On Tuesday I cancelled our DirecTV service. It’s crazy to think we have been a customer for thirteen years. We originally switched to DirecTV because we hated Cableone, and DirecTV had Tivos. DirecTV Tivos have been gone a long time now and we’ve been dealing with their shit DVR, while watching our monthly bill going up ever year. It’s stupid that you have to threaten to cancel ever year to keep your bill down. Fuck that. I’m not playing that game. This year our bill creeped over the $130 mark. Now that we have another cable provider, Midco, I thought I would look into them. They’ve been a great internet provider so far.
So now I’m paying around $130 for cable AND internet. I’m pretty much saving the $65 that I was paying for internet. And guess what? They have Tivos! We finally have and awesome DVR again. So we basically switched to DirecTV to get a Tivo and left DirecTV to get a Tivo again.
I wish cable and satellite providers cared about their customers and offered better DVRs like Tivos. The user interface is so much better. I guess they’ll feel the pain soon enough as fewer people subscribe, and more people cut the cord. If I lived alone I would have cut the cord years ago. I never watch TV. All the alternatives are getting better. Someday soon we will cut the cord, just not quite yet.
New Miserable Experience was a great album. “Hey Jealousy” was basically an anthem song for 1993. I still remember listening to this album on the way to my first party with a bunch of coworkers. I had a crush on a certain coworker, so I was totally going to the party that night at her apartment after she invited me. One of the first person I met at the party was her big buff boyfriend who could kick my ass with his pinkie finger. It was still a fun night. It was my first time hanging out with a bunch of coworkers. It was a little weird getting drunk with my boss, but everyone was cool. After the party, I probably shouldn’t have driven home, but my dorm room was just a few blocks away, so I drove home continuing listening to New Miserable Experience. It’s weird how certain songs, or album bring back certain memories. I listened to this album a ton in 1993, but all the memories are from that party.
A year ago today my favorite band, Motion City Soundtrack, announced their breakup. It’s been a weird spring. Most springs in the past I’ve been looking forward to seeing where MCS was touring. They were a hard working band and were constantly touring. It was great. I was able to see them fourteen times, and I’m still kicking myself for missing a few other shows that I could have seen. It was also the main reason of their demise. For smaller bands to make it these days they have to be constantly touring. As you get older you just want to be home. I totally get it.
I don’t think a day has gone by since last 3.11 that I haven’t listened to some MCS. I’ve been reading their Reddit page and every week someone posts a song to discuss. That always leads me down the rabbit hole of all the amazing MCS YouTube videos. From old live performances, acoustic performances, to even some ukulele covers. All of them are so great because the songs are so great.
Whenever I try to listen to some new music I’m always like, “This is good, but not MCS good. Why don’t I just listen to MCS.” You would think I would get sick of MCS, but I don’t.
Currently the lead singer, Justin Pierre, is working on a solo album. I’m looking forward to that, and if he does any local Minneapolis shows, that would be great. Someday down the road I sure hope there is a reunion show. I will be right there in the front row, just like I have many time in the past.
I remember watching Alternative Nation on MTV at my buddies house when the “Somebody to Shove” video came on. I instantly fell in love with Soul Asylum. It was crazy that they didn’t break out until their sixth album. Grave Dancers Union is a great album from start to finish, but “Runaway Train” got too overplayed. To this day, I alway skip that song when I listen to this album. “Black Gold” always reminds me of my senior year of high school. Soul Asylum is definitely my second favorite Minnesota band. Motion City Soundtrack being my favorite, obviously. Sorry to The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, and yeah Prince; not much of a fan.
Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend came out in 1991. I didn’t discover it until my college roommate introduced me to it in 1993. I don’t know if 1991 me would have liked Matthew Sweet, but 1993 me loved him. Girlfriend has always been a good road tripping album for me. To this day if I’m ever road tripping by myself I will crank this album up.
Towards the end of my senior year of high school I discovered Lookout! Records. I bought almost every album I could find off the label. I loved so many of the albums Lookout! was putting out those days. The albums weren’t all that well produced, the songs were just stupid simple punk rock songs, but damn were they good. Kerplunk! was probably my favorite off of Lookout!. I still listen to it a couple times a year. Green Day has come of long way and I have loved everything they have done. In fact I think their latest is one of their best. But sometimes I just love the rougher, simpler, older Green Day songs. Plus I have so many memories attached to these songs. From “Christie Road”, “80”, “Android”, all such good songs. Then there was “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?”. I had to look up who Holden Caulfield was and ended up reading The Catcher in the Rye. That was the beginning of reading for leisure for me.
This weeks revisit of albums from my teens is Blood Sugar Sex Magik from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Shortly after discovering Nirvana’s Nevermind I discovered this album. It was actually released the same day as Nevermind. I loved it because many of the songs were almost rap songs, and at the time I was still a fan of some rap music. One of my biggest memories from this album is listening to “Under The Bridge” on a band trip to Chicago. It’s weird how this is one of my few memories from that trip to Chicago. Hearing the album now for the first time in at least 15 years really brings back the memories.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
So many things are happening and no time to blog them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
So 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?
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:
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.
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.