Friday, December 28, 2012

30 Best Songs of 2012

Let me start by saying that I had aspirations of ranking 25 songs, with no repeated artists.  And then doing a list of 50 with repeated artists.  But Kent was going to do this with me, and he's in the hospital getting his sinuses and blood pressure worked on.  So my compromise is a Top 30 with repeated artists. 

I know, I know.  

No one cares. 

Here's the mix:





And here's my brief rundown of the Top 10!

1) Andrew Bird - Something Biblical - This is my favorite of 2012 for two reasons.  Number one, we heard it live, and it was a highlight of the year.  Two, it's about a drought, and as a household that struggled to get through a very dry summer, it struck a chord.  Not in a "we need rain to make a living way," but in a "The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away" way.

2) Beth Jeans Houghton - This song has been on my best-of list all year.  It has two distinct sections on in one three minute song.  I love it when songs do that.

3) Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings - 1990's revivial.  The Nirvana kind.

4) Dear Believer - Edward Sharp and the Magnetic.... - I could have picked like four songs by this band that I liked all the same.  I picked this one. Interesting side note, in the last couple of weeks, I've tried to find this album on anyone's list of best albums - including individual DJ's on indie rock stations.  I believe I am the only person the rank them at all - let along #1.

5) End of the Line - Sleigh Bells - This band is underrated because they make simple catchy music.  History will be kind to them

6) Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) - Regina Spektor - Cutest song of the year.  If you are ok with the affectations.

7) Hood - Perfume Genius - I put this on a mix for Chelsey at the beginning of the year.  Now she loves it.  And I'm the hero.

8) The House that Heaven Built - Japandroids - Liked this song the first time I put the album on.  Finally Chuck and Brent have a song to rock out to.  Ended two sentences with a preposition there.

9) Radiator Sister - The Mynabirds - If I would make any changes from my album rankings, I would put The Mynabirds higher.  This is a good album.

10) Off To the Races - Lana Del Ray's album is full of songs just like this.  And I love almost all of them.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Best and Worst TV

BEST

1) Parks & Recreation - This is my favorite show.  Of the Thursday NBC lineup shows, it's the only one that hasn't dropped in quality this year.  (Not counting Community - which didn't make it back this year).  I think Amy Poehler is a national treasure, and while the characters are not based anywhere in reality, the writers understand how to make them relatable and funny consistently.

2)  Boardwalk Empire - This was my favorite season yet.  There were scenes this year that gave me goosebumps the way The Wire did.  Watching these very-well-developed characters square off makes for a compelling plot consistently. Chelsey misses how it used to be more sexy.  She loves sexy things.

3) Ben & Kate - I think this show is charming.  It's not carefully crafted at all.  It's just a dopey story about a set of siblings, but the jokes are consistently corny in a good way. It's got Melanie Griffith's daughter in it, and she and her costar are both charmers.

4) Children's Hospital - If this was a full 30 minute show, it would probably be my favorite of the year.  But it also might ruin it. I've never liked Rob Coddry in anything.  But he created this, and it's consistently randomly funny in a way that It's Always Sunny used to be. 

5) Workaholics - Always Sunny ripoff that usually had one or two scenes that made me laugh out loud.  At least two of my favorite TV moments from this year happened on this show.

6) New Girl - Had a stumbly start, but got progressively better this season.  I like the way Zooey Deschanel's character has been pushed to the back and the other characters are more prominent.  Jake Johnson is a funny actor.  He and Charlie Day need to be in a movie playing brothers.

7) Veep - Very cynical and funny version of Washington culture.  Julie Louise Dreyfus was just great in it.  So mean.  Everyone in the show was just so mean.

8) Walking Dead - Surprisingly good this year.  Meaning there was way less opportunity of the characters to talk about what they were doing before they were doing.  It certainly struggled at times, but most of the plot swings were solid.

9) Modern Family - Some people don't like this show anymore.  I still think it's funny.  And unlike some of the other shows on this list, they really carefully plot out the stories like Arrested Development.

10)  Pawn Stars - I love this song and I'm not apologizing about it.  So there. 



SHOWS THAT I LOVE AS A RULE BUT DON'T REMEMBER IN 2012

  • Community and Mad Men

SHOWS I WISH I WATCHED BUT I DON'T

  • Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Dowton Abbey.

WORST SHOWS:

1) Two Broke Girls - I don't watch this show, but often catch the first few minutes after How I Met Your Mother (which also kind of sucked this year) and I assure you all, it's horrible.

2) Weeds - I don't care that it was the last season, it sucked dick this year.  Should have ended last year.  I stopped watching it - even though I knew it was all ending this year.  That's how bad it was.

3) SNL is still dumb everyone.  The new performers are talented, but not talented enough to save this dying show. 

4) Saints football - Painfully bad most of the season.  Even when they played well it hurt.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best and Worst Things I Acquired This Year

Best:

  • Sink wrench - I got this a few weeks ago when I was replacing our kitchen faucet.  I could not believe how well it worked.  It literally turned faucet replacement into a 20 minute job.  
  • Our new back patio furniture.  Patio tables are for chumps.  And I was a chump until this year. Now that we have lounge-y furniture back there, my only regret is that we didn't have this setup while I was a smoker.  
  • Oscillating saw - What do you want me to cut?  Because I can cut any fucking thing with this saw. I cut the shit out of all kinds of shit after I got it.  
  • ipod nano - Anyone who works out should have one of these.  So light and small and has a little clip on it.  I can't believe they redesigned it this year.  That was dumb.
  • Booze caddy - I actually got this from Dave back in 2005, but it was at my parents' house until this year.  I finally set it up, and now I don't know what I would do without it.  It measures out shots.  It rotates.  It keeps the bottles off the counter.  Genius!
  • G.I. Joe Classic bound copies of the original G.I. Joe Marvel comic books.  I read damn near all of them. Childhood revisited.  Hooray.
  • Faucet - the aforementioned kitchen faucet was a real lifesaver. Now we have way better water pressure, and the sprayer works like a champ. Voosh!
  • Baby Bjorn - I could take Edith wherever the hell I wanted, and no one could say shit.
  • Rain Barrel - Technically Chelsey picked this thing up, but Chuck and I installed it.  Having a rain barrel and using it to water your garden means you can be as smug as you want about things.  The Kosterpeldings are part of the solution.
  • Stratus Pro Basketball Game from 1988 - I had this as a kid and overpaid to re-acquire it off of eBay  Childhood recaptured again.  
  • Gas grill - This summer, Chelsey and I paid $15.00 for a nice gas grill at a garage sale. I have always been against these, but as expected, now that I own one I love it. Grill goes on. Grill goes off. Terrific.
  • Blue glass figurines from my Grandma - When she moved into her apartment, I got the shadowbox that she used to hang on the wall in her house.  But she took the blue glass items it used to hold with her to the apartment.  When she passed away this year, I got most of the blue glass back into her shadowbox.  Now it's all hanging in our living room.  That's pretty great.
Worst:

  • When I got the ipod nano, I decided to wear it like a watch with this dumb wristband.  It was a horrible decision.  For like two weeks I looked like a huge douchebag.  Huger than normal.
  • New Balance 840's.  Purchased a week before the half-marathon for way more than I normally pay for shoes.  They didn't work out, and I felt like a moron.
  • Tilly & the Wall - Heavy Mood and Cat Power - Sun.  I can't believe we paid for these crap-ass albums. 
  • Maroon button down shirt. I got this from H&M, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to to wear it and not feel like a putz. Don't know why.  I just can't do it.  I think I'm a light colored shirt wearer.  That's just the way it is.   
  • A bright blue sweater vest with a Goodwill logo sewn on.  I feel like I'mrepresenting a car dealership or a printing company at a trade show whenever I put this on.




Monday, December 17, 2012

Brent Ranks 65 Albums and then 8 More.


BRENT’S LIST OF 2012 ALBUMS

1)      Edward Sharpe & the Magentic Zeros – Here – No one wanted to dislike this album more than me. And I ended up loving it. Its hippy dippy sound won me over somehow.  I think maybe to humble me in 2014. Next year I’m goiong to have to tell everyone that my favorite album from last year was Edwad Sharpe and then get made fun of or rejected.

2)      Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself/Hands of Glory – I’m putting these together and subtracting points for editing.  Two really good albums that could have potentially been a single great one.  Saw him in concert this year, and he was better than I’d ever seen him – though that may have been due to the fact that it was sit-down event.

3)      Celebration Rock – Japandroids – I like this album as much as Cloud Nothings, but Japandroids were on my radar longer, so I’ll give them the slight nod. Chuck likes them a lot. I like Chuck.

4)      Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory – I can’t wait to hear what kind of crappy album this band is going to make next, but this one is excellent. Sounds like early grunge.  Pre-Pearl Jam grunge.

5)      Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror – Sleigh Bells should teach a class to all young bands on how to take what you do well on your first album, and then do it again on your second album.  It must be hard to do, because bands like XX and How to Dress Well couldn’t manage it this year.

6)      What We Saw From the Cheap Seats – Regina Spektor – Regina Spektor is never going to make the next Pet Sounds.  But she’s a gifted musician and she writes catchy little songs that usually move me in some way.  I like her. 

7)      I Like to Keep Myself in Pain – Kelly Hogan – I have loved Kelly Hogan for a long time. She is the touring backup singer for Neko Case, and she’s always been charming in that role.  She had some stuff out in the 90’s that wasn’t all that great, but this one is good.  Charming rockabilly/country/torchsong stuff.  Highly recommended.

8)      First Aid Kit –The Lion’s Roar - Out Jens Lekmaned Jens Lekman this year. Prescious little melodies and lyrics over and over again.

9)      The Only Place – Best Coast – God, these songs are so simplistic.  But I truly enjoyed them all year long.  I don’t know why.  Like a modern day version of 50’s pop.

10)   Sharon Van Etton – Tramp – Nice collection of tragic little songs.  When I listend to it at the end of the year, I was surprised that I didn’t like it better.

11)   Moonface – Heartbreaking Bravery – Anthemy songs that pound away at you.  Repetitive, but dense and enjoyable – which is a hard thing to do.

12)   Heartless Bastards – Arrow – I think this band is led by a woman, but I’m not sure. It reminds me of pop pusic from the 80’s. I don’t know why.  Like the Joan Jett variety. Tough girls hanging out in satin jackets.

13)   Perfume Genius – Put Your Back in 2 It – Slow sad songs.  Reminds me of Sufjan Stevens’ Michigan album, combined with a little Elliot Smith, or Antony and the Johnsons.

14)   Wild Nothing Nocturne – New wave music from the 80’s done well.  I don’t even like that brand of music, but I respect it when it’s done well.  Like Junior Boys.

15)   Waste Up, Kneez Down – Christeene – Skuzzy drag queen pop by my friend Paul.  Solid production.  Clever lyrics.  I liked it.  Probably not for everyone 

16)   Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t - Jens Lekman – I love Jens Lekman. This album wasn’t his best, but it was a pretty weak year. Some good songs. Not enough humor.

17)   Lana Del Ray – Born to Die – What I like about this album is that there are so many things about it that offend my sensibitlity, yet I keep going back to it.  I though that Video Games was one of the best songs I had heard in a long time.  But the rest of this thing is kind of a mess. Yet I contitnue to listen.

18)   Mountain Goats –Trascendental Youth – Every so often Mountain Goats make a good album.  This was one of those times.  Great lyrics.  Strong melodies.

19)   Justin Townes Earle – Nothings Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me – I like this guy, dammit.  All his albums sound the same, but I’m buying it.

20)   M Ward – A Wasteland Companion – M Ward makes albums that I like. This wasn’t the best one he ever made, but it was still better than most of the crap that got carted out this year.

21)   Allo Darlin – Europe – They’ve taken over the Camera Obscura mantle of Belle & Sebastian soundalike. I gues that’s just going to keep getting passed off. The lead singer is Australian though. So that’s an issue. 

22)   Chairlift – Something – Uplifting inide dance music. Not really edgy. But spirited and sincere.

23)   Liars – WIXIW – Liars seem to be trying really hard.  They make me want to like them, despite the fact that I’m not given to what they do.  This is my favorite album of theirs.

24)   Tennis – Young & Old – This album was better than their last one – which is saying something.  Since their last one was a breakthrough album.  It’s catchier, and I connected with it more consistently emotionally. I found the last one to be someone shallow. 

25)   Dr. Dog – Be the Void – I like Dr. Dog better than anyone I know.  But this was my least favorite of theirs.  Sounds like they could have used some helpful editing.  No more songs about futuristic characters called “Warrior Man.”  Okay, Dr Dog?

26)   Passion Pit – Gossamer – I like what this band does.  They aren’t that great, but they hit all the notes they’re suppsed to hit. Which is more than I can say about a lot of other bands that have met with some succcess.  

27)   Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny - Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose – Hit and miss effort, but the highs were some of my favorite highs of 2012

28)   Royal Baths – Better Luck Next Life – It’s the same creepy sound over and over again. They get it right once, and then they waste about 40 minutes trying to do it again.  

29)   Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits – This is the guy from Handsome Furs and the Guy from Spoon. I like both of those bands. This project wasn’t their best work. If each of them do B work on their own. They got together and did C+ work. Boo.

30)   Damien Jurado – Maraqopa – I wish I had listened to this more.  He seemed like he was trying to stetch out his sound on it.  Like there are some head-bobbing moments on here.  I don’t know.  I should probably include this on the albums I didn’t have enough time to judge list.

31)   Menomena – Moms – Good stuff here.  Menomena needs to quit with the dumb word-play on their song names, but I think they’ve picked up where Folk Implosion left off. Which isn’t a bad place to start.

32)   Stars – The North – Undervalued band makes an album that hits on all the things they do well.  Sad songs and dance tracks.  Hooray.

33)   Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…. – Super dense. Nothing to sink ones teeth into, but a big hunk of creative energy.  Basically her and a piano. Kind of makes me uncomfortable to listen to it.

34)   Laura Gibson – La Grande – Laura Gibson won me over in concert a while back. It doesn’t come across in her albums, but she has a really eery steel guitar sound that mixes well with her equally creepy voice.

35)   Fanfarlo – Rooms Filled with Light – I tried to get into this album, but we never got past the early fascination phase.  I thought it was good, but it never grabbed me.

36)   Strange Land – Yellow Ostrich – Their songs are catchy and difficult at the same time.  But also kind of grating because of how they are delivered. 

37)   Theresa Anderson – Street Parade – She writes nice songs and dresses them up with quirky production.  To varying degrees of success.

38)   Grizzly Bear – Shields – This band is so overrated.  They aren’t bad.  But their on par with a whole host of so-so bands that don’t seem to be as well-loved as they are. This album was some of their best work – which is to say it was ok.

39)   Lambchop – Mr M – I like Lambchop, but you need to spend a lot of time with it, and as you can see, I don’t really have that kind of time. 

40)   Cat Power – Sun – Starts off great!  Then there are about 10 straight songs about being yourself, or following your heart.  Chan Marshall writing 15-year-old level poetry.  Very disappointing

41)   Shins – Port of Morrow – This isn’t The Shins – I don’t care what anyone says.  Which is not to say it’s not ok.  It’s just not the Shins.  And it’s kind of boring.

42)   Dr. John – Locked Down – The guy from Black Keys produced this.  But at the end of the day it’s another Dr. John album.  Not that bad.  Just played out.

43)   Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls – I don’t like this band that much.  And the fact that others really like them makes me like them less.  Plus, Chelsey doesn’t like the way the lead singer didn’t doll herself up for their video. 

44)   The Walkmen – Heaven – The frustrating thing about The Walkmen – well, there’s two things. 1) They seem like they should play the type of music I like. 2) They made “The Rat” which is one of my faorite alltime songs several years ago. Yet they continue to make boring music that I can’t listen to more than once or twice.  I think I’m giving up on them.

45)   Frank Ocean – Channel Orange – Many people are saying that this album is the best of the year.  Which means that they think an album with numerous non-musical interludes is the album of the year. Which means I don’t agree.

46)   The XX – Belong – Oh, XX.  You completely lucked into your first album, didn’t you? All the ingredients of the first one, with none of the charm. Boring.

47)   Tilly & the Wall – Heavy Mood – Tilly & the Wall used to be a knock down, drag our assault on all things lame.  Now they are old, and they don’t know what to sing about, or how to sing about it.  It’s sad.  I don’t like it.

48)   Conduits – Conduits –Local shoegazer band. Sometimes I can get into this. Most times I can’t. 

49)   Beach House – Bloom – I have every Beach House album. I don’t know why. They play these meditative melodies that don’t have any hooks in them. I like hooks.  No more Beach House for Brent.

50)   Dan Deacon – Electronic music and I don’t get on all that well.  This was ok electronic music. Some of it I liked.  But only in that passing “this isn’t that bad” sort of way.

51)   Yeasayer – Fragrant World – Yeasayer isn’t for me. Which doesn’t mean that this album is no good. It’s just that it didn’t do anything to make me like them any more than I did before.    

52)   III – Crystal Castles – This band lost all of the magic of their first album, and don’t seem at all interested in getting it back.

53)   Kids These Days – Traphouse Rock – A bunch of Chicago youngsters who thought they could change the world with their little songs.  They were wrong.

54)   The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends – Don’t waste your time on this pile of mess unless you really like The Flaming Lips.  Ugh.

55)   The Big Pink – Future This – There’s no “Dominoes” on this album. Which is to say that there wasn’t much reason to listen to it.

56)   Imperial Teen – Feel the Sound – All I remember from this album is thinking “That doesn’t sound like a band called Imperial Teen.”  

57)   Jack White – Blunderbuss – Jack White is lost. This album is a waste of time.

58)   Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives - Benjamin Gibbard is lost. This album is a waste of time.

59)   Islands – Asleep and Forgetting – I’ll be honest. I didn’t listen to this that much. I don’t really like Unicorns and Islands. I don’t know why I downloaded it.

60)   How To Dress Well – Total Loss - Yes.  It was a total loss.  Boring version of their last boring album.

61)   Animal Collective – Centipede Hz – I can’t listen to this fucking album.  Jesus.

62)   Yann Tierson – I don’t know why I downloaded this.  I had no intention of listening to it.  I have an older album of his and it’s largely background music. 

63)   Freelance Whales – Diluvia – Unsufferable for at least five reasons.  None of which I will go into here.

64)   Kiriyama Family – Kiriyama Family – Oh man. I didn’t like this.

65)   Maps & Atlases – worst of 2012.  Made me run to my computer to advance it when this album came on.

 

ALBUMS THAT I CANNOT RATE BECAUSE I GOT THEM TOO LATE IN THE GAME

1.       The Avett Brothers – It’s not looking good.

2.       Corin Tucker Band – Corin Tucker made a lame album last time around.  This one has more promise.

3.       Horse Feathers – I can’t tell if I haven’t been able to listen to this enough, or if they have failed to make an impression.  Time will tell.

4.       Lower Dens – no idea

5.       Mac Demarco – this guy makes me uncomfortable with his loosy goosy songs.  I’m inclined not to like him because he seems overly confident.

6.       The Mynabirds – This album has the most promise of any of these so far.

7.       Purity Rings – see:  Lower Dens.

8.       Titus Andronicus – I keep forgetting this album came out. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week of Lists

I'm hoping to have a slow week of work, so I plan on using the remaining however many days to rank a wide variety of things from 2012.  In no particular order I will be rating my favorite and least favorite:

  • Movies
  • TV Shows
  • Purchases
  • Things I did
  • Albums
  • Songs
  • Sporting Moments
  • Things I read
I welcome all your input on these topics as well.  Let the lists-making begin.  Tomorrow.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Enough Already.

Here are 3 things I am over:

1.  photographs of locations our parents are visiting, when the number of those photos exceeds three and especially if the photographs are of flora or signs of any sort

2.  texts from our parents at 1:00 a.m. that feature a photograph of a place or relatives they are visiting

3.  emails containing unquestionably sad news about people we know either not at all or so tangentially as to make it more than a little odd that we are being made aware of the news in a way that would suggest we are actually close to the people

I realize these 3 items make me a cold, harsh person.  I'm over that too. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Brent's Slightly More Than Half-Year Music Revue

Sometimes listening to music is hard.  Making time for it.  Remembering to pay attention when it's on.  Accidentally listening to the same album over and over again for several weeks.  Forgetting that you have the new Damien Jurado album because it's in the Damien Jurado folder on your computer and you didn't think to look there when it was time to add your new music to iTunes.  So June and July fly by, and suddenly you realize you haven't written shit about music all year.  Next thing you know, you're writing your half-year story in late August.  And you're a piece of shit.  And everyone knows it.

For the purpose of this list, I listed the band and a favorite single from the album.


  1. I don't like anything enough to take this spot.  Which may be part of the reason this list is so late.
  2. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - No one was prepared to hate this album more than me.  But more than once, I found myself checking who sang a certain song on my "Need to Listen" playlist, and it would turn out to be this band. I'm just going to fess up that I like many of these songs, and prepare to be beaten by anyone with relatively good taste in music. 
  3. Sleigh Bells - it's just like their first album, but with two songs that sound like my favorite song from that album.  Zero points for ingenuity.  10 point for giving Brent what he wants.  
  4. First Aid Kit - What I like about this album is that people many different corners of my life all agree it's pretty good.  It's hard to put up a fight. Charming little songs, and a nice cameo from Conor Oberst near the end. 
  5. Sharon Van Etten - This was the first album of 2012 that caught my attention.  It's sad and deliberate. Two things I always like in an album.  But not a high flier. I don't have a favorite song on this album.
  6. Best Coast - I accidentally listened to this album a gazillion times. And it won me over.  It's really simple stuff.  Simple melodies.  Simple lyrics.  But there's something charming about them.  And they stopped with the crappy lo-fi recordings.  
  7. Cloud Nothings - This band has all the charm of the early 1990's.  "Stay Useless" may still be my favorite song of the year.
  8. Japandroids - Chuck dragged me to this band's show the last time they came to Omaha.  I think I would willingly go if they ever come back.  There's some really great tracks on here.  Mixed in with some not-so-good ones, but the high points are loud and make you want to pump your fist. 
  9. Dr. Dog - I will always love Dr. Dog.  I know they are boring.  But they harmonize well, and they like to try new things, even if they don't go that great.  And even though I know that many of their songs sound the same, I don't care.
  10. Three way tie - Kelly Hogan/Christeene/Moonface - First of all, I didn't have a number one, so I feel like a three-way tie for 10 is okay.  Now then Kelly Hogan is Neko Case's traveling backup singer.  She sings retro-y songs and looks exactly like Chelsey's friend Alea.  Chirsteene is my friend Paul, and while it's not for everyone, I really like the album.  More than I ever would have expected.  It's really well done. I always get excited when it comes on my iPod.  And lastly we have Moonface.  Moonface is the last living remnant of Wolf Parade.  All the other side projects are dead. So I think maybe I like it for that reason.  I loved Wolf Parade. Dammit.    

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Edith Clapping for M. Ward

Number One:  Edith can clap now.

Number Two:  She is already supporting the arts.

video

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back Patio Ghosts



Here is a nice picture of Chelsey and I on the back patio. What I like about it is that she looks really beautiful, and I look like I am 50.  I also like the flame licking at the bottom. We added that because it's so dark. And because we are telling a ghost story in the picture.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A New Hope

Little follow up to my post on Sunday.  I think I have finally found a song to be happy about in 2012. 

This is Moonface.  Moonface was a side project of Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade.  Now Wolf Parade is dead, and this is all Spencer Krug does.  He recorded this album with a band Finnish band called Siinai.  This is the last song on the album.  I think it's pretty great. 

Fourth of July

Lest we forget...

video



video

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Summer of Handiness and Swimming

I haven't written on this thing in a while.  Mostly because I generally blog from work and I've been really busy this past month.  Like super-duper busy.  Way more busy than I generally am.  I'm not really cut out for working that hard.  I hope it stops soon.  Now then.  Here are some updates.

KING EDITH


When I found out that we were going to have a baby, I was most excited about the 9-month old age.  I don't know why.  I just feel like that's the age where it all comes together, before it all flies off the tracks.  Edith has proven to be no exception.  She's so fun to hang out with now.  It's all cure noises and drunken attempts at walking.  I love it.  She also smiles at everyone and everything.  Oftentimes waving while she does so.  We take her swimming all the time. Which is also something to see.  Today she exchanged screams with a kid who looked to be about 18 months.  They just went back and forth.  Screaming.  It was great.

HANDINESS


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really that handy.  I aspire to be handy, but sooner or later I just want to get things over with, and I start fucking shit up.  For some reason, this summer has proven to be new era for me in this realm.  Suddenly I am able to carefully complete projects and not have Chelsey make fun of the quality afterwards.  I think this might have something to do with Edith, or the fact that we are going to be selling our house in the next year or two, but whatever the reason, it makes me feel like a real man.

A few things that might be adding to this:


  • Chelsey's Dad.  I've done a few projects with Greg Erpelding (who is really fucking handy), and one thing he taught me was patience.  We would be right at that part of the project where I would start doing dumb things, and he would stop and smoke a cigarette.  Genius.  It slowed him down, and gave him a chance to think about things.  I of course don't smoke cigarettes when I project, but I do bear that in mind.  I try to tell myself to slow down throughout the process.  I have to do this.  The urge to fuck shit up is really strong in me.



  • Realistic Scope.  Some shit I can do.  Some shit I can't.  I can't pour concrete.  I just can't.  I'm sure I have what it takes.  But I'm just as sure that I can't do it.  Mostly because I can't imagine what the conversation would go like when the concrete truck pulled up.  So I'm trying to know my limitations.  Which is hard, because our driveway is about 30 feet of crumbling cement and shame.  I want to fix it.  I know I can't.


  •  Chuck Koster.  I never though I would say this, but I actually think that working with Chuck on projects has officially turned from being a diminished returns arrangement to an advantageous one.  We have somehow gone from getting dumber when we think as a pair to getting smarter.  I don't even want to talk about this because I'm afraid I'll jinx it.    


  • Success Begetting Success - So far this year, I have built a fence and gate for keeping rabbits and such out of my wife's stellar garden, redesigned the backyard patio, installed a rainwater barrel, fixed/replaced the gate that leads to said patio, and redid the shower in our basement.  Each of these projects have gone unexpectedly well.  Creating new pressure for the next project not to be fucked up.  


  • Being a dad.  I'd be stupid to ignore the fact that being a father creates a certain amount of internal initiative to stop being such a fucking moron.  


I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MUSIC


In preparation for the half-marathon this year, I made an all-time best music of Brent playlist.  It's a fucking monster.  I think it has something like 1300 songs on it.  Basically any song that I ever liked.  Putting it together took like a month, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to enjoy something like that after putting so much time into it. So I have been listening to nothing but my favorite songs for the last two or three months.  Subsequently, I have no idea about any 2012 music.  Ask me what my favorite album of the year is, and I will have nothing to say.  Ask me what my favorite songs from 2012 are, and I will have equally little to say.  I'm listening to my "need2listen" playlist right now (my playlist of current music that I need to try to form an opinion on) and all I'm getting out of it is that The Flaming Lips new albums is hard to listen to, and I need to take that crappy Cajun album Kent had me download and the Neutral Mile Hotel mash-up off my ipod.  Not really productive. So I'm going to try and cram in the next few weeks and decide if I like anything.  In the meantime, I'm open to suggestions.  Which reminds me.  Chuck, I have the new Japandroids.  I realize I should have said something when you had your Japandroids shirt on yesterday,  But somehow it slipped my mind.  I hear that album is real good by the way.


THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR  


Friends of this blog will note that the house next door used to be occupied by a weird old lady who talked Chelsey's ear off about World War Two and hoarded and smell like piss.  Well, you might remember that we accidentally had that lady removed from her house by calling the cops to check on her when we feared her dead.  Since then, she's sold the house to a nice couple who gutted the house, and fixed it all the way back up.  Now that house is nicer than ours.  Which is a little hard to take, but mostly we're just really happy and thankful about how things turned out.  Apparently the old lady had not used the bathroom (bath or toilet) in quite some time.  She appeared to have a system that involved buckets in the basement.  So it's a really good thing that she found a new place to live.  And it's a good thing that her house which once looked like I could push it over, is now a happy place to live again.

There.  That's a nice recap of the last month.  Hopefully I will be able to stay more on top of things going forward.  Oh!  And I don't know if I ever said this, but Chuck has kindly offered to take Deuce for a while so that we can hopefully invite him back to the house when Edith is a little more stable on her feet/less harassing of Deuce in general  Hurray for Chuck. Also we went on a little vacation last week, but I'll let Chelsey handle that in her blog.





Friday, June 1, 2012

The Last Days of Deuce-co?

Ever since Edith could pull herself up and stand with the aid of a couch, she has enjoyed pulling at our dog's blanket or generally messing with him.  He has grown increasing unhappy about his.  At first he was just growling at her.  Then he would just get up and move.  Then he started growling and showing his teeth.  But a couple of times now he has actually lunged at her.  That sounds worse than it is.  I guess most people with dogs know that they have a whole variety of aggressive/don't fuck with me moves.  Some involve teeth.  Some don't.  This was more of a teethless lunge.  But it freaked us both out. 

Who knows what the future holds
for Deuce and the Kosterpeldings
So we spoke to our vet about it, and she shared our concern, but felt like the real troubling dynamic might just be that we let Deuce on the couch in the first place. She suggested that we stop letting him on the furniture, and see if that improves the dynamic.  We actually had already kind of figured that out for ourselves, but it was nice to have a vet tell us we were going down the right path.  I guess this would be a good place to note that when they are on the same level (both on the ground) he just licks the shit out of her.  No aggression at all. 

Starting on Wednesday Deuce lost his couch/chair privileges, and surprisingly that adjustment has been really easy.  He just finds a soft spot on the ground and sleeps there.  We have also kind of quarantined this area so Edith can't mess with him.  It still remains to be seen whether this will work.

If it doesn't we can either bring in a dog behaviorist or get rid of him.  I'm guessing we'll go with the latter, since I have a feeling neither Chelsey nor I are going to be any good at dog training while we're trying to keep Edith from killing herself as she learns to walk. 

So we may be saying goodbye to our dog.  Which makes me sad.  It makes me even sadder as I write this.  Deuce is a member of our family.  He's the one that continually embarrasses us, but makes up for it later by doing something funny while no one is around.  He's the perfect combinations of sweet and dick.  I hope we get to keep him. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let Down

This song came on my ipod today. 
It turns out I have no idea what the words are. 

To the extent of not realizing the refrain is the name of the song. 

Instead of "Let down and hanging around," I was always singing "Reptile and hanging on".

I defy anyone to mangle lyrics any worse than that.

Just a sample of my overall misinterpretation of this song. 

Ironically, I still think the song means the same thing to me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Handsome Furs Break Up

I'm going to miss this band.  Every time they put out an album I would kind of ignore it for two months, and then get obsessed with it for the next four.  Possibly the best slow-burn band in the history of Brent.


The bad news is that they are gone.  The good news is that they never put out a bad album.  In other news, I'm guessing we'll be seeing another Dan Boeckner-led band real soon.  But probably the next one wont be with his wife.   








Monday, May 14, 2012

Week Off To a Great Start

I got to work today and my key card didn't work to get me into the corporate offices side of the building.  So I tried to take a back way into that area by going through the back of one of our classrooms.  This set off an alarm on the door that I assumed would go off once I shut it.  It did not.  So at 7am, I was standing alone in the dark at work, locked out of the offices, with an alarm blaring. 
I finally figured out that my key to the front door actually fit in the alarm contraption on the door.  So I shut it off, and went back to my first plan of getting to the offices through the back door. 

I go through the now-unalarmed door, and enter a hallway full of doors that don't have any handles.  At this point, I wonder if I am actually awake, or if this is a bad dream.  So I head back to the door I entered through, and of course it only has a handle on the other side, and I have no way of opening it again. 

I am only able to escape by wedging my key in the side of the door and barely pulling it open with the tips of my fingers.

It's going to be a great week.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Weeknd - House of Broken Balloons

Yesterday was the Lincoln Half-Marathon. I have run this race for the past three years, and there are several coworkers of mine who do it with me.  I had been training since about January, building up the length of my runs in the process.  The previous Sunday I had easily completed a10-mile run, and for the most part, my training had gone really well.  Probably the best training season I've ever had.  Certainly better than last year, when I barely got through it.  It was like year one, when I was continually surprising myself with how well I was doing. 

So we packed up the kid and went to Lincoln, NE.  Stayed in a fancier hotel than the dive I normally book.  Went to dinner with a coworker who has also run the last three years and her family.  Sometime after that, it all went downhill. 

We got back to the hotel, and Chelsey threw out her neck/back/shoulder/everything else trying to reach for Edith.  This was a small issue earlier in the day, but somehow the Edith lunge made it much worse. 

After that, we went to bed, but now that Edith is more coordinated, sleeping in a non-crib is kind of a joke.  So instead of going right to sleep at 8:45 like normal, she wrestled with Chelsey in her bed for like 45 minutes.  Chelsey finally got her to go to bed by holding her down.  Which I think is funny.  Holding babies down is funny.

I woke up at five on race day.  The great thing about half-marathon day, is that you have to both eat and evacuate as soon as possible.  Which means it's the only time each year that I get to eat while sitting on the toilet.  That's right.  Get that image going.  I finished half my power bar and took a shower.  I was also trying to kill a 32oz Gatorade before it got too close to the run which is also gross at that hour.  After the shower I had to lube up all the parts that would take on extra rubbing over the course of two hours and twenty-five minutes.  Thighs, butt, nipples.  I have this stuff that goes on like solid deodorant.  It's great. 

The important thing about Lincoln on Sunday is that a huge storm rolled through at like four o'clock in the morning.  So when we got out to the starting area at 6:30, it was really really humid.  I can run and run and run in dry air.  I have no chance in humid air.  So I didn't have a good feeling from the get-go. 

Adding to this feeling of doom was the fact that I had just purchased new shoes two weeks before the race.  This proved to be my undoing.  In the days and weeks that came after I had tried to make these shoes work.  I exchanged them for a pair 1/2 size smaller.  I had purchased new inserts and socks to make things better. But nothing seemed to solve the problem that my feet did not fit in them very well after like 6-7 miles.  At that point they became really painful.  Turns out that feet swell at that distance. Oh well.  Back to Sunday.

They started the race at like seven, but there are 10,000 runners and they stagger the starts, so I didn't actually start running until like 7:30.  In the meantime, I made my way back to the other people who run eleven minute miles. I was all by myself at this point, because all my co-workers run faster than me. I arbitrarily dropped in to this mass of people getting ready to run, and was greeted by "Hi Brent."

Turns out this girl Sarah was standing right next to me.  Sarah is someone who I met like five years ago,  and only hung out with once.  But I see her in the most random places.  She and her husband were in the same obedience class we would bring Deuce a couple of years ago.  They also had a baby like two weeks before we had Edith.  There's just all this weird parallel stuff between us and them.  So Sarah and I talked from when I got in line to when we actually took off.  It was nice catching up.  Her baby apparently growls instead of crying. 

About a minute into the actual race, I just had a feeling that this wasn't going to go well.  Talking with Sarah had thrown me off.  I went from smalltalk to "holy shit, it's time to run."  That's not how I normally do things.  And since I had stretched at like 6:30, I wasn't really all that limber anymore.  My shin was all tight on my right side, and I just didn't have any umph.  Also, the song that came on while I was taking off was "Sorry Is the Hardest Word" by Elton John.  Not exactly ideal, opening thirteen miles with "What have I gotta do to make you love me?"



And that's just kind of how things went.  I didn't enjoy the race like I normally do.  I just kind of suffered it.  My shoes were fine until about mile seven, so that wasn't really an issue.  But everything seemed off. For a while I thought things were fixed, when "Acid Fight" by Blood on the Wall came on the ipod.  I'm going to put a link on here, but I'm not going to recommend you listen to it unless you're having a really good day.  It's not a pleasant song.  But I've always liked it. 



So that held me over for a while, but I kept wondering where Chuck and Chelsey were.  Last year I saw them like five different times along the route.  The were conspicuously absent for the whole first third of the race.  Then the second third.  In the meantime, the humidity was definitely taking its toll. 

There is no way of overstating how great it feels to have people cheer for you when you are running that long.  Lincoln is great.  People come out and cheer on the runners, and this year they put the runner's names on the bib, so I was able to have "Floyd" as my running name.  And lots of people were yelling it out as I went by, which I believe is almost entirely because I went with Floyd over Brent. 

After 10km, we leave the city streets of Lincoln and move to a bike trail.  I know it was 10km, because at that point I was running right next to the pacer (a person who runs the race at a certain speed, so people can keep pace with them) yelled out, "We just passed 10k!" which would have been okay but I thought I was further than 6.2 miles.  So my heart sunk a little.

The next two miles take place on the bike trail, and it's a real nightmare.  It's very narrow, and that's when people start cashing in their chips, so you have to constantly navigate people who are walking in front of you as well as people who are coming up from the rear still.  You end up resorting to going around people by jumping into the grass along the outside of the trail.  Normally a fun part of the race.  But not so much when your shoes are starting to hurt.  The trail took forever.  I hated it. 

The trail ended, bringing up the most difficult part of the race.  There are two hills that take you through a neighborhood, before you make your way though downtown to the end.  The first hill pretty much killed me.  The second hill killed me more. When they were done with me, I was no longer running.  I had stopped in the hopes that it would make my feet stop hurting.  Its did not.  If anything, they hurt worse when walking.  So I started running again.  That still hurt.  I didn't know what to do.

I was ready to stop, but there's no way to stop when you are four miles from the end.  Mercifully, Chelsey and Chuck showed up in the distance.  I hobbled over to them.  They both looked at me horrified.  I said something about shutting it down.  They said something about my bloody nipple.  Wait.  What?  I looked down.  My left nipple had apparently been bleeding for quite a while.  Giant blood stain on my sweat-soaked shirt.  I didn't feel anything, but apparently the lube didn't work.

As I made my way to the car with Chuck and Chelsey, they explained that they just didn't have a good day.  Chuck got lost on his way to the hotel in the morning.  Then they couldn't get where they wanted to go.  None of their decisions worked out.  They kept getting stuck in traffic.  When I saw them at mile nine, it was the first time they were able to find a spot.  I'm sure Edith didn't make any of this any easier.  Nor did Chelsey's neck/back/shoulder issues. 

We all agreed it wasn't our best outing.  We went to have breakfast instead.  The restaurant was full of runners who had finished the race.  I felt a tinge of regret.  But mostly I was just glad that my feet didn't hurt anymore.  In the booth next to ours a mother and father were giving their daughter a congratulations gift for finishing the race.  I asked Chelsey and Chuck where my gift was.  They both said that they had gifts, but they had thrown them away after I quit.  The girl's present turned out to be a glass butterfly, and I didn't feel so bad.