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Runnaaang!

I'm signing up for a 10K this January in St. Paul, which means that I will run the longest run I've ever run in one of the coldest places on earth during the coldest time of year in that place, and honestly I'm really excited about this.  To me, running has become more than just a way to blow off steam at the end of the day...it's turning into something I can really challenge myself with and really push myself to become better.  I always feel like I have the drive to get in shape for a long run or the capacity to run it harder than most.  The thing is, through all of high school, the only sport I ever participated in was golf, and I really didn't care much for golf so I hardly ever went to practice and eventually got kicked off the team because of it.  Which means that I was kicked out of the most physically unstrenuous sport in all of high school.  lol.

And it's not like I have no athletic ability; I've just never really put it to the test.  And I really, really want to put it to the test and find out what my limits are.  And at the age of 27, there isn't much more time before my body will have a harder and harder time with this sort of thing, so I want to get as much out of it now as I can.

My goal in 2012 is to finish a 5K in under 20 minutes.  Today I can run a 5K in 23:45, which I was able to do after being in pretty poor running shape, having run like 1 or 2 times a week before I timed that.  But this is probably one of those deals where it's easy to hit 23 minutes, harder to hit 22, even harder to make it to 21, and I better be in damn good shape to hit 20.  But I love the thought of aiming for something that I am kind of skeptical of my ability to achieve because if I actually manage to do it, it will feel awesome.  Right now I'm bigger on running fast rather than running far, partly because I like my free time at the end of the day, and training for long distance runs is a huge time sink.  And it really doesn't take more than 3 miles a day to get most of the physical benefits of exercise.

There is another reason I'm getting into running, but I don't have time to talk about that now.  More on that later...

More like DEADjournal amirite!? LOLOLOLOL

Wow.  Wow!  This is only the 2nd time all YEAR I have written in livejournal.  Whoaoaoaoaooaoaoaaa!  Seriously if any of you even notice that I updated this, then mad props to you.  Actually this might even still carry over to facebook, so it won't really be that hard for you to read it.  Honestly that is probably one of the biggest things that killed this livejournal was tying it to facebook.  Nothing against people on facebook, but it feels weird writing my usual nonsense for a much wider audience.

It's hard for me to believe that I have had this journal for such a long time.  Seriously this journal is almost TEN YEARS OLD now!  Let's see what my stats are here...1,552 journal entries in my 10 year livejournaling career!  I remember at one point after like 3 or 4 years, I had been updating this so regularly that I was averaging a new post every 1.5 days.  I used to update this all the time.  Let's see what else is going on in my profile here...oh nice, I have some quote from a 90s Rush song, aren't I cool.  And my interests include hating popsicles (AND I STILL HATE POPSICLES), being liberal, and hating the Packers lol.  I don't think that's changed much.  Wow I even just put Shawshank Redemption on that list too?  It is a good movie.

As far as people following my journal, there's someone named boothchick and I have no idea who she is.  Her last journal entry was from almost 2 years ago where she says, quite simply, "I'm an idiot".  She also apparently went on dates with 3 different guys in the same week.  Apparently getting a guy is not a problem for her.  I wonder who the F she is.

I really have nothing to say, yet I keep writing.  I feel like I have about 11 months worth of things to say before I am truly caught up.  Why don't I update this anymore?  Honestly a lot of updates were from times of boredom, either when I had nothing to do at my internship or during college days when I could procrastinate on my homework and update this instead.  Most of the time, I was just being random and silly, but at times this was a good outlet for talking about things on my mind, and I can think of a number of times when it helped to just write about stuff I was dealing with.  There are also many, many private entries in this journal which can only be read by me...there are probably about 50 of those that I've written over the years.  And no I'm never showing them to you, sorry :) but honestly there is a lot to be gained by simply writing out and really trying to define what was going on in my head.  It's true that I am older now and not going through all the tumultuous craziness of my school days, but there's still plenty of stuff going on in my life that it still helps to write in here.  Because to be honest, this is actually my 4th entry this year, not the 2nd, MWAHAHAHA!

I'll give you one reason why livejournal is still cool, and that's that George R.R. Martin uses it.  Yes, the GRRM who wrote Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire series which is by the way probably the greatest book series I have ever read in my entire life ever.  Way to keep livejournal cool, GRRM.

I often think about retiring this thing, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Even though I've barely used this at all this year, it was such a huge part of my life for a long time that I really don't want to end this.  Livejournal was pretty far behind in being able to embed media, but maybe it's better now, I dunno.  Plus nobody reads this anymore lol, and I bet I'm just writing all of this to myself anyway.  But seriously, if you still read this, give me a holla on this here livejournal and give me some motivation to keep writing!

My favorite albums of 2010

So after laying down my favorite songs from the previous year, it's time to list my favorite albums.  I didn't listen to enough stuff to make a really solid Top 10 list, so I am keeping this to a Top 5 list instead.  I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed all 5 of these albums and definitely consider them to have the best music I heard this year, moreso than the other albums I came across.  So here we go...

5) Ratatat - LP4



No, this is not a concept album about birds.  I only knew one song by Ratatat until this year when I decided I liked that song enough to figure out what Ratatat is all about.  And I've found that as Ratatat continues to make new albums, they add more and more complexity to their music while still staying true to their genuine sound.  Many of the tracks on this album are absurdly danceable, and much of it is incredibly entertaining.  "Drugs", "Grape Juice City", and of course "Mandy" are all wonderful tracks that demand listening.  And on top of that, the album translates into an awesome live show, undoubtedly the best live show I saw in 2010.  I'm happy that I know Ratatat now and I hope they stick around for a long while.


4) Arcade Fire - The Suburbs



When I first started working at my current job, one of the engineers there at the time was always listening to Arcade Fire at his desk, a band I knew nothing about until I met him.  I remember him asking what I listened to, and when I told him Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros he actually hugged me, which kinda sorta freaked me out at the time, but I realized that some of us have such weird taste in music that it's really awesome to find someone else that listens to the same stuff.  So anyway, he introduced me to this band, and I became a fan.  Arcade Fire's latest effort "The Suburbs" is filled with a lot of songs about growing up in, well, the suburbs, and how people's dreams and ambitions don't really fit in with the structure and orderliness of American suburbia.  But on top of that, there's just a lot of really good music on here, from the deceivingly optimistic "City With No Children" to the ethereal "Half Light II", a song that ALMOST made it to my top 10 list.  The "Month of May" / "Wasted Hours" combo is also a fun listen, from fast-paced rock to the slowed-down, contemplative track.  Arcade Fire is good at a number of things, and they all come out in this outstanding album.


3) LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening



When this album first came out, I said it was the best album of 2010.  Obviously I no longer think that is the case, but that's not to say I don't really enjoy this superb album.  LCD Soundsystem's previous release "Sound of Silver" was so good that I didn't think they could ever live up to it, but they've managed to find even more room to grow into with this next album by taking a lot of their characteristics to another level.  They are good at being silly and absurd, which mostly comes through in "Drunk Girls" and "Pow Pow" (the latter of which is one of their most fun songs), but they also show a more serious understanding of life experiences with songs like "I Can Change" and "Home", my favorite song of the year.  If you're like me and think that if a song is good, it should last longer than 4 minutes, then LCD Soundsystem is a good fit.  They are good at taking as much time and space as they need to create the song that they want, and by no means are they more boring as a result of being longer tracks.  The songs feel like complete experiences, like nothing was left on the table and no interesting tidbit went unexplored.  Superb album.


2) Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy



(Sorry for the NSFW image)  Yes, Kanye West is a jerk and is pretty egotistical, and yes, it is probably weird that I, of all people, really like a rap album.  But the fact that I DO like a rap album is why I give such high regards to this album because I usually don't get into this sort of thing at all.  The two big hits from this album, "Power" and "Runaway", are very well-deserving of their popularity, but it's other songs like "Monster" and "Blame Game" that make the album as a whole pretty spectacular.  What I really respect is the fact that Kanye West managed to turn a lot of inner turmoil into something like this rather than something much darker and worse.  That's not to say there is no darkness in this album, obviously, but he turns it into something relate-able and healthy than what people with personal problems could potentially do.  But yes, an album with the power of making me love a genre I have pretty much ignored until now is definitely worthy of praise.


1) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today



If you know what kind of music I listen to and you listened to this album, you would probably know why I love this album so much.  This is an album from 2010?  It could just as easily have been from 1970, and I am a HUGE classic rock fan.  But at the same time, it still wouldn't feel like it fit there, and really it doesn't fit into any particular time period or any genre.  It is its own totally unique and incredibly infectious sound.  "Round and Round" is probably the highlight of the album, but it's hard for me to pick a song from this album that I DON'T like.  When I first listened to it, I think I immediately played the whole thing start to finish again, and again, and again, all night.  And I still feel like I have a lot to learn from this album...I am someone who listens to the music first and only later goes back and figures out what the actual lyrics are and what they're saying.  These guys have been around the block, and they definitely aren't believers in making their message really obvious and lame.  Like LCD Soundsystem, they are at times quirky and funny, but that's not to say that they're just goofballs with nothing important to say.  I have no reservations about calling this my favorite album of the year, and even though I've listened to it once already today, I think I'm going to go back for round 2 right about now.

My favorite songs of 2010

I am careful to call these "my favorite" songs of 2010 rather than "the best" songs of 2010. By no means have I listened to all of the music that was created this year, and I'm definitely not enough of a music expert to be able to definitively say that one song is superior to all others. And in this list, I know that a lot of the songs I have here are ones that have some sort of personal meaning to me, and I don't expect everyone else to feel the same way necessarily. I mean honestly, music is such a broad and encompassing thing with so many different genres that you can never really say which music is "the best".

That being said, this list is all about the "I really liked this and I think you would too". And especially if you've never heard of any of the artists I'm about to mention, you should definitely check them out, if only to get a sense of the kinds of stuff I like. But also because they're really good songs :)

Another quick note...I would post direct youtube video links to these songs, but livejournal is very fail at this sort of thing. So just click on the link if you're curious instead, if there is one. Not everything I picked here has links, unfortunately, but oh well.

So here we go!

10) "We Got the System to Fight the System" by Maserati
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjmSLQeD2mc

If there is a better song to run to this year, I'd love to know what it is. Maserati is a band I got to know a little better this year, and what I know about them is that they put a ton of energy into their music through fast tempos and complicated guitar riffs. This song is no exception, and I want to listen to it every time I go for a jog.

9) "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KkUeRPjc-Y

In the "youtube views" department, we just went from about two thousand to about three million. And if you ever passed by The Current when you were dialing through your radio, you likely heard this song...honestly, the reason this song appeals to me so much is because of my realization that adulthood is by no means easy. We work our whole lives to get here, and for some reason it ends up being a much bigger trial than everything else up to this point. And this song is a welcome reminder that it is our own personal strength and perseverance that allows us to not only cope with that difficulty, but also to really live happy lives as a result of it.

8) "How Can I Make You Remember Me" by Hammock

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX7kdbWehcU

Enough of words and analysis and all that junk. The most popular song from Hammock's new album is "Breathturn", and while that is certainly a good song, none of the songs on this album capture transcendence like this song does. I don't even feel like I'm on planet earth when I listen to this. With all of the imagery that this song brings into my mind, I feel like it says a lot more than most music with several chunks of lyrics.

7) "Suffocation" by Crystal Castles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugw3ARV4X9g

I heart crystal castles, and this is definitely a standout from their newest album in my opinion. I know that the vocalist of Crystal Castles loves to scream all the time and basically be a total psycho, so it's nice to hear her actual voice for a change. This is one of a few songs on my list that it should be illegal to not dance to.

6) "Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains)" by Arcade Fire
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH_7_XRfTMs

Arcade Fire doesn't sound like their first album as much these days, but I have grown to really enjoy what they have turned into. For one thing I just really enjoy the music in this song, but I love what it is about too...a girl is simply living out and expressing herself as she pleases, and the advancement of modern society is trying to snuff that out to her displeasure. It's an especially good reminder for an engineer like myself that technology is not really the answer to EVERYTHING...there doesn't need to be an "app" for every single need we have. If we aren't allowed to express what we want to express in this world, then what are we doing? Anyway, enough philosophy...just listen to the darn song if you haven't already.

5) "Round and Round" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhwKup1AKd4

I think what I like most about Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (in addition to their really crazy band name) is that if I didn't know this song came from 2010, I honestly couldn't tell you what year, or even what decade, it came from. This band pulls a lot of various components of music genres together, and they do it masterfully in this song. Very chill and very addictive...it also wins the "best chorus of the year" award by FAR.

4) "Love Cry" by Four Tet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No98yKnjDaw

Oh yeah, time for a 9 minute song, baby. And part of the reason why this is here is because I never really realized that it WAS 9 minutes long. It is such an addicting listen that I lose track of a number of things when I'm listening to it. Four Tet is an incredibly creative group (or maybe just one person? I don't really know for sure), and Four Tet's ability to pull in so many different sounds into an amazing song is why it's up here on the list.

3) "Fixed" by Stars
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTgjVgzpohE

I still remember the first time I heard this song. I was painting the wall in my living room listening to the radio, and the woman on the radio was all "hey, here's the new song from Stars!" and I was all "whoa I wonder who Stars is cuz I ain't like ever listened to them befo' " and then this song came on and I was like "whoooaaa omg this song ruulezz!" This is all 100% true and there is documented evidence of it.* But this song packs a serious punch and a lot of energy, and I wonder why songs like these don't become as popular as a lot of the other junk on the radio. Stars definitely grabbed my attention this year, all because of this amazing song.

*I may be lying. Maybe.

2) "Mandy" by Ratatat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecHfCKvPbBs
Yes. YES. YESSSSSSSS! I can't tell you how much I love listening to this song. I don't even really know what to write about it, other than the fact that I just think this song is super awesome and you have to listen to it RIGHT NOW. The only reason it isn't my #1 song is because I can't exactly put a finger on some deep or influential meaning. But I will say that Ratatat was hands-down my favorite concert that I saw this year, partly because of their awesome music but also because I got to see a lot of friends I don't get to see as often these days. But that show definitely cemented my love for Ratatat, and for this song, which they did play at the concert, and YES IT WAS AWESOME AND I DANCED MY BUTT OFF. I've actually been trying to make this song my phone ringtone for a while now and haven't found an app that can do it yet. BUT I WILL GOSH DARN IT.

In fact, I love this song so much that I actually skipped ahead to write about it because I was so excited to write about it. And then I didn't even have anything all that important to say about it, lol. Whatevs.

And seriously, coming from a guy who barely does any dancing at all, I want to pass a law in MN state legislature that makes it illegal for any Minnesotan to stay still when this song is playing.

1) "Home" by LCD Soundsystem
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5gQidrzojU

I didn't watch this video, but I see that there's a robot in it, and that just assures me that this is absolutely my favorite song of the year. I already have a tremendous amount of respect for LCD Soundsystem because their last album, Sound of Silver, is, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the last decade. Their new album is very good also, very danceable, somewhat off-the-wall crazy, and at times more thoughtful. This is probably the most thoughtful song on the album, and it is my favorite for personal reasons. Don't worry, I'm not saying "hey man, it's personal" as if to say that it's none of your business why I like that song. That would just be silly!

So let me explain why I like this song so much. First of all, the music is just really fantastic, and I cannot help but sing along with the "aaah AAAAAHHH"s in the middle and the end of the song. Second, the final lyrics of this song always get to me, which are as follows:

"If you're afraid of what you need
If you're afraid of what you need
Look around you, you're surrounded
It won't get any better
Until the night"

So what does this mean, exactly? I think that at some level, whether we realize it or not, we all have things in our life that we should accomplish but simply do not have the skill or experience to accomplish them. So we let them sit, and linger, and linger...and this line is a reminder that not only does this strategy get you nowhere, but you're also surrounded by people experiencing the same thing. So what does the "until the night" part mean? I have always enjoyed the night and always think of it as a time of new opportunity...the day itself may have been wasted out of apathy or laziness or whatever, but the night is like that "second chance" of the day, the next chance to make this day memorable somehow. And if you look at the rest of the lyrics of this song, you'll see that a lot of it is about forgetting all the dumb crap we have put up with in the past and just moving on in an effort to truly enjoy life. It's a wonderful message that I feel every time I listen to this song, and because of that, I am calling it my favorite song of 2010.

So there you have it. Let me know what you think of my list, whether you've actually heard any of these songs, whether you hadn't heard any and decided to listen to a few and what you thought of them, or whether you're just bored and want to leave ol' Dan Waller a note about anything or nothing in particular

18

That is now the number of times I have posted this year. Man, I know that in previous years, it has probably been up towards 200 or 300 a year, maybe more. There were periods when I posted every single day without interruption for a good month or so...I don't really know who still reads this anymore, other than folks on facebook. If anything, blogging has become even MORE prevalent than when I started this journal back in 2002, so maybe this is getting swept into the giant sea of the trillion opinions being expressed by bloggers around the globe.

Whatever man, I'm never quitting livejournal. I have put way too much into this journal for me to ever want to leave it alone...it's crazy to me that in not too long, it will have been active for a decade! Ah how things have changed. And how they haven't. lol

I used to use this as my collection point for all my random thoughts about everything, and now those all go into facebook status updates or gchat statuses. But I've been realizing how much I miss writing...I do really like to write. I always have. Really, being able to write in here since I was in high school has turned me into a better writer, and believe it or not, being a good writer actually helps you in life. I don't think a lot of people really realize that. What if you used a bad apostrophe on your resume? People notice. When people focus more on simple mistakes than the actual content of what you are writing, that's not a good thing!

Anyway, I didn't mean to turn from talking about writing to chastising people for sucking at it. Then again, there is a backspace bar available to me, but I'm totally not going to use it! Nope! Take that, writing!

Right now it is snowing like a mofo. The Gopher Basketball game that I was supposed to go to at noon is probably going to be watched from my couch instead. It's funny, my parents are in town to see a symphony at the Minnesota Orchestra for my Mom's birthday, and now it will probably end up that we watch movies at my place all day. Thank God for Netflix instant streaming is all I have to say.

Also, I really do want to keep writing in here because like I said, I do really like to write, no matter what it is about. One thing I am doing for sure is giving Top 10 lists of my favorite albums and favorite songs of the last year. I actually kind of somewhat managed to keep up with new music this year moreso than in previous years, but I try to follow a rule of paying for all the music I get so I don't have like bazillions of hours of music to choose from. But there is a lot of music from 2010 that I REALLY like. I think I know what my album of the year will be, as well as my song of the year.

I may continue the "food fight" series as well....
Did anyone else witness that painful game at the end of January where the Vikings, for all intents and purposes, defeated the Saints but also defeated themselves? I thought that the 1998 season where Gary Anderson missed that field goal kick to make it to the Super Bowl was the most painful sports moment I ever experienced, but then I watched this NFC Championship game last January. Only time will tell which is worse, but seriously, the Vikings were amazing last season. I couldn't believe some of the games they won, whether it was Brett's miraculous TD throw to Greg Lewis to beat the 49ers or a number of other games too. Last season was some of the most fun I have ever had watching the Vikings, and I really, really hope they can repeat that this season.

I like the Twins, sure. I kinda sorta follow hockey sometimes. Basketball is kind of interesting, I guess. But there's something about football that I absolutely love....I don't, and have never, played it myself, obviously. 150 pound dudes are, for whatever reason, not really the types of people who play football....but watching it and following it is something I absolutely love. I've even thought of watching my local town Minnetonka play some High School football games, just because I love watching the sport.

I never, ever thought I would become a fan of Brett Favre. I remember watching him in the preseason, and even in the first week or two of the season. When I cheered for him, I felt this dirty, disgusting feeling in my gut....I have hated this guy for such a long time! Brett Favre! The epitome of all that is evil and wrong! Like Lumberg! And as the season progressed and he did more and more awesome, I came to love the guy. And seriously, if a man is allowed to have a man-crush on another man, then I am totally man-crushing on Brett Favre. I can't tell you how happy I am that he's back this season, and I hope he beats the living snot out of the Saints tomorrow.

I'm not allowed to wear a non-collared shirt at work, so I can't wear just my Vikings jersey tomorrow (which, I might add, is a Sidney Rice jersey. Sucks that he's injured, but when he comes back, he's gonna pwn everyone's face). But, you know, I do need an undershirt, and I think I know just the thing.............
So I just bought myself this fancy new smart phone thingamabob, and I have to say that it's a pretty fun toy. I often forget that its main purpose is to be a phone...my friend Destry will tell you how confused I was when I was playing with the thing and then someone called me! Whaaaat, a phone call!? Now how am I supposed to use my vuvuzela app...

Anyway there is also a lightsaber app, which is pretty much the nerdiest app I can think of, but I still love it. It basically displays a lightsaber on your screen and makes that buzzing noise when you move it around anywhere.

So I was at Matt's wife's Elizabeth's birthday party (holy apostrophes batman) on Saturday night, and on our way home, I thought it would be funny to start blaring my air horn app at random people that we drove by on the sidewalk. At this point it was about 2 in the morning, so everyone is probably either pretty drunk and / or really tired, a good combination of things for an effective air-horning. And as a side note, something remarkable about this story is the fact that I was basically 100% sober...this wasn't influenced by anything other than my own stupidity. But anyway, I also realized that I could use my lightsaber app and yell "use the force!" at someone. So when we were just about back to Matt's place, we pulled up next to a guy on his bike on the side of the road, giving me the perfect opportunity to yell "use the force!"

And I did...the problem was that right after I yelled it, we came up to a stoplight and had no choice but to stop and wait there. So the guy pulled up to our car, and in an attempt to make this less awkward I asked him if a jedi has ever attacked him at 2 in the morning before. Surprisingly, this has never happened to him. Thankfully he thought the whole thing was hilarious and was also convinced that we were all totally drunk. Nope.

Brock Lesnar is so badass...

He even beats himself up!

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