Winning doesn't cure all aka... I Go To Extremes...

Even a Packers win can't cure Asperger's... I know, right?




Well, folks, we did it!  We gave Aaron Rodgers a reason to come back.  Was it a great reason?  No, it was the bare fucking minimum needed.  But, who gives a shit?  HE'S COMING BACK!  Sure, the loss to the Ravens would have really helped our cause; as would have an unlikely win over the Steelers, who seem like they are mostly concerned with getting their kicker as many "practice" game-winning kicks as possible before the playoffs to get him prepared for the Jaguars (yes, it's still fucking weird as fuck to think of them as legitimate contenders) and/or the Patriots.  But, nevertheless, here were are.  Not out completely, but goddamnit, the one time I need the Saints and Vikings to come through...  I think they both lost knowing they couldn't beat a pissed off Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs so their best bet was to keep the Packers out of the playoffs altogether.  The Falcons seriously tried to give the Saints that game and the Saints acted like winning was somehow related to the myriad of sexual harassment/assault stories coming out recently and they wanted nothing to do with it, not even be in the same room or building as it.  And the Vikings are, well, the slightly above average team (who is still legitimately the third best team in the NFC behind the Eagles and Rams, pending the severity of Wentz's injury.  Wow, the Vikings have sure benefited off the injuries of MVP-caliber QB's this year.  Sheesh...  And I don't want to hear any of that mumbo-jumbo about "our starting QB is hurt too" as Bradford:


A.)  Was always going to get hurt

B.)  Has played 2 good games in his career - last year vs. the Packers and this year's season opener vs. the Saints



Also, that hit on Rodgers, and the hit on Goff last month, by Barr were mostly definitely filled with intent.  I don't need anyone to tell me otherwise.  I do have eyes, you know...)


I thought they were, which still makes them, subsequently, the third best team in the NFC this year.  Good times...


Another solid performance from our defense and, this time, our special teams.  Our offense continues to put our defense in very difficult positions and refuses to help them out after the first five minutes of the game up until the last five minutes of the game it seems.  And Clay, Mr. "ARE YOU TAKING ALL YOUR TINY SHAMPOOS?" Matthews seems to find ways to make big plays in big moments, despite his injuries.  Ha Ha, who I PREDICTED WOULD START MAKING SOME BIG PLAYS, made what turned out to be an enormous, points-saving interception at the end of the first half.


Sadly, we have another week of people who don't watch football but insist on giving you their opinion based on their scanning of the Redzone channel and the stats from their fantasy football league calling Brett Hundley a good quarterback.  I even heard one announcer say "Teams are definitely going to take a look at this young man once the season is over."  Why?  Are there a lot of teams in need of, and willing to overpay for, a mediocre backup QB?  Oh wait, that's right, Scott Tolzien, Mike Glennon, Geno Smith, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Mallett, Matt Barkley, Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub, Kellen Moore, etc. all got paid by new teams despite their old teams deeming them not worth it after watching them every single day in practice.  So, yeah, I guess teams are in need of, and willing to overpay for, an average backup.


But his stat line, again, belied his play:


35/46 - 265 yards - 3 TD's - no picks - 31 yards rushing


It looks good right?  Well, if you watched the game, it wasn't.  Hundley is great on the first drive and the last two drives of each game it seems.  He led 3 TD drives in the 4th quarter and overtime.  He reminds me of someone...  Wait...  There's someone I can remember who was painful to watch for the first three quarters of a football game but somehow turned into a touchdown machine in the 4th quarter and seemingly pulled win after win out of his ass...  No...  It can't be...  Brett Hundley is like...  TIM TEBOW...  HE'S BACK...


To be fair, Hundley is not as painful to watch when throwing a football as Tebow, but goddamn he sure plays a lot like him.



Goddamn, Asperger's is a bitch sometimes...  Take today for instance.  My girlfriend and I went to go get some lunch at a local place we have been wanting to try forever (like five years).  Easy right?  Sounds fun, trying a new place we're both excited about.  Well, we get there and it seems a little out of sorts.  The workers are all unaware of what anyone else is doing and seem generally very disorganized.  Whatever, the food smells great.  I order my food and it's a little more expensive than I would've thought but who cares if it's good, right?  Well, it was... fine.  Irritated that I just overpaid for a mediocre meal, I try not to lose my shit.  I'm stewing and wishing I hadn't paid for it.  My poor girlfriend is trying to casually enjoy her mediocre food but can't because of me.  I obviously don't want to start ranting and raving about how overpriced the mediocre food is in the middle of the day during the late lunch rush, but fuck I really want to punch someone.  It ruins my day, until...


So, I'm shooting a music video later this week for "Lookin' at Luckey" which is fucking awesome.  It's my favorite song on the album and it's sounding like it's going to be an amazing video.  The director I'm working with MADE THIS, which is unbelievably good, and I'm putting on makeup for the first time; which, I'm not sure I can get better looking but let's try.  It's all very exciting.  So exciting, in fact, that I went out and actually bought some new clothes for the shoot.  Now, I never buy new clothes.  "Why?" you may ask.  Well, for multiple reasons.  Hmm...  Let's see:


- I hate spending money on things that aren't music, food or booze, generally I hate spending money on things that aren't experiences

- I hate going to places where lots of people are, like stores or malls (Thanks Asperger's!)

- I like to wear the same things every day, over and over and over (Thank's Asperger's!)

- When I do actually buy new clothes, I hate to wear them so I won't ruin them (just me being cheap and/or weird, I guess)


So, it was weird for me to actually spend some money on myself but I DO GET TO WRITE IT OFF, so I have that going for me, which is nice.  I was excited.  Some nice new clothes that will look great on camera.  EXCEPT, I wash the jeans and now there is a huge spot where the sticker that shows the size (31x30, I'm not ashamed) was and it won't wash off.  What the fuck?  This is fucking madness.  This never happens on the $40 Levi's I buy once every six years.  WHAT THE FUCK?  I don't get it.  I desperately search online for a store that has the same size in stock so I can swap them out for a new pair.  No dice.  I'm pissed.  I feel deceived.  I feel ripped off and taken advantage of.  MY BRAND NEW PAIR OF FUCKING JEANS LOOKS FUCKING STUPID AND ARE GOING TO LOOK EVEN FUCKING STUPIDER ON CAMERA!  I couldn't be more angry.  I hate it.  I feel stupid.  "This is why I don't deserve nice things..."  I think.   I'm so depressed about it that I can't eat dinner.  My day is ruined, AGAIN...


And, once again, my poor girlfriend has to deal with this shit.  I have some Krud Kutter goo be gone or whatever the fuck it's called which should take off any glue residue and then I'll rewash them.  Seems simple enough but I can't get over the emotional toll it has taken.  IT'S ABOUT AS DEPRESSING/RIDICULOUS AS THIS.  "And who could understand the all-consuming pain?  Only a man who's weeping in the rain knows where to go..."  Wow.  But Billy Joel was certainly on the spectrum and has many songs, INCLUDING THIS ONE, that are about it, whether he knows it or not.  Billy, I know why you go to extremes, it's call the spectrum, bud.


Nevertheless, my song of the week is:


Frightened Rabbit - "My Backwards Walk"


This song saved my life once.  I wish that was me being overly dramatic, like I so often am.  I remember having an anxiety attack in a hotel room somewhere in Eastern Washington and trying to not jump out the window into traffic.  All I wanted to do was drink until I couldn't remember and be done.  I can't remember where that thought came from but I knew I needed to get out my room.  It was after midnight (not in an Eric Clapton kind of way) so I wasn't sure what to do.  I got in my car and just started driving.  Frightened Rabbit's "Midnight Organ Fight" was in the stereo and was playing, though I wasn't paying much attention.  After about 30 minutes, this song came on.  I didn't know where I was or where I was going but this song felt so sad in a peaceful sort of way for some reason.  I started crying.  I didn't know what was happening as I sped along past the farm fields and empty landscapes.  I just kept pressing the back button to start this song over again, and again and again and again.  Occasionally, I'd pass a semi-truck trying to make up time to somewhere but it was pretty much just me out there.  Mostly, I just stared out the passenger side window and watched the so-dark-they-seemed-infinite fields while playing this song on repeat.  I must've driven for at least two or three hours as my half-full gas tank was starting to run low.  I pulled off to try and check my phone's GPS to see where I was but I must've gone too far since I had no signal.  I drove on and found signs for I-84.  I had driven all the way back to Oregon, I guess.  I'm glad this song came on since speeding along at 80 miles an hour in that state of mind is probably not the best thing one can do.  Anyways, thanks Frightened Rabbit...

Dear God, thank you for a good Packers game aka I can finally talk Packers again!

Holy shit!  The Packers finally give me something to write about!




Well, I guess it's Run the Table 2.0 time.  That was the last loss we had to give, and a fucking devastating one at that.  Even 10-6 isn't postage-guaranteed for a return trip to the playoffs, we'll need a lot of help, which puts us in the unenviable position of rooting for the Vikings (I just got shivers...) the next couple weeks as they take on the Falcons and Panthers.  Also, the Saints need start winning again, stat.  Also (fuck, feel like I'm using the "also" quite a bit, not good...), we need either the Seahawks, who traditionally play their best football in December and January but this year are without Sherman and Chancellor (unfortunately, if you're rooting against them and are a terrible person who likes injuries, which I just might be, well, nope, never mind, that's just fucking mean, their best player on defense, Earl Thomas, and their best player overall, Russell Wilson, are still both OK, for now), or the Rams, who are flying a little too close to the sun perhaps, to start losing and start losing hard.  I'm hoping the Rams might still have some latent Jeff Fisher stink on them, which I hear comes with side-effects warnings like:


- playoff football may cause severe allergic reactions, including death; avoid at all costs

- may cause QB's to play like they just chugged a cup of NyQuil instead of Gatorade (which in addition to sleepiness will bring on that queasy, I-just-drank-too-much-NyQuil stomach-ache which I've known well.  I recall an experience of that happening during a show at Ash Street Saloon HERE IN AN INTERVIEW, a little over halfway down the page)

- inability to call vertical pass plays

- obsessively trying to get the ball to Percy Harvin 2.0 (this model without the locker room self-destruct mode) a.k.a. Tavon Austin who literally had this stat line for a game this season:


11/26 vs. Saints - 3 receptions on 4 targets, -1 yards for a -.3/yd average


To name a few.  Anyways, go Vikes...  Yuck.  That felt dirty.  


So to recap:  Go Saint...nope and go Vik...nope, can't do it.  Go division leaders and I curse all ye wild-card teams, this be you Seahawks, Falcons, Panthers, Lions...


But, all is not lost.  All is not lost, yet...


"Why?" you may ask.  Well, the Packers defense played it's third good game in a row and fifth good game of the season.  Yes, Clay is out, again (AND JUST AS THEY START AIRING HIS AND AARON'S BEST COMMERCIAL THUS FAR), Kenny Clark is out too, but luckily avoided serious injury and will be back sooner than later, and Kevin King, who is playing far beyond what you could reasonably expect from a rookie corner not named Marshon Lattimore (who is also hurt), has a bum shoulder that will probably not heal til he stops hitting other absurdly large, fast and strong men with it.  We did, however, get Morgan Burnett back whose impact cannot be overstated.  I think we'll see a Ha Ha resurgence resurgence now that he's not calling plays and can focus on just being his Ha Ha self self.  Damarious Randall is again playing like the ball-hawk he truly is when he's not hurt (cramping scare but came back to make what should've been a game-saving pass breakup).  And Mike Daniels is looking like, well, Mike Daniels again.  His hip injury seems to be long gone at this point.  Defensively, our biggest issue is our lack of pass rush.  Nick Perry had his fair share of 1 on 1's and wasn't winning them like we've seen him do in the past.  Maybe the hand is bothering him or maybe something else is hurting/holding him back after slamming into 300 lb. behemoths for over two months.  But Clay being gone certainly hurts.  And with Kenny Clark not eating blocks like usual, it makes it more difficult for Daniels, Dial, Ahmad Brooks, Dean Lowry, Fackrell, etc. to get any steady rush.  All of our sacks the past couple weeks have been the result of great coverage, which after all the flak our DB's took last year (due to a ridiculous rash of injuries) must be redemptive, to a degree.  But in the 4th quarter when we really needed some pressure, Ben had all the time he needed to finish this fucker off...  


My only complaint about the D is that on that final drive you know that Ben is looking towards Antonio Brown and that they need to get at least one, if not two, pass plays to the sideline to stop the clock and somehow we give up two consecutive sideline passes to AB.  Yes, I realize one was an absurd catch but he never should've had the opportunity to make that catch.  I read a comparison to the Rodgers to Cook play last year against Dallas in the playoffs and it was dismissed since that happened in a playoff game which carried more weight.  This game was like a playoff game for us, as it might have just knocked us out.


But, all is not lost.  All is not lost, yet...


This time you ask yourself "how?"  I will tell you for how.  Brett Hundley has the skills to win us a couple football games against Tampa Bay and Cleveland.  We know he can MAKE THROWS LIKE THIS which looks like a video game glitch when the game forgets to make a catching motion and the ball just sticks into the receiver's hands.  Seriously, not enough credit has been given to Davante Adams for that game-sealing catch.  Fuller, the Bears best coverage guy in my opinion, was in position but interfered (not called) by essentially holding hands with Adams so he couldn't catch the ball.  Only a perfect throw would suffice in this instance as Davante, watch it again, HAD TO CATCH IT WITH ONE HAND.  It wasn't a stylistic choice.  And that's the second part of this.  Davante has turned into a poor man's DeAndre Hopkins and is still getting better.  His footwork is absurd.  He's probably a great basketball player and could've been a world-champion tennis player if he'd wanted to be.  I love when they show replays of him coming off the line, it's like football poetry in motion.  It might not be Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown-level, but it isn't far off and he's definitely not yet the player he ultimately will become.  He's stolen the WR1 role, as evidenced by the way Minnesota defended him earlier this year, with Xavier Rhodes following him around much of the game.


The one quibble I have with the "Brett Hundley is now great" (after the week of everyone wanting Big Tom Callahan's son, aka Joe Callahan, to step in and play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers instead of taking up the family's brake pad business) crowd is that the enthusiasm needs to be tempered.  Collinsworth said during the game that even if Rodgers was in the game, he couldn't play much better, which is borderline insane.  Yes, Hundley's stats look great:


- 17 of 26, for 245 yards, a 9.4 yard average and 3 TD's, no picks or fumbles


But the reality is that over half of that came on the three long touchdown plays, one of which was a completely blown coverage (Cobb TD), one was a screen pass where the line and Williams did all the work and the third was a good read and throw after Davante made a pro look like college kid and was at least five yards past him and then proceeded to make two people miss on his jaunt to the endzone.  That second to last drive was very impressive, no doubt.  I'm not taking anything away from that.  But going three and out after two of the three turnovers doesn't help capitalize on the momentum and, in fact, usually gives it back to the other team as they know they can turn it over and it doesn't hurt them at all.  We saw that in the Saints game and it bit us in the ass in this game as well.  Hundley definitely has the skills, and though OUR OLD FRIEND VIC would say:  "there is no FULL CONSISTENCY," he still needs to get a little more out of the drives that don't end in long TD's.  He's a little too boom or bust.  TD toss or three and out is a tough way to close out games and win consistently.  But, as the Baltimore game showed us, interception or three and out is goddamn unwatchable, so at least we're headed in the right direction.


And don't even get me started on the lack of flag for the helmet to helmet from JJ's little brother.  It was so obvious when it happened.  You could hear the sound, which is like the sound of the ball jumping off the bat for a home run, so unique, but terrible instead of beautiful (although it's becoming a little too obvious that they JUICED THE BASEBALLS which I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT HERE which I do not like in the least.  Please, Baseball, don't make me stop watching you again like back in 2001), and by the fact that Hundley just fell down.  He didn't fall like he got walloped normally.  He fell like he was hit in the head and forgot what he was doing.  Trust me, I've been there.  I'm sure TJ will be fined, but that doesn't change the game like the penalty could have.  I hope Hundley's OK.  I know for at least one or two of my concussions I didn't have symptoms until much later, sometimes the next day.  I hope he's not concussed.  Shit, I hope I didn't just jinx him.  Fuck, knocking on wood now.  Sorry mate.


Thanks for not getting me started.



It is getting quite late and I wanted to dedicate more time to the Packers this week as the last couple weeks there was so little to write about.  I'll be back tomorrow with my musical update.


Goodnight and we'll (OK, I'll) talk tomorrow.

At least I showed up for my show... aka lookin' at you, Brett Hundley...

Ummm, the Packers played?  Well, the defense showed up, at least.  Oh, and I showed up and actually played a fucking show for the first time in, well, way too fucking long...



Well, fuck.  I thought the Lions game a couple weeks ago was bad...  Our defense finally steps up their game (I know the Joe Flaccid and the Ravens' offense aren't the greatest test, but our D really did play well despite the "Injury Shadow Monster" claiming two more of our best defenders in Clay Matthews III and Kenny Clark) and Brett Hundley plays like, ugh, this is painful to say, but... Jay Cutler...  Yep, let's take a look at their respective box scores from this week:


Brett Hundley - 21/36, 239yds, 0 TD's, 3 INT's, sacked 6 times, 43.6 passer rating

Jay Cutler - 6/12, 83yds, 1 TD, 3 INT's, sacked 0 times, 60.8 passer rating


Jay did leave with a concussion (seems like he started with one) so he didn't have time to rack up those additional yards in garbage time like usual, otherwise the numbers would've been closer.  But, man, those lines fucking suck.  I'm not sure who did worse.  Jay Cutler threw three interceptions in less attempts but also threw a TD.  Brett Hundley, well, he was just awful.  I don't think playing the Steelers next week help him either, but at least people haven't watched Brett Hundley do this for over 10 years and still think "maybe this is the year he turns it around..."  So, Brett Hundley has that going for him, which is nice...



There's only one thing happening this week in music (hey, that's the name of this segment!) and that is Julien Baker's "Turn Out The Lights."  Seriously, just, what the fuck...  This is an absolutely amazingly sad and awesome record start to finish.  I had heard a lot of hoopla about her first record and gave it a few listens.  I was not impressed but also not unimpressed.  It was, fine.  But Jesus, this album...  I'd try and write words about it but I'm too fucking tired (it's been a long week), and I'd rather listen to this record (one more time before I pass out) than write about it.  So, I will.  I listened to this album on repeat from Spokane to Portland (almost 6 hours) and then from Portland to Lebanon and back (about 1 1/2 hours each way). Just watch this and buy this goddamn record:



One last thing, thanks again to all those who came out to Conversion Brewing on Saturday and to those who watched via Periscope.  It was my first show in over a year and a half and it felt brilliant.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  I can't wait to start touring again and doing that on a regular basis.  Lebanon, you were a great host and I can't wait to see you again.

Upcoming show in Lebanon, OR on 11/18... aka the Bears still suck

Lord, thank you.  At least the Bears still suck...




We did it!  We really did it!  We won a game without our lord and saviour, Aaron Rodgers!  The defense stepped up huge and, naturally, won't get the credit it deserves since it seems Packers fans only love offense, though our last two Super Bowl wins have come on the backs of our defenses both times.  Yes, the offenses played well in them, and in XXXI, obviously, our special teams was off the fucking charts, but it was mostly our D that got us there.  Our special teams Sunday was, well, they were there too.  It's so tough to be on our third long snapper this season, which has to be some kind of record.  Of course, the injury bug, well, it's not exactly a bug anymore, it's probably best to call it the "Injury Shadow Monster" as it has been slowly taking over our players one by one FUCKING WILL BYERS STYLE, continues to ravage us, this week taking our top two running backs including our outstanding rookie Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery after he made a great run.  Do not make a great play as a Green Bay Packer running back.  It seems to doom you the last couple years, suspiciously starting around the same time "Stranger Things" has been on the air...  Hmmm...


But, man, did Brett Hundley MAKE SOME FUCKING THROWS.  And, a flat out amazing catch on the other end of that throw by Davante Adams.  Although, it was very irritating that everyone seemed amazed by the fact he made that catch one-handed, but no one commented on the fact that the DB grabbed his other arm so he fucking had to catch it one-handed.  Anyhow, I'm so glad Ted Thompson (and me, as I totally called it and told everyone who would listen) doesn't listen to the fans and didn't even think of giving up on this kid a couple years back when he was struggling with foot and ankle injuries (which, his game is based on his ridiculously quick feet and great foot work/balance).  He's a borderline superstar and probably our most reliable WR, though I think Cobb could be more involved but that's just me.  And, Davante somehow has the cure for concussions in his blood.  I need some of that.  I've had two in the past year due to getting rear-ended while stopped at a red light.  Just sitting at red lights, FUCKING BOTH TIMES.  So aggravating.  Mine lasted over a month each, the second was almost two months.  Davante has a horrific hit to the head and is back to catch the game winner a week and a half later.  Magic.  I realize now that mine are worse because those were concussions #5 and #6 (that I know of) and, more importantly, my brain doesn't completely fit properly into my head making me more susceptible to it knocking into my skull and concussing me.  It's a long story but let's just say I had skull removal and skull reattachment surgery.


Sidenote:  how far we have fallen.  At the beginning of each season, I have my brother buy the package ($100 for a student, $300 for a regular ass adult like me) for me.  Normally, the Packers only have a handful of games not on national television.  Starting a couple weeks ago, when, oh, I don't remember, but something happened and our great and fearless leader, a one, Mr. Aaron Rodgers somehow got hurt (I can't remember who did that to him.  Oh, wait, of course I fucking remember who did this one to him, Mr., nope, not fucking "Mr.," I'll call you Tony Barr.  I even had a good cheer to myself earlier this season when Shea McClellin went on IR...  I know, it's horrible to cheer injuries but that one was even more egregious than Tony Barr's hit.  Fuck 'em both...), we all knew our national television games were over.  I'm so glad my brother can hook me up with a cheap Sunday Ticket package, otherwise I'd be back to spending $50-70 per game at one of the local Packers bars, probably Corbett's Fish House, and hoping they cleaned the grill enough after cooking the shrimp so I don't get sick again.  I don't hold it against them.  How could they know I have a shellfish allergy?  Plus, their perch is so fucking tasty...  Mmmm, perch...  Wait, what was I talking about?



This week, on Saturday November 18th at 8pm, I will be playing my first show in over a year at Conversion Brewing in Lebanon, OR.  It's not a big show and I will be playing it as a duo, not a full band, with Brianne Kathleen assisting me on vocals but I couldn't be more excited.  After all the drama (fights, screaming matches, near lawsuits, sexism, pure insanity and, unfortunately I'm not kidding, deaths) and delays and delays and delays and, yep, you guessed it, more delays, I'm so excited to play again.  I'll definitely be touring soon, but I haven't decided where and when quite yet.  Honestly, a lot of that went out the window when I lost the last 2 months (and wasn't sure how much longer so I couldn't schedule anything) before the album release due to, yep, you guessed it, a concussion.  I'm so glad to have put that behind me but man did it fuck shit up for me.


For once, it's been a good week for me, mentally and emotionally.  The discovery of Kava has certainly helped.  But, aside from that things just seem like they're going to be OK.  Not good, but OK and that's better than it's been in a while so I'll take it.  Unfortunately, over the weekend I suffered a minor setback that threw me into a tailspin but it was nothing a trip to Music Millennium couldn't fix.  I found a vinyl copy of an album that has helped me through some (mostly self-inflicted) emotionally dire times:  "Bee Thousand" by Guided by Voices.  For those unaware of this band, I WROTE ABOUT THEM A LONG TIME AGO while going through, or possibly right after a breakup (I can't remember).  For those who didn't read my 3-4 times-a-year blog ( back then, I'll get you up to speed.


Guided by Voices is an acquired taste.  I was talking with my brother recently and compared them to drinking Campari, on the rocks, the only way to drink that shit.  Zissou fans get it.  To give you another idea of their strange, beautiful, amazing, heart-string (as if there were such a thing) tugging music, the best song on "Bee Thousand" is called "TRACTOR RAPE CHAIN."  It's a lament surrounding a diminishing relationship that has dissolved because of mistrust.  A place we've all been.  Well, hopefully, some of you haven't because IT FUCKING SUCKS.  But, Mr. Robert Pollard nails the hurt and paranoia and the (mostly) self-inflicted mental and emotional chaos that can ensue.  My other favorite song on the album is, for reasons unknown, but I continually wake with this song kicking in my head, "THE GOLDHEART MOUNTAINTOP QUEEN DIRECTORY."  Yep, it's that kind of band.  They have a song called "KICKER OF ELVES."  Seriously.  So, I'll pass along the same advice I gave to my brother upon his introduction to this band:  sit and listen to the album as a whole and listen to it at least twice.  Don't put it on while you're at work or jogging or doing laundry or whatever, just sit and listen to it (an odd concept these days, I know.  I might be the only one I know who dedicates hours and hours per week to just listen to music.  It's fucking art people, and you shouldn't devalue it.  Sorry, don't want to get to far up onto my soapbox).  I wasn't sure what I was getting into myself all those years ago, but I remember being slightly confused until subsequent listens, in which, I fell in love.  So, fire up the Spotify, Google, Apple Music, iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody (god, it's easy to listen to music for nothing or almost nothing these days...  Sorry, getting back down, again...) and look up "Bee Thousand" by Guided by Voices.  You won't be disappointed; unless you take my advice in extremely high regard, have a listen and really don't like them, in which case, you might be.  But, I can't help that, so fuck it.


My advice this week is to live free or die hard...  Just kidding, that movie sucked.

Brett Hundley and the year 1997 aka... man, I feel old...

1997 was an amazing year, and I'm not talking about Super Bowl XXXII...  Which, I'm still not sure happened...  I'm talking about all the amazing music.  "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover..."  Nope, not that one...


Green Bay Packers Recap:  


Well, not a great start for Mr. Brett Hundley.  He seemed very reticent to throw the ball downfield, and when he did, the results were not good.  He did have a good scramble drill throw to Jordy; which I believe was Jordy's only catch on the day.  Cobb, who might be our fiercest competitor, had only 2 catches.  Davante had 2 as well for maybe 10 yards total.  Pretty brutal.  If you would've told me that Aaron Jones, the rookie, who plays with the vision and patience of a top running back prospect, not of one drafted in the 5th round, would have 130 yards and a touchdown, that Brett Hundley would rush for another TD and that we would intercept Drew Brees twice, I would've said we had a chance.  Watching the game, we hardly ever did.  Even the interceptions only came after the Saints walked it down the field twice in a row.  BUT, I, unlike a lot of people, it seems, do not blame the defense.  They played admirably despite the Saints holding the ball for over 13 minutes longer than us (which, was never mentioned during the broadcast.  Seriously, why do you think our defense couldn't stop the run in the 4th quarter?  Also, my favorite broadcast moment of the day, when one of the guys said something along the lines of "Well, the one thing you miss when you lose Aaron Rodgers is..."  The ONE THING?  The only acceptable way to finish that sentence is:  "AARON FUCKING RODGERS!!"  He even has developed his own noun since there's no way to describe the things he does, routinely, that make you forget how to speak.  I started saying this years and years ago, and it seems to have caught on.  The only way to describe the things he does is to say that he does "Aaron Rodgers things."  Before him, Brett Favre would do things that would leave you speechless, both good and bad.  But, what he did was simply "magic." Sorry Majik...  But, Aaron is so talented, not better than Favre, my favorite sports hero ever, never to be topped, EVER, but Aaron is more talented, and the things Aaron does can only be described as "Aaron Rodgers things.") and our offense doing everything they can to thwart a decent showing by the defense.  Yes, the defense couldn't get it done at crunch time, but our offense needed to do ANYTHING to help them out.  Anyways, bye week up and I still believe in Brett Hundley.  He has the confidence and courage I like in a quarterback.  He just needs to throw the ball with that same confidence and courage.  He'll be OK and, therefore, so will we...  


p.s. - I am a shareholder so I'm allowed to say "we" when referring to the Packers.


This Week in Music:


Tonight, I'm at the Best Western Inn/Motel, just off I-5 in Roseburg, OR.  Listening to the late night traffic roll by is soothing, in an odd sort of way.  Sometimes, you get the fancy Marriott in Bend, sometimes you get the BW motel just off the freeway.  I've only heard two cop cars go past, so we're doing OK.  Probably just drunk drivers but here we are.  I've stayed at much better and much worse.  This'll do for the night.  But, while sitting at the local bar attempting to be friendly and polite with the bartender and waitress, who would have fit right in at any bar in Portland since they had no desire to talk with anyone they didn't already know, especially me, and who not once asked if I would like another drink (I deliberately didn't ask for one to see how long my empty glass would be left unattended.  A full 35 minutes until I asked for the check is the answer.  Then, they finally asked if I'd like another.  No, I wanted one a half hour ago, but not now...), I overheard the waitress was born in 1997.  I know this because she twice, very loudly, proclaimed it since she could not pour or serve alcohol to the good people of Roseburg.  Seems like at a bar that would be integral to the job, but apparently they were OK with her just serving grub and standing around half the night watching others serve drinks.  The comment caught me off guard, as she looked the same age as me, but I immediately started thinking about what I was doing in 1997, and, of course, what music I was listening to.  The first part was easy.  In 1997, I was playing basketball and baseball (still too young for football) and just starting to imagine liking girls.  Also, my voice was dropping, years before everyone else, so I was being mercilessly mocked for that; until a few years later when they finally experienced that same awkwardness and I already sounded like a man and mercilessly gave it back to them.  Fucking dicks.  I'd like to say I took the high road but I didn't.  Kids are cruel.


The second part of that was much more interesting.  I thought back to records I fucking burned through during that year.  We've already covered MY LOVE OF THE PRODIGY, so let's take that as read and move on.  Goddammit, 1997 was a fucking awesome year.  We had:


- the Foo Fighters and Michel Gondry teaming up for "EVERLONG" which is still one of my favorite music videos

- Marcy Playground being fucking weird stoners and one hit oneders (bonus points for anyone who gets that reference), making every little boy, especially this catholic-raised boy, "feel funny" by saying the word "sex" in a song.  MARCY PLAYGROUND - "SEX AND CANDY"

- The Verve being the epitome of British cool (which was way cooler than American cool), well, since Oasis was done making brilliant records by then, after all two of them.  I couldn't stop listening to this shit for months on end.  THE VERVE - "BITTER SWEET SYMPHONY"

- Again, as a young boy turned on by a woman saying the words "naked on the floor," I loved this song.  Yes, it was a good tune, but I especially loved the idea of woman naked on the floor, though I did not know what that would actually look like, yet.  NATALIE IMBRUGLIA - "TORN"

- These fucking guys... Later, in my middle teens, I was obsessed with ska music.  I desperately wanted to play those all upstroke, 1-4-5 chords in a ska band.  It was mostly due to this fucking song which introduced me to how fucking awesome it was when guitars, trumpets, saxophones and trombones met and fucked and made beautiful music babies.  THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES - "THE IMPRESSION THAT I GET"

- One of the songs that, just like the Prodigy, I hated the first 20 times I heard it then fell madly in love with.  Still the dumbest fucking band name ever.  CHUMBAWAMBA - "TUBTHUMPING"

- And, of course, how could I not mention this...  We were all still sad, even young white kids from rural, Southeastern Wisconsin who didn't fully understand...  PUFF DADDY AND FAITH EVANS - "I'LL BE MISSING YOU"


But, there were three records I could not stop fucking listening to:


1. Rage Against the Machine - "Evil Empire" (from '96 I know, but I was too young for it when it was released.  Probably was still too young a year later, but, oh well.  I could write 10,000 words on this band and probably will someday.  I love them so much)

2.  Third Eye Blind - Eponymous

3.  Wu-Tang Clan - "36 Chambers"


I'd like to talk about the last two in particular.  It was quite a divisive year for me and one that I've never particularly recovered from, for a number of reasons.  But, suffice it to say, those were very different records and I couldn't understand why I couldn't love and appreciate both.  Let's start with "Third Eye Blind."


I grew up Catholic.  My grandparents were Catholic, my mom went to Catholic school, we did Catechism growing up, were afraid of a vengeful God, were constant disappointments to Jesus, who died for our sins, didn't have enough money to give to God so He would love us, and on and on.  When we moved away from Oconomowoc, the town my mother and, subsequently, my sister and I were raised in, we stopped going to church regularly.  It was nice and allowed me to sleep in before watching Packers games.  I loved it.  Though, to be fair, most churches made sure to end before kickoff as we all know what the true religion is in Wisconsin.  But, when I was 9 or 10, I began to get very curious about all of this "God" and "Jesus" stuff once again.  A new kid at school, Andrew, was very religious and, at that age, I didn't know what I was.  But, he was so sure of his faith that he inspired me to attend his church.  It was a very small gathering, at first, in a local shop.  His dad was the preacher and it was non-denominational; they accepted all, even Catholics.  His dad did music-inspired sermons, using popular music of the day and relaying messages based off that.  I loved it.  I loved music and Andrew's dad seemed like a cool guy, who happened to love Jesus.


It was Andrew who "reintroduced" me to Third Eye Blind.  I say "reintroduced" because I had heard those fuckers before and hated them.  I hated "Jumper" and I hated "Semi-Charmed Life" so I couldn't stand these assholes.  That singer fuck was so smug.  So fucking smug.  But, then I finally listened to the whole album with Andrew.  Songs like "How's it Going to Be" and "God of Wine" started to change my mind.  Their next album "Blue" would seal it up, but they could fucking rock and not just be super fucking corny; though, they knew that was the way to make money.  It was smart.  I couldn't stand some of the hits, but the rest of the albums were actually good.  Seriously, even with that smug ass singer fuck.  


Truth is I found, and subsequently lost, my religion through music.  His music-driven sermons drew me in and then a multitude of things pushed me back away.  One, I could see the way Andrew's dad lorded over the household.  His family, especially Andrew's mom and sister, were dealing with self-esteem issues that seemed wrought by his father, the pastor or preacher or whatever the fuck he called himself.  It (probably/hopefully) was never as bad but reminded me of the way my dad made us all feel, especially my mom and sister.  I hated him for it and will never forgive him.  That wasn't all he did, but we'll save that for my (future) therapist.  But, I could see the same emotional scars, the same shame and guilt and fear of letting him down in their family.  I started to resent his dad.  I hated when he was around.  The whole family acted differently.  Then, soon after I started to see this, Andrew's dad did a sermon about Pearl Jam and their version of "Last Kiss."  I'll never forget it.  It would be the last time I would go to that church and the last time I'd see his dad.  He sermonized against Rock N' Roll and how selfish it was to want their loved one to stay on Earth and how they lacked faith and how they weren't true believers in Christ and on and on.  First off, it wasn't Pearl Jam's song you fucking asshole.  They recorded it for a fucking benefit record.  Second, if wanting a loved one to NOT DIE is terrible than I'm a terrible person too.  God, I was so pissed at him for ruining religion for me.  Also, for years I couldn't listen to Third Eye Blind as it triggered this all for me.  Eventually, the Asperger's won out and I've compartmentalized it and don't feel emotionally attached to that memory so I can listen to the album again.  "Blue" is a better record but it's very nostalgic to fire up "Third Eye Blind" every now and again...


So, Wu-Tang.  I was WAY too young when "36 Chambers" originally dropped but I can't ever forget watching MTV2 late, very late, one night (my inability to sleep normally, not quite insomnia, but not quite not insomnia, started very early) and seeing THIS for the first time...  WHAT THE FUCK??!!??!!  The songs starts off so amazingly that I already fucking shot my wad 20 seconds in.  It gets better and better with each MC until I get to Method Man's verse.  It's so good and so unique and so unlike anything I'd ever heard, unlike anything any white kid from rural, Southeastern Wisconsin has ever heard, and so mind-blowing UNTIL (wait, is there no chorus?  We still haven't had A CHORUS.  What is going on?)...  HOLY SHIT...  1:52 in...  WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO ME?  I had never before, and very rarely, if ever, after, heard anything that rearranged my molecules the way Ol' Dirty Bastard's verse rearranged my molecules.  It was so unique and so heartfelt and so angry and so sad and so beautiful and just so fucking amazing that I didn't know what to do.  All the guys in Wu-Tang are awesome but Dirty was a different breed.  It's so sad what happened to him, but he left us some amazing, wondrous music that is hopeful in a weird way.  It's not hard to hear that music was his grounding commonality with us other humans and the rest of life was not his purview.  He was put here for one purpose and one purpose only, but being human, he had to balance somewhere and his brain could not handle life on Earth outside being creative and beautiful.  I get his pain.  I feel worse for those who loved him but could not help him...


But, the saddest part of growing up in rural, Southeastern Wisconsin is that no one else loved Wu-Tang Clan the way I did, especially the "friends" I had who I enjoyed Third Eye Blind with.  Not only did they not understand it, and the fact that some people live different lives and therefore have different stories to tell, but they openly and actively shunned it; and therefore, me.  They hated it and it was the devil and they couldn't figure out why I enjoyed it and how I could "listen to that garbage."  I was already mostly done with that crowd anyways, but soon found myself outside my other crowds as well.  My metal music crowd, my country music crowd, my Rock N' Roll crowd (yes, I judge people based on music interest, just as judgmental, I know, but I don't care.  Music is what I care most about) all shunned me as well.  I soon found I had few friends left.  My Punk Rock and Folk music friends never left, all 3 of them.  We stayed close. Apparently, Punk and Folk were more inclusive than other genres.  Which, kind of makes sense if you think about it but kind of not.  Oh, well.  After my old friends tried to fight the only black and Mexican kids (all 2 of them, 1 of each) in our high school and I defended them, eventually punching my old best friend of 6 years in the face, I realized I was much better off without those "friends."  It's lonely to give up friends but it's lonelier to give up oneself...


Anyways, it's late and I'm tired.  Goodnight for now and remember:  sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you...