Starting a new job: A short playlist to get myself pumped up

Tonight I’m starting my new full-time job.

Here I am, today. Ready to start my first shift at my new job. I hope it'll be a good job, and I hope I make myself a valued and dependable employee.
Here I am, today. Ready to start my first shift at my new job. I hope it’ll be a good job, and I hope I make myself a valued and dependable employee.

I’m excited (and nervous) to start something completely new, something very different from anything I’ve done before. I hope I do well (wish me luck).

To get motivated for this first night, this first shift, I’m listening to some energy tunes. There’s no real thread to the choices, these songs aren’t tied to employment or new adventures or anything. It’s just good “keep the energy high” material. I figured I’d share this with you good people.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “Starting a new job: A short playlist to get myself pumped up”

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I show off some of my "Pet Sounds" swag after seeing Brian Wilson perform the classic album on Oct. 2, 2016, in Minneapolis.

Remembering to be thankful: Holidays and counting our blessings

I don’t know how it’s been for the rest of you, but 2016 has been one of the most challenging and nerve-wracking years of my life.

And here we are, it’s late in December, the year is almost over. Why wait until New Year’s Eve to look back? I’m going to use that day to look forward.

So, for this entry, I want to look back at the year and count the blessings. To talk about being unemployed or to talk about the major music deaths won’t accomplish anything.

Sometimes it’s understandable to dwell on the things mounting against you. Politics, health, loss, bills, etc. Life’s pressures can build up and become too much at times. I certainly understand and appreciate that. I’ve been there (many times), even recently.

I don’t want to sound like one of those folks who always tells you what’s best for you, but I’ll say this: I’ve learned that dwelling in the darkness does you no good. Sometimes counting your blessings helps turn things around, at least mentally.

Continue reading “Remembering to be thankful: Holidays and counting our blessings”

The sleeve to The Beatles' single "Can't Buy Me Love" b/w "You Can't Do That," released in March 1964. Courtesy of www.thebeatles.com

B-side the point: Looking at the (superior?) flip sides of singles

When I look at my favorite bands and artists across the years, I recognize the many great singles they’ve released.

These singles are the songs released that gave them the radio hits, prompted tours, helped sell albums, etc.

More often than not, artists from at least the mid 1950s through the early 1990s would release singles where the “A” side was the attempt at a hit, the strongest candidate, the song the artists or producers or record companies thought were the strongest efforts. The flip sides, the “B” sides, would sometimes be filler, or live versions, or songs from older albums. In general, this was content that didn’t have a lot of thought put into it.

Obviously, this isn’t 100 percent true for every single or every artist. Plenty of artists put out killer singles that were great on both sides. Heck, The Beatles and The Beach Boys often put out great double-sided hits (like “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” / “God Only Knows,” for example).

This got me to thinking not just about the hit singles, or the singles that had hit B-sides, but also about singles where I actually prefer the B-side over the A-side of the single. That has happened for many of my favorite acts with some regularity.

Continue reading “B-side the point: Looking at the (superior?) flip sides of singles”