All posts by Philosofer

FMD: On The Road

I'll be driving a bunch today. I'll probably mostly just flip radio stations until I get frustrated and turn on MPR News. Wait. It's a member drive. Alright, I'll probably just get frustrated.

What do you listen to when travelling? Let's make a "recommended for the road" playlist?

FMD: Let’s talk country

My mother-in-law recently bought a George Strait greatest hits CD. It's... kind of fantastic (despite missing a few obvious selections). Wit the exception of, say Sturgill, we don't talk country music 'round these parts too often. I listened to a fair amount of country in high school, mostly while working in the summers, and that era of Country still hits a sweet spot for me sometimes. I've also listened to a good amount of older outlaw country over the past, say, decade. I still loathe new country, for the most part, and the few good songs aren't worth wading through the rest, imo. For me, country music's decline started with Lonestar. Anyway... What thoughts have you on Country? Not just what you like/tolerate/hate, but... More. What stories, reasons, feelings... Etc.

FMD: Proposed Covers

There's something about cover songs that really appeals to me. Probably the obvious: someone putting a new spin on a classic makes it fresh again. Or maybe it's the less obvious: like a Star Trek alternate universe, it lets you reimagine the world with things changed, but somehow still familiar?

Anyway, this week I thought it might be fun to talk about cover songs that you'd like to see happen.

To kick it off, I'd say Marilyn Manson covering The Police's "Every Step You Take" could be interesting. I'll see if I can think of others.

FMD: Mood vs. Tone

Philosofette taught a lesson this week in her English class demonstrating how mood and tone were different things. She used music to give the example. There were two different approaches, and I was thinking maybe we could take a stab at both of them this week? Seemed like a fun conversation.

#1 "Pumped Up Kicks"

The song sounds happy, upbeat, light even. The lyrics are horrifying. I'm not sure which of those was supposed to be mood, and which was tone, but the "song that sounds one way, but means a different way" thing demonstrates something, right?

#2 "How Do You Like Me Now?"

Strategy #2 was to pick two (or more) songs that fit a common theme. My submission for her class was "happiness" and I guessed I narrowed it further by focusing on songs with a tone of "achievement." Two songs that couldn't be more different in mood, but both fit that tone, are Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now" and Etta James' "At Last." Completely different, but somewhat the same too.

Anyway, what contrasting mood/tone songs do ya got? Happy ones? Sad ones? Mad ones? (I think that covers all the emotions, right?). Have at it!

FMD: Music To Cook By

I feel like I tend to do a lot of cooking in these brutal winter months. I'm sure I don't actually cook more (maybe I bake more?), but something about it seems to... fill the time in a way it doesn't in the summer. Summer cooking is easy. Winter cooking feels more purposeful. In the summer, I can put on whatever tunes I need for cooking to, because anything can fit. In the winter? I'm not quite sure. I often still use the same old Rat Pack songs, but those are happier, lighter, summery songs. I'm sure I'll be doing some baking of some sort this weekend, so help me out... what music should I be cooking to in the winter? Is it different for you too?

The Games We Play: Christmas Wrap Up

Did everyone give new games for Christmas? Did everyone get new games for Christmas? Games were popular in our household, so I thought a rundown might be appropriate.

Kids Division:

Connect Four - My kids got it from someone. It's a classic at that age for a reason. Simple, but the game holds up, and they're loving it.

Race To The Treasure - DG shared this one during the last Games post, and I'd like to echo his recommendation. My kids have enjoyed this game immensely. The mechanic is simple - draw a tile, place it on the board, build a path that collects the required keys and get to the end before you draw too many troll tiles. I was worried the game would be too easy - and it borders on that - but we've just made it more difficult by requiring 4 keys instead of 3. Aquinas has played the game a number of times on his own too, and has made variations as he sees fit. I can't recommend this one highly enough.

Outfoxed - RPZ recommend this one. When I looked (a week-and-a-half out or more)I couldn't find it anywhere that would get it delivered before Christmas, so we didn't get it, and haven't played it. But I read up on it, and it seems strong enough that I'm excited to chase it down in the future.

Grown Ups Division

King Of Tokyo - Highest recommendation for this game, particularly for more casual gamers. Simple mechanics (roll dice, pick the ones you want to keep), multiple ways to win (smash other players, gain points), multiple ways to accomplish those tasks (roll dice, buy cards, hold the city), and cards you can buy during the game that effectively make each game significantly different. Aquinas is 7 and loves the game. He's not the greatest at it all the time, but once or twice he has come up with fantastic strategies that I didn't see, and won the game with them. So it's easy enough, but complex enough to be enjoyable many times over. Also, by Richard Garfield, the same guy what made Magic: The Gathering.

Hanabi - A simple cooperative card game that is incredibly difficult to win. There are 5 colors and 5 numbers. The goal is to create a pile of each color, in numbered order (Blue 1 - 5, Red 1 - 5, etc.). You play with your cards facing away from you, so all the others can see them but you can't. You then move around the circle either playing cards from you hand (if it's the next card on the stack, you can play it, if it's wrong, you discard it) or giving hints to other players. There are only a few of each card number though, and you can run out of hints to give, so you need to be very careful about your path forward. I played this with some darn intelligent folks and we never won (though we found out we were handcuffing ourselves a little bit, which might have changed 1 out of like 4 results... Maybe.). A great challenge.

500 - Look, it's a classic, and we played a bunch of it.

Adult Division

Cards Against Humanity - I'm well aware that I'm late to the party on this one, but I've played it now, and yes, it was fun and funny and awful. There were a number of things that I needed to avoid googling. So I felt good about that?

Codenames: After Dark - A slightly racier, more scatological take on the original, which is a great party game. Basically, the clue givers give a single word clue and how many cards on a common board that the clue applies to. They can't say anything more or otherwise hint in any way. The trick is that some of those words on the common board belong to the other team, and one is an assassin, so you need to be careful in your clues, and good luck in your guesses. The After Dark variant sets it up so that the clue givers are often in the position of saying things like "boob" or "poop." It's not really particularly adult, but it tries to be. Still a very fun game, and I recommend any version of it.

So what did you get? What did you give? What did you play? What are you excited to try?

FMD: Musical Hell Is…

... having the wrong song stuck in your head.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Part of that was I had two different, awful, songs stuck in my head. The first was the Thomas & Friends theme. If you don't know it... you're lucky. It goes in a class with Lamb Chop's theme and Barney's song. ::shudder:: I assume the selection was commissioned by the CIA for the purpose of "data extraction."

The other one was "It's Raining Men." Unlike the Thomas theme, I can acknowledge that "It's Raining Men" is legitimately a song, and that there is a time and a place for it. I only take umbrage with that time and place being "constantly" and "in my head."

So let's talk pain. What are the worst songs to get stuck in your head? Worst times and places? That sort of thing. Random 10's also welcome!

FMD: Shake It Off

2016, you've been a jerk. So for our last Friday Music Day of the year, we're kicking you out and sending the message that we're better off without you. To that end, I'm looking for the best "Shake It Off" songs: songs that help one cast off the old, the bad, the funk, and create a new, fresh, hopeful outlook.

There's an obvious choice here, as suggested by the title. And I do love me that song, but it just seems trivial once you get to the "my ex-man brought his new girlfriend" bit. So I'm going to make two other suggestions. Though neither is particularly "shake-y" they both work an effective reset.

First, the classic... "Take a sad song and make it better."

Second, a newer pick that might be a bit all-encompassing, but it builds so nicely:

Drop your suggestions and random lists if you're felling it.