Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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We just returned from a nine day excursion in California that was equal parts Lake Tahoe, wine country and San Francisco goodness. Yeah, it was rough. We're not going to lie. Cabin in the woods in Tahoe, lake time, golf, hiking, a million (or so) glasses of wine, gorgeous views during country road running by vineyards, a trip to the redwoods, a Giants game, a rented apartment near Telegraph Hill with spectacular views of the Bay.
Sorry, yes. Back to reality. Almost.
But first, one of the centerpieces of the trip: This past Friday we went to the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
When we tell people this, they have one of two responses:
"You went to that concert!"
"You went to that concert?"
Pure excitement/jealousy or pure confusion. No middle ground.
1) Energy. Both performers had tremendous energy throughout the 2-plus hour main set. And Candlestick was packed, adding to the electricity.
2) We liked Jay-Z way more than we thought we would. We're not going to lie: Timberlake was the main draw. If you dismiss him as a grown up boy band hack, you're missing out. He might just be the MJ of our generation. We'd say 90-95 percent of shows we go to are indie rock hipster type shows, but this was a glorious exception. In any event, back to Jay-Z: We forgot how many good songs he had, and he ripped through the catalog nicely. Included: Ball So Hard (at least that's what we're calling it), 99 Problems, Big Pimpin' and Empire State of Mind. The two worked nicely together, combining on some medleys and other recent numbers. Timberlake did the police officer part on 99 Problems, which was a nice touch.
3) The setlist was tight, a nice mix of new and old. They saved "Suit and Tie" for the encore, which was a little obvious but was a definite reason to stick around.
1) If you weren't a fan of both performers, you might have felt a bit cheated. Their main set was, as noted, a little over 2 hours. But with two headliners, you might not have gotten all you wanted from one if that's all you wanted.
2) OK, this one and the last one are going to be venue-related since we don't have much bad to say about the show. First off, two different concession stands we visited ran out of beer. How does this happen?
3) Candlestick is run down and a nightmare when it comes to infrastructure. We took a cab there, which was fine. Getting a cab out of there is pretty much impossible, and there is very little organization when it comes to public transit. We finally wandered our way onto a streetcar more than a mile away from the stadium, but it was a stark contrast to the next night at the Giants game when the exit strategy was clean and clear.
If you like JT, go see the February show. He's exceedingly entertaining in person and you won't be let down.
That said, this is December. Lake running has been primarily replaced by treadmill running in our routine. And that means we have re-connected with some of the best running songs of all time. Here, then, is the RandBall unimpeachably great list of FIVE SONGS THAT MAKE US RUN REALLY FAST.
1) Wolf Like Me (TV on the Radio) -- The perfect song to start out with. It's a little heavier, but it has a perfect right-left-right-left up-tempo beat.
2) Chunk Rawk (The Plastic Constellations) -- OK, this song was released in 1999 and we can't find it anywhere for all of you to listen to. These guys, who met at Hopkins High School, were like 17 when they recorded this song. And it rocks. If you ever see us at the gym making wild arm flails or mimicking drumming while turning the MPHs up to 8 or 9, we are most likely listening to this song. And you are most likely wondering what is wrong with us. But NOTHING IS WRONG WITH US. We're just listening to Chunk Rawk. Go find this song. Or ask us really nicely sometime when you see us to borrow the original CD (We Got the Movement). And then you will be able to run faster than you have ever run before in your life.
3) World as a Waiting Room (White Denim) -- OK, so the RBBH downloaded this 30-minute running workout a while back. We were skeptical. It was supposed to help you train to run fast for a 10K. It's full of speed training, hill training, etc. It has a "personal trainer" yelling at you (OK, more like nicely encouraging) to go faster. And when you are maxed out -- running at 3 percent incline at your fastest possible speed for one minute, which for us right now is 10.1 mph at that incline -- World as a Waiting Room is the song that's playing. And somehow it makes you run really fast. It's like hipster Jimi Hendrix tried surf rock.
4) Roaming the Foam (Lifter Puller) -- Obviously. One of the greatest songs -- and certainly the greatest running song -- by the greatest local band ever. Lyrics have some adult themes, so watch out, kids. We're sweating like a [redacted] in [redacted] after this one.
5) SexyBack (Justin Timberlake) -- What. What? What!
Accepting nominations in the comments.
You guys blasted your way through the 1970s with ease. Let's see how you handle the final music lyric quiz before we get to our current decade. Hey, it's Pop Culture Friday:
1) The time to hesitate is through. No time to wallow in the mire.
2) In restless dreams I walked alone. Narrow streets of cobblestone.
3) Your lips excite me; let your arms invite me. For who knows when we'll meet again this way.
4) You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.
5) I've got so much honey the bees envy me. I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.
6) I thought love was only true in fairy tales. Meant for someone else but not for me. (Bonus: This song was actually written by Neil Diamond).
7) For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool.
8) You've got me blowin, blowin my mind. Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?
9) Leaves are falling all around, it's time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
10) Woah Woman, oh woman, don't treat me so mean. You're the meanest old woman that I've ever seen.
After delightful trips through the 1990s and 1980s, we now test your knowledge of 1970s song lyrics in another edition of Pop Culture Friday. Here we go:
1) Hey hey mama said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
2) Now in darkness world stops turning; Ashes where the bodies burning.
3) Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone. Suzanne, the plans they made made put an end to you.
4) Well I'm not the world's most physical guy but when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine.
5) They took all the trees, and put them in a tree museum. Then they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em.
6) Jubilation, she loves me again, I fall on the floor and I'm laughing.
7) And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer.
8) Lonely feelin', deep inside. Find a corner where I can hide. Silent footsteps crowdin' me. Sudden darkness, but I can see.
9) You know it's all right, it's O.K. I'll live to see another day. We can try to understand the New York Times' effect on man.
10) It took all the strength I had not to fall apart.
Our attempt at some sort of pop culture entry on Fridays leads us to Part II of a music lyric quiz. A couple weeks back, it was the 1990s. Now, we'll try the 1980s. Eventually, we'll come back to the 2000s as some sort of decade retrospective. For now, though, these are all lines from fairly popular 1980s songs. One point for artist, one point for song title:
1) You live for the fight when it's all that you've got.
2) You gotta squeeze a little, squeeze a little, tease a little more.
3) You're so fine, and you're mine. I'll be yours 'til the end of time.
4) Some will win, some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues.
5) Oh can't you see me standing here? I've got my back against the record machine.
6) And she's watching him with those eyes. And she's lovin' him with that body.
7) You're shying away. I'll be coming for you anyway.
8) Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place, where as a child I'd hide.
9) Rat-tailed Jimmy is a second-hand hood. Deals out in Hollywood.
10) And all that I wanted was you. You made all my dreams come true.
Pictured, left to right: DaveMN, Stu, adult, adult, AZGG, RandBall.