Tag Archives: music

2016: The Highs & The Other Stuff

Larry asked me yesterday what my favorite movie of the year was, which led me to thinking about other highlights, and of course, lowlights, throughout the year.  So, with no particular order in mind:

Favorite Movie:










La La Land, by a lot.

Other Notables:

  • Arrival
  • Star Trek: Beyond
  • Rogue One
  • Zootopia
  • 10 Cloverfield Ln
  • Secret Life of Pets
  • Moana


  • Jason Bourne – UGH
  • Girl on the Train – bored ugh
  • Independence Day: Resurgence – just…why?

Favorite Song:

I love this damn song.  From the first time I heard it while eating breakfast to even now, still love it.

Other notables:

  • Cake by the Ocean, by DNCE
  • Make Me Like You, by Gwen Stefani
  • Hold Up, by Beyonce
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling, by Justin Timberlake
  • The Riddle of the Model, from the Sing Street soundtrack
  • We Know the Way, from the Moana soundtrack
  • Another Day of Sun, from the La La Land soundtrack

Favorite TV:

Obviously, Jeopardy! gets a nod.

  • Game of Thrones; the last episode where Cersei goes and makes her move?  Woah.
  • Westworld:  Wasn’t sure if I was going to like the show, but yeah, definitely liked the show.  Just have to wait 2 more years for more.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:  Everyone should be watching this hilarious, musical show.  Rachel Bloom is mesmerizing, and all the attractive men she has cast in the show opposite her is brilliant, as it keeps us tuned in!  White Josh and Greg 4eva.
  • Broad City:  In it’s 3rd season, it’s still fucking great.
  • $100,000 Pyramid & Match Game:  ABC brought these back over the summer and they were fucking great.  Time to consider my next game show move!

Not so good?

  • Scandal:  We are in the hate-watch zone.  Get your shit together.
  • You’re the Worst:  I don’t know, we couldn’t get past the 1st episode of the new season, and so, maybe we’re done with it.
  • American Horror Story:  Not sure if it’s bad yet, but it really was all over the place this season.  Sometimes it was good, but a lot of times, not?  I liked last season’s Hotel.  Maybe next season will be good.

Fun Video Games I Played:

There’s plenty in this list.

  • The Witcher 3:  Hot damn, this game is amazing and gets you involved immediately and doesn’t let go.  And it’s freaking huge.  I still am not sure how far along I am and I’ve played a LOT.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider:  So glad that the Tomb Raider franchise has been brought back successfully.  It’s so damn fun too, and they’re telling great stories while providing a wonderful action experience.
  • Prison Architect:  I totally got obsessed with this game for a while.  So well done.
  • XCOM 2:  A really hard game that I couldn’t stop playing.  I did finish it, surprisingly.
  • Flame in the Flood:  Another of these random games I got obsessed with for a good while as it was such a relaxing game play rhythm.
  • Uncharted 4:  I just finished this one and man, what a beautiful and fun game.


  • Fallout 4:  I really really really wanted to love this game.  And I played it a while, hoping it would get me.  But nope.  They have too much around settlement creation and management and let the story be incidental.  I want to have the option to take the story slow if necessary, but not like this.  Kind of a bummer.
  • King’s Quest:  Once it was clear that you couldn’t easily restart and were stuck with decisions, plus the game gave very limited guidance, I kind of lost interest.  There are 3 more chapters to play through and I’m not sure I ever will?

Life Stuff Highlights!

Okay, I guess I should talk about some of the things I liked about 2016.

  • Larry & I got married!  There may have been a lot of stress and a not insignificant amount of money spent, but damn, the event and surrounding days were so worth it.  The weather was perfect, the venue was perfect, the wedding and reception were perfect, seeing all the family and friends was perfect….it was just amazing.
  • Honeymoon in Europe!  This trip was much needed and a welcome return to traveling somewhere outside of the country with beautiful surroundings to soak up and lots of food and wine to savor.  Would go back in a heartbeat if we could.
  • We got a new niece, Rachel, in July of this year.  It’s a wonderful addition to Alyssa & Jon’s family and of course to all of ours.  It was also nice to be back east for that little bit of time too.
  • Hollywood Bowl is always fun, as is going to the theater and seeing some shows.  Seeing Beautiful and Cabaret were definite highlights, as was the various shows we saw at the Bowl, including Diana Ross and the Sound of Music.  Also glad mom was able to join us for many of these!
  • Being on Jeopardy was certainly a wonderful adventure and something I can always remember.  I’ve also been able to meet and be part of a very select group of individuals, those who have also been on Jeopardy.  It’s quite an honor.

The negatives:

  • Certainly not happy with how the election turned out.  I’ll cross fingers and toes that perhaps I’m wrong about my fears.  Based on a certain Twitter feed though, I’m fairly convinced the incoming man on Jan 20th is frightfully immature, unfit, and unprepared for the job.  Buckle up your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
  • Work, well, it’s certainly something right now.   Here’s hoping for a more productive and illuminating 2017 in that realm.
  • Turning 40.  Eh, I guess it’s not the end of the world, certainly.  But kind of a bummer, nonetheless.  And to have that one-two punch with that and the election made November 2016 one of the shittier Novembers I can remember!
  • A lot of these actors and musicians and artists and entertainers dying….I think I’m reaching that age where a lot of the people I did grow up with seeing out there are reaching that age.  But some?  Some are way too young.

Honestly, I just want to not be afraid of what the future holds, whether it’s for myself, Larry, family and friends, the country, etc.   I want to be an active participant in making things better, whether that’s my personal happiness, or if I can, be an advocate for making things better on a larger scale.  I don’t want to be afraid of making a change just because it’s a scary thing to do.  Life’s a one-time thing, so why not make it what I want it to be, and not just grin and bear whatever comes my way.  So yeah, that’s kind of where my head is at when it comes to a mindset for 2017.  Call it a resolution, call it a philosophy, but yeah, 2017, here I come.  Here we all come.

I’m making a cake for 2017 New Year’s Eve.  Larry & I are staying in again, as previous NYE outings have kind of gone to shit.  Last year we stayed in, and it was great.  Doing it again, and happy about that as it’s raining this evening.  Fuck that noise.

Loving Gwen Stefani’s “Make Me Like You”

During this year’s Grammys telecast this past weekend, there was a long commercial break in which Target had bought about 4 minutes of time in which the purpose seemed to be just showing Gwen Stefani’s newest video and single.  I thought that Target was going all out for this because they’re getting some exclusivity on the pre-order for the new album.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the song but I had hopes, as everywhere that I’d read about “Make Me Like You,” it was positive raves about a great dance number.  As the video played, I definitely was charmed by it and the song definitely was infectious.  The video was a lot of fun and when it was done, I was like, why is there cheering at the end?   Turns out, this whole video was filmed live during that commercial break!  VERY cool, and made me love the video and song even more.

So yeah, today I was listening to it a lot while at work, and made my coworkers listen once.  One of my friends there noticed the similarities to The Cardigans’ “Lovefool” which is a very apt comparison.

I’m definitely intrigued by Gwen Stefani’s new album though, and looking forward to what she does.

Speaking of looking forward to things:  BROAD CITY SEASON 3 starts tonight!!!!!

She’s a Rainbow

I’m kind of in love with this song right now.  Like I mentioned in a recent post, I started listening to the Stones and realized that I am a big fan of their hits.  They’ve got tons of great songs but “She’s a Rainbow” really is just one that grabs you and lulls you in….plus there’s a great moment in SNL when Kristen Wiig departs the show and it’s a wonderful moment accompanied by Mick Jagger singing this song live.

I was intending to post that SNL moment here, but it doesn’t seem to exist on Youtube and likely isn’t available due to NBC’s strict control of SNL content. So here’s a Youtube embed of the song itself:

I make no statement as to the content of what is seen in this video!

In other news, this morning was a crisis of getting my ass to the gym.  I got up at 5:15am and I was like, FUCK THIS.  But I sat there and realized, wait, I have got to do this.  4 months and counting.  Get your shit together, Barnes.  And so I conquered my inner lazy demon…this time.  He’s a tough bitch, that one.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Downtown”

I can’t tell you how much I am obsessed with this song.  It came on while listening to SiriusXM’s Venus station (rhythmic pop!) and I was immediately hooked.  I got the song of course, but it didn’t occur to me until today to see if there was a video!  And of course, it’s fucking awesome and as campy as I’d expect it to be.  Mopeds, crazy fashions, hilarious scenes and a parade in some downtown area?  LOVE IT.  How did I miss this song though – it came out in August??

I gotta say – I want to be able to do that slide move at the beginning of the video!


An All’Acqua-En Vogue Christmas kind of Weekend

It was a nice weekend with no 5Ks to wake us up nice and early on Saturday.  Enough said, right?  NO!   Besides playing a good bit of Assassin’s Creed Unity, which I’m pretty compelled by as it’s running pretty great on my PC and the game is just fun, we did have some fun out there in the world!

First, we went to the premiere night of the restaurant All’Acqua, which is owned by the same owners of that awesome place right outside our house, Barbrix.  All’Acqua was a pretty great place to go with a bunch of awesome women.  Had our own corner of the restaurant and didn’t stop laughing and drinking wine and just having a good time.  Pictures?  OF COURSE.

November 22, 2014 – Night at All’Acqua

Today was a fairly relaxed day in terms of activities, but we did watch some TV, and from that I ended up having to grab some new music from iTunes.  On SNL, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson were the musical guests and they blew my fucking mind with a song straight out of the best Jackson 5 type of revival called “Uptown Funk” – it’s fucking amazing.  Then tonight we watched the fairly cheesy TV movie, “En Vogue Christmas” on Lifetime, and while it was really cheesy (I’ve said that twice now), I couldn’t help but watch.  It was my girls, En Vogue!!!  I’ve written about my love for them before so this was a no-brainer.  Unfortunately it didn’t have all 4 of the original girls in it (no Dawn or Maxine), but that didn’t mean I didn’t love it.  Surprisingly for me, they debuted a new song at the end of the movie during the in-movie concert called “Emotions” and I MUST HAVE IT.  It’s not on iTunes yet and is supposed to come out in a few days, but I freakin’ love it.  There’s a brief sample from the 1980’s ABC song, “Smokey Sings,” and it’s showcasing En Vogue in a fun way.  So yeah, Yay Music!  And here’s to hoping there is a new En Vogue album on its way next year.

mockingjay-the-wings-of-the-resistance-reviewThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Saw this at the Vista Theater on November 22, 2014

Of course we also went out and saw the latest Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay – Part 1, and I have to say that it was surprisingly entertaining.  The book it is based on is such a different beast from the two books that came before it, and I think it really could have been just one movie – yet having said that, the movie producers put together a really good movie for having just the first half of the book.  They split the book at around the natural splitting point and near where I predicted it would (spoiler alert!   when Peeta re-enters the picture, dramatically), yet created a compelling narrative to fill up 2 hours worth of movie beforehand.  Wisely, they brought back Effie for this movie whereas in the book, she disappeared.  She’s much-needed comic relief.  It does suck to have to wait for the concluding chapter but I guess this means they’ll make that last half fairly spectacular?  It should be interesting to see how detailed they get into those specifics – it’s pretty fucking intense and gory.  Thumbs up from me and from the non-bookreader Larry, who enjoyed it as much as I did.