Saturday, July 31, 2010

Morgantown, Part Deux

Wednesday, July 28, I made my second visit to Morgantown. Click here to read about my first trip. I had a fun time with Candace Nelson. All-in-all, it was a very enjoyable trip. I hope to make a few more visits in the future.

The 3-hour trip wasn't too bad this time. My earlier prediction of only needing 4 times before I don't need to use directions any more seems like it could be correct. On trip #2 I knew the general direction I was going, I just didn't remember the exact exits I had to get off. So, if I remember those on trip #3, but the time number 4 rolls around I should be good. Of course, that's if there are more trips planned. We'll see...

iPod playlist on the way up: Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, half of Nirvana's In Utero

I usually don't get into such a Led Zeppelin mood. I don't know what happened. I was looking for something to play & picked their first album. After that album finished I picked the next and by the time the trip was almost over I had listened to their first 4 albums. An odd note - I was wearing a Nirvana shirt while listening to a Nirvana album.

Here are some tweets I sent out during the trip. I will plead the fifth when asked if I was tweeting and driving...

Just passed the hometown of Marlan McQuade, a co-founder of National Grandparents Day. Isn't that interesting?

Usually don't get in such a big Led Zeppelin mood. Have listened to Zep I, II, and am halfway through III.

Need to get off exit 148. Just passed exit 62.

I think this is the 4th Go Mart I've passed in the last 90 minutes...

"Tangerine" is probably my favorite Led Zeppelin song.

Sitting with @Candace07. Figuring out our plans.


We'll use that last tweet to segue into after I actually got to Morgantown.

I guess Candace and I are starting a tradition of taking me to eat at places I've never been before. Last time was Red Lobster. I don't remember what the place was called this time, but it was Chinese food. It was pretty good.

Here's what has perplexed my friends, and it will probably perplex a lot more people. I told them what happened and they responded with: "You drove 3 hours to see a girl and you didn't do anything?" And, to be honest, we didn't do anything. We watched tv at her apartment, went out to eat, then watched tv at her apartment. Toddlers & Tiaras is a crazy show.

I enjoyed sitting there and hanging out with her. We didn't need any fake stimuli to distract us from the fact that we had nothing in common like a lot of other people. I sat with her and enjoyed her company. I'm going to assume she enjoyed it, too. At least that's what she's telling me.

Interesting story time: While I was on my way to Morgantown I got a text telling me that my friend Hoby [nickname] was also in Morgantown. He lives in Princeton, along with me. Probably around 9 p.m. my phone rings. It's Hoby. I answer and it is another friend, John Fralick, on Hoby's phone. Long story short, John was with Hoby. They're on their way back from Morgantown and John forgot his keys. He saw on Twitter that I was in Morgantown and wants to see if I can get his keys for him.

A couple text messages and a phone call later and I have John Fralick's keys. There's the power of Twitter. That would have sucked for him if he hadn't known I was there.

I stayed Wednesday night and left Thursday morning. It was an early drive, as Candace had to be at her internship by 9 a.m. The second drive back was fairly easy. Like the first time, I remembered a lot of my surroundings. Despite having very little sleep, I made it back to Princeton in one piece.

iPod playlist on the way back: rest of Nirvana's In Utero, Nirvana's Unplugged in NY, Green Day's International Superhits, then probably 4 songs of a Guns N' Roses greatest hits album before my iPod died.

Without going too deep into our business, you could say I "like" Candace Nelson and that the feeling is mutual. Of course, the disadvantage of liking a girl who lives 3 hours away is that she lives 3 hours away. We talked a little bit about what we want to do and stuff. I think we have a general course of action selected. We're just trying to figure stuff out, I guess. I'll give an update on that eventually.

I'm sure a lot of people who know me - or kind of know me or think they know me - are probably saying, "Chris, don't you live with a girl? A girl you dated forever?" The answer to both questions is yes. I guess I'll give an update on that situation too at some point.

I guess that's all for now. I'll leave with a picture of my new car, which my grandpa got for me a couple days ago. I visited him for the first time since November. He got me a car, my cousin had a baby. Some stuff happened. I'll blog about that soon. http://tweetphoto.com/35790152

Friday, July 30, 2010

29 - "Ziggy Stardust," David Bowie



David Bowie makes his second and final appearance in the list of the 50-most-played songs on my computer's iTunes. He first clocked in at #41 with "Jean Genie," and he's back here at #29 with "Ziggy Stardust."

Random trivia about me: I like songs that tell a story. And this song tells the story about the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and his band. It's got a good sound to it, as I really enjoy the guitar work. It's very catchy.

As a couple extras - click here to see AFI do an acoustic cover of "Ziggy Stardust." And to be really random, click here to see Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) duet with David Bowie on a Mott The Hoople cover at a concert held on Bowie's 50th birthday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Movies I want to see

I was thinking recently of some movies I wanted to see, and as usual, it inspired a blog. The following is 10 movies that I want to see, in no particular order. Some are already in theaters, some will be out soon, some have been out for a while. If you have any you'd like to add to the list, leave them in the comments section.

Toy Story 3

I got kind of emotional watching this trailer. While kids are going to love this movie, there's going to be a special attachment for the young adults who were kids when the first Toy Story came out. I was 9 when the first movie came out. I was almost a teenager when the second one came out. Now, as an adult, the idea of what do you do with your toys is something I've dealth with. Most of them are sitting in a box at my grandpa's house.



The Green Hornet

A lot of people got mad when they found out Seth Rogen was going to be in this movie. He's the lovable stoner loser from Judd Apatow movies. He's not supposed to be a super hero. Then, people found out how much weight he lost for this role. Then, the trailer came out and it's not much of a stretch. It's not Rogen being something that he's not. He's the same character that he is in all of his movies - he just realizes that he needs to grow up and become something better. In this case, it happens to be a super hero. Just go with it. This is a remake of an old television show that featured Bruce Lee.



The Social Network

Or, as it's better known, "The Facebook Movie." The movie about the creation of social-networking site Facebook stars Jesse Eisenburg (nerdy guy from Zombieland) and Justin Timberlake (pop star-turned decent actor) as Mark Zuckerburg and Sean Parker, the guys credited with creating the biggest thing since... maybe ever. Drama ensues, a chick walks around in her underwear, it's a cool trailer. Music for the movie was done by Trent Reznor, lead singer of Nine Inch Nails. Cool variation of Radiohead's "Creep" in the trailer.



The Other Guys

Will Ferrell either makes really good movies or really bad movies. This one looks pretty good. Well, he kind of looks like the weak link, honestly. Mark Wahlberg looks like he could steal this movie as one half of a buddy-cop tandem with Ferrell. Fairly star-studded cast, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as their rivals on the police squad, this movie looks hilarious. I love a good comedy and this has the potential to be a good comedy. Will Ferrell is quickly going into the "David Spade territory" of becoming a caricature of himself in his films. Let's hope his character isn't "typical Will Ferrell" and is instead him being a funny, original character.



Solitary Man

Michael Douglas is a great actor. He does a lot of interesting roles, and this is one of them. In it, he plays a successful man who has lost his fortune. He is trying to accept the fact that he's getting old and isn't the young man he used to be. There are some hilarious one-liners in the trailer and it looks like it will tell a great story by the end.



The Expendables

I'm usually not a big fan of action movies. But, this one looks really cool. I think part of that might be due to the fact that it's so star-studded. I first heard about this movie probably a year or so ago and it's piqued my interest ever since then. First came the teaser trailer that was mostly explosions and peoples' names on the screen. Then, came word that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis had cameos in it. Then, came the full trailer. There's just so much cool shit in this movie. Watch the trailer and enjoy.



Get Low

This is probably one of the most interesting selections in my list. It just seems like a well-acted, interesting story. Bill Murray was a very underrated actor for years, until people realized he could do more than comedy. Now he's very respected and he brings those skills to this film. Robert Duvall looks potentially Oscar-worthy in his role. I've read a little on what this film is about and the story seems really unique.



Greenberg

Something people often forget about Ben Stiller is that he's actually a good actor. He just sold out and made a bunch of shitty movies for a while. There's nothing wrong with that. You can't say no when Robert De Niro is right there selling out with you. Greenberg is a look at life and the how the decisions you make when you're younger affect you as you age. Stiller plays Roger Greenberg, a middle-aged man trying to figure out what has happened to his life. Comedy ensues. Drama ensues. What looks to be a good movie ensues as well.



Cyrus

John C. Reilly starts dating Marissa Tomei. Marissa Tomei has a son, Jonah Hill, who still lives with her. Reilly and Hill don't get along. It's kind of a much-darker version of Step Brothers. Hill plays a man-child who isn't fully adjusted, but he's playing a realistic version, unlike Reilly's character in Step Brothers. One of the cool things about this movie is that most of the lines are improvised. I read an interview with Reilly and he talked about the different way they shot this film. Things like one actor would be told to expect one thing and then something different would happen, how they didn't always know where the cameras were when they were filming, creative things like that.



I Love You Phillip Morris

This movie has been out for probably a year, but has had trouble getting released into theaters and dvd. It has nothing to do with the star power - Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are the leads. It has to do with the story - they're gay lovers who meet in prison. It's not too much of a stretch, as it's based on a true story. I've heard that it might be getting a theatrical run, but I don't think I've heard anything concrete. I've heard one of the issues is how much they kiss onscreen, as there's apparently a couple make out scenes between them. Mainstream America isn't ready for that.

"I'm fuckin blockin, Walt!"



I work with this guy at Pizza Hut. His name is Dylan. He's a hilarious guy. He's one of those guys who is funny without realizing it. The video above is him playing "Mike Tyson's Punch Out" on the Wii. It's kind of hard to hear, but I think it's pretty funny. The guy constantly yelling "block!" is Walt. Filming the footage is Mark, aka Horsehead. Location is Bob's room. We all work at Pizza Hut together.

A twitter account was created to capture some of Dylan's best quotes. It can be seen at http://twitter.com/DRodJSpeaks

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

30 - "Hello," Oasis



The most successful of the "Brit-Pop" movement from the mid-90s, Oasis has built their reputation on having moving ballads and sad, slow songs. Granted, they're very good songs. "Wonderwall" is a classic. "Champagne Supernova" is great. "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" is sad. The list goes on.

But, I actually prefer the band's more upbeat songs. "Hello" is the first track off their breakthrough (What's the Story) Morning Glory? album and it really helps show that they could do more than just "Wonderwall." In fact, I think that's why they tease the opening of "Wonderwall" before this song. You start the album and the first thing you hear is what you expect from them, then it quickly cuts out and the heavy guitars and drums kick in.

If you've only heard Oasis on the radio, then you're likely only hearing the slow stuff. They're more multi-faceted than they get credit for. Great band.

31 - "Turn it Again," Red Hot Chili Peppers



As I mentioned when I first started doing this list, this is not a collection of my 50 most-favorite songs. This is the list of the top 50 songs on my iTunes most-played list. I blogged back in January about being on a RHCP "kick," and that's the reason this song is so high on the list. There are a lot of slower-paced songs on the "Stadium Arcadium" album and I was in the mood to listen to a faster-paced track.

A cool thing about this song is that it is sort of an homage to the group's early funk sounds. The opening features the bass prominently and the guitar sound is more similar to their earlier work.

Again, one of the fun things about the Red Hot Chili Peppers is trying to figure out what a lot of their songs are about. Just a tip, it's usually about drugs or sex.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Morgantown

I took a trip to Morgantown for the first time last week. For those unfamiliar with the area, that's a town in the northern part of West Virginia. It's home to West Virginia University. WVU boasts one of the largest student newspapers in the nation, The Daily Athenaeum, which is something that has alway intrigued me. The trip to Morgantown was a result of talking to Candace Nelson, the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper. She's pretty cool. I might talk about her more later.

The most daunting aspect of driving to Morgantown was that it is 3 hours away from where I live. I don't travel much. I don't get out of the area very often. So, a 3-hour drive is actually a pretty big deal for me. Click here to see my route. The actual act of driving for 3 hours wasn't too bad. It was just that I wasn't sure where I was. It was easy to follow the directions from MapQuest. I had just never been in some of those areas before.

iTunes playlist on the way up: Audioslave's Out of Exile and Revelations. Them Crooked Vultures self-titled album. First half of R.E.M. greatest hits.

The first thing I noticed once I got to Morgantown was how big the building for the Daily Athenaeum was. I'm very envious of a school that actually cares about its journalism program. I wish I had that support during my time as Editor-in-Chief of Concord's newspaper. It always sucked to literally see my building fall apart while so much technology and money was crammed elsewhere on campus.

But, I digress. This isn't a Concord rant.

I had a really cool time in Morgantown. I got a tour of the Daily Athenaeum building. Ate at a Red Lobster for the first time. Saw "Despicable Me." It was a very interesting trip and I'm glad I made it.

I made the trip on a Wednesday and left Thursday morning. Getting up that early to drive back home kind of sucked, but I had to work Thursday afternoon, so I had to. I'm very thankful that Candace opened her apartment up to me and let me sleep in her living room. Otherwise, I likely would have been stranded in Morgantown.

The drive back was a lot easier, as I recognized a lot of the area I was traveling through. I made it home at about 2:30 and got to work at 3:30. So, there wasn't too much of a disruption in my work schedule, which is always good.

iTunes playlist on the way back: Rest of R.E.M. greatest hits album. Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication and By the Way albums. Then my iPod died and I had to listen to the radio.

I might be making some more trips to Morgantown in the future. If I do, I'll update you on it. I'd like to see how many trips it takes until I don't have to use my MapQuest directions. I'm going to say by my 4th trip I won't need them. Well, let's see if I make it there that many times.

Friday, July 16, 2010

1-year anniversary

It passed without me realizing it - the one-year anniversary of my "celebrity feud" with Adrianne Curry.

Check out the details here - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-first-celebrity-feud.html

32 - "Sitting Waiting Wishing," Jack Johnson



Jack Johnson is probably one of the most mellow songwriters of all time. He's got a very laid-back demeanor and it translates in his songs. Even "Sitting Waiting Wishing," which is actually a pretty deep song if you listen to the lyrics, comes out very relaxed and easy. No matter what the topic in his songs, you can play one and instantly be relaxed.

Click here to see the music video. It's pretty trippy. Everything's played backwards, but Jack Johnson lip syncs the song backwards, so it looks like he's singing it correctly. Pretty cool.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer update

I don't have much, just a bit of an update on what I do with myself.

I blogged a few weeks ago about how it didn't feel like summer yet. How, it was just starting to get hot outside & I kept waiting for it to go away. Well, it's finally sinking in that it's summer. We're approaching consecutive days of almost 100 degree weather. That's not very fun. Especially if you're a "heavy sweater" like I am.

I'm still chugging away at Pizza Hut. It's not much, but it beats doing something else for a living. At least I don't build houses or lift heavy stuff. I don't know, I can't think of anything clever off the top of my head.

I've come to the realization that I need to start a better exercise regiment. The one I'm currently on has me trying to lose weight by sitting around and not eating healthy. It's not working for me. I've never really been too self-conscious of the way I look, but I'm starting to not enjoy the added weight in my stomach area.

For some reason, Kelly posted a picture on her MySpace of me brushing my teeth that illustrates what I'm talking about. It's not bad, but I'd like to work on correcting this:



I'm at that stage where I need to buckle down and correct that before it gets any worse. We'll see how that goes. As of right now, it's just an idea in my head. I'm not really acting on it. Hopefully that changes soon.

That picture is from mine & Kelly's recent trip to Tamarack, in Beckley. For those who don't know, Tamarack is a arts and craft type place that is entirely local to West Virginia. There's art work, sculptures, books, music, knick-knacks, all sorts of cool shit. Click here to see her album from our day. There's a lot of random pictures of clouds.

In other news - I recently donated $25 to charity. Some guy from the police department called PIzza Hut and asked if the store would donate money. Something for kids. I told him that I wasn't authorized to make that decision, and before I could go any further, he asked me if I wanted to make a personal donation.

Why not? I don't really know what it's for, but it's organized by the Princeton Police department and has something to do with kids. I figure it's a good cause.

For making my donation, I received a window-cling sticker thing that states I'm a supporter of what they're doing. The officer strongly suggested that having that placed on my car could potentially help me get out of a ticket.

I have a new thing I do when I'm bored - I go to Concord and hang out. Usually in the Student Center, but sometimes I go to the Fine Arts Building and goof off on my computer. I still know the password to get into the Fine Arts Building when it's locked. I don't know if I'm supposed to or not...

I really like Concord's campus and being there. I'm officially at the point where I miss school. I didn't get the job I blogged about last month, so my options are go to school or waste my life. It was a pretty easy decision to decide to go back to Concord. I haven't done anything regarding becoming a student again, but I'll work on that. I'm not 100 percent sure on what I need to do. I'll call somebody and figure it out.

That's all for now. I felt like throwing a couple random, disorganized points out there. I'll hopefully be back with something of substance later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

33 - "Savior," Red Hot Chili Peppers



With a track off their amazing 1999 "Californication" album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are back on the list of my Top 50 iTunes songs with "Savior."

This is one of my favorite RHCP songs. It just stands out from a lot of their other songs. One reason is the drums. In a lot of earlier RHCP songs, the bass usually sticks out. On later albums, the guitar usually takes center stage. This is one of the few tracks where Chad Smith pounding the drums is really driving the song.

Chad Smith is a lot like Ringo Starr from The Beatles. Ringo & Chad are both great drummers, but their bands aren't about the drumming. There are only a few songs in the Beatles catalogue where the drums are featured prominently, and the Beatles only have one song that features a drum solo. That's the same with the Chili Peppers. On a song like "Savior," you can see his skill, but he's usually in the background as the other instruments take over.

Then, of course, even more interesting than the drumming - what is this song about? One of my favorite things about this band is that they can write some weird lyrics that seemingly don't mean anything, but then you listen and it all comes together.

I've read speculation that this song is about anybody from Jesus, Hillel Slovak (former guitarist), John Frusciante (former guitarist), or Anthony Keidis' dad. It definitely appears to be a song about somebody Anthony Keidis looked up to who has turned out to not be what he thought he was. From reading Keidis' autobiography "Scar Tissue," you learn that he's had issues with all of those people I just mentioned.

RHCP are the second band to "3-peat" on the list, following Stone Temple Pilots. They'll be the first to "4-peat," as they're back at number 31. After that, we don't see RHCP again until number 17.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

34 - "Desecration Smile," Red Hot Chili Peppers



The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back in the list for a second time. They first showed up 12 spots ago and get ready to see them a few more times before all is said and done. RHCP have more songs on my Top 50 iTunes playlist than any other band.

The sound of RHCP has changed greatly over the years. That has a lot to do with the present guitarist in the band. When the Chili Peppers started in the '80s they had more of a funk sound to their music. Original guitarist Hillel Slovak greatly drove the sound back then and he heavily influenced their music with that sound.

After Slovak's death, John Frusciante joined the group for the first time. He brought more of a standard rock sound to the band, which helped RHCP break out in the early '90s with some of their hits.

Frusciante left shortly after they broke through in the early '90s and was replaced briefly with Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. He brought a very experimental heavier rock sound to the only album he recorded with the group, "One Hot Minute."

Navarro was eventually fired from the band and Frusciante re-joined. Over the course of 3 albums, I feel as though their music changed into a sound that "Desecration Smile" sums up nicely. It's the only song on their "Stadium Arcadium" album that is acoustic-based, but it still has the general properties of their music. Deep lyrics, more reliance on backing vocals, and very experimentally-guitar based. You'll see more of the guitar work on future songs on the list, as "Stadium Arcadium" has a few more songs, with two peaking in the Top 10.

I'm interested in the future sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as it was announced last year that Frusciante had left the band for a second time and was replaced by one of their touring guitarists, Josh Klinghoffer. I haven't heard much news about the band lately, other than they are in the studio working on a follow up to "Stadium Arcadium." So, it will be interesting to hear the band's new sound.

I usually don't feature the music videos for the video in the list, as I feel it usually distracts from the music. But, I like this video. Very low-key and I think it helps the song rather than taking away from it.