Lists to learn about life

A brief post. I never realized economic history was a thing until I started listening to Brad DeLong’s lectures on the American Economic History. I would love to learn more about the subject so any book recommendations would be welcome. Here are some books that I’m going to read to start myself off on international economic history. The first few (besides Guns, Germs, and Steel):

The Auteurs has also compiled a list of Criterion Collection titles on Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature. It’s handy to have a quick index of good movies for times of need. Some titles to tantalize:

  • Solaris
  • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Rashomon
  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Revanche

Food bloggin’

The Times has a great collection of links to the best food blogs that are clogging the tubes. I am saddened that Smitten Kitchen isn’t number one – because it’s definitely way better than Orangette – and the lack of an Indian food blog included in there. I have found one blog that looks promising for Indian recipes, but I haven’t cooked anything from it yet. The one thing it doesn’t have that I’d really like is a good naan recipe. I’ve found tried two different recipes so far; one tasted like pancakes while the other was delicious but didn’t really taste like naan. How hard can it be??  Perhaps this woman can give me the secrets of naan-baking.

In other news, I’m close to having a great Tikka Masala recipe. It’s pretty tasty as-is, but I think I can make it better and closer to the flavor I’m looking for. Stay tuned!

Top 10 CDs of 2008 – Part 3

5. Cut CopyBright Like Neon Love

I got hooked on Cut Copy by their amazing album, In Ghost Colors. Craving more, I downloaded their first effort, Bright Like Neon Love. At first I felt tepid, luke-warm, even mild about this fantastic disc. But I slowly came to understand that while not as rambunctiously fun as their newest CD, their original was something to be treasured; I’m not sure if it’s just a little more complex, a little more downbeat, or a little more flawed, but it is something that stuck with me on those long nights of dishwashing.

4. The StreetsOriginal Pirate Material

How did I miss this so many years ago? “I’m 45th generation Roman, But I don’t know ’em, or care when I’m spittin’“. This guy is some sort of crazy intelligent chav, but his rhyming is so smooth and lyrics so unique that I can’t stop listening to him.

3. PortisheadThird

When I bought Third, I sat down with headphones on to work and listen to it as background noise. About halfway through I thought to myself, “This is fucking amazing.” It’s the only CD that made me think that all year, that really knocked my socks off. Portishead is intelligent and haunting, and is pretty much on repeat when I sit down to listen to a CD these days.

2. Crystal CastlesCrystal Castles

My favorite song is actually not even on this CD. But it’s the best of the 8-bit scene this year, which is really all you need to know. So much of their CD appeared on my various mixes throughout the year, that I’m going to be listening to them for a looong time.

1. Cut CopyIn Ghost Colors

Another CD that I didn’t like when I first heard it, which I suppose means I shouldn’t trust my taste. I thought the songs were cheesy and not particularly interesting. But I kept listening to it and listening to it; it is insanely catchy and the perfect background music for pretty much everything. Some songs from this CD are even starting to threaten Black Sheep Boy for the honor of being most-played over the last couple years.

Whew, glad I’m done with that. Now back to posting real stuff.

Top 10 CDs of 2008 – Part 2

8. The AnniversaryDesigning A Nervous Breakdown

I’d been searching for this CD for a long, long time.  The Anniversary put out two CDs before breaking up, and Your Majesty is a fucking masterpiece and is  on my list of all-time favorite CDs.  I kept hearing great things about their first CD, too, but I could never find it – until Avery just started playing it one day in our apartment.  This is definitely one of the hidden gems of early 2000 pop-punk.

7. ShearwaterRook

Speaking of all time favorite CDs, another is Okkervil River‘s Black Sheep Boy.  Shearwater is a sideproject of theirs to focus on quieter music.  Acoustic(ish) and somewhat mellow like A Weather but much darker and more menacing.  A little embarrasingly, I have not yet heard Okkervil River’s new CD, hopefully I’ll check it out before next year’s list?

6. Why?Alopecia

The first time I heard this CD I thought, “Oh wow, it’s a bunch of pretentious white Berkeley students rapping.  Aren’t they clever.”  They did have a couple of catchy songs, but I thought that was all there was to them.  Luckily, Priya kept playing them and I caught on to why these guys are so great.  Definitely a CD you have to listen through a few times before you can appreciate them.  They’re a wee bit strange, so give them a listen to judge for yourself.  The only proper music video is to my least favorite song of theirs, but what are ya gonna do.

Top 10 CDs of 2008 – Part 1

I want to keep track of my favorite ten CD’s that I discovered in 2008. This is not a list of CD’s that came out in 2008 – it is a list of CD’s that found their way onto my hard drive. I’ll do a list of singles afterward if I can figure out how to put up an audio player in my posts. You may now commence judging me.

#10 on my list is Portland band A Weather‘s new CD, Cove. This band easily has the most awkward band name to say this year, and that’s good enough to make it on the list. The male-female duet is hushed, patient, and perfect to listen to on a rainy morning. Their best song is Pinky Toe – I have a weakness for pointlessly long songs – but the rest of the CD is pretty damn good, too. Here’s the music video to the final song on their CD, It’s Good To Know.

Next is M83‘s Saturdays = Youth. I have mixed feelings about this one. It is undeniably good (undeniably), but it is nowhere near their previous two efforts. They have moved away from soundscapes and moved toward a less interesting new-wavey idiom. A for effort, but no A+ this time, guys! Here’s a video to their big single, Kim And Jessie, wherein the band shows their love for pink dance outfits, roller skating, and awkward choreography.

OK, more than two youtube’s in one post seems like a bit much, I’ll stop there for now. More to come later in the day.