been already for a vacation unless it's on this list.

10. New York City

Why: Really? it's New York City. It isn't a go-once place. There's a lot still to see. Concert in Central Park. Poetry Slams. Eat at Le Bernadin. New Year's at Times Square. Catch a Broadway show (not a musical). Go check out the Met. Play some street basketball (and probably get owned). The list goes on and on.

First Thing to do: Get down to the Brooklyn bridge and have pizza at Grimaldi's.





9. Tobago

Why: Bit of a cheat because it's not a city. Technically still the same country but who says you can't have a vacation without needing a passport (if you live in Arkansas, Florida counts as a vacation). I think I could live in Tobago if I could get a job there. Obvious reasons are the beaches. It's all I need to keep going back.

First Thing to do : Get off the plane, walk to Store Bay. Buy a Guinness and hit the water.





8. Berlin

Why: I think I like East Berlin more than West Berlin. They're still building and everything is newer. I still need to see all the museums on Museum Island (only been to the Altes Museum so far). The Berlin Philharmonic are world-famous, so they need to be seen on home court. And it's Berlin, so probably the best Turkish food in a European city outside of Turkey itself. The Indian and Thai food is pretty good too. And, cliched as it might be, walking around at looking at cars in Germany is great.

First Thing to do: Get a Doner Falafel (from King of Falafel or Dada). Get to the Reichstag, chill on the lawn and eat that falafel doner.








7.Amsterdam

Why: You can go with the cliches about coffeeshops and red light district, but that's not really the reason I need to get back to Amsterdam. (Maybe the coffeeshops a bit). The museums are what it's all about, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum need repeats. Heineken Music hall always has great jazz and occasionally big shows. And, of course, I need to see Ajax play at the Amsterdam ArenA.

First thing to do: Get to the Rijksmuseum and wander slowly around for about 4 hours. Either that or get to The Bulldog coffeeshop for brownies. It's a tie.








6. San Fransisco

Why: It's been a long nine years since San Fran. It'd be nice to check it out again although I doubt anything much has changed. Of course, now I can go to all those bars that I wasn't old enough to get into last time. The Museum of Modern Art wouldn't be a bad place to visit either (though sometimes modern art goes over my head). Maybe I'll even see Clint Eastwood.

First thing to do : I have no clue. Golden Gate Bridge maybe?




5. Budapest

Why: The metro lines aren't very good, which is sad considering it's the second oldest in the world (only 3 lines they don't connect up the whole city). But everything else about this city is amazing. The Danube, Chain Bridge, Heroes Square and Buda Castle are all amazing. I had the best meal of my life in a restaurant outside St.Stephens Basilica and it was randomly picked and I don't think it was a renowned one. A lot of the appeal of Budapest comes from the people too. They're nicer than anywhere else in Europe. The exchange rate of Florint to Euro makes it good for the pocket.

First Thing to Do: Get back to St. Stephens Basilica, find that restaurant and make sure that meal was as good as I think it was (Penne pasta in tomato sauce with buffalo milk mozzarella).




4.Brussels

Why: It's Belgium. The architecture is amazing and Grand Place is possibly the most awe-inspiring square in Europe. Antwerp gives Brussels a run, but I prefer the French section to the Dutch section. Any city where you can walk around all day and sample (free) chocolate and beer is a winner. Really, the chocolate alone is enough to go to Brussels (Valrhona and Leonidas). The restaurant lined streets and cafes call for a re-visit too.

First thing to do: Get to Valrhona. Buy a box. Then go to Grand place, sit on the Maison du Roi steps and eat previously purchased chocolates.







3. London

Why: London calling. Because it is. My favorite English speaking city (unless you're in Southall). There's so much diversity here it's hard to think of it as one city. But there's so much to see. If somehow you get tickets, there's enough football to keep you busy watching for ages. Cricket at Lord's should be classic. Concerts in Hyde Park. London Syphony and the Royal Philharmonic should be good to listen to also. It is London, so there'd be more poetry readings than slams, but those work too. And the best Indian food I've ever had is in London too.

First Thing to do: Get to Southall, have the onion bhajia. Follow with Karahi Paneer Tikka Masala with Garlic Naan. (& Try to look less clueless when people speak in Hindi)






2. Prague

Why: On the basis of Wenceslas Square alone Prague needs a re-visit. The national Museum is brilliant. And the square has enough bars and fast food places to kill and entire day. King Charles Bridge is popular, though I have no idea why, it's fun to hang around and play tourist. The walking tour is great too because Prague, like all cities, is filled with interesting history. The Allegro in Four Seasons Hotel is supposed to be an exceptional restaurant also. It's an atmosphere though. Something about Prague gets in your mind.

First thing to do: Get off at Wenceslas Square. Buy a fried mozzarella sandwich and a half-pint of Pilsner Urquell. Follow up by getting pizza at Half&Half and follow with mocha almond cheesecake.









1.Paris

Why: Paris, do you even need a reason? There is nowhere else as amazing as Paris. There is no city as diverse and beautiful, not even London. The food, the art, the history. It's all perfect. Every arrondisment is like a different world yet all still held together with familiarity. Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, Sacre Coeur, Sunday market, rugby at Stade de France. There's so much to do. Food on a boat on the Seine. Walks on the riverbank with Pinot Noir and Gruyere. Couscous and hummus in the African Market. Tartlets on Champs Elysees. The entire Montmarte area. The Louvre. The list goes on and on. Paris is neverending.

First thing to do: Get to Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore. And stay for hours reading upstairs.




Thursday, April 14, 2011

Best (music) Albums of the 1990's part 2

40.Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik -1991-USA

Why: The start of the departure from heavy noise that characterized the band previously. Expansion of the themes too, withe 'Under the Bride' showing that RHCP could do serious songs as well as the fun stuff.

Example Tracks: Suck My Kiss, Under The Bridge

39.
Santana - Supernatural -1999- USA

Why: It was the first album I'd heard that had a guest artist on every song. So it was like listening to a playlist. Not the best work Santana has ever done (I like the 70's and 80's stuff) but it was a creative concept that he's been carrying forward ever since.

Example Tracks : Maria Maria, Smooth


38.Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West -1997 -USA

Why: The best indie album of the 90's probably. Awesome overdriven guitars as a backdrop to polarizing themes of overconfidence and vulnerability; the country and the city. The worries of the disenfranchised youth is all over this album.

Example Tracks: Heart Cooks Brain, Jesus was An Only Child

37.
R.E.M - Out of Time -1991 - USA

Why: The album that sent R.E.M. from supporting to lead. A cornerstone of 90's alternative rock. And, though not very recognized, Radio Song with KRS-One is a very important track.

Example Tracks: Radio Song, Losing My Religion

36.
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness-1995-USA

Why: A 28 song album is usually a disaster. But not this time. It's a huge album but there's no wasted space. The lyrics are a bit of a downer but you kind of expect that from Smashing Pumpkins.

Example Tracks: Zero, Bullet With Butterfly Wings

35.
Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted - 1996-USA

Why: Very influential, with it's blending of music bordering on noise rhythms. Lots of complex themes and the record itself feels like they put together a million different things in one. It's that eclectic.

Example Tracks : Summer Babe, Loretta's Scars

34.
2pac - All Eyez on Me -1996 -USA

Why: Money, guns, heirarchy. As always with Tupac the lyrical content is miles above everyone else, though at times the flow needs work. It is, without doubt a brilliant record, one which defines gangsta rap.

Example Tracks: No more Pain, Only God Can Judge Me


33. Pulp -Different Class- 1995 -England

Why: Britpop was an awesome era. Pulp continued to do the daily life observation routine with clever and sometimes sinister lyrics and this time they got it perfect.

Example Tracks: Something Changed, Common People

32.
Primal Scream - Screamadelica- England-1991

Why: The departure from indie rock and into house music (probably drug influenced). It's a pretty uplifting album with lots of over-the -top splendor. It also seems pretty much perfect no matter where you're listening to it, anywhere from chillout to hyped up.

Example Tracks: Movin' on Up, Loaded

31.
Pearl Jam -ten -1991- USA

Why: Depression, suicide, loneliness, murder, homeless people. Not exactly the most fun record in the world, this one. Very guitar-riff heavy which goes with the heaviness of the whole album. The themes are deep without becoming overbearing.

Example Tracks: Black, Jeremy

Best (music) Albums of the 1990's part 3

30.The Prodigy - The Fat of the Land -1997 -USA

Why: Probably the best album from The Prodigy.Heavy use of samples, which was innovate for the time, and at that time the band were the leaders in electronic/dance music. There's enough rock in it to appeal to a mass audience (of rock listeners) and that caused enough buying to send electronica mainstream.

Example Tracks: Breathe, Firestarter, Smack My Bitch Up


29. Weezer -Weezer(the blue album) -1994 -USA

Why: Geek rock. The only people singing about love songs that weren't thoroughly depressing in the grunge early 90's. Not that they didn't channel that heartbreak-emo vibe, they just didn't sound like they didn't. Because they had the melodic ideal.

Example Tracks: Buddy Holly,Say It Ain't So

28. Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible -1994 -Wales

Why: A bit of depression and anxiety, a bit of anti-right-wing totalitarianism and overall concern about the bleak state of the world. It's a work of genius which makes you realize that you're alive despite everything about the album pointing to the fact that it's a sad, cold world.

Example Tracks: Revol, The Intense Humming of Evil

27. Bob Dylan - Time out of Mind -1997- USA

Why: They say it's Dylan's comeback album, though he'd never been gone. Half of it is definitely back to the blues and the other half is the internal working inspections which characterize recent Dylan. The anguish of old age? Maybe not, but the age is sounding in Dylan's voice

Example Tracks: Make You Feel My love, Not Dark Yet




26.Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G. -1994 -USA

Why: The debut of Biggie. The revival of East Coast hip-hop. Easy to understand lyrics because of the mutli-level rhymes and superior flow. The portrait of a life that deals with drug dealing, crime and violence understandably carries a dark tone, which only adds realism to an already vivid portrayal.

Example Tracks: Things Done Changed, Big Poppa, Suicidal Thoughts


25. Metallica - Metallica (the black album) -1991 -USA

Why: Simplified for the mainstream. And it worked. Usually that's a bad thing. But not always. And this is one of those times. It was slower and less thrash metal, but heavier and deeper themes . It's the first Metallica album that's very easy to relate to in it's entirety.

Example Tracks: Enter Sandman,Nothing Else Matters,The Unforgiven



24. Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill -1998 - USA

why: The debut and only album Lauryn ever released. So far. But it's so good that you wish she'd get back to the studio. R&b, hip-hop,soul and reggae; topics such as love, God, motherhood and tensions in The Fugees. It's a powerful,souful album that moves between many different forms and topics seamlessly.

Example Tracks: Final Hour, Doo Wop (that Thing)



23. Radiohead- The Bends- England -1995

Why: The 90's and Radiohead only resulted in excellent albums. This was when they started the multi-level sounds and the lyrics that are extremely confusing. Singing high notes to lots of guitars playing started here and without this, there wouldn't be half the popular music of today.

Example tracks: Fake Plastic Trees, Street Spirit (Fade Out)

22. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine -1992 -USA

Why: Very heavy and one of the first popular rap-metal albums, widely viewed as the album that made the genre noticeable. Very political (and critical) lyrics mixed with funk and metal guitar sounds make it fun to listen to as well as intellectual.

Example Tracks: Wake Up, Killing in The Name, Bullet in the Head


21. The Smashing Pumpkins -Siamese Dream -1993 -USA

Why: Too much genres merge into this album to be counted, which works because the music is very complex and detailed with lots of production effort to create. Intertwined with melodramatic and intensely emotional lyrics, its an excellent album.

Example Tracks: Cherub Rock, Geek U.S.A, Rocket



Best (music) Albums of the 1990's part 4

20. The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin -1999-USA




why: Years later and the band is still getting props for it, so much that they played it in its entirety in July. basically established that lush soundscape that you associate with The Flaming Lips now. It has the twofold effect of complex music with simple lyrics so it never tries to confuse you. It's always completely listen-able.





Example Tracks : Race for the Prize, Waiting for a Superman



19. Nas -Illmatic -1994- USA





why: The debut and still the best Nas album. The beats are great, yeah, but Nas has the best, most brilliant lyrics and at the time was the closest thing to poetry that you got from a rap artist. Lyrical content that depicts accurately his world while being able to see it and not get sucked in.





Example Tracks: Life's a Bitch, The World is Yours



18. Massive Attack - Blue Lines -1991 -England





why: The first trip hop album ever. That whole electronic, dub, hip hop and soul merging could only be good. Total soul music that somehow was grand and emotional, though it wasn't really possible to pinpoint why. your heart and your mind are occupied for this record.





Example Tracks: Unfinished Sympathy, Safe from Harm



17. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang Clan(36 Chambers) -1993 -USA





why: Another debut rap album that's probably the best. Probably the album that allowed East Coast rap back into the game and set it up for Nas, Jay-Z and Notorious BIG to make it big. It is the most raw album of the early 90's and all the commercial success was not expected. haphazard beats, erratic song layouts and nil touchups make it exceptional.





Example Tracks: C.R.E.A.M., Protect Ya Neck





16.Beck -Odelay -1996-USA





why: A whole lotta sampling went into this and as a result it sounds like a whole lotta different stuff. Folk, country, rock and electronica; it's basically Beck in short form. A guy who can make a lot of things sound good and make different elements flow into one another.





Example Tracks: Devil's Haircut, Where It's at





15.Nirvana -In Utero -1993


why: The final Nirvana album, the one that's different because of the band's newfound success (which is reflected in the lyrics). It is brilliant and thoughtful, but also, Kurt Cobain isn't very happy or pleased when he's writing and it shows. Abrasively listenable, though that's an impossible sounding description, it works.

example tracks: Heart Shaped Box, All Apologies






14. Jeff Buckley -Grace -1994 -USA

why: Makes you wonder what could have been if he'd lived to record more. The lyrics are great and the music is large scale and grandiose but the real magic in this album is Buckely's voice. there's a lots of influences in it, but the album is something totally original.

Example Tracks: Last Goodbye, Hallelujah



13. R.E.M. -Automatic for the People - 1991 -USA


why: Slow, beautiful melodies and meaningful, resonant vocals. REM always had those things, but they really made it stand out in this album. A bit depressing with the themes of loss and purposelessness.

Example Tracks: Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon



12. Soundgarden -Superunknown - 1994 -USA

why: Heavy sounds, in the guitars and the drums. But they have range too, though you wouldn't think there's a range of heavy, there is. A portrait of alienation, confusion and hopelessness but the loudness cuts the depression, more into angry mode.

Example Tracks: Spoonman, Black Hole Sun



11.The Fugees - The Score -1997 -USA

Why: The second and final Fugees album. They should have stayed together. Brilliant lyrics, of the intellectual variety, a rarity for popular rap at that time (probably still a rarity).A lot of familiar hooks to give that chill, comfortable feel and a widescale scope

Example Tracks: Ready or Not, Killing Me Softly






Friday, April 8, 2011

30 day song challenge edited to refer to books

So there's this thing called the 30 day song challenge. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/30-Day-Song-Challenge/120874111270003?ref=ts#!/pages/30-Day-Song-Challenge/120874111270003?sk=app_4949752878) .

And it's pretty awesome. So, me being me, I decided to edit it up and see if it works for books/poetry. Most work with only minor tweaking. Results as follows. My list, my picks. As always. I'll try to use books in front of poetry, mostly cause I expect to give poems their own list.

Original :day 01 - your favorite song

Edited as : day 01 - your favorite book (This isn't set, it varies a lot) - Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

day 02 - your least favorite song

Edited as : day 02 - Your least favorite book - Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce

day 03 - a song that makes you happy


Edited as : day 03 - a book that makes you happy - Goodbye, Mr. Chips - James Hilton

day 04 - a song that makes you sad

Edited as : day 04 - a book that makes you sad - The Road - Cormac McCarthy

day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone

Edited as : day 05 - a book that reminds you of someone - Love in The Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere

Edited as : day 06 - a book that reminds you of somewhere - The Museum of Innocence - Orhan Pamuk

day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event

Edited as : day 07 - a book that reminds you of a certain event - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)

day 08 - a song that you know all the words to

Edited as : day 08 - a poem that you know all the words to. (Since knowing all the words to a book is really unlikely). - Fire and Ice - Robert Frost

day 09 - a song that you can dance to

Edited as : No clue. If anyone can edit into something logical, let me know.

day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep

Edited as : day 10 - a book that makes you fall asleep - Engineering Mechanics: Combined Statics & Dynamics, 12th Edition - Russell C. Hibbeler


day 11 - a song from your favorite band

Edited as : a book from your favorite author - Leaf Storm - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

day 12 - a song from a band you hate

Edited as : day 12 - a book from an author you hate - Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand


day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure

Edited as :day 13 - a book that is a guilty pleasure - Bridget Jones Diary - Helen Fielding


day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love

Edited as : day 14 - a book that no one would expect you to love - A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

day 15 - a song that describes you

Edited as : day 15 - a book that describes you - Youth - J.M. Coetzee

day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate

Edited as : day 16 - a book that you used to love but now hate - A Passage to India - E.M. Forster

day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio

Edited as : day 17 - a book that you often see being read - Eat,Pray ,Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio

Edited as : day 18 - a book that you wish you saw being read - A Man of The People - Chinua Achebe

day 19 - a song from your favorite album

Edited as : day 19 - a short story from your favorite short story collection - Hills Like White Elephants from Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway

day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry

Edited as : day 20 - a book that you read to when you’re angry - The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli

day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy

Edited as : day 21 - a book that you read when you’re happy - Scoop - Evelyn Waugh

day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad

Edited as : day 22 - a book that you read to when you’re sad - The Prophet - Khalil Gibran

day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding

Edited as : day 23 - a poem that you want read at your wedding ( since there isn't time to read a whole book) - And Because Love Battles - Pablo Neruda

day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral

Edited as - a poem that you want read at your funeral ( since there isn't time to read a whole book) - Funeral Blues - W.H. Auden

day 25 - a song that makes you laugh

Edited as - day 25 - a book that makes you laugh - Right Ho, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument

Edited as : A book you completely understood first time though people said you wouldn't - One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

day 27 - a song that you wish you could play

Edited as: day 27 - a book that you wish you understood completely by now - Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon

day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty

Edited as : day 28 - a book that makes you feel guilty - World Hunger - Frances Moore Lappe

day 29 - a song from your childhood

Edited as : day 29 - a book from your childhood - Three Singles to Adventure - Gerald Durell

day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

Edited as : day 30 - your favorite book at this time last year - Peeling the Onion - Gunter Grass

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The complete control playlist

In case you aren't aware, I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I was wondering if I got to pick, what songs I'd like to hear at a concert. So this is that playlist

Criteria: Bruce usually does about 25 songs and a 2 song encore. So that's the format of the list. Only one cover song is allowed.


From The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle

1. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

From Born to Run

2.
Born to Run
3. Thunder Road
4.She's The One
5.Jungleland

From Darkness on The Edge of Town

6.
Adam Raised a Cain
7.Racing in The Street
8. The Promised Land
9. Prove it All Night
10. Darkness on the Edge of Town

From The River

11.
Hungry Heart
12.The River

From Nebraska

13.
Nebraska
14. Johnny 99

From Born in the USA

15
I'm on Fire
16. Dancing in The Dark

From The Ghost of Tom Joad

17.
Youngstown
18. The Ghost Of Tom Joad

From The Rising

19.
The Rising
20.Waiting on a Sunny Day

From Magic

21.
Long Walk Home

From Working on a Dream

22.
Working on a Dream

From The Promise

23.
Fire
24. Because The Night


From Philadelphia Soundtrack

25. Streets Of Philadelphia

Encore:

Cover Track - 26. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

27. Kitty's Back


Monday, March 21, 2011

The Travel Bucket List - pt2

Bucket List - A list of things to do before you die.

27 is getting a lot closer than it used to be. So just in case I take after Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison, time to edit the bucket list.

The Travel Bucket List Idea is easy. Take a regional zone and find ten places I'd like to see before I die, or to re-visit in some cases. It's my list so I call the zones. It isn't always going to be cities, though mostly yes. For small countries I think the entire country can be considered. As in, I can't call all of Russia in one trip but I can call all of French Polynesia. I think if one spot in the country/region can be gotten to in a 2.5 hour flight or less, it counts as one trip territory eg. Czech Republic and Slovakia.

And also justify(explain?) why there. Maybe pictures too.

here's the easiest start because South America is closest.


5.Buenos Aires, Argentina - Argentina again, and I don't even like their football team much. 'The Paris of South America' seems like a great place to see, in summer though. I like old buildings and nice food; Buenos Aires has both. If I magically find a ticket to a Boca Juniors vs. RiverPlate match, then I'd be very content. Maybe even attempt the tango.

Fulfillment Criteria: See Boca Juniors Stadium. See the Obelisk. Buy a book at El Ateneo bookstore. Go see Evita's grave. And make a pilgrimage to the house Maradona grew up in.

Suggested Cliched Activity: Walk around singing 'Don't Cry for me Argentina'






4. Cartagena, Colombia - The famous Caribbean coast of Columbia.You can't read Gabo and not want to see it. Islas de Rosario for the coral reefs, famous forts and castles. It's a World Heritage site. There's bound to be lots to see but mostly it's a pick because of Love In The Time Of Cholera

Fulfilment Criteria : Go see the port, the parks, the old district and whatever else still remains from Love in The Time Of Cholera.

Suggested Cliched activity : Read The General in His Labyrinth in a public park.






3. Macchu Picchu& Lima, Peru - Macchu Picchu is a direct plane or train trip from Lima, so it isn't a cheat. But it just isn't right unless you take the Inca trail to get there through the mountains. Lima is for the food and the fusion food.

Fulfillment Criteria : Take the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu.

Suggested Cliched Activity: Read the early works of Mario Vargas Llosa (Conversation in the Cathedral, The green House) while relaxing on the beach.












2. Rio de Janiero, Brazil - Really need to justify? It's Rio. Capacabana, Ipanema, Bossa Nova and the Maracana. Get there for World Cup is the ideal time.

Fulfillment Cirteria: Take the cable car to Sugarloaf mountain, walk on Copacabana Pavement, go see Cristo Redentor.

Suggested Cliched Activity: Play football on the beach in Ipanema












1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador - I don't even need to see the rest of Ecuador. Just here. Follow in the footsteps of Darwin. See all the animals that live nowhere else. Pretend to be all National Geographic.

Fulfillment Criteria: Take an Eco-tour