Tagged: Christmas

Die, Social Misfit!!! A Merry Christmas Xmix Playlist

Listen to Die, Social Misfit!!! A Merry Christmas Xmix playlist on Apple Music

Twenty years ago, literally the lifetime of a current college sophomore, I began hosting a college radio music show called Die, Social Misfit!!! on KCSB-FM, 91.9, in Santa Barbara. I used to play a lot of garage rock, surf, and the occasional exotica, all of which were popular genres among the hipsters of the time because of multiple revival movements concentrated on the US west coast. A friend from the east coast refers to that music today it as “budget rock.”

Die, Social Misfit!!! was my third attempt at doing a radio show, and it sort of mirrored my experience as a college student. The first two radio programs were, quite frankly, pretty bad, and I don’t want to describe them in detail out of pure shame. Suffice to say that those programs were series of ugly messes, not unlike the many essays I wrote for my freshman (and sophomore!) composition courses. In the case of essay writing, it really wasn’t until my junior year of college where I felt that finally “got it.” I learned how to research and use sources, how to structure an essay, how to write a compelling thesis, and how to develop a voice that would need only further refining in graduate school. (Who knew topic sentences were still a thing?!?) The same was true for the radio show, and it was around 1997 that I developed Die Social Misfit!!!. The entire program, while not necessarily a themed show, had one central idea behind it: what my friends and I would describe as “rawk!” The show aired on Friday afternoons, between 3:00 to 5:00 PM. I used to imagine countless workers listening to KCSB throughout the week, breathlessly anticipating my program as it signaled the last two hours of their workweek. I wanted to rawk them out of their chair come quitting time.

Late December is an exciting time because it signals the Christmas season, the end of the year, and also the end of the semester. As I grade scores of undergradaute student essays, I think of my poor students and how many of them still haven’t “gotten it.” Many essays aren’t worth the paper they didn’t bother using to print them. (I accept only electronic submissions.) But I also think of my old radio show. I never did a proper Christmas themed show, but over the years, I’ve maintained an iTunes playlist of Christmas songs that I would have played on Die, Social Misfit!!! had I not been a cynical twenty year-old at the time thinking that Christmas was lame. Christmas isn’t lame! Being a cynical twenty year-old, however, is lame.

Twenty years too late, I present you the Die, Social Misfit!!! A Merry Christmas Xmix playlist on Apple Music.

A lot of the songs are rocked out versions of old favorites, such as The Humpers doing “Run Run Rudolph.” The Mexican-American Elvis impersonator, El Vez, adds a little color to old favorite with “Brown Christmas.” There are also some Christmas-themed songs that are, as far as I know, not at all versions of traditional favorites, such as Lillian Briggs’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Polly Santa Claus.” But there are some songs that I’m sure you’ll recognize but likely never heard like this. For example, the New Bomb Turks does a cover of U2’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” at a such a breakneck pace that, according to legend, it blew The Edge’s hat off his head when he first heard it. And speaking of meta covers, you can hear The Ventures playing a version of “Sleigh Ride,” and Los Straitjackets doing an almost note-for-note cover of that Ventures cover. And, of course, I even included the Phil Spector Christmas album because even though he pulled a gun out on the Ramones and shot a woman dead, I really like that album.

Forgive for the songs that appear more than once.

I know that all college sophomores today prefer to share their music mixes on Spotify or YouTube, but since I have had this playlist in iTunes for over a decade, it was really easy to make it public with a couple of clicks. Also, because I’ve been adding to it for myself over the years, I never bothered to curate a proper order. Instead, I just shuffle play it whenever the mood strikes for rawkin’ Christmas music. You should shuffle play it too.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Movies that are Marginally About Christmas, Explained

There are favorites, no doubt: Elf, Scrooged, A Christmas Story, and It’s a Wonderful Life. But it’s not easy to remember that the following films were Christmas movies, even if they weren’t Christmas movies..

  1. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang probably because it was a neo-noir set in Los Angeles, where balmy temperatures belie what is supposed to Christmas in movies.
  2. The Ref probably because the hostage situation and really dark comedy lack the usual warmth of Christmas.
  3. Eyes Wide Shut probably because it was Kubrick’s final film and the chilling masquerade party scene is anything but…

By the way, the latter is playing this week at IFC Center, in Greenwich Village, until Thursday, as part of their Naughty and Nice film series.

Not quite two years ago, Time ran a listicle about such movies that I found while researching this post, which reminded me about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and lists other not-Christmas, Christmas films.

The above links to Amazon are an affiliate links. If you buy something through those links, I will earn a commission fee.

A Christmas Gift

Even if I was just listening to it through my earphones, I keep Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You, a compilation of thirteen Christmas songs in the Wall of Sound style, on heavy rotation every year.

This year, it’s filling my childhood home as a prime rib roast sits in the oven.

It’s still hard to believe that the same person who brought the world the toe–tappingest versions of “Sleigh Ride” and “A Marshallow World” was this guy.

Phil Spector mugshot 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Post-Thanksgiving Sales Were All Non-Starters

I was admittedly caught in the hype of the post-Thanksgiving sales. After the news media figured out that all the talk about the body scanners and pat-downs at our nation’s airports turned out to be nothing really once people actually went through our nation’s security checkpoints with little incident, they got all excited about the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And since I basically had half my week cancelled (I teach two of four classes on Thursday), it was easy for me to get distracted.

Anyway, I found that all of the sales were underwhelming. Here’s a partial scorecard.

Griffith’s 70% Sale

With free shipping! But only good on deprecated products, and now there’s only two iPhone 4 accessories. And I already have their awesome Reveal Etch that I got free, courtesy of Apple’s Free Case program, which is the best one. I was hoping for the Radio Shark to be on sale or something useful like that.

Virgin America’s Cyber Monday Sale

I wasn’t gonna bite on this anyway since I need all the United miles I can get to keep my meager Premier status, but I clicked through and learned that this wasn’t much of a sale. They basically rolled over their lowest published fares past March, where they stopped last week, through May. This was just a fare sale that was announced on Cyber Monday, and not much more. (Now I hope that United will match and roll their T and S fares on NYC-LAX past March 17.)

Apple’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday

I’m still using one of the Airport Express base stations I bought in 2003 when the Apple Stores first started doing these Friday sales. I scored that base station for $79, a full $20 of retail. But nowadays, they basically match the Educational discount on the computers. And sometimes, they Educational discount is even better. Today’s sale was mostly on accessories, but that’s just spending money on what I don’t need.

Omni Hotel’s 999 rooms at $99 per night

This is a great deal at one of the best hotel chains in the country. A bunch of rooms at hotels in the chain were $99 for stays between now and the end of January. But all the dates in LA and Washington I wanted were blacked out. They did have a deal at the San Diego property after Christmas, but we already booked an equally good deal via Travelzoo. So after waiting all weekend to book a inexpensive room at a great property, there was nothing I could use.

I really wished my local sushi place was offering a Cyber Monday deal. I would have ordered online!

Christmastime Trip to LA

After having a few days to catch up with the website and getting Gallery2 playing nice with WordPress, via the heaven-sent plugin WPG2, I have uploaded a ton of photos from the Christmastime trip Sarah and I took to LA.

Nixon Presidential Library

Although I didn’t take pictures of everywhere we went, I did manage to snap up photos of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, which was part of Sarah and I’s tour of presidential libraries. in Yorba Linda, California. Unfortunately, at some point during the trip, the memory card got corrupted, and we lost about sixty photos.

We did however salvage the remaining photos from the trip, including those from the walking tour of downtown LA’s historic core, and of the Rose Parade floats in Pasadena.

Los Angeles Historic Core

The day after New Year’s, we took LA Conservancy‘s walking tour of the Historic Core, which I recommend that anyone in LA with a free Saturday morning to take. I posted the full set of photos that I took.  One of the highlights of the tour, which we didn’t get to see on the tour due to acess restrictions, was the LA Central Library. Thankfully, they offer their own building tour and we took that later that afternoon.

Los Angeles Central Library Tour

The next day, taking advantage of a daytime temperature of nearly 80°, we went to Pasadena to look at the floats from the 2010 Rose Parade. Sarah took a bunch of her own photos and videos, and I’ll post a link to that once I learn where she’s posted them.

Rose Parade 2010 Floats

Sorry for the delay. You can check out the full set.