Thursday, October 27, 2005

Music for a Deserted Island

Over the past few days, my wife has been selling off our CD collection.

Have you ever pondered a variation of this question: If you had to be stuck on a deserted island, what five CDs would you bring with you? To some extent, we went through that exercise. While we let go about two or three hundred CDs, we allowed ourselves to keep a few of our favorites. Here are some of the ones I kept.

Eric Clapton: Unplugged. I had already been a fan of Clapton for years prior to this CD, but this one was one of his great commercial successes. It's full of super music. This album reinvigorated my adoration for this great guitarist. An acoustic set of songs, Clapton introduces "Tears in Heaven" and his super remake of "Layla". He won an armful of Grammies for this album, and it's totally deserving. Clapton has been rocking for several decades, and I had CDs and tapes from his early stuff, and I have some of his newer stuff, but this one was the keeper Clapton disc.

Master of Puppets. When I watched Metallica: Some Kind of Monster in 2004, I began a journey into heavy metal that I'm still on. I knew I would need to keep Metallica's Master of Puppets, one of their signature albums. If your ears are virgin to heavy metal, then allow me to suggest this one disc to deflower them. This is an aggressive and "heavy" album. The guitar solos from Kirk Hammett are killer. James Hetfield spits out the vocals, like he's priming for a fight. The driving bass and drums are fast. This album is still thrilling to listen to (every song rocks), and it has to stay in my CD case.

Dire Straits. I can easily recall the single light, and how it played in the darkened dorm room, when I first heard "Brothers in Arms", Dire Straits very popular album (released 1985). The song was "Your Latest Trick". I was a college freshman. And the cool sexy saxophone that starts that song was my introduction to this band. Of course, "Brothers" was a best seller. It had the very popular songs "Walk of Life", and "Money for Nothing". But I bought that album for "Your Latest Trick." Somehow, I don't remember when, or how, I came to listen to Dire Straits' first self-titled album (released 1978). This album was full of the atmosphere from that one song, that one night back in college. Mysterious. Funky. Cool electric guitar. Everyone will remember "Sultans of Swing" from this album, but check out "Six Blade Knife". Awesome stuff. I love this disc. Couldn't let it go.

The Blueprint. After I watched 8 Mile, featuring the rapper Eminem, I went back on a rap groove for many months. I listened to a bunch of artists: old Notorious B.I.G., classic Puff Daddy, new Missy Elliott, old and new Snoop Dogg. And the one disc that remains entrenched in my mind from those months of listening is Jay-Z's "The Blueprint". The CD is in the style of combat rap. Jay-Z is constantly rapping that he's the real deal, and all the other rappers out there are just players. With this album's musicality, you get the sense that he's at the top of this game. Your head will be bobbing and nodding with this CD. Every song is different: fast, medium, and slow beats; light, heavy, and dense rap lyrics. "I sell ice in the winter; I sell fire in hell; I am a hustler baby, I sell water to a well." Yeah, it's a keeper.

Red Hot & Blue. I had originally put this Cole Porter tribute CD in the "to go" bin. On the morning that Jenn was putting the CDs on the Internet, she IM'd me, saying that this one had to be keeper: It had our wedding song on it (Sinéad O'Connor's version of "You Do Something to Me")! The night I went through the boxes of CDs for my keepers, I saw this one and winced. This is a great album (Tom Waits' "It's All Right With Me" and Annie Lennox's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" are superb), but I was keeping a bunch of CDs already. I figured that maybe for some anniversary, I could buy it again for her. So I put it in the "to go" bin. And Jenn saved it, thankfully. This is one of the few albums that Jenn and I agreed together to keep.

These aren't the only CDs I kept of course. I have another Metallica CD ("St. Anger"). I have "The Eminem Show". And yes, I have "Brothers in Arms." But I also kept my cousin's college acapella band CD (Juxtaposition's "Assume the Position"). I kept my youngest brother's "Reasons for War" (from his band The Paragraphs). I kept an Elvis CD ("Suspicious Minds"). And I still had a stash of CDs that were "hidden" from this process because they were in the CD case for my car. I'll have to blog about those twenty or so CDs someday. Those are all great CDs for a deserted island too.

Congratulations White Sox

The White Sox swept the Houston Astros in four games to win the World Series. Second City no more!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Go White Sox!

For the record, I'm rooting for the Chicago White Sox over the Houston Astros in this year's World Series.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My First Cell Phone Picture

My brother Ron asked me if I had taken pictures with the new cell phone. Yes, I have. Here's the first picture I took with the phone (my daughter Mia).

Friday, October 14, 2005

Yet Another Cell Phone

My old phone finally stopped working. A few days ago, it wasn't able to pick up the network. I could dial, but I was answered by fast busy signals.

I walked into the local cell phone store near the mall where I work, and asked if they could fix my old phone. They took one look at it, smiled, and said "it's time for a new one."

So today, I bought another phone, a Samsung SCH-A850. And just like the last time I bought a cell phone, I'm marveling at all the features. It's got crazy ring tones. It's got a little bitty camera. And it's a "clam-shell", so now I feel as hip as my wife, who has always insisted on having as high-end a phone as possible (her SGH-P400 has a swivel camera, and a rotating face display).

My only complaint so far: No games were installed. I guess I'll have to download them.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Red Sox Done

White Sox 5, Red Sox 3.

And just the like, the Red Sox were swept in the American League Division Series, 3-0. The White Sox will go against either the New York Yankees or the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (their series is tied at 1-1).

I had lunch a few days ago with a great Red Sox friend. Boston had just lost the first game of the ALDS to Chicago. We both shared the sentiment that last year's World Series victory gave us the ability to take this in stride. There's a comfort in knowing that nothing that happens this year can take away what happened last year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Red Sox 4, White Sox 5

David Wells pitched 6 2/3 innings, but gave up five runs. The winning pitcher, Mark Buehrle, went 7 innings. He gave up 4 early runs, but settled down after the third inning.

It's a short series. If we lose the next one, we're done. At least the next game is at Fenway.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Red Sox 2, White Sox 14

Well. All I have to say is that David Wells is pitching tomorrow.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Red Sox Are In

Now that the Red Sox are in the American League Division Series playoffs against the Chicago White Sox, I can rest easy until the games start (on Tuesday).

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Red Sox Lose

I was taken by surprise when the Yankees were deemed the winner of the American League East, after they beat the Red Sox this afternoon.

If the Red Sox win tomorrow, the Red Sox and the Yankees would have the exact same record this season. However, after their win today, the Yankees now have a better season record against the Sox, and this season record gives them their pennant.

AP writer Jimmy Golen wrote: "Through a quirk in baseball's rules, the Yankees (95-66) won the division because of Cleveland's loss to Chicago in the AL Central. The loss by the Indians (93-68) eliminated the possibility of a three-way tie -- and an unprecedented two-game, three-team tiebreaker -- and gave New York the East by virtue of their 10-8 record against Boston (94-67)."

I wish the Sox had won it today. There's now only one more day in the regular season. If the Red Sox can beat the Yankees tomorrow, the Sox make the playoffs as a Wild Card. I'm dying over here!