Monday, December 11, 2006

Comments in Moderation

Just this weekend, I realized I actually had some comments from real people and not SpamBots. I turned 'em all on. I promise to be more vigilant about that in the future, so the 3 or 4 of you who are actually reading this can both make comments and see them show up.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A few days in the life

Over the last month, I've managed to get down to 177 pounds. My blood pressure is more or less 120/80. Some days the systolic is a bit higher, some days the diastolic. Definitely moving in the right direction. A few more pounds to go. I'm hangin' in there.

Work is settling down a little bit. Or at least I'm hitting it with a better attitude.

Going on a little vacation soon, away from all of this San Francisco madness. Iran will be done with school in a few more days and then there's...oh man, holiday shopping. I need to take care of that.

What do you all want?

Me, I know I'm hard to shop for. I made one of those Amazon gift lists, but no one ever buys me stuff from it. Friends and family say it all looks like homework. What can I say? I am a sucker for books that I can pretend make me smarter and slightly less-crappy-sounding versions of CDs I already own!

My Top 10 Albums of 2006

Here's my list of the 10 new albums I enjoyed most in 2006. This doesn't mean I listened to them the most, just that I made it all the way through at least once and didn't say "oh man that sucked."
  1. Scott Walker - "The Drift"One of the weirdest things I've heard in a long time. Mysterious, disturbing, beautiful. A David Lynch movie in music, all the more remarkable because it's made by a guy who was a pop star in the 60's. Apparently recorded with no compression! "It's a swanky suuuuuit..."
  2. Tim Hecker - "Harmony In Ultraviolet"
    You only need one Tim Hecker album. This is it. Ambient. Sounds like the music of the spheres played over a static-y radio. Any track is as good as any other, and the album itself works great in sequence or shuffle.

  3. The Church - "Uninvited, Like The Clouds"
    Same shit they always do. I really like about half of it. "Block" and "Song To Go" (the first and last tracks) are great. Good production, nice guitar playing, and their typical semi-psychedelic lyrics.

  4. The Knife - "Silent Shout"Yeah, it's pretty much the same song over and over again, but that one song is pretty good. Clever use of limited/unique pallette. You definitely only need one record by this band. Having checked out their others, they're all pretty much the same.

  5. TV On The Radio - "Return To Cookie Mountain"
    Soul/Indie. Not solid the whole way through, but interesting. This is one of those "gimmes" - pretty much everyone making a list this year stuck this one on there. It's good, not great. So everybody includes it.

  6. Mastodon - "Blood Mountain"
    My heavy metal favorite this year. These guys are great. Not as good as Leviathan, but better than 95% of anything else that came out with distorted guitars and yelling this year. Not as derivative as Wolfmother, but not as catchy, either.

  7. Tom Waits - "Orphans"
    It's Tom Waits. He puts most other songwriters to shame, even with his "odds and sods". Another gimme that everyone put on their list this year. I don't know if anyone can actually listen to 3 CDs of his 'junkyard blues" back-to-back, but in smaller doses, he's unbeatable.

  8. Tie between "Pick a Bigger Weapon" by The Coup and "Mo'Mega" by Mr. Lif
    Neither one of these hip-hop albums is great the whole way through. But if you took the best halves of each, you'd have something. No thuggery here. Some thoughtful, angry, and catchy hip-hop. Try "We Are The Ones" from The Coup's album and "The Fries" from Lif's joint.
  9. Wolfmother - "Wolfmother"
    They really like old Black Sabbath, Zep, and AC/DC. Do you? Not particularly inventive, but blissfully free of the tongue-in-cheekery that kept anyone from really enjoying The Darkness.
So there you go. There were some other albums that were contenders - Neil Young's campaign ad "Living With War". There were also a bunch of records (like every year) that people hyped to death which completely mystified me. Coming soon: the list of non-2006 things I "discovered" in 2006.