Wednesday, February 25, 2009

20 Meaningful Albums

After the wild success of the "25 Random Things" on Facebook, it seemed destined that music geeks around the world would find something to combat this meme. Thankfully, there was indeed something to come out. I was tagged of this one the Book, and decided that it would be better served as a blog post as well. Feel free to copy this idea (since I clearly did) and post it yourself, and if you are writing this on Facebook, please tag 20 (or so) people who you would like to know about their musical tastes.

The rules for this are simple, find 20 albums that mean the most to you and tell us why. These do not need to be in any particular order, and in no means should represent your thoughts on the 20 "best" albums, just ones that have a special meaning to you in some way, shape or form.

Sounds simple right? Well I thought it was going to be a simple exercise, but then I started writing, and I had a hard time stopping. It amazed me how much my history of musical tastes, is so interrelated to my own personal history, not only serving as a backdrop, but occasionally as a major player, developing a story of its own....enjoy!!!


1. Arcade Fire -- Funeral

I'll always remember the moment that I acquired this album. I had just got off a bus stop when I noticed someone drop something. Desiring to be the good Samaritan, I rushed through the crowd to pick it up and return it, however, by the time that I fought my way over to what they had dropped, the very person had boarded the very bus that I just got off from and the doors closed, leaving me with a CD in my hand. After processing the events, I went home, and curiously put it into my stereo, and everything changed.

Alright, so I made that all up. My story of how I cam across the most meaningful piece of art is far less romantic than that, and to be honest, is a little bit sad.

Like most of my musical moments of my University days, they traced back to one man, Ryan McNutt. See McNutt (whose blog I have linked to on multiple occasions), is far more of a music geek than I have ever been, and has provided me with countless suggestions and insights into music at different points in time.

It was late in 2004, and I was discussing some record or another that should be the album of the year, and he interjected and told me that his pick was by a Montreal band called “The Arcade Fire”. I nodded and said that I would check it out. The next day, I went out and downloaded a few of their songs, and to be honest, I was not all that impressed. I thought that they were good, but far from great, and I paid them little attention for months.

Then one day, while I was more or less dissatisfied with my life, “Rebellion (Lies)” came on my iTunes shuffle, and I heard something different. Something resonated with me that wasn't there before. I can't place my finger on it, but it just sounded...better.

The next time I found myself in a record store, I knew that I needed to buy this album. While I had heard most of the songs on it before, I had yet to hear it that way before, and in that particular context. I was amazed at the symmetry of the album, and how beautifully all of the songs were put together (in particular “Haiti” and “Rebellion (Lies)”). I was spell bound at the art work on the cardboard case. I studied the lyrics and extracted meanings upon meanings.

My lack of income and fast internet connection had turned me into a downloader for most of my University days. I had forgotten the beauty in an album, the story it tells from it's opening song, down to its aesthetics. Thankfully, along came Funeral and reminded me that an album really is more than a collection of songs, it can be something so much more.

While I could go on and on about my love for this album, I suppose that I have committed to talking about 19 others...

2. Nirvana -- Unplugged in New York

Back in the mid-90s these new things called “CDs” came out. Apparently they were much more convenient and durable than tapes. Needless to say, my younger sister and I wanted them, badly. But we had quite the problem, no CD player. We asked Santa for one, but nothing came. We saw how great they were at friends house, and longer for one of our own, when finally our mother gave in and bought one for our house.

Since we obviously needed to expand our collection, my mother signed us up for one of those stupid record clubs that the internet has thankfully killed. For those of you who don't remember, there were these companies that gave out deals were you could buy 12 CDs for 1 cent each, if you bought several other CDs for a vastly inflated price. It sounds like a good deal and all, but to be honest, the choices of CDs simply weren't any good.

My mother told me that I could pick out as many of them from the list as I wanted, and I did not really liked any of them, so I ignored it. I am sure now that if I looked back I would find all sorts of hidden gems and CDs that I would absolutely adore, but that simply was not the case when I was 12.

I wanted what all pre-teens want more than anything, acceptance from their peers. I was always looking for some bands on this master list that I had heard of, and finally I noticed one that was not The Backstreet Boys. I was a little bit too young and dorky to get into Nirvana when it mattered, but I knew that I had heard a few of their songs on the radio and I did like them, so I jumped when I saw Unplugged in New York.

I discovered a host of other great CDs (including several other by Nirvana), and this one became largely forgotten. However, when I entered a more adult phase of my musical life I rediscovered how beautiful this live album is. When I listen to it now, I am amazed that my 12 year old self could appreciate something as mellow, raw, and nostalgic as this album, but somehow I did. I'd like to think that it was other reasons than just wanting to fit in, but that may be a little hard to say now.

3. Cake -- Fashion Nugget

There are many advantages to having an older sibling, but one of the most tangible is an earlier parent free access to a car. Of course, one of the other advantages to this is that you get to listen to their much older (and usually better) musical tastes while they are driving.

While my older sister, has introduced me to a great deal of excellent bands (and I'd like to think that I have repaid her in recent years) one of the ones that really sticks out to me is Cake. They are a band that is not so big, so I can not really assume that I would have found them on my own, and certainly not so early. Either way, this would quickly become the sound track for car rides with my two sisters, and very much remains a band with a strong familial connection for me (and presumably the other two as well). Special mention to “Stickshifts and Safetybelts”, THE definitive road-tripping song.

4. Everclear -- So Much for the Afterglow

Another album that has a special place in our family to me. The major exception being that my older sister and I arrived at this one independently of one another, and to no surprise, we both loved it.

The songs of a broken family held a special resonance with me at a particularly challenging time in my teenage life. The song “I Will Buy You a New Life” was particularly poignant for me in my summer before I was about to move to Nova Scotia, and start a new life of my own. Whenever I hear this CD I am taken to a bit of a hard place, but am relieved to know that I made it out fine enough.

5. Eminem -- The Slim Shady LP
6. Eminem -- The Marshall Mathers LP

Eminem's major label debut was another musical gift from my older sister, as she had heard it just before it really broke through. I fell in love with his witty and relevant lyrics, violence and anger aside. It is worth noting that this was shortly after I moved to Nova Scotia, and I remember being mocked for my choice in “scary death music”, but that just led to me listening to this amazing album on my own.

Of course, after a year and a bit, “The Real Slim Shady” became a huge single, and helped propel everyone to rush to the store and go for The Marshall Mathers LP.

Needless to say, I was able to listen to that one in whatever company I wanted.

7. Matthew Good Band -- Beautiful Midnight

Not all of my musical energies were being devoted to angry but intelligent rap at the time. There was still a rock starved side to my soul that was drowning in the sea of Brittney-pop that was the late 90s/early 00s.

Thankfully, I found an outlet with this aptly titled, beautiful album.

I think that this is legitimately one of the best put together albums I have ever heard. The track listing here is near perfect. Instead of just going with the traditional track number, each song was given an hour of the night, and each song matched the mood of that particular time. My favourite of course being “Let's Get it On” for midnight.

8. New Radicals -- Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

I have a bit of a strange story to acquiring this album (and a real one). See when the single “You Get What You Give” came out in 1999, I was not particularly impressed with it. I mean, it was catchy, but I just didn't seem to get it. My younger sister when out and bought the CD, and seemed to listen primarily to the single, which quickly reached one hit wonder status. I did not think too much about it and moved on.

Fast forward a few years, and I was dragged to some god-awful movie with Mandi Moore (A Walk To Remember maybe? I really don't remember, someone please help me out with this one) and it used the song “Someday We'll Know” from this CD, which I instantly recognized from the CD. Somehow, when I heard it in that theatre, I got it.

That summer when I went home, I borrowed it from my sister and listened to the CD front to back a number of times, and fell in love with it. From the stellar opening “Mother We Just Can't Get Enough” to the depressing “Crying Like a Church on a Monday” finisher, this CD has it all. It chronicles an amazing romantic journey with highs, lows, twists and turns.

Thankfully she let me keep the album from then on, and I can fully appreciate it all the time.

9. Hawksley Workman -- Lover/Fighter

Like a lot of Canadians, I grew to like both “Striptease” and “Jealous of Your Cigarette” by Hawksley Workman, mostly for their perverted connotations. I decided to purchase Lover/Fighter on a bit of a whim, and have never lived to regret it. Like the last few albums I have listed, this is amazingly put together as the character in the songs alternates between a lover and a fighter from song to song. Also, this started my backwards journey of Mr. Workman, which has led to some of my absolute favourite and personal of songs on my playlists.

10. Green Day -- American Idiot
11. Franz Ferdinand --
Franz Ferdinand
12. The Killers --
Hot Fuss

From the fall of 2004 to the spring of 2005, I worked as a Recruitment Officer for Acadia University. One of my major responsibilities was to drive around to different high schools all over the Maritime Provinces. Needless to say, this involved a lot of time alone in a car, so a good CD collection was an absolute must. I bought (and made) several CDs over the course of that year, but these three stand out as the best purchases to soundtrack the open road. Whenever I listen to any of these now, I am taken back to stunning East coast scenery and some deep and personal thoughts.

13. Arctic Monkeys -- Whatever People Say, That's What I'm Not

After a year working for “The Man”, I moved to Scotland for a year. While there I got to experience a bunch of excellent British bands the way they were meant to be experienced, fervently. However, the biggest explosion came in January of 2006, when The Arctic Monkeys released their debut album. Records were shattered, people were amazed, and great musicians earned their place in the spotlight. Not only is this a fantastic album, but it really helped me understand that depth and scope for the British passion for great music.

14. Broken Social Scene -- You Forgot It In People
15. Wilco --
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

These two fantastic albums came into my life a little late, but were still incredibly appreciated. For a variety of reasons, these two would soundtrack any late night lesson planning or marking I was doing in either Teacher's College or during my first year of teaching. If you ever need any music to play while you are questioning your career motivations, these two albums get my highest recommendation.

16. Sufjan Stevens -- Seven Swans

While I will fully acknowledge that either the Michigan or Illinois albums are far superior to this Sufjan release, this one still holds a very special place in my heart. I first got into this album at a point that seems like a life time ago. I was really falling for this very special girl, who shall remain nameless for a variety of reasons. I would often play this very mellow and reflective album when I was alone and thinking about her. Now her and I did not work out, for another variety of reasons, but this album and I worked out just fine. Whenever her and I were together we would often listen to different music, so I never formed a direct connection between her and this album, instead these tracks became connected with the feeling of love to me. Whenever I listen to these songs (especially “The Dress Looks Nice on You” and “To Be Alone With You”) I can't help but feel like I am falling in love again, even if it is just with the gentle melodies.

17. Sigur Ros -- ( )

Last year, I was in a state of flux, starting a new career, with a very busy and demanding schedule. As a result, I had difficulties fully slowing down at the end of the day, and I would find myself tossing and turning for hours at a time before falling asleep. Thankfully, this album came along to help me. The volumes that are spoken in this album are simply astounding, despite the absence of any real language. The album seems like it was designed for someone to fall asleep to, as it starts out a little restless, but eventually clams down, only to softly stir later on.

18. Stars -- Nightsongs
19. Kanye West -- Graduation

Before I start let me get two important things out of the way: Firstly, I realize that this is an incredibly bizarre album pairing, and secondly, I am also fully aware that both of these albums pale in comparison to some of the other works by the band and artist. Last year, while living in Oakville (the suburbs of Toronto) I got to become something that I had never really been before, a semi-regular concert goer. I went to as many concerts as I could, and thoroughly enjoyed them all, however two really stand out to me, Stars in November, and Kanye West in May. Both shows were fantastic, but the most memorable moments of each show came when they played songs from the albums listed above, “On Peak Hill” and “Flashing Lights” respectively. So whenever I hear any songs of either album, I am taken back to some special moments experiencing music the way it is supposed to, in the ringing of the ears and shaking of the chest.

20. Arcade Fire -- Neon Bible

It ends how it begins.

After having such a fantastic experience with their debut album, I had lofty ambitions for their follow up, and I was not at all disappointed. When I first heard this album I was simply amazed. More than Funeral I felt that this album was made for me. “Ocean of Noise” described my previous relationship, “My Body is a Cage” described the one I was in at the time, and I feared that my future would be written in the “Neon Bible”. I listened to this album almost obsessively, even sneaking to my computer to hear it during my lunch breaks at school, and every time I found something else that was somehow, someway connected to my life at the time.

Had they written it just for me?

Obviously, I can only assume that they did not, but it felt like it at the time, and looking back I feel it still. While Funeral reunited my love for music, and reminded me of what it was capable of, Neon Bible took it a whole different level for me, and made it personal. It reminded me that music can mean a different thing to everyone in this world, and that is what makes it so special, the fact that you can genuinely feel like an artist is making something for you.


So there we have it, a lot longer than I anticipated, but done none the less. Hopefully you'll share your lists too, fair is fair after all!!!

Until next time,


Monday, February 23, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

They say that breaking up is hard to do, and well they sure are right.
With a heavy heart, I would like to inform you that this blog is breaking up. I know that this may come as a surprise to a lot of you on the outside, but trust me, it has been a long time coming. The differences between this blog's rant and rave, nerdy opinions style, and the more personalized travel focus and description of my adventures, has just become too much to bear. As such, from here on out, those two sides shall never meet again.
The opinionated side of the blog won the real estate in the settlement, as such Getting Glenergized will remain focused on my personalized opinions and pursuit of life's nerdy passions, with particular focus on politics, music, sports, and wrestling. While my travel adventures have fittingly moved to a new location, called Reflections of a Backpacker's Soul. The new site has already imported any old travel stories, and has been setting up a nice bit of space. Both sides agree to stay friends, and are going to provide links and feeds to one another, to show no ill will.
More than anything, neither side wants to put you, our readers, in the middle, so please try to make time for both blogs. We understand that you may have less time for either of us, and we don't want to get too needy, but we do love keeping you around, so please stick stay in touch, we'd hate to loose you.
Until next time,
Safe Journeys,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shades of Wrestlemania -- 8 Weeks in Advance

I know that I just made one of these predictions a few weeks ago, but this past Sunday night completely changed everything, and I fully expect the card to be booked in the next 3 or 4 weeks, so I may as well make one more stab at it now.

(Note: This actually bothers me, since it is the 24th anniversary of the show, the 25th anniversary will be Wrestlemania the math)

Titles vs. Titles: The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The Colon Brothers (c)

As much as I would love to put all four of these men in the Money in the Bank Match (since I have repeatedly said that Morrison should be this years winner), but I think that I can see the writing on the wall for who will actually take this one. Also, Miz and Morrison have been feuding with the Colon brothers for the past few weeks, centered around the Bella twins. All of the matches that these teams have had have been incredibly entertaining, and it would be a great way to open up such a big show to have two of the best stars of the future carry off four belts between them.

Money in the Bank 5: MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. CM Punk vs. Umaga vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Kane vs. JBL

So here we have the list of other participants who I could not think to put anywhere else. As usual, I have placed them in order of who I think should win, thus meaning that MVP would be the obvious winner. It would be a perfect pay-off (pun intended) to the long lasting loser gimmick. I think that this could be a perfect place for Evan Bourne to really shine and make a name for himself, much like Shelton Benjamin did at Wrestlemania 21. Also Umaga would be an interesting addition to this match, as he can work a good, dominant big-man style match, but he can also really fly, and would create an interesting dynamic, especially when he goes toe-to-toe with Kane at some point in the match.

Battle of the Brands: Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston vs. The Big Show and Vladmir Kozlov

The seeds to this match were planted at No Way Out, when Edge took out Kofi to earn his spot in the Chamber, thus maddening Rey Mysterio. The two high-flyers could go for revenge against Edge and Vickie, only to have the Smackdown GM send Big Show and Kozlov after them in an obvious size mis-match. However, I think that The Big Show is heading for an obvious face turn, and to have him lose (after miscommunication I assume) despite being the heavy (pun once more intended) favourite would be a nice set-up for a post-Mania storyline.

Brother vs. Brother: Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

This match is all but official, and I, for one can't wait! Matt and Jeff have yet to have any direct, face-to-face confrontation since The Rumble, and if the WWE is smart they will not let either of them touch each other until the big match. This should be the first chapter in a long, bitter feud. I would love to see Matt win by nefarious means (or maybe a fluke pin like Owen got 15 years ago), only for Jeff to win in the end after several months of feuding.

ECW Title Match: Jack Swagger (c) vs. Christian

Another match that is all but booked. Christian shocked a lot of people by turning up on ECW last week, and really it is the perfect place for him. He can fit in nicely as the top face for a short term, and gives Swagger a ready-made Wrestlemania opponent. I considered putting Finlay in here for a triple-threat match, but I think that there is more money in a singles competition. Since the WWE announced the Draft will take palce a mere 8 days after Wrestlemania, it seems like Captain Charisma is headed for Smackdown, so he should lay down here for Swagger first in a one-on-one match. Either way, this should be an entertaining contest than last year's ECW Title Match, and will hopefully be given at least 60 times the amount of time (making it a whopping 9:00 long).

Who is Mr. Wrestlemania?: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

A this match which is close to being official. The promo work between JBL and HBK was great, and it gives a good bit of motivation for this feud, and starts it off well. Everyone has wanted to see this match since their amazing performance at the end of the 2007 Royal Rumble, and I fully expect this match to tear the house down, as The Undertaker improves to 17-0.

WWE Diva's Title:
Michelle McCool (c) vs. Trish Stratus

This match has been rumoured at since Stratus made a surprise appearance on RAW back in December. Apparently, she is open to the idea of returning for a match at Wrestlemania, and McCool seems like an obvious opponent. The WWE seems serious of building their Diva's division, and McCool should be the centrepiece of that, which this match would go a long way to establishing.

World Title Match: Edge (c) vs. John Cena

This match was essentially booked during the opening segment of the most recent RAW.
While these men have certainly fought before, including their legendary feud in the summer of 2006, this still feels fresh. There is a lot of history and chemistry here, and I would love to see them put on a classic.

One Last Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho

Something has to come out of Jericho's insulting of legends, and since Flair is not coming back, this seems like the next most obvious match. I would love to see Austin step back in the ring for a proper send-off, and Jericho is a prime-opponent here.

WWE Title Match: Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton

Here we have it, the main event. The match that the WWE has tried to book for at least two separate Wrestlemanias, but it has always fallen through for one reason or another. While their feud last spring hardly set the world on fire, this one is different. Orton has hospitalized Vince, Shane, and Stephanie, and so this really is the next logical step. To be honest, I'm surprised that I (or anybody else who writes about this pseudo-sport on-line) did not see this one coming when Orton punted Vince before the Rumble. This should be a great match, and I really think that Orton should walk out with the WWE Title, restarting The Age of Orton. He is incredibly hot right now, and deserves everything that he has been getting.

So there you have it, my last crack at predicting the biggest show of the year. My sincerest apologies to Finlay, Mike Knox, Ted Dibiase Jr., Cody Rhodes, Santino Marella, and anyone else I may have left off of the card who deserves a place. I figure there will be the usual pre-show Battle Royal with one of them winning somehow or another.

Keep turning back here, while I chronicle the card as it becomes clearer and clearer!

Until next time,


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Journey to Gold - Edition II

Back in October, I started looking at the team that our Great Nation will field at home to defend our honour. A number of players that I did not have on my team who have been having phenomenal seasons, and a few that I had on my list who need to get dropped as a result. Since the 2010 games are less than 365 days from now, this is a good time to revise the list and see some changes.


2006 Roster: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco

Glen's October Prediction: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price

Despite having missed most of the season, Brodeur is still a virtual lock for the goaltending trio. Roberto Luongo started out incredibly hot, but got injured, and has slowed down a bit since returning, but is another one of those players who should stay as one of the top two tenders.

I still have the utmost confidence in Martin Brodeur serving as the starter, he won the 2002 Gold Medal, and remains one of the greatest high pressure goalies of all time.

Price has struggled a bit of late, but I still have faith in him. This is mostly because other contenders like Gigure and Ward have struggled as well. I think that Price should have a spot still on this team, but he could be threatend by Blue Jackets sensation, Steve Mason, who should run away with the Calder Trophy, mono or not. If he has as successful of a sophmore season as his rookie campaign, expect him to get some serious consideration for the third spot.

Glen's Current Prediction: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price


2006 Roster: Rob Blake, Jay Bouwmeester, Adam Foote, Bryan McCabe, Chris Pronger, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr Reserves: Dan Boyle, Injured: Scott Niedermayer, Ed Jovanovski

Glen's October Prediction:

Phaneuf - Weber
Pronger - Burns
Niedermayer - Bouwmeester
Reserve: Campbell

Like my goaltending predictions, I remain pretty confident with the selections. Shea Weber had an excellent start to the season, and while he has slowed a bit, he has solidified himself as one of the top defensemen in the league. Mike Green has far exceeded expectation, and is currently scoring over a point a game, which is simply breathtaking for a defenseman. As a result, he deserves a higher spot on the roster than 7th defenseman.

Dan Boyle has been having a very good season, playing for a very good team, and as a result he no doubt deserves a spot on the roster, which would probably bump Brent Burns down to the reserves (which is fine, since he could also sub in as a defensive forward should one of them get injured) and leaves Brian Campbell, sadly, off the team. However, the Blackhawks d-man would be the first choice should Scott Neidermayer elect to retire.

Glen's Current Prediction:

Phaneuf - Weber
Pronger - Green
S. Niedermayer - Bouwmester

Reserves: Burns


2006 Roster: Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton Reserves: Jason Spezza, Eric Staal

Glen's October Prediction:

Lecavalier - Crosby - Iginla
Nash - Getzlaf - Healtey
Towes - Thornton - Spezza
Morrow - M. Richards - Perry
E. Staal

Reserves: Stamkos, Horton

This is easily the most difficult roster spot to fill. There is simply a glut of talent here, which makes Steve Yzerman's selection incredibly difficult. This is also the spot that I see the most amount of change coming.

The first most obvious addition is Jeff Carter. After struggling last season, he has been one of the biggest break-out stars of the season, and is currently second to Alexander Ovechkin in goals scored, so not only is he a no-brainer to add to the team, I have him penciled to play with Sydney Crosby on the top line, as those two would be certain to generate some magic on the ice. Also, there is one of the most underrated players in the league, Marc Savard, who is finally getting recognized as the superstar that he is. He is comfortably in the top ten in scoring, where he should stay for the rest of the year. His one problem though, is that he is a natural playmaker, and in reality each line only needs one star playmaker, so I have him low on the order as he will probably lose out on playing time to the likes Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton. Lastly, Patrick Marleau has really emerged from the doghouse and has played like the world class two-way player that we know that he is. I think that he would be an excellent addition to the checking line.

Jason Spezza is the most obvious player to eliminate. While he hasn't been as bad as he has been made out to be, he still has not played at nearly high enough of a level to make a team this elite, same for Eric Staal. Steven Stamkos does not seem to be adequetly prepared for the NHL, so 2010 may be a little too soon, and I would be surprised if Tavares is ready, even for a shadow squad. Nathan Horton has been decent, but hardly superstar worthy, so scratch him as well. Also, even though Toews has had a sub-par year, I think that he is made for high pressure moments, like this tournament, so he stays on, at least for the time being.

So the forwards should look like this:

Carter - Crosby - Iginla
Nash - Getzlaf - Heatley
LeCavalier - Thoronton - Toews
Morrow - M. Richards - Marleau

Reserves: Perry, Doan


In all honesty, a lot about this really depends on who wins the Stanley Cup. If Detroit wins again, then Babcock is a lock, if Montreal fulfills the magic it should be Carbonneau, and if Boston completes the Cinderella story, expect Claude Julien, and if the Sharks finally get it done, it will be McLellan. However, there are still a few big names in the mix, namely Ken Hitchcock, Brent Sutter, and Wayne Gretzky. My last prediction was Carbonneau with Hitchcock and Sutter as his assistants, and while I still think that is a good team, I may be leaning slightly differently now. I think that Babcock can not really be ignored, and he should be reunited with McLellan (former Red Wings assistant coach) to handle the offense, and Julien to deal with the defense.

Keep tuning back, I will probably have another few of these posts in the coming months, and also, I will try and predict any potential obstacles.

Until next time,


Archieved Posts:

Journey to Gold - Edition I
Obstacles to Gold - Edition I (United States and Russia)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lover's Music - Part II

Hello one and all, it is that time of the year for everyone's favourite Hallmark fueled holiday! As I have done in the past two years, I will be making a romantic playlist, should any of you out there need any inspiration for anything romantical. If you are still getting ideas/suggestions for your special someone, slap all of these songs onto a CD and pray for the best.


1. My Morning Jacket -- "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2". Not the most traditional romantic song, especially with the bizare spacey introduction, but trust me this is a great song, that really can be quite sappy. Also, it has an exciting energy to kick things off well.

Most Romantic Line: "I can see it the way you smile/I'm smiling too, I see myself in you"

2. Broken Social Scene -- "Major Label Debut". I continue with the excellent uniquely sappy songs from Drew et. al. There are a vast amount of options that are always open. I quite like this song, and think that it fits as a nice followup to the opener. There are two versions of this song (Fast and Original) I would stick with the Original, since you want to slow things down soon, but the Fast is not bad itself.

Most Romantic Line: "I could be here, I could move town/Forced to live like it's a curfew/Translation, means I love you"

3. The Eels - "Fresh Feeling". This really is one of the most romantic songs out there. It is really straightforward and explains things quite well. The lyrics are easy to hear and relate to, and bound to get a tear and an "awww" from even the most jaded listeners.

Most Romantic Line: "Words can't be that strong/My heart is reeling/This is that fresh/That fresh feeling"

4. TV on the Radio -- "Ambulance". I know, I've talked about this song before, but I really think that it is the most romantic song ever made. Listen to it, play it for her, thank me later.

Most Romantic Line: "I will be your one more time/If you will be my one last chance/Fall fast, fall free, fall for me"

5. Mates of State -- "Like u Crazy". A rather cute addition to this list. The light hearted intro and chorus that repeats "I like you crazy" is very catchy and can make you float in the clouds.

Most Romantic Line: "I can't wait to say, all the things you can't see/All the things that make you better"

6. Feist -- "Tout Doucement". An adorable french Feist song. It has a certain charm, even if you don't understand the language, it's still really cute.

Most Romantic Line: "L'amour alors viendra"

7. She and Him -- "I Was Made For You". A great song off an incredibly cute album. For the record, this was made in 2008, and not 1958 like it may sound, it adds a certain nostalgia trip to it all. If you don't like this song, just look at almost any other song from their album, and it'll make your heart smile a little bit.

Most Romantic Line: "When I saw you smile/I saw a dream come true"

8. The Constantines and Feist -- "Islands in the Stream". BEAUTIFUL cover of the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers classic. This doesn't have the same campy appeal of the original, but it comes across as being slightly more real. I can just imagine people in love singing this to one another.

Most Romantic Line: "We start and end as one/In love forever"

9. Stars -- "Umbrellas". (Stream unavailable, my apologies) A great and cute some from the masters of the great and cute. Like the last few tracks, it has a certain nostalgic feel to it, and feels like a perfect song to dance a slow waltz to.

Most Romantic Line: "I counted all the lights/They don't shine as bright/They don't pierce the night/Like you do"

10. Dispatch -- "Walk With You". From the extended flute intro, to the powerful and easily identifiable romantic imagery makes this one a winner. Go for this one for sure!

Most Romantic Line: "I will walk with you/Using the stars as guides."

11. Matthew Good -- "Song for the Girl". Looking back at my previous lists, I honestly can't believe that this song did not make a previous list!!! It's a great song by a great singer, describing how special his one girl is. It has just enough rock to it to get you out of the comfortable lull that the playlist has probably put you in by now.

Most Romantic Line: "Up again, down again, out of your heard/When she's beside you, you're really not so dead."

12. New Radicals -- "Flowers". A fantasic track from one of the most underrated albums of the 90s. The love story about a guy chasing down a hippie who has been heartbroken before, may not entirely fit your situation, but it's got some great things for just about everyone.

Most Romantic Line: "My love is real/As real as the flowers you smoke to high"

13. Joseph Arthur -- "Honey and the Moon". A great song made famous by the O.C. Like all Joseph Arthur songs it has a bit of sadness to it, but it is still sappy enough to make the cut, especially since it is not going at the end (where it's sadness would be magnified).

Most Romantic Line: "Don't know why I'm still afraid/If you weren't real, I would make you up"

14. Ingrid Michaelson "The Way I Am". This song makes me just plain happy. I am not going to lie, I have a MASSIVE crush on Ingrid Michaelson, and everything that she does makes me smile. This song is just too sweet for me to describe, so listen to it yourself.

Most Romantic Line: "Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise/And you take me the way I am"

15. Coldplay -- "Strawberry Swing". I know that the internet is rife with Coldplay haters these days, but they are still capable of putting out some great songs, and Viva La Vida or Death and All of His Friends was a fine example of that. This song just sounds nostalgic and is reminiscent of a powerful and young love. Even the biggest haters can't deny something that powerful!

Most Romantic Line: "Now the sky could be blue/I don't mind/Without you it's just a waste of time"

16. Moxy Fruvous -- "I Will Hold On". And we finish this list of cute songs with one of the cutest. This is a great, slow, romantic song by a band who is better known for their faster comedic works. It is just a repeat of a bunch of things that a guy would be willing for his love, and boy are they sweet. Just know that if you put a song this nice on your playlist, you will need to deliver yourself. Tread carefully with this one!

Most Romantic Line: "I'll hold the hope that we won't part"

And that just about concludes the playlist here. Let me know if it helps!!!!

Until next time,


Archieved Posts:

Lover's Music
Music to Swoon To

Monday, February 02, 2009

2009 Mid-Season Predictacular

Yes, I know, that the NHL is roughly 50 games into the season, making this more of a 60% prediction, but hey, I live on the other side of the international date line, so give me a bit of a break.

Alrightie, so the NHL has been pretty freakin' unpredictable this year, and looking back at my early calls, I seem to be way off. For starters, it looks like Ottawa will not make the playoffs, Boston will not miss them, Pittsburgh is not running away with the East, and well...actually I did ok as far as the Western Conference is concerned, which is really quite surprising (other than the stupid Ducks, who I always seem to overrate).

So, let me start in the Western Conference for a change. At the beginning of the season, I said that things would shake up as follows:

1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Calgary Flames
4. Dallas Stars
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Colorado Avalanche
10. Phoenix Coyotes
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
12. Los Angeles Kings
13. Vancouver Canucks
14. Nashville Predators
15. St. Louis Blues

And then, 30 odd games ago, I said it would be as follows:

1. Detroit Red Wings
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Calgary Flames
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. Chicago Blackhawks
6. Vancouver Canucks
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Columbus Bluejackets
10. Nashville Predators
11. Colorado Avalanche
12. Dallas Stars
13. Phoenix Coyotes
14. Los Angeles Kings
15. St. Louis Blues

And well, I think that things have changed a bit. Dallas got off to a horrible start, but has turned around enough to be in contention, San Jose has not slowed down one little bit, as opposed to Nashville who is around where I originally said that they would be. Vancouver has somehow managed to struggle, despite early season success (and the addition of Sundin). So, it looks like the first five spots are pretty locked up (SJ, Det, Cal, Chi, and Ana), but then the last three spots may be a bit of a crap shoot. I like Columbus, backed by Nash and Calder favourite Mason, Dallas, because well, they have the talent of a Cup contender, and Edmonton, because at the end of the day, I like them more than Minnesota. Is faith such a crime?

So I think that the West will look like this:

1. San Jose Sharks
2. Detroit Red Wings
3. Calgary Flames
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. Anaheim Ducks
6. Dallas Stars
7. Edmonton Oilers
8. Columbus Blue Jackets

9. Minnesota Wild
10. Phoenix Coyotes
11. Vancouver Canucks
12. Colorado Avalanche
13. Los Angeles Kings
14. Nashville Predators
15. St. Louis Blues

As far as the playoffs go, I think that three of the top four will move on, but Dallas may just prove to be too much for Calgary. Sorry Flames fans, you know that I'm pulling for you. But this sets up San Jose ousting Dallas, in revenge of last years second round, and Chicago beating Detroit in an Original Six upset. San Jose, should be better than Chicago, to give them their first finals appearance ever.

In the east, which has been oddly less predictable this year, at the start of the year I said:

1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Washington Capitals
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. New York Rangers
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Carolina Hurricanes
8. Ottawa Senators
9. Boston Bruins
10. Florida Panthers
11. Buffalo Sabres
12. Tampa Bay Lightning
13. Atlanta Thrashers
14. Toronto Maple Leafs
15. New York Islanders

and then quarter-season, I said...

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Montreal Canadiens
3. Washington Capitals
4. New York Rangers
5. Philadelphia Flyers
6. Boston Bruins
7. Carolina Hurricanes
8. Buffalo Sabers
9. New Jersey Devils
10. Ottawa Senators
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
13. Florida Panthers
14. New York Islanders
15. Atlanta Thrashers

Feel free to check the standings and outright laugh at my predictions for New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Boston.

The Bruins are playing like they are for real, and should for the rest of the season, New Jersey is defying the odds and have reached the top of the Atlantic, despite a loss of their franchise player, and Pittsburgh, really, what the hell is wrong with them right now?

I see the Bruins taking the top spot, followed by the Capitals. New Jersey has a big lead over Philly and New York at the moment, but I still like the Flyers to take the division. With Montreal also being comfortably in the Top 6 of the conference. The Penguins should find a way into the bottom section of the top-8, because I really just can't see Crosby not making it. Thus leaving Buffalo, Carolina, and Florida fighting it out for the top spot, which I see going to Buffalo at the end of the day. The Canes have been playing well, but not quite enough to overcome Buffalo's surplus of talent. At the bottom, the Leafs, Sens, Islanders, Thrashers, and Lightning should be competing the Tavares derby, with the Isles gaining the best odds of getting the phenom.

So I think that it will all look like this:

1. Boston Bruins
2. Washington Capitals
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Montreal Canadiens
5. New Jersey Devils
6. New York Rangers
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Carolina Hurricanes
10. Florida Panthers
11. Tampa Bay Lighting
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
13. Ottawa Senators
14. Atlanta Thrashers
15. New York Islanders

That's right, I think that we will see the first of many Crosby-Overchkin playoff series. As much as I would love to see the Pens move on, I think that this is the year that the Caps get past the first round. They should be joined by the Bruins, Habs and Flyers, that's right, typical Eastern Conference boredom, no real upsets. Moving to the second round though, I see the Caps moving past the Flyers, and the Canadiens upsetting the Bruins, as usual. The Habs miracle run continues in the third round as they beat the Caps on account of superior goaltending, if nothing.

I will stick with my prediction of the Habs shocking the world and winning the Cup in their centennial year, they should beat the heavily favoured Sharks and take the title, because really, it makes a better story this way.

Well that just about does it for this prediction. I should make another several before the season is done. Keep checking back to see how it goes....

Until next time,