Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mel's #18 - Make an iTunes playlist of 101 of my favorite songs (10/31/2013)

I used Spotify to build a playlist of my 101 favorite songs. I was amazed at what I felt compelled to put on the list and what I felt was ok to leave off the list. I know that somewhere in my house is one of those giant CD binders, full of music that I’m sure I was obsessed with during college and my early 20’s. Hardly any of that music made it into my playlist. Actually, hardly any of it made it to my iTunes library on my computer. It made me think of how my musical taste has changed over the past decade of my life and what kind of music used to move me and what kind of music moves me now…the music that evokes specific memories, the music that I used to relate to, the music that I can relate to now. It’s really an interesting way to chart personal growth, in a sense.

 This item on my list also made me think of how much the music industry has changed, just in the last decade. Growing up, I remember buying cassette singles and occasionally a 45 if I liked a specific song. In a weird retro kind of way, if you wanted just one song from an album, it was pretty easy to buy just that one song, plus you ended up getting a B side. When the format changed to CD’s, I don’t recall a way to buy just one song. You ended up with an entire CD of music you may or may not like, but at least you could skip to your favorite song easily enough and eventually realize that some of those more obscure songs on some of those albums were pretty good, too. Fast forward to the invention of programs such as iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and Spotify and we arrive back in a place where, as a consumer, you have limitless possibilities to access any song you can think of, plus millions of other songs you may have never heard of…it’s your choice if you are going to be insulated to just the songs you are familiar with or if you are going to listen to that new album by that band your friend likes. I’m sure the perspective becomes even more complicated if you approach this from an artist standpoint and how musicians approach making albums now.

 But for now…here is a playlist of 101 of my favorite songs right now, at this point in my life. I hope to keep building on to this playlist as I keep thinking of songs I like and new music I hear. Enjoy!
1. Static Waves - featuring Katie Herzig, Andrew Belle
2. Parachute, Ingrid Michaelson
3. Perth - Bon Iver
4. Stare Into the Sun, Graffiti6
5. The Whip, Locksley
6. The Stable Song, Gregory Alan Isakov
7. Late Morning Lullaby, Brandi Carlile
8. Lonely Boy, The Black Keys
9. Paris (Ooh La La), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
10. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, The Avett Brothers
11. Pumped Up Kicks, Foster the People
12. Paradise, Coldplay
13. The Walls Are Coming Down, Fanfarlo
14. Everlasting Light, The Black Keys
15. Flying Upside Down, Griffin House
16. Take Everything, Greg Laswell
17. Anybody Out There, Civil Twilight
18. No Diggity, Blackstreet
19. The Chain, Fleetwood Mac
20. Come As You Are, Civil Twilight (Nirvana Cover)
21. Dying Day, Brandi Carlile
22. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
23. Charmer, Kings of Leon
24. Lovestoned, Justin Timberlake
25. In Bloom, Nirvana
26. D.O.A., Jay-Z
27. Cough Syrup, Young the Giant
28. The Scientist, Coldplay
29. Closer To Fine, Indigo Girls
30. Ghost, Ingrid Michaelson
31. Big Black Car, Gregory Alan Isakov
32. Dead Sea, The Lumineers
33. Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve
34. Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes
35. You Don't Love Me Like You Used To, The Lone Bellow
36. Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap
37. Invincible, Pat Benatar
38. Creep, Radiohead
39. Even Flow, Pearl Jam
40. Hail Hail, Shovels and Rope
41. Hands Down, Dashboard Confessional
42. Single Ladies, Beyonce
43. Gone, N Sync
44. Suit and Tie, Justin Timberlake
45. Why Baby Why, The Secret Sisters
46. What Can I Say, Brandi Carlile
47. Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby, Emmylou Harris
48. Love Somebody, Maroon 5
49. Love Interruption, Jack White
50. Henry Nearly Killed Me, Ray LaMontagne
51. Cry Me A River, Justin Timberlake
52. I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You), John Mayer
53. Fire, Ingrid Michaelson
54. Stars, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
55. Kick Drum Heart, The Avett Brothers
56. My Party, Kings of Leon
57. White Liar, Miranda Lambert
58. Lithium, Nirvana
59. Galileo, Indigo Girls
60. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
61. Submarines, The Lumineers
62. You Never Need Nobody, The Lone Bellow
63. Stolen, Dashboard Confessional
64. Crazy In Love, Beyonce, Jay-Z
65. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Miranda Lambert
66. Leave The Pieces, The Wreckers
67. Undo It, Carrie Underwood
68. Hard Way Home, Brandi Carlile
69. Same Old You, Miranda Lambert
70. Brave, Sara Bareilles
71. Saint Valentine, Gregory Alan Isakov
72. Empty, Ray LaMontagne
73. Crazy, Gnarls Barkley
74. Forever Young, Alphaville
75. Cannonball, Damien Rice
76. Gunpowder and Lead, Miranda Lambert
77. My Love, Justin Timberlake
78. Jumper, Third Eye Blind
79. Thank You, Alanis Morissette
80. Pride and Joy, Brandi Carlile
81. '39, Queen
82. The Only Exception, Paramore
83. Harder To Breathe, Maroon 5
84. Teach Me To Know, The Lone Bellow
85. Reason Why, Rachael Yamagata
86. Downpour, Brandi Carlile
87. When You Were Young, The Killers
88. Warning Sign, Coldplay
89. City of Angels, Thirty Seconds To Mars
90. My Favorite Mistake, Sheryl Crow
91. The Sound of Silence, Hanseroth Twins
92. Cry, Faith Hill
93. When The Stars Go Blue, Tim McGraw
94. Tennessee Flat Top Box, Rosanne Cash
95. Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good, Don Williams
96. In Repair, John Mayer
97. Have You Ever, Brandi Carlile
98. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
99. All These Things That I've Done, The Killers
100. The Way I Am, Ingrid Michaelson
101. Radioactive, Kings of Leon

Erica's #41 - Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days are over (10/21/2013)

I've never been one of those five- or ten-year plan people, looking ahead to what I expect life should look like over the next decade, and, inevitably, setting myself up to feel like a major failure when I'm not an accomplished musician and published author traveling the world with 2.5 perfect children, only coming home to our house with a white picket fence (and a full-time housekeeper) when we get bored exploring the wonders our planet has to offer.

 I *despised* any exercise in high school,college, or job interviews that asked me to ponder what I wanted my life to be like in ten years, and coming up with concrete steps I needed to take to achieve those goals.

I still recall in vivid detail a conversation once had with a former boss about how I wanted my career to advance over the next five years.  Feeling like a caged animal, and after contemplating my answer to that question over an agonizing minute of silence while wiping my sweaty palms on my khaki pants, I responded with the truth - "I'd honestly like to be self-employed".  Silence...

I'm still not one of those big picture plan people.  I tried once to put together a five year plan with time constraints in a lovely Excel Spreadsheet (I have spreadsheets for everything - nerd alert!).  After wracking my brain for an hour, I came up with one measly goal and couldn't pin down a time-frame for this thing to save my life.  Finally realizing I was stressing myself out for nothing, I deleted the whole thing and crossed "Come up with five-year plan" off of my to-do list.

So, as you now see, it's a big deal for me to put in writing a bunch of things that I want to accomplish in the next 2.75 years.  My saving grace on this challenge is the fact that there isn't much more in this life (other than Excel Spreadsheets) that I love more than crossing something off of a list.

Not to mention the fact I am not forced to think big picture.  Some of these things will take no more than a few minutes to accomplish.  You'll notice that there are no major career expectations on my list.  Call that a lack of ambition if you will - I call it not letting work define me.

So how does this relate to writing a simple letter to myself to be opened when these 1001 days are over?  Here's how - I didn't want to word it so that it deflates me when I read it in 2016.  I've also never written a letter to my future (or past, or present for that matter) self, so this was a slightly weird concept for me.  But I got through it.

Here's a blurred photo of my letter.  See, I couldn't even write an entire page to myself.  And I blurred it because it's likely embarrassing drivel in there.  But hey, it's done, and crossed off the list!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Erica's #4 - Jump in a bounce house (10/12/2013)

We've talked for years about renting a bounce house for our backyard for the weekend. Not for a party, just for the two of us immature adults to spend 48 hours in, acting like the children we really are! We never got around to it though, so this ended up on my list of things to accomplish in the next 2.75 years. And when Mel's dad had his annual cookout on October 12th, I got to fulfill one of my goals! He rented a bounce house for the kids - it was designed to look like a dog. I spent a good part of the evening in there with the kids - in particular, my favorite little dude, Cooper! He (and I) had a great time bouncing around. I was quickly reminded why people over 30 don't generally participate in this kind of entertainment as the aches and pains set in :) It was worth it though, and it became the first thing checked off of my list!
Me and Cooper
Cooper bouncing with Brett who is twice his size - kid has no fear!