Saturday, January 24, 2015

Record Stories and Shopping with a Vomit Inducing Ending

I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt, ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends. - Almost Famous

Every now and then, Sal and I will take $20 out of the ATM and dive into the dusty archives of a used record store.

It's getting harder to find the wish list records as they become popular again. Things like Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, The Ramones, Wilco, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd are having their prices inflated beyond $30 an album. 

Part of our record shopping rules is that we refuse to spend over $20 unless it's a special edition or one of the holy grail records. 

Following this rule, we made a successful run getting Carly Simon's "No Secrets," Cat Stevens "Catch Bull at Four," The Who "Live at Leeds," and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Double Fantasy" for roughly $21 at the Slackers in Columbia last weekend. 

Another rule with record shopping is that they cannot be put into the Peaches crate until we've listened to it, making sure that we never skip a record. We spent roughly 6 hours playing records last Sunday while cooking and screwing around on the internet. It's probably my favorite way to spend Sunday.

One of our unwritten rules is that if there is writing on the slip cover, we grab it. We have an ELO record that says "blank + Sue Haegle heart, true love." The blank is a scratched out name, obviously a love that wasn't to be. But that handwriting on the record means there was a story. It means this record meant enough to someone that they would declare love or "best friends forever" in the margins. To me, it makes the record just a bit more valuable. 

We went to Vintage Vinyl today with Sal's parents to rummage through their stacks.

I like how Vintage Vinyl does it. They know all the cool, hipster kids are going to wander in and find their Radiohead records and gladly pay $30. But if you're willing to dig through the $2.99, unorganized milk crates, that's where you earn great music.

Last year we found Queen's live record in there. Today Sal found a great "Doo-wop" compilation album, featuring "It's My Party" by Leslie Gore.

It's not often we have the time or money to flip through the records, but when we do, we take full advantage.

Storage of our records has always been a head scratcher for us. Ideally, we would have the giant bookshelves built into the wall where you could flip through our hundreds of records easily, sit in the giant leather chair sipping a cocktail, letting the music wash over you while admiring the alphabetized history lesson.

We inherited a Peaches crate where roughly 100 of our records live and like it. It's still a thing sitting on our floor, but it looks legit. The other 50 records we have live in a milk crate, which looks much less classy.

The Peaches crates soak up history in the wood fibers. Decades of dust, pot smoke, tears, smiles, shag carpeting, lead paint; all of this lives in Peaches crates.

We've had our eyes out at flea markets and record stores for additional Peaches crates without luck. I was beginning to think all the crates were made in the 70's and the world's supply was running low. That was until a faithful internet search (during the 6 hour listen-a-thon last week) I discovered and someone bought the rights to the Peaches name and still makes the crates in multiple sizes.

I would still love to find a crate out in the wild, but I think at some point soon, Sal and I will probably just order a new one and start caking it with our own dust. Maybe under one of the boards, I'll gouge deeply in pen, "Dan heart Sal = Forever." And when I'm long and dead, some other kid is going to discover the benefits of listening to a record in the track order it was meant, and as they lay on the floor hearing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, they look at their prized Peaches crate, and make up a story of their own about Sal and Dan. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions are interesting as they are something we promise to do in the new year, which is an amount of time that humans created. Basically, we split up the passage of time based on this glowing gas ball and our rotation around it, and once in every 365 times we move around that gas ball, we say, "I'm going to make myself better in the next year."

Most of the time, we fail. According to Forbes, only 8% of New Years resolutions are kept.

I can proudly say, that in 2014, I completed mine. I wanted to brew 12 beers in 12 months and I did it. My last beer came off the fire on December 30, 2014.

I want to continue my trend of being in this 8% in the new year.

In 2015, I want to accomplish 2 things.

1. Give a donation to 12 podcasts I've been listening to for free.
2. Volunteer to work 20 hours of some sort of charity or community service work.

The first one is relatively easy as most the podcasts I listen to are funded almost exclusively by donations. Next time This American Life or The Moth asks for money, I'll throw $10 to them. Actually, we already have accomplished one of our 12 by giving money to fund a season 2 of our favorite podcast, Serial.

The second one is only slightly harder. Wells Fargo will actually give me paid time off to volunteer. It's something I wish I would've taken advantage of last year. But things get busy, I don't have a car, and I just don't know where to start. Next thing you know, it's 2015. So this year, I'm determined to work for my community whether that means working in a soup kitchen or helping in a community garden, I'm going to do it.

So here's to the new year. I hope everyone finds peace and makes life for them and others just a little bit better.