Last year was another year of really loving Hamilton it seems – along with some pop and instrumentals.
This visualization is a little off because it’s based on data from the last 365 days and not 2021, but it’s close and I like it.
My top ten artists:
Leslie Odom Jr. – for Hamilton
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton again
Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton – obvious
Weezer – because I loved their Teal Album
Vitamin String Quartet – due to their instrumental versions of songs from Bridgerton
Call Me A Hole – actually a mash-up of Nine Inch Nails and Carly Rae Jepsen on YouTube
Poppy – all because of one cover of a t.A.T.u. song
Montaigne – thanks to making the new theme song for My Brother, My Brother and Me
Lil Nas X – because Matt was surprised I didn’t know any songs by him and claimed I actually did. Turns out, I had heard Old Town Road but didn’t know who performed it
Spice Girls – because my neighbors started blasting Spice Girls at 3 in the morning and it put me in the mood to listen to more
My top albums:
Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Bridgerton (Covers from the Netflix Original Series) by Vitamin String Quartet
Weezer (Teal Album) by Weezer
All The Things She Said by Poppy
Spice by Spice Girls
Heaven & Hell by Ava Max – but only one song I think
Nena by Nena – again because of one song
Release Me by The Like – thank you Barnes & Noble for making me listen to this all day until I loved it over a decade ago
7 EP by Lil Nas X
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish
My top tracks mostly make sense given the top albums and artists, although there are few stragglers – numbers 9 and 10 don’t have artists or albums that show up on my top ten lists.
Call Me A Hole, Nine Inch Nails / Carly Rae Jepsen Mash-Up – I can’t believe this was my most played song, although I’ll note that it’s actually tied with a real song haha
All The Things She Said by Poppy – tied for first
Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) by Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
Kings & Queens by Ava Max
Guns and Ships by Leslie Odom Jr.
Nur geträumt by Nena
Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
Technicolour by Montaigne
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive
Merry Happy by Kate Nash
Spotify Wrapped gave some interesting bits of information, but I don’t think it reports as clearly as Last.fm – plus, Spotify only considers data from 1/1 through 10/31.
Looks like I’m pretty average as Spotify users go.
I really have no idea what this means. I don’t think I’ve ever thought to myself “time to listen to some spooky and bold music.”
This, on the other hand, seems super accurate! I didn’t even realize how accurate it was, but now I love it.
As for live music, 2021 was obviously better than 2020. I went to one concert – The Aquabats, The English Beat, and Dead Man’s Party; it was awesome! I saw one virtual concert – The Aquabats! Legion of Righteous Comrades! You Pick the Set List! Livestream Concert! That title sure had a lot of exclamation marks. I saw a singer/guitarist at a small event.
I also saw The Nightmare Before Christmas Live-to-Film Experience at the Banc of California Stadium, which features Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Billie Eilish, and Ken Page. Plus, at the end Steve Bartek of Oingo Boingo joined Danny Elfman on stage to play Dead Man’s Party.
And I can’t leave out more Hamilton! I saw Hamilton at the Pantages twice in 2021!
Let’s take a look at my Last.fm account for last year, which I enjoy doing at the start of each year. The Orion Experience took the top spot. They weren’t even in my top 10 artists of 2017. Suburban Legends and The Aquabats also broke into the top 10 after not being in it in 2017. Звери dropped from number 1 to number 3, but Hayley Kiyoko went from number 10 to number 4.
Here’s my full top 11 (since 10 and 11 were tied).
Cosmicandy by The Orion Experience takes the top album spot, which isn’t a surprise to me because I’ve been listening to The Queen of White Lies, Obsessed With You, and The Cult of Dionysus off that album a ton.
Here’s the top 10 albums.
These were the top 10 tracks of 2018 for me. Only one song isn’t in English, just like 2017.
Spotifywrapped.com gives some interesting highlights from Spotify:
I started 2018 by listening to Для тебя by Звери.
The first artist I discovered was Big Black Delta… and I have no idea who they are right now.
I listened to 10,675 minutes listening to Spotify.
I spent 7 hours listening to The Orion Experience, my top artist.
My top artists were The Orion Experience, Camila Cabello, Suburban Legends, Звери, and Let’s Get It. I wonder how Last.fm doesn’t have Camila Cabello higher? I listened to her a lot. Sometimes Last.fm tracks artists with different names. For example, if a song features another artists, it might be considers “Artist A featuring Artist B,” separate from both A and B.
Top songs were We Don’t Care, Carnivore, Hit Me Up, Into It, and The Queen of White Lies.
Top genres were pop, indie, rock, punk, and hip hop.
My top 100 playlist was generated and can be found here or below.
I listened to non-mainstream artists 80% more than the average Spotify listener.
My oldest song played was “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.
I listened to more Pisces artists, which Spotifywrapped notes includes Camila Cabello and Kesha, than any other sign. Hm, and I’m a Pisces too.
Spotify introduced the Discover Weekly playlist, giving users custom playlists of new music based on their usage. So far, it’s been pretty amazing for me. If you haven’t tried it yet, check Browse > Discover > Discover Weekly.
Checking my Last.fm reveals that in the last week, nine of my top ten played songs were from my Discover Weekly playlists from the last two weeks. Spotify’s algorithms seem spot on; they certainly know what I like. Discover Weekly is a single playlist that’s updated every Monday. Because I want to save them, I make a new playlist that’s a duplicate of my Discover Weekly. When the Discover Weekly is changed, I still have my duplicate.
One song it recommended was Obsessed With You by The Orion Experience. It recommended it to me two weeks ago with the introduction of Discover Weekly, and it’s now my 38th most played song ever according to Last.fm. That’s crazy. I guess I listened to it a lot. Whoops.
I’ve been looking for ways to discover new music, especially since there are some kinds of music that I enjoy but about which I don’t know much. This is a perfect way to discover new music! And in the interest of discovering new music, here’s a selection of tracks that I’ve enjoyed from my Discover Weekly playlist:
The Orion Experience – Obsessed With You
The Bird and the Bee – F-cking Boyfriend
I Fight Dragons – The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth
MisterWives – Twisted Tongue
Beautiful Small Machines – Counting Back To 1
Crayon Pop – Bar Bar Bar
Garfunkel and Oates – Gay Boyfriend
Morgan Laurence – Come On! Come On!
Dixie Flatline – Just Be Friends
Noah and the Whale – 5 Years Time
If you use Spotify and haven’t checked out your Discover Weekly playlist yet, you’re missing out every week you don’t take a look!
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!
After work last night, I went to dinner with my brother. He’s leaving for Recruit Training soon, so this will be the last time I see him for a little bit. We went to Olive Garden, and the two of us ordered what we always order. At the end of the meal, a waiter who wasn’t serving our table, Brad, came over to tell me that he liked my shirt and the band it represented and was happy to see it, and he shook my hand. I was wearing my “one fish, two, red fish, reel big fish” shirt. Cool!
Anyways, it was nice seeing my brother again before he leaves. I’m proud and hope he does well.
After dinner, I met with my friends Michael and Bonnie to go to the Wet Hot Skamerican Summer concert at the House of Blues Anaheim. I wasn’t familiar with any of the bands, but they were all quite entertaining, and I had a very nice night.
The show opened with Sugar Stems, an indie rock band from Milwaukee. They had a pleasant sound with a great vocalist. I really loved her voice. Now that I’m thinking of it, they remind me of Plumtree a bit. I’m not going to make specific comparisons because I’m tired, but they were excellent. The band consists of two married couples too!
Okay, I’m listening to them on Spotify right now. Wow, I really love them.
Next up was Papafish, who might have had the biggest following of all the bands if the audience was any indication. They were a fun ska/reggae band that played mostly original music. One song opened with synthesizers that reminded me of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams. Makes sense because it really was a cover.
The middle act was the Angel City Records Soul Revue. The act kept the core band constant but rotated members between songs. It was a record label from LA that specializes in soul, R&B, ska, rocksteady, and reggae (according to their site), and that’s pretty much what I could infer from listening. It was nice to get some related genres that are little different than what I normally hear at a ska concert. Of course, it also helps that they were good. Their site indicates that they featured Jackie Mendez, Xavier Lynch, and The Soul Vibers.
The fourth act was Stupid Flanders, and they had great energy. They’re a ska band from Fullerton. Their music was great, sure, but those orange ties… oh boy!
The last band of the night was Half Past Two. They were excellent with a strong horn section and a lively, animated lead singer. She really knew how to work the crowd.
I’d be happy to see any of these bands again. I took a gamble going to a show consisting only of bands with which I wasn’t familiar, but it definitely paid off! Plus it was a lot of fun hanging out with my friends!