Monthly Archives: January 2008

State of the Cube

When your days consist of career hunting, hockey and working out, there generally isn’t much to report.

I like what Justin did with his Christmas series.  (Even if it stirred some jealousy within:  I want a camera!)  I figured that I would do a series but I would like to poll the audience and see what topic would be preferred.  Here are your options:

A Space Case:  One man’s crazy journey in developing a computer game

Building a Better You:  A recent college graduate quests for a job

Building a Better Body:  The Great Ski Paradise Workout!

Building a “Better” Tomorrow:  The State of Politics

Two for the Price of One:  The joys of owning a Nintendo DS

Spending Money I Don’t Have:  The process of building the computer of tomorrow!  (All hypothetical.)

Ok, that should be enough choices for now.  I have a feeling that the decision will be the result of a vote of maybe 3 people, so choose wisely.

Music Mayhem

In the past few months I’ve really started back up my music collection process. The receipt of $40US in iTunes cash for X-mas was a big boon to this effort. These days I do purchase all my music. I feel that the albums I select deserve a monetary contribution in exchange for their hard work. (I don’t think all music deserves to be paid for, but that is a topic for another day.)

I find my taste in music interesting. I tend to like albums with high production values and catchy riffs. I tend to not like modern “rap”. I’m not interested in songs that are a single “hook” and some lyrics about bitches or pimpin’. It’s safe to say that when the most popular downloads consist of these types of songs that the state of music is in a dismal situation. On the flip side I’m not a big fan of unique indie music. Some of it can be catchy and I can listen to, but I find that a lot of the progressive music is just not good enough to hold my attention. My best example would be the new Radiohead album. I just can’t really listen to Radiohead, their music gives me a headache.

Here are the albums I’ve recently added to the collection. I’ll provide what kind of music they are similar to and what songs you should download if you only want a song or two. The free songs and individual songs will be at the end.

In a particular order (that which I received them.):

Band: Dragon Force
Album: Inhuman Rampage
Description: This is a pretty rocking album. In my mind it is Euro-Metal through and through. iTunes however, has it listed as rock. This album was purchased for the song Through the Fire and the Flames which gained massive amounts of fame by being included in Guitar Hero III. If you want a face melting song, this would be it. I would recommend getting the song. The rest of the album is good and of the same quality, but unless you enjoy Euro-Metal you probably won’t be impressed.

Band: Foo Fighters
Album: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Description: This is a great album. It has high energy tracks that have come to be the norm for the Foo Fighters in “The Pretender” and “Cheer Up, Boys”. But the most interesting part of this album is the dominance of acoustic style tracks and slower songs. It’s a true pleasure to listen too and the album is served well by playing it straight through. If you have liked any of the Foo Fighters in the past or if you like powerful acoustics accompanied by catchy lyrics then I would recommend this album.

Band: Fountains of Wayne
Album: Traffic and Weather
Description: I wasn’t as impressed by this album as their previous albums initially. Certain stand out songs like “Someone to Love” and “Traffic and Weather” are pretty easy to like right away and will likely be the singles off this album. The rest of the songs take a little while to warm up to, but eventually do become very catchy in their unique way. I would recommend that anyone who enjoyed listening to their previous releases from first song to last song to purchase this. If you just liked “Stacy’s Mom” then I would say get “Someone to Love” and leave the rest of the album alone. Also if you like “Stacy’s Mom” and haven’t heard any of the songs off their previous albums I would suggest doing so. Their previous albums are full of great tracks.

Band: Motion City Soundtrack
Album: Even If It Kills Me
Description: Wow. I heart MCS so very much. This album is a wonderful new step for them. It’s got enough of the old mixed with the new to be a very refreshing entry by MCS. It’s not as fast paced or intense as their older music as a whole but this album has been on my iPod since the day I purchased it and has not left since. (I purchased the physical copy at Borders.) Buy this album now. If you want a track to demo I suggest “Fell In Love With You” . Honestly you could select any track and listen to it. Everything MCS puts out is polished and clean and just a joy to listen to.

Band: Juanes
Album: La Vida Es un Ratico
Description: I liked the album by Juanes that I purchased for my sister for X-mas so much that I decided to get Juanes’ most recent release. The first album “Un Dia Normal” is a much more fast paced album. “La Vida Es un Ratico” is not as fast paced but it still has songs that move. What is more prevalent is Latin Pop Ballads. It’s a wonderful album that can get the blood flowing. It’s loaded with catchy beats and lyrics. You don’t have to know Spanish to appreciate this album. The voice becomes an instrument in the truest sense. Definitely recommend this album or “Un Dia Normal” if you are looking to add variation to collection or your personality.

Band: Jimmy Eat World
Album: Chase This Light
Description: Wow. Another great album by Jimmy Eat World. If you’re looking to demo a song “Always Be” is a fantastic single. The entire album deserves to be played from start to finish and grows on you with each play through. If you have liked any of their previous releases or powerful pop-alternative style music, this is an album for you.

Band: The Starting Line
Album: Direction
Description: The Starting Line has been one of my favorite bands for quite some time. They’ve recently faded from my sight because it took so long between releases. Apparently they had issues with their record label and the band almost disappeared. I’m glad they didn’t because this release would have never been if they had not been picked up by another label. Like their previous release this album is best listened to from start to finish. At the moment I can’t pick out a particular single because in my mind the album is designed to be listened to as a whole. This release and their previous release are both a sort of musical story. Unlike there most popular song “Best of Me” which was a clear attempt at a single. I would recommend this album to anyone who has liked their previous material. If you don’t know their music, then I would say find someone with the album, like myself, and give it a listen. The Starting Line is Rock Alternative.

Band: The Rocket Summer
Album: Do You Feel
Description: With my remaining iTune’s cash dwindling I decided I wanted to find some new bands. iTunes actually had this band listed under my “Just For You” music selection. It was described as a mix between Ben Folds, Relient K, Justin Timberlake, Micheal Jackson and similar. I was intrigued. I quick 30sec preview of some of the songs confirmed that I would be purchasing this album. I’m glad I did. If you want two songs off this album I would suggest “Break It Out” and “So Much Love”. To get only these two songs would be a travesty. The whole album deserves your attention and I would recommend this album to pretty much everyone I know. Unless you only care for metal or crap-rap I know you will find something to like on this album.

Band: We The Kings
Album: We The Kings
Description: Downloaded last night from iTunes. OMG LOLerskates WTFmate This entire album is amazing. I saw this band listed under what others also bought. Great fricken click on my part. This is the kind of music that I really enjoy. If you enjoyed my recommendation ages ago to get Cartel then trust me on this one and get this album. It’s pop-alternative-rock polished so incredibly well. I just can’t describe how good it is, just go get it.

iTunes offers the ability to download the free song of the week. If you aren’t taking advantage of this then I pity you. Some great music can be found this way. In addition I’ve purchased some singles. Here’s all the singles that have wormed their way into my collection.

The Good(4-5 stars):
Colbie Callat – Bubbly (Free)
Matthew Good – Born Losers (Free)
Halfway to Hazard – Daisy (Free)
Matt Nathanson – Car Crash (Free)
The Last Goodnight – Pictures of You (Free)
Graham Colton – Best Days (Free)
New End Original – Lukewarm (Purchased)
Ben’s Brother – Stuttering (Purchased)
Black Tide – Shockwave (Free)

The Bad(3 stars):
A Fine frenzy – You Picked Me (Free)
Sarah Johns – He Hates Me (Free)
Holy Ghost! – Hold On (Free)
MGMT – Time to Pretend (Free)

The Ugly(2 stars):
The Mary Onettes – Pleasure Songs (Free)

The Deleted (0-1 star):

To be fair, any song that even gets a star isn’t super terrible. I generally don’t rank terrible songs or give them one star just so I can sort them out of play lists. I like to use the whole range of the star system to get a better gradual ranking system

Whew! You still here? I’m impressed. I hope that you found some insight into possible places to look for new music. Did you get the “We The Kings” album yet? No? Go do that and if you have some spare cash get “The Rocket Summer” too. Stop thinking about it and just do it, I’ve got laundry to do.

All clear

So yesterday’s post was in response to my father being admitted to the ER with the possibility of a stress induced cardiac issue.  He felt an odd pain/sensation that he had not felt before and due to the amount of stress that work has been for the past year he figured it would be best to get it looked at.  They held him over night to do a stress test this morning.  Everything appears to be fine but it is a clear indication that he, as do we all, need to manage our stress levels and find time to relax.

So relax we did.  My dad and I sat down today to watch the first disc of Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0.  It is a great series for anyone who enjoy sci-fi or quality interpersonal development.  (Weird combo but it works.)

This was after I had gotten up at 8:30am this morning to go play Hockey with JJ and his friend Drew at Bielenberg.  We played for a good hour and a half.  JJ is getting considerably better in goal and as for myself, well I had a big break through in my shooting today.  I feel that I was able to gain 25% accuracy increase along with a 15% power increase all by completing the shot motion.  I thought I had been doing it all along but not until I made a conscious effort did I realize what I had been missing.  After ourhockey endeavor I stopped at Anytime Fitness and put in a good hour workout.  That’s two and a half hours of exercise today.  I’m glad that I forced myself to workout after hockey even though I was already dead tired.  In fact, I’m surprised I’m awake right now to type this post.  I’m fairly certain that I am getting a second wind, hopefully it will die right as I finish typing.

Elizabeth was in the market to get some new glasses today so I tagged along to share my uninformed opinion on everything eyeware.  Our destination, Pearle Vision, was quite possibly the brightest store in the entire world.  I certainly looked like crap in all the mirrors, it’s no wonder I’m a night person, the dark suites me.  We were fortunate enough to find a pair of glasses that really had that “Wow” factor.

After that it was back to my house to watch some TV.  Reno 911 is back on, so “wizard” to that.  Oh yea, Elizabeth and I saw Juno last night.  Great flick.  Everyone should see it.  Also I’m 99% sure that it takes place in Minnesota.  Elizabeth and I kind of narrowed it down to being in Bloomington or somewhere around there.

That’s all the rambling I can think of now.  Ramble on children….ramble on…


I just want to take a moment to urge everyone out there to take a moment to relax and reduce your stress levels.  Realize that there will always be stressors.  There will be another project, chore, task, issue, argument but there is only one life.  Don’t let stress overwhelm you.  Take advantage of opportunities to relieve stress.

I like to play sports or escape to a different world through books and video games.  If you don’t have time for an activity, it can be as simple as a couple of big deep breaths.  Whatever you do please just take a moment to Relax.