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some of my favorite music videos growing up. [88 mph.]

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s stuff off the top of my head that I remember being in love with at some point during my childhood. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some big ones, but if the list had been exhaustive it would have gone on for weeks worth of video. When huge ones come to mind, maybe I will do a part two or something.

Some pretty awesome stuff on here, and some pretty embarrassing stuff on here. Don’t judge me… okay, judge me a little bit.

They are in no particular order. Not even chronological.

What were your favorite music videos?



Watch closely, and you will see that this video features another Philly icon who would someday become my favorite Philadelphian… Mr. ?uestlove.


/ a lifetime of memories / goin’ down the drain / i’d like to keep stepping, but i can’t get past the pain! /



I was five when this came out, and it’s the first video I can remember being my favorite music video.









In due time, “Thriller” would become my favorite video of all time. Yet, when I was a little kid it scared the living shit out of me. These were my favorite Michael Jackson videos, instead. So many of them.


shai. [88 mph.]

Once one begins travelling down the road of memory, he quickly finds it to be a tricky one to get off of, because each exit has another delightful distraction. Yes, it might as well be a one way street. A one way street that is paved by YouTube.

I was so in love with Shai. I listened to and sang their songs, alone and with my little brother, countless times. Endlessly.

Their biggest hit, “If I Ever Fall In Love”, (for me, the a capella version is the only version) gets stuck in my head all the time, to this day.

And, “This is the Place Where You Belong”, from the soundtrack to the cinematic masterpiece, Beverly Hills Cop III. 

My ten and twelve year old self listened to these songs like hymns. Over and over and over.

God, I miss the soulful harmonies of 1990’s R&B groups.



some reminiscing, including the early 1990’s charlotte hornets. [88 mph.]

I lay here in bed in the wee small hours of the morning, beginning my last day as a 20something. It makes sense that I reminisce, looking back on all of the things that have made my life what it is for my first three decades in this world.

So many things come to mind unbidden, many of these things make perfect sense. I loved pop culture early, so as far back as my memory goes I can think of all sorts of awesomeness, and plenty of embarrassment as well.

The first icon I idolized: Michael Jackson.The first record I owned: “Born in the USA” (I also owned “Bad” and Lionel Ritchie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling”). The first tape I owned: Bon Jovi’s New Jersey. The first concert anyone ever took me to: Rod Stewart. The first baseball game I ever attended: Yankee Stadium, Yankees vs. Royals, Mattingly homered. Favorite childhood pajamas: glow in the dark Superman symbol. The first CD I ever bought, BLACKstreet, by Blackstreet. I remember when my favorite bands were A Tribe Called Quest, Boyz II Men and Shai. My brother Matthew and I used to watch Newsies and Bedknobs and Broomsticks every weekend. Also, as much as I hate Michael Bay in my old age, I’ve actually seen Bad Boys and The Rock over a dozen times each (“What’dya say we cut the chitchat, A-Hole?!?”). There was a time when my favorite television shows were The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Simpsons, and Martin (yup, that’s right, Martin)[this also explains why I was so excited when Bad Boys came along]. I remember the summer that Jurassic Park and Robin Hood: Men in Tights came out, easily solidifying my belief that the movie theater was the greatest place in the universe, where very special things can happen.

I remember imagining I was turning into a superhero as I pulled up my underoos, just like in the commercial. I remember Thundercats, Gummy Bears, DuckTales, and later on, Animaniacs. I also remember making sure my grandma called me in from the basketball court at 4:30 every afternoon so I never missed Batman: The Animated Series. I remember the awe of Captain EO at Disney World. The earliest movies I remember seeing in the theater are Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Little Mermaid, Look Who’s Talking, and Oliver & Co. I remember seeing Sharon, Lois, and Bram do The Elephant Show live. I also remember wishing Bram was my dad. That was a cool live experience, but not as cool as when I got to go see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour.

One person I didn’t think would come to mind, but who was actually the guy who got this whole trip down memory lane started: Kendall Gill.

Growing up, my dad didn’t like sports, and my mom only liked baseball and football. Basketball was a complete mystery to me, but it was something I thought seemed pretty awesome from a distance. One night, with a Sonics/Rockets game on TNT, I decided I would teach myself the rules of basketball by watching it on television. I found what would become my first great sports love. Eventually I would settle into a long, initially happy though obsessive, eventually miserable marriage with the New York Knickerbockers. However, before the Knicks, there were the Charlotte Hornets. My God how I fell in love with the Charlotte Hornets. They were young and cool. They had awesome teal and purple uniforms. They had a crazy dunking mascot guy.

They had Kendall Gill, as well as sixth man Dell Curry. They also had up-and-coming superstar Alonzo Mourning. I had this poster on my wall (along with Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk as a Colt).

He would go on to join the Miami Heat, bitter rivals of my beloved New York Knicks. In a brawl between the two teams, (a fight started between Zo and former Hornets teammate Larry Johnson) Jeff Van Gundy would literally be dragged around on the floor while holding onto Zo’s leg. Good times. Here’s low quality video of the event:


Speaking of which, they had former UNLV star (the last time UNLV was remotely relevant) Larry “Grandmama” Johnson. The one and only reason I started wearing Converse shoes.

He would go on to make more head fakes as a New York Knick than any other Knick in history, ever. Like, seriously, so many head fakes. It didn’t even make any sense.

He would also be a part of one of my five favorite Knicks moments ever.

Oh yeah, in Muggsy Bogues and they had a star PG who was only 5’3″. 5’3″!!! Let me just point out that if you are a short kid, whose last name also happens to be Small, being able to look up to… or sideways at… a 5’3″ NBA player is kind of the best thing that can happen to you. When kids in my fourth grade class started calling me Muggsy, I considered my life dramatically improved.

Oh, Charlotte Hornets. I’ve since moved onto a tumultuous relationship with the Knicks, and you’ve since moved on from Charlotte, but I will always cherish the memories. If you’re interested, we’re looking for a team to move to Seattle with the Sonics gone, so if you’re interested in a name change, it’s a great city to play in. Look me up when you get here.


two more things.

Over the last few days, I’ve been able to join five of my favorite human beings in watching the following:

1. The Hunger Games

Right up until this film came out, I was worried it wouldn’t be good. I felt like so many of the previews and such I saw for the film was underwhelming. I was actually pleasantly surprised when the critical response to the film was so strong. Either way, no amount of poor marketing was going to keep me from seeing it, because I loved the books. Also, it must have just been me who didn’t like the marketing, because people are going to see it in droves.

Anyway. In my opinion, the movie was absolutely wonderful. It was a much, much higher level of film-making than I was expecting. It was smart, understated, literate, and coherent from beginning to end. I have my gripes, which will be the case any time a beloved book is turned into a film, but all in all I was so happy with the film. I was completely engaged from beginning to end. Great storytelling/filmmaking.

2. Mad Men, Season Five Premiere

I’ve seen conflicting responses to the most watched episode in Mad Men history. My response is that it was a really engaging episode. I thought it was funnier than the show has been in some time, as well as skillful in setting up the coming season without giving us a boring ‘set-up’ episode, as shows are often wont to do, especially after such a long time away.

Things are pretty good in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which can’t last. We’ve got three seasons to go, so sooner rather than later, shit’s going to get real.


mass effect 3. [things i’m thankful for #30]

This makes ME3 something I’m doubly thankful for, in that I previously posted that I was thankful there were only 17 days left until the release. As long as things continue to go well, there will be a third ME3 post on its way in the future. There have been some complaints out in the world of ‘gamers’ about the game, which I am willfully choosing not to look into, so that I can experience the game fresh. For the most part, I don’t take gamer complaints very seriously anyway. Gamers are infamous for being remarkably abusive, over tiny details, toward the people who pour their lives into making the things that gamers love… games. However, that is best left for another post. Suffice it to say that, for now, I’m not taking the complaints too seriously.

I’m not as far into the game as I would like to be. That’s a good thing. I have been good about keeping myself away from turning it on, knowing that it will suck me in once I do. The game had its slow, awkward moments getting started, but once things got rolling it got really good, really fast. While strong sales will probably be enough to bring forth a Mass Effect 4, this was designed as a trilogy, making ME3 the end of the story arch.

The end could be woefully terrible, but so far it has been genuinely satisfying as a closing chapter in the story. For those who know nothing about the series, the game forces the player to make decisions throughout the game, and those decisions not only have repercussions later in the same game, but your save data carries over from previous games so that Mass Effect 3 begins somewhat differently for everyone who played the first two games. The decisions I made in ME1 and 2 are coming home to roost in ways that I never could have predicted. At times, having done the right thing in the earlier games is making for really tough decisions in this game. I already saw the eradication of an entire species because of a call my Commander Shepherd had to make.

As a video game, there will still always be parts of the story that are overly simplistic, and the romance is really unsatisfying and silly. However, with that being said, so far, the story has been smart, coherent, and engaging on a character level. As would be expected in a story about the impending doom of the entire Milky Way, not everyone is going to make it out alive. No matter what decisions you make, some characters are still going to die. I’m not going to lie, even though it is just a video game, I’ve had a hard time making some of the decisions I’ve had to make so far, wondering what the implications might be for my favorite characters as a result.

Not only is Mass Effect 3 worth a playthrough, but the first two games hold up fairly well, so it would even be worth checking out the first two if you haven’t. At least play Mass Effect 2. Good times.

I’ll report back once I beat the game to let you all know what I think after all is said and done. As always, without spoilers, unless otherwise noted.


‘bitterblue’, and early copies of books. [things i’m thankful for #28]

Streeeeaaam of consciousness…. and…. go:

There are a number of benefits that go along with the fact that Emily and I hope to live in the literary world for the rest of our lives. The benefit I am most excited about, behind getting paid to do something I love (if that ever actually comes to pass), is getting advanced copies of books. This is especially true when a book is the newest installment in a series I’ve loved, as was the case when Emily got her hands on an advanced copy of Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. The newest book in the Seven Kingdoms series, it is a direct sequel to Graceling, and a companion to Fire. 

If you haven’t read either of those books, I highly recommend them. They’re certainly not for everyone, but Emily and I really enjoy them. I find them to be immensely readable, with engaging characters who are never overly simple emotionally. All three books are centered on unique heroines who Cashore allows to be a complex mix of traits that never fall into easy masculine and feminine categories.

Cashore’s characters are engaging to me because they get at something of what it means to be struggling to understand who we are, and where we fit into the world. Her characters are always wrestling with their own light and darkness. Each story is driven by the journeys of young women attempting to take control of their lives, of their sexuality, of their power, and of their agency in a broken world.

I won’t go into much detail about Bitterblue, because it isn’t out yet and I don’t want to get into trouble. I only really sat down with it 3 or 4 times to read the entire 550 page book, so clearly I enjoyed my reading experience. As is the case with the first two novels in the series, Cashore’s villains are capable of remarkably evil things, much like we see in the real world. Cashore doesn’t pull punches, which is one of the reasons these books probably aren’t for everyone. When imagining what a psychopath might do with absolute power over the will of another person, her psychopaths go as far as a psychopath would go. Yet, it is the darkness that Cashore doesn’t hide from that makes the light in her novels believable and meaningful to me. When someone writes of hope by pretending everything usually works out okay for everyone, then it’s too false to be worth my time. There has never been a world where things work out okay for everyone, quite the opposite. In the end, everyone dies, we just need to live in a way that squeezes as much joy and beauty and love out of our experiences as we can get. As Tolkien and Lewis have taught in the past, fantasy is at its best when it doesn’t function as an escape from the world, but instead functions as metaphor that helps us see the world more deeply. I think Cashore’s strong metaphors of story, violence, sexuality, and power make her work an example of exactly that. Her work can help us look at our own stories more carefully and graciously, so we can offer something to those around us that makes our painful lives a bit more beautiful, while also facing the pain of our lives with our eyes wide open.

All three books are worth your time.



the worst, coolest, most amazing, terrible idea of my life!

Okay, folks. This post is a bit of a whirlwind, because my life has been a bit of a whirlwind of late. The time for drastic measures to be taken is overdue. I am thus making a huge decision, along with Emily, while officially stepping into pursuing: The worst, coolest, most amazing, terrible idea of my life!!

So, where to begin?

I had the job at Java Bean, and it was one of the most toxic environments I’ve ever had the misfortune to operate in. After a few short months, I quit, to find work elsewhere. The plan was that I would spend the time it took to find new work writing full-time. Instead, before having a chance to catch my breath, I got called to interview for a job I never even officially applied for, working 8-5 every day at the UW School of Dentistry. Emily and I both knew that it would be a risky move to accept that job, because my insomnia-ridden, depressed mind probably couldn’t handle working those sorts of hours at a job I didn’t like. However, upon getting offered the job I accepted, because it just seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.

Big mistake. Word from the experienced: if you are an insomniac diagnosed with ‘Major Depression’ of a chronic nature, don’t accept a job sitting in a depressing, windowless room for 9 hours a day moving charts around a dental clinic and telling people who call in that they owe you 32 bucks for access to their own dental records. Bad idea. Even though I really like the ladies I worked with, I hated the job and that caught up with me, contributing to the end of Cymbalta’s limited effectiveness in my body and destroying my ability to function.

It really was a blessing in disguise that I got fired, because I really did desperately hate that job so much. However, even though Emily kept telling me I should leave, I couldn’t bring myself to admit defeat, because I couldn’t bear willingly failing at two jobs in a row. It was too much for me. It made me feel like I was going to fail at everything, failing out of two jobs in such a short period of time. Well, I still failed out of two jobs, but the whole thing was taken out of my hands altogether because my boss’s boss was a dick and fired me without giving me a fair chance to explain what was going on.

The day that I got fired I texted my friend Eric to see if he could help me get a job at his coffee shop, because they are opening a new location here in Ballard. It looked like things were falling together for that to be my new job, less than a week after getting fired from UW. But, then I had the insane interview that I wrote about the other day, and I was left at square one.

All this time, I kept having this nagging thought in my head that maybe I should stop talking about writing as a pipe dream, and make a really stupid commitment to live off of savings for six months so that I could write full time, trying to finish a novel and build up other writing experience so that I actually have a portfolio to speak of.

This nagging idea moved back to the forefront of my mind again when I had the terrible interview, so I finally decided to bring it up with Emily to see what her thoughts were. A big part of me assumed that she would offer some perspective as to why that was a really stupid idea, but maybe also offer a compromise where we could do something similar but a lot less insane. Instead, her response when I shared my idea was, “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that a lot, too.”

Well, things came together pretty quickly after that. We talked to the moms. We did our best to talk each other out of it. And, at the end of that process, we’re doing it. For the next six to nine months, I am going to dedicate all of my time and energy to writing.

The various writing I am going to try to do are:

1. I’m writing a novel. It’s called The Last Guardian. I have a general outline for the story, my three main characters, and a prologue that has come a long way in the last two weeks, going from mediocre, to becoming something over the last few days that I am actually really getting excited about.

2. I’ll be trying to blog much more often, with actual writing as opposed to just posting random videos and stuff. I’ll still be posting random videos and stuff, but I want to be writing more in the really informal setting I enjoy here at RtM. This will also include trying to pump some essays out to send to various online publications that will at least get my name out there.

3. I have several avenues I am pursuing through friends, where I will offer my writing services for free, or close to free, so that I can get some more legitimate writing projects under my belt. That way, by the time this is all over, hopefully I can apply for a writing job and actually get it, while also building relationships with people who can help me keep work coming in steadily. I’ll also probably try and take a grant writing class so that I can officially pursue that avenue of employment as well.

Anyway, there you have it. The worst, coolest, most amazing, terrible idea of my life. I’m getting over being really sick the last few days, but I’m still really excited about this! I hope some of you will come along for the ride!


win win, and more generally, thomas mccarthy. [things i’m thankful for #26]

I loved this movie. Everyone should watch it.

I fell in love with all of the characters early on, and delighted in them for 106 minutes. I want to write like Thomas McCarthy does. All three of the films he’s written and directed are perfect (The Station Agent, Win Win, The Visitor. He also wrote the story for Up.)

He’s a master at writing these small, intimate stories that restore my hope in the beauty of interpersonal relationships and the power we have to love each other, and heal each other, and just how much we all need one another. It was exactly the movie I needed, at exactly the right moment. Right down the The National playing over the closing credits.

Seriously. Watch this movie.