I can't even begin to say how frustrated I've been at my lack of writing lately. Sure, I can draw up the same excuses: Homework, work, exhaustion, social life, laziness, etc. But I just can't do it lately. Maybe it's because I see other writers and feel like I suck. Maybe it's because I feel like I've lost my touch. Maybe it's because I feel like it doesn't really matter. Whatever the reason, I'm having a hard time overcoming it right now.
I miss writing. I want to finish my story. I want to write about music and life and random topics. I still care about all that stuff. But lately I've been reduced to quoting lyrics and small happy tidbits. That is NOT why people read me, they expect something better. What? I don't know. But something better nonetheless.
I'm working on this. Writer's block is devastating to me. I hate when I have it because I feel like a part of me is missing.
But I'm constantly swamped... mostly by things I hate doing and the rest of the time by things I want to do. I'm out of sorts. I come home upset every night. I can't sleep because I have too much on my mind. I can't eat because I'm too stressed. I'm even having trouble getting myself pumped up about anything.
I hate these months... because for the last 3 years I've always had to wait on something. I'm waiting for college decisions or scholarship decisions or figuring out where I'm going to move. It's always something. I hope this is the last year I do that for a while. It would be nice to go to a 4-year college and graduate this time. It would be nice to not have to work a shitty full-time job while in school. It would be nice to live on my own and do my own thing and not have to worry too much about other people.
But still, I count my blessings every day. My friends, my girl, my family, my job (though it really really sucks), my education, my place, and my possessions. I can't complain with all of that.
I just don't believe in settling. And just because I have a lot of good stuff doesn't mean I shouldn't strive for better. Because for now this is fine, but I expect to be in a completely different place come September.
You know, with all the reaction to the FOB tour, it got me thinking to when tours were actually good. Back when a big band would take a small band on tour to help them get noticed. Back when bands would go on tour just cause they wanted to, and not because they wanted to be part of a super-label that pumps out all the best pop bands. I remember when lineups like Thrice and TREOS or NFG, Blink, Fenix Tx, or The Ataris, Further Seems Forever, Juliana Theory, and Yellowcard (opener) existed.
I remember the local Bay Area scene. Kids used to care. They used to show up to a show when they said they would. Everyone supported the local bands. Everyone bought the merch, went to the shows, bought the albums. I remember being a mini-celebrity just because I was in a band in the local scene. I remember the respect we all had for each other. We all played shows at any community center we good. The method of getting your shit out was DIY. We didn't really have the internet. We handed out demos at shows.
I remember how enjoyable shows were. Back before paramore fangirls would elbow me in the chest just cause I was trying to move up in the crowd in anticipation for Jimmy Eat World, only to find that half the crowd dispersed when they came on because most of them had to get home for bedtime. Shit, most of the people there didn't know who the hell JEW was except for "The Middle." I tried to tell them all that Paramore was inspired by JEW, but no one cared. No, I remember a time when people in the crowd lifted me up so that I could play on stage with Kris Roe. I remember guys protecting girls getting smothered. I remember mosh pits and kids having fun and dancing and no one being a bitch about it. I remember a time when you could push up against people in a crowd and get to the front without some bitch screaming in your ear some childish lyrics or shoving you because you got in her space and messed up her makeup that looks just like the lead singer she's crazy about.
But thats all gone. Not only has the scene died musically, but the heart of it is gone. And no one says it better than Joe (anamericangod)
I feel the burning of my heart as it slows down and now the torch is near to out.
But the flames will last and I'll feed it fast as I fight to replace that wick.
Seems to me that my heart itches, almost begging for something missing. What is it?
Iím so content, so busy how can I fill this empty void?
But now am I truly alone?
I can hear my voice echo.
Only now I wish I was out of the atmosphere knowing truly sincere
The stars would never mock me.
You see my failures, I've fallen down. I'll chew my words for now and they will burn your ears as I spit them out.
You see my ashes at your feet; I can hear your breath...
But you will falter as you watch my fiery ascent to success and with it comes my happiness
The inspiration died so my style is cramped, but now I'm no longer trapped
But now am I truly alone?
I can hear my voice echo.
Only now I wish I was out of the atmosphere knowing truly sincere
The stars would never mock me.
So rough, ambiguous design in motion,
Give me one more bittersweet entity
To take with me to the battlefield
As I fight my own trials and ideas.
For the victorious would be worthy
Of being presented to you...
A song I wrote over almost 4 years ago now. Back when I was the singer for the band Begging the Question.
Laugh if you want at the failure and the raw, unpolished adolescent sound of my band, but we were all 16 or younger. We were all in love with music. We had a guy who could hit drums really hard, a guy who could pluck those bass strings like nobody's business, a guy who could shred on his guitar, and me... a guy with a lot of anger issues and an untrained voice.
I read back on my lyrics from those times, even further back to my band in middle school Heroes With Helmets (sorry, no link), and I laugh. I see the unnecessary anger, the callous thoughts, the suicidal tendencies, the faulty rhetoric. I see displacement, heartbreak, a lack of understanding.
But I look back at this song and see something more. I see words that I wrote 4 years ago that still resonate with me today. A song about how I write. A song about the conflict I have with happiness. I feel like a poet should be dark, inspired by sorrow and pain. So when I am in that place in my life, I feel ultimately creative. This is true too. The Defining Phrase was a story I was churning out and has become harder to write as I have gotten happier.
So the other side of my conflict is when I reach that happiness. The inspiration died so my style is cramped, but now I'm no longer trapped. The realization that with happiness comes a loss of motivation and inspiration. I've always been propelled by that "chip on my shoulder" mentality. It's why Steve Young is my favorite football player. He always had something to prove. I have that underdog fever. I want to prove people wrong, make people wish they never bet against me. I thrive on a perceived failure and turn it into success, but when I feel that success I cower away and don't know what to do with it. I start to fear ridicule even when 80% of what I receive is praise. It's times like that I wish I was out of the atmosphere knowing truly sincere, the stars would never mock me.
And when it comes down to it. Who do I write for? I love my readers, my friends, my family... but I write for me. And that person I am trying to impress at the end? That's me. I strive to find my creative outlet somewhere buried in my happiness... that way I will finally stop sabotaging my happiness to find creativity.
So I'm selling my computer and if you are interested go ahead and bid on it! I have my macbook and don't need this anymore and need the extra cash.
I'm also selling my Sidekick LX (I have an iPhone now). The phone is in great condition and comes with a charger, a car charger, and a 6GB memory card I got for it. You can store quite a few songs on it and a ton of pictures. I don't have a listing for this, so just email me at email@example.com and we'll discuss pricing and all that.
Anyway, enough of that. I just wannat throw in a quick update. I haven't been writing much lately cause I've been busy applying for colleges and getting other stuff together (bills, school, work). Also, I haven't seen any new movies or spun any new music so I haven't had any thoughts on those. My EOTY list was pretty extensive and took me a whole night to write, so I'm just taking a break until my first music purchase of 2009.
Um, besides that there is nothing too dramatic or anything in my life. It has been chugging along nicely. I gotta say that I love how I've taken organization to the next level by syncing my contacts and calendar with my phone and changing everything to my gmail from my hotmail. Add that to my excel spreadsheet with all my financial stuff and I'm feeling very good about life, just knowing what's going on and how much money I have and all that.
I'm leaning toward University of Washington for this fall. I should explain. I've been hellbent on Southern CA for years now and I thought about it and wondered why. I don't like hot weather and I'm indifferent to beaches. I've always wanted to go to the east coast, wear big coats and scarves, play in the snow, and just focus on school instead of partying all the time. I would definitely suggest warm-weather schools to most people, but I think the kind of person I am prefers colder weather. So, with that said I still haven't made any decisions, but Udub does have the best business school of all the colleges I applied to (U of Oregon, UCLA, UCSD). The Navy Degree Completion Program I applied for will pay me based on the cost of living of whatever school I go to, I can receive a scholarship through Blue Shield of CA because my mom works there, and I can apply for work study and work at the college when I'm attending.
Either way, I'm looking at a situation where I can go to school full-time as a business student while only working part-time and having a guaranteed job out of college. This is what I've been dreaming of since I left ASU. I've been searching for the answers to the financial problem with college for the last two years and I'm dangerously close. I'll keep you all updated.
Besides all that, life is still great. The girl might be going to Udub as well, so that's another plus! We all know how much long distance sucks.
University of Oregon General Application Scholarship.
University of Washington General Application Scholarship.
Navy Degree Completion Program Application.
Navy Officer Program Application.
Blue Shield Tuition Reimbursement Form.
I'm having fun with it though. Hopefully all this stuff falls into place and I can go to school this fall knowing I have a job in two years and not having to work full time. My question for anyone reading this is... Oregon or Washington? Eugene or Seattle? Small Town or Big City?
Or do I stay in CA and go to San Diego or LA (blah)?
So I'm at work on New Year's Eve. Just like last year. Something is different though. At this point last year I was a wreck. I had lost many things that were dear to me.
I was less than a month away from moving out. I had just ended a three-year relationship. I had just lost a person who was very integral in my growth as a person. My plans had failed. My expectations had fallen. I was alone. I was anxious and downtrodden.
I was pathetic.
So I started writing again. Self-reflective stories and blogs. I revived one of my greatest passions after inexplicably ignoring it for a few years.
This lack of enthusiasm, care, eagerness, what have you, would plague the many months that followed in my 19th year.
2006 was my year of change. I graduated high school, moved to Arizona, met new people and did new things. I was a man... or so I thought.
2007 everything fell apart. I truly became a man that year, not because I became self-sufficient or anything, but because I paid for my mistakes. Because I finally had to own up to my actions. Once I had returned from Arizona, I had found that everything I left behind was weaker than before. My support system was falling.
Later that month, my spirit and my mettle were tested when an old teacher, a mentor, and a friend of mine died. I received the news in the worst way, while I was with my girlfriend of the time on a nice date. He was the kind of mentor that made you hate him and pulled every one of your strings until you were completely unraveled. He pushed you to the edge of a cliff and he dared you to jump. He shook your spirit and put it back together just before it would completely disappear. He taught me theatre, and I don't love theatre and I don't want to pursue it as a life goal, but his lessons were transparent and golden. I didn't need to be in theatre to cherish them.
Then it all fell apart. The last thing I had to hold onto, which sadly was my faulty three-year relationship, finally gave way.
And then I got blindsighted. And my three-year relationship was over. On the day the new campaign began at work. Just when the future was looking up. And this blow knocked me out for months. The holidays were empty and meaningless. I didn't eat for weeks after the breakup so my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) was ruined. Christmas was stressful as usual and I just didn't have the love in my heart to get through it. I hated my families for making me travel so much to see them all. I hated the tug of war for everyone to see me when I don't matter during the rest of the year. But I still bought my parents awesome gifts and my siblings as well. I still drove three different places in three days.
I think that explains why I had a predetermined hatred toward the holidays.
February was awful, I went to a strip club on Valentine's Day. I sought comfort from a stripper. I was pathetic. I was useless and worthless and etc etc etc.
It was at that point that I realized how far I had fallen. I had no desire, I had lost myself. I thought I was bipolar. I was all over the place, desperate and fake and outside of who I really was.
And so now, on this night before my 19th year ends. I'm nearly finished with my classes, on the brink of another big campaign for work, and close to a summer in which I need to make some big decisions, take a few epic trips, and keep things in perspective
This is where I began to turn it around. But even then when I thought I had, everything fell apart once more. I moved to San Diego and was ready to go to a 4-year college again. I was on track to get my Bachelor's degree in 2010 and I was stoked.
But uhh... money?
I woke up this morning expecting to work another day at my new job in San Diego, then look at a few places where I could rent a room.
I ended the day back in my apartment in Folsom (near Sacramento).
So at this point I'm sitting in my car in the parking lot. I have negative money, a maxed out credit card, no job, no place, no way to attend school. I start thinking about the month I've had and how it was so great and how it taught me so much about myself. I persevered as long as I could... to the very bitter end. I literally tried and tried until I was absolutely knocked out. And the funny part is that I almost made it. I would have had a rough few weeks, but had that job worked out I would have made it.
But, another one of those 'almost' moments in my life wasn't enough for me at that time.
There it was. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could've happened to me. But at that time...
I guess I'm just sick of the failure. I'm sick of the cards never falling right. I'm sick of the disappointment. I can only stay honest and motivated and pure for so long.
And something about this place makes me feel so alone.
So I sucked it up and moved back to my apartment in Folsom. I signed up for classes at the same damn Community College. I went to work for the same damn company in a different department. But in the midst of all that I found some time to myself. I cut back on the social life and took time to explore my creative outlets. I wrote poetry, read, watched movies, just took time to myself while I waited for my new job to begin and for school to start.
Have I lost the motivation and drive I used to have? Absolutely not. Have I chilled out and slowed down a bit? Yes.
I've gotten to the point where I will be driving and a smile will come to my face naturally. That is unbelievable. I don't have a girlfriend, I don't hang out with people every day, I'm not out saving the world or anything... but I'm still happy.
For the first time in my life, I'm just happy with who I am and what I do. I don't worry about what people are thinking about me or if they are going to call me back, I just let it roll and enjoy whatever is going on.
Now this is bliss.
I think this is where things began to turn for me. I regained a lot of confidence. I went into the semester and my new job with a whole new outlook, completely recharged. I had my goals set once again and I was finally ready to date again, but only if the right girl came along.
During my actual summer vacation, I took time to myself to write, watch movies, relax, exercise, play video games, read, and whatever else I felt like. But I also partied, visited many parts of CA, laughed, done crazy things, and just had an amazing time with my best friends.
I topped all of that off with an amazing last week of summer full of good times, good laughs, and good friends.
So I get home tonight and I feel motivated again. I feel like this year isn't going to be about heartache or depression or disappointment, but instead strength, happiness, and success.
I realize who I am. And I love who I am. This is somewhere I haven't been often. So now I find that I have a lot to do. I'm not scared and I'm not overwhelmed. But you are damn right if you think I'm being a perfectionist about what I want to do with the next year of my life. I feel a tiny bit unsettled right now because I have a lot I want to do.
See how motivated I got? Isn't that great? A couple more bumps along the way though. My roommate situation didn't go as smoothly as I thought, but eventually it settled. I thought I found the right girl for me, but it turns out it was the NEXT girl that was the one who was right for me.
Life is just moving too fast. For the first time I'm feeling a bit resistant to growing up. I'm scared because my actions mean more and more everyday. This isn't high school anymore, I can't just say something stupid and get away with it. People rely on me. People listen to me and care about what I have to say. People are affected by my actions. It's all a bit daunting.
But that all got figured out (you can read in my story The Defining Phrase) and I had a few more cool moments.
Just voted for the first time. Feels great. I won't tell you who and how I voted, but I'm pretty sure I picked the right guy ;)
Then everything came together all at once... it was a beautiful moment.
I've been searching a long time for you clarity...
It's nice to have you.
So I'm sitting here at work, happier than I've been in years. I have amazing friends who are loyal and fun. I have a girl who fits me perfectly, who is everything I've always wanted. I have a good family and have gotten closer to all of them. I have a good job, two degrees on the way, a guaranteed transfer to UCSD or UCLA, a promising situation with my career and life in general, and a nice place with nice stuff.
I can't complain.
2006 - year of change.
2007 - yaer of fallout.
2008 - year of rebuilding.
2009 - year of dividend.
I know there will be more bumps in the road, but for the first time in 3 years I feel like I have it together, at least a little bit. Instead of last year when I was desperate for a new year just so I could get a fresh start. This time I'm just ready, waiting, willing to keep going. Happy about the direction I'm heading.
Best Albums (Top 10): I have never had such a difficult time putting together a list. All but a few of the albums in the top 10 could've easily been supplanted by another in 11-30 list. This was a really good year for music. It seems like good bands are sprouting up all over the place and that the same old formula isn't going to hold up for many people. Without further digression, here is my top 10!
Cinematic Sunrise -A Coloring Storybook and Long Playing Record - EP
The Narrative - Just Say Yes - EP
In an unprecedented move, I put two EP's and counted them as one album. It's my EOTY list, I can do what I want. I recently purchased both these EPs and was blown away by the excellent blend of male and female vocals. Cinematic Sunrise is a bit more bouncy and energetic while The Narrative has a full sound that just draws you in. Either way, I simply can't wait for more material from these bands. The two best EPs you'll find this year.
Anberlin - New Surrender
New Surrender is not Anberlin's best album. Not even close. So in a year with this much good music, to make number 9 on the list shows that Anberlin is one of the most consistent bands around. New Surrender has a bit more of a mainstream feel, but Stephen's vocals are better than ever and his lyrics still touching. The band rocks with "The Resistance" and "Disappear" but showcases beauty and reverence with tracks like "Breathe" and "Retrace" This album is a must-own and it may not even be their third-best album.
08) Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
A truly polarizing album in every way. Andrew's vocals are loose and untouched. His voice wavers with despair and spirit as he takes us through his journey from the last few years. His lyrics are brash and honest, yet eternally hopeful. Songs like "Spinning" and "Swim" are instant classics, while "Hammers and Strings" and "Caves" are unlike anything you've heard and take a while to digest. A successful album that will grow with time.
Copeland - Say Hello to Sunshine
Sunshine combines the lightness from In Motion with the darkness from Eat, Sleep, Repeat. Tracks like "What Do I Know" and "The Grey Man" are more upbeat while "The Day I Lost My Voice" is a truly beautiful song that takes you through slowly and dilerberately. Aaron Marsh has never been better vocally and the band continues to experiment with new sounds. The lyrics mix despair with optimism well and the album will have you lost in its soothing sound.
06) City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love
An underappreciated album, simply said. Dallas Green not only has a near perfect voice, but his songs manage to take simple chord progressions and make them go deeper than one could imagine. Each song has its own unique identity but doesn't deter from the overall feel of the album. "Sleeping Sickness" hits you hard. "As Much As I Ever Could" closes the album with a hauntingly beautiful sentiment. A true gem that will take you to another place.
Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux
Fall Out Boy is probably the most polarizing band in this scene. They always manage to stay in the limelight one way or another, good or bad. Despite all that, they know how to make a kick-ass record. From the opening of "Disloyal Order of the Water Buffaloes" you can tell this album is going to combine the best of Fall Out Boy's previous sounds. The lyrics are chant-worthy and will be quoted in profiles and blogs across the world. The band has an amazing pop-sensibility, notably in "America's Suitehearts" and "Coffee's For Closers". "What a Catch, Donnie" builds into a beautiful reprise of all FOB has brought to the table so far, and there is no better way to describe this album.
04) Valencia - We All Need A Reason To Believe
Valencia gives us a reason to believe in good pop-punk again. The songs are catchy, but still rock. The lyrics are simple, but have meaning. "The Good Life" is a gem of a song in every way. "Better Be Prepared" is a kick-ass way to start the album. Shane's lyrics and vocals are easily digestible, which makes the album all that much more enjoyable.
03) House of Heroes - The End Is Not The End
A 15-song album with no throw-away tracks is quite an accomplishment in itself. What's even more of an accomplishment is how they manage to give each song a unique identiy, spanning many different styles and pulling them all off. Tim Skipper's vocal range is out of this world and the instrumentation is spectacular. What House of Heroes proves here is that a pop album can still rock. Their lyrics are honest and relate to the world we live in right now. They tackle the problems directly, but always offer a hope that springs from the album title, The End Is Not The End. In the end, this album is something that every other pop/punk/rock/alternative/whatever album should strive to be.
02) Thrice - The Alchemy Index Volume III and IV: Air and Earth
I don't like to think of this album separately from Volume I and II, so when this album was released I was finally able to take in the entire project. The lyrics are incredibly beautiful, the music goes places Thrice has never been. Air is the best of all the EPs and builds from melodic and beautiful harmonies to Dustin's signature scream. Earth explores the folk side of Thrice and is reminiscent of Dustin's solo work. As a whole, the Alchemy Index is a work of genius. The band pushes the envelope in every way and provide some of the best music, lyrics, and theme around.
01) Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical
Talk about genius. Thomas Dutton and his brother managed to write a musical using influence and vocalists from the scene. The story itself is solid and imaginative, enough so that a casual listener would be put off a bit. The music is catchy, upbeat, weird, emotional, and dramatic... everything that makes a musical great. Dutton creates a hybrid of a damn good pop-punk record with a damn good musical. His vocals are fantastic as are all the guests he brings on (especially Urie, Salpeter, Huffman, and Bemis). The characters are all unique and the story never drags but instead moves too quickly. Every song has a redeeming quality and never left my head. With every listen I found something else to love about this album. And for that reason, it is my best album of 2008.
Best Songs: Way too many songs I liked this year. I bought over 1000 and liked at least 800 of them. These are just a few of the songs that defined my year.
20) Wolftron - "Beautybird"
19) The Reign of Kindo - "Breathe Again"
18) The Morning Of - "The New Is In"
17) Lydia - "A Fine Evening For A Rogue"
16) Promise of Redemption - "Trace Those Steps"
15) Jason Mraz - "If It Kills Me"
14) Augustana - "Rest, Shame, Love"
13) Panic at the Disco - "Northern Downpour"
12) The Hush Sound - "Break The Sky"
11) The Narrative - "Libra"
10) Cinematic Sunrise - "Goodbye Friendship, Hello Heartache"
09) Anberlin - "Retrace"
08) Jack's Mannequin - "Hammers and Strings"
07) Copeland - "Good Morning Fire Eater"
06) City and Colour - "Sleeping Sickness"
05) Fall Out Boy - "What A Catch, Donnie"
04) Valencia - "The Good Life"
03) House of Heroes - "In the Valley of the Dying Sun"
02) Thrice - "A Song For Milly Michaelson" 01) Forgive Durden - "The Missing Piece"
Best Staying Power (Albums Released in 2007):
My Top 5 last year was: 05) Eisley - Combinations 04) Radiohead - In Rainbows 03) Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace 02) Thrice - The Alchemy Index Part I & II Fire and Water 01) Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre
A year later, this is how I would rank my top 5 albums from 2007.
05) Radiohead - In Rainbows
04) Four Year Strong - Rise Or Die Trying
03) Anberlin - Cities
02) Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre 01) Thrice - The Alchemy Index Volume I and II: Fire and Water
Band/Artist of the Year: Say Anything makes this list because they managed to stay relevant without even releasing an album. Max's song shop was a brilliant way to connect to fans personally and increase revenue. Forgive Durden made an incredible concept album with a fantastic viral marketing campaign. Fall Out Boy did the same.
03) Say Anything
02) Forgive Durden 01) Fall Out Boy
Best Movies: Pretty good year for movies if you don't include The Dark Knight, which makes it a great year for the movies. I haven't seen a lot of the good movies that have come out yet, so I will count those for next year. Benjamin Button was an incredibly touching movie with beautiful cinematography. Wall-E was the pinnacle of animated film. Iron Man was the second best superhero movie this year. Pineapple Express was the best comedy of the year. The Dark Knight... well I talk all about it right here.
05) Pineapple Express
04) Iron Man
02) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 01) The Dark Knight
Best TV Shows: Heroes has never been the same since Season 1, but is starting to come on again after a sub-par beginning to Season 3. The Office started slow as well and may be nearing it's end. The Big Bang Theory is a truly underrated show that is always good for a laugh. Pushing Daisies will be sorely missed, as it was a unique gem of a show. How I Met Your Mother is incredibly consistent and always funny while finding the perfect moments to be sentimental.
04) The Office
03) The Big Bang Theory
02) Pushing Daisies 01) How I Met Your Mother
Most Anticipated Release of 2009: Will 2009 be as good a year for music as 2008? Hard to say, it has a lot to live up to. Here are some albums coming out next year that I am stoked for though.
04) New Found Glory
02) Say Anything 01) Brand New
And that, my friends, is it! I hope you enjoyed my many categories. I have stayed up all night making this list. As always, I'd love to hear your feedback. Though I bought close to 100 albums this year, I could always use more albums and I definitely didn't get a few I wanted. Also, any other ideas for categories would be great! Have a great 2009!
Best Albums (11-30): My favorite albums from the year from number 11 to 30. I can't believe how many I had to keep out of this list and how low I had to put certain albums. Incredibly good year for music.
30) We Shot The Moon - Fear and Love
29) Phantom Planet - Raise the Dead
28) The Morning Of - The World As We Know It
27) Lydia - Illuminate
26) The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
25) Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg, and Curse
24) Good Old War - Only Way To Be Alone
23) The New Frontiers - Mending
22) Paper Rival - Dialog
21) Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line 20) Joshua Radin - Simple Times
19) Promise of Redemption - When The Flowers Bloom
18) Wolftron - Flesh and Fears
17) The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
16) Astronautalis - Pomegrante
15) The Reign of Kindo - Rhythm, Chord, and Melody
14) Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
13) Augustana - Can't Love, Can't Hurt
12) Panic At The Disco - Pretty Odd 11) The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues
Honorable Mention: There was a time when I felt that any of these albums could've cracked my top 30, but here they are.
10) Drive By - A Delicate Situation
09) Senses Fail - Life Is Not A Waiting Room
08) The Academy Is - Fast Times At Barrington High
07) Story of the Year - The Black Swan
06) Quietdrive - Deliverance
05) The Mile After - Armada 04) The Audition - Champion
03) Ludo - You're Awful, I Love You
02) Keane - Perfect Symmetry 01)Alkaline Trio - Agony and Irony
Guilty Pleasures: PATD is my highest rated guilty pleasure ever. The rest are albums that my friends couldn't stop spinning after I introduced them to the albums, so naturally I listened to them whenever I was in one of their cars whether I wanted to or not.
10) Panic At The Disco - Pretty Odd
09) Cute Is What We Aim For - Rotation
08) The Fratellis - Here We Stand
07) Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
06) Justin Nozuka - Holly
05) Gym Class Heroes - The Quilt
04) The Cab - Whisper War
03) T.I. - Paper Trail
02) Kanye West - 808's and Heartbreak 01)Hit The Lights - Skip School, Start Fights
Worst (Most Disappointing): Death Cab's album was okay, but it just didn't stick with me. 1997 has fallen apart since their promising debut. The other bands are just washed up in my opinion.
05) Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
04) 1997 - On The Run
03) Ivoryline - There Came A Lion
02) All American Rejects - When The World Comes Down 01)Weezer - The Red Album
Best Live Album/DVD: Both of these Live Album/DVDs are must owns, but John Mayer's live album/DVD is unlike any I've ever seen. Thrice is a close, close second.
02) Thrice - Live At The House of Blues 01)John Mayer - Where The Light Is
Best New Band: House of Heroes isn't exactly new, but I didn't discover them until this year. The New Frontiers were promising and their breakup is a big loss for the scene.
03) The New Frontiers
02) The Good Old War 01) House of Heroes
Best Lyrics: Great lyrics from all of these artists. Kensrue's lyrics always relate to me. Dutton mananged to write a musical with touching lyrics that weren't overly cheesy. Christian is a beautiful writer. Wentz knows how to make every song an anthem. Skipper is surprisingly poignant.
05) Tim Skipper (House of Heroes)
04) Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy)
03) Stephen Christian (Anberlin)
02) Thomas Dutton (Forgive Durden) 01) Dustin Kensrue (Thrice)
Best Vocals: Dallas Green croons like no other. Kensrue continues to have one of the most distinct voices in the scene. Christian can wail. Skipper's voice rocks but is also extremely melodic. Marsh's range is unbelievable. Sad to leave off Patrick Stump, but I liked these 5 just a bit better.
05) Aaron Marsh (Copeland)
04) Tim Skipper (House of Heroes)
03) Stephen Christian (Anberlin)
02) Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) 01) Dallas Green (City and Colour)
Most Overrated/Worst Band: I'm done with Weezer. Socratic was cute for a few spins and then annoyed the hell out of me. FTSK is fun and catchy, but underachieving. The Maine and Metro Station do nothing for me... except give me ear infections.
03) Forever The Sickest Kids
02) The Maine 01) Metro Station
Best AP.Net Thread:
04) The Old Work Thread... RIP
03) The Dark Knight Thread
02) The Valencia Chat Thread 01)LOL Wut?
Best Tour: Admittedly didn't go to many shows this year. Here are the best of the ones I went to.
03) Alternative Press Tour w/ Rocket Summer, All Time Low, FTSK, and The Matches
02) Paramore, Jack's Mannequin, Phantom Planet 01) The Starting Line Farewell Tour w/ Bayside and Four Year Strong
Best Guest Vocals: Most of these come from Dutton's musical, but Vasoli makes a good apperance in "Listen Up" and Callait is the perfect other half for Mraz in "Lucky" Huffman and Salpeter own the only two female parts in Razia's Shadow. Brendon Urie was all over the place this year, and all of his guest spots were fantastic, sometimes even more so than his own album.
05) Cobie Callait: Jazon Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
04) Ken Vasoli (The Starting Line): Valencia - We All Need a Reason to Believe
03) Lizzie Huffman (Man In The Blue Van): Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical
02) Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound): Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical 01) Brendon Urie (Panic At The Disco): Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow: A Musical, Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux and The Cab - Whisper War
Best B-Side: A fun song with John Mayer killing on the guitar, what more could you want? 01) Fall Out Boy (Feat. John Mayer): Beat It
Best Actors/Actresses: A redemption year for Robert Downey Jr. Bale and Ledger were in the best film of the year and maybe the decade. Ledger's death put a sad spin on one of the best individual performances ever. Pitt put out a wide range of movies and owned the roles. Blanchett was impressive in "Benjamin Button"
05) Christain Bale
04) Cate Blanchett
03) Robert Downey Jr.
02) Brad Pitt 01) Heath Ledger
Best Book: It is regrettable that I don't read more, but these two books got my interest this year. Jason Tate recommended Rock On and it was a great read. The Bro Code is funny and true.
02) The Bro Code (Barney Stinson w/ Matt Kuhn) 01) Rock On: An Office Power Ballad (Dan Kennedy)
Best Video Games: When I had time to play video games I enjoyed these games. I have yet to beat any of them.
05) Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
04) Grand Theft Auto IV
03) Rock Band 2/Guitar Hero World Tour (It really just depends on your preference)
02) Resistance 2 01) Spiderman: Web of Shadows
Coolest Tech Devices: My two biggest purchases this year. My skepticism on the iPhone is gone, it is truly a fun and excellent device. My new Macbook has a smooth design, runs well, and has excellent functionality. I am set with my major technology purchases for years.
02) The New Macbook 01) iPhone 3G/iPod Touch
Best Sports Moments: Follow the link to see a great blog of all the best sports events of the year. Below is maybe the most memorable and stunning, the Giants upset of the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Best Viral Video: Prop 8: The Musical is star-studded, hilarious, and relevant. Check it out.
Coolest thing to happen to me on this site. Because of that, I'm gonna put out my EOTY list in the next few hours.
Thanks to Jason Tate and all the staff members here (notably Adrian, Anton, and Drew) for always being chill. Users RyanFTW, Missheartcore, AnAmericanGod, and many others have been great friends and loyal readers as well.
3.5 this semester. And that is while dealing with all the stupid drama I dealt with. To recap:
Moved to San Diego. Moved back. Signed up for classes. Started a new full time job (well, same company, different department). Got the wrong Accounting book. Didn't have my Calculus book for the first 5 weeks. Dropped Calculus after finding out I didn't need it. Added an 8-week Political Science class. Went to class on Saturday mornings. Missed a ton of Accounting classes for various reasons. Bombed the 3rd Accounting test for lack of studying.
But in the end, pulled out an incredibly strong 'A' in Political Science and aced the Accounting final to solidify my 'B' in that class. Successful semester. I'm still upset, I could've gotten an 'A' in Accounting if I hadn't slacked off so much.
Oh well, here's to straight A's next semester!
P.S. oh... um, EOTY list coming soon. And Ch. 11 after that.