Thursday, December 31, 2009

Song of the Decade

Those of you who know me well won't find this a shock. The song of the decade, hands down, goes to R. Kelly's "Real Talk."

I imagine he got in the studio, and did the song. The producer is thinking, "Wow, this is a crazy mic check! I'm glad I'm recording this, it's hilarious."

Then R. Kelly says, "That's a wrap!" and walks out of the studio. The producer is left stunned and goes on mixing down the track, dumbfounded.

Part comedy, part genius, totally the best single song of the decade.

Top 5 Top 40 Guilty Pleasures of 2009

1. Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say

Catchiest hook of the year by far. Plus it has the fantastic excuse for cheating, "I was caught up in her hot lust." Oh, that makes it OK.

2. Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA

The more embarrassing a song is, the guiltier the pleasure. Does it help that I didn't know it was a Miley Cyrus song for weeks? Probably not.

3. T.I. - Live Your Life (feat. Rhianna)

I know, I know, it officially came out in Fall 2008, but they played it on the radio well into the new year, so I think it still counts. Anyone who was my Myspace friend in 2006 knows I love the Numa Numa video and the O-Zone song that spawned it is sampled here, so obviously I love the T.I. version as well.

4. Iyaz - Replay

Is it just me, or did they slow down the chorus for this song and re-release it a week or so later? Anyway, still super catchy.

5. Sean Kingston - Fire Burnin' on the Dancefloor

The chorus is just silly, which might be why I like it so much. I saw this video on MTV right before we moved to Iowa. This song was not played on the radio nearly enough.

Oblio Joes Live on KBGA 12-08-2004

Tonight, one of my favorite bands ever is playing a reunion show. I'll be about a thousand miles away. Lame.

So to get my Oblio Joes fix, I digitized an old concert I taped off the radio in 2004. I had to work that night, so I brought a cassette to work and recorded the broadcast with a crappy radio. I forgot about it until we moved and I looked through my old tapes.

Anyway, here it is. It isn't the best sound quality, but if you're like me and can't make it to Missoula tonight for the reunion, it will do just fine.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 5 fiction books I read this year

These books didn't necessarily come out in 2009, but I read them this year (not necessarily for the first time).

1. The Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson

One of my all-time favorite books and the only pure fiction work by Thompson. Almost a perfect novel in my opinion. Entertaining, exciting and engrossing. I can usually read it in one or two sittings at this point.

2. The Carpet Makers - Andreas Eschbach

Someone needs to translate more of this man's work! Eschbach is a German sci-fi writer who has won numerous awards in Europe, but thus far, only one book has been translated to English. My wife bought this book for me last Christmas and I got around to reading it again this year. I'm so impressed with the pacing and scope of this book. One part Sci-fi, one part perplexing mystery.

3. Tortilla Flat - John Steinbeck

Tortilla Flat blew me away. Steinbeck describes it as his version of a "Knights of the Round Table" story. Great storytelling as hilarious escapades come one after another over an underlying sadness.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson's posthumous books are great examples of slow burning mystery. Both books take 250 pages to build and then rush through to the end. Reading them is like riding a roller coaster, sometimes the best part is the anticipation leading up to the climax.

5. Under the Dome - Stephen King

I'm not ashamed to like Stephen King. It and The Stand were fantastic, and Under the Dome belongs right there with them. The ending left something to be desired, but the examination of neo-conservative thought and politics is worth reading especially now.

Runners Up:

Fool - Christopher Moore
Pygmy - Chuck Palahniuk
When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bun in the Oven

If you hadn't already heard, Darcy and I are expecting.

We're about 15 weeks along, and are now busy reading baby books and trying to come up with good names. I've suggested Luffa for either a boy or girl, but it looks like a no go. Go ahead and use it for your next child. Hopefully I won't regret giving it up and end up with a George Costanza/7 situation.

We waited to share the news until we got a glimpse of the kid at our first ultrasound, I packed my thumb drive, hoping to snag a few of the pictures, but the hospital recently upgraded to a new machine, and they were able to burn me a CD on the spot! Complete with video:

The next Miller is on the way. Watch out world!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top 5 non-fiction books I read this year

1. Cory Doctorow - ©ontent

This is a collection of essays by Cory Doctorow about technology. Here's a (cheesy) video review I did for this book for the Missoula Public Library:

2. Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody: The Power to Organize Without Organizations

Another techie book I read this year. I think Clay Shirky understands and writes about the whole 2.0 thing better than anyone else. He doesn't just rely on buzzwords to explain social networks, he dissects them and shows you why they work, and what they can be used for. The biggest lesson I learned from this book was his assertion that until a technology becomes mundane and well known, it can't be truly leveraged by a majority of people.

3. Jay Ryan - 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels: A Decade of Hot Dogs, Large Mammals, and independent Rock

Awesome poster art. As an ex-band guy, I totally dig his designs. He made posters for the likes of Shellac, Sebadoh and Silkworm. That in and of itself makes him a legend.

4. Seth Godin - Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

I attended an online Library Management course this year and for our final project we read a book on management. Usually those books are insufferable. This one wasn't. It reminded me a little of Daniel Quinn's "Beyond Civilization" but more practical. He introduces lots of simple, but big, ideas succinctly.

5. The Best American NonRequired Reading 2009 (Edited by Dave Eggers)

Even though there is quite a bit of fiction in this collection, the non-fiction is what stood out for me. "Diary of a Fire Lookout" by Philip Conners made me nostalgic for the woods I grew up in. "Mississippi Drift" by Matthew Power was a cautionary tale about dropping off the grid. All in all, totally worth checking out and reading a few of the pieces.