The story so far:
In the beginning Skiba got his Canon SX20IS back (a camera which has historically taken some very interesting photos.)
This has made a lot of his friends very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
"why did that kid have his pants off?"
midnight tattoo parlor.
this just in: local internet sensation drinks tea, soup.
"mona lisa. this is some museum quality stuff."
"guys I think I put DIIV on last night"
"yeah, here’s proof actually."
not pictured: steak and eggs, kids on acid on bikes, and the most exploded beer this side of the Mississippi.
If I were asked to point to the date I first developed my crippling sense of FOMO I would probably point to May 16, 2009: the date I saw twee indie band Tally Hall and the first concert I ever attended.
Ever since I’ve been on the pursuit to see every band whose music I’ve enjoyed, for many reasons. Personal enjoyment first and foremost, but other things too: meeting great new people, seeing new places, and of course financially supporting the music I like (and undoing years and 63+ gigabytes of piracy “debt.”) My wallet and my ears hate me for it, but I’ve seen some pretty interesting things in that time as a result of my musical obsessions. I’d owe a lot of my current friends to a shared interest, and participation in, music.
However, this wouldn’t be another post on my blog if it didn’t include the geeky element. Over the past 5 years since that first show (well, almost, anyway) I’ve been collecting and recording all the shows I’ve seen at setlist.fm. The purpose of the site is to catalog each and every concert’s setlist, unsurprisingly enough. But logging your own personal journey also reveals some pretty interesting data about yourself and your concert habits. At the risk of sounding like a shill I’d say take out the notebook you use for this purpose already and just put into the sweet, sweet cloud. For data purposes, of course.
So let’s look at the data, shall we? (A quick note: I define a “show” as seeing an individual band. You might argue my numbers are inflated by the number of festivals I attend each year but it hasn’t changed the fact that I’ve seen exactly 164 shows hit the stage.)
Years and Concerts
I guess the thing that inspired this post the most was last year- 60 bands in all, making up over a third of the shows I’ve ever seen. It was a prodigious, wallet crushing year for sure- and it was also the only year I skipped Lollapalooza. If I hadn’t this would surely be more like 80+, which is insane.
2009 was my first year and I still didn’t really have the resources I have now to a) afford shows or b) find out about them, so that’s why it makes up a shocking 2% of this graph. It hardly counts at all. 2010 is when I started to earn my wings and 2011 was when all the bands I like started to tour. At that time I was also in the dead center of high school, so my music taste was growing a bit out of control. I liked anything and I would see it live if I could afford it. That makes it drastically different than 2012 with a pitiful 25 shows in total, making it only 15% of the shows I’ve seen, the second lowest. I was broke for a lot of this year. I also got pretty sick during Pitchfork and only saw a few bands, so Lolla makes a huge chunk of that.
Concerts and Places
For some reason setlist.fm refuses to tabulate festival grounds as actual venues. I guess it depends on your definition of a venue, but for me that’s “a place where you play some music” and not a brick and mortar location. So feel free to appreciate the blood and tears that went into manually counting up the places I’ve seen festivals, as well.
I’ve been to about half the fifty states but seen concerts in only four of them. This needs to be fixed, of course: I have aspirations to visit many famous venues, including Worthy Farm and Red Rocks. How have I not been to Red Rocks? I’ve been to Colorado four times in the past two years. I blame being busy.
A fun statistic that doesn’t deserve a pie: I’ve seen exactly 70% of the bands here outdoors as opposed to inside. Some would say that’s a bad thing, but I also like the sun. So there’s that.
Other Fun Facts:
- I dislike stadium shows, so even though I’ve been to almost every small and medium sized “official” venue in Chicago I haven’t seen any shows at Rosemont or Allstate or any of the other major arenas here besides United Center.
- The band I’ve seen the most times is tied: between Fucked Up and local darlings Twin Peaks, with four shows. Twin Peaks will clinch the record in April, however, for the fifth show on April Fools.
- Interestingly, however, the song I’ve seen the most times, four, that isn’t by Fucked Up is Phoenix, with “Entertainment”. I’ve only seen them twice but they play it twice per show, so they got an odd little mention at the top of the list.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my shoddy graphs. I’m getting a bit shaky from concert withdrawal (since Halloween!) so I’m going to go self medicate with some fresh Italian pasta. Until then, some sage advice: EARPLUGS! FOR REAL. They don’t make you a square, they make you not deaf. Trust me on this one.
P.S. You can creep on my stats and watch as this post gets so outdated at this link.
Hi folks. I don’t know where you are as you’re reading this, but it’s cold out here. Come, sit with me by this metaphorical fireside. Now, I’m an All-American male. I enjoy chopping down trees, smoking cigars, and the company of a variety of interesting people. So a few dozen negative degrees of windchill doesn’t faze me. But sometimes, you have to take off your scarf and ushanka, sit down by some comforting, sparking wood, and hide in the nooks and crannies of the internet. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
So take your NyQuil shots and grab your probably ill-advised whiskey chaser, because we’re diving straight into “some interesting things you could read about, Vol. 2.”
- How one guy lost his $50,000 Twitter username.
I’m usually loathe to link to articles that are setting the blawg-o-sphere on fire, as it were, but I think the implications of this one are particularly interesting. We live in a world where “value” is this real arbitrary and fickle notion, and the idea that a lack of characters in a name has value must be jarring to some. Alas, a name like @n is a dangerous commodity: desired by all, had by few. Another great example of this is the relatively hot commodity of domain names: most of the four character or less domains got snapped up over two decades ago, in the early 90s. A particularly seedy corner of eBay will try to sell them to you, for a price. I take a particularly foolish pride in the fact that I have a five-character Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/skiba
- Why is it that stores like Starbucks can be mere blocks from each other?
On this week’s “article about game theory”, the often irrationally irritating notion of stores clustering together like a pack of voles. You see this everywhere, especially in cities. When I was in high school, I would occasionally make treks to downtown Chicago with my friends, and one of my favorite games was “CVS slugbug”, essentially: for every CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens you saw from the CTA before the other person, give um a good shoulder punch. Perhaps the most interesting example I’ve seen of this was in Colorado Springs, where I saw two Shell gas stations literally 500 meters from each other. Each one was on the different side of a divided city street. We are truly a lazy society, but it’s fine I guess.
- Internet Archive’s semi-complete collection of TV from 9/11/2001.
This is one of those internet finds so astounding you can’t help but let it consume you for a few solid hours. I have no idea how they did it, but Internet Archive compiled almost all of the major network’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I was able to go and watch the 20 minutes of TV I saw when I woke up that morning as a 4th grader(?) which was both weird and awe-inspiring. Start by clicking the “Tuesday September 11th” tab at the top of the page and go from there.
- The machine that can pretty much kill you.
I forgot how I stumbled upon this one, but the cold, technical nature of the description of this radiation therapy machine and the suffering it brought is the best kind of scary.
That’s all for this week, folks. Stay warm, stay gold, and stay frosty. In the metaphorical sense, of course.
My home was the recent subject of a MTV Cribs short. By recently, I mean “like 6 months ago”, and by “MTV Cribs” I mean almost certainly not actually MTV Cribs.
If you close your eyes it’ll almost be like you’re there! Except you’ll be missing what my apartment looks like.
Anonymous asked: Post more, so that I will be able to stare at your writing for hours.
Believe me, I’m trying.
What do you picture in your head when you hear the word stoner? Go on, think about it. I bet you think about drug rugs, eating cheetos, and laughing about absolutely nothing at all. You’re right about those things, in some cases. I bet the thing you don’t picture is just a dude getting lost in Wikipedia and the internet at large for entire evenings.
(Un)fortunately that dude is me. I relish in telling people about it because it’s just so… unexciting, really. I’m not a social smoker by any means. I get very self conscious and I don’t want to embarrass myself around people by saying stupid things. If you know me personally you already know that I say a lot of silly and obscure things, and it doesn’t really let up when I’ve smoked. So instead of inviting people over and causing shenanigans, oftentimes I just sink back into my chair… and read things on the internet.
So hopefully that’s what this series will be about: directing you to some interesting corners of the internet. My thinking is, if I found these things totally engrossing, why wouldn’t you?
So, on today’s “Some interesting things you could read about” (not super pithy and to the point is it?):
- Have you ever heard about the concept of the “Dollar Auction?”
One of the things I find intriguing about human psychology is just how easily exploited and tricked we can be, and “addiction” is one of those extreme exploits. If you like reading about psychology and game theory you’ll dig this article. Avoid the rest of the website though, it’s a bunch of crazy, racist, anti-Semite shit (I warned you.)
- This is my favorite Wikipedia article ever. (I share it at parties.)
- A collection of the last words of airplane pilots.
The thing that I found most terrifying about this is how little time you have to contemplate your impending doom, because oftentimes the things that kill you in life happen pretty much instantly. So your last words are often not quite profound, really. Listen to the audio recordings if you want to ruin your night.
- Ruminations on how Japanese convenience stores are amazing.
Yet another thing we have to steal from the Japanese: actually delicious fresh food in more places. When I’m driving across the country I’d be much happier if I could find more fresh food in the flyover states.
Extra fun fact: apparently the Japanese count all the money in their banks every night, all night (???)
- What it’s like to trip acid and take your class on a field trip.
I’m all for taking acid, but not so much taking acid and leading a bunch of asshole teenagers on a field trip. This guy has a really lucid writing style that’s great to read, as well. See, kids, drugs ARE good. Sometimes.
That’s all for now folks, but no worries. I have so much more in my coffers.
Bonus side rant:
I’m not super into people who say “I don’t read” (because it’s false for obvious reasons and it’s not really an interesting way to describe yourself) but I’m even less into people who say “fuck people who don’t read.” Not everyone has time to sit down and read books. It takes a long damn time! Admit it, you have to dedicate some serious time to sitting down and reading House of Leaves or Lolita or In Cold Blood or whatever. So I don’t begrudge people who don’t read books. Some people have more personally satisfying things to do, like fantasy football, or macrame. It’s whatever.
That header image of a cat being all “fuck the police” is totally unrelated to any of this. Just thought you’d like to know. Probably going to amuse you with random saved images of mine in these posts.
Skiba yes please. Sam’s back so we can all party. Text me.
You’re in luck, I can think of any excuse to party.
2013 was an odd year. it started out rough but it just got better and better. so I present to you, a year in review:
the inspiration to start my year and change it, too: watched old friends follow new dreams.
leaving town started the changes. dylan and I conquered the icy wastes of Seattle, and we ate everything we could find. arguably the most delicious trip this year.
I infiltrated a fraternity without much success. a low point.
sort of met Jon Benjamin. still no idea where his van is.
but of course it was off to california, to chase even more celebrity dreams. just kidding, went to coachella.
"how was coachella?" it was coachella.
a drunken ticket purchase reconnects me to some old friends I’ll be seeing a lot of later on. this midnight show pretty much drastically redirected my year.
ended up in the back of a truck for the second time, with new-ish friends whom I’ll see mostly in the light of a bonfire.
met the person who I can say confidently is the the brightest inspiration in my life. always wish I could do more for her.
things got weird around this point.
an old friend returns, just in time.
said old friend guides me along another trip to Iowa City: much more fruitful.
and old faces pop back into my life everywhere.
iowa brought us plenty,
and I got old.
but I was reminded of the people I care about most.
as it will, though, the open road calls again.
sure, colorado took my arm…
but we took it’s hooters photo.
being a carney (yes, literally) for half a day was overrated.
and the one thing that always brings me back is the sense of adventure here.
sure, I can find that at home, too…
but sometimes you just have to escape to Canada and buy yourself a gimlet.
even coming back I’d find myself surrounded by wonderful new people.
and a few explosions never hurt anyone.
no one can say I didn’t try to be a good(ish) friend, either.
but that can bring you to strange places.
some are so strange that they change your life forever.
nothing to do but to go south, to Georgia, with the three amigos:
and then party down as soon as you get back.
of course, I couldn’t be satisfied by just my own college. first, champaign,
back again just to have the bartenders give me booze.
eat off the sadness and live sexual tension with burritos.
yet even as low as I’ve gotten… I still got pretty high. (lawl?)
yet I knew I couldn’t end the year as I always have, so I escape to Colorado a final time.
but where do you go from there?
bonus photo for the new year:
have a good one kids. and some good tacos.
a touching moment.
lots of red things layin’ around
Over the years, thisismyblogat has had many formats, all of them wiped clean: a Tumblr GIF-dump, personal non-fiction writing, and a photoblog. All of those kinds of blogs were personally dissatisfying to me, and I ended up deleting all of their contents at various times. This would be after a brief spurt of posting followed by an infinite sense of disappointment thereafter.
As it turns out, making content is hard, but only if you don’t know what you actually want to make. In a world where a personal website (or the closest personal analogue to it, the modern “blog”) is as easy to acquire as putting in your email address and making an account, there are a lot of people with blogs out there that really don’t need them. I’m not against personal expression, but if there’s one thing Tumblr is known for, it isn’t necessarily “original content.” Sure, someone made that Dr. Who GIF that got 15,343 reblogs, but those other 15,342 people’s contribution was, well, just a reblog.
So, in an attempt to actually kick the creative part of my ass into gear for this year, I’ve decided to outline what I want thisismyblogat at to be— by defining, very specifically, what it is not (let me say that if your blog is one of these I have nothing against it: it’s just not the sort that works for me.) So let’s begin:
What This Blog Isn’t:
- A “tumblr” blog.
One of the things inherently wrong with the classic “tumblr” style of posting is that it’s bereft of original content creation. For a long time I was just reblogging Peep Show GIFs and images of bands that I liked, and tweaking my super sweet theme. But that sort of personal expression can only go so far: expression through pop culture ephemera only really grazes a person’s creative inspirations on a surface level. And most people like the same things, at least in certain “young white American” circles, so it quickly becomes a deafening echo chamber of the same fifty or so cultural touchstones.
If I post a random pop culture GIF or something of the sort, I want it to have a meaning just beyond “hey, look at this band I like! Aren’t I cool for liking this band?” As one particularly infamous quote from 500 Days of Summer goes, “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.”
- A photo blog.
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but I could write a thousand essays on why some teenage girl with a Polaroid camera’s photo blog is the least interesting thing in the universe. Let’s face it: day to day, truly beautiful things are hard to capture in a lens. Your grandmother’s white picket fence is not interesting in and of itself just because you apply a sepia tone to it. No, a good picture always has a story: the act of pointing a DSLR at something and hitting a button isn’t quite enough.
One look at the Pulitzer Prizes for Feature Photography reveals why this is so: the winning photographs (or photograph series) are steeped in a rich context that informs the works. You won’t find any tastefully shot flowers there, for the most part.
So, if I were to post a picture, I think a story should go with it. There are those rare shots that demand little explanation, but most do: especially when it’s a view that could have been taken a billion times before, like the Eiffel Tower.
Also, I haven’t owned a legitimate camera in ages- I still regret selling my Canon to this day, because there’s something about having a big hunk of a camera that demands attention and careful usage. One of the most interesting years of my life so far was carefully documented with (literally) hundreds of photos. They’re not all good photos per say, but they do have an interesting story, so I think that’s worth something.
- A fiction/non-fiction writing dump.
I’ll admit that this to be more of a personal hang up than anything else. As it turns out, creative work is real hard, and if you’re the type of person who takes it at all seriously, you’re probably constantly plagued by self-doubt and loathing. After all, every idea starts off great in our head, the imagery is wild and descriptive, but once it hits paper we start spilling things over the sides and losing the creative details that will really tie up a work. And inexperience shows; you can fear looking like a beginner, but it will leave you stuck in that beginner stage forever.
Fiction, of course, has the danger of being ridiculous, or poorly conceptualized. But I would argue non-fiction is even harder. I’ve hosted a few of my own personal stories on this site, but I’ve mostly locked them up because I feel like I couldn’t establish an important connection with the reader. Sure, this story is important to me and my personal canon, but what do you care about the time I got really drunk and met the girl of my dreams?
Context and establishing a timeline are pretty important in that regard. A “bigger message” that makes the story not about “how I was happy one time” but “how you can use the lessons I learned and apply them to your life.” Writing is nothing without a greater, self-affirming purpose, I’d argue; that’s why Harry Potter fan fiction and the like seems deeply flawed to most people. It has no literary goal beyond appeasing the weird whims of one particular fanboy.
Some interesting things have happened to me, and more are coming I’m sure, but I don’t think I’ll bore you with them unless I think they can help others understand the world or themselves in some deeper way. Otherwise it’s just wanky and self-important.
- A diary.
Perhaps the easiest way of “expressing oneself”, a public diary is often an exercise in tedium. Unless you’re the most interesting person in the universe, most people often don’t care about what you thought or did one certain day. It might be useful personally to keep a private diary, but there’s no real benefit to sharing it with the world most times.
This sort of ties in with the non-fiction writing conceit I mentioned before: unless your personal story has some sort of deeper meaning it probably doesn’t benefit humanity by being widely availible. Future historians might hate me for saying that, but it makes sense to me. In a world where we live in a glut of mostly substandard content (like 99% of tumblr) I think it’s noble to try to be aware of one’s output and focus on quality over quantity. Aggressive self editing is important. Nobody will care if you put out 1,000 crappy writings a day: they’ll come back for the single great one you wrote.
I admit this might be the one type of posting I stray into occasionally, but I don’t want it to be the focus of this blog. As I write this I’m in Colorado, but I don’t intend to write a by the minute account of what happened (if I end up writing anything); my hope is I can tie in some photos with some interesting stories and paint a richer tapestry than my usual style of writing might. I guess we’ll see— that’s what practice is for.
So, that’s what thisismyblogat is not— but as for what it actually is, that’ll be up to you and I to find out. For 2014, my goal of the year is to make this my most creative year ever— more output that I can show to others and be proud of. I’ll leave that to another post to explain, however.
Until then… have a good end of the year folks. Make your 2014 what you want it to be, and nothing less.