New Year’s Eve, 2016

For the past few years now, I’ve been writing a New Year’s Eve blog in reflection of the past year, and how it went for me. The furthest one back that I can see is from 2012, when I was still in Tech School for my Air Force job (though on “Exodus” back home for the holidays). I feel like I did one in 2011 as well, but whatevs. That year, writing that blog, I had no idea what was to come in the next 4 years… Or maybe I did. Or maybe I should have. Oh well. That was a long time ago, and I was a different person then than I am now. Am I different person now than I was this time a year ago? I dunno. One thing is for sure, however: my situation is drastically different than it was then. I don’t know that I’ve grown—in some ways, I feel I may have regressed—but I’m happier now than I have been in a bit over 3 years.

On December 31, 2015, I was here in Oregon, too—for one more week, anyway. It was the end of the longest vacation home I had had. It sucked extremely bad when I had to leave again… The last night I was home, I went out to eat with my parents, my sister, and her family. I’d been hoping we’d walk around downtown Corvallis for a little bit too, but they wanted to go home. So we went back to my parents’ house, I sat down in the bathroom, and instead of relieving myself, I was actually trying to regain my composure. I think a few tears trickled down my cheeks before I pulled it together. Even with taking my cat to Arkansas with me, I couldn’t feel much besides miserable. We got back to my apartment, and no one wanted to be there; her, or me. She walked around the apartment, growling, and then hid under the couch for quite a while; she didn’t eat, drink, or go poddy. Eventually, she adjusted, though.

I found out soon after that that results for a psychological interview had come back, and my counselors had diagnosed me with avoidant personality disorder. They didn’t necessarily feel it was an absolute fit for me, but felt it was close enough to call it as such. This meant that they would tell my Commander, and recommend Administrative Discharge based on a personality disorder incompatible with the Air Force. This is what I had wanted. I had struggled for the prior three or so years at that base to adjust, to get along, to function in this setting without freaking out. I often felt like these efforts, and my struggles, went unappreciated by my immediate leadership and coworkers; like I was making it up, or something. I was simply not equipped with the ability to function like a robot, like they apparently expected me to (and how a lot of the Air Force expects its airmen to respond). If you tell me to behave a certain way, but then don’t behave that way yourself and/or look the other way when one of my coworkers don’t behave that way, it’s going to bother me. A lot. Furthermore, if people repeatedly do/say things they know upset me, I’m not going to indefinitely ignore it. At some point, it is going to cause a reaction in me. In short, I have to feel like I’ve received the respect I am due, and am properly appreciated for my efforts, or I am going to get really, REALLY pissed off. Perhaps that is starting to sound less like having a personality disorder and more like being a normal human being, but I digress.

For the first few months that I began the process of winding down with my time in the Air Force, a couple newly-promoted supervisors made clear they didn’t necessarily believe I was getting out, and applied pressure and stress to my situation that I didn’t need. For example, I was made to go to Vital 90 (the PT sessions for people who failed their PT test), because a policy had come down that everyone had to be with at least one other person at PT, and no one else was available to go to PT with me. I hadn’t failed any PT tests and knew I wouldn’t likely be taking another one, so this pissed me off. Eventually, when it was clear I was separating, the two backed off a bit (perhaps due to some pressure from above, who found out I hadn’t been allowed to do any out-processing yet). Those last few weeks, I only occasionally did PT, and when I did, all I did was run until I was uncomfortable, then walked for a bit, then quit. Upon leaving the military, I’ve majorly slacked off on my exercise and my gut has grown much larger, but I just can’t be arsed right now to get a regular schedule in. I hate exercising so much right now…

It was very weird, the way the last few weeks went down. I could not be given a definitive date that I was exiting, so I could not make plans with anyone back home for my return. Day after day, I waited for the Commander to look at my package, and day after day, there was no news. What delayed things more was that it was apparently required that I be given a final Employee Performance Rating, even though it meant nothing at that point. Before the Commander could sign off on the discharge paperwork, he had to sign off on that, and a million other people had EPRs, not to mention his other duties. I started freaking out and getting impatient, frequently asking my first shirt and superintendent if they’d heard anything, to the point that they told me to stop asking them, heh… Eventually, the Commander signed it, his boss approved it… and two days later, I was out. The entire time, I was told I would be getting certain health benefits for the next 6 months, but it turned out I wasn’t, so I had to hurry up and get health insurance before my Tricare was cancelled. Also, because I was only given two days’ notice for my separation, it was 3 weeks before any moving people could come get my stuff. So I just sat in my apartment in North Little Rock for 3 weeks. I barely remember it, but it was weird.

There are times when I think that if I could go back to the end of 2011, before I went in and talked to that recruiter, that I would instead just be like, “nah, I’ll just stay here and be a janitor for the rest of my life.” There was a janitorial swing shift position at a hospital I took on in 2012 that maybe would’ve become a regular gig, had I been sticking around. I maybe wouldn’t have gone through all the hardships I did these past 4 years. Then again, I wouldn’t have grown as a person, at least not as much. The trials I endured, the mistakes I made, the tears I shed, all are valuable life lessons that make me the person I am today. There are a lot of things I didn’t know about the world, or myself, until my time spent in the Air Force. I also wouldn’t have this nifty GI Bill that’s paying for my tuition at Oregon State.

There were a few places I called for work here in Oregon while still having to stick around in Arkansas; a one or two called back, but then found out I had to stay in Arkansas another couple weeks. When I got back, I went back to subbing janitorial for the school district, and also took on a summer custodial position with them. It was to include me building an excel document for the district foreman and his assistant to monitor the school custodians, but it turned out that they didn’t quite know what they wanted with that, and I didn’t know how to deliver on the little guidance I was given. I worked on that for a couple weeks and then was put with a cleaning crew the rest of the Summer. I think that may have soured my relationship with the foreman and his assistant a bit, as they probably expected more, but I did my best. Anyway though, the first night I went back to cleaning a route at a school… man, I was sore. It was the first time in 4 years that I’d done manual labor for 8 hours. It was bad. It wasn’t as bad the second night, but still, it was kinda sad.

Meanwhile, I took my first three classes on Oregon State’s Corvallis campus. This was exciting to me, as I’d always wanted to go to school there; two of my siblings graduated there, and my dad worked there for 30-some years. Taking a full load of Summer classes and also working manual labor part time… turned out to be very taxing. I was tired both physically and mentally every day, and by the end of the Summer, I was only willing to work an hour a day, and even THAT was tough. I got 3 A’s that term… and one C+. The first grade below an A- that I had gotten at OSU (I had been taking classes online since Winter 2015). It wouldn’t have been so bad, except I had shown the instructor my work and asked her a lot of questions about it, and she told me that it looked good to her. There were only 3 assignments in the entire class, and we didn’t get grades for the first assignment until more than halfway through the class. My strategy is normally to figure out what the teacher’s expectations are with the first few assignments, and then adjust accordingly. I don’t feel like I was given the tools to get better than a C in this lady’s class, and certainly not after she told me my final assignment looked good, and then gave me the worst grade yet on it. So I was pissed. She received some negative feedback for her class.

For a brief period, between August and September, I also started practicing with the local rugby team that two of my friends are members of. I paid my dues, bought a ball, mouth guards, cleats, the whole shebang. I didn’t exactly want to do it, though, to be truthful. I mean, I wanted to, but I didn’t want to. I would enjoy aspects of the practice, like running around a park with a bunch of other guys and gals who were all friendly. Plus, I’d never played a team sport before, so it was exciting to say that I had. The time factor, getting tired, and being crap because I was a beginner, however, were aspects I didn’t like. I lasted a month of practices (missing a few here and there) and played one game. It was raining, we didn’t have enough players, and I had to play the entire game. There are no time outs except for halftime, and I was already pretty fat by that point, so even though I wasn’t really going at full speed, I got super tired within like 15 minutes of play. This may be because I was involved in every scrum that happened, and that put a lot of demand on my body, helping one group of men push against another group of men. When it was over, I didn’t move for like a half hour. I inevitably decided that I had enjoyed it, but then Fall term came… (There was also a coast trip and a camping trip in there, but yeah).

Initially for Fall term, it had been my intention to sub with the school district in between whatever classes I had. This plan changed when I signed up for 5 classes, and a total of 20 credits. My advisor had told me that I would be able to graduate by the Fall of 2017 if I took 5 classes every term. When I met with her again in the Fall, however, she realized that this wasn’t exactly plausible. I’ve conferred with my other two counselors (I have one for Education, Liberal Arts, and Political Science), and decided to take a smaller load here on out. However, the 20 credits weren’t the only challenges I took on; I also got a job with the school newspaper, something I’d always wanted to do. Also, I volunteered to talk to a high school class every other Friday about college, over Skype. I am a crazy person.

I really enjoyed writing for the paper; I love writing, and I enjoyed my coworkers. However, as the term wore on… I was taking 20 credits. I wasn’t studying as much as I should’ve been, because I was spending a lot of time and effort on my news stories. It didn’t help that I was only making $10 a story, which wouldn’t even cover gas. Eventually, I came to the realization that I was probably going to get more C’s, like the one I suffered this Summer, if I kept working there. So regretfully, I quit. I kept doing the volunteer thing, however. Regardless, at first, I was super pleased with all the extra time not working on news stories gave me. And then I realized that I still needed to devote several hours a day to my studies if I was to get the grades I wanted. In the end, my efforts got me 2 A’s and 3 A-‘s. Overall, I rather liked this term; my classes were all interesting, and I reconnected with on my teachers from High School. He was exactly like I remembered him, haha; he has always been high energy, with a lot to say, and a sense of humor to deliver it with. He is a lot of fun.

So, for December… I haven’t done much. The week after finals, I was sick all week, but the week before Christmas, I don’t feel like I did much of anything. I suppose I worked on my last blog, and I did some music. I also turned 32. So old. This past week, I stayed with my brother in Beaverton, while his family visited his in laws in Arizona. We observed that we hadn’t really been in contact all Fall, because I had my crazy term. At one point, we were gonna be a band, and practiced several times. Also, I used to call him every Saturday when I was doing my laundry, back in Arkansas. I also used to go to church every Saturday, in Arkansas, and I was part of a Bible Group with some really nice people. It seems like I’ve gotten a lot lazier since I’ve been back, and not just with exercise… My motivation is drained, and I stay up all night, when I used to get up at 5:15 every day. I attempted for a short period at the start of this break to find a job and applied at several places, but then I got sick, and I kinda just let it slide. I need more money than the GI Bill will give me to exist though. Lotsa bills in life. Still car payments to be made, still vet visits, still insurance, new tires needed soon, etc. What am I doing?

My book that I wrote last year is in the process of being edited, however, so I am happy about that. There’s like one fifth of the book yet to be edited at this point. And then… I will ask a friend, who is a better artist than me, to do some cover art for me. And then… I will try to find some book review blogs to submit it to. And then… I will announce a release date. We’ll see how that goes.

So that was my 2016. The first four and a half months seem like a different year to me altogether than the final seven and a half; I was in a different world, then. I was working a job I hated, far away from the majority of the people I loved. I was financially secure, but I don’t think my sanity would’ve lasted much longer there. In spite of all the uncertainty and stress I’ve experienced since being back, I really am much happier to be home. It is some to do with the familiar scenery, but it is mostly because of the old support system I had when I lived here before has been reestablished. I love my family and friends, so much. They are all very good to me; often times much more than I deserve. God has blessed me with their presence in my life, and I am forever thankful for that.

So I gotta say, I liked 2016 quite a bit. It was much better to me than the previous two years had been, at the very least. I got to go home, I got to pursue my educational goals, and I did a few things I had always wanted to do (regardless of how long I actually spent doing those things). I know the election of a certain billionaire blowhard to the White House has gotten a lot of people down, but consider this: the alternative was no better. She just has the capacity to hide her sins better. That’s not saying much, and a lot of people now see her and her husband for what they really are, even though the establishment in her party is determined to learn nothing from this defeat…

US politics are fucked.  The US government is evil, or at the very least corrupt. Same goes for our media. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, either. If your only defense is that the other side did it too, that’s no defense at all. One thing you can count on, though: there are a lot of people who are tired of the bullshit. Say what you want about my generation, but we have a good bullshit radar, and we don’t like it. We will always question why, as much as it pisses you off; we aren’t going to mindlessly throw ourselves on a live grenade for you. In the coming decades, you will be gone or in nursing homes, and we will be in charge. It will be a different world than the one we live in now.

That world isn’t coming in 2017. Still, everyone needs to stay awake. Don’t stop questioning the answers. Don’t start accepting the bullshit. Keep fighting for the truth.

The DEFINITIVE Top Ten Albums List of 2016

So it’s December again. 2017 is right around the corner. Another year come and gone. With it brought—surprisingly, I know—a year’s worth of music. Even though the year isn’t quite over yet, now is the time that I make my top 10 albums of the year list. Nothin’ amazing is gonna come out for the rest of this month, right? If it does… well, I’ll probably be like, “Aww man, I wish that’d come out a few weeks earlier…” Regardless, the following are my top 10 albums of 2016. You might read many other top 10 albums of 2016 lists, but this one is the only one you will read that will be written by me. Undeniably, therefore, these are the albums released in 2016 considered the best by me, and are the top albums of the year, based on the highly scientific criteria that I liked them the best.

Something wrong, Todd?

Maybe you should run some water over ‘em. Anyway, here we go…

TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2016

  1. Face to Face: Protection

I had some difficulty with this one; it was a really close call between this and Useless I.D.’s “State is Burning.” In the end, I gave “Protection” the nod, based on a very important piece of criteria; I listened to this album more, and this album is more uniquely Face to Face than “State is Burning” is uniquely Useless I.D. When you listen to “Protection,” you hear Trever Keith’s vocals, and you’re all like, “this is Face to Face.” If you are me, that is. I could sit here and pretend that I know much more about this band, but my knowledge of them goes as far as: they were one of the first bands on Fat Wreck Chords; they come from the desert somewhere in southern Cali; my eldest brother had a few of their albums and they sounded pretty cool; I have a split they did with the Dropkick Murphies back in the mid noughts. So really, I don’t know shit about them. I do recognize their lead vocalist’s voice, however. Also, this album is their quickest, most upbeat offering that I’ve heard, and it was recorded in the Blasting Room. Bill Stevenson is the guy. So yeah; I wasn’t inspired to buy their last offering, but I picked up this one, and I liked it a lot. Standout track: 14:59.

  1. kriegsmammut: polybius

So this dude’s album was put out by the record label “Pterodactyl Squad,” a British label that puts out chiptune music. I think I read back when this album came out that this dude used Atari sound effects and loops to make this album, hence why it is considered chiptune. There are points on this album when it sounds more like experimental or noise music, however… It gets pretty abstract and weird. That’s why I like it, though. I find myself more and more liking stuff that pushes the boundaries of what is considered “music.” Also, I like to piss my friends off with stuff like this, sometimes. There’s a 9 minute track on here called “monster resurrector” that  I really like, but it’s too long, so… standout track: defiance

  1. Pup: The Dream is Over

When I picked up this album, I think I was thinking that these guys were the band “PEARS” that the scene has been giving some attention to as of late. When I last heard anything by “PEARS,” I was like, “eh, this is pretty good, but… I’m not super inspired to listen to anymore or buy it.” So when I got this album, I was surprised by how fun and upbeat this was. Right away, these guys drew me in with their opening lyrics: “If this tour doesn’t kill you, then I will. I hate your guts, and it makes me ill,” etc. There’s singing, there’s shouted lyrics, and there’s some unusual, changed-up rhythm—almost like math rock—thrown in, too. There are a few slower tracks that I skip sometimes, but overall, I really like this album. Think I might have to check out their first album, too. Standout track: Asleep in the Heat 

  1. Nerf Herder: Rockingham

Ah, Nerf Herder. It had been quite a while since they came out with their last album, I believe; like, 10+ years? Their first album is a classic, regardless, makes me feel super nostalgic for like 1996 or whenever. …20 year ago, holy shit. They also did the theme song for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You might recognize the name “Perry Grip,” as he’s been doing stuff on youtube in the interim, “Dramatic Chipmunk,” “Young Girl Talking About Herself,” etc. Anyway, this album is gold. Some goofy, funny shit, as per usual. Stephen Hawking even shows up at one point! They got a song about cons, a song about Star Wars, a song about Ghostbusters, a song about Doctor Who, a few songs about people I’ve never heard of, but most importantly… Standout track: Portland

  1. Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid

Not to be confused with the mainstream sellout a$ap rocky who basically stole his name (I don’t really know anything about that other guy, but I was annoyed when some coworkers knew who he was but didn’t know AESOP ROCK). Ian Matthias Bavitz has been doin’ this for quite a while longer than that poseur; since like the mid 90s, in fact. The first thing I heard from Bavitz was his track “None Shall Pass” off the 2007 album of the same name, and his vocals were hypnotizing. Half a decade later, I picked up the first release of his collab with Kimya Dawson, “the Uncluded,” which had a very unique blend of folk and rap. “The Impossible Kid” is “just” hip-hop, but it’s some pretty awesome hip-hop; the tracks are really interesting and unique-sounding, and once again, Aesop’s got a hypnotizing way with his vox. A lot of it doesn’t follow a conventional rhythm, so that’s pretty cool. I don’t listen to much rap, but what I do listen to tends to stand out in some way to me. I don’t like listening to the same ol’ shit, not even with punk music. Aesop Rock definitely isn’t the same ol’ shit. Standout track: Lotta Years

  1. Richmond Fontaine: You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing to Go Back To

Allegedly (according to my brother… also Wikipedia), this is to be Willy Vlautin and co.’s final project together (maybe Vlautin’s gonna go write some more critically-acclaimed novels? Only one I’ve read is Lean on Pete, and it was pretty awesome). They’ve been around for 20+ years, so it’s kinda understandable that they feel it time to move on, now. If ya don’t know, Richmond Fontaine is an alt country act. Their latest offering follows 2011’s “The High Country,” which was a concept album with spoken word tracks interspersed throughout. This one is more straightforward music, but as with most of their past material, most songs tell a story, anyway. The second track is about a guy going back to his home town, to find that there’s nothing to go back to (hence the title of the album), another one’s about a guy who swindled the narrator of some horses, but when he meets him again, he’s so pathetic and lost that he can’t really be mad at him anymore, and so on (a lot of Vlautin’s characters are often of questionable character, or at least put in questionable situations).  If you’ve never heard of them, but like songs that tell a story, you should check ‘em out. Standout Track: Three Brothers Roll Into Town

  1. Jimmy Eat World: Integrity Blues

Y’know, I think Jimmy Eat World have been consistently putting out an album every 3 years ever since 2001, when “Bleed American” came out (before that, their first three albums came out within like 2 or 3 years of each other). Some people say this is their best album since 2001. I disagree, because I really liked “Futures,” which came out in 2004. However, this is their best album since Futures, by far. A lot less filler than some of the albums between then and now, I can’t think of a single track off the album that I get bored of or don’t really care for. It’s a bit of a mix of everything from their past 3 albums that worked for me, with some upbeat, poppy songs, some slower, mellow songs, and a track that goes from rather synthy to ending with a super sludgy, heavy breakdown at the end. Both their singles are solid, though I prefer “Sure and Certain” to “Get Right.” That said: Stand out track: You With Me

  1. Descendents: Hypercaffium Spazzinate

These guys are the godfathers of pop-punk; they’ve been doing their thing since 1978 (well, Bill Stevenson has, but Milo Aukerman joined in 80, and Karl Alvarez and Stephen Egerton joined in ’86, so that line up’s been around for 30 years). It’s been 12 years since their last album; Milo has a habit of disappearing into the academia for long periods of time for some silly reason. In the interim, Stevenson and crew were doing “ALL,” “the Descendents” with a different singer, but ALL hasn’t had an album since 2000, and it never got the same attention that the Descendents got (which I think is a shame; I think I tend to like ALL songs better than Descendents songs, even though I think Milo is also the guy, in addition to Bill, as are Karl and Stephen). I think it’s telling that ALL probably won’t do another album, because there are quite a few tracks on here that sound like they would’ve been ALL tracks. There’s some more serious subject matter here that Descendents didn’t used to do, and I really dig it. At the same time, everything’s upbeat and fun; the band sounds like they’ve always sounded like, and they sound like… the Descendents. No one does it quite like them (well, aside from ALL). Standout track: Victim of Me

  1. Avett Brothers: True Sadness

Quick breakdown, the Avett Brothers are a folk rock/alt country band from North Carolina, consisting of brothers Scott and Seth Avett, along with a couple other dudes (and maybe now a chick?) These guys were starting to worry me, because I was not all that into their last offering, “Magpie and the Dandelion.” It had a lot of slow, long, mellow, and boring tracks. I can do a track like that here and there, but it was literally almost the entire album; I think there were two upbeat, energetic songs on the entire thing. With “True Sadness,” they’ve vindicated themselves. The album starts out with the super upbeat, catchy, happy “Ain’t No Man,” followed by a couple slower songs, but then picks up again after that. There are one or two more slower songs, but they’re evenly spaced and good songs. The most upbeat track after “Ain’t No Man” is probably “Victims of Life” (suppose that title doesn’t sound too upbeat, though), but the whole album reminds me why I like this band so much. The brothers are talented singers, the band is a talented group of musicians, and quite a few of the songs really speak to me (I must confess that I love when they sing about drinking too, and there’s at least two songs in which they do this). So yeah; this is comparable to 2009’s “I and Love and You,” and reminds me of why I like them so much. Standout Track: Smithsonian

  1. Jeff Rosenstock: Worry

“Jeff Rosenstock” is a name of a person who has been in a few ska, punk, alternative, etc. bands spanning some 20 years; he’s founded a couple record labels, is friends with Mike Park, and he opens his mouth REALLY wide when he shouts his lyrics (just watch him do it). Back in the day, I discovered his old ska band “The Arrogant Sons of Bitches” because someone on AlbinoBlacksheep.com  made a flash video of their song “Go Ska!”. I remember people saying “this isn’t what they’re usually like,” and I was like, “why does that matter? Is this bad? I like it.” I owned their whole album at one point, but now I only have 3 of their tracks. I didn’t really pay attention to “Bomb the Music Industry!” for whatever reason, but now I wish I had, because it seems they were pretty awesome. I rediscovered Rosenstock when he followed my Tumblr account (and I followed his, and he unfollowed mine, the dick). His album last year, “We Cool?” was a lot of fun too, and had the awesome song “Hey Allison!” on it. This year’s offering is even more awesome. Some people compare it to the Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” because there’s a bunch of short songs in the second half that lead into each other. In a recent interview, Rosenstock said he never listened to the Beatles. Anyway, it’s a punk album, it’s also got keyboards and a xylophone I think, and it’s pretty sweet. Based on my criteria for writing my list, it is the best album that has come out this year. Standout track: Wave Goodnight to Me

2016 HONORABLE MENTIONS

Mac Lethal: Congratulations; The Dillinger Escape Plan: Dissociation; Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost; MC Chris: is Dreaming; Delerium: Mythologie; TMBG: Phone Power; Useless I.D.: State is Burning; Switchfoot: Where the Light Shines Through

TOP 5 EPs OF 2016

5.King Punch: Burger on the Orient Express. This is like a British ska band or something. A lot of their stuff might be closer to rock with horns, but they’re pretty awesome; really catchy music.

4.Corey Valentine: The Glow EP. Some kinda British synth pop act. Very catchy, very poppy. All the poppiness, in fact.

3.Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus: About Time. This is some indie pop punk dude. He put this record out on Community Records, a label you should check out. Someone said something about him going to shows he isn’t featured in and playing outside as loud as he can with an accoustic guitar. That sounds awesome.

2.Boy Meets Robot: The Robots Will Kill Us All. I’m not sure if this is a guy or a band. Either way, this is a really fun chiptune rock EP. Very catchy, and also funny, a la Jonathan Coulton.

1.Jontron and the Gregory Brothers: Love is Like Drugs. Jontron did a video with the guys who do the “Songify This” thing. It’s very catchy, poppy, and funny. Jontron is the guy.  You can tell he puts a lot of work into whatever he does. People say he’s really nice, too. He seems like it.

BEST COVER ALBUM OF 2016 (THE ONLY ONE TOM LISTENED TO):

Ninja Sex Party + TWRP: Under the Covers. I enjoy Danny Sexbang and Ninja Brian. Also, the TWRP guys are pretty cool. They like to do some kinda funk/synth/rock type of music. This album introduced me to Rush’s “Subdivisions,” and it also has the best cover of Boingo’s “We Close Our Eyes,” (though unfortunately, that’s not really saying much… most covers of that song are shit. Sorry to say it, RBF.)

That’s pretty much it. I haven’t listened to everything there is to listen to this year, but I don’t think anything else would’ve interested me as much as the stuff I listed above. I have a system for buying new albums; if the sample I’m listening to doesn’t immediately interest me, I move on. I can be highly temperamental and moody, too, so there’s probably at least a few albums I’ll discover a few years from now and be all like, “…this is really good. I should’ve listened to this the year it came out.” At the same time, I don’t seem to like a lot of things other people like. *shrug* Not really a hipster; just a weirdo.