My Top Ten Albums as a Teen

The current political climate of our country is scary. I keep hoping smarter heads will prevail and someone will be able to control the child that we elected as president. It’s not looking like that’s going to happen. There really isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t been said already.

Since the near future looks bleak, lets look back to the past.

A couple weeks ago Dave Winer posted his top 10 albums from when he was a teen. I think the music you liked as a teen sticks with you and will always be your favorite. My teenage years were 1988–1994, while my all time favorite band Motion City Soundtrack is more recent, I still love early 90s music.

I tried to limit my list to ten, but that just seemed too difficult. I love all these albums so much. I did stick with the rule of only one album per band though. My goal is to revisit each album more in depth in future posts.

So here’s my top tenish (really 18) albums from when I was a teen:

2016 Was the Year of Health Issues

2016 was the year of health problems for me. Nothing really major, but I saw more doctors in 2016 than any other single year in my life.

It all started last January with a toothache. Toothaches have to be one of the most painful things. I went to my dentist and he couldn’t find anything wrong and gave me some pain pills. The pain never went away so I went to another dentist because mine was on vacation and she couldn’t see anything wrong. The pain never went away, so I thought maybe it was in my jaw, so I went to a doctor. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with my jaw, but my blood pressure was high.

My toothache finally went away, but then I started dealing with my blood pressure. I had an EKG done and something was off, so then I had a stress test done. Everything seemed fine then, but I was put on blood pressure medication. After a few visits the medication was doing it job and my blood pressure was great.

Then I came down with gout. The cause was most likely my blood pressure meds. They took me off the blood pressure meds, and my lifestyle changes must have worked because my blood pressure was fine and I no longer need to be on blood pressure meds. Yay!

So then during my next teeth cleaning, my dentist discovered an abscessed tooth. So the year ended with me getting a root canal to fix the problem that started in January.

2017 starts with a clean bill of health for me. No pain and I’m on no meds. I have a dentist appointment next week. lets hope this year is better than the last.

Why do Christmas Songs Suck?

I’m not a big fan of Christmas songs. I’m actually not a big Christmas fan at all. I find this time of year to be pretty depressing. All weekend I’ve had one Christmas song stuck in my head though. It’s probably one you don’t know. It’s this one:

It’s from Tiny Stills. If you don’t know them you should. Kailynn West is basically Tiny Stills. She is the drummer of Motion City Soundtrack’s fiancé. Not only does she write great music, she is a great person.

When Motion City Soundtrack announced their final tour I was so hoping that she would open for them. Sadly she didn’t, but she did open on Motion City Soundtrack’s very last show because of a cancellation. She wrote all about it here.

When Motion City Soundtrack played their final Minnesota shows she did fly up to visit. I saw her just chilling out during the pre show vip activities. I wanted to say hi, but I was too shy and didn’t want to bother her. I did spot her in the picture that the band took during the show though.

I wasn’t sure at first, so I asked her if that was her. She asked me if I was playing where’s Waldo with her.

Plugged Ears

So this might be a gross post, but I get a lot of wax buildup in my ears. Often times they get so plugged up I have a hard time hearing. Q-tips are shit, and I don’t think should ever be used in ears. They just seem to push the wax back and seem to make things worse for me. I bought an ear wax removal syringe and use it in the shower from time to time to flush my ears out. It works pretty good, but I just discovered this amazing tool.

It feels amazing if you have itchy ears and it gets the wax out. It doesn’t push it back like Q-tips do.

Pulled Over for Playing Pokémon Go

So today I got pulled over for “rolling” through a stop sign. I know damn well I didn’t. I’ve gotten two tickets for doing that, so I always make a point to come to a complete stop. What the cop really wanted to know was why I was sitting in a church parking lot for the last half hour or so. Well, that church was a Pokémon Gym. I was honest and told him I was playing Pokémon Go, but I don’t play while driving. He didn’t seem to care. I didn’t get a warning or anything. I guess it’s good that they are looking out for any mischief going on. It just pisses me off that they can pull you over for any made up reason. I’m just glad I’m white.

What I’ve Been Up To

So many things are happening and no time to blog them.

Green Bay
A couple weeks ago I went on my almost annual road trip to an NFL game. My friend is a teacher, so Sunday games are hard to pull off. So we go to whatever Thursday game there is the week he has his MEA break. This year the game ended up being in Green Bay. Growing up I never thought in a million years I would be seeing a game in Green Bay. Thanks to Stubhub, now the average person can actually buy tickets from a season ticket holder if they are willing to pay the price. Our $95 tickets ended up costing $250. A little pricey, but with no airfare since it’s only and eight hour drive, it was a pretty affordable game this year. 

Lambeau Field was pretty amazing. It’s so cool how such a small town was able to keep their football team. In the early years of the NFL many small towns had teams, Green Bay was the only small town team that survived. It would be hard not to be a Packer fan if you lived in Green Bay. All the houses around the stadium had people tailgating in their front yard. It was such a cool experience and I’m not even a Packer fan.

Getting Old
A couple days after I got back from Green Bay I had a gout flare. I’ve never had gout before, and let me tell you it sucked. We had tickets to see Brand New in Sioux Falls, but I couldn’t make it. I loaded up on pain meds and drove halfway there, but I could barely walk so decided against the concert. I’m still super bummed. I’ve never seen Brand New, and now probably never will.

The gout was probably brought on by my blood pressure medication that I started taking in February. I discovered my blood pressure problem because I had a mysterious toothache that nobody could find the cause of. My tooth got better, but now we know the cause and I have to have a root canal on Friday. Getting Old is starting to suck. 

Vacation
Next Sunday we leave for a week long vacation in Arizona. I’ve never been to Arizona, so I get to check another state off my map. Actually it will be two states because we are flying into Vegas first to see a Penn and Teller show. If you know me you know how much I like magic shows. I’ve always wanted to see Penn and Teller. 

From Vegas we are road tripping it to the Hover Dam, then the Grand Canyon, and then down to Phoenix which we haven’t planned yet. Basically seeing everything I’ve always wanted to see in that part of the country. Should be a fun time. 

I wonder…

Back in 1994 I was living in a college dorm. I don’t remember how I discovered it, but I found a note written on the bottom of a drawer from the 70s. I don’t remember much about it, but it did mention going to a Kiss concert. It was pretty cool hearing from the past.

So of course I added my note from the 90s. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I know I mentioned that we lost “our” rock legend Kurt Cobain that year.

I wonder if my note has been discovered? I wonder if it’s still there? I wonder if there are some new notes? I’ll probably never know the answers to these questions.

Pokémon What?

Oh, hello blog. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy catching Pokémon. Before July I didn’t know what a Pokémon was. I’m old, Pokémon wasn’t a part of my childhood. Pokémon Go sounds dumb, but man it’s fun. I’ve put more miles on my bike the last month and a half than the previous ten years. Pokéstops around my house are just to far apart to walk it. I prefer biking anyway, the only downside is that I have to keep it slow for the kilometers to count.

It’s been great. I’ve seen parts of town I’ve never seen before. I’ve pretty much biked fifteen to twenty miles every day I’ve had off, and five to ten on days I’ve worked twelve hours. It’s weird, I just can’t wait to hope on my bike again. It’s bringing me back to my childhood, not the Pokémon part, but the biking part. I use to bike all over the little town I grew up in. It feels great to get out and do that again.

I should reach level 22 this weekend. It seems to be a constant battle to keep up with everybody’s level. That’s part of the drive I guess. I don’t want to fall too far behind. I’m dreading winter. It’s going to be difficult to play when it’s so cold that it’s dangerous to be outside.

Last night

Last night our neighbor freaked out and threatened to shoot her neighbors and any cops that approached her house. I was at work, so I missed all the commotion. Knowing her, I can’t imagine that she was a real threat, but you can’t mess around with threats these days. She was eventually arrested. It’s unclear if she was arrested last night, or this morning, but I’ve seen her mugshot online. It’s kind of scary knowing something like this happened twenty feet from where I am typing this right now.

I looked up the police call log to try to fine more info. I was amazed at the number of calls they receive, and the low-lifes they have to deal with. It would be really depressing to be a cop. I have the utmost respect for anybody who chooses that as a profession. It’s no wonder some cops get a little too trigger happy with all the stuff they have to deal with, I would be scared for my life too. That’s no excuse though.

I don’t want to get into the Black Live Matter debate. Being a white male, I can’t know how they are feeling. I can only image. If you are one of those “All Lives Matter” fools, educate yourself, you sound like an idiot. This comic is a good starting place.

You’ll Always Be My Favorite One

So Long, FarewellSo just a few hours ago Motion City Soundtrack played their last note in Minneapolis. I wanted to be there so bad. I only had tickets for their first of four shows because at the time, I thought that would be their last. I didn’t realize they would play four sold out shows. If it was up to me, I would have went to all four. They are the only band that when the show ends, I always want more. After the first thirteen times seeing them, every time looking forward to the next.

Last Friday was the last for me.

I feel stupid, but this 40 something dude has been crying, and feeling really bummed out. I guess that’s how much I loved them. Their music is just so perfect. It’s pretty much all I’ve been listening to since their March announcement that they are ending.

Last Friday also probably marked the end of an era for me. Who knows if Ill ever be back to The Varsity or First Ave. There aren’t too many bands that are small enough to play those venues that I’m willing to travel to see. Plus I’m old. We met some cool kids at the show on Friday, and yeah, I’m old enough to be their dad. It was an amazing night. Motion City fans are just as cool as the band. It was the perfect way to end my moshing career too.

My fingers are cross for a reunion tour. This can’t really be the end, can it be?

So Long Farewell

A week from today I will be seeing Motion City Soundtrack for the last time. I’m looking forward to it and not looking forward to it at the same time. We got VIP tickets so we will be hanging out with the band before while they do a few acoustic songs. It will be awesome, but it sucks that this will be the last time. At the same time I’m so grateful for all the great music they have made, and I guess not too many people can say they saw their favorite band 14 times.

Last week someone posted a video from their VIP session in Des Moines. Here it is:

It’s going to be great. Sad, but great.

Spring

Hello blog. I’m still around. It’s just that these are the couple of weeks that we get that are actually nice outside. It’s not too cold, not too hot, and the mosquitoes aren’t out yet.

I’ve been busy with yard work, planting grass and flowers. I cleaned the shed and the garage. Took the dog for a bunch of walks. I’ve even taken more bike rights this year than all of last year already. I’ve just been enjoying the outside. Don’t worry, it’ll get old soon. Then it will get hot and the mosquitoes will come out, and I’ll be back to being the great indoorsman that I am.

New Car

We are in the market for a new car. Our Jeep is 12 years old, and while it’s in good shape, we’re ready for an upgrade. We’ve been looking around, but don’t really know what we want. I really want our new car to include Apple’s Carplay, but few cars have it yet. I hate the Ford Sync system in my truck. I don’t believe car manufacturers know how to make a user friendly interface. I want a system that will be upgradeable also. If Carplay and Android Auto work like they say, updates on the phone will carry over to the car stereo.

This week Tesla announced the Model 3. It’s starting at $35,000, so it’s the first Tesla that normal people can afford. It’s on the upper limit of what we want to pay, but we could pull it off. The deal breaker though is the distance limitations. For people living in a big city 200 miles is probably fine, and for us around town it’s fine too. The problem is Minneapolis is 240 miles away, and we go there quite often. We would be stuck using my gas guzzling truck for all our road trips. So then what’s the point in spending that much on a car that can’t leave town?

I really want an electric car, but this time around, they aren’t quite there yet. They need increased range, plus who knows how much more limited the range will be in our cold weather. Maybe our next car in 12–15 years will be electric.

New coworker

We have a new employee at work. I haven’t met her yet because I’ve been on the night shift. Yes, it’s a her. I work in a predominantly male profession, but it doesn’t have to be. I mostly sit in front of a computer or work in the lab.

We hired a woman a few months back and she didn’t work out. Everybody thought it was because she was a woman and that we should never hire another woman again. I cringed at that thought. I say you hire the best person for the job despite what their genitals look like.

I give my bosses credit for hiring another woman. She was up against a military vet and they chose her because she had the schooling. She actually went to the same school I did.

I’ve been doing some Google stalking, and it looks like she is gay too. I think that’s awesome. We need more diversity around here. I can imagine all the horrible things some of my coworkers are going to say behind her back. Fuck them. I’m excited to meet her Tuesday.

So Long, Farewell Motion City Soundtrack

So a lot of people celebrate 3/11 day because of the band 311. I’m not really a 311 fan, but 3/11/16 is a date I will always remember. It’s the date my favorite band, Motion City Soundtrack, announced that they were calling it quits. I was shocked at first, but I understand how tour life could be a drag, especially since many of the band members have kids now. My sad turned in to glad when I realized all the great music and great times the band has given me. So while I’m sad that it’s over, I’m so glad it happened.

I’ve read what a lot of people wrote about the band, but this article is the best.

Trying to remember all the times I’ve seen them, I went through all my ticket stubs. I thought it was 14 time, but I guess I’ve only seen them 13 times. Number 14 will be this June. Here are all the Motion City Soundtrack shows I’ve been to:

05/23/2004 @ The Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND
07/24/2005 @ Vans Warped Tour, Minneapolis, MN
11/12/2005 @ The Myth, Maplewood, MN
12/12/2006 @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN
11/24/2007 @ The Myth, Maplewood, MN
05/27/2008 @ The Myth, Maplewood, MN
07/15/2008 @ The Venue, Fargo, ND
10/28/2010 @ First Avenue, Minneapolis MN
12/18/2010 @ First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
09/3/2011 @ Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, MN
11/18/2012 @ Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN
04/21/2013 @ The Vault, Sioux Falls, SD
10/25/2015 @ First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

This past Monday they announced the first leg of their “So Long, Farewell” tour, and Tuesday VIP tickets went on sale. They went on sale at 10:00 am. I started refreshing my browser over and over starting at 9:58. At 10:01 I selected two vip tickets only to discover they were all sold out when I hit enter. I was pretty bummed, but still kept refreshing the page out of disbelief. Then at 10:09 suddenly there were tickets available. I scarfed them up as quick as I could. I couldn’t believe it, I GOT VIP TICKETS. Here is what VIP includes:

One General Admission Ticket
A Stripped-down Acoustic Set with Band (two songs)
One Raffle Entry to Win Prizes*
A Photo with the Band
One Exclusive Signed VIP Lithograph
A Live “Ask-Us-Anything” Session with Band Members
One Exclusive Wearable Button
One VIP Laminate and Lanyard
Priority Merch Shopping
Early Entry into the Venue with First Dibs on Front Row Access
*Chance to win relics from the MCS vault. Relics can range from: an exact Realistic/Moog MG–1 synthesizer used on tour and in the studio by the band that may or may not still work, lyric sheets, vinyl test pressings, posters, stage back drops used on tour, and more. One entry per person. Actual prizes may vary based on availability. Winner selected at end of Summer 2016 tour.

So my 14th time seeing Motion City Soundtrack will be a memorable one, and if I’m lucky, maybe I can catch them one more time when they announce the second leg of the tour.

My Music Taste Trends

So tomorrow I’m going to see Fall Out Boy again. I honestly don’t remember how many times I’ve seem them. It’s more than five, but less than the 14 times I’ve seen Motion City Soundtrack. Everybody says I go to a lot of concerts, but really, I’m just old. I probably only go to two or three concerts a year. They just add up over the years.

My love of music started early. In 1985 I got a boombox, or as we called them, a “Ghetto Blaster” for Christmas. I wasn’t a fan of the couple of cassettes I got with it, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, but I would soon enough find music I would enjoy. My Mom wasn’t one of those cool parents that introduced their kids to the Beatles. It would be decades before I would discover the greatness of the Beatles. Around that same time our cable company got MTV.

Thanks to MTV I got into a few of the hair metal bands of the 80s. I loved Bon Jovi, Poison, Skid Row, Gun N’ Roses, and Warrant. That’s about where my love for hair metal began and ended. As a poor middle school student, I was on a limited budget. Then I discovered the Beastie Boys. I had to find more music like them. What is this rap music? Back in those days, rap music wasn’t played on MTV. Eventually rap music got its own show, Yo! MTV Raps, and I was in heaven. I loved Run DMC, Public Enemy, KRS One, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and many others.

Then 1991 came and along and with it came “Smells Like Teen Spirt”. I never listened to another rap album. Nirvana changed everything. I was now a high school student with a minimum wage job and no bills, so I could afford cassettes and eventually CDs. I was getting into underground 90s alternative rock. Bands with funny names that nobody ever heard of like Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains. They all would become huge. And others like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., and Sugar, who weren’t as huge, but just as great. I would buy CD just because I’d heard of the band, or a band I liked mentioned them. I was buying a couple CDs a week. I loved when I could catch 120 Minutes on MTV. That was the only show that played the music I was into.

Eventually 90s alternative rock became main stream. The 90s seem to be the only time period in my life where my music was being played on the radio. I hear most peoples favorite music is from their college years. I was lucky to have a roommate that was into the same music. He introduced my to Matthew Sweet, and Urge Overkill. I got him into The Lemonheads, and Candlebox. We both discovered the greatness of Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield. I also loved female singers. Not too many people I knew listened to many female bands. I loved Letters to Cleo, Tracy Bonham, Bree Sharp, The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Garbage, Hole, and many many others.

Then the late 90s came and music for me was blah. Also, since I was no longer in school, the years all blurred together. It’s weird how my music style seems to shift every ten years or so. In the mid 90s I was also into a lot of punk bands, NOFX, Screeching Weasel, Mr. T Experience, Bad Religion, and many others. These were internet years. It was easy to find and hear new bands. I pretty much loved every band on Epitaph Record, Fat Wreck Chords, and Lookout Records. The mid 90s were great, the late 90s though…blah.

Then in 2003 music became great again. I discovered my all time favorite band Motion City Soundtrack along with other bands nobody heard of like Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, and many others. I still don’t really know what to call this phase, Pop-Punk? Emo? That’s the stuff I was listening to, and maybe still? I don’t even know what I’m listening to now. I am currently in a blah stage.

Now I’m mostly listening to podcasts. I’m still always looking for great music, but haven’t found much lately. Is there another phase coming? Am I just old and will only listen to old music now? Who knows?

I like to think I have a great taste in music, but I’m rarely into mainstream music. My tastes have changed from Hair Metal, to Rap, to Alternative Rock, to Punk, and Pop-Punk/Emo. I’m always looking for something new and different.

What’s next?

Installed Under Cabinet Lighting

So I missed my first Saturday blog of the year last week. That’s why I didn’t make it a thing. I knew life would get in the way. Last weekend I installed under cabinet lighting in our kitchen. I love it. I didn’t even think of it when we had our kitchen remodeled. With the LED strip lighting these days it’s pretty easy to install. You just have to plan a little how to and where to run the wires. Other than that, it’s a breeze to install and looks amazing in our new kitchen.
Under Cabinet Lighting
For our kitchen I just got white dimmable lights. They make some cool color changing ones too. I wish I could think of another place to install them they are so cool.

Other than that, it was a pretty boring week. I spent all week in Bismarck sitting in classes to get my continuing education credits for work. Fun stuff. I’m glad it’s done and I am good for three years.

kitchen update

So if you’ve seen my last post you know our kitchen is finally finished. The never ending project that started in November is finally done.

I love our new floor, and the best part was that it was free. That was part of the delay. They briefly wanted me to put in a claim to my insurance. I said no way, I didn’t touch the drain line that leaked after the plumber hooked it up. Thankfully I didn’t have to argue too much before the plumber took the blame. Then the plumbers insurance only was going to cover the floor, but our contractor wanted to pull out the cabinets to make sure there wasn’t any more damage. They eventually got the insurance company to cover that, and good thing. It was still wet under the cabinets, so they got that all dried out too.

They worked hard this week. They pulled out the cabinets, dried floor, replaced cabinets, and installed the floor. Everything looks great. I have mixed feelings about the contractor we used. I’m not going to bash them because they did a good job. The delays were caused by insurance companies, and the leak was caused by another plumbing outfit, and too be fair, the plumber couldn’t test the line because the electrician hadn’t been out yet to hook up power to the dishwasher. Things happen, I totally understand that, and for the most part, our contractor took care of everything. I’m just so happy it’s finally over. We have a kitchen table for the first time since before Thanksgiving.

Getting Old

So it’s Saturday and time for another blog post. I haven’t mentioned it, but this year my goal was to try and blog more. My goal is once a week, and lately Saturday seems to be the day. I know nobody blogs anymore and it sucks. I’m going to do my part to keep blogging a thing. I miss the good ol’ blogging days. It doesn’t really matter to me if anybody reads this. It’s mostly for me. It feels good to get things off my chest.

So I’m still dealing with this tooth/jaw pain this week. Monday it was mostly my jaw that hurt after eating. I went to the doctor, got some pain meds, then the pain moved again. It’s now the tooth on the opposite side of my mouth than before. It’s so weird how the pain moves after seeing someone about it. I don’t know if it’s just the pain meds, but the pain does seem to feel like it’s slowly going away.

I have another doctors appointment on Friday. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate visiting the doctor? This was is a follow up because of my high blood pressure. The last few times I’ve had it checked it’s been on the high side. I guess it’s probably time to do something about it. Getting old sucks, but I guess it beats dying young. So I guess I should start paying attention to my health.

Painful Chompers

For the past two weeks I’ve been dealing with some major tooth pains. One on each side of my mouth and both in fillings I got in November. I’ve been to my dentist and even went to another one to get a second opinion, and nobody knows why I’m in so much pain.

There is this weird thing about me. When ever I go to see a doctor about something, just waiting in the waiting room cures me temporally. So both times that I went in to the dentist I wasn’t in too much pain, so they probably didn’t think that much of it. It’s still a mystery why I’m in so much pain and no one knows why.

I am such a wuss when it comes to pain. I had a huge todo list this week and didn’t get anything done. I hate laying around and doing nothing, but I can’t think or concentrate when I’m in pain. We’ll see how this weekend goes. If I’m not doing any better I may have to give the dentist a third shot at figuring what’s wrong with my teeth. I’m hoping they just magically get better on their own.