csberry: (pumaman)


I kinda stalled out with the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums because I hit a patch of albums which I enjoy. The first of which is the self-titled Santana album. It is a beautiful melding of rock, blues, Latino-influences, and jazz. Sure, “Evil Ways” grabbed my attention and stood out, but the album has consistently slipped into an accompaniment to my day; a very enjoyable partner for my ears, though. I have done a lot of work over the past couple of months with Santana as my soundtrack. I really don't want my use of the music as background to lessen the greatness that I hear. This is an outstanding collection of a jam band sounding like a jam band and not one forced to record soundbites of lengthy compositions they do live. I feel like I got a complete feel for what the band was like during that period.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Evil Ways”

Songs I Now Like: “Shades of Time”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


Man, I gotta say that the segue from Arcade Fire's Funeral to The Boss's Darkness on the Edge of Town was rather smooth...and somewhat painful. Both albums could serve as a soundtrack for a musical. There is no shortage of drama in these two albums.

If you are familiar with his music, there isn't anything shocking here. Darkness... contains the full range of The Boss's roots rock opera style. The production doesn't sound quite as elaborate as it has been on other albums. There is also a weariness in Bruce's voice on this album (especially “Badlands”) that add a sense of sadness to the anthems and tragedy to the ballads. Considering how feisty he is on so many of the songs, his ranting seems to have run him ragged.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: I'll say it. I truly like “Prove It All Night”. I now like two of Bruce's songs (“Glory Days”).

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “Adam Raised a Cain” gets this designation mostly because the bellowed chorus and tedious lead guitar.
csberry: (pumaman)


Arcade Fire came along when I wasn't paying much attention to “alternative” music. I knew what the lead singer looked like more than I was familiar with the band's music before listening to Funeral the past few weeks. They became my default image of what I saw (heard?) as a wave of overly precious, epic music with folk instrumentation. I came to this album both curious to see if my generalizations had any credibility or were way off.

My vague impressions weren't way off. While their songs may not be as anthemic as U2's, there is certainly a push for epic drama and songs to thrust your fist to. I came into this expecting to hear a bunch of modern folk rock. I was off there. This rocks more than what I expected.

The female vocalist sounds just like Bjork on “In the Backseat” and I get a bit of a thrill. But then, the instrumentation strikes me as very un-Bjork in its lack of quirk (rhythmic quirk, use of technological manipulation, choice of quirky instruments) and I get glum. It all balances out to feeling unimpressed.

While I liked the album more than I expected to, it did more to make me want to listen to Bjork, Modest Mouse, Polyphonic Spree, and other artists I heard in these songs than to listen to more Arcade Fire. I can see why a person would really like Funeral, but it just isn't my thing.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: “Rebellion (Lies)”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None I would actively avoid.
csberry: (pumaman)


As B-52's begins, otherwordly bleeps and bloops slowly emerge from the silence. A fan of B-movies might immediately anticipate a voiceover from some male authority figure setting up the premise of the movie. What follows, however, is a mish-mash of nostalgic touchstones of early 1960s youth with a heavy emphasis on science fiction. The B-52's put together a blend of surf rock, sci-fi movie soundtracks and lyrics, and punk with their cheesy 50s/60s nostalgia to create a party band unlike any before. Most of the songs have sci-fi or surrealist lyrics. But those songs seem perfectly in place next to the songs of romance and partying. This is a very inclusive party.

I have loved this album since hearing it in high school. Yes, I fully admit that Fred's speak-singing is a love-it-or-hate-it quality. For me and my childhood enjoyment of Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, and other “flamboyant” TV personalities, Fred fits into that niche. But it is hard to disparage the harmonized vocals of Cindy and Kate, especially on “52 Girls” and “6060-842”. Ricky's guitar choices are spare, choppy, and necessary despite how infrequently he dominates a song. He is constantly there but never thrusting himself in front of the others.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Planet Claire,” “Dance This Mess Around,” and “Rock Lobster”

Songs I Now Like: “52 Girls” and “Hero Worship” got a boost in my interest this time around for some reason.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


Maybe my recent listens to Paul's Boutique is to blame, but what stuck out for me about Low End Theory is how spare it is. At a time where sampling had evolved past what a DJ with two-turntables could perform live, the use of just a few samples as a bed for rapping and reserving most vocal and fanciful sampling for instrumental fills between verses.

While I'm not one to pay a lot of attention to lyrics, I was surprised with how Q-Tip pulled me in with lots of his lines. He delivered cool, measured, abstract verses, seemingly more interested in painting a picture than using his time at the mic for narrative. Fife is much more straight forward in his delivery. I see a lot of similarities between the personalities and combination of Q-Tip and Phife and the pairing of Big Boi and Andre' in Outkast where the cool, artsy guy shares the mic with the cool, jock guy.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Check the Rhime,” “Jazz (We've Got),” and “Scenario”

Songs I Now Like: “Buggin' Out,” “Butter,” and “Everything is Fair”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


I looked back at my review of the self-titled Howlin' Wolf album that I had already listened to for the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums list. Reading my review for that album, it seems that my opinion is mostly the same when listening to Moanin' in the Moonlight. One major difference between the debut and this album is that all of the songs on the debut were written by Willie Dixon and these songs are mostly Howlin' Wolf originals. Each song sounds as if recorded in a shack located on some dirt road. Howlin' Wolf's raspy vocals don't sound put on as a character but as the result of years of poor living and a tough life.

If you are looking to explore the blues, this should be a top candidate.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Smokestack Lightnin'”

Songs I Now Like: None jumped out to me.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


Very energetic blend of rock, punk, pop, 60's Girl bands, early Beatles pop balladry, and reggae. I have the band's greatest hits collection from a couple dozen years ago that gets pulled out sporadically and mostly as background music. I dunno if it is a matter of focus when listening to the greatest hits, but The Pretenders surprised me with how diverse the songs were.

“The Phone Call” reminds me a lot of bands such as The Breeders with slightly fuzzy, jangly guitars. Chrissie coos, croons, groan, growls, squeals, and snarls – sometimes throwing in all of those in one song. “Tattooed Love Boys” combines punk start-stop-start guitar chugging with rock lead guitar flourishes. The rhythm section on “Space Invader” reminds me a lot of KISS, but is juxtaposed with New Wave guitar runs.

This album is on my Buy list now.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Brass in Pocket”

Songs I Now Like: “The Phone Call,” “Kid,” and “Lovers of Today”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


Ok, I have a bit of an embarrassing confession. I have loved Paul's Boutique since college. My brother had Licensed to Ill and I thought they were fine, but wasn't interested in being a fan of a novelty group (Weird Al already kept that aspect occupied). I go off to college and all of these friends of mine have Paul's Boutique and would play it. I always enjoyed listening to the album and always intended to buy it but circumstances never seemed to lead to my actually acquiring a copy. So, before listening to the album now, I can't claim that much familiarity with the collection other than the three songs listed in the breakdown at the bottom because of the passivity of my previous listens.

As I read over the making of the album, I feel that it is important to add a bit of credit. The Beasties decided to ask the Dust Brothers to create the beats/samples for which the guys would rap over. It would seem that the Dust Brothers had been working on an “instrumental” album and many tracks from that album were used with nearly no changes other than the Beastie Boys rapping over them. Thus, the great majority of praise about the music behind the rapping belongs with the Dust Brothers (who would later work with Beck on Odelay). I feel this credit must be provided in my review because a HUGE reason why I enjoy Paul's Boutique is based on the backing track and not the rapping, so much. People frequently point to this album as the last great product of hip-hop before sampling clearance became much more difficult and costly to do. The breadth of source material and how well the different parts fit so well together is a fantastic feat to capture.

Where License to Ill came across as a group of white teens doing silly raps over metal guitars, Paul's Boutique presents these same three guys as earnest in their rap ambitions. Much of the metal samples are gone and the music sampled instead touches on iconic funk, soul, and R&B. The Beasties don't drop the humor at all, the subjects in which they demonstrate their wit and humor is different here, though. It would seem that the public was willing to embrace the Beastie Boys when they thought the guys were poking fun at rap (or, not taking rap “seriously”) but left once Paul's Boutique came out. “Hey Ladies” didn't evoke enough ridicule or novelty, so the group was painted with a brush that they had flamed out. When the truth seems to be that the guys were just too early to being white guys who are credibly labeled as rappers.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Shake Your Rump,” “Hey Ladies,” and “Shadrach”

Songs I Now Like: “Egg Man,” “The Sounds of Science,” and “B-Boy Bouillabaisse”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


Are The Cure and The Smiths too perky for you? Wonder what Jim Morrison may have done if he was a depressed Brit in the late 70s? I pity any poor souls that may have misinterpreted the band's name and expected something uplifting.

I hear a lot of bands while going through Closer, most of them coming after this album. I think there is an interesting overlap between Joy Division and Suicide, though. Closer had a much more varied sound than I had expected. What caught my attention most was the placement of rhythm above melody. All instruments seem to intertwine in poly-rhythms and riffs with vocals being largely responsible for melody. There were times where I felt the point of the instruments were to poke, prod, and cause discomfort to the listener, without going atonal or losing melody completely.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: Er, none.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: If I ever choose to listen to these songs again, it is because I am either extremely depressed and need love and support -OR- I'm studying to write/perform a character who is near suicide/death.
csberry: (pumaman)


Since this was made as a concept album (the tracks were written in order and conceived as a chronological tale of Elton's and Bernie's late 60's life), I decided to not listen to the tracks added later during CD reissues - “Lucy in the Sky (With Diamonds),” “One Day At a Time,” and “Philadelphia Freedom.”

I came into this expecting to like it but not to love it. After half a dozen listens, I'm very apathetic towards it. I acknowledge there is a lot going on. These are complex pop songs with internal shifts in tempo and sometimes even genre. There is a full band and every member seems to get times to shine. This isn't a solo act recorded here.

I can see how some people call Captain Fantastic... a “grower.” On my first listens, my brain kept going, “Ugh, I don't like that, but overall this isn't bad.” But the last couple of listens seemed to have a lot of “...but this is the part of the song I really like!” Whether or not you enjoy the creation, I don't think one can deny the workmanship, the craftmanship which is on display on this album.

My usual apologies for my lyrical disinterest. I'm certain that may have helped boost my interest in Captain Fantastic since I did enjoy the album more when sporting headphones (where I find it a bit harder to ignore the lyrics).

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”

Songs I Now Like: “Better Off Dead”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


You wanted the best; you got the best! KISS Alive! is a great example and superb template on how to make a great live album.
1. Make it a double album to take advantage of the event-like feel of listening to the whole album.
2. Crank up the audience noise and applause. Provide the feeling of actually being at the concert, except...
3. Make it the best sounding the band could ever possibly be in concert. If that means overdubs or edits in the studio later, then so be it.
I kept comparing Alive! with The Who Live at Leeds. While The Who captured fairly well the energy and sound of the band live, Alive! is more immersive and polished. At a time before MTV and YouTube, the fact any kid in America could buy this album and look at the pictures while hearing this feels powerful to me even now.

On Alive!, Paul Stanley is the hottest man and coolest guy on the planet. Ace shreds and crunches on the guitar. Gene thumps, stomps, and roars through the concert. And Peter propels all of this along with the pounding of the drums. This is loud rock. This is fun rock. This is a party, not an art performance.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Rock And Roll All Nite” was the only live version I had previously known.

Songs I Now Like (in which I was unaware of the studio version): "Parasite"

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: Good God, the drum solo in "100,000 Years" is just...ARGH!
csberry: (pumaman)


This is the album that launched glam rock in the United Kingdom. The album doesn't come across as glam from beginning to end, but most of the songs are clearly foundations for music to come. It seems like a bridge between psychedelic-infused rock and glam rock more than the entirety being a statement for a new sound.

The songs are fairly simple rock and roll with catchy, hook-filled, bubblegum lyrics and feel to the music. Sex is pulled right up to the forefront despite (?) the heavy pop influence.

After numerous listens, I have mixed feelings on the album. I've got to give it historical and inspirational credit. It is when I just think about the music coming out of my speakers that I feel a little better than lukewarm. I've pondered what my feelings would be if I listened to only the glam-rock foundational songs on the album, but I'm honestly just not THAT invested into completely dissecting an album at #160. I'll never make it to #1 if I start going so deep now. ;)

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”

Songs I Now Like: “Cosmic Dancer,” “Planet Queen,” and “The Motivator”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “Lean Woman Blues” isn't particularly bad but it became a song I started to skip and “Rip Off” which sounds like a song from The Muppets' Dr. Teeth.
csberry: (pumaman)


The first couple of times I put The Dock of the Bay on, it just kind of cruised by; pleasant, but completely not hooking me. There was something disjointed about the album. The obvious thing was how different “(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay” is from the rest of the songs. This is where history had to come into play. The Dock of the Bay was released shortly after his death, with the famous single being an indication of a change Otis was making in his artistic direction. With that background, this album serves not as a greatest hits but as a sketch of his career and the title song indicating the bright possibilities that never happened.

It's a nice sounding album; just doesn't really do anything for me. The Dock of the Bay shows his powerful voice, energetic examples of Southern soul, and heart-wrenching, gospel-inspired ballads of him pleeeeeaaaaading, baby, pleading.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay”

Songs I Now Like: “I Love You More Than Words Can Say” (which screamed for Lenny Kravitz to cover, IMO) and “Old Man Trouble”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None I would particularly avoid.
csberry: (pumaman)


While I liked the singles okay, I didn't get pulled into the critical hoopla over OK Computer when it came out. For whatever reason, I never really wanted to explore the album much. I think I checked it out of the library, put it on once, and returned it a week later. This time around, I spent enough time with OK Computer to get a feel for it and admire it.

I've said it before that Radiohead became my generation's Pink Floyd on this album (certainly a fair argument could be had on whether Radiohead or Flaming Lips are more Floydesque – I'd argue that FL are Syd-era and Radiohead is post-Syd Pink Floyd). The musical foundation here is on the blending of slashing and echoing guitars with electronic tricks and moans. It doesn't wallow in reverb like the shoegazers. OK Computer brings the vocals to the front which invites study of the lyrics and the mood those words convey are paired nicely with the instrumentation.

One of my first impressions when the album was released was how sluggish the singles were. The few album tracks I snagged online didn't change that impression. Thankfully, there are songs like “Electioneering” that keep the mood, but jolts some energy into the tempo.

Oh, I now realize that MGMT basically founded their group on songs that are revisions of “Climbing Up the Walls.”

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Paranoid Android,” “Karma Police,” and “No Surprises”

Songs I Now Like: “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” “Electioneering,” and “Lucky”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “Fitter Happier” can't stand on its own but seems perfect when heard as one moment in an album.
csberry: (pumaman)
I'm a bit surprised that I have yet to write up this experience from college on LJ, so here we go. I don't know how many folks who know me have heard this one.

I think it was my second year at Bama. Dick Dale was scheduled to play at The Chukker (R.I.P.). Alas, I was still under 21 and Dick would be playing on a weekend - when a doorman would certainly be there to collect cover as well as check IDs. My usual weeknight trips with no doorman would do me no good on this night. That was until I started thinking through my observations.

The Chukker was close to Theatre Tuscaloosa (where I would spend many a late night working on a set) and another bar I could get into. One thing I had noticed was that the doorman at The Chukker let the drag queens and cross dressers that would wander over from Michael's come in without asking for IDs. A plan was afoot!

Thankfully, I had some good friends who had wardrobe that would work for me. I know that Sandee Curry has a pic somewhere of me in a bra and skirt in the midst of this gender conversion. I got all dolled up. All I was missing was a wig, but we did the best we could with my hair.

We get to the door, a few folks in front of me get carded, I get up to the doorman, and he merely asks me to pay the cover. It worked! I got in! I did get to see The King of Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, play live. Yes, it is true that the man melts a guitar pick during the course of each song. One of the more amazing guitar performances I've seen.

BUT WAIT...

So, while all that is great and all, the greatest moment actually happened in the middle of the concert. There I was jamming out to Dick Dale, when I feel a hand go around my torso. I feel a body getting really close behind me. Then I feel breath on my neck just before I hear a man's voice nearly yell something along the lines of,"You're really beautiful."

I do my damnedest not to flinch or burst into laughter. I slowly turned to him and said something like, "Thanks, I'm not told I'm beautiful often" in my most baritone tones. His eyes bulged, his face went slack, and this poor guy who probably wandered away from The Strip for the first time (frat t-shirt tucked into his khaki Dockers) slowly backed away from me while taking a big gulp from his bottle of beer.

csberry: (pumaman)


163!? #163 for 1999?! *flabbergasted*

1999 is one of my top desert island album selections! How could one of the greatest party albums of all time end up down here? You have a collection of radio-ready singles to start things off and then the songs get stretched out for your dancing and partying pleasure. It even slows down at the end to cap off your after-hours party.

It is on 1999 that Prince hit his stride and developed a sound that would be identified as his from that moment on. While I understand others may prefer Purple Rain to 1999, but to me, the later collection seemed like it was Prince merely polishing up the previous album and condensing it for mass consumption. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I tend to prefer the slightly wandering explorations of artists with songs which may have a few rough edges.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Delirious,” “Let's Pretend We're Married,” “Automatic,” “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute),” and “Lady Cab Driver”

Songs I Now Like: No new changes

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)


This album used to be #324 on the Rolling Stone list. At the time that I came across it, I was really annoyed with this album being listed. The Rolling Stone list was created in 2003 and this album came out in 2002. I called “Shenanigans” on that since I felt that anyone that put “Linda Ronstadt's greatest hits” on their ballot meant the 1976 collection that sold over 20 million copies and can be found in a majority of Baby Boomer record collections.

With the album now at this position, I felt a need to actually listen to this compilation to see how the hell it ended up shooting up to 164. So I went to Spotify and couldn't find it. I then checked online to discover that the album is now out of print.

I just don't see the point in my reviewing the album at all now when I have 163 great albums I still need to listen to.
csberry: (pumaman)


How many albums can you put on for a romantic atmosphere and there's not a single track that you end up skipping most/all of the time? Let's Get It On should sit right next to the bedroom stereo so you always have it easily available. The mood is set and maintained during this eight-song album.

“If I Should Die Tonight” grabs my attention each and every listen. The lyrics, the feeling in his voice, and the smoothness of the musical accompaniment are soul gold. The songs do vary some from balladry to mid-tempo love testaments. Add in the “love grunts” in “You Sure Love to Ball,” and the purpose of the album is unmistakeable. I've kind of lingered on Let's Get It On thanks to how enjoyable it is. Now that I got a copy for Christmas, I'm ready to get this review published and move along.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Let's Get It On”

Songs I Now Like: “If I Should Die Tonight” and “You Sure Love to Ball” stand out from the other good songs.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix from season 2 to the end. That lead to my watching all of ST:Deep Space Nine, ST:Voyager, and now ST:Enterprise. As I enter the second half of Enterprise's final season, I have been evaluating the series and comparing it to the other Star Trek series. I have come to the conclusion that Enterprise is my favorite of the series I've seen.

ST:TNG is classic. It is sci-fi drama, romance, adventure, comedy, with a wealth of potential environments thanks to interstellar travel, time travel, and the holodeck. Jean Luc is a svelte, intelligent captain. Kirk's overblown ego and sexual beast is moved to second in command, Riker. It is a good ensemble cast. The crew was on a mission of exploration and "humanitarian" assistance to the universe. And one of my favorite ST secondary characters, Q, originates here. The Federation is really damn squeaky clean. Over the seven seasons, there was the miserable first season followed by a period of growth, a couple of seasons of cruising, wound down with a season where the writers indulged their whims on storylines, and yet TNG ended with such a fantastic finale. While ENT is my favorite, I must state that TNG is the best ST series.

BUT... The squeaky cleanness started to wear thin near the end. Wesley Crusher or Troi centered episodes were usually my least favorites. While there were some superbly written episodes, there were certainly a good number of duds and dullards sprinkled around.

ST:VOY comes closest to TNG of the other series. Captain Katherine Janeway personifies the idealism of the Federation as she faces the struggle of being on the opposite side of the galaxy with little to no support from others. Where Enterprise on TNG seemed to spend just a portion of its episodes exploring unknown regions of the galaxy, Voyager was forced to spend most of its episodes with completely new aliens to the ST universe. On the ship, Tom Parris spent quite a bit of time on the holodeck playing a Flash Gordon-esque holo-novel. Voyager embraces that approach of adventure and action for the fun of it.

BUT... The show's increase in action sometimes came to the detriment of the plot. The deflector dish became the writers' magical Swiss Army knife. I hate Harry Kim. It cannot be emphasized enough...I HATE Harry Kim and I think both the character and the actor are to blame. And because I watched Voyager after Deep Space Nine (which had some series-long, multi-season long, and multiple episode story arcs), the fact that the only serial aspect of Voyager seemed to be the ship's distance from Earth became a bit annoying to me. Damage done to the ship and trauma that happened to the crew during a story was often forgotten or "cured" before the next episode.

ST:DS9 directly rejected the purity of the Federation. It was darker (literally and figuratively) than previous Star Trek series. DS9 embraced, for better or worse, that many story plots would affect the characters in subsequent episodes. There were few episodes in which the characters seemed to have a reset between episodes. Because of that, Sisko and other characters change from the first episode to the last. Many of the characters have depth rather than a foundation/stereotype which merely reacts to whatever the plot throws at them. I enjoyed the spiritual aspect that was thread throughout the series. And I came to love the slyness of Garak and the pompous display of the classic villain who is the hero in his own mind with Dukat. But it was the character and acting performance of Weyoun by Jeffrey Combs that really grabbed me. I would gladly go back and only watch shows that focused on these three secondary characters.

BUT... There was a horrible section in the series where the Klingons kinda distracted the series from where it was headed. The Dominion War seemed to oddly shift back and forth, as if the writers hadn't developed the exit before going into it. The writers' love of torturing O'Brien started to get old. OMG, where the hell did Bashir's character-changing reveal come from!? While I LOVE Quark, Nog and his son grew to annoy me, and nearly every other Ferengi was overbearing. The parallel with Ferengi and the Three Stooges was frequently too close to the surface for me. I think I ended up tuning out several of the Ferengi-focused episodes in the last couple of seasons (especially the ones involving Quark's mom or the Grand Nagus). And, although it was properly grand and tied up numerous loose ends, the finale was rather frustrating.

With ST:ENT, I feel like it combines my favorite aspects of all of the above series. Starfleet is young and The Federation isn't fully formed, thus the idealism is forming but it is constantly at conflict with circumstances. While not spanning as wide as on ST:DS9, there are more long story arcs and character development. This crew of the Enterprise really are exploring strange, new worlds...that are yet somewhat primally familiar with Trekkers. There is a level of spirituality that makes appearances here (spurned by the Vulcans here, instead of DS9's Bajorans). There is quite a bit of action, but doesn't sacrifice plot or take easy outs like the writers frequently did on VOY. I thought I really enjoyed Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun, but I love him even more as the blue-skinned Shram on ENT.

BUT... I have gotten a bit annoyed with the level of emotion displayed by the Vulcan T'Pol (although there is a plot point that attempts to allow the writers to loosen her emotions for a while). When ENT first aired, I was a periodic watcher and only caught bits and pieces of the Xindi storyline. My recollection was I was annoyed by the military aspect that I didn't expect from a Star Trek series. Watching it now, I caught the show from the beginning and saw how Starfleet struggled between pure exploration and matching up militarily with beings antagonistic against them. But I do see ENT-critics' point about the use of force.

In the end, though, ENT shines because the number of shows that blew me away were numerous, the shows I didn't like were rare, and there aren't any characters that make me want to mute when they are on screen or skip episodes focused on them. I don't think ENT is really different from the other Star Trek series, although it and DS9 probably sit on one side of a Star Trek seesaw with TNG and VOY on the other side.
csberry: (pumaman)
A couple of weekends ago, my little brother got married. Mike/Shortlegs married Amanda Rose on Nov 22, 2014 at the Church of the Assumption in Nashville's historic Germantown neighborhood.

I'd rather get this posted now kinda dirty than never post it because I'm busy trying to put everything in some sort of laid-out prose form...so prepare yourself for bullets!

* Mike asked me to be his best man, which meant I would be expected to provide a toast/speech at the rehearsal dinner on Friday night and at the wedding reception on Saturday evening. I tossed ideas around in my head for a while, but didn't settle on the theme for each toast until a couple of days beforehand. The bulk of both toasts were cobbled out and set in order within 24 hours of my giving them. I was also in charge of the wedding rings and I lost neither ring.

* The rehearsal dinner was at Husk in SoBro(?) (South of Broadway in downtown, just inside the interstate inner-loop) where we had fancy rustic food in their "stable" behind the main building. My toast during the dinner quickly noted that I don't have blackmail stories to share about Amanda, I know Mike keeps things to himself so I shouldn't share his blackmail material, so I was thus forced to talk about myself. I talked about how this marriage was killing the vicarious bachelor life I've lived through Mike and our bachelor weekends when I would visit. Those bachelor weekends ended with my coming home to family. Now, M&A were creating their own home...and in a dozen years when JD and I are empty nesters, M&A could live vicarious empty-nester lives through us.

* One of the bridesmaids shared the story of "Charlie." During her college years, Amanda worked out the qualities of her ideal man and gave that ideal man the "Charlie" moniker. For years, when the bridesmaid would talk to Amanda about who she was dating, she would ask if the guy was Charlie. Amanda never felt compelled to say yes. That is, until she met Mike/Ben. When the bridesmaid talked to Amanda after her first date with Mike, Amanda quickly volunteered that he was the "Charlie" she had been searching for.

* JD had a lot of wine to drink and got more drunk than I've seen her in a few years. She just couldn't stop herself from telling everyone how drunk she was.

* Woke up the morning of the wedding feeling discombobulated with a nagging feeling that I had or was about to drop a ball. It was about then that I got a text message from Mike about just bringing my wedding clothes instead of wearing them to lunch. Yup, 45 minutes later I was picked up from the hotel and spent the rest of the day with the groom, his men, and photographers. We had lunch at BLVD (I had a hot chicken sandwich, a goblet of Chimay white, and a glass of Yazoo's Dos Perros) and then headed to the bed & breakfast to get changed in the groom's suite.

* If there was a wedding tradition or superstition, Amanda tried to use them all in their favor. So, the first time M&A saw each other on their wedding day was when she appeared at the door at the back of the sanctuary. I know she was starting to cry before coming down. Since I was behind Mike for much of the time, I will take the maids' comments of Mike also crying on face value.

* The reception allowed me to enjoy more Yazoo beer by having Dos Perros available. Would have rocked if the hefe or Sly Rye Porter were available...

* The wedding reception toast I gave focused on Mike's multiple names and titles. Despite being named "Benjamin Michael Berry," my parents decided to call him "Mike." First he was my baby brother (insert memories here), then he was by little brother (insert memories here), before coming my teen brother (insert memories here) and getting the nickname of "Shortlegs" from Dad. At Auburn, Mike became Benjamin, then Benji, and finally Ben. He was an architect student, then became a landscape architect. Now he was taking on a new title - "Husband" - and so a new name - "Charlie" - was also at hand. I wished them well as Mike/Michael/Shortlegs/Ben/Benji/Benjamin continues to evolve into newer and greater titles.

* It was really good to see most of the relatives come to the wedding. There were some kids of one of my cousins that didn't come, but I got to see some of the Auburn wing of the family that I haven't seen in a decade or so.

* The Berry clan danced. And danced. I think Calvin logged the most time on the dance floor. I was second, Harper and JD were close at third, and Nigel was just barely behind them since he seemed the least certain on how to dance. I did the splits twice and came home with a baseball-sized bruise on the inside of my right knee from one or both of those splits. My FIL, Andy, took quite a bit of video of us all dancing. Once I've edited the video to compensate for his flipping the phone landscape after starting recording in portrait, I'll post a link.

* Amanda's family are Italian by heritage, so there were some Italian songs thrown into the mix. As things were winding down, the DJ asked for all of the Italians to get up on the dance floor. While that was going on, I sat in my seat pondering what ethnicity could possibly be used for my family. We're pretty darn "Southern" with one great-grandmother that was French and another that was Cherokee. I didn't think of the obvious, until the song was over and the DJ segued into "Sweet Home Alabama." It was then that my entire, extended family got out on the dance floor. Folks who wouldn't come to the floor for "The Twist" or any other song for the past 3 hours leapt from their tables and waved their hands above their heads.

* Danced so much at the reception, I found myself STARVED when we got back to the hotel. Thankfully, Hattie B's Hot Chicken was basically right across the street, so I got some hot tenders and tried Turtle Anarchy's Portly Stout while I waited for my order to be done.

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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