Curious as to why I ended up the way I did? This.

So I’m pretty much a momma’s boy. The cooking, the keeping fresh flowers in my place, the movies I love…mom was a big influence. She was also the biggest sports fan I knew growing up and I got it from her.

So while I shouldn’t be surprised with the email I got last night, this is spectacularly out there, even for her.

Sent to 15 friends and family:

Subject: VOTE BRAUN!!!!

All-Star voting ends tonight at 10:00. Each email account gets 25 votes. Don’t be concerned if you get an email from Major League Baseball thanking you for your votes. I don’t have much packing left to do and I’m voting for Ryan Braun hundreds of times tonight with all of your email addresses.

For those of you in the Cities, don’t fear. At the time I’m picking Braun in the NL, I’m picking all the Twinkies on the AL ballot at the same time.

And don’t whine about this. Let’s face it. If you haven’t voted by now, you don’t give a crap about this anyway and never intended to vote.

*slow clap*

My mother, everybody.

Must watch: Sorkinisms

The West Wing is the greatest show in the history of TV, and the four seasons that Aaron Sorkin wrote are the best. If you’ve been a fan of his for a while you’ve undoubtedly seen writing repeated. Something he used in Sports Night might in The American President which was then used in The West Wing or A Few Good Men or Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I’ve picked up a lot of examples over the years, but this blew me away.

Check it out, then get your hands on The West Wing or Sports Night. Or both. Just get both.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S78RzZr3IwI&w=560&h=315]

#2 – The Offspring – Self Esteem

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkFH0KMO0G0&w=560&h=315]

So when you’re young and you and your significant other have your own special ‘song’? For me and my high school girlfriend, this was ours. It was a dumb relationship.

If I could somehow determine which tune I’d listened to most in my time on this planet, my guess is this would probably be #1. I can’t even begin to imagine how annoyed my roommates must have been with me in college based on how much this got run.

I love it.

#3 – Finch – Without You Here

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=714RubjnblY&w=420&h=315]

So a few posts ago I mentioned how by the time I was a sophomore in college I had a core of six bands and Thrice came and blew them all away. That’s not entirely accurate. Thrice AND Finch came and blew them all away. The reason I don’t hold Finch up there with Thrice anymore is Thrice continued to make amazing music, and Finch didn’t.

I found out about Thrice and Finch from the same person, and punker gal from early in my college days who knew more about good music than I ever will. She told me these two bands were “good stuff” (her words) and she was fucking right. I got into both at the same time and it’s a toss-up to which one I played most during my sophomore year of college. If I had to guess I’d say Finch, and it’s because of Without You Here.

I’ve gotten other people into Finch on the strength of this song, but I honestly don’t know what it is that makes it so special to me. Maybe because it’s balladyish (wut), maybe because it goes from subtle to heavy in a couple seconds with the build up to the chorus. I dig the lyrics. If I was gonna associate it with any time in my life it would be a weekend in my junior year when I bunch of us went road tripping and this album was featured prominently.

Alright, yea, that’s about it. I NEVER SAID ALL THESE WOULD BE REMOTELY ENTERTAINING SO LETS MOVE ON.

#4 – The Ataris – Between You and Me

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThLw7TyU_Cc&w=420&h=315]

The first of the Big 4. Each of the following songs was my FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME for a stretch. This one was the first, and it held the title the longest.

Like the next three artists, The Ataris have already been represented on the list, and I already talked about how I got into them (random message board posting). Early on, before they grew up, they made short, poppy punk tunes about girls. I remember the first comp CD I made of theirs had 37 songs on it, every one from their first three albums. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

It was some week night in the middle of my senior year of high school. I was on my to my girlfriend’s house to pick her up for a date. The CD I ripped was playing and about a half mile before I got to her place, Between You and Me started playing. It was the first time I heard the song and instead of pulling into my girlfriend’s place when I showed up, I just kept driving. This song blew my goddamn mind.

I ended up being about twenty minutes late to her place that night. I just kept driving around the block listening to this song on repeat.

Like I said, this was my #1 for a long time. The reasons it’s not is for a few reasons: I’m not the sappy HS kid I once was, the song is hella short and easy to play, the ones above it are just better. But come on. It’s #4 and ahead of Jeff Freakin’ Buckley. Respect.

#5 – Gob – The Perfect Remedy

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3TA2XgtfW0&w=420&h=315]

So I know I’ve gone on and on about the songs you hear that first time and you think HOLY SHITSNACKS THIS IS AMAZING OMGOMGOMG and it instantly becomes an all-time favorite. We all have those songs, or at least I hope we do. If you don’t you’re doing it wrong.

But this is the one song on this list I consider unique because I’m fairly certain that I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO’S EVER HEARD IT.

That Youtube video (the only one on that site with this song) up there has only 3000 views. One comment. Eight likes.

I could shoot some video of a dog scratching himself in the nuts, add a drum track and it would get ten times those numbers by tomorrow morning.

I’m absolutely baffled at the lack of attention this song gets. I just checked the site I go to for music lyrics. There are four comments, and two of them are from me, once from 2002 and another from 2006. TEN YEARS AGO I WAS PIMPING THIS SONG ONLINE.

Maybe it’s because Gob was never really a huge band? Ok, I guess that makes some sense…? But it’s not as if their fans ever really considered this their best stuff, even though it absolutely is. Gob never played it live when they toured as far as I know. I’ve seen them twice and no dice.

I’m not kidding, there’s part of me that wonders if I’m the only person capable of hearing this song. Like I’m a little insane and this song only exists in my head, 6th Sense style or something.

Please, listen to it if you’re reading this blog. Leave a comment. I simply want to know I haven’t lost my goddamn mind.

#6 – Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIw0ewEsNHs&w=420&h=315]

I’ve wrote about Buckley before.

I won’t say anything else, except that this is the perfect song. This is music at its best. I don’t envision ever hearing anything better in my lifetime, and you probably won’t either. Argue with me about the quality of anything else on this list. That’s fine. But just accept that this is the pinnacle of what is humanly possible with a voice and a guitar.

That is all.

#7 – Course of Nature – Caught in the Sun

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbbEV7w4acA&w=420&h=315]

It only occurs to me now that my top ten isn’t going to include anything critically or culturally relevant, with the possible exception of the song coming in at #6. There isn’t anything from the Beatles or Zepplin or The Who or The Arcade Fire or Bon Iver. Most of these are relatively unknown songs, some of which aren’t even considered the artist’s best. But for whatever they struck a chord with me.

My love for this tune comes via one of my first college girlfriends. Like most of them back then we came together because we loved the same kind of music. She wasn’t into the hardcore or Fat Wreck stuff I was (nobody was) but she loved Drive Thru and alt-rock and that was good enough for me. When we started dating we’d send each other tunes the other hadn’t heard, and Caught in the Sun was one of the first she’d sent me.

I didn’t think it was some mind-blowing tune but I did really like it. This song gets big points for longevity. I first heard it in 2002 and I’m still listening to it today.

#8 – Fenix Tx – Tearjerker

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkK1Vf8sNqk&w=420&h=315]

I remember where I was the first time I heard this song. I was driving home from college back in 2001, passing through Neillsville when this played on my CD I’d ripped for the ride home. I blown the shit away.

Fenix Tx was kinda crappy but made listenable pop punk. I liked their debut, even if I’m kind of revolted by that fact 12 years later. Their sophomore release was better and had some legitimately solid tunes like this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mil6hupoBpY&w=420&h=315]

As far as songs about smoking weed go, that’s pretty decent right? But that’s what they were known for, gimmiky Blink-182ish type music. So when I heard Tearjerker it was like a slap in the face or a kick in the junk.

WHERE THE HELL DID THIS SONG COME FROM.

This tune was so good it basically ruined the rest of their stuff for me. I listened to their debut album dozens of times when I was 18 and 19. I don’t know if I’ve played it once since the day I first heard Tearjerker. It’s just that good.

#9 – Pete Yorn – Just Another

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbPBFR5zlnI&w=420&h=315]

I’ve heard three songs from Pete Yorn, and I love each one. One of these days I’m gonna pick up the rest of his stuff and I’m guessing he’ll end up a favorite.

I heard this five years ago after going on a download binge. It was on a soundtrack and one of those songs you instantly love and play on repeat until you’ve heard it two dozen times.

No story and no deeper meaning with this one. It’s just one of those kinda perfect tunes. It hasn’t gotten old, I doubt it ever will.