A Blog About Nothing in Particular

LVL UP – Hidden Driver

Heard Sub Pop’s LVL UP on All Songs Considered as I drove to Cincinnati last night. Not only are the perfect for the person who’s still obsessed with Neutral Milk Hotel, but this song, “Hidden Driver,” is about a website co-founded by one of my very talented grad school classmates, Astra Taylor! I’m excited to hear LVL UP’s Return to Love at the end of next month.

In Praise of Dinosaur Jr.

Have I really not written anything about Dinosaur Jr. since this post? Seems so, apart from a passing reference in 2011 to J Mascis’ excellent Several Shades of Why back in 2011. It’s crazy, because when I really think about it, Dinosaur Jr. may be that band that somehow survives every critical hangup I ought to have about them.

I mean, I found things wrong with my favorites that makes it hard to understand how I ever loved them so much in the first place. R.E.M., neatly summed up in a 2-part podcast over at Shallow Rewards, is one example. Pavement, Spoon and Sonic Youth? Love them barely ever listen to them these days. Even bands I fell in love with as an adult, like Fiery Furnaces, Liars and TV on the Radio feel dated.

Somehow, I don’t feel the same way about Dinosaur Jr. Maybe it’s the unmistakable crunchy riffing or the timelessness of J Mascis’ voice, but there’s something deeply satisfying about them. I find myself returning to these records and Mascis’ recent solo work more often than I realize.

As summer fades and fall draws near, I know I’ll be spending more time with their latest record, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, like a favorite sweater.

Stereogum’s Tom Breihan on the Pitchfork Music Festival:

I find something quizzical and honorable in this: A whole festival built around music that is not, in any way, designed for partying. In a way, isn’t that the logical endpoint of a decade-plus of internet music consumption? We’ve all spent all this time finding music on our computers and piping that music directly into our ears, rarely if ever having real-life conversations about some of the artists who mean the most to us. Why shouldn’t we be dedicating entire festivals to that same antisocial experience?

Need a #latepass here, but I’m not altogether sure what this is about. I attended the show Saturday with a friend, courtesy of Pitchfork, and found myself chatting with present and former Pitchfork critics, as well as the Super Furry Animals in the VIP.

There was also a massive crowd in Union Park singing “Barbara Ann” as I left. It sounded about the same as when I first experienced the Beach Boys 30 years ago at the Great Allentown Fair.

The Runner Returns

I last wrote about running on this blog in November 2013. Looking back at earlier posts, it’s hard to believe how challenging it was to run after Charlie arrived. I’m reminded that my running buddy for my first Philly Distance Run, Mark Gatti, promised his wife that he’d take a break from running until his son turned five, a story he told Jen A. Miller for the Inquirer back in ’08.

Considering how many sleepless nights and impossibly early mornings I had with Charlie from ’09 to ’11, I couldn’t find the energy to get out and run and when I did, I overdid it and injured myself repeatedly, culminating in a pretty serious adductor strain in 2012.

I’ve periodically gotten out for runs since rehabbing, but those were very short stints. I imagined moving to Jersey would translate into fantastic runs along the Cooper River, but I still couldn’t find the time.

Now that we’re in Michigan and have settled in our new home, I’ve started getting back after it. I started out in late March with the idea that I’d ease back into shape and not make the sort of commitments that have ended in injury and inactivity. Welp. I don’t think it was May before I signed up for the Freep Marathon in October.

Unlike what happened in 2012, I’ve managed to baby myself just enough to get into decent shape. My goal is to qualify for Boston, just as it was 8 years ago. I’ve set an ambitious goal to get as close to that 3 hour threshold, but if I come in under 3:10, I’ll be thrilled. Hopefully this will be my last couch-to-marathon training!


Here’s a little secret to kickstart your personal blog: publish a draft. Surely, you’ve been agonizing over some post for ages. It’s right there in Drafts. Pick one, clean it up a bit and publish.

In fact, I published one last week. It was there the whole time!

 Stop being such a perfectionist. Let Twitter be your channel for #hottakes. Let the world know you can be thoughtful again and #PublishADraft. If you do, you’ll feel amazing. Promise. 

Use the hashtag #PublishADraft and let’s see if we can’t reboot a personal blog or two.