If my class made a Mix Tape

For the last day of class, I had my class complete a survey to find out what they liked and did not like about class, what advice they'd give the next class, and some random questions that had nothing to do with work. (If you were a Star Wars character, which one would you be?)

One of the other random questions asked for their theme song. Those songs would make an interesting mix tape. So if I did turn their theme songs into a mix tape, here is the track listing.

1. 99 Red Balloons - Goldfinger
2. Steve Taylor - Meltdown (at Madame Tussuad's)
3. Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man
4. Gwen Stefani - Crash
5. White Snake - Here I Go Again
6. Lily Allen - Smile
7. Guns & Roses - November Rain
8. Al Green - Lean On Me
9. MC Hammer - Can't Touch This
10. Norman Martin - The Song that Never Ends
11. John Lennon - Imagine
12. Gary Portnoy - Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Cheers Theme)


nic's dictionary

Rustic (adj) a fancy way of describing something that is dilapidated.


Eighth random fact - for good measure

I don't consider High Fidelity to be a great movie. Mildly entertaining? Yes, but only if you're a fan of obscure music and off-beat humor; that I am.

I can relate to John Cusack's character, Rob Gordon. Not because I am a compulsive list maker but because I am music obsessive. And like Gordon, I compulsively reorganize my music collection on a fairly regular basis.

Currently, I am trying to sort my collection by mood, but I have used many different methods of sorting. So here is random fact number eight: a short (incomplete) list of ways I have previously sorted my music collection.

1. Alphabetized by artist: I'm sure this is one of the most common ways that normal people use to organize their CD/record collection
2. Sorted by genre, then alphabetized by artist: Again, also common, although I have occasionally let my anal-retentive tendencies take over and once sorted by genre - then sub-genre
3. Alphabetized by album title: I do not know what ever possessed me
4. Sorted by relevance to my life: Also used by Gordon in High Fidelity
5. Sorted by quantity: I sort artists with multiple albums in my collection first, if I only own an album or two from a particular artist, they are sorted last. Therefore: Pearl Jam comes before Harvey Danger, The Clash comes before Simon & Garfunkel, etc.
6. Sorted in chronological order of release date: Newest albums first, oldest albums last
7. Sorted in color order: White, pink, red, maroon, brown, orange, etc... ending with gray and black; this was done mostly for aesthetic purposes
8. Sorted by listening patterns: any time I listened to a CD, I would pull it from its location and sort it and the end
9. Sorted by running time: Longer albums first, then gradually getting shorter in length, finally EPs, then singles. Tool's Lateralus is sorted before Fountains of Wayne's self-titled debut, which is sorted before Starflyer 59's She's the Queen EP.

I could go on, but I fear my psychosis is contagious. However, if you have sorted your music collection in a creative manner that is not listed here, please let me know in the comments section; I might be interested in trying it.


Of memes and being tagged.

I've been tagged. Not in the elementary playground sense of the word "tag" but in the meme sense. A meme (rhymes with team) is a passing of cultural information, practice, or idea through rote from one person to another. Kind of like a chain letter - but less annoying. Memes are a cousin to the bulletins on myspace, but unlike the myspace bulletins, memes are individually assigned and do not end with the phrase "re-post this with in the next five minutes or else..."

For the most part I ignore those silly myspace surveys. Most of them were obviously invented by some one not yet old enough to have a myspace account. And I've made it a policy to never re-post the ones I do read.

I've never done a meme on this blog, but there is a first for everything, right? And I was tagged. Not just tagged by some random person, but by Sam the Reporter, a U of I journalism grad and seemingly cool guy. So I thought I'd participate.

Here's the "rules" of this meme: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules.

1. I believe that everybody has some obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I have many. One of mine has to do with public restrooms. Like a good citizen, I always wash my hands when I use a public restroom. There is nothing OCD about that. However, once I have washed my hands, I can not exit the public restroom until my hands are completely dry. The strange part about this obsessive compulsion: I do not have the same tendency at home. I have no problem leaving my bathroom at home with washed yet un-dried hands.

2. I all ready know which two songs that I would like played (or performed) at my funeral: Steve Taylor’s “The Finish Line” and Pep Squad’s “On That Day.” In case you are wondering, I am not planning on having my funeral anytime soon. I am only planning ahead – hopefully WAY ahead.

3. I can go for days listening to nothing but hip-hop. That wasn’t always the case. In 1992, I was a junior-high student living in the suburbs of Seattle; naturally, I was into grunge. Many of my friends considered it blasphemy to not be a fan of Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. As a grunge-baby, I despised rap music – a trend that was shared with my father who also hated rap. Yet, the older I get, the more I relate to hip-hop. There is something about the prose, the beat, and the awkward lyrical disparity between self-conscious vulnerability and self-confident swagger that resonates with in me. Ten years ago, I did not own any rap music; hip-hop now dominates of at least 50% of my music collection.

4. While my wife was pregnant, I gained as much weight as she did. She has since lost that weight. I have not.

5. I used to be a DJ; I provided entertainment for wedding receptions, company parties, school dances and whatever other type of gig my boss would send me to. Interestingly, high-school dances were my favorite gigs. One of my least favorite gigs was a wedding reception in golf course club house with no air conditioning… temperatures and humidity both in the high 90’s. I also DJ’d for a reception during a severe storm. While the bride and groom were cutting the cake, I was outside watching a tornado touch down remarkably close to the reception hall.

6. I don’t have any piercings – not because I am opposed to them – I just don’t like needles. I had a bad experience. This strong aversion to needles has prevented me from getting my ears pierced, but it did not prevent me from getting a tattoo.

7. Many of the things I enjoy most are things that I did not enjoy in my youth. To begin, there is my previously mentioned love for hip-hop music. When I was in high school, I hated writing and avoided it at all costs. Now, I am constantly writing. Writing is one of my passions – be it my blogs, my slow coming novel, letters and essays, and my work for school. I would have never pictured myself teaching classes, or at least enjoying teaching. Now that I am teaching, I enjoy it beyond anything I ever imagined doing. And numbers. Math was not my strongest subject when I was in high school – still isn’t my strongest subject. That lack of math skills prohibited me from pursuing a career as an architect, by my analytical personality has driven a fascination with numbers. I enjoy creating spreadsheets. I like details, statistics, metrics, trending, etc. I like all of the reporting aspects of the corporate world that no one else wants to do, but needs to get done.


Chuck Norris has counted to infinity... Twice

Bekah and I don't get out much. Not to say we don't want to or try to get out more, socialization is a rare commodity in the Casey household. After all, we are both full time college students, full time parents, volunteer youth workers, and we both have full time jobs. If you do the math (or filter everything through an Outlook calendar) there is not much availability for romantic dates... or free time... or adult conversation.

Sure, we find time to laugh at each other, or be goofy together. We generally read the same books at the same time. And, we always make time to watch 24 together (DVRs are the greatest invention ever). Yet, those intimate "date" type experiences are fleeting, despite our greatest efforts.

All hope is not lost, however. We have found a new way to connect; to some extent you could probably call it a date. One thing is for sure - what ever you call it - it is cheaper and less time consuming than Spiderman 3. We cuddle up and turn on ABC Family during late nights; generally, ABC Family is not the channel I'd choose for romantic programming - but bear with me - we discovered this by accident. ABC Family plays back to back episodes of the awesomest TV show ever aired... Walker, Texas Ranger.

OK, so the show isn't really awesome, but Chuck Norris would hunt me like a drug smuggling criminal if I said the show sucked. And we don't watch Walker in the traditional sense, like we would Jericho. No, Bekah and I sit back and watch Walker MST3K style.

Really, this is quite fun; you should try it sometime. The bad acting, stereotypes, countless roundhouse kicks to the face, and jumping from helicopters found in each episode contains fuel for countless witty (sarcastic) peanut gallery responses - not to mention the abundant wealth of Chuck Norris jokes*. We remember how this show was the coolest show back in 1995. My how things change. It's funny how we never quite realized how cheesy the show was until now, ten-fifteen years after the fact.

Quality time, that's all it really is. If you don't believe me, ask Chuck Norris; he is all about quality time... and roundhouse kicks to the face.

*Warning: not all Chuck Norris jokes are workplace appropriate, but most Chuck Norris jokes are hilarious - depending on your definition of hilarious. Author of this post is not responsible for your lack of humor if you do not find any Chuck Norris facts to be funny.


Spring Reading

I'm such a slacker.

Since the new year, I've Read through: Christopher Paolini's Eragon, Ted Dekker's Thr3e, Dean Koontz's Brother Odd, Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness, and I just started Piercing the Darkness - also by Peretti.

That gives me an average of one book a month; a wee bit slower than I prefer, especially considering the light content of the books I'm reading.

So, what's next? I'm needing something something a little mentally challenging (not to undermine the quality of Koontz and Peretti's writing - they are two of my favorite authors and biggest literary influences).

I'm debating three options: The complete works of Josephus, Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, or Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven.

Hmm, what to read?...