Timeline Flashbacks

Facebook has now added the Timeline feature and it allows you to see your entire history with the site.  Every post.  Every status.  Every tagged or uploaded picture.  I started playing around with it tonight and was blown away by all the old memories.  Most notably, I saw a lot of posts from or related to an old friend, a best friend in fact.  It has been a year and half since we had a falling out and I don't think I am over it yet.  I still think of him and about the whole situation quite often.  I thought I would be over it all by now, but for some reason it lingers with me.  Seeing all these old posts and pictures on Facebook makes the memories that much more vivid, and ultimately floods my mind with emotion.  Anger? Yeah a bit.  Pain? Yes.  Mostly though, I just miss our friendship.

The hard thing is that there is zero chance of reconciliation, if I even wanted it.   Most of me screams against any such notion.  There is no going back.  What's done is done and can't be undone.  There is, however,  a sliver of me, a small part that wants my friend back.  The interests and experiences I shared with this friend are pretty much exclusive.  No one else can replace him.  Now that he is gone, I almost feel like a small part of those experiences are gone too.  Typing that out and reading it sounds weird, but I don't know how else to put it.

I can't help but to think it is really unfortunate the way things went down.  When I say unfortunate, I mean downright shitty.  Its weird to think that because of one experience that a 10 year friendship can be destroyed.  What if things had gone down differently? Who knows?  I don't.  I have definitely thought about it enough.  Its been a year and a half, and I still think about it constantly.  If I am being perfectly honest (which is what we are supposed to be on our blog right?), I have had multiple dreams about a confrontation with him.  When I say multiple I don't mean 2 or 3.  Probably more around 20 to 30.  The entire thing haunts my friggin dreams.  Will I ever get over this?  I hope so.  My sleep depends on it.  :)

For now, it is Christmas weekend and I am looking forward to the time spent around my family, friends, and most importantly, the lady.  I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and appreciates the family and friendships they do have.

P.S. Sorry for the quasi depressing post.  I think it is just something I have been thinking about for a long time and needed to get out of my head and onto paper(screen).


"No thank you...."

Behold my beautiful wife, Ashley.  I know its kind of a random picture but it is one of my favorites of her.  She is my everything.  I show you this picture so you all can get a better visual of her and also so you can all be jealous that I get to fall asleep next to her every night, not only because she is beautiful but because on occasion funny things happen.   One such occasion occurred a few nights ago.  We had both fallen asleep and in the middle of the night I woke up slightly and rolled over.  As I rolled over (now facing her) I was startled to hear her start talking.  "No.  NO! Absolutely not..........no thank you..."  I don't know how I kept it together.  I'm not sure if my favorite part was the hand wave when she said "absolutely not" or the calm after thought of "no thank you".  What the heck was she dreaming about?  What was going on in that brain of hers?  I asked her this very question the next morning and we will apparently never know.  She couldn't remember her dream at all.  Bummer.

Just a short thought on sleep talking.  I think the weirdest part, or most interesting, of sleep talking is the difference in experience between the person doing the talking and the person listening.  To the person talking, they are obviously having a real conversation with someone, so they act and speak like one would in a real life interaction(versus how one would re-tell a story from earlier in the day).  For the person doing the listening, all they hear and see is the one side of the conversation.  It is a very odd experience hearing someone talk as if someone else is there, and engaging in a conversation you have no context for.  Oh yeah, and it is all happening at 2 in the AM.   A very odd experience indeed.  We have already shared more than a few laughs over the whole thing since, and will continue to for sure.

This picture is from before Ashley and I started dating.  I have always loved this picture of her though.   It captures her personality pretty well I think. Plus I love how tan/dark she is here.  Just wanted to share it with everyone.


Top 10 Albums of the Year

It is that time of year.  Everyone is releasing their end of the year lists.  Here is mine.  I don't profess these to be the best 10 albums of the year, just my favorite.  There should be a little something for everyone in here.  If you are interested in any of them, check out the link.  I picked my favorite song
from each album.  Enjoy.

1. Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
    A shocker to myself and probably anybody that mildly knows me.  Somehow, someway, this album was able to top Major/Minor.  Empty Days is hardcore music at its best.  One part The Who's Tommy, one part pissed off late 90's hardcore, Defeater's new album tells a story about two brothers in a post WW2 era New Jersey.  The lyrics are so strong it is easy to get swept up in the story in a very cinematic way.  The ten song album also includes an extra 4 song ep of sorts of strictly acoustic songs.  These 4 songs are phenomenal.  If you aren't into hardcore at least check out the link below for Brothers.  Did I mention they put on a hell of a live show too?  Defeater - Dear Father   Defeater - Brothers

2. Thrice -  Major/Minor
    Most everyone that knows me is not surprised to see this album on my list, however they are probably surprised its at #2.  Major/Minor picks up where Thrice left off with their last album Beggars.  What they have added is more layers and a slightly upgraded production.  Major/Minor is a bit more dynamic than its predecessor as well.  This is an album I would feel comfortable recommending to pretty much any one.  For a more in depth discussion check out the post I wrote about it here.  Thrice - Words in the Water

3. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
    Simple Math sports what is probably my favorite song of the year in its title track.  The album as a whole takes the listener on quite a journey.  It is definitely reminiscent of my favorite Brand New album, Deja Entendu, but with more layers and a slicker production.  Some reviews I read were not fans of the string arrangements placed in some of the songs, but I actually was a big fan of them.  If you are looking for a good alternative rock album that is ready for the radio but offers a bit more than what is being offered on the radio then this album is perfect for you.  Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
4. Nick 13 - Nick 13
    This album is definitely the dark horse in my top 10.  Nick 13 is usually heard as the lead singer for Tiger Army, a punk/psychobilly band.  On his first solo album, Nick 13 offers an album full of country gems that would satisfy any fan of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, or Hank Williams Sr.  What makes this album stand out is his voice and the stellar backing band.  I don't presume to know anything about country music, but from what I have read, Nick 13 has assembled a who's who of country backing musicians (peddle steal, drums, fiddle) and it definitely shows.  Anyone with an open mind would love this album.  It is a very timeless record and one I will be listening to for years to come.  Nick 13 - Nashville Winter

5. Balance & Composure - Separation
    Oh Separation, this album still confuses me.  I can't decide if it is a rock album with a hardcore edge, or a hardcore album on Xanax.  At times Balance & Composure remind me a lot of the late 90's "emo" acts like early Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, and Texas Is the Reason. At other times though, Balance & Composure channel their inner hardcore and put up some pretty heavy rock tunes.  There isn't any screaming per se, but it is heavy nonetheless.  I saw them a few months ago and all the songs sound just as good, if not better, in a live setting. Balance & Composure - Quake

6. Touche Amore - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
    Talk about emotion.  Touche Amore gives probably the most emotionally draining release of the year.  At its heart, this album is essentially a punk rock album.  As far as I can tell, there is only one chorus in the whole album.  One of my favorite things about this album is that it is 13 songs, but the album length is only a tad over 20 minutes.  That means songs that are short and sweet.  Touche Amore - Home Away From Here

7. La Dispute - Wildlife
    Wildlife might be the most unique album I listened to all year.  The strange thing is that it is vaguely familiar to material by one my favorite bands in At the Drive In.  Wildlife is a concept album where each song is essentially a short story.  This is one of the albums where you want to pay close attention to the lyrics.  The vocal delivery is a large part of the greatness of La Dispute.  Watching them open for Thrice was a treat.  La Dispute - King Park

8. The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne
   Heavy.  Not for those with sensitive ears.  The Devil Wears Prada have followed up last years purely awesome Zombie EP with probably their best album.  DWP are doing their best to separate themselves from their peers in what has become a watered-down joke of a metalcore scene.  For those who like themselves from metal, this is an album for you. Everyone else need not listen.  The Devil Wears Prada - Vengeance
9. Make Do and Mend - Part and Parcel
  Talk about your last minute inclusions.  This was barely released at the end of November.  Part and Parcel is an acoustic EP consisting of acoustic versions of 4 previously released full band songs, a cover of a Touche Amore song, and one new song.  I had low expectations for this release for some reason.  I  guess I didn't think they would pull it off.  Boy was I wrong.  MDAM's last album(End Measured Mile) came out in December of 2010, but was not discovered by me until January.  If I was going to include December 2010 in this list, End Measured Mile would have been #1.  I am glad I loved Part and Parcel so much because it gives me a reason to put them on this list anyway.  Make Do and Mend - Unknowingly Strong (Acoustic)

 10. Junius - Reports From the Threshold of Death
   This album snuck up on me in 11th hour.  I just came across it in the second week of December.  That will tell you how much I enjoy this album. Two ways to describe this album.  1.) It sounds like The Smiths if they formed a metal band.  2.) Kind of a cross between the Deftones and Isis.  Either way, its slower, its heavy, and its melodic.  I like it.  Junius - A Universe Without Stars


Darn Kids With Their Darn Loud Music!

A recent musical phenomenon has been racing across the internet and I can't go another minute without addressing my hatred for it.  The phenomenon is known as dubstep, and its terrible.  Think of a guy that has synthesizers taped to his hands and feet, falling down a flight of stairs that is 4 minutes long.  That is what it sounds like.  I like to consider myself as someone who has a large music palette that stretches from punk rock to hip hop to classic rock to electronica and everything in between.  I have often prided myself on my ability to stay with the times and find new music in new genres and sub-genres that I enjoy.  Lately, dubstep has me feeling a bit like a crotchety old man complaining about the loud music the kids these days are playing.  If it gets any worse I'll be yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

There is not one part of this that sounds remotely like music to me.  That is coming from a guy that calls hardcore punk his favorite type music.  Hardcore punk is home to shouted, yelled, or screamed vocals and traditionally basic song structures.  There are of course many bands that have incorporated melodic vocals (Ignite, Rise Against) and/or more difficult song structures (Botch, Cave In, Dillinger Escape Plan), some even mixing jazz into equation (Refused).  While I don't agree with it, some have dismissed this music as "just noise", but to the critics I say, if you are not into the style of music, you can at least appreciate the fact that these bands are playing their instruments,  some very well.  Defenders of dubstep has explained that the song structures are very advanced and use complicated time signatures.  Big deal, it is created on a friggin' lap top.  Part of what gives music "life" is the fact that it is played by actual human beings.  If you can program the bass track to be on a 5/4 time signature, who cares?  Thats very different from a drummer who can play his drums at a 5/4.  This is not to say that I have no appreciation for electronica, because I do.

There is something to be said for a song that you can dance to, or something that simply just sounds cool.  Blink 182 and New Found Glory are the examples of this in the pop-punk world.  Nothing new. Nothing exciting.  Nothing difficult to play. But damn its catchy.  I think there is something to be said about a band that can write a hook.  This goes for a lot of DJ's in the electronica world.  There IS something to be said about coming up with a catchy hook or cool beat.  There is talent there.  All I mean to say is that the complicated song structures in dubstep seem to lose their luster when you consider it is created on a computer.  To me it is more impressive that someone can play a few chords and keep a simple drum beat.

Furthermore, I don't have a degree in music theory.  I admittedly don't have the best ear.  I do think, however, that I have a better ear than most people that aren't trained musically.  I find it extremely difficult to count beats and to break down songs.  If I can't do it, who can? Musicians and people who have studied music in school.  Thats about it.  I often hear people refer to a band as a musicians band.  Like the band Yes.  Most people that like Yes are musicians and appreciate the musicianship in their songs.  Is that was dubstep is?  A musicians electronica genre?  Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt most musicians and people who have studied music would like dubstep.  Its just terrible.  To complete the post, I will leave you with an example of dubstep so you can make your own judgement.  If you are like me you will get 30 seconds in and want to turn the guns on yourself.  Either way, I am curious to know everyones thoughts.


I'm Part of the 300 Club

I hope to look back on this week in a year or two as an important week in my life.  Something was brought to my attention that I can't ignore.  I can't turn and run away either.  Well...I do need to do some running, but actual running, not the metaphorical type.  They always tell alcoholics, or at least in the movies they do, that you have to admit there is a problem before you can fix it.  This is me admitting it to the world (luckily only 12 people read this blog).

I weigh over 300 pounds.  There it is. I said it.  It doesn't feel good, like when they say it in the movies.  I think the weirdest thing for me is that in my mind I am about 220.  Growing up I was always outside riding my bike till the sun went down and playing baseball and football year-round.  I went through a chubby stage in middle school, but other than that I was always in good shape and skinny, relatively speaking.  

I honestly don't know what happened.  Maybe that is problem in fact, that nothing happened.  I stopped playing sports, working out, caring about what I ate, and worst of all got a job sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day. Not to mention got married (my poor wife).   

Regardless, I am here and I am massively over weight.  I always looked at obese people and said,"How did they let themselves get like that?  If I ever got over 3 bills I would get my ass to the gym and work out."  Well folks, time to put my money where my mouth is (ya know, instead of more food).  Its go-time.  Its get-my-butt-to-the-gym-5-or-6-times-a-week-time.  Its eating-healthy time.  Lastly, its your-muscles-are -going-to-be-sore-for-at-least-2=weeks-straight time.  

What is that?  I mean, I know what it actually is (kind of).  We have all felt it before.  You haven't been to the gym in months.  First time back you go balls out and feel great that night.  Next day you are a bit tender but still feeling like you accomplished something and are being reminded of it with a slight soreness.  THEN, the day after that you feel like you were hit by a train.  WHAT IS THAT?! Is it natures cruel way of welcoming you back into the healthy world? Is your body trying to tell you that the gym is bad and eating endless amounts of mac n cheese is good? Because that is what it feels like.  You'd think that if working out was good for you that your body would feel amazing after doing it for the first time in months.  I digress.

All I know is that I am going into BEAST MODE for a while.  I can't say for how long, but it will be long enough so that when I am done you won't recognize me.  Here's to me and my health.  To not getting Diabetes before the age of 30.  To being able to climb some stairs without getting winded.  To being able to shop at Urban Outfitters.  To fitting back into my old clothes (I have a couple pairs of Seven and Diesel jeans just wasting away in a my dresser).  Here is to sticking to the plan.

By the way, I hope some of you didn't continue reading this post hoping to hear about me walking around shirtless wearing nothing but a loincloth and an oversized red cape. 

I also added a little poll on the right hand column regarding whether you guys want to hear about my journey or not.  Truth be told its also a way to gauge how many people are reading.  If you don't comment, at least take 2 seconds to answer the poll question.  Much love.

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