The Last Thing I Hear...

So I’ve been trying to think of something to write about for around a week now.  And today, while listening to music on my drive home, it hit me; I haven’t written about music yet.
                I have a playlist on my iPod that I call my “Bucket List” (I know it’s not the most original name, but if you have a better suggestion, I’m open to hearing it).  The playlist is composed upon the idea that if I end up in a situation where I can choose what I listen to as I die, these songs are the last things I want to hear.  They’re my all-time favorite songs; the songs that even if I hear them too much in a short period of time, a month later I’m willing to do it all over again. 
                So, in this blog I would like to not only tell you what I have on this Bucket List, but also give you a taste of the songs that I’m considering adding to it.  Keep in mind, that even though I don’t have any problem taking a song off later if my tastes change, I’m still very picky about what songs I’ll put on the playlist.  I don’t want to add my favorite song of the moment, just to get sick of it a week later, and never want to listen to it again…
                There are currently only ten songs on my Bucket List, and here they are:

Can’t Complain, by Todd Snider… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihI6R72QQMQ&feature=related (though I prefer the studio version)

Corpus Christi Bay, by Robert Earl Keen, covered by Todd Snider… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRuOvy4n13U

Summer of ’76, by Stephen Ashbrook… http://www.lyricsmania.com/summer_of_76_lyrics_stephen_ashbrook.html (I couldn’t find a video, so I’ve just posted a link to the lyrics)

Aerith’s Theme, by Nobuo Uematsu on piano… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxDlok9tu_I (the video isn’t him playing, but it’s still very good.  And yes, this song is from Final Fantasy VII, shutup and don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.)

Welcome to the Goodtimes, by The Black Crowes… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExEM1wr1clY (though I really prefer the iTunes originals version.  If it weren’t for that version, this song probably wouldn’t be on this list.)

Waiting for my Real Life to Begin, by Colin Hay… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvrzqcfv9mY
Straight to Hell, by Drivin’ N Cryin’, covered by Matt Nathanson…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ystQ7vN2Y

The Weary Kind, performed by Ryan Bingham… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zelvaxvTaUk&feature=related (yes, it’s the theme to the movie Crazy Heart)

Money, Compliments, Publicity, by Todd Snider… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0MzOEgt4ZI&feature=related (this video has a short story, great example of a live Todd Snider show)

La Petite Fille de la Mer, by Vangelis… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12Nky9lo8Nc

                Those are the songs currently on my Bucket List.  Now, I’ve got a few songs here that I’m considering adding… you can go ahead and give me your opinions on them, just know that it’s very likely I’ll ignore your opinions and do whatever I want anyway…

Play a Train Song, by Todd Snider… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxvKjy7LRsU

Demise, by Knowledge Lives Forever… http://www.myspace.com/djknowledge/music/songs/demise-feat-whitney-myer-explicit-84026489 (the link isn’t a great one, considering it’s myspace… but it works, just hit play)

Wind Cries Mary, by Jimmie Hendrix, covered by Jamie Cullum… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTdxAVPkUOk (I know it seems sacrilegious to prefer the cover over the original, but I LOVE how he belts it in the final verse, so much that I can’t stay away from this version)

The Professor, by Damien Rice… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNL88ann1W0

Coconut Skins, by Damien Rice… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqdGHm79R_4 (this one is as good as on the list already really)

3’000 Miles, by Ellis Paul… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PAuQgPnlGE

Fuzzy, by The Incredible Moses Leroy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE71x6JsFso

Take a Minute, by K’Naan… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaYVs1HPn2w (the song in the intro isn’t K’Naan… give it a second)

Blues for the Horn, by K’Naan… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdWvMTLslN0

Roll Away Your Stone, by Mumford and Sons… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlYrOBvt9IQ

Awake my Soul, by Mumford and Sons… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jLJ5mhgVw4

Rise, by Peter Mulvey… http://www.lyricsmania.com/rise_lyrics_peter_mulvey.html (again, no video, so lyrics instead.)

The Three of Us, by Ben Harper… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuqGI0kS3Z4

                God damn, that list is longer than I thought it would be… anyhow, enjoy!  And now, you all have an idea of my rather eclectic taste in music…


A Very Muddy Opportunity

I know it's been a while since I wrote a blog.  I haven't stuck to my one a week rule either.  But too bad, here's the blog I've been meaning to post for two weeks now...

Most of you know that last year I participated in Tough Mudder, and I'm assuming by now that most of you know that I will be participating in this year's Tough Mudder as well.  I'm writing this blog to see if I can't inspire some more people to take the same leap I did last year.  

Though Mudder is intense, it's difficult, and it's something that most of you have probably never dreamed of doing.  I know a lot of people that look at the event and all that it entails, and automatically say, "That's insane, there's no way I could do that!"  I'm here to tell you that yes, you can do that.  It is insane, I won't deny that.  But I promise you that your body is tougher than you think it is.  

I signed up for Tough Mudder almost exactly a year ago.  I then immediately began to dread the event, and regret that I signed up.  I can’t quite remember, but I may have been drunk when I actually signed up, it’s my only explanation for how I got the courage to do it.  After I signed up I did some work outs, but not a whole lot, and I still ate like crap.  At some point in June I finally figured it was time to really see what I had and how far I had to go in my training for the event.  So I showed up to one of the group workouts that my Tough Mudder team had set up. 

The workout was a simple jog about a half mile in to the hills, then sprint up this short hill, do some pushups, and jog down the other side as many times as you can.  I jogged probably just under a quarter mile at the very beginning, and thought I was going to die.  After taking a break, then finishing the rest of that first half mile, I sat on the ground for nearly 20 minutes will my teammates ran up and down the hill.  I wasn’t prepared for shit.

Luckily for me, my friends and teammates wouldn’t let me quit.  They convinced me to come to the next group workout, and they always made sure that one of them stayed behind and helped me, and motivated me to keep going and push my limits.  Before I knew it, I was jogging a mile without too much trouble.  When I got on the scale next, I realized I had dropped ten pounds. 

That was all the motivation I needed, I started working out three times a week, two group workouts and one on my own.  Mostly running or hiking in the hills or at Rancho San Rafael.  A little while later a slightly different group of friends started playing basketball twice a week.  I joined them, and without realizing it, I was working out in some fashion at least 5 times a week.  And since almost all of the workout time was with a group of friends, my social life actually expanded.  I net new people, and found new activities to do.  It was great.

To bring a quick end to this story, after three months of this training regime, I had dropped about 40 pounds and had to wear a belt with every pair of pants I owned. And I could jog five miles around a track or jog/hike ten miles in the hills without much trouble. Then came the big day.  We rented a cabin up near the event, at Squaw Valley.  We had a huge pasta dinner the night before, had a couple shots, and got to bed early.  Then we took group photos in our team shirts, and we went to the event.

Waiting for the signal to go, was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life.  When we were finally on the course though, I noticed some of the other people.  There were amputees passing me, there were people that must have weighed 300 plus pounds, and there were people in their 60’s possible 70’s all participating in this challenge with me.  And the best part is that not only were my teammates there to help me, but everyone on the course was.  If someone fell, there were 20 or more hands helping them up.  Everyone on the course wants to help you, and no one is left behind. 

I won’t get in to the details about the challenge here, but I hope you will notice that nowhere in this post did I call it a “race”, because it’s not.  Would my teammates and I like to finish faster than we did last year?  Yes, but that mostly means starting earlier so that there aren’t as long of lines to wait in.  Ultimately, Tough Mudder is NOT A RACE.  It’s a challenge, an event, one huge fucking obstacle.  And you complete it not for victory or for a time, you complete it just to say you did.  You complete it so that in the future when you’re presented with some obstacle in your life, you can look back at Tough Mudder and say, “Yeah, I fucking did THAT, so this will be a breeze.”

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if you feel like your life has gotten a bit stagnant, and the day to day grind is getting you down, and you want something to change.  Why not let this be the catalyst?  When that big part of you looks at Tough Mudder and says, “There’s no way I could ever do that.”  Let another part of you stand up and tell yourself to shut the fuck up and do it.  It will change your life, I promise.  If you participate in a Tough Mudder for the first time, and your outlook on life isn’t changed in the least, then I promise I’ll make up for it with sexual favors, I guarantee it!

If you want help, help like I had when I started working out, if you need someone to motivate you, and keep you going, there’s still room on our team for the Tough Mudder NorCal (Tahoe) event.  It’s a Northstar this year.  I promise we will help you get ready and we’ll help you finish.  You just have to take that first step and sign up.  Our team name is Nuclear Chupacabra.  If you want to sign up with us, just let me know, through the comments on here, or on Facebook. 

It’s a great experience, we’ll help you every step of the way, and then we’ll all party our faces off afterward.