Thursday, February 11, 2016

Turntable throwback: Rumor Has It/You Remember Me 45, Reba McEntire

When it comes to country music from the mid '80s and the early '90s, you couldn't get away from Reba. The sheer quantity of new material meant that there was sometimes only months separating albums. 

Released in 1990, Rumor Has It is one of those singles where the b-side is better than the lead, although the past 26 years haven't been the kindest to this particular record.

The only thing worse, though, is that it shows just how good her newer work could've (and should've) been.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Litchfield County find: Mount Tom State Park, Litchfield

There aren't many places I've been to where there's an easy trail that leads to one of the best lookouts in the Litchfield area, but Mount Tom certainly is one.

That's the view a half mile hike and a few stairs to the top of the tower gives you once you've reached the summit. On clear days, you're able to see Massachusetts' Mount Everett and the Catskills, while others have said they're able to see Long Island Sound.

The main attraction, however, is the observation tower at the summit. Originally made of wood around 1888, it eventually was replaced by a 34 foot tall stone tower made from local black gneiss in 1921. 

Once inside the tower, you'll find that it can be a bit claustrophobic especially when visiting with larger groups. Another drawback are the steep set of stairs and small opening at the top of the tower, which could potentially cause issues for those with moore serious mobility issues.

Despite that, however, it's one of the beest places to visit in the area. If you're ever in Litchfield, make sure to spend a few hours here.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ram-based armored truck

Kinda curious as to why they changed manufacturers after all this time...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tape deck chronicles: Ford demo tape

As someone who grew up in the '90s, my siblings and I spent most of our car time with something playing through the speakers. Typically, it was whatever radio station my parents wanted to hear, but when us kids got to choose, it was something on a cassette. I was in high school by the time there was a car in the driveway that didn't have a deck.

When my parents brought an Aerostar home in 1995, it came with this (as did many other Fords at the time). It's nothing more than a few unoffensive, easy listening tracks cobbled together at minimal cost when it came to royalties. I don't have a cover for it anymore, although I'm not sure if they were issued with one.

Now that 21 years have passed since it was made (and the van went a long way towards gone), the tape itself is showing its age. The tape itself is warped and distorted in more than a few places, but sound quality is mostly decent. You'll be more turned away by the sounds it sends through your speakers than by the inability for some parts to play it properly.

Overall, it's a a tape that's most useful in seeing if your old walkman or deck still works. It was never designed to stand on its own feet musically, and that's just as true in 2015 as it was twenty years ago.

Track listing:

Side A
1. Lily Was Here
2. I'll Always Love You
3. So Close
4. Miracle

Side B
1. Everyday People
2. Holding Me Tonight
3. Mammagamma
4. You Can't Deny It
5. Going Home

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge, a book you've already read once: Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez

Everyone can point to a book (or series) that represents a defining period in their lives, and the trilogy that Alex Sanchez started with Rainbow Boys is what I look back on. Released in 2001, it wasn't until four years later when I checked it out of my high school's library and read it.

I wound up rereading it and its sequels so often I could almost quote passages verbatim, in large part because I could relate so easily to the main characters. Sanchez's ability to put into words the real-life experiences of so many gay people in the early '00s is what sets him apart from other YA writers.

Reading it as someone in their late twenties, however, has taken away some of the magic it had when I was a recently-out 17 year old. Some parts are now eye rollers, and it no longer screams 'Welcome to your life.' Now, reading it is more reminiscence trip than anything else.

Overall, though, it's still one of my favorite books. If you're looking for a strong coming-of-age story, make sure to pick this (and the other two books) up.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

When's the last time you read (or even picked up) a book? If you can't remember, try this out:

It's simple, relatively easy, and you've got a full year to read 12 books. The only caveat I'll add is a 1 book per author limit, that way there's a bit of flavor from month to month.

I'll be doing it too, and posting about each one I finish.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

Digital review: Forest Floor, Colonies

When it comes to discovering new music, I pretty much live under a rock. Most of what I listen to is either the older stuff that's filled up my library, or whatever comes on the radio. This album, though, was a recommendation from a friend...and a remarkably good one at that.

Based out of the Seattle/Tacoma area, Colonies is an indie band whose songs manage to take a worn out genre troupe and turn it into a cohesive if not entirely fresh sound. 

Unlike most new offerings, Forest Floor clocks in at a short 36 minutes front to back. It uses every minute, though, and renders one of the few albums that you can listen to without skipping tracks.

Track listing

1. Hours
2. New Skin
3. Echoes
4. Artifacts
5. Closer Tones
6. Hidden Roads
7. All We Have
8. Brilla
9. Get Lost, Get Young
10. Soft Light