Liner Notes (October 26th, 2018)

Fall Leaves

It finally got cold enough to where I had to turn on the fireplace — only to find out that the pilot light wouldn’t ignite. Which, of course, meant I had to wait to have it fixed. After a few days of being sad, it has been fixed, and I’ve turned it on for the first time this season. It’s gloriously warm and the cats are cuddled up next to it like it’s the only thing in this world that matters. They may just be right.

This week’s roundup finds me ranking Anberlin albums and going through my usual media diet. There’s also a playlist of music I loved this week and some way-too-early talk about holiday decorations. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • With the news that Anberlin is playing a show, I figured I’d give the old discography a ranking to see where I come down on it:
    • Cities: Still their best album by a country mile. It grabs everything I love about the band, energy, and emotion, into one package. This album could be released today, and I’d still fall in love with it.
    • Vital: After coming back to the band’s catalog I’ve settled on this being my second favorite release from the band. I love how passionate the band sounds and the songs carry that with them.
    • Never Take Friendship Personal: It could be nostalgia, but this album has a special place in my heart. A lot of albums from 2005 do. That was just a fun time for music. Some great songs on this album and I think as a collective whole it just works well.
    • New Surrender: Better than I remembered, but it still feels rushed, and there’s something sort of missing.
    • Dark is the Way..: I like what they’re going for here, but I just have never been able to connect with a lot of these songs. There are some great individual songs, but the album as a whole always loses me about halfway through.
    • Lowborn: It’s never clicked. It’s fine, and fine Anberlin is better than most, but that’s about it. The album cover still looks super gross to me too. Baby-shit yellow was the wrong color choice.
    • Blueprints for the Black Market: I rarely come back to this album, and it holds up as a good blueprint for what the band would become, but it’s still my least favorite.
    • Conclusion: The band has a solid catalog that when I look at it as a whole, I realize I like a lot of their songs more than I like albums at this point. I always want to listen to Cities front-to-back, but on the other albums, I find myself picking and choosing songs. That means the band ends up having a good sized group of songs (over 135 in my collection) to pick from, which includes quite a few great b-sides, but they’ve become more of a playlist band for me lately. Their highs are high, but there’s some filler in there as well.
  • A while back I wrote about using Couch Potato to download movies to watch automatically. After a few years of it working, pretty much, how I wanted to … it stopped updating for some reason. I was having issues with movies being released and it just never searching for and downloading them for me. I remembered this post talking about Radarr, so I finally decided to make the big switch. It was a little bit of a pain in the ass to do the reorganization of my media library, but it did need to be cleaned out and better organized anyway. After having used it for a week, I can say that while it’s still in a development beta, it’s working great. I recommend making sure your preferred tags and “must not contain” tags are filled out and pretty strict. Mine currently looks like this, and this, and so far that’s worked pretty well. I’ll probably have to do some tweaking, but having both my movie and TV downloading (Sonarr) applications running similar software is nice, and this one is actually working reliably.
  • I’ve got some $75 coupons for Molekule if anyone is interested. I was sent one of these for free a while back, and it’s a nice looking air purifier/filter. We run it in the bedroom, and as someone with two cats and pretty annoying allergies, I do think it’s helped. It also isn’t ugly which has made it the first air filter I’ve wanted to have out. Figured I’d pass along the coupon to anyone that may be interested.
  • The holiday season is coming at what feels like a rapid pace now. The past few years we haven’t done a whole lot of decorating, but this year I want to make sure we go all out for our first year as an engaged couple. Because I’m a massive nerd, I decided to load up on some fun holiday Funko to decorate with this year. I got Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Groot, and my personal favorite (of course), Spider-Man. We don’t have anywhere near the collection some people on this website do, but I enjoy having a few of these around the house. They make me happy. And I am looking forward to putting up the holiday-nerd-toys in a few months. I also decided to check out the Funko “collection apps” that are out there. The one most recommended is Stashopedia. Man, I gotta say, these apps fucking suck. There is no great collection app on the market. Almost all of them are garbage. I can’t even find one that’s good at collecting one specific thing, let alone anything that would let you put all your collections together. The best out there is Discogs for vinyl. For fun, I’ve been making notes and sketches in my spare time for some ideas of how I’d build one. I highly doubt it will ever come to anything, but it’s an interesting thing to think about, and I’d love to prototype it out someday. However, there’s way too much to do on this website before that could ever come to fruition.
  • I wanted to put the Portland Trail Blazer logo on my iPhone home screen and have it launch the NBA League Pass app. This led to a deep dive into seeing if I could figure out the best/easiest way to do this that didn’t involve jailbreaking. I wrote up a blog post on my findings.

Music Thoughts

  • I dig that new John Mayer song. I ripped the audio if anyone wants the mp3.
  • I went on an AFI kick yesterday because it felt like some good Halloween lead-up music. Nothing comes close to Decemberunderground for me, but their last two albums I still enjoy quite a bit as well. Crash Love does not do it for me. The new song is alright but didn’t grab me.
  • I spent the week trying to get the new “released in Japan only” POP ETC. album to no luck. I have most of the songs, but want all of the songs, because that band rules. Damn you region locked music.
  • Still digging Troye Sivan, The Sonder Bombs, and Ruston Kelly on an almost daily basis.
  • I checked out that Novo Amor album I saw recommended (in fact, it’s playing as I type this). It’s good, but man does it wear the influence of Bon Iver a little too strong. That’s hard to shake and keeps me from elevating the album. Great fall/winter music though and it seems like something I’ll keep playing over the next few months.
  • I fucking love the Now, Now Audiotree sessions. I love that band.
  • Lots of holiday albums released today. It’s way too early to play them, but I’ve got them in my collection for the moment December hits.
  • The new Saves the Day has grown on me over the past week. It’s a good album that takes some time to warm up to. That’s been my experience with most Saves the Day albums though. I hope people give it some time because I do think it’s worth it.
  • The new Lights & Motion EP sounds like I expected. Still good, but also nothing really new. I toss all of those songs into shuffle sometimes when I’m deep in a coding project.
  • Only listened to the new Robyn and Say Lou Lou once each, and I enjoyed both. I’ll keep giving those spins over the next week and see how they settle out.
  • That new Boygenius EP is excellent. Sometimes “supergroups” don’t live up to the hype … this is not one of those times. Every song’s great. “Salt in the Wound” is probably my early favorite.
  • Direct Hit is out and I wish it came out in the summer. I think it’s going to get overlooked. They’re one of, if not the, best pop-punk band out there right now.
  • The new Shad album is incredible and exactly what I want right now. Smart, biting, just all around great. One of my favorite albums of the year so far. Don’t sleep on it.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We kept up with a “spooky” theme again this week as we get closer to Halloween. We watched the remake of Fright Night, which ended up being better than I expected it to be. It wasn’t good, but it was a fun evening of vampires.
  • I loved Train to Busan. This is on Netflix and if you haven’t seen it yet … I recommended it. It’s a zombie movie but it has a lot of heart, and it’s well done. One of the better movies we’ve seen in a while.
  • Incredibles 2 was an enjoyable way to break up the week’s “creepy” entertainment. This wasn’t as good as the original, or as other Pixar movies, but that didn’t keep me from having a smile on my face the entire time we were watching it. It’s one I’ll keep in my library to re-watch in the future.
  • I was worried about Juliet, Naked because I enjoyed the book (I’ve been a big Nick Hornby fan for a while) and didn’t know how it would translate to screen. I shouldn’t have worried. It’s a delightful and fun movie that I think actually improved the original story. I was worried they’d make Duncan too likable. They did not. His dumbass selfish self is captured perfectly. If you like romantic comedies about obsessive music fans, this should be right in your wheelhouse. Don’t be Duncan.
  • Superstore continues to be our go-to nightly TV show to try and cleanse the brain of all the scary shit we watched before. Thankfully it works most nights.
  • This season of The Good Place continues to impress. It’s filling that Parks and Rec. sized hole left in my heart.
  • We’ve been watching The Haunting of Hill House throughout the week as well. We’ve decided only to do one episode a night. Anything more and it ends up dominating our dreams/night and dreaming about weird ghost shit is never fun. It’s creepy, dark, and good, but there’s only so much of that I want to put into my brain on a consistent basis. We’ve watched five so far and hope to finish right around Halloween. We’ve already earmarked Hereditary (and probably Hocus Pocus) for Halloween night. I expect to get a lot of beer and probably overeat candy.
  • I’ve been alternating between iZombie season 3 and Supergirl season 1 as my “background” TV show this week. I’ll toss them on while working or cooking or trying to wind down. They’re a nice distraction and take zero brain power to pay attention to.
  • I liked the second episode of Titans. I’m very much in on this show at the moment. My Robin bias is strong, but I really like this portrayal of Dick Grayson so far. Only two episodes so far so there are so many ways this can go south, but I am looking forward to watching the next episode in the next few days already.
  • I really need to finish 11/22/63. I’m like 20 minutes of dedicated reading away but haven’t been motivated to complete. I think I know how it’s going to end, and it’s going to bum me out. It has been a really good book though, but the ending can’t happen if I never pick it up, right?

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This was week one of “maintenance mode” for the diet. My entire goal is to sit between basically a 3 lbs range. Only a half pound lower, at the most, and only 2.5 lbs higher at the limit. I’m going to have to do a lot of experimenting to figure out what works, but this week I tried raising my daily calorie limit on Monday-Thursday by about a hundred and then raised Friday-Saturday by three hundred. (I like having extra on the weekend for hanging out with Hannah and having a few extra beers and not worrying too much.) During the experimentation phase, I’m going to weigh myself every two days and log it to get an idea of how things are working. This week saw me sit right within the range I wanted, and I ended up today .4 lbs up from last Friday. I’m going to keep the same routine next week and evaluate. I’ll be more than happy to sit within a range and monitor and make adjustments as needed if I can sit right around this weight. Now, the main goal is to add some muscle mass and definition. And to drink more water.
  • I’ve been tracking my water consumption each day to try and force myself to drink more than the pathetic amount I have been drinking. The first week was pretty good and averaged out to 59 oz a day.
  • As soon as I finish typing all of this up we’re heading out to check out two new wedding venues … and then getting happy hour burgers and beer. These will be our two highest priority hotels downtown. Hoping we like one, or both, and we can make it work within the budget. I think a downtown wedding would be pretty cool because it would be unique compared to all our friends. I know it’s silly, but in the back of my head I’m already thinking about “ok don’t be cliché.” I’m already gonna be forced to play cliché dance music, at least my wedding can be different! Plus, most of our entire relationship has taken place down here in the city. Might not work out, or maybe it’s going to massively suck when we go check it out in a few hours, but it’s high on my list at the moment.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Shad – The Revolution/The Establishment
  2. AFI – The Killing Lights
  3. Saves the Day – It’s Such a Beautiful World
  4. Anberlin – Symphony of Blasé
  5. Robyn – Honey
  6. Now, Now – Holy Water (Audiotree Live Version)
  7. Boygenius – Salt in the Wound
  8. Say Lou Lou – All love to Me
  9. Novo Amor – Repeat Until Death
  10. Lights and Motion – We Are Infinite

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines in High Fidelity:

Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time.

I love that feeling, and it’s precisely the kind of thing that draws me to music.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.