Baby Driver (2017)

I went to the movies by myself over the holiday and saw Baby Driver, the new bank heist/car chase movie from Edgar Wright. I loved it and, without any spoilers, these are some the reasons why:

  • The Music – Have Mercy! The soundtrack for this movie is so great. There is a Spotify playlist of the songs that I’ve been listening to non-stop. The way it is used in the movie is smart, too. I stuck around through the credits and saw that Kid Koala made all of Baby’s tape remixes. He’s an excellent DJ you should check out if you haven’t heard of him.
  • The Driving – I’m a big fan of the Ken Block-style Gymkhana stunt driving videos and the car chases in Baby Driver are directly influenced by them. All of that crazy drifting and hand brake skidding is fun to watch.
  • The Edgar Wright Stuff – Edgar Wright makes cool-looking movies that have lots of little treats for attentive viewers. His Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy is stuffed with signature scenes and moments that tie the whole thing together. It’s clever film making and I was ready to see what would be in Baby Driver. I noticed:
    1. the lyrics to the opening song show up as graffiti and on pasted-flyers in the background as Baby is walking to work
    2. the gunshots in the numerous firefights all seemed to be on the beat of the song that was playing at the time (this made a neat effect)
    3. the music in the film is just a little bit louder than you normally hear soundtracks in other movies (which I think is a nod to Baby’s tinnitus)

I’m recommending this movie to everyone who will listen. It’s a near-perfect summer movie.

2017 RVA Open

2017 RVA Open

This was my first weightlifting meet and I’m willing to call it a success. I finished third in my age/weight bracket (earning a swanky bronze medal), I completed all six of my lifts successfully (with two new PRs), and I had a good time doing it. I will break it down GoW-style.

*Highlights*:

  • Singlet fit
  • new PRs (164kg total)
  • Solid hangs with Joe and Cy and Swolenik
  • Getting coached up
  • A bronze medal that looks like it could be on a real podium somewhere

*Lowlights*:

  • 8am session start
  • Nerves
  • Shirtless post-session cryotherapy (don’t ask)

To add a little color, I’ve been way, way overweight the last year or two. I’m mentally chalking it up to wanting mass for powerlifting, but really I just like not paying attention to what I eat and drink. I’m working to fix that now. It is def. work. I’m a big, big fan of “play”, and I *loooove* playing team sports. It was cool to hang with the team in my session and I’m double-especially looking forward to training with them over the next couple of months. Getting active input from a vested coach was really great. I trust Chris Lawyer to put me in a position to succeed. He does good work.

The negatives from the meet were minimal. Since I’m a new lifter with a relatively low projected total in my first meet, I was seeded in the first session. 8am Saturday start time means a 6-8am weigh-in window. I’m not the worst about getting up in the morning, but this was a bit much for a Saturday. Once we got to the lifting, I was more nervous than I expected. Chris was there with a “hey have a seat and lower your heartrate”; (which is just one example of how an experienced coach can make a big difference at a meet), and I chilled out.

My plan, and I realize that naming the plan dooms the plan, is to get on a weightlifting track through the rest of 2017. There should be 2-3 more meets on the calendar and I’d like to get close to 200kg with my total. I think I have room to grow to that number.

Q1 2017 Spotify Playlist!

Holy crow, it’s already June! Seems like a reasonable time to share my 1st Quarter Spotify playlist.

Per usual, it’s a big bucket of songs that I really enjoyed. Some are new, some are old, all of them treated me the right way.

Memorial Day broke my streak!

I had a killer TypeShift Daily Puzzle streak going, like 22 days, and then I lost track of it over the long weekend.

I guess it’s cool that I wasn’t buried in my phone over the holiday?

Still definitely recommend the game. It scratches the crossword puzzle itch just enough.

Stoker.

I hemmed and hawed and overshopped for months before spending a couple of bucks on a refurb Das Keyboard. It is a sturdy keyboard, no doubt, and I was really enjoying it. And then one night I splashed some beer into it while podcast recording. It appeared to kill a couple of the switches and gum up a couple of others. It was a bummer. I took the keyboard apart to clean what I could, but if didn’t make a difference. The non-responsive keys remained non-responsive, even after a couple of days of drying out.

I kept the keycaps I pulled and put the whole thing off to the side to try to figure something out.

The internet suggested that there was no way to bring it back. Any liquid that got to the switched would end up causing corrosion in the underlying board.

Today, after probably six months of looking at the loose keycaps and lamenting the loss, I plugged the old horse in to see if maybe it just needed to dry up completely. And now it works! The left Shift key is still a little sluggish, but I am more than capable of powering through that.

Now I need to unlearn all of the Windows-keyboard habits I had picked up. It’s a little weird having a proper Command key.

My classic rock project.

When I am driving with Michelle and listening to the radio it’s almost exclusively the classic rock station here in town. We’ll occasionally debate whether the song playing is “real” classic rock or not. It’s lead to some fun conversations. Since I hate commercials (as well as a handful of bands/songs that always seem to be in heavy rotation) I wanted to do an Andy-from-WKRP impression and program my own station. Besides songs that are obvious choices (i.e. any Zeppelin or AC/DC) I have pet songs that I love and others that I do not. I swear, if I could listen to the goddamn radio for 20 minutes without hearing Pink Floyd it would be a minor miracle.

I started a Classic Rock playlist on Spotify to solve my Classic Rock Radio problem. The list was good, but it wasn’t as long I wanted it to be so I started thinking and talking (and talking) about what makes a classic rock song “classic rock” in an effort to dig up more examples and to find songs I had forgotten.

I started with some firm rules about what I don’t want to hear:

In the current playlist version (101 songs, 7hr 21mins) there are a few common denominators:

  • songs need a guitar solo (“Gimme Three Steps“)
  • bands harmonizing in the chorus (“Juke Box Hero“)
  • My list seems to really be skewing Southern Rock, which makes sense since I grew up in Virginia. (“Black Water“)
  • I think I might have an anti-ballad bias.

One thing that kept coming up was the age of the song determining it’s “classic” credentials. I disagree because there are definitely modern (non-60’s/70’s) songs that I think qualify. “The Bucket” by Kings of Leon is what started this whole thing. Michelle and I were practically impressed that a song from the 21st century was such a great Classic Rock example.

Bands and songs that didn’t make the cut:

  • She’s A Beauty” by The Tubes.
    It’s got some of the classic features (guitar solo, band harmonizing in the chorus) but there is a lot of 80’s radio influence (synths, mid-tempo softness), too.
  • What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers.
    This one crosses over into Yacht Rock for me. I think it’s all of the Michael McDonald. There are some great pop songs in that vein, but I don’t know that they’re classic rock. I feel like there needs to be at least 2 degrees of separation from Toto.
  • Peg” by Steely Dan.
    It’s a great song and a terrific example of what I meant when I was wondering if my list was too Southern Rock influenced. Peg sounds almost like Disco. It does get major bonus points for being a 3 Feet High and Rising sample.
  • Rocket Queen” by Guns N’ Roses. Great song, but this is metal. (“Paradise City” is 100% classic rock, though, and is 100% in that playlist. Go figure.)
  • I don’t have any Metallica in there. I think everything before the Black Album is way more metal than classic rock so I don’t know that any of it fits.
  • I struggle with the Eagles, too. Don Henley is such a twat that it’s made it hard for me to enjoy them. “Life In the Fast Lane” and “Witchy Woman” are on the list. I like those songs more than I dislike Don Henley.

Funnily enough, after spending momths talking about it and weeks building the playlist, I had satisfied my appetite for Classic Rock so I didn’t spend much time listening to the playlist I built. It’s there for me when I want it now, which is really all I wanted in the first place.