Saturday, December 21, 2013

Year In Review 2013

     These past 12 months of music have been much better than in years past.  Some of the best albums I have heard from some artists - Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire - came out this year. So, compiling a list and narrowing it to just 20 albums was a difficult task this year.  I think my honorable mentions list will be a little more extensive.  This "Year In Review" list used to be titled the "Year In Rock" because most of what I used to listen to was categorized in that genre.  But as you can tell from this year list, you can probably see why I elected to change it from "rock" to "review".  There is just to much good music out there in a variety of different genres.  
     If you are new to this way of how I compile this list, I rank my top 20 albums of the past year and then create an iTunes playlist of what I consider the signature song from that album.  Or rather, the song that I related and loved the most.  In some cases - Kanye West for example - I've had to find a clean version of the song so that if you are interested in listening to the mix, you'll have a clean version of the song.  Although I'm not in favor of censorship in music, movies and art, I know others don't share that same sentiment, so I do my best to make sure I'm giving you a clean playlist.
     There was a lot that happened to me and my family this year, with the biggest thing being the birth of my daughter Jane.  If you've had children you know each one is life changing, and she was no different.  I find that when you have life changing events, regardless of what it is, the music you listen to during that time becomes part of the soundtrack to your life, and has a much bigger impact on your life than it would if you weren't going through a large event in your life.  I've found over the years, that even if those life changing events are good or bad, you'll never forget the time in your life when you first heard that song or album.  And even if you don't listen to again for many years, it can instantly take you back.  With that said, this is the music that defined the year 2013 for me, with all of it's ups and downs.  This was the best year of my life, just as I'm sure next year will be the best year of my life.
     Here are my picks for the top 20 albums of 2013:
  1. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of The City
  2. Arcade Fire - Reflektor 
  3. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
  4. Arctic Monkeys - AM
  5. Grouplove -Spreading Rumours
  6. Disclosure -  Settle
  7. Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
  8. *Kodaline - In A Perfect World
  9. Kanye West - Yeezus
  10. Volcano Choir - Repave
  11. Phoenix - Bankrupt!
  12. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
  13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito
  14. Lorde - Pure Heroine
  15. The Neighbourhood - I Love You
  16. Atoms for Peace - AMOK
  17. The Strokes - Comedown Machine
  18. The Head And The Heart - Let's Be Still
  19. Biffy Clyro - Opposites
  20. Local Natives - Hummingbird
* - Best New Artist

Honorable Mentions
Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
!!! - Thriller
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Atlas Genius - When It Was Now
Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience (1&2)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Will's expressions of love

Our oldest child will be 3 years old this week.  He's at the age where he's coming up with his own thoughts, stories and just hilarious sayings.  He tells us stories about his day that include things that actually happened and then things that happened in his imagination.  It's pretty funny once you get him going.  He also has interesting ways of showing that he loves us.  Sometimes, his simple expressions of love will come while we are just sitting on the couch and he'll ask if we will hold his hand, or put our hand on his tummy.  

This morning, after I had been up with our 6 month old for 2 hours trying to get her back to sleep, I finally got back into bed.  I had only been there for just a minute when around 5:45am Will came upstairs from his room to our bed with me.  By then, my wife had been at work for a couple of hours, so I didn't mind him coming into bed with me.  We laid there, and I asked him if we could sleep a little longer.  He said yes, but asked if I would hold his hand.  I have to admit, it was very cute, and when I pulled my hand away for a second to scratch my face, he ordered my hand back. 

Eventually, he fell back asleep, changed positions and ended up with his bum in my face. 

Then he farted.

Yes, these are Will's expressions of love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A new direction

Lately there seems to be a trend of blogs getting a lot of "viral" attention these days.  Mainly these blogs are written by women, listing reasons motherhood is hard yet rewarding, or how to be better in their marital relationships.  Trust me, I've read them all.  They have amazing advice, and there is very good insight into many different subjects of life.  I'm not entirely sure why I'm drawn to reading these blogs - perhaps it's the fact that I'm a sucker for lists of any kind - but I end up reading a lot of them.  And while I am reading all of these blogs, there is something that has really stuck out to me.

Women are writing the majority of these blogs on parenting and marriage but men aren't.

I'm sure there are good reasons for this.  I know there are men who write blogs on parenting and some on marriage.  They exist.  They just aren't getting much exposure. 

As I was reading another viral blog today on parenting, titled "15 Things Experienced Moms Really Want To Say To New Moms" I thought to myself, "Where is a dude's perspective on something like this?" (I really said that out loud to myself.) I immediately took to Twitter and said I was going to start a similar blog from a male's side of parenting.  

I'm not looking to be some big time blogger.  I'm not looking to go "viral".  I'm not professing to be the world's best father or husband by any means.  I'm even having an internal struggle even typing the thoughts in my head about parenting and marriage in a blog form.

I just think there are thoughts, ideas, and advice that could come in handy from a male perspective, and as I searched around the internet for advice on a sick 6 month old these past 2 weeks, I found the only places that I was reading information from was from moms.  Believe me, as a married husband who turns into a single father after 7:30pm every night (that story coming in a future post) I rely heavily on those blogs and advice from other moms out there.  Their advice is golden and it's helped me immensely.  That being said, I do know that I'm not the only guy out there looking for advice on parenting from another guy.  

So my purpose in this post today is to say, I'm going to give it a shot.  I'm going to write about being a "hands on" dad and a good husband. As I get more into this, I'm going to try to have better content and interesting stories on my attempt at parenting and trying my best to be a good and supportive husband to my wife.  

Here we go.