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Entry date: 5-25-2024 – The First Day of the Rest of My Summer – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Here we are. Summer break. Teachers live for this. What do I do now?

 

Tile.

 

Relax.

 

Tile.

 

Build stuff.

 

Tile.

 

Celebrate a graduation.

Tile.

Dad Taxi.

 

Tile.

 

You get the idea.

 

*****

 

The last day of school was just fine. Not memorable, but none of them really are. There is such a build up to it, but I don’t really remember much about any of them from my own past. I doubt the 21 students who showed up will remember yesterday ten years from now and that’s okay.

 

We played some games. They helped me get the room more squared away and that was that. I’ll miss a few of them, as I mentioned, but many I will not. It’s always tough to guess which students will be upset and which will not. There were a few surprises, for sure.

 

Two students who did really well during the year must’ve been irritated by something I said or did. They were pretty shitty for the last week or so. I’m pretty sure it bummed them out that I didn’t make a big deal of it and kind of just gave them back the energy they were giving me. When they left, they didn’t really say goodbye, so I just told them “Good luck” and went back to giving a little side hug to everyone else.

 

It's the little things.

 

The classroom is going to rock next year, though. I can’t wait to put things back in order after I get my new cupboards. While it felt like my room this year, next year will feel completely like it is mine. I’m stoked.

 

***** 

 

I used to read Flipside a lot. It was my favorite Zine. I would get it whenever I could and read about different bands. If something sounded really interesting, I would try to search it out and give it a go. One of these bands was the Mr. T Experience.

 

Hailing from the Bay Area, Mr. T Experience was not the typical band I would usually be into in those days, but when I picked up a copy of Making Things With Light, I really liked it a lot. It found its way into heavy rotation in my house and stayed that way while I lived in Berkeley, too.

 

I hoped to see the band while I lived up there, but it never happened. Eventually, I did get to see them at Punk Rock Bowling a few years back. They were awesome, but I was pretty drunk and was probably a tad obnoxious as I kept shouting for the band to play my favorite songs.

 

Like a few other bands I’ve written about this week, I have only embraced Making Things With Light. The Mr. T Experience has a bunch of other material, but I’ve been sort of blissfully unaware of it. Maybe next year I will pick some of these other records and write about them (like once a month).

 

From the opening chords of “What Went Wrong,” which is the first track, I get a smile on my face. I have a lot of pleasant memories of Making Things With Light and while there was a lot of nonsense in those days for me, I don’t associate any of it with this record.

 

There is a quality to their style on Making Things With Light that kind of reminds me of early rock and roll. It’s got a late 50’s/early 60’s vibe happening that is charming. The riffs aren’t particularly challenging, especially on “What Went Wrong,” but it is simple and catchy.

 

The Mr. T Experience does these big choruses, and you can really sink into them. This is evident in the next couple of songs and both of them are great. “She’s No Rocket Scientist” and “What’s In the Cuckoo Clock” are both badass. I probably shouted “Cuckoo Clock” enough times in Vegas to make people around me fairly irked.

 

“What’s in the Cuckoo Clock” is probably my favorite song on the record, and if I was making a best of compilation for pop-punk, it would definitely be on there. Sadly, I don’t recall if it ever got played or not. I’m pretty sure blackout drunkenness happened for periods of that show.

 

“I Don’t Get It” is a great ‘sad dude/break up’ song. I listened to it a lot in those days as I was quite often in the throes of some kind of heartbreak. I had a great girlfriend, but we weren’t ready for that stuff yet. Maybe she was, but I was not mature enough. “I Don’t Get It” echoes what I was feeling quite well.

 

 

While “Pig Latin” is a fine song, I prefer “Parasite.” The drumming of Alex Laipeneiks is pretty stellar throughout the album, but the middle tracks are really fantastic examples of tight, pop-punk drumming.

 

“I’m Breaking Out” has another great chorus and bridge. It’s some really nice songwriting. Dr. Frank (Frank Portman) is pretty much the guy when it comes to the band’s songwriting, so he deserves a pat on the back for this one. Drunk, Vegas me probably told him as such during Channel 3’s set.

 

The rest of the record is pretty standard. “The Girl Who Still Lives at Home” is kinda tasty, but it’s a little too much on the poppy tip for me. The cover of Shocking Blue’s “Send Me a Postcard” is a rocker, though. That’s a band I need to explore more of one of these days.

 

Maybe I will get a chance to redeem myself and not be the obnoxious guy if I ever get to see them again. I hope that happens.

 

I mean, I’m still going to shout for my favorite songs, but I won’t be drunk.

 

***** 

 

See you tomorrow.



Evil Ferrets on Mars

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