Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 11 Records of 2011 REBOOT

Well film franchises are rebooting their titles left and right, so I thought I would "reboot" my top 11 records of 2011. I'm doing this for a couple reasons, the primary one being that, the more I actually thought about it, the more I did not agree with my last list. So here is the REAL top 11 of '11.

1. The Swellers - Good For Me

2. Empty Orchestra - One More Time, All Together Now

3. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie

4. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

5. The Black Keys - El Camino

6. Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers - On Being

7. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

8. Heartsounds - Drifter

9. Childish Gambino - Camp

10. The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing

11. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 11 Records of 2011

Forget Top 10 lists... insert a Spinal Tap quote here because we are taking it to eleven!!! Top 11 in '11, friends, deal with it!

1. The Swellers - Good For Me
2. Empty Orchestra - One More Time, All Together Now
3. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
4. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
5. Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers - On Being
6. Heartsounds - Drifter
7. The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
8. Seth MacFarlane - Music Is Better Than Words
9. Josiah Leming - Another Life
10. Into It. Over It. - Proper
11. Dayplayer - Dayplayer EP

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bands I'd Like to Hear More From In 2012

1. Trisorta: This is a band from Flint that are unbelievably good. Some of the best three piece rock music you will ever hear on any level, be it local, national, indie, or major. These guys know melody, they know passion, they're some of the best musicians I've ever seen. Unfortunately their music is little more than a back burner thing for them. They're all family men, working me, etc. They don't really have aspirations or pressure to get anything together beyond playing some shows here and there.

They DO however have a three song EP available for FREE (It's worth SOOOO much more) on their bandcamp so for the love of good music go to and download the hell out of it. Tell a friend to download it. Where it out in your speakers. I'm hopeful that they'll get a full length or at least more songs recorded in 2012 but not necearily optimistic. I'm not sure how active they are exactly. I know that Chris, their singer and guitarist, plays the occasional solo set around Flint. Maybe we could see some sort of EP out of that. Who knows. "Like" their Facebook page and write on their walls. Let them know you want more.

Likelihood: Slim to none

2. Allcoy: If you want to know more about this band then feel free to scroll down a bit and read the entire blog that I wrote about them. All that I can say is that after hearing the two new tunes they recorded with Nick Diener and their cover songs they released on Bandcamp I am psyched to hear another record or EP from these guys and it's likely that we'll get something from them. They're very savvy with keeping new material out there and they take their music seriously. In the mean time go get their full length "Loud Music For Quiet People" and their new two-song EP over on their Bandcamp page.

Likelihood: Almost certain

3. The Rival: The Rival are probably one of my single favorite bands coming up in mid-michigan right now. Everything about them is incredible. They're a group of amazing musicians who works incredibly together, play off each other's strengths, and really REALLY rock. I described them once as a "punk rock White Stripes on meth" and I stand by that description. Their sound is definitely a bit of an homage to the various music of Jack White but their spin on it is all their own. A live show that will leave the most jaded asshole screaming for more and an energy that I haven't seen in a band in a very long time.

All of that being said they have no merch and only word of mouth to spread their stuff. They've recorded a three song demo which you can download on their Facebook as well as a live in studio demo as well. I reccommend getting those and you can hear just a little bit of the pure energy and raw potential of what they can be. These guys NEED to get a proper EP or full length out! I'm practically salivating to hear ANYTHING from them.

Likelihood: Decent

4. The Patient Zeros: This one man band is the new project of Cj Kjolhede who formerly sang and wrote in Lansing folk rock band "Roll Over Radio". I haven't heard anything from him yet but anything he does is going to be great. Get in on it and show his facebook page some love.

Likelihood: Almost certain

Friday, November 4, 2011


So I'm sitting here, thinking about my own music. I'm wondering if it's worth it. All my effort, money, emotional equity, what have you has been focused on my project "Bluffing The Ghosts" lately. I wonder whether or not I should really be doing any of this. I've achieved every goal I've ever had in music. I've made a CD that I'm proud enough of to sell online... iTunes, Amazon, Bigcartel, Bandcamp, all of that. Just trying to make enough to finish my full length. Why? Who cares besides me? The stupid EP's I'm recording in my home studio. It all feels pointless. Maybe everyone gets burnt out on themselves sometimes, I don't know. I'm just sick of the sound of my own voice.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Grab Bag of Awesome

It's been forever since I've written anything on this blog. I've been focusing the majority of my free time on my latest musical project, Bluffing the Ghosts ( and the rest of my time has been dedicated to trying not to lose my mind raising my, newly independent and free spirited, 16 moth old.

This entry (that 3 to people TOPS with read) is going to be a grab bag of random this and thats. I hope that you enjoy.

1.) Michigan Music (of course): I've been trying to go to more local shows in the last few months. It's something I did as a kid in high school that was a big part of who I was and music is still a big part of me but getting to shows that don't have friends of mine playing them has sort of fallen to the wayside with adulthood. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, growing up is growing up, but I like seeing live local music and indie touring bands. I like supporting music in that way and it's fun and cathartic for me to be in that environment. I figure that despite being married and having a daughter, I'm still in my early 20's and I can still get out and have fun.

Consequently I've been to about a dozen different shows in the last couple of months and seen probably around 30 to 40 different bands of all different kinds. It feels good to be soaking up Michigan music in this way again, I have to say, and it's a BIG part of why I decided to kick a new project into gear and maybe get on some of these shows. I've made some friends with bands and other regulars around the shows and I almost never have a bad time.

There's nothing like drinking a couple of cheap beers and talking to the bands, shaking their hands, buying a CD from them and telling them you really loved their stuff and what they do. That's the beautiful thing about small scale music. There isn't a line between the artist and the fan. I know that it's been written about before but it's the truth. Being able to talk to the people you've watched play and tell them you liked what they do feels good and I've noticed that they usually feel good about it too. It always feels good to know someone likes and cares about what you're doing.

2.) Writing Songs and Recording: With the development of my new project I've been doing a lot of playing, singing, recording, and writing lately and a funny thing has been happening. I've been liking what I'm doing. I've always played because I love music and I love to write but I've never felt like I had any talent or anything to offer anyone but myself. The songs I'm recording now and the newer stuff I'm writing is turning out so well that I feel like there may actually be some people who like what I'm doing.

As a result when I record I'm taking my time, teaching myself slowly and tediously to take multiple takes, not settle for anything less that what I'm sure is my best vocal and guitar take, teaching myself to add additional instrumentation like electric guitar, percussion, and keyboard... I feel like I'm actually doing something that isn't (pardon the crass expression) completely "artistic masturbation".

I got into a studio with one of my personal musical idols, Nick Diener of my single favorite band of all time, The Swellers, and we recorded 4 different songs that I'm going to use for an EP. He's producing the songs as well as doing session work on them and adding additional instrumentation. I feel like this EP might turn out to be one of the finer things I've done artistically and I'm REALLY looking forward to releasing it to see how people react.

3.) Dieting: This is more of a personal triumph that no one will probably find of much interest but since this blog is meant to be sort of a catch all for my random thoughts, ideas, and articles, I thought that I would mention it briefly. I'm nearing the end of my 8th week of dieting and and at last check (I weigh in once per week so that check was at the end of week 7) I had lost almost 20 pounds (19.6 pound to be exact). I need to get healthy. I don't care about being skinny, I just don't want to die... and being able to fit into clothes widely available at stores would be really awesome too.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Michigan Band That You Should Know About

Note: This is going to be a long one so strap in. There will be nice big headers and relatively short bits for easy skimming along with some embedded YouTube videos and pretty pictures to keep your attention along the way.

Pure Michigan Music: My Perceptions

There are a lot of reasons to not be proud of Michigan... high unemployment, the top two
murder capitals of America, Ted Nugent, etc. But remember that despite how bad things are (and how terrible of a human being Ted Nugent is) there's quite a lot in the mitten to be proud of. Faygo is delicious, we have some beautiful landscapes, we produced Barry Gordy and Motown, Koegels, and one of what is, in my opinion, the most unique music scenes in the country.

Unlike states and cities with famous music scenes (New Jersey, Florida, Nashville, Washington D.C.) Michigan isn't really known for one genre (Florida has the punk rock and pop punk, New Jersey is one of the epicenters of emo, Nashville has country, and D.C. had the hardcore punk pioneers in the 1980's). Other than the "Motown sound" which was 50 years ago, we produce a wide range of artists. The White Stripes, The Swellers, Iggy Pop, Madona, Kid Rock, The Verve Pipe, Eminem, Chiodos, Andrew W.K. Some of the titans of the music industry have come from this state and you wouldn't put them on the same bill in a million years.

I'm sure that most music fans are proud of their regional music scene as every state has one and every independent scene is like a fingerprint. I believe that Michigan and states like us are lucky to not be pigeonholed as the origin of a particular type of music because it allows all kinds of different bands and artists to exist and co-habitate.


I've been a proud member of the Michigan scene for a long time now. Probably closing in on the 10 year mark at this point. Allcoy are a band that is made up of some top notch guys that have been here for longer than I have and I have followed them through various projects ever since.

One of the first times I ever wandered in to The Flint Local 432, I saw Allcoy singer/guitarist Josh Augustine playing in a band called "For The Best". At the risk of potentially offending Josh (whom I consider a great guy and a friend) I am going to have to admit that I didn't love For The Best's music. What drew me to them was the fact that there was a lot of love and passion in the way they played and performed. There was something in there that I knew was real.

Several years, recordings, and band names later Allcoy is what has risen from the ashes of several Michigan bands and the cream really does rise to the top. The line-up consists of three parts of former Michigan pop-punk band Radio Pirate DJ (that's actually not that many, considering RPDJ had somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred and forty members and line up changes). Guitarist Bryan Aldrich, drummer Drew Easton, and vocalist/guitarist Josh Augustine were all members of Radio Pirate DJ at one point or another. The line-up is rounded out with
Anthony Palsgrove on the bass.

The music that Allcoy makes can be described
quite easily; contemporary nostalgia grunge rock. I'm almost positive that I just made that up so I'm going to elaborate. Almost everything about Allcoy's sound screams "throwback" to me. They are a band who have somehow time traveled here from the 1990's.

On the surface the most prominent vibe you get from Allcoy's debut record "Loud Music For Quiet People" is one of angst filled grunge. This is impressive sonically but even more
impressive lyrically since, as veterans of independent music, it's surprising and refreshing that they can still manage convincing angst. Among the fresh grunge sound (yeah I said fresh grunge) is distinct echoes of the very beginnings of emo with tinges of The Promise Ring, Rites of Spring, and very early Get Up Kids.

The guitars are thick and distorted but with very clean leads and solos. The vocals are the strongest I've ever heard from Josh, ranging from soft verses to bellowing choruses. The bass is strong and distinct. The drumming is thunderous and spot on. Everything about Allcoy is a well oiled machine.

Above all the nostalgia, and any comparisons or genre labels, is an incredible fresh rock sound. Allcoy are a contemporary rock and roll band that jaded scene veterans and the new generation of teenagers going to shows can both agree to love.


Allcoy - Happy Ever After (Official Video)

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Day Song Challenge

A lot of my friends on FaceBook have been doing this 30 Day Song Challenge thing. I would like to do it too but frankly don't want to have another thing to remember every day for a month and I'm almost certain that none of my friends want one more person cluttering up their feed with YouTube links for a whole month. That's not to say I personally mind that my friends are doing it, I find it interesting, but some people might get annoyed by it and I try my best to care as much as possible about what other people think of me. This is a character flaw, but it's not one that seems to be going away anytime soon. All of that taken into account I decided to just do it all at once, here on my blog.

Day 01 - Your Favorite Song: I think that everyone who's done this has pretty much agreed that this question is next to impossible to answer. I too find it extremely different to narrow down a single favorite song. I'm going to go with this one because I like it quite a lot.

Frank Turner - I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous

Day 02 - Your Least Favorite Song: This is a lot easier since there isn't a whole lot of music that I dislike totally and completely.

The Insane Clown Posse - Miracles

(It is important to note that I insist on writing out their entire name and not abbreviate it because the stupidity of it needs to be driven home as often as possible.)

Day 03 - A Song That Makes You Happy: A lot of music and a lot of songs make me happy but lately this one's been doing it for a lot of different reasons. First off, it's important to note that I've been a fan of Hanson for a lot of years (they are literally my second favorite band of all time) and the fact that this song recently made it to number 1 on Vh-1's video countdown is awesome. They'll never have another hit as big as their first single but I'm glad that people are being reminded that they're still around and moreover the throwback motown sound, soulful groove, and insanely fun vibe are making a lot of people reconsider the unfounded hatred they felt toward them 14 years ago simply because their single over-saturated the market.

Hanson - Give A Little

Day 04 - A Song That Makes You Sad: A dead serious song by a joke rapper tucked in the middle of a record called "This Gigantic Robot Kills" could pontentially bring an album like that to a screeching hault... but it's just so sincere. Heartfelt lyrics about a real person, gorgeous chorus, beautiful melody, and a really sad story. It's a eulogy of sorts for a friend who committed suicide. It's a sad song about a sad event but it's still somehow hopeful. To me it's sort of like grief embodied in a song: sadness, anger, regret, and a glimmer of hope in the end.

MC Lars - Twenty-Three

Day 05 - A Song That Reminds You of Someone: I thought about this one for a bit. There are a few potential answers but everything I thought of besides this one was either WAY too corny, despite being true, or by Hanson and I don't want to start repeating myself this early in the list. This song reminds me of my good friend Zach Irwin and if you know him, you probably know why.

Ani Difranco - Not A Pretty Girl

Day 06 - A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere: I saw this band years ago at The Flint Local 432. Ever since then this song has reminded me of that night and that place more than any other. I'm not sure why this song chose to become the soundtrack to my memories of the Local more than any of the other hundreds of groups I saw there. They're not even from Michigan, heh.

Scout - All I Want is You

Day 07 - A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event: Loren walked down the isle to this at our wedding. A friend of Jaren's that had spent the night before sat on the deck and made sure the CD player (which only sometimes worked) didn't decide to stop it's self.

Yanni - In the Morning Light

Day 08 - A Song That You Know All the Words To: Well this could apply to any song by The Swellers and most by Hanson but I'll throw a curve ball.

P.O.D - The Youth of the Nation

Day 09 - A Song That You Can Dance To: I can't dance at all but I like to try to dance to this song. Classic powerpop and the single least offensive pop vocalist to ever exist had a love child to make this band and song.

Parachute - She (For Liz)

Day 10 - A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep: Even playing and singing this song makes me tired. That seems like an insult or like I'm saying it's boring... I prefer to think of it as relaxing as opposed to boring.

Bright Eyes - Lua

Day 11 - A Song From Your Favorite Band: Not my absolute favorite song from them but it has a cool video.

The Swellers - Fire Away

Day 12 - A Song From a Band You Hate: I already used The Insane Clown Posse so I'll go with another one here. Like I said previously, I don't hate much music so it's a small pool to draw from.

Creed - With Arms Wide Open

(Please note that my hatred of Creed has very little to do with them sonically it's more the whole aesthetic. I find everything about them boring as hell, all of their songs sound basically the same, that one song isn't very innovative, and the list goes on. I might be able to forgive those flaws if they weren't also horrible lyricists (this song and video in particular is potentially the corniest thing anyone has ever put to tape.) and I'm fairly certain that Scott Stapp dresses himself from the "I'm A Tool" handbook exclusively.

Day 13 - A Song That Is a Guilty Pleasure: It's a bit hard to say what exactly a guilty pleasure for me would be because I'm not ashamed of anything that I like. It's the one area of my life where I'm am completely and totally comfortable with and I don't care what anyone thinks. Anything that I like and listen to is something that I'm more than willing and able to defend in an open debate with eloquence. I'll go with this though since I have to say something.

Justin Bieber - One Time

I love that little bastard.

Day 14 - A Song That No One Would Expect You to Love: Hahahaha. I don't thing anyone who knows me would be surprised by anything I said I liked unless I suddenly declared myself a fan of The Insane Clown Posse but I assume the question is asking for a song that I actually do love that no one would expect. Hmmm... I guess I'll go with this.

Tupac - Thugz Mansion

(I like the album version too but the laid back vibe of the acoustic remix fits my mood more at the moment)

Day 15 - A Song That Describes You: Before I started this little project I set a small rule for myself. No using songs that I wrote. Simple enough. Let it be known, I did NOT write this song. It was written about me though so I don't think I can say that any other song quite describes me as well as this one does as far as songs by other people go. Hah.

The Swellers - Travis Valentine's Day

(Please note: Someone else that I don't know already uploaded this)

Day 16 - A Song That You Used to Love But Now Hate: I wouldn't say that I hate it exactly, it's still objectively a great song, but GOD am I sick of it. When "Sex on Fire" first hit I was happy to see them finally getting some recognition and then this song hit and it was everywhere. I don't even listen to the radio and I managed to hear it a dozen times a day. The loud speaker at the department store, commercials, the video on TV, people covering it on YouTube. It got old.

Kings of Leon - Use Somebody

Day 17 - A Song That You Hear Often On the Radio: I don't actively listen to the radio. I'm seriously not saying that to sound like a hipster. It's not that I don't listen to the radio because I hate mainstream music and can only be satisfied by the hip underground. I don't listen to the radio because I have 34,164 songs on my iPod, 1,061 CD, 36 vinyl records, and 25 cassette tapes. I really don't need the radio. The internet does a fine job of introducing me to new music and I have plenty that I know I like at my fingertips. There have, however, been a hand full of occasions where I've jumped in the car without my iPod to go to the corner store and have listened to the radio and the one song that I somehow managed to hear every single time I did that was this.

Dirty Heads - Lay Me Down (Feat. Rome)

Day 18 - A Song That You Wish You Heard On the Radio: Seriously, is the radio really an indicator of success anymore? Am I the only person that owns an iPod? Whatever, I guess I'll just answer.

The Swellers - The Best I Ever Had

I want them to be the biggest band in the universe.

Day 19 - A Song From Your Favorite Album: I seriously don't want to keep posting Swellers songs but these questions aren't giving me a lot of choice in the matter.

The Swellers - Ups and Downsizing

Day 20 - A Song That You Listen to When You’re Angry: Listen to this song and try to be angry. I dare you. It's the cure for anger.

LFO - Summer Girls

Day 21 - A Song That You Listen to When You’re Happy: What the hell kind of question is that? I think whoever made this was running out of ideas. I listen to a lot of things when I'm happy. I guess... I tend to listen to this song A LOT when I've been drinking and I'm a happy drunk... seriously like a thousand of those 18 million views are probably from me when I was drunk.

Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider - Love the Way You Lie MASHUP

Day 22 - A Song That You Listen to When You’re Sad: I know that listening to a sad song when you're sad seems weird... or maybe not, I don't know. At any rate I like to listen to this song when I'm sad.

Bruce Springsteen - The River

Day 23 - A Song That You Want to Play at Your Wedding: Well I did play this song at my wedding... does that count?

Bon Jovi - Always

Day 24 - A Song That You Want to Play at Your Funeral: Well that's morbid... I guess this one. It's always reminded me of myself. Particularly the lyrics "He's the kind of guy you wish would just leave, he wears his heart on his sleeve" and "He doesn't wait, he just goes,
Out of control" plus a couple others. Bonus: it's actually about a funeral.

Socratic - Funeral Masses

Day 25 - A Song That Makes You Laugh: It's not as blatantly funny as his early material (it's actually pretty angry) but he is a comic that uses music and this is my favorite. It makes me laugh.

Bo Burnham - Rant

Day 26 - A Song That You Can Play On An Instrument: I can play a bunch of songs on an instrument. I'll go with this.

Joseph Arthur - In the Sun

Day 27 - A Song That You Wish You Could Play: That is a very long list. I guess I would have to go with this one. Everything about it is perfect to me. I wish that I could play that guitar part and solo. The clean toned throwback bluesy strat sound (that's a lot of adjectives). I also wish I could play the piano part. It's really poppy and has a powerful hook to it but it also has a really classical feeling. I wish I could sing that way too. John Francis Daley has a really strong pop tenor but there's a lot of soul too. Everything about this song is perfect to me and I wish I could play or write a song half as good. By they way, yes that is John Francis Daley, actor in such TV shows as Freaks and Geeks and Bones and films such as the Ryan Reynolds vehicle Waiting and other things that didn't do as well on vocals and piano. But hey! Bones is doing great and people love Freaks and Geeks in retrospect. I'm a big fan of his.

Dayplayer - Peak

Find more artists like Dayplayer at Myspace Music

(I absolutely could not find a YouTube video for it and Windows Movie Maker was being EXTREMELY uncooperative in helping to make my own.)

Day 28 - A Song That Makes You Feel Guilty: I'll go with this. White people, it should make you feel guilty too.

Macklemore - White Privilege

Day 29 - A Song From Your Childhood: It has all of the halmarks of a great 90's ballad: electric piano, black guy that sings like a white guy, more than a little corny. The perfect storm of 90's songs.

Blessid Union of Souls - I Believe

Day 30 - Your Favorite Song At This Time Last Year: Jeezis, now I know whoever made this thing ran out of ideas. Let's see... this time last year was when my daughter was born... okay upon Googling it I just discovered that May of 2010 was when the Nashville flood happened and I remember that was right about the time I discovered this. This gentleman is an actor who does the voice of the kid on Fox's animated comedy American Dad and was also apparently on ER for six years.

Scott Grimes - Hide

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doing This Brian Style

Today's blog will be brought to you in the trade mark Brian Buckley style of a random bulleted list.

  • My brother-in-law got Loren and I an iPod touch for Christmas (primarily to use as a simple way to video chat with him Colorado) but I downloaded Tetris for it. I have since become clinically addicted to Tetris. Moreover I've discovered that I am very good at it. Why are all of my skills completely useless?
  • Music I've been listening to lately: Lauren O'Connel, The White Stripes, and some old Scout and Tsunami Bomb records I haven't touched in years.
  • Lyric is on the precipice of crawling. All of the pieces are there, she just can't seem to put them together in the right order. She gets up on her hands and knees and lunges forward with her legs, makes it a few inches, pushes up again and repeats. She can army crawl and role like there's no tomorrow. Also sometimes she pushes up without touching her knees or calves to the floor... just her feet and hands, forming a sort of triangle. In this position she sort of leans forward trying to make herself go. Like I said, all the pieces are there, she just can't figure out what order to put them in.
  • Also new to Lyric's list of talents and abilities is clapping. She loves to clap which is nice since I can just pretend that she's applauding everything I do. Also on the list is a new face. We call it her angry face because when she's cranky or upset she'll scrunch up her nose and lips and snort in and out through her nose really loudly like a bull. I think it has the opposite effect of what she intends it to because it's just adorable.
  • I've spent the last two Sunday evenings at a bar in my hometown of Davison called Mo Joe's doing karaoke and drinking with my best friend Michael Walters. I seriously wish that I could do karaoke every single weekend, I don't even need the beer, just the karaoke. I may not be a good singer by any stretch of the imagination but I love to sing. Sitting and watching people doing their songs and getting up there myself is better than therapy or medication. Also the bar has the best wings I've ever eaten.
  • In a blog a while back I wrote that I was close to recording and finally putting together an album. That has yet to happen what with the baby and lack of motivation but I'm giving some serious thought to maybe picking up the guitar again and getting something down before I'm too old and jaded to care. Who knows.
  • I'm an extremely sarcastic and often cynical person. It's my way of coping with life, which often gets to be too much for me just because of the way that I'm wired. I'm often very self deprecating and I tend to make fun of my own friends sarcastically. Most people close to me know that I'm joking and the subject matter is usually so outlandish that they know there's no possible way it could be in earnest but occasionally my jokes hit a sore spot and I've gotten into some pretty big fights over it. I'm not a mean person. I just deal with things in the way that comes easiest to me. If I have ever offended anyone with something I've said sarcastically I am truly sorry but I'm not going to change who I am. If what I'm saying is bothering you, say something and I'll stop. This has been a public service announcement.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Is the New Year

It's officially 2011 and everyone's making their new year's resolutions. I've already been plugging away at a diet for about 5 weeks now so I guess I could throw that on there. I', resolved to start being a better person all around (grades, parenting, cooking, cleaning) but that's pretty much a standing resolution, I think if we ever stop plugging at that one there's a problem.

I guess if I'm going to come up with something original for the new year it's going to be: Blog more (because people need and want to know my thoughts, dammit), make time to hit the gym a couple times a week, spend less money, read more (I keep an Excel spreadsheet of all of the books I have to read and it's getting ridiculous, especially since I got some more for Christmas) , and try to get some order back in my thoughts and life. I feel better when things are in order. It's a disease and a gift at the same time.

Those are some of my superficial and non-superficial goals for 2011. It's going to be a good year. 2010 wasn't bad (my daughter was born so it was sort of a banner year) but I have a really good feeling about 2011.

Things I'm looking forward to in 2011:

1. Green Lantern: I have high hopes for this movie. Don't get me wrong, I really like Ryan Reynolds a lot, but I was skeptical about his casting. He's known for being more of a comedic actor, even in his action roles, and the character of Hal Jordan is a staunch, military man. From what I've seen of the trailer it doesn't look like he's playing the character as Hal Jordan, what he's playing is Kyle Rainer (geeks will understand this). I think it really is a toss up, I'm not a huge fan of the Green Lantern mythos because it all tends to be very cosmic and I'm more a fan of street level super heroes but I've read enough and I know enough to know what I'm talking about. I think if they do it right and build enough of a story around the character Reynolds is playing, I will definitely like it as will most average, non-comic book readers, but I have a feeling the Green Lantern fans and purists aren't going to like it.

2. New Swellers Album: The Swellers announced fairly recently that they will be releasing a new record in 2011. Nick and Jonathon are good friends of mine but moreover they are and always will be my favorite band. I am EXTREMELY excited.

3. New Blink-182 Album: There was a time when I would have apologized for being a Blink fan but that time isn't now. I'm an adult and I'm too old to give a shit about labels and cliches in the music community. I like what I like and I have a wide pallet when it comes to that. Word is that the first album since 2003 (and since their reunion) is going to drop this Summer and I'm excited to hear it.

4. X-Men: First Class: Okay, now as far as movies go X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a solid C+ in my opinion. It was a bit of a mish mash of various things and more than a little hackneyed but it was fun. X-Men III: The Last Stand was a fucking train wreck for fans of the comic. It took 20 years of comics, bits and pieces of this and that, and mashed it together into one mess of a movie and Brett Ratner should be ashamed of himself. I have a feeling that X-Men: First Class will be more in the vein of the former. I'm expecting a lot of fun but I have my expectations low on substance. There are two things that are a light in the tunnel of hope for this with me and they are: Matthew Vaughn and James McAvoy.

5. Captain America: The First Avenger: Pretty much everything I said about Green Lantern applies to this movie as well. Seriously, just read that and substitute Chris Evans for Ryan Reynolds and Captain America for Green Lantern.

6. Cowboys and Aliens: Are you picking up the theme yet? I am a fan of comic books and graphic novels and this is going to be a big year for them. As for this one I have two words: John Favreau. He has proven that he knows what he's doing in this area and I'm going to put my faith in him. I have a bad feeling it's going to tank though.

7. Thor: I'm on the fence with this as to what to expect. I just hope they find away to minimize the Thor-speak.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II: Ten years, some of the greatest pieces of contemporary fiction that exist, and a 12 year old boy inside me that Can. Not. Wait.

9. I Am Number Four: I'm curious.

Now I know that this is essentially a rhetorical question since very few people actually read my blog but after all that self indulgence I feel obligated to ask: What are your resolutions and what cultural events are you looking forward to in 2011?