Sunday, December 30, 2018

Music for 2018

My favorite romantic comedy is High Fidelity. I'm old. I get it. In the spirit of Cusack, I'm going to make a list of music that helped me through 2018. You will find various rock and metal acts, some electronica, and even a smidgen of hip-hop. Google Music, YouTube, and Spotify playlists for your listening pleasure, including honorable mentions that I did not write a blurb about. Most of these songs are on incredible albums, so album names are included. Ready? Let's do it.

10. Fiona Apple - Tidal - Slow Like Honey  "You remember me like a melody. Yeah, I'll haunt the world inside you." Fiona is a master of sultry, silky jazz that bites like a kitten wrapped in razor wire. Feeling wistful? Fiona has been there, and she will show you the way through it.

9. King Buffalo - Longing to Be the Mountain - Eye of the Storm This chorus-heavy meditation builds from a sleepy Sunday morning to an evening star gazing session, to a peyote fueled bonfire, to a crescendo of snowboarding too fast down a run that's just a little too advanced for you then suddenly you're back at the bonfire, flirting with that girl and it's going really well. I'm a big fan of movement in songs, and Eye of the Storm goes places.

8. Muse - Simulation Theory - Pressure This was the year where I finally got past Matt Bellamy's voice and started to appreciate Muse. It didn't hurt that Pressure smacks of my favorite Queens of the Stone Age attitudes. The guitar pushing a sweet little melody through the ands makes every measure a joy. The music videos for this album are charming, and you should check them out.

7. Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors - Tumescence This song, this band, isn't concerned with polish. They are the ocean mid-storm, they are the sirens perched atop bloodied crags, they are the captain raging against his failure. They are perfect.

6. Flying Lotus - You're Dead! - Never Catch Me (Featuring Kendrick Lamar) Flying Lotus has been a constant trip-hop mainstay for over a decade. His smooth, tranquil melodies paired with Kendrick Lamar's frantic rhymes are a sight to behold. Then Flying Lotus lays a groove that puts drum and bass and glitch artists to shame. Never doubt Flying Lotus.

5. Ghost of Paraguay - On The Run EP - The Swan This track is beautiful, low key ambiance. When I needed to find myself. When I needed to get firm footing while I was off balance. When I needed to see the beauty in melancholy, Ghost of Paraguay had my back.

4. The Glitch Mob - See Without Eyes - Enter Formless I would go to clubs more if I could expect to hear Glitch Mob. Enter Formless invokes the spirit of dance music without being dancable. The beat is subtly complicated, and flirts with dubstep while staying clear of the genre's more obnoxious aspects.

3. The Sword - Apocryphon - Cloak of Feathers The Sword captures what I think the standard of Rock and Roll should be. A detractor might say that description makes them sound generic, but they are incorrect. Their song writing belies danger, sexiness, adventure, triumph, and strength. The Sword knows exactly what they're doing, and they do it better than most of what I hear.

2. Carpenter Brut - TRILOGY - Le perv Dark, squarewave, retro futuristic, driving, determined. TRILOGY is there for any journey through flickering streetlights and neon hypnosis. Carpenter Brut delivers on Daft Punk's promises.

1. Red Fang - Murder The Mountains - Wires My 2018 was dominated by Red Fang. If I had to pick one song out of their beautiful discography, Wires would be the one. "It's hard to believe but I can see how there could be so little left to lose. Momma's not okay, she lights a candle every day that you're away. Today could be the one that burns the mother fucker down, the final act of grace." Everyone knows that feeling of rock bottom. Everyone knows that feeling of concern to the point of anger. The longing lead guitar backed by the determined rhythm guitar and the bombs-away bass paint a picture of a hellish trench battlefield reluctantly braved by a confused boy who wants nothing more than the safety of his loved ones. Red Fang consistently sets out with intent, delivers on it, and do so with a smile and jabbing elbow that lets you know that the darkness is ephemeral.

Most Disappointing: If you had told me I'd make a list like this in a year a new Perfect Circle album came out, and that I wouldn't include anything from that album I'd have called you crazy. Yet here we are. The Eat The Elephant fell flat for me. In a world where social media shares and elevates seemingly considered opinions, Maynard's take on the world doesn't seem all that special. Maynard's appeal to me has always been his ability to speak to the human condition, and to do so with humor, metaphor, and artifice. This album did none of that, and it leaves me concerned for the next Tool record.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Wellness Update - 12-28-18

Now Playing: Giant Bomb - Game of the Year 2018 Deliberations
Now Drinking: Coke zero. I'll probably start drinking in a few hours.

Social: Oddly a lot of my focus was here last week. I had a coffee date last Thursday. It was ... weird. I didn't get any negative vibes from her, still haven't, but we went from constant texting to like... she'll reply if I say something. She calls me 'hon,' and doesn't say 'no' if I invite her to things but... hasn't done anything with me since. I'm talking to a couple ladies from various dating sites, got some numbers, but I'm not super excited about any of them. They all seem nice. New friends, I guess.

D&D didn't happen this week. Neither did Gloomhaven. I'm not 100% that Gloomhaven is coming back. Guess we'll see what happens next week. A friend that isn't consistent with her interest in RPGs has expressed an interest in playing. If a night frees up I might get back into Encounters/Pathfinder Society. That could be fun.

I finally got a table. I'm having people over Monday. There's some static between a friend and an ex, they're both planning to come. It's going to be a small gathering so... I'm a bit worried about it. I'm working on applying diplomacy now.

Financial: Just paid my bills for the month, threw my bonus and a little more at my credit card. I dunno that I completely undid the damage buying my table and chairs caused, but it's better than letting it linger. My budgeting software reports I'm getting closer to breaking even, and then I can start paying things down super hard. I'm pretty sure that's how it works.

Exercise: Steps are still up. I did a set of rows this week, will probably do more tonight. I think I'm back on the train.

Weight Loss: I maintained, as expected. I'm trying to get back in to ketosis, but I've got a suspicion I'll have a few beers and some pizza on Monday. I do not want to weigh more on 1/1 than I do today. Hopefully I'll weigh less.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Wellness Update - 12/21/18

Now Playing: My Favorite Murder #152/Giant Beastcast #187
Now Drinking: Coke Zero

Weight Loss: I've been staying steady for the most part. I had some big travel for work this week which was enough of an excuse to break my diet. I'll probably cheat again for Christmas. I was hopeful that I'd be a lot lower now, but I suppose holding steady through the holidays is better than nothing.

Social: Tuesday night most of my D&D group got together to play a card game at Fantasy Flight.

I had a strange day last Saturday that left me feeling very isolated. As if the universe was listening to me Tinder, OKCupid, and Facebook messenger lit up. I had one... date? last night. we went out for coffee and went for a walk. It was over in under an hour. We had been chatting on Snap pretty consistently all week. But after we met up she seems less engaged. That sucks.

A person I met a few months ago hit me up. She's invited me to an outing next month, and she's coming over in after my table arrives to play some games.

Another woman hit me up on OKCupid. She seems pretty cool, but I'm not sure there's any physical chemistry there. She left town for Christmas, but I suspect we'll meet up when she gets back.

Fiscal: I had money left over after my last paycheck. I've had some low key anxiety about it all week. Nothing has exploded yet, so I suppose I'm okay to pay down some credit cards.

Exercise: I wasn't great about rows this week, I still haven't shook this cough. My step count is still up, so that's positive.

Creative: The last few weeks haven't had a lot of guitar playing. However, to make room for my new table I sold my big dumb Peavy amp and got a super cool little Orange micro amp. I'm pretty sure I've played it more in the last 12 hours than I played the Peavy in the last 6 months. I'll put a video up here when I record one that I am happy with.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wellness Update - 12/14/18

Now Playing: King City - Slow Season
Now Drinking: Coke Zero and Water, not mixed. Obviously.

Social Life: Nonexistent this week. I got sick, canceled Tuesday plans. I did meet up with a friend briefly yesterday. Started making more of an effort to be involved in the local Pokemon Go community. Maybe that'll pay dividends later. My D&D game was good, but I think I'm about done being a player. The guy who's running this thinks there's two-four more sessions left. I'm kind of anxious to get back in the DM's chair.

Tomorrow I'm going to a buddy's place. Should be a couple regulars there.

Exercise: Is coughing an exercise? That's about all I did. I've upped my step count a bit this week, but I'm still way low. I've gotten to the point where I feel like I'm in shape, but that clearly isn't true yet. I noticed anytime fitness is open 24/7 and they're getting a branch a few blocks from me. That'd be great for insomnia nights, but I haven't had one of those in a bit. I'm holding out hope that the Lifetime Fitness that's coming in a few months will be 24/7. I sorta doubt it will be. I guess I'll wait until after the New Years gym rush is over and make a decision then.

Overall: Everything else has been pretty flat due to sickness.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Wellness Update - 12/10/18

It's my birthday, woo!

Social: I did alright this week. I was out with people four nights last week. I'm pretty sure I didn't screw anything up too badly. Hu-ray. I think I'm going to be out on Tuesday. I have no other plans this week. I might try to meet up with someone over the weekend, but I don't know. I feel like I'm pushing myself on people a bit aggressively; it might be wise to take a break.

Weight Loss: I packed on 8lbs over the weekend, I'm planning to eat some pizza today, then it's back to the diet. I think most of this weight will go away pretty fast.

Exercise: I hit my goal of a set made up of 30 inverted rows. My next goal will be 45 rows in a set.

I'll try to update on time this week. There's no scheduled outings on Friday to distract me.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cheeseburger Fondue (half-assed recipe)

Okay, this was a bad idea I had. It came out okay. I'm going to tell you how to make it. I ate it with a spoon, but if you're not doing keto you could do chips and control your portion that way. I don't have nutrition information figured out, but this thing is full of fat.


  • 2lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers (one red and one green, because colors)
  • 2 chili peppers
  • Your choice of shredded cheese. I used Mexican, cheddar, and mozzarella. Get creative with it.
  • 1-2 table spoon of cream cheese per serving
  • Salt, black pepper, garlic powder. Whatever, you know how to season beef.
  1. Heat up a pan lubed up with olive oil.
  2. Start browning your beef.
  3. While that's going dice those peppers and chilis up
  4. Drain the beef after it's most of the way browned. Season the beef. Mix in the peppers. Return to the stove and mix it around a bit. Get the bell peppers slightly less tender than you would normally.
  5. Throw your cream cheese into a bowl. Toss it into the microwave for 30 seconds.
  6. Stir in your shredded cheese
  7. Nuke the cheese another 30 seconds. It should be a stringy goop when it's done.
  8. Mix a few lumps of beef/peppers into your cheese goop. 
  9. Stir until it looks something like to picture. Microwave more if you have to.
  10. Shovel it into your face. You'll be full for a while. It might be your only meal for the day. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Inverted Rows Success

I just did a set of 10-10-10. I am very proud of myself. My arms aren't happy. Boy, are they going to be pissed Friday when I push for 10-15-10.