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    This blog does not represent any organization and is completely unaffiliated with anyone and everyone for whom Derek works.

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  • I like to discuss things like music, movies, religion, politics, and other stuff that might offend you if you've got a different point of view.

    As you read through my blog, you'll see the progression of someone trying to sound smart (but coming off pretentious and moody) changing into someone who mainly just wants to write something that will make people laugh and/or express some of his opinions. The more recent stuff is better--and generally more positive. Perhaps I've grown...

    Only one rule: If you're going to comment, please at least pretend we're all grown-ups here.

I’m fine–just need to get this off my chest…

I started writing this as a brief thought, but it turned into a post.  Sorry it’s a little weighty.

As most people who’ll read this will know, I stopped drinking three years ago (as of May 27, 2016).  For the most part it hasn’t been that tough.  Most people are supportive if it comes up at all, and in the odd occasion that someone asks me if I’d like a beer, a simple “no thanks” fits the bill just fine.  But sometimes it’s still a little awkward.

Now, I’m not talking just about those times that I find myself playing in a bar or at an event that takes place in a bar or whatever.  Those situations can be a little weird, but usually I can order an O’Douls or a Coke in a plastic cup and no one notices that I’m not in on the revelry.  Once in a while there will be a guy after a set that says, “Let me buy you a beer!” and you’ve got to explain…but that’s not too big a deal.  You just let them know it’s a personal decision and you’re not judging them and it’s cool.  In fact I’ve more than once said, “Hey, I appreciate that, but I’m three years sober, so I’m going to have to pass…but how about I buy YOU a beer?”  Drunks usually understand why someone would want to clean up.

The times that it’s rough is when it’s a friend, and they think they’re being funny.  I was recently in a situation where one person in my group decided they’d like to have a couple of drinks.  It was a small group and it would’ve basically just been that one person doing the drinking, so I said, “Remember, I’m 3 years sober” and my friend’s response was, “Oh right, you suck.”  I know as a fact that this is a person who wants what’s best for me; who wouldn’t want me to compromise my integrity or my personal decisions, and if they noticed me buying a bottle of Jack Daniels at the grocery store would stop me and ask me what the hell I’m doing…  I know this person was kidding and thought we were all laughing; and out loud I did chuckle.  But it wasn’t funny.  I didn’t appreciate it…  (And I know that if they knew that, they’d apologize.  I’m not mad–it was a lapse in judgement and we’re all allowed those.)

The truth is, I’ve been struggling this year.  I haven’t really talked to anybody about that–this is the first that I’m really admitting it, although I’ve dropped hints here and there…  I don’t want to get too deep into the reasons I quit because I know it’d bum out some people I care about…but suffice to say that what I’ve always said about it is still true, and I still feel the need to stay away from the silly sauce.  But more than once this year, I’ve been at the grocery store and had to make sure I didn’t cut through the liquor aisle because I knew I’d linger too long.  Even last week, I was looking at different brands of tea and briefly thought, “I miss doing this with beer.”

There are reasons that it’s been harder this year than in the previous ones.  I’ve been a little (or lot) more stressed.  I’m living alone and I get bored, then live a little too much in my own head.  I haven’t been sleeping well and a shot of bourbon can be pretty relaxing.  I’ve had some nice dinners and know exactly what wine I’d want to pair with them.  Stuff like that…  Mostly the stress, I guess…  But yeah, I’ve missed it lately, and I’ve struggled a little.  (“Struggling,” by the way, means “thinking.”  I haven’t had a bottle anywhere near in my hand or anything like that.  Just “I miss that” thoughts.)

…and this is a bad time to have someone’s reaction to me being sober be, “Oh right, you suck.”  Because, y’know…it kinda feels like I do sometimes.  The reality is that I don’t get invited to hang out at stuff as much anymore–as though being IN a bar is going to result in me affixing my lips to the tap…or like people feel like they’d have to babysit me instead of having fun…  Or maybe they mean well, just thinking, “Oh he wouldn’t be interested–he’s sober…”

Look…  I’m responsible for my actions–nobody and nothing else can choose for me.  And I have been making what I think is a good choice for several years now…  But yeah man, I’ve noticed that I sit at home a lot of Saturdays these days.  And I’ve noticed the photos other people are posting that a couple of years ago I’d have been in.  And I’ve noticed the extra stress and the lack of sleep, and I’ve noticed that the root beer barrel candies at the office taste a lot like the Jim Beam Red Stag bourbon.  And yeah…that sucks, and it’s the kind of thing I’m likely to drag around with me a while…and didn’t I used to deal with that buy buying a pack of Guinness???

So, I guess what I’m saying is this…  Watch what you say to people who might be struggling.  Because sometimes when you’re kidding, it feels like you’re right.

That said, I stand by what I said earlier.  Only I am responsible for the decisions I make.  I am choosing correctly, I am choosing wisely, and if it weren’t a struggle it wouldn’t be a success.  So I’m going to be fine.  I’m choosing to be fine.  (What are those mantras?  “Making bad decisions is what got me here, etc…”)  I’m not going to give up on the choice I’ve made and I’m going to get through the struggle.  But part of doing that is going to include talking about it.  So here we are.  No ill-will to the friend that thought they were kidding.  Sometimes a cigar’s a cigar and a joke’s a joke…but then again, I also miss smoking.  (Kidding…sort of…)  We’re in this together and I’ve got people I can turn to.  Just might need to turn to them.

Thanks for reading that.  I promise my next post will be more fun or at least not as weighty.

————

Current Listening:

An “Alt-Country” mix of like 200 songs.  I’m about 30 in.  Artists in brief: Drive-By Truckers, Old 97s, Hayes Carll, Bottle Rockets, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Slobberbone, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell, The Hold Steady, etc etc…

“MEL BROOKS IS JEWISH?!?” – Homer Simpson

Sorry it’s been a while.  I am not consistent in my blogging anymore.  Simpsons quote in the title means it’s a random post, as most of you know.  Got some stuff I should write focused posts about, too…but I’m writing so infrequently that the random thing is beneficial for now.

  1. Did a photo-shoot with my brother, our friend Tim, and Dave’s (I think) cousin-in-law or something like that today.  It’s for Dave’s upcoming solo album with Dave and the Not-So-Daves.  (I love that band name.)  It’s a fun, poppy, rock-based record and it’s coming together really well.  All the parts are recorded and it’s down to just the mixing.  I’ve got a decent mix, but I’m making a few fixes before handing it to Dave.  Being off for Labor Day probably gives me the time to finish it up this week.  I’d thought I was going to be done with it by the end of August, but it looks like we’re going one week into September.  And that’s fine.  It’s a fun project and I’ve had fun doing it.  As I’ve said a few times–it’s some of the best guitar-work of my career.  Can’t wait for everybody to hear it!  For the photo-shoot, I wore a hat and a sport-coat over jeans look. Probably a little more hipster-ish than I’d intended, but so what?  I think it looked nice.
  2. I’ve been doing recording-tests for my next solo release as well.  “Sorry, I Didn’t Mean to Shout” will be all-acoustic (just my guitar and voice) and will be a “career retrospective” piece, covering some songs from all of my releases up to this point, along with four new songs.  It’s particularly aimed at first-time listeners and it will be meant to have the feel of coming to see me at an acoustic set.  You’d think a thing like that would be easy to record, but you’d be wrong.  I’m playing around with different ways of setting up microphones to best represent the guitar/room.  I’ve got a tone in mind and I haven’t quite hit it yet…so I haven’t committed anything to tape just yet either.  Once I know what I’m doing with it, I think it’ll be quick…but getting there is taking some time.  Fortunately I have that luxury.
  3. The article Jim wrote about me last month got me some nice notice from some folks. Got some good emails and my downloads went up for a bit.  Thanks to everybody that read it…or if you haven’t, it’s still readable right here.
  4. I’ve been enjoying watching wrestling in a way I haven’t in a very long time.  Once in a while, WWE gets their shit together and puts out a really great product, and that’s been happening in spades lately.  Just really great to see, as a long time fan.
  5. Gene Wilder died.  That made me really sad–although I knew he’d been sick for a while.  A lot of people think of Willy Wonka first, but my mind immediately went to Mel Brooks (hence the post-title) and to Haunted Honeymoon.  Such a great talent.  I’m one of the people who immediately posted something about him finally being reunited with Gilda Radner on the other side.  In the past couple of days, people have rebuked those of us who said that because Wilder had remarried several years prior to his death.  And I get why that’s important to mention.  Of course my thoughts and prayers are with Karen Boyer as she grieves.  But I’d hope we’re not all so dead inside that we can’t recognize that someone can still love their dead ex-wife, even if they’ve moved on to a new marriage.  (I’ve seen that a lot with people in my life.)  And I’d hope that we can all agree that regardless of what happens on this side of Heaven, when Gene walked through the Pearly Gates, the first people to greet him were Gilda Radner, Peter Boyle, and maybe Marty Feldman if he wasn’t drunk.  There’s no reason that shouldn’t be beautiful, just because he was also lucky enough to find beauty here, too.  Regardless…rest well, Mr. Wilder.
  6. It’s 2 a.m. on September 5, as I’m writing this.  It’s Freddie Mercury’s birthday.  He would have been 70.  Everyone knows what a huge Queen fan I am, and Freddie’s birthday is all the excuse I need to sing loud and high-pitched all damn day.  So if you’re looking for me, I’ll be in my car, doing that. 🙂
  7. My dad went to England and brought me back a shitload of tea.  I’ve been enjoying cup after cup over the past week.  I sometimes forget how much I like tea.  Particularly enjoying the Yorkshire brand, which I hope is easily findable once I run out!
  8. I’ve gotten into the Canadian band The Tragically Hip in the last couple of weeks.  I’ve seen them before, opening for a band or two, but never explored further until they played what was very likely their final show last month, which was streaming online.  The lead singer, Gord Downie, has inoperable brain cancer.  The last show of this tour was probably the last show EVER and they made it easy to view.  Tuned in because it seemed important to do so, and immediately regretted not being more into them over the years.  They make some really gorgeous rock music.  Bought some of their stuff and even though I’m late to the party, I’m glad I’m getting in while Gord is still fighting.  All the best to him and the band.
  9. FYI – My “Things I Meant to Say” record is 10 years old this year. I’d forgotten that.  Go give it a listen.  A lot of it holds up pretty well!  :)  (Although I do wish I could slightly re-write the part of “Jesus Doesn’t Care” where I say, “I know the Bible in and out…” because that’s bullshit.  Meant well.  Otherwise, good record.)

Well…I’m tired.  So that’s it for now.  Have a happy Labor Day, if you’re off work for it.

————

Current Listening (when I’m not listening to Queen):

  • Bonnie “Prince” Billy – I See a Darkness
  • Paul McCartney – Pure McCartney
  • Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me (Documentary Soundtrack)

I got interviewed for a thing and I’d love it if you read it.

So something awesome happened.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jim Ousley interviewed me about my music career for PLAYBACK:stl and the piece went live today.  It was a lot of fun and an honor to have that happen.  Jim had mentioned wanting to do that a time or two before, but I didn’t know if I had much to say–wasn’t promoting anything, etc, etc…  Thank goodness Jim is persistent, because this was a joy to do.  I think he did a great job with the piece and everything I really enjoyed talking about on the day of the interview made it into the piece.

The one regret I have is that in the “who would be in your dream band?” segment, I didn’t mention Bowie. 🙂

Check it out here. And please share with your friends!

Thanks again for the good time, Jim!

More to come on the blog this week (I think!) because the article mentions a couple of forthcoming projects I’m working on, so I should probably start talking about them here.

————

Current Listening:

  • My Morning Jacket – “It Still Moves” & “Z” — I’d missed out on this part of MMJ’s career, having come in on “Evil Urges.”  I’ve been missing out.
  • Billy Talent – Afraid of Heights

“Bart, stop pestering Satan!” – Marge Simpson

Been meaning to write for about a week.  Wanted to get in one more before the end of the month, and who knows, maybe this’ll go up before midnight and I will have succeeded. (EDIT — Spoiler alert: Nope!)  You see the Simpsons quote in the title…you know the deal… Here’s a random post…

  1. Most of you will know I’m a big pro-wrestling fan.  (So much so I’ve even signed up with Pro-Wrestling Loot–free plug.)  I know not everybody is going to share that passion, but if you’ve been a fan and drifted away over the years, I just want to take a second to encourage you to tune in.  Monday Night Raw has been pretty good lately, and they’re pushing a guy named Finn Balor, who if you’ve never seen him, you’re missing out.
  2. I failed to write about going to the National Blues Museum a couple of weeks ago, with my dad.  It’s a fun place.  I’m a little under-educated on some of it (but that’s why there are museums) but even so, they’ve got some really cool pieces in there and there’s a lot of fun stuff to look at and read about.  Highly recommend it.
  3. I’m stalled on my Dennis Lehane read-through.  I started “Shutter Island” but got stalled for a variety of reasons and haven’t picked it back up.  That’s not on purpose.  I’m sure I’ll get back into it and have a good time.  Part of the problem is I’ve seen the movie and that makes reading the book a little harder.
  4. Last week was a big week at the record store.  I discovered I like Ryan Adams, so I picked up some of his stuff.  While doing that, I bumped into a 1967 copy of the Beach Boys’ “Smiley Smile,” which was a cool find.  (It’s now hanging on my wall.)  Then this weekend Dave (my brother) and I hit the record stores to pick up copies of the new Descendents record.  I also got Brian Wilson’s new “Brian Wilson and Friends” live record and an old Lou Reed live album I didn’t have yet.  Lots to listen to!
  5. Talking of my brother.  We’ve got drums done for his solo record.  Just need to do background vocals and mix it to his satisfaction and we’re done!  Working title for the band is Dave and the Not-So Daves.  No idea on the album title.  Should be out before election time.
  6. Which brings me to the reminder that Donald Trump is a dangerous lunatic.
  7. I don’t remember if I talked about it here or not…but I’m thinking I’m going to do a small solo-release late in the year.  It’ll be an all-acoustic retrospective thing.  Just me playing some songs from my solo career from “Grounds” through “Trigger Warnings and Sunshine” with maybe a couple new songs on an acoustic guitar.  When you’ve got 8 albums, sometimes people need a gateway release to get their foot in the door, because they don’t know where to start.  I thought this would be a way to do that where I could have some fun, too.  Assuming I actually do it, I’ll probably call it “Sorry, I Didn’t Mean to Shout.”

It’s a short one, but it’s going to have to do.  The other stuff I want to write about is more “full post” material.  Hopefully that means I’ll write more soon.

Current Listening:

  • Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
  • Nice As Fuck – Self-titled (on Spotify–haven’t been able to find a physical copy yet)

Brian Wilson Review – St. Louis, MO 7/21/16

A bucket-list item happened for me last night. I got to see Brian Wilson perform all of what is widely regarded as the best album of all time, the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” in sequence, along with a lot of other hits (and not-so-hits!).

band.png

This is the best photo I got out of 1,000,000.  As good as phone cameras have gotten, they still suck.

I went with my Dad, Susan, and my brother. While there, I also met up with some old friends from high school that I don’t see enough of, including the guitarist from the band I was in as a teenager (union jack/Marc Schneider).  Didn’t think to do a group shot with the family, but did do a group shot with the friends, which I have stolen from my friend Nik’s Instagram page…

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I think they’ve all aged better than I did.  But in case you’re not used to seeing it, that is genuine happiness on my face. 🙂

My relationship with Brian Wilson’s music is a little unusual.  I described it in brief in the review of the Love & Mercy movie I wrote last year…but there’s more to it (isn’t there always?)  There have always been at least a handful of Beach Boys tunes I’ve liked, even if there were years that I denied it because I was in a punk band and I thought it was cool to hate nice things.  (There were also years that I claimed I hated the Beatles.  Didn’t always make good decisions.)  I remember when I was a kid (like under the age of 10) during the Summer where our air-conditioner stopped working so we stayed with Grandma for a little while, there was a commercial on TV for a Beach Boys greatest hits collection.  I remember asking if we could get it.  Dad, wisely, said that we could get A Beach Boys hits record, but it didn’t have to be THAT one…and of course I was young and an idiot and wanted THAT one…  So I never followed up and didn’t own any Beach Boys until I got old enough to by a greatest hits (but not the one from TV) with my own money.

As I said a year ago, I spent most of my Beach Boys fandom as a casual fan, but a much bigger fan of Brian Wilson solo, beginning with his release of “Smile” in 2004.  Since seeing the movie last year, I’ve been working to correct the deficit of knowledge on the band itself.  Along with getting more and more familiar with the hits, I’ve also been listening to the weird 70s stuff, when it was mostly Carl Wilson’s show.  Brian and Co. did a good deal of that stuff at the show, which was a nice surprise.  (They did two sets and an encore.  Set one was “hits” and album tracks.  Set two was all of “Pet Sounds.” The encore was more hits, ending on Brian’s signature piece, “Love & Mercy.”)  If you ever want to have the experience of saying, “How can THIS be the Beach Boys?” to yourself, I recommend picking up copies of “Surf’s Up,” “Sunflower,” “Holland,” and “Wild Honey” and just making a night of it.

I’m glad I’ve been on a Beach Boys kick over the last year.  Made the show a lot of fun–but I think it would’ve been fun even for the people who only know them from their Full House episodes. “Fun” is the best word for the show.  (“Fun, fun, fun” in fact…sorry.)  I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had that much pure, free, fun at a show.  The Who might’ve come close…but that was more of an emotional journey for me than a celebration…  Seeing Brian Wilson was a joy throughout–a celebration of all he’s overcome and the stuff his music has helped me get through.  And those songs are just so infectious and filled with so much joy (even the sad ones) that it’s almost impossible to have a bad time to that soundtrack.

The band was great.  Fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine accompanied Brian and sang a lot of leads.  He still sounds great.  There were a couple of points in the night I considered trying to get a “YOU’VE STILL GOT IT!” chant going for him.  Jardine’s son Matt is in the band too, playing a little guitar and singing the high-parts Brian isn’t able to hit anymore (no judging–it happens).  He did a phenomenal job.  And Blondie Chaplin was there too… He’s kind of a cheeseball and seems to think he’s Keith Richards…but whatever, it was fun!

The only thing that wasn’t fun was something I fully expected.  The average age of the crowd was probably 483-years-old, and a lot of them had obviously not been to too many concerts.  There was a guy behind me having a good time, cheering, letting out “whooooo!” sounds in quiet moments, like ya’ do.  People kept turning around and saying shitty things to him and commenting about it like he was being an awful person or something.  So Dave and I started joining in with the guy–again, like ‘ya do.  At one point a couple several rows in front of us got up and either relocated or left in a huff when the guy behind me let out one too many “whooooos” for their taste.  That’s when I shook my head, looked behind me, and saw that the guy whoooooing was in the handicapped section in a wheelchair.  So…it was the kind of crowd that has less fun than a guy in a wheelchair and looks down on him for it.  At that point I went over to the guy, thanked him and the girl with him for having fun and hooting and hollering and we shook hands probably four or five times and had a good time celebrating being there together.  So even the only down-part turned into an up.

…and good God, hearing the guy that wrote “God Only Knows” sing it was a breathtaking moment.  I was sitting listening to Brian belt it out and near the end of the song, I realized that I’d had my hands folded in a prayer-pose the whole time.  It was a spiritual moment, man.  Even the whooooo-less among us felt it as the whole crowd rose to their feet at the end of the tune.  Brian, being Brian, after the ovation went on for a while eventually said, “please be seated” and got a good laugh out of the crowd.  The memory of him doing that song is one I’ll carry with me as a warm feeling for a long time.

And talking of Brian himself…  There have been reviewers throughout the tour (and probably from last night as well) who have pointed out that he’s showing his age.  He’s not hitting all the notes.  He’s not even TRYING for some of the notes (ha ha).  He’s a little visibly shaky.  He seems to not be very energetic and just sits behind the piano all night…etc etc…  Well…some of that’s true.  But it’s also true that he’s 74 years old.  More than that, it’s not your average 74, either.  It’s a 74 that has seen extensive drug use.  It’s a 74 that saw both of his brothers die; one WAY too young.  It’s a 74 that was held a psychological and physical prisoner to a deranged “physician” (Eugene Landy) who kept him virtually catatonic until he needed him to dance in the spotlight.  It’s a 74 that before THAT got hit so hard by his dad when he was younger that he lost hearing in one ear.  And I could go on…  The point is, he’s still DOING IT.  It’s shocking that of the three Wilsons, he’s the one still living.  If the 70s and 80s didn’t take him, the 90s should have just from getting off all the drugs Landy had him on ALONE.  But he’s somehow still with us, and he’s somehow still playing the best album anyone’s ever written.  How DARE anyone criticize him for not being a tenor anymore?

There is so much more I want to say about what seeing Brian Wilson meant to me.  However, I have absolutely no idea how to say it.  Even though as a fan, you don’t KNOW your musical heroes, you do get to experience something very intimate in hearing them perform their songs that mean so much to you.  Maybe that’s why I found myself unknowingly praying during “God Only Knows.”  Maybe only He does.

There are still some dates left on the tour.  If you can get to a show, do it.  And buy one of the shirts.  They’re neat.

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See?

 

Like I said, I got to cross off a bucket list item last night.  And I got to do that with people I celebrate being with.  It was a good night.  Hope you have one too.

Love & Mercy to you.

A Dumb Survey

I’ve wanted to write about the violence and bloodshed in the world for several days.  I’ve wanted to talk about how I grieve with a people who’ve once again seen their innocents slaughtered by those who should be protecting them.  How I think that even if the anger is justified, the murders based on badge alone are not justified.  Those policemen should be mourned too.  I’ve wanted to talk about how senseless driving a truck into a crowd seems–I can’t think of what point it proves.  “We’re mad as hell and have licenses?”  The world is a bad place this week.

…but that’s all the energy I have for it right now.  It’s hard to find the motivation to say more when the words don’t seem to make a difference…  So I’m going to answer a dumbass blog survey I found at this link.  Let’s have some fun in the face of the insanity, huh?

  1. Who are your top three lady heroes?
    Interesting one to try to answer as a guy.  I’m not sure I’ve thought a lot about that.  I’ve definitely known and read about some very heroic women though…so…  This is going to be a little off-the-cuff…  I’m going to say Alanis Morissette, as weird as that might sound.  In the era of the boys’ club of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Metallica, et al, she put out “Jagged Little Pill” and it still holds up. Then maybe (actress) Maggie Smith because of how long she’s been turning in awesome, brave performances. And…I don’t know…as much as I’d have preferred it to be Bernie who got the nomination, I’ve respected Hillary Clinton for a long time, even when I haven’t agreed with her.  I should probably have said Anne Frank or somebody like that, but I wanted to go outside the box and also name living people…  I don’t like this answer, but off the top of my head, there you go.
  2. When you were little, what did you want to be?
    I think a ninja.  Probably a ninja.
  3. Who do you think should run for president in two years?
    I don’t think that’s how it’s going to work.  But, the hell with it, Bernie again.
  4. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Ever?
    This year, it’d be something from the Dennis Lehane books I’ve been reading.  I liked “A Drink Before the War” a lot, but “Mystic River” actually really stuck with me too.  All time is difficult…  I point to “Catcher in the Rye” as being my favorite book pretty often, but I’m not sure it’s the **best** book I’ve ever read.  “Best” and “favorite” are two different things.  But I also can’t really think of what else it could be. Maybe “Angela’s Ashes?”
  5. What makes you feel afraid?
    Spiders.  And dying alone.  In that order.
  6. Would you rather get lunch with Gillian Flynn or J.K. Rowling?
    I really liked Harry Potter but I don’t know that Rowling and I would get along face-to-face from what I know of her… I know next to nothing about Flynn.  So let’s go with her, because at least it’d be meeting someone new and maybe we’d hit it off and I’d end up as a background character in a book or something.
  7. What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory?
    I don’t know, man…  All of it?  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my childhood embarrassments.  I farted in church once…let’s go with that.
  8. If you had the option of adopting a baby fox or baby koala, which one would you choose?
    If I had the OPTION, I would adopt neither.  Those are both animals not meant to be domesticated.
  9. What’s your dream job?
    Sitting on my ass, but I’m still applauded and rich.  But I’m just not sure how to get into the field.
  10. Who is your favorite mythological god/goddess?
    Cthulhu, if he counts.  If not, I don’t really have one.
  11. Who was your first crush?
    I don’t want to put her name in print, in case she ever goes Googling.  She knows who she is, and that’s fine.  It didn’t work out, obviously.
  12. If you had to choose between using Internet Explorer forever, or permanently using an AOL e-mail address, which one would it be?
    Explorer, no contest.  I’ve never stopped using it (although it’s called “Edge” now in Windows 10).  I like it.  It’s familiar and it works fine.
  13. If you could either be a duck or an owl, which would you be?
    Duck.  Because I don’t really want to be up all night, and it seems like ducks have more friends than owls…ducks travel in flocks, while it seems like owls just sit alone in trees.
  14. What do you love about yourself most?
    “Love” is a big word…but I think one of my better qualities is that I’m loyal.
  15. What don’t you like so much?
    Short temper.  (I assume we’re talking about what I don’t like so much about MYSELF, right?  If not, then I don’t like Imo’s Pizza very much.)
  16. Rugrats or Doug?
    I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode of either…although I probably find Rugrats more infuriating, as a general rule.
  17. Which house would you belong to in Game of Thrones? Like, very honestly.
    Never seen it, never read it, don’t plan to do either.  No idea how to answer.
  18. If you got a (new) tattoo, what would it be of?
    It’d be The Who’s logo.  I presently don’t have any tattoos, and The Who has meant a lot to me for decades.
  19. What would you like to eat for your last meal?
    Something that takes a very long time to make.
  20. If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose?
    I don’t know if I even know what reality shows are still on…  One of the cooking ones, maybe?  Because that seems the most harmless.
  21. Who has influenced you the most?
    That is a very big question.  I could probably list a few dozen names…  A bunch of different family members and close friends.  Maybe the odd celebrity or two.  I don’t want to start listing people and risk leaving somebody out…  I hope I’ve done okay letting people know what they’ve meant to me in-person, though.
  22. What are your favorite lyrics?
    It changes almost daily.  Let’s go with pretty much all of The Who’s “The Real Me” as a safe answer though.
  23. Real jeans or jeggings?
    I’m going to go with the jeans, mostly for testicular reasons.
  24. On the first day of ruling the world, what would you do?
    Probably stay in and rent a movie.
  25. If you were forced to open a bakery, what would you name it?
    Cakes n’ Shit
  26. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done on a date?
    I don’t know…just fail at it, mostly.
  27. What do you hope to achieve by 50?
    That’s tough.  I think I’d just like to know I’m doing something that’s either important, or at least that is fulfilling.  Mostly I’d just like it if when my name comes up people say, “Yeah, he’s a pretty good guy.”
  28. What has been your best moment this year (so far)?
    It’s been a weird year.  I’m proud of the record I put out.  I’m proud of the Rickenbacker I bought.  I’m proud of the work achievements I’ve had.  I have trouble thinking in “bests.”  I’ve had a lot of stuff that’s gone well.  That’s good enough.
  29. Would you rather be stuck in traffic for two hours, or have Chipotle run out of guacamole forever?
    At present, the traffic thing.  Once you’re stuck, who cares?  Nothing you can do about it.  A traffic jam is a temporary inconvenience.  The guac thing, however, would be highly detrimental to several people I know.
  30. Why are you so amazing?
    Oh, hush!

And that’s it for now…

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Current Listening:

  • Michael Penn – Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea
  • Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Quick Musical Roundup

I’ve got some other stuff I want to write about, but I’m organizing my thoughts on that stuff.  So in the interim, here’s a post about music I’ve recently picked up.

  • Mumford & Sons with Baaba Maal, The Very Best, & Beatenberg – Johannesburg
    AKA – Mumford & Sons & A Shitload of Other Guys.  It’s a good listen.  Great blend of the folksy Mumford sound we all fell in love with in the first place and the electric sound we got to grow into on “Wilder Mind.”  Suffers a **little** from not being a Mumford-only release…but not much.  I dig a good EP and this is a GOOD one.  (Side note: I find it infuriating that they did not use the Oxford comma in the list of band names.  Had to Google to find out that The Very Best is one act and Beatenberg is another one.  You’ll notice I have placed the comma where it fucking belongs in this write-up.)
  • The I Don’t Cares – Wild Stab
    Paul Westerberg and Juliana Hatfield fell in love, I assume, and released this album.  It’s apparently some of Paul’s unreleased stuff and presumably similar to what we would’ve gotten had he managed to get the Replacements into the studio.  (Although it does contain a weird cover of one of Paul’s songs off of “Suicaine Gratifaction” that I wish they’d left alone.)  It’s okay…but just okay.  Had too high of hopes and got an album that would’ve benefitted from being a little shorter and a little heavier.  But, that said, if you’re looking to get a Westerberg fix, this’ll do it.
  • The Deep Hollow – Self-Titled
    I’m going to keep it simple.  This is what I thought The Civil Wars (or as I call them, “The Civil Bores”) was going to be.
  • Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional
    Loud, mad, and heavy.  (There’s the Oxford comma again!)  About what you want out of a band called Hatebreed.  Not quite as good as “The Divinity of Purpose,” but still does the job if you’re looking to stick all ten middle fingers in the air and bang your head a little.
  • Tegan & Sara – Love You to Death
    Excellent synth-pop record.  At first I didn’t think it measured up to “Heartthrob,” which I absolutely adored…but I’ve only listened to it twice and I’ve woken up on separate days with either “That Girl” or “100x” stuck in my head with only those two listens.  Infectious record.  Highly recommend it.
  • Andrew Bird – Are You Serious
    Hipster-sheik violin guy makes violin music for hipsters.  A little embarrassed that I like it…but I like it. Folk-rock based, but the guy plays a violin as a lead instrument.
  • Los Straightjackets – The Further Adventures of Los Straightjackets
    It’s from 2009 and I may have even mentioned it here before, but I can’t remember.  Recent purchase.  Los Straightjackets is a surf-rock band that plays dressed in Mexican Luchador masks.  What’s not to love?

    13606695_554445256252_6729314822169730570_n

    Lucha-Derek approves! (Thanks, ProWrestling Loot!)

     

  • Rufus Wainwright – Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets
    Rufus has finally written his opera, and good-God is it ever beautiful.  It would have benefitted from less spoken-word segments in the CD format…but even so, those moments are still effective.  I feel ill-equipped to comment for very long on opera.  I listen to certain classical pieces, but I’m under-educated on the qualities of opera as a genre.  However, to my ears, this is a really beautiful and moving production.  (It probably helps that I’m a huge Rufus Wainwright fan and have hoped he’d do this for close to 10 years, though!)

And that’s it.  Maybe I’ll write something else soon.  Maybe not.  You know how I am.

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Current Reading:

Dennis Lehane – Shutter Island. – I’d breezed through “Mystic River” in two sittings and loved it.  Going to try to take it a little slower with Shutter Island though.  Saw the movie…know the big twist…so I’m just reading it to enjoy it, not to lose myself in it.  Liking it so far, though!