Liner Notes (January 25th, 2019)


All of the news today made it much harder to focus and write this.

In this week’s edition, I talk about switching finance apps, share a little “link to” service I use on the Mac, offer thoughts on the new Mark Hoppus/Alex Gaskarth song, revisit So Long, Astoria, and give some first impressions of the new Better Oblivion Community Center album. Then I go through my usual media diet from the past week and share ten songs I loved. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Four-ish Things

  • Adam reviewed the new album from Maggie Rogers, it’s an album I think a lot of people would like.
  • I saw the request for a Foo Fighters ranking in the Q&A thread. I put this on my list and will do my best to listen to their catalog next week so I can be best prepared.
  • With it being a new year, and tax season coming up, I spent some time this past week revamping and better preparing myself for the year and getting a better grip on finances. This led to a couple of new spreadsheets for better tracking website income and creating a more robust and detailed budget. With that, I finally decided to boot Mint out of my workflow. I’d been using it for years to automatically track finances and getting a good look at all the accounts, investments, and various things that made up my financial life. However, it’s never been a great service. It hasn’t been updated in years, the interface has become bloated and gross, and it was just inertia that kept me there. (I liked having a historical record of what was going on with my finances.) After some research, and there being fortuitous timing with a promo-code on a podcast I listened to (ATP10), I decided to download the trial of Banktivity and give it a shot. It took quite a while to get everything set up to my liking (what a fun Saturday), but I think this is going to be a good solution for me. It’s a nice Mac app that, after some tweaking, gives me exactly what I want: a full picture of my finances and a way to check for things like fraud, growth, and better categorize where my money is going. Combine that with a few little things to better keep track of Chorus spending, and I’m satisfied with my new Banktivity and custom spreadsheet workflow.
  • I created a short macOS service for quickly linking to things from Wikipedia, Google, Amazon, IMDB, Netflix, and LetterboxD. I found that when I would write this roundup, I’d often want to link to one of the movies I was writing about, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass to go to Wikipedia, type in the name, and then copy and paste the link. Now, instead, I can highlight the word I want to link, hit a keyboard shortcut, and I’m given a little menu to choose where I want to link. Select the website, hit return, and the link to that service, using the highlighted text as the keyword, is put on my clipboard. Then I can link it in my document. It saves me some work and could be tweaked for other features as well. Figured I’d share it in case anyone wanted to play around with it. Speaking of services, if you write in Markdown on the Mac, I highly recommend looking at Brett Terpstra’s toolkit. I don’t know how I’d write without them.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Fidlar’s new album is out today. If you’re into a catchy, punk-infused, all over the place and in your face kind of sound, you should put this on and turn the volume up loud.
  • When a cover song is your biggest hit in years, you release a cover album. Unfortunately, I still don’t like Weezer, and the covers sound like a group of dads put together some arrangements for the local Friday night block party.
  • Last week I listened to The Ataris’ Blue Skies…, and this week found me diving into So Long, Astoria. I think this album ends up holding up quite well. It’s very nostalgic. Not only in remembering freshman year of college, but in the content of the songs as well. I forgot how many of the lyrics are basically just “let me reminisce about this stuff.” I have no clue what is going on with this band now, but I’d love to see them Kris actually write something in this vein, with a real producer and studio, again.
  • We were blessed by the surprise release of Better Oblivion Community Center’s album this week. It features Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, and it’s a captivating listen that cements Phoebe Bridgers status as one of the most interesting voices in music today. She kills it. They were smart not to make this a simple folksy duet album, and the exploration of various styles works well. I love seeing Phoebe play with new textures, melodies, harmonies, and sounds. Her lyrical chops are next level, and my excitement for her next LP is reaching fever pitch. I also love the rollout and surprise release of this album. They did a great job of capturing the excitement and it all coming out at once kept anyone from thinking it would sound one way, or putting too many expectations on the final product. Instead, we just all got to hear it, experience it, and fall in love with it at once.
  • I don’t know what possessed me to put on Slick Shoes’ Burn Out, but that was a fun trip for an hour. I love the guitars in this album. This style of fast pop-punk will always remind me of pretending I could skateboard and dreaming of learning to surf.
  • I don’t like the new Say Anything album and I feel uncomfortable talking about the band at all for various reasons. I’ve been asked a few times by people what I think of the release, and I just want to leave it at that for now.
  • While the latest Frank Turner album didn’t do a lot for me, the new EP (out today), had me tapping my foot earlier this morning. It’s a nice reminder of why I connect with him as a songwriter. I don’t think all of the songs are up there with his best, but it’s enjoyable.
  • I don’t think I understand Bring Me the Horizon’s sound or popularity. I clicked through a few of the songs and it’s a resounding “yeah, not for me.”
  • It appears I like the new Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth song more than most. To me, this feels like a logical endpoint for where Mark would have gone with his +44 project. If that band had been making music for the last ten years, I could totally see this being where it ended up. I like the dueling vocals, I think the melody is fun, and it feels like two pop-punkers branching out and taking a shot at something a little more mainstream. It’s been clear for a while that both of these songwriters have had a desire to stretch this side of their songwriting ability, and this seems like the perfect place to try it out. I’m looking forward to hearing more.
  • Ryan Adams’s new track “Fuck the Rain” is everything I want in a Ryan Adams song. It’s my favorite of the new songs so far.
  • The new AM Taxi album feels like it should be in quite a few of y’all’s wheelhouse. Do you like Americana music with handclaps and gang vocals? You’ll enjoy this.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders: One of my earliest memories is being babysat by my grandmother and watching the old 60’s Batman and Robin TV show every afternoon. I, of course, loved everything to do with Batman. Sitting down on that couch and having to tune the TV channel with a knob to watch this show is just about the first thing I can picture from my childhood. This movie is an animated version of that world and it captures the silliness and campiness to perfection. I had a giant smile on my face through the entire thing. It’s ridiculous, but the right kind of ridiculous.
  • A Star Is Born: This is the kind of movie that when watching, I was impressed by. I thought Lady Gaga sounded great, surprised me with her acting ability, and the film worked well enough for me to be drawn in. It was sad, and I was affected by the ending. A few days later and I still stand by that even if I am not as high on the movie, as a whole, as I think others have been. Some of the story stuff didn’t quite work for me in how we got from point A to B. It felt like we just all of a sudden arrived without me ever really feeling like I’d been taken on that journey. It’s a movie worth seeing, but not one I think I need to see again.
  • You Were Never Really Here: This was a tough watch. It’s very violent, well acted, well directed, but … man … it’s a hard watch.
  • Below Deck: We started season 5 last night. It remains my antidote to any bullshit that happened during the day.
  • I’m trying to get better with Zero Suit Samus, Link, and Greninja in Super Smash Bros.
  • Hannah is playing with the Oregon Symphony a lot next month, which means I’ll have quite a few nights at home alone, and I am trying to decide what I want to watch next. I’m still working my way through Young Justice, and I think I’m going to abandon You, it’s just not doing anything for me. I’m leaning toward checking out Star Trek: Discovery. I need the kind of show Hannah won’t want to watch with me, but something that I’ll find engaging. Some people I trust have said good things about it, so that’s leading out of the gate.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This weekend we’re finalizing invites/save the dates/stationary stuff for the wedding. And in the next couple of weeks I get to ask people to be groomspeople.
  • Another week of hitting the weight goal. Two hundred twenty-seven days since I started this new routine/habit, and it just feels like part of my life now. Logging food, going to the gym, things that I thought would be time-sucks have worked right into my life, and no matter what else has been going on in a day, this constant has been nice.
  • The goal for 2019 is stay on budget. I’m not historically great at sticking to a budget. However, I want to get on track this year because I’m at the spot where if I do a good enough job at that, it means the website may be completely self-sustaining and be enough for me to do without any outside work by the end of the year. (On that note if you know anyone that would like this weekly newsletter and to be a supporting member of the website, you should convince them to sign up.)

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. AM Taxi – Movies About Your Life
  2. Better Oblivion Community Center – Big Black Heart
  3. Frank Turner – How It Began
  4. Ryan Adams – Fuck the Rain
  5. Simple Creatures – Drug
  6. Maggie Rogers – Overnight
  7. The Ataris – So Long, Astoria
  8. Slick Shoes – East on Tracks
  9. Cub Sport – Sometimes
  10. Alexisonfire – Sons of Priviledge

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I’ve got some little tasks to finish up around the website, and then it’s back to the very not fun work on creating the new advertising page. I’m dying to do something exciting next, so I need to push through this procrastination/feet dragging, and just get this done.

And, with that, I leave you with one of my favorite moments from my recent Batman reading:


Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.