Liner Notes (November 2nd, 2018)

November is here. Leaves are now covering the ground and the switch from spooky movies to holiday cheer can begin. I’m already getting excited about Thanksgiving and itching to decorate the place for Christmas. I want to take a quick moment to encourage everyone reading this to make a plan to vote, vote early if you are able, and get your friends involved as well. The mid-term elections are extremely important.

This week’s roundup has me ranking Yellowcard albums (it was time), talking about the new iPads announced this week, and going through my usual weekly media diet. Some good movies were watched, some great music was heard. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • OK, it’s time to rank Yellowcard albums. I’ve been putting this one off because it’s so damn difficult and annoyingly hard to pin down what I think, but here goes:
    • Southern Air: I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to say this is my favorite Yellowcard album and it’s surpassed Paper Walls. It’s the band doing everything I love about them as well as they can do it. It’s the band at their peak.
    • Paper Walls: I didn’t think this would ever be topped, but, that doesn’t mean it’s not still a fantastic pop-punk album. One of the best, in my opinion. It could be released today, and it would be popular, it’s got a great universal appeal.
    • Ocean Avenue: I have to put it in the top three because of what that album’s meant to me. It’s a very specific time and place album that brings me back to a very specific summer in my life. A very specific girl. A very specific kind of heartache.
    • Lift a Sail: I will forever be mad at how this album was originally received. I love it. I love the experimentation; I love the soundscapes, I love the big choruses, haunting vocals, and virtually everything about it. Such a grand statement from the band and it’s one of my favorite winter records.
    • Yellowcard: A really solid entry in the band’s catalog as their final album. It may not be aiming as high as the previous, but it’s full of outstanding songs that show off just how much talent these guys have. Some classic songs on this one and I find myself turning it on pretty regularly.
    • When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes: A great comeback record for the band, with such a great lead single. It’s basically everything a great Yellowcard album should be. It only gets put down on a little further on the list because you have to rank something here, and being a solid Yellowcard album is still quite good.
    • One for the Kids: This album is as far back as I’ll go in the band’s catalog here, and it’s another one that’s hard to rank so low given how much I played it/loved it in the early 2000’s. But, for everything it does well, it’s just not as good as what came next.
    • Lights and Sounds: I’ve grown to enjoy quite a few songs on this album in time, but as a whole, it still doesn’t quite work for me. The flow is off, there are songs I don’t like (“Down on My Head”), and it remains my least favorite Yellowcard album.
    • Conclusion: What an incredible catalog of music. There’s a reason for a long time I considered Yellowcard my favorite band. I connected with their music, their vibe, their feeling, and they felt like people my age finding their dream and chasing it down. Looking back now I have more memories associated with this band, and these songs, than just about any other. They’re a part of my history and a band I know I’ll be listening to for the rest of my life.
  • I really, really like the look of those new iPads. I’ve had an iPad Air 2 that I’ve been using since they came out and I love it. At this point, I’ve barely been using my laptop at all. The truth is, if I’m not traveling, I don’t need the laptop very often. I work from the desktop during the day and use the iPad at night. The dream would be if the iPad Pro could actually replace my laptop for me. For most of what I do on a daily basis, I think it could. The workflow would have to be a little different, but the main hangup for me is the lack of a clipboard manager. On the Mac, I can copy any number of things to my clipboard, quickly, and then paste them back in any order. This makes news posting easy. Text selection and managing multiple things isn’t as fast on an iPad, even with a keyboard attached. That said, I’m more intrigued than ever before to give it a shot. I love the idea of grabbing the iPad and writing one of these roundups from the kitchen table with the fire on this winter. I could sell my current iPad and the MacBook, and that may get me over halfway to the price of a new iPad, but that cost ends up being kind of prohibitive at the moment. Yet, as Hannah keeps pointing out: I don’t use my laptop anyway. Lots of waffling over here on which direction to take. The dream in my head comes up against some software limitations meshed with financial considerations.
  • One of the kitchen track lights burned out last week, so I decided it was time to replace all the kitchen lights with LEDs. They last longer, are better for the environment, and I prefer the color/brightness. After doing some research to see what would work with our dimmers and make sure everything still worked with Homekit/Echo, I went with Torchstar, and am really happy with it. They completely change the room with how bright they get. Instead of having to turn on all three sets, we can turn on one and get the same coverage. The blue-ish color contrasts with the living room still having the red-ish glow, but, in time those will die, and I’ll replace them as well. All-in-all, I am quite pleased with the change. I think the upfront cost will be worth it in the long run.
  • I came across these iPhone wallpapers this week and think they’re pretty amazing. They’re the exact kind of wallpaper I like: minimal, but with color and movement.
  • As I’ve written about in the past few weeks, I’ve been on a “logging” kick. From food, to TV shows, to movies, to water, I’ve been enjoying keeping track of different things. To go with that, I’ve decided I want to use Swarm more frequently to keep track of the next year as we do wedding planning and things like that. I like the idea of a little journal of sorts documenting where we go and when. I’ve set it up so my account is private, and I have zero friends on there, but scrolling back through and seeing “on this date, we did this” is satisfying to me. I don’t journal as much as I wish I did, so this is how I’m trying to chronicle the entire year-of-wedding-planning.

Music Thoughts

  • Copeland released their new song called “Pope.” It’s delicious. I’ve got to walk the line on a few albums coming up about what I can say and what I can’t say. I want to respect the actual embargo in place on a certain album, and the implied one on the Copeland release since it hasn’t been officially announced yet. I’ll say this: it’s experimental, beautiful, weird, interesting, challenging, and it gives me a lot of Radiohead vibes in places. I’ll say more when I can. Blushing
  • I listened to the new Cloquet album multiple times this past week. I definitely recommend giving that a spin to see if you may like it. The beats and production are fantastic. It feels like the kind of album you could throw on and almost anyone would ask, “hey, this is good, what is this?” within a few songs.
  • The new Dave Hause EP seems like the kind of thing lots of people on this website should love. It’s that whole Brian Fallon Americana vibe thing. I liked his last album and I’m looking forward to listening to this throughout the weekend.
  • I haven’t had time to listen to the new Vince Staples album yet. That’s my plan after I get back from some errands.
  • The new Allie X EP, Super Sunset, is full of great songs. “Focus” and “Girl of the Year” are my early favorites.
  • That Carly Rae Jepsen single is everything I wanted it to be. I went from “yeah, this is good” to “holy shit this is great” really fast. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us. That’s my most anticipated album next year by a pretty large margin.
  • Shad and Night Verses both got a lot of plays over the past week while working. I always forget how much fun that Night Verses album is to have on in the background. Really great riffs and a lot different than most of the other music I throw on in the background.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • On Halloween we decided to do Hereditary. We spent most of the month building up the creepy movies and figured we would blow it out on Halloween and then put the horror/terror stuff away for a while and move into the family/holiday movies. Damn did we pick a banger to go out on. This movie fucked me up. It’s well done, but my god is it a tough watch. We wanted to be creeped out on Halloween and this did the trick. Hannah woke me up at like 2 AM unable to sleep. It was probably the heavy beer and candy we consumed that made my stomach turn into knots all night, but it’s not like visions of certain scenes from this playing in my head helped.
  • The Meg was not nearly as stupid and fun as it should have been. This should have been way more over the top and embraced itself. It ended up being kind of a slog to get through, even with a few scenes that showed what it could have been. I was ready for something ridiculous and dumb, but this didn’t even hit those notes right.
  • Christopher Robin was precisely the antidote to all of the creepy movies we’ve watched over the past month. There’s a handful of films that we’ve been saving for after October was over, and I’m thrilled we started with this one. It’s just a heartwarming feel-good movie that was exactly what I needed. I remember cuddling my Pooh while my mom read me these books as a kid and this brought back so many great memories.
  • We turned off The Spy Who Dumped Me after about 45 minutes. We may try and finish it at some point, but … ugh. It’s just wasn’t good. It takes a lot to turn off a movie, especially if I like the actors. Maybe it gets better, but what a complete mess.
  • Hannah is gone for the weekend playing a concert, so I downloaded the Terminator movies to do a re-watch over the next few nights. I haven’t seen any of these in a long time. I plan to grab a six-pack after work tonight and dive into the first one with some good food.
  • Now that Hannah and I have been watching Superstore together at night I feel bad that I want to watch even more of it while she’s gone this weekend. It went from being my fun show to pass the time to our fun show.
  • We finished The Haunting of Hill House right before Halloween. I liked the ending and thought it did a nice job of tying everything up and gave me a satisfactory feeling. It was well done and pretty much perfect for the lead-up to Halloween.
  • We’ve done the first four episodes of Sabrina and it’s been fun. It woulda been better if we could have finished this before November, but, we didn’t have the time. Definitely plan to finish this in the next week.
  • We watched a couple of episodes of Magic for Humans in an effort to watch something not creepy before bed, and they were fun for what they are. Magic’s fun.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Second week of maintenance mode has gone well. With Halloween I was really worried about this week. We allow ourselves some leeway on holidays, and I took advantage with glow-in-the-dark Dead Guy Ale and Hot Tamales and White Cheddar Cheese-Its. However, I am still right within the range I want to be. If I can sit within a three-pound area, I’ll be extremely happy. So, the first big holiday test has been passed. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years are all looming large. If I can get through to January 1st and be hanging out in this same space … I’m going to be ecstatic.
  • As soon as I’m done here I’m signing the wedding venue contract. We got back the bid for the place we loved, and it’s perfectly within our budget. So, that’s pretty damn cool. We got engaged on 8/18/18, and we’ll be getting married on 11/9/19. I’m a giant dork, I know.
  • My mom finished her last round of chemo this week. She’s handling it quite well, but she’s thrilled she’s done with that. She’ll be recovering for a while and then doing some radiation treatment. From everything we know things went great, and there have been no significant issues. She has no hair, which breaks my heart to see. But, that should grow back. I sure am ready to put all of this in the rearview mirror.

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Yellowcard – Always Summer
  2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Party for One
  3. Bad Religion – The Profane Rights of a Man
  4. Cloquet – Call It
  5. POP ETC – Both Directions
  6. Allie X – Focus
  7. Night Verses – Vice Wave
  8. John Nolan – Outside of This Tragedy
  9. Copeland – Pope
  10. Dave Hause – Mother’s Day

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Well, there’s another week in the books. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll probably be working/around the website more than usual since Hannah is gone, but I have quite a few things on my list that I want to finish up while I have a few days. I’m making one last pitch to everyone that they vote. Please. It really does matter. And with that, I leave you with another classic Hyperbole and a Half:

But a few times a year, I spontaneously decide that I’m ready to be a real adult. I don’t know why I decide this; it always ends terribly for me. But I do it anyway. I sit myself down and tell myself how I’m going to start cleaning the house every day and paying my bills on time and replying to emails before my inbox reaches quadruple digits. Schedules are drafted. Day-planners are purchased. I stock up on fancy food because I’m also planning on morphing into a master chef and actually cooking instead of just eating nachos for dinner every night. I prepare for my new life as an adult like some people prepare for the apocalypse.


Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.