Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Very Micah Christmas 2017

Rejoice! A Very Micah Christmas 2017 is *finally* here! Sorry it took me a little while to get this out to y'all. Work's been kicking this elf's butt. (The end is in sight, though!) Without further ado, this year Bing Crosby will be tap dancing with Danny Effin' Kaye to:

1. "Wintertime (The Snow Is Coming Down)" - Josh Ritter
2. "Going to Get the Tree" - Maxwell, Miranda, Parsley
3. "Christmas Is All Around" - Sleeping at Last
4. "I'm Not Ready For Christmas" - Chris Farren with Mae Whitman (Her?)
5. "Blue Christmas" - The Lumineers
6. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Little Hurricane
7. "Christmas Party" - The Dead Milkmen
8. "Christmas Don't Be Late" - Kacey Musgraves
9. "I Wouldn't Trade Christmas" - Frank Sinatra
10. "Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn" - Found Wandering
11. "Here Come Krampus!" - Dead Music Capital Band
12. "The Cookie Song" - Amanda Duncan
13. "That Spirit of Christmas" - Stacey Randol
14. "Glory" - Gungor
15. "Everything Is Cool" - John Prine
16. "Yule Tide Me Over" - The Minus 5
17. "I'll Be Your Santa Baby" - Rufus Thomas
18. "Whoa" - Matt Pond PA
19. "Angels We Have Heard on High" - Sarah McLachlan
20. "God Rest Ye" - Kaskade featuring Debra Fotheringham
21. "Silent Night" - Sugar & The Hi-Lows
22. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Coldplay
23. "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" - Bobby Darin
24. "New Year's Day" - Taylor Swift
25. "Jingle in the Jungle" - Bob's Burgers

Snag it here.

Streaming! It's the present and future. So here's the obligatory Spotify playlist...

However, not all songs I used are licensed for the service, so the only way to get the full AVMC experience is to download it. But this will do in a pinch.

The kids these days love their YouTubes, what with their hippin' and their hoppin' and their bippin' and their boppin', so new this year I created a YouTube playlist:

Watch it above or go here. Again, some songs are missing. *sigh*

Whew! Now that this is finally out in the world it's time for me to knock back a beer - preferably one that's appropriately seasonally spiced - and watch some Christmas episodes of The Office. I hope you enjoy this year's mix.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Very Micah Christmas 2016

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Because I *finally* finished my annual Christmas mix! It's been an especially physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining season working at the Monolithic Online Retailer, but I still managed to put together some songs for your Yuletide enjoyment. At least I got it out there before Festivus.

This year you'll be grooving to:
1. "I Walk So Slow Under the Mistletoe" - Walter Martin & Kat Edmonson
2. "Christmas Sweaters" - Noah Glenn
3. "Holiday Road" - Tennis
4. "All I Want Is Truth (For Christmas)" - The Mynabirds
5. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Savoir Adore
6. "O Come All Ye Faithful" - Weezer
7. "Silver Bells" - She & Him
8. "A Willie Nice Christmas" - Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson
9. "Stay In" - Army Navy
10. "Christmas Clown" - The Rosebuds
11. "I'll Be Home on Christmas Day" - Elvis Presley
12. "The 12 Days of Christmas" - Straight No Chaser
13. "Fairytale of New York" - Clive Murray
14. "Christmas Is Holy" - John Wesley Harding
15. "O Holy Night" - Katie Melua
16. "White Winter Hymnal" - Birdy
17. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" - Kyle Cox
18. "A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" - Glasvegas
19. "Stille Nache, Heilige Nacht" - Vienna Boys' Choir
20. "Joy to the World" - Eef Barzelay

You can snag it here.

However, I realize that streaming is the cool, hip thing to do, so I give to you the mix in Spotify playlist form:

Note: the playlist is missing three or four songs from the downloadable version, so you won't be getting the full AVMC experience. Such is life.

Okay, this worker elf is off to bed. I hope you like the mix. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Weezer made another great album? Say it ain't so!

Ha. Clever, but now outdated. (Hat sold by this guy.)
These days I mostly listen to podcasts, but for a long time now I've silently lamented that I no longer consume music like I did in high school and college: endless listens, memorizing lyrics and liner notes, studying the artwork. I'll still like new music by artists old and new, but I just don't devour it like I used to.

And then Weezer put out The White Album.

I swear, I have had this thing on repeat for the past couple of weeks, letting new episodes of most of my podcasts pile up. The album is really, really, REALLY good.

I'm not going to be one of those guys proclaiming "Weezer is back!" because for me they "were back" with 2014's Everything Will Be Alright In The End. Its release was a refreshing return from years spent in the pop music wilderness. There are plenty of catchy tunes on it. So that album, too, is much worthy of your time. But folks, this one is even better.

And I'm going to stop short of saying it's as good as their debut and its follow up. The Blue Album was a lightning bolt guitar strap in a bottle, perfectly capturing a moment in time for the Alternative Nation. As for Pinkerton, I doubt Rivers Cuomo is going to get that personal ever again. So don't set your expectations that high. (Heck, I'm a staunch Green Album defender and White *almost* matches it. Your mileage may vary.)

Weezer's White Album is a lean, Beach Boys-influenced ode to California. Harmonies abound. There are pianos and surf sounds. It's got earworms for days. It starts, throws out ten fuzzy pop gems, and then leaves before it wears out its welcome with ill advised genre experiments and Lil Wayne cameos.

I flip flop when it comes to my favorite new song of theirs. For a while it was "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori", with its effortless singalong chorus. (Pro tip: listen to Rivers explain the writing and recording of that song here.) Right now it's "L.A. Girlz". Oh, that sublime bridge! Check back with me next week and I'll have a different one I'm obsessing about. Probably "King of the World".

The point being that if you fell off the Weezer train sometime over the past 15 years - believe me, I wouldn't fault you for that - give them another shot. You'll probably like what you'll hear.

And given the choices we have during this election season, we're going to need all of the clever sunshine alt rock pop we can get. Weezer 2016!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Operation: Podthanks pt. I

These days the things that occupy the most of my recreational time are podcasts. I decree that 2016 is the year I give back for all of the free entertainment they provide me. In the past I paid lip service to doing that, but the extent to which I put it into practice was shelling out a buck or two for the Comedy Film Nerds' ebook when it was on sale.

First up: I ordered a bunch of Relevant magazine merchandise. I've been listening to their podcast every week for 10 years - no, Serial didn't invent the medium last year - so it was about time I showed my appreciation. I picked up a couple of shirts and a sticker for my laptop. Free advertising for the gang!

Back when I was unemployed last year I let my subscription lapse as a cost cutting measure, but now I'm back in full force. Bonus: I can finally enjoy the slick tablet version like the millennial that I am.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Very Micah Christmas 2015

It's been a different, much busier Christmas season for me this year. As such, I didn't have much time to devote to A Very Micah Christmas (or this blog, for that matter), but it's done! While I didn't put the usual blood, sweat, and eggnog into it that I normally do, I didn't half ass it either. I'll have you know I used *at least* three quarters of my ass.

So what's on tap for this year's edition? I'm glad you asked:

1. "This Year" - Tony Thaxton
2. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Samson Trinh & The Upper East Side Big Band with Laura Ann Singh
3. "Holiday P.D.A. (Underneath the Mistletoe)" - Matty Ride
4. "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree" - Brooke Waggoner
5. "I Pray on Christmas" - Harry Connick, Jr.
6. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
7. "Holiday in L.A." - Band of Merrymakers
8. "Christmas Is Coming" - The Muppets
9. "Christmas Pics" - Barenaked Ladies
10. "Like a Gift From God or Whatever" - Chris Farren with Jenny Owen Youngs
11. "Mistletoe" - American Youth
12. "Hanukkah Dance" - Woody Guthrie
13. "Christmas TV" - Slow Club
14. "Last Month of the Year" - The Blind Boys of Alabama
15. "My Favorite Things" - Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra
16. "New Year's Resolution" - Otis Redding & Carla Thomas
17. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Bill Murray & Jenny Lewis
18. "Winter Weather" - Joe Williams & Harry "Sweets" Edison
19. "Ding Dong! Merrily on High" - The George Shearing Quintet
20. "Boots" - The Killers
21. "The Song the Season Brings" - Beta Radio
22. "Mvmt IV, 'Every Bell on Earth Will Ring'" - The Oh Hellos
23. "Silent Night" - Odessa

You can snag it here.

But that's not all! If you act now you can stream (most of) it on Spotify:

Per usual, you're not getting the full experience there, what with it leaving out seven songs. But sometimes convenience trumps completeness.

And that's that about that. I hope you enjoy this year's mix. Merry Christmas! I'm going to take a nap now.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Pumpkining II: 2 Sweet 2 Savory

Around this time last year my friend Suzanne and I competed in the first annual orange gourd-based cooking throwdown between us, The Pumpkining: Beyond Pumpkindome. She ran away with the top prize then - no surprise - and a good time was had by all.
Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!
However, with six desserts that we just had to eat, things got a bit too sweet that afternoon. (I almost lost a foot.) So we resolved that this year's edition would introduce some savory goodness into the mix.

And that's just what we did. Once again, she prepared most of her entries on the day prior. I planned on doing the same so things wouldn't be quite so hectic, but the day of the competition was unexpectedly (to me) moved up 24 hours. Things were quite hectic. Like Weezer predicted, though, everything was alright in the end.

Here were my submissions*:

I got tickets for Rush's fall tour, eh.
Pumpkin poutine (recipes for the pumpkin fries and the pumpkin nutmeg gravy) - Please note: due to the time crunch I wasn't able to go to the specialty cheese shop for curds, so I had to use Monteray Jack. My deepest apologies, Canucks.

Beat that, White Castle.
Pumpkin sliders topped with pumpkin BBQ sauce and pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies (recipes for the burgerssauce, and cookies; I added Muenster cheese to the sliders.)

And now Suzanne's entries:

Soup is good food.
Chipotle chicken and pumpkin soup (recipe)

Stack 'em high.
Pumpkin pie toffee (recipe)

I unwittingly ate cream cheese.
Pumpkin cream puffs (recipe)

By, uh, tradition the judge for the context is determined by who is occupying the house next door to Suzanne. This year she had new neighbors, with the esteemed critic being chocolate and black lab owner extraordinaire Kenica. Due to the spread out nature of the cooking, the contest unfortunately didn't provide blind submissions. Suzanne provided Kenica with her offerings first and then a few hours of palate cleansing later I served up mine.

And just how did she rank the dishes? I'm glad you asked!

A whole mess o' pumpkin.
Per her post on Instagram:

Very thankful to have been selected to be the judge for the neighbors annual #pumpkinrecipe #cookoff! It was hard to pick a winner because they all were so delicious and to be honest the top 3 all should be#numberone But I had to vote... 1. Pumpkin slider with pumpkin BBQ sauce (perfect hint of cinnamon and tang, it was so yummy it needs to be on a menu)
2. Pumpkin cream puff with marshmallow (this is dangerously good w a bit of honey and overall could be sold at the top bakeries #obsessed )
3. Pumpkin fries (the texture was just like sweet potato fries but was made with the actual pumpkin cuttings...amazed to say the least)
4. Pumpkin chicken bean soup (had an extra kick which I loved and I want the recipe)
5. Snicker doodle pumpkin cookies (not my fave but ended up eating 2, so I guess they were pretty good) lol
6. Pumpkin toffee bar (was a little sticky but I like this idea)
Overall, this was so fun and I'm very impressed with their kitchen skills and wish you all could've taken part in this tasting to get you into the pumpkin spirit!

Victory is mine! Success was evenly divided, though, with me taking the odd places (natch) and Suzanne with the even ones. I totally agree with Kenica. Everything turned out great this year. It was the first time that I've cooked with actual pumpkin and let me tell you that it was a bit of a chore. It took forever to prep them. The video embedded in the French fries recipe shows the woman using a potato peeler to remove the skin. HA! My attempts broke two peelers and bruised my knuckles. I recommend using a knife. Also: one of the four pumpkins I bought must be constructed out of stone and has made a career switch from food to front porch decoration.

Anyway, aside from a couple of setbacks, it was another fun culinary throwdown. But with success comes dread. I have to up my game somehow to defend my crown next year. How the heck am I going to do that? Blurgh. That's a year away, though. Now my priority is to decide on a Halloween costume. I'm thinking sexy autumnal food competition winner.

*Regrets? I got a few. Mostly that I didn't take better, more mouthwatering food porn pictures. I didn't bring my camera and was constantly busy cooking. Sorry.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Every summer I try to read an epic-length book. Several weeks ago I decided this year I'd give Gone With the Wind a try when I was done with my current book. (From Russia With Love; yep, still chipping away at those 007 books.) Then Charleston happened and I wasn't really feeling it. But after the increasing amount of ridiculous overcorrections that are only tangentially related to that tragedy and do absolutely nothing to absolve us for our past sins, my interest in the book was renewed.

Well, I'm a couple of chapters in and find it to be a beautifully written work, painting a vivid picture of the South through words. Did that version ever exist? Maybe, probably not. The fact that reading it now weirdly feels like a small act of defiance is a bonus, though. And more than a little bit sad. From immaculate sculptures to silly TV shows from 30 years ago about backwoods moonshiners never meaning no harm, we can appreciate and learn from art, its roots being good or bad, innocent or less than so. Let's put it in it's proper historical context, not completely eradicate it from our collective consciousness just because it displeases us today. I'm sure the Dixie Chicks would agree.