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Playing LeBron’s desert island game: While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

Every once in a while, I sit down to do a While We’re Waiting segment and realize I have absolutely nothing interesting to talk about1 that week. This is one of those times.

Sure, I could talk about the Cleveland Browns’ absolutely ridiculous decision to not make sure they re-signed Terrelle Pryor before he could talk to other teams. I could talk about Andrew Bogut’s injury or the Cavs’ pathetic defense. I could talk about expectations for the Indians. But I don’t know, none of those topics feel particularly inspired to me today.

So instead, I’m going to play a game with you guys. In fact, we’re going to play LeBron James’ game. For those who missed LeBron’s appearance on the latest Road Trippin’ episode, he brought up a game for them to all play.

The game is a basic desert island game. The premise: You’re stuck on a desert island all by yourself. You get to pick three things to bring with you. You get one CD, one movie, and one food genre. I’ll start with my selections, and then I’ll let you guys submit your selections in the comments below.

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MUSIC

The contenders

Pearl Jam – YIELD

For pretty much all of my life since this album came out, it has been the album I would cite when someone asked me “What is your favorite album”. The band isn’t surprising. Anyone who knows me finds out pretty quickly that I am an insane Pearl Jam fan2. I promise you there is no other album that I have listened to as many times from front to back. There’s not a single thing out of place for me. It’s a perfect album in every way. I even have a 100 page PDF document from a message board discussion I once participated in with several other like-minded YIELD fanatics in which we broke down every last minutia of the album’s lyrics and music. We compiled a running narrative arc for the lyrics and gave it a narrative beginning, middle, and end, thus formulating an “accidental concept album”.

Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

If ever there was a threat to YIELD’s throne, this album would be it. It is every bit as perfect of an album, it has a narrative aspect to it that drives the album through a clear concept with a beginning, middle, and end, and it, quite frankly, is the epitome of everything that punk music can be. It’s ambitious without being overtly pretentious, it’s sprawling and powerful and anthemic while sticking true to the raw, visceral edge of aggressive music, and it challenges the listener to think about themselves and the world around them. Musically, the guitars on this album just absolutely rip and Patrick Stickles’ solos and leads are off the charts. The reason this could be my pick would be because there’s not a more substantive album that I listen to regularly than this one. It eschews the common verse-chorus-verse format and instead plays out more like classical music with movements, phases, and returns. The songs build and release, wax and wane. It’s just a brilliant album and one that I never tire of listening to.

Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile

When considering desert island albums, an underrated route to go is to pick a double-album. Having a double-album gives me more music to listen to. It’s longer, there are more songs, I can divide my listens to disc 1 and disc 2 to trick my mind into thinking I actually have two albums to listen to. It’s a great strategy. And if I’m picking a double-album to bring with me, it’s definitely going to be The Fragile. Trent Reznor’s masterpiece, painstakingly put together in a dark period of isolation and dealing with addiction issues, The Fragile tears apart the human condition and lays our most basic fears and insecurities out on the table for public examination. And sonically, the album is almost like a composition with layers of sounds, textures, and instruments to create something totally unique.

The winner: In a bit of an upset, I’m taking The Monitor. It’s longer than YIELD and The Fragile has a couple imperfections that work against it. I will likely spend most of days on the island wishing I had YIELD with me, though.

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MOVIES

The contenders

The Big Lebowski

This would be a hard one to go against. It has everything I want from a movie. Interesting writing, hilarious moments, incredible acting performances. It’s perhaps the movie I’ve seen the most times in my life. It’s just so great.

Memento

This movie absolutely blew me away the first time I saw it. The movie follows the story of a character with a condition that prevents him from making new memories. This leaves him often confused, stuck in a state of always wondering how he got to where he was. The movie actually plays out in reverse, showing the ending first and then go backward one scene at a time. This puts the viewer in the shoes of the protagonist. The first time you watch it, you don’t know how the protagonist got there. You don’t know what’s going on. You’re susceptible to suggestion and you’re willing to believe things you shouldn’t believe. Christopher Nolan is easily my favorite director and he’s the only director I will always make sure I see every movie of.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

If I’m stuck on a movie, I may just want a little theatrical soul food, a movie to just kick back and enjoy without having to think too much or be too invested in. Quite frankly, I might just want to watch a Star Wars movie. And if I can only bring one Star Wars movie with me, I’m going with Empire. Believe it or not, I actually gave a little thought to both The Force Awakens and Rogue One as my choices. I really, really enjoyed the new, modern Star Wars movies. But on a desert island, just give me the comfortable classic.

The winner: The Empire Strikes Back. I think Memento and The Big Lebowski would battle for the title of my favorite movie ever, but being stuck on a desert island, I just think I want something a little lighter and more consumer-friendly.

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FOOD

The contenders

Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. It’s also perhaps the most comforting and delicious. And the genre is so broad that you can have some serious variety. From cereal, to pastries, to fruit, to sandwiches, to bagels and muffins, to pancakes, french toast, and waffles. The possibilities are endless.

Mexican: I’m somewhat of a creature of habit. Most restaurants I go to, I tend to order the same thing or something similar. Mexican food is the exception. I often go all over the place when it comes to Mexican food. And I assume I’m getting endless chips and salsa, right? Hopefully, margaritas are included as well.

Burgers, fries, and shakes: Call it the Americana, if you will. The classic. The real hidden bonus of this one is I will probably die of a heart attack eating this for every meal, every day and will thus reduce how long I’m stuck on this island. But man, I sure do love a good meal of a quality burger, crispy fries (not a fan of the soggy ones), and a refreshing milkshake (I can go vanilla or chocolate here).

The winner: Breakfast. I just feel like this gives me the best chance of having the most variety and being able to mix up healthy options with gluttonous benders.

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So there you have it, my desert island picks. Now I’d love to hear what you guys would pick in the comments below. And as always, have a great week here at WFNY!

  1. In before the “you never have anything interesting to say in WWW” jokes. []
  2. I should clarify, I am insane Pearl Jam fan in normal person terms. Relative to other hardcore Pearl Jam fans, I am rather pedestrian. That band’s fan base is intense on a crazy level that even I can’t keep up with. Though I wish I could. []