Liner Notes (December 14th, 2018)


I’m ready for the weekend.

In this week’s roundup I talk about the massive process of cleaning out my iTunes/Apple Music library, including finally splitting up a bunch of live sessions I had ripped into individual tracks, getting back into some comic books, and then go through my usual weekly media diet from the past week, plus share ten songs I loved. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • The comic book thread put together a Spider-Man further reading list. There’s some great stuff in there, and if you’re ever looking to get into reading comics, especially Spider-Man comics, now’s a great time. They always do a great job putting these little write-ups together. I love this community when things like this come together. I’ve been on a massive Spider-Man kick this month.
  • After cooking with it for the week, I can recommend the Frywell. I’ve tried a few different “splatter guards” over the years, and this has worked better than all the others combined. It’s not perfect, but it’s as close as I’ve gotten. When I can cook chicken, in olive oil, and at the end most of the stove top is clear of splatter? Yeah, that’s pretty great. It’s worked so well that I’m going to buy a second one for the smaller pan that I use to fry eggs.
  • This week I procrastinated working on the “Thread Ignore” system by organizing my music collection in iTunes. I got in the bad habit of just adding things, adding files, and not cleaning up the metadata or putting it in the right place. This created a pretty unruly situation, and it took almost two full days to clean it up. By and large, I went with a system where if an album has b-sides, I put them as “Disc 2” on the album, so they show up under it. Acoustic renditions or live sessions get their own albums with the proper date of recording. All Christmas songs get their own album. And then all the extra b-sides that I don’t know where to put get their own “b-side” album with no date set. I have quite a few bands where I’ve been collecting b-sides and extra songs for so long that I didn’t quite know what to do with everything. This, to me, is the best solution for now, and my next step will be going through and finding the bonus songs that are out there for bands and albums that I don’t have yet. Now that things are better organized, this should be easier. And then going forward I’ll be able to keep things all ship-shape. Acoustic songs get labeled as such, covers get labeled as a cover plus the original artist, and demos get labeled as well (Jimmy Eat World example). Songs that are from live sessions get their own section and artwork (Paramore example). So, now I can keep almost everything organized and know where it came from, when, and stay on top of stuff. It was a pain in the ass, but it was needed, and I like the results. I also took the time to clean out all the genres (my word was that a mess) and split-up into individual tracks all the extra stuff I had ripped from places like Live Lounge and Tiny Desk as one big file.
  • To do the sessions cleaning I used Fission from Rogue Amoeba. I have quite a few audio editors, including the very fancy Logic Pro X, but for this project I found Fission to be the perfect amount of simple and robust. It lets you very easily trim files, without needing to do any transcoding, so I could very quickly remove things like that “introduction sound” on Live Lounge recordings, or the random talking between songs that I never want. It also has a dead simple “split” feature so I could look at the sound-waves, see where a song probably ended, and then split up a file into tracks. It took way less time than I expected and I’m going to make sure I do this for anything I rip going forward. I love having these extra sessions to listen to, and it’s even better when you can pick/choose the songs individually.
  • Since I went through the trouble of doing it, I figured I’d share the results for anyone that wants the files. Here’s what I have that I think you may find interesting
  • I will say, if Apple Music or iTunes messes up my metadata and starts throwing things in weird places … I will riot.

Music Thoughts

  • The end of the year is always a weird time for music. Not much new comes out, and I’m spending a lot of time trying to put together my “best of 2018” list. I’m about 98% done with my list. I think I know what my top 30 are, I think I’ve got almost 30 honorable mentions, and I’ve got the placements pretty much all figured out. I’m finalizing the other sections and building playlists now. But, that also means that a lot of my listening is just going over the albums I loved this year and trying to get a feel for where they should be on my list. It is a whole lot of fun to listen to stuff you love back-to-back-to-back though. And it makes building out a Top 30 album playlist quite hard.
  • I discovered Danielle Bradbery’s latest album, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met, this week, and I’m a fan. It’s pop with a little country tinge, and it’s a good listen.
  • The new Goldfinger Christmas EP is unsurprisingly fun. A nice spin on some holiday songs all wrapped in the classic pop-punk stylings of Goldfinger. I even like their rendition of doing “12 Days of Christmas” (a song I usually don’t like) in a variety of different styles. It’s clever.
  • The new Allie X and Gerard Way holiday tunes are also an excellent addition to the collection.
  • I listened to the latest album from Ralph quite a bit this week. It’s a catchy pop album that I somehow missed when it came out in October, and I would have loved this during the summer months.
  • The new Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack has quite a few tracks on it I could see myself spinning again. I like that Vince Staples song and I deleted the XXX feature. I can’t believe someone thought that was a good idea to include. I don’t want to overplay this before I see the movie, because I want to experience the songs with the film, and then come back to this.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We re-watched Love, Simon last night and I still really love this movie. It’s got such a great John Hughes for 2018 vibe to it. The kind of movie I know I’ll be throwing on for years to come.
  • We re-watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 because we couldn’t decide on anything else. My thoughts haven’t changed much: It’s okay, but not nearly as good as the first. And it’s way too long. I still really like the characters, but it needed to be about 30 minutes shorter.
  • Hannah liked A Simple Favor more than I did, but it was pretty good and worth watching just for Anna Kendrick. The mystery isn’t as clever as it thinks it is, but the actors are having fun, and it’s got some good funny moments. It’s a not as good Gone Girl, but I was entertained through the entire thing.
  • Under the Silver Lake is very ambitious in a David Lynch kind of way … but I thought the movie was an abject failure. It just didn’t work. It needed massive editing help, and I think I understand the message the director wanted to get across, but I think he failed at conveying it. There was never a time a when I wanted to turn off the movie, but, after it ended, I wished I had bailed about 20 minutes in. A big swing from a director I like, but, in the end, I didn’t enjoy this at all.
  • We re-watched Justice League last weekend because I was in a Batman mood after the latest Titans episode pulled a “let’s not pick up the story we’ve been telling, here’s a backstory episode” thing. (Which, was a dark, but a good, episode, it just left me wanting something else.) I’m willing to say Justice League is flawed, in a lot of ways, but I actually enjoy this movie quite a bit. I bumped up my star rating on this movie after it’s proven to be rewatchable for me.
  • The holiday episodes of Nailed It! are amazing. This show is such stupid fun, and I love being judgy-as-hell about a thing I would absolutely fail at doing.
  • We’ve begun a re-watch of Friends at night. Starting from episode one. This is my favorite show of all time and holds such a special place in my heart. I haven’t watched in a while, so I’m excited, even as every line comes flooding back immediately. In college, I would just put the DVDs on constant rotation as I worked, or before bed, and they did feel like companions in a lot of ways. It was my security blanket and comfort. I can’t even count how many nights I’d fall asleep with an episode on, just wanting some kind of background noise.
  • I’ve been reading a lot of Spider-Man comic books this week. I got completely caught up on Miles Morales and loved it. I’m going to read a bunch of other things before starting his new book (issue one came out this week). I also read Spider-Men: I and am about halfway done with Spider-Men II; both have been great. I read Amazing Spider-Man #789 up to the end of the “Venom, Inc.” storyline (around #793), and just getting back into the swing of reading comics has been precisely what I needed. I love reading on the new iPad Pro, and it’s such a great diversion at night. It’s something to look forward to after I’m done with the day, and I can stretch out on the couch with a good beer. I plan to finish up Dan Slott’s run on ASM and then get caught up on Scarlet Spider and Spider-Gwen. I should have plenty to keep myself busy with for a while.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Weight maintenance remains in check. Water intake remains steady at about 55 fl oz a day. Keeping my gym schedule has become way more of a habit than I ever expected. I have to re-think things about myself now that I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, and have been doing it for almost six months. Am I that guy?
  • This Ping Pong King iPhone game is annoyingly fun.
  • This weekend is a family gathering, on my mom’s side, to meet up with Grandma. She doesn’t remember us anymore, but she’s somehow healthy as an ox. She’ll outlive us all. Family get-togethers like this are always so weird, and since they are usually at the place my Grandma lives, there’s not any alcohol to ease the awkwardness. We’re just not that close of a family. Like, I’m close with my mom and sister, but not really with anyone else in the extended group. So, these couple times a year when I see everyone is … awkward. Sometimes I think they still see me as a child and everyone reverts to when I was eight, and they were the “adults.” Funtimesahead.

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. Ralph – For Yourself
  2. Vince Staples – Home
  3. Death Cab for Cutie – When We Drive
  4. Danielle Bradbery – Red Wine + White Couch
  5. Goldfinger – 12 Days of Christmas
  6. Kelsea Ballerini – Miss Me More
  7. Allie X – Last Xmas
  8. Acceptance – Fire and Rain
  9. Gerard Way – Dasher
  10. Noah Gundersen / Phoebe Bridgers – Killer + The Sound

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I spent too long writing this up and didn’t eat lunch, so I’m ravenous. I hope everyone has a great weekend and is getting into the holiday spirit. Hannah will be around more for the next three weeks since all her classes are on winter break, so that will be fun. And I’ve got to buckle down and get this “Thread Ignore” feature done. And, with that, I leave you with a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt:

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe, if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.