Sunday, January 25, 2009

Excitement of a child

Yesterday morning was full of hidden giddiness. My brother and I attended Rockies Fest at Coors Field for a few ours. I had the privilege of touring the clubhouse and dugout. I couldn't believe it. There I stood, in a major league dugout. The same dugout which has housed the likes of Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Jim Leyland, Don Baylor, and because of the all star game in '98...Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Greg Maddux, and many others. I got the autograph of Rockie fan favorite Ryan Spillborghs as well as a host of minor league players, all of whom I am older than. I sat in on a panel discussion with all of the coaches, Clint Hurdle, Jim Tracy, Don Baylor, and Glenallen Hill, just to name a few. Needless to say, it was exciting. I don't know why grown men get excited about such things, but I'm content to be carried away by it.

In other news, I decided that I am running a marathon this spring. My goal is to qualify for Boston and run it in 2010. I realize that that is a lofty goal, but the great ones all had lofty goals. Hopefully I will join the ranks of greatness in some area of my life. That may be a lofty goal itself. The qualifying time for the Boston marathon in my age group is 3:10. I cannot foresee myself actually running that time, but stranger things have happened. The training regiment begins tomorrow. Anyone interested in training with Me?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Albums of '08

This past year was a decent one for music. Several bands and artists I avidly listen to came out with albums. Some good, some disappointing. This year I wasn't able to come up with a list ranking the order of albums I like. I mean, how do you separate 3 from 4, or 9 from 10. It all depends on how I feel the day I write. Newer albums are fresher in my mind than ones I bought last March. So I decided to break it up into three categories; The Upper Echelon, Very Good, Halfway Decent.

The Upper Echelon (in no particular order):

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Stunning debut. The singer/songwriter on an acoustic guitar thing got old a long time ago, but every once in a while something special comes along. This is one of those albums

Devotchka - A Mad and Faithful Telling

Hailing from Colorado, this band was made famous on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. Their new album is full of energy. Really enjoyed it.

Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple

There's no single as catchy as Crazy on this album, but overall it is a stronger album than its predecessor.

Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Of their 4 albums this one is my least favorite. It is the first that failed to carry me away to another realm That said, it's still a damn fine album with a few of their catchiest songs yet.

Very Good (in no particular order):

The Black Keys - Attack and Release

These guys are full of energy and it is evident on this album

Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All of His Friends

The heart is back! After the passionless album that was X and Y, Coldplay rediscovered their heart. If not for a couple of boring songs in the middle of the album, this could have been something great.

Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst

This guy improves with every album. He's realizing that pretentious lyrics are not the only thing that make for good music. I enjoyed this departure.

Dungen - 4

Why am I the only person that listens to these guys. They are fantastic. Check 'em out.

Hearts of Palm - The Bridge EP

The lead singer was my locker partner in high school. I attend almost every show I can that this band plays in Denver. They are something special, and I hope they can survive their recent losses with a change of lineup.

Jack Johnson - Sleep Through The Static

He is developing as well. Just another solid album from this guy.

Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak

Man, I'm glad I gave this one a second chance. Hated it when I first listened to the 30 second itunes clips. Glad I decided to buy it anyway. Kanye is good when he drops the stupid skits on the albums and does something serious. Maybe the theme of this album is really close to my heart as well right now. Thank you Kanye

Lindsey Buckingham - Gift of Screws

He is fantastic. He was the true brains behind Fleetwood Mac. Listen to this album

Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling

I enjoy everything these guys do. Nothing earth shattering on this album, simply very good.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

After the miracle that was "Z", this album was a bit disappointing. Still good though.

The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely

This is a massive improvement on their debut album. Jack White is one of the best musicians in rock and roll right now.

The Roots - Rising Down

Doesn't match the brilliance of their best albums, but better than any other hip hop album I heard this year.

Spiritualized - Songs in A and E

Thanks to John for turning me on to these guys. I wish more people new about 'em. They are special.

Sun Kil Moon - April

Best discovery this year. Not necessarily for this particular album, which is still solid. But for Mark Kozelek, the brains behind this band and another band called Red House Painters who are a new favorite. He also played the bass player in Almost Famous. Check his bands out.

TV on the Radio - Dear Science,

These guys are an acquired taste. I'm glad I kept tasting. I'm digging this album.

The Verve - Fourth

Biggest surprise of the year. Their first album in ten years and it does not disappoint.

Halfway Decent (no particular order):

Beck - Modern Guilt

Very rarely do I love a song by Beck, but very rarely do I dislike one. Almost every song he's ever recorded I've liked on some level. With the exception of the album Sea Change, his work simply never brings me to that other level.

Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Good album. Nothing special.

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath

The weakest album in their catalog, but there is still enough good stuff to warrant the purchase

Unwed Sailor - Little Wars

A recent discovery. I like these guys, but other bands do post rock better.

Weezer - Weezer (Red Album)

A couple of great songs on this album. Just too many forgettable ones. Too bad, it could have been something.

Most Disappointing Albums this year

Common - Universal Mind Control

Club Music?!?!?!?!?! Sometimes change is good. This wasn't.

One Day as a Lion - One Day as a Lion

We've been waiting for Zach de la Rocha's solo album for almost a decade and this is what he gives us. With the success of Audioslave, makes you wonder if the rest of the guys were the true brains behind Rage Against the Machine.

Favorite Songs of the year.

I won't rank these in order either. I'll try to limit it to one per band.

Beck - Gamma Ray
The Black Keys - Strange Times
Bon Iver - Flume
Coldplay - Death and All of His Friends
Devotchka - Along the Way
Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul?
Jack Johnson - Angel
Kanye West - Say You Will
Lindsey Buckingham - Time Precious Time
Mogwai - Batcat
My Morning Jacket - Highly Suspicious
The Raconteurs - Consoler of the Lonely
The Roots - Rising Down
Sigur Ros - Gobbledigook
Spiritualized - Sweet Talk
Sun Kil Moon - Lost Verses
TV on the Radio - Crying
Weezer - The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived

Albums I'm looking forward to this year

Mos Def
Bon Iver
John Frusciante
The Decemberists
David Bazan
Michael Jackson (rumors)
Green Day
Amy Winehouse

That's about it. Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reflection on 2008

Often life seems dull, slow moving and sad. Reflecting on an entire year and the experiences which occurred make it tough to feel that way. Here are the highlights.


New Years Day and a few after in Portland with David, Hannah, and the Marrs family. I also met Rachel, Brad's wife as of this past Saturday, for the first time. The second straight New Years Day spent in Portland.

Displayed and act of courage with a woman in a public place.


A night spent in Vail with a friend and a couple of strangers which led to 2 fantastic days on the mountain.


Two nights in Keystone with DJ. Two great days on the mountain.

See Explosions in the Sky by myself at the Ogden in Denver. Beautifully moving experience.


Opening day at Coors Field. The defending National League Champs embarked on a title defending year. They lost. Foreshadowing?

Ran my first 5k. The Alpine Autism Center Autism Awareness 5k to be exact. I won. I won a gift certificate to Marigold's for a pizza which expires next month. Anybody want to go?

Ran the Ft. Collins 10k with Matt and Emily. To my surprise, I finished 4th out of 450 people with a time of 36:57, pace of 5:57 minute miles. My love for running increases dramatically.


Ran the Boulder Boulder 10k with Rachel. Had a blast. My time was a bit humbling. I was a bit arrogant after the ft collins race.

Saw Wilco at the Pikes Peak Center with my brothers, roommate, and some other friends. Fantastic show.


Took my first paid vacation week ever. Went to Portland for 10 days to witness my close friends David and Hannah wed. It was a week for the ages.

Bought my first road bicycle. My first triathlon will happen this year.


LOLLAPALOOZA! John and I spent 3 nights in Chicago seeing the likes of Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West, Gnarls Barkley, Explosions in the Sky, Iron and Wine, Broken Social Scene, and many others. Fantastic Weekend.

Bit my lip and wrote and email that was a long time coming.

Played in an all star baseball game at Sky Sox Stadium (the Rockies' triple A ballclub) complete with my picture and stats on the jumbo screen. Threw a guy out at third from right field and hit one out. Too bad it was 20 feet foul. It would have been the only home run of the game and the first home run I ever hit.


Bronco game with Nate, complete with tailgating.

Sigur Ros at Red Rocks, complete with tailgaiting. Not a performance as much as an experience. Thanks fellas.


Fun wedding reception with my family. Thank you Bradley family.

Bitterly cold camping adventure with Andrew. Thanks Pal


A great reunion, evening, and conversation with an important person.

Being a part of something special on the evening of November 4th.

Another successful Gravy Bowl football game Thanksgiving morning. The most competitive one to date. Wait 'til next year.


The Budweiser company Christmas party. Thanks Karen.

A great first season ski trip with Matt and Emily.

Observing my beautiful family handling a crisis on Christmas day.

Mike's bachelor party and ill-advised ski trip. Oodles of fun.

The coldest Bronco home game in history with Joe and Jeff.

A beautiful bike ride through Garden of the Gods. My ass still hurts Jason.

The most beautiful, heart wrenching, life affirming, poetic night of my young life.

Ending the year once again in Portland.

I look forward to 2009 with a restless yet optimistic perspective.