Monday, March 27, 2006
Spoon- “I Turn My Camera On” funky and catchy
Imogen Heap- “Hide and Seek” best vocal track of last year
Kanye West- “Drive Slow” Paul Wall’s grill is straight-up gleamin!
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” not the most talented vocalist, but an excellent band; kind of reminds me of the Talking Heads
Joseph Arthur- “Honey and the Moon” one of our nation’s finest singer/songwriters
Nightmares on Wax- “Morse” perfect for crusin in the droptop
Brand New- “Jude Law and a Semester at Sea” why do dudes with accents get so much play?
Shuggie Otis- “Inspiration Information” this crazy brother turned down playing lead guitar for the Rolling Stones
Wolf Parade- “Shine a Light” like #4, not the prettiest sounding vocals, but excellent musicianship nonetheless; Apologies to the Queen Mary is an essential album
Sufjan Stevens- “Super Sexy Woman” a rare Sufjan track
The Magic Numbers- “Forever Lost” nice male-femal vocal duo
Matisyahu- “King Without a Crown” Jewish Reggae is finally in the spotlight again- this is a man with a message
The Game- “Special” a romantic ballad from an affectionate gangsta
Butterfly Boucher- “Another White Dash” road trip anthem
Van Morrison- “High Summer” I could listen to Van all day
Ulrich Snauss- “Blumenthal” enjoy the soothing progression
Disc Two: Chancier, Randomer, More Eclecticer, Indier Rocker, In No Logical Order, Mixer Taper or Rather CDer, er…
Belle and Sebastian- “For the Price of a Cup of Tea” damn catchy, no one’s watching, go ahead and dance along
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- “Me and Mia” Mr. Leo is a punk veteran
Rogue Wave- “Every Moment”
Enon- “Disposable Parts” technological hipsters featured on the Real World
Superwolf (Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Matt Sweeney)- “My Home is the Sea” just wait for the guitar part to kick in, it’s infectious
Cat Power- “The Greatest” unexpected top blues album of early 2006
Caribou- “Lord Leopard” funky beats
Van Hunt- “Dust”
The Mountain Goats- “You or Your Memory” sounds better if you’re sippin on a glass of Bartles & James
Kings of Convenience- “Gold for the Price of Silver”
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks- “Vanessa from Queens” former Pavement frontman effortlessly blends humorous lyrics with a rockin melody
Sun Kil Moon- “Never Ending Math Equation” Modest Mouse cover
Animal Collective- “The Purple Bottle” give it a few chances to grow on you, the lyrics alone are worth including, these fellas are true originals
Josh Rouse- “Nothing Gives Me Pleasure”
Antony and the Johnsons- “Fistful of Love” soulful climax, heavy on vibrato
Joseph Arthur- “In the Sun” no musician I know of has a better grasp on heartbreak, depression, and coming out from below the surface
Saturday, March 04, 2006
My personal fitness regimen has always followed a predictable pattern: work out intensely for about two months, and then hibernate for eight. I have never had healthy eating habits, and have always been too lazy to cook for myself. I distinctly remember hundreds of times as a youngster when I would open the refrigerator, stare blankly at the plethora of contents inside, and complain to my mother, "We don't have anything to eat." The truth is that I can be helpless when it comes to taking care of myself.
I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I had some sort of epiphany about 45 days ago. Since then, I have been working out on a regular basis, and cooking healthy, balanced meals for myself. The truth is, I owe my recent success to Mr. Bill Phillips, the fitness guru who wrote Body for Life and Eating for Life.
Body for Life is a book that outlines a simple and effective workout program, which combines intense cardiovascular workouts with 45 minute lifting routines, working your legs and abs on one day, and your chest, arms, shoulders, and back on the next. It is by far the most effective and sensible workout regimen I have ever been on. At first, you must emphasize form over strength. I am no longer the idiot who is bending his back into a half-circle trying to bench press more than he should. I am focused on form and intensity levels, rather than trying to impress the female population at the gym.
The truth is, anybody that knows me knows what a tall, goofy, scrawny, white-guy I truly am. About 6 months ago, I lost 30 pounds due to a bacterial infection. I was not able to speak clearly or eat any solid foods for several weeks, and had to get by on yogurt and pudding. Needless to say, I am trying to gain some healty weight and muscle, but I have actually started a strict diet, which is where Eating for Life comes into play. This collection of dietary advice, recipes, and meal plans is the best cookbook I have ever come across in my 3 years of bookselling. It is full of meals that are healthy, easy to make, and still taste very good. So far, my favorites are the Denver Omelet (breakfast), Chicken Pita Pizza (lunch), and Chicken Pomodoro (dinner). Mix in a protein shake, a snack, and your dessert, and you have a full 6 course day. Although 6 courses sounds like the fast track to gaining weight, you will be amazed at the success stories people have had on the plan. The truth is that if you are eating small and healthy portions throughout the day, you will have many less cravings for unhealthy fats and sugars. Another nice part about the diet is that one day a week, which is Sunday for me, I get to eat whatever I want. Two Sundays ago, I chowed down on French Toast, McDonalds, Bob and Luigi's Pizza (Bel Aire's finest), and cheesecake. I felt so bloated and tired afterwards that I decided to stick to the healthy plan last Sunday.
The point of this post is not to boast about what a health freak I have become, it is simply to encourage anyone who is interested in making a healthy change in their lifestyle to take a look at these two books. I highly recommend buying both, and sticking to the plans for 12 weeks, and I guarantee that you will be a new person. Getting a personal trainer to help you start is not a bad idea, but if you cannot afford one, there is actually a toll free number and online/phone support group provided in the book. I would also be glad to share my thoughts on the program with you if you have any additional questions. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are links to where you can purchase the books:
Body for Life
Body for Life for Women
Eating for Life