The Last Moments of Life: A Playlist in Honor of December 21, 2012

Children of the Earth, it is upon us: the last month of humanity. According to a vast array of conspiracy theories fueled by Mayan laziness and/or apathy, not to mention prescience, the world will end one month from today. If  you’re anything like me and collaborator John Rollan, your first instinct is to listen to an arsenal of tunes in commemoration of our impending end. Therefore, we give you The Last Moments of Life, our official end-of-the-world playlist. Each day a new track will be added, so keep checking back until you feel the Earth rumble just before you die. And, of course, suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Enjoy these moments; they will be your last.

*The Last Moments of Life playlist is also available on Spotify

30 Days Remaining: Helter Skelter (Rattle & Hum Version [Live]) – U2

29 Days Remaining: Waiting for the End of the World – Elvis Costello

28 Days Remaining: Numbered Days – Killswitch Engage

27 Days Remaining: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash

26 Days Remaining: The Prophet’s Song – Queen

25 Days Remaining: Los Angeles is Burning – Bad Religion

24 Days Remaining: Symphony of Destruction – Megadeth

23 Days Remaining: End is Here – Ryan’s Hope

22 Days Remaining: The End of Eternity – Times of Grace

21 Days Remaining: The Way it Ends – Landon Pigg

20 Days Remaining: All the World is Mad – Thrice

19 Days Remaining: The End Has no End – The Strokes

18 Days Remaining: Apocalypse Please – Muse

17 Days Remaining: Conversations at the End of the World – Kishi Bashi

16 Days Remaining: The Calamity – Trivium

15 Days Remaining: Mad World – Gary Jules

14 Days Remaining – The Four Horsemen – Metallica

13 Days Remaining: South of Heaven – Slayer

12 Days Remaining: Times Like These – Foo Fighers

11 Days Remaining: Puritania – Dimmu Borgir

10 Days Remaining: The End – Kings of Leon

9 Days Remaining: At the End of the Day – By Night

8 Days Remaining: Float On – Modest Mouse

7 Days Remaining: The End of the World – The Cure

6 Days Remaining: Runnin’ With the Devil – Van Halen

5 Days Remaining: The Day the World Went Away – Nine Inch Nails

4 Days Remaining: Doomsday Clock – Smashing Pumpkins

3 Days Remaining: Hole in the Earth – Deftones

2 Days Remaining: 2112 – Rush

1 Day Remaining: Everyday is Like Sunday – Morrissey

END OF THE…world? – Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Advertisements

The Church of Apple

The Latin on the left translates as, “New Order Ages.” Don’t ask me…

Growing up in the Southeast, it shouldn’t be surprising that I have a background rife with religion. My roots dig deep in the home-schooled, American Catholic demographic, and through that I learned all about the tenants of Catholicism. Later, when I entered a (predominantly Presbyterian) private school, I was educated on the foundations of Protestantism, Martin Luther’s infamous 95 Theses, and the development of modern Christianity. What I didn’t learn about was perhaps the most convicted religious institution of all.

Apple.

Okay, so by this point some of you are laughing (maybe), others of you are shouting obscenities at your computer (let me remind you: I can’t hear them), and yet more probably already closed this window and are busy surfing the web for the next-gen iPad. For those of you still around (and indignant), allow me to explain my position.

As a business student, I am almost required to be an admirer of Apple, and I am…to a certain extent. The late Steve Jobs was a genius and a visionary. No doubt about it! After some years of lagging behind competitor Microsoft, Apple has proven its dominance in the tech industry and advanced to one of the largest companies in the world, barreling past some impressive  milestones, from cash-on-hand to stock prices.

But then you have the fanatics. Oh, the mere thought makes me shudder! I’m not talking about your average Apple user or even the ones who devote themselves solely to Apple products (and are no doubt anxiously awaiting the iCar, Apple’s answers to Google’s self-driving automobile). I’m referring to the Apple pushers: the ones who corner you in bathrooms and berate you for pulling out your Android-based smartphone.

These are the fans that have led me to come to describe Apple as its own religion of sorts. If you think about it, the company really is coming to that (admittedly through no fault of their own). Its loyal fans practically swear off all other tech companies, they carry their iPads tucked safely under their arms, they always have that one item representative of their company that they carry around in their pockets/purses, and they condemn those who would blaspheme the sacred silicon-based hardware by venerating a competing brand.

Any of these sound like traits of religious groups? Yeah, it scares me, too, and I’m always nervous to go into a MacAuthority—the proverbial sanctuary of Apple users—lest I hear Jobs’s disciples reciting the chilling iCreed:

We believe in one Jobs, the Father of Innovation, creator of iPhone and Mac…

Well, you get the picture.

I’ve had a few run-ins with these people, the most recent being with my father, who politely commented on my shared wall post of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD (a shameless entry to win a free tablet, of course) by reminding me how the iPad is superior. There was also that time a classmate questioned my intelligence for using PCs…and that was before tablets or smartphones! Then there are the not-so-inconspicuous colloquies between Apple fanboys, “quietly” bashing non-believers in the dead center of the room. And, as I’ve learned to do with religion and politics, I just sigh and walk away, because there’s no pacifying them.

Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t exercise brand loyalty. I just think people should respect others’ choices, and in the words of Steve Jobs, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

…Wait, that wasn’t Steve Jobs.

Ancient Twenty-Four

As I stand at the cusp of my twenty-fourth year of life, I am very much baffled by the concerns that have permeated my conscious. Bills, the Presidential election, finding a job before college graduation (see next point), the unemployment rate (see previous point), and ludicrous gas prices all have their ways  of perturbing my zen. In light of all these issues, I still found it surprising when I first voiced my dissastisfaction for the placement of a row of impractically tall bushes right beside an intersection near the interstate.

If you just thought, “Wow, this guy sounds old,” join the freakin’ club. Scarier even then my griping about it like a sixty-year-old man was my negligence toward the fact that I sound old every time I silently chastise the city for its refusal to have these abominations cut down.

I mean, seriously, a row of bushes?! You’d think my youthful mind would be preoccupied about where my co-workers are hanging out after work this weekend or when my favorite bands are coming anywhere near here so I can see them live. (Okay, I think about that last one quite a bit.) But no, I’m complaining about the bushes that obstruct my view of oncoming traffic. (For reference of these obnoxious beasties, I have included a photograph—in color, too!)

I mean…you can’t even see ANYTHING behind that behemoth!

This leads me to one horrifying yet undeniable fact: I’m a geezer at heart. If I can take solace in one single embrace, it’s that I’m not the only one. My brother-in-law and best friend since Middle School (that’s right, he was my friend before he ever dated my sister), John Rollan, has been married since the ripe age of eighteen and at (barely) twenty-four has two daughters. More importantly, though, he shares my concern for impractical landscaping and ugly scenery.

Toward the tail end of the summer he and I were on a typical drive hunting scoping out restaurants for dinner when we passed by an apartment complex. Now, being the aged men we are in mind and spirit, we just had to remark on the features of the complex from its convenient location to the hypothetical flood of traffic it’d be a pain to get through every morning on the way to work. And in front of the complex (which is situated atop a hill that slopes down toward the road), a whole crap ton of construction yields an aesthetically displeasing sight, which of course ruins the appeal of the complex as a livable community.

“They really need to fix that ugly hill,” John says as we pass by, leaving our fantasies of high-end apartment-living behind. And in that moment, it hit me again: We are old. I couldn’t help but laugh as I informed him of how ridiculous he sounded…and then I mentioned the row of bushes I have grown to so abhor and comforted him with the knowledge that I sound just as geriatric.

But enough about that. My Wall Street Journal subscription ends next month and I need to catch up on the newspaper headlines.