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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, August 31, 2007

from F.O.D. to Fallible

Day 434, Session 90:
Thursday August 30th - Desk to train, train to Belmont, 1.5 mile walk home.
First song:
F.O.D. by Green Day
Last full song: Fallible by Blues Traveler
Progress: 1256-1271 of 5300
Total Songs Heard: 1038

The problem with occasionally posting to my MySpace blog, besides the inevitable question as to why exactly I have a MySpace account (the answer: I'm 12,) is that I ended up posting there something that would have fit in pretty well here. Or at least it would have fit in pretty well with the woe-is-me attitude of the more recent posts. Anywho, if you want to read it, there's a link over on the right.

And some good news (that still has nothing to do with music...) I am now officially an uncle. Congrats to the sister on the birth of Orion Francis. I've been holding off on that announcement until she posted about it on her own blog. Took her almost a week... I couldn't figure out why it took so long but then she mentioned something about having a newborn baby, so I guess that's understandable.

From the music front today I heard one of those songs that shocks me into remembering that apparently, I may actually have a romantic side. Fallen For You by Sheila Nicholls is from the High Fidelity soundtrack. (I've previously mentioned my affinity for that particular film.) It's a piano-driven gut punch tale of unrequited love; and really, who among us hasn't been there? She does a great job of laying out that feeling of longing for someone so much... and yet knowing it's just not going to work out. How you play that game with yourself of pretending like you don't care around the other person and yet wishing that they would see right through your facade. Such a pretty song; the type of thing you could play for a first dance at a wedding... until you listen to the words and realize that it's completely inappropriate seeing as how it's about specifically NOT finding love.

Kind of like how More Than Words by Xtreme sounds like a really nice love song until you listen to the words and figure out that they're basically saying, "If you really loved me, we'd be having sex right now."

Fallen For You - Sheila Nicholls

Thursday, August 30, 2007

from Explanation to Ezekiel

Day 433, Session 89:
Wednesday August 29th - Cursing the L for being too slow on the way home.
First song:
Explanation by SNMNMNM
Last full song: Ezekiel 25-17 by Samuel L. Jackson
Progress: 1248-1255 of 5296
Total Songs Heard: 1022

The end of the E's comes not with a song, but with the clip of
Jules Winnfield giving last rites to poor dumb Brett. Pulp Fiction was a phenomena of a movie for me. It was the last movie I've seen in a theater more than once. We actually saw Pulp Fiction in the theater 3 times. This actually said much more about the movie than you would think at first blush. (Is that even a phrase? Screw it, I'm keeping it.)

It was 1st semester freshman year of college and freshman weren't technically allowed to have cars on campus. The closest movie theater was out at the Dayton Mall which was a 25 minute bus ride from campus. Lucky for us, we were the type of freshmen who weren't getting into a lot of parties in the Ghetto (*cough* losers? *cough*) so we ended up on the bus (90 cents each way) out to the mall on multiple occasions the first few weeks of the year. It's strange for me to think back on it now and realize that I went with three different groups of people to see the movie, but I can't for the life of me think of who all those people were. At the time though it was a huge deal. Those first few weeks of school were so strange and I was so out of sorts... the fact that I had already made enough friends to go to see the movie three different times was somewhat of a relief.

If I had to guess, I would say that by the end of sophomore year I was only hanging out with one trip's worth of people. But by that time, that was ok. Routine had been established... that all important core group (the group I still talk to today) had been found. I didn't need to make a run with three different crowds.

These days that core group is scattered all over the place, but we're still in touch. The only problem is, I don't think I'm really friends with enough people here to justify taking 3 different trips. So I guess that's sad? I don't know. How many friends do you need as you get older? Hopefully not too many.

I have recently started taking the bus again. It's $2 a trip now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

from Evil vs. Good to Exotic Night

Day 431, Session 88:
Monday August 27th - Struggling to stay awake on the train ride to work.
First song:
Evil Vs. Good by Clem Snide
Last full song: Exotic Night by Martin Denny
Progress: 1241-1247 of 5301
Total Songs Heard: 1014

Is it a bad sign that while beginning to type this on Tuesday afternoon I was thinking that I had actually listened to these songs some time last week? In other words, the distance between Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon felt like between 3 & 5 days, instead of the 30 hours it actually was. Something inside my head isn't working correctly at the moment. Time, which usually has a pretty consistent feel, has been moving in fits and starts for the last few months.

I'm blaming this latest spell on the current state of general upheaval going on around me. The job upheaval is detailed below. The other upheaval is happening at home. We're currently remodeling our kitchen (ok, we aren't actively doing it, but we're paying people to do it for us,) which is another one of those so-very-adult-things-that-kind-of-blows-my-mind
things. (Like when I mowed my own lawn for the first time about a month ago.) The fact that I'm very excited by the prospect of new cabinets is foreign to my usual outlook (unless those cabinets have built in video screens.)

Turns out, in order to remodel a kitchen, you have to take it all apart first. So right now our house looks something like this:
Kitchen cabinets: In the basement.
Kitchen floor and counter: In a dumpster in the alley.
Refrigerator, Oven, Dishes, Glasses and all other small appliances: In the living room.
Kitchen itself: Empty.

No wait, that's not quite right...
Toilet: In the kitchen. (Oh man do I hope I don't get up in the middle of the night to take a sleep walking trip to use the bathroom only to stop at the first toilet I see.)

It's a little disconcerting.

So anyway... what was the point to all this? Oh, yeah. Due to both work and home life being out of order,
my head is messed up.

If my head were in a better place, this would be the part where I would tie everything into one of the songs I heard. Maybe later.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The First 1000 Part 2

As promised, here is the link for the second .zip of the first 1000 songs mix.

From Can You Picture to El Fin - The First 1000 Songs (Disc 2)
1. Can You Picture That? - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
2. Catch The Wind - Donovan
3. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
4. Cloak Of Elvenkind - Marcy Playground
5. Closing Time - Tom Waits
6. Cut Every Corner - The Simpsons
7. Dead - They Might Be Giants
8. Dear Chicago - Ryan Adams
9. Death Is Not the End - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
10. Did I Say - Teenage Fanclub
11. Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
12. Don't Be Afraid Of Your Anger - Clem Snide
13. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
14. Dr. Worm - They Might Be Giants
15. Drown - Son Volt
16. Dutch Wonderland - Josh Joplin Group
17. Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
18. El Fin de la Infancia - Café Tacuba

Many of these songs were also featured in earlier posts. Once I'm home from work, I'll probably link those up. If you're in a hurry you should be able to find them yourself, maybe you could use that search widget thing over on the right.

(Standard mp3 disclaimer applies here, please support the artists in this mix by buying a cd or tickets to a concert or something. Or even better, if you see them on the street, give them $5. That way the fat cat record company doesn't get a cut. If you are a fat cat record company and want me to remove any links, let me know.)

from Everything Old to Evil Genius

Day 424, Session 87:
Monday August 20th - Fullerton to home.
First song:
Everything Old Is New Again by Barenaked Ladies
Last full song: Evil Genius by Jonathan Coulton
Progress: 1227-1233 of 5271
Total Songs Heard: 1007

Usually I try to fill this space with memories that are inspired by the songs that come along, more or less avoiding discussion of day to day life. This time however, the song titles are too applicable to resist.

The last couple of weeks at work have not been fun.

Everything Old Is New Again: I've been in the same position for 3 years now, doing pretty much the same job for the last 2 years or so. At least that was the case until recently. A couple of weeks ago I was offered another position in the same department, but here's the fun part, it would be a completely lateral move (no pay/title increase) to work with a product I know nothing about and have no interest in. So I politely declined. I wasn't really interested in making my old job new again.

Everything Right Is Wrong Again: A weekend went by and I pretty much forgot about the other position. Monday came and I got back to work on the things that I did. It's not the best job I've ever had, but it's the longest I've ever been employed at one place and that means something right? Or in song title form... there must be something "right" about the place to keep me there, no? Yeah, well, 4 days after turning down the lateral move to a position I wasn't really interested in I was told that I was being moved to that position anyway. Now I'm now business expert... but that would seem to be a very "wrong" way to go about things. Don't offer me the choice of whether or not to move if there's no choice actually involved. So ever since, a place that previously had felt right enough, now feels completely wrong.

Everything You Know Is Wrong: The two years of knowledge I had gathered in my previous position? All wrong for my new position. It's so different from what I was doing before that I might as well be a new hire.

Good times.

Although I usually don't post later on Fridays, I should be posting part 2 of the First 1000 mix later today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

from Everything Flows to Everything Matters

Day 418, Session 86:
Tuesday August 14th - Sitting in the house.
First song:
Everything Flows by Teenage Fanclub
Last full song: Everything Matters by Glen Phillips
Progress: 1222-1227 of 5270
Total Songs Heard: 1000

8:20 pm - Song 995:
Everything Flows by Teenage Fanclub
The Teenage Fanclub greatest hits 'cd' that this song is from is the first thing I paid to download from iTunes. Out of the 5000+ songs I have I'd say I've downloaded less than 500 of them. I love me the internet but there's still something about having the physical cd in my hand that I prefer.

8:28 pm - Song 996:
Everything Had Changed by Barenaked Ladies
Oddly enough this song was also downloaded, not through iTunes though. Not illegally either! BNL are close the forefront of the modern music age. They made their most recent cds available for purchase from their own website with no DRM bullshit. Hooray for them. Of course it probably has a lot to do with the fact that they recorded and released this record on their own. They became the fat cat record company, except they decided not to be greedy fat cats. This song is heavy on banjo. I'm getting closer to signing up for banjo lessons. It might be the most ridiculous idea ever, but if I'm ever going to be in a band I have to play something besides violin.

9:00 pm - Song 997:
Everything I Try To Do, Nothing Seems To Turn Out Right by The Decemberists
If you're wondering why I went 30 minutes between songs... I just found banjo lessons I could sign up for. This song I downloaded from another blogger. (Thanks Gena!) Here's a thing I love about the interwebs. I probably would have never heard this song if she hadn't put it on her blog. Now... I'll probably end up buying The Decemberists at some point. Tell me why that doesn't work for the music industry? (Hmmm, somehow this whole count-up is becoming a DRM related rant. Perhaps this ties directly into the title of this song, trying something new doesn't seem to be turning out quite right.)

9:22 pm - Song 998:
Everything In Its Own Time - Indigo Girls
Ugh! I think I just drank a fly! When I came in tonight after work (soaked in sweat after walking the 1.5 miles home from the train station because I was too stubborn to wait for the bus) I must have let a fly in with me. Well, I've been enjoying a cool adult beverage as I listen and type and I'm pretty sure the fly flew into the can. As I slugged down the end of the can something solid ended up in my mouth. I spit back into the can and the solid thing was moving around inside. None of this has anything to do with the Indigo Girls or this song, but I've already told my favorite Indigo Girls story.

9:51 pm - Song 999:
Everything Is - Neutral Milk Hotel
I'm fascinated by musical acts that take on a pseudonym for what is basically a one man operation. Neutral Milk Hotel = Jeff Mangum, Badly Drawn Boy = Damon Gough, Pedro the Lion (a new addition, thanks Bob) = David Bazan. I think I need a pseudonym for this blog. Please leave suggestions in the comments (and don't bother with Badly Written Boy as I've already thought of it.)

10:15 pm - Song 1000:
Everything Matters - Glen Phillips
Here we are. A mere 418 days after it started this project is 1000 songs old. Glen Phillips tells me everything matters, so I'm going to take this moment to be happy with the fact that it's gotten this far. As I've mentioned before, as much as anything else this whole thing is simply an exercise in doing it. As the old saying goes... the first 1000 is the hardest, and we're there.

It should be cake from here on out.

More stats on the first 1000 and another set of songs for your downloading pleasure coming in the next few days.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A brief pause to reflect on 1000

One of the things I love about the more or less constant listening to my iPod is the way the ear buds do a really good job of blocking out the world around me. I don't have those fancy noise blocking dealees either, just a normal set of $20 replacements for the original iPod set that died out around song 400. (If you work for a company that supplies more expensive headphones and would like to send me a pair, please contact me. I'm sure we can work something out.)

The only downside is that constantly having buds in my ears leads to earritation (that's right, I went there.) I've been off the Pod the last few days letting my right ear return to normal. In the down time I've put together a mix containing the first 1000 songs. Disc 1 is available here. A bit of warning... if you're looking to rock, well you've forgotten most of the songs I've written about, and you're going to be disappointed.

(Standard mp3 disclaimer applies here, please support the artists in this mix by buying a cd or tickets to a concert or something. Or even better, if you see them on the street, give them $5. That way the fat cat record company doesn't get a cut. If you are a fat cat record company and want me to remove any links, let me know.)

Here's the track list, presented of course, in alphabetical order:

From 'Cello Song to Brother - The First 1000 Songs (Disc 1)
1. 'Cello Song - Nick Drake
2. Across The Universe - Rufus Wainwright
3. Act My Age - the Argument
4. Afternoons And Coffeespoons - Crash Test Dummies
5. All Over You - Live
6. And So It Goes - Billy Joel
7. Back - Barenaked Ladies
8. Beercan - Beck
9. Better - Jonathan Coulton
10. Beware, Brother, Beware - Louis Jordan
11. Bewilderbeast - Badly Drawn Boy
12. Bitches Ain't Shit - Ben Folds
13. BJ Don't Cry - Moxy Früvous
14. Blackbird - Sarah McLachlan
15. Boxing - Ben Folds Five
16. Broken Harpoon - The Jayhawks
17. Brother - Toad The Wet Sprocket

Feel free to follow the links above to some of the entries that mention the included songs. We'll hit song 1000 tomorrow night. I'll be "live blogging" the last few songs after work. Stop by if you have a chance. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 10, 2007

from Everyday Glory to Everything Falls Apart (or from ugh to yuck)

Day 412, Session 85:
Wednesday August 8th - On the train from work to home.
First song:
Everyday Glory by Rush
Last full song: Everything Falls Apart by dog's eye view
Progress: 1184-1192 of 5183
Total Songs Heard: 994

Not the best day of listening I've had. Rush continues to batter my eardrums thanks to the musical tastes of The Wife. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever heard her listen to Rush, but several of their cds somehow ended up as part of our music library and I know they're not mine. As for dog's eye view (their lowercase letters, not mine)... well the mid-90s were a time for taking a chance on music I hadn't heard before. For every successful exposure to groups like Barenaked Ladies and The Jayhawks, I have to retain a reminder of the groups that didn't work out.

Of course, can any song that contains the immortal line:

The devil's not in the details,
the devil is in my pants
It's shoot first, apologize later,
another quick end to a short shod romance
be all bad? I mean all guys should be willing to admit that the devil is in their pants, but it takes a real man to sing about how his premature ejaculation issue has soured another potential relationship.

Also included in today's listening was a great This American Life excerpt about a band that was put together entirely from the "musicians seeking gigs" section of the newspaper. This story (as well as seeing Ben Kweller in concert) makes me think that I would enjoy being in a band; which is unfortunate for me as I have neither a good voice nor any rock instrumental skill. I guess I'll have to stick with the improv as my creative outlet for now (shows the next two Saturdays, e-mail for details!) As I've mentioned before, This American Life is great. You can listen to the "Classified Band" episode here.

I realize I'm close to 1000 songs heard. I'm trying to think of something to 'celebrate' the occasion. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

from Every Moment to Everybody Ready

Day 410, Session 84:
Monday August 6th - On the train from work to home.
First song:
Every Moment by Clem Snide
Last full song: Everybody Ready by Action Figure Party
Progress: 1173-1185 of 5185
Total Songs Heard: 985

Dear Poison,

While working on a project recently to listen to every song on my iPod, I came across your song Every Rose Has Its Thorn. This song brought back many fond memories of 1988 (ah, 7th grade... did I really call Mr. Ritts (the history teacher) a nazi in the middle of Mr. Batts' English class? Yes. Yes I did.) as well as memories of just about every night of karaoke I've ended up attending since. However, I feel it is my duty (19 years later!?! YIKES!) to inform you of a several very basic issues with some of the main points of your song:

Every rose has its thorn
Actually, if you check here, you'll see that there are several types of roses that don't have any thorns at all. While it is true that at one point every rose did have thorns to protect itself from potential predators (can plants have predators?) through the knowledge of hybrid and selective breeding it is now quite possible to grow a thornless rose. I suppose it's possible that the selective breeding/hybridization process had not yet perfected the thornless rose in 1988, so I'm willing to overlook this error.
Just like every night has its dawn
I'm assuming here that you're using the term "night" to mean the portion of the day that most people use for sleeping and not just any period of darkness. Of course we all know that astronomical polar night (the period that no trace of light can be seen anywhere) occurs for up to 179 days a year at latitudes above 84° 33′, which is exactly 18 degrees within the polar circle, or five and a half degrees from the pole. So in those areas the "night" doesn't necessarily have a dawn. Now perhaps you'll counter with the argument that there are no permanent human settlements at such latitudes. You'd be correct, but there are scientific stations in Antarctica that fall within this area. For those poor scientists, there are quite a few nights without dawns. (Also there are frequent run-ins with alien monsters. Mike, feel free to back me up on this.)
Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song
While I don't have proof that every cowboy doesn't sing a sad sad song. I would assume that only sad cowboys sing sad songs and yet if you google the phrases "happy cowboy" vs. "sad cowboy" you'll find that "happy
cowboy" wins 14,300 to 556. There's no way that every one of the 13744 extra happy cowboys sing "sad, sad" songs. (One sad maybe, but not "sad, sad.")

So while I know it was your biggest hit, I find myself now unable to appreciate the song as much now that I know how untrue it is. I look forward to the corrected version on your soon to be released Poison:Revisited cd.


Matt DiMarco
12-years old in 1988

p.s. What the hell is up with Bret? That dude is creepy now. The very concept of "Rock of Love" is horrifying.

On a completely different note, this set also brought me Everybody Hurts. Now there's a song that maintains the emotional wallop from the first time I heard it. As soon as I hear the first notes of that song I'm brought back to those weird days during the first weeks of college (when I really started listening to that cd) when I hadn't really found my stride and was trying to convince myself that I hadn't made some horrible mistake.

And finally -

Welcome to the 1000th visitor! If you're wondering if it's you, it probably is.