Top 10 Albums of My Teenage Years

There’s a meme going around on the social media circles regarding the top ten albums listened to as a teen. For me, I’d have to exclude KISS releases or otherwise Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up, Animalize, Asylum, and Crazy Nights would make up half the list.
I consider “teenage” to be my high school years. It’s interesting (at least to me) when I think back to what I was listening to at that time boils down to what my high school cross country and track team was listening to on road trips and meet camps. Ahh, the age of the boom box.
Here’s what I came up with–a whole lot of early 80s music:
  1. Michael Jackson, Thriller
  2. Def Leppard, Pyromania
  3. Motley Crue, Shout at the Devil
  4. Van Halen, 1984
  5. Scorpions, Love at First Sting
  6. Styx, Kilroy was Here
  7. Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet
  8. Prince, Purple Rain
  9. Journey, Frontiers
  10. The Police, Synchronicity
Does this list make me look old?

Talk Less, Smile More

It took me a while to give the Hamilton musical a shot (see what I did there?).  Because of varying circumstances, I never moved past the first seven songs. I, of course, ended up listening to those over and over which is a good thing because with those seven you get the majority of the themes and players of the musical.
Recently, I finally finished listening to the entire soundtrack. I’m not ashamed to admit, it moved me to tears. I listened again from start to finish and the story pulled the same emotion out of me a second time. I venture to say I might be a balling mess if I ever saw a live performance.
If you were wondering about all the hype and haven’t tried listening to the soundtrack, I highly recommend you simply give the first seven songs a chance. Listen to them several times. If “My Shot” and the “The Schuyler Sisters” don’t grab you and you think “You’ll be Back” is weird, then this isn’t for you. However, if you start to want to hear more… keep going through Act I. My guess is “History Has It’s Eyes On You” will make an impression and from then you’ll be hooked.
And once you get through the whole thing… make sure you have some tissues.
RELATED: Here’s Hamilton in seven minutes. As good as this is, I’d rather hear the whole thing.

Tom Brady is Wicked Good

The Super Bowl was Sunday and the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons earning the wicked good Pats another ring and the final touch to finish out the Deflategate middle finger season. Julian Edelman is magic and Tom Brady is a wizard. It was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
I don’t have much of an affinity for New England, Tom Brady or really the NFL in general. Still, Brady is clearly the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Five Super Bowl rings pretty much seals the deal. Joe Montana might have an objection… that’s about it.
Aside from Brady, I think the biggest story were all the commercials ripping the Trump Administration directly or indirectly. Obviously, not all of them were designed to make a statement, but it was eye-opening to see the biggest advertisers of the game showcasing million dollar ads in opposition against the new administration. Whether it’s the immigration story of Budweiser or the out and out defiance by Airbnb, corporations and companies told millions of viewers they don’t agree with the direction of our leadership and that’s something to pay attention to.
Lastly, let me remind you pitchers and catchers report in less than a week.

The Quiet Alarm

The old saying goes, “Only boring people get bored.” Of course, I wonder when was the last time you were truly bored? Don’t you knock it back with a smart phone, a good book or even pleasant company? I know I do.
Can boredom actually be a motivator?
Andreas Elpidorou is an assistant professor in philosophy at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. In a piece on Aeon, he equates boredom with physical pain and argues both instill a desire for change.
Think of boredom as an internal alarm. When it goes off, it is telling us something. It signals the presence of an unfulfilling situation. But it is an alarm equipped with a shock. The negative and aversive experience of boredom motivates us – one might even say, pushes us – to pursue a different situation, one that seems more meaningful or interesting, just as a sharp pain motivates us not to put pins into our bodies.
I wonder if another way of staving off boredom is to start paying closer attention to one’s surroundings. Standing in line can be an opportunity to scroll through social media or it can be one for focused concentration and observation.

Paying Attention

Every morning, the first thing many of us do is look at our phone. I’m guilty of it. You probably are too.
Craig Mod took a month’s sabbatical from technology and social media and wrote about his experience. His story is reminiscent of Andrew Sullivan’s essay on his anti-online meditation retreat.
Mod wrote something that really hit home for me:
There is a qualitative and quantitative difference between a day that begins with a little exercise, a book, meditation, a good meal, a thoughtful walk, and the start of a day that begins with a smartphone in bed.
At night, I use my iPhone as an alarm and track my sleep with the Sleep Cycle app. Although, lately I’ve been reading social media before I turn off the light and it’s practically the first thing I do in the morning after turning off the alarm. I’m beginning to feel like that’s not healthy.
I used to unwind my brain before bed with a book. Now, right before I go to bed and the first thing in the morning I read post after post about Donald Trump or some other injustice in the world. Maybe I’m following the wrong people. Maybe I just need to step away from technology.
I’m guilty of not having my attention on the right things. I wonder if it’s because my attention is everywhere else? Keeping my mind on where I am and what I need to do is important. I fail far too often at that and I think social media and technology is partly to blame. So, I’m going to try a few simple rules like these:
  • Get back to reading books in bed and think seriously about reading books on the iPhone more instead of social media.
  • Email is quickly scanned, but nothing addressed until later in the day.
  • Move all social media apps on the iPhone to a folder on the second screen.
  • Turn off nearly all notifications (I need Sleep Cycle and Due).
Let’s see how that works out in a few weeks.