Category: Actual Mileage

The Top 103 Albums of The 1990s

A while back, I posted a list of my favorite 75 albums of the 2000s, and had so much fun doing it, I thought I would make a list for some of the previous decades as well. Thus, the 1990s! (And soonish, the ’80s, ’70s & ’60s.)

I started the ’90s making mix tapes and finished it by ripping mp3z. In the meantime, I’d pretty much replaced my entire vinyl collection with CDs, thanks to the Columbia Record Club, the BMG Record Club and the explosion of stores like Ragin’ in Fresno and Amoeba in Berkeley that had vast quantities of used CDs to buy and trade for.

It was also the decade where I once and for all got overwhelmed by new music: there was so much access to so much music and the time to listen to all of it had contracted so much that I feel much more confident about the early part of the decade than I do about the end part. That may be a natural thing: after all, by the time the 1990s ended, my 20s were long long gone.


Singing For Alex Chilton

“Children by the millions sing for Alex Chilton when he comes round
They sing: I’m in love, what’s that song?
I’m in love with that song.”

— Paul Westerberg, 1987

I still remember precisely where I was when I first heard Big Star: the front room of the condo Kirk & I lived at during the exact center of the 1980s. At that point, Big Star was just a rumour, a murmur that had begun to percolate from the burgeoning indie scene. We, of course, were both DJs at CSUF’s radio station, KFSR, and Kirk was also the Music Director.

Being Music Director had a really nice perk: keys to the Music Library in the Speech Arts building. The Music Library held 1000s and 1000s of albums going back decades. A certain portion of those records had been deemed suitable for KFSR by the previous Music Directors, but that left a vast treasure of undiscovered music to dig through. So we did.

Of course, this really was like looking for gold in a silver mine (or trying to drink whiskey from a bottle of wine), and usually led to escapades like the great Heavy Metal Record Toss, which was competition to see who could fling a vinyl record the furthest from the stage of the CSUF Ampitheatre. I think that Tim won that one.

But occasionally, we’d find some amazing stuff for the radio station, and one time, we found Big Star.


The Top 40 TV Shows of the 2000s

It was the best of decades; it was the worst of decades. But really, as far as television is concerned, it was the best of decades. Yeah, there was a glut of reality shows that made stars — or “stars” — of morons like Jon & Kate; trolls like Tila Tequila; vapid heiresses like Paris Hilton; and talentless jackoffs like Heidi & Spencer.

But you know what? You didn’t have to watch a single second of those people, because there was also a glut of utterly amazing shows, and three pieces of technology to ensure you can watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it: DVR, DVD & Streaming Video. In the past decade, Rox & I used all three to watch shows at our convenience, catch up on episodes we missed, or just to try a show we’d missed the first time around.


Top 75 Albums of the 2000s

The Hold Steady, Wiltern, Los Angeles, Nov. 25, 2008It was a weird decade for the music industry. We watched the major labels implode right before our eyes, all the while protesting the future and trying to criminalize their user base. Would things have been different if the labels had put together a cheap, DRM-free solution in 2000? Maybe, maybe not, but there is no way it could have turned out worse.

It was a weird decade to be a music fan. For my entire life, the album had been the lingua franca of music: songs were the basic unit and singles were cool, but albums were a statement of purpose. But I started out the decade listening to albums from start to finish and ended it fragmenting them into my various mixes.

Now, I have a mix for the house, a mix for work, and a mix for my car: my own personalized “radio stations” that eternally combine older favorites and new songs. As someone who had been making mix tapes for himself since his early 20s, I’d only been waiting for this my entire life. But there was a consequence to the endless resequence: by 2006, most of my favorite albums revealed themselves to be collections of songs that stood out from the others.


Doomed But Loved: Chuck

Save Chuck, godsdamn it! Save Chuck!

If you’ve been floating around the blogosphere or twittersphere or any other kind of onlineosphere in the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably run across a post or a tweet or a status update containing those two words.

To the cynical eye, it might seem that after Battlestar Galactica went off into the great good night — or great good morning, as the case may be — the geekosphere cast about for another TV show to glom onto, and still not entirely trusting LOST after that second season, fixated on Chuck.

Not true. Wealllllllll, not exactly true. LOST has momentum, an audience, and and an end date. The fate of Chuck is still very much up in the air. And the fact that NBC gave over five hours a week of prime-time programming to Jay Frakking Leno does NOT bode well for it.

And I think what worries the tvsnobosphere is an unspoken fear that if Chuck dies, that might just be the end of an era for Network television.