Showing posts from May, 2013

Seasonal Shifts: Maquoketa Caves State Park

"Now, why do we want to go messing with the moon for? If God wanted a man on the moon he would have built a road there. I get a hundred thirty-five dollars a month from Social Secure, and I sure can't afford to live there." -- Veris Metzger in James York Glimm's Snake-Bite: Lives and Legends of Central Pennsylvania, 1991.

 Maquoketa Caves State Park in Jackson County, Iowa.

My Biking Soundtrack

Now that summer is here in the wilds of Illinois, I have the time that I wanted in order to read, write, camp, hike, and ride my bike. Bike riding is all I have accomplished so far. Here is a nice mix of my top riding albums (the reasons aren't so obvious). 

1). Eleven Hundred Springs --This Crazy Life

2). Scott H. Biram -- Graveyard Shift

3). All -- Greatest Hits

4). Birdcloud -- Birdcloud EP

5). All Eyes West -- All Eyes West

6). American Aquarium -- Burn, Flicker, Die

7). The Avengers -- Avengers EP

8). Baroness -- Blue Record

9). Bottle Rockets -- The Brooklyn Side

10). Chelsea Light Moving -- S/T

11), Crimpshrine -- Duct Tape Soup

12). The Dictators -- Blood Brothers

13). Fifth on the Floor -- Ashes & Angels

14). Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit -- Live in Alabama

15). The Leghounds -- Various Demos

16). Lifetime -- Jersey's Best Dancers

17). The Menzingers -- On the Impossible

18). Mudhoney -- Vanishing Point

19). Night Birds -- Fresh Kills

20). The Night Marchers -- …

An Old, Old, Short Story Retitled.

“Seventh Son”

A hazy mist covered the ground in the cemetery. Green saplings bent to the ground. I walked solemnly, looking behind me every couple of minutes. My chest beat and my legs felt tense. I had been meeting my brother in Shadows Grove Cemetery for several years. Well, I guess I couldn’t really call it meeting him. He’s dead. I just walked to the cemetery to talk to him. He was the only person whom I could really trust when he was alive. You see, my dad died before I was born and my mom -- well, she’s crazy. She tells me that I’m crazy for talking to Randall. She says, “He’s dead. When are you gonna realize that? I raised a dip shit kid who talks to fucking angels.” She isn’t all that bad, though. At least, she doesn’t hit me anymore. As I approached his plot, I saw a big and nasty crow. It cawed at me and flew into the grey sky, then alighted near Randall’s gravestone and dashed back into the sky. The sun was beginning to make me tired. I felt it on my skin and scratched car…

Northern Wisconsin Romantic

I drove up to northern Wisconsin yesterday through alternating rain and sun. Once I drove past Tomahawk the rain turned to slushy snow and sleet. Turning onto highway 8, traffic trailers, trucks loaded down with planks, and general messiness slowed me down.

The trees up here are still struggling to leaf out and the brown, dirty grass attempts to push past random snow piles. In Illinois, the trees are in full bloom, yet the nights are cold and wet. I'm glad to be back in the North Woods, if just for a couple of days. The place is lovely even in its worse vernal dress. The birds are attempting to sing, hastening the full arrival of spring, then summer -- all before the darkening doom and gloom of the change back to fall in the northern woods. The seasons here change in a heartbeat. The earth and the people are always hopeful that the seasons might just last a bit longer. Luckily, they don't have to put up with stretches of 100 percent humidity for weeks at a time that I have gr…

Track This: Weston's "Heather Lewis"/"Your Summer Dresses Bore Me"

I've always had a fascination for lesser-known power pop bands and singles. Whether this means singing the praise of 20/20's second album, championing Brendan Benson's pre-Raconteurs efforts, or even calling Pansy Division's Absurd Pop Song Romance the greatest power pop album, I sometimes find myself reaching for that sugary, disposable pop single. Albeit, I generally grab one that won't make the radio or even get noticed in this age of increasing vocoder usage and auto-tuned pop atrocities.

Case in point, these two songs by the pop punk band, Weston off of their 1996 album, Got Beat Up, are so dynamic, poppy, and well-written that they deserve space in the echelon of killer pop tunes. While the rest of the record is an excellent pop punk record with the type of sugary licks that Weezer wishes they used, these two songs stand out due to their maturity. No small feat on a record where most of the songs deal with immature love and the awkwardness of being young and …