Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Tag Archives: iPod

2011 Resolutions | #3 – Read 20 Books

old Books

Image via Wikipedia

I have been meaning to talk about the power of goal setting and some methods for setting and achieving goals on this blog.  As a way of addressing this topic, I am going to talk about my four resolutions for 2011 this week.

I have gone through phases in my life where I read a lot and phases where I have read very little.  Despite my lackadaisical commitment to reading, I believe it to be a fundamental building block in creating and intelligent person.  In my experience, the people who can converse about most anything during a work meeting, dinner party or even while have a beer at the bar are the people who read.  Newspapers, magazines, books, blogs – the media does not really matter as long as people are absorbing new information on a regular basis.  I have not been doing that lately for numerous reasons that are irrelevant to this post.

In 2011, I will commit to increasing my reading quantity in order to become a more well rounded intellectual. Read more of this post

Getting Pulled In a Million Different Directions

This week has been crazy – all kinds of stuff pulling at my mind, body, and patience. Here’s just a few things that have been pissing me off!

The weather has sucked, plain old sucked, this week. We had frigidly cold weather this past weekend with about 4″ of snow on Saturday (which made house hunting – see below – oh-so-much fun on this past Sunday). But, for the most part, it’s been dry and cold. Well, we finally get some precipitation roll in. It’s the middle of January, so you’d expect it to be snow right? NOPE! It’s freaking rain – and tons of it. As I type this, we’ve gotten about 4″ of rain in the last 24 hours. Now, mind you, we had an exceptionally warm January, so the slopes (most notably Mtn. Creek) haven’t exactly been dripping with snow. This storm is not helping them by any stretch of the imagination. Speaking of imagination – could you image what this storm would be like if it was snow. 40″ of snow would do wonders to the ski/snowboard economy in the area. I’m just hoping to break even on my season pass at this point.

Working Out & Diet
With the cruise we’re taking about 5 weeks away, the wife and I jumped back on the South Beach that we had so much luck with before. It’s been two days, and I’ve already dropped 6 lbs. My body totally responds to this kind of diet. I’m also trying to get back in the groove of working out. So far, so good – although I kicked my own ass yesterday. Too much, too soon – I think. I’m trying to do a combination of weights, cardio, and yoga as a way of training for my main sports – snowboarding and surfing. I’m gonna try to put some swimming into the equation around March so that I won’t be spent for surfing – although, I said that last year and it never happened.

Right now, I’m just going through a bit of carb withdrawals, so I’m sure that my mood and petulance for all things before me are partially due to that. It’ll all be worth it in the end though as I’ll look good and be healthier when it’s all said and done.

I’ve just started looking around and playing with these. I figured they’d be a good way of learning about what’s going on in the world while I’m at work – better than having Ozzie blasting into my ears all day long. Not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with Ozzie, but learning something here and there won’t hurt either.

I can’t wait until this project is done – too much crap and not enough recognition. I don’t even way to get into it.

Home Buying
This activity is something we just got into. This past weekend our landlord upped our rent by $60/mo. Now, that’s nothing – $15/wk. Totally affordable. BUT, we’ve gotten to the point where we are sick of paying rent every month in an amount that would take up the vast majority of a mortgage payment. So, we’re looking. We attended about five or six open houses last weekend and will do so again this weekend. Long story short, we beginning to define what we do and do not want/need in a home. Unfortunately, we’re looking at spending $400k – $450k for a home and putting down, maybe, 5% down payment. That’s sad.

Metal, Metal, Metal….

I was talking to a friend the other day about needing some music to throw on my iPod Shuffle for when I’m lifting. Given his affinity for metal, he put together the following list of must have metal albums. Without further ado, I give to you:

JP’s 21 (cause 20 just isn’t enough) Must Have Metal Albums

Powerslave – Iron Maiden
If you need to ask why you need this album…well. NWOBHM at its finest, and Dickinson could sing. This is like a textbook of metal.

Sad Wings Of Destiny – Judas Priest
Another no-brainer. Great songs throughout, killer guitar, and Halford is the greatest metal singer of all time.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Again, duh. It is impossible to NOT like “The Wizard” and “Sleeping Village/Warning”. Throw in “N.I.B” and it’s a classic.

Lightning To The Nations – Diamond Head
Some people would make fun of this album, but without this album, Metallica might not exist. The songs might seem familiar…”Am I Evil?”, “Sucking My Love”, “The Prince”, and “Helpless” are all classic. The whole album rocks, and has the same raw vibe as Kill Em All. Real singing, too.

And Justice For All… – Metallica
Um, yeah. The depression of existence, captured on record at 200 BPM! “Dyer’s Eve” is the greatest Metallica track of all time.

This Darkened Heart – All That Remains
The greatest album of 2004. Phil is a little bit lower and hardcore growly, but not screechy, and if you read the lyrics, you’ll understand him. There is some singing, but this album is about devastating riffery and the sonic assault waged by Mike Martin and Oliver Herbert.

Beware The Heavens – Sinergy
THIS is how chicks in metal should sound. Kimberly Goss is married to Alexi Laiho from COB, and he plays on the album. Kind of like COB but with singing. Great album.

In Search Of Truth – Evergrey
The Pink Floyd of metal albums. This is a very relaxing and simultaneously frightening album. Themes of abduction, insanity, and being trapped abound. Lots of creepy parts, cool singing, and some killer solos.

Burning Bridges – Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy’s “melodic” album. Flat out screaming, but you can understand it alright. And the guitar work is raw and angry.

The Art Of Balance – Shadows Fall
This is the most melodic album from SF, in my opinion. “The Mystery Of One Spirit” is the most screaming track they ever recorded, in my opinion. Similar to All That Remains, but a little more singing and the riffs aren’t quite as good.

Cowboys From Hell – Pantera
Uh……………………dude. “Message In Blood” and “Cemetery Gates” rule, as well as the title track. Phil Anselmo could get up!

Stained Class & Hell Bent For Leather – Judas Priest
Man, another great pair of efforts from The Priest. Both released in 1978, and I usually listen to them together. Awesome vocals from Halford, and some of Tipton and Downing’s most memorable riffs, including “Better By You, Better Than Me” and the back-to-back anthems “The Green Manalishi” and “Killing Machine”. “The Green Manalishi” was originally written by Peter Green, I think, from Fleetwood Mac, I am pretty sure. All of these songs rule, even if they are about gay sex.

Night Of The Stormrider – Iced Earth
Some of Schaffer’s best riffing, including “Travel In Stygian”. Classic metal singing, a little thin at times.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
Paul Dianno rocks the mic on this bad mother. “Phantom Of The Opera” is the best track, great harmony work. Dianno was a great singer, too, but it’s tough to top Dickinson.

The War Within – Shadows Fall
Better drums than The Art Of Balance. “The Power of I and I” rocks, and the drums on “The Light That Blinds” rocks.

Suicide By My Side – Sinergy
More like COB, less happy riffage. ANGRY!!!!! But Kim Goss still r0x0rz.

Pornograffitti – Extreme (I am not joking…)
Don’t ask. Just crank the NON-radio tracks. This is tone like Zakk Wylde, but some weird riffing. Excellent solos, esp. in “Pornograffitti” and “Almighty Dollar”.

Master Of Puppets – Metallica
Nothing to say here.

Melissa – Mercyful Fate
If you like the devil, you’ll like this album. Ha ha. Just playing. Satanic themes aside, this is another big chunk of the Met sound. KD is a goofy singer, but at least he doesn’t just growl. Great thin metal sound. “Into The Coven” has a ripping intro.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Iced Earth
Their best album ever. Listen to the last three tracks. Great vocals by Matt Barlow and insane rhythm guitar from Schaffer. THIS album rules.

Buried In Oblivion – Into Eternity
Nothing to say here.

It’s Been a While

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted in here in so long. Just a quick heads-up. I decided to remove all the Geocaching blog entries simply because I’ve logged about 10-15 more since then and I didn’t put them in here. There’s no sense in putting it in two places – and here.

A lot has happened since my last blog.  Let’s break it down by month:

March – I turned 26 – next year will be depressing. For some reason, I’ve always dreaded 27. I did a lot of snowboarding and all in all just had a good time. My in-laws got me an iPod Shuffle. Best thing in the world for me!

April -Ris turned 26. No big parties for either of us. We just hung out and enjoyed it. I didn’t work all that much this month as I ended up being selected for Grand Jury Duty. 14 days (Mon – Thurs every week) of service meant I was sitting around in a courthouse for about four weeks. Interesting stuff most of the time though. I ended up going to the docs to find out about my knee. This looked to be the beginning of something not so good.  We visited my folks this month as well…liitle did I know it’d be the last time I’d get to see my old dog, Amber 😦

May -Kept up with Physical Therapy (PT), but it didn’t do much good.  Again, another sign of bad things to come.  I actually did a fair amount of partying this month.  We went to Buffalo for Courtney’s (my sis-in-law) college graduation and then upstate to my wife’s cousin’s Bat Mitzvah.  I got h-a-m-m-e-r-e-d at this.  Stupid drunk.  I was so hungover the next day that I had to leave work early.  And, we ended the month off with partying, for Memorial Day, at the Beach House.  Unfortunately, my surfboards were stolen from us (at the beach house) this month.

June -It’s been a pretty crappy month.  My boards were stolen, I had to go to Minnesota for work, my dog had to be put down due to a HUGE amount of tumors in her, and then I found out I needed to have both my knees operated on.  We were able to get up to MA for Father’s Day weekend.  It was also my Dad’s birthday and Marissa and my wedding anniversary.  It was a good weekend, even if the cloud of putting Amber down was around us.  Alyssa and Zac showed up and Anthony even stuck around.  I’ve been playing a lot of golf and watched my Sox work their way back into first place in the AL East while the Yankees bomb.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what’s been going on…not like anyone is going to read this…..