Liner Notes (December 7th, 2018)

December marches on!

In this week’s roundup, I write a little about Smart Playlists in iTunes and how I use them for holiday music, talk about wanting to ramp up my comic book reading again, share thoughts on the music and entertainment I enjoyed this week, and post the weekly ten song playlist. It’s been a very Copeland, Japanese House, and The 1975 dominating week around my house. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • I wrote up my annual holiday gift guide. This is where I recommend a bunch of things I liked over the year that I think would make excellent gifts. I also updated some of my recommendation posts.
  • I ripped the acoustic version of The 1975’s “Be My Mistake” and “Paris” from YouTube, as well as Phoebe Bridgers’ Spotify singles — if anyone would like them for their collection.
  • I’m always surprised to learn more people don’t use Smart Playlists in iTunes. One playlist I like this time of the year is my Holiday Playlist. I create rules to match an album, genre, or song title that includes the words “Christmas” or “holiday” and then I also look at the “comments” tag on songs as well. That way if there’s something that doesn’t get picked up, I can just add the word “holiday” into the comments section, and it’ll be added automatically. I just put the entire thing on shuffle.
  • The new “thread ignore” feature is about 60% of the way completed. I have the basics all done, and now it’s all about styling and implementation details. Things like making it work and look right on mobile and then a couple of other little tweaks. If I can make enough time for the coding work, I should close to my goal of finishing it before the end of this month.
  • After seeing it talked about on SixColors, I downloaded the Chunky Comics reader app on my iPad. It’s great. I had been using ComicZeal, but it wasn’t optimized for the new iPad sizes and was pretty fiddly. This is much better. I plan to finish work today and then dive back into the world of Spider-Man comics. I want to get caught up again. I’ve found that I’m not a great month to month reader, but I do like saving up a bunch of books and then going on a massive binge. I’ve got a good group to dive through right now, and that’s my reward for getting all my work done today.

Music Thoughts

  • I spent a lot of time listening to Copeland this week. It’s been freezing here recently, and this music goes perfectly with a cold day and warm coffee. I’m falling more in love with it with each play. This week I’ve been drawn to “Colorless” and “Suddenly.”
  • I’ve also been on a big Japanese House kick this week. Besides the five new songs, I’ve been listening to the previous EPs again. Copeland and The Japanese House go pretty good together; it makes sense this dominated my week.
  • I put The Maine’s And to All a Goodnight on earlier this week, which led to me playing the hell out of the band’s last album again over the past two days. It still feels weird to say, but I am highly anticipating their new album. Those two acoustic holiday songs are quite good too.
  • Hmm, the new Mutemath EP is … pretty good. I’ve only listened once, but I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I would like a full album of this, it may get a little repetitive. But, I could see myself spinning it again in the future. Armistice is still my favorite album from the band.
  • The new album from The Friday Prophets reminds me a lot of Billie Joe and Green Day. It’s a fun pop-punk album.
  • I enjoy the new Broken Bells single.
  • End of the Year lists are being worked on, so a lot of my listening over the next few weeks will probably be a mix of holiday tunes and trying to catch up on things I missed this year and trying to decide where the hell everything goes in a ranking. This ain’t going to be easy.
  • I think it’s incredible that Fall Out Boy are nominated for a Grammy. I have no idea if they’ll win, but they’d have my vote if I had one.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We completed our Lord of the Rings marathon session this week. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they all held up. I liked Two Towers way more this time around than I did the first time, and Return of the King is just an epic-as-fuck movie. They’re long, and we didn’t even watch the extended versions, but I’m definitely glad we did this. I could see it becoming a December tradition to break out these movies for a re-watch.
  • We watched Wonder last night and it’s a pretty by the numbers movie, but at the same time, it was kind of exactly what I was hoping it would be. It’s heartwarming and by the end makes you feel good inside. Probably not anything I’d watch again, but it was a lovely evening.
  • Look, everyone knows I’m a big Spider-Man fan-dork, so consider that when I say that Venom was one of the most ridiculously fun times we’ve had watching a movie in quite a while. Don’t get me wrong; this is not a good movie. But, we watched this in the perfect situation of wanting something quite silly and fun, while having some beers, on a random cold night with nothing too early the next day. And we had a damn blast. We were laughing, immediately quoting some of the ridiculous lines, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this movie. Tom Hardy is charming and funny. The Venom dynamic is perfect. It’s stupid, it’s silly, it’s bad in just the right way, and it’s entertaining. Hannah enjoyed it as well, and now we’ve been walking around the house doing Venom voice and cracking each other up all week. I was genuinely shocked at how much fun I had watching this movie. It felt like it got what it was and embraced it. Movies like The Meg and The Predator didn’t live up to my stupid fun expectations, but this and Power Rangers are two movies I know I will throw on in the future when I wanna have a good time. When Venom says “tater tots and chocolate” I almost choked on my beer. What a stupid, oh so bad, and yet utterly entertaining movie.
  • I loved seeing Donna Troy (Wonder Woman’s younger sister) in Titans. The scene with her and Dick Grayson talking about their mentors’ work, and the violence and how it was impacting them in Wayne Manor, was terrific.
  • Finishing season three of The Fall is next on our watch list. We did the first two seasons forever ago, and we want to know how it ends. So, that’s next up on our list. We started it, so we need to finish it before we can watch something new. (I bet Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be what we watch soon after.)
  • My plan this weekend is to read and get caught up with Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider, Miles Morales, Amazing Spider-Man, and Scarlet-Spider. I’ll check back in next week with my thoughts on those books. (I just realized I can log comic books in GoodReads. Hmm, I should do that.)

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Weight management continues right where I want it. I haven’t raised my calorie goals, but I’ve been a little more relaxed with myself at the end of the day if I go over by 50-100. So far, that hasn’t impacted my actual weight at all. The system of morning weigh-ins on Monday/Wednesday/Friday has worked well, so I know where I am throughout the week. I have a higher calorie limit on Friday and Saturday, which is usually when we go out to eat and things like that, but then drop it down on Sunday and keep it there through the week. If this continues to work, I’m more than ok with it. I haven’t gone to bed wishing I had more calories to spend; I think my body has acclimated to proper portion sizes.
  • Wedding planning has been on a slight hold as we instead deal with planning Christmas and gift giving with two families. I don’t know why this is as difficult as it has become, but, alas, it’s a coordination nightmare. And that’s before getting to the gift-giving itself. At least all my shopping is done. Wrapping … well, that’s another issue.
  • On a whim, I bought this Frywall splatter guard on Amazon. Most days I’m doing most of the cooking before Hannah gets home from work, and it’s incredible how messy I am with olive oil. I tried a mesh guard, but it didn’t work, so I figured I’d give this a shot. I used it last night while cooking up our Blue Apron chicken … and … it worked. It’s not perfect, there was still some splatter, and some on the microwave above the stove, but it was miles better than my usual disaster. I’ll report back after using it again, but I was shockingly surprised that it worked as well as it did in my first attempt. It looks ridiculous, of course, but not having a thin layer of oil over half the stove and wall is worth it.

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. The Maine – Winter Means Nothing (Without You)
  2. The Japanese House – Still
  3. Copeland – On Your Worst Day
  4. The Friday Prophets – Reason, Where Are You?
  5. Mutemath – Voice in the Silence
  6. Brie Larson – Whatever
  7. She and Him – Silver Bells
  8. Audio Karate – Bounce
  9. Banks – Fuck With Myself
  10. Carpenters – Silent Night

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone had a great week and has a fun weekend ahead. I am already looking forward to sitting by the fire. I’m such an old man. And, with that, I leave you with a quote from Samwise Gamgee in Two Towers:

I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.