iTunes Top 200: #21 – 29

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we breach the 50 listens plateau, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#29: The Lonely Island – Lazy Sunday (ft. Chris Parnell)
iTunes stats: 47 plays, most recently on 10/16/2019
Previous ranking: #20

A bit of a drop down the charts for the original SNL digital short that put the Lonely Island on the pop culture map and defined the phrase “viral video”.

#29: Chance The Rapper – Step Up Part 1
iTunes stats: 47 plays, most recently on 1/24/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An auspicious debut for this portion of the hype video the rapper created for the White Sox used during the 2016 season.

#28: Foo Fighters – All My Life
iTunes stats: 49 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: #22

A slight decrease for the live version of the song from the Live in Hyde Park bootleg.

#27: Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It
iTunes stats: 50 plays, most recently on 1/24/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A strong debut for the main walk up song for former White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton.

#23: Van Halen – Jump
iTunes stats: 52 plays, most recently on 8/11/2019
Previous ranking: #96

A tremendous jump (see what I did there?) for the song that, for years, was used as the Chicago Cubs took the field at their home games.

#23: Tag Team – Whoomp! There It Is
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iTunes Top 200: #68 – 79

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap up the final two songs with 36 plays and move on to the first group of songs with 37 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#79: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 10/7/2019
Previous ranking: #56

A slight decrease for the only theme song to a Beatles film to not be released as a single.

#79: The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 9/30/2019
Previous ranking: #46

This 1964 hit had the biggest jump to number one (from #27) until Billboard began using SoundScan for their charts.

#68: The Office Theme
iTunes stats: 37 plays, most recently on 6/25/2019
Previous ranking: #41

A slight decrease for the theme song from the long-running NBC comedy.

#68: Mexican Cheerleader – American Nice
iTunes stats: 37 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #79

The song that serves as a ringtone for the band’s singer on my phone.

#68: The Lonely Island – Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde (feat. Rihanna)
iTunes stats: 37 plays, most recently on 12/9/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A strong debut for the comedic tune featuring Rihanna.

#68: The Lonely Island – Dick In A Box (ft. Justin Timberlake)
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200 Things To Do In Illinois – Ravinia

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Culture category: Ravinia, from Highland Park, IL.

 

The oldest outdoor music festival in North America draws 600,000 listeners each summer – many touting picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs to stake their claim on the manicured grounds of the 36-acre park.

Performers across a panoply of musical genres have graced the pavilion stage at this summer crib of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Ravinia is a summer tradition for people on the North Shore.  Growing up on the south side, it really didn’t enter my consciousness at all, at least until I started working up north after college.  Even then, I managed to avoid going for 20 years.  Until Garbage and Blondie came to town in 2017 for their Rage and Rapture Tour.  This was my 6th Garbage show, and the first outdoors.  Shirley Manson and the boys did not disappoint, putting together a strong set and overcoming a crowd that seemed more interested in sitting down and relaxing than rocking out.  We abandoned the pavilion for Blondie’s portion of the show, roaming the grounds before eventually heading back to the train for the ride back in to Chicago.  I’m sure I’ll go back again someday, but nothing has drawn me up north just yet.

iTunes Top 200: #79 – 89

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap up the final two songs with 36 plays and move on to the first group of songs with 37 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#89: Cracker – Low
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/26/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the first single from Kerosene Hat, which reached #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and appears on Volume 12 of my mixtapes.

#89: Cher with Beavis & Butt-head – I Got You Babe
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/9/2019
Previous ranking: #65

This remake featuring the cartoon duo also appeared on Volume 12 of my mix tapes.

#79: The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 10/22/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the tune which peaked at number 21 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

#79: Tegan and Sara – I Hear Noises
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: #44

This tune was my initial introduction to the Canadian songstresses.

#79: Styx – Come Sail Away
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 7/15/2019
Previous ranking: #46

A small drop for the Chicago band, which, while never an official part of my victory playlist, would get pulled out on days former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale would pitch and win.

#79: Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes
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iTunes Top 200: #89 – 98

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we begin the second half of our countdown, breaking the top 100 with the remaining three songs with 34 plays before moving on to the first group of songs with 35 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#98: The Breeders – Cannonball
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 8/30/2019
Previous ranking: #96

The first single for the new band fronted by former Pixie Kim Deal and her sister Kelley.

#98: The Beatles – Help!
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 10/27/2019
Previous ranking: #65

The title song for both the 1965 film and its soundtrack album.

#98: Bad Religion – Infected
iTunes stats: 34 plays, most recently on 7/11/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the tune which peaked at number 27 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

#89: Travis – Baby One More Time
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #141

A tremendous jump for this cover of the Britney Spears “classic”.

#89: Tegan and Sara – Walking With A Ghost
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 8/16/2019
Previous ranking: #65

Released in 2005 as the debut single from the So Jealous album.

#89: Nerf Herder – Buffy Theme
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iTunes Top 200: #98 – 112

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we march forward towards the top 100 with the next batch of songs tied with 33 plays and the first back with 34, dating back to late 2007 according to my iTunes stats.

#112: Garfunkel and Oates – Fuck You
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 9/16/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci make a nice debut with their ode to wanting to be intimate with the object of their affection.

#112: Garbage – Push It
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the lead single from the band’s second album, about “the schizophrenia that exists when you try to reconcile your desires and demons with the need to fit in.”

#112: Foo Fighters – This Is A Call
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 9/11/2019
Previous ranking: #118

This first single from band’s first album was one of the few Dave Grohl wrote a few months after the death of his old bandmate Kurt Cobain, which also appears on Volume 19 of my mix tapes.

#112: Dr. Dre – Keep Their Heads Ringin’
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 12/10/2019
Previous ranking: #141

This 1995 hit from the Friday soundtrack also appeared on Volume 17 of my mix tapes.

#112: Cracker – Get Off This
iTunes stats: 33 plays, most recently on 10/10/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A strong debut for the follow up hit from Kerosene Hat, written as a response to fans who accused Cracker of selling out, which appears on Volume 12 of my mix tapes.

#112: Coolio f/ L.V. – Gangsta’s Paradise
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iTunes Top 200: #170 Part The Third

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We continue today with the next group of ten songs tied for 170th place with 30 plays apiece since my stats began in late 2007.

#170: Garfunkel and Oates – Pregnant Women Are Smug
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 10/14/2019
Previous ranking: #167

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci add 13 new listens to pretty much keep pace with their previous showing.

#170: Garbage – Cherry Lips (Live)
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for this live version of the song, performed at Chicago’s Virgin Megastore and broadcast live on WXRT.

#170: Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 12/30/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the song has put in 30 listens since being added to my collection in early 2016 prior to a certain road trip.

#170: DJ Danger Mouse – 99 Problems
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 9/26/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A big drop off for this mash-up of Jay Z’s 99 Problems and The Beatles Helter Skelter.

#170: The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Overture/Going Through The Motions
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A bit of a drop off for the opening tune, performed by series star Sarah Michelle Gellar, from the musical episode in season 6.

#170: Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago
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Another Mix Tape Monday – Volume 20

20 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. We last looked back at all 20 volumes three years ago to see which of my “favorite” songs still resonated in today’s digital world. Today, we revisit those mix tapes and see how, or if, things have changed in the past 3 years.

We wrap up our look back with Volume 20, which stretches over late 1995 and the fall semester of the first of my two senior years of college.  At some point, I noticed that the tape players on my boom box were slowing down and, despite multiple attempts, apparently could not be repaired, which spelled the end for these collections.

Side A

Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Winner of the 1997 Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performance, the first single from the Pumpkins double album opus picked up a measly 3 new listens over the past 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
6 plays 13 plays 17 plays, most recently on 1/3/2019

Melissa Etheridge – Your Little Secret

The first single from Melissa Etheridge’s under-performing followup to her smash hit album is still missing from my collection.

Lisa Loeb – Do You Sleep

The third single from Lisa Loeb’s major label debut, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard charts, nearly doubled its plays in the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
5 plays 10 plays 19 plays, most recently on 11/27/2018 

Goo Goo Dolls – Name

A mere 4 play increase over the past 3 years for this breakthrough hit, which reached #5 on the Billboard charts.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
2 plays 5 plays 9 plays, most recently on 8/5/2018 

Collective Soul – The World I Know

The band’s highest charting single in Canada, it has picked up only 5 listens since my 40th birthday in 2014.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
3 plays 4 plays 9 plays, most recently on 8/20/2018 

Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You

Featured on the Empire Records soundtrack, the song went years without being heard, but managed to pick up 5 plays in the last 3+ years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
0 plays 0 plays 5 plays, most recently on 2/12/2018 

Garbage – Queer

Originally recorded off of Q101, the breakthrough hit that led to 7 concerts over the past 16 years nearly doubled its listens over the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
8 plays 12 plays 23 plays, most recently on 10/25/2018 

Side B

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The Still Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last year, as I was finishing up my third year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at the top 25 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 165 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 52 occurrences, my best year to date, for a total of 218.  With my fourth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 7 1/2 years, featuring 10 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is our first new entry, coming this past April during a trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

Another new entry, from July’s trip to Virginia, fell just short of the top spot, thanks to a hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

After 5 years as my single day best, 2013’s trip to Disney World falls down two spots.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.

4: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

The third new entry comes from last spring’s trip to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

5: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

We round out the top 5 with the fourth new entry, from last fall’s trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

6: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My former second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

7: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My now seventh highest total, and my highest at home in the state of Illinois, came thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

8: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

The eighth highest entry, and fifth new entry, took place just over a month ago and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

9: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The ninth highest entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

10: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with another trip to Disney World, this time a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →