Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Band, One Song Rock Bracket

I am not a music expert. I am just a fan that put together an opinionated rock bracket.  That being said, here we go.

I've spent some time here and there to create a top rock song bracket.  This is just something that I decided to do for fun.  I wasn't trying to put a bracket of my favorite songs (yet).  I tried to create a list that only allows one song from one band or solo artist.  I thought this would be a great way to look at a rock song competition.  And it was a lot of fun to do.

This bracket includes 64 songs in four sections (like the NCAA Basketball Tournament); Classic Retro, Top Guns, The Hair Alternative, and Modern Enough.  I put 16 songs into each bracket and then ranked accordingly.  I'm hoping that this will allow for a better chance to have different songs from different times make it to the finals and then see what will be the last song.

The important thing is that I'll be moving each song on by friend votes.  If you want to vote, you can send me an email, Facebook or Twitter message, or comment on which songs you think should make it to the next round.  I will give one week for each round to give people a chance to submit their opinion on my bracket, which means your votes will determine an eventual winner.  Again, this is just something for fun and I'm really curious to see what people think are the greatest rock songs in our history.

For those that wish to participate, I welcome any and all messages on the matter.  Also, you can check out the songs on Bing or iTunes if you're not familiar with the songs.  There are so many songs that I loved as a kid, but had no idea who they were because I was young and just heard them on the radio.  Now, there are some omissions, so please be prepared.  I did avoid songs that are extremely long and generally ranked songs by the band's success.

Please think of this as something fun and I hope that anyone that feels like commenting or messaging me will do so.  I really want to hear feedback and get the "fans" vote to move songs onto the next round.  The voting starts today and the next round will start next Sunday (around the same time).

Enjoy, and again, you can tweet, Facebook, Google+, or comment on this blog.

Press play now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creating an Online Book Club

So I've been wanting to create an online book club.  I'm not sure why I thought of this or would want to do it, but it does seem like a fun idea.  I like the idea of creating a group or page, probably on FB, because I think it could be a good way for friends (and even strangers) to discuss books from a distance.

The easiest method of discussing a book would be to post messages on the webpage or send messages.  But, wouldn't it be nice to set up a specific time to discuss a book and then have an interactive discussion using webcams and/or instant messenge.  I think this could provide a great opportunity for people to enjoy a good discussion and company of those that are very far away.

And who knows, friends could enjoy a glass of wine with some fruit and cheese with friends while discussing a book; and you could be thousands of miles away.  I'll be creating this book club soon and hopefully it'll provide some form of entertainment for anyone that's looking to catch up on a good book with some friends.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weekend Writing

I'm excited about this weekend.  I plan on taking a large amount of time to continue writing my second book in the Weiland Kershaw series.  I wrote my first book last year and published it in November.  It's really exciting to know that I can call myself a writer.  I've always enjoyed writing, but the majority of what I did revolved around poetry, song writing, and short stories.  Writing a book was something that I always wanted to do, but it wasn't until last year that something just sparked.

I got home from work one night in January and decided to come up with some character names and a plot.  Well, somewhat of a plot.  A lot of the story came out as I was typing.  The next night after work, I started to write this story and continued to write after work for about a month and a half.  It was amazing how great of an experience it was to write this book.  It was a lot of fun creating characters and determining the personality of each character or if they had any personality at all.  And it was really great knowing that I was writing a book with the intention of making it a series.  I finished the book and left it alone for a while to prepare for the wedding.  It wasn't until the fall that I got back to the book to figure out what to do with it.  It seemed like the best decision was to self-publish it and get it copyrighted.

Now, I'm constantly trying to think of ways to promote the book.  How do I get the word out?  I've created a Facebook profile as an author page, started a Twitter page, and decided to create this blog too.  In doing all of this, it actually made me realize what little presence I had in the online world.  It's allowed me the chance to be online more often and keep up with friends and family more often, which is definitely a great thing!  Especially since I'm not a phone person, unless it involves texting.

I definitely want to get a huge amount of the second book written this weekend, so I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on how far I get.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Different Kind of March Madness

I've been working on creating a top rock songs bracket in my free time.  It's completely frivolous and an easy way to relax while enjoying some great music.  It made me realize how much great music has been created and how little of it I listen to.  I definitely revolve my listening habits to my comfort zone of the grunge era and many things alternative, but I always try to throw in some tunes that I either used to listen to more frequently or have always had them on a back burner rotation.  I used to listen to classical music more often.  I used to play Sinatra more often.  And my favorite band from the 90s (Live), I barely listen to them anymore.

I find it amazing how times have trended me in a certain direction.  I used to be an avid sports fan and watched sports as much as I could take in.  Now, AM radio is my key tool for keeping current with the sports world.  I grew up listening to DC 101.  Now, I barely listen to any FM radio and when I do it's because I've flipped over from AM radio during a commercial on my ride home from work.  The point is to tell you that I'm no expert in music.  I'm a big fan of music and appreciate the music that I really enjoy, but when I do complete this bracket it is in no way telling anyone else that their taste in music or their favorite songs are wrong.  It will just be an opinionated bracket that I hope will, if not please anyone else, will please me with the simple fact of creating it.

I do wish I was current with today's rock and I should listen to more pre-U2 rock.  Yesterday was great listening to songs from a wide assortment of bands.  I went through so many artists, but I'll name a few.  Chuck Berry.  The Beatles.  Buddy Holly.  R.E.M.  Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Eric Clapton.  Stone Temple Pilots.  Creating this list is so unnecessary, but it is so fun.  And I do know that there will be plenty of musicians and great songs left off of this bracket and there is a great possibility that I'll think of another song once I've made the bracket and posted it online.  My hope is to get feedback once I post this top rock bracket to help move songs onto the next round and so forth until there is one amazing song left.

The tournament of songs will have 64 songs.  The catch will be that I'm selecting one song per band.  One band.  One song.  Also, I'm breaking up the bracket into four segments (like the NCAA Basketball Tournament), but I'll be ranking songs a little bit differently.  Instead of ranking 1 - 64 and splitting them into brackets, I'm putting the songs into brackets first and then ranking each bracket 1 - 16.  Example:  One bracket would be filled with 60s songs only, then rank accordingly.

I don't know when I'll have the bracket posted, and honestly, don't know if there's any interest for friends to participate.  I just really like the idea of doing something fun like this with my down time.  To be continued...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Movie Pick: As Good As It Blogs

I feel like TV and movies are the best way to shut my brain off.  My mind is always thinking about something; my next book, promoting my first book, finances, what Meghan and me are doing for dinner, what chores I need to do, what can I do better at work to keep my job, wondering if I'm keeping in touch with family and friends enough, need to wash the car, and every other thing that might come to mind throughout every part of the day.  Also, this is a reason I like to make lists so I can remember to do things, which translates to making lists for everything.

I think that's why I enjoy TV and movies so much, because I can truly just shut my brain off and get fully involved in the show or movie I'm watching.  It's like they're my pressure release valve so my brain doesn't overload.  Now, that being said, I went to see one movie (of my choosing) in theater last year.  Before (and after) I got married, I've been trying to be more frugal with my (and now our) money especially since movies are so expensive.  I used to see movies left and right when I lived in Radford, because there are a couple of great theaters that are really cheap.  I'm talking about regular ticket prices of $5, with matinee being a little cheaper.  And if you want popcorn and drink, you can see a movie and spend about $10 on ticket, drink, and popcorn.  How great is that!

So Meghan and I each chose a movie that we wanted to see last year; we saw Bridesmaids (Meghan's pick) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 (my choice).  After a few messages on Facebook, I realized that I'm going to have to make some tough decisions about what movies to see this year.  Last year, I chose Harry Potter over Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, Super 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, (as you can tell, I love comic book/sci-fi movies, well most of them) and any other movie I can't think of right now.  I have seen all of the mentioned on DVD with the exception of Green Lantern.

This year's blockbusters include The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Raven, Dark Shadows, Men in Black III, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, G.I. Joe: Retaliation (disappointed with the first, but this one has Bruce Willis), The Bourne Legacy, The Hobbit, and any other movie that might seem intriguing when I see a preview of it.  There are a ton of movies that seem theater worthy and I'll have to severely narrow down my list.  Eeesh.

But when I do see a movie or two this year, I am going to thoroughly enjoy it.  And the decision making process begins now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Five Songs

So in college, I used to always post my favorite songs online and I changed it almost weekly.  For whatever reason, I think about that whenever I try to think of something to blog about.  So, as encouraged by a friend on Facebook;
  • Happens All The Time by Cold
  • Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots
  • The Man Who Sold The World (cover) by Nirvana
  • Dig by Incubus
  • My Favourite Thing by Silverchair
These are the songs at the top of my head, but like college could change very shortly.  There will definitely be some kind of longer list involving songs or bands in the future.  Thanks for the blog topic!

Monday, March 5, 2012

After the Beach

So I've been thinking about what to blog about today and one thing keeps coming to the front of my mind, my wife Meghan.  I'm sure there are a lot of people that wonder if they're ever going to meet "the one" in their lifetime.  I waited 25 years to meet mine, but it wasn't until over 28 years went by that I realized this person was the one I was meant to spend my life with.  Let me try to explain...

Space, the final that's not right.  25 years old, okay, I was attending college (I was a late bloomer to college) and after my first year, I decided to take a trip to the beach with one of my roommates.  We went to Wilmington Beach (NC) and were going to be staying with his girlfriend, his girlfriend's sister, and his girlfriend's best friend, Meghan.

This was a very fun trip to the beach with the usual type of mid-twenties' activities; laying out in the sun, tossing the football or frisbee, and playing cards in the hotel room when we weren't at the beach.  Everyone got along very well and there were no sparks whatsoever.  Meghan and I got along very well and we were very comfortable just being ourselves and didn't feel any pressure to act weird or feel like we had to impress anyone.  And after that weekend, I didn't see her or talk to her again for over three years.

Until my former roommate and his girlfriend got married.  Meghan and I talked a little bit during the rehearsal dinner and I walked her back down the aisle once the ceremony was completed.  We didn't sit at the same table for the wedding lunch and the majority of everyone went back to their rooms to take a nap or rest after the wedding since it was a late morning wedding.  Well, almost everyone.  Meghan and I decided to hang out in her room with the bride's sister.  We played cards and had The Sound of Music on in the background.  I know, you're wondering what kind of story am I telling.  Well, I'd never seen that movie, and quite frankly, I didn't want to see it at that point either.

But I wanted to spend more time with Meghan.  I don't know what changed in three years, but I really liked seeing her and wanted to spend more time with her.  We talked about our lives over the past three years and did so until everyone was ready to go out and celebrate the newly wed couple.  We went to a sports bar at the resort and everyone was talking, and laughing, and taking pictures, which I admit, I am prone to making weird and obviously stupid faces when the camera is about to flash.  Of course, there were darts at this place so people teamed up.  Meghan and I joined forces and I'm not sure during what game we stopped playing halfway through.

Now don't get confused, we stopped halfway through one of our dart games because there was an incident.  A dart dropped into Meghan's big toe.  That pretty much sidelined any further dart throwing and fortunately there were bandaids at the bar.  In a moment like that, if it would've happened to me, I probably would've laughed.  And what did Meghan do, she laughed at her own injury.  We ended up talking some more, walking outside briefly, and sitting and watching stars before bringing her back to her room.  What was nice about the whole evening, it was knowing that I was going to have breakfast with her the following morning.  We had such a relaxed and fun evening spending time together that we made a plan to have breakfast together.

Toward the end of breakfast, we exchanged phone numbers.  We first started with exchanging text, facebook, or myspace messages for the first couple of days after the wedding.  And very soon thereafter, we were talking on the phone everyday.  After talking for a little while, we decided to meet for a weekend in Baltimore where we would go to an Orioles game.  So here's the catch so far, I lived in Radford, VA and she in Baltimore, MD.  We were five hours apart, without traffic.  I guess there came a point during the wedding or after the wedding that made me realize that I wanted to take a chance, and I wanted to take a chance with Meghan.  After a couple of months of talking, we decided to become a couple.

I guess I'm explaining how we met and the distance between those encounters because sometimes it takes special circumstances to meet that special someone.  I was 25 years old when I met Meghan, but I was 28 when something clicked and we both wanted to take a chance.  It's not your everyday, love at first sight type of story, but I'll gladly repeat my life in the same fashion if it means getting to 28 to meet the one person I thought I'd never meet.

Perhaps I'll talk about the three and a half years since that point where we met again.  For now, I'm so happy to have married my best friend and to know one thing.  If all else fails, I'll be happy for the rest of my life going to sleep with her at my side.  It's because no matter what happens, I know she'll be there when I wake up the next day.