Monday, November 27, 2006

CD Reviews

So I acquired quite a bit of music in September...and I've been working on this post (and forgetting about this post) for three months. Here's my take on all of it...finally!

1. Barenaked Ladies Are Me - Barenaked Ladies
My opinion: This is by far the most "grown-up" album they've produced. It's uncharacteristically mature and mellow, in a really good way. I'd rate it as one of their best CDs; definitely better than Everything To Everyone.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: Home, because it is such a beautiful song. But it's a tough choice. You really need, at minimum - Home, Sound of Your Voice, Easy and Maybe You're Right. Come on, it's only $3.96!

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Adrift (7/10) - Crescent moon sings me to sleep / The birches bark, the willows weep / But I lie awake / I'm adrift without a snowflake

Bank Job (5/10) - 'Cause you made a choice there, almost sublime / I'm all for compassion, just not on my dime / You looked like an amateur and that's the real crime / So I'll take a walk now and you'll do the time

Sound of Your Voice (8/10) - The saying goes, there will be other dances / And this little song is about second chances / Just say the word and I will rejoice / And wake up to the sound of your voice / Oh how I miss waking up to the sound of your voice

Easy (9/10) - Easy to be with you, easy to obey / Easy to forgive you at the end of the day / Easy now to judge you, easy to betray / Easy to adore you though you want to run away

Home (10/10) - End of the road I'm running, and look back to survey where I've been / Someday I'll write and ask you if you could imagine all I've seen / How could you think that I could turn my back on you / How did you think this would be turning out and turning 'round / What could I do but call you, what could I do but call this home / That's when I knew where I was, that's when I knew that I was home

Bull in a China Shop (6/10) - I'm a kid in a candy store / I'm a bull in a china shop / I'm a tired old metaphor / For everything you can't afford / And everything you can't afford to be

Everything Had Changed (3/10) - When in rags and when in wealth / a solemn promise never to give too much of myself / Despite the hopeful things I've said / I lived my life inside my head

Petersborough and the Kawarthas (7/10) - I'm going early, won't wave goodbye / Tell him I love him, look him in the eye / I've learned how to mourn, I've learned how to miss / Let me disappear with this kiss

Maybe You're Right (10/10) - Shall I take back everything I've ever said / And live my whole life in silence instead / Shall I take back all my attacks, all of my accusations / All my mistrust, we never discussed anyone's reservations

Take It Back (6/10) - It's hard to keep your mouth shut / Harder still to make noise / But we can't have the perfect 20/20 hindsight / That our fate enjoys

Vanishing (6/10) - Isn't that the necklace he found behind your ear / He's floating upside down below a chandelier / Wishing he had the power to make you reappear / He's a magician, hoping, wishing / And you're the one vanishing

Rule the World With Love (4/10) - I need to love you with an iron fist / I need to love you with a secret list / I need to love you 'til you don't exist / And rule the world with love

Wind It Up (6/10) - If you are leaving then I wish you luck / I hope someone can make your heart warm / I was a baby when I learned to suck / But you have raised it to an art form

2. Life In Slow Motion - David Gray
My opinion: This is pretty much quintessential David Gray, and that's both good and bad. The good is that he's an excellent musician and vocalist, the bad is that the tracks don't stand out from each other as much. It's still a great album, but I had to listen to it at least half a dozen times before the songs started to distinguish themselves.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: The One I Love - great vocals and tune.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Alibi (7/10) - How I long to / Bite every hand that feeds you more / Where'd it all go wrong / My Friday night enfant

The One I Love (10/10) - There's things I might have said / Only wish I could / Now I'm leaking life faster than I'm leaking blood / Tell the repo man and the stars above / You're the one I love

Lately (7/10) - Drag a salted kiss / From this cup of bliss / Watch a new lie twist on the breeze / You can paint it red / Leave it all for dead / But it's in my head always

Nos Da Cariad (6/10) - The sun above the cotton grass / Is sinking down like lead / The seagulls know the truth of it / And scream it overhead

Slow Motion (7/10) - While I was watching you did a slow dissolve / Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes / Did I imagine they held us hypnotized / Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes / Life in slow motion somehow it don't feel real

From Here You Can Almost See The Sea (9/10) - Here comes the cavalry / From here you can almost see the sea / Just another fool in the line / I dream of high clouds flushed with the light of daybreak / I'm gonna dive in to water so cold it makes your bones ache

Ain't No Love (9/10) - On winter trees the fruit of rain / Is hanging trembling in the branches / Like a thousand diamond buds / And waiting there in every pause / That old familiar fear that claws you / Tells you nothing ain't no good / Then pulling back you see it all / Down here so laughable and small / Hardly a quiver in the dirt / This ain't no love that's guiding me

Hospital Food (8/10) - Seeing it all so beautiful / The way it oughta be / Seeing it all so beautiful / And turning away, turning away, turning away

Now And Always (7/10) - The road I'm walking might fall away / You're in my mind baby now and always

Disappearing World (8/10) - Night falling on the city / Quite something to behold / Don't it just look so pretty / This disappearing world

Everybody's Leaving Town (6/10) - All the stores are closing down / Everybody's leaving town

3. Live at the 9:30 Club - Virginia Coalition
My opinion: A really great, rocking live album. A few of the songs get a little "long in the tooth" with the extended live jams (Walk To Work, Places People, Jerry Jermaine) but they really did an awesome job with this concert. And I was there!

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: That's What You Said. Not because the other ones aren't good, but because this song isn't on any of their albums. And it's got great vocals and a killer piano line. Voyager 2, Motown and Lonely Cowboy are also particularly well done.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Walk To Work (7/10) - We keep doing our thing, for reasons / We keep doing our thing for reasons I'll never know / And I was born on the edge of something else / She said I'm leaving you for someday / And I gotta go

Green And Grey (7/10) - Maybe I won't love you this time around / Maybe I'll get mixed up / Maybe we're all just scared of growing old, she said / That's why we cry when the rain comes down / But it turns the dust to mud as the grass grows from the ground

Likeness (6/10) - Twisting on this broken swing / Talking about who was a fool born in love / I was just a red faced boy with a diamond ring / And no one left to love

Hurricane Song (8/10) - They were saying, why don't you stay with the natives / Burned and restless, they'll take you in / They're as warm as the sunlight that's rolling in / On hurricane island through all that hurricane wind

Voyager 2 (9/10) - I hear you clearly, though you're hardly in my view / For I listen in the way in which you told me / I hold them dearly, all these murmurs of the earth / Pushing forth like waves when something hits the water / And all directions, they point inside of you / And all connections to life beholding / The pebble in the puddle made the ripple in the water / Made the tree casting shadows by the river / Through the swaying limbs I see Voyager 2

Motown (8/10) - Black man sings a song of romance, that's all he needs / A little girl to make his life complete / Just like singing a serenade beneath your windowsill / Slow dancing on a Friday night

Stella (7/10) - Young man with a tear in his eye / A beginner to the broken heart / He said "Mama, no matter what glue I use, my world just falls apart" / So he packed his bags and cash, hitchhiked up 95 / It was 2am, the boy's eyes were red but he could see that skyline

Mason Dixon (7/10) - He's not on time, he's always on time / Turning the knob, the stars turn into light / Holding his hand, she'll finally sleep now

Meteor (8/10) - And now you've seen silver wings and so much faster things / Oh, they lift you up at night / And you need a dream to fly, not some paper airplane

Lean On Me (6/10)

Johnny Wonder (8/10) - I'd rather die in love than to live forever / It's like the feeling when your soul's saying now or never / Stop crying to the angels up above / You can live forever, I would rather die in love

Gates Of Wisdom (6/10) - Drop back to the gates of wisdom / Sign me up for another holy roller / I-I-I don't mind if I do

That's What You Said (10/10) - It follows me in every way, pushing me through cycles / I dreamed I had a purpose now, but only for a while / Plans forever unrehearsed streaming in through verses / You will feel elation realizing that you believed in you

Lonely Cowboy (9/10) - No obstacles between my heart and my words / My lips a great liaison to my soul / Girl you make me feel just like a lonely cowboy / Alone on the range late at night / You make me feel just like a lonely cowboy / But it's alright, it's alright, it's alright

Places People (6/10) - Don't ever let it get you down / You're gonna make a getaway plan to get yourself downtown / And then with all your friends around / This is now the place to be and everybody is getting down

Jerry Jermaine (5/10) - A little bit skinny, crazy and white / Said, don't sweat it baby, I can do it all night / You call the doctor when you're feeling pain / When you wanna feel good, call Jerry Jermaine

4. Save Me - Pat McGee Band
My opinion: It's just not the same since Al left the band. The songs are still good, but there isn't the amazing vocal harmonies that were classic of Revel and Shine. They've become "just another rock band." Still a good rock band, but a little too vanilla now. If you buy the whole album, make sure you get the one with the four bonus acoustic tracks.

If you only buy one track off of iTunes: Beautiful Ways is great, but it was the overplayed radio single. I'd recommend Wonderful as my pick, as the vocals are great there. Must Have Been Love is also great.

Tracks and selected lyrics:
Beautiful Ways (9/10) - Help me cause I’m off the radar screen / Help me cause you know just where I’ve been / Help me cause I lost my faith / I can’t afford to live this way / And I just can’t help myself / Have you lost your beautiful ways?

Must Have Been Love (10/10) - Your touch has me so unover you / If I could just get one night with you / Your eyes tell me that you want me too / Can I come over and stay with you?

You and I (7/10) - You and I / Let's lay down our pasts tonight / And you, yes you / Why won't you see this thing through? / What I wouldn't change / I think I've gone insane

Now (8/10) - After the stars fall down and there's nothing for wishing on / After the good-bye sound and love leaves her alone / She picks herself up off the ground / She won't bow down, she's come too far to give up now

Don't Give Up (7/10) - And when there's something more, oh, I'll know / I'm not afraid to say let go / I'm starting to believe / What if I could be / What if I could...

At It Again (6/10) - You've taken it all / I've taken the fall for your life but not for long / Who's right when everyone's wrong / I'll take on the pain for awhile / Once in your life just show a smile / And end this fight tonight

Annabel (7/10) - You give me all I'll ever need / I know that you were meant for me / Baby, I'm the lucky one / I'll scream out to everyone

Never Around (6/10) - And you know I don't understand the way / You sit there by yourself / And no, I don't want to gamble with / Leaving you by yourself

Wonderful (10/10) - If you could see behind my eyes / The more it hurts to love you / In my eyes you’re wonderful, and / In my mind it’s still possible / There is a picture, a time in my life / It’s standing beside me, everything’s right / Can you imagine this vision of mine?

Set Me Free (8/10) - You better come up and save me / From this love that escapes me in your eyes / It will always send it back to / Where I want, where I need / Set me free

Shady (4/10) - Tell me how I'm supposed to live / I don't know how much more to give / When will I ever learn / Here we are alone tonight / It's a shady time of wrong and right / I guess we're not that concerned / We'll learn

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Creative undertakings

So I've finalized my 2006 christmas cookie list. The lucky winners:
Cranberry Eggnog Twirls
Star Mint Cookies
Chocolate Orange Twists
Cashew Toffee Bars
Chocolate Chip (always for Matt)
Gingerbread Men
Chocolate Peanut Butter

And a pumpkin pie, per Daniel's request. For gift bags this year, I'm making homemade marshmallow stars and savory cracker twists. And some homemade wine marker rings for another gift.

I always feel very Martha Stewart-y this time of year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Bits

* Thanksgiving = totally delish.
* A week ago I saw the lucky person in Maryland that got the VEE DUB license plate.
* I don't recognize any of the songs on "Now That's What I Call Music 23;" I think that means I'm officially old.
* Did it always get this dark at 5:30 in the afternoon? Somehow I don't remember this.
* My brother is due back on American soil in 9 days.
* Go Hokies!
* We have at least 1/3 of our holiday shopping done, and no, I did not shop on Black Friday.

Update: Ugh...this was the worst week in my ESPN College Pick'em. Totally gross...that killed my standings. Why, Clemson, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Arizona and NC State??

Update 2: Final ranking = 5285 (out of over 140,000), 97.7th percentile.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone gets their turkey on today. We're leaving in about 45 minutes to go to my parents for the best turkey ever, stuffing, gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, green beans and creamed onions. I'm adding apple pie, cranberry crumb pie, baked stuffed pears and cranberry sauce (all homemade, of course) to the mix. See you back online late Friday night.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I like heat

We had our new heat pump and programmable thermostat installed today. The Sears people gave us an appointment time of 8-11am. Guess what time the contractors called to say they were almost there?
a. 7:05am
b. 8:30am
c. 10:59am
d. 2:00pm

If you guessed a, buy yourself a cookie, you smarty pants.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I am a rock, I am an island

It's been tough to motivate myself to blog lately.

So, Saturday was fun. We went to Carly and Eric's place for ultimate frisbee, and ended up with 9 people - Dan brought his friend Simon and his cousin John (who were both really cool) and Chris Kessler came, who I hadn't seen in at least 5 years. Matt, Kessler, John and I were pitted against Carly, Dan, Nate, Tito and Simon. Even though we were short-handed we won the first game easily, 7-2. The second game was much tougher, but we still managed to pull off a 7-5 win. Pwnage!

Eric, Jeremy, Ashley, and Randi came after the ultimate frisbee. We threw stuff on the grill and were going to watch the VT-Kent State game, but it turned out that C and E didn't have ESPNU, so we watched the Maryland-Miami game (John and Simon had both gone to UMD). Then we watched the end of the Florida-South Carolina game, and then the end of the Cal-Arizona game.

Carly deemed me MVP (I did catch the game-winning pass in the second game) and apparently I'm also funny. We were talking about bisexuals, and I said "I don't get's this or that, not a chinese menu." And then when I was describing Scary Gay Doug from high school and how he had a crush on Seth and sent cookies to him, Eric or Randi asked "Seth didn't want to be Scary Gay Seth?" and I responded "Seth is probably the least gay person I know...he's bizarro gay." We went over to Matt Green's afterward to get ice cream and play video games - Guitar Hero, which was cool, and Smash Bothers, which was stupid. And then when we left, Matt had a flat tire, so that was fun. I had to stand outside and shine my iPod on the wheel because we didn't have a flashlight.

I didn't feel well on Sunday so I stayed home from church and slept until 12:15, and then spent pretty much the rest of the day on the couch watching TV. Today was pretty rotten too - I had a three-day experiment planned, and when I took my cells over to the irradiator I found out that they had put a card swipe on the door and neglected to tell anyone. So there's a whole day wasted there. Then I stayed at work an extra hour and a half because I had a meeting at 7pm, but no one ever showed up. Nice.

I suppose we're going to go see the new James Bond movie this there's the VT-Wake Forest game. I'm torn in this week's ESPN picks - as much as I'd like VT to win, I just don't think I can pick them over Wake Forest. Le sigh.

A guy is arrested at a TSA checkpoint because of his super scary rubber band ball.
Robot jokes are funny.
Does the show "Lost" need to be fixed?
Katamari Damacy halloween costume - Matt Green said he'd date her.

And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.
-Simon and Garfunkel

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Coffee cup philosophy

"Life is a school for angels. Love is the Teacher, so do your homework without fear. Death is merely graduation." - Jeffrey Kuehl

I can't get better than 50/50

Yay: Gingerbread latte time at Starbucks, got all three class assignments turned in on time, currently have a 95% in class
Boo: Emissions inspection is actually due tomorrow and not the 14th, VEIP is closed for the "state holiday" today, I still feel sick from my flu vaccine last week

I love these illustrations of "teh internets"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Total Nerdage

With our birthday Best Buy cards (yes I know it's way past our birthdays, better late than never, right?) Matt and I got Guitar Hero for the PS2.

Our band's name is Poisson Sumac!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Witty-ness abounds

I saw a bumper sticker today that said IM4W. I wanted to put a post-it note on the car that said Y.

Nick didn't know was Mr. Pibb was. I told him that it was Dr. Pepper without the degree.

You want palak paneer with that?

Old and busted: outsourcing tech support
New hottness: outsourcing medical care

Math at its finest


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Long time coming

She likes to sleep with the radio on
So she can dream of her favorite song
The one that no one has ever sung since she was small

She'll never know that she made it up
She had a soul and we ate it up
Thrown away like a paper cup, the music falls

Snorted some virus - check.
Muscle spasm - check.
Free drugs - check.
Family drama - check.
Major traffic back-up - check.
Huge home improvement purchase - check.
Got invited to a LAN party - check...?
Rocking the BNL on the iPod - check.

Two more days...

Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves
Of all these demons haunting us
To keep us company

Won't it be odd to be happy like we
Always thought we're supposed to feel
But never seem to be
- Barenaked Ladies, War on Drugs