iTunes Top 200 Artists: #61-69

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists 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 the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We continue today with the next batch of 10 artists, with the 2 tied for 69th place followed by the single artists at 68th through 61st.

#69: Black Eyed Peas
iTunes stats: 126 plays
Previous ranking: #74

The six-time Grammy Award winners see a 110% increase in plays over the past 4 years, moving up 5 spots.

#69: Sheryl Crow
iTunes stats: 126 plays
Previous ranking: #81

The one-time backup singer for Michael Jackson jumps 12 spots after adding 69 additional listens to the 8 songs I’ve listened to in my collection.

#68: John Williams
iTunes stats: 127 plays
Previous ranking: #66

The composer of some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, including the Star Wars and Superman series, picks up 62 new listens over the last 4 years.

#67: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
iTunes stats: 129 plays
Previous ranking: #57

The inspiration for the musical Jersey Boys drops 10 spots after gaining a mere 46 new plays.

#66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
iTunes stats: 130 plays
Previous ranking: #74

The California-based rockers, who I saw briefly at Lollapalooza back in 2016, increase their plays by 117% over the last 4 years.

#65: Warrant
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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 →

2018: The Year In Music

I managed to see 4 different concerts last year, across 3 states. This is the story of those shows.

The first show was in Las Vegas back in March.  In conjunction with the IBM Think conference, the Barenaked Ladies were performing on the beach at Mandalay Bay.  IBM had hooked one of my co-workers up with a cabana for the show, due to her being a legitimate superfan of the band, which the rest of us got to crash.  The group cycled through their hits, including the theme song to The Big Bang Theory, which was a nice surprise. I don’t think you could ask for much more out of a free show attached to a tech conference.

The next night, there were two shows going on.  We had our choice of Train or The Chainsmokers, and I went with option 2.  The show was at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and it was not quite what I was expecting.  In my defense, I am an old and thus was not up to speed on the nature of the Chainsmokers, so I should have been more familiar with the type of music the band would be performing.  While the two guys I were with decided to bail after a half hour or so, I decided to stick it out and was genuinely entertained, if not in the manner I was expecting.  I can’t say it is something I would want to see again, but I’m glad I did so at least once.  And, hey, you can’t beat the price.

In August, Pearl Jam came to Wrigley Field for 2 shows and I attended the first one.  It’s been a long time since I considered myself a Pearl Jam fan, and the show, while entertaining, certainly dragged for long periods between songs that I knew.

Finally, in October, I traveled to Boston to, on top of Angelina related things, see Garbage at the House of Blues.  The 20 Years Paranoid tour, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Version 2.0, had played in Chicago the week before, but I’ve already done that a time or 5.  With Game 1 of the World Series taking place across the street at Fenway Park, Garbage put on another fine show, ripping through the entirety of their second album, along with some covers and special treats.

And that does it.  Time will tell what 2019 has in store and I look forward to finding out.

The Ever Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last winter, as the GlobalFit program was wrapping up, I took my last look at the top 20 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had only surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 45 times.  In the year plus since then, I have managed to nearly double that number, raising the total to 81.  With my first year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my updated top 20 step days over the past 4 1/2 years, featuring 8 new entries.

btn10K-41: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

My best single day total came during my 2013 trip to Disney World.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.  And yes, it still bothers me that I didn’t get those 12 additional steps to reach 25,000.

2: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My second highest total came nearly 2 months after my highest, thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.  These 2 days are the sum total of my days over 20,000 steps.

3: 9/6/2015 – 18,259 steps

The first new addition to the list comes courtesy of my trip to Toronto last September.  This Sunday consisted of traversing around Toronto, with trips to Royal Ontario Museum and, at night, the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre for the Oddball Comedy Fest.

4: 9/11/2015 – 17,889 steps

Another new addition thanks to my trip to Toronto.  My last day in the city was spent at the Eaton Centre mall, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a few other stops.

5: 6/8/2013 – 17,852 steps

My now-fifth highest output brings us back to Disney World, this time for a day split between Animal Kingdom in the morning and Hollywood Studios in the afternoon.

6: 9/5/2015 – 16,083 steps

We head back to Toronto for my sixth highest day, my first full day in the city.  There was exploring along the riverfront and, of course, a trip to Rogers Centre for a Blue Jays game.

7: 9/23/2014 – 15,728 steps

This total was accomplished thanks to the 2014 Sprint & Stride 5K race that was held at work.

8: 9/9/2012 – 14,957 steps

My eighth highest total comes thanks to a Sunday in Belfast spent walking from our hotel, down to the Titanic museum, and then back again.

9: 6/7/2013 – 14,940 steps

Another day of 2013’s vacation to Disney World, this day started with a morning trip to the hotel pool, followed by an abbreviated day at the Magic Kingdom.

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The 10,000 Step Club Revisited

Last spring, I took an initial look at the top 20 step days I’ve had since starting the GlobalFit program way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had only surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 31 times.  In the 8 months since then, I have managed to raise that number to 45.  With the GlobalFit program officially wrapping up earlier this week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new, and final, look at my updated top 20 step days over the past 3 1/2 years.

btn10K-41: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

My best single day total came during my 2013 trip to Disney World.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.  And yes, it still bothers me that I didn’t get those 12 additional steps to reach 25,000.

2: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My second highest total came nearly 2 months after my highest, thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.  These 2 days are the sum total of my days over 20,000 steps.

3: 6/8/2013 – 17,852 steps

My third highest output brings us back to Disney World, this time for a day split between Animal Kingdom in the morning and Hollywood Studios in the afternoon.

4: 9/23/2014 – 15,728 steps

A new addition since my original list, this total was accomplished thanks to the Sprint & Stride 5K race that was held at work last fall.

5: 9/9/2012 – 14,957 steps

We round out the top 5 with my highest total outside of the United States.  A Sunday in Belfast spent walking from our hotel, down to the Titanic museum, and then back again.

6: 6/7/2013 – 14,940 steps

Another day of 2013’s vacation to Disney World, this day started with a morning trip to the hotel pool, followed by an abbreviated day at the Magic Kingdom.

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GF4 – Week 9

Y4Week9The week got off to a horrid start, thanks to the Labor Day holiday and my allergies, which kept me inside all day and limited me to under 1000 steps.  The rest of the week rebounded fairly well, with every day surpassing the 5000 step mark, if just barely.  Saturday helped to pick up the slack for the rest of the week, thanks to a trip in to the city for shenanigans and a Garfunkel and Oates show at the House of Blues.  Sunday rounded out the week with my final visit to Wrigley Field for the year.

Total steps: 46,988

Daily average: 6712.6

Concert Flashback: Chicks With Attitude

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So, how do you top accusations of selling out after putting out a pop album that puts off your vocal indie fanbase?  How about teaming with Maybelline for a tour meant to promote a new brand of edgy makeup.  The artists, Liz Phair, The Cardigans, Katy Rose and Charlotte Martin, “have been handpicked to represent Chicks with Attitude–strong young women on the rise who are an inspiration to other young women looking to find their own voice,” according to a press release.  Because why not, I was in attendance, along with Tina and some of her friends, when the tour rolled in to the House of Blues, just under a year since I saw Liz Phair previously.

I have no particular memory of Charlotte Martin or Katy Rose, either of their performance that night or their careers in general.  The Cardigans were next, and they delivered on the few songs of theirs that I know and enjoy.  Finally, Liz Phair performed, once again in support of her self titled pop album.  Just like the show from the year before, I don’t have any particular memories of her performance.  This album was probably the end of my Liz Phair fandom, so I’m sure I at least somewhat enjoyed myself.

Concert Flashback: The Bangles

00banglesNearly 2 1/2 years after my last concert, I headed down to the House of Blues to meet up with Tina and some of her friends to see the Bangles.  The band had gotten back together the year before to record a song for the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack and were touring for the first time in a decade.  I don’t remember much about the show, other than being entertained.  A good time was had by all as the band mixed in new songs from their upcoming comeback album with the hits that everyone was there to hear.

Mix Tape Monday – Live Tracks 4

After my tape deck crapped out in 1997, I was stuck listening to either the radio or full albums in whatever order the artist intended. That all changed in 2001, when the new-fangled MP3 technology got combined with my new CD burner.

In addition to the occasional series of CDs I had burned in order to keep abreast of new music, I had created a bunch of genre-specific mixes that could be used both in the car and at the gym. This week we will take a look at the fourth disc covering the world of live music. One of the best things about the confluence of music and the internet in the early 21st century was the availability of bootleg live performances that, at one time, would have been available only to serious collectors or the lucky few to attend the concerts. In fact, there was so much of it that this was the only collection to go beyond 2 discs. So, without further ado, I bring you the final disc in this collection: Live Music, volume 4.

Foo Fighters – Everlong

iTunes stats: Never played

No Doubt – Just A Girl

Recorded live on a German radio station and released as a bonus track on the Rock Steady album.

iTunes stats: 8 plays, most recently on 5/3/2012

The Bangles – Hazy Shade Of Winter

From their 10/02/2000 concert at the House of Blues in New York.

iTunes stats: Never played

Avril Lavigne – Sk8r Boi

iTunes stats: 5 plays, most recently on 6/7/2011

Aerosmith – Dream On

iTunes stats: Never played

Garbage – Androgyny

Broadcast live on WXRT from an in-store appearance at Virgin Megastore in Chicago.

iTunes stats: 13 plays, most recently on 8/22/2012

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

iTunes stats: Never played

Stone Temple Pilots – Plush

iTunes stats: 4 plays, most recently on 5/20/2013

The Bangles – Manic Monday

iTunes stats: 7 plays, most recently on 11/19/2012

Continue reading →