WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: MPH Noise Radio’s My Padawan Headbangs, the mini mosher episode.

As has become tradition, your monday mixtape is brought to you by #MyPadawanHeadbangs ’21 is volume 20 of MPH: Music Philanthropy and History in the Mosh Pit Hell of Metal Punk and Hardcore on Cygnus Radio.  Celebrate the music my own younglings headbang to as we manipulatd people’s heads this Friday 9 April at 22:00 USEDT (10pm nyc), from the Isle of Misfit toys, with the doormouse, dmf.

Tune into #MyPadawanHeadbangs as we explore the songs my younglings picked out with nasty new(er) numbers by Alice Cooper, Anti-flag, Mors Principium Est plus classic cranial crushers by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Kansas, Rise Against, Green Day, the Clash, the Offspring, the Loved Ones, My Chemical Romance, AFI, Underoath, Alexisonfire, Norma Jean, Killswitch Engage, Sill Remains, Dark Tranquility,  as well as rippin listener requests for Rush, H2O, Alesana, Soilwork and more as we take up the mini me mosh for the fifth year!

The entire set is essentially culled from our regular rotation here at home, but my older padawan helped pick out some of the exact songs that will appear on tonight’s show, so join us to explore what makes my padawan mosh in our work and how you can support the next generation of moshers with the work of Little Kids Rock with your own Friday night mosh.

MPH is making poseurs hip on your fav socials, so use @MPHnoise to follow along and bring you best moves for the Friday Night Mosh on Cygnus Radio @cygnusradio

The exact list looks like this

Alice Cooper “Social Debris” Detroit Stories (2021)

Iron Maiden “Wickerman” Brave New World
Judas Priest “Firepower” Firepower
Ozzy “No More Tears” NMT
Kansas “Cary On My Wayward Son” Leftoverature
Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” III
Rush “Bastille Day” Caress of Steel 

Antiflag “Hate Conquors All ” 2020 Vision (2020) 
Rise Against “Make It Stop” Endgame
Green Day “American Idiot” AI
the Clash “White Riot” TC
the Offspring “The Kids Aren’t Alright” 
the Loved Ones “Breathe In” Keep Your Heart
H2O “One Life One Chance” FTTW

My Chemical Romance “Welcome to Black Parade” BP
AFI “The Leaving Song, pt II” Sing the Sorrow
Underoath “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” the Illusion of Safety
Alexisonfire “Pulminary Archery” AOF
Norma Jean “Blueprints for Future Homes” Redeemer
Alesana “the Thespian” Annabel I: the Emptiness

Killswitch Engage “Rose of Sharon” the End of Heartache
Still Remains “Recovery” If Love Were Born to Die
Dark Tranquility “Monochromatic Stains” Damage Done
Soilwork “Death Resonance” DREP 
Mors Principium Est “Rebirth” Seven (2020)

Faith No More “Falling to Pieces” the Real Thing 

You might catch some recurring themes within the songs that made the list including a healthy dose of woah, woah, woahs, gang vocals, call-and-response, fast moshable parts and big grooves to dance to.  It’s a lot of videos we watch that they enjoy the imagery as much as the music itself which is why this show might feel a little more ‘singles’ oriented than normal.

Many of these songs also inspired some very adult conversations with the toddlers, covering topics in society and politics like equal rights, suicide, bullying, propaganda, war as well as death and the loss of my father/their grandfather (“Rose of Sharon” has been a great song to bond with). It’s my opinion that it’s never too early to begin introducing those topics, but it’s especially nice that the context of these songs makes the conversations easier to have.

What I most enjoyed was piecing together than different aspects of the padawan’s listening and figuring out how to help them tell their musical story. The punk set was especially fun, as I mentioned during the show break, it wasn’t my intention to create a couple of little anarchists but they certainly seem to have a natural affinity for those songs especially.

What I ate

We purchased a kit at the farmers market to grow mushrooms the other week. I though it would be fun for the padawan. I don’t know what I expected it to be like. But I was taken aback by how nice of an experience it’s been. From opening the package to first harvest was just about a week I think. First couple of days waiting for the pins to appear and get caps felt like it took forever but once they capped the growth even from misting to misting throughout the day seemed pretty intense. I wish I would have tracked it better, but everyone seemed to enjoy misting together and taking pics to compared the different stages along the way. For the amount we harvested we might pay between 5-10$ in the store for, so this particular kit would pay for itself in 3-5 total similar harvests. and the ones in the store don’t come with any of the additional fun of growing them.

I heated a large frying pan with ample amounts of water and then added the mushrooms a bit at a time, first the strips I cut from the larger caps to allow them to get some good browning in the butter and then the whole caps of the smaller, more tender ones that were less cooked. Next I heavily beat some eggs with melted butter, salt and pepper so it was super airy and made an omelet out of them in the pan the mushrooms cooked in. Really tried to keep it simple and let the mushrooms stand out and boy did they stand out. It was divine.

We just started again so I’ll try to be more diligent documenting it overall and try to invent some fun new recipe to go with it.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Padawan Music Chronicles, parenting, personal musings, radio show, recipes, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Back to what Normal?

I am soooooooo tired of hearing people talk about wanting to get back to normal.

I don’t know what your normal was before the sar-cov-2 pandemic occurred but for as privileged of a life that I may have been perceived as leading the actuality of how things was nothing I want to necessarily return to.

Then again, it sometimes seems the people looking back on the pre-pandemic era with rose coloured nostalgia were probably saying back then they also longed for another inexistent era of so called American exceptionalism from the 1950s and 60s, which is nothing more than a racist dog whistle to the pre-Civil Rights movement apex of Jim Crow style oppression.

So, I can’t help but feel like the desire to go back is because these people feel threatened by the focus that was put on Black Lives Matter last summer, and the advancements that came for the transgender and disabled communities, and more which affect their ability to feel superior while fundamentally not actually impacting their day-to-day lives.

This isn’t a pizza pie folks. There’s not actually a finite amount of most things to go around and if someone gets more than you get less.

And, it’s not even just the fact that those marginalized groups were specifically oppressed and voiceless prior to the pandemic. There was a great deal of equality overall.

Wealth equality where the vast majority of accrued assets from the accumulation of stocks and bonds to the possession of real estate and more was amassed by the upper 1% at a value greater than the lower 50%.

That there was enormous wage equality as well, in a similar fashion where the upper 5% earn at a higher rate than the lower 50% when other factors are held equal, where men earn at a greater rate than women, and whites earn at a greater rate than non-whites, and suburbanites earn more than rural or urban dwellers, and so on.

And, an enormous debt gap as well, where the upper 1% hold almost no debt as part of a debt to wealth or debt to income ratio and barely an equal 1% of the total debt outstanding, while the bottom 50% hold something in the range of 80% of the total debt and a ratio with either wealth or income at several thousand times that of the 1%.

The enormous education gap, both in total education obtained and education available to even be obtained because a plethora of unequal circumstances allow for similarly apt individuals to experience drastically different educational outcomes that eventually allow for some apt individual to never attain income or accrue wealth while some inept individuals to inherit wealth and buy access to increased income.

An enormous gap in access to healthcare and for those have access in terms of the type of healthcare outcomes they have access to because healthcare is linked not to need or even desire to be healthy but to wealth or income as the driving force of if someone might live, or die.

This isn’t about socialism as how most capitalists thing about it being taking from the have and merely redistributing it to the have nots.

This is about systemic ideals which generate outcomes that inherently favor the haves while suppressing the have nots which predate modern western society, engrained in the inherited aspects of modern law, politics, religion and social strata from a feudal past.

Don’t believe me? Go read Legal Language by Peter Meijes Tiersma of Loyola and look at the way that how words, in general, were used throughout history and you’ll begin to understand the systemic way that words, in this case in Western Culture, were used to lift some while oppressing others. While the book focuses on the progression of Common Law in the courts, in parallel its affects were felt in the developing Codal or Statutory Law systems developing through the use of Legislatures as well. And, the embedded feudal caste system it was derived from easily overlay on every aspect of collonial North American history from stealing land from indigenous peoples, to creating and maintaining the the chattal slavery of sub Saharan Africans, to manipulating generations of indentured servitude of the Irish, Iberians, Asians, Mediterraneans and others, to the post-Constitutional experience of all marginalized people on the basis of religion (antisemitism, anti-Catholicism, Islamophobia, anti-apostasy and atheistic persecution, etc), gender (chauvinism, antifemism, sexism, mysogony, transphobobia, etc) in the the United States leading into the so called modern era.

But, unfortunately, that’s not how most xenophobic bigots think. I don’t want to blame it solely on Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, because there’s an underlying assumption to some degree is the lack of knowledge is not necessarily completely by choice.

Instead, I believe, to some degree that this is actually more of a maslow’s hierarchy of needs conundrum.

The reason why many xenophobic bigots think they way they do is because they are inherently oppressed at the basic needs level of the pyramid themselves. Sure, they may have better experiences for food, housing and safety comparative to other marginalized groups, they still perceive these basic needs as being fragile. Thus, that perception of fragility never allows them to perceive themselves as having their psycho-social needs met, thus allowing them to move up the pyramid and take a more broad look at the world around them. This gets to the heart of why it’s not just so-called poor whites are an issue, but middle and even some upper class peoples regardless of other demographics might still feel at odds because they aren’t secure in their financial strata and this unable to reach further into self-actualization because they themselves despite having more than others still perceive themselves as still struggling for basic needs relative to those immediately in their own sphere of existence.

This fear of struggling for basic needs by moving the basic needs goalposts from the idea of shelter to ideological definitions of shelter, or the perception of shelter based on those in which shelter can immediately be compared to, is what makes the maslow’s hierarchy of needs conundrum both possible and thus exploitable.

In this case, the reality of accomplishing maslov’s needs varies greatly based on perception. One individual could consider having access to a hostile or homeless shelter or tent community where there’s some predictability of day-to-day stability as having accomplished the lowest tier there are others who dwell in multi-room dwellings that are conjoined as multi-dwelling units on multi-year leases as being in that same place while there are others still who are paying decades long mortgages on some form of a so-called single family homes are also striving for that same belief their basic needs are being met. while one could argue the latter is much better off than the former, the reality is neither may be able to, in their current positions reach the next level of maslov’s need tiers.

Maslov never defined how one gets to those levels on the pyramid, only that they need to have them fulfilled to get to the next. Thus, I won’t defend it, but it’s quite possible than even those that supposedly have ‘everything’ maybe still perceive themselves as teetering on the point of collapse and thus are unable to self-actualize because they perceive the lower tier as not having been fulfilled despite the reality of it having been, in effect, more than fulfilled by others who only wish that was their level of fulfilllment.

From that perspective, the rich can cast themselves as being poor and rationalize it, because for them, losing the mansion to an apartment is the psychological equivalent of an apartment renter being in a shelter and a shelter dweller who might struggle to have ongoing shelter access to begin with.

Again, not an excuse for the haves being inherently shitty to the have nots, but moreso that the have in the vast majority of cases cannot fathom what the have nots actually have.

Dickens perhaps fucked nearly a century’s worth of western belief in the idealism that the rich could, or would, ever even attempt to overcome their Dunning Kruger syndrome and empathize what the poor experience. Which, is why I also find it interesting that the satarized version of those stories, when recast with humor such as Scrooged or National Lampoons Chistmas Vacation, also has the potential to resonate in a more modern way, even if I still believe Frank Cross and Frank Shirley (wait, what’s with the evil boss being named frank? now I feel like I missed something … does this go beyond the Christmas Carol spoofs?) are inherently unreal characters.

Honestly, one of the biggest problems may be that a large percentage of the population identifies as conservative and conservatives by definition are somewhere between passively accepting the present status quo and actively longing for some perceived iconic version of the past meaning they may also to some degree simultaneously passively rejecting the present and actively working against their perception of what the future might be. This, more times than not, requires them to put their own self-perceptions first and foremost at the expense of what others perceive their own realities to be, or reinterpreted could be conceived as being selfish, or self centered, because they are working toward their own perceived self best interest and believe their self interest is to the betterment of everyone even if, in the process of getting there, might lack sympathy or empathy toward others who don’t share their views, thus creating repression or oppression along the way.

This isn’t to say aspects of conservatives aren’t good. They are, in fact, a lot of times, well meaning in advocating for taking time to consider all the potential outcomes and acknowledging some decisions might result in unintended consequences as well as offering stepwise possibilities to progress instead of jarring resolutions.

But, to some degree, we are at an inflection point.

This past year exposed things that were building for decades in ways they hadn’t been properly defined for that entire time. It prompted people to react to those exposures in ways more extreme than they had through all those decades as well.

So, now that we’ve had to face these realities not only is it impossible to go back to how things were, because what was then existed without the experience of what came after and thus is fundamentally different from a philosophical standpoint anyhow, it is impossible not to take a progressive approach to the future because of the inedibility of it all, often portrayed by the likes opening a pandora’s box, uncorking a djinn/genie’s bottle, eating the apple of Eden or portrayed in the Norse Mead of Poetry, among any number of other tales transcending time and culture. Thus, once the future is upon us it is impossible for things to be otherwise, which even the Courts of the modern Western Legal System acknowledge with the idea of precedent, or the idea that what once it was decided it is primarily built upon and rarely taken back.

Which, brings us full circle.

We are NEVER going back to what was. There is NEVER going to be a return to the old normal. If for no other reason than there’s a very, very good chance that this will NOT be the last pandemic of our own lifetimes knowing how inept humans have continue to be in understanding their own fragility to begin with, because even with the knowledge of ALL the prior plagues we, as a species, keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. the only difference is we’ve possibly become somewhat better at fixing the problem after the fact despite our shitty mitigation techniques.

What I’m listening to

For fucks sake this made me want to pull out the plague list from last year. I honestly did default to Cattle Decap’s “Bring back the plague” because it showed up recently in notes from last year, but I actually spent most of the day trying to escape my mind by challenging it with somethings completely different: Stravinsky, Hindemith, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff and most pleasurably in this case Ives because the truly creative genius of his lied outside of even the challenges his modernist peers created and, like me, he was some kind of nutmeg state reject.

What I ate

Does a grilled cheese count? Maybe it should in this case. I slathered the outside of the bread with mayo because that’s the version of grilled bread that I prefer since it toasts up with a more reliable consistency to that of butter. The bread was Dave’s 21 Grain which has this nice, complex flavor to it adding some heartiness to the meal. Typically, i would use mustard on the inner side of the toast but for this I was thinking more along the lines of how it would taste with tomato soup so I smeared tomato paste instead. Fresh cracked pepper and granulated garlic were mixed in. I put down a layer of munster on top of that then some thin sliced fresh tomato, lightly salted and hand pressed, and prior baked Upton’s Natural bacon seitan. On top of that went a thin slice of mozzarella. Once that began to meld together under the heat I flipped it over onto another slice of bread, mayoed on the skillet side, with the tomato paste mixture on the inside covered by a piece of munster and another thin slice of tomato. It creates a good fake out of the creaminess of what dipping your sandwich into the soup would be without having to actually have a bowl of soup handy which was nice.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, personal musings, politics, recipes, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Shifting Gears

Covid’s messed with a lot of things in the past year. A LOT.

It’s also opened some interesting opportunities over that time as well.

So, when I was asked if I would be willing to swap out half of my time in my current role to pick up responsibilities in another part of the company I wasn’t entire sure what to make of it.

Do I worry about my future with the company? Do I take this as a compliment? Is it temporary or is this a prelude to my next role in the company, or setting up a new phase in my career? Is this what I want to do? And, about a dozen other questions to consider.

Over the past few weeks, among all the other stuff going on in my mind, I’ve been trying to process this, too. It hasn’t been easy. Not because I don’t want to contribute to the company or because I don’t find the new possibilities interesting, but because I hadn’t anticipated the way this has gone down.

Typically, when I take on a new position I set forth some personal objectives. Not just business accomplishments to build my resume with, but personal ones involving improving my skills and growing as an individual. Often, in the past, when I’ve reached those goals, both personally and professionally, in a position I begin to get restless and look for other options. I knew, for example, in my previous company, I had done all I’d set out to do and was in the process of researching what I might want to do next when I was downsized out of the company. The timing of my unemployment ended up being a bit of good fortune as it provided me with the flexibility to really reflect on what I wanted to transition into next, even if unemployment itself is stressful as fuck. Prior to that, I left the previous company because I’d gone as far as I felt I could there as well and in view of the business pivots they were continuing to make as an organization I didn’t think my next challenge for where I wanted my career to go was with them. I was fortunate to be able to go from them to my last company smoothly, but had I not, I am fairly sure it would have only been a matter of time before I’d’ve been downsized from there too as the business continued to change around me. And, the patter works for the transition before that as well as the one before that too.

This time, despite the fact that the project I’d spent the better part of 18 months on appeared to be coming to an end, I really hadn’t felt like I’d accomplished everything I set out to do when I joined the company. I was just beginning to hit on the idea that I needed to evaluate what might happen next when the company itself began throwing new opportunities at me, eventually landing me where I am today.

I am infinitely grateful that, for now, I’m not unemployed because that could be a real possibility in the current landscape and to be taking on a challenge that is actually quite intriguing even if it wasn’t one I was necessarily seeking out. But, I’m struggling in the midst of everything else going on to really square what this means and what my next goals and aspirations should be. Some of this seems like a natural transition for some of those same career and personal objectives, just applying them in the new scenario, but that kind of feels too like a bit of a cop out in not having really considering what the aspirations should or could be in this new context. Unfortunately, because of my existing knowledge base I’m jumping right into the deep end on this without having the necessary time to figure things out in terms of bigger picture considerations at the moment.

Writing this blog is the first time I’m really even trying to dive into this thought process and beginning to ‘talk through’ what it all means. I am confident that accepting the transitional position is the right choice for now, so that’s not even a concern. It’s more in defining how to make the most of this opportunity that just fell into my lap, and set it up for personal success the way I would had it been something I had planned on doing.

This is all bigger picture considerations – the kind of philosophical ‘what does it mean’ kind of thing that there are not only no correct answers to but there are no easy ones either. Being able to carve out the time to really put into analyzing what this means for me moving forward is imperative, and I look forward to doing it even if it is stressing me out in the near term.

What I’m listening to

A former colleague in the music industry released a new single the other day for their band Surrender the Hope. The juxtaposition of the melody and heaviness is well done, but seriously hone in on the inflection point for the transitions (first around 1:30 and then again the one around the 3:00 mark). It reminds me of bands like Ion Dissonance or Carbomb in how it turns over on the that dirge-y, dissonant passage and them pops back out of it. I literally rewound it like three or four times now because it’s so interesting.

It also meant that, along with pulling out the rest of the STH catalog I’d previously missed out on, and, of course, the catalogs of both Ion D and Carbomb that it reminded me of, I also pulled Carbomb member’s prior band, Neck, along with Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, later Cryptopsy, Fear Factory and a few other random bands from that late 90s-early 00s tech-death scene that became the precursor to djent and deathcore.

What I ate

Over the weekend we made stuff for fajitas and I took the leftovers and made a tex-mex style rice bowl kind of thing out of it. Rice, toasted in a skillet with Old Bay seasoning (since it was steamed in water, not stock, and needed something extra). Frozen corn charred in the skillet. Reheated onion, bell peppers, zuchinni and mushrooms that were originally charred in the skilled. Lightly heated morningstar farms chorizo crumble. Minced raw garlic, onion, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and diced pickled jalapeno. small cubes of munster cheese. smoked and salted pepitos. Crystal hot sauce, Wholesome’s agave, Nellie & Joes key lime juice and some extra virgin olive oil as a dressing.

Posted in business commentary, Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, personal musings, recipes, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: OviWatch #265

There was no Opening Day baseball for the Washington Nationals because of Covid Protocols so for my Washington sports fandom my eyes are still set on the Capitals as they continue to vey for First Place in the Division this Spring. At least the Yankees games have been interesting so far to keep the baseball fever alive the past few days.

As for those Capitals, their Captain sustains my adoration for the sport by chalking up a 3-point game capped with Power Play Goal #265 to tie for second place All Time in the Regular Season with the legendary Brett Hull. Next up, and only 9 away, are Dave Andreychuck’s 274. In a more normal 82-game season that record quite possibly would have fallen this year. However, we will likely have to wait until the 2021-22 season unless Ovi goes on some kind of ungodly tear to seem him claim the top spot on this list.

To put Ovechkin’s goal scoring into context for a moment:

20 Players have scored 600 or more all situations goals during the NHL regular season during their careers
19 Players have scored 200 or more Power Play goals during the NHL regular season of their careers
18 Players have scored 400 or more Even Strength goals during the NHL regular season of their careers

In reality, all goals are equal on the scoreboard. PPG don’t count for less than an Even Strength goal, for example. And, if it were actually so easy to score with a player-advantage the scoring rate for Power Plays would be higher than the current league average of around 20%.

However, somehow there’s a knock on players who are proficient at scoring Power Play goals even though it takes a special kind of talent in order to score in that situation. This has been especially true of those trying to discredit Ovechkin’s goal scoring accomplishments over the years in an attempt to peg him as a unidimensional power play specialist who doesn’t contribute enough to the rest of the game. So, lets take a look at those elite goal scorers and see how they fare.

12 Players have done all three of the 25 players that appear at least once in those lists. The average Percentage of Goals scored on the Power Play works out to about 32%. Depending on how you arrange the list, Ovi is either the 3rd most prolific Power Play scorer behind Andreychuk and Selanne or the 10th if you arrange by lowest percentage scored on the power play.

16 Players of the 25 appear on both the all situations and the PPG list. The average Power Play Goals Scored obviously rises to 33.4% as players who excelled at Power Play Goal scoring are added to the list. Ovi drops to 5th in terms of Power Play scoring, again behind Andreychuk and Selanne as well as Tkachuk and Cicccarelli, or 13th if you arrange by lowest percentage.

3 Players appear on the All Time PPG list but not on the All Situations List (Niewendyk, Tkachuk and Recchi)4 Players appear on the All Situations list but not on the PPG list (Messier, Iginla, Bobby Hull, Kuri) 2 Players only appear on the Even Strength Goal list (Lafleur, Mahovlich).

If we add these additional 9 Players into the mix the average works out to 32.21%. If we arrange the entire list in terms of power play speciality this is how it works out:

Andreychuk 42.81% of total goals scored were on the power play

Tkachuk 39.41%
Ciccarelli 38.16%
Nieuwendyk 38.12%
Selanne 37.28%
Robitaille 36.95%
Ovechkin 36.55%
Shanahan 35.13%
Brett Hull 35.76%
Recchi 34.66%
Esposito 34.31%
Lemieux 34.21%
Sakic 32.80%

Dionne 32.01%
Iginla 31.52%
Gartner 30.65%
Yzerman 29.19%
Jagr 28.33%
Lafleur 27.50%
Howe 26.34%
Messier 25.79%
Kurri 25.79%
Bobby Hull 25.25%

Mahvluch 22.89%
Gretzky 22.82%

Currently, in order to reach the Top-100 Power Play Goal Scoring of All Time, a player needs to reach 125 PPG during their regular season career, meaning 100th most prolific PPG scorer is still only 50% of the Top-5’s raw numerical total.

Of those 100, only 48 of them played at least part of their career in the ‘modern era’ of the post-2005 lock out. Of the players who’s careers straddled the lockout, 6 of them played only a single year. 22 played five or fewer years, generally representing less than 25% of their careers post-lockout. 30 players in total played less than half their careers in the lockout, with Jagr essentially having split the difference between pre-and-post lockout play (believe it or not). This leaves 17 of the current top-100 having played the majority of their careers post-lock and only 6 of them played their entire career prior to the work stoppage: Ovi, Crosby, Vanek, Pavelski, Malkin and Stamkos.

Without taking into account when the goals were scored in their careers, only Ovechkin eclipsed the 250 PPG milestone and is joined by only Jagr to reach the 200 PPG milestone. Iginla, Marleau, Stamkos and Malkin are the only to have reached 150 during the modern era.

For our 18 player group the average PPG breaks down to 33.32% which is in-line with the historical average among the elite scorers to begin with. If we arrange the list in terms of power play speciality this is how it works out:

Heatley 38.44% of total goals scored were on the power play
Stamkos 37.44%
Hejduk 37.33%
Vanek 36.73%
Ovechkin 36.55%
Malkin 36.08%
Pavelski 35.94%
D Sedin 35.11%
Thorton 33.81%

Kovalchuk 32.51%
Doan 31.84%
Iginla 31.52%
Marleau 30.32%
Staal 30.30%
Crosby 30.19%
Lecavalier 30.17%
Jagr 28.33%
Hossa 27.24%

If we were to reduce our scope even further and just look at the prior five seasons, 2015-16 through 2019-2020 and focus only on the players who either were Top-3 for All Situations Goals or Top-3. Of those roughly 30 possible spots there are 24 entries across 17 players in this sample set. Of them Draisaitl, Matthews, Stamkos and Ovechkin appear in at least one list during multiple seasons, with Ovechkin appearing in at least one list each of the five seasons and as the only player to simultaneously top both lists at least once (2015-16).

The average percent of goals were on the Power Play among this group was 39.43% which is considerably higher than the historical averages discussed above but our sample substantially smaller based on the single season output of a given player who reached the top-3 of the list in a given five season period for a total of 996 all situations goals and 375 power play goals (37.65% actual). There’s some pretty extreme outliers when you look at the breakdown:

Schenn 68% for 2015-16
OReilly 62.50% for 2017-18
Hornqvst 51.72% for 2017-18
Ovechkin 51.52% for 2016-17 highest single season

Point 48.78%
Stamkos 47.22%
Laine 45.45%
Kucherov 42.50%
Pastrnak 41.67%
Benn 41.46%

Kane 36.96%
Zibenejad 36.59%
Ovechkin 36.36% over all five seasons
Draisaitl 34.41%
Crosby 31.28%

Ovechkin 27.08% 2019-2020 lowest single season
Matthews 22.99% 2016-17 + 2019-20 combined
Taveres 21.28% 2018-19
Karlsson 18.60% 2017-18

Alternatively, we see some similar wild production swings if we look at this seasons’ leaders, so far, if you take the combination of the all situations goals and Power Play Goals scored, because of the relatively small sample size (883 goals and 274 PPG). However, the numbers, because they are essentially normalized over multiple seasons instead of looking at what essentially was a single season snapshot above, work out to a 34.02% average, which is something closer to what you’d expect from this historical averages even despite the excessiveness of the outliers this time.

Rantanen 50.70%
Stamkos 43.56%

Pavelski 33.78%
DeBrincat 33.33%
Ovechkin 32.43%
Draisaitl 32.30%

Matthews 24.58%
McDavid 21.55%

At this point, maybe you’re thinking similar to where I was leaning about the ratio of PPG to Total Goals isn’t the only metric to judge a Player’s ability on the Power Play. Maybe, the rate at which they are scoring PPG is a more effective metric.

The fastest and easiest way to do this would be to look at it from a Games Played metric since it’s not super easy for me to pull Power Play Time On Ice for all the players one might want to across the historical view. Limiting this a bit of a cross section of the lists above we come up with 31 players. Only 3 of which score at a greater than 0.2 PPGpG rate where the average of the group is 0.156. I’ll only post the above average players and a couple of other highlights:

Lemieux 0.256
Ovechkin 0.223
Hull 0.209

Stamkos 0.195
Esposito 0.192
Ciccarelli 0.188
Tkachuk 0.177
Selanne 0.176
Dionne 0.174
Robitaille 0.173
Nieuwendyk 0.171
Andreychuk 0.167
Malkin 0.163
Shanahan 0.156

Gartner 0.152
Matthews0.142
Crosby 0.141
Gretzky 0.137
Draisaitl 0.137
Pavelski 0.129
Jagr 0.125
McDavid 0.100

I’d love to be able to see what it looks like in terms of PPG per Power Play Opportunities or PPG per minutes on the Power Play but, as I mentioned, finding some of those numbers takes more work to pull together and isn’t even available for everyone on the list from what I can easily find.

So, is Ovechkin a unidimensional power play specialist? Probably not.

Among the elite goal scorers he uses the Power Play to his advantage more often than some of his peers but his ratio of Power Play goals isn’t excessive in the context of how the top goal scorers are scoring, of which almost all of them are individual scoring Power Play goals at a higher rate than the league’s team averages anyhow.

It is just that Ovechkin’s contributions stand out because what he does scoring goals in general is so rarified in the modern era to begin with, but it’s especially true for Power Play production. However, he is extremely consistent in how often he scores on the power play year-in and year-out.

If you take Ovechkin’s 265 Regular Season PPG as the sole output of other player’s regular season careers Ovi would rank T267 with Eric Cole, Brenden Morrow and Don Marshall. It would be above the career output of other players who also eclipsed 1,000 games played like Stu Barnes, Guy Carbonneau, Ryan Kesler, Vaclav Prospal, Saku Koivu, Claud Provost, Craig Ramsay, as well as contemporaries like Jeff Skinner, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny, Wayne Simmonds, Nicklas Backstrom, Patric Hornqvist, Loui Eriksson, TJ Oshie and David Backes to name a few.

Then again, Ovi has 456 ESGs, tied for #6 with Brett Hull and only 1 behind tying Gartner for Top-5 all time. If Ovi ONLY scored ESG he would still rank 57th on the all situations list – that’s more than all the post-lock out players except Crosby and a few guys like Sakic, Recchi, Niewendyk, Marleau, Modano, Tkachuk, Roenick, Bondra, Federov, Turgeon and Moginly who’s careers straddled the lockout so it’s not like he is only scoring on the Power Play in an elite fashion, he’s damned good at evens as well, but that’s an entirely different post.

To go along with Ovi’s historical PPG last night, here’s how the rest of the scoring worked out to impact the all time lists:

725 Goals, 6th NHL Regular Season. +6 to tie Marcel Dionne at #5
794 Goals, 6th NHL Career including Playoffs. +9 to tie Mark Messier at #5 and reach the 800 goal milestone.

587 Assists, 99th NHL Regular Season. Tied with Paul Kariya & reached the Top-100. +23 to reach the 600 assist milestone passing Keon, Wilson, Gonchar, Staal, Ciccarelli, and Kovalev along the way.
649 Assists, 93rd NHL Career including Playoffs. Tied with Janny. +51 to reach the 700 assist milestone and Top-75 while passing Wilson, Kovalev, Spezza, Gonchar, Propp, Taylor, Salming, Datsyuk, Gartner, Fleury, Sittler, Zetterbert, St Louis, Sendin, Elias, Broten and Marleau along the way.

1312 Points, 34th NHL Regular Season. +26 to reach Top-30 passing Perreault, Turgeon, Gartner, Savard, Andreychuk along the way.
1443 Points, 30th Career including Playoffs. +57 to reach the 1500 points milestone and place just outside of the Top-25 all time passing Bucyk, Lafleur and Shanahan along the way.

108 Multi Assist Games, 109th NHL Regular Season. Tied with Lamar and Voracek. +6 to tie Mike Gartner and reach the Top-100 passing Kariya, Mullen, Middleton, Linseman, Zetterberg, Savard, Gomez and Shanahan.
371 Multi Point Games, 28th NHL Regular Season. +6 to tie Robitaille and reach the Top-25 passing Gartner and Gilmour along the way.

19 Goals so far this season. +1 Goal to reach 16 consecutive 20 goal seasons. Ovi would tie Bucyk, Recchi, Modano, Ullman, Robitaille and Esposito at 16 total to reach the Top-20. Ovi was also already in the Top-10 for consecutive 20 goal seasons and would move up to a tie with Esposito for 8th. +11 to reach 16 consecutive 30 goal seasons. Ovi would break a tie in total seasons with Jagr to move into sole possession of 2nd and break a tie with Jagr and Gartner to move into sole possession of 1st for consecutive seasons

5679 Shots on Goal. +531 for sole possession of 1st passing Ray Borque.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, Opinion, Ovi Watch, personal musings, sports commentary, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Memories

I miss my dad.

I miss who he was and not in the normal cliches. Dude was entirely too complex for normal cliches anyhow.

There are two specific aspects that stand out with for me in how I miss him both interrelated in how we used to converse.

All too many times over the past year I’ve found myself realizing how I missed certain conversations with him, particularly because I would find myself saying aloud, ‘we should ask my dad’ only to remind myself he wasn’t there too ask.

It’s not that he necessarily gave good advice. Although, he did that too. Especially if you had an injury, which you know, with two toddlers was one of the reasons I’d’ve been calling him anyhow.

What it was is that he had this unique ability to help you find the answer you needed along the way. Most of the time, when you ask advice people just give it to you. They listen to your story, process the details and then tell you what they would do if they were in your place. That’s not really how my dad worked most of the time though.

The complexities of his life, the things he’d seen and done and experienced provided him with a wealth of stories, of his own, and of those he’d befriended over the years. And, from that he would guide the conversation, making comparisons, drawing parallels, providing insights along the way as you proposed your question. By the time all was said and done, the interweaving of your quandary with his background would eventually have led you to the answer you needed. It’s not that he never told you what he would have done. He always worked that in there. And, in and of itself, probably would have been good enough for what it was. It was more that you left having worked through the problem yourself and come up with what you should do.

Empowered might not be the right word but as I look back on many of the decisions he’d helped me make that’s exactly what it was.

Not just because he helped you get you there on your own but because he never judged what your decision was. I don’t even recall him being critical of the decisions actually. While I seriously doubt I always made the decisions he would have, he supported all of them as I made them. If he ever had an ‘I told you so’ moment with me he never said it aloud to me.

And, that’s a nice segue because my dad was one of those people that seemed to genuinely care about the things you cared about.

He had a lot of things he enjoyed. And, he loved to share them with you. But, I think more interesting was always how it worked its way to being full circle. He genuinely seemed to enjoy learning from others as well.

For me, my first experience with it was with music. He was my introduction to metal, jazz and even orchestral. He taught me as much as he knew about listening as he could. When I began to become a musician myself, he encouraged it and I think it helped him learn to appreciate music in a new way. As my tastes extended past his comfort zone he followed me there as best he could. We spent hours listening to things, to be honest, I’m not sure he really enjoyed, but he seemed to love my enjoyment of them and made the effort to not just be understanding or supportive passively, but to embrace the activities actively. Hearing him talk about music, when he chose to, and his use of expressions I know were derived from the extended diatribes he had to endure from me talking about music is still interesting to think about. It was more than just that we’d come full circle and I’d taught him what he’d taught me, I was now learning from him, again.

It extended to other things. He was one of the people who taught me to cook and I have many a fond memory cooking together. As I learned from him he encouraged me to explore, just as he had with music. The foundations he provided helped provide a foundation to learn about cooking took me to many interesting culinary places, which as I brought them back to him he absorbed and then, took steps further forward with as well. I wouldn’t say it became a competition as much as we set one another down these journeys based on the other’s new experiences.

Same thing happened with fishing, with sci-fi, with classic cars, with photography, and a great many things we enjoyed together. But it was the stuff I found on my own that this relationship was most interesting.

As I took an interest in radio, for example, he jumped right in to learn about it too. His passive interest in it as a listener who grew up in the so-called golden age of disc jockeys, who’d spend years recording broadcasts to reel-to-reel, who had a collection of airbreaks on cassettes that unbeknownst to him were exemplary of the medium’s personalities, and so on, was amplified by my experiences with it. My ex once tried to say that his supporting my radio interest was designed to help me pivot from being a musician, a highly unlucrative career if there ever was one, to something in media where there was ‘supposedly’ more stability. But, long after that pivot was complete, he was still there learning along with me as DJing continued to change with technology. While he steadfastly refused to DJ with me on the air he became one of my most inspirational listeners and never failed to have a good programming note along the way (he assisted in some way for over five years of #MakinPopsHappy broadcasts as a legacy).

When I became involved in advocacy I think it changed him as well. I was in and out of Police Reform movements throughout the 90s as my exposure to the worst and best of cops alternated during those years and I think those times when I struggling with how to be vocal about the need for change were a challenge for him to really understand. As I became more involved with the music industry and I dove further into things like Intellectual Property and Contract law as it applied to the industry and talked about the need for reform for both that seemed to strike a nerve. I recall many an evening playing billiards in the basement with him where he’d probe my thoughts about how the entertainment industry as a whole was challenged and being further backed into a corner for change. We talked not just about the business framework but about the social implications of it. He was the one who encouraged me as an outgrowth of those conversations to take on mentorships and be involved with the company’s internship program, to get involved with organizations that supported women in music, and take the opportunities to express my opinions instead of just doing my job.

One of the more interesting crossroads of my career came when I became involved with an LGBT organization as part of my career path. Cishet presenting marketing nerd decides to pivot from a decade in one of the most Cishet dude aspects of entertainment to suddenly work for a tech company that specialized in LGBT advocacy is not exactly the kind of thing anyone I knew probably was expecting. I’m not even sure I was expecting it but in the short time I was there it allowed me to finally become more comfortable with the fact that I didn’t fall on the Cishet binary. My dad and I never talked about that stuff explicitly prior. And, I never ‘came out’ to my dad, not in the traditional sense. But, he was a huge part of me helping make the decision to accept the position and more importantly seemed to become an advocate himself for greater acceptance. I cannot speak to the experience of others who came out to him, but I do know that he did put in the work behind the scenes to demarginalize LGBT in terms of the legal framework and was uniquely interested in following my efforts long after I’d left the advocacy organization when it ‘closed.’

He also took up cycling…for causes. I don’t know the origins of why he moved to cycling. I know he went through phases with physical activity and had even had a biking phase back in my youth but I honestly always recall him as a runner moreso back then. And, that’s also because I recall him running for causes back then, not just for the sake of going long distances. I don’t know the story of how he transitioned from running to biking, or even why he transitioned from some causes to others. But I know that when he went into biking he went all in and he didn’t come to it alone. I also know that when he went into putting in the effort for a cause he got into the cause wholeheartedly. He’d done it for POW/MIA and VFW/VNV at one point, Alzheimers at another and most recently Cancer, all of which have obvious explanations but they weren’t his only causes over the years. He had a reason for doing them and even if he didn’t express that reason explicitly to you he could make you care about it too, because he did, and he did because he was interested in it, in part, because someone else had introduced it to him.

That’s what I loved about my dad and why I miss him. Because, he had this really unique way of showing that he cared. For whatever flaws he had, and, there were certainly many, I think he genuinely meant well because he gave support so effortlessly to others so often. If it was a burden… if he was doing it out of guilt, or obligation… he would not have succeeded or been able to endure doing it as long as he did.

Sure, lots of people have the legacy of ‘they’d give you the shirt off their back’ kind of thing. Yeah, likely my dad would have done that too. But, I think what he really excelled at, in the right circumstances, was giving something less tangible but perhaps more important: he gave hope and confidence and the safety net of support.

I can’t speak to anyone else’s experiences with him. And, maybe this seems like a gross mischaracterization for those who knew him differently. But this is what I recall him as and why I miss him as a father and a friend. I don’t have many people I trust — not to open up to, not to ask the opinions of, not to expect to be there for me — so losing one of them has been a unique shock to the system over the past year beyond just the normal pangs of losing a parent. As fucked up as our relationship was at times the things he did well are irreplaceable and I miss them, and him.

I only hope I’ve done something of the same for my friends over the years, and can do something similar for my own padawan as they become older and look to me for that same kind stuff

What I listened to

The WFH part is a HUGE misnomer because I took the day off in the hopes of visiting his memorial which due to the weather didn’t happen. Instead, I spent part of the day watching Lord of the Rings. We read the Tolkein books together. We watched the Tolkein inspired cinemotography together. We listened to the Tolkein inspired music together. So, I’m going to just chalk the idea of spending something like 4 hours so far today imbibing Tolkeinesque sounds as enough

Today I ate

errr, drank. The final swig of The Glenlivet. Salute.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, parenting, personal musings, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Call it What it is

Lil Nas X  “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” has called quite a stir.

Conservatives are, of course, up in arms because while they adore calling Liberals snowflakes when Liberals take offense to racism, and sexism, and homophobia, and a myriad of other social issues, the reality is it is Conservatives, are themselves, equally snowflakey in their taking offense to anything and everything that doesn’t agree with them.

So, it’s no surprise that the people who tried to cancel metal and rap in the 1980s because they took offense to the lyrics and images then are at it once again trying to cancel entertainment they don’t like.

Hypocritically, Conservatives are upset that Lil Nas X is critiquing a subset of religious beliefs while those same Conservatives are critiquing homosexuality in the same way. The fact that Conservatives cannot fathom how their homophobic actions are exactly like the anti-religious actions they are accusing Lil Nas X of.

Of course, critiques of religion are as old as religion itself. Likewise, critiques of Christianity as old as its existence as well, and considering the oft complicated history Christianity has had with the societies it exists in many of those critiques are well deserved.

The thing is, there’s nothing new about Lil Nas X critique of Christianity. The video is filled with well established tropes inspired by generations of critiques of Christianity that every Conservative Christian up and arms about the video has certainly experienced before. There’s literally nothing in that video that’s more offensive than any other video made prior in any other genre taking on a critique of Christianity.

So, why is it getting Conservatives so upset?

Is it because it’s rap blatantly questioning religion instead of rock or metal? Is it because it was made by someone Black instead of white? Is it because it was someone queer instead of cishet?

Of course it is.

The attacks on it are rooted in exactly those things.

Lil Nas X caused controversy for Conservatives when his song “Old Town Road” crossed over between the Rap and Country charts despite a number of Country artists embracing the song, and the fact that there’s an entire sub-genre called Hick Hop fusing the two genres.

Rap’s always been an anethema of Conservatives not because they actually dislike the genre itself but because the titans of the genre was and still are Black. While there were some on the right of the political spectrum that negatively attacked the likes of Beastie Boys and Eminem, Post Malone, Everlast, Yelawolf and dozens of others those artist also achieve their sales status with the help of plenty of fans on the right as well. They are given a wider berth than their Black counterparts because they are more white than the majority of artists in Hip Hop.

There’s and old trope about how some people will listen to anything but… and, one of the most popular genres to invoke here is Rap. There’s been a number of studies looking at the phenomenon and there’s a noticeable correlation between a dislike of Rap and racist tendencies that doesn’t occur when people talk about a dislike of Metal or Country which are two other popular answers.

And, that’s the catch here. Some of the anger at the song is inherently racist. It is hidden behind religion and so-called Conservative Family Values but the reality is that behavior was well established during the Jim Crow era against Blacks and had its roots in the Chattel Slavery of Africans and continues to this day.

The attacks on Lil Nas X from day one were because of his success as a Black man in what are traditionally considered a white world – be it in Country music or as a social media icon or even now as someone critiquing the church.

When white people make controversial art they take flack from the Right too, but it is different. Norwegian Black Metal bands routinely evoked anti-Christian hatred at a much more poignant level and yet barely achieve the wrath of what Lil Nas X experienced. Sure, the genre is much less well known but punk rock is not and has equally attacked Christianity in its own way but often with less substantial or sustained backlash. But, it’s not limited to those ‘other’ genres, as occasionally even the Christian Whiteness of Country Music occasionally gives way to those who critique the church and Conservative society from inside the genre and, yet, continue to also draw fans on the Right despite those critiques.

Further to Lil Nas X Blackness playing a role here, the hatred by the Right towards him is also rooted in homophobia.

The culture wars on the Right for decades have leveraged Anti-LGBT rhetoric as a cornerstone of their beliefs, wedged up against guns and abortion on the three-legged stool they sit their morals upon. Unironically, I would remind you that much of the approach to their anti-LGBT rhetoric in hiding behind the Bible also has it’s roots in the racist approaches to fighting the Civil Rights movement and maintaining Jim Crow back in the day as well.

A queer talking openly about the negative experiences they had in the church always gets turned around as being Christian bashing because the church hypocritically cannot take responsibility for its gay-bashing ways. And, it’s not like the LGBT community and its supporters haven’t been pointing this out for decades in entertainment either so it isn’t like this isn’t new.

The key here is Conservative Christianity and it IS hugely important to note this because Reformed, Liberal, Progressive and non-Conservative Christians HAVE been fighting for a much greater level of equality quite vocally for decades and are too often shouted down by the Right in general despite some LGBTQ artists also being Christians themselves.

This is what makes the howling about the song being anti-Religious so frustrating. Conservative cancel culture loves to play the victim card and is hiding their racism and homophobia behind the guise that this is proof of antireligiousness. The tropes they are using to attack the video are old, and tired, and predictable just like the tropes in the video itself aren’t all that groundbreaking in terms of religious criticism either.

Ironically enough, it’s not like there aren’t right wing fans of huge artists like Madonna or Judas Priest, among dozens of others and yet somehow the controversies of their lyrics, their videos, their lives by the Conservative movement are hardly sustainable despite their ties to LGBT movement, so this feels more racist than anything else, despite the fact that the video is leveraging quite queer imagery to get Conservatives riled up.

I’ll leave this on one final note… the video can easily be hidden behind parental controls if someone doesn’t want to see it. It isn’t the artist’s responsibility to hide their art from the public, it is the public’s responsibility to engage or disengage from the art for themselves. If you are too lazy or too much a luddite to hide it and end up exposed to it that’s your problem and no one elses.

What I’m listening to

While I totally respect Lil Nas X for what they do because it is quite awesome, it isn’t for me the same way that while I love thrash metal I cannot fucking stand Overkill despite knowing they are well respected for what they do.

So, I decided to listen to a bunch of boundary pushing hip hop that does appeal to me like Salt n’ Peppa, Ke$ha, Frank Ocean, and I’m just discovering Dirty Jerz own Cakes the Killa which so far seems pretty interesting while pouring over a bunch of other artists just to hear what more is out there.

What I ate

I am just making shit up as I go along sometimes from what’s in the pantry. It was the end of the line for some balsamic vinegar, red pepper flake infused olive oil, tomato paste and left over caper brine. While that might sound like a weird combination it worked extraordinarily for my mood when combined into something kind of like a glaze with garlic boiled penne, frozen peas and roasted onions as well as TVP balls that were par-mashed.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, personal musings, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: WTF memorials

Honestly, we are getting to the point in year two where this is going to get really tough to keep writing really fast, and we are, what not even fifteen entries in.

The weather is not supposed to be pleasant Thursday which is infinitely disappointing. Of course, that’s par for the course considering the anniversary itself being what it is and how long it took to have a memorial in the first place, among other things

My dad would have wanted us to throw a party anyhow. While he was all to aware of the the pain of death, he seemed to always want to celebrate the joys of life – at least that’s my impression. When I was younger, he’d joked time and again at wanting a so-called traditional NoLA type of memorial. OK maybe not a parade down Bourbon Street but the idea that it was all about gathering in the joy of who the person was and continuing their life through us.

He served in the United States Navy as a nurse and then was attached to the United States Marine Corps as a Navy Medic while he served during the Viet Nam conflict before again spending time in the United States Navy Reserves during the conflict once returning Stateside. He didn’t talk a lot about that experience but I never got the impression it sat well with him the times he did.

His grandfather passed away days prior to my birth. This always stuck with me as one of the great dichotomies: where one life ends another begins.

Several of my cousins, his nephews, had traumatic injuries that changed the trajectories of their lives when I was younger. We rarely talked about it as a family but I know my dad had some very strong emotions about it, although it was clearly difficult for him to express them to me. I get it, what happened to them was difficult for me to process, so I can only image it for him back then.

His mother, older brother, and father all passed away within just over a year time frame while his sister was fighting through ailments that would eventually take her life too. As tough as this hit me, I’m positive it is more challenging for him.

He watched friends, mentors, coworkers and other family members pass over the years as well and while that’s probably normal I know from how he would on rare occasion talk about it that it was meaningful in ways I cannot even begin to remotely understand.

I cannot say I even begin to comprehend how he was processing any of this, and it’s not even everything he had to deal with being I was nothing less than an emotional handful, his current wife and my step-mom is battling cancer and more among my siblings and our ever expanding family.

Dude was complex, to be sure. Who isn’t, especially from the Boomers who were wedged for their formidable years in between the so-called American Greatness of WWII and the so-called reckoning of the American psyche during the decade of crisis in the 1970s. While that is no excuse for how the generation of Boomers have absolutely nuked modern society it provides at least some context for some of my dad’s more confounding personality traits.

Now, about that party…

Growing up Roman Catholic you mourn everything. It is to the point where comedic references by the likes of George Carlin and Kevin Smith centered major parts of their career around the phenomenon but there also grew a cottage industry out of the jokes by the likes of voices as diverse as Chris Rock, Joe Rogan and Jack Black (or maybe it’s a Jersey thing?) to the point where it transcended the stereotypes of comedic reference.

Maybe the comedy is a coping mechanism. Maybe it’s a realization that the Human Condition is ultimately funny. Maybe it is the realization that the assbackwardness of religious conservatism fundamentally is hurtful.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is that my dad never really expressed the type of mourning much of the rest of the stuff he grew up around did. When I’d attended Catholic Wakes with him in the past he was always somewhere between being respectful to the family’s pain and the mournfulness of the service itself while maintaining his own personality as a way to lighten spirits and draw out people’s positive memories.

I’ve only attended a few Jewish Shivas over the years but, in my limited experience, they are much different from the typical Catholic death experience. My dad’s personality, I think, would have fit more of that more reverently celebratory view of life then it ever did the utter mournfulness that he had to endure from conservative christianity.

I struggle to figure out how to effectively honor him in that regard, because I am positive he would not approve of us all sitting around mourning his loss. I felt it them. I maintain that now as we come up on that anniversary.

My partner posed an interesting question to me about what they supposed we should do in light of the fact we may not be able to visit my dad’s memorial on the anniversary of his death.

Initially, I struggled with how to answer it.

Ideally, I want to remember my dad for how me helped inspire me to be a better person.

But, moreso, I want to help pass along the positive aspects of his legacy to my younglings, to my nieces and nephews, and the rest of the next generation. They will get older and we can discuss the complexity of who he was and understand his flaws too, but in order to get there they must first continue to connect with who he was with them in their very, very brief lives together which were him being a loving, caring grandfather, great uncle, etc.

He gave a lot of great things to the world. Shitty ones too. To be sure. Who hasn’t?

So, how do we pay tribute to the good, while appropriately acknowledging the bad and do so in such a way that doesn’t turn either into a fiasco, or just a tear filled shit show?

I really wish I knew.

This honestly feels like a great many “lost” journal entries I’ve made over the decades of trying to write out my feelings. Difference here being unlike paper journals that I’d burned, buried or otherwise ‘lost’ in many moves, or the transiet versions that were up on LiveJournal or MySpace only to be ‘deleted’ as those sites discontinued their underlying infrastructure what I’m doing here may be preserved in a different way for potentially a slight bit longer, relatively speaking. Hopefully somewhere someone is backing this up in a way better than my local archives will ever provide.

Nonetheless, I’m trying to figure this all out.

Do we look at pictures and tell stories?

Do we make meals that were meaningful to him?

Do we undertake activities he would have liked to share with us?

Do we throw a party so we gather in a way he’d’ve appreciated?

I don’t know. And, there inlies the problem. I am at a loss in just how to process this for myself but how to share in that with anyone, and everyone else.

What I’m listening to

I brought out Savatage because I was in the mood for the breath of their catalog and how the different era make me feel. The really remind me of a lot of the different ways my dad and I listened to music over the years. Raw metal from the early days, progressive elements at other points, political and socially introspective at times while others drawing on fantasy and idealism, the soaring wonders of melody offset by these aggressive bursts of metallic darkness. Intersperses were Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Rush, Dream Theatre, Herod, Amorphis, Fates Warning and more representing different eras of our listening, attending shows, etc. together.

What I ate

Sunflower seeds.

Way back in the day, my dad and I went on a fishing trip to the Florida Keys. As far as I recall, while he was ‘targeting’ tarpon for me the trip was really just about catching anything that wasn’t what I was accustomed to in mid-Atlantic waters. During the trip we literally ‘lived’ on the pier we were fishing off of and that meant a steady diet unmemorable food despite the keys rich cousine.

Among the indulgences I partook were dry roasted, shelled, sunflower seeds. At some point I had a not so pleasant reaction to them. I won’t get into the process in which we decided that it was indeed sunflower seeds in general that caused my allergic reaction but lets just say that over the course of the following few months there were few competing theories.

However, unlike a childhood bout with food poisoning after some bad pizza that caused me to hate such a masterpiece of tri-state flavor indulgence for several years, before embracing it with reckless abandon, I’ve remained entirely cautions of my love of sunflower seeds after that experience.

So, whenever I do eat them, especially on their own, it’s kind of a big deal for me.

I mention this because my dad seemed to understand back then that, for me, the allergy was all about controlled consumption. And, while to this day I’ve never tried to over indulge them as a snack, I’ve only one or two other times had a negative reaction to eating them and thankfully never like what I experienced that week.

As it turns out, he was right when he wanted me to keep enjoying them respectfully. So far, when I am smart about how I use them I don’t have negative responses while still getting to enjoy their flavor. And, I do very much love how they taste too which is why having them as part of today’s “rice bowl” was quite nice, as well as in the padawan’s trail mix too!

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, parenting, personal musings, relationships, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: MPH v19 on Cygnus, WHMPH

The Moshpit Hell is BACK!! After just over a month hiatus MPH returns!

I didn’t really write much about it because it happened prior to bringing the Covid Files back for the year anniv of their unfortunate beginnings but my trusty, old, PC finally failed. It got caught in a boot-load after a forced Windows update. It wasn’t the first time it had happened during the many, many years I had the machine, nor was it the first time that it was fatal. However, it was cheaper at this point to upgrade to a new HP Spectre than try and repair what was remaining of the old machine (it needed so much more than just a hard drive at this point).

When it went down I had just finished one of my favorite episodes to program, the Black History Month episode BHMPH and I not only lost the original broadcast file, but a number of downloads I’d made of bands included on the show that I was truly excited about having found in an effort to continue to broaden the show’s horizons. I hope the files are still recoverable.

I tried to find a stock machine locally that would accommodate what I wanted so I could get back on the air quickly. It didn’t happen, although I must say, HP was able to build off their options menu a new machine that fit my needs in less time then they originally quoted and I did manage to get a single episode of the normally month long celebration of Women’s History Month.

WHMPH was one of the first hash-tag shows I produced back on Party 943 that survived the transition to KAOS Radio Austin and is now part of Cygnus Radio and is one of my favorites to produce.

As I’ve said in many of the episodes, there’s no such thing as a genre revolving around women in metal punk or hardcore, there are no female hardcore genre no matter how many bands are made up of all women that play hardcore music. The show is about celebrating women’s contributions TO the genre and mosh to the unique ways they’ve pushed the genre to do things it otherwise wouldn’t’ve ordinarily done.

So, I was absolutely amped to be able to get the WHMPH show back on the air, even if only for a single week . I tried to cram as much as I could into the two hours as possible, and although there were probably about a half dozen or so artists I was truly disappointed in having to cut as I programmed the show mostly from the seat of my pants. It was fun.

Here’s the marketing copy that went into promoting it:

#WHMPH ’21 is volume 19 of MPH: Music Philanthropy and History in the Mosh Pit Hell of Metal Punk and Hardcore on Cygnus Radio.  Celebrate Black History Month with Black contributions to the scene that will be manipulating people’s heads this Friday 26 March beginning 22:00 USEDT (10pm nyc), from the Isle of Misfit toys, with the doormouse, dmf.

Tune into #BHMPH tonight as we explore the mosh-pittable mastery of Blacks in the scene with nasty new(er) numbers plus classic cranial crushers by Entheos, the Agonist, Once Human, Devil Within, Serenity in Murder, Nightwish, Ad Infinitum, Battlelore, Bloodlined Calligraphy, All for Nothing, Backflip, Gel, Sick Shit, iwrestledabearonce, Ithaca, Circle Takes the Square, Otep, Anomie, as well as rippin listener requests for Arch Enemy, Karkaos, the Gathering, Unleash the Archers, Walls of Jericho, Yellow Machinegun, Rolo Tomassi, Crisis and more.

Explore the origins and background of Womens History Month and the work of Women In Music (WIM / womeninmusic.org), while we explore the contributions of Women Musicians on the genre with your own Friday night mosh.

MPH is making poseurs hip on your fav socials, so use @MPHnoise to follow along and bring you best moves for the Friday Night Mosh on Cygnus Radio @cygnusradio tune in direct at http://108.163.245.230:8026/stream and witness the return of MPH after just over a month hiatus – The Moshpit Hell is Back!!

And, here’s some of the lead up to it from how I was trying to celebrate the month and document my interest in the artists, most of whom would become the cornerstones of the episode and some of which were the songs that I ended up featuring from the limited catalog of songs I had available to draft for the show:

D10: Bloodlined Calligraphy “Last Goodbye

The Michiganders don’t get nearly enough credit for their contribution to hardcore. While it isn’t groundbreaking sonically, they were exceptionally good at what they did in blending searing riffs with stompable breakdowns… and then, there ways Ally’s vox. She could absolutely annihilate with an unrelenting stream of barks and growls but it was when she would bust out with the clean vocals that she really helped the band stand out.

While “Last Goodbye” doesn’t feature those emotionally distraught melodic cries, a la “It can’t rain all the time,” the song features much of the rest of the BC signature sound including massive gang vox and spoken passages along with one of sweetest breakdowns in metalcore and it’s one of the very few videos the band produced, so it provides nice visual insight into their commanding presence as well.

D9: Walls of Jericho “American Dream”

Walls of Jericho do hardcore very, very well. It is catchy and fun when it needs to be. It is heavy and moshable. It is critical and introspective. And, most importantly, it is raw and emotional all the time. WOJ have covered a wide range of topics over the years and it’s always with those last two points in mind which is why when they play something it is worth paying attention to because it is the most unadulterated version of a topic, of a riff, of a beat, and of who they are. And, this is driven by Candace and her approach to being a front woman. She is unapologetically straight forward from her lyrics to her stage presence and in my few encounters with her in the industry as who she is when she’s offstage as well.

The so called blue collar work ethic approach to their moshable sound comes across in full force on American Dream. the brutally insightful approach to the lyrics is underpinned by the hardended grit that makes up the riffing and breakdowns but it’s the vocal delivery that really drives the point home. All the anger, the pain, the frustration and is released in bombastic echos from Candace’s lungs in ways that inspire so much more than meat-head moshing. Check it out and see what I mean

D8: Perfect Pussy “I”

Meredith Graves and Perfect Pussy did not get nearly enough credit for what they were doing when they were active, despite being so-called media darlings. Straddling this weird space between punk, screamo and hardcore, Perfect Pussy delivered huge tapestries of gritty, unrefined soundscapes. Weaving tortured screaming between layers jangling distortion awash in feedback over the top of the straight forward pounding by the rhythm section, Perfect Pussy delivered something unusual and probably the most poignant musical experience originating from Syracuse since the mighty Earth Crisis hit the scene 20 years prior. You could randomly select any song from the catalog and have a good experience with Perfect Pussy, but “I” also brings some nice visuals to the mix on the video as well.

D7: KMFDM “Paradise”

I was late-comer to appreciating KMFDM but once I got into them they became a gateway to my continually broadening interest in industrial and electronic stuff. Lucia’s work with them from the MDFMK project onward deserves some credit for my adoption of the band into my regular listening. I like how her vocal approach compliments the music to create additional textures and layers on top of Sascha’s compositions. That’s all in addition to the exceptionally political and fiercely socially conscious posture they take which is on full display along with Lucia’s crushing vocals on this song. Make no mistake, they hit the nail square here with the lyrics and how Lucia’s part is delivered, it’s a big part of what makes the song work once you get past the profanely poignant chorus and extraordinary video visuals. Enjoy!

D6: Skunk Anansie “This Means War”

Skunk Anansie’s career thus far has traversed an enormous sonic journey from soft, supple melodies floating effortlessly over a minimalist composition to roaring rockers exploding with raw emotional angst and literally everything else in between. The catalyst for this expanse of sound springs primarily from Skin herself. She’s a complex person who’s range of interests and influences is only eclipsed by her outstanding vocal prowess.

A few interesting notes on this particular song — First, my Padawan both loooooove this song and video. While toddlers screaming fuckers is beyond hilarious in some ways it is also amazing because it’s allowed us to talk to our learners about a lot of topics that the song touches on that otherwise wouldn’t come up in normal conversation. Second, I found it interesting to see a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic right wingers over the summer quoting the song lyrics from a black, bisexual woman as a call to action for their bigotry. Finally, I know I’ve said this multiple times over the last few days as we’re talking about these records, but Skin is also one of my favorite vocalists, full stop. Even when SA songs themselves aren’t as appealing to be I am always absolutely entranced by her voice. In this case though, This Means War is a perfect balance between an awesome SA song and the complexities of what Skin’s voice can be which is why I included it, but really there’s probably a dozen other songs I could have included too, all showcasing something different for her (and SA)

D5: Crisis “Fires Of Sorrow”

Crisis are an underrated band. Their music approach was unique when the records were released, but remarkably still remain exceedingly different from everything else created over the last 25 years as well. The foundation is their compositional approach that bends and contorts around the dynamics of Karyn Krol-Tiso’s voice as she weaves a tapestry of angelic melodies, gristly growls and screeching screams across an meandering undercurrent of metallic riffs, hardcore grooves and whatever sludge they collectively scraped off the Bowery’s streets. Karen not only helped set the precedent for females to scream and growl, she took the idea of vocal dynamics to an entirely new level pushing the genre as a whole to new, and innovative directions.

Simplest thing to say is I listen to Crisis and I get chills. They are that good at evoking emotions as a result of experiencing their music, especially live. There isn’t a lot of well recorded live stuff floating around but this is better than most and really captures the expressive approach to their music.

D4: Anomie “Indifférence=mort”

I came to know the French emocore outfit Anomie probably a decade or so too late, when the sound they helped pioneer was already quite common and they’d long since broken up, but the songs remain as absolutely brilliant even now, nearly 30 years later, as they did back then.

It’s raw and heavy, but creative compositionally, both with their subtle use of melodies and the rhythmic imbalances their 13-year old drummer creates. Then, there’s Kathleen who’s carefully curated spoken passages and powerful screams help create the over-arching sensation of tension and release that are signature to the band’s sound. A combination of her youth, being from Orleans France, and the timing of the releases in the early 90s makes doing these kind of vocals just as important as the fact she’s a woman breaking that kind of sonic ground.

While the band never gets enough credit for what they accomplished, screaming vocals like this wouldn’t be nearly as common in hardcore as they are now had it not been for Anomie back then. This is one of my favorite tracks, not just by them but in the genre (and, really maybe for me in music overall, I listen to it A LOT) — but you could literally spin anything from their short career and it would be equally as impressive.

D3: the Gathering “Souvenirs”

I knew The Gathering in passing prior to hearing Mandylion, but it was “Strange Machines” that made me fall in love with the band. I adore Anneke Van Giersbergen’s voice. I love how it commands the melodies, how it soars on high before melting into ethereal whispers, and how it cuts through but also compliments everything the band does around it. The apex of this experience for me came on the Souvenirs record, which, while it might not be the heaviest effort in the genre is one of the most inspiring in how it is crafted and what it makes me feel when I listen.

D2: Rolo Tomassi “a Flood of Light”

Rolo Tomassi are, without any additional qualification, one of my favorite bands. The appeal for me is, in part, that they are so dynamic: Crushingly heavy at one moment and the next soaringly ethereal. The arrangements have all the complexity I crave while still having so many simply memorable moments to cling to. Their technical proficiency is offset with this underlying sense of emotion as they undulate between moods, and styles, and sonic concepts and for me as a listener it allows me to explore those seemingly oft-conflicting musical interests all together in one massive release. Sadly, I’ve never seen them live, but this song’s performance captures everything i’d want to experience should I ever get the opportunity.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, personal musings, radio show, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Fishing

I’ve been fishing regularly since I was in middle school. We used to ,make a family afternoon and fish the local reservoirs. When we moved part way through high school I found friends to take to the big lake down the street and spend hours when not playing billiards or working on my 1960s “hotrod” with lines in the water. College was a new group of friends and a new interest in conservation to go along with my hobby as well as a rekindling of my interest fishing with my dad again.

After college, I moved further away from my family and well worn fishing spots. I took up hiking in order to reach less fished opportunities and did so more often alone since there were fewer people interested in coming. I fished like this for years and enjoyed greatly the peace it brought me. Then, when I moved to the city the fishing stopped. The car was sold. The gear was packed away in storage. The afternoons and weekends became filled with other activities.

Now, I am beginning the process of teaching my younglings the skills. And, there’s a certain pleasure in rediscovering everything from the eyes of my padawan. It also has brought me to a number of outdoors groups online and occasionally even get to share my experiences.

I’ve fished everything from custom rigs to sticks with twine and everything in between over the years. And, although I am hardly a professional caliber angler, between the reading, the asking tonnes of questions over the years, and the experience of trying and testing I have a pretty good feel for what generally works and doesn’t. So, when someone asked what they should buy for beginner gear, I decided to to chime in, particularly since some of the replies were ‘guesses’ more than first-hand knowledge.

After dropping a few informational links I wrote up this as some guidance. I’m sharing it here because I realized while writing it up it was fun to think about and discuss and I should hang onto it in case it was useful to other people too.

1. In a lot of cases you get what you pay for. While there’s no need to invest in something expensive, going (too) cheap will likely cause frustration and end one’s interest in fishing before it even gets started. There are some quality rod-and-reel combo sets you can buy, but there’s a lot of garbage that’s labeled for kids too. Aim for something that’s name brand for sporting equiptment and not stuff that’s licensed as a kid’s brand. If your kid needs Star Wars or Disney Princess gear to get excited you’re better off customizing better gear by affixing stickers, painting it, and being a little crafty other stuff to it that’s truly personalized for the characters they like.

2. I think it’s a surprise to a lot of people that the rod length will be taller than the person casting it. My youngling who are both toddlers are using 5 footers right now. In my youth my mentors had me using 5′ and 5’6″ rods and when I started to reach those physical heights my rod lengths increased to 6′ and 6’6″ for most freshwater applications and between 7′ and 9′ for most saltwater casting. Don’t be intimidated by a rod that is a half a foot or more taller than the child, that’s how it’s actually supposed to be.

Different rod designs are for different fishing applications. Different combinations of rod action (how my flex the rod has), test weight (the rating of the line strength), eye configuration, etc, define how a rod should function. Most rods are not handed, meaning lefties and righties can usually use the same ones. If you are looking to purchase just a rod, or are not buying a combo kit, my suggestion would be to get something that’s pretty versatile. Generally this would be labeled in the medium action range, with a lower test line class (in the 2-8 lb range), and an eye pattern for a spinning reel (larger eye on the bottom of the rod closest to the reel seat and progressively smaller eyes moving up the rod bottom).

My go-to spare rod for the kids, or friends who don’t fish a lot, etc. is an older model Ugly Stik, but the newer Gx2 series is still a good, price conscious purchase, look at something along the lines of maybe the 5′ medium action 6lb rated spinning rod. Ugly Stiks also have a reputation of being nearly unbreakable, which is great for kids, but keep your receipt to take advantage of the warranty these days.

3. If you need a reel as well, different reel designs are for different applications. Different combinations of features will do very different things. This makes them much more complicated than picking out a rod.

A lot of children’s reels are in the “crappie”/”panfish” Spincaster style where the spool (the part where the line is wound) is enclosed under a hood and the bail (the feature that allows the line to flow free when casting) is integrated as a trigger, or button. This usually makes it easier to learn to fish since it’s fewer things for young fingers to master. My only Spincaster is an older Pfluger closest to the current Presidente series but the Trion ones look good and come in at an entry level price. I think Zebco is a more popular Spincaster brand and offer a lot of inexpensive solutions but I haven’t used them much but I can speak to my Pfluger experience as I have three other reels I frequently use by them too. Note, too, Zebco also offers a lot of Spincaster reel with rod combos and are also a popular white label brand that are repackaged in some of the better licensed combo kits for stores.

There are also Spinning reels that have triggered bails but feature an open design around the spool. The advantage here is that if the spool does get knotted repairs can be done quicker, however, it’s also a little more likely that it’ll get knotted up by inefficient casting too. I don’t fish with triggered spinners, but I own two, both with rear drag (the feature that allows you to set the line tension). I mention that because for a lot of beginnings rear drag can be easier to use since you don’t have to pass your hand through the path of the line to adjust the drag tension. One of my triggered spinners is a Daiwa and the other is a Shimano, though, like I said I don’t personally fish with triggered so I can’t make much recommendations other than when I lend these to less experienced people they seem to like the Daiwa one (it’s old I don’t recall the model).

One important note is that reels do have handedness. Some reels you can flip the cranks back and forth between sides. Others you cannot. Make sure you keep in mind that if you are casting with your right hand, the crank on the reel should be on the left side, and vice versa, if you cast with your left hand than the crank will be on the right side. Some people prefer to cast with their strong hand and crank with their weak, while others prefer to crank with their strong hand and cast with their weak. If you don’t know which it is, you can test this by just having someone pretend cast with a stick, they will naturally pick up the stick and make the casting motion with the hand that feels more natural to them and then pretend to reel it in with the other, so that’s a good starting point – if they pick it up and pretend to cast the rod with their right hand than they’ll likely prefer a left handed crank on their reel.

4. Don’t go crazy with baits and lures and everything else at the beginning. This is actually one of the biggest places new anglers waste a tonne of money especially when they don’t know their target species.

My suggestion would be to become familiar with what species are local to you and then design a bait box around those species local preferences. Certain species are more easily caught with novice experiences, while others take a great deal more experience. For example, around me it’s much easier to catch pumpkinseed sunfish than it is largemouth bass, crappies are generally easier than chain pickerel to deal with, perch over catfish, and so on.

My tackle box has a section just for my younglings that I started to put together when I used to take inexperienced friends to fish back in the day. It is made up of three simple components for targeting our local panfish that love to hang out close to the shoreline and interreact with a wide range of bait possibilities:

hooks: I carry sizes 2, 1 & 1/0 octopus circle style; 1/16 & 1/8 oz jig heads; and some 1/16 & 1/8 shad darts. I try to get the jigs and darts that are lead-free when I can for ecological reasons. These also save me from having to carry and mount split shot weights since the weight is built into the hook, and they come can painted and decorated with flare which is both helpful for catching the fish and keeping younglings interested, especially if other bait becomes considered ‘gross.’

A couple of small bobbers. The lighter the bait rig and the shorter the live line (line between the hook and it’s next stop to the pole) the smaller the bobber should be. Most likely, you’ll never need anything larger than a ping pong ball, but if you’re fishing for like what what most panfish might require even that might be too big. While larger bobbers are supposedly easier to see, in my experience they can also be a detriment to the fishing itself.

Bait box. I use a modified makeup box for mine. It’s five cells, four that are about 1x1x1 and one that’s 2x1x1 with a snap top. But, you can buy a small bait box, repurpose a pill box (as long as it isn’t too similar to grandma’s medicine box), a mechanics bolt box, etc.

Mine is filled with a combination of easy to find fare. Nightcrawlers/earth worms, cut up jerkey (generically flavored like classic Slim Jims, but if you can find ones with fewer preservatives that’s better) and corn (canned is traditional, frozen is good, fresh, believe it or not can be the least productive) are staples, along with occasionally hot dog (including vegetarian ones, I’ve had good success with Lite Life, for example), woodlice isopods (pill bugs, potato bugs, rollie polies, whatever you call them locally), and grubs.

However, with the younglings it’s also good to scout the fishing area and dig up bugs, collect berries, fashion flare from local leaves and bark, etc. Two reasons for this approach. First, because these are native to the local ecology and will trigger the local fishes natural response which can be much more productive than introducing foreign fare. And, may be more importantly, because the idea of foraging for local bait adds some extra level of interest and education for little ones offering an opportunity for them to interact with the entirety of the environment around them. Some of my most memorable trips with new anglers have come not from catching great fish, but from the process of being getting to catch them and forage baiting was a big part of those experiences.

If you must ‘buy’ bait try look for things that are ecologically friendly as much as possible and avoid the synthesized stuff. While these are good for professional anglers to win contests, inexperienced anglers lose a lot of bait for a plethora of reasons and in the spirit of the ‘carry in carry out’ you want to try and minimize, as best you can, the human footprint of angling which includes leaving a lot of human-made potential food sources that can affect the ecology for weeks, or months, that disrupt the natural foraging of the local fish. Berkeley has come a long way in creating ecofriendly localized synthbaits and for that I would highly suggest consulting with your local bait shop for more info.

I’m not going to suggest lures here.

5. Line. This is easily the most confounding of the entire conversation, so I saved it for ‘last.’

Honestly, no line is good line. When we talk about line it comes down to the old standards, such as weight class (how much tensile strength the line can endure) as well as thinking about stretch, shock strength and wind diameter in relation to weight class. Nowadays we consider things like memory and buoyancy (how much it retains the circular spooling over time and it’s ability to sink, act neutral or float as it unspools), visibility (how easy it is for different fish species to ‘detect’ it the water, both in eyesight and vibration), abrasion resistance and wear rate (for such things as reacting to the natural flora and fauna and how it reacts to repeated cast/retrieve impacts it) among other things. For a novice it can be the most overwhelming thing to figure out.

The standard is monofilament is likely the best bet, but not always. It winds easy, knots easy, stretches easy, untangles easy and pretty much because of those properties also buries in the spool easy, unexpectedly wraps around everything easy from the rod to stray tree branches to lake weeds and everything in between, and so on.

I fish with fluorocarbon line and adore it. For me, it changed fishing for me when I discovered it and short of some ecofriendly line that can mimic my favored experiences with it I might die hoarding it as well. But, I am exceptionally responsible when it comes to line use and recovery, as well as the quirks fishing with it. So, while it technically resists abrasion, has less memory, has higher strength at smaller diameters, and has more ‘touch’ to it it might not always be the best ‘experience’ for new anglers still getting the feel for the entire experience of cast, to hit, to retrieve.

6. A good tackle box, or hiking pack, or anything else you take into the outdoors always has some common packing. The other things I’d suggest having that aren’t necessarily ‘fishing’ on hand are:

a) good set of long nose pliers. Ideally, better than a multi tool but that’s the minimum. Good for de-hooking fish, dealing with line tangles, realigning rod eyes, etc. are the usual fishing versions but they can help pick up bugs and hook them, deal with prickly foliage, and so much more

b) towel. one you can use just for fishing because it’ll never be the same once it’s been used for fishing. I like cotton using a c-hook so it’s easily accessible. Interestingly enough, I carry two on the same hook, color coded. One that is “dry” and one that is “wet” depending on how I need to use them.

c) glove of some kind. A natural gardening glove is fine if you prep it correctly. I like to soak it in something like bees wax. This helps protect the fish by reducing the abrasion while also reducing the water solubility of the leather or cotton while also helping reduce the susceptibility of the glove to abrasion and more importantly slowing down the impact of puncture wounds from spikey fins, teeth and shoreline fauna. Rubber and related materials are ok too, if you can find ones to fit your need, but for the love of all that is sacred, don’t insist on bare handing everything.

Sunnies’ bites are unlikely to hurt, but their fins are spiked and getting poked by one is pretty gnarly. Nothing stops a trip faster than a bloody puncture wound. They aren’t the only ones who have defenses that might get you or your little one. Panfish includes Lepomis, Pomoxis and Perca among others and they will fuck you up, if you’re not careful. It it’s safer to have some layer of protection if you’re not experienced handling fish (I still use them with some species even with the experience)

d) medic pack. if you aren’t already carrying it with you you should be. My basic one is probably a lot more rigid than yours might be but i’ve wound enough pressure splits on myself over the years I carry it even on short walks. However, at a minimum of sterile gause and fabric tape will get you 80% of the way there for the most basic injuries.

e) notebook and pencil. These can be digital, but the point here is the ‘picture’ of your catch isn’t enough. Record everything you can. What was the date and time, the air and water temps, air pressure, overhead visibility, perceived local water visibility, location, rig setup, bait, bob time, among other things you might want to note. This can be used to retarget quality fishing, but also teach scholars and local governments about habits for preservation and even other aspiring anglers about proper documentation and targeting.

f) and for whatever it’s worth, I’d recommend, if you can, a small telescoping net because nothing is more disheartening than catching a fish and losing it. Doubly so for newbies, so the net helps prevent a lot of beginners losses as they’re learning to set the hook and land the fish, which can go a long way to being encouraging to a person new to fishing. But the net can be used to retaining local bait, giving you upclose views of local bugs, and more.

I’m sorry if I made this ‘more compex’ than it seemed to need to be.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, hiking excursions, music, Opinion, parenting, personal musings, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment

WFH WTF: The Covid Files, Year Two: Birthdays

Ask anyone who’s birthday falls in proximity of another holiday what their experience with celebration is and they’re likely to tell you that it isn’t the same as people who’s birthdays are stand-alone events.

My personal experience with this is around a unique combination of US Labor Day and the first day of the Autumn school semester. I oft joked in my younger years that I received everyone’s least favorite birthday gift as being the first day of school. However, unlike other school year births who may have had them a acknowledged by teachers with a party in elementary school being born so early in the school year often meant a belated one rolled into some other celebration, if it was even noticed by teachers at all. Of course, for family and friends birthday celebrations often coincided with Labor Day parties, as a last summer BBQ horrah. While it guarenteed great attendance in my youth, I cannot tell you how often I was overlooked after HS, to the point where I even attended a family BBQ and was stopped at 9PM on Monday night as I’m getting in my car to go home in order for everyone who remained to remember to sing me a quick happy birthday.

It’s OK because as you may have already realized by reading past entries in the blog that I care little these days for making too big a deal out of my birthdays. It is a nice line of demarcation for taking stock of accomplishments and resetting personal expectations but lets not overdue it with the another year older and wiser bit.

Unfortunately, though, younglings live in a world where there’s still a premium on the birthday party experience and our two padawan share a birthday month, or more aptly, a birthday week. It’s not quite as chaotic as a shared day, although the reality was it was pretty close to being that at one point, but it’s enough that they do have quite a bit of sharing to do because of it.

For us, as parents, we made the decision early on, before our second youngling was even in the picture, we weren’t going to over party the birthday thing to begin with and came up with a plan. The “milesone” birthdays would be big celebrations where we would splurge for something big and boisterous, and the rest would be smaller, more low key affairs with family and friends.

So for year one we would throw the big bash for anyone and everyone to enjoy the crazy that is a kid having their first cake and all. Then we would do something chill with just the immediate family for the next few years. Five we would pull out all the stops again, while six through nine would go back to being a bit more low key. Hitting double digits for 10 and the teenaged years for 13 we could go big and then after that fa lot of kids start to be less interested in that kind of stuff so we’d tailor it to their interests when the time came.

It actually works out to a bigger party more often adding the second padawan into the picture. It also then becomes more complicated because of the proximity of their birthdays in that they can piggy-back on one another’s milestones. Thus year three becomes bigger because it coincides with year one. Year three and seven becomes bigger because it coincides with year five. Year eight and twelve become bigger because it coincides with year ten and then you end up with a back to back twelve and thirteen both being big. And so on and so forth.

Except, thanks to the pandemic we didn’t get a big celebration this year.

We got Zoomdays instead.

Nothing says awesome quite like opening a series of USPS boxed gifts on a video conference with one family or group of friends at a time.

As much as I’m not a big birthday person I am infinitely sad that this is the best we can safely do for our padawan right now. Especially since last year’s attempts at celebrating were just as everything was locking down and we were dealing with illness ourselves.

Thanks deplorable plague rat Covidiots. First your selfish free-dumbs delay my dad’s funeral for months because of extended protocols, then we get fucked out of halloween and the winter holidays, now this. Of course, if we were Dunning-Kruger afflicted Trumpublikkkans in Texas, or Mississippi, or Florida where they threw precaution to the wind early on, maybe we just wouldn’t care either. But, after being affected by death from this disease early on we are all too aware of the reality.

Unfortunately, as resilient and forgiving as kids can appear to be it is difficult for me to believe that this isn’t a monumental disappointment of a birthday year for the padawan.

We are doing our best to do nice things for them and hopefully a combination of the summertime lower infection rates and the vaccine rollout reaching more people it’ll be easier to have some kind of belated celebration for both the padawan this year. Although we’ll never “make it up” per se, there’s a very real possibility we can still create something memorable out of this fiasco and hopefully that will overshadow any lingering sadness at the day/week itself not quite being as grand.

In the meantime, I am personally just trying to come to terms with the fact time has flow by through their toddler years. It seems like only yesterday they were born. I always knew people weren’t joking when they said time flies during their childhood but man, even preparing for that reality it’s hard not to be taken aback by it at every milestone.

What I’m listening to

Padawan have selected a playlist as diverse as Lady Gaga and Madonna, Antiflag and Green Day, Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden, Faith No More and Living Colour, and even a little Run DMC and Johnny Cash. I will NEVER argue with a selection like this.

Interestingly enough, yesterday I was proposed the querie of “who are two very different artists that describe your musical taste” and this list feels like you could answer the question with it. My actual answer was, ” In today’s edition of how to break my neighbors by putting the full library mix on we had Death into Miles Davis at full blast . That makes sense to me but I’m not sure too many other people know what to do with it. ”

What I ate

In the spirit of Jeopardy ‘What are potato nachos? ‘

This is a riff on a dish that I make on-and-off a lot. The usual version would be making Portuguese style chips which are thinly sliced, pan fried potatoes and then loading them up with appropriately with my favorite Portuguese goodies the way you’d normally load up tortilla chips with cheese and toppings. It’s only a short jaunt to a riff on a poutine or Jersey diner disco fries when you take some liberties with your toppings.

Today, I thick sliced some taters and gave them a quick steam doused in Old Bay. Then I laid them out with a slice of pickled jalapeno, diced cherry tomato, onion and garlic and a small bit of thawed chorizo flavored Morning Star Farms Veggie Crumble (TVP) along with bit of shredded cheese mix and dropped them under a broiler for a few minutes. The bottoms are nice and crispy, as is that cheese topping that’s just slightly browned.

If it seems like lately there’s a lot of comfort foods I’m posting, you aren’t wrong. I’m dealing with March as best I can, and this is part of how that happens.

Posted in Edible & Digestable, Entertainment, music, Opinion, Padawan Music Chronicles, parenting, personal musings, recipes, the Covid Files, Today I Ate, WFHWTF | Leave a comment