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
Continue reading →

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Route 66

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. Now that the state is starting to open back up following 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 History category: Route 66, from Chicago, IL.

Snap a selfie under the “begin” and “end” signs of historic Route 66, the legendary 20th century highway that stretched nearly 2,500 neon-lit miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, California.  The brown markers are at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street (the westbound starting point) and Michigan and Jackson Boulevard (eastern terminus).

The Mother Road was decommissioned years ago, but lots of Route 66 relics remain along Illinois’ 300-mile stretch between Chicago and St. Louis.

Truth be told, I can’t say that I’ve even seen the signs marking the start and end of Route 66 on Michigan Ave, but it isn’t for a lack of being in the area.  I spent most of grad school 1 block east of Michigan on Jackson, so I would make the walk over on occasion, as time permitted.  Not to mention events in Grant Park, like Lollapalooza or the Cubs championship parade in 2016.

FB2: Week 30

FB2_Week30A nice bounce back week, where I posted my best total since the middle of June.  Things got off to a decent start on Sunday, where exciting White Sox baseball led to my passing my daily goal by a mighty 79 steps.  Things picked up on Monday and Tuesday, as my totals increased each day.  Wednesday was the big day of the week, as I surpassed 10,000 steps for the first time since Lollapalooza.  Thursday came close to duplicating the feat, thanks to an after-work trip to Oakbrook to get my phone checked at the Apple Store.  Friday was also an impressive day, thanks to a trip downtown for a division outing.  Saturday fell below my goal, despite going to US Cellular Field for White Sox/Mariner action.

Total steps: 55,520

Daily average: 7931.4

FB2: Week 26

FB2_Week26Another week got off to a slow start, despite a trip down to US Cellular Field for exciting White Sox baseball.  Monday was another disappointment, not ever cracking 5000 steps.  Tuesday saw a big increase, nearly totaling 9000 steps, thanks to game 2 of the Crosstown Cup.  Wednesday was another good day, due to a post-work trip to the Glen with Hayley to have dinner and see Star Trek Beyond.  Thursday and Friday were down days once again, with the week saved by Saturday’s total of over 13,000 steps thanks to a trip in to the city for Lollapalooza with Hayley and Val.

Total steps: 47,611

Daily average: 6801.6

Vacation Recap – Florida Roadtrip Part 3

When we left off last time, we had arrived late at Disney World and Jeff and I had just shown up at the Reach For The Stars gala event.


The appetizer course had already been served when Jeff and I arrived at the gala dinner, along with Tom and his wife.

After dinner and the awards ceremony had concluded, they opened up the event to all guests, and brought in different groups of characters for photo opportunities.  This was our chance to sneak Val in, who we never registered as an official guest due to the insane cost for very little benefit.  Meredith had to go gather her kids from wherever they were during the gala, so we used her conference badge to get Val in.  With drinks in hand, we lined up for pictures with the Beast and Belle, the one character Val was looking forward to meet.  Tom jumped in and the four of us got snapped.

After that, I got a text that Meredith was on her way back and would need her badge.  I headed out to meet her, where I ran into Jacqueline and her husband, who you would think I would have been introduced to but you’d be wrong, for the first time.  After I found Meredith and her family, we headed back in to the party for more drinks and more photo opportunities.

Once the gala kind of wrapped up, Jeff, Val, Tom, and I headed out in front of the hotel, where a heated discussion broke out on the topic of the free breakfast and whether or not it was a huge imposition placed upon us by the evil that is Suren.  Things must have gotten a little loud, as Jacqueline made her second (and final) appearance of the night, questioning why we were arguing about breakfast.  Once things calmed down, we retreated back inside, where we found the hotel bar.

The night of drinking continued, until we all headed out for a smoke break.  Tom finished his drink and casually tossed his empty glass over his shoulder into the shrubbery, before leaving to use the facilities.  As Jeff and Val enjoyed their numerous cigarettes, it became increasingly clear that Tom was not returning from the bathroom, and we decided to call it a night.


The next day was supposed to start with the officer forum, but Jeff had declared he had no intentions of attending the last remaining mandatory event.  Tom, who was a few doors down from us, apparently did not get that memo, as he came and knocked on the door while everyone was still in bed/asleep.  He returned after the officer forum, to much the same response.  Eventually, everyone got up and got ready to attack the day.

LOLA2016But first, we had to sit in the hotel room some more to try and get Lollapalooza tickets, which, due to the time change, went on sale at 11 am.  Once the tickets were acquired, we finally made our way to one of the parks, walking over to Hollywood Studios.  With Fast Passes for later in the day, we headed over to the new Star Wars Launch Bay, where movie memorabilia and shopping was available, along with picture opportunities with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca.  The half hour wait time for photos was much too long, so we looked around at the movie stuff before checking out the gift shop.  After finishing there, we headed toward the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, at which point Jeff had enough of Hollywood Studios.  So, after a whole hour at the park, we headed back to the hotel.

We hit the boardwalk, where we found a crappy little food stand that offered pizza and chips for lunch.  Jeff was anxious to get his drink on, but was unwilling to go to the margarita stand due to its name.  He was willing, however, to partake in said margarita if someone else were to purchase it and deliver it to him.

After killing an hour or so on the Boardwalk, we called an audible and went over to Epcot, where Jeff could imbibe at will.  We walked around the World Showcase, where Jeff kept looking for opportunities to buy beer, but he passed by them all.  After spending some time in the butterfly enclosure, we managed to go on our first ride of the trip, the Finding Nemo ride.  Sadly, despite being possibly the slowest-moving ride at Disney World, the ride did not agree with Val, so we called it a day and went back to the boardwalk for dinner at the ESPN Club.

Digressing a bit, at the bar on Monday night, Jeff was complaining that, for a free trip, there were a lot of expenses that the company was not picking up.  As if on cue, a $150 gift card arrived in the room on Tuesday, to help offset some of those costs.  Of course, Jeff saw this as in insult and refused to use it.  Val and I had to work at convincing him to use it for dinner, where he wanted to just leave the whole thing for the waiter, which would have included a tip of more than 100%.

After dinner, it was back to the bar, where we were eventually joined by Tom.  Drinking ensued, until the place shut down and we were forced to call it a night.  We returned to the room, where Jeff got an email from iTunes.  You may recall drunk Jeff purchasing some songs during the ride down the previous Friday.  Well, the arrival of the receipt threw him for a loop, as he had no recollection of the songs involved, let alone having made the purchases.  After this, we called it a night and hoped for better results on Wednesday, which seems like a good time to wrap things up for this week.