Bah humbug!

Cross country skiing was great. Evan guessed we went about 6.5k or so. It didn’t really seem too long, but we didn’t really know all of the trails so maybe we’ll go for a little longer next time. I really enjoyed the running/gliding technique, and it took a while for me to get used to going downhill where they hadn’t groomed the trail with tracks, but I finally started to get the hang of it. I fell a few times early on, and twisted my knee a little bit. It reaffirmed my fear of downhill skiing (I think I’d screw up my knees).

I had wanted to go out again last night, but I was exhausted. I don’t know why but I think it’s the combination of sitting around not doing much all evening and the traveling/altitude but I’ve been exhausted around 8 each night. Tonight I’m going to try to find something to do, but then again, it’s Sunday, so who knows what will be open in Laramie.

It’s supposed to be warmer today, but that means it’ll be in the 20’s. I’m going to walk around on the pond in the park across from Amanda and Evan’s house. I’ve never walked on a frozen pond or lake, so it’s another thing I feel like I need to do in my life. I’ve seen some preview for a movie about the things you’d do before you die, and though I hope I’m not anywhere close to dying, there are a bunch of little things that I want to do, just to experience them or to be able to say I did them. They’re not necessarily huge events like skydiving, though I’ve done that, but I think little things like walking on ponds can be a lot of fun.

I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. Now I have to wrap all of it. I’m a terrible present wrapper and I think I might end up doing it as badly as possible on purpose. It’s more fun that way. Also, I think next year I’m sending out Scrooge cards in place of Christmas cards. Our family friend Marc used to send Christmas cards and on the inside wrote “Bah Humbug!” and I’m going to take it another step. I think I’ll end up making my own and having them printed, but it’ll be fun. Either that or getting a portrait taken at the local Sears or something with a terrible Christmas sweater on and sending that out to people. I’ve got a year to think about it.

I’m rambling now, so I’ll end this. Today we are all going sledding up at Happy Jack after having french toast. It sounds like a very wholesome family thing, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

By |December 23rd, 2007|Family, Friends, Running|0 Comments

Warning Device, Cold, Skiing

I got into Laramie after two days of driving. It wasn’t terrible, but who wants to drive two days straight? Truckers, I guess. Anyhow, we got into town and relaxed for a while. All of us went out to a pizza place (I think Grand Ave. Pizza) that had a good Thai pizza. I started reading for a little bit when we got home and fell asleep at about 7:30. Luckily Evan saved me from my boringness and woke me up asking if I wanted to go out for a beer.

Thoroughly bundled up (after all it was about 5 or 10 degrees out when we left), we headed to Altitude. It’s a nice microbrewery and it’s more of a restaurant with a bar attached. There wasn’t too much going on there, so Evan suggested we go to the Buckhorn bar. It was pretty busy there and they had a “dj” of sorts that was blaring the most treble-high songs way too loud. I saw Ray from Teenage Bottlerocket walk in and so I said hi and his brother Brandon came over and I talked to him for a while. I’m trying to find flight out of Denver so I can stay here and see them play/record a music video for In the Basement, a song off of their new album, Warning Device. Brandon actually had a few copies with him so, I bought one and last night before I went to sleep I gave it a listen.

It’s a great album. Kody’s songs are always good, and everything was recorded damn near perfectly. But to me the best parts of the album were the songs Ray sang. For some reason, I just really like them more and even though they can be really simple and not have a whole lot of lyrics in them (like Go Away, etc.), I think there’s almost more to them. On Warning Device, it’s apparent they’re written even better songs. The most standout song I think is probably Pacemaker. Ray sings, it has an awesome bass line and it’s just great. I suppose I could really do it justice by describing it a lot better, but I’ll leave that for another time. I’ll just say that it’s a great album, and they’re getting better and better with each album they put out. I remember when Evan told me about them, when they hadn’t put Total out yet, and Jeff and I were emailing them. We had some stupid idea that maybe we could hang with them musically, but damn, that’s proven to be impossible, not just because of our lack of talent, but these guys are some great musicians, and great song writers.

Like I said earlier, it was cold out last night. But when I woke up this morning at 5 a.m., thanks to my sister’s dog, Duncan, it was -8 outside. I had left my laptop charger in the car, so I threw on a coat and went to get it, and the cold just stabbed at me. It was a sharp, sharp cold. The charger had frozen and the cords were stiff. The high today is supposed to be 18. Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Evan and I are going to rent some skis for the week and go up to Happy Jack outside of town and attempt some cross country skiing. I’m excited to do something new and to get out in the snow. Here’s what weather.com said about today’s weather: “Mostly sunny. Cold. Wind chills approaching -10F. High 18F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.”

Should be fun. And cold. More to come later today.

By |December 22nd, 2007|Family, Friends, Music, Travel|0 Comments

Second guessing

Caroline and Farah came over to the house yesterday and Scott cooked two pizzas for dinner. One was spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic and goat cheese. I’d say it ties for the best he’s made so far. He also cooked a shrimp, garlic, tomato and cheese pizza. It was pretty good too. Over the weekend Caroline came over while Jeff, Liz and Mark were over and cooked us dinner. The table was packed with food and people, and it was a lot of fun. We joked about being adults and it reminded me of the dinner party things my parents would take us to at our family friends’ house. I seem to remember those always being fun. Probably except for the time I fell headfirst onto the corner of a marble table, but that’s a story for another time.

Lately I’ve been questioning the judgments I make about music. Over the summer Jeff, Chris, Jake and I played a show around Marietta as the Jerks. For many, many reasons it was a terrible show. But we played with a band we’d barely heard about called the Leftovers. Most of the show we were pretty annoyed because we had to deal with this shithead dude that hangs out around Atlanta and thinks he’s Joe Queer’s long lost twin, and the fact that although he said he had promoted the show a lot and there would be hundreds of people there, the crowd was made up of a few friends for each band. But you wouldn’t think that would affect how you listen to music. Anyhow, the Leftovers played, and I really didn’t like them. The one thing I enjoyed was their drummer. The guy just looks like he’s having the time of his life playing drums. he seriously looks like a 5 year old that’s just been given the keys to the biggest candy store in town. So after they played Jeff and I talked to him for a little bit, and he turned out to be a great guy. But I had already written them off as yet another band I didn’t like. Not too long ago I heard one of their songs on their myspace page, and it turns out they’re some of the catchiest most fun songs I’ve heard in a while. I loved them. So I got their cd “On The Move” and I have to say it’s amazing. It’s like the Beatles turned pop punk and just wanted to have fun. Man. It is great. So I decided I was way off with my opinion of them.

Now this in itself wouldn’t make me worry too much, but later on in the summer I went to the Insubordination Fest with Jeff and Liz, and we saw (barely) the Steinways. While looking for stuff to buy at the merch table, I decided their song names were funny, and the artwork on their cd (Missed the Boat) was great (I think that was the first time I bought a cd mainly because of how it looked), so I picked it up. After listening to it a bunch of times, I decided I really didn’t like it. I can’t say why now, I can’t really remember my reason, but a week or two ago I figured I’d find out why everyone else seems to love it and listened to it again. It’s great. It’s funny, it has catchy songs, funny songs, and I can listen to it again and again. So, I really have no idea what I was thinking.

So now I know I was wrong about two bands I had seen, and I was wondering what was going on in my head. A few people on the PPMB said that it took them a while to get into the Steinways as well, so I was hoping that maybe sometimes I just need to grow into music. But then the other day I heard a song by the Copyrights. Again, I saw them at the Fest and didn’t like them. I think someone had said they were similar to the Methadones, and when I heard them, I wrote them off as not nearly as good and I didn’t think they sounded all that great aside from any comparison. The song I heard the other day is called “Talkbomb” and it made me seriously question my judgment again. It’s catchy, the bass line great, and the vocals are really strong (and yeah, he sorta sounds like Dan Vapid). It’s a great song. So I decided to get a couple of their albums, “We Didn’t Come Here to Die” and “Make Sound,” and I’ve listened to “We Didn’t Come Here to Die” and it’s great. I’ve listened to it a few times over and I like it a whole lot. I’ll let you know what I think of Make Sound, but from what I read everywhere, people love it.

So I’m 0 for 3 and I’m wondering what made me decided I didn’t like these bands when I first heard them. I’m completely second guessing myself now. And I suppose I should add that I bought the new Ben Weasel solo cd “These Ones Are Bitter” and loved it at first, but now I think it’s a bunch of boring overproduced songs. I don’t know what to think about my ear for music lately.

After work today I’m leaving for Atlanta and then tomorrow morning I’ll be getting up early and driving toward Wyoming with my parents. I’m excited about seeing Wyoming again, seeing my sister and Evan, and getting away from my daily routine.

By |December 19th, 2007|Family, Friends, Music|2 Comments

Almost

I was going to write something today, but I didn’t. Except for that. And this. Also, Happy Festivus.

By |December 18th, 2007|Photo|0 Comments

Worst Band Names, More Running, New Songs

The Onion’s A.V. Club has released their list of the worst band names of 2007. There are some real gems on there, but I actually liked a few of the names. One of my personal favorites was Fixed Gears are for Jerks and Lesbians. No offense, Evan.

It was a good weekend with Jeff and Liz visiting. Liverpool lost to United at home. Not much fun to see that.

Jeff and I did write a new song (mostly it was him) called I Can’t I Have Rehearsal. A few years ago, Jeff and I had been told that there would be a party at one of our friend’s (we’ll call her Lady) apartment and that we should go. Since there was nothing else going on in Rome, Ga (big surprise), we went. However, something had been lost in translation when they told us about the “party.” It turned out to be a “let’s watch the finale of this fashion reality show on tv” party. Everyone was sitting around, staring at the tv and shooting us mean looks when we laughed or talked, and one ridiculously dorky guy was wearing a shirt that said, you guessed it, “I Can’t I Have Rehearsal.” It didn’t say anything else. Just that. What a huge disappointment of a night that turned out to be.

We also started on a new song called ([Don’t Want] No) Pop-Punk Girl. It’ll be as typically pop punk as we can make it, and it’s sounding great already.

I’ve been working on the design for my personal portfolio site and am aiming to have it finished within a couple of weeks. At the moment it features a very cheery sun and a nice sky blue background. I finished a label for the promo DVD at work, and a little Christmas mailer that will go along with it. It’s always nice to work on creative stuff, even if people don’t expect much out of it. I hope to raise expectations for printed/web stuff at work, and I think I’ve got a good start on that so far.

I’ll go for a long run today, as I didn’t get any exercise this weekend. I want to be ready for the cross country skiing in Wyoming. Plus the altitude won’t help.

I need to start taking pictures again.

By |December 17th, 2007|Design, Music, Running, Work|1 Comment

Great Fake Bands

So, yesterday I saw this list of the “top 10 awesome fake bands.” After looking through it, I realized it missed a bunch and had some pretty lame bands, so I asked some people on the pop punk message board, and came up with much better answers. If you come up with anything that I haven’t put here, let me know and I’ll add to the list. So, here, in no particular order, is a better list (with youtube videos) of better fake bands. Edit: I can’t believe I forgot Indomitable Spirit.

From Mr. Show:
watch?v=AckxOWz868k&rel=1

From It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Electric Dream Machine

From Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Wyld Stallyns

From That Thing You Do: The Wonders

From the Nickelodeon cartoon Doug: The Beets (with some dorks singing along. I couldn’t find a video from the show.)

From Full House: Jesse and the Rippers (who don’t do a whole lot of ripping, really.)

From Saved By the Bell: Zack Attack

From O Brother Where Art Thou: The Soggy Bottom Boys

From the Muppet Movie: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (awesome stuff by the way)

From Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas: Emmet Otter’s Jugband

From A Mighty Wind: The Folksmen

By |December 14th, 2007|Music|2 Comments

Living by the dead

I got a great 1 hour run in yesterday. My legs are feeling stronger each week. Near the end of the run I went by a house I pass by most times I’m out running. This time, however, I saw a bunch of police cars and a van or something, and the whole yard was taped off. After I got home I switched on the tv and the Asheville news was in front of the house. Apparently someone found a body in a shallow hole in their back yard. Not something you usually hear about in Brevard. I thought that was pretty weird to find a dead body in your back yard, and then I realized Scott and I live next to a graveyard, so hey. A couple of months ago an old couple from Hendersonville (the next town over) were reported missing in the woods. The woman’s dead body was found, after weeks and weeks of searching, 30 feet from their car (who dropped the ball on that one?), and the man is still missing. Someone took one of their credit cards and withdrew $300 from an ATM in Tennessee somewhere. Interesting times in Brevard.

Today I’m working on an ad for work that’s going in an outdoor magazine that is distributed in the blue ridge mountain area, really from Virginia to Georgia. It’s coming along pretty well. I love being able to work on stuff I can add to my portfolio. It’s also nice to have something physical that I can look at and know I actually produced something at the end of the day.

I registered hallpenn.com the other day. I’m planning on putting up a portfolio site, but I need to check out pricing for hosting. My last deal with free hosting went belly up because the guy helping me turned out to be a piece of shit compulsive liar and all. Anyhow, I should have a design for the site pretty soon. Speaking of portfolio sites, my friend Phil finished his lately and I think it’s great, so check it out.

By |December 13th, 2007|Running, Work|0 Comments

Two steps backward, one step forward

I’m still not at all in the Christmas spirit, especially after it was 75 degrees and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt yesterday. I’m not sure what it is, but it doesn’t feel like it’s close to Christmas. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m getting older, that I live away from my family, that no one around is all about Christmas, but it’s like every year I’m more and more of a Scrooge. At least last year Lauren was all about Christmas and as much as I might have protested, I actually enjoyed it. Well, except maybe for the Christmas music.

Jeff and Liz are supposed to be coming up from Savannah this weekend, so that’ll be fun. Maybe Jeff and I will record some songs, but I’m guessing the chances of that are slim. Scott was mulling around the idea of putting together the grill his dad gave him for Christmas and having a cookout thing this weekend. It’ll be fun to get a bunch of people over to the house. First off, we need to get the old stove and fridge off of the deck and I’ve got to prep the chiminea this week.

My run yesterday was great. I wasn’t all that much faster than usual, but I felt like I could run for hours. I think the long run on Saturday really helped my legs and I felt like I had an extra lung yesterday. I should say my legs felt great until my ankle clipped the bolt thing on the side of a fire hydrant while looking to see if I could cross the road. I couldn’t cross because some old guy was trying to be nice by slowing down to let me go across instead of just going through the intersection which would have let me cross after he passed, but I couldn’t see if anyone was coming behind him. I hate it when people do that. I mean, kudos on being courteous, but follow the laws. I never trust people that are being nice in cars. Half of the time they’ll wave you on when someone is speeding up from behind them and if you went, you’d be roadkill thanks to their imagined good deed. Anyhow, I’ve been looking at training plans for marathons, and I think I’m going to start one seriously. I’m basically already following a loose plan, but I figure it’d be better to really be prepared for whenever I decide to run 26 miles.

Work has been bothering me lately. I enjoy the job, but everything I’m trying to get done is stifled because the guy that worked here before me had everything so screwed up and unorganized that I have to clean off three things, find where five other things are and then back them up and delete half of the personal files he left on the computer all so I can do one freaking thing.

By |December 11th, 2007|Running, Work|1 Comment

Almost

So I had an idea to come up with a top ten list along the lines of Christmas presents you never use. I got as far as the personalized bible from the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend and then stopped because I knew the idea was petering out already.

On Saturday, Scott and I went on a longer run, actually on a really short route I used to ride on my bike when I was really getting into shape years ago. It’s a fun little route out behind town through a few open fields on roads that are usually pretty empty until you get on the highway leading into South Carolina. My legs are starting to hurt from the constant road running I’ve done lately. I’ve been balking at doing more trail running. Even though I love it, it’s just getting dark so early that I’m a little nervous I’d get caught on a trail in the dark. Although after typing that it seems a little silly.

Lately I’ve been visiting the Pop Punk Bored quite a bit. It’s funny to see people like Ben Weasel (Screeching Weasel, the Riverdales), a bunch of guys that run pretty big (for pop punk at least) labels like Rally Records, Red Scare Records, and Larry Livermore (who used to run Lookout! Records) all discussing music and, well, just about anything from sports to beards. It’s great to read about what some of these guys think about current bands and music as a whole. Also, it’s good for wasting time.

I swear I’m going to write something worth reading soon. It’s just that at the moment, I don’t have a lot of meaning in my life. Not that I’m complaining. Sometimes life is just boring day after boring day and sometimes the highlight of your day really is to see how well you can cook some chicken. That sounds like I’m giving up on something. What, I’m not sure. I don’t feel like I’m giving up. I don’t think I’m cut out for this daily grind sort of thing.

Also, I know I linked them in one of my previous posts, but I can’t stop listening to Dick. “Transform Your Brain” is amazing. I’ve had it on repeat for about an hour. I can’t fucking wait to play the Dick songs live. I usually can’t do that with any song (except Built to Spill’s song “Goin’ Against Your Mind”).

By |December 10th, 2007|Music, Running|0 Comments

Grace, put yourself down for a towel too.

I’ve finally settled into a routine in Brevard. That, coupled with the fact that it gets dark around 6pm, is really bothering me. I tend to do well with regular schedules, in that I get more done in a day and I don’t put stuff off as long. But at the same time, I start going crazy when my day adds up to work, run, shower, eat, tv/guitar, read, sleep. I can’t stand it. I need a band to play in, or something going on out of the house so I have new input, new information and experiences.

A venue the Pheramones used to play is starting a podcast, so I sent them a song to play on it. Also, I sent a cd of ours to a website so they could review it. Might as well find something to do with the music since we haven’t played in a while and it’s looking like it might be a while longer before we get a show.

So it’s December. That means it’s the month of Christmas! Yay! 25 fucking days of the same shit over and over. Merry Christmas, It’s the 5th of December! Fuck off. It’s not. I love Christmas on, say, Christmas eve and Christmas day. Other than that, fuck you, call me Scrooge. This fact was hammered home last Saturday when I couldn’t get home from work (yay for working during the weekend!) because there was a parade going down the main street I have to turn off of to get to my house. So I parked on a bridge and walked about a mile home because on the first of December someone decided it was Christmas and time for a parade. Gotta pack the month full of that crap, you know?

By |December 7th, 2007|Music|1 Comment