Friday, September 03, 2010

Top 30 songs for my 30th birthday

I'm claiming a four month paternity leave.

And now for my thirtieth birthday, I've compiled a list of my top 30 most significant/influential* non-Christmas song. These aren't necessarily my favorite 30 songs, though, that list would probably overlap this one a great deal. And for diversity's sake, I'm also limiting myself to one song per artist. In autobiographical order:

Feels So Good - Chuck Mangione
Breezin' - George Benson
The Sheriff - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Summer Breeze - Seals and Croft
Sloop John B - Beach Boys
Jesus Freak - DC Talk
Mortal Kombat Theme
California Love - 2pac
Beautiful Disaster - 311
Gone till November - Wyclef Jean
Children - Robert Miles
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
So What - Miles Davis
Halycon + On + On - Orbital
Table for Two - Caedmon's Call
Uber Legitimate - Mates of State
A Minor Incident - Badly Drawn Boy
Black Sheep - Martin Sexton
Faith Children - Little Wings
Fight Test - The Flaming Lips
Astair - Matt Costa
Homesick - Kings of Convenience
Let that Be Enough - Switchfoot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
It Had to Be You - Steve Tyrell
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
Rich Young Ruler - Derek Webb
Casimir Pulalski Day - Sufjan Stevens
Either Way - Wilco
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem

*I could explain this, but it's a long explanation and you'd probably get bored.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Run for the Reef

Did you know that Fresno has a public aquarium? It's got a tide pool animal collection and a SCUBA exploration program for kids and the only problem is that it doesn't exist. Yet, anyways. Supposedly they just need a few more years and a lot more dollars. You know what would really bring in the cash? An annual 5k race with a $20 entrance fee! You get a couple hundred people out there and you're talking some serious green. On the other hand if you only get 30 people, then it's kind of a bust.

Turns out they only got like 30 people.

Rob and I showed up and thought maybe we had missed the start. Nope, there just weren't many people coming. It was what you'd call a "fun run." No numbers, no digital clock, no one competing for Valley Runner of the Year points. Just a dude calling out race times as you crossed a chalk finish line. The upside of a weak crowd was that for the first couple hundred yards I was right up in front. Like one of the race leaders. Glorious. That's never happened and I don't even think it should happen. I finished in 22:29 and got fifth. That's not right. +22 minutes shouldn't be anywhere near the top five of a respectable race.

The winner was a Fresno circuit regular coming in at 17 and change. That's sub 6 miles. And maybe he was just a nice guy, but for a moment, I kinda felt like we were in the same league. Like I was a top runner, too. Felt good.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Get Lost: Everybody Loves Hugo

In email discussions with some friends I recently began writing lengthy observations/defenses/synopses of the weekly episodes of the sixth season of Lost. They're by no means exhaustive or well organized, but it's the most writing that I've done in a while. If you hate Lost, well, there are only a couple of weeks left. If you've never seen it, then now would be a hilarious time to start, though my reviews will include info that's spoilery if you ever wanted to go back and start over. Here's this week's commentary on "Everybody Loves Hugo." If there's any kind of response, I may go back and repost earlier episodes.


Last week a dude got fried in the electro magneticism box. This week Illana went KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooMMMMM! Notably, she's not the first person to get blowed up by the dynamite. See Dr. Artz (Ben's coworker in the Alt World from a couple weeks ago). Also, recall that Jack and Richard did NOT get blown up by dynamite a couple of weeks ago.

Question! Why dynamite? Why can't they just shoot out the tires of the plane or start a fire in the cockpit? Or stick a frozen turkey in the engine?

Hurley is at Libby's grave. They were sweethearts back in season 2 before she was gutshot and killed by Michael. Michael appears to Hurley and later explains that he's "stuck" on the island because of what he did. Question! Michael died on the freighter, not on the island and then the island flashed and jumped time/space. Does the island have a several-mile-wide sphere of influence? Does that mean that the other people who died on the freighter are also island ghosts?

This is a big reveal that the Whispers are dead people. I think that's been a safe assumption to make, though I wonder about the whispers that they heard in season 1 before people started dying. Were those other people who died that we just don't know anything about?

Question! Why can't Miles verify yes or no whether Hurley is talking to dead people?

Illana was expendable and a not very good actor. Good to see her gone. Richard has gone off the rails. Kate and Sawyer must be utterly bored. They've spent the last four episodes going, "Hey Locke - what are you doing? Huh? Huh? Let's get moving! Whaa waaaa waaa!"

Desmond seems fairly certain that Locke is Locke and not Smokey. He's wrong, but maybe he's working on another level. He also says that he's "got nowhere to run to." This from a man who literally ran away from the hatch and tried to escape the island on a boat. And he literally ran away from Eloise Hawkings when she told him that the island wasn't done with him. But now, he's not running. He's got nothing to fear. Even when it's obvious that Locke is going to toss him down a well, he doesn't seem phased. Is this the inverse of when Locke freed Desmond from the Hatch (another kind of well - an underground pit with a tall round opening. Weird electromagnetic powers underneath. Lots of digging, but you never find answers.) The last time we saw a well was when Locke had dropped into it and turned the frozen donkey wheel - stopping the island flashes and sending Locke to Tunisia.

Desmond's order is number 42 at Mr. Clucks. When they call his number he says, "That's me!"

Desmond tells teacher Ben that he has a son named Charlie. That'd be a heck of a coincidence unless Desmond was fully aware of both timelines. I think he is.

Desmond and Locke also see the jungle boy. He's older than when Sawyer and Locke saw him. And not covered in blood. And he's smirking. Locke still seems freaked out by him.

I really enjoy Jack's development. His dialogue with Hurley was a little too on-the-nose, but I think Jacob's statement that "some people you can jump into the back of a cab with and tell them what to do. Some people need to stare out into the ocean for a bit" is coming true. Jack's gone from control freak, to man of faith in so much as it lets him get what he wants, to apathetic, back to control freak and has now settled into a comfortable willingness to trust other people. It's nice.

In the Alt World, Desmond is presumably playing matchmaker with other Losties other than Hurley. I assume that we'll see his concurrent interactions with Kate/Sawyer in future episodes. Perhaps Jin/Sun will have flashes of the island when they see a ultrasound of their baby? It's up for debate whether he was trying to kill Locke or just give him a near-death/Charlie experience. I'm leaning towards he was just trying to kill him. Prediction! Locke gets rushed to a hospital needs a spinal surgeon! That nice surgeon he met at the airport! What happens when they touch?

Good episode. Seemed too short. Glad to see everybody back in one place together again - Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sun, Hurley, Claire, Locke, Sayid, Lupitus. We're only missing Jin and Desmond.

Oh, one more question! What did Hurley see in the drawstring pouch that gave him resolve? Jacob's ashes? Locke's backgammon pieces? I'm going with ashes. I don't know what it means.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lazy Sunday

I just taught Tiny how to play Ring Around the Rosie. She's very good at it. She falls down a lot harder than I can and she doesn't get dizzy. It's a good morning.

Also, ran a 7.5 mile loop this afternoon. I think that's the longest since November. It started raining on the way home and it occurred to me that wet asphalt is a lovely smell. Not freshly laid asphalt, as Cassidy can attest to, I'm sure, but rained-on asphalt. I would light a candle that smelled like that, but only on rainy days when I didn't want to go out in the rain. I'm kinda shocked that a quick google search doesn't turn up a boutique shop selling that. Somebody get on that. Must credit J. Isch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am 100 years old

I had dinner tonight with a friend from an old bible study. Friend is a 21 y/o senior in college who is contemplating life, love and his infinite future. And he looks at me as though I'm 100 years old. I'm married. I've got a child and another on the way. I own a kitchen table. I own a house. It has a garden. With automatic drip sprinklers. These things are unimaginable to him. He may as well call me Mr. Isch. I feel as though he's right on the edge between envious and fearful that this could be his future.

To me, it's just life. I play with my girl, fret about the finish on my deck and make pizza from scratch. That's just what people do, right? But he thinks it's "beautiful" and almost exotic. Then I hear about his life: am I going to go to grad school, what am I going to do for a career, where am I going to live next year, can't I find a nice christian girl? Just hearing him talk about it turns my stomach in knots.

It's good for me to hear him work through those things. Sometimes I find myself romanticizing that time in my life. Up for anything! Move to Seattle? Let's go! Even now I look around at other jobs and other cities and think, "What am I doing? I've GOT to get out of here!" But the reality is that hated the uncertainty. Now, I thrive on stability. And it's good to be reminded of that, because it's easy to misremember the past.

So I'll have to pass on the bike trip across America. That's a young man's errand. Enjoy it. I'll stay home and read a book and fix the sticky front door. I've been meaning to get to it for years.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Out for a jog

Ran my favorite home-to Fig Garden 8 mile loop today and was wiped when I finished. I kinda can't believe that it was only a couple of months ago that I did that same loop while pushing Maddie and when I got home, I'd turn around and do it again. I'm nowhere near that level of fitness today, but on the upside, Leslie is very happy to have me home in the evenings and weekends more.