Every year, I like to examine my music tastes from the previous year. The image above was generated a couple weeks into 2020, so the actual data from 2019 is slightly different.
Here are my top 10 artists from 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. It has a lot of good stuff on it – but of course I’d think that, right? And in case images break in the future:
The Orion Experience – 111 scrobbles (1st place in 2018 too)
Lin-Manuel Miranda – 105 scrobbles
Leslie Odom Jr. – 98 scrobbles
Tally Hall – 54 scrobbles
Ariana Grande – 45 scrobbles
It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
Phillipa Soo – 35 scrobbles
Queen – 32 scrobbles
Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
Regina Spektor – 24 scrobbles
The Orion Experience was number 1 last year also, and It Boys! and Regina Spektor have been on my top 10 previously. The rest appear new!
In the image above, you can see my top albums of the past year; again, it’s a little inaccurate given that it was generated a couple weeks into 2020.
Here’s the actual top 10 album list for 1/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. Hamilton won, by a ton. I didn’t want to listen to it much before seeing it live. I waited until I had my ticket, listened to the album once, watched the show, and then listened to the album a ton. And to ensure I have it written in case the image breaks:
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – 350 scrobbles
Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience – 110 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum by Tally Hall – 53 scrobbles
So Uncool by Keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
My Everything (Deluxe) by Ariana Grande – 28 scrobbles
Guys Don’t Like Me – Single by It Boys! – 25 scrobbles
Soviet Kitsch (U.S. Version) by Regina Spektor – 23 scrobbles
Absolute Music 64 by Ariana Grande – 17 scrobbles
Лучшие by Звери – 15 scrobbles (down from 2nd place in 2018)
Steven Universe, Vol. 1 (Original Soundtrack) – 13 scrobbles
And here are my top 10 tracks:
Right Hand Man by Lin-Manuel Miranda – 66 scrobbles
The Cult of Dionysus by The Orion Experience – 45 scrobbles
The Queen of White Lies by The Orion Experience – 43 scrobbles (down from 1st place in 2018)
A Winter’s Ball by Leslie Odom Jr. – 38 scrobbles
Guys Don’t Like Me by It Boys! – 35 scrobbles
Break Free (feat. Zedd) by Ariana Grande – 33 scrobbles (not present in 2018 but 10th in 2017)
Bottoms Up by keke Palmer – 29 scrobbles
Helpess by Phillipa Soo – 21 scrobbles
Eye to Eye from A Goofy Movie – 18 scrobbles
Your Obedient Servant by Leslie Odom Jr. – 15 scrobbles
Overall, a lot more Hamilton and a lot less ska. And a surprise showing by A Goofy Movie, which really amuses me.
And I saw some live shows as well:
Sweeney Todd at South Coast Repertory
Heathers: The Musical at Cal State Fullerton
The Little Mermaid: Live-to-Film Concert Experience at the Hollywood Bowl
Anamanaguchi concert at SDCC
Shrek: The Musical at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center
Half Past Two in Anaheim
Codename: Rocky, Skapeche Mode, Suburban Legends, Voodoo Glow Skulls, “Save Ferris”, and The Aquabats at OC Brew Ha Ha
We Will Rock You at the Microsoft Theater
R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium: The Musical at the Chance Theater
Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway
Anastasia at Segerstrom Hall
Suburban Legends in Downtown Disney twice
Frozen: The Musical at the Pantages
The Aquabats with PPL MVR and Dirt Farm at the Fonda Theatre
Every year, I like checking my Last.fm account to see what music I played the most the previous year. This year, my most played artist was Sia. Given that I definitely know I play her music a lot, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. She’s not my sixth most played artist overall in addition to number one in 2016.
This graph shows just how much more I listened to Sia than anyone else. It also amuses me that Instalok is number six considering I listen to his parody songs that use Overwatch footage.
Four of my most played tracks were by Sia. I only listened to her during the second half of the year as well. I have a Spotify playlist made on July 6 that consisted of the music Anela played while I was driving, and it was during that drive that she introduced me to Sia I think (although I did go on to find new tracks by her that I loved). “Kill Em with Kindness” and “You Don’t Own Me” (which Suicide Squad made me love) was also from that same playlist actually.
Despite enjoying ska concerts, no ska song broke the top ten (although two ska bands were in my top ten most played artists. I guess I must listen to a lot of different Suburban Legends and Half Past Two songs.
I thought it might be fun to look at what I listened to in 2015. I use Last.fm, which tracks music you listened to by linking to Spotify, using a Chrome extension for YouTube, and getting play counts from iTunes. You can find me on Last.fm here if you’re interested. This is Make a New Dance Up by Hey Ocean! at the top. It makes me happy; It’s very upbeat, and it really does make me want to dance. Sometimes I listen to it when I’m about to go dancing.
Here are my top artists played in this last year. What a good-sounding bunch.
My top artists aren’t a surprise. However, I guess I should admit that I think all 214 plays of The Orion Experience came from a single song. Wow.
Here are some more interesting notes. Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox is tracked under two different names.
Combined, they’d beat Suburban Legends for the most played artist.
I don’t own any music by Taylor Swift, and her music is on Spotify. All of her plays are from YouTube. While I already liked a few of her older songs without really knowing who sang them, her recent rise in my listening habits can be attributed to Anela playing the music videos in Daniel’s apartment. Kat DeLuna and Priyanka Chopra are also from her.
The Orion Experience, Cascada, Lena, My Crazy Girlfriend, Hey Ocean!, It Boys!, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kerli all came from Spotify’s Discovery Weekly playlist that changes weekly and is customized to each user. It’s fantastic.
Colt Ford is all Crank It Up. I line danced to it at Atomic and had to go listen to it a thousand times (well, 156 times).
Suburban Legends and Half Past Two are two of my favorite ska bands and local to the area. They’re not new to my listening this year. Half Past Two is taking a break, and Suburban Legends just announced that their current tour is their last, so I’m mad at them! (I’m sorry; I’m not mad. I love you. Thanks for making my ears happy.) Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox and Regina Spektor are both favorites of mine for longer than 2015, and I actually saw the Postmodern Jukebox in early 2015.
I was introduced to Daniela Andrade by gem. At first, I mostly listened to her cover of Crazy, which is crazy good. She’s very talented.
Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy is actually the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. I don’t know what they have against the Oxford comma.
What can I say about Carly Rae Jepsen? I really, really, really, really, really like her. (Do you get it?!)
Here’s my all time top artists in 2015. Again, no surprise, but there is one caveat. My play counts in iTunes were also increased by gem, and she went completely crazy on Owl City for a while. That was the only album she listened to for far too long. I couldn’t stand them for a while. I like them again, but they wouldn’t be this high without her.
When I look at my list of all time top played artists, it makes me want to listen to some of them more. I need more Liz Phair and Vampire Weekend.
These are the songs I listened to the most in 2015. I can’t say much about them. Obviously I love all of them or I wouldn’t have listened to them so many times.
These are my top all time songs. Some of these are artists that made it on my top artists of 2015 list. Some, like Suburban Legends, already had a lot of plays from previous years and continued strong with me in 2015. Others, like The Orion Experience, Cascada, Lena, Colt Ford, It Boys!, and Hey Ocean! I only learned about this year and they already shot into my all time list. I knew of Taylor Swift, but Shake It Off was new to me. Again, Owl City has infiltrated the list thanks to all those dang plays from gem.
Less interesting, but for completion’s sake, here’s the top albums in 2015.
This is the top 20 list.
Here’s the all time top albums. Ugh, Owl City! You’re a fine band, but you make me angry that you’re so high.
And here’s the final list for all time top played albums.
This song didn’t make it on the list, but its album did at least. I want to share it anyways.
I wonder how these lists will change next year! I think it’s fun to look back at what I’ve been listening to!
When I wake up and remember bits of dreams, I like to jot them down in my phone. Here’s what I can make out. Each bullet point is a different dream.
I was at a church in which there were a lot of books. It might have also been a library. One kid got Heinlein, Dan Simmons, and some other book with which I was impressed. He tried to give me a book, and I wasn’t sure if it was a library book or one he owned himself. It was a choose your own adventure with robots and cut outs. Then gem needed help with something and talked to my boss. And then I have “Tara Ska Half past two electronic.” Did Half Past Two play at the church/library?
I was taking prospector home buyers through my grandparents’ old house while holding Henley, but Henley was a young infant.
While working as a cashier at Albertsons, a man bought cheese, meat, and bread and then asked me to make him a sandwich.
I was playing a zombie dince game in which each player controls zombies of a particular color with the goal of coverting people to zombies of their color. It was a commentary on racial crime.
Edward and I played arcade games.
It was the middle of the night. I was about to go to a concert. There was water and a beach ball. I was with a close friend, and someone I kind of knew kept hitting the ball my way. I thought about Snapchat.
Someone I knew (and I do remember who it was in the dream as well) was standing over my bed telling he was broke. He was speaking very quietly, and his voice sounded pleading. He grabbed my wrists, and I struggled to understand. I thought it was real. What was scary and infuriating was that I thought this person had just come over and come into my room while I was sleeping. I moved my hands through his arms in an effort to see if they were real, and they passed right through. I was convinced he wasn’t real, and he disappeared. Next I looked around my room but was still unable to get up or move for a good 10 minutes of what I believe is real time. Ugh.
There was a lizard in the room.
I could fly, and someone seemed to be after me. I was flying near tall building, and many of them had terraces, rooftop areas that were easily accessible, etc. I got curious and landed on one of the terraces, looking into windows and walking right into the kitchen of some nice restaurant.
“so many spider men.” I vaguely remember this – everyone was Spider-Man basically. I think there were apartments or something, and one of the Spider-Men was the real Spider-Man. UPDATE! Man, Duncan remembered part of this dream that I mentioned. The police were trying to arrest the real Spider-Man but couldn’t figure out who was the real one. Nice.
Here are my notes. “Killed people?” “Immortal” “Waiting to see those people again later” “Trying to text them using borrowed phone” I don’t actually remember this one.
I was at the airport, and David (from Friends) was there, just back from Minsk. He was desperately trying to win back Phoebe.
This is a bad one. Someone tortured a rabbit but left it alive. They cut off its ears and mutilated it. Next they pulled the stuffing out of a stuffed giraffe and put the rabbit inside – a mutilated living rabbit in a stuffed giraffe suit. He pulled out the eyes of the stuffed animal so the rabbit could see out. I seemed aware in the dream that this was to torture it even more. Finally he gave it to a dog as a chew toy. Disgusting.
I was going back to UCI and wanted to room with gem and Antonio. I found what I thought was my room, and I was apparently rooming with Eric (who lived in my suite when I lived in the dorms). However, I was mistaken. Then I got punched. Eventually I found my room, and I had a woman for a roommate, which surprised me. gem and Antonio were each in separate rooms.
I was at a British wholesale store, and someone was with me. He said he could get me a card. Suddenly some people show up with guns. These appeared to be normal civilians. Next some guys called the militia, but then both the militia and the first group are pointing their guns at the normal people. I realized they were in cahoots and that something was wrong (yeah, go figure). I sneaked out with some others, but we were being chased. While I was running, I ran into an actual bear that seemed super angry. I gave the bear my bag, and he got happy. Then he wanted a hug, so I gave him a hug and took a selfie. Then I kept running, and suddenly I was running with James and gem.
This one had something to do with Barnes & Noble. First Melissa was there, and then I was with someone else who was talking about a guy she liked. I was surprised and asked about her husband, but she said he died in a car accident. I got home, and gem was there. Apparently we lived in the same house.
Last week I was attending a conference in the Bay Area, so I went a few days early to visit friends! I stayed with Katie and Matt, hung out with Marc as well, coincidentally saw some Southern California friends, and attended the Lithium Network Conference. I had a great time!
Lithium is all about social: they’re the providers of Toshiba’s forum as well as Lithium Social Web, the web application that I use that pulls the forum, Facebook, and Twitter into one screen.
I flew in Friday night after some delays. Matt and Katie picked me up from San Francisco International, and we headed back to their place in Fremont after a quick stop for some tasty In-N-Out. It was late, so we mostly talked, and Matt and I played games.
Saturday was the action-packed day! Marc came over, and then we visited Matt’s university, San Jose State University, where we failed to return library books and failed to see a flight simulator. We tried at least. Luckily, San Jose is also filled with delicious foods.
At SmokeEaters I ate some delicious wings, onion rings, fries, and a beer. This was the start of a bad day for my stomach.
I was kind of excited to see a banner for Fanime. I don’t know. I’m sorry.
After our unhealthy lunch, we stopped at Psycho Donuts. Just look how good they look! Yes, yes, yes!
We walked past a place called Iguanas just because I wanted to take a picture of their sign. Burritozilla! I want to eat Burritozilla!
When we got back to Katie and Matt’s, we tried some of the donuts. Another bad stomach decision, but a great decision for my taste buds. The top-left one was the Cookie Monster donut. Reminds me of Afters Ice Cream! 🙂
We made some White Russians, watched some YouTube videos, listened to Spotify, and talked. The White Russians were the final bad decision for my stomach, haha.
Matt found this playlist on Spotify – 2000’s Rock by Scott Sweatman. It’s… kind of great. It caused a lot of nostalgia, but at the same time, I can tell why I don’t listen to this music anymore. It was pretty perfect.
This might sound uneventful, but it was a pretty important evening. I had a lot of fun with them. Marc’s friend even came over as well.
gem was in te Bay Area to go rafting with a group of friends, which included one other person I knew – Vivian. Marc came over again, and then he drove us to Berkeley to meet with them.
We decided to meet at Sather Tower, a bell and clock tower, commonly called The Campanile.
You could hear the music from a pretty good distance.
I liked the bears at the base.
After realizing you could go up the tower for a nominal fee, we had to check it out.
I wish this photo offered a better sense of scale. The bells could totally crush a person.
gem, Katie, and Matt!
Here’s where the musician sits to play the carillon, which is the bell system.
Here’s the view.
And here’s a group of photos of a lot of us.
Here’s gem, Marc, Katie, Matt, and myself. I was trying to spread the Half Past Two, So Cal ska love to the Bay Area.
We stopped at Sheng Kee Bakery, where I tried some of Vivian’s tea eggs – basically eggs boiled in tea rather than water. Delicious! Then it was off to Sliver Pizzeria. Each day of the week they feature a different pizza, but that’s it. That means that each day they only have a single kind of pizza. On Sunday, it was roasted potatoes, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapeño jack cheese, Italian parsley, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It was great! I’m going to need to try to make something like this some time.
Over lunch, someone I had just met that day asked me what I did for a living. I said, “I work for Toshiba…”
He replied with “hey, that’s my line!”
I’m paraphrasing, but he works for Toshiba as well, although he works for a different Toshiba company. Small world! And speaking of small worlds, another person was going to take the BART back to Fremont, so Marc just gave him a ride too.
It was cool seeing the university as well as the city. The city was pretty interesting. I can understand how it gets the reputation it has, because the people clearly cared a lot more about the environment and helping each other than I’m used to seeing in Orange County.
Once we got home, we had a quiet evening mostly of watching TV and chatting. I got some work done as well, and we watched American Ninja Warrior. It’s a cool show pitting athletes against insane obstacle courses that require a great deal of strength, agility, and balance.
Katie made an amazing fish dinner that made my stomach feel much better. It was super good!
I started Monday morning by working before Matt drove me to the BART station.
When I got into San Francisco, I took a picture of the building outside the Powell Street station like I always do.
This was the view from my hotel room. Not amazing, but I like that Scalzi always posts photos of his view, so I like doing it too. I stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, which was right next to Saint Patrick’s Chuch, where Patrick and Caroline got married. Pretty cool!
Anela gave me some recommendations of things to do. Some of them I’d done previously, and some, like hike recommendations, just didn’t fit with my schedule. But some things had to be done!
Did you know that at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory you can watch people make fortune cookies? Well, she did, and now I do, and now you do.
They start out round, while they’re still hot, she shapes them into fortune cookies. I got to try some nice hot ones that were still round, and I bought a bag of normal and chocolate fortune cookies.
I tried one chocolate one from the bag, and my fortune was “Your luck will soon be at a high point.” That seems good, but what if it just means my luck is going to be terrible for a long time after that? Uh oh.
I took some other random photos too.
I had to stop at a bakery too, so I got a pineapple BBQ pork bun from The AA Bakery & Cafe. I love pork buns!
Anela also recommended I get pastries in Little Italy, so off I went. I often say I don’t really like looking up recommendations because it’s more fun to find stuff on your own, but I wasn’t sure about Italian pastries, so I turned to reviews and found Stella Pasty and Cafe. Everyone seemed to recommend their Sacripantina.
According to their site, it contains “vanilla sponge cake, zabaione (a delicate custard made with egg yolks, sweet butter, marsala and sherry wine) cream, and rum.” It was light yet rich. I could only eat about half of the piece actually.
I knew I wanted pizza while I was there too, and I felt like looking around to see what caught my eye. Spoiler alert – it wa Golden Boy Pizza. I just liked the feeling and look of the place. Foursquare recommended the garlic clam pizza, so I went with that.
It was a thick slice, and I put red pepper on it. It was good, although I didn’t find it amazing. Still, I liked the place enough that I might try to go back and get a different kind if I can. It was small on the inside but was covered with stickers and similar art.
I also want to mention Victoria Pastry Company. I didn’t eat there, but I got detoured as I followed the amazing smell. I just wasn’t hungry enough.
My final goal was Ghirardelli Square. Anela recommended this as well, although I’d actually been there already. However, I just love chocolate. On the way, I stopped at Dennis Rae Fine Art. They had an exhibit on the art of Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss. It was neat.
I bought a few things to take home at Ghirardelli before purchasing a hot fudge sundae to eat! The fudge was just so awesome. I kinda sorta maybe love hot fudge.
Even so, I couldn’t do it. There were just too many things to eat that day and not enough room in my stomach.
Here’s a nice view from the Fisherman’s Wharf area near the San Francisco National Historic Park (or maybe it’s part of it).
Look, a ship.
This was a really heroic ship, but I heard it killed its family once.
I liked the view from the end of the pier.
Hey, it’s me!
On my way back to the hotel, I happened to walk past Lombard Street at it’s famously twisted block. This was actually another recommendation from Anela, although I wasn’t aiming to see it this time since I’d already seen it. I just happened to walk past it, so I took a picture because of how beautiful it looked.
I just thought this door was cool.
The welcome event for the Lithium Network Conference was held at Jillian’s. There was a variety of food and an open bar. I know what you’re thinking, but actually I only had a small glass of wine. Too exhausted, so I didn’t stay long. After a detour at Target to buy water, I went back to my room for the night.
Tuesday was the first actual day of the conference. After a quick breakfast, I was off to the weird introduction!
That woman was a bunch of bananas.
And that woman was the whole city!
The opening was about three and half hours, and it mostly talked about what customers expect from social engagement. Blah, blah, blah. You don’t care about that.
But then there was lunch and time to socialize! Yes, some of that was through texts to home, but I also talked with some cool people at the conference.
After lunch, I went to a session on “Self service content publishing” and another on “How to get content in the right place at the right time” that were both interesting. They were more about developing applications and custom modifications to the Lithium platform, which isn’t something I have the power to go implement, but I like seeing new ways to think about the process.
The conference ended for the day with two pretty great speakers. The first was Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a free online tool for education. It originally sprang from him tutoring his cousin on the phone, then tutoring many of his cousins, then making custom tutoring software to help him tutor them, and then creating videos to help as well. I can’t really do it justice. He discussed how school goes at a certain pace for the whole class and then judges them rather than helping them master something before continuing. He wants to bring this free education to everyone in the world. It’s a beautiful idea, and a couple parts of his talk made me tear up. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
The second speaker was Orny Adams, a comedian. “Let’s talk about what we really wanna talk about. We hate our customers. Because they’re stupid.” He was joking, I swear. Yeah, he didn’t really care about crossing any lines as he also made fun of people who avoid gluten or are scared of germs (uh oh) and even had to end with some differences between men and women. He was pretty hilarious.
That night’s party was held at City View on the fourth floor of The Metreon.
There were a lot of people inside and out. I talked to some cool people, including a long conversation with a Greek woman who compared Greek family members with me! She’s actually a contact at Lithium I hadn’t met, so that was very cool. I also had a great conversation with a man from Zürich.
The view was nice!
There were oh so many desserts. Combined with all the normal food I had that night, it added up to another terrible health night.
Oh, and then after all that I discovered more food.
I didn’t really take many photos this day, but I did attend sessions on “Master social lead generation” and “15 tips for new community managers.” I don’t really need sales leads, and I’m not a new community manager, but I like looking at new ways of thinking.
Later I had a meeting with my coworker, the VP of Global Strategic Accounts & Value Engineering at Lithium, the Chief Revenue Officer of Lithium, and a woman in charge of Customer Success at Lithium.
Dr. Michael Wu, Chief Scientist at Lithium, did a talk about how customers perceive brands, customer expectations, and a lot more. He wears a distinctive hat and glasses, so the conference gave a hat and glasses to everyone in attendance!
I didn’t take the glasses since I already wear glasses, but a free hat? Sure.
I also took an accidental selfie on the way to the BART.
And the last photo I took in the city was this. It reminded me of the RISK! podcast.
It was a great trip, but by the end I was exhausted and happy to get home. If only I didn’t have two work days left in the week.
Thanks for the wonderful time, Bay Area.
And the best part? I didn’t really gain much weight!
Friday night was the first screening of Rude Boy the Movie at the Frida. It follows Rudy, a Mexican-American teenager from Anaheim in 1984 who doesn’t fit in at school. He eventually finds ska and rude boys. It was a lot of fun!
Saturday was Wayzgoose at UCI! I walked to campus and spent a little time wandering around, taking in the festivities. It seemed a lot smaller than previous years honestly.
The Psychology Student Association had this awesome Adventure Time booth with sweet cosplay. I had to get some tacos from them for that! I hope tons of people bought from them.
Some people seemed to be practicing quidditch too. It wasn’t a full game, but they were definitely out there having fun. I talked with them a bit, and they seemed really cool. Quidditch sounds like a pretty fun activity, and it’s cool to see people at UCI playing! Thanks for all the info, Anteater Quidditch!
I’ve been going to Wayzgoose since 2007, and every year I get a shawarma from the Muslim Student Union. Yum, yum, yum. Besides the tacos and shawarma, I also had horchata, a churro, spam musubi, and a brownie. It was a delicious day.
The 3D printing club had a booth showing some of the neat things they made. Here’s a bulbasaur.
And here’s a squirtle. I like the bulbasaur more. I didn’t see a charmander even though charmander was clearly the best of the three.
The anteater was pretty cool though!
On my walk back home, I decided to walk through Middle Earth. I stopped to take a picture from Gondolin.
I also saw cool restrooms in Middle Earth. When I lived there, they were men’s and women’s. Now they’re both all-inclusive. Pretty cool.
I had to stop by my old dorm too. It seems weird to think that I lived there a decade ago.
Later that night I went to Sean’s reggae yoga workshop. It was a two hour yoga workshop with DJ Tory playing reggae music. It was a lot of fun. After the workshop, I went to an after party. There were a couple people I knew and a lot more that I didn’t. Everyone seemed really cool, making a really awesome night!
Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)
I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.
Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!
Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.
It was a cool year.
2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.
Last night was the fifth annual Ska Luau at the House of Blues Anaheim, and it was an awesome show! I was ready to go with a new (or at least never worn to a concert) Half Past Two shirt, and despite it being 42 degrees outside, it was nice inside!
The show opened with the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe. They did dances from a bunch of a different countries and had both men and women, but I didn’t record very much.
The first band to perform was Failed to Victory. I’ve seen them before, and they’re great.
I’d never heard Skadonna, but they were really fun. You might guess that they perform Madonna covers. I’ll admit, the songs that I didn’t know weren’t as cool, but I really enjoyed hearing the covers.
Los SuperSpies graced us with their debut! Not all of their songs were new to me though. Here they’re playing The World is New. If you’re a fan of Save Ferris or Starpool, you’ll probably become a fan of Los SuperSpies too!
Half Past Two is one of my favorite bands, so it was awesome that they performed as well.
Hey, look what I just found.
Sorry, that has nothing to do with the Ska Luau, but it came up as a recommended video at the end of the one I recorded. I didn’t know they covered this, and I like Vampire Weekend.
Back to the Ska Luau! Here some friends joined Half Past Two on stage.
Suburban Legends! Another one of my favorite bands! I love their awesome choreography (and music of course).
This little guy was rocking out too! Well, honestly, he was mostly napping. But his parents were enjoying the show.
There might have been a surfing contest too. Competition is fierce when a prized pineapple is on the line.
It was such a terrific show with a truly amazing line up. Spending the 30th with excellent ska and the 31st, tonight, with friends is a great way to end 2014.
And the best way to end a night of ska is carne asada fries. My diet was upset, but my taste buds were happy.
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra gave an awesome performance yesterday at The Observatory! Half Past Two posted about it, but I wasn’t planning on spending money. However, when Max talked to me about it at this week’s Ska Parade Lounge on Wednesday, he convinced me to go. I’m glad he did!
I’d never been to The Observatory in Santa Ana, but it was a pretty sweet venue. Reviews on Foursquare seemed pretty negative honestly, but I thought things were fine. There was a lot of space and multiple tiers as well. Multiple tiers also means multiple walls on which to lean so there’s a lot of room for people who want to take it easy.
The show opened with Viernes 13, a ska band from LA. Before they started, I noticed that the woman next to me was with a man who kept leaving for long periods of time. As it turns out, he was the keyboard player. I seem to be running into a lot of Spanish ska lately! They were fun with a good variety of music, including a Skatalites cover. I talk to the guy on keys, Francis “The BubbaMaster” Sanchez (assuming their Facebook is current), a little after the show too.
Skapeche Mode performed second. Given their name, it should be no surprise that they play ska covers of 80’s music. Their Facebook says that they’re “Committed to ruining both the eighties and ska, one show at a time.” Well, they certainly weren’t ruining either because they were awesome. Skapeche Mode had awesome stage presence – especially the singer and horn section. Is the trumpet played Bryan Lackey, the same trumpet player from Failed to Victory? Did I somehow see him two nights in a row? Rad, because he’s great!
I know what you were thinking. You wanted to check out what they sound like considering these jerks aren’t on Spotify. There you go.
Last but not least we have Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, a ska band all the way from Japan! Composed of drums, percussion, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, baritone sax, vocals, guitar, bass, and even a melodica, they really rocked! They just had so much energy and really commanded the stage and enthralled the audience. I particularly enjoyed the bari sax player. Also, and I’m sorry if it’s weird that I noticed, but their clothes, especially their jackets, fit. It’s rare.
I know you’d be sad if you got to see a bad video of Skapeche Mode but no bad video clip of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, so there you go. They do have an album on Spotify too, so check them out. One thing I really liked them about them is that despite having guitar, bass, and vocals, I really felt like the horns stood in the spotlight. Their line up isn’t very different than a lot of full ska bands (besides the melodica), but normally it seems like vocals take center stage with guitar and horns standing side-by-side. I liked the feature on the horns! They also did a fantastic rendition of the song from Tetris. How could I not fall in love with that?
Another successful ska night! At the beginning of the night, I’d never seen these three bands. By the end of the night, I have three more bands I’d love to see again in the future!
Friday night was Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill in Huntington Beach. Half Past Two posted about it, which is how I found out. Stupid Flanders was headlining, and somehow they didn’t actually post about it until after Half Past Two despite HP2 not performing in it.
The line up was Not A Chance, Failed to Victory, Revancha, and Stupid Flanders, with Stupid Flanders being the only band I’d seen. Not A Chance, a punk band, played first. I noticed that Max, guitarist and vocalist for HP2, was there, so I said hello between sets. gem and I ended up joining him.
Failed to Victory is pictured at the top. For some reason, my clip of them won’t upload to YouTube and has no audio when I try to play it on my PC.
It’s fine on my phone and on Instragram though.
Despite a long wait as they fixed a blown out amp, F2V was really good! Unfortunately, it got so late that we didn’t stay for Revancha or Stupid Flanders, but I’m really glad to have learned about Failed to Victory. Plus it was cool to hang out with Max!