Monthly Archives: September 2014

J3C College Football Top 25 (after week five)

College football reached roughly the end of the first quarter for the 2014 season with more near misses than upsets.

Florida State, Texas A&M and Georgia all had to rally to get their wins on Saturday.  Of those, FSU  had trouble with the worst opponent of the lot, Tennessee somehow managed to get another moral victory on the road while Arkansas seemed the most legit challenge of the trio.  And yet all three came up short … Penn State did stumble at home against Northwestern while South Carolina proved the doubts of the Ol’ Ball Coach correct by losing to Missouri, who had lost to Indiana who lost to Bowling Green who lost to Western Kentucky who had to Middle Tennessee who lost to Minnesota who beat the blue stuffing out of Michigan in the Big House.  Does that mean the Gophers would be a contender in the SEC East?  … Losses by Duke, Pitt, and North Carolina mean it’s likely that none are what we thought they might be earlier in the season … Arizona State fell to UCLA in one of those conference games that helps separate actual contenders from ultimately pretenders.  But in this case, I’m not convinced that the Pac isn’t still considerably better than we’ve seen in a number of recent years nor even that ASU isn’t still a decent to good team … All in all, it wasn’t a bad college football weekend, several good games when all was said & done, just not a lot of surprises when the final seconds ticked away.

That means this week’s J3C Top 25 might feel sort of familiar.

1. Florida State (1)
2. Oregon (2)
3. Alabama (3)
4. Auburn (4)
5. Baylor (5)
6. Oklahoma (6)
7. Texas A&M (7)
8. Michigan State (8)
9. Ole Miss (9)
10. UCLA (10)
11. Notre Dame (12)
12. Stanford (13)
13. Mississippi State (14)
14. LSU (17)
15. Georgia (15)
16. Kansas State (18)
17. Nebraska (19)
18. Wisconsin (20)
19. USC (21)
20. BYU (22)
21. Oklahoma State (Un)
22. Missouri (Un)
23. East Carolina (24)
24. Arizona State (11)
25. Ohio State (25)

Dropped from this week’s poll:  South Carolina (16), Penn State (23)


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Reunited, and it feels so …

… good.  And strange?  And funny?  And weird?  And probably a few other things I can’t quite put the right word to at the moment.

Yesterday brought around the 30th reunion for my high school class (that’d be 1984 for those who prefer not to do math in their spare time), for some of us I’m pretty sure the first time we’d been in the same room since somewhere before the final week of school in June that year.

In & of itself that feels kind of notable.  I mean, if you stop and think even a minute about the twists and turns and highlights and lowlights and sidetrips life has taken any of us on in three decades, how on Earth do you end up back in roughly the same spot where, in some respects, your adult life began?

Okay, not exactly the same spot, that’s for sure.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who grew up in that (relatively) small town in north Georgia who is still trying to get their heads completely around the fact that there is now a venue that can (legally) serve alcohol AND has live music.  Sure, there has been something like that around the area for a lot of years now but for us teens of the 80s it can still be pretty mindboggling to even contemplate.

No, we didn’t all recognize each other on sight, but my impression was that overall we not only did a pretty good job of it but also did a lot better with than a some of us feared we might.  Nametags?  We don’ need no stinkin’ name tags.  We did it the old-fashioned way:  we stared and we looked and we guessed and then we whispered a question into the ears of people we figured might be sharper than ourselves.   Call me crazy but I think that was actually kind of fun in its own right.

In good conscience I can’t go any further into this without saying something about our respective “+1” companions for the night.  Sure, like any class we’ve got some LTRs that started “back in the day” but last night’s attendees included a pretty fair share of people who had never met more than a few people in the room and quite a few who had previously met exactly zero.   Yet across the board, the “plus ones” I was introduced to were gracious, likable, incredibly amazingly patient, real true troopers in a situation that isn’t exactly the easiest one to handle sometimes.   Quite a few of us likely owe those spouses & significant others a quid pro quo at some point, and we’d do well to try to treat them as well as they treated us.

While giving them their due, I kind of feel like we alums deserve to toot our own horns a little bit too.   I figure nearly everybody reading this remembers high school, remembers how it could be.
I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t always the most harmonious time.  Yet last night I saw an awful lot of conversations that wouldn’t have taken place 30 years ago.  Cliques — and yes friends, you know we had ’em, just like everybody else — pretty much melted away.   Bad memories?  It felt to me as though everybody pretty much left those at home, or at least put them in the trunk & left them outside before coming in.  Baggage?  Who needs it?    I didn’t see much in the way of anybody faking anything or trying to just get through the evening either, instead I saw a lot of smiles and laughs and hugs and backslaps and handshakes.

Having ended up pretty heavily involved over the past few months of trying to find and invite everyone, turnout definitely was something I was interested in seeing.  Honestly, for all my minute detail nature that came out during that process, I still haven’t sat down and tried to come up with any sort of “official” count.  I’m sure I will sometime this week, that’s just my nature, but even just eyeballing the room upon arrival I felt like we had easily met our own expectations and by the time the night was over I’m absolutely certain we exceeded them by a good bit.  I won’t claim, nor even be particularly willing to accept, a bit of credit for that but I will say it was pretty gratifying to see the response the efforts of all those involved in that element managed to get.

I also want to say just a little something about those who didn’t attend for one reason or another.  I don’t think anybody who has reached our, umm, “years of experience” doesn’t know how reality can interfere with the best plans and intentions.  Off-hand I know of several people who were attending out-of-town events with their own kids yesterday, others who had business travel, other pressing personal matters, the whole gamut of things that were legitimately higher priorities.  I’ve got no problem with that at all, I wish you could have been part of last night, I hope you’re part of the next one.   And the same goes for those who decided that “eh, I think I’ll pass”, if we do it again, reconsider.  I’d just about guarantee that the vast majority of those who were there went home happy they came, odds are in favor of you feeling the same way if you decide to give it a try someday.

I also want to single out another sub-group that was a great part of things for me personally last night: those who weren’t technically members of the Class of ’84 but went out of their way to make an appearance anyway.   We were a small school by most people’s standards and a school that was a five-year range to boot (we were grades 8-12 in our day).  Classes mixed & mingled quite a bit, and those who were there when we were there — ahead of us or behind us — were a huge part of all our high school experience.  To have those folks who came be part of the evening felt very much right and appropriate as far as I’m concerned.

If you know me, you know I tend to (over)think things through quite a bit.  I’ll admit to spending probably an undue amount of time wondering and guessing and anticipating and fretting and generally worrying about this reunion as it approached.  If you know me really well you can probably guess how many times I argued with myself about going at all.  And if you know that stuff then it’s no surprise that more than 24 hours later I’m still sort of … processing the evening.  That means that my thoughts really aren’t as organized as I’d like them to be so as I try to wrap this up there are some things I want to at least throw in somewhere before I starting let go of it.

— Tip of the cap to Rocco’s for hosting and to both bands who entertained us with solid performances

— Yep, we’re older than we used to be.  Yep, time and gravity and mileage were not exactly gentle to some of us, but I’d say we’re still pretty respectable all things considered and we clean up fairly well.  And to those inevitable few who seem to have figured out how to defy age & time, it’s a damned good thing you were some of the nicest people in the room, otherwise some of us might be tempted to hold a grudge 😉

— Yeah, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for some of the post-game analysis that took place in the cars on the way home.  And if you’re really honest, I bet you would too.

— There were some moments last night that it’s not overstating to say I’ll probably remember the rest of my life.  I wish all of us had been the people we are today a lot sooner … but that ain’t how it works.  I’m going to do my best to be glad that we’re those people now instead of worrying about when we weren’t.   Might not be able to avoid (over)analyzing how we got there but I’ll try to avoid annoying anybody else with that.

To the relief of everyone in the room last night, we didn’t ever get around to singing the alma mater (at least not by the time I left, several hours after the “official” ending time) but I’d just about swear I’m not the only person who heard it in their head a few times this weekend.

Pickens High, our Alma Mater
Deep in our hearts we’ll hold
Love and loyalty we’ll give thee
Green and White of Old.

A good night, my thanks to you all for making it so, we really oughta do this again sometime.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

The disturbing trend of Friday updates continues.  So help me friends, I’m trying, I swear it.   Three in and three out on my Spotify Top 40 and still not a single track  that belongs on the list missing from Spotify for a sixth straight week.


Missing songs this week:

New to the Spotify list this week:
Same Damn Life- Seether,  Reincarnate – Motionless In White(re-entry), Disaster – In The Verse

Dropping off the Spotify list this week
Lights Go Out – Fozzy , For Life – Three Years Hollow (f. Clint Lowery) , Remember Me – Black Stone Cherry

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a half dozen songs added including more new Black Veil Brides, the latest from Rev Theory, Sons Of Anarchy soundtrackers The Chimpz and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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10 Songs I’m Cranking Up (9/21/14)

Just realized I haven’t done one of these in a while so …

Every week I share several playlists of hard rock here on the blog … my Spotify Top 40, my current YouTube playlist, even a Spotify “Back Forty” for those who are really in the know.   Those are determined in various ways which I’ve explained elsewhere here on the blog.

Despite all that, I don’t say much about what I’m actually listening to and enjoying the most. You know, the songs that I immediately crank up whenever they come on Sirius Octane or that I make sure to play when I start building a queue in Spotify or that I sing (badly) randomly as I go about my day.

Whatever the case, I just thought it would be fun to occasionally forget about charts and singles vs album cuts and anything other than just plain ol’ “what I’m loving right now”.  Of course there’s more songs than just these that I’ll turn up if you try to talk while they’re on but I figure I have to have some sort of limit to how long this post gets.

In no specific order, here are 10 songs that I’m definitely cranking up a lot right now

World On Fire – Slash
Wrong Side Of Heaven – 5FDP
Breaking Skin – Nonpoint
Born This Way – Thousand Foot Krutch
Dangerous – Shaman’s Harvest
Locked & Loaded – Eve To Adam
The Devil In I – Slipknot
Heart Of Fire  – Black Veil Brides
Same Damn Life – Seether
Moth – Hellyeah

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week four)

Some full moon type results highlight a slightly strange college football weekend.

I’m not sure anything that happened was actually odder than Jameis Winston coming out to take pre-game snaps before being sent off by his head coach.   If you haven’t seen Jimbo Fisher’s eye roll video then it says just about everything.  That Clemson found a way to be Clemson at game’s end, no surprise at all …  Florida scoring 14 points in the first 6 minutes against Alabama, very strange.   Bama beating the stuffing out of a team that has no quarterback, perfectly normal … Oregon being in a dogfight against Washington State seemed pretty strange to me, 5 TD passes from Mariotta was perfectly normal … Mississippi State beating LSU on the road, THAT is very strange.  LSU having a chance to pull it out in the final minute, totally predictable … Missouri losing to an Indiana team that just lost to Bowling Green who got decimated by Wisconsin, pretty strange.  That the SEC East is wide open and being contested by teams that have all revealed major flaws, maybe not strange … Georgia Tech beating Va Tech on the final play of the game, kinda strange.  Realizing that simply being okay might be enough to earn a decent ACC bowl game, not really too strange … And although it wasn’t a top 25 game, Arizona scoring 36 points in the fourth quarter, including 19 in the final 3:30,  to rally for a win over Cal on the game’s final play, yeah that’s pretty strange no matter who is involved.

After all that, it’s not surprising if this week’s J3C Top 25 looks and feels a little strange.

1. Florida State (1)
2. Oregon (2)
3. Alabama (3)
4. Auburn (4)
5. Baylor (5)
6. Oklahoma (6)
7. Texas A&M (8)
8. Michigan State (9)
9. Ole Miss (11)
10. UCLA (10)
11. Arizona State (12)
12. Notre Dame (13)
13. Stanford (14)
14. Mississippi State (Un)
15. Georgia (17)
16. South Carolina (16)
17. LSU (7)
18. Kansas State (18)
19. Nebraska (19)
20. Wisconsin (20)
21. USC (21)
22. BYU (23)
23. Penn State (24)
24. East Carolina (Un)
25. Ohio State (25)

Dropped from this week’s poll: Missouri (15),  Clemson (22)

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

A full week around ThreeCents Manor but we somehow still get ready to rock into another weekend with four songs added to my Spotify Top 40 and still not a single track  that belongs on the list missing from Spotify for a fifth straight week.

Missing songs this week:

New to the Spotify list this week:
Doc Holliday – Volbeat, The Only Way Out – Bush, Save The World – Adelitas Way, For Life – Three Years Hollow (f. Clint Lowery)

Dropping off the Spotify list this week
1000 Hp– Godsmack , Leave Your Mark – Stars In Stereo, She’s Gone – Ted NugentReincarnate – Motionless In White


For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s a dozen songs added including the next singles from Godsmack, Nothing More and Seether, new album cuts from Sixx A.M. and Black Veil Brides and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after week three)

Okay, show of hands … who had South Carolina, Boston College, East Carolina, and Virginia all winning this weekend?   Yeah, me neither.

The last thing I suspected in Colombia was an instant classic.  A game of inches indeed … I wonder whether Southern Cal took that giant egg they laid back home with them or if they just left it in Chestnut Hill … the ACC looks even more incredibly mediocre than I expected, and that’s saying something … Congrats to Iowa State, who made my pre-season ranking of Iowa look a little silly … Tennessee’s trip to Oklahoma was actually better than I expected … and the only things in Atlanta that surprised me yesterday was how bad Georgia Southern looked in the first half and that the entire game didn’t look like the second half.   The worst 3-0 team in America found a way but I can’t imagine how anyone on Earth thinks that’s meaningful.

They rolled ’em out, let’s see how it all affected my Top 25 this week.

1. Florida State (1)
2. Oregon (3)
3. Alabama (2)
4. Auburn (4)
5. Baylor (6)
6. Oklahoma (5)
7. LSU (7)
8. Texas A&M (11)
9. Michigan State (12)
10. UCLA (9)
11. Ole Miss (14)
12. Arizona State (13)
13. Notre Dame (16)
14. Stanford (15)
15. Missouri (17)
16. South Carolina (24)
17. Georgia (10)
18. Kansas State (18)
19. Nebraska (19)
20. Wisconsin (21)
21. USC (8)
22. Clemson (22)
23. BYU (24)
24. Penn State (Un)
25. Ohio State (25)

Dropped from this week’s poll: Virginia Tech (20)

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