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Entry date: 5-16-2024 – How Does Time Go So Fast? – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

My little TQ, my Bean, Taren, Loki, and officially, Teresa, graduates from high school tonight. Yesterday was her official last day of mandatory school. It’s hard to believe.

 

There is a part of me that still imagines her to be my little Bean. I loved how she would just light up when I got to daycare to pick her up or anytime that we were apart. There was a time when she would be glued to my side, if at all possible, with Liam on the other side. I miss watching children’s television like that.

 

She attended our neighborhood school, Maryland up until 8th grade when she transferred over to Metro Arts. She really wanted to go to Metro for 7th grade, but she was a good sport about staying at Maryland one more year so she and Liam could transfer to Metro together. Hindsight being 20/20, we probably should have figured out how to ger her there for 7th grade, but there is no use in looking backward for too long.

 

Her academic career has not always been easy. She’s never been too fond of school, sadly, but I think she will blossom as a student when she gets to college. The years at Metro have shown her that there are some good people, worthy of her friendship. Prior efforts to find a good friend eluded her at Maryland.

 

I think school was often a lonely place for her and that breaks my heart, but the last several years have been different. Metro has supported her artistically and I believe she has always felt like she mattered there. This is very important for a person like her.

 

When you watch your children do things that you would have done, it’s like looking in an evil mirror, at times, and a beautiful one at others. Teresa (I’m still allowed to call her that), my Bean, is a lot like me and I see her struggling with some of the same issues I had when I was her age. I try to subtly help her learn some of the lessons I was well into my adulthood before I figured them out, but I try to never push my agenda. After all, she is like her mom, too.

 

I’m very excited for her next chapters. They promise to be exciting, and like her brother, she has interests that are similar to mine but so much more talent than I have. I hope she lets me help her grow some of them and, in turn, helps me grow some of mine, too. I love that I can learn things from my children.

 

As this day unfolds, I will probably shed a tear or two. They will be prideful tears because I am so proud of Teresa. I loved her from the moment I knew she was coming and was overjoyed to hold her in my arms that very first night after she was born.  She was my constant companion for the first few months of her life, too, because I was working for Casa and could stay home and take care of her because it was summer.

 

Congratulations to my Bean. Class of ’24.

 

*****  

 

Yesterday I had a wonderful visit with Granny. I learned something I never knew about her that made me feel even closer to her than I already feel. She shared with me that she had moved from Howard, Kansas to Winfield, Kansas during her junior year of high school.  

 

As I have shared here at ErgMis, I also changed schools at the same time in my life. I didn’t change towns, but I might as well have. Camelback and Deer Valley were very different schools.

For Granny, it was a huge change. She went from a town of about 1200 to a town of 10,000. For some reason, I just always assumed that she had grown up in Winfield because she always talked about it as home. That must’ve been very strange for her.

 

She shared with me that she got to go back for the Junior/Senior Prom that first year and a little smile came across her face. I didn’t press her on it, but I’m guessing there was a boy and maybe a pleasant memory.

 

It was a lovely and informative visit. I hope she feels the same.

 

***** 

 

Weirdly, I have no recollection of how and when Bluetip came into my life. I can’t remember who turned me onto them or when it was. It was over 25 years ago, I can say that for sure, because their album, Polymer, had not come out yet. I guess this narrows it down to sometime around 1998 which means that it might have been Shane. I’ll have to ask him.

 

Either way, when I first heard their 1996 record, Dischord No. 101, I was floored. It’s the kind of record that makes me want to play music like the music on the record. I don’t necessarily wish I was in Bluetip, but I wish I could make a record just as good as Dischord No. 101.

 

Hell, I would totally jam with the guys in Bluetip. That’s not going to happen any time soon unless, of course, they read this and think, “Hey! He gets us.” Then we can talk.

 

Being on Dischord, there is that infectious Washington, D.C. sound to contend with on Dischord No. 101. There is a Fugazi-ish tint to Bluetip, but I often think that some of that is just knowing that they are on the same label and Dischord No. 101 was produced by Ian Mackaye. Beyond that, it is the energy of the band that is also in a similar vein as their fellow hometown heroes.

 

For me, I get worked up when listening to this record. It makes me want to steal some of the ideas and arrangements every time. When I first heard it, I was so jazzed about it that I probably asked everyone I knew if they had heard the recording. I wanted everyone to hear it because I thought it was too good for people to miss.

 

It makes me sad, when I cue it up on Spotify that “Nickelback” has only been played almost 54,000 times. I’m guessing a hundred of those are me. That’s the opening song and it is great. It should have been played over a million times by now and it’s not even the best song on the record.

 

Side note: I just made myself puke a little bit that I was stumping for Spotify, even though I do use it a lot.

 

“Past Tense” is a cool song, too. It is track 2 and it has this great, half-time chorus (maybe it’s just another part and not a chorus at all) that kind of drops the song down into another gear. It’s a bit of an emotional gut punch kind of song, too, at least for me. I love how the band made it so big and cool and powerful yet, at times, it is also vulnerable sounding.

 

I don’t skip “Precious” but I also feel like it’s just a good song. “If I Ever Sleep Again” is much better. It might be my favorite song on the record. The main riff kind of reminds me of a Girls Against Boys riff and there is something about the singer asking, “If I ever sleep again” that the beginning of a couple verses that reminds me of feeling like I would never be able to rest again.

 

“If I Ever Sleep Again” also has another cool bridge/breakdown part where the song kind of deconstructs and reconstructs itself. A lot of Bluetip’s songs have this dynamic and I love it. Thinking about the time Dischord No. 101 came out, it makes sense that they had were this dynamic.  A lot bands were doing the loud/quiet/loud thing that bands like Fugazi, Pixies, and Nirvana had excelled at. Bluetip was doing their own version, though.

 

“3X2 Slow” is neat little guitar part and there is a great line about “bubblegum lip gloss” that I recently discovered. Sometimes it pays to listen more closely to songs you have known for years and years. You never know what you might find.

 

 

“Sacred Heart of the Highway” has an almost Seattle vibe to it. It’s kind of like Pearl Jam, but in a good way. “Texas 10 West” is a rocker and “Sweet Superior” is bombastic and heavy. Any song that has a line that says, “Goddamn my eyes” is all right in my book. It’s also got a little Soundgarden-y, Nirvana-ish riffage happening, too.

 

“L.M.N.O.P.” is another favorite of mine. I love the main guitar riff. It’s very disjointed but works super well. The song swells slowly as it builds and becomes something quite huge by the end. “Mapped Out” has an almost Melvins-y feel to it. I would love to know what the guys in Bluetip were listening to when they made this record. Probably none of the bands I am mentioning.

 

Oddly enough, they end the record with a weird country song called “With The Lord As My Witness” that is great, but it sticks out like a sore thumb. Prior to it, there are two solid songs, “Gainer” and “Tangle,” that I didn’t mention until now. Not sure why, either. It’s a mystery.

 

Dischord No. 101 is one of those records that people who dig the Dischord sound will love. If you haven’t heard it yet, well, you’re welcome. If you have but have forgotten how good it is, then again, you’re welcome. If you think it sucks, you have terrible taste.

 

Have a nice day, though.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



Hello children.

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