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Living in Chicago, by way of Dayton, OH and Havertown, PA. Contact me at atozpod@gmail.com.



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Friday, January 26, 2007

Wednesday November 22 - Afternoon

Day 153, Session 55:
Location: On a less crowded than usual train because most folks have already left work because of Thanksgiving, heading towards home.
First song: Concerto No 1 in E major "Spring" Largo e pianissimo sempre by Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Last full song: Congratulations by Mink
Progress: 687-699 of 4446
Total Songs Heard: 646

The rest of VIVALDI'S (ugh, so dumb - see last post for more details) The Four Seasons today. Logically it would seem to make sense now to have a four seasons breakdown!

Spring - I like spring, but I don't love spring. Sporting wise, spring is big. My two favorite sporting events happen in spring, the NCAA tournament and the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Baseball season starts in spring too. My favorite part of spring is that first warm day each year where it really smells like spring for the first time. The whole feeling associated with that day usually drives me into a manic episode where I feel high (or what I would assume feeling high feels like anyway.) On the downside, I actually prefer snow to rain. I think I've also developed allergies over the past couple of years and spring is no good for that. As far as the music goes, I recognized 2 of the 3 sections of Spring. I'm pretty sure one of them is used in the Fancy Feast cat food commercials.

Summer - Is it weird that I'm not a big fan of summer? Obviously when I was in school summer was great because there was no school, now though where's the advantage to summer?
A lot of people like spending time outside... I'm not one of those people. I don't like it hot. Heat and humidity leave me a lot more uncomfortable than cold and wind. I don't like that there's only baseball available. I suppose I like more daylight, but that's not huge for me. I hate bugs and summer is full of bugs, especially bees and those stupid house centipede dealees. Once could kill me and the other is super gross. TV is all reruns, boo! Oh, I do enjoy people watching more in summer, but my bathing suit body isn't what it used to be (not that it was ever anything (unless you like ribs)) so I don't feel as comfortable being people watched in the summer. For the music, I didn't recognize any of the sections of summer, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I like the familiar.

Autumn - Now we're talking. Football! Bugs die! The first crisp air day has a very similar effect on me as that first spring day. I like wearing a wind breaker. Did I mention football? Plus hockey and college basketball both start in Autumn. There's new TV too! Yeah, I'm a big fan of autumn. Summer is usually hectic with weddings and vacations and long nights and time away... autumn it all calms down again and I can settle in at home with a sandwich and watch football. Didn't recognize any of the Autumn music right away.

Winter - You would think being in cold Chicago would make me hate winter. Not so. I like winter. My theory is, no matter how cold it is outside, it's always nice and warm once you're inside again. I enjoy layering sweatshirts and coats and gloves. I even like scarves now (for a long time I thought a scarf was a sign of weakness, oh how the midwest has taught me.) Mostly though, I like holing up. Coming in, shutting out the outside world, plopping down on the couch under a blanket and enjoying my warm space at home. If I have a cup of hot chocolate (and maybe that's got some Bailey's in it) all the better. Oh yeah, and Christmas!!! The winter music was good.

Final tally, my favorite seasons (as inspired by Vivaldi): 1. Autumn 2. Winter 3. Spring 4. Summer
Final tally, favorite among Vivaldi's Four Seasons: 1. Spring 2. Winter 3. Autumn 4. Summer

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wednesday November 22 - Morning

Day 153, Session 54:
Location: On a train more crowded than usual with holiday travelers, heading towards work.
First song: Comfort Eagle by Cake
Last full song: Concerto No. 1 in E Major "Spring" Allegro (Dabza Pastorale) by Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra*
Progress: 669-686 of 4446
Total Songs Heard: 633

Skipped one NPR Sunday Puzzle podcast. The wife and I like to listen to those together, since she wasn't on the train with me I didn't listen to it.

Started in on some Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." Back in the day when not everyone had the opportunity to get themselves heard on the internet any time they wanted (thanks blogger!) I used to try to take part in a lot of chats on espn.com. I always tried to ask completely different non-sports questions, cause, you know, I thought that'd be a "cool" way to set myself apart and increase the chances of my name appearing in the chat. My favorite answer to one of my questions came from ESPN's John Buccigross. I asked who he preferred Tchaikovsky or Vivaldi? The answer... Vivaldi, because he really liked the "Four Seasons:" football, baseball, hockey and basketball. I thought that was a pretty good answer.

In the middle of one of the classical tunes I swear I heard someone cough during the recording. I found this hilarious! If I can manage to extract it from the song I'll post it later. Imagine all that hard work to capture the sound of an entire orchestra... and then someone coughs! (Ok, maybe only I find it funny.)

*Oops... and boo for me! For about 12 hours this song was credited to Simon and Garfunkel. And, super fantastic double boo, for the last 5 days I've been crediting Tchaikovsky with writing "The Four Seasons." Yeah, it wasn't. It was Vivaldi. Sweet jeebus I've gotten dumb recently. (Although I was still speeling Tchaikovsky correct from memory.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday November 21st - Evening

Day 152, Session 53:
Location: At the end of the train.
First song: Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett
Last full song: Comfort and Joy by Simon and Garfunkel
Progress: 659-668 of 4446
Total Songs Heard: 616

Oops. Miscounted last time and totally missed the fact that 600 songs had been passed. Song 600 was Colleen Campbell, another in the long and impressive line of Fruvous fan songs.

Jimmy Buffett is an interesting case. The wife and I went with some friends to a Buffett concert at Wrigley 2 summers ago. It was a crazy day. Ten of thousands of people drunk off their asses for the better part of a day. Everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts. People singing along to every song. It was everything that's great about Buffett (community spirit, enthusiastic crowd, fun songs) and everything not as great about Buffett (too many amateurs drinking, hard to hear music over crowd, songs that all kind of start to sound the same) all rolled into one. Then I heard this story from Slate.com and I came to appreciate the whole Buffett phenomenon a little better.

That's what makes Come Monday such a strange case.
It's not another song about some sort of tropical fantasy. It's a simple ballad about a guy who misses his woman during weekends away doing shows. Back when I used to make mix tapes this song ended up on one I listened to a lot after college when driving back and forth the 2 hours between Dayton and where The Wife was living at the time. We saw each other some weekends and then spent weeks apart. It was a strange time in the relationship, often we weren't sure exactly when we'd see each other next, but we made it through. Whenever I heard the song during one of those lonely rides home I would replace the word Monday with "some indeterminate weekend that hopefully will be sooner rather than later." It really didn't fit very well into the rhythm of the song.

It's not my favorite Buffett song, but it's up there. Of course when he performed it at the show, I sang (the right words) drunkenly along with the rest of the Parrotheads... as the wife elbowed me for singing too loud at a concert.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tuesday November 21st - Morning

Day 152, Session 52:
Location: In my holding pen at the cube farm... er, at work.
First song: Cold Fire by Rush
Last full song: Come Down by Toad the Wet Sprocket
Progress: 649-658 of 4446
Total Songs Heard: 606

Toad seems to fixate on certain words and phrases in their song titles. They had 4 different songs that started with the word "all." Now I hit 2 different songs with strikingly similar titles Come Down and Come Back Down. That's the sort of thing that I think I'd notice if I was in a band. I might look around and ask if anyone else thought our song titles were starting to sound overly familiar. Eventually, I might just ask if we could name the next song "Pants" just so they'd all stop sounding the same.

My senior year of high school... Christmas break. I was visiting my parents (I didn't live with my parents senior year of high school, a story for another time perhaps.) I received "Pale" by Toad the Wet Sprocket as a gift (on cassette!) I got a call from my girlfriend.

In high school I sang in the chorus, which because we were uppity, were officially called Chamber Singers. I was good enough, but not great. Lucky for me, there weren't any other guys in my school willing to sing bass, so I always seemed better than I actually was. I auditioned for district chorus my junior year. My audition went horribly. They had us audition on a song that had no words... so it was basically humming (a capella) 16 bars of music. Once I lost my place in that I had no way to get back. As I left the room, feeling more than a little embarrassed, the first person I saw was my friend Seth. He was a year older and quite a performer. We weren't particularly close outside of music stuff, but we got along well enough. I half-jokingly collapsed into his arms when he asked me how it went. It went poorly, but Seth reminded me immediately that there was always next year.

A year later, I was a senior and the chorus, er Chamber Singers, were performing in the basement of the library (I guess that counts as a chamber) sometime near Thanksgiving. Seth must have been on break from college because he came to see the show. After the show he came up and gave big hugs to everyone. For some reason, that particular night I wasn't in the mood for a hug. I mostly turned away from it and took off shortly after the show without doing much catching up.

A month later, I got that call from my girlfriend. Seth had died at school. To this day, I'm still not sure exactly what happened, other than it was not drug, alcohol or suicide related. I think he had some sort of infection which made its way to his heart, but I'm not sure. After some tears and hanging up the phone, I went upstairs to my room, turned off the lights and listened to "Pale." Come Back Down is not my favorite song from that album, but it's the song I remember hearing that day. It's the song I remember hearing as I thought about the fact that the last time I had seen Seth, I had blown him off.

I made district chorus senior year... and quit Chamber Singers shortly thereafter.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tuesday November 14th - Evening

Day 145, Session 51:
Location: Heading to rehearsal, running lines as I go.
First song: Closer to the Bone by Louis Prima
Last full song: Cold Blooded Old Times by (Smog)
Progress: 673-681 of 4474
Total Songs Heard: 596

Code Monkey Video!

There are more things to say about more songs in this particular set, but man, do I love me some Code Monkey. You probably will not be surprised to learn that the music behind this video is another example of the excellent work of Jonathan Coulton. I love the video because of the girl's commitment to the bit.

Added 1/8:
I said there was a little more to say about this day...

Cocoon by Bjork was terrible. Deleted! (Sorry Kerstin.)

Closing Time by Tom Waits, I discovered Tom Waits almost completely by accident. This song is the title track from his first cd. (W
hich, when it came out was actually called an album.) Some time in 1999 the group Semisonic released a song by the same name. At the time I was closing a lot of bars so it was something of a theme song. For some reason I got it in my head to try out some Tom Waits and since I already liked the song Closing Time I thought it would be cool to hear Tom Waits' version. Uh, yeah, they're not the same song. Not even close. In case you're not familiar, the Tom Waits' version is an instrumental. Turns out I like the Tom Waits' version better. If you don't know Closing Time, you should.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tuesday November 14th - morning

Day 145, Session 50:
Location: At the desk.
First song: City Love by John Mayer
Last full song: Close the Door by Clem Snide
Progress: 660-672 of 4474
Total Songs Heard: 587

GAP! 18 days since the last listening session, but with good reason. This was three days before opening night. I'd spent the last 18 days worth of train rides desperately trying to memorize my lines. Turns out it was a wise decision. I was able to remember all the lines I needed to for the play I was in. Well, at least most nights.

John Mayer is back being evil again. What a fucking jerk. He sings this entire sensitive guy song about how he can't remember life before he knew his new city love's name... only he never mentions her name! You know why he never mentions it? Because he doesn't remember what the hell it is. Because he's making her up! And why did he make her up? So he could use his sensitive singing man act to try to steal your girlfriend! He's trying to woo her again! This is what John Mayer does. Mayer is sure that this routine will work that he doesn't even feel bad about throwing in this gem about how commitment phobic he is:

She keeps her toothbrush at my place,
As if I had the extra space.

Hello? Ladies? He doesn't even have room for woman's toothbrush in his precious John Mayer space. Cause John Mayer is all about John Mayer... and hitting on other guy's girlfriends. Don't be the next one to fall for his smooth sensitive man ways!