All posts by Philosofer

FMD 8/10/18: Brass

Let's talk about brass. Jazz, ska, swing, whatever genre. Songs that utilize it just a little bit, songs that embrace it. What do you like? What don't you like? Which trumpet player was the best? What's the best use of a french horn in cinema (Young Frankenstein, right?)? Does that 76th trombone really add anything that the 75th didn't? Etc.

I was a trumpet player in school, so brassy sounds are something that always resonated with me, and I don't think we've talked about instruments for a while, so it seemed like something worth throwing out there.

I used this version of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" on my summer mix this year, specifically because of the brass:

Then drop your top 10s and have a wonderful Friday!

FMD 7-27-2018: Spacious Music

I want to talk about "spacious" music. I don't know if there's a different or better word for it. I'm sure there is, and if anyone wants to share it, I'd be glad to have it. What I mean to describe is that type of music that sounds big, like it is properly heard bouncing off the walls of a giant cavern or played before a tremendous concert hall. It can be instrumental ("Also Spake Zarathustra") or it can have lyrics (Cloud Cult's "There's So Much Energy In Us"). It can be old, it can modern, and it can come from a fair number of genres (I don't think I've ever heard a "spacious" country or hip hop song, but there are a few that come close and I'd have to think on it more. Please direct me if you know of one).

There's something about playing these songs for me, usually at night, usually through headphones with settings that better capture that wide grandeur, that just scratches a particular itch. I freaking love it.

Anyway, I'd love a list of "Spacious" songs, other names for this type of thing, your thoughts, and random 10's if you've got 'em!

FMD: 6/15/18 – You Be The Judge

I was in court all morning, so this post was much delayed.

Given the context of the delay, I'm asking you to be the judge... what music do you judge people for listening to/liking? Both favorable and unfavorable. This could be fun, right?

For example, I judge people for listening to Christmas music too early, and then turning it off immediately after Christmas too. Or I judge them harshly for liking "Last Christmas" at all. There are non-Christmas examples too, I suppose. Stop hassling me.

Or you don't really have to do this if you don't want. You could just drop a list. I'm not one to judge.

FMD 5/11/18: The Last Song You’ll Ever/Never Hear

So say you were dying, in as nice a way as possible, and you could kind of pick any song to fade out to... what song would you pick?

And, for that matter, what song would you want them to carry you out to/play at the cemetery/as your ashes are spread/etc.? You'll not hear that one, but others will associate it with you. What would pick?

And, yeah, I suppose I did a funeral music topic once upon a time, but hopefully this is a distinct enough topic: not just end-of-life songs, but truly last songs.

FMD 4/20/18: Dance Recital

We're starting to get into the season for dance recitals. My oldest two kids dance, and their theme this year is "Broadway". Aquinas gets to dance to "Just Can't Wait to Be King" and Aristotle gets "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow."

As themes for dance recitals go, it's not the worst. I mean, last year's was "Take it from the top" and I still don't know really what that meant.

So today let's talk Dance Recitals. What was your first dance song? Theme? What theme would you choose for a dance recital? What song would you love to perform a dance to?

I know this topic might not be our usual song and dance, but I think that kind of makes it fun, right?

FMD 4/6/18: “I Can Sing A Rainbow”, Or “What Songs With Orange?”

My kids are always singing made up songs. They often involve colors. Today, I issue the challenge that everyone come up with a color list of songs. Just 1 song for each of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. No repeating songs someone else has already used. If you blank on one, that's okay, come back to it later, or not at all.

Let's see if this works?

Also, drop your list, or discuss music. It's all good.

WGOM Fitness: The Right Side

I made it a New Year's Resolution to lose 10% of my body weight, since I'd hit an all-time high. I haven't done nearly enough physical activity (so this is less of a "fitness" post and more "weight" post), but I've managed to hit a benchmark already: for the first time in far too long, I'm on the right side of 220. It first happened on Monday, and today is day 3 of the same, so I feel comfortable putting it down on paper (or whatever we call this).

That's about 10 pounds lower than I started the year. It's all been very little changes, but they are really adding up, much quicker than I anticipated.

First, I bought a scale, and I just write my weight down every day (or nearly. I keep it at work, so if I don't go in to work, I don't weigh myself). Just having an idea of where I'm at has been helpful. It keeps it in my mind a little bit throughout the day.

Second, I have cut dramatically back on the pop that I'm drinking. I haven't given it up entirely, but instead of almost 2 cans a day, I'm now somewhere in the the 4 cans a week range. Along with this, I've tried to cut back on the cream and sugar I'm adding to my coffee. That's been made easier since I've been buying better coffee. Pricier, but I think it's a good balance.

Third, I've been trying to have smaller lunches. This is one area where I can still make a lot of progress. There are far too many days where I don't plan ahead, or I let myself have an extra sandwich or something along those lines. I started off very well in this area, just limiting myself to a can of soup and a few crackers, but that has gotten a bit tiring. I plan to work on this more.

Fourth, my after-supper snacks have been pared back. Instead of 4 or 5 nights a week having something to eat around 9 or 10, I'm going with maybe 3, and the things are often smaller than they were before.

Fifth, I bought some small exercise bands for my office - just a little thing to do to mindlessly move around and work some muscles a small amount when I'm doing other tasks.

Anyway, these are all really small things, and I am amazed at how much they've added up in less than 3 months. I know at some point these changes won't be enough, and I'll have to add more efforts. I hope that I will, even before I get to that point. But I'm glad for where I've gotten, and I'm excited for where I'm hopefully going. The small changes are really important.

Lent for Non-believers

Per, CH's recommendation, here's a stand-alone post for this discussion. It's religion, so please, tread lightly.

Today being Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent, I find myself with some genuine questions for non-believers. For myself as a Catholic, Lent is a time to grow. By giving things up, I develop more will power. By taking time to reflect on my failings, I find paths to address them. By recognizing and working on my weaknesses, I grow into a stronger person. By going without, I ensure others don't have to. Etc.

For me, this is both recommended by my religion and a point of personal growth. Having a time set aside each year for this type of thing has a lot of appeal to me. It makes sure I'm actually doing the "hard work" of becoming a better person, not just subscribing to a vague notion of self-improvement (not that I mean to imply that for others; I just know myself, and that I tend to not do what I intend to do towards self-improvement a lot of the the time).

So I'm curious what non-religious people do in this regard? Are there specific sacrifices you make? At certain times? Do you set try to focus on this type of thing, or do you go about it differently?

I look forward to learning more, if you're willing to share. Thanks!