Nostalgic All Up In Here

I woke up early today.  No one's in the office, yet.  I'm creating new shared resources on our exchange server and, in a few minutes, I will go and update all of the Linux servers with the latest batch of security patches.  I have been getting early-warning signs of carpal tunnel in my right wrist/hand, so I switched to a trackball at work; the only thing that really sucks about that is if I have to shell out another 50 bucks for one at home...


I am feeling kind of nostalgic for some reason, possibly the fact that things have been going well lately and B and I have been trying to be better about appreciating it rather than anticipating future events.  A few specific times come to mind:
  • The summer after junior year in high school, cruising around in the CRX listening to Devo, soaking up having a serious girlfriend for the first time in my young life, playing in a ska band.
  • The good parts of the drunken insanity that was my year in England in college.
  • Playing in Mondale, nerd rock deities of Eugene, Oregon circa 2000.  In general, my senior year in college was superlative...B and I started dating, the Blitzhaus was in full effect, and I was close friends with a whole scrappy crew of nerd-punks.
  • The good parts of the drunken insanity that was the two years working at The Worst Company in the World, loving living in Portland for the first time, getting married, hanging out with similarly awesome nerdy punky kids.
  • The history crew when I went to grad school at the U of O.
  • The parts of Santa Cruz that I liked, especially the first year when the history kids there were super tight.
  • When we moved back to Portland four years later, especially those first two months before I had a job and all we did was go on walks and hang out with our friends (side note: two unemployed people is about right for being able to care for a baby and maintain a modicum of sanity.)
  • Now.
The proverbial icing on the cake is the fact that it is Friday...and that means Pad Khee Mao for lunch.


How to Rock N Roll Like The Nervous

  1. Arrive a few minutes early with salad bowls and utensils to return.
  2. Caffeinate.*
  3. Clean and re-organize practice space.  Help set up new dryer, remove old crappy furniture and move to curb.
  4. Vacuum and sweep.
  5. Go to the store and get some new extension cords for use with new speakers and mixer.
  6. Discuss need to figure out the whole vocals situation.
  7. Tune, play around with speaker placement and volume.
  8. Actually practice for 30-something minutes.
The Nervous: efficiency, punctuality, cleanliness.   We're the kind of band that will show up and do the fuck out of your dishes.

* Spell check in Ubuntu has decaffeinate but  not caffeinate.  What are those commie bastards up to?


We Cut the Mullet

Update on the kid:

We cut the mullet.  Plan C has been late on a few things in her young life, most notably walking and hair growth.  She's got a nice little top of soft blond hair, now, that starts straight and ends with cute little curls, but it was a long time getting here. 

Like all sane human beings, I had long hated toddler and kid mullets, representing as they do either a malicious but technically legal form of child abuse, total and blithering cluelessness, or sheer stupidity, but it turns out there's a phantom fourth reason for letting your kid's mullet grow like the mighty oak: the inability to figure out what to do with it. 

In our case, hair took so long in arriving and multiplying that we were hesitant to prune it.  We kind of figured that if we ignored it, the mullet might just go away.  Instead, we accidentally gave Plan C the most fun evening of her life by propping her up in her seat and giving her a bunch of raspberries and cake, then letting her watch an entire episode of Sesame St. while B snipped away.  The end result: adorable.  It feels like a huge iron mullet was lifted from my back.  Pics forthcoming.

In other news, new social strategies are afoot, involving regular BBQs, other dinners, and a new Pathfinder (read: basically the same thing as D+D) game I'm going to run.  Also, I keep hoping the Nervous will get to practice more often.


How Did We Used to Do Music?

Walking home from the Max today, a Reverend Horton Heat song came on my ipod...something from one of his really good albums, I think Liquor in the Front.  That album was important to us when I was about 18 - 19; it was this revelatory thing that revealed to us the existence of rockabilly.  I remember thinking at the time that there was a kind of kinship between rockabilly, surf, and ska as genres, and sure enough, just about everyone I was friends with back then liked all three (people tend to forget that there was a pretty intense underground surf rock thing that happened in the late 90s...Shadowy Men from a Shadowy Planet, The Phantom Surfers, etc., to say nothing of Man or Astroman.)

The larger issue, though, was what it was like back then to have albums.  This is something The Kids These Days won't really experience - what it's like to have an album you listen to obsessively, and all the way through, because you can only afford a little bit of new music every once in a while.  It was totally a Thing for us to go to Face the Music on 13th Ave. in Eugene and dig through the used CD bin, and when you found a really great new CD (or picked up a copy of one you already knew to be great), it spent a lot of time in the stereo and/or the car for the next several months.  You immersed yourself in that album, and for me, there are albums like those of the good Reverend that are palpable reminders of a certain point in my life.

Re: vinyl: the above, only more so.  And not in the car, except that in the era I'm talking about, you'd tape the record and play the tape.

Some albums that fit the above-described bill for me, in off-the-cuff, non-chronological order:
  1. No Means No, Wrong: played this record constantly starting when I was 14.  I used to do situps to "Oh No!  Bruno!" until I had terrible, searing cramps.  This is no doubt a big part in why I had a six-pack when I was an adolescent.
  2. Dead Kennedies, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death and Minor Threat Out of Step: oh....so this is the punk rock?  I will listen to these tapes nonstop on my walkman now from late freshman year through sophomore year.
  3. Slackers, Better Late Than Never, the best neo-traditional 3rd wave ska album of the height of the it-was-still-cool phase of 3rd wave ska.  I played this one all the time and every time I did my radio show in college, at least one song from this album was on there.
  4. Devo, Oh No It's Devo, still my favorite Devo album (and remember, this is me we're talking about.  I know what I'm on about, here.)  I had a really, really nice summer after junior year in high school, driving around in the CRX, listening to this on repeat.
  5. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs, sort of B's and my official album(s).  When we started dating, we'd have beer + pizza nights set to this.
  6. Murder City Devils, Empty Bottles and Broken Hearts, ditto.
  7. Teddybears, Soft Machine, this reminds me of the good stuff that I liked about Santa Cruz.
  8. Red Fang, Red Fang, already well over a year ago when we moved back to Portland, an essential addition to the playlist.
Finding new music is really hard now, both because I'm old and out of touch and because the very proliferation of digital music has made the whole thing weirdly diffuse and hard to grasp.  Since I never get tired of the old stuff, though, I'm doing fine.