The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘My Favorite Things’

Me vs Me (Circa June 2010)

Posted by Matt on August 24, 2011

I decided to go back and look at my top ten favourite albums. For lazy people, here’s what I said in June 2010:

10. Revolver – The Beatles
9. Midnite Vultures – Beck
8. Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon
7. “Heroes” – David Bowie
6. SMiLe – Brian Wilson
5. Amnesiac – Radiohead
4. Pet Sounds – Beach Boys
3. The Mollusk – Ween
2. OK Computer – Radiohead
1. Low – David Bowie

There really aren’t that many changes I would make, but I definitely question some of my choices here. For example, why is Amnesiac so high? I still really like; it’d probably be my 3rd favourite Radiohead album. There was even a point where I would rank it higher than Kid A. But I could have sworn that was a few years ago, not last year. I am now pretty solid in my belief that Kid A is a far better album. I think it might have taken me longer to come to that conclusion; Amnesiac‘s best tracks, like “I Might Be Wrong”, I think are easier to get into. But after a few listens, I realized that Kid A really starts out strong, and basically never lets up. Those songs just sound so strange and alien, heights that it’s follow-up doesn’t reach.

The second upset would probably be replacing “Heroes” with Station to Station, which I think is a far more recent decision on my part. I remember having a hard time picking a second Bowie album for the list (and there had to be a second Bowie album because Bowie is the best at everything); Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane were both in the running. “Heroes”, like Amnesiac, is a great album, but I think having listened to Station to Station several times over the last few months, I think it edges out the rest of Bowie’s discography. I think what helps is that it’s a short album, which it doesn’t feel like because the opening track is 10 minutes (and 10 minutes of endless greatness). It’s got a feeling of conciseness; the Thin White Duke has a musical point to make, does it, and then leaves. There’s no missed beat on any of the tracks. And the songs are just so fun. “TVC15” and “Golden Years” and “Wild is the Wind” manage to find a halfway point between Ziggy/Aladdin Sane Bowie and Berline Trilogy Bowie, and it just took me a little bit of time to realize that. So yeah, that’s a definite switch.

Other than that, I’d move around a couple albums, too. But let’s actually look at what my favourite album list looks like right now:

10. Revolver – The Beatles
9. SMiLe – Brian Wilson
8. Midnite Vulture – Beck
7. Kid A – Radiohead
6. Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon
5. Pet Sounds – Beach Boys
4. The Mollusk – Ween
3. Station to Station – David Bowie
2. OK Computer – Radiohead
1. Low – David Bowie

Top two don’t change, because it’s gonna take a titanic effort from someone to take down Low and OK Computer from their thrones. Those two are PERFECT albums.

After that all that Station to Station talk, I decided that it goes in the bronze spot. I just like it that much!

The Mollusk is still amazing, another album I can listen to forever. I saw that AV Club had recommended it to people as well. Good for them.

Pet Sounds is Pet Sounds. Not much to say about that.

I ranked up Excitable Boy, because that’s another really fun, easily re-listenable album. It’s more than just “Werewolves of London”, folks. Any of these tracks could be an eternally remembered Zevon classic.

Kid A is lower-ranked than Amnesiac was on the last list, even though I do think it’s a better album now. It just didn’t have the impact the rest of these have, is all.

Apparently, nobody has told Beck that Midnite Vultures is his best album. Real shame. Because it is.

Then there’s SMiLe and Revolver, both albums I have nothing interesting to say about.

See you next year, me!

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A Week Of Lists Day 1

Posted by Matt on June 23, 2010

Because I’m just not full of ribald commentary at the moment, I’ll do something easy and enjoyable.

Day 1- My Personal Top Ten Albums

10. Revolver – The Beatles
9. Midnite Vultures – Beck
8. Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon
7. “Heroes – David Bowie
6. SMiLe – Brian Wilson
5. Amnesiac – Radiohead
4. Pet Sounds – Beach Boys
3. The Mollusk – Ween
2. OK Computer – Radiohead
1. Low – David Bowie

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Posted by Matt on January 6, 2010

My god. I should have thought this essay through a bit more. This is basically the first one I won’t have done a week beforehand. In fact, I’ll have it done the day before it’s supposed to be in, hopefully.

But anyway, top ten songs in my iTunes that have animals in their title. Note: they all have to be different animals.

Joe the Lion – David Bowie
The Monkey’s Uncle – The Beach Boys
Jack-Ass – Beck
Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow – Brian Wilson
Baby Snakes – Frank Zappa
Jackie, Dressed in Cobras – New Pornographers
Monkey Gone to Heaven – Pixies
Packt like Sardines in a Crushed Tin Can – Radiohead
Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure – Weakerthans
The Golden Eel – Ween

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Posted by Matt on December 23, 2009

Let’s talk Christmas.

In the last few years, I’ve enjoyed giving just as much as I’ve enjoyed receiving. It’s fun to think of something that my family would really like, and seeing their reactions. Especially when I do it on my own, and don’t just get them what they tell me to get them. I’d like to think I’d know what kinds of things they’d like whether or not they give me any direct ideas.

I also enjoy real surprises more. I can barely think of things to ask for anymore. I used to ask for a lot of games, but I’ve just been buying them on my own the last little while (not to mention that my taste has narrowed so significantly, there are usually less than a dozen games I’m actually interested in each year). Most of the stuff I’ve asked for are either practical (this year, I want new winter gloves) or stuff that I pretend is practical (various office supplies). This year, I tried to make the gift ideas better (they complained that I was hard to buy for last year) by including several things that I think are nice, but I would probably never buy for myself. Apparently, that didn’t fix things. Oh well.

***************

And now, some things in fiction that I like for some reason:

Fantasy meets Sci-Fi
I just find it awesome when wizards and dragons suddenly come face to face with robots and lasers. I think this can extend to many other things as well (cartoony meeting non-cartoony, for example) that feel like something really special, because they shouldn’t happen. Throwing together incongruous elements is a bad idea…unless you can think of a way to make them work. I try to do that (most of the time), and throwing together incongruous elements is pretty common in my ideas.

Good Guy Monsters
Because there’s nothing in any rule book for ideas that says weird looking things can’t be one of the ‘good guys’. Monster protagonists can often be more compelling, because unlike the standard human figure, you don’t automatically understand their situation. Yes, even humans on other planets or in some bizarre other-realm are still easier to relate to because they still look like you, sort of. I was reading an article about Avatar, and it asked whether the human protagonist was even necessary. The reasoning for him, it seems, was to act as the ‘audience relation character’, because people watching just can’t connect with tall blue cat people. Aside from the more troubling aspects of this concept (most ‘audience relation characters’ are white males), it also shows how a legitimate way of looking at fiction (studying the audience) could be turned into a marketing function.

But yeah, good guy monsters. Love ’em.

Separate or Conflicting Antagonists
Sure, the odd team-up could happen, but for whatever reason, if the thing has more than one villain, having them at odds rather than working with eachother is sort of interesting. It makes the world seem bigger, because it houses all these different personalities who don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other hanging around. And of course, different motivations leads to conflict, so it’s fun to compare and contrast how your antagonists think.

If you noticed, most of these ideas apply mainly to a very specific kind of genre and atmosphere, which I here dub ‘Nerd Fiction’. A lot only really applies in something long-form, episodic, and…well, Saturday morning. It is entirely possibly to fit some this stuff into something actually substantial, but mostly it’s fluff for a very juvenile kind of fiction. While I hope to have a wide variety of things to write about, I must admit that I’m still drawn the juvenile stuff. I’ll try to bring some intelligence to it, though! I promise!

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The dead speak to me

Posted by Matt on August 27, 2009

Funny, this seems entirely appropriate for what I imagine is the majority audience for Play. By the way, Play fucking sucks.

Oh yeah, and nerd justification for said thing based on argument of ‘but but but they based it on something artistic!’ in the comments (or at least one comment). Hilarious how often that one pops up!

And because I’ve already gone on a spree of posts with no substance, here’s 20 quotes I quite enjoy from various sources in no particular order.

“I’m the insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over and the insect is awake.” – The Fly (1986 version)

“Second comes right after first!” – Buzz Aldrin on The Simpsons (“Deep Space Homer”)

“Were people this dumb before television?” – Don Delillo’s White Noise

“They never die/They just go to sleep one day” – David Bowie’s ‘Sons of the Silent Age’

“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.” – Alan Moore

“Solutions are not the answer” – Tricky Dick

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junior jumble

Posted by Matt on August 25, 2009

Ween’s The Mollusk is one of the greatest albums of all time. It takes the weird, style-parodying antics of the bands previous (and proceeding) albums, distills it into the best possible mix without any real clunkers, and comes together to form something that is infinitely re listenable.
If you hate one of these songs, I hate you.

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